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Trouble in the “belief enforcement” science world gets noticed even in the New York Times

Who would have thought so? Have the Times people actually started connecting with the public again?

Here Virginia Heffernan comments on

The stilted and seething tone of some of the defection posts sent me into the ScienceBlogs archives, where I expected to find original insights into science by writers who stress that they are part of, in the blogger Dave Munger’s words, “the most influential science blogging network in the world.” And while I found interesting stuff here and there, I also discovered that ScienceBlogs has become preoccupied with trivia, name-calling and saber rattling. Maybe that’s why the ScienceBlogs ship started to sink.

Recently a blogger called GrrlScientist, on Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted), expressed her disgust at the “flock of hugely protruding bellies and jiggling posteriors everywhere I go.” Gratuitous contempt like this is typical.

- Unnatural science, The New York Times

The whole article is worth reading. Frankly, anyone interested in the intelligent design controversy or – for example – concerned about tax-based mismanagement of public issues like climate change or conservation – would do well to support Heffernan’s main point.

In my personal view, too many scientists are tax mooches. They do not need to be reasonable, because they are not doing anything that is obviously useful.

Let’s say you hire a mechanic to fix your car. Well, he either does fix it or he doesn’t, right? If you use public transit, either the system works or it doesn’t.

But the guy raising heck about the far past or the far future … ? How much do you really want to pay for that?

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71 Responses to Trouble in the “belief enforcement” science world gets noticed even in the New York Times

  1. You had me at “tax-based”.

  2. Just another piece of evidence that attests to the fact that materialism and scientism have undoubtebly reached the status of a religion… Well cult might be a more fitting word actually.

  3. Please forgive me if I am breaking a rule of etiquette here for posting a response I’d prepared for a previous thread here; apparently that thread ran too long and was closed for comments. Here is the response I’d written for above and nullasalus:


    null,

    And you’ll concede the argument totally to me if I provide a dozen citations of Meyer explicitly arguing against an unguided, unintelligent abiogenesis event?

    If he was simply arguing against particular theories of abiogenesis, then he would be just one more scientist debating theories. That’s not what he’s doing.

    If he was arguing against all theories of abiogenesis that didn’t involve some conscious being, then he would be making the mistake of thinking he understood the whole of reality and could eliminate even future, unknown developments, which would be fallacious. He is doing that, but that’s not all he’s doing.

    He is arguing that there is a cause that is known to our experience which can acount for the creation of first life, and that cause is “intelligence”. That is what he says, and he’s wrong for the reasons I’ve given.

    I pointed out Meyer could grant your criticisms for the hell of it, and still he’d be accomplishing much of what he wants to. You are the one saying that Meyer would regard successful arguments on the front mentioned as a defeat for him. I’m pointing out that’s ridiculous.

    No. Here is what Meyer says:

    MEYER: The central argument of my book is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. … Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question.

    I’m saying that Meyer will be defeated if it is shown that the central argument of his book is false. I’ve shown the central argument of his book to be false.

    And again, Dembski & company don’t argue what the “Designer” is – and by their measure, they do not have to, because the particular identity (This or that particular designer) is irrelevant for their purposes.

    Of course they don’t want to talk about it, because if they talk about it, it is revealed that neither possibility serves their purpose! It is like a committed Darwinist saying “Darwinism isn’t concerned with irreducible complexity, the origin of FSCI, or gaps in the fossil record. That is irrelevant to our theory!” Their theory says that an intelligent agent is responsible for first life, so it is perfectly reasonable to point out that there are only two kinds of intelligent agents – those we know from experience but can’t logically be responsible for first life, and those we don’t know from experience at all.

    “No evidence”? Baloney. I went ahead and provided some – or are you going to say that tests regarding bacterial viability in space aren’t evidence? Or possible empirical results indicating the possibility of simple/bacterial life on comets or on other planets aren’t evidence?
    Insufficient evidence? Sure. No evidence? That’s fantasy.

    No problem, null. If you’d like to say panspermia is a viable theory, go with it! It has nothing to do with Meyer’s claims for intelligent agency being a known cause capable of creating first life.

    Second, if ET-ancestor theory is true, ID isn’t necessarily wrong. There are ID proponents who rely on panspermia and ET-ancestor theories – it would be partial confirmation of their views. And again with Meyer, it would be partial confirmation of his own views – even if life didn’t originate on earth, it would skunk the abiogenesis views he has in his sights.

    What Meyer has in his sights couldn’t be more clear – as the direct quote above shows. And (1) ET-ancestor theory in no way presents “rational deliberative agency” as the origin of biological information, and (2) it logically cannot be the cause of the first living cell.

    You can keep this up all day, but you won’t make any progress salvaging the central argument of Stephen Meyer’s book as he himself describes it.

    aiguy: For him to deny my argument would require him to claim that the first living organism could have been designed by another living organism (a logical impossibility) or that disembodied intelligence is part of our uniform and repeated experience (which isn’t true).
    null: That’s an oversimplification, like saying that providing powerful reasons to believe that Neo-Darwinism is false/inadequate wouldn’t be an ID success on the grounds that a negative argument itself doesn’t demonstrate or strongly infer a designing agent.

    It isn’t oversimplified at all – it is perfectly and literally true. And of course negative arguments against particular theories of evolution tell us not one thing about the existence of a “rational deliberative agent” who supposedly created first life.

    * * *

    above,

    You said: “Under dualism, we have dual natures – one is our material body and one is our immaterial mind.”

    So I used that as a hypothesis. A typical “for the sake of argument” proposition(i.e. if this then that). There is a difference. So your accusations are undue and irrelevant. All that for what? So that you can divert attention elsewhere and refrain from commenting on the plethora of examples I gave you? What is to become of science without logical inference? Without abstract theorizing? Tell us.

    I can see we are talking past each other, which is not my intent. As you said, I’ve been pretty busy here :-)

    So let us agree, for the sake of argument, that dualism is true, and see how that affects my argument. If dualism is true, then in order to be an intelligent agent, according to our uniform experience, one needs two things. First, one needs and immaterial mind, and second one needs a complex physical brain in good working order. Now I understand that many people believe the second requirement can somehow be forgone (with the immaterial part somehow surviving when the brain part disintegrates, for example) but I hope you will agree that this is outside of our uniform and repeated experience.

    So my argument stands whether dualism is true or physicalism is true… or any other ontological assumption is true.

    No, you should address it if you disagree then because the criticism applies to both paradigms (ID and darwinism). You can’t berate on ID and then refuse to comment on darwinism, especially since you disagree. Tell us then, when did your uniform and repeated experience observe randomness or a mindless materialistic cause giving rise to FSCI?

    If you’d like me to comment on Darwinian evolution I can do that, but I’d like to deal with one subject at a time. In fact I believe evolutionary theory to be fundamentally incomplete, and think there are aspects of complexity and mind that we do not (and perhaps can not) understand. But what I’m arguing here is that ID can not explain first life by appeal to a known cause, as Meyer claims.

    aiguy: – but it is confused to believe that evolutionary biologists – or anyone else – considers “chance” to be a cause, rather than a description of the independence of effects”

    above: What exactly do you mean by that? Independence of effects from what? And how does this fit into a materialistic ontology? Can you elaborate?

    I don’t adhere to a materialistic ontology, so I’m not going to comment on that. Randomness (or chance) is a difficult concept, and not germain to my argument, but because I mentioned it I’ll try one time to explain what I meant. When you say that something happened by chance, you aren’t explaining what caused that thing to happen. Rather, you are saying that the explanation for why it happened isn’t relevant to the effect. For example, in biology, if a mutation happens “by chance” it means that whatever event caused the mutation has no knowable relationship to the phenotypic effect that results. I won’t debate this point any further because it is irrelevant to my argument here.

    aiguy: -“ ID only makes sense if you adopt a particular metaphysical stance – one which denies physicalism.”
    above: More accurately: “ID makes sense if you adopt one of a plethora of metaphysical stances, namely those which deny materialism”

    I agree. But the denial of materialism does not follow from our uniform and repeated experience (there is nothing we can observe that will tell us whether or not mind transcends physical cause).

    Now let’s go back to what I said days ago in my first response to your objection: “I believe this will be a huge problem specifically for materialists and logical positivists but not so much for others who embrace a different metaphysic/epistemology.”

    My argument is a huge problem for people who believe Meyer when he says he can scientifically support the assertion that a conscious being created the first living thing.

    One last thing. You keep talking about science proving this and that.

    No, I’ve never talked about any such thing.

    What is your operational definition of science?

    As I’ve said several times, I have simply adopted the defintition being used by Stephen Meyer himself: “I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past.” (the source of these quotes from Meyer is http://biologos.org/blog/respo.....-the-cell/)

  4. @aiguy

    You broke the other thread? :P

    -“ So let us agree, for [etc]repeated experience”

    Look, I understand you argument very well. My response to it is this: Assuming dualism, and observing both the body and the mind creating FSCI, which of the two do you think is responsible for it? At best you can insist on both (which is what you’re arguing) but in reality I don’t think neither you nor I think that the FSCI is not a product of the mind. Having said that, I do recognize the implicit logical inference made in regards made from mind+body (dual) to intelligence (singular). Now, as I said before, such inferences are always made by scientists and philosophers and without which science would be impossible.
    You position is that if something is not directly observable it cannot be part of science. Here is another example, the higgs boson. That has never been observed in our uniform and repeated experience but is still part of the standard model no? You see the problems that will be created for science if we uphold your objection? There are many more examples we can give as well.

    -“ If you’d like me to comment on Darwinian evolution I can do that, but I’d like to deal with one subject at a time.”

    Actually I would very much like to hear what you have to say as I too think that evolutionary theory is fundamentally incomplete (although I distinguish it from darwinism). We can pick up the discussion once the storm calms a bit!

    -“ When you say that something happened by chance, you aren’t explaining what caused that thing to happen. Rather, you are saying that the explanation for why it happened isn’t relevant to the effect.

    So chance is then a lack of explanation as to how something happened (I specifically use ‘how’ instead of ‘why’ to connote mechanism). So it’s either epistemological ignorance or a human epistemological limitations, correct?
    -“. For example, in biology, if a mutation happens “by chance” it means that whatever event caused the mutation has no knowable relationship to the phenotypic effect that results”

    But given that definition, anything can be inserted in the place of the cause, regardless of whether it’s relevant or not. We can even place Laplace’s demon as the cause of the mutation and it cannot be objected except on philosophical grounds, no?

    I’m not trying to make an argument here. I just want to see if we’re on the same page.

    -“I agree. But the denial of materialism does not follow from our uniform and repeated experience (there is nothing we can observe that will tell us whether or not mind transcends physical cause).”

    This is a huge can of worms and I’m not sure if we want to open it. Just to give you a taste let me rephrase: “there is no current way to demonstrate that what we call the physical (given the traditional properties of matter) is actually real. You see where I’m getting at?
    We can leave it for later but there are several thought experiments you can perform to refute materialism.

  5. above,

    You broke the other thread?

    Apparently my thoughts were too weighty for one page to bear :-)

    Look, I understand you argument very well. My response to it is this: Assuming dualism, and observing both the body and the mind creating FSCI, which of the two do you think is responsible for it?

    Assuming dualism, then both, of course!

    At best you can insist on both (which is what you’re arguing) but in reality I don’t think neither you nor I think that the FSCI is not a product of the mind.

    Of course I would say our thoughts (about FSCI or anything else) are products of the mind – that is entailed by what we mean by “mind”. But I would also say that the mind is demonstrably dependent upon the brain.

    Having said that, I do recognize the implicit logical inference made in regards made from mind+body (dual) to intelligence (singular). Now, as I said before, such inferences are always made by scientists and philosophers and without which science would be impossible.
    You position is that if something is not directly observable it cannot be part of science.

    No, that is not my position at all, and I’ve never said anything that implied anything like that. (You don’t really understand my argument as well as you think). What I said was that I was adopting S. Meyer’s criterion for scientific reasoning about the past – that it must be based upon our uniform and repeated experience. Nobody said anything about “direct observation”.

    Here is another example, the higgs boson. That has never been observed in our uniform and repeated experience but is still part of the standard model no?

    Physics is based on our observations within our uniform and repeated experience. Of course we can’t observe subatomic particles; we observe our instruments instead.

    You see the problems that will be created for science if we uphold your objection? There are many more examples we can give as well.

    This has nothing to do with anything I’ve said here.

    So chance is then a lack of explanation as to how something happened (I specifically use ‘how’ instead of ‘why’ to connote mechanism). So it’s either epistemological ignorance or a human epistemological limitations, correct?

    I think this is a difficult subject, actually, and there are different sorts of things we mean by “random”.

    But given that definition, anything can be inserted in the place of the cause, regardless of whether it’s relevant or not. We can even place Laplace’s demon as the cause of the mutation and it cannot be objected except on philosophical grounds, no?

    I’m not trying to make an argument here. I just want to see if we’re on the same page.

    I’m having trouble seeing your point here. Say a cosmic ray hits a chromosome in a bacterial cell and causes a mutation which confers antibiotic resistance to the cell. Even though the mechanism was understood and deterministic, biologists would still say this was a chance event, in the sense that nothing else connected the generation of that cosmic ray deep in space with this particular bacterium. If you then said that Laplace’s Demon caused the tumor instead, I would very much object (on the grounds that it’s just a weird thing to say :-))

    This is a huge can of worms and I’m not sure if we want to open it. Just to give you a taste let me rephrase: “there is no current way to demonstrate that what we call the physical (given the traditional properties of matter) is actually real. You see where I’m getting at?
    We can leave it for later but there are several thought experiments you can perform to refute materialism.

    Yes of course thought experiments refute every imaginable solution to the mind/body problem, and we can question all of epistemology while we’re at it. But let’s not, OK?

    Stephen Meyer is not questioning realism; he is attempting to support his theory within a realist framework where knowledge is in fact possible. He is attempting to show that his theory is scientific according to his criterion for scientific reasoning, which is that the cause his theory infers is known to our uniform and repeated experience. If you don’t believe that knowledge is possible, then you already disagree with Meyer. If you are a realist, and do believe that knowledge is possible, then you still must disagree with Meyer because what he claims is not true. There is no cause which is known to our experience that could account for first life.

  6. aiguy:

    I’m saying that Meyer will be defeated if it is shown that the central argument of his book is false. I’ve shown the central argument of his book to be false.

    You only think that is what you did.

  7. aiguy,

    If he was simply arguing against particular theories of abiogenesis, then he would be just one more scientist debating theories. That’s not what he’s doing.

    No, aiguy – he expressly is doing exactly that. What you’re ignoring, and I have to assume it’s purposefully, is that Meyer makes a number of arguments and observations in his book. You’re making it sound like he has one argument and one argument only, which isn’t the case. You don’t even have to read the book to read that – just look through the ToC. And you’re not even doing much against his central argument.

    If he was arguing against all theories of abiogenesis that didn’t involve some conscious being, then he would be making the mistake of thinking he understood the whole of reality and could eliminate even future, unknown developments, which would be fallacious. He is doing that, but that’s not all he’s doing.

    No, he’s not doing that. He’s giving arguments about what we know at this point in time, and what inferences can be made given what we know. If you want to show me where Meyer says “It’s utterly impossible we could every find any new information that would change our inferences!” or words to that effect, do so. I’m willing to bet you won’t.

    Arguing that, given what we know, the best and a powerful inference we can make is to one of intelligence is utterly distinct from your rendition above.

    I’m saying that Meyer will be defeated if it is shown that the central argument of his book is false. I’ve shown the central argument of his book to be false.

    No, you haven’t. You’re trying to “gotcha” him on a pretty minor point – a mix of “All the intelligent agents we’re scientifically aware of are complex physical beings” and “If it’s a complex physical being, it is alive, and therefore it can’t be responsible for ‘the first life’”. The latter can be responded to with a shrug and a “Call it that if you wish. I’m saying that if an abiogenesis event took place, ID is the best explanation.” And the former just adds the amendment that if someone has reason to think that there exist immaterial or whatever other type of intelligences, that their metaphysics are in play, not purely science.

    Really, this is a hair away from A) Insisting that ID is all about Christianity, no matter how many times ID proponents themselves admit and insist ID doesn’t get one to that, B) Pointing out that Christ said that God is the God of the living, C) Therefore, even an immaterial God is alive, and D) Therefore, ID theorist/crypto-Christians can never have anything to say about a scientific origin of life, because God is alive and necessarily exists. Alas, they can still talk about abiogenesis and origins of life on earth after all.

    Of course they don’t want to talk about it, because if they talk about it, it is revealed that neither possibility serves their purpose!

    There’s more possibilities than two on the table, by Dembski’s own admission. And when so much of your argument relies on psychoanalysis, maybe it’s time to step back and take stock of what you’re saying.

    I’m not advocating panspermia. I brought that up to show that *even if your criticisms were granted* Meyer’s arguments still lead to important conclusions and open additional possibilities. You don’t even want to touch on that. Fine – I don’t need your blessing for the obvious.

    You can keep this up all day, but you won’t make any progress salvaging the central argument of Stephen Meyer’s book as he himself describes it.

    I’ve already shown that Meyer’s arguments are multiple in the book, that even if your criticisms were taken without argument his own arguments still have force. All the talk about FCSI and known sources for it remain. All the talk about abiogenesis requiring FCSI remain. All the justifications for ID inferences remain. You’re putting all your chips on the claim that the only intelligence science recognizes is human which you call “complex physical”, and that if “complex physical” intelligence was responsible for abiogenesis, then it doesn’t explain the very first line. Your argument against an immaterial or transcendent intelligence amounts to “Well that’s metaphysical”.

    It ain’t much. And I think you know it.

    It isn’t oversimplified at all – it is perfectly and literally true. And of course negative arguments against particular theories of evolution tell us not one thing about the existence of a “rational deliberative agent” who supposedly created first life.

    Meyer’s focus wasn’t evolution – it was about what would be required, given what we know, for an abiogenesis event. That point still stands, and I note you’re not disputing it. Positive arguments for FCSI’s sources were given as well – again, I note you’re not disputing that either.

  8. Null:

    In addition, AIG has been slipping in eh quite little inference that C-chemistry, cell based life on earth is equivalent to life, so its origin is the origin of life period.

    That is how his attempted reductio works.

    Nope, AIG fails on circular argument supporting strawman distortions, sorry to have to put it so directly.

    On the related issue of FSCI as a sign of design, what AIG has tried to do is to metaphysically entangle a discussion on inference form easily observed empirical sign to its signified, on massive empirical experience of the causal pattern.

