Home » Intelligent Design » Craig Crushes Ayala

Craig Crushes Ayala

Here.

Ayala gives two objections to design:  (1) The design we see is suboptimal; and (2) the cruelty we see in nature precludes an inference to a good designer.

Craig first shows a picture of a dilapidated old East German Trabant, one of the worst cars ever made.  He then shows a picture of a shiny new Mercedes E Class.

Then he makes the following argument.

1.  The Trabant is obviously designed.

2.  The Trabant design is obviously sub-optimal.

3.  Therefore, the fact that a design is sub-optimal does not invalidate the design inference.

Conclusion:  Known designs exhibit various degrees of optimality.  Therefore, there is simply no reason to restrict design inferences only to maximally optimal designs.  If a structure meets Dembski’s criteria for inferring design, that inference is not nullified by the mere possibility that the structure could have been better designed.

Craig then shows a picture of a medieval torture device and makes the following argument.

1.  The torture device is obviously designed.

2.  The designer was obviously not good.

3.  Therefore, the possibility that the designer is not good does not preclude a design inference.*

Conclusion:  The design inference says absolutely nothing about the moral qualities of the designer.

 

*Theologians have answers to the “cruelty” objection, but those answers are not within the province of the ID project as such.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

174 Responses to Craig Crushes Ayala

  1. This would be relevant if ID people thought the designs in biology were made by dumb or nasty humans. But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.

  2. NickMatzke humps another strawman.

    BTW Nick, even if God were the designer and God was perfect, it doesn’t follow that the design had to be perfect nor that even if it started out perfect that it had to remain that way. :roll:

    BTW do you have a mathematically rigorous definition for “perfect”?

  3. This would be relevant if ID people thought the designs in biology were made by dumb or nasty humans. But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.

    So, so long as ID is really neutral with respect to the designer’s identity – as all major ID proponents claim – Ayala’s objection fails?

    Thanks for the concession, Nick. ;)

    You should realize that Craig’s goal, and the goal of many philosophical arguments for God, is to get to the inference of a designer first. Disputes over particular aspects of that designer’s nature come second (Is He Wholly Good, etc).

    But again, thank you for conceding that Ayala got slaughtered on this.

  4. I am somewhat puzzled. When Joe states: “…, even if God were the designer and God was perfect, …” (in reply nr 2) does that mean that he thinks that it is possible that the designer designed (the Christian) God?

  5. There is also the problem that a multi-function system is never optimized for all of its functions. The Boeing 737 has had 2 separate replacements designed by Boeing and yet the replacements went out of production and the 737 is the most successful airlner ever produced. There is some discussion about renaming the next upgrade of the 737 as a different model number (the engines and avionics keep getting modernized), but it would still be fundamentally a 737.

    Other airliners can carry more passengers, have higher cruising speeds, and may have shorter takeoff or landing distances. But the 737 is a very good compromise between conflicting functional requirements.

    Humans are the most successful mammals that have ever existed. We have more global body mass than any other large mammals, and we’re continuing to expand into new territory. We can live year round inside the Arctic Circle and live at the Equator. The fact that cheetahs are faster (over short distances) or that whales can hold their breath longer under water doesn’t make either of them more successful in a general purpose competition.

  6. Mr. Matzke,
    I’ll chalk up the “you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer” part to hasty mashing of the “post comment” button or or tongue in cheek baiting on your part . Everyone knows you’re smarter and more well informed than that.

    But even if true I wonder if suboptimal design really is a problem. After all, optimal design may not have been the intent. It seems to me that a perfect designer is not necessarily obligated to design perfectly every time or even most of the time.

    How does Ayala define or measure “suboptimal” I wonder.

    And I’ve no idea what is meant by “cruelty in nature”.
    Cruel by what standard? Maybe you can help with this.

  7. “But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.”

    And all negros like fried chicken. Right, Nick?

    Don’t be ashamed of your bigotry and in-group/out-group dehumanizing tactics. It’s not your fault as you’re a slave to the millions of years of cannibalistic evolutionary programming of your neurons. You are after all, just a puppet. A mere victim of Calvinism for chimpanzees.

  8. Nick Matzke:

    This would be relevant if ID people thought the designs in biology were made by dumb or nasty humans. But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.

    Two points here:

    1. While it does seem that many in the “mainstream” ID community thinks that a god was behind the design of life, not all ID proponents think this. This renders your objection invalid for the latter.

    2. If flawed design is an argument against ID, as Ayala suggests, then rational design is evidence in favor of ID. There is a major contradiction in the arguments of both sides: ID proponents often point to instances of rational design and argue that this is evidence for ID, while ignoring the instances of poor design. On the other hand, the ‘Darwinian side’ likes to bring up cases of bad design and argue that this offers a counterpoint to ID, all the while ignoring the instances of rational design.

    Solution:

    Acknowledge that if a biological system is inherently flawed in its design, then it is not likely to be the product of intelligent design, while biological systems that display properties of rational design show the hallmarks of intelligent design.

  9. Nick Matzke:

    This would be relevant if ID people thought the designs in biology were made by dumb or nasty humans. But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.

    Why do you immediately turn this into a theological discussion?

    Let me give you a theological rebuttal:

    We know that Devil has corrupted human nature. We know that the Devil can afflict people with illnesses (the Gospels). We know that God promises a “new heavens and a new earth.” We know that this promise also includes “incorruptible bodies.” We know that the Devil will have no part of these “new heavens and new earth.” So, Nick, how do we know that these ‘defective’ designs are the result of the Devil’s powers?

    So, you see, Nick, we can either argue this theologically, or scientifically. But your immediate choice is to confound the scientific with the theological. So did Darwin. Take away the theological argument, and Darwin stands on nothing. Just ask Cornelius Hunter.

  10. Seqenenre-

    It means not all IDists accept that God is the designer.

  11. Nick Matzke:

    “But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.”

    Well if God is to be the ONLY perfect being, it stands to reason He will not make something as perfect as himsef, ergo, by definition, every design will be less than perfect, ergo your theological argument is unsound, not to mention, that is a theological argument, not a scientific one!

    Or alternatively, on what grounds logically do you claim the designer will create only perfect designs. One could claim, God would want no rival, so God create truly “perfect” designs is implausible on those grounds. In fact, something is to be said for God making humans imperfect so that they will acknowledge their need of him.

    Thanks for visiting, and you raise a reasonable objection, but I think it doesn’t have as much strength as you think. Darwin made the same “bad design” argument as you did, and both of you make suspect theological objections to scientific questions.

  12. 12

    With respect to those answering Nick, he is yanking your chain. He does not comment on merits, but demonstrates his contempt for ID by consistently making banal theological objections. If he were to respond otherwise, he would tacitly be confessing the relevance of ID, which he will not do.

    Nick is poking an ant hill with a stick for amusement. Challenge him to a public debate. Anything else, in my humble opinion, will be interpreted as rings in a circus.

    That said, the posted objections to his comment are all relevant and interesting, but accomplish little in challenging him directly.

  13. @NickMatzke,

    One thing you can be sure of — when lots of people quickly respond to you, you have made a fool of yourself.

    The argument by Craig is extremely relevant. He shows that Ayala is not telling the truth in his objections. They are not anti-design arguments.

    As far as sub-optimal or evil designs, this is another failure. It is a religious, moral argument, not a scientific one. Once you acknowledge that it is a moral argument you have to find a basis for that morality. The terms “optimization” or “good” and “evil” can only be done in the context of what purpose the designs are trying to serve. If God is trying to demonstrate in nature the inadequacy of the natural man, and the terrible effect of sin on the natural world, then a perfect design which removed all suffering would be in fact sub-optimal.

    Of course I don’t expect you to be able to understand or agree this. Just realize your quick response was not the most erudite of things to say.

  14. 14
    CentralScrutinizer

    NickMatzke: This would be relevant if ID people thought the designs in biology were made by dumb or nasty humans. But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.

    You obviously are not up to date on the state of the theology of the Judea-Christian world. Jewish and Christian theology posit that this world is in some sense cursed and not running at optimum. However, the designed things that remain overwhelmingly testified to a designer.

    Are you ignorant or just trying to come off that way?

  15. “Ayala gives two objections to design: (1) The design we see is suboptimal; and (2) the cruelty we see in nature precludes an inference to a good designer.”

    Oh, brother. After all this time, we’re still getting this level of objection to design. Talk about embarrassing.

  16. Guys, Nick is just pulling your chain. He knows that his comment is false, absurd, and logically problematic. He’s just trying to have a little fun.

    Wait . . .

    He does know, right . . . ?

    Surely after all these years of participating in the debate he can’t be that utterly clueless can he . . . ?

    Crickets . . .

  17. lpadron,

    And I’ve no idea what is meant by “cruelty in nature”.
    Cruel by what standard? Maybe you can help with this.

