Complex Specified Information News

Specifications: detachable, not postdictive, not after-the-fact

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Being able to reject chance as an explanation is critical to identifying design. The way to do this is to compare the structure of an artifact against some pattern that can help us rule out chance as an explanation.

Sometimes designers can anticipate the knowledge of observers in order to craft designs which can be recognized as designs. They can structure it according to a pre-existing pattern that the supposed observer has in their inventory or some pattern that read more

44 Replies to “Specifications: detachable, not postdictive, not after-the-fact

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    NOTE: The specification must not be an arbitrary target painted around the arrow after the fact of its landing. But it may be observed after the fact, e.g. we see that text expressing a code, a linguistic expression or an algorithmic sequence is functionally specific in light of context and the evident possibilities of a highly contingent process. Thus, islands of function are a relevant case of specification. Also, such possibilities lend themselves tot he sort of micro-state cluster analysis that has a bridge to key statistical thermodynamics ideas. Indeed, L K Nash’s classic short intro begins with a tossed coin example, highlighting the overwhelming effect of the cluster of states that are near 50:50 H:T, and of course overwhelmingly in no particular order. Many coded states will be near 50:50 but will NOT be in no particular order. KF

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    The lame argument against specification is that designers write the specification BEFORE designing something. So where is with respect to biological design (as if we should be able to find it in a file cabinet somewhere)?

    My answer is where is that for Stonehenge, the pyramids, the Antikythera mechanism, etc. There must have been one in order to build these things. The point being is that we can look at something and determine that a specification, in that classic sense, existed because we know what it takes to build complex structures.

  3. 3
    Evolve says:

    All this talk of “detecting design” fails big time in the case of life, because we see life growing, metabolizing, reproducing and evolving on its own without any external intervention. Design can arise entirely naturally as life shows us. We don’t see assembly lines in the sky producing Michael Behe’s “irreducibly complex” molecules and then fitting them into living cells. We see that for cars, but not for living things.

    The only way you can prove ID is by showing that a designer really exists and by explaining how he goes about designing life. You also have to explain why the designer made it look as if evolution happened. Simply pointing to natural structures and calling them designed will fail big time. That’s why ID has failed to make any impact even after several decades of intense lobbying.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    evolve s clueless- My computer doesn’t require any intervention in order to run its operating system. And until someone demonstrates that blind and undirected processes can produce a living organism evolve is wrong to say what he sez.

    We don’t see natural selection producing anything. Natural selection didn’t get reproduction started. Natural selection is not capable of producing IC.

    Also the HOW comes AFTER determining design exists. We do NOT look for a designer nor a method until we determine design exists.

    Now if evolve could just model unguided evolution and demonstrate that it is capable of explaining what we observe, then ID would fall. But attacking ID with ignorance is not going to do anything but expose that ignorance.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    To reiterate-

    The design says that a designer existed. If necessity and chance can explain something then we do not infer design. Therefor by inferring design we have already eliminated necessity and chance as viable options.

    Just because we do not know who the designer is doesn’t mean that necessity and chance magically get the power to produce what we have determined they cannot.

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    Evolve @ 3

    Design can arise entirely naturally as life shows us

    Where did you see that? Can you please point to at least one example?

  7. 7
    Dr JDD says:

    All this talk of “detecting design” fails big time in the case of life, because we see life growing, metabolizing, reproducing and evolving on its own without any external intervention

    So are you finally admitting that it is a closed system and the 2nd law of thermodynamics does actually apply, given there is no “external intervention”? Or could it possibly be that a designer fine-tuned a universe that is amenable for life to be able to grow, metabolize, reproduce and adapt/respond necessarily to environmental changes? The laws of physics, the Earth and the Universe are set up in place to define the parameters and give the energy required for these processes. Just like a computer requires electricity and original design to run, it does not require a user to run programs after the event of telling it to run a program, does it? Think of a 3-d printer, it prints on its own after a design is given to it, a 3d object yet just because it produces something of complexity without user input after starting off a program?

    Let us turn the observation on its head. Everything that we know to be designed around us – that humans have designed – cannot grow, metabolize, reproduce and evolve on their own. So why would we automatically assume that something even more complex that can do these things can happen without design? The bar is even higher.

