Animal minds Back to Basics of ID brains and computation vs contemplation Design inference Mind Philosophy

Inferring onward, from design to designer

Spread the love

One of the notorious talking points used by inveterate objectors to design theory, is that it is about stealth creationism. Closely tied, is the suggestion (or, assumption) that the claim that design inference on empirical sign only warrants inference to design as process is a dishonest stalking horse.

Given a long saddening track record of career and hobbyist objectors, unsurprisingly, that is false.

A simple case — and “case” is itself significant — easily shows why. About seven years ago, one night, fires broke out in two of Montserrat’s court houses, and did considerable damage (including to records).

After they were put out, investigators found signs of accelerants. For cause, they inferred arson. However, they were unable to infer onward to credibly suspected arsonists. Why? Want of a cluster of facts and logic, never mind that popular suspicion did attach to persons believed to benefit from loss of records. As any lawyer can tell, motive, means, opportunity backed up by evidence are the foundation stones on which a court reaches sound judgement. (Kangaroo courts do exist, but leaping to a predetermined conclusion without fair process is not sound process.)

In short, the design inference is much like the progress of investigation of an event: are mechanical necessity and/or chance adequate to explain, or is intentionally, intelligently directed configuration a more credible explanation, given signs s1, s2 . . . sn?

Let’s elaborate, using the per aspect design explanatory filter flowchart:

The per aspect design inference explanatory filter

We see here, that proof — or, warrant — of design as credible causal process is a case of showing warrant beyond reasonable doubt, with TWO defaults that point elsewhere: chance and/or mechanical necessity. That is, some combination of mechanical and/or stochastic laws acting on a plausible initial condition of a relevant substrate. That is, we here first consider the action of a dynamic-stochastic system, driven by forces and factors amenable to analysis on differential and/or difference equations with potential stochastic components. (And no, this is not “reification” of chance, we here appeal to things such as the random behaviour of molecules or the like.)

Illustrating, to refresh our memories:

Yes, it is when an explanatory model like this (up to and including conditions on our planet leading up to Darwin’s pond or the like, or whatever antecedents to the observed cosmos are suggested as leading up to the big bang singularity) FAILS, that design as process is on the table. Where, the ontological distance between design and designer is the same as between arson and credibly convicted arsonists.

Let’s add on the linked needle in haystack, islands of function, hill climbing challenges that are too often overlooked:

But, we are going somewhere with this, a case study on identifying a culprit.

Case in point, consider the text of this post, and by extension, that of the Internet, Libraries etc. We here have functionally specific organisation, manifesting associated information. FSCO/I for short, well beyond the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold that points to overwhelming needle in haystack challenge:

Reppert, has a key point; let’s refresh our memories yet again . . . it needs to sink in:

. . . 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.

Rationality requires this sort of freely arrived at inference, and is a sign in itself. That is, a blindly mechanical, dynamic-stochastic, composite computational substrate based on organised interactions of constituent parts — see the model summary above — cannot adequately explain designs. We are now in logic of being territory (which is a branch of metaphysics, literally beyond [the study of] physics . . nature), and the extended Smith Model is now on the table:

Yes, the prime suspect for designs emanating from certain familiar bio-cybernetic entities is a non-computational, non-algorithmic, supervisory oracle. A mind, in short.

Where, 2360 years ago, Plato pointed to such in his The Laws, Bk X:

Cle. . . . I should like to know how this happens.
Ath. I fear that the argument may seem singular.
Cle. Do not hesitate, Stranger; I see that you are afraid of such a discussion carrying you beyond the limits of legislation. But if there be no other way of showing our agreement in the belief that there are Gods, of whom the law is said now to approve, let us take this way, my good sir.

Ath. Then I suppose that I must repeat the singular argument of those who manufacture the soul according to their own impious notions; they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods.

Cle. Still I do not understand you.

Ath. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?

Cle. Certainly.

Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.

Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.
[[ . . . .]

Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.
[[ . . . .]

Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

Ath. I do.

Cle. Certainly we should.

Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?
[[ . . . . ]

Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?

Cle. Exactly.

Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?
[[ . . . . ]

Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

In short, rationality required for design raises serious ontological issues. Accordingly, inference from design/arson to designer/arsonist is an ontologically laden exercise. We may empirically acknowledge the reality of designers, but once we ponder what enables ability to design, we are in logic of being territory.

Immediately, this shows the fundamental error in the notion that on evidence of signs of design we are only warranted to infer to human or human-like embodied designers. For, the rational roots of design point to our being mind over matter amphibians, bio-cybernetic entities with supervisory oracles that simply don’t work in the way dynamic-stochastic computational substrates do.

Those who imagine that such designs cannot influence a closed mechanistic-stochastic world, are similarly invited to ponder: why, apart from question-begging a priori imposition of evolutionary materialistic scientism or its fellow travellers, do you think this?

Doesn’t the Casimir effect already point to observable quantum field influences that are below the limits of Energy-Time uncertainty relations?

Casimir effect summary {Fair Use}

So, why is it dismissed that we may have quantum-level influences on the brain etc as I/O in-the-loop controller? That’s why Scott Calef argued:

Keith Campbell writes, “The indeterminacy of quantum laws means that any one of a range of outcomes of atomic events in the brain is equally compatible with known physical laws. And differences on the quantum scale can accumulate into very great differences in overall brain condition. So there is some room for spiritual activity even within the limits set by physical law. There could be, without violation of physical law, a general spiritual constraint upon what occurs inside the head.” (p.54). Mind could act upon physical processes by “affecting their course but not breaking in upon them.” (p.54). If this is true, the dualist could maintain the conservation principle but deny a fluctuation in energy because the mind serves to “guide” or control neural events by choosing one set of quantum outcomes rather than another. Further, it should be remembered that the conservation of energy is designed around material interaction; it is mute on how mind might interact with matter. After all, a Cartesian rationalist might insist, if God exists we surely wouldn’t say that He couldn’t do miracles just because that would violate the first law of thermodynamics, would we? [Article, “Dualism and Mind,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.]

Similarly, let us ponder Penrose and Hameroff:

It is argued that elementary acts of consciousness are non-algorithmic, i.e., non-computable, and they are neurophysiologically realized as gravitation-induced reductions of coherent superposition states in microtubuli . . . . Penrose’s rationale for invoking state reduction is not that the corresponding randomness offers room for mental causation to become efficacious (although this is not excluded). His conceptual starting point, at length developed in two books (Penrose 1989, 1994), is that elementary conscious acts must be non-algorithmic. Phrased differently, the emergence of a conscious act is a process which cannot be described algorithmically, hence cannot be computed. His background in this respect has a lot to do with the nature of creativity, mathematical insight, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, and the idea of a Platonic reality beyond mind and matter . . . . With his background as an anaesthesiologist, Hameroff suggested to consider microtubules as an option for where reductions of quantum states can take place in an effective way, see e.g., Hameroff and Penrose (1996). The respective quantum states are assumed to be coherent superpositions of tubulin states, ultimately extending over many neurons. Their simultaneous gravitation-induced collapse is interpreted as an individual elementary act of consciousness. The proposed mechanism by which such superpositions are established includes a number of involved details that remain to be confirmed or disproven.

Maybe, the time has come for some serious re-thinking. For, we have the freedom to think. END

57 Replies to “Inferring onward, from design to designer

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Inferring onward, from design to designer

  2. 2
    hazel says:

    I’m not about to try to read and try to make sense of all that, but I think in another thread kf did say that once one infers design, which I gather is what kf’s post is about, then it is reasonable to infer that an intelligent designer exists, or has existed, and that the inference of design is separate from identifying that designer.

