Home » Intelligent Design » A “cost” is a “goal”

A “cost” is a “goal”

In the phys.org news “Researchers solve biological mystery and boost artificial intelligence” is cited a research about “The Evolutionary Origins of Modularity” (in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Jan. 30, 2013).

The researchers have simulated “25,000 generations of evolution within computers” and believe to have discovered why biological systems show modularity.

They say:

“Researchers have discovered why biological networks tend to be organized as modules – a finding that will lead to a deeper understanding of the evolution of complexity. [...] As it turned out, it was enough to include a “cost of wiring” to make evolution favor modular architectures. [...] Once you add a cost for network connections, modules immediately appear. Without a cost, modules never form.”

What means to program a “cost” in a computer simulation of evolution? In two words, it is to write a set of instructions that says: “if the digital organism behaves or develops X then reward it with a bonus; differently if it fails X then punish it”. In one word, a “cost” is a “goal”.

Darwinists always said that evolution works because of a “cost of unfit” only. Today they add a “cost of wiring” to get modules. I suspect tomorrow they will add a “cost of blindness” to get eyes, the day after tomorrow they will add a “cost of immobility” to get legs … and so on.

Also, Darwinists always said that evolution is blind and has no goal. But each “cost” is a “goal”. So, what they call “deeper understanding of the evolution of complexity” seems to me simply additional contradictions of their theory.

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89 Responses to A “cost” is a “goal”

  1. Nice post. There is no end to their willingness to deceive themselves. Desperation is in the air. I don’t think this patient will survive much longer.

  2. Is it even possible to write a true evolutionary algorithm? My understanding is that every evolutionary algorithm has a goal embedded in the code somewhere and that without that goal the algorithm doesn’t work.

    It seems to me that a true evolutionary algorithm would be extremely difficult to write, if one could be written at all.

    Would not scientists need to know all the changes that need to occur to bring about a given morphological change? Don’t they also need to know how each change may or may not be dependent on previous changes?

    Is not an animal a hierarchy of parts of ever greater complexity that must be assembled in a certain order? Don’t scientists also need to know how all the “assembly instructions” are changed to accomplish building a different biological structure – how to change legs into flippers for example?

    Must not lots of multiple changes be coordinated? Moving the external testes of a land animal to be placed internally in a whale is one example. Ignoring the question of when the testes might be moved – probably after the animal has taken on mostly aquatic adaptations – the testes will be sterile if the cooling system is not also constructed at the same time.

    Is there a paper somewhere that might answer some of my layman’s questions?

  3. “Is not an animal a hierarchy of parts?”

    Certainly yes! About, you could read:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....hierarchy/

  4. No question that modularity can be a valuable design tool/approach.

    But these “evolution within a computer” simulations are mostly GIGO. The simulations are not even coming close to actually simulating anything that actually occurs in biology. And if you peel back the onion (as you have done in the OP), the most we can typically conclude is that if we program a simulation to proceed toward x, it will proceed toward x.

    Amazing. /sarc

    That said, if we ever get to the point where some real biological processes are being simulated, we might actually learn something.

  5. Here’s profound breakthrough that ought to ruffle a few Darwinian feathers:

    Bioelectric Signals Can Be Used to Detect Early Cancer – Feb. 1, 2013
    Excerpt: Biologists at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences have discovered a bioelectric signal that can identify cells that are likely to develop into tumors. The researchers also found that they could lower the incidence of cancerous cells by manipulating the electrical charge across cells’ membranes.
    “The news here is that we’ve established a bioelectric basis for the early detection of cancer,” ,,,
    ,, “We’ve shown that electric events tell the cells what to do. The voltage changes are not merely a sign of cancer. They control and direct whether the cancer occurs or not.”
    Bioelectric signals underlie an important set of control mechanisms that regulate how cells grow and multiply. ,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....090812.htm

    Here’s the paper:

    Transmembrane voltage potential is an essential cellular parameter for the detection and control of tumor development in a Xenopus model – Brook T. Chernet and Michael Levin* – December 2012
    Excerpt: Understanding mechanisms that orchestrate cell behavior into appropriately patterned tissues and organs within the organism is an essential element of preventing, detecting and treating cancer. Bioelectric signals (resting transmembrane voltage potential gradients in all cells) underlie an important and broadly conserved set of control mechanisms that regulate pattern formation. ,,,
    Moreover, control of resting membrane potential is functionally involved in the process by which oncogene-bearing cells depart from normal morphogenesis programs to form tumors. Modulation of Vmem levels is a novel and promising strategy for tumor normalization.
    http://dmm.biologists.org/cont.....5.abstract

    Here are some related notes:

    The face of a frog: Time-lapse video reveals never-before-seen bioelectric pattern – July 2011
    Excerpt: For the first time, Tufts University biologists have reported that bioelectrical signals are necessary for normal head and facial formation in an organism and have captured that process in a time-lapse video that reveals never-before-seen patterns of visible bioelectrical signals outlining where eyes, nose, mouth, and other features will appear in an embryonic tadpole.,,, “When a frog embryo is just developing, before it gets a face, a pattern for that face lights up on the surface of the embryo,”,,, “We believe this is the first time such patterning has been reported for an entire structure, not just for a single organ. I would never have predicted anything like it. It’s a jaw dropper.”,,,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....-seen.html

    An Electric Face: A Rendering Worth a Thousand Falsifications – September 2011
    Excerpt: The video suggests that bioelectric signals presage the morphological development of the face. It also, in an instant, gives a peak at the phenomenal processes at work in biology. As the lead researcher said, “It’s a jaw dropper.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....usand.html

    The (Electric) Face of a Frog – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndFe5CaDTlI

    Let there be sight: Retinal waves wire visual system – video
    http://player.vimeo.com/video/51010591
    Video description: A wave of ‘spontaneous’ activity sweeps across axons of retinal ganglion cells in the mid-brain of a 6-day old mouse. Such activity primes (presages) the developing neuronal circuits, enabling mice to process visual information after they open their eyes, usually between 10 days and two weeks.,,,
    The development of animals from a fertilized egg into trillions of intricately connected and specialized cells is the result of a precisely timed expression of genes. However, the Nature paper introduces another necessary factor—a mysterious wave of activity arising in the retina itself that propagates through several regions of the brain. Crair terms this wave an ‘emergent property’, or a trait possessed by a complex system that cannot be directly traced to its individual parts. This experiment in living, neonatal mice shows that this (preceeding) wave is crucial to the proper wiring not only of the visual system but other brain areas as well.
    Entire article here:
    Burst of fetal neural activity necessary for vision – October 11, 2012
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....n.html#jCp

    Not in the Genes: Embryonic Electric Fields – Jonathan Wells – December 2011
    Excerpt: although the molecular components of individual sodium-potassium channels may be encoded in DNA sequences, the three-dimensional arrangement of those channels — which determines the form of the endogenous electric field — constitutes an independent source of information in the developing embryo.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....54071.html

    The mechanism and properties of bio-photon emission and absorption in protein molecules in living systems – May 2012
    Excerpt: From the energy spectra, it was determined that the protein molecules could both radiate and absorb bio-photons with wavelengths of less than 3 micrometers and 5–7 micrometers, consistent with the energy level transitions of the excitons.,,,
    http://jap.aip.org/resource/1/.....horized=no

    The Real Bioinformatics Revolution – Proteins and Nucleic Acids ‘Singing’ to One Another?
    Excerpt: the molecules send out specific frequencies of electromagnetic waves which not only enable them to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ each other, as both photon and phonon modes exist for electromagnetic waves, but also to influence each other at a distance and become ineluctably drawn to each other if vibrating out of phase (in a complementary way).,,, More than 1 000 proteins from over 30 functional groups have been analysed. Remarkably, the results showed that proteins with the same biological function share a single frequency peak while there is no significant peak in common for proteins with different functions; furthermore the characteristic peak frequency differs for different biological functions.,,, The same results were obtained when regulatory DNA sequences were analysed.
    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/TheRea.....lution.php

