527 Replies to “We cannot live by scepticism alone

  1. 1
    Rude says:

    Very interesting article. The author acknowledges that postmodernism (“wave two”) threatens western civilization, and pretty much admits that the goal of modernism (“wave one”) was to exclude God from our knowledge. But in the end he comes back to the same old scientific expertism inheret in the modernist repudiation of transcendant values and history itself:

    Science, then, can provide us with a set of values — not findings — for how to run our lives, and that includes our social and political lives. But it can do this only if we accept that assessing scientific findings is a far more difficult task than was once believed, and that those findings do not lead straight to political conclusions.

    Hogwash! I don’t care what they say—without the values of the Bible to guide our culture and the Constitution to settle our differences it’s over for us and the world. One you can count on to say it succinctly and well is Thomas Sowell:

    Do not for one moment think that we are either intellectually or morally superior to those Germans who put Hitler in power. We have been saved by our institutions and our traditions — the very institutions and traditions that so many are so busy eroding or dismantling, whether in classrooms or court rooms or in the halls of Congress and the White House.

  2. 2
    eintown says:

    Rude “I don’t care what they say—without the values of the Bible to guide our culture and the Constitution to settle our differences it’s over for us and the world.”

    I thought ID was not creationism?

  3. 3
    Rude says:

    You’re right, Ein Town, it isn’t! And neither does ID tell us how to live and be governed. It’s the materialist Darwinists who do all that in the name of “Science”.

  4. 4
    eintown says:

    Then why post pro creationism stuff on a ID website?

  5. 5
    pharmgirl says:

    There is no incompatability between ID and God, so how does talking about God=creationism? Maybe Rude believes the Christian God is the intelligence behind the design(as do I)?
    It also seems to me that a person could agree with the design inference and not rule out the possibility of creationism. The ability to infer design within the creation makes sense.

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    “I don’t care what they say—without the values of the Bible to guide our culture and the Constitution to settle our differences it’s over for us and the world.”

    How is this creationist? Or do you have a distorted view of what is creationist?

  7. 7
    eintown says:

    With Rudes remarks about a Bible run society and the connection of god with ID and so creationism… it doesn’t really strike me as science?

    But hey, the article this post is about seems pretty anti mass skepticism from people who are not professionals in a field…

  8. 8
    eintown says:

    Jerry, are you seriously going to say that genesis is a metaphor but we should all follow gods morals and laws to live our lives… as Rude proposes???

    But again… the post is about the article.

  9. 9
    pharmgirl says:

    God isn’t connected to ID, ID is compatible with God. Big difference.

  10. 10
    eintown says:

    So god wasnt the designer then??

  11. 11
    pharmgirl says:

    The designer is outside the scope of ID. ID is about detecting design, not determining where it came from.

  12. 12
    Adel DiBagno says:

    pharmgirl [11]:

    The designer is outside the scope of ID. ID is about detecting design, not determining where it came from.

    Peace be unto you, but what is the point of that?

    Yes, I’ve seen that view stated repeatedly here, but it leaves me unsatisfied.

    Does it really satisfy you?

  13. 13
    pharmgirl says:

    I don’t look to science to confirm my belief in God, although I feel that it does. I believe in God for many reasons. Science isn’t the only way of arriving at truth.

    I’m going to school so I won’t be able to reply to you for awhile, if you comment again. I’ll be back!

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    “So god wasnt the designer then??”

    If God was the designer, how does that make it creationism. Creationism has a special meaning in this debate. If you are saying that belief in God is tantamount to creationism then you are creating a very different debate.

    Some of the points of view are that

    It was all pre programmed in the Big Bang.

    It was all pre programmed in the initial cellular structure.

    It was modified now and then either by a direct cause or indirectly through manipulating some aspects of nature. For example, some people believe it might have been done through quantum mechanics.

    Then there are those who believe all or nearly all was created in the last 10,000 years.

    Which is creationism or are all. If you say all then the term is meaningless.

    ID is consistent with all of them except for possibly the last and it is also consistent with some life form arising from an unknown origin being the designer.

    So don’t use terms that have no meaning.

  15. 15
    jerry says:

    “Yes, I’ve seen that view stated repeatedly here, but it leaves me unsatisfied.”

    Why does it leave you unsatisfied and not most of the rest here.

  16. 16
    Upright BiPed says:

    moreover….explain WHY it leaves you “unsatisfied”.

    Is it that you have unfulfilled curiosity, or you’d just like to attempt a lame refutation of ID?

  17. 17
    R. Martinez says:

    Pharmgirl (#5): “There is no incompatability between ID and God, so how does talking about God=creationism?”

    Creationism says reality reflects the work of invisible Creator. Invisible Creator is synonymous with God.

    Ray

  18. 18
    pharmgirl says:

    Copied in from Wikipedia:
    “Creationism is the religious belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in their original form by a deity (often the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) or deities.[1] In relation to the creation-evolution controversy the term creationism is commonly used to refer to religiously motivated rejection of evolution as an explanation of origins.[2]”

    The above is what is usually meant by the term creationism. Rude wasn’t speaking of God’s hand in creation anyway; he was only speaking of God. Are we redefining creationism as any belief in God? Someone should let Kenneth Miller know he’s a creationist.
    Having said that, I don’t want it to sound like I think creationism is a bad thing anyway. When science is so eager to force a philosophy down your throat it gets hard to tell fact from fiction.

  19. 19
    R. Martinez says:

    From the OP essay: “Social scientists such as Robert Merton additionally documented the norms of the scientific community: science must be unbiased, disinterested, a free public good and subject to organized critical review.”

    There is no such thing as unbiasedness. Every person or groups of persons have a bias or axe to grind.

    Science today, that is, since 1859, is based on Materialism.

    Prior to the rise of Darwinism, Science was based on Supernaturalism or Paleyan Creationism.

    The late great Bible scholar, Dr. Gene Scott (Ph.D. Stanford University), who had higher degrees in Religion, Philosophy, and Psychology has said:

    “There is no such thing as an objective historian [or scientist]….everyone has an axe to grind….objective persons state their bias up-front so when it creeps into their conclusions the audience will know it.”

    Concerning Science the question is:

    Which paradigm, or bias, best explains and corresponds to reality?

    The answer is Supernaturalism. The observation of design and organized complexity seen in every aspect of nature corresponds directly to the work of invisible Theos or Designer and says supernatural power or agency is operating in reality.

    There is no truth or facts in Materialism/Darwinism—none.

    Ray

  20. 20
    R. Martinez says:

    Pharmgirl: (#18): “Copied in from Wikipedia: ‘Creationism is the religious belief that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in their original form by a deity (often the Abrahamic God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) or deities.[1] In relation to the creation-evolution controversy the term creationism is commonly used to refer to religiously motivated rejection of evolution as an explanation of origins.[2]'”

    Apparently you do not know that Wikipedia is controlled by Atheists/Darwinists. Creationism is NOT a religious belief: Creationism is an explanation of scientific evidence supporting the existence of invisible Creator.

    Atheists/Darwinists always misrepresent their enemy this way. But, if we accept the definition of Creationism momentarily, that is, to be a “religious belief,” this makes Darwinism/evolution to be anti-religious belief since evolution claims to refute Creationism. This explains why all Atheists are Darwinists.

    Darwinism is anti-Bible and anti-Christianity or the Atheism view of reality.

    By the way: who wrote the Wikipedia article? Paris Hilton, Ronald McDonald or Richard Dawkins?

    Ray

  21. 21
    R. Martinez says:

    Rude (#1): “The author acknowledges that….the goal of modernism (‘wave one’) was to exclude God from our knowledge.”

    Where does the essay that? I can’t find it.

    Ray

  22. 22
    bFast says:

    R. Martinez siting Wikipedia:

    …religiously motivated rejection of evolution as an explanation of origins.

    These guys need to read the recent post: Theos / Comres report – Intelligent Design supporters ‘highest educated’ It would appear, if we are honest, that even though some of us hold to a religious tennet, our primary motivation for rejecting darwinism is not religious. A common reason we reject darwinists is that many of us are information engineers (sofware developers). In this role we understand information, and what it takes to advance it, far better than the average biologist does.

    ID is not creationism by this definition because too many IDers are not primarily (or at all) religiously motivated.

  23. 23
    pharmgirl says:

    Ray-
    I think we actually agree. I copied in the quote from Wikipedia to show you why I was disagreeing with the idea that Rude was bringing up creationism. I think the definition on Wikipedia gets at the heart of what is meant by creationism when it is used in a negative way. Like I said, I don’t think creationism is a bad thing.

  24. 24
    jjcassidy says:

    LOL. The “skeptic”‘s ability to show how bad they are at analysis, just continues.

    Ray, no reason to dump on pharmgirl for including a link to Wikipedia. Sure Wikipedia tends to be run by atheists and liberals. But this case supports the distinction between the Bible’s providing structure for morality and what some atheists have settled on as a workable definition of “Creationism”.

    Pharmgirl is valid in *her* point. She’s only wrong if she somehow claims that this is conclusive, IMO. And I didn’t see her do that.

    Of course, it all just points up that “Creationism” can cover a lot of range. Of course here, the claim by “skeptics” that they “know creationism when they see it,” isn’t the type of claim that has helped the legal case against obscenity over the years. The attempt to equate ID with “Creationism” can only go with certain definitions of “Creationism”. (And it matters more what Discovery meant.)

    Your equation that Creation -> Creator => Creationism -> implications of an invisible creator is valid. It may even suit you best–but it does not become what everyone else means simply because you have a good argument.

    But the same thing is true of its use in any context. Discovery’s contention that ID =/= creationism doesn’t mean that nobody on a ID site will be a creationist–especially as defined in the eyes of another. So eintown’s “point” is without effect.

    The glaring weakness of eintown’s gripe is that a Theological Evolutionist can believe that the Bible is the best moral guide for society while still incorporating what it has been very useful for Eugenie Scott and others to NOT call “creationism”.

    Eintown is running over broad categorizations with tank chains, just to “prove” a point (which you can’t when you rely on the arbitrariness of definitions to stretch them where they need to go.)

    But that does not surprise me, the monologue of the “skeptic” is rife with equivocations–which they probably don’t recognize because no scientist anywhere has found equivocation as the residue in the bottom of a test tube.

  25. 25
    Rude says:

    Thanks Pharmgirl and others for the good words.

    The materialists have done much to obfuscate and confuse, not just regarding “science” but in everything else. What if this were because they are wrong?

    Anyway the United States was founded by men who constantly spoke in biblical terms and in a culture that was biblically literate. Now that the citizenry is biblically illiterate such that perhaps only the story in Star Wars comes close to uniting us as the Bible once did, and now that our cultural elites are primarily atheist, what is to happen to the country? That, my friends, should worry us all. Even if you are not from here, just know that what happens in the Superpower will eventually get to you.

    So you see that Harry Collins cannot go back to what was—he must speak the materialist/Darwinist party line or be ostracized from polite society. And thus, though he worries just as I do in regard to what is coming, he has to resurrect expertism and the “consensus science”—he cannot go back to what once united the culture. And that worries me. For history has proven that scientist and materialist elites are far worse as moralists than the cowboy in the corral.

    Ein Town worries that maybe ID is as all inclusive as materialism/Darwinism baptized as “science”. Well it ain’t. ID is modest, only saying that we can identify design. Part of the way of the West has been our ability to abstract away various subjects. Why is it that this is so hard to understand when it comes to ID? Why is it that people want ID to be a brick in the edifice of a theory of everything? Is it that if perchance the YECs, or maybe the Evangelicals or some other group owned ID exclusively, then if you could tear out one brick in the edifice of YEC or whatever you would have destroyed ID? Well ID is bigger than YEC or Evangelicalism or Christianity or Judaism or Islam—why? Because if there is no evidence of the hand of God in history, then all those interventionist faiths fail.

    Thus ID is central to my faith, but ID itself does not predict my faith. For that I need the Bible, history, archaeology, linguistics, all of life’s experience. I personally cannot subscribe to a faith that requires I believe just because I want to or should. Others will disagree. And ID says things that even some infidels find interesting. So by being a modest enterprise ID marks out territory and cuts the world in two. This is because it asks the most important question of all: Might there be purpose in the world?

  26. 26
    Domoman says:

    Rude,

    I totally agree when you say,

    Hogwash! I don’t care what they say—without the values of the Bible to guide our culture and the Constitution to settle our differences it’s over for us and the world.

    Richard Dawkins and such would like us to think otherwise, but they cannot seem to come up with anything better. To quote Dawkins himself: “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question.”

    Is this the sort of thing we want “science” to bring to us? A totally baseless system of morality? I’m guessing not.

    To quote a writer, “If God is dead, then man is dead, too.” Life without God leaves us with nothing, including a complete lack of true, objective morals.

  27. 27
    jjcassidy says:

    Now a comment on the piece: Hmm, he makes some of the same observations that I’ve been making about skepticism for years.

    However, it seems his solution is to set up a political brokerage giving social scientists the chief role.

    His solution is to give more weight to experience by creating an expert on experience. Thus it could re-evaluate the “consensus” of scientists that is hardening into a litmus test of one’s fidelity to Science, but it could form a new one without a re-evaluation of the slavish attitude.

    Thanks for telling me what I’ve already deduced for myself, what I’ve spent 15 years on the internet trying to convince ardent “skeptics” about corrosive doubt… But no thanks.

  28. 28

    Are we REALLY sure what the author of that piece is saying?

    It seems to me, yes, he is mostly reacting to postermodernism’s cynicism about just about everything, including its own nature, btw.

    But along those lines remember that lumped into everything that the new disdain for the “sociologists” goes other things into the meat grinder. This will include the late night UFO conspiracy buffs (fun as that stuff is), waterwitching, creationism, ID, and wiccan spells.

    The author is seeking to overcome the cultural backlash of the variety that happens every so often against what is percieved to be a ruling ideology, or thinking on the world as a whole In this, case, the main antagonists to science are the radical Gaia type environmentalists, the tree huggers, the PETA types, the radical feminists who think if you gave boys and girls the same haircuts and forbade them to play with gender-neutral toys they’d all be the same, those who don’t allow their kids to get vaccines, etc. The counterculture revolution that began in our age was the hippies and leftists, who began as an eclectic lifestyle of imported ideology but ended up mocking the inconvenient findings of science. Charles Murray comes to mind in his fighting the New Left’s take on things.

    The author admits science can go overboard–but his comments elsewhere indicate that for the most part science gives wonderful, healing values, and the skepticism he mentions gets in the way of this assurance. (The Ignorant need to be taken down a notch, like those parents fretting over mercury in lightbulbs and vaccines).

    He wants finality on what science can do for mankind. It looks all positive. Science Ho!
    Get the pipettes and retorts out, light that burner, and save the world!

    Could have guessed that one.

    Interesting, that creationists and IDists, for good or ill, are lumped into the same nest as those who are far more numerous in their wars on science (the far left), when the findings don’t jive with social engineering.

    I hate to agree with the hippy dippies on some things. It really irks me. But what some of them have pointed out is actually on par with some of the “socialogists” who end up occasionally being temporary allies of IDists. At least on paper. No doubt they’d hate the association. To wit, there is more to this world and cosmos than science can tell us, and science does not give us “values” about anything. That is ethical and moral imput from how people feel the need for organization.

    On this last point I’m SURE someone will chime in to say science will further study primate behavior to determine the right mix on that issue too.

  29. 29
    R. Martinez says:

    Pharmgirl (#23): “Ray-I think we actually agree. I copied in the quote from Wikipedia to show you why I was disagreeing with the idea that Rude was bringing up creationism. I think the definition on Wikipedia gets at the heart of what is meant by creationism when it is used in a negative way.”

    Thanks for this explanation. I think I now understand your point. I think you are saying that Creationism exists in a state of perpetual misrepresentation. If so, I agree 100 percent.

    Ray

  30. 30
    R. Martinez says:

    bFast (#22): “R. Martinez [c]iting Wikipedia….”

    I didn’t cite Wikipedia. I cited someone else who cited Wikipedia. I never cite Wikipedia because Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. And the person who cited Wikipedia did so for the purpose of showing how they misrepresent Creationism.

    “….our primary motivation for rejecting darwinism is not religious….”

    I agree 100 percent. We reject Darwinism because the evidence does not support any of its claims. The evidence supports ID. There is no evidence of Darwinian evolution ever occurring on this planet—none.

    Ray

  31. 31
    jjcassidy says:

    S Wakefield Tolbert: “He wants finality on what science can do for mankind.”

    We agree, then. While recognizing that skepticism doesn’t do all that its adherents wanted, it simply wants to apply a base it respects to work from to counter “mis-applied” skepticism. Some of sort of vaguely assigned “credibility” based on experience–kind of like what we see on the global warming front.

    Combined with the theme that nobody should be allowed to work against their own best interest and reject vaccines, owing to the deleterious effects of skepticism, it presents a strategy of authority from “expertise” much as we’re seeing on the AGW and ID fronts.

    And as I said, this plan sets up accepted social scientists as kingmakers. Without anything more than assigned “expertese” to judge from.

    For years, I’ve been able to argue against scientific human rights by noting that the idea of “equality” was not well-defined. Now all they have to have is a panel of experts who think that it’s valid, and move on from there. How consistent their rationale is cannot be questioned, unless you’re approved to practice in their field. (The proposed isolation of fields.)

    Strength can be ignorance, if the experts decide so.

  32. 32
    vjtorley says:

    I’d like to highlight a quote from the article before asking a practical policy question:

    Mbeki claimed that?anti-retroviral drugs had not been proven to?reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV,?and pointed out that some scientists claim the drugs are poisonous. He was right. The hard problem for social studies of science is to show why, although he was right in logic, he was wrong for all practical purposes. Just showing there is some doubt about an issue, or another side to the story — at which we social scientists are nowadays unbeatable — does not inform you what to do in a case such as this…

    One way to try to crack the hard problem is to analyse and classify the nature of expertise to provide the tools for an initial weighting of opinion.

    Using this approach, it can be shown that Mbeki’s ideas about the danger of anti-retrovirals were developed by reading the views of a small group of maverick scientists on the Internet and advising his ministers to do the same. But the view gained from the Internet is not always the view developed within the scientific community. Although in principle the logic of the mavericks’ position cannot be defeated, a policy-maker should accept the position of those who share in the tacit knowledge of the expert community.

    Here’s my question: when should we and when shouldn’t we trust a scientific consensus? What relevance does this have, not only for ID, but also for other controversial issues where one’s views might be influenced by a religious belief (or lack thereof) in a Designer of nature?

    Examples that come to mind include: (a) global warming (which, according to the 97% of climatologists who believe it is man-made, necessitates spending tens of trillions of dollars if necessary – yes, it will cost that much, if not more – to get CO2 concentrations down to 350 ppm – money that the poor might have benefited from); (b) sustainable management of the planet (which, according to most ecologists, necessitates limiting family size to two children or less, and going vegetarian, to prevent the biosphere succumbing to the “three-planet problem”); and (iii) the mind-body problem (which, according to the vast majority of contemporary neuroscientists, can only be resolved by acknowledging that mental states are merely epiphenomena which supervene upon brain states, and that free will means nothing more than doing what we want to do – which entails that we are no more free than other animals).

    Which of these groups of “experts” should we trust, and why? Certainly problems (a) and (b) are of a practical nature, although it might be argued that ID and the mind-body problem are not practical issues and that people should be allowed more latitude of opinion in forming their views.

    Here’s another problem: if we accept that experts rule, how do we avoid the tyranny of scientific fascism?

    Any ideas?

  33. 33
    bFast says:

    vjtorley:

    Which of these groups of “experts” should we trust, and why?

    I have been really troubled by something lately. I have been wondering where it should wieve into this discussion.

    Of late we have seen dismal performances from the worlds top financial experts. The most notorious financial companies in the world have gone bust. Most managed mutual funds have fallen victim to a long, relentless down-market rather than figuring that they need to move their clients’ money into cash. The banking sector has goofed horifically with the mortgage equation. The financial experts advising the government are at a loss. And many have lost their billionaire status.

    If the worlds top financial experts are this competant, why would anybody expect me to say, “oh, if the experts say it is so, it must be so”.

    Expert schmexpert, that’s what I say.

  34. 34
    Lord Timothy says:

    I wonder if this means science will catch up with the rest of society and become pluralistic.

  35. 35

    jjcassidy,

    Thanks for you interesting input.

    Out of curiosity, what do you think of the future fortunes of this speak of “consensus” talk about ditties on AGW and ID?

    You mentioned walls of separation:

    One quick scan of at least the univserity textbook aisles and even your local grocery store magazine aisle has the heirarchy fairly set in stone.

    The “inspirational” stuff (ya know “100 Things You Didn’t Know About the Bible”, and “How to Save your Sagging Marriage”, or “Chicken Soup of the Teenage Soul” type books–next to Tony Robbins’ stuff)
    is set aside in turning displays as to most people a separate grade of work, vs. Discover Magazine and Scientific American and National Geographic, the non-fluff “hard” science, respectable stuff on the rack.

    One look at the mag rack shows us consensus on AGW is sticking around, as are the barbs at ID as “creationism in black tie” etc.

  36. 36

    LT:

    I wonder if this means science will catch up with the rest of society and become pluralistic.

    Paul K. Feyerabend thought this.
    Somewhere around here I still have some of his writings on the “democratization” of science, contained in “Against Method.”

    I don’t promise what you’ll take from this guy, but you’ll not see the world the same way.

    One of his favorite quips from Against Method is that while not a lot of people like lawyers, the good ones can always show that the experts never know what they’re talking about.

    Hmmm.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/f.....A962958260

  37. 37
    mullerpr says:

    I am not a regular here, so bare with my “outlandish thoughts”.

    From this article and most responses it is clear to me that the big culprit in the plot is post-modernism and its accompanying flavor of skepticism (not forgetting that is sprung from modernism itself).

    I live in “Mbeki’s country” (South Africa) and the psyche of post-modernism is the de facto stance in both social and scientific thinking. It is as if African culture has walked the path charted by post modernism to its full conclusion, long ago. (Some would call it a pre-scientific society, which might be right. But in the western sense it manifests as a post-scientific society. What is the difference between pre or post-scientific societies, both are in the process of rejecting or suppressing the natural human impulse of scientific thinking?)

    If I could use this discussion’s insight as the basis for crying out to the western world to engage with Africa on the clear dangers of post modernist thinking. Sharing your experiences, of the “two waves” and the need to rectify issues with both, would be great.

    Practically this could be achieved through free and open media like the internet and this kind of blog in particular, but on the ground level western aid organizations could achieve so much if they take a strong stance against social and moral relativism.

    Kind regards,
    Michael
    P.S. Thank you for the clarity that the ID movement is bringing to the theorizing of a post-naturalist future. It helps a lot.

  38. 38
    Adel DiBagno says:

    Upright BiPed [16]:

    moreover….explain WHY it leaves you “unsatisfied”.

    Is it that you have unfulfilled curiosity, or you’d just like to attempt a lame refutation of ID?

    UBP, thank you for asking why I am personally unsatisfied with a project to identify design that stops at that point, making no further effort to identify the designers.

    You have it correct in your first alternative: Stopping at the identification of design leaves my curiosity unfulfilled.

    I don’t think I am alone in feeling that way. I don’t remember the quotation, but I believe that Sir Francis Bacon said something like if we want to make progress in gaining understanding of the world, we can’t stop at just observing effects; we need to pursue investigations into causes of those effects. Haven’t many of the scientific advances since Bacon been characterized by investigations into causes?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t design an effect?

    As far as the second alternative goes, I am unclear how an expression of unfulfillment could be construed as a “refutation” of a scientific argument. A criticism, yes, but not a refutation. I hope you will consider me a friendly critic and not an enemy.

    If my criticisms are unwelcome, I will no longer post them here

  39. 39
    mullerpr says:

    Adel,

    If I may try to help…

    My understanding is that in order to maintain the integrity of the pure study of natural phenomena you need to stop investigating at the current known boundaries of the observable universe. It is very well possible to infer a cause beyond this boundary (for instance “what caused the Big Bang), but you have to acknowledge that causes from outside the observable universe is not part of science, it is all metaphysical speculation.

    This type of speculation is valuable and include a God hypothesis as well as things like a “Multi-verse” hypothesis. The tools of knowledge and understanding that we have to evaluate these hypotheses all comes from the field of philosophy.

    And it is in that strict scientific sense that ID will not infer to the properties of a designer who’s effects in the observable universe is clearly caused from beyond the observable universe. However if the intelligence is instantiated in the physical universe, like a human being, than ID have a lot of physical points from which to infer at least the physical properties of that intelligent being.

    If we observe design in the structure and origin of life we cannot conclusively infer a metaphysical cause. The boundary of the investigation into the origin of life is not the beginning of the universe – panspermia is a possibility, very unlikely, due to the small probability, but still. On the other hand, the origin of the universe begs for a metaphysical cause.

    This is my understanding and I stand to be corrected.

    Kind regards,
    Michael

  40. 40
    uoflcard says:

    Adel DiBagno, your opinion is certainly welcome here, unlike on blogs like Pharyngula, where I was recently told to “get the **** out” once I defended my Christian worldview after a couple attacks.

    Here is my opinion on the question of identifying the designer. Science is the study of the natural world. We can’t study a supernatural origin of the design we see in biology.

    Now maybe we could investigate possible natural origins of design: Consider the far-fetched possibility that life arose somewhere else in this universe in a purely natural way, evolved to a high level of intelligence, then front-loaded the evolution of the millions of complex systems found in biology on Earth. It seems like an unlikely theory to me, since the universe is not that “old”, and it was much too hot for life for billions of years when it began. It would seem unlikely that the original life had enough time to develop, but maybe it did so in a much faster way, reproducing several times per “day” (whatever that means where it developed), like a very intelligen virus. I don’t know if that theory is falsifiable (how can you prove that it didn’t happen…I ask the same question about abiogenesis on Earth), but we could possibily look for evidence that it did. But that is the only way we could possibly study the designer(s), from what I can tell.

  41. 41
    jerry says:

    No one is saying that we should not investigate the nature of the designer and some of the designer’s nature can come from the design itself. What has been happening is that some will claim that ID is illegitimate till the designer is known. Which is nonsense. They go so far as to ask how the designer actually implemented the design 3.5 billion years ago and maybe what kind of equipment was used. One skeptic wanted the wreckage of the space ship and the blue prints for the design. Sort of a joke argument which they pretend is serious.

    So the design and the designer are separate issues and the legitimacy of one does not depend upon the other though the information from one can feed understanding of the other. For example, the nature of the universe formed from the Big Bang provides insight into a possible cause and motivation. Similarly, the nature of life provides some insight into the type of intelligence necessary for the design. The analysis of the genome has a long way to go and as each mechanism within the genome as it is revealed will be a clue as to how and why it was built.

    Some of the mechanisms appear natural in nature in the sense that once they were set up, they can run naturally with out any input except for the laws of nature and chance. Think of a farmer who plants his natural seed in a field letting natural weather to accomplish his objectives. Such a finding that many of the mechanisms are natural may indicate something about the nature of the designer. For example, do these natural mechanisms have the power to produce the novel functional complexity we have seen from microbes to man. If they do then this indicates the designer did not have to stay around for this to happen. If as it seems now, this is not possible, then the design had to be modified at various times to get to this novel functional complexity. The designer’s work was not a one time endeavor. We have then learned something else about the designer.

    There is a major theological argument going on about the nature of the designer and it is not taking place in science. ID tries to stay clear of this even though the topic has been broached here many times. ID can add a little to the insight of this issue but most of it is based on theology or philosophy which is beyond what ID can contribute.

    So as we learn more about the genome and how they work within an ecology, then we will learn more about the potential designer. However, complete knowledge may be not available. Que sera sera.

  42. 42
    Adel DiBagno says:

    mullerpr [39],uoflcard [40],jerry [41]:

    Thanks to you all for your thoughtful comments. You have given me much to ponder.

    Adel

  43. 43
    Upright BiPed says:

    Adel, for clarity’s sake…I mixed up your comment with another poster. My apologies.

    The identity of the designer is simply not in the empirical evidence. Full Stop.

    It must, therefore, be made one man to his own thoughts and rational deliberation – with the distinction that this deliberation is not part of the empirical observations of ID.

  44. 44
    StephenB says:

    Neither sociologists nor scientists are equipped to judge the worth of their conclusions or speculations, because judging value is a philosophical exercise. Unfortunately, philosophy, the discipline that should be making these calculations has, itself, been corrupt for centuries. Those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining and guarding the principles of right reason have not only abandoned those principles but have also gone out of their way to militate against them.

    Philosophy, which is supposed to illuminate both science and sociology, has lost its capacity to do either. There are two reasons for this: First, our culture worships science and disdains philosophy, so nothing other than a truly comprehensible and common sense philosophy can ever hope to regain widespread respectability. Second, philosophy in its current condition deserves to be disdained because of its anti-intellectual orientation.

    If philosophy would abandon anti-intellectualism and get back into the business of promoting sound metaphysics, sociology and science would not be running around like motherless children with no direction or purpose. On the one hand, sociologists accept the proposition that popular opinion and feeling will suffice for morality; on the other hand scientists accept the ethic that anything they can do they ought to do. That is another way of saying that neither is grounded in any ethic at all. Rudderless science is hardly in a position to advise rudderless sociology.

    Meanwhile, philosophy, which should be providing that ethic, disavows ethics in principle and promotes skepticism, which doubts that the mind could even apprehend a reasonable ethic if one existed. This same skepticism informs every comment from anti-ID partisans regardless of subject matter, a fact that is easily observed daily on this site. The anti-intellectual skeptic doesn’t just reject the findings of honest science, he rejects anything at all that hints at a rational universe.

    Under the circumstances, his verdict has already been settled even before he enters the arena. It doesn’t matter which thread he is on, what the subject matter may be, or how compelling the evidence as presented. His answer is always the same, “I’m not convinced.” Can science detect design? Nope. Is there any such thing as objective morality? Not a chance. Does truth exist? Don’t be ridiculous. Could God direct evolution? Next question please. Are there minds? Is the universe rational? Is there any connection between the two? Forget it. Can we at least agree that a thing cannot be true and false at the same time? Prove it.

    In keeping with that point, I just finished another discussion with a materialist who believes that monkeys and humans can live by the same moral code, except, of course, that he does not believe that any moral code exists. This is what we are up against. It is bad philosophy and the only solution to bad philosophy is good philosophy. So, what is good philosophy? We have known the answer to that for hundreds maybe thousands of years:

    [A] We have rational minds, we live in a rational universe, and there is a correspondence between the two. Anyone who does not believe this must be characterized as an irrational person or else we will make no progress.

    [B] We come to know by way of the intellect and through sense experience. This theory of knowledge is called “epistemological realism.” As long as we deny sense experience and rely solely on intellect [rationalism] or deny intellect and rely solely on sense experience [empiricism] our cultural decline will continue.

    [C] Metaphysical dualism is the natural metaphysics of the human mind and of the world. We are the investigator (subject) and the world is that which we are investigating (object). If we continue to pretend that the world is a product of our mind, or that reality should adjust to us rather than the other way around, we will remain lost.

    [D] The natural moral law is real and ought to be acknowledged. To deny this fact is to deny reason itself. We cannot continue to live as if we are a law unto ourselves, otherwise tyrants will subject us to their arbitrary law. They are, at this very moment, planning to do just that.

    Until philosophy is restored to sanity, all else is irredeemable. As long as science labors in the metaphysical prison of materialism, it will not scruple in the least at the prospect of creating a human/pig hybrid for fun, design a clone as a sex slave, or anything else that perverse imagination can conceive. As long as sociology embraces the anti-intellectual fad of social constructivism, it will continue to deny objective truth and any possibility for a well-ordered society. Neither of these two disciplines can be trusted to save the other or to serve us in their current condition. Both of these wayward children need the adult supervision of the philosopher, who, as it turns out, has been out on a sloppy, four-hundred-year drunk and spends most of his waking hours lecturing that sobriety is an illusion.

  45. 45
    allanius says:

    Scientists as moral arbiters? On what basis? Einstein was a brilliant scientist, in the same way that Bobby Fischer was a brilliant player or A-Rod a brilliant batsman. But in what sense does their brilliance in their own fields qualify them as arbiters of morality?

    Some, it seems, are waxing nostalgic for a return to the glory days of modern science, when there was a good deal of optimism about its power to make men happy. God is not necessary, we were told; science will show us the way. The scientist-redeemers became flesh and dwelt among us, Marx and Freud and Darwin, and they were deemed to be full of grace and truth.

    This self-adoration is precisely the cause of the skepticism seen in postmodernism. Science will never be restored to its former glory because it has been tried and found wanting. The holy trinity were not qualified to be moral arbiters for the very reason that they thought they were. Their egotism has been exposed by the failure of their theories to bear the promised fruit of paradise.

    There is no morality in science when it seeks to make itself the arbiter of morals. There nothing but self-interest and the will to power.

  46. 46
    mullerpr says:

    StephenB,

    I enjoyed your insight posted in #44 very much. Recently I listened to a recording of a talk by an eminent philosopher. It was regarding skepticism and epistemology. In broad strokes he agreed with your views. He made a comment that made me think as to what is his support for saying that and I hope you might be able to help.

    JP Moreland said that skepticism has never been the dominant position in human thought. He further mentioned that there was a time when Greek philosophers embraced skepticism, but that Christian philosophy successfully reduced that view to irrelevance.

    Are their any support for specifically the claim that it has never been the dominant position in human thought? Your comment as well as my experience seems to place serious doubt on such a position. Or am I missing something in Moreland’s actual intention?

  47. 47
    uoflcard says:

    StevenB (44), spot on. This says it in a nutshell, for me:

    On the one hand, sociologists accept the proposition that popular opinion and feeling will suffice for morality; on the other hand scientists accept the ethic that anything they can do they ought to do. That is another way of saying that neither is grounded in any ethic at all. Rudderless science is hardly in a position to advise rudderless sociology.

  48. 48
    Domoman says:

    Allanius,

    Excellent post, man! One of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Keep up the observant thoughts!

  49. 49
    R. Martinez says:

    StephenB (#44): “Neither sociologists nor scientists are equipped to judge the worth of their conclusions or speculations, because judging value is a philosophical exercise. Unfortunately, philosophy, the discipline that should be making these calculations has, itself, been corrupt for centuries. Those who have been entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining and guarding the principles of right reason have not only abandoned those principles but have also gone out of their way to militate against them.”

    Extremely well said and 100 percent true.

    “Philosophy, which is supposed to illuminate both science and sociology, has lost its capacity to do either.”

    Again, I agree completely.

    “There are two reasons for this: First, our culture worships science and disdains philosophy, so nothing other than a truly comprehensible and common sense philosophy can ever hope to regain widespread respectability.”

    The use of the word “culture” is too ambiguous. All polls and surveys show consistently that half of all adults in the U.S. are anti-evolutionists, Creationists and/or IDists. This collective mass does not worship science. The worship of science is called “Scientism” (Smith 2001; Scott 2001). The deities of Scientism are the presuppositions and assumptions of Materialism-Naturalism-Darwinism.

    The philosophy that is disdained is disdained because it has lost the capacity to make sense. This implication, by Stephen, is 100 percent true. These philosophers are Darwinists or Evolutionists: the purveyors of Scientism. Scientism does not make sense because God is excluded to explain reality. To say the appearance of design seen in every aspect of nature as NOT corresponding to the work of invisible Designer makes no sense whatsoever. This is why anti-evolutionism thrives: the obvious senselessness of Darwinism. When persons read Darwinian scientists and philosophers argue against the logic of “design = Designer” this is what convinces them that Darwinism is pro-Atheism non-sense.

    “Second, philosophy in its current condition deserves to be disdained because of its anti-intellectual orientation.”

    Stephen tells us that this disdained philosophy, which I have defined as a component of Scientism, is disdained because it makes no sense and now he adds another dimension: anti-intellectualism. Again, these observations are 100 percent accurate. To put it bluntly Darwinists are stupid. How do they expect anyone with a thinking and well functioning logical mind to accept “design = unguided-unintelligent material force” as opposed to “design = Designer”?

    But we should not get too excited. The acceptance of an appearance of design in nature is NOT the position of Darwinism. Both Darwin (Autobio:87) and Dawkins (1986) reject design to exist in nature. The acceptance of an appearance of design as existing in nature is a reaction to the success of Dembski IDism. This is what has gotten Darwinists in logical trouble. Ken Miller, Francisco Ayala, and Michael Shermer (to name just a few) have all championed the concept of design as existing in nature, but produced by unintelligence (= natural selection).

    Again, the senselessness seen is what causes persons to reject these ad hoc arguments. Apparently Miller, Ayala and Shermer are not aware that their argument does not make sense. Darwinism makes a person stupid, that is, when God is excluded to explain natural reality stupidity or pro-Atheism non-sense (= anti-intellectualism) ensues.

    “….the only solution to bad philosophy is good philosophy….”

    Correct.

    Again, philosophy went bad when it decided to reject the light of God. The so called 18th century “Enlightenment” was really an “Endarkenment.”

    It all boils down to God. One would do good to count how many times the word “light” appears in Scripture and how many times it is used in conjunction with the person or presence of God.

    Ray

  50. 50
    Upright BiPed says:

    StephenB at 44….

    Perfect.

    Thanks!

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    Stephen:

    Excellent!

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Muller:any support for specifically the claim that it has never been the dominant position in human thought?

    First absolute skepticism self destructs — to claim that knowledge is impossible is to claim to know something. Oops.

    What is often done instead is to play at the selective hyperskepticism game: object to any arbitrary degree to what you don’t want to accept; while accepting things that you do want to be so on a much lower standard. The inconsistency is its own refutation.

    The solution is simple: seek balanced and fair warrant for truth claims, but recongise that it comes in reasonable and case-appropriate degrees, in many cases being defeatable; i.e we all must live by faith, the issue is in what, why and how reasonable.

    So, be open to correction of error as a finite, fallible, too often ill-willed sometimes rational creature. but do not pretend that you can live without exerting faith beyond proof in SOMEthing.

  52. 52
    Domoman says:

    Allanius,

    BTW, when I said this

    Excellent post, man! One of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Keep up the observant thoughts!

    I was referring to your post at #45. lol I figured I should point that out xD

  53. 53
    sparc says:

    uoflcard @ 40

    Adel DiBagno, your opinion is certainly welcome here, unlike on blogs like Pharyngula, where I was recently told to “get the **** out” once I defended my Christian worldview after a couple attacks.

    in all fairness IST said something different over there

    The bottom line is that you’re offended that an atheist talks about godlessness on his “science blog”? Get the …(*) over it…SB knew what they were syndicating.

    (*) four letter word omitted to avoid filtering

    I am not a native speaker but isn’t there a difference between “get over it” and “get out”?

  54. 54
    Seversky says:

    StephenB @ 44

    [D] The natural moral law is real and ought to be acknowledged. To deny this fact is to deny reason itself. We cannot continue to live as if we are a law unto ourselves, otherwise tyrants will subject us to their arbitrary law. They are, at this very moment, planning to do just that.

    This sounds to me like question-begging in the extreme. Unless you are God, you do not create something simply by asserting its existence. If the claim is that there are objective natural moral laws or an objective morality, an obvious question is whose moral laws, whose objective morality?

    If moral laws or morality are presumed to have an objective existence beyond the realm of human imagination, like gravity or New York or the Moon, then we would expect there to be widespread agreement amongst observers on their nature. Although cultural, ethnic or religious predispositions can affect our perceptions of the world, unless we are that rare beast a genuine solipsist, most of us agree that there is actually a world out there. An apple will fall from a tree under the influence of gravity and land on the head of anyone just as surely, be they English, American, Arab, Chinese, Caribbean or whatever.

    So do we, as we would expect, observe a large measure of agreement on what constitutes objective morality or moral laws between the world’s faiths? Are Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans and Jedis – to name but a few – entirely as one on this question? If they are not, there appears to be three possibilities.

    The first is that there is an objective morality or set of moral laws but they are as elusive as the neutrino such that only one faith has lighted upon them thus far. Unfortunately this means that all other believers, however devout, are just wrong. The question is: which one is right and how do you tell? The second possibility is that, although they are there, no one has discovered these “eternal verities” as yet. Unfortunately, this seems to be indistinguishable from the third possibility which is that there is no such thing as objective morality and that to claim such is no more than the attempted reification of subjective judgments.

  55. 55
    StephenB says:

    mullerpr:

    I cannot comment on Moreland’s quote because I don’t know the context in which he used the words “skepticism” and “dominant.” From what I have heard, he is quite a thoughtful commentator, so he may well have framed the issue in a way that justified his remark. This much I can tell you about today’s keepers of the flame in the academy. On the one hand, they are absolutely sure that they are absolutely right about Darwinism. On the other hand, they also qualify as epistemological skeptics. In effect, they fiercely doubt that which obvious and arrogantly assert that which is impossible. While their Darwinism has not yet caught on with the public, their skepticism most definitely has. Two out of every three Americans no longer believe in absolute truth or absolute morality. I would call that “dominant.” In any case, they embrace skepticism without really knowing what it is.

    For me, skepticism is a mental condition which denies the fact that the images in our mind correspond to real universals outside of the mind. This destructive notion that universals are categorized, formalized, and finalized in the mind was visited on us by Kant, and it is he that we have to thank for modern-day skepticism and its derivative corollaries, relativism and subjectivism. Sad to day, Kant made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled skeptic. His terrible legacy continues as young (and old) skulls full of mush come to this site parading their intellectual doubts and trying to pass them off as intellectual sophistication. What they do not understand is that if their doctrine was true, there would be no reason to conduct any kind of rational investigation or attempt any kind of rational discourse at all since there would be no intellectual standard to ground these activities. If my truth is my truth and your truth is your truth, there can never be any common ground around which to build a well-ordered society.

  56. 56
    StephenB says:

    Seversky, several of us hashed this out on another thread [Darwin’s Sacred Cause] where I tried to explain the natural moral law, provide a rational justification for it, and introduce it to another materialist Darwinist. I use the word “introduce,” because he argued with me for over a week before we both discovered he didn’t even know what it was. You seem to be doing the same thing.

    At that time, I asked him to do the same thing I am asking you to do now. Google “Illustrations of the Tao,” so you will at least know what it is that you are objecting to. Your questions suggest to me that this concept is new to you. Among other things, you labor under the misconception that the natural moral law is the product of one religion. So, I would prefer not to debate the issue until you familiarize yourself with the subject matter.

  57. 57
    StephenB says:

    Upright Biped: mullerpr: uoflcard: R. Martinez: kairofocus:

    Thanks for the kind words.

  58. 58
    jjcassidy says:

    I have one last observation about Collins’ article. It probably repeats–yet clarifies–something I said earlier. Still, it seems that addressing the limitations of skepticism by “expertise” is a form of legitimizing the fallacy known as Argument from Authority.

  59. 59
    mullerpr says:

    Thank you Stephen,

    #54 does help and I must say that the more I think this over, from a different continent, and trying to gauge the extent of this dangerous school of thought the more I am convinced of its global reach.

    Are we looking at a poisoned civilization? Will the antidote be administered in time? The antidote has the fortunate power of rationally founded optimism, so let us be optimistic!

    As things are changing and getting ready for a “third wave”, the only contribution I can make is to think and talk about a post-naturalist world. With post-naturalist I do imply that naturalism has perverted human thought during the modernist and post-modernist eras. To single out naturalism might be too simplistic, but it surely has amazing explanatory power.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky @53:

    There is a tendency — as part of the rhetorical rationale for relativism and subjectivism — to exaggerate the degree of actual difference among peoples and groups on morality.

    Have you read C S Lewis’ discussion of the common core of morality in, say, his Mere Christianity?

    to see what is going on, try this: why and how do we quarrel?

    ANS: You unfair me! that is, a complaint of harm that violates my dignity as a person.

    To which the retort is not usually that “I’se cat and you’se mouse; yuh ent nutten but lunch.” [Save for the case of a certain Adolph Schicklegruber and his intellectual progenitors, whose basic point was that there was an evolutionarily established inequality of races . . . ]

    So, we see that the appeal on morality ever has been not to power but to equality and dignity; to morality not antimorality.

    To reason not force and self serving incoherence.

    So, when he came to ground modern liberty on natural — objective moral law, Locke cited “the judicious [Richard] Hooker” in Ch 2 Sect 5 of his 2nd essay on civil Govt:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant.

    And that should warn you, Seversky and co, what matches you are playing with, near what powder keg . . .

    So too, I hardly need to advert here to Kant’s categorical imperative which showed the objectivity of moral principle from the corrosive and destructive effects of immoral behaviour [a thought test that soon shows up why certain behaviours are easily shown to be immoral].

    Immoral behaviour parasites off the general behaviour in a community and undermines it.

    So, if it propagates across the community it destroys it. In so doing it USES people as tools or toys, so Kant observed that moral principles of action should be universalisable without destruction to society. [Is a society of all lies all the teime feasible? All murderers? All thievery? All cowardice? Sexual self-indulgence? And so on . . . ]

    In short, the objectivity of core morality is plain enough and well accepted enough. At least, for those willing to listen before it is too late.

    GEM of TKI

  61. 61
    Seversky says:

    StephenB @ 54

    For me, skepticism is a mental condition which denies the fact that the images in our mind correspond to real universals outside of the mind.

    For you, perhaps, but I doubt you will find many who hold to such a radical version of skepticism. I suspect that, for most, they practice a moderate form which is more akin to the agnosticism of T E Huxley:

    …it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism asserts and in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism.

    Christianity and Agnosticism 1889

    On the question of objective morality, he also wrote:

    Of moral purpose I see no trace in Nature. That is an article of exclusively human manufacture and very much to our credit.

  62. 62
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, re 60:

    Do you understand the self-referential infinite regress and inconsistency in the following?

    it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism asserts and in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism.

    1 –> the above claims to be an objective, known moral truth. You are a relativist who denies the possibility of such; i.e you are internally inconsistent here.

    2 –> It entails an infinite regress of proof [taking logical justification for certainty in its usual sense].

    3 –> To see why, consider the failure of Cliffordian evidentialism as summarised here, and then reflect on the contrasting argument below:

    start with an abstract example, say, claim A. Why should we accept it? Generally, because of B. But, why should we accept B? Thence, C, D, . . . etc. Thus, we face either an infinite regress of challenges, or else we stop at some point, say F — our Faith-Point.

    4 –> Such a faith point needs not be arbitrary or question begging, once we address it in light of comparative difficulties of alternative worldviews. And in that regard, the resistance of evolutionary matrerialism to reason and objective morality are very definite issues we need to reflect on.

    5 –> the nature in question on laws of nature is that of humans as rational, moral consciously social animals; i.e beings under moral government. For the implications of thinking morality to be a human invention, cf the implications of “might [or manipulation] makes right.”
    ______________

    I hope you heed this, but if you do not, we the onlookers need to understand the implications of where you are coming from, for reasons of our safety.

    GEM of TKI

  63. 63
    StephenB says:

    Seversky on Huxley:

    …..”it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism asserts and in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism.”

    Notice the firsth three words of his comment and weep. —“It is wrong.” Incrdibly he assumes objective morality as a given without even realizing what he is doing.

    —–On the question of objective morality, he also wrote:

    —–“Of moral purpose I see no trace in Nature. That is an article of exclusively human manufacture and very much to our credit.”

    Except, of course, that he just appealed to objective moratliy in his statement on objective truth. In any case, his position is irrational. If it is a human construction, which formulation is it that humans constructed: Is it the skepticism that you and two out of three Americans now hold to or is it the opposite view held by four out of five Americans fifty years ago.

    Seversky, you seem to think that famous people who have been celebrated for their intelligence cannot be irrational. But as I have already made clear, skepticism disallows rational discussion by eliminating the standards for rational thinking.

    Also, Huxley may well have ignored evidence for the natural moral law. Perhaps he responded in much the same way that you did. I asked you to search out “illustrations of the Tao,” and you simply ignored the evidence and continued on as sleek as ever.

    While we are at it, Sir Julian Huxley admitted that evolutionists embraced Darwin’s theory because it provided them rational justification for throwing off those pesky old sexual mores. Does that sound rational to you?

    Both ideas of subjective truth and subjective morality self destruct under investigation.

    In any case, the irony never fails. When someone informs me that there is no such thing as absolute truth, I always ask them, “Are you absolutely certain that statement is true?” They always say, “yes,” thus missing the irony and demonstrating how irrational they really are. I trust that you do not miss the irony.

  64. 64
    StephenB says:

    —-mullerpr: “Are we looking at a poisoned civilization? Will the antidote be administered in time? The antidote has the fortunate power of rationally founded optimism, so let us be optimistic!”

    Once one realizes that we do indeed live in a rational universe, I would agree that optimism is a more appropriate response than pessimism. For my part, there are three possible intellectual orientations: quillibility, realism, and skepticism. Both gullibility and skepticism are extremes. In many ways, skepticism survives by illustrating the disadvantages of guillibiltiy while ignoring the truth of rationality. To believe in anything is just as destructive as believing in nothing. In fact, as Chesterton once noted, those who believe in nothing often end up believing in anything. That may explain why Darwinists affirm the impossible and deny the obvious.

  65. 65
    StephenB says:

    @63 and 64, I trust that the words “incredibly” and “gullibility” can be discerned from their mistyped counterparts.

  66. 66
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    That may explain why Darwinists affirm the impossible and deny the obvious.

    According to the Comres report that was recently linked here:

    48 % of IDist believe in ghosts (39 % of the general population, 30 % of people accepting atheistic evolution)

    36 % of IDists believe in reincarnation (27 % of all, 17 % of AE)

    30 % of IDists believe in astrology/horoscopes (22 % of all, 15 % of AE)

    19 % of IDists believe in fortune telling/Tarot (15 % of all, 13 % of AE)

    Just thought you might find that interesting. Do you believe in astrology, horoscopes, fortune telling and Tarot etc? I don’t.

  67. 67
    mullerpr says:

    George L Farquhar @ 66,

    If those statistics are the full complement of your argument that “IDists are not rational” (or what ever you insinuate) then I pity your subjectivist make belief world. The whole argument is that rationality is proven to be an objective truth outside the individual’s subjective belief systems regarding anything, including “astrology, horoscopes, fortune telling, Tarot etc.” Truth is something that through proper function we actually can achieve.

    What you need to show is that your view of rationality is not just the same as any of the things you declared that you don’t belief in. Can you do that within an internalist epistemology and a naturalistic perspective? Tell me what is your definition of rationality, logic and truth.

    I put it to you that, purely from the argument you tried to put together above, you have built no falsification for any of the IDist though generated in this discussion. You actually just set the scene to indict yourself as an irrational equal to fortune telling, if you cannot come up with a good non-IDist defense of your epistemology.

    Try with something that resembles an argument about what is discussed in this discussion, it will make you look like a participant.

  68. 68
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr,

    If those statistics are the full complement of your argument that “IDists are not rational” (or what ever you insinuate) then I pity your subjectivist make belief world.

    Who rattled your cage? I was in essence repeating facts already under discussion. There is a whole thread dedicated to the report already but it seemed relevant here.

    Truth is something that through proper function we actually can achieve.

    I agree. Can we both agree there is nothing “to” Tarot cards, horoscopes etc?

    I put it to you that, purely from the argument you tried to put together above, you have built no falsification for any of the IDist though generated in this discussion.

    As I said, I made no real “argument” except to repeat some facts. If any, the argument I was making was that anybody can believe in irrational things. I imagine there are plenty of Darwinist biologists who check their horoscopes in the morning.

    You actually just set the scene to indict yourself as an irrational equal to fortune telling, if you cannot come up with a good non-IDist defense of your epistemology.

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand that.

  69. 69
    mullerpr says:

    I have to point out that my argument in #67, against George L Farquhar in #66 is only valid if it was in actual fact designed to insinuate that “IDists” are irrational because some of them hold irrational beliefs. If that was not George L Farquhar’s intention then my response is just meant to highlight the fact that #66 brings no new insight for this discussion especially since StephenB already showed that two thirds of the US population holds to some form of epistemological relativism.

    In this light, I hope George L Farquhar will only “wear the shoe if it fits”.

  70. 70
    mullerpr says:

    I started typing #69 before I saw your response which make it clear that the “shoe does not fit” and I am sorry if it offended you.

    I still hope my response in #67 point out that an internalist epistemology that is held by many naturalists can only lead to irrationality equal to things like fortune telling.

    You did

  71. 71
    StephenB says:

    —-George: “As I said, I made no real “argument” except to repeat some facts. If any, the argument I was making was that anybody can believe in irrational things. I imagine there are plenty of Darwinist biologists who check their horoscopes in the morning.”

    You are trying to compare apples with oranges. ID is not a belief system, so it can accomodate all kinds of world views that acknowledge the reality of design. Skepticism, on the other hand, is a belief system, or rather, an anti-belief system, that contradicts itself by first affirming that nothing at all is true and then violating that principle by affirming that its anti-truth program is the truth.

    Further, that fact that some ID’s might go off the deep end and believe in the occult, ghosts, or reincarnation is not altogether surprising since they are open to the realm of the spirit. On the other hand, the report also shows that a large number materialist/atheists, who renounce the reality of spirit by definition, end up believing in spiritual realities anyway, which shows how truly whacked out they really are.

    Getting away from my rhetorical flourish at the end, we still have the main theme on the table. Skeptics deny objective morality, while appealing to it at every turn, as was evident in Huxley’s comment. More often than not, disdain rudeness and demand courtesy without realizing that they are appealing to an abosolute, objective standard of justice each time they raise the issue. So, I can easily defend my little rhetorical flourish, but the larger question is why did you ignore the main theme, which is the irrational nature of skepticism.

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    Stephen:

    I followed up your “illustrations of the Tao,” and found this as hit no 1.

    This, from Abolition of Man, is essentially the same as is in Mere Christianity.

    Seversky et al should indeed read carefully before commenting further.

    GEM of TKI

  73. 73
    Adel DiBagno says:

    StephenB [71]:

    Skeptics deny objective morality, while appealing to it at every turn, as was evident in Huxley’s comment.

    As I read Huxley,

    …it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism asserts and in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism.

    he is using the word “wrong” in the sense of “incorrect,” not in the sense of “immoral.”

    Perhaps I have it “wrong.”

  74. 74
    Winston Macchi says:

    Notice the firsth three words of his comment and weep. —”It is wrong.” Incrdibly he assumes objective morality as a given without even realizing what he is doing.

    His comment assumes no morality. He is not saying that it is morally wrong, he is saying that it is logically wrong. He is not saying that it has to be wrong, he is saying the certainty of the one exposing is wrong if their is no evidence presented from which that exposing could be formed.

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    George L Farquhar:

    Do you believe in astrology, horoscopes, fortune telling and Tarot etc?

    Not a one. And indeed, simply if we were to take the Biblical injunctions against such seriously, we would shun them.

    In short, you may be missing the bigger picture as highlighted by G K Chesterton: it is the turning from God that opens the door in a culture to many, many irrationalities. (When our civilisation was a lot more biblical, people would have been but little inclined to take such nonsense seriously or where there may possibly be “some’at in it” after duly discounting all charlatanry and tomfoolery, they would attribute it to evil to be shinned not the Creator to be revered.)

    In short, you are simply further measuring the state of a civlisation living out of Rom 1.

    Now, let’s look at a REAL issue on rationality/irrationality:

    a –> Suppose you were walking across a field and stumbled upon a plain vanilla garden variety stone. Would you regard that as remarkable?

    b –> Suppose instead, the stone were of flint, and were shaped to fit to an arrow shaft and for accuracy of flight and effectiveness of penetration into say a deer. Would you regard that as a likely accident? Or would you infer that intelligence was a better explanation?

    c –> Now, say you were instead to come across a functioning pocket computer; perhaps a PDA. Would you be more likely to infer to intelligence or to accident as its best explanation?

    d –> Now, compare the cell, and its DNA, ribosome, enzymes proteins etc. Have we not here stumbled on information storage [ 600 k bits to 3 giga bits typically], codes, interfacing and step by step — i.e. algorithmic — processing by nano-machinery? What is its best explanation, why?

    e –> Now, reckon with: just 1 k bits of functional information fits into a configuration space of 10^301 states. The total number of quantum states of the 10^80 or so atoms of the observed cosmos across its typically estimated lifespan is 10^150 or so. In short, the whole observed universe acting as a search engine could not sample as much as 1 in 10^150 of the state space, making random variation utterly unlikely to get to a functional state. [And, without already functioning states, differential success at function is irrelevant — NONE are functional.]

    f –> And yet, we are often told that it is irrational to question the idea that in one postulated pre-biotic soup or other, far more complex function emerged out of more or less spontaneous chemical interactions; then that some 540 million years ago, there was a burst of development in such life that created dozens of novel body plans requiring probably 10’s of millions of new bits of functional information each.

    _____________

    I trust you see from the above the reason why inference to design, whatever else may be in error among us, is NOT an irrational view on the level of trusting that the accident of which planet [including of course the sun] was where along the ecliptic at the moment of one’s birth controls one’s life.

    In short, insofar as the survey set out to measure rationality/irrationality by implicitly making or inviting such comparisons, it was utterly flawed.

    It may have some utility in documenting the actual educational exposure and professional level of ID supporters, etc, but the underlying implication of comparing inference to design to belief in astrology is utterly flawed.

    GEM of TKI

  76. 76
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    ID is not a belief system, so it can accomodate all kinds of world views that acknowledge the reality of design.

    Can you tell me, specifically, how ID “accomodates” Tarot card reading?

  77. 77
    Seversky says:

    StephenB @ 63

    …..”it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism asserts and in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism.”

    Notice the firsth three words of his comment and weep. —”It is wrong.” Incrdibly he assumes objective morality as a given without even realizing what he is doing.

    Unfortunately, both you and kairosfocus have leaped to – dare I say it – the wrong conclusion.

    Like so many words, ‘wrong’ can mean different things in different contexts. We can say that claiming 2 + 2 = 5 is wrong without meaning it is immoral. We can say that driving the wrong way along a one-way street is “wrong” without meaning it is immoral – stupid, yes, but not immoral.

    We can also say, like Huxley, that “it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty” while meaning that making unjustified claims of certainty is inconsistent with a proclaimed desire for Truth, althoough that certainly comes closer to being a moral claim if you believe lying is always immoral.

    The other error lies in assuming that the statement “it is wrong” is always an appeal to an objective moral standard. It can mean that undoubtedly, but it can also imply an unstated qualifier such as “in my view”.

    The problem lies in the grammatical structure of the English language which allows us to state value judgements as predicates in the same form as observations. Thus, we can say ‘the tomato is red’ and ‘the tomato is gorgeous’ but while, in the first case, we are referring to an objective and measurable property of the tomato – the wavelengths of light reflected by it and how they are represented in our mental model of the world – in the second case we are stating a personal opinion. Everyone with normal eyesight will see the tomato as red but not everyone with normal senses will agree that tomatoes are gorgeous.

    Seversky, you seem to think that famous people who have been celebrated for their intelligence cannot be irrational. But as I have already made clear, skepticism disallows rational discussion by eliminating the standards for rational thinking.

    Also, Huxley may well have ignored evidence for the natural moral law. Perhaps he responded in much the same way that you did. I asked you to search out “illustrations of the Tao,” and you simply ignored the evidence and continued on as sleek as ever.

    Actually, I did look up “Illustrations of the Tao” and there would seem to be room here for some measure of agreement between us.

    In my view, moral codes are founded on our common interests as human beings. We all need food, drink, shelter, warmth, a means of providing for ourselves and our families and a secure environment in which to live out our lives. The function of moral codes is to regulate the behavior of human beings towards one another in order to ensure that those basic needs are met and to proscribe behavior that harms those interests. On that view, we would expect to find that most if not all human societies share certain basic moral precepts such as that unlawful killing or stealing from others is wrong. To that extent you could argue that it is evidence of objective morality or natural moral laws although I would view it more as an emergent property of humans when living in groups that promotes social cohesion and stability.

    The problem with viewing common moral precepts as evidence of objective morality is that it suffers from the fallacy of selective reporting. It highlights shared moral beliefs while ignoring the significant differences. For example, as we all know, under Sharia law in certain Islamic states, adulterers may be stoned to death or thieves may have their hands amputated or women are not allowed out in public unless covered from head to foot. For some, though not all, Muslims these are fundamental issues of morality while most Westerners, whether Christian or not, find them abhorrent.

    Moral views also change over time. Is there any doubt that Christians of a thousand years ago would find some of the behavior of Christians to day quite shocking? And, without dwelling on it, there are many acts described in the Old Testament, both of the Jews and of God, that today we regard as deeply immoral.

    While we are at it, Sir Julian Huxley admitted that evolutionists embraced Darwin’s theory because it provided them rational justification for throwing off those pesky old sexual mores. Does that sound rational to you?

    You might want to look a little more closely at the authenticity of that claim.

    Both ideas of subjective truth and subjective morality self destruct under investigation.

    In any case, the irony never fails. When someone informs me that there is no such thing as absolute truth, I always ask them, “Are you absolutely certain that statement is true?” They always say, “yes,” thus missing the irony and demonstrating how irrational they really are. I trust that you do not miss the irony.

    As I understand it, outside of formal systems like logic, the truth of a statement about the world depends on the degree to which it corresponds with our observations. As limited beings it may be beyond our capacity to observe the world in detail sufficient to allow us to construct a perfect description or attain a perfect understanding of it, so while we are as we are, Absolute Truth might as well not exist.

  78. 78
    George L Farquhar says:

    KariosFocus

    c –> Now, say you were instead to come across a functioning pocket computer; perhaps a PDA. Would you be more likely to infer to intelligence or to accident as its best explanation?

    It depends. If I saw lots of little PDAs following along after Mother PDA, some of them slightly different (e.g. more ram, better resolution screen, somewhat awkward keyboard, one with half a working screen etc) then perhaps I’d suspect accident.

    If, however, it was on a salt plain on an otherwise barren planet, I’d suspect design.

    making random variation utterly unlikely to get to a functional state.

    My dear fellow, I believe I can help you out here! The thing is, nobody believes that the sampling was random you see! Otherwise I daresay more people would have seen through the charade!

    It’s the mutation with regard to fitness that’s random you see!

    Once you assume a replicator is present then you don’t need to sample everything as you are already in a place where nearby sampling will take you somewhere probably OK for you too!

    So I’m afraid your conclusions only appear to follow if you work under the misapprehension that it’s all in fact done randomly!

  79. 79
    kairosfocus says:

    Adel and Winston:

    You need to know the context, i.e Clifford’s evidentialism, in the influential 1879 essay, “The ethics of belief.”

    Excerpting from the opening words and down tot he core thesis:

    ________________

    A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs. Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy; he thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and and refitted, even though this should put him at great expense. Before the ship sailed, however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections. He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms that it was idle to suppose she would not come safely home from this trip also. He would put his trust in Providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere. He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors. In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.