    Is this an accurate statement?

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Hazel,

    Design as process is manifest on signs such as FSCO/I, but to allow such an inference one must be willing to accept the POSSIBILITY of intelligently directed configuration. Once that possibility is not locked out a priori by whatever means, then the signs do point to design as key causal process, where — on needle in haystack search challenge — an intelligence of some character is clearly required to provide the direction and configuration/functional organisation beyond 500 – 1,000 bits. Of what identity, character and ontological status, is yet to be determined at that stage. the OP explores that and highlights that on cases of relevance, ontology is a part of onward reasoning.

    But if one begs the question ideologically and hyperskeptically, one will reject any and all evidence that points where one refuses to go.

    Acknowledging the possibility of a designer and being open to follow where signs of design point is the very opposite of the accusation, presuming a designer but concealing it in a pretence of science. That slander is just what NCSE, ACLU and others including Wikipedia have sustained for literally decades now in the teeth of any and all well warranted and easily accessible correction.

    This is part of why I hold them utterly irresponsible and in certain cases the evidence points to willful deceit. And yes, that is itself a design inference on signs.

    To clear out the toxic atmosphere of polarisation and confusion backed up by agit prop and serious but dirty money, I again point to the case on the table in the OP, from its opening words:

    One of the notorious talking points used by inveterate objectors to design theory, is that it is about stealth creationism. Closely tied, is the suggestion (or, assumption) that the claim that design inference on empirical sign only warrants inference to design as process is a dishonest stalking horse.

    Given a long saddening track record of career and hobbyist objectors, unsurprisingly, that is false.

    A simple case — and “case” is itself significant — easily shows why. About seven years ago, one night, fires broke out in two of Montserrat’s court houses, and did considerable damage (including to records).

    After they were put out, investigators found signs of accelerants. For cause, they inferred arson. However, they were unable to infer onward to credibly suspected arsonists. Why? Want of a cluster of facts and logic, never mind that popular suspicion did attach to persons believed to benefit from loss of records. As any lawyer can tell, motive, means, opportunity backed up by evidence are the foundation stones on which a court reaches sound judgement. (Kangaroo courts do exist, but leaping to a predetermined conclusion without fair process is not sound process.)

    KF

  4. 4
    hazel says:

    kf, you went off on other topics and didn’t answer my question. I am not questioning the design inference, nor accusing anyone of stealth creationism (whatever that means).

    In an effort to clearly understand, I’d like to know if this is an accurate statement, which I’ve rewritten a bit for clarity.

    1. Once one infers design, then it is reasonable to infer that an intelligent designer exists, or has existed, but

    2. the inference of the existence of a designer is separate from the issue of identifying that designer.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    H, first I did answer your question (which in light of the toxic atmosphere around to me seems to require significant context), and in so doing I referred to the theme and the opening part of the argument in the OP. KF

    PS: for clarity, let me go through on points:

    >>1. Once one infers design,>>

    a: One has to first establish what design is, intelligently directed configuration, and thus that it requires entities capable of such.

    b: Design actually is, and has signs that are empirically reliable hallmarks.

    c: Design inference is in the context of cause and three alternative main possibilities: blind chance and/or mechanical dynamical necessity and/or intelligently directed configuration.

    d: As the inference filter above shows, one may only reliably infer design on signs that for relevant aspects of an entity or process etc, are not plausibly produced by the first two, leaving only the third as reasonable.

    e: However, to be willing to infer to design one has to be willing to accept that intelligences capable of so acting are possibly present at relevant loci.

    >>then it is reasonable to infer that an intelligent designer exists, or has existed, but>>

    f: Primary inference is to design as causal process, but by its nature it requires a capable intelligence to do the directing and configuring.

    g: On adequate evidence of design as key causal process, then it is a secondary inference that an intelligence of adequate capability was present at the relevant point.

    h: That is, a designer, though as noted detection of arson is not detection of arsonists.

    >>2. the inference of the existence of a designer is separate from the issue of identifying that designer.>>

    i: Indeed, but this must be premised on having done the work outlined above first, it is not a weak assumption or assertion.

  6. 6
    vmahuna says:

    OK, I simply gave up after the first 3 or 4 paragraphs. You might wanna go talk to an English major about how punctuation, especially commas, is used in writing by non-illiterate people. You, of course, are an amazing example of the Illiterate. I don’t really care what you think you have to say if you have no means of conveying your ideas. I’ll put your name on my list of “Folks Not To Bother Reading”.

  7. 7
    hazel says:

    Post 5, points 1e and g answer my question in the affirmative.

  8. 8
    Fasteddious says:

    This is similar to the “Who created God?” question often asked by anti-ID people.
    ID exists to show that the world as we know it has attributes that are best explained by an intelligent design agency of some sort.
    Most people then point to God as the agent, but ID does not go that far, because, as the OP says, finding evidence of design does not identify who or what did the designing, other than it must have been intelligent. The anti-ID question is therefore irrelevant to the ID science. Grant us the conclusions of ID research and then together we can explore who or what did the designing! As the OP says, you don’t go looking for an arsonist until you’ve first decided there was arson committed.

  9. 9
    Brother Brian says:

    F

    Grant us the conclusions of ID research and then together we can explore who or what did the designing!

    You first have to publish the ID research for your conclusions to be considered.

    As the OP says, you don’t go looking for an arsonist until you’ve first decided there was arson committed.

    But we know with absolute certainty that arsonists exist. We know that they are all physical in nature (human, not immaterial beings). We know their capabilities and limitations. We know the techniques available to them to start and spread a fire. At no time does a fire investigator claim that the nature of an arsonist and the mechanisms available to them are beyond the scope of the investigation. In fact, they would argue that this information is critical to the investigation and the determination of arson. But ID, for obvious reasons, refuses to entertain discussions about the nature of their inferred designer or the mechanisms that this designer may use to bring their designs to fruition.

  10. 10
    EricMH says:

    @Vmahuna, rather I’d lay the blame on illiterate readers. KF’s prose is highly technical and extensive, but I can understand what he is saying. I believe the issue is that KF is providing a comprehensive detail on all levels, which leads to highly complex explanations. However, this is not illiterate, and is perhaps necessitated by a lot of the willful misunderstandings prevalent on this forum.

    It is a classic gotcha I’ve seen many times:
    1. Try a simple explanation, interlocutor presents many technical complaints.
    2. Try a highly technical explanation, interlocutor complains it is too complex to understand.

    KF is going out of his way to explain these concepts in the mode of #2 to avoid the problem of #1. So, if you desire explanations in the mode of #1, then refrain from quibbling over technical details omitted in preference of avoiding #2. Otherwise, KF is well justified in laying the charge of illiteracy at your feet.

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    But we know with absolute certainty that arsonists exist.

    Some people say that they know it. Some say that they are capable of knowing something with absolute certainty. Others disagree. It’s difficult to prove without accepting some primal, unprovable laws of reason.

    But ID, for obvious reasons, refuses to entertain discussions about the nature of their inferred designer …

    There shouldn’t be any objections here because the reasons are, indeed, obvious. Discussions about the nature of an immaterial designer would require a different set of tools and disciplines, and ID is scientific research that cannot investigate the nature of immaterial entities. The designer of the universe, for example, cannot be a material entity and therefore cannot be researched or analyzed by science.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    BB,

    It is astonishing to see from you the continued canard that there is no published ID research in the relevant professional literature. That was false when Judge Jones swallowed NCSE and ACLU talking points whole c 2005, and it is far more falsified today. That’s also been repeatedly pointed out to you but you persist with a false insinuation. That speaks volumes.

