UD PRO-DARWINISM ESSAY CHALLENGE

On Sept 23rd, I put up an essay challenge as captioned, primarily to objecting commenter Jerad.

As at October 2nd, he has definitively said: no.

Joe informs us that Zachriel has tried to brush it aside:

Try Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859). It’s a bit dated and longer than 6,000 words, (the 6th edition is 190,000 words), but Darwin considered it just a long abstract, and it still makes for a powerful argument.

This is, frankly, a “don’t bother me” brush-off; telling in itself, as a definitive, successful answer would have momentous impact on this blog.

Zachriel’s response reminds me, all too strikingly, of the cogency of  what Philip Johnson had to say in reply to Lewontin’s claims in his NYRB article in January 1997:

For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
. . . .   The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

There is a serious matter on the table, to be addressed in the context that there is now a significant empirically grounded challenge to the claim that blind chance forces and mechanical necessity can account for the world of life. And, that reminds us to mention that the co-founder of the theory of evolution from 1869 on argued for intelligent evolution, specifically publishing his views at length in The World of Life. Which, is still a powerful argument that that world is “a manifestation of Creative Power, Directive Mind and Ultimate Purpose.”

Hey, let’s add a vid:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

For instance, here — with simplified paragraphing — is a comment in Wallace’s preface:

. . . the most prominent feature of my book is that I enter into a popular yet critical examination of those underlying fundamental problems which Darwin purposely excluded from his works as being beyond the scope of his enquiry.

Such are, the nature and causes of Life itself ; and more especially of its most fundamental and mysterious powers growth and reproduction. I first endeavour to show (in Chapter XIV.) by a care-ful consideration of the structure of the bird’s feather; of the marvellous transformations of the higher insects ; and, more especially of the highly elaborated wing-scales of the Lepidoptera (as easily accessible examples of what is going on in every part of the structure of every living thing), the absolute necessity for an organising and directive Life-Principle in order to account for the very possibility of these complex outgrowths.

I argue, that they necessarily imply first, a Creative Power, which so constituted matter as to render these marvels possible ; next, a directive Mind which is demanded at every step of what we term growth, and often look upon as so simple and natural a process as to require no explanation ; and, lastly, an ultimate Purpose, in the very existence of the whole vast life-world in all its long course of evolution throughout the eons of geological time.

This Purpose, which alone throws light on many of the mysteries of its mode of evolution, I hold to be the development of Man, the one crowning product of the whole cosmic process of  life-development ; the only being which can to some extent comprehend nature; which can perceive and trace out her modes of action ; which can appreciate the hidden forces and motions everywhere at work, and can deduce from them a supreme and over-ruling Mind as their necessary cause.

For those who accept some such view as I have indicated, I show (in Chapters XV. and XVI.) how strongly it is sup-ported and enforced by a long series of facts and co-relations which we can hardly look upon as all purely accidental coincidences. Such are the infinitely varied products of living things which serve man’s purposes and man’s alone not only by supplying his material wants, and by gratifying his higher tastes and emotions, but as rendering possible many of those advances in the arts and in science which we claim to be the highest proofs of his superiority to the brutes, as well as of his advancing civilisation.

From a consideration of these better-known facts I proceed (in Chapter XVII.) to an exposition of the mystery of cell-growth ; to a consideration of the elements in their special relation to the earth itself and to the life-world ; while in the last chapter I endeavour to show the purpose of that law of diversity which seems to pervade the whole material Universe.

In short, Darwin’s co-founder — and a man who was at least as learned on the substantial evidence as Darwin was — plainly argued at book length with copious evidence, that the evidence on the ground strongly points to design and purpose even within an evolutionary frame. Brushing the challenge off off by pointing to Darwin’s book, fails the giggle test.

So, here is the challenge, placed before the Darwinist (and similar), Blind Watchmaker Thesis objectors to design theory; especially those at TSZ:

The Smithsonian’s tree of life model, note the root in OOL

 

UD PRO-DARWINISM ESSAY CHALLENGE: Compose your summary case for darwinism (or any preferred variant that has at least some significant support in the professional literature, such as punctuated equlibria etc) in a fashion that is accessible to the non-technical reader — based on empirical evidence that warrants the inference to body plan level macroevolution — in up to say 6,000 words [a chapter in a serious paper is often about that long]. Outgoing links are welcome so long as they do not become the main point. That is, there must be a coherent essay, with

(i)an intro,
(ii) a thesis,
(iii) a structure of exposition,
(iv) presentation of empirical warrant that meets the inference to best current empirically grounded explanation [--> IBCE] test for scientific reconstructions of the remote past,
(v) a discussion and from that
(vi) a warranted conclusion.

Your primary objective should be to show in this way, per IBCE, why there is no need to infer to design from the root of the Darwinian tree of life — cf. Smithsonian discussion here –  on up (BTW, it will help to find a way to resolve the various divergent trees), on grounds that the Darwinist explanation, as extended to include OOL, is adequate to explain origin and diversification of the tree of life. A second objective of like level is to show how your thesis is further supported by such evidence as suffices to warrant the onward claim that is is credibly the true or approximately true explanation of origin and body-plan level diversification of life; on blind watchmaker style chance variation plus differential reproductive success, starting with some plausible pre-life circumstance.

It would be helpful if in that essay you would outline why alternatives such as design, are inferior on the evidence we face. [As an initial spark for thinking, contrast my own survey of origins science here on (note the onward resources page), the definition of design theory in the UD resources tab top of this and every UD page, the Weak Argument Correctives in the same tab, the general resources that pop up on clicking the tab itself, and the discussion of design theory in the NWE article here. You may also want to refer to the site of the IDEA Center, and the Discovery Institute CSC site as well as Mike Gene's Telic Thoughts. Notice IDEA's essay on the case for design here.] . . . .

I would put this up as an original post, with preliminary contextual remarks and an invitation to respond in the comments section.

I will not submit the post with a rebutting markup or make an immediate rebuttal. In fact, let me make the offer to hold off my own comments for at least five initial comments. I will give you two full days of comments before I post any full post level response; though others at UD will be free to respond in their own right.

And BTW, I am making this offer without consulting with the blog owner or others, I am sure they would welcome a serious response . . .  [NB: I have given how to contact me in the original Sept 23 post, I will not repeat that in a headlined original post.]

That challenge is on the table. In truth, it has always been implicitly on the table. For, as I went on to note on Sept 23:

Now, at any time, in essentially any thread at UD any serious and civil design theory objector could have submitted such an essay, breaking it up into a multi part comment if desired . . .

And, it is quite clear that if there were a cogent, empirically well-grounded blind watchmaker thesis account of the origins of the world of life, there would be no design theory movement in biology.

(There would still be a serious design argument in cosmology, but that is a different matter. That does, however, show that strictly speaking design theory has no need to make its case in the world of life; it is because of the blatant weight of the evidence that there is a design movement on phenomena in the world of life.)

So, there you have it, there is a challenge officially on the table.

Let us see if any of the many objectors to design theory at TSZ or elsewhere — I would even accept a parallel post and discussion here and at TSZ (though, no, I will not be commenting there if that is done) — will be willing to step up to the plate. END

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572 Responses to UD PRO-DARWINISM ESSAY CHALLENGE

  1. I would accept Origin of Species in lieu of the essay, but if we were to criticize it, they would call it a straw man. No one believes Darwin anymore, after all.

  2. Mung:

    Origin (and Descent of Man) are in my view more than matched by Wallace’s The World of Life.

    So, we can let the classics rest for now.

    Let us instead see if any of the ever so vociferous objectors will be willing to address the matter on the merits, laying out their case. Not, on why they think ID is nonsense etc, but why they think that OOL and OO body plans across the tree[s] of life, are explicable on chance forces and factors, and on mechanical necessity.

    If they will they can see my own response to the origins science challenge from a design view here on [at least as an idea of what I mean] — though of course that is a bit longer than an essay.

    Let’s see who is willing to step up to the plate on the other side.

    As they say, the clock is ticking.

    KF

  3. Try Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859). It’s a bit dated and longer than 6,000 words, (the 6th edition is 190,000 words), but Darwin considered it just a long abstract, and it still makes for a powerful argument.

    We’re looking for what would be considered a scientific argument, not a rhetorical one. Darwin was a gifted rhetorician, I’ll grant that, but his primary “evidence” for a naturalistic answer to the development and diversification of life consisted of: (i) an analogy to artificial selection in animal husbandry, (ii) extrapolated with imaginary scenarios, (iii) coupled with theological assertions that “God wouldn’t have done things” that we see in biology.

    Sadly, Darwin’s adherents have move little beyond this approach in the past century and half.

    Sorry, but for anyone who understands the real issues confronting a materialistic creation story, The Origin isn’t going to cut it. One’s view of The Origin as being a “powerful argument” is inversely proportional to one’s understanding of the central issues in explaining biological origins and development.

  4. Interestingly quiet, nuh?

  5. No Kairosfocus, they think, really totally believe, that since darwin’s time all the peer-reviewed literature supports their claims. All you have to do is read them, all 150+ years worth, it is all supporting evolutionism.

    So they won’t be bothering with your challenge as the problem is all yours for not understanding what they already know. However they have plenty of time and energy to erect strawman after strawman wrt Intelligent Design and falsely accuse us of not understanding science and being anti-science.

    Now the only way to get them to ante up is to have another trial, get them on the stand and have a lawyer with enough knowledge, savvy and tenacity expose them for the equivocating bluffers that they are.

  6. If we have an essay challenge, shouldn’t we have a prize attached?

  7. JB:

    They know the prize if they can pull off a knockout.

    Not that I am particularly worried that they can actually do it (especially with OOL right in the heart of the challenge). Maybe I need to bring back the 18 Q’s too.

    But they ALSO know that whistling by the graveyard invites the duppies leaning on the fence and watching the bravado to have some fun by crying out BOO!

    EEeeeeeeeK!

    Zoom!

    PS: I recently heard of a policeman in Ja walking near a graveyard late at night. seeing a man with a coffin on the shoulder he was suspicious and challenged. “It gettin’ crowded where me been livin, so me movin house.” Zoom!

    KF


  8. “Now the only way to get them to ante up is to have another trial, get them on the stand and have a lawyer with enough knowledge, savvy and tenacity expose them for the equivocating bluffers that they are. “

    If only Dembski hadn’t decided to duck and and run at Dover you would have shown us Joe.

    What a jerk. The two are not even connected. Talking about desperation time.

    Dover was lost because of the SCHOOL BOARD and the fact the judge doesn’t know anything about science nor what is actually being debated wrt “evolution”.

    If I get my shot it will be due to a sticker/ disclaimer saying that darwin erected and refuted a strawman in the fixity of species and that Intelligent Design is not anti-evolution unless you define “evolution” to be the atheistic blind watchmaker thesis which means it too would be subject to that separation of church and state thingy.

    But I would love to see any evo answer the question:

    “How can we test the claim that any bacterial flagellum evolved via accumulations of random mutations (random = chance/ happenstance events)?”

    OR “How can we test the claim that natural selection is a designer mimic? And what evidence is there that natural selection is a designer mimic?”

    But first I would love any of them to try to sell the strawman that ID and Creation, for that matter, argue for the fixity of species and no change is allowed- species are immutable.

    As for kairosfocus’s essay, it sounds suspiciously what we have been asking of ID, i.e., “Where are your mechanisms”.

    I have given you a few. You are too dense to understand what a mechanism is. Not my fault.

    ID should stand as a theory without the need of using a competing theory as a crutch.

    LoL! Umm science mandates that the way to any given design inference be through necessity and chance. So your position isn’t a crutch. It is an obstacle, albeit a very small one.

    If “Darwinism” never existed, ID would have no talking points at all.

    Of course you can spew that nonsense over there and get away with it. However we IDists and all objective people know differently. For example Behe’s criteria stands on its own.

  9. Joe on the stand at Dover ll, with BarryA running the case? For that, I would fly in ‘specially.

    I will be sure to have a subpoena waiting for you. The list is growing. It should be a good time.

  10. F/N:

    As for kairosfocus’s essay, it sounds suspiciously what we have been asking of ID, i.e., “Where are your mechanisms”

    Twist-about rhetorical attempt to get back to shooting at the other guy.

    It also rests on a strawman caricature.

    Design IS a mechanism — or rather, a family of mechanisms — of cause rooted in intelligent and purposeful action, one evident from billions of cases around us. (And notice, the OP and the original in-thread comment pointed to my own presentation here on that does address issues of dynamics, models and methods of science etc at 101 level. So, the twist-about, subject changing attempt is premised on a willful distortion of the easily accessible truth.)

    To put this particular strawman to bed, let’s clip the IOSE summary page where it cites Dembski from NFL — yes, way back in the 1990′s in a book based on a doctoral thesis [and so this thinking washed through peer review TWICE] — on that point:

    . . . (1) A designer conceives a purpose. (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan. (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions. (4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials. (No Free Lunch, p. xi. HT: ENV.)

    The challenge still stands.

    Provide an adequately empirically warranted account on blind watchmaker thesis chance and necessity mechanisms that accounts for OOL and OO body plans etc. Condense to 6,000 words, and submit.

    Those looking on will be able to see for themselves whether there is adequate warrant, or whether we are dealing with Lewontin’s imposition of a priori materialism that forces a blind watchmaker conclusion by writing the conclusion before the evidence can speak.

    So far, we have had an invitation to read Darwin (in a context where we have all read the evolutionary textbooks in school and the promotions in the pop sci press, and where many of us are familiar with the technical literature . . . ) and now a turnabout attempt.

    After a week and more in threads and now about a day as a headlined post, we have not seen anyone stepping up to the plate.

    The challenge is still on the table.

    KF

  11. PS: I have added a video on Wallace. Well worth viewing.

  12. As I predicted- it is much easier for evos to erect a strawman of ID arguments and find problems with them, then it is to actually ante up and show the world what it is they accept and why they accept it.

    kairosfocus has been handwaved away because we just don’t understand science.

    Perhaps it is time to shut down the cross blog banter as the TSZ ilk is intellectually bankrupt.

  13. Let’s count:

    24 hrs headlined, no takers on the 6,000 word essay challenge so far.

    (Plus ten days previously as an offer from a comment within a thread.)

    Remember, this is an offer to host an objecting essay here at UD that shows such warrant as can be marshalled for the blind watchmaker thesis account of the world of life.

    KF

  14. PS: Recall, Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg reportedly took about 2 minutes for about 270 words. At that rate, 6,000 words would be a little shorter than 45 minutes. That’s a pretty good length lecture, and it is about the upper limit for wide readership of a feature article.

  15. PPS: let the objectors who want to pretend that I don’t understand science — as opposed to ideological a prioris imposed on science and flying false colours — first read this and this, then justify their claims as being more than mere dismissive, red herring and strawman caricature tactic talking points. Then, let them get back to the main point: produce and submit the 6,000 word essay.

  16. F/N: Let Wiki begin to speak for the blind watchmaker thesis.

    Article on Abiogenesis:

    >>Abiogenesis (pronounced /?e?ba?.??d??n?s?s/ AY-by-oh-JEN-?-siss[1]) or biopoiesis is the study of how biological life could arise from inorganic matter through natural processes. In particular, the term usually refers to the processes by which life on Earth may have arisen. Abiogenesis likely occurred between 3.9 and 3.5 billion years ago, in the Eoarchean era (i.e. the time after the Hadean era in which the Earth was essentially molten).

    Hypotheses about the origins of life may be divided into several categories. Most approaches investigate how self-replicating molecules or their components came into existence. For example, the Miller–Urey experiment and similar experiments demonstrated that most amino acids, often called “the building blocks of life”, were shown to be racemically [--> i.e. no answer for handedness] synthesized in conditions thought to be similar to those of the early Earth. [--> Of course this is highly disputable] Several mechanisms have been investigated, including lightning and radiation. Other approaches (“metabolism first” hypotheses) focus on understanding how catalysis in chemical systems in the early Earth might have provided the precursor molecules necessary for self-replication . . . .

    There is no “standard model” of the origin of life. Most currently accepted models draw at least some elements from the framework laid out by the Oparin-Haldane hypothesis. Under that umbrella, however, are a wide array of disparate discoveries and conjectures . . . >>

    So, OOL is a major challenge to a would-be essayist.

    S/he will need to have a solid answer to such issues.

    KF

  17. Folks: Two days and counting, no takers. Looks like these folks have decided that the “just don’t understand science [a priori materialism flying the flag of science]” talking point is a good enough brush-off. But what this really shows is that there is a big challenge to answer to the origins question from the evolutionary materialist perspective without convenient a prioris, especially when OOL is in the mix. KF

  18. Okay

    Let’s continue to survey and critique the modern grand blind watchmaker evolutionary synthesis, in outline. (Looking at the overall summary allows us to see the logical patterns and issues as we look at the forest as a whole and don’t get lost in the trees. I suspect this is where a lot of the reluctance to provide a 6,000 word survey comes from. Never mind, we can pull up a handy summary of conventional wisdom substitute for the empty chair we are facing.)

    Back to Wiki standing in, here on evolution (but we must first recall from yesterday as already clipped, that there is no sound answer to the OOL challenge so the Darwinist tree of life has no root):

    Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.[1]

    Life on Earth originated and then evolved from a universal common ancestor approximately 3.7 billion years ago. Repeated speciation and the divergence of life can be inferred from shared sets of biochemical and morphological traits, or by shared DNA sequences. These homologous traits and sequences are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, and can be used to reconstruct evolutionary histories, using both existing species and the fossil record. Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped both by speciation and by extinction.

    Charles Darwin was the first to formulate a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. [--> Wallace the ID-ish heretic gets left out . . . ] Evolution by natural selection is a process that is inferred from three facts about populations: 1) more offspring are produced than can possibly survive, 2) traits vary among individuals, leading to differential rates of survival and reproduction, and 3) trait differences are heritable.[3] Thus, when members of a population die they are replaced by the progeny of parents that were better adapted to survive and reproduce in the environment in which natural selection took place. This process creates and preserves traits that are seemingly fitted for the functional roles they perform.[4] Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation, but not the only known cause of evolution. Other, nonadaptive causes of evolution include mutation and genetic drift.[5]

    In the early 20th century, genetics was integrated with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection through the discipline of population genetics. The importance of natural selection as a cause of evolution was accepted into other branches of biology. Moreover, previously held notions about evolution, such as orthogenesis and “progress” became obsolete.[6] Scientists continue to study various aspects of evolution by forming and testing hypotheses, constructing scientific theories, using observational data, and performing experiments in both the field and the laboratory. Biologists agree that descent with modification is one of the most reliably established facts in science.[7] Discoveries in evolutionary biology have made a significant impact not just within the traditional branches of biology, but also in other academic disciplines (e.g., anthropology and psychology) and on society at large . . . .

    In the 1920s and 1930s a modern evolutionary synthesis connected natural selection, mutation theory, and Mendelian inheritance into a unified theory that applied generally to any branch of biology. The modern synthesis was able to explain patterns observed across species in populations, through fossil transitions in palaeontology, and even complex cellular mechanisms in developmental biology.[23][42] The publication of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 demonstrated a physical basis for inheritance.[43] Molecular biology improved our understanding of the relationship between genotype and phenotype. Advancements were also made in phylogenetic systematics, mapping the transition of traits into a comparative and testable framework through the publication and use of evolutionary trees.[44][45] In 1973, evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky penned that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, because it has brought to light the relations of what first seemed disjointed facts in natural history into a coherent explanatory body of knowledge that describes and predicts many observable facts about life on this planet.[46]

    Since then, the modern synthesis has been further extended to explain biological phenomena across the full and integrative scale of the biological hierarchy, from genes to species. This extension has been dubbed “eco-evo-devo” . . . .

    Evolution by means of natural selection is the process by which genetic mutations that enhance reproduction become and remain, more common in successive generations of a population. It has often been called a “self-evident” mechanism because it necessarily follows from three simple facts:

    Heritable variation exists within populations of organisms.
    Organisms produce more progeny than can survive.
    These offspring vary in their ability to survive and reproduce.

    These conditions produce competition between organisms for survival and reproduction. Consequently, organisms with traits that give them an advantage over their competitors pass these advantageous traits on, while traits that do not confer an advantage are not passed on to the next generation.[93]

    The central concept of natural selection is the evolutionary fitness of an organism.[94] Fitness is measured by an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce, which determines the size of its genetic contribution to the next generation.[94] However, fitness is not the same as the total number of offspring: instead fitness is indicated by the proportion of subsequent generations that carry an organism’s genes.[95] For example, if an organism could survive well and reproduce rapidly, but its offspring were all too small and weak to survive, this organism would make little genetic contribution to future generations and would thus have low fitness.[94] . . . .

    Evolution influences every aspect of the form and behaviour of organisms. Most prominent are the specific behavioural and physical adaptations that are the outcome of natural selection. These adaptations increase fitness by aiding activities such as finding food, avoiding predators or attracting mates. Organisms can also respond to selection by co-operating with each other, usually by aiding their relatives or engaging in mutually beneficial symbiosis. In the longer term, evolution produces new species through splitting ancestral populations of organisms into new groups that cannot or will not interbreed.

    These outcomes of evolution are sometimes divided into macroevolution, which is evolution that occurs at or above the level of species, such as extinction and speciation and microevolution, which is smaller evolutionary changes, such as adaptations, within a species or population.[141] In general, macroevolution is regarded as the outcome of long periods of microevolution.[142] Thus, the distinction between micro- and macroevolution is not a fundamental one – the difference is simply the time involved.[143] . . . .

    Highly energetic [= thermodynamically unfavourable, hence hard to account for spontaneously in plausible prebiotic environments] chemistry is thought to have produced a self-replicating molecule around 4 billion years ago and half a billion years later the last common ancestor of all life existed.[241] The current scientific consensus [--> appeal to authority and to no true scotsman, where in fact a major debate and conundrum is being papered over] is that the complex biochemistry that makes up life came from simpler chemical reactions.[242] The beginning of life may have included self-replicating molecules such as RNA,[243] and the assembly of simple cells.[244] [--> restating the problem with some speculations inserted, as though it is the solution] . . . .

    All organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool. [--> begging the question] [173][245] Current species are a stage in the process of evolution, with their diversity the product of a long series of speciation and extinction events.[246] The common descent of organisms was first deduced from four simple facts about organisms: First, they have geographic distributions that cannot be explained by local adaptation. Second, the diversity of life is not a set of completely unique organisms, but organisms that share morphological similarities. Third, vestigial traits with no clear purpose resemble functional ancestral traits and finally, that organisms can be classified using these similarities into a hierarchy of nested groups – similar to a family tree.[247] However, modern research has suggested that, due to horizontal gene transfer, this “tree of life” may be more complicated than a simple branching tree since some genes have spread independently between distantly related species. [--> burying the evidence of mutually incompatible molecular trees and the evidence of code libraries under an assertion] [248][249]

    Past species have also left records of their evolutionary history. Fossils, along with the comparative anatomy of present-day organisms, constitute the morphological, or anatomical, record.[250] By comparing the anatomies of both modern and extinct species, paleontologists can infer the lineages of those species. However, this approach is most successful for organisms that had hard body parts, such as shells, bones or teeth. Further, as prokaryotes such as bacteria and archaea share a limited set of common morphologies, their fossils do not provide information on their ancestry.

    More recently, evidence for common descent has come from the study of biochemical similarities between organisms. For example, all living cells use the same basic set of nucleotides and amino acids.[251] The development of molecular genetics has revealed the record of evolution left in organisms’ genomes: dating when species diverged through the molecular clock produced by mutations.[252] For example, these DNA sequence comparisons have revealed that humans and chimpanzees share 96% of their genomes and analyzing the few areas where they differ helps shed light on when the common ancestor of these species existed.[253] [--> Where of course this very case is riddled with all sorts of highly questionable assumptions and assertions] . . . .

    The history of life was that of the unicellular eukaryotes, prokaryotes and archaea until about 610 million years ago when multicellular organisms began to appear in the oceans in the Ediacaran period.[255][262] The evolution of multicellularity occurred in multiple independent events, in organisms as diverse as sponges, brown algae, cyanobacteria, slime moulds and myxobacteria.[263]

    Soon after the emergence of these first multicellular organisms, a remarkable amount of biological diversity appeared over approximately 10 million years, in an event called the Cambrian explosion. Here, the majority of types of modern animals appeared in the fossil record, as well as unique lineages that subsequently became extinct. [[--> top down, not bottom up . . . what is this telling us?] [264] Various triggers for the Cambrian explosion have been proposed, including the accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere from photosynthesis.[265]

    About 500 million years ago, plants and fungi colonised the land and were soon followed by arthropods and other animals.[266] Insects were particularly successful and even today make up the majority of animal species.[267] Amphibians first appeared around 364 million years ago, followed by early amniotes and birds around 155 million years ago (both from “reptile”-like lineages), mammals around 129 million years ago, homininae around 10 million years ago and modern humans around 250,000 years ago.[268][269][270] However, despite the evolution of these large animals, smaller organisms similar to the types that evolved early in this process continue to be highly successful and dominate the Earth, with the majority of both biomass and species being prokaryotes.[151] . . .

    There is of course no discussion of the origin of functionally specific biological information challenge, there is an obvious assumption that incremental variation is sufficient to explain all of biodiversity, and the OOL challenge is severely understated.

    Notice in particular the notion that macro-evo is simply cumulative micro-evo.

    That is a strong reflection of the assumption of incrementalism.

    On e of the most stunning bland false assertions above is this, and it is a doozy:

    Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation

    We live in a world with literally billions of observed incidents of adaptation by design. This is an unwarranted and false assertion that plays a material part in deciding the issue before the facts can speak.

    The definition and discussion of the power of natural selection cleverly skirts the problem of a claimed but dubious self-evident truth: grand question-begging.

    A true self evident truth is one that is seen as such once one understands what is asserted, on pain of patent absurdity on attempted denial, e.g. error exists. What is really happening here is that this is a major assumption not open to question in the system and seen as being so obviously “true” that if you question you are perceived as being an outsider and fair game for dismissal. After all if something is self evident then only one who insists on absurdities will reject it.

    But in fact a closer look will reveal a major gap:

    Evolution by means of natural selection is the process by which genetic mutations that enhance reproduction become and remain, more common in successive generations of a population. It has often been called a “self-evident” mechanism because it necessarily follows from three simple facts:

    Heritable variation exists within populations of organisms.
    Organisms produce more progeny than can survive.
    These offspring vary in their ability to survive and reproduce.

    These conditions produce competition between organisms for survival and reproduction. Consequently, organisms with traits that give them an advantage over their competitors pass these advantageous traits on, while traits that do not confer an advantage are not passed on to the next generation.

    Go down a bit and the gap becomes even more glaring:

    outcomes of evolution are sometimes divided into macroevolution, which is evolution that occurs at or above the level of species, such as extinction and speciation and microevolution, which is smaller evolutionary changes, such as adaptations, within a species or population.[141] In general, macroevolution is regarded as the outcome of long periods of microevolution.[142] Thus, the distinction between micro- and macroevolution is not a fundamental one – the difference is simply the time involved.

    In short the origin of information challenge and the easily observed fact that multi-part function that depends on specific placement, connexion, fit and interaction of particular components is easily perturbed by removing or improperly adjusting key components, are being ducked. In short the general evidence points to islands of function, all across our world of experience. This extends to biology where sometimes as few as one or two changes in a protein can destroy function, as well as the factually observed reality of thousands of sharply distinct protein fold domains in the space of possible sequences, point strongly to islands of function. And, the proposed duck-out, of exaptation, runs smack into Angus Mengue’s challenges C1 – C5:

    C1: Availability. Among the parts available for recruitment to form the flagellum, there would need to be ones capable of performing the highly specialized tasks of paddle, rotor, and motor, even though all of these items serve some other function or no function.

    C2: Synchronization. The availability of these parts would have to be synchronized so that at some point, either individually or in combination, they are all available at the same time.

    C3: Localization. The selected parts must all be made available at the same ‘construction site,’ perhaps not simultaneously but certainly at the time they are needed.

    C4: Coordination. The parts must be coordinated in just the right way: even if all of the parts of a flagellum are available at the right time, it is clear that the majority of ways of assembling them will be non-functional or irrelevant.

    C5: Interface compatibility. The parts must be mutually compatible, that is, ‘well-matched’ and capable of properly ‘interacting’: even if a paddle, rotor, and motor are put together in the right order, they also need to interface correctly.

    ( Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science, pgs. 104-105 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). HT: ENV.)

    Whether or not something is actually strictly irreducibly complex, these challenges have to be met for good engineering functionality reasons.

    So, we can take islands of function to be a serious challenge, and a roadblock to the bland assertion that in effect macro-evo is nothing but accumulated micro-evo to the point where sufficient divergence of populations has occurred.

    And, we have not touched on the observations made by S J Gould et al, on the problem posed by observed sudden appearances, stasis and disappearance, as a dominant feature of the fossil record at all levels. Of which, the Cambrian life revo is a capital case in point, where dozens of top level body plans appear suddenly in the record, in a window of 5 – 10 MY on the usual timeline. It would credibly take 10 – 100+ mn bits worth of functional info to do that, dozens of times over. Not to mention, this is TOP DOWN, not bottom up.

    So, even if one accepts universal common descent — given the problem of cogently defining a species, every one including most modern YEC’s will accept limited common descent (probably up to more or less the family or equivalent level) — the issue of design as best explanation absent question-begging materialist a prioris has not been settled.

    Perhaps the capstone case of reasoning in an enforced consensus-driven circle is this:

    All organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool. [--> begging the question] [173][245] Current species are a stage in the process of evolution, with their diversity the product of a long series of speciation and extinction events.[246] The common descent of organisms was first deduced from four simple facts about organisms: First, they have geographic distributions that cannot be explained by local adaptation. Second, the diversity of life is not a set of completely unique organisms, but organisms that share morphological similarities. Third, vestigial traits with no clear purpose resemble functional ancestral traits and finally, that organisms can be classified using these similarities into a hierarchy of nested groups – similar to a family tree.

    Notice that implied “self-evident” point again?

    Common design with built-in capability to adapt is at least as good an explanation of the facts in question as the underlying assumed naturalistic, blind watchmaker thesis evolution, but it has been excluded, a priori, and silently.

    Within that circle, of course the only allowed explanation — and this is an inference to best current materialist explanation, not a deduction — degree of resemblance is suggestive of common ANCESTRY (after all, design has long since been ruled out), and the evidence of some adaptive radiation and biogeographic similarity — all of this well within the sorts of levels acceptable to even YEC’s — count as persuasive evidence of grand, cumulative divergence from the hypothetical common unicellular ancestor.

    And, we still find no root to the tree that is empirically warranted.

    So, common descent with divergence should be separated from the assumption that macro evo is simply cumulative micro, on the info-island of function challenge. That has to be bridged not dismissed. Next, common descent needs to be separated from universal common descent. And common descent to even universal degree in a world where common design is possible and compatible with such, needs to be separated from the assumption of blind watchmaker evolution.

    Case not proved, and nowhere near being proved.

    After 150 years, and counting.

    KF

  19. I’m surprised that keiths over at TSZ hasn’t taken up the challenge. He seems a knowledgeable sort.

  20. Never mind, we can pull up a handy summary of conventional wisdom substitute for the empty chair we are facing.

    lol. go Clint!

  21. This entire issue boils down to the question: Is it even possible for the laws of physics to explain information? In principle, as a matter of logic, they cannot. The laws of physics describe and prescribe the behavior of every bit of matter and energy in the universe. Physical laws govern the behavior of physical things.

    Information requires language. Language requires symbols and rules. Symbols are ABSTRACT THINGS, arranged freely and purposefully in accordance with the rules of the language (and one hopes, logic) in order to create information. Let me say that again. The FREE and PURPOSEFUL arrangement of SYMBOLS is required for the generation of information. Free and purposeful have no standing in physics. Thus the denial of said free will and purpose. Meaning, or semantic content, or in the case of biology, LIFE is encoded into a physical substrate (explained by said physical laws) but it is DIFFERENT and APART FROM the physical substrate. Only a mind or Mind can explain information.

    There are no laws of physics nor are there any algorithms based upon these laws that can EVER hope to explain how and why symbols are arranged in one way and not another and why they mean or do not mean anything.

    This is not that difficult. The naturalist/materialist/physicalist position is destroyed. It’s game over for these… people. They just haven’t awakened to that difficult (for them) fact yet.

  22. 22
    critical rationalist

    The problem is that very few people in either camp understand the underlying issue.

    Take the NFL quote…

    . . . (1) A designer conceives a purpose. (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan. (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions. (4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials. (No Free Lunch, p. xi. HT: ENV.)

    Note there is no account for the knowledge an abstract designer with no defined limitations would have needed to make 2-4 possible. It’s completely missing.

    If IDists think there is no need to explain how this knowledge was created in the case of an abstract designer, then it’s unclear why IDists think there is a need to explain the origin of the knowledge found in the genes of biological organisms. Neither serve an explanatory purpose, which actually address the problem.

    if I were a justificationist, I’d object due to the fact that IDists have not proven (justified) the assumption that any known designer existed at the required time, proven (justified) the assumption that it actually had possession of the necessary knowledge and proven (justified) the assumption that it could effect material reality.

    However, since I’m a critical rationalist, I directly ask IDists to provide an explanation for how this supposed knowledge the designer use was created, then ask the IDist to point out how Darwinism does’t fit that explanation. However, no explanation is provided.

    My explanation for its absence is that IDists think the designer is God and scripture indicates God supposedly “just was”, complete with complete with the knowledge of how to adapt raw materials into biological adaptations, already present. So, IDists omit this because they want their theory to appear “scientific” and their theology entails the assumption that an explanation is not possible.

    So, apparently, whether any explanation would represent “the best explanation” depends on one’s theological position on whether this knowledge “just was” and therefore does not need to be explained (or cannot be explained). As such, It’s unclear how any essay can be judged without first explicit disclosing and discussing this issue first.

    What I find particularly odd is that when I make the same distinction between non-explanatory knowledge and explanatory knowledge on the thread regarding crows reasoning about hidden agents, and present it as a deductively valid argument, I received a favorable response from the author of the OP.

    CR…there are two types of knowledge: explanatory and non-explanatory. While people can create both kinds of knowledge, only people can create explanatory knowledge in the form of explanatory theories. This is because, as universal explainers, only people can create explanations. People create explanatory knowledge when they intentionally conjecture an explanation for a specific problem, then test that explanation for errors. If the theory is found to be internally consistent, it can [then] be tested via empirical observations.

    […]

    However, conjectures made in the absence of a specific problem result in non-explanatory knowledge. Specifically, it’s random in respect to any particular problem to solve. […] Furthermore, being non-explanatory in nature, its reach was significantly limited. This is in contrast to explanatory knowledge, which has significant and potentially infinite reach.

    CR: While crows have “problems” [find themselves in scenarios that we identify as problems], they do not conceive of [problems] in the sense that people do because the knowledge they create is non-explanatory and lacks significant reach.

    For example, could they use the knowledge they created to solve the same problem, but by inverting its application? Can it be applied in significantly different environments with the same opportunities or with significantly materially different parts that have equivalent capabilities and properties? These are features specific to explanatory knowledge, which people create, yet are absent from the study.

    What I did was start out with the conjecture that Crows can reason about hidden agents, then criticize it based on our current, best explanation of how knowledge is created, the types of resulting knowledge created based on that explanation and the reach that knowledge would have.

    When I do this, the reach of the knowledge that crows create is inconsistent with the reach of explanatory knowledge. Therefore we need not be skeptical regarding crows reasoning about hidden agents.

    VJ: Hi critical rationalist,

    I enjoyed reading your post (#20 above), and I totally agree with the careful distinction you drew between explanatory and non-explanatory kinds of knowledge. I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote in your final paragraph:

    Since “reasoning about hidden causal agents” entails creating explanatory knowledge, we need not be skeptical about whether crows do not exhibit it. Rather crows are creating non-explanatory knowledge, which are essentially useful rules of thumb.

    My sentiments exactly.

    When I apply this same criticism to the knowledge as found in the genome, we find that it too is limited as compared to the reach of explanatory knowledge. However, apparently, this same criticism in the form of a validly inductive argument isn’t accepted.

    Again, it’s unclear how any sort of essay would be productive until inconsistent acceptance of deductive arguments based on knowledge creation theories, along with what actually needs to be explained and why, is addressed.
    __________

    CR, are you willing to resolve the fairly serious matter, if so kindly do so now. If not, understand the context of this thread and what you need to do to be a participant. KF

  23. critical rationalist:

    The problem is that very few people in either camp understand the underlying issue.

    Which “camp” are you in?

    What is “the underlying issue”? You don’t say.

    Let us know when you are willing to put your money where your mouth is.

  24. 24
    critical rationalist

    There is a serious matter on the table, to be addressed in the context that there is now a significant empirically grounded challenge to the claim that blind chance forces and mechanical necessity can account for the world of life.

    it’s unclear how this is a “significant empirically grounded challenge” given that the specific criteria listed does not itself appear to be well defined or “empirically grounded”.

    For example…

    (i)an intro,
    (ii) a thesis,
    (iii) a structure of exposition,
    (iv) presentation of empirical warrant that meets the inference to best current empirically grounded explanation [--> IBCE] test for scientific reconstructions of the remote past,
    (v) a discussion and from that
    (vi) a warranted conclusion.

    Criteria (iv) is (best current empirically grounded explanation) not well defined.

    For example, would you agree or disagree that explanations are better than others if they explain more phenomena than their rivals? In what way is your answer “warranted”?

    It would seem that one’s definition of “best” depends on assumptions that are themselves not “empirically grounded”, such as whether explaining how the knowledge used to perform biological adaptations was created is possible or represents progress, and would therefore represent a better explanation.

    Specifically, consider assumptions, such as whether the designer is simple, rather than complex, or “just was”, complete with the knowledge required to[2] form a plan that would actually accomplish a purpose[1]. The knowledge of which building materials to select and how assembling them would result in the desired result[3]. And the knowledge of how to apply the instructions in a way gives the desired result in a particular concrete scenario, in practice[4]. (For example, knowing how to build a house doesn’t necessary mean you know how do you build a house in a hurricane), etc.

    Whether this knowledge needs to be explained or cannot be explained doesn’t appear itself to be “empirically grounded”. Rather, it seems to be based on theological interpretations of Biblical scripture, such as John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In fact, I’ve seen this verse in particular given a response to that question on another thread.

    IOW, it’s unclear how the definitions of “IBCE” and “warranted” that will supposedly be applied in this challenge are themselves be “empirically grounded” or “warranted”. A such, it’s unclear why I, as a Darwinist, should actually take it seriously even if I adopted your own criteria.
    _________

    CR, you know you have a matter of an unresolved and serious false accusation to be dealt with before trying to participate in threads I own. Final warning in this thread. You know how to resolve the matter if you care to. KF

  25. it’s unclear how this is a “significant empirically grounded challenge” given that the specific criteria listed does not itself appear to be well defined or “empirically grounded”.

    How could a list of requirements be, as you suggest, “empirically grounded?” It is the argument or the thesis that must meet that challenge.

    For example, would you agree or disagree that explanations are better than others if they explain more phenomena than their rivals? In what way is your answer “warranted”?

    The decision about which way to make an empirically-grounded, well warranted case for a given proposition is up to the one doing the explaining, not the one asking for the explanation. The latter simply establishes the aforementioned criteria.

    It would seem that one’s definition of “best” depends on assumptions that are themselves not “empirically grounded”, such as whether explaining how the knowledge used to perform biological adaptations was created is possible or represents progress, and would therefore represent a better explanation.

    The best argument would be the one which, given the facts in evidence, is the more persuasive of the two competing arguments.

    Specifically, consider assumptions, such as whether the designer is simple, rather than complex, or “just was”, complete with the knowledge required to[2] form a plan that would actually accomplish a purpose[1]. The knowledge of which building materials to select and how assembling them would result in the desired result[3]. And the knowledge of how to apply the instructions in a way gives the desired result in a particular concrete scenario, in practice[4]. (For example, knowing how to build a house doesn’t necessary mean you know how do you build a house in a hurricane), etc.

    You appear to be confusing your misguided and incoherent criticisms of ID with the challenge of providing a coherent argument for Darwinism.

    Whether this knowledge needs to be explained or cannot be explained doesn’t appear itself to be “empirically grounded”. Rather, it seems to be based on theological interpretations of Biblical scripture, such as John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In fact, I’ve seen this verse in particular given a response to that question on another thread.

    Do the words “focus” and “relevance” have any meaning for you at all?

    IOW, it’s unclear how the definitions of “IBCE” and “warranted” that will supposedly be applied in this challenge are themselves be “empirically grounded” or “warranted”. A such, it’s unclear why I, as a Darwinist, should actually take it seriously even if I adopted your own criteria.

    Let’s forget about a pro-Darwin argument for the moment. At this point, I will gratefully settle for a comprehensible paragraph.

  26. Okay:

    Third day, still no takers up of the 6,000 word essay challenge.

    CR’s ignoring of an interdict due to false accusations and trying to divert the thread into a debate over what design thinkers have to say is simply yet another illustration of how objectors to design largely base their case on default evolutionism per the party-line, backed up by attack, attack, attack. In his case he has slandered us on the Barbara Forrest line of “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” and so would be theocratic tyrants talking points.

    a good sample of his blunders lies in how he finds Dembski’s summary of how designers work objectionable. Remember, THIS is what he objects to:

    . . . (1) A designer conceives a purpose. (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan. (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions. (4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials. (No Free Lunch, p. xi. HT: ENV.)

    I don’t know CR’s experience with design, but if he knows how even houses and cars or computer programs, or even essays get designed and built, this is instantly familiar. But, he wants to put up a distractive objection so he does.

    Similarly, he refuses to attend to the fact that ever since the beginning of the biological side of modern design theory 25+ years ago, the focal issue has been detection of design as key causal factor on tested, reliable empirical factors, not debates over designers. Where also, the evidence in hand from Venter et al makes it very credible that a sufficient cause of cell based life could be a molecular nanotech lab. That has long been obvious, and from Thaxton et al on, design thinkers assessing signs of design in life on earth have carefully pointed out that the evidence of design of life on earth does not by itself point to designers within or beyond the cosmos.

    CR goes on to raise a raft of talking points on inductive reasoning, flying the flag of Popper. What he will not acknowledge is that when Popper had to accept the significance of “corroboration” of well tested best to date theories, this points to an unacknowledged acceptance of inference to best current empirically tested explanation.

    There is no real need to further follow on distractive side tracks, as a major and utterly telling issue is sitting on the table.

    Namely, after ten days sitting in a thread comment, and now three days after being headlined as a full original post [one that for the moment sits at the top of the popular current posts and has the sort of hits to comments ratio that normally indicates scrutiny elsewhere, often hostile . . . ], NONE of the ever so vociferous and learned objectors to design theory has been willing to take up an offer to post here at UD a guest post of a 6,000 word essay outlining the positive evidence for blind watchmaker thesis evolution from OOL on to our own origin.

    Over the past couple of days, excerpts from Wikipedia have stood in in lieu of such a submission. Simple highlighting of and briefly discussing key logical gaps suffices to show that something is seriously wrong and has been wrong for 150 years. Of course, such gaps and limitations are not in the news headlines, and are not in the textbooks, and no wise student would openly challenge the “consensus.”

    All of this speaks volumes.

    Let the record reflect this.

    KF

  27. F/N: It is worth clipping Wiki on human origins and the origin of the human mind in particular:

    human evo: >> Human evolution refers to the evolutionary process leading up to the appearance of modern humans. While it began with the last common ancestor of all life, the topic usually only covers the evolutionary history of primates, in particular the genus Homo, and the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of hominids (or “great apes”) . . . .

    Primate evolution likely began in the late Cretaceous period. According to genetic studies

    [--> we already saw the built-in circularity of arguments on resemblance; there is a want of capacity to distinguish common descent by blind watchmaker CV + DRS [diff'tl reprod success] –> DWU(I)M [descent with unlimited (incremental) modification]from design using common elements, and there is no good empirical warrant that FSCO/I for life forms can be and was in fact developed thusly on a branching tree pattern; cf Gould on the actual fossil record]

    , divergence of primates from other mammals began 85 million years ago and the earliest fossils appear in the Paleocene, around 55 million years ago.[2] The family Hominidae, or Great Apes, diverged from the Hylobatidae (Gibbon) family 15 to 20 million years ago, and around 14 million years ago, the Ponginae (orangutans), diverged from the Hominidae family.[3] Bipedalism is the basic adaption of the Hominin line, and the earliest bipedal Hominini is considered to be either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin, with Ardipithecus, a full bipedal, coming somewhat later. The gorilla and chimpanzee diverged around the same time, and either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin may be our last shared ancestor with them. The early bipedals eventually evolved into the Australopithecines and later the genus Homo.

    The earliest documented [--> as in in the literature not on the ground] members of the genus Homo are Homo habilis which evolved around 2.3 million years ago. Homo habilis is the first species for which we have positive evidence of use of stone tools. The brains of these early homininas were about the same size as that of a chimpanzee. During the next million years a process of encephalization began, and with the arrival of Homo erectus in the fossil record, cranial capacity had doubled to 850cc.[4] Homo erectus and Homo ergaster were the first of the hominina to leave Africa, and these species spread through Africa, Asia, and Europe between 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago. It is believed that these species were the first to use fire and complex tools. According to the Recent African Ancestry theory, modern humans evolved in Africa possibly from Homo heidelbergensis and migrated out of the continent some 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, replacing local populations of Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis.[5][6][7][8][9]

    Archaic Homo sapiens, the forerunner of anatomically modern humans, evolved between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago[10][11]. Recent DNA evidence suggests that several haplotypes of Neanderthal origin are present among all non-African populations, and Neanderthals and other hominids, such as Denisova hominin may have contributed up to 6% of their genome to present-day humans.[12][13][14] Anatomically modern humans evolved from archaic Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic, about 200,000 years ago.[15] The transition to behavioral modernity with the development of symbolic culture, language, and specialized lithic technology happened around 50,000 years ago according to many[16] although some suggest a gradual change in behavior over a longer time span.[17] . . . >>

    evo origin of the mind: >> The evolution of human intelligence refers to a set of theories that attempt to explain how human intelligence has evolved. The question is closely tied to the evolution of the human brain, and to the emergence of human language.

    The timeline of human evolution spans some 7 million years, from the separation of the Pan genus until the emergence of behavioral modernity by 50,000 years ago. Of this timeline, the first 3 million years concern Sahelanthropus, the following 2 million concern Australopithecus, while the final 2 million span the history of actual human species (the Paleolithic).

    Many traits of human intelligence, such as empathy, theory of mind, mourning, ritual, and the use of symbols and tools, are already apparent in great apes although in lesser sophistication than in humans.

    There is a debate between supporters of the idea of a sudden emergence of intelligence, or “Great leap forward” and those of a gradual or continuum hypothesis.

    Theories of the evolution of intelligence include:

    Robin Dunbar’s social brain hypothesis[46]
    Geoffrey Miller’s sexual selection hypothesis[47]
    The ecological dominance-social competition (EDSC)[48] explained by Mark V. Flinn, David C. Geary and Carol V. Ward based mainly on work by Richard D. Alexander.
    The idea of intelligence as a signal of good health and resistance to disease.
    The Group selection theory contends that organism characteristics that provide benefits to a group (clan, tribe, or larger population) can evolve despite individual disadvantages such as those cited above.
    The idea that intelligence is connected with nutrition, and thereby with status[49] A higher IQ could be a signal that an individual comes from and lives in a physical and social environment where nutrition levels are high, and vice versa. >>

    brain evo: >> In the course of evolution of the Homininae, the human brain has grown in volume from about 600 cc in Homo habilis to about 1500 cc in Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Subsequently, there has been a shrinking over the past 28,000 years. The male brain has decreased from 1,500 cc to 1,350 cc while the female brain has shrunk by the same relative proportion.[citation needed] For comparison, Homo erectus, a relative of humans, had a brain size of 1,100 cc. However, the little Homo floresiensis, with a brain size of 380 cc, a third of that of their proposed ancestor H. erectus, used fire, hunted, and made stone tools at least as sophisticated as those of H. erectus.[20] “As large as you need and as small as you can” has been said to summarize the opposite evolutionary constraints on human brain size.[21][22]

    Studies tend to indicate small to moderate correlations (averaging around 0.3 to 0.4) between brain volume and IQ. The most consistent associations are observed within the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes, the hippocampi, and the cerebellum, but these only account for a relatively small amount of variance in IQ, which itself has only a partial relationship to general intelligence and real-world performance.[23][24][full citation needed] Demographic studies have indicated that in humans, fertility and intelligence tend to be negatively correlated—that is to say, the more intelligent, as measured by IQ, exhibit a lower total fertility rate than the less intelligent. The present rate of decline is predicted to be 1.34 IQ points per decade.[25] >>

    language evo: >> there is considerable speculation about the language capabilities of early Homo (2.5 to 0.8 million years ago). Anatomically, some scholars believe features of bipedalism, which developed in australopithecines around 3.5 million years ago, would have brought changes to the skull, allowing for a more L-shaped vocal tract. The shape of the tract and a larynx positioned relatively low in the neck are necessary prerequisites for many of the sounds humans make, particularly vowels. Other scholars believe that, based on the position of the larynx, not even Neanderthals had the anatomy necessary to produce the full range of sounds modern humans make.[120][121] Still another view considers the lowering of the larynx as irrelevant to the development of speech.[122]

    The term proto-language, as defined by linguist Derek Bickerton, is a primitive form of communication lacking:

    a fully developed syntax
    tense, aspect, auxiliary verbs, etc.
    a closed-class (i.e. non-lexical) vocabulary

    That is, a stage in the evolution of language somewhere between great ape language and fully developed modern human language. Bickerton (2009) places the first emergence of such a proto-language with the earliest appearance of Homo, and associates its appearance with the pressure of behavioral adaptation to the niche construction of scavenging faced by Homo habilis.[123]

    Anatomical features such as the L-shaped vocal tract have been continuously evolving, as opposed to appearing suddenly.[124] Hence it is most likely that Homo habilis and Homo erectus during the Lower Pleistocene had some form of communication intermediate between that of modern humans and that of other primates.[125] >>

    It should be obvious that after a certain point it is implicit that this is how things were, period. So, explanations are put together in the context of the blind watchmaker thesis, rather than being seen as requiring adequate, separate warrant when significant in import.

    However, as IOSE summarises (with an audiotape there too), origin of the knowing, reasoning mind is a critical breakdown point for naturalistic theories of human origins, due to an underlying self-referential incoherence:

    13 –> Some materialists go further and suggest that mind is more or less a delusion. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    14 –> Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [[Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    15 –> In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin. An audio clip by William Lane Craig that summarises Plantinga’s argument on this in a nutshell, is useful: [--> follow the link to listen]

    . . . This issue can be addressed at a more sophisticated level [[cf. Hasker in The Emergent Self (Cornell University Press, 2001), from p 64 on, e.g. here as well as Reppert here and Plantinga here (briefer) & here (noting updates in the 2011 book, The Nature of Nature)], but without losing its general force, it can also be drawn out a bit in a fairly simple way:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    (This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or “supervenes” on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure — the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of — in their view — an “obviously” imaginary “ghost” in the meat-machine. [[There is also some evidence from simulation exercises, that accuracy of even sensory perceptions may lose out to utilitarian but inaccurate ones in an evolutionary competition. "It works" does not warrant the inference to "it is true."] )

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [["nature"] and psycho-social conditioning [["nurture"], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin -- i.e by design -- tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed 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? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil's Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [[But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [[so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions. [[Emphases added. Also cf. Reppert's summary of Barefoot's argument here.]

    i: The famous evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane made much the same point in a famous 1932 remark:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (Highlight and emphases added.)]

    j: Therefore, though materialists will often try to pointedly ignore or angrily brush aside the issue, we may freely argue: if such evolutionary materialism is true, then (i) our consciousness, (ii) the “thoughts” we have, (iii) the conceptualised beliefs we hold, (iv) the reasonings we attempt based on such and (v) the “conclusions” and “choices” (a.k.a. “decisions”) we reach — without residue — must be produced and controlled by blind forces of chance happenstance and mechanical necessity that are irrelevant to “mere” ill-defined abstractions such as: purpose or truth, or even logical validity.

    (NB: The conclusions of such “arguments” may still happen to be true, by astonishingly lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” or “warranted” them. It seems that rationality itself has thus been undermined fatally on evolutionary materialistic premises. Including that of Crick et al. Through, self-reference leading to incoherence and utter inability to provide a cogent explanation of our commonplace, first-person experience of reasoning and rational warrant for beliefs, conclusions and chosen paths of action. Reduction to absurdity and explanatory failure in short.)

    k: And, if materialists then object: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must immediately note that — as the fate of Newtonian Dynamics between 1880 and 1930 shows — empirical support is not equivalent to establishing the truth of a scientific theory. For, at any time, one newly discovered countering fact can in principle overturn the hitherto most reliable of theories. (And as well, we must not lose sight of this: in science, one is relying on the legitimacy of the reasoning process to make the case that scientific evidence provides reasonable albeit provisional warrant for one’s beliefs etc. Scientific reasoning is not independent of reasoning.)

    l: Worse, in the case of origins science theories, we simply were not there to directly observe the facts of the remote past, so origins sciences are even more strongly controlled by assumptions and inferences than are operational scientific theories. So, we contrast the way that direct observations of falling apples and orbiting planets allow us to test our theories of gravity.

    m: Moreover, as Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin reminds us all in his infamous January 29, 1997 New York Review of Books article, “Billions and billions of demons,” it is now notorious that:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel [[materialistic scientists] 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. [[And if you have been led to imagine that the immediately following words justify the above, kindly cf. the more complete clip and notes here.]

    n: Such a priori assumptions of materialism are patently question-begging, mind-closing and fallacious.

    o: More important, to demonstrate that empirical tests provide empirical support to the materialists’ theories would require the use of the very process of reasoning and inference which they have discredited.

    p: Thus, evolutionary materialism arguably reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, as we have seen: immediately, that must include “Materialism.”

    q: In the end, it is thus quite hard to escape the conclusion that materialism is based on self-defeating, question-begging logic.

    r: So, while materialists — just like the rest of us — in practice routinely rely on the credibility of reasoning and despite all the confidence they may project, they at best struggle to warrant such a tacitly accepted credibility of mind and of concepts and reasoned out conclusions relative to the core claims of their worldview. (And, sadly: too often, they tend to pointedly ignore or rhetorically brush aside the issue.)

    In short, there are some serious challenges faced by naturalistic explanations of origins, including human origins.

    And, one thing is sure, this, you would not learn from the confident manner matter of fact claims that you will usually meet.

    After 150 years, case not proved. Far from it.

    And of course any serious 6,000 word essay needs to resolve such matters and concerns satisfactorily, not just by hand waving and/or hurling an elephant of authorities that are claimed to prove the assertions.

    Show us, in summary, why we should prefer common descent per blind watchmaker thesis evo, on empirical warrant, on its own merits.

    So far, wiki as stand in only deepens the challenge, it does not resolve it.

    KF

  28. 28
    critical rationalist

    You were warned, repeatedly, and ignored it; also refusing to resolve the problem. KF

  29. 29
    critical rationalist

    Ditto. KF

  30. CR knows or should know that I am dead serious. KF

  31. Again, would you agree or disagree that explanations are better than others if they explain more phenomena than their rivals? Your dismissal of my criticism suggests your answer is “no”, as ID does not provide an explanation, while Darwinism does.

    The answer to your question is, indeed, no. Darwinism purports to explain a great many things, but there is no reason to believe that explanation. A good explanation is, at a minimum, a credible explanation for which there is at least some evidence–not one that just makes a lot of claims. It if explains more phenomena, so much the better.