  6. Here’s profound breakthrough that ought to ruffle a few Darwinian feathers:

    Bioelectric Signals Can Be Used to Detect Early Cancer – Feb. 1, 2013
    Excerpt: Biologists at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences have discovered a bioelectric signal that can identify cells that are likely to develop into tumors. The researchers also found that they could lower the incidence of cancerous cells by manipulating the electrical charge across cells’ membranes.
    “The news here is that we’ve established a bioelectric basis for the early detection of cancer,” ,,,
    ,, “We’ve shown that electric events tell the cells what to do. The voltage changes are not merely a sign of cancer. They control and direct whether the cancer occurs or not.”
    Bioelectric signals underlie an important set of control mechanisms that regulate how cells grow and multiply. ,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....090812.htm

    Here’s the paper:

    Transmembrane voltage potential is an essential cellular parameter for the detection and control of tumor development in a Xenopus model – Brook T. Chernet and Michael Levin* – December 2012
    Excerpt: Understanding mechanisms that orchestrate cell behavior into appropriately patterned tissues and organs within the organism is an essential element of preventing, detecting and treating cancer. Bioelectric signals (resting transmembrane voltage potential gradients in all cells) underlie an important and broadly conserved set of control mechanisms that regulate pattern formation. ,,,
    Moreover, control of resting membrane potential is functionally involved in the process by which oncogene-bearing cells depart from normal morphogenesis programs to form tumors. Modulation of Vmem levels is a novel and promising strategy for tumor normalization.
    http://dmm.biologists.org/cont.....5.abstract

    Here are some related notes:

    The face of a frog: Time-lapse video reveals never-before-seen bioelectric pattern – July 2011
    Excerpt: For the first time, Tufts University biologists have reported that bioelectrical signals are necessary for normal head and facial formation in an organism and have captured that process in a time-lapse video that reveals never-before-seen patterns of visible bioelectrical signals outlining where eyes, nose, mouth, and other features will appear in an embryonic tadpole.,,, “When a frog embryo is just developing, before it gets a face, a pattern for that face lights up on the surface of the embryo,”,,, “We believe this is the first time such patterning has been reported for an entire structure, not just for a single organ. I would never have predicted anything like it. It’s a jaw dropper.”,,,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....-seen.html

    An Electric Face: A Rendering Worth a Thousand Falsifications – September 2011
    Excerpt: The video suggests that bioelectric signals presage the morphological development of the face. It also, in an instant, gives a peak at the phenomenal processes at work in biology. As the lead researcher said, “It’s a jaw dropper.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....usand.html

    The (Electric) Face of a Frog – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndFe5CaDTlI

    Let there be sight: Retinal waves wire visual system – video
    http://player.vimeo.com/video/51010591
    Video description: A wave of ‘spontaneous’ activity sweeps across axons of retinal ganglion cells in the mid-brain of a 6-day old mouse. Such activity primes (presages) the developing neuronal circuits, enabling mice to process visual information after they open their eyes, usually between 10 days and two weeks.,,,
    The development of animals from a fertilized egg into trillions of intricately connected and specialized cells is the result of a precisely timed expression of genes. However, the Nature paper introduces another necessary factor—a mysterious wave of activity arising in the retina itself that propagates through several regions of the brain. Crair terms this wave an ‘emergent property’, or a trait possessed by a complex system that cannot be directly traced to its individual parts. This experiment in living, neonatal mice shows that this (preceeding) wave is crucial to the proper wiring not only of the visual system but other brain areas as well.
    Entire article here:
    Burst of fetal neural activity necessary for vision – October 11, 2012
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....n.html#jCp

    Not in the Genes: Embryonic Electric Fields – Jonathan Wells – December 2011
    Excerpt: although the molecular components of individual sodium-potassium channels may be encoded in DNA sequences, the three-dimensional arrangement of those channels — which determines the form of the endogenous electric field — constitutes an independent source of information in the developing embryo.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....54071.html

    The mechanism and properties of bio-photon emission and absorption in protein molecules in living systems – May 2012
    Excerpt: From the energy spectra, it was determined that the protein molecules could both radiate and absorb bio-photons with wavelengths of less than 3 micrometers and 5–7 micrometers, consistent with the energy level transitions of the excitons.,,,
    http://jap.aip.org/resource/1/.....horized=no

    The Real Bioinformatics Revolution – Proteins and Nucleic Acids ‘Singing’ to One Another?
    Excerpt: the molecules send out specific frequencies of electromagnetic waves which not only enable them to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ each other, as both photon and phonon modes exist for electromagnetic waves, but also to influence each other at a distance and become ineluctably drawn to each other if vibrating out of phase (in a complementary way).,,, More than 1 000 proteins from over 30 functional groups have been analysed. Remarkably, the results showed that proteins with the same biological function share a single frequency peak while there is no significant peak in common for proteins with different functions; furthermore the characteristic peak frequency differs for different biological functions.,,, The same results were obtained when regulatory DNA sequences were analysed.

  7. I think the report of the death of evolution is greatly exaggerated and premature. The modeling of the process of evolution does not require that one have a goal or an endpoint. The idea is to program the system or each individual module of a system to retain “mutations” that make it function better as a system. Yes you have to set parameters as to what “better” means which evolution does in terms of being more adaptive to the environment, but you don’t determine ahead of time what that will look like. Natural selection is modeled as retaining the random changes that are introduced to the system. But in order for the modeling to be more accurate, it would also have to introduce many other forces believed to be working in evolution-such as the electromagnetic waves described above, information theory, horizontal acquisition of whole genes from other organisms, maybe even fractal geometry and quantum mechanics. So, you’re all right, it is a very difficult system to model especially since we don’t really understand how it all works. But I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that you have to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Not yet.

  8. OT: William Lane Craig debate is about to start
    http://www.biola.edu/debate

  9. Here is a short, snarky, summary of the Craig debate:

    Summary and audio: William Lane Craig debates Alex Rosenberg: Does God Exist?
    http://winteryknight.wordpress.....god-exist/

  10. bizarre

  11. F/N: I suggest the What Really Matters thread is a better place to deal with the debate. KF

  12. Billmaz #7: “The idea is to program the system or each individual module of a system to retain “mutations” that make it function better as a system.”

    What means “function better”? “Function better” is too unspecified to work. The researchers had to program a specific “cost of wiring” to get modules.

    So it is false that “the modeling of the process of evolution does not require that one have a goal or an endpoint”. Without specific costs and goals no specific functions. Without specific functions no complex system, given that complex systems are hierarchies of functions.

  13. What is a “goal” is a matter of an arbitrary convention. One could consider a ball rolling to the bottom of a bowl as “having a goal” of reaching the lowest point. Fundamental equations of physics can be generally formulated as the goal seeking “principle of least action.”

    Hence dismissing a computer program for “having a goal” is no more effective or useful than dismissing a thesis of a scientific book because its front cover colors are not “pretty enough.”

  14. I don’t “dismiss computer programs for having a goal”. I love them. The problem is another. It is that Darwinian evolution of systems is claimed to have no goal while computer simulations of evolution need goals.

  15. Niwrad posted this:

    The problem is another. It is that Darwinian evolution of systems is claimed to have no goal . . .

    Wrong. Go back and read the textbook. No long-term goal. Individual systems certainly have a short-term goal: to survive.

  16. Here are a few assorted notes refuting evolutionary algorithms:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1h33EC4yg29Ve59XYJN_nJoipZLKIgupT6lBtsaVQsUs/edit

  17. Let’s see, if someone DESIGNS a program that is supposed to DESIGN something specific or to solve a specified problem, and it does so, then it did so BY DESIGN, not via blind and undirected physical processes.

  18. Prezactly.

  19. But we can define a possible range or collection of ‘targets’ and since we did not specify a specific target in advance we can assert that there was no target and therefore no goal and therefore no goal-directedness. Therefore evolution is true. QED.

  20. Yes, Mung, Intelligent Design Evolution is true. :cool:

  21. Question: What would happen if sometime in the future we discover an alien species from another planet that is vastly more intelligent than we are. If we were designed by God then they, too, must have been designed by God, since there can only be one god in the universe. What will we say then? Will we say that God decided to make the other species more intelligent than we are? Why? Were we not worthy of higher intelligence? Or do we really believe that humans have reached the highest level of intelligence possible? That would be absurd.

