Hidden LightThe Fibonacci post has generated a longer comment thread than anything else I’ve written. I was just digging a little dirt and must have hit a power line. The question I tried to address, was “is there any physics in Fibonacci, or is it just a mathematician’s curiosity?

Here’s the physics that came back:

a) AJ Meyer has looked at the galactic rotation curves, and pointed out that “rigid-body” rotation which is observed, can be obtained by having a mass which increases with radius. Now since we can look at galaxies from the side, and they don’t get thicker with radius,  it would seem that this increase in mass must be due to something else. Gallo argues that it could be dust, or non-glowing “dark” matter. Meyer argues that a logarithmic spiral distribution, like the arms of spiral galaxies, would contribute more mass at larger radii, exactly as required to match the rotation curves. In other words, there is no “missing matter” in spiral galaxies, but precisely the rotation curve for being a spiral galaxy. Of course, Meyer has no explanation for why the stars are arranged in Fibonacci spirals.

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196 Responses to

  1. The fact that the universe is orchestrated with mathematical principles that can be discovered by just manipulating numbers, is one of the most powerful evidences of ID I have discerned.

    Add to that, of course, that life is orchestrated by the most sophisticated information-processing system ever devised, and ID is transparently obvious.

    This is not hard to figure out — unless, of course, one has been blinded from perceiving the obvious by the ignorance and stupidity of materialist philosophy.

  2. I’m sorry you think that the wonder and joy I find in the physical universe and mathematics arises from a stupid and ignorant viewpoint.

    I’m also sorry that there seems to be an increasing vein of intolerance and name calling coursing through UD. I’m glad to have a forum where I can come and learn what people in the ID community think and where I can honestly speak my mind as well; that’s a real treasure for all of us. But being called a ‘no-nothing turd’ or being made to feel that my deeply considered mindset is ignorant and stupid . . . . well, perhaps I’ve outstayed my welcome.

  3. Ellazimm,,,

    Math has given us many stunning proofs for God’s reality such as this one:

    Evidence for Belief in God – Rich Deem
    Excerpt: Isn’t the immense size of the universe evidence that humans are really insignificant, contradicting the idea that a God concerned with humanity created the universe? It turns out that the universe could not have been much smaller than it is in order for nuclear fusion to have occurred during the first 3 minutes after the Big Bang. Without this brief period of nucleosynthesis, the early universe would have consisted entirely of hydrogen. Likewise, the universe could not have been much larger than it is, or life would not have been possible. If the universe were just one part in 10^59 larger, the universe would have collapsed before life was possible. Since there are only 10^80 baryons in the universe, this means that an addition of just 10^21 baryons (about the mass of a grain of sand) would have made life impossible. The universe is exactly the size it must be for life to exist at all.
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ntro2.html

    Yet despite this stunning balance of the universe to within just one grain of sand, I saw a dogmatic atheist come along on UD and call the balance meaningless to which I challenged him here in this post,,,

    markf you state:

    “The point that emerges is that the claim that the “universe is just the right size” is pretty meaningless.,,,”

    Let’s see markf, the size of the universe, as Mr. Arrington referenced, is balanced to within ‘just one of grain of sand’ ,,,

    And you say it is pretty meaningless,,,

    markf could you please go out tonight and look up at stars and planets??? ,,, then could you reach down and pick up a grain of sand???,,, and then could you look at the grain of sand??? and Then could you look at the stars again??? repeat a few times,,, and then let this thought sink in,,, If that grain of sand did not exist, out of all the grains of sand in the universe, you would not exist!!! Then put that grain of sand on your desk in front of your computer,, then come back to this blog and tell us again how meaningless that grain of sand is to the size of this universe.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-362853

    And then corrected him on his appeal to the possibility of variance from one grain of sand here:

    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.” Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-362862

    Yet despite to jaw dropping fact that universe is balanced to within just one grain of sand, and that the universe itself is now known beyond any reasonable doubt to have had a transcendent origin, just as the Bible has always ‘uniquely’ claimed,, we still get people like you and Aleta that come along on this site and say ‘They are almost certain that God does not exist” without ever even providing a coherent reason as to why they are ‘almost certain’,,, Excuse me ellazimm but your position IS ‘ignorant and stupid’, and that you would get upset at Gil for calling a spade a spade makes no since. You demand that we give your ideas respect when they in fact deserve none! The ideas deserve exactly what Gil has cone to then for the ideas are in fact ignorant and stupid. ,,, Myself, I find the ‘just one grain of sand’ mathematical evidence, as well as many other evidences, to tell me something completely different about this universe:

    My Beloved One – Inspirational Christian Song – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200171

  4. This following video is complimentary to the preceding post since it shows Intelligent Design to be found of every size scale we look at in the universe (i.e. universe, galaxy clusters, galaxy, solar system, planet:

    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347236

    Further notes:

    A recently uploaded video:

    The Human Body – You Are Amazing – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5246456

    Intelligent Design – The Anthropic Hypothesis
    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

  5. ellazimm:

    this is a blog, and many different “veins” are represented. I would encourage you to be patient. At least, there are very different positons here, on both sides of the main dispute. That cannot probably be said of any blog in this field.

    Personally, I don’t like in tolerance, while I love strong intellectual confrontation. I believe that my friends here are essentiaslly tolerant, but maybe sometimes they are so enthusiast about their points that they may be a little “firm” :)

    My position is well known: this blog should be mainly about confrontation on the scientific matters more or less inherent in ID theory (which means really a lot).

    As ID is a very general scientific theory, it is perfectly logical that more philosophical and religious discussions are often appropriate. But here we should be more careful: philosophy and religion are more a matter of personal choice, and the beliefs of all shouild be respected.

    IOW, in scientific matters confrontation is an intellectual duty. In religion, it is a personal option. At least, that’s what I believe.

    That said, just to be a little bit anticonformist amopng my religious friends, I want to say that, while I am a big fan of the cosmological argument (which, in its modern form, is a very proper ID argument), I have never loved too much the ontological argument. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that the existence of God can be proved deductively.

  6. ellazimm:

    Just to be more clear, I would say that the conviction that God exists is a very very reasonable inference, at least at the beginning, supported by an intuitive certainty of the soul and of the heart, and, as time goes by, by personal experience.

  7. ellazimm:

    to add more specification to my position about the recent debate on mathematics, I would remind that I have described in a recent post two different aspects of nathematics which are specially relevant:

    1) It is beautiful and surprisingly elegant

    2) It works as a tool to explain physical reality.

    In a sense, I would consider both those aspects as special forms of the cosmological argument. If we consider our minds (and their mathemathical abilities), and mathematics itself and its object (if we are neoplatonists about that, as I am), as part of the cosmos, then the perfection of mathematics is just another aspect of the perfection of the created universe (fine tuning, etc.). This argument is probably not completely straightforward, but I believe it has a certain validity.

    The second aspect is easier: the amazing efficiency of a very abstract science like mathematics in explaining a very objective reality like the physical universe remains IMO a very, very strong argument in favor of a common origin of both. And it is difficult to think of a simpler theory, for a common origin of two so different things, than a common originating consciousness who has thought them both.

    But again, this seems to me a peculiar form of the cosmological argument, and it is IMO inferential, and not deductive.

  8. ellazimm:

    another aspect I would like to express.

    Gil has spoken of the “ignorance and stupidity of materialist philosophy”.

    Well, in a sense, I agree with him. I do think that “materialist philosophy”, at least in many of its most recent forms, is “ignorant and stupid”. That is in no way intended by me as an offence to the people who have chosen it (I believe that many atheists find religion stupid, and still can be respectful of religious people). A judgement on specific ideas is not a judgement of people. As I have said, at these levels, the choice of ideas is very much influenced by personal factors, and those factors should always be respected, but ideas in themselves can certainly be freely discussed.

    For me, it is also a question of how respectable some ideas really are, among the many which I don’t agree with. There are many ways to be atheists. For example, I have read many reasonable things by Bertrand Russel which I did not agree with, but which remain for me a very good example of fine thinking. I could not say the same for Dawkins, just to give an example.

    Two ideas, in modern thought, I really consider “stupid”: first and foremost, the basic assumption of strong AI theory, that consciousness can be explained as an emergent property of complexity. Frankly, for me that is not even an idea, but an irrational myth, and an ugly one. It is specially despicable, because it denies in essence a whole aspect of empirical reality: the existence of subjective experience as primary data of our map of reality.

    The second “stupid” idea is, IMO, the basic assumption of darwinian theory, that CSI as we observe it in biological reality can be created by RV + NS. I spend most of my time here trying to detail why I believe that, so I will not repeat myself in this post.

    You will probably note two things:

    1) Those two ideas are subtly related.

    2) Those two ideas are hugely widespread and accepted as truth today.

    Does that mean that I consider most thinking people “stupid”? Certainly not. There are many reasons why intelligent people can believe in a stupid idea. Sometimes, intelligence itself, and an overconfidence in it, can be factor.

    Does that prove that I am an anticonformist, reveling in the pleasure to believe differently from most intelligent people?

    I hope it does. As I have said many times, I am, and always will be, a “minority guy”.

    But, being not too intelligent (thanks God! :) ) I have tried to choose for that a very true minority conviction, so that I could have both the pleasure of loneliness and the satisfaction to really believe in what I believe.

    And I have found ID!

  9. gpuccio you state,

    ‘I have never loved too much the ontological argument. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that the existence of God can be proved deductively.’

    I strongly disagree with you since, as Dr. Craig, Dr. Plantinga, and others have pointed out in their defense of the ontological argument, as long as the existence of God is logically coherent, then God is the necessary Being that could not possibly not exit, and I see no logical reason that would prevent God from existing. i.e. exactly what parameter is going to prevent a Highest Being from Inhabiting a highest dimension?) Thus gpuccio, to prevent the deduction of the ontological argument from taking place, you must in fact show why the existence of God logically incoherent:

    Ontological Argument – Plantinga (3:50 minute mark)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCXvVcWFrGQ

    Yet somewhat like you I am a bit hesitant by just proving the existence of God, by whatever form of reasoning we use, for to know that God does indeed exist, while all fine and well for a person to do, is a far, far cry from knowing God personally:

    THE EIGHT-FOLD WAY TO KNOWING GOD
    A Study From The Second Epistle of Peter, Chapter One by Lambert Dolphin
    Knowing God Personally and Intimately
    Excerpt: Can a person embark on a journey that leads to knowing God? The overwhelming claim of the Bible is yes! Not only can anyone of us know the Lord and the Creator of everything that exists, we are invited—even urged—each one of us, to know him intimately, personally and deeply.
    http://ldolphin.org/Eightfld.html

  10. gpuccio and BA77: I’ve got a really busy day today and friends coming over for a late birthday get-together so I won’t be able to read and respond until late tonight or tomorrow. I’m really sorry about that; I’m dancing as fast as I can today!! :-)

    But thanks again for taking the time to respond. As always, I greatly appreciate your time and patience.

    See y’all later!!

  11. BA:

    I will stay very simple. because the argument is not really so important to me.

    First of all, I absolutely agree with you that “to know that God does indeed exist, while all fine and well for a person to do, is a far, far cry from knowing God personally”.

    For me, anyway, even “to know that God does indeed exist”, so that we are moved to look for Him, is never only an achievement of reason. I have said that many times, and I say it again. Reason is a good adviser, if correctly used, but in the end it is our soul and heart which chooses.

    Is it possible to be “sure” that God exists, by reason only? I don’t think it really is. Not because there are not very strong rational arguments to believe that (there are many). In a sense, I don’t believe that we can be absolutely “sure” of anything by reason alone.

    Inferential cognition can be very sure of many things. I have made many times the example of our inference of consciousness in others. It is a very reasonable inference based on our direct perception of consciousness in ourselves and on analogy, and I think that nobody really doubt it. But, in principle, it is possible to doubt it, as solipsism shows.

    Inferences are never absolutely certain. But some inferences are supported by inner intuition, and if we accept that support, we can be really sure of them. Consciousness in others in one such inference. For those who listen to their souls, the existence of Gos is another one.

    But what about deduction? In reality, I have not the highest idea of it. Deductive knowledge is important in logic and in mathematics, and obviously in inferential knowledge too (what we infer must be internally consistent, except in darwinism :) ). But, in the end, deductive reasoning is only as certain as the properties of reasoning and the initial assumptions. And it does not really “add” any truly new knowledge, even if it certainly discovers new aspects of what is already in the premises.

    So, one can always doubt the initial assumptions, or even the reasoning procedures. You can object that doing that means to renounce all human knowledge, and that is true. Few would agree to that.

    But my point is that the existence of God is a subject so much greater than us, that we cannot apply the usual rules. I don’t believe it is appropriate to “prove” the existence of God starting from the properties of human reasoning, of human words, of human logic. What we are speaking of (God), if He really exists, is the source of all that. That’s why I believe that He can certainly be “inferred” from what He has created, but not “proved” that way.

    The existence of God is, for us, the biggest empirical problem: He can exist or not, be real or not. The answer to that has tremendous impact on our lives. It’s more important than anything else. I don’t think that a purely logical formulation like the ontological argument, which anyway has left for centuries rather unconvinced a lot of people, even sincerely religious, can do the trick.

    But the cosmological argument, that is all another matter! An amazing certainty of God’s existence can be achieved by the cosmological argument, if only we want to listen “also” to our intuition.

    Brother Lawrence “felt” the presence of God for the first time looking at a tree in winter, and realizing how it would express life again in spring. And he never lost that consciousness.

    By the way, if anybody here has never read Br. Lawrence’s “The practice of the presence of God”, I would highly recommend it.

    Even to non religious people, really! It’s one of the most lovable small books ever written.

  12. gpuccio, I still strongly disagree with you simply because I plainly see that God has made it overwhelmingly clear for us to know, with absolute certainty, His existence from His creation from reason alone:

    Romans 1:20
    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

    I simply don’t see any leeway for the, excuse my terseness, philosophical mumbo-jumbo junk, such as solipsism, that parades as serious inquiry into reality.

    Though the preceding applies to all evidence available, but on the ontological argument in particular, here is the slightly corrected concluding statement of the ontological argument:

    “God then is the Being that couldn’t possibly not exit.”

    The strength of the argument flows from the no nonsense first premise that reality does indeed exist, and flows to the conclusion that there is a necessary existence of God since our reality does indeed exist (at least that is my shortened form of the argument). ,, So thus as long as you take the reality we live in for a given truth then the certainty of the argument’s conclusion is without a doubt! Solipsism not withstanding, as the following ‘quantum’ evidence shows.

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (personally I feel the word “illusion” was a bit too strong from Dr. Henry to describe material reality and would myself have opted for his saying something a little more subtle like; “material reality is a “secondary reality” that is dependent on the primary reality of God’s mind” to exist. Then again I’m not a professor of physics at a major university as Dr. Henry is.)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    I like this statement of your gpuccio:

    “Brother Lawrence “felt” the presence of God for the first time looking at a tree in winter, and realizing how it would express life again in spring. And he never lost that consciousness.”

    This poem reflects that exact sentiment:

    Spring’s Divine Nature – Inspirational Poem – music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4217279

    And indeed I think we all ‘feel the presence of God’, feel closer to God, make ‘contact’ with God, much more readily in nature than in some stuffy ole church building,,, but then again I have heard many people say that they have felt a ‘strong’ presence of God in church, as well as I have heard,surprisingly, that people have felt His ‘presense’ in jail when they ‘finally’ sought God.

    Some of my most memorable ‘moments with God’ have been in nature though:

    Miracle Testimony – One Easter Sunday Sunrise Service – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995314

    Autumn Leaf’s Laughter – Inspirational Poem
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4181846

  13. [quote]#77 Aleta — Why does 1+1=2 depend on God?

    Because we need something between 1 and ?. We need something between Parmenides and Heraclitus. We need something between Hinduism and Islam, between Buddha and Allah. We need a rule of arithmetic that God uses, but doesn’t abuse. When you ask “what is a rule?” or “what is truth?” , these other religions will either tell you “whatever you want it to be” or “whatever God wants it to be”. The first answer gives relativism, the second answer gives arbitrary nominalism. To stand between these two antipodes that have swallowed mathematicians and empires, takes a belief in a special kind of God, a special kind of reality, a special kind of metaphysics. I can’t take you through the foundations of number theory to illustrate these two pitfalls, but I refer you to a PhD in Math and New Testament, my advisor at seminary, Vern Poythress, who wrote on this topic.[/quote]

    That is about as big of a non-answer that I can imagine.

    And I was pointed to the article that Sheldon linked to from his advisor, who said, “Yes, non-Christians can do mathematics, but only because God enables them to do so. Only because the Christian God exists and sustains them and teaches them are they able to do mathematics, and to act as if God didn’t exist.”

    That is also a non-answer.

    God is not necessary for 1 + 1 to equal 2. This is just a statement about the meaning of three symbols to represent a concrete situation that anyone can see, whether God exists or not.

  14. BA:

    No problem, we can well disagree on something… :)

    I appreciate you quote from Romans:

    “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

    But you could maybe agree that the concepts in this quote apply better to cosmological arguments than to a purely logical deduction.

    You quote:

    “God then is the Being that couldn’t possibly not exist.”

    I agree that the statement that there is an Absolute Being is the only reasonable inference, given the reality we live in, but again I believe that the reasons for that are empirical and rational, and not merely logical.

    The laws of logic are one of our best cognitive tools, but they are not “absolute” (in the highest sense). God is absolute. He exists because He exists, and not because of a logical necessity deducible from our mind’s rules (created by Him). We, and our logical rules, exist because He exists, and not the other way round. That’s why I love cosmological arguments: they walk the reasoning in the correct direction.

    But again, we cans serenely agree to disagree on that. For me it’s not really an important point.

    Going to more important matters, I think we can feel God’s presence everywhere, because He is really inside us. That was Brother Lawrence’s experience for all his life. We don’t really need nature.

    But, especially in the beginning, nature is a wonderful and powerful reminder.

  15. gpuccio you state:

    “But again, we cans serenely agree to disagree on that”

    Well maybe I can sincerely disagree with you about the ontological proof, but I sure am not serenely disagreeing with you.

  16. Here is the link to the book Dr. Sheldon has listed:

    Hidden Light: Science Secrets of the Bible
    http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-L.....6TWVU5XWC2

    I liked this review of the book:

    “Hidden Light” is an exciting book, far different from the usual “science and religion” books. “Hidden Light” is not an attempt to convert the nonbeliever. Instead of attempting to argue, reconcile or apologize, Dr. Medved bridges the cultural gap between the language of Torah and the language of science, revealing an elegant, unified universe of endless fascination.

    Dr. Medved, a respected scientist and physicist who once served as NASA’s principal investigator on the Gemini project, takes his reader on an eye-opening tour of Cosmology, Astronomy, Mathematics, Chemistry, Seismology and Archaeology, demonstrating that the more science reveals, the closer it is aligned with a rational and faithful reading of the Torah (Jewish Bible).

    Medved never demands a leap of faith, never asks you to look the other way while he glosses over an inconvenient argument. His reasoning is rigorous; his thinking straight; his conclusions compelling.

    It is a tour-de-force, the distillation of decades of scientific and Jewish study, and destined to be a classic text of intellectual thinking. You will never read a scientific article — or the Bible — in quite the same way again.

  17. BA:

    I am really serene in that. I am sorry if it is not the same for you, but I can serenely accept that too :)

  18. Yes, we can only be responsible for our own serenity.

  19. BA:

    I have just bought Dr. Medved’s book, and it’s already in my kindle!

    I hope I can read it in the next few days.

  20. gpuccio,

    I’ll have to wait to read it also, (no kindle), but the book looks to have many gems that will certainly provide much food for thought, and no doubt will make many a atheist very uncomfortable.

  21. BA: Well, a lot of thoughtful, caring, loving, tender, gentle people disagree with you. And I’m not trying to dissuade you from your beliefs at the same time being honest about mine. I came here mostly to find out why people support the ID hypothesis and not to debate the existence of God OR why I am a non-believer. In fact, I thought that coming to UD, out of respect and interest, it would be very rude to push my views into everyone’s faces.

    I’m glad you are so sure and solid in your beliefs; clearly you get much comfort and serenity from having faith. I’m not going to disparage them because I think you came to them out of deep contemplation. I wish I had the benefit of the doubt from you but when you start off by telling me I hold stupid and unfounded opinions then I’m not really interested in trying to change your mind because I’m not convinced you’d listen.

    gpuccio: Thanks. I appreciate your respect and time. I think I’ll leave the topic now. Again, I’m not interested in justifying my beliefs; that’s not really why I”m here. I’m comfortable talking about how I see a piece of ‘evidence’ like DNA or mathematics or fossils but I have no wish to change anyone’s mind or inflict my deeply held personal beliefs (which arose out of experience, contemplation, listening to others and consideration of the evidence) on anyone else.

  22. ellazimm:

    I am always available if you want to discuss any ID topic! :)

  23. Ellazimm you state,

    ‘I came here mostly to find out why people support the ID hypothesis and not to debate the existence of God OR why I am a non-believer.’

    Unfortunately for you, the main reason why people hold ‘ignorant and stupid’ positions instead of admitting to the overwhelming scientific evidence for ID, is precisely because of personal reasons of why they are non-believers.

    Ellazimm you than state:

    ‘I wish I had the benefit of the doubt from you but when you start off by telling me I hold stupid and unfounded opinions then I’m not really interested in trying to change your mind because I’m not convinced you’d listen.’

    Elazimm, I do listen to you so as to find out what lies you have believed! But if you want me to respect your ideas and to admit that your atheistic leanings are nothing more than intellectual rubbish that stem from personal prejudices, then all you have to do is falsify ID or more to the point falsify Abel’s Null hypothesis:

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness – Ann K. Gauger, Stephanie Ebnet, Pamela F. Fahey, and Ralph Seelke – 2010
    Excerpt: In experimental evolution, the best way to permit various evolutionary alternatives, and assess their relative likelihood, is to avoid conditions that rule them out. Our experiments, like others (e.g. [40]), used populations of cells growing slowly under limiting nutrient conditions, thereby allowing a number of paths to be taken to higher fitness. We engineered the cells to have a two-step adaptive path to high fitness, but they were not limited to that option. Cells could reduce expression of the non-functional trpAE49V,D60N allele in a variety of ways, or they could acquire a weakly functional tryptophan synthase subunit by a single site reversion to trpAD60N, bringing them within one step of full reversion (Figure 6). When all of these possibilities are left open by the experimental design, the populations consistently take paths that reduce expression of trpAE49V,D60N, making the path to new (restored) function virtually inaccessible. This demonstrates that the cost of expressing genes that provide weak new functions is a significant constraint on the emergence of new functions. In particular, populations with multiple adaptive paths open to them may be much less likely to take an adaptive path to high fitness if that path requires over-expression.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.2

    The main problem, for the secular model of neo-Darwinian evolution to overcome, is that no one has ever seen purely material processes generate functional information.

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

  24. BA:

    Why do I come here to find out about ID instead of the Panda’s Thumb? You folks should know what you’re talking about AND I was hoping you wouldn’t behave in the same way, as you rightly point out, some people on ‘the other side’ do. So completely sure of their view that they won’t listen to any dissension. I’m going to take two of your paragraphs and change a few words:

    “Unfortunately for you, the main reason why people hold ‘ignorant and stupid’ positions instead of admitting to the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution, is precisely because of personal reasons of why they are believers.”

    “Elazimm, I do listen to you so as to find out what lies you have believed! But if you want me to respect your ideas and to admit that your theistic leanings are nothing more than intellectual rubbish that stem from personal prejudices, then all you have to do is falsify evolution, establish the explanatory filter to the satisfaction of the general mathematical community or find something that is truly irreducibly complex.

    Sounds very familiar to me. How you can, without even knowing what my reasons are, call some of my influences lies and intellectual rubbish and that I hold them because of personal prejudices, i.e. I’m incapable of proper analytic thought, is cruel and heartless and, I’d like to think, wrong. Sorry for all the commas. I think the sentence does actually make sense though.

    People on both sides are saying the people on the other side are deluded; that they can’t see the evidence right before their eyes because they are blinded by ideology. I’d like to find a spot where we could avoid the finger pointing and just talk.

  25. Ellazimm, this beautiful young lady on Facebook, ‘coincidentally’ just a few minutes ago on the Frank Turek page, directly addressed the philosophical bias of evolutionists:

    Melissa Cain Travis
    You know, the evolution/intelligent design debate has been going on for centuries (Plato wrote extensively on it–and his belief in the necessity of an intelligent First Cause).

    We can re-hash it on Facebook (’cause it’s fun), or we can ge…t down to the real nitty-gritty, which is the question of why the answers matter. Evolutionists seem to think that if they (ever) ultimately prove macro-evolution, they will have discredited theism. That’s completely fallacious. I would be totally fine with the idea of God using evolution for His purposes–but I’m not nearly convinced that is the case, even after studying biology and the philosophy of science for almost 15 years.

    So, here’s the REAL QUESTION: Why is it, exactly, that this subject matters so VERY much to atheists and agnostics? Because of the metaphysical implications, not the scientific ones. It’s a religious crusade of the most elemental kind for them. As Thomas Nagel (the atheist philosopher) admits, they fervently desire for theism to be false, because they “don’t want the world to work that way.” They don’t want any ultimate moral accountability.

    What’s so very interesting is that the passion of the atheist/agnostic about things like evolution only goes to prove this very thing, and they are utterly oblivious. “Oh the irony!” as Bugs Bunny said.

  26. BA: You may be right about some atheists (and all the ones I know are highly moral individuals who believe in the dignity of their fellow human beings); I can only speak for myself. As I’ve said, several times, I am here to learn NOT to change anyone’s mind or convince them I am correct. I’d appreciate some benefit of the doubt.

  27. Ellazimm, you keep saying that you are being reasonable. Fine, please present the scientific evidence of why you believe evolution to be true, I can tell you exactly why I find it rubbish! The reason I find Darwinism rubbish is because we are dealing with a world of complexity that far surpasses man’s ability to produce as such in his most advanced machines, and that was undreamed of just a few short decades ago, and Darwinism has yet to demonstrate the generation of ANY functional information whatsoever, much less the staggering levels we witness firsthand in the cell, and despite that stunning fact, Darwinism is still claimed to be as well proved as Gravity (and I could go on about that comparison). Yet we also know first hand that Intelligence can and does generate functional information almost as a force of habit, in fact we are generating more functional information right now, in our exchange, than can be reasonably expected from the material processes of the entire universe over the entire history of the universe, even with monstrous error bars thrown in to help the Darwinian framework. Furthermore we now know that the universe is not even materialistic in its basis, as the Neo-Darwinian framework absolutely requires in the first place, but we know that it is ‘Mental’ just as Theism predicted and requires.

