Home » Intelligent Design » Bait And Switch (Intuition, Part Deux)

Bait And Switch (Intuition, Part Deux)

Once upon a time people thought that the sun revolved around the earth because this was intuitive. They were wrong. Once upon a time people thought that the moon revolved around the earth because it was intuitive. They were right. Therefore, intuition can’t be trusted.

Good enough. Evidence eventually confirmed the truth in both cases.

Then along came neo-Darwinism in the 20th century. Intuition and the simple mathematics of combinatorics suggest that random errors and throwing out stuff that doesn’t work can’t account for highly complex information-processing machinery and the information it processes in biological systems. There is no evidence, hard science, or mathematical analysis that can give any credibility to the proposed power of the Darwinian mechanism in this regard.

Intuition suggests that step-by-tiny-step Darwinian gradualism could not have happened, because the intermediates would not be viable. A lizard with proto-feathers on its forelimbs would be a lousy aviator and an equally incompetent runner. We find no such creatures in the fossil record, for obvious reasons. We find long periods of stasis, and the emergence of fully developed creatures with entirely new and innovative capabilities.

So, the Darwinian argument essentially goes as follows: Because human intuition is sometimes wrong, we can ignore intuition, basic reasoning, historical evidence, and the lack of empirical evidence — but only in the case of the claims of the creative power of the Darwinian mechanism.

This is classic bait-and-switch con-artistry: Intuition can be wrong, therefore evidence, the lack thereof, and logic can be ignored or assumed to be wrong as well.

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384 Responses to Bait And Switch (Intuition, Part Deux)

  1. I would like to point out that our “intuition” about the earth being the center of the universe may not have been that far off the mark:

    In 1610, the Italian scientist Galileo Galilee (1564-1642) verified Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’s (1473-1543) heliocentric theory. The heliocentric theory was hotly debated at the time, for it proposed a revolutionary idea for the 1600′s stating all the planets revolved around the sun. Many people at the time had simply presumed everything in the universe revolved around the earth (geocentric theory), since from their very limited perspective everything did seem to be revolving around the earth. As well the geocentric theory seemed to agree with their religious sensibilities of being made in God’s image, though the Bible never actually states the earth is the “center” of the universe.

    Job 26:7
    “He stretches the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing”

    Galileo had improved upon the recently invented telescope. With this improved telescope he observed many strange things about the solar system. This included the phases of Venus as she revolved around the sun and the fact Jupiter had her own satellites (moons) which revolved around her. Thus, Galileo wrote and spoke about what had become obvious to him; the planets do indeed revolve around the sun. Man was seemingly cast down from his special place in the grand scheme of things for the earth beneath his feet no longer appeared to be the “center of the universe” and was now seemingly reduced to an insignificant speck of dust in the vast ocean of space.

    Of special note: In what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery; Space itself was created in the Big Bang and continues to “expand equally in all places” i.e. The universe is not expanding “into” anything outside of itself. Thus from a 3-dimensional perspective, any particular “material” spot in the universe is to be considered just as “center of the universe” as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered “center of the universe”.

    There Is No Three-Dimensional Center To This Universe – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_7Ta5igSEc

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.....entre.html

    So in a holistic sense, from what we now know to be true from 4-Dimensional space-time cosmology, and from other facts revealed later on in this paper, everything in the entire universe can be found to be “centered” on the earth, since there is no true 3-D material center to this universe. In fact, depending on how much relative importance can be found in a single person, the whole universe could truthfully be said to be revolving around, or to be “centered on”, a single person. Thus, much contrary to the mediocrity of earth and of humans, brought about by the heliocentric discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus, this finding of a “4-dimensional space-time” for our universe is in fact very comforting to Theistic postulations in general, and even lends very strong support of plausibility to the main tenet of Christianity which holds Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

    Matthew 28:18
    And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth.”

    As well, I find the fact this seemingly insignificant earth is found to revolve around the much more massive sun to be reflective of our true spiritual condition. In regards to God’s “kingdom of light”, are we not to keep in mind our lives are to be guided by the much higher purpose which is tied to our future in God’s “kingdom of light”? Are we not to avoid placing too much emphasis on what this world has to offer, since it is so much more insignificant than what heaven has to offer?

    Sara Groves – You Are The Sun – Music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foz25j0r2rM

    Louie Giglio – How Great Is Our God – Part 2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfNiZrt5FjU

    Psalm 8: 3-4
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have
    ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

  2. The universe is a four-dimensional expanding hypersphere, analogous in three dimensions to the surface of an expanding balloon. The surface of the balloon is finite but boundless at any point during the expansion. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point could be considered to be the center of the surface, if that’s where you live.

  3. Are you guys using intuition?

  4. I would be cautious about claiming that the universe *is* any particular abstract mathematical structure. It is true that you can model certain aspects of it as a 4-dimensional pseudo-Riemannian manifold, but in the end it’s a math trick—”spacetime” is simply an incoherent concept.

  5. 5

    Glad you are back Gil

  6. Mr Lock,

    Are you guys using intuition?

    The real question is ‘are you using intuition provisionally?’

  7. Herb states:
    “but in the end it’s a math trick—”spacetime” is simply an incoherent concept.”

    No Herb, the Cosmic Background Radiation is coming at us equally from all directions, thus we know for an absolute fact that space is expanding equally from all points in space. The only thing that is incoherent about the “higher dimensionality” of spacetime is that it radically challenges our false 3-D “materialistic” construct we have put in place for the universe.

  8. Your representation of evolution and extant fossils is simply false, and your understanding of evolution is extremely faulty.

  9. “No Herb, the Cosmic Background Radiation is coming at us equally from all directions, thus we know for an absolute fact that space is expanding equally from all points in space. The only thing that is incoherent about the “higher dimensionality” of spacetime is that it radically challenges our false 3-D “materialistic” construct we have put in place for the universe.”

    Don’t confuse facts with explantions of observed facts. All we really know for a fact about CBR is that it is comming at us equally from all directions. Any explanation of it’s origin is a theory. It may or may not be a good theory – that is beside the point. You need to keep clear what is observed and what is inferred.

  10. 10

    Anthony09,
    Who is your comment directed at? Evolutionists Or IDists?

  11. 11

    Well Stephen,
    Seeing as General Relativity, Special Relativity and many other lines of evidence have firmly established the “Big Bang” and 4D spacetime cosmology, I feel rather comfortable with my inference, and feel it is up to whomever wants to defend the false 3-D materialistic construct, that was actually the ultimate basis of the “mediocrity” principle brought about by Copernicus to do so with empirical evidence, until they do so I stand firmly behind my assertions!

  12. Here’s another oberved fact: The universe looks much the same in every direction. This means either 1. We are at (or near) the center of the universe, or 2. The universe has no center. Since some people would rather hang themselves than admit No1 as a posability, that left them with the hypersphere (or similar extradimentional shape) as the only viable model for the universe. Please correct me if you know of any other finite centerless models. (infinite universe models lead to logical absurdities)

  13. Maybe I’m missing something, but if space is expanding everywhere and in all directions, why are physical objects — including our bodies not flying apart?

  14. Like ink dots on the surface of an expanding balloon perhaps? I believe the usual answer is that other forces (such as gravity) are counteracting this.
    However, I would be interested to hear from others who have investgated more than I.

  15. 15

    Van,
    As Stephen pointed out, other forces conteract this in “local” environment, but eventually the “flying apart” which is wrought by the finely tuned accelerated expansion of the universe by “dark energy” will ultimately win out:

    Big Rip
    Excerpt: The Big Rip is a cosmological hypothesis first published in 2003, about the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the matter of universe, from stars and galaxies to atoms and subatomic particles, are progressively torn apart by the expansion of the universe at a certain time in the future. Theoretically, the scale factor of the universe becomes infinite at a finite time in the future.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    also of note:

    Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B0t4zSzhjg

  16. van (13),

    “Maybe I’m missing something, but if space is expanding everywhere and in all directions, why are physical objects — including our bodies not flying apart?”

    They are. It’s just that the effect is not apparent at very small distances and only becomes apparent at extremely large distances – millions of light years. That’s because it’s cumulative – the further appart two objects are the faster they are moving away from each other. That is the basis of Hubble’s law (velocity = H x distance, where H is the Hubble constant).

    The Hubble constant is measured in units of kilometres per second per megaparsec (1 megaparsec = 3.26 million light years), with a value of about 70. Hence an object thaat distance away – such as Andromeda galaxy – is moving away from us at about 70km/s due to expansion of the universe (plus a much higher velocity component due to gravitational attraction between galaxies in the Local Group).

    On the other hand, an object at 3 billion light years is moving away at a speed of about 70,000 km/s due to expansion, which is about one quarter of the velocity of light and swamps any speeds due to gravitational attraction.

    Conversely, at the much smaller distances between bits of our bodies, and atoms, the effect is negligible. But if the theory is ccorrect, it is happening throughout the universe including at these very small distances.

  17. More “what good is half an eye” nonsense, topped off with creationist maths and a seeming admission of your own ignorance (note the common root with “ignore”) of the evidence for evolution.

    Why is it that when you people claim that evolution is impossible, you always happen to neglect to consider the actual process of evolution?

  18. Tajimas, to answer your question:

    Because a straw man is much easier to beat up than a real man.

  19. “Why is it that when you people claim that evolution is impossible, you always happen to neglect to consider the actual process of evolution?”

    Here is a typical ill informed comment meant to disparage. All the eyes were available in the Cambrian n an nothing evolved since. There was no predecessor to the Cambrian so the various versions of eyes just poofed out of no where. An informed person would have taken that into account.

  20. “Because a straw man is much easier to beat up than a real man.”

    Another ill informed comment meant to disparage. The question is what is the real strawman and what is real.

  21. All the cosmology I have seen says that individual galaxies are not expanding but the distance between them are. But if the galaxies are close to each other then the gravity of each attracts and overcomes the expansion and they eventually will merge. In a couple billion years our galaxy will merge with Andromeda.

  22. Tajimas D,

    1- Half an eye is no good if it takes 100% of an eye to gain functionality.

    Vision systems do not function until they are 100% complete.

    2- ID is NOT an argument against “evolution”.

    ID is an argument against the blind watchmaker thesis

    3- There isn’t any data which demonstrates mutations can accumulate in such a way as to give rise to new protein machinery and new body plans.

  23. bornagain77,

    First, let me clarify that I’m not defending the Newtonian view, which posits absolute space and universal time. I’m just saying that 4-D spacetime presents enormously difficult philosophical problems which haven’t been addressed or even acknowledged by physicists.

    For example, consider your own worldline in “spacetime”. It determines your location for all time, and furthermore, it is immutable (nothing changes in spacetime). This is a real problem for those who believe in free will.

    Regarding the Big Bang, I would just quote Berlinski:

    Hubble’s Law embodies a general hypothesis of Big Bang cosmology—namely, that the universe is expanding—and while the law cannot be established by observation, observation can establish that it may be false. A statistically responsible body of contravening evidence has revealed something more than an incidental defect. Indifference to its implications amounts to a decision to place Big Bang cosmology beyond rational inquiry.

    (my bolding)

  24. I would like to throw a wrench into this discussion. As we are discussing the big bang, we are not using simple intuition any more, but we are using informed intuition. Based upon the information of the big bang, our intuition is recalibrated.

    With the neo-Darwinian question the same thing happens. We consider the theory, we let the theory inform our intuition. Do we then find that there should be an explosion of phyla in the distant past, followed by a protracted period where new philum are never produced? I don’t. When I put a neo-Darwinian hat on, when I let neo-Darwinism inform my intuition, I do not suddenly arrive at the evidence. In fact, after applying everything I know about the theory — horizontal gene transfer, punctuated equilibrium, molecular clocks, genetic drift etc., etc. I still am unable to intuit the data that shows up in biology and biological history.

  25. Gil,

    The Theistic Evolutionists have an answer for this. Their main premise is that God works through secondary causes and one would never be able to pinpoint where or maybe even how God caused the changes. Some claim the changes came through quantum events.

    Now I do not defend the TE’s and their reasoning and it interesting to see what machinations they go through to justify their beliefs. They would be equally critically of those who support ID.

    The problem with Darwinian mechanisms is that it does not leave a forensic trail at least not in the building process. I believe Behe and others used the concept of an “Arms War” vs. a “trench warfare.” One builds and one tears down. There is no evidence in the fossil or genomic record of the Arms War but there is plenty of evidence for the trench warfare. So yes we do see gradualism but not in the direction they want.

    If there were an Arms War scenario we would see all the steps or most of the steps in the process. But we do not see this. We do not see any steps. We do see lots of deterioration and sometimes this deterioration has a selective benefit.

    So we get what Will Provine said and that is that the naturalists have to have faith. Yes he used the term faith to describe that it “must” have happened in the long term.

  26. Just to add to my (16), I’ve just done a quick calculation which suggests that, if Hubble’s law holds good at small distances, two points a metre apart will be about (10 to the power of minus-25) metres further apart after one year due to the expansion of the universe – that’s about 10 billion billionths of a metre.

    Not much to worry about, for the first few billion years anyway.

  27. Herb quoted:
    “Indifference to its implications amounts to a decision to place Big Bang cosmology beyond rational inquiry.”

    Are you trying to say there is solid empirical evidence against the Big Bang?

    Well the Big Bang model is verified by, and has successfully predicted, several lines of empirical evidence that we now have and I know of no solid empirical evidence against the Big Bang, which has withstood our discoveries. If you know of any please list them/it.

    Evidence against the oscillating universe- Michael Strauss – video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A9G8k02vpI

    Evidence For Flat Universe Reported By Boomerang Project
    http://www.lbl.gov/ScienceArti.....-flat.html

    Here is one site that is by no means in depth in its analysis of Big bang evidence:

    Evidence Supporting the Big Bang
    http://www.astronomynotes.com/cosmolgy/s7.htm

    I am particularly drawn to the fact that “spacetime” is shown to have an “absolute original in the Big Bang… I mean think about it, how in the world is the “physical entity” of space and/or time going to be Created unless it is created by a entity which is completely transcendent of that space and/or time? Surely this argues strongly for the eternal Judeo-Christian God of the Bible!

    Einstein’s general relativity equation has now been extended to confirm not only did matter and energy have a beginning, but space-time also had a beginning in the Big Bang. i.e. The Big Bang was an absolute origin of space-time, matter-energy, and as such demands a cause which transcends space-time, matter-energy.

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.” (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970 – http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.html

    As well, as I somewhat pointed out earlier, This expansion of space/time of the universe is tied directly to the second law and is corroborated by this:

    The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).”
    http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20I.....enrose.pdf

    This 1 in 10^10^123 number, for the initial state of entropy for the universe, also lends strong support for “highly specified infinite information” creating the universe since;

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis

    All of which supports this:

    Scientific Evidence For God Creating The Universe – 2008 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQhO906v0VM

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport.
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

  28. bornagain77,

    Herb quoted:
    “Indifference to its implications amounts to a decision to place Big Bang cosmology beyond rational inquiry.”

    Are you trying to say there is solid empirical evidence against the Big Bang?

    I’m not saying there is evidence disconfirming the Big Bang, rather the evidence in favor of it is very shaky. I. E. Segal says “By normal standards of scientific due process, the results of [Big Bang] cosmology are illusory”.

    Nevertheless, we are dealing with a fixed dogma here—there is no point in questioning it, since it must be true, according to the high priests of cosmology. As Berlinski says,

    Like Darwin’s theory of evolution, Big Bang cosmology has undergone a curious social process in which a scientific theory is promoted to secular myth.

  29. Anthony09:

    Your representation of evolution and extant fossils is simply false, and your understanding of evolution is extremely faulty.

    This comment should be directed at yourself. Unless of course you’re going to present something called “proof”, or at least some evidence that you’re understanding of the structureless smörgåsbord called the “modern synthesis”, or “neo Darwinism”, is deeper than that of Gil’s or whoever it was your uninformed comment was directed at.

  30. Tajimas:

    Why is it that when you people claim that evolution is impossible, you always happen to neglect to consider the actual process of evolution?

    You don’t understand what’s being discussed, but merely imagine that you do.

    1) By the

    “actual process of evolution”

    you mean what exactly?

    2) The actual process, as far as micro evolution goes is accepted by all, including the most hard line creationists.

    If you think you can gratuitously extrapolate micro into macro you’re breaking a fundamental rule of science.

    3) Since there is zero evidence for macro evolution, except in the imaginations of the Darwinian fairy talers, you’re standing on very shaky and slippery grounds.

    4) “Blind faith” that macro is merely an extension of micro, is what makes Darwinists so hypocritical when claiming that ID is faith based.

    5) Genetic entropy alone is enough to prove that neo Darwinism’s mechanisms are not only insufficient, but contrary to any such macro development.

    6) Worse, no Darwinist has ever been able to explain the existence of complex coded information in bio systems.

    Code, by definition, implies intelligence. There is no such thing as meaningful, coded information without intelligence.

    Yet DNA is code – mathematically identical to that of human language. (Yockey)

    So before you go off, as usual, on a tantrum complaining of IDists not understanding evolution (Darwins simple idea), maybe you should learn the basics.

    It’s always amusing to watch you chase your tails though. :-)

  31. A lizard with proto-feathers on its forelimbs would be a lousy aviator and an equally incompetent runner.

    Gil, I am not sure you are justified in passing such judgements. After all, if Darwinists are not allowed to comment on the efficacy of the design of the laryngeal nerve, we shouldn’t engage in the same value judgements they are decried for making.

  32. bornagain77,

    A quick footnote to my previous post: I’m concerned that we IDers might be guilty of “selective hyposkepticism” (with apologies to KF) when it comes to cosmological theories vs. Darwinism. For example, when it was found that their theories predicted the existence of more matter than was observed, cosmologists invented dark matter and dark energy to make up the difference. 96% of the universe supposedly consists of this stuff which no one has ever seen! We accuse the Darwinists of grafting ad hoc assumptions onto their theories, but they’ve got nothing on the cosmologists, that’s for sure!

    I think it’s clear that we tend to give the cosmologists a free pass since the Big Bang vaguely resembles Creation as described in the bible. It’s time we held everyone to the same standard, IMHO.

  33. Gil,

    A lizard with proto-feathers on its forelimbs would be a lousy aviator and an equally incompetent runner. We find no such creatures in the fossil record, for obvious reasons.

    you are wrong, there are many feathered dinosaurs. here’s an example:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinonychus

  34. Gil:

    So, the Darwinian argument essentially goes as follows: Because human intuition is sometimes wrong, we can ignore intuition, basic reasoning, historical evidence, and the lack of empirical evidence — but only in the case of the claims of the creative power of the Darwinian mechanism.

    Can you point me to the Darwinians who are making this argument so I can try to set them straight?

    This is classic bait-and-switch con-artistry: Intuition can be wrong, therefore evidence, the lack thereof, and logic can be ignored or assumed to be wrong as well.

    That certainly is con-artistry. If you tell me who these con artists are, I’ll join you in fighting them.

  35. Khan @30,

    I find this quote from your article to be quite ironic, especially after having carefully examined the pictures of the bones themselves without the artistic renditions.

    No feathers have ever been found in association with fossils of Deinonychus. Nonetheless, the evidence suggests that the Dromaeosauridae, including Deinonychus, had feathers.

    Talk about counter-intuitive.

  36. And another one:

    Because of its extremely bird-like anatomy and close relationship to other dromaeosaurids, paleontologists hypothesize that Deinonychus was probably covered in feathers.

    Hmmm… sounds more like creative license at it’s best yet again within the world of paleontology.

  37. PaulN,
    you’re right, not the best example. take your pick from here:

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

  38. 38

    Herb,
    Dark Energy and Dark Matter, though they are not rigidly defined to any known “material” basis, are “REQUIRED” to explain REAL observational data.

    REPORT OF THE DARK ENERGY TASK FORCE

    The abstract of the September 2006 Report of the Dark Energy Task Force (which, “was established by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee [AAAC] and the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel [HEPAP] as a joint sub-committee to advise the Department of Energy, the NASA, and the National Science Foundation on future dark energy research”) says: “Dark energy appears to be the dominant component of the physical Universe, yet there is no persuasive theoretical explanation for its existence or magnitude. The acceleration of the Universe is, along with dark matter, the observed phenomenon that most directly demonstrates that our (materialistic) theories of fundamental particles and gravity are either incorrect or incomplete. Most experts believe that nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of fundamental physics will be required to achieve a full understanding of the cosmic acceleration. For these reasons, the nature of dark energy ranks among the very most compelling of all outstanding problems in physical science. These circumstances demand an ambitious observational program to determine the dark energy properties as well as possible.”
    http://jdem.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs.....report.pdf

    The Discovery of Dark Matter – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSgxk5gHMHo

    Hugh Ross – Dark Energy; Halos Of Exotic Dark Matter; And Earth’s Extremely Privileged Position – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=280Mt0AdIjo

    Hubble Discovers Ring of Dark Matter – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRdUq2egXQY

    Study Sheds Light On Dark Energy – video
    http://dsc.discovery.com/video.....energy.htm

    i.e. For example in the term Dark Energy we know for a fact something is making the universe expand in such a finely tuned coordinated way, we just do not know exactly what that “something” is. Dark Energy is just the name they have given this mysterious entity which is causing the universe to expand. Dr. Hugh Ross has made it clear that the Bible has numerous references which “predicted” that God Himself was “stretching the heavens”.

    Psalm 104:2 “he stretches out the heavens like a tent”

    And I believe a strong case can be made for that observation of Hugh Ross:

    Reflection on the quantum teleportation experiment:

    That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation of its “infinite” information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. Thus, this is a direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, which cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means, yet a photon of energy is destroyed by this transcendent means. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed. Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, energy, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities. i.e. All information that can exist, for all past, present and future events of energy, already must exist. Another line of evidence, corroborating the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information, is the required mathematical definition for infinite information needed to correctly specify the reality of a photon qubit (Armond Duwell).
    The fact that quantum teleportation shows an exact “location dominion”, of a photon of energy by “a specified truth of infinite information”, satisfies a major requirement for the entity needed to explain the missing Dark Matter. The needed transcendent explanation would have to dominate energy in a very similar “specified location” fashion, as is demonstrated by the infinite information of quantum teleportation, to satisfy what is needed to explain the missing dark matter. Moreover, the fact that simple quantum entanglement shows “coordinated universal control” of a entangled photon of energy, by transcendent information, satisfies a major requirement for the entity which must explain the missing Dark Energy. i.e. The transcendent entity, needed to explain Dark Energy, must explain why the entire space of the universe is expanding in such a finely-tuned, coordinated, degree, and would have to employ a mechanism of control very similar to what we witness in the quantum entanglement experiment. Thus “infinite transcendent information” provides a coherent picture of universal control, and specificity, that could possibly unify all of physics upon further elucidation. It very well may be possible to elucidate, mathematically, the overall pattern God has chosen to implement infinite information in this universe.

    “I discovered that nature was constructed in a wonderful way, and our task is to find out its mathematical structure”
    Albert Einstein

    Further reflections on the “infinite transcendent information” framework:

    Mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. As well, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for mass at the speed of light (i.e. the mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light.). For us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, only gets us to first base as far as quantum teleportation is concerned. That is to say, traveling at the speed of light only gets us to the place where time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, “past and future folding into now”, framework/dimension of time. This “eternal” inference for light is warranted because light is not “frozen within time” yet it is shown that time does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein

    Also, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them, but, and this is a big but; this “timeless” travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework/dimension of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. In information teleportation the “time not passing”, eternal, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but also in our temporal framework/dimension. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks/dimensions, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus “pure information” is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks/dimensions. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which it inhabits is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned). Logic also dictates “a decision” must have been made, by the “transcendent, eternal, infinite information” from the primary timeless reality it inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from infinite possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive. The restriction imposed by our physical limitations of us ever accessing complete infinite information to our temporal physical framework/dimension does not detract, in any way, from the primacy and dominion of the infinite, eternal, transcendent, information framework/dimension that is now established by the quantum teleportation experiment as the primary reality of our reality. Of note: All of this evidence meshes extremely well with the theistic postulation of God being infinite and perfect in knowledge.

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane – Child Prodigy – Artwork homepage – music video

    As a side light to this, leading quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger has followed in John Archibald Wheeler’s footsteps (1911-2008) by insisting reality, at its most foundational level, is “information”.

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:

    Thus Herb, On a whole I feel very comfortable with the state of cosmology, and the use of the Terms Dark Matter and Dark Energy, right now

  39. GIl,

    We find long periods of stasis, and the emergence of fully developed creatures with entirely new and innovative capabilities.

    this is also wrong, and you are not the only one to be confused about this (jerry, I’m looking right at you). There are abundant transitional fossils between major novel morphologies (think of the jawbone-to-earbone transition). Gould’s punctuated equilibria (which I’m assuming you’re referring to) was about small, species-level changes in the fossil record, not major transitions.

  40. Khan @34,

    I’m sorry, but I’m still failing to see anything that remotely represents feathers in those fossils except for in the archaeopteryx and maybe even the microraptor. However, I find more than anything that the illustrations do a great job of filling in what is not really there for the rest.

  41. PaulN,

    a microraptor is exactly what Gil said didn’t exist in the fossil record.

  42. 42

    Khan

    Birds: Designed or Evolved? – Prof. Andy McIntosh – video
    http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/birds.xml

    Discovery Raises New Doubts About Dinosaur-bird Links – June 2009
    Excerpt: “one of the primary reasons many scientists kept pointing to birds as having descended from dinosaurs was similarities in their lungs,“ Ruben said. “However, theropod dinosaurs had a moving femur and therefore could not have had a lung that worked like that in birds. Their abdominal air sac, if they had one, would have collapsed. That undercuts a critical piece of supporting evidence for the dinosaur-bird link,,, “The findings add to a growing body of evidence in the past two decades that challenge some of the most widely-held beliefs about animal evolution.” —-”For one thing, birds are found (many millions of years) earlier in the fossil record than the dinosaurs they are supposed to have descended from,” Ruben said. “That’s a pretty serious problem,”…
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....092055.htm

    Is this a anomaly of birds or is this pattern consistent throughout the fossil record?

    Ancient Fossils That Evolutionists Don’t Want You To See – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLzqDLZoufQ

    THE FOSSILS IN THE CREATION MUSEUM – 1000′s of pictures of ancient “living” fossils that have not changed for millions of years:
    http://www.fossil-museum.com/f.....8;limit=30

    Fossil Record – No Transitional Fossils – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0ZlcrumE2s

    “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”
    Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager

    “A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s hypothetical intermediate variants – instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.”
    Paleontologist, Mark Czarnecki

    “There is no need to apologize any longer for the poverty of the fossil record. In some ways, it has become almost unmanageably rich and discovery is outpacing integration. The fossil record nevertheless continues to be composed mainly of gaps.”
    Professor of paleontology – Glasgow University, T. Neville George

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

    “The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be …. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time … so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated”.
    David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History

    Why is this evidence so “counter intuitive” for the dogmatic evolutionists expect?

    Will they accept any answer besides an evolutionary one? If not why not?

  43. bornagain77,

    First, thanks for the thoughtful post.

    For example in the term Dark Energy we know for a fact something is making the universe expand in such a finely tuned coordinated way, we just do not know exactly what that “something” is. Dark Energy is just the name they have given this mysterious entity which is causing the universe to expand.

    I would somewhat agree with this statement—it seems to me the term “Dark Energy” is basically a placeholder for some hypothetical entity about which we know nothing. I found the following snippet from a Scientific American article which expresses this point better than I can:

    The universe around us is not what it appears to be. The stars make up less than 1 percent of its mass; all the loose gas and other forms of ordinary matter, less than 5 percent. The motions of this visible material reveal that it is mere flotsam on an unseen sea of unknown material. We know little about that sea. The terms we use to describe its components, “dark matter” and “dark energy,” serve mainly as expressions of our ignorance.

    (my emphasis on the last sentence).

    My question basically is, would we let the Darwinists get away with this sort of thing? I would say that the evos’ claims that the development of life occurred through natural processes seem rather modest compared with that of the cosmologists’. Let’s be clear here—the cosmologists are making authoritative statements about a universe of which 96% is invisible to them. I’m sure they’re all very bright people, but some skepticism is in order here.

  44. Khan,

    a microraptor is exactly what Gil said didn’t exist in the fossil record.

    Here’s what Gil said:

    A lizard with proto-feathers on its forelimbs would be a lousy aviator and an equally incompetent runner. We find no such creatures in the fossil record, for obvious reasons.

    The feathers touted on the microraptor from just about every source I’ve come accross so far has depicted the feathers as being fully developed and functional (As in this dinosaur had full flying capabilities)- not developmental. I believe the point Gil was trying to make was in the incapability for half-formed parts to function properly and the consequent detrimental effect they would have on the survival of an organism. And he’s right given what he said. Half formed wings on the arms of a lizard would hinder the transport methods for such an animal.

    You gave an example of something that is believed to have fully formed and functional body plans.

    I don’t see the microraptor as being a transitional form for the same reason I don’t see a platypus as being transitional.

  45. PaulN,
    is gliding the same thing as flying to you? and all accounts also point out that microraptor would be a lousy flyer.

    It had been proposed by Chinese scientists that the animal glided and probably lived in trees, pointing to the fact that wings anchored to the feet of Microraptor would have hindered their ability to run on the ground..

    sounds very similar to

    A lizard with proto-feathers on its forelimbs would be a lousy aviator and an equally incompetent runner.

    so do we really

    find no such creatures in the fossil record

    ?

  46. ps PaulN,
    if you want an example of proto-feathers, see here:
    http://www.amnh.org/science/pa.....nosaur.php

  47. Intuition plays also crucial role in biology. It was Goethe who underlined such an approach. Professor Ruppert Riedl (1925-2005) stressed that the whole areas of morphology and systematics are based on “intuition”. There is no scientific method systematics can safely use. Sometimes homologous organs have different genetic background and vice-versa etc…

    Another scietists who put great value on intuition was proffesor of botany Wilhelm Troll (1897-1978)- proponent of German Idealistic Morphology . More on my blog about him.

    http://cadra.wordpress.com/

  48. 48

    Well Herb,
    It is funny, but the solution to both of the questions: What is Dark Energy? and What is causing the sudden appearance of fossils in the fossil record? Is answered by the same empirically verifiable entity of specified transcendent information. i.e. we can verify the existence of specified transcendent information through various experiments, and show that it is foundational to “reality” and has qualities of dominion that would be required of it in order to do both things. The big but in all this is that we cannot “tell” the verifiable entity of transcendent information “when” to infuse original information into life or the cosmos for that matter. Yet since transcendent information is the ONLY known entity capable of explaining what is required to be explained from the evidence, then the inference to transcendent information is overwhelming reasonable to make. And this fact will remain a truth unless someone can overturn it in the scientific method, Yet I do not see this happening since It is very hard to imagine any entity whatsoever which can be more foundational to reality that transcendent information which is not limited by time or space in any way shape or fashion as far as we can tell.

  49. 49

    I’d be very curious to observe the natural selection that took place as these tree-dwelling microraptors learned to glide between trees. Which mutated first – the behavior of jumping off of trees, or the ability to control their glide? How many microraptors were selected against by either falling to their deaths or landing on the ground where they couldn’t run?

    I just re-read this:

    It had been proposed by Chinese scientists that the animal glided and probably lived in trees…

    Proposed? I forgot that even suggestions can be cited as evidence.

  50. Khan,

    You’ll never convince them.

    They’ll say, there’s no use in a half-eye. Yet, in reality, there’s a huge advantage. Any light sensitive cell gives an advantage over blind competitors.

    http://blog.taragana.com/n/sin.....es-123692/

    They’ll say, what good are half developed wings, completely ignoring birds that don’t fly.

    They’ll say, things are irreducibly complex while completing ignoring simple, logical similarities between different species.

  51. 51

    Khan<
    This following video shows just how shallow your evidence is for proto-feathers:

    The Dino-bird Controversy
    http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/dinobird.xml

    After I watched the video Khan, I realized just how desperate evolutionists are to squeeze any trivial piece of questionable evidence into their dogmatism so as to make it work on paper… Evolution truly is a shining example of pseudo-science at its ittelectually dishonest best!

  52. the_napkin
    of course not, but it’s fun to show that we have tons of hard-earned data and theory while they have nothing but sarcastic comments from the peanut gallery and youtube links.

  53. BA^77, thanks for proving my point :)
    what are the odds? <1 in 10^150?

  54. 54

    I believe what you have is called an Overwhelming Mountain of Evidence (TM). Chinese scientists wonder out loud if it lived in trees and flew? Good enough – throw it on the pile!
    Someone imagines a narrative of how eyes evolved, a little light on the details? That’s evidence! Throw it on the pile!
    No wonder it gets bigger every day.

  55. I like how it said, “Optimal design of birds is consistent with creation.”

    That meaning? Birds are designed to have feathers and fly?

    What about penguins? They have wings and small feathers but can’t fly. Are you going to tell me penguins are not related? Or did

    What about ostriches/emus? They look like birds, run really really fast, and have sharp claws on their back feet. WEIRD! Just like that raptor I saw in Jurassic Park.

  56. Khan,

    A quotation from G.K. Chesterton: “Doubts About Darwinism” on evolution of horns and wings:

    It is very far from obvious that the first rudimentary suggestion of a horn, the first faint thickening which might lead through countless generations to the growth of a horn, would be of any particular use as a horn.

    And we must suppose, on the Darwinian hypothesis, that the hornless animal reached his horn through unthinkable gradations of what were, for all practical purposes, hornless animal.

    Why should one rhinoceros be so benevolent a Futurist as to start an improvement that could only help some much later rhinoceros to survive? And why on earth should its mere foreshadowing help the earlier rhinoceros to survive?

    This thesis can only explain variations when they discreetly refrain from varying very much. To the real riddles that arrest the eye, it has no answer that can satisfy the intelligence.

    For any child or man with his eyes open, I imagine, there is no creature that really calls for an answer, like a living riddle, so clearly as the bat.

    But if you will call up the Darwinian vision, of thousands of intermediary creatures with webbed feet that are not yet wings, their survival will seem incredible.

    A mouse can run, and survive; and a flitter-mouse can fly, and survive.

    But a creature that cannot yet fly, and can no longer run, ought obviously to have perished, by the very Darwinian doctrine which has to assume that he survived.

  57. Scott,

    Chinese scientists wonder out loud if it lived in trees and flew? Good enough – throw it on the pile!

    you’re not showing much understanding of the scientific process. do you really think the quotation from wikipedia captures the process and evidence that led them to propose this? why not at least read the original article:http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....01342.html

    and thanks to you for proving my point again.

  58. Khan,

    is gliding the same thing as flying to you?

    Not at all. But according to this:

    Microraptor – the dinosaur that flew like a biplane

    Some scientists believe they flew like biplanes.

    Also, true protofeathers (the fluffy stuff you see growing on baby birds) or even fully developed feathers on a T-rex would be considerably less detrimental to movement given the actual mass of the creature.

    Furthermore, it’s not unusual to find creatures with specialized equipment according to their specific environments. Gil is right in saying that they would have been lousy fliers and runners, however this does not preclude the option that they could have lived in trees or some other situational elevated environment. If the microraptor was a ground dweller, then of course you wouldn’t expect to see any in the fossil record. If anything I see this catering to specific design than I do toward a stepwise process, especially when you consider how the raptors would have to transition from living on the ground to living in trees- as the timing for the development of feathered flight/gliding capabilities would have to happen almost instantly alongside the adoption of an elevated habitat.

  59. Oh, I see that Scott Andrews elaborated on my point before I could make it. Thanks Scott.

  60. 60

    Frankly Khan,
    I don’t care if you want to believe in a lie, all I care is that you try to come on this site and present shady evidence as absolute fact. You clearly are not a scientist, though you may imagine yourself as such, and frankly you make me sick with your grand sweeping statements for evolution on such crappy evidence. If you want to be scientific then “semi-prove” evolution empirically by passing the fitness test. You would then falsify the what appears to be the true principle for biology: Genetic Entropy (though this still would leave you with a cloud of Theistic evolution to deal with)

    I find the principle of Genetic Entropy to be the true principle for biological adaptations which directly contradicts unguided Darwinian evolution. As well, unlike Darwinian evolution which can claim no primary principles in science to rests its foundation on, Genetic Entropy can rests its foundation in science directly on the twin pillars of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and on the Law of Conservation Of Information(LCI). The first phase of Genetic Entropy, any life-form will go through, holds all sub-speciation adaptations away from a parent species, which increase fitness/survivability to a new environment for the sub-species, will always come at a cost of the functional information in the parent species genome. This is, for the vast majority of times, measurable as loss of genetic diversity in genomes. This phase of Genetic Entropy is verified, in one line of evidence, by the fact all population genetics’ studies show a consistent loss of genetic diversity from a parent species for all sub-species that have adapted away, (Maciej Giertych). This fact is also well testified to by plant breeders and animal breeders who know there are strict limits to the amount of variability you can expect when breeding for any particular genetic trait. The second line of evidence, this phase of the principle of Genetic Entropy is being rigorously obeyed, is found in the fact the “Fitness Test” against a parent species of bacteria has never been violated by any sub-species bacteria of a parent bacteria.

    For a broad outline of the “Fitness test”, required to be passed to show a violation of the principle of Genetic Entropy, please see this following video and article:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “The Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BwWpRSYgOE

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

    This “fitness test” fairly conclusively demonstrates “optimal information” is encoded onto a “parent” bacteria by God, and has not been added to by any “teleological” methods in the beneficial adaptations of the sub-species of bacteria. Thus the inference to Genetic Entropy, i.e. that God has not specifically moved within nature in a teleological manner to increase the functional information of a genome once He has created the parent species genome, still holds as true for the principle of Genetic Entropy.

    Though I am surely no expert on the math of LCI, and may be in error as to how strict the limit for conserved information now is, it seems readily apparent to me, even with Dembski’s and Mark’s strict definition of LCI in place, to conclusively demonstrate God has moved within nature, in a teleological manner to provide the sub-species with additional functional information over the “optimal” genome of the parent species, the “fitness test” must still be passed by the sub-species against the parent species. If the fitness test is shown to be passed, then the new molecular function, which provides the more robust survivability for the sub-species, must be calculated to its additional Functional Information Bits (Fits) it gained in the beneficial adaptation, and then be found to be greater than 140 Fits of functional information. 140 Fits is what has now been generously set by Kirk Durston as the maximum limit of Functional Information which can reasonably be expected to be generated by totally natural processes over the entire age of the universe. This fitness test, and calculation, must be done to rigorously establish materialistic processes did not generate the functional information (Fits), and to rigorously establish teleological processes were indeed involved in the increase of Functional Complexity of the beneficially adapted sub-species. The second and final phase of Genetic Entropy, outlined by John Sanford in his book Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome, is when “slightly detrimental” mutations, which are far below the power of natural selection to remove from a genome, slowly build up in a species/kind over long periods of time and lead to Genetic Meltdown.
    The first effect to be noticed, for the Genetic Entropy principle, is the loss of morphological variability of individual sub-species of a kind. This loss of morphological variability first takes place for the extended lineages of sub-species within a kind, and increases with time, and then gradually works in to the more ancient lineages of the kind, as the “mutational load” slowly builds up over time (A Cambrian Peak in Morphological Variation Within Trilobite Species; Webster). The final phase, of Genetic Entropy, is when the entire spectrum of the species of a kind slowly start to succumb to “Genetic Meltdown”, and to go extinct in the fossil record. The occurs because the mutational load, of the slowly accumulating “slightly detrimental mutations” in the genomes, becomes too great for each individual species of the kind to bear. From repeated radiations from ancient lineages in the fossil record, and current adaptive radiation studies, The ancient lineages of a kind appear to have the most “robust genomes” and are thus most resistant to “Genetic Meltdown”. All this consistent evidence makes perfect sense from the Genetic Entropy standpoint, in that Genetic Entropy holds God created each parent kind with a “optimal genome” for all future sub-speciation events.—- My overwhelming intuition, from all the evidence I’ve seen so far, and from Theology, is this; Once God creates a parent kind, the parent kind is encoded with “optimal information” for the specific purpose to which God has created the kind to exist, and God has chosen, in His infinite wisdom, to strictly limit the extent to which He will act within nature to “evolve” the sub-species of the parent kind to greater heights of functional complexity. Thus the Biblically compatible principle of Genetic Entropy is found to be in harmony with the second law of thermodynamics and with the formal proof of the Law Of Conservation of Information which has now been elucidated by Dr. William Dembski and Dr. Robert Marks. -

    etc…etc.. Khan ….. until you pass the fitness test and show a gain of functional information, you are just blowing hot air.

  61. 61

    Khan:
    The authors themselves admit they only offer a suggestion. Apparently even they didn’t consider the evidence conclusive. That’s okay – they have you to put the cart before the horse and turn their suggestion into reality.
    I think we all know how skeptical you can be of suggestions based on evidence when they don’t suit your ideology. But this one works for you, so you’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

  62. Scott,

    –Someone imagines a narrative of how eyes evolved, a little light on the details?

    Here’s some detail on some of the simplest, single celled organisms that lo and behold detect light.

    http://cas.bellarmine.edu/tiet.....r_text.htm

  63. PaulN,
    do we then agree that there are fossils of dinosaurs with proto-feathers on their forelimbs?

  64. Scott,
    I didn’t present it as fact. what makes you think I did?

  65. 65

    Khan:
    Your post at 42 seemed to be in response to questions over whether such transitionals existed.
    But if that wasn’t the point then I’ll chalk that up to my not reading carefully enough.

  66. 66

    Napkin @58.
    I’m sure there are many simple creatures that detect light without eyes. Plants grow toward sunlight. I don’t see the connection – conversationally or otherwise.

  67. Scott,
    nope, I was just showing that an example of what Gil said didn’t exist does. however, as PaulN pointed out, they weren’t proto-feathers. so I showed an example in the next post of a dinosaur with proto-feathers.