    One of the examples often cited is the Parasitoid wasp or similar, for example:

    On the night before the parasites kill their host, events take a bizarre turn. Through some unknown mechanism, the larvae compel their host spider to build a web that is very different from that it has always constructed before. Instead of a flat, round web, the spider builds a stout, reinforced platform which is much smaller. Once the new web is complete, the larvae kill their host, and cocoon themselves on the structure. It is ideal for the task, being resistant to wind and rain, and safe from the ants that inhabit the forest floor.

    http://www.damninteresting.com.....e-spiders/

    Obviously, if anything is designed in life according to ID, this is. The co-ordination between parasite and host is no doubt unevolvable, according to ID. Hence this behavior, and other rather more gruesome besides is “cruelty in nature”

  18. Eric,

    Oh, brother. After all this time, we’re still getting this level of objection to design. Talk about embarrassing.

    Out of interest, how do you square the “parasite behavior is too complex to have evolved” with the circle of “cruelty we see in nature” etc etc.

    Did the parasite behavior evolve? If so, seems evolution can do quite alot after all.
    If it did not, well, where does that leave a “good” designer?

  19. Based on the video, Craig seems to concede that “designs” in nature may reasonably be considered “obviously sub-optimal” and “obviously not good.”

    On the other side, it’s not obvious at all that anything in nature is designed in the way that people design objects. At least, I have not found the arguments from prominent ID-ists to be especially compelling w/r/t the necessity of a designer.

    So, where are we? We have a somewhat interesting hypothesis that things in nature were designed, and sometimes poorly designed. And we have a more parsimonious hypothesis that neither posits nor requires a designer (and following ID proponents, I don’t consider the non-designer to be “God.”).

    The video does not give Ayala’s actual objections, but I guess he (or she?) was making the specific argument that sub-optimal design and cruelty in nature seem inconsistent with an all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful designer.

    Craig thus save “design” at the cost of one conception of the designer.

  20. 21

    mphillips,

    There are things evolution cannot do, like cause things to happen before it even exists.

  21. So, Joe, if the questions are “evolved from what?” and “how did it evolve?” what’s your answer to those questions?

    Or is that what science is for, perhaps, to find out answers to those questions?

    What happens if you don’t like the answers?

    So, Joe, how do you explain the unevolvable co-ordination between parasite and host? Or do you explain it by ignoring it?

  22. Upright BiPed,
    Do you mean the origin of life?

  23. Upright,
    May I ask a few questions?

    1. In doing translation, does matter do anything that doesn’t follow known rules of chemistry?

    2. Does mutation (all two dozen known types) violate any known rules of physical chemistry?

    3. Does the fact that some variants resulting from mutation hae differential reproductive success — for whatever reason — violate any rules of physics or chemistry?

    4. What specifically in the history of life violates the rules of physics and chemistry?

    5. If there are areas in the history of life that remain unknown, which is the more probable explanation: that the history follows known chemical and physical rules, or that they violate known rules. In other words, is there an incident in the history of life that is best explained by magic?

    Not mine, but it would clarify the issues you raise and their context I think.

  24. 25

    I am referring to the system of symbols that Darwinian evolution requires in order to operate. Are you familiar with the material requirements in order for a symbol system to exist?

  25. Upright @ 24,
    Is that a yes or a no? You are talking about the origin of life, or something else?

    Are you talking about OOL or not? Can you be clear exactly what it is you are referencing?

  26. 27

    mphillips,

    Your questions revolves around the rather old and illogical assumption that symbol systems should/could/do violate some sort of physcial law. They don’t. But they do have specific material requirements which are both logically necessary as well as documented in nature.

    Do you beleive it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium?

    If you believe it is possible otherwise, can you explain how that might happen.

  27. Upright,
    One more question, if you please. You say:

    This system is not the product of evolution because evolution itself requires the system in order to exist. To say that evolution produced this system is to say that a thing that does not yet exist can cause something to happen – which is obviously false.

    Assuming then that you are in fact talking about the origin of life, where are you getting your information from? You seem to know quite alot about what is and what is not required but the last time I checked nobody actually knew when or how life came to be (or “the system of symbols” if you prefer).

    For example, how do you know that whatever it was that was first “alive” evolved at all in any way? And therefore the symbol system you refer to could have come about in a non-Darwinian way. It’s not like you can gainsay me is it? You’ve no better source of information then I regarding the origin of life, for that *is* what you are talking about, is it not?

    You say the system is not the product of evolution because evolution itself requires the system in order to exist, I say the OOL happened to arrange things so that conditions were just right for the system to come into effect at exactly the right moment in order to allow evolution as we know it.

    Checkmate. After all, what’s your alternative scenario? Aliens?

  28. 29

    Are you talking about OOL or not?

    Every time I encounter an ID critic who immediately runs for the cover of that question, is typically desperate to do so, so that they may squint their eyes off into the distance and say something to the effect that “OoL is still a mystery” … so please don’t talk to me about it … “I’d rather talk about evolution than any evidence for ID”.

    Is that your schtick?

    :)

  29. Upright,

    Your questions revolves around the rather old and illogical assumption that symbol systems should/could/do violate some sort of physcial law. They don’t.

    So I’ve got these answers for you then for my questions in 23,

    1: Matter follows chemistry’s rules always – check.
    2: Mutation does not violate chemistry’s rules – check.
    3: ?
    4: Nothing in the history of life violates the rules of physics and chemistry – check.
    5: ?

    Care to fill in the blanks?

    Do you beleive it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium?

    I suppose that’s more of a question for you really. After all, it’s your claim that recorded information existed without a representation instantiated in material medium and then recorded information existed with a representation instantiated in material medium after event X, where event X is the presumed intervention of the intelligent designer bringing that information into (presumably) our universe.

    Tell me about that intervention Upright.

    If you believe it is possible can you explain how that might happen?

  30. Upright,

    Is that your schtick?

    That depends. Is your answer yes or no? It’s not that I don’t want to talk about the origin of life, it’s that I want to know if that’s what you are talking about.

    If I want to know about OOL I go places like this:

    http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/ool-www/program/

    There is plenty to talk about, no need to squint your eyes into the distance.

    “I’d rather talk about evolution than any evidence for ID”.

    In any case, what exactly is the relevance of your argument to ID? I don’t see it.

    And Upright, out of interest, do you say that evolution can create new “bodyplans” (I.E. disagreeing with kariosfocus) or can it do most of what’s claimed for it more or less with the exception of self-creating your symbol system at the very start?

  31. 32

    mphillips,

    Assuming then that you are in fact talking about the origin of life, where are you getting your information from?

    The already documented physics of symbol systems, as described in peer-reviewed literature. Plus the principle of uniformitarianism.

    You seem to know quite alot about what is and what is not required but the last time I checked nobody actually knew when or how life came to be (or “the system of symbols” if you prefer).

    Life requires organization. That is a universal observation, and it is at the very center of OoL research. Biological organization stems from biological information. That is a universal observation as well. What are you suggesting as an alternative?

    For example, how do you know that whatever it was that was first “alive” evolved at all in any way?

    I don’t… but then again I made no claims about that. In any case, no matter how it began, it eventually had to cross the threshold of having a symbol system if it was to evolve and result in us.

    You say the system is not the product of evolution because evolution itself requires the system in order to exist, I say the OOL happened to arrange things so that conditions were just right for the system to come into effect at exactly the right moment in order to allow evolution as we know it.

    I have not seen the evidence for this scenario, perhaps you can give me a reference to a demonstration of the involved principles at work.

    - – - – - – - – - – - -

    I’ll stop here and give you a chance to answer the question I asked earlier:

    Do you believe it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium?

  32. 33

    I suppose that’s more of a question for you really. After all, it’s your claim that recorded information existed without a representation instantiated in material medium and then recorded information existed with a representation instantiated in material medium after event X, where event X is the presumed intervention of the intelligent designer bringing that information into (presumably) our universe.

    Tell me about that intervention Upright.

    If you believe it is possible can you explain how that might happen?

    I made none of the claims or statements. All of my observations are based upon the physics of symbol systems and the principle of uniformitarianism. I would ask you which of thes two items you want to take issue with, but instead, it simply appears that you would like to speak for me in order to avoid what I’ve said.

    Thats the empirically enlightened thing to do, is it not?

  33. 34

    mphillips,

    What’s the deal with your concern over the violation of the laws of physics and chemistry?

  34. NM:

    Lets do a responsiveness test.

    Above, Dr JDH stated:

    The argument by Craig is extremely relevant [--> examples of sub-optimal design etc]. He shows that Ayala is not telling the truth in his objections. They are not anti-design arguments.