    I find this argument highly unintelligible and somewhat irrational as an argument for naturalism, personally.

    JD

  8. 8
    Dionisio says:

    because we see life growing, metabolizing, reproducing and evolving on its own without any external intervention.

    well, the adaptation and micro-evolutionary processes we observe are possible because the biological systems have built-in adaptive mechanisms, based on complex specified purpose-oriented functional information processing, which only intelligent causes can produce.

    Can you point to at least one example where all the elaborate choreographies and orchestrations seen in the biological systems arise through unguided natural means?

    Any provided serious example must explain in accurate details how that could have happened step by step.

    Take your time. No rush.

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    Language is so amusing. Consider the following sentence from Sal’s post:

    “Over the years, the rigorous math used by Bill was sometimes so large and complex, it made it easy for critics to make subtle misrepresentations, and knockdown arguments Bill never made.

    Now I add a single space and remove a single comma. The meaning is dramatically changed (to what Sal intended instead of what he wrote):

    “Over the years, the rigorous math used by Bill was sometimes so large and complex, it made it easy for critics to make subtle misrepresentations and knock down arguments Bill never made.”

  10. 10
    Dionisio says:

    Dr JDD @ 7

    I find this argument highly unintelligible and somewhat irrational as an argument for naturalism, personally.

    Agree. Actually, I thought this could even be a joke written by someone who thinks completely different, but wanted to provoke a heated discussion in this blog, just for fun. Who knows? But it does not seem serious to me.

    Serious inquirers usually would humbly ask honest questions, without pontificating on anything. They want in return to get honest answers.

    However, in some cases we deal with fools, who don’t care about finding the truth, but just want to argue for the sake of arguing and/or to mock and make fun of others.

    It’s very important to detect which case it is, so we proceed accordingly. One way to detect is to ask questions. Soon we see, by the answers, which case it is.

    I don’t have spare time to spend on dealing with fools. But would love to dedicate time to discuss anything with sincere inquirers, because years ago I was one of them, and some people took the time to lovingly answer my questions with a satisfactory amount of details.

  11. 11
    Dionisio says:

    Dr JDD @ 7

    I find this argument highly unintelligible and somewhat irrational as an argument for naturalism, personally.

    Agree. Actually, I thought this could even be a joke written by someone who thinks completely different, but wanted to provoke a heated discussion in this blog, just for fun. Who knows? But it does not seem serious to me.

    Serious inquirers usually would humbly ask honest questions, without pontificating on anything. They want in return to get honest answers.

    However, in some cases we deal with fools, who don’t care about finding the truth, but just want to argue for the sake of arguing and/or to mock and make fun of others.

    It’s very important to detect which case it is, so we proceed accordingly. One way to detect is to ask questions. Soon we see, by the answers, which case it is.

    I don’t have spare time to spend on dealing with fools. But would love to dedicate time to discuss anything with sincere inquirers, because years ago I was one of them, and some people took the time to lovingly answer my questions with a satisfactory amount of details.

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    No idea why my comment #10 went out twice?
    I must have pressed the wrong button or timed it incorrectly?
    Oh well, sorry, my fault.

  13. 13
    scordova says:

    Now I add a single space and remove a single comma. The meaning is dramatically changed (to what Sal intended instead of what he wrote):

    “Over the years, the rigorous math used by Bill was sometimes so large and complex, it made it easy for critics to make subtle misrepresentations and knock down arguments Bill never made.”

    Fixed. Thank you. I make a lot of those mistakes.

  14. 14
    Evolve says:

    Joe,

    ///evolve s clueless- My computer doesn’t require any intervention in order to run its operating system.///

    Entirely wrong. You know it. A computer needs an operator to operate the OS. And computers don’t assemble themselves, humans do it. But that’s not the case with living things.

    ///And until someone demonstrates that blind and undirected processes can produce a living organism evolve is wrong to say what he sez.///

    Already demonstrated. Life generates itself, grows and proliferates naturally on its own.
    The burden of proof is on you people who claim that a designer is involved.

  15. 15
    Evolve says:

    Joe,

    ///The design says that a designer existed///

    That designer is nature.
    We see an oak tree arising from a seed through natural processes.
    We see a human being arise naturally from a single cell – the zygote.
    No supernatural intervention has ever been observed. Period.

