Home » Education, Intelligent Design, Science » “Blown Away” Dan Peterson reviews Dr. Stephen Meyer’s book The Signature in the Cell at The American Spectator

“Blown Away” Dan Peterson reviews Dr. Stephen Meyer’s book The Signature in the Cell at The American Spectator

Dr. Stephen C. Meyer’s book The Signature in the Cell is reviewed by Dan Peterson in The American Spectator (September 1st, 2009). Here is an excerpt:

“Of the approaches taken by ID theorists, Signature in the Cell is most closely aligned with the pioneering work on design detection published over the last decade by mathematician William Dembski, one of Meyer’s colleagues at the Discovery Institute.  Dembski and Meyer both rely, at least in part, on information theory and probabilistic analysis to determine whether a phenomenon is best explained as the  product of unguided “chance and necessity,” or of design by an intelligence…

Signature in the Cell is a defining work in the discussion of life’s origins and the question of whether life is a product of unthinking matter or of an intelligent mind.  For those who disagree with ID, the powerful case Meyer presents cannot be ignored in any honest debate.  For those who may be sympathetic to ID, on the fence, or merely curious, this book is an engaging, eye-opening, and often eye-popping read.”


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121 Responses to “Blown Away” Dan Peterson reviews Dr. Stephen Meyer’s book The Signature in the Cell at The American Spectator

  1. “For those who disagree with ID, the powerful case Meyer presents cannot be ignored in any honest debate.”

    The key word being “honest”. If BHTV is any indication, I may never see one in my lifetime. Pity.

  2. There’s still no audio version……

    Stephen??

  3. The American Spectator is a conservative U.S. monthly magazine covering news and politics” – (Wikipedia). The American Spectator is not a science journal, and does not typically cover science topics.

    Dan Peterson is a lawyer, not a scientist.

    Show me a review of The Signature in the Cell in an actual science journal (Science, Nature…heck, even Scientific American) by an actual scientist and I’ll be impressed. So far the only reviews have been in religious and right-wing publications, haven’t they?

  4. Paul,

    Thank you for pointing out the obvious bias, prejudice and fascist Darwinistas who refuse to participate in open discussions and reviews.

    Last time an ID paper was published, the Darwinian Fascist took apart Dr Sternberg at the Smithsonian and treated him with scorn and ridicule.

    Showing they are little more than monkeys. They cannot think for themselves or lift themselves up high enough among the dogmatic fascism that is Darwinism today.

    Scientific American has been blatantly atheist.

    LOL…. what a bunch of barking buffoons, but keep on living in your little world of “holocaust denial.”

  5. PaulBurnett: Show me a review of The Signature in the Cell in an actual science journal (Science, Nature…heck, even Scientific American) by an actual scientist and I’ll be impressed. So far the only reviews have…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…..

    It’s not likely you’ll find any worthwhile (honest) reviews from the religiously-motivated conventionalists at the aforementioned magazines. If you’re not interested in that whole “honesty” thing (and your posting history suggests that you’re not), then just be patient. I’m sure some of the more creative Liars for Darwin will eventually concoct a nice strawman-filled fairytale to “refute” the intellectually superior Meyer’s arguments in due time.

    In the mean time, my suggestion would be to search around for Stephen C. Meyer debates. He’s presented the arguments from Signature in the Cell in many of them. I’ve yet to find anything I would call a significant rebuttal of Meyer’s work, but I have a hunch my standards are slightly higher than your own.

  6. 6

    One of the things that Meyer’s book made me realize is that there has been no mathematical support for the claim that the categorical forces of “random” mutation and natural selection can produce what they are claimed to be producing.

    ID is also a categorical description of results; while “random” describes a category of results one expects within the probability bound of the system in question, and from “natural selection” one expects an algorithmic sorting process from a simple survival-differential, they don’t explain the class of results we see being produced by evolution.

    I’m eager to see how the more open-minded and unbiased members of the scientific community respond to the FSCI challenge presented in Meyer’s book and in the recently published ID papers.

    What they don’t seem to comprehend is the nature of the argument; just because there exists a potential pathway to a result doesn’t mean that your vehicle has the capacity to make the trip. Describing how molecular changes can occur and how they can bind and how they can accumulate doesn’t express any capacity for RM & NS to actually do so.

  7. I have some questions about this book:

    Does it have any actual pictures of “The Signature in the Cell”?

    What cells have “The Signature in the Cell”?

    Whose signature is “The Signature in the Cell”?

    When was “The Signature in the Cell” first signed?

    Does each new cell require a new signature?

    Are all the signatures the same? If not, how are they different, and why?

  8. Megan,

    Does you mommy know you are on the computer?

  9. Upright BiPed,

    “Does you mommy know you are on the computer?”

    Her ashes are nearby, so I guess the answer to your question would depend your ‘worldview’.

  10. PaulBurnett,

    Show me a review of The Signature in the Cell in an actual science journal (Science, Nature…heck, even Scientific American) by an actual scientist and I’ll be impressed. So far the only reviews have been in religious and right-wing publications, haven’t they?

    It’s incredible how you cite again and again the irrelevant. There is an argument being made, it doesn’t matter if it’s scribbled on parchment paper or a napkin. Notice how your argument, itself, is not published in any scientific publication. And notice too that this is what C.S. Lewis called “Bulverism”, of which you would do well to read in its entirety, but here is an excerpt which gets to the point:

    The modern method [of argumentation] is to assume without discussion that [your opponent] is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it Bulverism. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father — who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third — ‘Oh you say that because you are a man.’ ‘At that moment’, E. Bulver assures us, ‘there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.’ That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth [and Twenty-First] Century.

    –C. S. Lewis, “Bulverism,” in God in the Dock, p. 273

    Please, for the sake of us here with common sense, stop making this non sequitur argument that impresses no one. By your own argument, Origin of Species, when it was published, died the same fate that you claim is detrimental to The Signature in the Cell. This doesn’t get at the actual argument, and is not persuasive to anyone with even a modicum of sense.

  11. Please, for the sake of us here with common sense, stop making this non sequitur argument that impresses no one.

    The original post is an excerpt from the review. How is a comment about that review a non sequitur? An observation as to the qualifications and bias of the reviewer and publication is directly relevant to the review.

  12. You mean you are an adult?!?

    I find that hard to believe. I’ve seen your post

    For instance, on this very thread you seem to be confused by the title of tne book being discussed. You thought Signature in the Cell was referring to an actual written signature. Only a child was be subject tp being confused by such abstractions – or, perhaps an adult acting out as a child.

  13. Clive,

    There is an argument being made, it doesn’t matter if it’s scribbled on parchment paper or a napkin.

    What I don’t understand is why the argument is even being made. Why not just do the actual research and provide the physical evidence itself? I’ve not read the book mind you. But the point stand regardless – what does it matter if a lay audience believes there is such a signature or not! A signature which proves life was designed. They already believe in THE original “Intelligent Designer”, you’ve no need to make them into converts!

    So, given that there is already a believing audience in place I feel it is entirely relevant for PaulBurnett to note that he awaits a serious review in a serious science journal. Given that the lay audience already believes, who is left but the scientific audience?

    It’s not going to happen via facebook I can tell you that!! :)

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/.....noscript=1

  14. Several post from the opposition…yet not a single refutation of a single pemise in the book. (here, or elswhere).

    Lets be honest about it, there won’t be one.

  15. Learned Hand,

    The original post is an excerpt from the review. How is a comment about that review a non sequitur?

    I give you more credit than this comment warrants. Maybe in your haste you misunderstood my comment. The non sequitur is in trying to defeat an argument by discrediting where the argument appears.

  16. Blue Lotus,

    So, given that there is already a believing audience in place I feel it is entirely relevant for PaulBurnett to note that he awaits a serious review in a serious science journal.

    There are other scientists that “believe” in the assertions of The Signature in the Cell. Waiting on a science journal to write a book review is purely a matter of personal preference, and is in no way an actual argument against the contents of the book.

  17. It seems its always the same thing:

    Flank the argument
    Flank the argument
    Flank the argument

    Create a distraction, change the subject, misrepresent the details, ignore the evidence at all costs (including any lingering vestiges of integrity).

    The level of intelligent curiosity is particularily appalling.

    Dr Hunter’s central thesis is in full display.

  18. 18

    “The non sequitur is in trying to defeat an argument by discrediting where the argument appears.”

    Mr. Burnett brought this same non sequitur to other forum comments about the book as well. It seems as though he has either not read the book, or he refuses to engage the arguments in the book, hoping that his distraction will be enough. As I remember, it was either on a Beliefnet forum, or on Amazon.com.

    It seems that anytime an ID advocate makes a comment about ID somewhere outside the sphere of scientific respectability, Mr. Burnett is there to point out the flaw. Has not Scientific American featured articles of questionable scientific validity and speculation? What makes their rag an authority on what is kosher to science?

    Blue Lotus: “What I don’t understand is why the argument is even being made. Why not just do the actual research and provide the physical evidence itself? I’ve not read the book mind you. But the point stand regardless.”

    Why not go and acutally read the book then – and come back and comment when you actually have an argument against it?

    I have read the book, and I find it intellectually compelling. I don’t care if the book was scribbled on toilet paper. It provided me with an exceptional refutation of the standard Darwinian thesis, as well as a well-researched and expanded ID alternative.

  19. Clive Hayden (#15) wrote: “The non sequitur is in trying to defeat an argument by discrediting where the argument appears.

    Okay – is it a non sequitur to try to defeat an argument by crediting where the argument does not appear? Remember the Sherlock Holmes story where the clue was the dog that did not bark in the night?

    As I said earlier, show me a (positive) review in Science or Nature or Cell and I’ll be impressed.

    (I was kidding about Scientific American – that would be only slightly more impressive than a review in Science News or Popular Science.)

    Tell you what – I’ll go to my local Barnes & Noble this weekend and buy a copy to read. Should I look in the “Science” or “Religion” section of the store?

  20. Maybe in your haste you misunderstood my comment. The non sequitur is in trying to defeat an argument by discrediting where the argument appears.

    Perhaps, in your haste, you misunderstood Mr. Burnett’s. I take two points by implication from his comment; the first is that, as a non-scientist, the reviewer is unqualified to review the book. The second is that the publication has an ideological predisposition to favor the book. You have not even attempted to engage the first point. The second is also not a non-sequitur; if the magazine would have given a positive review on the basis of the book’s ideology, regardless of its contents, what weight does the review carry?

    As Mr. Burnett notes, the reviews of experts in Dr. Meyers’ field are more significant than those of laypeople who already shared Dr. Meyers’ conclusions. What do the experts have to say about Signature?

  21. Onlookers:

    To see a survey of all too typical darwinist debate tactics, kindly cf the recent thread from here on.

    UB and many others above are all too correct to highlight that the now plainly standard Darwinist rhetorical tactics of making endless distractive objections are:

    1–> Drag a distractive, subject-changing red herring across the track of inconvenient truth.

    2 –> Lead it out to a strawman misrepresentation of the argument being objected to.

    3 –> Soak same in subtle or blatant ad hominem mischaracterisations and slanders or innuendos.

    4 –> Spectacularly ignite, clouding, confusing, poisoning and polarising the atmosphere.

    5 –> Thus, shift from a discussion towards the truth and constrained by fact and logic to the provocation of a fight by resort to routine incivility.

    6 –> Abuse institutional power to club down those who dare differ with you in that resulting fight. (The cases of Sternberg and Gonzalez are classics.)

    7 –> Turnabout blame for the confrontation, and slander the victim as the one who “hit [back] first.”

    It is time to expose and demand correction of such destructive tactics. In defense of civil society.

    So now, Darwinists: kindly, answer the case made on the merits, or show yourselves to be enabling the indefensible in support of a destructive agenda.

    to help focus the matter, let’s now pick the money quote paragraph — and I hate it when a PDF is just an image — as a focus for the case you need to answer:

    ___________

    >> In Signature in the Cell Meyer marshals the scientific facts and arguments to show that the staggering quantity of information contained in the “computer code” in our cellular DNA almost certainly cannot have been generated by undirected material processes. Instead, Meyer contends, in our combined human experience the kind of complex functionally specified information that is present in living cells is known to be produced by only one source: an intelligent, purposeful mind.>>

    ___________

    Okay, that in a nutshell is the case be answered on inference to best, empirically anchored explanation [a classic core scientific reasoning approach] — and I see that FSCI is now being picked up by significant players as a convenient summary of the core point.

    GEM of TKI

  22. Kariosfocus

    To see a survey of all too typical darwinist debate tactics, kindly cf the recent thread from here on.

    I would recommend onlookers read that thread to see what passes for “debate” with Kariosfocus.

    1–> Drag a distractive, subject-changing red herring across the track of inconvenient truth.

    What KF means here is when people try to drag the conversation back to the topic at hand KF will insist on “islands of functionality” being relevant whatever the subject, and 1000 other distractions.

    Kariosfocus does not “debate” by have a back and forth about the issues. He has his position and it never ever changes. He is right, and you will just learn to like it.

    2 –> Lead it out to a strawman misrepresentation of the argument being objected to.

    Oddly this sums up KF and Weasel to a tee. His constant references to Hoyle and the origin of life serve to simply confuse the “debate” about Weasel and latching and distract from the fact that KF is not debating at all, just recycling posts from previous “debates”.

    3 –> Soak same in subtle or blatant ad hominem mischaracterisations and slanders or innuendos.

    Alot like when KF implys that people who refuse to accept his argument are irrational or refuse to see the truth because of ideological blinkers. Pot, Kettle?

    4 –> Spectacularly ignite, clouding, confusing, poisoning and polarising the atmosphere.

    If anything is poisoning the atmosphere it is your 10,000 word posts that nobody bothers to read anymore.

    5 –> Thus, shift from a discussion towards the truth and constrained by fact and logic to the provocation of a fight by resort to routine incivility.

    Perhaps people would be more civil if you listened to what they had to say and if an argument of yours was defeated accept it.

    6 –> Abuse institutional power to club down those who dare differ with you in that resulting fight. (The cases of Sternberg and Gonzalez are classics.)

    Yes, classics. Gonzalez who did not bring in the $$$ and Stenberg who thought he was above refilling preservatives in artifacts he was examining. Anybody else?

    And, KF, if you ever cracked open a journal you’d see that opinons differ all the time on many subjects. It’s only the ID lot that use that an excuse for not even trying (tell me again why you refuse to write up and submit your FSCI claim to a proper journal?).

    7 –> Turnabout blame for the confrontation, and slander the victim as the one who “hit [back] first.”

    We know you like to throw accusations of slander about. Try doing some science instead.

    It is time to expose and demand correction of such destructive tactics. In defense of civil society.

    Your contortions refusing to admit the obvious in the Weasel thread are open to all to see. We’ll lets the onlookers decide who is using destructive tactics eh?

  23. Onlookers (and Clive):

    This is sad.

    A glance at the above will amply demonstrate the point of identifying the routine resort to red herring to strawman to ad hominem — including blame the victim — rhetorical tactics in ever so easily observable use by all too many darwinists.

    BL, sadly, is one of several obvious exponents of these tactics here at UD. (And unsurprisingluy his characterisation of the previous discussions and exchanges is a case in point. Just follow up my previous link to see how I had to address a string of rhetorical gambits that amply demonstrate the above destructive rhetorical pattern by darwinists, step by step.)

    You will also observe that there is no response to the central issue for this thread, and that BL fails to mention that at EVERY comment I have ever made at UD, there is a link to a step by step presentation on the substantial scientific issues surrounding the ID question, one that is not without some slight merit as a scientific educational and correction- of- misconceptions venture. (Not to mention, since BL does not know me from Adam, he is in no position to assume or assert that I do not scientifically relevant work.

    [And, I need not defend my track record in education, applied science and policy to anonymous Internet critics only interested to poison the well. All I will say -- on the first of these -- is that this very week my first former student to become a PhD in straight physics was celebrated on the local news; previously my students who went on to earn such did so in extensions or applied fields such as geophysics/ geology/ volcanology -- unsurprisingly.])

    GEM of TKI

    PS: I need to pause to address certain strawman tactics above. What BL means about what is the track and what is off track is that he does not approve of my pointing out the underlying context that Weasel 1986 as targetted search rewarding incrementally closer to target non functional “nonsense phrases” cannot be a good analogy to the claimed power of random variation and natural selection by differential functional performance. (I of course went on to address and demonstrate why Weasel, contrary to the latest talking points, can properly be understood as an implicitly latched search that through its latching is amenable to the analysis in the current Dembski and Marks IEEE paper, and also how it comes to illustrate the power of injected active information in gaining an advantage over random walk search. And, that on the information accessible in 1986, an explicitly latched Weasel is a reasonable interpretation of showcased results and commentary on the power of cumulative selection — indeed, c. 2000 an Australian university team developed an explicitly latched version and had to be instructed by agents of Mr Dawkins that this was not what he did in 1986. But, hopefully, this necessary defence in the face of abusive strawmannish commentary will not e allowed to side track this discussion.]

    PPS: And cf BL’s remarks on Gonzalez and Sternberg above — BTW, G DID bring in money (which was not a stated criterion of tenure . . .) and S’s real crime was being open minded enough to publish a properly per revierwed article that met with the disapproval of the NCSE thought police (any and all errors that could be found or claimeed are being used to poison the well here . . . ) — with the linked on both Sternberg and Gonzalez to see what blaming the victim is, and how it serves as enabling behaviour to destructive oppressive agendas. in short, BL amply demonstrates the points I have made.

  24. KF (22)

    “And, that on the information accessible in 1986, an explicitly latched Weasel is a reasonable interpretation of showcased results and commentary on the power of cumulative selection”

    Except that it wasn’t latched. It doesn’t strike me as reasonable to keep banging on about latching when (a) the author of the software says it wasn’t latched and (b) the results show latching’s not necessary. Try Occam’s razor.

  25. Paul Burnett, Blue Lotus and MeganC,

    If you don’t like the design inference all you have to do is to actually go out and find something that supports your position.

    But you have provided exactly nothing.

    So don’t blame ID for your failures.

  26. Joseph,

    Paul Burnett, Blue Lotus and MeganC,

    If you don’t like the design inference all you have to do is to actually go out and find something that supports your position.

    But you have provided exactly nothing.

    So don’t blame ID for your failures.

    Back to basics.
    IMHO, this is the entire controversy:

    The evolutionist position is amply supported by 150 years of research.

    No failure there.

    The ID position is that some things in biology are too complex to be the result of natural forces, somebody must have done it. (Can unbiased analysis point to anything but God as the most likely candidate for the role of designer?)

    To support that position we have the NFL theorem, Explanatory Filter, and Behe’s mousetrap and Edge of evolution – all of which have been weighed by science and found too light.

    It seems to me the failure is more of an ID’ists wishful thinking than a fact.

  27. Cabal:

    The evolutionist position is amply supported by 150 years of research.

    The only thing supported is the Creationists’ position of baraminology.

    There isn’t any genetic data to support universal common descent. Never mind UCD via an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    Then there is a recent paper that demonstrates the difficulties in getting two specified mutations- just two.

    The ID position is that some things in biology are too complex to be the result of natural forces, somebody must have done it.

    That isn’t ID’s position.