    Do the words found in John 1:1 have *no* meaning for you at all?

    They have a great deal of meaning for me, but they have nothing at all to do with a well-warranted, empirically grounded scientific explanation.

    Is it irrelevant as to whether you think this knowledge needs to be explained or couldn’t be explained by any theory – therefore have no impact on whether you think one theory is better than another?

    If I was an administrator, I would offer a free book to anyone who could extract meaning from that sentence.

    Meanwhile, I will issue a challenge much less daunting than the one KF has presented. Give me one good reason to believe that unguided, naturalistic forces can, or ever did, create a new body plan.

  32. 32
    critical rationalist

    While I’m guessing KF will delete this as well…

    CR: Do the words found in John 1:1 have *no* meaning for you at all?

    SB: They have a great deal of meaning for me, but they have nothing at all to do with a well-warranted, empirically grounded scientific explanation.

    If the knowledge of how to build biological adaptations was “with God” and “was God” in the beginning then no theory could explain how that knowledge was created . . .

    __________

    Here CR IS WILLFULLY DEFIANT.

    He knows there is a significant matter of his insistence on slander on the table, but wants to carry on with debate points as though nothing has happened that requires retraction and apology on his part; meanwhile proceeding to further poison the atmosphere by asserting or implying that the pivotal issue at stake is Christian theology rather than empirical science.

    All of this is of course loaded with the design theory is Creationism and right wing theocratic agendas in a cheap tuxedo, Barbara Forrest/NCSE/ACLU etc smear which he has been pushing.

    (To correct such, I suggest the onlooker look at the Weak Argument Correctives here on, here and here. Also, it should be evident that if there are empirically warranted reliable signs of design, such as FSCO/I — which there are — then something marked by such signs would point to design, period. Indeed, “In the beginning was the Word” — rational, communicating intelligence — points to just that, if anything. I assure you that had the world of life not turned out to have an informational foundation, this risky prediction of the aged apostle John would have long since been pounced on as a proof that the Christian faith its nonsense and is empirically unsupported. But of course, we now know that deep in the heart of life is coded, complex, specifically functional, purposeful information. Any reasonable person would agree that the risky prediction here has some empirical support in ways John speaking in his own strength could never have anticipated; and in fact, we would see there something very simple to follow, that information/knowledge expressed informationally traces to mind as source, something we know from our own experience. But to the ilk of CR, this must be twisted into something else, something poisonous and dismissive.)

    I have left enough to show the problem and will remove further commentary from this unfortunately insistently disruptive and slanderous person. KF

  33. 33
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause of willful insistence on slander and refusal to reconcile the matter as a reasonable condition of further participation in UD threads posed by the undersigned. KF

  34. 34
    critical rationalist

    Similarly removed for cause. KF

  35. SB: Give me one good reason to believe that unguided, naturalistic forces can, or ever did, create a new body plan.

    CR:

    That’s an impossible challenge, as it conflicts with John 1:1, which you believe to be true.

    There is no relationship whatsoever between your inability or unwillingness to make a case for Darwinism and my theological orientation. I can readily understand why KF is deleting your comments.

  36. If the answer to both of these questions was “No.”, and God himself was not created but has always existed, this knowledge was not created either. As such, any theory that suggests this knowledge was genuinely was created, such as Darwinism, would be in direct conflict with it,

    If, by “this knowledge,” you mean the knowledge necessary to create biodiversity, and if by “it,” you mean the truth expressed in John 1:1, then you have stumbled onto a truth, however loosely connected it might be to the subject matter under discussion.

    IOW, when we look at them both in a critical light, it’s unclear how you can hold these two contradictory beliefs concurrently.

    I don’t hold those two contrary beliefs, concurrently, alternately, or any other way. God’s knowledge, which is eternal, cannot also have be created.

    Either way, I think that the point of this exercise has been made clear. So far, no Darwinist has stepped forward to provide a rational defense for the neo-Darwinistic paradigm. Arguments have been replaced with irrelevant distractions, nothing more. This is typical.

  37. 37
    Kantian Naturalist

    I can think of several reasons why the “challenge” has gone unanswered. I mean, did you issue a call for papers? Did you advertise on other blogs? Did you just assume that all the best and the brightest of Darwinists would stumble across Uncommon Descent?

    On a more general point, I think the challenge is somewhat unfair to Darwinists. The challenge, as I understand it, is to provide “an adequately empirically warranted account on blind watchmaker thesis chance and necessity mechanisms that accounts for OOL and OO body plans etc.”

    The reason I say this is unfair is because I just don’t think that any Darwinist, even the most extreme hyper-adaptationists, would say that they regard chance and necessity as necessary and sufficient for explaining abiogenesis and morphogenesis. In other words, I really don’t think that they believe what you believe they believe.

    What they believe, I believe, is that (i) heritable variation and directional selection are causally responsible for most kinds of microevolution (e.g. adaptation); (ii) that they are also responsible for speciation; (iii) and there is nothing other than speciation to account for.

    I think that (iii) is the real kicker, the real obstacle to a productive conversation between Darwinists and anti-Darwinists. (You can put me down as “both” or “neither,” on suitable interpretations.)

    The key insight of Darwinism — and here I think both Ernst Mayer and Michael Ghiselin are very good on the point — is its anti-essentialism about species. A species, according to Darwinism, is nothing more than a population. It’s not a kind, form, essence, whatever. It’s just a collection of interbreeding individual organisms. (Which is why applying the concept of species to bacteria is problematic, but OK.)

    And, there’s nothing other than species. All of the rest of the taxa — genus, family, order, class, etc. — none of that is real. Darwinism is committed to anti-realism or conventionalism about everything above the species-level, and to anti-essentialism at the species level. The whole account is driven by a pretty rigorous and demanding nominalism. (One wonders how the Thomists can put up with it at all.)

    In other words, once you concede that variation and selection can result in speciation, the Darwinist thinks that there’s nothing else to be conceded — it’s all been given away. So, I think that if you really want a viable philosophical or empirical objection to Darwinism, it’s going to have to be at that level: of showing that Bauplaene (“body-plans”) are real, or showing that there’s some biological reality represented by taxonomic categories above the species level.

    A quite separate point is whether “materialism” is philosophically plausible. There are no shortages of good (even, I happen to think, devastating) objections to materialism, but they don’t affect Darwinism one way or the other. All they show is that Darwinists should not be materialists, because no one should be. One would need a separate argument to show that Darwinism entails materialism. For all I know, the right philosophical conclusion could be that if one is a Darwinist at all, then one had better be a theistic evolutionist.

  38. 38
    critical rationalist

    Similarly, removed for cause. If CR wishes to participate in these threads, he knows what he needs to do, which is reasonable. KF

  39. Specifically, If you believe “God’s knowledge, which is eternal, cannot also have be created.” then the idea that there could possibility be an explanation for how this knowledge was created would seem absurd. You would consider any proposed explanation impossible from the start.

    You are not thinking very clearly. The idea that God’s eternal ridiculous.knowledge could be created is self-evidently absurd. Neither a Darwinian model nor an ID model could explain such a self contradictory idea. There is no reason to consider it in any context.

    On the other hand, I think Darwinism is a better explanation because it explains how this knowledge was created and ID does not.

    Again, you are not thinking clearly. Darwinistic processes cannot, in any way, explain God’s knowledge, which would, by definition, precede Darwinistic processes. That which precedes the process cannot also be caused by the process.

    What “empirically grounded” evidence do you have for the claim that “God’s knowledge, which is eternal, cannot also have be created.”?

    I don’t need empirically grounded evidence to say that God’s eternal knowledge cannot have been created. The only requirement in this case is to be capable of rational thought. That which always existed (eternal knowledge) cannot also have begun to exist (created knowledge).

  40. Correction: The idea that God’s eternal knowledge could be created is self evidently absurd.

  41. Kantian Naturalist & Critical Rationalist.

    You ‘guys’ are good. Taxonomy is a creation of humans’ need to categorise things after the fact. It’s a family tree just like any other. There are no lines of demarcation really. ‘Species’ is a fuzzy category; you can’t look at the history of lifeforms and point to one parent-offspring coupling and say: here a new species formed. It’s all a giant continuum.

    From my perspective, it is completely futile to participate in KF’s challenge if 150 years of research and publications have not convinced some members of this forum. What could I possibly say that had not already been brought up and discussed before? I’m not saying there is an inherent bias against the very idea of information and knowledge being created but it’s very tiring just to be continually told ‘you have NO evidence’ and ‘your view is illogical and unproveable’. There’s no reason to bother with a 6000 word essay in the face of such nay-saying. Why create a new target which will not further a dialogue or convince anyone?

  42. 42

    Hello Kantian Naturalist, just a couple of quick comments…

    The reason I say this is unfair is because I just don’t think that any Darwinist, even the most extreme hyper-adaptationists, would say that they regard chance and necessity as necessary and sufficient for explaining abiogenesis and morphogenesis>

    The issue is guided versus unguided. And their answer to your question resides in the reaction given to any consideration of the former.

    What they believe, I believe, is that (i) heritable variation and directional selection are causally responsible for most kinds of microevolution (e.g. adaptation); (ii) that they are also responsible for speciation; (iii) and there is nothing other than speciation to account for.

    Darwinian evolution exists as a result of recorded information. As a consequence, it is entirely dependent on the material requirements of recorded information. Darwinism cannot be the source of those material requirements, and hence, it cannot be an explanation for them. To say otherwise is to propose that a thing which does not exist can cause something to happen, and can be an explanation of it happening. So there is definitely something else to account for – there are many.

  43. 43
    Kantian Naturalist

    Maybe there’s a more precise way of putting some of these issues:

    (1) teleology: should we be realists or anti-realists about teleology?

    (2) agency: does teleology require an agent, or can teleology come about without agency?

    I can happily accept that (Epicurean) materialism entails anti-realism about teleology, and since I am a realist about teleology, I’m not an (Epicurean) materialist. It is a further issue as to whether Darwinism entails Epicurean materialist.

    Now, here we have to be very careful. It’s quite true that many passionate defenders of Darwinism have been Epicurean materialists, some reluctantly and others as if they were bringing tidings of joy. (I presume that it is the anti-clericalism which makes Epicurean materialism as attractive now as it was in ancient Greece.) But guilt by association is not logical entailment, and as a quasi-philosopher, it’s the latter which interests me. Which is to say: would be irrational for someone to affirm Darwinism and reject materialism? I do not see any reason why it would be. Hence, Darwinism does not entail materialism — which is completely different from whether someone who was already committed to materialism might find Darwinism attractive.

    I said above that I might an “anti-Darwinist” on a suitable interpretation. Here’s why: if Darwinism entails anti-realism about teleology, then I’m against it. If it doesn’t, I don’t care so much.

    Now, on the second question, about agency: clearly, there are some teleological systems that are the result of agency. We call those “artifacts”. But clearly it doesn’t follow that just because some teleological systems are artifacts, they all must be. What would be needed here is an argument that the feature which artifacts and organisms have in common — namely, their teleological structure — is best explained in terms of what we know about artifacts — namely, they are (typically) the result of some intelligent agent.

    From where I sit, the differences between artifacts and organisms are so great that the comparison just can’t work. It boils down to some version of, “artifacts and organisms are exactly the same, except for all the differences”.

    Matters are made somewhat worse by the belief that empirical knowledge alone cannot identify the nature of the intelligent being responsible for organismal teleology. If were to begin with the assumption that the designer is God (perhaps made on a priori grounds?), then at least we could frame the issue in the terms that Steve Fuller uses: is biology just divine technology? And, as he nicely puts it, the real issue is about how we regard ourselves: as “junior creators” or “senior creatures”?

    As for myself, I think that the question as Fuller frames it — are we junior creators or are we senior creatures? — is really the heart of the entire issue, and we should just talk about that.

  44. UBP (42):

    To say otherwise is to propose that a thing which does not exist can cause something to happen, and can be an explanation of it happening.

    Is that not a pitfall of the design hypothesis? Until you’ve proven a designer exists that is. Otherwise aren’t you begging the question?

    Also, would you consider tree rings recorded information? Or air bubbles trapped in ancient layers of ice? Or datable sedimentary layers of rocks with fossils?

  45. Kantian, I think you may appreciate this article I ran across yesterday:

    How Order Arises from the Random Motion of Particles in the Cosmos – ScienceDaily (Oct. 4, 2012)
    Excerpt: One of the unsolved mysteries of contemporary science is how highly organized structures can emerge from the random motion of particles. This applies to many situations ranging from astrophysical objects that extend over millions of light years to the birth of life on Earth.
    The surprising discovery of self-organized electromagnetic fields in counter-streaming ionized gases (also known as plasmas) will give scientists a new way to explore how order emerges from chaos in the cosmos. This breakthrough finding was published online in the journal, Nature Physics on Sept. 30.
    “We’ve created a model for exploring how electromagnetic fields help organize ionized gas or plasma in astrophysical settings, such as in the plasma flows that emerge from young stars,” said lead author Nathan Kugland, a postdoctoral researcher in the High Energy Density Science Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). “These fields help shape the flows, and likely play a supporting role alongside gravity in the formation of solar systems, which can eventually lead to the creation of planets like the Earth.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....092939.htm

    Can you spot their unwarranted philosophical assumption Kantian?

  46. 46

    Jerad,

    Is that not a pitfall of the design hypothesis? Until you’ve proven a designer exists that is. Otherwise aren’t you begging the question?

    This position only really makes sense for the person who happens to know that no designer exists, otherwise it assumes its implied conclusion. It also attempts to offer parity to evidence we don’t have in lieu of evidence we do have. I do not have to know whether or not a designer exist in order to know that Darwinian evolution requires recorded information to exist and operate. And finally, this position ignores the fact that we believe in many things we cannot see. We believe in them because we see their effects. To say that the recorded information (which makes life possible) is not such an artifact is, once again, simply an assumed conclusion.

    Also, would you consider tree rings recorded information? Or air bubbles trapped in ancient layers of ice? Or datable sedimentary layers of rocks with fossils?

    The rings of a tree trunk are nothing more than the state of a tree trunk after having grown for a number of seasons. Those rings (spcifically their number) only becomes information if a capable mechanism brings that information into existence (of which transcription by our visual system is one such capable mechanism). Also, if the arrangement of a thing is “recorded information” merely by virtue of its existence, then everything is recorded information, and we’ll need a new word for those things which are actually arranged to record information. We will have taken a very unique physical phenomenon in the cosmos (information about something recorded in a material medium), and by virtue of our seemingly endless ability to create information from all things, we will have forced that phenomenon onto all things. Its an anthropocentric fallacy, and is completely unecessary. Of course, we are natural symbol-making, information-genrating entities, and it is completely normal for us to think that things “contain information”. But for a human to view a tree trunk and say that it has grown for 10 seasons, he must acknowledge that he has put himself into the system and it is he that has become informed. Without him, that information would not exist, even though the state of the tree trunk remains.

  47. F/N: Day four, and the crickets are still chirping. Of course, the usual pattern of attack attack attack continues. KF

    PS: KN, we know that UD is closely, even obsessively monitored and harshly [often, utterly unfairly] critiqued by several objector sites. TSZ is just one of these, and is full of some very familiar names. We can be assured that the objectors know the offer is on the table but are refusing to take it up; knowing that if they had something devastating that actually cogently outlined a clear warrant for their blind watchmaker OOL and OO body plan as well as OO man, mind etc claims, it would have devastating impact. The highly obvious fact of studiously sustained silence, especially in the teeth of the glaring fallacies in the summaries from Wikipedia standing in for the empty chair, speaks volumes.

  48. 48

    Has anyone saved CR’s posts? If so please post the link here. Thx, Tobi.

  49. as to per CR:

    What “empirically grounded” evidence do you have for the claim that “God’s knowledge, which is eternal, cannot also have be created.”?

    Quantum teleportation!

    That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation (separation) of its ‘infinite’ information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. (i.e. a photon ‘disappeared’ from the ‘material’ universe when the entire information content of a photon was ‘transcendently displaced’ from the material universe by the experiment, when photon “c” transcendently became transmitted photon “a”). Thus, Quantum teleportation is direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. ‘transcendent’ information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, telling energy exactly what to be and do in the experiment. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed and, in information demonstrating transcendence, and dominion, of space-time and matter-energy, becomes the only known entity that can satisfactorily explain where all energy came from as far as the origination of the universe is concerned. That is transcendent information is the only known entity which can explain where all the energy came from in the Big Bang without leaving the bounds of empirical science as the postulated multiverse does. Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, a photon of energy, as transcendent information does in teleportation, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities as energy does possess in the first law of thermodynamics (i.e. Energy cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means according to the first law). To reiterate, since information exercises dominion of energy in quantum teleportation then all information that can exist, for all past, present and future events of energy, already must exist.

    notes:

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”
    http://researcher.ibm.com/view_project.php?id=2862

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

  50. KN:

    I see your:

    I think the challenge is somewhat unfair to Darwinists. The challenge, as I understand it, is to provide “an adequately empirically warranted account on blind watchmaker thesis chance and necessity mechanisms that accounts for OOL and OO body plans etc.”

    The reason I say this is unfair is because I just don’t think that any Darwinist, even the most extreme hyper-adaptationists, would say that they regard chance and necessity as necessary and sufficient for explaining abiogenesis and morphogenesis. In other words, I really don’t think that they believe what you believe they believe.

    What they believe, I believe, is that (i) heritable variation and directional selection are causally responsible for most kinds of microevolution (e.g. adaptation); (ii) that they are also responsible for speciation; (iii) and there is nothing other than speciation to account for.

    I think that (iii) is the real kicker, the real obstacle to a productive conversation between Darwinists and anti-Darwinists.

    Au contraire, we ALL know that in schools it is routinely taught — on pain of administrative action against teachers and legal action against school boards that dare to suggest otherwise — that we had origin of life by spontaneous chemical and physical forces in some warm pond or similar venue, leading to a gradual process of branching-tree evolutionary development from a common ancestor to the various body plans in the fossil record and today, including us.

    This is taught in the name of Big-S Science.

    Those who dare to question or challenge, are dismissed as carrying forward a “war against Science,” often in alleged service to some suggested right wing fundamentalist theocratic tyrannical conspiracy.

    Let me cite the US National Science Teachers Association Board in an official statement:

    The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .

    [[S]cience, along with its methods, explanations and generalizations, must be the sole focus of instruction in science classes to the exclusion of all non-scientific or pseudoscientific methods, explanations, generalizations and products . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. [--> as in by chance and necessity, as Monod wrote in his well known 1970 book of that title] Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000.]

    The US National Academy of Science is subtler but makes the same basic point:

    In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. Any scientific explanation has to be testable — there must be possible observational consequences that could support the idea but also ones that could refute it. Unless a proposed explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could potentially count against it, that explanation cannot be subjected to scientific testing. [[Science, Evolution and Creationism, 2008, p. 10]

    Indeed, we know that in a recent case, where a radical new attempted redefinition of science that turns it into applied materialist ideology, was being challenged, these two august bodies jointly threatened that students who were taught a traditional, historically and philosophically well warranted understanding of what science is, does and achieves, with the inescapable limitations [tracing to the limits of inductive -- and yes that is a proper and valid term, whoever may want to pretend otherwise -- reasoning and knowledge], would be branded with a scarlet C by this new magisterium and held hostage against admission to good Colleges and jobs etc.

    As to the claim that Darwinists don’t really believe what has been summarised, let us clip from comment 18 above [safely buried and apt to be forgotten under dozens of subsequent comments for the moment . . . ], where Wiki is standing in for the empty chair:

    Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.[1]

    Life on Earth originated and then evolved from a universal common ancestor approximately 3.7 billion years ago. Repeated speciation and the divergence of life can be inferred from shared sets of biochemical and morphological traits, or by shared DNA sequences. These homologous traits and sequences are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, and can be used to reconstruct evolutionary histories, using both existing species and the fossil record. Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped both by speciation and by extinction.

    . . . . All organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool. [173][245] Current species are a stage in the process of evolution, with their diversity the product of a long series of speciation and extinction events[246] . . . organisms can be classified using these [homologous] similarities into a hierarchy of nested groups – similar to a family tree.

    Nor is this anything new, as I cite in the IOSE unit on Body Plan origin, here is how Darwin closed late editions of Origin:

    It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved. [[Origin, Ch 15. Emphasis added.]

    He was of course clever enough to rule a datum line across origin of life (hence the rhetorical weasel words on a Creator) — a case where his appeal to natural selection would run into the problem that this is not there as a possibility before reproduction arises, and only put his thoughts on that down in a letter, full well knowing that this would soon enough be ferreted out in the typical Victorian “Life and Letters of . . . . ” that was bound to be written for him sooner rather than later.

    The very fact that the ONLY diagram in Origin as first published was the expanding tree of life, serves to highlight that a tree has a root, and that the idea was that origin of species was intended to point to origin thereafter of major body plans by cumulative descent with unlimited modification to span the world of life.

    So, the question, where is the root, is a relevant and reasonable one.

    It is also the case that most plainly shows the basic gap in the whole, want of a mechanism that adequately explains the origin of FSCO/I on a basis that has good and reliable empirical warrant.

    So, the silence is indeed speaking loudly.

    Louder and louder in fact.

    The challenge is still on the table, for good reason.

    KF

  51. UBP (46)

    This position only really makes sense for the person who happens to know that no designer exists, otherwise it assumes its implied conclusion. It also attempts to offer parity to evidence we don’t have in lieu of evidence we do have. I do not have to know whether or not a designer exist in order to know that Darwinian evolution requires recorded information to exist and operate. And finally, this position ignores the fact that we believe in many things we cannot see. We believe in them because we see their effects. To say that the recorded information (which makes life possible) is not such an artifact is, once again, simply an assumed conclusion.

    But if you and I look at the same artefact, like DNA, and you conclude design (and therefore a designer) and I conclude no design then isn’t it fair to consider the matter undecided and therefore no designer or design has been established?

    The rings of a tree trunk are nothing more than the state of a tree trunk after having grown for a number of seasons. Those rings (spcifically their number) only becomes information if a capable mechanism brings that information into existence (of which transcription by our visual system is one such capable mechanism). Also, if the arrangement of a thing is “recorded information” merely by virtue of its existence, then everything is recorded information, and we’ll need a new word for those things which are actually arranged to record information. We will have taken a very unique physical phenomenon in the cosmos (information about something recorded in a material medium), and by virtue of our seemingly endless ability to create information from all things, we will have forced that phenomenon onto all things. Its an anthropocentric fallacy, and is completely unecessary. Of course, we are natural symbol-making, information-genrating entities, and it is completely normal for us to think that things “contain information”. But for a human to view a tree trunk and say that it has grown for 10 seasons, he must acknowledge that he has put himself into the system and it is he that has become informed. Without him, that information would not exist, even though the state of the tree trunk remains.

    Tree rings can also indicate dry and wet years and other ‘information’ about the climate at the time the ring was made.

    Are you saying that unobserved information is not information? Like an unobserved falling tree in the forest makes no sound?

    Does DNA have information before it’s observed or acted upon? Is it arranged?

    If I write a phrase on a piece of paper, show it to a friend (so the information is perceived) and then leave it in a cave where it sits for 200 years not being observed does it lose its information?

  52. 52
    Kantian Naturalist

    Of course, we are natural symbol-making, information-genrating entities, and it is completely normal for us to think that things “contain information”. But for a human to view a tree trunk and say that it has grown for 10 seasons, he must acknowledge that he has put himself into the system and it is he that has become informed. Without him, that information would not exist, even though the state of the tree trunk remains.

    That’s quite right — and the exact same point holds for “the genetic code”. We make sense of it in terms of “information,” the only difference between that we make sense of genes in terms of protein sequences and we make sense of tree-rings in terms of seasonal variations. If the the organization of tree-rings is ‘informative’ in only an anthropocentric, projective sense, then so too is the organization of nucleotides.

  53. 53
    critical rationalist

    Snip, for cause. KF

  54. 54
    critical rationalist

    Ditto. KF

  55. KN: One wonders how the Thomists can put up with it at all.

    Indeed!

  56. Kantian Naturalist:

    As for myself, I think that the question as Fuller frames it — are we junior creators or are we senior creatures? — is really the heart of the entire issue, and we should just talk about that.

    I say we’re both!

  57. Jerad:

    Tree rings can also indicate dry and wet years and other ‘information’ about the climate at the time the ring was made.

    Well, you do seem to be coming on board with the idea that information, to be information, must be information about something.

    Now, to whom, or to what, do tree rings communicate information about climate?

    Are you saying that unobserved information is not information?

    That’s what you are saying, if you’d just stop long enough to think about it. :)

    Does DNA have information before it’s observed or acted upon? Is it arranged?

    Think about why DNA is different from tree rings.

    If I write a phrase on a piece of paper, show it to a friend (so the information is perceived) and then leave it in a cave where it sits for 200 years not being observed does it lose its information?

    It never had any in the first place.

    Assume you wrote in Fnglish. 40,000 years from now some alien with no knowledge of English comes across the (miraculously preserved) paper. Does the alien, having observed the paper, obtain the same information as your friend?

    If not, what happened to the information?

  58. Kantian Naturalist:

    That’s quite right — and the exact same point holds for “the genetic code”. We make sense of it in terms of “information,” the only difference between that we make sense of genes in terms of protein sequences and we make sense of tree-rings in terms of seasonal variations. If the the organization of tree-rings is ‘informative’ in only an anthropocentric, projective sense, then so too is the organization of nucleotides.

    You don’t see any fundamental difference between tree rings and ordered sequences of nucleotides that a read off a strand of DNA?

  59. 59

    Jerad,

    I notice neither your first nor your second comment to me challenges the fact that Darwinian evolution cannot be the source of the very thing it requires in order to exist and operate. I assume from this it will remain unchallenged.

    But if you and I look at the same artefact, like DNA, and you conclude design (and therefore a designer) and I conclude no design then isn’t it fair to consider the matter undecided and therefore no designer or design has been established?

    You are absolutely free to consider all the evidence and conclude non-design. Do you extend to me the same latitude in the face of evidence you cannot resolve? For instance, if you are a student of biology, should you be free to conclude design without having your University faculty pole students and track how many they were able to “convert” over the course of a semester? Or if you are on the faculty, should you be allowed to conclude design without having the remaining faculty post a special page on the University’s website for the express purpose of railing against you? Or if you are among a technical staff who produces course materials on origins, should you be allowed to produce (however modestly) course materials that mentions these issues and their possible implications? Or should these issues simply be ignored, and the possibility of design unambiguously promoted as resolved? And what if you are neither a student of biology, nor a professor or coursework provider; but simply a citizen of a modern culture. Should pseudo-governmental associations leap over your conclusion (that the question of design is open) and seek public policy and court judgments to the contrary? Just exactly how far are you willing to offer me the freedom which you will, in turn, expect from me – and are you prepared to actually stand for your convictions if you find they are being trampled upon?

    Are you saying that unobserved information is not information? Like an unobserved falling tree in the forest makes no sound?

    A tree falling in the woods creates sound as a matter of physical law, requiring nothing of an observer.

    Does DNA have information before it’s observed or acted upon? Is it arranged?

    I am not certain this is a coherent question. Does an information carrying medium carry information if it is not arranged to carry information?

    If I write a phrase on a piece of paper, show it to a friend (so the information is perceived) and then leave it in a cave where it sits for 200 years not being observed does it lose its information?

    It retains its representation(s) over the time it is unread, but no information is transferred from those representations (i.e. think Rosetta stone). These are not difficult concepts to understand.

  60. 60

    Kantian Naturalist,

    That’s quite right — and the exact same point holds for “the genetic code”. We make sense of it in terms of “information,” the only difference between that we make sense of genes in terms of protein sequences and we make sense of tree-rings in terms of seasonal variations. If the the organization of tree-rings is ‘informative’ in only an anthropocentric, projective sense, then so too is the organization of nucleotides

    Without even the slightest hint of equivocation, this is simply and plainly untrue. It is not defensible from an evidentiary standpoint.

    To result in the effect “Hey this tree has lived 10 years” requires the protocol in my visual cortex (and cognitive faculties). To result in the effect of adding leucine to a growing polypeptide requires only the protocol imbedded in the genetic translation system. It requires nothing of me.

  61. 61
    critical rationalist

    Ditto. FYI, a “minimise what was done then try to twist it about” does not reach a reasonable threshold. If you go into someone’s living room and slander him thoughtlessly, then on refusing to take back are asked to leave then keep coming back and doubling down, what is that saying; it is not intrinsically different online. FYI, as linked on already there is a longstanding and harmful willful, spiteful well-poisoning slander of design theory per Forrest et al. If you want to discuss design issues on the merits, you do not propagate or allude to it as though it has [no] merit. KF

  62. Folks: Anyone notice the continued chirping crickets on the focal topic? KF

  63. CR, the empirical fact that quantum information exercises dominion on a photon of energy in quantum teleportation is what empirically establishes the permanence of quantum information. I referenced the IBM research page for that particular point, but you, in your usual less than forthright manner, go straight to the theorems which I merely referenced that strongly support the overall point.

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”
    http://researcher.ibm.com/view_project.php?id=2862

    Because of the first law this statement should have stopped you dead in your tracks, but you pretend as if this does not matter. Of course you can believe that conservation of information does not hold (you can believe any irrational thing you want as far as I care), but then again you have that whole pesky thing of the first law of thermodynamics to contend with!

  64. Sorry KF, I didn’t mean to take you topic off track. Will cease and desist!

  65. 65

    @StephenB:
    This is the message that was intended for you:
    In case you weren’t able to read it.

  66. Jerad:

    if you and I look at the same artefact, like DNA, and you conclude design (and therefore a designer) and I conclude no design then isn’t it fair to consider the matter undecided and therefore no designer or design has been established?

    One little thing you have omitted. Inference to design on empirically tested and found reliable sign, specifically FSCO/I.

    In short it is not disagreement that counts centrally, but warrant.

    Next, I see on tree rings:

    Tree rings can also indicate dry and wet years and other ‘information’ about the climate at the time the ring was made.

    Are you saying that unobserved information is not information? . . .

    Actually, tree rings — a certain physical effect in a growing tree — are not even fully reliable consequences of seasons, years and growth conditions. I gather multiple rings, for instance, are possible in a given year.

    Rings are simply a condition of the growth of a tree that we can to some extent correlate with the tree’s circumstances. They are not a code nor are they an analogue index of another variable. They simply are a result of complex growth conditions.

    We come along with a model of what such circumstances do, and we construct an interpretation of the projected past based on the trees, thus creating an interpretation of the past. So, tree rings are not in themselves information (though obviously any variable physical quantity can be used to store info in principle), by contrast with code strings or needles or pens and scales or plotter charts.

    To help clarify, notice how I speak of functionally specific complex ORGANISATION and/or associated information.

    In short, we or an entity can come along and create an informational representation, which is designed. Think of a drawing or a photograph where elements are arranged in a planar mesh as nodes and arcs with particular values. The paper or the film can store info, but it itself is not info. The informational process requires a convention and a process by which intelligence is encoded digitally or modulates something in analogue fashion, and is impressed on a carrier such that it can be received and interpreted.

    KF

  67. Folks: Anyone notice the continued chirping crickets on the focal topic?

    The non-chirping crickets transfer information.

  68. Mung: Listen to the chirping ones . . . now, da’s info I’d say!

    BA: You listen, too.

    Jerad: Do you have anything to say on the focal topic?

    KF

  69. CR:

    What I’m specifically referring to here is the knowledge of how to adapt raw materials into human beings, horses, cats and any other current or extinct species. This would include “body plans”, in the sense that genes contain the “plans” of how to build the body of each species.

    Well, then, it seems that you are not referring to God’s eternal knowledge, which was uncreated, you are referring to a created set of instructions, or created information, or program that was fashioned by an eternal mind. Granting evolution only for the sake of argument, the order of events would look like this:
    An eternal mind [first cause] >> produces a created set of instructions or program to guide the evolutionary process>>causing the evolutionary process itself to unfold according to that program. You are confusing the eternal mind of the programmer with the created program.

    Evolutionary theory explains this knowledge in that it was actually created via an error correcting process referred to as biological Darwinism. This falls under our current explanation for the growth of knowledge as a whole. Specifically, Darwinism doesn’t actually suggest this knowledge was eternal, in reality. As such, Darwinism is not irrational by nature of claiming to explain how something the theory itself considers eternal, was created. This not an assumption of the theory itself, so it’s not internally inconsistent.

    So far, you have used the word knowledge in at least three different ways, as if they all had the same meaning—the eternal knowledge of the Creator—the temporal knowledge implied in a evolutionary program—the cultural or institutional growth of accumulated knowledge—and then link them all together with the pronoun “this knowledge.” Evolutionary theory depends on the program (or what you now seem to be calling knowledge); it cannot create what it depends on. You appear not to have absorbed that point. The program must, by logical necessity, precede the process—both in priority and in time. That means that the process cannot explain the program. Programmer creates>>>Program, which informs>>>Process.

    On the other hand, you seem to believe this same knowledge was actually put there by a supernatural being – i.e. God

    No program can exist without a programmer because no effect can occur without a cause. The point of ID science, which doesn’t get involved with the aforementioned points, is to simply provide empirical evidence for the existence of a program; the point of Darwinism is to claim, unreasonably, that the process can operate without a program, or, in your case, that the process can produce the program.

    Darwinists live in a intellectual madhouse, which has been made evident on this thread. Divorced from reason’s standards, they are perfectly comfortable with morphing definitions of words, effects producing causes, arbitrary and meaningless criteria for measurement, or anything else that will facilitate long, irrational rants that say less than nothing.

    As a consequence of this belief, you classify this same knowledge as belonging to a collection you call “God’s knowledge.”

    No, I do not. You continue to confuse and conflate the created program with the eternal mind that fashioned it. Your error is in believing that the evolutionary process can create the set of instructions that inform and direct it. This is a logical impossibility. Then, of course, we have the small problem that you don’t know or cannot articulate what you mean when you use the word knowledge.

    Again, I think Darwinism is a better explanation because it explains how this knowledge was created and ID does not. But, according to you, this knowledge cannot be explained because [you believe] it is eternal. As such, you would not consider the absence of such an explanation in ID a valid criticism. Nor could you think providing an explanation for something [you believe] cannot be explained would make Darwinism a better explanation.

    Again, you are confusing the program with the programmer.

    However, ID is supposedly agnostic about the identity of the designer

    The is no “supposedly” to it. The fact is that ID methodology cannot probe the identity of the designer because it is not equipped to do it.

    As such, it would be agnostic as to whether the knowledge this designer used would be eternal or not.

    ID’s empirically-based methodological approach is not synonymous with the philosophical points I made about God’s eternal knowledge. You can’t just refer to both elements as “it.” ID’s methodological approach can only detect the presence of an intelligent agent, nothing more. The only reason I introduced the philosophical arguments was to correct your misunderstanding about eternal and created knowledge. ID science does not get involved with those kinds of things. There are different ways of obtaining knowledge about the real world. The philosophical method is one of those ways.

    As far as ID is defined, the designers could be a highly advanced, ancient alien civilization, which wouldn’t necessitate the knowledge they used to be eternal. Therefore, ID would be agnostic as to whether any explanation for how that knowledge was created would be absurd or not.

    ID science can say nothing about the identity of the designer. However, philosophy can prove, with no difficulty, that that the first cause of the universe must be an eternal, personal, self-existent being. You must learn to make these distinctions.

    So, in claiming to be agnostic about the designer, ID opens itself to the criticism that an explanation for how this knowledge was created *could* have been provided, but was not. Nor would ID, per se, assume providing one be absurd.

    No, that is not correct. ID does not presume to say that no such explanations are available because such explanations are, in fact, available. However, ID science cannot probe that territory because it is not equipped to do it. ID scientists know what they t can and cannot explain with their paradigms, unlike Darwinist, who think that they can explain everything until someone like kairosfocus asks them to do it, at which time they fold like a lawn chair.

    How is your belief that the knowledge in question is actually is eternal, and therefore inexplicable as being created, empirically grounded?

    There you go again. “The knowledge in question” is eternal if you are referring to the eternal knowledge of the programmer, but it is created if you are referring to the created knowledge that manifests itself as a program. The program itself cannot be eternal.
    Meanwhile, if Darwinists on this site are so certain of their theory that they would label it as a fact, why will they not step up and answer the challenge. Kairosfocus has asked for a 6000-word essay. I, on the other hand, am searching for just one, empirically-based reason to believe that undirected naturalistic forces could produce even one new body plan. Are there any Darwinists on this site with enough intellectual integrity to provide a rational defense for Darwinism?

  70. 70
    Kantian Naturalist

    Upright Biped (@ 60) wrote:

    To result in the effect “Hey this tree has lived 10 years” requires the protocol in my visual cortex (and cognitive faculties). To result in the effect of adding leucine to a growing polypeptide requires only the protocol imbedded in the genetic translation system. It requires nothing of me.

    I see the situation quite differently. In the case of tree-rings and seasonal variations, we have a causally-grounded structural isomorphism which can be taken as significative by a dendrochronologist, who can interpret the rings and say, “this one here means that it was a short summer”.

    In the case of nucleotide sequences and peptide sequences, we again have a causally-grounded structural isomorphism which can be taken as significative by a molecular geneticist, who can interpret the nucleotide sequence and say, “this is the gene for insulin”, “this gene means insulin,” etc.

    So, in answer to Mung’s question (@ 58),

    You don’t see any fundamental difference between tree rings and ordered sequences of nucleotides that a read off a strand of DNA?

    Quite frankly, no, I don’t. My view is that in both cases, we have causally-grounded structural relationships — between tree-rings and seasonal variations, between nucleotide and peptide sequences — but also, in both cases, the signification or meaning lies in the interpretative, sense-making activity of the dendrochronologist or the molecular geneticist.

    In one sense, of course, it is true that the signs are there to be read — but that’s as true for tree-rings as it is for genetic sequences.

  71. 71
    critical rationalist

    Again, I addressed KF’s claim of falsehood regarding “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” immediately after it was made in a similar manner. At which point his objection became so generic that I apparently need to apologize for criticizing his posts and pointing out when those criticisms have gone unaddressed. Essentially, he has retreated to the claim that my criticism is “offensive”.

    Unless KF wants to be more specific, then I’ve addressed his claim and my comments were not and have not been “WILLFULLY DEFIANT.”

    Of course, if KF merely doesn’t want me to point on his threads because they are his threads and he simply finds my criticism “offensive”, then he should come out and say so, rather than suggest otherwise.
    __________
    CR Knows what he has done by now and refuses to accept that he has broken civility by propagating a slander, I will let this stand. KF

  72. 72
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause of persistent misbehaviour, compounding the original problem, KF

  73. Me (51):

    But if you and I look at the same artefact, like DNA, and you conclude design (and therefore a designer) and I conclude no design then isn’t it fair to consider the matter undecided and therefore no designer or design has been established?

    UBP (59):

    You are absolutely free to consider all the evidence and conclude non-design. Do you extend to me the same latitude in the face of evidence you cannot resolve? For instance, if you are a student of biology, should you be free to conclude design without having your University faculty pole students and track how many they were able to “convert” over the course of a semester? Or if you are on the faculty, should you be allowed to conclude design without having the remaining faculty post a special page on the University’s website for the express purpose of railing against you? Or if you are among a technical staff who produces course materials on origins, should you be allowed to produce (however modestly) course materials that mentions these issues and their possible implications? Or should these issues simply be ignored, and the possibility of design unambiguously promoted as resolved? And what if you are neither a student of biology, nor a professor or coursework provider; but simply a citizen of a modern culture. Should pseudo-governmental associations leap over your conclusion (that the question of design is open) and seek public policy and court judgments to the contrary? Just exactly how far are you willing to offer me the freedom which you will, in turn, expect from me – and are you prepared to actually stand for your convictions if you find they are being trampled upon?

    KF (66):

    One little thing you have omitted. Inference to design on empirically tested and found reliable sign, specifically FSCO/I.

    In short it is not disagreement that counts centrally, but warrant.

    UBP: I think we should all be allowed to think as we will. But when you’re teaching a course in a university department then it’s fair for you to be expected to teach the agreed upon curriculum. I fully support David Irving in publishing whatever dumb theory he has. But I also reserve the right to question his ability to present cogent topics and themes to a history class. And I would vote against giving him tenure if I were on his committee.

    KF: I do because I disagree that you have proven your case that complex specified information of a certain length must be designed. Please don’t edit my post as I am merely disagreeing with you and not trying to ‘poison’ the discussion.

    Me (51):

    Tree rings can also indicate dry and wet years and other ‘information’ about the climate at the time the ring was made.

    Are you saying that unobserved information is not information? Like an unobserved falling tree in the forest makes no sound?

    Does DNA have information before it’s observed or acted upon? Is it arranged?

    If I write a phrase on a piece of paper, show it to a friend (so the information is perceived) and then leave it in a cave where it sits for 200 years not being observed does it lose its information?

    A bit of a hodge-podge, I admit. But yes, KF, I think this is on topic: can complex specified information be created by natural processes and what constitutes information. Is a record of climatic conditions contained in tree rings or trapped air bubbles information? What about the record of extinct species found in sedimentary rocks? Or does it become information only when it’s interpreted? If you say that records like tree rings and air bubbles and geologic strata are NOT examples of complex specified information then, partially, DNA is not either since it can be interpreted as a record of life development. (Only partially, I admit since part of DNA is assembly instructions.) I’m talking about pseudo-genes, transposons, endogenous retroviruses, etc. Many such DNA sequences are just along for the ride. Do they constitute complex specified information?

    Mung (57):

    Well, you do seem to be coming on board with the idea that information, to be information, must be information about something.

    Now, to whom, or to what, do tree rings communicate information about climate?

    Doesn’t matter does it. It’s ‘written down’. It’s recorded.

    Are you saying that unobserved information is not information?

    That’s what you are saying, if you’d just stop long enough to think about it.

    Nope, I think it’s information, perceived or not.

    If I write a phrase on a piece of paper, show it to a friend (so the information is perceived) and then leave it in a cave where it sits for 200 years not being observed does it lose its information?

    It never had any in the first place.

    Assume you wrote in Fnglish. 40,000 years from now some alien with no knowledge of English comes across the (miraculously preserved) paper. Does the alien, having observed the paper, obtain the same information as your friend?

    Hang on. Fairly modern men ‘discovered’ Egyptian hieroglyphs and didn’t know how to interpret them. And some ancient Greek text. And Sanskrit records. Are you saying there is no information in those records? How does learning to interpret the records affect the information?

    Voyager 1 is transmitting millions of bits of data every day. It’s an amazing feat of engineering if nothing else. We on earth know the format the data is being couched in so it’s easy for us to interpret the signal. Read the information. But an alien culture might not know how to ‘read’ the signal. Does that change the information??

    UBP:

    Does DNA have information before it’s observed or acted upon? Is it arranged?

    I am not certain this is a coherent question. Does an information carrying medium carry information if it is not arranged to carry information?

    Hopefully I”ve made myself more clear.

    If I write a phrase on a piece of paper, show it to a friend (so the information is perceived) and then leave it in a cave where it sits for 200 years not being observed does it lose its information?

    It retains its representation(s) over the time it is unread, but no information is transferred from those representations (i.e. think Rosetta stone). These are not difficult concepts to understand.

    I think we agree on this. Do you think your view is compatible with Mung’s?

    KF:

    Actually, tree rings — a certain physical effect in a growing tree — are not even fully reliable consequences of seasons, years and growth conditions. I gather multiple rings, for instance, are possible in a given year.

    Rings are simply a condition of the growth of a tree that we can to some extent correlate with the tree’s circumstances. They are not a code nor are they an analogue index of another variable. They simply are a result of complex growth conditions.

    But there is information about that tree and the conditions it grew in. Information can be ‘read’ in the tree ring record. Otherwise we couldn’t use dendrochronology to date things. We have to be able to leap frog back via various tree ring ‘records’.

    We come along with a model of what such circumstances do, and we construct an interpretation of the projected past based on the trees, thus creating an interpretation of the past. So, tree rings are not in themselves information (though obviously any variable physical quantity can be used to store info in principle), by contrast with code strings or needles or pens and scales or plotter charts.

    But they contain information And there is a code of sorts: dark rings mean something, light rings mean something, fat rings are different from thin rings.

    What about air bubbles in ice cores? Or transposons? Or ERVs?

    To help clarify, notice how I speak of functionally specific complex ORGANISATION and/or associated information.

    Yes, functional vs non-functional. Would you agree that non-functional complex specified information can be created by purely undirected processes?

    In short, we or an entity can come along and create an informational representation, which is designed. Think of a drawing or a photograph where elements are arranged in a planar mesh as nodes and arcs with particular values. The paper or the film can store info, but it itself is not info. The informational process requires a convention and a process by which intelligence is encoded digitally or modulates something in analogue fashion, and is impressed on a carrier such that it can be received and interpreted.

    So geographic stratigraphic layers are not information about past life forms . . . they contain information but are not information. Yes?

    Is the ‘order’ that past life forms were preserved as fossils, information? Where does that information exist? Does it exist in the stratigraphic sequence and not in the fossils themselves?

  74. 74

    Kantian Naturalist,

    You seem to have missed the point. Here is the conversation again:

    UB: Of course, we are natural symbol-making, information-generating entities, and it is completely normal for us to think that things “contain information”. But for a human to view a tree trunk and say that it has grown for 10 seasons, he must acknowledge that he has put himself into the system and it is he that has become informed. Without him, that information would not exist, even though the state of the tree trunk remains.

    KN: That’s quite right — and the exact same point holds for “the genetic code”. We make sense of it in terms of “information,” the only difference between that we make sense of genes in terms of protein sequences and we make sense of tree-rings in terms of seasonal variations. If the organization of tree-rings is ‘informative’ in only an anthropocentric, projective sense, then so too is the organization of nucleotides.

    The point is that the reading of tree rings informs us alone as observers, but the reading of DNA sequences informs the organism. We may indeed observe the genetic translation system and become informed by it, but our participation is superfluous to transfer of recorded information taking place within the organism itself.

    You say: “If the organization of tree-rings is ‘informative’ in only an anthropocentric, projective sense, then so too is the organization of nucleotides.” But that is patently not true. The organization of tree rings IS only informative to us; but the organization of nucleotides is informative to the translation process within the cell, and requires nothing of us.

    Are you suggesting that anywhere we find information being communicated in the natural world, our observation of that process reduces it to an anthropocentric projection? Or are you suggesting that the communication of information is a human-only phenomenon, and all other instances of non-human information transfer are something else? If that is so, then can you pinpoint the exact material grounds on which you make this claim?

  75. 75

    Jerad,

    I think we should all be allowed to think as we will. But when you’re teaching a course in a university department then it’s fair for you to be expected to teach the agreed upon curriculum.

    So you agree that we should promote the question of design in nature as being resolved (if that is what we “agree to”), while you yourself recognize that it is unresolved? And as for the material evidence – that which remains unresolved by any known mechanism – exactly what mechanism should we teach as the one which resolved it. (And by what facts shall we teach that)?

    I fully support David Irving in publishing whatever dumb theory he has. But I also reserve the right to question his ability to present cogent topics and themes to a history class. And I would vote against giving him tenure if I were on his committee.

    I have no clue who David Irving is. Are you speaking of the Holocaust-denier?

    So if I demonstrate to you material evidence which is entirely unresolved by any unguided mechanism (but can be resolved by a guided mechanism), you will respond by suggesting we should be free to determine our own thoughts about these unresolved issues. But if I then ask if you disagree with the common institutional practices of not allowing such freedom, you will return to place the entire enterprise on the same level as a Holocaust-denier making up conclusions against a preponderance of material evidence to the contrary. That’s a class move Jerad. It sort-of throws into relief those people in our histories who had the personal integrity (or professional discipline) to stand up for the truth of the matter, doesn’t it?

  76. 76
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause, KF

  77. CR:

    Just so I understand you correctly, you think God has not eternally possessed the knowledge of how to build all biological organisms, yet God supposedly has known all things that can logically be known eternally? I think you disagree with one statement or the other as they are self-contradictory. If so, which is it?

    I was very clear in stating more than once that God’s knowledge is eternal and uncreated. I was equally clear in stating that the program which informs and guides any alleged evolutionary process is created and temporal. So, come off of it. The remainder of your post is little more than an attempt to dramatize the opposite of what I said as if I had said it. Please stop doing that and attend to the substance of what is being said. Better yet, provide one good, empirically-based reason for holding that naturalistic forces alone can produce the diversity of life.

  78. 78
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause, KF

  79. 79
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause, CR knows how to contact me and resolve the matter if he wishes to. Notice, as well the consistent side tracking of discussion from the focal matter of a challenge on the table to warrant the assertions of evolutionary materialism. It is quite evident that supporters of that system think it is a default and that that which differs is what is ipso facto wrong, hence the tendency to attack, attack attack, and to smear in so attacking. KF

  80. CR:

    I’m not clear on what you mean here. Are you suggesting the answer to the question of how to adapt raw materials into all those species is something God has not known eternally? If so why not? Merely choosing to exclude it from “part of God’s eternal knowledge” doesn’t explain its absence.

    I have made it clear several times that God knows everything that can be known and has known it eternally.

    Again, my point is that Darwinism and Creationism overlap in an incompatible way regarding this same knowledge. As such, you cannot accept one without discarding the other. ID, per se, does not overlap in an incompatible way.

    As I explained to you previously, you use the term “this knowledge” in multiple ways to serve multiple functions, an unfortunate habit of mind that makes your comments unintelligible, your arguments meaningless, and your objections inappropriate.

    Arbitrarily deciding that knowledge was not eternal to avoid this doesn’t take your own beliefs about God seriously.

    Unbelievable.

    While I find the exact details of where I might be wrong about what you believe interesting, these details have not changed to the extent that you could not hold both theories simultaneously, since they still offer completely different accounts for this same knowledge, in reality.

    Oh great, just what I was hoping for—another series of rambling phrases searching for an idea.
    SB: ID science can say nothing about the identity of the designer. However, philosophy can prove, with no difficulty, that that the first cause of the universe must be an eternal, personal, self-existent being. You must learn to make these distinctions.

    First, that’s not empirically grounded, which is supposedly the criteria of the challenge. Second, any such philosophical argument would be based on justiicationism, which is impossible, in practice. This distinction seems to be something you have difficulty recognizing.

    I have arrived at a well-warranted, empirically-based conclusion that you are not prepared to engage in a rational dialogue. I could recommend a reading list for you, but you would not follow up on it because you don’t recognize the need for it. Very sad.

  81. 81

    CR, Your criticisms of my remarks remain meaningless because you fail to orient yourself to the argument I make. You do this deliberately, preferring to criticize your definitions as opposed to mine. Take for instance your definition of protocol versus mine. Even though it has been given to you several times (along with the reasoning of why it is the way it is), I’ll happily wager you cannot provide my definition, and compare it to your definition. To do so would expose the intractable weaknesses in your criticisms. Actually, please allow me to rephrase that – to do so would expose how completely vacant your criticisms are, and why you prefer to criticize your definitions as opposed to mine.

  82. UBP (75):

    So you agree that we should promote the question of design in nature as being resolved (if that is what we “agree to”), while you yourself recognize that it is unresolved? And as for the material evidence – that which remains unresolved by any known mechanism – exactly what mechanism should we teach as the one which resolved it. (And by what facts shall we teach that)?

    I was being a bit cheeky as I think the issue IS resolved. I was wanting to see what you’d say and you sensibly turned the question back onto me!!

    I have no clue who David Irving is. Are you speaking of the Holocaust-denier?

    That’s the guy.

    So if I demonstrate to you material evidence which is entirely unresolved by any unguided mechanism (but can be resolved by a guided mechanism), you will respond by suggesting we should be free to determine our own thoughts about these unresolved issues. But if I then ask if you disagree with the common institutional practices of not allowing such freedom, you will return to place the entire enterprise on the same level as a Holocaust-denier making up conclusions against a preponderance of material evidence to the contrary. That’s a class move Jerad. It sort-of throws into relief those people in our histories who had the personal integrity (or professional discipline) to stand up for the truth of the matter, doesn’t it?

    I used David Irving as an extreme example, one I thought we might agree on. I can’t get into Mr Irving’s mind so I don’t know what he’s really thinking but it’s pretty clear to everyone else that he’s a bit delusional.

    I have said many times before I have no problem with matters of faith. I have no claim on THE TRUTH but I do think it’s fair for academic departments to ask their teachers and lecturers to stick with the widely accepted models which are supported by the evidence, have great explanatory power and are in line with well understood processes.

    Obviously you can’t and shouldn’t judge people’s job performance based on things outside of the workplace.

    By the way, I’ve been involved with an academic situation where some faculty members were not following department agreed upon procedures and topics.

  83. 83

    UB: So you agree that we should promote the question of design in nature as being resolved (if that is what we “agree to”), while you yourself recognize that it is unresolved? And as for the material evidence – that which remains unresolved by any known mechanism – exactly what mechanism should we teach as the one which resolved it. (And by what facts shall we teach that)?

    Jerad: I was being a bit cheeky as I think the issue IS resolved.

    Then by all means, please provide the evidence-laden unguided mechanism which has been shown to resolve the origin of the iterative system of symbols which Darwinian evolution is dependent upon. Such demonstrations are what empirical science is about, correct?

    And if that mechanism is not available, then on what evidentiary ground did you base your conclusion? Is it as I suspected in my earlier comment – an assumed conclusion in the face of material evidence to the contrary? What material facts do you suggest we use to teach assumed conclusions to science students?

  84. Folks (NB Jerad and UB):

    From late yesterday afternoon I have been tracking a tragic event relevant to Montserrat.

    On the focal matter of this thread, I observe that it is now day five and the crickets (and tree frogs!) are still chirping on the focal topic, never mind the repeated let’s get back to business as usual for objectors to design theory, attack attack attack.

    This underscores the significance of Philip Johnson’s rejoinder to Lewontin et al, in 1997; as is of course noted in the OP and as usual ignored by those eager to get back to business as usual attack attack attack:

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

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

    I think my Gran’pa was right: every tub must stand on its own bottom.

    KF

    PS: Jerad needs to realise that the living tree is chock full of FSCO/I and is credibly designed, right at the outset. Its rings are produced by step by step controlled processes riddled with design and are not simply blindly produced by the environment. That said, we still have a pattern of events and an object that is shaped by them, no relevant functional info exists in absence of a process of interpretation and a system of source encoder/modulator, transmission or storage, detection, decoding/demodulation and sink. Information exists in the context of such a system, as opposed to potentially variable physical quantities that could be manipulated to store or transmit info by some protocol, perhaps a species of pulse width modulation [= ring width and colour] here. What we have so far is an environmental effect not communication of info in a system. The D/RNA based protein assembly process is sharply distinct from that. And obviously the organisation of an object that is complex and functionally specific, its wiring diagram as Wicken speaks of, is deduced by inspection and insightful analysis, by an intelligent observer. So, this is a case of associated info, which may have been implicit in how it is organised.

  85. SB:

    Thank you for your patient interactions and contributions.

    It seems that CR and others don’t realise that they do not have a right to cavalierly smear others, by making insistently invidious associations or assertions or otherwise. (And, he insisted on sustaining such in the teeth of more than adequate correction. CR needs to realise that one who is civil does not insist on a slander, demanding proof otherwise to arbitrarily selectively hyperskeptical degrees of warrant. Do you not see how close that sort of demand is to the “reasoning” of bigots of various types too numerous to mention?)

    First, the Creationists of today are on the whole responsible people who have nothing to do with extremism and potential theocratic tyranny. One may wish to debate the scientific claims some have made or the hermeneutics, but that is not even remotely related to the behaviour of Torquemada et al. And, it should be noted that the two leading acknowledged saints in Spain at the time condemned the behaviour, and less saintly people were such a threat that that villain had to go about with a military escort at all times. So, even in a fairly autocratic monarchy, this was a clear aberration.