    As Professor Henry pointed out, it has been known since the discovery of quantum mechanics itself, early last century, that the universe is indeed ‘Mental’, as is illustrated by this quote from Max Planck.

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – (Of Note: Max Planck was a devout Christian, which is not surprising when you realize practically every, if not every, founder of each major branch of modern science also ‘just so happened’ to have a deep Christian connection.)

    ,,,,,And Thus Ellazimm, here you sit saying I’m being rude to your ideas, not giving them the respect they deserve, and yet you have presented no scientific evidence whatsoever that they should be considered anything more than the rubbish that we find them to be. This is science is it not? Please cite the exact knock down piece of evidence that will make Darwinism respectable in my eyes?!?!

  28. ba writes, “Unfortunately for you, the main reason why people hold ‘ignorant and stupid’ positions instead of admitting to the overwhelming scientific evidence for ID, is precisely because of personal reasons of why they are non-believers.”

    So believing in ID is dependent on believing in God? That will be a useful argument in the next court case. :)

  29. ellazimm:

    You are right about the rudeness here. Oftentimes, this attitude is justified on the grounds that it is “no-holds-barred intellectual confrontation”, etc, etc. Sometimes this is so, but often is it plain old-fashioned unpleasantness. And I’ve said so before.

    I hope you won’t be put off ID but the behaviour of some of its internet-forum adherents. I’m fairly uncompromising in many of my views, but I hope I don’t come across as arrogant and dismissive.

    Please also bear in mind that many who write on here frequently are quite polite. They are the ones that deserve a hearing.

  30. “Coincidentally” Aleta, a few minutes ago on Frank Turek’s facebook page, right before I read your comment on the ‘next court case’, a young man just reminded me of the only ‘next court case’ that really matters.

    John Stuart Stroup
    “We probably won’t know everything about the creation of the universe until we stand before either the Judgement seat of Christ, or the Great White Throne judgement.,,,”

    I’m always fascinated by these ‘coincidences’ that always seem to happen at the most appropriate times when discussing issues that revolve around, or relate to, God,,, Somewhat like this following ‘coincidence’,,,

    SETI – Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence Finds God – Almost
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007753

  31. ellazimm, I hope that the distinction is clear that it is your ‘IDEAS” and not you personally that I find ‘stupid and ignorant’. I can assure you with 100% certainty, not 99.497% certainty, that I have held many ‘stupid and ignorant’ beliefs in my lifetime, and am 94.231% certain that I hold some ‘stupid and ignorant beliefs’ right now. But as to this issue on ID and evolution there is no uncertainty.

  32. ba writes, “John Stuart Stroup
    “We probably won’t know everything about the creation of the universe until we stand before either the Judgement seat of Christ, or the Great White Throne judgement.,,,”

    Then those of living will never know, will we? And if there is no creator who will judge us, then you will never know it, either, even after you’re dead.

    So this faith-based belief has absolutely no relevance to the non-Christian.

  33. BA: anything I would present in support of evolution you have already heard AND, as I keep saying, I’m not here to support evolution or to promote my own personal beliefs although I’m happy to admit them. I thought it was fair and honest of me to lay my cards on the table so as not to give a false impression.

    And, again, I think a lot of very intelligent people, some of them Christian, believe in evolution. Some very bright people, some not theistic at all, support ID. We are all, mostly, looking at the same sets of data and some of us come to conclusions that disagree with yours. I accept that you don’t mean I am stupid or ignorant but I’m not calling ID stupid or ignorant. In fact, part of my goal of spending time on UD has been met and I much better understand why y’all see things the way you do. And I respect that stand much better than I used to. And I still have my beliefs. And you still have yours. And we’re not going to change our minds. I’d still like to know how you see things. And you’ve been making that pretty clear.

    And I’d say there is room for uncertainty as well. There are probably lots of people who feel both cases are strong .. . or weak. Or not proven. I think it is always valid to say: I don’t know.

  34. equinoxe: Thanks! I like a good argument, my mother used to say I’d be arguing with the undertaker. Too bad my son has inherited the trait: having a pedantic 8-year old who refuses to back down can be quite annoying at times. Especially when he’s wrong. And sometimes when he’s right. :-)

  35. Ellazim and Aleta,
    The counter argument to Theism is materialism, yet materialism is shown to be absurdly wrong by no less than the best evidence of physics (The only real science).

    “Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting.”
    Ernest Rutherford

    And yet even though you guys have no foundation to even make a case for the neo-Darwinian framework in the first place, you act as if ‘whistling in the dark’ will make your ‘fantasy’ true. this is not science Ellazimm. Not in the least! Ellazimm you are right, I probably have seen all the best evidence that neo-Darwinism has to offer, and it is not only that I find the evidence unpersuasive as to leave perhaps a reasonable doubt for it to be maybe, perhaps possibly, true, it is the fact that I find the evidence against neo-Darwinism to be absolutely crushing. Absolutely crushing to the point of ridiculous absurdity!

    That you would appeal to authority of other Christians and other well meaning ‘smart’ people, really matters not to me, for we are dealing with science, are we not? Thus once again, if you want to persuade me that you are not imbibing delusional ideas please put your best evidence on the table. If it survives scrutiny, so as to leave no doubt that evolutionary processes generated functional information, then so be it, you will have made your case and convinced me of your sanity in this matter. Until then I find your ‘politicking’ to be but ‘whistling in the dark’.

  36. ba writes, “The counter argument to Theism is materialism.”

    Not true – there are other metaphysical alternatives which posit a non-material but non-theistic aspect to the universe.

    And even if one believes in a very general universal Mind as God, this is quite different than the specific God of Christianity, and all its associated dogma about heaven, hell, salvation, etc.

    So, no, you are incorrect that all there is is a simple dichotomous choice between materialism and Theism.

  37. And I find the evidence for evolution to be very compelling. There are lots of good places to see ‘my’ evidence. Only a Theory by Kenneth Miller, Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. http://www.talkorigins.org. You’ve already seen all that and it falls very short in your eyes whereas I find the multiples lines of evidence which all point to the central notion of common descent through modification to be convincing.

    I’m not trying to persuade you of anything!! I’m only asking for some respect for notions that are held to be true by millions of people including almost all researchers in the field. I haven’t got anything else to say really. It doesn’t mean I concede your point, it just means I choose not to reiterate arguments made better than I could ever hope to. All I’m trying to do is to understand why you find the evidence against the modern synthesis to be so crushing.

  38. ellazim, I really appreciate your approach here, for what’s that worth.

    And yes, there are millions of Christians who accept evolution: I forgot to point out in my previous post that there is also spectrum of beliefs within theisim, and within Christian theism.

    So these simplistic, dichotomous “either my way or the highway” approaches to discussions of metaphysical beliefs is not likely to be productive.

  39. Ellazimm, as I don’t want to waste time refuting hundreds of pieces of suggestive evidence, please pick one piece of evidence as to be the one I can’t knock down.

    Aleta, but alas Aleta, there are only two choices that it boils down to, despite you appeal for multiplicity,

    1 we either were designed

    or

    2 we were not designed

    Please tell me

    Since the first step in the debate is indeed dichotomous, you are simply wrong to pretend that it isn’t.

  40. Excuse me Aleta maybe we were only 99.9587% designed or non-designed. Can you please what percentage of of design you would accept?

  41. BA: I don’t think evolution is true based on one piece of evidence or even one line of evidence. If we didn’t have any fossils I think the other lines are still strong enough to ‘prove’ that evolution is true. So you may argue against any single point but arguing against them all is pleading special case after special case. Considering the whole theory based on one thread is not considering the full strength of the case for evolution. There is no single ‘killer’ fact or smoking gun. There are lots and lots of little facts that all point in the same direction and are consistent with common descent with modification. Any good book on evolution will make that point.

    But, one line of evidence I find particularly strong in and of itself is the molecular genetic evidence. That line of evidence includes: protein functional redundancy, DNA functional redundancy, transposons, redundant pseudogenes and endogenous retroviruses. My discussion of this data would only parrot that found at

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....tion4.html

    so I refer anyone who is interested in checking out the arguments to follow the link.

  42. ellazimm:

    Thanks for your comments.

    The books you list (Miller, Coyne, Dawkins, etc.) do indeed set out the case for common descent very powerfully. I also think that the molecular genetic evidence is convincing. I don’t think that denial of common descent is a “pillar” of ID in principle, even though a straw poll of IDists would probably suggest that it is in practice; ditto with God’s existence, etc.. ID sends out a mixed message on this: e.g., Behe affirms CD, but then their flagship forum is called “uncommon descent”. A confusing business.

    For me, ID simply corresponds to a rejection of the blind watchmaker hypothesis as set out by Dawkins (~1986) and Dennett (~1995). It is not that I can’t see how the configuration of the genome arises through a process of natural selection – as is often charged by critics of ID, who cry, “argument from incredulity!” Rather, it is that I can see that for the genome (and any other intelligible structure) to form without intelligence is impossible.

    Regarding common descent, at present I am too ill-informed to back one view or the other. To do so would just be to “take sides”. (If I had to take a side, I would grant common descent for the reasons you state.) On the one hand, I am inclined to back the large number of scientists, Christians included, who point to the evidence of common descent: genetic, fossil, and so on. However, when some of these people also speak as though the blind watchmaker thesis were correct (or climbing improbable mountains—choose your metaphor!) and I know they are wrong, I have grounds to at least doubt they are right about other things – things which I cannot assess either way because I lack access to evidence and training in the relevant disciplines. So I suppose I accept CD, but with some degree of scepticism.

    I’d welcome your comments.

  43. RE 37 “And I find the evidence for evolution to be very compelling”

    The issue is not whether evolution is true. The issue is it a result of blind unguided natural processes. Equinox stated it well here

    “For me, ID simply corresponds to a rejection of the blind watchmaker hypothesis”

    There is absolutely no empirical evidence for the grand claim for the molecules to man blind watchmaker hypothesis zip, nada, nothing!! That is what you need to address.

    The only evidence is one by extrapolation, we see small changes therefore given enough time any type of change is possible.

    Vivid

  44. equinoxe: I agree, I’m not sure there is a consensus amongst ID proponents about some issues. And I’ve always thought: how can it be common descent if some being is helping the biology skip some steps? That’s not common descent anymore I don’t think. I’d like to see the ID hypothesis be more specific, initially at least, about some particular morphological developments that they are convinced could not have arisen by unguided common descent with modification. A test case if you will. I think Dr Behe tried to do that with the bacterial flagellum and the human clotting cascade but his ideas seem to have not gained much support with most biological scientists so I’d say the case is not yet proven. And now he seems to be trying to be more general and saying that there are limits to what unguided evolution can do. That notion should lead to more specificity regarding where and when design was implemented . . . I’m just waiting for someone to be definite about the where and when. How and why can wait but I’d love to hear those as well.

    I think it is very difficult for non-specialists to wrap their heads around some of the issues especially the probabalistic ones. I agree that climbing mount improbable does seem . . . improbable if not impossible. Case in point: within 66 million years small, furry mammals eventually gave rise to us!! On the face of it it’s inconceivable. But that’s our perspective considering the whole climb, not knowing exactly which and how many tiny steps were made over the thousands of centuries. For me, when I look at the evidence available (molecular, geographic, morphologic, fossils) , it all indicates that, despite its improbability, it really happened.

    Now, if tomorrow some non-coding DNA is found which includes an actual message from a designer (a copyright perhaps?, some design credits?), then I shall revise my stance. What an idea .. . what if some designer ‘owns’ our design and can collect royalties from all of us who ‘use’ s/he/it’s design . . . . I wonder how long interstellar copyrights last? If the designer is immortal we could be paying fees for a very long time.

  45. Earlier, ba wrote, “The counter argument to Theism is materialism.”

    When I pointed out that that was a false dichotomy – there are lots of non-materialistic alternatives to theism, and many variations of theism, ba responded,

    Aleta, but alas Aleta, there are only two choices that it boils down to, despite you appeal for multiplicity, 1 we either were designed or 2 we were not designed. Since the first step in the debate is indeed dichotomous, you are simply wrong to pretend that it isn’t.

    Well, there are a number of issues in this response that I’d like to discuss.

    The first is the obvious one: ba switched from theism vs materialism to designed vs. not designed, and there are significant differences between those two.

    The larger issue is the use of dichotomous logic in logical arguments. Let me discuss that a bit, and then return to ba’s particular two statements.

    In the related thread on Fibonacci, we were discussing the nature of mathematics, including the difference between the internal structure of math itself and the ability of mathematical models to accurately describe aspects of the real world. The same distinction applies to logic. The statement that proposition A is either true or false is a law of logic but applying this to statements about the world brings up additional issues.

    For instance, in the first statement, if ba had written “the counter argument to theism is non-theism”, he would have been more correct, logically, but then that would have opened up his statement to considering non materialistic. non-theistic alternatives.

    Another problem is that for logic (or math) to be applied to the real world, the terms have to be well-defined. For instance, in the math example, one pebble plus one pebble is definitely two pebbles, but we can’t say that one cloud plus one cloud is always two clouds, because often clouds aren’t always distinct enough entities that we can definitely say “that is one cloud.”

    Similarly here, “theism” is not a very well defined concept: I could easily say that the counter to ba’s form of Christian theism is in fact another version of theism. So the statement “The counter argument to Theism is materialism.” is not correct or meaningful in a number of ways.

    Then, ba switches to “we were either designed or not designed.” This is not the same issue as the first one. And even though it is logically correct, we can’t actually apply it to the world if we don’t know clearly what “we were designed” means, and what kinds of causal explanations are to be included as producing design and which are to be included in not-designed. If designed means exactly the same as “created by a God,” we are back to needing to know what exactly counts as God, and if designed means something else, then we are back to discussing the full range of metaphysical possibilties, which are not limited to theism and materialism.

    My main point here is that the whole subject is vastly more complicated than the view being represented by the simplistic logical dichotomies being offered.

  46. VB: For me, it’s not a matter extrapolating from observed small molecular changes; rather it’s a case of many convergent lines of evidence that all point to common descent with modification. It’s molecular evidence, it’s fossils, it’s morphology, it geo-diversity.

    But I never have completely understood why there should be a molecular edge to evolution? Our DNA is pretty messy and it seems clear that, not only are better designs preferred over current designs by the environment, but also that there is lots of genetic material to work with especially since we have two copies of all of our genes. Except for males who still have two copies of most of their genes. Two copies (which may be different alleles), lots of duplicated genes . . . ERVs . . . it’s always sounded like a lot of room to play.

  47. RE 46 “rather it’s a case of many convergent lines of evidence that all point to common descent with modification.”

    Coomon descent is NOT evidence for the blind watchmaker hypothesis.

    Vivid

  48. Aleta: your cloud example reminded me of a George Carlin quote: when you break a crumb in half you don’t have two half-crumbs, you’ve got two crumbs. :-)

    Easy enough in those cases to redefine the situations to look at mass or volume but the point about making sure the terms are well defined is the heart of good modelling.

  49. Ellazimm, though you were being cute with this remark,,,

    “Now, if tomorrow some non-coding DNA is found which includes an actual message from a designer (a copyright perhaps?, some design credits?), then I shall revise my stance.”

    ,,,the fact is that Dr. Stephen C. Meyer has wrote a book called ‘Signature In The Cell’

    Journey Inside The Cell
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fiJupfbSpg

    ,,,with the not to subtle hint that the information we find in DNA, indeed in the entire cell, is the Signature of a Intelligent Designer. In fact he argues in this following video that this ‘signature’ of information is in fact what gives Intelligent Design its scientific basis,,,

    Stephen C. Meyer – The Scientific Basis For Intelligent Design
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4104651

    ,,, do you deny that information is in the cell Ellazimm?,,,,

    The Cell – A World Of Complexity Darwin Never Dreamed Of – Donald E. Johnson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4139390

    The Staggering Complexity Of The Cell – EXPELLED
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4227700

    ,,, do you deny that Darwinists have never generated even one single functional protein by material processes?,,,

    Origin Of Life – Problems With Proteins – Charles Thaxton PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5222490

    ,,,do you deny that mutations to DNA do not even effect Body Plan morphogenesis?,,,

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    ,,, do you deny that intelligence can and does generate functional information while material processes do not?

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    ,,, so basically Ellazimm you got nothing but your unreasonable faith that blind, pitiless, indifferent, evolution put you together, while I have every single word that you have written on this post to show you that intelligence does have the wherewithall to generate the functional information to explain the origination of you!

  50. Aleta, though I’m not to fond of your dancing around the issue, I find that if you hold that you were designed, that you hold a general Theistic position, (save Dawkins’s UFO’s of course) whereas if you hold you were not designed then you hold a general materialistic position no matter how perverted from the classic definition of materialism you want to be,,,,

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4744145

    ,,,Now I know this will probably kill you to answer in a straight way, but please tell me Aleta just what percentage of intelligent design in life would be acceptable for you?

  51. ps Ellazimm, since most of your illustrious ‘talkorigins’ evidence has to do with ‘Junk DNA” all I have to ask you is do you really want to hang your hat on that nail before I address it?

  52. BA: I am aware of Dr Meyer’s arguments but the ‘signature’ in the cell tells us nothing about the designer and much of the genetic code looks very much like what we’d expect from unguided processes.

    I would say I have a lot more than faith in the process; I’d say the molecular evidence I gave before looks more like an unguided process than one guided by a designer. I completely agree that intelligence can create complex and specified information but without some outside evidence to prove the existence of the designer then I find the unguided process more parsimonious.

  53. BA: well, I don’t think the redundancy issues have to do with so called ‘junk’ DNA . . . and the ERV evidence points out the same genetic sequences appearing in the same location in the genome of different species so that’s not really a ‘junk’ DNA issue, just a sequence similarity.

    And anyway, as I said before I don’t hang my hat on any one line of evidence. Darwin knew nothing about genetics and he still came to a conclusion of common descent with modification. As did a century of biologists did before the ‘discovery’ of the structure of DNA.

  54. RE 53 “And anyway, as I said before I don’t hang my hat on any one line of evidence. Darwin knew nothing about genetics and he still came to a conclusion of common descent with modification”

    ella commonn descent with modification is NOT empirical evidence for the blind watchmaker hypothesis. Your claim is that common descent is the result of blind unguided natural processes, to appeal to common descent as evidence for that claim is a non sequitur.

    Vivid

  55. Ellazimm you state this:

    “BA: I am aware of Dr Meyer’s arguments but the ‘signature’ in the cell tells us nothing about the designer and much of the genetic code looks very much like what we’d expect from unguided processes.”

    So the DNA looks like a bunch of cobbled together junk (but then you say “well not really junk BA just similar sequences???)?,,,,

    Your getting about as bad as Aleta in being wishy washy with your position so as to always have a way to slip out and not be pinned,,,

    Anyway here are a few points on the ‘cobbled together DNA’ that you feel should be exactly what we would expect if DNA were an accident,,

    Excerpt: These nucleobases maximally absorb UV-radiation at the same wavelengths that are most effectively shielded by ozone. Moreover, the chemical structures of the nucleobases of DNA allow the UV-radiation to be efficiently radiated away after it has been absorbed, restricting the opportunity for damage.
    http://www.reasons.org/dna-soaks-suns-rays

    Dr. Jerry Bergman, “Divine Engineering: Unraveling DNA’s Design”:
    The DNA packing process is both complex and elegant and is so efficient that it achieves a reduction in length of DNA by a factor of 1 million.

    DNA Packaging: Nucleosomes and Chromatin
    each of us has enough DNA to go from here to the Sun and back more than 300 times, or around Earth’s equator 2.5 million times! How is this possible?

    3-D Structure Of Human Genome: Fractal Globule Architecture Packs Two Meters Of DNA Into Each Cell – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: the information density in the nucleus is trillions of times higher than on a computer chip — while avoiding the knots and tangles that might interfere with the cell’s ability to read its own genome. Moreover, the DNA can easily unfold and refold during gene activation, gene repression, and cell replication.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142957.htm

    Scientists’ 3-D View of Genes-at-Work Is Paradigm Shift in Genetics – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Highly coordinated chromosomal choreography leads genes and the sequences controlling them, which are often positioned huge distances apart on chromosomes, to these ‘hot spots’. Once close together within the same transcription factory, genes get switched on (a process called transcription) at an appropriate level at the right time in a specific cell type. This is the first demonstration that genes encoding proteins with related physiological role visit the same factory.

    Quantum Dots Spotlight DNA-Repair Proteins in Motion – March 2010
    Excerpt: “How this system works is an important unanswered question in this field,” he said. “It has to be able to identify very small mistakes in a 3-dimensional morass of gene strands. It’s akin to spotting potholes on every street all over the country and getting them fixed before the next rush hour.” Dr. Bennett Van Houten – of note: A bacterium has about 40 team members on its pothole crew. That allows its entire genome to be scanned for errors in 20 minutes, the typical doubling time.,, These smart machines can apparently also interact with other damage control teams if they cannot fix the problem on the spot.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....123522.htm

    Researchers discover how key enzyme repairs sun-damaged DNA – July 2010
    Excerpt: Ohio State University physicist and chemist Dongping Zhong and his colleagues describe how they were able to observe the enzyme, called photolyase, inject a single electron and proton into an injured strand of DNA. The two subatomic particles healed the damage in a few billionths of a second. “It sounds simple, but those two atomic particles actually initiated a very complex series of chemical reactions,” said Zhong,,, “It all happened very fast, and the timing had to be just right.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news199111045.html

    Comprehensive Mapping of Long-Range Interactions Reveals Folding Principles of the Human Genome – Oct. – 2009
    Excerpt: We identified an additional level of genome organization that is characterized by the spatial segregation of open and closed chromatin to form two genome-wide compartments. At the megabase scale, the chromatin conformation is consistent with a fractal globule, a knot-free, polymer conformation that enables maximally dense packing while preserving the ability to easily fold and unfold any genomic locus.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/.....6/5950/289

    Splicing Together the Case for Design, Part 2 (of 2) – Fazale Rana – June 2010
    Excerpt: Remarkably, the genetic code appears to be highly optimized, further indicating design. Equally astounding is the fact that other codes, such as the histone binding code, transcription factor binding code, the splicing code, and the RNA secondary structure code, overlap the genetic code. Each of these codes plays a special role in gene expression, but they also must work together in a coherent integrated fashion. The existence of multiple overlapping codes also implies the work of a Creator. It would take superior reasoning power to structure the system in such a way that it can simultaneously harbor codes working in conjunction instead of interfering with each other. As I have written elsewhere, the genetic code is in fact optimized to harbor overlapping codes, further evincing the work of a Mind.
    http://www.reasons.org/splicin.....n-part-2-2

    “There is abundant evidence that most DNA sequences are poly-functional, and therefore are poly-constrained. This fact has been extensively demonstrated by Trifonov (1989). For example, most human coding sequences encode for two different RNAs, read in opposite directions i.e. Both DNA strands are transcribed ( Yelin et al., 2003). Some sequences encode for different proteins depending on where translation is initiated and where the reading frame begins (i.e. read-through proteins). Some sequences encode for different proteins based upon alternate mRNA splicing. Some sequences serve simultaneously for protein-encoding and also serve as internal transcriptional promoters. Some sequences encode for both a protein coding, and a protein-binding region. Alu elements and origins-of-replication can be found within functional promoters and within exons. Basically all DNA sequences are constrained by isochore requirements (regional GC content), “word” content (species-specific profiles of di-, tri-, and tetra-nucleotide frequencies), and nucleosome binding sites (i.e. All DNA must condense). Selective condensation is clearly implicated in gene regulation, and selective nucleosome binding is controlled by specific DNA sequence patterns – which must permeate the entire genome. Lastly, probably all sequences do what they do, even as they also affect general spacing and DNA-folding/architecture – which is clearly sequence dependent. To explain the incredible amount of information which must somehow be packed into the genome (given that extreme complexity of life), we really have to assume that there are even higher levels of organization and information encrypted within the genome. For example, there is another whole level of organization at the epigenetic level (Gibbs 2003). There also appears to be extensive sequence dependent three-dimensional organization within chromosomes and the whole nucleus (Manuelides, 1990; Gardiner, 1995; Flam, 1994). Trifonov (1989), has shown that probably all DNA sequences in the genome encrypt multiple “codes” (up to 12 codes). (Dr. John Sanford; Genetic Entropy 2005)

    Poly-Functional Complexity equals Poly-Constrained Complexity
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....Zmd2emZncQ

  56. further notes on the ‘cobbled together DNA’;

    i.e. DNA functions exactly as a ‘devised code’:

    Biophysicist Hubert Yockey determined that natural selection would have to explore 1.40 x 10^70 different genetic codes to discover the optimal universal genetic code that is found in nature. The maximum amount of time available for it to originate is 6.3 x 10^15 seconds. Natural selection would have to evaluate roughly 10^55 codes per second to find the one that is optimal. Put simply, natural selection lacks the time necessary to find the optimal universal genetic code we find in nature. (Fazale Rana, -The Cell’s Design – 2008 – page 177)

    Ode to the Code – Brian Hayes
    The few variant codes known in protozoa and organelles are thought to be offshoots of the standard code, but there is no evidence that the changes to the codon table offer any adaptive advantage. In fact, Freeland, Knight, Landweber and Hurst found that the variants are inferior or at best equal to the standard code. It seems hard to account for these facts without retreating at least part of the way back to the frozen-accident theory, conceding that the code was subject to change only in a former age of miracles, which we’ll never see again in the modern world.
    https://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/ode-to-the-code/4

    Moreover the first DNA code in life had to be at least as complex as the current DNA code found universally in life:

    “Because of Shannon channel capacity that previous (first) codon alphabet had to be at least as complex as the current codon alphabet (DNA code), otherwise transferring the information from the simpler alphabet into the current alphabet would have been mathematically impossible” Donald E. Johnson – Bioinformatics: The Information in Life

    Deciphering Design in the Genetic Code
    Excerpt: When researchers calculated the error-minimization capacity of one million randomly generated genetic codes, they discovered that the error-minimization values formed a distribution where the naturally occurring genetic code’s capacity occurred outside the distribution. Researchers estimate the existence of 10 possible genetic codes possessing the same type and degree of redundancy as the universal genetic code. All of these codes fall within the error-minimization distribution. This finding means that of the 10 possible genetic codes, few, if any, have an error-minimization capacity that approaches the code found universally in nature.
    http://www.reasons.org/biology.....netic-code

    DNA – The Genetic Code – Optimal Error Minimization & Parallel Codes – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4491422

    Nick Lane Takes on the Origin of Life and DNA – Jonathan McLatchie – July 2010
    Excerpt: It appears then, that the genetic code has been put together in view of minimizing not just the occurence of amino acid substitution mutations, but also the detrimental effects that would result when amino acid substitution mutations do occur.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....36101.html

    Though the DNA code is found to be optimal from a error minimization standpoint, it is also now found that the fidelity of the genetic code, of how a specific amino acid is spelled, is far greater than had at first been thought:

    Synonymous Codons: Another Gene Expression Regulation Mechanism – September 2010
    Excerpt: There are 64 possible triplet codons in the DNA code, but only 20 amino acids they produce. As one can see, some amino acids can be coded by up to six “synonyms” of triplet codons: e.g., the codes AGA, AGG, CGA, CGC, CGG, and CGU will all yield arginine when translated by the ribosome. If the same amino acid results, what difference could the synonymous codons make? The researchers found that alternate spellings might affect the timing of translation in the ribosome tunnel, and slight delays could influence how the polypeptide begins its folding. This, in turn, might affect what chemical tags get put onto the polypeptide in the post-translational process. In the case of actin, the protein that forms transport highways for muscle and other things, the researchers found that synonymous codons produced very different functional roles for the “isoform” proteins that resulted in non-muscle cells,,, In their conclusion, they repeated, “Whatever the exact mechanism, the discovery of Zhang et al. that synonymous codon changes can so profoundly change the role of a protein adds a new level of complexity to how we interpret the genetic code.”,,,
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100919a

    The coding system used for living beings is optimal from an engineering standpoint.
    Werner Gitt – In The Beginning Was Information – p. 95

    Collective evolution and the genetic code – 2006:
    Excerpt: The genetic code could well be optimized to a greater extent than anything else in biology and yet is generally regarded as the biological element least capable of evolving.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/103/28/10696.full

    Here, we show that the universal genetic code can efficiently carry arbitrary parallel codes much better than the vast majority of other possible genetic codes…. the present findings support the view that protein-coding regions can carry abundant parallel codes.
    http://genome.cshlp.org/content/17/4/405.full

    The data compression of some stretches of human DNA is estimated to be up to 12 codes thick (12 different ways of DNA transcription) (Trifonov, 1989). (This is well beyond the complexity of any computer code ever written by man). John Sanford – Genetic Entropy

    The multiple codes of nucleotide sequences. Trifonov EN. – 1989
    Excerpt: Nucleotide sequences carry genetic information of many different kinds, not just instructions for protein synthesis (triplet code).
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2673451

  57. ba, suppose one believed, as some do, that a universal Mind (not the Christian God) created the universe with the properties and order than it has, and then let things play out (without any further intervention, or personnal involvement) on their own, and that from this process humankind evolved. Would you say we were designed, since the universe that created us was designed, or would you say we were not designed because the universal mind did nothing special or specific to bring us into being any more than it did to bring anything else into being?

