Home » Christian Darwinism, News » You know BioLogos’s Darrel Falk is out to get someone when the smarmalade is laid on thick …

You know BioLogos’s Darrel Falk is out to get someone when the smarmalade is laid on thick …

Photo of

Darrel Falk, biology prof at Point Loma Linda Nazarene,

In “At BioLogos, Still Critiquing the Book Steve Meyer Didn’t Write” (Evolution News & Views, September 15, 2011) David Klinghoffer observes that the BioLogos Foundation’s president Darrel Falk can’t seem to grasp that in Signature in the Cell, Meyer is talking about the problems of origin of life, not Darwinian evolution. Most analysts of the problem see it as a different one because – apart from design – we have no reason to suppose that hydrogen atoms are trying to maximize the survival of their selfish genes by becoming people. But Falk – choosing to write about an argument he thinks he can refute instead of the one that was made – engages in God talk so sugary that it makes observant Jew Klinghoffer cringe:

Falk is full of assurances that Dr. Meyer is not only a “friend and colleague” but a “fellow Christian,” sharing with Dr. Falk the belief that “a Mind” lies behind the process of life’s unfolding. “We both stand amazed at the majesty of creation and our love for the Creator,” Falk writes. He invokes “God’s Holy Spirit. That Spirit not only fills all of creation, but more specifically that Spirit fills us with his Presence and envelops us in his love. This is cause for celebration and, with ‘sandals off,’ we each bow our heads in humble worship. Truly, we — all of us — are standing on holy ground.”

From occasionally perusing the BioLogos website, I’ve come to realize that such talk about holiness and humility and love often accompanies some kind of innuendo or slur. When the sandals come off, the knife comes out.

It’s their evangelical outreach, David. We will know they are Christians by their shove, by their shove …

Jesus never seems to take – or get – a break.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

35 Responses to You know BioLogos’s Darrel Falk is out to get someone when the smarmalade is laid on thick …

  1. To be fair, in the book (p.483) Stephen Meyer stated that he determined that only an intelligent agent could have been responsible for the cell (the presumed first life form). He continued that;

    According to the hypothesis developed in this book, intelligent design is the best explanation of the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life. To make this case, I argued that no purely physical or chemical entity or process had demonstrated the causal powers to produce complex specified information — where “complex” refers to a specific amount of information (roughly 500 bits or more) and the inverse of a probability measure (Dembski’s inverse probability bound). An obvious prediction follows from this claim — in particular, that large amounts of new functionally specified information (over 500 bits) will not accumulate as a result of random or undirected processes and that no such process will be discovered that can produce 500 bits of new specified information starting from purely physical and chemical antecedents. My theory acknowledges that small amounts of specified information can occassionally arise by random processes, but that the amount of information that can be generated is limited by the probablistic resources of the universe.

    It seems to me that an honest reading of the entire section (see “The Causal Powers of Materialistic Mechanisms”) makes it clear that not only the first life, but any evolutionary change above the CSI threshold, can not be the product of natural means alone. Thus it’s entirely reasonable to conclude that Stephen Meyer’s theory, by his own admission, applies to Darwinian Evolution and not just the origin of life.

  2. When it comes to the undocumented past Naturalistic Theists can not acknowledge even one divine intervention.
    If they did then they may as well(God forbid)believe their own religion.

  3. rhampton7: Meyer is assuming that he who would account for the origin of life must account for the first cell. About which he presents the difficulties. His book is not about Darwinian evolution. A need to pretend otherwise springs from what motive, would you say?

  4. RH7:

    Pardon, Meyer is highlighting a basic point, that FSCI — in living forms specification is on bio-functionality constraints to fit as key to lock and work correctly — is an empirically well-supported sign of intelligent design:

    intelligent design is the best explanation of the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life. To make this case, I argued that no purely physical or chemical entity or process had demonstrated the causal powers to produce complex specified information — where “complex” refers to a specific amount of information (roughly 500 bits or more) and the inverse of a probability measure (Dembski’s inverse probability bound). An obvious prediction follows from this claim — in particular, that large amounts of new functionally specified information (over 500 bits) will not accumulate as a result of random or undirected processes and that no such process will be discovered that can produce 500 bits of new specified information starting from purely physical and chemical antecedents.