    As far as sub-optimal or evil designs, this is another failure. It is a religious, moral argument, not a scientific one. Once you acknowledge that it is a moral argument you have to find a basis for that morality. [--> In shoert, what is the worldview foundaitonal IS that you accept that objectively warrants OUGHT, including, rights. Without such, you are either borrowing without attribution or else you are holding to something that is amoral and/or nihilist] The terms “optimization” or “good” and “evil” can only be done in the context of what purpose the designs are trying to serve. [--> If you disagree, what is your alternative] If God is trying to demonstrate in nature the inadequacy of the natural man, and the terrible effect of sin on the natural world, then a perfect design which removed all suffering would be in fact sub-optimal.

    1: Can you accurately and fairly sum up the argument in a short sentence or two? If not, then there is an issue of comprehension. I assume you can.

    2: Having so summed up, do you agree, disagree or partly agree/disagree? If so, to what?

    3: On what grounds? That is, why relative to facts and logic.

    4: What is, in summary, your alternative, and why do you think it is warranted on the merits?

    If you are unwilling to answer such questions then genuine dialogue will be impossible.

    KF

  35. mphillips,
    Thanks for the reply. It seems to me that we still don’t know precisely what cruelty is and by who’s standard it should be measured.
    Why should it be cruel for a spider to be devoured in this way? And from a wasp’s perspective this process probably doesn’t seem cruel at all.

    I dunno. “Cruelty” sounds like something we add to nature, a moral characteristic, even though nature knows nothing of cruelty, right, wrong or and all the rest. How does one test for cruelty?

  36. I know how Darwinists are always griping about how poorly designed the human body is just so to try to make a theological case against God and for neo-Darwinian evolution, but this study that came out a few days ago does not bode well as to the neo-Darwinists ever successfully making their case that the human body is poorly designed:

    Modular Biological Complexity – Christof Koch – August 2012
    Summary: It has been argued that the technological capability to fully simulate the human brain on digital computers will exist within a decade. This is taken to imply that we will
    comprehend its functioning, eliminate all diseases, and “upload” ourselves to computers (1). Although such predictions excite the imagination, they are not based on a sound assessment of the complexity of living systems. Such systems are characterized by large numbers of highly heterogeneous components, be they genes, proteins, or cells. These components interact causally in myriad ways across a very large spectrum of space-time, from nanometers to meters and from microseconds to years. A complete understanding of these systems demands that a large fraction of these interactions be experimentally or computationally probed. This is very difficult.,,,
    This is bad news. Consider a neuronal synapse — the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse — about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years…, even though it is assumed that the underlying technology (in computers used to try to understand the biological interactions) speeds up by an order of magnitude each year. ,,,
    Improved technologies for observing and probing biological systems has only led to discoveries of further levels of complexity that need to be dealt with. This process has not yet run its course. We are far away from understanding cell biology, genomes, or brains, and turning this understanding into practical knowledge.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont.....31.summary

    Further notes:

    The Multi-dimensional Genome — by Dr Robert Carter – presentation starts approx 12:00 minute mark – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3faN5fU6_Y

    The Extreme Complexity Of Genes – Dr. Raymond G. Bohlin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8593991/

    The following is interesting:

    “The thyroid gland, pituitary gland, thymus, pineal gland, and coccyx, … once considered useless by evolutionists, are now known to have important functions. The list of 180 “vestigial” structures is practically down to zero. Unfortunately, earlier Darwinists assumed that if they were ignorant of an organ’s function, then it had no function.”
    “Tornado in a Junkyard” – book – by former atheist James Perloff

    HMMM seems like the exact same argument that Darwinists are currently using for ‘junk’ DNA! i.e. if Darwinists are ignorant of function then that means it has no function in their view! Why? Because their theology demands it!

  37. 1. In doing translation, does matter do anything that doesn’t follow known rules of chemistry?

    Does translation follow any known rules of chemistry? There isn’t any physio-chemical connection between the codon and the amino acid it represents- you do realize that, petrushka?

  38. Very few suboptimal improvisations have been proposed (Stephen Jay Gould’s panda thumb is the most famous example), and the fact that they are truly suboptimal is dubious (e.g., according to conventional theory, the panda’s thumb has been adequate for millions of years). The biological world seems to be more optimal than evolutionary theory expects. ~ Kurt Wise

    We are far from understanding the complexity of individual organisms, let alone the entire ecosystem in which that organism lives. What appears to be less than optimal design to us with our limited knowledge may actually be an optimal design when the entire system is considered. Consider the thickness of armor plating on the side of a warship. Since the purpose of such plating is to protect the ship from the puncture of an incoming warhead, it is advantageous to make the plating as thick as possible. Yet the plating on actual warships is much thinner than it could be made. The reason is, of course, that an increase in plating thickness makes the ship heavier, and thus slower. A less movable ship is more likely to get hit more often and less likely to get to where it is needed when it is needed. The actual thickness of the armor on a warship is a tradeoff — not so thin as to make the ship too easily sinkable, and not so thick as to make the ship too slow. We know too little about the complexity of organisms and the environment in which they live to conclude that any one particular feature is actually less than optimal. ~ Kurt Wise

  39. So, Joe, if the questions are “evolved from what?” and “how did it evolve?” what’s your answer to those questions?

    Or is that what science is for, perhaps, to find out answers to those questions?

    Exactly, that is what science is for.

    What happens if you don’t like the answers?

    I neither like nor dislike scientific answers. I accept them and use that knowledge accordingly.

    So, Joe, how do you explain the unevolvable co-ordination between parasite and host? Or do you explain it by ignoring it?

    Why the equivocation, petrushka?

  40. “Acknowledge that if a biological system is inherently flawed in its design, then it is not likely to be the product of intelligent design,..”

    No. It is not likely to survive. And I speak not as an evolutionist, but as a creationist.

  41. It was what Darwin graduated in, wasn’t it? I think he started to study medicine, but science wasn’t for him… and don’t we know it?

  42. My apologies. I was referring to this comment by PaV:

    ‘Take away the theological argument, and Darwin stands on nothing. Just ask Cornelius Hunter.’

  43. No. It is not likely to survive.

    This is not correct. A biological system might be suboptimal but still allow an organism to survive and even confer an advantage on it. In short, while the arrangement and operations of parts of the system might not be optimal – i.e., they were cobbled together by random mutation and natural selection – the function of the system does offer an advantage.

  44. I watched the Craig-Ayala debate some time ago. Ayala, despite his credentials, essentially made a fool of himself. Ayala was obviously completely uniformed about ID theory, its argumentation, and evidence. I actually felt sorry for poor Ayala because he was so completely outclassed by Craig.

    Design in living systems is so evident (complex functionally-integrated information and the associated computationally-controlled machinery) that I remain completely mystified by the fact that intelligent, rational, educated people remain so obstinate in their denial of reality, as discovered and elucidated by modern science.

    Oh, I almost forgot. If such people actually accepted the evidence, they would be required to abandon their materialistic worldview, accept intelligent design as an objective feature of the universe and living systems, and admit that they were wrong about everything that ultimately matters.

    For such people, hanging on to a scientifically preposterous thesis is preferable to admitting error and pursuing the evidence where it leads.

    Of course, they don’t like where the evidence leads, so they deny it, and mount increasingly ludicrous defenses of the indefensible.

  45. “Above all, do not attempt to use science (I mean, the real sciences) as a defence against Christianity. They will positively encourage him to think about realities he can’t touch and see.” — The Screwtape Letters.

    Gil, it would seem to me that you are rather in Wormwood’s bind; but with the Materialists rather than that other sort.

  46. “Therefore, the fact that a design is sub-optimal does not invalidate the design inference.”

    I would add here the what is sub optimal is a bit subjective. The designs tend to work pretty well and often times they are not as sub-optimal as we might think. Another explanation for bad design is degeneration of the genome over time.

    “Therefore, the possibility that the designer is not good does not preclude a design inference.”

    True, but Ayala is right that we do believe in a GOOD Creator.

    While I wholeheartedly agree with the design paradigm and Craig’s arguments here, I think this is the weakest part of ID. Believing in an old earth forces one to accept poor design and the existence of cruelty, suffering, death, and bloodshed as part of the Creator’s “very good” design. Needless to say this just doesn’t make sense.

    But given ID’s commitment to an old earth, it is forced to make strange interpretations to somehow try and accommodate this difficulty. Dembski tries to make the effects of the fall retroactive. That is one way some try and solve this problem, but I am not comfortable with that position at all. The young earth position says that a perfect creation was later marred by man’s sin. The creation itself was cursed when man sinned. This seems to make much better sense of the biblical account and it also avoids this problem of casting a poor light on the Creator for his poor design and His use of death, cruelty, suffering, etc in His design of living things.

    All this to say that, although I don’t question the design of living things for one minute, I can see how this causes a problem for those trying to figure out how all this suffering fits with the God of the Bible.