    What would you say?

  58. ellazimm you state:

    ‘I completely agree that intelligence can create complex and specified information but without some outside evidence to prove the existence of the designer then I find the unguided process more parsimonious.’

    Evidence for a transcendent designer such as perhaps,, the entire universe being created within exceedingly tight parameters ex-nihlo,

    or perhaps the fact that quantum wave collapse requires a conscious observer:

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579/

    But ellazimm you probably say God can’t possibly control every wave collapse of this universe to every observer, but that is in fact what I’m saying that the empirical evidence now dictates, moreover, the necessity of God to explain ‘each moment’ of the universe has been known for centuries,,,

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    I find this centuries old philosophical argument, for the necessity of a ‘First Mover’ accounting for change occurring at each moment, to be validated by quantum mechanics. This is since the possibility for the universe to be considered a self-sustaining ‘closed loop’ of cause and effect is removed with the refutation of the ‘hidden variable’ argument in entanglement experiments. As well, there also must be a sufficient transcendent cause (God/First Mover) to explain quantum wave collapse for ‘each moment’ of the universe.

  59. Aleta ‘coincidentally’ see post 58, ,,, I just love these ‘coincidences”

  60. VB: did I? That would have been very naughty of me.

    I think that multiple lines of physical evidence point to common descent with modification AND explain the presence of complex specified information in the genome.

    Anyway, isn’t the blind watchmaker just an analogy created by Richard Dawkins as a way of thinking about the engine that drives evolution: copying errors, gene duplications, gene swapping filtered through various selection criteria?

  61. RE 60 “I think that multiple lines of physical evidence point to common descent with modification AND explain the presence of complex specified information in the genome. ”

    Yes I am well aware that you think unguided blind natural forces EXPLAIN the presence of CSI. I am not asking for an explanation I am asking for “gasp” empirical scinetific evidence to support that claim. Have any?

    Vivid

  62. #61

    Find a large magnet. Scatter a large number of iron filings over it. They will form a well specified pattern. Applying Bernouilli’s principle of indifference (which I don’t hold with – but is essential to the calculation of CSI and the LCI) the probability of them falling at any angle is the same. So the probability of them all falling into the pattern is very small and can be made as small as you like simply by increasing the number of iron filings. So you have a specified outcome the probability of which as low you as you like generated by a natural process.

  63. BA: I know the genome is very complicated, very complicated. It’s also got some junk, some ERVs, is grouped into different number of chromosomes for different species . . . I think the Fern species has 144 chromosomes and a much bigger genome than ours. some individuals have more or less repeated sections than others; sometimes that’s bad, sometimes it’s neutral.

    But just being complicated beyond our ability to understand or construct it doesn’t mean it was designed. I admit the design inference is compelling but because there is no outside evidence of a designer and because the genome is messy and carries seemingly inherited characteristics across species ‘boundaries’ then I find the non-design explanation more compelling. Of course there is information in the genome! Vast quantities of information. I’d call it a series of control sequences. Intelligence can create information, obviously, and I think blind, unguided natural, cumulative processes can as well. And natural processes are much messier than guided processes and carry around lots of ‘junk’ that is not necessary for the implementation of the control sequences.

    I have no idea what God is or is not capable of. I chose not to speculate. Quantum mechanics eludes me so I shall steer clear of those arguments. But it’s my impression that a lot of physicists would not see the need for a deity. In fact there is a book by a physicist called God: the Failed Hypothesis . . . author’s last name is Stegner. He’s only one physicist but his interpretation differs from yours.

  64. VB: Well, speciation has been observed to occur within the last couple of centuries. And it’s very obvious that artificial selection can bring about huge morphological changes. So I think the mutation + selection process has shown it can create CSI . . . plus the fossil record records gradual modification of forms where new features are ‘created’. And Dawkins discusses Lenski’s experiments (in The Greatest Show on Earth) where complex changes can occur in a step-wise fashion . . . .

  65. Ellazimm

    “BA: I know the genome is very complicated, very complicated. It’s also got some junk, some ERVs, is grouped into different number of chromosomes for different species . . . I think the Fern species has 144 chromosomes and a much bigger genome than ours. some individuals have more or less repeated sections than others; sometimes that’s bad, sometimes it’s neutral.”

    Refutation Of Endogenous Retrovirus – ERVs – Richard Sternberg, PhD Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4094119

    Genetic Similarity is not where you want to go ellazimm,,,

    Kangaroo genes close to humans
    Excerpt: Australia’s kangaroos are genetically similar to humans,,, “There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order,” ,,,”We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome,”
    http://www.reuters.com/article.....P020081118

    I’m just left wondering exactly where evolutionists should place the kangaroos on their cartoon drawings that show man evolving from apes.

    As mentioned previously, the chimpanzee is found to have a 12% larger genome than humans. Thus, at first glance it would seem the chimpanzee is ‘more evolved’ than us humans, but this discrepancy is no anomaly of just chimps/humans. This disparity of genome sizes is found throughout life. There is no logical ‘evolutionary progression’ to be found for the amount of DNA in less complex animals to the size of genomes found in more complex animals. In fact the genome sizes are known to vary widely between Kinds/Species despite their differences in complexity and this mystery is known as the c-value enigma:

    C-value enigma
    Excerpt: it was soon found that C-values (genome sizes) vary enormously among species and that this bears no relationship to the presumed number of genes (as reflected by the complexity of the organism). For example, the cells of some salamanders may contain 40 times more DNA than those of humans. Given that C-values were assumed to be constant because DNA is the stuff of genes, and yet bore no relationship to presumed gene number, this was understandably considered paradoxical; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-value_enigma

    and just how similar do you really think humans and chimps are ellazimm?,,

    Do Human and Chimpanzee DNA Indicate an Evolutionary Relationship?
    Excerpt: the authors found that only 48.6% of the whole human genome matched chimpanzee nucleotide sequences. [Only 4.8% of the human Y chromosome could be matched to chimpanzee sequences.]
    http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2070

    Even this more recent evolution friendly article found the differences in the protein coding genes of the Y chromosome between chimps and Humans to be ‘striking’:

    Recent Genetic Research Shows Chimps More Distant From Humans,,, – Jan. 2010
    Excerpt: “many of the stark changes between the chimp and human Y chromosomes are due to gene loss in the chimp and gene gain in the human” since “the chimp Y chromosome has only two-thirds as many distinct genes or gene families as the human Y chromosome and only 47% as many protein-coding elements as humans.”,,,, “Even more striking than the gene loss is the rearrangement of large portions of the chromosome. More than 30% of the chimp Y chromosome lacks an alignable counterpart on the human Y chromosome, and vice versa,,,”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....shows.html

    Chimp and human Y chromosomes evolving faster than expected – Jan. 2010
    Excerpt: “The results overturned the expectation that the chimp and human Y chromosomes would be highly similar. Instead, they differ remarkably in their structure and gene content.,,, The chimp Y, for example, has lost one third to one half of the human Y chromosome genes.
    http://www.physorg.com/news182605704.html

    The evolutionary scientists of the preceding paper offered some evolutionary ‘just so’ stories of ‘dramatically sped up evolution’ for why there are such significant differences in the Y chromosomes of chimps and humans, yet when the Y chromosome is looked at for its rate of change we find there is hardly any evidence for any change at all, much less the massive changes the evolutionists are required to explain.

    CHROMOSOME STUDY STUNS EVOLUTIONISTS
    Excerpt: To their great surprise, Dorit and his associates found no nucleotide differences at all in the non-recombinant part of the Y chromosomes of the 38 men. This non-variation suggests no evolution has occurred in male ancestry.
    http://www.reasons.org/interpr.....lutionists

    and to make matters completely ludicrous for your position, mutations to DNA do not even effect Body Plan morphogenesis in the first place ellazimm:

    Cortical Inheritance: The Crushing Critique Against Genetic Reductionism – Arthur Jones – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4187488

    Darwin’s Theory – Fruit Flies and Morphology – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZJTIwRY0bs

  66. ellazimm you state:

    ‘Intelligence can create information, obviously, and I think blind, unguided natural, cumulative processes can as well.’

    That is the brass tax,,, now all you got to do is show it!

    as far as your claim for observed speciation,,,

    Darwinism’s Last Stand? – Jonathan Wells
    Excerpt: Despite the hype from Darwin’s followers, the evidence for his theory is underwhelming, at best. Natural selection – like artificial selection – can produce minor changes within existing species. But in the 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, no one has ever observed the origin of a new species by natural selection – much less the origin of new organs and body plans. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    Accidental origins: Where species come from – March 2010
    Excerpt: If speciation results from natural selection via many small changes, you would expect the branch lengths to fit a bell-shaped curve.,,, Instead, Pagel’s team found that in 78 per cent of the trees, the best fit for the branch length distribution was another familiar curve, known as the exponential distribution. Like the bell curve, the exponential has a straightforward explanation – but it is a disquieting one for evolutionary biologists. The exponential is the pattern you get when you are waiting for some single, infrequent event to happen.,,,To Pagel, the implications for speciation are clear: “It isn’t the accumulation of events that causes a speciation, it’s single, rare events falling out of the sky, so to speak.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....tml?page=2

  67. RE 64 “Well, speciation has been observed to occur within the last couple of centuries”

    What speciation?

    “And it’s very obvious that artificial selection can bring about huge morphological changes.”

    So I ask for evidence for unguided blind natural forces and you respond with intelligent design as evidence for non intelligent design LOL

    Artificial selection is 1) not blind and unguided rather it is the result of intelligent design, 2) empirical evidence that there is a limit to change.

    “So I think the mutation + selection process has shown it can create CSI . .”

    Give me an example of mutation + selection of transpecies evolution. Otherwise you are left with nothing but an extrapolation, we see small changes therefore given enough time any change is possible.

    “plus the fossil record records gradual modification of forms where new features are ‘created’.”

    Fossil records are not evidence that the change was the result of blind unguided natural forces. Once again like common descent your claim is that the fossil record is the result of blind unguided natural forces thus a non sequitur.

    “And Dawkins discusses Lenski’s experiments (in The Greatest Show on Earth) where complex changes can occur in a step-wise fashion . . . .”

    Great then you should be able to give all of us the step by step, empirically confirmed detail pathway from LUCA to man!!

    Vivid

  68. ellazimm @60:

    Anyway, isn’t the blind watchmaker just an analogy created by Richard Dawkins as a way of thinking about the engine that drives evolution: copying errors, gene duplications, gene swapping filtered through various selection criteria?

    Sure. And it is a very good analogy, in the sense that it puts across very well what he has in mind when he talks about evolution. Several other authors are fond of using it, and of course, the mount improbable analogy does the same kind of job.

    When objections to BW are raised, I have often heard its defenders reply, “Of course, RD was simply forming an analogy; it doesn’t cover every details…”

    Now, analogies are fine as they go. The trouble with Dawkins’ BW thesis is that, it really does appear to be how he conceives of natural selection operating. In other words, his interpretation of evolutionary history stands or falls with the success or failure of his illustration. (But not, I hasten to add, whether evolution has taken place.)

    RD speaks as if random mutation (RM) and natural selection (NS) – with an accent on the latter – are capable of actually forming the kinds of complex entity we encounter the real world, such as dogs and cats and mice. (I believe that RD concedes that organisms are complex and in need of explanation.)

    The trouble is, we know of no artificial process involving only RM and NS that can churn out more than is put in in terms of information specifying the types of entities that evolve. Indeed RD’s own examples never solely rely on RM and NS but always invoke design principle. But I invite you to correct me on that last point.

    Now, to take a simple example. Suppose I want to evolve an artifical entity with the binary genome 10010001. It has been demonstrated often (and well before Dembski added his voice to the chorus) that to evolve this binary pattern is exactly as difficult as simply picking patterns out of a list of all possible patterns and saying when you reach the right one. But if this is the case, then it is radically affects BW because it holds for patterns millions of bits in length. Dawkin’s denies that the genome could be arrived at by luck and suggests RM and NS as a process which does not require luck, but he is wrong I think. Provided that we allow the mechanistic assumptions that pervade modern thought – for good or ill – to persist, the BW thesis will remain simply a word (or maths) game, in which one complicated solution is reached by a complex arrangement of many simple solutions.

    markf:

    Find a large magnet. Scatter a large number of iron filings over it. They will form a well specified pattern.

    I’m not sure how much stock I place in CSI or LCI. But I’m pretty sure this example misses the mark. If you were to copy the pattern and then throw down the filings again, then it would be specified. In fact, if they fell the same way, you’d hunt for a reason why they did.

  69. BA: larger genomes don’t mean more evolved! There is no measure of more or less evolved anyway. Some creatures and plants have stayed relatively constant because they are very well adapted to their niche environments and most modifications are selected against.

    And there are similarities in the genomes of most multi-celled creatures; we share genes with kangaroos, chimps, giraffes, sharks, horses, etc. Isn’t the question really which other species’ genomes are the most like ours? And, as far as I am aware, chimps and bonobos have genomes more like ours than any other species. I even heard recently that chimps and bonobos are more closely related to us than they are to the other primates. And that argument was made based on genomic similarity.

    Anyway, I’m not a researcher but I have not heard of any recent result that is widely considered to overturn the basic consensus paradigm. Most researchers seem to feel that more and more evidence is building up in support of the consensus paradigm. There are modifications and refinements some of which are hotly debated and tested before they are accepted (Lynn Margolis fought for years and years to get her ideas appreciated). And we learn new things all the time that fill in details which were not completely understood before. The recent ‘controversy’ over bacterial gene swapping and the tree of life being more like a bush are examples. Gaps in the fossil record are being filled with ‘transitional’ forms all the time. Donald Prothero’s book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters is recent and has some excellent discussions of why that line of evidence gets stronger all the time.

    Anyway, you all have heard everything I’m saying many, many times. I don’t doubt that you will be able to score some points against me but I hardly count. You need to be arguing with the scientists who have spent decades in some cases looking at the evidence. What they say makes sense to me and seems consistent. And is the most parsimonious explanation I’ve come across.

  70. the one ‘elephant in the living room’ problem for both natural selection and mutation, is that they both reduce genetic information:

    Natural Selection Reduces Genetic Information – No Beneficial Mutations – Spetner – Denton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036816

    EXPELLED – Natural Selection And Genetic Mutations – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036840

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”
    Maciej Marian Giertych – Population Geneticist – member of the European Parliament – EXPELLED

    No Matter What Type Of Selection, Mutations Deteriorate Genetic Information – article and video
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ns-weasel/

    I saw your allusion to the physicist and atheist Stenger to try to counter the Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, and in responce I will paraphrase Behe from this video:

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5066181

    “Denying Intelligent Design makes you irrational”

    And indeed I have seen atheists take irrationality to heights of absurdity I would have never dreamed possible in science.

  71. ellazimm:

    Thanks for your ongoing interesting posts. I hope they have been useful in outlining my position, even if you ultimately disagree.

    It is too late here to reply to your recent comments in detail, save to add one note:

    I have no idea what God is or is not capable of.

    The scholastic philosophers maintained a principle of not being allowed to affirm that God must have done anything any particular way. I wish modern theologians would bother to read their work!

    There seems to be a lot of emphasis on whether the design of the genome is elegant or not. I don’t find this a particular useful way to approach the problem; it is almost impossible to look at DNA and say that has a “God-like” arrangement (unless it contains those spooky messages you alluded to!)

    However, one can observe that it bears the information concerning how to build a human being that can think about whether it was designed (for example). This really is quite striking. The elegance or otherwise of the script which holds this information is moot, at least IMO.

  72. #71 Of course, I meant “I hope my comments have been useful…” Time for bed :)

  73. ellazim you state:

    ‘BA: larger genomes don’t mean more evolved! There is no measure of more or less evolved anyway.’

    you are completely missing the point, if materialism truly could account for the generation of functional information, then we should naturally expect there to be a corollary between the complexity of a animal and the size of the genome, at least some rough measure, but as I pointed out genomes are all over the place. for you to try to claim genomes ‘being all over the place’ as evidence for evolution is ludicrous for that is not the natural presupposition of materialism for genome sizes. In fact the un-patterned variability of genome sizes in all honesty counts in favor of Intelligent Design, since optimality of function would dictate such flexibility for genome sizes!

  74. Anyway, you all have heard everything I’m saying many, many times. I don’t doubt that you will be able to score some points against me but I hardly count.

    A decent attitude. I promise (for myself at least) that I am not trying to score points against anyone! These are really interesting questions, and if everyone is too dogmatic in their position, then no-one will benefit. I’m certainly happy to see you pick apart my (borrowed) reasoning above. Perhaps I am missing something important.

  75. Okay, last post of the night for me. It’s almost 10:30pm where I live and I’ve got a full day ahead of me.

    First of all, the talk origins website lists several examples of recent speciation if you want to argue against specific examples.

    Artificial selection as practiced by animal and plant breeders works (or did until recently anyway) on the same basis of mutation to provide alternate characteristics. Having a human being selecting desired traits is faster than nature but it’s still true that the underlying machinery is the same. Sexual selection also drives morphological changes; is pea hens preferring males natural or artificial selection?

    Obviously I can’t give you a step-by-step explanation that leads to humans! No one can yet. But, as I said before, all the evidence I’ve seen indicates that it happened. And I think the Lenski experiments did show that a new, environment exploiting trait can arise under a purely blind and undirected process and in his papers he does show exactly what the step-by-step process was. I’m sure more and more such experiments will be conducted so stay tuned!!

    Dawkins is very careful to state that only the mutation part of RM + NS is random. And that selection is a cummulative process. It’s not necessary to search the whole ‘solution space’. Evolution takes an existing form and modifications are ‘tested’ by natural, sexual and sometimes artificial selection. Those forms that better exploit whatever niche environment they are in tend to have more offspring and become more dominant. Sometimes the old form is wiped out but not always.

    Anyway, I haven’t got to everything but I really need to call it a night now. I really didn’t want to be defending my views . . . but as doing so brought out some of your views and made them more explicit in my mind I guess it was worth it from my point of view. And, as I said before, I appreciate that a lot of thought and effort has gone into lots of your beliefs and I respect that.

    Night all!! Hope the rest of your days are happy and meaningful.

  76. ellazimm you state:

    ‘First of all, the talk origins website lists several examples of recent speciation if you want to argue against specific examples.’

    If any of the examples are semi-compelling,, They will all be examples of reproductive isolation that is brought about by loss of genetic information. This is always measurable as loss of genetic diversity in genomes, as well as measurable by loss of variability for breeding population when compared to the parent species, yet both measures conform to genetic entropy exactly.

    ellazimm then you state the whole evolutionary theory in a nutshell:

    ‘Dawkins is very careful to state that only the mutation part of RM + NS is random. And that selection is a cummulative process. It’s not necessary to search the whole ‘solution space’. Evolution takes an existing form and modifications are ‘tested’ by natural, sexual and sometimes artificial selection. Those forms that better exploit whatever niche environment they are in tend to have more offspring and become more dominant. Sometimes the old form is wiped out but not always.’

    One huge problem,,, mutations have NEVER been observed generating functional information that was not already present in the parent species genome,,,

    For a broad outline of the ‘Fitness test’, required to be passed to show a violation of the principle of Genetic Entropy, please see the following video and articles:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – ‘The Fitness Test’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

    Thank Goodness the NCSE Is Wrong: Fitness Costs Are Important to Evolutionary Microbiology
    Excerpt: it (an antibiotic resistant bacterium) reproduces slower than it did before it was changed. This effect is widely recognized, and is called the fitness cost of antibiotic resistance. It is the existence of these costs and other examples of the limits of evolution that call into question the neo-Darwinian story of macroevolution.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....s_wro.html

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:
    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    You state;

    I appreciate that a lot of thought and effort has gone into lots of your beliefs and I respect that.

    I would hope that we planted a seed to make you reexamine your atheistic beliefs more thoroughly, and honestly, since from my perspective your beliefs have been severely compromised as far as the empirical evidence is concerned.

  77. RE 75 ella,

    You have yet to give one empircal scientific confirmation of your assertions other than spouting off the standard talking points. You are long on long winded meaningless information and short on any scientific evidence. Obviously you are a radicl askeptic except when it comes to your own position.

    I mean really when one points to artificala selection , that by its very nature contradicts your claims,as evidence , and do so with a straight face, tells me all I need to know about your sincerity and incerdible gullibility.

    Vivid

  78. ellazimm:

    sorry to have been away today.

    I would like to specify some small points to further the discussion (for tomorrow, I believe: here too it is late).

    1) Most, if not all, of the arguments you point to are at best evidence for common descent. They have nothing to do with the causal mechanism. I personally accept cpommon descent, lile many others in ID, and anyway ID is not directly related to the problem of common descent, but only to the problem of causal mechanism.

    You yourself say:

    “For me, it’s not a matter extrapolating from observed small molecular changes; rather it’s a case of many convergent lines of evidence that all point to common descent with modification.”

    Well, point concede. And so? The problem is the model for the modification.

    2) You say:

    “I think that multiple lines of physical evidence point to common descent with modification AND explain the presence of complex specified information in the genome.”

    Yes to the first. Absolutely no to the second. What lines of evidence? There is absolutely none.

    3) You say:

    “But I never have completely understood why there should be a molecular edge to evolution? ”

    Because there are both theoretical and empirical arguments, very sound arguments indeed, for the existence of theta “edge”. And we can discuss all of them, one by one, in detail.

    4) You sak for specifics about when the implementation of design took place. I can give you some very obvious answers:

    a) At OOL.

    b) At each appearance of a new protein domain family in the course of natural history.

    c) At the ediacara explosion.

    d) At the Cambrian explosion.

    These are only the mpost evident events which scream design. But probably, each new species is designed.

    e) You say:

    “Our DNA is pretty messy and it seems clear that, not only are better designs preferred over current designs by the environment, but also that there is lots of genetic material to work with especially since we have two copies of all of our genes.”

    I am not sure what you mean. Our DNA could be messy, or not. I don’t believe it is so messy, after all. And the problem is: who, or what “works” with it?

    The problem is simple: each protein gene is CSI. Unguided process never create CSI. There is no exception.

    All conter-examples are false. I have recently answered warehuff who presented ApoA1 Milano as an example oof CSI generated by darwinian processes, while it is a single aminoacid mutation!

    And Mark Frank, who is certainly a sincere person, comes with the example of the magnet! (I am going to answer that in my next post).

    It’s strange that a concept quite simple and intuhitive like that of CSI may be so misinterpreted by intelligent people. I have given precise definitions and precise examples lots of times, and still the same gross equivocations come out.

    Just to be clear: a single aminoacid mutation can never be CSI, whatever its results: it is not complex enough.

    A necessity output is never CSI.

    Any doubts on these points?

  79. Mark (#62):

    Your example is only an example of a necessity cause (eletyromagnetic field) acting on random variables to create a pattern. That has nothing to do with CSI.

    CSI is about random events taking a pseudo-random pattern which conveys a function or a meaning. And the complexity is the probability that those random events may convey that function or meaning exclusively for random causes.

    Take the example of a protein sequence and my definition of dFSCI (which I believe you should know after all this time).

    The sequence is pseudorandom. It is vastly non compressible, and there is no biochemical law which can explain that particular sequence in favour of others. And yet, that sequence is the basis for the folding and function of the protein.

    That is CSI. Nor a magnet which works out of laws of necessity. CSI ius about meaning and function, two things which are the product of intelligent consciousness and, if the complexity is enough, only of it.

    There is no example of dFSCI generated by unguided systems.

  80. #79

    Gpuccio

    The request was for an example of natural processes creating CSI – not dFSCI. It seems reasonable to take Dembski’s definition of CSI for this. It says nothing about the pattern having a function or a meaning. He defines it simply in terms of simplicity – which turns out to mean high compressability! He is quite clear about this – look at pp 15-16.