    But, as has been repeatedly pointed out by ID thinkers since Thaxton et al in 1984 [right at the foundation, in a well known book . . . there is no excuse], that C-Chemistry cell based life on earth has in it signs that point to a designer has no import on the metaphysical essence or locus of the designer: whether within the cosmos or beyond it. So, one could put up as a candidate a species with advanced technology from next galaxy over or neighbouring star system for that matter, without any relevance to the issue that FSCI is an empirically well tested, reliable sign of design.

    So the debate point being made is inherently distractive and loaded with rhetorical insinuations.

    Worse, AIG is consistently ignoring and ducking the place where there IS a design inference that points to a serious candidate being an intelligence beyond our observed cosmos: the evidently fine tuned cosmology of the observed cosmos that sets up the basis for intelligent C-chemistry cell based life.

    (And of course, this also means that evidence pointing to such a designer would reduce the huffing and puffing about immaterial intelligences to due proportion: our material cosmos had a beginning and so credibly had a beginner who is not constrained to matter as we observe it around us. Such a cosmos-designing intelligence, given the nature of the fine tuning, would also be a credible candidate for the ultimate source of life in the cosmos, and even of life on earth. But since a Cosmos-making designer who went on to create life sounds a lot like pushing Lewontin’s unwelcome divine foot in the door of materialism-dominated C21 institutional science, we can see some of the motivations for the sort of outright animosity and dismissive rhetoric we commonly see at UD and elsewhere. And given the behaviour of too many theistic evolutionists,that problem does not depend on one personally being a materialist. Allowing so-called methodological naturalism to censor science from being an unfettered and progressive pursuit of the truth about our world based on empirical evidence and reason, will do readily enough. Sorry if that cuts, but we need to think seriously about it.)

    Given Wilson’s notorious advice in that ever so cynical work, The Arte of Rhetorique, that when a cogent argument does not sit well with the agenda being pushed, one should ignore it and walk by as though it does not exist, that is utterly telling.

    Ever so sadly telling.

    Let us do better than this!

    GEM of TKI

    PS: I see the previous thread was closed and this is somewhat of a continuation.

    In that context, I simply note that Petrushka seems to be unable to see that if mutagenesis is a way to destroy viri, that is a sign of how even viral genomes exist on islands of function [which is supposedly his primary objection to what I have said, never mind the bait and switch on genetic entropy]. More broadly, he is in the unenviable position of appealing to a paper that actually uses the concept of islands of function, in attempting to dismiss it.

  9. Null,

    What you’re ignoring, and I have to assume it’s purposefully, is that Meyer makes a number of arguments and observations in his book. You’re making it sound like he has one argument and one argument only, which isn’t the case. You don’t even have to read the book to read that – just look through the ToC.

    I’d say Meyer himself might be the best person to decide what the central argument of his own book was. In any event, that is the particular point I’ve been discussing.

    Arguing that, given what we know, the best and a powerful inference we can make is to one of intelligence is utterly distinct from your rendition above.

    He bases his inference on a falsehood, namely that we know from our experience that something which is not a complex living thing could still have the mental and physical abilities that human beings have… and then some. We don’t know that at all, so Meyer’s foundational argument fails.

    You’re trying to “gotcha” him on a pretty minor point – a mix of “All the intelligent agents we’re scientifically aware of are complex physical beings” and “If it’s a complex physical being, it is alive, and therefore it can’t be responsible for ‘the first life’”.

    Minor point? Gotcha? I’d venture to say more than a few people find it a rather significant aspect of ID that it seems to be talking about a god-like entity it uses the term “intelligent agent” to describe the cause of first life. Now I am not saying this myself, but you are probably aware that some folks even call ID creationism in disguise. So no, I don’t find this to be a minor point at all.

    The latter can be responded to with a shrug and a “Call it that if you wish. I’m saying that if an abiogenesis event took place, ID is the best explanation.”

    Well yeah, people can say that, just like Darwinists can shrug off whatever argument you’d put to them and say “Who cares? All I know is that Darwinian evolution can explain it!” So I don’t think that shrugs are very good arguments.

    And the former just adds the amendment that if someone has reason to think that there exist immaterial or whatever other type of intelligences, that their metaphysics are in play, not purely science.

    If folks want to believe in immaterial intelligent beings of course that’s fine, but we should all agree that this is not a piece of knowledge that derives from our uniform and repeated experience. And they should also be aware that Meyer can’t possibly be talking about an intelligent life form with an FSCI-rich body (the only kind of intelligent agent we know about) when he talks about the original cause of abiogenesis (and that is just what he is talking about, as the quotes make clear). So Meyer must be talking about the sort of intelligent agent that is outside of our experience, although he says the opposite. So he’s wrong.

    Really, this is a hair away from A) Insisting that ID is all about Christianity, no matter how many times ID proponents themselves admit and insist ID doesn’t get one to that,

    I’m not saying that – I’m saying that Meyer is wrong when he claims his inference is to a known cause.

    B) Pointing out that Christ said that God is the God of the living,

    Sorry you’ve lost me here, but I don’t think I want to start talking about Christ.

    C) Therefore, even an immaterial God is alive, and

    I’ve been very clear that what I mean by “alive” in this context is being a “complex, FSCI-rich physical organism”. I wanted to use that phrase (typing it over and over again) in order to avoid just this confusion.

    There’s more possibilities than two on the table, by Dembski’s own admission. And when so much of your argument relies on psychoanalysis, maybe it’s time to step back and take stock of what you’re saying.

    None of my argument rests on psychoanalysis of course. You bring up a lot of other topics that are not relevant to my argument, and I comment on them, but they are not part of my argument. My argument is very simple:
    1) Meyer says ID offers a known cause for the origin of information in the very first life forms to exist. The cause is some sort of intelligent being or beings.
    2) Either the intelligent being(s) that Meyer alludes to are complex physical organisms or they are not.
    3) If they are complex physical life forms, then logically they could not be responsible for creating the first complex physical life forms.
    4) Otherwise they are not a known cause, because there are no intelligent agents in our uniform and repeated experience that are not complex physical life forms.
    5) Therefore Meyer is wrong to state that ID offers a cause known to our uniform and repeated experience that could account for the first complex physical life forms.

    See? No psychological analaysis at all.

    I’m not advocating panspermia. I brought that up to show that *even if your criticisms were granted* Meyer’s arguments still lead to important conclusions and open additional possibilities. You don’t even want to touch on that. Fine – I don’t need your blessing for the obvious.

    I’m interested in discussing Meyer’s theory, which is ID – not panspermia or various other theories.

    I’ve already shown that Meyer’s arguments are multiple in the book, that even if your criticisms were taken without argument his own arguments still have force.

    He has identified his own central argument, which I take to be a very clear statement about what ID is saying. You can try to raise other points, or declare that his argument isn’t important. But you are certainly not having any success defending the argument that both Stephen Meyer and I believe to be central to ID.

    All the talk about FCSI and known sources for it remain. All the talk about abiogenesis requiring FCSI remain. All the justifications for ID inferences remain.

    Of course that isn’t true – Meyer goes to great lengths to justify his inference on the basis that it is the “only known cause” of FSCI. This is precisely the justification that fails.

    You’re putting all your chips on the claim that the only intelligence science recognizes is human which you call “complex physical”,

    Well, no. “Science” really has a very confused and limited understanding of “intelligence” in the first place, and I certainly wouldn’t say that “science recognizes only human intelligence” (obviously other living things are intelligent too, right?). In fact, I haven’t said anything at all about what science does and does not recognize – I’ve left all that up to Stephen Meyer, who insists that scientific reasoning requires inference from our uniform and repeated experience. In our uniform and repeated experience, intelligent agency requires complex physical mechanism.

    …and that if “complex physical” intelligence was responsible for abiogenesis, then it doesn’t explain the very first line.

    (you meant “life” I believe).
    Right – one can’t very well explain the “very first life form” (Meyer’s own words) by appeal to a prior life form.

    Your argument against an immaterial or transcendent intelligence amounts to “Well that’s metaphysical”.

    No, my argument is that immaterial or transcendent intelligence is outside of our uniform and repeated experience, which is Meyer’s own criteria for justifying his inference to ID.

    It ain’t much. And I think you know it.

    As Vividblue conceded early in the discussion, my argument is air tight. You certainly haven’t made a dent in it, and I haven’t had to change or add to my argument one iota since we began. It remains simple and unassailable: Meyer is wrong when he says there is a cause known to our experience that can account for first life.

  10. “As Vividblue conceded early in the discussion, my argument is air tight”

    To be accurate what I said is that”as you frame it it seems your argument is air tight” or something to that effect.

    Vivid

  11. Here is the exact language

    “I think your position as you frame it is pretty airtight.”

    Vivid

  12. Sorry for not getting the quote quite right… and for misspelling your handle, vividbleau :-)

  13. Thats the handle I wanted “vividblue” but it was not available thus “vividbleau”

    Vivid

  14. BTW why did they close the previous thread? Anyone?

    Vivid

  15. -“Of course I would say our thoughts (about FSCI or anything else) are products of the mind – that is entailed by what we mean by “mind”. But I would also say that the mind is demonstrably dependent upon the brain.”

    But as per substance dualism, the mind is not necessarily dependent on the brain. All we know is that they interact and affect each other! That’s why I raised the objection a few days ago about subsuming the mental under the physical. But once again we’re going to the metaphysics of substances. That’s a whole new discussion.

    -“What I said was that I was adopting S. Meyer’s criterion for scientific reasoning about the past – that it must be based upon our uniform and repeated experience. Nobody said anything about “direct observation”.

    The past that is postulated in evolutionary theory was never based upon any of our uniform and repeated experience. It is simply inferred from the present. So inference from the present to the past would be a problem if your objection is accepted.

    -“Physics is based on our observations within our uniform and repeated experience. Of course we can’t observe subatomic particles; we observe our instruments instead.”

    Maybe I wasn’t clear. The higgs boson is not now nor has it ever been observed – with or without our instruments – nor is it a part of our uniform and repeated experience. So your objection would apply to that as well. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

    -“This has nothing to do with anything I’ve said here.”

    But it does. That’s the point Meyer also makes. If you object to ID on such premises, you will need to object, on the same grounds as shown above, to a number of other scientific theories. That will cause huge problems for science.

    -“I’m having trouble seeing your point here.”

    My point is to get unveil the metaphysical implications of notions such as chance. The example you gave me is only a very specific example of what is meant by chance – in this case it’s juxtaposed to what we call a formal cause – but that’s certainly not the only way it is being used in the sciences.

    I used the demon to signify that there are mutations whose cause could be unknown, hence chance. If the said cause is unknown as in chance, then one can simply substitute the demon (for the sake of argument). This is all connected to my previous questions but if you think talk randomness will complicate things even more, and you might be right, then don’t worry about it.

    -“If you are a realist, and do believe that knowledge is possible, then you still must disagree with Meyer because what he claims is not true. There is no cause which is known to our experience that could account for first life.”

    This is basically the essence of the issue so let’s focus on this. Like I said before: “I do recognize the implicit logical inference made from mind+body (dual) to intelligence (singular). Now, as I said before, such inferences are always made by scientists and philosophers and without which science would be impossible.”

    The bottom line is this. I believe he is warranted in making that inference, which is what you object you. And my point once again is that if you are to object to him on such grounds then you must also object to other scientific theories. That in effect would be destructive for science.

  16. above,

    But as per substance dualism, the mind is not necessarily dependent on the brain. All we know is that they interact and affect each other!

    Even if substance dualism is true, we do not uniformally and repeatedly experience immaterial beings interacting with the world and doing intelligent things. So even if dualism is true, Meyer is wrong to claim such a thing is part of our uniform and repeated experience.

    The past that is postulated in evolutionary theory was never based upon any of our uniform and repeated experience.

    I’m not talking about evolutionary theory here, but I still think you’re mistaken. The cause that Darwin proposes is quite observable in our uniform and repeated experience – it is phenotypic variation (which we observe), hereditability (which we observe), and competition and differential reproduction (which we observe). I am not claiming that these causes account for biological complexity. However, they are all causes that are known to our uniform and repeated experience.

    So inference from the present to the past would be a problem if your objection is accepted.

    Not at all. I agree with Stephen Meyer (and Darwin) in that our scientific reasoning about the past requires that the explanations we propose are known to our uniform and repeated experience in the present. If you disagree, then you are disagreeing with Stephen Meyer (see his quotes, above).

    Maybe I wasn’t clear. The higgs boson is not now nor has it ever been observed – with or without our instruments – nor is it a part of our uniform and repeated experience. So your objection would apply to that as well. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. The higgs boson can’t be observed, nor can any number of things in physics. Still and yet physics is based on our observations. Gravity cannot be observed, but its effects are, and by observing its effects we can characterize our understanding in such a way that we can make testable predictions about other things we can observe. Same with the Higgs boson, etc. That’s how physics works.

    But it does. That’s the point Meyer also makes. If you object to ID on such premises, you will need to object, on the same grounds as shown above, to a number of other scientific theories. That will cause huge problems for science.

    Not at all. Stephen Meyer and I are in complete agreement that scientific reasoning must be based on our uniform and repeated experience. I’ve explained how physics is based on our uniform and repeated experience (we observe the effects of our carefully characterized explanatory constructs, typically by observing instruments).

    The difference is that there are no observations of anything that allow us to determine the existence of immaterial intelligent beings. Again, I will add the caveat that some researchers do believe we have evidence of such things – they are called paranormal psychology researchers. This is the attempt to use scientific research to find evidence that immaterial beings can act intelligently (among other things).

    If you (and all ID proponents) would like to argue that immaterial intelligent agents exist, then I would suggest you put your research efforts into paranormal psychology. To date I’m not aware that anybody in ID is doing this.

    My point is to get unveil the metaphysical implications of notions such as chance. The example you gave me is only a very specific example of what is meant by chance – in this case it’s juxtaposed to what we call a formal cause – but that’s certainly not the only way it is being used in the sciences.

    I still don’t understand your point but I don’t want to get sidetracked. I’m not talking about using “chance” as an explanation of anything.

    This is basically the essence of the issue so let’s focus on this. Like I said before: “I do recognize the implicit logical inference made from mind+body (dual) to intelligence (singular). Now, as I said before, such inferences are always made by scientists and philosophers and without which science would be impossible.”

    But science is possible, of course. Stephen Meyer agrees, as long as the causes we propose for historical phenomena are known to our uniform and repeated experience.

    The bottom line is this. I believe he is warranted in making that inference, which is what you object you.

    What I object to is that he justifies his inference by claiming it is a cause known to our experience. But the only type of intelligent agent known to our experience can’t possibly be responsible for creating the “very first life forms” (as Meyer says), so he’s wrong.

    And my point once again is that if you are to object to him on such grounds then you must also object to other scientific theories. That in effect would be destructive for science.

    I’m only holding Meyer to his own criteria and pointing out that the cause he is proposing (an intelligent agent which is not itself a life form) is unknown to our uniform and repeated experience. That is the bottom line.

  17. Aiguy:

    The difference is that there are no observations of anything that allow us to determine the existence of immaterial intelligent beings.

    ID doesn’t say anything about the designer(s).

    We infer at least one designer existed by the evidence left behind.

    But the only type of intelligent agent known to our experience can’t possibly be responsible for creating the “very first life forms” (as Meyer says), so he’s wrong.

    Not really.

    Ya see the designer could be extra-dimensional and be responsible fior the first living organisms in this universe.

    THAT is what Meyer is saying- the origin of living organisms in this universe- not the origin overall.

    Ya see science follows the data/ evidence.

    And the only way to say anything about the designer(s) or the specific processes used, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

  18. “Even if substance dualism is true, we do not uniformally and repeatedly experience immaterial beings interacting with the world and doing intelligent things. So even if dualism is true, Meyer is wrong to claim such a thing is part of our uniform and repeated experience”

    In his words: “Uniform and repeated experience affirms that intelligent agents produce information-rich systems… Minds are clearly capable of generating specified information.” That is an observable fact.

    Nothing in this signifies that he is wrong. Given dualism – and unless you want to claim that it’s not the mind that writes the software – the engineer example was more than adequate to put this to rest and justify the inference but you simply will not concede. That’s fine.

    Also, your above statement once again begs the question. In order not to it should read: “we do not KNOW IF we uniformally and repeatedly experience immaterial beings interacting with the world and doing intelligent things”. For we might just find ourselves in the situation that we are simply incapable of understanding it just yet. Time will tell.

    “I’m not talking about evolutionary theory here, but I still think you’re mistaken. The cause that Darwin proposes is quite observable in our uniform and repeated experience – it is phenotypic variation (which we observe)”

    Variation is both a cause and an effect. Often its cause is unknown and its effect unpredictable. So yes, there are parts of darwinism along with the past, which you still refuse to address, that are not part of our uniform and repeated experience.

    -“Perhaps I wasn’t clear. The higgs boson can’t be observed, nor can any number of things in physics.”

    So that would disqualify them by your standards. Simply put, they are not part of our uniform and repeated experience. Period. Stop trying to deny this.

    -“ Gravity cannot be observed, but its effects are, and by observing its effects we can characterize our understanding in such a way that we can make testable predictions about other things we can observe.”

    The effects of design can also be observed. The internet that allows us to interact this moment is one example of an effect of design that is detectable.

    Like I said, I’m not an IDist, but I think Meyers makes some predictions. The testability objection is however noted.

    -“ The difference is that there are no observations of anything that allow us to determine the existence of immaterial intelligent beings.”

    This is circular logic at its finest. I’m not even going to get into it.

    -“ But science is possible, of course. Stephen Meyer agrees, as long as the causes we propose for historical phenomena are known to our uniform and repeated experience.”

    Once again, simple rhetoric and refusal to comment on the point I made. Here it is once again for the third time: ““I do recognize the implicit logical inference made from mind+body (dual) to intelligence (singular). Now, as I said before, such inferences are always made by scientists and philosophers and without which science would be impossible.”

    Your entire argument rests on the assumption that the inference to intelligence is unwarranted because you constantly try to subsume it under the physical. I pointed out repeatedly that all one needs is a simple logical inference, which in this case is more than warranted. As of yet, apart from naïve empiricism, you have offered no good reason why one should uphold your objection and how said objection will not cripple science. And THAT’S the bottom line. ;)

  19. above,

    In his words: “Uniform and repeated experience affirms that intelligent agents produce information-rich systems… Minds are clearly capable of generating specified information.” That is an observable fact.