  16. 16
    SteRusJon says:

    In #3 evolve drove by and sniped, in part

    evolving on its own without any external intervention

    evolve has used the point of contention (in the relevant sense of de novo components and systems in biological organisms) as proof that the point of contention is true. Brilliant reasoning, evolve.

    If we all agreed with evolve as to the full darwinian meaning of this snippet, there would be no argument. Many of us, while seeing directionless change, adaptation and deterioraton of existing components and systems as life grows, metabolizes and reproduces, do not see life “evolving on its own without any external intervention” in the relevant sense of new components and systems being produced by means of life growing, metabolizing and reproducing.

    evolve has simply asserted what he believes. I say, in his case, believing is seeing.

  17. 17
    Dr JDD says:

    We see an oak tree arising from a seed through natural processes.

    We see a seed packed with immense amount of information where that information is read and translated to give rise to a tree, in combination with its surrounding energy input. How is this different to a computer program containing information and then being let to run and generate what it was programmed to do, in an allegorical manner? The analogy stands.

    No supernatural intervention has ever been observed. Period.

    No multiverse has been ever observed. Period. No string theory has ever been confirmed, period. No life has ever been observed to generate from non-life, period. No increasing substantial amounts of DNA/genetic information (whole genes, new processes not seen before) have ever been observed (only inference by assumptive evolution through sequence homology – that is not an observation). Period. No molecules that make up life’s necessary parts (amino acids, nucleotides) have ever been observed to self-assemble into functioning parts. Period. You want to play that game using that argument? Based on those rules your argument has not a single solid elemental foundation to stand upon. The observation game is the worst possible game a naturalistic evolutionist could ever play because all your macro-evolution, your naturalistic OOL is based purely on extrapolation (of microevolution), explaining away the data by creating unobserved theories (Cambrian explosion, etc), and crucially, things that have never been observed. And please don’t go down the “antibiotic resistance” route as that is a complete non-starter for observational macro-evolution.

    Already demonstrated. Life generates itself, grows and proliferates naturally on its own.

    Life generates life, agreed. So how do you explain the arisal of life? This is fallacy in your argument, as is the whole argument.

    I am usually sympathetic, or rather try to understand some evolutionists’ arguments but this is frankly a ridiculous line of reasoning you are using which I cannot be understanding towards.

    JD

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    Barry Arrington @ 9

    Language is so amusing.

    Agree.

    scordova @ 13

    I make a lot of those mistakes

    But probably not as many as I do, even though I don’t write much. 🙂

  19. 19
    Evolve says:

    Dr. JDD

    ///So are you finally admitting that it is a closed system and the 2nd law of thermodynamics does actually apply, given there is no “external intervention”?///

    It is not a closed system because life draws energy from the sun. That’s not the same as external intervention, which means an outside entity fits living things together, assembles their parts and service them.

    ///Or could it possibly be that a designer fine-tuned a universe that is amenable for life to be able to grow, metabolize, reproduce and adapt/respond necessarily to environmental changes?///

    Then the solar system should be teeming with life. But we only know of one planet with life – earth. And it took billions of years for life to arise and evolve to the current state. And there were several mass extinctions that nearly wiped life away from the face of the earth. The solar system, let alone the universe, hardly seems like a haven for life!

    ///Think of a 3-d printer, it prints on its own after a design is given to it, a 3d object yet just because it produces something of complexity without user input after starting off a program?///

    User input is required at some point in all your examples. 3-D printers don’t exist naturally, living things do. 3-D printers don’t replicate themselves, life does that. 3-D printers can’t grow or evolve on their own, life does that too.
    It’s your problem that you’re invoking a fictitious designer for life – a phenomenon that operates naturally.

    ///Let us turn the observation on its head. Everything that we know to be designed around us – that humans have designed – cannot grow, metabolize, reproduce and evolve on their own. So why would we automatically assume that something even more complex that can do these things can happen without design? The bar is even higher.///

    Simple, because we see life sustaining itself on its own. It’s not an assumption, it’s an observation. We don’t see designed objects occurring or sustaining themselves naturally. It’s that simple.