    Second, had you attended to the OP (and EMH you are right) you would have seen that the issue is the POSSIBILITY of intelligences capable of directing relevant complex functional configurations. It is only the selectively hyperskeptical insistence that we disregard the POSSIBILITY that then allows those with institutional and media power to effectively silence relevant evidence. A neat rhetorical and agit prop trick, but it doesn’t help us get anywhere towards building a well warranted picture of what caused the FSCO/I in original life and in novel body plans.

    Here’s the deal: we know that designers exist — we are designers. We see other designers, such as beavers, too. We also know that intelligently directed configuration often leaves signs that we can observe in objects. So, once we are open to the possibility of designers we can let similar signs from the past of origins speak in their own voices. Then, on the strength of the evidence pointing to design as process, we may ponder what possible candidates may look like.

    For the world of life, accumulating evidence lets us know that a molecular nanotech lab is a potentially adequate candidate. That’s why ID theorists from Thaxton et al on have never inferred that simple evidence of design of cell based life on earth is evidence of a designer beyond the cosmos.

    By contrast, by definition, the designer of a fine tuned cosmos is antecedent to that cosmos.

    Both your main talking points fail.

    KF

    PS: Your attempt to attach designing rationality to embodiment also fails, as was pointed out in the OP. You were corrected previously, but have doubled down.

    PPS: Your attempt to declare that ID thinkers refuse (suggestion: self-servingly) to entertain discussion about designers looks particularly tattered when it appears as an objection to an OP where I do just what you suggest we don’t do. In so doing, I have to cross disciplinary boundaries and address logic of being, i.e. ontology. Philosophy, which is not science.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    F, the who created God talking point is not a scientific one but a philosophical ine. It reflects ignorance of the difference between contingent and necessary being. To see, try to imagine a world where duality or two-ness does not exist or can cease to exist. Not possible.. KF

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, I am answering i/l/o a raft of objections known to be in play. Simplistic answers cannot be given when we see the sort of hostile scrutiny that is going on. And yes the catch-22 loaded question game is all too familiar. KF

  15. 15
    Brother Brian says:

    KF

    It is astonishing to see from you the continued canard that there is no published ID research in the relevant professional literature.

    Could you provide some references to the published research that has used irreducible complexity, specified complexity, explanatory filter, fine tuning or other ID arguments to infer that an intelligent designer is the best explanation for life and life’s diversity? I would very much like to read them.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    BB, the literature is there, period. It has been pointed out to you previously, just ignored. There is a literature on fine tuning since the 1950’s and on life since 1984. KF

    PS: For record, DI on the peer reviewed pubs to March 2017

    BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND ANNOTATED LIST OF
    PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
    SUPPORTING INTELLIGENT DESIGN
    UPDATED MARCH, 2017

    [–> I am not bothering to further update]

    PART I: INTRODUCTION
    While intelligent design (ID) research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications.

    In 2011, the ID movement counted its 50th peer-reviewed scientific paper and new publications continue to appear. As of 2015, the peer-reviewed scientific publication count had reached 90. Many of these papers are recent, published since 2004, when Discovery Institute senior fellow Stephen Meyer published a groundbreaking paper advocating ID in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. There are multiple hubs of ID-related research.

    Biologic Institute, led by molecular biologist Doug Axe, is “developing and testing the scientific case for intelligent design in biology.” Biologic conducts laboratory and theoretical research on the origin and role of information in biology, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, and methods of detecting design in nature.

    Another ID research group is the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, founded by senior Discovery Institute fellow William Dembski along with Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. Their lab has attracted graduate-student researchers and published multiple peer-reviewed articles in technical science and engineering journals showing that computer programming ”points to the need for an ultimate information source qua intelligent designer.”

    Other pro-ID scientists around the world are publishing peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific papers. These include biologist Ralph Seelke at the University of Wisconsin Superior, Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig who recently retired from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, and Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe.

    These and other labs and researchers have published their work in a variety of appropriate technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books (some published by mainstream university presses), trade-press books, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books. These papers have appeared in scientific journals such as Protein Science, Journal of Molecular Biology, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Complexity, Quarterly Review of Biology, Cell Biology International, Physics Essays, Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum, Physics of Life Reviews, Quarterly Review of Biology, Journal of Bacteriology , Annual Review of Genetics, and many others. At the same time, pro-ID scientists have presented their research at conferences worldwide in fields such as genetics, biochemistry, engineering, and computer science.

    Collectively, this body of research is converging on a consensus: complex biological features cannot arise by unguided Darwinian mechanisms, but require an intelligent cause.

    Despite ID’s publication record, we note parenthetically that recognition in peer-reviewed literature is not an absolute requirement to demonstrate an idea’s scientific merit. Darwin’s own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience — his Origin of Species — not in a peer-reviewed paper. Nonetheless, ID’s peer-reviewed publication record shows that it deserves — and is receiving — serious consideration by the scientific community.

    The purpose of ID’s budding research program is thus to engage open-minded scientists and thoughtful laypersons with credible, persuasive, peer-reviewed, empirical data supporting intelligent design. And this is happening. ID has already gained the kind of scientific recognition you would expect from a young (and vastly underfunded) but promising scientific field . . .

  17. 17
    Trumper says:

    Yeah… I don’t think that providing evidence or certain aspects of a Designer is actually needed when inferring design. Godel pointed this out quite clearly.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    T, inferring arson pivots on accepting the possibility of a relevant arsonist; as opposed to assuming any particular arsonist. In that context, accelerants etc are reliable signs of arson. Finding such is then empirical warrant for the further inference that arsonists were at work. Further onward lies the question of suspects and actual conviction. Arbitrarily ruling out considering the possibility is a way to ideologically decide the matter by selectively hyperskeptical question-begging and linked closing of the mind, especially if such hold lockout power. Unjustifiable lockout is censorship. [–> I add, see here for a case on how such is done today] KF

  19. 19
    SmartAZ says:

    stalk·ing horse
    noun
    1.
    a false pretext concealing someone’s real intentions.
    “you have used me simply as a stalking horse for some of your more outrageous views”
    2.
    a screen traditionally made in the shape of a horse behind which a hunter can stay concealed when stalking prey.
    ~ google.com

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    SAZ, prezactly. Hence long sustained accusations of the order, “[Biblical] Creationism in a cheap tuxedo.” KF

    PS: By contrast, we can show a real case of ideological manipulation, right out of the horse’s mouth:

    . . . to put a correct [–> Just who here presume to cornering the market on truth and so demand authority to impose?] view of the universe into people’s heads

    [==> as in, “we” the radically secularist elites have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . where of course “view” is patently short for WORLDVIEW . . . and linked cultural agenda . . . ]

    we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> “explanations of the world” is yet another synonym for WORLDVIEWS; the despised “demon[ic]” “supernatural” being of course an index of animus towards ethical theism and particularly the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition], the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] 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 [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

    –> The reactions to exposing this cat out of the bag moment have been all too telling, ever since 1997.

  21. 21
    PaoloV says:

    KF,
    Well done!
    Thanks.