    Notice, too, you have snipped above the conclusive summary, not the grounding for it. Cf. my own remarks here on on that.

    Meyer has applied this framework of evidence and analysis to the particular case of origin of life, and it is obviously onward applicable to the origin of complex biofunction in living systems, just as it is applicable to the origin of sculptures, Stonehenges, computer programs and even blog posts in this thread. (All monkeys pounding on keyboards, report their presence kindly . . . bananas offered as a reward to the first monkey to successfully type and submit a post by random keyboarding.)

    However, in the book you have quoted he has not addressed this issue specifically, given its focus on origin of life.

    What he is speaking to is a very simple issue: SHOW ON EMPIRICAL OBSERVATION, A CASE WHERE BLIND CHANCE AND MERE MECHANICAL NECESSITY GIVE RISE TO FSCI AND DESIGN THEORY GOES AWAY.

    Failing that, the abundant observational evidence that FSCI is only — and, routinely [try even posts in this thread] — produced by design as causal process, backed up by the sort of search resources challenge analysis [e.g., cf here] that undergirds this observation, warrants a strong inductive generalisation.

    Namely, that once we see something that pushes the LHS of the following log reduced simplified Dembski expression beyond 1, we have grounds to infer design:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold.

    At that threshold, the search capacity of our solar system since its commonly accepted date of origin, would amount to a random sample the size of one straw, taken from a hay bale a light month across. Even if a solar system were lurking in such a bale, overwhelmingly, your sample — save it it were intelligently directed — would come up with the typical pattern, not he isolated one, namely, a straw.

    And if you are uncomfortable with the solar system as scope of search, move up to 1,000 bits, to reduce the search resources of the observed cosmos even more hopelessly in the space of possible configurations for just 125 bytes of informational possibilities.

    For origin of life, just on DNA for cells — and the biological cell is the observed form of life we are studying scientifically (if you propose another kindly put forward a sample we may observe) — we are looking at 100,000 – 1 mn bits worth of information. Lucky noise [the source of variation for the trials in trial and error blind searches] is just not credibly likely to hit on codes, algorithms and the like in a clustered, co-ordinated basis, under such circumstances.

    And, when it comes to onward proposed body plan macro-level evolution — not one or a few bases worth or mutations leading to variation within a body plan that is already working on the ground — we are now looking at 10′s – 100′s+ millions of bits worth of fresh functionally specific information; as can be inferred from comparing genome sizes of unicellular organisms and typical complex organisms with functionally specific organs and systems.

    The claim is that chance based variation plus culling out of the unfit by their extinction [i.e. natural selection is a REMOVER not an adder of info] suffice to explain origin of such functionally specific body plans. But as we just highlighted, that boils down to chance origin of information for novel, specific and complex functions, many of which will certainly be beyond the relevant thresholds for chance search.

    The FSCI threshold principle applies to the origin of body plans, just as it does to the origin of life that Meyer addressed in details in his work. And, it points to the same conclusion.

    Now, why didn’t Meyer spend time on the origin of body plans?

    The answer lies in the structure of the famous tree of life icon: the root of the tree is obviously the origin of life. For, if there is no root, there can be no tree.

    Also, if it is a reasonable and warranted conclusion that on the evidence of FSCI, cell based life was designed, that drastically shifts our estimate of the credible resources available to account for body plans. If the cell was designed, credibly, then on much the same grounds, it is credible that body plans were also designed.

    Just as Wallace — co-founder of the modern theory of evolution — concluded, there is abundant reason and evidence to infer that the world of life is a manifestation of intelligent purpose and design. But in our day, there is an intellectual stronghold of a priori imposed materialism that blocks that reasonable conclusion, largely on institutionalised ideological grounds. (Cf here on in context.)

    The issue, in the end, unfortunately, is no mystery: the actual mere objective strength of evidence and analysis on the merits for a new paradigm, too often, is not enough to break through the a priori commitments of the established old order, so major paradigm shifts for entrenched research programmes often take a generation or more.