    The problem with ID is that it assumes that humans will not evolve anymore. God created us perfect. We have supposedly reached the acme of our development. But the vastness of the universe tells us that billions of planets exist which can have intelligent life, many of which are millions of years older with intelligent beings that have evolved for much longer periods of time. We are not the center of the universe, something which religion from its inception has had a hard time accepting. These other beings may also think they are the center of the universe, until they travel and find us here, or some other planet with beings that are much older and more intelligent than they are. And so it goes. We must avoid pride and hubris, something the Bible warns us against. Don’t be surprised if tomorrow a spaceship lands in Central Park and infinitely advanced beings emerge who tell us that we are quite ordinary and even low on the totem pole of intelligent life in the universe.

  22. 23

    The problem with ID is that it assumes that humans will not evolve anymore. God created us perfect. We have supposedly reached the acme of our development.

    ID relies on no such assumptions.

  23. No? Well then does ID propose that we will evolve? If so, how is that different from our past evolution up to the present? Or does ID propose that the Grand Designer will come back down and create a new human being, more intelligent, more wise, more empathetic, less belligerent, less aggressive, more loving, than we are today? Why didn’t He design those qualities in us in the first place? Why did he create a system in which we have to kill other animals in order to eat? Why did He create a system in which we are susceptible to so many organisms (viruses, bacteria, etc.) and internal genetic errors which cause us disease? Either the Grand Designer is incompetent or He is conducting experiments with us. Don’t get me started.

  24. 25

    This EA is a search algorithm. But thanks to Dembski et. al., we know that the odds against successfully looking for and finding a search algorithm is just as or more unlikely than searching for and finding the thing searched for without a search algorithm.

    That wasn’t confusing, was it?

  25. 26

    i.e. the success of the EA is bogus because it presupposes the search for a search.

  26. No. you’ve got it all wrong, Billmaz.

    a) Our worldly intelligence is our lowest form of intelligence;

    b) With quantum physics and astrophysics, the comfortable world of our worldly reason, the Rationalist’s pride and joy, is largely being left behind in a cloud of dust.

    Science seems to be increasingly about managing paradoxes… which involves good sense – not a notable capacity of the atheist, self-styled rationalist, who have perforce battened onto quantum physics to earn their daily bread, but resent and effectively dispute its clear and fundamental implications with their jejune polemics.

  27. 28

    ba77, what links do you have handy pointing to works by Dembski et al regarding a search for a search?

  28. M. Holcumbrink, Here are all the main publications (which are linked) at evoinfo lab:

    http://evoinfo.org/publications/

    Here is the search for a search paper:

    The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher Level Search William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II
    Abstract: Needle-in-the-haystack problems look for small targets in large spaces. In such cases, blind search stands no hope of success. Conservation of information dictates any search technique will work, on average, as well as blind search. Success requires an assisted search. But whence the assistance required for a search to be successful? To pose the question this way suggests that successful searches do not emerge spontaneously but need themselves to be discovered via a search. The question then naturally arises whether such a higher-level “search for a search” is any easier than the original search. We prove two results: (1) The Horizontal No Free Lunch Theorem, which shows that average relative performance of searches never exceeds unassisted or blind searches, and (2) The Vertical No Free Lunch Theorem, which shows that the difficulty of searching for a successful search increases exponentially with respect to the minimum allowable active information being sought.
    http://evoinfo.org/publication.....-a-search/

  29. 30

    I missed #16 from you somehow, sorry. But thanks for the quick response!

  30. b) With quantum physics and astrophysics, the comfortable world of our worldly reason, the Rationalist’s pride and joy, is largely being left behind in a cloud of dust.

    Would that be a cloud of cosmic dust?

  31. Thank you, Axel, I do appreciate some of the implications of quantum physics Bill Maz: Quantum Evolution? but I was using intelligence as a measure of how well the Grand Designer designed our bodies. I also used the examples of our susceptibility to internal (genetic) and external (viruses, bacteria, etc.) sources of disease as examples of our poorly designed bodies. Other examples of how poorly designed our bodies are abound, from anatomical to physiological to genetic. I also appreciate that the theory of evolution is incomplete in that other forces may also be involved (information theory, chaos theory, quantum mechanics, and others) Bill Maz Blog. All of these theories are part of science, and they don’t rely on deus ex machina to solve their problems. Our discussion is about ID’s ideas on a body that is so far from perfect. I don’t understand how these theories bolster the idea of a designer, especially one who didn’t do the job properly to begin with.

  32. billmaz @24:

    Why did He create a system in which we are susceptible to so many organisms (viruses, bacteria, etc.) and internal genetic errors which cause us disease? Either the Grand Designer is incompetent or He is conducting experiments with us. Don’t get me started.

    We definitely would not want you to get started on that line of argument, as it is full of fallacies. This is the old “bad design” line of argumentation, which has been adequately answered and refuted on many occasions. Search around a bit on UD and look at some of the past threads on the topic.

    If you can’t find any of the past threads after spending some time looking, let us know and maybe we can point you in the right direction.

  33. Thank you.

  34. The software I write is full of bad design.

    I am a bad designer.

    Therefore, intelligent design is false.

  35. 36

    diesel ended up in my gas tank and ruined the engine, therefore the designer of my car is stupid.

  36. 37

    I didn’t ever change the oil in my car and it ruined the engine, therefore the designer of my car is stupid.

  37. 38

    @Mung:

    The software I write is full of bad design.

    I am a bad designer.

    No, you’re not. The stack overflows and null pointer exceptions are exactly what we specified. Thanks!

  38. OT: Whole Cell Imaging at High Resolution using Electron Tomography – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OI6QILPDlo

  39. 40

    billmaz asks:

    No? Well then does ID propose that we will evolve?

    You are apparently operating under a mistaken idea of what ID is. In and of itself, ID is a theory about design detection, nothing more. It has no inherent position on evolution of any sort. What many ID proponents assert here is that there is evidence that shows that essential aspects of living creatures (and other things, of course) bear the hallmarks of design. A battleship, for example, has obvious differences from a pile of rock and metal that only intelligent design can adequately explain.

    ID doesn’t claim the designer of any particular thing was a perfect, or even good, designer. Please try to educate yourself about ID from ID sources before you start planting red herrings and straw men that have long ago been addressed multiple times. I suggest you begin by looking under the “resources” tab at the top of this blog just under the header image.

  40. Timothya #16: “[Evolution has] no long-term goal. Individual systems certainly have a short-term goal: to survive.”

    Survival (no death = no destruction) is not a goal sufficiently *specified* and focused for creating new complex *specified* functions in the systems. As an analogy, in car industry, if engineers would adopt uniquely “no destruction” as their goal no car would arise.

  41. Yes. What Eric said, Bill(!).

    We can point you in the direction of the Fall, Divine Providence and so on, but it’s not suitable fare for the analytical intelligence, so it seems to me that you will be disappointed, insofar as most atheists discount entirely any superior kind of knowledge and understanding.

    The Fall, itself, has been called a blessed mishap (not verbatim), I believe by a Church Father, a more or less immediate successor of the Apostles – some eminent spiritual writer, anyway; so, to say that Providence and free will is a relationship steeped in mystery, would be something of an understatement.

    In fact, because our assumptions are inevitably profoundly abstruse, when we consider these matters, we all engage in some manner in wishful thinking. We believe what we prefer to believe. It just happens that the divine Creator fashioned the world to fit the wishful thinking of ‘his own’.

    And why wouldn’t he? Indeed, why wouldn’t he then provide ‘for those with eyes to see and ears to hear’, substantiating evidence in their personal lives? Just not necessarily verifiable under laboratory conditions, although empirical science itself has been built up on just such divine munificence, if sometimes a little indirectly. Why must the truth be ugly, not to be wished for, not to be hoped for, undesirable? We shall be judged on the disposition of our heart, not our head. Who would want to meet Dr Mengele in heaven?

  42. Sorry, Bill. I meant to say, ‘blessed mishap’, in the sense of it’s changing our nature from that of a simple creature, to adoptive members of the only monotheistic, divine family: the Most Holy Trinity, sharing in the divine life of God, himself.

  43. Who would want to meet Dr Mengele in heaven?

    Me.

  44. Well. All of a sudden, you seem like a relativist, Mung. It seems to me from scripture, including Christ’s own words, that there is a level of human malice from which there can be no redemption.

    I think they call the notion that eventually everyone will be saved, ‘universalism’, don’t they? Origen speculated about it, but no more than that; and he was said to be the ‘go to’ man of his day, for doctrinal orthodoxy, notwithstanding his protocol breech in being ordained by a bishop of another see.