  28. PaulBurnett,

    I don’t know where the book is shelved.
    One thing is for sure, if you allow for the Barnes and Noble cataloging system to dictate what you should read by virtue of what section they decide to shelve the books, you’ll certainly always be impoverished. I don’t know about you, but I don’t allow Barnes and Noble employees to dictate what I read and what I consider valuable by their shelving system. :D

  29. Upright BiPed,

    I assume that the following was directed at myself:

    “You mean you are an adult?!?

    I find that hard to believe. I’ve seen your post”

    I hope you’re aware that interfering with the post is a federal offense where I’m from.

    “For instance, on this very thread you seem to be confused by the title of tne book being discussed. You thought Signature in the Cell was referring to an actual written signature.”

    What gave you the idea that I though that the book necessarily referred to an actual written signature?

    “Only a child was be subject tp being confused by such abstractions – or, perhaps an adult acting out as a child.”

    I think you may be stalking the wrong Megan…

  30. PB: Tell you what – I’ll go to my local Barnes & Noble this weekend and buy a copy to read. Should I look in the “Science” or “Religion” section of the store?

    Not sure where B&N hides it. My local Borders shelves it under “Philosophy.”

  31. MeganC,

    I hope you’re aware that interfering with the post is a federal offense where I’m from.

    Where are you from?

  32. Joseph#27

    Cabal:

    The evolutionist position is amply supported by 150 years of research.

    The only thing supported is the Creationists’ position of baraminology.

    There isn’t any genetic data to support universal common descent. Never mind UCD via an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    I invite you to read the document on the scientific evidence for common descent at talkorigins:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    If you need further details, I recommend starting with Futuyma’s Evolutionary Biology followed by Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Those will allow you to follow some of the peer reviewed literature so that you can understand the incredible and ever growing amount of evidence for common descent.

    Incidentally, even Behe accepts common descent.

  33. Onlookers:

    I suppose it was predictable — cf 21 above — but observe how all across today, the Darwinist objectors have addressed everything except the actual substantial issue supposedly at stake. in Mr Peterson’s words as cited in the original post:

    Signature in the Cell is a defining work in the discussion of life’s origins and the question of whether life is a product of unthinking matter or of an intelligent mind. For those who disagree with ID, the powerful case Meyer presents cannot be ignored in any honest debate. For those who may be sympathetic to ID, on the fence, or merely curious, this book is an engaging, eye-opening, and often eye-popping read.”

    So, going back to the excerpt from the Dan Peterson review, let’s refocus on the issue on the merits:

    ______________

    >> In Signature in the Cell Meyer marshals the scientific facts and arguments to show that the staggering quantity of information contained in the “computer code” in our cellular DNA almost certainly cannot have been generated by undirected material processes. Instead, Meyer contends, in our combined human experience the kind of complex functionally specified information that is present in living cells is known to be produced by only one source: an intelligent, purposeful mind . . . >>
    ________________

    Let’s ask:

    1] Is there scientific support for the claim that there is a staggering quantity of digitally coded, functionally specific information in the living cell?

    –> Starting at about 100+ k bits, for observed life, yes.

    2] Is this information materially comparable to computer code: digital, code based, functional as instructions and/or data structures?

    –> Yes, esp as we look at DNA expression through mRNA and expression into proteins using Ribosomes, enzymes, tRNA etc.

    3] Is there credible reason to believe that such is not plausible as the product of undirected material — chance + mechanical necessity — processes?

    –> yes, as even just 1,000 bits specifies a configuration space such that he 10^80 atoms of our observed cosmos, across its thermodynamically credible lifespan, would not be able to sample as much as 1 in 10^150 of the configs.

    –> Thus, it is not credible that a random walk from arbitrary initial conditions could reasonably arrive at shores of islands of function in the space. [1 in 10^150 is the next best thing to a fraction indistinguishable from zero.]

    –> And, it is a generally known easily seen fact that code based complex function is easily disturbed and destroyed by modest perturbation, i.e islands of function is an accurate description.

    4] Is there a known, observed source of such FSCI?

    –> Yes, intelligence routinely produces such code based complex functionality.

    5] What then do we have reason to infer on best, empirically warranted explanation?

    –> Since we do not have any reason to conclude that we exhaust the possibilities of intelligence, but instead have reason to see ourselves as one possible intelligent species, then we may infer that the intelligence in cells in our bodies points to intelligence that pre-existed humanity and indeed the code-based complex functionality that is manifested in biological life on earth.

    6] Do we know scientifically what such agency is?

    –> No, we have reason to know scientifically that there was such agency, but we do not have enough evidence on science to draw a scientific inference as to who or what such agency was or is.

    7] Why is this chain of reasoning so often stridently objected to?

    –> perhaps we need to look at he attitude and philosophy embedded in Richard Lewontin’s remarks in the NYRB, in 1997:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    In short, ideology and philosphical agendas may have more to do with what is going on in origins science than many are wont to admit.

    And, when ideological oxen are gored, they lash out in horn-tipped rage.

    G’day.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: the always linked will of course provide more details here than an is reasonable in a blog comment.

    PPS: Re Gaz above on Weasel c 1986. His claims were not merely answered in the already linked thread, but anticipated and resolved here, from sometime in April. (In short, just as shouting endlessly that a sheep’s tail is a leg — by insistent contentious redefinition — so the partyline view that a sheep has five legs is correct is an absurdity, attempted redefinitions of what the observed and described implicit [or explicit!] latching of generational champions means does not turn Weasel into what Darwinists wish it were.)

  34. kairosfocus,

    You always make me think of waffles for some reason. Why would that be?

  35. Onlookers:

    Observe the continued dead silence on the central issue for this thread on the merits — and note, this also happens to be the central claim of bio-side ID theory that is being discussed — from the Darwinists.

    If they had a real answer to the core ID challenge as summarised by Meyer and Peterson, they would have been all over this thread as gangbusters.

    They are not, guess why.

    Or, maybe, we don’t have to guess.

    Here, for a third time in 24 hours, is the unmet, unaddressed challenge to be discussed on its merits:

    ______________

    >> In Signature in the Cell Meyer marshals the scientific facts and arguments to show that the staggering quantity of information contained in the “computer code” in our cellular DNA almost certainly cannot have been generated by undirected material processes. Instead, Meyer contends, in our combined human experience the kind of complex functionally specified information that is present in living cells is known to be produced by only one source: an intelligent, purposeful mind . . . >>
    ________________

    And, this is what is now on the table, from Peterson:

    Signature in the Cell is a defining work in the discussion of life’s origins and the question of whether life is a product of unthinking matter or of an intelligent mind. For those who disagree with ID, the powerful case Meyer presents cannot be ignored in any honest debate. For those who may be sympathetic to ID, on the fence, or merely curious, this book is an engaging, eye-opening, and often eye-popping read.”

    In short, among other things, a MORAL test is now on the table.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: MeganC: kindly either address the substantial issues cogently on the merits, or stand exposed as an idea hitman (female version it seems) spouting talking points from the “red herring distractor led out to strawman misrepresentations soaked in ad hominem personal attacks and ignited to choke, confuse, cloud, poison and polarise the atmosphere” gamebook. If you want to address the main issue on the merits, it has been put here. If you instead want to play around with Weasel, you have links that address the matter on the merits, starting from Appendix 7 in my always linked; though I would prefer that you take that up in the Contest 10 thread as already linked, where I go next. (Games that boil down to saying that a sheep has five legs because the tail is hereby deemed a leg, are not cogent. [Latching behaviour of generational champions is credibly observed in showcased runs of Weasel c 1986, and is definitively demonstrated for the various recreations that are what we have to work with. Such recreations show that explicit and implicit latching -- locking in -- of successful letters in the Weasel target phrase is real. Once such a pattern exists, the Marks- Dembski analysis of the probabilities of getting to target in q queries on the premise that once a correct letter appears in a generational proximity to target champion it stays there -- it is effectively latched -- will then follow quite simply. Just remember Q increments in generational clumps.])

  36. Kariosfocus

    the Darwinist objectors have addressed everything except the actual substantial issue supposedly at stake.

    Substantial issues need to be raised in substantial venues. Venues where people who are experts in the field can comment and help revise the work.

    And who are you to talk about people addressing everything but? Your way of debating is to simply ignore points you don’t want to talk about.

    Such as why Dawkins’ Weasel and Dembski/Marks “Weasel” have totally different outputs, population sizes but are somehow magically “the same” nonetheless.

    For those who disagree with ID, the powerful case Meyer presents cannot be ignored in any honest debate.

    And you expect people to address the content of the book here do you? Is that the “substantial issue supposedly at stake”?

    In any case, “honest debate” has never happened here, as the thread detailing bannations and deletions in “the other place” documents.

    Where could you get some “honest debate” then? I know, perhaps by submitting your work to a panel of your peers and asking them to pick it apart? It can only emerge stronger right?

    Yet no. Yet another ID book aimed at the lay auidence.

    So, going back to the excerpt from the Dan Peterson review, let’s refocus on the issue on the merits:

    Indeed. Great way to divert the conversation. Great way to get the subject back onto safe ground for you.

    Yes, lets refocus on the issue. You are so good at that.

    In Signature in the Cell Meyer marshals the scientific facts and arguments to show that the staggering quantity of information contained in the “computer code” in our cellular DNA almost certainly cannot have been generated by undirected material processes.

    Is that science then? “Almost certainly”? So there’s some doubt is there? Not 100% sure are you? That’s odd, because I thought you were touting this book as some kind of proof. Now we find out it’s some kind of bet.

    1] Is there scientific support for the claim that there is a staggering quantity of digitally coded, functionally specific information in the living cell?

    “Staggering quantity”? Is that science? Tell me, can you put a number on this “staggering quantity” of information or do you “just know” it’s there. If you can’t put a number on it, how do you even know you have a “staggering quantity” of it?

    Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to answer any of these question, just simply repost your usual copy+paste “debate” and walk away in victory.

    yes, as even just 1,000 bits specifies a configuration space such that he 10^80 atoms of our observed cosmos, across its thermodynamically credible lifespan, would not be able to sample as much as 1 in 10^150 of the configs.

    Tell me KF, when the observed cosmos is “sampling” the configs what is it doing? What process is going on when this “sampling” is happening?

    Do tell, please.

    Thus, it is not credible that a random walk from arbitrary initial conditions could reasonably arrive at shores of islands of function in the space. [1 in 10^150 is the next best thing to a fraction indistinguishable from zero.]

    You are wrong. Want to know how I know you are wrong?

    A) Define “arbitrary initial conditions”
    B) Define “shores of islands of function”

    Yes I know you define B) as “the simplest living organism” but you simply do know know what the first replicator was at that first “shore of function”. So your claim is invalid because you simply do not know enougth about the starting conditions to say anything about probabilities.

    [1 in 10^150 is the next best thing to a fraction indistinguishable from zero.]

    Earlier you said that

    DNA almost certainly cannot have been generated by undirected material processes

    Is that the probability of that then? Is your “almost certainly” 1 in 10^150? And I guess you got that figure by taking all the components and working out the possible combinations when put together randomly? Well, no actual Biologist thinks like that.

    For more details on why that is a fallacy see here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoyle%27s_Fallacy

    These people, including Fred, have committed one or more of the following errors.

    1. They calculate the probability of the formation of a “modern” protein, or even a complete bacterium with all “modern” proteins, by random events. This is not the abiogenesis theory at all.
    2. They assume that there is a fixed number of proteins, with fixed sequences for each protein, that are required for life.
    3. They calculate the probability of sequential trials, rather than simultaneous trials.
    4. They misunderstand what is meant by a probability calculation.
    5. They seriously underestimate the number of functional enzymes/ribozymes present in a group of random sequences.[1]

    Of course, I don’t expect to you address any of these issues and with good reason. After all, Hoyle almost got a Nobel. So no need to address any of the points above, just simply repeat “Hoyle got a Nobel or similar”. All science so far!

  37. Kariosfocus

    And, it is a generally known easily seen fact that code based complex function is easily disturbed and destroyed by modest perturbation, i.e islands of function is an accurate description.

    I guess it’s such an obvious fact that somebody forget to tell all the Biologists studying Chernobyl.

    The trouble with your analogy is simple. If you had a planet made up of 99% land and 1% water, but the water was arranged in such a way that it divided up the land into many “islands” your description would describe that situation just as well. Let’s try it shall we?

    islands of function

    MMM, yes.
    Define what you mean by “code based complex function” ?

    Define and give an example of a “modest pertubation”?

    Draw me a map of these “islands of function” that you claim prove life cannot exist without intervention.

    If the planet is 99% island then your claim still holds true but you’ve simply no way of knowing not only what the shape and size of the islands were but no way of knowing the number and arrangement.

    Do you? Be honest, you simply don’t You just guess. You make claims with great authority but try backing them up.

    I predict you won’t be able to draw me a map of these islands of functionality as they were millions of years ago.

    I further predict that fact won’t stop you confidently claiming in the future that the arrangements of these islands you know nothing about make the natural origin of life impossible.

    4] Is there a known, observed source of such FSCI?

    –> Yes, intelligence routinely produces such code based complex functionality.

    How much FSCI is there in

    A) The first replicator?
    B) The Bac Flag?
    C) An Egg

    Also can you name something with

    A) 1 FSCI
    B) 499 FSCI
    C) 500 FSCI
    D) 501 FSCI

    I realise something with 1 FSCI might be impossible. So tell me KF, what is the smallest amount of FSCI a thing can have?

    Please, again, don’t trouble yourself to answer these questions. I believe onlookers by now realise they are only asked to highlight the lengths you’ll go to to avoid address issues as you prefer simply to ignore difficult questions and repeat over and over the same shallow arguments.

    then we may infer that the intelligence in cells in our bodies points to intelligence that pre-existed humanity and indeed the code-based complex functionality that is manifested in biological life on earth

    So lets grant you that for the sake of argument. Life was designed.

    Now what?

    No, we have reason to know scientifically that there was such agency, but we do not have enough evidence on science to draw a scientific inference as to who or what such agency was or is.

    Now what?

    7] Why is this chain of reasoning so often stridently objected to?

    It’s invalid. You do not define with rigour any of your terms and so it’s impossible to answer such claims scientifically.

    In short, ideology and philosphical agendas may have more to do with what is going on in origins science than many are wont to admit.

    Oh, this is all to do with “origins science” is it? You should have said!

    Tell me, if these ideological and philosphical agendas are so offensive to you then why don’t you pull your finger out and publish the work which you say proves a designer was required for life.

    Your FSCI work proves this, you claim.

    So publish or perish! But if you don’t publish then you have no right to complain that the agendas are being set not to your liking. If you don’t go to the party you don’t get a say in what music is played!

    So, complain all you like on this blog, you’ll achieve nothing.

    Publish your work to a panel of scientists so they can examine it and question your assumptions. That’s a start.

    And, when ideological oxen are gored, they lash out in horn-tipped rage.

    At least they do that. What’s your response?

    And who do you think you’ve gored here? What victories have you won? You’ve converted nobody to your latching crusade apart from those that would support you no matter what. Several people have registered and posted here just to say how much they could not believe your “tatics” and how obviously wrong you are.

    So carry on the good work!

    PS: the always linked will of course provide more details here than an is reasonable in a blog comment.

    I dread to think! :)

    PPS: Re Gaz above on Weasel c 1986. His claims were not merely answered in the already linked thread, but anticipated and resolved here, from sometime in April.

    Has this really been going on that long? George L Farquhar says hi!

    (In short, just as shouting endlessly that a sheep’s tail is a leg — by insistent contentious redefinition — so the partyline view that a sheep has five legs is correct is an absurdity, attempted redefinitions of what the observed and described implicit [or explicit!] latching of generational champions means does not turn Weasel into what Darwinists wish it were.)

    Oh the irony.

    In short, just as shouting endlessly that a sheep’s tail is a leg

    Dawkins’ claims Weasel is a tail. You claim it is a leg. Let’s be clear on that.

    so the partyline view that a sheep has five legs is correct

    It’s clear to all that the only reason you defend Dembski’s “Weasel” as you do is because you are following the party line. If Dembski said it, it’s true.

    After all, what other reason could you have for making the claims you have? It makes no difference to anything after all, if Weasel latches or not. There is no natural “ID” side on this argument. It just so happens that Dembski has chosen his interpretation and you, lacking any other reason to take one side or the other, have taken his side and will defend it forever.

    For no reason other then because that is the side that Dembski has chosen.

    So, who is the real “Darwinist” here? Who is following dogma at the expense of where the evidence leads? Who has made their mind up in advance that something is true and then refuses to change their mind when new evidence (Dawkins own statements) appears?

    the observed and described implicit [or explicit!] latching of generational champions means does not turn Weasel into what Darwinists wish it were.)

    Implicit latching is something you invented to cover yourself.

    Now you get to claim that Weasel latches “explicitly” (code) or “implicitly” (how it works) so you can have it both ways and not be wrong whatever way round you want to play it.

    Nobody’s fooled.

    Let’s remind everybody of what you said way back in 12/18/2008

    Weasel sets a target sentence then once a letter is guessed it preserves it for future iterations of trials until the full target is met. That means it rewards partial but non-functional success, and is foresighted. Targetted search, not a proper RV + NS model.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-300338

    Indeed. No mention of “explicit” or “implicit” latching there! No sir!

    It’s almost as if your position has evolved over time as new evidence became available.

    Again, please don’t think you have to address anything in specific in my posts, just repost your usual and claim that you’ve seen off those uncouth darwinists. That’ll do.

  38. Kariosfocus

    Observe the continued dead silence on the central issue for this thread on the merits — and note, this also happens to be the central claim of bio-side ID theory that is being discussed — from the Darwinists.

    What do you expect? Perhaps the “darwinists” have got better things to do.

    Perhaps people realise that any debate on this thread regarding the book is futile. Why bother, when the author is not around to answer any points. Why bother when the only people around will never concede anything and have already made their minds up about it all.

    And “bio-side ID theory”. That’s a new one.

    Lets do a quick dictionary check on “theory” shall we?

    # A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

    Does you bio-side ID theory meet that level? Has bio-side ID theory been tested or is it widely accepted?

    I know your “latching” thing has given you the idea that you can redefine words to mean what you think they mean instead of what everybody else thinks they mean but by any definition of “theory” ID is not a “theory”.

    Find another word. Or do the work req

  39. Find another word. Or do the work required to bring your IDEA up to the level of a theory. Just because you claim it don’t make it so!

    If they had a real answer to the core ID challenge as summarised by Meyer and Peterson, they would have been all over this thread as gangbusters.

    They don’t need to. It’s the other way around you see. The “ID” challenge has been found wanting already. It’s up to your side to show the evidence. Write the papers. Do the lab work.

    Like it or not ID needs to do more the publish a few books aimed at the lay auidence.

    Perhaps you could write up your ideas on FSCI and submit them to Nature?

    Here, for a third time in 24 hours, is the unmet, unaddressed challenge to be discussed on its merits:

    Unmet and unread. Don’t you get it yet? Did you go to debate class, stand up, read a 3000 word essay and sit back down again claiming victory?