    Nothing in this signifies that he is wrong. Given dualism – and unless you want to claim that it’s not the mind that writes the software – the engineer example was more than adequate to put this to rest and justify the inference but you simply will not concede. That’s fine.

    We assume dualism. You say that we all can observe immaterial beings thinking and interacting with the world. I think you’re wrong. Please tell me how to make this observation.

    So even if dualism was true you’d be mistaken. However, we do not know if dualism is true or not, and so clearly immaterial agents are outside of our experience.

    Also, your above statement once again begs the question. In order not to it should read: “we do not KNOW IF we uniformally and repeatedly experience immaterial beings interacting with the world and doing intelligent things”. For we might just find ourselves in the situation that we are simply incapable of understanding it just yet. Time will tell.

    LOL. If we do not know if we observe them or not, then they are not known to our experience. Wow.

    AIGUY: Gravity cannot be observed, but its effects are, and by observing its effects we can characterize our understanding in such a way that we can make testable predictions about other things we can observe.”
    ABOVE: The effects of design can also be observed. The internet that allows us to interact this moment is one example of an effect of design that is detectable.

    No, we do not detect “design” per se, but rather the effects of “human beings”. We already know human beings create FSCI. What we do not know from our experience is whether immaterial beings do.

    I do recognize the implicit logical inference made from mind+body (dual) to intelligence (singular). Now, as I said before, such inferences are always made by scientists and philosophers and without which science would be impossible.

    Meyer makes an inference from FSCI to an immaterial intelligent agent. Darwin made an inference from FSCI to variation, heredity, and competition. We can observe the cause Darwin inferred; we cannot observe the cause Meyer infers.

    Your entire argument rests on the assumption that the inference to intelligence is unwarranted because you constantly try to subsume it under the physical.

    No, you are wrong about that. Rather, I constantly remind you that there is no scientific way to decide if intelligence can exist without a complex physical mechanism. There are scientific ways to determine if the higgs boson exists, but no way to determine if consciousness exists independently of human brains.

  20. 20

    Joseph,

    Glad you are back.

  21. aiguy:

    Darwin made an inference from FSCI to variation, heredity, and competition.

    Actually Darwin started out with FCSI as he never attempted to explain the origin of living organisms.

    IOW he started out with what needed an explanation in the first place.

  22. -“You say that we all can observe immaterial beings…Please tell me how to make this observation”

    That is so disingenuous. You’re simply putting words in my mouth now. This is probably the 4th time I state this. The connection is an INFERENCE not an “observation” as you imagine it and I explained it rather simply with an example a few days ago. I also, pointed the need to define ‘observation’, ‘physicality’ etc in order and to further delve into the issue. But alas, my words have either been forgotten or ignored.

    I clarify the statement which you phrased so conveniently to fit your agenda and you get all sarcastic with lols and wows. If you want to play games go ahead. I’ll just leave you to it. Unless you recognize the limitations of your objection and the question-begging, I don’t think this will go anywhere. In fact it isn’t.

    -“So even if dualism was true you’d be mistaken. However, we do not know if dualism is true or not,”

    If dualism is true it is YOU that is mistaken. That’s what you simply refuse to concede. And it all ties back to what I pointed out from the start that your objection relies on a materialistic assumption and specifically, once again (3rd time?) of subsuming the mental under the physical. I think you’ve realized that now and so you’re bringing dualism into question. That’s fine. There are also other substance mataphysics that would nullify your objection but that’s another story.

    -“No, we do not detect “design” per se, but rather the effects of “human beings”.

    Now you’re just playing with words.

    -“We can observe the cause Darwin inferred”

    It has been noted and I think you agree that these causes (darwinian) are inadequate. And as I have pointed out, that both the causes and effects of what you call variation (change) are sometimes unknown and unpredictable and not part of our uniform and repeated experience. If the cause of variation is unknown however, then it is at best incomplete and at worst unidentified.

    -“No, you are wrong about that. Rather, I constantly remind you that there is no scientific way to decide if intelligence can exist without a complex physical mechanism. There are scientific ways to determine if the higgs boson exists, but no way to determine if consciousness exists independently of human brains”

    Another clarification for you: “We think there are scientific ways to determine if the higgs boson exists.” That’s as far as you can claim, which will still leave the higgs boson outside of our uniform and repeated experience, hence as per your standard outside of the realm of “science”. You can compound all the additional inferences you like – and since by your standards inference is unwarranted – unless you show me the higgs, nothing will come out of it. I’m not implying that it does not exist nor that it will never be found by the way. All I am doing is using your reasoning to indicate once again how destructive it could be to science.

    It’s been indicated to you before that the identity of the designer is not something ID is concerned with explicitly. You constantly try to sneak that in, in order to launch your objection, without which you frankly HAVE NO objection. In other words, it is the fact that you compound this postulate on ID that allows you to launch the objection.

    Just because we don’t have a good understanding of one aspect of reality – consciousness – that does not mean that we need to shut the shop, reject any theory that is related to it and leave it at that. So just in the case of darwinism where later discoveries (in genetics, dna etc) offered additional variables to consider and assimilate into the theory, the same can happen with ID and its own research programme. We both know well that science is provisional, so why not let it be just that?

    Now we’re back to where we were days ago. Yours is an interesting concern and one that needs to be approached with caution, but in no way is it adequate as an objection to undermine Meyer’s thesis as I understand it. You can have the last word if you like. I don’t think there is anything more that can be said on this.

  23. above,

    The connection is an INFERENCE not an “observation” as you imagine it and I explained it rather simply with an example a few days ago.

    The division between inference and observation is a matter of difficulty and debate in the philosophy of science. Every “observation” requires some inference from our raw sensory data… even when we see something with our own eyes, we are “inferring” objects from nothing but a bunch of photons.

    But this difficulty is much more interesting to philosophers of science than to scientists. Scientists somehow manage to agree on what they replicably observe with fairly good reliability. Nobody argues about our observations of mutations and heritability and differential reproduction – not even the most staunch ID proponent doubts that these things exist. Of course we don’t believe that these observable things account for biological complexity, but that is another matter. Likewise, everybody agrees that human beings are capable of producing complex, functional mechanisms – because we observe them doing it.

    In stark contrast, we do not observe anything else besides human beings producing FSCI. You hypothesize that something else does it because you want to explain FSCI in biology, but we do not observe anything producing FSCI that is not itself an FSCI-rich organism.

    I also, pointed the need to define ‘observation’, ‘physicality’ etc in order and to further delve into the issue. But alas, my words have either been forgotten or ignored.

    I just discussed this. We aren’t going to solve the problems of epistemology and the philosophy of science here, obviously. But scientists muddle onward and manage to reach worldwide consensus on all sorts of different things, even though the individual scientists have all different cultures, ideologies, religious beliefs, and so on. Again, Stephen Meyer obviously believes (he says so himself) that scientific reasoning is different from other reasoning in that it proceeds from “uniform and repeated experience”. We have uniform and repeated experience of human beings creating FSCI, but we do not have uniform and repeated experience of anything else doing that.

    If dualism is true it is YOU that is mistaken. That’s what you simply refuse to concede. And it all ties back to what I pointed out from the start that your objection relies on a materialistic assumption and specifically, once again (3rd time?) of subsuming the mental under the physical. I think you’ve realized that now and so you’re bringing dualism into question. That’s fine. There are also other substance mataphysics that would nullify your objection but that’s another story.

    It is not my intent to ignore or miscommunicate. These are difficult questions that smart people have difficulty communicating clearly about. I’m trying my best to be clear and sincere, and I am assuming that you are as well, even though I too feel like I repeat my points over and over without being understood.

    Regarding dualism, I’ll try one more time:

    1) Let us assume arguendo that dualism (in particular substance dualism/interactionism) is true, and that irreducible, causal mind-stuff (let’s call it res cogitans) exists and interacts with our brains in order to produce our conscious behaviors.

    2) Now let us ask the question, what is it in our experience that is capable of producing FSCI? The answer is: human beings.

    3) Given that dualism is true, you would like to say that the reason humans can produce FSCI is because of the immaterial mind that interacts with our bodies. And yes, according to dualism, our conscious deliberations critically require res cogitans.

    4) But according to dualism, our intelligent behavior also involves the complex mechanism of our brains and bodies in order to act in the world. A dualism may wish to speculate that some entity could exhibit intelligent behavior with only res cogitans, and without the benefit of the physcial body. But even a dualist cannot say that this speculation is grounded in their experience.

    AIGUY: No, we do not detect “design” per se, but rather the effects of “human beings.
    ABOVE: Now you’re just playing with words.

    No, I really am not. The term “per se” means “in and of itself”. If by “design” here you mean (like Meyer does) the action of conscious, deliberative beings, then yes, since human beings are conscious deliberative beings and we detect the action human beings, we also detect “design”. But that does not mean we can detect conscious activity in and of itself, nor that we can detect the action of a larger class of conscious beings that extends beyond human beings.

    AIGUY: We can observe the cause Darwin inferred
    ABOVE: It has been noted and I think you agree that these causes (darwinian) are inadequate.

    Yes, we agree on this. The causes are indeed known to our uniform and repeated experience, but they do not seem to fully account for what we observe in biology.

    It’s been indicated to you before that the identity of the designer is not something ID is concerned with explicitly.

    I’m not interested in the “identify” of the designer of course; I’m interested in what this “designer” thing is, since I have no experience with anything remotely like it. When you say it’s “identity”, it sounds like you are talking about what its name is. But what I want to know is something about what you’re talking about – what it can and can’t do, how it does what it does, what it is made of, if it occupies space. I want some characterization of this thing that I can use to decide if it exists or not.

    When Newton described gravity, everybody already knew that things fell to the ground. If Newton had simply said “gravity is that thing that makes things fall to the ground” then he wouldn’t have become famous. But instead he characterized gravity in a way that other people could decide if the thing he characterized actually existed or not (by describing what it was, what it did, what it did not do, what it affected, how fast it acted, and so on. That is why he became famous.

    Just because we don’t have a good understanding of one aspect of reality – consciousness – that does not mean that we need to shut the shop, reject any theory that is related to it and leave it at that.

    Of course not! Lots of people are studying consciousness, and I find it fascinating! On the other hand, we must be honest that at this point we have no idea what sorts of things might have consciousness and what doesn’t. We’re all pretty comfortable ascribing consciousness to each other – waking human beings – but we can’t even tell what other animals are conscious much less things that aren’t alive at all!

    So just in the case of darwinism where later discoveries (in genetics, dna etc) offered additional variables to consider and assimilate into the theory, the same can happen with ID and its own research programme. We both know well that science is provisional, so why not let it be just that?

    Yes of course! Let’s continue to research! I would be very happy if ID actually embarked on a research program that was relevant to it’s claims! ID should be joining the ranks of the cognitive scientists trying to use science to investigate how the brain works, the relationship between mind and brain, the nature of volition, and so on. Who knows – if we make enough progress there, we might actually have a theory of ID that is based on scientific knowledge!

    Until then, when Meyer claims we already know about intelligent cause and how it can operate without complex mechanism, he is simply and plainly mistaken.

  24. aiguy:

    We have uniform and repeated experience of human beings creating FSCI, but we do not have uniform and repeated experience of anything else doing that.

    Other animals do so too.

    But that ain’t the point.

    If we “know” humans could not have done it then we infer something else did it. And if nature, operating freely couldn’t have done it then we infer some other designing agency.

    aiguy:

    I’m not interested in the “identify” of the designer of course; I’m interested in what this “designer” thing is, since I have no experience with anything remotely like it.

    The only way to do that is by studying the design.

    I would be very happy if ID actually embarked on a research program that was relevant to it’s claims!

    It takes resources to do that. Resources ID doesn’t have at this time.

  25. Thanks Upright Biped, it is good to be back.

  26. Joseph,

    AIGUY: We have uniform and repeated experience of human beings creating FSCI, but we do not have uniform and repeated experience of anything else doing that.
    JOE: Other animals do so too.

    I quite agree. Meyer makes the point that there are certain sorts of things humans build that other animals don’t – in particular creating digital codes. But yes, living things of various sorts are exactly what we experience creating FSCI.

    However, since Meyer claims to be explaining the “very first life”, it can’t possibly be another life form that was responsible. So, Meyer must be talking about something that is outside of our common experience, namely something besides a living thing that can somehow create FSCI.

    If we “know” humans could not have done it then we infer something else did it. And if nature, operating freely couldn’t have done it then we infer some other designing agency.

    Yes Meyer and you infer “designing agency”, by which Meyer means a “conscious deliberative entity” which in the context of ID must not itself a living thing. That is one hypothesis, but it is not something known to our experience. I’m not saying Meyer is necessarily wrong about his conclusion; rather, I’m saying he is wrong that the explanation he offers is known to our common experience.

    So some people hypothesize that some unknown type of conscious thing was responsible, and other people hypothesize that some unknown type of unconscious thing was responsible. I don’t think either of these ideas is specific enough to spend any time debating.

    AIGUY: I would be very happy if ID actually embarked on a research program that was relevant to it’s claims!
    JOE: It takes resources to do that. Resources ID doesn’t have at this time

    I’m not sure about that. Even if ID authors don’t have the resources to embark on their own research into cognitive science, paranormal psychology, and other related scientific studies of the mind, they could at discuss survey of the field to evaluate the relevant studies done so far. Do you know of any book by Meyer, Dembski, etc. that reviews the evidence for intelligent behavior that does not come from FSCI-rich living organisms?

  27. aiguy:
    “I’m interested in what this “designer” thing is, since I have no experience with anything remotely like it.”

    I’m seriously confused by that statement of yours. It seems to me that you could only be stating such a thing if you haven’t actually read much of anything that I’ve ever written in our discussions. I’ve plainly laid out that intelligence is basically synonymous with foresight. In fact, I’ve provided a link (http://telicthoughts.com/what-.....ent-244642) for you twice now, in which I provide an operational definition of intelligence which, as per our repeated and uniform experience does indeed exist.

    That is, unless you, aiguy have never utilized your foresight. Have you ever envisioned a future goal that did not yet exist and then engineer matter and energy in the present to accomplish that future goal?

    Again, I don’t care if we are free or determined in our foresight, or whether foresight is purely mechanistic or quantum or probabilistic or supernatural or whatever. It does exist and I’m sure you utilize it daily, or it just exists in your brain and does what it does. Either way it exists and it is used to produce FSCI such as seen in an engineers blueprints (ie: circuit or software design). Or, do you insist that foresight (again, “envisioning a future goal and manipulating matter in the present to accomplish that goal in the future”) is not a necessity to build a complex and specified electronic circuit? What does your repeated and uniform experience tell you? Let’s start from there.

    I also believe that this (http://telicthoughts.com/what-.....ent-243550) and this (http://telicthoughts.com/wisdo.....ent-230184) previous discussion may be helpful, in light of the context of our present discussion, for the onlooker so that I don’t have to constantly repeat myself.

    [sorry about just cutting and pasting the web addresses. I couldn't get the links to work]

  28. aiguy:

    However, since Meyer claims to be explaining the “very first life”, it can’t possibly be another life form that was responsible.

    Meyer is referring to the first living organisms of this universe.

    Yes Meyer and you infer “designing agency”, by which Meyer means a “conscious deliberative entity” which in the context of ID must not itself a living thing.

    We don’t know.

    And as I have said many times before to refute any given design inference all one has to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely, ie blind, undirected processes, can account for it.

    That is how it has worked throughout our history.

    Look we exist and there is only one reality behind that existence.

    So we survey the field to figure out what the options are and go from there.

  29. CJYMan,

    I’ve provided a link (http://telicthoughts.com/what-…..ent-244642) for you twice now, in which I provide an operational definition of intelligence which, as per our repeated and uniform experience does indeed exist.

    Yes. In the telic thoughts thread, you say an intelligent system is:

    “a system which is able to model the future and generate a future goal which does not yet exist and then engineer chance and law in such a way as to accomplish that goal.”

    Your definition is OK; it isn’t what most people would call “intelligence” (in AI we would call this ability “planning”, which is just one thing that intelligent systems do). However, (you will be non-plussed to hear) your definition is not operationalized, because there is no objective method provided to tell if something is capable of planning in this way or not. I understand you will instantly disagree with my saying that, but give me a chance here.

    I had replied to this point already, in the “Scientific Literacy” thread, but I’ll expand here. My point is that there is no way to distinguish whether or not some entity is capable of planning (i.e. is “intelligent” by your definition) if the only thing you can do is observe the artifacts it has built.

    If I programmed a computer to generate plans, and it produced a set of instructions for some complex functional mechanism by representing some goal and then reasoning about functional and temporal relations, then my system would be intelligent per your definition (I actually do this in real life). By learning about various components it could work with, and reasoning about how they could go together and what would result, this computer system could build things that were not explicitly programmed into it, just as a human could learn about these things (from books or teachers) and figure out new designs too. If my program could also operate a robot, and the whole system went ahead and designed and built some irreducibly complex functional mechanism in this fashion, then you would point to the output artifact and declare that it demonstrated intelligence because it required foresight to build.

    Now, say I built another computer/robot system, and this one didn’t have any reasoning abilities at all. It just had a big database full of instructions for building complex mechanisms – but you didn’t know that. This robot built one of these artifacts just like that intelligent system did, and you came in and looked at. You would conclude that this system was “intelligent” too, right? After all, it looks exactly the same to you – there’s a robot that built this irreducibly complex artifact that required planning, so it must have been intelligent.

    But in this second scenario, the system would not have been capable of planning. All it did was look up these designs and follow the instructions.

    OK? Now, we have two things to discuss: First, we need to discuss how we can tell something that actually plans (like the first system) from something that doesn’t plan (like the second system) even when they both build FSCI-rich artifacts. The second thing we need to discuss is the importance of the fact that these computer systems in our thought experiment were all designed and built by a human programmer. So let’s take these one at a time.

    First, hopefully it will be apparent that in order to distinguish something that can actually formulate novel plans by synthesizing other information (i.e. by thinking), one needs to be able to interact with the system. I need to be able to, for example, request that the system design something of a particular function, or to modify one of its designs to accomodate some new requirement, etc. Only then can I satisfy myself that it is capable of generating novel plans by itself.