    What shall we say of him? Surely this, that he was verily guilty of the death of those men. It is admitted that he did sincerely believe in the soundness of his ship; but the sincerity of his conviction can in no wise help him, because he had no right to believe on such evidence as was before him. He had acquired his belief not by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts. And although in the end he may have felt so sure about it that he could not think otherwise, yet inasmuch as he had knowingly and willingly worked himself into that frame of mind, he must be held responsible for it.

    Let us alter the case a little, and suppose that the ship was not unsound after all; that she made her voyage safely, and many others after it. Will that diminish the guilt of her owner? Not one jot. When an action is once done, it is right or wrong for ever; no accidental failure of its good or evil fruits can possibly alter that. The man would not have been innocent, he would only have been not found out. The question of right or wrong has to do with the origin of his belief, not the matter of it; not what it was, but how he got it; not whether it turned out to be true or false, but whether he had a right to believe on such evidence as was before him . . . .

    To sum up: it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

    ______________________

    The history of ideas context of Huxley’s remark as cited should thus be quite clear.

    As I pointed out and linked in comment 62 above, this evidentialism is multiply in error. Not least, it entails infinite regress on evidence; even if we were to take the “wrong = mistaken” view. And that view is not the historically warranted one.

    GEM of TKI

  80. 80
    kairosfocus says:

    George:

    A quick note on my way out the door . . .

    You actually compound the problem of irrationality of inferring to spontaneous action of chance + necessity to create a computer; then enforcing same by Lewontinian a Priori materialism:

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [NY Review of Books, 1997. Now made more or less official by the NCSE, NSTA NAS etc acting as Magisterium and co-opting Government officials to back them up . . . ]

    .

    For, a self-assembling, self-replicating information system is a design at a level we can conceptually understand [Von Neumann anticiapted the function of DNA by several years in considering what sucha self-replicating automaton would need] but we have not as yet been able to design it.

    And to get that into a systemt hat stores explicitly only 600 k bits. Pterry tight coding I’d say. (Though a lot of the difference lies in the epigenetic hardware . . . )

    GEM of TKI

  81. 81
    CJYman says:

    Farquhar:
    “It depends. If I saw lots of little PDAs following along after Mother PDA, some of them slightly different (e.g. more ram, better resolution screen, somewhat awkward keyboard, one with half a working screen etc) then perhaps I’d suspect accident.

    If, however, it was on a salt plain on an otherwise barren planet, I’d suspect design.”

    How does replicating robotic and information processing machinery point to accidental development? How does evolution of such a system point to accidental development?

    Why wouldn’t you suspect the “broken designs” to be the result of natural degradation and the highly functional informational architecture to be the result of previous foresight. Can you even give an example (observation) of an information processing system such as that found in PDA having generated itself from only background noise [chance/statistical randomness] and an arbitrary collection of laws [absent previous planning for future consequences on the part of an intelligent agent]? Can you give an example of an evolutionary algorithm generated by the same method?

  82. 82
    StephenB says:

    —-George: “Can you tell me, specifically, how ID “accomodates” Tarot card reading?”

    ID makes no comment about it one way or the other. There can be no contradiction about what one does not address. I thought you had absorbed that by now. A more relavent question would be why anti-ID partisans would put questions like that in their survery. They and you must have been shocked to find that atheist skeptics indulge in similar fantasies. Now can you address the substance of the thread, which would be the irrational nature of skepticism, which I gather is your world view.

  83. 83
    George L Farquhar says:

    CJYman,
    kairosfocus uses an analogy similar to the Watchmaker analogy. One of the main critisisms of that analogy is the fact that watches do not replicate while biological organisms do and so you are less likely to ascribe what you percieve as design to something that had no possibility of being designed (by the nature of the enviroment you find it in or other similar facts such as that it had no means of self-duplication). Watches do not breed.

    Can you even give an example (observation) of an information processing system such as that found in PDA having generated itself from only background noise [chance/statistical randomness] and an arbitrary collection of laws

    Have you heard of Conway’s game of life? Some simple rules and self replicators arise. No, it’s hardly as complex as a PDA but “information processing system” is somewhat vague.

  84. 84
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB,
    Firstly you said of Tarot card reading:

    ID is not a belief system, so it can accomodate all kinds of world views that acknowledge the reality of design.

    And now you say

    ID makes no comment about it one way or the other. There can be no contradiction about what one does not address.

    It seems to me that if ID “accommodates” (your word) Tarot then it does not say Tarot cards are bunk! By accommodating something you do not call out the fact that it is a charade and false.

    If ID, and individual ID proponents such as yourself refuse to, when asked and as I am asking you to, condem such things as Tarot cards and palmistry then you must appreciate how that looks?

    No? I’m not asking you as a spokesperson for ID, just for yourself. Will you condemn such irrationality as Tarot and other similar superstitions? If not, why not?

  85. 85
    George L Farquhar says:

    Furthermore, you seem to be saying that Tarot cards etc “acknowledge the reality of design”. How so?

    Do people who claim they can speak to the dead or predict the future also acknowledge the reality of design?

    Just where do you draw the line?

    Why won’t you just condem them/it as ungodly charlatans and fakes?

  86. 86
    StephenB says:

    —–seversky: “Like so many words, ‘wrong’ can mean different things in different contexts. We can say that claiming 2 + 2 = 5 is wrong without meaning it is immoral. We can say that driving the wrong way along a one-way street is “wrong” without meaning it is immoral – stupid, yes, but not immoral.”

    I agree. Wrong can mean either something goes against morality or it goes against truth. So, 2 + 2 = 5 violates the standard of truth, not the standard of morality. On the other hand, driving on a one- way- street may or may not be an immoral act. Technically it is an illegal act. Legality is not synonymous with morality. It if is done mistakenly, it is neither moral nor immoral. If it is done recklessly, it is immoral. If it is done to save a life, it is moral.

    —–“The other error lies in assuming that the statement (Huxley’s)“it is wrong” is always an appeal to an objective moral standard. It can mean that undoubtedly, but it can also imply an unstated qualifier such as “in my view”.

    I can go this far with you. Unjustified COULD mean, “one cannot make a case for it,” or “it cannot be justified.” In such circumstances, he is appealing not to objective morality, just as you say, but to objective truth, in which case he still contradicts himself because he believes neither in objective truth nor objective morality.

    —–“Actually, I did look up “Illustrations of the Tao” and there would seem to be room here for some measure of agreement between us.”

    OK

    —-“On that view, we would expect to find that most if not all human societies share certain basic moral precepts such as that unlawful killing or stealing from others is wrong. To that extent you could argue that it is evidence of objective morality or natural moral laws although I would view it more as an emergent property of humans when living in groups that promotes social cohesion and stability.”

    There would seem to be only two possibilities: [A] We discovered what was already there, that is, there is a morality proper to human nature, or [B] We created it, as you suggest. I have never known humans to create anything about which there was universal agreement. So, I have to go with [A] Further, if [B] is true, then there is no such thing as the “inherent dignity of the human person.”

    —-
    —-“The problem with viewing common moral precepts as evidence of objective morality is that it suffers from the fallacy of selective reporting. It highlights shared moral beliefs while ignoring the significant differences. For example, as we all know, under Sharia law in certain Islamic states, adulterers may be stoned to death or thieves may have their hands amputated or women are not allowed out in public unless covered from head to foot. For some, though not all, Muslims these are fundamental issues of morality while most Westerners, whether Christian or not, find them abhorrent.”

    Not all aspects of all religions are in accordance with the standard. Sharia law violates the natural moral law by denying the inherent dignity of the human person.

    —-“Moral views also change over time. Is there any doubt that Christians of a thousand years ago would find some of the behavior of Christians to day quite shocking? And, without dwelling on it, there are many acts described in the Old Testament, both of the Jews and of God, that today we regard as deeply immoral.”

    The natural moral law never changes. The Ten Commandments apply to all persons at all times and in all places. So does the golden rule. If morality could change, it wouldn’t be morality. Cultural norms can change but morality cannot.

    —-“You might want to look a little more closely at the authenticity of that claim.” (Huxley’s claim that evolution freed him from sexual mores.)

    It is a famous quote. Just do a quick Google search.

    —-“As I understand it, outside of formal systems like logic, the truth of a statement about the world depends on the degree to which it corresponds with our observations. As limited beings it may be beyond our capacity to observe the world in detail sufficient to allow us to construct a perfect description or attain a perfect understanding of it, so while we are as we are, Absolute Truth might as well not exist.”
    We are certainly limited in our capacity to understand the world perfectly. On the other hand, we can understand the word in a rational way. If the logic of our minds does not match the logic of the world, then all is lost. That is what truth is, a correspondence of our minds with reality. Any rational discussion presupposes the existence of absolute truth. You believe, for example, that I am in error and therefore not in correspondence with reality. Otherwise you would not be disputing my points. If, as you believe, that I am in error, then it follows that you believe that I am going against the truth. Thus, you believe your position to be true and my position to be false. You do, therefore believe in absolute truth, which is, for you, that fact that there are no absolute truths. If you didn’t believe that point to be true, you would not be defending it. That was the irony I was alluding to earlier. So, absolute truth exists for both of us, except that I affirm it and you deny even as you make your appeal on its behalf.

  87. 87
    StephenB says:

    —-George L. Farquhar: “If ID, and individual ID proponents such as yourself refuse to, when asked and as I am asking you to, condem such things as Tarot cards and palmistry then you must appreciate how that looks?”

    Can you appreciate how you look obsessing over Tarot cards? Don’t you know that it is a typical atheist strategy to reframe issues and distract attention away for the theme of the thread? You are not the first Darwinist to try that strategy.

    Go back and read the title of the post: We cannot live by skepticism alone. It has been situated in a sociological and scientific context. Now ask yourself who brought up the issue of Tarot cards and ask youself who it is that wants to continue such a discussion. You don’t get to frame the issues that we discuss here. If Tarot cards are your thing, then go for it.

    Meanwhile, the subject under discussion is the irrational nature of skepticism. Since you have been studiously avoiding that subject, it seems reasonable to assume that you fall into that camp. Would you care to provide a rational defense for it. Seversky has been making a heroic effort so far, and he has not mentioned the occult even once.

  88. 88
    David Kellogg says:

    Throughout this discussion, the essay by Collins seems to have been left in the dust.

    It seems to me that Collins is concerned with a much narrower question than philosophical skepticism as such. (As a major figure in the second wave, he’s not even really against that — he just thinks it’s been distorted.)

  89. 89
    StephenB says:

    —Adel: “he (Huxley) is using the word “wrong” in the sense of “incorrect,” not in the sense of “immoral.”

    Yes, that is true. Unjustified could mean, “one cannot make a case for it,” or “it cannot be justified.” In fact, let us assume that is the case. In such circumstances, he is appealing not to objective morality, just as you say, but to objective truth, in which case he still contradicts himself because he believes neither in objective truth nor objective morality.

  90. 90
    Domoman says:

    StephenB and Seversky,

    Here’s the quote that Stephen gave mention to:

    “[I suppose the reason that] we all jumped at the origin [of species] was that the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.” | Sir Julian Huxley, Leading Evolutionist of his day and first Director-General of UNESCO

    Ta-da! lol

  91. 91
    CJYman says:

    Farquhar:
    “kairosfocus uses an analogy similar to the Watchmaker analogy. One of the main critisisms of that analogy is the fact that watches do not replicate while biological organisms do and so you are less likely to ascribe what you percieve as design to something that had no possibility of being designed (by the nature of the enviroment you find it in or other similar facts such as that it had no means of self-duplication). Watches do not breed.”

    Exactly. When explaining life, you have more than just the watch analogy (functional inter-relation of parts) to explain. You now have highly improbable functionality (as per the watch analogy) instructional information processing (as per the PDA analogy) and the self-replication (to which our technology has not even advanced yet).

    So I ask again the questions which you conveniently ignored:

    “How does replicating robotic and information processing machinery point to accidental development? How does evolution of such a system point to accidental development?

    Why wouldn’t you suspect the “broken designs” to be the result of natural degradation and the highly functional informational architecture to be the result of previous foresight. Can you even give an example (observation) of an information processing system such as that found in PDA having generated itself from only background noise [chance/statistical randomness] and an arbitrary collection of laws [absent previous planning for future consequences on the part of an intelligent agent]? Can you give an example of an evolutionary algorithm generated by the same method?”

    Farquhar:
    “Have you heard of Conway’s game of life? Some simple rules and self replicators arise. No, it’s hardly as complex as a PDA but “information processing system” is somewhat vague.”

    Extremely familiar with it. Downloaded it quite a while back. Makes interesting looking regularities as would any set of law and random initial conditions (much akin to langton’s ant).

    However, neither anything resembling instructional information states nor the processing of those states into function arises. Furthermore, nothing resembling self-replication arises. There are merely some instances of regularities in motion through grid space (again, akin to langton’s ant) — analogous to lawful motion such as planetary motion.

    If you don’t understand what instructional information or information processing (as it relates to the PDA analogy) is then we could discuss that further, however I would first appreciate answers to my questions above, which you completely ignored in your first response. I would just like to see the rationale behind your response and how you understand the basic non-lawful, yet also non-random informational structure of computation devices such as a PDA.

  92. 92
    David Kellogg says:

    The alleged Julian Huxley quote about sexual mores seems to be based on a misquotation of Aldous Huxley falsely attributed to Julian and spread by the late D. James Kennedy. Kennedy’s account changed. First he said he read the quote in a book by Henry Morris, and then later he said he saw Huxley say those words on television. But the quote has never been substantiated and in fact seems to be a distortion of a quote by Julian’s grandfather Aldous: both misquoted and misattributed.

    That’s what I found out from “a quick Google search.”

  93. 93
    Domoman says:

    78
    George L Farquhar

    “KariosFocus

    c –> Now, say you were instead to come across a functioning pocket computer; perhaps a PDA. Would you be more likely to infer to intelligence or to accident as its best explanation?”

    It depends. If I saw lots of little PDAs following along after Mother PDA, some of them slightly different (e.g. more ram, better resolution screen, somewhat awkward keyboard, one with half a working screen etc) then perhaps I’d suspect accident.

    If, however, it was on a salt plain on an otherwise barren planet, I’d suspect design.

    While it may, although I highly doubt it, be possible that life could evolve, unguided, after its initial genesis, you’re forgetting just that: its initial genesis. You said that if you found a PDA (which itself pales in comparison to even the simplest of cells) “on a salt plain on an otherwise barren planet, I’d suspect design.” But what exactly do we see on other planets thus far? Planets that completely lack life, even microscopic life. Out of all the planets we have seen so far, none of them have we seen to physically have life.

    It seems to me that you do have your salt plain holding a PDA (that is, Earth holding life) amongst an otherwise barren planet (that is, an otherwise barren universe).

    You also stated:

    Watchmaker analogy. One of the main critisisms of that analogy is the fact that watches do not replicate while biological organisms do and so you are less likely to ascribe what you percieve as design to something that had no possibility of being designed (by the nature of the enviroment you find it in or other similar facts such as that it had no means of self-duplication). Watches do not breed.

    First off, this also misses the point I made above: life’s initial genesis. But secondly, and more importantly, you think that the fact that organisms breed offers an escape to Paley’s argument. However, there is a problem with that thought: scientists have never physically seen, even over years of constant study, the process of, say, a lizard evolving into a bird. Sure, organisms change, but for all we know, lizards may always only give rise to lizards, and birds may always only give rise to birds. So in this sense, breeding has not saved the day, nor countered Paley’s argument, because as far as studies are concerned: evolutionary accounts such as a lizard evolving into a bird have never been physically witnessed. So the marvel that is a bird, may well be just as much a marvel of design as a watch is. One that cannot breed just as a watch cannot breed, that is, cannot breed in the sense of creating life that is anything other than a bird. Birds breed, but we do not know that they evolve (in the sense of giving rise to a completely new organism). Animals therefore, as far as we can tell, may be just like a watch such as in Paley’s example. But even if we grant that animals are not a fitting analogy to Paley’s, the first life on planet Earth definitely works, only it’s more complex, and thus, magnifies the problem.

    PS: I’m not suggesting that evolutionists hold that birds actually evolved from lizards, but I use it as an easy example of illustration (one which closely resembles the idea of dinosaurs evolving into birds).

  94. 94
    Seversky says:

    Domoman @ 89

    Here’s the quote that Stephen gave mention to:

    “[I suppose the reason that] we all jumped at the origin [of species] was that the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.” | Sir Julian Huxley, Leading Evolutionist of his day and first Director-General of UNESCO

    Ta-da! lol

    The reason I suggested to StephenB that he look more closely at the provenance of this quote is that the only evidence it was ever said is a claim by the late D James Kennedy. If you read essays discussing investigations of the claim here and here you will find that no one has been able to substantiate the claim.

    It is also not clear whether Kennedy was lying when made and repeated the claim although we shall probably never know now. A charitable view would be that it was just an error of all-too-fallible human memory, a less charitable view would be that Kennedy was ‘lying for Jesus’. How would that be judged against the natural moral laws that Kennedy would have undoubtedly espoused, I wonder? Would it be morally better or worse than the apocryphal Huxley quote?

  95. 95
    mullerpr says:

    Hallo George L Farquhar,

    I am dissipointed in you, after I gave you the denefit of the doubt regarding the “harsh” critisism I placed in #67 you actually confirmed the rest of you discussion that you deserved all my critisism.

    It will be to your benefit to understand the following regarding your #66 and subsequint argument:

    If those statistics are the full complement of your argument that “IDists are not rational” (or what ever you insinuate) then I pity your subjectivist make belief world. The whole argument is that rationality is proven to be an objective truth outside the individual’s subjective belief systems regarding anything, including “astrology, horoscopes, fortune telling, Tarot etc.” Truth is something that through proper function we actually can achieve.

    What you need to show is that your view of rationality is not just the same as any of the things you declared that you don’t belief in. Can you do that within an internalist epistemology and a naturalistic perspective? Tell me what is your definition of rationality, logic and truth.

    I put it to you that, purely from the argument you tried to put together above, you have built no falsification for any of the IDist though generated in this discussion. You actually just set the scene to indict yourself as an irrational equal to fortune telling, if you cannot come up with a good non-IDist defense of your epistemology.

    Try with something that resembles an argument about what is discussed in this discussion, it will make you look like a participant.

  96. 96
    StephenB says:

    Seversky: On the matter of Julian Huxley, each of us has one peace of evidence. I have Kennedy’s quote and his word; you have a partisan’s claim that Kennedy was a liar. I notice that you, too, are prepared to take that same tack. I had already visited that website that you refer to and it seems like a desparate attempt at damage control to me. Kennedy has a long record of public honesty, and he was on television for decades. If he was given to lying, someone would have discovered it long before now. My guess is that his critics waited for him to die before they dared to pull a stunt like this.

    In effect, I have two choices, either [a] The website is slandering D James Kennedy or [b] Kennedy was slandering Huxley. I choose the former, especially since another Huxley (Aldous) is also on record of looking for a pretext to justify sexual immorality. I gather that you read that part as well. Even at that, I didn’t intend to get that much mileage out of this one issue, so I am ready to move on to something else. Skepticsm is easily refuted, and I don’t need a quote from D. James Kennedy on a peripheral issue to confirm the point.

  97. 97
    StephenB says:

    Seversky: Here is the quote from Aldous Huxley:

    “I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.”

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    George and CJY:

    I have been rather busy elsewhere this morning on Hoyle’s magnetic angular momentum transfer theory on solar system origins modelling.

    So pardon a bit of selective focus:

    Re: “ANALOGY”

    a –> It is a common assertion that the design inference is a “mere” analogy argument, similar to Paley’s much derided and dismissed argument. (Indeed the ever reliably anti-ID Wikipedia has used the Paley Watch as its symbol for ID articles.)

    b –> Key problem: we have not an analogy but closely parallel instantiations of a common entity. A PDA embeds binary digital algorithmically functional, complex information. DNA embeds four-state digital, algorithmically functional, complex information.

    c –> The only difference of consequence is that 2-state elements compound the config space at 2^N, 4-state ones at 4^M.

    d –> In other words, it would be in principle easier to find PDA functional states by random walk based search and test strategies. (But of course the material fact is that BOTH are well beyond the reasonable scope of search on the gamut of our observed universe.)

    e –> Moreover, in each case the information functions on code based expressions of data structures and algorithms.

    f –> We routinely see such codes, algorithms and data structures created by intllligence, but have precisely zero instances of such being observed to originate by lucky noise.

    g –> And this is a point I raised at the outset when I started from the origin of life in whatever pre-biotic soup you may wish. It is also implicit in the challenge of major body plan innovations.

    h –> Moreover, I highlighted that the challenge — starting with a prebiotic soup — is to get to the shoreline of an island of function in the config space, not to hill-climb within that island. Mere replication of RNA molecules is not good enough: you have to get to coded data and algortihmic function, with the associated organised nanomachines to do the job PHYSICALLY. No bait and switch just so story simplifications permitted.

    i –> Also such RNA world hyps fail to face the problems of getting TO the RNA precursors, to homochirality and to avoidance of cross reactions to tar precipitation; which are the overwhelmingly likely result in real-world situations per experimental tests and observations.

    j –> Just check out Robert Shapiro’s recent remarks, which also inadvertently apply to his metabolism-first models:

    RNA’s building blocks, nucleotides, are complex substances as organic molecules go. They each contain a sugar, a phosphate and one of four nitrogen-containing bases as sub-subunits. Thus, each RNA nucleotide contains 9 or 10 carbon atoms, numerous nitrogen and oxygen atoms and the phosphate group, all connected in a precise three-dimensional pattern. Many alternative ways exist for making those connections, yielding thousands of plausible nucleotides that could readily join in place of the standard ones but that are not represented in RNA. That number is itself dwarfed by the hundreds of thousands to millions of stable organic molecules of similar size that are not nucleotides . . . .

    The RNA nucleotides are familiar to chemists because of their abundance in life and their resulting commercial availability. In a form of molecular vitalism, some scientists have presumed that nature has an innate tendency to produce life’s building blocks preferentially, rather than the hordes of other molecules that can also be derived from the rules of organic chemistry. This idea drew inspiration from . . . Stanley Miller. He applied a spark discharge to a mixture of simple gases that were then thought to represent the atmosphere of the early Earth . . . .

    [But] inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life . . . I have observed a similar pattern in the results of many spark discharge experiments . . . . no nucleotides of any kind have been reported as products of spark discharge experiments or in studies of meteorites, nor have the smaller units (nucleosides) that contain a sugar and base but lack the phosphate.

    To rescue the RNA-first concept from this otherwise lethal defect, its advocates have created a discipline called prebiotic synthesis. They have attempted to show that RNA and its components can be prepared in their laboratories in a sequence of carefully controlled reactions, normally carried out in water at temperatures observed on Earth . . . . Unfortunately, neither chemists nor laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA . . . .

    k –> So, we are back full circle to selctive hyperskepticism:

    (i) we observe a reliable source of FSCI — intelligence, but that does not suit the objectors as “a Divine Foot” might sneak in the door — tada, it is “irrational” to infer that design is a viable candidate for origination of the observed computer in the cell . . .

    (ii) but it is “rational” and “scientific” to assume or assert on just-so stories that run counter to the observed evidence, that blind forces in prebiotic soups could do what challenges the smartest minds today: design an autonomous, nanotech based self-assembling, self-replicating automaton.

    There’s something rotten in the state of early C21 Institutional Science.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: George and Stephen et al. I looked at someone’s hyperventilating accusation that the remarks by the Huxleys were inaccurately cited and dishonest — the usual quotemining rhetoric. This is what he cites as the “correct form” from Aldous Huxley’s Ends and Means:

    “For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom [Cf Rom 1:19 – 32 and Eph 4:17 – 19]; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust [and of course we found out just how “just” the favoured socialist systems have been . . . and BTW, how does an evolutionary materialist objectively GROUND his notion of Justice on a theory whose root is “the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”? or, is “justice” here — a la Marx’s analyses of class struggle — simply ideological rhetoric (and I almost never use that term positively; here I am using it in its full Plato’s cave manipulation form {interestying how usual discussions soften the bondage and manipulation} . . . ) to advance the power interests of the Huxleyan classes?]. The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotical revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever.” (p.273)

    Do you see the self-referential incoherences and selective hyperskepticisms at work, onlookers?

    And BTW,t eh evangelist whom he excoriates for misquoting and misrepresenting has in fact aptly captured the essence of the statement by Huxley. So much for the rhetoric of quotemining.

  99. 99
    kairosfocus says:

    OOPS: I meant SEVERSKY and Stephen et al

  100. 100
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    Can you appreciate how you look obsessing over Tarot cards?

    Your refusal to answer the question is noted.

    ID is not a belief system, so it can accomodate all kinds of world views that acknowledge the reality of design.

    Which includes Tarot cards, etc, apparently.

    Meanwhile, the subject under discussion is the irrational nature of skepticism.

    And yet when irrational beliefs are shown to be held on both sides of the aisle apparently only the views of the non-IDists are worth discussing? How convenient..

  101. 101
    George L Farquhar says:

    CJYman

    How does replicating robotic and information processing machinery point to accidental development? How does evolution of such a system point to accidental development?

    It’s quite simple.

    It’s about what is possible versus what is impossible. It is impossible that a PDA could form complete in one step via the random search mechanism (search all of sequence space randomly) so favoured by Kariosfocus.

    Yet if the search space can be searched one step at a time where you start from a point already suitable for the operation in question then it’s then possible that the complexity you see is apparant design rather then actual design. Possible.

    Can you even give an example (observation) of an information processing system such as that found in PDA having generated itself from only background noise [chance/statistical randomness]

    No, because that’s not how it works.

    However, neither anything resembling instructional information states nor the processing of those states into function arises. Furthermore, nothing resembling self-replication arises. There are merely some instances of regularities in motion through grid space (again, akin to langton’s ant) — analogous to lawful motion such as planetary motion.

    There are many replicators known in Conways game of life
    http://www.ics.uci.edu/~eppstein/ca/replicators/

    In addition, it is Turing complete

    http://rendell-attic.org/gol/tm.htm

    and so I would image that “processing of those states into function” is possible, not that I really understand what you mean there.

  102. 102
    George L Farquhar says:

    Domoman

    It seems to me that you do have your salt plain holding a PDA (that is, Earth holding life) amongst an otherwise barren planet (that is, an otherwise barren universe).

    No. You would be right if there was only a single life form on the planet and there was no evidence of ancestors leading up to it.

    And in any case, you argue against your case here. Why does it appear that there is a barren universe (no life) and a single planet with life? If life was indeed designed would we not expect the universe to be teeming with life? What do you believe is the reason that it is not?

    Life could presumably be designed to exist in other places, such as the outer reaches of the Sun’s atmosphere, the moon, interstellar gas clouds etc. Yet we don’t see it. Why?

    evolutionary accounts such as a lizard evolving into a bird have never been physically witnessed.

    This reminds me of Gish’s reply to everything “Were you there?”

    We’ve never witnessed the continents seperate, yet we are sure it happened. Murders happen and are not witnessed yet people still go to jail for them.

    How would you expect to “Witness” something that everybody agrees can take much longer then a single human lifetime? In addition, we’ve only really been aware of such things for only a small amount of time (a few human lifetimes). So the “were you there” objection is a poor one.

    Animals therefore, as far as we can tell, may be just like a watch such as in Paley’s example.

    Except watches do not breed.

  103. 103
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    But of course the material fact is that BOTH are well beyond the reasonable scope of search on the gamut of our observed universe.

    And yet they both exist.

    So, it depends on how you search the available space.

    If you search it randomly, whole universes will pass by before you find it.

    If you search nearby sequence space starting from a point where things already work, then it won’t take nearly quite so long. I notice you fail to address this.

    h –> Moreover, I highlighted that the challenge — starting with a prebiotic soup — is to get to the shoreline of an island of function in the config space, not to hill-climb within that island.

    Nobody claims to know how life started, exactly. So why don’t you write up your understanding of the “challenge” in a way that other people can themselves challenge and potentially contribute something to overall understanding of the issue. Write a paper and submit it to a journal. If you have proof that getting to a shoreline of an island of function is impossible without telic help, then that’s something that people would be very interested in reading.

    Mere replication of RNA molecules is not good enough: you have to get to coded data and algortihmic function, with the associated organised nanomachines to do the job PHYSICALLY. No bait and switch just so story simplifications permitted.

    So, a mere self replicator is “not good enough”, presumably because that does not allow the impossible “random search of sequence space” that you claim is impossible?

    There’s something rotten in the state of early C21 Institutional Science.

    To be perfectly honest, whining won’t fix it.

    If you want to make a difference there is only one club in town. Join it or continue to whine about it on the sidelines.

    If you can make your case, then make it. Get yourself published. Make your case in such a way that it cannot be dismissed. Provide evidence, propose expirements.

    Simply complaining about it on somebody’s blog won’t make a whit of difference, ever.

  104. 104
    mullerpr says:

    George L Farquhar,

    Just two easy questions, that indulge your “Red herring” arguments:

    In #100 you said: “Except watches do not breed.”

    Would your argument imply that it will be possible to attribute isolated code as coming from design, but self replicating code, like computer viruses, you will not be able to attribute to design because it self replicate or “breed”? (Remember this is a very strong comparison. Computer code and DNA code are literally the same thing in all coding respects as well as its ability to guide an action in a physical environment.)

    Then,

    In #101 you said: “If you can make your case, then make it. Get yourself published. Make your case in such a way that it cannot be dismissed. Provide evidence, propose expirements.

    Simply complaining about it on somebody’s blog won’t make a whit of difference, ever.”

    Why does this appeal to authority sound that much like the way Galileo were treated by main stream thought of his day?

    And again I have to ask you to participate in the discussion at hand by making an argument that supports your flavor of skepticism

  105. 105
    Adel DiBagno says:

    StephenB [88]

    —Adel: “he (Huxley) is using the word “wrong” in the sense of “incorrect,” not in the sense of “immoral.”

    Yes, that is true. Unjustified could mean, “one cannot make a case for it,” or “it cannot be justified.” In fact, let us assume that is the case. In such circumstances, he is appealing not to objective morality, just as you say, but to objective truth, in which case he still contradicts himself because he believes neither in objective truth nor objective morality.

    You make an excellent point, but he may not have been contradicting himself. The word “objective” can mean more than one thing. I believe that you are using it in the sense of “having an actual existence independent of human minds.” I suggest that Huxley was using the word in the sense of “based on observable phenomena.” I get this from the quotation in question:

    …it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.

    If he didn’t believe in “objective truth” in the way you think of it, would there have been a contradiction in his thinking?

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    Passing by briefly again.

    I pause to note that evolutionary materialism is a very recent imposition on science by the C21 magisterium. It lacks both historical and philosophical warrant as can be seen form my always linked section E. (Newbies, click on my handle.)

    But also I will briefly highlight the core problem at work from George at 99 and 101:

    It is impossible that a PDA could form complete in one step via the random search mechanism (search all of sequence space randomly) so favoured by Kariosfocus.

    Yet if the search space can be searched one step at a time where you start from a point already suitable for the operation in question then it’s then possible that the complexity you see is apparant design rather then actual design. Possible . . . .

    it depends on how you search the available space.

    If you search it randomly, whole universes will pass by before you find it.

    If you search nearby sequence space starting from a point where things already work, then it won’t take nearly quite so long. I notice you fail to address this.

    A simple scroll-up to the remarks I made above will suffice to show that I have focussed not on the hill-climbing that GLF so hopes will account for the origin of functional complexity, but on the fact hat the islands of function are deeply isolated in the relevant configuration spaces. As I said, you have to get to the shores of an island before you can climb to the mountain-tops.

    And the config spaces for those islands — as GLF has to acknowledge — are vastly beyond astronomical.

    So, how does he “resolve” the problem?

    1] He pretends I have not addressed the central issue — explicitly misrepresenting what I have said. (Cf my always linked for my answer, GLF; that is the backdrop for ALL comments I have ever made at UD.)

    2] He then proceeds to happily beg the question of getting TO shores of minimal function in config spaces that for credible first life start at 600 k bits or so of FSCI.

    3] The better to do so, when he in 101 actually cited where I pointed tot he problem, he changes the subject to why don’t you go publish a peer-reviewed article on it. Sorry, the Lewoninian a priori Magisterium has locked that door, GLF. Only materialistic plays are allowed in their Plato’s Cave shadow-shows. I did not do that, you guys did. (And so, since I believe science should be about seeking the empirically anchored truth unfettered by dogmatic shackles, I have no interest in playing that game.)

    4] Then he tries a turnabout: no-one nows how 1st life formed spontaneously through cahnce + necessity only,, so you go answer the issue. (Nope. We DO know how we get FSCI and how we get digital, algorithm-implementing computers as are seen in PDSs and the cell alike. Just the empirically based known best explanation is the one that the materialists do not want to consider: design. And, if no-one knows then why are students being misled that this is a pretty much solved problem, complete with highly misleading icons and just-so stories?)

    5] He then presents us with the Dawkinsian notion that — presto — evident design is merely an illusion of design. (Sorry, GLF: until your side can show us a credible empirical case of functionally specific complex information of at least 1,000 bits capacity that forms by chance + necessity random walks to shores of an island of function — without warmer-colder oracles or the like getting it wafted towards the islands — we are confident that you have no answer to the formation of FSCI by chance + necessity only. Formation of FSCI by design — including the active information of oracles thatbroadcast warmer-colder signals to non-functional configs — is a routine observation or experience.)

    ____________

    GLF, all you are doing is revealing that you have begged the material question, and are exerting selective hyperskepticism.

    In short, onlookers: selective hyperskepticism, again.

    GEM of TKI

  107. 107
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr

    Would your argument imply that it will be possible to attribute isolated code as coming from design, but self replicating code, like computer viruses, you will not be able to attribute to design because it self replicate or “breed”?

    If you have, for example, a system that was originally designed but which had the capacity to change itself, and you let it do so could you then point to a given part of that system after many such iterations and say “that is designed”? Or would the fact that it “takes on a life of it’s own” nullify that? As nobody knows how life begain the question is open.

    Why does this appeal to authority sound that much like the way Galileo were treated by main stream thought of his day?

    The point is Galileo was ultimatly proven right. If he had stayed silent we would never had heard of him.

    Publish or not, the choice is yours. However, don’t expect your viewpoint to become the favoured one if you don’t publish and allow others to examine your work and thinking.

  108. 108
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus:

    Sorry, the Lewoninian a priori Magisterium has locked that door, GLF. Only materialistic plays are allowed in their Plato’s Cave shadow-shows.

    Untrue.
    Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design

    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=2640
    Try another excuse.

  109. 109
    kairosfocus says:

    Adel:

    Please.

    There is an historical context for Huxley’s remarks. Cliffordian evidentialism; cf 62 and 79. Tthat makes it very plain that Huxley’s natural meaning was [1] it is ETHICALLY wrong, and [2] objective means those truths we discover rather than invent. (SB is simply being accomodating for the sake of argument.)

    Further to this, on what empirical evidential grounds do we establish the principle that only empirically warranted claims should be trusted?

    In short, you are here going in a self-refuting circle, through the problem of self-referential inconsistency.

    It is pretty well established that all worldviews have core commitments accepted without further proof, and that they use such to integrate the view, anchoring to other claims that are in part empirically warranted.

    Going beyond that, empirical evidence under-determines wordviews, cf the Lord Russell 5 minute old universe that appears just like thye one we think we inhabit as an illustration. how do you decide betwixt the two — not on empirical data as they are strictly empirically equivalent.

    Cf my Phil 101 Toolkit.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: onlookers, observe how the skeptics are repeatedly showing elementary gaps in their thought systems, gaps that have been routinely addressed by any reasonably standard survey of worldviews course or book for a long time now.

  110. 110
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus:

    As I said, you have to get to the shores of an island before you can climb to the mountain-tops.

    And again, I note that as nobody knows the answer to the orgin of life you cannot say one way or the other that it is impossible to reach the shores.

    And the config spaces for those islands — as GLF has to acknowledge — are vastly beyond astronomical.

    Acknowledged. However as they are not searched randomly, I fail to see your point. Nearby spaces are searched, only. One small step at a time.

    Formation of FSCI by design — including the active information of oracles thatbroadcast warmer-colder signals to non-functional configs — is a routine observation or experience

    Unfortunatly for you FCSI is a concept that has failed to gain traction outside of this blog. As such the onus is your you to show it has relevance.

    If the FCSI issue proves your point, I’m sure the Discovery Institute would be more then happy to help publish your paper regarding it.

    GLF, all you are doing is revealing that you have begged the material question, and are exerting selective hyperskepticism.

    In short, onlookers: selective hyperskepticism, again.

    Onlookers, if this means that I don’t believe what Kariosfocus is saying by default then yes, I don’t.

    Kariosfocus, you have to make your case, not bully people into accepting it.
    Publish it. I’m sure the tens of thousands of words you have written on the subject could be edited down and published.

    If you won’t even try then you cannot complain about “only materialistic plays are allowed in their Plato’s Cave shadow-shows”.

    Logically you would be in a much stronger position if you could say “I wrote a paper but it was not published because of bias” rather then “I did not write a paper because I knew in advance it would not be published”.

    Those who do not even try will always fail. People will help you if you can show obvious unwarranted bias. Nobody will be interested in helping if you don’t take that first step yourself.

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    GLF:

    have you seen just how much effort and care it has taken to for instance get the latest two Marks-Dembski papers to the point of such publication?

    Have you seen how they have had to conceal the identity of the journals until the papers actually come out? Why is that?

    And, had you actually reads the relevant papers you will see that they in part make the very same points I have made above and in the linked. (Indeed, where useful I cite from them.)

    I repeat: the magisterium is locking the door, barring it and expelling any it can catch hiding out in the corners.

    It has even gone so far as to tendentiously redefine science in ways that cannot be justified historically or epistemologically.

    So, please get real.

    GEM of TKI

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    GLF:

    Kindly note I have presented an argument based not on impossibility but on search space, search resource exhaustion. (Cf e.g. the always linked app 7, and the discussion in Sections A, B and C.)

    It is maximally improbable to reach the shores of islands of function in relevant config spaces. Those are the same grounds on which re trust the reliability of the statistical forms of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, as you can see in my discussion in the always linked APP 1.

    I repeat: we routinely see the creation of functionally specific complex information by intelligent designers. And FSCI is a reliable sign of such design.

    What happens, onlookers, is that he possibility of “a Divine Foot” in the door is leading to a panic among the evolutionary materialist magisterium.

    And, bye for now.

    I will take time for a more methodical discussion on points anon, DV. (Been just scooping up what catches my eye while I consider on other matters elsewhere. Who’da thought Faraday generators would be relevant to solar system formation and the Laplace nebular hypothesis angular momentum anomaly!)

    GEM of TKI

  113. 113
    George L Farquhar says:

    KF

    have you seen just how much effort and care it has taken to for instance get the latest two Marks-Dembski papers to the point of such publication?

    So it’s not impossible then? Often the hardest things in life are the most worthwhile.

    You won’t know if the door is locked or not until you try and open it.

    Have you seen how they have had to conceal the identity of the journals until the papers actually come out? Why is that?

    I don’t know, why is that? What’s the point in that as the identity will become known once they are published. So what is gained?

    And, had you actually reads the relevant papers you will see that they in part make the very same points I have made above and in the linked. (Indeed, where useful I cite from them.)

    Another excuse. I thought your reason for not publishing was that the reason was the door was locked, not that somebody else is already publising similar ideas.

    I repeat: the magisterium is locking the door, barring it and expelling any it can catch hiding out in the corners.

    And yet Dembski and Marks are publishing. And yet there is a list of ID supporting papers at the Discovery Institute.

    It has even gone so far as to tendentiously redefine science in ways that cannot be justified historically or epistemologically.

    And the only way you are going to fight that, if you believe it needs to be fought, is by making your own case in your own words.

    Publish or not, the choice is yours.

    If you don’t think your ideas can stand scrunity then I’m not surprised you make excuses.

    It is possible you might learn something from the critics in a peer reviewed enviroment you know!

  114. 114
    George L Farquhar says:

    KF

    Kindly note I have presented an argument based not on impossibility but on search space, search resource exhaustion.

    It’s how you search the space that is important. Your concept of “Random search” is flawed.

    It is maximally improbable to reach the shores of islands of function in relevant config spaces.

    If you have proven this then it would be a significant addition to the body of knowledge regarding OOL.

    Publish a paper.

    Those are the same grounds on which re trust the reliability of the statistical forms of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, as you can see in my discussion in the always linked APP 1.

    This is true. For increasing complexity the earth would need a constant source of new energy. Otherwise things would tend to move to a state of lower entropy.

    Can anybody think of such an external source of energy that the earth is absorbing?

    I repeat: we routinely see the creation of functionally specific complex information by intelligent designers. And FSCI is a reliable sign of such design.

    Can you put a figure on the FSCI content of some things for me?

    An Onion.
    A lego brick.
    A pyramid made of diamond.

    What happens, onlookers, is that he possibility of “a Divine Foot” in the door is leading to a panic among the evolutionary materialist magisterium.

    What evidence do you have for this, other then that you say it is so?

    Who’da thought Faraday generators would be relevant to solar system formation and the Laplace nebular hypothesis angular momentum anomaly!)

    Indeed, who would have thought.

    Now, are you going to publish your ideas in a forum where they might make a difference, or continue to make excuses?

  115. 115
    Freelurker says:

    StephenB:
    Meanwhile, the subject under discussion is the irrational nature of skepticism.

    The scepticism that you and others have been discussing here is completely different from what Collins was talking about in his essay.

    Please read the first two paragraphs, at least. Collins is talking about scepticism about science in the form of post-modernism.

  116. 116
    George L Farquhar says:

    Of course where I said “Otherwise things would tend to move to a state of lower entropy” I should have said “higher” entropy.

  117. 117
    George L Farquhar says:

    KF

    What happens, onlookers, is that he possibility of “a Divine Foot” in the door is leading to a panic among the evolutionary materialist magisterium.

    By “Divine foot” I presume you mean “God”?

    I thought that Intelligent Design cannot speak to the identity of the designer?

    What basis do you have for thinking that the designer has divine aspects?

    I understood there was no requirement for the designer to be supernatural, and yet it appears you have let the cat out of the bag here.

    Why is the foot in the door divine? Why do you make the jump to the supernatural? Even Dawkins admitted that the “designer” could be an alien and not supernatural at all.

    If he can, can you not also?

  118. 118
    David Kellogg says:

    An idiotic mistake on my part: for “grandfather” read “brother.” That’s what comes of writing quickly.

    Moderator: my comments are still awaiting moderation. I’d appreciate it if you released this correction simultaneously with the comment it corrects.

  119. 119
    mullerpr says:

    Hi George,

    I hope you are enjoying yourself, but you need to be careful not to over stretch your imagination.

    I asked:
    ” Would your argument imply that it will be possible to attribute isolated code as coming from design, but self replicating code, like computer viruses, you will not be able to attribute to design because it self replicate or “breed”?”

    You responded:
    ” If you have, for example, a system that was originally designed but which had the capacity to change itself, and you let it do so could you then point to a given part of that system after many such iterations and say “that is designed”? Or would the fact that it “takes on a life of it’s own” nullify that? As nobody knows how life begain the question is open.”

    Now I like to respond:

    Do you call this fantasy “the naturalization of design”? It is a nice dream that might sound plausible to you, but there is no known physical or logical process that can achieve this type of “naturalization”. Distance from an event of design has absolutely no power to naturalize such an event for the simple reason that such a phenomenon would, physically and philosophically violate the principles of causation. So, rather …don’t dream about this “panel beating” of causal reality and stick to the fact that the only known cause of code is design through intelligence. Suggesting the emergence of code, consciousness and intelligence through any natural causation has NO empirical support, but there is enough empirical support that shows it can come about through the act of an existing consciousness.

    If we manage to create true AI, it will only count as more empirical support for the causal effect of intelligence, no matter how far we go into the future.

    What you suggest is that we should turn a blind eye just to accommodate your irrational need to maintain naturalism.

    The falsification of this position is very simple… Show empirically that nature can cause code to emerge from randomness/non-code. If you show that I will reconsider my current appeal to design.

  120. 120
    StephenB says:

    kairosfocus: mullerpr: CJYman: Domoman:

    We have an abundance of threads on the subject of ID, all of which allow our critics to throw their best questions at us. This thread, on the other hand, allows us to put questions to our adversaries. The title of this post is, “We cannot live by skepticism alone.”

    George L. Farquhar entered this discussion with a wild and crazy scenario about ID and Tarot cards, hoping to engage me in a related discussion and disrupt the momemtum of the dialogue. His questions to you about ID are designed to do the same thing. He doesn’t want to engage me or anyone else on the present subject matter of skepticism. I have indicated that the denial of objective truth and objective morality is, itself, an exercise in irrationaliy. While that point is directly related to skepticism, George has no interest in discussing that one either.

    On another thread concerning science’s propoer place, he is playing the same game, ignoring the subject matter and asking irrelevant questions about the “designer.” Adel, Seversky, and others are engaging us about skepticism, and I think that we should insist that George do the same. As long as we allow him to grill us about intelligent design, he will, like his colleagues, remain immune from scrutiny. Let’s scrutinize him shall we and save our ID apologetics for ID discussions. We don’t get that many opportunities to turn the tables.

  121. 121
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    I have indicated that the denial of objective truth and objective morality is, itself, an exercise in irrationaliy.

    Earlier in this thread it was noted that “morality” appears to have changed over time.

    At one time slave ownership was the done thing.
    At one time the opression of women was the done thing.
    At one time opression of people based upon race was the done thing.
    At one time the sacrifice of virgins to unseen powers was the done thing.

    So where was your objective morality during those times?

    The original Tarot cards issue came up because you said in response to my original post:

    You are trying to compare apples with oranges. ID is not a belief system, so it can accomodate all kinds of world views that acknowledge the reality of design.

    And I’m just trying to find out if the Tarot is something that “acknowledge the reality of design” or not, which is what you seem to imply.

    Onlookeers, you only but have to read the thread in it’s entirety to see my point.

  122. 122
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr

    Distance from an event of design has absolutely no power to naturalize such an event for the simple reason that such a phenomenon would, physically and philosophically violate the principles of causation.

    Then why is the case for the design of life not already been made, accepted and put into pratice in every field of research and applied science? What do you know to say this that everybody else does not?

    Suggesting the emergence of code, consciousness and intelligence through any natural causation has NO empirical support

    Is the lack of empirical support for postion X then postive evidence for position Y? I think not. To prove Y you need to do more then disprove X. What is your empirical evidence in support of your position?

    , but there is enough empirical support that shows it can come about through the act of an existing consciousness.

    Then, logically, there is an infinite chain of consciousnesses stretching back through time, each creating the next in turn?

  123. 123
    David Kellogg says:

    Freelurker (115), you are right. It is interesting that this thread has almost never been on the topic of the linked paper — which mentions ID as being supported by skepticism (in its allusion to the Dover trial). Seems odd to insist on staying on topic now.

  124. 124
    Joseph says:

    George,

    If there are two positions, ie designed or not designed, then disproving one does add credence to the other.

    That said the empirical evidence for design is in the basics of biology- transcription, proof-reading, error-correction, editing, more proof-reading and translation.

  125. 125
    Joseph says:

    And as for published papers-

    What are the published papers that support the non-telic, adesign position?

  126. 126
    mullerpr says:

    Hi George,

    Since you have nothing to offer to defend your irrational position that there exist something that I coined on your behalf as “naturalisation of design”. I have to presume you only find comfort in naturalistic dogma promoted by main stream scientism. You are welcome to do that, just don’t call it science.

    Your last objection:
    “Then, logically, there is an infinite chain of consciousnesses stretching back through time, each creating the next in turn?”

    This is an attempt at a version of Dawkins’s infinite complex cause that you turned in an infinite regress of causation. You should have used Dawkins’s “complexity” argument because now you need to make it clear why you object to it and what naturalistic alternative you suggest. Any naturalistic approach that I know of require an infinite causal regress.

    I am sorry to let you know that logically there is no such a thing as an infinite regress of causation that can instantiate in any possible natural universe or multi-verse (it seems if David Hilbert would agree with me on this – look for Hilbert’s Hotel… and it seems as if you intuitively agreed with that).

    However the existence of a causal entity is, contrary to what Dawkins, (locked in his naturalistic commitments), might think, NOT infinitely complex. In fact it is absolutely simplistic for the simple reason that there is no mechanism necessary for an entity that is not extended in time and space. Read some on Divine Simplicity – http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....implicity/

  127. 127
    George L Farquhar says:

    Joseph

    If there are two positions, ie designed or not designed, then disproving one does add credence to the other.

    This is indeed true. However there are more then two positions available.

    What are the published papers that support the non-telic, adesign position?

    Almost all published papers support that viewpoint. There are several hundred thousand, at least.

    mullerpr

    I have to presume you only find comfort in naturalistic dogma promoted by main stream scientism. You are welcome to do that, just don’t call it science.

    If “main stream scientism” calls it science then by definition it is science. “Science” is a human construct and as such humans define it. The majority of humans involved in this (scientists with their scientism) appear to disagree with you.

    This is an attempt at a version of Dawkins’s infinite complex cause that you turned in an infinite regress of causation.

    The start of the universe could be something like, for example, the north pole. There is no time “earlier” then the zero time just as there is no point further north then the north pole itself. Yet there is nothing very special about the north pole itself. You would not know you were there unless you were told.

    As we’ve only just, as a species, started to peer back into the start of the universe I think it’s probably a bit early to declare victory for either side, don’t you think?

  128. 128
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr

    Since you have nothing to offer to defend your irrational position that there exist something that I coined on your behalf as “naturalisation of design”.

    Imagine you design and create a simple replicating organism. Now, seed a planet with it. You put your name into it’s DNA.

    Come back a few billion years later.

    You find a race of beings with very advanced technology.

    Do you think there would be much of a relationship between that original first organism and the end result? Is your name still going to be readable from the DNA type material you find? If you only had the two things you might find it hard to make your case.

    Or to put it another way, lets say you discovered an organism on a planet that was unable to process a resource that was abundant. You take it and adjust it’s DNA (or whatever it was using) to enable it to process that resource.

    You come back a few billion years later. The organism has turned into a space faring race.

    How would you be able to prove to them that their current position was due to a tweak you made way back in the (to them) mists of time?

    Or finally. Let’s say you have a picture (the Mona Lisa).

    You apply a filter in photoshop to twist it about. And then again. And again. Soon you won’t be able to recognise the picture at all.

    Given a number of such adjusted pictures, what method are you going to use to determine which pictures were originally meaningful and which were not (some were random static from the very start)?

    Can you not see my point?

    What is the essential “indicator of design” that can be preseved no matter what amount of geologic time passes?

  129. 129
    mullerpr says:

    George,

    I understand your point perfectly and I have given you the answer already and on this site the answer to your question is abundantly clear, just open your mind to a non materialist approach. And don’t break the causal chain just because you prefer it to look that way. The only argument against design in the origin of life is a proven physical process that can create information out of randomness. The detection of design is the ID objective, not “profiling” the designer.

    However, in your analogy and your problem with being able to “convince” the race that “I caused their existence”. I guess I would proof it through maintaining a logically compatible relationship with them, because there is nothing in this or any universe that suggests that the laws of logic is variant. You need the laws of logic to make sense of all phenomena of this universe as well as any possible universe i.e. any possible state of the hypothetical evolution you presented. But that’s just the way I would handle your problem even though it is not an ID problem.

  130. 130
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr

    The only argument against design in the origin of life is a proven physical process that can create information out of randomness.

    What looks like empty space is full of information. A pile of sand contains more information then every human book ever written.
    Neither you nor me know sufficent information about the origin of life to say anything with any confidence about it. Unless you have access to a time-machine? Were you there?

    All you can seem to say is what it was not, and not what it was. Until then, all you have is naysaying other peoples ideas. Try proposing some of your own. You may find that the ideas you have been ignoring are harder to knock down then your own and what then? Will you continue to belief in ideas you cannot defend in preference to an idea with more support?

    How is that rational?

    The detection of design is the ID objective, not “profiling” the designer.

    And what designs have been detected so far?

    E.G. Is all life designed, just some of it or what?
    How do you tell teh difference?
    Can you give me an example of a designed and a non-designed organism?
    Are only IC structures designed, or is that just one way to tell?

  131. 131
    StephenB says:

    —–George Farquhar: “Earlier in this thread it was noted that “morality” appears to have changed over time. “

    Yes, and I pointed out that morality cannot change over time or else it is not morality. If an act is moral in one generation and not another generation, then one can just as easily say that the new expression of morality is illegitimate as well as the old. The newest morality is not necessarily the best morality. Indeed, only “norms” can change. Morality always remains the same.

    ——“At one time slave ownership was the done thing.

    ——-At one time the opression of women was the done thing.

    ——-At one time opression of people based upon race was the done thing.

    ——-At one time the sacrifice of virgins to unseen powers was the done thing.

    ——–So where was your objective morality during those times?”

    Obviously, it wasn’t being practiced. It was only through an appeal to objective morality that all these groups were liberated. In that past, those who were oppressed were told that the majority opinion was not on their side and that they did not deserve equality. Or, they were told that they were less than complete human beings. It was only when they insisted that their oppression violated the “natural moral law” that they were given their due. In other words, their oppressioin just wasn’t right because it violated the “inherent dignity of the human person,” a principle that you obviously do not believe in.

    As a skeptic and a moral relativist, you have no standard for right and wrong because you disavow objective morality. Even now, you cannot tell me why owning slaves, oppressing women, or sacrificing virgins is a bad thing. You cannot say that it is “wrong,” which is why your position is irrational.

    —–“The original Tarot cards issue came up because you said in response to my original post.”

    No, it came up because you injected it into the discussion.

    —–“And I’m just trying to find out if the Tarot is something that “acknowledge the reality of design” or not, which is what you seem to imply.”

    The question cannot be answered because ID is not a belief system that passes judgment on other belief systems; it is a description of a scientific methodology. Examples of belief systems would be, epistemological realism, rationalism, empiricism, skepticism, theistic dualism, atheistic materialism, or pantheistic monism. Skepticism is a belief system that passes judgments on other belief systems. To ask of ID a belief system question is to ask a philosophical question. An equivalent and equally meaningless question would be this: do practitioners of the occult acknowledge the reality of random variation and natural selection as the sole explanation for biodiversity, or do they acknowledge the reality of design in nature. The only way to get an answer to that question is to ask those who participate in that kind of behavior. So, if your curiosity persists, then by all means, ask someone in that group what he or she thinks.

    —–“Onlookers, you only but have to read the thread in it’s entirety to see my point.”

    I sincerely hope that onlookers will examine the history of this discussion. It is incumbent on you to provide a rational justification for moral subjectivism and moral relativism if you think you can. That is the subject of this thread. Skepticism is a belief system and it makes wide sweeping claims that far surpass the modest claims of ID science. If you want to discuss ID, there are plenty of threads available for that and I will engage you at the proper time and place.

  132. 132
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB:

    As a skeptic and a moral relativist, you have no standard for right and wrong because you disavow objective morality.

    How is the objective morality communicated to you, personally?

  133. 133
    StephenB says:

    FreeLurker at 115 and

    David Kellogg at 123

    If you read my comments at 44, you will find that I took the subject matter of the thread head on and provided a critique on some of the assumptions. All my comments after that were responses to reactions to what I wrote. George’s foray into ID, on the other hand, constituted a total change in direction and an evasion of the subject matter. It is one thing for a discussion to develop naturally with twists and turns; it is quite another thing for it to be derailed.

  134. 134
    George L Farquhar says:

    It was only when they insisted that their oppression violated the “natural moral law” that they were given their due.

    There are legions of people around the world in conditions unimaginable that would disagree.

    Ask a child prostitute in a slum town and I suspect it would take more to change their living conditions then them saying (nay, insisting!) that the natural moral law was being violated.

    In other words, their oppressioin just wasn’t right because it violated the “inherent dignity of the human person,” a principle that you obviously do not believe in.

    Why do you say that? Any particular reason? And if I do believe in the “ingerent dignity of the human person” what then? How could that possibly be?

    Skepticism is a belief system and it makes wide sweeping claims that far surpass the modest claims of ID science.

    At least it calls Tarot cards out for what they are – total rubbish.

  135. 135
    mullerpr says:

    Hi George,

    You have a very strange concept of what information is. I can ask you to put your examples within any definition of information that you think might be valid, then we can talk again.

    Think specified complexity, it might help.

    If you want examples of design read more on this site.

    I think we have deviated enough from the topic and I will conclude here. Maybe we discuss this issue on some other thread some day.

  136. 136
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, I have a hard time taking your comments in 44 seriously, because philosophy has never successfully served as a judge of science. Can you give examples of philosophy successfully judging the worth of a scientific claim?

  137. 137
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr,
    Please provide your definition of information.

    I’ve thought “specified complexity” but it did not help.

    What units are you measuring information in please?

    If I give you some examples, could you tell me which ones have more or less information in then the others?

  138. 138
    StephenB says:

    —-George: “How is the objective morality communicated to you, personally?”

    I was instructed from the outside by moral teachers, prompted from the inside by my conscience, and edified by personal experiences through interactions with other people.

    Meanwhile, how do you arrive at your own personal morality and what do you do when it conflicts with someone else’s personal morality. Who arbitrates or who should arbitrate?

  139. 139
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    I was instructed from the outside by moral teachers, prompted from the inside by my conscience, and edified by personal experiences through interactions with other people.

    So, if by some happenstance a virus wiped all memory from the human race where would the restoration of the “objective morality” come from?

    If it’s objective then winding the clock back and playing the tape again would result in the same set of morals, again and again.

    Yet as we see in history it has not been that way. Things we would consider most disturbing were considered totally moral, for generations.

    Meanwhile, how do you arrive at your own personal morality and what do you do when it conflicts with someone else’s personal morality. Who arbitrates or who should arbitrate?

    Not too dissimmiar to your answer. However, I don’t kid myself that there is some “ideal” morality out there that somehow is infused into my being.

    If you have to be “instructed from the outside” then it’s hardly objective by any measure.

    What about neglected children who raise themselves? If there was such a thing as objective morality would you not expect them to posess it?

    As to who arbitrates. Well, if you can’t work it out between yourselves that’s why we have the law….

  140. 140
    David Kellogg says:

    A few more thoughts.

    First, the past several hundred years — during which time StephenB says philosophy has been corrupted — are precisely the times of science’s great rise and wild success.

    Second, Collins in his article implicitly connects to the issue of relativism. In his conclusion, he alludes to a proposed model of who should judge science (his “periodic table”) that is relative — that is, different people should judge different kinds of claims. Who should judge science? It depends: a proper relativist answer.

    The idea that we’d have better science if only we had better philosophy or philosophers strikes me as unwittingly hilarious.

  141. 141
    George L Farquhar says:

    The idea that we’d have better science if only we had better philosophy or philosophers strikes me as unwittingly hilarious.

    Indeed. We’ve had philosophers for thousands of years and while there has been some amazing insight into the human condition and the universe generally, it’s taken emperically based science only a fraction of the time they’ve had to raise most of humanity out of the dirt scratching level.

  142. 142
    StephenB says:

    —-David Kellogg:” I have a hard time taking your comments in 44 seriously, because philosophy has never successfully served as a judge of science. Can you give examples of philosophy successfully judging the worth of a scientific claim?”

    Sure. I could give you a thousand examples. Philosophy is supposed to judge everything about science. Science doesn’t deal with value, only facts. Philosophy deals with value and provides the principles of right reason which define the scientific approach.

    A good place to begin would be Burtt’s discussion on the metaphysical foundations of modern science. But, to take it to a more practical level, ask yourself these questions: Should scientists clone human beings? Are they equipped to make the moral decisions about mixing the human DNA with that of a pig? No, they aren’t. They need guidance from a responsible ethicist, who in turn need guidance from a responsible philosopher.

    Also, ask yourself where we get the foundations of logic, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of the excluded middle, all of which rule the scientific enterprise. They come from philosophy.

    Scientists are trained only to ask the “how” questions; they are not equipped to answer the “why” questions. Philosophy and Ethics are supposed to inform science not the other way around.

    Unfortunately, both philosophy and ethics have become too corrupt to do their job because each has come to hate objective truth, which is supposed to guide the entire philosophical enterprise. That is what philosophy means, by the way, “Love of wisdom.”

    That should not surprise us. This same phenomenon of hierarchical knowledge occurs within science itself. Physics illuminates chemistry, which, in turn illuminates biology. If there was no biology, physics could carry on; if there was no physics, biology would be out of business.

    Truth and knowledge always comes in the form of a hieracrhy; some things matter more that others. Philosophical truths are more important than scientific truths, but that fact has been lost in a postmodernist generation. To believe that all facts are of equal value is to be miseducated.

  143. 143
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    Philosophical truths are more important than scientific truths, but that fact has been lost in a postmodernist generation.

    And yet here we sit, the world is the richest, the most educated and the least opressed as it’s ever been.

    What, exactly, is wrong with this “postmodernist generation” and how would you say it needs fixing?

  144. 144
    George L Farquhar says:

    They need guidance from a responsible ethicist, who in turn need guidance from a responsible philosopher.

    Ask two and you will get two answers.

  145. 145
    Adel DiBagno says:

    kairosfocus [109]

    Adel:

    Please.

    There is an historical context for Huxley’s remarks. Cliffordian evidentialism; cf 62 and 79. Tthat makes it very plain that Huxley’s natural meaning was [1] it is ETHICALLY wrong, and [2] objective means those truths we discover rather than invent. (SB is simply being accomodating for the sake of argument.)

    I appreciate your references to Cliffordian evidentialism. That’s a line of thought that I was unaquainted with. Indeed, you are correct: both Clifford and Huxley took an ethical position concerning the pursuit of knowledge. Huxley’s sentence previous to the notorious one makes this clear:

    Agnosticism is not properly described as a “negative” creed, nor indeed as a creed of any kind, except in so far as it expresses absolute faith in the validity of a principle, which is as much ethical as intellectual. This principle may be stated in various ways, but they all amount to this: that it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.

    (Incidentally, I suspect that SB is capable of speaking for himself.)

    Further to this, on what empirical evidential grounds do we establish the principle that only empirically warranted claims should be trusted?

    I’m not sure we need any further justification than what Huxley gave:

    That which Agnostics deny and repudiate, as immoral, is the contrary doctrine, that there are propositions which men ought to believe, without logically satisfactory evidence; and that reprobation ought to attach to the profession of disbelief in such inadequately supported propositions. The justification of the Agnostic principle lies in the success which follows upon its application, whether in the field of natural, or in that of civil, history; and in the fact that, so far as these topics are concerned, no sane man thinks of denying its validity.

    KF:

    In short, you are here going in a self-refuting circle, through the problem of self-referential inconsistency.