    YEC teaches that one day God will restore the earth to it’s former glory, to the way it was before sin entered the world. It will once again be the way God intended it to be.

    There are prophecies in Isaiah that speak to this:
    For instance, Isaiah 11:6-9 says this:

    6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
    and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
    and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
    and a little child shall lead them.
    7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
    8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
    and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
    9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain;
    for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

    This passage gives the idea that this is God’s ideal world. It gives the idea that the removal of the Curse will result in a world where animals do not harm each other. So it would seem then that this was indeed the way it was in the beginning before the earth was cursed. It gives the idea of a return to the way it was in God’s pre-fall creation(Eden) where the animals were all vegetarians(Gen. 1:29-30)and peace reigned in the animal kingdom because death, suffering, bloodshed, and thorns did not yet exist.

    The YEC view also avoids criticisms like Ayala’s and this one by Christian evangelist turned apostate Charles Templeton:

    ‘The grim and inescapable reality is that all life is predicated on death. Every carnivorous creature must kill and devour another creature. It has no option. How could a loving and omnipotent God create such horrors? … Surely it would not be beyond the competence of an omniscient deity to create an animal world that could be sustained and perpetuated without suffering and death.’

    YECers agree with Templeton. We think not only that God could have, but that He actually did create an animal world that could be sustained and perpetuated without suffering and death. We think that this is what the Bible actually teaches and that this type of perfect creation best displays His glory, power, and wisdom.

    Of course, suffering and death is also a challenge for young earthers. There are various explanations for how the creation changed after the curse. I think most center on the idea that God knew that sin would enter the world and the creation would be cursed. So He created them with the as of yet unexpressed genetic potential to kill and survive in a violent cruel world. That potential was then released after the fall. Perhaps a genetic switch turned these genes on for example. We aren’t told details here as to exactly how it happened, just that this is what happened. I personally feel the YEC position makes more sense and avoids the problem of marring the glory of God and painting the Creator in a bad light.

  47. mphillips:

    Out of interest, how do you square the “parasite behavior is too complex to have evolved” with the circle of “cruelty we see in nature” etc etc.

    Did the parasite behavior evolve? If so, seems evolution can do quite alot after all. If it did not, well, where does that leave a “good” designer?

    Sure, I’m willing to go with your parasite example and to assume, for purposes of discussion, that it would meet a design inference. So what? All that means is that it was designed.

    First, who said anything about the designer being “good”? And if the designer were good, would you recognize it? What is this subjective designation of “good” you have in mind? Is it lack of pain, an easy life, an existence of comfort, living forever without death? Why would someone think that a designer would have those kinds of goals in mind? Is that what this existence is about — just having endless ease and comfort? Or is it about learning, experiencing (both the good and the bad), growing, coming to understanding, renewing the circle of life, making room for the next generation, and other experiences that make life what it is?

    The argument from cruelty/evil/pain/suffering is a religious/philosophical argument that rests on the person’s ideas and personal wishes about what they think the designer should be like.

    —–

    [Begin sidebar.]

    I don’t personally extend the design inference to any deity and typically avoid discussions of God on this forum, but the argument about cruelty/evil/pain/suffering reminds me of a memorable exchange in Catch 22:

    “Don’t tell me God works in mysterious ways,” Yosarrian continued, hurtling on over her objection. “There’s nothing so mysterious about it. He’s not working at all. He’s playing. Or else, He’s forgotten all about us. How much reverence can you have for a supreme being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation? . . . Why in the world did He ever create pain?”

    “Stop it! Stop it!” she cried.

    “What the hell are you getting so upset about? I thought you didn’t believe in God.”

    “I don’t,” she sobbed, bursting violently into tears. “But the God I don’t believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He’s not the mean and stupid God you make him out to be!”

    One of the great ironies of the atheist mind is that no-one is more cock-sure of exactly what God is like, exactly what God would think, exactly what God would do, than the committed atheist. Of course he doesn’t believe in God, but if God did exist, he knows precisely what God would be like and how God would behave. Or so he thinks . . .

    [End sidebar.]

    —–

    Second, if everything is, as the materialist asserts, simply the result of colliding matter and energy, without any plan, purpose, or meaning, then there is no such thing as “cruel nature” or “evil nature.” Nature just is. The materialist’s heartfelt cry against the cruelty of nature is dashed to pieces against his own doctrine of the universe’s “blind pitiless indifference” (Dawkins).

    Bottom line:

    The argument against design by pointing to bad/evil/suboptimal design is not a scientific argument at all. It is a dual mistake of: (i) jumping to a conclusion about who the designer must be, coupled with (ii) a religious/philosophical reflection of one’s own beliefs about deity — and a rather simplistic, juvenile set of beliefs at that.

  48. EA

    I think you have pretty much summed it up there, thanks.

    Saves me the bother :o)

  49. Upright @ 32

    The already documented physics of symbol systems, as described in peer-reviewed literature. Plus the principle of uniformitarianism.

    Citation please.

    Life requires organization. That is a universal observation, and it is at the very center of OoL research. Biological organization stems from biological information. That is a universal observation as well. What are you suggesting as an alternative?

    Citation please.

    I don’t… but then again I made no claims about that. In any case, no matter how it began, it eventually had to cross the threshold of having a symbol system if it was to evolve and result in us.

    Citation please.

    I have not seen the evidence for this scenario, perhaps you can give me a reference to a demonstration of the involved principles at work.

    Of course. Perhaps you could provide a similar demonstration of your claimed origin of life.

    Do you believe it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium?

    I’ll stop here and give you a chance to answer the question I asked earlier and several times since.

    Are you talking about the origin of life? Yes/No will do.

    Upright @ 33

    I made none of the claims or statements.

    If it’s not your claim thatrecorded information existed without a representation instantiated in material medium and then recorded information existed with a representation instantiated in material medium after event X, where event X is the presumed intervention of the intelligent designer bringing that information into (presumably) our universe, then what is the relevance of your argument to ID?

    If not ID then a non-intelligent process would suffice, no?

    I would ask you which of thes two items you want to take issue with, but instead, it simply appears that you would like to speak for me in order to avoid what I’ve said.

    Says the person who won’t answer if they are making a claim about the origin of life or not. Once you have provided the relevant citations for your many claims then perhaps I’ll engage you, once I know what it is you are actually talking about. Until then, if you are looking for a conversation why not go over to TSZ where you have left the conversation unfinished.

    Thats the empirically enlightened thing to do, is it not?

    Says the person who speaks like they have special insight and knowledge about the origin of life but is basing it on “The already documented physics of symbol systems, as described in peer-reviewed literature”.

    Citation please, and please include a citation that shows that these “symbol systems” that arose at or near the OOL were designed. Otherwise your claim that the literature supports you is simply invalid.

  50. Joe @ 40

    Exactly, that is what science is for.

    Except that science has no interest in discovering the answers from an ID perspective. Only you can make that happen Joe, only you!

    I neither like nor dislike scientific answers. I accept them and use that knowledge accordingly.

    Yet you reject common descent, one of the best supported scientific claims.

    Plus you simply deny that transitional forms exist, whereas “science” has shown that they do. You don’t accept what science says in any way whatsoever unless you already believed it.

    Why the equivocation, petrushka?

    I’m not that person. Why the fear to answer the question Joe? Is it because your “it was once perfect” answer is no answer at all here?

  51. tjguy:

    I see no contradiction between the existence of carnivorous animals and “good design.” Good design doesn’t mean the design of a world like that depicted on “Barney.” Moralizing the word “good” in the context of the design of a cosmos and its inhabitants is an unwise thing to do. “Good” in the cosmic context means functional, useful, appropriate, fitting the overall scheme, not sweet, nice, pleasant, delightful, etc.

    The problem with most modern Christians is that their Jesus, and even their God, is pictured as a sort of Biblical version of “Barney.” This “candy cane theology” of saccharine sweetness makes the Christian doctrine of creation an easy target for people like Matzke and Ayala. The remedy for this is for Christians to spend a lot more time reading the Old Testament, and those parts of the New Testament that aren’t often read in services or emphasized in Sunday school. God didn’t create the world with maximum pleasure and comfort for its inhabitants in mind. A world like that would be the Brave New World of Aldous Huxley. But according to non-sappy, traditional Christian theology, God had something more rigorous in mind.

    In any case, even if Christian theology did require creation to be all sweetness and light, what has that got to do with ID? ID isn’t a specifically Christian position; it’s held by Jews, Deists, and others. Any flaws that allegedly exist in Christian theology don’t touch ID. As far as ID is concerned, if it can show there’s any design at all, even incompetent design, Ayala, Dawkins, etc. are refuted. And that was Craig’s point.

