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Design Disquisitions: Design & the Problem of Intelligibility

Many critics of intelligent design argue that not only is ID false (or at least unscientific), but that it is basically meaningless. Such lines of criticism come from philosophers such as Sahotra Sarkar and Elliott Sober. They argue that the general concepts that are assumed in ID discussions like ‘design’ and ‘intelligence’ are too primitive and vague to be of any use in a coherent scientific theory. Sarkar in particular claims that ID’s concepts can only be propped up by using analogies inherited by the natural theological tradition, and so cannot be formulated in a non-theological/scientific manner. In this article I have attempted to take a good stab at this objection. Though this article is quite in-depth, it is actually a Read More ›

FFT: Antikythera, Paley, Crick, Axe, the “first computer” claim and the design inference on sign

The Antikythera mechanism is a fascinating object (thanks, EA . . . ), one that is often called the “first” [Analogue] Computer. It was recovered from a Roman shipwreck (likely c. 50 – 80 BC) near the island of that name, and the origin of the mechanism has been a challenge ever since a key observation described thusly by Wiki inadvertently speaking against interest: The Antikythera mechanism was discovered in 45 metres (148 ft) of water in the Antikythera shipwreck off Point Glyphadia on the Greek island of Antikythera. The wreck was found in April 1900 by a group of Greek sponge divers, who retrieved numerous large artefacts, including bronze and marble statues, pottery, unique glassware, jewellery, coins, and the mechanism. All Read More ›

BTB & FFT: Is it true that “ID has no . . . recognised scientists, predictive qualities, experiments, peer reviewed publications, evidence, or credibility scientifically”?

H’mm, pretty devastating — if true. But, is it true? I doubt it. Let us start with this response to a certain objector who keeps providing lists of typical objector talking points (and who evidently wishes to be able to do so on UD’s nickel, without effective response). Not on our watch, gentilhombre: >>13 kairosfocus May 30, 2017 at 1:17 am F/N: DI’s opening remarks on the annotated list of ID professional literature updated to March 2017: BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND ANNOTATED LIST OF PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS SUPPORTING INTELLIGENT DESIGN UPDATED MARCH, 2017 PART I: INTRODUCTION While intelligent design (ID) research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications. In 2011, Read More ›

RVB8 tries to dismiss ID as failed science

. . . with yet another list of talking points.  Namely: >>The irony of a scientific idea, ‘Intelligent Design’, with no experimentation? The irony of a scientific idea, ‘Intelligent Design’, with no predictive qualities? The irony of a scientific idea, Intelligent Design’, that refuses to identify, or even look for, the Designer? My scientific idea has no irony, it does what it sets out to do; prove origins, prove life is one system linked by evolution, and prove life can be understood without holding God’s hand.>> Accordingly, I have replied: >>More failed talking points: >>The irony of a scientific idea, ‘Intelligent Design’, with no experimentation?>> 1 –> False. Cf Axe et al, cf Scott Minnich et al, cf Durston et Read More ›

GP on the Origin of Body Plans [OoBP] challenge

. . . here (at 194) in his amazing engineering thread as he responds to Dionisio: >>Dionisio: Thank you for summarizing that interesting discussion. I will summarize it even more. 1) Nobody knows how morphogenesis is controlled and guided. 2) Moran is no exception to that. 3) “Experts” are no exception to that. 4) However, according to Moran (and, unfortunately, he is probably quite right): “experts do not see a need to encode body plans and brain in our genome” 5) You and I, and probably some more sensible people, do see that need. 6) So, it seems, the problem is not about what we know, but about what we see as a need. Now, I notice that Moran says: Read More ›

RVB8 and the refusal to mark the difference between description and invention

. . . (of the concept, functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, FSCO/I) Sometimes, a longstanding objector here at UD — such as RVB8 — inadvertently reveals just how weak the objections to the design inference are by persistently clinging to long since cogently answered objections. This phenomenon of ideology triumphing over evident reality is worth highlighting as a headlined post illustrating darwinist rhetorical stratagems and habits. Here is RVB8 in a comment in the current Steve Fuller thread: RVB8, 36: >> for ID or Creationism, I can get the information direct from the creators of the terminology. Dembski for Specified Complexity, Kairos for his invention of FSCO/I, and Behe for Irreducible Complexity.>> For a long time, he and Read More ›

Design Disquisitions: Quote of the Month

I mentioned in my last post about featuring a ‘Critic’s Corner’ series on my blog. Another feature I will do is a ‘Quote of the Month’. This will be a good chance to interact and reflect on the quotation in question. This month’s quote is now up. Feel free to comment on the blog: William Dembski on the Process of Design