  20. 20
    Dionisio says:

    The Galapagos finch adaptation story that allegedly Darwin extrapolated to write his controversial theory, is another example, among many, of the built-in adaptive mechanisms embedded within the biological systems. Much simpler mechanisms are known to come only from intelligent causes. Hence the conclusion is obvious. Those mechanisms must have been designed.
    Mr Darwin picked an obvious example of ID in order to write his theory. Ironic, isn’t it?

  21. 21
    Joe says:

    evolve sez the designer is nature, except there isn’t any evidence for that. If there were we wouldn’t be having this discussion and I would still be an evolutionist.

    A computer needs an operator to operate the OS.

    It does? Who is operating my OS? I’m not.

    We see an oak tree arising from a seed through natural processes.

    Design is natural. God didn’t design the OS.

    Enough with the cowardly equivocation, evolve. Anything in nature is natural. However not everything in nature was produced by nature.

    The DESIGN is natural, ie exists in nature. And science says that nature had a beginning. Guess what that means? Natural processes could not have been responsible. But that does not mean supernatural processes were. That is a false dichotomy predicated by ignorance.

  22. 22
    Evolve says:

    ///We see a seed packed with immense amount of information where that information is read and translated to give rise to a tree, in combination with its surrounding energy input. How is this different to a computer program containing information and then being let to run and generate what it was programmed to do, in an allegorical manner? The analogy stands.///

    Bad analogy.
    Computer programs are codes written by humans, they don’t exist naturally.
    DNA is a chemical that occurs naturally. What we perceive as “information” in DNA are just chemical reactions that the molecule undergoes in its environment.

    ///Life generates life, agreed. So how do you explain the arisal of life? This is fallacy in your argument, as is the whole argument.///

    We didn’t know how the Sun worked a few centuries ago which is why we have Sun Gods in mythology. We didn’t know what stars really were, which is why people saw Gods among stars too.
    Likewise, we don’t have all the answers now. But we have more answers than what we did 200 years ago. Knowledge advances and domains once attributed to God shrinks.

    ///No multiverse has been ever observed. ///

    Wrong. Unlike God, the multiverse is not a figment of imagination, it is a prediction made by theory. And there’s increasing evidence, such as the recent discovery of primordial gravitational waves, that support it. God is not predicted to exist by any theory and there’s no observation that lend support to it either.

    ///No molecules that make up life’s necessary parts (amino acids, nucleotides) have ever been observed to self-assemble into functioning parts. Period.///

    This is very silly.
    If I cut an apple and leave it on a plate, it doesn’t assemble back into an apple. So will you say that apples can’t arise naturally?!
    The first life arose under special conditions that existed on the primordial earth. Those conditions do not exist anymore which explains why life doesn’t arise spontaneously now.

    ///No increasing substantial amounts of DNA/genetic information (whole genes, new processes not seen before) have ever been observed (only inference by assumptive evolution through sequence homology – that is not an observation).///

    What do you mean?!
    Sequence homology IS INDEED an observation that needs an explanation. It’s not just homology by the way, it’s an increasing pattern of homology as you go from the more distant creatures to the more related ones – and the best parsimonious explanation of that is indeed evolution from a common ancestor. If you want to invoke a designer, you’ll have to admit that he made it look as if evolution happened!

    ////macro-evolution, your naturalistic OOL is based purely on extrapolation (of microevolution), explaining away the data by creating unobserved theories (Cambrian explosion, etc), and crucially, things that have never been observed. ///

    Wrong again, bro. Macroevolution is not merely an extrapolation of microevolution. You can see it in the DNA of living organisms, you can see it in the transitional fossils linking various groups of animals. If you chose to ignore all the evidence, that doesn’t make the evidence go away.

  23. 23
    Joe says:

    We observe that only life begets life. By Evolve’s logic his position is screwed.

    Nice own goal, ace.

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    evolve sez:

    DNA is a chemical that occurs naturally.

    Evidence please. That is pretty much the whole point- nature cannot produce DNA (with functional sequence complexity).

    So Evolve is either deluded, ignorant or just another liar.

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    BTW Evolve, DNA is inert.

  26. 26
    Upright BiPed says:

    DNA is a chemical that occurs naturally. What we perceive as “information” in DNA are just chemical reactions that the molecule undergoes in its environment.