    Going on, design theory and its reasoning are simply distinct from that of Creationism, something that needs to soak in. And CR’s attention has already been drawn to correction in the WAC’s but he refuses to heed it.

    The difference is patent, but let’s state it. Job 38 contains the nubbin: the Creationist view (per the voice of God answering a puzzled Job out of the storm) is that we were not there and so cannot credibly know the remote past of origins. So, we need to consult the record provided by enscripturated revelation and on the basis of appropriate exegesis, develop our science to be consistent with the thus known past. That is why there is a strong emphasis on Biblical matters in such sites online or in Creationist books, conferences, videos etc.

    Faith seeking understanding as you so aptly documented in the WACs.

    Design theory, as you highlighted, moves in exactly the opposite direction, from empirical facts and traces of the past observable in the present to an examination in the present of causal factors and their reliable consequences and signs. Then, on sign we may infer per well supported inference to best explanation to credible cause, as from deer track to deer. Where FSCO/I is a well established sign of design, per present investigations and is a major feature of the world of life from the micro-structures of the cell to the major features of a body exhibiting a functional body plan. Similarly, fossil traces from the past of origins point to the same FSCO/I in the past.

    So, on such inductive — CR does not like induction and imagines that Popper has cornered the market on truth on the matter — inference to best, empirically grounded current explanation, we can responsibly conclude that the world of life is strongly stamped by signs of design. Indeed, this includes symbolic digital codes, algorithms, etc.

    What modern Design theory — right from Thaxton et al on in the early 1980′s — then also notes is that on scientific inference, we do not have warrant from the world of life to infer design being by one or more designers within or beyond the cosmos. Indeed, that is a specific point where Thaxton in particular marked his distinctive difference from Creationism and what it was seeking to do. Where also — pace the slanders and maliciously false reconstructions of Forrest et al in NCSE, ACLU etc — and as was taken hook line and sinker by Judge “copycat” Jones — the timeline shows that this was not the legalistic gambit to evade a ruling of 1987 that is being spread as a toxic smear.

    It seems to me that the reason why we have a fight here is really that the origin and diversification of life is the hill that evolutionary materialists chose to take their stand on. A stand that was premised on the notion that blind forces of chance and necessity were adequate to account for the world of life, contrary to the old design argument theologians such as Paley et al; though it should be noted that Paley had some quite useful insights on inferring design [as opposed to whatever onward theological arguments he may have made that may be challenged], including on the implications of a self replicating watch in Ch 2, which somehow seldom — it is like hen’s teeth — comes up in Materialist dismissals. Accordingly they dumped Wallace who begged to differ overboard, and forgot him.

    Now, it turns out on further developments that the world of life is brimming over with signs of design, from the use of digital code to store the information of life in the cell on up. But the institutionally locked in a priori materialism cannot admit the import of that evidence or the ideological agenda would collapse, as Philip Johnson said. Not because design of the world of life is a proof of God, but because the materialists made the world of life their exhibit no 1 on why no explanation by designers, especially God as candidate, was necessary or credible.

    As I and others have repeatedly pointed out, a sufficient — as opposed to necessary — causal explanation of the world of life would be a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter et al. Indeed I have predicted that it is credible that we will create life in the test tube de novo across this century.

    But that is a side issue, the real deal will be the creation of self replicating automatic factories, that allow the development of a global village construction set that transforms the third world. If the Bussard electrostatic potential well fusion approach or something like it pans out, we are looking at a transformation of energy systems too, and the creation onward of a rocket drive capable of reaching Titan in 74 days. In short, solar system colonisation beckons, and in particular Mars and the asteroid belt.

    Beyond that, the stars, one way or another.

    I lay that out, so CR and others can begin to understand the sort of sci-tech-development vision that animates people who are attracted to design thought.

    It is high time to be rid of the poisonous atmosphere that such objectors have created.

    What about the role of — shudder — God?

    Isn’t that the point of design theory?

    Isn’t that “proved” by the evidence of the Wedge Document, etc?

    The problem we have is that there is a tendency to look for reinforcement of an ideology, a point where ideology departs from objectivity and scientific thinking.

    There is more than enough evidence to see that inference to design on the world of life is not equal to inference to God, and the fact that the Design movement includes prominent agnostics and even one or two evident atheists should serve as a notice on that.

    The spirit of design thought on the world of life is different. Reverse engineering, in one word. Reverse engineering to foster technological transformation and dramatic progress. Does development transformation of the 3rd world move you, and onward does solar system colonisation move you?

    Come on.

    Oh yes, God.

    There is a branch of design theory that DOES point to something that looks a lot like God.

    The Cosmological design inference on observed fine tuning of our cosmos.

    And lo and behold one of the leading lights there (as the linked will show) is Sir Fred Hoyle, who was a lifelong agnostic; at minimum.

    We have built into the basic physics and structure of the cosmos some astonishing features that are fine tuned to set the observed cosmos to an operating point that facilitates C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life. The wonder of water, is more than enough to get started on that. We have serious grounds to infer to intelligent design that had the knowledge, skill and power to design and build a cosmos, and ultimately is beyond the inherently contingent world of atomic matter. Where the related philosophy (this is not theology reading texts, it is phil pursing the logic of explanation) points to a necessary, hugely powerful intelligent being with mind as the credible root of being

    And the discussion there is far less contentious and poisonous that that poisoned by the behaviour of the ardent Darwinists and fellow travellers.

    That tells us something.

    So, CR at al need to stop the slander games and turnabout tactics in response to correction, and set about civil discussion.

    KF

  86. UBP (83):

    Then by all means, please provide the evidence-laden unguided mechanism which has been shown to resolve the origin of the iterative system of symbols which Darwinian evolution is dependent upon. Such demonstrations are what empirical science is about, correct?

    The mechanisms behind the modern evolutionary synthesis have been described and elucidated for over 150 years by many people much brighter than myself. Not much point in me going over it all again if you haven’t bought their arguments.

    And if that mechanism is not available, then on what evidentiary ground did you base your conclusion? Is it as I suspected in my earlier comment – an assumed conclusion in the face of material evidence to the contrary? What material facts do you suggest we use to teach assumed conclusions to science students?

    If you look at the biogeographic record, as Darwin and Wallace did, you realise that there are species and genus and families of life forms that only exist in certain locations on the planet. It is possible to begin to construct a tree of descent relationships, a tree of life as it were, from looking at how life forms seeming spread across the planet and changed and adapted to their local environments.

    If you look at life forms’ morphologies you can also build a similar tree of life. Not exactly the same I grant you. And not complete either. The fossil record is a partial ledger of some of the life forms that lived a long time ago. We can date the fossils and add them to our morphological tree of life extending it to over 500 million years in the past. Also, the locations of the fossils add to the geo-diversity picture.

    Darwin also looked at the ability of breeders in recorded history to modify and change the morphology of plants and animals. He knew the underlying variations were inheritable and that that made plausible the idea that the changes seen in the morphological tree of life as extended into the past and viewed geographically were part of a continuum, not isolated life forms.. For 100 years new fossil discoveries and new species discoveries enabled biologists to refine their life trees and add new branches. Sometimes new subsets were discovered. But nothing pointed to a separate tree. It all fit within certain limits of our knowledge. There was nothing contradictory.

    When we gained the ability to look inside the heritable mechanism we found a whole new way of drawing our tree of life. In fact, many different ways based on which chunk of DNA we focused on. (Not just genes mind you, the universal genetic code, transposons, ERVs, pseudo genes, broken genes, number of chromosomes, it all points in the same direction.) While each of those trees differed slightly from each other and from the morphological and geographic trees the main branches and divisions mostly held. The new knowledge was concordant with the old knowledge. All lines of evidence were giving the same indication: life on earth arose by common descent with variation.

    In short the modern evolutionary model of how life arose on this planet is coherent, self-consistent (within knowledge bounds), agrees with other sciences like chemistry and physics, has great explanatory power, is supported by multiple lines of independent evidence and does not include extra assumptions or special pleading. Nothing outside of known and observed processes are required. And we have observed many smaller steps occurring. Our big jigsaw picture is not complete by any means but every new piece we find eventually makes sense in the bigger picture once we figure out where it goes.

    As far as I can see, it’s the most parsimonious and powerful model going. It’s simple and elegant and it works. Just like a good theorem in mathematics.

    I’m sure this mini-essay has flaws and some badly worded sections. And I’ve probably left some things out. But I just made it up rather quickly so be nice please. And remember, you did ask.

  87. 87

    UB: Then by all means, please provide the evidence-laden unguided mechanism which has been shown to resolve the origin of the iterative system of symbols which Darwinian evolution is dependent upon. Such demonstrations are what empirical science is about, correct?

    Jerad: The mechanisms behind the modern evolutionary synthesis have been described and elucidated for over 150 years by many people much brighter than myself. Not much point in me going over it all again if you haven’t bought their arguments.

    This has nothing to do with the modern evolutionary synthesis. MET is silent on the origin of the biosemiosis. It cannot logically be the source of the material conditions required for its own existence, unless you believe that something which does not exist can cause something to happen.

    With this answer, you did nothing but punt away inconvenient evidence. Welcome to a real time exposition of your pseudo-scientific ideology.

  88. 88
    Kantian Naturalist

    That modern evolutionary theory doesn’t account for biosemiotics tells us only that we don’t have a completely adequate theory of life. But from the claim that the theory doesn’t explain everything, it doesn’t follow that the theory is mistaken with regards to what it does purport to explain, namely adaptation and speciation.

  89. Upright BiPed,

    Do you enjoy beating your head against brick walls?

  90. UPD (87):

    MET is silent on the origin of the biosemiosis. It cannot logically be the source of the material conditions required for its own existence, unless you believe that something which does not exist can cause something to happen.

    With this answer, you did nothing but punt away inconvenient evidence. Welcome to a real time exposition of your pseudo-scientific ideology.

    I’ve said many times I’m not well versed enough in the OoL issues to discuss it intelligently so I will stay out of that part of the discussion. I made my statement just to cover the other aspects of the general topic.

  91. 91

    Kantian Naturalist, Jerad

    MET cannot be the source of the material conditions required for its existence.

    This is a point that you both skipped over from comment #42. Darwinian evolution requires the existence of heritable recorded information. Heritable recorded information has specific material conditions in oerder to exist (this both as a logical conclusion and an universal empirical observation). As a consequence, Darwinian evolution is entirely dependent on the rise of those material conditions. It cannot be the source of them, and hence, it cannot be an explanation for them. To say otherwise is to propose that a thing which does not exist can cause something to happen, and can be an explanation of it happening.

  92. 92
    Kantian Naturalist

    As a consequence, Darwinian evolution is entirely dependent on the rise of those material conditions. It cannot be the source of them, and hence, it cannot be an explanation for them.

    Quite right — from which I conclude that Darwinian evolution, since it presupposes the existence of life, cannot explain the origins of life. Nor does it pretend to.

  93. UBP (91):

    MET cannot be the source of the material conditions required for its existence.

    This is a point that you both skipped over from comment #42. Darwinian evolution requires the existence of heritable recorded information. Heritable recorded information has specific material conditions in oerder to exist (this both as a logical conclusion and an universal empirical observation). As a consequence, Darwinian evolution is entirely dependent on the rise of those material conditions. It cannot be the source of them, and hence, it cannot be an explanation for them. To say otherwise is to propose that a thing which does not exist can cause something to happen, and can be an explanation of it happening.

    Obviously evolution requires the existence of heritable recorded information. I didn’t address the origin of the the first basic replicators for reasons I’ve mentioned. Why are you going on about it? What specific material conditions are you thinking of? Aside from the basic template and enough ‘food’ and conditions conducive for replication.

    What do you want me to say, that I know how the first replicator arose? I don’t so I’m leaving that for the experts in the field. I don’t think it had to be very big though.

  94. Jerad:

    Obviously evolution requires the existence of heritable recorded information.

    Does the existence of recorded information require evolution?

    What do you want me to say, that I know how the first replicator arose?

    Who said anything about the first replicators?

    How did the information arise? It sure as heck wasn’t read off of tree rings. Tree rings didn’t exist.

    UPB, maybe you should change your argument from ‘heritable’ to ‘transferable’?

  95. Mung (94):

    Does the existence of recorded information require evolution?

    Give me an example. I think air bubbles trapped in ice layers contain information, no evolution required there. I think sedimentary layers of rock contain information regarding their ‘journey’ no evolution required. I think the bands of magnetic polarity on either side of the mid-Atlantic rift contain information about tectonics, no evolution required. I think the moon contains information in it’s geology and make up and crater patterns that make it possible to hypothesise about how and when it was created, no evolution required. I think radioactive dating tells us about the age of non-living deposits.

    Who said anything about the first replicators?

    How did the information arise? It sure as heck wasn’t read off of tree rings. Tree rings didn’t exist.

    UPB, maybe you should change your argument from ‘heritable’ to ‘transferable’?

    What particular information are you referring to? Except for the first replicator information in genomes came from variation (including duplications) and natural selection favouring variants that were better able to exploit their environmental niche. The ‘information’ in their DNA was ‘generated’ via the mutation and selection repeated over generations. The selection was not random, it depends on the environmental conditions.

  96. KN:

    But from the claim that the theory doesn’t explain everything, it doesn’t follow that the theory is mistaken with regards to what it does purport to explain, namely adaptation and speciation.

    How can a theory which denies the reality of species, explain their origin?

    ;)

  97. Kantian Naturalist,

    I don’t want to misrepresent you, I’m going to mark up your text a bit, let me know if you object:

    In one sense, of course, it is true that the signs are there to be read [given the presence and prior knowledge of the dendrochronologist or the molecular geneticist] — but that’s as true for tree-rings as it is for genetic sequences.

    We maintain that genetic sequences are of a completely different kind than tree rings. Like trying to compare apples and Deep Blue.

    Please see Figure 2 in the following paper (p 112):

    http://www.toriah.org/articles/yockey-2000.pdf

    No human observer is required for that system to exist. There is no similarity when it comes to tree rings.

  98. 98
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause. Evidently CR does not understand that when you have slandered your host, and will not pull it back but then go on to want to come back and demand that the host prove the obvious, simply compounds the problem. And of course the context of the problem has already been adequately explained (cf latest remarks at 85 above). “Criticism” is not an excuse for slander. KF

  99. TSZ poster keiths has a blog post up about why [he thinks] ID is incompatible with the evidence that Darwinists appeal to for their theory of common descent.

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=1331

    Toronto quips:

    This shows ID for what it is, a “patchwork” theory.

    ID believes life needs a designer more complex than the complexity he’s supposed to be the explanation of!

    I laughed.

    One has to wonder if Toronto has ever taken a serious look at evolutionary theory.

    Anyone care to speculate on whether Lizzie’s program is more complex than the CSI it allegedly generates?

    Joe Felsenstein:

    I am willing to answer questions about methods for inferring phylogenies (evolutionary trees) here, within reason. Questions posed over at UD I will answer if I happen to see them (someone can re-raise them over here if they feel ignored).

    Could you first just explain what a Fitness Landscape is?

    Have you or anyone else over there at TSZ read:

    Reconstructing the Past (Sober)

    Evidence and Evolution (Sober)

    The Logic of Chance (Koonin)

  100. keiths:

    I’ve seen ID proponents make certain mistakes again and again. This is the first of a series of posts in which (as time permits) I’ll point out these common mistakes and the misconceptions that lie behind them.

    Therefore, Darwinian Evolution is true.

    Note how since keiths cannot put forth a positive case for as requested by the OP in this case, he has to go on the attack against ID.

  101. keiths:

    The first misconception I’ll tackle is a big one: it’s the idea that the evidence for common descent is not a serious threat to ID. As it turns out, ID is not just threatened by the evidence for common descent — it’s literally trillions of times worse than unguided evolution at explaining the evidence.

    Common descent is not a threat to ID, much less a serious threat.

    As far as evidence, does the word cherry-picking ring any bells?

  102. I have a question I’ve been wanting to ask for some time:

    Can it be called common descent if a designer ‘helped’? If there are gaps which could not be spanned with purely natural, undirected processes then is it still common descent?

    Perhaps it’s just me but I always thought common descent meant via purely natural, undirected processes. With no intervention. Purely the result of strict parent/child propagation.

    Based on my version of common descent I would say anything involving a designer was NOT common descent. But perhaps we should discuss the matter to make sure we’re all understanding each other.

    What do y’all think?

    Seriously.

  103. 103
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause, as pointed out. KF

  104. CR,

    You should know by now that I choose not to engage any argument you might put forth in any thread hosted by kf.

  105. Jerad,

    You don’t see patterns of descent with modification in technological artifacts? Or is there some doubt in your mind that such artifacts were designed?

  106. keiths:

    The ‘Big Tent’ of the ID movement shelters two groups. The ‘creationists’ believe that the ‘kinds’ of life were created separately, as the Biblical account suggests, and these folks therefore deny common descent.

    lol. The “big tent” of ID does not “shelter” either group. I myself often challenge young earth creationists, for example.

    And even given the creation of separate kinds Creationists accept common descent within those created groups.

    The ‘common descent IDers’ accept common descent but argue that natural processes, unassisted by intelligence, cannot account for the complexity and diversity of life we see on earth today. They therefore believe that evolution was guided by an Intelligence that either actively intervened at critical moments, or else influenced evolution via information that was ‘front-loaded’ into the genome at an earlier time.

    To someone in the ID camp reading this, you probably look like a complete moron who hasn’t a clue about ID.

    ID’ers do not argue that unguided natural process can’t do it, therefore a guided process. No wonder you were banned from UD. You’re off to a rollicking start there keiths.

    It can only get better now. I hope.

  107. keiths:

    If you are still an IDer after reading, understanding, and digesting all of this, then it is safe to say that you are an IDer despite the evidence, not because of it. Your position is a matter of faith and is therefore a religious stance, not a scientific one.

    lol.

    Well, I read all the way through. keiths seems to be arguing not for common descent, but for universal common descent. There’s a difference, and the evidence is different, depending on which you are arguing for.

    As such, I expected to find some mention of the things shared by all living organisms. Wouldn’t they be the strongest evidence for universal common descent?

    Alas, it was not to be.

    Given the opening statement, I expected to find discussion of specific evidences. But alas, those too were missing. Maybe a future post?

  108. 108
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause of insistence on sustaining slander. KF

  109. 109
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause, apparently CR thinks we are foolish enough to confuse slander with genuine criticism. KF

  110. Mung,

    The funny side is it could be easily argued that evidence for Common Descent is not compatible with the blind watchmaker thesis, ie the modern synthesis.

  111. Mung (with special reference to Keiths):

    It looks like more of the same, default a priori evolutionary materialism backed up by attack attack attack and complaints against censorship.

    I see Keiths:

    Unfortunately, dissenters at Uncommon Descent are typically banned or have their comments censored, all for the ‘crime’ of criticizing ID or defending evolution effectively.

    That is a statement in willful defiance of duties of care to truth hoping to profit from the false being perceived as true by the intended audience, a slanderous lie — I have linked a definition from Wiki — motivated by bigotry.

    A lie, in the face of a challenge now approaching sixteen days to simply put up a positive case for blind watchmaker thesis evolution, which I have personally promised to host at UD.

    Sixteen days of a serious and open offer and nothing put forth to do so.

    Sixteen days in which, if there had been good will a new leaf could have been turned.

    Instead, we now clearly see the usual tactic of red herrings, dragged away to the feet of strawmen soaked in ad hominems and set alight through incendiary words. The better to cloud, confuse, choke, poison and polarise the atmosphere.

    It should be clear that — for the most recent instance — neither of Onlooker nor CR were asked by me to apologise or leave threads I host until they crossed the threshold of bigotry.

    Yes, bigotry.

    Calling or implying that those you object to are invariably ignorant, stupid, insane and/or wicked is bigotry. (Yes, Dr Dawkins, bigotry. And, how many years have you kept this bigotry up?)

    Suggesting that serious opponents with serious questions and carefully considered views with serious intellectual pedigrees going back to Kelvin, Maxwell, Pascal, Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Bacon, Galileo and co, and beyond all the way to Plato et al are playing hidden agenda corruption of science games is bigotry.

    Playing invidious guilt and demonisation by association games is bigotry.

    Suggesting without extremely good warrant — and no twisting the Wedge document or citing copycat Jones or his mentors in the NCSE or ACLU and/or those who parrot them is not good warrant — that serious opponents are involved in nefarious conspiracies to subvert education, science, policy and government and society is bigotry.

    Conspiracy theory-level bigotry.

    Yes, bigotry.

    Bigotry.

    Understand that.

    Bigotry.

    And now maybe you will understand why I am saying you will not be allowed to play bigotry games as though nothing destructive has happened. Especially, when something serious is on the table.

    So, let the record stand, that shows that for sixteen days coming on, a serious offer has been put on the table, only to be ignored and met with bigotry.

    Let me take just one little slice:

    The ‘Big Tent’ of the ID movement shelters two groups. The ‘creationists’ believe that the ‘kinds’ of life were created separately, as the Biblical account suggests, and these folks therefore deny common descent. The ‘common descent IDers’ accept common descent but argue that natural processes, unassisted by intelligence, cannot account for the complexity and diversity of life we see on earth today. They therefore believe that evolution was guided by an Intelligence that either actively intervened at critical moments, or else influenced evolution via information that was ‘front-loaded’ into the genome at an earlier time.

    Rubbish, based on the very same game I just spoke to. (E.g. It is no accident that the very first group referred to just above is Creationists. After all, having already successfully smeared these, the next step is guilt by association. STOP, just stop. Now. Enough of bigotry, ingrained bigotry already.)

    The design inference is very simple, based on the premise that empirical, inductive explanations of the deep unobserved past or the like, are based on traces we observe and known empirically reliable causes that give rise to the same type of result. So, for instance we know on billions of cases that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as key cause. Indeed, the only observed cause, never mind ever so many dubious attempts to cloud the issue. genetic algorithms, from the very statement of a fitness function that points uphill start in a target zone and are chock full of the information built into such. The challenge is to get to such an island of function in a vast sea of configs that quickly exhaust cosmos scale resources without hardly sampling the space of possibilities.

    And the objectors know this or should know it.

    So, on best current empirically anchored explanation, when we see FSCO/I, the best explanation is design.

    Notice, no world view level a prioris [cf evolutionary materialism and its question-begging redefinition of science and its methods), no impositions of question-begging answers before the facts can speak etc. Basic inductive reasoning.

    Yes, in some moods, Creationists will discuss in terms of design inferences and warrant for same. Vastly improved creationist discussion, too.

    Yes, there are those who are theistic, deistic or panentheistic, or pantheistic, or Platonist etc who accept an inference to design. They do so for the same empirical, a posteriori inductive reasoning process just outlined.

    So do the agnostics and atheists who accept design theory.

    So, the whole rhetorical game being played is to divert to accuse accuse accuse, meanwhile refusing to address a very simple bit of inductive reasoning.

    And meanwhile, we have gone fifteen and a half coming on sixteen days without even an offer to put up a 6,000 word essay to show the positive case for the blind watchmaker thesis explanation of the world of life from OOL to the whole branching tree of major body plans down or up to us.

    The crickets are chirping on this front, even while we see the heavy cannons of bigotry-laced talking points trotted out.

    And, BTW, Keiths is not telling you that I said, that a parallel posting at UD and TSZ would be welcome. The debate can run in parallel and the onlookers can see for themselves just what is going on.

    Biting at the hand offered in the spirit of sincere dialogue speaks volumes Keiths.

    Loud and telling volumes.

    I hope you have enough conscience to be deeply ashamed of your shameful performance.

    Good day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

  112. 112
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 96 & 97:

    How can a theory which denies the reality of species, explain their origin?

    I’m not sure how tongue-in-cheek this is, but it bears emphasis, perhaps, that contemporary evolutionary theory does affirm the reality of species — it’s just committed to anti-essentialism about them. So anti-realism follows from anti-essentialism only in light of some antecedent view that species are real only if they are kinds. But surely any metaphysical position accepts that there are individuals. And a population is an individual — it’s just a disparate, collective individual. (I’m not willing to say that the Yankees don’t really exist, but only the players.)

    Though I do think that a respectable version of Darwinism yield anti-realism about higher-level taxa, I don’t think that that commitment is really necessary to the theory. Gould, if memory serves, was hesitant to endorse anti-realism about higher taxa. Not really sure about that, though.

    We maintain that genetic sequences are of a completely different kind than tree rings. Like trying to compare apples and Deep Blue.

    Of course, I agree that no human observer is required for the causally-grounded isomorphism between nucleotide and peptide sequences, by virtue of the pairing between codons and amino acids. But for that matter, no human observer is required for the causally-grounded isomorphism between tree-rings and seasonal variations, either. So I still don’t see the point at which the analogy I’m urging breaks down.

    (P.S.: No, I don’t mind if Mung or anyone else adds mark-up to my posts. It helps illustrate points of agreement and disagreement.)

  113. Mung (105):

    You don’t see patterns of descent with modification in technological artifacts? Or is there some doubt in your mind that such artifacts were designed?

    I wouldn’t use the term common descent in those cases.

    How about it, is descent with designer intervention common descent?

  114. Jerad:

    How about it, is descent with designer intervention common descent?

    Given that you reject the idea that designs can evolve via modification of prior designs I don’t see much point to your question.

  115. KF (111):

    The ‘common descent IDers’ accept common descent but argue that natural processes, unassisted by intelligence, cannot account for the complexity and diversity of life we see on earth today. They therefore believe that evolution was guided by an Intelligence that either actively intervened at critical moments, or else influenced evolution via information that was ‘front-loaded’ into the genome at an earlier time.

    That seems a fairly straightforward statement of the situation. Is it just it’s conjunction with the previous statement that bothers you?

    The design inference is very simple, based on the premise that empirical, inductive explanations of the deep unobserved past or the like, are based on traces we observe and known empirically reliable causes that give rise to the same type of result. So, for instance we know on billions of cases that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as key cause. Indeed, the only observed cause, never mind ever so many dubious attempts to cloud the issue. genetic algorithms, from the very statement of a fitness function that points uphill start in a target zone and are chock full of the information built into such. The challenge is to get to such an island of function in a vast sea of configs that quickly exhaust cosmos scale resources without hardly sampling the space of possibilities.

    And the objectors know this or should know it.

    So, on best current empirically anchored explanation, when we see FSCO/I, the best explanation is design.

    I’m not sure where CR’s bigotry entered in not having read, or been able to read, all his(?) posts but you are allowing that we can disagree with you on some of these matters surely.

    And meanwhile, we have gone fifteen and a half coming on sixteen days without even an offer to put up a 6,000 word essay to show the positive case for the blind watchmaker thesis explanation of the world of life from OOL to the whole branching tree of major body plans down or up to us.

    You are continually telling us that the design inference is clearly the best inference based on warrant and in the teeth of something so . . . . is it even worth someone trying? I continually hear from you and Mung and Joe and Gil that evolutionary theory is absurd and nonsensical and wrong, that it has no evidence, that the evidence is stacking up against it. I can’t really see the point of restating all the same arguments that have been made over and over again.

    That being said I did, in a previous post, attempt to explain to Upright BiPed why I found the evidence for undirected evolution compelling. No one commented on that attempt. Oh well.

  116. Mung:

    I don’t think you’ve addressed my statements in post 95 trying to answer a question you posed to me. Does that mean you’re tired of the topic, busy or that my answer is not worth responding to?

    Given that you reject the idea that designs can evolve via modification of prior designs I don’t see much point to your question.

    That’s not what I said though. I said I wouldn’t use the term common descent in such cases. Clearly design ideas, like models of cars or computers or even works of art, can borrow from what’s gone before. It’s one of the ways dissemination is evaluated in archaeology.

    My question: should we use the same term, common descent, when referring to guided and unguided descent? Would it not be clearer to use different terms? I ask in the hope of making the conversation clearer and less contentious.

  117. Whether observing the present state of a system provides evidence about it’s past depends on whether the process linking past to present is (a) information destroying or (b) information preserving.

    – Elliott Sober, Reconstructing the Past

    Why should an unguided process just happen to be information preserving? How is “it just happened, that’s all” an explanation at all, much less a better explanation?

    …it would be folly to try to produce an a priori argument that shows that evolutionary history must always be recoverable.

  118. Jerad:

    I continually hear from you and Mung and Joe and Gil that evolutionary theory is absurd and nonsensical and wrong, that it has no evidence, that the evidence is stacking up against it.

    Nah, my stance is it’s not even wrong. :)

    I think I said it turns people into useful idiots.

  119. Sorry, in post 115 I failed to blockquote a paragraph from KF starting “And meanwhile, we have gone . . . ” I do apologise for any confusion.

    Mung (118):

    Nah, my stance is it’s not even wrong.

    I think I said it turns people into useful idiots.

    I remember you saying that. But there’s not much point in me trying to present my best case is there? I’m not going to change anyone’s mind so . . .

  120. 120

    Kantian Naturalist,

    Of course, I agree that no human observer is required for the causally-grounded isomorphism between nucleotide and peptide sequences, by virtue of the pairing between codons and amino acids.

    There is no inherent law-based pairing between codons and amino acids. That paring is context specific; established in complete material isolation (temporally and spatially) from both the codon and the amino acid. This establishes a relationship within the system, not merely a law-based result.

    But for that matter, no human observer is required for the causally-grounded isomorphism between tree-rings and seasonal variations, either. So I still don’t see the point at which the analogy I’m urging breaks down.

    The issue is not a comparison between a) seasonal effects on tree rings, versus b) the effects of nucleotides on the production of peptides. That is a frame shift you pushed in your previous response. The issue on the table was the existence of information transfer, and the comparison was the between a) tree rings and the cognitive response “Hey this tree is 10 years old” versus b) the effects of nucleotides on peptide production. You stated that they were the same thing – a human projection of information transfer. But they are not. One requires a human observer in order for the information to be transferred, and the other does not.

  121. 121

    I will return later to respond to Jerad’s #93.

  122. 122

    CR,

    I do not find criticism offensive, because criticism is how we make progress

    (chuckle, chuckle)

    It’s all too easy for you to promote such an idea. You haven’t the intellectual integrity to actually face criticism (at least not here). You shelter your position from criticism by deliberately refusing to engage it. And when you criticize other’s positions you substitute their positions with arguments of you own making – then attack those arguments instead. You make yourself impenetrable to evidence and reason, and in the process, you become the worst kind of ideologue.

    Prove me wrong:

    81 Upright BiPed October 8, 2012 at 12:04 am

    CR, Your criticisms of my remarks remain meaningless because you fail to orient yourself to the argument I make. You do this deliberately, preferring to criticize your definitions as opposed to mine. Take for instance your definition of protocol versus mine. Even though it has been given to you several times (along with the reasoning of why it is the way it is), I’ll happily wager you cannot provide my definition, and compare it to your definition. To do so would expose the intractable weaknesses in your criticisms. Actually, please allow me to rephrase that – to do so would expose how completely vacant your criticisms are, and why you prefer to criticize your definitions as opposed to mine.

    92 Upright BiPed September 30, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Darwinian evolution functions as a result of recorded information. As a consequence, it is entirely dependent on the material requirements of recorded information. Darwinism cannot be the source of those material requirements, and hence, it cannot be an explanation for them. To continually say that it is – is to say that a thing that does not exist can cause something to happen, and can be an explanation of it happening.

    “Can a thing that does not exist cause something to happen?”

    This will be my last response to you if you do not engage the argument on its own terms, or do not directly answer the question. I predict you will do as you’ve done thus far, defend yourself by questioning the question in order to avoid it.

  123. Jerad:

    But there’s not much point in me trying to present my best case is there? I’m not going to change anyone’s mind so . . .

    I bet not many of us here here expect to change your mind, but that has not prevented us from presenting our best case(s).

    Who knows, by presenting your best case and seeing it critiqued you may actually come to see some merits to the criticisms.

  124. Jerad:

    I don’t think you’ve addressed my statements in post 95 trying to answer a question you posed to me. Does that mean you’re tired of the topic, busy or that my answer is not worth responding to?

    You answered my question. You don’t think the existence of recorded information requires evolution.

    As for your questions, let’s go back to your previous scenario involving Voyager 1:

    Voyager 1 is transmitting millions of bits of data every day. It’s an amazing feat of engineering if nothing else. We on earth know the format the data is being couched in so it’s easy for us to interpret the signal. Read the information.

    So you agree there’s a distinction between data and information?

    But an alien culture might not know how to ‘read’ the signal. Does that change the information?

    It doesn’t change the data. Since that data is not informative, it follows that it’s not information. Information informs.

    I think air bubbles trapped in ice layers contain information, no evolution required there. I think sedimentary layers of rock contain information regarding their ‘journey’ no evolution required. I think the bands of magnetic polarity on either side of the mid-Atlantic rift contain information about tectonics, no evolution required.

    What do they contain information about? Why do you think these things “contain” information rather than merely serving as a source of data?

    I think the moon contains information in it’s geology and make up and crater patterns that make it possible to hypothesise about how and when it was created, no evolution required. I think radioactive dating tells us about the age of non-living deposits.

    Make it possible for humans, you mean? In the absence of interpreters of these phenomena, in what sense do they contain information?

  125. The entire OP was an explanation of why unguided evolution is literally trillions of times better than ID at explaining the evidence.

    No, it was more of an uneducated rant. Theobald’s “evidences” do NOT support unguided evolution. And unguided evolution can’t even construct new protein machinery that require more than two new protein-to-protein binding sites.

    Heck, keiths, you can’t even provide a testable hypothesis pertaining to unguided evolution.

    A third grader can come up with a better explanation for not having his homework finished on time than unguided evolution has for the diversity of life.

    As the OP explains, the evidence is a problem for ID whether or not you accept common descent.

    No, you just declare it and erect strawman after strawman to support your bald declaration.

    And now you are very proud of yourself because it is a lot of work erecting and destroying so many strawmen at one time. You may have broken a record- heh, you surely are a broken record, skipping, repeating and just noisy.

  126. 126
    Kantian Naturalist

    I’ve started reading Plantinga’s Where the Conflict Really Lies, and he makes a nice point on the distinction between “random” and “unguided.”

    Planting quotes Sober as saying, “There is no physical mechanism (either inside organisms or outside of them) that detects which mutations would be beneficial and causes those mutations to occur”, to which Plantinga adds, “But their being random in that sense is clearly compatible with their being caused by God.”

    By contrast, by unguided Plantinga understands the claim that “no personal agent, not even God, has guided, directed, orchestrated, or shaped it [the process of evolution.”

    That is to say: modern evolutionary theory says only that mutations are random, in the precise sense provided by Sober. Whether those random mutations are also unguided is a metaphysical question. So we can distinguish between what’s empirically knowable (whether mutations are random) and what’s a matter of metaphysical speculation (whether mutations are unguided).

    Now, Plantinga then goes on to chastise scientists and philosophers who conflate these issues, and take evolutionary theory as basically giving us empirical confirmation of unguidedness.

    At first blush, it seems to me that Plantinga is correct to do so. I say that because even though I am a naturalist, as Plantinga is not, I share with Plantinga the idea that there’s some distinction to be drawn between science and metaphysics, whether that metaphysics is naturalistic or theological.

  127. KN,

    That is correct. There is no scientific methodology which can measure the extent to which some process is guided or not guided.

    Yet we repeatedly have to deal with the argument as if it’s a scientifically settles issue. Jerad himself has recently asserted that random indicates unguided while at the same time rejecting the idea that if it’s non-random it is therefore guided.

  128. Kantian Naturalist

    That is to say: modern evolutionary theory says only that mutations are random, in the precise sense provided by Sober. Whether those random mutations are also unguided is a metaphysical question. So we can distinguish between what’s empirically knowable (whether mutations are random) and what’s a matter of metaphysical speculation (whether mutations are unguided).

    When Darwinists write the textbooks that influence young skulls full of mush, they make it clear that evolutionary “science” is all about unguided evolution and the creative power of ontological chance (Evolution IS purposeless and definitely doesn’t know where it is going). When they speak about it in public, however, they fight amongst themselves about whether to be honest about it or to pretend that they allow for epistemological chance (Evolution SEEMS purposeless but we can’t be sure).

    Some analysts, such as Jay Richards and Stephen Meyer understand the deception. Others, such as Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig have been taken in. What matters, though, is what the Darwinists tell the children, and what they tell the children in the name of science is this: “Evolution is a purposeless, mindless process that did not have man in mind.”

  129. Mung (123):

    I bet not many of us here here expect to change your mind, but that has not prevented us from presenting our best case(s).

    Who knows, by presenting your best case and seeing it critiqued you may actually come to see some merits to the criticisms.

    Do you really think so? After comments like these (just from this thread after your post):

    A third grader can come up with a better explanation for not having his homework finished on time than unguided evolution has for the diversity of life

    And now you are very proud of yourself because it is a lot of work erecting and destroying so many strawmen at one time. You may have broken a record- heh, you surely are a broken record, skipping, repeating and just noisy.

    Yet we repeatedly have to deal with the argument as if it’s a scientifically settles issue. Jerad himself has recently asserted that random indicates unguided while at the same time rejecting the idea that if it’s non-random it is therefore guided.

    When Darwinists write the textbooks that influence young skulls full of mush, they make it clear that evolutionary “science” is all about unguided evolution and the creative power of ontological chance (Evolution IS purposeless and definitely doesn’t know where it is going). When they speak about it in public, however, they fight amongst themselves about whether to be honest about it or to pretend that they allow for epistemological chance (Evolution SEEMS purposeless but we can’t be sure).

    Some analysts, such as Jay Richards and Stephen Meyer understand the deception. Others, such as Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig have been taken in. What matters, though, is what the Darwinists tell the children, and what they tell the children in the name of science is this: “Evolution is a purposeless, mindless process that did not have man in mind.”

    If I went through some other recent threads I could find much more disparaging comments about evolutionary theory. I did give an explanation of how I see the evidence earlier in this thread (comment 86) and no one commented on it.

    And so it goes . . .

  130. Mung (124):

    So you agree there’s a distinction between data and information?

    I know what you’re saying: the bits or the numbers therein are the data but they don’t mean anything without interpretation. Like saying that the average daily temperature of the world is just data, interpreting it as indicative of climate change is imposing or gleaning information from the data.

    But I don’t think the separation is normally that great. If Voyager 1 is sending back temperature data and that’s what the scientists want to see then that’s information. You can/could say that the actual 0s and 1s, the bits, sent are data and not information but they’re just a translation of the temperature which was measured before it was translated into bits and then is reread as temperature when the signal reaches earth.

    If there is a locked way of translating from ‘information’ to bits then I don’t see the distinction as being important.

    But an alien culture might not know how to ‘read’ the signal. Does that change the information?

    It doesn’t change the data. Since that data is not informative, it follows that it’s not information. Information informs.

    Really? So when we couldn’t read Linear B there was no information there but when we learned how then there was information? Information comes and goes depending on who’s looking at the transmission medium/data? So if there’s never anyone to interpret it the information is lost? It was there when someone wrote the text but it goes away ’til someone reads it?

    I think air bubbles trapped in ice layers contain information, no evolution required there. I think sedimentary layers of rock contain information regarding their ‘journey’ no evolution required. I think the bands of magnetic polarity on either side of the mid-Atlantic rift contain information about tectonics, no evolution required.

    What do they contain information about? Why do you think these things “contain” information rather than merely serving as a source of data?

    Are you saying seeing the bands of reversed polarity in magnetic rocks on either side of the mid-Atlantic trench contain no information unless there is someone to interpret it? Before humans learned to send down probes and ‘read’ those bands there was no information there but after we did there was? That the information just, all of a sudden, came into existence? Who created it then? What intelligent agent created the information in tree rings or when an insect is trapped in amber or when air bubbles are trapped in ice layers or when fossils are formed and then ‘interpreted’ later. Who created the information? The person who ‘reads’ it?

    Make it possible for humans, you mean? In the absence of interpreters of these phenomena, in what sense do they contain information?

    Again, are you saying the interpreters are then creating the information? If yes then how? If not then where is the information coming from?

  131. Jerad:

    Do you understand that there is a sharp and material difference between imposing a priori evolutionary materialism — read all five illustrative cases in point, please — and accepting common descent [with some degree or another of modification and diversification], including universal common descent?

    (Behe for instance is perhaps the no 2 current scientific advocate of design theory in the world of life, and he holds to universal common descent. Similarly, the co-founder of evolutionary theory, Wallace, held to a view that has been called intelligent evolution, as can be seen in his The World of Life. [It is telling that this book has been recently re-issued by the publisher, Forgotten Books. Cf. the original post for links and do watch the vid.)

    Similarly, despite many bland assurances from the evo mat establishment that there is simply a matter of cumulative effect between micro- and macro- evolutionary change, the fact of multi-part complexity dependent on tight integration of the components, and correct organisation to achieve function, shows that in the world of life we have reason to expect to see islands of function.

    This is evident, first, from the fact of thousands of protein fold domains that simply do not fit a branching tree pattern and are isolated to something like 1 in 10^60 or 70 in AA config space. Similarly, we observe that small mutations often derange function and many can easily be lethal (hence our fear bordering on panic over radioactivity). Next, the actual fossil record, as opposed to the branching tree diagram often imposed on it, shows a pattern of top-down diversification [from the Cambrian fossils on], multiplied by appearance, stasis, disappearance of forms at all sorts of levels as a dominant pattern. So, we have excellent grounds to see that islands of function are just as much of a challenge in the biological world as in any other domain where we see FSCO/I. And, it remains the case that the only widely observed, empirically reliable source of FSCO/I is design.

    Likewise, the term “Evolution” is notoriously slippery and prone to the rhetoric of equivocation. But, given the reason to see the islands of function effect as a serious challenge, adaptation to niches within a body plan is one thing; molecules in a pond to Mozart is quite another.

    And, given the evidence just summarised, that is not just a matter of question-begging, there is a case to be answered to in the face of abundant empirical evidence.

    What is being objected to is not common descent and evolution in the micro sense [accepted by even today's young earth creationists and seen as a designed mechanism of adaptation, cf the way the immune system responds to infections as a model] or even universal common descent, but he a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism that definitely begs big questions and warps the way observationally grounded inductive empirical reasoning works in science.

    And since someone out there — utterly astonishingly — is trying to pretend in the name of Popper that induction is a dubious intellectual exercise and does not extend to inference to best current empirically grounded explanation, let me underscore from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Deduction and Induction:

    A deductive argument is an argument in which it is thought that the premises provide a guarantee of the truth of the conclusion. In a deductive argument, the premises are intended to provide support for the conclusion that is so strong that, if the premises are true, it would be impossible for the conclusion to be false.

    An inductive argument is an argument in which it is thought that the premises provide reasons supporting the probable truth of the conclusion. In an inductive argument, the premises are intended only to be so strong that, if they are true, then it is unlikely that the conclusion is false.

    The difference between the two comes from the sort of relation the author or expositor of the argument takes there to be between the premises and the conclusion. If the author of the argument believes that the truth of the premises definitely establishes the truth of the conclusion due to definition, logical entailment or mathematical necessity, then the argument is deductive. If the author of the argument does not think that the truth of the premises definitely establishes the truth of the conclusion, but nonetheless believes that their truth provides good reason to believe the conclusion true, then the argument is inductive . . . .

    Because deductive arguments are those in which the truth of the conclusion is thought to be completely guaranteed and not just made probable by the truth of the premises, if the argument is a sound one, the truth of the conclusion is “contained within” the truth of the premises; i.e., the conclusion does not go beyond what the truth of the premises implicitly requires. For this reason, deductive arguments are usually limited to inferences that follow from definitions, mathematics and rules of formal logic . . . .

    Inductive arguments, on the other hand, can appeal to any consideration that might be thought relevant to the probability of the truth of the conclusion. Inductive arguments, therefore, can take very wide ranging forms, including arguments dealing with statistical data, generalizations from past experience, appeals to signs, evidence or authority, and causal relationships.

    Some dictionaries define “deduction” as reasoning from the general to specific and “induction” as reasoning from the specific to the general. While this usage is still sometimes found even in philosophical and mathematical contexts, for the most part, it is outdated . . . .

    Because the difference between inductive and deductive arguments involves the strength of evidence which the author believes the premises to provide for the conclusion, inductive and deductive arguments differ with regard to the standards of evaluation that are applicable to them. The difference does not have to do with the content or subject matter of the argument. Indeed, the same utterance may be used to present either a deductive or an inductive argument, depending on the intentions of the person advancing it.

    In short, in inductive reasoning [the major part of reasoning, let us not forget, and those who object will invariably be found bringing back inductive reasoning in under another name by the back door, e.g. when we see the concept of corroboration in Popper, it is a case of unacknowledged and probably unrecognised inference to best explanation across competing options . . . ], we seek to provide good and reasonable, responsible grounds of warrant for a conclusion in light of relevant facts etc.

    So, where the evidence and reasoning adduced give good grounds to SUPPORT the credibility of the claim that a conclusion is plausibly or probably true, then this is a cogent inductive argument.

    Inference to best current explanation fits under this.

    Degree of warrant varies with the case and a reasonable man will assess that degree of warrant for itself and in light of comparable cases.

    For quite painful current instance, observe how I have tracked the emerging story of the Fly Montserrat crash on takeoff from V C Bird Antigua Sunday afternoon that has Montserrat in a state of shock. Note:

    (i) The core matter of a crash on takeoff has been from the first grounded to moral certainty on credible and convergent testimonies

    (ii) The identity of the venue and photos of the plane are similarly morally certain factual reports. That the front about 1/3 of the plane was crumpled in, is mute testimony to the force of the impact and why the pilot did not survive. The precise reason for the crash is not certain and is subject to an investigation that will reconstruct the course of events on observation and inference to best explanation. This, with the aim of preventing future tragedies. (Notice the implication for how much we routinely trust IBCE in life and death situations.)

    (iii) Starting with the time of the incident, specific details have been harder to clarify and firm up, once we move beyond the agreement that the pilot was one of the fatalities — a sign that the accident was a fatal one — which was reported as soon as such details were released.

    (iv) Number, identity and details on the other victims, fatalities and survivors were much less firm, but all too soon, between crowd and official sources, corroborated by the failure of a popular young Jamaican teacher to show up for work at MSS yesterday, and staff and student body reduced to tears from the Principal down, we realised that a specific teacher at the high school was one of the losses. She taught my son Integrated Science. [They had to release the school early, and send counsellors ranging from ministers of religion to ministers of Government, think of a teacher driving to school, barely being able to park his car then collapsing in tears over the steering wheel in shocked grief. A candle light vigil was held yesterday evening, and a more formal one will follow this evening.)

    (v) Similarly, the mother of a now utterly distraught young woman in the hospital with a problem pregnancy, who was trying to fly in from Guyana was the other passenger fatality.

    (vi) The survivor turns out to be a volunteer on an ecological project from the UK, and again the circle closes to a personal contact with family and friends.

    In short, inductive reasoning is credible, is widely and reliably used in important situations with life and death on the line, and it counts. (And, on a personal note, try to understand having to deal with the sort of abusive behaviour that was so evident yesterday, while having to face this community tragedy and other difficult challenges at the same time. The uncivil advocates and enthusiasts of Darwin need to begin to understand some of the ways in which their irresponsible behaviour is needlessly harmful.)

    As to the invidious association game where "Creationist" is used as a term of abuse and projection of bogeyman fears,t hen is used as a tar baby to try to associate design theory with a series of perceived threats to science and society, based on what are demonstrably slanders, that has been more than adequately shown above.

    Similarly, the key and material divergences between the pattern of Creationist thought and that of design thought, has already been outlined here and is plain enough from many other accessible sources.

    The rhetorical tactic of guilt by invidious association with the creationist bogeyman, is a slander.

    And, a slander used to substitute for a patent absence of cogent response on what is an open invitation to provide positive warrant. Remember, my offer has been that I will personally host here the 6,000 word essay.

    In reply to that slander, I have seen all sorts of poisonous distractions, including what looks like the tactic of being disruptive in a thread to attract disciplinary action in defence of civility, that is then twisted into a compounding Big Lie false accusation of censorship.

    Remember, such stunts are in response to an offer to host a 6,000 word essay laying out the positive case for blind watchmaker thesis molecules to man evolution.

    That speaks loudest volumes on the want of sound warrant for the case, and it frankly goes to character.

    Let me cite the 2350 year old warning from Plato in his The Laws, Bk X, on the amorality and dangerous behaviour of nihilistic factions premised on evolutionary materialism, to underscore the point:

    Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that . . . 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. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily "scientific" view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors: (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he 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; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke's views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic "every man does what is right in his own eyes" chaos leading to tyranny. )] 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 [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], 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 [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality "naturally" leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, "naturally" tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them.

    We can hardly say we have not been warned in good time.

    It is time to think again, and it is high time for the enthusiasts and advocates of Darwin to do a lot better than this.

    KF

  132. F/N: Six days and counting for the offer as given in the headlined post above, sixteen days if we remember the in-thread offer; note as well the absence of a cogent response in light of the clips and comments from Wiki as stand-in for the empty chair. Advocates and enthusiasts of Darwin need to understand the first rule of holes: if you need to get out, stop digging in deeper.

  133. Jerad:

    First, do you understand that ancient scripts were recognised as coded symbolic representations of messages expressed as structured sets of glyphs long before they were deciphered?

    Second, do you know that so soon as DNA was discovered as a double helix, the same symbolic representation under a protocol, a convention, was recognised to be taking place? (Think here of Crick’s March 19, 1953 letter to his son Michael, years before the actual code table was worked out. In the letter, Crick spoke of a direct parallel between the sequence of bases and the letters of a textual message.]

    Do you see the equivocation between that which has effect because of meaning as interpreted and expressed, and that which has effect because of mechanical necessity in light of initial circumstances and the mere presence of the forces and materials of nature in the situation?

    You seem to be conflating apples and oranges, because your evident underlying materialism tends to suppress the difference.

    Specifically, such materialism leads you to reduce mind to matter and does not see the implied self referential incoherence.

    For just one instance, in the protein assembly process, the bases in the mRNA in the Ribosome, couple to tRNA anticodons, and thus the chaining chemistry of AA’s is used. So far all is mechanism, though functionally specific in organisation and highly complex at many levels.

    Now, understand the next point: the tRNA’s are loaded at a universal coupler the CCA end, that couples to the same side of the AA, regardless of its identity.

    That is, which AA couples to which tRNA is not Chemically determined.

    Instead, there are what I descriptively call loading enzymes, that couple to the tRNA’s based on their coded shape — like a Yale Lock’s prongs — and then the right AA is added based on the information stored in the tRNA. That is why tRNA’s have recently been artificially reprogrammed to load novel AA’s, extending the range of AA’s used in assembly.

    You are equivocating the STATE of an object with its being informational. the STATE of the bubble of air in an ice field is just that, a state. The shape of a snowflake is just that. These are contingent and can be shaped by chance and necessity, or by choice.

    Remember, the Shannon info metric is a measure of info carrying capacity; not of the sort of functional coded info that is being discussed at UD and elsewhere.

    The process of growth of a tree, is driven by internal programs and algorithms from cells to systems, and responds to a cluster of environmental effects.

    Because it is contingent, it can be used to store info, and we can come along and deduce per inference to best explanation a model of the past on the state of the rings we observe. But the state of the rings as such in the state of nature, is not a part of a source-encoder/modulator, transmitter/ storage, detector, demod/decode, sink system. It is just an effect and a state of nature working freely that we can come along, measure and record. Then, we interpret based on models of cause and effect to suggest a past timeline.

    By sharpest contrast, the DNA, RNA, enzymes, Ribosome protein synthesis process uses just such a comms system, and a digital code to effect an automatic assembly process.

    I am sure however, that a priori commitment to materialism will tend to suppress or cloud the distinction.

    Do you genuinely see no difference between the text of this post, or the Rosetta stone or the Behistun rock etc, and the pattern of concentration of gases in an air bubble in an ice core?

    What do you think it is that such is clearly telling us, looking on; never mind how it may well seem so convincingly to say to card-carrying members of your apparent party?

    KF

  134. F/N: It may be helpful to use the informational definition of entropy, to help see the relevant distinction. The Gibbs entropy metric indicates the average missing info on the specific micro state of an entity, given its macro state. That is, the system plainly has a more or less specific actual state [up to relevant quantum uncertainties], of the position, momentum and energy of constituent particles, but that specific state is not specifically described by giving the macro-observable thermodynamic state variables, hence the metric gives an index of number of degrees of freedom consistent with the macrostate. In short, actual condition, observability of that and record of it, are not to be equated. So much so, that we can define a physically meaningful and important metric of missing info.

  135. KF:

    Lost an earlier reply, my internet connection is being wonky. Oh well, will try and recreate:

    I was trying to come up with a way to refer to unguided vs guided/assisted/tweaked common descent. I guess we could use common descent and universal common descent but I find that confusing since most biologists use common descent to mean unguided common descent.

    I think I shall use undirected common descent to imply what most biologists mean and directed common descent to mean what I think Dr Behe means, i.e. a designer intervened at certain stages. That seems unambiguous to me. I hope that doesn’t misrepresent anyone’s point of view.

    I am sorry for the plane tragedy. I hope that’s being handled with grace and compassion.

    It’s hard to say without being able to see all the posts but I gather you are annoyed with being grouped with Creationists. While I would avoid such labelling I suppose the idea that a designer intervened in some way and their design(s) were implemented implies that lots of little creation events had to happen. Please don’t censor this post, I’m just discussing the issue.

    I am also trying to figure out what Mung means by information. He(?) seems to think that written text has no information until it is interpreted. And that material deposits, like fossils layers and bands of alternating polarity alongside the mid-Atlantic rift contain data and not information. But I’m not really clear.

    In my mind, if DNA contains complex and specified information then so does text, read or not. (I am avoiding the functional aspect for the moment, I admit.) As does any pattern, by your standard, which exhibits more than 500-bits of complex, specified information.

    First, do you understand that ancient scripts were recognised as coded symbolic representations of messages expressed as structured sets of glyphs long before they were deciphered?

    Of course they were, otherwise no one would have tried to decipher them. So they conveyed or contained information.

    Second, do you know that so soon as DNA was discovered as a double helix, the same symbolic representation under a protocol, a convention, was recognised to be taking place? (Think here of Crick’s March 19, 1953 letter to his son Michael, years before the actual code table was worked out. In the letter, Crick spoke of a direct parallel between the sequence of bases and the letters of a textual message.]

    Yup, we disagree on whether or not that could have arisen via undirected processes or not though. But obviously, it’s a code!!

    Do you see the equivocation between that which has effect because of meaning as interpreted and expressed, and that which has effect because of mechanical necessity in light of initial circumstances and the mere presence of the forces and materials of nature in the situation?

    Uh . . . I don’t think so.

    A string of bits that can be read and interpreted as the first sentence of this post has complex and specified information. Even if it’s not read? Yes?

    A protein coding sequence of DNA bases contains complex and specified information whether it’s transcribed or not. Yes?

    You are equivocating the STATE of an object with its being informational. the STATE of the bubble of air in an ice field is just that, a state. The shape of a snowflake is just that. These are contingent and can be shaped by chance and necessity, or by choice.

    I agree there’s a difference between a code and an object. And that the code exists abstractly in some sense.

    But the state of an object tells your something about it’s history and what forces put it in that state! Albeit without a code. An insect preserved in amber contains information aside from it’s DNA. You can date it, find out what it ate (if you’re lucky), maybe even figure out what time of the year it was born. From the state.

    You can figure out when the magnetic poles of the earth reversed based on the polarity of datable metallic deposits. That is information about the past history of the earth surely.

    The forensics around a dead body have to do with the state and situation in which it was found. And that information can lead you to determine if murder was committed and maybe even give you some clues to who the killer is. That’s information contained purely in the state of the body and the state of the surroundings.

