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Another example of reductive evolution? More bad news for Darwinism

In information science, it is empirically and theoretically shown that noise destroys specified complexity, but cannot create it. Natural selection acting on noise cannot create specified complexity. Thus, information science refutes Darwinian evolution. The following is a great article that illustrates the insufficiency of natural selection to create design.

Key to zebrafish heart regeneration uncovered

“Interestingly, some species have the ability to regenerate appendages, while even fairly closely related species do not,” Poss added. “This leads us to believe that during the course of evolution, regeneration is something that has been lost by some species, rather than an ability that has been gained by other species. The key is to find a way to ‘turn on’ this regenerative ability.”

If the ability to regenerate major organs is hardly visible for natural selection to preserve, how in the world will natural selection be able to even create the ability to regenerate major organs in the first place?

Natural Selection does not trade in the currency of design (ala Allen Orr). I have also argued here why contingency designs are almost invisible to natural selection. The ability to regenerate major organs is an example of a contingency design.

The discovery by these researchers again illustrates the ID’s Law of Conservation of CSI and ID’s formulation of the 4th law of thermodynamics.

(HT: Mike Gene, Telic Thoughts)

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46 Responses to Another example of reductive evolution? More bad news for Darwinism

  1. Regeneration! Now that seems like a feature any organism could use. Yet not enough selective benefit to remain conserved? Hmmm. Biology is full of reductive evolution or evolutionary loss. Many organisms that have been classified as primitive are now being found to be derived from more “advanced” ancestors.

    Take bats for example. Bats have always been a problem for evolution because they jush show up in the fossil record fully formed read to fly. It also appears that many modern bats have less sophisticated echolocation than their ancestors.

    Microbat paraphyly implies that complex laryngeal echolocation either evolved independently in rhinolophoids and other microbats or evolved in the ancestor of Chiroptera with subsequent loss in megabats. Given these competing hypotheses, which are equally parsimonious in the context of molecular phylogenies that have only included living taxa, we investigated the origin and evolutionary history of laryngeal echolocation in microbats by using an integrated approach that used both molecular phylogenies and morphological data for living and extinct taxa. Molecular phylogenies were used to construct a backbone phylogenetic constraint, or scaffold, for a subset of extant bat families/subfamilies for which DNA phylogenies are available (see Methods). Parsimony analyses with the morphological data set of Simmons and Geisler, in conjunction with the molecular scaffolds, provide support for the hypothesis that laryngeal echolocation evolved in the common ancestor of Chiroptera and was subsequently lost in megabats.

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/98/11/6241

    This of course, is just one of countless examples.

  2. Well I would really like to keep regeneration. Imagine loosing a leg and it grows right back! Seems like Natural Selection didn’t feel like keeping the most valuable traits. Maybe it needed all the strenght at that time to get bats “fully formed and ready to fly”!

  3. I was curious a year or two ago about why regeneration was lost in mammals since it seems like it would be a deucedly handy thing to have as a survival tool. I googled around for an explanation and all I found was some speculation that along with the ability to regenerate lost parts comes a far higher risk of tumors. AFAIK all species that can regenerate lost parts are cold blooded, reproduce by laying lots of eggs (so they can afford to lose more offspring), and indeed are highly susceptable to tumors. Of course like most evolutionary narratives based on chance & necessity there’s no way to confirm it. It’s just one tough break after another trying to tease real answers out of a process that is unpredictable, unrepeatable, and uncontemporary.

    Is uncomtemporary a word? It fit so well I just couldn’t resist. :-)

  4. AFAIK all species that can regenerate lost parts are cold blooded, reproduce by laying lots of eggs (so they can afford to lose more offspring), and indeed are highly susceptable to tumors.

    Yes, but even amongst egg laying cold blooded animals, regeneration has mostly been lost.

    Here is my theory on why: The regeneration gene is generally helpful to organisms that have it but it is not conserved due to lack of selective benefit, so it falls prey to entropy. This is what happens to genes that are helpful but not quite helpful enough.

    This is my point about laryngeal echolocation which has been lost in certain bats. What bat wouldn’t benefit from laryngeal echolocation? Does it cause cancer? No. It is a helpful feature. Yet it is lost to entropy do to lack of selective benefit.

    Darwinists seem to always to want some sort of positive selection hypothesis to explain the loss of the feature. Darwinists are reluctant to admit that entropy is working in the genome more so than positive evolution. Features will be lost to entorpy if they don’t present a selective benefit.

    Another example is that greater than 97% of all birds have lost their intermittent organs. Darwinists are puzzled as they can see no disadvantage to the intermittent organ.

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=a.....t=14134992

  5. If the ability to regenerate major organs is hardly visible for natural selection to preserve, how in the world will natural selection be able to even create the ability to regenerate major organs in the first place?

    Can we imagine the species that needed to regenerate some limbs before it procreated badly enough to evolve this feature? What was it? A population of half eaten salamanders? What species has a tendency to get only partly eaten?

  6. Jehu

    Yes, but even amongst egg laying cold blooded animals, regeneration has mostly been lost.

    Only true if we restrict the discussion to vertebrates. Innumerable species of invertebrates, plants, and fungi still retain the ability.