    Judas springs to mind in this context. To say of Jesus that he was the soul of compassion is not even a metaphor, yet when speaking of Judas’ demise, he spoke only with bitterness.

    Brady, one of the Moors murderers, still refuses to reveal to the parents of the children they tortured and murdered the places where their bodies are buried. ‘Bien pensant’ souls suggested to him that there may have been factors in his personal background that prompted him to carry out such devilish actions. Yet, apparently, his reaction was to sneer at the thought! He’s a devil incarnate, and at least he knows it.

  45. Thank you William J Murray for your kind and reflective comment. Your statement that ID “has no inherent position on evolution of any sort” comes as a surprise to me. I have taken your advice and educated myself.

    From Wikipedia (yes, I know, it’s not a definitive source, but it’s a beginning)

    “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.”

    The definition of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (CSC):

    “Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”

    Leskin writes in an argument against evolution:

    “If you look at these [evolutionary] schemes, they often very abruptly add a lens or a cornea. You need to evolve things in a step-by-step fashion.”

    Then there is this:

    “Irreducibly complex systems such as mousetraps and flagella serve both as negative arguments against gradualistic explanations like Darwin’s and as positive arguments for design. The negative argument is that such interactive systems resist explanation by the tiny steps that a Darwinian path would be expected to take. The positive argument is that their parts appear arranged to serve a purpose, which is exactly how we detect design. (Darwin’s Black Box, pp. 263-264 (2006).)”

    Since natural selection is an integral part of evolution, your definition of ID as having no position on evolution seems to differ with those of Discovery Institute and of Behe and Leskin.

    So who is this Designer?

    William Dembski writes that “design theorists recognize that the nature, moral character and purposes of this intelligence lie beyond the competence of science and must be left to religion and philosophy,” (The Design Revolution, p. 42 (2004)) Furthermore, Dembski concludes: “no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life.”

    So the Designer is beyond the competence of science and must be left to religion and philosophy? Okay, then. But you must acknowledge that scinece, with its limitations, cannot investigate anything that is not physical. So what’s the point?

    As to why a Designer would create such a blatantly imperfect organism as ourselves, “Behe suggests that, like a parent not wanting to spoil a child with extravagant toys, the designer can have multiple motives for not giving priority to excellence in engineering. He says that “the argument for imperfection critically depends on a psychoanalysis of the unidentified designer. Yet the reasons that a designer would or would not do anything are virtually impossible to know unless the designer tells you specifically what those reasons are.”

    “Previously, in Darwin’s Black Box, Behe had argued that we are simply incapable of understanding the designer’s motives, so such questions cannot be answered definitively. Odd designs could, for example, “have been placed there by the designer … for artistic reasons, to show off, for some as-yet undetectable practical purpose, or for some unguessable reason”.

    Very well. This is turning into comedy. Yes, I know, you have argued these ideas for a long time, and you are tired of them. So am I. But give a new addition to your blog a little leeway, will you? After all, I assume you want new people to join your discussion and not just your old comrades to simply sing to the choir.

    I believe it is disingenuous of you to say that ID has nothing to do with evolution, the same way that it is disingenuous to say that the Designer is not God, as Dembski readily admits. Who else can it be?

    Finally, I resent the lack of a cordial attitude. We are here to discuss, in a civilized fashion. I am not here to start planting red herrings and straw men. If I am wrong in your position, I expect a correction, or no comment at all. But I also expect honesty. Yes, ID is an attempt to detect design in living creatures, but by so doing it effectively contradicts the theory of evolution. You can’t have both.

    By the way, I am not an atheist and I do believe that this complex universe could not have come from nothing, as quantum physicists claim, since they, too, admit that the rules of quantum mechanics had to have existed before the universe came into existence. So the question of the final cause is still there.

  46. Solzhenitsyn also remarked on the subject of torturers that there was a level of wickedness below which conversion and redemption would be effectively impossible.

    I also remember seeing a programme about the terrorists in Northern Ireland. In the Maze prison, I believe it was, was one individual who seemed to spend all his time rocking back and for in utter misery. He was later reported to have committed suicide.

    On the pretext of giving him a lift home in his vehicle, he had murdered a Catholic work-mate. Other terrorists took a some degree of risk, I would imagine of a rather more significant order than he had; and, moreover, it was a friend.

    We can only speculate about his supernatural destiny, but if you saw him, and the depth of his regret, no doubt similar to that of Judas, you could not help but wish that there was something about his character and life that would invite God’s mercy. Mengele, Brady and Hindley? I don’t think so.

  47. I would like to see Dr. Mengele in heaven but I don’t expect to. One or both of us may not make it. ;)

  48. Timothya (16):

    Individual systems certainly have a short-term goal: to survive.

    Why would any part of the ‘individual system’ be interested in ‘surviving’? Why would any atom, electron or whatever be interested in the continuation of the (non-existent) whole? In the naturalistic view on organisms I see nothing that is interested in the continuation of life. Tell me, in naturalistic terms, what you mean by an ‘individual system’. Isn’t it the whole point of naturalism that there is no ‘individual system’ – that there is actually nobody home?

  49. Axel, what about the Gospel According to Judas? In it he says basically that he was Jesus’ favorite and that his treachery was planned along with Jesus in order to fulfill Jesus’ own plan of being crucified. After all, wasn’t that Jesus’ plan to bring redemption to humanity through his own death? I never understood why Judas was so reviled. He fulfilled Jesus’ plan. Therefore, Jesus must have been in on it. Without him Jesus would not have been crucified and no world religion would have resulted. What say you?

  50. That, esteemed Mung, I now see, is a wrily humble way of looking at it.

  51. Well, bill, this is precisely what I was adverting to, in my earlier post about the mystery of Divine Providence and free will. Th same enigma is raised by the Gospel passage relating Jesus’ Lament over Jerusalem. Christianity, itself.

    But, as I said, our analytical intelligence is unable to understand the paradoxes which, inevitably, actually, render the deepest truths unintelligible in terms of our analytical reason.

    Remember the anecdote about the answer given by the little boy digging a hole in the sand on the beach, to St Augustine’s question as to his reason for doing so? How Augustine scoffed that it could never contain the sea. And the little boy replied that neither could his head contain the Holy Trinity.

  52. Bill as to:

    “Therefore, Jesus must have been in on it.”

    Knowing that someone will freely choose to do evil beforehand in no way implies ‘being in on it’, nor does taking advantage of that foreknowledge of someone freely choosing evil to bring about a ultimate ‘good choice’, that people may freely choose, (Christ’s atoning sacrifice), constitute a compromise of free will.

  53. I love the way your mind works, Axel.

  54. billmaz: C2 document of dubious historical credentials, set up to foster a particular gnostic scheme of thought rather than to convey accurate history. Irenaeus said much the same c 180 AD, and the text as discovered supports his dismissal. KF

  55. Now, Bornagain77, a discussion on free will is vast, and will never bring us to a conclusion. Some psychologists believe there is no such thing as free will, that we are all subject to our “character” and to our previous choices, and that our decisions can be predetermined if one studies our personality and our history. Others believe that there is pure free will. The Kabbalists believe that our history brings us to the ultimate point of making a decision, but that point, the moment of pulling the trigger or not, or of stealing that object or not, it constitutes a moment of free will. I don’t know.

    In the case of Jesus, he foretold that he will be sacrificed for the good of mankind. Judas was an instrument in that plan. So did Jesus plan it all, or did he foresee it? Either way he did nothing to stop Judas. So you tell me what that means.