    For example

    Latching behaviour of generational champions is credibly observed in showcased runs of Weasel c 1986, and is definitively demonstrated for the various recreations that are what we have to work with.

    The only way you can say “credibly” is to ignore the work that others have done in a formal mathmatical (i.e. scientific) way and put your fingers in your ears and say “la la latching”.

    In the “other place” much work was done to put your claims on a mathmatical foundation. They were found wanting. Yet you apparently don’t think ID is sufficently important to brave the den of infidels. They are not that bad you know! And with your armour of faith and the sword of being right I’m sure you’d show them what for!

    But I guess we’ll never know how you would defend your claims mathmatically. I guess you simply cannot but don’t want so say as much.

    Once such a pattern exists, the Marks- Dembski analysis of the probabilities of getting to target in q queries on the premise that once a correct letter appears in a generational proximity to target champion it stays there — it is effectively latched — will then follow quite simply. Just remember Q increments in generational clumps.])

    And yet

    the premise that once a correct letter appears in a generational proximity to target champion it stays there

    has been proven not to be the case in Weasel both mathmatically and with video evidence, and even with Dawkins’ own statements.

    Yet you continue to make your claims as if none of those things happened.

    Who’s following dogma and ignoring where the evidence leads eh?

    Onlookers, you are the judges here. Bring in your verdict!

  40. Kariosfocus

    Such recreations show that explicit and implicit latching — locking in — of successful letters in the Weasel target phrase is real.

    Who is denying that?

    Tell us all KF, who is denying that? That due to the way Weasel works letters usually “appear” to latch?

    It’s like saying that people are denying there are letters at all.

    Or that people are denying that the letters change.

    Nobody is denying that once correct a letter is unlikely to change.

    Nobody is denying that once correct a letter is unlikely to change.

    Nobody is denying that once correct a letter is unlikely to change.

    If they are, could you tell me who they are please?

    You know, support your assertion with some facts!

    So, come on KF, who are these people that claim that Weasel does not tend to keep correct letters?

    Yet another strawman.

    The issue is that “implicit latching” is accepted by all. Yes indeed, letters appear to latch. They can, and do, change even if correct.

    The issue is the “locking in” and “explicit” latching. It simply does not happen. Dawkins’ has said it. Programs have been recreated and they give the expected results and don’t show it.

    Yet you refuse to follow the evidence where it leads, instead taking the party line at the cost of much face, and claiming that explict latching was implemented in the TBW Weasel.

    So, come on KF, who is denying that Weasel appears to latch letters? We know who is claiming it explicitly latches them. You and Dembski.

    So, onlookers, another strawman for KF to demolish with his word blunderbuss.

    He claims that people claim something that nobody is in fact claming, then proves those people “wrong”. Victory!

    Yes explicit latching is real but only if you program it in

    This is not complex stuff. Actual population genetics is hard work. It’s no wonder you want to avoid that body of work and concentrate on a trival example from 20 years ago that was only ever intended as a teaching device in the first place and where it’s limitations and simplifications were detailed in the same please Weasel was described.

    Keep following that evidence where it leads!

  41. Joseph

    There isn’t any genetic data to support universal common descent.

    Only if you have your fingers in your ears and your eyes tightly shut.

    If there is no genetic data to support UCD then why do you suppose Behe believes in UCD?

  42. Joseph

    The only thing supported is the Creationists’ position of baraminology.

    Interesting useage of the word “supported”.

    Biological Abstracts, covering zoology and botany literature since the 1920s has no mention of baraminology. The only way that baraminology can be “supported” is if you ignore every conclusion of the field of cladistics and the scientific consensus regarding transitional fossils. Stick your fingers in your years and say “lalalalal”.

    Where did you read that the only thing supported was Creationists’ baraminology? Answers In Genesis?

    Joseph, this charade has gone on too long. Just PM Ras please!

  43. There isn’t any genetic data to support universal common descent.

    Blue Lotus:

    Only if you have your fingers in your ears and your eyes tightly shut.

    OK then post the genetic data that links to the physiological and anatomical changes.

    For example what DNA sequence or sequences are responsible for the loss of the opposible big toe in humans?

    How about upright, bipedal walking?

    The eye- you must know what DNA gives us eyes- post it or admit I am right.

    If there is no genetic data to support UCD then why do you suppose Behe believes in UCD?

    You should ask him.

  44. Blue Lotus,

    All observation and experiments support baraminology.

    There isn’t one observation nor experiment that supports UCD.

    Heck we have never observed new protein machinery “evolve”.

    Nothing on new body plans- we don’t even know where to look in the genomes for body plans.

  45. BL:

    I think you need to first look at the Abel review paper on a chain of build- up peer reviewed papers, here, which is of course peer reviewed. There and in the onward papers you will find enough that is technical to your heart’s content. And, that technical content will not materially differ from — though it ill elaborate — the basic information I have given using FSCI as a 101 level concept. Similarly, Meyers’ critical review for the rest of us, is a case of science being too important to be left to the technical guild scientists and the Lewontinian institutionalized materialism games that are known to be afoot.

    (And while I am at it, just to pick up one point to serve as the slice of cake with all the ingredients in it: islands of function in config spaces is a simple way of referring to clusters of identifiable states [macroscopically recognisable states] in what are more broadly phase spaces embracing a great many microstates of physical entities, as you will plainly know. And since such spaces are as a rule well beyond 3-dimensional, you know as well that direct visualisation of the full scale space is not possible, as a first course in Stat thermo-d or in dynamics or the like or even possibly a modern controls course would have taught you. This also holds for so-called fitness landscapes, which are often mapped as 3-d sand-table style landforms for illustration. The difference I am making is that the landscape is vast and flooded with a sea of non-function, making it very hard to start from any credible initial condition and plausibly find islands of function for bio lifeforms as part of the overall unfolding from the big bang to galaxy and solar system formation and terrestrial planet creation in relevant habitable zones etc., getting us to the warm little pond or the volcano vent undersea etc scenarios. And slipping into that sea of non-function from an island of function is simple to see by e.g. taking a sentence of any good length and allow its letters to vary at random. Soon, its meaningfulness vanishes. the same will happen to say code for a program. the objection is distractive and dismissively derogatory not substantial. )

    Beyond that, I have had to deal with Weasel on points this morning, so I will take time out for now till the morrow, DV.

    Others may want to take up points too in the meantime.

    G’day.

    GEM of TKI

  46. PS: Onlookers, if you want to see how I discuss the islands of function challenge at a 101 level cf here.

  47. “Blue Lotus” (#38) asked: “What do you expect? Perhaps the “darwinists” have got better things to do.

    A couple of days ago I asked somebody who should know if there has been a review of Signature In The Cell in Science or Nature or Cell or any other actual science publication and he gave me almost exactly the same answer. Those actual science publications have their base audience, and Signature has a rather different choir to preach to.

  48. Joseph#44

    There isn’t one observation nor experiment that supports UCD.

    Apparently you missed my #32 in the Kairosfocus/Blue Lotus brouhaha. Here it is again for your convenience:

    Joseph#27

    Cabal:

    The evolutionist position is amply supported by 150 years of research.

    The only thing supported is the Creationists’ position of baraminology.

    There isn’t any genetic data to support universal common descent. Never mind UCD via an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    I invite you to read the document on the scientific evidence for common descent at talkorigins:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    If you need further details, I recommend starting with Futuyma’s Evolutionary Biology followed by Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Those will allow you to follow some of the peer reviewed literature so that you can understand the incredible and ever growing amount of evidence for common descent.

    Incidentally, even Behe accepts common descent.

  49. “Blue Lotus” (#42) noted: Biological Abstracts, covering zoology and botany literature since the 1920s has no mention of baraminology.

    That’s because “(the) term baramin was coined in 1941 by Frank Marsh from the Hebrew words bara (create) and min (kind). It was resurrected in 1990 by Kurt Wise…from this came the term baraminology…” – http://www.conservapedia.com/Baraminology

    Baraminology is pure Young Earth Creationism, and not really compatible with orthodox intelligent design.

  50. Anyone,

    Regarding CSI/FCSI/FSCI/CCSI/CSI:NY:

    Any working examples in biology, anywhere?

  51. Joseph

    OK then post the genetic data that links to the physiological and anatomical changes.

    A good start on such has been made. Remeber how young this science is. Remember how long you’ve had to explain it all but did not.

    Using mouse embryos, Noonan and his collaborators examined how HACNS1 and its related sequences in chimpanzee and rhesus monkey regulated gene expression during development. The human sequence activated genes in the developing mouse limbs, in contrast to the chimpanzee and rhesus sequences. Most intriguing for human evolution, the human sequence drove expression at the base of the primordial thumb in the forelimb and the great toe in the hind limb. The results provided tantalizing, but researchers say preliminary, evidence that the functional changes in HACNS1 may have contributed to adaptations in the human ankle, foot, thumb and wrist– critical advantages that underlie the evolutionary success of our species.

    However, Noonan stressed that it is still unknown whether HACNS1 causes changes in gene expression in human limb development or whether HACNS1 would create human-like limb development if introduced directly into the genome of a mouse.

    “The long-term goal is to find many sequences like this and use the mouse to model their effects on the evolution of human development,” Noonan said.

    National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy funded the work.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....145056.htm
    http://www.gis.a-star.edu.sg/i.....eBlogs.doc
    http:// http//scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/09/did_a_gene_enhancer_humanise_our_thumbs.php#more
    Did you want papers rather then write ups? Let me know.

    For example what DNA sequence or sequences are responsible for the loss of the opposible big toe in humans?

    Just search for “big toe HACNS1″ and you can read all about it for yourself. Then dismiss it out of hand.

  52. There is no data to support UCD other than the genetic code itself. What is presented is support for common ancestry in various biological lineages. That is what is presented at talkorigins.

    The Cambrian Explosion is a show stopper for UCD. If you want to start at the various phyla and work down, then there is evidence of common ancestry at various places but not UCD.

  53. “Regarding CSI/FCSI/FSCI/CCSI/CSI:NY:

    Any working examples in biology, anywhere?”

    Yes, DNA and the transcription and translation suite of proteins and RNA polymers.

    Your might want to try NCIS for more information. I have a friend who works with them on some IT issues. And it up in the air what will happen to Ziva David. If you find anything out, let me know.

  54. Kariosfocus

    I think you need to first look at the Abel review paper on a chain of build- up peer reviewed papers, here, which is of course peer reviewed. There and in the onward papers you will find enough that is technical to your heart’s content.

    If this paper is peer reviewed and that gives it something worth considering, why are the tens of thousands of other peer reviewed papers that say things you don’t agree with not worth considering?

    Of course “information” is present in living beings. DNA is digital after all. And you can remove the quote marks from “information” when you define in what way you are measuring and using that “information”.

    But proving that an intelligent designer was required for the origin of life, that life dragged itself up thos shores you keep going on about? Not so much.

    And, that technical content will not materially differ from — though it ill elaborate — the basic information I have given using FSCI as a 101 level concept.

    Ah, yes FSCI. Tell me, what’s the minimum amount of FSCI it’s possible for an object to have? Is there an upper limit?

    Similarly, Meyers’ critical review for the rest of us, is a case of science being too important to be left to the technical guild scientists

    Er, if not scientists then who? It takes some level of training to pick up a “science” and do science with it. Anybody who does science is a scientist. Any scientist who wants their work to be considered for incorporation into the body of work central to science has to pass a set of tests. The best tests that can be devised – other scientists.

    So, who are these non-scientists you want to start doing science KF? What are they going to do? Spend a few years at university learning how to be a scientist then become scientists? What if they say the exact same things that the scientists are saying now that you don’t like? What then? Will you change you mind?

    and the Lewontinian institutionalized materialism games that are known to be afoot.

    Yes yes, you keep saying that but you’ve only got one or two examples which are debatable at best. If there was such a widespread conspiracy as would be required to keep the evidence for ID bubbling up then I’m sure one of those tens of thousands of theist scientists would have spilled the beans already.

    And yet, all you have is a story about a man who had to move offices. Boo hoo.

    And while I am at it, just to pick up one point to serve as the slice of cake

    Cake? Ingredients? I can only speculate on what type of cake you’ve been eating.

    clusters of identifiable states [macroscopically recognisable states]

    Yes, but what does that look like and how are those states arranged?

    in what are more broadly phase spaces embracing a great many microstates of physical entities,

    You provide no information on tose states, yet we are supposed to assume they are arranged as you suggest on no basis other then that it is the way you are suggesting they are arranged.

    as you will plainly know. And since such spaces are as a rule well beyond 3-dimensional, you know as well that direct visualisation of the full scale space is not possible

    But what about the arrangement of the space? How have you defined which areas are required for OOL when nobody knows the OOL?

    as a first course in Stat thermo-d or in dynamics or the like or even possibly a modern controls course would have taught you.

    You are a fine one to impune my math skills when you refuse to defend your treatment of Weasel with people capable of disproving your arguments mathmatically, prefering to pontificate here to Joseph and Jerry as they nod in agreement.

    The difference I am making is that the landscape is vast and flooded with a sea of non-function, making it very hard to start from any credible initial condition

    Now we get to it. Please provide the map you are using and where you got it from. And how you know it relates to the actual OOL.

    And define “credible”. What you consider credible somebody else may not. Be specific.

    and plausibly find islands of function for bio lifeforms as part of the overall unfolding from the big bang to galaxy and solar system formation and terrestrial planet creation in relevant habitable zones etc.

    And you know where and when these islands are do you? How do you know that? How do you know what the landscape you describe looked like at the OOL.

    getting us to the warm little pond or the volcano vent undersea etc scenarios.

    You can continue to add probability onto probabality against life forming, but the fact is life is here and there is no evidence that it needed ID to get here.

    And slipping into that sea of non-function from an island of function is simple to see by e.g. taking a sentence of any good length and allow its letters to vary at random.

    And are those letters fixed in place at any point?

    What, mutate phrases like this website does?
    http://www.zachriel.com/phrasenation/

    Phrasenation allows one to adjust the relative frequency of each type of mutation. Once having generated a phrasagen, we must compare it to our Phrase Book in order to determine its meaningfulness. If it is not found, we will ruthlessly eliminate it. To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man pick’d out of ten thousand.

    Have a look. It does what you claim cannot happen.

    Soon, its meaningfulness vanishes. the same will happen to say code for a program.

    Yes, but we’re not talking about code for a program are we? We’re talking about living entities.

    IF “CODE VARY” > “TOO MUCH”
    THEN DIE
    ELSE
    REPRODUCE

    Yes, of course, add random noise to any system and it will regenerate. If there is no mechanism in place to manage that. Hello sexual reproduction!

    the objection is distractive and dismissively derogatory not substantial.

    In this comment you brought up the formation of the solar system.

    Beyond that, I have had to deal with Weasel on points this morning, so I will take time out for now till the morrow, DV.

    You’ve still not addressed my first and really only question on Weasel – how two programs with very different outputs, population sizes etc can “be the same program”?

  55. Jerry

    Yes, DNA and the transcription and translation suite of proteins and RNA polymers.

    And the FSCI in those things you mention is? And it’s measured how? And the minimum possible amount of FSCI is?

    Your might want to try NCIS for more information. I have a friend who works with them on some IT issues.

    Fact is Jerry the NCIS won’t have heard of FSCI. It’s only in usage here due to Kariosfocus refusal to get it into wider usage by writing up his research into a paper and publishing his work.

  56. Here

    Yes, of course, add random noise to any system and it will regenerate.

    Of course I meant degenerate.

  57. Kariosfocus,
    Care to comment on this

    How much of protein sequence space has been explored by life on Earth?
    We suggest that the vastness of protein sequence space is actually completely explorable during the populating of the Earth by life by considering upper and lower limits for the number of organisms, genome size, mutation rate and the number of functionally distinct classes of amino acids. We conclude that rather than life having explored only an infinitesimally small part of sequence space in the last 4 Gyr, it is instead quite plausible for all of functional protein sequence space to have been explored and that furthermore, at the molecular level, there is no role for contingency.

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=2459213
    If you remember, ID contends that proteins are designed because they are so unlikely. I guess you would say the islands of functionality resemble that for the natural origin of life? And here we are, the entire space has potentially been explored.

  58. “And the FSCI in those things you mention is? And it’s measured how? And the minimum possible amount of FSCI is?”

    It is easy to measure and the minimum amount is zero but not in DNA used to code proteins. It is close to zero in most of your comments.

    “Fact is Jerry the NCIS won’t have heard of FSCI”

    But they use the concept all the time even if they do not use the term. Just as most humans uses it when they speak and write.

    I have a question. How many more stupid remarks are you going to make. I haven’t seen one intelligent one yet, though I haven’t read them all.

  59. jerry,

    “[FSCI] is easy to measure…”

    …then shouldn’t you be able to show us some working examples in biology? And then maybe explain such measurements are scientifically useful?

  60. Jerry#50

    There is no data to support UCD other than the genetic code itself. What is presented is support for common ancestry in various biological lineages. That is what is presented at talkorigins.

    You need to read it more carefully, especially the discussion of ubiquitous genes. The evidence from multiple independent lines of inquiry leads to the same conclusion. Universal common descent is supported by overwhelming evidence and, as a falsifiable theory, is not contradicted by any of it.

    The Cambrian Explosion is a show stopper for UCD.

    Please provide some support for this claim.

  61. Jerry

    It is easy to measure and the minimum amount is zero but not in DNA used to code proteins.

    Could you show us an example of a calculation of FCSI for a stretch of coding DNA?

  62. “The Cambrian Explosion is a show stopper for UCD.

    Please provide some support for this claim.”

    These are separate lineages for which nothing preceded it. So one cannot claim that each of these descended in any way from previous organisms especially just one organism.

    You seem to want to make a big deal out of some common genes but you are begging a question here, namely that all these things arose naturally. You do not know that and would like to prove it. But asserting it does not make it so. IF some organisms did not arise naturally and an intelligence used similar parts in different lineages, then to claim UCD seems pointless but I guess you could do it.

    Suppose the lineages were designed by different intelligences at different times but used similar materials because the materials worked. Is that UCD? If you want to say it is then go ahead but the concept then has no meaning.

    If Craig Venter created a genome using most of the proteins in current life forms but uses some new ones, is that UCD? Nearly every life form has unique genes and some of the uniqueness is quite numerous. Is this indicative of UCD. It could be but it could also not be.

    You can only come to your conclusion by begging the question you want to prove. You are asserting UCD not necessarily proving it.

  63. Blue Lotus,

    In your above linked article, the authors only account for proteins up to 100 aa in length. If the function of a protein does only rely upon the hydrophilic or hydrophobic nature of amino acids, then yes, there is some plausibility to life having been able to search through protein space *of up to 100 amino acids* … maybe. The significant problem with even this is that in order for proteins to be functional and selected and thus provide a cumulative step (within the DNA) toward other more complex proteins is that they have to interact with other proteins in a hand in glove interaction that proves to be either neutral or advantageous in relation to selection. The authors didn’t even bother including the probability or any known rate of that occurring as far as I could see.