  68. 68

    A new Chinese specimen indicates that ‘protofeathers’ in the Early Cretaceous theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx are degraded collagen fibres
    http://rspb.royalsocietypublis.....3.full.pdf

    excerpt from paper:
    Alleged primitive feathers or protofeathers in the theropod dinosaur Sinosauropteryx have potentially profound
    implications concerning feathermorphogenesis, evolution of flight, dinosaur physiology and perhaps even the
    origin of birds, yet their existence has never been adequately documented. We report on a new specimen
    of Sinosauropteryx which shows that the integumental structures proposed as protofeathers are the remains of
    structural fibres that provide toughness. The preservation in the proximal tail area reveals an architecture of
    closely associated bands offibres parallel to the tail’s long axis, which originate fromthe skin. In adjacentmore
    exposed areas, the fibres are short, fragmented and disorganized. Fibres preserved dorsal to the neck and back
    and in the distal part of the tail are the remains of a stiffening system of a frill, peripheral to the body and
    extending fromthe head to the tip of the tail.These findings are confirmed in the holotype Sinosauropteryx and
    NIGP 127587. The fibres show a striking similarity to the structure and levels of organization of dermal
    collagen. The proposal that these fibres are protofeathers is dismissed.

  69. BA^77
    do you have a youtube link to that paper? all kidding aside, please follow the link at 46 and see that it was about Dilong. that’s a completely different Baramin than Sinosaupteryx

  70. bornagain77,

    It is funny, but the solution to both of the questions: What is Dark Energy? and What is causing the sudden appearance of fossils in the fossil record? Is answered by the same empirically verifiable entity of specified transcendent information. i.e. we can verify the existence of specified transcendent information through various experiments, and show that it is foundational to “reality” and has qualities of dominion that would be required of it in order to do both things.

    I definitely agree on the importance of Specified Transcendent Information, but it seems to me the cosmologists and the Darwinists have made exactly the same amount of progress toward understanding it: none, to be exact. In fact, I would wager that if you were to take a poll, you would find that very few if any had even heard of the concept.

    Until the cosmologists get on board with STI, I’m going to take a wait-and-see attitude.

  71. 71

    Khan,
    You really have no clue do you?

    I’m not so sure that these features are “far too long to be collagen fibers”. It seems at least plausible to me that the reason why these fibers were not preserved around the feet and hands is because they were likely structural to projections like dorsal frills and other supported skin assemblages. The same thing goes for the Dilong fossil “proto-feathers”.

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=.....=firefox-a

    Of note from the article:

    Storrs Olson, the curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, has been a vocal critic of the theory that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs. “The whole notion of feathered dinosaurs is a myth that has been created by ideologues bent on perpetuating the birds-are-dinosaurs theory in the face of all contrary evidence,” he said.

    National Geographic magazine and other media have heavily publicized stories about feathered dinosaurs. But contrarian views struggle to get heard, Feduccia said.

    “One of the primary arguments used to deflect our view is that we are a fringe group,” he said. “But if science operates by a majority view, we’re in serious trouble. “We are dealing here basically with a faith-based science where the contrarian view is silenced to a large extent by the popular press,” he added.

  72. All the eyes poofed into existence during the Cambrian. No eyes evolved since. If these little guys with eye sensitive spots were the precursor of the eye, why didn’t it lead to further eyes?

    Just a question.

    And another question, why don’t any plants have eyes since as someone said they are photosensitive? Now don’t tell me that potatoes have eyes.

  73. BA^77,
    the branched nature of the fossilized filaments are consistent with feathers, not collagen fibers:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....02855.html

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....200a0.html

    they have also done biochemical assays on another feathered dinosaur, Shuvuuia, and shown that they have only beta-keratin, which is the primary component of modern feathers. collagen fibers would have collagen.

  74. for jerry, 80 million years equals a poof, even when modeling has shown that an eye could evolve in a few hundred thousand years:

    http://rspb.royalsocietypublis.....56/1345/53

    yes, i know, it’s only a model with a lot of assumptions. please feel free to present any kind of evidence supporting your hypothesis, or even your hypothesis itself.

  75. 75

    Khan,
    Please read the papers I cite before you spout nonsense, I will not correct your every blatant mistake!

    “As far as the ?-keratin argument goes, ?-keratin is generally found in reptilian skin (in the stratum corneum to supply both rigidity and water-proofing) as well as the claws, beaks, and feathers of birds. I really don’t see how this is some sort of distinguishing feature – to distinguish between a collagen-based frill and feather-like structures.”

    We could go round and round but the point is you are not even practicing empirical science nor are you being fair with the evidence,,,,ANY evidence no matter how far fetched is accepted by you without so much as a ripple of doubt to as the sufficiency of natural processes to produce these structures which are far more rich in information content than what man can produce. Yet when staggering evidence is presented to the contrary that evolution can’t produce this level of information, all this is just ignored by you as if it means nothing…I would call you retarded but as I have noted before, I actually respect people with mental handicaps and the struggle they have to deal with in this life, whereas you Sir have earned zero respect from me.

  76. BA^77,
    if you can’t understand why showing that feather-like structures don’t have any collagen in them is pretty good evidence that they aren’t made of collagen, then I’m sorry.

  77. 77

    Read this real slowly Khan,

    “As far as the beta-keratin argument goes, beta-keratin is generally found in reptilian skin (in the stratum corneum to supply both rigidity and water-proofing) as well as the claws, beaks, and FEATHERS of birds. I really don’t see how this is some sort of distinguishing feature – to distinguish between a collagen-based frill and feather-like structures.”

  78. BA^77
    please explain to me, in your own words, your argument here. are you still arguing that the proto-feathers were actually collagen (71)?

  79. 79

    Khan, Think about what you are trying to establish;

    You are trying to rigorously establish some hypothesized fuzz, which is in itself very argumentative as to actually being fuzz, is the beginning of feathers by saying it is proven so by beta-keratin analysis, yet when I show that beta-karatin is found elsewhere:

    (“As far as the beta-keratin argument goes, beta-keratin is generally found in reptilian skin (in the stratum corneum to supply both rigidity and water-proofing)

    This is ignored by you,,,you have done nothing in this case except to show your ability to be severely prejudiced to whatever evidence is presented…I’ve seen the same thing over and over and over again by evolutionists….ANY evidence no matter how dubious is accepted without any self critical analysis, and then when refuted it is quickly forgotten and another piece of crap evidence is offered in its place by the evolutionists…YOU are NOT practicing science khan,,,you are trying to protect you dogmatic belief in evolution no matter how much evidence you have to ignore…Frankly I will not waste my time with you and find it surprising that others on UD have the patience to deal with such shoddy methodology day in and day out.

  80. 80

    I love this quote:

    Storrs Olson, the curator of birds at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, has been a vocal critic of the theory that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs. “The whole notion of feathered dinosaurs is a myth that has been created by ideologues bent on perpetuating the birds-are-dinosaurs theory in the face of all contrary evidence,” he said.

  81. BA^77,
    so you are no longer arguing that the protofeathers are made of collagen. the problem with your new argument (lots of things like reptile skin have beta-keratin) is that reptile skin also has alpha keratin. feathers are the only integumentary structure composed solely of beta-keratin. and the Shuvuuia protofeathers had only beta keratin.

    i’m not saying this is proof that they were feathers. but these data in combination with their branched structure are strong evidence that they were, AND strong evidence against the alternatives.

    but perhaps i’m talking to an empty chair now that you’ve taken your ball and gone home.

  82. Storrs can believe whatever he wants. but the data are not on his side, and he hasn’t published a single paper containing evidence to support his opinion.

  83. I’ll add a bit here: controversy rages among evolutionists over how feathers originated. “Fundamentalist fervor,” “vitriolic name-calling,” and “paleontological passion” pervade the debate, states the magazine Science News. One evolutionary biologist, who organized a symposium on feather evolution, confessed: “I never dreamed that any scientific matter could possibly generate such bad personal behavior and such bitterness.”

    If feathers clearly evolved, why should discussions of the process become so vitriolic?

    “Feathers are a little too perfect—that’s the problem,” notes Yale University’s Manual of Ornithology—Avian Structure and Function. Feathers give no indication that they ever needed improvement. In fact, the “earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today.”

    Yet, evolutionary theory teaches that feathers must be the result of gradual, cumulative change in earlier skin outgrowths.

    Moreover, “feathers could not have evolved without some plausible adaptive value in all of the intermediate steps,” says the Manual. To put it simply, even in theory, evolution could not produce a feather unless each step in a long series of random, inheritable changes in feather structure significantly improved the animal’s chances for survival. Even many evolutionists find it a stretch of the imagination that something as complex and functionally perfect as a feather could arise in such a way.

    And consider Khan’s parting shot at 82: “Storrs can believe whatever he wants.”

    So to a layperson like myself, which group(s) or scientist(s) should I believe? The ones that toe the party line or the ones who follow the evidence or, better yet, come up with new ideas?

    And here’s my two cents on intuition: Intuition has been more formally defined as “knowledge that comes to a person without any conscious remembering or reasoning.” Intuition, it seems, involves a kind of leap—straight from seeing a problem to knowing its solution. Suddenly, we just know an answer or comprehend a situation. That does not mean, though, that intuition is the same thing as an impulse or a desire.

    But investigation usually shows that intuitions are based on experience, particularly the experience of individuals with great sensitivity.” The individual builds up “a storehouse of memories and impressions,” the Encyclopedia argues, from which the mind may draw a “sudden impression [called] an intuition, or ‘hunch.’”

    This is why laypeople like myself reject the idea of macroevolution. We intuitively know that all things did not develop from a bowl of primordial soup. We know that if something appears designed (like a bird’s feather), and we have prior experience with things being designed (like airplane wings), it’s generally a good idea to assume that this feather is, in fact, designed.

  84. “80 million years equals a poof”

    What 80 million years? It was 5 to 10 million years and we have no evidence that it was even that long. And there was nothing before it so as of today it looks like a “poof.” Maybe future digs will show something else.

    “even when modeling has shown that an eye could evolve in a few hundred thousand years”

    But none have appeared in 540 million years since. I wonder why. Maybe the designer was through with eyes. On to something else. Goes to show that computer modeling maybe out to lunch some times.

  85. 85

    Khan tells us an old tale, one never too tired to be resubmitted.

    ” even when modeling has shown that an eye could evolve in a few hundred thousand years”

    Nilsson and Pelgar again?

    From our friend, the agnostic skeptic David Berlinski…

    Whatever the merits of computer simulation, however, they are beside the point in assessing Nilsson and Pelger’s work. In its six pages, their paper contains no mention of the words “computer” or “simulation.” There are no footnotes indicating that a computer simulation of their work exists, and their bibliography makes no reference to any work containing such a simulation.

    Curious about this point, I wrote to Dan-Erik Nilsson in the late summer of 2001. “Dear David,” he wrote back courteously and at once,

    “You are right that my article with Pelger is not based on computer simulation of eye evolution. I do not know of anyone else who [has] successfully tried to make such a simulation either. But we are currently working on it. To make it behave like real evolution is not a simple task. At present our model does produce eyes gradually on the screen, but it does not look pretty, and the genetic algorithms need a fair amount of work before the model will be useful. But we are working on it, and it looks both promising and exciting.”

    These are explicit words, and they are the words of the paper’s senior author. I urge readers to keep them in mind as we return to the luckless physicist Matt Young. In my COMMENTARY essay of last December, I quoted these remarks by Mr. Young:

    “Creationists used to argue that … there was not enough time for an eye to develop. A computer simulation by Dan-Erik Nilsson and Susanne Pelger gave the lie to that claim.”

    These, too, are forthright words, but as I have just shown, they are false: Nilsson and Pelger’s paper contains no computer simulation, and no computer simulation has been forthcoming from them in all the years since its initial publication. Sheer carelessness, perhaps? But now, in responding to my COMMENTARY article, Matt Young has redoubled his misreading and proportionately augmented his indignation. The full text of his remarks appears in last month’s COMMENTARY; here are the relevant passages:

    “In describing the paper by Nilsson and Pelger … I wrote that they had performed a computer simulation of the development of the eye. I did not write, as Mr. Berlinski suggests, that they used nothing more than random variation and natural selection, and I know of no reference that says they did…… The paper by Nilsson and Pelger is a sophisticated simulation that even includes quantum noise it is not, contrary to Mr. Berlinski’s assertion, a back-of-the-envelope calculation. It begins with a flat, light-sensitive patch, which they allow to become concave in increments of 1 percent, calculating the visual acuity along the way. When some other mechanism will improve acuity faster, they allow, at various stages, the formation of a graded-index lens and an iris, and then optimize the focus. Unless Nilsson and Pelger performed the calculations in closed form or by hand, theirs was, as I wrote, a “computer simulation.” Computer-aided simulation might have been a slightly better description, but not enough to justify Mr. Berlinski’s sarcasm at my expense…”

    And here is my familiar refrain: there is no simulation, “sophisticated” or otherwise, in Nilsson and Pelger’s paper, and their work rests on no such simulation; on this point, Nilsson and I are in complete agreement. Moreover, Nilsson and Pelger do not calculate the visual acuity” of any structure, and certainly not over the full 1,829 steps of their sequence. They suggest that various calculations have been made, but they do not show how they were made or tell us where they might be found. At the very best, they have made such calculations for a handful of data points, and then joined those points by a continuous curve.

    This is the exact paper Khan has thoughfully provided to us…and so it goes.

    - – - – - -

    By the way, the question is not the value of “half an eye”.

    It is that the entire visual system including all support functions must be in place before it can serve as a selectable advantage.

    So not only did chance genetic events cause a “light sensitive patch” to appear from other tissues, but at the same time those same chance events caused a means for such a light sensitive patch to emit some type of response to light, and also a neural pathway to get that response from the patch to some other part of the organism where decisions could be made. And then those same chance events formed some means in that part of the organism to recieve that response to light coming in from the patch, and also coordinated some means to understand what that signal meant and what it should so in response to it.

    Oh, and during all of this, those new tissues and features will need to be supplied with energy, regulated, and maintenanced.

    It should be no problem.

  86. It’s a pity that the discussion on feathers has generated more heat than light. However, I think the following points are fairly clear:

    (1) Feathers are exquisitely complex structures. Their origin demands a detailed explanation. Vague explanations are satisfactory only when the possibility of the events postulated is not in doubt.

    (2) We don’t known when feathers originated, or how many times.

    (3) We don’t know which dinosaurs had feathers. It seems some did, but we’re not sure.

    (4) Despite the strong suggestive similarities between theropod dinosaurs and birds, we still don’t know how dinosaurs are related to birds. We should keep an open mind – and look for saome dinosaur DNA which might resolve the matter once and for all.

  87. 87

    To firmly correct khan’s claim for proof:

    The beta-keratin (without alpha-keratin) was found in Shuvuuia deserti. At least some are arguing that Shuvuuia deserti “belongs to a group of primitive, flightless birds.”
    http://www.amnh.org/exhibition.....s/ex2.html

    As with Caudipteryx, Shuvia deserti is classified as a maniraptor. Maniraptorians are considered by some scientists to be birds, not reptiles or dinosaurs. Stephen Czerkas and Larry Martin have concluded that Caudipteryx (and Shuvuuia deserti as well as all maniraptors) is not a theropod dinosaur at all. They believe that Caudipteryx, like all maniraptorans, is a flightless bird.

    So khan in reality has nothing but unsubstantiated conjecture, on what is very flimsy evidence in the first place, to try to make his case for bird evolution.

    Clearly this is not the practice of rigorous science! Evolutionists clearly must rely on this sort of shady evidence which is so easily refuted upon cursory examination because they have nothing of rigor which can withstand scrutiny..It truly is pseudo-science at its intellectually dishonest best.

  88. 88

    counterintuitive quote:

    Due to their evolutionary preconception that Lucy was a bipedal precursor to our genus Homo, they call this plain evidence that Lucy knuckled-walked “counterintuitive.” They suggest the possibility that “the locomotor repertoire of A. afarensis included forms of bipedalism, climbing and knuckle-walking.” This is a tenuous proposal, however, as knuckle-walking is obviously very different from bipedal locomotion. Collard and Aiello suggest avoiding the “counterintuitive” evidence that Lucy climbed and knuckle-walked by discarding it as unused “primitive retentions” from her ancestors.—
    —”We were sent a cast of the Lucy skeleton, and I was asked to assemble it for display,” remembers Peter Schmid, a paleontologist at the Anthropological Institute in Zurich. … “When I started to put [Lucy’s] skeleton together, I expected it to look human,” Schmid continues “Everyone had talked about Lucy as being very modern, very human, so I was surprised by what I saw.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

  89. Khan,

    You continually speak of hypotheses yet you cannot provide one that supports your position.

    That seems a little strange…

  90. Abone Khan links to the oft refuted paper- A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve-

    Too bad neither of the authors even knows if any amount of mutational accumulation can allow for a vison system to evolve in a population that never had one.

    That is the problem- there isn’t any scientific/ genetic data to support the evolutionists’ position.

  91. BA^77:
    Birds are in the Class Aves.
    Shuvuuia is in the Class Sauropsida.

    any more questions about whether it was a bird or not?

    They are both in the Phylum Chordata, I’ll give you that.

  92. Khan,

    What is the scientific data which demonstrates that feathers can evolve from a population that never had any?

  93. Joseph,what makes you think I’m arguing that? all I’m trying to do is correct GIl’s post, which stated that no “lizards with protofeathers” had been found in the fossil record. in fact, dinosaurs with proto-feathers have been found. that’s it.

  94. 94

    Khan,
    This evidence, and biased classification, you have presented on UD is far from conclusive, yet you treat it as such. Why is this?

    “maniraptorians are considered by some scientists to be birds, not reptiles or dinosaurs. As you yourself have noted, Stephen Czerkas and Larry Martin have concluded that Caudipteryx (and Shuvuuia deserti as well as all maniraptors) is not a theropod dinosaur at all. They believe that Caudipteryx, like all maniraptorans, is a flightless bird, and that birds evolved from non–dinosaurian archosaurs.”

    and again:

    Closer analysis enabled a researcher at the American Museum to realize the unidentified 1923 creature was also Shuvvuia. Recently, a new specimen of this birdlike animal was found with fibers that are chemically and structurally identical to modern feathers. Scientists now think that this feathered animal belongs to a group of primitive, flightless birds.
    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=.....=firefox-a

    You need a lot, lot, more clear evidence than the obfuscation of classification you have presented to make your case, especially since many who are very knowledgeable of the integrated complexity and “perfection” of the feather consider its origination “miraculous”

    “Feathers are a little too perfect—that’s the problem,” notes Yale University’s Manual of Ornithology—Avian Structure and Function. Feathers give no indication that they ever needed improvement. In fact, the “earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today.”

    Yet you seem to delight in being very ambiguous in your science khan…Why is this? Why should your ambiguity carry any weight at all? You have yet to “come into the light” and demonstrate evolution empirically. Care to list any examples?

    The malaria parasite, due to its comparatively enormous population size, has in 1 year more mutation/duplication/selection events than all mammal lineages have had in the entire +100 million years they have been in the fossil record. Moreover, since single cell organisms and viruses replicate, and mutate/duplicate, far more quickly than multi-cellular life-forms can, scientists can do experiments on single celled organisms and viruses to see what we can actually expect to happen over millions of years for mammals with far smaller population sizes.

    Malaria and AIDS are among the largest real world tests that can be performed to see if evolutionary presumptions are true.

    “Indeed, the work on malaria and AIDS demonstrates that after all possible unintelligent processes in the cell–both ones we’ve discovered so far and ones we haven’t–at best extremely limited benefit, since no such process was able to do much of anything. It’s critical to notice that no artificial limitations were placed on the kinds of mutations or processes the microorganisms could undergo in nature. Nothing–neither point mutation, deletion, insertion, gene duplication, transposition, genome duplication, self-organization nor any other process yet undiscovered–was of much use.” Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pg. 162 Swine Flu, Viruses, and the Edge of Evolution
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2....._edge.html

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism by Michael J. Behe
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).
    http://creation.com/review-mic.....-evolution

    Again khan why will you ignore this clear empirical evidence I presented and rationalize it away as meaningless, then turn around and present very ambiguous evidence, which is far from conclusive, and demand that we accept it as proof for evolution?
    Why is it so important for you to believe that you were the product of blind purposeless processes? I would think that a sane person would find the fact that he was created, and that death is not the “end of the line”, to be a very joyous thing to consider! Yet you treat it as if it would be the most horrible thing in the world to find that we were actually created,,,For the life of me I can understand neither your shoddy science nor your philosophical basis for “running from God”.

  95. Berlinski’s misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Nilsson and Peleger’s paper is epic. Nilsson evicerates him here:
    http://www.talkreason.org/arti.....d.cfm#lund
    Highlights:

    Berlinski thinks the response R is a measure of visual acuity:

    His essay starts with an attempt to describe the original paper, Nilsson and Pelger (1994). Apart from a mix up in sequence chronology and some minor peculiarities, the only major flaw is his misunderstanding of the response R, which he quotes as a measure of visual acuity. It is not, and the original paper does not say so. This is the first serious mistake and it gets worse in the remainder of the essay.

    Berlinski claims important information is missing in the paper when it isn’t:

    Berlinski’s next move is to list important information, which he claims is missing in the original paper. At regular intervals he repeats the phrase: “they do not say”. But all the necessary information is there. Given only 800 words to respond, I cannot reply individually to every point here, but two examples will do: Berlinski claims that there is no unit for morphological change and that we do not explain how we arrive at a sum of 1829 steps of 1%. Explanations to both are given on page 56 of the original paper, starting with the bottom line of the left column. He further claims that we do not explain how morphological change relates to improvements in visual acuity, although most of pages 54 through 56, including graphs and legends of Figures 1 and 3 deals with exactly that, in great detail.

    Berlinski basically doesn’t understand that the references section in a scientific paper is there for a good reason:

    He continues for the rest of his essay on other issues where he believes he has detected logical flaws. He is not right in a single case, and instead reveals an insufficient background in visual optics, sampling theory, basic evolutionary theory, and more. Nor does he seem to have read the key references such as Warrant and McIntyre (1993), Falconer (1989) or Futuyma (1986). Without such knowledge I understand that it is hard to grasp the details of the Nilsson and Pelger paper, but it is standard scientific practice not to repeat lengthy reasoning when a short reference can be given.

    Berlinski doesn’t even understand basic definitions and terms used in the paper (a common problem with amateur biologists):

    But there is more to Berlinski’s misconception of our paper. He has a problem with definitions. “Morphological change” becomes “biological change”. Spatial resolution (visual acuity) becomes sensitivity of vision. He does not distinguish between selection and intensity of selection. He is obviously confused between the 1% steps which we use as a unit of measure for morphological change, and the 0.005% change per generation which is our conservative estimate of evolutionary rate.

    Berlinski is ignorant of basic population genetics:

    Later in the essay, he attempts a peculiar probability argument with random substitutions of letters. He does not realize that his example implies a single individual in the population, and then there can of course be no selection at all. Again, he badly needs to read Falconer’s standard work (1989).

    Berlinski doesn’ t even read the figures and the accompanying explanatory text provided in the paper:

    Contrary to Berlinski’s claim, we calculate the spatial resolution (visual acuity) for all parts of our eye evolution sequence. The functions in Figure 1 display the results. These plots are computer generated, using small increments. Values and units are given on the axes of the plots, and procedures are explained in the legend. The underlying theory is explained in the main text, including the important Equation 1 and a reference to Warrant and McIntyre (1993) where this theory is derived. Yet, Berlinski insists that “Nilsson and Pelger do not calculate the visual acuity of any structure”. It would be much simpler for Berlinski if he went just a tiny step further and denied the existence of our paper altogether.

    Berlinski hasn’t earned the right to be taken seriously:

    Had these and all his other points been unfortunate misunderstandings, I would have been only too happy to help, but I get the distinct impression they are deliberate attempts to eliminate uncomfortable scientific results. Why does Berlinski not read up on the necessary scientific background? Why does he so obviously misquote our paper? Why has he never asked me for the calculation details he claims to want so badly? It is simply impossible to take Berlinski seriously.

    Even a broken clock tells the time correctly twice a day (my emphasis):

    Berlinski is right on one point only: my paper with Pelger has been incorrectly quoted as containing a computer simulation of eye evolution. I have not considered this to be very serious, because a simulation would be a mere automation of the logic in our paper. A complete simulation is thus of moderate scientific interest, although it would be useful from an educational point of view.

  96. “they are deliberate attempts to eliminate uncomfortable scientific results. ”

    But still the changes in the Nilsson and Peleger paper never happened. It is just speculation or else we would be inundated with the case history not a model.

  97. Hmmm,, John Sanford agrees with Berlinski 100%. I wonder do you think John Sanford is ignorant on genetics as well?

    It is also extremely interesting to note, the principle of Genetic Entropy lends itself very well to mathematical analysis by computer simulation:

    “No human investigation can be called true science without passing through mathematical tests.”
    Leonardo Da Vinci

    Using Computer Simulation to Understand Mutation Accumulation Dynamics and Genetic Load:
    excerpt: We apply a biologically realistic forward-time population genetics program to study human mutation accumulation under a wide-range of circumstances. Using realistic estimates for the relevant biological parameters, we investigate the rate of mutation accumulation, the distribution of the fitness effects of the accumulating mutations, and the overall effect on mean genotypic fitness. Our numerical simulations consistently show that deleterious mutations accumulate linearly across a large portion of the relevant parameter space.
    http://bioinformatics.cau.edu......aproof.pdf
    MENDEL’S ACCOUNTANT: J. SANFORD†, J. BAUMGARDNER‡, W. BREWER§, P. GIBSON¶, AND W. REMINE
    http://mendelsaccount.sourceforge.net
    http://www.scpe.org/vols/vol08/no2/SCPE_8_2_02.pdf

    Whereas, evolution has no rigorous mathematical foundation with which we can rigorously analyze it in any computer simulation:

    Accounting for Variations – Dr. David Berlinski: – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW2GkDkimkE

    EV Ware: Dissection of a Digital Organism
    excerpt: Ev purports to show “how life gains information.” Specifically “that biological information… can rapidly appear in genetic control systems subjected to replication, mutation and selection.” (We show that) It is the active information introduced by the computer programmer and not the evolutionary program that reduced the difficulty of the problem to a manageable level.
    http://www.evoinfo.org/Resources/EvWare/index.html

    Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: why have we not died 100 times over? Kondrashov A.S.
    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/.....4/art00167

    The Frailty of the Darwinian Hypothesis
    “The net effect of genetic drift in such (vertebrate) populations is “to encourage the fixation of mildly deleterious mutations and discourage the promotion of beneficial mutations,”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    High genomic deleterious mutation rates in hominids
    Excerpt: Furthermore, the level of selective constraint in hominid protein-coding sequences is atypically (unusually) low. A large number of slightly deleterious mutations may therefore have become fixed in hominid lineages.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....344a0.html

  98. 98

    DW,

    This has been covered to the enth degree. Repeatedly.

    Anyone wanting to see the original critique (and the actual core of Berlinski’s issue with the paper), the follow-up responses from the evolution consortium, and Berlinski’s ultimate reply, may do so here.

  99. 99
  100. 100

    Such exchanges are often painted this way. Cut it short to make it appear your side had the last word, and call it an ‘evisceration’ or ‘debunking.’ (Those words sound so final, so victorious.) Disregard the part where the other side offers a counterargument.

  101. 101

    Upright,

    I’m aware of Berlinski’s reply to Nilsson. An exam-ple of its basic incompetence can be found seen in his complaint that teh reference to Snyder’s work was invalid because it dealt with arthropod compound eyes, not vertebrate eyes. Apparently, Berlinski thinks the biophysics behind one facet of a compound eye is different than the biophysics of one vertebrate eye. It’s not– they both have lenses that focus light on sensitive tissue. The principles and relationships of the parts are the same. It’s this kind of incompetent nonsense that reduces Berlinksi’s complaints to little more than petulant bawling about Nilsson and Pelger’s failure to spoon-feed him a basic understanding of the subject at hand. As Nilsson pointed out, had Berlinski actually asked him for further calculation data detail or clarification, he would have been glad to do so. Perhaps Berlinski could then have found a legitimate reason to criticise the paper’s model- even published a paper pointing out its flaws.

    But he didn’t.

  102. 102

    Odd, after all that the elephant in the corner remains.

  103. 103

    One would think if you could just tar and feather Berlinski, no one would notice the flaws of a paper whose senior author characterizes as “not based on computer simulation of eye evolution” and “the genetic algorithms need a fair amount of work before the model will be useful” after its publication and consequent heralding by the minions as a final word on the matter.

    Now, would you like to debate the evidence for ID or is this line of exchange safe and satisfactory?

    .

  104. 104

    I don’t get it,,,Did the evolutionists finally demostrate something empirically,,,did they actually evolve a eye? Did they even actually evolve a eye-spot for that matter…Did they even pass the simple fitness test for bacteria?

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “The Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BwWpRSYgOE

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

    Oh,,I guess that would be too much to ask for actual evidence… So we can just take their “unbiased” word for it in some hoodwinked simulation… Have you evolutionists completely gone off the deep end? How in the world can you guys come on this site a spout such tripe as if it is going to stand up to rigor?

  105. 105

    The elephant in the corner is more akin to “Mr Big” in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.

  106. 106

    That a materialist would view the intractable evidence for ID as a villain is a rich irony indeed.

  107. The Nilsson and Peleger’s paper is irrelevant because it doesn’t have any genetic data to support the premise.

    “Evidence”(?) for the evolution of the vision system

    Andrea Bottaro said the following over at the panda’s thumb:

    Eyes are formed via long and complex developmental genetic networks/cascades, which we are only beginning to understand, and of which Pax6/eyeless (the gene in question, in mammals and Drosophila, respectively) merely constitutes one of the initial elements.

    IOW the only evidence for the evolution of the vision system is that we have observed varying degrees of complexity in living organisms, from simple light sensitive spots on unicellular organisms to the vision system of more complex metazoans, and we “know” that the first population(s) of living organisms didn’t have either. Therefore the vision system “evolved”.

    Isn’t evolutionary “science” great!

    I say the above because if Dr Bottaro is correct then we really have no idea whether or not the vision system could have evolved from a population or populations that did not have one.

  108. Khan,

    I almost forgot that you don’t want to take a stand but think you can argue against ID, which appears to be a topic you don’t understand.

  109. Joseph,
    it is pointless to argue with you because you keep repeating the same thing over and over again. to you, nothing but mutation-by-mutation analyses will do, so why would I even bother talking about fossils? just to hear you repeat the same vague unanswerable questions again?it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

  110. Khan,

    You don’t have a position from which to argue.

    All you have are flase accusations and nonsense.

    For example I have already stated that I don’t need a mutation-by-mutation analysis.

    However you do need something, and you don’t have anything.

    IOW you don’t have any evidence that an accumulation of genetic accidents can do the things required.

    You want to talk about fossils then explain why the vast majority of the fossil record (>95%) does not support universal common descent.

    Fossil interpretation is very subjective and without any genetic data to support the interpretation it amounts to “I wouldn’t have seen it if I didn’t already believe it”.

    So to sum up:

    Khan doesn’t have anything but he can distract from that fact by alledging other people are the problem.

    As for being vague, if it wasn’t for its vagueness the theory of evolution wouldn’t have anything.

  111. BTW Khan, did you know there is as much scientific data that demonstrates that bacteria are derived from euks as there is that euk mitochondria are derived from proks?

    IOW all you do is post the same ole tired and refuted nonsense and you think that is doing something.

  112. Joseph,

    BTW Khan, did you know there is as much scientific data that demonstrates that bacteria are derived from euks as there is that euk mitochondria are derived from proks?

    this is the problem. you think one study showing one result is as good as 1000 showing the opposite, in 100 different ways. same thing with the theropod origin of birds (for BA^77).

    anyway, here’s a semi-current review of the evolution of feathers including the genetic aspect.

    http://www.yale.edu/eeb/prum/pdf/Prum_2005_MDE.pdf

  113. 113

    Khan,,why didn’t you wait til later on this evening to spin your Darwinian Fairy Tale,,I could of gone to bed afterwards LOL,,,Alas you say feathers evolved by some genetic hocus pocus but,,

    “Feathers give no indication that they ever needed improvement. In fact, the “earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today.”
    Yale University’s Manual of Ornithology—Avian Structure and Function.

    Need I remind you that if you are going to use genetic similarity as evidence then you must withstand rigor?

    But if we apply the light to the best known empirical example of genetic similarity used by evolutionists to support their dubious claims of “goo to you” the evidence evaporates rather quickly:

    Most materialists are adamant Darwinian evolution is proven true when we look at the supposed 98.8% genetic similarity between chimps and man. Though suggestive, the gene similarity, even if true, is not nearly good enough to be considered conclusive scientific proof. Primarily this “lack of conclusiveness” is due to concerns with the second law of thermodynamics and with the Law of Conservation of Information. But of more pressing concern, body plans are not even encoded in the DNA code in the first place. This inability of body plans to be reduced directly to the DNA code is clearly shown by Cortical Inheritance.

    Cortical Inheritance: The Crushing Critique Against Genetic Reductionism – Arthur Jones – video Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JzQ8ingdNY

    Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1bAX93zQ5o

    This inability for the DNA code to account for body plans is also clearly shown by extensive mutation studies to the DNA of different organisms which show “exceedingly rare” major morphological effects from mutations to the DNA code. Darwin’s Theory –

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

    If all that wasn’t enough, the Human Genome Project really put the last nail in the coffin for “Genetic Reductionism”: DNA: The Alphabet of Life – David Klinghoffer Excerpt: But all this is trivial compared to the largely unheralded insight gained from the Human Genome Project, completed in 2003. The insight is disturbing. It is that while DNA codes for the cell’s building blocks, the information needed to build the rest of the creature is seemingly, in large measure, absent. ,,,The physically encoded information to form that mouse, as opposed to that fly, isn’t there. Instead, “It is as if the ‘idea’ of the fly (or any other organism) must somehow permeate the genome that gives rise to it.” http://www.evolutionnews.org/2....._life.html

    Thus the 98.8% similarity derived from the DNA code, to the body plans of chimps and man, is purely imaginary, since it is clearly shown that the overriding “architectural plan” of the body is not even encoded in the DNA in the first place. Of more clarity though, this “98.8% similarity evidence” is derived by materialists from a very biased methodology of presuming that the 1.5% of the genome, which directly codes for proteins, has complete precedence of consideration over the other remaining 98.5% of the genome which does not directly code for proteins. Yet even when considering just this 1.5% of the genome that codes for proteins, we find that the proteins, which are directly coded by that 1.5% of the genome, are shown to differ by a huge 80% difference between chimps and man.

    Chimps are not like humans – May 2004 Excerpt: the International Chimpanzee Chromosome 22 Consortium reports that 83% of chimpanzee chromosome 22 proteins are different from their human counterparts,,, The results reported this week showed that “83% of the genes have changed between the human and the chimpanzee—only 17% are identical—so that means that the impression that comes from the 1.2% [sequence] difference is [misleading]. In the case of protein structures, it has a big effect,” Sakaki said. http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/news/0405/119.htm

    Eighty percent of proteins are different between humans and chimpanzees; Gene; Volume 346, 14 February 2005: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15716009

    A recent, more accurate, human/chimp genome comparison study, by Richard Buggs in 2008, has found the true genome similarity between chimps and man fell to slightly below 70%! Why is this study ignored since the ENCODE study has now implicated 100% high level functionality across the entire human genome? Finding compelling evidence that implicates 100% high level functionality across the entire genome clearly shows the similarity is not to be limited to the very biased “only 1.5% of the genome” studies of materialists. Chimpanzee? 10-10-2008 – Dr Richard Buggs – research geneticist at the University of Florida …Therefore the total similarity of the genomes could be below 70%. http://www.refdag.nl/artikel/1.....anzee.html The chimpanzee is found to have a 12% larger genome than humans. Thus, at first glance it would seem the chimpanzee is more evolved than us, but this discrepancy is no anomaly of just chimps/humans. This disparity of genome sizes is found throughout life. There is no logical “evolutionary” progression to be found for the amount of DNA in less complex animals to the DNA found in more complex animals. In fact the genome sizes are known to vary widely between Kinds/Species and this mystery is known as the c-value enigma:

  114. 114

    But alas khan,
    you don’t ever provide any empirical evidence,,, whereas I have test after test after test to back up my claims for genetic entropy constraints on all “kinds’ that were created by God on earth.

  115. 115

    Since you were so nice to provide me a darwinian fairy tale to read before bedtime Khan, the least I can do is let you see the latest video I loaded on youtube:

    Human Evolution – Bones Of Contention – Dr. Marc Surtees
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu-i2dKilSQ

  116. Khan:

    you think one study showing one result is as good as 1000 showing the opposite, in 100 different ways.

    More bald accusations.

    You must be very proud of yourself for getting to tell other people their position.

  117. Joseph,
    Ok, then show me one other paper (besides the one you always link to) showing evidence that bacteria are derived from euks.

  118. Here’s a link, relevant to the conversation:

    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....7_12-07_00

  119. 119

    Hey Khan,
    How about explaining this piece of evidence:

    We now have concrete evidence for life suddenly appearing on earth, as soon as water appeared on the earth, in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth.

    Scientific Evidence For The First Life On Earth – video
    http://science.discovery.com/v.....dence.html

    Dr. Hugh Ross – Origin Of Life Paradox – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHEl9PZW4hc

    Materialists have tried to get around this crushing evidence for the sudden appearance of life by suggesting life could originate in extreme conditions. Yet they are betrayed again by empirical evidence:

    Refutation Of Hyperthermophile Origin Of Life scenario
    Excerpt: While life, if appropriately designed, can survive under extreme physical and chemical conditions, it cannot originate under those conditions. High temperatures are especially catastrophic for evolutionary models. The higher the temperature climbs, the shorter the half-life for all the crucial building block molecules,,,
    http://www.reasons.org/LateHea.....iginofLife

  120. Here’s one more link that might be of interest:

    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....s_wrong_na

  121. Completely and totally off-topic:

    From time to time I Google my name to check out the latest vitriol and abject hatred directed at me by Darwinists. I was amazed to discover that there is a reference to my Masters thesis, written in French in 1977, about the great French aviation pioneer and author, Antoine de Saint Exupéry. His best known work is The Little Prince. At that time I was pursuing degrees in music and foreign language and literature, and building and flying hang gliders on the weekends.

    Saint Exupéry was an inspiration, for obvious reasons, so I read his entire opus in French and wrote my thesis on his life and literature.

    Here is what I would like to know: To the best of my knowledge, there are only two copies of my Masters thesis — one in my personal library and one in the library archives at Washington State University.

    How did this end up on the Internet?

    http://openlibrary.org/b/OL167.....pe%CC%81ry

    Here’s a link about Saint Exupéry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....up%C3%A9ry

  122. 122

    bornagain77,

    ——”Since you were so nice to provide me a darwinian fairy tale to read before bedtime Khan…”

    Fairy tales keep getting a bad rap by always being compared to Darwinism. We shouldn’t be so mean to fairy tales, they at least contain some truth. :)

  123. Gil @ 121:

    Here is what I would like to know: To the best of my knowledge, there are only two copies of my Masters thesis — one in my personal library and one in the library archives at Washington State University.

    How did this end up on the Internet?

    http://openlibrary.org/b/OL167…..pe%CC%81ry

    There is a “History” tab that indicates that Open Library uses a bot to retrieve MARC (machine readable cataloguing) entries. Your thesis catalog entry was retrieved from Washington State on 9/25/08.

    The apparent cover image is the same for all Open Library entries (i.e. isn’t a scan.)

    Click on “View MARC” for more. Using the suggested curl command at the OS X terminal returns:

    00855nam a2200265r 45000010009000000050017000090080041000260350017000670400023000841000031001072450112001382600010002503000014002605020049002745040027003235900054003506000045004049070025004499020011004749980026004859070015005119400011005269450026005379450026005632972286219950727074552.4 s1977 wau b 000 0bfre d aWSU000601934 aWaPScWaOLNdWaOLN1 aDodgen, Gilbert K.,d1950-10aAntonine de Saint-Exupéry :ble vol, le risque, et l’homme dans le monde moderne /cby Gilbert K. Dodgen. c1977. avi, 42 l. aThesis (M.A.) – Washington State University. aBibliography: leaf 42. aWSU:”Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures”.10aSaint-Exupéry, Antoine de,d1900-1944. a.b1902664xbmultic- a000818 b2c950717dmeaf-g0 a.b1902664x lWClWH lwhs aWSU F6 1977 D6 lwc aWSU F6 1977 D6

  124. (I gather WordPress doesn’t wrap long strings.)

  125. It may be that the bot retrieved the entry from the Library of Congress, which in turn received it from Washington State.

    (“Data comes from Amazon, Library of Congress, and users like you.”)

  126. Gil,

    I used to do research in a couple different areas and would get doctoral dissertations and master’s thesis from a couple different places. They would catalog them both and if the title seemed appropriate I would buy them. So I ended up with some obscure master’s thesis’ and dissertations in my possession since they were listed on the net.

    This was prior to google and at the beginning when search engines were just forming. So I assume there are more elaborate and thorough mechanisms for finding these documents now. For some if they sell a dissertation or thesis, the author is supposed to get a small cut.

  127. [from OP:]

    Intuition suggests that step-by-tiny-step Darwinian gradualism could not have happened, because the intermediates would not be viable. A lizard with proto-feathers on its forelimbs would be a lousy aviator and an equally incompetent runner. We find no such creatures in the fossil record, for obvious reasons.

    Just a layman’s informal take on the subject:

    As is pointed out in the link “Evolution of the Morphological Innovations of Feathers” provided by Khan, down feathers are feathers lacking barbules at the tips. So we see that an “incomplete” feather is very adept at the function of insulation. Add one small ingredient to this “incomplete” feather and it becomes adept at a completely different function.

    As someone has already pointed out in this thread [55], there are an endless array of flightless birds in existence today. And there is an endless array of feather types among such birds having nothing to do with flight. Some of them have “feathers” lacking everything but the central quill. Consider the bizarre dinosaur-like “bird” the cassowary.

    What is revealing to me is the following: The consensus in evolutionary biology is that wings did not evolve originally for the purpose of flight. However there is also a consensus that today’s flightless birds evolved from birds with the ability to fly. This would seem to indicate an intellectual honesty at the core of evolutionary thought, as how convenient would it be to conclude that today’s flightless birds were the original birds, given that the theory is that feather’s were not originally used for flight.