    Twenty more years to go, folks. (We are already seeing the expellers fined for their abuses . . . )

    GEM of TKI

  5. “apart from design – we have no reason to suppose that hydrogen atoms are trying to maximize the survival of their selfish genes by becoming people. ”

    What is the design reason to suppose hydrogen atoms are trying to maximize the survival of their selfish genes by becoming people (whatever that could mean!!!).

  6. “Pardon, Meyer is highlighting a basic point, that FSCI — in living forms specification is on bio-functionality constraints to fit as key to lock and work correctly — is an empirically well-supported sign of intelligent design”

    This just confirms Farrell’s point. Any evidence that natural processes have produced substantial amounts of new information anywhere — e.g., the extremely well-known and well-documented process of gene duplication followed by rounds of mutation & selection — falsifies the argument that the only known explanation of such information is ID. It doesn’t prove that the origin of life was natural, but it does prove that Meyer’s particular argument has a huge gaping hole in it.

  7. NickMatzke_UD:

    This just confirms Farrell’s point. Any evidence that natural processes have produced substantial amounts of new information anywhere — e.g., the extremely well-known and well-documented process of gene duplication followed by rounds of mutation & selection — falsifies the argument that the only known explanation of such information is ID.

    Unfortunately for you there isn’t any evidence that gene duplication followed by rounds of mutation and selection are due to blind, undirected chemical processes.

    IOW Nick, you are once again engaging in a question-begging fallacy.

    It doesn’t prove that the origin of life was natural, but it does prove that Meyer’s particular argument has a huge gaping hole in it.

    Well Nick, until it is demonstrated that blind, undirected chemical processes can produce a living organism there isn’t any evidence to support you claim about gene duplication- meaning as far as you know gene duplication is a design mechanism.

  8. Well Nick, until it is demonstrated that blind, undirected chemical processes can produce a living organism there isn’t any evidence to support you claim about gene duplication- meaning as far as you know gene duplication is a design mechanism.

    That’s just silly. We know the chemical causes of mutations and gene duplications. We know the population dynamics that lead to drift, natural selection, etc. All of these processes have been directly observed in nature and in the lab. If you were consistent and would just treat evolution like other sciences are treated, you wouldn’t raise any problems here.


  9. Well Nick, until it is demonstrated that blind, undirected chemical processes can produce a living organism there isn’t any evidence to support you claim about gene duplication- meaning as far as you know gene duplication is a design mechanism.

    That’s just silly.

    What is silly about it?

    We know the chemical causes of mutations and gene duplications.

    We do? Please reference the peer-reviewed paper that demonstrates all mutations and gene duplications are due to blind, undirected chemical processes.

    We know the population dynamics that lead to drift, natural selection, etc.

    Perhaps but neither drift nor natuiral selection has been shown to do what you think.

    All of these processes have been directly observed in nature and in the lab.

    True and what we observe should be evidence against the claims of your position.

    If you were consistent and would just treat evolution like other sciences are treated, you wouldn’t raise any problems here.

    Still equivocating I see. ID is not anti-evolution, Nick. But you ran away from that thread…

  10. Nick,

    We know the chemical causes of mutations and gene duplications. We know the population dynamics that lead to drift, natural selection, etc. All of these processes have been directly observed in nature and in the lab.

    That would be relevant if we were discussing whether mutations and gene duplication were real. We’re discussing the limits of what they can or cannot do. You know that’s the real question, so why are you avoiding it?

    You always seem to have time to tell people how stupid you think they are, but when this subject comes up your time suddenly becomes more valuable.

  11. Joseph, post 5.1:

    Still equivocating I see. ID is not anti-evolution, Nick. But you ran away from that thread…

    But, Kairosfocus at post 1.2 writes:

    The FSCI threshold principle applies to the origin of body plans, just as it does to the origin of life that Meyer addressed in details in his work. And, it points to the same conclusion.

    Now, why didn’t Meyer spend time on the origin of body plans?

    The answer lies in the structure of the famous tree of life icon: the root of the tree is obviously the origin of life. For, if there is no root, there can be no tree.

    …which is *directly opposing common descent.*

    Get your story straight, guys.