    Another main problem with their argument as a whole is that the longest protein in humans is 34,350 aa long. Again assuming protein function is only related to hydrophilic/hydrophobic nature of amino acids, that still leaves us with a search space of 10^10,340 which still only accounts for all potential protein sequences of 34,350 aa long. Add to that all the search space between 100 aa long proteins and 10,340 aa long proteins and that would be the protein space, on top of what the authors discuss, that life would have had to search through in order to generate the largest protein that it has indeed generated.

    So why did the authors cut a vast majority of the space out arbitrarily and then say that “all of functional protein sequence space [could] have been explored?” Is there something that I’m missing?

  64. “Could you show us an example of a calculation of FCSI for a stretch of coding DNA?”

    Just take 4^n where n in the number of nucleotides in the string. This number has to be reduced somewhat for multiple codons coding for the same amino acid and reduced further for possible substitutions of one amino acid for another in certain proteins but it gets at the level of complexity of the issue. Another way to do this is to take each codon or group of three and assign the corresponding amino acid to it. Then for each group of three the calculation would be 20^m where m is the number of codons in the string. This would again have to be reduced somewhat for amino acids that could substitute for each other in certain proteins. These are rough calculations but magnitude of the measure is easy to estimate.

    I am sure there are refinements of this but this gets at the issue and the magnitude of the measure. Just as you can measure the complexity of a communications by calculating the possible letter/character strings in a sentence or paragraph and then reducing it by other strings that could communicate the same message.

  65. Jerry

    Just take 4^n where n in the number of nucleotides in the string.

    That’s not quite what I was after.

    I mean, could you take a strech of coding DNA and show us the value of the FSCI in it? I mean, rather then explain how to do it, actually do it?

    Another way to do this is to take each codon or group of three and assign the corresponding amino acid to it.

    Would it be possible for you to demonstrate this also? Does this method affect the value calculated for the FSCI?

    DNA sequences seem to be be available:

    http://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

    Could you oblige?

  66. CJYman

    Is there something that I’m missing?

    Perhaps the authors of the paper would clarify if you emailed them? I’m sure the are contactable.

  67. Blue Lotus,

    I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but to echo your apparent style, perhaps you could email Dr. Dembski with your questions on CSI.

    I was merely making [what seems to me an obvious] observation that the paper seems to not come anywhere near providing support for the authors’ conclusion. If you were indeed using the paper to make a point, I thought that you might understand it.

  68. Hello again Blue Lotus,

    When you ask for a measurement of CSI for proteins, are you defining “specified” in terms of folding vs. non-folding, or functional groups of proteins (in relation to each other) vs. non-functioning groups of proteins? Basically are we attempting to measure if a single protein has CSI or if a group of proteins which function in relation to each other has CSI?

  69. Jerry#60

    The Cambrian Explosion is a show stopper for UCD.

    Please provide some support for this claim.

    These are separate lineages for which nothing preceded it.

    First, please identify these lineages.
    Second, how do you determine that “nothing preceeded it” rather than “no fossil evidence has currently been found”?
    Remember that soft tissues do not fossilize anywhere near as well as shells and bones. Such constructs are one of the distinctive characteristics of the Cambrian “explosion”. Why would you expect to find fossils of their predecessors?

  70. jerry#62

    “Could you show us an example of a calculation of FCSI for a stretch of coding DNA?

    Just take 4^n where n in the number of nucleotides in the string.

    How is computing the number of possible nucleotides in a string of the same length of the one under consideration at all relevant to how that DNA strand might have evolved using the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory?

  71. i like jerry’s formulation. i don’t see why darwinists come on here and raise the same questions over and over again and they are never satisfied with the answers.

    i think the evidence for a signature in the cell is hard to argue with. what about the evidence from macroscopic biology? i’ve often wondered if the laws that govern the ecosystems also have CSI or maybe even FCSI? Since all organisms have FCSI, and ecosystems with more organisms would then have more FCSI? Am I correct? I have not seen this approach taken on UD yet and I wonder if it’s worth thinking about some more.

  72. “First, please identify these lineages.”

    Almost all the phyla appeared during the Cambrian. So pick one. No phyla has a predecessor. If it had a predecessor than variants of this predecessor would have appeared during the Cambrian but they didn’t so the logical conclusion is that they don’t exist. You are welcome to believe in the non existent organisms that would make your point but I will follow the evidence. Future excavations might uncover something relevant but as of now you have to believe in the come to believe in UCD.

    All the present phyla fossilized during the Cambrian so it is hard to argue for some mysterious other organism didn’t fossilize. As I said you can believe what you want but it is based on faith and nothing more. Remember there was little diversity in the Cambrian but major disparity. That fact alone argues against a common predecessor.

    So the Cambrian as of today is a show stopper for UCD.

  73. nicholas.steno,

    There is another long analysis I made that is relevant to how one views the debate if you are interested in reading it.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-299358

  74. “How is computing the number of possible nucleotides in a string of the same length of the one under consideration at all relevant to how that DNA strand might have evolved using the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory?”

    It is an indication of how rare any string is and whether it is possible for it to arise by natural processes or not. The longer the string in the coding region the more information it contains. The simple formula is a rough way of estimating the number of unique strings that could exist but only a small number of them are actually FSCI. Similarly the longer a sentence or a paragraph in language the more information it usually contains.

    Only those strings that are FSCI will be considered since they start the process going and only a few qualify out of the vast number of possibilities so finding useful ones is extremely hard. The process is actually much more complicated but the complexity and rarity of the gene alone is enough to show the immenseness of the problem for naturalistic processes to achieve. Meyers points out that there is over a hundred proteins involved in the translation process alone besides the actual one in the gene expression process. There are over 20 more involved in transcription. So the information to produce these is immense and can be estimated by the formula I gave. It will be an under estimate but since it is so rare, it does not matter.

    Feel free to find a more accurate way to estimate the information content but it will not be much less than my quick estimate.

    No naturalistic process has ever produced such rare relationships. It is quite common with intelligent inputs. Comments here being a good example.

    You should read Meyer’s book since this is what this thread is about. He spends a couple hundred pages on it.

  75. “Could you oblige?”

    I suggest you read a biology book about the transcription and translation process. Any good one will do as most cover it in detail.

  76. So aqccording to jerry in #72, the information in a string of aa’s – a protein – can be calculated and it is more or les directly related to the number of aa’s in that protein. But only a small number of the possible strings of thtat particular length contain FCSI, which is hard to calculate.

    So, in effect, neither jerry (nor anyone else) knows how to calculate FCSI in any given protein, certainly if it is not known whether the sequence of aa’s under consideration is actually functional.

    All that is being asked of jerry is an example of how FCSI is calculated on a real protein sequence – and how that calculation would distinguish, for example, between a known enzyme, and an aa sequence of the same length generated at random. To which I would like to add the question, if FCSI is found in a particular protein, and that protein is then mutated or engineered to have a few substitutions that make the protein non-functional, would the calculation recognise this if repeated on the new sequence?

    If no-one can do this, it seems to me that FCSI is a pretty useless concept;and it seems to me that the designer whose input is supposed to be discoverable by this method is just as likely to be designing useless proteins as useful ones, if FCSI is the measure.

  77. Onlookers (And Blue Lotus et al):

    In Parliamentary procedure, it is a key convention to direct one’s remarks to the Speaker or Chairman, in major part as this allows the defusing of overheated interaction. There being no designated Chair here, I will speak to the onlooker, by way of focussing on objective matters.

    Having noted on the convention, it is first of all vital to refocus the issue at stake, and address the linked question of epistemological warrant in a scientific context, if we are to avert the unfortunate tendency of Darwinists to divert discussion of issues connected to intelligent design through distraction (red herrings) led out to misrepresentations (strawmen) and mischaracterisations (ad hominems) — often compounded by resort to blaming the victim tactics [and, that is what I have highlighted in the parallel thread, which so irks the Darwinists -- they know the easy way to resolve the matter: return to civility]; turning the matter into personalities and polarisation, and undermining civility, a key protection for freedom of expression and thought.

    Now, the key matter at stake is the following excerpted summary from Dan Peterson’s recent Am Spec review of Mr Meyer’s recent Signature int eh Cell, which summarises a key ID pattern of thought on matters tied to biologically functional information:
    ___________
    >> In Signature in the Cell Meyer marshals the scientific facts and arguments to show that the staggering quantity of information contained in the “computer code” in our cellular DNA almost certainly cannot have been generated by undirected material processes. Instead, Meyer contends, in our combined human experience the kind of complex functionally specified information that is present in living cells is known to be produced by only one source: an intelligent, purposeful mind.>>
    ___________
    I have elaborated this to the first level through a string of seven questions and in-brief notes, in 33 above, and those needing background on key terms may make reference to the UD glossary of key ID terms above. To resolve misconceptions unfortunately circulated far and wide through Darwinist strawman tactics championed by groups such as the NCSE and ACLU etc, please see the UD Weak Argument Correctives above as well. And, to see my own thought pattern on design, I refer the reader to the always linked through my handle (which has in it a hot table of contents that is a quick pointer to key matters).

    The remaining preliminary is the matter of epistemological warrant with particular reference to science (and linked mathematics). A good place to begin in this context, is with the now notorious remarks in a 1997 NYRB review by Mr Lewontin:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . .   the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth . . . .  To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . . 

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . 

    A few observations, which will naturally front-load the first comments by BL — and it is noted that there is considerable repetition in the objections being made:

    1 –> Lewontin here appeals to the goal of truth in knowledge ["correct view"], asserts the importance of logic and linked common sense ["reasonable test"] in that process, and imagines that “science [is] the only begetter of truth.”

    2 –> But, at once, this claim is reduced to absurdity. For, the claim that science is the “only begetter of truth” is not a SCIENTIFIC claim, but a philosophical one, and in its defence, L. has appealed to the value of truth and the role of reasoning, i.e. of logic. All of these claims fall under a different Department from science: philosophy and particularly epistemology, the critical study of knowledge and its justification.

    3 –> That is, on the basic principles of the test of reason, L’s claims are immediately self-referential and self-destructive by being self contradictory. Which means that his evolutionary materialism at once joins the class of views he would assign to the epistemological dustbin.

    4 –> So, it would be wise instead to recognise that we have generally accepted common-sense derived principles of reasoning towards the goal of well warranted, credibly true belief,” i.e. knowledge in its usual sense. Further to this, as scientific work requires resort to these tools of warrant, at once it is clear that here is no unique trademarkable “Scientific Method” that turns science into “the only begetter of truth.” For, scientific methods overlap with those of many fields of serious investigation and discourse towards the truth. (This is in fact the consensus view of the field of study known as Philosophy of Science: there is no hard and fast demarcation line between science and non-science. And it is this province of philosophy which is the true locus of expertise on the warrant for scientific claims, a field that in our day all too many scientists — including eminent ones — are woefully ill-instructed on.)

    5 –> Within that context, we observe a further challenge in L’s thought: the imposition ["we are forced by our a priori adherence"] of evolutionary materialism as an external — and in effect ideologically prejudicial ["a priori"] — constraint on scientific inquiry. but surely, science at its best is the unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) progressive pursuit of the truth about our world, based on experiment, reasoned analysis and discussion among the informed,” leading to a growing body of empirically tested, more or less reliable body of provisionally known facts and theoretical models that are the fruit of an open-ended, open minded process of inquiry.

    6 –> In that context, the recent imposition of “material causes” a priori — AKA “methodological naturalism” — means that when it is inconvenient to evolutionary materialism to do otherwise, the arbitrary constraint is imposed that only causes tracing to chance and mechanical necessity will be permitted in scientific discourse “no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.”

    7 –> That is, a well-known causal factor: intelligent action, is being a priori excluded as it might just “allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . ”  

    8 –> Nor is this error a mere personal idiosyncrasy. Mr Lewontin is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and not only have they not corrected him for such errors, but they have imposed the same pattern of thought themselves in significant contexts and official publications, as we may see here.

    9 –> A major context for these errors is of course origins science, including biological origins science. 

    So, if we are to make progress on the issues addressed in the cited paragraph from the Peterson review, we must recognise the ideological conflict that is at work, and must not fall into the just highlighted errors.

    Also, since the remarks at issue are taken form a fairly large corpus of comments, I will address what seem to me on inspection to be pivotal excerpts (and since I have addressed a broad range of issues connected to the design controversy in a fair degree of details, with colleagues on the weak argument correctives and for myself in the always linked, I take it that the Onlooker will understand the injustice of the opening shot accusation by BL that I evade inconvenient points). Unfortunately, a bit of bush clearing will be necessary at the outset as BL prefaced his remarks with a considerable body of highly mischaracterising personalities:

    1] BL, 36: Substantial issues need to be raised in substantial venues. Venues where people who are experts in the field can comment and help revise the work.

    Substantial issues that address major matters of worldview and the path of our civlisation also need to be aired in the public, so that the ordinary man of good common sense can see for himself what the true balance is on the merits. This becomes doubly important when Lewontinian imposed materialism is a censoring constraint on the relevant fields of science, and where that censorship extends to locking out of journal access and to unjustified career busting.

    2]  36, Such as why Dawkins’ Weasel and Dembski/Marks “Weasel” have totally different outputs, population sizes but are somehow magically “the same” nonetheless.

    This is unfortunately an idea hitman turnabout accusation, ad hominem laced, strawman mischaracterisation based talking point intended to discredit M & D’s analysis of Weasel as a search that per the showcased 1986 results and associated commentary showed ratcheting-latching behaviour, which I have most recently addressed in the appropriate thread — for the umpteenth time — here. I refer the reader there, as well as to the appendix 7 the always linked, which has comprehensively addressed the matter of the Weasel program c. 1986, since April. (And, lamentably, if BL and others cannot be trusted to be fair or accurate on matters of such immediate access and direct observation, that speaks sad volumes on matters that are as remote in time and space — unobserved and essentially unobservable as a result — as the origins of the cosmos and life in it.)

    [ . . . ]

  78. 3] 36, Great way to divert the conversation. Great way to get the subject back onto safe ground for you. [This, in reference to my: going back to the excerpt from the Dan Peterson review, let’s refocus on the issue on the merits (which then led up tot he cited paragraph above).]

    This is a turnabout accusation: in effect, you are “diverting” us back to the original matter for the thread.  

    In fact, the focus of this thread,as can be easily seen from the original post, is the Dan Peterson review, and its key point. I sought to refocus on the key issue as set by the OP on the merits, by spotlighting a money quote paragraph.

    4] 36, Is that science then? “Almost certainly”? So there’s some doubt is there? Not 100% sure are you? That’s odd, because I thought you were touting this book as some kind of proof.

    Of course, as shown in outline above, scientific warrant is not and cannot reasonably be about proof in the demonstrative sense. Instead, especially on matters of origins, we deal with inference to best current explanation, which works in the opposite sense to the logic of demonstration:

    <blockquote.(i) in science, we find possible explanations E1, E2, E3 etc for a set of credible facts F1, F2, . . . Fn. On adequacy to the facts, cfoherence and comparative explanatory power, we accept the best current explanation provisionally, and remain open to correction and growth.

    (ii) in demonstrations, we work from accepted facts or axioms, and logically infer consequences drawing conclusions warranted by logical implication of the accepted premises. But, such premises in turn face the challenge of warrant, and possible infinite regress or circularity. So, we in the end all have first plausibles accepted as credible, but subject to challenge. Hence the significance of the philosophical method of worldview analysis through comparative difficulties. (This, I applied to Lewontinian materialism above.)

    Secondly, as already discussed, scientific work is provisional, so indeed, Meyer — professionally knowledgeable in the Philosophy of Science — is being duly careful and balanced.  In that context, the issue of inference to best causal explanation is relevant:

    a –> It is observed that phenomena that occur tend to show patterns of low or high contingency. in the former case, under similar initial circumstances, outcomes will be highly consistent. In the latter, they will be significantly diverse. (For instance, contrast how a heavy object reliably falls if unsupported, vs, how, if it is a die, the uppermost face when it settles down is highly diverse.)

    b –> Where we see low contingency, we normally explain by regularities of nature [i.e. natural laws] tracing to forces of mechanical necessity. (Gravity makes unsupported heavy objects fall.)

    c –> Where high contingency is a factor, we see that it may be credibly undirected and more or less stochastic up to some probability distribution or other, or it may be credibly purposefully directed. ( A fair vs a loaded die.)

    d –> In the case of credibly undirected contingency, we infer to chance.

    e –> Where we see patters reflecting purposeful organisation of outcomes, and/or generally observed, empirically reliable markers of intelligent action, we infer to design.

    f –> At issue in the Peterson cite, is the claim that functionally specific, complex coded digital information such as in DNA is reflective of such a  marker of intelligent action.

    g –> In support of that inference on best explanation, Peterson summarises Meyer: the staggering quantity of information contained in the “computer code” in our cellular DNA almost certainly cannot have been generated by undirected material processes. Instead, Meyer contends, in our combined human experience the kind of complex functionally specified information that is present in living cells is known to be produced by only one source: an intelligent, purposeful mind.

    h –> the “almost certainly” part has to do with the implied configuration space of such DNA strands, which starts in observed organisms at about 100,000+ base pairs, capable of storing 200 k bits. But 200 k bits can specify 2^ 200,000 ~  9.98 *10^60,205 distinct configurations.

    i –> Across its thermodynamically credible lifespan, the 10^80 or so atoms of our observed cosmos will go through ~ 10^150 states. That is, viewing the universe as generating environments that could allow DNA to emerge through undirected contingencies in still warm ponds and the like, and giving the most generous upper limit tot he proportion of relevant atoms, the observed universe would not across its lifespan go through an appreciable fraction of the relevant states to make stumbling across a functional DNA molecule by chance + necessity plausible.

    j –> But, in an information age, it is routine to see code-bearing functionally specific organised digital entities that are of that order of complexity; all known to be created by intelligent designers.

    k –> So on — yes, provisional, just as Newtonian Dynamics was and Relativity is today — inference to best explanation, DNA is most credibly an ART-ifact of intelligence. (But, that inference tends to trigger ideological explosions, as such may “allow a Divine Foot in the door.” however, ideological “correctness” and warrant towards credible truth are not measured on the same scale of reference.)

    Third, I am not touting a book — and ad hominem laced dismissive reference — but am inviting discussion of a key issue on the merits.

    5] 36, can you put a number on this “staggering quantity” of information or do you “just know” it’s there.

    DNA for living organisms starts at 100,000+ 4-state bases. Moving to unicellular organisms capable of independent existence, we look at 300 – 500 k bases. 9the lower end being set by knockout studies, below which autodestruction of life occurs.)

    That DNA contains functional code-bearing information encoded as strings of amino acids [A/G/C/T] has been well known since the 1950′s – 70′s.

    6] 36, when the observed cosmos is “sampling” the configs what is it doing? What process is going on when this “sampling” is happening?

    The observed universe is generally seen as credibly originating in a high-energy singularity AKA the big bang, some 13.72 BYA.

    Subsequent to that event, matter condensed from energy, and atom formation led tot he creation of galaxies and the first generation of stars [Population II -- esp reflected today in globular clusters], which through successive fusion of heavier elements, cooked the heavier elements required for terrestrial planet formation and which serves as the material base for cell based life. (Satellites orbiting gas giant planets and Oort Cloud cometary forming regions are also relevant environments.)

