Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Back to Basics of ID

L&FP39: How the folded structure (and then the “loading”) of tRNA corrects attempts to reduce protein synthesis to “mere” chemistry

One of the more astonishing rhetorical gambits of objectors to the design inference is to try to suggest that the alphanumeric, code-using, algorithmic information system we see in the D/RNA of the living cell and linked protein synthesis is not really an information system, it all reduces to chemical reaction trains. A common associated gambit is to assert that terms like “code” etc are all readily dismissible analogies. As a first reminder, protein synthesis as graphically summarised: Of course, it never hurts to remind such objectors of p. 5 of Sir Francis Crick’s $6 million, March 19, 1953 letter to his son, Michael: Notice, his belief right from the outset of discovering the double-helix stricture: “. . . D.N.A. is Read More ›

A note on layer-cake communication systems and protocols

There is a live exchange on the molecular nanotech communication systems in the cell that is trying to reduce them to Chemistry; where a chemical reaction is a physical process. Accordingly, I beg to remind one and all regarding layered communication systems and protocols: This is an elaboration of the general communication system: Here is how Yockey summarised it: Where, the standard genetic code [one of about two dozen dialects] reads like: The double helix: As was noted by Crick, right from the outset: In context: Now, we can see for ourselves just how desperate objectors to the design inference must be in the face of the point that D/RNA expresses a string data structure carrying a prong-height-based alphanumeric, 4 Read More ›

Guest Post, Dr YS: “Intelligent Design and arguments against it”

Dr YS, contribtes thoughts again that are well worth pondering: >>I’d like to present a summary of the arguments against the design hypothesis that I have come across either as a reader or as an author of a pro-design blog over the past 8 years since I became interested in intelligent design. The Design Hypothesis Before we do it, let us first recap on what the design hypothesis really is. It states that some configurations of matter in specific conditions are best explained as caused by purposeful activity of one or more intelligent agents. The ‘specific conditions’ means that we could not directly observe how these configurations of matter came into being and can only analyse them post-factum. ‘Intelligence’ in Read More ›

James Tour: 1 hr lecture on OoL

on the mystery of the origin of life: From the blurb: Dr. Tour is one of the world’s top synthetic organic chemists. He has authored 680 scientific publications and holds more than 120 patents (here is a partial list). In 2014, Thomson Reuters named him one of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds,” and in 2018 Clarivate Analytics recognized him as one of the world’s most highly cited researchers. Tour is also fearless. He joined more than a thousand other scientists in signing the “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.” More recently, he has become a thorn in the side of the origin of life research community, offering blunt assessments of the current state of origin of life research. Read more on Read More ›

Time’s arrow, the design inference on FSCO/I and the one root of a complex world-order (–> Being, logic & first principles, 25)

On August 7th, News started a discussion on time’s arrow (which ties to the second law of thermodynamics). I found an interesting comment by FF: FF, 4: >> It’s always frustrating to read articles on time’s arrow or time travel. In one camp, we have the Star Trek physics fanatics who believe in time travel in any direction. In the other camp, we have those who believe only in travel toward the future. But both camps are wrong. It is logically impossible for time to change at all, in any direction. We are always in the present, a continually changing present. This is easy to prove. Changing time is self-referential. Changing time (time travel) would require a velocity in time Read More ›

Paley’s Ghost speaks out: the problem of [neo-]darwinist evolutionary incrementalism

One of the common weak arguments against the design inference on functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information (FSCO/I, a functional form of specified complexity) is the idea that body-plan level macro-evolution is “simply” the accumulation of lots and lots of micro-evolutionary adaptations in a grand climb of fitness. It seems to be back on the table, so let us highlight its fundamental flaw through an infographic: Notice, how easy it is to trap a process that depends on loose-sense hill-climbing. Where, too, the FSCO/I origin challenge can be similarly summarised: That fitness peaks will naturally occur as islands of function amidst vast seas of non-function should be obvious from the need for correct, matched, properly arranged and coupled parts Read More ›

Logic & First Principles, 22: Is there room for fresh (hylemorphically shaped?) thinking on minds, souls and bodies?