    But as you said next:

    It is pretty well established that all worldviews have core commitments accepted without further proof, and that they use such to integrate the view, anchoring to other claims that are in part empirically warranted.

    So, Huxley had a core commitment to using evidence to support propositions. Why is that a problem?

  146. 146
    David Kellogg says:

    Ah. I see where you’re going. But that departs from the Collins article. Collins, on the whole, isn’t talking about that kind of judgment. To the degree that he is, in the conclusion, he’s talking about the value of science in offering very provisional judgments. That seems to me a very good thing, and not something philosophy can add to (in fact, philosophy tends to go the other way, and only offers provisionality to the extent that it adopts a scientific view). The main kind of judgment Collins focuses on — for example, whether anti-retrovirals are effective against AIDS — is not philosophical.

  147. 147
    StephenB says:

    —-“First, the past several hundred years — during which time StephenB says philosophy has been corrupted — are precisely the times of science’s great rise and wild success.”

    Science’s success is in proportion to its faithfulness to philosophy’s rational principles. Science’s failure is in proportion to its abandonment to those principles. So far, we have been living off of the capital of much earlier wisdom. It’s a little thing called lag time. We will pay later for our current macabre behavior in the life sciences.

    .
    The idea that we’d have better science if only we had better philosophy or philosophers strikes me as unwittingly hilarious.

    —-OK do your thing. Provide your relatavist answer about mixing a human DNA with that of a pig. Weigh in on the prospect of using human clones as sex slaves. Address the problem of killing formative humans for the comfort of other humans. Also, when you discover that groups on each side of the issue are about ready to go to war over the issue, explain how relativistic ethics can arbitrate, when relativsitic ethics, it if is consistent, must contend that both sides are equally right.

  148. 148
    StephenB says:

    —-George: “And yet here we sit, the world is the richest, the most educated and the least opressed as it’s ever been.”

    We became rich because we believed in absolute morality and freedom with responsibility.

    We are now losing that wealth because moral relativists in the public and private sector practice practice situational ethics, (personal preferences) at the expense of the common good. You are forgetting about lag time. Current blessings are related to past behaviors not current behaviors.

  149. 149
    StephenB says:

    @147 is for David Kellogg.

  150. 150
    StephenB says:

    —George: As to who arbitrates. Well, if you can’t work it out between yourselves that’s why we have the law….

    The law is based on moral principles. Before 1947, US law was based on the Constitution and natural moral law as set forth in the Declaration of Independence. Today it is based on elitist judges and popular opinion. Which standard do you accept as the proper foundation for jurisprudnetial wisdom? It is on those principles that arbitrators settle differences. The law is a practical application of a philosophical principle. In your judgment, which philosophical principle should rule. Obviously, moral relativism is useless as a standard for settling differences. Skepticism, which is the philosophical principle upon which moral relativsim is based is equally useless.

  151. 151
    StephenB says:

    —-George: “Ask two and you will get two answers.”

    But only one answer gets translated into policy, which means that the other answer gets rejected.

  152. 152
    StephenB says:

    —-George: “Ask a child prostitute in a slum town and I suspect it would take more to change their living conditions then them saying (nay, insisting!) that the natural moral law was being violated.”

    Only those who believe that it is objectively wrong will do anything about it. Do you agree that child prostitution is inherently evil? Or does your moral relativism prompt you to believe that it might to allright for some cultures but not for others.

  153. 153
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, most of the questions you raise in 147 are not the kind of things Collins is arguing about. And they certainly aren’t relevant to my point that better science doesn’t depend on philosophers.

    Given that, it’s hardly worth mentioning that you don’t seem to undrestand relativism at all. The notion that “relativsitic ethics . . . must contend that both sides are equally right” is a cartoon caricature rather than a serious claim.

    As I said, that’s beside the point — but being beside the point is, as I have noted before, par for the course on this thread.

  154. 154
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB,

    Only those who believe that it is objectively wrong will do anything about it. Do you agree that child prostitution is inherently evil? Or does your moral relativism prompt you to believe that it might to allright for some cultures but not for others.

    I am pretty sure the first claim is false. Most people are not doing anything about it no matter what they think about objective morality. For example, I’m not doing anything about it, and probably neither are you. What does your claim to objective morality get you?

  155. 155
    David Kellogg says:

    I’ve been reading this thread again, trying to understand how it’s developed. I want to ask about a paired set of claims.
    First claim:

    ID is not a belief system that passes judgment on other belief systems; it is a description of a scientific methodology.

    Interesting. A vast amount of material on this site (supposedly about ID) is devoted to passing judgment on belief systems. I suppose none of that is ID?

    OK, I’ll take this claim at its word.

    Second claim:

    Skepticism is a belief system that passes judgments on other belief systems.

    Depends what you mean. As a scientific practice (as framed by Merton), skepticism is a refusal of assent until evidence is provided and a rigorous testing of claims. Skepticism in this sense is essential to the scientific method. When Collins talks about skepticism in broader terms, he means is something else; a philosophical position that undermines judgment. Of course, one of his primary examples of such skepticism in action is Steve Fuller’s pro-ID testimony at Dover! This is what I mean by this thread being off-topic. How can so many comments be on Collins’s article and I’m the first to mention Fuller?

    Anyway, from those descriptions, ID is the position that comes off as “relativist” (it’s comfortable with all sort of beliefs, which I guess explains why IDers quote YECers as though they know something), whereas skepticism witholds assent until evidence is provided.

    From those paired claims, I take this: ID says you have your beliefs, I have mine, fine! Skepticism says don’t believe anything until you test it (philosophical skepticism, as Collins paints it, goes further and says don’t believe much then either!).

    I’m going with skepticism.

  156. 156
    StephenB says:

    —-David: “Given that, it’s hardly worth mentioning that you don’t seem to undrestand relativism at all. The notion that “relativsitic ethics . . . must contend that both sides are equally right” is a cartoon caricature rather than a serious claim.”

    What do you think “relativism” or skepticism means in that context. It means that all opinions about morality are contingent on the situation or the whims of the moral arbiter. So, if I have one morality and you have another, you have no grounds for saying that yours is right and mine is wrong. So, you are logically committed to saying that they are both equal in value. Surely, this is not the first time you have had to come face to face with your own philosophy.

    —-“As I said, that’s beside the point — but being beside the point is, as I have noted before, par for the course on this thread.”

    It is not beside the point to question the assumptions inherent in believing that science can make judgmentd for sociology or vice versa. Do you have an opinion on the matter? If so, this would be a good time to disclose it. So far, you have critiqued my opinions but offered none of your own.

  157. 157
    StephenB says:

    —-David: Interesting. A vast amount of material on this site (supposedly about ID) is devoted to passing judgment on belief systems. I suppose none of that is ID?

    There is an ID movement and ID science. As part of the ID movement, I pass judgment all the time. Right now, I am passing judgment on your moral relativism and skepticism for which you have provided no defense whatsoever. Apparently, you are confusing philosophical skepticism, which leads to moral relativism with scientific skepticism, which is a very good thing indeed.
    .

    ——Depends what you mean. As a scientific practice (Anyway, from those descriptions, ID is the position that comes off as “relativist” (it’s comfortable with all sort of beliefs, which I guess explains why IDers quote YECers as though they know something), whereas skepticism witholds assent until evidence is provided.

    Once again, you are confusing scientific skepticism, an admirable and necessary practice for withholding judgment until the evidence is in with philosophical skepticism, which holds that cannot know anything about truth or morality. So the entire remainder of your paragraph is irrelevant.

    —-“From those paired claims, I take this: ID says you have your beliefs, I have mine, fine! Skepticism says don’t believe anything until you test it (philosophical skepticism, as Collins paints it, goes further and says don’t believe much then either!).

    —-I’m going with skepticism.

    You are, once again, confusing scientific rigor with philosophical skepticism. At first I thought you understood the distinction, but it is clear to me now that you do not. I defined philsophical skepticism early on, so I don’t think you read my comments after all. Briefly, philosophical skepticism is the belief that there is no correspondence between our rational minds and the rational universe and that we cannot, therefore, reason our way to the truth. It has nothing at all to do with scientic rigor. Indeed, the principle of correspondence is one of the metaphysical foundations for science.

  158. 158
    David Kellogg says:

    Stephen, All opinions are contingent on a lot of things, but that doesn’t make them all of equal worth. You’re conflating relativism (the defensible position that all observations and values are relative to the conditions under which they are made) with subjectivism (the position that all observations and values are merely personal and thus can’t be debated).

    My opinions on Collins? I think it’s a pretty good article. His ideas of “waves” in science studies seems tactical to me rather than serious. I haven’t read the periodic table of expertise to which he alludes, but I’ve ordered that book from the library. He’s he’s clearly correct, however, that there is no position (either the Scientist or the Sociologist) capable of offering reasoned judgments on everything. Given that, different kinds of expertise and judgment will be required in different situations. How that works out in practice is a matter for policymakers, but it seems to strike a blow at the absolute supremacy of either science or sociology (or philosophy for that matter) as a universal arbiter. And that’s a development I quite favor.

    I also think he’s right that the second wave of science studies was not trying to undermine science, but that certain subsequent developments, including Fuller’s testimony in Dover, represented the triumph of a kind of crude distortion of of what science studies means.

  159. 159
    David Kellogg says:

    Stephen, I think I understand philosophical skepticism reasonably well. The links between the skepticism of science (one of Merton’s norms, though Collins does not mention it) and that of science studies is pretty clear.

    What Collins is saying is that, pace the would-be defenders of science, the claims of science studies were not anti-science or radically skeptical. He is worried about “the (unintended) consequences of what social constructivists were doing,” but not about the claims of constructivism as such. One of those unintended consequences, according to Collins, was the testimony of Fuller, who’s more radically skeptical than Collins ever was — and is pro-ID!

  160. 160
    StephenB says:

    David,

    On the matter of subjectivism and relativism, I am well aware of the difference. The point is that skepticism breeds them both. It holds that no final judgment can be made on either truth or morality, a world view which is destructive in all ways.

    Notice what happens when I put moral relativists to the test. No one here would state categorically that human cloning or child prostitution is inherently wrong. Surely, it must be evident that if the analyst cannot even make that judgment, there is no hope of reconciling science with sociology. Further, if there is no universal standard that all of us can respect and rally around, there is no hope for a well ordered society. ‘

    In general, there are three possible positions, gullibilility at one extreme, rationality as optimum, and skepticism on the other end. To believe anything at all or nothing at all is a very bad thing. Philosophical skepticism holds that objective truth and objective morality are unknowable. If that is the default philosophical position, then there is simply no way that either science or sociology can be illumniated or reconciled. They will be forever at war as will all of us. You don’t seem willing to acknowledge that.

  161. 161
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, you write that skepticism “holds that no final judgment can be made on either truth or morality.” Yes. But lots of provisional judgments can be made. And as the history of morality makes plain, no final judgments are made even by those who believe in objective morality. For example, in the case of child prostitution (which I am certainly against), definitions of both “child” and “prostitution” have varied historically.

    So: I define “child prostitution” as “the payment for sexual services from a person under 18.” But that’s a modern Western definition. In Biblical times, a average girl got married in early puberty, and she typically was married to an older man in exchange for a monetary payment in the form of a dowry. The decision was made by an older man (the girl’s father), who also received the money. Everything about that scene fits a modern definition of child prostitution.

    So were typical brides in Biblical times child prostitutes? I think the question is kind of meaningless. But I think a father who sells his 13 year old girl for money in America today should go to jail.

  162. 162
    jerry says:

    I thought that the dowry went to the husband not the father.

  163. 163
    jerry says:

    Sometimes it was a smelly camel.

  164. 164
    David Kellogg says:

    Apologies: I should have said “bride price,” which is paid to the parents, rather than “dowry,” which is paid by the parents.

    Cf Exodus 22:16-17:

    If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.

  165. 165
    StephenB says:

    —-David:

    —-“For example, in the case of child prostitution (which I am certainly against), definitions of both “child” and “prostitution” have varied historically.”

    Why are you against it if there is nothing wrong with it? If someone else is for it, does their opinion of morality deserve equal consideration? If so, which of your moralities should be codified into law?

    —-“So were typical brides in Biblical times child prostitutes?”

    Are you saying that a man in Biblical times who married his young daughter to one man that promises to take care of her for the rest of her life is the equivalent of modern day father selling his daughter for sex to a thousand men who will violate her dignity, destroy her soul, and end her life? Are you saying that a man in Biblical times who accepts payment for the loss of a family worker is the equivalent of a modern day man who accepts payment for his daughters sexual services?

    In keeping with the principle under consideration, can you bring yourself to acknowledge that cold-blooded murder is wrong at all times, all places, and under all circumstances. In other words, can you conceive that it might be an objectively evil act?

  166. 166
    mullerpr says:

    David,

    If you cannot see that your skeptical efforts of measuring morality according to your subjective claims will always end in the destruction of the objective truth that underpins objective morality, then you are a dangerous mind. What makes it worse is the fact that subjective musings like yours cloud the arguments through which rational people are supposed to find the objective moral answer.

    It is clear to me, the tactic of the skeptic is to cloud the argument and then claim that the uncertainty he/she created is the truth. Well I suppose this is a powerful tactic, but certainly not sustainable. This approach to knowledge is anti-scientific as well, for the simple reason that it accepts the skeptical hypothesis based on the claims of the hypothesis and ignores any objective data because it claims there is no such thing as objective data.

    This sounds like the most bizarre way of having your way every time. Was this not the seat of power for all the druids, soothsayers, shamans, witches and other social manipulators of old? The movie Apocalipto creates such a vivid picture of this situation in the priests that used their power of their knowledge about the solar eclipse to have their sick brutish way.

    StephenB, with these thoughts I concur with your analysis earlier that skepticism will inevitably lead to oppression. What worries me is that there are so many people already chanting the orders to kill free thought without any reflection on the inevitable oppression they welcome over themselves.

  167. 167
    kairosfocus says:

    Picking up threads:

    “A slice of a cake has in it all the ingredients.” — Billy Hall, Journalist-Philosopher of Jamaica

    I therefore start with an issue, the alleged dubious status of FSCI, that captures a lot of what is happening in the land of unbridled selective hyperspkepticism that is emerging before our eyes as is highlighted in the original post and as is manifested in the linked article.

    GLF @ 110:

    Unfortunatly for you FCSI is a concept that has failed to gain traction outside of this blog. As such the onus is your you to show it has relevance.

    First, let us clarify some basic facts that we all need to be aware of:

    1 –> Functionally specific, complex information, as is noted in the WACs (no 28) and glossary above and in my own remarks in App 3 the always linked,[there is thus no excuse for ignorant objections . . . ], is simply and essentially a DESCRIPTIVE term that traces to the usage of OOL research by the turn of the 1980’s. It thus specifically reflects the attempts of Orgel, Wickens, Yockey et al to account for the informational molecuels of life and their observed/ inferred functionality.

    2 –> Similarly [cf WACs 26 – 27 and glossary], specified complexity and complex specified information [CSI] trace to the same circumstances, individuals and terms. However, under Dembski et al, it has been generalised to incorporate many forms of specification, e.g. by K-compressibility. He has also specified circa 2005 a model for quantifying the measure of FCSI that is described and exemplified int eh WACs

    3 –> The relevance is: FSCI is the FUNCTIONALLY specified form of CSI.

    4 –> So, FSCI is a proper subset of CSI, but one that has direct, simple, objective recognisability — (1) information, that (2) functions in a context [makes a difference to behaviour of an entity or is linguistic or algorithmic etc], and (3) manifests complexity [as a rule of thumb look for at least 1,000 bits, equivalent to 143 ASCII characters].

    5 –> in the past several years, Trevors Abel, Chiu, Durston et al have spoken to a particular manifestation of FSCI, functional sequence complexity, by contrast with orderly sequence complexity and random sequence complexity, all of which are built upon the same situation circa 1980’s.

    6 –> this is of course FSCI in action, and as at 2007 in the peer reviewed literature with Durston as lead author, a table of no less than 35 specific measured values of FSC has been published; complete with a sufficiently full description of the method that the validity of the results can be seen as fully warranted in light of well accepted principles of information theory, probability, statistics and measurement practice.

    Q: So, why is it that we still see the sort of ill- informed, improper burden- of- proof- shifting statement/ objection/ accusation in the teeth of easily accessed facts that GLF has made at 110?

    ANS: Sad to say, because we are here not dealing with a balanced, facts- controlled discussion, but instead — at root — with the Plato’s Cave rhetorical tactics of manipulative debate. So, (i) at the serious level, if there is a fact that is plausibly obscure to the “ordinary” person [i.e. it is not frequently headlined, common knowledge], one may get away with distorting the record, twisting and/or denying the fact, and/or simply pretending that it does not exist or is false or is mere unproved assertion. Thus also, (ii) many who innocently trust those they look to for intellectual leadership to tell them the full truth, will be easily misled. And, of course,(iii) there are always those who will make bold declamations without doing their homework for themselves first. (Class (iii) often overlaps with class (ii). And in this case, the leadership of UD saw fit to provide a sert of basic correctives and glossary, as is prominently linked above. So, there is but little better excuse for classes (ii) and (iii) than for class (i). [Propagating a deception by failing to do one’s homework and/or by taking as gospel statements by those whom a simple chack would suffice to show are willfully misrepresenting the truth and those they oppose in debate, is not by any means blameless behaviour.])

    So, the FSCI objection aptly illustrates the underlying problem with the always question-begging and self-referentially inconsistent selective hyperskepticism that has come to so infect the Darwinist advocacy movement in our time.

    What a sad contrast is this to Darwin’s own statement:

    This Abstract [i.e Origin was viewed as a precis of the case to be made, in was it 400 or so pp?], which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my accuracy. No doubt errors will have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter
    publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my
    conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done. [introduction, Origin of Species]

    Of course, circa 2009, many of us here at UD, have looked fairly seriously at the issues and evidence that faced Darwin et al, and/or that have come up over the past 150 years, and have drawn the reasoned, empirical evidence-based conclusion on inference to best explanation that facts in his day and since have removed the “apparently” from this part:

    scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived.

    First and foremost among these is the fact that since 1953, we have stumbled, not upon a stone in a field or a watch, but A DIGITAL, COMPLEX INFORMATION STORING AND USING COMPUTER in the heart of the cell.

    On massive observation, the best explanation of such an entity is: intelligent design.

    GEM of TKI

  168. 168
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm:

    Now, let us select further strikingly illustrative points, almost at random.

    the first of these struck me on beginning to scroll up; especially as it exemplifies the spirit we need far more of here at UD. Kudos to Adel.

    1] Adel, 145: So, Huxley had a core commitment to using evidence to support propositions. Why is that a problem?

    Adel, First, I must thank you for the wider context you supplied, and your further warranting that my inference to Cliffordian provenance (based on phrasing and timeline) was correct.

    This is the spirit of serious objective discussion that we need more of here at UD, on all sides.

    Did you get it online, or from the print [I have had no luck turning out an Internet version]? kindly provide a link or bibliographical information.

    Now, on the substance:

    Agnosticism is not properly described as a “negative” creed, nor indeed as a creed of any kind, except in so far as it expresses absolute faith in the validity of a principle, which is as much ethical as intellectual. This principle may be stated in various ways, but they all amount to this: that it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.[Huxley, Appar. Christianity and Agnosticism, 1889.]

    a –> Do you appreciate the self-referential import of the above? And . . .

    b –> the onward implication [as I have briefly noted on above] that it leads logically to an infinite regress, i.e an absurdity? [This is the root problem of Cliffordian evidentialism, as I discussed in the previously linked online note on selective hyperskepticism.]

    c –> But, a pause: I supsect Huxley was an objectivist on both morality and knowledge in the sense of warranted, credibly true belief.

    d –> On substance: Huxley is saying that we need logical justification for claiming to hold things objectively true, and that failure to have such for any claim is a moral as well as an intellectual failure. this claim plainly refers also to itself — it is self-referential.

    e –> Key step: Can it meet its own test, then?

    f –> This would strictly require logical warrant for the efficacy of logic as providing warrant, and it would require warrant for that warrant, ad infinitum. That is, infinite regress, an impossibility for us. (In praxis, we all sooner rather than later come to first principles or plausibles that we take on trust as credible without further warrant than it seems wise. The efficacy of logic is one of these.)

    g –> you draw attention to Huxley’s argument:

    The justification of the Agnostic principle lies in the success which follows upon its application, whether in the field of natural, or in that of civil, history; and in the fact that, so far as these topics are concerned, no sane man thinks of denying its validity.

    h –> We can immediately set aside the rhetorical flourish at the end, which is meant to put the objector on the defense, on the back foot as we say in Cricket. that is, Huxley here claims default and tries to shift burden of proof on a claimed consensus of those he deems “sane.” Oops.

    i –> But is the claim that the agnostic principle is “successful” on application to natural or human history — i.e to science [esp origins science] and serious affairs of life — any better warranted? [let’s leave aside the further infinite regress on warranting the claim that such applications are “successful.”]

    j –> You will note my use of “warrant.” That is a clue. Epistemic grounding of beliefs or assertions as knowledge is wider than logic,and once we see that we must observe facts, and accept the testimony of our senses and such like we immediately see that we are implicating the question of the trustworthiness of our senses, memories etc: none of which are in the end subject to logical proof, indeed we know they are not infallible.

    l –> But, they WORK — i,e. we see here the key claim of pragmatism. the first problem of which is the poit that often false models work very well indeed.

    m –> In fact, as Huxley wrote, Physics was beginning to grapple with the first serious findings that on exploration would overturn the then 200 year old unparalleled success of the grand Newtonian Synthesis. And,a s a reasonably well informed person you will be aware that there are key contradictions between its two main successors: relativity and quantum theory. [Simple e.g.: the first premises itself in key part on electromagnetism [cf Einsteins first paper], and the second seeks to overturn same.]

    n –> So, we are now at the position of provisional warrant, with major assumptions taken on trust because they are plausible and successful, providing a better explanation than rivals, in our estimation; on comparative difficulties analysis.

    o –> in short, we have gone full circle back to: reasonable faith.

    p –> Finally, Huxley’s declamations against faith — which were obviously targetted at the Christian Faith and world-life view — simply do not come to grips wit hthe implications of that faith’s central warranting argument. Namely, the resurrection of Jesus with 500+ eyewitnesses [witnesses whose testimony could not be broken], the outpouring of the Spirit of God, and the resulting stream of millions who know God personally through encounter int eh face of Jesus; transforming lives and cultures, and seeing God’s miraculous hand at work.

    q –> For instance a certain Mr Blaise Pascal is one of these millions.

    GEM of TKI

  169. 169
    kairosfocus says:

    Continuing:

    Let’s highlight a few select cases that throw the key issues into sharp relief:

    2] SB to Sev, 86:

    If the logic of our minds does not match the logic of the world, then all is lost. That is what truth is, a correspondence of our minds with reality. Any rational discussion presupposes the existence of absolute truth. You believe, for example, that I am in error and therefore not in correspondence with reality. Otherwise you would not be disputing my points. If, as you believe, that I am in error, then it follows that you believe that I am going against the truth. Thus, you believe your position to be true and my position to be false. You do, therefore believe in absolute truth, which is, for you, that fact that there are no absolute truths. If you didn’t believe that point to be true, you would not be defending it. That was the irony I was alluding to earlier. So, absolute truth exists for both of us, except that I affirm it and you deny even as you make your appeal on its behalf.

    Well said, Stephen.

    And of course, this picks up on Josiah royce’s point, that “error exists” is undeniably true and entails much else on truth and our ability to access it through knowledge.

    It even hints at our duty to seek and to support the truth, i.e it underscores that we find ourselves morally bound as a matter of fact.

    3] Mullerpr @ 166:

    While scrolling back up . . .

    . . . the tactic of the skeptic is to cloud the argument and then claim that the uncertainty he/she created is the truth. Well I suppose this is a powerful tactic, but certainly not sustainable. This approach to knowledge is anti-scientific as well, for the simple reason that it accepts the skeptical hypothesis based on the claims of the hypothesis and ignores any objective data because it claims there is no such thing as objective data . . . .

    [S]kepticism will inevitably lead to oppression. What worries me is that there are so many people already chanting the orders to kill free thought without any reflection on the inevitable oppression they welcome over themselves.

    Radical absolute skepticism denies the possibility of knowledge and so claims to know that knowledge is impossible. Thus, it affirms what it absurdly tries to deny: knowledge is possible and we inescapably seek it.

    Selective hyperskepticism, takes up the radical skeptic’s stance ona case by case basis: where it objects, it is militantly skeptical. but on matters of similar degree of warrant that it finds more congenial, it is all too willing to accept without serious challenge.

    Thus, it is self-referentially inconsistent and just as absurd.

    What is a sustainable epistemic stance is reasonable, critically aware faith: we trust what seem to be good first plausibles, and we hold our claims per provisional (often, for good reason morally certain) warrant to best explanation in light of comparative difficulties on factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory elegance and power.

    This last is of course precisely the stance of the well informed Christian. (Observe where the linked note was taught.)

    4] Sev, 77:

    Actually, I did look up “Illustrations of the Tao” and there would seem to be room here for some measure of agreement between us.

    In my view, moral codes are founded on our common interests as human beings . . . The function of moral codes is to regulate the behavior of human beings towards one another in order to ensure that those basic needs are met and to proscribe behavior that harms those interests. On that view, we would expect to find that most if not all human societies share certain basic moral precepts such as that unlawful killing or stealing from others is wrong. To that extent you could argue that it is evidence of objective morality or natural moral laws although I would view it more as an emergent property of humans when living in groups that promotes social cohesion and stability.

    In short, the facts of human experience show us to be ineluctably moral,and that we find ourselves bound to respect one another in light of the inherent dignity of human beings [which evolutionary materialism undermines . . . part of why it is inevitably deeply controversial, despite pretenses otherwise]; where immoral acts prove themselves to be consistently personally and socially destructive. (As the Kantian Categorical imperative exploits in providing an objective test for moral precepts: can they be universalised without destruction or utter incoherence and chaos?)

    In short, there is a plain core of objective morality, though consistency and error are always challenges. just like in any other serious field of endeavour on which we can and do make mistakes with serious consequences.

    Stating one way we warrant it hen trying to use that to dismiss the fact of warrant is self-defeating.

    5] GLF, 83: Have you heard of Conway’s game of life? Some simple rules and self replicators arise. No, it’s hardly as complex as a PDA but “information processing system” is somewhat vague.

    And of course Conway’s game is a program, by a programmer, illustrating the provenance of information systems. I will bet that it incorporates at least 143 ACII characters worth of FSCI, too.

    At best it illustrates how programed — thus, designed — functional systems can hill-climb incrementally to particular forms of peak performance. It does not at all address the issue of the sea of possible configs and the need to get to the shores of islands of function without broadcasting oracles or built in wafting winds and currents.

    And, BTW, both a PDA and the cell’s DNA- RNA- Ribosome- ATP- Enzyme etc system arte cases of functionally specific, complex digital information applied to algorithmic, step by step executed physical processes. This is not “analogy,” it is instantiation.

    We have many cases where we directly know thew provenance of such entities in design, and no cases where such are observed to occur by unaided chance + necessity. On the uniformity principle of newton and other founding scientists [all design thinkers by the way; Newton and many others being actually biblical Creationists; i.e. it is per historical fact possible to be a creationist and a great Scientist], LIKE CAUSES LIKE.

    So, the best current explanation for the computer we have stumbled across in the heart of the cell is: design.

    6] CJY, 91 backs that up:

    Why wouldn’t you suspect the “broken designs” to be the result of natural degradation and the highly functional informational architecture to be the result of previous foresight. Can you even give an example (observation) of an information processing system such as that found in PDA having generated itself from only background noise [chance/statistical randomness] and an arbitrary collection of laws [absent previous planning for future consequences on the part of an intelligent agent]? Can you give an example of an evolutionary algorithm generated by the same method?”

    Another well said point.

    [ . . . ]

  170. 170
    kairosfocus says:

    7] Domoman, 93: It seems to me that you do have your salt plain holding a PDA (that is, Earth holding life) amongst an otherwise barren planet (that is, an otherwise barren universe).

    Well worth pondering inlight of the search space issue on getting To life, and thence to body plan level novel functionality . . . per FSCI and the problem of lucky noise and the further problem that law-like regularities are what mechanical forces create [even in the case of chaos], the very opposite of the contingency/choice that is at he heart of information.

    AND, BTW, at he heart of reasoning — if we may not choose, we would not be able think and reason in any sense worth having, we would just be playthings of chance and mechanical forces.

    8] GLF, 110: ,i>you would be in a much stronger position if you could say “I wrote a paper but it was not published because of bias” rather then “I did not write a paper because I knew in advance it would not be published”.

    Has it ever occurred to you that I am simply not interested in the peer reviewed publication game, especially on the Plato’s Cave shadow show terms that so plainly now usually obtain?

    Others are indeed trying — kudos to them — and are CONSISTENTLY having serious issues with harassment and worse, e.g. the brouhaha over Sternberg and Gonzalez, etc. Fine for them.

    But, in the end, too often the appeal to peer review is an appeal to blind trust in authority and — worse — in pseudo- consensus.

    Ideas stand in the end not on emotions or views of authority but on warrant in light of facts, reasoning and reasonable first plausibles.

    I am therefore far more interested in the seeking of the well-warranted truth, and in the development of an alternative, including a reasonably serious level education alternative; in the teeth of distortions, calumnies and in too many cases negligent false accusation or worse.

    That i s why for instance I was willing to be a part of the WAC and Glossary project here at UD. This is of course subject to open, ongoing peer review.

    So far, as I already noted this morning, your example of “peer review” shows that you have not even acquainted yourself with key facts at the 101 level, sadly.

    9] GLF, 113: I don’t know, why is that? What’s the point in that as the identity will become known once they are published. So what is gained?

    Simple. On track record, if there was a public knowledge of which journal,t he editor would come immediately under the sort of NCSE-orchestrated nasty demonising and bullying tactics [It is all now in the open record for us to see] that all but destroyed not only Mr Sternberg’s career and reputation but his personal life as well.

    Do you see why I am speaking of Plato’s Cave games?

    10] GLF, 114: It’s how you search the space that is important. Your concept of “Random search” is flawed.

    Not at all: I have simply said that a random walk from an arbitrary initial point, regardless o step size will sample so small a proportion fo the config space of say 1,000 bits worth of info, that getting to the shores of an island of functionality to then start rewarding differential success is maximally improbable. (A point you have repeatedly conceded on the first life case — then tried to dismiss as “no-one has a good account so let’s put to one side.’ Actually, we do: there is a COMPUTER in the heart of the cell. We have a very good, empirically well supported theory on the origins of digital computers, sir: design.)

    Now, too, before you get to islands of function, you are looking at attracting drifting search rafts by broadcasting warmer/colder signals to NON_FUNCTIONAL outcomes, or else at wafting the rafts towards the islands by currents or winds.

    That is, the underling situation in such cases would be riddled with pre-programmed active information that is premised on foresight of where islands of function are. Precisely what a non-design situation cannot — by definition — do. (And if you are implying that the cosmos’ laws have “life” written into them, you are implicitly partially accepting the conclusion of cosmological ID.)

    The islands of function in view are those for first life and for the creation of major novel body plans — increments of about 600 k bits and 10’s – 100’s of mega bits respectively. (Cf my always linked, as already noted.)

    11] GLF, 114: For increasing complexity the earth would need a constant source of new energy. Otherwise things would tend to move to a state of lower entropy.

    If you had looked at App 1, you would have seen that the first thing is that mere injection of energy into a system tends to INCREASE its disorder.

    For input energy to drive a process of organisation and development, it is empirically well-warranted that it will be practically necessary for there to be a coupling and organising mechanism, which is of course information-rich. (That is how for instance your car works,a nd it is how photosynthesis — the foundation of energetic processes in life — works. If we did not have systems organised to take in and digest then assimilate food, we too would soon revert to disintegration.)

    12] GLF, 114, Can you put a figure on the FSCI content of some things for me?

    This has already been done at peer review level as has been linked, for proteins.

    In the more simple cases, we have many DVD,s Hard Disk drives, ROMS, and CDSs etc full of digital information that is indisputably functional. Once we see functional information that takes up at least 1,000 bits, we can be to moral certainty assured that we have quantified a case of FSCI.

    The number of bits in a case of known functionality based on contingent information can then easily be seen as a measure of the degree of FSCI involved; 1,000 bits being the practical lower bound 9to make sure that lucky noise could not reasonably have thrown it out). Any ASCII text string in English that is contextually responsive is a case in point.

    So, the objection is a case of self-referentially inconsistent selective hyperskepticism — as is usual by now.

    And, such things are all-pervasive in a digital age.

    However, let us per argument address the cases he cites to show what is going on:

    a] An Onion. — what is the length of its genome? Certainly, more than 600,000 bits.

    b] A lego brick. — how much space does the digital specification drawing with associated required information on dimensions, etc take up? Certainly, moe than 1,000 bits

    c] A pyramid made of diamond — a diamond is naturally per forces of necessity an octahedral crystal, i.e two square-base pyramids back to back. As this is of low contingency, that is not a case of high contingency. A diamond cut in the shape of a pyramid or another shape may however have functional information stored in how it is cut, which may in certain cases exceed 1,000 bits. [GLF here needs to look at the way the explanatory filter works,a s was already linked and pointed out.]

    ++++++++++++

    One could go on and on, but the overall point is well enough made — and with considerable cases in illustrative point — for now at least.

    GEM of TKI

  171. 171
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: GLF, in speaking of the problem of the divine foot in the door, I am alluding to Lewontinian a priori materialism imposed upon science in these last few decades, now officially [cf my discussion in section E the always linked on the radical materialist redefinition of science and its defects], and its motivation.

    It seems I have to cite this yet again. Let me do so a little more fully:

    __________________

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth . . . . Sagan’s argument is straightforward. We exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of physical relations among material entities. The vast majority of us do not have control of the intellectual apparatus needed to explain manifest reality in material terms, so in place of scientific (i.e., correct material) explanations, we substitute demons . . . . Most of the chapters of The Demon-Haunted World are taken up with exhortations to the reader to cease whoring after false gods and to accept the scientific method as the unique pathway to a correct understanding of the natural world. To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . .

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen. [NY Rev of Bks, 1997]
    __________________

    This is wrong — and utterly revealing on so many levels one hardly knows where to begin:

    1 –> As Newton shows in his General Scholium to the Principia, belief in the Lord God Creator who is Pantokrator and decrees laws of nature [the root of that quaint little phrase . . . ] is hardly incompatible with believing in a generally orderly and intelligible cosmos.

    2 –> Indeed, it was the historical foundation on which science was built in the past 350 years or so. Lewontin is grossly, culpably ignorant or deceitful. So are Ms Forrest, NCSE, ACLU and NAS and NSTA etc etc etc; including of course judge ‘copycat” Jones over in Dover.

    3 –> As Newton’s discourse on natural Philosophy will show at once, science exists in a wider context of warrant and discovery or justification of truth: epistemology, a branch of philosophy. With it comes: logic (a sister branch) and of course metaphysics, the root of all philosophy. Science has no proper claim to be the ultimate or unique ground of truth.

    4 –> the imposition of materialism as an ap priori, even if disguised as “methodological naturalism” subverts science from seekingthe truth aboutthe universe based on empirical evidence. indeed much orf th4e above I have had to correctt his morning traces to this error.

    5 –> And, the facts scream out,a nd so does common sense, in protest. And no we are not going to squelch the screams to be good little materialists.

    6 –> As for ID, it is the science that studies signs of intelligence, not the identity of the designing intelligence in the first instance. But, context can then point in cases of origins sciences to non-human intelligence [the computer in the heart of the cell], and to even an extra-cosmic designer — the finetuning of our cosmos to facilitate cell based life.

    7 –> That may be COMPATIBLE with belief in God [which you will see I and millions of others across 20 centuries would warrant on very different grounds], which is what Lewontin is so desperate to squash. So, he wants to censor the possibility of inferences to the known causes of the sort of things that we know are routinely produced by intelligence.

    8 –> That is Plato’s Cave games under the false colour of science. Full stop.

  172. 172
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB [165], I have never said that there is “nothing wrong” with child prostitution. My point was rather different. You’re misunderstanding it in predictable ways.

    Further, I am not saying that the situations in Biblical times were “equivalent”; in fact their non-equivalence is part of my point. You can’t use the same yardstick to measure both.

    For example (to pick a case of attempted cold-blooded murder), if today a father takes his son to a remote place because a voice in his head tells him to kill his son, that person would probably be judged insane. Back then, he talked to God.

  173. 173
    Joseph says:

    If there are two positions, ie designed or not designed, then disproving one does add credence to the other.

    George-
    This is indeed true. However there are more then two positions available.

    Name them.

    What are the published papers that support the non-telic, adesign position?

    George:
    Almost all published papers support that viewpoint. There are several hundred thousand, at least.

    Prove it or admit you are bluffing.

    IOW please show us at least some of those alleged papers.

  174. 174
    Joseph says:

    For example George, please show us the peer-reviewed paper that demonstrates that E. coli’s flagellum “evolved” via an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    Or what can you reference pertaining to accumulating genetic accidents?

  175. 175
    Joseph says:

    For example (to pick a case of attempted cold-blooded murder), if today a father takes his son to a remote place because a voice in his head tells him to kill his son, that person would probably be judged insane.

    Only if he gets caught and then admits to voices in his head.

    Back then, he talked to God.

    Nice twist to suit your needs.

    Did Abraham hear voices in his head?

    No evidence for that.

    As a matter of fact an angel came and stopped him.

    What would a Court do if an angel stepped in to testify?

  176. 176
    Joseph says:

    George asks:

    E.G. Is all life designed, just some of it or what?
    How do you tell teh difference?
    Can you give me an example of a designed and a non-designed organism?
    Are only IC structures designed, or is that just one way to tell?

    That is why we need science. To help us answer those questions.

    It is very wrong to ask ID to have the answers when your position doesn’t answer anything and it has more resources available to find the answers.

    And to refute/ falsify ID all YOU have to do is to demonstrate that an accumulation of genetic accidents can bring forth living organisms from non-living matter OR at least demonstrate that a flagellum can “evolve” via an accumulation of genetic accidents from a population that never had one.

  177. 177
    mullerpr says:

    Hi David,

    You said:
    “For example (to pick a case of attempted cold-blooded murder), if today a father takes his son to a remote place because a voice in his head tells him to kill his son, that person would probably be judged insane. Back then, he talked to God.”

    What is the basis for you to trust any of your thoughts?

    This is yet another attempt to cloud the issue by using your own subjective assertion that the subjective value of a single message (i.e. “go sacrifice your son”) is somehow part of the proof that God does not exist therefore communication with God is impossible therefore Abraham had to be insane. There is an objective way to settle this question of yours, but it seems as if you might not be interested, because then you might not have your way.

    The fact is there is no skeptic argument that can disprove God’s existence. What you do here is “poisoning the well”, it is a fallacy of argument.

    You might have to find out that Abraham rationally knew that God was and is the only divine authority that have the right to request something like this, because he knew God will supply righteousness that is consistent with God’s character. Abraham certainly looks like someone who understood that God is an objective truth and source of all righteousness.

    Encounters with the Divine is, in fact, a well researched topic. There is even a complete study that investigated the brain states during meditation. It is reported in “The Spiritual Brain” along with a number of other investigations into the validity of a materialistic view of mind.

    http://www.amazon.com/Spiritua.....0060858834

    Would you like to consider this as data to enlighten your subjective skepticism?

    The fact that you can creatively conjure up your subjective skepticism against the accounts of the Bible, has no bearing on any trustworthy search for knowledge. It is just like blowing smoke into everyone’s eyes. If that is a sample of your moral conduct towards other people then you have proven a lot of people right in this discussion.

  178. 178
    David Kellogg says:

    mullerpr, I’m not saying God doesn’t exist. I’m just saying that if the same thing happened today, we would judge it differently. If I encountered someone who says God told him to kill his son, I would want that person locked up — whether or not that person claims to see an angel. That’s my “moral conduct” toward other people. Perhaps you would treat someone on his way to kill his son differently?

    Further, if Abraham was talking to God, then God commanded Abraham to commit cold-blooded murder — of his own son no less — and therefore there’s at least once instance when cold-blooded murder seems to be justified, at least by the God of the Bible. That was my initial point: that cold-blooded murder seems to be justified in the story, at least from the narrator’s perspective.

    I’ve read part of The Spiritual Brain, though not all of it. In my view, it hangs some weighty claims on some very thin pegs.

    Joseph, there’s no evidence for anything about Abraham beyond the stories of the Bible. Should I also believe that the goddess Athena protected Odysseus on his way home from Troy? There’s a great deal of detail in that story.

  179. 179
    Joseph says:

    Joseph, there’s no evidence for anything about Abraham beyond the stories of the Bible.

    Thanks for admitting you just made something up to suit your need.

    Also “God” commanded Abraham to test his faith.

    Ya see Abraham did NOT kill his son. That means there wasn’t any murder- cold-blooded or otherwise.

    Do you not understand the story?

    On another note it is the people who think our existence is due to an accumulation of genetic accidents who should be locked-up.

    In that scenario there aren’t any morals and anything goes.

  180. 180
    Rude says:

    “If I encountered someone who says God told him to kill his son, I would want that person locked up — whether or not that person claims to see an angel.”

    Hmm, but what if you encountered someone who says that Peter Singer suggested he kill his son, would you then want that person or Peter Singer locked up?

    Here, why not let Jeff Jacoby talk some sense?

  181. 181
    mullerpr says:

    David,

    You said:
    “Further, if Abraham was talking to God, then God commanded Abraham to commit cold-blooded murder — of his own son no less — and therefore there’s at least once instance when cold-blooded murder seems to be justified, at least by the God of the Bible. That was my initial point: that cold-blooded murder seems to be justified in the story, at least from the narrator’s perspective.”

    You must have missed this explanation I specifically gave to counter the argument above. I preemptively covered that base because I knew from experience the skeptic stance which you then put forward post the fact.

    From #177 [my bold]:
    “You might have to find out that Abraham rationally knew that God was and is the only divine authority that have the right to request something like this, because he knew God will supply righteousness that is consistent with God’s character. Abraham certainly looks like someone who understood that God is an objective truth and source of all righteousness.”

    There you have the rational justification from a Divine being acting consistent to the full complement of His revealed nature. Subjecting a Divine entity like the God of the Bible to your subjective concept of justice does in fact nothing to God’s authority. As I said, it is like smoke in the eyes of everyone who want to understand the nature of God.

    I have engaged with modern liberal theologians that embraced the full blown skepticism that this thread’s article discuss. Their approach to the Bible reflect much of your musings. What these liberal theologians does not grasp is the irrational foundation of their epistemology. Fortunately there are those in the liberal theological tradition that has already parted ways with post-modernism and is actively seeking a solid foundation for their epistemology.

  182. 182
    jerry says:

    “What are the published papers that support the non-telic, adesign position?

    Almost all published papers support that viewpoint. There are several hundred thousand, at least.”

    Absolute nonsense. Nearly every paper of the several hundred thousand if not all papers in evolutionary biology are either neutral on design or support design. I haven’t seen one presented anywhere on the internet or in a journal or referenced here that does not fit this description. On another thread just last night Allen MacNeill, a teacher of evolutionary biology, demonstrates this every time he comes here and provides examples.

  183. 183
    Seversky says:

    StephenB @ 96

    Skepticsm is easily refuted, and I don’t need a quote from D. James Kennedy on a peripheral issue to confirm the point.

    I agree that the issue of whether or not Kennedy accurately quoted one of the Huxleys or attributed it correctly is peripheral to the question of skepticism although not to the issue of his reliability as a witness. The same can also be said of the question of the Huxleys “sexual mores”. I dare say that for every secularist of questionable morals we can find a prominent religionist whose personal behavior falls short of the standards they preach to others. Sadly, that is part of the human condition and why the Bible is wise to caution us against judging lest we be judged or or throwing stones unless we ourselves are without sin.

    On the issue of skepticism, we should bear in mind that it is not a monolithic structure but rather comes in a number of different flavors. While the radical version, in the sense of denying the possibility of reliable knowledge, is a recognized philosophical position, I doubt that you will find many, outside of university philosophy departments, who actually espouse it. And this should not be confused with – and has no bearing on – the value of scientific skepticism. Science is skeptical of new explanations to the extent that they will not be accepted just on the word of those who propose them. What it requires is that proposed explanations should be consistent with what is already known and must be testable if they are to be of any use. The reliability of the knowledge slowly accumulated by the scientific enterprise over the years is founded on its insistence that only those explanations which have survived repeated testing qualify for admission to the ranks of established theories.

    The question of the ethical oversight of scientific research is always going to be a thorny one. The specter of the ‘mad genius’ or coldly amoral psychopathic scientist of popular fiction hovers over all such debates. The fact is that there is always the possibility of such characters being found amongst scientists as there is amongst any other group of human beings like politicians or the clergy.

    This does not mean, however, that scientists are unconcerned about the ethical or social or political implications of what they do. While some may be so tightly focused on their own research that they have little attention to spare for the consideration of ethics, there will always be others to raise the alarm about something problematic.

    In the 1970’s ther was a BBC TV series call Doomwatch which was about a small government agency tasked with monitoring scientific research so as to head off any potential disasters before they happened. It was staffed with scientists on the grounds that they were best placed to understand the research in detail, which makes sense. On the other hand, philosophers, as part of their training, will have studied and ethics and understand the nuances and pitfalls of the various arguments in far more detail than scientists. Over and above that, politicians and the ordinary citizens they represent will demand both to know what is happening and to at least have a say in what is being, particularly if it is being done on their dollar. And who will deny that they have that right.

    The question is: who, if anyone, should have overriding authority over what is being done, the people who pay for it, the people who think about it, the people who run it or the people who do it? What I and others fear is that those who argue for objective morality or natural moral laws, however well-intentioned, are attempting to arrogate control of science to themselves and have it subordinated to their ideological or theological ends and we all know where that leads.

    What I believe actually happens and should continue to happen is a messy process of ‘negotiation’ – for want of a better word – which leads to resolutions which satisfy no one but which they can live with, at least for the time being.

  184. 184
    mullerpr says:

    Since the theory of knowledge has been surfacing as part of this discussion I would like to refer all interested parties to Alvin Plantinga’s “Warrant Series”.

    # Warrant: the Current Debate, Oxford University Press, New York & Oxford, 1993. ISBN 0-19-507861-6 (1987-1988 Gifford Lectures, online)
    # Warrant and Proper Function, Oxford University Press, New York & Oxford, 1993. ISBN 0-19-507863-2 (1987-1988 Gifford Lectures)

    These works has been thoroughly influential in epistemology and its proposed method is sure to enlighten any one that wants to find new knowledge.

  185. 185
    mullerpr says:

    Seversky:

    You said:
    “What it requires is that proposed explanations should be consistent with what is already known and must be testable if they are to be of any use.”

    This sounds just like the requirements that was used to reject Gallileo’s findings.

    There is a great difference between a)”consistent with what is already known” and b)”consistent with all preceding data”. The one you proposed (a) is not science, it is protecting dogma. The latter (b) that I propose is science.

  186. 186
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph [179], I’m merely using a well-known story in which a person is commanded to murder his son and sets out with the intention of murdering his son. There was at the least intention to murder. Most theologians have said that this was not wrong if God commands it. Abraham was, in their view, right to obey God, and would have been right even if he hadn’t been stopped. Whatever your position, or if, like Kierkegaard, you think this story points to something important about our existential uncertainty, the command clearly violates any supposedly universal moral imperative not to murder. So: if you think Abraham was talking to God, then murder is sometimes OK (if God commands it). If you think Abraham was not talking to God, I suppose this isn’t an exception.

    Rude [180], if Singer encouraged a specific person to kill his son, I would certainly want him locked up. I believe there are laws that cover such things. (As an aside, the idea of Jeff Jacoby talking sense is kind of funny.)

    mullerp [181], if I encounter someone who has the same views about God that Abraham does, including a claim to all the knowledge about God’s character etc., and he wants to kill his son based on personal instructions from that God, I’m still going to try to stop him. All the theological things that follow in your comment are, as H. L. Mencken said, “explanations of the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.”

    In any event, I’m amused that my critique of objectivity is countered by your defense of an objectivity somehow beyond human understanding. What use is that? There’s an objective measure out there somewhere, but we can’t access it? That seems far less stable than my appeal to provisional, relative judgment.

  187. 187
    StephenB says:

    —-David Kellogg: I have never said that there is “nothing wrong” with child prostitution. My point was rather different. You’re misunderstanding it in predictable ways.”

    I am not misunderstanding you at all. You misunderstand yourself, which is not unusual for skeptics and moral relativists. You tried to tie the word “prostitution” to Old Testament events that were clearly not prostitution. So now, after having been shown that it was NOT prostitution, you are backing away from that position. The only thing predictable in this dialogue is the irrational fruits of moral relativism. Of course, you can always reverse you position and return to the world of rational thought. All you need to do is say that child prostitution is wrong? Are you prepared to be rational and make the necessary declaration?

    —-“Further, I am not saying that the situations in Biblical times were “equivalent”; in fact their non-equivalence is part of my point. You can’t use the same yardstick to measure both.”

    If you didn’t think they were equivalent, you would not have offered them as examples. If you don’t like your own examples then stop using them. It was only after I exposed the absurdity of using those Bible references that you suddenly found them to be inadequate.

    —-“For example (to pick a case of attempted cold-blooded murder), if today a father takes his son to a remote place because a voice in his head tells him to kill his son, that person would probably be judged insane. Back then, he talked to God.”

    Once again, your dubious forays into Biblical exegesis are misguided. For starters, Abraham did not kill his son. I will not go into other multiple reasons why your latest assault on the Bible is irrelevant as well as evasive, unless, of course, you return to that ridiculous example. Once again, you are invited to return to the world of rational thought. Please stop evading the issue and provide a yes or no answer. Is cold-blooded murder absolutely and objectively wrong?

  188. 188
    StephenB says:

    —-Seversky: “On the issue of skepticism, we should bear in mind that it is not a monolithic structure but rather comes in a number of different flavors.”

    No one thinks otherwise. I have gone out of my way to distinguish the destructive notion philosophical skepticism, which I have defined with precision, and the necessary and laudible practice of scientific skepticism.

  189. 189
    Joseph says:

    Joseph [179], I’m merely using a well-known story in which a person is commanded to murder his son and sets out with the intention of murdering his son.

    But you don’t know Abraham’s intent.

    He could have just been acting like he was going to carry out the command.

    the command clearly violates any supposedly universal moral imperative not to murder.

    1- I don’t believe the COMMAND does that, and

    2- I don’t believe there is a universal moral imperative not to murder

  190. 190
    Rude says:

    Allen, you’re right, name calling is effective in shutting down debate (Nazi! Fascist! Racist!), and surely you know that the Materialist Left is as guilty of this as its adversary. But invoking “Godwin’s Law” also shuts down debate—this when it is meant to discourage historians and others from pointing out how certain philosophies and policies have led to totalitarianism, racism and other grievous ills. If we cannot learn from the great materialist adventures of the 20th Century, then should we not also be forbidden to learn from the evils purpetuated by the Church in the preceding centuries?

  191. 191
    Domoman says:

    George L Farquhar,

    Domoman

    “It seems to me that you do have your salt plain holding a PDA (that is, Earth holding life) amongst an otherwise barren planet (that is, an otherwise barren universe).”

    No. You would be right if there was only a single life form on the planet and there was no evidence of ancestors leading up to it.

    How does that disprove my point? The argument isn’t so much against whether or not life could evolve via unguided natural processes, but rests more on the fact that life seems to be incredibly rare, perhaps even unique within the universe. Whether or not life could evolve is one thing, but you still have the first cell(s) on Earth that are technologically more advanced than anything humans have ever created. It’s been said that the way that DNA compresses information is a trillion times better than our most advanced computer chips (Meyer). I’ve also heard that the algorithms within the most simple cell far surpasses our own manmade algorithms. Even if you ignore any organisms past the first cell(s) your still left with a “PDA” (the first “simple” cells) on a “salt plain” (the Earth) on anotherwise barren “planet” (the universe). My point still holds and you seem to be ignoring it as can be suggested by your next comment:

    And in any case, you argue against your case here. Why does it appear that there is a barren universe (no life) and a single planet with life? If life was indeed designed would we not expect the universe to be teeming with life? What do you believe is the reason that it is not?

    Life could presumably be designed to exist in other places, such as the outer reaches of the Sun’s atmosphere, the moon, interstellar gas clouds etc. Yet we don’t see it. Why?

    Now you’re pulling something roughly related to, or directly related to, theology, into the argument. This does nothing to counter my initial point, and only affirms what I’ve already mentioned: that the universe is comparable to an otherwise barren planet. I can ask similar questions, which really solve nothing, and cannot really be known unless one were to directly speak with the hypothetical designer of life. I could ask, why should the designer need to create life on any other planet besides Earth? It could be to show that life is exceedingly unique. Besides, if this designer had created life on other planets, or the sun, as you suggest is possible, then evolutionists may suggest this also supports the pointless existence of life in the universe. This sort of argument will go nowhere, and the evidence supporting the design or non-design of life should be based on scientific methods; such as creating scientific methods to test for design in nature.

    “evolutionary accounts such as a lizard evolving into a bird have never been physically witnessed.”

    This reminds me of Gish’s reply to everything “Were you there?”

    […]

    How would you expect to “Witness” something that everybody agrees can take much longer then a single human lifetime? In addition, we’ve only really been aware of such things for only a small amount of time (a few human lifetimes). So the “were you there” objection is a poor one.

    Well, if the lack of direct observation cannot count against the neo-Darwinian theory, then all the supposed evidences of evolution which scientists supposedly witness today speak nothing of the neo-Darwinians validity. But, now, if you decide to say that these observations really do count, then I will suggest there is easily, and more abundant evidence, for genetic entropy, compared to the evidences of the neo-Darwinian theory of Evolution. If the present evidences of how life operates can be used to interpret the past geological record of life, then the fossil record should not be interpeted to support neo-Darwinian theory, but rather through the lenses of genetic entropy. Invariably, genetic entropy also leads to the obvious conclusion that life must have been designed. For the main reason that: if life is degrading and because of this cannot evolve in an upward fashion, then it could not have possibly evolved to then fall apart, but rather started in a previous wholly designed state. It might be be argued that physics were not in the past as they are now, and so genetic entropy does not count against evolution, but then no present “evidences” of neo-Darwinian evolution can be used to suggest its validity. Rather neo-Darwinism is accepted on faith alone.

    You also say,

    We’ve never witnessed the continents seperate, yet we are sure it happened. Murders happen and are not witnessed yet people still go to jail for them.

    I’m not really to sure what evidences are used to suggest the seperation of continents, but I’m guessing this is the fact that we have witnessed the movement of continents along with supposed evidence of their once former connectedness (they seem to fit together much like a jigsaw puzzle). As for murders: heck yes we’ve seen them witnessed! Often times they might be done in private, but there are many times witnesses to murders. Even if we haven’t ever witnessed a murder though, we know that guns can be used to kill animals, so finding one within a dead human would suggest that another person (or the person himself) shot the gun which killed him. But if we had never seen a gun, or even a gun fire, let alone kill an animal or human, we should have no reason to suggest that murder or suicide resulted in the man’s death via a supposed gun. Furthermore, in the case of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, we find something more likened to: finding a bullet in a man’s chest and some scientists conclude murder or suicide (which has been directly observed), while the majority of scientists (mainly because they were taught this or because of a priori assumptions) assume that the gun was created over eons of time through natural means which then accidently happened to be shot at the man and kill him. If all we have is the evidence of the gun and the dead man with a bullet in his chest (which can be likened to the fossil record), there is good, repeated examples which to assume it was murder or suicide (which can be likened to the repeated, observable evidences of complex, specified and functional information via inellgent agents). Yet there would be no reason to assume the random creation of a gun over eons of time which lead to the death of the man by accidental gun firing (which can be likened to the supposed, unobserved mechanism of neo-Darwinian theory).

    The same thing cannot be said for the macro-evolution of animals. We have never directly observed such an evolution, as from a lizard to a bird. We have seen small evolutionary changes, such as changes in beak sizes, but this does not suggest that a lizard has the potential to turn into a bird. Rather, if anything, we almost always see genetic entropy in action. Which is very similar to what happens when something is created, such as a computer, and then later decays through universal entropy.

    “Animals therefore, as far as we can tell, may be just like a watch such as in Paley’s example.”

    Except watches do not breed.

    As I’ve already stated, we do not have enough evidence to suggest that animals can breed to create what the neo-Darwinism mechanism supposes they can. That is, entirely new organisms. Besides, just think of the first cell(s) on Earth, which could not come about via breeding anyway, and you’ve got yourself a clear analogy of Paley’s watch. Except this time, the cell is far more advanced then a watch and seems to be completely unique (as life has never been found on other planets).

  192. 192
    George L Farquhar says:

    kariosfocus @ 167

    I therefore start with an issue, the alleged dubious status of FSCI

    It’s simply the truth. FSCI in the way you use it on your “always linked” appears to be defined and used only by you.

    It may bear some relation to a phrase coined by Orgel et al, but it has not been defined with any rigour.

    In fact, do you think Orgel himself would agree with your co-option of that phrase?

    As you are such a fan of Orgel, do you agree with “Orgel’s Second Rule”?

    Evolution is cleverer than you are.

    Do you agree? Or do you only pick and choose from his body of work as to what you agree with?

    Orgel also thought that life on earth may have come from interstellar space.

    FSCI is the FUNCTIONALLY specified form of CSI

    Do you have any examples? Of a given objects CSI and then FSCI?

    as a rule of thumb look for at least 1,000 bits, equivalent to 143 ASCII characters

    I would expect more then a “rule of thumb” after all the years you have been promoting this concept.

    This is why I keep telling you to publish. You won’t get very far with “rules of thumb” in a paper, you’ll have to tighten up your definitions!

    in the past several years, Trevors Abel, Chiu, Durston et al have spoken to a particular manifestation of FSCI, functional sequence complexity

    Did they speak to this on a blog or did they publish papers that could be cited?

    6 –> this is of course FSCI in action, and as at 2007 in the peer reviewed literature with Durston as lead author, a table of no less than 35 specific measured values of FSC has been published; complete with a sufficiently full description of the method that the validity of the results can be seen as fully warranted in light of well accepted principles of information theory, probability, statistics and measurement practice.

    Could you point me to the section where it says “And this FSC could only have come about from intelligent agency”?

    Sad to say, because we are here not dealing with a balanced, facts- controlled discussion, but instead — at root — with the Plato’s Cave rhetorical tactics of manipulative debate.

    I bow to the master of manipulative debate. You are willing to spend tens of thousands of words to repeat yourself over and over to random internet blogs and critics but not willing to spend any time putting your ideas on a formal setting and publish then and recieve critisism.

    So, the FSCI objection aptly illustrates the underlying problem with the always question-begging and self-referentially inconsistent selective hyperskepticism that has come to so infect the Darwinist advocacy movement in our time.

    It’s a reasonable objection. The only person using that phrase is you. You seem to think that your “always linked” proves that god exists (onlookers, please visit the “always linked” for yourself, it’s more about Jesus then math).

    You believe that you have proven that the “designer” was required for the origin of life.

    You believe that FSCI proves that.

    You believe that God is the “designer”, as your website makes clear.

    So, in summary, you have proved that god exists but are not willing to publish a paper saying so?

    Either you have not, and know it or, well, I’ll let the onlookers decide for themselves.

    First and foremost among these is the fact that since 1953, we have stumbled, not upon a stone in a field or a watch, but A DIGITAL, COMPLEX INFORMATION STORING AND USING COMPUTER in the heart of the cell.

    How simple would life have to be before you would have said it did not need to be designed?

  193. 193
    George L Farquhar says:

    kariosfocus @ 169

    And of course Conway’s game is a program, by a programmer, illustrating the provenance of information systems. I will bet that it incorporates at least 143 ACII characters worth of FSCI, too.

    How pathetic. No doubt you have the same objection to any simulation of anything.

    Yes, Conway’s game of life is of course a program.

    Tell me, if I write a program that simulates physical reality down to the sub-atomic level, taking into account all modern physics and on hardware capable of simulating sufficient items to allow a realistic (a planet sized environment) simulation of earth pre-life, let it run in parallel for billions of years with billions of simultaneous simulations running and then if some sort of simple life appeared, would you make the same objection?

    Of course you would. You just don’t get the idea of a “simulation” do you?

    At best it illustrates how programed — thus, designed — functional systems can hill-climb incrementally to particular forms of peak performance. It does not at all address the issue of the sea of possible configs and the need to get to the shores of islands of function without broadcasting oracles or built in wafting winds and currents.

    A moment ago you did not even know how many characters of FSCI the program would have contained

    I will bet that it incorporates at least 143 ACII characters worth of FSCI, too.

    And now you are ready to opine on what it is and what it shows?

    Try doing some reading first.

    No, it does not “the issue of the sea of possible configs and the need to get to the shores of islands of function” as that was not what the topic at hand was. It shows that some simple rules, some random arrangments and simple replicators can appear from “nothing”.

    Stephen Wolfram thinks that this sort of game has deep implications as to how reality actualy works. You should check it out. If you are honestly interested in learning something new.

    Newton and many others being actually biblical Creationists; i.e. it is per historical fact possible to be a creationist and a great Scientist],

    The difference between Newton and you was that Newton could keep his science and theology seperate. There was no “god” in his equations.
    Did you also know he was an Alchemist?

    So, the best current explanation for the computer we have stumbled across in the heart of the cell is: design.

    Agreed. Except you cannot say anything whatsoever about the designer, and I can.

    Also, you say “best current” explanation. Well, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but “god did it” is not really new, it’s been around since day 1.

    KF, if you’ve proven your case all you need to do is publish. People can believe what you say or not, but they can only critisize on a factual level. If you are capable of defending your work, and you are right about what you say, you will win!

  194. 194
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, I am not saying that it is not prostitution. I am saying that what was not prostitution then is indeed prostitution now (at least in the West). In fact, I believe that the Biblical practices of bride price would be called child prostitution today and would be rightly illegal. It’s kind of what went on with that fundamentalist Mormon community in Texas.

    On the issue of equivalence: a supposed moral universal could have a stable definition, no? If the definition is not stable, how can the morality be universal? That was my point: not that Biblical characters prostituted their children, or that a voice told Abraham he should murder his son, but that no definition of a moral law holds true universally.

    That Abraham did not kill his son even in the story (supposing Abraham ever existed) is irrelevant. I never said he killed his son, and I said the story was one of attempted murder.

    On who is misunderstanding and who is being misunderstood: we’re clearly not going to resolve this. You refer to a universal moral code that you can only receive, understand, and implement in contingent and relative terms. If it makes you happy to call it objective, fine.