  12. That would be relevant if we were discussing whether mutations and gene duplication were real. We’re discussing the limits of what they can or cannot do. You know that’s the real question, so why are you avoiding it?

    You always seem to have time to tell people how stupid you think they are, but when this subject comes up your time suddenly becomes more valuable.

    I’m not avoiding it. I’ve posted the evidence that new genes, and thus new information, can originate through these processes again and again and again. Here is one example:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive.....ponse.html

    And, Meyer clearly claims that only intelligence can creae new information, therefore, says Meyer, the origin of life must be due to intelligence. The logic of this particular argument breaks down if there are non-intelligent causes of information. This was one of the points made by Darrel Falk, Dennis Venema etc. in their critiques of Meyer.

    And yet, instead of just admitting the obvious, you guys, following uncritically the Discovery Institute’s propaganda, get all mad and in a huff and claim that Falk et al. are ignoring Meyer’s argument! Actually, they are following it to the letter!

    And that kind of thing — inconsistency, amazingly poor research and ignoring well-known facts, and inability to “get the ID story straight” — not bias, meanness, bad theology, or whatever, is why the ID movement continues to fail to convince even evangelical Christians who are well-informed. Make better arguments without huge obvious holes, and admit when someone like Meyer makes a mistake, and then maybe ID will start to be taken seriously more like real science.

  13. Nick,

    You can have evolution without having universal common descent.

    From the thread you ran away from:

    How are you defining “evolution”?

    A change in allele frequency over time is evolution without requiring universal common ancestry.

    Descent with modification is evolution without requiring universal common descent.

    Baraminology is descent with modofication, which is evolution without requiring universal common descent.

    Natural selection is evolution without requiring universal common descent.

    OTOH common design is a directly observable phenomenon- we see it every place there are design/ building/ communication standards. Not only that we see it every time a designer wants to improve an existing design.

    So Nick, how are YOU defining “evolution” that makes ID anti-evolution?

    Or is that kept in a top-super-secret location too?

    I went on to say:

    And front-loaded evolution, prescribed evolution, non-random evolution and evolution by design are all evolution just with the blind watchmaker relegated to breaking things, as observed.

    So again I ask-

    How are YOU defining “evolution” that makes ID anti-evolution?

    Then I even helped you out but you were a no-show.

  14. Here’s the beginning of Venema’s response to Meyer’s response:

    Dennis R. Venema (2011). “Intelligent Design, Abiogenesis, and Learning from History: A Reply to Meyer.” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 63(3), 183-192. pp. 183-184:

    I am thankful for this opportunity to reply to Stephen Meyer’s criticisms of my review2 of his book Signature in the Cell (hereafter Signature). Meyer’s critiques of my review fall into two general categories. First, he claims I mistook Signature for an argument against biological evolution, rendering several of my arguments superfluous. Secondly, Meyer asserts that I have failed to refute his thesis by not providing a “causally adequate alternative explanation” for the origin of life in that the few relevant critiques I do provide are “deeply flawed.” I will address these issues in turn.

    Straw Man or Valid Critique?

    I find Meyer’s claim that biological evolution is irrelevant to the argument of Signature curious for several reasons. The most important reason is that the basic argument of Signature requires that biological evolution be incapable of generating new information. A constant thread running through Signature is the claim that all information, whatever its nature, is the result of intelligence. Moreover, this assertion is proffered as the logical basis for inferring design for the origin of biological information: if information only ever arises from intelligence, then the mere presence of information demonstrates design. A few examples from Signature make the point easily:

    … historical scientists can show that a presently acting cause must have been present in the past because the proposed candidate is the only known cause of the effect in question. If there is only one possible cause of a salient piece of evidence, then clearly the presence of that evidence establishes the past existence of its cause. (Signature, p. 167, emphasis in original)

    Indeed, our uniform experience affirms that specified information–whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, encoded in a radio signal, or produced in a simulation experiment–always arises from an intelligent source, from a mind and not strictly a material process. So the discovery of the specified digital information in the DNA molecule provides strong grounds for inferring that intelligence played a role in the origin of DNA. Indeed, whenever we find specified information and we know the causal story of how that information arose, we always find that it arose from an intelligent source. It follows that the best, most causally adequate explanation for the origin of the specified, digitally encoded information in DNA is that it too had an intelligent source. (Signature, p. 347, emphasis in original)