    But on the subject of partial functionality, consider a recipe instruction “add two eggs”. Is such an instruction worthless on its own? Now take some random complete recipe and throw the instruction “add two eggs” into it. Is it a given that such an instruction will ruin it? Isn’t there some small percentage of recipes where such an addition might in fact be an interesting improvement, (even though possibly taking the recipe in a radically different direction) And as far as the preservation and propagation of such a new instruction in a recipe, what if it were a misprint in a book gone to the publisher, but people liked it anyway?

    And to BA77, those in academia arguing that birds did not evolve from dinosaurs believe that both dinosaurs and birds evolved from an earlier ancestor.

    To me, God would be intrinsic in the concept of what is viable.

    Just a few quotes from the link mentioned above:

    The tubular feather germ creates an appendage that can grow out of and emerge from the skin without actually increasing the size of the skin itself. With the evolution of periodic pulp caps, the tubular epidermal appendage can continue to grow without continued expansion of the dermal pulp. This proliferative capacity of tubular organization likely provided the first, initial selection advantage to the first feathers and led to the evolutionary fixation and proliferation of these structures around the body…

    How has the tubular organization of the feather germ and follicle contributed to the evolution of innovation in feather diversity? Like the tubular bauplan of the ancestral, triploblastic, bilaterian metazoan, the tubular organization of the feather germ has fostered the evolution of morphological diversity and innovation by providing multiple axes over which differentiation can be organized, and morphogenesis can occur (Fig. 3)…

    A striking feature of feather morphology is the hierarchical modularity of feather components and their development (Prum and Dyck, 2003). Morphological modules are serially homologous (or homonomous) replicate morphological entities within the phenotype (Raff, ’96). Recently, mor- phological modularity has been causally associated with the evolutionary origin of diversity because modular components provide opportunities for independence, covariation, and interaction among modules (Mu¨ller and Wagner, ’91; Raff, ’96). Independence of modules provides opportunities for diversification among replicate entities within the phenotype…

    This hierarchical modularity spoken of above would also seem to be apparent in words and sentences of human langauages, so that if functionality is defined as a valid english word for example, you can start with the valid english word ‘a’ and adding one or two letters randomly at a time and only preserving valid english words, get extremely long valid english words in very short order. (The game of Scrabble is dependent on this principle). Similarly longer and longer valid english phrases and sentences can be built up by randomly adding words to a phrase and only preserving what is valid in English.)

    But to return to the original quote regarding intuition – Intuition would seem to suggest that complex artifacts would emerge gradually from simpler forms, Not arise instantaneously with literally no precursors at all.

  128. 128

    JT stated after much hypothesizing about how a feather “could have” arisen:

    ,
    “Intuition would seem to suggest that complex artifacts would emerge gradually from simpler forms, Not arise instantaneously with literally no precursors at all.”

    Yet we have this hard empirical evidence:

    “Feathers are a little too perfect—that’s the problem,” notes Yale University’s Manual of Ornithology—Avian Structure and Function. Feathers give no indication that they ever needed improvement. In fact, the “earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today.”

    Thus you have failed to provide any actual evidence that the feather evolved,,,But once again only quoted from a grand fairy tale about how it “could have” arisen…

    This is science this is not Dr. Seuss:

    As far as your intuition goes, the Big Bang saw the “very sudden” appearance of all time-space, matter-energy in this universe, which was semi-immediately constrained by highly irreducibly complex and “transcendent” parameters,,,Would you call this counter-intuitive? And since we know for a certain fact, at least as far as certainty can now be grasped in science, that the entire universe appeared very suddenly, why should we regard the sudden appearance of the higher taxonomic classifications of life to be such an anomaly of science when sudden appearance is what we in fact witness in the fossil record for higher taxa,,,with the Cambrian Explosion being a prime example of this pattern?
    Should we continue to deny the hard facts clearly presented by the fossil record by appealing to fairy tales, as you have done, or should we not more properly start to ask the tough questions which true science is not afraid to ask?

  129. BA77:
    This insulting well-poisoning type of discourse of yours – merely labelling things as fairy tales, invoking Dr. Suess, etc – I didn’t address you that way. Speaking of which, what do you have to say in response to the fact that you previously in this thread invoked all these experts who don’t believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs, never once mentioning these same people believe birds and dinosaurs evolved from an earlier common ancestor. As far as the fossil record – I am not an expert on that. There seems to have been others who have addressed that in this thread. But we know there are intermediate states of feather development in prenatal and juvenile birds. Does the fossil record indicate that these intermediate states of feather development existed in the past? If not, does that mean that juvenile and prenatal birds don’t have a different form of feather from adults (if no fossil record of juvenile feathers exist). And also we know there are primitive states of feathers in many modern birds (birds with feathers lacking crucial components of flight feathers.) Does the fossil record not indicate these existed in the past either? The original subject was intution as Gil Dodgen conceived it, and in his intuition apparently, we should expect fully formed complex flight feathers to appear instantaneously with no precursors whatsoever. And my point is, that that is not the intuition at all of many many reasonable people.

  130. 130

    JT,
    Take my response how you want, Frankly I find your practice of science ludicrous and will state the plain fact of that since that is the way it truly is. You did not, and still haven’t cited any credible empirics. You have appealed to Juvenile and prenatal birds? Are you serious? Do you draw this line of reasoning from the thoroughly discredited Haeckel Embryo drawings? Then you point to “degraded” feathers of modern birds, when we know that many birds have appeared “perfect” in the fossil record and then, through a process fully in compliance with Genetic entropy, lost the ability to fly… yet this is ignored by you… That the investigators, who adamantly contest the dino-bird link, would appeal to an earlier common ancestor only pushes the problem “under the rug” without providing any actual concrete evidence for us to investigate. That you would appeal to their “authority” in the matter as experts while ignoring the actual evidence they have blatantly ignored is despicable science on yours and their part. Yet you completely agree with their shoddy methodology because of your preconceived philosophical bias that it must be so because it is so “intuitive” to you that Darwinism “MUST” be true…Excuse me Sir but the fossils are far from conducive to your intuition. As is the Big Bang!

  131. BA^77:

    That the investigators, who adamantly contest the dino-bird link, would appeal to an earlier common ancestor only pushes the problem “under the rug” without providing any actual concrete evidence for us to investigate

    for once, I agree with you. this is one of the many reasons why the anti-bird-theropod folks are not taken seriously. see here for an example:

    http://www.bioone.org/doi/full.....2.0.CO%3B2

    A highlight quotation:

    By offering no testable alternative to the theropod origin of birds and maintaining that the origin of birds is potentially unsolvable, Feduccia and
    other critics of the theropod hypothesis of avian origins reject science itself. One-sided rejections of the theropod origin reflect not on thehypothesis, but on intellectual weaknesses of the critiques.

    Hmm, sounds lke that quotation could apply to ID as well..

  132. 132

    Khan, I am surprised we agreed at all,,LOL,,,
    I have already outlined the test to falsify genetic entropy and semi-validate evolution ,but will do so again,,,

    For a broad outline of the “Fitness test”, required to be passed to show a violation of the principle of Genetic Entropy, please see this following video and article:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “The Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BwWpRSYgOE

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

    This “fitness test” fairly conclusively demonstrates “optimal information” is encoded onto a “parent” bacteria by God, and has not been added to by any “teleological” methods in the beneficial adaptations of the sub-species of bacteria. Thus the inference to Genetic Entropy, i.e. that God has not specifically moved within nature in a teleological manner to increase the functional information of a genome once He has created the parent species genome, still holds as true for the principle of Genetic Entropy.

    Though I am surely no expert on the math of LCI, and may be in error as to how strict the limit for conserved information now is, it seems readily apparent to me, even with Dembski’s and Mark’s strict definition of LCI in place, to conclusively demonstrate God has moved within nature, in a teleological manner to provide the sub-species with additional functional information over the “optimal” genome of the parent species, the “fitness test” must still be passed by the sub-species against the parent species. If the fitness test is shown to be passed, then the new molecular function, which provides the more robust survivability for the sub-species, must be calculated to its additional Functional Information Bits (Fits) it gained in the beneficial adaptation, and then be found to be greater than 140 Fits of functional information. 140 Fits is what has now been generously set by Kirk Durston as the maximum limit of Functional Information which can reasonably be expected to be generated by totally natural processes over the entire age of the universe. This fitness test, and calculation, must be done to rigorously establish materialistic processes did not generate the functional information (Fits), and to rigorously establish teleological processes were indeed involved in the increase of Functional Complexity of the beneficially adapted sub-species.

  133. 133

    This might help you:

    It has now been demonstrated Irreducible Complexity can be mathematically quantified as functional information bits(Fits).

    Functional information and the emergence of bio-complexity:
    Robert M. Hazen, Patrick L. Griffin, James M. Carothers, and Jack W. Szostak:
    Abstract: Complex emergent systems of many interacting components, including complex biological systems, have the potential to perform quantifiable functions. Accordingly, we define ‘functional information,’ I(Ex), as a measure of system complexity. For a given system and function, x (e.g., a folded RNA sequence that binds to GTP), and degree of function, Ex (e.g., the RNA-GTP binding energy), I(Ex)= -log2 [F(Ex)], where F(Ex) is the fraction of all possible configurations of the system that possess a degree of function > Ex. Functional information, which we illustrate with letter sequences, artificial life, and biopolymers, thus represents the probability that an arbitrary configuration of a system will achieve a specific function to a specified degree. In each case we observe evidence for several distinct solutions with different maximum degrees of function, features that lead to steps in plots of information versus degree of functions.
    http://genetics.mgh.harvard.ed.....S_2007.pdf

    Mathematically Defining Functional Information In Molecular Biology – Kirk Durston – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUeCgTN7pOo

    Entire Durston Video:
    http://www.seraphmedia.org.uk/ID.xml

  134. Khan,

    Why a paper from 2002 when more recent data refute the premise of theropod to bird evolution?

  135. 135

    Khan,

    “Hmm, sounds lke that quotation could apply to ID as well..”

    How so, exactly?

  136. Joseph,
    that paper does nothing of the sort. All it does is show that dinosaurs couldn’t have had air sacs that functioned in exactly the same way as birds. not many people (outside of National Geographic staff writers) were claiming this, as you can see here:

    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0003303

    We are inclined to support the latter, more conservative interpretation that pleurocoels in nonavian dinosaurs are a product of paraxial cervical air sacs and provide, at best, ambiguous evidence for intrathoracic ventilatory air sacs.

    they’re just saying that theropods probably had air sacs, but how they were used is unclear. this is a very minor argument in favor of theropod ancestry, so refuting it is no big deal. the protofeathers, feathers, furcula, hollow bones, incubation behavior, etc etc of theropods provide a very large body of evidence that they were bird ancestors.

  137. 137

    Discovery Raises New Doubts About Dinosaur-bird Links – June 2009
    —-”For one thing, birds are found (many millions of years) earlier in the fossil record than the dinosaurs they are supposed to have descended from,” Ruben said. “That’s a pretty serious problem,”…
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....092055.htm

    “Feathers are a little too perfect—that’s the problem,” notes Yale University’s Manual of Ornithology—Avian Structure and Function. Feathers give no indication that they ever needed improvement. In fact, the “earliest known fossil feather is so modern-looking as to be indistinguishable from the feathers of birds flying today.”

  138. 138

    Though Khan (con) severely downplays the lungs of Birds this following video shows his just how misguided his lack of concern is:

    No Beneficial Mutations – Not By Chance – Evolution: Theory In Crisis
    Michael Denton – Lee Spetner
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdZYguRuzn0

  139. BA^77
    first quotation: he’s wrong.

    Birds: Jurassic
    Theropods: Triassic

    Second quotation:
    that was from 1998. since then we’ve had numerous discoveries showing the stepwise evolution of feathers. we have already discussed this

  140. JT,

    I personally have never delved into details of feather morphology or the genetics supporting them. So I have no way to weigh in intelligently on the discussion. It could be that feathers are really a simple variation genetically of another phenotype characteristic or they may be complex adaptations. I Have no idea. Also the presence of feathers may be a minor factor in flight compared to wing design, bone structure, and neurological development. I have no real basis for estimating all the factors necessary for bird flight.

    I just want to comment on the allusion to language. Language change does take the pattern hypothesized by Darwin but it has two big problems to be used as a model of biological evolution.

    First, it is a characteristic of intelligent activity and is often used as one of the basis for the differentiation of humans from lower animals. Even though word and phrase changes may seem random, they are implemented by human activity and as such it is hardly an activity that is not designed. While a grunt here or a whistle there may be due to happenstance, their survival has to do with a form of design by their end users as to their usefulness. The acceptance had a goal recognized by the users.

    Second, there is no identifiable unit of inheritance. It is a group of individuals and while they do change and the changes are often the result of an environment, there is no organized form of heredity even if one could point to a possible natural selection going on in certain instances. It is a Lamarckian system and in the 4 Dimension of Evolution, culture and the communication of information (the method of heridity) in a culture is passed on by Lamarckian processes. Use it or lose it and what the parent develops and finds useful it directly passed on to not only the offspring but fellow individuals of the culture.

    So language and culture do evolve but they do not do so based on any method that is applicable to biological evolution. Specifically there is no formal process of heredity. The lesson to be learned is that not all forms of change are similar in process.

  141. 141

    Khan,
    So you think evolutionists are to be trusted?

    Dino Fossils Generate Overblown Claims 06/18/2009
    June 18, 2009 — A picture of colorfully-plumed dinosaurs graces an article on National Geographic, but were feathers found with the fossil? No; the article said, “Primitive feathers may have covered the dinosaur’s body, but there is no direct evidence for that, noted [James] Clark, whose work was funded in part by the National Geographic Society” (which also owns National Geographic News). The feathers are apparently completely imaginary. National Geographic has been caught doing this before (see 06/13/2007 and 04/10/2006), inventing feathers out of thin air.

    I guess national Geographic could care less about evidence,,,,So do you work for them Khan?

    http://crev.info/

    Did This Dino Have Bird Breath? 09/29/2008
    Sept 29, 2008 — Birds are the only vertebrates with a unique one-way, flow-through breathing system that includes hollow bones. Their unique respiratory system is part of the set of features that allows flying with its need for rapid metabolism. Science news outlets are clucking wildly about another putative missing link between dinosaurs and birds: “Meat-eating dinosaur from Argentina had bird-like breathing system,” announced PhysOrg, for instance. Does the evidence fly?
    The original paper in PLoS ONE is much more subdued.1 Paul Sereno and team found an allosaur-like dinosaur with more hollow bones than usual, which they interpreted to be associated with air sacs. Air sacs are a feature of the avian lung system, but not the only feature; nor is this the first dinosaur fossil with “pneumatized” (hollow, air-filled) bone. The big sauropods like Diplodocus had them. Opinions differ on what function they served in the dinosaurs: thermal regulation, weight reduction, balance and other functions are possibilities unrelated to respiration.
    Sereno’s team has been examining this fossil for 12 years. In short, they found more of hollow bones than usual in this dinosaur, some in the thoracic region. Using this evidence as a launching pad for speculation, they devised a four-stage hypothesis on how the avian lung might have evolved. They did not claim that this dinosaur had a bird-like breathing system, despite the headlines.
    The following excerpts from the paper give a feel for the conservative tone of the authors about their find:

    * Evidence from the fossil record for the origin and evolution of this system is extremely limited, because lungs do not fossilize and because the bellow-like air sacs in living birds only rarely penetrate (pneumatize) skeletal bone and thus leave a record of their presence.
    * Principal findings: We describe a new predatory dinosaur from Upper Cretaceous rocks in Argentina, Aerosteon riocoloradensis gen. et sp. nov., that exhibits extreme pneumatization of skeletal bone, including pneumatic hollowing of the furcula and ilium. In living birds, these two bones are pneumatized by diverticulae of air sacs (clavicular, abdominal) that are involved in pulmonary ventilation. We also describe several pneumatized gastralia (“stomach ribs”), which suggest that diverticulae of the air sac system were present in surface tissues of the thorax.
    * The advent of avian unidirectional lung ventilation is not possible to pinpoint, as osteological correlates have yet to be identified for uni- or bidirectional lung ventilation.
    * The origin and evolution of avian air sacs may have been driven by one or more of the following three factors: flow-through lung ventilation, locomotory balance, and/or thermal regulation.
    * As a result of an extraordinary level of pneumatization, as well as the excellent state of preservation of much of the axial column and girdles, Aerosteon helps to constrain hypotheses for the evolution of avian-style respiration.
    * The capacity of the cervical air sacs to invade centra to form invaginated pleurocoels may have evolved independently in sauropodomorphs (sauropods) and basal theropods and appears to have been lost several times within theropods.
    * The osteological or logical correlates needed to support some of these inferences have been poorly articulated, which may explain the wide range of opinions on when intrathoracic air sacs like those in birds first evolved and how these relate to ventilatory patterns.
    * Based on the osteological correlates we have assembled (Table 4), we would argue, first, that until we can show evidence of the presence of at least one avian ventilatory air sac (besides the non-ventilatory cervical air sac), it is problematic to infer the presence of flow-through ventilation or a rigid, dorsally-attached lung. Second, we know of no osteological correlates in the gastral cuirass that would justify the inference of abdominal air sacs. Potential kinesis of the gastral cuirass and an accessory role in aspiration breathing potentially characterizes many amniotes besides nonavian dinosaurs. The absence of gastralia in crown birds or in any extant bipeds also hinders functional inferences. And third, it is not well established that abdominal air sacs were either first to evolve or are functionally critical to unidirectional ventilation.
    * Avian lung ventilation is driven by muscles that expand and contract thoracic volume by deforming the ribcage and rocking a large bony sternum. Basal maniraptorans have many of the features associated with this ventilatory mechanism including a large ossified sternum, ossified sternal ribs, uncinate processes a deepened coracoid that contacts the sternum along a synovial hinge joint. By contrast Aerosteon and the abelisaurid Majungasaurus lack these features. Does that mean that maniraptorans had evolved unidirectional lung ventilation? Or does it indicate only that the maniraptoran ribcage functioned in aspiration breathing more like that in avians? We do not know of any osteological correlates that are specifically tied to uni- or bidirectional lung ventilation (Table 4), which may explain the range of opinion as to how and when avian unidirectional lung ventilation first evolved.
    * The factors driving the origin and evolution of the functional capacity of avian air sacs and lung ventilation remain poorly known and tested.

    After the fossil was described with its typical taxonomic details, the paper primarily contained a good deal of speculation on the origin of the avian lung system, with no firm conclusions. The authors discussed problems with all existing theories. The most optimistic claim they could make was stated as follows: “In sum, although we may never be able to sort out the most important factors behind the origin and evolution of the unique avian pulmonary system, discoveries such as Aerosteon provide clues that help to constrain the timing and circumstances when many of the fundamental features of avian respiration arose.” Such a statement merely assumes that avian respiration “arose” by evolution somehow. The “wide range of opinions” within the evolutionist community undermines the confident claims in the popular press. It also shows that non-evolutionary explanations for the unique system that enables birds to soar gracefully in the air were completely ignored.
    For problems with bird lung evolution theories, see an article on CMI that reviewed Michael Denton’s use of the topic to argue against Darwinism in his classic book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. A diagram of the bird respiratory system is shown in the article. Carl Wieland on CMI (PDF file) also critiqued an earlier claim (2005) that hollow bones in some dinosaurs revealed an evolutionary link to the avian lung. 1. Sereno et al, “Evidence for Avian Intrathoracic Air Sacs in a New Predatory Dinosaur from Argentina,” Public Library of Science ONE, 09/30/2008, 3(9): e3303 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003303.

    The bluffing about evolution in many science news reports is shameful. Search on Aerosteon and you will find examples, like this one on InTheNews.co.uk: “Dinosaurs: Breathed like birds. A carnivorous dinosaur with a bird-like breathing system has provided more evidence of the connection between the two groups of animals separated by millions of years.” The whole article is fluff. “Palaeontologists are now satisfied Aerosteon provides the evidence needed to seal the connection with birds,” it ends. One cannot bluff about fluff.
    National Geographic must have panicked at our expose, so they cranked out a propaganda piece immediately announcing, “New Birdlike Dinosaur Found in Argentina.” They even put imaginary feathers on it: “The new dinosaur probably had feathers, but did not actually fly,” they said (cf. 06/13/2007). OK, so we went hunting for feathers in the original paper. “The fossil evidence for intrathoracic air sacs now closely overlaps that for feathers, which had evolved in coelurosaurian theropods most likely for heat retention.” That was the only mention of feathers. This appeal to imaginary feathers was followed by more storytelling in lieu of empirical evidence:

    Air sacs may have initially been employed as an antagonist to feathers in theropod thermoregulation. Although this hypothesis has been criticized for lack of empirical evidence in living birds, air sacs have been implicated in avian heat transfer and/or evaporative heat loss, and Aerosteon and many other theropods had a body weight more than an order of magnitude greater than that for any living bird. A thermoregulatory role for the early evolution of air sacs in nonavian dinosaurs should not be ruled out without further evidence from nonvolant ratites.

    Can you believe that? They invented imaginary feathers out of thin air for this big heavy meat-eater to compensate for imaginary air sacs that they presume existed near its hollow bones. So now their evolutionary magic produced two imaginary thermoregulatory systems competing with each other – what, for survival of the coolest?
    For the fun of it, let’s grant them air sacs and even imagine with them a respiratory system that had some birdlike features; after all, any two vertebrates, like mice and camels, or frogs and penguins, are bound to have similarities as well as differences, depending on what you decide to focus on for the moment. Paul Sereno told National Geographic that the beast didn’t fly (obviously, unless you can imagine wings on a T. rex), so NG concluded, “even though this species was birdlike [sic], feathers and air sacs didn’t necessarily evolve for flight.” So their point is… ? All the hype about feathers was supposed to reinforce the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs. They were practically ready to name this thing Tweety Rex, and now they seem to be telling us this beast evolved air sacs for a completely different function, about which no one is sure, and it was an evolutionary dead end anyway. Even NG’s accompanying slide show didn’t show feathers. The only suggestion of a birdlike respiratory system was in slide 2, where colored regions represent the imaginary air sacs in the thorax.

    But excuse me, Mr. Scientist sir, did any of that soft air-sac material fossilize? “Evidence from the fossil record for the origin and evolution of this system is extremely limited, because lungs do not fossilize and because the bellow-like air sacs in living birds only rarely penetrate (pneumatize) skeletal bone and thus leave a record of their presence.” Are you telling me there was no direct evidence for the air sacs in this dinosaur? “Some of its postcranial bones show pneumatic hollowing that can be linked to intrathoracic air sacs that are directly involved in lung ventilation.” They can be, you say, but how strong is the inference? “We do not know of any osteological correlates [fossil evidence] that are specifically tied to uni- or bidirectional lung ventilation (Table 4), which may explain the range of opinion as to how and when avian unidirectional lung ventilation first evolved.” But isn’t a unidirectional lung ventilation system the primary distinguishing feature in birds? Are you telling the court that this is all inference, not evidence?

    The tale gets more speculative and implausible with each lawyer’s question. Darwin’s defense attorneys are sweating in their seats. NG quoted a colleague admitting, “It shows that evolution is not a chalk line—there are many dead ends.” Being interpreted, this means evolutionists can always concoct a story for any possible combination of data. (Chalk is erasable, you know.) We think a scientist who wants to feather his monster should produce the feathers in the fossil, not draw feathery dragons on the chalkboard and tell the press that it “probably had feathers.” Chalk lines are supposed to be snapped to a level that has been carefully measured. So he’s right; evolution is not a chalk line; it’s a crooked crack in the wall of a theory that is about to collapse. Don’t build to it.
    We brought you extended quotes to illustrate the difference between original sources and the news media hype. The lesson: always check out the original data. The authors with the bones in their hand usually know better than to make any outlandish claims to their colleagues. In front of reporters, though, they lose restraint. Reporters go ape to praise Darwin. For example, Live Science, that perennial Darwin billboard, shouted Extra! Extra! “Bus-sized Dinosaur Breathed Like Birds. A huge carnivorous dinosaur that lived about 85 million years ago had a breathing system much like that of today’s birds, a new analysis of fossils reveals, reinforcing the evolutionary link between dinos and modern birds.” That, in turn, got passed around to all the major news outlets as gospel truth. This is bad breath, not bird breath. The sound of flapping dino-feathers is only the pompons made of synthetic material manufactured for the Darwin Party cheerleaders.

    http://crev.info/

  142. BA^77

    National Geographic is not a scientific publication.

  143. 143

    Khan,

    “Hmm, sounds lke that quotation could apply to ID as well..”

    How so, exactly?

    So, can I assume your comment was a opportunistic convienence of sorts, and really didn’t have merit?

  144. 144

    Khan.
    Let me tell you how this is going to go,,, You will deny the abruptness of the fossil record and quote shady piece after shady piece of evidence and all this will be found to be inconclusive or even outright deceptive by UD bloggers…With me so far?

    Finally you will be forced to deal with proving that functional information can be generated by natural means to support your assertions of evolution of increased complexity? Follow?…. You will fail to be able to do this… In fact you will fail to be able to pass even the simple fitness test that I outlined earlier…. Follow?…. You will ignore that you have no empirical basis to make your claims but you will continue to make unsustainable assertions because, for whatever misguided personal reason, you do not want it to be true that there may be a God…Follow?…I’m fairly certain you may have already realized your evidential deficiency, and if so I am just left wondering, have you ever looked into your heart and asked why it is so important for you to deny God exists? Of what possible benefit is it for you to cling to such shallow evidence, and even be deceptive about it, when at the base of your atheistic imperative there will be absolutely no pay off for you anyway?,,,, I guess what I am really trying to ask is,,,Have you gone completely off your rocker man?

  145. Upright,

    So, can I assume your comment was a opportunistic convienence of sorts, and really didn’t have merit?

    no, i’m just having fun talking about feather evolution now, maybe i’ll get to it later.

  146. BA^77
    let me know when that starts happening, ok? do you have anything else to say about feathers?

  147. BA^77,

    have you ever looked into your heart and asked why it is so important for you to deny God exists

    that sounds like a religious argument.. I thought only we evilutionists made those..

  148. 148

    Since you have not conclusively made your case for feathers,,, but only by he said she said semantics maintain that you did,,,I take you to the next step and challenge you to demonstrate and increase of functional complexity at the molecular level so as to prove your assertion, in the lab, that evolution is true,,, Maybe Lenski’s e-coli would be a good place for you to start trying to make your case for functional information generation…

    Because let’s face it Khan, this is science and until you can prove evolution in the lab all you have is conjecture anyway,,,,

  149. Jerry [140]:

    You were addressing the evolution of a language itself which was not my concern. What I meant was, consider a modern language in its extant form (not considering the history of its development). It posesses a “hierarchical modularity” which enables random changes to a word or sentence to result in some new word or sentence that is also meaningful. That was the aspect of language I was focussing on. The reference in the article to “hierarchical modularity” of feathers is what illicited the comparison by me.

    My meaning was, you can start with ‘a’ and then continue a, app, apple apply, or alternatively a, am, amp, camp, camps, etc. Similarly with phrases – adding random words to the end of a phrase and only preserving what is valid in English can result in arbitarilty long but valid english sentences. So if you start with ‘The’, a huge percentage of words could legally follow it in English if one were chosen randomly. So suppose its The Cow. And the next word after cow also has huge numbers of meaningful possiblities: “will” “is” “ate” “behind” “in” “really” “sometimes” (etc.) So suppose the word randomly chosen is “sometimes”. So our phrase is now “The cow sometimes”. The random selection of the word “sometimes” has as it turns out somewhat restricted future words, but if the word randomly chosen had been “is” instead future word selection would be much less restricted.

    Of course this exercize necessitates some “agent” as it were to say “Yes, that’s a valid english phrase” or “Yes, that’s a valid English Word”. after some random element is added to the end of a phrase or word. Presumably that requires some sort of “intelligence”. But if some random change to some genetic sequence takes place and by some rare happenstance it results in some functional phenotypic improvement for an animal, is not nature itself acting as this “agent” to say, “Yes that change is actually a functional improvement.”

    (And to continue the exercise above – suppose some random sentences all with cows as a subject are strung together, could an “agent” say, “Yes that’s a meaningful paragraph about a cow.”)

    But you were focussing on a different aspect of language, the actual evolution of a language. Whether such a process is more lamarckian than darwinian I would have to reflect more on. But it doesn’t seem to be designed. No one plans the sort of divergence in sound changes that takes place among languages or meaning changes as a set of words are confronted with a different environment and thus are put to new use.

    Anyway, just wanted to respond.

  150. 150

    Unsolicited opinion:

    The first line of the “Evolution of the Genus Homo” paper illustrates the poverty of the fossil record in establishing human evolution:

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

    Though the authors of the preceding paper appear to be thoroughly mystified by the fossil record, they never seem to give up their blind faith in evolution despite the disparity they see first hand in the fossil record. In spite of their philosophical bias, I have to hand it to them for being fairly honest with the evidence though. I especially like how the authors draw out this following “what it means to be human” distinction in their paper:

    “although Homo neanderthalensis had a large brain, it left no unequivocal evidence of the symbolic consciousness that makes our species unique.” — “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”

    The authors try to find some evolutionary/materialistic reason for the extremely unique “information capacity” of humans, but of course they never find a coherent reason. Indeed why should we ever consider a process, which is incapable of ever generating complex functional information at even the most fundamental levels of molecular biology, to suddenly, magically, have the ability to generate a exceedingly complex brain which has the capacity to generate complex functional information? The authors never seem to consider the “spiritual angle” of why we would have such a unique capacity for “information processing”. Myself, I can think of a few very viable Theistic theories as to why humans have this extremely unique capacity to handle information. In fact, I am firmly persuaded we were purposely created by the spirit God for a personal relationship with God.

    Genesis 3:8
    And they (Adam and Eve) heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…

    John 1:1-1
    In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Human Evolution? Big Bang of Language, Clothes, Tools and Art – Hugh Ross – audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRNmiO6f_c4

    This following study offers strong support of this observation that Humans are unique in this “advanced information” capacity:

    Origin of Soulish Animals:

    Excerpt: Bolhuis and Wynne contrast the cognitive capacities of birds and primates.,,, They also refer to an experiment demonstrating that “crows can also work out how to use one tool to obtain a second with which they can retrieve food, a skill that monkeys and apes struggle to master.” Evidently, certain bird species exhibit greater powers of the mind than do apes. http://www.reasons.org/OriginofSoulishAnimals

    Even the lowly honey bee, is shown to have a capacity to communicate information to other bees. Thus this “reasoning from ability to manipulate rudimentary information” is fraught with difficulties for the materialist and/or evolutionist to make his case:

    The Language Of Bees
    http://www.laits.utexas.edu/he.....beess.html

    It seems fair to say the most suggestive piece of evidence, a materialist has for the supposed evolution of humans, is the existence of the Neanderthal fossils themselves. In fact, even though the fossils are fairly distinct and have a fairly stable history throughout the entire time they are found in the fossil record, the Neanderthal fossils are so morphologically similar to humans that many special creationists have lumped them together with humans in their debates with materialists. Moreover, it is only possible to scientifically prove Neanderthals are truly distinct from humans, as a kind/species, by their genetic ‘mtDNA’ dissimilarity from humans:

    NEANDERTHAL: NO RELATION By Sean Henahan, Access Excellence
    Excerpt: “These results indicate that Neanderthals did not contribute mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to modern humans,” says Dr. Mark Stoneking, associate professor of anthropology at Penn State. “Neanderthals are not our ancestors.”—-”While the two species may have lived at the same time, Neanderthals did not contribute genetic material to modern humans,”
    http://www.accessexcellence.or.....der797.php

    Yet this mtDNA evidence, though at first seeming to help the materialist in his debates with the creationist, has actually turned completely against the materialist for the mtDNA turns out to be a second solid line of “stability” evidence, in support of the stable fossil record. The mtDNA evidence actually proves there was no evolution going on in Neanderthals, nor in humans, for as far back in time as we can extract and measure the mtDNA.

    mtDNA Proves Humans And Neanderthals Did Not Evolve – Hugh Ross – audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcPmJTyn4yw

    Thus, the materialist is betrayed once again by even his most promising line of evidence for human evolution.

    I have heard some fairly fanciful theological arguments as to exactly why God would create Neanderthals, none of which I find compelling. About the best reason anyone has given me as to why God would create such a morphologically similar, yet “spiritually” different, species from humans is this: “I guess God just likes variety”. Though that answer is almost certainly true in an overall sense, I can’t help but feel there is some larger purpose behind God creating Neanderthals. As far as the science goes though, Neanderthals have clearly differentiated the spiritual aspect of “What it means to be human” by their demonstrated lack of advanced information capacity, though being so morphologically similar to us.

    Another interesting line of genetic evidence, which has recently come to light and which is extremely antagonistic to the materialist, is the Genetic Adam and Genetic Eve evidence. This genetic evidence strongly in its supports of the Biblical view of the sudden creation of man.

    Human Evolution – Genetic Adam And Eve – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cfHsFtw02g

    As well I think this song is knock out proof of the spiritual aspect of man

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8B1ai25lUo

  151. I’ve been following and scanning the conversation here and there, and I’m trying to figure out something — what is the intelligent-design-based physical model for the development of feathers, and how is it immune from the charge of being mere “speculation”?

  152. 152

    Lex,

    There isn’t a “speculation” for the model of feather development in the design hypothesis – thats the point.

    Speculation (particularly the wild-assed variety) is the domain of the materialist with an ideological chip on his shoulder, who ignores the observable artifacts of design instatiated into all living things (feathered or not). In doing so, he/she must fit all explanations into a priori non-scientific conclusion that does not fit the evidence and hasn’t fit it since the 1950′s (at a minimum).

    ID is about recognizing the observable evidence of design in the origin and functioning of living things.

    The conversation, such as that between Khan and BA, is taking place because Khan refuses to address the evidence for ID on its face. In such an instance, arguing over the speculative origin of feathers is his “fun”.

    ID proponents like BA regualrly expose the materialist’s assumptions; such are the breadcrumbs back to the aforementioned priori assumption that has lost its place in the actual evidence of living systems.

    - – - – - – -

    Now if you have grown tired of their argument and would like to address the evidence for ID on its face, then I am certain BA (and others, myself included) will be more than willing to have the discussion.

  153. Lenoxus,

    Your comment indicates that you do not understand the debate. ID has no problem with anything that happens according to natural laws or by chance. By using the term “model” it indicates that something is operating according to some system (usually the interaction of several physical processes) when the thing that ID is interested in is possibly a one time event and is an anomaly from on going natural laws. For example, our posts here are not subject to analysis by any model of physical laws. Social psychology may provide some models of human behavior based on consistent patterns in the past but these are not related to any physical laws especially since the intelligence in bird design may not be anything like us.

    If it is a willful act by an intelligent agent then it could be a one time event and no model imaginable could describe it. In human activity we often use the term modus operandi to indicate repeated behavior by one or a group of humans. For the creation of a species, it is unlikely that this would follow such a pattern and if it did, then we are talking for birds, 150 million years ago. If at some time in the future we have genomic maps for a large number of bird species then one may start to understand just how birds could arise or how they evolved after they arose if their origin is in doubt. Are feathers an easy adaptation or are they so complex that it is unlikely they arose by chance. There are host of other similar issues.

    ID is interested in origins and normal science is interested in origins too but it has a less successful track record for origins than for on going phenomena because by definition origins are infrequent events. The Grants who investigated the finches of the Galapagos said it would take 23 million years for a new bird species to arise. Hardly a frequent event such as a metal melting or the path of electricity in two different material substances or the orbits of the stars in a galaxy. Science is mainly interested in how natural laws operate repeatedly within certain boundary conditions that produce tangible results. No model will pick up a one time or an occasional pattern that long ago. Especially one that requires the information building that is required for life.

    ID with its limited resources uses science to investigate origins and has essentially pointed out weaknesses in current models of evolutionary processes. Evolutionary processes work well to produce minor changes in species but seems to come up empty when investigating major changes. Why doesn’t the micro evolutionary processes that result in so many minor changes in species not work for the major changes even when given tens or hundreds of million years. The work of Behe and Dembski are geared towards this end as they investigate the limitations of the micro evolutionary processes based on the capabilities of life systems such as the binding properties of proteins or the number of functional proteins in a protein space.

    To answer your question, is the ID answer speculative? Yes to some extent. There is no specific intelligence to point to. Certainly most will agree that humans will have the capability in the next century to create a cell from scratch so it does not seem to be beyond the capability of human efforts. But there is no known intelligence that was around 150 million years ago to design the original birds but the more that naturalistic methods run into probabilistic blocks, the more likely such an intelligence may have played a role. It may come down to an either or scenario. And if the “either” keeps getting eliminated then we can speculate who the “or” is.

  154. 154

    Jerry Stated:
    “Certainly most will agree that humans will have the capability in the next century to create a cell from scratch so it does not seem to be beyond the capability of human efforts.”

    Well I guess I am not in the “most who agree” that man can do create life from scratch, with key emphasis being placed on “from scratch”;

    In fact, It borders on “fantastically impossible” for man to generate “just one” novel protein “from scratch”.

    It is fairly easily demonstrated, mathematically, the entire universe does not even begin to come close to being old enough, nor large enough, to accidentally generate just one small, but precisely sequenced, 100 amino acid protein in that very first living cell. If any combinations of the 20 L-amino acids, used in constructing proteins, are equally possible, then there are (20^100) =1.3 x 10^130 possible amino acid sequences in proteins being composed of 100 amino acids (Meyer). Thus there are more possible combinations for the amino acids in a single 100 amino acid protein than there are atomic particles in the entire universe (10^80).

    Origin Of Life – Evolution vs. Probability – A Hard Look At The Cold Facts – John Walton – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIgQP4RwrqY

    Yet amino acids don’t even have a tendency to chemically bond with each other, despite over fifty years of experimentation trying to get the amino acids to bond naturally. The odds of just one single 100 amino acid protein overcoming the impossibilities of chemical bonding and forming spontaneously have been calculated at less than 1 in 10^125 (Meyer, Evidence for Design, pg. 75).

    Moreover, the limit to man’s ability to form a single synthetic amino acid chain (a protein), using all his intelligence and lab equipment, is currently severely constrained to about 70-100 amino acids:

    Peptide synthesis
    “typically peptides and proteins in the range of 70~100 amino acids are pushing the limits of synthetic accessibility. Synthetic difficulty also is sequence dependent; typically amyloid peptides and proteins are difficult to make.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peptide_synthesis

    The staggering impossibility found for the universe ever accidentally generating a specifically sequenced 100 amino acid protein by accident would still be true even if we allowed that the entire universe, all 10^80 sub-atomic particles of it, were nothing but groups of 100 freely bonding amino acids, and we then tried a trillion unique combinations per second for all those 100 amino acid groups for 100 billion years. Even after 100 billion years of trying a trillion unique combinations per second, we still would have made only one billion, trillionth of the entire total combinations possible for a 100 amino acid protein during that 100 billion years of trying! On top of that, Doug Axe has shown only 1 in 10^64 to 1 in 10^77 of any amino acid sequences would form a actual “working domain”. The rest of the sequences would be totally useless. Even a child knows you cannot put any piece of a puzzle anywhere in a puzzle. You must have the required piece in the required place. The simplest forms of life ever found on earth are exceedingly far more complicated jigsaw puzzles than any of the puzzles man has ever made. Yet to believe the materialistic theory, a theory which is shown to have no foundation in reality in the first place, we would have to believe this tremendously complex puzzle of millions of precisely shaped, and placed, protein molecules “just so happened” to overcome the impossible hurdles of chemical bonding, and probability, and put itself together into the sheer wonder of immense complexity we find in the simplest cell.

    Instead of us just looking at the probability of a single “simple” protein molecule occurring, (a solar system full of blind men solving the Rubik’s Cube simultaneously (Hoyle)), let’s also look at the complexity which goes into crafting the shape of just one protein molecule. Complexity will give us a better indication if a protein molecule is indeed the handi-work of an infinitely powerful Creator.

    In the year 2000 IBM announced the development of a new super-computer, called Blue Gene, which was 500 times faster than any supercomputer built up until that time. It took 4-5 years to build. Blue Gene stands about six feet high, and occupies a floor space of 40 feet by 40 feet. It cost $100 million to build. It was built specifically to better enable computer simulations of molecular biology. The computer performs one quadrillion (one million billion) computations per second. Despite its speed, it was estimated to take one entire year for it to analyze the mechanism by which JUST ONE “simple” protein will fold onto itself from its one-dimensional starting point to its final three-dimensional shape.

    “Blue Gene’s final product, due in four or five years, will be able to “fold” a protein made of 300 amino acids, but that job will take an entire year of full-time computing.” Paul Horn, senior vice president of IBM research, September 21, 2000
    http://www.news.com/2100-1001-233954.html

    Networking a few hundred thousand computers together has reduced the time to a few weeks for simulating the folding of a single protein molecule:

    A Few Hundred Thousand Computers vs. A Single Protein Molecule – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loUb-9V3fzs

    In real life, the protein folds into its final shape in a fraction of a second! The Blue Gene computer would have to operate at least 33 million times faster to accomplish what the protein does in a fraction of a second. This is the complexity found for JUST ONE “simple” protein molecule. Yet, evolution must account for the origination of far, far, more than just one specifically sequenced protein molecule:

    A New Guide to Exploring the Protein Universe
    “It is estimated, based on the total number of known life forms on Earth, that there are some 50 billion different types of proteins in existence today, and it is possible that the protein universe could hold many trillions more.”
    Lynn Yarris Science@berkeleylab March 31, 2005

    What makes matters much worse for the materialist is that he will try to assert proteins of one structure can easily mutate into other proteins, of a completely different structure, by pure chance. Yet once again the empirical evidence we now have brutally betrays the materialist. Individual proteins have been experimentally shown to quickly lose their structural integrity with random point mutations. What are the odds of any “functional protein domain” in a cell mutating into any other functional protein domain, of very questionable value, by pure chance?

    Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds: Doug Axe:
    Excerpt: Starting with a weakly functional sequence carrying this signature, clusters of ten side-chains within the fold are replaced randomly, within the boundaries of the signature, and tested for function. The prevalence of low-level function in four such experiments indicates that roughly one in 10^64 signature-consistent sequences forms a working domain. Combined with the estimated prevalence of plausible hydropathic patterns (for any fold) and of relevant folds for particular functions, this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences. (of note: the universe only has 10^80 sub-atomic particles)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15321723

    Axe Diagram for finding a functional protein domain out of all sequence space:
    The y-axis can be seen as representing enzyme activity, and the x-axis represents all possible amino acid sequences. Enzymes sit at the peak of their fitness landscapes (Point A). There are extremely high levels of complex and specified information in proteins–informational sequences which point to intelligent design.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/axediagram.jpg

    Experimental Support for Regarding Functional Classes of Proteins to be Highly Isolated from Each Other:
    “From actual experimental results it can easily be calculated that the odds of finding a folded protein (by random point mutations to an existing protein) are about 1 in 10 to the 65 power (Sauer, MIT). To put this fantastic number in perspective imagine that someone hid a grain of sand, marked with a tiny ‘X’, somewhere in the Sahara Desert. After wandering blindfolded for several years in the desert you reach down, pick up a grain of sand, take off your blindfold, and find it has a tiny ‘X’. Suspicious, you give the grain of sand to someone to hide again, again you wander blindfolded into the desert, bend down, and the grain you pick up again has an ‘X’. A third time you repeat this action and a third time you find the marked grain. The odds of finding that marked grain of sand in the Sahara Desert three times in a row are about the same as finding one new functional protein structure (from chance transmutation of an existing functional protein structure). Rather than accept the result as a lucky coincidence, most people would be certain that the game had been fixed.” Michael J. Behe, The Weekly Standard, June 7, 1999

    Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins – 2007:
    Kirk K Durston, David KY Chiu, David L Abel, Jack T Trevors
    In this paper, we provide a method to measure functional sequence complexity (in proteins).
    Conclusion: This method successfully distinguishes between order, randomness, and biological function (for proteins).

    etc…etc…

    So I am very skeptical man will ever “life from scratch”.

    Though I can assure you that if evolutionists mimic what has already been created in life and achieve self replication of some sort, they will jump up and down claiming they have “created life from scratch” much like their vastly overblown claims for RNA self-replication a few months back.

  155. Mr Bornagain77,

    Your mathematical argument has convinced me – convinced me that the game of bridge is impossible!

  156. Jerry @ 153:

    By using the term “model” it indicates that something is operating according to some system (usually the interaction of several physical processes) when the thing that ID is interested in is possibly a one time event and is an anomaly from on going natural laws…If it is a willful act by an intelligent agent then it could be a one time event and no model imaginable could describe it.

    Jerry’s reply succinctly describes those characteristics of ID that render it incapable of becoming an empirical science.

    ID’s assertion that an entirely unknown designer effected changes that are anomalous relative to natural laws and may be one-off events render “ID theory” incapable of generating empirical predictions. Simple as that.

  157. “Jerry’s reply succinctly describes those characteristics of ID that render it incapable of becoming an empirical science.

    ID’s assertion that an entirely unknown designer effected changes that are anomalous relative to natural laws and may be one-off events render “ID theory” incapable of generating empirical predictions. Simple as that.”

    There is a lot of nonsense here. Are you looking for ID to be something like thermodynamics or the standard model? No ID will not become that at any time soon for the reasons I outlined but it does not mean it is not science which is what you would like to show. Your transparent efforts are more revealing of yourself than ID. Why cannot the anti ID person make a reasonable reply and instead of squealing with glee when they imagine they have found a weakness. They should try to clean up their own house first. But we know that is not possible because the mess is too incoherent that they must try and divert attention from it by imagining problems with the competition.

    “To say that ID is not science” is absurd. That is tremendously different from the almost identical sentence which is “To say that ID is not a science” is absurd. There is only one letter difference between these two sentences but one tries to use the second to invalidate the first. And the second may yet become a possibility.

    ID uses the tools of science, examines data in a systematic way, makes observations, makes predictions based on these observations, the laws of nature etc. ID operates within various branches of science such as evolutionary biology. ID uses it techniques to analyze and predict within evolutionary biology, cosmology, archaeology, anthropology, history, forensic science, cryptology etc to analyze and make predictions.

    So we get the tiresome ID is not science argument because we do not know the designer rationale. Give me a break. Is this all that can be lodged against ID. We must have the name and address of the designer and if the designer had a Harvard degree or not and what did he/she do before they went to Harvard. And is the designer married and if so has he/she remained faithful and what percentage of the designer’s salary was given to charity. Or alternatively we must have the wreckage of the spaceship and the blueprints of the lab that created the first cell etc. All irrelevant nonsense.

    No, ID is science and it operates in a lot of ways which is amazing given the resistance to it by the science community. The number of arguments against it by the science community and the outright hostility would normally be enough to squelch it all together but yet we have continued efforts. And here we have another lame attempt to do the same.

  158. 158

    This way way back in the thread, but it left me with a question.
    JT:

    …we see that an “incomplete” feather is very adept at the function of insulation. Add one small ingredient to this “incomplete” feather and it becomes adept at a completely different function.

    What is the one small ingredient, and what is the different function?

  159. 159

    Nakashima tries to be cute with:

    “Your mathematical argument has convinced me – convinced me that the game of bridge is impossible!”

    Yet clearly if you remove intelligence from the equation bridge is impossible….

    If you walked onto a beach and saw the effects of wind and waves playing a coherent game of bridge that you could follow, would you not claim that it was a “miracle” or would you just shrug your shoulders as if it was no big deal?,,,,Yet surely in random formation of the first living cell (10^40,000 Hoyle; 10^1018 Koonin) we have probabilities which make the probability of the wind and sea playing a game of bridge seem reasonable.

  160. 160

    Hi jerry,
    The Grants who investigated the finches of the Galapagos said it would take 23 million years for a new bird species to arise

    Could you please provide us a refence for this claim? I’m pretty familiar with the Grant’s work, and I’ve never seen this claim before.

  161. Diffaxial,

    The fact that neither you nor anyone else can come up with a testable hypothesis for your anti-ID/ non-telic position pretty much proves it is incapable of becoming empirical science.

    However ID is based on observations and experience AND it can be tested experimentally.

    All the earmarks of being empirical.

  162. Scott,

    JT:

    …we see that an “incomplete” feather is very adept at the function of insulation. Add one small ingredient to this “incomplete” feather and it becomes adept at a completely different function.

    What is the one small ingredient, and what is the different function?

    interlocking barbules branching from the main barbs. in this simple case the feather would now be an effective signal to conspecifics, as it would make a solid surface for light reflection. it would also allow air to flow more smoothly over the feather,and if the barbs/barbules become asymmetrically placed around the quill, it is a very effective airfoil. various arrangements of barbs and barbules are also used as sensory organs, “whiskers” for catching insects, etc.

  163. 163

    Having looked at several diagrams, it appears that interlocking barbules would take several steps to evolve. Assuming (as the above post does) that we begin with no barbules, next barbules must be added. Then something resembling hooks must evolve. Then they must interlock. (The preening behavior which maintains the feathers is something else.)
    That is not ‘adding one small ingredient.’

  164. Joe @ 161:

    The fact that neither you nor anyone else can come up with a testable hypothesis for your anti-ID/ non-telic position pretty much proves it is incapable of becoming empirical science.

    There are countless articles documenting of empirical study of testable entailments of sophisticated models of selection such as following:

    Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Volume 22, issue 1 (January 2009), p. 97-108

    Experimental evidence that competition and habitat use shape the individual fitness surface

    CALSBEEK, R.

    Abstract
    A key prediction made by theories of density-dependent competition is that resource overlap should increase the intensity of competition. By extension, we can predict that competition should lead to density-dependent natural selection. I studied natural selection on limb length and body size in a total of seven populations of Anolis sagrei over 3 years in the Bahamas. Experimental manipulations of population density on small off-shore cays revealed that the strength of natural selection on body size increased with density, suggesting that density-dependent intraspecific competition drives natural selection. At low density, reduced competition revealed significant selection on limb length driven by changes in perch diameter, indicating that selection favoured a match between morphology and habitat. The role habitat played in shaping selection was further illuminated by inter-annual changes in vegetation structure stemming from variation in precipitation among years. Thus, changes in both the intensity of competition across spatial replicates, and in resource availability through time, revealed changes in the targets of natural selection. Results provide empirical support for the long-standing hypothesis that density-dependent natural selection shapes the fitness surface of Greater Antilles anoles.

    IOW, scientists doing science.

    Nothing in ID resembles this activity. Jerry has kindly described the reasons for this.

  165. 165

    Diffaxial @164:
    It would appear that they have discovered microevolution, 21st century finch beaks.

  166. Scott,

    Then something resembling hooks must evolve. Then they must interlock.

    you don’t need the hooks for the first function i mentioned (intraspecific signal). but you’re right, the barbules must evolve hooks (not sure why you think interlocking would be a separate step, since having the hooks would do this) and then, as i mentioned, become asymmetric. but each intermediate step has a viable function (hooked but asymmetric feathers are more water resistant). if you read the Prum paper I cited above, you’ll also see that there are potential genetic pathways for these transitions.

  167. Mr Bornagain77,

    Only ‘trying to be cute’?? I thought I had succeeded!

    Actually, I was trying to be serious. How can any bridge hand have function? They are drawn randomly from such a large configuration space, it is impossible to believe, based on our warranted intuition, that they just happen to land on island of function. No, you have proven bridge to be impossible and I accept it.

  168. 168

    I mentioned the hooks because barbules without hooks aren’t going to become barbules with hooks that interlock in one step. Just because things have hooks that doesn’t mean they interlock. That requires some precision. Tangling is a more likely initial outcome than precise interlocking.
    I examined the referenced paper. I won’t bluff and claim to understand every technical detail. But upon repeated reading of certain key sections, it became apparent that many of the underlying premises on which the conclusions were built were speculative.
    But at least there was an attempt to isolate the underlying mechanisms from observed morphological changes. Having done so, perhaps Prum will conceive of experiments to test his hypothesis. Until then, this appears to be a very complex and technical speculative narrative.

  169. “Nothing in ID resembles this activity. Jerry has kindly described the reasons for this.”

    This is micro evolution you presented and no big deal. ID has no problem with this as I pointed out to you before over a month ago and then which in response you ignorantly tried to mock me. The issue is over macro evolution so bringing up these studies is just an admission you do not have anything.

    Actually the discussion of bird development is a serious attempt to get at something. Whether there is anything there or not or the mechanism identified is the issue.

  170. Scott,
    you might want to check this paper out for a postive test of the hypothesis:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/33/11734.abstract

  171. Scott, ps here’s another one:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/103/4/951.abstract

  172. If you think that bridge hands have no function then you have not played bridge for either money or master points. There are definitely islands of function between long stretches of endless ocean.

    But determining what is function is not obvious at first. I was severely depressed when Victor Mollo died and found out there would be no more Bridge in the Menagerie. There have been attempts to continue on by others but only a real genius could find those islands of functionality

  173. 173

    Diffaxial, try to make sense – and try to be consistent as well.

    There are reams of information about what happens in cells today by looking at cells today.

    - – - – - – -

    1) Life began in a distant past.

    2) Science has foundationally concluded that Life began by chance.

    - – - – - – - -

    Please answer:

    What empirical lab results has science used confirm that Life began by chance?

    What are the predictions of those lab results?

  174. 174

    Khan:
    It appears that, having observed the end product, the authors have conclusively identified the activator-inhibitors that control feather development. That fails to support Prum’s earlier speculations.

    In essence, we’ve speculated that concrete caused skyscrapers to evolve, and validated it by demonstrating that concrete is poured wherever there is a skyscraper.

  175. Scott,
    what are you talking about? in the harris paper they have provided molecular mechanisms for shaping of down feathers and shown that these same mechanisms can shape flight feathers through the addition of a 2nd inhibitor and a gradient. then they show that this is congruent with fossil evidence of feather evolution (down before flight). of course it’s not complete but it is very compelling and consistent.

  176. ps the Chuong paper then explicitly shows how the gradient hypothesized by Harris is generated.

  177. Khan (con), The only one it is compelling to is the one who is philosophically committed to it being so,,,The paper goes no where near demonstrating how the information arose spontaneously, it only speculates that this is the way it did happen, whereas I could very well argue, with tons more empirics, that the process was actually a reverse of what was postulated, through the process of genetic entropy,,,which brings us back to you having to demonstrate the origination of functional information in the laboratory!

  178. Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – David L Abel and Jack T Trevors:
    Excerpt: Genetic algorithms instruct sophisticated biological organization. Three qualitative kinds of sequence complexity exist: random (RSC), ordered (OSC), and functional (FSC). FSC alone provides algorithmic instruction…No empirical evidence exists of either RSC of OSC ever having produced a single instance of sophisticated biological organization…It is only in researching the pre-RNA world that the problem of single-stranded metabolically functional sequencing of ribonucleotides (or their analogs) becomes acute. And of course highly-ordered templated sequencing of RNA strands on natural surfaces such as clay offers no explanation for biofunctional sequencing. The question is never answered, “From what source did the template derive its functional information?” In fact, no empirical evidence has been presented of a naturally occurring inorganic template that contains anything more than combinatorial uncertainty. No bridge has been established between combinatorial uncertainty and utility of any kind.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=1208958

  179. BA^77

    whereas I could very well argue, with tons more empirics, that the process was actually a reverse of what was postulated, through the process of genetic entropy,

    please do so.

  180. The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009

    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it:

    “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.”
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=2662469

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

  182. The malaria parasite, due to its comparatively enormous population size, has in 1 year more mutation/duplication/selection events than all mammal lineages have had in the entire +100 million years they have been in the fossil record. Moreover, since single cell organisms and viruses replicate, and mutate/duplicate, far more quickly than multi-cellular life-forms can, scientists can do experiments on single celled organisms and viruses to see what we can actually expect to happen over millions of years for mammals with far smaller population sizes.

    Malaria and AIDS are among the largest real world tests that can be performed to see if evolutionary presumptions are true.

    “Indeed, the work on malaria and AIDS demonstrates that after all possible unintelligent processes in the cell–both ones we’ve discovered so far and ones we haven’t–at best extremely limited benefit, since no such process was able to do much of anything. It’s critical to notice that no artificial limitations were placed on the kinds of mutations or processes the microorganisms could undergo in nature. Nothing–neither point mutation, deletion, insertion, gene duplication, transposition, genome duplication, self-organization nor any other process yet undiscovered–was of much use.” Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pg. 162 Swine Flu, Viruses, and the Edge of Evolution
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2....._edge.html

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism by Michael J. Behe
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).
    http://creation.com/review-mic.....-evolution

  183. “I have seen estimates of the incidence of the ratio of deleterious-to-beneficial mutations which range from one in one thousand up to one in one million. The best estimates seem to be one in one million (Gerrish and Lenski, 1998). The actual rate of beneficial mutations is so extremely low as to thwart any actual measurement (Bataillon, 2000, Elena et al, 1998). Therefore, I cannot …accurately represent how rare such beneficial mutations really are.” (J.C. Sanford; Genetic Entropy page 24) – 2005

    Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? (Thomas Bataillon)
    Abstract……It is argued that, although most if not all mutations detected in mutation accumulation experiments are deleterious, the question of the rate of favourable mutations (and their effects) is still a matter for debate.
    http://www.nature.com/hdy/jour.....7270a.html

    Distribution of fitness effects caused by random insertion mutations in Escherichia coli
    Excerpt: At least 80% of the mutations had a significant negative effect on fitness, whereas none of the mutations had a significant positive effect. http://www.springerlink.com/co.....q5l0q3832/

    High Frequency of Cryptic Deleterious Mutations in Caenorhabditis elegans ( Esther K. Davies, Andrew D. Peters, Peter D. Keightley)
    “In fitness assays, only about 4 percent of the deleterious mutations fixed in each line were detectable. The remaining 96 percent, though cryptic, are significant for mutation load…the presence of a large class of mildly deleterious mutations can never be ruled out. ”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5434/1748

    “But in all the reading I’ve done in the life-sciences literature, I’ve never found a mutation that added information… All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not increase it.”
    Lee Spetner – Ph.D. Physics – MIT – (Not By Chance: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution)

    “Bergman (2004) has studied the topic of beneficial mutations. Among other things, he did a simple literature search via Biological Abstracts and Medline. He found 453,732 “mutation” hits, but among these only 186 mentioned the word “beneficial” (about 4 in 10,000). When those 186 references were reviewed, almost all the presumed “beneficial mutations” were only beneficial in a very narrow sense- but each mutation consistently involved loss of function changes-hence loss of information.” Sanford: Genetic Entropy

    “Mutations, in summary, tend to induce sickness, death, or deficiencies. No evidence in the vast literature of heredity change shows unambiguous evidence that random mutation itself, even with geographical isolation of populations leads to speciation.”
    Lynn Margulis – Acquiring Genomes [2003], p. 29.

    “But there is no evidence that DNA mutations can provide the sorts of variation needed for evolution… There is no evidence for beneficial mutations at the level of macroevolution, but there is also no evidence at the level of what is commonly regarded as microevolution.”
    Jonathan Wells (PhD. – Molecular Biology)

    “Of carefully studied mutations, most have been found to be harmful to organisms, and most of the remainder seem to have neither positive nor negative effect. Mutations that are actually beneficial are extraordinarily rare and involve insignificant changes. Mutations seem to be much more degenerative than constructive…” Kurt Wise, paleontologist (2002, p.163)

    “The neo-Darwinians would like us to believe that large evolutionary changes can result from a series of small events if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose information they can’t be the steps in the kind of evolution the neo-Darwin theory is supposed to explain, no matter how many mutations there are. Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.” Lee Spetner (Ph.D. Physics – MIT – Not By Chance)

    “It is entirely in line with the accidental nature of naturally occurring mutations that extensive tests have agreed in showing the vast majority of them to be detrimental to the organisms in its job of surviving and reproducing, just as changes accidentally introduced into any artificial mechanism are predominantly harmful to its useful operation”
    H.J. Muller (Received a Nobel Prize for his work on mutations to DNA)

    “The opportune appearance of mutations permitting animals and plants to meet their needs seems hard to believe. Yet the Darwinian theory is even more demanding: a single plant, a single animal would require thousands and thousands of lucky, appropriate events. Thus, miracles would become the rule: events with an infinitesimal probability could not fail to occur …. There is no law against day dreaming, but science must not indulge in it.” Pierre P. Grasse – past President of the French Academie des Sciences

  184. “There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter” Dr. Werner Gitt, former director and Professor of Information Systems at the prestigious German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology

    This following article refutes Lenski’s supposed evolution of the citrate ability for E-Coli:

    Multiple Mutations Needed for E. Coli – Michael Behe
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/.....96N278Z93O

    In fact, trying to narrow down an actual hard number for the “truly” beneficial mutation rate is what Dr. Behe did in this following book:

    “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism”
    http://www.amazon.com/Edge-Evo.....0743296206

  185. Proteins with cruise control provide new perspective:
    “A mathematical analysis of the experiments showed that the proteins themselves acted to correct any imbalance imposed on them through artificial mutations and restored the chain to working order.”
    http://www.princeton.edu/main/...../60/95O56/

  186. “Mutations are rare phenomena, and a simultaneous change of even two amino acid residues in one protein is totally unlikely. One could think, for instance, that by constantly changing amino acids one by one, it will eventually be possible to change the entire sequence substantially… These minor changes, however, are bound to eventually result in a situation in which the enzyme has ceased to perform its previous function but has not yet begun its ‘new duties’. It is at this point it will be destroyed – along with the organism carrying it.” Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetski, Unraveling DNA, 1997, p. 72. (Professor at Brown U. Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering)

  187. Hopeful monsters,’ transposons, and the Metazoan radiation:
    Excerpt: Viable mutations with major morphological or physiological effects are exceedingly rare and usually infertile; the chance of two identical rare mutant individuals arising in sufficient propinquity to produce offspring seems too small to consider as a significant evolutionary event. These problems of viable “hopeful monsters” render these explanations untenable.
    Paleobiologists Douglas Erwin and James Valentine

  188. Walter L. Bradley, Information, Entropy, and the Origin of Life:
    Excerpt: He clarifies the distinction between configurational and thermal entropy, and shows why materialistic theories of chemical evolution have not explained the configurational entropy present in living systems, a feature of living systems that Bradley takes to be strong evidence of intelligent design. http://www.discovery.org/a/2640

    Evolution’s Thermodynamic Failure
    By Granville Sewell (Professor of Mathematics Texas University – El Paso)
    http://www.spectator.org/dsp_a.....rt_id=9128

    Mathematical refutation of the open system entropy argument used by evolutionists – by Kairosfocus
    http://www.angelfire.com/pro/k.....tm#thermod

    Law of Conservation of Information – William Dembski and Robert Marks
    http://www.evoinfo.org/Publications/Life.html

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

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

    EXPELLED – Natural Selection And Genetic Mutations – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOWfmuJ-MdY

  191. BA^77
    i didn’t see feathers mentioned once in there. if you think feathers “devolved” could you explain why down feathers appear before flight feathers in the fossil record?

  192. Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BwWpRSYgOE

    Some bacterium spores, in salt crystals, dating back as far as 250 million years have been revived, had their DNA sequenced, and compared to their offspring of today (Vreeland RH, 2000 Nature). To the disbelieving shock of many scientists, both ancient and modern bacteria were found to have the almost same exact DNA sequence.

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.”
    Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    and this:

    Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25- to 40-million-year-old Dominican amber
    Dr. Cano and his former graduate student Dr. Monica K. Borucki said that they had found slight but significant differences between the DNA of the ancient, 25-40 million year old amber-sealed Bacillus sphaericus and that of its modern counterpart, (thus ruling out that it is a modern contaminant, yet at the same time confounding materialists, since the change is not nearly as great as evolution’s “genetic drift” theory requires.)
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5213/1060

    30-Million-Year Sleep: Germ Is Declared Alive
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/f.....gewanted=2

    In reply to a personal e-mail from myself, Dr. Cano commented on the “Fitness Test” I had asked him about:
    Dr. Cano stated: “We performed such a test, a long time ago, using a panel of substrates (the old gram positive biolog panel) on B. sphaericus. From the results we surmised that the putative “ancient” B. sphaericus isolate was capable of utilizing a broader scope of substrates. Additionally, we looked at the fatty acid profile and here, again, the profiles were similar but more diverse in the amber isolate.”:
    Fitness test which compared the 30 million year old ancient bacteria to its modern day descendants, RJ Cano and MK Borucki

    Thus, the most solid evidence available for the most ancient DNA scientists are able to find does not support evolution happening on the molecular level of bacteria. In fact, according to the fitness test of Dr. Cano, the change witnessed in bacteria conforms to the exact opposite, Genetic Entropy; a loss of functional information/complexity, since fewer substrates and fatty acids are utilized by the modern strains. Considering the intricate level of protein machinery it takes to utilize individual molecules within a substrate, we are talking an impressive loss of protein complexity, and thus loss of functional information, from the ancient amber sealed bacteria.

    ETC…ETC…ETC….

    The point being is that you will not offer any solid empirics

  193. Khan,,,
    I disagree with you interpretation of the fossil record as do many reputable “fringe” scientists,,,thus the burden is on you to support the grand claims of Darwinism by conclusively proving functional information can be generated in the laboratory….Why should you not have to meet this minimum requirement for scientific integrity? Your methodology is a joke!!!

  194. BA^77
    disagreeing is one thing (everyone’s entitled to their opinion), but unless they or you can provide an empirical basis for those opinions, that’s all they are. saying feathers in one specimen are collagen doesn’t do it when there are many further examples, like this one from earlier this year:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/3/832.full

  195. Not good enough for!

    “Fundamentalist fervor,” “vitriolic name-calling,” and “paleontological passion” pervade the debate, states the magazine Science News. One evolutionary biologist, who organized a symposium on feather evolution, confessed: “I never dreamed that any scientific matter could possibly generate such bad personal behavior and such bitterness.”

    Thus your position is far from resolved though you claim otherwise,,,and must I point out you are basing all of this on historical science!

    you stated:

    “unless they or you can provide an empirical basis for those opinions”

    Thus for you to avoid hypocrisy in what you stated, and refute the sampling of mutational studies I provided (yet blatantly ignore) you must prove functional information can be generated in the laboratory….Why should you not have to meet this minimum requirement for scientific integrity?

    Why must your highly biased take on the fossil record be given precedence over laboratory work?

    As they say in football:
    Put up or shut up!

  196. Diffaxial,

    If that, your response in comment 164, is the best you have then you don’t have anything.

    Ya see what you posted in no way challenges ID and it doesn’t even challenge YEC.

    IOW thank you for proving my point.

  197. BA^77
    thanks for the quotation from 2000

    and must I point out you are basing all of this on historical science!

    yes, evolution is a historical science.

    Thus for you to avoid hypocrisy in what you stated, and refute the sampling of mutational studies I provided (yet blatantly ignore) you must prove functional information can be generated in the laboratory

    how about functional proteins from random sequence libraries?

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....715a0.html

    http://linkinghub.elsevier.com.....2105003741

  198. I pointed to Jerry’s description of ID, which includes the assertion that ID has no model, that design events may be one-off events (hence not amenable to regularity or prediction), and that nothing is known about the designer. These limitations obviously render ID incapable of making empirical predictions. Hence it lies outside the domain of science.

    Joe asserted that evolutionary biology is also not a science, offers no testable hypotheses, and gives rise to no empirical research. (Even were this the case, it would have no bearing upon whether ID is a science. Hence the objection is irrelevant to the scientific status of ID.)

    I provided one recent example (one of thousands) of a report of an evolutionary scientist operating from a model (something ID lacks) that makes specific empirical predictions (in the manner ID is incapable of generating), and his test of those predictions (tests of a kind ID researchers never conduct). Hence Joe’s statement is false, having been directly contradicted by reality.

    The specific biological phenomenon modeled and empirically investigated has no bearing on the fact that an empirical investigation operating out of a theoretical model was conducted. Nor does ID’s willingness to acknowledge those findings (because they are “microevolutionary”.) Nor does it matter a whit whether this particular study has bearing on the OOL or other ultimate questions (obviously not the object of this particular investigator’s work), or whether or not the empirical investigation was conducted in a laboratory or in the field.

    The fact remains that this study exemplifies the empirical test of a theoretical model within evolutionary biology, something that Joe claims doesn’t occur. The sort of study that is impossible within the framework of ID, due to the limitations Jerry has correctly identified.

  199. 199

    Diffaxial,

    Please consider reading a book or two on how historical sciences actually work.

    Give it a shot.

  200. 200

    Diff,

    And before you head off to the library, please attend to the previous post directed to you:

    1) Life began in a distant past.

    2) Science has foundationally concluded that Life began by chance.

    - – – – – – – -

    Please answer:

    What empirical lab results has science used confirm that Life began by chance?

    What are the predictions of those lab results?

  201. 201

    Khan (way back at 175)

    in the harris paper they have provided molecular mechanisms for shaping of down feathers and shown that these same mechanisms can shape flight feathers through the addition of a 2nd inhibitor and a gradient.

    All physical characteristics in all living things are shaped by something. Identifying parts of those processes is not the same as understanding their causes. Why were there down feathers and a mechanism for shaping them? Do a second inhibitor and gradient also add the barbules and hooklets?

    It seems very optimistic to hope that these supposed tiny incremental changes would eventually add up to functional flying wings.

    It also seems very optimistic to hope that changes would confer any meaningful selective advantage. The first specimen that evolves the beginning of a feather, or any of the successive steps – is it really that much less likely to get picked off by a predator, or that much more likely to find a mate?

    These scenarios all seem to optimistically imagine a perfect scenario in which everything happens just as it must to produce a nonetheless unintended result.

  202. Upright @ 199:

    Please consider reading a book or two on how historical sciences actually work.

    More rapid transport of goal posts hither and thither. To previous irrelevant objections (is microevolution, no bearing on OOL, no lab) we now add “not in the mold of an historical science” as hinted by Biped.

    None of which have bearing on the fact that the study I cite specifies a model that gives rise to predictions (one of any number I can cite) and describes the empirical test of that model. Something ID cannot do and does not do, owing to the limitations Jerry aptly described.

  203. Diffaxial,

    ID is based on observation and experience.

    ID can be objectively tested.

    Also evolution is NOT being debated.

    What I am saying is that you cannot, and have not, provided a testable hypothesis pertaining to non-telic processes.

    And BTW how do you know what experiments IDists have and have not conducted?

    I take it that it bothers you that your post that attempted to refute me did no such thing.

    If you want to refute me then try posting something that is being debated.

    For example if eyes/ vision systems were the result of non-telic processes what would one expect to see?

  204. Diffaxial,

    The only prediction ID cannot make is what any designer will design next.

    I believe that is what Jerry was referring to.

    However ID does make predictions- IC and CSI are two such predictions.

    IOW ID predicts that some things will not be reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

    And IC and CSI are two such things.

    But anyway:

    The conclusion that something was designed can be made quite independently of knowledge of the designer. As a matter of procedure, the design must first be apprehended before there can be any further question about the designer. The inference to design can be held with all firmness that is possible in this world, without knowing anything about the designer.—Dr Behe

    As a scientific research program, intelligent design investigates the effects of intelligence and not intelligence as such.- Wm. Dembski page 33 of The Design Revolution

    Observation:

    The Universe

    Question

    Is the universe the result of intentional design?

    Prediction:

    1) If the universe was the product of a common design then I would expect it to be governed by one (common) set of parameters.

    2) If the universe were designed for scientific discovery then I would expect a strong correlation between habitability and measurability.

    3) Also if the universe was designed for scientific discovery I would expect it to be comprehensible.

    Test:

    1) Try to determine if the same laws that apply every place on Earth also apply throughout the universe.

    2) Try to determine the correlation between habitability and measurability.

    3) Try to determine if the universe is comprehensible.

    Potential falsification:

    1) Observe that the universe is chaotic.

    2) A- Find a place that is not habitable but offers at least as good of a platform to make scientific discoveries as Earth or B- Find a place that is inhabited but offers a poor platform from which to make scientific discoveries.

    3) Observe that we cannot comprehend the universe, meaning A) what applies locally does not apply throughout or B) what applies in one scenario, even locally, cannot be used/ applied in any similar scenario, even locally.

    Confirmation:

    1) Tests conducted all over the globe, on the Moon and in space confirm that the same laws that apply here also apply throughout the universe.

    2) All scientific data gathered to date confirm that habitability correlates with measurability.

    3) “The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it is comprehensible.” Albert Einstein

    Observation:

    Living organisms

    Question

    Are living organisms the result of intentional design?

    Prediction:

    If living organisms were the result of intentional design then I would expect to see that living organisms are (and contain subsystems that are) irreducibly complex and/ or contain complex specified information. IOW I would expect to see an intricacy that is more than just a sum of chemical reactions (endothermic or exothermic).

    Further I would expect to see command & control- a hierarchy of command & control would be a possibility.

    Test:

    Try to deduce the minimal functionality that a living organism. Try to determine if that minimal functionality is irreducibly complex and/or contains complex specified information. Also check to see if any subsystems are irreducibly complex and/ or contain complex specified information.

    Potential falsification:

    Observe that living organisms arise from non-living matter via a mixture of commonly-found-in-nature chemicals. Observe that while some systems “appear” to be irreducibly complex it can be demonstrated that they can indeed arise via purely stochastic processes such as culled genetic accidents. Also demonstrate that the apparent command & control can also be explained by endothermic and/or exothermic reactions.

    Confirmation:

    Living organisms are irreducibly complex and contain irreducibly complex subsystems. The information required to build and maintain a single-celled organism is both complex and specified.

    Command & control is observed in single-celled organisms- the bacterial flagellum not only has to be configured correctly, indicating command & control over the assembly process, but it also has to function, indicating command & control over functionality.

    Conclusion (scientific inference)

    Both the universe and living organisms are the result of intention design.

    Any future research can either confirm or refute this premise, which, for the biological side, was summed up in Darwinism, Design and Public Education page 92:

    1. High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.
    2. Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.
    3. Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.
    4. Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

  205. 205

    Diffaxial,

    Moving goalpost is not the issue. In fact, the very image (and your mention of it) is a conveinent distraction from the issue.

    You are asking for empirical evidence for a historical event – without the slightest consideration of methodologies.

    Think: Lyell, Whewell, Scriven, and Lipton.

    - – - – - – - –

    Now, Since science has fundamentally concluded that Life began by chance, what empirical lab results has science used to confirm their conclusion? If there are not any, then from a methodoligical standpoint, why not?

    Also, what candidates are on the list of potential causes?

  206. What I am saying is that you cannot, and have not, provided a testable hypothesis pertaining to non-telic processes.

    I know what you are saying. It simply isn’t true.

    In the above-cited instance, density-dependent competition, and the prediction that competition should lead to density-dependent natural selection, denote non-telic processes and the predictions that arise therefrom.

    Further, the authors empirically tested predictions arising from their model of that non-telic process.

    Therefore your statement is false.

  207. The above cited instance is favorable to baraminology.

    IOW what you say is false.

    Try focusing on the arrival of the fittest, not their survival.

  208. 208

    Well Khan,
    For what it is worth in my limited experience, I looked at the paper:

    Directed evolution of ATP binding proteins:
    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=.....=firefox-a

    and was left wondering what new functional information did he produce,,,Though the paper seems to suggest that functional protein domains may be easier to find than Doug Axe suggested in his paper (10^77), The paper does not address the generation of functional information/complexity that we find in life i.e. no new irreducibly complex functions were cited, only new proteins with, what I believe was, an affinity to bind with ATP were found:

    Evolution vs. ATP synthesis and DNA complexity
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....d8695ea146

    As well in criticism of the paper,, The experiment was conducted “in vitro” (outside the cell) and the so called “evolution” of the protein was merely an improvement of efficiency of the so called “novel” proteins to bind to ATP, needless to say,,, This type of “evolution” would not be tolerated “in a living cell” for:

    The Ribosome: Perfectionist Protein-maker Trashes Errors
    Excerpt: The enzyme machine that translates a cell’s DNA code into the proteins of life is nothing if not an editorial perfectionist…the ribosome exerts far tighter quality control than anyone ever suspected over its precious protein products… To their further surprise, the ribosome lets go of error-laden proteins 10,000 times faster than it would normally release error-free proteins, a rate of destruction that Green says is “shocking” and reveals just how much of a stickler the ribosome is about high-fidelity protein synthesis.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134529.htm

    As well when we find a protein, and DNA, or protein machine, in a cell it is “optimal” already:

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNi0YXYadg0

    Biologist Howard Berg at Harvard calls the Bacterial Flagellum “the most efficient machine in the universe.”

    The flagellum has steadfastly resisted all attempts to elucidate its plausible origination by Darwinian processes, much less has anyone ever actually evolved a flagellum from scratch in the laboratory;

    Genetic Entropy Refutation of Nick Matzke’s TTSS (type III secretion system) to Flagellum Evolutionary Narrative:
    excerpt: …..Comparative genomic analysis show that flagellar genes have been differentially lost in endosymbiotic bacteria of insects. Only proteins involved in protein export within the flagella assembly pathway (type III secretion system and the basal-body) have been kept…
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/.....t/msn153v1

    Bacterial Flagella – A Paradigm for Design – Scott Minnich – video
    http://www.veritas.org/media/talks/92

    Genetic analysis of coordinate flagellar and type III – Minnich and Meyer
    Molecular machines display a key signature or hallmark of design, namely, irreducible complexity. In all irreducibly complex systems in which the cause of the system is known by experience or observation, intelligent design or engineering played a role the origin of the system.

    Warning: Do NOT Mutate This Protein Complex: – June 2009
    Excerpt: In each cell of your body there is a complex of 8 or more proteins bound together called the BBSome. This protein complex, discovered in 2007, should not be disturbed. Here’s what happens when it mutates: “A homozygous mutation in any BBSome subunit (except BBIP10) will make you blind, obese and deaf, will obliterate your sense of smell, will make you grow extra digits and toes and cause your kidneys to fail.”… the BBSome is “highly conserved” (i.e., unevolved) in all ciliated organisms from single-celled green algae to humans,…”

    William Bialek – Professor Of Physics – Princeton University:
    Excerpt: “A central theme in my research is an appreciation for how well things “work” in biological systems. It is, after all, some notion of functional behavior that distinguishes life from inanimate matter, and it is a challenge to quantify this functionality in a language that parallels our characterization of other physical systems. Strikingly, when we do this (and there are not so many cases where it has been done!), the performance of biological systems often approaches some limits set by basic physical principles. While it is popular to view biological mechanisms as an historical record of evolutionary and developmental compromises, these observations on functional performance point toward a very different view of life as having selected a set of near optimal mechanisms for its most crucial tasks.”

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

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

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

    Collective evolution and the genetic code – 2006:
    Excerpt: The genetic code could well be optimized to a greater extent than anything else in biology and yet is generally regarded as the biological element least capable of evolving.

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

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

    Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.
    Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, Penguin, London, 1996, p. 188

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

    DNA Optimized for Photostability
    Excerpt: These nucleobases maximally absorb UV-radiation at the same wavelengths that are most effectively shielded by ozone. Moreover, the chemical structures of the nucleobases of DNA allow the UV-radiation to be efficiently radiated away after it has been absorbed, restricting the opportunity for damage.

    “No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms’ genomes programmed?” – David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors, “Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity and Their Relevance to Biopolymeric Information,” Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8

    Thus khan, though the paper may be of interest for finding how many functional protein domains truly exist in reality,,,it clearly has not addressed the problem of functional information generation in which the protein would then form with other proteins to produce a new useful molecular function. It truly was a stretch for them to call this “evolution” by the way since it was not actually in a living cell i.e. They started with weakly binding “novel” proteins and increased the binding affinity, and then say “Wah La” we evolved something”.

    This is similar to GA,,,but that is another matter…

  209. A key prediction made by theories of density-dependent competition is that resource overlap should increase the intensity of competition.

    Except where cooperation rules the day.

  210. “The fact remains that this study exemplifies the empirical test of a theoretical model within evolutionary biology, something that Joe claims doesn’t occur. The sort of study that is impossible within the framework of ID, due to the limitations Jerry has correctly identified.”

    You are running wild with a comment without trying to have a discussion on it. You want to disparage ID and that is your only objective. If you try to have a discussion you will learn something. But I suspect you already know it and just are blustering with nonsense. Both Dembski and Behe make predictions. Both Behe and Dembski use scientific methods to evaluate those predictions. One uses computer models and the other uses the analysis of genomic information. or protein interactions.

    Now you can say it is bad research or the research has not gotten anywhere but you cannot say it is not making predictions or attempting to investigate the physical world.

    Please cut out this nonsense about ID not making predictions or generating hypotheses.

    No one is disputing micro evolution as a valid discipline. We are disputing macro evolution as a valid discipline and because of its lack of validity it should be removed from biology textbooks and biology curriculum in both the colleges and high schools. In college textbooks I could see it being referenced in a side bar as a speculative hypothesis that has no current backing.

  211. Wait!!! Stop the presses I have headline news!!!!

    The “great” prediction of natural selction:

    Some organisms may outlive and out-reproduce others in the same population under certain circumstances.

  212. Mr Joseph,

    Yes, the E=mc^2 of evolution! If only population genetics had a similar inequality that fit on a t-shirt…

  213. 213

    How bout this one nak,

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

  214. 214

    Natural Selection, Genetic Mutations and Information – EXPELLED – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOWfmuJ-MdY

  215. jerry:

    Both Dembski and Behe make predictions. Both Behe and Dembski use scientific methods to evaluate those predictions.

    I’m curious — what predictions has Dembski made and tested?

  216. Jerry @ 210:

    You are running wild with a comment without trying to have a discussion on it.

    Running wild?

    I’ve made two assertions on this thread.

    – That your accurate description of intelligent design as lacking a model, as postulating one-off events that are anomalous relative to natural law, and as invoking an agent about which nothing is known neatly describes why ID isn’t, and can’t be, an empirical science.

    - That Joseph’s assertion that “non-telic” evolutionary theories make no testable predictions is mistaken. That is blankly refuted by a paper describing a “non-telic” mechanism which gave rise to predictions that were subsequently tested.

    If that is your idea of running wild, you must be a cheap date :)

    UB @ 173 and 200:

    What empirical lab results has science used confirm that Life began by chance?

    What are the predictions of those lab results?

    These questions aren’t remotely relevant to my assertions. Whether there are a thousand laboratory findings with bearing upon the natural origins of life, one, or none doesn’t change the fact that countless empirical studies similar to my exemplar above test predictions that arise from current “non telic” evolutionary models – models of the sort that Jerry correctly indicates ID does not and cannot generate.

    You are incorrect to state that it is a “foundational conclusion” that life arose randomly. It is fair to say that it is an assumption (not a conclusion) that the origin of life is a natural phenomenon that has occurred without the intervention of an agent. I certainly assume that, but don’t claim to “know” that. No one knows how life originated, and therefore any postulated origin must remain speculative for the present. I do expect that state of affairs to change, although not in my lifetime.

  217. 217

    Diffaxial states:

    “It is fair to say that it is an assumption (not a conclusion) that the origin of life is a natural phenomenon that has occurred without the intervention of an agent. I certainly assume that, but don’t claim to “know” that.”

    How reasonable is Diffaxial materialistic presumption?

    Well lets subject Diffaxial’s materialism to rigorous scrutiny:

    I’ve heard someone say, “Science is materialism.” Yet science clearly is not materialism. Materialism is a philosophy which makes the dogmatic assertion that only blind material processes generated everything around us, including ourselves. Materialism is thus in direct opposition to Theism which holds that God purposely created us in His image. Furthermore science, or more particularly the scientific method, in reality, only cares to relentlessly pursue the truth and could care less if the answer is a materialistic one or not. This is especially true in these questions of origins, since we are indeed questioning the materialistic philosophy itself. i.e. We are asking the scientific method to answer this very specific question, “Did God create us or did blind material processes create us?” When we realize this is the actual question we are seeking an answer to within the scientific method, then of course it is readily apparent we cannot impose strict materialistic answers onto the scientific method prior to investigation.
    In fact when looking at the evidence in this light we find out many interesting things which scientists, who have been blinded by the philosophy of materialism, miss. This is because the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find. These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method.

    For a quick overview here are a few:

    1.Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation – Time was created in the Big Bang. -

    3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) – Space was created in the Big Bang. -

    4. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. -

    5. Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. -

    6. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure (93 so far) is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. -

    7. Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe – Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. -

    8. Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. -

    9. Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) -

    10. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) -

    11. Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth -

    12. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. – The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. -

    13. Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record – Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. -

    14. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. -

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy, from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. -

    When looking at the evidence in this light, I would say that Diffaxial is clearly misguided in his materialistic assumption as far as these questions of origins are concerned.