    Now, we get to the second thing. Considering these two computer systems, some people (like Bill Dembski, with whom I’ve discussed this very point) will declare that neither of these computer systems is actually intelligent; in fact, the intelligence for even the first system has been “smuggled in” by the programmer. Dembski insists this is the case even when the computer system is shown to design novel mechanisms (such as electronic circuits) that the programmer didn’t even know how to design! I do not think you agree with Dembski here, as you agree that intelligence may be accomplished mechanically.

    But what about the second system? Here’s where it gets hard to communicate and understand, so let’s go slowly. In the second system, there is code and data which already encode FSCI-rich designs, so the system doesn’t have to perform any planning in order to create them. All this system does is regurgitate these plans. Of course you will say that somebody had to design these mechanisms in the first place, and you know full well it was the human programmer of this computer system.

    But what if you had no idea where these designs came from? That is the case we find ourselves in in the context of ID. We see FSCI-rich designs, but we don’t know if the immediate cause of these designs was something that reasoned from more basic principles and knowledge and came up with these designs itself, or if it was something that output these designs without reasoning about them at all.

    Now, since you acknowledge that planning/design may be accomplished mechanically, it is theoretically possible that the thing which built this second, unintelligent system was yet another unintelligent system, which again was pre-programmed with another complex design. And so on, back as far as you would care to regress.

    But wait, you complain! In this regress of unintelligent causes – each one producing its artifacts as complex as you please – there must have been an intelligent cause somewhere along the line! At some point up the causal chain, where these complex designs which beget other complex designs which beget… at some point there had to be something that thought up the design (the goal, function, implementation) in the first place!!!

    WELL, HERE IS WHERE THE DISAGREEMENT LIES, CJYMan.

    You could say that an undesigned designer started the whole shebang, or you could say that an unprogrammed program started the whole shebang. ID people like the first notion, and insist that at some point the original, initial, ultimate cause must have been an intelligent being who started the FSCI ball rolling. Anti-ID people like the second notion, and insist that the whole thing started with this FSCI existing already, and didn’t need a mind to get it going.

    So if you’d like to ask how FSCI-rich organisms came to exist, it could be that something capable of planning was responsible, or it could be that FSCI-rich mechanisms are implicit in the universe already. ID people talk about this possibity too, under the name “front-loading”. But what they don’t realize is that the front-loader may be capable of planning, or maybe it already contained the FSCI to start with. You could ask who programmed the front-loader, but I could ask who designed the designer.

    This is an argument about ultimate cause, which cannot be resolved by science.

    I’ll stop here.

    * * *

    Joseph,

    aiguy:

    AIGUY: However, since Meyer claims to be explaining the “very first life”, it can’t possibly be another life form that was responsible.
    JOSEPH: Meyer is referring to the first living organisms of this universe.

    Actually here is what he says:

    The central argument of my book is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell.

    He didn’t say “in this universe”; he just said “first”. Besides, once we indulge in highly speculative hypotheses like multiple universes, we can come up with all sorts of explanations for FSCI (for example, if there are infinite universes, then we would expect an infinite number of them to have astronomically improbable life forms all over the place).

    And as I have said many times before to refute any given design inference all one has to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely, ie blind, undirected processes, can account for it.

    I don’t think anybody understands how FSCI in biology arose. You can say that some unspecified conscious thing was responsible, or you can say that some unspecified unconscious thing was responsible, but neither of these claims can be supported.

  30. aiguy:

    He didn’t say “in this universe”; he just said “first”.

    Where else do we observe living organisms?

    And as I have said many times before to refute any given design inference all one has to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely, ie blind, undirected processes, can account for it.

    I don’t think anybody understands how FSCI in biology arose.

    I agree and that is why science is tentative.

    Also I am all for teaching “we don’t know”.

    What I am firmly against is teaching “we don’t know but we know it wasn’t by design”.

    You can say that some unspecified conscious thing was responsible, or you can say that some unspecified unconscious thing was responsible, but neither of these claims can be supported.

    Look, we exist and there is only one reality behind that existence.

    So we survey the field to figure out what the options are and go from there.

    Science is all about determining the reality behind how things came to be the way they are.

  31. Science Asks Three Basic Questions

    1- What’s there?

    2- How does it work?

    3- How did it come to be this way?

  32. aiguy:
    “You could say that an undesigned designer started the whole shebang, or you could say that an unprogrammed program started the whole shebang. ID people like the first notion, and insist that at some point the original, initial, ultimate cause must have been an intelligent being who started the FSCI ball rolling. Anti-ID people like the second notion, and insist that the whole thing started with this FSCI existing already, and didn’t need a mind to get it going.”

    But if we actually follow both Meyers argument and *your own* initial argument, we experience (uniformly and repeatedly) a closed loop between foresight utilizing systems (intelligence) and FSCI. Therefore, as I’ve already explained the best explanation would actually be to combine both of your scenarios. Since FSCI and intelligence can not exist independent of each others’ (akin to the relationship between matter and energy) causal influence, then the first thing to get it all going would have been described in terms of both FSCI and intelligence. So yes, IMO, the best scientific explanation from inference of presently acting cause that we uniformly and repeatedly experience would be that a physically complex (FSCI — call it living if you wish) intelligent system “got the ball rolling” in relation to all subsequent FSCI and intelligent systems. This is like stating that the Big Bang got the universe rolling. There is no need to provide a causal account of the Big Bang or this initial FSCI based intelligence in order to argue for it as a causal factor.

    IMO, I see no significant difference between making that inference and making an inference to the Big Bang. Neither can be observed directly in the past, yet the Big Bang, *something never experienced as I’ve already discussed earlier*, is a logical result of many other observations and reasoning being put together. And when we look at foresight, the inference is even stronger since we actually *do experience* foresight on a daily basis and engineers to use it to generate FSCI.

    Unless, that is, you are going to answer in the negative to the questions I asked in comment 27.

    And yes, I do agree that we can not yet separate the *direct* patterns caused by AI from the *direct* patterns caused by true conscious intelligence. But, if the ID argument that I’ve provided is solid and not yet falsified, then the AI would most likely have had an intelligence in its causal chain, so detecting the effects of AI would be indirectly detecting the effects of intelligence (foresight).

    Anyhow, now I’m pretty much just covering ground I’ve already covered, so it appears that alas we will have to agree to disagree for the moment on some of these key issues — although I do have my reasons for my position which I believe are solid and I believe I have explained to the best of my ability, and I’m sure you would say the same as it pertains to your position. Have a good day, aiguy, and I look forward to our next discussion.

  33. CJY:

    An AI could well eventually be a created intelligence.

    In any case, that AI’s are based on very careful design and implementation of FSCI-rich technologies is a given.

    So, that running an explanatory filter on the result of an AI’s action and detecting that underlying intelligence is not a failure, no more than it is a failure to detect that the original behind a mould of a statue is designed.

    AI’s are not exceptions to the observation that when we directly and independently know the cause through empirical means [i.e. this is empirical testing], reliably the source of FSCI is design, and so we have an empirical observation base to regard FSCI as a credible sign of design.

    So, now when we turn to such FSCI all over cell based life, that empirically warranted inductive generalisation is pointing to the credible source for such: design.

    GEM of TKI

  34. Joseph:

    And so truth-seeking is a key and irreplaceable value in science.

    Which indicts the now ever so common a priori imposition of materialism as a censorship on thinking and education about origins science.

    GEM of TKI

  35. One more thing …

    aiguy:
    “I don’t think anybody understands how FSCI in biology arose. You can say that some unspecified conscious thing was responsible, or you can say that some unspecified unconscious thing was responsible, but neither of these claims can be supported.”

    … except that we routinely experience the generation of FSCI as a result of our own foresight (the key component of all intelligent action and reasoning) and all non-conscious generation of FSCI (ie: AI) have conscious foresighted intelligence in its causal chain. Furthermore, we’ve never experienced FSCI being generated in a context devoid of foresight.

    I’m really not sure how you could have left that out, unless again you are implying that you wish to respond in the negative to the questions I asked in comment 27.

    So, in effect I would be specifying that the system responsible is summed up as a complex organization (FSCI) able to model the future, generate a target and then engineer matter and energy/law and chance in such a configuration so that the target would be accomplished. Basically it is capable, as we are, of present choice between configurations of matter and energy, with future intent for that matter and energy. We can even get an idea of what type of structure the designer may require by studying AI and then also consciousness when we finally understand it.

    Furthermore, I’m not sure of why people use this “unspecified” notion … do you want a name of the designer or something? … maybe what he physically looks like, the clothes he wears or doesn’t wear, whether this intelligence resides in the quantum structure of the universe itself, in the structure of a silicon computer, or in the structure of a biological brain? What difference would it make to the inference to intelligence (as I’ve defined it) and the relation between intelligence and FSCI — if indeed there is a relationship that we experience.

    IMO, applying this notion of “unspecified” as some type of argument against ID Theory is akin to saying that the Big Bang is unspecified because you can’t give me its address and then using that as an argument against the Big Bang. The main point is that it makes no difference to the Big Bang inference, so why the “unspecified” label? Is it supposed to actually mean something as it pertains to the debate?

  36. KF at 33,

    Well said and I agree with you. I believe that my last comment that I just posted clears up my thoughts on the matter.

  37. CJYMan,

    Since FSCI and intelligence can not exist independent of each others’ (akin to the relationship between matter and energy) causal influence, …

    I’m with you about interdependence of mechanism/mind here, but I don’t think it is analogous to matter/energy. Matter and energy are two aspects of the same thing and can be converted one into the other. Mind and mechanism aren’t the same thing, but apparently require each other in order to exist.

    …then the first thing to get it all going would have been described in terms of both FSCI and intelligence. So yes, IMO, the best scientific explanation from inference of presently acting cause that we uniformly and repeatedly experience would be that a physically complex (FSCI — call it living if you wish) intelligent system “got the ball rolling” in relation to all subsequent FSCI and intelligent systems. This is like stating that the Big Bang got the universe rolling. There is no need to provide a causal account of the Big Bang or this initial FSCI based intelligence in order to argue for it as a causal factor.

    I don’t object to anything you’re saying, but I hope you agree that this is like the various speculations in physics regarding what caused the Big Bang itself. I think it’s clear that however imaginative those ideas are, there is (at least currently) no science behind them at all. You like the idea of a material intelligence as first cause, others believe in a material universe with an implicit order that somehow gave rise to mind, and still others believe in a transcendent intelligence that somehow gave rise to mechanism. I say… who knows?

    IMO, I see no significant difference between making that inference and making an inference to the Big Bang.

    I see a huge difference: Big Bang theory had a number of testable predictions, and those predictions were found to hold true. Nobody has any idea how we might go about trying to decide among these speculations about first cause of mind/mechanism, however. It really is like to trying to explain the cause of the Big Bang, rather than just inferring that the Big Bang happened.

    .Neither can be observed directly in the past, yet the Big Bang, *something never experienced as I’ve already discussed earlier*, is a logical result of many other observations and reasoning being put together.

    The inference to the Big Bang is based on observations in the present and within our uniform and repeated experience. The physical processes that scientists study in laboratories in the present form the understanding that allowed them to predict the background microwave radiation and other things from this hypothesized event in the past.

    And when we look at foresight, the inference is even stronger since we actually *do experience* foresight on a daily basis and engineers to use it to generate FSCI.

    We observe that engineers use their brains to generate FSCI, but we don’t know what else they use. Perhaps they use immaterial minds too, but we don’t observe that happening.

    And yes, I do agree that we can not yet separate the *direct* patterns caused by AI from the *direct* patterns caused by true conscious intelligence. But, if the ID argument that I’ve provided is solid and not yet falsified, then the AI would most likely have had an intelligence in its causal chain, so detecting the effects of AI would be indirectly detecting the effects of intelligence (foresight).

    You lean toward an undesigned designer (conscious mind) as first cause, while others lean toward an unprogrammed (unconscious) program. Philosophers have argued about this for thousands of years without resolution. Can you think of a way to appeal to our uniform and repeated experience to empircally resolve the issue, or do you think (like I do) that it will remain in the realm of philosphical speculation?

    Anyhow, now I’m pretty much just covering ground I’ve already covered, so it appears that alas we will have to agree to disagree for the moment on some of these key issues — although I do have my reasons for my position which I believe are solid and I believe I have explained to the best of my ability, and I’m sure you would say the same as it pertains to your position. Have a good day, aiguy, and I look forward to our next discussion

    I agree. Cheers, CJYMan!

    * * *

    KF,

    In any case, that AI’s are based on very careful design and implementation of FSCI-rich technologies is a given.

    So you say, based on our experience. And indeed that it is the case. All complex functional mechanism invariably arises from conscious designers (although it remains possible that they arise in other ways unknown to our experience).

    And based on our experience, the fact that intelligence is based on FSCI-rich mechanism is a given. All conscious designs arise from complex mechanism (although it remains possible that they arise in other ways unknown to our experience).

    So, that running an explanatory filter on the result of an AI’s action and detecting that underlying intelligence is not a failure, no more than it is a failure to detect that the original behind a mould of a statue is designed.

    In this way every observation of mechanism is a detection of mind, and every detection of mind is a detection of mechanism. You would dearly love to make mind primary to mechanism, but (as CJYMan and I both agree) both are in our experience quite dependent on one another.

    AI’s are not exceptions to the observation that when we directly and independently know the cause through empirical means [i.e. this is empirical testing], reliably the source of FSCI is design, and so we have an empirical observation base to regard FSCI as a credible sign of design.

    AI’s are not exceptions to the observation that when we directly and independently know the cause through empirical means, reliably all design emanates from FSCI, and so we have an empirical observation base to regard design as a credible sign of FSCI.

    So, now when we turn to such FSCI all over cell based life, that empirically warranted inductive generalisation is pointing to the credible source for such: design.

    So now, when we turn to such design, that empirically warranted inductive generalization is pointing to the credible source for such: mechanism.

    :-)

  38. CJY:

    One of the half-funny, half-sad things above is that all of us have as FIRST fact, our experience of the world as conscious, minded, purposing, foresighted, intelligent, enconscienced creatures living in a common space-time reality.

    In fact, without that first fact, we are not in credible contact with the observables that we claim to be seeing and measuring, nor are we credibly able to think about them.

    In short, these points are preconditions of the very praxis of science that is so vaunted today as the paradigm of objective knowledge.

    Underlying all of this, is the pernicious impact of evolutionary materialism and its self-referential incoherences that undermine mind and reason.

    Cf my remarks on origin of mind etc here.

    GEM of TKI

  39. CJYMan,

    I’m not sure of why people use this “unspecified” notion … do you want a name of the designer or something?

    No, but I’d like to know why you think the Designer is something that would have a “name”. In our experience, only human beings (and our pets) have “names”.

    What we mean by “unspecified” is of course that nobody dares to say anything whatsoever about what it is ID is actually talking about. You are very unusual in that you posit the Designer has a material body; most ID folks hold that the Designer is immaterial or refuse to entertain the question altogether. Beyond saying the Designer is a “designer”, ID says not one single thing about what it is we’re talking about. That’s why we say it “unspecified”.

    IMO, applying this notion of “unspecified” as some type of argument against ID Theory is akin to saying that the Big Bang is unspecified because you can’t give me its address and then using that as an argument against the Big Bang.

    The Big Bang has a rigorous mathematical formulation (several, actually) that astrophysicists use to generate and test their predictions. If they didn’t characterize the Big Bang carefully, they could not have predicted the temperature of the microwave background radiation, for example.

    In contrast, ID refuses to characterize the Designer at all, and so it remains impossible for anyone to decide if the designer that ID is talking about exists or not.

  40. 40

    Aiguy,

    “I don’t object to anything you’re saying, but I hope you agree that this is like the various speculations in physics regarding what caused the Big Bang itself.

    I think this is exactly the point that CY and others have repeatedly been trying to get you to acknowledge. Just because we do not have an explanation for onset of the Big Bang, does not mean we throw out what we, in fact, can observe. You then go on to say…

    I see a huge difference: Big Bang theory had a number of testable predictions, and those predictions were found to hold true. Nobody has any idea how we might go about trying to decide among these speculations about first cause of mind/mechanism, however.

    And this is where you make the jump, or, as has been said before “smuggled in” your argument. It is not the mechanism of the design that ID focuses on, it is the artifacts of the design itself – just as it is not the mechanism of the Big Bang that the BB Theory focuses on, it is the artifacts of that event itself.

    It really is like to trying to explain the cause of the Big Bang, rather than just inferring that the Big Bang happened.

    You just did it again. :)

    The inference to the Big Bang is based on observations in the present and within our uniform and repeated experience.

    Which is exactly Meyer’s point you wish to refute. The inference to the presence of DESIGN is based upon our universal observations “in the present and within our uniform and repeated experience”. The inference is to the presence of design and is based upon our universal experience. Your argument that it must answer the method of implementation doesn’t hold water in the either the Big Bang or ID.

    Cheers…

  41. 41

    Aiguy,

    The Big Bang has a rigorous mathematical formulation (several, actually) that astrophysicists use to generate and test their predictions. If they didn’t characterize the Big Bang carefully, they could not have predicted the temperature of the microwave background radiation, for example.

    In contrast, ID refuses to characterize the Designer at all, and so it remains impossible for anyone to decide if the designer that ID is talking about exists or not.

    Background radiation is an effect of the Big Bang, it is not the cause. Studying the background radiation is a study of the effect of the Big Bang, not a study of the of the cause.

    The difference is not particularly subtle.

  42. UprightBiped,

    AIGUY: “I don’t object to anything you’re saying, but I hope you agree that this is like the various speculations in physics regarding what caused the Big Bang itself.
    UB: I think this is exactly the point that CY and others have repeatedly been trying to get you to acknowledge. Just because we do not have an explanation for onset of the Big Bang, does not mean we throw out what we, in fact, can observe.

    We’re talking past each other here. We have very good evidence that the Big Bang occured, because we have characterized it carefully and could thus say specific things about what would be true if the Big Bang happened (red shift, background radition, etc). So we all (I’m assuming) pretty much believe that the Big Bang occurred.

    However, we have no way to characterize what events preceeded the Big Bang (if that even makes sense to say), and we have no scientific way to determine what (if anything) caused the Big Bang to occur.

    AIGUY: I see a huge difference: Big Bang theory had a number of testable predictions, and those predictions were found to hold true. Nobody has any idea how we might go about trying to decide among these speculations about first cause of mind/mechanism, however.
    UB: And this is where you make the jump, or, as has been said before “smuggled in” your argument. It is not the mechanism of the design that ID focuses on, it is the artifacts of the design itself – just as it is not the mechanism of the Big Bang that the BB Theory focuses on, it is the artifacts of that event itself.