In recent weeks, UD has been looking at the logic of being of minded intelligence, especially, embodied intelligence. One of the pivotal insights is outlined by Victor Reppert — pardon a bit of review: . . . let us suppose that brain state A [–> notice, state of a wetware, electrochemically operated computational substrate], which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief [–> concious, perceptual state or disposition] that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of Read More ›

Inferring onward, from design to designer

One of the notorious talking points used by inveterate objectors to design theory, is that it is about stealth creationism. Closely tied, is the suggestion (or, assumption) that the claim that design inference on empirical sign only warrants inference to design as process is a dishonest stalking horse. Given a long saddening track record of career and hobbyist objectors, unsurprisingly, that is false. A simple case — and “case” is itself significant — easily shows why. About seven years ago, one night, fires broke out in two of Montserrat’s court houses, and did considerable damage (including to records). After they were put out, investigators found signs of accelerants. For cause, they inferred arson. However, they were unable to infer onward Read More ›

ID Breakthrough — Syn61 marks a live case of intelligent design of a life form

Let’s read the Nature abstract: Nature (2019) Article | Published: 15 May 2019 Total synthesis of Escherichia coli with a recoded genome Julius Fredens, Kaihang Wang, Daniel de la Torre, Louise F. H. Funke, Wesley E. Robertson, Yonka Christova, Tiongsun Chia, Wolfgang H. Schmied, Daniel L. Dunkelmann, Václav Beránek, Chayasith Uttamapinant, Andres Gonzalez Llamazares, Thomas S. Elliott & Jason W. Chin AbstractNature uses 64 codons to encode the synthesis of proteins from the genome, and chooses 1 sense codon—out of up to 6 synonyms—to encode each amino acid. Synonymous codon choice has diverse and important roles, and many synonymous substitutions are detrimental. Here we demonstrate that the number of codons used to encode the canonical amino acids can be reduced, Read More ›

FYI-FTR: Burning the fixity of species strawman

One of the lingering talking points used by darwinists in debates is fixity of species, which as usual is used in a way that is rhetorically resistant to correction. It just popped up here at UD, and so, by way of DDG search, let’s lay it to rest, starting with the much despised YEC’s. The logic here is a fortiori. Okay, from Creation Wiki, on Baraminology: Baraminology is a creation biology discipline that studies the ancestry of life on Earth (biosystematics). It draws from the presupposition that God created many separate kinds of organisms as described in the Biblical book of Genesis, and uses scientific means to determine which organisms belong to the same kind (baramin) and by contrast which Read More ›

Logic & First Principles, 4: The logic of being, causality and science

We live as beings in a world full of other concrete entities, and to do science we must routinely rely on mathematics and so on numbers and other abstract objects. We observe how — as just one example — a fire demonstrates causality (and see that across time causality has been the subject of hot dispute). We note that across science, there are many “effects.” Such puts the logic of being and causality on the table for discussion as part 4 of this series [ cf. 1, 2, 3] — and yes, again, the question arises: why are these themes not a routine part of our education? The logic of being (ontology) speaks to possible vs impossible entities, contingent ones Read More ›

Logic & First Principles, 3: The roots of right reason and the power/limits of entailment

Why is this topic important? (Why a series, now on no 3 (see 1 and 2)?) Here at UD, the phrase “first principles of right reason” and similar ones (e.g. “reason’s rules”) have often come up. Others talk about “the laws of thought,” which in a post-Kant world hints of “the ugly gulch” between the inner world of mental, conscious phenomena and the outer world of things in themselves. In that context, we have often highlighted that evolutionary materialistic scientism is irretrievably self-referentially incoherent and have pointed out how this means it is necessarily false. We have also pointed to “self-evident” first truths and principles, including the principle of distinct identity and its immediate corollaries, non-contradiction and the excluded middle. Read More ›

Logic and First Principles, 2: How could Induction ever work? (Identity and universality in action . . . )

In a day when first principles of reason are at a steep discount, it is unsurprising to see that inductive reasoning is doubted or dismissed in some quarters. And yet, there is still a huge cultural investment in science, which is generally understood to pivot on inductive reasoning. Where, as the Stanford Enc of Phil notes, in the modern sense, Induction ” includes all inferential processes that “expand knowledge in the face of uncertainty” (Holland et al. 1986: 1), including abductive inference.” That is, inductive reasoning is argument by more or less credible but not certain support, especially empirical support. How could it ever work? A: Surprise — NOT: by being an application of the principle of (stable) distinct identity. Read More ›

UD’s Weak Arguments Correctives page passes 50,000 visits

As I checked the dashboard, I just saw that the current visit-count for the “Frequently raised but weak arguments against Intelligent Design” page stands at 50,307. Worth noting, even as onlookers are again invited to ponder its remarks. END PS: Table of contents: WEAK ANTI-ID ARGUMENTS: 1] ID is “not science” 2] No Real Scientists Take Intelligent Design Seriously 3] Intelligent Design does not carry out or publish scientific research 4] ID does not make scientifically fruitful predictions 5] Intelligent Design is “Creationism in a Cheap Tuxedo” 6] Since Intelligent Design Proponents Believe in a “Designer” or “Creator” They Can Be Called “Creationists” 7] Because William Dembski once commented that the design patterns in nature are consistent with the “logos Read More ›

Design Disquisitions: Quote of the Month-Robin Collins on Why ID isn’t Science

It’s been a while sorry, but here’s my latest:   Quote of the Month: Robin Collins on why ID isn’t a part of science