  218. 218

    bornagain77:
    Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils

    Even if there’s just one, logic dictates that such “transitionals” exist. Care to discuss H. erectus in depth?

  219. “hat your accurate description of intelligent design as lacking a model, as postulating one-off events that are anomalous relative to natural law, and as invoking an agent about which nothing is known neatly describes why ID isn’t, and can’t be, an empirical science.”

    And I told you very clearly why it could and how you try to distort things. Because ID does not base its science on a model does not mean that it is not science. So your using my assessment of ID is non sequitur.

    Capice?

  220. BornAgain77 @ 277:

    These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method…

    Does theism predict recycling? Because this is about the 20th time I’ve seen this list in one form or another.

  221. Jerry @ 218:

    Capice?

    What do you get when you cross a Godfather with a philosopher?

    An offer you can’t understand.

  222. Mr Bornagain77,

    Expelled is not a peer reviewed journal, ne? Parlimentarian Giertych can publish such a theory if he has the evidence to back it up, otherwise it shows up in the crank aisle on YouTube.

    Capisce?

  223. 223

    Diffaxial,
    If you have seen this list before, Then why have you clung to the materialistic philosophy when it is so vacuous of predictive power? I would think that a man would find it a very wonderful thing to see that God is vindicated in such fashion…Does materialism promise you anything besides a purposeless existence before you die? Why would anyone be attracted to such a horrid philosophy especially when the current evidence is crushing it? Myself I find the promises of God to be wonderful and of no comparison whatsoever to your philosophy. Maybe I am missing something,,,could you please explain why you are attracted to the lie of materialism?

  224. 224

    Nakashima,

    the entire spectrum of dog sub-species have been found to have less genetic diversity than the parent wolf species:

    .. the mean sequence divergence in dogs, 2.06, was almost identical to the 2.10 (sequence divergence) found within wolves. (please note the sequence divergence is slightly smaller for the entire spectrum of dogs than for wolves)
    http://jhered.oxfordjournals.o.....0/1/71.pdf

    Biodiversity is essential for our existence:
    Excerpt: Unfortunately, industrial agriculture has caused a dramatic reduction of genetic diversity within the animal and plant species typically used for food.

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.” Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.-

    I wonder what Hitler would have thought of that study?

    “When first cousins marry, their children have a reduction of life expectancy of nearly 10 years. Why is this? It is because inbreeding exposes the genetic mistakes within the genome (slightly detrimental recessive mutations) that have not yet had time to “come to the surface”. Inbreeding is like a sneak preview, or foreshadowing, of where we are going to be genetically as a whole as a species in the future. The reduced life expectancy of inbred children reflects the overall aging of the genome that has accumulated thus far, and reveals the hidden reservoir of genetic damage that have been accumulating in our genomes.”
    Sanford; Genetic Entropy; page 147

    This following study is interesting in that it shows the principle of Genetic Entropy being obeyed for the estimated 60,000 year old anatomically modern humans found in Australia:

    Ancient DNA and the origin of modern humans: John H. Relethford
    Excerpt: Adcock et al. (7) clearly demonstrate the actual extinction of an ancient mtDNA lineage belonging to an anatomically modern human, because this lineage is not found in living Australians. Although the fossil evidence provides evidence of the continuity of modern humans over the past 60,000 years,,,,

    Natural Selection Reduces Genetic Information – No Beneficial Mutations – Spetner – Denton – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdZYguRuzn0

    Natural Selection Reduces Genetic Information – Dr. Georgia Purdom – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izPzEgRtPKI

  225. 225

    Nak you can also answer the question of “why is it so important for you to deny God? Of what benefit is there in it for you? Do you think living a lie will give you more money or something?

    evanescence – lies
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxHP9-fEuRk

  226. Mr Bornagain77,

    Are you trying to support this quote:

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”

    with studies of artificially bred dogs and industrial agriculture??

    It is a good thing evolution is more than just natural selection, isn’t it? If we didn’t have 47-odd sources of variation to overbalance selection, we’d still be slime molds!

  227. Mr Bornagain77,

    I was deeply religious for about 25 years of my life. I accepted Jesus into my heart in 1975. (Should I change my name to bornagain75?) I have no desire to deny God. It would be deeply satisfying and comforting to find the evidence that would let me glorify God. I haven’t seen it yet. I certainly have not seen it in the faux sciences of American Christianity, from Mary Baker Eddy to Henry Morris to William Dembski. As Alice B. Toklas famously said of Oakland, “There is no there, there.”

    I personally do not see an affirmation and glorification of God in theologians making puerile Flash animations, school board members lying under oath, astronomers failing to do astronomy, molecular biologists failing to do molecular biology, or mathematicians failing to math, except in Jello.

    Who is properly fulfilling the verse, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out.”? Neil Shubin. Francis Collins. Lynn Margulis.

    But then, who’s talking about God, anyway? I don’t take His Name in vain by raising it on this blog. I’m here to have a good time, talking about ID, FSCI, FCSI and macroevolution. I’m not troubled by the religious origins or otherwise of evolution – I only believe in the change of allele frequencies over time, not evolution!

    So chill out pilgrim. I won’t apologise for not fitting in your categories, just leave you with this wisdom – “Your Princess is in another castle!”

  228. Nakashima-san:

    An interesting remark (which is appreciated as a moment of self-disclosure), and an even more interesting list of individuals.

    I would wonder about adding: Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship, Billy and Frank Graham, Charles G Finney, Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas, to name a few. (In short, your list is a bit one-sided and emphasises one aspect of life: regardless of worldview or religious commitments, we all struggle with moral challenges. A list of “great” atheists of modern times and their misdeeds would be interesting indeed . . . )

    Now, it so happens too that I have had occasion to correspond (somewhat of an exchange in fact on thermodynamics related matters) with the late Mr Morris. I found him a very honest and decent Christian gentleman. He may be wrong on his science (he now knows for sure one way or the other) but he was definitely not a poseur.

    Similarly, while I have not had occasion to meet or personally correspond with Mr Dembski, I have taken a serious look at what he and others have had to say. They have a serious point; just, one that cuts across the line taken by the dominant school of thought in our day.

    In particular, I find that the only credible, empirically supported explanation fro prescriptive and data descriptive codes and languages, algorithms using same, associated complex algorithmically functional information and machinery to physically instantiate and express such, is intelligence.

    And, given the following excerpt from the most under-appreciated great historian of the C1, I do not usually expect that the thought that sways the future will be easily welcomed by the guardians of the intellectual status quo:

    _______________

    >> 19 . . . [the Stoics and Epicureans] took [Paul of Tarsus] and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” 21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

    22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

    24″The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times [= kairous . . . ] set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28′For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

    29″Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent [ = metanoiein]. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

    32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” 33At that, Paul left the Council. 34A few men became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others. >>
    _________________

    { . . . ]

  229. 1 –> The Athenians, we observe, loved to entertain themselves intellectually — especially at the expense of those they despised or dismissed as their intellectual inferiors. [Note the significance of "spermologos."]

    2 –> In his opening remarks, the man who embodied and synthesised the future — an Asiatic Jew, roman Citizen and Christian intellectual from a Greek city of learning — went straight for the critical flaw in the classical humanism embraced by the intellectual leaders of that time.

    3 –> In so doing, he highlighted how for centuries, the proud guardians of the West’s intellectual heritage had to acknowledge through a public monument, their ignorance on the most important single point of knowledge: primary reality.

    4 –> Instead of a foundation of ignorance, he put forward what was a novelty: the Prime Reality Himself is concerned enough to communicate with us, giving us a foundation on which we can soundly build; thus Paul exerted prophetic intellectual and cultural leadership.

    5 –> And, the key communication from that day to now is this:

    . . . Ac 17:30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

    6 –> The call to metanoia is always a challenge: our attitudes, expectations, and thought are all under a microscope, and having been found sadly wanting [if we are honest with ourselves], need to be changed through a right-about turn.

    7 –> And, in support of this call, the central warranting argument of the Christian message is offered: God’s standard of assessment is Jesus of Nazareth, and he has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead (with 500+ eyewitnesses). [Cf Craig's excellent summary here, this survey from the classic Catholic encyclopedia, and this Google book online survey.]

    8 –> As a bit of a footnote, observe, that the central warranting argument is not about who made the world and us in it, but about a breaking into our history in a way that has been transforming for 2,000 years, despirte all the many failings of Christians and Christendom that can ever so often be gleefully listed as an excuse to look no further. (But the standard of behaviour is not struggling Peters who pull swords and try to strike off heads — Malchus ducked! — then as the impulse of bravery fades cower in the face of servant girls. If it were, there would be nothing remarkable there to face! Instead, we must see and reckon with that ever astonishing figure, Jesus.)

    9 –> Of course, ever honest Luke is straight: Paul was literally laughed out of court. But, there is a name listed among the despised minority: Dionysius. If you glance at a map of Athens, you will see its significance — the road passing by the Areopagus (a limestone outcrop used as an ampitheatre; now bearing a bronze plaque of Paul’s speech) is named after Paul, and its continuation past the Acropolis is called after Dionysius.

    10 –> In short, the future did not belong to the superstitious masses who thought the stories of the gods and demons were all equally true; nor tot he philosophers who sneered that hey were all equally false; nor to the politicians who cynically decided they were all equally useful. Instead, it belonged to the apostle and his message of the god who loved, gave and calls us to repentant faith and blessed hope and transformation in Christ.

    ____________

    And so, we all have a choice or two to make.

    GEM of TKI

  230. PS: N T Wright’s discussion here is also worth a careful reading.

  231. 231

    Excellent response kairosfocus,

    Nakashima,
    Though I will not argue for the resurrection at this moment, which I hold to have sufficient evidence, I will ask you a question of your materialistic philosophy,,”Exactly what constraint of materialism is going to prevent a Almighty Transcendent God from existing?”

    Even evolutionary thinking cannot constrain Him:

    “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.” Alan Sandage (preeminent Astronomer)

    The only other theory possible for the universe’s creation, other than a God-centered hypothesis, is some purposeless materialistic theory based on blind chance. Materialistic blind chance only escapes being completely crushed, by the overwhelming weight of evidence for design, by appealing to an infinity of other un-testable universes in which all other possibilities have been played out. Yet there is no hard physical evidence to support this blind chance conjecture. In fact, the “infinite multiverse” conjecture suffers from some very serious flaws of logic. For instance exactly which laws of physics, arising from which material basis, are telling all the other natural laws in physics what, how and when, to do the many precise unchanging things they do in these other universes? Plus, if an infinite number of other possible universes must exist in order to explain the fine tuning of this one, then why is it not also infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator to exist? I bet evolutionists will suddenly find a limit to what evolution is capable of doing when they realize that unconstrained possibility! Using the materialist same line of reasoning for an infinity of multiverses to explain the extreme fine-tuning of this one; if it is infinitely possible for God to exist then He, of 100% certainty, must exist no matter how small the probability is of His existence in one of these other infinity of universes, and since He certainly must exist, then all possibilities in all universes automatically become subject to Him since He is, by definition, All Powerful. To illustrate the absurdity of what the materialists now consider their cutting edge science: The materialistic conjecture of an infinity of universes to explain the fine tuning of this one also insures the 100% probability of the existence of Pink Unicorns no matter how small the probability is of them existing. In fact a infinity of universes insures the existence of an infinity of Pink Unicorns an infinite number of times. Thus it is self-evident the materialists have painted themselves into a inescapable corner of logical absurdities in trying to find an escape from the Theistic implications we are finding for the fine-tuning of this universe.

    Considering Buying Into the Multiverse? Caveat Emptor
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....verse.html

    Another escape from the theistic implications of the anthropic principle that materialists have postulated was a slightly constrained “string-theoretic” multiverse:

    Baron Münchhausen and the Self-Creating Universe:
    That the universe did not always exist is certain, even when multiverse scenarios are considered, since the mechanism of “eternal inflation” postulated to give rise to the multiverse is not eternal into the past (Borde, Guth& Vilenkin: Jan 2003)…..design inferences are epistemically warranted when specified information of a certain complexity (high improbability) is observed, quite independent of whether we have an explanation for the intelligence behind the design. Here’s a particularly telling example: Roger Penrose has calculated that the entropy of the big bang itself, in order to give rise to the life-permitting universe we observe, must be fine-tuned to one part in e10exp(123)?10^10exp(123). Such complex specified conditions do not arise by chance, even in a string-theoretic multiverse with 10^500 different configurations of laws and constants, so an intelligent cause may be inferred. What is more, since it is the big bang itself that is fine-tuned to this degree, the intelligence that explains it as an effect must be logically prior to it and independent of it – in short, an immaterial intelligence that transcends matter, energy and space-time. So much, then, for a personified universe engineering its own bio-friendliness: the universe is not a free lunch and the intelligence of which it gives evidence is not incipient within it.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....selfc.html

    The following expert shows why the materialistic postulation of “string theory” is, for all intents and purposes of empirical science, a complete waste of time and energy:

    Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law:
    Peter Woit, a PhD. in theoretical physics and a lecturer in mathematics at Columbia, points out—again and again—that string theory, despite its two decades of dominance, is just a hunch aspiring to be a theory. It hasn’t predicted anything, as theories are required to do, and its practitioners have become so desperate, says Woit, that they’re willing to redefine what doing science means in order to justify their labors.
    http://www.amazon.com/Not-Even.....0465092756

    Materialists also use to try to find a place for the blind chance of materialism to hide by proposing a universe which expands and contracts (recycles) infinitely. Even at first glance, the “recycling universe” conjecture suffers so many questions from the second law of thermodynamics (entropy) as to render it effectively implausible as a serious theory, but now the recycling universe conjecture has been totally crushed by the hard empirical evidence for a “flat” universe by the “BOOMERANG” experiment.

    Evidence against the oscillating universe- Michael Strauss – video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A9G8k02vpI

    Evidence For Flat Universe Reported By Boomerang Project
    http://www.lbl.gov/ScienceArti.....-flat.html

    A “flat universe”, which is actually another surprisingly finely-tuned “coincidence” of the universe, means this universe, left to its own present course of accelerating expansion due to “Dark Energy”, will continue to expand forever, thus fulfilling the thermodynamic equilibrium of the second law to its fullest extent (entropic “Heat Death” of the universe).

    The Future of the Universe
    excerpt: After all the black holes have evaporated, (and after all the ordinary matter made of protons has disintegrated, if protons are unstable), the universe will be nearly empty. Photons, neutrinos, electrons and positrons will fly from place to place, hardly ever encountering each other. It will be cold, and dark, and there is no known process which will ever change things. —- Not a happy ending.

    http://spiff.rit.edu/classes/p.....uture.html

    Psalm 102:25-27
    Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

    Big Rip
    Excerpt: The Big Rip is a cosmological hypothesis first published in 2003, about the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the matter of universe, from stars and galaxies to atoms and subatomic particles, are progressively torn apart by the expansion of the universe at a certain time in the future. Theoretically, the scale factor of the universe becomes infinite at a finite time in the future.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

    Thermodynamic Argument Against Evolution – Thomas Kindell – video
    Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI1RiTOQ4do
    Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgzWMccWOe8
    Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQBjguaBueE

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    The only hard evidence there is, the stunning precision found in the universal constants, points overwhelmingly to intelligent design by an infinitely powerful Creator who originally established what the unchanging universal constants of physics could and would do during the creation of the universe. The hard evidence left no room for the blind chance of natural laws in this universe. Thus, materialism was forced into appealing to an infinity of un-testable universes for it was left with no footing in this universe. These developments in science make it seem like materialism was cast into the abyss of nothingness in so far as rationally explaining the fine-tuning of the universe.

    Thus Nakashima as far as I am concerned you are without a reasonable excuse to cling to materialism as you do in your rejection of God.

  232. 232

    Excellent response kairosfocus,

    Nakashima,
    Though I will not argue for the resurrection at this moment, which I hold to have sufficient evidence, nor will I expose your lie of some other variations being responsible for evolution at this moment, I will ask you a question of your materialistic philosophy,,”Exactly what constraint of materialism is going to prevent a Almighty Transcendent God from existing?”

    Even evolutionary thinking cannot constrain Him:

    “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.” Alan Sandage (preeminent Astronomer)

    The only other theory possible for the universe’s creation, other than a God-centered hypothesis, is some purposeless materialistic theory based on blind chance. Materialistic blind chance only escapes being completely crushed, by the overwhelming weight of evidence for design, by appealing to an infinity of other un-testable universes in which all other possibilities have been played out. Yet there is no hard physical evidence to support this blind chance conjecture. In fact, the “infinite multiverse” conjecture suffers from some very serious flaws of logic. For instance exactly which laws of physics, arising from which material basis, are telling all the other natural laws in physics what, how and when, to do the many precise unchanging things they do in these other universes? Plus, if an infinite number of other possible universes must exist in order to explain the fine tuning of this one, then why is it not also infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator to exist? I bet evolutionists will suddenly find a limit to what evolution is capable of doing when they realize that unconstrained possibility! Using the materialist same line of reasoning for an infinity of multiverses to explain the extreme fine-tuning of this one; if it is infinitely possible for God to exist then He, of 100% certainty, must exist no matter how small the probability is of His existence in one of these other infinity of universes, and since He certainly must exist, then all possibilities in all universes automatically become subject to Him since He is, by definition, All Powerful. To illustrate the absurdity of what the materialists now consider their cutting edge science: The materialistic conjecture of an infinity of universes to explain the fine tuning of this one also insures the 100% probability of the existence of Pink Unicorns no matter how small the probability is of them existing. In fact a infinity of universes insures the existence of an infinity of Pink Unicorns an infinite number of times. Thus it is self-evident the materialists have painted themselves into a inescapable corner of logical absurdities in trying to find an escape from the Theistic implications we are finding for the fine-tuning of this universe.

    Considering Buying Into the Multiverse? Caveat Emptor
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....verse.html

    Another escape from the theistic implications of the anthropic principle that materialists have postulated was a slightly constrained “string-theoretic” multiverse:

    Baron Münchhausen and the Self-Creating Universe:
    That the universe did not always exist is certain, even when multiverse scenarios are considered, since the mechanism of “eternal inflation” postulated to give rise to the multiverse is not eternal into the past (Borde, Guth& Vilenkin: Jan 2003)…..design inferences are epistemically warranted when specified information of a certain complexity (high improbability) is observed, quite independent of whether we have an explanation for the intelligence behind the design. Here’s a particularly telling example: Roger Penrose has calculated that the entropy of the big bang itself, in order to give rise to the life-permitting universe we observe, must be fine-tuned to one part in e10exp(123)?10^10exp(123). Such complex specified conditions do not arise by chance, even in a string-theoretic multiverse with 10^500 different configurations of laws and constants, so an intelligent cause may be inferred. What is more, since it is the big bang itself that is fine-tuned to this degree, the intelligence that explains it as an effect must be logically prior to it and independent of it – in short, an immaterial intelligence that transcends matter, energy and space-time. So much, then, for a personified universe engineering its own bio-friendliness: the universe is not a free lunch and the intelligence of which it gives evidence is not incipient within it.

    The following expert shows why the materialistic postulation of “string theory” is, for all intents and purposes of empirical science, a complete waste of time and energy:

    Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law:
    Peter Woit, a PhD. in theoretical physics and a lecturer in mathematics at Columbia, points out—again and again—that string theory, despite its two decades of dominance, is just a hunch aspiring to be a theory. It hasn’t predicted anything, as theories are required to do, and its practitioners have become so desperate, says Woit, that they’re willing to redefine what doing science means in order to justify their labors.

    Materialists also use to try to find a place for the blind chance of materialism to hide by proposing a universe which expands and contracts (recycles) infinitely. Even at first glance, the “recycling universe” conjecture suffers so many questions from the second law of thermodynamics (entropy) as to render it effectively implausible as a serious theory, but now the recycling universe conjecture has been totally crushed by the hard empirical evidence for a “flat” universe by the “BOOMERANG” experiment.

    Evidence against the oscillating universe- Michael Strauss – video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A9G8k02vpI

    Evidence For Flat Universe Reported By Boomerang Project
    http://www.lbl.gov/ScienceArti.....-flat.html

    A “flat universe”, which is actually another surprisingly finely-tuned “coincidence” of the universe, means this universe, left to its own present course of accelerating expansion due to “Dark Energy”, will continue to expand forever, thus fulfilling the thermodynamic equilibrium of the second law to its fullest extent (entropic “Heat Death” of the universe).

    The Future of the Universe
    excerpt: After all the black holes have evaporated, (and after all the ordinary matter made of protons has disintegrated, if protons are unstable), the universe will be nearly empty. Photons, neutrinos, electrons and positrons will fly from place to place, hardly ever encountering each other. It will be cold, and dark, and there is no known process which will ever change things. —- Not a happy ending.

    Psalm 102:25-27
    Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

    Big Rip
    Excerpt: The Big Rip is a cosmological hypothesis first published in 2003, about the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the matter of universe, from stars and galaxies to atoms and subatomic particles, are progressively torn apart by the expansion of the universe at a certain time in the future. Theoretically, the scale factor of the universe becomes infinite at a finite time in the future.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    The only hard evidence there is, the stunning precision found in the universal constants, points overwhelmingly to intelligent design by an infinitely powerful Creator who originally established what the unchanging universal constants of physics could and would do during the creation of the universe. The hard evidence left no room for the blind chance of natural laws in this universe. Thus, materialism was forced into appealing to an infinity of un-testable universes for it was left with no footing in this universe. These developments in science make it seem like materialism was cast into the abyss of nothingness in so far as rationally explaining the fine-tuning of the universe.

    Thus Nakashima, as far as I am concerned, you are without a reasonable excuse to cling to materialism, as you are doing in your rejection of God.

  233. 233

    Diff, who are you trying to kid with your post at 216? In it you say that my questions to you have no count with your assertions on this board. We’ll let’s look at you assertions and see if that is the case, or if, as I suspect, your objections are as contrived as they seem.

    In your earlier post you quote Jerry saying:

    By using the term “model” it indicates that something is operating according to some system (usually the interaction of several physical processes) when the thing that ID is interested in is possibly a one time event and is an anomaly from on going natural laws…If it is a willful act by an intelligent agent then it could be a one time event and no model imaginable could describe it.

    To this you post a reply that has a rather familiar refrain: Oh, how delightful our world would be if that pesky ID could simply be kicked out of the club. Like a old and tired political stereotype from an era gone by; there is always an old fart who is pleased to bring it up.

    You say: “Jerry’s reply succinctly describes those characteristics of ID that render it incapable of becoming an empirical science.”

    Your meaning here is as clear as a bell: ID is not science. Your inspiring support for this claim comes directly from your comment: “ID’s assertion that an entirely unknown designer effected changes that are anomalous relative to natural laws and may be one-off events render “ID theory” incapable of generating empirical predictions. Simple as that.”

    So lets us look at your reasoning before we examine my response.

    Firstly, you say that ID makes an assertion that the identity of the designing agent is unknown. This is completely true, and it is true for a very important reason. There is nothing whatsoever in the evidence for design that gives even a hint of whom or what may have provided the design. The only thing that ID can discern from the physical evidence (using the correct methods of historical scientific investigation) is that an act of volitional agency is not only the best explanation, but the only explanation capable of producing what is observed at the molecular level of Life. You may take a clue on this point from Charles Lyell on the subject of explaining past events in the historical sciences. The subtitle of his master work is “By Reference to Causes Now in Operation”. In other words, agency is the only cause in operation today that we are empirically certain is “causally adequate” to explain what we observe. The largest body of observations in biology can be explained by the assumption that organisms can change over time, and that Life exist by virtue of selection at the level of information.

    The fact you are uneasy when ID cannot name a designer is tantamount to you trying to write into the evidence something that is not there. Clearly you would like ID to posit a designer so you would have something to argue with, but sorry, that isn’t the job of science (and certainly isn’t a function of the evidence).

    Secondly, you suggest that ID asserts a cause that is “anomalous relative to natural law” and may even be a “one-off” event. This is also true, but the direction of your comment is ignorant of the facts. The Big Bang is demonstrably “anomalous relative to natural law” and may even be a “one-off” event. Is the Big Bang science?

    The argument in cosmic origins brewed for years, but in the end it was decided by the recognition of new evidence that we can see and verify today by causes operating as they exist today. This is the exact same position ID holds with the evidence. Your recognition of it is the variable here, but the evidence is intractable on its own terms. Material causes, as we observe them, cannot form a symbol system, and there are no physical properties that can cause the sequencing of nucleotides inside genetic information. The only cause as we observe it today, which is capable of producing the evidence, is the act of an agent. These things are not even in question.

    Materialists often talk about being as certain as gravity, but I suspect that is only because they can’t count on the evidence. In any case, my response to your post was that you should try to make sense (and be consistent). I stand by those comments.

    I also said that science has fundamentally concluded that Life began by chance, and I asked what lab results science used to confirm that Life began by chance. To this you responded that my question has nothing to do with your insistence that ID should show some lab results in order to be considered science. As I suspected, your objection is as contrived as it is detached from the evidence at hand.

    – - – - – - – - – - -

    You then go on in your post to argue about the predictions made by evolutionary processes. It’s a head-shaker, really.

    Honestly, when are you going to get it? ID isn’t about evolution. However, in light of the empirical evidence that chance and physical necessity did not sequence the nucleic acids that make life possible, would you like to know what the core prediction of materialism is? It’s that all things are caused by chance and physical necessity. The core prediction of the design hypothesis is just the opposite; that we have found something not caused by chance and physical necessity, but was the act of an agent instead. The evidence, as we can observe it, is a falsification of the materialist’s ideology and an affirmation of design.

    You then say “You are incorrect to state that it is a “foundational conclusion” that life arose randomly. It is fair to say that it is an assumption (not a conclusion) that the origin of life is a natural phenomenon that has occurred without the intervention of an agent.”

    You must be talking about something else. Setting aside the fact that the assumption doesn’t even come close to explaining the evidence, you couldn’t possibly be implying that science has not made its mind up about origins being caused by chance and necessity. You say “any postulated origin must remain speculative for the present”.

    Which institutions of higher learning tolerate even a tacit admission that chance and necessity cannot form a symbol system?

    For whatever reason, you did not say.

  234. 234

    Diff, who are you trying to kid with your post at 216? In it you say that my questions to you have no count with your assertions on this board. We’ll let’s look at you assertions and see if that is the case, or if, as I suspect, your objections are as contrived as they seem.

    In your earlier post you quote Jerry saying:

    By using the term “model” it indicates that something is operating according to some system (usually the interaction of several physical processes) when the thing that ID is interested in is possibly a one time event and is an anomaly from on going natural laws…If it is a willful act by an intelligent agent then it could be a one time event and no model imaginable could describe it.

    To this you post a reply that has a rather familiar refrain: Oh, how delightful our world would be if that pesky ID could simply be kicked out of the club. Like a old and tired political stereotype from an era gone by; there is always an old fart who is pleased to bring it up.

    You say: “Jerry’s reply succinctly describes those characteristics of ID that render it incapable of becoming an empirical science.”

    Your meaning here is as clear as a bell: ID is not science. Your inspiring support for this claim comes directly from your comment: “ID’s assertion that an entirely unknown designer effected changes that are anomalous relative to natural laws and may be one-off events render “ID theory” incapable of generating empirical predictions. Simple as that.”

    So lets us look at your reasoning before we examine my response.

    Firstly, you say that ID makes an assertion that the identity of the designing agent is unknown. This is completely true, and it is true for a very important reason. There is nothing whatsoever in the evidence for design that gives even a hint of whom or what may have provided the design. The only thing that ID can discern from the physical evidence (using the correct methods of historical scientific investigation) is that an act of volitional agency is not only the best explanation, but the only explanation capable of producing what is observed at the molecular level of Life. You may take a clue on this point from Charles Lyell on the subject of explaining past events in the historical sciences. The subtitle of his master work is “By Reference to Causes Now in Operation”. In other words, agency is the only cause in operation today that we are empirically certain is “causally adequate” to explain what we observe. The largest body of observations in biology can be explained by the assumption that organisms can change over time, and that Life exist by virtue of selection at the level of information.

    The fact you are uneasy when ID cannot name a designer is tantamount to you trying to write into the evidence something that is not there. Clearly you would like ID to posit a designer so you would have something to argue with, but sorry, that isn’t the job of science (and certainly isn’t a function of the evidence).

    Secondly, you suggest that ID asserts a cause that is “anomalous relative to natural law” and may even be a “one-off” event. This is also true, but the direction of your comment is ignorant of the facts. The Big Bang is demonstrably “anomalous relative to natural law” and may even be a “one-off” event. Is the Big Bang science?

    The argument in cosmic origins brewed for years, but in the end it was decided by the recognition of new evidence that we can see and verify today by causes operating as they exist today. This is the exact same position ID holds with the evidence. Your recognition of it is the variable here, but the evidence is intractable on its own terms. Material causes, as we observe them, cannot form a symbol system, and there are no physical properties that can cause the sequencing of nucleotides inside genetic information. The only cause as we observe it today, which is capable of producing the evidence, is the act of an agent. These things are not even in question.

    Materialists often talk about being as certain as gravity, but I suspect that is only because they can’t count on the evidence. In any case, my response to your post was that you should try to make sense (and be consistent). I stand by those comments.

    I also said that science has fundamentally concluded that Life began by chance, and I asked what lab results science used to confirm that Life began by chance. To this you responded that my question has nothing to do with your insistence that ID should show some lab results in order to be considered science. As I suspected, your objection is as contrived as it is detached from the evidence at hand.

    – - – - – - – - – - -

    You then go on in your post to argue about the predictions made by evolutionary processes. It’s a head-shaker, really.

    Honestly, when are you going to get it? ID isn’t about evolution. However, in light of the empirical evidence that chance and physical necessity did not sequence the nucleic acids that make life possible, would you like to know what the core prediction of materialism is? It’s that all things are caused by chance and physical necessity. The core prediction of the design hypothesis is just the opposite; that we have found something not caused by chance and physical necessity, but was the act of an agent instead. The evidence, as we can observe it, is a falsification of the materialist’s ideology and an affirmation of design.

    You then say “You are incorrect to state that it is a “foundational conclusion” that life arose randomly. It is fair to say that it is an assumption (not a conclusion) that the origin of life is a natural phenomenon that has occurred without the intervention of an agent.”

    You must be talking about something else. Setting aside the fact that the assumption doesn’t even come close to explaining the evidence, you couldn’t possibly be implying that science has not made its mind up about origins being caused by chance and necessity. You say “any postulated origin must remain speculative for the present”.

    Which institutions of higher learning tolerate even a tacit admission that chance and necessity cannot form a symbol system?

    For whatever reason, you did not say.

  235. Upright @ 232 (and 233):

    A little digging through your response results in some efficiencies:

    I said: “ID’s assertion that an entirely unknown designer effected changes… You reply: “This is completely true…”

    I said: “…that are anomalous relative to natural laws and may be one-off events…” You reply: “This is also true.”

    Jerry also above affirms that ID has no model.

    Therefore you entirely affirm the premises of my assertion.

    I then argue that given the absence of a model, given the invocation of an unknown and unknowable designer, given the possibility of unpredictable one-off events, and given the acceptance of “anomalies” vis natural law, ANY empirical finding may be reconciled with ID. Therefore no dispositive empirical predictions are possible.

    Your choice of big bang theory to make a rhetorical point is a fortunate one. BB theory exemplifies a scientific theory possessing the characteristics that ID lacks (as established above), characteristics that account for its success:

    - Long before its empirical confirmation, the purveyors of big bang theory devised a detailed model of the process. As we have established above, ID has no model.

    - Gamow and others operated from the assumption physical events followed lawfully from the big bang. As you affirm above, ID postulates events that may be “anomalous” with respect to physical law, as above.

    - In light of physical law, the big bang model made quite specific empirical predictions amenable to meaningful confirmation by means of specific observations. Because ID theory postulates and unknown causal agent, has no model, and accepts “anomalies” vis physical laws, its “predictions” are unconstrained. Unconstrained predictions are not predictions at all, in the scientific sense.

    - Those empirical predictions were confirmed. Had they failed to be confirmed, big bang theory would have been rejected. ID can devise no such dispositive tests, for the reasons cited above. Nor do ID “researchers” actually do empirical research. (Rummaging around others research findings and “reanalyzing” others data is not empirical research).

    The balance of your post vis historical inference beautifully exemplifies the assumption of one’s conclusions.

    Your meaning here is as clear as a bell: ID is not science.

    Exactly.

  236. Mr Bornagain77,

    If you would like to continue discussng science and its variations, I am happy to do so. For example, I just read that string theory has had a ‘stop the presses!’ moment by actually making useful predictions about an aspect of high temperature superconductivity. Truly, there is hope for us all!

    On the other hand, if you will continue to call me a liar, and the confront me with the overwhelming evidence of your ability to cut and paste, I will simply ignore you. That was the most inept and embarrassing altar call I have seen on this blog. I told you I don’t fit your preconception of materialist philosophy, but you rail against it anyway. By all means, you can continue to witness to my Evil Twin Skippy, I’ll just nip out to Starbucks while you two sort it out, ok?

    If you had actually wanted to talk with me, not Skippy the Arch-materialist, you would have done well to notice that I don’t have a problem with an Almighty, Transcendent God. My problem, if you will, is that I am aware of a God so Trancsendent, so well self-concealed (per the verse I quoted above) that it is devilishly hard to tell His universe from a universe without His Presence at all. Transcendence isn’t the problem. Immanence is the problem.

  237. 237

    Nak,
    It seems to me you are a bowl of mush philosophically speaking,,,You refuse to commit solidly to any philosophical basis (though you actually defend materialism tooth and nail whether you admit it or not) and thus that renders your postulations as meaningless as a bowl of Jello in regards to drawing concrete solutions from science for you claim to have no basis from which to work. But of course you will fail to see this as well! What is the point of exposing your lies if you don’t even have enough honesty to be honest with yourself!

    Atheism – A World Of Lies – Evanescence
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GeIOkSinKM

  238. 238

    Diff,

    “Jerry also above affirms that ID has no model”

    No model for what? Evolution? Why does ID need a model for something it does not concern? Please explain that in detail. Did you simply miss the part where I said
    “Honestly, when are you going to get it? ID isn’t about evolution.” Did you simply forget? It has been said to you many times.

    “I then argue that given the absence of a model”

    An absent model of what, Diff? Evolution? Did you let slip your memory yet again, or this simply a matter of intellectual convenience?

    “given the invocation of an unknown and unknowable designer”

    Unknowable by what? The evidence? Unknowable by the evidence? How does that change the intractable evidence that chance and necessity did not sequence the nucleotides that make life possible? Please answer that in detail.

    “given the possibility of unpredictable one-off events, and given the acceptance of “anomalies” vis natural law”

    One-off events like what Diff? Like the Big Bang? You mean anomalies like the Big Bang?

    “Therefore no dispositive empirical predictions are possible.”

    Dispositive empirical facts are possible, Diff, but there aren’t any. In fact, the opposite is true as we look at causal mechanisms and how they operate. Does that matter? Does it matter that chance and necessity cannot organize a symbol system, when it is a symbol system that must be explained? Does it concern you in the least that there are no physical forces that can sequence DNA for function, when the sequencing of DNA for function is what must be explained?

    “Your choice of big bang theory to make a rhetorical point is a fortunate one. BB theory exemplifies a scientific theory possessing the characteristics that ID lacks (as established above), characteristics that account for its success”

    My choice of the Big Bang was spot on. Both the BB and ID hold the same position within the evidence: both have been confirmed by new empirical information observed as it exists today.

    “Long before its empirical confirmation, the purveyors of big bang theory devised a detailed model of the process.”

    The Big Bang was not confirmed by a model Diff, it was confirmed by the recognition of new empirical evidence, observed today as an artifact of an event that happed in the past. Exactly like ID.

    “Gamow and others operated from the assumption physical events followed lawfully from the big bang”

    Followed lawfully from the Big Bang. Gamow operated from an assumption that was empirically verifiable by basically anyone who ever lived to ponder the question. The world operates in a law-like manner. And, where did those Law exist prior to the Big Bang? Did they come into existence at the moment of Big Bang. But IS the Big Bang a part of those Laws, diff?

    “As you affirm above, ID postulates events that may be “anomalous” with respect to physical law, as above.”

    This is an out and out lie. You are now lying to make your point. ID does not posit anything that broke any Laws. Being an anomaly to physical laws is hardly the same as breaking them. The existence of a red plastic ball is an anomaly to physical laws, but does not break them. The physical matter within a red plastic ball acts within the Laws, but there is nothing in those Laws that says that the matter should form a sphere and dye itself red. That takes something outside of mere physical laws, does it not? Do you know what that something is?

    And by the way, the acceptance of the Big Bang does not rely on whether it posits why the entire universe once appeared as an unspeakable ball of energy, no more than ID relys on positing how design became instantiated into matter. The value of their conclusions is based on what is known, not on what is unknowable.

    “In light of physical law, the big bang model made quite specific empirical predictions amenable to meaningful confirmation by means of specific observations.”

    Earth to Diffaxial: the over-arching position within the design hypothesis is that not all things are explained by chance and necessity. Guess what: We have the empirical facts in hand that the position is correct. And where does that evidence come from? Oddly enough, right at the point where inanimate material becomes animated into living tissue.

    “Because ID theory postulates and unknown causal agent, has no model, and accepts “anomalies” vis physical laws, its “predictions” are unconstrained. Unconstrained predictions are not predictions at all, in the scientific sense.”

    Simply repeating yourself has no inherent value, and it changes nothing of the empirical evidence.

    “Those empirical predictions were confirmed. Had they failed to be confirmed, big bang theory would have been rejected.

    If the ability of chance and necessity to sequence nucleotides was confirmed, then materialism could have succeeded, but it was not confirmed, and therefore has been falsified by both the evidence against it as well as the positive affirmation of design.

    “ID can devise no such dispositive tests”

    ID would be falsified the moment that materialism passed the test, but it didn’t. The inability to confirm materialism by the evidence has been met by the affirmation that only an act of agency can explain the evidence at hand.

    “Nor do ID “researchers” actually do empirical research. (Rummaging around others research findings and “reanalyzing” others data is not empirical research).”

    Einstein created his masterpiece without even access to a lab. Crick and Watson played detectives with virtually all of their data coming from elsewhere. Did you not know these facts?

    “The balance of your post vis historical inference beautifully exemplifies the assumption of one’s conclusions.”

    Scientism 101: When your position assumes an answer without empirical observation, then refuses to acknowledge evidence to the contrary, defend yourself by suggesting that you opponents have assumed their conclusions.

  239. Mr Bornagain77,

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  240. 240

    Hi jerry,

    Any luck on getting that citation for the Grants claiming it takes 23 million years for one species to appear?

  241. Mr Nakashima,

    Mr Joseph,

    Yes, the E=mc^2 of evolution! If only population genetics had a similar inequality that fit on a t-shirt

    There’s always Fisher’s Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection, which can be approximated by something like this:

    deltaw ~ Va/w

    Where w = mean fitness, and Va is genetic variance

  242. ” then argue that given the absence of a model, given the invocation of an unknown and unknowable designer, given the possibility of unpredictable one-off events, and given the acceptance of “anomalies” vis natural law, ANY empirical finding may be reconciled with ID. Therefore no dispositive empirical predictions are possible,”

    How many times do you have to be told that this is a nonsense argument. You take an honest and accurate assessment, add your non sequiturs and then proclaim the gibberish you add as gibberish. What a thinker.

    ID supporters practices science, use the tools of science, do the same experiments as other scientists, examines the same data etc. ID supporters just comes to some different conclusions occasionally because they use a more expansive set possible explanations. One that includes the possibility of willful actions by an intelligence. Every willful act by an intelligent agent defies the natural laws as we see here by most commenters. So the natural laws are being violated all the time in our world and can be analyzed using the principles of science, logic and a rational mind. It is done all the time. So those who support ID are actually practicing better science than those who are anti ID.

    When you cut out your childish behavior and start acting like an adult, then maybe you could learn something. Till you do, you support our position with your tiresome distortions. If you had a legitimate argument, you would use them. When you resort to these bogus approaches, you are admitting defeat.

  243. Dave Wisker,

    ID has no problem with anything Fisher did that was based on science and logic. So ID supporters would also support the work of Fisher and Fisher’s approximation. In fact they support all the work done by evolutionary biology. That is not an issue. What they do not support is the conclusions often made that is not supported by the data. And frequently these conclusions have metaphysical implications.

    By the way, it was 32 million years not 23 million years. I had a dyslexic moment as I remembered incorrectly but a friend corrected me. The Grants referred to the works of some researchers who were named Prager and Wilson. So maybe you should write the Grants and ask for the cite. It was in a presentation they made at Stanford.

    Apparently none of the finch “species” of the Galapagos are really separate species because they can all interbreed if done artificially and many do so naturally under the right circumstances. They estimated that the finches have been on the Galapagos for three million years and it would take on average 32 million years of divergence before forming species that could not interbreed.

    As I said, write to them for the cite. If you have access to their works, it is probably in the bibliography somewhere.

  244. Hi Jerry,

    ID has no problem with anything Fisher did that was based on science and logic. So ID supporters would also support the work of Fisher and Fisher’s approximation

    So what? I was simply giving Mr Nakashima a population genetics equation that could fit on a t-shirt.

  245. Hi jerry,

    Thanks for mentioning Prager and Wilson. Thg egrants werer ferefering to the time that it would take for hybrid inviability to develop between the populations. Prager and Wilson showed that some groups of organisms develop hybrid inviability over much longer periods of time than others. They mention birds and amphibians as examples. However, they also noted that some groups can develop hybrid inviability much faster, notably mammals, which seem to require only 2 to 3 million years.

  246. Upright @ 236:

    Since you have devolved to asserting that I am lying to make a point, I’ll be brief.

    YOU said:

    You suggest that ID asserts a cause that is “anomalous relative to natural law” and may even be a “one-off” event. This is also true, but the direction of your comments is ignorant of the facts.

    In short, you affirmed that ID asserts a cause that is anomalous relative to natural law.

    I subsequently summarized your statement:

    As you affirm above, ID postulates events that may be “anomalous” with respect to physical law, as above.