    If a number of people on this forum fundamentally disagree with Dembski about what CSI is then surely that is a big issue for ID and needs addressing? It also makes it very difficult to criticise ID if there is no clear guidance on what the supposed signature of design actually is.

  81. I suppose, when it comes down to it, I just find the current evolutionary model more parsimonious than ID. I think it has fewer assumptions and appeals to unknown (and possibly unknowable) influences. I know one of the basic ID arguments is that intelligence is a known cause of complex and specified information but without some outside evidence (or even notions) about the proposed intelligence at the pertinent time I think there are fewer assumptions in sticking with natural forces. And natural forces can be tested and experimented upon. And such experiments, as done by Lenski, are revealing what kind of information those forces are capable of creating and I’m not about to stop seeing if any supposed boundaries really exist. Artificial selection, using the same molecular engine, has created dramatic physiological differences from the root stock.

    I think the “we haven’t seen it’ argument is weak. No one living saw the comet strike that wiped out the dinosaurs, Boeddica burning London, Stonehenge being built or any of the events in the Bible. But some of us believe some of those things happened. And in each case the argument has to be made from secondary evidence. Sometimes in archaeology the identification of natural vs intelligent design is very tricky. Interesting that archaeology has not turned up any material evidence of intelligent beings before the development of hominids.

    I would like to see the pre-loading idea more fleshed out. IF all mutations are detrimental then there would have to be preloading moments and that needs to be spelled out and made coherent in order for it to be properly scrutenized. IF each new species is designed then there would be a time when the designer created a whole new genome base and then . . . .let it run ’til the code is so degraded that the species ceases to be viable? Something like that? And how would that apply to say the fossil evidence for the development of the whale? Which of the intermediate forms are new genomes are which are degraded versions of the original?

    You all have given me lots to think about and I appreciate that very much. And, as I’ve said, I have respect for your views even though I see things differently. I’m not surprised you find my arguments the same old thing; I’m not a researcher and I don’t think I’ve got anything new to add. But at least I can be honest and I hope you feel I have been that. Even if you find my arguments incoherent.

  82. Ellazimm you are tantalizingly close to realizing how the overall puzzle fits together with this statement of yours:

    I would like to see the pre-loading idea more fleshed out. IF all mutations are detrimental then there would have to be preloading moments and that needs to be spelled out and made coherent in order for it to be properly scrutinized. IF each new species is designed then there would be a time when the designer created a whole new genome base and then . . . .let it run ’til the code is so degraded that the species ceases to be viable? Something like that? And how would that apply to say the fossil evidence for the development of the whale? Which of the intermediate forms are new genomes are which are degraded versions of the original?

    First all let me dispel the notion you have of the supposed whale sequence being a ‘conclusive’ piece of evidence for common ancestry:

    Perhaps one of the most egregious violations to common sense, by the evolutionists, is the evolutionists claim that whales evolved from a terrestrial (land dwelling) mammal in a mere 10 million years. These following videos and articles expose a few of their violations of logic:
    Whale Evolution? – Exposing The Deception – Dr. Terry Mortenson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4032568
    This following study provides solid support for Dr. Terry Mortenson’s critique in the preceding video:

    How Whales Have (NOT) Changed Over 35 Million Years – May 2010
    Excerpt: We could have found that the main whale lineages over time each experimented with being large, small and medium-sized and that all the dietary forms appeared throughout their evolution, or that whales started out medium-sized and the largest and smallest ones appeared more recently—but the data show none of that. Instead, we find that the differences today were apparent very early on.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-356170

    This following sites is a bit more detailed in their dismantling of the whale evolution myth:

    Whale Tale Two
    Excerpt: We think that the most logical interpretation of the Pakicetus fossils are that they represent land-dwelling mammals that didn’t even have teeth or ears in common with modern whales. This actually pulls the whale evolution tree out by the roots. Evolutionists are back to the point of not having any clue as to how land mammals could possibly have evolved into whales.
    http://www.ridgecrest.ca.us/~d...../v6i2f.htm

    This following video is very good, for it uses the mathematical equations used by leading evolutionists themselves, for population genetics, to show that the evolution of whales is impossible even by their own methods of predicting change:

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4165203

    “Whales have a long generation time, and they don’t have huge populations. They’re like the worst-case scenario for trying to evolve structures rapidly,” “To fix all the mutations needed to convert a little land mammal into a fully functional whale [in ten million years]–mathematically that’s totally not possible.” Casey Luskin
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    Whale Evolution? Darwinist ‘Trawlers’ Have Every Reason To Be Concerned:
    Excerpt: As one review noted: “The anatomical structure, biological function, and way of life of whales are so distinctly different from those of terrestrial mammals that they cannot possibly have evolved from the latter by small genetic changes; aquatics require the simultaneous presence of all their complex features to survive.”
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....wlers_have

    This following video takes a honest look at just what evolutionists are up against to satisfactorily explain whale evolution:

    What Does It take To Change A Cow Into A Whale – David Berlinski – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRqdvhL3pgM

  83. and indeed why should we expect such dramatic jumps in the fossil record since everything we know about mutations to DNA, and even Darwin’s theory itself tells us that we should not expect them? Thus Ellazim, once questionable intermediates are removed from ones thinking, then the puzzle falls into place:

    Besides the fossil record lacking clear transitional forms (billions should be there if Darwinism was true), there is actually ample evidence in the fossil record to infer that the principle of Genetic Entropy has been rigidly obeyed over the course of the history of life on this earth. The following article, which I’ve listed previously, is important in that it shows the principle of Genetic Entropy being obeyed in the fossil record by Trilobites, over the 270 million year history of their life on earth (Note: Trilobites are one of the most prolific ‘kinds’ found in the fossil record with an extensive worldwide distribution. They appeared abruptly at the base of the Cambrian explosion with no evidence of transmutation from the ‘simple’ creatures that preceded them, nor is there any evidence they ever produced anything else besides other trilobites during the entire time they are found in the fossil record).

    The Cambrian’s Many Forms
    Excerpt: “It appears that organisms displayed “rampant” within-species variation “in the ‘warm afterglow’ of the Cambrian explosion,” Hughes said, but not later. “No one has shown this convincingly before, and that’s why this is so important.”"From an evolutionary perspective, the more variable a species is, the more raw material natural selection has to operate on,”….(Yet Surprisingly)….”There’s hardly any variation in the post-Cambrian,” he said. “Even the presence or absence or the kind of ornamentation on the head shield varies within these Cambrian trilobites and doesn’t vary in the post-Cambrian trilobites.” University of Chicago paleontologist Mark Webster; article on the “surprising and unexplained” loss of variation and diversity for trilobites over the 270 million year time span that trilobites were found in the fossil record, prior to their total extinction from the fossil record about 250 million years ago.
    http://www.terradaily.com/repo.....s_999.html

    Evolution vs. Trilobites – Prof. Andy McIntosh – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4032589

    In fact, the loss of morphological traits over time, for all organisms found in the fossil record, was/is so consistent that it was made into a ‘scientific law’:

    Dollo’s law and the death and resurrection of genes:
    Excerpt: “As the history of animal life was traced in the fossil record during the 19th century, it was observed that once an anatomical feature was lost in the course of evolution it never staged a return. This observation became canonized as Dollo’s law, after its propounder, and is taken as a general statement that evolution is irreversible.” http://www.pnas.org/content/91.....l.pdf+html

    A general rule of thumb for the ‘Deterioration/Genetic Entropy’ of Dollo’s Law as it applies to the fossil record is found here:

    Dollo’s law and the death and resurrection of genes
    ABSTRACT: Dollo’s law, the concept that evolution is not substantively reversible, implies that the degradation of genetic information is sufficiently fast that genes or developmental pathways released from selective pressure will rapidly become nonfunctional. Using empirical data to assess the rate of loss of coding information in genes for proteins with varying degrees of tolerance to mutational change, we show that, in fact, there is a significant probability over evolutionary time scales of 0.5-6 million years for successful reactivation of silenced genes or “lost” developmental programs. Conversely, the reactivation of long (>10 million years)-unexpressed genes and dormant developmental pathways is not possible unless function is maintained by other selective constraints;
    http://www.pnas.org/content/91.....l.pdf+html

    Dollo’s Law was further verified to the molecular level here:

    Dollo’s law, the symmetry of time, and the edge of evolution – Michael Behe
    Excerpt: We predict that future investigations, like ours, will support a molecular version of Dollo’s law: ,,, Dr. Behe comments on the finding of the study, “The old, organismal, time-asymmetric Dollo’s law supposedly blocked off just the past to Darwinian processes, for arbitrary reasons. A Dollo’s law in the molecular sense of Bridgham et al (2009), however, is time-symmetric. A time-symmetric law will substantially block both the past and the future,”. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....f_tim.html

  84. To reiterate Ellazimm, the fossil record looks nothing like evolutionists make it out to be:

    One persistent misrepresentation, that evolutionists continually portray of the fossil record, is that +99.9% of all species that have ever existed on earth are now extinct because of ‘necessary evolutionary transitions’. Yet the fact is that 40 to 80% of all current living species found on the earth are represented fairly deeply in the fossil record. In fact, some estimates put the number around 230,000 species living today, whereas, we only have about a quarter of a million different species collected in our museums. Moreover, Darwin predicts we should have millions of transitional fossil forms. These following videos, quotes, and articles clearly point this fact out:

    The Fossil Record – The Myth Of +99.9% Extinct Species – Dr. Arthur Jones – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028115

    “Stasis in the Fossil Record: 40-80% of living forms today are represented in the fossil record, despite being told in many text books that only about 0.1% are in this category. The rocks testify that no macro-evolutionary change has ever occurred. With the Cambrian Explosion complex fish, trilobites and other creatures appear suddenly without any precursors. Evidence of any transitional forms in the fossil record is highly contentious.”
    Paul James-Griffiths via Dr. Arthur Jones
    http://edinburghcreationgroup......paper1.php

    “The history of most fossil species includes two features inconsistent with gradualism:. Statis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear…. Sudden Appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’. 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.”
    Stephen Jay Gould, – Evolution’s Erratic Pace – 1977

    “Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?”
    Charles Darwin – Origin Of Species

    This following video gives a very small taste of the confusion we would expect to see for life on earth if evolution were true:

    What Would The World Look Like If Darwinism Were True – video
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....e70c6fe1ee

    Marine Species Census – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: The researchers have found about 5,600 new species on top of the 230,000 known. They hope to add several thousand more by October 2010, when the census will be done.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200.....ine_census

    What Lives in the Sea? Census of Marine Life Publishes Historic Roll Call – August 2010
    Excerpt: In October, the Census will release its latest estimate of all marine species known to science, including those still to be added to WoRMS and OBIS. This is likely to exceed 230,000.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....173704.htm

  85. BA: I believe most, if not all, of your points about the fossil record are addressed in Donald Prothero’s book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. I can’t possibly say it better than he does. He has been a working Paleontologist and has an excellent background and knowledge base.

    I’d also like to point out that no working paleontologist that I know of claims that there is a problem with the fossil record or that it brings the basic evolution paradigm into question. It is unrealistic to expect the fossil record to be a compete record of all life. Few creatures or plants are fossilised so there will always be gaps. The fossil record is consistent with RM + NS and more and more intermediate forms are being discovered, the gaps are getting smaller and smaller. Stasis is not unexpected; if a creature is well adapted to its niche the selective pressure is against change.

    I’m glad I got at least part of the front-loading scenario correct. I’d still like to see a particular application of that approach to a particular fossil line. I think it would make it clearer exactly what is being proposed. How often is a new design implemented? How are they introduced? (That is, is a new genome inserted into the egg of an existing creature or . . .) If the creation of a new genome introduces a new species, which may not be able to breed with the preceding design, then how many new creatures are introduced to make a viable population? Is this done over a wide area or a single location?

  86. If the ‘parent’ species has its genome degraded to the point of being unviable then can the new genome be incubated in an existing creature? As new species tend to closely resemble preceding species then exactly what degradations is the new genome ‘fixing’? Why are chromosomal differences introduced? Is there a correlation between the genome size and the structure of the creature?

    In the case of an inheritance line splitting are two new genomes introduced?

  87. Is there a goal in mind when new species are introduced? With small changes new species will be able to exploit the same niche as the old one only more effectively but if the changes are more sweeping then the new species will have to have the right ‘support’ species in place to provide food, etc.

    When a new species is introduced are new parasites also created? Are viruses just allowed to propagate as they will or are they also created to match and exploit their hosts? If viruses are just allowed to propagate then how do they ‘learn’ to exploit the new genomes? If they are also introduced then what aspects of the new genome are targeted? What is the purpose of ERVs?

  88. Ellazimm,, do you mean the Donald Prothero that was completely dismantled in this debate with Stephen Meyer and Richard Sternberg?

    Stephen Meyer & Richard Sternberg impressively defeat Michael Shermer & Don Prothero (1 of 12)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3ThFiBLxtU

    This statement of yours,,,

    “I’d also like to point out that no working paleontologist that I know of claims that there is a problem with the fossil record or that it brings the basic evolution paradigm into question. It is unrealistic to expect the fossil record to be a compete record of all life. Few creatures or plants are fossilised so there will always be gaps. The fossil record is consistent with RM + NS and more and more intermediate forms are being discovered, the gaps are getting smaller and smaller. Stasis is not unexpected; if a creature is well adapted to its niche the selective pressure is against change.”

    ,,, is simply making gargantuan excuses for the disparity of the fossil record as well as begging the question as to why evolution should be given such unbiased and preferential treatment???,,,

    I certainly can see no reason for science to be so biased!!!

    As for your claim

    ‘The fossil record is consistent with RM + NS’

    The fact is NO it is not consistent in the least,,,

    as well as this statement,,,

    and more and more intermediate forms are being discovered, the gaps are getting smaller and smaller.

    NO once again,, only in the imaginations of evolutionists,, In fact the Cambrian Explosion has been growing MORE explosive not less!

    And, despite what many evolutionists believe, recent discoveries are only amplifying this problem for them:

    More Pow in the Cambrian Explosion – May 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists have found more fossil evidence for sudden emergence of animal body plans in the Cambrian strata.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100511a

    Fossil Finds Show Cambrian Explosion Getting More Explosive – May 2010
    Excerpt: Cephalopods, which include marine mollusks like squid, octopus, and cuttlefish, are now being reported in the Cambrian explosion fossils.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....n_exp.html

    The Cambrian Explosion Just Got More Explosive – August 2010 – audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_02-07_00

    If this abrupt appearance for all these completely different and unique phyla in the Cambrian was not bad enough for materialists, the fossil record shows there was actually more variety of phyla by the end of the Cambrian explosion than there are today due to extinction.

    Of Note: “Phyla are broad categories of classification. All fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals are in the same phylum. Squid, octopi, oysters, clams and snails are in another phylum. Lobsters, crayfish, insects, and millipedes are in still another.” Ray Bohlin PhD

    “A simple way of putting it is that currently we have about 38 phyla of different groups of animals, but the total number of phyla discovered during the Cambrian explosion (including those in China, Canada, and elsewhere) adds up to over 50 phyla. (Actually the number 50 was first quoted as over 100 for a while, but then the consensus became 50-plus.) That means there are more phyla in the very, very beginning, where we found the first fossils, than exist now.” “Also, the animal explosion caught people’s attention when the Chinese confirmed they found a genus now called Yunnanzoon that was present in the very beginning of the Cambrian explosion. This genus is considered a chordate, and the phylum Chordata includes fish, mammals and man. An evolutionist would say the ancestor of humans was present then. Looked at more objectively, you could say the most complex animal group, the chordates, were represented at the very beginning, and they did not go through a slow gradual evolution to become a chordate.” Dr. Paul Chien PhD., chairman of the biology department at the University of San Francisco
    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....#038;id=52

    I like this following article for it highlights the principle of Genetic Entropy, i.e. loss of variety:

    Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish
    “In Chen’s view, his evidence supports a history of life that runs opposite to the standard evolutionary tree diagrams, a progression he calls top-down evolution.” Jun-Yuan Chen is professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology
    http://www.fredheeren.com/boston.htm

    The evolutionary theory would have us believe we should have more phyla today due to ongoing evolutionary processes. These following timeline graphs highlight the loss of phyla through time:

    Origin of Phyla – The Fossil Evidence – Timeline Graph
    http://lutheranscience.org/images/GraphC2.gif
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....#038;hl=en

    Besides the fossil record, recent DNA analysis testifies against any transitional scenario between Cambrian phyla:

    The new animal phylogeny: Reliability and implications:
    Excerpt: “The new molecular based phylogeny has several important implications. Foremost among them is the disappearance of “intermediate” taxa between sponges, cnidarians, ctenophores, and the last common ancestor of bilaterians or “Urbilateria.”…A corollary is that we have a major gap in the stem leading to the Urbilataria. We have lost the hope, so common in older evolutionary reasoning, of reconstructing the morphology of the “coelomate ancestor” through a scenario involving successive grades of increasing complexity based on the anatomy of extant “primitive” lineages.” From Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, in 2000 -
    http://www.pnas.org/content/97.....frrxyih/gM

    “Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? … The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record.” Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma 1988, Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9

    So ellazimm here you, once again, sit saying one thing, but the truth of the matter, when borne out, in fact is exactly the opposite of what you said. At what point do you realize that you’ve been sold a bill of goods with Darwinism?

  89. Ellazimm, please concede the points on the fossil record or refute them i.e. please show me how the Cambrian explosion has been growing ‘less explosive’ with empirical evidence instead of wishful daydreaming!

  90. BA: my refutation is contain in Prothero’s book and other sources which I’m sure you can find if you so choose. This forum is not the soul source of information and there is no need for me to restate that which has already been stated better by others who are more knowledgeable than I am. You post references for your arguments; I’m doing the same thing. I think that’s fair.

    The truth is not won based on how well you or I present our cases. The truth arises from years and years of work and scrutiny of new thoughts by others who have the best perspective for criticising. I am not qualified to pick some ideas apart which is why I do my best to reference those who have experience, knowledge and are good at communicating the concepts to the general public. I’m sorry if you find that inadequate. I suppose you will say I was unable to refute your arguments. I accept that which is why I refer you to someone who does.

  91. Besides, I’m more interested in some of the questions I’ve brought up. You know what I’m going to say about the fossil record and what you are going to say in response so there seems little point in going through the motions. I think some of my questions are a bit newer though and I think worthy of discussion. I’d like to know how the ID community puts all the pieces together. You can help me with this and that I would be grateful for.

  92. Ellazimm,

    So what would convince you that some aspects of life or the universe were probably designed?

  93. But Ellazimm, Prothero must submit to empirical evidence as must all ‘authorities’ of science! You cannot simply appeal to his authority! Here is some more empirical evidence for you and Prothero to ignore,,,

    The suddenness of the Cambrian explosion has now been made even more dramatic since the scant ‘track’ evidence, that evolutionists had claimed were the tracks of worms in the pre-Cambrian strata, has now been brought into severe question:

    Discovery Of Giant Roaming Deep Sea Protist Provides New Perspective On Animal Evolution:
    Excerpt: This is the first time a single-celled organism has been shown to make such animal-like traces. The finding is significant, because similar fossil grooves and furrows found from the Precambrian era, as early as 1.8 billion years ago, have always been attributed to early evolving multicellular animals. “If our giant protists were alive 600 million years ago and the track was fossilized, a paleontologist unearthing it today would without a shade of doubt attribute it to a kind of large, multicellular, bilaterally symmetrical animal,” says Matz, an assistant professor of integrative biology. “We now have to rethink the fossil record.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....130531.htm

    Even sponge embryos are found in the immediate pre-Cambrian strata:

    Challenging Fossil of a Little Fish
    What they had actually proved was that Chinese phosphate is fully capable of preserving whatever animals may have lived there in Precambrian times. Because they found sponges and sponge embryos in abundance, researchers are no longer so confident that Precambrian animals were too soft or too small to be preserved. “I think this is a major mystery in paleontology,” said Chen. “Before the Cambrian, we should see a number of steps: differentiation of cells, differentiation of tissue, of dorsal and ventral, right and left. But we don’t have strong evidence for any of these.” Taiwanese biologist Li was also direct: “No evolution theory can explain these kinds of phenomena.”
    http://www.fredheeren.com/boston.htm

    This following quote sums up the implications of these findings:

    “Without gradualism, we are back to a miracle.”
    Richard Dawkins

    As well, as is often overlooked, the Ediacaran biota themselves were soft bodied, but well preserved, fossils that add even more evidence testifying to the suddenness of the Cambrian Explosion. Because to state the obvious one more time, “if there were any transitional fossils leading up to the Cambrian Explosion then they certainly should have been found”:

    Macroscopic life in the Palaeoproterozoic – July 2010
    Excerpt: The Ediacaran fauna shows that soft-bodied animals were preserved in the Precambrian, even in coarse sandstone beds, suggesting that (the hypothetical transitional) fossils are not found because they were not there.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....proterozoi

    The ‘real work’ of the beginning of the Cambrian Explosion may in actuality be as short as a two to three million year time frame (Ross: Creation as Science 2006) which is well within what is termed the ‘geologic resolution time’. ‘Geologic resolution time’ simply means the time frame for the main part of the Cambrian Explosion apparently can’t be shortened any further due to limitations of our accurately dating this ancient time period more precisely.

    “The Cambrian Explosion was so short that it is below the resolution of the fossil record. It could have happened overnight. So we don’t know the duration of the Cambrian Explosion. We just know that it was very, very, fast.”
    Jonathan Wells – Darwin’s Dilemma Quote

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – Sept. 2009
    Excerpt: “The truth is that (finding) “exceptionally preserved microbes” from the late Precambrian actually deepen Darwin’s dilemma, because they suggest that if there had been ancestors to the Cambrian phyla they would have been preserved.”
    http://www.discovery.org/a/12471

    Deepening Darwin’s Dilemma – Jonathan Wells – The Cambrian Explosion – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4154263

    Recent experimental work has not been very cooperative to evolutionists in elucidating plausible evolutionary routes to multicellular organisms from single celled organisms:

    Brown Algae and The Serendipity of Multicellularity – Cornelius Hunter – June 2010
    Excerpt: Instead of the expectation that multicellularity arose once and then proliferated, evolutionists now must say it arose independently several times. And instead of a sort of primitive multicellularity emerging and then undergoing evolutionary refinement, we must believe evolution first produced profoundly unlikely molecular machines, which then in turn enabled multicellularity.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....llularity/

    It is amazing the level of denial that evolutionists will display when confronted with this evidence for a complete lack of transitional fossils to the Cambrian explosion, yet Dr. Wells points out that, even if we grant the most generous assumptions for time to evolutionists, we still run into insurmountable problems:

    Storming the Beaches of Norman – Jonathan Wells
    Excerpt: Even if the Cambrian explosion had lasted 40 million years, as Westrop had claimed, there would not have been enough time for unguided processes to produce the enormous amount of specified complexity in the DNA of the animal phyla.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....orman.html

    I don’t know Ellazim, here you sit saying you got evidence for transitionals to the Cambrian explosion somewhere in some book by some author that was completely embarrassed in a debate with Meyer’s and Sternberg, and yet I’m showing you first hand the crushing problems being brought to bear on Darwinism. Does not this bother you? Why don’t you show me the transitionals that you are so sure are there?

  94. Collin: Excellent question!! I’m just getting dinner ready for my family (it’s 6pm in England). Would you mind terribly if I deferred my response until later in my evening? I’ve got some ideas of responses but I’d rather take some time to think about it and give you a proper response because I think that really is a very, very good point.

    And, I have to say, aside from coming to UD to find out about ID, I also find it important to challenge myself, ask difficult questions. I will respond. And I shall try and do so with some thought and depth because I think the question deserves a serious and well thought out answer.

    Later then . . .

  95. Ellazimm,

    I’ll certainly wait your response. Have a nice dinner.

  96. Hi Ellazimm,

    I’m just getting dinner ready for my family (it’s 6pm in England)

    I’m in the UK and getting dinner ready for my family too. (We have some things in common then!)

    Besides, I’m more interested in some of the questions I’ve brought up.

    I’ll try and stay within the parameters you have set. I can’t remark on the palaeontology (e.g.), because I don’t know much about it. This point took my interest (and seems to be an implicit response to something I wrote):

    Dawkins is very careful to state that only the mutation part of RM + NS is random. And that selection is a cummulative process. It’s not necessary to search the whole ‘solution space’. Evolution takes an existing form and modifications are ‘tested’ by natural, sexual and sometimes artificial selection.

    You are right; Dawkins is, to his credit, very careful in this regard. But it is exactly this “testing process” which imparts information to the genome. (Indeed, in the biomorph examples he gives, he himself is the tester.) I agree that NS does not search the entire solution space, but it is exactly the fact that it doesn’t need to which reveals that it is being actively guided.

    Is there a goal in mind when new species are introduced?

    This is the real question – of interest to all parties. If the answer is “no”, we have to account for why certain traits arise again and again in independent hereditary lines.

  97. Mark:

    You know I have some problems with that specific paper by Dembski. But you should also know that all the ID theory is based more on previous works by Dembski, and especailly on the explanatory filter.

    In the explanatory filter, it is clearly stated that necessity mechanisms must be ruled out to recognize CSI. So, your example is definitely not an example of CSI.

    dFSCI is a subset of CSI. In biological structures (genomes, proteomes) CSI is in the form of dFSCI.

    Therefore, unless you are more interested in debating binary strings than real biological structures, dFSCI is the right tool.

    And your example is neither CSI nor the more specific subset of dFSCI.

    Moreover, most of the relevant work in biological ID (Axe, Durston, Abel and Trevors), has always used concepts absolutely equivalent to my definition of dFSCI.

  98. equinoxe: Or is the need not to search the entire solution space just an indication that evolution works with what it has and that we, as the ‘end’ result think of ourselves as being the target? Tricky stuff. Do common solutions arise due to some direction or because the solution space is limited by the environment? Is the environment directing the outcomes? Limiting the ‘solutions’??

  99. Collin: I am struggling to answer your excellent question.

    My first reaction is to say: an event, recorded and widely observed, which clearly violates one of the basis, undisputed laws of physics, would make me question my whole view. But to narrow it down to just the design hypothesis . . . that is worthy but tricky.

  100. Collin: Okay, I’m going to have a try. I may regret this. I may get it completely wrong. I’m just a dopey human being after all. :-)

    I’ll start with the basic falsification you’ve all heard before: if a fossil turned up in the record that was clearly and unambiguously way out of place then I would have to question the basic premise of evolution. I’m taking about a fossil that was found in the completely wrong place at the wrong time. That would be a major if not a fatal blow.

    What else . . ..