    You say a DNA codon isn’t a material representation to be translated (via a material protocol) into a physical effect. I say you are woefully mistaken, and I claim that the physcial evidence is on my side.

    However, if you are right, then we have two classes of things – and ID proponents are simply equivocating between them. On the one hand we have things that are genuine physical representations/symbols/signs (such as a pheromone or machine code). And on the other hand, we have things that just “act” like material representations (such as triplet codons in DNA).

    If you are indeed correct, then you can put this issue to bed. If we have genuine representations on one hand, and things that just act like representations on the other, then you ought to be able to look at the physical evidence and tell me what the physical distinction between them is.

    As a pint of clarity, I’ll give you my definitions of the objects in question, and you can point out the distinction that demonstrates your point.

    Definitions:

    Representation: an arrangement of matter that evokes an functional effect within a system, where the arrangment is physicochemically arbitray to the effect it evokes.

    Protocol: an arrangment of matter that establishes the otherwise non-existent relationship between a representation and its physical effect (while preserving the physical discontinuity between them).

  27. 27
    Barb says:

    Evolve writes,

    Bad analogy. Computer programs are codes written by humans, they don’t exist naturally. DNA is a chemical that occurs naturally. What we perceive as “information” in DNA are just chemical reactions that the molecule undergoes in its environment.

    And you have evidence that DNA occurs naturally? DNA is far more sophisticated than a computer program. Am I to throw common sense out the window and state that while computer programs require programmers, DNA doesn’t?

    We didn’t know how the Sun worked a few centuries ago which is why we have Sun Gods in mythology. We didn’t know what stars really were, which is why people saw Gods among stars too. Likewise, we don’t have all the answers now. But we have more answers than what we did 200 years ago. Knowledge advances and domains once attributed to God shrinks.

    Knowledge advances humankind to be sure, but it doesn’t push God out of the picture entirely. Some of the greatest scientists who ever lived acknowledged his existence while practicing science.

    Wrong. Unlike God, the multiverse is not a figment of imagination, it is a prediction made by theory.

    Predictions are not evidence. Show me evidence of the multiverse and I might believe you. Until then, it’s pure speculation.

    And there’s increasing evidence, such as the recent discovery of primordial gravitational waves, that support it. God is not predicted to exist by any theory and there’s no observation that lend support to it either.

    There is evidence that might confirm its existence, but proving its existence is still a ways off. There is plenty of evidence to support God’s existence, however, the problem is that most (including you, presumably) refuse to acknowledge it.

    The first life arose under special conditions that existed on the primordial earth. Those conditions do not exist anymore which explains why life doesn’t arise spontaneously now.

    Life has NEVER arisen spontaneously, and every intelligent, honest scientist knows this.

    Sequence homology IS INDEED an observation that needs an explanation. It’s not just homology by the way, it’s an increasing pattern of homology as you go from the more distant creatures to the more related ones – and the best parsimonious explanation of that is indeed evolution from a common ancestor. If you want to invoke a designer, you’ll have to admit that he made it look as if evolution happened!

    Homology doesn’t prove evolution.

    Wrong again, bro. Macroevolution is not merely an extrapolation of microevolution.

    Extrapolations (i.e.,wild guesses) are not evidence. Provide evidence for reptiles becoming birds. Or amphibians becoming mammals. Show your work.

    You can see it in the DNA of living organisms, you can see it in the transitional fossils linking various groups of animals. If you chose to ignore all the evidence, that doesn’t make the evidence go away.

    And if you choose to ignore the evidence for a designer, he/she/it doesn’t go away either. See how that works?

  28. 28
    Eric Anderson says:

    Evolve:

    All this talk of “detecting design” fails big time in the case of life, because we see life growing, metabolizing, reproducing and evolving on its own without any external intervention. Design can arise entirely naturally as life shows us.

    Presumably, Evolve, you are aware that the debate is precisely over the question of whether things like living organisms can arise on their own through natural processes, without intelligent guidance or intervention?

    So referring to the existence of living organisms as evidence for the claim that they can come about without intelligent guidance and intervention is circular and misses the point of the debate entirely. It is both circular and a red herring.

    Now that you have been made aware of this fact, please refrain from using this failed argument in all future discussions, both here and elsewhere where you may participate.