    But I take your point. Creative evolution appears to be over in the old manner of descent with modification. Nothing is going on in evolution today except the generation of sub-species. The period of great fecundity in phylogenesis is over. The process has wound down almost to a complete halt. This fits well with evolution as a front-loaded self-limiting self-terminating process. It appears to have terminated with the emergence of modern man. Davison (see the sidebar) makes compelling arguments to that effect.

    However, I differ with Davison in that I believe evolution has reached a point where there’s a paradigm shift. Where organic evolution leaves off, genetic engineering through intelligent agency begins. This I believe is also part of the grand plan for life. It also rectifies the apparently deteriorating genomes which you point out well enough. Modern man will take an active role in reversing the deterioration. Intelligence is the only thing that CAN reverse the deterioration. “Physician, heal thyself” takes on a whole new meaning in this context.

    God helps those who help themselves. -Benjamin Franklin

    I’m a great fan of Franklin.

  7. I’ve seen three studies or clinical test now.

    1) Bladder tissue regrowth from original donors built on a ballon like scafolding with stem cells.
    2) artificial Nano structure scafolding(lattice) that allow brain lesions to heal – without need for progenitors – I think(hmm, need more infor). The article did not state.
    3) Now this Zebrafish with progenitors that act as the scafolding if I correctly understand the article regarding fibroblast.(oops, no, other way around)

    Stem cells in our bone marrow act as progenitor cells. I’m curious if its just a matter of flipping some switches back on in a progenitor cell, or a regulatory function that is no longer communicating?

    Would a good experiment be to attempt to “repair” or “switch back on” such cells? Or, maybe first determine if progenitor cells are even appearing around such stressed areas in mamals? Or, forgive my ignorance here, are they just functional for bone calcium deposits?

    If not, then its a communication problem, possibly?

    If it is a matter of lossed information?

    Internet is great! Just found a few articles…

    “The new firm combines the core technologies of Matrigen’s proprietary gene activated matrix technology and Prizm’s proprietary fibroblast growth factor gene targeting technology. The combination of these technologies gives Selective Genetics the ability to deliver genes with high target-cell selectivity to tissue repair cells.”

    Selective Genetics is already on it. They’re targeting, maintaining site target and creating extra cells for healing.

    Another interesting quote.
    “As the body tries to mend a fracture, its healing abilities are marshalled in a precise pattern. First, immune system cells flood the site to “clean up” the wound, taking away blood, dead cells, and debris. A few days later, a fibrous tissue fills the wound. Then progenitor bone cells drawn to the injury site from nearby tissues start to replace the fiber with good bone.(ok, wrong about progenitors function) Genes for bone growth factors “switch on,” directing the cells to produce proteins that stimulate and regulate the creation of new bone.”
    from http://www.research.umich.edu/...../bone.html

    This is too cool and way practical – pattern: clean, fibrous scafolding, stimulate workers, build and heal.

    And a really interesting perspective:
    “Goldstein says his main contribution to the project stems from his engineering perspective. From the science side, a biologist might report, “I’ve discovered a gene that makes bone grow.” Discovery is the objective. Perhaps it would be followed by the steps needed to make it into a potential therapy, or perhaps it would languish in the scientific literature.”

    Engineers, God love em, always building bridges from ideas to reality.

    So, about the 4th Law.

    This would concur with your statements Dave?

    With information you need intelligence to conserve and transfer?

  8. Along with everyone in this thread, I am awed by the design in nature. Personally, I believe that God created the universe, and the notion that we can detect his fingerprints scientifically appeals to me. But I am sick of the dogma that “logic” allows people without scientific training to “prove” that the beliefs of scientists are merely the false consequences of godless materialism. And I am particularly offended by propanganda tactics. When it comes to creating an environment in which scientists can test design hypotheses, the sociopolitical “advocates” of ID are the worst enemies.

    Mr. Cordova:

    In information science, it is empirically and theoretically shown that noise destroys specified complexity, but cannot create it. [...] The discovery by these researchers again illustrates the ID’s Law of Conservation of CSI and ID’s formulation of the 4th law of thermodynamics.

    Recent references would be much appreciated. As best I can tell, Dr. Dembski has not written on the law of conservation of complex specified information or the Fourth Law in the past three years. In making his best case for ID in his expert statement for the Dover trial, he never mentioned these topics. And I think it is best he did not. Even in this thread, you and others indicate that CSI can be lost in reductive evolution, thus contradicting the notion that it is conserved in any conventional sense (e.g., as matter and energy are conserved). And what is CSI in its current form but specificity with an additive bias? To say that CSI is conserved is a dandified way of saying that specificity is conserved. Perhaps there is a limit to how much the specificity of a system can be increased by natural processes, but certainly one can drive it close to zero without any gain in specificity outside the system (e.g., one may nuke a bridge).

    Your use of the Poss quotation borders on quote mining. You know, as I do, that he is not saying that the regenerative capacity did not evolve in the first place. A journalist quoted his obviously informal remarks in an interview. Every time you engage is this sort of tactic, it says to the world that design advocates do not have a legitimate case to make. You may win the battle to sway susceptible minds here, but you will lose the war to conduct scientific research into design.

  9. P.S.–Mr. Cordova, recall that I have complimented you on bringing good scientific content into another thread.

  10. Benjy Compson,

    You said,

    Your use of the Poss quotation borders on quote mining. You know, as I do, that he is not saying that the regenerative capacity did not evolve in the first place.