    The physics of a cosmos well-fitted to the formation of such environments that are potentially life habitable, and further habitable for intelligent beings such as we are, is extraordinarily fine-tuned, as is briefly discussed in my always linked. (So, onlooker, it is sadly evident that BL has not even done the basic courtesy of checking out what I have accessible always one click away before commenting adversely in the most contemptuous tone. That should be borne in mind in evaluating what is going on. FYI BL, contrary to Mr Dawkins’ notorious remarks, those of us who do not agree with evolutionary materialism are not all ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.)

    The estimate of 10^150 atomic states swept through by our observed cosmos across its estimated lifespan, approximates the sequence of states of 10^80 atoms, for 10^25 s, at a Planck time per state, 10^- 43s. To date, the observed cosmos has on the above timeline gone through about 4.3 * 10^17 s, i.e. ~ 1 in 50 millionth of the lifespan in view. The relevant states embrace the dynamical sequence of atom formation, galaxy and star formation in multiple generations, and formation of planetary systems with potential OOL sites of various kinds per the many relevant models. Onward, it would embrace any origins of life and of novel body plans thereof etc. (Indeed, it embraces the atoms of your body and the computer in front of you looking at the screen.)

    The point of ‘sampling” is that the cluster of 106150 states involved is a sample of the possible configs of the 10^80 atoms of our cosmos under all relevant conditions. that number is of course vastly more than 10^150. But, as a result of the limit of the number of states that will be swept through in actuality, functional configurations that are isolated in potential state spaces that are well beyond 10^150 will be increasingly implausible to result form blind forces of necessity and/or chance. (As already noted, such are routinely observed to result from intelligent action.)

    7] 36, A) Define “arbitrary initial conditions” B) Define “shores of islands of function”

    Of course the arbitrariness of initial conditions is a way of saying that nature per the relevant models is not purposefully directed to initial conditions. Similarly, shores of initial functionality for FSCI bearing entities will have the characteristic that they exhibit complex organisation to function, requiring at least 500 – 1,000 bits of information storage capacity; while being vulnerable to modest perturbation. That is, we have an architecture of islands of function if a functional information based entity is such that modest injection of random characters will soon destroy function. (This is in fact a commonly observed characteristic:think about what would happen if your hard disk were to be subjected to random injection of bits. In the case of DNA, our fear of mutation inducing radiation etc shows what we know intuitively about this.)

    Shores of such islands of function occur when we see initial function suitable for improvement through the various hill-climbing algorithms.

    [ . . . ]

  79. 8] you define B) as “the simplest living organism” but you simply do know know what the first replicator was at that first “shore of function”. So your claim is invalid because you simply do not know enougth about the starting conditions to say anything about probabilities.

    As a matter of fact, no: shorelines of function can relate to computer code, ASCII text based sentences in English, or even electronic or electro-mechanical or mechatronic systems that we are trying to debug and get to initially work.

    When it comes to the issue of probability — and yes, I know it is now a common talking point to pretend that well tested means for estimating probability suddenly are deemed inapplicable to OOL as the results are inconvenient to the evolutionary materialist mythology of origins [i.e we are seeing worldview motivated selective hyperskepticism here] –  this is misdirected. my point on isolated islands of function in large config spaces is that undirected search strategies at the threshold of 1,000 or so bits, becomes implausible as a search strategy to get to initial functionality. for, 1 in 10^150 of the configurations is not effectively different from zero.

    On origin of life proper, the first point is that our speculations should be confined to the base in evidence, if they are to be properly scientific. And,t eh observed cases of life begin at about 100,000+ bases. but also, we know that self-replicating metabolic  life shows a Von Neumann replicator in action: stored blueprint, code and code reader, effector machines to build a replica of the original. As any microcontroller designer can tell you, it is simply not reasonable to expect the functional information to do that to fit inside of 1,000 bits, or about 150 bytes. Of course, you are welcome to demonstrate that this has been done empirically.

    9] 36, Is your “almost certainly” 1 in 10^150?

    I have cited Peterson, sumarising Meyer; it would be appreciated if you, BL, would avoid unnecessary personalisation.

    Also, as just pointed out, the issue is NOT a probability estimate, but a cosmos-scale search resources challenge.

    10] 36, citing Wikipedia: These people, including Fred, have committed one or more of the following errors. 1. They calculate the probability of the formation of a “modern” protein, or even a complete bacterium with all “modern” proteins, by random events . . .

    Not at all. Probability is not even on the table, exhaustion of search capacity of chance and necessity is. (And that is the underlying material point in Hoyle’s challenge, which –assertions [in Wikipedia!] to the contrary notwithstanding –  is not really a fallacy at all. The reason why a tornado in a junkyard is unlikely to assemble a flyable Jumbo Jet is that the number of unflyable configs so vastly outnumber the flyable ones that the search resources of your tornado are predictably exhausted fruitlessly.)

    And, on probability issues, you may find it instructive to consult the issues raised by Schutzenberger et al since Wistar in 1966.

    11] 36, no need to address any of the points above, just simply repeat “Hoyle got a Nobel or similar”.

    Plainly BL has failed to read App 1 the always linked on the thermodynamics issues, and in particular the just linked section on Hoyle’s valid point.

    Onlookers, you will easily see that he discussion there is not an appeal to authority — itself a strawman distortion of what I said in the contest 10 thread [I pointed out how the ERRORS of a significant scientist like Hoyle can be highly instructive, citing his Steady State Universe Hyp; a blind appeal to authority is hardly one that speaks of learning form the errors made by eminent scientists!] — but an argument ont eh merits.

    12]  37, If you had a planet made up of 99% land and 1% water, but the water was arranged in such a way that it divided up the land into many “islands” your description would describe that situation just as well.

    Strawman.

    What I and others have done is taken the “fitness landscape model” beloved of genetic Algorithm creators, and have set it in the wider context of a large configuration space, where the functionality is in specific regions amenable to hill climbing, but the relevant regions are surrounded by a flooding sea of non-function — and the islands of function are vastly less than 1% of the space.

    Notice, the relevant threshold degree of complexity for FSCI as we have presented it at UD starts at a threshold of 500 – 1,000 bits information-carrying capacity used. 1,000 bits corresponds to 10^301 configs, isolating the number of states accessible to our observed universe to1 in 10^150 or so of the possible configs. That is, the whole observed universe viewed as a search fot FSCI such as is found in life, will if undirected intelligently be a search not credibly different from zero.

    13]  37, Define what you mean by “code based complex function” ? Define and give an example of a “modest pertubation”?

    Functionally specific complex information in the context of digital codes relates to cases like ASCII text and Computer programs where we have at least 1,000 or so bits of stored information. this is about 18 – 20 words of “typical” English text, or a similar number of words in a programming language. Such complex functional information is vulnerable to modest perturbation as can be seen by the experiment of randomly changing the bits in such a string of bits. After a rather short while as a rule the previously functional information will be corrupted. That is why such precautions ae taken to prtect memories, hard drives and telecomms links. And in the case of DNA, elaborate correction and repair subsystems are incorporated.

    14] 37, you’ve simply no way of knowing not only what the shape and size of the islands were but no way of knowing the number and arrangement.

    I will ignore the implication of dishonesty on my part in the immediate context of the excerpt, apart form noting that such is inappropriate and unwarranted. (You have assumed and projected dishonesty on strawman mischaracterisations, BL. That’s not cricket.)

    On the merits, the issue is that once we know we face islands of function in large config spaces, the search resources of the observed cosmos will be vastly inadequate to perform more than an effectively  zero scope search relative to the complexity of functional organisation required.  So, on knowing that FSCI is normally found in isolated islands [on the very nature of the specificity of coded instructions!], and that the search resources of the cosmos are hopelessly inadequate, we find it unsurprising to see that there is only one known source of FSCI — a routinely observed — thus empirically well warranted — source.

    Namely, intelligent design.

    15]  37, So tell me KF, what is the smallest amount of FSCI a thing can have? Please, again, don’t trouble yourself to answer these questions. I believe onlookers by now realise they are only asked to highlight the lengths you’ll go to to avoid address issues as you prefer simply to ignore difficult questions and repeat over and over the same shallow arguments.

    Plainly, BL has not troubled to simply read WAC 28 [or this appendix and this preliminary discussion in Section A my always linked], of which I am a co-author, and which discusses FSCI in its context an the onward more technical forms of complex specified information. if he does so now, he will immediately find that unless we are beyond the threshold of 500 – 1,000 bits, FSCI does not come into the picture as a relevant consideration. And, similarly, if something is not functionally specific — i.e in an island of function context — it similarly does not apply. (E.g. a sand pile or a granite rock is complex but not specific. the ASCII text for this paragraph is functional complex, specific and beyond the 1,000 bit threshold. Does BL find it credible to infer that this paragraph could reasonably have originated by random pecking at a keyboard covered in birdseed, or the like?)

    I also excerpt the immediately following — now often repeated, Big lie style — false accusation about my alleged evasion of difficult issues, as it needs to be pointed out just how strawman distortions are being used to support ad hominem demonisations, and dismissals, filling the atmosphere of discussion with incivility. this nees=ds to stop,a nd BL needs to apologies for making willfully false accusations that he could easily have seen were not true, has he simply cared to check either the WACs or the always linked, much less discussions in other threads.

    [ . . . ]

  80. 16] 37, It’s invalid. You do not define with rigour any of your terms and so it’s impossible to answer such claims scientifically.

    I suggest BL needs to look at the Glossary above before so confidently asserting that questions are being used without rigorous [adequate] definition. It would also help BL to realise that here is no generally accepted air-tight definition of things like: life, species, energy, matter, time or even nature and science itself in the sciences. Worse, definitions raise further terms and easily end in futile infinite regresses or circles, So, we first define by example then find adequate descriptions for use in practical work. An  that has been done for the terms at issue.

    And, to disprove the claim that FSCI is the known product of intelligence all that would be required is to produce a case where say 143 ASCII characters worth of coherent and contextually responsive English text were credibly and observably produced by chance and mechanical necessity without intelligent direction.

    The actual fact is, there are no such empirical counter instances, and BL knows that; so, the actual objection is a diversion from the abundantly confirmed — and Internet full of instances is exhibit no 1 –  fact that FSCI is an empirically reliable marker of intelligent design.

    As to the consequences thereof, given the establishment of evolutionary materialist methodological naturalism over institutional science in recent decades, the impact of FSCI and related markers of intelligence on science would be revolutionary.  Indeed, that is precisely why they are being so stoutly resisted by the materialist establishment, using “any means necessary,” fair or foul.

    17] 37, Tell me, if these ideological and philosphical agendas are so offensive to you then why don’t you pull your finger out and publish the work which you say proves a designer was required for life.

    As to the peer reviewed publications issue, despite resistance by any means deemed necessary by the materialist establishment, these are mounting up paper by paper, and I have already given a review by Abel.

    18] 37, Your FSCI work proves this, you claim.

    Scientific work is about provisional warrant not proof. As was logn since pointed out.

    19]  37, If Dembski said it, it’s true.

    Onlookers, simply examine the appendix here. I am not appealing blindly to authority, but am looking at the issue on the merits. But, it is a convenient rhetorical idea hitman technique to use motive-mongering slander like that. And of course I have taken up the more recent points step by step in the Contest 10 thread, as already linked.

    20]  37, you get to claim that Weasel latches “explicitly” (code) or “implicitly” (how it works) so you can have it both ways and not be wrong whatever way round you want to play it.

    In fact, I have set out to account for a particular pattern of evidence — showcased o/p Weasel 1986 and have shown through actual demonstration runs that it can be accounted for on mechanism that latch and ratchet explicitly and implicitly. I have ALSO accounted for cases where there will be occasional slips as the population and mutation rate parameters move, AND for the disappearance of any semblance of ratcheting. But that5 doe snot fit the convenient ad hominem laced strawman mischaracterisation.

    21] 39, It’s the other way around you see. The “ID” challenge has been found wanting already. It’s up to your side to show the evidence. Write the papers. Do the lab work.

    That work has been done at the first crucial level, and is increasingly in the peer reviewed literature, all the censorship efforts to lock it out notwithstanding. As BL et al at Evo Info — he is now clearly a representative of that site — know or should know.

    22] 52, If this paper is peer reviewed and that gives it something worth considering, why are the tens of thousands of other peer reviewed papers that say things you don’t agree with not worth considering?

    In short, it’s not about issues on the merits, it’s about the continued dominance of the evolutionary materialist establishment.  

    BL previously demanded peer reviewed work, and would not consider anything till it met that threshold. I supplied a case in point, not only of one paper, but a review on a programme of publications over several years, which have set the concept of functional sequence complexity and associated concepts in the professional literature, compete with published values for 35 protein families.  So, the next objection is trotted out — the combined authority of the establishment [so the various accusations over blindly adhering to Hoyle and Dembski were just turnabout false accusations after all . . . ] –  so not even peer reviewed papers will be considered on the merits.

    23]  52, Of course “information” is present in living beings. DNA is digital after all. And you can remove the quote marks from “information” when you define in what way you are measuring and using that “information”.  But proving that an intelligent designer was required for the origin of life, that life dragged itself up thos shores you keep going on about? Not so much.

    BL knows that DNA is complex, code-bearing, functional digital information, manifesting both instructions ands data structures relevant to those instructions.

    And, he knows that it is quite complex, of scope 100, 000+ bits for observed life forms. He has no empirically demonstrated evidence that such could originate by blind chance and necessity, but wishes to insist on such as the default assumption; inthe teeth of massive evidence that the known — and only known, and only plausible — source of such massive FSCI is purposeful intelligence: algorithms, language, code, instructions, data, and complex integrated function in the context of a Von Neumann self-replicator are all here. So, to hold on to what would otherwise be plainly an inferior explanation,  he imposes the arbitrary and unjustified standard of proof that something is REQUIRED, knowing that science does not and cannot — as a matter that deals with empirical fact — rise to that standard.

    This is a manifest case of selective hyperskepticism.

    24] who are these non-scientists you want to start doing science KF? What are they going to do? Spend a few years at university learning how to be a scientist then become scientists? What if they say the exact same things that the scientists are saying now that you don’t like? What then? Will you change you mind?

    Strawman again.

    In fact, since matters of science — especially origins science — are of general interest and since there is a manifest issue of imposition of ideology on institutional science, matters of science and science institutions funded by the public, as well as science education funded by the same public through taxation, are legitimate issues for public discussion on the merits. Nor are the key issues at stake so technical that the ordinary unprejudiced mind cannot grasp their essence. Just the opposite — as the concept of FSCI illustrates. And, the ordinary man can also spot the sort of idea hitman rhetorical game and imposition of materialist censorship and control that are going on too.

    Most of all, i suspect strongly that the average man can understand the significance of the following line of argument that is highly relevant to the imposition of a priori materialism in the name of science, not only on science but education and policy generally:

    ____________

    >> . . [evolutionary] materialism [a worldview that often likes to wear the mantle of "science"] . . . argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature.  Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of chance.
    But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this picture.  Thus, what we subjectively experience as “thoughts” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as unintended by-products of the natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains.  (These forces are viewed as ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance ["nature"] and psycho-social conditioning ["nurture"], within the framework of human culture [i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism].)
    Therefore, if materialism is true, the “thoughts” we have and the “conclusions” we reach, without residue, are produced and controlled by forces that are irrelevant to purpose, truth, or validity.  Of course, the conclusions of such arguments may still happen to be true, by lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” them.   And, if our materialist friends then say: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must note that to demonstrate that such tests provide empirical support to their theories requires the use of the very process of reasoning which they have discredited!
    Thus, evolutionary materialism reduces reason itself to the status of illusion.  But, immediately, that includes “Materialism.”  For instance, Marxists commonly deride opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismiss qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways?  And, should we not simply ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is simply another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze?
    In the end, materialism is based on self-defeating logic . . . . 
    In Law, Government, and Public Policy, the same bitter seed has shot up the idea that “Right” and “Wrong” are simply arbitrary social conventions.  This has often led to the adoption of hypocritical, inconsistent, futile and self-destructive public policies. 
    “Truth is dead,” so Education has become a power struggle; the victors have the right to propagandise the next generation as they please.   Media power games simply extend this cynical manipulation from the school and the campus to the street, the office, the factory, the church and the home.
    Further, since family structures and rules of sexual morality are “simply accidents of history,” one is free to force society to redefine family values and principles of sexual morality to suit one’s preferences. 
    Finally, life itself is meaningless and valueless, so the weak, sick, defenceless and undesirable — for whatever reason — can simply be slaughtered, whether in the womb, in the hospital, or in the death camp.
    In short, ideas sprout roots, shoot up into all aspects of life, and have consequences in the real world . . . >>
    ____________

    We could go on and on, onlookers, but the above is enough to substantially address the matters at stake.

    GEM of TKI

    PS; those interested in issues over Weasel should cf the remarks from here yesterday.

  81. Jerry
    I asked you about FSCI and you said

    It is easy to measure and the minimum amount is zero but not in DNA used to code proteins.

    I then asked you to give an example of how to determine the value for FSCI and you said

    Just take 4^n where n in the number of nucleotides in the string.

    I then noted that in fact I was looking for a worked example, not an explanation about how to calculate it. As you are claiming that a value for FSCI is easy to determine,not me, it’s obviously you that should provide the proof.

    Yet you now say

    I suggest you read a biology book about the transcription and translation process. Any good one will do as most cover it in detail.

    When clearly that biology book will not have a word about FSCI so I don’t know why you are saying to do that. It’s either easy or it’s not. If it’s easy then please provide a worked example or retract your claim.

    If FSCI “is easy to measure” then I have provided you a link where DNA sequences can be obtained and it should be no trouble for you to do what you claim “is easy”.

    I can think of only one reason why you would not simply provide a worked example after claiming that such measurements are “easy”.

  82. Jerry

    So the information to produce these is immense and can be estimated by the formula I gave.

    Do you have a worked example of the formula, or are you leaving the work of to somebody else?

  83. Kariosfocus

    Substantial issues that address major matters of worldview and the path of our civlisation also need to be aired in the public, so that the ordinary man of good common sense can see for himself what the true balance is on the merits.

    Quite right. The key word is “also”. These substantial issues need to be aired both in venues where the technicial skill is available to assess them on a technicial level and at a level where the ordinary man of good common sense can see for themselves the merits of the case.

    The trouble is KF that you have concentrated on the man in the street and neglected to make your case at the higher technicial level.

    You cannot simply concentrate at the lay persons level and somehow expect your ideas to make it to the scientific level on their own.

    You have to work at it. Persuade. Convince with data. Results.

    This becomes doubly important when Lewontinian imposed materialism is a censoring constraint on the relevant fields of science, and where that censorship extends to locking out of journal access and to unjustified career busting.

    Atom made a similar claim that papers are being locked out of journals simply because they support ID.

    So, I ask you KF, what journal access has been restricted and for whom?

    You made the claim, now please back it up or retract it.

    What paper, what journal rejected it?

    On Weasel I asked “Such as why Dawkins’ Weasel and Dembski/Marks “Weasel” have totally different outputs, population sizes but are somehow magically “the same” nonetheless.”

    Your response

    I refer the reader there, as well as to the appendix 7 the always linked, which has comprehensively addressed the matter of the Weasel program c. 1986, since April.