  101. Clear and unambiguous physical evidence of a designer operating on earth with a technical capacity well in advance of what life was capable on this planet at that time would open the door to the possibility of there being some being around that was capable of creating and implementing a genome design. I’m talking about artefacts here, not the complex and specified information in DNA which we already disagree on.

    What else …

  102. Collin: really, the heart of your question is: what discoveries about the molecular evidence would force me to give up, or at least doubt, the naturalistic view of the development of life on this planet. Yeah?

    There’s always a real signature in the cell. :-) I mean a section of DNA that spelled out the designer’s name and goal and point. A copyright notice would be very nice.

    But to get to the trickier case . . . what sort of evidence, what kind of genetic leap would I find so improbable that I was forced to abandon a naturalistic view? How about this . ..

    An example of a long sequence of DNA, present in a large portion of a species population, which had absolutely no precursor in the ancestors or closely related species. A chunk of functional DNA which appeared out of no where, at some verifiable time.

    An example: suppose some person or animal’s genome was sequenced and that individual’s DNA exhibited a substantial chunk of genetic material that was clearly not a duplication or a repetition of existing DNA code. A specific example of one creature’s genome which had no analogy in it’s ancestors or related species. And was not introduced by humans in some genetic experiment. THAT would make me doubt a lot of what I had been told.

    Because that is what some of the ID paradigm is saying isn’t it? That at some time, a designer significantly altered the DNA sequence of existing creatures so that some new coding, not existent before was present.

    I think I can live with that falsification.

  103. In some sense I am asking the same question of ID that ID asks of evolution: give me an example in the genetic code of how a step was made. That seems appropriate and fair.

    And, I’d still like to see someone attempt to answer some of the questions I raised earlier about how design modifications were implemented. Just a guess .. . just someone’s opinion … I’ve offered mine, let me hear yours. Yeah?

  104. Thanks ellazimm.

    I can definitely respect the point of view that a radical hypothesis should have very strong support.

    I wonder though, would you place such a high burden on the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence? (SETI). It is essentially intelligence detection. Michael Crichton even called it a religion because there is no evidence that there actually is intelligent life out there. Yet it is funded by the US gov.

    What about stonehenge that you mentioned earlier? What methods did scientists use to tell if it was designed rather than a chance geological happenstance? Hasn’t earth been around long enough that some stonehenge type things were bound to happen? Aren’t there enough multiverses to make it practically inevitable that some planet like earth would have a stonehenge that was not built by people?

  105. Ellazimm #98:

    [...] Do common solutions arise due to some direction or because the solution space is limited by the environment? Is the environment directing the outcomes? Limiting the ‘solutions’??

    These are exactly the kinds of question which I find so fascinating. Yes, I believe that the environment is directing the outcomes. (This differs slightly to the front-loading principle, in which functionality resides in the genome in a “latent” form, to be expressed at a later time.)

    However, if the environment is directing the outcomes, then it suggests that it embodies a description of all those organisms that can survive well in it. It has been repeatedly shown that this is no mere “intuition”, but actually a statement about the nature of how information is communicated from one place to another. (For example: a gloomy liquid environment with a certain pH might “code for” a certain type of eye.)

    Now suppose I were to write a book called “The Blind Schoolteacher”, in which I posited that children don’t really learn anything meaningful at school. They have randomly shifting beliefs, and the school environment simply tends to “select” those which are better suited to academic success. I could give countless examples of how most children are develop various strategies to succeed, some learn stacks by rote, others blag, others cheat, get clever girlfriends, etc. All these anecdotes would make terrifically enjoyable reading. It could lead its readers to conclude that children don’t really learn – a now outdated belief. They simply modify their ideas at random, accumulate lots of ideas that are useful to survive in school, and exit with them.

    Wouldn’t you suspect something was up? We can all be talking about the same things, using words like “teacher”, “lesson”, “classroom”, etc. Suppose you are happy with all these structures, but aren’t happy with the idea that the schooling process creates knowledge in childrens’ heads de novo. You asserted that it was transmitted from somewhere.

    Further, if there was a perceived-as-crackpot outfit in the US, called “Young People Learnists” who taught that ideas appear magically in childrens minds, put their directly by God, then the issue could get very muddled. Channel 4 and Horizon would run special issues on the new “YPL threat”. You would find yourself being accused of all sorts if you even breathed a word of scepticism about the “evolutionary” origin of the curriculum.

    This is how I perceive the situation, in analogical terms. Environments actively shape the creatures that appear in them. And the formation of these environments are themselves governed by the wider (e.g., astronomical) environment, and so forth. Pursuing this line of reasoning leads to the astounding conclusion that the universe from its very beginning (if not in terms of a temporal sequence, then in terms of sequences of causes) actually contains in itself, instructions concerning how to build something which is alive.

    What is this ultimate source? Is it “intelligent” or a “designer”? Or God? This is where ID operates by analogy, and perhaps I am a little more uncomfortable. But it is more intellectually satisfying than the “mistakes accumulate in environments that happen by chance to weed them out” solution which is so prevalent nowadays – and, I might add, seems to demand the exclusive loyalty of its adherents to a degree which borders on the religious.

  106. BA: The transitionals I am falling back on are published in books and research articles widely available to anyone who wants to have a look. You know this, you’ve heard it many times before.

    There are pre-Cambrian fossils which do show a lead up to the ‘explosion’. And those can be found in Prothero’s book which draws upon hundreds of research papers discussing evidence. I can’t possibly summarise it all here but you can go and read about it and see what researchers in the field are saying outside of a limited debate. Science isn’t built on sound bites after all. Or the ability of any one person performing in a public forum. My winning or losing here proves nothing. The accumulation of years and years and years of data, documented in hundreds of research papers does matter. And when someone knowledgeable and experienced in the field summarises that information, fully referenced, in an accessible book written for the public then I tend to give them a lot of benefit of the doubt.

  107. For me, any complex mechanical thing that “has appearance of design” (Richard Dawkins’ words) carries a presumption that it was designed. In my mind, evolutionists have the burden to prove that the protein machines in the cell and the DNA code are not designed. I think they have made a spectacular effort, but I think they have failed.

    Part of my reasoning is that it seems unlikely that enough beneficial mutations could happen to create life as we know it, especially features like mechanisms that reduce the number and heritability of mutations. In that way, I am persuaded by John Stanford’s Genetric Entropy argument.

  108. Collin: there are plenty of good books discussing Stonehenge. I’m not an expert but I’m sure you can find a good discussion of the evidence if you spend some time.

    The source of the stone has been determined. The construction techniques have been fairly well explored. Excavation around the site (and other similar sites) have shown the tools used in the construction. There are still lots of unknowns but there is no evidence that Stonehenge was not constructed by anyone or anything other than very clever human beings about 5000 years ago.

    SETI is fairly cheap and gets lots of funding by private individuals. I think there is value in speculation. Why not spend some time and effort to check it out? I don’t stay awake at night waiting for results though.

  109. Part of my reasoning is that it seems unlikely that enough beneficial mutations could happen to create life as we know it, especially features like mechanisms that reduce the number and heritability of mutations.

    Yes, unlikely. But it is also possible that the environment makes them likely. But this does nothing to reduce my overall surprise, as an environment that selects for something extremely unlikely demands an explanation equal to that of its inhabitants. (See #105 above.)

    This is why I don’t feel particularly threatened by science which attempts to account for the formation of what, on a first blush, appear to be extremely unlikely physical structures.

  110. [Sorry! the above quote was from Collin #107.]

  111. Hello Collin,

    “Part of my reasoning is that it seems unlikely that enough beneficial mutations could happen to create life as we know it, especially features like mechanisms that reduce the number and heritability of mutations.”

    It is probably worth considering that until a semiotic system was in place to facilitate the abstracted information of the cell (such as the chemical symbols A, C, G, and T/U we find today) then there was no heridity at all, and therefore no variation to that heredity.

  112. equinoxe: I think your analogy has merit, and I say that as someone who works in education in the UK and previously did in the US. I am continuously suspicious and skeptical of new educational paradigms; most of them are not backed up by significant research. Many are driven by governments’ need to prove there are doing something. But your comparison is apt.

    I think lots of people on both sides of the evolution/ID debate are driven by what they are told. And it’s fair for people to query me about that. It’s a perfectly legitimate concern. I’m not sure exactly how far the analogy works towards explaining evolution but it does seem useful.

    I think the information contained in the genome of any living being shapes it’s development to enable it to better exploit a given ecological niche. The ‘information’ is the self-replicating molecule’s experiments in various coping strategies. The strategies that work take precedence. Many try, most fail, the winners make more winners.

    I came to evolution on my own without coercion or value judgements. I can’t speak for anyone else. I can see that, for the religious faithful, it does feel like a concentrated and targeted attack on their beliefs. I hope they can find some accomodation. But it is up to the faithful to find their own way through.

    Anyway, it’s almost 10:30pm here and I’m tired. I’d still like to hear any answers anyone has to my questions about how and why new genomes might have been introduced. I think those questions are really fascinating. But I’ll have to catch up tomorrow sometime. I’m going to bed!!

    Night all! I hope I haven’t disappointed too much. Or offended. Thanks for the time and the place. It matters.

  113. Ella,

    “The source of the stone has been determined. The construction techniques have been fairly well explored.”

    And prior to those conclusions, exactly how much time was spent wondering if it all came about by weather and wind? If no time was spent on such a hypothesis, then what were the characteristics of the artifact itself which led to that result? Are there any at all? And if Stonehenge had been found on the backside of the moon, what would we say then?

    Now clearly, you are a materialist who does not intend in any way to allow their thinking to be provoked by such questions, you made that clear on your maiden voyage here some time ago. But still, you are a good sport, and I must still ask.

    Feel free to ignore both me and my question.

  114. #97

    Gpuccio

    In the explanatory filter, it is clearly stated that necessity mechanisms must be ruled out to recognize CSI. So, your example is definitely not an example of CSI.

    Remember VB’s request. For scientific evidence that natural causes can explain CSI.

    Now you ell me that it no longer counts as CSI if we find a natural cause that explains it too well. It no longer counts as CSI if a natural cause which totally explains it is found!

    If I provide a natural cause that makes the outcome probable but not certain, then is that OK? Or is that also ruled out by definition? I think the magnet example fulfils this. The magnet greatly increases the chances of a filing falling into the pattern but roughnesses in the surface and other chance interference will mean that a very few filings do not match the pattern (try it).

    If that also prevents it being CSI then Vivid’s request becomes: show me a natural cause for a phenomenon that has no known natural cause!

    This is a problem at the heart of the whole CSI etc argument. It defines information in terms of lack of natural cause or weakness of natural cause and then says “see there is no plausible natural cause for information”.

    On dFSCI vs CSI

    You may prefer functional specification to Dembski’s definition – but nevertheless your initial definition was in direct contradiction (not a subset of) his most recent definition of CSI (a definition which he clearly says supersedes all previous definitions and which, as far as I know, he has not retracted or modified in 5 years). You quite clearly said CSI must have low compressibility. He quite clearly says CSI must have high compressibility. Are you surprised that intelligent people are confused about the concept when the leading figures are giving contradictory definitions? If William Dembski is confused about your definition what hope have the rest of us got?

  115. UBP: Stonehenge is made of uprights and lintels. The lintels sit on bumps carved into the tops of the uprights; there are corresponding indentations on the underside of the lintels. At a similar site, Avebury, excavations revealed tools used in the construction. The layout of Stonehenge strongly suggests it was used as a sort of calendar/ritual site. There are lots of good resources on Stonehenge if you really want to know about it. The Aubrey holes are possible temporary alignment tools and/or an early stage of construction.

    If such a thing was found on the moon then I would assume that some kind of being had been there in the past. That reminds me of the 2001 scenario.

  116. Mark:

    Very simply, it seems that, if you have no arguments, your argument becomes that Dembski has written a single paper where he seems to say something different for what all ID says (including all contributions by Dembski to ID). I will not judge that specific paper from Dembski (it is very theoretical, and that is not my field), but I really think that here the only confused person is you.

    The concept of functional information is simple and old. Dembski has not created it.

    Biological information is functionally specified. There is no doubt about that. It is not compressible, and it cannot be generated by a necessity mechanism. It is CSI, according to Dembski’s explanatory filter. It is dFSCI, according to my definition, and, what is more important, according to the concept of functional information which is routinely used by all those who have been intelligent enough to understand that there is a problem of functional information in biology, both in the ID field and in the darwinian field (how can you explain that there are many papers and experiments in the darwinian field which are desperately trying to show that the problem of functional information can be solved, of in your opinion there i no such problem? ).

    Let’s go to your, equally confused, argument about necessity. You say:

    “Now you ell me that it no longer counts as CSI if we find a natural cause that explains it too well. It no longer counts as CSI if a natural cause which totally explains it is found!”

    Here you are really cheating! When did I say such a thing? I said that your example is not CSI because it is the result of a well known necessity mechanism, which is explicitly an exclusion criteria in Dembski’s explanatory filter and in my definition. You are conflating the concept of “known necessity mechanism” with that of “natural cause”! That is neither logical nor fair.

    I don’t know why you mess with simple things. CSI is about those patterns of information which are not explained (nor explainable) by an explicit, simple necessity mechanism (IOWs, are not compressible in the Kolmogorov sense, ot if you want cannot be generated by an alogtithm, at least not an algorithm which is significantly less complex than the output itself). Is that clear?

    And which, at the same time, convey a functional information (or any other kind of specification, but in biology the only important one is the functional). Is that clear?

    And which, at the same time, are too complex to come out through a random mechanism. Is that clear?

    A random mechanism is a natural cause, which can give outputs even if no describable necessity mechanism exists. That’s why we have to consider if the complexity of our functional output allows a random explanation.

    And finally, a designer is a natural cause. Only a different one. If you think that the designer is “supernatural” (a word I don’t love any way), then the whole process of design will have a “supernatural” origin, but design in itself is perfectly natural, because it is daily observed in nature: we daily observe conscious intelligent beings projecting their conscious representations so that they give form to pseudo random, non compressible, and highly complex strings. That’s what you and I are doing on this blog.

  117. Ellazimm,

    There are also corresponding indentations for DNA in ribosomes. In fact, the fittings in cells are much more exact than Stonehenge or anything else in the universe that I am aware of. DNA is clearly used as a blueprint. Just as Stonehenge helped give calendar-type information, DNA gives proteins regulatory information.

    I’m certainly not saying that Stonehenge was not designed. But I am saying that all of those things you mention rightly lead you to a design inference. Since the uprights fit nicely into the lintel, it is more likely to be designed. What about those numerous things in biology that fit just perfectly? Or cosmology?

  118. Ella,

    The lintels sit on bumps carved into the tops of the uprights; there are corresponding indentations …

    So you look to the artifact itself for evidence of its origin. You do so because doing so is valid.

    Millions of ID proponents agree with you on that point.

    If such a thing was found on the moon then I would assume that some kind of being had been there in the past.

    Then you have appropriately made a design inference based upon the artifact itself without regard to knowledge of designer – neither its character, nor even its existence.

    In the course of doing so, you also fully contradict any number of your repetitive exchanges on this forum:

    What proof is there that, say, 500 million years ago there was an intelligent agent around aside from gaps in the fossil record? Intelligent agents can’t act if they aren’t there.

    Your typical return is a recurrent theme among ideologues. It is to dutifully wave your hands at the evidence, then make effervescent statements regarding impossibilities, and probabilities, and the ever-present limits to knowledge. It is to place your head deeply in the sand and say that lintels and uprights can carve themselves in such a fashion, and just because we don’t know it happened is not to say that we can’t figure it out some day.

    [Physics cannot explain the presence of meaningful information being instantiated into matter]

    Physics not being able to answer now does not mean it won’t be able to later. Our limited understanding of the rules does not imply impossibility.

    And the beat goes on…

  119. Gpuccio

    I will answer the two elements in two comments. First the clarity (or not) of the ID definition of information.

    I am surprised how easily you dismiss Dembski’s paper. To reiterate – he is ID’s leading theoretician on CSI, he explicitly says this definition supersedes all previous definitions, it explicitly contradicts your definition in at least one part. However, this is not the only source of confusion in this concept which you find so simple. The confusion is of two sorts.

    1) Other different definitions of information from other ID supporters. Your definition may seem clear to you but remember those of us outside the ID movement are exposed to all sorts of other examples and sources. Dembski’s paper is one case, but for example Stonehenge is being held up as a prime example of information on this very thread. It is neither digital nor functionally specified. It is almost certainly compressible in the sense that you could describe its salient characteristics in a few sentences.

    2) Ambiguities in your own definition. Two examples:

    * Functional specification requires a function. Do you define the function of haemoglobin to be:
    a) attach an oxygen atom
    b) transport oxygen to the other parts of the body
    c) provide other parts of the body with access to oxygen
    d) enable the respiratory system to work
    e) sustain life
    it does all of these and the probability of each is different.Who decides which is the correct function and on what basis?

    * I hope you agree that the measure of dFCSI is the improbability of that configuration meeting the specification (once you have decided the specification). But improbability given what? The improbability of getting to human haemoglobin from the beta haemoglobin in an early mammal is very much higher than the probability of getting to it from the original single haemolglobin found in early lampreys and hagfish. This in turn is much higher than the probability of getting to it from the haemoglobin precursors found in plants. Where do you start when calculating this improbability and therefore the information content?

  120. Gpuccio part 2

    The second point.

    Vividbleau asked for scientific evidence that natural processes can explain CSI (by “explain” I assume he means “bring about”). Let us avoid an unnecessary debate about natural and supernatural by modifying that to “evidence that non-designed processes can explain CSI”. All I am saying is that if you define CSI as a pattern which is not produced or made probable through a non-designed process then it is impossible to satisfy Vividbleau’s request by definition. Of course design is required to produce CSI – because part of the definition of CSI is that it is not produced by any other method. Perhaps Vividbleau should have expressed his challenge as “scientific evidence that non-designed processes can explain apparent CSI”. In which case I think the magnet example is just fine (I am not talking about functional information at this point).

    You say “CSI is about those patterns of information which are not explained (nor explainable) by an explicit, simple necessity mechanism (IOWs, are not compressible in the Kolmogorov sense, ot if you want cannot be generated by an algorithm, at least not an algorithm which is significantly less complex than the output itself). Is that clear?”

    Well I am afraid it isn’t clear. Are you claiming that you can tell if a string is non-compressible simply by inspecting it? As I understand it that has been proven to be impossible. There is no general method for calculating the minimal Kolmogorov complexity of a given string (although it may be possible in some specific cases). So, for example, we cannot in general tell if there exists an algorithm capable of producing a given DNA string.

  121. Mark (#119 120):

    Let’s start:

    1) I am not dismissing Dembski’s paper. I simply do not need it for my discussion. And I don’t remember that I have ever found, for instance here at UD, anyone who was relying on the definition in that particular paper to discuss CSI and ID. So, it seems that it is not only me that do no find particularly necessary that paper.

    2) You say tha Dembski is “ID’s leading theoretician on CSI”. That’s true. But I would say that most would agree on that because of his previous work, and not so much that paper. And his more recent work, extremely good, is about debunking evolutionary algorithms. I am not aware that he has followed up much on that paper, which IMO remains rather isolated.

    3) And, anyway, plurality of thought is a richness in any field. As I have said many times, ID is not a party, and Dembski is not our leader. That makes his work even more important, because its influence is based on simple depth and relevance, and not on authority.

    4) That said, more to the substance.
    You say:

    Other different definitions of information from other ID supporters. Your definition may seem clear to you but remember those of us outside the ID movement are exposed to all sorts of other examples and sources. Dembski’s paper is one case, but for example Stonehenge is being held up as a prime example of information on this very thread. It is neither digital nor functionally specified. It is almost certainly compressible in the sense that you could describe its salient characteristics in a few sentences.

    First of all, make a simple exercise: forget for a moment other definitions, and just see if my definition is clear for you too. We can, after all, evaluate a definition for itself, without being conditioned by what others say.

    Regarding Stonehenge at similar: it should be clear that my definition of dFSCI is not an alternative definition of CSI, but only a subset of it. Stonehenge can well be an example of analogic CSI, and everybody is free to discuss it. I don’t discuss analogic CSI for two reasons:

    a) It is much more difficult to compute the complexity

    b) Basic biological information, which is what I am interested in, is in digital form

    But that does not mean that analogic CSI does not exist. Anybody can discuss examples of analogic CSI, only I suppose that it will be difficult to agree on a measurement of the complexity.

    So, Stonehenge and other analogic examples need not confound the poor non IDist who is for the first time approaching the concept of CSI. For simplicity, I would suggest that in the beginning he may stick to dFSCI to better understand what is discussed.

    And I really don’t know how much the information in Stonehenge is “compressible”. That would require a long discussion, and frankly, for the above reasons, I am not interested in it.

    The rest in next post.

  122. Collin and UBP: There is a difference between inferring design in the case of Stonehenge and DNA: Stonehenge is inanimate, it can not reproduce with modifications. And, at least in the case of the Stonehenge in England, we know from other evidence that there were intelligent beings around at the time capable of such a construction.

    Design inference must take into account the material being studied. Inanimate objects are not capable of that kind of self-assembly and alignment. Living systems which are capable of common descent with modifications are a completely different matter. Given the right selection pressure living systems can be groomed and directed to fill a particular niche based on the external (to the living system) input.

    I know you know that without me having to repeat it. And I’m sure you make that same kind of inference when you find a mound of dirt, a shovel, a hole in the vegetable garden and your child is no where to be found. Inanimate objects don’t arrange themselves like that.

    If you’re going to make an inference comparison then compare like to like.

  123. Mark (continued):

    1) You say:

    Functional specification requires a function. Do you define the function of haemoglobin to be:

    a) attach an oxygen atom
    b) transport oxygen to the other parts of the body
    c) provide other parts of the body with access to oxygen
    d) enable the respiratory system to work
    e) sustain life

    it does all of these and the probability of each is different.Who decides which is the correct function and on what basis?

    This is a good question and it has a simple answer.

    First of all, one can define any function, But the computation of dFSCI will be relative to that function. That means that we can have different values for each function defined.

    That’s perfectly fine. dFSC is a property relative to a function, and to the minimal system required to express that function.

    In each case, obviously, we have to compute the minimal complexity necessary for the function to be expressed, according to our definition of it.

    In general, it is good to choose the simplest definition and the simplest structure, because analysis of more complex sistems bears many further difficulties in computing (because one ahould take into account the complexity deriving from the interaction of simpler parts).

    That’s why I never try to compute the dFSCI of a “system”. I am happy with the model of dFSCI of single proteins, indeed of single protein domains, because those are the simplest functional units.

    That’s why, in your example, I would definitely choose the answer:

    a) attach an oxygen atom

    which is the biochemical function of the protein itself, but adding some better description of the properties necessary for that function to be biochemically useful for the higher level necessioties of the system: the oxygen atom must be bound with a reversible link, in different conditions of pH and so on. That remanisn a definition of the biochemical function of the single protein, but it describes better what is required of the protein in a larger system.

    Anyway, my further analysis will go on from my definition, as already said.

    2) You say:

    I hope you agree that the measure of dFCSI is the improbability of that configuration meeting the specification (once you have decided the specification). But improbability given what? The improbability of getting to human haemoglobin from the beta haemoglobin in an early mammal is very much higher than the probability of getting to it from the original single haemolglobin found in early lampreys and hagfish. This in turn is much higher than the probability of getting to it from the haemoglobin precursors found in plants. Where do you start when calculating this improbability and therefore the information content?

    This is even easier. If you have followed my recent postings on this subject, you should know that whne we compute dFSCI (like in the Durston paper) we have two options:

    a) We can compute the global dFSCI of a protein, or better of a protein family. Durston, for instance, computes it for 35 protein families (I am afraid hemoglobin is not in the group). Let’s take for instance his value for Ribosomal S12:

    Length: 121 AAs

    Functional complexity: 359 Fits

    Number of sequences on which the computation has been made: 603

    What is the meaning of the value of 359 Fits? It means that according to Durston’s computations, if we had to generate the functional information of that protein in a completely random system, the probablities to get a functional result would be 1: 2^359. That is well beyond my personal threshold for biological systems, which is of 150 bits.

    Now, what does it mean “generate the functional information of that protein in a completely random system”? I does not mean, obviously, to pass from one form of Ribosomal S12 in one species to that in another species. Which is the example you suggest for hemoglobin.

    No. In Durston’s computation, all the sequences of protein S12 in different species are considered as one family. It is very easy to pass from one to another, and the essential function in preserved (with possible minor tweakings form species to species). That is exactly what microevolution can do (and probably does do): To preserve an existing function by negative selection, and to change the primary sequence inside a functional island by neutral mutations. That’s what the “big bang” theory of proteins, which I often quote, is all about.

    But the ID problem is all another matter: the ID problem is: how was the first fuinctional S12 protein generated? IOWs, how was the essential protein domain generated?

    Now, as we know that there are in the proteome about 1000 – 6000 individual and unrelated protein domain superfamilies (according to how you do the grouping), it is obvious that if you hypothesize that they did not come out of scratch in a random way (in which case the Durston computation applies perfectly), than each of them must have come out of some unrelated different sequence, through a random walk. And, in that case, the Durston computation applies just the same. because a random walk starting from a completely unrelated sequence is indeed a random search.

    b) We can compute the dFSCI of a transition.

    So, let’s imagine that you can deconstruct the walk form A to B (where B is our first S12, and A is some pre-existing, unrelated protein domain) in a series of steps, let’s say A1, A2, An. Where each intermediate implies a survival advantage, and therefore can be “seen” by NS. If you could do that (which you can’t), then you would be right to affirm that the transition does not any more imply 369 Fits, because a necessity mechanism (NS) intervenes in each of the n points.

    That’s true. Then, we can simply compute the dFSCI implied in each of the n-1 transitions, and sum those values. That is perfectly possible. After you have given the explicit pathway of transitions and intermediates which your model refers to.

    Unfortunately, I am not aware of any of those detailed models. So, for the moment, we can be happy with computing the dFSCI of a protein family and, in the complete absence of any model which can explain its origin, and in good awareness that a purely random model could never originate it, maintain design as the best hypothesis.

    More on next post-

  124. No one has responded to my questions about a front loading scenario. Does anyone know of a site or a paper which discussing that sort of thing? It’s referred to here occasionally and I’d like to see what work has been done on it.

  125. I mean my questions in posts 85 – 87 above that is.

    Something else just occurred to me: When a new genome is implemented not only would enough ‘copies’ of the genome have to be introduced to make a viable population but some variation would have to be present as well to avoid the problems of inbreeding. Otherwise it would be like identical twins having a child.

