Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


Dr Selensky on a Tour vs Cronin debate on OoL

He writes: >> Participants: From the naturalists’ camp: chemist Lee Cronin (University of Glasgow, UK). From the skeptics’ camp: chemist James Tour (Rice University, USA). Okay, origin of life research. Like in any other research, there should be no magic: garbage in — garbage out. Between 25:00 and 26:00 Lee said something like this: We found in a laboratory how chemicals can be steered towards decision making. (emphasis mine). This is already telling. I am fine with experiments in a test tube. But as soon as naturalists need to explain something non-trivial like the alleged naturalistic emergence of decision making or information translation, they use imagination. Closer to the end of the debate, Cronin gives way to it: in 5 Read More ›

L&FP40: Language is . . . (as a foundation for understanding machine code and mathematical language as just that, linguistic)

It seems we need to clarify language. For, we see in the Ortho types thread: EG, 140: >> . . . Definitions of language: Webster’s: the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community. Britannica: a system of conventional spoken, manual (signed), or written symbols by means of which human beings, as members of a social group and participants in its culture, express themselves. Cambridge: a system of communication consisting of sounds, words, and grammar, or the system of communication used by people in a particular country or type of work. Collins: A language is a system of communication which consists of a set of sounds and written symbols which are used by 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 ›

Answering DiEb: Just what is “search” in a sense relevant to ID?

For some time now, objector DiEb has been raising the question, what do we mean by speaking of “search” in the context of evolutionary search. At 311 in the parody thread, she [IIRC] remarks: >>Search is a central term in the work of Dr. Dr. William Dembski jr, Dr. Winston Ewert, and Dr. Robert Marks II (DEM): it appears in the title of a couple of papers written by at least two of the authors, and it is mentioned hundreds of times in their textbook “Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics“. Strangely – and in difference from the other central term information, it is not defined in this textbook, and neither is search problem or search algorithm. Luckily, dozens of examples of Read More ›

Guest Post — Template-Assisted Ligation: A New OOL Model

Dr E. Selensky occasionally requests that UD posts an article on his behalf. What follows is his latest: ______________ Arguably, the RNA world model is excessively complex: it operates too complex structures and involves too complex interactions. The origin of life, some researchers believe, must have been simpler.In an attempt to close the gap between chemistry and life by naturalistic means a new model has been proposed recently, yet another one of many, that seeks to explain the rise of RNAs. This model is called template-assisted ligation. It has been proposed by Alexey Tkachenko and Sergei Maslov at American Institute of Physics. They hope it can help shed light on what could have preceded the RNA world.The crux of the 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 ›

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 ›