    Sal did not imply that Poss was saying regeneration did not evolve. That was not the point of Sal’s use of the quote at all. Apparently you have failed to comprehend the meaning of Sal’s post.

    I am sick of the dogma that “logic” allows people without scientific training to “prove” that the beliefs of scientists are merely the false consequences of godless materialism.

    The idea that “logic” can be used to “prove” something is not a “dogma” it is a mathmatic truth. If the beliefs of scientists are the result of the false consequences of godless materialism then logic is an appropriate tool to expose that.

    For example how do you explain the fact that many scientists believe in abiogenesis? The answer is that it is the deluded consequence of godless materialism.

  11. Jehu,

    Mr. Cordova’s quote is immediately preceded by his claim that “The following is a great article that illustrates the insufficiency of natural selection to create design.” Why would one suppose anything but that he intended for the quotation to back up his claim? To insinuate something and then, when challenged on it, respond that you really did not say it (because you did not say it outright) is one of the older propaganda tricks in the world.

    The idea that “logic” can be used to “prove” something is not a “dogma” it is a mathmatic truth.

    I know a fair amount about mathematical logic, and that’s news to me.

    If the beliefs of scientists are the result of the false consequences of godless materialism then logic is an appropriate tool to expose that.

    Here you use (or should use) “logic” in an informal sense — say, as an attorney might use it. How in the world are you going to demonstrate that methodological naturalism is not as useful in science as claimed by almost all practicing scientists? You can bandy “logic” in this echo chamber all you want, but in the end what is going to sway scientists is compelling empirical evidence that the natural universe is informationally open, and that they are missing important explanations because of their commitment to methodological naturalism.

    What I see time and again is that “logical” argument against current scientific beliefs is the hobgoblin of unscientific minds. That is, those who could not do science to save their lives think they can compensate with rhetoric. There is no need for a thousand little Phil Johnson wannabes. One Phil Johnson was enough. Let’s hear from some scientists.

    For example how do you explain the fact that many scientists believe in abiogenesis? The answer is that it is the deluded consequence of godless materialism.

    You’re harping on a false dichotomy. Abiogenesis, along with evolution and morphogenesis, may have required injection of information from a source outside of nature. This does not mean that it was not abiogenesis.

    Many of the engineering and programming types here seem to think that design is necessarily a discrete event, perhaps because they create the designer in their own image. This is a grave error. The entry of information from outside nature may be continual, with the consequence that the evidence for design is very subtle. For example, there may be no particular point in time at which the design for the flagellum entered nature. Indeed, the flagellum may have emerged through a improbable sequence of gradual steps, with design information entering nature gradually.

  12. Benjy Compson

    Mr. Cordova’s quote is immediately preceded by his claim that “The following is a great article that illustrates the insufficiency of natural selection to create design.” Why would one suppose anything but that he intended for the quotation to back up his claim?

    Because that is not the context of Sal’s use of the qoute. Sal quotes the article for its conclusion that regeneration was not conserved in most vertebrates. Sal then draws an inference from this conclusion about the alleged selective pressure that would have evolved the trait. Sal does not infer that the article claims regeneration did not evolve. This is abundantly obvious.

    Here you use (or should use) “logic” in an informal sense — say, as an attorney might use it. How in the world are you going to demonstrate that methodological naturalism is not as useful in science as claimed by almost all practicing scientists? You can bandy “logic” in this echo chamber all you want, but in the end what is going to sway scientists is compelling empirical evidence that the natural universe is informationally open, and that they are missing important explanations because of their commitment to methodological naturalism.

    Your argument is a false dichotomy. Both logic and empirical evidence are necessary. If empirical evidence is not logically interpreted it will lead to false conclusions. This is in fact what is happening. The logical interpretation of existing empirical evidence indicates design, hence the effectiveness of using logic.

    What I see time and again is that “logical” argument against current scientific beliefs is the hobgoblin of unscientific minds. That is, those who could not do science to save their lives think they can compensate with rhetoric. There is no need for a thousand little Phil Johnson wannabes. One Phil Johnson was enough. Let’s hear from some scientists.

    That is complete nonsense. Science is not the possession of some elite class of “scientists” such that only they are allowed to comment on it. The scientific method is very simple and every bit as subject to the rules of logic as it is to the rules of math.

    You’re harping on a false dichotomy. Abiogenesis, along with evolution and morphogenesis, may have required injection of information from a source outside of nature. This does not mean that it was not abiogenesis.

    I have not made a false dichotomy. If information is injected from outside nature it is not abiogenesis, it is creation. Abiogenesis is the technical term for spontaneous generation. Spontaneous generation was falsified by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century. Recent scientific developments demonstrating the minimum requirements for life have strengthened Pasteur’s findings. In spite of the empirical evidence, many scientists believe that abiogenesis occurred. Why? It is not because of the empirical evidence or logic, it is because of their philosophical commitment to materialistic naturalism.

  13. Benjy Compson

    My last post would have been more accurate if I had said, “Sal then draws an inference from this conclusion about the ability of natural selection to evolve the trait” instead of, “Sal then draws an inference from this conclusion about the alleged selective pressure that would have evolved the trait.”

  14. Benjy,

    As far as I know this is the latest on abiogenesis :

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/1621

    To me discussing a hypothetical RNA world is like discussing a nascar race when you can’t even get the starting flag to wave.