  126. Mark (continued):

    You say:

    All I am saying is that if you define CSI as a pattern which is not produced or made probable through a non-designed process then it is impossible to satisfy Vividbleau’s request by definition.

    Wrong. We define CSI as a pattern which is not the result of a necessity mechanism, and that is too unlikely to be generated through random processes. Please notice that, in pronciple, CSI could even not exist in the real world.

    But indeed it exists. Because we observe it every day. Where? In artifacts designed by humans.

    That’s why we infer form our observations that artifacts exhibiting the formal properties of nour definition (which, again, do not include being designed) are always designed.

    You have done this mistake ither times. I have outlined it to you other times.

    The definition of CSI is not circular, whatever you may say. The definition contains no reference to being designed. Take my definition of dFSCI, for example:

    a) A string of digital values

    b) Scarcely compressible

    c) Whose complexity is higher than 150 bits

    d) Which conveys the information for a well defined function…

    …is dFSCI…

    As you can see, nowhere in the definition I require that the string must be designed

    …and, as all strings of that kind we know of (except for biological strings, of which we are still debating the origin) are the product of design…

    …we infer that such a string is best explained by design.

    Nothing circular in that reasoning. So, please, acknowledge once and forever that your hints at circularity are wrong.

    In ID, design is inferred. It is an inference by analogy. CSI is the basis for the analogy. Everything is strictly empirical.

    The inference can be right of wrong, but it is not circular: it is empirical.

    So, when you say:

    scientific evidence that non-designed processes can explain apparent CSI

    you are wrong again. The correct form is:

    scientific evidence that non-designed processes can explain CSI, and that therefore CSI is not a marker of true design, but can be exhibited by apparent design.

    What is maybe true or maybe apparent is the desinged origin, not CSI. CSI ia a formal property which is in the ardtifact, or isn’t in it. We in ID believe (empirically) that the presence of CSI is a marker which allows us to distinguish between true design and apparent design.

    But CSI is never apparent. We can see if it is there or not (provided that we can do the computations of the complexity).

    And I am sorry, but the magnet example is not fine, in no context it is fine. Necessity outputs have nothing to do with CSI. They can never be used to infer design.

    Next post is the last.

  127. Mark (final):

    You say:

    Well I am afraid it isn’t clear. Are you claiming that you can tell if a string is non-compressible simply by inspecting it? As I understand it that has been proven to be impossible. There is no general method for calculating the minimal Kolmogorov complexity of a given string (although it may be possible in some specific cases). So, for example, we cannot in general tell if there exists an algorithm capable of producing a given DNA string.

    This is even easier. First of all, it is well known that protein sequences are sacrcely compressible with any known method.

    That is more than enough for me. I would never require a mathemathical proof that no algorithm can generate protein sequences.

    Really, I have no need of that.

    We are in empirical sciences here. Not in mathematics, a field which I respect, but which I am happy to leave to others :)

    I am satisfied that my proteins are not compressible by any known algorithm. That means that design remains the best explanation, because no other explanation is in the game at present.

    If and when you find a compression algorithm for protein sequences, which can generate all of the functional sequences we know, through a simpler mechanism than just writing down those sequences, than we can discuss your findings.

    Bu I am not holding my breath.

  128. ellazimm (#125):

    Most (but not all) of basic protein evolution took place at OOL or in prokaryotes. At that level, there is no sexual reproduction, and everything is “identical twins” (except for new mutations).

    In higher beings, sexual reproduction and polymorphism of genetic traits bring about the diversity we see in races and in individuals.

  129. ellazimm:

    personally, I have never believed in front loading, so I cannot help you about that. But I think there should be some “front loading” supporter here. I hope they can give you some reference.

  130. gpuccio: I know that but I was just wondering if anyone had put any thought into to the requirements of a front-loading periodic genome introduction scenario. I’m not saying all ID proponents buy into that but some do and I’d like to find out a bit more about what they are proposing.

  131. Ella,

    You are equivocating.

    You do not look at Stonehenge, nor a finding on the moon, and begin by classifying it among those things that can and cannot self-replicate. Indeed, you began by classifying it among those things that have functional specification (lintels, uprights, discreet corresponding indentations, an inference to purpose, etc).

    Also, regarding the self-replication of living systems, you continue to simply ignore the fact that without the system of heredity in place there is no descent with modification (no evolution, no mechanism of evolution, no power of the glory of evolution, amen). In other words, there is no place to bury your head. Your catch-all refutation is not even in effect until the what must be explained is already in existence.

    Abstracted information regarding the structure of the organism is recorded into the DNA molecule in a semiotic state (with symbols and rules for its translation). The translation of this recorded information leads directly to biofunction and is THE distinction between inanimate matter and living things – those things that can self-replicate and those that cannot.

    The fact that you simply refuse to address this necessity (opting instead to squint your eyes and wax on about the power of the evolutionary mechanisms) is all too convenient.

    If you were fair-minded you would simply agree (based upon observable evidence) that the inference to deisgn is indeed legitimate, even if you personally choose to look for new findings to invalidate its legitamacy.

  132. UBP: I’m I afraid I do first make that distinction and I look for outside evidence of possible designers and try to evaluate their capabilities. You’ve got to do that in archaeology.

    I think that a basic self-replicating molecule is enough to start life going. And that slowly over millennia modifications create new and more complicated structures.

    I just disagree with you. Lots of people do.

  133. Ellazimm,

    Yes, self-replication does make ID-er’s job much more difficult. Paley’s watch was not a self-replicating watch, so that analogy can only go so far.

    But what would you think about a self-replicating robot discovered on Pluto? What if there were thousands of them, diverse, and symbiotic? Would you rule out design a priori?

  134. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....ting_robot

    What scientific tools would we use to determine if this would be a designed thing or a naturally occuring thing?

  135. Gpuccio

    It is I who is now beginning to wonder how you cannot see my point. There are many things that emerge but I want to pursue what I think is the most important.

    You wrote:

    The definition of CSI is not circular, whatever you may say. The definition contains no reference to being designed. Take my definition of dFSCI, for example:

    a) A string of digital values

    b) Scarcely compressible

    c) Whose complexity is higher than 150 bits

    d) Which conveys the information for a well defined function…

    …is dFSCI…

    As you can see, nowhere in the definition I require that the string must be designed

    …and, as all strings of that kind we know of (except for biological strings, of which we are still debating the origin) are the product of design…

    …we infer that such a string is best explained by design.

    Nothing circular in that reasoning. So, please, acknowledge once and forever that your hints at circularity are wrong

    You may not include the word “design” in your definition but you do include:

    “complexity is higher than 150 bits”

    How do you calculate that complexity? By calculating the probability that it would arise through a known non-design process. i.e. one of the defining characteristics of FSCI is an outcome where there is no known non-design (necessary or chance) process which can generate it with a reasonable probability. You then argue that all cases of FCSI we either don’t know the cause or we know them to be designed (by humans as it happens).

    Can you really not see the blatant circularity? Try it this way:

    Rephrase (c) above as “incredibly unlikely to arise through known necessity or chance”

    Then you can rephrase the definition of FSCI as

    “”incredibly unlikely to arise through known necessity or chance + conditions (a0, (b) and (d)”

    Now take your phrase:

    “all strings of that kind we know of (except for biological strings, of which we are still debating the origin) are the product of design”

    and substitute the definition of dFSCI

    we get:

    “all strings we know which are incredibly unlikely to arise through known necessity or chance (+ conditions (a0, (b) and (d)) (except for biological strings, of which we are still debating the origin) are the product of design”

    Well of course they are – you just established that the only alternatives are necessity, chance and design.

  136. Ella,

    I think that a basic self-replicating molecule is enough to start life going. And that slowly over millennia modifications create new and more complicated structures.

    And once again you simply refuse to address the necessity of what must be explained prior to the onset of a self-replicating molecule capable of descent with modification. You did so no more than a few inches away (on your monitor) from where you were once again reminded that it is indeed necessary for your mechanism to have any effect at all.

    No one can make you address what you wish to ignore, but at the same time its hardly honest to then say you are open-minded, or to pretend that your conclusions are not the result of ideological blindness.

    Head…sand.

    I just disagree with you. Lots of people do.

    Given that you refuse to address the issue, it is hardly the case that you disagree. Disagreement would require engagement.

    In any case, given the former, your appeal to authority is less than compelling.

  137. Collin: self-replicating robots would be an interesting situation . . . . I suppose it depends on how they ‘reproduced’. If old robots built the new ones then it’s clearly a case of intelligent design including the start assuming some non-robot got the system started.

    I’m not sure how mechanical ‘beings’ could reproduce non-intelligently . . . there would have to be some way that the robots’ ‘blueprints’ were being modified without intelligent input . . . interesting thought.

    DNA isn’t really a blueprint actually. There is no one-to-one correspondence between body ‘parts’ and DNA sequences as in a blueprint for a machine or structure. DNA is more like a recipe but one where various ‘commands’ are activated by changing chemical signals.

    Anyway, an interesting question for sure.

  138. UBP: Perhaps we should just drop it then? I think a simple self-replicating molecule can spontaneously arise and once that happened then the whole cascade begins. We may never know if that’s what happened but I think it’s plausible.

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about some of questions I raised in posts 85-87 about a self-loading paradigm.

  139. Mark:

    excuse me, but I continue not to understand your point about the supposed circularity.

    Let’s state it this way.

    We have necessity and chance as possible causes.

    Then we have design. Human beings design things. Those things are different from those we usually see as the product of necessity and chance.

    Then we, being curious intelligent beings, ask ourselves: in what are they different?

    After some analysis, we dosciver at least one property which allows us to distunguish the two categories: CSI.

    Indeed, human design seems capable to generate outputs which have no evident necessity mechanism at their base, and whose complexity is not in the reach of chance alone.

    So, we give an explicit definition of CSI, to be able to use it as a tool to detect design where it is not known from the beginning (IOWs, when we don’t already known that the output was designed.

    We defone the specification, include the non necessity requirement, and fix the threshols high enough, so that we will have certainly false negatives, but hopefully no false positive.

    Then we use the tool to detect design in possible human artifacts, such as software strings, or possible ancient artifacts, or language, and so on.

    Do you follow me? What is circular in all that? We start form observation. It is true that we define CSI so that it can detect design: that is exactly its purpose. But still, if for instance design did not exist, CSI would yield all negatives. Because necessity mechanisms and chance cannot generate it. And so? If that were the case, we should conclude that what we have called design does not exists, or that we were wrong in thinking that design could generate CSI.

    But that is not the case, In all our observations of reality, out tool works fine. Very fine. If we apply it, it gives positives only for designed objects, and never for apparent design. All apparent design (objects which can be described as funcionally specified, but are indeed the output of necessity or chance) is a negative for CSI. So are, anyway, some truly designed objects (the false negatives) which are too simple to classify as positive.

    If it were not for the problem of biological information, no people with sense would doubt of the utility and appropriateness of CSI. None at all.

    But. There is a but. Not only human artifacts exhibit CSI. There is another class of things. Biological strings. Proteins and genomes.

    So, how is that? The ID answer is simple. They are designed, exactly as human artifacts. But that answer is not admitted by most intelligent people. They have their faith to defend.

    So, they try to demonstrate impossible things: that the CSI in biological information can be generated by necesiity or chance, or alternatively that the concept of CSI is wrong, or circular, or I don’t know what else.

    All that is wrong. You are wronlg. If you can’t see it, I don’t know how to explain it more clearly than so.

  140. Ella,

    Just drop it?

    LOL.

    I think a simple self-replicating molecule can spontaneously arise

    That belief is not based upon any emperically supportive evidence whatsoever…and once again it simply ignores what has to be in effect for the mechanism of descent with modification to even exist.

    Without that, your explanation falls apart. I am fairly certain that is the core reason you wish to “drop it”.

    Fine. Conside it dropped (but not forgotten).

  141. Ella,

    Oh and might I also add, when you say:

    I think a simple self-replicating molecule can spontaneously arise

    Not only is that belief not supported, it runs headlong in direct opposition to the actual evidence on the matter.

    So much for enlightenment.

  142. ellazimm:

    I think a simple self-replicating molecule can spontaneously arise and once that happened then the whole cascade begins. We may never know if that’s what happened but I think it’s plausible.

    Plausible? Are you really convinced of that? I believe darwinian propaganda must be stronger than I suspected :)

    I will not ask you for some more detail about your supposed scenario. I am afraid I already know what you would answer. But in case you want to go a little bit more in depth, on any of the points, I would certainly like it.

    Some suggestions: we can start at OOL (difficult) or at LUCA (easier), or at what follows.

    One curiosity. Why “we may never know if that’s what happened”? I am sure we will know, sooner or later. Maybe I have more faith in science than most darwinists…

  143. UBP: Well, a lot of research is being done on the possibility so . . . . But if my argument is not well founded . . . I never claimed to be an expert or even that knowledgeable, especially about OOL. Mostly I’ve just focused on what happens once life gets started. And whether there was any interventions along the way.

    I guess you’re not going to address my questions about a front-loading with frequent interventions scheme. Ah well, I was hoping for some feedback. Do you know of some work that has been done on that?

  144. gpuccio: I think I’d best not get involved in a OOL discussion; my knowledge is pretty minimal and I’m not aware of all the current research.

    I think it is possible that we will never be sure if life arose on earth spontaneously or was seeded via panspermia . . . say a molecule that got introduced via a meteorite or perhaps even intentionally. If intentionally lots more questions arise so spontaneous or accidental sounds more parsimonious to me.

    Sometimes you just never find out. That’s the way it goes.

  145. Ellazimm,

    I don’t know if I can answer your questions about front-loading, but I hope you don’t mind my making a few comments.

    I think that front-loading is one of the most interesting hypotheses in ID. I have heard it said that some very simple organisms have way more genes than one would expect. Could it be that those simpler organisms are “programmed” to evolve into other organisms upon an environmental trigger?

  146. Collin: I think it’s very interesting and that it would provide much research options for ID supporters to pursue. That’s why I was wondering if anything had been done. I hope some work is done. I think it’s a much bigger threat, if worked out, than irreducible complexity or specified complex information. AND . . . it’s something new to look into!

    Anyway, off to take care of my family. Left over lasagna or . . . .

  147. Hi all, a pleasure for me toread anyone.

    I feel that waters are now very leisure and is a good moment to make some comments.

    Ell @(132) and UBP

    “Perhaps we should just drop it then? I think a simple self-replicating molecule can spontaneously arise and once that happened then the whole cascade begins. We may never know if that’s what happened but I think it’s plausible”
    (bolds are mine)

    UBP, I think that you are no faith enough in that as possible, because you use the “We” and nor the “I”, as it must be. I say you that if you could have a single plus faith, that will be possible.

    Ell, you say:

    “I think that a basic self-replicating molecule is enough to start life going. And that slowly over millennia modifications create new and more complicated structures. ”

    Why do you think slowly (what for you is slowly?)and why do you think over millenia modifications? Dou you think that is needed millenia modifications to make a single change? (Imagine you if you were to change money at Bank and the banker says you “I need millenia modifications to make you the change of pounds for dollars”. Dont you think the Banker is out of reason?)

    Thats all for now. I think now is a good moment for well self-refletions”. Be happy,

    Obriton

  148. Gpuccio

    Here is where the circle arises in your argument:

    We have necessity and chance as possible causes.
    Then we have design. Human beings design things. Those things are different from those we usually see as the product of necessity and chance.
    Then we, being curious intelligent beings, ask ourselves: in what are they different?
    After some analysis, we dosciver at least one property which allows us to distunguish the two categories: CSI.

    But what is the definition of CSI – part of it at least is: “not the product of necessity or chance”. So the property that allows us to distinguish between “necessity or chance” and “design” is “not necessity or chance”.

  149. Markf,

    Don’t refute a weak definition of CSI. Go for the most robust. Who cares if there have been different definitions of CSI? If only one of them is a challenge to evolution, then it should be addressed headon instead of being attacked from behind by taking down a weaker cousin.

  150. #149

    Collin – there are two different things going on in the discussion above. One is the confusion arising from contradictory definitions from CSI. The other is the problem of circularity. The problem of circularity applies to any definition which includes as part of it – “was not the product of necessity or chance” – which as far as I can see is all of them.

  151. ellazimm,

    I think a simple self-replicating molecule can spontaneously arise and once that happened then the whole cascade begins. We may never know if that’s what happened but I think it’s plausible.

    Why do you think that a simple self-replicating molecule can just spontaneously “arise”? I do hope you realize that in all of the simple little molecules we, as human investigators, have found, no one has actually found this phantom molecule. It strikes me as pure fancy, like aether, phlogiston and gemmules. Secondly, I don’t see how finding this magical molecule would begin a “cascade” of anything. It doesn’t matter that a crystal produces more crystal, crystals do not become an engine by virtue of being many or much. I don’t think it’s in the least bit plausible, because it is so unlike anything we actually observe as humans. I would say it’s a fairy tale, but I happen to think there is at least some truth in fairy tales, whereas there is none in this belief.

  152. Markf,

    I challenge you to find any meaningful information that arose via chance or necessity.

  153. Hello Obriton,

    I think in your third paragraph you were assigning to me a comment that Ella actually had made. However, I do get your point and the answer is “No” I have no faith. My lack of faith stems from a couple of points.

    1) There is a category error being made. This error stems from the observation that a system of symbolic mapping is in place between the chemical structures in DNA and other chemical structures within proteins and other bio-compounds. (One thing means another, but is discreet from it). Yet, physics cannot explain the instantiation of meaning, no matter how long one wants to wait. Physics cannot explain it, but that is exactly what must be explained.

    2) There is a second category error being made. This error stems from the observation that there is an abstraction of the organism recorded within its DNA in a semiotic state. This abstraction requires symbols and rules in order for it to be recorded, and also to be decoded. Yet, physics cannot explain semiosis, no matter how long one wishes to wait. Physics cannot establish the symbols by which to encode the information, nor can it established the rules by which to decode it.

    3) There is a third category error being made. This error stems from the observation that it is information, not mere chemistry, which drives Life. Information is the single observable component which provides a distinction between inanimate matter and living things. Yet information is not a material phenomenon. (There is no information in matter; otherwise it would appear on the periodic table along with the other material elements which make up the cosmos). This suggests that something (here and now) must cause information to come into existence. That something is a simple observation which cannot be denied; information is the product of perception. There is no information in the cosmos that comes into existence by any means other than a living agent’s ability to first perceive it. Suggesting that matter can perceive itself (creating immaterial information) is a category error of the highest order.

    4) There is also a logic error being made. I am asked to place my faith in evolution as a viable answer to the problem of bio-complexity. Yet, for this explanation to have any explanatory power at all, the above mentioned system would already need to be in place. It is patently illogical to believe that as soon as a complex system of evolution evolves, then evolution can begin evolving complex systems. It is no answer at all. The complexity is in the system itself – not merely in the effects to follow.
    5) There is an ideological error being made. Materialists don’t want to talk about the known origin of information, or the various facets of semiosis, or symbols, or rules, or meaning – the core observations made in understanding how this all came to be. Instead, they want to comfort themselves in musings about crystals scaffolds, magic RNAs, zinc origins, and the ever-so-special emergent properties from the remote past (as if those properties are not in effect today). They want to synthesize the various components of the system, as if doing so could explain the system itself. While there is certainly nothing wrong in pursuing these research goals, the simple fact is that there is not one single materialist on the surface of the planet who can back up his/her materialism with even a single empirical evidence. Not one.

    Look at it this way. Consider yourself observing a remote lifeless planet. While there is no life at all, there are certainly chemical reactions which are taking place; there is the movement of an atmosphere; there is radiation from a sun, and the rotation of the planet is causing temperature differentials over cycles of time. There may even be rain of sorts, and weather, or perhaps vulcanization under the rocks that make up the planet’s surface. But, there is no life. There is no semiotic content being activated within the cells of living things. There are no feedback loops, or molecular second messengers. And without Life there is nothing to perceive its surroundings. No information is being exchanged. There are no rules which exist to decode the mappings between one thing and another. Nothing stands for anything else. If iron, hydrogen and oxygen molecules are available under the right circumstances, then rust will turn the rocks reddish in color, but there is nothing that means anything.

    From this state we are told that meaning can emerge into existence from non-meaning. So too can symbols. So too can rules, not laws, but rules. From this, matter can create an abstraction of itself in the form of chemical representations.

    This is why Ellazimm side-steps the conversation. It is why markf must dogmatically twist the living shit out of every word spoken. It is also why they both withhold even the slightest concession contrary to their beliefs. They are obliged to do so; they haven’t a thing to say about what is observably true.

  154. Hi UB, my appologies for put in your mouth something you has not said, but I see that even so, I’ve appointed in the right place, that is, that we are here speaking of faith, but nobody seems to have this faith.

    Well, I think this is a question we all, ellazim also, can see better. You stablish correctly: “information is the product of perception”, and that is a irrefutable truth. But here it is important to know what is perception, that is, matter perceives?

    And I can say you: “Yes, matter perceives” we all see it with gravity and with magneto-electric interactions phenomena. A material object and another material object perceive each other and this change
    their behavior. We cannot understand why (the nature of gravity and electro-magnetic, it is, we only can understood how, nor why), but they ever and ever do so.

    Well, I think that you can prefer name perception as a mental activity, but mental activity is not present in matter, then is not possible this perception to be “mental”. Then what? Can matter had only faith?, that is, a single question: to had faith or to had no faith.

    Any people is free to think as he wants, but who believe in Christ, has ever a guide where to find light, that is The Gospel. And can Gospel help us in that point? I think Yes, and a resounding YES. What says us Jesus?

    (Luke 17:6)
    “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!”

    You and everybody can see here three times applied the faith reality to three different ones: The first us, the man, that are recriminated because we have no faith, but He compares our faith with…a mustard seed. Well, you could want to say that He spoke of quantity, of more or less, but faith only IS or NOT, you cannot have 79.37567864% of FAITH. You only HAS or HAS NOT. Then, He says us that mustard seed HAS faith. One point.

    But He, if we dont understand well his Words, says more, that is, says that a mulberry tree perceive our faith and obey us, that is, mulberry tree has also faith, but now in us, only and exclusively because we have faith.

    I can explain you more which can be understood from this Phrase, but here we are speakig of Science, and in the aspect of Science, the point is that I can see the matter only as a fool thing that is not able of faith and of nothing, and fool, as intended by us, yes, it is, but faith, I assure you that faith is just what makes that matter to be where it is.

    I appreciate you very much UBP, then take all I said you as a motive to self-reflection. If any question I try to answer you.

    By for now.

  155. Markf:

    Find a large magnet. Scatter a large number of iron filings over it. They will form a well specified pattern. Applying Bernouilli’s principle of indifference (which I don’t hold with – but is essential to the calculation of CSI and the LCI) the probability of them falling at any angle is the same. So the probability of them all falling into the pattern is very small and can be made as small as you like simply by increasing the number of iron filings. So you have a specified outcome the probability of which as low you as you like generated by a natural process.

    I am going back to the original. The part that is specified is not complex. That is the shape of the magnetic field, specified by a simple, closed mathematical expression relating the radius r and angle phi with respect to the dipole axis to the angle at which the filing will align themselves. Any complexity arises from the random distribution of filings due to their location as they fall upon the field, and there is no specification in that. To have CSI you need the part that is specified to also be complex. You are conjoining two phenomena, one complex and unspecified, with one that is simple and specified. Your example fails at the start. It is not CSI.

  156. gpuccio and UB;

    Sorry to butt in. I have been criticized before for asking questions and not following up on the answers. Problem is I am in a different time zone and taking that into account and the fact that I am moderated, things often move away from me.

    However, I wanted to ask in light of your incredulity regarding the possibility of a replicating molecule spontaneously arising. UP, you mentioned it is contrary to the actual evidence.

    Well what is the actual evidence? You don’t have any either. You cannot explain how the first replicating molecule, or the first cell, arose, apart from saying something designed it, which doesn’t add anything to our sum of knowledge. At least the biologists are trying to come up with theories that include mechanisms.

    You look at nature and say things are very complicated, and given that the only other very complicated things we know of are the things we designed, therefore these things in nature must be designed too. Aside from the fact that just amounts to a pointless conjecture that doesn’t get us anywhere, there is absolutely no evidence for it! We have no experience of anything other than humans creating this level of complexity. And we know we didn’t do it. That’s as far as you can go.

  157. #155

    To have CSI you need the part that is specified to also be complex

    Uhm. First I heard of this. The specification also has to be unlikely to arise through chance or necessity?

  158. #152

    Collin – “meaning” can fall into two important types as described by PH Grice. He distinguishes between “natural meaning” for example clouds mean rain and “unnatural meaning” – I draw a picture of your spouse having an affair and you deduce what I mean!

    There are any number of cases of information with natural meaning arising out of chance and necessity – the clouds are one example – they are packed with information about the weather.

    More likely you mean unnatural meaning. This always arises out of design because that is how it works. There are no examples of unnatural meaning in biology either. DNA and proteins do not have unnatural meaning (with the exception of those very examples which have been created by human design). Unnatural meaning only arises from human design.

  159. Ella,

    You asked some questions earlier about front-loading. I think you might find the following article by Dr. Robert Sheldon to be of interest:

    The Front-Loading Fiction .

    Enjoy!

  160. Mark:

    No circularity, for the nth time.

    I say:

    “We have necessity and chance as possible causes.
    Then we have design. Human beings design things. Those things are different from those we usually see as the product of necessity and chance.
    Then we, being curious intelligent beings, ask ourselves: in what are they different?
    After some analysis, we dosciver at least one property which allows us to distunguish the two categories: CSI.”

    and you say:

    “But what is the definition of CSI – part of it at least is: “not the product of necessity or chance”. So the property that allows us to distinguish between “necessity or chance” and “design” is “not necessity or chance”.”

    No. The definiotion of CSI, and in particular of dFSCI, is:

    a) A string of digital values

    b) Scarcely compressible

    c) Whose complexity is higher than 150 bits

    d) Which conveys the information for a well defined function…

    If you want, we can make explicit what is already implicit in b), and add:

    e) For which no explanatory necessity mechanism is known.

    You are wrong about circularity. The definition is empirical. Each of the conditions can be objectively tested on a specific string (the only poitn which is not alway available is the computation of the complexity)).

    a) It is rather easy to verify if a string can be read as a series of digital values.

    b) We can verify if it is compressible by known compression systems.

    c) If we know, at least approximately, both the search space and the target space, it is easy to compute the functional complexity for a function.

    d) It is easy to verify if a function has been explicitly and objectively defined for the string.

    e) If a necessity explanatory mechanism is know, well, someone has to provide it. Otherwise, none is known.