    Of course, refuting Ayala (and Ken Miller, who makes similar arguments, and a number of other TEs who have followed suit) is like shooting ducks in a barrel. These people *can’t* think philosophically or theologically to save their lives. (In that way, they remind me of the staff and leadership of the NCSE, and the entire roster of biologists who have ever posted on BioLogos.) It’s almost unsporting for someone with the philosophical education of Craig to take these guys on. On the other hand, they are all so utterly arrogant that I’m glad he does.

    By the way, tjguy, where are you getting your information that ID is committed to an old earth position? Lots of ID people are YECs. Even some of the leaders are, and many of the rank and file as well. Of course, the whole point is that YEC-OEC-evolution is a matter of indifference for ID. That’s why Paul Nelson, Bill Dembski and Mike Behe are on the same team. ID is about design vs. chance, not about a particular reading of the Bible or a particular position on common descent.

  52. Eric @ 48

    One of the great ironies of the atheist mind is that no-one is more cock-sure of exactly what God is like, exactly what God would think, exactly what God would do, than the committed atheist

    Funny how you can’t help but move from “the designer” to “God” without thinking.

    So to you “the designer == God”. And my question re: cruelty makes no logical sense then because you have the getout “well, gods’ ways are mysterious” which answers everything.

    Why would someone think that a designer would have those kinds of goals in mind?

    Could it be because of the fact that people at UD are constantly making the claim that “the cosmos was designed for humans and for humans to explore”?

    It almost seems like that film “Cube” then, where the designers create mazes for the people to solve.

    TBH If you believe that the same “designer” created parasites that burrow into your eye as created the cosmos for discovery then I think I’ll stay on Earth as I suspect there’s more then an eye-worm waiting for us out there, given what’s been created for us here already.

    So the point is you can’t have it both ways.

    Either evolution created the “nasty” stuff and therefore evolution is powerful mojo, or your “designer” did it.

    Second, if everything is, as the materialist asserts, simply the result of colliding matter and energy, without any plan, purpose, or meaning, then there is no such thing as “cruel nature” or “evil nature.” Nature just is.

    Yet you’ll still think it cruel were you to be infected in the eye, regardless of your ultimate beliefs. And to be honest, I think I prefer “colliding matter and energy” being all there is if the alternative is a designer that creates works that burrow into your eye.

  53. Upright,
    I suppose, while I await your citations, I could say this.

    Yes, evolution depends on a mechanism being available for inheritance. However the only person who is arguing for the fixity of this mechanism is you, nobody else.

    Presumably you believe that the protein synthesis system as we know it came into existence with the first lifeform. What leads you to believe this? Citation?

    I have to assume that everybody working in OOL recognizes the mechanism of inheritance must have arisen without the aid of evolution, and that means that much research is aimed at finding those simple replications that could arise spontaneously given prevailing conditions on pre-life earth.

    So your argument is not really much of an argument at all is it? You are simply saying the same thing that everybody else is saying except adding “and that was only possible by intelligent design” at the end.

    When you are done riding the coat-tails of others research then perhaps you’ll be ready to publish your claim in the literature, presumably with citations.

    So on the one hand we have thousands of man-hours of research being done a day on this problem and on the other hand we have you, who’s claim seems to be summed up with:

    “Life only comes from life”.

    If that’s the case, what life did life as we know it come from?

    The long and the short of it is that your claim that evolution itself requires the system in order to exist remains just that – a claim, nothing more or less. Just one claim among many. When you actually put the work into making it supported then perhaps it’ll become more then a mere claim.

    So, another question for you to ignore then while you repeat your claim over and over:

    If life was designed was the designer:

    A) Part of the universe (i.e. an alien)
    B) Not part of the universe (i.e. god).
    C) Don’t know.

    Furthermore, if life was designed was the designer:

    A) The same as the designer of the universe
    B) A different designer.

    Of course these will just be your personal opinion, but then again so is your main claim….

  54. petrushka:

    Except that science has no interest in discovering the answers from an ID perspective.

    Only someone totally ignorant of science would say such a thing, and here you are.

    Yet you reject common descent, one of the best supported scientific claims.

    No, I reject universal common descent which is NOT a scientific claim. There isn’t any way to scientifically test the claim. You lose, because you don’t understand science.

    Plus you simply deny that transitional forms exist, whereas “science” has shown that they do.

    “Transitional form” = “it looks like a transitional to me”- how is that science?

    Why the fear to answer the question Joe?

    The “question” was equivocating evobabble. YOIR position can’t explain the host nor the parasite.

  55. to mphillips/ petrushka:

    Does translation follow any known rules of chemistry? There isn’t any physio-chemical connection between the codon and the amino acid it represents- you do realize that, petrushka?

    And there isn’t any evidence that necessity and chamce can construct a genetic code. Perhaps you should focus on that.

  56. Citation please, and please include a citation that shows that these “symbol systems” that arose at or near the OOL were designed.

    It’s called SCIENCE and your position doesn’t have any. I take it that bothers you.

  57. Until then, if you are looking for a conversation why not go over to TSZ where you have left the conversation unfinished.

    There isn’t any conversation to be had over on TSZ. Ya see if they had anything to say they would be citing the science that demonstrates necessity and chance can produce the genetic code. Yet they don’t because they can’t.

    There isn’t any physio-chemical connection between the codon and the amino acid it codes for.

    IOW Upright Biped has said what he has to say and now you and the rest are choking on it. Do iou need the heimlich manuver?

  58. Timaus, you said:
    “In any case, even if Christian theology did require creation to be all sweetness and light, what has that got to do with ID? ID isn’t a specifically Christian position; it’s held by Jews, Deists, and others. Any flaws that allegedly exist in Christian theology don’t touch ID. As far as ID is concerned, if it can show there’s any design at all, even incompetent design, Ayala, Dawkins, etc. are refuted. And that was Craig’s point.”

    I totally agree here and tried to make that point clear in my post. I too am glad Craig takes on these guys as well. I appreciate Dr. Craig’s ministry, but I just think he comes up short here.

    And yes, lots of people believe the universe was intelligently designed, but the true IDers, are mostly NOT YECers. And yes, ID itself takes no stance on this issue. I understand that. It is separate from the Bible.

    Timaeus: “I see no contradiction between the existence of carnivorous animals and “good design.” Good design doesn’t mean the design of a world like that depicted on “Barney.” Moralizing the word “good” in the context of the design of a cosmos and its inhabitants is an unwise thing to do. “Good” in the cosmic context means functional, useful, appropriate, fitting the overall scheme, not sweet, nice, pleasant, delightful, etc.”

    Well, I do see a contradiction in this. First of all, we learn in Genesis one that the animals were originally vegetarian. That is interesting, is it not? This is the world that God pronounced as “very good”.

    Then you have the Isaiah passages which seem to indicate there will be a return to that in the future – again an indication that this is what God’s ideal world looks like. Revelation 21 gives us another picture of what eternal life will be like and here is how it reads: “3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

    The fossil record is full of death, mutations, disease, suffering, bloodshed and violence. You are aware that Paul calls death the “last enemy” in I Cor. 15, right? It seems hard to understand how God could use such a cruel process to create the variety of life we see around us today. It seems difficult to hold the position that death is the punishment for sin as well when death preceded sin by millions of years in this view.

    Cancer and the other diseases in the fossil record are also “very good”? I doubt too many people will agree with your understanding of the word “very good”, but if that’s your opinion, so be it.

    By the way, when do you think thorns first came on the scene? As a result of the curse as it says in Genesis 3 or millions of years prior to that as the fossil record dated according to the evolution timeline shows? According to the Bible, even thorns were not a part of God’s original “very good” earth.

    In 1994, Tom Ambrose, an Anglican Priest, in an article in The Church of England Newspaper, succinctly portrayed the real god of an old earth when he stated:

    ‘…Fossils are the remains of creatures that lived and died for over a billion years before Homo Sapiens evolved. Death is as old as life itself by all but a split second. Can it therefore be God’s punishment for Sin? The fossil record demonstrates that some form of evil has existed throughout time. On the large scale it is evident in natural disasters. The destruction of creatures by flood, ice age, desert and earthquakes has happened countless times. On the individual scale there is ample evidence of painful, crippling disease and the activity of parasites. We see that living things have suffered in dying, with arthritis, a tumor, or simply being eaten by other creatures. From the dawn of time, the possibility of life and death, good and evil, have always existed. At no point is there any discontinuity; there was never a time when death appeared, or a moment when the evil changed the nature of the universe. God made the world as it is … evolution as the instrument of change and diversity. People try to tell us that Adam had a perfect relationship with God until he sinned, and all we need to do is repent and accept Jesus in order to restore that original relationship. But perfection like this never existed. There never was such a world. Trying to return to it, either in reality or spiritually, is a delusion. Unfortunately it is still central to much evangelical preaching.’