    Joe’s favourite example, Stonehenge clearly didn’t just happen via natural processes. The state of the objects in question, the stones, tell you this structure was deigned and built by intelligent designers. No text, no code, just the state.

    Unless I’m really misunderstanding you I don’t see that you can’t have complex and specified information created by non-directed processes and/or recorded in the state of objects. Not the same as a code, clearly. If your argument is that it’s impossible for non-directed processes to come up with a code . . . I’d have to think about that. But can undirected processes create stores of complex specified information by putting things in certain states or configurations? I think so.

  136. Jerad as I head out the door:

    I understand, just lost an edit on a Word doc and had to recreate.

    Somehow forgot to save on the paragraph.

    Universal but guided common descent has always been held by a distinguished minority, starting with the co founder of evolutionary theory. The question is blind watchmaker molecules to man evo vs everything else.

    The design issue does not pivot on common descent vs not.

    Instead it pivots on the empirically grounded root of FSCO/I.

    Similarly, nowhere at no time, it can be confidently shown, has it been empirically warranted that blind chance and mechanical necessity without guidance or influence of intelligence, has been shown to be the likely source of cell based life. The OOl challenge the root of the tree of life model, is missing.

    And there is no possibility of differential reproductive success to appeal to to resolve the matter as this is the root of reproductive capacity.

    Next, similarly, there is no good empirical warrant for the blind watchmaker thesis on OO body plans.

    As for the blind chance and necessity driven origin of mind, that runs into self referential incoherence.

    See summaries above in responses to Wiki clips and onward stuff elsewhere.

    Gotta go.

    KF

  137. KF (136):

    I understand, just lost an edit on a Word doc and had to recreate.

    Somehow forgot to save on the paragraph.

    Ouch! We all know how to prevent that but we all get bit sometimes.

    Universal but guided common descent has always been held by a distinguished minority, starting with the co founder of evolutionary theory. The question is blind watchmaker molecules to man evo vs everything else.

    The design issue does not pivot on common descent vs not.

    No, it doesn’t. Like I said, I was merely wanting to clear up one small bit of vocabulary. And, as I admitted, I was side-stepping the ‘functional’ part of functional complex specified information.

    As for the blind chance and necessity driven origin of mind, that runs into self referential incoherence.

    I find it quite reassuring actually. Not because I can abrogate responsibility for my actions or treat other people poorly which I try hard NOT to do. I just find that general viewpoint explains a lot about why us humans are so bad at statistical thinking on the fly, recording accurate memories of situations we observed and really, really awful at seeing the world from anything other than our own selfish point of view. I struggle everyday trying not to be such a dopey human being.

    Gotta go.

    Do what you gotta do. Lots of things are more important than this blog. Lots.

  138. Jerad @135:

    An insect preserved in amber contains information aside from it’s DNA. You can date it, find out what it ate (if you’re lucky), maybe even figure out what time of the year it was born. From the state.

    Apologies for jumping in with a drive-by comment, and I’ll let you two continue your conversation, but I wanted to make one quick observation.

    Jerad, one of the aspects I struggled with for a while was this very issue you are pointing out, namely some physical object “containing” information. For example, do the rings of Saturn contain information? Well, certainly a detailed description of all the rock and ice parts would be very complex and specific, so we might be tempted to think that the rings of Saturn “contain” information even though there is no code or language involved.

    I had an epiphany of sorts when reading Werner Gitt’s In the Beginning Was Information (despite the books other failings, he pieces together a pretty good primer on information). It is this: Information about something is never the thing itself. Stated another way, the existence of something is not information in an of itself.

    Understanding this principle makes things much clearer in terms of what we mean by information. Do the rings of Saturn contain information? No. Now if someone were to describe for us the rings of Saturn in detail, then that description would be information. However, that description is not (indeed cannot be) the rings themselves, but is a mental construct created to describe an existing reality. And a code is always used. No exceptions.

    Same goes for your ant in the amber. Is it true that there are facts about the ant and the amber? Sure, there are historical realities. But where is that information? It is non-existent until someone (an intelligent agent) looks at reality and creates a mental construct, using a code and a language, to describe the reality. Then that information exists.

    In the kind of situation you are thinking of, it would be helpful to think not in terms of information being contained in the rings of Saturn or an ant in amber, but the fact that there are certain physical realities that can be ascertained and then described using information.

    It is critical to grasp this nuance to understand what we are talking about when we talk about information. Now we could have an argument about the definition of the word “information” and angels on the head of a pin, but regardless of the exact deliniation of the definition anyone wants to put on the word or the different types of information that may exist, the fact remains that the kind of information we are interested in (and the kind of information contained in DNA) is always code/language based, and is always separate from the thing described.

    Think of it this way: (i) DNA contains information (genetic code, instructions for building proteins, etc.); (ii) there are also certain realities about DNA that could be discovered and described using information (how many nucleotides, the double helix structure, the size, type of molecules used, and on and on). We must not confuse the latter with the former. There is a very important distiction.

  139. Eric,

    I hear what you’re saying but . . .

    We know that the earth’s magnetic core has reversed many times in the past. That’s information. Where did it come from? I’m not just describing the varying polarities of magnetic rock deposits.

    We know the dinosaurs died out about 66 million years ago. Where did that information come from? Did we create that information? Did it not exist before us modern humans made it up? Does that mean it wasn’t true before that?

    We know lots of stuff about occurrences in the past that we haven’t observed and we have no written records. Where does all the information come from?

    I’m not sure this information way of looking at things is very helpful. Why don’t we just focus on the stuff we can deduce from the evidence?

  140. …then that description would be information.

    IF:

    that description was something we did not already know.

  141. and more substance-free trope from dr boo-who-


    No, it was more of an uneducated rant. Theobald’s “evidences” do NOT support unguided evolution. And unguided evolution can’t even construct new protein machinery that require more than two new protein-to-protein binding sites.

    Heck, keiths, you can’t even provide a testable hypothesis pertaining to unguided evolution.

    dr boo who:

    Dear Joe, if you think there are no testable hypotheses pertaining to to unguided evolution, what are you doing in the I.D. movement?

    Well obvioulsy ID is the only rational and reasonable choice seeing unguided is out.

    And why don’t you write to people like Michael Behe and give them your opinion that they are wasting their time in trying to falsify the general hypothesis that non-intelligently guided evolution is responsible for the diversity of life that we see around us, as that hypothesis is, in your opinion, untestable?

    Umm they say they have already refuted it. IOW you have no idea what you are saying. But nice of you to prove my point- that you have nothing.
    ________
    Joe, kindly adjust your tone. I notice that once the int3ensity of terms you use ratchets up, you slip off the wagon. You do not need to be more than substantive to make some very good points. Let those who choose to be abusive be that, not you. (And BTW, you used a suspicious term that I do not understand about fingers; I suggest you back away from questionable terms. KINDLY, TURN DOWN THE VOLTAGE NOW. kf

  142. keiths, clueless to the end:

    3. The pattern we see in nature — the objective nested hierarchy — is exactly what we would expect if there were no “islands of function” problem.

    1- Just about anything can be placed in a nested hierarchy. Meaning nested hierarchies are not anything special. It just all depends on the criteria.

    2- Evolutionism does not expect descent with modification to construct a nested hierarchy based on traits. This is so for at least two reasons- 1- in order to hace des w/ mod produce a nested hierarchy based on traits, traist have to be immutable and additive. 2- with gradual evolution we would expect a smooth blending of traits, which would produce a Venn diagram, not a nested hierarchy.

    An no keiths, we do not assume there are islands of function that unguided evolution cannot reach. That is what all the EVIDENCE says. So don’t cry just because you are unable to support the claims of your position and stop blaming us for your failure.

  143. 143
    critical rationalist

    removed for cause, as already documented. KF

  144. 144
    critical rationalist

    I had hoped that CR understood the issue of abusive behaviour he was presenting; his behaviour now constitutes insistent thread vandalism on top of the slanders and bigotry he has been advancing. I ask him to cease and desist, if he is unwilling to accept that he has passed slanderous remarks and has conducted himself in an unseemly fashion and needs to make amends therefor. KF

  145. F/N: Does KS understand that e.g. paper clips — a classic classroom study — come in nested hierarchies, so also do automobiles by a given manufacturer at a given time and across time, and that this is consistent with design and with the fact that there is no empirically warranted incremental blind functional- all- the- way incremental random walk based path from any one config to any other? Does he understand that multi-part tightly coupled components to achieve function normally and naturally leads to islands of function whereby minor change within an island will be possible but significant change beyond that boundary destroys function before a new one could emerge with a new configuration? Does he understand that the real challenge on the table is to provide an adequately empirically warranted blind watchmaker account of OOL from a reasonable pre-life condition, and then a similarly empirically warranted one for the branching tree of life pattern advanced for 150 years, with adequate empirical warrant, including say accounting for the top-down Cambrian life architectures, and that this is now going a-begging for sixteen plus days total?

  146. keiths:

    …the discovery of an objective nested hierarchy implies common descent, but the converse is not true; common descent does not imply that we will be able to discover an objective nested hierarchy.

    …replication of the genetic material, a process that is intrinsically error prone, is both the condition and the direct cause of evolution. A critical point for defining the status of trees in biology is that replication and the evolution that necessarily follows are inherently tree-like processes (Koonin and Wolf, 2009a). Indeed, a replicating molecule, gives rise to two copies…or multiple copies…with errors, resulting in a tree-like process of divergence.

    …a tree is a necessary formal consequence of the descent history of replicating nucleic acids and the ensuing evolution.

    – Eugene V. Koonin, The Logic of Chance

    keiths also seems to think that “the Designer” should have created living systems with none of the characteristics of living systems in order to avoid the appearance of descent with modification, and that because “the Designer” didn’t do that, this is a massive problem for ID.

  147. Mung @140:

    No, it doesn’t make any difference whether I already know the information. After I read a book does it cease to contain information because I already read it? Does the DVD cease to contain information after I watch the movie. Of course not. You’re using “information” like “news,” as in: “That’s news to me.” Obviously that is incorrect.

    If you were being sarcastic, I apologize for restating the obvious.

  148. 148

    CR,

    Yet your entire program of justification in Darwinism is failed by the avoidance of a simple question.

    “Can a thing that does not exist cause something to happen?”

  149. Jerad @139:

    Of course there are physical realities (past, present, and future). And they can be described using information.

    I’m not sure this information way of looking at things is very helpful.

    It is critical. Particularly because some people have a hard time distinguishing between the information contained in DNA and the so-called “information” contained in a pile of rubble (or the rings of Saturn). We have to make the distinction. Otherwise, we end up with the absurd and nonsensical position that everything everywhere is information, and we deceive ourselves into thinking that what is contained in DNA or in a language isn’t special but is just more information like everything else. Again, my DNA example is important.

    Now, I am not a big stickler for semantic labels, so I am perfectly happy for purposes of discussion to let someone call the physical existence of something “information,” as long as they understand very clearly that it is vastly different from the information contained in a code/language. If someone wants to call the information contained in DNA “Information Type 1″ and the information that describes the physical reality of DNA “Information Type 2,” then fine. That is a strange and questionable approach from the standpoint of information theory or what is typically understood from the term, but fine.

    We could still have a meaningful discussion as long as we carefully deliniate the difference between actual information/code type information and the physical reality of objects. The first is interesting; it is unusual; it comes (at least in our experience) only from mental activity and requires coding conventions; it is (amazingly) found not only in our books, DVD’s, and newspapers, but in our very cells. The second is uninteresting; it is ubiquitous and everywhere; it comes from everything; it is about as useful as noting that “stuff exists.”

  150. olegt sez:

    Hey, KF, draw us a nested hierarchy for the Prius.

    What does that mean- as in a nested hierarchy of a Prius and all of its parts? Or a nested hierarchy of transportation that includes the Prius?

    Man I wish thse people would learn how to propely ask a question.

    Iin the second scenario well the first thing we do is get rid of the names we have given them and focus on the traits- the names mean nothing, only the traits matter.

    So we would have the nested hierarchy called “Transportation”. The next level would be the categories “land”- “water”- “air”. Then you just keep filling in the levels and sets depending on the criteria used.

    Denton went over this in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”

    Which car was its daddy?

    1- Ancestor-descendent relationships do not form a nested hierarchy

    2- Nested hierarchies do not require “daddies”

  151. Onlookers:

    Do you observe how the challenge to actually put up a positive, empirically grounded case for blind watchmaker molecules to man evo, is being repeatedly diverted from?

    What does this tell you, given that a solid case for such would have devastating impact on this blog and far beyond it?

    KF

  152. Joe:

    You are correct in all essential points.

    However, note that a branching tree evolutionary pattern can be made for the automobile which would have a timelined pattern in a nested hierarchy with cross links as new features propagate in a burst — as in horizontal info transfer.

    There was also a very famous blunder by Berra on the ancestral pattern of the Corvette. This could be extended to show ancestral patterns complete with extinctions.

    Indeed a trip I made to Cuba took me in a timewarp to the vehicles of my early childhood [complete with Hillman Hunters and the like, '57 Fords, 47 ford station wagons etc], i.e. we even have a case of a land that time forgot, save for a few innovations!

    The only fly in the ointment, this was all by known design.

    Hence, the blunder.

    KF

  153. Oh goody, keiths has responded:


    Just about anything can be placed in a nested hierarchy. Meaning nested hierarchies are not anything special. It just all depends on the criteria.

    Anything can be placed into a subjective nested hierarchy, but life forms an objective nested hierarchy.

    BWAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAHAAAAA

    1- Prokaryotes do not form a nested hierarchy based on traits

    2- Plants do not form a nested hierarchy based on traits

    3- Those are life forms that refute what you just said

    4- Evolutionism does not expect descent with modification to construct a nested hierarchy based on traits. This is so for at least two reasons- 1- in order to have des w/ mod produce a nested hierarchy based on traits, traits have to be immutable and additive. 2- with gradual evolution we would expect a smooth blending of traits, which would produce a Venn diagram, not a nested hierarchy.

    5- Linneaus formed the nested hierarchy based on a common design. Evos stole his idea and just replaced the archetype with common ancestor and sed “see we got a nested hierarchy too”

    6- Cladistics is based on traits with ancestry ASSUMED. And again it all requires traits to be additive and immutable- all descendents have to have all of the defining traits as the alleged parent population. Yet evoluttion is not like that.

    Does Theobald really think that evolution predicts defining traits to be immutable and additive?

  154. 1. Neither KF nor any other ID proponent has mapped out the actual biological fitness landscapes.

    Umm biological fitness refers to reproductive success and whatever survives to reproduce, survives to reproduce. How do we “map” that, exactly?

  155. Fuzzy overlap/shading/ gradient fill pattern rather than Venn diags that CAN be expressed in a hierarchy?

  156. Joe Felsenstein:

    Mung’s fitness landscape question was simply OT

    Just call me prescient:

    1. Neither KF nor any other ID proponent has mapped out the actual biological fitness landscapes. He simply doesn’t know that there are “islands of function”. That’s why he’s careful to say only that “we have reason to expect” islands of function.

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....ment-16439

    Maybe when KF talks about “islands of function” he’s not using the same metaphor.

    Design DON’Ts– The Landscape Island

    I was able to find this article:
    PROBING THE ADAPTIVE LANDSCAPE USING EXPERIMENTAL ISLANDS

    What would an island on a biological fitness landscape represent?

  157. 157
    critical rationalist

    Removed for cause, as long since noted on. Until CR resolves a fairly serious matter of bigotry and incivility, he will not be welcome in threads I host. He knows this but seems to be playing a game of feeding a further slanderous talking point that insisting on resolving matters of civility that have been raised by CR’s wrongful conduct is a condition of participation in discussion; this is not censorship as he know, it is insistence that a serious problem be resolved before a discussion can continue on reasonable terms. . CR needs to observe that other critics continue to comment and discuss without problems, this is because they have not stepped out of the pale of civil discussion. CR should draw a lesson therefrom if he wishes to be a part of threads I host, noting in particular that he cannot relabel slanderous conduct as “criticism” and induce me to go along with such behaviour. KF

  158. 158
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 127: glad we agree!

    In re: 128: I’m not quite sure if the suggestion being made here is that students are being successfully indoctrinate with anti-teleology. I’m presently teaching an introduction to philosophy (big state school in the South), and when we did a week-long unit on Darwinism vs. I.D., I found that many of my students didn’t know anything about Darwinian evolution. It wasn’t taught in their high schools. Yet they are perfectly happy with moral relativism, and bristled at my suggestion (increasingly insistent as the semester passes) that there are objective moral truths.

  159. Onlookers,

    observe the pattern of attempted turnabout of the burden of proof. Notice, every attempt is made to get us to forget that there is a challenge to produce a 6,000 word positive evidence essay.

    Meanwhile there is now a debate over the shapes of fitness landscapes. Try some occasional sand banks emerging from a sea, with hiilocks that move around but in a limited time zone will be more or less fixed.

    Then address the issue of finding these zones by blind random walks of atom configs, in a warm little pond or whatever. Then, factor in the scope of genomes starting at 100 – 1,000 k bits credibly, and the scope of config spaces for such. 100 k bits has 9.99 * 10^30,102 possibilities.

    If you want to speak of narrow sampling frames, then start with selecting blindly from the power set of the first tier space.

    Then translate this into the genome info stored as an effective string. (If you want to look at the functional organisation that too can be converted into a suitably structured nodes and arcs description and coded in a string, so this is WLOG.)

    In short the config space I have in mind is reducible to the lattice for a string data structure of sufficient size and we can profitably talk in terms of Hamming distances and zones where we have specific complex function and much larger zones of non-function. Obviously we are here in hyperspaces well beyond our ability to draw.

    Then, think in terms of the challenge of search via blind chance and necessity, on the gamut of the solar system or the observable cosmos, given the set of possible configs of strings of that sort of length.

    That is just for OOL.

    Go on up to strings on the order of billions of bits to capture the world of life.

    Then ask yourself, where is the empirical warrant for incremental origin of major body plans, starting with the Cambrian.

    KF

  160. Eric: “No, it doesn’t make any difference whether I already know the information.”

    Ah, memories:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....you-asked/

    Shannon’s analysis of the ‘amount of information’ in a signal, which disclaimed explicitly any concern with its meaning, was widely misinterpreted to imply that the engineers had defined a concept of information per se that was totally divorced from that of meaning.

    We shall find it profitable to ask: ‘To what does information make a difference? What are its effects?’ This will lead us to an ‘operational’ definition covering all senses of the term, which we can then examine in detail for measurable properties.

    In everyday language we say we have received information, when we know something now that we did not know before. If we are exceptionally honest, or a philosopher, we assert only that we now believe something to be the case which we did not previously believe to be the case. Information makes a difference to what we believe to be the case. It is always information about something. It’s effect is to change, in one way or another, the total of ‘all that is the case’ for us. This rather obvious statement is the key to the definition of information.

    – Donald M. MacKay, Information, Mechanism and Meaning

  161. 161
    critical rationalist

    CR now wishes to pretend again that the issue of the “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo and theocratic anti-science tyranny” slander has not been adequately pointed out, explained and discussed, or that he is now now involved as a trollish enabler in a further, “this is UD playing at censorship” smear. Removed for cause of insistent uncivil conduct. KF

  162. 162

    And in perfect form, CR relentlessly dodges the question yet again:

    Yet, I’ve made it clear that my program is *not* based on justificationism. Apparently, UB cannot even conceive of operating in this sense, despite my having corrected him repeatedly.

    Again, this is precisely my point. The underlying explanation of Darwinism is apparently unconceivable to UB. As such, it comes as no surprise that he rejects it.

    The operation of the Darwinian mechanism in inheretance and evolution is something I neither find inconceivable, nor do I reject it. Where do you go with your deflective ad homs now?

    Note that UB has still not clarified whether “I could be wrong about anything” includes his conception of human knowledge.

    I cleared that up long ago. I could be wrong about anything. So could you. Fantastic insight, eh?

    “Can a thing that does not exist cause something to happen?”

    This denies the existence of high-level explanatory theories in science. It’s denies that we can and have made progress, despite the fact that much at the atomic level is simply intractable.

    Utter double-speak [snip]

    You refuse to integrate material evidence and rational observation because it inteferes in your justification in the Darwinian mechanism. You cannot even so much as address it.

    _______

    UB, please watch tone and language. Also, don’t feed da troll. KF

  163. 163

    CR,

    Can a thing that does not exist cause something to happen?

    Its a simple question. Answer it.

  164. C’mon Mung (@160). You’re smarter than that. And I know you’re smarter than that. And you know I know you’re smarter than that. :)

    I’m familiar with the idea MacKay is conveying. But what you wrote in your comment is still information, nonetheless. :)

    MacKay is distinguishing between the statistical Shannon level of information (that a lot of folks get hung up on) and the semantic level of information and pointing out, quite rightly, that information in the sense we are interested in has an important semantic component; a simple statistical Shannon-type description is inadequate. He then gives an example of how to recognize this semantic aspect of information when we interact with it. I agree with his point and example.

    Yet the fact that information has been once communicated doesn’t mean it ceases to be information. Again, once I read a book, does it cease to contain information? Of course not. Let’s not confuse the inherent information with the “that was news to me” kind of colloquial idea.

  165. keiths:

    The entire OP was an explanation of why unguided evolution is literally trillions of times better than ID at explaining the evidence. Did you somehow miss that?

    A trillion times huh? How did you measure that?

    The entire OP was an explanation of why unguided evolution is literally trillions of times better than ID at explaining the evidence. Did you somehow miss that?

    What evidence?

    The entire OP was an explanation of why unguided evolution is literally trillions of times better than ID at explaining the evidence. Did you somehow miss that?

    Let me explain what I did not miss. I did not miss the shift from an assertion that ID was incompatible with the evidence for universal common ancestry to one in which you argue instead that unguided evolution is just a better explanation. A “trillion times” better.

    Can you identify any fatal flaws in my argument, or do you concede that it is correct?

    What argument?

    Unguided evolution is literally trillions of times better at explaining the data, regardless.

    What data?

    Likewise, scientists reject ID not because it is logically impossible, but rather because the theory of unguided evolution is more elegant, requires fewer assumptions, and is better — trillions of times better — at explaining the evidence.

    Ah. Parsimony. What about maximum likelihood?

    Likewise, scientists reject ID not because it is logically impossible, but rather because the theory of unguided evolution is more elegant, requires fewer assumptions, and is better — trillions of times better — at explaining the evidence.

    So. Evolution is unguided. That’s 1 assumption. Evolution is guided. That’s one assumption. Looks to me like the score is tied and we’ll need to appeal to something else to establish which assumption is the most parsimonious.

    Look keiths, let’s simplify. Assume I am an ID’er who does not reject common ancestry. Choose simply one evidence for common ancestry, and present an argument for why it is incompatible with ID. That’s what your OP claims you’re going to do. I just haven’t seen it yet.

    “Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent.”

    That’s your thesis. That’s the argument you need to make. Arguing about which theory better explains the evidence doesn’t advance that claim.

    When I say, what evidence, what argument, what data. That’s what I mean to point out.

  166. KN:

    My (sobering) experience is that on any reasonably technical subject, you will find that most HS students have but the vaguest recall once the exam is safely in the past.

    I would suggest that Darwinian naturalism is presented as the standard view in ever so many formal and informal contexts that it is inconceivable that students will have not had any exposure to it. This is not the 1920′s.

    As to objective morality, that is a case of even more deeply set saturation coverage, and presented in the guise of “values clarification” and derivatives since those days, it will fix the notion that morality is relative. The students have been raised in a relativist cave and will struggle to recognise the apparatus of the shadow show, much less to go up the ascent to the outer world that it will take considerable time to see differently.

    When belief and value systems have been deeply indoctrinated, they will only break through major crisis.

    So, that resistance you report is not unexpected.

    Plato would have smiled.

    KF

  167. Mung:

    Why doesn’t KS simply produce a 6,000 word essay on the empirical warrant that grounds accepting molecules to man, blind watchmaker evolution as credibly scientific knowledge, instead of playing at the you ID’ers are too dumb to understand game? KF

  168. Hi Eric,

    Well, I’m not alone:

    …let us consider the following situation. We have a book in Japanese and want to ask what information it contains. For a person who does not know Japanese, it contains no information.

    Another situation is also possible. Let us consider a textbook, for example, in mathematics. …If we show this book to a professional mathematician, she or he might say, “Oh, I know everything in this book, so it contains no information for me.”

    – Mark Burgin, Theory of Information

  169. KF,

    My guess is that to do so he would need to actually learn some of what this “evidence” is, figure out how to present it, and then see it subjected to critique.

    He doesn’t really know what he thinks he knows.

    What he thinks he knows doesn’t actually demonstrate what he thinks it does.

    He doesn’t want to find out that he’s wrong.

    Better to not go there.

  170. Eric (139) . . . I think. There’s so many posts off topic .. .

    Okay. I’m trying hard to understand. Can we talk about a particular situation.

    Did the dinosaurs go into a distinct period of decline about 66 million years ago?

    Is the answer to that information?

    Is what happened then information?

    Where did that information come from?

    Did that information exist before human beings were able to understand it?

    Is it possible for non-directed processes to created information?

    Why haven’t Mung and KF and others addressed these points?
    ______

    Jerad, I am processing the impact of a national tragedy, where one of the best teachers in my son’s school was killed (as well as two others, incl the pilot) in a plane crash Sunday afternoon, on her 29th birthday. A really lovely young miss. They had to shut down the school y/day morning — crying from the principal on down; and this evening is the second candlelight vigil. As for info, the D/RNA in the heart of the living cell is coded and algorithmic info, causally prior to living cells that make proteins based on DNA. The decline of dinosaurs, whenever it happened is an EVENT, as opposed to semantic info describing it. The rocks with dino bones don’t have DVDs in them that play the diaries of Dr Dino Historian. A model has been made in recent years that purports to report this as almost unquestionable fact. That is way too strong of a claim for the strict degree of evidence we have. What is fact is that these animals lived and have gone extinct, leaving traces. One thing I will note is that I get just a tad dubious about claims of soft tissues and cells in bones surviving in the sort of condition recently reported for 70 mn years (without needing to commit myself to anyone’s timeline claims); I don’t think the last conclusive word has been spoken on these animals yet. More broadly, I think too much of what is presented as Science Sez on the remote past of earth needs to be tempered by a dose of recognising that we did not actually observe the past and our reconstructions have limitations. KF

  171. Joe Felsenstein:

    Another issue that we can dispose of quickly is the issue of common design, which was mentioned in the post by keiths. Common design does explain all the data.

    Well keiths, good luck now attempting to press your argument that ID is not compatible with the evidence for common descent. Until you rebut JF’s claim, I’m just going to quote him.

  172. Mung @168:

    Yes, another example of someone using the word information in the colloquial sense of “it’s news to me.”

    So let’s see. I pick up a book I haven’t yet read. It has lots of information contained in it. Then I read it. All the information vanishes and the book now contains no information (pity the poor guy who picks the book up next — there is no information in it any more). Then a year later I forget half of what I read, and, remarkably, that portion of the information reappears in the book. But only until someone reads it . . . Pretty funny stuff!

    Look, I understand the idea of a receiver being involved in communication of information and that the information can have the semantic effect of conveying previously-unknown material (which is really what your authors are trying to highlight, as opposed to a string of nonsensical Shannon-only “information”). But we have to do a lot better job of parsing the nuances than just saying that information doesn’t exist if I already know it or that it doesn’t exist if I don’t understand the language involved. Furthermore, there is lots of information that is operational in nature (rather than communicative, like the book example). Right now in my computer as I type this there is a ton of information being retrieved, acted upon, processed, and stored. And it is all happening — objectively so — regardless of whether I, the user, have the faintest idea what is going on or whether I fully understand every operation down to the last bit.

    Yes, the communication of particular information can have different effects on me, depending on what I already know. But the information is objectively there. Whether I fully know the information already or whether I can never hope to access the information (for example, if it is in a language I don’t understand) has a great bearing on what it means to me and the impact of the communication of that information to me, but it has no bearing on whether the information is there.

  173. 173
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 166 — yes, mine as well. I was just surprised, that’s all.

    Not that this is relevant, but it might interest some folks here to know that I presented the material as follows. First, I distinguished between (1) empirical science: Darwinism or intelligent design?, and (2) metaphysics: naturalism or theism? So that yields four options:

    (1) naturalistic evolution (i.e. “random”=”unguided”);
    (2) theistic evolution (i.e. “random”=”caused by God through means that are undetectable to human beings);
    (3) naturalistic design (i.e. the designers might be aliens);
    (4) theistic design (i.e. the designer is the God of the philosophers, if not also that of the Bible).

    Interestingly enough, none of my students expressed any strong feelings one way or the other on the empirical question, though some of them had strong feelings one way or the other on the metaphysical side of things.

    _____
    Design can also be embedded in the cosmological order. KF

  174. 174

    The disambiguation of “information” comes from viewing it in terms of its material existence alone.

    Information is the form of a thing instantiated in the arrangement of a material medium.

    Information requires a material medium? check

    Information is about something? check.

    Information is separate from the thing it’s about? check.

    Information requires a protocol in order to achieve an effect? check

    From this, a coherent, unambiguous view of information can be formally understood, and that understanding can be tested over and over again in real-world situations. Information can be transcribed (copied) by law-based (rate-dependent) processes (such as vision, auditory, and tactile input) or it can be conveyed through rate-independent structures (such as language, gestures, codes, and nucleic sequences). In all of these cases, information will be materially arbitrary to its resulting effect, because it is not a concrete thing being transferred; it is only an abstracted (and incomplete) form of that thing, resulting in an specified effect.

  175. Hi Eric,

    Look, I understand the idea of a receiver being involved in communication of information and that the information can have the semantic effect of conveying previously-unknown material (which is really what your authors are trying to highlight, as opposed to a string of nonsensical Shannon-only “information”).

    I don’t believe in nonsensical Shannon-only information either. Nonsensical information is an oxymoron. Even Shannon information is information about something.

    And is there any question that it involves the exact same concepts, though in terms of reduction in uncertainty? As ID’ists we should not fall prey to misapplication of information theory.

    How much “Shannon information” is contained in the following: 00101

  176. KN,

    Say organisms guided their own evolution. Where would that fall in your list?

    cheers

  177. 177
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 176,

    I suppose that would depend on whether one held that view on a priori grounds — because it seems to be the most reasonable or least improbable view — or if one held that view on empirical grounds.

    Personally, though I accept teleological realism, I take that to mean that organisms purposively direct their own behavior. Whether that extends to their evolution is a difficult question. I suppose I think it does not, because I think of evolution as a consequence of their behavior but not itself a part of it.

    I take very seriously the problem of abiogenesis, because if one is a naturalist (as I am), the problem is one of figuring out how non-teleological processes (what is described by the laws of physics and chemistry) gave rise to teleological processes (what is described by biology). So far as I can see, one part of the solution will require rethinking what we take “non-teleological processes” to be. It seems to me that the most promising naturalistic solution will involve thinking of matter as itself essentially ‘proto-teleological’, which is why I’m strongly sympathetic to self-organization theory.

    That said, I’m the last person to insist that we actually have in our possession a naturalistic theory of abiogenesis. It remains a real problem. If I had the mind for organic chemistry and biochemistry, I’d be working on it myself. (Unfortunately, I don’t have the mind for it, as my college transcript clearly indicates.)

  178. KN, I suggest a look at Plato in The Laws Bk X. There is also a reason why when I taught intro to phil, I began from Plato’s parable of the cave. Since I am not exactly a movie fan, it was a student who pointed to The Matrix. KF

  179. KN:

    At last, someone who is serious:

    So far as I can see, one part of the [OOL] solution will require rethinking what we take “non-teleological processes” to be. It seems to me that the most promising naturalistic solution will involve thinking of matter as itself essentially ‘proto-teleological’, which is why I’m strongly sympathetic to self-organization theory.

    This of course would point straight to cosmological design, especially in the context of the already known.

    KF

  180. KN:

    So far as I can see, one part of the solution will require rethinking what we take “non-teleological processes” to be.

    As for me, I think “non-teleological process” is an oxymoron.

  181. So I took this home DNA test that’s been advertised on this site, and I flunked. Do you think it’s me, or the test?

  182. 182
    Kantian Naturalist

    I’ve read that section, and also some of Timaeus. The argument in Laws struck me as frustrating. It seemed to be something like this:

    (1) moving things are either self-moving or other-moved;
    (2) organisms are self-moving movers;
    (3) but they are not originally self-moving movers (because each organism comes from some other organism);
    (4) self-moving movers require an originally self-moving mover;
    (5) mind is an originally self-moving mover;
    (6) so mind is the cause of organisms.

    (1), (2), and (3) look fine to me. I’m not entirely sure about (4), and the way the argument moves from (4) to (5) to (6) worries me. I can’t shake the feeling that something’s gone wrong here.

    And it just seems odd to me to think that the rise of Democritean atomism was somehow responsible for Alcidiabes’ moral corruption, but I don’t know. Thucydides portrays Alcibiades as vain, intelligent, and narcissistic, which would be enough as it is without attributing his corruption to Democritus’ aprioristic anti-creationism.

    A few years ago I read Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity, and I use Sedley’s narrative as part of the structure of the ancient philosophy course I sometimes offer. (The other part of the structure traces the narrative from the Sophists through Thucydides’ History to Plato’s Republic.)

  183. 183
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 179

    Yes, I think that cosmological ID is in much better shape than biological ID. The only metaphysical alternative to cosmological ID is the multiverse hypothesis, and that’s just a 21st century version of Democritean aprioristic anti-creationism, only with universes instead of configurations of atoms.

    (I use the Myth of the Cave, too. When I started teaching, in the mid-90s, students were quick to point out the analogy with The Matrix. First-year students today don’t even know it. I’m going to have see Inception just to stay au courant with my pop-culture references.)

  184. Joe Felsenstein:

    Unfortunately, if we read my comment a bit farther we find me saying that “common design” explains everything we see as well as everything we don’t see, so it isn’t a scientific hypothesis.

    Well Joe F, common design doesn’t explain everything. It explains why there are similarities.

    Building codes, IEEE, -> standards Joe. When constructing things to the same sets of standards there is going to be some degree of similarities, ie some degree of a common design.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Common design also applies to the same part being used for entirely different purposes- a car tire is obvioulsy used on a car but also used in an automatic baseball/ football throwing machine and to rotate carnival rides.

    So common design does NOT explain the differences observed. That is explained by design requirements. For example my computer needs to communicate with my printer so the communication ports have to have the same parts to allow for communication to occur. And if the printer has a microprocessor, well that circuitry will be very similar to the computer’s microprocessor circuit(s). However the differences between the two are explained by the different design requirements of each machine.

    Not that you will ever understand any of that…

  185. KN:

    A few years ago I read Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity, and I use Sedley’s narrative as part of the structure of the ancient philosophy course I sometimes offer.

    Yes, I’ve read that one as well.

    Are you aware of:

    The Patristic Understanding of Creation: An Anthology of Writings from the Church Fathers on Creation and Design

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....available/

  186. Joe Felsenstein:

    Well, of course creationists refuse to acknowledge that there is junk DNA of any kind, for theological reasons (I say “creationists” rather than IDers because in this case their argument is not strictly speaking an ID argument).

    Well no Joe, that’s just not true. As an educator, I’d think you would want to be better informed.

    You see, your typical YEC thinks everything was created perfect, and then THE FALL, and it’s been all downhill ever since. So junk DNA fits in just fine with their theology, thank you very much.

    They also don’t like it for the reason you give — that it provides multiple independent assessments of the pattern of common descent.

    I don’t care. I don’t accept the young earth theory. I think the earth is old and that life has existed on the earth for many many years.

    keiths needs to address ID’ers like me. He’s the one who lumped us all together. All I have to do with arguments like yours is say, so what.

    More JF:

    Creationists often reject the tree of life by pointing out that issues like horizontal gene transfer show that the “tree” isn’t a perfect tree. Therefore there is no tree of life.

    Any creationist who argues like that is a moron. Can you cite one?

    Horizontal gene transfer does not “show that the tree is not a perfect tree,” and the fact of HGT and it’s impact on your ability to reconstruct a phylogenetic tree is not a creationist inspired plot against evolutionary theory.

    I asked how many over there had read Koonin. You want to know the relevance:

    The trouble for the TOL concept started even before the advent of genomics, as it became clear that certain common and essential genes of prokaryotes experienced multiple horizontal gene transfers (HGT). J. Peter Gogarten and colleagues then proposed the “net of life” as a potential replacement for the TOL (Hilario and Gogarten, 1993). However, these ideas did not get much traction in the pregenomic era, and HGT was generally viewed as a minor evolutionary process, crucial in some areas (such as the spread of antibiotic resistance), but secondary in the overall course of evolution – and a minor complication to the construction of the overarching TOL. In the late 1990s, comparative genomics of prokaryotes dramatically changed this picture by showing that the patterns of gene distribution across genomes are typically patchy (members of most COGs are scattered among diverse organisms), and topologies of phylogenetic trees for individual genes are often incongruent. These findings suggest that HGT was extremely common among bacteria and archaea , and was important also in the evolution of eukaryotes, especially in the context of endosymbiotic events. Thus, a perfect TOL turned out to be a chimaera because extensive HGT prevents any single gene tree from being an accurate representation of the evolution of entire genomes.

    And evolutionary theory, in all it’s marvelous plasticity, now uses the new data as evidence of common descent. You gotta love it.

  187. keiths on October 10, 2012 at 1:06 am said:

    Mung bizarrely seizes on a point that makes no difference whatsoever to my argument:

    lol. Let the revisionist history begin!

    If it makes no difference to your argument, why did you feel you needed to include it in your post. Numerous times! Trillions of times!

    Why would you consider the fact that I identified this whole issue about which is the better explanation as being irrelevant to your argument “bizarre,” when the reason that I brought it up was to point out that it fails to advance your thesis in the slightest.

    keiths:

    Suppose you’re right, Mung, and ID isn’t incompatible with the evidence.

    Let’s not suppose that. Let’s suppose that you’re going to actually set forth evidence and an argument to support your thesis that “Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent.”

    To me, that’s the more imaginative flight of fancy.

    But you’re only on Part 1. We can wait.

    In the post you cite I also wrote:

    Look keiths, let’s simplify. Assume I am an ID’er who does not reject common ancestry. Choose simply one evidence for common ancestry, and present an argument for why it is incompatible with ID.

    Eagerly awaiting.

  188. Keiths:

    Which theory should we prefer, the crappy one (ID) or the one that explains things trillions of times better (unguided evolution)?

    But the “things” unguided evolution explains trillions of times better are “things” like disease, deformities, and losers. And ID agrees that when it comes to those things, unguided evolution is the best explanation.

    So we are in agreement then. Glad I could help.

  189. Joe Felsenstein:

    Mung’s fitness landscape question was simply OT

    JF, I just find that hard to believe, when folks over there at TSZ just keep bringing it up.

    Mike Elzinga:

    There is an important relationship between nested hierarchies, smooth fitness landscapes, and the formations of dendritic structures.

    At least Mike doesn’t call it a biological fitness landscape.

    Living organisms, by the mere fact that they are a very delicate phenomenon that exists within a very narrow energy window, simply cannot make large, energetic leaps all over the fitness landscape without destroying the organisms in the process.

    It’s nice to hear that living organisms are a very delicate phenomenon that exist within a very narrow energy window.

    What sort of fitness landscape is Mike talking about?

    If DNA is 98% junk, that’s an awful whopping amount of jumping about the fitness landscape an organism can do without being destroyed in the process.

  190. keiths:

    Instead of quote-mining, how about answering my questions?

    Am I allowed to quote you? Or would that be quote-mining and therefore be non-responsive?

    Instead of quote-mining, how about answering my questions?

    I don’t see any questions worth wasting my time on.

    Get back to us when you’ve posted Part II. Honestly, your time will be better spent on writing Part II than on writing and posting responses to comments on your Part I.

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

    1. What is this evidence for common descent you speak of?

    2. Why is ID not compatible with that evidence?

    Just one example, keiths, one example only.

    Joe Felsenstein:

    Mung uses this against keiths to argue that ID is compatible with the evidence for common descent.

    No, Joe, that is not what I said.

    Unfortunately, if we read my comment a bit farther we find me saying that “common design” explains everything we see as well as everything we don’t see, so it isn’t a scientific hypothesis.

    So? Why is that unfortunate? Unfortunate for who? Is it unfortunate for keiths’s argument? Isn’t that the same thing I was saying?

    I take it that Mung now acknowledges that the positive predictions of ID are not science. Right?

    I predict that either you or keiths will post a brilliant and devastating response. But given that some omni-benevolent deity might intervene and turn it into an asinine and puerile response, my prediction is not scientific.

    Is that what you have in mind?

  191. Chalk one up for ID predictions.

    I guess it remains to be determined whether such predictions are “scientific.”

    keiths:

    Why don’t you do the reading, Mung? It’s all there.

    Yeah. I googled “standard phylogenetic tree”

    Guess what I got. Yup. Your author.

    And this:

    NJplot is a tree drawing program able to draw any binary tree expressed in the standard phylogenetic tree format

    The “standard phylogenetic tree” is a format.

    And this:
    Construction of standardized phylogenetic trees

    Wait. There’s more than one standardized phylogenetic tree?

    keiths, maybe you should get to work on Part II asap.

  192. 192

    Keith; daring a heavy reader, to read. Now that’s funny.

  193. Mung:

    Even Shannon information is information about something.

    Um, if you mean that Shannon information describes some statistical property of the underlying information, then sure. But the only thing it is “about” is measuring this degree of uncertainty. I fear we must be talking past each other, because I am sure you know this.

    And is there any question that it involves the exact same concepts, though in terms of reduction in uncertainty?

    I’m not completely certain what you are asking, but if you are asking whether Shannon information involves “the exact same concepts” as complex, specified functional information, then, no, I would not say that it involves the exact same concepts. Can a Shannon calculation be performed on CSFI? Sure. And what does it tell us? Well it gives us a statistical measure of the particular string in question. Yet it tells us precisely nothing about (i) the syntax (in most cases), (ii) the semantics, (iii) the pragmatics, and (iv) the goal/purpose of the information. All of those concepts — at the very least (i)-(iii) — are important aspects of the kind of information we are dealing with in biology, in our technology, in books, etc. And all of these concepts are missing with Shannon information. So, no, we are not dealing with the exact same concepts, even though a Shannon calculation can be used to run a statistical calculation on any given string of information. Shannon information might be useful as some sort of preliminary analysis of a string, and in that sense CSFI could be seen to include a Shannon component; but CSFI goes well beyond Shannon information and contains important additional concepts.

    Again, I would think that this is pretty straight forward, so perhaps I am misunderstanding your question or your point. If so, please accept my apologies.

  194. Jerad @170:

    Good questions and a bit challenging to get our heads around, so worth chewing on a bit. Let me see if I can describe it this way:

    Something like the extinction of the dinosaurs is an event. An awful lot has been written about the extinction of the dinosaurs so it becomes a little challenging to distinguish between the information we know (or think we know) and the event itself. To make it simpler to describe, let me use a much simpler and more contemporaneous event.

    Suppose you are standing near a hillside and suddenly you see a rock roll down the hill. That is an event. Does the event “contain” information? Well, the rolling rock is not expressing any creative, operational or communicative information that we could possibly understand. There is no code, there is no language. Fair enough, but what about the circumstances of the event? Surely there is information contained in all this? And this is the tricky part.

    You could, using your faculties and your prior knowledge describe the event. Your description would then be information you have created, and it could be conveyed in any particular language convention you choose. But the event did not “contain” that information; you created it.

    A couple of points to further illustrate:

    - First, as to the question of when an event occurred. Suppose that a week later someone were to ask you when the rock rolled down the hill. The answer would be “one week ago” and that would be information. However, and this is key, that information was not contained in the event. That is information imposed from outside, using our pre-existing understanding of time and our conventions of communication. If we doubt this, suppose that the viewer instead is seeing a simple video of the rock rolling down the hill. The question is then posed: “Can you ascertain from this series of images when the rock rolled down the hill?” The answer is no. Because that information is not contained in the event itself. It is imposed as part of a mental exercise from outside of the event.

    Second, we know that information can be conveyed in various forms (written text, ones and zeroes, different languages). And the particular medium or language convention does not alter the substantive information. Instead, the information exists independent of the particular instantiation of the information. So after you saw the rock roll down the hillside, we could demand: “OK, now translate the information you just received into binary.” The logical response would be “What information? What are you talking about? There is nothing to translate into binary. Perhaps you want me to describe the event or analyze the event?” In other words, the event itself does not contain information. Now as soon as you, as a mental exercise of an intelligent being, describe the event, you have created information. And once that information exists we can easily translate it into binary or any other appropriate language form.

    ——-

    Again, if someone insists that events or objects themselves “contain” information by their very existence I suppose I won’t begrudge them using the term. But we must be extremely clear that it is not “information” in any substantive sense that we normally use that term or as is understood in information science. Furthermore, the use of that definition is pointless, because it is tantamount to saying that information is everywhere, at all times, in all things, which, perforce, means that kind of definition is useless for any of the interesting things we are trying to do with information, whether it be in computer applications, cryptography, literature, or bioinformatics.

    Information as we are interested in is characterized at a minimum by a code, a syntax, and some kind of semantics. Although descriptions of events and objects constitute this kind of information, this kind of information is not contained in events and objects themselves by their mere existence.

  195. 195
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 185, no, I’m afraid I haven’t. I’m neither interested in nor knowledgeable about theology, truth be told. Thomas Nagel, writing about Plantinga in The New York Review of Books, suggests that to a believer, an atheist looks like someone who has “a spiritual blindness of which he is unwilling to be cured”. So be it.

    I do have a lot of interest in resistance to materialism in early modern philosophy, though. I find Leibniz and Berkeley fascinating, and love teaching their works when opportunity presents itself. Lately I’ve been enjoying Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity, which I hope to finish soon.

  196. I’m finding participating in this thread increasingly frustrating owning to the large number of comments directed at people on a thread on another blog!! I don’t understand why comments regarding that distant thread can’t be made on that thread. At the very lest why can’t there be an Uncommon Descent thread purely for responding to threads on other blogs.

    Eric (194):

    Suppose you are standing near a hillside and suddenly you see a rock roll down the hill. That is an event. Does the event “contain” information? Well, the rolling rock is not expressing any creative, operational or communicative information that we could possibly understand. There is no code, there is no language. Fair enough, but what about the circumstances of the event? Surely there is information contained in all this? And this is the tricky part.

    That the event occurred is information yes? How the event occurred is information yes? When the event occurred is information yes? “A rock rolled down the hill” is informative. “A rock rolled quickly down the hill” has different information that “A rock rolled slowly down the hill.” “A rock rolled down the hill yesterday at 5:23pm under a cloudless sky with 8 crows flying over head and ran over a sheep.” Where does the information come from? If the event hadn’t occurred then there is no information to convey?

    You could, using your faculties and your prior knowledge describe the event. Your description would then be information you have created, and it could be conveyed in any particular language convention you choose. But the event did not “contain” that information; you created it.

    Hang on . . . if a rock rolled down a hill and crushed a sheep there is no information unless I describe it? I’m not sure the sheep would see it that way!

    I can understand that a description contains information but I can’t get my head around that the information didn’t exist until the description was created. AND, given that, aren’t tree rings and sedimentary deposits descriptions of past events? Is not a tree a witness to climatic variations which are recorded in it’s variable growth?

    When we make statements about the past, create information as you put it, how do we know what to say? I would say we read the information from the physical record. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to make the statements. I would say we synthesise and translate and codify the information but we didn’t make up the information.

    First, as to the question of when an event occurred. Suppose that a week later someone were to ask you when the rock rolled down the hill. The answer would be “one week ago” and that would be information. However, and this is key, that information was not contained in the event. That is information imposed from outside, using our pre-existing understanding of time and our conventions of communication. If we doubt this, suppose that the viewer instead is seeing a simple video of the rock rolling down the hill. The question is then posed: “Can you ascertain from this series of images when the rock rolled down the hill?” The answer is no. Because that information is not contained in the event itself. It is imposed as part of a mental exercise from outside of the event.

    Not from the series of images okay but you might be able to by examining the site of the event. By looking for natural records of the event. Just like we use maggot growth to help establish how long a body has been dead. The state of the maggots convey information about the body.

    Second, we know that information can be conveyed in various forms (written text, ones and zeroes, different languages). And the particular medium or language convention does not alter the substantive information. Instead, the information exists independent of the particular instantiation of the information. So after you saw the rock roll down the hillside, we could demand: “OK, now translate the information you just received into binary.” The logical response would be “What information? What are you talking about? There is nothing to translate into binary. Perhaps you want me to describe the event or analyze the event?” In other words, the event itself does not contain information. Now as soon as you, as a mental exercise of an intelligent being, describe the event, you have created information. And once that information exists we can easily translate it into binary or any other appropriate language form.

    That the event occurred is information though isn’t it? No matter how it’s expressed. It affected the surroundings, changed the configurations.

    Perhaps I should just stop trying to get this. I understand having a metric for measuring information in a particular format. But I don’t see how information is only created when something is described.

  197. KN:

    Up in the middle of the night.

    I see your attempted reduction of Plato to a string of propositions. In so doing, you left off several key sections of the discussion — and notice, the exchange on length that shows that P was aware that there were a lot of facets that needed to be discussed together and that would influence one another.

    This is not a chain argument [no stronger than the weakest link], it is a rope argument. A cumulative case of many mutually reinforcing strands. Such is the stronger for having many such elements, however thin and weak the individual strands may seem, especially to the critical onlooker disinclined to accept.

    An argument like that fits a cogency, degree of warrant per inference to best explanation model not a validity-soundness model.

    Observe my clips here on, including the part where he is trying to identify the first from the second etc, and where he comes up with the idea of agency — ensoulment if you will — as a self-moved originating cause. That points to reflexivity and feedback as essential to agency; suggesting our current sense of the meta level of reflection on lower levels, nb also here on the Derek Smith cybernetic model with a loop and a two tier controller framework that allows looping again at the level of control. Then notice how he strongly suggests that such is a major aspect of LIFE, here I guess he is close to the Hebraic Nephesh principle.

    In the midst of all of this, he infers a cosmological design inference by a good soul.

    Going beyond all this, I would draw your attention to a key concern in Kantian style thinking — notice, I am not asserting such of any given individual, I am speaking of a tendency — with the ugly ditch between the internal reflection or perception and the external world. If there is a gulf between the two, knowledge of the external world collapses — including the now self referential claim that such knowledge is not possible. For, that is a knowledge claim relevant to the external world.

    What I suggest is the more modest claim that we evidently live in an external world, to which we find our senses and mentality adapted. And that proper functioning of our senses and reflections in their proper environment gives reasonable degree of warrant though we are also prone to error, accidental and willful. The very fact that “error exists” is a matter of factual consensus and of undeniability pointing to truth being real and applicable tot he external world, and capable of warrant in some cases to undeniability. Thus, truth, knowledge [even of the external world!] and error all exist, and we are capable on the second order level, of knowing these.

    That has consequences across a wide swath of how we have been led to think in our time, especially on the sort of radical relativism that has been entrenched in culture for generations now, with William G Perry championing the view that growth [!!!???] to relativism is a mark of proper intellectual maturation. A wiser more humbled model would be that we know some things and one of the chief things we know is that we make errors.

    Going on to the issue of inference to biological design, the basic fact is that we live in a world where we have much experience of and credible knowledge about functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I.

    One of these, is that function that depends on specific configuration of multiple well matching parts, exists in a context of a vastly larger set of possible arrangement of the parts down to the atoms, that are most definitely non-functional. The tragedy I am now processing is a case in point, of just how easy it is to derange an aircraft as a flying system in an environment that allows it to function. In short, the concept islands of function is not a dubious or question-begging one, it is rooted in a vast pool of solid experience and associated reason that understands the dynamics of multi-part function.

    So much so, that the intellectual pretzels that we see ever so many otherwise reasonable people twisting themselves into to deny such per a selective hyperskepticism, are revealing of an underlying indefensible motive for the resistance to what would otherwise be patent. With all due respect, skeptical rationalisations that fall into this trap are not reasonable, but the very opposite.

    Now, the evidence is that FSCO/I is a characteristic product of intelligence. Indeed, it is a reliable sign thereof.

    So, when we see such FSCO/I in life from the micro-level of the cell on up through major body plans for multicellular forms, this should give us a clue on underlying cause, whatever the mechanisms used to effect that cause. there is more than one way to skin a cat-fish!

    Given the “magic dust” indoctrination on the powers of so-called natural selection [a powerful PR/ad slogan if there ever was one . . . ], the proper place to begin is with Darwin’s warm little electrified pond of salts or the modern like. How do we move from simple molecules to the right set of monomers, and onwards to the exquisitely complex tightly integrated, gated, encapsulated metabolic automaton with a von Neumann coded info based self replicating and constructing/maintaining facility? On physics and chemistry without injection of intelligently sourced guiding info to a purpose?

    In a context where the sheer chemical level atomic resources and times as well as plausible timeline available would be predictably fruitlessly exhausted — e.g. a blind sample of the feasible scope for our solar system relative to the possibilities for 500 bits stands as 1 straw to a cubical haystack as thick as our galaxy — by the config space for just 500 – 1,000 bits? There are not enough resources on the gamut of our solar system or the observed cosmos, to sample enough that we can reasonably expect to see any more than the bulk of possibilities. Which will predictably be non-functional.

    So, we see reference to self-organisation. Now, the conventional resources of physics and chemistry do not support FSCO/I rich self-ORGANISATION, though they support self-ordering on the order of a vortex like a hurricane or the like. The only empirically warranted force in the world known to be capable of such organisation is intelligent design. So much so that when origins are not at stake we normally and uncontroversially take FSCO/I as a sign of design as best explanation. For instance you are not inferring insistently to lucky noise as default explanation for posts in this thread.

    So, on simple reasonableness, so long as agents capable of designing the world of observed life on earth are POSSIBLE, we must be willing to accept the force of evidence that highlights the empirically reliable cause of FSCO/I. To overturn that, the necessity is not convoluted speculations and dismissals much less the sort of atmosphere poisoning stunts that we saw even in this thread, but empirical demonstration of the contrary.

    And, remember, we know that the patterns in question are in part in the form of coded data digital programs in the living cell.

    So, if you are saying that he world in which we live “spontaneously” produces entities with that code based on deep rooted dynamics built into nature, that is saying that that nature is carrying out a second level program that creates such programs. A signature of design if there ever was one, design built into the fabric of the cosmos, if it were true. The ultimate form of front-loading.

    I would suggest that such front loading would need to be demonstrated and that in the meanwhile the simpler inference is a more direct form of programming.

    Notice the real top tier of reasonable candidates: competing design hypotheses.

    Beyond that, I have argued at 101 level here that the physics of our cosmos that sets up a world in which there are suitable life sites for C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life, points to design. Just think, the first four elements, depending on nuclear resonances etc, are H, He, C and O. That gets us to organic chemistry and to water. N is close to being 5th, and that gets us to proteins, not to mention fats and carbs and cellulose as polymer etc.

    No wonder Sir Fred Hoyle, a life-long agnostic [at min], went on record:

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? . . . I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]

    In short, OOL in context of a cosmos set up for life is pivotal.

    And once we have this case in hand, the main task of the birth pangs is over (the head is out of the womb and heading for birth); the rest follows as a matter of course.

    We have a network of life that uses FSCO/I based on common components, to the point where when it was recently evaluated, it was found that vast swaths of the human genome are sitting there in the kangaroo, a marsupial for crying out loud.

    We have mosaics like the platypus, with not only macro-level parts from all sorts of creatures, but the same continues at molecular levels. (Add in black swans and we can see that Somebody had a reason to set up Australia as the Antipodes to all comfortable speculative metanarratives!)