  15. Benjy,

    Oh, and your understanding of LCI (Law of Conversation of Information) is completely flawed:

    As best I can tell, Dr. Dembski has not written on the law of conservation of complex specified information or the Fourth Law in the past three years. In making his best case for ID in his expert statement for the Dover trial, he never mentioned these topics. And I think it is best he did not. Even in this thread, you and others indicate that CSI can be lost in reductive evolution, thus contradicting the notion that it is conserved in any conventional sense (e.g., as matter and energy are conserved).

    The LCI restated in simple terms: “Natural causes are incapable of generating CSI.” The first corollary says that “the CSI in a closed system of natural causes remains constant or DECREASES.” This would include computer hardware storage losing data, transcription errors in DNA, and reductive evolution. Before you start criticizing ID on here you really ought to go read the literature.

  16. I wrote:

    In information science, it is empirically and theoretically shown that noise destroys specified complexity, but cannot create it. […]

    Benjy inquired:

    Recent references would be much appreciated.

    This is basic stuff Benjy. Since when has a communication engineer welcomed noise when trying to pump the specified complexity of a modem signal through a communication channel???

    Nothing in the literture of communications engineering will suggest noise can construct a highly complex specified signal. The only place such ideas exists is in Darwinian biology, not in real science.

  17. Jehu and Patrick,

    If evolution can be directed by intelligence without a discrete design event, as Dr. Dembski and I agree, then why not abiogenesis?

    Abiogenesis is the emergence of living matter from non-living matter. If you have read the literature on ID, then you know as I do Dr. Dembski’s definition of intelligence as those causal factors that transform one probability distribution into another. By Dembski’s definition, intelligence can make an improbable process of abiogenesis probable. I don’t know what your actual beliefs are, but your resistance to this subtle notion of design bespeaks closet creationism.

  18. Patrick,

    As far as I know this is the latest on abiogenesis :

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/1621

    To me discussing a hypothetical RNA world is like discussing a nascar race when you can’t even get the starting flag to wave.

    There are multiple hypotheses of abiogenesis. None of them rises to the level of theory. Why pick a particular hypothesis and try to pin it on me? I merely note that the hypotheses exist, and that I suspect that no hypothesis or theory will be adequate without an accounting for influx of information from without the natural universe. Of course, my suspicion is obviously a mere hypothesis, just like the others. None of us has more than a guess at this point, and those who claim to have more are bald-faced… propagandists.

    The case for intelligent design of the first living thing(s) remains to be made. It is not sufficient to claim that ID makes more sense than unguided abiogenesis. As Dr. Dembski wisely points out, Bayesian inference (comparison of hypotheses to see which assigns higher probability to observed phenomena) is a quagmire for ID. Few of the discussants here have the statistical acumen to understand this, but non-comparative Fisherian inference is the only way for ID to go. There’s essentially nothing for anyone to reject by Fisherian means at this point. Simple gut responses are all anyone has to offer, and while such responses are important in guiding scientific discovery, they mean nothing in and of themselves.

  19. Patrick,

    Before you start criticizing ID on here you really ought to go read the literature.

    You might start by reading the thread. I have made it very clear that my concern is the progress of ID as science. I have also made it very clear that I think that sociopolitical activists without advanced education in math or science are trashing ID. To criticize simplistic notions held by people incompetent to understand the recent ID literature is not to criticize ID itself.

    The LCI restated in simple terms: “Natural causes are incapable of generating CSI.” The first corollary says that “the CSI in a closed system of natural causes remains constant or DECREASES.”

    Read a little more of No Free Lunch, Patrick, and you will find that Dr. Dembski backs off from his first statement of the law, and indicates that CSI can increase, but only within a limit. Or, as I said above,

    Perhaps there is a limit to how much the specificity of a system can be increased by natural processes, but certainly one can drive it close to zero without any gain in specificity outside the system (e.g., one may nuke a bridge).

    I assumed that readers would realize that I was alluding to NFL. Bad assumption, I guess.

  20. Mr. Cordova,

    This is basic stuff Benjy. Since when has a communication engineer welcomed noise when trying to pump the specified complexity of a modem signal through a communication channel???

    Nothing in the literture of communications engineering will suggest noise can construct a highly complex specified signal. The only place such ideas exists is in Darwinian biology, not in real science.

    You referred to complex specified information, and to my knowledge there is still no reference to the concept in the literature of information theory (or communications engineering). So how could this be “basic stuff”? Can you give me references from the last few years?

    Furthermore, as I pointed out to Patrick in the previous post, even Dr. Dembski concedes the possibility of CSI increasing within bounds by natural processes.

    I have no idea what it means to say that “noise can construct a highly complex specified signal.” How can noise construct anything? If we were to think of evolution in terms of signal processing and noise, we might pursue the analogy of passing a signal generated by a random process through an infinite impulse response filter (i.e., one with feedback). It is hardly clear what restrictions there might be on the filter output. Such matters require careful analysis, not offhand claims.

    But let me throw this idea out: If there is complex specified information in the filter itself, what keeps the filter from transferring CSI to the filter output under random inputs? By analogy, why can an evolutionary process not transfer CSI from the environment to living things? Since when does it take intelligence to move or copy information from one place to another? In other words, why not think of the environment as intelligently designed?