  195. 195
    StephenB says:

    —David Kellogg: On who is misunderstanding and who is being misunderstood: we’re clearly not going to resolve this. You refer to a universal moral code that you can only receive, understand, and implement in contingent and relative terms. If it makes you happy to call it objective, fine.”

    I have asked you several times if murder and child prostitution are wrong, and your refuse to say that it is. I can only conclude that you do not think it is not wrong. Since you will not answer the questinon for yourself, I am reduced to answering it for you. Meanwhile, where is the courage of your convictions?

    As I pointed out, there was no child prostitution in the Bible, because MARRIAGE IS NOT PROSTITION. Please write that down. In order to justify your notion that child prostituion can be acceptable in some circumstances, you hearken back to the Bible in a bizarre attempt to show that it was once accepted. As I have indicated, the example you cite in the Bible is not prostituion, and even if was, it would still be wrong. Do you labor under the illusion that every act committed in Old Testament history is reputed to be a moral act? Your comments make no sense at all.

    Each time I ask you a simple straightforward question, you hide behind a series of conteested definitions and dubious historical refernces. All rational people understand that murder and child prostitution are wrong. The only question left is this: Are you and George Farquhar rational people?

  196. 196
    George L Farquhar says:

    KF @ 170

    Has it ever occurred to you that I am simply not interested in the peer reviewed publication game, especially on the Plato’s Cave shadow show terms that so plainly now usually obtain?

    If you want to change how things work hiding in a dark corner won’t do it. You might not be interested in the peer reviewed game, but it’s the only game in town.

    And what does “Plato’s Cave shadow show terms” really mean? That you might get a letter saying “thanks, but no thanks” if you do write a paper and submit it?

    Have the courage of your convictions man!

    Others are indeed trying — kudos to them — and are CONSISTENTLY having serious issues with harassment and worse, e.g. the brouhaha over Sternberg and Gonzalez, etc. Fine for them.

    You are in fact in a better position then they are, you have nothing to lose do you? Are you looking for tenure at the moment?

    But, in the end, too often the appeal to peer review is an appeal to blind trust in authority and — worse — in pseudo- consensus.

    That’s the worst side of it. But the better side of it is that your work is publised, people can build upon it with some assurance it’s probably correct and everybody can comment.

    Again, it’s the only game in town. Play or accept your concepts will never impact on the real world or with the next generation of scientists who might be interested in developing your concepts more.

    Ideas stand in the end not on emotions or views of authority but on warrant in light of facts, reasoning and reasonable first plausibles.

    Exactly. Your views have as much chance of being heard as anybody elses. The facts in your paper can be examined by all and if objections are found and can be substantiated then you only stand to gain as your position is refined and errors removed.

    I am therefore far more interested in the seeking of the well-warranted truth, and in the development of an alternative, including a reasonably serious level education alternative; in the teeth of distortions, calumnies and in too many cases negligent false accusation or worse.

    Most scientists would object to any sort of discrimation or harrasment of people for their views.

    By refusing to submit your papers to a peer reviewed enviroment you are essentially letting the “darwiniods” win. The few that are harrassing ID proponents want you to shut up. By taking this tack, you are letting them win and giving them exactly what they want.

    On track record, if there was a public knowledge of which journal,t he editor would come immediately under the sort of NCSE-orchestrated nasty demonising and bullying tactics [It is all now in the open record for us to see] that all but destroyed not only Mr Sternberg’s career and reputation but his personal life as well.

    Sternberg appears to still be working in the same place, under the same circumstances. My understanding is he lost rights to have a key to the building or similar. And if what I heard about how he treated valuable artifacts is true, he deserves more.

    Do you see why I am speaking of Plato’s Cave games?

    Yes, because something nasty happened to Sternberg you’ll spend the rest of your life pretending that’s the reason you won’t publish your ideas in a forum where they can be exampled by all.

    Now, too, before you get to islands of function, you are looking at attracting drifting search rafts by broadcasting warmer/colder signals to NON_FUNCTIONAL outcomes, or else at wafting the rafts towards the islands by currents or winds.

    It’s been previously shown that you do not grasp even Dawkins’ Weasel example, as you said that as each letter is identified it becomes fixed and cannot change any more.

    Why, then, should your prouncements on the origin of life be listened to?

    And if you are implying that the cosmos’ laws have “life” written into them, you are implicitly partially accepting the conclusion of cosmological ID

    If the cosmos is designed for life, why is it that the only life identified is on this planet, and only this planet. If the cosmos was indeed designed for life I would expect at least a radio signal by now.

    Where is all the life in this “designed for life” cosmos KF?

    The islands of function in view are those for first life and for the creation of major novel body plans — increments of about 600 k bits and 10’s – 100’s of mega bits respectively. (Cf my always linked, as already noted.)

    If you can write it up and publish it then this might have some weight.

    This has already been done at peer review level as has been linked, for proteins.

    So, even though you are the primary proponent of FCSI you rely on others to do the hard work?

    I looked at the paper you linked to. I cannot find any mention of FCSI or even CSI. The closest I can find is Functional Sequence Complexity. They mention Random Sequence Complexity (RSC), Ordered Sequence Complexity (OSC) and Functional Sequence Complexity (FSC) but not FSCI.

    This is why you need to publish. If you make up your own terms and the refer somebody to a paper that does not even include that term when asked for an example then don’t be surprised if your “example” is refused as irrelevant. What is the relevance of FSCI to the paper you linked to? If FSCI is equivilent to RSC, OSC or FSC then why don’t you use that name instead and make it alot simpler for people to understand what you mean?

    a] An Onion. — what is the length of its genome? Certainly, more than 600,000 bits.

    And the value of it’s FSCI? And how would you work it out?

    So FSCI = Genome length is it?

    The odd thing about the onion is that it’s genome is bigger then a humans. So an onion has more FSCI then a human? Is that right?

    b] A lego brick. — how much space does the digital specification drawing with associated required information on dimensions, etc take up? Certainly, moe than 1,000 bits

    At it’s simplest, it could be a dozen or two bits if they are simple x,y,z, coords for each vertex that makes it up.

    [GLF here needs to look at the way the explanatory filter works,a s was already linked and pointed out.]

    Is there a list of items that have been used with the EF that you can link to?

    I know how it works. What I want is somebody to apply it to an object chosen by a 3rd party.

    Can you show me how the EF works?

    Let’s take two cases.

    A 1mm diamond cut into a pyramid shape.

    1 1mm diamond that has not been cut.

    Please show me how the EF determines which is “designed”?

  197. 197
    George L Farquhar says:

    Joseph @ 173

    Name them.

    Life came about from organic compounds that happened to obtain the ability to self replicate.

    Life came about from an unknown unknowable entity called “the designer”

    A space dog from the year 10,000 went back in time and seeded the planet with magic “earth buttons” that became life

    A tri-top-top fromt the far side of the universe invented a tp-t-tp machine which happened to create a self-replicator on this side of the universe.

    An old man in the sky did it.

    Prove it or admit you are bluffing.

    http://scholar.google.co.uk/sc.....tnG=Search

    Lots of papers on evolution. None of them requiring a designer.

  198. 198
    George L Farquhar says:

    Joseph

    For example George, please show us the peer-reviewed paper that demonstrates that E. coli’s flagellum “evolved” via an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    http://scholar.google.co.uk/sc.....tnG=Search

    Which one would you like to start with?

  199. 199
    George L Farquhar says:

    Joseph

    It is very wrong to ask ID to have the answers when your position doesn’t answer anything and it has more resources available to find the answers.

    I can give you the answers to those questions.
    –Is all life designed, just some of it or what?

    All life is designed via evolution.

    –How do you tell teh difference?

    As all life is designed via evolution there is no difference as no life has been designed other then by evolution or humanity. Life designed by humanity (or altered) shows in the fact that the nested hierarchy has been violated (i.e jellyfish DNA in a rabbit).

    –Can you give me an example of a designed and a non-designed organism?

    As all life is designed by evolution there are no examples

    –Are only IC structures designed, or is that just one way to tell?

    IC structures are in fact a prediction of evolution, many years before it became part of the ID movement. Evolution can make IC structures, in the same way that arches are constructed by humans.

    And to refute/ falsify ID all YOU have to do is to demonstrate that an accumulation of genetic accidents can bring forth living organisms from non-living matter OR at least demonstrate that a flagellum can “evolve” via an accumulation of genetic accidents from a population that never had one.

    I think you’ll find it’s the other way round. Unless ID can prove itself then you’ll be stuck here forever. You don’t win simply by not being disproved.

    I hear there is a teapot in outer space you might be interested in disproving exists.

    On another note it is the people who think our existence is due to an accumulation of genetic accidents who should be locked-up.

    In that scenario there aren’t any morals and anything goes.

    And yet the vast majority of scientists working in the life sciences believe that and I understand rates of murder and other immoral behaviour are average.

    How do you explaint that Joseph? Or is that just another fact to be ignored, like so very many others?

  200. 200
    StephenB says:

    I have asked you several times if you believe that child prostitution are wrong. In each case you refuse to answer that question and resort to a series of contested definitions and dubious historical references. Since you will not answer the question for yourself, I am reduced to answering it for you. I will withdraw my assertion when you make a definitive assertion of your own. Meanwhile, it is clear to me and everyone else that you do not thing that child prostitution and murder are wrong. Otherwise, you would say so. Where is the courage of your convictions?

    As I have pointed out more than once, your Biblical citations are irrelevant, because you did not produce any evidence of child prostitution in the Bible. Please write this down: Marriage is not prostitution. Even if there were examples of child prostitution in the Bible they would still be wrong. Do you labor under the misconception that every act in Old Testament history is reputed to be a moral act? If so, please disabuse yourself of that false notion.

    In similar fashion, your references to Abraham are irrelevant. If Abraham had killed his son, then we would have something to talk about. He didn’t, and, as the narration goes, God did not allow it. Even at that, you really ought to follow through with your own logic. Is it your contention that whatever God commands ought to be done? If so, say so and we can work with that. If not, then leave God out of it and speak for yourself.

    Here is the bottom line: All rational people know that child prostitution and murder are wrong. The only question we are left with is this: Are you and George Farquhar rational people.

  201. 201
    George L Farquhar says:

    Jerry @ 182

    Absolute nonsense. Nearly every paper of the several hundred thousand if not all papers in evolutionary biology are either neutral on design or support design.

    If you can cite 50 papers that directly support design (that evolution acting alone could not suffice) I will donate $100,000 to a charity of your choice. Of course, you have to provide a quote from each one where telic design is noted as the only possible mechanism.

    For I am rich.

    If you want to reduce the number then we can talk about the $$.

    I linked to a google scholar search for “evolution” upthread. Why don’t you start there?

    It won’t take long, if as you say every paper published supports your point.

    It does make me wonder however, if Kariosfocus tells me that design thinkers cannot publish for fear of reprisals then how can all of these papers have been published?

    Seems there is a difference of opinion there.

  202. 202
    StephenB says:

    George Farquhar,

    I offer you my congratulations. You have been very successful in your mission to disrupt the theme of this thread and lure several ID advocates into a discussion on intelligent design. I take my hat off to you.

    Meanwhile, it is on the record that I asked you a straightforward question about the morality of child prostitution. Since you refuse to answer the question, I can safely assume that you do not think that child prostitution is wrong. Keep in mind that it was your example, not mine, so I don’t hesitate to use it. Nor do I feel any hesitancy to affirm your position for you. Indeed, I had exactly the same experience with David Kellogg, another moral relativist who, even though he would not be forthcoming about his position, at least had the courage and imagination to find ways to rationalize it through convoluted definitions and dubious historical references.

    You, on the other hand, have chosen to simply avoid the matter altogether and change the subject. In the final analysis, though, your silence speaks as loudly as David’s pretexts and rationalizations. I read you loud and clear. In your judgment, there is nothing objectively or absolutely wrong with child prostitution.

  203. 203
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    Here is the bottom line: All rational people know that child prostitution and murder are wrong. The only question we are left with is this: Are you and George Farquhar rational people.

    What does rationality have to do with it?

    I thought it was the objective moral law that made it wrong?

    Is this the same objective moral law that was in force in biblical times when owning slaves was considered perfectly moran, nay encouraged?

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    There are plenty of other examples.

    But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)

    Were the people who wrote those words rational StephenB?

  204. 204
    jerry says:

    George,

    One of the main propositions of ID is that naturalistic methods can not generate novel complex functional changes to a genome. One way to study such a hypothesis is to map genomes to verify that there is not naturalistic origin for complex functional structures. So far thousands of genomes have been mapped or partially mapped. Not one has shown how a complex functional structure has arisen naturally.

    How do I know. Human nature. If one did find such a process leading to such structures and could provide empirical evidence for it then one would then be measured for their tux or gown for the Nobel Prize presentation. The fact that no one even hints at that they might have something is indicative of something.

    I ask a evolutionary biologist for studies to show just this and he gives me studies that are in complete accord with ID. This is by a person who desperately want to put us down and would crow for years if he could.

    The research I describe would all be on the wish list of many ID researchers if they could get funding. As it is no one in their right mind would make the claim that this research supported ID and expect to get a dime in support. But yet the results of these studies go in the support ID column and in the anti naturalistic macro evolution column.

    So your money is safe because you know no one will publish a study if it made the claims I outlined but it does not change the findings from these studies. It is all a game at the moment and it is rigged. So your offer is disingenuous.

  205. 205
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    You tried to tie the word “prostitution” to Old Testament events that were clearly not prostitution.

    Is forcing a female child to marry OK then? As long as sex is not actually sold, it’s just part of the “bundle”?

    Is that moral, according to you?

  206. 206
    kairosfocus says:

    GLC:

    Sigh!

    Let’s take it from the top, one more time.

    Namely, functionally specific complex information is at root an observation based DESCRIPTION of information that is functionally specific, complex and . . . ah, yes, informational.

    Such as the sentences of ACII text characters in your last posts.

    More specifically:

    a –> 192 -3 are functional — more or less contextually responsive text in English

    b –> Specific, not only as to context but also to the fact that if the bit strings were perturbed at random, the text would very soon lose functionality, as the overwhelming number of bit strings of the same length are utterly non-functional in the relevant context.

    c –> complex, as at he relevant string lengths, messages will be drastically isolated.

    d –> informational: they express a linguistic message.

    e –> Similarly, the programs in your hard drive or RAM or ROM are FSCI, but in an algorithm-executing context.

    f –> DNA strings are similar to that.

    So, once we take time to think clearly and in light of empirical observations, instead of dogmatically and rhetorically, we see that FSCI is not even a hard concept to understand or to accept. And, it is formally a subset of the CSI concept.

    Moreover, since all digital data structures [and per A/D conversion all information is but one step from being digital] can be expressed as strings [that’s how we store them in computer memories . . . ], the concept is formally equivalent to Functional Sequence Complexity as well.

    As to what the OOL researchers of the 70’s – 80’s meant, I will leave it to onlookers to compare Orgel:

    Living organisms [notice the functional context, onlookers] are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.6 [Source: L.E. Orgel, 1973. The Origins of Life. New York: John Wiley, p. 189. Observe the functional informational macromolecule context]

    And to observe Thaxton et al’s summary from the literature circa 1984:

    Yockey7 and Wickens5 develop the same distinction, that “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as could might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, “organization” refers to physical systems [broader than life-systems, BTW] and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wickens note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of specified complexity. In short, the redundant order of crystals [which traces to mechanical forces of crystallisation and does not store significant information, which requires aperiodicity] cannot give rise to specified complexity of the kind or magnitude found in biological organization; attempts to relate the two have little future.

    That should be clear enough — for those who are open-eyed so they can see what is there to be seen by those willing to see. For, “one confuted against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    GEM of TKI

  207. 207
    StephenB says:

    David Kellogg:

    I have asked you several times if you believe that child prostitution are wrong. In each case you refuse to answer that question and resort to a series of contested definitions and dubious historical references. Since you will not answer the question for yourself, I am reduced to answering it for you. I will withdraw my assertion when you make a definitive assertion of your own. Meanwhile, it is clear to me and everyone else that you do not thing that child prostitution and murder are wrong. Otherwise, you would say so. Where is the courage of your convictions?

    As I have pointed out more than once, your Biblical citations are irrelevant, because you did not produce any evidence of child prostitution in the Bible. Please write this down: Marriage is not prostitution. Even if there were examples of child prostitution in the Bible they would still be wrong. Do you labor under the misconception that every act in Old Testament history is reputed to be a moral act? If so, please disabuse yourself of that false notion.

    In similar fashion, your references to Abraham are irrelevant. If Abraham had killed his son, then we would have something to talk about. He didn’t, and, as the narration goes, God did not allow it. Even at that, you really ought to follow through with your own logic. Is it your contention that whatever God commands ought to be done? If so, say so and we can work with that. If not, then leave God out of it and speak for yourself.

    Here is the bottom line: All rational people know that child prostitution and murder are wrong. The only question we are left with is this: Are you and George Farquhar rational people.

  208. 208
    StephenB says:

    —George: “Is forcing a female child to marry OK then? As long as sex is not actually sold, it’s just part of the “bundle”?

    —-“Is that moral, according to you?”

    Where did you get the idea that Old Testament history is limited to moral acts? You have been hanging around with David too long.

    Now, back to business. Do you think that child prostitution is wrong?

  209. 209
    George L Farquhar says:

    jerry,
    Your position appears confused.
    First you say

    Nearly every paper of the several hundred thousand if not all papers in evolutionary biology are either neutral on design or support design.

    Then you say

    I ask a evolutionary biologist for studies to show just this and he gives me studies that are in complete accord with ID.

    And then you say

    So your money is safe because you know no one will publish a study if it made the claims I outlined but it does not change the findings from these studies. It is all a game at the moment and it is rigged.

    So there are several hundred thousand papers that support design, but at the same time no such studys have been published?

    How can a paper “support design” without making any claims regarding design?

    Perhaps an example would help?

    Pick a paper and explain how it supports design as opposed to evolution (which on the face of it is what it would be supporting, as by your logic it would not have been published if it supported design).

    The research I describe would all be on the wish list of many ID researchers if they could get funding.

    I’m having a conversation with Kariosfocus at the moment. His problem is not getting funding. It appears to be finding the courage to stand behind his ideas in a more public forum where experts in the relevant field will examine his work.

    And anyway, if this research is being conducted already then why would ID researches want to simply replicate it?

    And I understand Douglas Axe and the Biologic people are funded and performing research right now.

    To recap.

    Papers are being published that support design but that make no direct claims that support design.

    ID Research is being conducted and at the same time it’s not being conducted because the darwinistas somehow stop it happening.

    Is that about the size of it?

  210. 210
    CJYman says:

    GLF, In conjuction with what StephenB just stated …

    Having people disagree on what is moral does not negate an objective moral code. This only means that we need to work together to discover this objective moral code.

    Jewish practises may easily have missed the mark, as is the potential for every religion, however that means nothing concerning the potential of an objective moral code.

    The main point thus becomes a difference between two viewpoints:

    1. Morals are subjectively created by fallible humans and are subject to change.

    2. Morality is an absolute time transcendent standard which people need to use their rational faculties to discover.

  211. 211
    David Kellogg says:

    Sure I think it’s wrong. I don’t think there’s any need to invoke so-called objective standards to say so. In fact, I don’t think you’ve named any.

  212. 212
    David Kellogg says:

    CJYman, what about

    3. Some morals are beneficial products of evolutionsary adaptations, and some morals are created along the lines of your option (2), with the proviso that they are collectively, not merely subjectively created.

  213. 213
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    Let’s take it from the top, one more time.

    Let’s not. Repeating yourself is not necessary.

    Such as the sentences of ACII text characters in your last posts.

    And this relates to proving the originl of life via naturalistic causes is impossible how, exactly?

    So, once we take time to think clearly and in light of empirical observations, instead of dogmatically and rhetorically, we see that FSCI is not even a hard concept to understand or to accept. And, it is formally a subset of the CSI concept.

    Emperical observations written down in a standardized format and submitted for review may be useful.

    I understand FSCI. Did I say I did not? Did I ask you to explain it again, when your “always linked” is “always available”?

    As to what the OOL researchers of the 70’s – 80’s meant, I will leave it to onlookers to compare Orgel

    Yes, please do. And please ignore the fact that Orgel would have disagreed with almost every single word you’ve said so far. The fact that he happened to use the phrase “specified complexity” is about the only relationship I can see between your “work” and his.

    That should be clear enough — for those who are open-eyed so they can see what is there to be seen by those willing to see. For, “one confuted against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    Insults are the last refuge of a poor mind.

    I ask you once more:
    Does Dawkin’s Weasel affix the letters in place once they are correct or leave them free to mutate once they are correct?

    I offer you the same challenge, $100,000 to a charity of your choice if you can find a quote from Dawkins where he says that is how his basic example operates.

    If you refuse to correct your basic misunderstandings then I fail to see how you can pronounce on things such as OOL and expect anybody to listen if you can be wrong on such a simple issue and refuse to correct yourself.

  214. 214
    David Kellogg says:

    Is it worth noting that trying to paint an opponent as a defender of child prostitution because he answers outside the language of objectivity is a contemptible tactic?

  215. 215
    kairosfocus says:

    Stephen:

    GLF is actually — sadly — inadvertently giving us a case study on selective hyperskepticism, compounded by closed-minded objectionism, and on how this reduces him to self-referential absurdity.

    If — as one posting digital text in English of sufficient length to be clear cases of FSCI — he is (due to the obvious implications which he strenuously objects to the point of being willing to accept absurdity) unable to accept that FSCI is a description of a simple empirical phenomenon, what does that tell us about his ability to think straight on weighter matters, such as justice and mercy, much less theology?

    Onlookers: think about what the evolutionary materialism that is so enthusiastically championed is doing to the minds of these poor men. (And, PLEASE pray for them. Only prayer will help; beyond a certain point.)

    So, the question in the post at the head of the thread has been decisively answered: selective or radical skepticism is self-refuting and utterly endarkening of the mind and of morality.

    It is blatantly intellectually and morally bankrupt, and areas of thought, opinion and policy influenced by such endarkened understandings are tainted with that cancerous, metastasising gangrene of the mind.

    (Sorry for the strength of the language, especially if we are to have any hope of a cure. if the diagnosis is gangrene and cancer behind it, we need to know, and we need to act without delay! And, we must soberly understand that metastasis is USUALLY fatal, but we have to try to rescue our civilisation. The alternative is too horrible to accept without a fight.)

    But, that is not all:

    1 –> should we be sending our children to schools taught by such men, at primary, secondary or tertiary levels?

    2 –> Should we entrust such men of darkened understanding with policy making power?

    3 –> Should we trust news, commentary and opinion shaped by such men?

    4 –> Do we have reason to trust a “scientific consensus” shaped by such thinking; without a point by point independent audit and insisting on hearing both sides of any significant questions?

    5 –> Should we trust such men to manage our money well, in the bank or in the legislature?

    6 –> Can we trust such to lead our nations and our civilisation aright?

    And, more; much more.

    Serious issues are on the table.

    Let us try, and let us pray.

    Miracles still happen.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: GLF — Please, excise the hyperskepticism before it is too late. PLEASE. For you own good, and for the good of those you care about.

  216. 216
    CJYman says:

    GLF:
    “Pick a paper and explain how it supports design as opposed to evolution (which on the face of it is what it would be supporting, as by your logic it would not have been published if it supported design).”

    Heh?!?!? One of the claims of the math behind Modern ID Theory is that evolution itself is indicative of design.

    Not one simulation of the evolution of CSI has been shown to be possible absent previous intelligence.

    If it is indeed true that evolution is indicative of previous intelligence, then every paper which explains how evolution occurs also indirectly provides evidence of an ID mechanism for generating CSI.

    However, the fact that no paper has yet provided evidence that mechanisms void of previous intelligence are capable of generating CSI is directly supportive of the design hypothesis — ie: ID Theory is yet to be falsified [a counter example has yet to be produced].

    I’m quite confident that is what Jerry meant when he stated:

    “Nearly every paper of the several hundred thousand if not all papers in evolutionary biology are either neutral on design or support design.”

    …and…

    “I ask a evolutionary biologist for studies to show just this and he gives me studies that are in complete accord with ID.”

    …and…

    “So your money is safe because you know no one will publish a study if it made the claims I outlined but it does not change the findings from these studies. It is all a game at the moment and it is rigged.”

    IOW, the studies implicitly support design yet no one would be caught dead explicitly advocating design; or else the would be “fired” from the scientific community.

  217. 217
    George L Farquhar says:

    CJYman

    Morality is an absolute time transcendent standard which people need to use their rational faculties to discover.

    Firstly, how do you know this, specifically?

    Then, how much longer do you anticipate it taking? Humanity has had many thousands of years already.

    If it was there to be found, would it not already have been found? What’s the hold up?

    Perhaps it does not really exist at all, have you considered that?

  218. 218
    StephenB says:

    —-David: “Sure I think it’s wrong. I don’t think there’s any need to invoke so-called objective standards to say so. In fact, I don’t think you’ve named any.”

    To say that something is wrong, is to say that it is objectively wrong. You cannot logically say in one breath that something is wrong and then in another breath say that it is not objectively wrong.

  219. 219
    CJYman says:

    DK:
    “3. Some morals are beneficial products of evolutionsary adaptations, and some morals are created along the lines of your option (2), with the proviso that they are collectively, not merely subjectively created.”

    Which brings us to the point …

    Is evolution guided to create beings which will then work together as a collective whole to discover (as opposed to subjectively creating) pre-existing, time transendent moral truths — the objective moral code?

    P.S. a collection of subjectivity is still still subjective.

  220. 220
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB: sure I can. In fact, there’s a significant literature on relativism. You can choose to ignore it, but that’s not my problem.

  221. 221
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB:

    You cannot logically say in one breath that something is wrong and then in another breath say that it is not objectively wrong.

    Sure I can. In fact, there’s a significant literature on relativism. You can choose to ignore it, but that’s not my problem.

    CJYman, discovering such transcendent moral truths in a non-transcendent reality would be a neat trick, but I’m thinking the answer is no.

  222. 222
    George L Farquhar says:

    reposted with correct formatting:

    Kariosfocus

    Let’s take it from the top, one more time.

    Let’s not. Repeating yourself is not necessary.

    Such as the sentences of ACII text characters in your last posts.

    And this relates to proving the originl of life via naturalistic causes is impossible how, exactly?

    So, once we take time to think clearly and in light of empirical observations, instead of dogmatically and rhetorically, we see that FSCI is not even a hard concept to understand or to accept. And, it is formally a subset of the CSI concept.

    Emperical observations written down in a standardized format and submitted for review may be useful.

    I understand FSCI. Did I say I did not? Did I ask you to explain it again, when your “always linked” is “always available”?

    As to what the OOL researchers of the 70’s – 80’s meant, I will leave it to onlookers to compare Orgel

    Yes, please do. And please ignore the fact that Orgel would have disagreed with almost every single word you’ve said so far. The fact that he happened to use the phrase “specified complexity” is about the only relationship I can see between your “work” and his.

    That should be clear enough — for those who are open-eyed so they can see what is there to be seen by those willing to see. For, “one confuted against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    Insults are the last refuge of a poor mind.

    I ask you once more:
    Does Dawkin’s Weasel affix the letters in place once they are correct or leave them free to mutate once they are correct?

    I offer you the same challenge, $100,000 to a charity of your choice if you can find a quote from Dawkins where he says that is how his basic example operates.

    If you refuse to correct your basic misunderstandings then I fail to see how you can pronounce on things such as OOL and expect anybody to listen if you can be wrong on such a simple issue and refuse to correct yourself.

  223. 223
    CJYman says:

    CJYman:
    “Morality is an absolute time transcendent standard which people need to use their rational faculties to discover.”

    GLF:
    “Firstly, how do you know this, specifically? ”

    I merely offered it as an option. Now compare it to the other options

    GLF:
    “Then, how much longer do you anticipate it taking? Humanity has had many thousands of years already.”

    How much longer do you think it will take for humanity to have complete knowledge of any subject?

    GLF:
    “If it was there to be found, would it not already have been found? What’s the hold up?”

    I can’t believe you are asking these questions. What’s the hold up on abiogenesis, the cure for cancer, etc?

    GLF:
    “Perhaps it does not really exist at all, have you considered that?”

    A purely subjective moral standard makes no sense to me as I believe that the universe and evolution are guided processes which had humanity in mind.

    Furthermore, the result of a purely subjective morality means that …

    GLF and DK,

    If moral standards are indeed merely subjective then they can change at any point in time according to anyone’s prefrence. Thus, it boils down to might makes right, whether that might is a collection of the majority of people or a very powerful individual.

    A subjective morality is a preference, not a standard of truth for individuals to be held to.

    Believe what you wish, just understand and be willing to live with the logical consequences.

  224. 224
    CJYman says:

    DK:
    “CJYman, discovering such transcendent moral truths in a non-transcendent reality would be a neat trick, but I’m thinking the answer is no.”

    Conscious subjectivity is also a neat trick in an objective universe.

    Scientific Laws may very well also be examples of time-independent (time transcenednt) realities within a “non-transcendent” reality — whatever you mean by that.

  225. 225
    George L Farquhar says:

    kariosfocus

    f — as one posting digital text in English of sufficient length to be clear cases of FSCI — he is (due to the obvious implications which he strenuously objects to the point of being willing to accept absurdity) unable to accept that FSCI is a description of a simple empirical phenomenon, what does that tell us about his ability to think straight on weighter matters, such as justice and mercy, much less theology?

    What does it say about you that you think that such a simple concept as FCSI, which appears to basically amount to

    “If a given string has meaning (of any sort) then the FSCI in it is directly proportional to the number of bits in the string”

    can be a serious candidate for a tool to eludicate the possiblity of a naturalistic origin of life?

    Fine, FSCI means something.

    Now, address my other points.

    Does Weasel affix the letters once found and prevent them from mutating any more.

    What meaning does FSCI have if an onion has more FSCI in it then a human being? What, exactly, is it measuring?

    Is a onion more or less complex then a human being?

    Can you do any more then guess at the values for FSCI? “Rules of thumb” just don’t cut it in the real world when such issues are at stake.

    Onlookers, is it not ironic that KF appears to have fallen victim to selective hyperskepticism, compounded by closed-minded objectionism himself with his refusal to even consider that he may be wrong on a single issue?
    And instead resorts to ad-hominems

    cancerous, metastasising gangrene of the mind.

    instead of facing the issues head on, on their merits?

  226. 226
    StephenB says:

    —David: “Is it worth noting that trying to paint an opponent as a defender of child prostitution because he answers outside the language of objectivity is a contemptible tactic?”

    Comtemptible? Are you suggesting that I violated some objective code of justice that binds us all. Or, are you suggesting that I violated your subjective code of justice which may well be different than my subjective code of justice?

    If, in your judgment, I violated an objective and universal code, you have refuted your own position of relativistic and subjetivist morality.

    If, on the other hand, I merely violated your code of justice, then you have no reason to complain because I was merely following my code of justice.

    Are you starting to get the picture?

  227. 227
    David Kellogg says:

    CJYman, you write,

    If moral standards are indeed merely subjective then they can change at any point in time according to anyone’s prefrence. Thus, it boils down to might makes right, whether that might is a collection of the majority of people or a very powerful individual.

    It is obvious that many moral standards do change, no matter what their claimed objectivity. It is also obvious that history is replete with villains who committed terrible acts while claiming the morally objective high ground. People have been slaughtered for refusing to adhere to “objective” truths. It is further obvious that some moral codes seem quite stable and widespread, but that these don’t need to rely on a transcendent or objective appeal. I would say that relatively stable and universal codes may be evolutionary, and that rapidly shifting codes are simply made up.

    Other points of clarification:

    Conscious subjectivity is a neat trick indeed! An impressive effect of evolution.

    By “non-transcendent reality” I mean simply that my experience of the world, and I imagine yours too, is always and irreducibly contingent and partial.

  228. 228
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, I am saying that you are violating widely accepted practices of argument (by attempting to smear me by association). Such violations are not objective, but I would have thought they are widespread enough that you might pause from your self-congratulation to share my disgust. Apparently not.

  229. 229
    Rude says:

    George L Farquhar (“no true Scotsman”?) 203 brings up the Torah’s laws restricting slavery. What should be mentioned in the LORD’s defense is that this slavery could last for a maximum of six years for a citizen of the realm, and that the Torah is also filled with admonitions to respect the noncitizen: the alien be he slave or free could become a citizen. Thus no such slavery as existed under Roman rule, nor the slavery that tainted the Western Continents, could have endured under Torah Law.

    Another thing to note is that there is no provision for prison in the Torah, which is odd in that prisons play a role in Genesis (e.g., Joseph in Egypt). What the Torah is about is liberty, liberty through the rule of law. It begins with the freeing of slaves from Egypt. And it is no coincidence that the freest societies in the world have emerged from cultures most wedded to the Book that grew up around the Torah.

    Nor does the Torah enjoin its laws on the world in general. That is for the nation that covenanted with its God, and it is up to that nation to demonstrate to the world the efficacy of those laws, as in Deuteronomy 4:6-8:

    Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

    So is the indentured servitude of the Torah so much more horrible than our modern prison system? I know, most ivory tower academics cannot speak to this from personal experience, certainly the experience of prison, and I’m not advocating that we empty those prisons, execute the hard core, levy fines which in certain instances might mean up to six years of servitude.

    I’m just suggesting that we may not be as morally wise and all knowing as we think.

  230. 230
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, I’m frankly amazed that you seem to enjoy refusing an actual debate in favor of such childish games, whereby a facile attempt to label another as self-contradicting (with the added bonus of calling him a supporter of child prostiution! cool!) trumps any measured discussion of different positions. I would have though you were more mature. We don’t need to continue this. If you’d like, I’ll leave you giggling in your corner, and you can declare victory.

  231. 231
    R. Martinez says:

    Jerry (#182): “Nearly every paper of the several hundred thousand if not all papers in evolutionary biology are either neutral on design or support design.”

    Egregious and inexcusable ignorance.

    Darwinists DO NOT support the concept of design. The concept of evolution accomplished by natural causation, since Darwin 1859 when it was accepted, says design does not exist in nature (Darwin, Autobio:87; Dawkins 1986: book title).

    The reason Darwinists do not support design is because design implies invisible Designer (DUH!).

    The concept of design always presupposes Intelligent causation. The concept of evolution always presupposes natural or material agency (= unintelligent causation). This is why all Atheists are Evolutionists.

    “I haven’t seen one presented anywhere on the internet or in a journal or referenced here that does not fit this description.”

    Evolution by definition presupposes the non-existence of design. The mass of pro-evolution papers alluded to were written under this presupposition, whether actually stated or not.

    William Dembski “Intelligent Design” (1999).

    Michael Shermer “Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design” (2006).

    According to the massive ignorance of Jerry, the ID-Evolution debate that has been raging for decades does not exist. And there is no such thing as being neutral towards design: logically impossible. Darwinists and Evolutionists are anti-design. This is a basic, self-evident, axiomatic fact.

    “On another thread just last night Allen MacNeill, a teacher of evolutionary biology, demonstrates this every time he comes here and provides examples.”

    And here is the source of Jerry’s jaw dropping ignorance: Allen MacNeill.

    Allen MacNeill is an Atheist-evolutionist. He deliberately misrepresents the most basic claim of evolutionary theory (anti-design) in order to deceive naive persons like Jerry into accepting evolutionary theory. Again, Atheists support evolutionary theory unanimously because Darwinism says the concept of design does not exist in nature.

    MacNeill misrepresents the *objective claims* of evolution—intentionally—as a reaction to the success of Dembski IDism. We see the victims of this egregious misrepresentation in the laughable beliefs of Jerry.

    I predict because Jerry has been exposed to be horribly and inexcusably ignorant concerning the fact that the concepts of evolution and design are enemies, he will dig in his heels and defend these ridiculous assertions. We will probably have to endure more posts by Jerry that insult our intelligence. If he doesn’t then I will be most happy to apologize for this last paragraph. But my experience in these matters tells me that very few people have the integrity to admit they were wrong after being embarrassed. Jerry needs to be humiliated—that’s how egregiously ignorant he is concerning this BASIC 101 issue.

    Ray

  232. 232
    jerry says:

    George,

    You seem to be confused. Pick any paper that has ever been published in evolutionary biology. It either is consistent with ID or it contradicts ID. I maintain that no paper ever published in evolutionary biology ever contradicted ID.

    I gave you a basic proposition which ID has as a hypothesis. Find me a paper that contradicts it. Since there are thousands of studies on the mapping and analysis of genomes, they are either consistent or contradict this ID hypothesis. I have not found anyone who can provide one that contradicts ID.

    You are either dense or playing games. My guess is the latter.

  233. 233
    mullerpr says:

    David,

    In #186:

    “n any event, I’m amused that my critique of objectivity is countered by your defense of an objectivity somehow beyond human understanding. What use is that? There’s an objective measure out there somewhere, but we can’t access it? That seems far less stable than my appeal to provisional, relative judgment.”

    You must be living in a strange world to conclude this from anything that I have written. It is completely the opposite of my argument. My argument is that Abraham KNOW God and rationally and fully understood the implications of God’s command. It was completely within his understanding**. It is now clear to me that you actually amused yourself and projected it on me. (Such a projection is actually common for an internalist epistemology, and it proof that for you the law of non contradiction is relative as well.)

    Further more have I argued that the objective truth that exist outside any individual can be understood in the full respect that is required for a rational being within this or any other possible universe. It is a truth that can be found in the completest sense that is required for a human being. There are actually a number of academics in philosophy, physics and mathematics that agree that it is extremely “odd” that human logic has such success in understanding and predicting our external environment. This reality is far more superior that your misconstrued “provisional, and relative judgment”.

    The fact that we trust the uniformity of nature gives us the ability to generate new knowledge, and truly explore our complete reality without any provision. The true skeptic cannot have this trust because he has to be provisional about any observation which make any prediction impossible. And there you have the skeptic embracing self contradiction again, because they do make accurate predictions be cause they do trust nature to be understandable. You see… there is nothing special in saying one thing and acting against your claims, it is a form of delusion.

    The one irrational provision that a lot of skeptics consistently supports is naturalism. It is just sad to see people amputating their sense and understanding of the non-natural aspects of being, like beauty, love, logic, God, and so much more. It truly pains me to see the efforts to explain all these things into a naturalist view.

    ** This thought force me to ask you to name the theologian that argues that God goes out of his way not to be understood by man?

    P.S. David, please understand that I consider us both standing on “soap boxes” in public, making fun about each other while arguing serious issues for the entertainment and betterment of our audience. Nothing I argue is personal, it is about the issues and the fun.

  234. 234
    jerry says:

    George,

    I should be more clear.

    Pick any paper that has ever been published in evolutionary biology. The findings either are consistent with ID or they contradicts ID. I maintain that no paper ever published in evolutionary biology has findings that have contradicted ID.

  235. 235
    George L Farquhar says:

    KF
    You said

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met. That means it rewards partial but non-functional success, and is foresighted. Targetted search, not a proper RV + NS model.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-300338
    If you care to substantiate this with a quote from Mr Dawkins (book or otherwise, if book page number and issue is required) my offer of $100,000 to a charity of your choice stands.

    If you are right, as you obviously believe you are, it’s easy money?

  236. 236
    jerry says:

    Upright Biped,

    I am sure Ray does not understand that all I am saying is consistent with the findings and conclusions of Behe in the Edge of Evolution. So I am saying nothing that is inconsistent with Behe.

    But then again, Ray does not like Catholics and Behe is a Catholic.

  237. 237
    George L Farquhar says:

    Rude,

    What should be mentioned in the LORD’s defense is that this slavery could last for a maximum of six years for a citizen of the realm, and that the Torah is also filled with admonitions to respect the noncitizen: the alien be he slave or free could become a citizen.

    Oh, that’s all right then. Only six years?

    I don’t know what I was thinking of to imagine that slavery might have been a bad thing.

    Only six years? I wish I knew that from the beginning!

    Silly me!

  238. 238
    StephenB says:

    —-David Kellogg: I’m frankly amazed that you seem to enjoy refusing an actual debate in favor of such childish games, whereby a facile attempt to label another as self-contradicting (with the added bonus of calling him a supporter of child prostiution! cool!) trumps any measured discussion of different positions.”

    David, you contradict yourself every time you write, as I have made clear several times. If you don’t understand that objective morality is binding while popular opinion is not, I can’t help you. On the other hand, I am not trying to convince those who are impervious to reason, I speak to onlookers who may yet have an open mind.

  239. 239
    mullerpr says:

    George,

    Your sarcasm regarding the “only six years” slavery issue is only funny in the light of your modern stereotypes of slavery. Most of the successful arguments for the abolition of slavery was made by Christians because they saw that everything about the social construct became perverted by evil persons (I think of William Wilberforce among others). A lot of this evil sprang from the minds of evolutionary motivated racists. (Yes some of these evil persons claimed to be Christian, but their claims of knowing Christ has no effect of who Christ is, except if you like to use this to degrade Christ to your subjective standards.)

    In stead of being sarcastic you can show that you can look at an argument within the context. What you are doing is like making Newton out to be a fool and unscientific because Einstein came along.

  240. 240
    Upright BiPed says:

    Ray, Ray, Ray,

    Ray “Egregious Error of Stupendous Ignorance” Martinez

    Jerry is simply saying that the factual evidence uncovered by modern biology does not show that DESIGN is an invalid hypothesis.

    Now…the researchers themselves certainly do (given there mistaken ideological position) BUT the evidence itself does not.

    To the contrary, the evidence shows that DESIGN is (far and away) the most plausible hypothesis of all (which also has the evidentiary bolstering aspect of being parsimonious with other data).

    ID is ABOUT the evidence.

    You savvy that Skippy?

  241. 241
    Upright BiPed says:

    I see ray left his hat. Oh well.

  242. 242
    StephenB says:

    —-George: “Were the people who wrote those words rational (Biblical passages) StephenB?”

    The Bible makes the transition from bad behavior to good behavior. This is news to you? You don’t bring barbarians around overnight. You either ween them away from bad behavior slowly or you kill them. What do you think the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament is about? It’s about bringing people out of irrationality and barbarism to rationality and civilized behavior. To allude to the temporary accomodation of bad behavior for the sake of improving that behavior is to play a strawman’s game. Its the last refuge for those who cannot make their case.

    The barbarians had their excuses because they had nothing else to draw from. On the other hand, todays moral relativists are without exuse. What is your excuse for not knowing that child prostituion is wrong?

  243. 243
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, your saying I contradict myself does not actually make it so. I could as easily (and with more evidence, since you have provided none) say you debase yourself by your tactics, but that’s not likely to lead to a more dignified response from you.

    Do you have anything to support your appeal to objective morality besides repeating “it’s objective!”? Holding your breath and stamping your feet, perhaps? You have provided no evidence that such a standard exists, much less that it might be binding.

  244. 244
    David Kellogg says:

    mullerpr, no offense taken. I’ll have to think about your question, as I’m not a theologian. I’ll try to get back to you later.

  245. 245
    Adel DiBagno says:

    kairosfocus [168]:

    This thread is getting too long and there are too many voices in it, but I want to note:

    Adel, First, I must thank you for the wider context you supplied, and your further warranting that my inference to Cliffordian provenance (based on phrasing and timeline) was correct.

    This is the spirit of serious objective discussion that we need more of here at UD, on all sides.

    I agree, and I thank you for your collegial reaction to my efforts to maintain a civil and productive discussion. As I said way up there in this thread, I come here as a friendly critic. I want to learn about viewpoints, and I value instruction.

    Did you get it online, or from the print [I have had no luck turning out an Internet version]? kindly provide a link or bibliographical information.

    The online source is at The Huxley Files, Clark University

    Agnosticism and Christianity [1899] Collected Essays V

    (I hope that link works. Sorry, but my html skills are limited.)

    Regarding your subsequent comments, I found them helpful and challenging, and I would very much like to pursue them when I have time and energy. If not here, maybe on a subsequent thread…

  246. 246
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    If you don’t understand that objective morality is binding while popular opinion is not, I can’t help you.

    Perhaps you should speak to mullerpr regarding that, as he says that slavery was OK until bad people corrupted it

    everything about the social construct became perverted by evil persons

    So, does objective morality allow slavery as long as it’s the “nice” sort?

    Upright Biped

    Jerry is simply saying that the factual evidence uncovered by modern biology does not show that DESIGN is an invalid hypothesis.

    It’s also not incompatable with a teapot in space hypothesis, where the teapot is guiding evolution via mechanisms that in effect look exactly like unguided evolution.

    There are an infinite number of possible hypothesis, the question is which of them are supported by evidence.

    Simply saying “X has not been invalidated” does not support X in any way whatsoever.

    StephenB

    The Bible makes the transition from bad behavior to good behavior.

    Does it now? Does it really…

    What do you think the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament is about?

    Did your “objective morality” only exist when the New Testament came about then? I thought it was eternal and unchanging?

    To allude to the temporary accomodation of bad behavior for the sake of improving that behavior is to play a strawman’s game.

    Hardly “accomodated” was it? It was normal. It was moral. Therefore your “objective morals” were not in play when the OT was in force were they?

    The barbarians had their excuses because they had nothing else to draw from.

    Oh? I thought they could use your objective morality to better themselves? What stopped them doing that?

    Either your objective morality has been available all the time to everybody or it has not. If not, how is it eternal or objective?

    On the other hand, todays moral relativists are without exuse.

    Perhaps you could tell me what your “objective morality” consists of?

    Then I’ll read it and be convinced. Won’t I?

  247. 247
    kairosfocus says:

    GLF:

    Let’s take it from the top again: when you make a post of 143+ ASCII characters in contextually responsive English, it is functional, and comes from a config space of 2^1,000+, i.e. > 10^301.

    Since the functionality is sensitive to perturbation by random changes, it reflects the isolation of that functionality in the config space. So, random walk based searches will be maximally unlikely to get to shores of such an island; so hill-climbing that rewards improved function cannot get started.

    But then, you evidently know that all along — you do not get a monkey to pound away at random at your keyboard to make a post.

    MS Office applications programs and the Windows Opereating Sysrem are similarly FSCI — and contrary to rumnour Uncle Bill does not hire monkeys to create the next version each time. random bit changes are far more likely to destroy or damage existing function than to improve it.

    the same holds for DNA, and that is the reason why starting in a prebiotic soup under realistic conditions ends up in Shapiro’s dilemmas.

    But then, all of this is plainly evident just for a simple reflection on easily accessible observations.

    in short, skepticism that fails to be sufficiently skeptical of itself . . .

    GEM of TKI

    PS: on Weasel, I simply send you to the Creationists [the citations from Dawkins in Blind Watchmaker and New Scientist make the targetted oracular search crystal clear . . . for those willing to look and to acknowledge what they see] ; for basic correction. And I strongly doubt that Mr Dawkins will ever publicly admit to his oracular, foresighted search tactics that he passed off as a true representation of what RV + NS (especially the selection part) is supposed to be able to do. But that is what he plainly did back to the 1980’s, as can be seen by inspection of his examples as they zero in step by step on eh preselected solution. (You might want to look at Dembski and Marks on active information to see a more general analysis on the cost of search, here and here.) You need to be a bit more skeptical of the claims and magic-show demos of Darwinist advocates.

  248. 248
    StephenB says:

    —-David Kellogg: “Do you have anything to support your appeal to objective morality besides repeating “it’s objective!”?

    You still don’t get it. I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it. I am currently showing, as I have done in the past, that you don’t accept it and are looking for a thousand ways to rationalize that fact. Hence, you say that child prostitution is wrong but not objectively wrong. That is an irrational statement. Ask any rational person. It is either wrong for everyone all the time, or else it is conditionally wrong. For you, (so far) it is conditionally wrong, which is another way of saying that there are times when it is not wrong.

  249. 249
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB,
    As it happens moral issues are of significant interest to scientists generally and have led to ways of investigating such scientifically.

    For example, how does your objective morality prompt you to answer these dilemmas

    Scenario 1
    You’re standing beside a set of train tracks and you see a train coming. There are five people working on the track and they’ll be killed if the train keeps coming. You can’t warn them and they can’t see the train. There’s also another side track and on this track there is only one person. Same scenario, you can’t warn them and they can’t see the train. Beside you is a lever that will direct the train off the track with five people onto the track with only one. Do you pull the lever?

    Do you pull the lever? Why?

    Scenario 2
    You’re on a bridge overlooking a single train track. In one direction you see the train coming. In the other direction you see the same five people working on the track but this time instead of the other person being on a side track they’re standing next to you on the bridge overlooking the track. If you push the person off the bridge the train will hit them and stop before it reaches the five people down the track. Do you push the guy off?

    Do you pull the lever? Why?

    In scenario one 9 out of 10 people say “Yes, I’d pull the lever.”

    In scenario two 9 out of 10 people say “No, I wouldn’t push the person off the bridge even to save the five down the track.”

    Why? I would have thought that objective morality would lead to the same answer each time? The maths are the same for each!

    Go here

    http://moral.wjh.harvard.edu/eric1/test/testN.html

    To take similar tests yourself. You might be surprised at your answers!

  250. 250
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it.

    Perhaps you too should write a paper and get a Nobel prize! Proving such a thing would deserve it! Do you at least have a link to this “proof”? What’s stopping you from writing down these objective moral laws right now?

    If objective morality is true, then please explain why people consistently give the same answers to the dilemmas I posed above when if they were considering it “objectivly” the same number of lives would be saved in each situation.

    Square that circle please StephenB.

  251. 251
    mullerpr says:

    George,

    You are a stubborn lazy thinker. You have been challenged to bring the social construct “slavery” into the Biblical context and instead of showing your new insight you stubbornly stick to the stereotype to attack the objective character of any construct.

    Your objective reality of modern stereotype of slavery has no bearing on the objective characteristics of Biblical slavery because you are completely oblivious to the fact that Biblical slaves sold themselves to their “owners” for a 6 year contract after which they are free again. That is vastly different than, being caught like an animal and sold as mindless property. There is virtually no overlap in the objective realities of these two constructs, but you stick to your simplistic misunderstanding.

  252. 252
    kairosfocus says:

    Adel:

    Thank you again.

    The link works, thank you.

    I spent a slice or two of today thinking on Faraday Disk generators, Faraday’s paradox of an axially rotating bar magnet in that context [effectively, doesn’t spin the field . . . compare the equiv solenoid], and implications for magnetic braking, in the context of Hoyle’s model on the Laplace Angular Momentum issue and onward extensions by others. [Rule of thumb: Fred Hoyle may be wrong on points, but he is never dull or pedestrian. One of my personal intellectual heroes.)

    Thanks again.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: My contact is through my always linked.

  253. 253
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr

    Your objective reality of modern stereotype of slavery has no bearing on the objective characteristics of Biblical slavery because you are completely oblivious to the fact that Biblical slaves sold themselves to their “owners” for a 6 year contract after which they are free again.

    Really?

    If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever.

    (Exodus 21:2-6 NLT)

    So, it was OK to keep a male Hebrew slave by keeping his wife and children hostage until he agrees to become a permanent slave?
    What kind of values are these?

    When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.

    (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)

    So it’ OK to keep a sex slave as long as you feed them?

    What about how you treat them?

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

    (Exodus 21:20-21 NAB)

    So, as long as you don’t actually beat them to death you can beat them as much as you like.

    And so on and on and on.

    Pretend as much as you like that the slaves loved it. You are wrong.

  254. 254
    mullerpr says:

    I actually had to mention in #252 that Biblical slavery has far more objective similarities with any modern work contract than the slave trade of the 18th and 19th century.

    But again it has to be noted that the skepticism that we discuss here will use its method just to have its way for the moment regardless of the truth. With a method like this you can never be sure that tomorrow the “new way” might be 18th century slavery is back into fashion. Something similar did happen in Germany in the 20th century.

  255. 255
    StephenB says:

    —-Goerge: “If objective morality is true, then please explain why people consistently give the same answers to the dilemmas I posed above when if they were considering it “objectivly” the same number of lives would be saved in each situation.”

    Do you always evade my questions by hiding behind my statements to others? In any case the natural moral law is a general rule to which individual applications must be addressed. The dispute among rational people is about the individual applications not the law itself. Now would you mind addressing my questions to you. My statements to David are of a slightly different texture because his remedial needs are slightly different that yours. Which is why you need to pay less attention to my questions for him and more attention to my questions for you.

  256. 256
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr,
    As I’ve just pointed out, biblical era slave owners were entitled to do things that if done in the western world today would put you in jail for a very long time.

    regardless of the truth.

    Indeed.

  257. 257
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    In any case the natural moral law is a general rule to which individual applications must be addressed.

    Can you spell out that “rule” or not?

    The dispute among rational people is about the individual applications not the law itself.

    Well, as you have said you don’t consider me a rational person.

    Now would you mind addressing my questions to you.

    What, if I consider child prostitution to be wrong? That one?

    My statements to David are of a slightly different texture because his remedial needs are slightly different that yours.

    I tug my forlock at thee.

    Which is why you need to pay less attention to my questions for him and more attention to my questions for you.

    Thanks for telling me what I need to do. Are you getting that information the same place you are pulling your comments about “objective moral law” from?

  258. 258
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    Do you always evade my questions by hiding behind my statements to others?

    It should be noted that you answered my moral dilemma question with

    In any case the natural moral law is a general rule to which individual applications must be addressed.

    Which is very similar to saying “water is wet”.

    Now, I have given you the perfect example (which has been studied at length) regarding moral dilemmas. If you really believed in what you say you would jump at the chance to subject your “objective moral law” to an objective test.

    If it proves your case you then have emprical evidence for next time!

    Why do you refuse to address the issue?

  259. 259
    jerry says:

    “It’s also not incompatible with a teapot in space hypothesis, where the teapot is guiding evolution via mechanisms that in effect look exactly like unguided evolution.”

    What a stupid comment. ID makes some predictions about evolution and the ability of naturalistic processes to form complex novel capabilities and you talk about teapots in space. Maybe you should read more before you comment here.

  260. 260
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB:

    In any case the natural moral law is a general rule to which individual applications must be addressed.

    Please address the application at hand (the railway example) using your natural objective moral law.

    Please explain the results obtained in the two examples given.

    I will then give you the answer you are asking for.

  261. 261
    George L Farquhar says:

    Jerry

    What a stupid comment.

    From you I consider that a compliment of the highest order.

    ID makes some predictions about evolution and the ability of naturalistic processes to form complex novel capabilities

    If evolution as a concept did not exist what would ID say then? Do you have anything to say about ID that is not based upon evolution at some level?

    and you talk about teapots in space.

    I was alluding to a famous example. I guess if you were better read you’d have got it.
    Bertrand Russell’s teapot:

    If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot

  262. 262
    StephenB says:

    —-George; “As I’ve just pointed out, biblical era slave owners were entitled to do things that if done in the western world today would put you in jail for a very long time.”

    How conveniently you confuse civil law with morality.

    How conveniently you ignore my point at 242 where I explained the gradual transition from barbarism to civilization.

    In any case, you have no standard by which you can criticize slavery in any case since you don’t acknowledge any objective standard for justice.

  263. 263
    StephenB says:

    —-George: “Please address the application at hand (the railway example) using your natural objective moral law.”

    Present the dilemma in your own words. Right now, am too busy providing remedial education for moral relativists to chase down web sites. Besides, I need to get back to work very soon.

  264. 264
    mullerpr says:

    George said #254:

    “Pretend as much as you like that the slaves loved it. You are wrong.”

    The fact George is that you are the one pretending “sex slaves” and more into what is written in the Bible. You even pretend on behalf of the slaves. That is the modern skeptics thing. How many patronizing views of people has followed exactly the same type of argument into a subjective stereotype that has no bearing on the actual actors’ own reality? Ask me I live in Africa where every Western skeptic wants to think on our behalf instead of walking the path to objective truth with us.

    You just cannot see that your method will always misconstrue the objective realities of any construct.

    Simply quoting the text is not new insight. You need to show us you were able to understand it in the context that it was written.

  265. 265
    Rude says:

    Lots of conversations going on here, but it would be great if y’all such as at 237 might sometimes—even though vehemently disagreeing—still register just a glimmer of understanding of what has been said. We need responsible Devil’s advocates. And I’m not for niceness—the good folk are typically way too nice—but one does tire of boneheaded sarcasm that concedes not a hint of comprehension.

  266. 266
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB

    How conveniently you confuse civil law with morality.

    How convinent you find a way to squim out of facing the issue.

    In any case, you have no standard by which you can criticize slavery in any case since you don’t acknowledge any objective standard for justice.

    List for me the objective standards for justice and I’ll tell you if I acknowledge them or not.

    Present the dilemma in your own words.

    The words I used are the standard form. There is no reason to change them. As you seem to think they are on a website I’ll repeat them again (there is a website but that’s a seperate issue).

    Scenario 1
    You’re standing beside a set of train tracks and you see a train coming. There are five people working on the track and they’ll be killed if the train keeps coming. You can’t warn them and they can’t see the train. There’s also another side track and on this track there is only one person. Same scenario, you can’t warn them and they can’t see the train. Beside you is a lever that will direct the train off the track with five people onto the track with only one. Do you pull the lever?

    and

    Scenario 2
    You’re on a bridge overlooking a single train track. In one direction you see the train coming. In the other direction you see the same five people working on the track but this time instead of the other person being on a side track they’re standing next to you on the bridge overlooking the track. If you push the person off the bridge the train will hit them and stop before it reaches the five people down the track. Do you push the guy off?

    It’s quite straightfowards.

    Besides, I need to get back to work very soon.

    Again, how convinent.

  267. 267
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr

    Simply quoting the text is not new insight. You need to show us you were able to understand it in the context that it was written.

    It seems quite clear to me

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

    Perhaps you would care to educate me as to the context of that? What, exactly, can you say that makes that alright? What possible excuse is there for that behaviour?

    Please go right ahead. I’m waiting to be enlightened.

  268. 268
    mullerpr says:

    George #262:

    “If evolution as a concept did not exist what would ID say then? Do you have anything to say about ID that is not based upon evolution at some level?”

    This is another absurd argument. It is like saying Copernicus would have nothing to say if it were not for a geocentric theory.

    As I mentioned much earlier, George, you have to measure your creative energy levels very well because it seems as if the wheels are coming off.

  269. 269
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    And I strongly doubt that Mr Dawkins will ever publicly admit to his oracular, foresighted search tactics that he passed off as a true representation of what RV + NS (especially the selection part) is supposed to be able to do. But that is what he plainly did back to the 1980’s, as can be seen by inspection of his examples as they zero in step by step on eh preselected solution. (You might want to look at Dembski and Marks on active information to see a more general analysis on the cost of search, here and here.).

    I’m sorry, was that your answer?

    You refuse to defend yourself and send me to some creationists instead?

    The fact that you knowingly mis-represent the Weasel example as what “RV + NS (especially the selection part) is supposed to be able to do” when in fact it’s a simple teaching example used to introduce the concept is beyond my understanding. It’s like saying that “Your first ABC book” is poor literature.

    Is that the best you’ve got?

    I note, once again, you said previously

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met. That means it rewards partial but non-functional success, and is foresighted. Targetted search, not a proper RV + NS model.

    Once again, I CHALLENGE YOU to show me where Mr Dawkins says this is how weasel works.

    Where does Mr Dawkins say “once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations”?

    I’ve offered $100,000 for a charity of your choosing if you can provide me with a reference (book, paper by Mr Dawkins).

    Lying is a sin, be it by omission or directly making misstatements you know to be false.

    How does that fit with an objective moral law?

    You need to be a bit more skeptical of the claims and magic-show demos of Darwinist advocates

    You should take your own advice. You made a claim. I’m asking you to defend it. You stand to gain an awful lot if you do.

    Apart from anything else, you’ll shut me right up!

  270. 270
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr

    This is another absurd argument. It is like saying Copernicus would have nothing to say if it were not for a geocentric theory.

    Hardly. I’m sure Copernicus would have come up with a positive theory of his own, even if there was no prior work to base it on. He might have come up with the geocentric theory!

    What postive arguments does ID have that are not based on what evolution cannot do? If evolution was disproved tommrow that would not change the status of ID in any way whatsoever.

    Even Behe called his book “The edge of evolution”.

  271. 271
    jerry says:

    George,

    You are starting to go off the deep end. Yes I knew what the comment was about. I have seen it used several times before. But you obviously do not know what the debate is about or else you would not have brought up this non sequitur. You think it is relevant which shows your lack of understanding.

    Evolution is the issue at hand and that is what the current debate is mostly about here though people get off on many non ID debates having mainly to do with morality. It is all over this site at the moment and comments are flying back and forth so fast that no one can read them all. Evolution is also the only ID issue that I am interested in personally though the fine tuning of the universe is also of interest.

    I am interested in the proposition that naturalistic processes can produce complex novel capabilities in an organism or not. ID says it cannot do so on an ongoing basis because there are not enough time and reproductive events to do so. It does not say that none have arisen but if they did, they are few. In other words on the microbe to man scenario how many such events had to happen and how much time is necessary for each and is there any evidence that they could happen in that time. Because of the finite time involved ID says it is not possible to produce the appropriate events. The current evolutionary synthesis says it happened but has yet to produce any evidence that it did happen by naturalistic means.

    So if you want to bring up teapots in space like it means something, then I am afraid you are not well informed and such things just make it easier for ID to convince others of its proposition. When people start using irrelevant arguments it makes it easy for us.

  272. 272
    mullerpr says:

    George,

    Slavery in Biblical times is the argument not your current, for the moment, subjective moral sensibilities. I can not argue on that behalf.

    Constructs of corporal punishment then and now are a completely new subject where we have to search for objective realities. But you have to excuse me if I am not willing to jump with you from one subjective stereotype you manage to conjure up to the other. I think I have proven the case for the existence of objective moral values within the Bible’s context, that was my objective.

    The Bible is about God’s interactions with man in his fallen and redeemed state, if you expect the moral high ground in all aspects of the old testament then you don’t need Christ who came to fulfill the law in its redeeming power.

    It is early in the morning (01:00) on my part of the world so I will step down from my soap box and let you enjoy the rest of your day.

  273. 273
    George L Farquhar says:

    Jerry

    Because of the finite time involved ID says it is not possible to produce the appropriate events.

    And you know this because understanding of biology is complete at this time? DNA was only discovered a generation ago!

    In any case, when prominent ID proponents such as Kariosfocus misrepresent even such simple things as Dawkins’ Weasel then I do have to wonder, if the argument is so clear cut, why he feels the need to do that.

    The current evolutionary synthesis says it happened but has yet to produce any evidence that it did happen by naturalistic means.

    Then I guess it’s a draw currently, as ID says it was design but has yet to produce any eivdence that it did not happen by naturalistic means.

    I mean, I’ve not heard any positive evidence for the ID side whatsoever, only arguments like yours.

    on the microbe to man scenario how many such events had to happen and how much time is necessary for each and is there any evidence that they could happen in that time

    Why don’t you tell me at what points the designer intervened?