    But everybody agrees on the “artifacts” – we all agree that complex life forms exist on Earth. What we’d like to know is some sort of explanation for how these complex life forms came to exist in the first place.

    As for the Big Bang, sorry but I think you’re pretty confused about that. Physicists are very involved in studying the mechanism of the Big Bang – that is precisely what BB Theory focuses on (read Weinberg’s “The First Three Minutes” – it’s fascinating!). That is why we say we actually have a “theory” about the Big Bang – because we have managed to carefully characterize the mechanism and could use that characterization to generate testable predictions… and the predictions have held up (more or less I guess).

    AIGUY: The inference to the Big Bang is based on observations in the present and within our uniform and repeated experience.
    UB: Which is exactly Meyer’s point you wish to refute. The inference to the presence of DESIGN is based upon our universal observations “in the present and within our uniform and repeated experience”.

    But what we observe is complex physical beings creating complex mechanism. We have no experience of any sort of thing that can create complex mechanisms which could have preceeded all complex mechanisms. So that hypotheses runs aground immediately.

    CJYMan solves that problem by deciding that OK, the Designer must actually be a complex physical thing itself. That’s OK I guess, but I don’t think it’s a very good theory either, and it certainly isn’t consistent with what Stephen Meyer is talking about.

    The inference is to the presence of design and is based upon our universal experience. Your argument that it must answer the method of implementation doesn’t hold water in the either the Big Bang or ID.

    In the Big Bang the entire theory is all about the “implementation” (mechanism) of the origin of the universe. That part is well-grounded in our experience, both of the evidence of the BB itself (red shift, microwave background radiation, etc) and in our experience of the fundamental physics involved (all of our experimental evidence for quantum theory and relativity).

    Background radiation is an effect of the Big Bang, it is not the cause.

    That is exactly right. Scientists understand the mechanism of the Big Bang itself, but can’t say how it got started. They can describe “the first three minutes” of the universe, but can’t say what happened “before” then (in fact we can’t even say there was “time” before then!)

    Studying the background radiation is a study of the effect of the Big Bang, not a study of the of the cause.

    Again, detecting the background radiation was a confirmation of our theory (our model) of the mechanism of the Big Bang. Really – read that book by Steven Weinberg, it is a great introduction.

  43. To make CJY and UB’s analogy more clear:

    1) BIG BANG

    Observable red shift led us to think the universe is expanding in all directions

    We determined that if we followed the expansion back in time it would come to a single point

    We used physical models that have been confirmed by our experience (quantum physics, relativity) to build a model of the mechanisms involved in the Big Bang

    This model yielded testable predictions (e.g. background radiation)

    We observed the background radiation (and other things) and confirmed the predictions

    So we say we have an understanding of the Big Bang including the mechanisms by which it proceeded.

    However, we have no scientific knowledge of how the mechanisms involved in the Big Bang came to exist in the first place.

    2) ORIGIN OF FIRST LIFE

    Observable complex form and function in biology

    Let us say (arguendo) we have no idea how that complexity came to exist in terms of physical chemistry

    We see that complex life forms (humans) can create complex mechanisms, but obviously life forms can’t have been responsible for the first life forms. So that doesn’t help.

    We can hypothesize that there exists other sorts of things that are not life forms but still have the same sorts of abilities and conscious experiences that we have. But we have no evidence that this is true (except maybe from paranormal research).

    So we have no scientific knowledge of how the first life came to exist

  44. 44

    Aiguy,

    A ball lands in the water. Waves ripple out from the point of impact.

    An effect is not a mechanism of a cause. Studying an effect is not studying the mechanism of a cause. Building a model of an effect is not building a model of a cause.

    Neither BB proper, nor ID proper, addresses the cause, they only address the effect.

    If this is in question, then I’ll leave you to it.

  45. Upright,

    A ball lands in the water. Waves ripple out from the point of impact.

    An effect is not a mechanism of a cause. Studying an effect is not studying the mechanism of a cause. Building a model of an effect is not building a model of a cause.

    Neither BB proper, nor ID proper, addresses the cause, they only address the effect.

    If this is in question, then I’ll leave you to it.

    Sorry but I think you’re still confused about this. The mechanisms involved in the Big Bang are those described by physics. Physics uses mathematics to describe four fundamental causes, or forces, and then explains things that happen (effects) by invoking these forces. The forces are gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces, and in physics everything that happens is a result of these causes acting on matter/energy.

    So physicists have built a model of what happened at the very beginning of the universe in terms of these causes. Then, by looking at their model, they can see what sorts of effects would take place if they have characterized their causes correctly. Once they compute these hypothetical effects (or predictions), they can make empirical observations to see if the hypothetical effects match the actual effects we can observe.

    So Big Bang theory addresses the cause of the expanding of the universe, and it addresses the cause of the microwave background radiation. (It also addresses the cause of various other things, like some aspects of the large-scale structures we observe in the universe). I’m not saying all questions have been answered, and I’m certainly no expert at all in these things, but that’s the basic situation.

    Now what we do not have a model of is the cause of the Big Bang itself. This is because we have no way of determining what – if anything – happened before the universe itself began. So while we can’t explain what caused the Big Bang, we can explain what the Big Bang caused, and we can explain how it caused it, with detailed descriptions of the causes involved.

    In contrast, ID offers no description at all for the cause of biological complexity. There is nothing that ID says about the “Designer” that would allow anyone to determine if the “Designer” as described by ID theory exists or not. That’s a very different situation.

  46. 46

    Aig,

    I am not confused about this in the least. What I see is that you keep repeating yourself, and with each repetition you seem to expect a new level of clarity. In every case, you do not remove your argument when describing ID. That’s a problem.

    Allow me to adjust your last paragraph for you.

    “In contrast, BB offers no description at all for the Cause of the universe. There is nothing that BB says about the Cause that would allow anyone to determine if the Cause as described by BB theory exists or not”.

    I have done nothing more here than supplant BB for ID, and Designer for Cause. Now, it should come completely clear to you that in sentence number two I (you) have ascribed to the BB theory something that the theory itself does not attempt – mainly a description of the cause of the BB.

    Now, slow down, stay with me here for a moment. :) These are your own words structured in your own sentences, and it is a demonstration of exactly what you are doing to ID theory.

    At the core of the BB theory is the idea that the cause of the observable effects was an immense release of energy in the unobservable past. Ask a BB theorist; what does the theory suggest as the ultimate cause of the observable effects? “There is no practical way of knowing, just Boom!”. Okay, so you got nothing of interest on the Boom itself? “No”. So what do you got? “Observable effects, artifacts, nice ones”.

    ID theory is the exact same thing. What was does the theory suggest as the ultimate cause? “Intelligence”. Okay, got anything of interest on the Intelligence? “No way to know”. So what do you got? “Observable effects, artifacts, nice ones”.

    ID, like BB, does not attempt to study the ultimate cause of the EFFECTS, it only attempts to study the effects.

  47. UB,

    Allow me to adjust your last paragraph for you.

    “In contrast, BB offers no description at all for the Cause of the universe. There is nothing that BB says about the Cause that would allow anyone to determine if the Cause as described by BB theory exists or not”.

    I have done nothing more here than supplant BB for ID, and Designer for Cause. Now, it should come completely clear to you that in sentence number two I (you) have ascribed to the BB theory something that the theory itself does not attempt – mainly a description of the cause of the BB.

    Now, slow down, stay with me here for a moment. These are your own words structured in your own sentences, and it is a demonstration of exactly what you are doing to ID theory.

    And your modified paragraph is 100% true – just as I said, BB theory has no model of what caused the BB (the beginning of the universe). So BB Theory explains what it purports to explain, while ID theory does not:

    BIG BANG THEORY:
    * Purports to explain expansion/red shift, background radiation, etc.
    * Consists of specific, detailed models of how physical law acted in the first seconds of the universe to produce the uniform red shifts and radition that we observe.
    * Explains our observations, and provides reason to believe the cause we are describing (the forces of physics) exist as we describe them.

    ID THEORY:
    * Purports to explain biological systems.
    * Says nothing whatsoever about how biological systems were created
    * Provides no way of telling if the hypothesized cause (the Designer) exists

    At the core of the BB theory is the idea that the cause of the observable effects was an immense release of energy in the unobservable past. Ask a BB theorist; what does the theory suggest as the ultimate cause of the observable effects? “There is no practical way of knowing, just Boom!”. Okay, so you got nothing of interest on the Boom itself? “No”. So what do you got? “Observable effects, artifacts, nice ones”.

    Correct. The observable effects are red shifts, radiation, etc, and that is what the BB models explain. Good so far.

    ID theory is the exact same thing. What was does the theory suggest as the ultimate cause? “Intelligence”. Okay, got anything of interest on the Intelligence? “No way to know”. So what do you got? “Observable effects, artifacts, nice ones”.

    The exact same thing???? That is the exact opposite, even as you yourself describe it!:

    1) BB Theorist offers no guess as to ultimate cause of universe, but explains expansion, radiation, etc. with detailed characterizations of the cause (the physical forces)

    2) ID Theorist claims to know the ultimate cause of life (“intelligence”) but has no detailed characterization of the cause (the designer)

    ID, like BB, does not attempt to study the ultimate cause of the EFFECTS, it only attempts to study the effects.

    BB tries to explain observations of red shift, radiation, etc
    ID tries to explain observations of FSCI in biology

    The cause BB offers is the action of physical forces which are described in great detail
    The cause ID offers is the action of an agent which is not described at all

  48. 48

    geeeez. You’ve repeated yourself yet again, and this time at volume. Allow me to help once again.

    “2) ID Theorist offers no guess as to the ultimate cause of life (“The Designer”) but have a detailed characterization of the artifacts (of design)

    Not describing an agent does not mean that we cannot know when an agent has acted

    - – - – -

    Now, if you are looking for a model of intelligence that can explain why Susie likes chocolate ice cream and red cars, then I suggest you haven’t made room in your knowledge base for the difference between intelligence and hydrogen. Funny, that.

  49. UB,

    2) ID Theorist offers no guess as to the ultimate cause of life (“The Designer”) but have a detailed characterization of the artifacts (of design)

    1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts

    Not describing an agent does not mean that we cannot know when an agent has acted

    I think you’re mistaken. Unless you characterize “agents” in terms of what they can and cannot do, you can’t possibly determine if the artifacts you see were actually the result of these agents or not.

    Physicists say exactly what physical forces can and cannot do, and so they can examine the artifacts and see clearly if they are consistent with their carefully characterized causes or not.

    Now, if you are looking for a model of intelligence that can explain why Susie likes chocolate ice cream and red cars, then I suggest you haven’t made room in your knowledge base for the difference between intelligence and hydrogen. Funny, that.

    All you need to do is to provide some meaningful description of what you mean by “intelligent”, rather than the typical “I know it when I see it” sort of thing ID folks usually say. Just explain how you can distinguish something intelligent from something that isn’t intelligent in an objective way.

    But of course you can’t do that, because there is nothing that all intelligent agents can do which no non-intelligent-agents can do. There is nothing that follows from the claim that some entity is “intelligent”. By telling you something is intelligent, I have told you not one single thing about what this entity can or cannot do.

    That is the huge, qualitative difference between something like Big Bang theory and ID.

    Again:

    1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts.

  50. UB,

    Just so we don’t go around in another circle, please just go through these four simple statements and tell me which one is false:

    1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts

    If all four statements are true (and of course they are all true) then I have shown your point to be mistaken: ID theory is not at all like Big Bang theory, because BB theory actually describes what we think caused that which we observe.

  51. 51

    Aiguy, let’s cut to the chase. You are a student of synthetic intelligence that has a hang up about the “I” word in “ID”, yet you refuse to reference the “I” word in relation to the effect of design (as ID proponents must) instead you relate it to the designer (which ID proponents can’t). This penchant for mischaracterizing ID arguments is not in the slightest bit concealed in your comments.

    It hardly passes un-noticed that you fail to address any of the arguments for ID on their merit; instead you want to stay off in the definitional weeds where it’s safe to argue. That’s fine, knock yourself out.

    However, if I handed you a strip of paper that had series of extended mathematical calculations on it, no one could tell if those calculations came directly from a human intelligence or a machine that the human intelligence created, yet we could all be certain of one thing – it didn’t come about by means of unguided processes like wind and erosion.

    Likewise, if I handed you a red plastic ball. You may have no idea of its origin, but upon study you would find that the material in the ball is following all the laws of physics with great fidelity, yet none of those laws could be said to cause the plastic to form a sphere and dye itself red. That required something else.

    So when we find such artifacts, and approach them soberly with a patent and sincere intent to understand their origin, we can study their characteristics and say with a degree of confidence that they required input beyond the natural order and chaotic forces and processes that we measure in the natural world. They required additional controlling principles and constraints placed upon their structure in order to exist as they do. They required an act of volition.

    Among other inferences to design, ID has found its strip of paper and red plastic ball inside the genome. You like to argue that we can’t get there by some definitional hang-up you have. I disagree for all the reasons I’ve stated, not the least of which is your constant mischaracterization of the ID argument. You also like to argue that ID has no rigorous characterization of the subject, which is another claim that is patently false.

    So please feel free to stay out in the weeds arguing over words and mischaracterizing the ID position. Rational people will understand it is the concepts themselves in play, not the words. At some point your argument is as misguided as a sound engineer arguing that the Big Bang didn’t happen because there was no audible Bang, and no ears to hear it. :)

  52. UB,

    Aiguy, let’s cut to the chase.

    I simplified my statement of our differences to four simple statements and asked you to tell me which, if any, you disagreed with. Again, they were:

    1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts.

    But you declined to comment. Instead of simply refuting or conceding these points you instead chose to ignore them altogether, so we could instead wander down into miscommunication and confusion.

    So I will ask you one more time to look at those four simple statements and tell me which, if any, you think are in error. If you again decline to comment I will assume you agree with all of them (they are, after all, evidently true). The conclusion is that while BB theory explains the phenomena it claims to explain by characterizing the causes in detail, ID theory fails to characterize its cause at all.

    You are a student of synthetic intelligence that has a hang up about the “I” word in “ID”, yet you refuse to reference the “I” word in relation to the effect of design (as ID proponents must) instead you relate it to the designer (which ID proponents can’t).

    I was under the impression that the word “design” referred either to a verb or a noun. As a verb, it means (in Meyer’s words) “the action of a conscious, rational, deliberative agent”. As a noun, it means “the artifacts produced by a conscious agent”.

    Are you using these words differently? Equivocation of terms is always a danger in these discussions. For example, “design” as a noun could also mean “a pattern containing FSCI”.

    So in order to prevent further miscommunication, could you please tell me exactly what you mean by “design” (verb) and “design” (noun) in these discussions?

    It hardly passes un-noticed that you fail to address any of the arguments for ID on their merit; instead you want to stay off in the definitional weeds where it’s safe to argue. That’s fine, knock yourself out.

    I’m arguing about what ID means when it talks about intelligent agency. Considering “intelligent agency” is the sole explanatory concept in ID, it would seem to be reasonable to discuss this. If you don’t want to discuss this, that’s fine. But you seemed to want to discuss these points until I show you are mistaken – as with the four simple points at the top of this post which you refused to concede – and then you want to move on quickly :-)

    However, if I handed you a strip of paper that had series of extended mathematical calculations on it, no one could tell if those calculations came directly from a human intelligence or a machine that the human intelligence created, yet we could all be certain of one thing – it didn’t come about by means of unguided processes like wind and erosion.

    I would know that only a human or human-built machine printed that, because in my experience those two things are the only things that print out those sorts of symbols. I would know that a whale or dolphin (both called “intelligent” in other senses) did not do it. And if I suggested to you that some immaterial, disembodied entity printed out those equations, you would think I was delusional!

    Likewise, if I handed you a red plastic ball. You may have no idea of its origin, but upon study you would find that the material in the ball is following all the laws of physics with great fidelity, yet none of those laws could be said to cause the plastic to form a sphere and dye itself red. That required something else.

    Again, human beings (and their tools) mold plastic like that, and nothing else in our experience does. Again,if I suggested that some disembodied entity (like a ghost or a poltergeist or a god) was responsible for creating the ball, I would be rightly told I should seek psychiatric help.

    So the “something else” was – as we all know – a human being. But – as we all know – human beings could not have been responsible for designing life. So that hypothesis is completely refuted.

    They required an act of volition.

    Volition is something that you do not understand, because nobody does. Philosophers have argued about volition for millenia. There has in the last fifty years actually been some scientific research on the subject, which you are probably unaware of as well. You should read about this research (by Benjamin Libet, Daniel Wegner, and others) before you make these claims about what requires “volition” and what doesn’t.

    I disagree for all the reasons I’ve stated, not the least of which is your constant mischaracterization of the ID argument.

    If you accuse me of mischaracterizing some argument, please tell me exactly what you mean, along with the relevant quote from my post. Otherwise you are making unsupported accusations that I can’t respond to.

    You also like to argue that ID has no rigorous characterization of the subject, which is another claim that is patently false.

    Yes, I have been told that ID is not concerned with characterizing the designer at all. Rather, ID is supposedly only concerned with studying the designs. Isn’t that what ID proponents say? (hint: Yes, it is, and I can find plenty of quotes to back that up if it doesn’t ring a bell).

    So yes, there is absolutely nothing said about what the designer of ID is, what it does, how it does it, where it does it, when it did it, or anything else.

    Again, I think we should carefully simplify our arguments and define our terms so we do not speak past each other. I would start with the four simple statements I asked you to comment on. If you’d like me to comment on particular, specific arguments of yours, please put them succinctly and I will respond.

    So here they are again:

    1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts.

    Can you tell us which of these statements is false? If not, we can all see that while scientific theories provide detailed characterization of the causes they posit, ID does nothing of the sort.

  53. 53

    Aiguy,

    So let me get this straight: You want me submit myself to a test of questions based upon a mischaracterization of ID – one that I and others have repeatedly and laboriously highlighted over and over again, and one you have repeatedly refused to address – and if I don’t do as you ask, then you will label me as non-responsive and having conceded your point?

    Have you lost your effin mind?

    And now you want to go farther into the weeds over the word “volition”? I use the term in its conventional sense as the act of an independent will, and you’ll no doubt want to go off into a reductive account of intentionality and feedback? No thanks. Are you going to channel Alfred Mele for me?

    I’ve already posted a link that contradicts your list, and (like clockwork) once again highlights your mischaracterization of the ID argument. Perhaps, you should have read it.