    PS. Will try and comment later if possible.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    PaV, we are all ears. KF

  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Abel and Trevors, here, in a sleeper article:

    https://www.academia.edu/1204137/Abel_D.L._Trevors_J.T._2006_More_than_metaphor_Genomes_are_objective_sign_systems_
    Journal_of_BioSemiotics_1_2_253-267

    Journal of BioSemiotics 2006 1(2): 253-267

    MORE THAN METAPHOR: GENOMES ARE
    OBJECTIVE SIGN SYSTEMS

    David L Abel
    1
    and Jack T. Trevors
    2
    1
    The Gene Emergence Project, The Origin-of-Life Foundation, Inc.
    113 Hedgewood Dr. Greenbelt, MD 20770-1610 USA
    2
    Professor, Department of Environmental Biology
    University of Guelph, Rm 3220 Bovey Building
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1

    ABSTRACT

    Genetic cybernetics preceded human consciousness in its algorithmic programming and
    control. Nucleic acid instructions reside in linear, resortable, digital, and unidirectionally
    read sign sequences. Prescriptive information instructs and manages even epigenetic
    factors through the production of diverse regulatory proteins and small RNA’s. The
    “meaning” (significance) of prescriptive information is the function that information
    instructs or produces at its metabolic destination. Constituents of the cytoplasmic
    environment (e.g., chaperones, regulatory proteins, transport proteins, small RNA’s)
    contribute to epigenetic influence. But the rigid covalently-bound sequence of these
    players constrains their minimum-free-energy folding space. Weaker H-bonds, charge
    interactions, hydrophobicities, and van der Waals forces act on completed primary
    structures. Nucleotide selections at each locus in the biopolymeric string correspond to
    algorithmic switch-settings at successive decision nodes. Nucleotide additions are
    configurable switches. Selection must occur at the genetic level prior to selection at the
    phenotypic level, in order to achieve programming of computational utility. This is called
    the GS Principle. Law-like cause-and-effect determinism precludes freedom of selection
    so critical to algorithmic control. Functional Sequence Complexity (FSC) requires this
    added programming dimension of freedom of selection at successive decision nodes in
    the string. A sign represents each genetic decision-node selection. Algorithms are
    processes or procedures that produce a needed result, whether it is computation or the end
    products of biochemical pathways. Algorithmic programming alone accounts for
    biological organization.

    Food for thought

    KF

  24. 24
    daveS says:

    The Origin-of-Life Foundation, Inc.

    i.e., David Abel’s house in a suburb of Washington, D.C. 😛

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, I don’t care if it was a basement in his over-indulgent granny’s house, or his room at some hostel for the homeless run by the Salvation Army or Pacific Garden Mission [remember the status of Monks? did the Angelic Doctor have much more than a monk’s cell?]. The fundamental issue is on the table, on the merits:

    Genetic cybernetics preceded human consciousness in its algorithmic programming and control. Nucleic acid instructions reside in linear, resortable, digital, and unidirectionally read sign sequences. Prescriptive information instructs and manages even epigenetic factors through the production of diverse regulatory proteins and small RNA’s . . . Nucleotide selections at each locus in the biopolymeric string correspond to algorithmic switch-settings at successive decision nodes. Nucleotide additions are
    configurable switches. Selection must occur at the genetic level prior to selection at the
    phenotypic level, in order to achieve programming of computational utility . . . Law-like cause-and-effect determinism precludes freedom of selection so critical to algorithmic control. Functional Sequence Complexity (FSC) requires this added programming dimension of freedom of selection at successive decision nodes in
    the string. A sign represents each genetic decision-node selection.

    That is, we are dealing with code bearing units that encode algorithmic instructions (requiring string data structures). This manifests language (codes) and purpose (algorithms), antecedent to cell based life on earth, much less our own conscious minds.

    Such, are strong signs of the design of life and open up onward questions on designers.

    KF

  26. 26
    daveS says:

    KF,

    You are correct of course, the location itself is unimportant.

    I’d never heard of PGM before; the enclosed garden is very nice (unlike much of the rest of Chicago, which I find to be hideous).

  27. 27
    john_a_designer says:

    Historian Michael Flannery argues that ID as a distinct non-religious philosophical idea actually began with the ancient Greeks. He traces its beginning to the pre-Socratic philosopher Anaxagoras.

    Anaxagoras’ biographer in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography, James Longrigg, points out that his ideas on matter and astronomy “although strikingly rational” were not that influential. But his view of an “immaterial moving cause,” the Nous or Mind, that set everything in motion, “paved the way for a fully teleological view of nature.” It has been said that his concept of Nous as an activating motive force in nature earned him the sobriquet “Mr. Mind.”

    Anaxagoras gave explanations for the luminescence of the moon, the solstices, comets, eclipses, and other astronomical phenomena. He even delved into embryology, meteorology, geology, and cosmology. He, along with the other pre-Socratics who tried to establish a rational explanation for everything, fostered the kind of systematic thinking essential to scientific inquiry.

    Far from being an opponent of evolution, Anaxagoras was actually an early contributor to it. “According to Plato and Aristotle,” writes the famous American geologist-paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn, “this philosopher was the first to attribute adaptation in Nature to Intelligent Design, and was thus the founder of Teleology” (From the Greeks to Darwin: The Development of the Evolution Idea Through Twenty-Four Centuries). According to Osborn, Anaxagoras’ contribution of design in nature was actually predicated upon an appreciation of the processes of adaptation, a foundational concept in evolutionary thought.

    https://evolutionnews.org/2016/01/intelligent_des_23/

    In other words, Mind not matter is fundamental to explaining why the world is the way it is.

    Creationism is based on a religious text– the Jewish-Christian scriptures. ID, on the other hand, is a philosophical inference from nature itself.

    Even materialists recognize the possibility that nature is designed. Richard Dawkins, for example, has argued that “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    So what is Dawkins argument? Let’s try out his quote as the main premise.

    Premise 1: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    Premise 2: I (Dawkins) believes that “design” is only an appearance.

    Conclusion: Therefore, nothing we study in the biosphere is designed.

    Based on what? Are Dawkin’s beliefs and opinions self evidently true?

  28. 28
    EricMH says:

    People often say Socrates got his start in philosophy with the “know thyself” oracle. But, according to his own account (at least as recorded by Plato) Socrates claims ID was the main thing that motivated him in his philosophical quest:

    “One day I heard someone reading, as he said, from a book of Anaxagoras, and saying that it is Mind that directs and is the cause of everything. I was delighted with this cause and it seemed to me good, in a way, that Mind should be the cause of all. I thought that if this were so, the directing Mind would direct everything and arrange each thing in the way that was best. If then one wished to know the cause of each thing, why it comes to be or perishes or exists, one had to find what was the best way for it to be, or to be acted upon or to act. On these premises then it befitted a man to investigate only, about this and other things, what is best…”
    – Phaedo, Plato

    Thus, insofar as it is correct to say Plato and Socrates started the Western philosophical tradition, then it is also correct to say that ID started the Western philosophical tradition.

  29. 29
    ET says:

    Clueless:

    Could you provide some references to the published research that has used irreducible complexity, specified complexity, explanatory filter, fine tuning or other ID arguments to infer that an intelligent designer is the best explanation for life and life’s diversity? I would very much like to read them.

    Could you provide some references to the published research that has used anything to infer that the blind watchmaker is the best explanation for life and life’s diversity? I would very much like to read them.

    Is there any such thing as unguided evolutionary, blind watchmaker, research? What predictions are borne from it? I would like very much to read them.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    Clueless:

    You first have to publish the ID research for your conclusions to be considered.

    We use scientific research to reach a design inference. What does your position use to reach its inference?

    But ID, for obvious reasons, refuses to entertain discussions about the nature of their inferred designer or the mechanisms that this designer may use to bring their designs to fruition.