    Once only? Once a year? Once a decade? Once a century?

    If evolution does not posess the mechanism to get from microbe to man then you believe the designer helped.

    When? How?

    You have no answers whatsoever to these questions, whereas at least the current evolutionary synthesis has partial answers and is searching for more details.

    What have you got? Only negative arguments.

  274. 274
    George L Farquhar says:

    mullerpr

    I think I have proven the case for the existence of objective moral values within the Bible’s context, that was my objective.

    If they were objective they would not be withing the Bible’s context. Try again.

    When you come back please tell me the context that makes this moral:

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

  275. 275
    StephenB says:

    The Bible makes the transition from bad behavior to good behavior.

    —“Does it now? Does it really…”

    Well, yes it does. What do you think the words, “you have heard it said, but I say unto you” mean

    —-“Did your “objective morality” only exist when the New Testament came about then? I thought it was eternal and unchanging?”

    It is, but bad habits are hard to break. Believe it or not, people refuse to act on what they know to be right because they prefer to do what is wrong.

    —-“Therefore your “objective morals” were not in play when the OT was in force were they?”

    Sure they were. But the natural moral law requires reflection and submission of the intellect and will. Most prefer to be a law unto themselves.

    —“Oh? I thought they could use your objective morality to better themselves? What stopped them doing that?”

    It’s a little thing called stubbornness. We have the same thing today. Besides, the human conscience presents the natural moral law in an imperfect way. That is why moral instruction is needed as a supplement.

    —-“Either your objective morality has been available all the time to everybody or it has not. If not, how is it eternal or objective?”

    You are correct.

    —“Perhaps you could tell me what your “objective morality” consists of?”

    That’s a fair question. One good source would be “Illustrations of the Tao,” easily googled.

    —-“Then I’ll read it and be convinced. Won’t I?”

    No, you will look it over, decide that you don’t like it, and reject it. The intellect provides the target but the will shoots the arrow. The will has the option to tell the intellect to go take a hike.

  276. 276
    George L Farquhar says:

    StephenB:

    Did you know that the early Christian Church used the Septuagint, the oldest Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, as its religious text until at least the mid-fourth century.

    And you call that book “the bad behaviour book” do you?

    And you know that Christ and the Apostles in the New Testament quoted extensively from the OT text too? Hardly what you would expect if it was “all bad”, is it?

    No, you will look it over, decide that you don’t like it, and reject it. The intellect provides the target but the will shoots the arrow. The will has the option to tell the intellect to go take a hike.

    You have a high opinion of youself don’t you?

    Up in comment 264 you said

    Present the dilemma in your own words. Right now, am too busy providing remedial education for moral relativists to chase down web sites. Besides, I need to get back to work very soon.

    I ask you to do the same. Don’t link me to ““Illustrations of the Tao”, present the objective moral law in your own words.

    And after that, address my railway dilemma. Why do people behave in ways that appear to go against your “objective moral law”.

    Why is it sometimes OK to save 1 person and sacrifice 5 and sometimes OK to sacrifice 5 to save one? If objective moral laws were in play you would expect 5 to be saved, every time.

    And yet that is not how people answer.

  277. 277
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, you write

    I am not currently proving that objective morality is true.

    On that we agree.

    I did that a long time ago and you missed it.

    Ha! Where? I’m plenty arrogant, but I don’t put myself ahead of the great philosophers, who have never resolved this debate. You on the other hand have “proved” that objective morality is true. What hubris! No wonder you’re so above us all.

    I am currently showing, as I have done in the past, that you don’t accept it and are looking for a thousand ways to rationalize that fact.

    What’s to show? I don’t accept that objective morality — or objective anything — exists. You have not proven that it does, although you have repeatedly asserted that it does. Assertion is not proof. It’s not even evidence.

    Hence, you say that child prostitution is wrong but not objectively wrong.

    Since neither “child” nor “prostitution” are objective categories, I’m sticking with my position. Can you define “child,” “prostitution,” and “child prostitution” objectively? Until the category is objectively defined, it can’t be objectively valued. It can, however, be relatively valued in such a way as to support current laws.

  278. 278
    StephenB says:

    George:

    David:

    Play time is over today, I have to go back to work. I hope to deal with your irrelevant and irrational eruptions later. Meanwhile, if there are any adult supervisors available, please take over until I get back.

  279. 279
    George L Farquhar says:

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

    An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject.

    See you next time StephenB.

  280. 280
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB,

    Not even a link to your “proof” of objective morality? What’s a relativist to do?

    Best,
    David

  281. 281
    jerry says:

    “the current evolutionary synthesis has partial answers and is searching for more details.”

    With all the money and people and time, all they have are no answers or conflicting answers not partial answers. Yes they are still searching and no one is telling them to stop. Maybe they will find something some day.

    But until that time the public and the students should be told they do not have anything instead of pretending they do. So since you agree that they do not have anything of yet then you should agree with me that the textbooks should be rewritten to reflect the current state of knowledge. It can change when they find something relevant.

    George, you list a bunch of silly questions. If you want to understand how it could be done then read about synthetic biology to get some ideas. Nobody in biology does not say it cannot be done. When and how often will probably come in the future when more is known about genomes and how they changed over time. Or as you seem to hope, there will not be any need since a naturalistic mechanism will be discovered.

  282. 282
    David Kellogg says:

    mullerpr [234], I said I’d get back to you. You ask,

    This thought force [sic] me to ask you to name the theologian that argues that God goes out of his way not to be understood by man?

    I’m not sure by the phrasing if you have someone in mind or if you think there’s no such theologian. A little looking brought me to Martin Luther, whose idea of the Deus Absconditus or hidden God you may be referring to. Luther seems to take his ideas from 1 Corinthians (“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe”).

    Alistar McGrath explains Luther’s theology thus:

    This revelation must be regarded as indirect and concealed. This is one of the most difficult aspects of the theologia cruces to grasp: how can one speak of a concealed revelation? Luther’s allusion to Exodus 33.23 in Thesis 20 is the key to understanding this fundamental point: Although it is indeed God who is revealed in the passion and the cross of Christ, he is not immediately recognizable as God. Those who expect a direct revelation of the face of God are unable to discern him in his revelation, precisely because it is the posteriora Dei which are made visible in this revelation. In that it is God who is made known in the passion and the cross of Christ, it is revelation; in that this revelation can only be discerned by the eye of faith, it is concealed. The ‘friends of the cross’ know that beneath the humility and shame of the cross lie concealed the power and the glory of God — but to others, this insight is denied.

    Is that what you’re after?

    Back to the Abraham issue, it was long held among early Jewish scholars that the messages of the Hebrew scriptures were concealed and cryptic. See Kugel, The Bible as it Was — a really wonderful book. I’m not a theologian, nor even particularly interested in theology. But it’s worth knowing that those early Jewish scholars were deeply divided over how much Abraham knew, or whether Isaac knew, etc. (Of course, they were operating on the assumption that the Bible is divinely inspired.)

  283. 283
    R. Martinez says:

    Upright Biped (#241): “Jerry is simply saying that the factual evidence uncovered by modern biology does not show that DESIGN is an invalid hypothesis.”

    False, Jerry DID NOT say that. He said that the vast majority of pro-evolution papers support design.

    If Jerry meant to say what you have said then he would have said what you now have said. Because his ego will not allow him to admit to any type of error or accept correction, or yourself for that matter, you are playing the “misunderstanding card” and insulting intelligence.

    If Jerry meant what you now have said then he is guilty of very poor communication.

    “Now…the researchers themselves certainly do (given there mistaken ideological position) BUT the evidence itself does not.

    To the contrary, the evidence shows that DESIGN is (far and away) the most plausible hypothesis of all (which also has the evidentiary bolstering aspect of being parsimonious with other data).

    ID is ABOUT the evidence.”

    The fact that the evidence supports ID and not evolution is not in dispute. We know the evidence supports ID and not evolution. We know there is one set or database of evidence and two interpretations (Design and Evolution) that seek to destroy one another.

    You are evading the fact that Jerry plainly supported the corruptive nonsense of Atheist-evolutionist Allen MacNeill (#182). He implied that Allen MacNeill teaches evolution produces design. The implication is gross distortion of the objective facts since Darwinism maintains that design does not exist in nature. Jerry conveniently forgot to say that MacNeill accepts Dawkins 1986: design is an illusion produced by unguided material force. “Illusion” means design does not really exist. MacNeill has duped Jerry. How else do we explain an alleged IDist (= Jerry) doing the bidding of an Atheist-evolutionist?

    Ray

  284. 284
    George L Farquhar says:

    jerry

    With all the money and people and time, all they have are no answers or conflicting answers not partial answers. Yes they are still searching and no one is telling them to stop. Maybe they will find something some day.

    Whatever. I must have imaginged those two and a half million google scholar results you ignored upthread.

    But until that time the public and the students should be told they do not have anything instead of pretending they do.

    Are they pretending to teach for 4 year courses at university then? Closing the doors, and then turning the TV on?

    Are researchers going into to work, closing the blinds and settling back with the latest paperback?

    So since you agree that they do not have anything of yet then you should agree with me that the textbooks should be rewritten to reflect the current state of knowledge.

    No, I never said that. Alot has been said, discovered, proven. In comparison with what awaits to be discovered, I suspect not so much. That does not mean we are not well advanced in knowelege. Deciding what knowledge the facts represent can take some time to sort out!

    If you want to understand how it could be done then read about synthetic biology to get some ideas.

    Everytime somebody like you says this it makes me laugh. We all know that your designer is god. Yet here you are making out like god had to call down to the glassware shop to get some flasks. Yes, I could read about synthetic biology “to get some ideas”. I thought the idea was that the “designer” was somewhat more advanced them humans will be in perhaps 50 years time.

    When and how often will probably come in the future when more is known about genomes and how they changed over time.

    Yet in advance of actually knowing a single thing about how the “designer” operated or when it operated or what it operated on you are happy say with absolute certainty that the designer did it and no naturalistic machanism (in a field that’s only really existed in it’s current form with powerful computers, sequences etc) could possibly have done it.

    Sounds more like faith to me then anything based on observable reality.

    Sounds like you’ll never change your opinion no matter what is discovered as you made up your mind already when the preponderence of evidence was way way against you.

    So what would have to change in the future to make you, jerry, change your mind?

  285. 285
    StephenB says:

    Ah George, I have only about fifteen minutes and, alas I must return to duty.

    —–“And you call that book “the bad behaviour book” do you?”

    Bad behavior book? It is a book of good and bad behavior. Obviously, it begins with very bad behavior, it is called the “fall.”

    —–“And you know that Christ and the Apostles in the New Testament quoted extensively from the OT text too? Hardly what you would expect if it was “all bad”, is it?”

    Well, yes, the Old Testament contains prefigured typologies of Christ and the apostles so naturally they would quote from it. The book does, after all, contain 459 prophecies about Christ, so it makes sense to refer to it. Also, it does reveal the natural moral law in its own way. It is, after all, celebrated as the word of god. It is not, therefore, “the book of bad behavior,” so to speak. It is a record of salvation history, which must deal with and address bad behavior.

    It is a very good book and a very holy book, it just happens to deal with a lot of gritty issues. You were expecting Deepok Chopra? Part of God’s word includes a record of man’s mischievous behavior and God’s attempt to deal with it, sometimes quite harshly, but most of the time, quite gently. The road to sanctity is taken one step at a time. Sometimes God’s mercy shows its face, and sometimes God’s justice shows its face. Your attempt to characterize my description of the Old Testament as “all bad” does not serve you well. In point of fact, the book is all good.

    —–I ask you to do the same. Don’t link me to ““Illustrations of the Tao”, present the objective moral law in your own words.

    Honor thy father and thy mother, Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor, thou shalt not play dumb.

    —–“And after that, address my railway dilemma. Why do people behave in ways that appear to go against your “objective moral law”.

    I thought we already covered that. As a general rule, they go against it because they prefer to be a law unto themselves. Why do you embrace moral relativism? It isn’t all that complicated. You would rather not submit to the natural moral law, so you pretend not to know what it is or else imply that we can’t know it. It is inconceivable that someone with your education level could not know unless he didn’t want to know.

    With regard to dilemmas, I am sure I have heard them all before. We did the same thing in my freshman sociology class. They are all, as I pointed out earlier, individual circumstances that are informed by but not explicitly addressed by the natural moral law. (Who do we save, the Rabbi or the Old Lady etc). The principles involved may be justice, compassion, mercy and so on. It is not possible to have fifteen trillion commandments to cover for every combination and permutation involved in moral choices. The idea is to understand the vices and the virtues and then try to develop the virtue of prudence, which calls for wise applications of general moral principles to individual situations.

    —-“Why is it sometimes OK to save 1 person and sacrifice 5 and sometimes OK to sacrifice 5 to save one? If objective moral laws were in play you would expect 5 to be saved, every time.”

    Now here you have hit upon something really good, and you deserve full credit for making this observation. One good moral answer is this: We are all in this together, and we all live and die together. Very good, really!

    —-“And yet that is not how people answer.”

    You are on a roll, you really are. The vast majority of individuals in the free world have succumbed to moral relativism. Survey after survey confirms it. The academy has been imposing the tyranny of relativism for decades and it has finally reached the man on the street. So, the average person responds by agreeing to the utilitarian terms presented. Of course, it is also important to realize that the exercise itself is meant to promote utilitarianism and relativism. (Yes, I know the difference—really). Asking people, “which one among many they will save,” forces them to choose on the basis of a utilitarian standard, meaning natural law is ruled out apriori. Thus, the only way out is for the poor respondent to protest, “I don’t accept your premise.” Indeed, few understand the premise that has been foisted upon them. In any case, I am beginning to have high hopes for you.

  286. 286
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, if your 15 minutes are not up, could you do me the favor of linking to your proof of the truth of objective morality? The philosophical world and I thank you in advance.

  287. 287
    jerry says:

    “So what would have to change in the future to make you, jerry, change your mind?”

    Maybe some evidence which you and many others like yourself have said exists but which they can never present. Or is all that you have is just some teapot orbiting earth. That is what it looks like to me.

    George you are just like all the rest who have come here. All talk but no walk. Come back when you have some evidence or you find your teapot somewhere between here and Mars.

    Good luck and keep the faith. Someday someone might find some evidence to support your beliefs.

  288. 288
    jerry says:

    If I were to suggest that between Berkeley and Harvard there is a magic book with research results so conclusive on macro evolution and that this book shuttles from coast to coast in the possession of a research wizard, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the book is almost identical to every other book of research results except for the interpretation of the research wizard. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt such a book exists, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a book were affirmed in all textbooks, taught as the sacred truth every semester, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

  289. 289
    StephenB says:

    —-David: “if your 15 minutes are not up, could you do me the favor of linking to your proof of the truth of objective morality? The philosophical world and I thank you in advance.”

    I can do a quick lighting round. The natural moral law is founded in our nature and revealed to us by our faculty of reason. From an epistemological standpoint, it is written on the human heart. We cannot reason our way to it, in other words, logic cannot take us to it. So, it cannot be proven through demonstration. We do not reason our way toward it so much as we reason our way from it, meaning that we can come to a more sophisticated knowledge of it through study and reflection. In the most general sense, it can be expressed as “do good and avoid evil.” One can learn more about it by investigating the Tao.

  290. 290
    StephenB says:

    David, the demonstration that I provided did not prove that the natural law exist, because that cannot be done. I proved that you believe it in spite of your protests. The demonstration was in your appeal to objective justice and your claim that my behavior was “contemptible.” That proved that you believe in a universal standard of justice even though you claim that moral principles such as justice are not objective.

  291. 291
    mullerpr says:

    David,

    I quickly answer #283:

    There is a vast difference in “concealed and cryptic” and “that God goes out of his way not to be understood by man”.

    Not to be understood in my mind implies that God makes it impossible to be understood. If I can explain the difference in information terms. If God wanted NOT to be understood then he would have “scrambled the code beyond any possible human comprehension”, but if he wanted humans to know Him in a very particular way, he would have used an encryption that can be decrypted in such a way as to reveal everything we need to know in order to understand Him and our environment.

    In that sense your all references actually supported my view. Maybe because I have already decrypted the messages your referred to.

    Can you see the mistake being made by skeptics who claim that God is unknowable and using that as vindication for their skepticism.

  292. 292
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers (and GLF):

    At 248 above, I took up GLF (in response to his 2nd US$ 100k challenge at 236) on a practical (and thus also, spiritual . . . ) test of his truth-orientation, morality and sense of justice, as well as his ability to think with a clear, logical and open, unbiased mind on a matter of fact.

    I invite you to follow the link in 248 to the rebuttal to Weasel hosted by CMI, over the names Royal Trueman and Werner Gitt.

    Should you do so, you will see that:

    a –> through citations of acrtual tables from Mr Dawkins’ Blind Watchmaker, and from a 1986 article in NewScientist [references given], Dawkins’ method is plain enough.

    b –> Namely, he starts with the right number of letters, and then randomly changes the letters in the initial case [save for any that happen to be the right letter in the right place].

    c –> After the random shifts, he tests for hits again, rewarding a “warmer” — but non-functional — configuration [ by preserving its successful letters.

    d –> He repeats, and so we can see the strings moving ever closer to the target string, finally reaching it in 40+ or 60+ runs.

    e –> Plainly, we see (from Dawkins!) strings that are not functional as English text being rewarded for being “warmer” and corrected for being “colder.” [Note the also linked deeper discussions by Dembski and Marks et al.]

    f –> Actually, Mr Dawkins’ procedure is a little less than optimal. A straight run through the alphabet and a space character would solve the puzzle in 27 runs. That is, randomising the search for the corrective character reduces efficiency, probably as wrong characters may repeat (in any given case there are 26 wrong ones and 1 right one).

    g –> Now, of course, Mr Dawkins’ context — Blind Watchmaker and New Scientist is “didactic”/ rhetorical. But that is the precise point. He is “illustrating” a mechanism of blind search with foresighted search, which s grossly misleading. (And BTW, when Darwin drew out inferences from ARTIFICIAL selection of animal breeders, to infer to proposed natural selection, he was similarly making a questionable step from the foresighted to the blind; but at least he was kind enough to clearly signpost his book as an initial and tentative case in partial absence of key evidence that is to be looked for. By 1986, that was not the case.)

    h –> And, for the more general/ serious case, in 248, I also linked the two forthcoming papers on active information and cost of search, as they not only deal with toy examples, but with more current and serious cases [such as Avida et al], showing the oracular search issue, and the role of intelligently built-in active information in efficiency gain of searches; duly measured in bits.

    i –> What, then, is my “reward” for so justifying an earlier statement that Weasel is targeted, oracular search; not blind search [cf citation at 236]? At 270 GLF pretty directly implies that I am a liar.

    j –> But in fact, on any reasonable reading, GLF now owes CMI/AiG US$ 50 k [Send to Mr Ken Ham for his Creation Museum, and give him my greetings], and the Evo Informatics Lab US$ 50 k [Send Dr Dembski my greetings]. (Those are my obvious charities of choice and since it is a joint win, let’s split.)

    k –> but on track record, I hardly expect any acknowledgment. For wha tis going on is as Stephen b highlights; distractive red herrings are being dragged across the track of unwelcome truth, leading out to convenient, oil of ad hominem soaked strawmen, ignited to distract through the spectacle, and poisoning and clouding the atmosphere for discussion through blinding noxious smoke of stirred up hostility and confusion.

    l –> In that context, and since there has been much scripture-twisting above, a few pointed, scalpel-like scriptures are now all too plainly relevant. hopefully, they will help us lance and excise the cancerous, gangrenous abscess on the mind, before the disease of selective hyperskepticism becomes fatal:

    John 3: 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But ,b>whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

    Eph 4: 17 . . . I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

    Rom 2:5 . . . because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

    By God’s grace, let us heed these warnings; before it is too late for us, for those we care for, and for our civilisation.

    GEM of TKI

  293. 293
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kairosfocus,
    I repeat

    If you care to substantiate this with a quote from Mr Dawkins (book or otherwise, if book page number and issue is required) my offer of $100,000 to a charity of your choice stands.

    You said

    But in fact, on any reasonable reading, GLF now owes CMI/AiG US$ 50 k [Send to Mr Ken Ham for his Creation Museum, and give him my greetings], and the Evo Informatics Lab US$ 50 k [Send Dr Dembski my greetings]. (Those are my obvious charities of choice and since it is a joint win, let’s split.)

    Yet I see no quote from Dawkins and that is what I’ve clearly asked for.

    Therefore you get nothing.

    It’s quite a simple challenge.

    Why don’t you simply go to the link you gave me

    http://creation.com/weasel-wor.....of-dawkins

    and copy and paste a relevant Dawkins quote, with page references that can be checked, and I’ll be happy to send the money.

    At 270 GLF pretty directly implies that I am a liar.

    Once you have been told the facts of the matter (that each letter is not fixed as it is found) but continue to repeat what you now know to be wrong (that it is fixed) then what better word then “lie” is there?

    Namely, he starts with the right number of letters, and then randomly changes the letters in the initial case [save for any that happen to be the right letter in the right place].

    Yet again you repeat what you know to be a lie. Provide a quote for me that shows that Dawkins did it that way or stop repeating that lie

    Don’t you have the humility to accept you might be wrong?

    All I require is a quote from Dawkins himself. If you can’t provide such I expect an apology

    distractive red herrings are being dragged across the track of unwelcome truth, leading out to convenient, oil of ad hominem soaked strawmen, ignited to distract through the spectacle, and poisoning and clouding the atmosphere for discussion through blinding noxious smoke of stirred up hostility and confusion.

    For if I am right and you are wrong (and you are) then your strawman talk applies to you, not me.

    If you can’t even represent your adversaries position honestly then, well, this conversation is over.

    I await either a quote from Dawkins or an apology. You can write another 100,000 words if you like but without that quote it won’t turn into $100,000.

  294. 294
    George L Farquhar says:

    Oh, I forgot to say, the link you gave
    http://creation.com/weasel-wor.....of-dawkins

    does not even work…..

    This is probably the one

    http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/801

    Where they say

    A simpler algorithm, which reproduces the guaranteed convergence behaviour, clarifies what Dawkins’ algorithm actually shows: that change is only possible towards a pre-selected goal. Once a letter falls into place, Dawkin’s program ensures it won’t mutate away. This is shown in the two following examples:

    Tables then follow.

    Yet, onlookers, the examples printed in the sources they were taken from were by nature limited in size. It just so happens that the letters appeared fixed, as the sequences shown do certanly appear to show this. However, that is due to the limitations of the printed page – should a full sequence be printed it could potentially take up a large amount of space.

    So, in the tables shown of course the letters appear fixed in place once found.

    If they did not the tables would be many times the size as it mutates towards the final value.

    Deliberate misrepresentation or ignorance? Who knows.
    Kariosfocus when you say

    He is “illustrating” a mechanism of blind search with foresighted search, which s grossly misleading.

    If you had read the surrounding material you would know that is also a lie. There is nothing misleading about the way in which Dawkins uses Weasel. The only grossly misleading aspect of it is the way in which people like you and creation.com misrepresent it.

    It’s a toy teaching example that people like you have seized upon and claim it “grossly misleads” when in fact it’s just a simple example designed to introduce the general concept.

    If you’ve read the book in which it appears you would know that.

    Furthermore, if you have the book at hand then you’ll have no trouble providing a quote from it showing that the letters are fixed once found.

    What would you expect the tables to show? Should they print a special double sized feature so the entire run would be shown in full?

    In fact, I can provide entire tables, should you desire. These will show that the letters do not remain fixed when found. Furthermore, you’ll understand why only a section of them could be printed in any reasonable space in a magazine.

    Proverbs 6:16-19

    “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

  295. 295
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    Sadly, GLF predictably will not see the import of the tables, or the well-known characteristics of the Weasel program.

    And, BTW, the link as I just checked, works for me. Perhaps there is something odd about the browser setting GLF has. Here is the URL:

    http://creation.com/weasel-wor.....of-dawkins

    Onlookers will easily enough see there:

    _________________

    Example 1. Provided in: Dawkins, R., The Blind Watchmaker, Penguin Books, London, 1986; p. 48.

    [Table follows, will not reproduce cleanly here]

    [ . . . . ]

    Example 2. Provided in: Dawkins, R., New Scientist, 34, Sept. 25, 1986; p. 34.

    [Table follows, will not reproduce cleanly]

    ____________________

    Onlookers will easily enough see that the tables are cited from Dawkins, in two published contexts. Further, the sequece of iterations will show that non-functional configs are rewarded on a warmer/colder oracular basis [as GLF is forced to half-concede]. this is of course a signature behaviour of targetted search that uses warmer/ colder oracles, without a requirement of functionality at each step. (And, I repeat, reasonable estimartes for first life DNA scope is 600 k bits or so of information. 1 k bit is well beyond the reasonable search capacity of our observed universe.)

    So, unsurprisingly, we see, again the pattern of distraction and rhetorical objection joined to ad hominems, complete with inappropriate abusive cites of scriptures. (of course, the hollowness of he offers and challenges to pay to charities providing you cna prove X, or Y etc, is also plain for all to see.)

    Let us pray for this man, and for ourselves and our civilisition, that we will realise and escape the Plato’s Cave bewitchment that has come upon us in the guise of selective hyperskepticism, often under the false colours of a “scientific” mindset.

    GEM of TKI

  296. 296
    David Kellogg says:

    I don’t want to interfere with the GLF/KF debate. But as I understand it, KF said the letters were fixed once correct. The letters are not fixed once correct. If that is the case, KF is wrong.

    Are the letters fixed when correct?

  297. 297
    Joseph says:

    Name them.

    Life came about from organic compounds that happened to obtain the ability to self replicate.

    But life is much more than self-replication. Much, much more.

    Life came about from an unknown unknowable entity called “the designer”

    OK that’s ID.

    A space dog from the year 10,000 went back in time and seeded the planet with magic “earth buttons” that became life

    Still ID.

    A tri-top-top fromt the far side of the universe invented a tp-t-tp machine which happened to create a self-replicator on this side of the universe.

    Still ID.

    An old man in the sky did it.

    Still ID.

    All you have done is to prove my point.

    Thank you.

  298. 298
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB [290], you have proven nothing — not that objective right and wrong exist, and not that I “believe it in spite of [my] protests.” You have simply provided a worldview which is broadly compatible with strongly held moral views. However, other worldviews are also compatible. So what? Contra 291, I have not appealed to objective justice. Your only response is to insist that I do appeal to objective justice when I have not.

  299. 299
    Joseph says:

    For example George, please show us the peer-reviewed paper that demonstrates that E. coli’s flagellum “evolved” via an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    http://scholar.google.co.uk/sc…..tnG=Search

    Which one would you like to start with?

    Start with the first one.

    I didn’t read anything about an accumulation of genetic accidents.
    Not one thing.

    Ya see George “evolution” is not being debated.

  300. 300
    David Kellogg says:

    mullerpr [292], I can only respond in the words of Alvy Singer, Woody Allen’s character in Annie Hall:

    Right. Well, I have to – I have to go now, Duane, because I, I’m due back on the planet Earth.

  301. 301
    JayM says:

    David Kellogg @297

    I don’t want to interfere with the GLF/KF debate. But as I understand it, KF said the letters were fixed once correct. The letters are not fixed once correct. If that is the case, KF is wrong.

    Are the letters fixed when correct?

    No. A quick Google search turns up several pages that discuss Dawkin’s algorithm, including:

    VLab

    Austringer

    SPE

    and even

    Creation Ministries

    If you review the descriptions of the algorithm at each of these sites, all recognize that every letter in the string, including those that match the target, are subject to mutation in subsequent generations.

    JJ

  302. 302
    David Kellogg says:

    jerry [289], magic books taught as sacred truths? Are you really going to go there? See, I know lots of people who believe in a magic book. They even have big meetings (usually on the weekends) where they talk to the magic book’s invisible author. They meet in special buildings. You may have some magic-book-discussion-buildings near you.

  303. 303
    Joseph says:

    It is very wrong to ask ID to have the answers when your position doesn’t answer anything and it has more resources available to find the answers.

    I can give you the answers to those questions.
    –Is all life designed, just some of it or what?

    All life is designed via evolution.

    Evolution is a result. Natural selection is also a result.

    –How do you tell teh difference?

    As all life is designed via evolution there is no difference as no life has been designed other then by evolution or humanity. Life designed by humanity (or altered) shows in the fact that the nested hierarchy has been violated (i.e jellyfish DNA in a rabbit).

    Evolution is a result and therefor doesn’t design anything.

    And nested hierarchy is not an expected result of any evolutionary process.

    IOW if the theory of evolution were true we wouldn’t expect to see nested hierarchies.

    –Can you give me an example of a designed and a non-designed organism?

    As all life is designed by evolution there are no examples

    True there aren’t any examples of a result designing anything.

    However the debate is about evolution by DESIGN vs evolution by accumulated genetic accidents.

    –Are only IC structures designed, or is that just one way to tell?

    IC structures are in fact a prediction of evolution, many years before it became part of the ID movement.

    Again “evolution” is not being debated. And if “evolution” predicts IC it is only because it “predicts” anything and everything.

    Evolution can make IC structures, in the same way that arches are constructed by humans.

    But evolution is a result!

    IOW it appears that you don’t understand evolution.

    And to refute/ falsify ID all YOU have to do is to demonstrate that an accumulation of genetic accidents can bring forth living organisms from non-living matter OR at least demonstrate that a flagellum can “evolve” via an accumulation of genetic accidents from a population that never had one.

    I think you’ll find it’s the other way round.

    But it isn’t the other way around. THAT is exactly how science operates.

    Unless ID can prove itself then you’ll be stuck here forever.

    Science is not in the proving business.

    You don’t win simply by not being disproved.

    I never said nor implied otherwise.

    I was just telling you how to make ID go away- via scientific investigation.

    On another note it is the people who think our existence is due to an accumulation of genetic accidents who should be locked-up.

    In that scenario there aren’t any morals and anything goes.

    And yet the vast majority of scientists working in the life sciences believe that and I understand rates of murder and other immoral behaviour are average.

    I am not so sure of that alleged “vast majority” and it would appear that the vast number pof people don’t believe those scientists.

    How do you explaint that Joseph? Or is that just another fact to be ignored, like so very many others?

    I explained it- people do NOT follow scientists especially when those scientists are not conducting science but instead spew philosophic nonsense.

  304. 304
    Seversky says:

    I should confess, at this point, that I too had assumed that Dawkins’s WEASEL program locked in each correct character as it was identified. Looking back, it was a combination of not paying sufficiently close attention to the detail of how the program worked and being misled by Hollywood. For some reason, when I was trying to ‘picture’ how the program ran, it called to mind a scene from the John Badham movie War Games. Towards the end, the “WOPR” supercomputer is trying to obtain missile launch codes. This is illustrated by a display of a line of rapidly-changing characters which lock in place one-by-one as the computer ‘guesses’ correctly. That image seemed to make sense and lodged itself in my memory. I simply didn’t notice the discrepancy until it was pointed out upthread.

    Even worse, I only just realised the movie scene makes no sense. It seems highly-unlikely that the launch code computer would be so obliging as to signal to the “WOPR” each time it scored a hit on one of the launch code characters – “Congratulations! You have just discovered character 5. Would you like to try for character 6?”

  305. 305
    Joseph says:

    Hermagorus- David,

    The magic os all yours.

    YOUR position requires Magical Mystery Mutations.

    Magical because they do magical things- unobserved things.

    Mystery because they still elude us.

    For example:

    How did the mammalian vision system evolve?

    Magical mystery mutations is the only answer because no one even knows what is responsible for the mammalian vision system.

  306. 306
    Joseph says:

    Seversky,

    The Weasel program has a target sequence that the program wants to reach.

    The “offspring” that more closely match that target are kept and left to “breed”.

  307. 307
    mullerpr says:

    I will get on my soap box just to let you know that the Skeptics on their soap boxes has now officially became boring beyond my limits and I will therefore get of my soap box and go build my wife a cupboard so she can store all her nice designs. It is far more interesting than rehashing the obvious…

    Humans are self aware and can understand and predict things. Best of all, there will always be something new to find and understand, EXCEPT if you are a skeptic, then you inevitably become boring, because the skeptic wastes so much time to reaffirm the “subjective” notion that today’s logic is the same as yesterday’s.

    P.S George, the objective truth about corporal punishment is that it is subject to other overarching objective principles. “NOT to cause ANY pain to others”, can never be an overarching objective principle because it is logically impossible to achieve. Pain happens! Therefore there are other overarching principles to guide things like corporal punishment, like the ones proposed throughout the entire Bible, some very specific to socio-cultural settings.

    You were so funny the first time you tried to convince me that there is something objectively wrong with the things that you, at this moment, consider subjectively wrong. Now you are just boring and I can find no objective moral obligation to entertain you anymore.

  308. 308
    Joseph says:

    George,

    Are you related to Zachriel?

    I ask because every time I ask Zach for a reference he too references “evolution”.

    “Evolution” is NOT being debated.

    The debate is about the mechanisms-

    Are organisms designed to evolve or did they evolve via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

  309. 309
    jerry says:

    “jerry [289], magic books taught as sacred truths? Are you really going to go there? ”

    I didn’t go there, George went there.

  310. 310
    StephenB says:

    —-David Kellogg: “I have not appealed to objective justice. Your only response is to insist that I do appeal to objective justice when I have not.”

    You said my behavior was “contemptible.” That is proof that you believe that we are both bound by the same standard of justice. That is what objective means, it means something that transcends your personal morality and my personal morality. Moral relativism, which is your position, allows each of us his own personal standard. Therefore, since I violated only your standard and not my standard, you cannot, as a moral relativist, say that I violated a universal standard. But you didn’t say that my behavior SEEMED contemptile to you, you said it WAS contemptible–period. By doing that, you contradicted your own world view. You should have said, “to me, your behavior was contemptible, but for you it was not a problem, therefore there is no problem because I recognize that your morality is different than mine.” You do not recognize your self contradictory position.

  311. 311
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Following up further:

    1] Weasel word wars

    Weasel words are often strategically chosen and placed qualifying words that allow an evasive, deflective response when the main force of a point is challenged. (They do not affect significantly the persuasive force of the argument in the main; that’s why they are used.)

    As a classical instance, it is aid that when he was on trial, Socrates pointed out how it was usual to plead fro pity by parading one’s family before the court. he then described his wife and children and said how he would not parade them before the court. But, subtly — and skirting the rules of the Areopagus — that is just what he did.

    So, we must always beware of this subtlety when qualifying words are used in a context of debates. For, you can bet your bottom dollar that experienced debaters will not waste time on a point that is not adding to the persuasive force of their case.

    So, even from the target sentence, we should be on our guard with Mr Dawkins’ Weasel example. (Remember, he thinks that if you disagree with his evolutionary materialism, especially if you believe the God of the Bible might have had something to do with origins, you are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. He it is, too, who has proposed that atheists call themselves “brights.”)

    2] The rhetorical effect of a “simple” “teaching” example

    Now, I note that my original point was that Weasel is a targetted search example, i.e active information based.

    However, thanks to the attempted distractions above [and to underscore how selective hyperskepticism works], my onward point is that Weasel is in the context of a book, entitled Blind Watchmaker.

    This is another alert: note the allusion to Paley’s inference to design from stumbling across a watch in a field [we have now stumbled across a computer in the cell]; thence to the claimed dis-analogy between watches and biosystems. (Observe onlookers, no-one is able above to cogently or plausibly explain the existence of a digital computer in the cell starting with first life, on chance + necessity. As for computers, we know their routinely observed cause: design. But, a distraction is a very effective rhetorical substitute for an explanation. [And note; Weasel runs on — a computer.])

    Now, the book plainly sets out to make plausible to the public the notion that chance (i.e. undirected, stochastically contingent) variation plus natural selection “credibly” accounts for the appearance of design in life and its diversity of forms.

    So,the Weasel example in that wider context, beyond reasonable dispute serves to promote that thesis, regardless of qualifying words that may be prudently put in around it.

    Similarly — and as I have already noted — when Darwin proposed his precis of his case for evolution by RV + NS in 1859, he used artificial selection [animal breeding] and how this allegedly functioned to support the thesis of origination of species by descent with modification, by the claimed analogy between artificial and natural selection.

    Darwin circa 1859, Blythe notwithstanding, had an excuse for using targetted search in such a context. But, Dawkins, writing in 1986 by which time the limits of natural selection and the constraint of functionality on chance variation have long been studied in light of the information-based algorithmic processes of the cell, does not.

    3] But how does Weasel work?

    GLF tries to make the cited cses from Watchmaker and From new3 Sdcientist fgo away by sayin g tha the examples are only apparent ones.

    Exhibit B time: Now, Dembski- Marks, have a forthcoming paper, on Conservation of info in searches, and on the cost of success. In this successfully peer-reviewed paper, on p. 5, they briefly revisit Dawkin’s Weasel, showing the key strategy used in the targetted search used:

    E. Partitioned Search

    Partitioned search [12] is a “divide and conquer” procedure best introduced by example. Consider the L = 28 character phrase

    METHINKS*IT*IS*LIKE*A*WEASEL (19)

    Suppose the result of our ?rst query of L = 28 characters is

    SCITAMROFNI*YRANOITULOVE*SAM (20)

    Two of the letters, {E,S}, are in the correct position. They are shown in a bold font. In partitioned search, our search for these letters is ?nished.

    For the incorrect letters, we select 26 new letters and obtain

    OOT*DENGISEDESEHT*ERA*NETSIL (21)

    Five new letters are found bringing the cumulative tally of discovered characters to {T,S,E,*,E,S,L}. All seven characters are ratcheted into place.

    Nineteen new letters are chosen and the process is repeated until the entire target phrase is found.

    Now, beyond reasonable dispute, making a test case of such a famous example would not have passed peer review if it had been a misrepresentation.

    So, we can safely take it that the appearance of successive selection of letters for spaces occurs because it is real, not just coincidence or misrepresentation.

    4] What would a more realistic example look like?

    Suppose we had the same length of phrase, 28 letters and spaces. Suppose we then allowed a random generation of characters. but, until a full word appears, we would not allow freezing of the characters in that word. [The rest would be “junk,” and could continue.]

    then, we iterate until more words appear, freezing such words. then we shuffle the words.

    How many iterations would you expect before we get a full set of words,and would they then quickly form a coherent sentence or phrase in English?

    We intuitively know the answer: a lot longer in the first instance, with a bias towards very short words. then it would be hard to get a coherent sentence. (In fact if we freeze letters such as a and i — legitimate words — it might never be able to get to a coherent sentence.)

    5] Moving on: a more serious approach

    Dembski and Mark sgo on to more modern, more sophisticated search strategies, but only to show that they work better than random search by feeding in active information:

    Abstract—Conservation of information theorems indicate that any search algorithm performs on average as well as random search without replacement unless it takes advantage of problem- speci?c information about the search target or the search-space structure. Combinatorics shows that even a moderately sized search requires problem-speci?c information to be suc-cessful. Computers, despite their speed in performing queries, are completely inadequate for resolving even moderately sized search problems without accurate information to guide them. We propose three measures to characterize the information required for successful search: (1) endogenous information, which measures the dif?culty of ?nding a target using random search; (2) exogenous information, which measures the dif?culty that remains in ?nding a target once a search takes advantage of
    problem-speci?c information; and (3) active information, which, as the difference between endogenous and exogenous information, measures the contribution of problem-speci?c information for successfully ?nding a target. This paper develops a methodology based on these information measures to gauge the effectiveness with which problem-speci?c information facilitates successful search. It then applies this methodology to various search tools widely used in evolutionary search.

    So, we see how the selective hyperskepticism distracts from the track of truth, leads away to strawmen, and too often then resorts to ad hominem tactics. And, all along, we may be left with the highly misleading impression that a case that after 150 years is still sadly wanting in warrant, is far more credible than it is on the merits.

    For the objective of selective hyperskepticism is to create suspicion to the objected to case and its proponents, all the while promoting a naive trust in the favoured “consensus” case by the “experts.”

    So, let us apply Darwin’s own stated solution in the introduction to Origin, cf. 167 above:

    A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question . . .

    GEM ot TKI

  312. 312
    StephenB says:

    —-mullerpr: “You (George) were so funny the first time you tried to convince me that there is something objectively wrong with the things that you, at this moment, consider subjectively wrong. Now you are just boring and I can find no objective moral obligation to entertain you anymore.”

    That is a nice way of putting it.

  313. 313
    JayM says:

    Kairosfocus @312

    3] But how does Weasel work?

    GLF tries to make the cited cses from Watchmaker and From new3 Sdcientist fgo away by sayin g tha the examples are only apparent ones.

    Exhibit B time: Now, Dembski- Marks, have a forthcoming paper, on Conservation of info in searches, and on the cost of success. In this successfully peer-reviewed paper, on p. 5, they briefly revisit Dawkin’s Weasel, showing the key strategy used in the targetted search used:

    . . .

    Five new letters are found bringing the cumulative tally of discovered characters to {T,S,E,*,E,S,L}. All seven characters are ratcheted into place.

    Nineteen new letters are chosen and the process is repeated until the entire target phrase is found.

    Now, beyond reasonable dispute, making a test case of such a famous example would not have passed peer review if it had been a misrepresentation.

    My previous comment is still awaiting moderation (if a moderator could explain why I would appreciate the candor), but this is addressed by Wesley Elsberry. He has informed Dr. Dembski of the error, so hopefully it won’t make it into the published paper.

    JJ

  314. 314
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB [310], I have consistently held that moral standards are shared and social, not merely individual. That does not make them objective: that merely makes them widespread. They can even be deeply and closely held.

    I assumed that you shared — not my moral standard particularly — but in general, the kind of perspective that would view accusing someone of supporting child prostitution because they do not use terms like “objective” an uncivilized tactic. Silly me. Apparently, such tactics are fine according to your morality.

    So, indeed, I’ll be happy to stipulate: to me, your behavior was contemptible, but to you it is not a problem. I don’t understand how you can behave that way. But there it is.

  315. 315
    kairosfocus says:

    Mr Kellogg:

    A footnote: eh longstanding cultural situaiton of arranged marriages, and the associated dowry system, are NOT to be equated to prostitution, much less child prostitution.

    In fact, my profs from India often noted on how arranged Indian marriages were more stable and often more loving and mutually caring and trusting than western ones. In one case I knew fairly closely, that seemed to be a very real fact.

    Indeed, a somewhat simplified paraphrase of their argument relative to Americans was: they fall in love [a la Hollywood], they get married; they fall out of love; they divorce. We get married (as guided by parents who understand us better than we understand ourselves at that stage of life), then grow in love; and we stay married.

    Certainly, the likely stability of a marriage is enhanced by inputs from mature and wise close family and friends who know the parties and are objective in their counsel. 9Cf the record of the Catholic Programme, Engaged Encounter.)

    Your rhetorical behaviour of insisting on such tendentious and loaded equation in the teeth of longstanding correction comes across as grossly offensive in the worst village atheist traditions, ill-mannered and revealing of an intent to poison the atmosphere.

    marriages over the ages in societies that were far more vulnerable than ours, were normally carefully arranged. Such systems may have defects, but hey developed for a reason: on average, they worked and helped families survive.

    Further, one of the key principles of Civil law in the Bible, as exemplified by the divorce case, was that God’s law respects our freedom of choice, even when this reflects the hardness of men’s hearts. So God regulates to reduce the harmful side of what he does not approve. Malachi 2:16 is a classic, where God speaks: ‘I hate divorce.” And yet, OT law regulated it.

    Across time, the biblical solution strategy is reform and abolition as a critical mass builds up, not disruptive overthrow. (Look on the recent success of moral suasion on cigarette smoking.)

    Please, stop.

    GEM of TKI

  316. 316
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 311

    This is another alert: note the allusion to Paley’s inference to design from stumbling across a watch in a field [we have now stumbled across a computer in the cell]; thence to the claimed dis-analogy between watches and biosystems. (Observe onlookers, no-one is able above to cogently or plausibly explain the existence of a digital computer in the cell starting with first life, on chance + necessity. As for computers, we know their routinely observed cause: design. But, a distraction is a very effective rhetorical substitute for an explanation. [And note; Weasel runs on — a computer.])

    As mentioned before, the rhetorical force of the argument from analogy – in other words, it’s power to persuade an uncritical audience – depends upon emphasising the similarities between the two cases being compared. A fair comparison would require drawing up a comprehensive list of both the similarities and the differences but this is not usually done if such an argument is being deployed as it would be bound to weaken its impact.

    Suggesting that there is a need to “explain the existence of a digital computer in the cell” is straightforward question-begging since you have not established that the contents of a biological cell function in any meaningful way as a digital computer.

  317. 317
    David Kellogg says:

    kairosfocus, hello. I don’t think I’ve said anything against arranged marriages. I imagine many were happy enough. I’ve only said that the kinds of marriages common in some traditional societies — in which girls as young as 13 or so may be assigned a husband with no choice on the daughter’s part in exchange for a bride-price (or a dowry in the alternative scenario) — are incompatible with modern societies, where childhood lasts longer and self-determination is part of the ethical makeup. My point is that moral standards can and do change. In fact, this corresponds with your point:

    Such systems may have defects, but hey developed for a reason: on average, they worked and helped families survive.

    Indeed. We might even call them adaptive!

  318. 318
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 315

    A footnote: eh longstanding cultural situaiton of arranged marriages, and the associated dowry system, are NOT to be equated to prostitution, much less child prostitution.

    In fact, my profs from India often noted on how arranged Indian marriages were more stable and often more loving and mutually caring and trusting than western ones. In one case I knew fairly closely, that seemed to be a very real fact.

    That marriages were arranged which successfully furthered the social, cultural and political ends of the participating families is not in dispute. Neither is the fact that some of those marriages developed into the loving and durable relaionships that we all hope marriages of any type will become.

    What we do not hear so much about are those arranged marriages which did not turn out so well and what proportion of the total they form. Some people look back nostalgically to what they believe were much more stable families and marriages in the nineteenth century. What they forget, or choose to ignore, is that, in those days, it was far harder for a woman to survive outside of marriage than it is today. We may never know how many women were trapped in miserable, loveless relationships for life because there was simply nowhere else for them to go. By the same token, in those cultures where marriages are still arranged, at least in some cases, if a woman leaves the marriage she can find herself exiled not just from her home but from her family, friends and culture as well. That is a terrible price to pay for someone else’s mistake. In a few of the worst cases, as I’m sure you know, the women have been killed by their own relatives for the perceived dishonor they have brought upon the family.

    The strongest argument against arranged marriages, however, is that they are a breach of the human rights of the two partners in that they are deprived of the freedom and power to choose for themselves.

  319. 319
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky:

    In the cell we find digital information storage, coupled to algorithmic information processing, using machines that physically implement encoded data and instructions.

    That is not mere analogy, that is instantiation.

    GEM of TKI

  320. 320
    kairosfocus says:

    Daviod

    You have plainly said much more than you now represent on the matter, alleging or strongly suggeasting an equation of arranged marriages — which I do not necessarily agree with [but can see why they were in place in most societies for most of time] — with child prostitution.

    GEM of TKI

  321. 321
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky:
    I have not sid that arranged marriages are a perfect or preferrred altertnative. What I have sd=said is that here plainly is something to be said for the way most marriages in most cultures were done across most history, inclduing Eurioopean history up to very recent times.

    I have not said that they were not open to abuse in a fallen world; as are all institutions. [For instance I see your govt just went back to funding the killing of embryos for scientific experimentation, in a context where it seems that non ethically challenged sources of stem cells have been advantageous on success and actual treatments. What does that say about the state of democracy, media, government, medicine and science in our civlisation? I am sure that 60 – 70 years ago, that would have been unthinkable in a society that still had significant respect5 for objective morality rooted in an understanding that there are moral truths that are as plain and as established as any truths.]

    What I have said is that they are emphatically not to be equated with prostitution or child prostitution.

    GEM of TKI

  322. 322
    David Kellogg says:

    kairosfoocus, back in [161], where I first discussed the issue, I said explicitly that trying to equate Biblical arranged marriages and modern child prostitution “is kind of meaningless.” My point was that no definition is historically stable. There is no objective standard. For example, communities — not some external measure — decide what a child is. When I made this simple observation, StephenB accused me of not being opposed to child prostitution. And I’m the one being “grossly offensive”? Please.

  323. 323
    kairosfocus says:

    David:

    Look at what ELSE you have said.

    GEM of TKI

  324. 324
    David Kellogg says:

    kairosfocus,

    Huh? For the first time ever, I think you have erred on the side of brevity.

    David

  325. 325
    kairosfocus says:

    David

    Cf esp. 164 – 5 on, especially the use of an Exodus reference and the onward discussion of child prostitution in the context of arranged marriages.

    Please, think about what you are implying by what you say. (And remember that in more traditional societies childhood effectively came to an end in the early teens.)

    While you are right that we have changed our views and approaches to the relevant timing of statuses, and thus to the suitable/advisable age for marriasge, that has more to do with the circumstances of our society than the difference between marriage and prostitution.

    GEM of TKI

  326. 326
    R0b says:

    kairosfocus:

    And I strongly doubt that Mr Dawkins will ever publicly admit to his oracular, foresighted search tactics that he passed off as a true representation of what RV + NS (especially the selection part) is supposed to be able to do. But that is what he plainly did back to the 1980’s, as can be seen by inspection of his examples as they zero in step by step on eh preselected solution.

    You need to be a bit more skeptical of the claims and magic-show demos of Darwinist advocates.

    It’s strange that a toy illustration of cumulative selection would be controversial at all. That the ID camp continues, decades later, to promote the controversy and a misrepresentation of the simple algorithm is beyond strange.

    Dawkins describes the mutation in WEASEL as random. There is no indication that the mutation mechanism is smart enough to target only incorrect letters, or that the oracle provides any information about which letters are correct.

    Kairosfocus, you need to put some more thought into this before jumping to conclusions and unwarranted accusations. Or better yet, try it yourself. Unless your mutation rate is very high or your population is very small, you’ll see the same monotonic improvement that Dawkins reports. (Note that the Evo Lab’s Weasel Ware uses a population of 1, which obviously does not match Dawkins’ description.)

  327. 327
    David Kellogg says:

    kairosfocus, Thank you for the clarification. I don’t have anything to withdraw. The passage from Exodus clearly expresses a moral perspective we would find objectionable today. But it’s a different world.

  328. 328
    StephenB says:

    —David Kellogg: “I have consistently held that moral standards are shared and social, not merely individual. That does not make them objective: that merely makes them widespread. They can even be deeply and closely held.”

    Of course having shared moral standards doesn’t make them objective. It makes them collectively subjective, which is another word popular opinion, which can be anything. If I transported you back to 1950, would you suddenly abandon your current moral relativism because an earlier generation would have found your views as bizarre as I do. In those days, almost everyone believed in objective morality. So, would you have simply accepted THAT majority without giving the matter another thought.

    Early in this dialogue, I asked you a very simple question: Is child prostitution wrong. At the time, I thought that surely you understood that “wrong” means wrong for all people at all times and under all circumstances, in other words, objectively wrong. In any case, you evaded that question and began laboring over the definitions of the word “prostitution” and the word “child.” Not many people would respond that way, least of all not not those in the majority with which you claim to identify.

    Having refused to give me a straight answer to a straight question, you began your foray into Old Testament exegesis, informing me that the Bible promoted child prostitution, apparently in an effort to characterize the act as a cultural phenomenon. When I explained to you that, in fact, there was no child prostitution in the bible, and it is a fact, it didn’t move you at all. Indeed, you (and one of your colleague) upped the anti and described forced marriages in the Bible as just one more example of child prostitution.

    When I informed you that, once again, you were in error, you continued on as sleek as ever. Even after all this, you would not acknowledge the simple fact that child prostitution is wrong. So, I decided to raise the bar a little bit myself and find out just how far you would take it. Since it was clear to me that you would never give me a straight answer, I decided to speculate that you may not find anything wrong with child prostitution, hoping to finally awaken you from your relativist slumber and to provide an example of your self refuting philosophy by taking note of the expressions of outrage that I knew would come.

    So, you did finally provide me with an answer—sort of. For you, child prostitution is wrong, however, I was not to take that as an admission that it is objectively wrong. Clearly, you didn’t understand that wrong means “objectively wrong” and you clearly still don’t understand that. On the other hand, you described my tactics for smoking out this admission as “contemptible,” an admission, by the way, that I likely would never have obtained without that tactic. Either way, I found it bizarre that a moral relativist would appeal to an objective standard for justice to criticize my behavior as immoral.
    Even at that, you didn’t understand the irony that was hidden in your outrage or the curious twist that your criticism of my behavior was based on a hidden appeal to the very objective standard of justice that you disavow. Now that you do understand that, (I hope), you now revert back to your moral relativism, which of course you never really left, and acknowledge that we are both entitled to our own subjective morality, except that you don’t approve of my subjective moral standard based on your subjective moral standard.

    Whatever books you are reading, burn them and start reading G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis.

  329. 329
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, your concluding recommendation that I burn some books is a refreshing moment of intellecctual candor on your part. It strikes me as revealing.

    This distinguishes it from the rest of your comment, which is characterized by repeated misunderstanding and your characteristic smugness. From the beginning, I said that I was against child prostitution. By this I mean that I would oppose child prostitution in any situation in which I might find myself. Somehow that was not enough for you, who are more concerned with my allegiance to abstractions than with moral action.

    Despite your characterization, I have never appealed to objectivity in this discussion.

    (BTW, back when I was an evangelical, I read Lewis voraciously. I have read him some recently but find him tiresome and juvenile as a philosopher. I never found Chesterton very interesting or even particularly funny.)

  330. 330
    kairosfocus says:

    Rob:

    All you are telling us is that you are unable to see the truth when it stares you in the face. [Do I need to point to the story of a certain cave again? Seems so. Sadly.]

    Please, open your eyes and LOOK again at the sequential table of the changes in the 28-letter phrase. (A table that is credibly accurate to what Dawkins himself published.)

    Notice how non-functional iterations that happen to have letters in the right place move forward and thereafter those correct letters don’t change; i.e. closeness to target, even through non-function, is rewarded. this is targeted, oracular search, not non-foresighted chance variation coupled to a reasonable analogue of natural selection. For, NS must select from differential success in FUNCTION.

    by sharpest contrast, you can SEE that non-functional text goes forward, thanks to being a bit “warmer.” (BTW, that is also just as Dembski and Marks show in their peer-reviewed analysis. Do you think peer reviewers would pass such an analysis of such a specific case if it were not accurate tot he case? And if you think so, what then is the point of the much vaunted peer review?)

    There is no material misrepresentation of the Weasel program, or of its rhetorical intent, context and effect. (Indeed, onlookers, the minimising language now appearing above sounds a lot like damage control to me.)

    GEM of TKI

    PS: David, cf, SB at 329 to see a summary of what I fond seriously wanting on your part over the past few days.

  331. 331
    David Kellogg says:

    kairosfocus, I think I’ve answered Stephen reasonably well. I first ventured into the previously-offered example of child prostitution in [161], when I said I was “certainly against” it and that someone sells his child for money “should go to jail.” Stephen responded [165] by asking “Why are you against it if there is nothing wrong with it?” — a continuation of his previous misunderstanding of relativism. His whole comment there is so wrong-headed that it’s hard for me to think that it’s not wilful. But it fits a pattern of how relativism is misunderstood generally (as discussed by B. H. Smith in Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy, Harvard University Press). So I assume that the misunderstanding is not deliberate and that Stephen is arguing in good faith (although — as I have said before — with tactics I’d consider low).

  332. 332
    R0b says:

    kairosfocus:

    Now, beyond reasonable dispute, making a test case of such a famous example would not have passed peer review if it had been a misrepresentation.

    I find it interesting that you trust the peer review process as applied to an as-yet-unpublished paper in an unknown venue. Do you feel the same about peer review as applied to the stacks of published evolutionary biology literature?

  333. 333
    R0b says:

    kairosfocus:

    All you are telling us is that you are unable to see the truth when it stares you in the face. [Do I need to point to the story of a certain cave again? Seems so. Sadly.]

    Please, open your eyes and LOOK again at the sequential table of the changes in the 28-letter phrase. (A table that is credibly accurate to what Dawkins himself published.)

    Is this obvious to you in the same way that ID is obvious?

    Notice how non-functional iterations that happen to have letters in the right place move forward and thereafter those correct letters don’t change;

    by sharpest contrast, you can SEE that non-functional text goes forward, thanks to being a bit “warmer.”

    If you don’t understand how these results are obtained from a non-partitioned search, then you need to code it and try it out yourself. Again, unless your mutation rate is too high or your population is too low, those results are what we expect from the algorithm that Dawkins describes.

    even through non-function, is rewarded. this is targeted, oracular search, not non-foresighted chance variation coupled to a reasonable analogue of natural selection. For, NS must select from differential success in FUNCTION.

    Of course it’s a targeted. Dawkins said so explicitly. And that means that there’s an oracle that knows the target. Who said otherwise?

    And who said that it was supposed to be a reasonable analogue of natural selection? The point of WEASEL was to contrast cumulative selection with a monkey at a typewriter.

  334. 334
    Seversky says:

    karosfocus @ 320

    In the cell we find digital information storage, coupled to algorithmic information processing, using machines that physically implement encoded data and instructions.

    That is not mere analogy, that is instantiation.

    In the cell we find long strings of molecules of different shapes and sizes. Strands of these molecules are copied by taking a reverse impression of their shapes which are then used as templates to make positive copies of the originals. It is analogous to the way keys were copied by taking a wax impression and then cutting a new key to fit the wax outline. Shall we say that the inner workings of a cell are actually a locksmiths?

  335. 335
    JayM says:

    Kairosfocus @331

    Notice how non-functional iterations that happen to have letters in the right place move forward and thereafter those correct letters don’t change;

    Their frequency in the population does change. You are seeing sampling bias. The letters are not locked down as you claim.

    My comments have been delayed by the moderation system, but see 302 and 314 for links to discussions of the actual algorithm used by Dawkins’ Weasel.

    (BTW, that is also just as Dembski and Marks show in their peer-reviewed analysis.

    If this claim is still in the article, it is incorrect. See my comment 314 for a link to where this was pointed out to Dr. Dembski quite some time ago.

    Do you think peer reviewers would pass such an analysis of such a specific case if it were not accurate tot he case? And if you think so, what then is the point of the much vaunted peer review?)

    Peer review is the first hurdle a paper has to clear, not the last. Once a paper is published it gets far more detailed review from far more people, if it is at all interesting.

    Peer review, like all human processes, is an imperfect process. Sometimes mistakes are made, sometimes errors slip through. They get caught in subsequent iterations. Science is self-correcting, not immediately ideal.

    JJ

  336. 336
    StephenB says:

    David, if you think that I do not understand moral relativism, you delude yourself. Moral relativism and moral subjectivism are both evasions from moral responsibility, pure and simple. I have read many authors who promote this idea and it is no chore at all to uncover their logical errors, just as it was no chore to uncover your logical errors. I listed some of them earlier, to which you had no answer. Moral relativism is poison for the mind, destructive to the culture, and useless as a guide for jurisprudential wisdom and prudence.

    People really do have a human nature and there really is a morality appropriate to human nature. Because there is such a morality, we can, if we follow history and evidence, make responsible decisions about really important issues. There are only two responses to the information that the world reveals to us: Either desire conforms to truth (rationality) or truth conforms to desire (political correctness). It is this latter idea that causes people to lose their freedom, their opportunities, and even their life.

    Running away from truth doesn’t just make people stupid, it gets them killed. To deny that babies really are people is to encourage abortion and infanticide. To deny the inherent dignity of the human person is to promote eugenics and genocide. To question the natural moral law is to support racism, bigotry, and ethnic division. Your morality of subjectivism/relativism cannot speak to any of these social problems. Indeed, it contributes to them because it militates against the only possible solution to all social problems—a universal morality that binds everyone regardless of race, religion, creed, or nationality.

    Skepticism is a cultural mental disturbance brought on by mentally disturbed power seekers who would remake culture in their own image and likeness. Having lost control of their appetites and passions, they would lead us all down the same road. Because these power hungry social climbers act like animals, they want everyone to act like animals, especially children. So, they breed dutiful little worker bees in form of moral relativists, who will disbelieve anything accept evolution, which they have been brainwashed to accept without question.

    These dupes are capable of almost any level of self deception. They can, without a qualm say, “I’m personally opposed to abortion, but I have no opinion about public policy.” Then can, without embarrassment, observe a baby it a mother’s womb sucking its thumb, and wonder if it is really a living human being. They can, without hesitation, complain about soccer violence while ten year-old- children are having sex on school buses? They can, and did, withhold penicillin from blacks to study ways in which syphilis spreads and kills. This is what secularism, skepticism, and moral relativism have brought us.

    Yes, I know religious zealots have also created a few problems along the way, but that is not our current problem. When religious enthusiasts force children to pray, I will cross that bridge. My immediate concern is over secular tyrants who immerse children in pornography and train them to put condoms on cucumbers—in the name of moral relativism, of course.

  337. 337
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, I didn’t notice any logical errors on my part that you corrected. Would you kindly point those out to me? I’d wager your definition of “logical error” is as elastic as your definition of “proof.”

    What I did notice was this: you claimed to prove something, then claimed it couldn’t be proven, then argued by assertion, again and again, sans evidence.

    As to particular moral issues, I assure you, I object to infanticide; despise racism, ethnic bigotry, classism, misogyny, and homophobia; and support universal human rights. We relativists can and do advocate for human rights as much as you. You’re a supporter of gay marriage, too, I take it, or is gay identity contrary to universal morality? If so, what a peculiar universalism!

    Your concluding jeremiad contains some bizarre fantasies about what philosophical relativism leads to, or against. (What “secular tyrants . . . immerse children in pornography”?) Most of them seem to be cartoon versions of the local news, all about the world going to hell and weren’t things better back in the old days.

    Interesting side note: who led the Senate hearings exposing the Tuskegee study you allude to? Ultra-liberal Ted Kennedy.

    FYI, here are some books I’m currently reading that apparently I should burn in favor of Lewis and Chesterton: John Ashbery, Collected Poems 1956-1987, Sharon Crowley, Toward Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism, Cicero, De Inventione, De Optimo Genere, Oratorum Topica, The Bible (whoops! how’d that slip in there?), Arthur I. Miller, Insights of Genius: Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art, and Bruce Fink, Lacan to the Letter: Reading Ecrits Closely. Will you throw the match, Objective Moralist?

  338. 338
    StephenB says:

    —–David: “What I did notice was this: you claimed to prove something, then claimed it couldn’t be proven, then argued by assertion, again and again, sans evidence.”