  56. Kairofocus, please speak in English. I don’t know what C2 means, or your allusion to Irenaeus. Please explain.

  57. Well billmaz, contrary to your reservations that ‘free will’ can ever be brought to a satisfactory resolution, I beg to differ. In fact recent breakthroughs in quantum mechanics have addressed this very question, and have brought very unambiguous resolution to it (but of course empirical evidence means little to a determined atheist doesn’t it bill?):

    I would like to point out that ‘free will’, as far as empirical science is concerned, has been defended by ‘uncertainty’ in quantum mechanics for several decades now:

    Why Quantum Physics (Uncertainty) Ends the Free Will Debate – Michio Kaku – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFLR5vNKiSw

    In that the uncertainty of quantum mechanics demonstrates that no one could precisely determine your future events from your past history.
    Yet, our free will in quantum mechanics is now shown by recent developments in quantum mechanics to go much deeper than us simply being unable to determine what our future actions may be. Much deeper! In the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is falsified by the fact that our present conscious choices, in fact, effect past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past?,,, This is simply completely contrary to atheistic/materialistic precepts:

    Moreover, the foundation of quantum mechanics within science is now so solid that researchers were recently able to bring forth this following proof from quantum entanglement experiments;

    Can quantum theory be improved? – July 23, 2012
    Excerpt: However, in the new paper, the physicists have experimentally demonstrated that there cannot exist any alternative theory that increases the predictive probability of quantum theory by more than 0.165, with the only assumption being that measurement (i.e. conscious observation) parameters can be chosen independently (free choice, free will, assumption) of the other parameters of the theory.,,,
    ,, the experimental results provide the tightest constraints yet on alternatives to quantum theory. The findings imply that quantum theory is close to optimal in terms of its predictive power, even when the predictions are completely random.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-quantum-theory.html

    Of note:

    What does the term “measurement” mean in quantum mechanics?
    “Measurement” or “observation” in a quantum mechanics context are really just other ways of saying that the observer is interacting with the quantum system and measuring the result in toto.
    http://boards.straightdope.com.....p?t=597846

    Now this is completely unheard of in science as far as I know. i.e. That a mathematical description of reality would advance to the point that one can actually perform a experiment showing that your current theory will not be exceeded in predictive power by another future theory is simply completely unprecedented in science and, in my unsolicited opinion, is perhaps the most important milestone to ever be reached in the history of science thus far! As well, finding ‘free will conscious observation’ to be ‘built into’ our best description of foundational reality, i.e. quantum mechanics, as a starting assumption(s), ‘free will, conscious observation’ which is shown to be the driving aspect of randomness in quantum mechanics in the paper I referenced, is VERY antithetical to the entire materialistic philosophy which demands that ‘pure randomness’ be the driving force of all creativity in Darwinian evolution (and indeed in the creation of the universe itself)!,,, Of related note:

    Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – Random Number Generators – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007

    I once asked a evolutionist, after showing him the preceding experiments, “Since you ultimately believe that the ‘god of random chance’ produced everything we see around us, what in the world is my mind doing pushing your god around?”

    Of somewhat related note, Einstein was asked (by a philosopher):

    “Can physics demonstrate the existence of ‘the now’ in order to make the notion of ‘now’ into a scientifically valid term?”

    Einstein’s answer was categorical, he said:

    “The experience of ‘the now’ cannot be turned into an object of physical measurement, it can never be a part of physics.”

    Einstein’s quote was taken from the last few minutes of this following video:

    Stanley L. Jaki: “The Mind and Its Now”
    https://vimeo.com/10588094

    The preceding statement was an interesting statement for Einstein to make since ‘the now of the mind’ has, from many recent experiments in quantum mechanics, been shown to take precedence of Einstein’s preferred General Relativity, (4-D space-time), frame of reference for reality.

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    i.e. ‘the now of the mind’, contrary to what Einstein thought possible for experimental physics, according to advances in quantum mechanics, takes precedence over past events in time! Moreover, due to how solid quantum mechanics is demonstrated to be as a accurate description of reality, it would now be much more appropriate to phrase Einstein’s answer to the philosopher in this way:

    “It is impossible for the experience of ‘the now’ to be divorced from physical measurement, it will always be a part of physics.”

    Of note: since our free will choices figure so prominently in how reality is actually found to be constructed in our understanding of quantum mechanics, I think a Christian perspective on just how important our free will choices are in this temporal life, in regards to our eternal destiny, is very fitting:

    Is God Good? (Free will and the problem of evil) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rfd_1UAjeIA

    i.e. God gives us a ‘free will’ because without true free will it is impossible to have true love. i.e. How much love would you feel if you made a robot to tell you how much it loves you? As a consequence of true free will, and true love, hell is necessary:

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    Music and verse:

    Third Day – Trust In Jesus
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o-ipsw161E

    Deuteronomy 30:19
    I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

    of related note:

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.

  58. Bornagain, I appreciate your comment and vast documentation. If, as you say, there is free will, the question regarding Christ and Judas still stands. If Judas had free will and if Christ knew about it beforehand, why didn’t He stop it, or talk to Judas about it, or something?

    By the way, just because quantum mechanics says that you can have free will and alter past reality, it doesn’t mean that every time we make a decision we do it in the full light of conscious rationality. We know the power of the subconscious. We know that every day we make subconscious decisions without even knowing we do. So you have to give a place for psychology in the whole issue of decision making.

  59. Well if a cost is a goal, maybe Van Till is right in that organisms receive gifts and that’s how they evolve.

  60. billmaz:

    C2 = Second Century AD.

    It’s not likely it was written by Judas.

    It’s like finding a 2nd Century AD document written by Jesus.

  61. Bill you state:

    “had free will and if Christ knew about it beforehand, why didn’t He stop it,,,,”

    Your really having trouble with the entire concept of free will aren’t you? i.e. To prevent someone from doing what they freely want to do is to circumvent free will!

    As to the rest of your post, so what if material states may influence what choices I choose to make? The fact that quantum mechanics has shown free will to take precedence over material states means that I am not a complete victim of material states and restores free will to its rightful, and I might add, common sense place in the grand scheme of things. It seems you have chosen to try to ‘hide in the weeds’ from the truly profound implications that are wrapped up in all this. Pity!

  62. 63

    billmaz;

    Once again, I suggest you read the faq this site offers.
    It addresses the comments made by Dembski; it addresses your “bad design = no design” argument; it addresses your your claim that science cannot investigate the non-physical; furthermore, because some ID proponents use ID theory to advance arguments that certain things are designed doesn’t mean that ID theory is inherently about those things, any more than mathematics is inherently about calculating the amount of fuel that is required to send a payload into orbit.

    Because some ID proponents use ID theory in their arguments about god doesn’t mean ID theory is inherently about god, any more than just because some evolutionists use evolution to argue for atheism doesn’t mean evolutionary theory is inherently about atheism.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that you were planting red herrings and straw men deliberately, but the very things you have posted have been posted here many, many, many times , so many times that a faq was put up just for that very purpose – to educate people that were getting misinformation and bad arguments from the internet and other sources.

  63. I am not hiding in the weeds, Bornagain. Please try to assume the best in me rather than the worst. I just don’t want any of us to accept responsibility for everything we do, regardless of subconscious forces that we know nothing about. It is a very courageous thing to accept responsibility for every action that you take. There are profound implications in all that you speak of, I admit. But it is foolish, and I may say, childish, to accept that every decision you make is truly free. You have to know yourself very well, in and out, before you accept such responsibility. I hope you do.

    I, for one, don’t. I don’t think that every one of my past and future decisions are freely taken without all sorts of nefarious or positive forces from my subconscious, the societal forces, my religious background, by knowledge of science, etc. having all sots of effects on my decision. Maybe in great decisions in which we have a lot of time and effort to devote you can say that the decision was freely taken, but I think in the daily function of life, our will is expressed not purely but filled with the muck of life, bad or good, pulling us this way or that, and making a farce of all of our so-called free will. Tell me that you haven’t made wrong decisions in your life that you would take back if given the option. Why did you make those decisions? Were you really fully conscious and rational in your decision-making? Did you really invoke your free will? Did not other forces – your loved ones maybe, or your parents’ will, or your friends’ peer pressure, or something you saw in a movie – influence you? Be real.
    I admire your devotion to the ideal, but life is not ideal. And, if God does exists, He never meant it to be ideal. Think about it. If we are here to learn a lesson, we are not meant to know the truth from the start. What good would it do if we knew everything from the beginning? We are meant to learn it first hand. We would never learn anything if we were given the truth to begin with.

    And yet, if we all attain the consciousness of the Buddha, we could truly express our free will. But not many of us have reached that stage. If you have, I applaud you.

  64. Box @ 49 posted this:

    Why would any part of the ‘individual system’ be interested in ‘surviving’? Why would any atom, electron or whatever be interested in the continuation of the (non-existent) whole? In the naturalistic view on organisms I see nothing that is interested in the continuation of life. Tell me, in naturalistic terms, what you mean by an ‘individual system’.