    The obvious reason is that we don’t even ask about the who or how until AFTER (intelligent) design has been determined. That said, IDists have done exactly that, ie discussed the nature and mechanisms. So clearly you are just a willfully ignorant troll.

    There are many artifacts that we still don’t know how they were built. And yet we know with 100% certainty that they are artifacts. And we know the capability of the designers/ builders by what they left behind. We would never infer the ancients were capable of designing and building the Antikythera mechanism if we had never found it.

    Clearly our opponents do not understand how to conduct an investigation.

  31. 31
    john_a_designer says:

    [To follow-up on my post @ #27.]

    From an ID perspective we need to go back and try to understand what Darwin was trying to do. Like Dawkins, he was trying to explain the appearance of design and purpose in the natural world without invoking design or a designer. To do so he had to start with the fact of apparent design and then try to explain how organs and organism’s evolved unguided without any kind of plan or purpose. So far nobody has been able how this occurred except when it comes to minor trivial evolutionary changes. At present no one has been able to explain so called macro-evolutionary change which according to the fossil record appear to occur in bursts and spurts with no evidentiary clues as to how such changes occurred.

    What that leaves the modern Darwinist with is a metaphysical belief which has no real scientific support behind it. If you disagree with that assessment pick an example of some organism or organ and explain empirically step-by-step (citing experiments and natural world observation) how it naturally, gradually and accidentally (not intentionally) evolved. Just claiming that it somehow could have evolved is not an empirical or scientific explanation, it’s just metaphysical hand waving. To be clear I do think that natural changes due to natural selection and/or genetic drift etc. does explain micro evolutionary change but micro evolutionary change is not sufficient to explain that kind of change required by Darwin’s original theory which was purported to explain all evolutionary change.

  32. 32
    Ed George says:

    ET

    Clueless:

    I have not come to this site for a while and the first thing I see when I pop in is this. I guess it is time to leave again.

  33. 33
    ET says:

    Brother Ed:

    I guess it is time to leave again.

    Thank you. Will you be taking your socks with you?

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    EMH, great points on Socrates. KF

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    Rhetorical voltage down please.

  36. 36
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JAD

    ID, on the other hand, is a philosophical inference from nature itself.

    Yes, in the same way that all physical science is a philosophical inference from what is observed in nature.

  37. 37
    john_a_designer says:

    In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe asks,

    “Might there be an as yet undiscovered natural process that would explain biochemical complexity? No one would be foolish enough to categorically deny the possibility. Nonetheless we can say that if there is such a process, no one has a clue how it would work. Further it would go against all human experience, like postulating that a natural process might explain computers… In the face of the massive evidence we do have for biochemical design, ignoring the evidence in the name of a phantom process would be to play the role of detective who ignore the elephant.” (p. 203-204)

    Basically Behe is asking, if biochemical complexity (irreducible complexity) evolved by some natural process x, how did it evolve? That is a perfectly legitimate scientific question. Notice that even though in DBB Behe was criticizing Neo-Darwinism he is not ruling out a priori some other mindless natural evolutionary process, “x”
    Behe is simply claiming that at the present there is no known natural process that can explain how irreducibly complex mechanisms and processes originated. If he and other ID’ist are wrong then our critics need to provide the step-by-step-by-step empirical explanation of how they originated, not just speculation and wishful thinking. Unfortunately our regular interlocutors seem to only be able to provide the latter not the former.

    Behe made another point which is worth keeping in mind.

    “In the abstract, it might be tempting to imagine that irreducible complexity simply requires multiple simultaneous mutations – that evolution might be far chancier than we thought, but still possible. Such an appeal to brute luck can never be refuted… Luck is metaphysical speculation; scientific explanations invoke causes.”

    In other words, a strongly held metaphysical belief is not a scientific explanation.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let’s refocus a key issue, that inference to causal process of design/arson is not yet warrant to infer onward to designer/arsonist,

    About seven years ago, one night, fires broke out in two of Montserrat’s court houses, and did considerable damage (including to records).

    After they were put out, investigators found signs of accelerants. For cause, they inferred arson. However, they were unable to infer onward to credibly suspected arsonists. Why? Want of a cluster of facts and logic, never mind that popular suspicion did attach to persons believed to benefit from loss of records. As any lawyer can tell, motive, means, opportunity backed up by evidence are the foundation stones on which a court reaches sound judgement. (Kangaroo courts do exist, but leaping to a predetermined conclusion without fair process is not sound process.)

    In short, the design inference is much like the progress of investigation of an event: are mechanical necessity and/or chance adequate to explain, or is intentionally, intelligently directed configuration a more credible explanation, given signs s1, s2 . . . sn?

    So, as long as arsonists/designers are possible, reliable signs should be allowed to speak with their own voices.

    KF

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N2: But, isn’t it about implicitly assuming the designer? (And, concealing the “fact” that ID is really Creationism in disguise?)

    No.

    One of the persistent, hyperskeptical (and too often cynical or even slanderous) fallacies of inveterate objectors to design inferences is that the reasoning begs the question and/or has a hidden agenda of Biblical Creationism. This persists despite many cogent corrections over many years, too often because tainting the other side works rhetorically despite not being truthful.

    This last is a serious character flaw, let that suffice.

    On the first issue, let us note that design (as the OP notes) is about intelligently directed configuration. This obviously comes from intelligences, which as the OP summarises from recent discussion here at UD, is radically different in characteristics from what computational substrates do. The latter are simply neither rational nor responsible (morally governed), they are glorified, garbage in garbage out mechanical and/or stochastic calculating entities. That’s why the issue of the possibility of relevant designers is a question of being open to real possibilities rather than indulging improper ideological lockouts.

    In short, one of the goals of science is credible knowledge, where in the relevant weak sense we commonly use knowledge is warranted, credibly true belief — as opposed to utterly certainly true belief. Genuine science cannot afford to be hampered by ideological lockouts that turn it into little more than applied atheism.

    We know that causal factors exist, and that causes can be identified. In this context, at least since Plato it has been on record that we may cluster these as blindly mechanical and/or stochastic (aka chance), or intelligent direction. Each of these has characteristic, observable signs. And so, in a context where a designer was not directly seen in action, we may legitimately first infer on signs that something is not credibly lawlike, low contingency mechanical necessity.

    Second, we look at the two known sources of potentially widely divergent outcomes on closely similar initial conditions. In principle we may try to impose chance as it may access any outcome in a relevant configuration space. But that’s not the only relevant factor, as it may be maximally implausible to find certain specialised outcomes as coming from chance. Whether, at one go or cumulatively.

    The latter is about hill climbing on islands of configuration-based function.

    As the OP illustrates, in many relevant config spaces, sol system or observed cosmos scope resources lead to needle in haystack challenges. Such challenges to get to shorelines of function do not credibly support the jump from chance is abstractly possible, to it is plausible. For example lucky noise does not credibly, plausibly, cogently explain coherent text bearing messages beyond 500 – 1,000 bits. This is directly relevant to cell based life given the discovery of DNA since 1953.

    Instead, we know that creative, rationally free intelligence can and does produce such, routinely. There are trillions of cases in point, and there are no counter-examples that do not involve design, once we go beyond 500 – 1,000 bits. Therefore, such text (and wider functionally specific complex organisation and associated information) will be a reliable, empirically observable sign of design. And of course, we here deal with language and often language applied to algorithms (which show purpose). Those are strong signs of design.