Design Disquisitions: Why the Question of Biological Origins Really Matters

Finally, I’ve managed to publish my first blog article! It’s been a rocky start as I had some technical difficulties. Nevertheless, it feels good to get the ball rolling. In this first article, I’ve chosen to take a step back and reflect upon whether or not intelligent design is an important problem to consider in the first place. I outline what I consider to be five strong reasons why this is a matter of great significance.   In the foreword to the intelligent design text, The Design of Life, biochemist William S. Harris notes: The scientific community continues to wrestle with the deep and fundamental questions: Where did the universe come from? How did life originate? How did a coded language (i.e., DNA) Read More ›

Should we begin to think in terms of micro-ID and Macro-/ General ID?

. . . that is, the design inference vs. the broader scientific investigation of a world of life and cosmos that are infused with complex, functionally specific information and complex, functional organisation? In the Turing test thread, just now, I raised this issue in responding to GP and SA . . . and I think this is worth headlining: ______________________ >>Perhaps, it is time to look at ID in a micro sense and a macro/general sense — a fashion that is now 100+ years old in the sciences, with Relativity as the leader (as is proper and fitting). The micro theory of ID is focussed on the design inference and its empirical/analytical warrant. This is the core, when can we Read More ›

UD Guest Post: Dr Eugen S on the second law of thermodynamics (plus . . . ) vs. “evolution”

Our Physicist and Computer Scientist from Russia — and each element of that balance is very relevant — is back, with more.  MOAR, in fact. This time, he tackles the “terror-fitted depths” of thermodynamics and biosemiotics. (NB: Those needing a backgrounder may find an old UD post here and a more recent one here, helpful.) More rich food for thought for the science-hungry masses, red hot off the press: _________________ >>On the Second Law of Thermodynamics in the context of the origin of life Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888) This note was motivated by my discussions with Russian interlocutors. One of UD readers here has asked me to produce a summary of those discussions, which I am happy to do now. I Read More ›

BTB: Points to ponder as we look at Crick’s understanding of DNA as text, since March 19, 1953

A few days back, I headlined a clip from Crick’s letter to his son Michael, March 19, 1953: The main text is accessible here (with page scans). Sans diagrams: >>My Dear Michael, Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery. We have built a model for the structure of des-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid (read it carefully) called D.N.A. for short. You may remember that the genes of the chromosomes — which carry the hereditary factors — are made up of protein and D.N.A. Our structure is very beautiful. D.N.A. can be thought of roughly as a very long chain with flat bits sticking out. The flat bits are called the “bases”. […] Now we have two of these chains winding Read More ›

BTB, Q: Where does the FSCO/I concept come from? (Is it reasonable/ credible?)

A: One of the old sayings of WW II era bomber pilots was that flak gets heaviest over a sensitive target. So, when something as intuitively obvious and easily demonstrated as configuration-based, functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated (explicit or implicit) information — FSCO/I — becomes a focus for objections, that is an implicit sign of its central importance and potential impact on the prevailing a priori materialism school of thought. So, it is appropriate to pause, headline and note for record its source in the works of Orgel, Wicken and Thaxton et al (where Dembski’s link to CSI is also important, cf here from a few days ago; as is the metric approach by Trevors, Abel, Durston Chiu et Read More ›

BTB, Q: Why all of this fuss about specific functionality and FSCO/I, when we already have CSI?

A: Of course, this was long since answered in Dembski’s No Free Lunch, but many (especially those who draw their understanding of ID from what ruthlessly manipulative objectors have to say) will not be familiar with what he has long since said on record. So, let’s clip and highlight, as foundational: >>p. 148:“The great myth of contemporary evolutionary biology is that the information needed to explain complex biological structures can be purchased without intelligence. My aim throughout this book is to dispel that myth . . . . Eigen and his colleagues must have something else in mind besides information simpliciter when they describe the origin of information as the central problem of biology. I submit that what they have Read More ›

BTB, Bob O’H vs the trillion-member observational base of FSCO/I and the design inference on reliable sign

It seems we need more back to basis by us deplorable lightweight ID-iots, again. Here, Bob O’H refuses to take the trillion member case observational base that functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I for short] is a reliable sign of intelligently directed configuration as key causal factor. Accordingly, in the answering ID is religion BTB thread, I just answered him at no. 31: [KF, 31:] >>Let’s pick up on points: >>As for FSCO/I, I’ve never seen it been applied to any real example,>> That is an amazing admission for an objector that has been around UD for years, not only as GP above has spoken to, but the many cases that were used as tests/challenges and the like. Read More ›