    As someone once said, “when looking at this present world, we aren’t looking at the nature of God, but the results of our sin!” What a difference!

  59. mphillips:

    Funny how you can’t help but move from “the designer” to “God” without thinking.

    So to you “the designer == God”.

    Did you fail to read clearly, or are you purposely twisting my words? I specifically said that I do not extend the design inference to any particular deity. Ayala, Matzke and others do. That is the ironic thing about the argument — the completely theological/religious argument — put up by so many who are trying to argue against God from a standpoint of bad/evil/poor design. As I said, I’m happy to engage the argument and assume for purposes of the present discussion that the designer is God, but I don’t get there from the design inference itself.

    Either evolution created the “nasty” stuff and therefore evolution is powerful mojo, or your “designer” did it.

    Yeah, so? I’m perfectly happy saying that the designer did it. You are the one who isn’t happy with it. And you aren’t happy with it, not because of any scientific assessment of design, but because of your religious/philosophical beliefs, as evidenced by your statement:

    Yet you’ll still think it cruel were you to be infected in the eye, regardless of your ultimate beliefs. And to be honest, I think I prefer “colliding matter and energy” being all there is if the alternative is a designer that creates works that burrow into your eye.

    You are projecting. I don’t necessarily think it cruel to be infected. You do.

    Look, I get it. I understand that you (along with Ayala and others) have a squeamish stomach and a philosophical aversion to pain and misery being caused by a designer. I am glad that you have acknowledged that your real concern is not with scientific aspects of design detection, but with the religious/philosophical idea that there might be a powerful, capable designer who designs things that cause pain and suffering. But that is a limitation of your own philosophy, not a problem with design detection.

  60. 61

    My o’my, mphillips.

    “Citation, citation, citation!” You seem to have a thirst for knowledge; let’s look at what you need a citation for:

    You seem to need a citation for the idea that symbol systems have a material foundation. You need a citation for the principle of uniformitarianism. You want a citation to support the claim that Life requires organization. You need a citation for my statement that biological organization is controlled by biological information. You need a citation to support the suggestion that these are all “universal observations”. You even ask for a citation for the rather obvious conclusion that ‘even if we don’t know’ how living systems came into being, they would eventually have to acquire the qualities that we find in them today, because that’s the way we find them.

    Wow.

    Perhaps it would be better to just give you a reading list – my reading list perhaps. The documentation behind most of your questions represents either the careers, or a substantial portion of the careers, of several researchers. In one direction I would suggest reading the work of Francis Crick, Marshal Nirenberg, Heinrich Matthaei, Mohlon Hoagland, Paul Zamecnik, James Shapiro, etc. And in another direction you might want to read Charles Sanders Peirce, Michael Polanyi, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, Claude Shannon, Howard Pattee, Thomas Sebeok, David Abel, Marcello Barbieri, etc. I suggest you pay particular attention to the concepts of ‘the epistemic cut’, the ‘minimum potential energy principle’, ‘semantic closure’, computational halting, physical memory, and “the measurement problem”. And for information regarding the principle of ‘uniformitarianism’, you can look to Charles Lyell. And finally, for a complete history of the term “information” from its Greek precursors to modern uses, it is probably not possible to do any better that Rafael Capurro.

    Of course, I realize that you are not really asking me to support my claims with supporting data; your entire diatribe was a tactic used for the express purpose of distancing yourself from that same data. (This will become evident). Just imagine someone in the age of Genetic Information asking for proof that biological organization is controlled by the information in DNA, or someone questioning whether or not what von Neumann referred to as “description-based reproduction” was even necessary for life. It’s laughable, no? But I wouldn’t want to cheat you out of forcing me to provide you with a citation, so I’ll pick one:

    Physical laws and semiotic controls require disjoint, complementary modes of conceptualization and description. Laws are global and inexorable. Controls are local and conditional. Life originated with semiotic controls. Semiotic controls require measurement memory and selection, none of which are functionally describable by physical laws that, unlike semiotic systems, are based on energy, time, and rates of change. However, they are structurally describable in the language of physics in terms of non-integrable constraints, energy degenerate states, temporal incoherence, and irreversible dissipative events.

    – HH Pattee PhD Physics, “The physics of symbols, and the evolution of semiotic control, 1996

    - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    While you are working your way through those authors (as I have) perhaps you could take a moment to answer the question now asked three times:

    Do you believe it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium?

  61. In a perfect world would all baseball batters be hitting safely or would all pitchers be striking everyone out?

    Would all basketball shots go in or would they all be successfully defended?

    Would all passes in football be completed (a perfect offense) or would they too be successfully defended (a perfect defense)?

    The point? Perfect is boring. No knowledge to be had. Nothing to figure out. Boring. Nothing to discover. Boring.

    Thankfully the designer of this universe didn’t want “boring”. So we get perfectlly imperfect…


  62. UD Editors: mphillips is in moderation. He obviously does not want to engage in good faith debate. He can demonstrate to the contrary (and get out of moderation) when he answers Upright Biped’s question, which he has dodged three times now. mphillips, it really is a simple question. As soon as you give a “yes” or a “no” you will be out of moderation. You don’t even have to support your answer. If you like you can shorten it to a “Y” or a “N”. Here’s the question again:

    Do you believe it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium?


  63. mphillips is in moderation.


  64. mphillips is in moderation.


  65. mphillips is in moderation.

  66. mphillips continues to refuse to debate in good faith.

  67. mphillips

    I’ve just been reading your comment (#17) about the parasitoid wasp and how it kills spiders. You write that “if anything is designed in life according to ID, this is.” But then you concede that it takes place “[t]hrough some unknown mechanism.” If we don’t even know the mechanism, how can we infer that the mechanism was designed? ID makes no such inference in cases where the mechanism cannot be described.

    You also adduce this as an instance of “cruelty in nature.” You should be aware that neither wasps nor spiders are sentient, hence no cruelty is involved. For more on this, see Professor James Rose’s paper, The Neurobehavioral Nature of Fishes and the Question of Awareness and Pain .

    Finally, on the general question of suboptimality or cruelty in Nature: I think it would be useful first of all if we endeavored to identify the taxonomic level at which these imperfections or cruelties are found to occur. Is there anything suboptimal about DNA as such? It seems there isn’t. Indeed, A. A. Arzamastev has even written a little paper entitled, The Nature of the Optimality of the DNA Code and Freedland and Hurst have authored a paper entitled, The genetic code is one in a million (Journal of Molecular Evolution, September 1998; 47(3): 238-48). Life, then, was not suboptimally designed. Is there anything suboptimal in the vertebrate (more precisely, chordate) body plan, or in any of the other body plans for the various animal phyla? No-one that I know of has ever said so. My question is: if the notion that each species was optimally designed is no longer sustainable, what about the notion that each phylum, class, order or family was optimally designed? Can we limit suboptimality to the lower taxonomic levels?

    Vestigial organs are evidence for loss of functionality, rather than suboptimality. And for those who object, “An engineer, starting from scratch, wouldn’t have done it that way,” I’d reply that an engineer who wanted to generate all of the life-forms we observe today through natural and/or intelligent modifications of a single ancestral life-form, probably couldn’t have done it any more efficiently than what we see in Nature today. “Why do it that way?” I hear you ask. “Why not design each organism from scratch?” I reply: “That would be inefficient – a waste of effort. Too much duplication. Engineered evolution is the most efficient way to generate life.”

    As for cases of cruelty in Nature, once again I would ask: for any given instance of cruelty, how deeply entrenched is it in the animal kingdom? Is it found in all species in a genus? in all genera in a family? in all families in an order? If we look at infanticide in animals , for instance, we find that it is a sporadic phenomenon: some species in a given genus may practice it, while others don’t. That’s consistent with the hypothesis that the Intelligent Designer of Nature designed genera, but not individual species. Devolution can account for the aberrant behavior we observe in certain species.

    Finally, predation does not, in my opinion, count as a genuine instance of cruelty in Nature, as no-one has thought of a more humane alternative that a Designer could have come up with, apart from continual, ongoing miracles whereby the Designer would have to intervene in order to give each and every animal a painless death. But if we stick to natural mechanisms, then certainly predation beats a slow, lingering death from starvation.

  68. mphillips continues to refuse to debate in good faith.

  69. mphillips continues to refuse to debate in good faith.

  70. Craig’s succinct explanation was hilariously lucid and the logic, binding: Q.E.D.

  71. Very well.

    Yes, I believe it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium.

    UD Editor: mphillips is no longer in moderation

  72. 73

    How?

  73. UD Editor:

    mphillips is no longer in moderation

    The comments upthread can also be restored, 63-67, given that they are what I was going to say in any case. If you don’t like/won’t post those then there is no point in continuing in any case.