    So, instead of being question-begging, we are looking at alternative causal explanations of observable phenomena, given known, characteristic features.

    Ironically, it is those who indulge in or enable materialist imposition of ideological lockout who are begging the question.

    KF

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: My longstanding note elaborates on lucky noise:

    let us now consider in a little more detail a situation where an apparent message is received. What does that mean? What does it imply about the origin of the message . . . or, is it just noise that “got lucky”?

    If an apparent message is received, it means that something is working as an intelligible — i.e. functional — signal for the receiver. In effect, there is a standard way to make and send and recognise and use messages in some observable entity [e.g. a radio, a computer network, etc.], and there is now also some observed event, some variation in a physical parameter, that corresponds to it. [For instance, on this web page as displayed on your monitor, we have a pattern of dots of light and dark and colours on a computer screen, which correspond, more or less, to those of text in English.]

    Information theory, as Fig A.1 illustrates, then observes that if we have a receiver, we credibly have first had a transmitter, and a channel through which the apparent message has come; a meaningful message that corresponds to certain codes or standard patterns of communication and/or intelligent action. [Here, for instance, through HTTP and TCP/IP, the original text for this web page has been passed from the server on which it is stored, across the Internet, to your machine, as a pattern of binary digits in packets. Your computer then received the bits through its modem, decoded the digits, and proceeded to display the resulting text on your screen as a complex, functional coded pattern of dots of light and colour. At each stage, integrated, goal-directed intelligent action is deeply involved, deriving from intelligent agents — engineers and computer programmers. We here consider of course digital signals, but in principle anything can be reduced to such signals, so this does not affect the generality of our thoughts.]

    Now, it is of course entirely possible, that the apparent message is “nothing but” a lucky burst of noise that somehow got through the Internet and reached your machine. That is, it is logically and physically possible [i.e. neither logic nor physics forbids it!] that every apparent message you have ever got across the Internet — including not just web pages but also even emails you have received — is nothing but chance and luck: there is no intelligent source that actually sent such a message as you have received; all is just lucky noise:

    “LUCKY NOISE” SCENARIO: Imagine a world in which somehow all the “real” messages sent “actually” vanish into cyberspace and “lucky noise” rooted in the random behaviour of molecules etc, somehow substitutes just the messages that were intended — of course, including whenever engineers or technicians use test equipment to debug telecommunication and computer systems! Can you find a law of logic or physics that: [a] strictly forbids such a state of affairs from possibly existing; and, [b] allows you to strictly distinguish that from the “observed world” in which we think we live? That is, we are back to a Russell “five- minute- old- universe”-type paradox. Namely, we cannot empirically distinguish the world we think we live in from one that was instantly created five minutes ago with all the artifacts, food in our tummies, memories etc. that we experience. We solve such paradoxes by worldview level inference to best explanation, i.e. by insisting that unless there is overwhelming, direct evidence that leads us to that conclusion, we do not live in Plato’s Cave of deceptive shadows that we only imagine is reality, or that we are “really” just brains in vats stimulated by some mad scientist, or we live in a The Matrix world, or the like. (In turn, we can therefore see just how deeply embedded key faith-commitments are in our very rationality, thus all worldviews and reason-based enterprises, including science. Or, rephrasing for clarity: “faith” and “reason” are not opposites; rather, they are inextricably intertwined in the faith-points that lie at the core of all worldviews. Thus, resorting to selective hyperskepticism and objectionism to dismiss another’s faith-point [as noted above!], is at best self-referentially inconsistent; sometimes, even hypocritical and/or — worse yet — willfully deceitful. Instead, we should carefully work through the comparative difficulties across live options at worldview level, especially in discussing matters of fact. And it is in that context of humble self consistency and critically aware, charitable open-mindedness that we can now reasonably proceed with this discussion.)

    In short, none of us actually lives or can consistently live as though s/he seriously believes that: absent absolute proof to the contrary, we must believe that all is noise. [To see the force of this, consider an example posed by Richard Taylor. You are sitting in a railway carriage and seeing stones you believe to have been randomly arranged, spelling out: “WELCOME TO WALES.” Would you believe the apparent message? Why or why not?]

    Q: Why then do we believe in intelligent sources behind the web pages and email messages that we receive, etc., since we cannot ultimately absolutely prove that such is the case?

    ANS: Because we believe the odds of such “lucky noise” happening by chance are so small, that we intuitively simply ignore it. That is, we all recognise that if an apparent message is contingent [it did not have to be as it is, or even to be at all], is functional within the context of communication, and is sufficiently complex that it is highly unlikely to have happened by chance, then it is much better to accept the explanation that it is what it appears to be — a message originating in an intelligent [though perhaps not wise!] source — than to revert to “chance” as the default assumption. Technically, we compare how close the received signal is to legitimate messages, and then decide that it is likely to be the “closest” such message. (All of this can be quantified, but this intuitive level discussion is enough for our purposes.)

    In short, we all intuitively and even routinely accept that: Functionally Specified, Complex Information, FSCI, is a signature of messages originating in intelligent sources.

    Thus, if we then try to dismiss the study of such inferences to design as “unscientific,” when they may cut across our worldview preferences, we are plainly being grossly inconsistent.

    Further to this, the common attempt to pre-empt the issue through the attempted secularist redefinition of science as in effect “what can be explained on the premise of evolutionary materialism – i.e. primordial matter-energy joined to cosmological- + chemical- + biological macro- + sociocultural- evolution, AKA ‘methodological naturalism’ ” [ISCID def’n: here] is itself yet another begging of the linked worldview level questions.

    For in fact, the issue in the communication situation once an apparent message is in hand is: inference to (a) intelligent — as opposed to supernatural — agency [signal] vs. (b) chance-process [noise]. Moreover, at least since Cicero, we have recognised that the presence of functionally specified complexity in such an apparent message helps us make that decision. (Cf. also Meyer’s closely related discussion of the demarcation problem here.)

    More broadly the decision faced once we see an apparent message, is first to decide its source across a trichotomy: (1) chance; (2) natural regularity rooted in mechanical necessity (or as Monod put it in his famous 1970 book, echoing Plato, simply: “necessity”); (3) intelligent agency. These are the three commonly observed causal forces/factors in our world of experience and observation. [Cf. abstract of a recent technical, peer-reviewed, scientific discussion here. Also, cf. Plato’s remark in his The Laws, Bk X, excerpted below.]

    Each of these forces stands at the same basic level as an explanation or cause, and so the proper question is to rule in/out relevant factors at work, not to decide before the fact that one or the other is not admissible as a “real” explanation.

    This often confusing issue is best initially approached/understood through a concrete example . . .

    A CASE STUDY ON CAUSAL FORCES/FACTORS — A Tumbling Die: Heavy objects tend to fall under the law-like natural regularity we call gravity. If the object is a die, the face that ends up on the top from the set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} is for practical purposes a matter of chance.

    But, if the die is cast as part of a game, the results are as much a product of agency as of natural regularity and chance. Indeed, the agents in question are taking advantage of natural regularities and chance to achieve their purposes!

    This concrete, familiar illustration should suffice to show that the three causal factors approach is not at all arbitrary or dubious — as some are tempted to imagine or assert. [More details . . .]

    Then also, in certain highly important communication situations, the next issue after detecting agency as best causal explanation, is whether the detected signal comes from (4) a trusted source, or (5) a malicious interloper, or is a matter of (6) unintentional cross-talk. (Consequently, intelligence agencies have a significant and very practical interest in the underlying scientific questions of inference to agency then identification of the agent — a potential (and arguably, probably actual) major application of the theory of the inference to design.)