    This is not a logical definition of anything. This is a procedure to attribute a property, which we call CSI, to something (in particular, to a string). The procedure can be applied to any known string, and if all the necessary information ios available, it will classify the strings in two sets: those exhibiting CSI, and those not exhibiting it. Forget for a moment the meaning of “CSI”. Let’s call “gpuccio” the calss of the strings satisfying our procedure, and “markf” the other class. At present, we are not attributing any meaning to that classification. Therefore, there can’t be any circularity.

    How can you deny that I can classify strings according to an explicit, algorithmic procedure, which can be applied to any string, and which has only a binary output? How I have built the procedure has no relevance here (although I will discuss that later). The procedure is there.

    Now, when we apply the procedure to known strings, 3 things can happen, in principle:

    a) All known strings classify as “markf”

    b) All known strings calssify as “gpuccio”

    c) Some strings classify as “markf”, and some classify as “gpuccio”

    If a) or b) were empirically true, my procedure would obviously be useless, giving the same result for all strings.

    But we well know that c) is empirically true.

    So, we can build two sets of strings.

    After some work, we observe something remarkable: our “markf” set is rather eterogenous, and includes all sorts of strings occurring in natural systems, aqnd even some simple human artifacts; but our “gpuccio” set is rather monotonous, and is formed of only two kinds of string, human artifacts and biological strings.

    Now, we make a very simple inference: most cases of strings designed by humans fall in the “gpuccio” set. That means that for them no explicit necessity mechanism, not involving a human designer, is known, and that their complexity is too high for any hope of generating them in a random system to be real.

    Let’s be even more specific. There is no doubt that Hamlet is in the “gpuccio” set (and I am rather satisfied of that :) ). Nobody knows how to generate Hamlet through an algorithm, without any intervention of a human designer (I would say of a Shakespeare!), and obviously without prior knowledge of Hamlet itself. At the same time, the poissibility of obtaining Hamlet from randomly typing monkeys is so unreal, that nobody uses that model any more.

    So, Hamlet is in the “gpuccio” set. And so are most of human writings, including this post. And so are most of human software programs, including those for Microsoft :)

    And so are most basic protein domains.

    Now, hyamòlet and similar, and computer software, are considered a product of human design. So we call them “designed objects”.

    The above classification in two stes is very useful if we want to detect if a string, of which we known nothing about, is designed or not. If, after applying our procedure, it falls in the “gpuccio” set, we assume it is designed.

    Does that method work? Yes, it does. We have empirical proof that it works perfectly for human strings. All the strings which fall in the “gpuccio” group, without exception, are found to be designed any time that an independent verification is possible.

    The opposite is not true. Many simple designed strings fall in the “markf” set. Those are the false negatives.

    Please, explain where is there any circularity in all that. There isn’t.

    The next step is the inference. The other class of objects falling in the “gpuccio” set is biological strings. Let’s say protein sequences. Let’s say 2000 basic protein superfamilies.

    We in ID infer, by analogy, that those strings are designed too. That inference can be right or wrong: only the accumulation of empirical data will ultimately solve the question even for the most reticent darwinists.

    But it is not circular. In no way it is.

  161. Mark:

    a clarification about the dFSCI procedure. Yes, it is built intentionally so that it can discriminate between those strings which are certainly designed and those which probably are not (let’s say in the set of non biological strings, for the moment). And it does exactly what it was built for.

    You are not observing any circularity: you are observing a tool which has been designed for a function, and accomplishes that function.

    Saying that it is circular is like saying that a diagnostic test which can identify a disease is circular because it was thought and chosen to identify that disease. That is simply silly.

    In empirical sciences, we do that all the time: we build operational procedures to achieve a specific result, and we build them according to our precious observations and knowledge, and then we verify that the result is correct.

    In medicine, we do that all the time. Nobody thinks that methodology is “circular”.

    The application of the procedure to biological information, whose origin is debated, is obviously an inference by analogy, as I have said maybe hundreds of times, and has therefore a different meaning.

    But the procedure itself is built on human artifacts, to detect them and works absolutely fine. It is empirical, scientific, non circular, useful, and it has no false positives and many false negatives, exactly because it was built to work that way.

    Are you complaining that we have built a good procedure?

    Maybe yes. Maybe that’s exactly the point.

  162. markf

    Uhm. First I heard of this. The specification also has to be unlikely to arise through chance or necessity?

    Did you read what I wrote? “Unlikely to arise through chance and necessity” is not equivalent to “Complex”. Complex things can arise by design or by necessity. Your example is no more convincing than the fact that rain falls to the ground and forms a thin layer. What’s the chance of all those molecules being compressed in one-dimension? That’s analogous to the iron filings being arrayed in a dipole field. They have no choice, and the full specification is contained in the mathematical description of the force applied. The specification is simple, but the results can be complex. The specification and the results are not the same thing – like the Mandelbrot Set, produced by a simple equation – simple specification leads to great complexity, but again, you must separate the specification from result or application of that specification. It is the specification itself that must be complex. Like this paragraph. Like a DNA code. Both of these are complex specified entities that produce complex results.
    To repeat. A magnet dipole moment is Simple Specified Information, that, when interpreted using iron files, produces a result which is Complex Unspecified Information. YOu are talking about two differnt things, and ignoring the parts you don’t want.

  163. Mark:

    Uhm. First I heard of this. The specification also has to be unlikely to arise through chance or necessity?

    No, again you equivocate. What is required is that the complexity must be necessary for the specification to be there. IOWs, we have to compute the minimal complexity which gives that specification.

    That’s why we consider the rate between functional space and search space as complexity, and not just the search space.

    For instance, in a protein some AAs can be indifferently any of the 20 available, and the function does not change. Others can vary only in a restricted range of possibilities. Others can have only one value.

    The Durston method deals very elegantly with that, through the application of Shannon’s H to the single aminoacidic positions.

    So, what SCheesman was saying is very simply that in your example of the magnet, no complexity is necessary to specify the resulting pattern: the simple necessity mechanisms connected with the electromagnetic field and its laws are enough. Any further complexity given by random variables does not contribute to the pattern: the magnetic field can work on any set of random variables, giving as a result the same pattern. The random variability is one thing, and the necessity pattern is another. The random vairability is complex, but in itself has no connection with the regular pattern. On the contrary, the necessity mechanism is simple, and it determines the pattern, except for the non regular part which is due to the random variability.

  164. #160, #161

    Now I am seriously confused. I thought “carries an oxygen atom” was an example of a specification. Certain configurations of protein happen to do this but actual functional specification they meet is simply “carries an oxygen atom”. This would appear to be simple – just as it is quite simple to specify the pattern which the iron filings must conform to.

  165. Mark:

    what are you saying? The type of oxygen binding in hemoglobin is very specific, has very strict biochemical properties, and cannot be achieved by a simple proteins molecule. There is no simple necessity algorithm which produces that kind of molecule. You need a very specific sequence, with a specific fold and interaction with the heme group. In the case of hemoglobin (but not myoglobin) also a quaternary structure which defines very useful dynamic properties of progressive oxygen binding.

    In the case of the magnet, you just need a magnet.

    In what sense do you believe that the properties of hemoglobin are “simple”?

    By the way, I had already said all that in my post #123:

    “That’s why, in your example, I would definitely choose the answer:

    a) attach an oxygen atom

    which is the biochemical function of the protein itself, but adding some better description of the properties necessary for that function to be biochemically useful for the higher level necessioties of the system: the oxygen atom must be bound with a reversible link, in different conditions of pH and so on. That remanisn a definition of the biochemical function of the single protein, but it describes better what is required of the protein in a larger system.”

  166. Gpuccio #159

    For the nth time it is circular :=)

    The catch in your procedure is the condition

    c) Whose complexity is higher than 150 bits

    for a given string you determine this by:

    c) If we know, at least approximately, both the search space and the target space, it is easy to compute the functional complexity for a function

    I thought that complexity in ID speak meant the probability of arising through necessity or chance was incredibly small? This does not follow from this calculation at all. You have to also assume there is no known non-design cause which would lead you to the target in the search space.

    However, instead of trying to show where your logic is wrong I thought I would take a moore positive approach. I am sorry it is so very long. This a shortened version. A fuller version is on my blog.

    First a clarification. The argument “I cannot see how this can have arisen through necessity or chance therefore it must have been designed” is not circular. It is a lousy argument, but it is not circular and it not the one I am picking on. The argument I find circular is:

    “All objects except biological ones with dFSCI are known to be designed. Therefore, biological objects with dFSCI are almost certainly designed.”

    First my summary of your argument. I hope this demonstrates I understand your argument. I am sure you will tell me if you disagree

    [start summary]]
    You classify the world into outcomes which exhibit dFSCI and those which do not. Also the world includes outcomes which fall into three groups:

    (A) we known them to be designed (because we observed humans design them or have reliable reports of humans designing them) e.g. Brooklyn Bridge

    (B) we known not to be designed (because we know how they were produced) e.g. the pattern of iron filings on a magnetic field

    (C) we do not know for sure whether they are designed or not because we do not know how they were produced (which includes aspects of life such as proteins, but also such things as old marks on rocks).

    You argue there is a correlation between dFSCI and group A. So if dFSCI is present in outcomes in group C we can conclude that they also are designed.

    [end summary]

    Now look at each of the defining characteristics of dFSCI and see to what extent it correlates with groups A and B. Is any charactistic rarely absent or rarely present in either group? I think you will find that, with two exceptions, they are all often present and often absent in both groups. (I expand on this in my blog).

    The exceptions are

    4) Complexity is greater than 150 bits

    and

    5) No explanatory necessity mechanism is know

    I will combine those as “there is no known plausible non-design mechanism”. I hope that makes sense?

    Here at last we have something which is not found in one of the groups and might act as an indicator of design. Group A includes things for which this feature is present as well as things for which it is absent. We often make things that could have plausibly been produced without intervention. But group B – stuff we know is not designed – always has a known plausible non-design mechanism. But hang on – how did we select stuff to be in group B? Because we knew it was produced by a plausible non-design mechanism! i.e. group B lacks the key feature “no known plausible non-design mechanism” by definition. Here lies the key circularity.

    Now there is a further possibility. Maybe what you are saying is that often things in group C have the feature “no apparent non-design cause” and then it turns out later that they were designed. This would be legitimate and non-circular. Unfortunately it is not true. History is stuffed with things for which there was no apparent non-design cause which later turned out to have a natural cause.

    Well that was very long. If nothing else I hope I have shown that the concept of dFSCI is far from straightforward. And I haven’t got into the complexities arising from defining the function specification.

  167. #164 Gpuccio

    You are confusing function and mechanism for performing that function. All the haemoglobin has to do is get the oxygen to the tissue. Now in practice this turns out to require a complicated mechanism but if the haeomglobin succeeded in some other way then its function is fulfilled.

  168. markf: You may think, that by combining the magnetic and the filings, you have created, from two items, a magnet: simple and specified, and filings: complex and mostly unspecified (apart from being collected in a jar), a new entity which is both complex and specified.

    And, in fact, the whole does exceed the strict sum of the parts, because in the act adding the filings to the magnetic you have added a new specification; you have imparted new information into the system that did not exist. But it is a very small thing; you have modified the existing location and distribution of the filings in a very specific way, by pouring, say, instead of throwing them up in the air, and by placing them on the magnetic instead of a meter away.

    It is not always a simple thing to decompose a system to determine what about it is simple/complex/specified/unspecified, and the difficulty we often have in doing so is not an indication that such distinctions are meaningless, but that we are still developing both the vocabulary and methodology to do so. The magnet/filings example is one where the accounting can be done

  169. VJ: Your link was very interesting. Thanks!

    I admit that we have never observed life spontaneously arising from non-life but to argue that it never could . . . how do you get life in the first place? I mean anywhere. That forces the belief in a supernatural being who exists outside of space and time. And, some would say, we have no evidence of such a being.

    So, the way I see it, we have two options: life somehow managed to spontaneous arise from non-life OR there is at least one unknowable and undetectable intelligence who at some time, at least, brought into existence a complex and self-replicating molecule upon which all life on our planet is based. I hope I am being fair to both sides here.

    I find the materialist assumptions more parsimonious. I find the materialist paradigm to be more explanatory and scientific owing to there being the possibility of testing those hypotheses. AND I know of a lot of very smart researchers who think the materialist model is worth exploring and examining.

    Maybe some of them ARE just going through the motions ’cause that’s what expected of them; I think that is a distinct possibility. I can easily see how someone could think: this is all just rubbish but I gotta do it to keep my publication record respectable. OR I’ll teach my class and try and keep a straight face but . . . . do these guys really think a bunch of chemicals just, somehow, incredibly, came together and starting making copies of themselves? Don’t make me laugh.

    IF there are people like that then I feel really sorry for them and I empathise; I’ve done work that I had no interest or faith in and it’s awful. Every day you feel like you’re selling a bit of your soul to feed a beast. And I feel really sorry for the rest of us if the vast consensus of the scientific community is just a lot of scared people saying they ‘believe’ in order to toe the line and keep their jobs.

  170. Ella,

    “So, the way I see it, we have two options: life somehow managed to spontaneous arise from non-life OR there is at least one unknowable and un detectable intelligence who at some time, at least, brought into existence a complex and self-replicating molecule upon which all life on our planet is based. I hope I am being fair to both sides here.”

    There ya go, I fixed that for ya.

    - – - – - – -

    “I find the materialist assumptions more parsimonious.”

    Parsimoniuos with what? The emperical observation that semiotic content is a byproduct of the weak nuclear force, or, that gravity explains language?

    Ella, you seriously need to get it in your head what evolution (descent with variation) does and does not explain. What is explained by evolution is not in doubt.

    Why is this so hard for you to come to grips with?

    - – - – - – -

    “I find the materialist paradigm to be more explanatory and scientific owing to there being the possibility of testing those hypotheses.”

    What is the test for the notion that unguided forces are all that is at work in the cosmos? That is, after all, the core assumption you have repeatedly espoused on this forum? It is also the core assumption of those whose work you point to as a validation of the notion. Does it bother you at all that the notion is untestable? Or, it that a requirement you faithfully reserve only for your intellectual opponents?

    And by the way, the presence of symbollic mapping within the genome is fully testable.

  171. UBP: “There ya go . . ” hahahahahahahahah :-)

    Parsimonious in that it requires fewer assumptions and generates fewer follow-on questions. Occam’s razor and all that.

    Why is it so hard for me to come to grips with what you are saying? I could be very, very stupid. I have my moments.

    The big notion IS untestable but the small, individual steps that are hypothesised are testable. And in OOL research (I think) what is being done is that the path is being traced backwards. So if someone proposes that such-and-such could be a precursor for what we have now that guess can be tested.

    I’m not familiar with the notion of symbollic mapping but there is no one-to-one correspondence between the body and the genome. If there was then there’d be a leg segment which could be subdivided into a knee segment and a thigh segment, etc. The DNA is a complication recipe with lots of branches for differing chemical situations. You can not completely predict the final ‘product’ based on a particular genome because the sequences contain instructions that are activated based partly on the environmental conditions.

  172. UBP: am I to assume you have no opinion on the front-loading questions I brought up in comments 85 – 87?

  173. Actually, I suppose a better name for what I was asking about would be reloading: the idea that an intelligent designer steps in on occasion and introduces a new genome, similar to an old but unviable existing genome.

    And it seems like anyone who agrees that there is an edge to evolution would have to accept something like what I was bringing up. And that some of my questions would have to be looked at.

  174. Ella,

    You are still just NOT getting it.

    Do this.

    Always remember that ID is NOT A CHALLENGE TO ANYTHING WHATSOEVER THAT HAS EVER BEEN PROVEN BY EXPERIMENT.

    Now, if you can get that firmly situated in your view, then all the uneccesary ramblings about ID will just fade away.

    What you will then be left with is what is actually at issue. You see, it is the assumptions that are unproven by experiment which are at the heart of the matter.

    And those assumptions are being challenged by the results of EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE and VALID REASONING. That evidence and reasoning is being denigrated and disallowed, based upon the ideological protection of those assumptions which are unproven by experiment

    DO you understand?

    So once again, remember ID is not a challenge to anything whatsosever which has been proven by experiment.

    ID people think that the Law of Gravity is a good thing. We think that dog are related to wolves. We think that when a person gets sick it is because they have taken on an infectious pathogen of some sort. We think that the DNA in an ant uses the same coding as the DNA in an antelope.

    Now, please do try to remember what the issues really are, and perhaps, cut back on the flag waiving about what is not even in play.

  175. Ella, quite honestly, it is a bit awkward for me personally to carry on a conversation about front-loading while you are still making categorically wrong statements about ID.

    It’s a bit like carrying on a conversation with a smiling pick-pocket. Of course, that is just my personal view, others will no doubt be happy to provide you with information. I can assure you VJTorely is more than capable of a stimulating conversation in all matters of ID. (Glad to see you back VJ).

    If you want an in-depth contribution to the notion of front-loading, I suggest The Design Matrix by Mike Gene.

  176. UBP: I thought I had admitted that in my post where I said I thought the materialist paradigm had fewer assumptions and was more parsimonious but that I thought the assumptions of materialism were more subject to testing and experiment.

    I thought I was discussing the underlying assumptions on both sides. That is: the ability of life and information arising from inanimate material on one side. And the existence of a prime mover beyond the scope of testing on the other.

    I apologise if I’ve got it wrong but I am not intentionally dodging an issue or avoiding a question. I suspect you’ll say that the impossibility of undirected, non-intelligent forces to have done what they are proposed to have done HAS been proven. But I think that brings up a lot of other assumptions about an intelligent designer which have not been proven. Am I’m not conceding that it has been proven that material processes are inadequate in case you were wondering. :-)

    I think that tracking down the material forces are incapable approach naturally brings up some of the questions I raised IF the assumption is that every new species had to be ‘created’. Which is why I am asking you for your opinion on my questions. I can’t quite figure out why you keep harping on about my stupidity and won’t address my questions. It hardly matters what I think anyway whereas I think some of my questions do matter. Maybe they don’t. What do you think?

  177. If materialism is dead and you’re right then why waste time arguing with me? I should think you would be asking question much like I did about what your outlook entails. I would think someone, somewhere would be pursuing research along those lines. Surely there is money available to do that. Why fight with the system if there’s money and people who are willing to check out the every species is a new genome view.

    I never have got that to be honest. I read the statistics: less than half the US population accept that man came about by undirected processes. Okay, then you’ve got the numbers and the money behind you. You don’t need to fight me or anyone else. Just do the research that must arise from whatever ID version you are ascribing to. Get the Templeton Foundation to fund it. Just do it! Millions of dollars are given to various denominations every year by the faithful. It should be easier for an ID researcher to find funds than for someone who has to beg for grants from the various government agencies. If I were on the ID side I’d be asking: where is the research?

    Anyway, enough from me for a while. Gotta do family stuff. Hope I haven’t offended anyone too much.

  178. 178

    El,

    “That is: the ability of life and information arising from inanimate material on one side. And the existence of a prime mover beyond the scope of testing on the other.”

    Go back and read this again. This is your statement, and this is where your main assumption lies – particularly “a prime mover beyond the scope of testing.”

    Where does this assumption come from? Do you believe that any “prime mover” is necessarily beyond the scope of testing? And what does that mean for you? Have you thought about this in-depth, or are you simply echoing what you have read from materialists?

    If you really believe materialism is the more parsimonious worldview, I think it’s important for you to at least be able to recognize your own assumptions, and be as skeptical of them as you are with POVs you disagree with.

    You may be right about the prime mover, but what makes you come to that conclusion?

  179. UPB: just saw your answer. Thank you!! I shall look into that.

    Sorry I put your hackles up. I do that to lots of people.

  180. Mark:

    I will try to remain adherent to your points:

    1) I thought that complexity in ID speak meant the probability of arising through necessity or chance was incredibly small? This does not follow from this calculation at all. You have to also assume there is no known non-design cause which would lead you to the target in the search space.

    The probability of arising through necessity is 1. The rate between target space and search space gives the probability of finding the target space through a random search. Why do you say it is not so?

    Necessity is another matter. If a necessity mechanism can be described, then the result must happen.

    The two things are not related. In the case of a mixed mechanism, the necessity part must be credible and consistent, while the random part must be probabilistically credible. Again, the two things are different.

    2)

    B) we known not to be designed (because we know how they were produced) e.g. the pattern of iron filings on a magnetic field

    (C) we do not know for sure whether they are designed or not because we do not know how they were produced (which includes aspects of life such as proteins, but also such things as old marks on rocks).

    While your rendition of A is fine, I have to object to B and C.

    B is not the set about which “we know how they are produced”. Indeed, according to my argument there is only A and B.

    A is the set of outcomes for which we have direct (or indirect) knowledge of the intervention of a designer.

    B is the set of all other outcomes.

    In principle, all outcomes in B could be designed or not.

    In B, we can after determine two subsets:

    B1: outcomes for which we have no reason to hypothesize design.

    B2: outcomes for which there are valid reasons to do that.

    But to create those two subsets, we need some rule.

    You argue there is a correlation between dFSCI and group A.

    Correct. So it is.

    So if dFSCI is present in outcomes in group C we can conclude that they also are designed.

    Let’s say that if we confirm that outcomes in subset B2 really exhibit dFSCI, design is the best explanation for them.

    You can ask how we divide outcomes in B1 and B2. Knowing how they originate is not the rule. The main reason why I would put an event in B2 is that it apparently exhibits functional specification (or meaning). I have said many times that functional specification and meaning are the real marks of design. So, we hypothesize design for the outcomes in B2 because we think we recognize function or meaning in them.

    With these premises, let’s go to your argument:

    3)

    Now look at each of the defining characteristics of dFSCI and see to what extent it correlates with groups A and B. Is any charactistic rarely absent or rarely present in either group? I think you will find that, with two exceptions, they are all often present and often absent in both groups. (I expand on this in my blog).

    The exceptions are

    4) Complexity is greater than 150 bits

    and

    5) No explanatory necessity mechanism is know

    I will combine those as “there is no known plausible non-design mechanism”. I hope that makes sense?

    No, it doesn’t.

    Here is my definition of dFSCI:

    “a) A string of digital values

    b) Scarcely compressible

    c) Whose complexity is higher than 150 bits

    d) Which conveys the information for a well defined function…

    If you want, we can make explicit what is already implicit in b), and add:

    e) For which no explanatory necessity mechanism is known.”

    The two strictly related points which essentially define dFSCI are c and d together. Those to points together strongly correlate with most outcomes in A, and with only a few in B.

    The reason is simple. Functional specification is the real mark of design. It is present in all designed outcomes, because it is an expression of the intention, or purpose, of the designer.

    Complexity in itself is often present everywhere. But complexity (at the level I have indicated) which essentially contributes to the functional specification is present only in A and in two specific subsets of B2: biological information and human artifacts for which we have not direct or indirect evidence of the intervention of a designer.

    Let’s call those two subsets B2a and B2b.

    The human origin of outcomes on B2b is only an inference, but an inference which is universally accepted. Any string with the characteristics of dFSCI for which a human origin is not a scandal will be promptly recognized as a human artifact, even if there is no direct or indirect evidence of its human origin. So, if we find a piece of latin writing, we don’t spend much time wondering if it is a human artifact, even of we have no evidence about who wrote it.

    The ouctomes in B2a are the object of our debate.

    So, what we are saying here is that a specific formal property, high complexity conveying the information for a function, is found only in A, B2a and B2b. Please note that those two subsets do not exhaust B2: we can call B2c the subset of B2 which apparently exhibits functional specification, but a functional specification which is not complex.

    So, without any circularity, we have mapped a formal property (complex functional specification) in a set of outcomes.

    You may ask: what about the other points in the definition? Well, each of them has a reason, but they are not really the essential definition, but necessary conditions to make that definition practically useful.

    a) is introduced by me in the definition to limit the discussion to digital CSI, which is easier to manage. I have explained many times that this is not an absolute requirement, but only a methodological one. Analogic CSI does exists, but I prefer not to deal with it in a discussion about biological information.

    b) The compressibility issue is really implicit on the concept of complexity, which must correspond to Kolmogorov complexity. A compressible string can easily be the output of a simple algorithm. If the algorithm can be explained as a natural system, then design is not needed to explain that outcome. The same can be said for point e), which as I have specified is only a different way to express b).

    You have discussed in a long and detailed way the supposed fundamental importance of this point for the supposed circularity. But the absence of a known non design mechanism is just necessary because a necessity mechanism would be a simpler explanation, and no design inference would be appropriate in that case. IOWs, an explicit necessity mechanism falsifies the design inference which, being an empirical inference, can certainly be falsified.

    The problem is that there are many reasons to believe that necessity algorithms cannot generate that kind of formal property that we observe in complex designed objects, bevasue they have not the required flexibility. For instance, no algorithm we can conceive could output the different sequences of the different 2000 basic protein superfamilies, because there is no simple rule which connects them: indeed, we are still trying to calculate protein folds, with very limited success.

    So, to sum up:

    The real mark of design is functional specification.

    The real tool to identify human design with great certainly (in absence of direct or indirect evidence) is the formal property of complex functional specification. The complexity excludes apparent specifications which are not the result of a conscious intent.

    The best way to be sure that the complex functional specification we observe is not apparently complex is to rigorously verify that it is not the output of a necessity law. That is specially important because there are many patterns which can appear designed (in the sense of “ordered”, more than “functional”), but are essentially simple in their origin. Your magnet could be one, but self ordering systems are a better example. None of these systems has anything to do with the formal property we have described, but many people (especially darwinists) seem to think so, for unknown reasons.

    But the functional complexity of dFSCI is all another thing. No simple algorithm can generate it, be it the meaning in Hamlet or the function in a software program.

    Finally, I really don’t understand what is your real position. Do you believe that there is nothing like functional information? If you accept that my definition of functional information excludes necessity mechanisms and random mechanisms, do you accept that design is different from both? And if you acc ept that dFSCI is present in biological strings, then how do you explain them?

    Circular or not circular, functionally complex strings do exist. So, either you believe that protein sequences can be generated by a necessity and random mechanism, and then you are simply saying that they do not exhibit dFSCI (which I could accept, if you could demonstrate that), or you believe that they do exhibit dFSCI, but that they are not designed. In that case, please, how do you think they originated?

    Your attempt to find circularity where there is none is really strange. If, like darwinists, you believe that biological information can be explained in non design ways, then you only have to do that: dFSCI will then be falsified in those outcomes, and you will be happy and we IDists will be very unhappy.