    Gould and others pointed out that at all levels, the pattern of forms in the fossil record and in the current world is appearance, stasis, disappearance, not smoothly shading incrementalism. The tree of life model dissolves into conflicting molecular homology based trees, and we see that the best but unwelcome explanation is code reuse to fit design needs.

    And so forth.

    All of which is closely tied to why design is not going away quietly, having been metaphorically tarred and feathered by the Darwinist mob.

    (And yes, that is a mob violence semi lynching that can easily enough kill. Those who participated in such acts, morally, are guilty of acting with inexcusably willful disregard to the safety of and justice for their victims; T & F did not put a rope around the neck and hang from a tree, but morally it was indefensible, just it was subtler so the participants could lie to themselves about what they were doing. I gather T & F of Joseph Smith not only put his life at risk, but caused the death of two of his children who were made sick because of exposure. Young children cannot be responsible for their parents’ actions. There is no excuse for such mob rule misbehaviour.)

    I think we can now see some of why the Darwinist objectors, after a full week of a headlined offer and after ten further days since the original offer was put on the table in a discussion thread, have preferred to resort to mob rule thread vandalism and smear based dismissive tactics than to seriously address the challenge to write an essay in justification of their claims.

    The voting with misbehaviour, evasions and turnabout tactics speaks sad volumes for their real degree of confidence in the weight of their claims on the merits.

    But any rate, that is not relevant to you.

    We have had a useful exchange of views, and a civil one.

    I thank you for that.

    KF

  198. Jerad:

    Actually, the exchange with TSZ is close to the heart of this thread, which is about a challenge to produce a 6,000 word essay on the positive evidence for blind watchmaker thesis, molecules to man evolution. That challenge was first given to you, and you punted, so it has been given wider circulation.

    For you, the side issue on information, has been accommodated; if anything.

    On that issue, I think enough has been said for onlookers to see the difference between an object or event and its causal process, and the shaping o a particular class of objects and events through informational actions.

    The course of that exchange underscores the sense in UB’s analysis of information and its roots and context.

    KF

    PS: If we permit the degradation of language where information-bearing is tantamount to existing or being an event etc, then we will have to find another word for what information means. That may be rhetorically convenient to those who wish to evade the import of FSCO/I, but it is a resort to the fallacies of equivocation and idiosyncratic imposition of self-serving redefinitions. Thus it is similar to the question begging redefinition of science and its methods that radical evolutionary materialists have recently tried to impose. We refuse to accept either case. That a dinosaur existed and died is an event, our taking notice of such is an informational act. Neither of these has anything to do with the well grounded fact that in the heart of the cell lies digitally coded functionally specific algorithmic information in string data structures. Nor, with the empirically well warranted cause of such FSCO/I, i.e design.

  199. KF (198):

    Actually, the exchange with TSZ is close to the heart of this thread, which is about a challenge to produce a 6,000 word essay on the positive evidence for blind watchmaker thesis, molecules to man evolution. That challenge was first given to you, and you punted, so it has been given wider circulation.

    For you, the side issue on information, has been accommodated; if anything.

    I see your points. I do appreciate the indulgence. I don’t know where to bring up questions since I can’t create threads!

    On that issue, I think enough has been said for onlookers to see the difference between an object or event and its causal process, and the shaping o a particular class of objects and events through informational actions.

    The course of that exchange underscores the sense in UB’s analysis of information and its roots and context.

    I’m happy to quit talking about it now. I think I just don’t get information theory beyond doing some math to ‘measure’ the amount in information in simple mathematical sequences and structures.

    Hope things are settling down after the crash. I guess in a place like Monserrat just about everyone knows everyone else. It’s like a big village really.

  200. Jerad:

    There is such a thing as the work of grieving. Many are in shock, there is a rising aspect of blaming and anger at real or imagined culprits, there is a confrontation with the fragility of life and all the issues of pain and evils, and so forth.

    For me, it is simply a shaking impact, of a cold probability assessment coming up sadly trumps. (I long ago determined not to fly on the puddle jumpers unless there was compelling, life hazarding level reason. I much prefer the ferry.)

    I think as well the incident is a case in point on how hard it is to intuitively grasp a probabilistic analysis on the one hand and on the other it raises issues on the temptation to shave corners on responsibilities.

    And somewhere out there in the fog lurks the terra incognita of Mr Rumsfeld’s unknown unknowns.

    Your raising of information issues is relevant to the topic of the thread though a tad tangential. But much more important, you have been civil and serious, which earns you a right to a significant leeway.

    What I have said above is that you need to be aware of the issue of degradation of language, where terms are emptied of meaning. If every discipline is now a science, then science has been emptied of meaning. Similarly, we have perfectly good words for events and objects, for remains or traces and for causes and effects.

    Information needs to mark something else, something that can be expressed in many ways, translated, and shared between many sources without losing its character, meaningful and functional expression of messages as signs, analogues and symbols, typically in accordance with conventions.

    Perhaps, we should remind ourselves of Merriam Webster, which in this matter will be more reliable than Wiki etc:

    INFORMATION: 1 : the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence 2 a (1) : knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction (2):intelligence, news (3) : facts, data b : the attribute inherent in and communicated by one of two or more alternative sequences or arrangements of something (as nucleotides in DNA or binary digits in a computer program) that produce specific effects c (1) : a signal or character (as in a communication system or computer) representing data (2) : something (as a message, experimental data, or a picture) which justifies change in a construct (as a plan or theory) that represents physical or mental experience or another construct d : a quantitative measure of the content of information; specifically : a numerical quantity that measures the uncertainty in the outcome of an experiment to be performed

    I highlight the definition that seems to be closest to a core view of what information is and is about.

    Just as thematic ideas: contingency, surprise, learning regarding credible state, resulting responsive effects in accordance with a protocol or a model framework that guides response etc.

    KF

  201. F/N: Today marks seven days the essay challenge has been up as a headlined offer and seventeen since it was put up as a comment. The ducking, diverting and atmosphere poisoning tactics used in response speak volumes on the actual weight of the evidence on the merits. KF

  202. keiths provided quite a bit of raw spewage, but still no testable hypothesis for unguided evolution.

  203. Not only that those guys don’t seem to understand what a nested hierarchy is…

  204. Oh boy, start at root A –> A.1, A.2, A.3 . . . (first order branches) –> A.2.1, A.2.2, A2.3 . . . (second order from one of the nodes) –> etc., reducible to a tree with a single root and progressively forking branches. This also gives us a case structure on keys with decision nodes and shows how WLOG all of this can be reduced to a suitably structured string. Cross links once they exist, move us to somewhat of a mesh network topology, probably an incomplete mesh. Mosaics such as the platypus put us in somewhat of a mesh. KF

  205. I’m neither interested in nor knowledgeable about theology, truth be told.

    We believe that God is love. Would love be something you would be interested in or knowledgeable about, as a philosopher?

  206. dr boo-who:

    what does I.D. predict in relation to there being an objective nested hierarchy in a biosphere?

    Evolutionism definitely doesn’t predict one. And the one Linneaus put forth was based on common designs.

  207. Eric @194.

    Some good points. I was going to say something about what I though you believed but deleted it, and now I am glad I did. I would have been wrong.

    :)

    Instead, the information exists independent of the particular instantiation of the information.

    So if I burn a book it’s rather foolish to ask, where did the information go?

  208. Jerad @ 129:

    I wrote:

    Jerad himself has recently asserted that random indicates unguided while at the same time rejecting the idea that if it’s non-random it is therefore guided.

    Do you view that as a non-factual statement?

    As for the quips against evolution theory you posted, were any of them addressed to a specific argument set forth in favor of the theory?

    But really, refusing to discuss specific aspects or propositions of the theory because it might get criticized? So maybe start out with something non-controversial to get the ball rolling?

    Evolution is simply changes in allele frequency in a population, for example. Guided or unguided? How do we decide?

  209. You got to respect how keiths now tries to turn it around and put the onus on us. We’ve put forth a positive case for design. Now it’s your turn to put forth a positive case for why ID is not compatible with the evidence for common descent. Don’t try to change the burden of proof.

    Allan Miller:

    On referring to the ‘mountain of data’, one is invited to ‘step up’ and show it. So you offer a pebble from this mountain. “Sorry, couldn’t carry the rest”. It is wafted away.

    The ‘pebble’ we’ve been offered is that the nested hierarchy is objective, not subjective? And this is incompatible with ID how?

  210. Mung (208(:

    Jerad himself has recently asserted that random indicates unguided while at the same time rejecting the idea that if it’s non-random it is therefore guided.

    I do not recall asserting something exactly like that. If you could point to my statement to which you are referring I shall try and clarify it. I do remember discussing random mutations . . .

    As for the quips against evolution theory you posted, were any of them addressed to a specific argument set forth in favor of the theory?

    Quips against evolutionary theory? Me? Which quips are you referring to?

    But really, refusing to discuss specific aspects or propositions of the theory because it might get criticized? So maybe start out with something non-controversial to get the ball rolling?

    If you ask me a question I’ll try and answer it.

    Evolution is simply changes in allele frequency in a population, for example. Guided or unguided? How do we decide?

    I’d say unguided is the default assumption since guided requires the assumption of an extra process or force (a designer). I’d also assign it the default because it’s the consensus view.

    To then prove the changes in allele frequencies came about by a guided process you’d have to prove that some thing happened which could not have happened in an unguided scenario.

    My understanding of the current ID arguments against unguided are that some events are highly unlikely which is not the same as proving they could not have happened.

  211. Mung,

    Do you mean the quips I posted by others disparaging evolutionary theory? I can’t remember exactly what sub-topic they addresses. I merely selected them as representatives of a general trend I’ve noticed at UD of making such comments. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to.

    Again though, if you have a particular question or issue you’d like me to address just ask. Things are much clearer that way.

  212. 212
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 205

    We believe that God is love. Would love be something you would be interested in or knowledgeable about, as a philosopher?

    Interested in, yes. Knowledgeable about, sort of. :)

    Be that as it may, while I acknowledge and appreciate the Christian belief that God is love, I do not share it.

  213. And OMTWO proves it doesn’t understand science:

    My answer would be none at all. Joe et al’s usual would say that if only we were to observe natural processes (“Darwinism”, “Evolutionism” etc) creating CSI/FSCI/FSCIO etc then ID would be disproved. Yet that does not rule out a designer at all.

    Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation contradict what you say OMTWO.

    Who do you think we should side with, the father of modern science or an anonymous loser?

    Then it tries to make this personal:

    And anyway, Joe specifically has a fall-back position that covered absolutely everything anyway.

    Anyway, anayway and anyway, I don’t.

    No matter how random it seems to us, it might not be.

    That is irrelevant. All you have to do is demonstrate blind and undirected processes can produce it and I have nothing to say.

    I’ve tried to pin Joe down on if he therefore believes that there is no such thing as a “fair dice” but of course he goes of into “who is throwing the dice and where did they get them from eh eh” irrelevancies.

    Of course there isn’t any such thing as A “fair DICE”- dice is plural, duh. :razz:

  214. dr boo-who cries on:

    What does I.D. predict in relation to there being an objective nested hierarchy in a biosphere?

    It predicts that we can make a nested hierarchy out of just about anything. Ya see nested hierarchies are purely artificial, but then again you don’t seem to know what a nested hierarchy is. So perhaps you should start with that.


  215. Evolutionism definitely doesn’t predict one.

    Really?

    1 We do NOT see one with prokaryotes. does evolutionism apply to prokaryotes?

    2 With a gradual process we would expect a blending of traits along any given branch.

    Ya see Allan, nested hierarchies are constructed with just the TIPS of the branches when in reality every point along the branch is a transitional population- each slightly modified from the previous. That means we would have mammal-like reptiles and reptile-like mammals- a rali live Venn diagram, complete with overlaps. Nested hierarchies require distinct sets, no overlaps.

  216. OK, just a couple of final thoughts on the concept of information and then I’ll let the thread resume its regularly-scheduled programming.

    Jerad @196:

    Might be helpful for us to say it this way: Objects and events have characteristics which can be described using information. Very simple example: I have a pencil. This is information. The information, however, is a mental/figurative representation of the actual object. The information is not the actual object and cannot be; information is always representative of something else.

    Again, I think the bulk of the confusion arises from the very broad colloquial use of the word “information” and the idea of information being “contained” in an object or an event. If you want to use the word “information” to refer to the characteristics of objects and events, fine. But please then, every time you use the word that way, add the following parenthetical caveat: “(please note that I am using the word in a broad sense and not in the sense of information theory or in a sense that is relevant to technological/biological information storage, retrieval, coding, languages, etc.).” :)

    —–

    Mung @207:

    If that was the only copy of the book, then, yes, the information is destroyed. Unlike matter and energy, information is created and destroyed all the time. An overwritten file, a burned letter, a disintegrated ancient tablet, a note written in the sand that gets washed away by the rising tide . . . This is a very interesting aspect of information and one that distinguishes it from matter and energy (and one that also highlights the fact that information is neither merely a characteristic of, nor reducible to, matter and energy).

  217. 217

    I logged on late last night to respond to Jerad’s questions at #93, but then read through Eric’s very fine explanation at #194, and thought there was really not too much to add. Then after reading Jerad’s ridiculous treatment of Eric’s comments today, I can see there is simply no amount of reasoning or evidence that can be offered. Our universal common experience of material phenomena (like information) simply does not matter in these cases. When someone has a worldview to protect, even discussing material evidence becomes pointless.

    But don’t sweat it Jerad. You can eat the fruit apple, but you can’t eat the word “apple”. There’s little doubt how you might find it difficult to identify one from the other.

  218. OMTWO:

    Yet ID adds a designer when we have a better explanation already.

    Yet that “explanation” can’t even produce a testable hypothesis.

    Joe’s designer designed the cosmos.

    Given the options that is the best explanation.

    We’ve observed evolution in action both at small (directly, Lenski, Nylon) and large scales (by the physical evidence left).

    Again ID is NOT anti-evolution, only anti- the blind watchmaker having sole dominion over evolutionary processes. Also both Lenski and nylonase smack of built-in responses to environmental cues.

    Or perhaps OMTWO can provide a testable hypothesis fpr blind and undirected chemical processes doingit.

    We have never observed any designer intervention in experiments such as Lenski’s.

    And we don’t see a designer coming in to correct our spelling- we have programs that do it. Lenski’s experiments tell us there are severe limits to evolution.

    We have identified a process that explains the complexity found in nature.

    1- They do not explain nature

    2- Those processes have to explain much more than mere complexity. And they cannot.

    Despite not being able to identify any evidence of a designer at all …

    And yet we have. OTOH you still have nothing.

    See Origin of Species.

    Saw it and read it. Darwin didn’t know anything and he argued against a strawman. IOW he was intellectually dishonest.

    Can a die (sigh) ever be fair?

    Yes.


    All you have to do is demonstrate blind and undirected processes can produce it and I have nothing to say.

    Product what Joe?

    Whatever YOU were blathering about, OMTWO.

    Given that you’ve spent thousands of words saying that transitional fossils are not in fact transitional,…

    And more lies- I said “transitional” = it looks like a transitional to me.

  219. keiths-

    Why don’t we see an objective nested hierarchy with prokaryotes? Why are you too afraid to face the facts?

  220. “And we don’t see a designer coming in to correct our spelling – we have programs that do it.”

    hahahaha – good one

  221. So what does ID add then? Specifically?

    It adds the correct way at looking at organisms- just as archaeology adds the correct way of looking at a group of rocks, ie Stonehenge.


    Or perhaps OMTWO can provide a testable hypothesis fpr blind and undirected chemical processes doingit.

    Doing what Joe?

    Doing what YOU claim they can- try any bacterial flagellum.

    So the fact that we have an observed process (Evolution) is no good because evolution does not explain Nature itself?

    Only intellectual cowards equivocate and you do in continually. ID is NOT anti-evolution.


    Saw it and read it. Darwin didn’t know anything and he argued against a strawman. IOW he was intellectually dishonest.

    Really?

    Absolutely.

    It’s just been voted most influential science book ever in the UK with 90% of the vote.

    That doesn’t change the facts.


    Whatever YOU were blathering about, OMTWO.

    You said “it”.

    Man you are dense- YOU said:

    No matter how random it seems to us, it might not be.

    YOU SAID IT – I was responding to you.

    But thanks for proving that you are not only a waste of time but also a waste of sj=kin…

  222. OMTWO:

    I thought ID was only about detecting design?

    And THAT explains the problem.

    I will leave you to your strawmen and a “science” book that attacks a strawman and doesn’t provide any way to test its claims.

  223. petrushka on October 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm said:

    Perhaps this has been hidden from me in plain sight, but I just had an epiphany. If any ID advocate comes up with a way to calculate the CSI of a sequence, that calculation becomes a potential selection oracle.

    That oracle, applied to any old generic GA, guarantees that the GA can generate CSI. QED.

    How did I go wrong on this?

    By being a day (or more) late and a dollar short?

    See here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-435866

  224. Patrick on October 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm said:

    You have clearly articulated what the intelligent design creationists [--> A calculated slander, KF] at UD seem to understand intuitively — making testable claims must be avoided at all costs. [--> Another, it is clearly established that metrics of functionally specific complex info exist and that they are testable as to whether FSCI can be created by blind chance and mechanical necessity. Billions of test cases say, design only. Patrick is here setting up a gross strawman caricature. KF] They would rather turn their backs on the concept of CSI as described by Dembski, the hero of Dover [--> another falsehood and based on carrying forward a continuing misrepresentation. KF], than risk showing how to calculate it objectively. [--> A FOURTH willfully false misrepresentation, cf for instance here (noting the specific, biological cases in point and the associated general method), as P knows full well. KF.]

    And you’re a liar. But then, we already know that.

    I offered a few days ago to incorporate an algorithm into my program.

    As long as there is confusion about what, if anything, they mean by CSI [--> the confusion is manufactured by objectors who do not wish to understand, and find any and all sorts of objections, latterly including to inductive reasoning and earlier to the canons of basic logic, such as the first principles of right reason starting with identity, non contradiction and excluded middle. Where someone rejects basic logic such a one cannot be reasoned with, only pointed out as a sad example of what is to be avoided. KF] , there is room for their god.[--> it seems that P is motivated by antipathy for God. The resorts he makes above speak volumes for the impact of such an antipathy. He also knows or should know that there are and have been significant design advocates and friends who are agnostics, etc, starting with Sir Fred Hoyle. KF]

    Well, since you seem so eager, help me out.

    Time for another ID prediction: You won’t.

  225. keiths:

    The UD side of the discussion is happening on this thread, so you might want to repost your comment there.

    What discussion? We’re still waiting for you to present some of that massive amount of evidence for universal common descent you have, the existence of which is incompatible with ID. Once you do that, maybe we can discuss.

  226. dr boo-who:

    There’s a correct one word answer, and it’s easy to work out if you understand what prediction means when applied to hypotheses.

    That is what we have been waiting for- predictions that your position makes when applied to the testable hypotheses that no one seems to want to talk about. IOW it is clear that you do not understand the concept of what prediction means when applied to hypotheses.

    And it is a safe bet that you don’t understand nested hierarchies.

    Maybe your position sez we will observe nested hierarchies when we do and we won’t when we don’t.


  227. It predicts that we can make a nested hierarchy out of just about anything.

    OK, let’s test that prediction … {a fish, a spoon, a bike, a tooth, the latest Muse album, my wife, a bag of carrots}

    No Allan, not just anything you can pull from your [deleted, watch language, KF].

    However for example I can make an objective nested hierarchy out of books in a library and the parts of a human body- I have seen the latter in a biology book.

  228. F/N: Anyone who has played animal, vegetable or mineral, will know that it is quite possible to make a nested hierarchy of the list above, once we have sufficient room to set up a case structure to frame a hierarchy. The objection is silly, and it is about a strawman distortion and distraction. Notice, how far we are from a serious answer to the essay challenge, with no takes as the day eighteen mark approaches. KF

  229. KF (228):

    I’m not saying my comment (86) in this thread is what you’re looking for but it was a quick attempt to present my view of the evidence in a very general sense and no one has commented on it.

  230. dr boo-who spews:

    Onlookers, what’s interesting here is that Joe’s fellow IDists do not point out Joe’s mistake when he claims that the (unguided) theory of evolution is untestable and does not contain testable hypotheses.

    Onlookers notice that neither you and the TSZ ilk are too cowardly to produce a testable hypothesis for your position. THAT is what is very interesting.

    He does this often, and he’s directly contradicting all of I.D’s important claims.

    Which claim is that? I say you are lying, again, as usual.

  231. keiths chokes:

    Are there any ID supporters out there who can (and will) answer the following questions?

    1. Do you agree that unguided evolution fits the data far better than ID does?

    No. To date no one has produced a way to test unguided evolution.

    3. If not, then identify a fatal flaw in my argument, and explain to us why it is a flaw. Be specific.

    No testable hypotheses and no way to test its claims.

    For example how can we test teh claim that any bacterial flagellum evolved via accumulations of genetic accidents? Please be specific or you admit your position has nothing.

    BTW any time you want to ante up say $5,000 USD I will put my knowldge of nested hierarchies up against yours. Just let me know, coward.

  232. more keits spewage:

    1. Bob is walking through the desert with his friend, a geologist. They come across what appears to be a dry streambed. After some thought, Bob states that every rock, pebble, grain of sand and silt particle was deliberately placed in its exact position by a Streambed Designer. His friend says “That’s ridiculous. This streambed has exactly the features we would expect to see if it was created by flowing water. Why invoke a Streambed Designer?”

    Who has the better theory, Bob or his friend?

    I would have to visit the scene and examine it. You know conduct a scientific investigation

    2. Bob is invited to the scene of an investigation by a friend who is an explosive forensics expert. They observe serious damage radiating out in all directions from a central point, decreasing with distance, as if an explosion had taken place. Bob’s friend performs some tests and finds large amounts of explosive residue. Bob says, “Somebody went to a lot of trouble to make it look like there was an explosion here. They even planted explosive residue on the scene! Of course, there wasn’t really an explosion.”

    Who has the better theory, Bob or his friend?

    I would have to visit the scene and examine it. You know conduct a scientific investigation.

    3. Bob and another friend, an astronomer, observe the positions of the planets over several years. They determine that the planets are moving in ellipses, with the sun at one of the foci. Bob says, “Isn’t that amazing? The angels pushing the planets around are following exactly the paths that the planets would have followed if gravity had been acting on them!” The astronomer gives Bob a funny look and says “Maybe gravity is working on those planets, with no angels involved at all. Doesn’t that seem more likely to you?”

    Who has the better theory, Bob or his friend?

    I would ask the astronomer where he pulled gravity from. Then sit back and watch him implode.

    4. Bob is hanging out at the office of a friend who is an evolutionary biologist. The biologist shows Bob how the morphological and molecular data establish the phylogenetic tree of the 30 major taxa of life to an amazing accuracy of 38 decimal places. “There couldn’t be a better confirmation of unguided evolution,” the biologist says. “Don’t be ridiculous,” Bob replies. “All of those lifeforms were clearly designed. It’s just that the Designer chose to imitate unguided evolution, instead of picking one of the trillions of other options available to him.”

    Who has the better theory, Bob or his friend?

    Phylogenetic and morphological data do not support any mechanism- I would tell the biologist he is FoS.

    I would then ask the biologist for a testable hypothesis for unguided evolution. Then sit back and watch HIM implode.

    And ponder this- if you are an evo who needs to make up such stupid stories then it is a given thet you have nothing but desperation.

    Nice job ace…

    .

  233. more dr boo-who:

    And why doesn’t PaV, who clearly believes that the (unguided) theory of evolution makes testable predictions, tell Joe to shut up and learn what “testable” and “prediction” mean in relation to scientific hypotheses?

    Why can’t YOU just produce a testable hypothesis for unguided evolution, along with any predictions? Why are you being such a coward?

    (I’m aware of the problem of turning this into too much of a “Joe” thread, but the predictions that various hypotheses make in relation to nested heirarchies are important to the subject of the O.P.).

    Please define “nested hierarchy”- a valid referenced definituion, please. Then explain why we do NOT observe one with prokaryotes and why that isn’t a problem for unguided evolution.

    So to sum up-

    Neither dr boo-who nor keiths understand nested hierarchies nor do they understand science. But they sure can spew with the best and whine when it doesn’t go their way.

  234. To Keiths (at TSZ):

    Quite the opposite. I don’t make any assumptions about how the Designer would act. He has trillions of options open to him, and he could choose any one of them, regardless of whether it produced an objective nested hierarchy.

    You are making the assumption that the designer “has trillions of options open to him” (why?), and that he “could choose any one of them” (how do you know that? are you an expert about the designer’s free will?), “regardless of whether it produced an objective nested hierarchy” (so you know how many of the options would produce that, and that the designer has no reason to prefer one kind of option to another one; again, how do you know that?).

    Those are a lot of assumptions.

    It’s the evidence that tells us that the objective nested hierarchy exists.

    Fine.

    1a) Out of the trillions of possibilities, unguided evolution predicts an objective nested hierarchy; we see an objective nested hiearchy; the prediction is successful, and unguided evolution fits the evidence extremely well.

    It certainly fits the evidence of the hierarchy. But, unfortunately, it does not fit the evidence of the complex biological information. You are reasoning as though the hierarchy were the only evidence available.

    ID predicts neither an objective nested hierarchy, or the lack thereof; we see an objective nested hierarchy;

    It does nor predict necessarily the hierarchy, but it is perfectly compatible with it. What ID does predict is the complex functional information in the designed objects.

    ID proponents have to assume that the Designer chose to produce an objective nested hierarchy,

    Either chose, or had to. Because of specific restraints.

    which is exactly the same pattern that unguided evolution would have produced.

    No. It is simply the same pattern as any form of evolution, guided or unguided, would have produced if it had to work by modification of the existing beings, instead of having to create new beings from scratch each time. It is very obvious that the first option can be the best, or the only one, available to a designer if specific constraints on how the designer can act are present in the system.

    There is no successful prediction, and a completely unwarranted assumption.

    There is no prediction here, but there is a much more powerful prediction about complex functional information. And there is no assumptiom at all: we observe the evidence, we infer design (from complex functional cinformation), and we reasonably infer that the designer had specific, and definable, limjitations in how to act.

    Physical laws don’t require an objective nested hierarchy.

    The designer has to modify matter from consciousness, through some interface. We don’t know how that interface works, and what its laws are. The real constraint is obviously how to implement the design in the material world. The simple explanation for the nested hierarchy is that it is easier for the designer to modify what already exists than to redo everything from scratch. Is that so difficult to understand?

    That suggests that your embrace of ID is not scientific.

    You are entitled to your opinion, however bizarre.

    Keep thinking about this,

    I think about many things, but I usually decide myself what to think about. Anyway, thank you for the kind suggestion.

    but try to do so with the attitude that you want to discover the truth, whatever that may be — even if the truth turns out to be uncomfortable.

    That is a very wise principle for thinking about anything, and I certainly can reciprocate the encouragement.

    P.S The UD side of the discussion is happening on this thread, so you might want to repost your comment there.

    I will copy this comment there too.

  235. Jerad:

    I see your claim that 86 above is at least an outline level response to the 6000 word essay challenge, summarising the view of the experts.

    My immediate concern is from the beginning, where you speak in terms of 150 years and the modern synthesis.

    However, the challenge I put gives pride of place to OOL, for good reason; and it is also the case that the co-founder of evolutionary theory from 1869 on increasingly repudiated materialistic accounts that boil down to the blind watchmaker thesis. That is why from the first I did not take your remarks as a response on the main subject, but a response to UB. For excellent reason of a drastic difference in scope.

    Be that as it may, let me mark up your response to UB, presumably on OO body plan level macro-evolution:

    _______________

    >>The mechanisms behind the modern evolutionary synthesis have been described and elucidated for over 150 years by many people much brighter than myself.

    [a --> The focus you set is ducking the first, central challenge: OOL, which in part has to account for the origin of the code based, von Neumann self replicator. Before any proposed mechanism of chance variation and differential reproductive success leading to descent with empirically grounded unlimited modification of form [CV + DRS -> DWEGUM], could be reasonable.]

    Not much point in me going over it all again if you haven’t bought their arguments.

    [b --> the issue is not consensus and the like but warrant. And, failure to cogently address the root of the claimed tree of life undermines all assertions beyond that point.]

    [UB?} And if that mechanism is not available, then on what evidentiary ground did you base your conclusion? Is it as I suspected in my earlier comment – an assumed conclusion in the face of material evidence to the contrary? What material facts do you suggest we use to teach assumed conclusions to science students?

    If you look at the biogeographic record, as Darwin and Wallace did, you realise that there are species and genus and families of life forms that only exist in certain locations on the planet.

    [c --> Descent with variation to the family or equivalent level is well within the body plan origin level. Many YEC thinkers take the family to be about the level of the baraminological [?] kind. So, you are at best dealing with adaptation of varieties within a body plan.]

    It is possible to begin to construct a tree of descent relationships, a tree of life as it were, from looking at how life forms seeming spread across the planet and changed and adapted to their local environments.

    [d --> This takes you to the level of discussing small branches and twigs, rather than an overall tree.]

    If you look at life forms’ morphologies you can also build a similar tree of life.

    [e --> Ducks the multiplicities of trees that are not consistent with one another, once the molecular and gentic similarities are used rather than superficial morphology. In addition for instance the issue of mosaic creatures and convergence on things like the camera eye -- was it 40 origins of the eye or something like that -- as well as say the close convergence in form of marsupial and placental forms come up as significant issues.]

    Not exactly the same I grant you. And not complete either. The fossil record is a partial ledger of some of the life forms that lived a long time ago.

    [f --> Ducks the issue of the Cambrian life revo, which indicates the rise of top level body plans by the dozens, right at the beginning of the story for multicellular animal life forms.]

    We can date the fossils and add them to our morphological tree of life extending it to over 500 million years in the past.

    [g --> Ducks the Cambrian issue again. Also the multiple, conflicting trees not to mention the root of the tree of life, the pivotal issue. Fails as well to notice that common design as well as common descent can account for a tree-like pattern, with cross links leading to somewhat of a mesh. Indeed, libraries of components re-used in diverse designs can easily account for all that we see. Also, notice, there is a huge gap on what Gould points out is the dominant pattern in the fossil record: appearance, stasis of form, disappearance. ISLANDS of form, in short.]

    Also, the locations of the fossils add to the geo-diversity picture.

    [h --> Only by extrapolation from variation within limits.]

    Darwin also looked at the ability of breeders in recorded history to modify and change the morphology of plants and animals.

    j –> Breeding by artificial selection is mostly on Mendelian variation, where characteristics tracing to multiple genes can show wide variation but with limits. Limits to breeding are a well known phenomenon. Also, this is intelligent design. yes, I know Darwin made much use of this as an analogy to his favoured Natural Selection, but in fact he was using ID as a model for the opposite of design, and mendelian variation as a model for mutations. What has simply not been empirically demonstrated per observations is a continuum of incremental variations sufficient to create new body plans, especially from a unicellular organism upwards. Where the evidence of the Cambrian fossils is of appearance of top level forms. Darwin predicted/expected that the then allegedly scanty record would be filled in, but now with 1/4+ mn fossil species [which may itself be a problem] and millions or billions of specimens int eh museum or field, the early pattern has been abundantly supported: discrete forms.

    He knew the underlying variations were inheritable and that that made plausible

    [k --> Telling word, especially given the above.]

    the idea that the changes seen in the morphological tree of life as extended into the past and viewed geographically were part of a continuum, not isolated life forms.

    [l --> Ducks the evidence of discrete forms and of top down body plan origins.]

    For 100 years new fossil discoveries and new species discoveries enabled biologists to refine their life trees and add new branches. Sometimes new subsets were discovered. But nothing pointed to a separate tree.

    [m --> More correctly, there was discovered a range of forms that could be fitted together in a tree-like pattern, but without the clear warrant of incremental variations at body plan level, parallel to say circumpolar gulls or the like. The tips are there but the explanatory, incremental bottom up continuum of forms forming the branches and trunk and root are missing. In short, you have been given a selective picture and interpretation, not the whole story warts and all.]

    It all fit within certain limits of our knowledge. There was nothing contradictory.

    [n --> False. The genetic and molecular level trees dramatically conflict with one another and with the one composed on gross form. You have been presented with a composed, artificially harmonious picture.]

    When we gained the ability to look inside the heritable mechanism we found a whole new way of drawing our tree of life. In fact, many different ways based on which chunk of DNA we focused on.

    [o --> And, what did these tell you about the diverse and conflicting trees that emerged? Or the pattern of uniform molecular distance in different categories of life for say proteins?]

    (Not just genes mind you, the universal genetic code, transposons, ERVs, pseudo genes, broken genes, number of chromosomes, it all points in the same direction.) While each of those trees differed slightly from each other

    [p --> Minimisation of serious conflict, to form a neat harmonious picture. this is indoctrination, not education.]

    and from the morphological and geographic trees the main branches and divisions mostly held.

    [q --> Fails to explain that there is in fact now a proposed mesh at the root, or that there is again an absence of empirical observation of the incremental forms that are supposed to have formed the continuum of forms from the unicellular ancestor to the major body plans and onward to the forms at the tips of branches and twigs that we observe. In short an overly rosy picture is being painted.]

    The new knowledge was concordant with the old knowledge.

    [r --> False assertion, painting an overly rosy picture and papering over material conflicts. Notice, this ducks the precise question posed for the essay of providing empirical warrant for the structure of the tree and reconciliation of the diversity of trees once molecular similarities were used to provide alleged reconstructions of the history of life.]

    All lines of evidence were giving the same indication: life on earth arose by common descent with variation.

    [s --> Force fitting into an artificial harmony that suppresses material conflict. That is why the essay called for specific, empirical observation grounded evidence of the claimed root of the tree of life and for similar evidence based reconciliation that shows the incremental emergence of forms and the reconciliation of materially conflicting molecular trees.]

    In short the modern evolutionary model of how life arose on this planet is coherent, self-consistent (within knowledge bounds), agrees with other sciences like chemistry and physics, has great explanatory power, is supported by multiple lines of independent evidence and does not include extra assumptions or special pleading.

    [t --> False, based on an imposed artificial harmony that fails to come to grips with material conflicts and gaps.]

    Nothing outside of known and observed processes are required. And we have observed many smaller steps occurring. Our big jigsaw picture is not complete by any means but every new piece we find eventually makes sense in the bigger picture once we figure out where it goes.

    [t --> A creedal assertion, not an empirically warranted claim.]

    As far as I can see, it’s the most parsimonious and powerful model going. It’s simple and elegant and it works. Just like a good theorem in mathematics.

    [u --> Again, an artificial harmony that papers over material conflicts and gaps is not cogent, but can be very persuasive to those who do not know about the limitations, gaps and conflicts.]

    I’m sure this mini-essay has flaws and some badly worded sections. And I’ve probably left some things out. But I just made it up rather quickly so be nice please. And remember, you did ask. >>

    _______________

    Jerad, I hope you see why I insisted that the account6 needs to start from the root on up for the essay. By ruling a convenient datum line that does not force the addressing of the source of FSCO/I, much can be made out to be wonderfully reasonable. But once the root is a problem that the only empirical basis for explanation is design, then we can see from then on that design has to be on the table, not implicitly excluded by default of assumed power of mechanisms that is in fact not there.

    No wonder, UB replied as follows at 87 (which you do not seem to have taken on board):

    UB: Then by all means, please provide the evidence-laden unguided mechanism which has been shown to resolve the origin of the iterative system of symbols which Darwinian evolution is dependent upon. Such demonstrations are what empirical science is about, correct?

    Jerad: The mechanisms behind the modern evolutionary synthesis have been described and elucidated for over 150 years by many people much brighter than myself. Not much point in me going over it all again if you haven’t bought their arguments.

    This has nothing to do with the modern evolutionary synthesis. MET is silent on the origin of the biosemiosis. It cannot logically be the source of the material conditions required for its own existence, unless you believe that something which does not exist can cause something to happen.

    With this answer, you did nothing but punt away inconvenient evidence. Welcome to a real time exposition of your pseudo-scientific ideology.

    I suggest you may find it helpful to read the IOSE units here and here, on OOL and OO body plans; which I think will help you see what you were not told by those who taught you, many of whom may not know better themselves.

    KF

  236. Onlookers:

    Today is day 18.

    This morning, I saw a claim from Jerad that his remarks to UB at 86 above constituted at least a rough outline response. I have marked up as just above, to show why this is not an adequate response to the key issues and to the challenge that pivots on these issues.

    Let me remind those who would respond or claim elsewhere or here at UD that an adequate response has been given, just what is needed for an adequate response, apart from a reasonable essay structure:

    Your primary objective should be to show in this way, per IBCE, why there is no need to infer to design from the root of the Darwinian tree of life — cf. Smithsonian discussion here – on up (BTW, it will help to find a way to resolve the various divergent trees), on grounds that the Darwinist explanation, as extended to include OOL, is adequate to explain origin and diversification of the tree of life. A second objective of like level is to show how your thesis is further supported by such evidence as suffices to warrant the onward claim that is is credibly the true or approximately true explanation of origin and body-plan level diversification of life; on blind watchmaker style chance variation plus differential reproductive success, starting with some plausible pre-life circumstance.

    It would be helpful if in that essay you would outline why alternatives such as design, are inferior on the evidence we face.

    There is a very good reason why the challenge focusses on the root of the tree[s] of life, as that is where the origin of FSCO/I by blind chance and mechanical necessity is most starkly confronted by evidence, with no reasonable out by claiming the wonderful powers of natural selection.

    Unless an essay answers that on good empirical evidence, for good reason, it is a non starter.

    KF

  237. PS: Dr Hunter marks up Dr Noor’s first lessons here, and as is headlined at UD this morning also. The want of a cogent, empirical evidence grounded answer to the challenge I have been outlining is painfully evident.

  238. KF (235, 236):

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on my very sketchy outline of what I would say were I to try and meet your challenge. I’ll let everyone else read it and do their own comparing and contrasting.

    I can certainly see why you would like the OoL issue addressed but, as we both know, it’s not possible at this time to be specific. There are various hypothesis but there is no consensus and certainly nothing has come close to being proven or even more than plausible. So I don’t think anyone could meet your challenge. At one point you say

    ,,,there is again an absence of empirical observation of the incremental forms that are supposed to have formed the continuum of forms,,,

    We will never be able to go back and see what actually did happen so I assume you’d be okay with at least some kind of experimental scenario. And I think you say as much elsewhere. You did talk about defending Darwinism (I’m paraphrasing obviously) and, since evolutionary theory doesn’t address OoL, I did try and do that on it’s own.

    I do agree that there are differences between the trees you get depending on what core criteria you use but I disagree that any of the differences are fatal to the theory. I also disagree with pointing to gaps in the fossil record and using absence of evidence as being evidence of absence. In a murder case if I can prove someone was at the scene I don’t necessarily need to be able to establish how they got there to get a conviction. We can make strong deductions even without ever phase being completely clear.

    Anyway, clearly I will not be able to give you what you’re asking for. But thanks for having a look at a meagre start/attempt.

    Hope the plane crash crisis is settling out. In small countries you’re never too far removed from a tragedy.

  239. and critical rationalist chimes in from TSZ:

    Joe is denying that Darwinism actually created the knowledge of how to build organisms by claiming it existed in some form or another at the outset.

    Deny? So sorry but I cannot deny that which there isn’t any evidence for. So perhaps you should get to work, find some evidence for teh claim and then we will see.

  240. Jerad:

    I see:

    I can certainly see why you would like the OoL issue addressed but, as we both know, it’s not possible at this time to be specific. There are various hypothesis but there is no consensus and certainly nothing has come close to being proven or even more than plausible. So I don’t think anyone could meet your challenge.

    The OOL issue is pivotal.

    If it cannot be addressed on decisive evidence then there is no basis for making the sort of claims about blind watchmaker molecules to Man evolution that are commonly made in the name of science.

    KF

  241. To Allan Miller-

    Seeing that you are so eager to say I am ignorant of nested hierarchies, I will ask you to provide a valid and referenced definition of nested hierarchy and tell me how my claims are wrong wrt it.

    Linnean taxonomy is NOT based on ancestor-descendant relationships, but on defined characteristics. Linnean taxonomy is the nested hierarchy observed and he constructed with a common design in mind. All evos did was steal his idea and make it seem as if it supported them.

    Any classification based on ancestor-descendent relationships, as descent with modification would be, would be a non-nested hierarchy.

    Clades form nested hierarchies, again, based on defined traits- as in all these organisms share x number of traits so they must be related because we have already concluded that is so. However say the starting population gave rise to a population that lost on of the defining traits? That is totally OK with the theory of evolution, that over time traits can become lost- evolution does NOT have a direction. It would be a descendent but not included in the Clade because it lacks a defining characteristic of that Clade.

    Denton went over all this in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”- so don’t act as if I am making all this up. I am not the only one to point out the folly of nested hierarchies wrt evolutionism.

    You can run your mouth all you want. I can support my claims and all you can do is falsely accuse me and never support yours.

  242. Well, I thought I’d drop in and see if anyone has accepted the challenge yet. No takers eh?

  243. Jerad, if you want to know why we deride evolutionary theory, it’s because there is so little real substance to it.

    But lots of storytelling, if that’s your cup of tea.

  244. Jerad:

    At least, you have given your best try.

    In so doing, you have accepted the gap at OOL, I have pointed out its significance. This issue is actually pivotal for the way design thinkers look at origins, and has been since the earliest modern design thinking in the early 1980′s with Thaxton et al. (BTW, a Chemist and Cancer survivor.)

    I think we both have learned from it.

    And, we have had a civil exchange of views.

    Which, given the stunts and antics going on elsewhere, is unfortunately also significant to the point of being remarkable.

    KF

  245. Zachriel:

    If, however, you were to start with a single sequence of significant length, and subject the sequence to replication with variation, and assuming reasonable mutation rates, then it would form an objective fit to a single nested hierarchy, and you would be able to reconstruct the lines of descent with reasonable accuracy.

    How are you defining nested hierarchy? It is already a given that ancestor-descendent relationships for non-nested hierarchies.

    Do you think if we took all of the descendents of the “weasel” program, including the unseen offspring, that we would observe a nested hierarchy based on descent with modification? If so, let’s see it.

    List your criteria for each level and each set, please.

  246. We’re definition nested hierarchy objectively, Joe, based on what is actually there. sheesh

  247. dr boo-who cowardly avoids producing a testable hypothesis for its position and whines:

    So, would you please try this little exercise: Hypothesis: Life on earth was intelligently designed.

    Predictions: ?

    Falsifications: ?

    Can you think of things that would necessarily follow from the hypothesis to fill in the blank after predictions. And can you think of any conceivable observations that would contradict the hypothesis? (Potential falsifications).

    How to test and falsify ID and the design hypothesis

    Of particular interest to keiths’ O.P., you might want to consider whether or not objective nested heirarchies are necessary to the hypothesis.

    Why is that of any interest at all? We are still waiting for you to provide a definition of “nested hierarchy”. It appears that you are too chicken to support anything you say but think if you keep saying it that it means something.

    For example, the theory of evolution predicts that the big complex organisms we see today (like ourselves) must have been preceded by simpler ones.

    Exactly what I would expect from an intellectual coward because it has NOTHING to do with unguided evolution. Loser

  248. For example, the theory of evolution predicts that the big complex organisms we see today (like ourselves) must have been preceded by simpler ones.

    That’s simply false.

    No wonder these people don’t even try to meet the challenge in the OP, they don’t even understand evolutionary theory.

    Or a tautology.

    The theory of evolution predicts that complex things which evolved from simpler things must have been preceded by simpler things. big deal

    Conceive of the simplest possible organism capable of asexual reproduction and Darwnian evolution.

    Evolutionary theory predicts that it must have evolved (by Darwinian means) from something even simpler.

    Evolutionary theory does not require that organisms become more complex as they reproduce and persist over time.

    Evolutionary theory does not require that complex organisms cannot become simpler they reproduce and persist over time.

  249. Time to resurrect the Junk For Brains winner. Congratulations Mike Elzinga!

  250. Joe Felsenstein:

    Again, am I misunderstanding gpuccio’s argument? How?

    Worse, you’re misunderstanding SI, and no one there seems to have the integrity to correct you.

  251. How are you defining nested hierarchy?

    Zachriel:

    The usual way, as a hierarchical ordering of nested sets.

    Ah yes, the usual obfuscation. With your “definition” you need to define hierarchical ordering and nested sets.


    It is already a given that ancestor-descendent relationships for non-nested hierarchies.

    Our comment referred to the pattern of offspring.

    The pattern of whatever it is.


    List your criteria for each level and each set, please.

    That would depend on the specific history, of course. It’s something very easy to verify for anyone interested.

    So your “nested hierarchy” depends on observing every step? So your “nested hierarchy” is not based on defined characteristics, as with Linnean taxonomy and cladistics? You have your own made-up/ make believe “nested hierarchy” criteria?

    BWAAAAAAHAAAAAAAHAAA-

    Look, your “definition” of nested hierarchy is a joke and you know it.

    So let me help you, again:

    a summary of the principles of hierarchy theory

    Hierarchies occur in social systems, biological structures, and in the biological taxonomies. Since scholars and laypersons use hierarchy and hierarchical concepts commonly, it would seem reasonable to have a theory of hierarchies. Hierarchy theory uses a relatively small set of principles to keep track of the complex structure and a behavior of systems with multiple levels. A set of definitions and principles follows immediately:

    Hierarchy: in mathematical terms, it is a partially ordered set. In less austere terms, a hierarchy is a collection of parts with ordered asymmetric relationships inside a whole. That is to say, upper levels are above lower levels, and the relationship upwards is asymmetric with the relationships downwards.

    Hierarchical levels: levels are populated by entities whose properties characterize the level in question. A given entity may belong to any number of levels, depending on the criteria used to link levels above and below. For example, an individual human being may be a member of the level i) human, ii) primate, iii) organism or iv) host of a parasite, depending on the relationship of the level in question to those above and below.

    Level of organization: this type of level fits into its hierarchy by virtue of set of definitions that lock the level in question to those above and below. For example, a biological population level is an aggregate of entities from the organism level of organization, but it is only so by definition. There is no particular scale involved in the population level of organization, in that some organisms are larger than some populations, as in the case of skin parasites.

    Level of observation: this type of level fits into its hierarchy by virtue of relative scaling considerations. For example, the host of a skin parasite represents the context for the population of parasites; it is a landscape, even though the host may be seen as belonging to a level of organization, organism, that is lower than the collection of parasites, a population.

    The criterion for observation: when a system is observed, there are two separate considerations. One is the spatiotemporal scale at which the observations are made. The other is the criterion for observation, which defines the system in the foreground away from all the rest in the background. The criterion for observation uses the types of parts and their relationships to each other to characterize the system in the foreground. If criteria for observation are linked together in an asymmetric fashion, then the criteria lead to levels of organization. Otherwise, criteria for observation merely generate isolated classes.

    The ordering of levels: there are several criteria whereby other levels reside above lower levels. These criteria often run in parallel, but sometimes only one or a few of them apply. Upper levels are above lower levels by virtue of: 1) being the context of, 2) offering constraint to, 3) behaving more slowly at a lower frequency than, 4) being populated by entities with greater integrity and higher bond strength than, and 5), containing and being made of – lower levels.

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    That said-

    For example in the nested hierarchy of living organisms we have the animal kingdom.

    To be placed in the animal kingdom an organism must have all of the criteria of an animal.

    For example:

    All members of the Animalia are multicellular (eukaryotes), and all are heterotrophs (that is, they rely directly or indirectly on other organisms for their nourishment). Most ingest food and digest it in an internal cavity.

    Animal cells lack the rigid cell walls that characterize plant cells. The bodies of most animals (all except sponges) are made up of cells organized into tissues, each tissue specialized to some degree to perform specific functions.

    The next level (after kingdom) contain the phyla. Phyla have all the characteristics of the kingdom PLUS other criteria.

    For example one phylum under the Kingdom Animalia, is Chordata.

    Chordates have all the characteristics of the Kingdom PLUS the following:

    Chordates are defined as organisms that possess a structure called a notochord, at least during some part of their development. The notochord is a rod that extends most of the length of the body when it is fully developed. Lying dorsal to the gut but ventral to the central nervous system, it stiffens the body and acts as support during locomotion. Other characteristics shared by chordates include the following (from Hickman and Roberts, 1994):

    bilateral symmetry
    segmented body, including segmented muscles
    three germ layers and a well-developed coelom.
    single, dorsal, hollow nerve cord, usually with an enlarged anterior end (brain)
    tail projecting beyond (posterior to) the anus at some stage of development
    pharyngeal pouches present at some stage of development
    ventral heart, with dorsal and ventral blood vessels and a closed blood system
    complete digestive system
    bony or cartilaginous endoskeleton usually present.

    The next level is the class. All classes have the criteria of the kingdom, plus all the criteria of its phylum PLUS the criteria of its class.

    This is important because it shows there is a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    Yet evolution does NOT have a direction. Characteristics can be lost as well as gained. And characteristics can remain stable.

    All of that means we should not expect a nested hierarchy with descent with modification.

  252. OMTWO on October 11, 2012 at 11:58 am said:

    KF claims that CSI is generated billions of times a day.

    CSI is a value derived by measurement.

    To claim that CSI is generated billions of times a day is to not understand CSI.

    Sorry kf. ;)

    Consider whether or not a child has a fever. You use a thermometer to take the temperature of the child. If that temperature exceeds a certain value you say the child has a fever. You don’t talk of a child having “less fever” and “more fever” the way you jokers over at TSZ ask whether something has less CSI and more CSI.
    _________

    Actually, what I have said is that there are billions of known-origin cases of FSCO/I cumulatively (notice, my insistence on a specific focus, function depending on specific complex multipart organisation constituting a narrow zone T from a much bigger space of overwhelmingly non-functional possibilities W), and that there are more being created day by day, constituting an ever-growing base of empirical evidence on the empirically reliable observed source of FSCO/I; where this includes not just direct digital strings but organised objects that are reducible to a functionally specific nodes and arcs mesh, which in turn is reducible to a structured string expression, so discussion of strings is WLOG. Just on directly created strings of symbols, how many textual messages of at least 72 ASCII characters are created per day by 7 billion human beings? How many oral messages comprise strings of phonemes which are comparable to 500 or more bits of information, on the same population? Whether or not we actually set out to measure all of these cases, we know the pattern well enough to understand that there will be millions of cases of functionally specific complex organisation created per day, and that a similar number will be cases of symbolic strings in languages that are beyond the threshold where it is reasonable to infer that the only credible source is intelligence, as we can directly observe. KF

  253. OMTWO on October 11, 2012 at 11:58 am said:

    When I (or Lizzie) claim that we can write a program that can output CSI the onus is not on us to define what CSI is. The onus is on your to test the output from the program and determine the level of CSI present, if any. After all, I might be just making it all up!

    LOL! And you probably ARE making it up. That’s why we think you (and Lizzie) are all talk. I don’t have to prove that you’re full of it. All I have to do is let you talk long enough.

  254. petrushka on October 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm said:

    Perhaps someone who is allowed to post there should ask him from where he got the list of configurations that can occur without magical intervention, and how that list was assembled.

    Without such a list you cannot separate configurations into designed and non-designed.

    There are reasons certain people are no longer allowed to post here. One of them is repeatedly putting forth straw-man versions of ID.

    ID is about when a design inferences is warranted. It doesn’t require a “not designed” category. That’s one of Lizzie’s favorite lies and just one (among may) of the reason she no longer posts here.

    You do her proud.
    ________

    Why is “magic” being injected into the matter? That sounds suspiciously like a stand-in for “the supernatural” or Lewontin’s and Sagan’s “demons,” i.e. a play at atmosphere poisoning by red herrings, strawmen and ad hominems. Are human beings magical? Do or do we not routinely create FSCO/I? Do or do we not routinely observe the creation of same? Do we not routinely see the wiring diagram type patterns that are involved, and how function depends on getting it right? (Ever had sand get into the works of a fishing reel . . . ?) Do we not therefore have a perfectly good inductive basis for seeing FSCO/I as an empirically reliable sign of design, even as deer tracks are a sign of deer? Strange . . . Oh, I get it now, P is at some level aware that evolutionary materialism has a massive breakdown at explaining mind in a way that leaves knowledge and reason intact. Dismissing such an uncomfortable instance of reductio ad absurdum by projecting the problem elsewhere is one way to rhetorically deal with it. But in fact, the design inference is about warrant for inferring design on sign. Design thinkers recognise another longstanding routine observation, that we see natural regularities tracing to mechanical necessity, that we see high contingencies tracing to chance or choice, and that a good way to distinguish the two is to note that chance often manifests itself in stochastic distributions that will be dominated by the bulk of the distribution, such as a reverse-J or a Bell or a skewed bell, etc. By contrast, intelligence designs things that depend on multipart integration to function, so the active information injected moves us to zones of configs that would be maximally implausible on chance. So, the design filter asks if something is credibly driven by law first, and can warrant inference to natural regularities per strongly stamped regular pattern [dropped heavy objects fall at a force of 9.8 N/kg near earth]; and if that is not relevant to an aspect of a case under investigation, it then looks for stochastic pattern as second default and only on objective warrant will it infer to design. Strictly the alternative inferences are that inference to design of the object or phenomenon/ process in view is not warranted per the criterion. The insistence on toxic strawmen in the teeth of opportunity to do better and even in the teeth of correction, is diagnostic that something is very wrong at TSZ. KF

  255. keiths:

    It’s been almost three days since my post went up, so now is a good time to pause and take stock. My post explained why unguided evolution is literally trillions of times better than ID at explaining the evidence for common descent.

    Great. Bully for you. What we were expecting was a post establishing your thesis:

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

    Mung seems to think that if ID isn’t incompatible with the evidence, but is merely trillions of times less compatible with the evidence as compared to unguided evolution, that this somehow saves the day for ID. (I think he knows better; what it really means is that he can’t find a flaw in my argument and is grasping at straws).

    How old are you, 14? If ID isn’t incompatible with the evidence, then ID isn’t incompatible with the evidence, and your thesis has not been established.

    We await your Part II.

    Nobody has addressed the critical issue, which is that unguided evolution explains the evidence trillions of times better than ID.

    You’re deluded and attempting to rewrite history. The critical issue is whether you demonstrate the truth of your thesis:

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

    We’re waiting.

    Are there any ID supporters out there who can (and will) answer the following questions?

    1. Do you agree that unguided evolution fits the data far better than ID does?

    What does unguided evolution look like (how do we know when unguided evolution is operating), and what data are you talking about?

    3. If not, then identify a fatal flaw in my argument, and explain to us why it is a flaw. Be specific.

    The fatal flaw in your argument, and I’m going to be very specific here, is that it’s not an argument, it’s a rant.

    An argument would put forth premises in support of the following conclusion:

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

  256. petrushka on October 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm said:

    We have been lectured at great length about how the semiotic relationship embodied in the genetic code is arbitrary. There could be dozens, even millions of such arbitrary codes.

    We have an obvious example of such variety — human languages.

    Really. Languages are codes?

  257. keiths:

    As if a trained geologist would be fooled by a fake streambed in somebody’s garden.

    The “trained geologist” is a metaphor for the typical internet evolutionist posting at TSZ and UD.

    It not a matter of being fooled by a designed streambed. It’s about the assumption that all streambeds arise by an unguided process and any other possible explanation is ruled out a priori.

  258. OMTWO:

    When I (or Lizzie) claim that we can write a program that can output CSI the onus is not on us to define what CSI is. The onus is on your to test the output from the program and determine the level of CSI present, if any. After all, I might be just making it all up!

    Mung:

    LOL! And you probably ARE making it up.

    Toronto:

    Probably?

    You’re right. They are most certainly making it up.