    I did assert that the natural moral law is a fact, and I did argue that “again and again” without evidence. That is true for one simple reason: The natural moral law is a self-evident truth. Self-evident truths cannot or need not be proven. What I did prove most successfully is that you do not follow your own doctrine of moral relativism by complaining about my “contemptible” behavior. In other words, I proved that you believe in objective morality in spite of yourself. On the other hand, I did not prove it in the abstract nor can I. If I wrote something that led you to believe otherwise, or, if more clarity is needed, there it is.

    —-“As to particular moral issues, I assure you, I object to infanticide; despise racism, ethnic bigotry, classism, misogyny, and homophobia; and support universal human rights. We relativists can and do advocate for human rights as much as you. You’re a supporter of gay marriage, too, I take it, or is gay identity contrary to universal morality? If so, what a peculiar universalism!”

    Do you object to these things at all times in all places and all circumstances, or do you object to them only in close proximity to you. You did not specify, and, as a moral relativist, you need to make that explicit. I notice that you left out abortion on your list. Would you care to go on record denouncing abortion as something that is inherently evil? If I understand your position accurately, you don’t think anything is “inherently” evil.

    I support gay rights insofar as gays have a right to be treated with equality and respect. They have every right to pursue happiness in their own way and without interference, including the right to enter into civil unions. I do not support the perversion of gay marriage because it violates the principle and the integrity of the institution.

    —–“Your concluding jeremiad contains some bizarre fantasies about what philosophical relativism leads to, or against. (What “secular tyrants . . . immerse children in pornography”?) Most of them seem to be cartoon versions of the local news, all about the world going to hell and weren’t things better back in the old days.”

    Which fact would you care to challenge?

    —–“Interesting side note: who led the Senate hearings exposing the Tuskegee study you allude to? Ultra-liberal Ted Kennedy.”

    Yes, reason dictates that injustice should be condemned whatever its source. Though it may seem so, I am not an ideologue.

    —–“FYI, here are some books I’m currently reading that apparently I should burn in favor of Lewis and Chesterton: John Ashbery, Collected Poems 1956-1987, Sharon Crowley, Toward Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism, Cicero, De Inventione, De Optimo Genere, Oratorum Topica, The Bible (whoops! how’d that slip in there?), Arthur I. Miller, Insights of Genius: Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art, and Bruce Fink, Lacan to the Letter: Reading Ecrits Closely. Will you throw the match, Objective Moralist?”

    The only books you should burn are the ones which prompt you to reduce morality to personal preference and popular opinion. Of course, you should also keep the fire warm for any tome which causes you to question the existence of unchanging truth. Exception: If you can read these books while being grounded in the knowledge that truth exists, that’s different. In that case, you can read almost anything with profit.

  339. 339
    StephenB says:

    —-“David Kellogg: “I didn’t notice any logical errors on my part that you corrected. Would you kindly point those out to me?”

    Your first logical error consists in not recognizing that when the word “wrong” is used without qualification, it always means objectively wrong. That error persists, by the way. Your second logical error is appealing to the Bible as evidence of child prostitution as if that would prove anything. Even if it were true, it would prove nothing. If something is wrong, then it doesn’t matter where you find the practice, even if you find it in the Bible. Of course, it is no small problem that child prostitution can be found nowhere in the Bible, which means that your bad logic is compounded by your false evidence.

  340. 340
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    Weasel words are often strategically chosen and placed qualifying words that allow an evasive, deflective response when the main force of a point is challenged. (They do not affect significantly the persuasive force of the argument in the main; that’s why they are used.)

    No quote?

    How strange, I gave you some time to comb the literature and yet you’ve failed to come up with a single quote.

    Now, beyond reasonable dispute, making a test case of such a famous example would not have passed peer review if it had been a misrepresentation.

    So, still no quote? And appeals to authority?

    As we can see from following JayM’s links even Dawkins himself says the letters are not fixed in place

    How is it that you know better then Dawkins how his example works?

    For $100,000 you think you could do better then this……

  341. 341
    George L Farquhar says:

    Joseph @ 300

    Start with the first one.

    I didn’t read anything about an accumulation of genetic accidents.
    Not one thing.

    Ya see George “evolution” is not being debated.

    The “first one” may be different, depending on how google feels.

    Could you link directly to the paper?

    Could you start with a summary of what you think is wrong with the paper you link to and we can continue from there?

  342. 342
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    Now, I note that my original point was that Weasel is a targetted search example, i.e active information based.

    Odd, considering how I brought the subject up in the first place. You now make out that your original point has been hijacked.

    Stop trying to confuse the issue. The issue is not if there is a target or not (there plainly is) or if the target is relevant, the issue is quite simple.

    You say the letters are fixed in place. I say they are not.

    I can back my case up.
    You cannot back your case up.

    The honorable thing to do would be to simply say “I learnt something today” and stop saying such in future (which once you have been informed of the true facts would be lying).

    If you can’t concede a point even if you cannot provide any evidence to support your position then it’s plain that it’s just dogma.

    As such, onlookers, I have to wonder how much of his copy+paste style of debating is also invalid or disproven already but he’s simply refused to concede the point and update his arguments.

  343. 343
    David Kellogg says:

    StephenB, I was right: your concepts of “logical error” and “proof” are both quite elastic, stretching to conform to whatever you claim. You certainly do not use them in any philosophically rigorous way. However, a word like “wrong” can, apparently, only be used as you determine.

    If you think I cited the Bible as evidence of child prostitution, you are not reading carefully. I cited the bible as evidence of unstable definitions.

    Which fact would you care to challenge?

    What I question among your “facts” is the relevance of relativism.

    You write:

    Of course, you should also keep the fire warm for any tome which causes you to question the existence of unchanging truth.

    But I like my Bible!

    I have nothing to withdraw.

  344. 344
    Joseph says:

    George,

    The first on the list is Bioinformatics, genomics and evolution of non-flagellar type-III secretion systems: a Darwinian perpective

    It does NOT demonstrate that a type 3 secretory system can “evolve” via an accumulation of genetic accidents from a population that never had one.

    Then there is From The Origin of Species to the origin of bacterial flagella,

    Absolutely nothing on how the bac flag evolved. Just some notes about protein homologs- that is similar proteins tat go into making them bac flag are found in bacteria.

    The authors act as if this is enough to show that it evolved via an accumulation of genetic accidents when in fact it does no such thing.

    So the bottom-line is all you can do is pull a literature bluff.

  345. 345
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers (and GLF adn Rob):

    It is very clear that the thread hijack attempt has now reached from red herring distractors to strawmen to ad hominems, now personally abusive. Thus, we see how the selective hyperskeprticism game plays out to its conclusion: turning us away from common-sense and natural justice based civil dialogue towards truth towards verbal, ideological and political fights driven by polarising and demonising rhetoric, which are now ripping our civlisation to pieces before our eyes.

    It is very plain, for instance, that GLF now wishes to brand me a liar. This is outright false and utterly un-civil accusation. (Cf the similar patterns of smearing the idea that the biblical civil law on marriage was in effect materially the same as child prostitution, and the similar pattern of demonising those who point outt hat when we look at the patterns of thought in Origin and Descent of Man, we see a worrying pattern of racism that had a traceable influence on history in succeeding decades.)

    Instead of legitimising such disrespectful conduct by directly addressing it, let us simply go back to the track of the truth, by way of a cor4rective case study on what logic and facts — as opposed to polarising rhetoric — can show us.

    Now the issue he raised in this thread in 236 (accurately citing or summarising my remarks evidently from an earlier thread) is to challenge the force of:

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met. That means it rewards partial but non-functional success, and is foresighted. Targetted search, not a proper RV + NS model.

    I will now substantiate this point further, noting that I have already pointed to why this is correct above.

    1] Blind Watchmaker?

    The key thesis of Mr Dawkins’ 1986 book is that spontaneous chance variations and natural selection, the presumed driving forces of origins, are sufficient to create the appearance of design, without intelligent, foresighted action. So, Paley’s Watchmaker has been neutralised, at least as far as Dawkins thinks.

    (But we all know — for decades, since the 1960’s – 70’s [Hence Orgel 1973 etc.] — that we have found in the cell that (i) a stored-data, stored instruction digital information system has been implemented with molecular technologies, (ii) complete with data strings, controlling instructions, step by step physical instantiation of algorithms to e.g. make proteins by reading off the DNA-RNA code one codon at a time in succession, and (iii) that this COMPUTER is at the centre of the core life processes. Worse, (iv) such an entity — as any computer technician knows, is complex, and irreducibly so. Thus, (v) it screams out that design is its best explanation. Consequently, those who wish to avert such an inference or overturn it, properly, should show empirically that such can arise from prebiotic soups that are geologically and/or astrophysically reasonable by reasonably probable processes, and that the onward innovations required to give body plan level biodiversity also are reasonable and probabilistically credible. This of course is just what has not been done, by Dawkins or any one else. But, let us discuss the Weasel case as an example of how the failure on the merits may be perceived as a success, on the rhetoric.)

    The Weasel example is against the above backdrop, and appears in I believe Ch 3 of BW in response to inter alia Sir Fred Hoyle’s probability estimate on getting to a first cell on grounds that the cell is in effect irreducibly complex with many interacting molecular namomachines.

    [Rule of thumb: Sir Fred may be wrong (e.g. on the Steady State theory), but he ain’t dumb. Not by a loooong shot. So, don’t bet against him unless you have a cast iron case.]

    2] Putting some further facts into play:

    Now, let’s see an excerpt from BW, ch 3, that is an inadvertent admission against interest by Wiki in trying to justify the Weasel example:

    I [Dawkins] don’t know who it was first pointed out that, given enough time, a monkey bashing away at random on a typewriter could produce all the works of Shakespeare. The operative phrase is, of course, given enough time. Let us limit the task facing our monkey somewhat. Suppose that he has to produce, not the complete works of Shakespeare but just the short sentence ‘Methinks it is like a weasel’, and we shall make it relatively easy by giving him a typewriter with a restricted keyboard, one with just the 26 (capital) letters, and a space bar. How long will he take to write this one little sentence? . . . .

    We again use our computer monkey, but with a crucial difference in its program. It again begins by choosing a random sequence of 28 letters, just as before … it duplicates it repeatedly, but with a certain chance of random error – ‘mutation’ – in the copying. The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the ‘progeny’ of the original phrase, and chooses the one which, however slightly, most resembles the target phrase, METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL.

    Notice: The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the ‘progeny’ of the original phrase, and chooses the one which, however slightly, most resembles the target phrase, METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL.

    In short, just as I TRUTHFULLY said originally and above in this thread: this is most certainly targetted, foresighted search. Thus, this is no BLIND watchmaker at work.

    And, such a targetted search, as the following tabulated example shows, rewards NON-FUNCTIONAL configurations based on CLOSENESS TO TARGET. That means it is precisely not parallel to natural selection, which can only reward differential FUNCTION.

    In short, I spoke accurately again. (And, truth is that which — GLF — says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. Truth cannot be a lie.)

    3] Tabulating the Dawkins-published result:

    Generation 1:
    WDLMNLT DTJBKWIRZREZLMQCO P

    Generation 2:
    WDLTMNLT DTJBSWIRZREZLMQCO P

    Generation 10:
    MDLDMNLS ITJISWHRZREZ MECS P

    Generation 20:
    MELDINLS IT ISWPRKE Z WECSEL

    Generation 30: METHINGS IT ISWLIKE B WECSEL

    Generation 40: METHINKS IT IS LIKE I WEASEL

    Generation 43: METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL

    That is, Dawkins is using an oracle and the warmer/colder broadcast principle. AND, we can see that once a letter is in place, it tends strongly indeed to be preserved from one generation to the next. The IT in the above is a clear illustration of that inconvenient truth.

    So, each main point I made — and Dembski’s point on ratcheting too — stands substantiated. As TRUTH. Which cannot be a lie.

    But, we need a little more, so let’s do a bit of algorithm reverse engineering on the Weasel algorithm circa 1986.

    [ . . . ]

  346. 346
    kairosfocus says:

    4] ALGOR, ALGOR . . .

    Let’s summarise the algorithm in a nutshell, from Dawkins:

    1] Select an initial sentence of 28 characters

    2] Generate “mutations” at random, and test across the population for closeness to target.

    3] Select the closest, and mutate-test- select again and again, with the new sentence as intial target.

    4] Stop when the distance to target is zero.

    The real problem [and clue] is how does a letter once selected, strongly tend to remain, under such circumstances? [Cf IT above.]
    _________

    TRY1: Mutate all 28 letters at random, and select the closest result. (But, this would most likely derange the already selected letters that made the first winner “warmer” as there are 26 letters and 1 space, which means that on a random change, odds are 26:1 against keeping the correct letter. So the T1 version will not converge, it will simply circulate around a few selected letters.)

    TRY 2: Openly lock-in the selected letters, and only randomly shift the wrong ones. If you want, you can even cross-breed such mutants, to produce a population of those bred out from the mutants (This would plainly converge but if done very obviously will not be very persuasive. So, the issue is to try to get close to the results of T2 while more or less looking like T1. Notice as well, the pattern of convergence as published by Dawkisn shows that T2 is very close to the effective solution.)

    TRY 3: In turn, select a number of letters to vary, running from 0 to 28, then apply to the target sentence. From the resulting large population of “mutants” select the closest to the target. (This will give a large population of results, with the initial sentence, those varied at random by 1, then 2, then 3, then 4 . . . then 28 letters. of these, the overwhelmingly most likely winner at each stage will have the original set of correct letters to that stage, with up to a few more correct ones added. [Notice how in Gen 40, we see that one letter is out, and it takes a couple more to get to the final result. Why: the distance metric is probably a bitwise Hamming metric so that a closer initial letter that is not quite correct can win at a stage. Remember, BASIC allow3s subtraction of letters as well as numbers, based on ASCII code bit values. I used to do that on my old department’s “TRASH-80.”])
    __________

    T3 has the advantage of convergence, with the appearance of being a randomly generated mutant, and with just distance as the decisive factor. It also subtly manges to preserve most or all of the advances to date without EXPLICITLY exempting “correct” letters from random change.

    In short, by using targetted search with non-functional configs rewarded for relative closeness to the target, and with a subtle way of preserving advances to the stage, we can see how a Weasel program will do what Trueman, Gitt and Dembaki-Marks have noticed, while appearing to those looking on to be a case of the power of “evolution” to create the appearance of design.

    But, in fact, it is explicitly based on foresighted, targetted search design that uses a carefully calibrated injection of chance, and avoids the issue of functionality until the very last, halting step. In particular, there are ways that effectively [with high probability] ratchet-in advances up to a stage without having to explicitly lock-in the successful letters. thus, we can see how such a case would

    5] A more advanced stage, i.e modern Weasels:

    In an example linked by Wiki, we can see a more advanced stage, a full genetic algorithm being used for a Weasel type program. {Notice how the author does NOT say that he is using the same algor as Dawklins.]

    This exhibit, which was inspired by a description of a program in Richard Dawkins’s excellent book The Blind Watchmaker, demonstrates the ability of evolutionary techniques to solve enormous problems rapidly . . . .

    The applet works like this. You provide a phrase to one part of the program, the Scorer, and another part of the program (the Breeder) tries to make the Scorer happy by breeding possible solutions until it matches the supplied phrase.

    The Breeder starts by making lots of random guesses and presenting each to the Scorer. The highest-scoring guess is then bred with other guesses (by combining parts of each guess) and some of the guesses are randomly mutated. The Breeder continues to breed and mutate guesses until it finds your original phrase.

    Along the way, the Scorer only tells the Breeder how close each guess is to the target phrase, not what the target phrase is. The Scorer doesn’t even tell the Breeder which parts of its guess are right or wrong. ,i>This is vaguely like trying to find a random spot in the galaxy, being told only how “hot” or “cold” you are after each step.

    But of course, by rewarding “hot, hotter hottest,” you are telling the breeder how to move forward. The randomising part actually simply adds in some inefficiency into the process, as the breeder is not being allowed to directly trace out then follow up the steepest ascent trend line until it stops giving advances. (Such a randomised approach is helpful in real-world cases where you have a working entity but are not sure that it is near optimal for its neighbourhood. So,a bit of random wandering may help spot a trend of advance. there are a lot of real-world design problems where we know how to get a working solution but not how to get an optimal one, so such a technique is useful.)

    Observe again, the search is targetted, with a broadcasting oracle that rewards warmer, and punishes colder. But in this case, the Weasel search will NOT necessarily or with high probability preserve and ratchet-in advances up to that stage on a letter by letter basis. (This is clearly different from what Dawkins did circa 1986, as the record shows very explicitly.)

    What such a GA does is more like throwing out a ring of guesses and going to the hotter section of the ring, then throwing our another ring of guesses and so on until the final ring is narrow enough to capture the target.

    6] The role of Active information and the issue of rewarding closeness to a target

    You will see that in each case, whether the classic “letter- locking- in” Weasel or the modern GA Weasel, the focus of the search is a target, and closeness to the target is rewarded.

    This feeds in what Dembski and Marks call active information.

    By contrast chance Variation and natural selection can only act on presently FUNCTIONING entities and can only reward current differential success in an environment.

    In short, Sir Fred Hoyle’s issue of getting to complex and irreducible functionality all at once by non-foresighted mechanisms tracing to chance + necessity only has not been answered on the merits, eitehr in 1986 or at present. And, Weasel is as I have described it — in especially the classic form, the one that ratchets the letters. More modern forms can escape that secondary problem, but they do not get around the core Hoylean challenge.

    GLF, methinks the ball is in your court.

    GEM of TKI

  347. 347
    David Kellogg says:

    kf:

    It is very clear that the thread hijack attempt has now reached from red herring distractors to strawmen to ad hominems, now personally abusive.

    I propose the following principle.

    kairosfocus’s law: As a debate with KF continues, the probability that KF will accuse others of some combination of red herrings, drawmen, and ad hominem approaches 1.

    Bank on it.

  348. 348
    David Kellogg says:

    for “drawmen” read “strawmen.”

  349. 349
    jerry says:

    ” I propose the following principle.

    kairosfocus’s law: As a debate with KF continues, the probability that KF will accuse others of some combination of red herrings, srawmen, and ad hominem approaches 1.”

    Is this statement an example of the correctness of kairosfocus’s law? It is certainly an ad hominem and a red herring and definitely a strawman. So it is a vindication of kairosfocus.

  350. 350
    JayM says:

    kairosfocus @346

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met.

    This is incorrect, as demonstrated in 302, 314, and another post awaiting moderation (for what reason I still have not been informed). Read those links to see the actual Weasel algorithm.

    . . . we can see that once a letter is in place, it tends strongly indeed to be preserved from one generation to the next.

    This is a different claim, and happens to be correct for a certain range of mutation rates.

    Are you now admitting that your original claim that the Weasel algorithm locks in correct letters is wrong?

    JJ

  351. 351
    David Kellogg says:

    jerry, it’s actually an inference from repeated observation. But the accusation had already been made, so in this thread any exemplification on my part would be redundant.

    Recall that kf said the letters in the Weasel were fixed when correct. He was shown that this was untrue and has never admitted his mistake. Instead he has has turned, predictably, here.

  352. 352
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry

    Thank you.

    GEM

    PS: DK — the problem is, that there is a definite (and all too often seen) selectively hyperskeptical pattern of thought and rhetoric that works precisely by distractors, attacking mickey-mouse distorted forms of ID arguments [cf Weak Arguments Correctives linked above], and onward attacking the persons who make the real arguments. A pattern that this thread exemplifies to the point where I am being subtly unjustly accused of lying. Now, you wish to add to it a form of Godwinian censorship, that forbids pointing out the pattern on pain of further demonisation and dismissal. Sorry, DK, you are carrying out enabling behaviour: rtemembe, I am being falsely accused of lyintg,a nd have taken time to show just why that is a false accusation. Can you cogently reply to the substance? If so, do that. If not, don’t try to censor someone defending himself from slander. or else you make yourself an accessory after the fact.

  353. 353
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus
    Can you spot the difference between your latest

    we can see that once a letter is in place, it tends strongly indeed to be preserved from one generation to the next.

    and your previous statements?

    b –> Namely, he starts with the right number of letters, and then randomly changes the letters in the initial case [save for any that happen to be the right letter in the right place].

    and

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met.

    It appears your position has evolved on this particular matter.

    So we have gone from the letter being fixed to the letter tending to be preserved.

    Progress indeed!

    Perhaps you could let Dr Dembski and Marks know of your change of heart? That the letter is not fixed, it only appears to be so.

    In fact, implemented correctly Weasel allows for progress away from the target at any point, even if only one letter away from the target phrase.

  354. 354
    Joseph says:

    cumulative selection –

    Are there any examples of cumulative selection in nature?

    If there are then it would be a good thing to present them to see if cumulative selection can do what some people say it can.

    My belief is that an example of cumulative selection will be an albino dwarf with a cleft chin, detached ear lobes and sickle-celled anemia.

    IOW there won’t be anything to substantiate any claims of the anti-ID position.

  355. 355
    David Kellogg says:

    kf, see George in [352]. I’m not accusing you of lying. I’m saying you have made statements about Weasel that are incorrect and have not responded forthrightly when called on them.

    You have merely been evasive.

    You’d be lying if you said that your earlier, incorrect statements were either correct or not made by you.

  356. 356
    kairosfocus says:

    DK:

    kf said the letters in the Weasel were fixed when correct. He was shown that this was untrue and has never admitted his mistake.

    a –> Will you kindly look at point 3 in 346 above, and focus on “IT” (and before that the T).

    b –> The printouts will show that indeed there is a letter latching behaviour in the 1986 form of Dawkins’ Weasel as published, with IT the capital exemplar. (And that is the specific form that I addressed.)

    c –> Subsequently, as I show in points following, we can create a foerm that will not exactly latch, but will converge.

    d –> I have also highlighted that more modern forms of Weasel, as for instance Wiki links, are using an approach that will not latch; either necessarily or with high probability. [Cf my discussion of versions T2 and T3. latching with high probability is just as much the point as latching with necessity.].

    e –> In short, I have shown that it is the would-be “correctors” who themselves need correction.

    f –> in your case, have you read what I said this morning, and can you responded correctively on points?

    GEM of TKI

  357. 357
    kairosfocus says:

    DK:

    I’m not accusing you of lying. I’m saying you have made statements about Weasel that are incorrect and have not responded forthrightly when called on them.

    Not at all.

    I have called attetnion to the facts of the case, but have been strawmanised or ignored.

    I have now taken time to respond in significant depth, and you seem to be ignoring that while propagating plainly false accusations.

    Please, stop.

    GEM of TKI

  358. 358
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    In short, just as I TRUTHFULLY said originally and above in this thread: this is most certainly targetted, foresighted search. Thus, this is no BLIND watchmaker at work.

    You are arguing a case nobody is engaging you on. My original point was quite clearly focused on a single issue, if the letters are or are not fixed once correct. You chose to go down the rabbit trails of active information etc.

    While I have my opinion on those issues, that was not what the issue revolved around. That you chose to clould the issue with an attempted debate regarding the accuracy of tools such as Weasel is simply I believe a smokescreen thrown up by you once you realised that you were in fact in error.

    After all, $100,000 would have been yours if you had been able to provide a quote from Dawkins that substantiated your position.

    You were not able to do so, and as I noted in my previous comment you have now changed your position to the correct one.

    Now, we will see if the peer reviewers on the papers you mention catch this obvious error (partitioned vs non-partitioned modes of operation).

    While I do not expect an apology (you still appear to believe you are in the right despite having changed position on the sole issue I was challenging you on) your acceptance of the fact you were in error will have to do.

    As linked to in a previous comment, you can visit this implementation of Weasel that operates how Dawkins describes in Watchmaker.

    http://www.antievolution.org/cs/dawkins_weasel

    and see for yourself how it operates. It operates in the following way

    1. Use a set of characters that includes the upper case alphabet and a space.
    2. Initialize a population of n 28-character strings with random assignments of characters from our character set.
    3. Identify the string closest to the target string in the population.
    4. If a string matches the target, terminate.
    5. Base a new generation population of size n upon copies of the closest matching string, where each position has a chance of randomly mutating, based upon a set mutation rate.
    6. Go to step 3.

    I await your irrelevant objections to active information etc (ever wondered what the enviroment is?).

  359. 359
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    b –> The printouts will show that indeed there is a letter latching behaviour in the 1986 form of Dawkins’ Weasel as published, with IT the capital exemplar. (And that is the specific form that I addressed.)

    Yes, the printouts to appear to show that.

    Could you tell me what % the printouts represented of the actual run?

    Could you tell me what IT was between generation 30 and 40?

    Generation 30: METHINGS IT ISWLIKE B WECSEL

    Generation 40: METHINKS IT IS LIKE I WEASEL

    Is it possible that IT changed from “IT” to “II” and back to “IT” between 30 and 40?

    Of course it is, as you now admit.

    Visit the link I just gave and educate yourself before carrying on down this path.

    Is it so complex to understand that just because “the printouts” show that IT did not change between 30 and 40 that does not mean it could not have?

    I have now taken time to respond in significant depth, and you seem to be ignoring that while propagating plainly false accusations.

    Yes, but your response addressed issues irrelevant to the issue at hand – is the letter fixed or not. You can talk about active information and the validity of Weasel all day long, but that’s not what you are being asked about.

    It’s a single, simple point. Is the letter fixed or not once correct?

    Stop constructing strawmen to distract from your error. You are fooling nobody.

  360. 360
    Joseph says:

    George,

    You aren’t fooling anyone either.

    I asked:

    What are the published papers that support the non-telic, adesign position?

    And all you presented was a literature bluff.

  361. 361
    David Kellogg says:

    KF, the key sentence (repeatedly quoted by George above) is this:

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met.

    Emphasis added.
    You have kindasorta moved away from this, slowly and haltingly, with your “warmer” and “colder” etc., but you have never stood up and said “actually, that’s wrong. I was either careless or didn’t understand the program well enough.”

    I think it would be good if you did that. That would reflect well on you.

    Defending that claim now would show that you really don’t understand the program. And that would be sad, because you know a lot more about programming than I do, and even I know that’s not how it works.

  362. 362
    Joseph says:

    As for “weasel” does anyone have access to the source code?

  363. 363
    kairosfocus says:

    GLF:

    I have pointed out already this morning that there are at least two versions of Weasel algorithms out there.

    I pereviously addressed the Dawkins one circa 1986, and have linked and now specifically documented in this thread that it does show letter latching behaviour. (Kindly explain inter alia that IT, GLF, if that is not so.)

    Onlookers will also notice that the foresighted, targetted search that rewards warmer but non functional nonsense phrases, is a point not being disputed by GLF. But, that alone is sufficient to establish my basic point that the example is NOT anywhere near representative of a BLIND watchmaker, even if I were in error on the letter latching behaviour.

    But, on direct and easy inspection, I am not.

    I have also now added to that case, the more modern versions and cvariants that would [a} show high- probability letter preservation behaviour from “early o’clock”}, and [b] show not letter latching but merely warmer-colder convergence. Notice, how Wiki presents a case of b without explicit warning, almost as though it were the original.

    So, GLF, kindly do not quote-mine what I have said, step by step, making clear distinctions all along the way. That is to set up and knock over a strawman, one that is laced with ad hominems.

    It should thus be plain to onlookers from the cited printout that I believe is from BW ch 3, that the original form of Weasel definitely shows precisely the letter latching behaviour I have highlighted and as Dembski-marks, Trueman and Gitt have highlighted.

    that subseque3nt versions avoid that obvious signature does not change the fact of what Weasel was from 1986 on.

    And, the more modern versions that would not show letter latching, are failing to address the Hoylean issue: a major amount of irreducibly complex information and structures is required to get to first life and natural selection is incapable of rewarding non-function. NS cannot work any Hill climbing magic until one arrives at the shores of an island of functionality.

    Finally, we can see the selectiveness in hypersketpicism at work: strawmanising what I have to say, while swallowing the camel of the inconvenient fact that Weasel in any form presented to us, is NOT the blind watchmaker as advertised.

    GEM of TKI

  364. 364
    kairosfocus says:

    GLF:

    Is it possible that IT changed from “IT” to “II” and back to “IT” between 30 and 40?

    The drowning man clutches at straws.

    A few observations:

    a –> At no 1, T is in place. by no 2, it is still in place.

    b –> By 10, the full IT is in place and on the evidence remains there all the way home.

    c –> By 10, too, the last E in Weasel is in place, and stays there all the way home.

    d –> By 20, the last SEL is in place and remains there, in fact.

    e –> By 10, IS is in place and is there all the way home.

    f –> By 20, ME is in place in methinks, and remains all the way home.

    by 30 METHIN and LIKE join the above g –> and remain all the way home.

    The best explanation for that is latching, full latching, not partial latching. Especially as the second example in the previously linked also shows th same pattern, the one from new Scientist.

    Of course it is logically possible that all these apparent patterns appear and vanish only to reappear at the required sample points, for both cases. The odds against at happening for so many cases and in two distinct trials are so large as to be a plain ad hoc attempt to explain away the obvious.

    thus lies revealed the flip side of seective hyperskepticism: if you insistently fly in teh face of the best explanation, you have to cling to a far weaker one, with sele3cticve hyper-credulity.

    Case proved beyond reasonable doubt, GLF. And, such moral certainty is all that is required in serious matters of fact.

    GEM of TKI

  365. 365
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: DK, the just above applies to you too.

  366. 366
    Joseph says:

    OK my 2 cents:

    The fixation exists but not because of the program.

    IOW the program itself doesn’t look at the sequence select the best matching sequence and say:

    mutate all other letters except the letters that are already matched.

    nor

    keep the matching letters mutate the rest

    The fixation, therefor, exists because out of all the subsequent offspring, the offspring that most closely matched the target also closely matched its parent.

    Which we would expect if only some of the characters are mutated in each generation.

    What we are not seeing on any printout is the offspring that were rejected.

    Had we been able to see the rejections we would then have a better view to make any judgements about any fixation principle.

    But knowing me, I am right. 😉

  367. 367
    Joseph says:

    So the number of offspring per generation would be the key.

    And to get a better grasp on what is going on have the program print out EVERY offspring of each generation.

  368. 368
    kairosfocus says:

    Joseph

    Thanks for trying to bridge the gap, a la Brahe 350 years ago.

    Resemblance to parents — per described algorithms — is not selected for. Closeness to target EXPLICITLY is.

    The issue is wheter that might be on lartching or the like. The answer is that once we see that there is early latching on the evidence [look at the t that stays there all the way through], it strongly supports that explanation.

    High probabilistic retention would be the next type of Weasel, and that would be explained in light of my T3 model or something like it. Indeed, this one captures the “resemblance to parents” theme. but the point is that any explanation has to cover why there is that observed retention in the “champions” from one generation to the next, or to the next tenth generation.

    And in cases where there is no consistent early latching, that would be in light of the more modern GA type program as Wiki links and as I cited on its algorithm, above.

    GEM of TKI

  369. 369
    Atom says:

    Hey all,

    I haven’t been following the conversation, but does this have to do with the WeaselWare algorithms on evoinfo.org (which I coded, btw)? If so are they still crying about how partitioned search (among other searches) is presented on there?

    Honestly, it is trivial to add another search algorithm to the set making a “modern” Dawkins weasel (in addition to the old-school paritioned search version), but it really isn’t the big issue. The teleological aspect of the search (weight my importance based on distance from a target) would still be present, whether there is letter preservation or not.

    So if that has anything to do with it, then give me a break. I’ll code an additional algorithm when I get a chance and you’ll see that nothing changes (except the amount of time it takes to reach the target will be slightly longer on average.)

    If it has nothing to do with this conversation, excuse my interruption.

    Atom

  370. 370
    StephenB says:

    —-David: “However, a word like “wrong” can, apparently, only be used as you determine.”

    When anyone uses the word “wrong” in an unqualified way, it means “objectively wrong.” Again, if you doubt this, ask any other rational person who knows the meaning of the word objective.
    You use language to obfuscate not to clarify.

    —-“If you think I cited the Bible as evidence of child prostitution, you are not reading carefully. I cited the bible as evidence of unstable definitions.”

    You are correct. The ploy was calculated to avoid dialogue. The definition of prostitute is clear: (From the on-line dictionary)

    “To offer indiscriminately for sexual intercourse especially for money”

    “to devote to corrupt or unworthy purposes : debase”

    No one except a moral relativist would go looking for changing definitions and appealing to the Bible for examples.

    You use the language to avoid discussion and dialogue.

    —-“What I question among your “facts” is the relevance of relativism.”

    Moral relativism provides no moral target. If there is no moral target, then there is no moral objective to aim for. That leads to amorality, which leads to immoratliy. Steep children in pornography and they have sex on school buses. Is that clear enough.

    The purpose for the moral code is to separate men from animals. Moral relativists argue for a moving target so they don’t have to worry about hitting the target. That way, they too, are free to act like animals. They also want children to act like animals so that there will be no one around to provide a counter example of good behavior to shine a light on their bad behavior. Is that clear enough.

    In my last correspondence, I provided you with objective morality’s answer on the issue of gay rights. At the same time, I asked you, a moral relativist, if you condemned abourtion [assume I mean in all cases in which the mother’s life is in danger] You avoided the question. Will you confront it now?

    —-“But I like my Bible!”

    Which part of it do you find edifying? Is it St Pauls Epistle to the Moral Relativists in the land of Oz.

  371. 371
    StephenB says:

    @369 [change that to mean, [“when the mother’s life if NOT in danger.]

  372. 372
    Joseph says:

    kairofocus:

    Resemblance to parents — per described algorithms — is not selected for. Closeness to target EXPLICITLY is.

    Yes and my point is that at some point the parent has some match to the target.

    IOW that parent has the criteria “closeness to the target”.

    So if the parent has some characteristic(s) of the target, ie closeness, then if only a few letters are mutated, some offspring may have the same level of closeness, some may have less closeness, some may be more closely related to the target than the parent but not have all of the parent’s matching letters and some may have all of the parent’s matching letters PLUS other letters that match the target that the parent did not.

    So in order to detect or determine any “latching” we MUST see ALL of the offspring for each generation.

    As it now stands the ONLY offspring we see in each generation is the one with “closeness to the target”.

    If latching were the correct call then every offspring would at least match the parent’s closeness.

    And we would see that by examining the “dead”- ie those sequences which were found to be not closer to the target then the sequence that “lived”.

    Those “dead” sequences hold the key.

    If any of the dead have a different letter than the parent’s matching letter, latching is refuted.

    And if all of the dead have the same matching letters as the parent, then latching is confirmed.

  373. 373
    David Kellogg says:

    Joseph,

    If any of the dead have a different letter than the parent’s matching letter, latching is refuted.

    And if all of the dead have the same matching letters as the parent, then latching is confirmed.

    Correct. (KF’s original sentence said “preserved” rather than “latched,” but the point is correct.) In fact, you don’t need access to a complete run. You just need to see the code, which I believe may be available.

    In any event, your first option (in which correct letters are open to further mutation) corresponds to how the program was originally described.

  374. 374
    David Kellogg says:

    Clarification: how the program was originally described by Dawkins — how it was originally described by KF (who said the letters were “preserved,” or latched, or fixed).

  375. 375
    David Kellogg says:

    Does anybody have a Wii? If you’ve ever “evolved” a Mii avatar, there’s a pretty good analogy. You pick a simple avatar and it creates a bunch of mutations. You pick the one closest to what you want and it creates more. You keep doing that until you get one that you like.

    Now, at any stage it can be the case that all the avatars mutate away from what you want (they change the ears or eyes away from your choice). It can also be the case that the total avatar is better (closer to your wishes) even if a particular feature has mutated away. Even so, you can probably get a good avatar by this kind of “evolution” faster than you can by designing one from scratch.

  376. 376
    R0b says:

    kairosfocus:

    Now the issue he raised in this thread in 236 (accurately citing or summarising my remarks evidently from an earlier thread) is to challenge the force of:

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met. That means it rewards partial but non-functional success, and is foresighted. Targetted search, not a proper RV + NS model.

    [Emphasis added by kairosfocus]
    I will now substantiate this point further, noting that I have already pointed to why this is correct above.

    I like how you didn’t emphasize “That means”, thus ignoring the relationship between the second sentence and the first.

    Your emphasis pretends that the question in dispute is whether Weasel rewards partial success, but nobody is disputing that. Of course Weasel rewards partial success, but it doesn’t do so by preserving correct letters. The mutator doesn’t pass over correct letters, and the oracle doesn’t provide information about which letters are correct. Thus, Weasel is not a “partitioned search” as Dembski and Marks define the term. Dembski, Marks, and you are wrong on this point.

  377. 377
    R0b says:

    Atom:

    If so are they still crying about how partitioned search (among other searches) is presented on there?

    Honestly, it is trivial to add another search algorithm to the set making a “modern” Dawkins weasel (in addition to the old-school paritioned search version)

    I don’t understand your modern/old-school distinction. Dawkins presented only one Weasel algorithm that I know of. The problem is that Dembski, Marks, and others have mischaracterized Dawkins’s algorithm as “partitioned”, which it is not. It’s not that big of a deal, but you would think that after being corrected on it for years, Dembski would get it right in a peer-reviewed paper.

    but it really isn’t the big issue. The teleological aspect of the search (weight my importance based on distance from a target) would still be present, whether there is letter preservation or not.

    That would be a big issue if Weasel were pitched as a non-targeted search or as an ateleological search (both of which sound like oxymorons to me). But nobody, least of all Dawkins, has presented Weasel as such. Dawkins explicitly contrasts the targeted Weasel algorithm with the non-targeted process of biological evolution.

  378. 378
    Joseph says:

    Cumulative selection- the weasel thingy is supposed to represent cumulative selection.

    However, pertaining to biology, cumulative selection has been laid bare in the “Edge of Evolution”.

    Dr Behe has found support in the peer-reviewed literature.

  379. 379
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    I think enough has been said on the substantial points above, that hose interested in seeing the truth on this case study on selective hyperskepticism in action and where it leads will see for themselves.

    For instance, despite the straining to find a loophole, it should be very, very clear that I have — until I have had over the past few hours to address the different mutations thereof — ALWAYS spoken in the specific context of Dawkins’ Weasel circa 1986. (Indeed, I have usually gone on to distinguish the more modern GA’s; which I have also pointed out, use targetting/ foresight and intelligent direction generally.)

    In that very specific context, as I documented above, there is beyond reasonable doubt latching behaviour, as published by Dawkins in BW and in New Scientist. He also explicitly speaks of warmer/ colder rewarding of non-functional nonsense phrases; the very opposite of what natural selection is supposed to do to differential functionality. And that, I have remarked on.

    Moreover, as Atom has observed — and as I repeatedly pointed out in details above — we are dealing at root with targetted, warmer/colder oracular search strategies, and that the resulting program is NOT an illustration of the BLIND watchmaker Mr Dawkins wrote the book of that name and time to support.

    In short, it is very clear that the original Weasel program is as I described it.

    But, the point of the selective hyperskeptical game, once strawmen soaked in ad hominems are burning brightly and smokily, is to cloud the air and to fill it with noxious polarisations.

    So, the track towards the truth is lost sight of in the smoke.

    And, that is its rhetorical point — to the temporary and particular advantage of those playing the selective hyperskepticism game; but to the detriment of our civilisation, as is becoming ever more evident all around us as we speak.

    In short, such behaviour fails at the Categorical Imperative bar (a test for moral sustainablility of behaviour).

    If we were to all try to live like the selective hyperskeptics have shown above, our civlisation will collapse into in the end civil conflicts beyond what we have ever seen before.

    We have been warned.

    Will we heed the warning?

    That, sirs, is the question.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Joseph, thanks for the interesting link ion Behe.

    As for the parental resemblance issue, my T3 shows how that can easily happen even where there is no explicit and 100% latch-in. But, that is not what we are dealing with on the evidence already linked and now put up in the thread: we can see case after case of latching behaviour.

  380. 380
    George L Farquhar says:

    R0B at 375 and 376 has covered what I was going to say.

    Kariosfocus

    And in cases where there is no consistent early latching, that would be in light of the more modern GA type program as Wiki links and as I cited on its algorithm, above.

    Try and concentrate on the issue at hand.

    The issue is this:

    Does Dawins’ Weasel, as described in Watchmaker, affix each letter in place once correct?

    Nothing to do with active information.
    Nothing to do with other implementations of Weasel-like programs.
    Nothing to do with oil soaked strawmen.
    Nothing to do with oracles.
    Nothing to to with hot or cold.
    Nothing to do with the accuracy of how Weasel represents any aspect of evolution.

    It’s quite simple.

    You said

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met.

    The issue is if you are capable of representing your opponents argument correctly, and if you are capable of admitting you are in error when it is pointed out to you that you are wrong.

    As Atom says

    you’ll see that nothing changes (except the amount of time it takes to reach the target will be slightly longer on average.)

    So why the refusal to admit that Weasel as Dawkins described it does not fix letters?

    Once again, if you are right it should be a trival matter to provide a quote from Dawkins saying as much. The fact that you have not I hope says as much to the onlookers as it does to me.

    You are wrong, you know you are wrong and yet refuse to admit it.

    Why?

    Please address the issue at hand and refrain from constructing any more strawmen.

    Does Dawins’ Weasel, as described in Watchmaker, affix each letter in place once correct? If you say it does, please provide a reference from Dawkins saying as much. Otherwise what you are describing is not Weasel as Dawkins laid out in Watchmaker, and who is constructing strawmen then?

  381. 381
    George L Farquhar says:

    Moreover, as Atom has observed — and as I repeatedly pointed out in details above — we are dealing at root with targetted, warmer/colder oracular search strategies, and that the resulting program is NOT an illustration of the BLIND watchmaker Mr Dawkins wrote the book of that name and time to support.

    You ability to ignore inconvinent information is quite astounding.
    Have you no reponse to what R0B said?

    That would be a big issue if Weasel were pitched as a non-targeted search or as an ateleological search (both of which sound like oxymorons to me). But nobody, least of all Dawkins, has presented Weasel as such. Dawkins explicitly contrasts the targeted Weasel algorithm with the non-targeted process of biological evolution.

    Dawkins himself addresses the issue himself and yet you act as if he did not.

    Amazing.

    In short, it is very clear that the original Weasel program is as I described it.

    Then provide a quote from Dawkins that proves it. Otherwise it is very clear that you are making it up.

    In that very specific context, as I documented above, there is beyond reasonable doubt latching behaviour, as published by Dawkins in BW and in New Scientist.

    You understanding appears to be incomplete.

  382. 382
    George L Farquhar says:

    http://www.antievolution.org/f.....el102.html
    A Dawkins approved implementation.

    Don’t take my word for it. Go there and find out yourself.

    Mutation rate upped to 10% per letter in order to get a stepback (i.e. a correct letter that changes to an incorrect number) in a reasonable run that won’t fill the blog! Run is incomplete.

    Notice the fact that the population is 100 strong (as shown by the Stepback detected, population dump follows:) What does that say about the “table” that Kariosfocus is using as the foundation of his argument? What was the population there? 1? Logically Kariosfocus postion makes no sense when you consider the population issue.

    Beginning run
    Gen. 1, 3 letters, tlqqxnuzia idsiesuvjaynpdvve
    Gen. 2, 5 letters, tlqqxNuzia idS eIuvjAynhdv e
    Gen. 3, 6 letters, hlqqxNuziaTadS eIcvjAynhdv e
    Gen. 4, 7 letters, hlqqINuzizTadS eIcvjAynhdv e
    Gen. 5, 8 letters, hlTqINuzizTadS eIcvjAynydv e
    Gen. 6, 9 letters, hlTqINuzizTadS eIcvjAynydv L
    Gen. 7, 10 letters, hlTqINvzizTadS LIcvjAynxwv L
    Gen. 8, 11 letters, hlTqINvzizTadS LIcEjAynxwv L
    Gen. 9, 12 letters, hlTqINvzizTadS LIsEjA nxov L
    Gen. 10, 13 letters, hlTqINvzizTadS LIsEjA nxoS L
    Gen. 11, 14 letters, hlTqINvzizTadS LIsEjA nxoSEL
    Gen. 12, 14 letters, hlTqINvzizTadS LIsEjA nxoSEL
    Gen. 13, 15 letters, hlTqINvzizTadS LIsEjA nxASEL
    Gen. 14, 15 letters, lTqINvzizTadS LIjEjA nxASEL
    Gen. 15, 17 letters, lTHINvzizTadS LIKEjA nxASEL
    Gen. 16, 17 letters, lTHINvzizTadS LIKEpA nxASEL
    Gen. 17, 17 letters, lTHIN zizTadS LIKEcA nxASEL
    Gen. 18, 18 letters, ETHIN zizTadS LIKEcA ngASEL
    Gen. 19, 19 letters, ETHIN oizTadS LIKEnA WgASEL
    Gen. 20, 20 letters, METHINlo zTadS LIKtnA WgASEL
    Gen. 21, 20 letters, METHINlo zTadS LIKtnA WyASEL
    Gen. 22, 21 letters, METHINlo zTadS LIKt A WyASEL
    Gen. 23, 21 letters, METHINlo zTauS LIKt A WxASEL
    Gen. 24, 21 letters, METHINlo zTauS LIKt A WxASEL
    Gen. 25, 21 letters, METHINlo zTauS LIKt A WxASEL
    Gen. 26, 22 letters, METHINlo zTauS LIKt A WEASEL
    Gen. 27, 23 letters, METHINlo zTauS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 28, 23 letters, METHINgo aTauS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 29, 23 letters, METHINgo aTauS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 30, 23 letters, METHINgo aTauS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 31, 23 letters, METHINgo aTauS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 32, 24 letters, METHINeo aTaIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 33, 24 letters, METHINeo aTaIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 34, 24 letters, METHINeo aTaIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 35, 24 letters, METHINeo aTaIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 36, 24 letters, METHINeo aTaIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 37, 24 letters, METHINea aTaIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 38, 24 letters, METHINet aTcIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 39, 24 letters, METHINet aTcIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 40, 24 letters, METHINet aTcIS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 41, 25 letters, METHINet kT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 42, 25 letters, METHINet pT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 43, 25 letters, METHINet pT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 44, 25 letters, METHINet pT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 45, 25 letters, METHINet pT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 46, 25 letters, METHINxt pT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 47, 25 letters, pETHINxS pT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 48, 25 letters, zETHINxS sT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 49, 25 letters, zETHINxS sT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 50, 25 letters, zETHINwS sT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 51, 26 letters, zETHINKS sT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 52, 26 letters, zETHINKS sT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 53, 26 letters, zETHINKS sT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 54, 26 letters, eETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 55, 26 letters, eETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 56, 26 letters, eETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 57, 26 letters, eETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 58, 26 letters, eETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 59, 26 letters, eETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 60, 26 letters, eETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 61, 26 letters, eETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 62, 26 letters, jETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 63, 26 letters, jETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 64, 26 letters, jETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 65, 26 letters, jETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 66, 26 letters, jETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 67, 26 letters, jETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 68, 26 letters, jETHINKS T IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 69, 26 letters, jETHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 70, 26 letters, jETHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 71, 26 letters, jETHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 72, 26 letters, jETHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 73, 26 letters, jETHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 74, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 75, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 76, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 77, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 78, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 79, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 80, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 81, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 82, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 83, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 84, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 85, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 86, 27 letters, METHINKS lT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 87, 27 letters, METHINKS zT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 88, 27 letters, METHINKS zT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 89, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 90, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 91, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 92, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 93, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 94, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 95, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 96, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 97, 27 letters, METHINKS jT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 98, 27 letters, METHINKS cT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 99, 27 letters, METHINKS cT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 100, 27 letters, METHINKS cT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 101, 27 letters, METHINKS cT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 102, 27 letters, METHINKS cT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 103, 27 letters, METHINKS bT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 104, 27 letters, METHINKS bT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 105, 27 letters, METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 106, 27 letters, METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 107, 27 letters, METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 108, 27 letters, METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 109, 27 letters, METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 110, 27 letters, METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    Stepback detected, population dump follows:
    METHIgKS wT IS LIKE AuWEASEL
    MEaHoNKShwT IS LIKE A WExSmL
    METHINKS wT fS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKj wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKEqA WEAdEp
    hETHINaS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT Ij LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE t WEASEL
    METHINKS wT ISfLIKE A yEAaEL
    M THINKS tT IS LIKE AiWEAShL
    METHINKS wT IS LIiE A WEASEL
    METHIaKS wz IScLIKE A WErSEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIqE AiWEASEL
    METHIrKS wT IS LcKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wTzIS LIKE A WEASEL
    METpINKS mT IS LIcE A WqASEL
    lETHcNuS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    MEsHINKS wT S LIKE A WwASEL
    MdTHINKS mT Iw LIKw A WEoSkL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WjASEs
    MElHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wTfIr LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE A aEAxEL
    wETHINKS wT IS LzKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE AyWEASEL
    METHIeKS wT Ip LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT Iq LIKE A WEvSEL
    METHINKS wT Iy LIKE A uEA aL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASpL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKEmAeWEAoEL
    METHINKS wT Ix vIKE A WEAfEL
    METHfzzS rT S LIKE A WEAmEp
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEAyEL
    METHmNKS mT IS LIKE AbWEASEL
    MEjHINKS zT ISwLIKE A WEASEL
    METaINKS wT ISdLIKE WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE AyWmASEL
    METHINKz wTekS LIKE A WEASEL
    MEbHINKS wT IqvLIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS tT IS LI E A WEASEL
    MvTHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEeSEL
    METHINKS wT IS LmuE A WEASEL
    METHINKi wT IS LaKE A WEASpL
    MjTHIeKS wT IS LIKE A WEAdEd
    METHINKSqwT IS LIKE A WEASxL
    METHINKS wT IS dIKErA bEAlEL
    METyINKS wT Iq LIKE AvWEASiL
    METHINKSzwg IS LIKE A WEASEL
    vETHINKS wT lS LIKE A lEAzEL
    METHINKS wT IS LlKb q WEASEL
    METHINKSiwT IS LIKE z WEASEL
    METHINKS wTcIS LIKE A WEASyL
    METHINKS wT IS oIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKEpA WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WExaEL
    METHINKS sTyIS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHItKS wTcIS LIKE A WwASEL
    METHINKS wT ISvLIKE A WEASEf
    METHINKS wT ISvLIKn A WEASEw
    ME HINKS wT IS LIbE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wd IS LIKE A WEASEL
    MEqHhqKS wT IS LIKE A WEdSEL
    M THIiiStwTuIS LIKEwA WEASEL
    METHINKSbwT IS LIKE A jEAnEL
    MEiHINKS wT IS LIKf A WEASEL
    METHIaKS wT eS LIuE A WEASEL
    MdTHjNKS IT IS LIKE A WEySEL
    METHINKSvwT ISeLIKEsA WEAbEL
    METsaNKS eT ISyLIKE A WEASEL
    MEuHINKh wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT gS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wTbIS LIKE A WEAeEL
    M bHImKSwwT IS LIKE e WEASEL
    METHINKS zT IS LImE A WEASEL
    METHINKd wTqIS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASE
    METHINK wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHINKd wf IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHIoKj wn IS LIKm A WEpSEL
    METHINKS wT xj LvKa A WEAtEL
    METHINKS wTtIS yIKE A WEcSEL
    METHINKShwT ISjLIKE A WEAeEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKE A WErSEL
    METHINKu wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHrNaS wT IS LrKE A WEASEL
    METHINKS wT IS LIKEfA WEASEL
    METvINKS wT IS LIKE A uEASEL
    ETHINKS wT IS LIKE A WuwSEL
    METHINtS bk IS LInE A WEASEL
    MEpHINKS wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METsINKS wT IS LIKE A WwASEL
    METHINKS wT IpzLIKE A WEASEL
    MguHINKe tT IS LIKq A WEASmL
    MEnHINKS aT IS LI E A WEASEL
    hETHkNKS wT IS LIKE A WEgiEL
    METHuNKS wT IS LxKE A WEASEL
    METHINtm wT IS LIKE A WEASEL
    METHIdKS wT IS LIKE A WwASEL
    METHIpKS wT IS LIcE A WEASEL
    Gen. 111, 26 letters, METHINKS wT fS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 112, 26 letters, METHINKS wT fS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 113, 26 letters, METHINKS wT fS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 114, 26 letters, METHINKS wT nS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 115, 26 letters, METHINKS wT nS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 116, 26 letters, METHINKS wT nS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 117, 26 letters, METHINKS wT nS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 118, 26 letters, METHINKS wT nS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 119, 26 letters, METHINKS wT jS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 120, 26 letters, METHINKS wT jS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 121, 26 letters, METHINKS xT lS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 122, 26 letters, METHINKS xT lS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 123, 26 letters, METHINKS xT lS LIKE A WEASEL
    Gen. 124, 26 letters, METHINKS xT lS LIKE A WEASEL

  383. 383
    kairosfocus says:

    GLF

    Nope, this is the issue I raised in another cotnext, and which I have substantiated above at 345-6 and 355 and again 363:

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met. [Got that DK, Rob and GLF? Cf the excertped printoff of the BW run and the previous links to the discussion in CMI, and the 363 tracing letter by letter.] That means [by way of explanation for the case in view, which is Dawkins 1986, cf cases in BW ch 3 and New Scientist; linked at 296] it rewards partial but non-functional success, and is foresighted. Targetted search, not a proper RV + NS model.

    And as for the latching behaviour, I have documented it beyond reasonable dispurte, by first linking then actually cirtintg above the case from Watchmaker, then pointing ourt the letters that find themselves lartched in succession.

    You are just refusing to look at the evidence staring you in the face.

    That is sad, very sad.

    GEM of TKI

  384. 384
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I see a just put up print run from a more current algor and coding.

    That, of course, shows again targetted GA behaviour.

    Again, I have examined teh published cases as documented above, from 1986; whcih defintiely show the latching as i spole of. So to pretend tha that case does not exist and insert a different one addressed under a separate head above at 345 – 6, is of course yet another ad hominem laced strawman.

    And, in neither the 1986 case nor the more recent ones is anything but targetted search that rewards non-functional strings on warmer/colder.

    In short, again, you sustain my points.

  385. 385
    R0b says:

    I tried Dawkins’ algorithm with a few different populations and mutation rates. With a population of 50 and a mutation rate of 5%, the winning sequence of each generation always has at least the same correct letters as the previous winning sequence. Here are the first 40 generations of a sample run:FPNSMGHBUSZ S ISDGNJETQYLGAQ
    FPNSMGKBNSZ S ISDGNJETQYLGAQ
    FENSGGKBNSZ S ISDGNJETMYLGAQ
    FENSGOKBNSZ S ISDKNJETMYLGAQ
    IENSGOKBNSZ SDISDKEJETMYLGAQ
    IENSGOKBNSZ IDISDKEJETMYLGAQ
    FENSGPKBNSZ IDILDKEJETBYLGAQ
    FENSGNKBNJZ IDILDKEJETBYLGAQ
    FENSGNKBNJZ IDILDKE ETBYLGAQ
    FENSGNKBNJZ IDILDKE ETBYOGAQ
    FENSGNKENJZ IDILDKE ETWYOGAQ
    FENSGNKSNJT IDILDKE ETWYOJAQ
    FENSGNKSNJT IDILDKE ETWYOJAQ
    FETSGNKSNJT IDILDKE ETWYOJAQ
    FETSGNKSNJT IDILDKE ETWYOJAQ
    DETSGNKSNTT IDILDKE EGWYOJAQ
    DETSGNKSNTT IDILDKE XGWYOJAQ
    DETSGNKSNIT IDILDKE XGWYOSAQ
    DETSGNKSNIT IDILDKE XGWEOSAQ
    DETSGNKSNIT ISILDKE XGWEOSAQ
    DETSGNKSNIT ISILDKE XGWEOSEQ
    DETSGNKSNIT ISJLDKE XGWEOSEQ
    DETSGNKSNIT ISJLDKE XGWEOSEQ
    UETHGNKSNIT ISJLDKE OGWEOSEQ
    DETHGNKSNIT ISJLDKE OGWEASEQ
    DETHGNKSNIT ISJLDKE OGWEASEQ
    DETHGNKSNIT ISJLDKE OGWEASEQ
    DETHGNKSNIT ISJLIKE OGWEASEQ
    DETHGNKSNIT ISDLIKE OGWEASEQ
    DETHINKSNIT ISDLIKE OGWEASEQ
    DETHINKSNIT ISDLIKE AGWEASEQ
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE ALWEASEQ
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE ALWEASEQ
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE ALWEASEQ
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE ALWEASEQ
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE ALWEASEQ
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE ALWEASEQ
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE ALWEASEU
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE APWEASEU
    DETHINKS IT ISDLIKE APWEASEL
    With a population of 100 and a mutation rate of 10%, occasionally a correct letter will be lost from one generation to the next, and then corrected again in a subsequent generation.

    Needless to say, there is no letter-locking in the algorithm. Correct letters get mutated thousands of times over the course of each run.

  386. 386
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    And as for the latching behaviour, I have documented it beyond reasonable dispurte, by first linking then actually cirtintg above the case from Watchmaker, then pointing ourt the letters that find themselves lartched in succession.

    No, you have not. You have avoided the issue.

    It’s quite simple.

    You say the letters are fixed once found in Dawkins’ Weasel.

    I say they are not.

    In order to prove your case you simply have to provide a quote from Dawkins that says letters are fixed in place once found.

    You cannot do that.

    You are just refusing to look at the evidence staring you in the face.

    That is sad. Very sad.

    That, of course, shows again targetted GA behaviour.

    And once again, that is not the issue. Nobody is arguing that this example does not have a target. It obviously does! The fact you keep refering to this as if this is the issue reflects on you and you alone.

    The issue is only if each letter is fixed once found.

    Again, I have examined teh published cases as documented above, from 1986; whcih defintiely show the latching as i spole of

    No, they don’t. As shown in my previous quote the population as a whole, if examined, shows non-latching behaviour.

    You printing two lines from a table hardly proves your case, if you don’t consider the population as a whole. Would it be a worthwhile use of paper to print the entire run and the population at each step?

    I realise it’s easier for you to pretend that the population does not exist.

    So to pretend tha that case does not exist and insert a different one addressed under a separate head above at 345 – 6, is of course yet another ad hominem laced strawman.

    It’s funny you should say that, but that’s exactly what you have been doing. Pretending that you have addressed the issue when in fact you have simply invented your own issue to argue the case for.

    If anybody is constructing strawmen it is obviously you.

    nd, in neither the 1986 case nor the more recent ones is anything but targetted search that rewards non-functional strings on warmer/colder.

    Who said that they did not? There is a target, the program searches for it! Dawkins explains this in Watchmen! You have obviously never even read the book.

    In short, again, you sustain my points.

    Points you are bringing up apropos of nothing at all while you refuse to admit you were wrong. The very definition of a strawman.

  387. 387
    George L Farquhar says:

    “Watchmen” in my last post should have been Watchmaker of course! Great film 🙂

  388. 388
    George L Farquhar says:

    R0b,

    the winning sequence of each generation always has at least the same correct letters as the previous winning sequence.

    But I don’t understand! It looks as if each letter is fixed, but as there is no latching behaviour involved how can that possibly be? 🙂

    It’s almost as if anybody thinking letters were fixed and looking at the table published in new scientist et al forgot to consider the fact that they were only looking at a small sample of the overall population!

    What a schoolboy error!

  389. 389
    R0b says:

    [381],[384]: George beat me to it. I was dumb enough to write my own script when there was already one written.

    kairosfocus:, if Weasel were “partitioned”, then there would be no cases in which a correct letter is mutated. But in the 50/5% case whose history I showed in [383], it happens an average of ~7000 times per run. In spite of this, there is monotonic improvement from one generation to the next. So much for your moral certainty.

  390. 390
    R0b says:

    Correction above: [383] should be [384].

  391. 391
    George L Farquhar says:

    If Dawkins intended each letter to be fixed he would have said so.

    He did not. If you say otherwise, please provide a quote and reference. I even offered $100,000 for such! And yet none has been forthcoming.

    Again, the issue is not about if targeted search is a reasonable representation of any aspect of evolution.

    The issue is can Kariosfocus admit to an error?

    Onlookers, I think we have determined the answer to that question.

    It makes you wonder how many errors there are in his other prouncements, delivered with such certanty and when people disagree he says thing like

    endarkened understandings are tainted with that cancerous, metastasising gangrene of the mind.

    Which was aimed at me.
    So, people interested in a accurate discussion of the issues have gangrene of the mind?

    Your insults KF reflect badly on you, not me.

    KF, upthead you said this

    GLF is actually — sadly — inadvertently giving us a case study on selective hyperskepticism, compounded by closed-minded objectionism, and on how this reduces him to self-referential absurdity.

    I believe the onlookers now realise this applies to you, not me.

    You are the very definition of close minded.

  392. 392
    Joseph says:

    The book “Not By Chance” was written in response to Dawkins’ BW.

    In Chapter 6: The Watchmaker’s Blindness, although Dr Spetner doesn’t flat out say that the matching letters are latched, on page 170 (“weasel” discussion starts on pg 166) he states:

    Dawkins used a high mutation rate, and a large fraction of those were “good” ones. He was certain to have a good mutation at each step. Moreover, he selected in a way that would ensure a good mutation would survive.

    He goes on to say:

    If he had run a more realistic simulation he would have been at his computer for a long time. His simulation would have been more realistic had he used a genome of say, 500 symbols instead of only 28, and a mutation rate of 10^-10 instead of 0.04. Had he done that, he would have needed some seventy billion replications just to get the mutations he needed. He would need still more to make selection spread the 500 mutations through the population. Without simulating the selection, he ignores the liklihood that a good mutation will be wiped out before it takes over the population.

    What a schoolboy error!

  393. 393
    George L Farquhar says:

    So what’s your point Joseph?

    And in what way does “realistic” apply to Weasel?

    Once again, it’s a simple teaching tool that in a easily understandable way explains the concepts involved.

    The fact that people like you and Spetner think they can “disprove” this simple example is valid is telling.

    It’s like critising “Your first ABC” book for lack of depth.

    although Dr Spetner doesn’t flat out say that the matching letters are latched

    That’s funny. Dawkins did not intend for the letters to be latched. And they are not in a true implementation of Weasel.

    The fact you cannot accept this simple fact is telling.

  394. 394
    George L Farquhar says:

    Joseph

    So the bottom-line is all you can do is pull a literature bluff.

    I asked you to detail what was wrong in the paper first in the list, not tell me what was missing.

    I didn’t read anything about an accumulation of genetic accidents.
    Not one thing.

    Perhaps you did not understand the big words used.

  395. 395
    Joseph says:

    George,

    Perhaps you cannot follow along.

    Had you been able to follow along you would have seen that I don’t think the program latches the matching letters.

    I have pretty much posted the opposite.

    But I understand that your panties are in a knot so you have to blindly lash out.

    Oh well…

    The “weasel” program doesn’t “teach” anything except that one can write a computer program that does something.

    Further no one is trying to “disprove” the simple example.

    It’s just that it doesn’t “teach” anything and is only a tool for a fool.