    This is a reasonable (and certainly good faith) paraphrase of your own statement, and you did indeed so affirm.

    You now state about the preceding:

    “As you affirm above, ID postulates events that may be “anomalous” with respect to physical law, as above.”

    This is an out and out lie. You are now lying to make your point. ID does not posit anything that broke any Laws. Being an anomaly to physical laws is hardly the same as breaking them.

    However, I said nothing about “breaking laws.” I used Jerry’s term throughout, “anomalous,” reasonably paraphrased your statement, and accurately reported your affirmation. So your scarlet-faced accusation is mistaken.

    Let’s see if you can sack-up and admit that.

  247. 247

    Diffaxial,

    You haven’t been desperately trying to imply additional meaning into Jerry’s words to suit yourself? Even though Jerry’s comments were clear in his original post? And after repeating your insinuation throughout, you were corrected and given context by both Jerry and myself repeatedly (starting at 157 and continuing through 236) only to have you repeat them yet again.

    You dear poor man – how it must sting to be misrepresented that way (after all, you were simply repeating his words right?)

    - – - – - – - -

    I am completely comfortable in having any reader peruse our conversation starting with your post at 156 followed by my reply at 173 and continuing through you last entry. Only humility prevents me from reccomending it.

    - – - – - – - – -

    Isn’t it odd that a materialist would come to an ID webforum, obstensibly to hold his own, yet these are the questions and comments he wilfully chooses to ignore. He doesn’t mention them even once – only to end with a comical claim of being misrepresented:

    “The largest body of observations in biology can be explained by the assumption that organisms can change over time, and that Life exist by virtue of selection at the level of information.”

    “Material causes, as we observe them, cannot form a symbol system, and there are no physical properties that can cause the sequencing of nucleotides inside genetic information. The only cause as we observe it today, which is capable of producing the evidence, is the act of an agent. These things are not even in question.”

    “If the ability of chance and necessity to sequence nucleotides was confirmed, then materialism could have succeeded, but it was not confirmed, and therefore has been falsified by both the evidence against it as well as the positive affirmation of design.”

    …and of course:

    “What empirical lab results has science used confirm that Life began by chance?”

  248. The sack is empty.

  249. 249

    So are your claims.

  250. Jerry @ 240:

    Every willful act by an intelligent agent defies the natural laws as we see here by most commenters. So the natural laws are being violated all the time in our world and can be analyzed using the principles of science, logic and a rational mind. It is done all the time. So those who support ID are actually practicing better science than those who are anti ID.

    This only works because you assume your conclusions, namely that human beings, human behavior, and human intelligence are not natural phenomena.

  251. So are your claims.

    Nice one, UB. He had that coming.

  252. “This only works because you assume your conclusions, namely that human beings, human behavior, and human intelligence are not natural phenomena.”

    Whoa! Would you be willing to let this defense be put into biology books and into articles criticizing ID. That we cannot claim anything is due to intelligence because intelligence is just an illusion and all acts are determined by basic forces. I am willing to let that get into the textbooks and let the students decide if it is nonsense or not.

    I can see it now. It is no longer “it only looks like it was designed” would be replaced by “it only looks like it was an intelligence who designed life but there is no such thing as intelligence.”

    And what does that make your comments here? The output of basic forces of natural laws. I may give you that since your comments do not seem to reflect any intelligence that I understand but a reflexive response of some algorithm that maybe originated in the Matrix.

  253. Jerry:

    Would you be willing to let this defense be put into biology books and into articles criticizing ID. That we cannot claim anything is due to intelligence because intelligence is just an illusion and all acts are determined by basic forces. I am willing to let that get into the textbooks and let the students decide if it is nonsense or not.

    That doesn’t follow. It doesn’t follow from the fact that human beings, their actions, and their intelligence are natural phenomena that they are illusions. Stars, planets, waterfalls, wings (and flight), brains (and thinking) are all natural phenomena (the last also with grounding in cultural and individual histories), one no more an illusion than the next.

    It is only when you impose the unwarranted and unintelligible claim that intelligence is necessarily disembodied and of non-natural origins that the notion of illusion arises – i.e., only when you assume your conclusions.

  254. Here is a link that cites to your Prager & Wilson research This cite says 22 million years.

  255. Bornagain77

    You might be interested in having a look at this article:

    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....verse.html

    It looks like we know a lot less about the universe than we thought we did.

  256. “This cite says 22 million years.”

    I am willing to leave it at 22 million years. I believe they said 32 million years but maybe one of them was off by 10 million years. It is no big deal. Both are incredibly long for speciation to occur, that is the ones that cannot interbreed.

  257. 257

    vjtorley,
    Thanks for the link. Myself I think they are making much ado about nothing,,,for one, since we know for a fact that every other constant is exceedingly finely tuned, it is reasonable to presume the universe is flat and to work our calculations from there to derive “the amount” of dark energy, Especially since flat will be “the sweet spot” i.e. why should we presuppose the fine tuning to be otherwise given the staggering level of precision we see in the other constants? Only a materialistic presupposition would demand that it should be otherwise… As well, Another solution for solving there parameter uncertainty may be found if someone finds a anthropic necessity for the universe to be flat..

    As well, the only plausible solution for what “Dark Energy” actually is, is Transcendent Specified Information,

    That is to say the transcendent information demonstrated in quantum entanglement is the only known entity which has the capability to exercise dominion in such a fashion we are seeking solution to…

    Ditto for quantum teleportation and Dark Matter.

  258. An aside:

    Dark matter is necessary for life. Without dark matter no stars would form. No stars, no elements, no life. We need all those wimps floating around so that we can debate what those wimps might be. Apparently macho doesn’t cut it in the world of dark matter.

  259. —-Jerry: “Every willful act by an intelligent agent defies the natural laws as we see here by most commenters

    —-Diffaxial: “This only works because you assume your conclusions, namely that human beings, human behavior, and human intelligence are not natural phenomena.”

    No, actually Jerry is on solid ground here on two counts.

    First, you will notice he uses the phrase, “as we see here,” referring to the way ID uses its own paradigm, which of course is expressed as law/chance/agency. By definition, ID defines “natural” to mean either law or chance, which means that, in that context, intelligence cannot be natural. When Darwinists intrude the words natural or supernatural into the discussion, neither of which has ever been satisfactorily defined, it is their way of displacing ID’s well-defined paradigm with something that has no meaning for either side, thereby consciously reframing the issue in such a way that ID cannot make its case. It would be the equivalent of asking the Darwinist to argue for undirected macro-evolution while refusing to allow him the use of words like “random variation” or “natural selection.”

    Second, you will notice that he used the phrase “willful act,” which, again, must be characterized as “agency,” and cannot, therefore be a natural phenomenon. Nature, defined exclusively as law and chance, leaves no room for the willful act of an intelligent agent acting on and influencing nature. Indeed, as a materialist, you must, to the extent that you define it, assume that only nature can act on nature, meaning that you must reject all free acts of the will as an “illusion.”

  260. StephenB @ 259:

    First, you will notice he uses the phrase, “as we see here,” referring to the way ID uses its own paradigm, which of course is expressed as law/chance/agency.

    I took him to be referring to the fact that persons creating posts on this board demonstrate the actions of intelligent agents – “as we see here.”

    By definition, ID defines “natural” to mean either law or chance, which means that, in that context, intelligence cannot be natural.

    You are correct to observe that I don’t find many of ID’s conceptual shibboleths (such as the useless trichotomy of the EF) of much merit. And I don’t share your fondness for arriving at conclusions that are inserted into your reasoning “by definition” at the outset – more philosophy by dictionary. The above simply reduces to “by definition…intelligence cannot be natural.”

    Second, you will notice that he used the phrase “willful act,” which, again, must be characterized as “agency,” and cannot, therefore be a natural phenomenon. Nature, defined exclusively as law and chance…

    More assertion by definition, forcing a mistaken conclusion (agency is necessarily not natural). Nor did I refer to “free acts of will,” a phrase in which the conclusions you wish to attain are already carefully pre-positioned.

    BTW, Stephen, don’t forget to return to my comment here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-328576

    I’d still be interested in your respond to this:

    What I was hoping you would provide is an examplar of an argument within evolutionary biology that is defective specifically due to a failure (you claim a motivated failure) to observe the “rules of right reason”, as you submit above. I’m not aware of any posit with evolutionary biology that hinges upon necessary violations of causality, nor of the law of non-contradiction, nor of your postulate that both the universe or our minds are rational, etc. Yet you have submitted that greater problems arise within evolutionary theory due to such failures than to deficiencies of evidence. Even were your suggestion correct that Darwinists are motivated to embrace counter-intuitive theories and findings, it fails to provide a specific example of the impact of such a failure of “right reason” within evolutionary theory.

    (From the principle of counterintuitiveness thread)

  261. Diff:

    Cf the thread here, and then tell my why the explanatory filter [cf also here] — specifically, not with dismissive rhetoric — is a “useless shibboleth.”

    And, since the very term you so impatiently use was a case where in an ancient civil war in Israel, men from the “wrong side” were detected by how they mispronounced a word, it seems that functionality based filters have long been in use in the real world.

    GEM of TKI

  262. 262

    Every willful act by an intelligent agent defies the natural laws…

    I am “willfully” typing this comment.

    What “natural laws” am I defying?

  263. 263

    I forgot to claim that I am an “intelligent agent.”

  264. 264

    This has taken a bizarre turn. The willful acts of intelligent humans are all natural?
    The space shuttle is natural? Chernobyl was natural? My PC and cell phone? There are no artificial ingredients in food, because they are all natural?
    And if we classify all intelligent acts as natural, what is the objection to ID, or do we draw some arbitrary line around that?

  265. Adel:

    let’s see:

    1] mechanical necessity produces outcomes driven by initial conditions and so leads to low contingency of outcomes. [A dropped heavy object reliably falls.]

    2] Chance leads to high contingency but showing stochastic outcomes [a fair die falls out with outcomes from a set with each ~ 1/6 of the time in the long run]

    3] An intelligence produces contingencies but not stochastic ones, purposefully directed ones. [Such as posts in this blog. And where the set of possible outcomes is large enough, functional specification of complex outcomes is a strong indicator of purpose at work. Such as that you above in two successive posts produced a text string of ASCII characters of length, 188 characters of contextually responsive English. Ther number of possible configurations of that many characters is so far beyond the search capacities of the observed universe acting as a search engine, that we can safely infer from the observed FSCI to its source in intelligence. ]

    And, in that context, we often contrast natural and artificial or intelligent causes: natural exhibiting 1 and 2, artificial exhibiting 3.

    GEM of TKI

  266. Adel,

    The point is taht nature, operating freely couldn’t do it- that is type any words.

    That is the debate- agency vs nature, operating freely.

    And seeing that nature, operating freely cannot give rise to nature, what is left?

  267. Scot:

    re:

    The willful acts of intelligent humans are all natural? . . . .

    There are no artificial ingredients in food, because they are all natural?
    And if we classify all intelligent acts as natural, what is the objection to ID, or do we draw some arbitrary line around that?

    “Bizarre” is the correct word, a synonym for what is happening before our eyes: reductio ad absurdum.

    GEM of TKI

  268. ScottAndrews @ 264:

    The willful acts of intelligent humans are all natural?

    You are tripping over semantics and levels of description.

    Analogous error: You may insist that a that a particular move in chess, in the context of a particular game, is either legal or illegal. It can’t be both.

    But upon making a move that exposes my king to check the police don’t arrive and arrest me. Making illegal moves in chess is perfectly legal. And the forgoing sentence is both intelligible and correct once one affixes the (implicit) scope of applicability of the word “legal” in each instance. The ability to do so is a matter of linguistic practice.

    Similarly, we conventionally refer to artifacts of human contrivance as “artificial” rather than “natural,” a useful distinction. That doesn’t compel us to attribute the origins of human intelligence, including the ability to contrive artificial objects, to “artificial” (agentic) causes. Conversely, to say that human intelligence is a natural (and cultural) phenomenon no more renders meaningless the conventional “natural – artificial” distinction than does the absence of the rules of chess from the Ohio Revised Code vitiate the rules of chess.

  269. Adel,

    I am “willfully” typing this comment.

    What “natural laws” am I defying?

    The Law of Conservation of Information was clearly violated. That cannot happen without agency involvement.

  270. 270

    Diffaxial:
    The question (within this scope) is not whether human intelligence is natural or artificial.
    The question is whether, if we assume that human intelligence is natural, are the artifacts it produces also natural?
    When coral polyps build huge reefs, we call that natural. They are doing what coral do.

    Similarly, the Empire State Building is a natural occurrence. It is the result of homo sapiens doing what they do.
    If we do not accept that human artifacts are natural occurrences, then it follows that, as Upright Biped pointed out, they are anomalies for which nature cannot account.

  271. 271

    Scott,

    Your logic is spot on, but what I think Diffaxial is trying to get you to not trip over is the fact that “acts of will” (i.e. those that are artificial = contrived by art = non-natural) are only allowed in chess or you’ll be arrested.

    I hope this helps clarify the situation.

  272. ScottAndrews @ 270:

    Similarly, the Empire State Building is a natural occurrence. It is the result of homo sapiens doing what they do.

    In that sense I agree. The Empire State Building is in some sense a highly derived natural object.

    However, don’t fall over yourselves, as the distinctions I made above also still stand. It does not follow from the above that the ordinary distinction between “natural” and “artificial” objects has been lost. It is a useful distinction that reliably denotes the fact that natural objects (in the conventional sense) have a very different sort of history than do human artifacts. But there is a larger/other sense in which both sorts of history are “natural” histories, as human activities, human culture, etc., on this view, are ultimately components of the natural world.

  273. 273

    “In that sense I agree. The Empire State Building is in some sense a highly derived natural object.”

    Derived from what? The willful act of an agent, perhaps? But, I thought “will” was simply “natural”. If that is case, then the existence of the Empire State building must be “highly” natural.

    “It is a useful distinction that reliably denotes the fact that natural objects (in the conventional sense) have a very different sort of history than do human artifacts.”

    What would the distinction in their history be? The appearance of the “will”? If not, then what?

    “But there is a larger/other sense in which both sorts of history are “natural” histories, as human activities, human culture, etc., on this view, are ultimately components of the natural world.”

    So the distinction may be obvious to all, but it must be forgotten in order that materialists can assume their conclusions on the matter.

  274. I am “willfully” typing this comment.

    What “natural laws” am I defying?

    The infield fly rule? :)

  275. 275

    Nakashima:
    You are not defying any natural laws. But can you explain how the comment came to be typed using only natural laws? They cannot account for it.

  276. Mr ScottAndrews,

    Nakashima:
    You are not defying any natural laws. But can you explain how the comment came to be typed using only natural laws? They cannot account for it.

    Not in detail, of course, but I’m pretty sure that the atoms in my brain are normal, even if some of them are radioactive. The same forces are at work inside my braincase as elsewhere in the universe. And if there is a certain lack of entropy in that little slice of spacetime, it is more than offset by the enormous increase in entropy in most of the nearby universe. Do you doubt this?

  277. 277

    Nakashima:
    You’re saying that you’re able to type a comment because there is less entropy within your brain that in most of the nearby universe?
    Information is caused by a relative lack of entropy?

  278. 278

    ps – How does that lack of entropy determine which of two synonyms you choose?

  279. This is indeed remarkable. Man [A] releases a ball, and natural forces cause it to fall to the ground. Man [B] throught an act of the will, interrputs the descent in progress and snatches the ball out of the air. Now the Darwinists are telling me that both events are “natural.”

    Incredible.

    ID defines the causes of physical events as Plato referred to them in the “Laws,” (2300 years ago) expressed in similar terms as Law/Chance/ and gency. These are the only three causes for physical events that have ever been known. Yet, Diffaxial insists that the third category has been artificially injected and that we are injecting a conclusion into a hypothesis.

    Incredible.

    —-Diffaxial: “What I was hoping you would provide is an examplar of an argument within evolutionary biology that is defective specifically due to a failure (you claim a motivated failure) to observe the “rules of right reason”, as you submit above.”

    Darwinists have terrible difficulty reasoning in the abstract. Let’s take the four examples I often use concerning the principles of right reason, namely [I] A thing cannot be and not be, [II] The whole is always greater than the sum of all the parts, [III] Physical causes cannot occur without effects, [IV] Something cannot come from nothing. Now the purpose for these rules is to rule out certain things so that we can draw conclusions from premises.

    Deductive reasoning = If A is true, then B must be true

    Inductive reasoning = If A is observed, then B is most likely true

    Abductive reasoning = If A is observed , then B seems to be the best explanation.

    Let’s take deductive reasoning as an example. One of the things that the rules of right reason allow us to do is eliminate possibilities, so that we can get from A to B. Thus, with [I through IV above (and others rules non listed)] We can say If A, then B, because C through Z are impossible. If we didn’t agree that C through Z were impossible, then we couldn’t reason our way from A to B.

    Example: Streets don’t just “get wet.” Using principle III, we understand that something had to cause the streets to get wet. Thus, we say that if the streets are wet, then it must be raining, or else someone turned on a fire hydrant, or for some other reason. But a Darwinist will simply say, “Why can’t the streets just get wet. Provide me with evidence that moisture, like life, cannot just come from nowhere.” For them physical events don’t necessarily need causes, meaning that something could come from nothing. That is why they keep alluding to quantum mechanics, hoping against hope that quantum particles can appear without a cause, which of course, they cannot.

    I again remind you of principle II, [whole always greater than any one of the parts] which I dramatized a few days ago with the example that an automobile cannot be a part of a crankshaft. As I predicted, several of your colleagues questioned that proposition. You seemed OK with it as well. For them, an automobile can be a part of a crankshaft, because for Darwinists, anything is possible (except the obvious). Incredibly, one of them even challenged the meaning of the word “more.” For them, the rules of right reason are not in force. Thus, it is impossible for them to reason from A to B, because they can’t rule out C through Z. They can never say, If A is true, then B MUST be true.

    Now it is the same thing with evolutionary biologists who embrace atheism. For them, life can appear without a cause; it just happens. Or, they will posit a process as a cause, insisting that the process itself needs no cause. To put it bluntly, they cannot reason in the abstract. For them, life can “just happens,” and the streets could “just get wet.” They respond to evidence in the same way. As all reasonable people know, facts and evidence do not just interpret themselves; they must be interpreted according to the principles of right reason. That is why I do not discuss science with Darwinists. They cannot follow where the evidence leads, because they cannot or will not interpret the evidence according to the principles of right reason. How can they interpret evidence reasonably when they are hell bent on rejecting reason itself. So, I choose to place my emphasis on the intellectual deficit that is responsible for all the confusion.

  280. II should read “the whole is always greater than any ONE OF ITS PARTS.”

  281. 281

    The Law of Conservation of Information was clearly violated. That cannot happen without agency involvement.

    Thanks, Herb,

    You’re the only one who gave a clear answer to my question.

    Now, if only the Law of Conservation of Information was as well-established as Newton’s laws of motion.

  282. Hmm, it’s starting to seem to me that this whole thing of “natural / artificial / supernatural” is at the core of so many debates here.

    ID might be summarized as asserting that the origins of certain cosmological and biological phenomena are “not natural.” But does that mean merely artificial, or supernatural as well? Judging by the number of entries and posts here which argue against materialism, I would say it’s pretty clear that supernaturalism is a part of what we’re talking about, and further, that one contention from much of the ID community is that there is something supernatural about anything being artificial — that mind is more than a natural phenomenon.

    (Sometimes I have been criticizedc for my use of the word “supernatural”; if anyone can provide as good a single word for what sort of phenomenon the Designer is, let me know :).)

  283. 283

    Lenoxus:
    ID specifies that the causes of some phenomena are intelligent. Artificial or “not natural” may be corollaries, but are not the definition
    Supernatural/artificial/yellow/polka-dotted do not enter the picture. ID is narrowly focused on intelligence.

    one contention from much of the ID community is that there is something supernatural about anything being artificial — that mind is more than a natural phenomenon.

    IMHO that does give a bad impression. Mind/brain dualism is not related to ID at all, but at times one might think it was. But if dualism vanished today, ID would be untouched tomorrow.

    ID simply asks, did this require intelligence. Regardless of the implications of the answers, ID itself it not about the supernatural.

  284. ID itself it not about the supernatural.

    Why are so many UD entries about naturalism/immaterialism/etc? For a long time now, I’ve been taking this site to be the main front of the scientific side of the ID movement, so I’ve come to see the philosophical questions of naturalism-etc as entirely relevant to the nature of ID.

  285. ScottAndrews:

    But if dualism vanished today, ID would be untouched tomorrow.

    ID simply asks, did this require intelligence. Regardless of the implications of the answers, ID itself it not about the supernatural.

    If the answers imply dualism, and if dualism vanishes today, then that would mean that the answers are wrong.

    So it would seem incorrect to say that ID is unrelated to dualism “regardless of the implications of the answers”.

  286. Mr ScottAndrews,

    Information is caused by a relative lack of entropy?

    I didn’t say cause, or relative. But as all the discussion around FCSI shows, information and entropy are related concepts. Certainly my brain has less entropy than the atmosphere, the ocean, the Earth’s core, nearby space, or the surface of the Sun (except on Monday mornings :) ). That nuclear fusion in a nearby star allows fuels my thoughts is no great surprise, is it? My brain is remarkably well ordered (as is yours, of course) and so many hydrogen atoms have sacrificed their small identities to make that possible. Quite humbling, really…

  287. 287

    In response to khan’s assertion that functional proteins are “easy to get”

    A System for Evolutionary Experimentation Based on a Protein/Proteome Model with Non-Arbitrary Functional Constraints”
    Excerpt: “What it fails to fit well, at first glance anyway, is the pattern of structural similarities evident in natural proteins. If there is a substantial probabilistic barrier to structural innovation in the protein world, then we might expect the evolutionary process to make do without it. By this view, the protein world ought to consist of one structural archetype put to many different uses, each involving modest alteration of peripheral structure but no major reorganization of the fold. Subsets of the natural proteins show precisely this, but the whole picture is strikingly different. Here we find a surprising preponderance of “orphan” folds—folds that each occupy their own patch of structure space, well removed from everything else [7].”
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0002246

  288. 288

    Lenoxus:
    ID shouldn’t require a debate over philosophical naturalism or materialism. After all, every thing inspected for indications of design is entirely material.

    As far as I can tell, that debate occurs because, if life had an intelligent cause and design, that would indicate an intelligence other than the ones we’re directly aware of. And to some, that very suggestion violates the laws of science.

    And again, some of the debate goes to areas such as dualism, which are also opposed by such materialism, but have nothing to do with ID. I can understand why someone could get the impression that the two are related. If both are supported by evidence, it’s not the same evidence.

  289. 289

    Khan,
    If you can explain that (which you won’t be able to), then I want you to explain why “information” is not centralized in the cell, and please explain how a process which can’t even explain the origination of information in a single sequence of DNA, will now explain information that is spread out throughout the cell to accomplish a singular task…namely LIFE!
    DNA codes and information: formal structures and relational causes.
    “In this framework, these attractors are higher-order informational structures that obviate any “DNA-centric” reductionism. In addition to the implications that are discussed, this approach validates the array of coding systems now recognized in molecular biology.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18465197

  290. BA^77
    I’ve read that paper.. when you have real data generated from real amino acids (the papers I cited) vs computer modeling (your paper) i always prefer the latter.

    thanks, though.

  291. —Lennoxus: “one contention from much of the ID community is that there is something supernatural about anything being artificial — that mind is more than a natural phenomenon.”

    You are conflating non-natural with supernatural. ID says that intelligence is not a natural cause. Not natural does not equal supernatural, nor, for that matter, does supernatural equal Divine. On the other hand, it is evident that intelligence is MORE than a natural phenomenon, since it has the power to interrupt or even redirect the laws of nature, something nature cannot do on its own.

    If “natural” is defined as law and chance, and, if “agency” is something other than that, then obviously an intelligent agent is not a natural phenomenon. One cannot reason FROM nature TO intelligence if they are one and the same thing. That should be clear. It should be equally clear that the Darwinist insistence on calling intelligence “natural” constitutes a redefining of ID terms for the sole purpose of rendering a design inference impossible, since one cannot reason FROM nature TO intelligence if both are defined as being the same thing. Intelligence is neither natural nor supernatural; it is simply non-natural, which is why we should not be using the term “supernatural” at all. ID doesn’t define supernatural, so there is no reason to inject it into the discussion since no one knows what it means in this context. In other contexts, it might be possible, but not in terms of a design inference.

  292. BA^77,
    i meant former

  293. 293

    Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu.....d_RVDocSum

  294. 294

    Fancy footwork in the sequence space shuffle – 2006
    “Estimates for the density of functional proteins in sequence space range anywhere from 1 in 10^12 to 1 in 10^77. No matter how you slice it, proteins are rare. Useful ones are even more rare.”
    http://www.nature.com/nbt/jour.....6-328.html

  295. 295

    Thus Khan we can quibble over methodology,, but even using your questionable paper the proteins are rare (10^12),,,and even the evolutionary paper I cited admits “Useful ones are even more rare.”

    By useful ones are even more rare I am sure he is barely touching the binding binding site generation that Behe elucidated + 10^20.

  296. 296

    Speaking of brain, mind and “nature,” the following is excerpted from a note in Monday’s Washington Post:

    Neurons Respond To Concepts

    Neuroscientists may be one step closer to understanding how perceptions and memories are formed in the human brain. A new study published this summer in the journal Current Biology demonstrates how neurons, the cells that process and transmit information, respond to conceptual stimuli such as images, written and spoken words.

    “Single neurons respond to concepts,” wrote Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, head of bioengineering at the University of Leicester in England, in an e-mail.

    [...]

    “A neuron responded to three different pictures of Oprah Winfrey (and not to other people),” Quiroga wrote. That means the neuron did not respond to a particular characteristic of one of the pictures, such as the background color, but to the identity of the person, he wrote. Quiroga also wrote that the same neuron fired when the subject heard or read Oprah’s name.

    The full paper is not yet available, but should appear soon on the Current Biology Website.

  297. 297

    You know Dave, I really don’t care if functional proteins are as common as sand:

    The point is:

    “We have always underestimated cells. Undoubtedly we still do today….We can walk and we can talk because the chemistry that makes life possible is much more elaborate and sophisticated than anything we students had ever considered…Instead of a cell dominated by randomly colliding individual protein molecules. we now know that nearly every major process in a cell is carried out by assemblies of 10 or more protein molecules. And, as it carries out its biological functions, each of these protein assemblies interacts with several other large complexes of proteins. Indeed, the entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each which is composed of a set of large protein machines.” Bruce Alberts: Former President, National Academy of Sciences; The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines
    http://www.imbb.forth.gr/peopl.....erts98.pdf

    And yet evolutionists have never demonstarted the “evolution” of a SINGLE protein machine, though the cell is rife with them:

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

    Does it not strike you and Khan as surprising deceptive for evolution to be sold as “accepted as gravity” when is has not even passed this basic level of scientific integrity?

    Why should evolution get a free pass?

  298. 298

    In fact Dave and Khan,
    The lowly Flagellum sits unscathed, by coherent pathway nor experimentation, after all this years since Behe singled it out as irreducibly complex:

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNi0YXYadg0

    Biologist Howard Berg at Harvard calls the Bacterial Flagellum “the most efficient machine in the universe.”

    The flagellum has steadfastly resisted all attempts to elucidate its plausible origination by Darwinian processes, much less has anyone ever actually evolved a flagellum from scratch in the laboratory;

    Genetic Entropy Refutation of Nick Matzke’s TTSS (type III secretion system) to Flagellum Evolutionary Narrative:
    excerpt: …..Comparative genomic analysis show that flagellar genes have been differentially lost in endosymbiotic bacteria of insects. Only proteins involved in protein export within the flagella assembly pathway (type III secretion system and the basal-body) have been kept…
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/.....t/msn153v1

    Bacterial Flagella – A Paradigm for Design – Scott Minnich – video
    http://www.veritas.org/media/talks/92

  299. 299

    Why do you guys not find this surprising?
    Evolutionists sit back and make the most fanciful conjectures of imagination for evolutionary scenarios, mercilessly ridicule anyone who questions such conjectures as a ignoramus, zealot, or worse, and yet when push comes to shove in experimentation there is “ZERO” evidence that complexity can be had. Why are you guys so forgiving of such deficiency?

  300. StephenB @ 279:

    This is indeed remarkable. Man [A] releases a ball, and natural forces cause it to fall to the ground. Man [B] throught an act of the will, interrputs the descent in progress and snatches the ball out of the air. Now the Darwinists are telling me that both events are “natural.”

    I would say both actions (dropping a ball; snatching a ball out of the air) may reflect human agency. Then I’d say that human agency arose from, and is in a sense a part of, the natural world, and that it became so without nudges from further unknown agents. Human agency has a natural history.

    Yet Diffaxial insists that the third category has been artificially injected and that we are injecting a conclusion into a hypothesis.

    Diffaxial finds that the entire trichotomous scheme, particularly the arbitrarily imposed mutual exclusivity of its categories, has outlived its usefulness and compels incorrect conclusions. It fails to “carve nature at its joints,” as the wonderful phrase goes (also attributable to Plato).

    …For them physical events don’t necessarily need causes, meaning that something could come from nothing. That is why they keep alluding to quantum mechanics, hoping against hope that quantum particles can appear without a cause, which of course, they cannot.

    As before, the degree to which quantum physics describes events that may be said to be acausal has little bearing upon evolutionary theory, which can be accommodated at a macroscopic and classically deterministic level without reference to quantum effects. Hence there is no motivation to advance the putative acausal facets of quantum physics within the context of a discussion of biological evolution.

    For them, life can appear without a cause; it just happens.

    Vis the OOL (a topic in which I am not at all versed, so this will be very general), I feel safe in asserting that OOL research is premised upon the expectation that replicating systems emerged from other physiochemical processes, and that the goal of such research is to describe in as much detail as possible the sort of physiochemical substrates, and the organization of same, that permitted/resulted in this event. IOW, what is sought is a causal account. I doubt anyone in the field would be satisfied with “it just happened.” Can you provide a quote of or link to a scientist or researcher who is?

    I again remind you of principle II, [whole always greater than any one of the parts] which I dramatized a few days ago with the example that an automobile cannot be a part of a crankshaft. As I predicted, several of your colleagues questioned that proposition. You seemed OK with it as well.

    I’ve never commented on this particular notion one way or another. How could I “seem OK with it?”

  301. StephenB @ 291:

    If “natural” is defined as law and chance, and, if “agency” is something other than that, then obviously an intelligent agent is not a natural phenomenon.

    Argumentum ad definitium.

  302. Diffaxial @ 301: “Argumentum ad definitium.”

    It should be obvious that if ID defines “natural” as law and chance, and if it defines agency as something else, then agency cannot be natural under that definition. The very first step in establishing any kind of rational discussion is to define one’s terms precisely. This may be the first time in history that one group of thinkers [ID scientists ] explained exactly they mean by their terms only to have another group of non-thinkers [Darwinists] tell him that they may not do that. Obviously, your Latin derivative applies to those who mistakenly believe that definitions can provide new information. On the contrary, that is not what has been done here; ID is simply offering precise operational terms. In other words, your objection is misplaced and inappropriate.

    Incredibly, the Darwinists, who seek to disallow ID scientists to rationally define their operational terms, resist offering an account of their own definitions. What do they mean by “evolution?” They will equivocate with the word so that they can shift back and forth depending on how badly and in what context they are losing the argument. What do they mean by “creationist?” Well, that too depends on which way the wind is blowing. What do they mean by “emergence?” Again, it is contingent on which of their arguments have been reasonably refuted and which strategy they hope to use to obfuscate the debate. One side expresses itself with mathematical precision, while the other side throws words around with imprecise and changeable meanings without a qualm— as if they should never be held accountable for what they mean when they communicate—as if their adversaries, who carefully define their terms and definitions are guilty of some kind of logical breach.

    Remarkable.

  303. StephenB:

    One side expresses itself with mathematical precision, while the other side throws words around with imprecise and changeable meanings without a qualm— as if they should never be held accountable for what they mean when they communicate—as if their adversaries, who carefully define their terms and definitions are guilty of some kind of logical breach.

    Agreed.

  304. StephenB @ 302:

    It should be obvious that if ID defines “natural” as law and chance, and if it defines agency as something else, then agency cannot be natural under that definition… Obviously, your Latin derivative applies to those who mistakenly believe that definitions can provide new information.

    From the above we extract (momentarily), “ID defines ‘natural’ as law and chance. ID defines agency as something else. Therefore agency cannot be natural.”

    This reduces tautologically to, “ID defines agency as non-natural.”

    But you say, “IF ID defines ‘natural’…” and “IF it defines agency as something else…”

    So we pose this question: DOES ID so define “natural” and “agency?”

    If so, then “ID defines agency as non-natural.”

    Do you really want to say that this is only a definition, and not a claim?

  305. 305

    Diffaxial,

    As soon as you are through defining what ID is, could you answer the question posed above regarding your own definitions. I repost it here for your convienence:

    “In that sense I agree. The Empire State Building is in some sense a highly derived natural object.”

    Derived from what? The willful act of an agent, perhaps? But, I thought “will” was simply “natural”. If that is case, then the existence of the Empire State building must be “highly” natural.

    “It is a useful distinction that reliably denotes the fact that natural objects (in the conventional sense) have a very different sort of history than do human artifacts.”

    What would the distinction in their history be? The appearance of the “will”? If not, then what?

    So the questions are these:

    You say that an artifact such as the Empire State building is a “highly derived” artifact.

    1) Derived from what?

    And, you also say natural artifacts and human artifacts have a distinction in their histories.

    2) What is that distinction, and what is its source?

  306. —Diffaxial: “Do you really want to say that this is only a definition, and not a claim?”

    It is a definition with respect to a hypothesis, which posits that the cause will be non-natural. The whole purpose of the design inference is to reason FROM that which is observed [the natural] TO its cause [intelligence]. By definition that cause would be something different that nature because nature, Darwin style, creates only the illusion of design AFTER the fact, whereas ID posits the reality of design BEFORE the fact.

    ID’s metaphysical “claim” in the context that you formulate it, constitutes nothing more than a speculation that such a thing might be possible; Darwinism’s metaphysical claim, and it is an outright claim [not a speculation], is that such a thing is not and cannot be possible. On the other hand, ID’s scientific “claim” [conclusion] is made after the design inference is made. If it was made prior to the inference, as is the case with creation science, then it would not be an inference; it would be a presupposition.

    Let’s go back to the example of Empire State Building. ID hypothesizes that it’s existence was NOT caused by natural forces [causes], which are normally expressed as weather, time, erosion etc., which is another way of saying that it hypothesizes that something different than natural causes built it [formed it]. The only other known possible cause other than natural causes is intelligent agency, so ID reason’s its way FROM the improbability that natural forces TO the probability of intelligence.

    So, from a scientific perspective, ID begins by speculating that something other than natural causes, i.e. intelligence, could exist, but it makes no claim that such intelligence is the cause prior to the inference. On the other hand, Darwinism insists [claims] that no cause other than natural forces is possible and rules out the design inference in principle. That is why they are stuck with the ridiculous proposition that the Empire State Building was built by “natural causes.” They can’t conceive that human intelligence is, in any way, different than the laws of nature.

    It also puts them in the clumsy position of having to say that those forces had no choice except to build the Empire State Building and that all the planning that went into it was also a “natural” phenomenon. Thus, the laws of nature, one gathers, mulled over New York’s image, sought to surpass the height of the Chrysler building, drew up the blueprint, mobilized a group effort, and reconciled its ambitions with New York’s zoning laws.

  307. StephenB @ 306:

    It is a definition with respect to a hypothesis, which posits that the cause will be non-natural.

    IOW, “agency is non-natural” is a claim, something posited or hypothesized by ID. Hence your definitions are not merely definitions but posits with considerable content, and to take issue with them is not to object to an attempt to attain terminological precision, but rather to the asserted content of these claims. (BTW, they fall far short of being “operational” definitions, as no operations are anywhere described).

    ID hypothesizes that it’s existence was NOT caused by natural forces [causes], which are normally expressed as weather, time, erosion etc., which is another way of saying that it hypothesizes that something different than natural causes built it [formed it].

    Your hypothesis is compelled by an impoverished conception of the entities, systems, causal processes, and time horizons denoted by the natural, a poverty displayed by your examplars (“weather, time, erosion”). The complexities of human cognition and the crowning achievements of human artifact are built atop a natural history that, ultimately, has a depth (at minimum) of 3.5 billion years of biological evolution (not to mention the preceding ten billion years of cosmological history), upon which another 100,000 years of human cultural evolution has arisen. Contrary to your assertion that human agency is “other” than that history, human agency has those tiers of history packed within it, and is possible only in light of it. Stated simply, the only agency of which we are aware – the agency ID takes as its model – has a natural (and cultural) history.

    Your notion that to understand the human species in light of this natural history compels absurdities such as “the laws of nature mulled over New York’s image” reflects that poverty.

  308. —Diffaxial: “IOW, “agency is non-natural” is a claim, something posited or hypothesized by ID. Hence your definitions are not merely definitions but posits with considerable content, and to take issue with them is not to object to an attempt to attain terminological precision, but rather to the asserted content of these claims. (BTW, they fall far short of being “operational” definitions, as no operations are anywhere described).”

    The ID formulation is a claim that intelligent agency distinct from natural causes is a real possibility to be investigated. Your objection is little more than an inverse declaration that intelligent agency distinct from natural causes is not a possibility and may not be investigated.

    Suppose you came home one night and found your living room ransacked. Suppose further, that I hypothesized that a natural phenomenon [tornado] did not cause the clutter and that you should attribute the mess to an intelligent agent [a vandal]. By your philosophy, I must conclude that a vandal’s act is just one more physical event in a series of natural causes. Further, I could not even propose that such a thing as a vandal since, by your lights, those kinds of speculations contain undue “content.” If you were a judge in a court of law, would you take that approach, declaring that intelligent agents [miscreants] are nothing more than natural laws in action, waiting for their materialistic fate to play itself out?

    —-“The complexities of human cognition and the crowning achievements of human artifact are built atop a natural history that, ultimately, has a depth (at minimum) of 3.5 billion years of biological evolution (not to mention the preceding ten billion years of cosmological history), upon which another 100,000 years of human cultural evolution has arisen.”

    Here you are simply asserting the materialist hypothesis for which you have not a shred of evidence. You have established no evolutionary pathway to complexity, nor have you provided even a hint as to how consciousness could arise from matter.

    —–“Contrary to your assertion that human agency is “other” than that history, human agency has those tiers of history packed within it, and is possible only in light of it. Stated simply, the only agency of which we are aware – the agency ID takes as its model – has a natural (and cultural) history.”

    I didn’t say anything about history, because history has nothing to do with it. These are simply more bald assertions with nothing to support them. In any case, to say that everything that exists has a history is to tell us nothing; we already knew that.

    —-Your notion that to understand the human species in light of this natural history compels absurdities such as “the laws of nature mulled over New York’s image” reflects that poverty.

    I agree that it is ridiculous to say that “natural laws” could mull over New York’s image, or draw up blueprints for the Empire State Building, or consider the city’s zoning laws, but that is not my philosophy; it is your philosophy. You have the same problem here that you have with the example of the vandal. Once the possibility of human agency is rejected, only the absurd remains. From my perspective, intelligent agents did the mulling, and the designing, and the negotiating, and the organizing, and the building–so I have nothing controversial to defend. I have a very easy pathway to explaining every phase of the project by simply stating that intelligent agents decided to do take action. On the other hand, your philosophy is fraught with every manner of difficulty, including the requisite denial of free will. I submit that the builders could have chosen to build it or not build it; you must concede that they had no choice whatsoever in the matter. For me, the builders are individual agents using human volition; for you, they are nothing more than nature’s plaything. So, it is very clear which position is absurd.

    In keeping with that point, I have often wondered why Darwinists visit this site to persuade people to their way of thinking even though, for them, no one can ever persuade another person to do anything that the laws of nature have not already compelled them to do.

  309. 309

    I come here for the rhetoric.

  310. 310

    The point, as I see it, is that termites build mounds, bees build hives, beavers build dams, and people build Empire State Buildings. The difference between mounds and skyscrapers is only degrees. Someone can dig us up in a billion years and marvel at how we evolved to build such intricate dwellings. We are animals. We wear clothes just as snails grow shells. Our greatest inventions are merely better spiderwebs which evolution conditioned us to create.

    I don’t cite that as evidence against Darwinism, because it isn’t. But if those factors explain us, then they explain all we do. You can’t accept one and reject the other.

  311. StephenB @ 308:

    The ID formulation is a claim that intelligent agency distinct from natural causes is a real possibility to be investigated. Your objection is little more than an inverse declaration that intelligent agency distinct from natural causes is not a possibility and may not be investigated.

    This fails to state, or even resemble, my objection. Rather, in the above I argue that the scheme of mutually exclusive categories “chance, necessity, and agency” is 1) more than a mere definition, but rather a set of assertions about the world, and 2) arbitrary and defective. Investigate intelligent agency all you like – however, conclusions drawn from the application of this defective conceptual tool will themselves necessarily be defective.

    By your philosophy, I must conclude that a vandal’s act is just one more physical event in a series of natural causes.

    Only for whose who are not paying attention. I noted that the term “legal” can have different senses with differing scope and applicability depending upon the context within which it is used. Hence the sentence “Making illegal moves in chess is perfectly legal” is fully intelligible once the scope and applicability of “legal” in each instance is understood, something that is accomplished by means of ordinary linguistic practice.

    Similarly, the sense in in which I use “natural” when I state that “human agency has natural (and cultural) origins” has a different scope and applicability than is intended when one employs the word “natural” to distinguish objects/events that are not of human devising from those that are. Accordingly, as I stated above, “It does not follow from the above that the ordinary distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ objects has been lost. It is a useful distinction that reliably denotes the fact that natural objects (in the conventional sense) have a very different sort of history than do human artifacts.” To state that “human artifacts are in some sense natural objects” is no more problematic than “illegal moves are legal,” once the scope and applicability of the terms is ascertained in each instance, something ordinarily attained by common linguistic practice. The repeated qualifier “in some sense” is intended (again by ordinary linguistic practice) to alert the reader to the fact that the sense in which “natural” is deployed in this sentence differs than when used within the “artificial – natural” bifurcation.