  74. Upright,
    How? I’ll have to save that for tomorrow I’m afraid. I’ll be glad to spill all, if able. It’s late.

    In the meanwhile, were you never a child? You must know how it works.

    I’ve answered one of your questions. I said “yes”. I’ll even expand on that tomorrow.

    Now you can answer one of mine? That’s typically how it works.

    You can take your pick as to which question you’ll attack, I simply don’t have the breadth of your reading list so I’ll have to trust your judgement there, then tomorrow when I’ve expanded on (for I’m happy to do so) the “how” you’ve wrung out of me you can ask another for me to answer. Then my turn again!

    You don’t even have to support your answer. If you like you can shorten it to a “Y” or a “N”.

  75. vjtorley

    That’s consistent with the hypothesis that the Intelligent Designer of Nature designed genera, but not individual species. Devolution can account for the aberrant behavior we observe in certain species.

    Thanks. Given that, is the rate of devolution consistent with any particular timescale? We don’t seem to be observing it now, and the “aberrant behavior” in some cases may well be traceable back for many years if preserved in fossils. If so, not devolving at all or in fits and starts if so. What’s stopping it just getting “worse” and “worse”, I’d expect that if devolution was really happening.

    I suppose the main “human scale” objection to the deteriorating genome argument, if that is in fact what you are making, is that bacteria are still around with their very high turnover. How come?

    Finally, predation does not, in my opinion, count as a genuine instance of cruelty in Nature, as no-one has thought of a more humane alternative that a Designer could have come up with

    Well, vegetarianism might be a start :)

    apart from continual, ongoing miracles whereby the Designer would have to intervene in order to give each and every animal a painless death.

    I find this to be within the tent of ID, for example Joe insists that all mutations are not random. So therefore they must be individually maintained by some sort of intelligent force, for example:

    OTOH there is Intelligent Design Evolution which posits the changes are not random, rather they were directed just as a genetic/ evolutionary algorithm is directed, ie to reach a specified goal/ target.

  76. Here’s lost to moderation post 63.

    Upright,

    You seem to need a citation for the idea that symbol systems have a material foundation.

    No, you said:

    The already documented physics of symbol systems, as described in peer-reviewed literature.

    And I’m asking for a reference that details how the current symbol system was actually also present at the origin of life.

    As you mention “peer reviewed literature” you should have no problem providing a citation to a paper that supports your view that the current symbol system was present before the origin of life. It’s very easy to talk about other peoples work but I’m asking why it supports an ID origin of life.

    You want a citation to support the claim that Life requires organization.

    No, you said:

    Life requires organization. That is a universal observation, and it is at the very center of OoL research. Biological organization stems from biological information.

    Therefore, as above, I’d like you to provide a citation to something that shows that at the OoL the symbol system (organization) was as it currently is. Or what relevance does your claim have to ID?

    Otherwise what holds now might not have held then. So your claim is pointless unless you can link it to the OoL – you simply don’t know what conditions held.

    You need a citation for my statement that biological organization is controlled by biological information.

    Here I’d actually like you to specify what you mean by “biological information”. Is that different to “information”?

    You need a citation to support the suggestion that these are all “universal observations”.

    No, I want you to provide evidence that these observations also held at the OoL. Otherwise what’s your point?

    You even ask for a citation for the rather obvious conclusion that ‘even if we don’t know’ how living systems came into being, they would eventually have to acquire the qualities that we find in them today, because that’s the way we find them.

    Obvious conclusions are the bane of science.

    And here you admit a knowledge gap – you don’t know how living systems came into being and therefore you don’t know how they acquired or started to acquire the qualities that we find in them today.

    The documentation behind most of your questions represents either the careers, or a substantial portion of the careers, of several researchers.

    No, I don’t think so really.

    Here, let me recap.

    You claim that a designer implemented the symbol system we see today in biological life.

    Yet you don’t have an opinion that you can provide if you think that designer is in the universe (an alien) or a deity (i.e. god).

    You can’t say how that symbol system came into being, other then to say “it was obviously the product of intelligent design as other similar systems are”.

    Of course, I realize that you are not really asking me to support my claims with supporting data;

    Of course not. I realize that is not something you are able to do.

    your entire diatribe was a tactic used for the express purpose of distancing yourself from that same data.

    Data of which you can’t actually bring yourself to describe why it supports ID.

    Just imagine someone in the age of Genetic Information asking for proof that biological organization is controlled by the information in DNA,

    Yeah, that would almost be like somebody saying that Genetic Information is impossible to evolve despite the fact a well observed mechanism is in place to do so.

    Or like saying that the fact a symbol system exists is evidence for ID despite not actually having any actual information about why that must be.

    But I wouldn’t want to cheat you out of forcing me to provide you with a citation, so I’ll pick one

    Perhaps you could find a citation that shows your symbol system was in evidence at the OoL exactly as we find it today?

    While you are working your way through those authors (as I have) perhaps you could take a moment to answer the question now asked three times

    Likewise, when you say

    A) Are you talking about the Origin of life or something else?
    B) Why your argument supports intelligent design

    I’ll be happy to answer your question.

    Or not, as from what I’ve read so far at the TSZ and here you don’t really seem interested in answers to your question, given that you abandoned the conversation and fled just as things started to get interesting.

  77. Or not, as from what I’ve read so far at the TSZ and here you don’t really seem interested in answers to your question, given that you abandoned the conversation and fled just as things started to get interesting.

    How are you defining “interesting”? Not one of UB’s critics can demonstrate how transcription and translation arose via necessity and chance. IOW it appears there was more bickering, conflating and evading on the part of his critics any any “conversation” was over long ago.

    That said do you have any evidence that a living organism can get by without the current transcription and translation processes? Any at all?

    Yeah, that would almost be like somebody saying that Genetic Information is impossible to evolve despite the fact a well observed mechanism is in place to do so.

    Petrushka, your continued equivocation gives you away.

    No one say s anything about “genetic information is impossible to evolve”. And yes, the only well observed mechanism observed to do is is design, intelligent design. No evidence for blind and undirected processes doing so.

    But as for why transcription and translation support ID-

    Transcription and translation- what Upright Biped calls a semiotic process because we have one molecule representing another, ie a code- is evidence for Intelligent Design because it requires knowledge to carry out. Knowledge of what, when and how to transcribe as well as what, when and how to translate. And as we already know, synthetic ribosomes just do not function, which means it takes something more than matter and energy to make a functioning ribosome.

    The following is what one gets when one reads biology textbooks (quotes are from Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics: Getting the Big Picture by Ann Finney Batiza, PhD, which is part of a series- “Biotechnology in the 21st Century”):

    It is important to note that the proteins made by an organism determine all of the characteristics that “nature” provides for that particular living thing. The enzymes allow other molecules, including proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to undergo chemical reactions, such as being put together or taken apart inside living things.
    … (skipping surface receptors and other structural elements)
    Other proteins bind DNA, the molecules of heredity, and determine which codes are going to be used to make proteins- at which time and in which type of cell.

    Because each protein has an important job to do, it is crucial that proteins be made to precise specifications, just like the precision parts of an expensive sports car. In fact, the blueprints for some proteins have been so good, they have been preserved through millions and even billions of years of evolution.—page 5

    However no one ever says how they evolved in the first place.

    The importance of these precise structures and hence functioning of protein machines like these channels cannot be understated. Potassium channels, like other channels that pass other ions from one side of the cell membrane to the other, have a particular architecture that allows them to open and close upon command. We now know that intricately designed and mechanically fine-tuned ion channels determine the rhythm and allow an electrical impulse initiated when we stub our toe to be transmitted to the brain.- page 19

    Wet electricity. Whereas the electricity that powers our computers is comes from the flow of electrons through a conducter and “hates” water, the electricity that runs our bodies is designed for a wet environment and uses pumped ions to convey differing messages to our command center.

    Those magical mystery mutations are pretty powerful stuff!!

    But wait, there’s more!

    Just for a eukaryotic cell to make an amino acid (polypeptide) chain-

    Transcription and Translation-

    Transcription:

    You start with a tightly wound piece of DNA. Enzymes called RNA polymerases, along with other transcription factors, begin the process by unwinding a portion of DNA near the start of a gene, which is specified by sequences called promoters. Now there are two strands exposed. One strand is the coding strand- it has the correct sequence information for the product- and the other strand is the non-coding strand. That strand contains the complimentary layout.

    At this point decisions have to be made. Where to start, where to stop and although it may seem counterintuitive the mRNA goes to the non-coding strand in order to reconstruct the proper codon sequence (nucleotide triplets which code for an amino acid) for the protein to be formed. Both sides of the parent DNA are exposed yet the mRNA “knows” to only form on one.