    So, why this desperate need to reject dFSCI? It is a good tool to scientific truth, both for you and for us. If you are right, and can explain biological information, then the concept of dFSCI is on your side: we will have conclude that human artifacts exhibit dFSCI and are designed (a conclusion which you can agree with), and that biological information does not exhibit dFSCI (because it can be explained by a necessity/random mechanism) and is not designed (a conclusion which you will certainly agree with).

    But if dFSCI is confirmed in biological information, then that concept is on our side. And everything changes.

  181. CY: I come to the assumption of an untestable prime mover ’cause . . . uh . . .

    Okay, touche. I shall think about that this evening.

    (See, he says to himself, that’s why I’m on UD. People call me on things.)

    Really have to go now though . . .l

  182. 182

    el,

    BTW, it is typical statements like that, which for me make materialism decidedly un-parsimonious, as in assuming what it is trying to prove.

  183. ellazimm:

    about OOL, theories and parsimony:

    there are assumptions I can accept, in science, and others which can be at best classified as fairy tales.

    Mpst of OOL theories fall heavily in the second category.

    You are worried about parsimony, about not assuming things for which we have no evidence. What about all the things assumed in OOL theories, for which we have absolutely no evidence, either direct or indirect?

    a) An original self replicating molecule independent from a living being

    b) RNA beings

    c) Molecular evolution in the absence of cell replication

    d) Life without the minimal (but highly complex) requisites we observe

    And so on.

    Can I remind you that it is absolutely impossible, even in today’s labs, to generate life form non life, even if you have all the single pieces already available?

    Can I remind you that we still are practically unable to efficiently engineer completely new proteins. even with all the understanding we have?

    Can I remind you that no example of autonomous life exists in the universe we know which is not based on the whole basic system of DNA, RNA, proteins, RNA duplication, transcription, translation, metabolism, membrane, and so on?

    To be more clear: to hypothesize LUCA on the basis of what we see today is still a credible scientific assumption: it may be wrong or right, but it is not folly.

    But to hypothesize RNA beings, which have never been observed, of which there is not evidence, which cannot be produce in the lab, and so on, is really fairy tale.

    We have lost the sense of what is an admissible scientific theory and what is not. We badly need to get it again.

  184. zeroseven,

    Well what is the actual evidence? You don’t have any either.

    Physical sciences require the burden of physical evidence, and those making the claim for a self-replicating molecule should require evidence before they make the claim. Otherwise it is philosophy, something posited as a supposition, which is fine, but that isn’t actual physical science. It is a place-holder in light of ignorance.

    You cannot explain how the first replicating molecule, or the first cell, arose, apart from saying something designed it, which doesn’t add anything to our sum of knowledge. At least the biologists are trying to come up with theories that include mechanisms.

    At the very least, these biologists are claiming a philosophy of science that requires methodological naturalism in how they see science and how it should be conducted, a philosophy of which you appear to agree as another philosopher. But lets not forget that methodological naturalism is a philosophy, not itself actually evidenced by anything physical, and on this head there are differing philosophies as to what science is with which reasonable people can disagree. Let’s be clear in what we mean, a philosophy of science is distinct from the evidence. UB is perfectly right in claiming that there is no evidence, and perfectly right to disagree with this philosophy of methodological naturalism. There is nothing wrong with pointing out the shortcomings of either. And these shortcomings may be formidable, so formidable in fact that they create an impasse for any physical process as an explanation, which leads to validly questioning the salience of methodological naturalism in explaining the phenomena.

  185. CY; some people say that by assuming the existence of an intelligent designer ID proponents are assuming that which they want to prove. Given an example of a system, which does look designed,on what basis do we give up the un-designed assumption? Some of us accept the idea of an otherwise undetected and unproven designer and some of us do not. I’d like to see some more evidence, aside from the thing under contention. Show me that extra evidence.

    gpuccio: I agree that some of the current research in OOL research is very tenuous. But it is testable. IF someone proposes a certain pathway then it can be looked at, step by step, in detail. The trouble with an intelligent designer (who has left no evidence aside from DNA) is that it’s impossible to attempt to reproduce their work. If someone says: I think such and such molecule could spontaneously modify into this other structure then that can be tested given time and resources.

    CY: about the untestable prime mover . . . I was assuming an argument and that was not right.

    For a prime mover to be testable a particular aspect of their influence would have to be defined. IF there is a prime mover then . . . . in other words a hypothesis would have to be given. And that hypothesis would have to be falsifiable. Yeah??

    More generally, the idea of an intelligent designer whose motives and goals are not spelled out is too slippery because it’s always possible to say: Oh, the designer could have wanted it to look that way OR we can’t possibly know what the design motivation was OR who are we to judge good vs bad design. If anything can be accepted in the design tent then it has no meaning.

    Given the truth of an intelligent designer then I agree those arguments are valid. But if the existence of such a designer is still in contention then you can’t fall back on those arguments. First you have to show such a being exists. And if your main thread of argument is disputed, by lots of people, then you have two choices: invalidate their arguments OR find more evidence.

    Invalidating the arguments against an intelligent designer don’t seem to work in that no one really changes their minds. This is just a practical assessment. ID is not winning this battle. You can say that’s because of a bias in the system which just forces another ‘truth’ to prove, that there is a prejudice against the ID paradigm. And if it’s NOT losing the battle . . . then why is it still acting like the underdog?

    The other obvious thing to do is: FIND MORE EVIDENCE!! Do more research. Look for the things that validate your ideas. The advantage with this is you are not depending so much on playing an acceptance game.I know there are lots of ID commentators criticising research but, frankly, there is a real lack of original ID research being done and published. It can’t just be money. If over half the people in the US do not accept that man came about by unguided processes then it should be fairly easy to set up some labs which will pursue pertinent research issues.

    You can argue with dopes like me ’til you’re blue in the face and, in the end, that doesn’t matter a bit. Get some data. Publish some papers. If materialism is dead then it should be easy to generate tons and tons of research. And if the basic nature of science must be questioned then work on a new, solid, defined, supportable definition.

    It’s late for me now. I’m glad to have spent some time with youse guys. :-) I hope your days and evenings are fulfilling and wonderful. See y’all later!!

  186. Gpuccio #184

    I must say I found this post even more confusinging than its predecessors.

    You want to use dFSCI as an indicator of design.

    Now let us take the analogy with a medical test. Suppose we want to evaluate high PSA level as a test for prostate cancer. The usual way to do this would be to look at cases where we know the subject has prostate cancer and other cases where we know the subject has not got prostate cancer and measure the frequency of high PSA levels in the two cases. If high PSA levels are found in abundance in both cases, or very little in both cases, then it is not a good indicator. It only works if high PSA levels are found in one case and not the other. Then we can start to use high PSA levels to determine if a subject has prostate cancer.

    This is what I thought you were suggesting with that dFSCI could do for us – where the condition is “designed” and the test is “dFSCI” is present.

    But you want to do something different. You claim that dFSCI is present in most cases where we know design to be present (group A). This is clearly wrong. There are vast numbers of things that we design that are not complex and others that have no function or the function is not known. A flint axe is not complex. It might easily happen through chance. In fact there are probably many flint axes that we do not recognise as such because they are indistinguishable from chance. The doodles I make in a meeting have no function. However, suppose you were right and all designed things perform a function and are complex i.e. the probability of the outcome due to chance is very small. That is equivalent to establishing that high PSA levels are present when the patient has prostate cancer.

    But your next step is not to see whether dFSCI is also found in items that are known not to be designed – which would be logical. For some reason you ignore this conventional alternative. Instead you try to determine if dFSCI is present in outcomes “for which there are valid reasons for hypothesizing design” and if it is not present in all the others. But what is the valid reason for supposing hypothesizing design? That they exhibit functional specification. Which is one of the two criteria for dFSCI!

    To pursue the medical test analogy. You have determined that patients with prostate cancer have high PSA levels. Instead of seeing if PSA levels are also high in patients without prostate cancer you instead determine if high PSA levels are present in patients for which there are “valid reasons for hypothesising they have prostate cancer”. This might be a legitimate procedure if your valid reasons were independent of PSA levels. But in fact the “valid reasons” turn out to be that they have high PSA levels! To your delight you find that the vast majority of patients with valid reasons have high PSA levels and the vast majority of patients without valid reasons do not.

    You ask why I reject dFCSI? I sort of understand the definition but I don’t see its use. Functional specification has no correlation with design. Designed things may not be functional and functional things may not be designed. The argument from complexity is just saying – there is no known chance process which is likely to produce this result. It has a limited use. It draws attention to places where we do not understand how outcomes arose. It is a long step from there to concluding design.

  187. Mark:

    Just a few final comments, and then I will be happy that you remain confused.

    First of all, I don’t agree that designed things may not be functional. We define them designed because a designer imparts them a form which in some way is functional for his intent. The function may not always be easy to recognize or define, but it is always there, because they are the product of a conscious representation and purpose.

    That’s why I say that functional specification is the real marker of design, even when it is complex. We could define designed things as those things where a conscious representation and intent contributes substantially to the final result.

    So, all outcomes in A share by definition this property, even if we may not always recognize it in the outcome: indeed, in A we know that a conscious designer was the cause ot the outcome because we have independent evidence of that, and we need not derive that certainty from properties of the outcome.

    So, A could well correspond to your class of patients where we already know that prostate cancer is present (by other diagnostic tools), independently from high PSA levels, which can be there or not.

    So, in A we know the outcome is designed independently, we assume a functional specification in all cases, and we observe dFSCI in a very high number of cases.

    Here I must say that you underestimate the fact that most cases of dFSCI of which we are aware are in A. Especially for the digital subset. I believe that is true for all CSI, but for the digital subset the evidence is overwhelming.

    I must remind you that essentially almost all dFSCI we know is of the kind:

    a) language

    b) software programs

    Those are practically almost all part of A.

    The fact that some designed things may be simple in no way diminishes the astounding fact that most complex functional things are in A. That surely makes of complex functionality a very good marker for design.

    Let’s go to B. All those outcomes where we have no independent evidence of a designer.

    Here, dFSCI is almost absent. By far the greatest majority of these outcomes exhibit no dFSCI. So, they are like the general population, which usually has low levels of PSA. And usually has not prostate cancer (is not designed).

    Among these outcomes, there are some which apparently have some form which could be considered a candidate for having been designed for a function. You obviously give analogic examples, because there the doubt is easier. It is much more difficult to give digital examples, because spontaneous digital strings which seem to have a function are nor exactly common.

    So, please remember that we have already observed that outcomes in B almost always do not exhibit dFSCI: they usually lack even the basic requisite for it, which is a functional specification. That vast majority of B, which lacks even a possible recognizable functional specification we call B1.

    At this point, we already have an amazing difference between A (designed things, patients with ascertained prostate cancer), where the majority of outcomes exhibits dFSCI (has high PSA values), and B, where the vast majority of outcomes (B1) has no functional specification and therefore no dFSCI (has low PSA values).

    But there is a minority of them where a functional specification can be suspected. Remember that we are in B, and we cannot assume that a functional specification is certainly present, because we have no evidence that a designer was involved in the generation of the output. So, we suspect a function, and therefore we cannot immediately rule out dFSCI. We have to verify if that function is implemented by a complex information.

    If that is not the case, we rule out dFSCI and don’t make a tentative diagnosis of prostate cancer. That is my B2c: possible functional specification, but no complexity atc its basis. Please note that these patients (with low PSA) could still have cancer, but we have no reason to conclude that at this point. So, while most outcomes in B2c may be non designed, some of them will be simple designed things. The false negatives.

    But there are still two more sunsets in B2. Subsets where the functional specification really implies complex information. They do exhibit dFSCI, objectively and undeniably.

    One subset I have called B2b: they are the outcomes which are usually accepted as human artifacts, even in absence of independent evidence of design. I have made the example of a passage in latin found somewhere, of which we have no other information beyond the fact that it is a written passage of latin.

    All the example of this kind are accepted as human artifacts, id dFSCI is really present. And if the conclusion of a designer is not a cause for scandal.

    If my passage in latin were found on the moon, it would certainly arise scandal, and many would desperately try to explain it away in some way: but again, they should at least consider design as the best explanation, and then follow the way their scandal imposes them.

    The last subset, not so small, is B2a: biological information. There, and only there, we find true, obvious dFSCI in great abundance, and yet we have no direct or indirect independent evidence of a designer (at least, not a scientific one).

    But please note that B2a is a subset which is independently characterized: those are outcomes found only in living things.

    This is the true problem. This is the true scandal. This is the true scientific evidence which you try to deny: only living things exhibit dFSCI, and cannot easily be attributed to a known designer.

    So, only two possibilities exist:

    1) dFSCI in biological information is explained in the same way all other known dFSCI is: by a designer. But the designer is probably not a human designer, and we have to ask ourselves who he can be.

    2) dFSCI in biological information can be explained in some other way, which does not require a designer. But we have to find that “other way”.

    Indeed, all darwinian theory is an effort to provide “another way”. In that sense, it is a testimony to the importance of the concept of functional complexity. If there were not a problem of functional complexity suggesting design in living beings, all darwinian theory would be useless.

    Indeed, it is useless, but for another reason: because it does not work. It does not do what it is intended to do: it does not explain dFSCI in biological information.

    The design hypothesis does.

    Now you can remain confused, or just think that I am even more confused than you suspected. I am however happy that you have given me the opportunity to clarify many important aspects of my thought (as you always do: that’s why I like you) :)

  188. 188

    El,

    The problem with your prime mover contention is that it is in no way what IDists are proposing. What ID states is simply that by the evidence at hand, irreducibly complex systems do not arise by random variation and natural selection alone, and that certain types of complex information such as that which is found in DNA do not arise out of these same or similar process. The burden is still out on this. There is no known mechanism other than intelligence for how these systems can arise, and the proposed Darwinian mechanism is lacking in specific observable evidence. What you do with this is up to you. If you want to believe that a prime mover is the answer you are free to do so, as many do. If you want to believe as the Raelians do that an alien named “Elohim” and his ancestors seeded life on Earth, you are free to do so. If you want to believe that some as yet unknown force started it all, you are free to do so. Two assumptions you are not free to give by the evidence at hand is that 1) these systems can arise out of unguided natural processes alone, unless you deal with the evidence that is against you and somehow show that they can. The second is the assumption that there cannot be any detectable evidence for a designer. In both of these you are assuming what you are trying to prove.

    There is no prior assumption involved in ID, since ID does not assert a prime mover. It allows for other views, while most supporters of ID happen to accept a theistic answer. But the evidence speaks for itself. Those who charge that IDists start with the God assumption are simply wrong. ID theorists have taken very careful steps in assuring that assumption is not made. Are they perfect in doing that? I would give you an inch there if you agree not to take a mile. Everyone begins with assumptions. What’s important is in recognizing them and treating the evidence in a neutral manner – i.e., go wherever the evidence leads. If it leads to strong implications of theism, so be it. If the Darwinists are able to finally demonstrate a testable and verifiable naturalistic mechanism for these systems, then they have earned the right to assert naturalism as a viable basis for doing biological science. So far they haven’t done so.

  189. Gpuccio #187

    OK. Here is another aspect of FSCI to think about. You place enormous importance on functional specification as the key indicator of design. But what do you mean by it and how do you recognise it? You write (my emphasis):

    We define them designed because a designer imparts them a form which in some way is functional for his intent. The function may not always be easy to recognize or define, but it is always there, because they are the product of a conscious representation and purpose.

    That’s why I say that functional specification is the real marker of design, even when it is complex. We could define designed things as those things where a conscious representation and intent contributes substantially to the final result.

    So, all outcomes in A share by definition this property, even if we may not always recognize it in the outcome:

    I was always a bit unclear how a function differed simply from a consequence. Haemoglobin transports oxygen and gives blood its red colour – both are consequences, only the first is a function. On what basis do we make that decision? Well you have cleared that up. For you, something is a function if it is a consequence that a designer intended for his or her purposes. There is nothing in the object itself that makes a consequence functional. It is the correspondence of that consequence to a designer’s intentions.

    Then later on you write (of group B – those things that were not known to be designed by humans):

    But there is a minority of them where a functional specification can be suspected.

    But you also admit of non-human designers with unknown powers and motives. So anything might be fulfilling some unknown designer’s purpose. Indeed some people on this forum believe that the whole universe was designed. If you define functional specification so broadly then, if you do not know an object was designed, you have no more reason to suspect it of one thing than another.

  190. Hello friends,

    I have to give you a serious advice. Almost all are all wrong. The TRUE is near to come, and better that you are all prepared.

    With all my love for you, I guess all will be see the Light.

    Obriton (Silav) CL&J A

  191. Mark:

    this is another aspect, which certainly deserved a deeper discussion.

    I understand that the concept of specification can be the most difficult, especially for people who don’t usually attribute great importance to consciousness as an independent empirical factor (I am not referring to you, but to the general reductionst approach which tends in many ways to deny consciousness, or to consider it as a product of the complexity of brain software, as though the question has alredy been settled).

    For my approach, it is important to repeat that I do consider consciousness as an empirical factor, of undeniable importance, and whose nature has not been settled. I hope you can follow my reasoning on these premises.

    You say:

    I was always a bit unclear how a function differed simply from a consequence. Haemoglobin transports oxygen and gives blood its red colour – both are consequences, only the first is a function.

    I agree on that.

    On what basis do we make that decision? Well you have cleared that up. For you, something is a function if it is a consequence that a designer intended for his or her purposes. There is nothing in the object itself that makes a consequence functional. It is the correspondence of that consequence to a designer’s intentions.

    That’s quite fine, I am happy that I have explained clearly my point of view.

    I consider the process of design a process where a conscious representation and intent are in some way “imprinted” on an objective output, and contribute to its final form.

    I also things that words like “meaning”, “purpose”, “intent” and “function” should be used only to describe conscious representations, and only secondarily their consequences “frozen” in the objective outputs. It is true that often those words and concepts are “externalized”, especially in modern philosophy. I have seen that you distinguish between “natural meaning” and “unnatural meaning”. For various reasons, I use the word “meaning” only for what you call “unnatural meaning”.

    So, how can we recognize that there is a meaning or a function (the two things are similar, although probably not exactly the same; that could be ground for another discussion) “imprinted” in an objective output?

    That can be done only by an appropriate “sensor”, and the only appropriate sensor for conscious representations is another conscious being. The fact is that objective patterns “imprinted” on an output by a consciousness have often the power of evoking the same representations, or similar ones, in the consciousness of an observer of that output.

    That is particular evident for language or art. Think of how emoptions and intuitions are often “transferred” through, let’s say, a movie or a poem, even well beyond the literal meaning of words.

    Functions are recognized in a similar way. We see hemoglobin in RBCs. We3 observe that it attachs oxygen in the lungs, and releases it in periphery. We are aware that oxygen is needed to maintain cellular aerobic life. We are aware that air is inputted in the lungs to replenish them of oxygen. We represent all those things in our consciousness, and we very clearly perceive that hemoglobin is there to “transport” oxygen from the lungs to periphery. And we understand why that is necessary, why it is done that way. The capacity of hemoglobin to attach and release oxygen in different conditions is no more a blind “consequence” for us. We are recognizing a function.

    Now, the important point here is that we need not know the ultimate reason for which breathing beings exist on our planet. The function is evident in its local context. An understanding of vaster perspectives, such as why does the universe exist as it is, can certainly help, but it is not really necessary. We need not a theory of everything to recognize a local function. What we need is the sense of meaning and purpose, and a more general understanding of the local context where the function is performed. This kind of understanding, in principle, could be shared by any conscious intelligent being. There is no reason to believe it is only a property of the human mind.

    That brings us to the next problem. You say:

    But you also admit of non-human designers with unknown powers and motives. So anything might be fulfilling some unknown designer’s purpose.

    I think of the general category of conscious intelligent designers, and I assume that all conscious intelligent designers may share some fundamental inner representations: meaning, purpose, function, understanding of causal relationships, and probably many others.

    Minds can differ in many substantial points. That is true even of human minds, so there is no reason to think of the mind of God or of aliens to understand that purposes can be different, and perspectives extremely varied. But still, some fundamental properties can be the same for all minds, be them of different humans, of aliens, or of God.

    That means that conscious intelligent beings can always communicate, at least at some level. That is no revolutionary idea. Our culture is full of the notion, rather universally shared, that we could be able to communicate with aliens, given the right premises. And human culture of all times is full of the idea that we can communicate with God, and God with us. Be it true or not, the idea is not so extreme and is shared by many intelligent people.

    The problem, again, is not that some outputs could fulfill some purposes which we cannot recognize. That is often true also of human outputs. In principle, we can find what appears to be a semantic text, but still have no clue of how to decipher it. While we can still get some indirect clue that it is a text, we could never understand its meaning. And in some cases we could even be unable to recognize the output as a text.

    So, false negatives due to an incapacity to recognize a function where it is present are not really a problem. They are expected by the theory. False negatives are accepted by ID, even in great quantity.

    It is false positives that we have to avoid. So, when we do recognize a function, the potential functional specification is already there. We just have to be sure that it is not a false positive. That’s why we restrict the detection to complex specifications, which cannot reasonably be false positives.

    That’s common procedure in empirical science. You usually choose a threshold which minimizes both false negatives and false positives. But if your absolute priority is specificity (minimizing false positives) you can attain that by shifting your threshold: that will at the same time reduce sensitivity (maximize false negatives). That’s what is done in ID when we take a very high threshold of complexity (which means a very low threshold of probability).

    Indeed some people on this forum believe that the whole universe was designed. If you define functional specification so broadly then, if you do not know an object was designed, you have no more reason to suspect it of one thing than another.

    Well, I am among those people. But remember that an analysis of the functional specification and complexity of the object is important to build a theory of how that object originated. So, if we take into consideration a possible functional specification of the whole universe, and try to compute its intrinsic complexity, we are in essence debating the cosmological argument.

    Now, I am a believer in the cosmological argument (not in the ontological), and especially in its modern version of fine tuning, such as it is given for instance by Penrose. And I do believe that the cosmological argument is pertinent to ID, in a large sense. But I usually don’t debate those things here, because I believe that philosophers and physicists are already doing that much better than I can, and I have nothing personal to add to the current debate. IOWs, that is not my field. The origin of the universe has too many philosophical implications to be debated as merely a scientific theory.

    But biological ID is different. It is about local functions, which are often very easily recognizable, and biological information, which is often easily quantifiable. It is, in all ways, a scientific problem.

    Just to make an example, we may not have any idea of why cockroaches exist (many will have wondered at that), but still we can well understand why some specific biochemical reaction is necessary in their general metabolism, and recognize some specific cockroach enzyme (I really don’t know of there are any) as functional.

    And I believe that any conscious intelligent being, given the necessary information, can do the same.

  192. Obriton:

    I am not sure I understand what you are saying, but I can certainly reciprocate your love :)

  193. Gpuccio.

    I have a personal message for you:
    Dou You know Focolari?
    If so, “vai corso, ne hai buonne cose per te”.

    A great love for you,

    Obriton (Silav) CL&J A

  194. Gpuccio #191

    Back in comment #78 you wrote:

    It’s strange that a concept quite simple and intuhitive like that of CSI may be so misinterpreted by intelligent people. I have given precise definitions and precise examples lots of times, and still the same gross equivocations come out.

    Now you write that recognising the function of an outcome (which is key to deciding whether it has CSI) can be done only by an appropriate “sensor”, and the only appropriate sensor for conscious representations is another conscious being. The fact is that objective patterns “imprinted” on an output by a consciousness have often the power of evoking the same representations, or similar ones, in the consciousness of an observer of that output.

    This doesn’t appear to be very objective or precise! It seems to me that you are saying “we just know” that something has a function. In some cases without having the foggiest idea what the function is and even when the mind which created the function may be something totally beyond our experience. (The defence that it is a common assumption in our culture that other minds will be similar in some respects is invalid. The fact that a lot of people believe something is not evidence at all.)

    You also write that you believe that the whole universe was designed (so actually everything has a function?) but we are only detecting local function (but surely everything has a local contribution to make to the universal master plan?)

    Do you still find it strange that so many intelligent people struggle with the concept?

  195. Mark:

    Yes I find it strange.

    I have always stated clearly, in mt more detailed definitions (maybe not in the quick sum ups) that function can only be recognized by a conscious intelligent agent. But that is not a limit of ID theory: it is a characteristic of functions themselves. Function is one of the concepts which have sense only in a representational world.

    Strangely, most intelligent people, and especially most biologists, seem to have no difficulties with the notion, and all protein databases explicitly list those functions which you have such difficulties to grasp. Indeed, I suspect that you too have not great difficulties in identifying functions in your general life, except when you are discussing ID.

    Moreover, always in my longer posts about dFSCI, I have always specified that the function must not only be recognized, but also explicitly defined by the observer (so that other observer can share the definition), and the observe must also give an explicit method to measure it, and to assess its presence or absence.

    For instance, in the case of hemoglobin, the definition could be something like: a molecule which can bind oxygen with a range of affinity such and such in such and such conditions, and release it in such and such conditions. The more detailed the definition of the function, the better. And as you can say, all of that must become explicit and quantitative.

    You say:

    The defence that it is a common assumption in our culture that other minds will be similar in some respects is invalid. The fact that a lot of people believe something is not evidence at all

    I am well aware that “the fact that a lot of people believe something is not evidence at all”. I am a minority guy, as you may know. But I mean that this particular assumption is IMO reasonable, and shared by many. If you have arguments to show that it is unreasonable, I will listen to you.

    The point is, to act or reason according to a reasonable assumption we need not be certain that it is true. Indeed, we have a lot of examples where different human minds believe differently about a lot of things (see you an me, for instance), and yet share many fundamental properties. I assume that can be true also for non human minds. And I reason accordingly.

    You say:

    You also write that you believe that the whole universe was designed (so actually everything has a function?)

    This is a very strong way to put it. I was only sating that I believe that the universe as a whole has a function. Not necessarily everything. That can be true or not, but I really don’t know. I meant just the universe as a global entity.

    but we are only detecting local function

    I said that detecting local function is enough for ID theory. I did not say that we cannot detect higher level functions.

    Even in biological realities, there are many levels of function. I stick to the lower level (the biochemical function of single proteins) because it’s easier. Again, that does not mean that higher level functions cannot be investigated. Not necessarily up to the whole universe.

    but surely everything has a local contribution to make to the universal master plan?

    I suppose that is sarcastic. But the only thing I bcan say is: I don’t know. I believe there is a universal master plan, but that does not necessarily imply that everything has a local contribution to that plan. Instinctively, I would say that, like mutations, many things could be neutral, and some detrimental. But I am not necessarily sponsoring that view.

  196. Ellazimm,

    I wonder how much effort you have put into researching what research has been done by ID scientists. Have you seen this page of this website?

    http://evoinfo.org/publications/

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