    Sorry to be obscure, I used the term “individual system” in the context of the original post. I meant an individual organism (which is clearly also an individual system). Quite evidently, individual organisms have a range of genetically determined strategies to achieve survival. No such long-term strategies exist for any species as a whole, at least until humans evolved the ability to conserve cultural knowledge.

  65. 66

    Influence and “the muck of life” doesn’t compromise free will, it just informs and contextualizes it.

    That said, I don’t believe everyone has free will.

  66. BM:

    Sorry to be cryptic.

    C2 is second century, Christian era [thanks Mung], 101 – 200 AD. from shortly after the last apostle to the time of the Church Fathers Tertullian [Lawyer, North Africa] and Irenaeus [Bishop of what is now Lyons, France; seems to have been in Anatolia and under the teaching of Polycarp, a disciple of John in his old age].

    The latter wrote a major work, c. 180 AD, Against Heresies.

    He remarked on the so-called Gospel of Judas in this:

    Others [of the heretics] again declare that Cain derived his being from the Power above, and acknowledge that Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and all such persons, are related to themselves. On this account, they add, they have been assailed by the Creator, yet no one of them has suffered injury. For Sophia was in the habit of carrying off that which belonged to her from them to herself. They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas. (1.31.1)

    What was recently published by Nat Geog — nb there is a debate on the soundness of the translation — seems to fill this bill more or less. Gnosticism is a weird syncretism in various forms of Platonic ideas vulgarised, magic, elements of Judaism, a notion of a cascade of emanations and beings, and an admixture of hostility to the covenantal God of the OT. The idea is to escape the prison of the flesh with secret knowledge that allows you to pass the various heavenly realms and beings.

    Utterly different from the C1 NT, which is strongly hebraic and historical in focus. And of course, it is said that the Simon Magus confronted by the apostles was a leading founder of what we now call Gnosticism.

    Sorry on lack of a detailed exposition.

    KF

  67. Bill Maz-

    Please read the following:

    So here it is AGAIN- Intelligent Design is NOT anti-evolution:

    Intelligent Design is NOT Anti-Evolution

    In order to have a discussion about whether or not Intelligent Design is anti-evolution or not we must first define “evolution”. Fortunately there are resources available that do just that.

    Defining “evolution”:

    Finally, during the evolutionary synthesis, a consensus emerged: “Evolution is the change in properties of populations of organisms over time”- Ernst Mayr page 8 of “What Evolution Is”

    Biological (or organic) evolution is change in the properties of populations of organisms or groups of such populations, over the course of generations. The development, or ontogeny, of an individual organism is not considered evolution: individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are ‘heritable’ via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population, such as the alleles that determine the different human blood types, to the alterations that led from the earliest organisms to dinosaurs, bees, snapdragons, and humans.
    Douglas J. Futuyma (1998) Evolutionary Biology 3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc. Sunderland MA p.4

    Biological evolution refers to the cumulative changes that occur in a population over time. PBS series “Evolution” endorsed by the NCSE

    Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations) UC Berkley

    In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.
    Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974

    Evolution- in biology, the word means genetically based change in a line of descent over time.- Biology: Concepts and Applications Starr 5th edition 2003 page 10

    Those are all accepted definitions of biological “evolution”. (Perhaps OgreMKV will present some definitions that differ from those. Most likely I will only comment on any differences if the differences are relevant.)

    With biology, where-ever there is heritable genetic change there is evolution and where-ever you have offspring that are (genetically) different from the parent(s) you have descent with modification.

    Next I will show what Intelligent Design says about biological evolution and people can see for themselves that Intelligent Design is not anti-evolution:

    Intelligent Design is NOT Creationism
    (MAY 2000)

    Scott refers to me as an intelligent design “creationist,” even though I clearly write in my book Darwin’s Black Box (which Scott cites) that I am not a creationist and have no reason to doubt common descent. In fact, my own views fit quite comfortably with the 40% of scientists that Scott acknowledges think “evolution occurred, but was guided by God.”- Dr Michael Behe

    Dr Behe has repeatedly confirmed he is OK with common ancestry. And he has repeatedly made it clear that ID is an argument against materialistic evolution (see below), ie necessity and chance.

    Then we have:

    What is Intelligent Design and What is it Challenging?- a short video featuring Stephen C. Meyer on Intelligent Design. He also makes it clear that ID is not anti-evolution.

    Next Dembski and Wells weigh in:

    The theory of intelligent design (ID) neither requires nor excludes speciation- even speciation by Darwinian mechanisms. ID is sometimes confused with a static view of species, as though species were designed to be immutable. This is a conceptual possibility within ID, but it is not the only possibility. ID precludes neither significant variation within species nor the evolution of new species from earlier forms. Rather, it maintains that there are strict limits to the amount and quality of variations that material mechanisms such as natural selection and random genetic change can alone produce. At the same time, it holds that intelligence is fully capable of supplementing such mechanisms, interacting and influencing the material world, and thereby guiding it into certain physical states to the exclusion of others. To effect such guidance, intelligence must bring novel information to expression inside living forms. Exactly how this happens remains for now an open question, to be answered on the basis of scientific evidence. The point to note, however, is that intelligence can itself be a source of biological novelties that lead to macroevolutionary changes. In this way intelligent design is compatible with speciation. page 109 of “The Design of Life”

    and

    And that brings us to a true either-or. If the choice between common design and common ancestry is a false either-or, the choice between intelligent design and materialistic evolution is a true either-or. Materialistic evolution does not only embrace common ancestry; it also rejects any real design in the evolutionary process. Intelligent design, by contrast, contends that biological design is real and empirically detectable regardless of whether it occurs within an evolutionary process or in discrete independent stages. The verdict is not yet in, and proponents of intelligent design themselves hold differing views on the extent of the evolutionary interconnectedness of organisms, with some even accepting universal common ancestry (ie Darwin’s great tree of life).
    Common ancestry in combination with common design can explain the similar features that arise in biology. The real question is whether common ancestry apart from common design- in other words, materialistic evolution- can do so. The evidence of biology increasingly demonstrates that it cannot.- Ibid page 142

    And from one more pro-ID book:

    Many assume that if common ancestry is true, then the only viable scientific position is Darwinian evolution- in which all organisms are descended from a common ancestor via random mutation and blind selection. Such an assumption is incorrect- Intelligent Design is not necessarily incompatible with common ancestry.- page 217 of “Intelligent Design 101”

    That is just a sample of what the Intelligent Design leadership say about biological evolution- they are OK with it. And the following is from “Uncommon Descent”:

    9] “Evolution” Proves that Intelligent Design is Wrong
    The word “evolution” can mean different things. The simplest meaning is one of natural history of the appearance of different living forms. A stronger meaning implies common descent, in its universal form (all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor) or in partial form (particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor). “Evolution” is often defined as descent with modifications, or simply as changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population.

    None of those definitions can prove ID wrong, because none are in any way incompatible with it.

    ID is a theory about the cause of genetic information, not about the modalities or the natural history of its appearance, and is in no way incompatible with many well known patterns of limited modification of that information usually defined as “microevolution.” ID affirms that design is the cause, or at least a main cause, of complex biological information. A theory which would indeed be alternative to ID, and therefore could prove it wrong, is any empirically well-supported “causal theory” which excludes design; in other words any theory that fits well with the evidence and could explain the presence or emergence of complex biological information through chance, necessity, any mix of the two, or any other scenario which does not include design. However, once we rule out “just-so stories” and the like, we will see that there is not today, nor has there ever been, such a theory. Furthermore, the only empirically well-supported source of functionally specific, complex information is: intelligence.
    To sum it up: no definition of evolution is really incompatible with an ID scenario. Any causal theory of evolution which does not include design is obviously alternative to, and incompatible with, ID.

    However, while many such theories have indeed been proposed, they are consistently wanting in the necessary degree of empirical support. By contrast, design is an empirically known source of the class of information – complex, specified information (CSI) — exhibited by complex biological systems.

    They go on to say:

    10] The Evidence for Common Descent is Incompatible with Intelligent Design
    ID is a theory about the cause of complex biological information. Common descent (CD) is a theory about the modalities of implementation of that information. They are two separate theories about two different aspects of the problem, totally independent and totally compatible. In other words, one can affirm CD and ID, CD and Darwinian Evolution, or ID and not CD. However, if one believes in Darwinian Evolution, CD is a necessary implication.