    Contains much ado about nothing. Nowhere is my question answered. Many questions I did not ask are answered. It’s a simple device you use many times, say “the answer to your question is buried somewhere in this link” and you can appear to have addressed the issue.

    If you have the answer to why the two outputs look so different from the “same” program then please simply copy and paste it into this thread.

    Your device of claiming to have answered the question over and over fools nobody. If you have answered the question paste the answer here.

    And, lamentably, if BL and others cannot be trusted to be fair or accurate on matters of such immediate access and direct observation

    Throwing the first stone are we?

    DNA is most credibly an ART-ifact of intelligence.

    It’s nice that you believe that. Now, if you can leave the man in the street level for a moment and push that viewpoint in the scientific arena with supporting evidence then perhaps you might get somewhere.

    I then asked “an you put a number on this “staggering quantity” of information or do you “just know” it’s there.”

    You replied:

    DNA for living organisms starts at 100,000+ 4-state bases. Moving to unicellular organisms capable of independent existence, we look at 300 – 500 k bases. 9the lower end being set by knockout studies, below which autodestruction of life occurs.)

    That DNA contains functional code-bearing information encoded as strings of amino acids [A/G/C/T] has been well known since the 1950’s – 70’s.

    I’ll take that as a “No, I can’t put a number on it so here are some distractions from that fact”.

    I then asked you what was happening when the “sampling” you speak of happens

    The point of ’sampling” is that the cluster of 106150 states involved is a sample of the possible configs of the 10^80 atoms of our cosmos under all relevant conditions. that number is of course vastly more than 10^150.

    Hundreds of words, but you could not say what is happenin when the sampling is taking place.

    I then asked you to define your “arbitrary initial conditions” and to define “shores of islands of function”

    Of course the arbitrariness of initial conditions is a way of saying that nature per the relevant models is not purposefully directed to initial conditions.

    It might be a way of saying that, but unless you provide a map then that’s simply meaningless. The fact is you have no idea what those initial conditions were.

    Similarly, shores of initial functionality for FSCI bearing entities will have the characteristic that they exhibit complex organisation to function, requiring at least 500 – 1,000 bits of information storage capacity;

    You have no idea that that is the case. You have no idea what the first replicator consisted of. You have no idea how many “bits” of FSCI it had. You simply have no idea but make these claims as if you know.

    That is, we have an architecture of islands of function if a functional information based entity is such that modest injection of random characters will soon destroy function.

    And because you have no idea about the configuration of the inital replication it follows you have no idea about the architecture of islands of function either.

    If you did, then draw a map. Show some data on these initial conditions. Explain how you determined that.

    think about what would happen if your hard disk were to be subjected to random injection of bits. In the case of DNA, our fear of mutation inducing radiation etc shows what we know intuitively about this.

    And yet hard drives do not reproduce. If hard drives reproduced sexually they would probably not be so scared of random bits.

    Shores of such islands of function occur when we see initial function suitable for improvement through the various hill-climbing algorithms.

    That like saying water is wet. It does not move us on. You have no idea of the configuration of such islands of function.

    my point on isolated islands of function in large config spaces is that undirected search strategies at the threshold of 1,000 or so bits, becomes implausible as a search strategy to get to initial functionality. for, 1 in 10^150 of the configurations is not effectively different from zero.

    How many times does it have to be said? You have no idea what “initial functionality” means and yet confidently claim it’s impossible.

    How do you know?

    On origin of life proper, the first point is that our speculations should be confined to the base in evidence, if they are to be properly scientific.

    What scientific evidence do you have for any sort of intelligent designer other then the (you claim) extreme odds against a natural OOL?

    Please try and answer the question asked here, not the one you wanted to answer.

    And,t eh observed cases of life begin at about 100,000+ bases.

    Yes, the observed cases. Do you think that the initial replicator will still be around after all this time?

    You have no idea about the configuration of the first replicator. Yet you make claims as if you know.

    Of course, you are welcome to demonstrate that this has been done empirically.

    Whereas you are more then welcome to demonstrate your claims regarding the first replicator and the arrangment of the fitness landscape at that point. Except you won’t because you can’t.

    Also, as just pointed out, the issue is NOT a probability estimate, but a cosmos-scale search resources challenge.

    You don’t know what you are searching for so how can you determine the probability of it?

    The reason why a tornado in a junkyard is unlikely to assemble a flyable Jumbo Jet is that the number of unflyable configs so vastly outnumber the flyable ones that the search resources of your tornado are predictably exhausted fruitlessly.

    If you are searching the space randomly that is true. If you start from a config that flys and then breed the configs and favour the ones more like a 747 who knows what would happen?

    You example fails, as the Watch on the Heath example fails, because watches and 747s do not reproduce sexually.

    What I and others have done is taken the “fitness landscape model” beloved of genetic Algorithm creators, and have set it in the wider context of a large configuration space, where the functionality is in specific regions amenable to hill climbing, but the relevant regions are surrounded by a flooding sea of non-function — and the islands of function are vastly less than 1% of the space.

    And you’ve done this despite knowing nothing about conditions when OOL happened, despite knowing nothing about that first replicator.

    Yet you’ve alraedy drawn up the map that proves that a natural OOL is impossible.

    Why don’t you write it all up and send it to Nature? If you’ve proven it then you can expect your Nobel in the post!

    isolating the number of states accessible to our observed universe to1 in 10^150 or so of the possible configs. That is, the whole observed universe viewed as a search fot FSCI such as is found in life, will if undirected intelligently be a search not credibly different from zero.

    And again, it’s only you that views these sorts of searches as randomly exploring these sorts of spaces.

    Such complex functional information is vulnerable to modest perturbation as can be seen by the experiment of randomly changing the bits in such a string of bits. After a rather short while as a rule the previously functional information will be corrupted.

    Could you give an example of this? Take some complex functional information, determine the FSCI in it, randomly perturb it and then determine the FSCI in.

    Then we can see for ourselves how the value of FSCI changes and by how much.

    On the merits, the issue is that once we know we face islands of function in large config spaces, the search resources of the observed cosmos will be vastly inadequate to perform more than an effectively zero scope search relative to the complexity of functional organisation required.

    Except you’ve proven no such thing.

    if he does so now, he will immediately find that unless we are beyond the threshold of 500 – 1,000 bits, FSCI does not come into the picture as a relevant consideration.

    So I take it 500 is the smallest FSCI that an object can have?

    Could you give me an example of something with 499 FSCI? And explain why that is not designed and something with 1 more FSCI is?

    BL needs to apologies for making willfully false accusations that he could easily have seen were not true, has he simply cared to check either the WACs or the always linked, much less discussions in other threads.

    Yes yes, if you have then answer in your “always linked” the reproduce it here. Directing people to read entire websites because you can’t be bothered to back up a claim you make is just not on.

  84. Onlookers (and BL):;

    To see FSCI in action as a simple metric, cf here; which was there as a FAQ reference all along – you are objecting without doing homework, BL.

    (Using a familiar red school house analogy: To the back of the class and stand in the corner wearing the old fashioned, dunce cap!)

    To see the more sophisticated metrics, cf here in the correctives — and here from the peer reviewed literature on FSC, with the table of 35 values here. And to see the CSI metric cf here.

    Also, the first of these gives an actual calculation, for a screenful of information like the screen in front of you — well, older tech. (What would happen to the screen’s functionality if you were to inject more and more random noise?)

    For a DNA stand of 100+ k, we see that the strand is functional from its locus in an observed life form.

    We further know that it stores information, and that the elements are four state, the FSCI metric for that would be at the lower end: 200 k functionally specific bits, as 1 4-bit state is 2 bits.

    Such specifies a config space of ~ 1.148*10^602 cells.

    GEM of TKI

  85. PS: Something with under 500 – 1,000 functionally specif bits would not fall within the FSCI threshold here. [Onlookers, again, a click away.]

  86. Jerry#70

    Almost all the phyla appeared during the Cambrian. So pick one. No phyla has a predecessor.

    You assert this again without evidence. Even if it were true that no pre-Cambrian fossils existed, their absence would not support your case because of the rarity of fossilization of soft tissues. The shells of the Cambrian organisms preserve better.

    There are, however, pre-Cambrian fossils. You can simply Google the term or look up “Ediacaran fossils” and follow the links from those sites.

    Finally, the fossil evidence is only part of the support for UCD. I invite you again to check out the evidence for common descent, paying special attention to the molecular evidence of ubiquitous genes.

  87. Kariosfocus

    To see FSCI in action as a simple metric, cf here; which was there as a FAQ reference all along – you are objecting without doing homework, BL.

    Jerry has indicated that it is trival to determine the FSCI for a coding DNA sequence. As per the previous comments in this thread.

    Kariosfocus, can you determine the FSCI in a string of coding DNA?

    Jerry noted

    Just take 4^n where n in the number of nucleotides in the string.

    Do you agree?

    I have provided a website where such sequences can be obtained.

    Please demonstrate for us all how you go about determining the FSCI in such a sequence.

  88. Jerry#72

    How is computing the number of possible nucleotides in a string of the same length of the one under consideration at all relevant to how that DNA strand might have evolved using the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory?

    It is an indication of how rare any string is and whether it is possible for it to arise by natural processes or not.

    No, it is not. Without taking into account the number of strands of that length that have the same function, related function, or other function entirely, it provides no information about rarity. Without taking into consideration the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory, it provides no information about whether or not those mechanisms could generate it.

    The longer the string in the coding region the more information it contains.

    That is not correct. A string of 1000 As has less Shannon information and Kolmogorov complexity than a shorter string of random As, Cs, Gs, and Ts. What definition of “information” are you using?

    The simple formula is a rough way of estimating the number of unique strings that could exist but only a small number of them are actually FSCI.

    And how, exactly, are those identified?

  89. Kariosfocus

    We further know that it stores information, and that the elements are four state, the FSCI metric for that would be at the lower end: 200 k functionally specific bits, as 1 4-bit state is 2 bits.

    I think of more interest would be a specific coding sequence and a value for FSCI specific to that sequence.

    Can you provide such? You may of course pick the string youself, the website I linked to has many settings for use when searching for strings.

    If FSCI can be determined with any degree of accuracy, please demonstrate it. If the best you can do is “at the lower end” type scales, then please indicate that also.

    Onlookers will also notice Kariosfocus did not address any of my questions regarding where he is getting his knowledge of the fitness landscape for the first replicatior or how complex that first replicator was.

    I believe his silence speaks volumes to that.

  90. “That is not correct. A string of 1000 As has less Shannon information and Kolmogorov complexity than a shorter string of random As, Cs, Gs, and Ts. What definition of “information” are you using?”

    Since you understand the metrics we are talking about why bring up the question. You know as well as anyone that no one is talking about a string of A’s. You answered your own question.

  91. Jerry writes:

    All the present phyla fossilized during the Cambrian so it is hard to argue for some mysterious other organism didn’t fossilize. As I said you can believe what you want but it is based on faith and nothing more. Remember there was little diversity in the Cambrian but major disparity. That fact alone argues against a common predecessor

    One should be careful calling this a “fact”. The particular view of the Cambrian explosion jerry refers to is coming under more and more scrutiny and criticism as contrary evidence is accumulated and fossils reevaluated:

    The impression of an explosion is heightened by a number of fossils with unclear affinities to extant phyla. At first, it was claimed that the Early Cambrian is replete with forms that have no obvious resemblance to extant phyla or even to other ancient groups (Gould 1989). Some species have characters that may place them as ancestral members of extant phyla (Conway Morris and Caron 2007), but controversy exists as to groups such as the halkyerids (Vinther and Nielsen 2005).

    A well-known taxonomic bias crept into studies of Cambrian and other early animal fossils. When a strange fossil was found, unclassifiable body parts influenced paleontologists to classify such organisms as members of new classes of extant phyla or even new phyla. Thus, a series of descriptions resulted in 21 named classes of the phylum Echinodermata (Levinton 2001). Ironically, this is precisely the opposite of what Gould (1989) argued was the failing of the great paleontologist Walcott, who supposedly tended to ally the strangest of organisms to conventional groups that had already been described. Gould may have been correct about Walcott, but he missed the rest of the picture.With gay abandon,paleontologists were naming early animal taxa and defining them as members of new phyla or classes. In effect, paleontologists are rewarded
    with recognition for discovering a new taxon when they assign it to a higher level of classification. (Wouldn’t you rather discover a new phylum than a new species of an existing genus?) The trend was accelerated with the second great investigation of the Burgess Shale by Harry Whittington and his colleagues. A weird, spiky, worm-like fossil was whimsically named Hallucigenia and thought to be a taxon unrelated to conventional known phyla (ConwayMorris 1977).Another fossil, previously thought byWalcott to be an annelid,was redescribed
    as belonging to a new phylum, perhaps related to mollusks (ConwayMorris 1985).This bias forced a notion of an evolutionary lawn, in which numerous unrelated taxa appeared suddenly in the Cambrian (and theOrdovician, in the case of Echinodermata),which fit nicely with Cloud’s (1968)
    concept of the polyphyletic origin of the animal phyla.

    Two important breakthroughs changed scientists’ conception of a Cambrian explosion as an evolutionary lawn of strange and unrelated shoots: (1) reexamination of themorphology of these “strange” creatures and (2) reconsideration of these disparate taxa as members of an evolutionary tree, which represents the morphological characters of different groups from the point of view of evolutionary relatedness. Many of the supposed oddball echinoderms, for example, were mistakenly classified as advanced, differentiated forms. Instead, they could be assigned to ancestral locations on an echinoderm evolutionary tree. Thus, the evolutionary lawn of echinoderms was transformed into a far more sensible evolutionary tree (Smith 1984). Second, a reexamination of characters began to show that other “oddballs” were not so strange,
    after all. The supposedly weird Hallucigenia was shown to be reconstructed upside down. It was unlikely that this worm sat on spikes, which instead projected upward to protect against predators. More deflating was the discovery that Hallucigenia was a mundane member of a larger Cambrian fossil group, the Lobopodia, related to living velvet worms (Ramskøld and Xianguang 1991).The effect was something like being in a dream and seeing a party of weird, colorfully dressed Harry Potter characters, only to wake up and realize that you were looking at your ordinary friends, wearing blue jeans and T-shirts.

    Jerry again:

    No phyla has a predecessor. If it had a predecessor than variants of this predecessor would have appeared during the Cambrian but they didn’t so the logical conclusion is that they don’t exist.

    Again, as more fossils are examined, this absolute statement by jerry is coming under scrutiny:

    Although Cloud (1968) systematically discredited nearly all described Precambrian bilaterian fossils, he was unable to discredit an annelid-like fossil found in 700-million- to 900-million-year-old rocks in China (Cloud 1986). Some tantalizing fossils that might be bilaterian have been found in the latter part of the Proterozoic, known as the Ediacaran (Fedonkin andWaggoner 1997), and bilaterian-like embryos have been found in the Ediacaran Doushanto Formation in China (Xiao et al. 1998). None of these can easily be placed on a tree of known bilaterian groups.A possible sister group to the trilobites has been described (Fortey et al. 1996).A large menagerie of fossils was found first in southAustralia (Glaessner andWade 1966) and later worldwide in Ediacaran-aged rocks. These fossils appear to belong to the Cnidaria and other groups of uncertain status. A recently discovered trace-like fossil, claimed to be one billion years old,may belong to a bilateral organism, but not necessarily a bilaterian animal (Bengtson et al. 2007).

    Both quotes from:

    Levinton JS (2008). The Cambrian Explosion: how do we use the evidence? Bioscience 58(9): 855-864

    jerry:

    So the Cambrian as of today is a show stopper for UCD

    jerry should catch up his reading of the literature on the Cambrian explosion before making such a declaration.

  92. “jerry should catch up his reading of the literature on the Cambrian explosion before making such a declaration.”

    It is still a show stopper. I would be embarrassed by the number of qualifications that exist in the abstracts you listed especially the last one. I would scrutinize your abstracts as to just what is being said.

  93. jerry,

    Since you are still declaring “fact” (like disparity vs diversity), and are apparently unaware if the extensive research and reevaluation of older data, while at the same time admonishing others to read up on the Cambrian explosion, then the embarrassment most definitely should be yours.

  94. Jerry#90

    “That is not correct. A string of 1000 As has less Shannon information and Kolmogorov complexity than a shorter string of random As, Cs, Gs, and Ts. What definition of “information” are you using?

    Since you understand the metrics we are talking about why bring up the question. You know as well as anyone that no one is talking about a string of A’s. You answered your own question.

    You said, and I quote:

    The longer the string in the coding region the more information it contains.

    That is incorrect.
    You have failed to address my question of how a simple calculation of the number of possible unique strands of a certain length has any pertinence to modern evolutionary theory.

    You have also failed to address my question of what definition of information you are using.

    You have further failed to explain how to identify which strands have FSCI and which do not.

    FSCI gets less and less well-defined the more one looks at it.

  95. Where, oh where, is the F in the FSCI?

    When ID theory can identify the F in a test sequence, the world of science will applaud, cheer, bow and admit ID into its membership.

  96. Onlookers:

    I: First, a pause for a moment of inadvertent, highly instructive reductio ad absurdum as the selective hyperskepticism game used by so many Darwinist advocates plays out to its sad end:

    DL, 94: “FSCI gets less and less well-defined the more one looks at it. ”

    Adel, 95: “Where, oh where, is the F [i.e. Functionality] in the FSCI? ”

    H’mm, let’s see if we can tell “which one of these is not like the others, which one of these is not the same”:

    1. [Class 1:] An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement:

    THE END THE END THE END THE END
    Example: Nylon, or a crystal . . . . 
    2. [Class 2:] A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement:
    AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG
    Example: Random polymers (polypeptides).