    Moreover, because experience shows that an intelligent agent is not only a known, but the only known cause of specified, digitally encoded information, the theory of intelligent design developed in this book has passed two critical tests: the tests of causal adequacy and causal existence … Precisely because intelligent design uniquely passed these tests, I argued that it stands as the best explanation of the DNA enigma. (Signature, p. 405, emphasis in original)

    The strength of this argument depends on the assertion that all information arises from intelligence. Note well: the argument requires that all information, in any form, be the result of intelligence, not just the information required for the origin of life. If any natural mechanism can be found that produces information of any sort, Meyer’s argument collapses simply based on its own internal logic. This is not a peripheral argument tucked away in an appendix: it is warp and woof of the entire book, and Meyer reiterates it unchanged, even within his response.3

    It was in this context and to this end that I discussed several examples of how evolutionary mechanisms generate biological information in my original review,4 and later in more detail as a series of blog posts for the BioLogos Foundation.5 In those sources, readers may examine the evidence that, contra Meyer, large amounts of new information have indeed arisen through the natural mechanisms of biological evolution. If a natural mechanism can produce information, then Meyer cannot claim that only intelligence produces it. As such, he cannot reliably infer that the information we see in modern DNA was designed, since information is not uniquely associated with intelligent activity.

  15. NickMatzke_UD:

    And, Meyer clearly claims that only intelligence can creae new information, therefore, says Meyer, the origin of life must be due to intelligence.

    No Nick, Meyer talks about the ORIGIN of information, not new information. And even then it isn’t just any ole information. It has to be functional, ie do something. And it has to be of a certain complexity too.

    So you need to discuss the ORIGIN of genes because once you have a living organism you are starting with that which needs explaining in first place.

    And if living organisms did not arise from non-living matter via blind, undirected chemical processes there isn’t any reason to infer the subsequent evolution of living organisms was via blind, undirected chemical processes.

    The point is, Nick, YOU cannot get the ID story straight. All YOU can do is erect strawman after strawman and attack them as if it means something.

    Perhaps if your position had some positive evidence you wouldn’t have to do stuff like that. And when that happens perhaps people will start taking it seriously and treating it like real science.

    You have claimed to have read “Not By Chance” by Dr Lee Spetener but it is obvious that if you read anything you only read the title page.

  16. The most important reason is that the basic argument of Signature requires that biological evolution be incapable of generating new information.

    BLIND, UNDIRECTED CHEMICAL PROCESS CANNOT CREATE FUNCTIONAL INFORMATION FROM SCRATCH.

    You people are so dense you are walking black holes.

  17. Nick,

    You’re either missing or avoiding the point entirely. A mutation is technically new information. The origin of new genes does not by itself explain the origin of new species. They result in variations but not in new types of organs, body plans, or complex behaviors.

    To think otherwise is wildly optimistic. It’s an unsubstantiated extrapolation.

    By pointing out the obvious, that living things vary by mutations or other means, you are again evading the argument.

    If you are challenged with this argument and reply with the link above, it suggests that you can’t actually address it. Otherwise why would you post a reply that doesn’t address the question and then launch a series of irrelevant attacks? Our eyes are still on the ball. We’re waiting to see whether you address the challenge.

  18. What does “from scratch” really mean. You can get vesicles from soap molecules at a certain concentration, not “from scratch”.

  19. Inception

  20. BLIND, UNDIRECTED CHEMICAL PROCESS CANNOT CREATE FUNCTIONAL INFORMATION FROM SCRATCH.

    Neither can observed action of intelligence, which doesn’t start with 0 information, it starts with lots and lots of information. So this argument doesn’t get you anywhere.

  21. You’re either missing or avoiding the point entirely. A mutation is technically new information. The origin of new genes does not by itself explain the origin of new species.