  29. 29
    Eric Anderson says:

    Evolve:

    Let’s cut to the chase.

    Are you under the impression that ID argues that a designer cannot create a self-replicating system which is capable of perpetuating itself in the natural world?

    If so, then you do not understand intelligent design. Do some work and read up a bit before bringing an irrelevant argument to the table.

    If not, then drop the charade and quit bringing up an argument that you know is a red herring.

  30. 30
    Evolve says:

    Upright Biped @ 26,

    You’re making a simple fact too complicated.

    Computer code and human language lack a fundamental aspect DNA has – chemistry. DNA is inherently a chemical. And chemicals react with other chemicals naturally and spontaneously.

    Thus DNA serves as a substrate for an enzyme (RNA polymerase) to make a product – RNA. RNA is a related chemical that serves as a substrate for an enzyme (ribosome) to make another product – protein. This is classical enzyme chemistry which works according to understood principles of enzyme kinetics.

    You get a particular arrangement of amino acids from a particular arrangement of nucleotides in DNA (what we call the genetic code) because of the affinity some chemicals have for others. For example, if ATG codes for methionine, that means Adenine-Thymine-Gunanine pairs with its complementary sequence on the tRNA bonded to methionine.

    Let me remind you that the constituents making up the DNA molecule exist naturally. Related molecules have even been found in meteorites! Nucleotides also exist in other forms such as the energy carrying ATP or as conezymes (NAD, FAD etc). Moreover, DNA adopts multiple conformations such as B-DNA, A-DNA and Z-DNA. It also exists as single strand, double strands or even as triple strands. The bases making up DNA and RNA can get modified in multiple ways altering their properties.

    In other words, like any other chemical, DNA is a highly plastic and dynamic molecule whose structure, composition and properties change with its surroundings. The same is true for RNA. RNA performs several roles based on its structure and context. What we get from DNA and RNA is simply a product of all this chemistry.

    None of this is true for human language or computer code. There’s no chemistry involved with those. They cannot be explained by chemistry at all. So the analogy totally fails. It’s laughable to see ID proponents like Stephen Meyer constantly likening DNA to computer software ignoring fundamental differences between the two. That shows the paucity of arguments for ID.

  31. 31
    Evolve says:

    ///Presumably, Evolve, you are aware that the debate is precisely over the question of whether things like living organisms can arise on their own through natural processes, without intelligent guidance or intervention?

    So referring to the existence of living organisms as evidence for the claim that they can come about without intelligent guidance and intervention is circular and misses the point of the debate entirely. It is both circular and a red herring.///

    Living organisms DO arise and sustain themselves on their own. This is a fact everyone observes all the time. As far as we can see, there’s no supernatural intervention to produce a human being or a blue whale. There are no factories up in the sky where human parts are made and assembled into a human. On the other hand, we do have assembly lines producing cars and computers (designed objects).

    You’re pointing to the natural phenomenon called life, that grows, develops and reproduces on its own and attributing it to a fictitious designer, when such a designer is not required!

    There’s no circular reasoning here, there are only simple observations and conclusions drawn from them.

  32. 32
    jerry says:

    I just did a google search of

    dna computer code

    and got over 20 million hits. Must be some connection to generate this number of hits. ID must polluting the internet with its nonsense. Including this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_computing

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    Evolve: In DNA the chemistry is in the chaining along the backbone. The info is stored at right angles in the side chains, A, C, G, T. In effect, stored in prong height, which is in fact the design that von Neumann suggested for the same task in his 1948/9 proposals for a kinematic self replicator, the original form of von Neumann self replicator. Everything made up of atoms is a chemical or a mixture of chemicals. KF

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The vNSR is a conceptual design, one that could be built using clanking technologies, but the problem is scale and cost. There are some initial items that are steps towards, starting with 3d printers.

  35. 35
    Dr JDD says:

    I can see that there is no reasoning with Evolve nor even acceptance of his initially outright incorrect assessment – “Life gives rise to life” as an observation meaning life must have arisen without a designer.

    Yet that totally fails on the most simple level, in that there had to be no life before life to arise. In that context, no life gives rise to life, yet the life gives rise to life observable phenomenon is meant to be an observation to explain the arisal of life. Completely illogical reasoning.