    3. [Class 3:] A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement:
    THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE! [Of course, this is not quite long enough to be over the complexity threshold of 500 - 1,000 used bits of information storing capacity (~ 143 ASCII characters), but the point is made. Oops, with this addition, it is. How many passages of contextually relevant text in English like this have ever been observed to be created by undirected chance + mechanical forces of necessity? How many, by intelligent design? KF.]
    Example: DNA, protein.
    [From Thaxton et al, The Mystery of Life's Origin, ch 8, 1984,]

    In other words, — and as was cited ever so many times from Orgel in his 1973 Origin of Life, p. 189:

    >> In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. >>

    a –> Whether we address linguistic function, algorithmic function or [also algorithmic – DNA] bio-function, function is a directly recognisable, observable brute fact: DOES IT WORK IN A “MACROSCOPICALLY” RECOGNISABLE WAY? (But then, if your worldview leads you to believe there are no effective minds to observe and report accurately to reality, then maybe you will be tempted to selectively — and inconsistently — doubt or dismiss inconvenient facts . . . )

    b –> Second, we are dealing with specific function: function that comes in islands of closely related configurations, subject to disruption by modest perturbation.

    c –> A thought experiment will help clarify:
    _____________

    Take the Class 3 sample above and apply a random mutation operator to it, say at 5% per letter random change from the full ASCII set, generation after generation. How long will it be before the message dissolves into non-communicative gibberish not distinguishable from Class 2; in fact, exemplifying it? And, if we were to put some birdseed on a key board and put it out in a hen-yard, so that pecking birds would press keys unintelligently and at random [from the experiments, monkeys are too destructive], would we be able to meaningfully distinguish the two random sequences, other than by in effect letter by letter comparison? How long would we have to wait on average for hens pecking away at birdseed dusted keyboards for a meaningful text string of length 143 characters to appear? If we then took the gibberish from the original Class 3 text and we continued to apply the random change operator to it, how long would it take for any meaningful paragraph to re-appear? If we were to feed it into a Weasel Program [Atom's adjustable Weasel can do this], with the original as target, how long would it take to re-appear? Why? What would this say about the significance of active information injected though targetting and use of warmer-colder metrics to artificially select for formal resemblance to a meaningful message? [Hint, cf Abel's 2009 (peer -reviewed: Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2009, 10, 247-291; doi:10.3390/ijms10010247, pp. 247 - 291) paper on capabilities of chaos and complexity, as previously linked.)
    __________

    d --> At a more formal level, and as is discussed in the previously linked App 4 in my briefing, Abel & Trevors have pointed out (this, in the peer reviewed literature too . . .) that strings – the simplest relevant information case – can be viewed in this context as being in a three-dimensional space: a spectrum of complexity from ordered to random, an inversely proportionate metric dimension of algorithmic compressibility, and a third, independent dimension: algorithmic functionality. (This easily enough extends to other types of recognisable function.)

    e --> As they illustrate, such functionality peaks sharply, and is near to but not at the Random Sequence end of the complexity scale. (This is of course the 1-dimensional string version of an island of function. The fact that biological life forms come in distinct kinds separated by significant gaps in the fossil record [most notably the Cambrian], in observed life today and in DNA sequences, should tell us something on how relevant such an island of function view is to bio-forms. Darwin’s missing links are still missing, 150 years later.)

    f –> Of course, as already linked in 84 above, Durston et al have long since (2007 is 2 years ago) – again, in the peer reviewed literature — turned this into a quantitative metric based on empirical data on protein sequences in light of a functional version of the H uncertainty metric, comparing functional with ground and null states. (But since that mere fact is inconvenient to their case, and since Darwinists sadly seem to want to be unaccountable before the truth, that has been ignored.)

    g –> So, plainly DL and Adel et al are sadly mistaken.

    II: Main business (duly noting that the above is a slice of the cake that reveals all the ingredients of what is going on):

    Over the past few days, we have passed un momento de verdad here at UD.

    For, we have seen laid out above (and in the parallel Contest 10 thread), step by step, fairly detailed exposes of how evolutionary materialist darwinists and their fellow travellers far too often habitually resort to the destructive rhetoric of distraction, distortion demonisation and dismissal. And, the said darwinists acted as though nothing had happened; trying to proceed with “business as usual.”

    So, if that is how such men – almost invariably, such are men – behave when they hold the minor privilege of posting in a blog, how would they act when they control institutions of science, education, media, jurisprudence and public policy-making? (Actually, we do not need to ask: that is what Expelled documented over a year ago, all too accurately. [And, on the business as usual track, it is therefore no surprise that instead of pausing to reflect and correct misbehaviour, the activists have sought to shoot the messenger and blame the victims; indeed, we saw examples over the past few days.])

    Similarly, what such portends for our civilisation if unchecked is not a matter of speculation but of well documented but easily forgotten or dismissed history. Starting with Plato’s commentary on Alcibiades and others, in his The Laws, Book X. Speaking of the avant garde materialist teachers and their disciples c 400 BC — yes, evolutionary materialism was making waves 2,400 years ago — he wrote how the materialists of his day held that:
    ____________

    >> . . . The elements [then viewed as: fire, earth, air, water] are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. Art sprang up afterwards and out of these, mortal and of mortal birth, and produced in play certain images and very partial imitations of the truth, having an affinity to one another, such as music and painting create and their companion arts. And there are other arts which have a serious purpose, and these co-operate with nature, such, for example, as medicine, and husbandry, and gymnastic. And they say that politics cooperate with nature, but in a less degree, and have more of art; also that legislation is entirely a work of art, and is based on assumptions which are not true . . . .

    [For,] the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [Relativism, too, is not new.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them. >>
    _______________

    In short, history teaches us that typically civility, restraint and justice are given short shrift by those influenced by such avant garde materialist speculations, due to its amorality and relativism, which enable the rise of the ruthless and destructive idea that “might makes right.” (That is, the incivility we see above is not surprising, on a rather long, sad history; with Alcibiades notoriously being exhibit no 1.)

    So, we at UD have some decisions to make on how we are going to address the sort of incivility we are seeing.

    [ . . . ]

  97. III: Following up select points:

    1] Re BL, 83: The trouble is KF that you have concentrated on the man in the street and neglected to make your case at the higher technical level.

    In fact the technical case has been successfully made in the peer reviewed literature, as was noted, ourlined and linked at 1 above. But, truth being inconvenient, the rhetorical agenda is plainly to steamroller over the mere inconvenient facts to the contrary.

    In any case, the issue is to address the matter on the merits, and BL’s implication/insinuation that I am making a rhetorical case is patently false and even maliciously distorting, as can be easily seen from the always linked. Since when was discussion of relevant key aspects of information theory, thermodynamics and related topics at mathematical level popular discourse, onlookers? [What I have done is to use my background as a sci-tech educator to discuss the matters at a 101, initial, educational level. And that is plainly what so irks the Darwinist advocates: I (and others too, but I am in the hot seat just now . . . ) am opening the gateway for the man in the street to read the technical works with sufficient understanding to evaluate for him or her self instead of taking the edicts of the neo-magisterium at face value. Poof: the emperor is parading around, stark naked! Yikes!)

    Also, observe not a hint of compunction over the already exposed tactics, but a continuation of same, full steam ahead. Not to mention, very lite that actually addresses the matters on the merits, even in the face of links to the demanded technical peer-reviewed discussions. (Recall, too, how BL tried to imply that the peer reviewed papers were not what they are.)

    2] 83, So, I ask you KF, what journal access has been restricted and for whom?

    Read and weep, here and here, onlookers; to see what is going on, when all the blaming the victim and poisoning the well rhetoric has settled down. (Again, inconvenient points already in evidence and steamrollered over. Worse, on matters of patent injustice.)

    3] 83, Nowhere is my question [about Weasel] answered.

    Blatant falsehood, resting on a twisting of what was in the IEEE paper, p. 1055 – a declaratively didactic example of what partitioning means was wrenched to form a strawman algorithm thast was then soaked in ad hominems and ignited. EIL provides actual Weasel type algors – with a zip on source code! — in their Weasel GUI page, and they cover the bases.. The issue is addressed, step by step, in the context of what M & D actually said here.

    4] 83, I’ll take that as a “No, I can’t put a number on it [a measure of the FSCI in DNA] so here are some distractions from that fact”.

    Of course, in 84 above, I already provided a sample calculation that would enable anyone feeding in the numbers for actual organisms to do so to the heart’s content. The number of I chose is at the low end of the ballpark for observed organisms:

    For a DNA stand of 100+ k, we see that the strand is functional from its locus in an observed life form.

    We further know that it stores information, and that the elements are four state, the FSCI metric for that would be at the lower end: 200 k functionally specific bits, as 1 4-bit state is 2 bits.
    Such specifies a config space of ~ 1.148*10^602 cells.

    Such calculations are in my always linked, and more sophisticated calculations are readily available in the already linked materials from Durston et al.

    In EVERY case of directly known origin of FSCi where the metric passes thecomplexity threshold, the source of the FSCI is intelligent. And, we have excellent search space reasons for seeuing why that is so. Therefore, on a massive inductive evidence base, we may infer that iFSCI is a reliable sign of intelligence. DNA exhibits such FSCI.

    Similarly, we know one and only one class of source for algorithms, alphabetic codes, and programs with associated structured data structures; with similarly excellent empirical base for seeing why undirected chance and necessity will haver no credible prospect of designing such languages and programs on the gamut of our comsos. Intelligence.

    But, this time around, the standard scientific pracice of inductive generalisation on empirical data is inconvenient for the neo-magisterium, so it is steamrollered over. Just as Lewontin said, and just as his colleagues in the US National Academy of Sciences have ruled.

    Morris Cargill used to call such tactics: logic with a swivel.

    5] BL, 87: Kariosfocus, can you determine the FSCI in a string of coding DNA?

    Note, onlookers: this is AFTER the example has been given in 84.

    In short, we again see the pattern of pretence that inconvenient evidence is “not there.”

    6] DL, 88: Without taking into account the number of strands of that length that have the same function, related function, or other function entirely, it provides no information about rarity.

    This is of course precisely what Durston et al did in 2007, and then published a table of 35 values of FSC in FITS, Functional Bits. Again, conveniently ignored.

    7] BL, 89: I think of more interest would be a specific coding sequence and a value for FSCI specific to that sequence.

    This is of course a further distraction form the provision of a method applicable with no more than a simple scientific calculator to any case.

    Take any protein of suitable length, say 350 AA’s, not too atypical for an enzyme. (And I am deliberately giving a general example, to underscore the evident willful obtuseness at work on BL’s part.)

    We know that the associated DNA had a 3-letter start codon, 350 succeeding elongation 3-letter codons, and a stop codon. That makes for 3 * (350 + 2) = 1056 4-state DNA bases. Such a protein is functional, and will as a rule be vulnerable to modest perturbation by incorrect amino acid substitution – e.g. think about proline the “pinned” acid, which would tend to lock up folding, 1 of 20 odds on a random substitution. [More sophisticated analyses are possible, and have been done in the peer reviewed literature, on foldable and functional sequences.]

    A 350 base Protein would thus be functional, specific and complex beyond the threshold. Its underlying DNA code comes in at 1056 bits [on just the null state free sequencing comparison base]. So, we can weigh it in at 1056 functionally specific bits.

    Compare any computer program string in any reasonable language of that bit-length that functions. It too will be functionally specific and will be vulnerable to modest perturbation. Can BL identify a credible case where such a code string originated by undirected chance plus necessity only? Of course not. But, there are millions of cases where such strings come form known intelligent agents. Indeed, that is the only empirically observed source for such. (And before you think to trot out genetic algorithms as claimed counter examples, I suggest you have a look at Abel’s remarks on these in section 12, p. 268. Unless you can cogently answer his case, you are jut making a distraction.)

    The point should be clear.

    8] 89, Kariosfocus did not address any of my questions regarding where he is getting his knowledge of the fitness landscape for the first replicatior or how complex that first replicator was.

    All this reveals is that BL wishes to substitute a hypothetical “replicator” for observed organisms [which start out at genome length in the 100′s of thousands; and in a context where it is known that protein function etc is vulnerable to perturbation of sequences – indeed in some cases, folding is non-unique and introduces further complexity, as the prions and associated scrapies and mad cow disease etc show), and that he has not bothered to read (much less, interact with) the discussion on genome complexity and functionality in my always linked, here. (Which, apart from always being linked, was explicitly linked above.)

    In short, BL has here made up a dumb strawman for him to pummel for its silence.

    But the poor dumb strawman ain’t me!

    _______________

    GEM of TKI

  98. I had written:

    When ID theory can identify the F in a test sequence, the world of science will applaud, cheer, bow and admit ID into its membership.

    Perhaps I was asking too much, but I was hoping for a response that would make a case for the predictive utility of the FSCI concept. Genome sequencing has so far uncovered thousands of putative genes whose functions are yet unknown. It would be a signal contribution to science if FSCI theorists could apply their methodology to deciphering those functions.

    As things stand, investigators have to go to a lot of trouble in their laboratories and in other venues to link a gene to a function.

  99. An Organisation Behaviour theory footnote:

    Highly Machiavellian, manipulative people are restrained not by compunctions or words of correction, but by prudence: where they perceive that they will likely get caught and it will hurt them, they will refrain from unacceptable conduct. but if the odds are they will get away with and benefit from it, they will proceed full steam ahead.

    So, allowing such amoral men to act without painful consequence them is enabling behaviour.

    And, as I have highlighted this morning, evolutionary materialism, since 360 BC, was known to be amoral.

    Sadly, the manipulative, destructive darwinist rhetorical tactics above — sadly — fit the pattern as a hand fits a glove. (When I used to see this in the power centres of universities here in the Caribbean, I used to discuss it in terms of “Star Trek World, the reality.” Alcibiades has all too many descendants among us, I am afraid.)

    A thought for the day.

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  100. Adel:

    FSCI is explicitly used in the context of evaluating the source of certain features of the empirical world.

    (And the fact that all known cases of origin of FSCI trace to intelligence is highly relevant to the status of several key areas of origins science, with potentially revolutionary impact, once we look to the more technical formulations, FSC and CSI. [Strictly FSCI is that subset of CSI where the specification is functional. As a simple but useful heuristic, we can identify it based on observed function, vulnerability of such to modest perturbation, and using at least 500 - 1,000 bits of information storage explicitly or implicitly.])

    The very provenance of the term function indicates that function is identified as a component of making the determination that FSCI is present. As such, FSCI is not going to predict function.

    (But if we know the code implicated well enough, we may infer function from the decoding of the information itself. I should note I recently had reason to look at files for eSWORD Bible Software, and was astonished to see that for over half the files, there was an apparently meaningless repetitive cluster of alphanumeric characters. Only very late in the file did the text turn up. Reminds me a lot of complaints on apparent “junk” in DNA. eSWORD uses an ACCESS data base file up to version 8.x.)

    GEM of TKI

  101. The very provenance of the term function indicates that function is identified as a component of making the determination that FSCI is present. As such, FSCI is not going to predict function.

    Thanks for the clarification, kf.

  102. I’m trying to catch up here….

    Are we now saying that FCSI is CSI with the added investigator’s knowledge of the functionality of the sequence under invetigation?

    I thought that CSI was discernible by Dr Dembski’s Explanatory Filter – but that he had abandoned the EF, only to reinstate it in his affections when the unpleasantly gleeful chortles of the materialists became too much to bear.

    Ar we then still to use the EF to discern design?- or is there now a more specific method, (since I understand that the EF gives rather too many false negatives and false positives for comfort.)

  103. Adel:

    Welcome.

    GEM of TKI

  104. D:

    Please, get your facts and reasoning straight before making unwarranted — or even utterly false and misleading — assertions in a confidently dismissive manner:

    1] 102: Are we now saying that FCSI is CSI with the added investigator’s knowledge of the functionality of the sequence under invetigation?

    Complex, specified information is a class of information where relatively small targets are specified in large configuration spaces that are information-bearing.

    FUNCTIONALLY specific, complex information is a subset of that class, wherein we OBSERVE a function that is specific to a relatively small set of configurations in a large space of possible configs. For instance, relatively few configs of ASCII characters would make a comprehensible paragraph in English responsive to your comment. And, should you disturb this paragraph’s underlying bit patterns at random, you would soon reduce it to gibberish; i.e. we are looking at a small ilsnd of relevant function in a large configuration space of possible bit patterns of the same length.

    That is, the above paragraph is an instance of FSCI.

    2] I thought that CSI was discernible by Dr Dembski’s Explanatory Filter . . .

    It is. [Note the extension of earlier thought to incorporate the focus on aspects, as is also discussed in the Weak Argument correctives here.] And, for FSCI, when the specification involved is functional — as just discussed, the filter is very simple and practically effective to apply. (Onlookers, that is why there is such a press to distract you from noticing its effectiveness and patent common sensical soundness relative to our world of experience.)

    3] . . . but that he had abandoned the EF, only to reinstate it in his affections when the unpleasantly gleeful chortles of the materialists became too much to bear.

    Again, kindly do your homework soundly before commenting in an ill informed manner on the presumption that the assertions of critics of ID are correct or fair. (the above exchanges should suffice to demonstrate that they are too often neither true nor fair, AND that on being corrected, there are no compunctions or intent to amend their ways. Sadly.)

    Examine the discussion here in the Weak Argument Correctives.

    You will see that the critics in question gleefully pounced on an ambiguity in the possible meanings of “dispensed with,” and improperly inferred that the EF failed in the absolute, when in fact WD’s intent was to state that he found it more effective to put the underlying discussion aside [not least because of the unfruitful debates hinging on teh selective hyperskepticism and strawmannising of the same circles of critics] and go straight to the implications of the discovery of CSI. If you doubt me, here are his remarks, excerpted in WAC 30:

    In an off-hand comment in a thread on this blog I remarked that I was dispensing with the Explanatory Filter in favor of just going with straight-up specified complexity. On further reflection, I think the Explanatory Filter ranks among the most brilliant inventions of all time (right up there with sliced bread). I’m herewith reinstating it — it will appear, without reservation or hesitation, in all my future work on design detection.

    [….]

    I came up with the EF on observing example after example in which people were trying to sift among necessity, chance, and design to come up with the right explanation. The EF is what philosophers of science call a “rational reconstruction” — it takes pre-theoretic ordinary reasoning and attempts to give it logical precision. But what gets you to the design node in the EF is SC (specified complexity). So working with the EF or SC end up being interchangeable. In THE DESIGN OF LIFE (published 2007), I simply go with SC. In UNDERSTANDING INTELLIGENT DESIGN (published 2008), I go back to the EF. I was thinking of just sticking with SC in the future, but with critics crowing about the demise of the EF, I’ll make sure it stays in circulation.

    Where there was one significant concern on the earlier formulations of the filter in flowcharts [e.g. c. 1999], the focussing of the filter on specific aspects of phenomena and objects adequately resolves the concern, as already linked.

    4] Ar we then still to use the EF to discern design?- or is there now a more specific method, (since I understand that the EF gives rather too many false negatives and false positives for comfort.)