    (a) The discussion was about the origin of new information, not the origin of new species. Not every answer to one question automatically answers every other imaginable evolutionary question. Randomly changing topics does not help defend the failure of the ID argument on the original topic.

    (b) Even the young-earth creationists accept the natural origin of new species. Do you doubt it?

  22. NickMatzke_UD:

    Neither can observed action of intelligence, which doesn’t start with 0 information, it starts with lots and lots of information.

    So we agree, your position is nonsense and only ID makes any sense given what we know.

    Thanks.

  23. Inception occurred 14 billion years ago.

  24. NickMatzke_UD:

    (a) The discussion was about the origin of new information, not the origin of new species.

    That is a strawman.

  25. Starbuck:

    Inception occurred 14 billion years ago.

    OK then- front loading takes care of that…

  26. No Nick, Meyer talks about the ORIGIN of information, not new information. And even then it isn’t just any ole information. It has to be functional, ie do something. And it has to be of a certain complexity too.

    So you need to discuss the ORIGIN of genes because once you have a living organism you are starting with that which needs explaining in first place.

    Oh really? Meyer claims his inference to ID is based on the fact that intelligence is the only known cause of X, where X=information (according to Meyer’s original argument), and X=life (according to you).

    But the argument doesn’t work if X=life. Have you, or anyone, ever observed intelligence creating life? Whoops, don’t think so.

  27. It’s not my fault the commentator raised the topic of “the origin of new species”. Or am I supposed to guess what he meant, instead of what he wrote?


  28. No Nick, Meyer talks about the ORIGIN of information, not new information. And even then it isn’t just any ole information. It has to be functional, ie do something. And it has to be of a certain complexity too.

    So you need to discuss the ORIGIN of genes because once you have a living organism you are starting with that which needs explaining in first place.

    NickMatzke_UD

    Oh really?

    Yes, Nick, really.

    Meyer claims his inference to ID is based on the fact that intelligence is the only known cause of X, where X=information (according to Meyer’s original argument), and X=life (according to you).

    X= a living organism according to both myself and Meyer. “Sig. in the Cell” is about the OoL.

    But the argument doesn’t work if X=life. Have you, or anyone, ever observed intelligence creating life?

    It is called EXTRAPOLATION Nick and scientists do it all the time. And the way to refute the design inference is to demonstrate that blind, undirected chemical processes can produce a living organism. IOW your position has it all but yet cannot do anything. Strange, that…

  29. So, according to you, evolutionary processes creating new genes don’t count as “really” creating information because you are starting with (fewer) genes, but intelligent processes *do* count as “really” creating information, even though all observed intelligence also starts with information (and, actually, all observed intelligences start with genes as well).

    Heads you win, tails I lose. You’d get arrested if you tried playing this sort of game for money.

  30. Nick,

    That is a whole lot of ducking and weaving to avoid answering a rather simple question.

    Let me give you a simple example. Darwinian evolution posits that ground-dwelling spiders can evolve into web-weaving spiders via naturally occurring processes, including both the physical and behavioral modifications required.

    I am saying that there no basis for that conclusion besides unjustified extrapolation and wishful thinking. I’m not so unreasonable that I would expect a response to my specific example. If it could be demonstrated that such processes could over time produce a heart or an eye or a wing or the behavior of birds pretending to be injured, then the extrapolation to everything else might be warranted.

    If any specific explanations were available then why would anyone bother publishing vague narratives of how an eye might have evolved, devoid of any testable specifics, and why would anyone ever cite it as evidence of the plausibility of darwinian evolution?

    It’s your business if you don’t want to explain why you believe as you do. But most of the comments in this forum are discussing or debating that subject. If you never commented at all then most people would conclude that you’re not interested in defending your position. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But instead you’re giving the impression that you can’t. And that’s okay too, because it’s what we expect.

  31. NickMatzke_UD:

    So, according to you, evolutionary processes creating new genes don’t count as “really” creating information because you are starting with (fewer) genes, but intelligent processes *do* count as “really” creating information, even though all observed intelligence also starts with information (and, actually, all observed intelligences start with genes as well).

    Not even close- geez is that all you have is to erect another strawman?