    The balance of your post revolves around ignoring, or perhaps failing to grasp, this distinction. Your statement, “From my perspective, intelligent agents did the mulling, and the designing, and the negotiating, and the organizing, and the building–so I have nothing controversial to defend” is off point, because nowhere do I claim that human agency and intelligence (human beings mulling, designing, negotiating, etc.) don’t exist or are illusions. Rather, I claim that these features of human agency (mulling, planning, designing, negotiating) have a natural (and cultural) history, and it is indeed this history that renders these features of human cognition and agency genuine. As you state, you don’t find that history relevant. That appears to be a key point of difference.

    Of course this presentation of my argument, which is compressed into a handful of paragraphs, is necessarily “bald.” Whether the larger argument is supportable in light of evidence is another conversation. Personally, I find the claim that “not a shred of evidence” exists for human evolution (and the evolution of core human cognitive characteristics) is close to delusional in light of modern archeology and physical anthropology.

    Vis “free will” and consciousness, suffice it to say that, because there are no accounts of how “non-material” or “non-natural” intelligences (minds, souls, whatever) deploy consciousness, intentionality and volition (other than “by definition”), the topic is a wash.

  312. Scott @ 310:

    The point, as I see it, is that termites build mounds, bees build hives, beavers build dams, and people build Empire State Buildings. The difference between mounds and skyscrapers is only degrees. Someone can dig us up in a billion years and marvel at how we evolved to build such intricate dwellings. We are animals. We wear clothes just as snails grow shells. Our greatest inventions are merely better spiderwebs which evolution conditioned us to create.

    This is incomplete. One product of human biological evolution has been a powerful and revolutionary capacity for collective activity, culture and cultural evolution (you’ll note my repeated insertion of ‘cultural’ above). The histories of virtually all contemporary human artifacts is a history of cultural rather than biological evolution, a process for which there is no analog in the other examples you provide.

  313. 313

    Diffaxial:
    Can you give an example of cultural evolution that doesn’t include humans, and doesn’t open the door to call regional variations of the bee dance “cultural?”

  314. Scott @ 313:

    Can you give an example of cultural evolution that doesn’t include humans, and doesn’t open the door to call regional variations of the bee dance “cultural?”

    Sure.

    Populations of chimpanzees display variations in at least 39 rituals that reflect the cultural transmission of behavior, including techniques for hammering nuts, pounding holes with a pestle made from palm stalks, fishing for termites, removing bone marrow from the long bones of monkeys killed as prey, fanning flies using leafy twigs, squashing parasites on leaves, clasping hands while grooming one another, and many others.

    The chimpanzees of the Taï Forest in Côte d’Ivoire hunt red colobus monkeys in coordinated groups, playing roles such “driver,” “blocker,” “chaser,” and “ambusher” (our labels, of course) that can require 20 or more years of experience to master. Meat is distributed to all participants in the hunt, with shares reflecting the importance and difficulty of each role. This highly coordinated form of hunting emerged as a form of mutualism demanded by harsh forest conditions: A dense, continuous canopy that affords easy escape for colubus monkeys and renders captures by unaided individuals unlikely. Chimps of the Gombe, Mahale, and Kibale National Forests in Kenya and Uganda hunt under canopies that are sparse and more often interrupted, have a fair chance of catching their prey working alone, and exhibit coordinated hunting with shared spoils much less frequently.

    I have references if you want to follow up on these very interesting observations and findings.

  315. I’ll add to my previous:

    Each community of chimps displays its own unique suite of cultural variants, and if enough is known about an individual it becomes possible to locate it geographically on the basis of its cultural repertoire.

    Orangutans have also recently been shown to exhibit numerous behavioral variations across populations that have clear cultural origins, suggesting that great-ape cultures may have existed for at least 14 million years .

  316. 316

    Diffaxial,

    Watching you try to attack ID is about as entertaining as watching Bradley Monton defend it. In both cases the image of a rather large train wreck comes to mind.

    Please know that everyone here already understands exactly what you are saying. It is not a difficult concept. The problem is elsewhere.

    If you were granted every claim you make (a concession that only a handful of the 7 billion people on this planet would be willing to give) it still does not answer the issue at hand.

    We already know the physical properties of nucleic acids; there are none that cause them to exist as linear chains of symbolic information. There are no material forces that cause one nucleotide to be followed by another along that chain. Likewise, there are no material properties that can establish the mapping of those individual symbols to an individual meaning or set of meanings. Yet, that is exactly what we find.

    These are material facts that have been established and re-established over and over again. (And please note: this is not about our ignorance of material forces, but about our knowledge of them)

    These are the same scientific observations that you have been challenged to address on several occasions, yet you repeatedly ignore them. And now your answer to the collective world in dealing with this phenomenon is that there is no “you” in you. In other words, instead of dealing with the actual issue at hand, you stake your ground as to the nature of man.

    This is referred to as a flanking maneuver by strategists all over the world; it’s an act to sheer the strength of the defended position because you don’t have the resources to overcome it on its merits (face to face). In other words, you have no answers that can directly address the actual issue, so you attack a side issue and hope to stay on your feet. It also tells us that not only are you in a defensive position, but also a weak one. If you could simply say “material force X is what causes nucleotides to assemble this way” then you would have done so (and your materialist ideology would have not been falsified by the evidence otherwise). But you can’t – because there is no material force X under observation. This leaves you in the position of saying “there IS a material force X, but we just don’t know it yet.” And of course, your argument is reduced accordingly.

    None of this should be any surprise. After all you have preemptively told us that you are “not interested in ramblings about the operation of language” in the origins of biological information. And then, you add the laughable idea that issue has “no hooks for empirical challenge”.

    Unfortunately for you, it is the very symbol system (language) used to sequence nucleic acids that must be explained.

  317. 317

    Diffaxial @314, 315:
    I thought you would. That was the point.
    But if that represents cultural evolution, doesn’t the bee waggle dance also represent cultural evolution? Is their communication any less cooperative?
    Which leads back to my point at 310: All of the things we think make us so special are just further evolved versions of what other animals do. We’re nothing but really smart monkeys. We pay $20 to sit in a chair and have another monkey groom us. We flash colors to impress mates. Birds build nests, we build houses.
    We are animals.

    You should neither hesitate nor flinch before embracing this.

  318. —-Diffaxial: “This fails to state, or even resemble, my objection. Rather, in the above I argue that the scheme of mutually exclusive categories “chance, necessity, and agency” is 1) more than a mere definition, but rather a set of assertions about the world, and 2) arbitrary and defective.”

    I have addressed the objection, but my words have gone unheeded. It is hardly possible to investigate the existence of something unless one acknowledges the possibility of its existence. One can legitimately define anything for the sake of argument so that everyone can follow what is being said. One need not to prove the existence of the elements contained in that definition. I can define a mythological creature, such as a unicorn, as a horse with a horn on its forehead. Following that, I can set up to prove its existence, in which case, I will most likely fail. By the standards you are using, I could not propose anything in a definition that doesn’t exist, or, more importantly, anything that you or your colleagues would deem unacceptable. That is all part of the Darwinist campaign to shut down debate. [By the way, I do not use the term “Darwinist” as an insult but rather as means of distinguishing unguided, undirected evolution from other forms of micro or macro evolution. Its just shorthand, nothing more.]

    —–“Investigate intelligent agency all you like – however, conclusions drawn from the application of this defective conceptual tool will themselves necessarily be defective.”

    Quite the contrary. You have suggested that I may not investigate it on the grounds that I have not yet proven that it exists.

    —-“I noted that the term “legal” can have different senses with differing scope and applicability depending upon the context within which it is used. Hence the sentence “Making illegal moves in chess is perfectly legal” is fully intelligible once the scope and applicability of “legal” in each instance is understood, something that is accomplished by means of ordinary linguistic practice.”

    Your position does not hold up as is clear from your unwillingness to address the point at issue. The questions are clear enough: Insofar as he ransacks your house, does the vandal exhibit different qualities than the “natural” effects of the weather or does he not? Did the vandal commit a crime or didn’t he? If he did, was it the product of volition, or was it the result of a natural law, for which he cannot be held accountable? If he ransacked your house and stole your property, would you hold him accountable or would you not? If you were a judge in a court of law, would you prosecute him as one who violated the exercise of his free will, or would you shut down the court system altogether on the grounds that all human actions are determined by natural laws? These questions do not go away simply because you find them inconvenient.

    —-“Similarly, the sense in which I use “natural” when I state that “human agency has natural (and cultural) origins” has a different scope and applicability than is intended when one employs the word “natural” to distinguish objects/events that are not of human devising from those that are.”

    —-“Accordingly, as I stated above, “It does not follow from the above that the ordinary distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ objects has been lost. It is a useful distinction that reliably denotes the fact that natural objects (in the conventional sense) have a very different sort of history than do human artifacts.” To state that “human artifacts are in some sense natural objects” is no more problematic than “illegal moves are legal,” once the scope and applicability of the terms is ascertained in each instance, something ordinarily attained by common linguistic practice. The repeated qualifier “in some sense” is intended (again by ordinary linguistic practice) to alert the reader to the fact that the sense in which “natural” is deployed in this sentence differs than when used within the “artificial – natural” bifurcation.”

    One of the reasons why rigorous definitions are important is so that individuals cannot manipulate words in the middle of a discussion when their arguments are failing. The whole point of using the word “artificial is to distinguish it from “natural” so that rational discourse is possible. One the one hand, you forbid me to define agency as non-natural, which is a perfectly valid formulation and easy to follow; on the other hand, you define natural as natural when it serves one purpose and then you define it as artificial when it serves another purpose, thus violating the very rational standards that definitions are supposed to enforce. Thus, when I ask concrete questions about real world situations, the discussion breaks down. Example: Did the ancient hunters spear appear from “natural causes,” or was it designed? I can answer that question easily, but you cannot even begin to approach it because you subsume everything into the word “natural” [design, volition, intent, history, weather, gravity, hope, fear, consciousness---whatever is needed to rescue the materialist paradigm] hopelessly muddling the issue beyond repair.

    —–“Your statement, “From my perspective, intelligent agents did the mulling, and the designing, and the negotiating, and the organizing, and the building–so I have nothing controversial to defend” is off point, because nowhere do I claim that human agency and intelligence (human beings mulling, designing, negotiating, etc.) don’t exist or are illusions. Rather, I claim that these features of human agency (mulling, planning, designing, negotiating) have a natural (and cultural) history, and it is indeed this history that renders these features of human cognition and agency genuine.”

    As I stated earlier, we already know that everything that exists has some kind of history. So, that fact doesn’t really shed any light on the debate. Returning to the relevant topic, you claim that everything is the result of “natural causes,” which has already been defined as law and chance, yet when we probe that assumption, you massage that definition and rework it into something else that has no scientific currency.

    —-“As you state, you don’t find that history relevant. That appears to be a key point of difference.”

    Yes, I think that is a fair statement.

    —-“Personally, I find the claim that “not a shred of evidence” exists for human evolution (and the evolution of core human cognitive characteristics) is close to delusional in light of modern archeology and physical anthropology.”

    Once again, this comment reflects an equivocation on definitions, which is why it is important to make them as rigorous as possible. Notice how you use the word “evolution” both in the broad sense [common descent] to indict me even though I have no problem with that idea, and, in the narrow sense [driven solely by naturalistic forces] in order to argue on behalf of the proposition that mind arises from matter. Thus, you imply that by rejecting the idea that mind can arise from matter, which I clearly do, I am also rejecting “evolution,” even though they are totally different concepts. So, I recount my earlier point: On the one hand, ID defines its terms precisely [law, chance, agency], all of which are scientifically comprehensible, yet you refuse to accept them for invalid reasons. On the other hand, you use fluid terms [“evolution,” “nature,” “culture,” “history,”] none of which are scientifically rigorous or even comprehensible, and, it would seem, hope that others will not notice. In any case, if there was any evidence to support the claim that mind can arise from matter, I have no doubt that you would provide it. It is another one of those something-can-come-from-nothing delusions.

    —-“Vis “free will” and consciousness, suffice it to say that, because there are no accounts of how “non-material” or “non-natural” intelligences (minds, souls, whatever) deploy consciousness, intentionality and volition (other than “by definition”), the topic is a wash.”

    Surely, you don’t expect to maintain your position indefinitely by continually resorting to the phrase, “there is no evidence for….” Since you reject any notion of individual volition or free exercise of the will, why not make the declaration as a statement of belief. In maintaining that belief, of course, you are committed to the proposition that no one could ever “decide” to erect a skyscraper or, for that matter, could anyone ever be held accountable for a crime. Indeed, your philosophy rules out any semblance of a well-ordered society based on civil laws, all of which assume that individuals should be held accountable for their actions. Since, as you put it, you know of no account of how a non-natural intelligence could deploy consciousness [and since we will likely never know] you might as well acknowledge that you are prepared to dispense with the matter of personal responsibility altogether. Why not face the cultural implications of your philosophy and deal with them directly rather than calling the topic a “wash?”

  319. Scott @ 317:

    I thought you would. That was the point.

    But if that represents cultural evolution, doesn’t the bee waggle dance also represent cultural evolution? Is their communication any less cooperative?

    I’m not well versed on the bee dance, and wasn’t aware that it is thought to display cultural variation. I understand that ‘dialects’ are observed from species to species, but that is likely to reflect biological rather than cultural evolution. Are there variations in the modes of dance from bee community to bee community (e.g. hive to hive) within the same species? I did see on Wiki that when species have been mixed, they’ve slowly learned one another’s ‘dialects,’ which is amazing in and of itself.

    BTW, it doesn’t necessarily follow from the fact that bee dance behavior is cooperative that it is transmitted culturally. Kin-selection can relatively easily build adaptations reflecting a high level of organization and cooperation in the social insects (hymenopteran insects such as bees, wasps, and ants) because they exhibit a very high degree of average genetic relatedness stemming from their genetic haplodiploidy.

    Which leads back to my point at 310: All of the things we think make us so special are just further evolved versions of what other animals do. We’re nothing but really smart monkeys. We pay $20 to sit in a chair and have another monkey groom us. We flash colors to impress mates. Birds build nests, we build houses.

    You are ignoring the elements of human cultural transmission that are unique, which are considerable. Among these are joint attention, deliberate teaching and the transmission of technique (the latter two crucially important, but absent in the cultural transmission we observe in other great apes), “we intentionality,” cultural contagion, and (relatively recently) organizational and institutional inventions such as craft guilds, apprenticeships, schools and conservatories, political parties, universities, and so forth.

    Many of these substrates are themselves culminations of human cultural invention and the accumulation and retention of specific practices, all creating and amplifying what Tomasello has called the cultural “ratchet effect” by means of which felicitous cultural innovations are retained, again crucial to human cultural evolution but absent from cultural transmission observed in other great apes. In a sense, at the cultural level, we see the evolution of evolution, and the impact in human history of this new substrate of change has had explosive consequences, particularly in the last 13,000 and again in the last 500 years. Not to mention the immeasurable impact of the combined biological/cultural evolution of language.

    We are animals.

    Of course we are animals. But great apes, not monkeys. Get it straight.

  320. 320

    Diffaxial:

    In a sense, at the cultural level, we see the evolution of evolution, and the impact in human history of this new substrate of change has had explosive consequences, particularly in the last 13,000 and again in the last 500 years. Not to mention the immeasurable impact of the combined biological/cultural evolution of language.

    When you phrase your conjecture in such definite terms, some could mistake it for something else.

    Of course we are animals. But great apes, not monkeys. Get it straight.

    I was being facetious. I am not an animal. Anything that is an animal is far beneath me.

  321. Anything that is an animal is far beneath me.

    Typical fungus elitism! :)

  322. StephenB @ 318:

    One can legitimately define anything for the sake of argument so that everyone can follow what is being said. One need not to prove the existence of the elements contained in that definition.

    In your first post in this thread you stated:

    Second, you will notice that [Jerry] used the phrase “willful act,” which, again, must be characterized as “agency,” and cannot, therefore be a natural phenomenon. Nature, defined exclusively as law and chance, leaves no room for the willful act of an intelligent agent acting on and influencing nature.

    The above reproduces the first appearance (in this thread) of your employment of reasoning derived from the “chance/necessity/agency” trichotomy. As anyone can see, it cannot be characterized as a definition offered for the purpose of enabling others to follow what is said. Rather, it proceeds directly to a particular conclusion (paraphrased: law and chance leave no room for agency; therefore agency cannot be a natural phenomenon). This is the very conclusion that I characterized Jerry as assuming. Now you have assumed it too, based upon the woeful argument that mutually exclusive categories of “chance, necessity, and agency” exhaust our ability to describe causal events in the natural and human worlds.

    The whole point of using the word “artificial is to distinguish it from “natural” so that rational discourse is possible…

    This response again ignores particular important distinctions that I’ve taken pains to draw vis the scope and applicability of different senses of the word “natural.” Those distinctions are well-enough stated above.

    Notice how you use the word “evolution” both in the broad sense [common descent] to indict me even though I have no problem with that idea, and, in the narrow sense [driven solely by naturalistic forces] in order to argue on behalf of the proposition that mind arises from matter.

    Perhaps I misconstrued your statement. Let us see.

    You stated, “You have established no evolutionary pathway to complexity.” I took “evolutionary pathway to complexity” to denote a pathway of descent along which human cognition and human agency emerged. Were that construal accurate, then to state that “no evolutionary pathway to complexity” has been established would stand as a denial of common descent. I take denial of common descent as a marker of a near delusional rejection of the contemporary evidence on the matter.

    However, you say, “I have no problem with common descent.” Ordinary parlance would take that as a statement of acknowledgement of the reality of common descent. If that is your intention, then “evolutionary pathway to complexity” denotes something else, and I retract the above statement, as it was based upon misconstrual.

    However, here in the land of Uncommon Descent the phrase “I have no problem with common descent” often denotes the weasel words, “maybe it is true, and maybe it isn’t. I don’t have a problem with it, but there is no evidence one way or the other on the question.” I consider that position equally delusional in light of contemporary evidence. If this better characterizes your position on the matter, then my statement stands.

    Wear the shoe that fits. Let us know which you choose.

    Surely, you don’t expect to maintain your position indefinitely by continually resorting to the phrase, “there is no evidence for….”

    Amusing, given that this phrase (nor anything resembling it) doesn’t appear in any of my posts above. Indeed, the couplet “no evidence” appears above only in posts advanced by pro-ID participants.

    Since you reject any notion of individual volition

    I have done no such thing. Indeed above I repeated “nowhere do I claim that human agency and intelligence (human beings mulling, designing, negotiating, etc.) don’t exist or are illusions. Rather, I claim that these features of human agency…have a natural (and cultural) history, and it is indeed this history that renders these features of human cognition and agency genuine.” This framework permits investigation of the phenomenon of volition from the vantages of comparative psychology (again particularly with great apes), developmental psychology, neurobiology, the emergence of new cultural representations of self, etc.

    In constrast, theories of “volition” that call upon a “non-material intelligence” posit a volition that hangs there with no content, no moving parts, no history, no real relationship to the human brain, and no explanatory power other than that derived “by definition.” Positing a non-material intelligence, mind, soul, etc. solves the problem of volition and “free will” by fiat only, and is a “theory” without content, in my view.

  323. “Amusing, given that this phrase (nor anything resembling it) doesn’t appear in any of my posts above.”

    Ugh. Try,

    “Amusing, given that neither this phrase nor anything resembling it appear in any of my posts above.”

  324. —-Diffaxial: “This response again ignores particular important distinctions that I’ve taken pains to draw vis the scope and applicability of different senses of the word “natural.” Those distinctions are well-enough stated above”

    From my point of view, that is a problem. You have used the word “natural” in a multitude of ways without ever really defining it. It would help if you would assume the burden of that task.

    —–”You stated, “You have established no evolutionary pathway to complexity.” I took “evolutionary pathway to complexity” to denote a pathway of descent along which human cognition and human agency emerged. Were that construal accurate, then to state that “no evolutionary pathway to complexity” has been established would stand as a denial of common descent.

    Common descent could very easily have occurred without naturalistic forces being solely responsible for the appearance of consciousness.

    —-“However, you say, “I have no problem with common descent.” Ordinary parlance would take that as a statement of acknowledgement of the reality of common descent. If that is your intention, then “evolutionary pathway to complexity” denotes something else, and I retract the above statement, as it was based upon misconstrual.”

    To be as clear as possible, I accept common ancestry as a fact and allow for the strong possibility of universal common descent, while holding some reservations. Call that open-minded posture delusional if you like. However, the term “evolutionary pathway to complexity,” as I use it, implies much more, namely that purposeless, undirected, gradualistic forces, as set forth in the neo-Darwinist paradigm, could have ushered in the transition from OOL to consciousness in 4 billion years. Random variation, natural selection and other naturalistic forces can do many things, but there is no evidence at all that they have done that or could ever do that. Quite the contrary, there is no evidence at all that they did it. That isn’t delusional; it is fact. If you want to challenge the point, you have the floor and all relevant evidence will be accepted without fuss.

    —-“I have done no such thing.” Indeed above I repeated “nowhere do I claim that human agency and intelligence (human beings mulling, designing, negotiating, etc.) don’t exist or are illusions. Rather, I claim that these features of human agency…have a natural (and cultural) history, and it is indeed this history that renders these features of human cognition and agency genuine.”

    That doesn’t really solve the problem, though, does it? The problem is this: Are agent causes different from natural causes? I don’t want to misrepresent your position, but if you are declaring that agency is real but indistinguishable from non-agency, then you are playing with words. If agency is real then it is not a function of natural forces; if it merely one of many natural causes, then it is, indeed, an illusion. You can’t have it both ways. Agency is either a different kind of cause than a natural cause or it isn’t.

    —-“This framework permits investigation of the phenomenon of volition from the vantages of comparative psychology (again particularly with great apes), developmental psychology, neurobiology, the emergence of new cultural representations of self, etc. In constrast, theories of “volition” that call upon a “non-material intelligence” posit a volition that hangs there with no content, no moving parts, no history, no real relationship to the human brain, and no explanatory power other than that derived “by definition.” Positing a non-material intelligence, mind, soul, etc. solves the problem of volition and “free will” by fiat only, and is a “theory” without content, in my view.”

    Where did you get the words “non-material” from my posts? In any case, if what you just wrote means anything at all, you should be able to apply it. So, lets’ go back to the design inference, in which you come home and find that your living room appears to have been ransacked. If a rainstorm or tornado or some other natural force caused the destruction, then those forces cannot say no to their own momentum. If, on the other hand, a burglar caused the damage, then he/she can either choose to commit the act or not. Further, the violator might well leave signals that a human agency caused the damage. You may well, for example, notice that some drawers were left open or detect some other indication that human intelligence was present. So, the question should be obvious enough. Is there a significant distinction between a wind torn house and one which was ransacked by a burglar? Can you draw an infernce to the agent cause or not? So far, you have indicated that both causes are natural and that no design inference to agency could be made because, in your judgment, we cannot posit agency apart from natural forces. Surely, you can understand how untenable your position is when exposed to the light of day by a concrete example.

    Again, I call your attention to the competing world views in action. Man [A] releases a ball, and natural forces cause it to fall to the ground. Man [B], through an act of the will, interrupts the descent in progress and snatches the ball out of thin air. Are you saying that both events were caused by natural causes? I say that [A] is a function of natural causes and [B] is a function of agency. To say, as you do, that both are natural causes, is to make a mockery of the human agent’s capacity to be his/her own cause apart from nature.

  325. StephenB @ 324:

    You have used the word “natural” in a multitude of ways without ever really defining it. It would help if you would assume the burden of that task.

    I’ve used the word in two ways.

    The first conforms to ordinary parlance: my dictionary tells me that “natural” is defined as “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by human kind.” This stands in distinction to objects that are in fact made or caused by human kind, e.g. artifacts such as buildings. This scheme of categorization applies without difficulty to the examples you cite – say the derangements caused by a vandal versus those caused by a tornado.

    The second refers to the more general sense in which humankind can itself be said to be natural or non-natural. Although related to the first sense above, it takes a step back. Non-natural at this level cannot mean “made or caused by human kind” (we seem to agree that human beings didn’t cause themselves). At this level “non-natural” apparently denotes a more general kind of contrivance at the “hands” of a more general kind of agent. This introduces a huge problem for those who wish to posit there is such an agency, namely, what agent? However, those who postulate that human beings themselves “exist in and were caused by nature” are not burdened by that difficulty. Their challenge is to get busy supplying that natural account. (You may want to say here that nature itself is the product of an agent, but that is tantamount to stating that nothing is natural. If that is the case, the distinction you value so much between human agency and natural events is again dissolved.)

    There you have it. Two senses of “natural,” not multiple. The scope and applicability of these two senses of “natural” and “non-natural” differ. This is consistent with my posts throughout above. For clarity it is important to be clear which sense is being invoked when using “natural” and “non-natural,” as confusion may otherwise arise.

    Given the above, I say that it is unproblematic to assert both that that human kind itself is a natural phenomenon (in the second sense), and that we may nevertheless intelligibly classify objects and events as “natural” and “non-natural” (in the first.) Using the above definitions, here is how it comes out:

    “Human kind exists in and was caused by nature. It is not the product of an agent. Some objects/events in the world are made or caused by human kind. Some are not.”

    I don’t see that this, as far as it goes, is paradoxical or problematic. The forgoing doesn’t entail entanglement in the complications of agency, freedom, responsibility, etc. To classify an object or event employing the first sense of natural, above, one need only decide whether or not it was “made or caused by human kind.” That decision can be made without becoming concerned with paradoxical questions vis agency, volition, intentionality, freedom and determinism, etc. For example, it is fully intelligible to determine that Empire State Building is a non-natural object (in the first sense) without grappling with questions such as whether those who made it were free not to make it. Similarly, upon asserting that human kind is itself of natural origins in the second sense (as when I say “human beings arose in and are part of the natural world”), those problems continue to have only tangential relevance, because I am not invoking agency to explain those origins.

    Now, assuredly, there are other reasons to raise these questions, but the conclusion that human kind has natural origins and, in turn, causes or makes things is not one of them.

    ——-

    When one asserts that human beings arose by non-natural means things become more complicated, because there is no ready, observable agent to invoke, as there is when classifying an object in light of the first sense of natural, above. Absent any direct or reliable indirect experience with this putative agent we are left with a disembodied abstraction, namely “agency.” The abstracted characteristics and powers of “agency” then need be specified, raising many problems. You may wish to refer to human agency as a model, but “human agency,” as distinct from the observables of human behavior, is itself an abstraction, the characteristics of which have been the object of thousands of years of largely unfruitful debate. Therefore there is nothing dispositive about citing human agency as a model for this larger agency, and, given that this larger agency must remain an abstraction of our own devising, nothing in this larger agency that settles these abstract and vexing questions of human agency.

    Moreover, the vexing questions that may be raised regarding, for example, the “reality” of agency, freedom and responsibility in the light of a closed causal picture of the world, and the corollary questions vis the punishment of criminals, and so forth, arise whether or not you regard human kind itself as of “natural” or “non-natural” phenomenon. Most arise as a consequence of determinism, not natural origins: the reality and or meaning of choice and responsiblity in a causally closed world (to which, I gather, you firmly subscribe) is a knotty problem for anyone regardless of the origin story to which they subscribe. So far as I can tell, those problems are intensified and further complicated rather than resolved upon the assumption of the agent most people invoke when they assert that human beings are creations rather than natural objects (God).

    ——-

    That said:

    To be as clear as possible, I accept common ancestry as a fact and allow for the strong possibility of universal common descent, while holding some reservations. Call that open-minded posture delusional if you like.

    No, I call that a reasonable position.

    However, the term “evolutionary pathway to complexity,” as I use it, implies much more, namely that purposeless, undirected, gradualistic forces, as set forth in the neo-Darwinist paradigm, could have ushered in the transition from OOL to consciousness in 4 billion years. Random variation, natural selection and other naturalistic forces can do many things, but there is no evidence at all that they have done that or could ever do that. Quite the contrary, there is no evidence at all that they did it. That isn’t delusional; it is fact. If you want to challenge the point, you have the floor and all relevant evidence will be accepted without fuss.

    Of course, I’d argue that there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary. However, I’ll simply ask that the entirety of research and theory in evolutionary biology and related fields be read into the record (“so ordered, without fuss”) and note that if you don’t find that persuasive, and find that it amounts to “no evidence at all,” then there is no point in my making an effort here.

    That doesn’t really solve the problem, though, does it? The problem is this: Are agent causes different from natural causes? I don’t want to misrepresent your position, but if you are declaring that agency is real but indistinguishable from non-agency, then you are playing with words.

    My opening paragraphs are intended to address this general set of questions, and the paragraphs that remain.

    To say, as you do, that both are natural causes, is to make a mockery of the human agent’s capacity to be his/her own cause apart from nature.

    Now you aren’t tracking the discussion. My response was that both actions (dropping a ball; snatching a ball out of the air) reflect human agency. (I often feel that you are responding to what you expect I would say, rather than to my actual words).

    The problem, for you no less than for me, is to articulate what it means for human beings to be agents in a causal world. I don’t see that your position resolves the issue any more effectively than mine (simply asserting that we “have agency” or “are agents” doesn’t really accomplish anything), and in fact argue that it introduces insoluble complications that can have no contact with the empirical tools of science. In contrast, placing the question of the origins of the suite of human cognitive and behavioral talents we refer to collectively as “volition” into an evolutionary context supplies a very interesting framework and a number of avenues of empirical investigation (comparative psychology and primatology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, etc.) that have already, in fact, yielded very important observations with clear bearing on the issue. Of course, the most vexing of these puzzles will not be dissolved in this way because they are philosophical rather than scientific questions.

  326. “rational discourse is possible…”

    StephenB, this is a nonsense assumption when dealing with the anti ID people here. Occasionally there is one who wants to have a rational discourse but it is an infrequent event and usually only if they think it is to their advantage. There is no mutual attempt to understand each other with them. When the discussion gets irrational or hung up in irrelevancies you can bet they understand they haven’t anything to stand on.

    So all the nonsense that Diffaxial provides is just an admission by him that he hasn’t a rational argument to counter the obvious. When he does have a rational argument he can muster one but not when the issue is evolution or origin of life. He has no answers to the obvious in these areas.

    That is why they try to get the discussion hung up on what is the definition of information or natural or some other such irrelevancy.

  327. Jerry @ 326:

    There is no mutual attempt to understand each other with them.

    Yet, Jerry, I can just feel you striving to understand and comment upon my post above, as reflected in this thoughtful, contentful comment. You’ve shamed me by example.

  328. —-Diffaxial: “The problem, for you no less than for me, is to articulate what it means for human beings to be agents in a causal world. I don’t see that your position resolves the issue any more effectively than mine (simply asserting that we “have agency” or “are agents” doesn’t really accomplish anything), and in fact argue that it introduces insoluble complications that can have no contact with the empirical tools of science. In contrast, placing the question of the origins of the suite of human cognitive and behavioral talents we refer to collectively as “volition” into an evolutionary context supplies a very interesting framework and a number of avenues of empirical investigation (comparative psychology and primatology, developmental psychology, neuroscience, etc.) that have already, in fact, yielded very important observations with clear bearing on the issue. Of course, the most vexing of these puzzles will not be dissolved in this way because they are philosophical rather than scientific questions.”

    Everyone understands that a man coming home to find his house ransacked can rule out natural causes and infer the activity of a design agent. Everyone understands the difference between a man releasing a ball and allowing a ball to drop to the ground [natural cause] and another man snatching it in mid air to interrupt the fall [agency]. Everyone understands that an agent cause is significantly different from a natural cause and can, as a matter of fact, use natural causes for a willful and rational end. To deny that fact is to deny the clearest reality available to sentient beings. Indeed, materialist Darwinists do not even live by their own alleged philosophy, as they prove each time they look both ways before crossing the street.

  329. Stephen @ 328:

    Everyone understands that a man coming home to find his house ransacked can rule out natural causes and infer the activity of a design agent. Everyone understands the difference between a man releasing a ball and allowing a ball to drop to the ground [natural cause] and another man snatching it in mid air to interrupt the fall [agency]. Everyone understands that an agent cause is significantly different from a natural cause and can, as a matter of fact, use natural causes for a willful and rational end. To deny that fact is to deny the clearest reality available to sentient beings.

    Not everyone understands the distinctions drawn in my post, however.

    So it goes. Good place to stop.

  330. —-Jerry: “That is why they try to get the discussion hung up on what is the definition of information or natural or some other such irrelevancy.”

    I know what you are saying here and I agree. I also think that even these exhibitions on terms and definitions serve a good purpose for onlookers. They are no substitute for the scienfitic discussions, of course, but they illustrate something that the more in-depth debates on evolutionary processes sometimes leave out. On the one hand, only the well-initiated can spot the Darwinists’ logical errors when they debate ID on matters of statistics, natural processes, design methodology, or other technical matters. On the other hand, everyone, even a beginner, can appreciate the logical lapses coming from those who say that ID should not even be permitted to define its own terms, or that logic doesn’t apply to the real world, or that a tornado’s destructive winds should be placed in the same category of causes as a burglar’s disruption. It is at these times that the fence sitters take pause and say, “are you kidding me?”

  331. I hope you sweethearts someday get a sense of how ridiculous your self-congratulatory pillow talk is. To wit:

    StephenB @ 324:

    You have used the word “natural” in a multitude of ways without ever really defining it. It would help if you would assume the burden of that task.

    (Diffaxial supplies a definition @ 325)

    Jerry @ 326:

    That is why they try to get the discussion hung up on what is the definition of information or natural or some other such irrelevancy.

    StephenB @ 330:

    I know what you are saying here and I agree.

  332. —Diffaxial: “I hope you sweethearts someday get a sense of how ridiculous your self-congratulatory pillow talk is.”

    Sorry, I rattled your chain with my correspondence with Jerry. Maybe it was a bit too facile. Still, your varied definitions of natural (two by your count, more by mine) really do tug away at one another.

    —-”The first conforms to ordinary parlance: my dictionary tells me that “natural” is defined as “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by human kind.”

    Yes, that is a very good definition, and you should have stopped with your dictionary.

    “Not made or caused by human nature is correct.”

    But you go on.

    —-”This stands in distinction to objects that are in fact made or caused by human kind, e.g. artifacts such as buildings. This scheme of categorization applies without difficulty to the examples you cite – say the derangements caused by a vandal versus those caused by a tornado.”

    No. Nature applies to the formation of a tornado, not the formation of a city building.

    —”The second refers to the more general sense in which humankind can itself be said to be natural or non-natural.”

    At this point you have already gone off the deep end, and you are clearly trying to have it both ways.

    —”Although related to the first sense above, it takes a step back. Non-natural at this level cannot mean “made or caused by human kind” (we seem to agree that human beings didn’t cause themselves).”

    Your definition keeps morphing and morphing.

    —-”At this level “non-natural” apparently denotes a more general kind of contrivance at the “hands” of a more general kind of agent.”

    What in the name of sense is a general kind of agent.

    —-”This introduces a huge problem for those who wish to posit there is such an agency, namely, what agent? However, those who postulate that human beings themselves “exist in and were caused by nature” are not burdened by that difficulty.”

    I’m sorry, Diffaxial, but this just doesn’t add up.

    —-”Their challenge is to get busy supplying that natural account. (You may want to say here that nature itself is the product of an agent, but that is tantamount to stating that nothing is natural. If that is the case, the distinction you value so much between human agency and natural events is again dissolved.)

    It isn’t making sense. Not at all.

    —-There you have it. Two senses of “natural,” not multiple.

    Yes, two definitions one completely incompatible with the other. One indicates that humans are not involved while the other indicates that they are.

    —”The scope and applicability of these two senses of “natural” and “non-natural” differ.”

    Yes, in the same sense that the North and the South differed during the Civil War.

    —-”This is consistent with my posts throughout above. For clarity it is important to be clear which sense is being invoked when using “natural” and “non-natural,” as confusion may otherwise arise.”

    There does seem to be a certain continuity in the contradictions.

    —-Given the above, I say that it is unproblematic to assert both that that human kind itself is a natural phenomenon (in the second sense), and that we may nevertheless intelligibly classify objects and events as “natural” and “non-natural” (in the first.) Using the above definitions, here is how it comes out:

    If I grant you your incompatible premises, then I would surely have to grant you your incomprehensible conclusions. But alas, I cannot.

    —“Human kind exists in and was caused by nature. It is not the product of an agent.”

    It is over that claim that all the fuss is being made.

    —-”Some objects/events in the world are made or caused by human kind. Some are not.”

    Yes, that’s true, but you would never know it from what you have been saying.

    Let’s go back to the dictionary definition: “natural” is defined as “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by human kind.”

    —as in tornados, not in buildings.

    I don’t care to much for the term “in nature,” but then one can’t have everything.

    If you will not accept the dictionary definition, then let’s quit for a while.

  333. 333

    Diffaxial does what he always does. He assumes his conclusions upfront by arbitrarily removing agency as a legitimate cause within the natural world, one whose effects are observable.

    Why agency is in need of his super-duper special treatment, he does not say, but being a delightful ideologue, he regularly complains that it is his opponents who to assume their conclusions.

  334. 334

    StephenB @ 332:

    —-[Diffaxial]:”The first conforms to ordinary parlance: my dictionary tells me that “natural” is defined as “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by human kind.”

    Yes, that is a very good definition, and you should have stopped with your dictionary.

    OK, Stephen, but what about my dictionary? It happens to be the OED (sorry, it does require a subscription):

    Natural
    A. adj.

    I. Existing in, determined by, conforming to, or based on nature.

    1. Existing or present by nature; inherent in the very constitution of a person or thing; innate; not acquired or assumed.

    2. Consistent with nature; normal, expected.

    a. Ordinary; conforming to a usual or normal character (or constitution).

    b. Of an emotion, reaction, event, etc.: naturally arising or resulting from, fully consonant with, or appropriate to the circumstances; predictable, understandable.

    c. Being such by the nature of things or force of circumstances; inevitably or obviously such.

    d. Normally or essentially connected with, relating to, or belonging to a person or thing; consonant with or inherent or proper to the nature or character of the person or thing.

    e. With to. Of a quality, attribute, emotion, etc.: that belongs intrinsically to a person or thing; that comes easily or spontaneously to a person.

    f. Of a condition, environment, etc.: naturally adapted for, or applicable to, something. Obs.

    g. as natural as breathing and variants: designating activities or circumstances which seem entirely natural or instinctive; second nature.

    3. Having a real or physical existence.

    a. Belonging to, operating, or taking place in, the physical (as opposed to the spiritual or intellectual) world. Now rare.

    b. Actually existent, as opposed to what is spiritual, intellectual, fictitious, etc. In later use only in natural body n. at Special uses 2 and NATURAL PERSON n. Obs.

    c. Belonging to the inanimate part of the natural world. Obs. rare

    4. Based upon innate moral feeling; instinctively or immediately felt to be right and fair, though not prescribed by any enactment or formal compact; having a claim to be followed or acted on even if not legally prescribed. Cf. NATURAL LAW n., NATURAL JUSTICE n. Obs.

    5. Based on nature or the intrinsic properties of a thing.

    a. Of a period of time: determined by cycles in nature.

    b. Of a quantity, number, measure, etc.: arising from or based on fundamental or intrinsic properties of an object or entity.

    c. Of a branch of science, or a method of arrangement, classification, etc.: having a basis in the normal constitution of things; arising from intrinsic properties. Chiefly in Biol.: (of a classification system or its groups) intended to correspond to the relationships presumed or inferred to exist between the organisms classified, rather than being based on an arbitrary or convenient principle; not artificial.

    d. Math. Designating a standard trigonometric function of an angle, as opposed to the logarithm of such a function (see LOGARITHMIC adj. a).

    6.

    a. Not unusual, exceptional, irregular, or miraculous; explicable in terms of natural phenomena.

    b. Of a function, characteristic, disease, etc., of the human body: occurring or appearing spontaneously or in the course of nature.

    c. Of death: resulting from old age or disease, not brought about by accident, violence, poison, etc. Also, in extended use, in (to die) a natural death: to fade away, become forgotten.

    7. Formed by nature; not subject to human intervention, not artificial.

    a. Of a substance or article: not manufactured or processed; not obtained by artificial processes; made only from natural products. Also: manufactured using only simple or minimal processes; made so as to imitate or blend with the naturally occurring article.

    b. Occurring in, or part of, the environment; inherent in the form of an organism, etc.

    c. Of vegetation: growing of itself; self-sown, self-propagated; not introduced artificially. Also of land or a landscape: not cultivated or altered.

    d. Of a medicine, treatment, etc.: avoiding the use of pharmaceuticals and other artificial or manufactured substances; alternative, complementary, or homeopathic.

    e. Involving no artificial or man-made ingredients, chemicals, etc.; ecological, organic; spec. (of food and drink) containing no artificial colourings, flavourings, or preservatives.

    f. Designating or relating to methods of birth control which rely on recognition of the fertile phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle, esp. a method in which couples abstain from intercourse during this phase rather than use contraceptives (also called rhythm method)

    8.

    a. Sc[ots] Having innate abilities and gifts. Obs. rare.

    b. Having the innate ability to fill the specified role, adopt the specified profession, display a particular character, etc.

    9.

    a. Theol. Of a person: spiritually unenlightened; unregenerate; having a belief system or world view uninformed by revelation. Obs.

    b. Philos. and Theol. Of a system of belief, etc.: derived entirely from experience of the natural world; arrived at by reason and observation rather than through revelation or enlightenment

    c. Having only the wisdom given by nature; not educated by study. Obs. rare.

    10.

    a. Of thought, behaviour, or expression: having the ease or simplicity of nature; free from affectation, artificiality, or constraint; simple, unaffected, easy.

    b. Of a person: acting in accordance with one’s innate character; not dissimulating, deceiving, or affected.

    c. U.S. Wild, savage. Obs. rare

    11. Unaltered, not enhanced.

    a. Of a person, his or her appearance, attributes, etc.: having the normal form, colour, etc.; not disfigured, disguised, or altered in any way. Of a style of hairdressing: having the appearance of being unstyled

    b. Of a fabric: having the colour of its unbleached and undyed state. Of a colour: that of the unbleached and undyed fabric

    c. Of a decorative finish: that retains or enhances the colour and texture of the original material. Also of wood, etc.: not painted, stained, or otherwise artificially coloured.