    As for the paper in question, it didn’t say anything that would demonstrate a type 3 secretory system could “evolve” via an accumulation of genetic accidents from a population that never had one.

    Nothing- no experiment starting with with a population without the T3SS and then observing that population over the years to see if a T3SS came to be.

    That said you could refute me by providing the relevant data.

    The same goes for the other article.

    $100,000 for the relevant data that demonstrates such structures can be obtained via cumulative selection.

    I know I can point out a peer-reviewed article that pretty much refutes the notion of cumulative selection.

    So what do you think you have?

    Or are my words too big for you to understand?

  396. 396
    Joseph says:

    And my only point for posting Dr Spetner was that his book “Not By Chance” is a direct response to “The Blind Watchmaker”.

    So what he says about the program has some relevance since he is talking about the exact program that Dawkins used and not a program that may be similar but not the exact same one.

  397. 397
    Apollos says:

    Well at least the latching issue is resolved.

    A cursory examination of the outputs posted above show that target matches are indeed latched, even if imperfectly.

    We can see from the output that Weasel is a demonstration of how using specifically tailored searches to find a narrow target can quite readily be implemented inefficiently.

  398. 398
    George L Farquhar says:

    Joseph

    It’s just that it doesn’t “teach” anything and is only a tool for a fool.

    Why do so many of you (Kariosfocus, as you say Spetner wrote an entire book, Dembski, Marks, many other ID/Creationists) spend so much time trying to criticize it then?

    As for the paper in question, it didn’t say anything that would demonstrate a type 3 secretory system could “evolve” via an accumulation of genetic accidents from a population that never had one.

    What was it about then?

    I know I can point out a peer-reviewed article that pretty much refutes the notion of cumulative selection.

    Go on then! Frankly, I don’t believe you…..

    So what do you think you have?

    The opinion of the vast majority of biologists is against you.

    So what do you think you have?

    I have to wonder then why “my position” is also the position of almost every single scientist in the world. Not all of them, no. But almost all of them.

    The fact is biology is progressing fine as it is.

    It is very wrong to ask ID to have the answers

    What answers to ID have Joseph? Can you tell me just 1? Is it even possible to talk about ID without using the word evolution? As in “ID says that evolution cannot do X”.

    Fine, whatever, but what can ID do?

  399. 399
    Domoman says:

    The only thing I like about this particular topic anymore is the fact that there is so many posts. Seeing it near 400 comments is amusing, but the way people are insulting each other back and forth is unfortunate. 🙁

  400. 400
    Clive Hayden says:

    George,

    “Perhaps you did not understand the big words used.”

    I won’t tolerate your disrespect towards anyone in this group. Stop this behavior or you will be banned by me, and with a very clean conscience when I do it if you continue.

  401. 401
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers (and Apollos):

    1] it should be clear that I have spoken principally to Dawkins’ Weasel as published in 1986 in Blind Watchmaker and in New Scientist. In that context, your summary Apollos is correct:

    A cursory examination of the outputs posted above show that target matches are indeed latched, even if imperfectly.

    We can see from the output that Weasel is a demonstration of how using specifically tailored searches to find a narrow target can quite readily be implemented inefficiently.

    2] As I have excerpted and posted above [ONE CORRECTION: the 43 generation case cited in Wikipedia in its article on the Weasel program is evidently from new Scientist, Sept 1986; not BW Ch 3, which has a 64 generation case as is reproduced by CMI and as was previously linked by me and cited above] the Weasel circa 1986 program — which is what I spoke to — shows not only that it is explicitly a targeted, tailored search that ignores the differential functionality requisite of natural selection — so it is NOT a BLIND watchmaker in action — strong latching of letters in the output.

    3] in case that is doubted, in light of the strawman distractors of other algorithms to produce a Weasel target sentence by obviously different path ways, here it is again from 346 -7 [now], as can be compared in both CMI and Wiki (“in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses . . . “) and is of course echoed in substance in the forthcoming Dembski-Marks paper as already cited supra:

    Generation 1:
    WDLMNLT DTJBKWIRZREZLMQCO P

    Generation 2:
    WDLTMNLT DTJBSWIRZREZLMQCO P

    Generation 10:
    MDLDMNLS ITJISWHRZREZ MECS P

    Generation 20:
    MELDINLS IT ISWPRKE Z WECSEL

    Generation 30:
    METHINGS IT ISWLIKE B WECSEL

    Generation 40:
    METHINKS IT IS LIKE I WEASEL

    Generation 43:
    METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL

    4] The telling T — notice, essentially EVERY other letter in trhe original phrase changes by gen. 43 –is of course the capital case in point; but there are many others, strongly underscoring the conclusion that this circa 1986 algorithm [for all the randomness that may well be used to produce a generational population from which each promoted nearest sentence is chosen; from which the above was printed off by Dawkins for New Scientist] is a letter-latching, partitioned search exercise that rewards nearness to a predefined target without regard to functionality. As such it is serving a rhetorical not a proper educational function. (And, I therefore spoke the plain truth, not a lie, and GLF has been found to have wagered himself foolishly; from which he has sought to distract attention by selective hyperskepticism, sadly.)

    5] Now, since the sentence used became somewhat iconic, as I have also noted, several other approaches have been defined and/or are possible, some that produce near-latching, others that do not, being more in the spirit of contemporary Genetic Algortihm approaches. All are targeted searches and all are not addressing the issue that NS is about differential functionality.

    6] That is, the big begged question is precisely the one raised by Sir Fred Hoyle that Mr Dawkins claimed to be addressing: to get TO observed bio-function requires bitg informational steps that are not probabilistically plausible on the scope of the observed cosmos.

    7] First, to get to first life, then onwards to get to major body plans to explain bio-divseristy — Orign of phyla and sub-phyla to account for the observed Cambrian fossils being the iconic case in point. (It is plausible that first lifge requires a genome of about 600 – 1,000 k bits info stroage capacity,a nd that sub or full physum origination requires 10’s – 100+ mega bits. Even 1,000 bits is so large a config space that the observed universe acting as a search engine would not be able to sample as much as 1 in 10^150 of it. 600 k bits specifies a vastly larger info space than 1 k bits.)

    8] So, much of the above is unfortunately a giant illusttration of the seelctive hyperskepticism that is refusign to fairly address the mounting evidence that he evoltuionary materilaist paradigm in science is in serious trouble.

    9] But, even more importantly evo mat is a world-life view that is dominant in certain key, highly influential sub cultures; starting with academia, the media and many policy circles. As a direct consequence of its a priori commitments, it has censored science a la Lewontin to only speak in the materialist voice. [This censors science from being an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) pursuit of the truth about our cosmos, in light of empirical evidence and fair reasoned argument.]

    10] Finally, it has imposed subjectivism, relativism, evidentialism and selective hyperskepticism on our culture through the domination of key institutions. And as the above shows, this is ripping our culture apart, so that if we do not return to common sense thinking and to natural law anchored morality, we will pay a horrendous price, sooner rather than later.

    ________________

    We have been warned.

    GEM of TKI

  402. 402
    David Kellogg says:

    I’m traveling and just checked in. It is clear that Kairosfocus is flat-out wrong on how he originally described the program — though his claim later “mutated” to something more resembling the actual case. Now that’s what I call directed evolution!

    BTW, If you’re going to ban people for disrespect, Clive, you might consider that a person can be frustrated when an opponent refuses to concede a simple and obvious point and then move on.

    On the other threads, the responses have been heated because Ms. O’Leary has repeatedly posted inflammatory screeds designed to produce them.

  403. 403
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: to further underscore the way that the selective hyperskepticism game has been played out above, I now excerpt my actual full original remarks from the 15 Dec 2008 unpredictable does not equal contingent thread, at no 111, that were excerpted and pounced upon by GLF:

    ________________

    I have already given you [Mike Kratch] a link to Royal Trueman’s more than adequate discussion of Weasel and its errors of irrelevance and of misdirection, from 1998. That is after I have already stated in summary why Weasel — and for that matter Avida [cf no 107] — fails.

    [Excerpted paragraph used by GLF:] Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met. That means it rewards partial but non-functional success, and is foresighted. Targetted search, not a proper RV + NS model.

    A more relevant exercise than Weasel (or Avida etc; cf the Dembski-Marks papers also linked above), ,i>would be to first generate an 8 bit PC and its OS and its associated execution machinery by chance plus functionality based survival — say by a version of Hoyle’s tornado in a junkyard, this time in Round Rock Texas.

    That mimics the OOL challenge.

    Next,see if further storms can get you to go from 8 to 16 to 32 and onward to 64 bit PCs. Or to a cell phone or some other novel technology. [That is, the body plan diversification challenge]

    What are the odds of getting to the first PC within the lifetime of he universe?

    Then, of transforming it into the new forms?

    Once you get a functioning PC you can make the OS software evolve by zener noise on a hard drive plus tests for initial functionality all you want. Then make the zener noise evolve new software for a genetic algorithm, testing for functionality but not rewarding non-functional approaches to success.

    And so on . . .

    ___________________

    In 107, I observed:

    if you will actually look at what I have done in the always linked, you will see that I start from information and noise and inference to design, then address origin of life [with amn appendix on the thermodynamics involved], then body-plan level innovation. In each of the three cases, the search space hurdle has yet to be cogently and soundly addressed by the evo mat advocates.

    Putting that simply, the problem with the fitness landscape is that it is flooded by a vast sea of non-function, and the islands of function are far separated one from the other. So far in fact — as I discuss in the linked in enough details to show why I say that — that searches on the order of the quantum state capacity of our observed universe are hopelessly inadequate. Once you get to the shores of an island, you can climb away all you want using RV + NS as a hill climber or whatever model suits your fancy.

    But you have to get TO the shores first. THAT is the real, and too often utterly unaddressed or brushed aside, challenge.

    And, I repeat, that starts with both the metabolism first and the D/RNA first schools of thought on OOL. As indeed Shapiro and Orgel recently showed, as I cite . . .
    ________________________

    That should put an interesting side-light on the way the above was diverted from the key issues on the track to the truth, to stramwanised side issues soaked in oily ad hominems,and ignited, clouding and poisoning the clear atmosphere needed for serious discussion and dialogue towards truth.

    So, let us learn from this thread that we must never allow ourselves to be side tracked for the path to the ‘inconvenient’ truth.

    And, that selective hyperskeptiism is rhetorically powerful but inescapably fallacious, as well as in the end being self-referentially inconsistent, and thus logically and epistemologically absurd.

    Sigh . . .

    GEM of TKI

  404. 404
    David Kellogg says:

    kf sez, “Now, since the sentence used became somewhat iconic, as I have also noted, several other approaches have been defined and/or are possible, some that produce near-latching, others that do not, being more in the spirit of contemporary Genetic Algortihm approaches.”

    I’m trying to translate the above into comprehensible English. Does it mean something like “since my original sentence was a bit wrong, I’ve had to reformulate it a couple of times”? The passive voice makes it hard to tell who is the agent here.

  405. 405
    kairosfocus says:

    Mr Kellogg:

    All that we see from your remark at 403, is that you still refuse to look at the patent facts objectively; reflecting the bias imposed by selective hyperskepticism.

    Sadly.

    Please look just above, at 402.

    Look closely at the story of that telling T, and so many other letters. Then, see if — per the actual facts — I have in fact misrepresented the case of what Weasel as published in 1986 in BW and in New Scientist, has done. [Where I did have an error in my remarks yesterday, i.e. I cross-attributed from NS to BW, I have corrected myself on a follow up look.]

    Also, subsequent algorithms that may target the same sentence but producing materially different output patterns, are irrelevancies on my original remarks.

    having recognised that his was wahat was at work, i took time yesterday to reverse enfginerre the way teh diverse algors may work. I addressed how some of them would not produce latching behaviour, but would still have the fundamental problem: they do not addressthe factt hat CV + NS is supposed to be non-targetted, non-foresigted, and to work by rewarding differential FUNCTIONALITY; not mere closeness to a target.

    And that has been my STATED concern ever since Dec 18, 2008. (In short, this has been a massive ad hominem soaked strawman exercise, led out to by red herrings. But in the end at the next level, the matter aptly illustrates how selective hyperskepticism works, and its main logical and epistemological failings.)

    Sigh . . .

    GEM of TKI

  406. 406
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: the matter is clear enough directly and form context, DK.

    In steps:

    a –> Weasel’s target, post 1986, became an iconic sentence.

    b –> It was therefore often selected as the target for other algorithms constructed as “illustrative” of key aspects of the claimed evolutionary mechanisms that are held to account for OOL and body plan level biodiversity.

    c –> These newer algorithms work in different ways from Dawkins’ own. (As I addressed in some details yesterday back up in the late 340s.)

    d –> They, unsurprisingly, therefore have quite different output patterns as can be seen by simply scrolling up in this thread and comparing say the two linked outputs at CMI and/or AiG [which I have linked ever since December 18, as can be seen in this excerpt from 107 in the above linked December thread:

    Nor did I ever claim that Weasel was the state of the art [i.e. I clearly am speaking of Dawkins and 1986]; that is putting words in my mouth to make up a convenient strawman. What I did say was that “Weasel is an apt example of a search algorithm that undertakes DIRECTED search, in an environment that is designed; and based on active, foresighted information fed in at the beginning.”

    e –> You will notice my bottom-line emphasis: on the difference between targetted foresighted searches and the way NS is alleged to have led to body plan level biodiversity, and analogues of that are alleged to have led to OOL in the prebiotic environment. this bottomline problem is as true of more current algorithms as it was in 1986.

    f –> In my subsequent Dec 18 comment at 111, I brought up the letter latching behaviour in the 1986 version, as there LINKED (this is the New Scientist version used in say Wiki’s article on the program). In that context, I went on to point out the real issues, quite explicitly and with a more realistic analogy. (One that has never been cogently addressed.)

    g –> To use different and differently behaving algorithms, as though they are effectively the same as what I addressed, Dawkins’ algor circa 1986 is to set up and knock over a strawman. And, that plainly has happened with both GLF and yourself in this thread. Just scroll up and look.

    h –> To then go on to impute carelessness, misrepresentation and even lying to me in such a context is therefore — as the above demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt [onlookers, selective hyperskepticism is obviously unreasonable doubt] — an an unjustified ad hominem attack.

    i –> Indeed, such ad hominems based on turnabout accusations are the next level of the selective hyperskepticism game: the turnabout and at minimum careless of duty false accusation.

    j –> For, the evidence to more accurately represent the truth was accessibel all along. And, on natural law based nomorality, we have duties of care to be fair to those we criticise.

    ____________

    This OBJECTIVE MORAL DUTY, sir, on fair and well-warranted comment comment, you have plainly not fulfilled towards the undersigned.

    As a reasonably well-educated, and one presumes well-brought up gentleman, you know your further duty at this point. (So, doubtless, does GLF.)

    GEM of TKI

  407. 407
    George L Farquhar says:

    Clive,
    So it’s fine for Kariosfocus to say things like this regarding me

    endarkened understandings are tainted with that cancerous, metastasising gangrene of the mind.

    ?

    Fine, it’s your blog and you can play by your rules, however arbitary they may appear.

  408. 408
    kairosfocus says:

    Domo, re:

    . . . the way people are insulting each other back and forth is unfortunate

    I must footnote that one of the rhetorical effects of turnabout false accusations is that they create the perception of immoral equivalency.

    This then ends to “turn off” fair-minded people who would otherwise have been interested, from a balanced perspective; while further polarising the situation. (Thus those who might have come to the help of the beleaguered party may refrain from acting in good time to make a positive difference. [Historically, that has played a role in the prolonging of more than one serious injustice; and it is playing a role in several key issues debates in our day.])

    It ALSO often leads into the creation of perceived “unquestionable truth” by repetition. (The Weak Argument Correctives for UD linked above have to address many such perceived truths that are myths or worse.)

    (DK, please think about what you are doing by repeating the DEMONSTRABLY — and already demonstrated — false claim that I am back-tracking from an initial claim without acknowledging it. In fact, as i have taken pains to show, I am highlighting that I have always distinguished two diverse phenomena: (i) Weasel as presented by Dawkins in 1986, and (ii) subsequent different algors that target [a key word!] the same sentence but work differently. They have different characteristics, including that the latter algors may not have a uniform sentence length and in come cases do not letter latch. I call you, again, to the duties of care of fairness and accuracy.)

    You, Domo, will also see that I have carefully restrained myself from personalities, but have confined myself to analysis of the arguments and their implications as well as the rheotrical context of identified falacies.

    Thanks.

    GEM of TKI

  409. 409
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    they do not addressthe factt hat CV + NS is supposed to be non-targetted, non-foresigted, and to work by rewarding differential FUNCTIONALITY; not mere closeness to a target.

    Once again you ignore the issue.

    The issue is quite simple.

    You claimed that the letters are fixed in place once found.

    You cannot back that up.

    R0B in 386 gave you a printout of a run. There the letter “I” appears to be latched. Yet R0B says no latching was used in his program?

    Explain that.

    To then go on to impute carelessness, misrepresentation and even lying to me in such a context is therefore — as the above demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt [onlookers, selective hyperskepticism is obviously unreasonable doubt] — an an unjustified ad hominem attack.

    It’s not unjustified. You have been asked to back up your claim that Dawkins’ Weasel fixes letters once found. You have not done that.

    Therefore everytime you repeat it, you are lying.

    Yes, it might appear from the limited printout in new scientist etc that latching is occouring.

    But it is not. And does not in a correctly (as Dawkins described) implementation of Weasel.

    c –> These newer algorithms work in different ways from Dawkins’ own. (As I addressed in some details yesterday back up in the late 340s.)

    Who is asking about newer versions?

    The issue is clear. You made a claim. When asked to back up that claim you produce irrelevancy after irrelevancy to try and cloud the issue.

    The issue is clear. You would rather type 100,000 words to attempt to put onlookers off the track then admit you were wrong.

    Again, if you can provide a quote from Dawkins that says what you say he has said (that Weasel fixes letters once found) I’ll give $100,000 to the charity of your choice.

    Not “some later version of weasel”. Not about “what weasel does or does not represent”
    Not about “if weasel has a target and that makes it invalid”
    Not about “oil soaked strawmen”

    Not about anything but the simple issue of representing your opponents correctly.

    e –> You will notice my bottom-line emphasis: on the difference between targetted foresighted searches and the way NS is alleged to have led to body plan level biodiversity, and analogues of that are alleged to have led to OOL in the prebiotic environment. this bottomline problem is as true of more current algorithms as it was in 1986.

    Who raised OOL? What has that got to do with weasel?

    Not about shore finding.
    Not about OOL
    Not about current algorithms
    Not about prebiotic enviroments
    Not about tornado in a junkyard
    Not about hill climbing
    Not about islands of functionality.
    Not about differential functionality.
    Not about the FCSI in ASCII text
    Not about any of that.

    You said Dawkins’ Weasel fixed the letters in place once found.

    It should be easy to provide a quote from the designer of Weasel to substantiate that, if true.

    If not true, please kindly stop repeating it.

  410. 410
    kairosfocus says:

    GLF:

    You need to give a little more context — out of context quote mining is often highly misleading.

    Observe the context at 215 above onlookers:

    Onlookers: think about what the evolutionary materialism that is so enthusiastically championed is doing to the minds of these poor men. (And, PLEASE pray for them. Only prayer will help; beyond a certain point.)

    So, the question in the post at the head of the thread has been decisively answered: selective or radical skepticism is self-refuting and utterly endarkening of the mind and of morality.

    It is blatantly intellectually and morally bankrupt, and areas of thought, opinion and policy influenced by such endarkened understandings are tainted with that cancerous, metastasising gangrene of the mind.

    (Sorry for the strength of the language, especially if we are to have any hope of a cure. if the diagnosis is gangrene and cancer behind it, we need to know, and we need to act without delay! And, we must soberly understand that metastasis is USUALLY fatal, but we have to try to rescue our civilisation. The alternative is too horrible to accept without a fight.)

    It will be plain to an objective onlooker that the metastasising disease I have in mind is an ideology [i.e. an impersonal, abstract entity], and the people caught up in its meshes are in my clear opinion, primarily VICTIMS.

    I am pointing to a prognosis that is — frankly [metastasis is when cancers start to colonise far and wide, and the patient is thus at death’s door . . . ] — bleak, absent a miracle. Then I am calling us to try for a miracle, starting with prayer. for, I believe in miracles! (Having had a few in my own life . . . )

    Kindly, GLF, tell me how that sort of “let’s face the grim truth together” assessment is [im-]morally equivalent to contemptuous dismissal of a person by direct reference; as you did to Joseph.

    Or, to repeated false accusation or insinuation of lying. Or, to making foolish wager arguments and backing them up by now increasingly abusive strawman and ad hominem games; BTW, on the strict merits, you do “owe” AiG/CMI and EIL US$ 50k each. (But, I doubt that you were serious at 236; you just mistakenly thought you had a sure thing because you did not realise the difference between the Dawkins 1986 Weasel program that I addressed, and the subsequent different algorithms that happen to target — a key word — the same sentence.)

    [Onlookers, to see what I am bringing up as unfortunately relevant context, simply scroll up to 236 and following. That is why this thread has taken the sad, runaway selective hypersketicism turn we can see.]

    In short, onlookers, we now see turnabout, immoral equivalency accusations emerging as the course of the disease progresses in this thread.

    GEM of TKI

  411. 411
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    Sigh.

    It should be plain enough from what has already been posted above, that GLF is refusing to acknowledge the result ont erh merits.

    As a simple inspection of the two 1986 printoffs here can show, the Weasel program algorithm circa 1986 was a letter latching one beyond reasonable doubt or dispute; and that the main point — ever since the Dec 2008 unpredictable thread — was that Weasel and its successors down to AVIDA are essentially dissimilar to what the claimed BLIND watchmaker could do.

    Cf my detailed discussions [e.g. from wha tis now 346 – 7] and the onward links above [esp to Dembski and Marks’ papers] for why I say that.

    Observe too that, sadly, GLF plainly has a persistent habit of quotemning and insistence on already exposed false claims, in the teeth of decisive evidence, argument adn appeals to good sense to the contrary.

    Such seems to be the sad end of runaway selective hyperskepticism and the subjectivism, relativism, pragmatism and evidentialism it seems to metastasise into.

    Enough for now.

    GEM of TKI.

  412. 412
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: If GLF would simply look carefully at the citations above from Ch 3 of Blind Watchmaker,and the cited printoffs, i.e. 346 points 2 and 3, he would see more than enough justification for pointing out that OOL and body plan level biodiversity were central considerations from the outset of Weasel [Hoyle’s probability of spontaneous formation of a bacteriumn claim], and that Dawkins has given more than enough written evidence to warrant the conclusion that Weasel circa 1986 latches. We are not talking about one letter latching, but across two published runs, literally dozens; with no apparently latched letters that then revert across sampling points. the odds of that happening in a non-latched case by chance are so remote as to make the two printoffs — one from BW, one from New Scientist, in 1986 in both cases — constitute a morally certain cluster of evidence.

  413. 413
    crater says:

    it should be clear that I have spoken principally to Dawkins’ Weasel as published in 1986 in Blind Watchmaker and in New Scientist.

    Abundantly clear. So, why won’t you provide the quoted text from either or both of those publications to support your point? It shouldn’t be that hard to pull them off your shelf and leaf through a few pages.

  414. 414
    Stephen Morris says:

    KF,
    Absolutely, enough for now. By any reasonable standard, GLF should have paid up the $100,000 days ago, and his gymnastics over the past few days as he tries to wriggle out of this have been increasingly excruciating to watch. My favourite was back at #360

    “just because “the printouts” show that IT did not change between 30 and 40 that does not mean it could not have”

    …an argument which could just as well be applied to fairies dancing on my lawn at midnight (I didn’t see them, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there). As you rightly say, this is a prime example of the selective hypercredulity which necessarily accompanies hyperskepticism in any practical case.

  415. 415
    kairosfocus says:

    Stephen M:

    Thanks

    After nap — it is time to move on to the duty of remedy.

    1 –> Selective hyperskepticism is an ideological disease, long since identified [but not explicitly named . . . all I have done is to supply a descriptive label] by a founding father of the modern anglophone theory of evidence, Simon Greenleaf of Harvard.

    2 –> This is how it works, thus how to recognise it (so we can avoid the contagion it carries):

    Selective Hyperskepticism: that fallacy which seeks to reject otherwise credible evidence by demanding an inappropriately high type or degree of warrant not applicable to matters of fact, i.e. the general type of question being discussed. Especially, where the same standard is not exerted in assessing substantially parallel cases that make claims that one is inclined to accept.

    3 –> Instead, we can exert reasonable faith, addressing matters of fact on a preponderance of evidence or towards support beyond reasonable doubt [i.e. to moral certainty] depending on the seriousness of consequences if we are wrong. (That is, there is an underlying commitment to least regrets.)

    4 –> In some cases, where the matter is not sufficiently serious to force us to draw a conclusion and make decisions, and there is not a preponderance of evidence on either side; it may be wisest to refrain from concluding. (This is no excuse for ducking the duty of hard decision in cases that are momentous.)

    5 –> But also, we live in a culture where news, views, education and opinion are often shaped more by hyperskeptical [and linked hyprecredulous on the other side] spin tactics than by straight thinking leading to true and fair presentation of the facts and cases on both sides. So, we must learn to ask of any such presentation:

    Is the presented information: (1) accurate, (2) fair, (3) kind and (4) balanced [or at least balancing]? . . . .

    [i.e. across its key elements: headline and lead, storyline and/or views, characterisation of those favoured or unfavoured, background context and material issues . . . ]

    6 –> For this, a straight or spin grading grid is presented in the just linked.

    7 –> At the next level, we need to appreciate that straight thinking requires understanding of the factt hat arguments appeal to [i] emotions, [ii] authority, [iii] claimed facts and reasoning.

    8 –> Emotions, while the most persuasive, do not directly point to truth, but may be based on accurate perceptions and judgements.

    9 –> No authorities are better than their facts/ data/ evidence, assumptions/ models and reasoning/ logic. It is only these factors that contribute to the cogency or soundness of an argument, in the end.

    10 –> Beyond that, we must remember our fate as finite, fallible, too often ill-willed thinkers: at best, reasonable faith at the worldview level. Explaining . . .

    Perhaps the simplest way to pull these threads of thought together, is to start with an abstract example, say, claim A. Why should we accept it? Generally, because of B. But, why should we accept B? Thence, C, D, . . . etc. Thus, we face either an infinite regress of challenges, or else we stop at some point, say F — our Faith-Point.

    At F, we may face the challenge of circularity vs proper basicality: are we simply begging the question, thus inevitably irrational in the end?

    In fact, no [listing]:

    1 Reason embeds faith:

    2 Some beliefs are properly basic

    3 We may compare alternative Worldviews

    4 We may recognise appropriate degrees of warrant

    ____________

    In light of these approaches, we may begin to restore a healthy intellectual and ethical culture, not least in science.

    For, science should plainly be about an unfettered — but intellectually and morally responsible — pursuit of the truth about our world in light of empirical evidence and carefully balanced reasoned argument.

    So, may we begin to pray and work towards our desperately needed miracle?

    GEM of TKI

  416. 416
    Joseph says:

    It’s just that it doesn’t “teach” anything and is only a tool for a fool.

    Why do so many of you (Kariosfocus, as you say Spetner wrote an entire book, Dembski, Marks, many other ID/Creationists) spend so much time trying to criticize it then?

    Because it doesn’t teach anything and it is only a tool for a fool.

    As for the paper in question, it didn’t say anything that would demonstrate a type 3 secretory system could “evolve” via an accumulation of genetic accidents from a population that never had one.

    What was it about then?

    Didn’t YOU read it?

    Read it and then if you can show this blog tat I am wrong.

    It’s very simple actually.

    I know I can point out a peer-reviewed article that pretty much refutes the notion of cumulative selection.

    Go on then! Frankly, I don’t believe you…..

    Waiting for two mutations: with applications to regulatory sequence evolution and the limits of Darwinian evolution

    Dr Behe discusses the paper:

    Waiting longer for two mutations parts 1-3

    So what do you think you have?

    The opinion of the vast majority of biologists is against you.

    So what do you think you have?

    Science is NOT done by opinion.

    And I have the scientific data.

    I have to wonder then why “my position” is also the position of almost every single scientist in the world. Not all of them, no. But almost all of them.

    Most likely because like you, that vast majority is stuck in a philosophical black-hole.

    Ideas can go in but nothing ever leaves.

    The fact is biology is progressing fine as it is.

    It is? LoL!! We don’t even know what is responsible for our eyes to develop!

    We are afraid of mosquitos because biologists can’t figure out how to fight single-celled organisms!

    It is very wrong to ask ID to have the answers

    What answers to ID have Joseph? Can you tell me just 1? Is it even possible to talk about ID without using the word evolution? As in “ID says that evolution cannot do X”.

    ID does NOT say that “evolution cannot do X”.

    The debate is NOT about “evolution”

    IOW opnce again you prove your ignorance.

    Fine, whatever, but what can ID do?

    ID can lead us to the internal programming of living organisms.

    That is the programming of life.

    So how about it?

    I offered $100,000 for the relevant data that demonstrates such structures can be obtained via cumulative selection.

    And all you did was choke on it.

    Go figure…

  417. 417
    Joseph says:

    And George,

    KF does not need to quote Dawkins. All KF needs is access to the code Dawkins used.

    Can anyone supply it?

  418. 418
    kairosfocus says:

    PS; for those interested in beating Weasel to death, cf the EIL discussions here and here. Have fun with the simulations here. (It will also show the latching tendency very well . . . )

  419. 419
    David Kellogg says:

    Other versions of Weasel (that claim to model the program more accurately) are here and here.

  420. 420
    Joseph says:

    Still waiting for the ORIGINAL program that Dawkins used.

    No other version need apply as they are irrelevant unless they are EXACT copies of the original- which would mean they really are not other versions…

  421. 421
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    you just mistakenly thought you had a sure thing because you did not realise the difference between the Dawkins 1986 Weasel program that I addressed, and the subsequent different algorithms that happen to target — a key word — the same sentence.)

    I have never refered to any version other then the original version, as described in Watchmaker. Onlookers who have read the entire thread will be clear on that.

    Another excuse.

    he would see more than enough justification for pointing out that OOL and body plan level biodiversity were central considerations from the outset of Weasel

    How many times, this is not the issue.

    Talk about it all you like, it matters not to me.

    We are not talking about one letter latching, but across two published runs, literally dozens; with no apparently latched letters that then revert across sampling points.

    The “runs” were not published. A small subset were published. It would be unlikely that reverts would be shown in such a small sample.

    The runs I posted showed letters reverting. Why will you not see this?

    the odds of that happening in a non-latched case by chance are so remote as to make the two printoffs — one from BW, one from New Scientist, in 1986 in both cases — constitute a morally certain cluster of evidence.

    And yet it happens.

    As a simple inspection of the two 1986 printoffs here can show, the Weasel program algorithm circa 1986 was a letter latching one beyond reasonable doubt or dispute

    So, even if Richard Dawkins himself says that his version did not affix the letters once correct you disbelieve him?

    On what basis?

    Observe too that, sadly, GLF plainly has a persistent habit of quotemning and insistence on already exposed false claims, in the teeth of decisive evidence, argument adn appeals to good sense to the contrary.

    Richard Dawkins himself has confirmed that letters are not fixed once correct.

    The only person making the false claim is you.

    In light of these approaches, we may begin to restore a healthy intellectual and ethical culture, not least in science.

    I find your ethics questionable to say the least.

    It is Richard Dawkins example. Richard Dawkins says that the letters are not fixed once found.

    You, apparently, know better the Richard Dawkins himself how his own example works.

    How arrogant.

  422. 422
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    It will also show the latching tendency very well . . . )

    So it’s a tendency now is it?

    Make your mind up. Either the letters are fixed once found or they are not. It cannot be both.

    If they are not fixed, you are wrong.

    If they are fixed, the implementation is incorrect. According to Dawkins. Who, after all, should know.

    Joseph

    And George,

    KF does not need to quote Dawkins. All KF needs is access to the code Dawkins used.

    Can anyone supply it?

    If KF wants the $100,000 he has to.

    And as far as access to the source code goes, there is no need. The program can be recreated by any reasonably competent programmer using the following simple rules

    1. Use a set of characters that includes the upper case alphabet and a space.
    2. Initialize a population of n 28-character strings with random assignments of characters from our character set.
    3. Identify the string closest to the target string in the population.
    4. If a string matches the target, terminate.
    5. Base a new generation population of size n upon copies of the closest matching string, where each position has a chance of randomly mutating, based upon a set mutation rate.
    6. Go to step 3.

    An implementation can be found here that uses those rules

    http://www.antievolution.org/cs/dawkins_weasel

    Note the fact that even though no latching or fixing of letters is used they still APPEAR to be fixed in place (and therefore give the apperance of latching) but in a correctly implemented version there will be the occasional step back from a correct to a incorrect letter

    I would also note that the author of the linked to implementation has been in correspondence with Richard Dawkins regarding the latching issue and Richard confirms that no latching should be implemented, in a accurate version of Weasel anyway.

    Of course, people are free to implement their own versions, with latching, but it is dishonest to claim these versions are as Dawkins intended.

  423. 423
    George L Farquhar says:

    Joseph

    ID can lead us to the internal programming of living organisms.

    That is the programming of life.

    So how about it?

    That’s not very helpful. Can it? When will it then? What’s the hold up?

  424. 424
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus,
    The runs shown in posts 383 and 386 are taken from implementations that explicitly do not affix the letters once correct.

    Yet they appear to show the behaviour that has convinced you (from the new scientist runs etc) that latching is present.

    So, to me this shows the superficiality of your examination of the issue.

    I realise that you may be finding it hard to back down at this point in time having invested so much of your reputation in your position, but it would be the honorable thing to to and would save more face then progressing down this road much further.

    After all as you yourself say

    9 –> No authorities are better than their facts/ data/ evidence, assumptions/ models and reasoning/ logic. It is only these factors that contribute to the cogency or soundness of an argument, in the end.

    And the data in this case clearly shows that apparent latching behaviour can appear to be generated even if no latching is used
    Otherwise how do you explain the fact that the runs posted do not use latching but (on the surface) appear to show latching?

    I’m very interested to know how you explain that.

    I’m also interested to know how you can claim that Richard Dawkins intended latching to be used when he himself says it was not.

    How is it you know better then he what he intended?

  425. 425
    R0b says:

    Just to be clear, the probability of reverts depends on the mutation rate and population size. Depending on Dawkins’ values for those parameters, reverts may have been likely to happen occasionally, or they may have been likely to never happen. All we know for sure from his 10-generation snapshots is that they didn’t happen frequently.

  426. 426
    R0b says:

    Stephen Morris:

    By any reasonable standard, GLF should have paid up the $100,000 days ago, and his gymnastics over the past few days as he tries to wriggle out of this have been increasingly excruciating to watch.

    If the the question of whether kairosfocus is right or wrong is a “reasonable standard”, then GLF should not pay, since kairosfocus is wrong.

    If there’s any ambiguity over what’s in dispute here, let’s turn to Marks and Dembski’s account, which kairosfocus insists is accurate. As they spell out in section II-E of their paper here, a “partitioned search” is one in which correct letters are exempt from mutation. Their math shows this explicitly. According to their math, both in their paper and here, Dawkins’ algorithm should find the target in 98 queries. (Lest there be any question as to whether Marks and Dembski are actually talking about Dawkins’ algorithm, the link above starts out “First, let’s look at partitioned search used by Dr. Dawkins”.)

    Unfortunately for Marks and Dembski, Dawkins’ algorithm does not find the target in 98 queries. Not even close. Their depiction of Dawkins’ algorithm is simply wrong, despite kairosfocus’s insistence that a mistake like this wouldn’t make it through peer review.

  427. 427
    Joseph says:

    And as far as access to the source code goes, there is no need. The program can be recreated by any reasonably competent programmer using the following simple rules

    There is a need for the ORIGINAL source code.

    It is the ORIGINAL source code that is in question.

    That means any duplicate, if it is not an EXACT copy, will NOT suffice.

    ID can lead us to the internal programming of living organisms.

    That is the programming of life.

    That’s not very helpful.

    Perhaps not to YOU.

    However for those who are interested in the reality behind our existence it is very helpful.

    Can it?

    Yes it can.

    Ya see only through ID would anyone even think to look for such programming.

    When will it then?

    Probably within a decade of gaining full acceptance.

    What’s the hold up?

    People like you.

    So how about it?

    I offered $100,000 for the relevant data that demonstrates such structures can be obtained via cumulative selection.

    And all you did was choke on it.

    Go figure…

    I find it amazing that you can still type while you are choking…

  428. 428
    Joseph says:

    I have a question about the Marks/ Dembski paper:

    Where in the paper do they say that the Dawkins “weasel” program is a partitioned search?

    I know they talk about a partioned search and they use the same saying as Dawkins’ but they don’t seem to say that Dawkins’ program used a partitioned search- not that I have read but I am going back to read the paper again.

  429. 429
    Joseph says:

    OK I found the link to Dawkins:

    Partitioned search [12] is a “divide and conquer” procedure
    best introduced by example.

    [12] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, W. W. Norton, (1996).

    So now it is off to the library to get the book…

  430. 430
    DaveScot says:

    Rob

    According to wikipedia Dawkins’ algorithm found the target in 46 generations. Given that number can change by luck of the draw it’s not unreasonable on the face of it to give an average of 96 generations.

    More to the point however is it’s not even to a realistic simulation of how evolution by mutation and selection really works. In the real world random mutations are largely deleterious. To add a bit of realism to the algorithm when a mutation occurs that doesn’t move the string closer to the goal one of the correct letters should be randomized as a penalty. Obviously the target would then never be reached even in trillions of generations as the penalties would quite reliably overwhelm the successes.

  431. 431
    Atom says:

    R0b wrote:

    According to their math, both in their paper and here, Dawkins’ algorithm should find the target in 98 queries.

    Unfortunately for Marks and Dembski, Dawkins’ algorithm does not find the target in 98 queries. Not even close.

    The median number of searches required is 98, not the actual number, which can differ from the median.

    The math does not say “Dawkins’ algorithm should find the target in 98 queries”; it says that the median number of searches is 98.

    Anyway, whether or not Dawkins’ search freezes correct letters (as in partitioned search) is still just an order of magnitude smaller side detail. Sure, you want to “correct Dembski and Marks.” Whatever. It has been shown that there is a case to be made that at least one version of Weasel used latching; even if it didn’t, it appeared to, so an honest mistake could have been made.

    But I guess when your victories are so few and far between, you’ll chase down any small victory you can salvage. Good luck with your argument.

    Atom

    PS I’ll alert you guys when I code the non-latching version, so the point will quickly shrink to moot.

  432. 432
    Khan says:

    Dave,

    In the real world random mutations are largely deleterious.

    sounds like you’ve been reading too much Behe and not enough Futuyma. In the real world most mutations are neutral.

  433. 433
    R0b says:

    DaveScot:

    According to wikipedia Dawkins’ algorithm found the target in 46 generations. Given that number can change by luck of the draw it’s not unreasonable on the face of it to give an average of 96 generations.

    You’re talking generations, not queries. A query is a fitness evaluation. If a 46-generation run entails only 96 queries, then the population size must be around 2. But there’s no way that a population of 2 will find the target in 46 generations.

    More to the point however is it’s not even to a realistic simulation of how evolution by mutation and selection really works.

    That would be more to the point if Weasel was intended to be a realistic simulation of something in the real world. But that was not the point of Dawkins’ toy illustration, nor is it the point that’s being disputed in this thread.

  434. 434
    R0b says:

    Atom:

    The median number of searches required is 98, not the actual number, which can differ from the median.

    The math does not say “Dawkins’ algorithm should find the target in 98 queries”; it says that the median number of searches is 98.

    Yes, I should have said that it should find the target within 98 queries half the time. If anyone thought that I meant that it should always find the target in exactly 98 queries, I apologize.

    The fact remains that it never finds the target in that few queries. I doubt that anyone could find a population size and mutation rate that requires fewer than several thousand queries on average.

    Anyway, whether or not Dawkins’ search freezes correct letters (as in partitioned search) is still just an order of magnitude smaller side detail. Sure, you want to “correct Dembski and Marks.” Whatever.

    Marks and Dembski have been presenting Dawkins’ Weasel as an example of what they call a partitioned search. If you think that this isn’t worth correcting, then so be it.

    It has been shown that there is a case to be made that at least one version of Weasel used latching; even if it didn’t, it appeared to, so an honest mistake could have been made.

    I have no doubt that it was originally an honest mistake. But Dembski was informed of the mistake years ago, and he continues to perpetuate it, even into technical literature.

    But I guess when your victories are so few and far between, you’ll chase down any small victory you can salvage.

    Yep, we’re pretty desperate that way. Anything to put a damper on the highly successful ID movement.

    But you’re right that the Weasel issue is a tempest in a teapot. Nobody in science cares about the 20-year-old trivial illustration. It’s the ID and creationist camps that keep bringing it up, and as long as they do, we’ll keep trying to help them get their facts straight.

  435. 435
    DaveScot says:

    Perhaps the greater flaw in Weasal is that it starts from an initial state of gibberish. Evolution doesn’t work that way. It begins from a highly optimized state and transitions to a different but similarly highly optimized state in response to dimunitions of the original optimization caused by changes in the environment. We have a wonderful case study in real life, in real time, of how this works. Behe examines it in “The Edge of Evolution” where the malaria parasite begins in a highly optimized state which is diminished by the introduction of anti-malarial drugs. If evolution worked the way Weasal works these drugs would be overcome in such very short order that they would be utterly useless from the very start. After all, chloroquine resistance only requires three amino acid substitutions to become functional. The parasite only has to go from “Methinks it is like a weasel” to “Methinks it is like a beagle”. It takes the parasite some 10^20 tries to get there. So there is clearly a huge disconnect from the Weasel program and how the diversification of life actually happens.

  436. 436
    DaveScot says:

    Khan

    If most mutations are neutral why does it take billions of trillions of tries for the malaria parasite to find the three sequence changes that confer resistance to chloroquine?

    I’m open to other explanations but the only one that fits is that most mutations in the malaria parasite are deleterious. This would manifest itself as being easy to find useful single base substitutions but greater than one base would be multiplicative in number of tries required. If most mutations were neutral the number of tries required would be additive instead of multiplicative. Comparing theory to reality we find that the parasite does quickly become resistant when a single base change is required but takes a multiplicative number when more than one base change is required.

    How do YOU explain that?

  437. 437
    Atom says:

    R0b,

    I wasn’t talking about Darwinists in general. I was being more specific.

    Atom

  438. 438
    JT says:

    DaveScot [431]:

    To add a bit of realism to the algorithm when a mutation occurs that doesn’t move the string closer to the goal one of the correct letters should be randomized as a penalty. Obviously the target would then never be reached even in trillions of generations as the penalties would quite reliably overwhelm the successes.

    I just tried it.

    It did not make an astronomical difference:

    Population Size: 500
    Mutation rate 5%

    without:
    54,173,189,449,78,55,74,102,140,216

    with:
    547,5600,538,2124,555,3100,197,9834,
    1888,2786

  439. 439
    JT says:

    source can be viewed here.

  440. 440
    George L Farquhar says:

    Atom @ 370

    I’ll code an additional algorithm when I get a chance and you’ll see that nothing changes (except the amount of time it takes to reach the target will be slightly longer on average.)

    Have you had a chance to do that yet?

    I would have guessed that you simply need to comment out a line or two rather then recode the algorithm 🙂

  441. 441
    Atom says:

    GFL @ 441,

    I work during the week, so don’t have time to touch “fun” code until the weekends, usually.

    As for this algorithm, it will be in addition to the other three. I’ll need to make a few changes and some additional cases, etc, so it isn’t just commenting out a line or two.

    But I’ll let you guys know when its up. Should be within the next two weeks or so.

    Atom

  442. 442
    George L Farquhar says:

    Atom,
    Thanks for the update. I look forwards to playing with the new versions when available.

    Out of interest, will you be making the source code available?

    Also, what are your thoughts on algorithms that “chase moving targets”?

    For example, we know “weasel” evolves towards a fixed target.

    In your new version, the letters will not be fixed in place once found.

    Therefore this leaves the door open to mutating the “target” phrase on the fly. This would not be possible if each letter was fixed when found, as the letter itself could become wrong in subsequent rounds if the target phrase evolves away from that already found letter.

    It seems to me that would be a somewhat more realistic example, as it is obvious that the enviroment represents a moving target as it is by no means static, and as such there is no one “correct target phrase”.

    I wonder even if the enviroment and the mutating phrase could enter eqlibrium and forever “chase” each other, never quite winning or losing. As well as the enviroment shaping organisms, organisms also feedback and shape the enviroment (oxygen crisis in prehistory for example).

    Interesting stuff, to be sure.

  443. 443
    Atom says:

    GLF,

    Yes, the source code was available in the version that I sent to the EIL (there was a link at the bottom, much like my Ev Ware GUI), but I think in trying to format the page they lost the link. (Dr. Marks isn’t a CSS/XHTML guru, so sometimes his HTML editor will chomp on bits of my screens, no pun intended.)

    Anyway, as for your question about co-evolving targets, it would make the problem more difficult for the search. It is codable, maybe I’ll code a GUI for that if I can round up some funding in the future. As for me, I think the more interesting problem is seeing what happens when the reward matrix (fitness function) is independent of target.

    In other words, what happens when the fitness function doesn’t reward based on proximity to targets? (In all our examples, from Weasel to Ev, we assume that the closer you are to a functional state, the higher the reward.) But this matrix is just like any other and can be randomized as well…what if the reward matrix is organized based on something other than proximity, like simple ascending order of cells? Will functional islands ever be found in that case? Or what if we simply choose a random reward matrix, how does that affect the search?

    I am pretty sure I know the answers to these questions, but making it explicit in a GUI will be illuminating to some people.

    Stay tuned.

    Atom

  444. 444
    George L Farquhar says:

    Thanks Atom, sounds interesting. I’m researching my side too.

    I might have to pull on my coding boots too, it’s been too long 🙂

    Will functional islands ever be found in that case? Or what if we simply choose a random reward matrix, how does that affect the search?

    I doubt we’re the first people to think about this, so I’m going to look into what work has already been done. I’ll post if I find anything relevant.

  445. 445
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers (And Atom, Joseph, GLI, JT etc):

    Much of the above — sadly — is beyond ridiculous. That is, it has passed from being a mere laughing matter, into the zone of sadness, that calls for remedy.

    That, I have already offered, on the problem of runaway selective hyperskepticism.

    Now, some follow-up notes:

    1 –> It is now very plain for all to see, that GLF was not serious in putting up a US$ 100k “offer,” and that when he found his bluff called, he has resorted to selective hyperskepticism to try to justify himself; unfortunately also resorting to various ad hominems along the way. (Those who for arguments use wagers or offers, often intend to boast elsewhere that no-one could take them up so the other side can be dismissed. This thread shows just how plainly such an argument is a destructive fallacy.)

    2 –> The net result above has been to show, very strongly, that both the reduction to absurdity and the widely damaging, polarising civilisation- ripping impact of selective hyperskepticsm.

    3 –> The latter being my main issue, and the thread’s stated issue, we have seen enough to take heed to the implications and to take prudent action to protect our civilisation. (Yesterday, I suggested some remedial steps.)

    4 –> Now too, GLF seems to be locked-in on the US$ 100 k issue, and evidently wishes to impose hurdle after hurdle on what should be obvious; apparently hoping to avoid a stiff payout to AiG and EIL and/or to preserve some shreds of his obviously hoped for knock-down boast. (As just pointed out, mere money is the LEAST of my concerns. I leave the matter of payout to his conscience. Certainly EIL and AiG could use the help! [BTW, neither of which has me affiliated to in any wise.])

    5 –> Now, by now the interested will know that Mr Dawkins, in 1986, was trying to overturn the issue raised by the late, Great Sir Fred Hoyle — pardon a moment of shameless hero worship, there [he richly deserves that and more!] — among others, that . . .

    a] the central OOL etc challenge is not so much incremental improvements in biofunction; but,

    b] to get TO initial functionality.

    c] Per, a massive information-generation challenge.

    6 –> In the 1986 book, The Blind Watchmaker, Mr Dawkins presented Weasel as an update to the Monkeys- at- a- typewriter story from the Victorian era; trying to show how a big info generating job can be divided up into smaller steps and cumulatively achieved (with much higher resulting probability and plausibility); presumably based on chance variation plus some form of natural selection, climbing up the alleged easy slope of Mt Improbable.

    7 –> Mr Dawkins therefore offered the Weasel package, noting en passant [but this is a qualification the significance of which will usually be missed by the typical reader . . . ] that “nonsense phrases” were being rewarded for closeness to the target phrase.

    8 –> As I noted from the Dec thread that GLF quotemined in his failed thread hijack attempt [just scroll up . . . ], as I noted repeatedly above [right from the outset], and as Atom has underscored, such a targetted search that rewards non-functional configs begs the question of getting TO the shores of an island of functionality.

    9 –> That is, Sir Fred’s Challenge has been rhetorically ducked in a subtle way through a question-begging strawman, not cogently answered.

    10 –> Also, in noting on the 1986 printoffs of runs of the original Weasel program and its underlying algorithm, Truman, Gitt, Marks- Dembski and I have all observed on one of its patently obvious features: letters, once they are right, on the evidence get latched in the output.

    11 –> That is a morally certain observational fact sustained over dozens of cases and sample-points. (The selectively hyper-credulous — NB: the flip-side of selective hyperskepticism about what you reject is that you MUST then also accept other things uncritically . . . — absurdities indulged to try top pretend that maybe the samples as published are misleading in this regard, simply show just how sound the observation is.)

    12 –> The only remaining question, then [though, actually, I long since have addressed it at 346- 7], is how we get to that “letter-latching” observation.

    [ . . . ]

  446. 446
    kairosfocus says:

    13 –> The most likely way circa 1986 is by straight partitioned search, by which one locks successful letters explicitly; after all, success is “rewarded” by natural selection, is it not . . . ?

    [NB: Cf. My T2 model of the algorithm in 346 – 347 above which — as I corrected myself yesterday — relates not to Ch 3 in BW but the printoff in the New Scientist article. (Of course since Dawkins was trying to show how efficient his strategy of random search and rewarding warmer outputs were, we can assume he selected from cases better than the average of 98 for partitioned search. That “mystery” clears up, at least for the reasonable-minded onlooker to whom this note is principally addressed.)]

    14 –> However, as my T3 model shows, there is a subtler way to the same effective end. For:

    a] with sufficiently low per-letter per member of a generation probabilities of mutation [or substantially equivalently, a forcing of a range of numbers of mutations],

    b] with a sufficiently large population and

    c] with rewarding of mere closeness to target [which is the primary problem as already noted — PLEASE OBSERVE THIS BEFORE RESORTING TO FURTHER QUOTE-MINING, GLF . . . ],

    d] a model that does not EXPLICITLY partition and latch letters will to high or very high probability, do just that. That is, on the ground letter latching can be implicitly (so, more subtly) achieved.

    15 –> Q: Did Mr Dawkins do T2 or T3 type approaches?

    16 –> ANS: I will not feed further strawman games. I simply underscore that this is of no major consequence, as either internal approach would exhibit letter-latching to certainty or to high probability, once there was rewarding of non-functional but closer to target.

    17 –> And once there is that rewarding of non-function, the bigger and central question is being begged.

    18 –> that is, Mr Dawkins’ Weasel exercise fails to deliver on his claimed BLIND watchmaker. It is rhetorically effective but fundamentally specious. And, this defect propagates to onward algorithms that may work in different ways, including in much the way that Genetic Algorithms do.

    19 –> For, the stated function in the case is a sentence, which would require on average 10^39 or so runs to get all at once. But that is only 27^28 ~ 1.2 *10^40 configs in the relevant space.

    20 –> A minimally functional genome of 300,000 or so characters specifies a config space of 4^300k, or ~ 9.9 *10^180,617. th is is so vastly beyond the 10^301 threshold where the whole observed universe as a search engine could only sample less than 1 in 10^150 of the configs, that it underscores that OOL by chance + necessity only is utterly unlikely — Sir Fred’s material point.

    20 –> Going further, major body-plan level diversification, to make cell types, tissues, organs and to organise same, will credibly require 10’s to 100’s of millions of base pairs worth of information innovation BEFORE a working body plan will result. this is also well beyond the reasonable reach of chance + necessity.

    21 –> But in both cases we KNOW that intelligent designers routinely produce FUNCTIONAL digital information on the relevant scales. [Just look at the latest versions of the Windows OS . . . }

    22 –> So on inference to best, empirically anchored explanation, cell based life and its diversity of major body plans and features strongly support an inference to design asd their best explanation.

    23 –> BOTTOMLINE: Weasel utterly fails to deliver on substance. (And rhetorical impact without substance, is misleading at best.)

    _________________

    And back on our thread’s issue; it is now very plain indeed that the exercises in selective hyperskepticism above, show us all just how pernicious the hyper-skeptical mindset is.

    Correcting such destructive hyperskepticism, dear friends — first checking its runaway dash to the cliffs, then turning it around and correcting it before it utterly destroys our civilisation — is the REAL challenge.

    GEM of TKI

  447. 447
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus,

    It is now very plain for all to see, that GLF was not serious in putting up a US$ 100k “offer,” and that when he found his bluff called,

    All you had to do to “call my bluff” was produce a quote from Richard Dawkins that said that the letters are latched once found.

    You could not do that. You have not done that.

    So, why don’t you try meeting the terms of my challenge before saying I was bluffing?

    23 –> BOTTOMLINE: Weasel utterly fails to deliver on substance. (And rhetorical impact without substance, is misleading at best.)

    No, the bottom line is that you said the letters were latched, and yet have not produced the evidence to back it up.

    Even Richard Dawkins says they are not, and after all he should know, it’s his example!

    20 –> Going further, major body-plan level diversification, to make cell types, tissues, organs and to organise same, will credibly require 10’s to 100’s of millions of base pairs worth of information innovation BEFORE a working body plan will result. this is also well beyond the reasonable reach of chance + necessity.

    And this relates how exactly to my original challenge?

    It does not. It’s a smokescreen.

    You claimed that the letters are fixed in Dawkins Weasel.

    You cannot back that up.

    You lose.

    10 –> Also, in noting on the 1986 printoffs of runs of the original Weasel program and its underlying algorithm, Truman, Gitt, Marks- Dembski and I have all observed on one of its patently obvious features: letters, once they are right, on the evidence get latched in the output.

    Please explain then how it appears that latching is taking place when considering the output even when it’s quite clear that it is not taking place due to the code itself?

    You cannot. You have avoided this question. You have pretended that all the objections raised to your postion have not been raised.

    If the only way you can win is to ignore relevant objections then yes, you have indeed won.

    No wonder you do not want to submit your work on FSCI to peer review.

  448. 448
    Khan says:

    Dave,

    f most mutations are neutral why does it take billions of trillions of tries for the malaria parasite to find the three sequence changes that confer resistance to chloroquine?

    perhaps that particular area in the malaria genome has a lower mutation rate than other areas. i don’t know if that’s true, but until anyone studies it further (maybe they have), my speculation is just as valid as yours. in any case, even if you’re right, all it shows is that in one particular gene in one particular organism, most mutations are deleterious, probably bc it is a highly constrained area. are you going to ignore the reams of literature documenting that synonymous substitutions vastly outpace nonsynonymous ones? or that most of the eukaryotic genome is non-coding and thus mutations in it are neutral? yes, i know about ENCODE, but just bc something is transcribed doesn’t mean it’s functional. if you were to change your statement to “most mutations that have an effect on fitness are deleterious” of course i would agree with you.

  449. 449
    kairosfocus says:

    GLF:

    All that was needeed ha sliong since been posted, cf e.g 346 – 7, with detailed description on the latching sub issue in 364 – 5.

    There you will see both Dawkins’ statement on targetting [the issue in the main, and which demonstrates that he ducked the real Hoylean challenge] and the published tabulation which plainly manifests letter-latching the secondary issue that you tried to make the focus of to wriggle out of your self-laid trap.

    In short, sadly. your selectively hyperskeptical reductio has long since reached absurdum. Associated habitual resort to ad hominems, straw men and quote mining under various guises simply manifests and underscores the problem.

    Please, deal with the issue. (Mere money is not my primary or even secondary interest.)

    As to FSCI, in the form of Functional Sequence Complexity [all digital data arrays can with some frameworking be represented as strings] — as long since noted but ignored onlookers — it has long sin e passed peer review and has in fact been published under Trevors, Abel, et al, including Durston et al’s 2007 paper that published 35 measurements.

    Indeed, going back tot he OOL researcfhers of rthe 1970’s to 80’s, the concept is there only needing a descriptive term. Dembaki used the CSI, others have focussed on the functionality side of specification.

    As to the apparent suggestion that I am scarted of being peer revioewed, I simply have no inrterst in teh game. What needed to be peer reviewed has already been so reviewed, starting 30 – 40 years and more ago.

    The problem is that the implications are being suppressed by the Lewontinian a priori materialists.

    read and weep, GLF, then break off “the chains of mental slavery” and — by God’s grace — turn towards the true light of day:

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [NY review of books, 1997. Now “officialised” by NAS, NSTA, NCSE, judge Jones etc etc . . . ]

    THAT is what I am addressing.

    Sorry GLF, but the evo mat monopoly on education and public discussion is busted. And UD has had a lot to do with that busting. Kudos to UD, all the warts and flaws notwithstanding.

    Hence, your side’s desperate damage control efforts.

    But in recent days, these have publicly reduced themselves to absurdity for all to see.

    I am just providing the correctives, building on sterling work by Simon Greenleaf and many others too numerous to mention just now.

    Enough for now, again.

    GEM of TKI

  450. 450
    JT says:

    Virtual latching occurs because even if a correct letter is mutated to something incorrect in one individual, you still have 499 indiviuals with the letter correct at that location (if your population is 500 for example).

    So that is why you see long runs without correct letters changing back.

    It would be a lot of extra programming to require that a correct letter could not change back. You would have to keep track of correct letters, and also gurantee that the remaining incorrect letters at arbitrary locations each had an equal chance of being selected. Why would Dawkins have gone to all that extra trouble to achieve something that nearly happens on its own.

  451. 451
    JT says:

    So that is why you see long runs without correct letters changing back.

    It would be a lot of extra programming to require that a correct letter could not change back.

    correction:

    So that is why you see long runs without correct letters mutating.

    It would be a lot of extra programming to require that a correct letter could not mutate.

  452. 452
    Upright BiPed says:

    George, if you’ve stopped playing schoolyard with KF, I have a little challenge for you. Can you falsify these?

    Testable hypotheses about FSC

    What testable empirical hypotheses can we make about FSC that might allow us to identify when FSC exists? In any of the following null hypotheses [137], demonstrating a single exception would allow falsification. We invite assistance in the falsification of any of the following null hypotheses:

    Null hypothesis #1

    Stochastic ensembles of physical units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #2</i<

    Dynamically-ordered sequences of individual physical units (physicality patterned by natural law causation) cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #3

    Statistically weighted means (e.g., increased availability of certain units in the polymerization environment) giving rise to patterned (compressible) sequences of units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #4

    Computationally successful configurable switches cannot be set by chance, necessity, or any combination of the two, even over large periods of time.

    We repeat that a single incident of nontrivial algorithmic programming success achieved without selection for fitness at the decision-node programming level would falsify any of these null hypotheses. This renders each of these hypotheses scientifically testable. We offer the prediction that none of these four hypotheses will be falsified.

    The fundamental contention inherent in our three subsets of sequence complexity proposed in this paper is this: without volitional agency assigning meaning to each configurable-switch-position symbol, algorithmic function and language will not occur. The same would be true in assigning meaning to each combinatorial syntax segment (programming module or word). Source and destination on either end of the channel must agree to these assigned meanings in a shared operational context. Chance and necessity cannot establish such a cybernetic coding/decoding scheme [71].

  453. 453
    R0b says:

    I think we all realize that the Weasel controversy is ridiculous, but this thread has turned into an interesting exercise to see whether kairosfocus will admit an obvious mistake.

    To recap, kairosfocus describes Dawkins’ algorithm thusly:

    b –> Namely, he starts with the right number of letters, and then randomly changes the letters in the initial case [save for any that happen to be the right letter in the right place].

    c –> After the random shifts, he tests for hits again, rewarding a “warmer” — but non-functional — configuration [ by preserving its successful letters. [Emphasis added]

    He talks about explicit latching being the best explanation for Dawkins’ output:

    the most likely way circa 1986 is by straight partitioned search, by which one locks successful letters explicitly [Emphasis added]

    and

    The best explanation for that is latching, full latching, not partial latching. [Emphasis added]

    And let’s not forgot that he defends his position by appealing to the authority of peer-reviewed Marks and Dembski, who claim explicit latching.

    On all of the above he is wrong, along with Marks and Dembski. There’s no evidence whatsoever that Dawkins mischaracterized his algorithm, and there’s no reason for him to do so. A few of us even took the trouble of coding Dawkins’ algorithm to show that it gives the output he reports. But to no avail — kairosfocus will not admit his error.

    I’m reminded of the claim that Tom Schneider’s evolutionary algorithm in ev performs worse than pure chance. That claim remains on record, from Dembski in an interview with the original poster in this thread, and from Marks in an interview with Casey Luskin. I guess the temptation to try covering up, instead of owning up, is a powerful one. Heaven knows we all do it.

  454. 454
    JT says:

    GLF wrote [443] [to ATOM]:

    Also, what are your thoughts on algorithms that “chase moving targets”?
    For example, we know “weasel” evolves towards a fixed target.
    In your new version, the letters will not be fixed in place once found.
    Therefore this leaves the door open to mutating the “target” phrase on the fly. This would not be possible if each letter was fixed when found, as the letter itself could become wrong in subsequent rounds if the target phrase evolves away from that already found letter.
    It seems to me that would be a somewhat more realistic example, as it is obvious that the enviroment represents a moving target as it is by no means static, and as such there is no one “correct target phrase”.

    I was intrigued by this idea, and though presumably it could have already been done, it seems a fairly straightforward augmentation, so I will add it to the algorithm I wrote [described in 439].

    So instead of the target being, “methinks it is a weasel”. Now the target would be “Any valid English sentence.” This would correlate to “any viable biological organism.” Of course, nature would not have to be sentient as such for it to passively select an organism as viable. Either an organism works or it doesn’t – (thus “selected” or not) merely by the constraints of reality itself.

    So “Any Valid English Sentence” – that will have to be modelled by just some large set of english sentences. So you pass in some arbitrary text file and the program first finds the longest sentence (referencing some set of delimiters). So that length is the length of our target as well. (Or we could have some maximum sentence length.) Then the file is scanned to form a list of all unique non-delimiter characters. (This is our “alphabet”.) Then you run the process as always, except now check for the closest match to any sentence and preserve that. (Note: for a shorter sentence, it could be required that extra characters be blanks.)