    CD theory exists in two forms, universal CD and partial CD. No one can deny that there are evidences for the theory of CD (such as ERVs, homologies and so on). That’s probably the reason why many IDists do accept CD. Others do not agree that those evidences are really convincing, or suggest that they may reflect in part common design. But ID theory, proper, has nothing to do with all that.
    ID affirms that design is the key cause of complex biological information. The implementation of design can well be realized through common descent, that is through implementation of new information in existing biological beings. That can be done gradually or less gradually. All these are modalities of the implementation of information, and not causes of the information itself. ID theory is about causes.

    And finally there is front loaded evolution (Mike Gene) and a prescribed evolutionary hypothesis (John Davison)- both are ID hypotheses pertaining to evolution.

    Mutations are OK, differential reproduction is OK, horizontal gene transfer is OK. With Intelligent Design organisms are designed to evolve, ie they evolve by design. That is by “built-in responses to environmental cues” ala Dr Spetner’s “non-random evolution hypothesis” being the main process of adaptations.

    As Dembski/ Wells said Intelligent design only has an issue with materialistic evolution- the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through an unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms. (Also known as the blind watchmaker thesis)

    Intelligent Design is OK with all individuals in a population generally having the same number and types of genes and that those genes give rise to an array of traits and characteristics that characterize that population. It is OK with mutations that may result in two or more slightly different molecular forms of a gene- alleles- that influence a trait in different ways and that individuals of a population vary in the details of a trait when they inherit different combinations of alleles. ID is OK with any allele that may become more or less common in the population relative to other kinds at a gene locus, or it may disappear. And ID is OK with allele frequencies changing as a result of mutation, gene flow, genetic drift, natural and artificial selection, that mutation alone produces new alleles and gene flow, genetic drift, natural and artificial selection shuffle existing alleles into, through, or out of populations. IOW ID is OK with biological evolution. As Dr Behe et al., make very clear, it just argues about the mechanisms- basically design/ telic vs spontaneous/ stochastic.

    Now we are left with the only way Intelligent Design can be considered anti-evolution is if and only if the only definition of evolution matches the definition provided for materialistic evolution. However I cannot find any source that states that is the case.

    So the bottom line is Intelligent Design says “evolved, sure”. The questions are “evolved from what?” and “how did it evolve?”.

  68. H’mm: were made in China el cheapos not designed? (Just for argument — signs that point to design per reliable induction are separate from evaluating the quality of such in light of robustness constraints vs over optimisation and brittleness — tradeoffs. But then I love my Victorinoxes AND my el cheapo knockoffs for different jobs. We must also reckon with deteriorated and damaged designs as a challenge.) KF

  69. 70

    A few more comments about free will:

    It is my view that “free will” only applies to will, not to actions, consequences, or in many cases individual decisions. It is my responsibility to organize my mind and beliefs in a manner that gives me the best chance for making good decisions in any given situation, including those which are problematical. IOW, I must willfully choose what I believe to be true of myself and the world, and willfully construct an interpretive/reactive system that serves my intent even when I am on “autopilot”, so to speak.

    I agree with billmaz in spirit that many people do not seem to do this; they simply adopt whatever “seems” true to them as their beliefs, and simply react however they happen to react. Most people, IMO, either do not understand, or do not have the capacity, to change how they think, what they believe, and how they interpret/react. They are, for all intents and purposes, exactly what materialist believe: biological automatons, or as I like to call them, NPCs (non-player characters).

  70. billmaz, thanks for your heartfelt response. Please forgive my ‘thinking the worse’ of your intentions. I tend to ‘assume the worst’ because that is usually the level of argumentation that I have to deal with from materialists.,,, billmaz, the important thing to realize in all this is that free will is shown, by quantum mechanics, to take on a MOST foundationally important role in our best understanding of reality. I hold this finding to completely negate any doubt as to ‘if’ there is a God. This finding is simply completely inexplicable to any atheistic/materialistic position (no matter how convoluted it may be), whereas to the Theistic position, ESPECIALLY the Christian Theistic position, this finding is to be completely expected. According to mainstream Christian Theism, our eternal destiny is determined by our free will choice to accept Christ’s atoning sacrifice for our sins, or to face God’s perfect justice and holiness on our own merits. (For me, looking over my life filled with regrettable mistakes, the ‘choice’ is not even close) Thus while I agree with you that many of our choices seem to be on the verge of automatic in many instances, that in no way, shape, or form, negates the fact that God has left this most important of free will choices, of where we each will choose to spend eternity, (either in loving communion with God through Christ, or separated from Him,) completely and freely in our hands.

    As to supporting evidence,,,

    It is very interesting to note that we have two very different ‘eternities of time’ revealed by our time dilation experiments. One ‘eternity’ is found for being deeper in a gravitation well and another ‘eternity’ is found for accelerating towards the speed of light:

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

    i.e. As with any observer accelerating to the speed of light, it is found that for any observer falling into the event horizon of a black hole, that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for them. — But of particular interest to the ‘eternal framework’ found for General Relativity at black holes;… It is interesting to note that entropic decay (Randomness), which is the primary reason why things grow old and eventually die in this universe, is found to be greatest at black holes. Thus the ‘eternality of time’ at black holes can rightly be called ‘eternalities of decay and/or eternalities of destruction’.

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    i.e. Black Holes are found to be ‘timeless’ singularities of destruction and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order such as the extreme order we see at the creation event of the Big Bang. Needless to say, the implications of this ‘eternality of destruction’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of the ‘spiritually minded’ persuasion!

    Matthew 10:28
    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    Further notes:

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    Please note the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences: (Of note: This following video was made by two Australian University Physics Professors with a supercomputer.)

    Approaching The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    What would it be like to be in a higher dimension?

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    ‘Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.’ – Kimberly Clark Sharp – NDE Experiencer

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    ———

    ,,,As well, as with the scientifically verified tunnel for special relativity, we also have scientific confirmation of extreme ‘tunnel curvature’, within space-time, to a eternal ‘event horizon’ at black holes;

    Space-Time of a Black hole
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8

    As well, as with the tunnel being present in heavenly NDE’s, we also have mention of tunnels in hellish NDE testimonies;

    A man, near the beginning of this video, gives testimony of falling down a ‘tunnel’ in the transition stage from this world to hell:

    Hell – A Warning! – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4131476/

    The man, in this following video, also speaks of ‘tumbling down’ a tunnel in his transition stage to hell:

    Bill Wiese on Sid Roth – video
    http://vimeo.com/21230371

    billmaz, you may say you don’t believe in Near Death Experiences are real, but if so, you would fail to realize just how strong the evidence for NDE’s are:

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    http://vimeo.com/39982578

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species (or origin of life), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

  71. Thank you Joe for the documentation and clarification. Question: How would adaptive or directed mutation, which has been even been hypothesized to involve quantum mechanics,Bill Maz: Adaptive Mutations and Quantum Mechanics fit into your synthesis? In other words, what if we find that there is a physics-based “directed” evolution in which mutations are not random but directed in such a way as to involve the generation of new mutations and adaptations and new speciaton, a universe that has the quantum rules in it which, in essence, direct the eventual evolution of intelligent species?I understand these are hypothetical ideas and that, even if directed mutations do occur, it hasn’t yet been shown to involve heritable traits that are passed on to future generations. But if the only difference between evolutionists and ID proponents is the source of the drive to new information, then if we find a physics based source of directed evolution we can dispense with ID.

    In other words, I have a problem with the idea that a designer is constantly infusing new information into the system in order to create new species. It implies a designer who is always watching our development and adding new information as needed. Do your really believe that?

  72. Thank you bornagain77 for your impressive comments and documentation. I have followed you for some time throughout the blogs and have been impressed by the breadth and depth of your knowledge.

    I have followed the NDE literature for decades. I am convinced that it is real. I have even met several patients in the operating room (I was trained as an anesthesiologist in my previous life) who had out of body experiences in previous surgeries, including seeing not only what was happening in their operating room but in others next door. I even have a sister-in-law who has had out of body experiences on a regular basis since childhood, when she almost died from an allergic reaction to tetracycline. She has even “traveled” across continents to “see” what my brother was doing at that particular moment and then call him immediately after to describe to him exactly where he is seated, what book he is reading, what the room looks like and what coffee he is drinking. So I am convinced.