  21. By Dembski’s definition, intelligence can make an improbable process of abiogenesis probable.

    Learn to use the correct terminology.

    a‧bi‧o‧gen‧e‧sis noun the theory that living organisms can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter; spontaneous generation.

    As in, no intelligence involved.

    There are multiple hypotheses of abiogenesis. None of them rises to the level of theory. Why pick a particular hypothesis and try to pin it on me?

    Sorry…I should have been clear that my offhand comment was in reference to the discussion contained within the link. At the same time the focus should be on researching the “first steps” if you will and not jumping ahead. Once you have a scenario where the first step is accomplished further steps can be derived from this foundation (which will likely limit options).

    As Dr. Dembski wisely points out, Bayesian inference (comparison of hypotheses to see which assigns higher probability to observed phenomena) is a quagmire for ID. Few of the discussants here have the statistical acumen to understand this, but non-comparative Fisherian inference is the only way for ID to go.

    Thanks for the insult but Bill discusses this subject in sections 2.9 and 2.10 of No Free Lunch. You may also want to read this:

    http://www.designinference.com.....sponse.htm

    I have also made it very clear that I think that sociopolitical activists without advanced education in math or science are trashing ID. To criticize simplistic notions held by people incompetent to understand the recent ID literature is not to criticize ID itself.

    I’m an engineer, as are many of those on UD. Like a good little student I believed everything my professor taught me, including Darwinism. It was due to my interest in nanotechnology that I ran into ID.

    I was pointing that you were point-blank wrong. It was as if you just read the word “Conservation” in LCI and jumped to conclusions without reading the literature. If you have indeed read NFL then I have no idea why you stated reductive evolution was a problem for LCI.

    I comprehend that you believe we are mistaken in our understanding of ID and that you’re attempting to correct us. That is a good goal but it appears you yourself are at fault here.

    Read a little more of No Free Lunch, Patrick, and you will find that Dr. Dembski backs off from his first statement of the law, and indicates that CSI can increase, but only within a limit.

    Thanks for the additional implied insult. Also, nice try at attempting to shift the conversation away from your obvious goof. Notice that I used quotation marks. I was directly quoting Bill. Also, your first remarks were on the modification of specificity…not on CSI as a whole. I’m also unsure what your point is; are you saying that it’s a problem for ID that CSI can be modified (note that I’m not saying “increasing”) after the initial instance of intelligent input?

    You referred to complex specified information, and to my knowledge there is still no reference to the concept in the literature of information theory (or communications engineering). So how could this be “basic stuff”? Can you give me references from the last few years?

    Instead of answering Sal you’re changing the focus to the usage of the exact phrase CSI in such literature; aka verbal dodge. Whether or not people use certain terminology does not mean research does not have implications for other research…and this goes the same for fields outside of biology and ID.

    I’m trying not to be too insulting, but seriously we have high schoolers who come on here and make more coherent arguments. Now don’t fly off into a hissy fit. Consider this to be constructive criticism. I think you should reevaluate your own understanding of ID before you continue any discussions on UD.

  22. Benjy asked:

    You referred to complex specified information, and to my knowledge there is still no reference to the concept in the literature of information theory (or communications engineering). So how could this be “basic stuff”? Can you give me references from the last few years?

    No Free Lunch defines the concept for ID literature and relates it to usage by Dawkins for the concept of Darwinian evolution supposedly creating appearance of design. That is a reference.

    CSI is defined as a form information, therefore it is governed and constrained by basic laws of information. Whether the term CSI is used in professional literature is irrelevant, CSI is still information. The concept of fighting noise in the representation, preseveration, and evolution of information is fundamental enough to information science, that if you purport to be familiar with the concept, and yet continue this line of argumentation, it would appear you are merely arguing for arguments sake.

    Noise does not make specified complexity. That is a straight forward dedcution from the definition of specified complexity and information science.

    If you refuse to consider my hypothesis because Dembski’s NFL or ID literature is not in mainstream peer-review, then go elsewhere and satisfy yourself it’s false. I have no inclination to waste time persuading those who put the stamp of peer-review ahead of reason. The fact that Darwinian evolution dominates peer-reviewed literature is evidence to me the peer-review system needs fixing, not ID literature. And for what it’s worth, NFL was cited in a recent peer-reviewed articl on OOL, and it would not surprise me to see reference to it in future discussions on evolutionary algorithms.

    Here are some references on noise and communication systems. You can easily google the ideas or get books on the topic. Noise in communication systems; probability and random signals

    If you are so confident noise can create specified complexity, then you are invited to post links to your mathematical proof of that here with references.

    Furthermore, as I pointed out to Patrick in the previous post, even Dr. Dembski concedes the possibility of CSI increasing within bounds by natural processes.

    provide a reference, please with exact quotation. My interpretation of page 161 does not agree with yours, so feel free to quote exactly page 161 in context.

    By analogy, why can an evolutionary process not transfer CSI from the environment to living things?

    It can, but is their any empirical evidence to support that the environment has CSI and can transfer it via a low-noise channel????? Actually, there is abundant empirical evidence to the contrary that the environment is damaging to CSI, that even if it did contain CSI it is not the mechanism that infuses biological reality.

    In other words, why not think of the environment as intelligently designed?