    Toronto:

    Mung, are you saying you don’t know for sure?

    I’ve had a good deal of experience with Lizzie. She is almost certainly making things up. I don’t have a clue about this other person who claims to have generated CSI. I’ll wait to see the code.

    Mung, are you saying you don’t know how to test whether CSI is present?

    Gee. I assert that Lizzie and OMTWO fail to establish their claims to have generated CSI. OMTWO says it’s up to me to demonstrate otherwise, after all, he/she/it could be lying.

    I looked at Lizzie’s code. I can’t find her calculation for CSI. Can you point it out to me?

    I haven’t seen OMTWO’s code. I can’t wait. I bet it also lacks any calculation of CSI.

    I haven’t seen any string produced by Lizzie’s program, so I have no way of knowing whether a design inference would be warranted.

  259. keiths on October 7, 2012 at 11:35 pm said:

    The purpose of Lizzie’s program is to show that a Darwinian process can generate CSI without using the fitness function to “smuggle in” information about the form of a solution.

    What an idiot. Representative, no doubt.

    Given her program, what sort of string would constitute a solution? Can you show us the code for Lizzie’s “fitness function”?

    She brags that it does not “smuggle in” information because it’s all right there for everyone to see. Except you, apparently.

    man oh man. You’re not a teacher are you? I fear that you are.

  260. keiths:

    Also, your complaint about the runtime of Lizzie’s program is easily addressed. I wrote a C program that uses her fitness function with a parameterized population size and mutation rate. It achieves a solution in less than a minute.

    So what? Mine generated a solution in seconds.

    Post your code.

  261. keiths:

    There wouldn’t be an objective nested hierarchy if genomes were just random assemblages. Real genomes aren’t random assemblages. Selection is highly nonrandom.

    Only ARTIFICIAL selection is highly nonrandom. OTOH, natural selection, which is a RESULT, is random as whatever survives to reproduce, survives to reproduce.

    But nice to see that you can still spew unsupportable nonsense.

  262. Earth to keiths- Theobald is not an authority wrt nested hierarchies. He never even defines what a nested hierarchy is. But you just blindly accept what he sez because you are totally ignorant of the concept.

    Perhaps Dougy will explain to you why we don’t observe a nested hierarchy with prokaryotes. Obvioulsy you are too much of a dolt to understand what that does to your claim.

  263. confusion:

    1. You use a circular argument to claim that unguided evolution can’t produce dFSCI.

    No we use our knowledge and experience.

    2. Having asserted that unguided evolution can’t do the job, you invent an immaterial Designer to produce dFSCI.

    Knowledge and experience are not assertions. And your whining doesn’t change that fact.

    3. You don’t have an explanation of how an immaterial Designer can “modify matter from consciousness”, so you invent a mysterious mechanism that allows the Designer to do so.

    We don’t need such an explanation. That comes from studying the design and all relevant evidence.

    And if you don’t like it you can always stop being a coward, step up and demonstrate your position’s mechanisms are sufficient. But you won’t because you can’t and it gets your [snip -- sexist] in a knot.

    But anyway you have absolutely no clue. It is really too bad you won’t be testifying at any ID v unguided evo trials.

    ___________

    1] J, kindly watch tone.

    2] Evidently, despite having had a poster child post on the problem, we still have objectors at TSZ who don’t realise that dismissing inductive reasoning as circular, is a case of self referential incoherence that cuts their own logical throats.

    3] FYI, TSZ denizens, in the design filter approach, there are TWO defaults, first natural regularities exhibited as the signature of mechanical necessity, then for high contingency, chance not choice. Choice is only selected where — as backed up by strong inductive evidence [that breaks us out of circularity, as J noted] — we have good reason to see that the object etc of interest exhibits an empirically reliable sign of design as opposed to chance contingency.

    4] Hence the JOINT specificty-complexity criterion in a context of function dependent on multiple part arrangement and coupling. Go pull a fishing reel if you don’t understand this. (And beyond that go find a watch you can sacrifice to see the workings of. then, think about the example your side does not ever seriously discuss, Paley’s self-replicating watch.)

    5] So, kindly stop setting up strawmen, beyond a certain point when you have been repeatedly corrected but refuse to accept such, you exhibit willful disregard for truth and fairness, in hopes that distortions will be seen as true to your advantage. There is a short, sharp, well-deserved three letter word for that sort of stunt, starting with L. In short, there is a threshold where that sort of stunt begins to go to character.

    KF

  264. Joe (263),

    Only ARTIFICIAL selection is highly nonrandom. OTOH, natural selection, which is a RESULT, is random as whatever survives to reproduce, survives to reproduce.

    If you take a population of critters in which there is variation in their ability to withstand severely cold temperatures and they are in a severely cold environment then the ones naturally selected to reproduce will not be selected randomly.

    [J, are you aware that the NS criterion is that the odds of survival and reproduction shift? NS does embed a significant chance component, it is not merely and simply deterministic. KF]

    Natural populations have variation in many, many characteristics. Those whose variations allow them to better exploit their environment are more likely to breed. The individuals ‘selected’ to breed are not randomly selected. Random selection would mean that each individual has an equal chance to survive and reproduce. The would not have an equal chance and so it’s not random.

    Why did the dinosaurs die out? (Or mostly die out, given the bird/dinosaur connection.) The environment changed and non-randomly started favouring individuals that were better able to survive in the new situation. If the selection was random we’d most likely still have dinosaurs around because all individuals would have had an equal chance to reproduce. Which they didn’t.

    Not saying that sometimes the environment doesn’t randomly kill off individuals. A bunch of critters are grazing near the base of a cliff, there’s a rockslide which buries some of them. Sure, that happens. But even then, the critters who DON’T graze at the bottom of cliffs are less likely to be killed in that situation.

    The great wash of natural selection has random eddies but, like a river cutting through the landscape, is not random.

  265. Joe,

    Perhaps the distinction between random and unpredictable would be useful to make.

    From Wikipedia:

    Randomness, as opposed to unpredictability, is an objective property. Determinists believe it is an objective fact that randomness does not in fact exist. Also, what appears random to one observer may not appear random to another. Consider two observers of a sequence of bits, when only one of whom has the cryptographic key needed to turn the sequence of bits into a readable message. For that observer the message is not random, but it is unpredictable for the other.

    One of the intriguing aspects of random processes is that it is hard to know whether a process is truly random. An observer may suspect that there is some “key” that unlocks the message. This is one of the foundations of superstition, but also a motivation for discovery in science and mathematics.
    Under the cosmological hypothesis of determinism, there is no randomness in the universe, only unpredictability, since there is only one possible outcome to all events in the universe. A follower of the narrow frequency interpretation of probability could assert that no event can be said to have probability, since there is only one universal outcome. Under the rival Bayesian interpretation of probability, there is no objection to useing probabilities to represent a lack of complete knowledge of outcomes.

    Some mathematically defined sequences, such as the decimals of pi mentioned above, exhibit some of the same characteristics as random sequences, but because they are generated by a describable mechanism, they are called pseudorandom. To an observer who does not know the mechanism, a pseudorandom sequence is unpredictable.

    There are mathematical ‘tests’ for randomness but I think discussing that wouldn’t really add to the conversation. They involve measuring the relative frequency of outcomes, pairs of outcomes, order of outcomes, etc.

    I certainly agree that which particular individuals survive and reproduce in an environment is unpredictable but the general trend is clearly not random. Random means every possible outcome is equally likely.

    And, as hinted at in the excerpt, there are mathematicians who think that events do not have a probability. It’s an odd tack but some do follow it.

  266. Something that may be of interest to some is Algorithmic Information Theory humorously referred to by Gregory Chaitin as “the result of putting Shannon’s information theory and Turing’s computability theory into a cocktail shaker and shaking vigorously.” Not my field by any means but complexity is a big topic.

    For example (again from Wikipedia):

    A binary string is said to be random if the Kolmogorov complexity of the string is at least the length of the string. A simple counting argument shows that some strings of any given length are random, and almost all strings are very close to being random. Since Kolmogorov complexity depends on a fixed choice of universal Turing machine (informally, a fixed “description language” in which the “descriptions” are given), the collection of random strings does depend on the choice of fixed universal machine. Nevertheless, the collection of random strings, as a whole, has similar properties regardless of the fixed machine, so one can (and often does) talk about the properties of random strings as a group without having to first specify a universal machine.

    An infinite binary sequence is said to be random if, for some constant c, for all n, the Kolmogorov complexity of the initial segment of length n of the sequence is at least n ? c. It can be shown that almost every sequence (from the point of view of the standard measure — “fair coin” or Lebesgue measure — on the space of infinite binary sequences) is random. Also, since it can be shown that the Kolmogorov complexity relative to two different universal machines differs by at most a constant, the collection of random infinite sequences does not depend on the choice of universal machine (in contrast to finite strings). This definition of randomness is usually called Martin-Löf randomness, after Per Martin-Löf, to distinguish it from other similar notions of randomness. It is also sometimes called 1-randomness to distinguish it from other stronger notions of randomness (2-randomness, 3-randomness, etc.).

  267. Jerad:

    For practical — empirically relevant — purposes, if something is fitting into a random distribution and has no known or reasonable deterministic cause of the outcome, it is effectively random or chance based.

    For many things the way to get that is to have clashing uncorrelated — non synchronised — causal chains. That is what happens with a die that is tossed and tumbles then settles. It is a chaotic entity, and the want of correlation and tiny uncontrollable variations guarantee that if it has not been loaded, we will see the sort of distribution that is familiar. From one die to a cluster of die the total then begins to pile up with a peak. And with two sided dice, we have the famous binomial distribution resulting which is often used as an intro for statistical thermodynamics.

    The Gaussian distribution is similar to that, with all sorts of little contributory factors going one way then another, and creating a peak because of the dominance of a cluster of outcomes. (Remember, this arose in the context of errors of observation and measurement.)

    Way back, my dad in his work as an econometric statistician, would use a telephone book as a poor man’s random number tables. Surnames and given names etc are most certainly not randomly assigned, nor are local loop line codes aka phone numbers. But, in general, there is no correlation between the two. So, by using a phone book and the line codes, one can obtain random number tables. Actually, arguably better than the pseudorandom numbers produced by typical algorithms or circuits. Of course for serious modern random nos, use sky noise or Zener noise flattened by various devices, even driving a seed to a pseudo random register chain.

    So, there is a good enough basis for using “chance” in our context.

    KF

  268. Onlookers:

    Day eighteen and counting, no signs of a 6,000 word essay on warranting molecules to man blind watchmaker thesis evo claims.

    Jerad has tried, but with all respect for a civil try, he only succeeded in underscoring the pivotal significance of the OOL aspect and the need to warrant tree of life claims from the roots up.

    Noor’s course which has coincidentally come up, underscores the same point.

    As for those trying yet another turnabout, if they took time to look at the OP above, they would have seen that from the outset, I have put up the IOSE — cf here on [and yes that is no 6,000 word essay it is a full length course reader] — as a 101 level presentation of the design theory framework, and several other relevant links. That strawman tactic crashes in flames.

    But, the turnabout attempt shows that the point is biting home.

    Maybe, somewhere out there a light bulb will go on.

    It should be quite plain that blind watchmaker thesis, molecules to man evo, while it is announced and taught as practically certain on the strength of Science Sez, is in fact riddled with serious gaps and limitations. To teach it as if it were an assured conclusion, is manipulative ideology, not sound science or sound education.

    KF

  269. PS: Given the 18-days no show by those who boast ever so much of their allegedly well grounded molecules to Newton by blind watchmaker chance and necessity theory, let us not allow attempts to divert focus, or turnabout the issue or erect and knock over then soak with ad hominems and burn strawman caricatures of design theory fool us. The emperor, while leading the parade, plainly has no clothes on!

  270. Jerad:
    If you take a population of critters in which there is variation in their ability to withstand severely cold temperatures and they are in a severely cold environment then the ones naturally selected to reproduce will not be selected randomly.

    Jerad, whatever is good enough survives to reproduce. How is that not random?

  271. Allan Miller:

    Evolution’s explanation for universality would be Common Descent of all modern organisms from a common ancestor that had broadly the ‘universal’ code already in place.

    Evolution is silent on the OoL which means there could have been multiple life-forms with multiple codes and evolutionism would be OK with that. Common descent still cannot explain all of the physiological and anatomical differences observed. No way to test the claim that changes to genomes can account for all the other changes required.

  272. Jerad:

    Random means every possible outcome is equally likely.

    Not necessarilly.

    Wikipedia on randomness:

    Randomness means different things in various fields. Commonly, it means lack of pattern or predictability in events.

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines “random” as “Having no definite aim or purpose; not sent or guided in a particular direction; made, done, occurring, etc., without method or conscious choice; haphazard.” This concept of randomness suggests a non-order or non-coherence in a sequence of symbols or steps, such that there is no intelligible pattern or combination.

  273. keiths and the rest of the TSZ ilk keep blathering on about nested hierarchies yet refuse to tell us what they think a nested hierarchy is. Zachriel did chime in but that “definition” was too vague to be of any use.

    OTOH I have provided a valid and references definition of nested hierarchy. Unfortunately I doubt any of the TSZ ilk will read it or understand it if they do.

  274. Kf (270):

    Yup, yup, yup. I was just trying to make sure that when talking about things like randomness and complexity that everyone makes an effort to use the terms as they’re defined by the people doing work in those fields. Dr Dembski has a PhD in mathematics so when he uses a word like random then he is using it in a particular way.

  275. Joe (272):

    Jerad, whatever is good enough survives to reproduce. How is that not random?

    Whatever or whoever is good enough is not random. Some are not good enough . . . not as fast or as strong or as clever, etc. When some have a greater chance than others, i.e. not equal chances, then the selection process is not random. And some are stronger, faster, etc because there is variation in the population.

    Joe (274)

    Certainly randomness can mean different things in different contexts. But when talking about random events like rolling a dice or selecting from a population then random means that every outcome is equally likely. That is: there is no preference for certain outcomes. Like there would be with a determined or designed system.

  276. Jerad:

    Whatever or whoever is good enough is not random.

    It fits the definition.

    But when talking about random events like rolling a dice or selecting from a population then random means that every outcome is equally likely.

    Cuz YOU say so?

  277. Joe (278)

    It fits the definition.

    Not the specific scientific/mathematical definition.

    Cuz YOU say so?

    Nope. A couple centuries of mathematicians and statisticians do. And every textbook on probability and statistics. Have a look at one and see.

  278. KF (266):

    are you aware that the NS criterion is that the odds of survival and reproduction shift? NS does embed a significant chance component, it is not merely and simply deterministic.

    The odds have shifted many times. Otherwise we’d be dodging dinosaurs. The odds shift from region to region, from season to season and certainly over the eons. Life forms shift the odds too as the biological arms race ratchets up.

    Not purely deterministic but certainly not random. As I said, there are clearly random eddies in the current.


  279. It fits the definition.

    Not the specific scientific/mathematical definition.

    Well the ToE is neither science nor mathematics.

    But anyway natural selection does not stop being random just because you can picjk whatever definition suits your needs.

  280. With your “definition” you need to define hierarchical ordering and nested sets.

    A nested set is one which is a subset of another.

    What makes it a subset? And why are YOU responding in the wrong thread?

  281. Joe (281):

    Well the ToE is neither science nor mathematics.

    But anyway natural selection does not stop being random just because you can picjk whatever definition suits your needs.

    I’m suggesting that if you’re going to discuss topics like randomness and complexity with people you should learn how they use those terms. How scientists use those terms. How can you be sure what Dr Dembski and Dr Behe are saying if you’re not conversant with their definitions? Does Dr Behe think natural selection is random?

    Failing that it falls upon you to state up front how you define those terms. Otherwise people will misunderstand you.

  282. Jerad,

    Please provide a valid reference that says that biologists use “random” in the sense you say and in no other way.

    Only dimwits would use the word “random” in such a narrow sense.

  283. Jerad

    Heading out the door.

    Ar you aware of CD’s discussion in which he looked at how a 1% difference in odds of survival per generation will shift population?

    Here is a defn of a random variable courtesy that source speaking against interest, Wiki:

    In probability and statistics, a random variable or stochastic variable is a variable whose value is subject to variations due to chance (i.e. randomness, in a mathematical sense). As opposed to other mathematical variables, a random variable conceptually does not have a single, fixed value (even if unknown); rather, it can take on a set of possible different values, each with an associated probability.

    A random variable’s possible values might represent the possible outcomes of a yet-to-be-performed experiment or an event that has not happened yet, or the potential values of a past experiment or event whose already-existing value is uncertain (e.g. as a result of incomplete information or imprecise measurements). They may also conceptually represent either the results of an “objectively” random process (e.g. rolling a die), or the “subjective” randomness that results from incomplete knowledge of a quantity. The meaning of the probabilities assigned to the potential values of a random variable is not part of probability theory itself, but instead related to philosophical arguments over the interpretation of probability. The mathematics works the same regardless of the particular interpretation in use.

    That should be clear enough, never mind a lot of bland declarations to the contrary (even at Wiki).

    Differential reproductive success is plainly shaped by all sorts of chance and uncorrelated chains of cause and effect, the issue is that the “fittest” are held to be more likely to reproduce, on whatever grounds. As for the dinosaurs the conventional wisdom is an asteroid impact broke their dominance, allowing the mammals running around at their feet for eons to take over.

    KF

  284. Joe (284):

    Please provide a valid reference that says that biologists use “random” in the sense you say and in no other way.

    It’s usually linked with the term sample:

    Heres a definition of random sample from
    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/I.....ommunities

    “A sample where every individual in a population has an equal chance of being chosen.”

    You’ll find more examples from mathematics and statistics since that’s where it comes from. But others use that definition as well.

    Investors for example

    (from http://www.investopedia.com/te.....z2965g3EWG)

    “A subset of a statistical population in which each member of the subset has an equal probability of being chosen. A simple random sample is meant to be an unbiased representation of a group. An example of a simple random sample would be a group of 25 employees chosen out of a hat from a company of 250 employees. In this case, the population is all 250 employees, and the sample is random because each employee has an equal chance of being chosen.”

    Here’s one from the University of Texas
    (http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users.....s/SRS.html)

    “A simple random sample (SRS) of size n consists of n individuals from the population chosen in such a way that every set of n individuals has an equal chance to be the sample actually selected.”

    Only dimwits would use the word “random” in such a narrow sense.

    I guess there’s a lot of dimwits out there then.

    The second definition here of random:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/random

    “[O]f or characterizing a process of selection in which each item of a set has an equal probability of being chosen.”

    If natural selection was a random sample then every member of a population would have an equal chance of being selected. But they don’t.

  285. They sure as heck are NOT using it wrt natural selection being non-random. THAT is what you need to provide. Because if your use is correct it is meaningless. It’s like saying birdshot from a sawed-off shotgun is nonrandom because all the pellets will end up somewhere in front of the shooter.

  286. Zachriel:

    A is a subset of B if every element of A is also an element of B.

    By what criteria? I can make anything I want into a set. Which means I can form subsets from that. It does not mean it is a nested hierarchy.

    If you were to start with a single sequence of significant length, and subject the sequence to replication with variation, and assuming reasonable mutation rates, then it would form an objective fit to a single nested hierarchy, and you would be able to reconstruct the lines of descent with reasonable accuracy.

    By what criteria?

    Hierarchical levels: levels are populated by entities whose properties characterize the level in question. A given entity may belong to any number of levels, depending on the criteria used to link levels above and below. For example, an individual human being may be a member of the level i) human, ii) primate, iii) organism or iv) host of a parasite, depending on the relationship of the level in question to those above and below.

    Level of organization: this type of level fits into its hierarchy by virtue of set of definitions that lock the level in question to those above and below. For example, a biological population level is an aggregate of entities from the organism level of organization, but it is only so by definition. There is no particular scale involved in the population level of organization, in that some organisms are larger than some populations, as in the case of skin parasites.

    Level of observation: this type of level fits into its hierarchy by virtue of relative scaling considerations. For example, the host of a skin parasite represents the context for the population of parasites; it is a landscape, even though the host may be seen as belonging to a level of organization, organism, that is lower than the collection of parasites, a population.

    The criterion for observation: when a system is observed, there are two separate considerations. One is the spatiotemporal scale at which the observations are made. The other is the criterion for observation, which defines the system in the foreground away from all the rest in the background. The criterion for observation uses the types of parts and their relationships to each other to characterize the system in the foreground. If criteria for observation are linked together in an asymmetric fashion, then the criteria lead to levels of organization. Otherwise, criteria for observation merely generate isolated classes.

    The ordering of levels: there are several criteria whereby other levels reside above lower levels. These criteria often run in parallel, but sometimes only one or a few of them apply. Upper levels are above lower levels by virtue of: 1) being the context of, 2) offering constraint to, 3) behaving more slowly at a lower frequency than, 4) being populated by entities with greater integrity and higher bond strength than, and 5), containing and being made of – lower levels.

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    Apply that to your scenario and get back to us with your nested hierarchy.

  287. Jerad,

    With natural selection there isn’t any choosing nor selecting. Your references pertain to things that are chosen or selected.

  288. KF (285):

    Ar you aware of CD’s discussion in which he looked at how a 1% difference in odds of survival per generation will shift population?

    Not aware but it sounds plausible. Given enough generations.

    Here is a defn of a random variable courtesy that source speaking against interest, Wiki:

    I know there are lots of definitions of random and randomness but it’s quite common in the sciences to talk about a random sample or selection being one where every outcome is equally likely.

    Differential reproductive success is plainly shaped by all sorts of chance and uncorrelated chains of cause and effect, the issue is that the “fittest” are held to be more likely to reproduce, on whatever grounds.

    Not on whatever grounds. In particular environmental niches. That’s part of the point: when the environmental pressures change or you look at a different location who is “fitter” changes. That’s why there’s no palm trees in the Arctic or polar bears in Florida. Or fish walking through my back yard. Fish descendants do walk through my backyard though. Had to ditch the gills first.

    As for the dinosaurs the conventional wisdom is an asteroid impact broke their dominance, allowing the mammals running around at their feet for eons to take over.

    Exactly, the climate changed and the mammals were “fitter”, i.e. better able to survive in the new environment. Natural selection is fickle. But not random.

  289. Joe (287):

    They sure as heck are NOT using it wrt natural selection being non-random. THAT is what you need to provide. Because if your use is correct it is meaningless. It’s like saying birdshot from a sawed-off shotgun is nonrandom because all the pellets will end up somewhere in front of the shooter

    From UC Berkeley’s Understanding Evolution website

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....cle/evo_32

    “At the opposite end scale, natural selection is sometimes interpreted as a random process. This is also a misconception. The genetic variation that occurs in a population because of mutation is random-but selection acts on that variation in a very non-random way: genetic variants that aid survival and reproduction are much more likely to become common than variants that don’t. Natural selection is NOT random!”

    From Wikipedia:

    “Natural selection is the gradual, non-random process by which biological traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution. The term “natural selection” was popularized by Charles Darwin who intended it to be compared with artificial selection, what we now call selective breeding.”

    From http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_.....not_random

    “Natural selection acts on the genetic diversity of a population, where the best traits for survival and reproduction increase in frequency over time. Since natural selection pushes a population’s traits in an advantageous direction, it’s not random but rather predictable, since we know its purpose.”

    And many, many more.

  290. Joe (289):

    With natural selection there isn’t any choosing nor selecting. Your references pertain to things that are chosen or selected.

    I would not have used the term ‘natural selection’ myself. I prefer ‘effects of environmental pressures’. But most people know what it means.

    But, in a sense, nature IS ‘selecting’ by killing off those who are less fit as a general rule.

    Some individuals are ‘selected’/survive and have offspring. Some don’t. The survivors are a selection or sample of the whole population. A non-random sample.

  291. I guess there’s a lot of dimwits out there then.

    I second that!

  292. Jerad:

    But, in a sense, nature IS ‘selecting’ by killing off those who are less fit as a general rule.

    Umm “the less fit” are just those who reproduce less. And that changes from generation to genration and from day to day.

    But anyway- chew on this:

    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics (University of Chicago Press, 1971), reissued in 2001 by William Provine:

    Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing….Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets. (pp. 199-200)

  293. By what criteria?

    Zachriel:

    The criteria would depend on the particulars. It turns out those particulars depend on the history.

    Nope, we do not construct nested hierarchies based on the history. If you think otherwise please provide a valid reference. but we know you won’t…

  294. Joe (294):

    Umm “the less fit” are just those who reproduce less. And that changes from generation to genration and from day to day.

    Absolutely. Or don’t reproduce at all. And it does change all the time.

    Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing….Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets.

    As I said, I would not have used the phrase ‘natural selection’. And Provine is pointing out that the phrase is liable to be misunderstood. But he’s not saying ‘natural selection’ is random.

  295. Natural selection is a result. It doesn’t do anything. It is not a designer mimic. No one can predict what will be selected for at any point in time- dennett- no one knows what mutation will occur at any point in time. And fitness is an after-the-fact assessment.

    What is good for one generation may be detrimental to the next.

    As I said natural selection is as nonrandom as birdshot from a sawed-off shotgun. And compared to a 30/06 that is very random.


  296. Nope, we do not construct nested hierarchies based on the history.

    Zachriel:

    Nor are we. We are constructing a nested hierarchy based on traits.

    Again, what citeria, ie what traits? What is the nested hierarchy? Define the levels and sets, please.

  297. keiths:

    Contrast that with the hypothesis of unguided evolution.

    What hypothesis? You have failed to provide one.

    We observe unguided evolution operating in the present.

    Breaking things and causing deformities. And never constructing things. Not exactly what you need.

  298. Joe (297),

    Natural selection is a result. It doesn’t do anything. It is not a designer mimic. No one can predict what will be selected for at any point in time- dennett- no one knows what mutation will occur at any point in time. And fitness is an after-the-fact assessment.

    Mutations are random, so you agree. Fitness is after the fact since no one knows what the environmental pressures will be or what variation will arise.

    What is good for one generation may be detrimental to the next.

    Absolutely. Now you’re getting it!!

    As I said natural selection is as nonrandom as birdshot from a sawed-off shotgun. And compared to a 30/06 that is very random.

    Well, natural selection got rid of the dinosaurs. And the trilobites. And lots and lots of other extinct species. It doesn’t sound very random to me.

  299. Jerad:

    Well, natural selection got rid of the dinosaurs. And the trilobites. And lots and lots of other extinct species. It doesn’t sound very random to me.

    really. and you know that it was natural selection that done it?

    So if I go out and kill a deer, that is natural selection, because the dear didn’t survive?

  300. Jerad,

    There isn’t any “now I’m getting it” as I have understood that for decades. And what is your evidence that natural selection got rid of the dinosaurs? I have heard different stories but never one that included natural selection.

  301. Jerad:

    I see your Wiki clip.

    Now, nothing has changed on the basic understanding of natural selection in the past few years, so let me clip the same article from a couple of years back, as I use in my always linked online note:

    Natural selection is the process by which favorable heritable traits become more common in successive generations of a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable heritable traits become less common. Natural selection acts on the phenotype, or the observable characteristics of an organism, such that individuals with favorable phenotypes are more likely to survive and reproduce than those with less favorable phenotypes. The phenotype’s genetic basis . . . will increase in frequency over the following generations. Over time, this process can result in adaptations that specialize organisms for particular ecological niches and may eventually result in the emergence of new species. In other words, natural selection is the mechanism by which evolution may take place in a population of a specific organism.

    This is an illustration of the reason why Wiki is so reliably unreliable and ideologically driven on this general subject. The role of random processes and variables in the selection process should be highly evident, and in fact that such would be so is common sense.

    Now for the real challenge: natural selection or more properly differential reproductive success of populations, is quite literally a subtract-er of information, an eliminator of variations. THE NATURALISTIC SOURCE OF NOVEL BIOINFO IS CHANCE VARIATION. Which, is severely challenged to bridge the sort of gaps that are required to innovate new body plans, starting esp4ecially from that hypothesised last universal common ancestral unicellular organism. Which is highly relevant to the challenge posed by the Cambrian fossils ever since Darwin.

    Going further, in the case of the dinosaurs and the usual story of a meteorite impact, this would clearly be a case of two uncorrelated deterministc chains, leading to intersection of trajectories, i.e. it would be a chance event, and a catastrophic one. There is no incremental variation and selection there.

    In short random variables and circumstances show up all over the process as imagined, which should be acknowledged.

    Next, we have the fitness problem. Tautology lurks.

    There are formulations that do avoid tautology, but consistently there is a falling back into circles as to the fittest and the survivors who dominate following populations. Or, whatever terminology is favoured nowadays.

    Not to mention the issue of genetic drift, entropic decay of genomic info, and the gamblers ruin challenge.

    For, if a given selection advantage is small and the absolute numbers of the sub-population with the innovation are also relatively low, most of the time, such an innovation will simply be lost due to the overwhelming effects of mere chance on odds of survival and reproduction. In other words, one has to have enough population resources to “spend” for long enough to get to the long-run point where modest differential effects will pay off to one’s advantage. And, if we take isolation to a niche without competition as a typical example by which such innovations will have a good chance to grow into a viable sub-population that can then migrate back and compete with then dominate over the original population, we still have not accounted for the rise of information-rich organically coherent innovations, especially at that core body-plan level which expresses itself in the vulnerable early phases of the embryological development process.

    There are more than enough challenges there to debate all day long.

    KF

  302. PS: Cf here and here on the case of the whale as it links to the above. (Do watch the vids.)

  303. Mung (301),

    really. and you know that it was natural selection that done it?

    Well, if you’ve got an alternative which corresponds to the available data, is in agreement with other sciences, has great explanatory power (as in answering the how and when questions) and makes few causational assumptions then I’m happy to consider it.

    So if I go out and kill a deer, that is natural selection, because the dear didn’t survive?

    If I suggested the same scenario to you I would guess you’d say that was an example of intelligent intervention.

    I’m happy to have an intelligent conversation about these issue but I expect to be treated with some respect and dignity. We can all benefit from a serious examination of the issues.

    But, just to avoid accusations of not answering the question: you killing a deer is not an example of natural selection. That’s artificial selection. As in selective breeding. Clearly.

  304. Joe (302):

    There isn’t any “now I’m getting it” as I have understood that for decades. And what is your evidence that natural selection got rid of the dinosaurs? I have heard different stories but never one that included natural selection.

    Well, have you got an alternative explanation which is in agreement with the available data, is coherent with the other sciences, which has great explanatory power (i.e. addresses some how and when questions) AND makes few causal assumptions?

    You like dancing around the definitions and issues. And I’ve agreed that ‘natural selection’ is a somewhat problematical expression, especially when scrutinised with the goal of disproving it.

    But you have yet to present me with a cogent, concise and coherent alternative which matches the criteria I’ve elucidated above.

  305. Jerad:

    Well, have you got an alternative explanation which is in agreement with the available data, is coherent with the other sciences, which has great explanatory power (i.e. addresses some how and when questions) AND makes few causal assumptions?

    Do you have any evidence it was natural selection, or not? Or perhaps it was just [snip] ill + luck. When a flood wipes out a population, that isn’t natural selection, that is just the luck of the draw.

    How about when a lion makes a kill? Natural or artificial selection, and why?

    BTW when humans kill a deer we usually go for the big buck or big doe- we take from the top. And that isn’t selective breeding- well because we aren’t selectively breeding anything.

  306. KF (303):

    This is an illustration of the reason why Wiki is so reliably unreliable and ideologically driven on this general subject. The role of random processes and variables in the selection process should be highly evident, and in fact that such would be so is common sense.

    Really? I thought the extended quote was a fairly good statement of the general idea. I think the role of random processes is highly evident. Otherwise I would have expected more advanced life forms to have arisen much earlier. I know you look at existent life forms from a very mechanistic point of view, with islands of function, etc. But that’s not the general view of biologists. And science is not subject to common sense.

    Now for the real challenge: natural selection or more properly differential reproductive success of populations, is quite literally a subtract-er of information, an eliminator of variations. THE NATURALISTIC SOURCE OF NOVEL BIOINFO IS CHANCE VARIATION. Which, is severely challenged to bridge the sort of gaps that are required to innovate new body plans, starting esp4ecially from that hypothesised last universal common ancestral unicellular organism. Which is highly relevant to the challenge posed by the Cambrian fossils ever since Darwin.

    You can make that assertion but that’s all it is. I agree that most mutations are deleterious. But that doesn’t mean that all are. You focus on the majority and give short shrift to the unusual. You insist there is a body plan gap but you cannot prove it. It’s just an assertion. And there’s evidence to suggest that it wasn’t a gap at all.

    Going further, in the case of the dinosaurs and the usual story of a meteorite impact, this would clearly be a case of two uncorrelated deterministc chains, leading to intersection of trajectories, i.e. it would be a chance event, and a catastrophic one. There is no incremental variation and selection there.

    Variation comes from mutations. It was a chance event. It shifted the goal posts. There was new criteria for ‘the fittest’. The natural event was random but it determined the effect and influence on the life forms. And, therefore, ‘natural selection’ was not random and was determined by the environmental conditions.

    In short random variables and circumstances show up all over the process as imagined, which should be acknowledged.

    The natural events are random but the effects on the flora and fauna are not since they depend on the environment.

    For, if a given selection advantage is small and the absolute numbers of the sub-population with the innovation are also relatively low, most of the time, such an innovation will simply be lost due to the overwhelming effects of mere chance on odds of survival and reproduction. In other words, one has to have enough population resources to “spend” for long enough to get to the long-run point where modest differential effects will pay off to one’s advantage.

    Obviously. This is a big question: what does it take for a new trait to get ‘fixed’ in a population. But it is an issue that has been acknowledged and researched. Even books like The Greatest Show on Earth address such issues.

    There are more than enough challenges there to debate all day long.

    Seriously and honestly, I think you should spend more time reading evolutionary research. Many of your points are examined and discussed.

  307. Joe (307);

    Do you have any evidence it was natural selection, or not? Or perhaps it was just [snip] ill- luck. When a flood wipes out a population, that isn’t natural selection, that is just the luck of the draw.

    The natural event is not natural selection. The effect it has on the breeding population is natural selection.

    Proof/evidence? Well, without evidence that there was some kind of intervention, some extra influence, then it comes down to natural forces. Why would you ASSUME otherwise?

    How about when a lion makes a kill? Natural or artificial selection, and why?

    Traditionally natural selection since lions are not assumed to have high enough reasoning skills to formulate design.

    BTW when humans kill a deer we usually go for the big buck or big doe- we take from the top. And that isn’t selective breeding- well because we aren’t selectively breeding anything.

    You are affecting the next generation by limiting the breeding time of some deer. If bigger individuals are more likely to be killed then they might leave fewer offspring. It depends on if you shoot them after their breeding years are over or not. You might not think you’re selective breeding but just because you don’t have a goal in mind doesn’t mean you aren’t affecting the herd.

  308. To Keiths (at TSZ):

    I will not spend another word to show that dFSCI is not circular. I have said enough. Please, refer to my answers to Zachriel. If you are not convinved, good luck.

  309. Jerad,

    Lions set up and execute ambushes. That is by design.

    Also catastrophes are a random effect, not part of natural selection.

  310. Jerad:

    Neat slip-slide by the key point, the presence of random processes in the dynamics. And there is the onward implication, potential for gamblers ruin, lack of pop scale and time to effect changes.

    Take time to look carefully at the whale examples to see what is not so often brought up when body plan origin is asserted to be simple extrapolation of pop variations.

    KF

  311. gpuccio,

    Unfortunately nothing you say, no matter how you say it, will ever make any sense to them. But we appreciate the effort.

    Thank you

  312. Hmmm . . . looks like this thread is heading toward the good old ‘natural selection is a tautology’ discussion.

    And, yes, if anyone is wondering, that is a real issue for natural selection as it is so often presented (despite the fact that most everyone is too polite to bring it up in mixed company) . . .

  313. Eric,

    Heck with tautology issue. Natural selection doesn’t do anything, let alone mimic a designer. And taht means they have bigger issues than being a tautology.


  314. No you did not provide any criteria.

    We provided you several sequences and asked how you would group them into a nested hierarchy based on their characteristics.

    Well we told YOU to do it:

    Again, what citeria, ie what traits? What is the nested hierarchy? Define the levels and sets, please.

    I don’t see a nested hierarchy in what you provided. But then again I am not as demented as you are.

  315. keiths:

    To reconstruct an objective nested hierarchy, you need both traits that are stable and traits that are changing.

    Hey, that is what I said- the traits have to be immutable (stable) and additive (changing). I guess I know more about these things than what has been said about me. Strange how it always goes that way.

    Without selection, you don’t get the necessary stability.

    Yes, a wobbling stability-

    Chapter IV of prominent geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti’s book Why is a Fly Not a Horse? is titled “Wobbling Stability”. In that chapter he discusses what I have been talking about in other threads- that populations oscillate. The following is what he has to say which is based on thorough scientific investigation:

    Sexuality has brought joy to the world, to the world of the wild beasts, and to the world of flowers, but it has brought an end to evolution. In the lineages of living beings, whenever absent-minded Venus has taken the upper hand, forms have forgotten to make progress. It is only the husbandman that has improved strains, and he has done so by bullying, enslaving, and segregating. All these methods, of course, have made for sad, alienated animals, but they have not resulted in new species. Left to themselves, domesticated breeds would either die out or revert to the wild state—scarcely a commendable model for nature’s progress.

    (snip a few paragraphs on peppered moths)

    Natural Selection, which indeed occurs in nature (as Bishop Wilberforce, too, was perfectly aware), mainly has the effect of maintaining equilibrium and stability. It eliminates all those that dare depart from the type—the eccentrics and the adventurers and the marginal sort. It is ever adjusting populations, but it does so in each case by bringing them back to the norm. We read in the textbooks that, when environmental conditions change, the selection process may produce a shift in a population’s mean values, by a process known as adaptation. If the climate turns very cold, the cold-adapted beings are favored relative to others.; if it becomes windy, the wind blows away those that are most exposed; if an illness breaks out, those in questionable health will be lost. But all these artful guiles serve their purpose only until the clouds blow away. The species, in fact, is an organic entity, a typical form, which may deviate only to return to the furrow of its destiny; it may wander from the band only to find its proper place by returning to the gang.

    Everything that disassembles, upsets proportions or becomes distorted in any way is sooner or later brought back to the type. There has been a tendency to confuse fleeting adjustments with grand destinies, minor shrewdness with signs of the times.

    It is true that species may lose something on the way—the mole its eyes, say, and the succulent plant its leaves, never to recover them again. But here we are dealing with unhappy, mutilated species, at the margins of their area of distribution—the extreme and the specialized. These are species with no future; they are not pioneers, but prisoners in nature’s penitentiary.

    You don’t get a nested hierarchy from that.

  316. keiths:

    I’m reposting the following comment because I’m very interested in hearing how ID supporters will answer the questions I ask.

    Joe has responded, but his answers were predictably unenlightening.

    Earth to keiths- no one cares because your scenarios and questions are unenlightening. And pretty pathetic even for you.

    Ya see keiths in scenario 1 Bob and friends did design that streambed and fooled the geologist. And we have video to prove it.

    Scenrio 2 was another set-up, Hollywood-style. It’s easy to get spray stuff that will set off an explosives detector- but anyway it’s all on film too.

    So by the time we get to scenrio 3 we already know how stupid your whole clap-trap is. You think that your absurd extremes really mean something?

    Really?

  317. keiths:

    I’m reposting the following comment because I’m very interested in hearing how ID supporters will answer the questions I ask.

    Kairosfocus? PaV? Gpuccio? Eric Anderson? Upright Biped? StephenB? Jon Garvey? Timaeus? VJ Torley?

    I’m hurt.

    But here’s my answer. Your comments have nothing to do with your thesis:

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

    As such, they can safely be ignored as irrelevant. A red herring. You can’t make your case, so you try to change the subject.

    You still haven’t told us how to test your claim that evolution is unguided. So how can “unguided evolution” be a better explanation than, say, magical pixies?

    Will Part II be any better than Part I? Please spend less time posting and more time working on Part II.

  318. I’m happy to have an intelligent conversation about these issue but I expect to be treated with some respect and dignity. We can all benefit from a serious examination of the issues.

    How does one examine the claim that natural selection was the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs? Seriously.

  319. For posterity:

    keiths on October 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm said:

    Contrast that with the hypothesis of unguided evolution. We observe unguided evolution operating in the present. We predict what the data should look like if it were also operating in the past. The prediction is confirmed, to an astonishing degree. We have a good theory, and no unjustified assumptions were required.

  320. Finally, an actual string to analyze.

    So, can someone please post a program to algorithmically compress and decompress this string?

    And can some give me a description of it that doesn’t just consist of the string itself?

    H H H T H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H T H H H T H H H T H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H H T H H H T H H H H T H H H T H H H H T

  321. 323
    CentralScrutinizer

    Mung @332,

    I threw together a simple Huffman codec:

    http://net46038.wordpress.com/

    It turns substrings into shorter bit sequences. The dictionary is optimized in the order of likelihood of a given substring.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huffman_coding

  322. 324
    CentralScrutinizer

    Continued…

    Any ANSI C++ compiler should compile it.

  323. 325
    CentralScrutinizer

    Continued…

    Source string bits = 501, Total compressed bits = 162

    Approximately 3:1 compression

  324. Joe (311):

    Also catastrophes are a random effect, not part of natural selection.

    KF (312):

    Neat slip-slide by the key point, the presence of random processes in the dynamics. And there is the onward implication, potential for gamblers ruin, lack of pop scale and time to effect changes.

    Me (308):

    The natural events are random but the effects on the flora and fauna are not since they depend on the environment.

    Me (309):

    The natural event is not natural selection. The effect it has on the breeding population is natural selection.

    I agree there are random events that then change the dynamics, the environmental pressures, which affects survival chances.

  325. KF (312):

    Take time to look carefully at the whale examples to see what is not so often brought up when body plan origin is asserted to be simple extrapolation of pop variations.

    Is there something specific you’d like me to address?

  326. Mung (320):

    How does one examine the claim that natural selection was the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs? Seriously.

    The environmental changes which meant small furry mammals were ‘more fit’ than the dinosaurs were brought about (perhaps) by an meteorite impact. But the impact was not directly the cause of most of the die off except for the dinosaurs it actually landed on. The climate changed. The environmental pressures changed.

    Again: have you got an alternative which corresponds to the available data, is in agreement with other sciences, has great explanatory power (as in answering the how and when questions) and makes few causational assumptions?

  327. Jerad: Observe what Dr Sternberg (double biology PhD, one in evolutionary Biology) notes on the pop plus mut plus time to fix issues to form the whale body plan. Berlinski (a mathematician) also has some similar remarks to make. KF

  328. Oh, yes: Day nineteen and no offers of a 6,000 word, empirically well grounded blind watchmaker, molecules to man evo essay. KF

  329. KF (329):

    Observe what Dr Sternberg (double biology PhD, one in evolutionary Biology) notes on the pop plus mut plus time to fix issues to form the whale body plan. Berlinski (a mathematician) also has some similar remarks to make.

    I know of Dr Sternberg but have not read much of his work or followed him very closely. If you have a link I’ll take a look.

    Dr Berlinski I do not find credible. He does no research of his own, mathematical or otherwise, and his main approach seems to be casting doubt and aspersion without having any kind of alternative. I think he enjoys the notoriety he has amongst the ID community (and has stated he’s happy cashing the Discovery Institute’s checks) but he contributes nothing to the science on either side. He talks a lot but he never sticks his neck out, he never takes a stand. He will also be able to say: I never said I endorsed ID!! I also have to say I tried reading his book on Calculus and I found it pretty bad. Hard to read and meandering with no real point. I question his motives, his insights and his abilities to do scientific work.


  330. Joe: I don’t see a nested hierarchy in what you provided.

    Zachriel:

    Try looking for shared traits. You should be able to find natural sets. Start there.

    No thanks. If you cannot do as requested it proves that you are a waste of time.

    So here it is AGAIN:

    Again, what citeria, ie what traits? What is the nested hierarchy? Define the levels and sets, please.

  331. dr boo-who spews:

    But my point was that you are attempting to falsify unguided evolution as an explanation of the biosphere, while at the same time claiming that it is unfalsifiable (a theory that makes no testable predictions – look what you claimed above – would inevitably be unfalsifiable).

    Please provide a reference that supports your claim that a theory that makes no testable predictions is inevitably unfalsifiable.

    We know you can’t but it will be entertaining watching you try.

  332. Jerad:

    Dr Berlinski I do not find credible.

    Well there aren’t any credible evolutionary biologists as not one has added anuything to the “science” of unguided evolution.

  333. Joe (334):

    Well there aren’t any credible evolutionary biologists as not one has added anuything to the “science” of unguided evolution.

    A matter of opinion. But Dr Berlinski hasn’t done any biological research recently if at all.

    Instead of just sniping at mainstream evolutionary theory why don’t you present your alternative which is consistent with other areas of science, makes few assumptions and can explain the evidence? Then we can take a look at your hypothesis and see how it stacks up.

  334. Jerad,

    I isn’t a matter of opinion when the facts support what I say.

    Also an alternative to what? Unguided evolution isn’t an alternative, it isn’t anything but a bald declaration.

    Look and see how the design hypothesis stacks up to what?

    But anyway in comment 249 are two links- read them and then get back to me.

  335. Joe (336):

    Also an alternative to what? Unguided evolution isn’t an alternative, it isn’t anything but a bald declaration.

    What’s your hypothesis then? That can explain the data, etc, etc, etc.

    But anyway in comment 249 are two links- read them and then get back to me.

    A testable evolutionary hypothesis:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/75/9/4334.full.pdf

    If I give you a sequence of 0s and 1s will you be able to determine if it’s designed?

    Back later, got stuff to do…..I’ll try and think of some more hypothesis, etc

  336. CentralScrutinizer,

    Thank you.

    Now given that we have a string of 500 bits and can achieve 3:1 compression, does that place this string in a particularly hard to find zone wrt algorithmic compressibility?

    You’ve just given me another idea for a fitness function!

    thanks :)

  337. ok, i need to generate some random strings and test average compressibility using that algorithm.

  338. Jerad:

    Again: have you got an alternative which corresponds to the available data, is in agreement with other sciences, has great explanatory power (as in answering the how and when questions) and makes few causational assumptions?

    First, it looks like you need to take the course on evolution.

    Do you just not understand that natural selection operates b>within populations?

    The fact that dinosaurs died out and some mammals did not has nothing to do with natural selection. When a species leaves no offspring there is no differential survival and there is therefore no natural selection.

    It’s all fine to ask for respect, but it helps not to put forth such obviously wrong-headed arguments.

  339. J: >> If I give you a sequence of {functionally specific and complex enough] 0s and 1s will you be able to determine if it’s designed? >> See the point? KF

  340. PS: J did you see how many personalities you directed without actually looking at the issue of the origin of the whale body plan on the merits? And BTW, some very specific links were provided. KF

  341. Mung (340):

    Do you just not understand that natural selection operates b>within populations?

    There is group selection . . .maybe . . . its acceptance comes and goes. From Wikipedia:

    If a group of organisms, owing to their interactions or division of labor, provides superior fitness compared to other groups, where the fitness of the group is higher or lower than the mean fitness of the constituent individuals, group selection can be declared to occur.
    Specific syndromes of selective factors can create situations in which groups are selected because they display group properties which are selected-for. Many common examples of group traits are reducible to individual traits, however. Selection of these traits is thus more simply explained as selection of individual traits.

    The group selection hypothesis has been around a while. I think it makes sense but, as I said, it’s not completely accepted.

    The fact that dinosaurs died out and some mammals did not has nothing to do with natural selection. When a species leaves no offspring there is no differential survival and there is therefore no natural selection.

    Well, the climate changed, maybe because a big rock hit the earth. The new conditions probably killed off lots of the dinosaur food plants and maybe some of the dinosaurs as well. It it were cold enough. The proto-birds survived though. Maybe they could go further to find food? Anyway, the dinosaurs pretty much left us. Now, that extinction event was not directed as far as we know, it seems to have been caused by natural, undirected processes. What would you call that kind of culling? It’s natural and some species were ‘selected’ over others. Okay, maybe I am pushing the use of the term but it was still undirected differential survival. AND some biologists do hypothesise that selection can operate on the species level. From Wikipedia:

    It remains controversial among biologists whether selection can operate at and above the level of species. One particular defender of the idea of species selection was Stephen Jay Gould who proposed the view that there exist macroevolutionary processes which shape evolution that are not driven by the microevolutionary mechanisms that are the basis of the Modern Synthesis. If one views species as entities that replicate (speciate) and die (go extinct), then species could be subject to selection and thus could change their occurrence over geological time, much as heritable selected-for traits change theirs over generations.
    For evolution to be driven by species selection, differential success must be the result of selection upon species-intrinsic properties, rather than for properties of genes, cells, individuals, or populations within species. Such properties include, for example, population structure, their propensity to speciate, extinction rates, and geological persistence. While the fossil record shows differential persistence of species, examples of species-intrinsic properties subject to natural selection have been much harder to document.

    Again, my use of ‘natural selection’ maybe a bit off but it’s not unheard of. Use ‘environmental pressures’ instead. Same result: undirected, natural processes ‘favoured’ some critters over others.

  342. KF (341):

    If I give you a sequence of {functionally specific and complex enough] 0s and 1s will you be able to determine if it’s designed?

    And if it’s not clear if there is functionally specific and complex aspects to the sequence then your default assumption is no, correct?

    So you could give a false negative? I think your methods do allow for that.

    I keep thinking about aliens intercepting Voyager 1′s signal, not knowing our coding technique, and not being able to decide if it’s gibberish or information. I know, I know, if you get a clear signal of 0s and 1s coming from deep space you’re probably looking at something intelligently designed.

    Anyway, I think your default of ‘no design’ is clear.

    J did you see how many personalities you directed without actually looking at the issue of the origin of the whale body plan on the merits? And BTW, some very specific links were provided.

    I am familiar with Dr Berlinski’s comments about the origination of the whale body plan. If that’s one of the references you’re referring to. You know my view, post OoL, of the ability of random mutations and cumulative selection to create new body plans so I don’t really have anything further to add.

    I had a quick look back and I did see some links you left for your IOSE site but the links always go to the top of the website as do the internal links in the ‘table of contents’ near the top. It’s quite an extensive site (as I know having looked at it before) so if you could narrow things down for me I will have a look. Perhaps a bit later, just stopped by for a few minutes. Saturday, stuff to do!!

    If not those links then I apologise for missing them . . . could you list them again? I also hadn’t realised you’d marked up several comments including some not by me. I will try harder to check back in the future before proceeding. Fair enough?

  343. Jerad,

    I’ll give you one guess why it’s called species selection and not natural selection.

    And this is, of course, another reason why so many of us have issues with modern evolutionary theory. the constantly shifting of meanings of terms as needed to avid criticism of the theory.

    What would you call that kind of culling?

    Accident or chance. Random death. The opposite (or so we are told) of natural selection.

    When an opossum gets killed by a passing car, it’s not because the opossum wasn’t as well adapted to auto-avoidance as some other opossum. It’s random death. If you want to include that in natural selection it’s actually fine with me though, because that makes natural selection random as well.

  344. Mung (345):

    And this is, of course, another reason why so many of us have issues with modern evolutionary theory. the constantly shifting of meanings of terms as needed to avid criticism of the theory

    If you wanna know what’s going on you have to keep up!!

    Group selection has be debated off and on for decades, it’s not new. Gould has been dead for a decade so if he was supporting species selection it’s been around for a while as well. Evolutionary theory changes (somewhat) as new evidence and hypothesis come to the fore. If you want to ‘get it’ you have to stay current.

    Accident or chance. Random death. The opposite (or so we are told) of natural selection.

    Accidental death only for the ones hit by the meteor. Climate change for the rest. Otherwise it’s all random as Joe would say.

    Still, differential survival due to natural causes.

    When an opossum gets killed by a passing car, it’s not because the opossum wasn’t as well adapted to auto-avoidance as some other opossum. It’s random death. If you want to include that in natural selection it’s actually fine with me though, because that makes natural selection random as well.

    Actually, it may be that some opossums ARE more aware and better able to avoid cars. We’ll see how well they adapt to traffic.

    But, as a group, the dinosaurs were no longer ‘fit’ for the new environment after the meteor impact. Not random. Some individuals/species/groups were no longer able to compete. They lost. Mammals won.

  345. Jerad, what browser are you using?

  346. Jerad, I think you need to VIEW (well, listen to) the “vid” with Sternberg and take in at least some of Berlinski’s. You have again managed not to address any specifics on pop size, time to fix a mut given gen length and pop size, no of muts to modify body plan, need for co-ordinated, embryologically early muts. And BTW, false negatives are no prob for something aiming to conservatively detect something and be pretty sure of it when it says yes. Are you aware of the Scottish verdict, case not proved? KF

  347. Jerad:

    Still, differential survival due to natural causes.

    Natural Selection is not differential survival. It’s differential rates of reproduction. If “the survivors” all continue to reproduce at the same rate there is no natural selection.

  348. Jerad:

    A testable evolutionary hypothesis:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/75/9/4334.full.pdf

    Umm that has nothing to do with accumulations of random mutations.

    If I give you a sequence of 0s and 1s will you be able to determine if it’s designed?

    If I see a sequence of 1s and 0s on a cave wall or a piece of paper, I will infer some agency put them there.

  349. Jerad:

    If I give you a sequence of 0s and 1s will you be able to determine if it’s designed?

    Perhaps. But it would be an exercise in pointlessness.

    You’ve already told us that you would need more than one positive result to warrant a design inference.

    And even if we could not tell you whether it exhibited some characteristic that would warrant a design inference what would that prove? ID does not claim it can identify all instances of design.

  350. Zachriel:

    Should have been obvious.

    1 ) , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
    2 ) , , , , , , , , , , , , D, , ,
    3 ) , , , , , , , , , , I, , , , ,
    4 ) , , , , , , , R, , I, , , , ,
    5 ) , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , G
    6 ) , , , , , O, , , , , , , , , G
    7 ) , , , B, , , , , , , , , , , G
    8 ) , , EB, , , , , , , , , , , G

    The G in the last position is shared by 5, 6, 7, 8; so we have {5, 6, 7, 8}.
    The B in the fourth position is shared by 7, 8; so we have {7, 8}.
    The I in the eleventh position is shared by 3, 4; so we have {3, 4}.

    The latter two sets are proper subsets of the first set. They are nested sets.

    Yes, it is obvious that you are delusional. Again I will ask you to tell us:

    what citeria, ie what traits? What is the nested hierarchy? Define the levels and sets, please.

    Failure to do so will prove that you do not know anything about nested hierarchies.

  351. And Flint chimes in witha whopper of a lie:

    Every “irreducibly complex” structure Behe could name, was trivially demolished so clearly any fool could see it.

    Does lying make you feel big, Flint? Why is the peer-reviewed literature totally void of explanations* for everything Behe has claimed to be IC?

    * explanations have to pertain to natural selection or other accumulations of random mutations.
    _________

    This shows an all to familiar pattern of objectors looking for talking points to prop up their preconceived evolutionary materialism, rather than looking seriously at the state of empirical evidence. I suggest to such to soberly examine Mengue’s criteria C1 – 5 and related issues, e.g. here early in the ID foundations series. The practical use of gene knockout studies to identify gene effects should serve to show the empirical warrant for IC, cf the continuation page here. KF


  352. Please provide a reference that supports your claim that a theory that makes no testable predictions is inevitably unfalsifiable.

    We know you can’t but it will be entertaining watching you try.

    dr boo-who spews:

    It’ll be entertaining watching you struggling to understand a point that should be obvious to you.

    What struggle? You don’t have a point and you prove it with every post. Strange that when all you had to do to refute my claim is to actually ante up a testable hypotehsis complete with testable predictions, you choked, again, as usual.