    Confident assertion of demonstrable falsehoods and misleading half-truths. Unfortunately, this is typical of Darwinist objector talking point rhetorical tactics on this subject:

    a –> The explanatory filter is DESIGNED to be vulnerable to false negatives, as it is biased to be extremely conservative in ruling “designed.”

    b –> That is, by being quite stringent on when it rules “design” [e.g. in the simple case at least 500 - 1,000 bits of used information capacity involved in an observed case of function vulnerable to modest perturbation], the filter is saying that unless the search resources of the cosmos as a whole wold be credibly fruitlessly exhausted in a baseline random walk search of the relevant config space, we will not rule “designed.”

    c –> That is, the filter is heavily and deliberately biased towards ruling chance as the source of high contingency. (Cf the case of applying the Dembski metric of CSI to a suspicious hand of cards in WAC 27. Any reasonable person would infer to cheating — for good reason — long before the matter rose to the level where the EF would rule design definitively.)

    d -> That is the misleading half truth part: false negatives.

    e –> Now for the outright deceptive falsehood: the claim that the EF improperly rules “design” in many cases (false positives):

    i] As a corollary to the stringency on allowing many false negatives, the filter — as statistics theory teaches us on such inferences by elimination to relevant confidence levels — is going to be then that much more credible when it does rule design.

    ii] So, it is unsurprising that, as a matter of easily confirmed fact, there are literally millions or billions of successful positive cases where the filter correctly rules design. [The Internet being exhibit 1.]

    iii] Similarly, in EVERY case to date where we know the origin story directly and independently, the EF’s ruling “design” on detecting FSCI, CSI etc, is correct.

    iv] This is confirmed by the suspicious lack of credible counrter-examples coming from the critics: time and again, they have confidently declared that the EF in praxis makes false positives, but on being challenged to give specific instances of known provenance, they cannot, and retreat into a theoretical or philosophical discussion, or a case that on closer inspection is an instance of intelligent design. (E.g. some would want to say that if a GA can be made to create a long enough sentence then that is a case of chance + necessity creating complex sentences out of lucky noise. They distract their own attention from the obvious context: a GA is an intelligently designed foresighted PROGRAM that uses artificial selection towards optimisation of intelligently selected objective functions.)

    v] For instance, onlookers, see if D can provide us with, say, a case where a string of ASCII text of at least 143 characters [= 1,000 bits] originating in a random walk and without artificial selection of current non-functional phrases towards a distant ideal target, will create a meaningful sentence in correct English within any reasonable scope of resources on the gamut of our observed cosmos.

    vi] now, of course, this is not a logical prohibition, but a search resource exhaustion barrier: because the space of possible configs is so large, the search reopurces of our obsered cosmos would not be able to search out through rasndom walks any apreciable fraction thereof. (And if one picks a search unintelligently, the mathematical challenges of ever higher order searches for good searcfhes will show that on average and unintelligently selected algorithm will perform no better than random search. It is active informaiton originating in our observation in intelligence, that is resposnible for the relative success of well chosen searches.

    vii] So, the barrier to false positives is not absolute, but a mater of practical reliability. (Just as, the config space for air molecules in the room in which you sit has in it configs where the O2 molecules rush to one corner. That would leave you gasping for breath fruitlessly, but the relevant states are so isolated and so overwhelmed by the highly diffused ones, that the expectation that we will have O2 molecules in the air when we breathe is utterly reliable. On stat thermodynamics, we can work out he odds of that happening in the lifespan of the cosmos, and we will see that it is utterly improbable ever to see this once in the history of the cosmos. The same sort of reasoning underlies the confidence in the empirical reliability of the EF. [And yes, there are those who will selectively object to the EF who would never dream that they are thereby picking a quarrel with statistical thermodynamics. And, on a personal note, it is that background that made me see that the EF and FSCI-CSI concept have something in them.])

    f –> In short, the objection is specious.

    GEM of TKI

  105. kf,
    small perturbations do not destroy the readability of your paragraph. For example, you made a typing error:

    i.e. we are looking at a small ilsnd of relevant function in a large configuration space

    Obviously, despite your error I was able to understand th word “islands”. You could have made lots of such errors and I would still have been able to comprehend most of what you said.
    So, as you probably know, sometimes it´s very hard to know how big such islands of funtionality are. It´s even harder if you also have to also check for different and maybe even unknown functions! Now, maybe you could show us an example by analysing a DNA sequence or something?

  106. So, I added a few erros in my parargaph above then. ;-)
    I thnk despte_ al my arors yu styll geat -wat I meeeen, rite?

  107. kairosfocus,

    Rather than spending so much time extolling the power of FSCI, you could end the discussion immediately with a worked example of how to calculate the FSCI in an actual biological artifact. Note that your example should be reproducible and allow anyone to arrive at the same quantitative value for the same artifact.

  108. A layman following this discussion for some time in lurking mode, I am facing the conclusion that, if there were ever to be a fully worked example of a calculation such as has been begged for, it would simply tell us that a protein (for example) was complex, contained some information in its sequence, and was functional.
    But I think we can tell this by simpler means.

    The other argument used frequently in fqavour of design is the argument from improbability – citing the odds against blind chance assembling a particular sequence of say 200 aminoacids or 600 nucleotides from all possible 200-mers or 600-mers.
    Who says that this ab-initio/ex-nihilo large molecule is necessary for either abiogenesis or the beginnings of evolution? No evolutionary biologist that I have ever spoken to or read, that’s for sure- this seems to be a classical strawman.

  109. Onlookers:

    Observe the pattern — no compunction on the already exposed manipulative and disrespectful rhetoric, just, “on to the next objection.” That is telling on the underlying problem: selective hyperskepticism driven by materialistic ideological zealotry, under the false colours of science.

    I simply note, in brief:

    1] Moderate perturbation is of course an incremental random bit pattern variation. The objector knows full well that such will soon enough reduce text to gibberish.

    2]I have already analysed a DNA sequence by the way we can most readily do so. I stipulated a 350 AA typical enzyme protein length, then reckoned with the known vulnerability to perturbation. Functional and specified. I then evaluated complexity by looking at the known process for assembling a protein: Start, 350 elongation codons, stop. [352 AA * 3 bases/AA codon = 1056 4-state elements. Using 2 bits/4-state element, that's 2112 functionally specific bits. (Pardon, I missed a step earlier, I only needed 170 or so.) Double the threshold, and corresponding to 5.96 *10^635 configs.]

    3] Of course this does not namer any particular protein in any particular case, but that is a distractive irrelevancy, as we know that there are many proteins of relevant length. [In fact, any protein longer than about 170 AA will be deemed sufficiently complex to be FSCI by this criterion. Hundreds, or thousands qualify. And, collectively the genome for functional life forms, the source of the relevant information, will therefore also more than qualify, as there are dozens to hundreds of complex proteins in any reasonable simple life form.]

    4] But that — predictably — will not stop the objections, revealing their fundamentally unreasonable, ideologically driven character. (Why is it that I feel so much like in the days when I had to argue with Marxist zealots on Campus here in the Caribbean? ANS: because the rhetorical and agitprop tactics and underlying materialist zealotry — and event he rationale that all is being done in the name of “science” — are the same. Sad.)

    GEM of TKI

  110. PS: Onlookers, peruse the Wiki list of proteins and that of enzymes to heart’s content, and tell me how many are 350+ or 170+ as you wish. Quite a few.

  111. kairosfocus#108

    2]I have already analysed a DNA sequence by the way we can most readily do so. I stipulated a 350 AA typical enzyme protein length, then reckoned with the known vulnerability to perturbation. Functional and specified. I then evaluated complexity by looking at the known process for assembling a protein: Start, 350 elongation codons, stop. [352 AA * 3 bases/AA codon = 1056 4-state elements. Using 2 bits/4-state element, that's 2112 functionally specific bits.

    This is a computation of the number of possible DNA strands of that length. Is that all you mean by FSCI? How does that allow one to determine that any previously unresearched strand of DNA of that length is the result of design?

    3] Of course this does not namer any particular protein in any particular case, but that is a distractive irrelevancy, as we know that there are many proteins of relevant length.

    That’s not a distraction, nor is it irrelevant. In fact, it is one of the core questions with respect to FSCI. If, as you claim, FSCI is indicative of design, you need to show how to calculate the FSCI for actual biological artifacts and how to distinguish between those which are designed and those which are simply of the same length.

    Thus far, FSCI isn’t looking particularly useful in proving design.

  112. DeLurker,

    Do you remember a commenter here who went by JayM? Do you remember how he was an ID supporter, who wanted ID to be strengthened, so he offered his advice on how to strengthen it?

    Yeah, sure you remember, because that person is YOU. Do you now, finally, admit that your JayM character was disingenuous, to use a kind word?

  113. kf,

    that you dismiss my simple example of a “mutated” text shows that you have not understood the basic problem with FCSI: You are only looking at the size of the config space. But you also have to look at the size of the functional part of the config space.
    So, this is a bit disappointing: FCSI is again just the size of the configuration space? That´s another tornado in the junkyard argument then!

  114. How about we measure the functionally specific bits on this baby.

  115. Indium,

    I’m quite sure that if you do some searching using the search tool you can manage to find where KF has explained at length how functional parts represent islands in the configuration space, and how drifting from the vast sea of non-function to one of these islands of function requires much much more than what is proposed by Darwinists.

  116. Ok, I’ve read the book. Yup, went right on over to the ol’ library, checked it out, and read it.

    As I perused many of the comments on this thread, though, I’ve noticed that many of the complaints made by our Darwinist guests have actually been met in the book. This makes me wonder why people don’t just read the thing.

    This thread is about the book and a complimentary review in a magazine, isn’t it?

    (#3)Paul Burnett won’t be impressed until he reads a review in an “actual science journal” to which I can only respond:

    So what?

    Look, if Paul Burnett will not be impressed by ID unless it is commented upon in a science journal, then Paul Burnett is just going to have to wait. I’d suggest to Paul Burnett to, uh, read the book. . .

    I suspect he’ll be impressed.

    (#6)William J Murray, thanks for commenting on something from within the book. Something that may just have been as eye-popping to the reviewer. Folks, return to #6 and deal with what William wrote in the first paragraph. No, not by bringing your boilerplate; that is just not helpful. Instead, bring criticism, if any, of what was presented in the book. Then, we can argue the merits. Anyway, let’s not just pick on Paul Burnett.

    No. Instead, we have this:
    (#7) MeganC has not read the book . . .
    (#11) Learned Hand has not read the book . . .
    (#13) Blue Lotus has not read the book . . .
    (#24) Gaz has not read the book . . .
    (#26) Cabal has not read the book . . .
    (#32) DeLurker has not read the book . . .
    (#76) Damitall has not read the book . . .
    (#91) Dave Wisker has not read the book . . .
    (#95) Adel DiBagno has not read the book . . .
    (#105) Indium has not read the book . . .(#108) Frogbox has not read the book . . .

    Or, if they have, they found its content to be totally convincing. Else, as critics of ID why haven’t they posted their problems with the content of the book?

    I am happy they liked the book (wink, wink). I did, too. Meyer’s discussion of the formulation of ID within types of science, abduction, inference to the best explanantion, chance, contingency, and information, as well as obstacles/difficulties in OOL were all convincing to me. I found no errors of substance, a very readable narrative, and a nice balance of argument, evidence, and edge.

    I recommend the book.

  117. … Meyer’s discussion of the formulation of ID within types of science, abduction, inference to the best explanantion, chance, contingency, and information, as well as obstacles/difficulties in OOL were all convincing to me. I found no errors of substance, a very readable narrative, and a nice balance of argument, evidence, and edge.

    Well, I’ve read Meyer’s book and I had no problems finding fatal errors of substance. His claims regarding the impossibility of protein evolution (that emanate largely from Axe’s work) are wrong. I have explained the errors of IDists in this regard in this essay. His arguments about the genetic code are infantile (to be generous) and refuted in every possible sense by studies such as those from Yarus’ lab (studies Dave Wisker has mentioned on this blog). These two erroneous claims of Meyer are the foundation of his book, and their falsity renders the book little more than a curious piece of autobiographical fiction.

    The worse thing was the way Meyer tried to liken himself to Watson and Crick. They could not be more polar opposites. Meyer’s scholarship relies crucially on the avoidance of uncomfortable facts. W&C were insatiable in their quest for all sorts of data, especially facts that contradicted their first ideas (the triple helix, for example). Indeed, we can use Meyer’s story to draw an interesting parallel that also illustrates the disconnect between Meyer and W&C. ID is like the triple helix – all wrong, contradicted by any and all manner of experimental result. In contrast to W&C (who embraced the data that disagreed with their first ideas), Meyer pretends that the contradictory data (which amounts to almost all experimental results that are relevant) simply do not exist. Watson and Crick? Not bloody likely.

  118. Onlookers:

    It is fairly obvious that Tim has hit the nail on the head: ID critics by and large are convinced that they already know it all, that those who disagree with them are “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked,” and don’t bother to check out the relevant facts and logic — not to mention correctives for typical basic errors that we see over and over again — before dismissing the evidence for design. (And AH’s dismissals at 117 by broad-brush appeal to the “consensus” of “the experts” — AKA a naked appeal to collective authority of the evolutionary materialist neo-magisterium, stating their a priori materialism shaped views and speculations as though they were unquestionably true fact — are sadly illustrative of the attitude.)

    Perhaps the slice of the cake that has in it all the ingredients is the attempted dismissal of FSCI by someone who pointed out that a paragraph is still communicative with a few typos:

    1 –> When was that EVER in dispute? (For, the point of an ISLAND of function is that there is a beach of initial functionality, and the terrain climbs to peaks of optimal function. An island is not ocnfinfed to one point, and to act as though it were is to create and knock over a distractive strawman.)

    2 –> Similarly, the point of the 500 – 1,000 bit information capacity threshold on complexity for the simple heuristic, is that 1,000 bits specifies a config space of 1.07 * 10^301 states, or about 10 times the SQUARE of the number of configs of all the 10^80 atoms of the observed cosmos across its thermodynamically credible lifespan [~ 50 million times as long as the time since the big bang on the usual timelines].

    3 –> So, viewing the cosmos as a search engine that creates galaxies, initial stars that cook up heavy elements, then second etc generation stars with solar systems, terrestrial planets, possible terrestrial moons of gas giants, and Oort clouds etc, in duly habitable zones — galactic and circumstellar — we see it creating quite limited habitats for potential cell based life, which then can be viewed as natural labs in which organic molecules can play around to their heart’s content and see if they organise themselves spontaneously into life.

    4 –> The problem with the picture? First, we just cut the proportion of the universe available to form life way, way down: C alone is less than 1% of the atoms in the cosmos; which is 3/4 H and mostly He for what is left. And, the GHZ’s and CHZ’s further dramatically cut down the available number of life origin sites.

    5 –> But, moreso: even on the generous estimate that assigns all atoms to life making potential at all sites in the cosmos, the whole observed universe working as a search engine would not be able to sample more than 1 in 10^150 of the configs of just 1,000 bits of storage capacity. That’s a fraction practically indistinguishable from zero; i.e not a credible search. (And, that is the point that has been made, repeated, and underscored literally dozens of times across weeks, months and now years. Would a sample of just one atom from the 10^80 or so at random from one instant at random in the life of our observed cosmos be likely to give a good view of what our cosmos is capable of? That is the comparable scope of sample to scope of space that we are discussing.)

    6 –> In short, the question is not the number and scale of islands of function, but whether chance + necessity working on the gamut of the observed cosmos can get us to a credible search of the relevant config spaces that makes it reasonable that we would end up on the shores of ANY island of function corresponding to a workable cell based body plan. (And, for the sake of argument, I am fully prepared to grant that once you land on a shore hill climbing algorithms exist in nature that would help you climb to the mountaintops, optimising the relevant body plan. [Those who have an overly rosy view of genetic and evolutionary algorithms need to look at recent reviews on same, starting with David Abel's remarks on Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity in a recent peer-reviewed article. Which BTW reproduces the Durston et al table of FSC metrics for proteins, pp. 254 - 5, which are on a more sophisticated basis than the rule of thumb, but make the same message. Proteins from Vif on are over the 170 AA threshold, and those from EPSP Synthase are over the 350 threshold. (Observe how the latter is an enzyme.)])

    7 –> To get an idea, let’s look at 1,000 bits as a working store, the top end of the rule of thumb cutoff I have used heuristically for the credible reach of chance + necessity on the gamut of our cosmos as observed. This is about 130 bytes, and the task is to create a Von Neumann self-replicator in 130 bytes: blueprint, blueprint reader, blueprint and working effector machines. [We beg the question of where algorithms and computer languages as well as designs and specifications for required data structures come from. "lucky noise" is not a credible source, but we must just link to that discussion.] Can’t be done — just not enough working space. No credible self-replicator that does more than mere autocatalysis for self duplication in a space full of precursor molecules can be implemented in that scope. Punto final.

    8 –> To see what that means, cf real life forms, of simplest genome length: 100′s of thousands to a million bases. (And a lot of the effective working store may be in the machinery of the cell itself — DNA is coding for parts and regulation.)

    9 –> Just 100 k bases — which in the real world would be less than a fully independent life form (it would hitch-hike on and parasite off existing cells for essential input molecules etc) — specifies a config space of 9.98 * 10^60,205.

    10 –> to see what that means, make up 10^150 islands of function, of 10^150 states each, i.e. 10^300 states taken up. The sea of non function on these terms would be ~ 10^ 59,905 states. A search of scope 10^150 states, would be 1 in 9.98 * 10^60,055.

    11 –> This is so close to a zero fraction as makes no difference. Origin of life is maximally implausible on undirected chance + necessity on the gamut of the observed cosmos.

    12 –> And, when it comes to innovation of major body plans, we are looking at working on earth, with genome innovations of order 10′s – 100′s of millions of new base pairs, relative to the original unicellular organisms of scope up to 1 mn bases or so. This is an even more hopelessly overwhelmed “search.”

    13 –> And yet FSCI on this gamut of complexity is routinely created by intelligent agents day by day around us: computer text, computer programs, speech, video etc etc etc.

    14 –> All of it is functionally specific and complex, with 1,000 bits a trivially easy threshold to pass. take almost any sample of such functionally specific, coded information and spew random noise into it. In very short order, gibberish will result, not novel functionality.

    15 –> And, injection of more and more randomness will simply move us around inthe vast sea oc f non-funciton, not move us towars those wonderful islands of fuction out there. Simply because the confiog space is overwhelmingly non-funcitonal.

    ___________

    And, the critics know, or should know that; or could easily access relevant and plainly cogent information on the point and make the required calculations, without even having to buy Meyer’s book (which is obviously a must-read!).

    But, the ideological blinkers of Darwin’s remodelled Plato’s cave are ever so obviously at work, leading to darkened understanding, even among the otherwise highly educated and critically aware.

    ______________

    In short, the root problem is plainly spiritual, not intellectual.

    And with that in mind that, I think a certain scripture is apt as a call to reflect:

    ++++++++++

    >> 2 Cor 10: 4For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,

    5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) . . . >>

    ++++++++++++

    So, let us ask:

    1]could it be that many of us across our civlisation been taken captive to strongholds of proud but warped ideas that blind us to the otherwise obvious truth?

    2] If so, how can we escape, save by paying heed to corrective discussions?

    3] And, if we refuse to pay attention to the possibility that what we think is our light is in fact darkness [Matt 6:22 - 23], whose fault is that?

    Points to ponder . . .

    GEM of TKI

  119. PS: On the proportion of available ingredients in the cosmic “chemistry set,” cf here. A more specific discussion on C, the key building block element [for its ability to form unlimitedly long chains that at the same time are reasonably stable but breakable without too much effort] is here.

  120. PPS: This discussion — linked through the Wiki article — is excellent, providing a great primer on getting to the cosmic chemistry set. This one by Telescope Australia gives a good overview on cosmology and star physics. This and this on solar system formation models give introductory overviews — but note there are many, many, many controversies and unresolved points. [For instance Sir Fred Hoyle c 1960 raised an interesting point on in effect Faraday disk generators [which have very weird subtleties . . . ] and magnetic braking to explain the distributions of mass and angular momentum: the planets with less than 2% of mass have something like 98% of L, which is very hard to account for. it is recent observations of apparent solar systems in formation that have given a revitalisation to the nebular hypothesis of Laplace, despite difficulties. And a recent issue is to get from boulders ~ 1 m to island sized “asteroids” ~ 100 km across towards coalescing planets.)

  121. I don’t recall criticising Meyer’s book specifically, so whether or not I actually have read it is irrelevant (I have read his paper published in the BSW, however). I was responding to jerry’s post regarding the Cambrian explosion.

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