    I believe it is intelligently designed, but so are random number generators, and analog-based noise makers. The characteristics of these intelligently designed random number generators don’t make the kind of specified complexity we find in nature.

    In communciation engineering, we build random noise makers to test the strength of a communicaiton system’s ability to deal with noise. Even though the noise in these experiements was intelligently designed, it does not imply the noise will be the mechanism of creation or communication of information for a given communication channel.

    Empirical evidence is against the environment or natural selection creating specified complexity, even if the environment is intelligent designed, much as in the case of intelligently designed random noise generators.

    See Dembski’s essay: Randomness by Design

    I pointed out reasons why natural selection will be hard pressed statistically to correlate reproductive advantage to certain designs. The fact that organ regeneration can be lost is evidence that natural selection has a hard time selecting toward a contingency designs, much less creating a contingency design in the first place.

  23. Patrick,

    First let me say that I have browsed many old UD threads, and that I cannot keep people straight. When I write about a shortcoming of UD folks in general, that is not a veiled criticism of you in particular.

    Most of the present models of abiogenesis involve some form of chemical evolution. As such, they are no more spontaneous than biological evolution. While you will find “spontaneous” in many dictionary definitions of abiogenesis, this does not reflect contemporary scientific usage. The upshot is that the methodological naturalists own abiogenesis no more than they do evolution. I think it is a better idea to explore design in abiogenesis than to buck the stream and declare that it never happened.

    Regarding increase of CSI, Dr. Dembski indicates (on page 154, according to a secondary source) that application of a function to an argument can increase CSI. The gain of CSI of the function’s value relative to the argument is bounded by the CSI of the function itself. The CSI of any function represented in nature is bounded. Note that when the function (natural law, under Dembski’s interpretation) is applied in nature, it retains its CSI, and the result has more CSI than the input. Thus, even if the argument and the function are considered a closed system, CSI is conserved not absolutely, but up to an additive constant. I am blowing through the outline of this, and I am falling back on some mathematical jargon. Tell me if I need to meat this out. Sorry to be in a rush.

  24. Benjy Compson,

    You said,

    Abiogenesis is the emergence of living matter from non-living matter.

    I think we all agree on that.

    intelligence can make an improbable process of abiogenesis probable. I don’t know what your actual beliefs are, but your resistance to this subtle notion of design bespeaks closet creationism.

    So in your opinion abiogenesis includes some intelligent agent taking already existing matter and fashioning that matter into life?

    I do not consider abiogenesis to include an intelligence using pre-existing matter to form life from nonlife. In that case, life is not coming from nonlife, it is coming from the life that designed it.

    There are multiple hypotheses of abiogenesis. None of them rises to the level of theory. Why pick a particular hypothesis and try to pin it on me?

    That was not my point in rasing the issue of abiogenesis. I mention it because belief in abiogenesis is irrational and is an obvious demonstration that certain beliefs of scientists are, as you stated, “the false consequences of godless materialism.”

  25. Benjy

    While you will find “spontaneous” in many dictionary definitions of abiogenesis, this does not reflect contemporary scientific usage

    Wrong.

    See where the following link takes you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....generation

    Spontaneous generation is an old and disproven hypothesis explaining abiogenesis. Is there some particular reason you didn’t know that other than a shallow depth of knowledge in this subject?

  26. Benjy

    In any science other than evolutionary the observation of life coming from life would be a law. When something is observed without exception and predicts without fail so many times as seeing life coming from other life it would be a law and abiogenesis would be an atheist myth. Not having any predispositions to chant the party line in biology I do consider it a law of nature that life comes from life and abiogenesis is a baseless myth held by atheists to help them deny any living force in the universe that transcends themselves.

  27. DaveScot,

    In my opinion the Law of Biogenesis was established by Louis Pasteur two years after Charles Darwin published his famous theory of eugenics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biogenesis

  28. Most of the present models of abiogenesis involve some form of chemical evolution. As such, they are no more spontaneous than biological evolution. While you will find “spontaneous” in many dictionary definitions of abiogenesis, this does not reflect contemporary scientific usage.

    Obviously I’d presume that any modern models will assume–rightly or wrongly–emergent properties of chemical law but you’re the first I’ve seen to assert that the definition of abiogenesis should be extended to include intelligence. If that ever becomes the de facto standard then I’d be happy since that’d mean the paradigm shift is over.

  29. Mr. Cordova,

    CSI is defined as a form information, therefore it is governed and constrained by basic laws of information.

    To be more precise, Dr. Dembski defines a quantity and refers to it as information. This does not mean that CSI shares properties with other other quantities referred to as information. Recall that CSI, as presently defined, is the sum of three terms. One of the terms is a surprisal, and another is descriptive complexity. These are reasonably called measures of information, though of different sorts. Together they make up specificity. The third term is the logarithm of the count of probabilistic resources. The count is bounded above by 10 ^ 120. It is not clear to me why this should be considered information. Taking the logarithm of a quantity does not make it into information.

    In any case, CSI is not remotely like any other measure of information I have seen. Dr. Dembski has not proven the properties of CSI, and they do not follow from any “basic laws of information.” We should be emphasizing that there is challenging and interesting work to be done, not that we already know the answers.

    I genuinely do not understand why you keep returning to the notion of noise turning into CSI. Who suggests such a thing?

    It’s been a long, long day. I have to check out here.