  54. UB,

    So let me get this straight: You want me submit myself to a test of questions based upon a mischaracterization of ID – one that I and others have repeatedly and laboriously highlighted over and over again, and one you have repeatedly refused to address – and if I don’t do as you ask, then you will label me as non-responsive and having conceded your point?

    Have you lost your effin mind?

    You accuse me of refusing to address your points, but unfortunately you will not actually say which points I’ve failed to address.

    On the other hand, I’ve presented you with a concise summary of my points four times now, and you refuse to respond at all. You had argued (in #40) the following:

    It is not the mechanism of the design that ID focuses on, it is the artifacts of the design itself – just as it is not the mechanism of the Big Bang that the BB Theory focuses on, it is the artifacts of that event itself

    I have quite clearly pointed out that you were mistaken. Although ID fails to characterize the mechanism that supposedly resulted in FSCI, BB theory quite clearly characterizes the mechanisms that resulted in red shift, background radiation, and the other effects it explains.

    I will once again clearly repeat those points for all to see:

    1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts.

    After going on about how nobody explains how the Big Bang was caused (of course not!) and how I was confusing causes and effects (I clearly was not!) and all manner of other misdirections, you now simply refuse to acknowledge the clear difference between how BB Theory is substantiated by clear, testable characterizations of its causes while ID Theory offers no characterizations of its cause at all.

    I am quite content to leave it to the fair reader to decide which of us is avoiding the debate on that point.

    And now you want to go farther into the weeds over the word “volition”? I use the term in its conventional sense as the act of an independent will, and you’ll no doubt want to go off into a reductive account of intentionality and feedback? No thanks. Are you going to channel Alfred Mele for me?

    Unfortunately you are not familiar with the science, so this will be difficult. Benjamin Libet performed a famous set of experiments on Volition in the 1970s, which have been replicated and extended by many others since then. You are under the naive impression that our “conventional sense” of “independent will” is somehow known to be true. In fact, you are talking about something called “libertarian free will” (or contra-causal will), which (as every philosopher and cognitive scientist knows) is only one particular conjecture among many in the ancient problem of free will. Apparently you are not willing to learn about the science, and would rather simply assume that whatever you happen to believe about this unresolved issue must be true and everybody else is wrong.

    Again, I will leave this to the fair reader to decide who is being closed-minded and refusing to acknowledge where doubt and uncertainty exists. Whatever you want to believe simply must be true, even if scientists and philosophers are still actively debating these issues with evidence and arguments that you don’t even know about.

    I’ve already posted a link that contradicts your list, and (like clockwork) once again highlights your mischaracterization of the ID argument. Perhaps, you should have read it.

    If you believe you can contradict my list, simply tell me which of these four simple statements you believe to be in error. This is now the sixth time I am asking you to do this, but of course you will refuse again, for the simple reason that every statement on that list is obviously true. Sorry, but everyone can see for themselves that I’m right.

    Once again for your convenience:

    1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts.

    I won’t make you go offsite and read some thread, and I won’t allude to previous refutations I’ve made. I present you right here, right now, with these points, and await your rebuttal:

    1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts.

    Which statement is false, UprightBiped?

    :-)

  55. 55

    Aiguy,

    First off, the tone of your last post is not particularly surprising, and as a strategist, I must confess that I am more than happy to receive it. Nothing is more satisfying than to watch your opposition retreat into a mouthy flank against a strong position. And, you did it with such a sense of confidence and superiority. One can easily imagine you standing there with the palm of one hand in front of you, slapping it with the other as you demand answers to your questions. The bravado that comes from intellectual prowess fills the room like the smoke of congratulatory cigars.

    Let me be clear about this, just so that I may extend to you the courtesy that you’ve extended to me in your last post – I am more than happy to consider you no more than highly-trained idiot. Moreover, if you think that I am impressed by the idea that (gasp) modern philosophers disagree with one another about a subject, then you are not even as smart as I might have given you credit for. You perhaps have the training, yet you lack the basic wisdom of a matured farm hand. As much as I am disposed to congratulate you on retreating to an area small enough to defend, unfortunately for your purposes, you cannot defend it.

    This entire Big Bang conversation began as nothing more than a sideline comment that ID attempts to do no more than the BB theory – in that neither theory can answer the question of ultimate cause, yet both can explain the effects of that cause. A balanced person would hear this comparison and would completely understand the underlying point as well as its validity. You however, have a need to misrepresent ID as a means to ignore its actual arguments, so you’ve latched on to the rather obvious point that BB uses mathematical physics in order to explain the observed effects which lead to the formulation of the theory. (What exactly would the alternative be?) This wholly uncontested point offers you a distinction you’d like to advance. You want press the idea BB has the rigors of mathematical physics behind it while ID has nothing of the sort. You only need misrepresent ID to maintain the charade. In the end it’s a ridiculous position which does absolutely nothing to the original point of the comment.

    Now clearly, by repeatedly posting your list of questions containing the misrepresentation of ID you’d like to drive home the point that BB has rigorous physics as its basis while ID has nothing – or perhaps whatever ID has to offer is certainly not of the value of mathematical physics. Not only is this a silly view of how knowledge is gained, it is also non-operational in the real world. If I find my neighbor dead in his living room with a knife in his back, should I consult the periodic table for answers? Well…should I? Or, is it more realistic to suppose that different subjects of interest require different methodologies of inquiry? Perhaps this is the question you wanted the fair readers of this thread to decide?

    They might even decide that rationality is a central ingredient at least as important as any methodology (including theoretical and mathematical physics).

    In any case, you seem incapable of properly describing the ID argument. When you write “ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts” you are willfully misrepresenting ID. ID does not attempt to characterize the designer, but only the observable artifacts of design. This is exactly why I provided the link which you ignored. If the question is asked “what is the cause of the bio-function within living things?” then that question may be pursued through observation. The functional organization observed within the cell is caused by constraints placed upon matter in the form of nucleic sequencing. If you had bothered, you would have found a thorough analysis of the possible sources of that sequencing, and a logical conclusion as to its source.

    Since you refuse to address the misrepresentation, I can think of no reason to waste my time on it.

  56. Upright Biped, I feel your frustration in attempting to get aiguy to not misrepresent a position and to understand the underlying argument that we are providing. It appears that aiguy is also developing a very selective memory, where he will forget points that have been already brought up that have addressed his incorrect assertions.

    aiguy:
    “1) ID has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (FSCI in biology).
    2) BB has a detailed characterization of the artifacts (red shift, radiation)
    3) ID has no characterization of the cause (the Designer) of ID artifacts
    4) BB has detailed characterizations of the cause (forces) of BB artifacts.”

    Are you serious? Listen to yourself. RE: point 3) First, I have specified the main characterization of what ID Theory hypothesizes as a cause for ID artifacts many times for you. That main characterization of the cause of ID artifacts is foresight — something I have defined above, and you seems to not deny that you experience on a regular basis. IE: without a system that first envisions a future goal that does not yet exist and then manipulates matter and energy in the present to accomplish that goal in the future, will an engineer’s circuit design come to fruition? So, we are only dealing with an inference from something we experience on a regular basis.

    Furthermore, you should add two more points, that have been explained to you over and over again, which make quite the difference. Those two points would be:

    5) It matters not that we don’t know what produces foresight, and whether we are “free” or “determined” to experience and/or utilize it, just as we don’t what produces Big Bangs. All we know is that we can infer these causes from effects that are reasonably linked through experience, mathematics, and other lines of reasoning (ie: rewind the tape of cosmological history and what do we see?).

    6) ID theory is actually on a more solid foundation, based on our experience, than is the Big Bang, since we’ve never experienced anything remotely similar to the Big Bang yet we experience the operation of foresight as a fact of our existence every day.

  57. …just as it is not the mechanism of the Big Bang that the BB Theory focuses on, it is the artifacts of that event itself…

    Actually that is about as wrong as a statement can get and still consist of correctly spelled words.

    The articacts are evidence for, but most research is concerned with mechanisms.

  58. That main characterization of the cause of ID artifacts is foresight

    What do you mean by foresight?

    Does that include the ability of populations to modify their genomes?

  59. I think we need to carefully distinguish the instant of the singularity proper from the results thereof in our space-time domain (including in the first 10^-43 s). While what happened in that first 10^-43 – 10^37 or so s is highly speculative [and one begins to wonder how much is "science" and how much "mathematics-ised" philosophy, it still does not get us to the singularity, proper. Much less, "beyond" it. And, we do not have any good idea of he cause of that singularity, speculations on fluctuations [of what, where? . . . and I do not mean that trivially] and the like notwithstanding.

  60. And the game of rhetorical tangency continues, even ignoring what has already been addressed . . .

  61. Petrushka:

    What do you mean by foresight?

    The ability to see ahead and plan accordingly.

  62. Petrushka:
    “What do you mean by foresight?”

    Before, I give you some links (and the comment in this thread) to where aiguy and myself have already discussed foresight, and I’ve provided definitions, I’ll let you take a stab at defining “foresight.” When someone says they have foresight in a certain area, let’s say business, or someone tells you that you had good foresight in a plan that you implemented, what does that mean to you?

  63. CJYMan,

    RE: point 3) First, I have specified the main characterization of what ID Theory hypothesizes as a cause for ID artifacts many times for you. That main characterization of the cause of ID artifacts is foresight — something I have defined above, and you seems to not deny that you experience on a regular basis. IE: without a system that first envisions a future goal that does not yet exist and then manipulates matter and energy in the present to accomplish that goal in the future, will an engineer’s circuit design come to fruition? So, we are only dealing with an inference from something we experience on a regular basis.

    So at last somebody is willing to actually make an actual argument! Great! Let’s take a look!

    You say that statement #3 is in error, because you believe you have characterized the cause ID posits in a way we can use to tell if what ID is positing exists and is the actual cause of the FSCI we observe. And what is this characterization? It is foresight.

    Let’s make sure we’re clear here.

    1) BB Theory seeks to explain observable phenomena such as the red shift. In order to do that, physicists characterize a set of forces, and then use these characterizations to determine what we ought to observe if those forces actually existed.

    2) ID Theory seeks to explain observable phenomena such as FSCI in living cells. In order to do that, ID theorists characterize an intelligent designer, and then use this characterization to determine what we ought to observe if that designer actually existed.

    Right so far?

    3) In BB Theory it is determined that uniform cosmic background radiation ought to be observable, because if physics is right about these forces this prediction will be correct. We look for this radiation and voila it appears! So now we have reason to believe that we understand this thing that caused both the red shift and background radiation.

    4) In ID Theory… well, too bad. There are no other predictions that can possibly be made. Why? Because absolutely nothing follows from claiming that something has ‘foresight’. What do ‘foresighted’ entities do? We have no idea. What don’t they do? No clue – as far as ID theory goes, ‘foresighted entities’ can do absolutely anything at all. They can create universes or living cells; they can create blood-clotting cascades and aardvarks. Why do we observe octopi? Because the foresighted entity is capable of designing them. Why don’t we observe mammals with infrared vision? Because the foresighted entity didn’t want to make those.

    So no, CJYMan, this characterization of ‘foresight’ does nothing to enable us to see if the cause we posit actually exists and is responsible for the observable FSCI we see.

    Of course you could say the following: Foresighted entities are what creates FSCI, so by seeing FSCI we have confirmed our hypothesis that something with foresight was responsible for the FSCI in biology.

    Would you like to go with that? Great! Now here is what you have said:

    We observe FSCI in biology. ID Theory offers foresight as the cause of FSCI in biology. Since entities with foresight create FSCI, we can test our theory by seeing if there is FSCI in biology. Hey, there is! And so we’ve confirmed our theory.

    Hopefully you see the problem. The only evidence you are presenting is the very thing you are trying to explain! Unless you characterize your cause in some way that shows what it can and can’t do, we can never determine if it exists or not.

    This is as different from physics and Big Bang theory as it could possibly be.

    It matters not that we don’t know what produces foresight, and whether we are “free” or “determined” to experience and/or utilize it, just as we don’t what produces Big Bangs. All we know is that we can infer these causes from effects that are reasonably linked through experience, mathematics, and other lines of reasoning (ie: rewind the tape of cosmological history and what do we see?)

    Since having ‘foresight’ tells us nothing about an entity except that it can create FSCI, then to say “X has foresight” says nothing more than “X can create FSCI”. So ID Theory becomes nothing more than the statement that whatever created FSCI in biology is something that is capable of creating FSCI! It tells us not one single thing more than that… and so it tells us nothing at all.

    ID theory is actually on a more solid foundation, based on our experience, than is the Big Bang, since we’ve never experienced anything remotely similar to the Big Bang yet we experience the operation of foresight as a fact of our existence every day

    We experience the operation of human beings. You describe our ability to create FSCI as “foresight” – fine. But all we know is human beings can create FSCI one way or the other – and you don’t think it is important to know how we do it. So we might as well call this ability “FSCI-creating ability”.

    All you are saying is that we experience “FSCI-creating ability”, and so we can explain the FSCI in biology by appeal to “FSCI-creating ability”. Nice theory!

  64. aiguy:
    “What we mean by “unspecified” is of course that nobody dares to say anything whatsoever about what it is ID is actually talking about.”

    Dembski defines intelligence as the ability to weed out options in the present in order to provide a specific effect in the future.

    Trevors and Abel refer to present choice with future intent as a necessary cause of patterns which we could sum up as FSCI.

    Meyers refers to consciousness, which appears to be intricately linked to our envisioning of future not-yet-existent goals in order to generate an FSCI structure in the present which will accomplish that goal/target.

    … and I have utilized a commonly used term, “foresight,” which again you seem to agree that you experience daily, to encompass the commonality between all of those explanations of what is meant by “intelligence.” And note again, that it makes no difference to the foundational ID hypothesis whether we are free or determined in our foresight. All that matters is that foresight exists and that certain patterns will not exist absent foresight, making foresight a necessary cause.

    … so, based on that, I have to seriously doubt you’ve read much at all about ID Theory. So, I have to wonder how it is that you think you can purport to critique something based on your ignorance of the subject matter.

    aiguy:
    “You are very unusual in that you posit the Designer has a material body;”

    I have posited no such thing. I have merely stated that to solve your little original “dilemma” we could merely state that the best explanation based on what we presently understand is that the designer most likely is FSCI rich him/her/its-self.

    Now, let’s see what our observations and repeated, uniform experience really tell us …

    1. I possess and utilize foresight — or it just happens in my brain. Take your pick.

    2. I infer that other people around me have foresight since they are extremely similar biologically, come to exist through the same process which caused my existence, and they produce the same patterns that I produce through the use of my foresight.

    3. I observe that the ability to reproduce is not necessary for a person to have foresight/ be intelligent. A guy goes under the scissors, gets snipped and he awakes with his foresight in tact. So, reproduction is not a requirement of a system which possesses foresight. Thus, a foresighted system doesn’t have to be “alive” in the sense of reproducing and evolving.

    4. A person’s body can be disfigured and/or unfortunately not usable except to support living functions, yet they can still be very intelligent, envisioning all sorts of amazing things for the future. Stephen Hawking is a case in point. So, a specific type/shape of functioning body is not required for intelligence, except to provide support for the operation of the intelligent system. Thus, intelligence doesn’t have to “look” a specific way.

    5. The brain appears to be the root of where this foresight resides or operates. What is the brain? It is a sufficiently organized information processing system — it is a type of computer from what we can tell.

    6. In conclusion, from our experience and observation, all that is required is a sufficiently organized information processing system, along with functional support, in order for intelligence to exist.

    So, the only way that I posit that intelligence must have a “body,” would be that it requires some sort of medium for information processing — IMO, possibly the quantum structure of the universe or some deeper reality. Furthermore, I have no idea how you are defining “material” or “physical” so I can’t take a position on whether this intelligence must be material or not.

    Furthermore, this shows that Meyers argument is perfectly sound, since he refers to intelligence as the best explanation of the first life-form and I have shown that based on our observations and inference, the first intelligence need not be living.

    And yes, of course we don’t have any experience with non-living intelligence (except, one could argue, in AI), but then again, we have no experience with Big Bangs either. So we rely on further argumentation, and lines of evidence based on repeated and uniform experience and inferences to “logical ends” as I have just explained in points 1 to 6 above in this comment.

    aiguy:
    “most ID folks hold that the Designer is immaterial”

    Yes, they use philosophical and metaphysical arguments to dig deeper into possibilities.

    aiguy:
    “or refuse to entertain the question altogether.”

    That is because, just as the operation (of which there could be many hypothesis) of how quantum fluctuations could produce a Big Bang and our universe makes no difference to the inference that the Big Bang occurred, so the operation or metaphysical status of foresight makes no difference to the fact of the occurrence of foresight and the link between foresight and specific effects.

    aiguy:
    “Beyond saying the Designer is a “designer”, ID says not one single thing about what it is we’re talking about. That’s why we say it “unspecified”.”

    Ignoring others’ (including my own) definitions and explanations of intelligence is not an argument.

  65. aiguy:
    “We observe FSCI in biology. ID Theory offers foresight as the cause of FSCI in biology. Since entities with foresight create FSCI, we can test our theory by seeing if there is FSCI in biology. Hey, there is! And so we’ve confirmed our theory.

    Hopefully you see the problem. The only evidence you are presenting is the very thing you are trying to explain! Unless you characterize your cause in some way that shows what it can and can’t do, we can never determine if it exists or not.”

    The definition of foresight is not in its ability to generate FSCI. That it generates FSCI is merely a part of our uniform and repeated experience.

    I’ve already defined foresight in terms of what it can do — basically, using a future (not-yet-existent) target to organize present matter. I honestly do not see the problem at all. Does anyone else here see the problem?

    So, according to aiguy, I don’t use my foresight to design complex circuitry and I can’t refer to my ability to envision a future goal as a necessary cause of the circuit in front of me, strictly because I can’t define what a foresight utilizing system “can not do.” I apologize but I’m having a hard time following the logic.

    Tell me, aiguy, what can the Big Bang not do?

    aiguy:
    “Since having ‘foresight’ tells us nothing about an entity except that it can create FSCI, then to say “X has foresight” says nothing more than “X can create FSCI”.”

    I have no idea who you are arguing with, since I have never defined foresight in terms of its ability to create FSCI.

    You must have missed, where I’ve explained — oh what … 50 times now — how foresight is the ability to envision a future goal that does not yet exist and then engineer matter and energy in the present to accomplish that future goal. Some of these future targets may exhibit FSCI and some may not. There is no logical necessary flow from my definition to FSCI. The connection between FSCI and foresight is one of measurement and experience.