    Of course, this doesn’t address the issue of intermediate viability but they can wait for a subsequent version.

  455. 455
    JT says:

    Maybe someone’s already said this, but the latching issue does not seem peripheral. Those who say letters are being latched are implying that design is taking place in that attribute of the process, when in fact it results purely from population dynamics. And this speaks directly to the whole evolution-creation debate.

  456. 456
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus

    All that was needeed ha sliong since been posted, cf e.g 346 – 7, with detailed description on the latching sub issue in 364 – 5.

    No, you see the thing is that I’m asking you where you are getting your information from.

    1: Dawkins created Weasel. It is his example
    2: Dawkins specified how Weasel works. It’s clearly laid out in Watchmaker
    3: The issue of “is each letter fixed when found” has been raised with Dawkins. His has explicitly said that latching was not part of his example. To paraphrase, Dawkins said says he “never even considered “latching” correct letters, as that would have been at variance with the biological principles he was attempting to communicate.”
    http://tinyurl.com/c9nl6b
    All you have to do is proide a quote from Dawkins that says Weasel works how you say it does.

    There you will see both Dawkins’ statement on targetting [the issue in the main, and which demonstrates that he ducked the real Hoylean challenge]

    Again, you attempt to confuse the issue with side issues.
    The issuse is not targetting. The issue is not a “Hoylean challenge”.

    The issue is that as noted in my comment 246 you said

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met. That means it rewards partial but non-functional success, and is foresighted. Targetted search, not a proper RV + NS model.

    The issue is clear. Dawkins says it works one way. You say it does not. Yet who better then Dawkins would know how his own example works?

    and the published tabulation which plainly manifests letter-latching the secondary issue that you tried to make the focus of to wriggle out of your self-laid trap.

    For probably the tenth time. The “published tabulation” is only a tiny representation of the population.

    Kariosfocus, the earth appears to be orbited by the sun. If you did not know better, that’s how it seems to be.

    The “published tabulation” does indeed appear to show latching behaviour. I would be surprised if it did not. I refer you back to R0b’s comment at 390, where he notes that “in the 50/5% case whose history I showed in [383], it happens an average of ~7000 times per run. ”

    How can you ignore such a devastating response? Perhaps that is in fact why you are pretending it does not exist? A correctly implemented Weasel proves you wrong.

    So, a question for you. You will accept that the printed tables you refer to represent only a fraction of the popuation?
    If so:
    How do you know that none of the members of that population (that were not printed) had not stepped back from a correct to an incorrect letter in that generation?

    I am not trying to wriggle out of anything.

    In short, sadly. your selectively hyperskeptical reductio has long since reached absurdum.

    Whatever.

    Associated habitual resort to ad hominems, straw men and quote mining under various guises simply manifests and underscores the problem.

    Your resorting to throwing anything you can to confuse the issue has been noted.

    Please, deal with the issue. (Mere money is not my primary or even secondary interest.)

    Truth is my primary interest.
    My secondary interest is in making you honestly represent your opponents arguments.

    As to FSCI, in the form of Functional Sequence Complexity [all digital data arrays can with some frameworking be represented as strings] — as long since noted but ignored onlookers — it has long sin e passed peer review and has in fact been published under Trevors, Abel, et al, including Durston et al’s 2007 paper that published 35 measurements.

    Irrelevant.

    Indeed, going back tot he OOL researcfhers of rthe 1970’s to 80’s, the concept is there only needing a descriptive term. Dembaki used the CSI, others have focussed on the functionality side of specification.

    Irrelevant.

    As to the apparent suggestion that I am scarted of being peer revioewed, I simply have no inrterst in teh game. What needed to be peer reviewed has already been so reviewed, starting 30 – 40 years and more ago.

    Irrelevant.

    The problem is that the implications are being suppressed by the Lewontinian a priori materialists.

    Irrelevant.

    read and weep, GLF, then break off “the chains of mental slavery” and — by God’s grace — turn towards the true light of day:

    Don’t you mean “by the designers grace?

    Sorry GLF, but the evo mat monopoly on education and public discussion is busted. And UD has had a lot to do with that busting. Kudos to UD, all the warts and flaws notwithstanding.

    So, you are both being supressed and free to discuss at the same time?

    Hence, your side’s desperate damage control efforts.

    My side? If by that you mean “the side interested in honestly represeting their opponents arguments” then yes.

    And you last few posts are more about desperate damage control then anything.

    But in recent days, these have publicly reduced themselves to absurdity for all to see.

    What is absurd is that you claim to know how Dawkins intended Weasel to work better then Dawkins himself.
    What is absurd is the fact that all you have to do to prove your point is provide a quote from Dawkins confirming your position.

    I am just providing the correctives, building on sterling work by Simon Greenleaf and many others too numerous to mention just now.

    By misrepresenting your opponents work and refusing to consider you may be in error?

    How is it that you can continue to claim Weasel latches with Dawkins has said it does not?

  457. 457
    George L Farquhar says:

    JT

    Virtual latching occurs because even if a correct letter is mutated to something incorrect in one individual, you still have 499 indiviuals with the letter correct at that location (if your population is 500 for example).

    By “virtual”, do you mean that what might appear to be latching behaviour would be seen most of the time but in fact there was no actual latching going on (due to the fact that a stepback was always possible)?

    I believe you do. Apperances can be deceptive eh KF?

    Could you perhaps explain that to KF?

    Upright Biped

    George, if you’ve stopped playing schoolyard with KF, I have a little challenge for you. Can you falsify these?

    No, I can’t.

    http://www.citebase.org/abstra.....l.gov%3A12

    Citations: 0

    It appears the vast majority of references to the paper you post are either on creationist sites, this site or blogs with people crowing about how ID is now science.

    From the citations index I have access to it appears this paper has a very low citation rate. Therefore I can only conclude it has not exactly set the scientific world on fire.
    The premise seems absurd in any case

    Stochastic ensembles of physical units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Allow me to try all possible combinations of physical units in turn so I can check that they cannot program algorithmic or cybernetic function.

    Yeah, right….

  458. 458
    JT says:

    GLF:

    JT

    Virtual latching occurs because even if a correct letter is mutated to something incorrect in one individual, you still have 499 indiviuals with the letter correct at that location (if your population is 500 for example).

    By “virtual”, do you mean that what might appear to be latching behaviour would be seen most of the time but in fact there was no actual latching going on (due to the fact that a stepback was always possible)?

    Yep.

    Could you perhaps explain that to KF?

    I bet he understands it. Seems like your fighting the Black Knight on this one, though.

    BTW, I said in 455 I would modify my implementation along the lines you suggested to Atom. I have written the code, but haven’t debugged it completely yet.
    However, I won’t devote any more time to it right now unless someone’s interested. It should be obvious if your search string is “Me thinks it is a __________” for example, and then can plug in any arbitary noun, that will drastically decrease the search time.

  459. 459
    JT says:

    Actually though, I wasn’t sure what would happen with a million string compares on each iteration. I guess if nature could efficiently distinguish that many states, it would seem to imply it was pretty smart.

  460. 460
    JT says:

    [460]: Scratch that – nature would be massively parallel. It wouldn’t have to look at each member of a population in sequence.

  461. 461
    JT says:

    GLF:

    Could you perhaps explain that to KF?

    JT: I bet he understands it.

    Sorry, I lied – I don’t if he understands or not. KF, to oblige GLF –

    Supposing some mutation occurs in one string that makes the letter at position N correct in that string and its also the highest scoring string for that iteration. If the population is 500, then 500 copies are made of that winning string. If during some subsequent iteration, a mutation occurs in one of those 500 strings that makes the letter a position N wrong in that string, there are still 499 copies of the string where the letter at position N is correct. So chances are highly likely that the winning string for that iteration will have the correct letter at position N. So that’s why you have very long runs without correct letters changing.

    And to actually latch correct letters into place would involve additional code to randomly select from the remaining letters at arbitrary locations. And given this extra effort for latching and that fact it wouldn’t accomplish much anyway (over what the standard algorithm does) its certainly believable if Dawkins said he didn’t do it.

  462. 462
    Arthur Smith says:

    Scratch that – nature would be massively parallel. It wouldn’t have to look at each member of a population in sequence.

    Exactly! How many parallel opportunities are there in a litre of fermenting bacterial broth?

  463. 463
    Apollos says:

    JT wrote:

    “And to actually latch correct letters into place would involve additional code to randomly select from the remaining letters at arbitrary locations.”

    I’m uncertain that latching would increase code and complexity. (Just to note, I thought your implementation was quite efficient considering the need to avoid explicit latching.)

    It seems to me that since the problem being solved is a guided semi-random search toward a fixed target, implementing a latching algorithm is potentially the most efficient way to solve it.

    Your implementation of Weasel makes significant effort to avoid the need to explicitly latch. This is taking the long way around, as the resulting data is merely consigned to the bit bucket.

    With an inverse goal of avoiding the need to generate extraneous populations (since only a single offspring is chosen in each generation anyway) implementing fixed behavior requires less code, less memory, less CPU, and results in a dramatically quicker overall search:

    #include <iostream>
    #include <ctime>
    using namespace std;

    int main(void)
    {
      const char* target = “methinks it is like a weasel”;
      const int tLen = 28;
      const char* alpha = “abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz “;
      const int aLen = 27;
      const float mrate = 0.05f;

      char mutator[tLen+1] = {0};

      srand( unsigned( time(0) ) );
      for( int i = 0; i < tLen; i++ )
        mutator[i] = alpha[rand()%aLen];  

      int iGen = 0, iters = 0;
      while( ++iGen )
      {
        int matches = 0;
        for( int i = 0; i < tLen; i++, iters++ )
        {
          if( mutator[i] != target[i] )
          {
            if( float(rand()) / (RAND_MAX+1) < mrate )
              mutator[i] = alpha[rand()%aLen];
          }
          else
            matches++;
        }
        if( float(rand()) / (RAND_MAX+1) < mrate*mrate )
          mutator[rand()%tLen] = alpha[rand()%aLen];

        if( iGen % 10 == 0 ) cout << mutator << endl;

        if( matches == tLen )
          break;
      }
      cout << mutator << endl;
      cout << “————–” << endl;
      cout << “Target reached” << endl;
      cout << “Generations: ” << iGen << endl;
      cout << “Total population: ” << iGen << endl;
      cout << “Iterations: ” << iters << endl;
      cout << “————–” << endl;
      return 0;
    }

    The output is identical to Weasel in virtually every respect. A string of gibberish makes a steady walk toward the target while also demonstrating imperfect latching. Internally, like Weasel, it makes a direct comparison to the target on every generation. Here the latching is explicit instead of implicit, while still allowing for negative mutations.

    Thanks for posting your code sample above. I enjoyed going through it.

  464. 464
    Upright BiPed says:

    George at 458

    I’ll take that as a punt.

  465. 465
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    The selective hyperskepticism and refusal to attend to material information already long since in evidence continues, as do the sad concomitants of such intellectual bondage.

    I will comment on JT, re:

    [451] It would be a lot of extra programming to require that a correct letter could not change back. You would have to keep track of correct letters, and also gurantee that the remaining incorrect letters at arbitrary locations each had an equal chance of being selected. Why would Dawkins have gone to all that extra trouble to achieve something that nearly happens on its own.

    [456] Maybe someone’s already said this, but the latching issue does not seem peripheral. Those who say letters are being latched are implying that design is taking place in that attribute of the process, when in fact it results purely from population dynamics. And this speaks directly to the whole evolution-creation debate.

    [462] to actually latch correct letters into place would involve additional code to randomly select from the remaining letters at arbitrary locations. And given this extra effort for latching and that fact it wouldn’t accomplish much anyway (over what the standard algorithm does) its certainly believable if Dawkins said he didn’t do it.

    1 –> According to Dawkins, as long since cited in 346, point 1, from Ch 3 BW:

    We again use our computer monkey, but with a crucial difference in its program. It again begins by choosing a random sequence of 28 letters, just as before … it duplicates it repeatedly, but with a certain chance of random error – ‘mutation’ – in the copying. The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the ‘progeny’ of the original phrase, and chooses the one which, however slightly, most resembles the target phrase, METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL.

    2 –> Got that, JT? repeat: The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the ‘progeny’ of the original phrase, and chooses the one which, however slightly, most resembles the target phrase. Then, in the context of addressing the Hoylean challenge [ch 3 BW], Dawkins shows that he KNOWS the implications of a large config space search:

    What matters is the difference between the time taken by cumulative selection, and the time which the same computer, working flat out at the same rate, would take to reach the target phrase if it were forced to use the other procedure of single-step selection: about a million million million million million years. This is more than a million million million times as long as the universe has so far existed.[Cite is courtesy Wiki article on the Weasel program]

    3 –> This directly and immediately implies that:

    (i) Dawkins knows at the outset that even for his toy example if functionality is imposed as a search criterion from the outset,the search is infeasible — yes, infeasible; thus that

    (ii) the 1986 algorithm THEREFORE rewards closeness to target INDEPENDENT OF FUNCTIONALITY, i.e. in absence of a requirement of functionality, and that to do so

    (iii) it already by direct statement inspects each “nonsense phrase” by comparison with the target statement.

    4 –> So, whether or not the program explicitly latches letters, it is already outside of the parameters of the alleged BLIND Watchmaker. For, natural selection requires rewarding advantageous FUNCTION, not non-function. Weasel, by Dawkins’ statement, and in a context that he is ducking the implications of requiring that the search compare functional configs arrived at by chance, does not require you to be on even the shoreline of an island of functionality.

    5 –> Furthermore, Weasel is by Dawkins’ direct statement already a designed, targetted, foresighted search, regardless of explicit latching or not.

    6 –> THUS, THE MATERIAL ISSUE IS SETTLED AT THE OUTSET, FROM DAWKINS’ WORDS: Weasel is irrelevant to Hoyle’s challenge, and that of the later ID thinkers. This, that in a context where it is known and acknowledged by Dawkins that if a realistic or even a toy functionality requirement is imposed, feasibility of cumulative search — hill-climbing — vanishes.

    7 –> This is of course very directly relevant to the significance of the FSCI concept. that is, functionally specific, complex information is known to be resistant to random walk based searches that require functionality to be present before hill-climbing warmer/colder algorithms can be applied. (In this case, the Weasel sentence is beyond the reasonable reach of a PC circa 1986, even though we are dealing with “only” 10^40 or so configs. FSCI as a rule of thumb becomes relevant when we are dealing with 10^150 to 10^301 configs, with the upper end of that range being a practical threshold for exhausting the full search resources of the cosmos; as those resources could not search as much as 1 in 10^150 of the config space. Observed life forms of minimal complexit5y for independent living start with 300 – 500 k DNA elements, i.e at ~ 10^180,0000+ configs.)

    8 –> So, BEFORE we deal with any specific questions, we already know that we are dealing with red herrings and strawmen, right there from BW ch 3 on in 1986.

    [ . . . ]

  466. 466
    kairosfocus says:

    9 –> And, therefore, GLF’s “irrelevancies” are all too relevant indeed!

    10 –> BTW, a basic question: in a pre-biotic soup or other similar environment, just what [apart from a designer] would have naturally rewarded closeness to life-functionality?

    11 –> Just so, assuming that we have simple unicellular life forms, what — apart from a designer — would have rewarded non-functional innovations towards body plans, on closeness to target?

    12 –> In Dawkins’ toy example, do we not see a designer rewarding closeness to a target independent of actual functionality?

    13 –> Is not Weasel then, a demonstration of the power of intelligent design? [And are not therefore Genetic Algorithms similarly items from the intelligent designer’s toolbox?]

    14 –> And are we not in a position to conclude these things long before we come to the interesting but peripheral issue of whether or no Weasel circa 1986 used partitioned search with explicit letter latching? [Cf my actual quotemined remarks, in 404 and 407 above.]

    15 –> As to JT’s “new business” complaints on requiring extra code, the Dawkins-acknowledged fact of comparison with the target already has in it all that is needed to prepare a protective mask-off on the winner in each generation. (On denial and believability, I will only say that in light of Mr Dawkins’ longstanding public track record, culminating in his latest sophomoric remarks in the God Delusion, his credibility on soundness, fair-mindedness or responsiveness to the truth and to correction where found in error is not very high. For sadly excellent reason.)

    16 –> Back on point: in effect, to code: simply partition the search letter-wise, and make a mask that if in state 1 permits further variation; if in state 0, lock. 0 = on-target for this letter, 1 = not on target. And, of course the sum from 1 to 28 is the simplest distance metric: up to 28 1’s, down to 0.

    17 –> A totally off “nonsense phrase” will be distance metric 28. One that has one correct letter will be 27, and so on down to 0. In each generation, you select the lowest value [having compared the 50 or 100 or 500 or so in the varied population that was created by varying the “winner” from the last one], and select the champion as the one with the lowest metric from the new generation.

    18 –> Furthermore, observe again the CITED and LINKED cases published by Mr Dawkins in 1986: these evidence that Dawkins’ program has the effect of latching successful letters even without wider functionality, beyond reasonable doubt.

    19 –> The above is the obvious way to do that, and requires no great additional coding effort.

    20 –> Had there been a case in the published 1986 runs where we saw early reversion, that would have been different. But, on he actual evidence from 1986, the best — simplest — explanation, plainly is latching, not pseudo-latching or quasi- latching. [The run of a different, and plainly far more sophisticated algor in 383 that increases the number of letters, rewards non-functionality with promotion[ AGAIN!], and does not latch, plainly, is what is — effort to code notwithstanding — truly irrelevant.]

    21 –> As to random variation, there is a [pseudo-] random number function in many implementations of Basic, and to select a letter at random from 1 to 28, compare with [saved] mask value for the champion and then if 1, allow variation, requires no great amount of “additional” coding. My T3 version or the equivalent then allows a looping that selects 0, 1,2,3, . . . 28 letters to vary at random. (JT, if he is ignorant, is commenting out of his depth. If he knows better, he is setting up and knocking over a strawman here, to try to discredit me. Selective hyperskepticism at work again.)

    22 –> Furthermore, by Dawkins’ testimony we have 40+ and 60+ generations in his published 1986 cases, in a context where he stated [ch 3 BW, evidently] that the initial BASIC implementation took 1/2 hour to run:

    The exact time taken by the computer to reach the target doesn’t matter. If you want to know, it completed the whole exercise for me, the first time, while I was out to lunch. It took about half an hour. (Computer enthusiasts may think this unduly slow. The reason is that the program was written in BASIC, a sort of computer baby-talk. When I rewrote it in Pascal, it took 11 seconds.)

    23 –> Even with a 1986 PC doing BASIC, even a BEEB running a 6502 running at 1 – 5 or so MHz clock rate, much less a PC or a Mac, an hour of processing time to run 100 or so generations indicates that a LOT of processing was going on in each generation.

    [ . . . ]

  467. 467
    kairosfocus says:

    24 –> Relevant observation [kindly note Rob, before shooting off again about citing Marks- Dembski as authorities blindly]: mathematically, the median generation number for partitioned search is 98. 40+ and 60+ generations [as Dawkins published in New Scientist and Blind Watchmaker respectively; as I have linked from the outset in this thread] are about right for selected “good” runs, both of which produce a significant number of right letters by Gen 10 and 20, and both of which NEVER have a selected, sampled letter that is correct revert.

    25 –> As to JT’s unworthy hint at lying and/or stupidity — YET again for this circle, onlookers — in 462, he evidently has not looked at what I wrote ever since 346 – 7, in which I showed how we can get explicitly guaranteed latching, and close to guaranteed implicit latching, in algors T2 and T3. [That is a failure of basic duties of care before making adverse comment.]

    26 –> But, never let us forget, onlookers: in EVERY case across dozens of sample points for coming on 2 dozen letters that get right fairly early, we NEVER see a single reversion, and the program runs a number of generations that fits very well with the mathematical expectation for partitioned, letter-by-letter sear4ch coupled to choosing “good” runs.

    _________________

    BOTTOMLINE: Dawkins’ Weasel diverts attention from and begs the question that the basic challenge to proposed mechanisms of chemical and biological evolution is that bio-function rests on FSCI of great complexity, starting at some 600 k bits worth. Body-plan level biodiversity, requires some 10’s – 100’s of M bits additional information, dozens of times over to cover the phyla.

    By contrast, Weasel, whether in 1986 or currently [cf 383 etc], is about hill-climbing based on closeness of non-functional configurations to a target.

    Weasel is therefore foresighted — designed — search with a warmer/colder oracle.

    That is before “latching” — which is OBSERVED — is even an issue [and onlookers note how GLF quotemined me on this starting with his first references in 336 above . . . cf. 404 and 407]; i.e we are looking at an attempt to further distract attention from the material issue by a selectively hyperskeptical red herring.

    the distractive scent trail then has led out to a similarly hyperskeptical strawman on how latching can occur “naturally,” never mind that the factis that the context is a designed targetted search algorithm that rewards non-functionality. This has then also been soaked with the immoral equivalency ad hominems that I am being deceptive or stupid or stubborn not to give in on the point, lit up to burn brightly and cloud and poison the atmosphere: turnabout accusation.

    Thus, the atmosphere for serious discussion towards truth has been thoroughly poisoned by selective hyperskepticism.

    This is the real danger to our civilisation, in a case in point. I am sure that you, dear reader, will be by now familiar with the ongoing pattern that is ripping apart our civilisation, and that in the face of mortal perils being studiously ignored.

    [And, oh, yes, I forget: GLF, refuses to acknowledge the implications of Dawkins’ direct statements and the printoffs of his program circa 1986, with his statement that US$ 100 k would be there for a charity if what Daw,kins directly implies could be shown from his mouth so to speak. He demands that in effect I get a citation from Dawkins confessing in so many words. Well, Dawkins has EXPLICITLY confessed to targetted search that does not require functionality, my primary point. Such a targetted, non-functionality rewarding search algorithm already diverts from the point of Hoyle’s challenge on getting to shores of functionality, and his printoffs do EXPLICITLY show non-functional configs being rewarded. Also, in EVERY instance, once a letter is right, it never ever reverts. Plainly, circa 1986, Mr Dawkins did not realise the implications of that as a signature of how his algorithm(s) of that time worked beyond REASONABLE doubt. Appeals to subsequent algors and runs are of course further diversionary.]

    So, we have a case study in hand. Are we willing to apply the Simon Greenleaf remedy, straight thinking guided by reasonable faith that recognises that in matters of fact we must deal with moral rather than mathematically demonstrative certainty?

    GEM of TKI

    PS: The onweard insinuation that I cannot tellt he differencfe between a scientific inference to design and prayer for God’s grace in light of personal knowledge of God in the face of our Saviour, is unworthy. the grounds on which I am a Christian are independent of those on which I support intelligent design as a scientific inference. In short, having MET God in the face of the risen Christ [and having reckoned with the implications of 500+ eyewitnesses who launched an unstoppable force some 2,000 years ago], even if I were to believe that Darwinian and related mechanisms account for OOL and biodiversity, I would consider these to be God’s mechanisms, not any threat to my core relationship with God. I support the design inference because it is what makes sense of the FSCI in life forms, embedded in the observed informational molecular nanomachines based computer in the heart of the cell. (BTW, viruses and recombinant DNA are proof enough of flexibility of programming, i.e the DNA-ribosome-enzymes system meets the basic criteria for a computer up to and including flexible programming — think of that next time you catch flu.)

    PPS: Upright, good points on FSC, but I doubt that you will get get a serious and sober response on the merits, any more than I have. Sadly

  468. 468
    kairosfocus says:

    Apollos:

    Thanks.

    You are right: the real coding effort is to avoid doing he simplest strategies: deterministic search or latching search.

    GEM of TKI

  469. 469
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Apollos, it just struck me: you have implemented a “latching” version of Weasel that shows letter reversion!

    The output is identical to Weasel in virtually every respect. A string of gibberish makes a steady walk toward the target while also demonstrating imperfect latching. Internally, like Weasel, it makes a direct comparison to the target on every generation. Here the latching is explicit instead of implicit, while still allowing for negative mutations.

    While this is probably not relevant to 1986 — can you imagine coding what you did in early- mid 1980’s style line- number BASIC? — it is a game changer.

    From now on out, even “imperfect latching” in output can be seen as being due to explicit latching in processing; the feasibility of that having been demonstrated! (Code dumps required, please from now on out, then . . . )

    But, that does not shift the material conclusion and confession from 1986: Mr Dawkins resorted to “cumulative” search as he knew in 1986 that a search that requires even relatively modest functionality at each step is infeasible on probabilistic resources grounds. (And, by definition, natural selection is about differential functionality, whether preserving or slightly modifying or allegedly greatly transforming life forms through “descent with modification.”)

    AND THAT IS THE KEY POINT ON FSCI AS A RELIABLE SIGN OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

    The debate on the merits of FSCI is over, thanks to Mr Dawkins’ admission in 1986.

  470. 470
    crater says:

    2 –> Got that, JT? repeat: The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the ‘progeny’ of the original phrase, and chooses the one which, however slightly, most resembles the target phrase.

    Got it. No mention of latching.

  471. 471
    George L Farquhar says:

    Kariosfocus,
    I’ll address each of your points in turn, in light of your original stagement

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met.

    And my original challenge

    Provide a quote from Dawkins that shows that that is how he intended Weasel to work

    1->

    According to Dawkins, as long since cited in 346, point 1, from Ch 3 BW:

    You can quote Dawkins, but you cannot provide a quote where he says that latching was his intent in his example. Conversely I have provided evidence that he explicitly did not want latching.

    If you can quote Dawkins in support of your argument (whatever it is about, it’s not about what I’m asking) why can’t you provide a quote that supports your case?

    2->

    The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the ‘progeny’ of the original phrase, and chooses the one which, however slightly, most resembles the target phrase

    And does it or does it not affix each letter once correct? That is the question.

    3->

    –> This directly and immediately implies that:

    Yes, we’re all well aware of your opinions on the matter. However, they are a side issue. The issue is clear. You claim that Dawkins’ Weasel affixes letters once correct yet continue to duck the issue and talk about side issues.

    4->

    4 –> So, whether or not the program explicitly latches letters, it is already outside of the parameters of the alleged BLIND Watchmaker.

    The blindness or otherside of the watchmaker is not the point. The point is if your first sentence is true or not.
    Either the program explicitly latches letters or it does not.
    It matters. If you claim it does, you are misrepresenting Dawkins’ Weasel. It’s clear Dawkins intent was that letters are not latched. So why cannot you just say that?

    Weasel, by Dawkins’ statement, and in a context that he is ducking the implications of requiring that the search compare functional configs arrived at by chance,

    Nobody is ducking any implications, apart from you.
    5 –>

    Furthermore, Weasel is by Dawkins’ direct statement already a designed, targetted, foresighted search, regardless of explicit latching or not.

    Of course it’s a designed search. It was designed by a human. Of course it’s a targetted search, it has an explicit target. Of course it’s a foresighted search, the program “knows” what the target is.

    The issue is is latching explicit or not.

    It matters. It’s amusing how your position is evolving from “it latches, it may latch, it does not matter if it latches”.

    You know you are wrong in your understanding of how Dawkins Weasel was intended by Dawkins to work.

    6 –>

    THUS, THE MATERIAL ISSUE IS SETTLED AT THE OUTSET, FROM DAWKINS’ WORDS: Weasel is irrelevant to Hoyle’s challenge, and that of the later ID thinkers.

    Your attempts to change THE MATERIAL ISSUE to one of your choosing are noted, yet again.

    The material issue is not if Weasel is a good example or not, if it representes anything relevant to evolution or not.

    The material issue is that you claim explicity latching is taking place. Dawkins says it does not. You say it does. How is it you know better then Dawkins how his example was intended to work?

    7->

    functionally specific, complex information is known to be resistant to random walk based searches that require functionality to be present before hill-climbing warmer/colder algorithms can be applied.

    What does this have to do with the issue at hand? Yet another red herring from you.

    8 ->

    So, BEFORE we deal with any specific questions, we already know that we are dealing with red herrings and strawmen, right there from BW ch 3 on in 1986.

    To put it in perspective. Right now I don’t care if Weasel is totaly wrong, useless or irrelevent. We could be talking about a car for all it matter. You claim the car has three wheels. I claim it has four. The way to settle it is to check the source material – have a look at the car.

    I’ve “had a look at the car” (Dawkins’ original description of Weasel) and it has four wheels. You continue to claim that it has three, and furthermore that no three wheel car can drive.

    9 ->

    And, therefore, GLF’s “irrelevancies” are all too relevant indeed!

    I have been quite clear in the scope of my disagreement with you. The issue is if you are capable of representing your opponents case in a accurate manner, and if proven to be in error admitting it. The only “irrelevancies” are the ones you continue to bring up, hill climbing, Hoyle, FSCI etc etc.

    10 –>

    BTW, a basic question: in a pre-biotic soup or other similar environment, just what [apart from a designer] would have naturally rewarded closeness to life-functionality?

    At the risking of allowing your diversions to work as intended I would just say that you should look into “Scale-Free Networks and Autocatalysis” – simple chemical molecules on the early Earth catalyzed more complex molecules, which in turn served as further catalysts themselves. In time, loops of these catalyzing molecules served as the first replicators – they “auto catalyzed” all of their own components using material from the surrounding environment.

    11->

    Just so, assuming that we have simple unicellular life forms,

    This has nothing to do with the issue at hand and I will not address it until you admit you are in error regarding Weasels intended design.

    12 –>

    In Dawkins’ toy example, do we not see a designer rewarding closeness to a target independent of actual functionality?

    If the example is only a “toy example” why does it matter so much to you that latching takes place? If this “toy example” is so poor an example why do you care that latching must be taking place?

    13->

    Is not Weasel then, a demonstration of the power of intelligent design?

    It’s a demonstration alright, just not of the sort you are thinking. It’s a demonstration of the lengths you are willing to go to to avoid representing your opponents arguments correctly and when called on it attempting to confuse the issue with side issues.
    14 –>

    And are we not in a position to conclude these things long before we come to the interesting but peripheral issue of whether or no Weasel circa 1986 used partitioned search with explicit letter latching? [Cf my actual quotemined remarks, in 404 and 407 above.]

    If it is a peripheral issue, why can you not simply admit that Dawskins should know how Dawkins’ Weasel was intended to work?
    We have been at the issue of if Weasel circa 1986 used latching since I first raise the issue.

    I believe that is clear to anybody who has followed this thread.

    The issue is not about the effect, or otherwise, latching has on the operation of Weasel. That may be of interest, but it’s not the issue I’m raising. The issue is about YOU KF, and if you can admit error once pointed out and supported.

    15->

    his credibility on soundness, fair-mindedness or responsiveness to the truth and to correction where found in error is not very high.

    You are a fine one to talk. Your responsiveness to the truth is ZERO. Your ability to correct when found to be in error is ZERO.

    Irony, thy name is Kariosfocus.

    16->

    Back on point: in effect, to code: simply partition the search letter-wise, and make a mask that if in state 1 permits further variation

    Yes, we know how it works, thanks.

    17->

    A totally off “nonsense phrase” will be distance metric 28.

    That’s just great. What’s the relevance to the issue of your misrepresentation of how Dawkins Weasel works?

    18 –> Furthermore, observe again the CITED and LINKED cases published by Mr Dawkins in 1986: these evidence that Dawkins’ program has the effect of latching successful letters even without wider functionality, beyond reasonable doubt.

    Ah-ha. In the midst of 10,000 irrelevant words do we finally have an admission of error?

    Lest we forget, here is your original claim which you have defended for days

    once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trial

    And now we have

    Dawkins’ program has the effect of latching successful letters

    Yet we are not quite there. If you can simply say something along the lines of “correct letters can always revert to incorrect letters” then you are correctly representing how Dawkins intended to Weasel to work.

    19 –>

    The above is the obvious way to do that, and requires no great additional coding effort.

    It’s just a pity that it’s taken this many words to get your position to change a slight amount towards the correct position.

    20 – >

    But, on he actual evidence from 1986, the best — simplest — explanation, plainly is latching, not pseudo-latching or quasi- latching.

    Ah, so we revert again to your original position do we?

    So, let me summarise

    A) The printouts you use as your primary evidence appear to show latching behaviour. As discussed at length (but not by you) this is not surprising as they represent only a fraction of the population. As we do not know the state of the population that those few lines were taken from it is impossible to say that no reverts had taken place.

    B) Dawkins himself says that his example explicitly did not implement latching as it was both not needed and would have been at varience with the biological principles he was trying to communicate.

    C) Versions of Weasel that explictly do not have latching behavoir coded in appear to, in the majority of cases, show percieved latching behaviour. Yet even so, they still allow letters to revet to incorrect states.

    D) I provided a run of a correctly implemented Weasel that shows both reverting behaviour and a snapshot of the population as a whole in the generation where the revert happened.

    So the “effect” you see of latching is not latching at all, as letters can revert to incorrect letters.

    So, find a different name for it.

    21->

    If he knows better, he is setting up and knocking over a strawman here, to try to discredit me.

    And your strawman of how Dawkins’ Weasel operates? You are doing a fine job of discrediting yourself all on your own.

    22->

    Furthermore, by Dawkins’ testimony we have 40+ and 60+ generations in his published 1986 cases, in a context where he stated [ch 3 BW, evidently] that the initial BASIC implementation took 1/2 hour to run:

    And this proves what exactly? Be explicit.

    23->

    23 –> an hour of processing time to run 100 or so generations indicates that a LOT of processing was going on in each generation.

    An hour of processing time in 1986 is somewhat different to an hour in 2009. And in any case, what is your point? That Dawkins’ Weasel in print is somehow different to Weasel in Basic? Would explicit latching behaviour cause this slow-down?

    How fast would you expect it to run in 1986

    a) If explicit latching was in place?
    b) If no latching was taking place?

    Address the issue.

    24->

    both of which produce a significant number of right letters by Gen 10 and 20, and both of which NEVER have a selected, sampled letter that is correct revert.

    On the surface you are correct. It is indeed the case that even with a correctly implemented Weasel you will see far more runs without reverts then runs with reverts.

    Yet I notice you have ignored my questions regarding how, given that only a few lines were printed in your example, you know for a fact that (for example) generation 14 had 9 correct letters and generation 15 had 8 when only generations 10, 20 etc were shown.

    Do you have some magic powers?

    Yet again, we find you addressing the correct issue but making claims you cannot substiantiate.

    In fact, the creationist (!) site you link to makes the same error as you, they say

    Once a letter falls into place, Dawkin’s program ensures it won’t mutate away.

    No, it does not ensure it. It does not fix the letters in place. If it does, it is not how Dawkins Weasel was intended to work.

    25->

    in which I showed how we can get explicitly guaranteed latching, and close to guaranteed implicit latching, in algors T2 and T3. [That is a failure of basic duties of care before making adverse comment.]

    Once again you skirt the issue, coming close but never quite making it.

    The issue is quite simple. You claim that Dawkins Weasel, as described in BW in 1986 fixes the letters in place once found.

    All you have to do to claim your $100,000 is substiantiate that with a quote from Dawkins.

    That is the issue.

    26->

    26 –> But, never let us forget, onlookers: in EVERY case across dozens of sample points for coming on 2 dozen letters that get right fairly early, we NEVER see a single reversion,

    The onlookers will no doubt have seen my run that showed reverting behaviour, the other correct implementations of Weasel where reveting behaviour is apparent and as such you have not made your case in any way at all.

    So it is simply not true that “In EVERY case” reversion is not shown.

    There are none so blind as will not see eh?

    BOTTOMLINE: Dawkins’ Weasel diverts attention from and begs the question that the basic challenge to proposed mechanisms of chemical and biological evolution

    The bottomline is that you continue to misrepresent your opponents arguments and even when corrected refuse to admit it.
    The only thing diverting attention from the issue at hand is your refusal to admit that your original statement was in error. As you have not been able to support your original statement it’s obvious to all that you are in error.

    Weasel is therefore foresighted — designed — search with a warmer/colder oracle.

    Yes, it’s designed. But the question is how it was designed?

    You claim it was designed to affix letters once found.
    I claim it was not.

    I can support my case.

    You cannot.

    That is before “latching” — which is OBSERVED — is even an issue

    Again, a attempt at misdirection. I have never claimed the issue is anything other then your claim that latching is taking place. There is no “before” issue, no after issue.

    Only the single issue of your original claim and it’s accuracy.

    similarly hyperskeptical strawman on how latching can occur “naturally,”

    In the same comment you say that you also say “So, whether or not the program explicitly latches letters”

    Which is it?

    Thus, the atmosphere for serious discussion towards truth has been thoroughly poisoned by selective hyperskepticism.

    On that we are agreed. Except the “selective hyperskepticism” is yours.

    [And, oh, yes, I forget: GLF, refuses to acknowledge the implications of Dawkins’ direct statements

    Dawkins directly stated that latching behaviour is not implemented in Weasel.

    and the printoffs of his program circa 1986

    Printouts that only show a small snapshot of the run. Printouts that cannot be used to prove your case Kariosfocus, as in the same comment you get close to saying that even without explicit latching behaviour apparent latching behaviour can still be seen.

    , with his statement that US$ 100 k would be there for a charity if what Daw,kins directly implies could be shown from his mouth so to speak.

    It’s quite simple. You claim that Dawkins Weasel, circa 1986, explicitly latches letters.
    Dawkins says it did not.

    There is a different between “directly implies” and a stated fact. Your understanding of what was “implied” appears to be different from everybody else who has implemented Weasel correctly.

    He demands that in effect I get a citation from Dawkins confessing in so many words.

    It’s not a confession that’s requried!

    It’s a simple “this is how Weasel was intended to work”.

    When you get a new gadget and are reading the instructions, do you follow them or do you make up your own interpretation of the instructions?

    Well, Dawkins has EXPLICITLY confessed to targetted search that does not require functionality, my primary point.

    No, again, you attempt to weasel out of the issue at hand. Earlier in your comment you noted that Weasel was a toy example. As such does it matter?

    Your “primary point” is designed to allow you to avoid addressing my primary point.

    Which is that you claim Dawkins Weasel fixes letter once found.

    You now claim that Dawkins “implys” this.

    This despite the fact Dawkins has clearly stated that is not the case. Therefore you have misunderstood the “imply”.

    Also, in EVERY instance, once a letter is right, it never ever reverts.

    You say this despite being shown runs from a correctly implemented Weasel where letters do revert.

    It’s obvious that no amount of actual evidence will cause you to change position.

    PPS: Upright, good points on FSC, but I doubt that you will get get a serious and sober response on the merits, any more than I have. Sadly

    Discussion requires to partys acting in good faith to be productive.

    If you can admit you are in error then perhaps such a discussion can take place. Until you do so, it cannot.

    Onlookers take note!

  472. 472
    Arthur Smith says:

    Onlookers take note!

    If the issue is one of fact, shouldn’t The Fable of the Horses Teeth be followed. I have my copy of “Watchmaker” dusted off. Also Dawkins is alive and contactable. Why not ask Professor Dawkins to clarify?

  473. 473
    Joseph says:

    “The Blind Watchmaker” is out (of the local library) so I ordered a copy from another library.

    So that research is on hold.

    However the issue- partitioned search- could have been written differently in the Marks/ Dembski paper- a more correct position would have been to call it a targeted search.

    That said I read about a GA that was similar (it may have even been “Methinks”) in that mutations occurred to a string BUT also in each generation the parent was also copied unaltered.

    That means that the next generation could never be any farther away from the target than the previous generation.

    And that would be a form of latching.

    If I can find it- big IF- I will post it.

  474. 474
    JT says:

    Apollos [464]:

    Thanks, I did go over your code.

    Incidentally, I ran into a very odd situation which is illustrated here:

    If you divide g_val_crnt by s_len prior to comparing it to g_val it drastically decreases search time. It makes absolutely no sense. It should not effect anything.

    (Note: g_val, g_val_crnt also changed from int to double, and srand is seeded to a constant value for testing; Also loop breaks when g_val==1 instead of g_val==s_len;)

  475. 475
    JT says:

    Apollos:

    Also I stand corrected that it would take additional code to lock those letters in place:

  476. 476
    JT says:

    KF
    But, that does not shift the material conclusion and confession from 1986: Mr Dawkins resorted to “cumulative” search as he knew in 1986 that a search that requires even relatively modest functionality at each step is infeasible on probabilistic resources grounds.

    Maybe you think the monkey example is more illustrative of nature.

    Incidentally, I would not describe “me thenkz it iz o beegel” as devoid of “functionality”.

  477. 477
    JT says:

    I am thinking of any conceivable grammatical meaningful English sentence. Now for each of those sentences allow arbitrary spellings of words. (Consider that up until the 1800’s people more or less spelled word as they liked.) Now allow grammar mangling as well, as long as someone could make some sense of the sentence. And allow for strings of random letters in these sentences that people will just skip over completely if they can’t make sense of them. Now to the above add any sentence with the above characteristics but also in any concievable human language.

    So this is our “target”. Any such sentence fitting the above description is acceptable, and demonstrates at least marginal functionality, and we can converge toward any of them.

    And you also have to imagine massive parallelism in the search engine, as this would characterize nature.

    Someone (perhaps KF) is jumping in to say that it implies our search engine has intelligence. Well, fine.

    But consider, does nature distinguish between a healthy liver and a diseased liver (for example)? Is it displaying intelligence to do so?

    I may go ahead and attempt to complete a working facsimile of the above (sans the massive parallelism.) Presumably someone’s done this though.

  478. 478
    JT says:

    I am thinking of any conceivable grammatical meaningful English sentence. Now for each of those sentences allow arbitrary spellings of words. (Consider that up until the 1800’s people more or less spelled word as they liked.) Now allow grammar mangling as well, as long as someone could make some sense of the sentence. And allow for strings of random letters in these sentences that people will just skip over completely if they can’t make sense of them. Now to the above add any sentence with the above characteristics but also in any concievable human language.

    So this is our “target”. Any such sentence fitting the above description is acceptable, and demonstrates at least marginal functionality, and we can converge toward any of them.

    And you also have to imagine massive parallelism in the search engine, as this would characterize nature.

    Someone (perhaps KF) is jumping in to say that it implies our search engine has intelligence. Well, fine.

    But consider, does nature distinguish between a healthy liver and a diseased liver (for example)? Is it displaying intelligence to do so?

    I may go ahead and attempt to complete a working facsimile of the above (sans the massive parallelism.) Presumably someone’s done this though.

  479. 479
    JT says:

    As long as moderation policy is being discussed why can’t we edit or delete our own posts?

  480. 480
    allanius says:

    Dawkins hasn’t got a clue of how amino acids could become assembled in complex meaningful sequences by pure chance, and neither does anyone else—but he does know how to tell a story! And in this story amino acids are a little bit like bits of computer information! And with a little bit of luck (and a little push from their creator) these little bits can climb the hill of Meaningful Information!

    Dawkins is such a good storyteller, and moreover such a nice-looking fellow, that he has been able to convince his ideological soul-mates in Big Science and the fourth estate that his weasel analogy is not just a polemical allegory but the real thing! To the extent that they actually engage it and talk about it as if it were real science!

    What a guy! But please note…that’s precisely the cause of the hyperskepticism lamented in the original post. People know Dawkins and his fellow theoretical scientists are just telling stories for political ends, which is why they’re not willing to take them seriously anymore.

    “Methinks Batman is a weasel.” But then that makes The Joker seem a lot less strange.

  481. 481
    George L Farquhar says:

    Arthur

    Also Dawkins is alive and contactable. Why not ask Professor Dawkins to clarify?

    In fact this has already happened.

    http://tinyurl.com/c9nl6b

    Joseph

    However the issue- partitioned search- could have been written differently in the Marks/ Dembski paper- a more correct position would have been to call it a targeted search.

    My apologies for my crack regarding “big words” upthread. You appear to be making a good faith attempt to determine the truth of the matter and as such I can only applaud you for that.

    Nobody is disputing the search is targetted, It obviously is. The issue, in the specific case I am arguing is only if the letters are fixed once found and only one mechanism correctly represents how Dawkins wanted Weasel to work, others do not.

    JT,
    You may find this site interesting

    http://www.zachriel.com/Phrasenation/
    http://www.zachriel.com/mutagenation/

    I believe the source is available, you may find it useful in your own projects.

  482. 482
    George L Farquhar says:

    allanius

    Dawkins hasn’t got a clue of how amino acids could become assembled in complex meaningful sequences by pure chance

    Do you have “a clue” as to how “the designer” did it then?

    If not, then what are you complaining about?

    allanius

    that his weasel analogy is not just a polemical allegory but the real thing!

    In fact, you are correct. Nobody thinks the simplistic, fixed operation of Weasel is anything but a teaching aid designed to illustrate a point Dawkins was attempting to make. In and of itself it is not exactly sophisticated.

    R0B @ 435 said it better then I could

    Nobody in science cares about the 20-year-old trivial illustration. It’s the ID and creationist camps that keep bringing it up, and as long as they do, we’ll keep trying to help them get their facts straight.

    Is that clear? If you want a more state of the art example of a similar program to Weasel I can certanly point you in the right direction.

    People know Dawkins and his fellow theoretical scientists are just telling stories for political ends, which is why they’re not willing to take them seriously anymore.

    What “political ends” would they be? Can you clarify?

  483. 483
    JT says:

    KLF:

    You may find this site interesting

    http://www.zachriel.com/Phrasenation/
    http://www.zachriel.com/mutagenation/

    Thanks, I will study that carefully.

  484. 484
    JT says:

    I just felt like the following needs to be reiterated because KF and others have been implying that merely the search phrase “Me thinks it is a weasal implies directed search.”

    But just consider that there must be some sort of specification of what constitutes a viable biological organism. Reality or nature itself must determine this, but if we were to code it and it took a lot of code, would it imply sentience as such on the part of nature? Actually, maybe it would – But it seems to show how an evolutionary type search will work quite well. So, nature does have a “weasel” type goal – it has to, as there is some sort of specfication of what works biologically and what doesn’t and that must be what is searched for. I’ve understood this more clearly in the past, but you tend to forget the details, and even now, I’m not sure if the significance of the above is apparent to everyone.

    I haven’t studied the zachriel.com phrasenation and mutagenation code yet, but if its what he’s claiming them to be, everyone here should be looking at it.

    The weasel example is starting to look like quite a reasonable illustration of evolution, nature and reality.

  485. 485
    JT says:

    But just to characterize what zachriel says he’s doing – he starts with a single letter that is a word, “O” and forms longer and longer words by adding individual random characters and keeping what is a valid english word (as presumably nature would keep a valid biological entity).

    Actually, I’ll allow two letter additions below, as that is just 26^2.

    o
    oh
    oath
    oats
    boots
    scooter
    scouter
    scouts
    scouting

    So you can get longer and longer words this way, and evidently he does the same with phrases.

    But all this is directly applicable to the weasel discussion.

  486. 486
    David Kellogg says:

    I found a video of Dawkins running the program, taken in 1987 here.

    If you watch the video, starting at about 5 minutes 30 seconds, Dawkins shows the screen with the morphing phrase as it reaches the target. If you watch the video . . .

    Very clearly, and more than once, a correct letter becomes incorrect. Therefore, Dawkins’s “Weasel” program does not keep letters once they are correct. QED.

    Of course, maybe Dawkins anticipated this objection and fudged the run in 1987. Or maybe Dawkins, like Darwin in the racism thread, has access to a time machine.

  487. 487
    Atom says:

    Side note:

    I incorrectly claimed that my original GUI sent to Dr. Marks had links to source code and that his editor somehow removed the links; looking at the code this morning however I can see that I was wrong. (I must have been thinking of the Ev Ware GUI)

    Atom

  488. 488
    Apollos says:

    JT @[474],

    I tried your updated code and I find no difference between runs when I comment and uncomment the lines you specify. I get a target match at 162 generations either way.

    I suspect we’re using different compilers. I need to make a small modification to make the code run. I’m using MS VC++ (native compiling) and it requires constant expressions in order to initialize static arrays, so I just fix the string length at 29 instead of allowing it to be initialized by the strlen() function (line 23 of your sample).

    I’ll spend some additional time with it later and see if I can make sense of the mystery. 😉

    Best…

  489. 489
    JT says:

    You may find this site interesting

    http://www.zachriel.com/Phrasenation
    http://www.zachriel.com/mutagenation

    ———-

    I have not able to decipher his excel spreadsheet “programs” as of yet, but the concept as he lays it out is quite coherent, credible and compelling:

    You can definitely build up words by one or two random letters combinations at a time, and then only preserving legal words. There’s nothing combinatorially intractable at all in this step. Stop and think about it for a moment if necessary to confirm that. But the process is heirarchial, and thus the subsequent two steps are not intractable either.

    As the next step, you take words formed as shown above, and randomly combine them to get all the compound words (only preserving valid compound words).

    So now, you have all the words.

    Next you can start randomly combining words to form sentences or phrases, only keeping phrases that are meaningful and legal.

    So you can defintely maintain viable intermediaries at every step of the way. (please note KF…)

    In his example he shows how to get any arbitary sentence from Hamlet this way.

    Hamlet is intended to represent “Any valid english sentence”, so that is our goal (“as opposed to “Me thinks it is a weasel.”)

    But this would seem to imply a directed search, and in a sense that is correct, and furthermore its the only way that evolution itself could actually work.
    How does evolution work without “any viable biological organsim” as a goal? And is that more or less teleological than “”Any valid english sentence”?

    It would be a very impressive program to be able to parse natural language. But as a stand in we could use some very large piece of text as an example of legal english. If we used War and Peace or some other 1000 page tome as an example of legal english, even that wouldn’t be extensive enough. The entire Encyclopedia Brittanica would not be extensive enough., However there could in fact be an english language detector program that is much smaller than the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Thus we cannot neccesarily draw inferences concerning the inherent complexity of a task based on the length of our own solution.

    Now to take it to a biological realm, obviously there has to be a conception of what constitutes a viable biological form. And such a conception or specification must be implicitly at work, if evolution is preserving viable biological froms and rejecting inviable ones. But just how complex that specification is, is an open question. However, its hards to envision it not being quite complex and specific indeed. So the teleology implicit in that scenario should be quite evident for those thus inclined. What sort of expertise does it require for a human to detail and elaborate and identify what life is and what viable life is? Well nature is doing that – what does that say about nature? But nevertheless some people are simply unmoved by that. But teleology in a sense seems intrinsic to the process.

  490. 490
    JT says:

    Apollos [488]:
    If you got 162 both ways, that’s encouraging. When I used doubles and expressed the closeness as a fraction I think it messed up the random number generator some how (I’m guessing).

  491. 491
    JT says:

    (I guess I’ll try a different compiler also.)

  492. 492
    Apollos says:

    KF @470,

    Exactly. The explicit latching algorithm can display output that’s indistinguishable from one that throws away 499 strings per generation to circumvent it.

    Likewise, Weasel output shows latching behavior regardless, because it expends a great deal of resources assuring that each generation advances toward the target.

    Two algorithms perform the same task. One fixes characters in place from iteration to iteration as they match the target, the other fixes an entire string.

    One algorithm fakes negative mutations, the other fakes positive ones. Casual analysis of the output is highly unlikely to reveal which algorithm is in use.

  493. 493
    Apollos says:

    JT, #489 is interesting.

    I’ve been thinking of the situation this way. How difficult is it to morph a meaningful phrase (something of adequate length, say 100 characters) to an entirely different meaningful phrase by 2, 3, or 4 character substitutions at a time.

    If it were possible, and it may very well be, we should expect it to take approximately 350 trials for a two mutation change, 10,000 for a three mutation change, and around 250,000 trials for four.

    Performing a blind search for functional configurations (rational intermediate phrases) would of course be impossible, as even if we identified a billion of them, we’re searching a space of around 1.37*10^143 in size. We should expect it to take about 6.8*10^133 trials to find just one of them.

    If we could identify a chain of functional intermediates, it would at least be possible to calculate the difficulty of moving from one to the next.

    It would take either some prodigious wordsmithing, or a fairly sophisticated grammar parser identify a chain of 4-character shifts from one phrase to the next for start and end targets of around 100 characters each.

  494. 494
    JT says:

    Apollos [494]:

    I’ve been thinking of the situation this way. How difficult is it to morph a meaningful phrase (something of adequate length, say 100 characters) to an entirely different meaningful phrase by 2, 3, or 4 character substitutions at a time.

    The way I was interpreting the zachriel site at first, is that all the individual words are formed first, before any sentences or phrases exist and then new sentences are formed by selecting at random from completely in tact words. However, although Zachriel only preserves valid english phrases of completely in tact words, it now appears that in his scheme each new word in the sentence is formed from some sort of letter-level mutational process.

    But consider the fact that the basic building blocks of life (e.g. cells?) are formed first, and only subsequent to that do multicellular creatures (ie. “phrases”) appear. So it seems to me that we should think of mutations at the level of individual “letters” occurring primarily early in the process, so new words are being formed rapidly before any multi-word phrases actually exist. And then as random, in tact words start to accumulate in number, certain ones of them that form valid “phrases” start stringing together (forming multi-cellular life).

    And suppose you do have some individual letters forming in isolation on the end of some valid multi-word phrase. Well if there are already random in tact words floating around as well, chances are one of those complete words will establish on the end of a phrase before letter-level mutation on the end of that phrase has a chance to take hold.

    And adding entire new words to a phrase would seem to coincide with such macro-level processes as endosymbiosis

  495. 495
    Apollos says:

    JT,

    JT, I’ll confess that I haven’t given Zachriel’s site much attention yet. (I’ll get to it eventually.) I’m still trying to digest the scope of arriving at one functional arrangement from another, in effect blindly, through functional intermediate steps.

    Just to note, certainly if the problem can be made smaller, such as finding words instead of entire phrases, it’s easier to solve. In that case, we only need to find combinations of 26^2 to 26^12 or so in most cases (still not trivial).

    I suspect however that assembling phrases from entire words (using words as informational bits instead of characters) would still present a significant problem if we don’t: a) dramatically limit the size and/or scope of our library; b) use a directed search, such as one that employs a heuristic.

    Even with a modest library of 500 words, a 10 word phrase gives us a search space of around 9.8*10^26. If we assume that there are one trillion ways to assemble the library into a grammatically appropriate phrase, we still need to search 4.9*10^14 times to find a single one (mean value).

    Moving from one 10 word phrase to another while retaining meaning at each step isn’t a problem from a teleological standpoint, but from a blind search it’s just as difficult of not more so.

    I’m still stuck on the blind search, so forgive me if I’m essentially just talking to myself here. 😉

    Thinking again about using a character based approach on a simple phrase, a modest goal might be to start with this:

    methinks it is like a weasel

    and morph it into another 28 character phrase:

    my dog pepper has three legs

    Would it be possible to do this by substituting 2, 3, or 4 characters at a time, with each substitution resulting in a grammatically correct, meaningful English phrase? I honestly don’t know the answer, but I suspect it’s no easy task even programmatically.

    For a 28 character string and an alphabet of 27 characters (a-z and space) we get a search space of 27^28, which is around 1.2*10^40.

    If we assume that there are a trillion functional intermediate configurations (meaningful, grammatically correct English phrases) in the search space, we would need to search up to 1.2*10^28 combinations to find just one (using the mean, it would be around 6.0*10^27 trials).

    If our algorithm could perform 10^9 searches per second, we could expect to search for 1.9*10^11 (190,000,000,000) years to find our first one.

    I think it’s apparent that a blind search is of very little value unless the scope is extremely small; but if we inject a little teleology into the process, hopelessly large search problems can readily be solved.

  496. 496
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    The selectively hyperskeptical games — sadly — continue, here reaching the case where the associated selective hyper-credulity on claims one is inclined to believe causes DK to miss a few key points.

    I note this,a s an ongoing autopsy on the progress of selective hyperskepticism as a dangerous contagious intellectual affliction that is ripping our culture apart and may well kill it, unless we can by God’s grace and mercy, turn back the tide. (Enough has already been said on the GLF case, above. There seem to be no substantial new developments, sadly: prognosis is not good.

    At least, the exchange between Apollos and JT seems to be raising some important points. Of course, as I raised in 346 – 7 above, a program that latches English words as they turn up as a toy example for basic functionality will tend to latch a, I, he, it, me, go, no, etc, and if then there is the requirement to create grammatically correct and meaningful sentences from a vocab of functioning words so formed, there will be a major challenge.)

    One striking point of urgent correction, on JT: “DAWKINS in BW ch 3 as cited above KF and others have been implying that merely the search phrase “Me thinks it is a weasal implies directed search.””

    For, he explicitly states (as already cited and linked at Wiki — admission against interest here folks:

    We again use our computer monkey, but with a crucial difference in its program. It again begins by choosing a random sequence of 28 letters, just as before … it duplicates it repeatedly, but with a certain chance of random error – ‘mutation’ – in the copying. The computer examines the mutant nonsense phrases, the ‘progeny’ of the original phrase, and chooses the one which, however slightly, most resembles the target phrase, METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL. . . . . What matters is the difference between the time taken by cumulative selection, and the time which the same computer, working flat out at the same rate, would take to reach the target phrase if it were forced to use the other procedure of single-step selection: about a million million million million million years. This is more than a million million million times as long as the universe has so far existed.

    Okay:

    (i) nonsense phrases = non-functional configs are being used,

    (ii) examines = intelligent intervention,

    (iii) chooses = decision making in a targetted, foresighted context

    (iv) however slight = even a one-letter improvement is good enough [and leads logically to latching or quasi- latching]

    (v) difference between the time taken == Dawkins knows that imposing a realistic functionality criterion for then getting to “cumulative selection” based hill-climbing across competing entities, would make Weasel fail for want of search resources.

    All that, in 1986. Dawkins plainly is the inadvertent co-founder of the design theory explanatory filter, which works off precsely this search challenge issue.

    So, now . . . re DK at 487:

    . . . Very clearly, and more than once, a correct letter becomes incorrect. Therefore, Dawkins’s “Weasel” program does not keep letters once they are correct. QED.

    H’mm:

    1 –> 1987 [the dateline of the BBC Horizon programme] is of course several months to a year after the algorithms and runs in BW ch 3 and in New Scientist would have been done prior to publication of the book BW. And, from the outset, the striking letter latching in the published runs in BW ch 3 and New Scientist would have attracted attention, as — albeit a secondary feature of the root problem with Weasel — they highlight the underlying problem.

    2 –> Namely, in response to Hoyle’s challenge that chem evo [and by extension body plan level Darwinian macro evo] has a major challenge to generate complex functional information though its permissible non-foresighted mechanisms, Mr Dawkisn did a bait and switch:

    a] begging the question being asked: that of origin of the functionality that is a premise of natural selection to engage in hill climbing by differential reproductive success across populations [“nonsense phrases . . . “]

    b] Rewarding slightest increment in mere closeness to target even amidst non-functionality

    c] Publishing runs that show latching behaviour, which is best accounted for by explicit latching [My T2] and/or implicit quasi-latching that leads to high probability of output latching, as is OBSERVED in the 1986 printoffs [cf T3 etc].

    [ . . . ]

  497. 497
    kairosfocus says:

    3 –> And once we are already in an environment of bait and switch, we can then obnserve that plainly have motive, means and opportunity for further agenda-serving bait and switch tactics. Sorry, Mr Dawkins — on observed track record in this context and in wider situations — is NOT a credible spokesman or witness. He has impeached himself, long since.

    4 -> Furthermore, a glance at the screen run in the 1987 weasel program, will show something ELSE “interesting.”

    5 –> Indeed, letters occasionally flick back and forth from a “correct state” [which BTW, Apollos has shown is ALSO consistent with explicit latching once there is a flick-back patch]

    6 –> But, yet something else is quickly evident: the generations are piling up rather quickly, and just the time that the run is on screen strongly suggests that the runs to the target phrase here are now well beyond 100 generations. (And unless you knew that the 1986 published, sampled runs did the deed in 40+ and 60+ generations, you might not be alert to see that . . . )

    7 –> More importantly, a contrast with the sample-point behaviour in the 1986 runs shows something else: the flick-backs are just a bit too frequent and widespread to be consistent with the sample data of a few months to a year or so before.

    8 –> That is, when several dozen sample points that should not be correlated with the algorithm’s progress circa 1986 show NO observed flickbacks, and circa 1987 there is frequent flickback every few moments in multiple sites, something is cleasrly very different at work here.

    9 –> In short, on easily observed evidence the 1987 algorithm shown on screen on a BBC horizon programme is not reasonably to be equated with the 1/2 hr or so BASIC run 1986 algorithms, or the 11-second Pascal runs claimed.

    10 –> And, as of Apollos’ code published above, we know that explicit latching is compatible with flickbacks, and that the game has decisively changed: only CREDIBLE code will tell decisively against letter-latching in the 1986 algorithm now.

    11 –> So, after hundreds of comments here and one wonders how much rummaging back and forth elsewhere, it is STILL plain that Dawkins’ Weasel is evidence not of the efficacy of the alleged BLIND watchmaker, but of something very different: foresighted, intelligent design that uses some carefully injected and controlled random elements in heuristics that do a job.

    ________________

    BOTTOMLINE: we are looking at a case where the material point — targetted, hot/cold search that rewards non-functional configs for th slightest possible increment in approach to target — is long since settled from Mr Dawkins’ own words. So, we know that there was a bait-switch on the key FSCI challenge right from the outset; i.e. Weasel, from 1986, is a grand, key question-begging strawman argument. (Notice how this is simply not being seriously faced by the evo mat advocates, quote miners and selective hyperskeptics above.)

    On observed letter-latching circa 1986, which is a reflection of that targetted rewarding of non-functional micro-increments in closeness search algorithm, the possibility of creating versions of Weasel that do not do that is being used as a red herring distractor from the material point on this case study and for the wider thread.

    Namely: evo mat is being propped up by a climate of selective hyperskepticism, which is destructive to our civlisation.

    GEM of TKI

  498. 498
    kairosfocus says:

    Crater, 471:

    Please (especially given your track record . . . sadly) take time to read 346 – 7 before making comments on this issue again.

    No to mention, the original quote-mined remarks, as cited and linked at 404 and 407.

    GEM of TKI

  499. 499
    Arthur Smith says:

    Kariosfocus:

    Did you notice David Kellog’s comment upthread linking to the horses teeth or rather from the horses mouth:
    video of Dawkins demonstrating his weasel program

    It clearly shows letters are not fixed.

  500. 500
    crater says:

    Crater, 471:

    Please (especially given your track record . . . sadly) take time to read 346 – 7 before making comments on this issue again.

    No to mention, the original quote-mined remarks, as cited and linked at 404 and 407.

    KF, I have read them. And, even to a sympathetic onlooker, it is obvious that they do not support your contention that the Weasel program was latching letters. I have tried to give you every benefit of the doubt and I can only conclude that your refusal to admit your (minor) error is due to pride. And such an exhibit of pride can only remind me (sadly) of Job 15:2-6.