  30. DaveScot,

    I know how “abiogenesis” is used in contemporary origins of life research by virtue of my reading. But if I did not know, I would not start by looking up “spontaneous generation.” I would go directly to the article on abiogenesis. Check out the first paragraph.

    I do consider it a law of nature that life comes from life and abiogenesis is a baseless myth held by atheists to help them deny any living force in the universe that transcends themselves.

    Are you telling me that a telic, intelligent, unembodied source of information is alive in the same sense that a plant is alive?

  31. Jehu wrote:

    belief in abiogenesis is irrational and is an obvious demonstration that certain beliefs of scientists are, as you stated, “the false consequences of godless materialism.”

    If abiogenesis means life from non-life, isn’t that what it’s got to be, regardless of what the cause(s) might be? With respect to ‘godless materialism’, I think it an unjust and ill conceived concept.

  32. Benjy

    Are you telling me that a telic, intelligent, unembodied source of information is alive in the same sense that a plant is alive?

    I’m telling you life comes from life and there are no known exceptions.

    Put different words in my mouth one more time and it’ll be the last comment you make here.

  33. Benjy, if anyone here uses the term “spontaneous generation” I highly doubt they’re referring to the idea that “complex, living organisms are generated by decaying organic substances, e.g. that mice spontaneously appear in stored grain or maggots spontaneously appear in meat.”

  34. Dizzy,

    If abiogenesis means life from non-life, isn’t that what it’s got to be, regardless of what the cause(s) might be? With respect to ‘godless materialism’, I think it an unjust and ill conceived concept.

    No. Abiogenesis means life from non-life. If the life is created or designed by another life form it is not abiogenesis, it is biogenesis.

  35. To be more precise, Dr. Dembski defines a quantity and refers to it as information.

    No he does not. There may be some short hand notations that may lead you to think that, but that is not the case. That is a Mark Perakhism.

    Furthermore, I asked you to provide a reference, which you did not. You also alluded to a second hand quotation which you did not even provide.

    If you’re just going to clog this thread with unsupported assertions, misrepresentations, and further fabricate things IDers never said, and when requested to provide evidence they said something just ignore the request, why bother having a discussion with us.

    I asked earlier that you provide a reference with quotation for this claim:

    even Dr. Dembski concedes the possibility of CSI increasing within bounds by natural processes.

    Further you said,

    Regarding increase of CSI, Dr. Dembski indicates (on page 154, according to a secondary source) that application of a function to an argument can increase CSI.

    You didn’t even cite the second hand source. Why don’t you cite the original source? Or are you going to pull a Jack Krebs/Pandas Thumb stunt and start commenting on books you’ve not read?

  36. Would everyone agree that, at the moment the first life was formed/began/whatever, biological CSI began to be interpreted? Of course the first biological life came from (or ‘was made from’, the Agency is not important here) non-living matter.

    The question may be about the point at which one could say, were he there in spirit, “there is now something alive in the universe.” IOW was the information first expressed in the first biological life, in which cas it existed outside of and independent of biological life, or did CSI evolve into existence piecemeal or gradually.

    I agree that gradualism, when applied to biological CSI seems a strange concept indeed, and is the quandry OOL researchers are confronted with.

  37. Benjy,

    are you a cosmological-frontloading-ist? Do you believe all the biological CSI was “programmed” into the Universe at the beginning?

  38. DaveScot, you wrote:

    I do consider it a law of nature that life comes from life and abiogenesis is a baseless myth held by atheists to help them deny any living force in the universe that transcends themselves.

    I politely asked you to respond to what I thought was a reasonable inference in the context of ID:

    Are you telling me that a telic, intelligent, unembodied source of information is alive in the same sense that a plant is alive?

    You responded:

    I’m telling you life comes from life and there are no known exceptions.

    Put different words in my mouth one more time and it’ll be the last comment you make here.

    Then here are the words from my mouth. There are at least two senses in which life can come from life. Organic life can reproduce, by definition. Hypothetically, an intelligent life form can intervene in the material universe to produce an organic life form.

    Science relies heavily on induction from empirical observations, despite the fact that induction is logically unsound. All of the many life forms we have observed have been organic, and by induction all life is organic. We have observed many living things to arise by reproduction of existing living things, and never by any other means. By induction, all living things come into being by reproduction.

    There is obviously a little problem with the “reasoning” that all living things arise from reproduction of organic life, namely the Big Bang. The empirical evidence is strongly against an infinite regresss of reproduction. Organic life had to originate at some point in the history of the universe.

    It is tempting to say here that all life comes from life, and thus the original organic life must have resulted from the intervention of some intelligent life form. This is equivocation on “comes from.” Induction supports “comes from” only in the sense of reproduction. There is no empirical evidence that any intelligent life form ever caused organic life to come into existence by means other than reproduction of itself.

    Personally, I believe that a living God created and the universe, but the sense in which God is living is very different from that in which bacteria are living. In any case, I do not see the sense in marking off the origin of organic life for different scientific treatment than biological evolution. If design is manifested in one, it may be in the other as well. A telic and intelligent designer should be able to direct chemical evolution just as well as biological evolution.

  39. kvwells,

    are you a cosmological-frontloading-ist? Do you believe all the biological CSI was “programmed” into the Universe at the beginning?