    12. Of appearance.

    a. Of pictorial representation or visual effect: closely imitating nature; life-like, exact.

    b. (as) natural as life: entirely natural, esp. in appearance or behaviour; appearing as if alive.

    13. Music. Designating a note in the western musical system that is uninflected by a sharp or flat or any sign indicating a modification of diatonic pitch. Also of a key, harmony, etc.

    II. Relating to birth or family; native.

    14.

    a. Of a person: having a status (esp. of allegiance or authority) by birth; natural-born. Cf. natural subject n. at Special uses 2. Obs. (hist. in later use).

    b. Of the transfer of a privilege, property, etc.: according to right of heredity. Hence of property, a privilege, etc. (later also a trait): hereditary; possessed by right of birth.

    15.

    a. Of a person: related genetically but not legally to his or her father; born outside marriage, illegitimate.

    b. Of a person’s child: genetically related (without reference to legal recognition). Formerly also: esp. {dag}born in lawful wedlock, legitimate (obs.). Also in extended use.

    c. Of any other relation: genetically related, related by birth.

    16.

    a. Observant of familial obligations; appropriately affectionate towards a close relative. Obs.

    b. Feeling or exhibiting innate or spontaneous kindness, affection, or gratitude. See also natural-hearted at Special uses 1. Now rare (regional).

    c. Showing, or behaving so as to show, such a feeling to or towards a person, etc. Obs.

    17.

    a. Of a country or language: being that of a person’s birth; native.

    b. Of a person: native to a country; native-born. Obs.

    c. With names of specific nationalities, as natural Englishman, etc. Also designating words of the specified language. Obs.

    d. That is a native of the specified place. Obs.

    III. Relating to nature as an object of study.

    18.

    a. Of a person: given to the study of the natural world and natural phenomena. Now only in NATURAL HISTORIAN n., NATURAL PHILOSOPHER n., NATURAL SCIENTIST n.

    b. Dealing with, concerned with, or relating to the natural world and natural phenomena as objects of study or research. Now chiefly in natural knowledge and NATURAL HISTORY n., NATURAL PHILOSOPHY n., NATURAL SCIENCE n.

    Tricky word, that natural. Especially considering that I left out the 49 special uses (and one adverbial defintion).

  335. 335

    Doomsday Smith,

    You might also want to read C.S. Lewis’s book Studies in Words here,

    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

    He dedicates an entire chapter to the word Nature.

  336. —-Doomsday: “Tricky word, that natural. Especially considering that I left out the 49 special uses (and one adverbial defintion).”

    Yes, which is why ID’s definition of natural causes is comprehensible and yours, which includes multiple meanings, and Diffaxial’s which offers two contradictory meanings, is not. Scientists need to define their terms cafefully and precisely, and ID has defined what it means by natural causes, [lawlike regularity, expressed as necessity and chance, expressed as contingency] with perfect exactness, and that definition should be respected for that very reason. Unfortunately, our adversaries would prefer not to allow us that privilege, choosing to muddy the debate waters with confused language formulations.

  337. 337

    Doomsday,

    I read your post with great interest. Please explain to the ID crowd which of these definitions of “natural” describes how the decoding process knows what the arrangement of nucleic acids mean? In other words, what is the “natural” process by which DNA is decoded?

    For instance, T-A-G means “stop the addition of amino acids to the protein chain” yet we are unclear as to the natural causes (within the scope of the material properties of the chemical compounds involved) that are the origin of this emprically observable phenomena.

    Given the great depth of your definitions, I am certain that you have the answer, so please share your knowledge with us so that we may know.

    What are the “natural” material forces that suggest that Thymine followed by Adenine, followed by Guanine in the linear code means “stop”.

  338. Onlookers:

    It is very useful to set the above in the context of the discussionthat Diff et al would suppress.

    Namely, the reason why it is legitimate and empirically objective to distinguish in a scientific context, between:

    [a] nature acting freely relative to whatever initial circumstances just happen to be there, through chance + mechanical necessity (cf SB’s dropped ball or a rock that happens to begin to fall then triggers an avalanche down a volcanic dome), and

    [b] intelligence acting through purposefully directed choice and action that diverts the usual course of nature (e.g. a man who catches the ball or the rock before it hits the ground).

    1 –> When events are such that under given initial circumstances, a reliably repeatable outcome occurs, we explain by natural law and look for forces and initial conditions and constraints. [That is how the corpus of natural law was built up by induction from predictively successful explanatory constructs]

    2 –> When we see high contingency so that under evidently similar initial conditions, diverse outcomes tend to happen, we can see two possible causal factors: [a] chance leading to stochastic patterns in outcomes (e.g. a fair die is tossed many times), and [b] choice, leading to intelligently directed outcomes 9e.g. a loaded die is tossed, or even if a die is simply set to a reading).

    3 –> All of this is easily empirically verified glorified commonsense, much belabouring on “definitions” of “nature” by those who don’t want to go where it points notwithstanding.

    4 –> Now, highly contingent outcomes may come in two flavours and in blends of the two, so the key design theory issue is whether we can reliably detect at least some cases of the latter factor, intelligence.

    5 –> This is practically important and in fact a routinely met issue, e.g. we need to know whether it was accident or arson, or on SB’s example a tornado or a thief.

    6 –> Design theory extends the common-sense we usually use in managerial contexts or courtrooms, by observing that there are certain reliable signs of intelligent cause.

    7 –> For instance, long enough — 143 characters is long enough, about 18 – 20 words of typical English — strings of ASCII text in contextually responsive English are routinely seen to be made by intelligences, but are not seen to be produced by random processes such as deriving a binary code string from a Zener noise source. [This gives a REALLY random seed to the string.] (Those who have monitored recetn threads here will recall that after all the rhetorical huffing and puffing and red herrings were over, it remained th case that objectors to this example could not cite a credible counter-instance. in short we have an empirically reliable sign of intelligence here.)

    8 –> Similarly, digital, prescriptive code-based languages such as are used by digital processors, programmed algorithms that execute instructions step by step yielding a definite output and then complete, the irreducibly complex sets of machinery to take in inputs, store relevant information, execute and output results, etc are OBSERVED as the product of intelligences, but not as spontaneous creations of nature acting freely.

    9 –> On examining the explicit or implicit information strings in bits [1 bit = 1 yes/no decision], cases such as the above easily run past the limit of 1,000 bits which is a level of complexity such that once we identify a specific function that uses the information and is vulnerable to perturbation of the pattern, we see that he 10^80 or so atoms of he observed universe acting as a search engine could not sample as much as 1 in 10^150 of the possible configurations of the 1,000 bits.

    10 –> That is, blind search that happens to land us by luck on a shoreline of functionality is not a credible explanation for such phenomena. So, hill climbing to peaks of function by differential functional performance etc is not credibly able to START, as there is no grounds to get us reasonably to initial levels of even crude function.

    11 –> The problem for the evolutionary materialists is that this points right to the heart of cell based life, which is just such a complex functional digital information system, indeed incorporating an irreducibly complex von Neumann set of blueprint storage, reader and instruction executer that allows autonomous self-replication.

    12 –> So, it is inherently very credible that life was designed. But since — in a cosmos that looks very much fine tuned for life based on cells and Carbon chemistry [notice the second level of design inference here] — that means that a credible candidate for such design is a powerful intelligence who sounds a lot like the God of traditional theism.

    13 –> And since we are dealing with committed materialists, that is verboten, so all sorts of hyperskeptical objections thast would never be appealed to on anotehr matter are trotted out, to make wha tis in reality a matter of worldvierwe imposition SEMEM to be a quesiton of “science” to the uninitiated.

    14 –> If you doubt me on that, here is the well known biologist and US national Academy of Sciences member, Lewontin in an infamous 1997 NYRB article, inadvertently letting the cat out of the bag that was supposed to have a piglet in it:

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

    So, that is what is really going on.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: my always linked has a quick look at the trichotomy of causal factors here, and uses it to build up the ID explantory filter as a legitimate form of the scientific methodology, here.

    PPS: One of the common objections is that the above chain of reasoning is not in the peer reviewed literature. That is now decisively answered by the very similar line of argument in a series of peer reviewed articles summed up in the 2009 review by Abel on the Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity. Must reading, through a bit dense on first pass, and though a 45 pp PDF, though pp 276 – 291 [15 pp] are more or less references, altogether 335 of them.

  339. StephenB @ 336:

    Yes, which is why ID’s definition of natural causes is comprehensible and yours, which includes multiple meanings, and Diffaxial’s which offers two contradictory meanings, is not.

    The debate at hand began with the following:

    Jerry @ 242:

    Every willful act by an intelligent agent defies the natural laws as we see here by most commenters.

    Note that the word “natural” is already in play. I remarked @ 250:

    This only works because you assume your conclusions, namely that human beings, human behavior, and human intelligence are not natural phenomena.

    StephenB weighed in @ 259 with the following, referencing the law/chance/agency definition:

    Second, you will notice that he used the phrase “willful act,” which, again, must be characterized as “agency,” and cannot, therefore be a natural phenomenon. Nature, defined exclusively as law and chance, leaves no room for the willful act of an intelligent agent acting on and influencing nature.

    And again @ 259:

    By definition, ID defines “natural” to mean either law or chance, which means that, in that context, intelligence cannot be natural.

    StephenB claims for his definition precision. My objection, however, doesn’t concern precision, but rather the obvious fact that this definition contains within it a forced conclusion with respect to the assertion, “human beings, human behavior, and human intelligence are natural phenomena.”

    Accordingly, I observed @ 260:

    The above simply reduces to “by definition…intelligence cannot be natural.”

    The ID definition unequivocally compels “by definition” a conclusion with respect to the question at hand. That is my objection to the use of your definition in this discussion. One does not settle matters such as these “by definition.” Hence my remark @ 301:

    Argumentum ad definitium.

    ——

    It is apparent that the word “natural,” which arises so often in these discussions, is problematic. I described “different senses” of natural (two) in an attempt to address that problem, as I discussed in 325. (I disagree that they are contradictory; rather, they have different scope and applicability. That’s why there are two senses.) Doomsday Smith’s reproduction of the OED entry for “natural” makes plain the problem: it “natural” has long been in use with many different senses in different contexts.

    The ID definition, which StephenB advances as superior due to its “precision,” is even more problematic: it is completely disqualified, because it flatly compels a conclusion with respect to that question at hand. I’d argue that it has been contrived TO compel that particular conclusion, but that is another conversation.

    Since we cannot agree on a definition of “natural” to which all can subscribe, the challenge is to articulate one’s notions another way.

  340. —-Diffaxial: “The ID definition unequivocally compels “by definition” a conclusion with respect to the question at hand.”
    That is my objection to the use of your definition in this discussion. One does not settle matters such as these “by definition.”

    We are repeating ourselves. One cannot test for agency in a given situation without acknowledging the possibility that agency exists. To hypothesize the existence of an intelligenct agent in a new situaion that has not yet been studied is not to assume the conclusion. On the other hand, to assume the existence that intelligent agents already exist and have, in that context, already provided instances of information, is an empirically verifiable fact.

    Is that your objection? Are you questioning the fact that intelligent agents exist or that they create functional information, as evidenced by the paragraph that you just wrote. Or, will you likely say that they exist, but then go on to define them as “natural,” thereby cancelling out their status as intelligent agents, merging them with natural laws, and descending once again into intellectual quicksand.

  341. 341

    One cannot test for agency in a given situation without acknowledging the possibility that agency exists.

    StephenB,

    Diffaxial can speak for himself far more eloquently than I, but it seems to me that the nub of the matter is that the only “agency” that any of us has experienced displays, as its sphere of activity, the empirically detectable world. Most commonly we observe human agency, though animal agencies are also encountered: beaver dams, termite mounds, etc.

    Although one may postulate any number of alternative agencies above and beyond the empirically observable, such postulation must lead to empirically verifiable predictions, if such postulates are to be scientifically fruitful.

    At least that’s what history has shown so far.

  342. 342

    Prediction:

    John 1:1

    Verification:

    Scientific Evidence For God Creating The Universe – 2008 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQhO906v0VM

    As well I know for a fact there is much more going on than materialism (a falsified philosophy) would lead us to believe..

    Miracle Testimony – One Easter Sunday Sunrise Service – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj0L5dwuX0g

  343. Is that your objection? Are you questioning the fact that intelligent agents exist or that they create functional information, as evidenced by the paragraph that you just wrote.

    No Stephen, that’s not my objection. Nor does anything resembling this statement (or the balance of your post) appear in the paragraph I just wrote, in any other of my posts above, nor any other post I have made on this or any other blog.

    You may postulate intelligent agents all you like. You may postulate that intelligence must be something other than “natural” all you like. What you cannot do is recite in support of these notions a definition that compels, “by definition,” the conclusion that “intelligence cannot be natural.” Which is precisely what you did in your post @ 259 above. Twice. That is my objection, repeatedly laid out above in clear terms. Stop it.

    This is rather like the debate we had last week over the composition of the moon. I asserted that the moon is made of green cheese, but you disagreed. In support of my assertion I stated “the Intelligent Diffaxial movement defines green cheese as ‘that substance of which the moon is made.’” This is an extremely precise definition, and onlookers will all agree that it follows that the moon is made of green cheese. As far as I can tell that settles the question, but you inexplicably raised objections. Like all you guys you wriggled and squirmed in an attempt to avoid the obvious. It was clear that you wished to suppress debate by denying my right to define terms to attain rigor and precision. Your continued objections reflected nothing other than your poor grasp of logic and rejection of right reason.

    Honestly, your use of “chance/necessity/agency” triad to support the assertion that agency can’t arise from nature is no less… something.

  344. —-Diffaxial: “You may postulate intelligent agents all you like. You may postulate that intelligence must be something other than “natural” all you like. What you cannot do is recite in support of these notions a definition that compels, “by definition,” the conclusion that “intelligence cannot be natural.” Which is precisely what you did in your post @ 259 above. Twice. That is my objection, repeatedly laid out above in clear terms. Stop it.”

    Sorry Diffaxial, but your comments do not pass the test of reason. The whole purpose of a definition is to create boundaries, to say, I mean this, and not that. Anyone can define anything at any time and that definition need not be verified by anything else, including reality itself, so long as it is comprehensible. Indeed, many definitions begin by saying A is not B or not C or not D, but is in fact E, allowing the listener or observer understand more fully exactly what is meant and what is not meant. Rational discourse is possible only when words mean things, and to mean things they must also not mean other things.

    By your lights, I may not exclude anything from a definition that you would prefer that I include, meaning that unless you approve of its contents, it cannot constitute legitimate expression. Excuse me, but that is pure nonsense. For you, even if scientist says “by Natural causes I mean repetitive laws and chance events, and by agency I mean intelligent agency,” your answer is, “Sorry, but I won’t have it; you may not define your terms that way.” Nothing could be more irrational.

    —-”This is rather like the debate we had last week over the composition of the moon. I asserted that the moon is made of green cheese, but you disagreed. In support of my assertion I stated “the Intelligent Diffaxial movement defines green cheese as ‘that substance of which the moon is made.’” This is an extremely precise definition, and onlookers will all agree that it follows that the moon is made of green cheese.”

    OK, I just for fun, I’ll play. As I have said many times, apparently to no avail, the definition need not reflect reality. The purpose of a definition is to provide a rational report to others about what you are talking about. So, if you define the moon as something that is made out of green cheese, you can do that. However, when we test your claim against reality, then we find that the assertion was false, and everyone goes away much edified.

    But last week you said, “in one way, the moon is made of green cheese, but in another way, it is not made of green cheese; on the other hand, it is a kind of greenish yellow that may not be truly green after all; yet it has a history of being green in a specific sense but not in a general sense; surprisingly though, it has come to be green at last, except for the fact that it is, in the final analysis, also not green given its capacity to appear colorless.” It was at that point that I felt I needed to step in and restore some semblance of order to the proceedings.

    The issue is not whether the definition is sound with respect to reality; the issue is rather—–is it comprehensible, and, if it pertains to science, is it testable?

    —-”As far as I can tell that settles the question, but you inexplicably raised objections. Like all you guys you wriggled and squirmed in an attempt to avoid the obvious. It was clear that you wished to suppress debate by denying my right to define terms to attain rigor and precision. Your continued objections reflected nothing other than your poor grasp of logic and rejection of right reason.”

    Quite the contrary, I celebrated your precise definition and praised you for finally agreeing that it is not rational to say that the moon is, AND IS NOT, made of green cheese.

    —”Honestly, your use of “chance/necessity/agency” triad to support the assertion that agency can’t arise from nature is no less… something.”

    It is a precise definition that is both comprehensible and testable. Go thou and do likewise with your definitions and your arguments.

  345. StephenB @ 344:

    It is a precise definition that is both comprehensible and testable.

    Only claims are testable.

    Your argument that your “definition” is “testable” makes my point: it is more than a definition. It is a claim. Supporting a claim (“intelligence cannot be natural”) by reciting a definition that includes within it the same claim (“by definition, intelligence cannot be natural”), accomplishes nothing; all you’ve done is repeat your claim.

    Bzzzzt.

  346. BTW, you are free to make claims. You can even claim, “chance, necessity and agency are exhaustive and mutually exclusive, chance and necessity define nature, and agency is therefore by definition necessarily non natural.” Then you can see where it goes.

    (Nowhere, so far, as it happened).

  347. Mr BA^77,

    You’d think that if quantum teleportation proved God’s existence, it would be bigger news than one YouTube video. Is there a conspiracy to ignore this startling evidence, or are you wrong?

    BTW, I like the quote from Dr Meyer at the beginning of the video. He says “physicists and cosmologists” say there was no matter or energy at time zero of the Big Bang. Er, no.

    And exactly how does quantum teleportation explain life? I must have glanced away for that part of the video.

  348. 349

    My head is spinning. If I understand correctly, the debate is not over the meaning of “natural.” It is over whether the word should exist at all. Because, depending one’s point of view, intelligence and its effects may be natural, which means that everything is natural, which means we don’t need a word for it.
    (This is an honest attempt to grasp the opposing position, not to argue against it.)
    It seems that an accurate, relevant definition of the word cannot be agreed upon until the underlying question – can intelligence occur naturally – has been resolved.

  349. Scott @ 349:

    My head is spinning…It seems that an accurate, relevant definition of the word [natural] cannot be agreed upon until the underlying question – can intelligence occur naturally – has been resolved.

    No wonder your head is spinning!

  350. 351

    I stand by the statement as-is. One wants to include intelligence in “natural,” one doesn’t. Which is correct? It depends on whether or not intelligence occurs naturally.
    The disagreement over the word cannot be resolved independently, because it stems from the underlying debate over how human intelligence came about.
    In this post, and in the last, I’m attempting to be neutral.

  351. —Scott Andrews: “It seems that an accurate, relevant definition of the word cannot be agreed upon until the underlying question – can intelligence occur naturally – has been resolved.”

    How can you show the existence of an intelligent agency apart from law and chance without positing an intelligent agency apart from chance. You cannot. If you can’t define your terms in the abstract, you can’t show that the objects of your references manifest themselves in the real world. That is why Darwinists avoids discussing ALL concrete examples:

    Can you infer that a burglar {Intelligent agent} ransacked your living room by noticing the open drawers in your cabinet, and, therefore conclude that the event was likely not caused by inclement weather {Natural causes} Of course, you can, but Diffaxial will not discuss the point. He thinks that the burglar can be classified as just one more in a series of natural causes, not substantially different from any other natural cause. That is obvious nonsense.

    Can you conclude that if person [A] releases a ball, allowing it to descent toward the ground and, if person [B] interrupts that process by snatching the ball out of thin air, that a scientist might legitimately hypothesize that cause [A] is of a different category than cause [B] Of course he can. But diffaxial insists that you must prove they are different before you may hypothesize that they are. Nonsense.

    If you observe what appears to be design in an ancient hunters spear, can you reasonably conclude that the formation was caused by an intelligent agency and was not likely the result of wind, water, erosion, etc. Of course you can. Diffaxial says no, you may not. For him, the spear was constructed by natural causes and until we can prove that agency causes are different from natural causes, we may not posit that agency causes are different from natural cause. Still more nonsense.

  352. —Diffaxial: “Only claims are testable.”

    Claims must be defined in formal terms in order to be tested.

    —-”Your argument that your “definition” is “testable” makes my point: it is more than a definition.”

    —I have already explained several times that your assumption here is flawed, which I will now make clear [again].

    —-”It is a claim. [ID's definition] Supporting a claim (”intelligence cannot be natural”) by reciting a definition that includes within it the same claim (”by definition, intelligence cannot be natural”), accomplishes nothing; all you’ve done is repeat your claim.”

    It is not a claim; it is a definition. The difference is only everything. I define a unicorn as a horse with a horn coming out of its forehead. Did I claim that unicorns exist?

    By your standard, I may not investigate whether my defined unicorns exist until I prove that they exist. I am sorry, but your logic is failing you spectacularly.

  353. 354

    StephenB:
    It seems absurd if, in an abstract language, we cannot distinguish between the natural and the deliberate.
    But for the issue to come up in the terminology is a reflection of the underlying problem. We can’t agree to distinguish between natural and deliberate in reality.

    I don’t know how to solve that problem with words. One could choose different terms, but some will still insist that the new word for “artificial” is encompassed by the new word for “natural.” Styrofoam is artificial, but it’s still natural as a beehive because it was produced by naturally evolved humans acting out their naturally evolved behaviors billions of years after their naturally occurring abiogenesis.

  354. —Scott: “We can’t agree to distinguish between natural and deliberate in reality.”

    It is not a question of agreeing on anything. ID doesn’t need anyone to agree with its definitions. The idea that everyone must agree with IDs terms in order for ID to legitimately do science is tyrannical. The concept of law/chance/agency is comprehensible and testable; that is all that is necessary. Plato conceived this formulation 2500 years ago in his “Laws,” and I assure you he was not confused about the meaning of words and concepts. To say, then, as Darwinists do, that we may only hypothesize about two of these three constructs, or that we must prove the existence of agency apart from law/chance before we can hypothesize about agency apart from law/chance is patently ridiculous.

  355. 356

    StephenB:
    Perhaps when ID is boiled down to its essence, the distinctions don’t even matter.
    Let’s say that it’s proven conclusively (which I believe it has been) that the bacterial flagellum required intelligent design to exist. Someone or something intelligent had to willfully and deliberately plan it and implement that plan. That’s all that ID says.

    Having demonstrated that, someone could dispute the terminology and say that specific intelligence was still, in a sense, natural, and so the the intelligent design was really artificial. But in that context, such an argument falls flat because it makes no sense, and it also doesn’t matter. Once ID has fulfilled its purpose and determined the necessity of an intelligent cause, it becomes neutral as to the cause or properties of that intelligence.

  356. StephenB @ 353:

    It is not a claim; it is a definition. The difference is only everything. I define a unicorn as a horse with a horn coming out of its forehead. Did I claim that unicorns exist?

    So, upon stating the following:

    You will notice that he used the phrase “willful act,” which, again, must be characterized as “agency,” and cannot, therefore be a natural phenomenon. Nature, defined exclusively as law and chance, leaves no room for the willful act of an intelligent agent acting on and influencing nature.

    You weren’t making a claim. You weren’t claiming “agency cannot therefore be a natural phenomenon.” You weren’t claiming “Nature leaves no room for the act of an intelligent agent.” No claims there. Nope.

    (To anyone who buys that: I’ve got a genuine unicorn for sale, low mileage, cheap.)

  357. 358

    Once ID has fulfilled its purpose and determined the necessity of an intelligent cause, it becomes neutral as to the cause or properties of that intelligence.

    “…fulfilled its purpose…” And what might that purpose be?

    According to you the goal of the whole exercise was to become “neutral” with respect to further investigation.

    ID looks like a blind alley.

  358. 359

    Good grief, Adel, you’re looking for the argument where it’s not there. I suppose I have done it as well.

    Once ID has fulfilled its purpose

    My point is that the purpose of ID is to determine if something was caused by intelligence. If the result is positive, then if someone wants to argue that the causing intelligence was itself natural, ID has no response. Its focus is narrow, and it examines only the observed artifact. It reveals only one attribute of the designer, and that is intelligence.

    Within the scope of the immediate discussion, I think that is quite neutral.

  359. StephenB:

    He thinks that the burglar can be classified as just one more in a series of natural causes, not substantially different from any other natural cause. That is obvious nonsense.

    That certainly is nonsense. Human behaviors such as intelligent burglary are recognizably distinct from other known phenomena. In fact, we often classify human-caused effects as “artificial”, in contrast to other effects that we label “natural”. (Not to be confused with the metaphysical sense of the latter term.) Diffaxial is crazy to say otherwise.

    But diffaxial insists that you must prove they are different before you may hypothesize that they are. Nonsense.

    Yes, it’s utter nonsense to say that something must be proved before it can be hypothesized. Diffaxial is off his rocker.

    If you observe what appears to be design in an ancient hunters spear, can you reasonably conclude that the formation was caused by an intelligent agency and was not likely the result of wind, water, erosion, etc. Of course you can. Diffaxial says no, you may not.

    It’s a good thing that Diffaxial isn’t an archeologist. Thinking that obviously human-made spears are just as likely formed by wind, water, erosion, etc. as by humans is the height of insanity.

    For him, the spear was constructed by natural causes and until we can prove that agency causes are different from natural causes, we may not posit that agency causes are different from natural cause. Still more nonsense.

    Absolutely. It’s just plain loony to say that you have to prove something before you can posit it.

    Who is this Diffaxial guy, and where is he posting?

  360. I for one, am willing to accept StephenB’s definition of agency as the set-theoretic complement of law+chance. (Have I accurately represented your proposed definition, StephenB? If not, I’ll accept whatever corrections you offer.) Plato and Dembski would certainly approve, although there are some ID proponents who presumably would not.

    So, when you say, “The concept of law/chance/agency is comprehensible and testable,” I assume you mean at least that
    1) All three concepts are coherent and sufficiently well defined for empirical testing.
    2) Agency, which by your definition is separate from law and chance, is empirically demonstrable.

    Have I interpreted you correctly? If so, may I ask where the protocols and results of these tests are published? Empirical support for libertarian free will is a very exciting development.

  361. 362

    Scott @359:

    Thanks for the nod.

    My point is that having formed the hypothesis that intelligence has created life, etc., one is at a blind alley, because there is no way to test the hypothesis empirically (theoretical calculations don’t cut it).

    If I am in error, and there is an empirical test, please advise.

  362. —Rob: “Who is this Diffaxial guy, and where is he posting.”

    OK, humor me. Using the concrete examples that I cited, explain to me why the inferences to intelligent agency apart from natural causes are unjustified. Tell me how the conclusion of agency [in each specific instance] is imbedded in the hyposthesis, which is another way of saying that an inference wasn’t really made at all.

  363. StephenB, if you’re talking about the ransacked living room, I have no problem inferring a burglar. I just don’t know of any empirical test to show that the burglar is an agent according to your definition of the term. (To be honest, I have much bigger problems with the posited law/chance/agency trichotomy than empirical testability, but we’ll start with that.)

  364. —-”StephenB, if you’re talking about the ransacked living room, I have no problem inferring a burglar. I just don’t know of any empirical test to show that the burglar is an agent according to your definition of the term. (To be honest, I have much bigger problems with the posited law/chance/agency trichotomy than empirical testability, but we’ll start with that.)

    Your questions are valid and deserve attention, however they are, from my perspective, second order questions. I can’t get intellectual assent to the first order question, namely, that one can legitimately/meaningfully speak of intellectual agency as a distinct cause apart from law and chance.

    In any case, I don’t think that forensic scientists would struggle with the definition of these terms when they seek to discover whether someone died by natural causes or was murdered by an [intelligent] agent. To be sure, I can’t conceive of them asking, “Whatever do you mean by injecting this artificial distincion of yours between intelligent causes and natural causes?” Or “Please define homicide in such a way that I can be sure that it is something other than a physical act of nature.” Or, “I have serious doubts that we can provide an empirical test for establishing the presence of a blood thirsty killer?”

    Would you buy any of that?

  365. 366

    Adel @363:
    Given that we’re discussing events that occurred in the distant past, there are no empirical tests. If nothing less will do, than we can only wait for the invention of the time machine and leave a big question mark until then.
    What we do have is a rather solid inference on the one hand, and a spectacular something-from-nothing fantasy on the other. The latter is so fantastic, so contradictory of known reality, that nothing but the time machine or a duplication of the accident would suffice.
    The only thing more unbelievable than a miracle is an accidental miracle.

  366. StephenB @ 352:

    If you observe what appears to be design in an ancient hunters spear, can you reasonably conclude that the formation was caused by an intelligent agency and was not likely the result of wind, water, erosion, etc. Of course you can. Diffaxial says no, you may not. For him, the spear was constructed by natural causes and until we can prove that agency causes are different from natural causes, we may not posit that agency causes are different from natural cause.

    Stephen, you got me there. Its right there in black and white. I’ve repeatedly denied that that no distinction can be drawn between the artificial and the natural, between human actions and natural events:

    Like here:

    Similarly, we conventionally refer to artifacts of human contrivance as “artificial” rather than “natural,” a useful distinction…to say that human intelligence is a natural (and cultural) phenomenon no more renders meaningless the conventional “natural – artificial” distinction than does the absence of the rules of chess from the Ohio Revised Code vitiate the rules of chess.

    And here:

    It does not follow from the above that the ordinary distinction between “natural” and “artificial” objects has been lost. It is a useful distinction that reliably denotes the fact that natural objects (in the conventional sense) have a very different sort of history than do human artifacts.

    And here:

    Similarly, the sense in in which I use “natural” when I state that “human agency has natural (and cultural) origins” has a different scope and applicability than is intended when one employs the word “natural” to distinguish objects/events that are not of human devising from those that are.

    And here:

    Indeed above I repeated “nowhere do I claim that human agency and intelligence… don’t exist or are illusions.

    And here:

    I’ve used the word in two ways. The first conforms to ordinary parlance: my dictionary tells me that “natural” is defined as “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by human kind.” This stands in distinction to objects that are in fact made or caused by human kind, e.g. artifacts such as buildings. This scheme of categorization applies without difficulty to the examples you cite – say the derangements caused by a vandal versus those caused by a tornado.

    Stephen, here’s a flat fact: I have repeatedly advanced as valid the distinction between the actions of humans and natural events. I’ve stated that these differing sorts of causation belong in different categories, the conventional categories of natural vs. artificial. I have defined the categories. I’ve stated (in the last passage quoted above) that vandals and tornados may be placed “without difficulty” into these differing causal categories – IOW, that the use of the categories is not difficult.

    Nevertheless, you robotically attribute to me claims such as “a tornado’s destructive winds should be placed in the same category of causes as a burglar’s disruption.”

    Above, Biped called me a liar for accurately paraphrasing him. I don’t know what to do with this.

  367. —Diffaxial: “Stephen, here’s a flat fact: I have repeatedly advanced as valid the distinction between the actions of humans and natural events.”

    Let’s put it to the test:

    If you observe what appears to be design in an ancient hunters spear, can you reasonably conclude that the formation was caused by an intelligent agency and was not likely the result of wind, water, erosion, or some other natural cause?

    —”I’ve stated that these differing sorts of causation belong in different categories, the conventional categories of natural vs. artificial. I have defined the categories. I’ve stated (in the last passage quoted above) that vandals and tornados may be placed “without difficulty” into these differing causal categories – IOW, that the use of the categories is not difficult.”

    Can you, if provided with sufficient evidence, observe an alleged crime scene, conclude that the recent disordered arrangement of furnture did not occur as a result of a natural cause, and therefore could best be explained by an intelligent agency?

  368. StephenB:

    To be sure, I can’t conceive of them asking, “Whatever do you mean by injecting this artificial distincion of yours between intelligent causes and natural causes?” Or “Please define homicide in such a way that I can be sure that it is something other than a physical act of nature.”

    I can’t conceive of them asking that either. The terms “natural cause” and “acts of nature”, especially in the context of forensics, typically refer to causes apart from humans, so the distinction is built into the terms.

    Contrast that usage with what you claim to be the ID definition:

    By definition, ID defines “natural” to mean either law or chance, which means that, in that context, intelligence cannot be natural.

    Note that this statement is true only if intelligence falls outside of law and chance, by definition or by empirical fact. Absent that definition or empirical fact, intelligence could certainly be natural, according to ID’s metaphysical usage of the term.

    Or, “I have serious doubts that we can provide an empirical test for establishing the presence of a blood thirsty killer?”

    What has any ID opponent said that would imply the inability to establish homicide?

  369. StephenB:

    Let’s put it to the test:

    If you observe what appears to be design in an ancient hunters spear, can you reasonably conclude that the formation was caused by an intelligent agency and was not likely the result of wind, water, erosion, or some other natural cause?

    Can you, if provided with sufficient evidence, observe an alleged crime scene, conclude that the recent disordered arrangement of furnture did not occur as a result of a natural cause, and therefore could best be explained by an intelligent agency?

    Of course. We each spend a lifetime, literally starting from birth, immersed in the actions and products of other human beings and navigating the social landscape of others’ motives and intentions (we are adapted to do so) – as well as engaging in actions, generating products, and deploying motives and intentions of our own. Moreover, we spend our lifetimes also encountering unguided physical events such as wind, rain and the general increase of disorder observed in non-living processes over time. As a consequence we are quite adept at identifying the characteristic markers of human actions, products, motives and intentions, and distinguishing them from unguided physical events. Indeed, there are significant reasons to suspect that we are adapted to quickly make these distinctions, particularly the subtle discernment of human actions and motives.

    Your notion that it follows from my position that I must answer otherwise is absurd.

  370. BTW, you will notice that the above immersion and resulting adeptness represents experience with human beings, their actions, and products. “Intelligent agency” supplies unnecessary conceptual baggage, obviously planted by the baggage handler to support the unwarranted generalization that is certain to follow. We accomplish these effortless classifications (natural versus non-natural) without reference to or help from this additional conceptual baggage.

  371. If you observe what appears to be design in an ancient hunters spear, can you reasonably conclude that the formation was caused by an intelligent agency and was not likely the result of wind, water, erosion, or some other natural cause?

    Can you, if provided with sufficient evidence, observe an alleged crime scene, conclude that the recent disordered arrangement of furnture did not occur as a result of a natural cause, and therefore could best be explained by an intelligent agency?

    —-Diffaxial: “Of course.”

    If we agree that one can draw inferences about intelligent agency apart from natural causes, then we have nothing to fuss about. We can build on that foundation at another time.

    —”Your notion that it follows from my position that I must answer otherwise is absurd.”

    Based your past writings, I had no reason to believe that you think one can draw an inference to agent causes apart from natural causes.

  372. —-Diffaxial: “Intelligent agency” supplies unnecessary conceptual baggage, obviously planted by the baggage handler to support the unwarranted generalization that is certain to follow. We accomplish these effortless classifications (natural versus non-natural) without reference to or help from this additional conceptual baggage.”

    You just acknowledged that we can draw inferences to “intelligent agency”; now you are telling me that intelligent agency supplies unnecessary conceptual baggage.

    After over a hundred posts, you finally acknowledge that humans can draw inferences about intelligent agency and then promptly disavow the affirmation.

    Are you for real?

  373. Of course. We each spend a lifetime, literally starting from birth, immersed in the actions and products of other human beings and navigating the social landscape of others’ motives and intentions (we are adapted to do so) – as well as engaging in actions, generating products, and deploying motives and intentions of our own. Moreover, we spend our lifetimes also encountering unguided physical events such as wind, rain and the general increase of disorder observed in non-living processes over time. As a consequence we are quite adept at identifying the characteristic markers of human actions, products, motives and intentions, and distinguishing them from unguided physical events. Indeed, there are significant reasons to suspect that we are adapted to quickly make these distinctions, particularly the subtle discernment of human actions and motives.

    BTW, you will notice that the above immersion and resulting adeptness represents experience with human beings, their actions, and products. “Intelligent agency” supplies unnecessary conceptual baggage, obviously planted by the baggage handler to support the unwarranted generalization that is certain to follow. We accomplish these effortless classifications (natural versus non-natural) without reference to or help from this additional conceptual baggage.

  374. That’s my response to yours @ 369, which I did not read quite carefully enough before responding.

  375. Diffaxial: You get the last word. Thanks for the dialogue.

  376. 377

    ScottAndrews @366:

    What we do have is a rather solid inference on the one hand, and a spectacular something-from-nothing fantasy on the other.

    I agree. I would, of course, put the shoe on the opposite foot from your intention.

    A problem I see with your willful miracle-maker hypothesis is that an entity with such miracle-working powers would necessarily be entirely unconstrained from acting arbitrarily at any time in the remote past or the recent past or in the present. Can’t base any science, which depends on some consistency in our interactions with the environment, on that hypothesis. Je n’ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse.

    Meanwhile, the science that you reject will continue to stumble along making testable hypotheses about the origin of life and its evolution. Whatever is learned from the results of those tests is a contribution to a time machine.

  377. 378

    Adel:
    If someone or something (or more than one of such) had the ability to create life, you point out that they could continue to create, and continue to act, and they’re busy interfering with scientific experiments everywhere. That’s right, water doesn’t really boil at 100 degrees, that’s just a designer playing a trick on us.

    And based on this logic, you think that life randomly occurring in a chemical accident is somehow less nonsensical. As I’ve said, such a thing is too ridiculous to believe without solid evidence, by which I mean a detailed, repeatable account or a time lapse video.

    I honestly wonder if you ever stop to think what a preposterous event you’re proposing. If you believe such a thing, how can you chide anyone for believing in miracles? Is there anything you believe can’t happen by accident? You’ve already surrendered your connection with reality.

    What’s more, you’re openly rejecting a hypothesis because you don’t like its implications. That’s good science.

  378. 379

    I don’t reject your hypothesis, I only ask how it can be tested.

    And how would you know what implications I might or might not like?

  379. 380

    Adel,

    You said you had a problem with a designer because said designer might be able to act arbitrarily at other times, making science more difficult.
    Thus you suggest that the implications of a designer make a designer less likely.
    The implication you suggest is real, although, as I said, there’s no reason to think that anyone is throwing off scientific experiments. Planes don’t really fly, the designer was holding them up, and then they crash.

    But your logic really fails when you reason that such an implication is, in itself, evidence.

    As for your questions about testability, see the FAQ and glossary.

  380. 381

    ScottAndrews,

    Thank you for continuing this discussion.

    If there is no reason to think that anyone is throwing off scientific experiments from time to time, then there is no reason to think that anyone interfered with the history of the universe to create life as a discrete act.

    It is the arbitrariness of the notion of special creation that is problematic. Once you start believing stuff like that, where does it end? With special creation of each baramin? With deliberate generation of mutations, which might otherwise seem spontaneous and random, in the present time?

    On the other hand, if your “anyone” is omnipotent, there is nothing that would prevent him from creating the universe at the Big Bang complete with all of the elements and conditions to generate life without further intervention. If one could rule out that possibility, then the scientific pursuit of those elements and conditions would be an irrational endeavor.

    I would add that believers in the Judeo-Christian creator (who is, I surmise, the one you have in mind) behave in ways that refute your claim that the creator is aloof from current history. They pray for the creator to intervene on their behalf, and they thank him when things turn out well for them. “Thank God!”

    But your logic really fails when you reason that such an implication is, in itself, evidence.

    Not evidence, an objection.

    As for your questions about testability, see the FAQ and glossary.

    It would be a kindness if you would tell me directly in your own words.

  381. 382

    Adel,

    Your reasoning is absolutely fallacious:

    It is the arbitrariness of the notion of special creation that is problematic. Once you start believing stuff like that, where does it end? With special creation of each baramin? With deliberate generation of mutations, which might otherwise seem spontaneous and random, in the present time?

    Either a thing was designed or it was not. We determine that by the evidence, not by the implications. A thing is neither true nor false because of what it might or might not lead to. (For example, some might argue that if we evolved from lower animals, then our morality is arbitrary. It’s true, but that’s not evidence against such descent.) So perhaps we can leave behind such fallacious reasoning.

    I will not address omnipotence or any religion’s belief about God. If you think they are relevant, please consider reading more about ID.

    I am intrigued by new arguments, new challenges to my point of view. Questioning the testability of ID is neither. I’m not saying it’s not a valid question, but the question, as-is, is better answered by the available material.

  382. 383

    Either a thing was designed or it was not. We determine that by the evidence, not by the implications.

    I say not designed on the basis of lack of evidence.

    I also say that if you must hypothesize a designer, you cannot evade the implications. Otherwise, you are not doing science. (A hypothesis that leads nowhere lacks utility.)

    Speaking of science, I leave you with the following excerpt from a letter to Science by Christoff Koch, of CalTech:

    “August Comte, father of positivism, wrote in 1835 that we shall never know what stars are made of (A. Comte, Cours de Philosophie Positive (1830–1842)). A few decades later, the chemical composition of stars was deduced by spectral analysis of their light (G. R. Kirchhoff, R. Bunsen, Ann. Phys. (1860); p. 110, 160).”

    Do not underestimate science. It has repeatedly confounded philosophy and theology.

  383. 384

    Adel:

    I say not designed on the basis of lack of evidence.

    If evidence is a requirement (and it should be) then you have no alternative.

    I also say that if you must hypothesize a designer, you cannot evade the implications. Otherwise, you are not doing science.

    To argue that A implies B, and I don’t like B, therefore A is false, is not scientific.
    To argue that A possibly, might imply B, etc, is even less so.
    I do not evade the implications. I remind you again that the implications are not evidence. You seem convinced otherwise, which opens the door to all sorts of “scientific” conclusions based on our preferences and opinions. If water boiled at 100 degrees, it could burn my hand. Ouch! Therefore, water does not boil at 100 degrees.

    Your quote and follow-up are irrelevant and, dare I say, pompous. You make a prior assumption that science will one day find evidence supporting a specific conclusion, and anyone who disagrees or waits for the evidence is underestimating science? What?

    The prospect of life appearing in a chemical accident is too fantastic and contrary to all available evidence to be taken seriously. When you try to declare the impossible inevitable, speculation and extrapolation don’t cut it. If you want me to believe in perpetual motion machines or accidental life, show me the money. The rest is bluffing.

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