    So yes it is very entertaining watching you flop around like a trout on the beach.

  353. Nested Hierachy expert Professor Allen:

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    An ARMY is a nested hierarchy and an ARMY is NOT based on evolution, nor descent wit modification.

    Ooops the expert contradicts keiths wo sez only evolution can produce an objective nested hierarchy.

  354. haha, kf, I just noticed you filed this thread under education. =p

    Yes, it’s been educational. Thanks!

  355. re: nested hierarchy

    Various prokaryote “species” arose independently and then shared genetic material via HGT.

    How does that result in an objective nested hierarchy?

    How is that hypothesis incompatible with modern evolutionary theory?


  356. what citeria, ie what traits? What is the nested hierarchy? Define the levels and sets, please.

    Note the correction above. In any case, anyone can examine the sequences and see that some share traits that others don’t.

    What are you calling a trait? And one shared trait alone doesn’t mean a nested hierarchy.

    Why can’t you just do as requested?

    Sorry, don’t know what else to do to help you.

    Well if you would stop being such a coward and actually do as requested, that would be one way to help me. But of course if you don’t know how to do that then my point is proven. And I thank you.

  357. Zachriel:

    However, when discussing taxonomy, that doesn’t mean arbitrary sets, but those formed according to objective character traits.

    Linnean taxonomy was based on a common design, not descent with modification. There isn’t anything about that taxonomy that relates to descent with modification.

    Also the nested hierarchy of an Army is not based on arbitrary sets, but those formed according to objective character traits.

    And finally as I have been pointing out and Mung supports, there isn’t a nested hierarchy with prokaryotes. So by keiths’ “logic” unguided evolution should be falsified.


  358. Why can’t you just do as requested?

    Zachriel:

    We have.

    You are a LIAR. Do you really think that you can fool people with your obvious lies?

    what citeria, ie what traits? What is the nested hierarchy? Define the levels and sets, please.

    Here, I will help you out, AGAIN:

    Hierarchies occur in social systems, biological structures, and in the biological taxonomies. Since scholars and laypersons use hierarchy and hierarchical concepts commonly, it would seem reasonable to have a theory of hierarchies. Hierarchy theory uses a relatively small set of principles to keep track of the complex structure and a behavior of systems with multiple levels. A set of definitions and principles follows immediately:

    Hierarchy: in mathematical terms, it is a partially ordered set. In less austere terms, a hierarchy is a collection of parts with ordered asymmetric relationships inside a whole. That is to say, upper levels are above lower levels, and the relationship upwards is asymmetric with the relationships downwards.

    Hierarchical levels: levels are populated by entities whose properties characterize the level in question. A given entity may belong to any number of levels, depending on the criteria used to link levels above and below. For example, an individual human being may be a member of the level i) human, ii) primate, iii) organism or iv) host of a parasite, depending on the relationship of the level in question to those above and below.

    Level of organization: this type of level fits into its hierarchy by virtue of set of definitions that lock the level in question to those above and below. For example, a biological population level is an aggregate of entities from the organism level of organization, but it is only so by definition. There is no particular scale involved in the population level of organization, in that some organisms are larger than some populations, as in the case of skin parasites.

    Level of observation: this type of level fits into its hierarchy by virtue of relative scaling considerations. For example, the host of a skin parasite represents the context for the population of parasites; it is a landscape, even though the host may be seen as belonging to a level of organization, organism, that is lower than the collection of parasites, a population.

    The criterion for observation: when a system is observed, there are two separate considerations. One is the spatiotemporal scale at which the observations are made. The other is the criterion for observation, which defines the system in the foreground away from all the rest in the background. The criterion for observation uses the types of parts and their relationships to each other to characterize the system in the foreground. If criteria for observation are linked together in an asymmetric fashion, then the criteria lead to levels of organization. Otherwise, criteria for observation merely generate isolated classes.

    The ordering of levels: there are several criteria whereby other levels reside above lower levels. These criteria often run in parallel, but sometimes only one or a few of them apply. Upper levels are above lower levels by virtue of: 1) being the context of, 2) offering constraint to, 3) behaving more slowly at a lower frequency than, 4) being populated by entities with greater integrity and higher bond strength than, and 5), containing and being made of – lower levels.

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    Have at it or admit that you don’t know what you are talking about- although you will never admit to it nor will you ever comply. Such is the joy of an anonymous sockpuppet psychopath.

  359. Kf (347):

    what browser are you using?

    Safari mostly. Sometimes I access the blog via an RSS reader called Reeder.

    KF (348):

    I think you need to VIEW (well, listen to) the “vid” with Sternberg and take in at least some of Berlinski’s. You have again managed not to address any specifics on pop size, time to fix a mut given gen length and pop size, no of muts to modify body plan, need for co-ordinated, embryologically early muts. And BTW, false negatives are no prob for something aiming to conservatively detect something and be pretty sure of it when it says yes. Are you aware of the Scottish verdict, case not proved?

    I am very aware of the Scottish judicial system. And I was not criticising you for having the default assumption of case not proven. I am not aware of a definitive way of determining how many mutations are required to establish a body plan. If you have some research to back that up I’d love to see it.

    I shall look at your links after I’ve finished catching up with my ‘fan mail’. hahahahahahahah I can dream eh? :-)

  360. Mung (349):

    Natural Selection is not differential survival. It’s differential rates of reproduction. If “the survivors” all continue to reproduce at the same rate there is no natural selection.

    But who are the survivors? Is that not part of the calculation? Who gets to reproduce?

    Anyway, we agree that natural environmental pressures favour some individuals/groups/species and they form the next generation. And, therefore, their traits become more prevalent in the succeeding generations. And the genetic allele balance is altered.

  361. Joe (350)

    Umm that has nothing to do with accumulations of random mutations.

    You did ask for a testable hypothesis. Was not not that?

    If I see a sequence of 1s and 0s on a cave wall or a piece of paper, I will infer some agency put them there.

    And if I don’t tell you where the sequence came from? What techniques do you have to detect design?

  362. what citeria, ie what traits? What is the nested hierarchy? Define the levels and sets, please.

    Zachriel:

    Nested hierarchies are made up of sets.

    Yes, well defined sets that reside on well defined levels. I provided an example in comment 249 above.

    If you can’t form even simple sets, then you can’t form a nested hierarchy.

    Again netsed hierarchies require well defined sets that reside on well defined levels

    In this case, we are forming sets based on the observed characteristics of the sequences.

    Good for you. That still doesn’t make it a nested hierarchy.

    But OK it appears that you have defined your traits as letters. That is step 1.

    The point in step 2, defining your sets is in cae of a new discovery. When a new species is discovered we know, based on its characteristics and those of the well-defined sets, where the species resides in the nested hierarchy of Linnean taxonomy.

    You appear to be having problems with step 2. Also you are having an issue defining your alleged nested hierarchy, ie the superset.

  363. nested hierarchy

    Zachriel:

    Which two do you think group best?

    4 ) , , , , , , , R, , I, , , , ,
    5 ) , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , G
    6 ) , , , , , O, , , , , , , , , G

    I am going to go with 4 and 6.

    They share the fewest number of contiguous commas. THE DESIGNER hates unbroken sequences of commas. ;)

  364. Jerad:

    But who are the survivors? Is that not part of the calculation?

    No, that’s not part of the calculation.

  365. Mung (351):

    Perhaps. But it would be an exercise in pointlessness.

    You’ve already told us that you would need more than one positive result to warrant a design inference.

    Not pointless at all. A first step towards proving your case. And surely you would agree that a robust and dependable system has to show that it is such a system more than once. A one time result could just be a lucky example. Repeatable and reliable results, that’s the standard to match surely.

    And even if we could not tell you whether it exhibited some characteristic that would warrant a design inference what would that prove? ID does not claim it can identify all instances of design.

    Then I would respect your honesty and acknowledgement of the fact that no screening technique is infallible.

    I get stuff wrong all the time. I don’t like it but it’s true. Science gets stuff wrong. But, in the long run, it get’s it right because it’s built on scrutiny and reproducibility and coherence and consistency. No one person gets to decide what’s right and wrong. There is no book of truth. Any and all ideas are up for criticism. And what comes out of that, what becomes the consensus, is strong.

    It’s a good system. Slow at times for sure. Subject to problems in the short term. But very good in the end.

    And the idea of this forum is to be able to discuss things and to give all ideas a fair listen. Yes? To fulfil that good and noble cause.

  366. Joe: But OK it appears that you have defined your traits as letters. That is step 1.

    oops. You mean the commas aren’t also traits?

    I guess my @365 is wrong =p

  367. Mung (366):

    No, that’s not part of the calculation.

    Well, at least you’re clear on your stance.

  368. Mung,

    I originally thought that the commas counted, but then looking at the sets Zach formed, I wasn’t sure. That is why I asked for clarification.

    I would have also grouped 4 and 6, but because they have the same number of commas and same numer of letters.

  369. Jerad:

    And surely you would agree that a robust and dependable system has to show that it is such a system more than once. A one time result could just be a lucky example. Repeatable and reliable results, that’s the standard to match surely.

    I agree. But we differ in that I believe we already have repeated and reliable results, and you apparently deny that fact.

    Every case in which the origin is know, design is the explanation.

  370. Joe, if the commas don’t mean anything, then his members are:

    4) RI
    5 )G
    6 )OG

    I would still group 4 and 6, for obvious reasons. I just don’t get what his point is.

  371. keiths on October 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm said:

    A reminder of my challenge to ID proponents.

    The questions are easy, with one-word answers. The hard part will be justifying your answers in a consistent way.

    Give it a shot. Show us that it is possible to be an intellectually fulfilled ID supporter.

    ok, I re-checked. Maybe you posted a Part II. A post in which you actually make an attempt to show that it is in fact that case that “Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent.”

    The answer is no. We’ve seen nothing new from you.

    Here, put this into a nested hierarchy: {L,O}{S}{E,R}

  372. Mung:

    I just don’t get what his point is.

    Obfuscation. That seems the be the whole point of their existence. Their prose is like Vogon poetry- very hard to stomach and too much of it could lead to, well, personal artificial selection.

  373. Toronto on October 13, 2012 at 2:31 am said:

    return(CSI_TRUE);

    Imagining a calculation of CSI may be good enough for you jokers at TSZ, but it’s not good enough for me. There is no ‘CSI_TRUE’ in his program. There is no ‘CSI’ in his program. There is no explicitly defined ‘return’ call in his main() function. The insertion of your code would make his code not even compile. And a return from main would, iirc, end the program execution.

    http://codepad.org/tSFjqBGz

  374. More from Toronto:

    Mung, are you saying you don’t know how to compress this string?

    I wrote it on a piece of paper and then put a match to it.

    Does that count?

  375. The G in the last position is shared by 5, 6, 7, 8; so we have {5, 6, 7, 8}.
    The B in the fourth position is shared by 7, 8; so we have {7, 8}.
    The I in the eleventh position is shared by 3, 4; so we have {3, 4}.

    I never thought I could ever say this about another human being, but Zachriel appears to be comma-phobic. They just don’t seem to fit in his world view other than as a means to an end.

  376. keiths:

    Mung tries to dodge my questions:

    Honest, it took no real effort.

    Perhaps Mung has a rare visual disorder that renders him blind to bold text.

    Perhaps you have a no where near as rare ‘disorder’ that leads you to make assertions that you can’t back up.

    Your thesis, should you ever choose to defend it:

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

  377. For anyone who has not read The Biotic Message by Walter James ReMine I highly recommend it.

    He offers a theory that explains the purpose of common design as a pointer to a common designer. He also offers a theory as to why the designer would make the patterns we observe resistant to evolutionary (non-design) explanations.

    Along the way he exposes the soft underbelly of evolutionary explanations for what they are, ad hoc rationalizations.

    His primary sources are evolutionists themselves.

  378. For dr boo-who- you sed:

    I’ll give you a clue.

    Try to fill in the blank. The hypothesis “y” was falsified by “x”, therefore, a testable prediction of the hypothesis “y” must have been _______ .

    And I will give YOU a clue-

    The claim “y” was falsified by “x”, therefor a testable claim “y” must have been incorrect.

    That said I have figured out a possible predictions- reductionism. That is your position would predict that living organisms are reducible to matter and energy. I guess it would also predict that accumulations of random mutations can account for the diversity of life starting from some simple replicators, which emerged from some organic slime.

    OK your turn, put those into testable hypotheses and then test them

  379. keiths appears to be getting rather desperate to have someone respond to his ‘argument.’ Never one to disappoint and seeing as how I no doubt have better things to do, here goes:

    Unguided evolution produces an objective nested hierarchy

    An objective nested hierarchy is therefore evidence for unguided evolution.

    ID is incompatible with objective nested hierarchies.

    Therefore, ID is incompatible with the evidence for common descent.

    My response: The logic is unassailable.
    ____________
    Where validity is utterly distinct from soundness. As a clue the no 2 Design theorist in the world accepts universal common descent. Similarly, the co-founder of evolutionary theory seems to have done so while advocating intelligent evolution. KF

    Can we move on to Part II now?

  380. Toronto:

    I actually thought you would thank me.

    lol. ok, thanks! I think I’m starting to like you.

    The CSI is calculated according to UD terms.

    By not being calculated at all?

    As I said, I , Toronto, relabeled it, not to “add” code to someone else’s program, but so it would be clear to you, where this CSI calculation was being done, but you again, have let me down.

    Well, I figured since your “code” indicated the value was being returned from his main() function that the calculation for CSI must have been taking place in his main() function.

    If it’s not in main(), where is it?

    The first program I ever sold, lo those many years ago, was written in C. So I’m not exactly stumbling around in complete ignorance here.

    I think I am going to create a “Toronto” class in honor of you and incorporate it into my version of Lizzie’s program.

    It will be responsible for calculating CSI.

    Are you honored?

  381. ah Toronto,

    The beginnings of a Shakespearean love affair?

    Look in “double fitness(genome_t *genome) {…}”

    I did. More non object-oriented code =P

    There’s no calculation of CSI there.

    His code:

    double fitness(genome_t *genome) {
    double product = 0.0;
    int i,j;
    for (i=0; i locus[i] == 1) {
    for (j=i; j locus[j] == 0) break;
    }
    if (product == 0.0) product = 1.0;
    product *= (double)(j – i);
    i = j;
    }
    }
    return product;
    }

    My code:

    def fitness
    product = 1
    chromosome.scan(/11+/).each {|str| product *= str.length}
    product
    end

    I like mine better.

    The point is that the winning string exhibits the “functionality” required by the “environment”, (i.e. FITNESS_THRESHOLD) before the program can exit.

    Can we at least agree that “the environment” does not “require” any “functionality” to just magically appear?

    There is no “requirement” for “vertebrate eye” programmed in to the environment.

    So how do you explain the “requirement” for some pre-specified “functionality” in Lizzie’s program?

    luck?

  382. Toronto on October 14, 2012 at 4:24 am said:
    The algorithm is the same, and that is to generate a string whose structure reflects a “….set of values then when multiplied together result in a value exceeding a certain threshold….”, and thus allow you to survive in your environment and have children.

    I’m willing to at least entertain the idea that you know what you’re talking about. (Blame my hormones! I think I’m in love.)

    What is the value that allows a particular string to survive and “have children”?

  383. keiths:

    Mung, how about answering my questions? Can you defend ID, or is all your macho posturing just empty bluster?

    From where I sit, you’re the one doing all the posturing. Empty bluster? You’re the master.

    Your thesis: Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

    You want me to defend ID against what? The non-evidence for universal common descent you’ve posted? The non-argument you’ve made appealing to the non-evidence you’ve posted?

    Why don’t you just shut up and get to work on Part II?

    If you had anything damaging to ID you’d be in a rush to post it. You haven’t. You don’t.

  384. So earlier I recommended ReMine’s book.

    keiths on October 14, 2012 at 2:39 am said:

    1. Survival.

    a. Mayflies die immediately after mating. Soldier ants sacrifice themselves in defense of the colony.

    So?

    2. To look like the product of one designer (or unified design team acting together as one), and unlike the product of multiple designers acting independently.

    keiths offers no response.

  385. Mike Elzinga:

    One could make it converge to the maximum more quickly by the use of “latching” or by diminishing the probability of a mutation as the populations approach the maximum. Such a constraint might apply to situations in which kicking particles out of a well becomes less likely the deeper they settle into the well (i.e., they dissipate energy as they fall in). Latching could also correspond to something like radioactive decay in which there is no reactivation of the decay product.

    But that feature was not in Elizabeth’s program.

    But it was in mine. And people over there at TSZ immediately cried FOUL!

    They never explained why. Will you?

  386. keiths:
    b. 99.9 percent of all species have already gone extinct and today’s world is full of species that compete for resources and eat each other.

    So if I eat a cow I may be eating a human that was eaten by the cow?

    ok, from now on, i’m vegan.

  387. Jerad:

    I suspect something is wrong with a browser setting. I checked six different browsers including W3C’s Amaya, and they all work with the in-page anchors I used under Blogger’s HTML capacity.

    Next, in the IOSE, you will see a survey of selected typical genome sizes for observed cases of body plans and a ballpark estimate based on typical protein sizes. The 10 – 100+ mn bits [1 base ~ 2 bits) estimate is consistent. You need cell types to make tissues, then organs and systems. You need additional regulatory circuits.

    The estimate of 100k – 1 M bits for an original simple cell is based on observations too. The lower end implies that an environment will be rich in pre-made components; it is built from parasitical micro-organisms.

    500 – 1,000 bits of complexity for cases E from a narrow zone T in a config space W = 2^500 – 2^1,000 per sampling issues — the demand for precise probability estimates is a red herring led to a strawman — will exhaust the blind search capacity of our solar system or the observed cosmos. You will recall the 1 straw to a 1,000 LY on the side cubical hay stack.

    To accept a very conservative criterion for practical impossibility of blind search implies accepting that much easier searches, though difficult, are in principle feasible. So far blind searches of 1 in 10^50 or so have had proved success. This is a factor of 1: 10^100 of the smaller threshold.

    KF

  388. KF (348):

    I think you need to VIEW (well, listen to) the “vid” with Sternberg and take in at least some of Berlinski’s. You have again managed not to address any specifics on pop size, time to fix a mut given gen length and pop size, no of muts to modify body plan, need for co-ordinated, embryologically early muts. And BTW, false negatives are no prob for something aiming to conservatively detect something and be pretty sure of it when it says yes. Are you aware of the Scottish verdict, case not proved?

    I have heard many of these arguments before. And I admit, not being an expert on these matters, the arguments sound compelling. But because I’m not an expert I depend on those who are to examine the analysis of Dr Sternberg and Dr Berlinski. And there few to no working biologists who agree with them. And there is no clearly stated, coherent, parsimonious (few assumptions and consistent with known natural processes) alternate explanation for the fossil, morphologic and genetic record. It’s not enough just to point to gaps, you have to find a better explanation for the evidence. And if your hypothesis is design then you have to give that hypothesis some teeth and try and explain the fossil record. And the genetic record. And the timing.

    I know just saying design is enough for you. But science isn’t about just the cover story. The point is to get to the nitty gritty. The hows and whys and whens.

    Even accepting the case not proven verdict (which I’m not saying I do) you still have not provided a clear, cogent, explanatory alternative. You don’t get design just by casting aspersions on evolution. You still have to prove the case, hold the hypothesis’s feet to the fire so to speak. Why would a designer work in stages as indicated by the fossil record? Why would a designer leave hind limbs in whales instead of redesigning the pelvis? Why create a water dwelling mammal that needs to surface every few minutes to breath in the first place when there already were lots and lots of gill breathing creatures in the oceans? Don’t you wonder about such things? I do. Why not try and examine those things? Figure stuff out. Find an explanation.

    You have to ask questions and try and answer them or you don’t have an explanatory theory. You have a hypothesis. And it is ‘unproven’.

  389. KF (389):

    Okay, I will check things out . . . hopefully soon. Perhaps I’ll use Chrome instead. You use Amaya? I’ve always wanted to learn that! It looks good but I’ve never taken the time. When I’m doing HTML I tend to use Coda.

  390. Mung (371):

    I agree. But we differ in that I believe we already have repeated and reliable results, and you apparently deny that fact.

    I think the only real contentious conclusion is with life forms and DNA.

    Every case in which the origin is know, design is the explanation.

    ” . . in which the origin is known . . ” Which takes all the fun away doesn’t it? And the need to prove design. And we’re talking inanimate objects yes?

    I thought Dr Dembski’s idea of a metric or test that could be applied to unknown or contentious cases made sense. But I have yet to see it applied to DNA. Perhaps you could show me if that’s been done?

    That’s the crucial point. ID says: clearly DNA is complex, functional, specified information and every case we have seen of that required an intelligent designer. And mainstream biology says: well, we think living forms that arise via common descent with variation are different and can generate functional, complex and specified information without guidance. What proof have you got that a designer is required? You need to put some rigour behind the assertion aside from just saying: in our experience a designer is required. In my experience continents don’t drift, there are no black holes, the moon is not receding from the earth and quantum tunnelling does not happen. So much for my experience eh?

  391. KF (389):

    I suspect something is wrong with a browser setting. I checked six different browsers including W3C’s Amaya, and they all work with the in-page anchors I used under Blogger’s HTML capacity.

    Hey! It did work differently with Chrome! Perhaps I will use that for my UD forays!

    Anyway, looks like my day is kicking off (gotta get a new oven today) so will try and follow up later!

  392. dr boo-who spews:

    While we can make up other hypotheses which are compatible with the reality we observe, it is only non-telic evolutionary theory that has real predictive power precisely because there are very tight constraints on what can and cannot be.

    What is this alleged predictive power? Please provide a testable hypothesis for non-telic/ unguided evolution.

  393. H’mm: looks like the count is day 20. KF

  394. Jerad: I often use Kompozer, or an old copy of Dreamweaver. For some things even Open Office. I often use the draw package. I once in a while use Amaya, which I guess is about as standard as it gets. My usual panel of browsers apart from Amaya is Firefox, Opera, Midori, Avant and SRWare Iron, a modded version of Chrome. KF

  395. KF:

    I”ve used Dreamweaver a few times. It can handle a lot of stuff for sure!! I think a lot of people don’t realise that MS Word or Open Office can create HTML for websites. I tried Kompozer once a long time ago, glad to know it’s still viable.

    I haven’t even heard of Avant or SRWare Iron but I am mostly working on a Mac.

    Sorry I haven’t looked at IOSE regarding some of the topics we were discussing. I find myself having 10 or 15 minutes at a time so far today. Tonight or tomorrow will be better!!

  396. Please provide a testable hypothesis for non-telic/ unguided evolution.

    dr boo-who:

    Certainly.

    Hypothesis:

    Non-telic processes are exclusively responsible for the existence of life and the evolutionary processes that led to the origin of the species we see in the world today.

    That is a bald statement, not a hypothesis.

    Example of one of the many predictions:

    Bacteria (and their flagella) were not intelligently designed.

    Another bald assertion.

    Example of one of the many potential falsifications:

    Scientists establish beyond all reasonable doubt that bacterial flagella were intelligently designed.

    And for all intents and purposes, they have.

    Now, young Joseph, do you understand why I suggested that you write to Dr. Behe and give him your opinion that non-telic naturalism in general and the non-telic evolutionary theory in particular cannot be tested against observations?

    So far what I have said is correct and nothing you have said refutes it.

  397. dr boo-who-

    Answer the following- this will tell if your position makes any testable hypotheses-

    How can we test the claim that any bacterial flagellum evolved via accumulations of random mutations?

    My prediction is that you are going to blather incoherently, as usual.

  398. Jerad, back to sleep in a moment, having had to police another thread. Word makes TERRIBLE html code. BTW, the Word cleanup tool works for OO too. KF.

  399. PS: Sunrise today will mark a full three weeks of the offer, with no takers. Revealing. KF

  400. How can we test the claim that any bacterial flagellum evolved via accumulations of random mutations?

    critical rat:

    Here Joe is being unnecessarily vague.

    Nope. I am asking people to support their position. Don’t blame me because their position is vague.

    Does he mean positively prove?

    No I mean TEST, just as I said.

    But nice to see that you are the coward I always thought you were.

  401. Hey Joe,

    Want me to write a program for you that generates insults?

    Yours are getting kind of stale.

  402. keiths:

    The fact that parts of the “tree” diverge from the tree pattern does not negate the fact that the tree pattern predominates and can be objectively identified.

    This isn’t about parts of the tree diverging from the tree pattern. It’s about no tree at all. No tree pattern to diverge from. Koonin calls it the FoL – Forest of Life.

    This is not a subjective judgment; it is backed up by statistical analyses.

    Your problem is that you assume there’s a tree and then when something doesn’t fit with that assumption you call it a divergence. That’s subjective and ad hoc and essentially protects your claims from falsification. You see what you want to see. Grats.

    Koonin:

    To summarize, the quantitative analysis of the tree-like and web-like signals reveals an apparent paradox of prokaryote evolution: Although the tree-like evolution is by far the strongest single trend in the FOL, quantitatively, evolution of prokaryotes is dominated by the combination of the web-like processes, such as HGT and lineage-specific gene loss. the tree-like pattern accounts for most of the evolution among the NUTs; however, because the FOL consists mostly of small trees among which the tree signal is barely detectable, the web-like processes that govern the evolution of relatively small gene families are quantitatively dominant.

  403. 4. Creating CSI with NS

    Well, Elizabeth Liddle is confused. Who woulda thunk it.

    She thinks she’s generated CSI by finding a sequence that is highly improbable given the chance hypothesis using an EA.

    What she’s actually done is program in ‘a function’ and then selected strings that better perform ‘the function.’

    EL: Here, I am computing Functional Complexity, where the better the function is performed, the fitter my “phenotypes”.

    We want to know how you get to function in the first place. So again we see them assuming the existence of that which needs to be demonstrated. Finding functionality.

    Color me not impressed.


  404. How can we test the claim that any bacterial flagellum evolved via accumulations of random mutations?

    My prediction is that you are going to blather incoherently, as usual.

    dr boo-who:

    How did you test it? You’ve declared that you’ve established that, “for all intents and purposes”, bacterial flagella are intelligently designed. Therefore, you must have tested and falsified all alternative naturalistic hypotheses. Remember Newton’s rules? So, how did you test and falsify the hypothesis you’ve mentioned above? And why are you pretending that it’s untestable if you’ve tested it?

    Yes, ANOTHER prediction fulfilled. Man, I am good.

    Hey Mung, wasn’t onlooker and other TSZ poseurs whining about answering questions with questions and trying to shift the onus?

    I like this one:

    Therefore, you must have tested and falsified all alternative naturalistic hypotheses.

    Can’t do that if there isn’t one to falsify. If there isn’t anything to test/ falsify we can just move on to the design criteria and see if that is met.

    We lean on you to be able to come up with testable hypotheses for your position. It isn’t up to us. If you can’t do it then we just move on and see if our criteria is met. And wrt bacterial flagella, it is.

    So wrt to Newton it is a cooperative- your failure coupled with our success. And we thank you.

  405. Zachriel:

    Did you even read what you quoted?

    Well yes, I did. Do you have the book so that you are least capable of intelligent discussion about it, or are you just going to cherry-pick my comments?

    Of course tree-like evolution is by far the strongest single trend in the Forest. But it’s trees. Not a tree.

    Forest. Trees. Get it?

    You also think I won’t just look up your source?

    CONCLUSIONS:

    Horizontal gene transfer is pervasive among prokaryotes: very few gene trees are fully consistent, making the original tree of life concept obsolete.

    Did you even read what you quoted?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594957

    What a tool.

  406. oops

    Time to end this thread, lol.

  407. Mung

    This thread has been doing a very important bit of work, and should be marked for future reference.

    Here we have a case where, for three weeks (and counting), objectors to design theory have had an open invitation to compose and submit a 6,000 word essay that makes a positive case for the blind watchmaker, molecules to man evolutionary thesis that is so often taught as if it were practically certain fact in schools and colleges. Remember, we would have been perfectly happy to have parallel posting at say TSZ.

    What has been the net result?

    1: Generally, chirping crickets on the main issue, coupled to

    2: The all too familiar objectors attempts to distract, distort and accuse.

    3: In many cases, it seems there has been little or no attempt to actually understand what the main theme of design theory is, and how it works.

    4: In particular, too many objectors don’t seem to understand the significance of inductive inference (where inductive reasoning is the majority of reasoning so s/he who would undermine or disparage it tends to get into serious epistemological and logical hot water) on empirically tested, reliable sign of a causal factor.

    5: Now, too, in origins science, we are inferring on a remote past of origins that we did not and could not have observed, by:

    (i) noticing traces/remains from that past in the present (or at least credible traces of that past),

    (ii) doing experiments or observational studies in the present that help us identify causal patterns that — on empirically reliable observations (if we can get such . . . no guarantees!) — leave sufficiently similar traces that we may identify those from the past as instances of much the same,

    (iii) inferring then more or less confidently (but inevitably provisionally; induction provides warrant not absolute certainty, and it is unfair to hold an inductive case up to that standard when we also are forced to live based on a great many less than certain inductions . . . ) that the signs in the present and the traces in the past are sufficient to infer that like causes like so that the same presently acting causes credibly acted in the past to leave the traces we observe in the present . . .

    (iv) thus inductively inferring per empirically grounded inference to best current explanation, that signs point to signified causes.

    (v) Noting that for instance with geochronology, many often accept results from signs and traces that are significantly less than fully reliable. (Cf here on in context, contrasting the geo-evidence with the cosmological evidence.)

    6: Where also, Wm A Dembski has long since defined the focus of intelligent design theory in these terms:

    intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? . . . Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence. [Cf the discussion here at the root of this series on ID foundations.]

    7: Where, in effect, we may summarise the pattern of inference thusly, by clipping the just linked from January 2011:

    Signs: I [--> an observer, O] observe one or more signs [in a pattern] [--> i.e. si], and infer the signified object, on a warrant [--> a reasonable basis that explicitly or implicitly supports and gives good reason to accept a conclusion, W]:

    I: [si] –> O, on W

    a –> Here, as I will use “sign” [as opposed to "symbol"], the connexion is a more or less causal or natural one; e.g. a pattern of deer tracks on the ground is an index, pointing to a deer.

    (NB, [11:]02:28: Sign can be used more broadly in technical semiotics to embrace “symbol” and other complexities, but this is not needed for our purposes. I am using “sign” much as it is used in medicine, at least since Hippocrates of Cos in C5 BC, i.e. to point to a disease on an objective, warranted indicator.)

    b –> If the sign is not a sufficient condition of the signified, the inference is not certain and is defeatable; though it may be inductively strong. (E.g. someone may imitate deer tracks.)

    c –> The warrant for an inference may in key cases require considerable background knowledge or cues from the context.

    d –> The act of inference may also be implicit or even intuitive, and I may not be able to articulate but may still be quite well-warranted to trust the inference. Especially, if it traces to senses I have good reason to accept are working well, and are acting in situations that I have no reason to believe will materially distort the inference.

    e –> The process of observation may be passive, where I simply respond to effects of the sign-emitting object; or it may involve active emission of signals or interaction with the object. For instance, we may contrast passive and active sonar sensing here, noting that both modes are used by sea-animals as well as technical systems. (NB: “Object” is here used in a very broad sense [u/d 02:17: it includes objects and credibly objective states of affairs].) . . .

    8: For the design inference, it is a strongly observed pattern that functionally specific, complex organisation and/or information [FSCO/I] is an inductively grounded, empirically reliable sign of intelligent cause.

    9: This includes/is related to cases where there is irreducible complexity involved, i.e. cases of observable function dependent on a core cluster of well-matched parts that are properly arranged and coupled together [typically in a nodes and arcs pattern similar to what is indicated by a wiring diagram or an exploded view of a functional entity], and where removal or breakdown of any one core part leads directly to loss of function.

    (NB: In the living cell, the first case in point of such is the von Neumann code based kinematic self replication mechanism that allows life to reproduce itself. The cellular machinery — a rotating enzyme that creates three ATP’s per cycle — that creates the energy-battery molecules that enable the ever so many energetically adverse processes of life forms is a second, and systems like the iconic bacterial flagellum are well known further cases. I put the first two first as without these there is nothing to talk about. Logically, they must be explained first and explained from the baseline of the warm little pond full of salts or the like that have been a conundrum for OOL studies for 130 years.)

    10: It is on this basis, through the design theory explanatory filter, that design thinkers scientifically investigate key aspects of objects, phenomena and processes, and find that the world of life, from origin of unicellular life to major body plans and including our own body plan with the powers of language and mind, the world of life brims over with strong and empirically reliable signs of design.

    11: Where, that explanatory filter has two defaults, first, (i) low contingency law-like natural regularities that trace to blind mechanical necessity, and in the case of high contingency, (ii) chance based stochastically distributed contingency.

    12: It is only where functionally or otherwise specific configurations beyond a certain threshold of complexity [number of Yes/No questions to specify the config are beyond 500 - 1,000 depending on whether we deal with a solar system scale or an observed cosmos scale] are seen to come from a separately describable special zone T that is unrepresentative of the bulk of the possibilities for the components, in a config space W, that the two defaults are rejected and an inference to design as cause is accepted. Not, as an appeal to ignorance, but as an explanation on sign, rooted in the well known commonly observed and empirically highly reliable cause of such FSCO/I, design.

    13: This of course challenges the institutionally dominant view that imposes an often unacknowledged priori materialism and would redefine science on the premise that an explanation is only scientific if it is rooted in naturalistic causes tracing only to chance and/or necessity.

    14: But this is historically unwarranted, and epistemically dubious, as cause by design and its empirically evident traces and signs are readily empirically observed and established as reliably causally connected.

    15: In short, the design inference is warranted on inductive reasoning through causal explanation on empirically reliable tested signs. So, the ongoing controversy is not so much rooted in the results of empirical investigation and inductive inference, but in a prioris and loaded redefinitions of science and its methods.

    16: It is in this context that the challenge to empirically and logically warrant blind watchmaker thesis molecules to Einstein evolution and summarise such in a 6,000 word essay that could easily have been jointly hosted here and say at TSZ or the like, was put over three weeks ago now.

    17: the net result, to date, has predominantly been an attempt to switch focus to attacks on design theory, and in some cases to imply or assert that its supporters are invariably one or more of ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    18: The main exception to this pattern has been Jerad in some of his remarks, who tried to warrant the evolutionary narrative in outline. However, he failed to start from the OOL circumstance, the root of the Darwinist tree of life. The result failed therefore to come to grips with the central issues. Analogies, homologies and extrapolations etc are fine, but in absence of the sort of adequate empirically grounded warrant that needs to be in place from OOL on up, this is not a sufficiently responsive effort. At least, Jerad admitted that there is a definite challenge at OOL.

    19: Similarly, excerpts from Wikipedia, standing in for the still missing submissions that cover the full range of the issue, show that there are distinct gaps, weaknesses and serious limitations in the blind watchmaker, molecules to man narrative that is so often taught in schools and colleges as well as in popular science venues, as if it were practically certain.

    So, we can see that there is something seriously rotten in the state of origins science studies and education, formal and informal. Something that needs to be frankly and fairly faced and acknowledged.

    And meanwhile the crickets and tree frogs continue to chirp.

    GEM of TKI

  408. hehe. I though i’d doomed the remainder of the thread to appear in bold text. whew.

  409. Mung @349:

    Natural Selection is not differential survival. It’s differential rates of reproduction. If “the survivors” all continue to reproduce at the same rate there is no natural selection.

    Unless, of course, the reproduction rates (meaning number of offspring per reproducing adult) remain the same, but something else in the environment is killing off one phenotype disproportionately, in which case we are interested in differential survival.

    Unless, of course, we define differential reproduction to really mean the number of offspring per population, rather than per individual, in which case differential reproduction and differential survival are essentially one and the same . . .

    Unless, of course, there is some kind of natural disaster that intrudes and — purely by chance — kills off one phenotype disproportionately, which some folks would say is not an example of natural selection yet many other folks would say is indeed another example of natural selection . . .

    Or we could just cut to the chase and say natural selection means the survivors will tend to survive. Which is about the extent of what we usually learn from the concept. :)

    Man, I love this stuff!

  410. Mung @406:

    Well, Elizabeth Liddle is confused. Who woulda thunk it.

    She thinks she’s generated CSI by finding a sequence that is highly improbable given the chance hypothesis using an EA.

    What she’s actually done is program in ‘a function’ and then selected strings that better perform ‘the function.’

    Surprise, surprise.

    Thanks for your dogged persistence in pinning this down.

    Weasel, Avida, EL’s program. Some more sophisticated; some less. Some with a direct, unilateral path; others with a more fancy stochastic ladder to climb. It’s all the same story. In the end they all confirm what they are desparately attempting to deny: intelligence is the key to finding function amidst any large search space.

  411. keiths:

    Zachriel asks Mung:

    Did you even read what you quoted?

    If he did, he didn’t understand it.

    Not only did you not check my source but you didn’t check his source either. That has to make you even more of a tool than he is.

    CONCLUSIONS:

    Horizontal gene transfer is pervasive among prokaryotes: very few gene trees are fully consistent, making the original tree of life concept obsolete.

    And you just have to love Theobald’s ‘proofs’ That phylogenetic inference finds the correct tree:

    In another study, 24 strains of mice were used in which the genealogical relationships were known. Cladistic analysis reproduced almost perfectly the known phylogeny of the 24 strains (Atchely and Fitch 1991).

    really. some mice. how many different species of mice?

  412. Thanks Eric,

    Elsewhere she defines the function of her strings differently. It’s all a shell game. I don’t think they mean to try to fool us, but they do fool themselves.

    I read through the entire thread reading Elizabeth’s posts for where she talks about what function her strings perform.

    I’ll try to post more tomorrow.

    But they are between a rock and a hard place. If the strings already perform a function, and how well they perform that function determines whether they will leave offspring, then that does not explain the origin of the function itself and we get to say big whoopee.

    It’s like kf is always saying. they start with the function. then it’s an optimization problem.

    She can’t argue that they have no function, because then what is the selection based on?

    And she sure as heck can’t say she’s selecting for future function, for that’s what gpuccio has been pointing out. That’s intelligent selection, not natural selection.

  413. keiths:

    Not true. Take a look at Figure 1 in Theobald’s essay. The 30 taxa emerge over a huge span of time, from well before the Cambrian to well afterward.

    Do you know how many phyla there are? Has it occurred to you that he might be cherry-picking his data?

    Heck, you’d think arthropods appeared about the same time as reptiles, and that some time after the common ancestor of all mammals. Or maybe you’re not reading his ‘tree’ correctly.

    The versatility of the arthropod modular body plan has made it difficult for zoologists and paleontologists to classify them and work out their evolutionary ancestry, which dates back to the Cambrian period.

  414. Earth to a totally clueless keiths-

    None of Theobald’s evidences is based on any mecahnsims. That means his evidences are NOT for unguided evolution.

    So either you are too dumb to actually read/ understand his article or you are dishonest for using it to support unguided evolution.

    Either way you prove that you are a waste of time.

  415. keiths:

    Unguided evolution predicts one type of pattern — an objective nested hierarchy

    Only someone totally ignorant of unguided evolution and nested hierarchies would say something like that. And here is keiths.

    theobald:
    It would be very problematic if many species were found that combined characteristics of different nested groupings.

    And that is exactly what we would see with reptile-like mammals and mammal-like reptiles! They would be species with combined characteristics of different nested groups.

    Unfortunately evos appear to be too incompetent to understand what that means.

    And not only that the US Army is arranged in an objective nested hierarchy. And it did NOT form via unguided evolution.

  416. Alan Fox:

    I doubt anyone could better Douglas Theobald’s “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution”.

    Geez Alan, I can, and have, take Theobald’s evidence and use them as evidence for a common design.

    Also theobald says his evidences are not about any mechanism. Meaning they do not support unguided evolution.

  417. keiths:

    Given the inhospitable environment at Uncommon Descent (from which I, like most of the ID critics at TSZ, have also been banned),

    Insipid trolls, such as yourself, are not welcome here.

    But anyway I will put up $10,000 against your $10,000 and we will see which has the evidence- ID or unguided evolution- to support the claims of their position.

    However that means you will have to do something that has never before been done- actually produce testable hypotheses for unguided evolution.

    What do you say?

  418. Joe (& Keiths)

    The offer made includes the possibility of a parallel post here and elsewhere, which would allow a comparison of the discussions.

    The objection, in short, is a thinly disguised personal attack.

    AS IN, WHAT PART OF I THE UNDERSIGNED WILL PERSONALLY HOST THE POST HERE AT UD, DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND.

    If the 6,000 word essay is solid on the merits, it will be unanswerable. Which will be very evident here at UD.

    KF

    PS: There is an attempt to point to the notoriously tendentious Talk Origins site and a list of 29 evidences of Macro evo. The first thing I note is the usual failure to address the OOL challenge, and there seems to be an attempt to brazen out the conflicting evidence on a tree of life. There is the further problem that we do not see here a unified essay, but a cluster of linked discussions, which will obscure the basic point that a coherent case needs to be made in a compact package. (Remember, linked details are welcome, but you must make your case in a clear argument.) I note as well Joe on the issue of no empirically validated mechanisms, leading to the obvious question common design vs common blind watchmaker descent, with common design being excluded form consideration ideologically. Where also, it is plain that the issue of OOL is pivotal but dodged. As a first point of reference cf the 29 evidenced claims here and the true origins archive rebuttals here on. That should be enough to flag what is going on.

  419. dr boo-who:

    So, we’ve established that I.D., according to Joe, relies on the incorrect claim that naturalistic, non-telic evolutionary theory is untestable, unfalsifiable, and doesn’t generate any testable hypothesis.

    Nope, I never said that. OTOH YOU are proving that it doesn’t generate any testable hypothses.

    Therefore, it seems, supernatural intelligent design is the default.

    Nope. It means that you are a coward. Also ID does not require the supernatural. And you still don’t understand the word “default”.

    Bacteria mutating is OK with designed to evolve. IOW your “hypothesis” is total [snip].

    Thanks again for proving that your position haz absolutely nothing.

  420. A lie: it seems, supernatural intelligent design is the default.

    (As in, observe here and let us know where design is a DEFAULT inference, and where as well there is an inference that the world of life is explained as supernaturally as opposed to artificially/intelligently designed on signs. Indeed, the inference to nature vs art goes all the way back to that Bible-thumping fundy — NOT — Plato in The Laws, Bk X. Those who keep on making this sort of assertion in the teeth of abundant and easily accessible evidence that from the outset of modern design theory there is specifically NOT an inference to supernatural as opposed to intelligent cause, deserve to be marked as willful liars by either the big lie method or reckless continuing misrepresentation in the teeth of correction.)

    KF

  421. F/N: It seems that a clip from Meyer’s 2004 paper (which was properly and successfully peer-reviewed) is helpful to put the body plan evo challenge in context:
    ________

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

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

    As in dozens of body plans in a narrow window.

    Top down, not bottom up.

    And, this was a challenge to Darwin who hoped future evidence would lead to a warrant for a gradualist, incremental origin of body plans pattern. After 250+k fossil species and millions of observed specimens, the pattern remains.

    KF

  422. toronto:

    But KF, a designer who can “fine-tune“ the universe is clearly at least one level above nature.

    Or before it, ie a pre-natural designer.

  423. KF (424):

    It seems that a clip from Meyer’s 2004 paper (which was properly and successfully peer-reviewed) is helpful to put the body plan evo challenge in context:

    Your link regarding the paper being ‘successfully peer reviewed’ (the Council of the Biological Society of Washington, released a statement retracting the article as not having met its scientific standards and not peer reviewed) throws up a malware warning when I use Chrome. Do you know why that would be? I’ll try using another browser. It looks like the URL is for a Richard Sternberg site? I hope it hasn’t been unfairly reported.

  424. KF (424):

    Okay, with Safari I also get a malware warning. With Opera I don’t BUT the website is for Robert Sternberg – Professional Blogger & Business Consultant. That doesn’t sound right to me.

  425. KF,

    I had a look through some of the sections of IOSE you liked to. I think you and I have raked over most of that in some form or another before but I’ll try and spend more time with it later. At the moment I can’t think of anything to add to what I’ve said before. I still don’t buy the islands of function argument. Sorry.

  426. KF

    In 428 I should have said “you LINKED to.” Sigh. I’d best slow down and reread posts before I submit them.

  427. toronto:

    We are talking about hierarchy here Joe.

    The order they arrive is a hierarchy, toronto.

    The engineer who “designed” that circuit does not operate at the level of the circuit.

    He is bound by the same physical laws, just as that circuit is. And also he came before the circuit.

  428. dr boo-who:

    Joe clearly can’t understand with the post above, has no idea what “testable hypotheses” means, and doesn’t realise how he’s contradicting his heroes, like Michael Behe.

    I clearly understand that you are a delusional liar and a scientifically illiterate chump.

    And your inability to provide a testable hypothesis for unguided evolution tells everyone that I am correct. So again I thank you.

    It is obvious that dr boo-who doesn’t know what a testable hypothesis is…

  429. keiths:

    2. Unguided evolution specifically predicts the existence of an objective nested hierarchy.

    Nope. Ya see, moron, prokaryotes are part of that unguided evolution and we do NOT see an objective nested hierarchy with them. You lose.

    Not only that the existence of transitional forms ruins any objective nested hierarchy and your position requires many of them.

  430. Joe:

    None of Theobald’s evidences is based on any mechanisms. That means his evidences are NOT for unguided evolution.

    indeed, keiths is confusing the pattern with the process.

  431. petrushka:

    I invite Mr. Focus to take the 29 Evidences of Macroevolution essay and pretend it is the entry of those who post here.

    I invite petrushka to read the whole article by theobald because theobald clearly states it does NOT pertain to any mechanisms, which means it does NOT support unguided evolution.

  432. Joe, are you saying the only reason they have a nested hierarchy in the first place is because of their missing transitionals, lol?

    You know what else they are missing? Ancestors.

    Hard to have a nested hierarchy due to descent with modification without ancestors, but they seem to manage, somehow.

  433. Theobald says:

    Therefore, the evidence for common descent discussed here is independent of specific gradualistic explanatory mechanisms. None of the dozens of predictions directly address how macroevolution has occurred, how fins were able to develop into limbs, how the leopard got its spots, or how the vertebrate eye evolved. None of the evidence recounted here assumes that natural selection is valid. None of the evidence assumes that natural selection is sufficient for generating adaptations or the differences between species and other taxa. Because of this evidentiary independence, the validity of the macroevolutionary conclusion does not depend on whether natural selection, or the inheritance of acquired characaters, or a force vitale, or something else is the true mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change. The scientific case for common descent stands, regardless.

    Not only that but I have taken his “evidences” for common ancestry and used them to support a common design. For example:

    Evidences for Common Design- Evidence 1 the Fundamental Unity

    and

    Evidences for Common Design- Evidence 2 Nested Hierarchy

    Enjoy…


  434. “Or before it, ie a pre-natural designer.”

    dr boo-who:

    Before? Before time?

    Time started when nature did, duh. Otherwise we couldn’t tell how old the universe is.

  435. Jerad

    several things:

    1: The OSC investigator who checked found that the PSBW paper was in fact successfully peer reviewed by renowned scientists. The political games played with it per a priori materialism (not to mention some pretty horrible character assassination games — cf here and here) have nothing to do with this established but patently inconvenient fact.

    2: I now checked the link I naively used on the assumption that it should be good, and saw that an attack page has come up out of nowhere; pardon. Someone has vandalised the site obviously. I have rechecked, and found Sternberg here, with the OSC letter here. Here is the relevant paragraph I alluded to:

    many e-mails from within the management of the SI and from outside sources stated that the only way the Meyer article was published was through “serious editorial oversight.” Other managers called it an “egregious instance of editorial incompetence…” They could not fathom that they Meyer article had been peer-reviewed and, if it was, it could only have been reviewed by “like minded individuals.” In fact, there was a serious effort by some to take the drastic step of piercing the veil of peer review, an unprecedented and unethical act within your field. They assumed that you violated editorial regulations of the Proceedings because you were the primary editor of the article. These comments were made to and by SI and NMNH managers and were published to several outside organizations. It was later revealed that you complied with all editorial requirements of the Proceedings and that the Meyer article was properly peer reviewed by renowned scientists. As an aside, the information received by OSC does not indicate that any effort was made to recall or correct these comments once the truth was made known.

    3: That should make clear the sort of smear game that happened, and just how poisonous the environment is and has been for some years. Let’s just say that the NCSE was plainly up to its eyeballs in what was done.

    4: All of that is beside the force of the basic point, that the Cambrian fossil revolution shows the top down pattern of “sudden” appearance right at the beginning of the story for the sort of multicellular life forms that have continued since.

    5: We have not raked over issues, there are some fairly serious points that have been made and you have disagreed by in effect appealing to the collective authority of the science power brokers. That only brings to bear the centrality of the materialist philosophical a prioris imposed on origins science.

    6: One of my key concerns is that one day this is going to blow up big-time and all of science is going to take a major black eye over the scandal.

    KF

  436. I invite Mr. Focus to take the 29 Evidences of Macroevolution essay and pretend it is the entry of those who post here.

    How does the macroevolution essay meet the objectives set forth in the OP?

    Also, lest we forget in the midst of all the handwaving, keiths appealed to the essay in support of his thesis:

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

    We’re still waiting to hear how the macroevolution essay even contributes to that argument. What evidence does theobold set out in that essay that is not compatible with ID?

  437. F/N: Above there was a clip from Toronto to the effect that matters linked to the cosmological inference on design per fine tuning point to an intelligence beyond the observed cosmos. They do, as I have argued here. But Toronto knows full well that this has nothing to do with the context of discussion, regarding the world of observed life on earth and inference on sign of FSCO/I, where I have repeatedly pointed out that the evidence would be sufficiently [not necessarily and sufficiently] accounted for by a molecular nanotech lab some generations beyond Venter. So, Toronto is guilty of misrepresenting what I have had to say [again], in the teeth of more than ample opportunity to know and say better. But, obviously, he thought a strawman point would be the most effective rhetorical way he could reply, thereby revealing the weakness of his case on the actual merits and his lack of confidence on the merits. Yet another case of a willfully set up strawman distraction and distortion. The want of good faith on the part of too many objectors to design theory is now quite wearing and revealing of sobering character problems on their part. Do they really want to provide corroboration of Plato’s concern about materialism, radical relativism and the link to amoral, ruthless nihilist factions as a danger to lawful community order? KF

    PS: I have already shown how irrelevant the 29 evidences is to the issues that are pivotal. For instance, there is good reason to see that the OOL issue — where for instance the origin of the vNSR based mechanisms that set up the favourite appeal to NS, reproduction and differential success are at stake — is decisive. Similarly there is no good reason to see a proper grappling with the actual significant divergence on the various reconstructed trees of life. Failure to provide a mechanism and show that it is adequate to account for FSCO/I at body plan level is also material. And there is more. Yet another strawman diversion. The essay issue is still open.


  438. I invite petrushka to read the whole article by theobald because theobald clearly states it does NOT pertain to any mechanisms, which means it does NOT support unguided evolution.

    keiths:

    Joe,

    You’re confusing Theobald’s intent with what the evidence actually accomplishes.

    Just because you can say so doesn’t make it so.

    The evidence he presents, however, can be used to argue for mechanism, which is exactly what I have done.

    You may think you have done so but you haven’t. You can’t even produce a testable hypothesis for unguided evolution.

    The evidence makes no sense under an ID interpretation, but it makes perfect sense if unguided evolution is operating.

    Then it is strange that I have used the SAME evidence to support design. Maybe to you the evidence makes no sense under ID, but you appear to be scientifically illiterate.

    Also nice of you to ignore the refutations of your claim pertaining to nested hierarchies.

  439. toronto:

    Then pre-natural is pre-time, which is impossible!

    And another meaningless bald declaration.

    Just say anything, eh, toronto?

  440. Mung-

    Have you read “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”? Dentomn takes the nested hierarchy “argument” and shreads it with reality.

    But that is moot because those clowns don’t know what a nested hierarchy is.

  441. Allan Miller:

    (Meantime, ID’s misrepresentation of evolution is the very lifeblood of TSZ!).

    Sed the guy who misrepresented the paper on artificial ribosomes…

  442. So far I have taken two of Theobald’s “evidences” and used them to support Intelligent Design and not one evo has stepped forward to challenge them. I will take that to mean they are still good.

  443. May I have your attention PLEASE-

    Is there anyone here on UD that thinks unguided evolution can produce testable hypotheses and generate testable predictions?

    If you answer “yes” please provide those. Also please answer Dr Behe’s question:

    Let’s turn the tables and ask, how could one falsify the claim that, say, the bacterial flagellum was produced by Darwinian processes?

    I have been asking evos this question for decades and all I have ever received is the usual run-around, just as dr boo-who is doing.

    So obvioulsy it is up to their opposition to provide a testable hypothesis and testable predictions because they are too chicken to actually man up.

  444. Joe,

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

    - Charles Darwin

    You see, it is testable.
    ______
    That “could not possibly” is the seizing of the default as mere logical possibility is way too permissive in a scientific context. KF

  445. Joe:

    Couple of thoughts:

    With respect to testability and falsifiability I think we have to be a little cautious. First, there is a general statement of falsifiability in principle that Darwin stated in The Origin and which Darwinists still adhere to, namely if it could be shown that any feature couldn’t be produced through slight successive modifications.

    Now, on the one hand, I think Behe makes an excellent point that if the current evidence isn’t forthcoming Darwinists will always retreat to some as-yet undiscovered, as-yet unknown natural process to produce the result; or they will invoke deep time; or they will blame a lack of imagination on the part of the researcher. So, unfortunately, it is true that for the committed Darwinist no amount of evidence will shake their faith in the materialist creation myth.

    However, on the other hand, there is lots of good evidence from protein research and mathematics, for example, which indeed demonstrates, quite convincingly I believe, that there are lots of structures that cannot be accounted for through a series of slight, successive changes. I consider that to be real evidence. I consider Darwin’s challenge to be met and his theory to be falsified at least in that broad sense.

    —–

    Finally and additionally, making testably hypotheses is not the be-all-and-end-all of scientific theories. Particularly when we are dealing with the historical sciences (like evolution and design), the way a theory is evaluated is not necessarily on testable hypotheses, but on whether it best explains the historical data. Meyer does a good job of laying this out in Signature In the Cell, and arguing quite persuasively that evolution and design are on equal ground in this respect (if you treat the one as science, then you also have to treat the other as science).

    So, does evolutionary theory produce testable hypotheses about what new feature of life will occur or what we will find in biology? No, it doesn’t. And any time anyone has offered a prediction that failed to come to pass, they have just expressed surprise and moved on. They certainly don’t view the theory as falsified. What evolution can offer in terms of testable hypotheses is no more substantive than “Stuff happens.”

    But I think we need to be cautious in harping on this too much as a general point, particularly in light of the historical aspect of both evolution and ID.

  446. Mung, I was writing my comment and didn’t see you had responded before I posted.

    Keen minds in the same vein and all . . . :)

  447. As Holmquist & Jukes (1981) and Felsenstein (1978) have pointed out, the putative precision of the maximum parsimony method is misleading due to its ad hoc nature.

    – Hubert P. Yockey, Information theory and molecular biology

  448. Kf (439):

    I trust your nation has come to terms with it’s great loss. I hadn’t realised ’til I looked it up this evening that your island has less than 13,000 people. That is not even a city by US standards. You are all so very close.

    Anyway . . .

    1: The OSC investigator who checked found that the PSBW paper was in fact successfully peer reviewed by renowned scientists. The political games played with it per a priori materialism (not to mention some pretty horrible character assassination games — cf here and here) have nothing to do with this established but patently inconvenient fact.