    Then evolve tries to get around this by reducing life to chemicals and chemical reactions. So that is what we are, just chemical reactions. Yet this ignores the myriad of evidence that the complexity within the cell, the information that although could be deemed “chemistry” does not make sense as a naturally arisen chemical reaction (epigenetics, when a stop codon actually encodes for a novel amino acid, etc, etc) and a million and one things we could go into that make no sense for chemistry to arise naturally.

    Noone is going to convince evolve otherwise as he/she has their own religion and faith – the faith that life can arise from nothing and complexity can increase in magnitudes humans can only dream of by itself, yet I have my own belief and faith which is also built on evidence. There is no point in engaging further someone who cannot see the fallacy of their most basic argument (life gives rise to life therefore life came from nothing) and quite frankly states that DNA is just a chemical. I’ll stick with my faith, which if these arguments are the best against it, then I can feel very confident in that faith!

    JD

  36. 36
    Dionisio says:

    When talking about complex specified purpose-oriented functional information in engineering design systems, I think of top-down generation of such information, which includes processing algorithms, database storage/retrieval methods, transmission protocols. There’s much more to that than just the programs. The programs are just part of the entire show. I have difficulties trying to simplify the whole thing. Can’t think of the components separately.
    But an important aspect of the story (is IMO) is the initial concept in the mind of the designer. Another important component of this ‘script’ is the final result which is the goal. Does this make sense?

  37. 37
    Upright BiPed says:

    Evolve at 30

    Computer code and human language lack a fundamental aspect DNA has – chemistry. DNA is inherently a chemical. And chemicals react with other chemicals naturally and spontaneously.

    1. All information is translated through physical means. 2. The ubiquity of physical law is not in question.

    Thus DNA serves as a substrate for an enzyme (RNA polymerase) to make a product – RNA. RNA is a related chemical that serves as a substrate for an enzyme (ribosome) to make another product – protein. This is classical enzyme chemistry which works according to understood principles of enzyme kinetics.

    Agreed

    You get a particular arrangement of amino acids from a particular arrangement of nucleotides in DNA (what we call the genetic code) because of the affinity some chemicals have for others. For example, if ATG codes for methionine, that means Adenine-Thymine-Gunanine pairs with its complementary sequence on the tRNA bonded to methionine.

    ATG does not code for methionine because of affinity. It codes for methionine specifically because a protein aaRS bonded methionine to a tRNA. This was very convincingly demonstrated by Nirenberg et al beginning in 1961, for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize. The code is a set of physicochemically arbitrary relationships established within in the organization of the genetic translation system. The code is established in spatial and temporal isolation from the ribosome in order to preserve the necessary discontinuity between the arrangement of the codon and the production of the effect.

    Let me remind you that the constituents making up the DNA molecule exist naturally. Related molecules have even been found in meteorites! Nucleotides also exist in other forms such as the energy carrying ATP or as conezymes (NAD, FAD etc). Moreover, DNA adopts multiple conformations such as B-DNA, A-DNA and Z-DNA. It also exists as single strand, double strands or even as triple strands. The bases making up DNA and RNA can get modified in multiple ways altering their properties.

    This is entirely inconsequential to the question asked of you. It seems you’d prefer to run a promotional announcement of personal belief, rather than answer the question.

    In other words, like any other chemical, DNA is a highly plastic and dynamic molecule whose structure, composition and properties change with its surroundings. The same is true for RNA. RNA performs several roles based on its structure and context. What we get from DNA and RNA is simply a product of all this chemistry.

    Again, this has nothing to do with the question asked.

    None of this is true for human language or computer code. There’s no chemistry involved with those.

    This is simply a restatement of your first failed comment above. To suggest that brains and semiconductors don’t operate by chemistry is just silly. We needn’t address this objection again.

    They cannot be explained by chemistry at all. So the analogy totally fails.

    Genetic translation cannot be explained by chemistry alone either. When Nirenberg set out his methodology for breaking the genetic code, it was specifically the systematic regularities (i.e. the physicochemically arbitrary relationships) he set out to demonstrate. If I take the genetic translation system and mutate the aaRS to bind alternate amino acids (already been done) there isn’t anything at all you can measure in the mRNA to establish what that altered code is. All you can do is exactly what Nirenberg did to establish the original code. Let’s be honest and forthright about these issues. This is how the system works, and this is the way we find it.