    Next, to identify which of the three is most important/ the best explanation in a given case, it is useful to extend the principles of statistical hypothesis testing through Fisherian elimination to create the Explanatory Filter

    –> Fair comment: too often, inveterate objectors refuse to engage cogently, instead seeking to dismiss on loaded, toxic caricatures of design thought and design thinkers.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: As inveterate objectors tend to use the TL/DR excuse to evade cogent argument, let me highlight the lucky noise challenge:

    “LUCKY NOISE” SCENARIO: Imagine a world in which somehow all the “real” messages sent “actually” vanish into cyberspace and “lucky noise” rooted in the random behaviour of molecules etc, somehow substitutes just the messages that were intended — of course, including whenever engineers or technicians use test equipment to debug telecommunication and computer systems! Can you find a law of logic or physics that: [a] strictly forbids such a state of affairs from possibly existing; and, [b] allows you to strictly distinguish that from the “observed world” in which we think we live? That is, we are back to a Russell “five- minute- old- universe”-type paradox. Namely, we cannot empirically distinguish the world we think we live in from one that was instantly created five minutes ago with all the artifacts, food in our tummies, memories etc. that we experience. We solve such paradoxes by worldview level inference to best explanation, i.e. by insisting that unless there is overwhelming, direct evidence that leads us to that conclusion, we do not live in Plato’s Cave of deceptive shadows that we only imagine is reality, or that we are “really” just brains in vats stimulated by some mad scientist, or we live in a The Matrix world, or the like . . . .

    A CASE STUDY ON CAUSAL FORCES/FACTORS — A Tumbling Die: Heavy objects tend to fall under the law-like natural regularity we call gravity. If the object is a die, the face that ends up on the top from the set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} is for practical purposes a matter of chance.

    But, if the die is cast as part of a game, the results are as much a product of agency as of natural regularity and chance. Indeed, the agents in question are taking advantage of natural regularities and chance to achieve their purposes!

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: Web archive, on so-called methodological naturalism:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120111130041/http://www.iscid.org/encyclopedia/Methodological_Naturalism

    ISCID Encyclopedia of Science and Philosophy – BETA

    Methodological Naturalism

    A methodological principle that some scientists think ought to guide science. Methodological naturalism requires that scientists limit themselves to nauralistic or materialistic explanations when they seek to explain natural phenomena, objects, or processes. On this understanding of how science ought to work, explanations that invoke intelligent causes or the actions of intelligent agents do not qualify as scientific.

    –> I suppose practitioners of forensic or cryptological and archeological science etc would be surprised to find that intelligent cause is “unscientific” (at least, when that is inconvenient to those who impose or enable evolutionary materialistic scientism).

    –> Similarly, the demand for direct observation of designers in contexts where the point is that we cannot directly inspect the past or remote reaches of the cosmos, should be seen for what it too often is or becomes: a way to rhetorically lock out inconvenient indirect (circumstantial) evidence.

  43. 43
    Brother Brian says:

    EG

    I have not come to this site for a while and the first thing I see when I pop in is this. I guess it is time to leave again.

    Thanks for the support, Ed. But I wouldn’t sweat it. I, like most, simply scroll past ET’s comments. I learned as a kid that the best way to deal with a bully is to simply ignore them. They will continue to taunt and rant at you but by ignoring them the only one who looks like a pathetic fool is the bully.

  44. 44
    ET says:

    LoL! Evos are the bully wannabe’s. They are the people spewing lies and nonsense. I am just sticking it right back to them and their cowardly ignorance. Of course I will be ignored by them. They live in willful ignorance and learning is the antithesis of their lives.

    So yes, ignore me and continue to look like pathetic fools. I know that it doesn’t bother you.

    Only a coward would call someone a bully who merely corrects their ignorance.

  45. 45
    Ed George says:

    BB

    I learned as a kid that the best way to deal with a bully is to simply ignore them. They will continue to taunt and rant at you but by ignoring them the only one who looks like a pathetic fool is the bully.

    Undoubtedly you are correct. But I have a harder time doing so. My solution, possibly a cowardly one, has been to stay away from sites that allow/encourage this type of behavior, popping in every now and then to see if things have changed.

  46. 46
    ET says:

    Wow, two sock puppets from the same master supporting each other. How quaint. Brother Ed doesn’t seem to be able to stay away. It thinks it can behave the same way that he tries to discourage and no one will notice.

    How pathetic are you, Ed?

    And BTW, I respond to your nonsense, and BB’s, so that others can read how ignorant you are. I know you will never change

  47. 47
    OLV says:

    KF @23:

    „MORE THAN METAPHOR: GENOMES ARE
    OBJECTIVE SIGN SYSTEMS”

    Interesting paper you cited. Thanks.

  48. 48
    jawa says:

    OT:

    Something strange going on in another discussion thread:

    Brother Brian Deleted – WJM – Mind vs Matter: the Result of…
    ET Deleted – WJM – Mind vs Matter: the Result of…
    hazel Deleted – WJM – Mind vs Matter: the Result of…
    PaoloV Deleted – WJM — Mind vs Matter: the Result of…
    bornagain77 Deleted – WJM – Mind vs Matter: the Result of…

  49. 49
    OLV says:

    Jawa,

    Your off-topic comment doesn’t belong in this discussion. You should have posted it in the appropriate thread.

  50. 50
    OLV says:

    Dichotomy in the definition of prescriptive information suggests both prescribed data and prescribed algorithms: biosemiotics applications in genomic systems

    David J D’Onofrio, David L Abel, and Donald E Johnson

    https://tbiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1742-4682-9-8

    The fields of molecular biology and computer science have cooperated over recent years to create a synergy between the cybernetic and biosemiotic relationship found in cellular genomics to that of information and language found in computational systems. Biological information frequently manifests its “meaning” through instruction or actual production of formal bio-function. Such information is called prescriptive information (PI). PI programs organize and execute a prescribed set of choices. Closer examination of this term in cellular systems has led to a dichotomy in its definition suggesting both prescribed data and prescribed algorithms are constituents of PI. This paper looks at this dichotomy as expressed in both the genetic code and in the central dogma of protein synthesis. An example of a genetic algorithm is modeled after the ribosome, and an examination of the protein synthesis process is used to differentiate PI data from PI algorithms.

  51. 51
    OLV says:

    Redundancy of the genetic code enables translational pausing
    David J. D’Onofrio and David L. Abel

    The codon redundancy (“degeneracy”) found in protein-coding regions of mRNA also prescribes Translational Pausing (TP). When coupled with the appropriate interpreters, multiple meanings and functions are programmed into the same sequence of configurable switch-settings. This additional layer of Ontological Prescriptive Information (PIo) purposely slows or speeds up the translation-decoding process within the ribosome. Variable translation rates help prescribe functional folding of the nascent protein. Redundancy of the codon to amino acid mapping, therefore, is anything but superfluous or degenerate. Redundancy programming allows for simultaneous dual prescriptions of TP and amino acid assignments without cross-talk. This allows both functions to be coincident and realizable. We will demonstrate that the TP schema is a bona fide rule-based code, conforming to logical code-like properties. Second, we will demonstrate that this TP code is programmed into the supposedly degenerate redundancy of the codon table. We will show that algorithmic processes play a dominant role in the realization of this multi-dimensional code.