    As I have been telling you- as far as anyone knows “evolutionary processes” are design processes. IOW your continued equivocation is duly noted.

    But anyway only intelligent agencies can take existing information and rearrange it for their needs. No one has ever observed blind, undirected processes doing that.

  32. Dr Martzke:

    Provide the OBSERVED counter-evidence, then.

    Any evidence that a perpetual motion machine, second kind, would work, would destroy thermodynamics. All that means is that thermo-D is subject to empirical test.

    However, no such credible observations exist.

    Just so, FSCI , if it could be produced by blind chance and necessity would overthrow design theory — an evidence that it is scientific [which you refuse to acknowledge!] — but, that evidence is conspicuously absent.

    What is routinely present, is a very broad base of observations that functionally specific, complex information is consistently produced by intelligence. For instance, we could take posts in this thread or books in a library or software on a PC.

    We know a sufficient cause, we know it is consistently observed, we know that we do not see exceptions, and we see the same phenomenon in an object whose origin is beyond our observation.

    What, on the uniformity principle, do we infer as its best explanation? The sufficient cause we see, or the analytically dubious one we do NOT see?

    (So, why — a part from the dominance of Lewontin-Sagan a priori materialism — is it that in this case the analytically dubious cause is preferred by the establishment?)

    GEM of TKI

  33. Dr Matzke:

    Ever heard of something called front-loading? (For just one instance.) Or, the difference between common descent and UNIVERSAL common descent? (For another.) Of the challenge of embryological viability and the Cambrian fossil life revolution? (For a third?)

    Further to this, can you kindly provide empirical OBSERVATION — not a priori materialism- laden, question-begging speculations — of origin of novel body plans by BLIND chance variation and natural selection?

    That is, I am pointing out that there is a world of difference between common descent of forms of a general kind, and of universal common descent of all forms from a universal common ancestor.

    In addition, even where such variations and diversifications exist, that is worlds apart from showing on empirical observations that the ACTUAL — not inferred — cause is blind chance plus mechanical necessity.

    And, we have not even got to the issue of showing the origin of FSCI by chance plus necessity, at or beyond the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold.

    Going further, what is your OBSERVED evidence for the spontaneous emergence of codes, algorithms, and data structures such as are seen in DNA by blind chance and mechanical necessity in suitable pre-life chemical environments?

    Without evidence for this, the whole tree of life concept is moot, as there is no root.

    What the actual evidence substantiates is that FSCI, codes — language! — algorithms [use of language to prescribe actions towards a purpose!], data structures [use of language to lay out information on protocols designed for algorithms to work on] etc are all produced and only seen to be produced by intelligence. So, these phenomena are credibly signs of intrelligent action.

    And once we have reason to infer to the intelligent origin of C-Chemistry, cell based life, absent a priori materialism, we have every good reason to agree with the co-founder of modern evolutionary theory, Wallace, that “the world of life” is “a manifestation of Creative Power, Directive Mind and Ultimate Purpose.”

    This, you know, or should know.

    I say that to your shame.

    So, that the course of natural history may well have made abundant use of evolutionary mechanisms of various kinds over the ages past, is not at all an effective counter to the inference to design.

    Johnson’s rebuke to Lewontin is all too apt:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    It is high time you acknowledged and turned form such worldview level question-begging.

    GEM of TKI

  34. F/N: Meyer on the Cambrian life revo:

    ________

    >> The Cambrian explosion represents a remarkable jump in the specified complexity or “complex specified information” (CSI) of the biological world. For over three billions years, the biological realm included little more than bacteria and algae (Brocks et al. 1999). Then, beginning about 570-565 million years ago (mya), the first complex multicellular organisms appeared in the rock strata, including sponges, cnidarians, and the peculiar Ediacaran biota (Grotzinger et al. 1995). Forty million years later, the Cambrian explosion occurred (Bowring et al. 1993) . . . One way to estimate the amount of new CSI that appeared with the Cambrian animals is to count the number of new cell types that emerged with them (Valentine 1995:91-93) . . . the more complex animals that appeared in the Cambrian (e.g., arthropods) would have required fifty or more cell types . . . New cell types require many new and specialized proteins. New proteins, in turn, require new genetic information. Thus an increase in the number of cell types implies (at a minimum) a considerable increase in the amount of specified genetic information. Molecular biologists have recently estimated that a minimally complex single-celled organism would require between 318 and 562 kilobase pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life (Koonin 2000). More complex single cells might require upward of a million base pairs. Yet to build the proteins necessary to sustain a complex arthropod such as a trilobite would require orders of magnitude more coding instructions. The genome size of a modern arthropod, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, is approximately 180 million base pairs (Gerhart & Kirschner 1997:121, Adams et al. 2000). Transitions from a single cell to colonies of cells to complex animals represent significant (and, in principle, measurable) increases in CSI . . . .