    The journal still retracted the paper. So, in the academic world, it was not published. As I recall, the paper was not even close to the kind of thing they normally published which led credence to the notion that Drs Sternberg and Meyer gamed the system just to get a pro-ID paper published in a peer reviewed journal.

    2: I now checked the link I naively used on the assumption that it should be good, and saw that an attack page has come up out of nowhere; pardon. Someone has vandalised the site obviously. I have rechecked, and found Sternberg here, with the OSC letter here. Here is the relevant paragraph I alluded to:

    many e-mails from within the management of the SI and from outside sources stated that the only way the Meyer article was published was through “serious editorial oversight.” Other managers called it an “egregious instance of editorial incompetence…” They could not fathom that they Meyer article had been peer-reviewed and, if it was, it could only have been reviewed by “like minded individuals.” In fact, there was a serious effort by some to take the drastic step of piercing the veil of peer review, an unprecedented and unethical act within your field. They assumed that you violated editorial regulations of the Proceedings because you were the primary editor of the article. These comments were made to and by SI and NMNH managers and were published to several outside organizations. It was later revealed that you complied with all editorial requirements of the Proceedings and that the Meyer article was properly peer reviewed by renowned scientists. As an aside, the information received by OSC does not indicate that any effort was made to recall or correct these comments once the truth was made known.

    I’m glad you got it sorted out. Responding to the paragraph you’ve copied . . .

    There’s no citations or references so I guess I’ll have to pursue it more. But, in the end, the journal has not reinstated the article. So it’s still ‘not’ published. No matter what else you say about it, the journal has rejected it.

    3: That should make clear the sort of smear game that happened, and just how poisonous the environment is and has been for some years. Let’s just say that the NCSE was plainly up to its eyeballs in what was done.

    I don’t know or see what the NCSE had to do with it.

    4: All of that is beside the force of the basic point, that the Cambrian fossil revolution shows the top down pattern of “sudden” appearance right at the beginning of the story for the sort of multicellular life forms that have continued since.

    ‘Sudden’ is a good thing to examine. I think maybe you’re depending too much on the authorities who uphold the viewpoint you want to be true and are not dealing with the criticism of that viewpoint. You can’t just assert that your paradigm is right without considering the criticism. Science does not depend on one or two or ten papers. It takes a lot to change the paradigm. Darwin dealt with much criticism, as you know, when he put forward his idea. He had to defend it against much criticism. He took 20 years or so making sure he was sure before he published.

    5: We have not raked over issues, there are some fairly serious points that have been made and you have disagreed by in effect appealing to the collective authority of the science power brokers. That only brings to bear the centrality of the materialist philosophical a prioris imposed on origins science.

    I would respectfully disagree with that. Especially regarding the notions of island of function. You assert, quite strongly, that there are islands of function within the realm of life forms without any proof except for your perception of mechanical objects and your charicature of how body plans arose. (Pardon my spelling, I must be so far off the spell checker can’t even catch it!!) You don’t actually have any scientific justification for that view. I agree it’s intuitively sensible but that’s not the criteria.

    6: One of my key concerns is that one day this is going to blow up big-time and all of science is going to take a major black eye over the scandal.

    Great. It’s happened before. There are research physicists who are now trying to disprove the Big Bang. That’s the way science goes. And that is good. It’s all liable to be taken down. When there’s evidence.

  449. Joe (447):

    Is there anyone here on UD that thinks unguided evolution can produce testable hypotheses and generate testable predictions?

    I gave a link to a testable hypothesis the other day. Was that not adequate?

    Let’s turn the tables and ask, how could one falsify the claim that, say, the bacterial flagellum was produced by Darwinian processes?

    You’d have to prove that the bacterial flagellum could not have arisen via a series of genetic mutations.

  450. Jerad:

    Currently, my adoptive nation (my wife being the native Montserratian) has less than 5,000 people here, post volcano; just under 2,000 of these are recent Caribbean immigrants.

    And there has been a second incident — no damage or fatalities, a plane ran off the runway — this morning, leading to grounding the airline in a week when the ferry is also not running. A second airline and charters will I believe take up slack.

    So, pardon not much of a response just now.

    KF

  451. KF (454):

    Please, take your time. You have to deal with life.

  452. Jerad:

    I would respectfully disagree with that. Especially regarding the notions of island of function. You assert, quite strongly, that there are islands of function within the realm of life forms without any proof except for your perception of mechanical objects and your charicature of how body plans arose.

    Respectfully, that’s not a respectful disagreement, that’s a B.S. disagreement. A caricature, if you will.

  453. Notes:

    1: retraction — patently politically driven. The paper was also of the sort of broader review that is in the remit.

    2: I cited the report of an investigator which is linked. This is an electronic copy of a primary source document, which far better fits circumstances than talking points spread.

    3: If you checked details you would have seen NCSE was closely involved in stirring controversy and exciting smears.

    4: The Cambrian fossil live burst of phylum and sub-phylum level biodiversity has been a conundrum since the days of Darwin and down to today. Many attempts have been made to minimise but it remains a capital example of sudden appearance without good incremental antecedents. Personalising the issue is far below your usual standard.

    5: Islands of function are a well known result of having a fairly large number of matched, organised and correctly coupled parts to achieve function. Such is commonplace in the biological world for the same reason it is commonplace in software and in mechanisms or circuits and process systems. It is those who object who need to provide evidence of incremental origin of body plans per chance variation and differential reproductive success. To date you have failed to address the recently much headlined whale evolution on that basis. Bird lungs and wings are another and there are many more.

    6: Blowup, not like this. Serious discredit to scientific institutions, as is beginning to happen on some of the shady practices connected to the Climategate whistleblower incident. (It is fairly clear this is no external hacker but someone inside who knows where skeletons are buried.)

    KF

  454. Please see note at 448.

  455. I can’t believe Jerad now wants to rehash the whole islands of function thing after having been through it before and agreed to it.

  456. OMTWO:

    Just knowing that one did and one did not for example would essentially solve my problem but it seems despite this being the self proclaimed reason for ID’s existence nobody can actually do it!

    No one here is really taking you seriously because we are all aware that these things happen all the time. It seems to be news to you though.

    Steganography/Steganalysis

    http://www.outguess.org/

    Cryptography/Cryptanalysis

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/ele.....ring-2005/

  457. Well this is hilarious.

    keiths over at TSZ, who thought he’d show us all why the evidence for common descent is not compatible with ID, has another OP up asking people to respond to his first OP.

    His time would be better spent making the case he claimed he could make:

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

    Well, we’re still waiting.

    One commenter over there pipes up that they are all about defending evolution from the likes of us over here at UD. But it seems to me their sole reason for existing is to be critical of ID while at the same time making every effort to not even try to address it on the merits.

    As for defending evolution, there’s a 6,000 word essay opportunity open to anyone who really wants to try. Have it it folks.

    We have at least one attempt at an explanation for OOL:

    I propose natural non-telic chemical reactions/processes including chemical evolution as a general, non-detailed explanation of the OOL.

    I suppose that’s a start, at least, though he seems to not understand that a non-telic process is an oxymoron.

    petrushka:

    Step one in any discussion is to get some agreement on the historical fact of common descent.

    I think many IDers would grant that. But what is the evidence and how is ID not compatible with that evidence?

  458. keiths,

    No one knows what ‘unguided evolution’ looks like. Unless and until you put forth some substantive claims concerning whatever it is you’re proposing as ‘unguided evolution’ it’s no explanation at all.

    Let me see if you can make it easier for you. Say I have a weighted coin, and as a result of it’s being weighted, in a series of tosses it will show heads more than tails. Would you call the outcome ‘guided’ or ‘unguided’?

  459. keiths:

    You’re confusing Theobald’s intent with what the evidence actually accomplishes. Theobald wants to separate the argument over common descent from the argument over the mechanism of common descent. He deliberately limits his discussion to the first question and does not directly address the second.

    Yes. Joe’s been trying to point that out to you for a while now. Nice to see you agree. Maybe now some progress can be made.

    The evidence he presents, however, can be used to argue for mechanism, which is exactly what I have done.

    No, you haven’t. You’ve merely pointed to his essay and claims it makes your case.

    The evidence makes no sense under an ID interpretation, but it makes perfect sense if unguided evolution is operating.

    That’s an assertion, not an argument. Which evidence? All 29 of his evidences?

    So you have his evidences for macro-evolution, you admit he doesn’t make the case for the mechanisms, which you tell us is ‘unguided evolution’ (whatever that is), and now you need to make your case.

    For each of his evidences, show why ‘unguided evolution’ is the best explanation. And while you’re at it, explain why that particular piece of evidence is not compatible with ID.

  460. Jerad:

    I gave a link to a testable hypothesis the other day. Was that not adequate?

    I addressed that the other day, too. Was that not adequate?

    Dr Behe-
    Let’s turn the tables and ask, how could one falsify the claim that, say, the bacterial flagellum was produced by Darwinian processes?

    You’d have to prove that the bacterial flagellum could not have arisen via a series of genetic mutations.

    Even arising via a seies of genetic mutations would not be evidence for darwinism.

  461. If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

    - Charles Darwin

    But no one can demonstrate that any complex organ CAN be formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications.

    As Hitchens said “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

    Just sayin’…

  462. I always like the response that you can falsify the theory of evolution by proving Intelligent Design. IOW, to them, pseudoscience can refute science.

  463. Eric- Thank you

  464. Mung (456):

    Respectfully, that’s not a respectful disagreement, that’s a B.S. disagreement. A caricature, if you will.

    What proof do you have to offer that some life forms exist on separate biological islands of function?

    Mung (459):

    I can’t believe Jerad now wants to rehash the whole islands of function thing after having been through it before and agreed to it.

    KF referred me to some of his work where it came up. I certainly never agreed that there were biological islands of function. I think there is ONE continent of biological function clearly since I believe in universal common descent which means there’s a common ancester for every pair of life forms.

  465. Joe (464):

    Let’s turn the tables and ask, how could one falsify the claim that, say, the bacterial flagellum was produced by Darwinian processes?

    You’d have to prove that the bacterial flagellum could not have arisen via a series of genetic mutations.

    Even arising via a seies of genetic mutations would not be evidence for darwinism.

    Well then there’s no point in me discussing it with you I guess. If you won’t accept that kind of evidence is there any evidence you would accept?

  466. KF (457):

    I hope things are calming down in your corner of the world. It must be hard to find a stranger on an island with so few people. You’re all neighbours!

    1: retraction — patently politically driven. The paper was also of the sort of broader review that is in the remit.

    Still retracted so no longer a peer-reviewed publication. And very, very, very few people complained over the retraction but many complained about the publication.

    2: I cited the report of an investigator which is linked. This is an electronic copy of a primary source document, which far better fits circumstances than talking points spread.

    I’ll have a look. Is that back in the original post?

    3: If you checked details you would have seen NCSE was closely involved in stirring controversy and exciting smears.

    The journal staff are grown ups and able to make their own decisions. NCSE has no power over them.

    4: The Cambrian fossil live burst of phylum and sub-phylum level biodiversity has been a conundrum since the days of Darwin and down to today. Many attempts have been made to minimise but it remains a capital example of sudden appearance without good incremental antecedents. Personalising the issue is far below your usual standard.

    I didn’t mean to personalise it but I do disagree with your catagorisation of islands of function. How ‘sudden’ do you think it was?

    5: Islands of function are a well known result of having a fairly large number of matched, organised and correctly coupled parts to achieve function. Such is commonplace in the biological world for the same reason it is commonplace in software and in mechanisms or circuits and process systems. It is those who object who need to provide evidence of incremental origin of body plans per chance variation and differential reproductive success. To date you have failed to address the recently much headlined whale evolution on that basis. Bird lungs and wings are another and there are many more.

    While most life forms do have some fatal trigger points they are much more tolerant of variation than most mechanical systems. Human being can function with missing limbs, serious illness, severe injury, malformed body parts, etc. Also we have lines of fosslils that illustrate gradual progressions of ‘body plans’. Additionally it’s essential to consider all the evidence for universal common descent not just fossils. What specific point do you want me to address?

    6: Blowup, not like this. Serious discredit to scientific institutions, as is beginning to happen on some of the shady practices connected to the Climategate whistleblower incident. (It is fairly clear this is no external hacker but someone inside who knows where skeletons are buried.)

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. Or what it has to do with the topic at hand.

    I have no need or wish to rehash these topics as you and I have come to an impasse over them before. I’m happy to let it lie now.

  467. Jerad:

    I will have much on my plate today, given the unfortunate development and unrelated but important developments in education here brought to focus by a half-term week-length seminar for teachers in the island’s schools. (We are about to be inundated by 400 laptops ordered by the pols, but — per fair comment — without adequate curricular development to make that effective. I have begun to further comment on such here as a curriculum architect. [Note the series on education transformation in light of Bloom's two sigma "problem," the Vygotsky window of learning opportunity and issues connected to the Piaget transition to formal operations. Montserrat is ideally sized and situated to be a pilot plant for education for the future.])

    I do need to comment on a point or two from your response, as a stimulus for others at minimum.

    Right off, a paper “retracted” for patently ideological reasons, and in a context of documented ideologically motivated career busting underscores that the issue is very much live and unanswered on the merits. THAT IS WHY I CITED THIS IN PART, OF THE 50 OR SO ID-SUPPORTIVE PAPERS ETC THAT ARE NOW OUT THERE IN THE PRO-GRADE LITERATURE. (Pardon, I am letting an accidental caps lock stand, the emphasis is due.)

    Second, origins science has suffered ideologisation by those (five cases, including the US NAS and NSTA) who impose a priori materialism in the name of redefining science and its methods, and it shows and counts.

    Inference to best empirically grounded current explanation of the past of origins is not to be equated to inference to best a priori materialist narrative of origins. Tha tis what Philip Johnson highlighted in his Nov 1997 First Things article as is cited in the OP:

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

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

    I do not really want this thread to go off on a tangent to the main focus of this thread (calling for a response that provides a serious 6,000 word or so essay that sets out the case from OOL on and addresses the TOL issues, on evidence, to support the blind watchmaker thesis that is taught in schools and colleges as though it is practically certain . . . ], but let me note for you what Gould had to say in his last technical book and also across his career, which in my considered view is typically not properly faced and fairly addressed in the education literature, formal and informal:

    . . . long term stasis following geologically abrupt origin of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists. [[The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002), p. 752.]

    . . . . The great majority of species do not show any appreciable evolutionary change at all. These species appear in the section [[first occurrence] without obvious ancestors in the underlying beds, are stable once established and disappear higher up without leaving any descendants.” [[p. 753.]

    . . . . proclamations for the supposed ‘truth’ of gradualism – asserted against every working paleontologist’s knowledge of its rarity – emerged largely from such a restriction of attention to exceedingly rare cases under the false belief that they alone provided a record of evolution at all! The falsification of most ‘textbook classics’ upon restudy only accentuates the fallacy of the ‘case study’ method and its root in prior expectation rather than objective reading of the fossil record. [[p. 773.]

    “The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.” [[Stephen Jay Gould (Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), 'Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?' Paleobiology, vol.6(1), January 1980,p. 127.]

    “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'The return of hopeful monsters'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, p. 24.]

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

    The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find intermediate varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps [[ . . . . ] He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record will rightly reject my whole theory.[[Cf. Origin, Ch 10, "Summary of the preceding and present Chapters," also see similar remarks in Chs 6 and 9.]

    Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never “seen” in the rocks.

    Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'Evolution's erratic pace'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI95), May 1977, p.14. (Kindly note, that while Gould does put forward claimed cases of transitions elsewhere, that cannot erase the facts that he published in the peer reviewed literature in 1977 and was still underscoring in 2002, 25 years later, as well as what the theory he helped co-found, set out to do. Sadly, this needs to be explicitly noted, as some would use such remarks to cover over the points just highlighted. Also, note that this is in addition to the problem of divergent molecular trees and the top-down nature of the Cambrian explosion.)]

    Those are serious issues and need to be soberly addressed.

    As to the OSC letter, when I cited it, I linked the updated URL. Similarly, the evidence is that there has been an intensely ideological climate surrounding the Meyer paper and the retraction is in that context.

    The islands of function concept should be obvious and uncontroversial.

    That it is not to many (on topics related to origins of life and of life forms), is reflective of a deeply embedded commitment to gradualism that lacks evidential support, from the nature of protein fold domains on up, not to mention the implications of symbolic code on up. Gould on the world of life, gaps, suddenness, stasis etc is telling,a s is the case of the Cambrian revolution as an example that is particularly longstanding. Absence/utter rarity and un-representativeness of transitionals is the trade secret of paleontology. This can be multiplied by the phenomenon of mosaic creatures, starting with the well-known Platypus.

    And, that is leaving off the biggest transition of all, OOL; a case where the claimed magic of natural selection is not in play, as part of what has to be accounted for is the origin of a vNSR-based, code-using self replication mechanism. Which is irreducibly complex (which in turn is a particularly clear manifestation of the islands of function concept).

    You seem to have a problem understanding irreducible complexity, so I invite you to read here, we are talking about core function and core parts that are each necessary for and jointly sufficient for a function.

    For a human being at gross anatomy level, a limb etc are not core function parts, the heart, lungs, brain and the like are. At molecular nanotech level, the cellular mechanisms that implement self-replication are a similar set, and cases such as the ATP synthetase enzyme and the flagellum are iconic. I raise these two in that order as someone out there has tried to put up the former as an evolutionary precursor to the latter, ignoring that this first stage is itself both vital to existence of a cell (think about how cyanide works) and is itself blatantly highly IC. No ATP factory and life dependent on a large cluster of endothermic reactions is simply not on the cards.

    As to the East Anglia whistleblower incident, I gave an ongoing case on a similar ideologisation of science matter that has been playing out in the background since 2009. That one, too, is going to be nasty.

    KF

  468. KF (471):

    We are about to be inundated by 400 laptops ordered by the pols, but — per fair comment — without adequate curricular development to make that effective.

    Too bad. But at least you’re getting the equipment!!

    I do need to comment on a point or two from your response, as a stimulus for others at minimum.

    Fair enough.

    Right off, a paper “retracted” for patently ideological reasons, and in a context of documented ideologically motivated career busting underscores that the issue is very much live and unanswered on the merits.

    Well, the journal said the peer review process had been short-changed and the paper wasn’t up to their standards. AND it wasn’t the kind of thing they normally publish which does add weight to the claim that Drs Sternberg and Meyer took advantage of a situation to get something published. Anyway, it’s gone now.

    As always, I don’t know enough to comment on OoL issues. I’m happy to discuss things that came about after life got going.

    I also don’t think materialism comes first. Not for me or anyone I know at least. As Dr Theobald argues in his ’29+ Evidences for Macroevolution’: common descent can be tested independently of mechanistic theories.

    I think you’ll find that Dr Gould himself DID address those issues about which you quote him. It’s not really giving the full picture to pull out a sentence or a paragraph describing an issue without also elucidating how the issue was addressed by the same author!! Dr Gould did not rescind his evolutionary stance after all. So clearly he had a way to resolve the questions. I encourage any onlookers to read the source from whence the quotes are derived to find out all of what he had to say.

    As to the OSC letter, when I cited it, I linked the updated URL. Similarly, the evidence is that there has been an intensely ideological climate surrounding the Meyer paper and the retraction is in that context.

    I will have a look . . . if I can find it in this ever increasing thread.

    The islands of function concept should be obvious and uncontroversial.

    Then why isn’t it accepted by the mainstream of biology? I think it’s not because of the fossil, morphological, genetic and geographic lines of evidence which all point towards universal common descent. Singly and together.

    You seem to have a problem understanding irreducible complexity, so I invite you to read here, we are talking about core function and core parts that are each necessary for and jointly sufficient for a function.

    Not at all. I understand the concept very well.

    Climate change, like evolutionary theory, is based on multiple lines of evidence. There was no real issue in East Anglia. But even if there was, and all their work was thrown out, the evidence would still be overwhelming. That’s just one facility. All their data is public and shared with other facilities. Find the flaw instead of playing up a controversy. Do the work and prove there’s been a mistake.

  469. About that Meyer paper . . . .

    The OSC (Office of Special Counsel) got involved AFTER the publication row when Dr Sternberg accused the Smithsonian of religious discrimination. Eventually the OSC dropped the case. They were also criticised for sending that letter when they had not really progressed beyond an initial investigation. In fact Dr Sternberg was not dismissed from the Smithsonian, he was an unpaid volunteer at the time, nor did he lose access to the collection. And his supervisor at the Smithsonian has publicly contradicted the view put forward in the OSC letter.

    The paper by Dr Meyer that was published in the journal the Dr Sternberg was the editor for has been widely criticised for being shoddy and of poor quality. Dr Sternberg claims he got 4 qualified biologists to review the work, one of whom was himself!! He has refused to give the names of the other reviewers and none have come forward to admit they participated. Pretty clearly, given Dr Sternberg’s interest and involvement in the ID movement and his friendship with Dr Meyer he should not have been one of the reviewers. That is such an egregious conflict of interest that it makes him look like a fool. This is not how the scientific publication process is suppose to work. A controversial paper was submitted: he should have been completely above board, got some reviewers who he knew would be critical and never, ever have been one of those reviewers.

    I’m sorry but looking at the event in total it’s hard to grant Dr Sternberg the benefit of the doubt. Unless he’s willing to document the peer review process I can’t help but think that he and Dr Meyer took advantage of the situation just to get an ID paper in a peer reviewed journal. And it’s not there now anyway.

  470. Jerad,

    WRT any bacterial flagellum you need to:

    1- Account for the proteins

    2- Account for teh correct subunit quantities- some are required in the thousands and others just a few

    3- Get them at the right time and at the right place

    4- Assembly instructions

    5- Get around any and all possible cross reactions that would prevent its assembly

    6- Establish a command and control over the newly formed structure so it can be used

  471. Jerad:

    What proof do you have to offer that some life forms exist on separate biological islands of function?

    What proof do you have to offer that all life isn’t itself on the same island of function in a vast sea of non-functional atoms?

    I think there is ONE continent of biological function clearly since I believe in universal common descent which means there’s a common ancester for every pair of life forms.

    Yeah. That’s what I said. You already accept the islands of function argument. Life itself is an island in a vast ocean of non-life.

    You accept the basic premise that there are islands (or one island) of low probability in a vast space.

    Now given that you accept the basic premise of islands of function, what proof do you have that given the existence of life itself, there are no more islands of function?

  472. Mung (475):

    Ah, I see where you’re coming from.

    Clearly there are some configurations which are not viable. There may be more than one island of function in the vast ocean of chaos. But we have no example yet. I’d be very interested, as would all biologists, to find a life form with a different genetic code or clearly not descendant from some other earth life form. How cool would that be? Maybe there are some on one of the moons of Jupiter. Could be.

    I do not think the life forms on Earth are from separate islands of function however. If there were then that would immediate disprove universal common descent. Clearly. In fact, there’s no particular reason there couldn’t be two or three independent lines of common descent. But there doesn’t seem to be on earth. But if we found some life forms that used a different genetic code then . . .

    The genetic line of evidence is the strongest argument for universal common descent including: protein functional redundancy, DNA functional redundancy, transposons, redundant pseudogenes and ERVs.

    Does that help clarify my position?

  473. Jerad,

    So you agree that life itself represents an island of function. Yet you refuse to discuss OOL. So you have not explored what it takes to get to an island of function. So how can you rule out islands of functions just because now you have life?

    What is it about life that rules out any further islands of function?

  474. jerad:

    Re the declarations by the folks at the Journal:

    the journal said the peer review process had been short-changed and the paper wasn’t up to their standards. AND it wasn’t the kind of thing they normally publish which does add weight to the claim that Drs Sternberg and Meyer took advantage of a situation to get something published.

    Do you really expect the folks involved in the ambiance of what went on as the OSC letter (and the subsequent Congressional staff investigation) described — never mind attempts to brazen out in the usual zones such as Wiki etc — to tell the truth?

    Let’s just say that in 2004 – 5, the Darwinistas got some decisions to go their way. By c 2010, the institutions who bought their talking points were issuing compensation in cold hard cash for the same sort of antics.

    The difference?

    First, unacknowledged but plainly effective: Expelled.

    Second, people began to wise up and old tricks did not work anymore when it got to serious court time.

    and the islands of function issue is about the implications of well matched multiple parts to effect a function.

    KF

  475. Mung (477):

    So you agree that life itself represents an island of function.

    But, is it the only one? Who knows.

    Yet you refuse to discuss OOL.

    I am not aware enough of the chemical arguments to offer an intelligent opinion.

    So you have not explored what it takes to get to an island of function. So how can you rule out islands of functions just because now you have life?

    Do you know what it takes? You’re criticising me but can you do better/more? Let’s hear your explanation . . .

    I think that, somehow, life got started on earth. Once there was a basic replicator then everything else developed from that. MAYBE all that turned out to be on one island (of many) of functionality. Maybe there is only one.

    I don’t know.

    But I do think I understand the process by which, after that, life diversified. You can bitch and moan and complain that I am not addressing some core issue but then, if that’s true, why are you still arguing with me? I have been very, very clear that I can not and will not address the OoL question.

    What is it about life that rules out any further islands of function?

    Nothing at all. There is just no evidence.

  476. KF (478):

    Do you really expect the folks involved in the ambiance of what went on as the OSC letter (and the subsequent Congressional staff investigation) described — never mind attempts to brazen out in the usual zones such as Wiki etc — to tell the truth?

    I am not prepared, with no clear evidence to the contrary, to call into question the professional integrity of the publishers of the journal in question. Dr Sternberg, by selecting himself as a reviewer on a paper which he had a history of being favourable, violated the precepts of the peer review process. In attempting to breach the system he violated it. He has shown the system can be abused . . . . but not that the Meyer paper had merit. His actions argue the contrary.

    Let’s just say that in 2004 – 5, the Darwinistas

    And you are NOT being prejudice?

    got some decisions to go their way. By c 2010, the institutions who bought their talking points were issuing compensation in cold hard cash for the same sort of antics.

    The difference?

    First, unacknowledged but plainly effective: Expelled.

    Second, people began to wise up and old tricks did not work anymore when it got to serious court time.

    Perhaps. But in the case of Drs Sternberg and Meyer and the paper the case seems pretty clear.

    Do not condemn by association. Look at each case based on it’s own merits. As you wish to be judged so judge.

    and the islands of function issue is about the implications of well matched multiple parts to effect a function.

    A good argument. But is it correct in this case? Where is the evidence? If universal common descent is correct then life on earth does not occupy disparate islands of function. You have not established that such islands exist.

  477. Jerad:

    You’re criticising me but can you do better/more?

    I am not criticizing you. I am criticizing your LOGIC (or lack thereof) and questioning your REASONING.

    You have no reason to believe what you do, and it in fact contradicts other beliefs you hold, yet you believe it anyways, apparently as a matter of faith and with no sense of any cognitive dissonance.

    Given that you appear to hold self-contradicting beliefs as a matter of faith, I am trying to point that out to you as something you need to address, else I see no hope in attempting to reason with you.

    Now, perhaps you want to walk back life itself as an island of function amidst a universe of non-function. Maybe life isn’t all that rare at all.

    Do you have any evidence for that belief?

  478. Jerad, it is clear that you will not attend to the pattern of evidence on bias and the implications of as close to direct inspection of the review file as we will get, that the article passed proper review by “renowned” scientists. From other reports, it underwent some revision before publication. The behaviour documented surrounding the matter is seriously questionable and all too familiar to someone with my sort of life experiences of having had to deal with prejudice and what ideology and polarisation do otherwise upstanding, decent people. Given “trust us” vs prime source docs, I will pick the docs (providing they fave face validity) every time. I trust you will read these docs (and at least this WaPo report) before forming a final view. But this needs not be extended further, especially given that it is off topic and I now have a very contentious issue to deal with here in the aftermath of a fatal crash and a further incident provoking grounding of a local airline. I can only hope the audit about to be carried out can help damp down some of the intensity. KF

    PS: When you are involved in smear tactics down to unjustly questioning qualifications and basic honesty, destroying not only career but marriage, you bet I will use sharp language. On fair comment per evidence, what NCSE instigated here is without excuse, period.

  479. keiths:

    I’m not sure why you think it’s a winning strategy to pretend that I haven’t made an argument. My argument is right there in the OP for everyone to see.

    Then this should be easy for you, keiths.

    1.) Select just one evidence for common descent that you set forth in your OP.

    2.) Explain why Intelligent Design is not compatible with that particular evidence for common descent.

    3.) Show where you set out that piece of evidence in your OP and where you made an argument in your OP which shows why Intelligent Design is not compatible with that particular evidence for common descent.

    If they read the comment threads here and at UD, they’ll also see that no one has been able to refute it. Certainly not you.

    There’s nothing there to refute. How does one refute an untestable claim?

  480. It was kind of keiths to respond to my post @483, if by respond to you mean not respond to.

    I asked for three things, well, four really.

    Does keiths select just one evidence for common descent that he set forth in his OP and post that? No.

    Does keiths explain why Intelligent Design is not compatible with that particular evidence for common descent and post that? No.

    Does keiths show where he set out that piece of evidence in his OP and where he made an argument in his OP which shows why Intelligent Design is not compatible with that particular evidence for common descent?

    He claims his points in the OP are highlighted in BOLD PRINT. I don’t see any bold print at all in his OP. So maybe he’ll be kind enough to post an actual response to my request. I doubt it.

    Last, but not least. What does unguided evolution even look like? How does he propose that we test the claim? Again, no answer.

    keiths, let me see if I can help you out, again. Who cares if evolution is guided or unguided.

    Your claim was:

    Intelligent Design is not compatible with the evidence for common descent

    So, man up there sonny. Get to work on Part II and trot out this case you claim you are going to present.

    First you need 1) evidence. Then you need 2) an argument.

    We’re waiting.

  481. keiths,

    No one knows what ‘unguided evolution’ looks like. Unless and until you put forth some substantive claims concerning whatever it is you’re proposing as ‘unguided evolution’ it’s no explanation at all.

    Let me see if you can make it easier for you. Say I have a weighted coin, and as a result of it’s being weighted, in a series of tosses it will show heads more than tails. Would you call the outcome ‘guided’ or ‘unguided’?

  482. Mung (481):

    I am not criticizing you. I am criticizing your LOGIC (or lack thereof) and questioning your REASONING.

    You have no reason to believe what you do, and it in fact contradicts other beliefs you hold, yet you believe it anyways, apparently as a matter of faith and with no sense of any cognitive dissonance.

    Given that you appear to hold self-contradicting beliefs as a matter of faith, I am trying to point that out to you as something you need to address, else I see no hope in attempting to reason with you.

    I’m not sure what belief you are referring to. I said there could be other ‘islands of function’ but that we hadn’t seen any. I said the evidence points to universal common descent which implies all life on earth is on one ‘island of function’. If you can come up with empirical evidence, not just suppositions and analogies to inanimate objects, then we’ll see. Show me the evidence that there are more ‘islands of function’ then we’ll talk.

    My ‘beliefs’ are based on evidence. Where is the contradiction?

    Now, perhaps you want to walk back life itself as an island of function amidst a universe of non-function. Maybe life isn’t all that rare at all.

    Do you have any evidence for that belief?

    I have no idea how rare life is in the universe having no examples other than what is on earth. Personally I’d be surprised if life only exists on earth but that’s just based on the HUGE number of galaxies and therefore the vast number of planets in the known universe. But, right now, we have no data.

  483. KF (482):

    Jerad, it is clear that you will not attend to the pattern of evidence on bias and the implications of as close to direct inspection of the review file as we will get, that the article passed proper review by “renowned” scientists.

    What renowned scientists? Who are we talking about?

    From other reports, it underwent some revision before publication. The behaviour documented surrounding the matter is seriously questionable and all too familiar to someone with my sort of life experiences of having had to deal with prejudice and what ideology and polarisation do otherwise upstanding, decent people. Given “trust us” vs prime source docs, I will pick the docs (providing they fave face validity) every time. I trust you will read these docs (and at least this WaPo report) before forming a final view.

    There are two things that are clear. Dr Sternberg appointed himself a reviewer of what he knew would be a highly contentious paper by an author he had a personal relationship with and a possible conflict of interest regarding the topic. AND he has not provided the details of the review process that could exonerate him. He screwed up. Doesn’t make him bad or evil.

    But this needs not be extended further, especially given that it is off topic and I now have a very contentious issue to deal with here in the aftermath of a fatal crash and a further incident provoking grounding of a local airline. I can only hope the audit about to be carried out can help damp down some of the intensity.

    I agree, let’s call it finished. I hope the inquiry clears things up.

    PS: When you are involved in smear tactics down to unjustly questioning qualifications and basic honesty, destroying not only career but marriage, you bet I will use sharp language. On fair comment per evidence, what NCSE instigated here is without excuse, period.

    Destroying marriages? Huh? I’m not questioning anything. I’m just saying that Dr Sternberg screwed up. And he’s not presented the evidence that could resolve the issue.

  484. Jerad: That you do not seem to know what I am quoting tells me you have not seriously read the OSC investigatory letter, which is pivotal to understanding what has happened, not even the para cited previously. But this is an electronic copy of a primary investigative document by a senior investigator who is a lawyer, never mind NCSE’s dismissive remark about him — and in a choice between credibility of NCSE and OSC (on track record), the latter comes up trumps, no sweat. (FYI, the reason no case went forward was a jurisdictional issue, not the substance of the discrimination and harassment claim. Proper peer review was the crux of the matter at stake, and Dr Sternberg was VINDICATED. That is how we know that something is very wrong with the retraction, in a context where it can also be shown that the claim of remit is a case of after the fact gerrymandering. What we are seeing here is plainly a climate of intimidation, fear, harassment, career-busting and polarisation, driven by ideology. The Congressional staff investigation, which has a much more extensive report and appendix, found much the same pattern. That you seem to think the investigations are ongoing and do not know that the harassment cost Dr Sternberg his marriage as well as his professional reputation and career, is a further indication that you have not done your homework. And, you should know that the specific identities of peer reviewers is confidential, for excellent reason. I hope you understand the seriousness of going along with ruthless ideologues in their nihilistic, ideologically driven tactics.) KF

  485. KF (488):

    I thought you wanted to let it lie?

    That you do not seem to know what I am quoting tells me you have not seriously read the OSC investigatory letter, which is pivotal to understanding what has happened, not even the para cited previously. But this is an electronic copy of a primary investigative document by a senior investigator who is a lawyer, never mind NCSE’s dismissive remark about him — and in a choice between credibility of NCSE and OSC (on track record), the latter comes up trumps, no sweat.

    The OSC letter reflects only one side of the story. It’s a record of a preliminary, uncompleted investigation where the other parties were not questioned. AND it’s focus was NOT the publication issue.

    (FYI, the reason no case went forward was a jurisdictional issue, not the substance of the discrimination and harassment claim.

    Dr Sternberg was not an employee so the OSC had no case to pursue.

    Proper peer review was the crux of the matter at stake, and Dr Sternberg was VINDICATED.

    His handling of the affair is highly questionable and he was not vindicated as we do not know what happened as he has refused to divulge details that could vindicate him. I prefer evidence to trust. Why won’t Dr Sternberg lay the matter to rest once and for all? He could askt he reviewers if they wouldn’t mind their participation being made public. He could present the comments and suggestions the reviewers made about the paper without divulging their identities.

    There simply is no evidence, beyond his word, that he fulfilled the journal’s requirements.

    That is how we know that something is very wrong with the retraction, in a context where it can also be shown that the claim of remit is a case of after the fact gerrymandering. What we are seeing here is plainly a climate of intimidation, fear, harassment, career-busting and polarisation, driven by ideology. The Congressional staff investigation, which has a much more extensive report and appendix, found much the same pattern. That you seem to think the investigations are ongoing and do not know that the harassment cost Dr Sternberg his marriage as well as his professional reputation and career, is a further indication that you have not done your homework.

    I have no knowledge of Dr Sternberg’s private life. But I know he did not lose his ‘position’ at the Smithsonian because of the matter. Since being an editor of an academic journal doesn’t pay much he must have had some source of income which I assume was still in place. Again, I am not saying anything about his abilities, I’m just saying he screwed up and he has done very little to help his case. I do not think the investigations are still going on.

    And, you should know that the specific identities of peer reviewers is confidential, for excellent reason. I hope you understand the seriousness of going along with ruthless ideologues in their nihilistic, ideologically driven tactics.)

    Generally reviewers are kept anonymous for good reasons. But if my professional reputation was on the line then I’d do my best to present evidence that would vindicate me. And I would not, if I had been Dr Sternberg, appoint myself as one of the reviewers. The fact that he did that casts his judgement into question.

    Now I think we really should let it drop. I’ve had my say and so I’ll not respond anymore. Anyway, you’ve got important stuff to do!!

  486. KF:

    I just figured out one spot of misunderstanding: When I used the term ‘inquiry’ in comment 487 I was referring to the process going on in your country investigating the recent tragedies. My fault for not using the proper term and for giving you the wrong impression. Sorry about that.

  487. Jerad:

    While I do not have much time or energy for this topic just now given what I have to be dealing with here, I will have to remark briefly re:

    I said the evidence points to universal common descent which implies all life on earth is on one ‘island of function’. If you can come up with empirical evidence, not just suppositions and analogies to inanimate objects, then we’ll see. Show me the evidence that there are more ‘islands of function’ then we’ll talk.

    1 –> In fact, the evidence does NOT point unequivocally to universal common descent driven by blind watchmaker thesis chance variation plus mechanical necessity, starting from the absence of a root to the tree of life model at OOL, and going on to the pattern of suddenness in the fossils per Gould’s summary as cited. Similarly, there is a consistent absence of evidence of incremental variation across the supposed supercontinent of life forms allegedly traversed by a branching tree pattern.

    2 –> Indeed, ever since Wallace, co-founder of evolutionary theory, it has been highlighted (but often suppressed) that common design can account for the evidence just as well. That has been excluded, not on empirical grounds, but on ideologically driven a prioris that have manifestly distorted the definition of science and its methods, as has already long since been linked on, explained and cited.

    3 –> You will recall that the challenge I have put on the table pivots on first addressing OOL. This, you and others have consistently ducked. And yet, this is precisely the point where you would see that the mechanisms of life and the machinery of life in the cell are not merely analogous to other machinery but are instances of it.

    4 –> The ATP synthetase enzyme is a rotary assembly machine; and one that is central to the whole energetic system of life, which uses highly endothermic chemical reactions that are fed with energy from ATP. The Kinesin walking molecule that moves with vesicles across the microtubule cellular highway network is to all intents and purposes a tiny walking truck. The Ribosome is an assembly machine that per another machine, the mRNA control tape, assembles protein chains under code control. The tRNA is a position-arm assembly device. And so forth.

    5 –> Proteins, the workhorses of the cell, come in fold domains that are deeply isolated in AA config space, to 1 in 10^60 or more, i.e proteins space is the first serious island of function case, and is closely linked to isolation of the zones in the D/RNA code space where we can find the right code sequence to make such machines.

    6 –> I have already highlighted the Angus Menuge summary on challenges to correct assembly and interface coupling that must face the one who would originate the flagellum as a typical example. It is worth doing so again, as it does not seem to have soaked in:

    C1: Availability. Among the parts available for recruitment to form the flagellum, there would need to be ones capable of performing the highly specialized tasks of paddle, rotor, and motor, even though all of these items serve some other function or no function.

    C2: Synchronization. The availability of these parts would have to be synchronized so that at some point, either individually or in combination, they are all available at the same time.

    C3: Localization. The selected parts must all be made available at the same ‘construction site,’ perhaps not simultaneously but certainly at the time they are needed.

    C4: Coordination. The parts must be coordinated in just the right way: even if all of the parts of a flagellum are available at the right time, it is clear that the majority of ways of assembling them will be non-functional or irrelevant.

    C5: Interface compatibility. The parts must be mutually compatible, that is, ‘well-matched’ and capable of properly ‘interacting’: even if a paddle, rotor, and motor are put together in the right order, they also need to interface correctly.

    ( Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science, pgs. 104-105 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). HT: ENV.)

    7 –> That cluster of challenges more than suffices to show why the complex multipart machinery in a living cell will come in islands of function.

    8 –> Most centrally, the self-replication in the cell pivots on an irreducibly complex, code controlled von Neumann Self Replicator. This being pivotal to the process of reproduction that is at the heart of life. And, again, it is a case of functionally specific complex organisation and information (one involving CODES, digital, symbolic codes), for which FSCO/I, there is but one empirically warranted explanation, and where this is also backed up by the implications of the needle in the haystack type analysis.

    9 –> Where also we are talking of a genome scope on observation of “simplest” and “smallest” genomes of 100 – 1,000 kbits, vastly beyond the threshold where the available atomic and temporal resources of the observed cosmos could reasonably search enough of the possibilities to expect to find specific and narrow zones by any blind process.

    10 –> As we go to multicellular life forms, the observable evidence puts the jump in scope of required additional info as of order 10 – 100 million bits, to account for the novel body plans evident in the Cambrian life revolution on. (And BTW, the debate you have tried to entertain on the peer review status of the Meyer paper is technically a red herring distractor relative to the point being made on the merits by clipping it. Even if the paper did not pass peer review, which the evidence says it did never mind ideological retraction, the case is there to be dealt with on the merits. the sudden appearance of the phyla and subphyla in the Cambrian fossils is a direct evidence of islands of function.

    11 –> Indeed the molecular evidence and more go on to point to the single-root tree of life being outdated. the evidence is instead of code reuse with for instance at the root a neat little collaborative mechanism of gene transfer. Then, when we get to higher level organisms, we see evidence of code reuse and the like to the point where large swaths of our own genome sit in that of kangaroos. Yes, marsupials; branch-point 150 MYA on conventional timeline, isn’t it.)

    12 –> Then, we need to deal with mosaic animals like the Platypus, which has genetic info from all over the place brought together to build an animal that bridges so many patterns of body plan that when European biologists first had specimens, they thought they were a practical joke. That now continues down to the molecular level.

    ________

    Jerad, all of this and more has been brought up to you at one time or another in the past several weeks. It is not that you have found or put forth good reason to reject but that you have chosen to conform with the dominant group in the sciences. That is an appeal to collective authority of the guild. To that, I simply state that no authority is more credible than his or her facts, reasoning and underlying assumptions. So, when we see a controversy and many longstanding anomalies and fresh ones coming up day by day, that is a sign that the old order is not to be taken implicitly on their collective say so.

    But then, Planck once said, with patent sadness, that a new approach in science advances one funeral at a time.

    KF

    PS: Okay, I see your comment on the air investigation.

  488. KF (491):

    Most of what you’ve posted we have gone over before. So I don’t think there’s much new I can contribute.

    1 –> In fact, the evidence does NOT point unequivocally to universal common descent driven by blind watchmaker thesis chance variation plus mechanical necessity, starting from the absence of a root to the tree of life model at OOL, and going on to the pattern of suddenness in the fossils per Gould’s summary as cited. Similarly, there is a consistent absence of evidence of incremental variation across the supposed supercontinent of life forms allegedly traversed by a branching tree pattern.

    Given a first basic replicator the fossil evidence is consistent with universal common descent given that not all life forms formed fossils. The geographic distribution of life forms is also consistent with universal common descent and was one of Wallace and Darwin’s mail lines of argument. Comparative morphology of present and past life forms is consistent with universal common descent. And the molecular evidence is strong evidence for universal common descent. Any one line of evidence is strong, four lines combined are very compelling. Universal common descent does not assume any extra forces other than that which have been observed and are ‘natural’ and undirected. Universal common descent is in concordance with other sciences and so does not need any special pleading. And universal common descent ‘explains’ many features of past and present life forms.

    You cannot just look at the fossil record and point to gaps as an argument.

    2 –> Indeed, ever since Wallace, co-founder of evolutionary theory, it has been highlighted (but often suppressed) that common design can account for the evidence just as well. That has been excluded, not on empirical grounds, but on ideologically driven a prioris that have manifestly distorted the definition of science and its methods, as has already long since been linked on, explained and cited.

    What we see could be down to common design but that hypothesis is not as parsimonious as universal common descent in that it requires the presence of an unproven, undocumented and undefined designer who has left no evidence of ‘his’ presence other than the claimed designed objects. You can’t have design without a designer.

    I know, I know, sometimes you CAN infer design even without knowing anything (including existence) about a designer. Joe likes his Stonehenge on Mars example. But the truth is: we’ve never found anything that was unarguable designed without knowing there were designers around to do the work. They left material evidence of their presence and abilities and tools. If ID’s designer built all these wonderful little cellular machines then ‘he’ left no physical evidence. Quite a good trick. If ‘he’ existed.

    3 –> You will recall that the challenge I have put on the table pivots on first addressing OOL. This, you and others have consistently ducked. And yet, this is precisely the point where you would see that the mechanisms of life and the machinery of life in the cell are not merely analogous to other machinery but are instances of it.

    Yup, I’ve been very clear about that. If life is made up of little machines does that mean determinism is true? That life is just a series of mechanical devices following their programming?

    4 –> The ATP synthetase enzyme is a rotary assembly machine; and one that is central to the whole energetic system of life, which uses highly endothermic chemical reactions that are fed with energy from ATP. The Kinesin walking molecule that moves with vesicles across the microtubule cellular highway network is to all intents and purposes a tiny walking truck. The Ribosome is an assembly machine that per another machine, the mRNA control tape, assembles protein chains under code control. The tRNA is a position-arm assembly device. And so forth.

    Okay. So it looks too complicated to you to have arisen via undirected processes.

    5 –> Proteins, the workhorses of the cell, come in fold domains that are deeply isolated in AA config space, to 1 in 10^60 or more, i.e proteins space is the first serious island of function case, and is closely linked to isolation of the zones in the D/RNA code space where we can find the right code sequence to make such machines.

    We can’t figure out how it arose naturally so it must be designed?

    6 –> I have already highlighted the Angus Menuge summary on challenges to correct assembly and interface coupling that must face the one who would originate the flagellum as a typical example. It is worth doing so again, as it does not seem to have soaked in:

    Or, it could be, that I and a lot of other people disagree that something being complicated means it was designed.

    7 –> That cluster of challenges more than suffices to show why the complex multipart machinery in a living cell will come in islands of function.

    Um . . . that I don’t follow. I keep hearing that common features could be an indication of common design . . . if there’s enough shared bits and pieces then are there really separate islands of function?

    8 –> Most centrally, the self-replication in the cell pivots on an irreducibly complex, code controlled von Neumann Self Replicator. This being pivotal to the process of reproduction that is at the heart of life. And, again, it is a case of functionally specific complex organisation and information (one involving CODES, digital, symbolic codes), for which FSCO/I, there is but one empirically warranted explanation, and where this is also backed up by the implications of the needle in the haystack type analysis.

    Again, we only know one way such things could arise so it must have been designed? A random search is highly unlikely to have arrived at a functional configuration so it must have been designed?

    And if there is no designer? Have you considered that? Why do you so easily accept the possibility of a designer in the first place? What if the design inference is wrong? How are you sure that a designer with the capacities you are assuming they have could have been around at the time? What about their life support system? What about their equipment? Where did they come from? Where is the material evidence of their presence? Even designers gotta eat. And poop presumably. And reproduce . . . better not go there. I think fashion designers reproduce, there seems to be a lot of them . . . are they functional? Do they serve a purpose? Hard to say really.

    9 –> Where also we are talking of a genome scope on observation of “simplest” and “smallest” genomes of 100 – 1,000 kbits, vastly beyond the threshold where the available atomic and temporal resources of the observed cosmos could reasonably search enough of the possibilities to expect to find specific and narrow zones by any blind process.

    Good thing no one is saying they arose via some random, blind process. Chemicals don’t bond randomly.

    10 –> As we go to multicellular life forms, the observable evidence puts the jump in scope of required additional info as of order 10 – 100 million bits, to account for the novel body plans evident in the Cambrian life revolution on. (And BTW, the debate you have tried to entertain on the peer review status of the Meyer paper is technically a red herring distractor relative to the point being made on the merits by clipping it. Even if the paper did not pass peer review, which the evidence says it did never mind ideological retraction, the case is there to be dealt with on the merits. the sudden appearance of the phyla and subphyla in the Cambrian fossils is a direct evidence of islands of function.

    The life forms only ‘suddenly’ appear in the fossil record. What about the genetic record? Evolutionary theory does not just rest on the fossil record. Some biologists think the genetic evidence alone is enough to establish universal common descent.

    11 –> Indeed the molecular evidence and more go on to point to the single-root tree of life being outdated. the evidence is instead of code reuse with for instance at the root a neat little collaborative mechanism of gene transfer. Then, when we get to higher level organisms, we see evidence of code reuse and the like to the point where large swaths of our own genome sit in that of kangaroos. Yes, marsupials; branch-point 150 MYA on conventional timeline, isn’t it.)

    The single root tree is outdated? So all life on earth shares the same arbitrary genetic code because . . . ? Code reuse . . . common descent . . . I’ll pick the explanation that does not require an unobserved force or cause.

    12 –> Then, we need to deal with mosaic animals like the Platypus, which has genetic info from all over the place brought together to build an animal that bridges so many patterns of body plan that when European biologists first had specimens, they thought they were a practical joke. That now continues down to the molecular level.

    I do not know the current ‘explanation’ of platypuses . . . platypii? But if I have time I’ll have a look.

    Jerad, all of this and more has been brought up to you at one time or another in the past several weeks. It is not that you have found or put forth good reason to reject but that you have chosen to conform with the dominant group in the sciences. That is an appeal to collective authority of the guild. To that, I simply state that no authority is more credible than his or her facts, reasoning and underlying assumptions. So, when we see a controversy and many longstanding anomalies and fresh ones coming up day by day, that is a sign that the old order is not to be taken implicitly on their collective say so.

    It’s not just me though is it? You want to assume I’m brainwashed or ideologically driven when I disagree with you. Show me some material evidence of a designer working at the time you claim (which is . . . ) with the abilities you claim (which are . . . ) and then I’ll give your ideas some more consideration. Until then the hypothesising of a designer is just a hypothesis that has not been established.

    But then, Planck once said, with patent sadness, that a new approach in science advances one funeral at a time.

    But design inference is not new is it? And it seems to be retreating further and further into the gaps in our knowledge.

    AND there isn’t really a theory of Intelligent Design. You and Joe seem to have different versions. I don’t know what Mung thinks ’cause he’s (?) perfected that Dr Berlinski tactic of hit-and-run questioning without taking a stance. Give me a coherent, consistent ID hypothesis that is testable, that’d be a good place to start.

    PS: Okay, I see your comment on the air investigation.

    I hopt things go well. That everything is handled properly and transparently. That lessons are learned and implemented. And, most importantly, that no such avoidable incidents like that every happen again. Any person’s death diminishes us all.

  489. Jerad:

    I do not have much time just now so:

    1: We are not “given” a self-replicating cell. We need to get there, that is the first and biggest issue, and the one that puts design squarely on the table.

    2: With all due respect, repeating that you have dismissed or ignored or punted an issue, does not answer to the issue on the merits.

    KF

  490. KF (493):

    1: We are not “given” a self-replicating cell. We need to get there, that is the first and biggest issue, and the one that puts design squarely on the table.

    We don’t know how the first cell arose. You’re much more willing than I to allow for an unproven and undefined and unmeasured cause than I am.

    2: With all due respect, repeating that you have dismissed or ignored or punted an issue, does not answer to the issue on the merits.

    I’m not claiming I have addressed nor do I plan to address OoL. I’ve been very, very clear.

    I’ve been told many times that ID can’t go past the design inference at this time. I can’t go before the first basic replicator at this time. I don’t understand the issues, I haven’t even tried at this point. Maybe I will someday in which case I will be glad to engage in that topic.

  491. Jerad:

    You cannot just look at the fossil record and point to gaps as an argument.

    LOL!

    How then do you suppose we can dispute the following assertion?

    Jerad:

    … the fossil evidence is consistent with universal common descent given that not all life forms formed fossils.

    Talk about sheltering an ‘evidence’ from any possible disconfirmation!

  492. Jerad:

    I can’t go before the first basic replicator at this time. I don’t understand the issues, I haven’t even tried at this point.

    So you can then, at least go back to the first basic replicator?

    What did the first basic replicator look like?

    Did it have a cell membrane?

    How did it convert energy into work?

    What mechanism of replication did it use?

  493. Mung (495):

    You cannot just look at the fossil record and point to gaps as an argument.

    LOL!

    How then do you suppose we can dispute the following assertion?

    Jerad:

    … the fossil evidence is consistent with universal common descent given that not all life forms formed fossils.

    Talk about sheltering an ‘evidence’ from any possible disconfirmation!

    I’m not using the gaps as evidence of absence which is illogical. I’m saying that the fossils we see, in the stratigraphic order we see them, are consistent with universal common descent.

  494. Mung (496):

    I can’t go before the first basic replicator at this time. I don’t understand the issues, I haven’t even tried at this point.

    So you can then, at least go back to the first basic replicator?

    What did the first basic replicator look like?

    Did it have a cell membrane?

    How did it convert energy into work?

    What mechanism of replication did it use?

    To be picky I said I can’t go before the first basic replicator. I suppose I should have also said I don’t know what the first basic replicator looked like or how it powered itself, etc. Again, not my speciality. I’m assuming it was something like a bacterium or a very, very simple cell.

    At some point the process would have to arrive at some simple, basic unicellular life form which would have reproduced asexually. But they may have been able to ‘share’ genetic material as seems to happen nowadays at times.

    Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever be 100% sure but I’m hoping science will find some probable antecedents. But once you get unicellular critters you can then get colonies and other conglomerations.

  495. Mung:

    Fossils are kind of like photographs of ancestors. If I try to go backwards along my family tree after a few generations I start not having photographs to go with the names. And eventually I won’t even have names. But I know those ‘missing’ ancestors existed in my own nesteed hierarchy (to use a phrase you’ve been discussing recently). I know I have an ancestor who was alive at the time of William the Conquerer. I don’t know the name or have a picture but I know I have such an ancestor. Well lots really. Any names or images or any other data that I acquire help clarify the picture but I can make a tree of common descent regardless.

  496. Jerad:

    I’m not using the gaps as evidence of absence which is illogical. I’m saying that the fossils we see, in the stratigraphic order we see them, are consistent with universal common descent.

    Take just the fossils we have in the Cambrian strata. How many different phylum are represented?

    What makes those fossils consistent with universal common descent? In what way(s) could those fossils possibly be inconsistent with universal common descent?

    Where are their ancestors?

    Assume you’re an alien species come to earth at the end of the Cambrian. Would you believe in universal common descent?

  497. Jerad:

    Any names or images or any other data that I acquire help clarify the picture but I can make a tree of common descent regardless.

    How many generations would you need to go back before a DNA test could not establish your relationship?

  498. Jerad:

    To be picky I said I can’t go before the first basic replicator. I suppose I should have also said I don’t know what the first basic replicator looked like or how it powered itself, etc.

    Right. But you want us to allow you to take it as a given, from which you say all else follows. No more islands. Truth be told you can’t even get back TO the first replicator, much less before it. You know no more about the first replicator than you do about OOL.

    Since you don’t even know what it looks like, you just have no evidence on which to base your claim. Yet you assert you are appealing to evidence. You’re not. You have faith.

    Jerad to KF:

    You’re much more willing than I to allow for an unproven and undefined and unmeasured cause than I am.

    And now we see just how false that claim is. You’re appealing to an undefined and possibly even undefinable “first replicator” for which you have no evidence as the ’cause’ of all that follows, including the ability to eliminate any ‘islands of function’ problem.

    The fact is you don’t know that a first replicator eliminates the islands of function problem. You have no evidence it does. You take it on faith.

  499. jerad:

    I do not have time for any elaborate discussion, so I just note thsat you have mischasracterised the deisgn inference on empirically tested, reliable signs, in particular funcitonally specific complex organisation and associated information. This is not an inference on ignorance but on what we inow agents do. And, the metrics/qua