    Secondly, the only way to negate the argument is to show that a foresighted system is not required in an instance of FSCI’s causal chain.

  66. CJYMan,

    Dembski defines intelligence as the ability to weed out options in the present in order to provide a specific effect in the future.

    Fine – everybody has a different definition, and he’s entitled to his :-)

    Evolution weeds out options in the present, and provides specific effects in the future, so I guess Dembski thinks evolution is intelligent? No, of course not… because evolution doesn’t “know” that this is what its doing.

    So Meyer adds “conscious deliberation” to his particular notion of intelligence. But obviously we have no way of knowing if the cause of life was conscious at all, much less conscious in a way recognizably like our human experience of consciousness. It’s all just anthromorphic projection and unsupportable assertions.

    Trevors and Abel refer to present choice with future intent as a necessary cause of patterns which we could sum up as FSCI.

    And how might Trevors and Abel suggest we determine if the Designer of ID intended to cause the particular patterns we see? Maybe the Designer is completely unconscious and for reasons completely unknown to us just created the patterns for no reason at all. How would we ever know?

    Meyers refers to consciousness, which appears to be intricately linked to our envisioning of future not-yet-existent goals in order to generate an FSCI structure in the present which will accomplish that goal/target.

    Consciousness appears to be linked to no mental abilities whatsoever, because scientists have demonstrated that people can plan, schedule, design, and create FSCI without any conscious involvement at all. Besides that, just because we’re conscious of what we’re doing doesn’t mean our consciousness is enabling us to do it.

    All that matters is that foresight exists and that certain patterns will not exist absent foresight, making foresight a necessary cause.

    Here’s something that might make this clearer to you. ID is making a claim of equivalence here, just the way Newton did. But while Newton succeeded in showing his equivalance was true (because he was a scientist) ID fails utterly (because they don’t even try).

    Newton looked at apples falling from trees and at planets moving across the sky and declared that the very same thing caused both of these phenomena. Now this was certainly not a popular idea at the time, but Newton was sure he was right. What was this cause this Newton said was responsible for both of these phenomena? It is called gravity. And why was he so sure that the same thing moved the apple toward the Earth and kept the planets orbiting around the Sun? Because of the way Newton characterized this “gravity” cause.

    If Newton had simply said “Gravity is the thing that makes apples fall and planets orbit the sun”, then he would have explained absolutely nothing, and he would not have become famous. If Newton had said “Gravity is intelligent and intelligence has the ability to move things in any way it wants” then he would have explained nothing and we would not know his name. If Newton had said “Gravity is something that makes things move in accordance with their natural tendencies” then he would have been just another forgotten philosopher who never figured anything out of value.

    But instead, Newton characterized gravity in a way that let people actually see for themselves whether or not this hypothesized cause could actually account for both falling apples and orbiting planets. And sure enough, Newton’s careful characterization of gravity demonstrated that yes, it was the same thing in both cases, acting according to the same careful description that Newton had figured out. This thing acted between any two bodies, acted instantaneously at a distance, was invariably attractive, and caused an acceleration between every pair of masses that varied in proportion to the product of their masses, and inversley with the square of the distance between them, and according to a fixed constant that was the same everywhere in the universe.

    So Newton got justifiably famous and convinced everybody that the same thing caused apples to fall and planets to orbit.

    Now let’s take a look at ID. ID also makes an equivalence claim: It says that the same thing that allows human beings to design a watch or a car or a trip to Europe is what also accounts for the creation of the first living cell.

    OK, fine – that’s an equivalance claim, so let’s see why we should believe it. Does ID tell us what is required in order for “intelligence” to act? Newton said that mass was required for gravity to work… but ID refuses to say anything about what is required for intelligence to work. Although it would seem obvious that we need working brains in order to think, ID doesn’t even want to respond to that basic bit of common knowledge, and instead insists that intelligence could exist without any complex physical mechanism (you take a different approach here, as we’ll discuss below, but most IDers refuse to even go as far as you go in conceding the in our experience intelligence requires complex mechanism).

    Is there anything else ID says about intelligence that would allow us to decide if the same thing that humans use to build watches also accounts for flagella and eyeballs in nature?

    What about describing what intelligence does instead of how it works? Let’s say intelligence outputs FSCI in both cases – when the human designs a watch and when the Designer designs the flagella. But that’s like Newton just saying that gravity caused motion in both cases! Everybody already knew that both apples and planets moved, and it didn’t help to just define gravity as “the thing that made things move”. No, Newton actually had to characterize how gravity made things move before anyone would believe it was the same thing in both cases.

    Unfortunately, nobody in ID seems interested in doing what Newton did. ID never talks about how intelligence creates FSCI so that we could see for ourselves if the FCSI in watches is really caused by the same thing as the FSCI in flagella.

    What about how long it takes? When humans design things it typically takes from a few minutes to a few tens of years. Things like eyeballs and flagella appear to have taken many millions of years to come to exist. So that’s not very similar either…

    So there’s the problem. ID folks would like us to believe that there is this thing called “intelligence” and “intelligence” is what lets human beings think, and that this exact same thing called “intelligence” is what enabled the Designer build a platypus. I’m willing to consider it, but I’d like some reason to believe such a thing. Until ID can provide some characterization of this thing they’re referring to as “intelligence”, I’ll continue to believe that human mental and physical abilities are critically dependent on human bodies and brains, and without those we can’t say that there is anything in common between the cause of human inventions and the cause of biological systems.

    aiguy:“You are very unusual in that you posit the Designer has a material body;”
    CJY: I have posited no such thing. I have merely stated that to solve your little original “dilemma” we could merely state that the best explanation based on what we presently understand is that the designer most likely is FSCI rich him/her/its-self.

    Uh, that seems to me to be exactly what I said: You posited the cause of FSCI in biology was itself an FSCI-rich entity, because otherwise it would have nothing to do with our uniform and repeated experience. So fine, that’s your solution to this particular conundrum that ID faces. But your version of ID – where the designer is already a complex physical being to begin with – is not such a good theory, and I don’t think very many ID enthusiasts would be happy with it.

    1. I possess and utilize foresight — or it just happens in my brain. Take your pick.

    Since you can’t provide a way to decide if things which produce FSCI use foresight or not, this isn’t helpful at all. A psychologist would suggest particular experiments where the entity in question is faced with novel problems to solve, but we can’t do that in the context of ID. A neuroscientist would examine the entity looking for brain structures known to be involved in planning, spatial relations, etc… but we can’t do that with the Designer either.

    2. I infer that other people around me have foresight since they are extremely similar biologically, come to exist through the same process which caused my existence, and they produce the same patterns that I produce through the use of my foresight.

    This is a fairly strong inference, yes. We can perform experiments on each other, analyze each other’s brains, etc etc. This is the way we solve “the problem of other minds” for other human beings.

    3. I observe that the ability to reproduce is not necessary for a person to have foresight/ be intelligent. A guy goes under the scissors, gets snipped and he awakes with his foresight in tact. So, reproduction is not a requirement of a system which possesses foresight. Thus, a foresighted system doesn’t have to be “alive” in the sense of reproducing and evolving.

    OK, yes. We know that people can still design things even if they can’t reproduce.

    4. A person’s body can be disfigured and/or unfortunately not usable except to support living functions, yet they can still be very intelligent, envisioning all sorts of amazing things for the future. Stephen Hawking is a case in point. So, a specific type/shape of functioning body is not required for intelligence, except to provide support for the operation of the intelligent system. Thus, intelligence doesn’t have to “look” a specific way.

    Yes I would agree that many physiological systems in the human being can be disabled without destroying the human’s ability to think.

    5. The brain appears to be the root of where this foresight resides or operates. What is the brain? It is a sufficiently organized information processing system — it is a type of computer from what we can tell.

    That’s fine with me – let’s say it is a type of computer, and when we disable the brain, as far as we know, all thinking ceases. No planning, scheduling, spatial relations, memory, desire, intent…

    6. In conclusion, from our experience and observation, all that is required is a sufficiently organized information processing system, along with functional support, in order for intelligence to exist.

    I’m fine with that, although I guarantee lots of other ID folks would not be. Anyway, what you describe is generally called functionalism.

    Now even if we accept functionalism to be true, it’s not clear that two different entities, both using information processing mechanisms (brains, silicon chips, whatever) to design things, can be said to be accomplishing their design task in the same way. Maybe the mechanisms and algorithms – hardware and software – differ very radically. Maybe one system is conscious and the other is not. Maybe the only feature common to both systems is that they are both complex physical mechanisms that output FSCI. (But of course evolutionary processes meet that requirement too).

    Furthermore, this shows that Meyers argument is perfectly sound, since he refers to intelligence as the best explanation of the first life-form and I have shown that based on our observations and inference, the first intelligence need not be living.

    But I’ve shown (1) Meyer claims that his cause is conscious, which is utterly without warrant; that (2) You still haven’t said what is the same between human mentality and this hypothetical mentality except that both process information with complex physical mechanism. This characterization doesn’t even exclude Darwinian processes!

  67. CJYMan,

    I missed this one!

    Tell me, aiguy, what can the Big Bang not do?

    The Big Bang cannot do anything except what the currently known laws of physics tells us it does. The Big Bang itself cannot cause blue-shifted spectra from stars; it cannot produce expansion of space that is not accompanied by a uniform background radiation; it cannot produce iron within seconds of the initial singularity; it cannot cause the heavy elements to revert to lighter elements; it cannot part the Red Sea or change water into wine.

    See what I mean? In order to determine if some posited cause actually exists, you really do have to be able to characterize it in a way that allows people to figure out if it exists or not, and if it actually accounts for the phenomena in question. ID doesn’t even try to do this; as far as ID is concerned the hypothetical designer can do anything and everything that we could ever want it do in order to explain whatever it is we want to explain… but ID never says just how the Designer manages to do anything at all.

    So on this count (and many others) it’s a non-starter.

  68. CJYman:
    “Dembski defines intelligence as the ability to weed out options in the present in order to provide a specific effect in the future.”

    aiguy:
    “Fine – everybody has a different definition, and he’s entitled to his :-)”

    Uhuh, and the reason I posted his and others’ definition, and showed you that they were all dealing with the same phenomenon in very similar wording, is to refute another one of your bald assertions re: unspecified designers, when you stated that “nobody dares to say anything whatsoever about what it is ID is actually talking about.”

    aiguy:
    “Evolution weeds out options in the present, and provides specific effects in the future, so I guess Dembski thinks evolution is intelligent? No, of course not… because evolution doesn’t “know” that this is what its doing.”

    I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough … in that context, specific = targeted. So, yes, evolution is an excellent example of artificial/unconscious intelligence.

    aiguy:
    “So Meyer adds “conscious deliberation” to his particular notion of intelligence. But obviously we have no way of knowing if the cause of life was conscious at all, much less conscious in a way recognizably like our human experience of consciousness. It’s all just anthromorphic projection and unsupportable assertions.”

    That comment of yours is itself an unsupported assertion unless you can show FSCI being generated absent conscious foresight in that FSCI’s causal chain. But I’ve already explained this to you many times, how we experience that certain patterns do require foresight — ie: complex circuitry or these comments — and you have yet to deny that an engineer requires foresight (as I have defined it above) to design complex circuitry.

    And again, the reason I posted Meyers definition of intelligence is to show that you are fond of merely making unsupported assertions yourself when you stated that “nobody dares to say anything whatsoever about what it is ID is actually talking about.”

    CJYman:
    “Trevors and Abel refer to present choice with future intent as a necessary cause of patterns which we could sum up as FSCI.”

    aiguy:
    “And how might Trevors and Abel suggest we determine if the Designer of ID intended to cause the particular patterns we see? Maybe the Designer is completely unconscious and for reasons completely unknown to us just created the patterns for no reason at all. How would we ever know?”

    Because we are talking about science here, not sci fi, metaphysics, or pure speculation. Do I really need to explain to you again that we utilize our foresight daily? Again, this is something that you have not denied.

    CJYman:
    “All that matters is that foresight exists and that certain patterns will not exist absent foresight, making foresight a necessary cause.”

    aiguy:
    “Here’s something that might make this clearer to you. ID is making a claim of equivalence here, just the way Newton did. But while Newton succeeded in showing his equivalance was true (because he was a scientist) ID fails utterly (because they don’t even try).”

    What does that have to do with my statement? Which part of my statement above do you deny?

    Second, I can’t believe that you are trying to lecture me about what ID Theory is trying to say, when you’ve just been shown to be wrong about your understanding of ID Theory on at least a few levels. I’ve also already shown you the analogy between ID Theory and the Big Bang and you have provided no objection that you can back up.

    aiguy:
    “If Newton had simply said “Gravity is the thing that makes apples fall and planets orbit the sun”, then he would have explained absolutely nothing, and he would not have become famous.”

    No, he formulated a law that describes effects without even providing a mechanism. The mechanism of gravity came much later and is still being debated today.

    aiguy:
    “If Newton had said “Gravity is intelligent and intelligence has the ability to move things in any way it wants” then he would have explained nothing and we would not know his name.”

    aiguy, if you keep obfuscating like this, then you’ll confuse yourself even more when it comes to your understanding of ID Theory. In case you forgot, I’ve defined intelligence … oh what, maybe 52 times now … I’ve shown how it encompasses ID theorists definitions, and you have yet to either deny that it exists as I’ve defined it (in terms of foresight), deny that engineers require it to produce their designs, or show that FSCI can be generated absent foresight in its causal chain, so I really don’t see what your problem here is. It seems that there is really not much more to be said, especially since you are now just going off on irrelevant tangents.

    But, I’ll play along anyway. However, for us to make any progress I need to know which of my points you are denying, since you seem to be still disagreeing with me on some level.

    Do you deny that …

    1. Foresight as I have defined it exists.

    2. Engineers utilize their foresight (as I have defined it above) — or it just happens in their brains (take your pick) — in order to design FSCI.

    3. FSCI has not been shown to be generated absent foresight in its causal chain.

  69. Now, let’s continue…

    aiguy:
    “If Newton had said “Gravity is something that makes things move in accordance with their natural tendencies” then he would have been just another forgotten philosopher who never figured anything out of value.”

    Excellent little tidbit, aiguy. That is quite obvious.

    aiguy:
    “But instead, Newton characterized gravity in a way that let people actually see for themselves whether or not this hypothesized cause could actually account for both falling apples and orbiting planets.”

    Yes, he formulated a mathematical representation of regularities that could be applied in many different instances. Believe it or not, most of us here at UD already know this type of stuff.

    aiguy:
    “And sure enough, Newton’s careful characterization of gravity demonstrated that yes, it was the same thing in both cases, acting according to the same careful description that Newton had figured out. This thing acted between any two bodies, acted instantaneously at a distance, was invariably attractive, and caused an acceleration between every pair of masses that varied in proportion to the product of their masses, and inversley with the square of the distance between them, and according to a fixed constant that was the same everywhere in the universe.”

    Thanks for the little bit of history of science reprieve. Now, let’s get back to business …

    aiguy:
    “Now let’s take a look at ID. ID also makes an equivalence claim: It says that the same thing that allows human beings to design a watch or a car or a trip to Europe is what also accounts for the creation of the first living cell.

    OK, fine – that’s an equivalance claim, so let’s see why we should believe it. Does ID tell us what is required in order for “intelligence” to act?”

    Does Big Bang theory tell us what is required for a Big Bang to occur? Not at all … it’s all speculation at this point and even more so when it was originally hypothesized. So, tell me why we would need to know how intelligence operates in order to experience it, utilize it to generate FSCI, and infer its operation from its known effects?

    aiguy:
    “Newton said that mass was required for gravity to work… but ID refuses to say anything about what is required for intelligence to work.”

    So does the Big Bang. In fact, since the laws of nature break down at the singularity, we may never know what causes Big Bangs — especially from our uniform and repeated experience.

    Furthermore, I have already explained a few times how the operation of foresight makes no difference to the fact that it exists, we use it, and according to our repeat and uniform experience some patterns require it. If you think the operation of foresight makes a difference for any of those cases, please provide your argument. So, at this point, I really do not see what your problem is with ID Theory.

    aiguy:
    “Although it would seem obvious that we need working brains in order to think, ID doesn’t even want to respond to that basic bit of common knowledge,”

    … because, again, it makes no difference to the ID inference. All other extraneous speculation at this point is philosophical and unnecessary for the ID inference.

    aiguy:
    “Is there anything else ID says about intelligence that would allow us to decide if the same thing that humans use to build watches also accounts for flagella and eyeballs in nature?”

    Aiguy, you are making this much harder on yourself than you need to. The foundation of ID theory is really quite simple. Here is what ID Theory says about intelligence in answer to your question:

    1. Intelligence is summed up in foresight.

    2. Foresight exists as per our experience.

    3. We utilize our foresight to generate complexities that can be measured and defined in terms of FSCI.

    4. There is no evidence that FSCI can be generated absent foresight in its causal chain.

    Which of the above do you deny?

    aiguy:
    “What about how long it takes? When humans design things it typically takes from a few minutes to a few tens of years. Things like eyeballs and flagella appear to have taken many millions of years to come to exist. So that’s not very similar either…”

    Interesting questions. What does that have to do with negating the ID inference?

    aiguy:
    “So there’s the problem. ID folks would like us to believe that there is this thing called “intelligence” …”

    So you disagree that foresight as I’ve defined it exists?

    aiguy:
    “… and “intelligence” is what lets human beings think,”

    That’s not a totally unfair characterization if ID. More correctly, it is foresight which allows us to search through vast configuration spaces in the present to find islands of function. Again, refer to my engineer example. He envisions a future target that does not yet exist and then configures matter and energy in the present to accomplish that goal. Do you disagree that this occurs?

    aiguy:
    “and that this exact same thing called “intelligence” is what enabled the Designer build a platypus.”

    It is much more complex and nuanced than that … but, yes, at least indirectly.

    aiguy:
    “Until ID can provide some characterization of this thing they’re referring to as “intelligence”, I’ll continue to believe that human mental and physical abilities are critically dependent on human bodies and brains, and without those we can’t say that there is anything in common between the cause of human inventions and the cause of biological systems.”

    Well, I’ve already defined intelligence for you 54 or so times now and you haven’t denied any of the main points I’ve made, so where is the hang up?

    aiguy:
    “Uh, that seems to me to be exactly what I said: You posited the cause of FSCI in biology was itself an FSCI-rich entity, because otherwise it would have nothing to do with our uniform and repeated experience.”