    In order to explain the origin of the Cambrian animals, one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . [but] processes of development are tightly integrated spatially and temporally such that changes early in development will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes downstream. For this reason, mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . . McDonald notes that genes that are observed to vary within natural populations do not lead to major adaptive changes, while genes that could cause major changes–the very stuff of macroevolution–apparently do not vary. In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn’t need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don’t occur.6 [And yes this paper passed proper peer review by renowned scientists, whatever Matzke and colleagues at the NCSE that orchestrated an inexcusable witch hunt want to say about it.] >>
    ________

    In short, there is a whole other side to the story, and Drs Matzke, Scott and Forrest et al from NCSE etc. have a LOT of serious explaining to do, on science and on ethics of their public relations and thought police pressure group practices.

    Which they will do almost anything to distract our attention from.

    GEM of TKI

  35. Onlookers,

    See the bobbing and weaving, ducking and dodging by Matzke et al — remember this is former PR man at NCSE — to avoid answering a very simple matter?

    Let’s boil it down:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold.

    Where I = – log p, or a derivative thereof [for observed E's from a given zone of interest T), and where S is a dummy variable that is 1/0 according as we have a definable and independently describable zone of interest T from a wider config space W, in which we observe cases of -- in this case -- FSCI, E.

    The simple challenge is to produce a case where in our observation, blind chance and mechanical necessity produce such a case of FSCI. For instance, you can look at the cases of random text generation by infinite monkey tests, here, which all stop at about 20 - 25 ASCII characters, not 70 - 75, 10^50 not 10^150 possibilities:

    One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the "monkeys" typed, “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t" The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona". Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from "Timon of Athens", 17 from "Troilus and Cressida", and 16 from "Richard II".[21]

    A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulates a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:

    RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…

    The resources of the solar system are such that a sample using up the Planck time quantum state [PTQS] resources of our solar system since the usually taken time of formation, 10^102 possibilities for 10^57 atoms; would be 1 in 10^48 of the 10^150 possibilites for 500 bits. This is comparable to picking a single straw-sized blind sample from a cubical hay bale a light month across. Doesn’t matter how you do the sample, by overwhelming probability, such a sample will be typical not atypical, i.e it will predictably almost certainly be straw. Even if a whole solar system were lurking in that bale.

    In short, once we have functionally specific configs that are unrepresentative of the space of possibilities, they are maximally unlikely to be hit on without intelligent direction. Which is exactly what we routinely observe, starting from posts in this thread.

    And if you want to scale up to the observed cosmos, 1,000 bits as threshold will bury the sample even more deeply in the same problem.

    At this point, the issue is not whether the inference to design on tested and analytically credible signs such as FSCI and associated things like codes, algorithms, data structures etc is well warranted. That is plainly so to all but the most determined not to see.

    The real problem is what is driving that refusal to see the plainly well warranted. And, frankly, the answer tot hat is prior commitment to a worldview and life agenda; in the case of Dr Matzke, that has been as a PR spokesman.

    Lewontin let the cat out of the bag, for all to see, save the utterly committed true believers in materialism:

    . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] 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 [[i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    (And, if you imagine that the latest talking point, that this is “quote mining” as it leaves off the Beck remarks, is at all valid, just read the fuller clip and notes here; this one is just more squid ink for the a priori materialists to escape behind. Nope, this is plainly a case of inconveniently letting the cat out of the bag.)

    GEM of TKI

Leave a Reply