    I have also followed the literature, as an interested amateur, on quantum mechanics, black holes, time dilation, etc. I am convinced that the material universe cannot be all there is, and that there is an eternal energy or spirit which survives this physical world.

    Having said all that, I have problems with the particulars of religion(s). They seem childish, intended for a specific period of human history and for guiding the masses toward a moral life. All of which is fine. But I can’t use the Bible or the Koran, or any other historical document either as a literal guide to life or as a component of scientific research which, by its very nature, can only try to describe the physical universe. We are in a black box. We can’t see outside of it. Even if we find an infinite number of universes they are still physical objects, not spiritual. So my problem with ID is that it conflates the spiritual world with the physical. There is no evidence in any other scientific specialty that God interferes with our world of the physical. So to include God, or a Designer, in our understanding of the evolution of species is to inject a source of information which we will never be able to prove or even test for. It is simply deus ex machina, no matter how ID proponents try to deflect that conclusion. In my post above, I have quoted Dembski saying he cannot fathom of a designer who is part of this physical world, that it is a question of philosophy and theology. So you can understand how mainstream biologists can’t allow themselves to infuse religion and philosophy into their studies since they have no tools by which to prove these ideas one way or another. And saying that there is no better way to explain complexity isn’t enough. There may be no better way now, but there is already literature which tries to inject quantum mechanics, directed mutations, etc. into evolution. We may discover that God created a universe which has built into it the quantum laws needed to drive evolution, information, etc. toward a directed goal. As in my comment to Joe above, I would tend to believe that idea more than a God constantly infusing new information into our development to create new species or better organisms. Because if God decided to do that, then we would have to ask why He doesn’t introduce Himself into all the other things going on in our physical world, which opens up a whole Pandora’s box.

  73. Thank you William J Murray for you incisive comment. If you agree that most of us do not live our lives with a true expression of our free will, then that opens up all sorts of questions. Is it possible to live life that way, ever? Is there anyone living or dead who has lived life that way, (perhaps other than the Buddha or Christ)? Is there a methodology one could adopt to be able to live life purely from free will? How does one even know or recognize free will when one looks inside himself? How does one avoid constant second guessing whenever one tries to make a decision?

    We live like “automatons” as you put it for a reason. In Ernest Becker’s book The Denial of Death, he makes an argument that living like automatons is an adaptive trait which allows us to function in our physical world without being constantly paralyzed by the “wonder” of it all, without living in constant amazement at the incredible beauty and awesome terror of our physical world. So most of us would probably not be prepared to really “open our eyes” and live “willfully” because that would entail really seeing the world in all its beauty and horror.

  74. Well billmaz, I disagree with you (and many other people here on right here on UD) in that I find God has left a fingerprint on life with ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, quantum information/entanglement now being found in molecular biology on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule), whereas I also hold that Christ offers a very credible reconciliation of General Relativity and Quantum mechanics, (as witnessed on the Shroud of Turin by the ‘singularity’), thus substantiating, in rather dramatic fashion Christ’s claims about Himself. I certainly don’t hold following the evidence where it leads to be ‘childish’. I call it dealing with reality on reality’s own terms!

  75. What is your opinion of the latest findings on the Shroud, Bill?

    Re your #72:

    ‘In other words, I have a problem with the idea that a designer is constantly infusing new information into the system in order to create new species. It implies a designer who is always watching our development and adding new information as needed. Do your really believe that?’

    If light, by whatever agency or of its own action, is always on hand to track every human being on the planet (hits the Observer at its own absolute speed, whatever speed he might be travelling in the same direction), how could that not imply either its own omniscience and omnipotence, or that of an agency governing it?

    timothya, re your post #65

    ‘Quite evidently, individual organisms have a range of genetically determined strategies to achieve survival. No such long-term strategies exist for any species as a whole, at least until humans evolved the ability to conserve cultural knowledge.’

    Your use of the term, ‘genetically-determined strategies’ seems a very cheeky cop-out, to avoid the concept of Intelligent Design. A ‘strategy’ is an intelligent design; indeed a rather sophisticatedly pivotal one.

  76. Here is one of the videos, Bill on the latest physical findings relating to the Shroud of Turin:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kEvRqrhudU

    BA, what you wrote concerning past states being affected by present choices resonates with the eternal (as per some NDEs, all time existing concurrently!), and hence numinous status of our free will; a divine attribute. Does it not?

  77. Thanks Axel. The video is mind-blowing. As for photons as a mode of following our every move, I never argued that God, if He wanted to, couldn’t do whatever He wanted. By definition, He is omnipotent. He doesn’t even need photons. He could just will it, I presume. My question was whether there was evidence of His interfering in the doings on earth. Bornagain’s allusion to quantum mechanics is fine. I already said that God can and probably should be invoked in creating the laws of the universe. My question is after He did that, is there any evidence that He continues to inject information into the genome in ways that cannot be explained by quantum mechanics or any other physical laws.

  78. But you were questioning God’s micromanaging, weren’t you, Bill? This behaviour of light surely implies, not merely the level of micromanagement that only a creator-god would be capable of, but also a theistic God.

  79. This is a better video, Bill. The one I had been looking for.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_voTiCTqv4Q

  80. 81
  81. 82

    Is there a methodology one could adopt to be able to live life purely from free will? How does one even know or recognize free will when one looks inside himself? How does one avoid constant second guessing whenever one tries to make a decision?

    Do you believe as you wish, or as you must? Do you react as you wish, or as you must? Do you interpret as you wish, or as you must? The former demonstrates free will, the latter demonstrates mechanism.

  82. Did someone say photons are watching me?

  83. You gad it!

  84. More likely the agency behind it; or if physical light is a continuum with spiritual light, the spiritual pole, i.e God.

  85. Bill Maz 72-

    1- Your “physics based source of directed evolution” could be on par with Mike Gene’s “front-loaded evolution”. So it wouldn’t necessarily dispense with ID, but it may dispense with a tinkerer

    2- With the proper software there wouldn’t be any need to constantly infuse information- and my stance is we are governed by software, ie real genetic programking wit real genetic algorithms. THAT is part of the new vitalism.

  86. Joe,

    I have no problem with your point. The universe and its laws could have been created by God with the algorithms in place to evolve intelligent life. But that would be no different than saying God created all the laws of the universe, quantum mechanics and all. There is no way of proving where those laws came from. The tinkerer issue is the problem with ID.

  87. billmaz as to:

    There is no way of proving where those laws came from.

    I beg to differ:

    Only God can provide a coherent basis for the finely tuned ‘higher dimensional’ physical laws;
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N3rreCPgeJUrQRPt3WNoeYTdHPcVEUOHDBDXrDlWgzU/edit

    As to:

    The tinkerer issue is the problem with ID.

    Actually the ‘inept’ tinkerer is a severe problem for ‘botton up’ Darwinian evolution. Whereas the evidence, as David Tyler pointed out in his post today, clearly indicates ‘top down’ frontloaded design,,,

    Reappraising speciation in fossil gastropods – February 5, 2013 – David Tyler
    Excerpt: The morphologies (investigated during a geological interval of c. 1.6 Ma) can be described as examples of micro-evolutionary change. The Melanopsis gastropods are all members of the same genus. Whilst morphologies change, there are no evolutionary novelties. Indeed, there is no evidence here for anything more than multiple phenotypes emerging from the same genotype. The situation fits well with the concept of phenotypic plasticity,,,
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....sil_gastro

  88. billmaz @87:

    The universe and its laws could have been created by God with the algorithms in place to evolve intelligent life.

    True. But there is no evidence the laws of the universe lead to life (indeed there is plenty of contrary evidence). However, if we are talking about first created life being infused with information adequate to subsequently develop into life as we currently see it, that is a different story. I think that might be what Joe was referring to?

    Personally, I’m not too convinced about front loading as an explanation for the development of all life as we see it. Perhaps some aspects, yes, but I don’t think we need to resort to front loading to reconcile design with the alleged evolutionary history, as the latter is not particularly clear anyway.

    The tinkerer issue is the problem with ID.

    How is this a problem?

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