    I was providing clarification on the term “body” and “material.”

    aiguy:
    “So fine, that’s your solution to this particular conundrum that ID faces. But your version of ID – where the designer is already a complex physical being to begin with – is not such a good theory, and I don’t think very many ID enthusiasts would be happy with it.”

    First, you yourself have implied that you can not define “physical” in any scientifically useful way, so if you drop that, then yes, I believe that the designer and FSCI must exist simultaneously.

    Second, I don’t really care who does or doesn’t like whatever. I’m an engineer and a scientist at heart and so I go for whichever solution works or most adequately provides causal explanation. When it comes down to it, I believe that reality has some sort of fundamental structure and this structure is itself FSCI rich and is inherently intelligent and/or proto-conscious (Penrose and Hameroff).

  70. CJYman:
    “1. I possess and utilize foresight — or it just happens in my brain. Take your pick.”

    aiguy:
    “Since you can’t provide a way to decide if things which produce FSCI use foresight or not, this isn’t helpful at all.”

    So what are you denying here …

    -foresight exists.
    …or…
    -the engineer envisions a future goal which does not yet exists, sets that as a target, and manipulates matter and energy to accomplish that target.
    …or…
    -you use foresight to develop these comments of yours.
    …or…
    -all of the above.

    CJYman:
    “2. I infer that other people around me have foresight since they are extremely similar biologically, come to exist through the same process which caused my existence, and they produce the same patterns that I produce through the use of my foresight.”

    aiguy:
    “This is a fairly strong inference, yes. We can perform experiments on each other, analyze each other’s brains, etc etc. This is the way we solve “the problem of other minds” for other human beings.”

    Sure, its a strong inference. Do you deny it? And yes, we only know that other people are intelligent by the effects the leave upon our senses … ie: FSCI. IOW, we use the design inference every day.

    aiguy:
    “Now even if we accept functionalism to be true, it’s not clear that two different entities, both using information processing mechanisms (brains, silicon chips, whatever) to design things, can be said to be accomplishing their design task in the same way.”

    Now here is where I do agree with you.

    aiguy:
    “Maybe the mechanisms and algorithms – hardware and software – differ very radically. Maybe one system is conscious and the other is not. Maybe the only feature common to both systems is that they are both complex physical mechanisms that output FSCI. (But of course evolutionary processes meet that requirement too).”

    Yes, there are lots of maybes that we may be able to study scientifically at some point, or maybe not.

    CJYman:
    “Furthermore, this shows that Meyers argument is perfectly sound, since he refers to intelligence as the best explanation of the first life-form and I have shown that based on our observations and inference, the first intelligence need not be living.”

    aiguy:
    “But I’ve shown (1) Meyer claims that his cause is conscious, which is utterly without warrant;”

    Now, I will first admit that I actually don’t like subscribing to a fundamental designer that is actually conscious as we are … however, historical science is based on inference from experience and that is all we have to go on. It is the best approximation that we can come up with at the moment. This is science’s limitation. So far, we only see FSCI generated when there is an actual conscious intelligence in its causal chain.

    aiguy:
    “that (2) You still haven’t said what is the same between human mentality and this hypothetical mentality except that both process information with complex physical mechanism. This characterization doesn’t even exclude Darwinian processes!”

    Actually, the similar characterization is that of foresight — envisioning a future goal that does not yet exist and organizing matter and energy in the present to accomplish that future goal.

    CJYman:
    “Tell me, aiguy, what can the Big Bang not do?”

    aiguy:
    “The Big Bang cannot do anything except what the currently known laws of physics tells us it does. The Big Bang itself cannot cause blue-shifted spectra from stars; it cannot produce expansion of space that is not accompanied by a uniform background radiation; it cannot produce iron within seconds of the initial singularity; it cannot cause the heavy elements to revert to lighter elements; it cannot part the Red Sea or change water into wine.”

    I’m sorry. I misunderstood when you asked me what a foresighted system could not do. I thought that by “what can it not do,” you meant “what kind of effects can it not cause.”

    aiguy:
    “See what I mean?”

    Actually I don’t. I misinterpreted your statement.

    aiguy:
    “In order to determine if some posited cause actually exists, you really do have to be able to characterize it in a way that allows people to figure out if it exists or not,”

    Have you ever envisioned a target that does not yet exist? If so, foresight exists.

    Have you ever used that target as a “diving board” to search through present configurations of matter in order to bring that target to fruition. If so, you have applied your foresight. Congratulations, you are intelligent:)

    aiguy:
    “and if it actually accounts for the phenomena in question.”

    Here (http://telicthoughts.com/wisdo.....ent-230373) is my explanation for how intelligence accounts for the phenomenon in question, and here (http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-337588) is my explanation for how law+chance do not and actually can not account for the phenomenon in question. Many other ID proponents and theorists have provided similar accounts.

    aiguy:
    “ID doesn’t even try to do this;”

    You can say you disagree with ID accounts, but why are you instead resorting to bald assertions that are based on your own personal ignorance of ID Theory.

    aiguy:
    “as far as ID is concerned the hypothetical designer can do anything and everything that we could ever want it do in order to explain whatever it is we want to explain… ”

    ummm, no … we experience that foresight is required to produce FSCI, and along with the other arguments I’ve provided, we then infer if FSCI then previous foresight. Foresight is not some magic fairy that’ll fly you to never never land. You are the only one here who has characterized it as such and I’m the one who merely refers to our experience of what we use to produce FSCI.

    aiguy:
    “but ID never says just how the Designer manages to do anything at all.”

    And that’s relevant to the ID inference how?

    aiguy:
    “So on this count (and many others) it’s a non-starter.”

    Unless you are going to deny any of my main points, ID theory does exactly what it purports to do … infer from effect to cause based on our uniform and repeated experience.

  71. CJYMan,

    Uhuh, and the reason I posted his and others’ definition, and showed you that they were all dealing with the same phenomenon in very similar wording, is to refute another one of your bald assertions re: unspecified designers, when you stated that “nobody dares to say anything whatsoever about what it is ID is actually talking about.”

    Very well I stand corrected. But of all these, I believe only Meyer actually says something meaningful with reference to our uniform experience. When Meyer makes the claim that the Designer is conscious we all know what that means. So this claim is meaningful, although it is also a completely unsupported hypothesis.

    “Weeding out of possibilities”? What Dembski really means (as he’s admitted) is contra-causal free will from a causal immaterial mind. And how is it we are supposed to determine if the Designer had the sort of intent that Trevor and Abels refer to? Can intent be unconscious?

    I apologize if I wasn’t clear enough … in that context, specific = targeted. So, yes, evolution is an excellent example of artificial/unconscious intelligence.

    Why would you say evolution is artificial??? In any event, it’s interesting for you to concede that Darwinian evolutionary processes are intelligent. This puts even more distance between your position and those of the majority of ID folks, since now you’ve admitted that the debate is not between intelligent and non-intelligent processes at all, but rather between one particular description of an intelligent process (the trial-and-error intelligence of evolution) vs. another description (the unspecified sort of intelligence advanced by ID).

    AIGUY: So Meyer adds “conscious deliberation” to his particular notion of intelligence. But obviously we have no way of knowing if the cause of life was conscious at all, much less conscious in a way recognizably like our human experience of consciousness. It’s all just anthromorphic projection and unsupportable assertions.
    CJYMAN: That comment of yours is itself an unsupported assertion

    You think I lack evidence for my claim that you lack evidence for a conscious designer? Uh, well, my evidence that you lack evidence is simply the fact that you have no evidence, of course :-)

    unless you can show FSCI being generated absent conscious foresight in that FSCI’s causal chain.

    Of course I can demonstrate FSCI being generated absent conscious foresight! People who talk in their sleep are not conscious of their actions, but generate high levels of FSCI in their grammatical sentences. Much of our mental activity is known to proceed unconsciously – everything from our complex physical planning tasks required to ride a bike or drive a car to the way we often solve difficult math problems when we’re not consciously thinking about them.

    But I’ve already explained this to you many times, how we experience that certain patterns do require foresight — ie: complex circuitry or these comments — and you have yet to deny that an engineer requires foresight (as I have defined it above) to design complex circuitry.

    Humans are sometimes conscious of their own thought processes while designing things, and sometimes not. It’s very well known that insights “come to us” when we’re thinking about something else (often in the shower when we’re relaxed!). So it just isn’t true that we know about this thing called “foresight” and it is some special power of consciousness. Rather it appears that our brains employ processes that are only partially accessible to our consciousness, and that often we become aware of solutions to difficult problems when we are not consciously thinking about them.

    And again, the reason I posted Meyers definition of intelligence is to show that you are fond of merely making unsupported assertions yourself when you stated that “nobody dares to say anything whatsoever about what it is ID is actually talking about.

    Again I stand corrected. You are right. To the extent that ID folks do dare to say something specific about what this word “intelligence” is supposed to mean in the context of ID, their assertions are unsupported. Not only is it obvious that whatever this Designer is supposed to be, it is necessarily vastly different from human beings (and so we have no grounds to suspect it has a brain that works like ours), but even in the case of human intelligence we see that the causal role of consciousness is unknown, and it’s clear that much (most really) of our thought processes proceed without conscious awareness.

    AIGUY: And how might Trevors and Abel suggest we determine if the Designer of ID intended to cause the particular patterns we see? Maybe the Designer is completely unconscious and for reasons completely unknown to us just created the patterns for no reason at all. How would we ever know?”
    CJYMAN: Because we are talking about science here, not sci fi, metaphysics, or pure speculation.

    Actually, you are talking about pure speculation. We have no basis to guess anything about some hypothetical entity of some unknown type that we make up in our imagination to explain the origin of life. We have no way of determining if such a thing exists, much less that it has “conscious intentions”. (Or unconscious intentions for that matter).

    AIGUY: Here’s something that might make this clearer to you. ID is making a claim of equivalence here, just the way Newton did. But while Newton succeeded in showing his equivalance was true (because he was a scientist) ID fails utterly (because they don’t even try).”
    CJYMAN: What does that have to do with my statement? Which part of my statement above do you deny?

    What I deny is this: We do not know what “foresight” is, so we can’t say “foresight” is a “necessary cause” of FSCI. What I deny is that we have any reason to believe that what we do with our brains when we design things is the same thing that the cause of life did.

    Second, I can’t believe that you are trying to lecture me about what ID Theory is trying to say, when you’ve just been shown to be wrong about your understanding of ID Theory on at least a few levels.

    The only thing I’ve been wrong about is that nobody dares to say anything about the designer. You’re right – Meyer said it was conscious, which is pure speculation.

    I’ve also already shown you the analogy between ID Theory and the Big Bang and you have provided no objection that you can back up.

    ???? I’ve shown that BB and ID are radically different!!! BB provides a detailed testable model of the mechanism thought to be responsible for what we observe, while ID provides nothing of the sort!!!

    AIGUY: If Newton had simply said “Gravity is the thing that makes apples fall and planets orbit the sun”, then he would have explained absolutely nothing, and he would not have become famous.
    CJYMAN: No, he formulated a law that describes effects without even providing a mechanism. The mechanism of gravity came much later and is still being debated today.

    Yes of course the mechanism (or the nature) of gravity is still being debated! But he formulated a set of laws that characterize his idea about gravity in great detail. In Newton’s view it is a force that acts between every two bodies, and he described exactly what that force does in great detail so we could see if this force actually operates as he described it.

    In stark contrast, the “intelligence” of ID is not characterized one bit in terms of what it does and what its effects are supposed to be.

    1. Foresight as I have defined it exists.

    The way you define “foresight” it is just a label for the unknown processes that take place when human beings solve planning problems. It means nothing more than “the ability to create FSCI”.

    2. Engineers utilize their foresight (as I have defined it above) — or it just happens in their brains (take your pick) — in order to design FSCI.

    In other words, human beings generate FSCI by using their ability to generate FSCI. You can call this ability “foresight”, but that doesn’t tell us anything about it.

    3. FSCI has not been shown to be generated absent foresight in its causal chain.

    FSCI has not been shown to be generated absent biological brains in its causal chain.

    * * *

    continued…

    AIGUY: Now let’s take a look at ID. ID also makes an equivalence claim: It says that the same thing that allows human beings to design a watch or a car or a trip to Europe is what also accounts for the creation of the first living cell.
    CJYMAN: OK, fine – that’s an equivalance claim, so let’s see why we should believe it. Does ID tell us what is required in order for “intelligence” to act?

    No.

    Does Big Bang theory tell us what is required for a Big Bang to occur? Not at all … it’s all speculation at this point and even more so when it was originally hypothesized.

    WRONG. BB Theory does not purport to explain why it occurred in the first place – that is speculation of course. What it does explain is what we observe – red shift, background radiation, etc. And it is very clear about what is required for that to occur – a singulartity of a particular amount of mass/energy that is acted upon according to well-specified forces.

    So, tell me why we would need to know how intelligence operates in order to experience it, utilize it to generate FSCI, and infer its operation from its known effects?

    We do not experience the “intelligence” that ID posits of course. So in order to figure out if any such thing exists, we would need to know what is required to support the existence of it.

    Here is what ID Theory says about intelligence in answer to your question:
    1. Intelligence is summed up in foresight.
    2. Foresight exists as per our experience.
    3. We utilize our foresight to generate complexities that can be measured and defined in terms of FSCI.
    4. There is no evidence that FSCI can be generated absent foresight in its causal chain.
    Which of the above do you deny?

    Once again, because you can’t say one single thing about what this “foresight” is or what it does, it doesn’t help one bit to defined one unspecified term (intelligence) with this other one. You can’t say what foresight is, what it does, when it operates, how it operates, what it can and can’t do, if it requires specific physical substrates, whether it transcends physical cause, how it is connected to conscious awareness… You can’t say anything at all about it.

    To say “FSCI is created by foresight” means exactly the same thing as “FSCI is created by some unspecified thing that creates FSCI”.

    More correctly, it is foresight which allows us to search through vast configuration spaces in the present to find islands of function. Again, refer to my engineer example. He envisions a future target that does not yet exist and then configures matter and energy in the present to accomplish that goal. Do you disagree that this occurs?

    The word “envision” is a metaphor that describes how it feels to be conscious of some solution; it refers to our experience of a “mind’s eye” where we “picture” future states. This may have something to do with how we solve problems, and it may just be our experience of our brains’ unconscious problem-solving mechanisms when we solve them. We just don’t know what foresight really is.

    First, you yourself have implied that you can not define “physical” in any scientifically useful way, so if you drop that, then yes, I believe that the designer and FSCI must exist simultaneously.

    In fact, CJYMan, this idea appeals to me too… but when I talk about these things it’s so clear that it is nothing but wild philosophical speculation… the opposite of grounded science.

    When it comes down to it, I believe that reality has some sort of fundamental structure and this structure is itself FSCI rich and is inherently intelligent and/or proto-conscious (Penrose and Hameroff).

    Well, I happen to agree. It isn’t that I discount the possibility that we will ever inform these questions with testable science, and I think Hameroff and others may be closing in on some actual tests. Certainly Libet, wegner, etc have shown that some of these ancient philosophical problems may soon be illuminated by empirical tests.

    So what are you denying here:
    -foresight exists.
    …or…
    -the engineer envisions a future goal which does not yet exists, sets that as a target, and manipulates matter and energy to accomplish that target.
    …or…
    -you use foresight to develop these comments of yours.
    …or…
    -all of the above.

    I deny we know the referent of the word “foresight”. We don’t know how we generate FSCI, and “foresight” (or “intelligence”) is the word we use to refer to this ability that we can’t explain.

    aiguy: Maybe the mechanisms and algorithms – hardware and software – differ very radically. Maybe one system is conscious and the other is not. Maybe the only feature common to both systems is that they are both complex physical mechanisms that output FSCI. (But of course evolutionary processes meet that requirement too).
    CJYman: Yes, there are lots of maybes that we may be able to study scientifically at some point, or maybe not.

    And when we do ID may or may not have a leg to stand on. Until then it is pure speculation.

    aiguy: But I’ve shown (1) Meyer claims that his cause is conscious, which is utterly without warrant;
    CJYMan: Now, I will first admit that I actually don’t like subscribing to a fundamental designer that is actually conscious as we are … however, historical science is based on inference from experience and that is all we have to go on. It is the best approximation that we can come up with at the moment. This is science’s limitation. So far, we only see FSCI generated when there is an actual conscious intelligence in its causal chain.

    I’ve tried to explain why we have no reason to suspect that things which are radically different from human beings (as presumably the Designer may be) would have a consciousness like humans do. Wegner has shown we can’t tell when we are consciously causing something to happen – we can think we’re consciously choosing something when we’re not, and we can consciously think we are not choosing something when we are. It is all so mysterious, and so tied to human neural function, that we have absolutely no grounds whatsoever to blithely claim that this hypothetical being we invent to explain life would necessarily have human-like conscious awareness!

    AIGUY: In order to determine if some posited cause actually exists, you really do have to be able to characterize it in a way that allows people to figure out if it exists or not,
    CJYman: Have you ever envisioned a target that does not yet exist? If so, foresight exists.

    I have “pictures” in “my mind’s eye”, yes. I have no idea of this conscious experience has anything to do with my ability to generate FSCI, and nobody else has any idea either.

    Have you ever used that target as a “diving board” to search through present configurations of matter in order to bring that target to fruition. If so, you have applied your foresight. Congratulations, you are intelligent:)

    I have no idea if I “search” through configuations. It feels to me (and to many people) that ideas “come to me” rather than me searching and finding them.

    Here (http://telicthoughts.com/wisdo…..ent-230373) is my explanation for how intelligence accounts for the phenomenon in question, and here (http://www.uncommondescent.com…..ent-337588) is my explanation for how law+chance do not and actually can not account for the phenomenon in question. Many other ID proponents and theorists have provided similar accounts.

    I’m running out of time here so I can’t start reading other threads… If you have solved the problem of how humans think I’m very happy for you, because the rest of us in the scientific community still believes it is not understood at all.

    So, since we do not understand what “intelligence” or “foresight” is, except for saying “it is what creates FSCI”, then saying “the FSCI in biology was created by foresight” is exactly as vacuous as saying “the FSCI in biology was created by whatever enables human beings to create FSCI”. Maybe this is true, and maybe not, but until we know something about how we do, it should be clear to you that we can’t possibly determine if there was a Designer who used the same thing.

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