    So… my question to you still stands. You claim that DNA is not part of a semiotic system, as ID proponents claim it is. You claim that codons are not representations to be translated within an information system. Well then, make your case at the physical level.

    Point out the physical distinction between something that IS a representation and something that JUST ACTS LIKE a representation.

    If you have not studied the issue closely enough to make your case, then just say so and I’ll leave it alone. Otherwise get after it.

  38. 38
    Dionisio says:

    I have not seen any reply by ‘evolve’ on my comments:

    Dionisio @ 6
    Dionisio @ 8
    Dionisio @ 10
    Dionisio @ 20
    Dionisio @ 36

    Strange, because ‘evolve’ has responded to comments that were much more complex and difficult than mine.

    Maybe ‘evolve’ didn’t see my comments?

    Or maybe my comments were ignored, because I’m not a scientist, hence my comments are irrelevant to this discussion?

    I don’t want to assume ‘evolve’ chose not to reply because my questions were too difficult to respond. On the contrary, my comments were much easier to respond than most of the other comments.

    So what is it?

    Well, looking back at my comments, perhaps it’s just that ‘evolve’ is heeding the suggestion I wrote at the end of my comment # 8: “Take your time. No rush.”

    Ok, now it’s all clear. Thanks.

  39. 39
    Dionisio says:

    When developing software for engineering design systems, past experience tells us that…

    The best software developers in the world, put together to write code, without an expert mind that leads their efforts towards a given goal, would not reach such goal. They might produce a bunch of cool programs, but not the expected system visualized by the main designers in their own minds.

    Now, let’s see if there is any analogy between the above software development concept and the biology-related concept known as ‘genotype-phenotype’ association. Also, the development process from zygote to birth comes to mind.

  40. 40
    Dionisio says:

    Hmmm… I wonder if…

    Hey, could it be that ‘evolve’ is just someone who wants to argue for the sake of having fun, with no interest in having a serious discussion on the issues being brought up?

    Or could be someone pretending to think different, throwing contradicting ideas just to provoke and test our reactions?

    Or maybe this is the case of some researchers who have hit a brick wall in their work and want to get our attention to help them with ideas and well thought concepts they could apply to their research work?

    Or maybe this is one of those software programs used to generate papers to submit for peer-review publications?
    If this is case, it would copy most of our comments to compose an impressive text to submit for publication.

    Oh, my mind seems drifting away…
    maybe I’m tired and need some rest 😉

    Ciao amici!

  41. 41
    Eric Anderson says:

    Evolve @31:

    I anticipated your silly and irrelevant argument at #29, because I expected you might be going there. Read #29 and answer the question.

    Unfortunately, either: (i) you don’t understand what is being debated, or (ii) you are being purposely obfuscatory.

    Which is it?

  42. 42
    CentralScrutinizer says:

    Evolve: Living organisms DO arise and sustain themselves on their own. This is a fact everyone observes all the time. As far as we can see, there’s no supernatural intervention to produce a human being or a blue whale. There are no factories up in the sky where human parts are made and assembled into a human.

    That about the most retarded statement I’ve read on UD.

    It’s as stupid as uttering this:

    My computer is connected to a timer. In the morning at about 6am, the timer fires up the power supply to my computer, and my computer turns on, boots up, and starts all kinds of complex automated processes and tasks. SEE, no intelligent intervention at all required for this computer to get going! No factories in the sky to make it get started every morning! It just does it’s thing without intelligent intervention.

    Bwahahaha.

  43. 43
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @ 41

    Unfortunately, either: (i) you don’t understand what is being debated, or (ii) you are being purposely obfuscatory.
    Which is it?

    Could it be a little of both?

  44. 44
    Dionisio says:

    CentralScrutinizer @ 44

    Sorry, but you don’t understand evolution 😉

    Jokes aside, I like your clever analogy using the computer example. I couldn’t have said it better. Thanks.

    However, I doubt ‘evolve’ will be able or willing to understand it. Many others are in the same situation. Really pathetic. So let’s pray that God open their eyes and let them see the evidences. That would be a great reason to rejoice!

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