    What I am driving at in this thread is that ID is in its infancy, and that the strong claims many people make are not warranted by ID research. I contend that we need to come up with as many reasonable hypotheses as we can, and then do the research to test them.

    My mind is open, including to the prospect that we will find it very difficult to come up with compelling evidence for design. If we find evidence for cosmological front-loading, so be it. But I am biased in favor of quite the opposite of that. I suspect that the information enters the natural universe constantly, and that design is subtle. Dr. Dembksi’s suggestion in “Searching Large Spaces” that evolution could be guided by a cooperative environment interests me.

  40. scordova,

    In reference to the current definition of CSI in “Specification,” I wrote:

    To be more precise, Dr. Dembski defines a quantity and refers to it as information.

    You responded:

    No he does not.

    1) Dembski defined CSI. 2) CSI is a quantity. 3) The I in CSI stands for “information.” The fact that he refers to the quantity as information does no immediately imply that it is information in a conventional sense. You have not responded to my observation that it is not clear to me that taking the logarithm of the count of probabilistic resources gives something we might reasonably interpret as information. Am I missing an associated random event or descriptive complexity? When I look at CSI, what I see is a test statistic, specificity, with a critical value, the log count of probabilistic resources plus 0.5. When specificity exceeds the critical value, design is inferred. CSI looks like specificity (information) with normalization (additive bias) to make the critical value 0.5.

    I have not been criticizing CSI, but your claim that it, because Dr. Dembski calls it information, inherits basic properties of better studied forms of information.

    Furthermore, I asked you to provide a reference, which you did not. You also alluded to a second hand quotation which you did not even provide. [...]

    I read NFL two years ago, and I do not own it. I did not allude to a quotation. Googling, I found a discussion of CSI gain that gave a page number, but no quotation. In case you wonder why I do not need to cite a source in discussing why the CSI of y = f(x) is bounded above by the CSI of the pair (f, x), I had published a similar result for a different type of information some years before NFL was published. Do you deny that Dembski shows this in NFL?

    As for unresponsiveness, I previously indicated that I could find no evidence that Dr. Dembski has written about LCI or the 4th Law in three years, including in his expert reports for the Dover trial, and no one has commented on this. It seems to me that some followers are assigning more significance to them than he presently does.

  41. Benjy,

    There is a difference between the measure of information and information itself, Dembski is using a shorthand for the measure of information. Stop repeating the Perakhism I pointed out, you’re just wasting my time.

    I invite the reader to read the definition of CSI on page 141. It does not correspond to Benjy’s claim.

    Further, Benjy, you still didn’t quote page 155 explicitly but gave your interpretation. I have that page. Give the exact quote rather than flooding this thread with your misrepresentation of what Dembski said, or don’t bother posting to this threads again. Until you accuratly represent what has been said by ID proponnets, you’re just wasting my time.

  42. Salvador,

    here is the initial link again with comments…

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....111706.php

    Here’s a few quotes…

    “In this simple experiment, we removed part of the chick embryo’s wing, activated Wnt signaling, and got the whole limb back – a beautiful and perfect wing,” said the lead author, Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, Ph.D., a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory. “By changing the expression of a few genes, you can change the ability of a vertebrate to regenerate their limbs, rebuilding blood vessels, bone, muscles, and skin – everything that is needed.”

    “beautiful and perfect wing” huh? in an unguided and purposeless worldview?

    One of my questions above was about communication. I was thinking of signals being lost after reading the initial article. This article shows they suspected after early experiments with salamanders the Wnt signal was turned off. It was conserved and present all the time! Now they’re “just” switching it back on at the embyronic stage.

    “This new discovery “opens up an entirely new area of research,” Belmonte says. “Even though certain animals have lost their ability to regenerate limbs during evolution, conserved genetic machinery may still be present, and can be put to work again,” he said. Previously, scientists believed that once stem cells turned into muscles, bone or any other type of cells, that was their fate for life – and if those cells were injured, they didn’t regenerate, but grew scar tissue.”

    I guess it should make IDers and Creationist excited with the functional processes across a wide variety of species?

    Or am I overstating the findings of this research?

    Here is the second link in regards to fibroblast that are so important.

    http://www.liebertonline.com/d.....alCode=rej

    So we have lost essentially two steps that we know of as humans from what I’ve read so far. 1) The initial com signal Wnt and 2) the nano scale architecture fibroblast that form scafolding for the other cell tissue types to rebuild on.

    Fascinating!

    What a wonderful look at reverse engineering life.

  43. also the abstract at Genes and Development is here…

    http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/co......1475106v1

    Would be cool if anyone has access to see more info.

  44. Jehu wrote:

    quote:
    If the life is created or designed by another life form it is not abiogenesis, it is biogenesis.
    unquote.

    I see, the Intelligent Designer is now confirmed to be a life form, not a supernatural ‘being’. Unless you countgods and other supernatural entities as ‘life forms’?

    My POW though, has always been that life as we know it, began with assembling matter (atoms/molecules) into a pattern/configuration that we recognize as, and define as ‘life’. Whether that process was initiated/performed by nature itself or by supernatural forces is being hotly debated and is a different subject.

  45. [...] But do we have some direct evidence for the difficulty of selection creating fault tolerance? From Reductive Evolution: [...]

  46. [...] But do we have some direct evidence for the difficulty of selection creating fault tolerance? From Reductive Evolution: [...]

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