    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2014.00140/full

  52. 52
    OLV says:

    Decoding Mechanisms by which Silent Codon Changes Influence Protein Biogenesis and Function
    Vedrana Bali and Zsuzsanna Bebok
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocel.2015.03.011

    The more we know, more we have to learn.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    EG, BB ET:

    We do not need a side stream of personalities.

    I do note — as a caution — that someone here does not understand bullying and linked sociopathic patterns — there are people who lack empathy and conscience to restrain themselves from dangerous and even life-threatening abuse. You cannot ignore violence, reckless behaviour, abuse of authority and serious threats, especially when a pattern shows up. That holds in the schoolyard, on the job, or in a family. Trying to pretend that nothing is happening or minimising what is happening to a victim is a recipe for disaster, we call it enabling. Simple teasing, perhaps can be ignored for the moment until relevant authority has evidence to step in correctively. But even that can be a warning of dangerous abuse, from words, deeds spring and words themselves can do grave harm. That’s why there are torts recognised in law about verbal abuse and attacks against innocent reputation.

    This problem is also precisely why so many inveterate objectors to design thought so often play out the trifecta fallacy of red herrings led out to strawmen caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight with incendiary rhetoric — snide or blatant — in order to poison, cloud, confuse and polarise the atmosphere for discussion.

    When we see objectors persistently using distractions and denigration, that is a sign they do not have a cogent, substantial answer.

    Above, I have stepped in correctively.

    KF

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    OLV, it seems many have been indoctrinated to ignore or suppress manifest signs that we are seeing coded language and algorithms at work with associated molecular nanotech execution machinery. The resistance to strong evidence of intelligently directed configuration is an index of ideological polarisation. The thread above indicates to me that inveterate objectors most likely are not reading or processing the substantial arguments, they are only snipping and sniping to distract, trigger a hostile atmosphere and to dismiss. In this case, it is telling that after ever so much objections as to how, suspiciously, design thinkers do not address the designer, when an OP is put up that does, by and large the objectors side step the focal issue and its substantial warrant. That tells us that the objection was not genuine, it was just a handy rhetorical talking point. Sad. KF

  55. 55
    john_a_designer says:

    In my opinion I think in these discussion we need to consider the interlocutor’s world view or basic philosophical assumptions up front. Philosophical not scientific assumptions are his true starting point. Any claims on his part to the contrary is not only intellectually but ethically dishonest.

    The philosophical naturalist (or materialists– all materialists are naturalists) has deluded himself into thinking he has a trump card which bolsters his hand… science. The problem is that there are no trump cards in the high stakes world view ontological game. This is because in order to even begin to play the game you must establish the ground of being. You must begin by asking some basic questions. For example, you must ask, why does anything at all exist? Or, what is the nature of existence? How do we know? How can we be sure of what we know? Can we really know the truth about anything? However these are metaphysical questions, not questions that can be answered by science itself.

    Einstein said that scientists are poor philosophers. That perhaps explains why there are some scientists who believe that science can actually serve as a basis for a world view that can answer some of our biggest questions—at least those that they think are worthwhile. The late American astronomer Carl Sagan, for example, proclaimed that “the Cosmos is all that there is or ever was or ever will be.” (That is a claim that is not scientifically provable.) And, Nobel Prize winner Steven Weinberg opines that while “the worldview of science is rather chilling” there is, nevertheless, he goes on to say, “a grim satisfaction, in facing up to our condition without despair and without wishful thinking–with good humor… without God.”

    And then there is Harvard professor of psychology Steven Pinker who takes a scientifically based world view just about to its absolute limit. Pinker writes that,

    the findings of science entail that the belief systems of all the world’s traditional religions and cultures—their theories of the origins of life, humans, and societies—are factually mistaken. We know, but our ancestors did not, that humans belong to a single species of African primate that developed agriculture, government, and writing late in its history. We know that our species is a tiny twig of a genealogical tree that embraces all living things and that emerged from prebiotic chemicals almost four billion years ago. We know that we live on a planet that revolves around one of a hundred billion stars in our galaxy, which is one of a hundred billion galaxies in a 13.8-billion-year-old universe, possibly one of a vast number of universes. We know that our intuitions about space, time, matter, and causation are incommensurable with the nature of reality on scales that are very large and very small. We know that the laws governing the physical world (including accidents, disease, and other misfortunes) have no goals that pertain to human well-being. There is no such thing as fate, providence, karma, spells, curses, augury, divine retribution, or answered prayers—though the discrepancy between the laws of probability and the workings of cognition may explain why people believe there are. And we know that we did not always know these things, that the beloved convictions of every time and culture may be decisively falsified, doubtless including some we hold today.
    In other words, the worldview that guides the moral and spiritual values of an educated person today is the worldview given to us by science.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/art.....humanities

    On the other hand, there are other scientists, including some who are non-religious, even agnostic or atheistic, who see the folly of this kind of thinking. For example, Sir Peter Medawar, also a Nobel laureate, was one scientist who spoke out against this so called scientism. He wrote in his book, Advice to a Young Scientist:

    “There is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and upon his profession than roundly to declare – particularly when no declaration of any kind is called for – that science knows, or soon will know, the answers to all questions worth asking, and that questions which do not admit a scientific answer are in some way non-questions or ‘pseudo-questions’ that only simpletons ask and only the gullible profess to be able to answer. … The existence of a limit to science is, however, made clear by its inability to answer childlike elementary questions having to do with first and last things – questions such as ‘How did everything begin?’; ‘What are we all here for?’;’What is the point of living?’”
    Advice to a Young Scientist, London, Harper and Row, 1979 p.31

    Also, Erwin Schrödinger, one of the early theorist of quantum physics, said something similar:

    “Science puts everything in a consistent order but is ghastly silent about everything that really matters to us: beauty, color, taste, pain or delight, origins, God and eternity.”

  56. 56
    Brother Brian says:

    OLV

    Jawa,

    Your off-topic comment doesn’t belong in this discussion. You should have posted it in the appropriate thread.

    I would normally agree. But when your comment is changed to “Comment deleted -WJM” it is difficult for people to judge the validity of the comment for themselves. In my opinion, what WJM is doing is just cowardly bullying.

    I give credit to KF. He very rarely uses the censor button, and it is almost always associated with the use of inappropriate language or personal attacks. And, when he does this, he usually provides an explanation.

  57. 57
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Deleted comments are an attempt by the thread-owner to focus the discussion as closely as possible to the topic at hand.
    It is a means of treating these discussions as if they are published-commentaries, and therefore subject to an editor. I favor that, myself. I know it is unpopular and difficult to see the words you’ve written end up deleted from the page, but it’s a disciplinary process. I would possibly go farther and delete or edit responses that repeat objections that have already been answered in the same thread, or which display ignorance of responses that have already been given.
    All of this runs the risk of killing off good discussions, but I think the risk is minimal. A quantity of talk does not substitute for a quality discussion. If everyone wants to learn through challenge, debate, research and thoughtful exchange, then deleting off-topic, unnecessary, distracting, evasive, personal or otherwise pointless comments would be a benefit.
    It’s like pruning a plant. Cutting off the dead or weak leaves promotes healthier growth. If you lost a post due to editing, then just try again with something that is more directly on-topic.
    It might also be helpful if the thread-owner, with some courtesy, appended a comment to each deletion giving a brief reason.

    in afterthought, all of that said – a vast majority of comments here where various clippings from articles are posted, many very fascinating, are strictly speaking off topic in the way I presented it, so there would be quite a lot of deletions even from the pro-ID side. So, it’s a matter of discretion. It’s a lot easier just to keep an open-comment policy except for abuse, etc.

Leave a Reply