    This process is unidirectional (5’-3’). There is only one start codon which also codes for an amino acid (met) and therefore all amino acid sequences start with methionine. The stop codons don’t code for an amino acid. Transcription actually starts before the “start” codon and continues past the stop codon. Before the mRNA leaves the nucleus any/ all introns are cut out and the remaining exons spliced together. A chemical cap is added to the 5’ end, the non-coding stuff at the end is cut off by a special enzyme (endonuclease) and a string of A’s is added in its place. You now have a processed mRNA.

    So now we have this piece of processed mRNA which leaves the nucleus and has to rendezvous with a ribosome-the protein factory within the cell. On to translation:

    A ribosome consists of over 50 proteins and 3-4 different kinds of rRNA (ribosomal), plus free-floating tRNA (transfer). Each tRNA has a 3 nucleotide sequence- the anti-codon to the mRNA’s codon plus it carries the appropriate amino acid molecule for its anti-codon. To attach the appropriate amino acid to the correct anti-codon an enzyme called amino-acid synthetase is used.

    There, large workbenches made of both protein and nucleic acid grab the mRNA so the correct amino acids can be brought up to the mRNA. Each amino acid is escorted by a module called tRNA or transfer RNA. It is important to note that the escort molecules have three bases prominently exposed on their backsides and that these molecules also use the base U instead of T. The kind of amino acid is determined precisely by the tRNA escort’s anticodon, or triplet set of bases on the escort’s backside.-pg 23

    And then the chain starts forming until the stop codon terminates the process.

    Next is the folding process. That is what allows the protein to be useful- its spatial configuration. And guess what? Many proteins require chaperones in order to fold correctly- another egg-chicken problem.

    That is just the basics of what one is introduced to when reading biology textbooks. And it doesn’t include the proof-reading and error correction that accompanies the process. Again all of this takes knowledge to accomplish.

    So the bottom-line is if biology textbooks got rid of the biased, untestable and unscientific leanings toward non-telic evolution students reading the books would come to the design inference just based on the data.

  78. In the meanwhile, were you never a child? You must know how it works.

    I’ve answered one of your questions. I said “yes”. I’ll even expand on that tomorrow.

    Now you can answer one of mine? That’s typically how it works.

    Yes, if you are a child and have no intention of posting in good faith…

  79. tjguy:

    Glad we agree on the basic facts about ID.

    However, your expression “true IDers” is undefined, and I wonder what it could possibly mean. It seems to imply that there are a lot of people going around calling themselves ID supporters who are either not ID supporters at all, or only half-baked ID supporters. I don’t understand that. ID has a fairly clear definition, and it is not that hard to say who supports it and who doesn’t.

    I suspect that a far higher percentage of ID proponents are YECs than you imagine. If we take not just the leadership, but add in the rank and file, I wouldn’t be surprised if 25-35% of ID supporters were YECs.

    I would expect the largest group would be the OECS, maybe 40-60% of the total.

    I would expect that 10-20% are either evolutionists (like Behe) or at least consider themselves open to evolution, provided the empirical evidence is there and that the evolutionary process is understood as guided or planned in some way, rather than due to randomness and natural selection.

    On Genesis 1, you are taking for granted something that many Biblical scholars would dispute, i.e., that the single verse in Genesis 1 from which animal vegetarianism might be inferred is a strong statement of animal vegetarianism. The verse doesn’t actually state that animals are all vegetarian, and the inference, while reasonable, is not a slam-dunk, because language is used elastically by writers and not always precisely.

    Most of the creatures people encounter everyday are herbivorous, not carnivorous, so the writer may have had in mind the typical case; alternately, the writer may have had in mind the indirect dependency of even carnivorous animals upon plants.

    The case would be stronger if anything else in Genesis 1 supported the vegetarian interpretation, or even supported the view that Genesis 1 depicted a world unlike our own, i.e., more perfect than our own. But there is no indication that Genesis 1, in its general description or in its specific descriptions, has in mind anything but the world as we know it. It would be odd if in that one verse alone Genesis 1 suddenly became a “golden age narrative.”

    The other problem is that the rest of the Old Testament gives very little support to the notion. The lion lying down with the lamb etc. can be understood as poetic language referring to the restoration of peace in the human world, and outside of such expressions in poetry, there is precious little to go on. There is no indication that the verses you quote from Revelation have anything other than human death in mind, and the same could be said of the passage you quote from Paul. Further, Job seems to be speaking about the original creation, not the fallen creation, when God describes an order of nature like the one we know today. And Genesis 2 mentions nothing about original animal vegetarianism, or about any change in animal diets after the Fall.

    When we take everything into account, and not just one verse in Genesis 1, the case for original animal vegetarianism in the Bible is not strong. It’s a possible interpretation, but that’s the most that can be said. So it’s hardly binding on Christians doctrinally. And of course there’s nothing about it in the Creeds.

    But back to the more general point: why couldn’t a God who “will be what he will be” ordain animal suffering? Fundamentalists don’t blink an eye when God orders the slaughter of innocent infants and the sexual enslavement of captive women after the genocide of whole peoples; why are they so troubled by the consumption of sheep by wolves or tuna by sharks? The Biblical God is clearly not a God whose main priority is to make sure that no one innocent ever suffers.

    I think that YECs are under the spell of a modern form of sentimentalism in their angst over the fact of death in the created world. I think that the horror of death — other than early, violent or agonizing *human* death — is simply not a major theme in genuine, uncontaminated Hebraic thought. So I have no problem with an order of creation that includes death from the very beginning.

    Not *all* death is a result of human sin. And the part that isn’t the result of human sin, is in my view the duty of Christians to accept, not rail against.

  80. 81

    Mphillips

    I have a suggestion to make. Why don’t you and I make a compact to do something entirely different here – perhaps something constructive, irrespective of our indivudual positions? I propose that we change the nature of this exchange. I would like to ask you to accept the proposition that we completely set aside my question to you, and instead, let us focus solely on your question(s) for me. After all, you’ve already stated that I have “fled” a conversation, leaving that conversation “unfinished”. I would, of course, take immediate issue with that particular positioning statement, given that I was one person defending my argument against 8-12 opponents, non-stop for a period of 130+ days (surmounting well over 1100 comments in the process), while not a single person there actually demonstrated that any of the material observations I had made were false.

    And there it is, right? We can argue over each others backmarkers all we want, while the core of our individual positions (their strongest points) stand uncontested, or untested, depending how you’d like to look at it. I truly ask you, what is the point in that?

    I am completely comfortable with the idea of suspending my pursuit of your position, and will intead stand in your target. I will forthrightly answer any question you wish to ask, and I will do so to the fullest of my ability. What do you say?

    This offer does not come without personal responsibility though. When you boil all this down, there is nothing here but your position, my position, the data, and our priors which we both can manage, but neither can escape. It is no more correct for me to assume my priors within my argument than it is for me to attack you for assuming your priors – if you havent. Likewise, it is no more correct for you to assume your priors within your argument than it is for you to attack me for assuming my priors – if I haven’t.

    The argument I’ve made is not foreign to you. You know the limits that I’ve placed on my argument. Those limits are not placed there by political maneuver; they are appropriate to the evidence itself. The word “appropriate” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “especially suitable”. The limits placed on the conclusion of my argument are ‘especially suitable’ to the evidence at hand. I argue that the transfer of the recorded information contained within the genome demonstrates a semiotic state, and therefore will require a mechanism capable of creating a semiotic state. That’s it. Either that conclusion is validated by the material evidence, or it is not validated. Either it is, or it is not. One, or the other. Arguing over issues that do not impact the evidence supporting that conclusion will not refute it. This is necessarily true, and has always been so.

    So, I make this suggestion. Instead of you cobbling together some idea of the transfer of recorded information without the use of a material representation, an attempt destined to fail, why not accept my offer instead? Spend that time fashioning your best three or four questions. All that is asked of you is that you exercise the discipline to target the actual argument as it is given, its conclusion, and the material evidence that supports it.

    If you choose otherwise, then by all means, let’s hear your example. You can expect a concise and immediate rebuttal to the necessary equivocation which you force yourself into, and you’ll be able to enjoy whatever honor is afforded to you for (unnecessarily) losing another argument and not admitting it.

    And just so we are clear, that is not a display of arrogance or undue certainty, that is the culmination of Crick, Peirce, Nirenberg, Hoagland, Polanyi, von Neumann, Pattee, the principles at work, and the material evidence. If I am wrong about that, then you should be able to point it out.

  81. O goody, think I may need to get in a big bag of pop corn :)

  82. H’mm:

    This thread seems to be astray from a pivotal main issue raised in the OP. I point to where it was raised above by JDH:

    _______

    >> Above, Dr JDH stated:

    The argument by Craig is extremely relevant [--> examples of sub-optimal design etc]. He shows that Ayala is not telling the truth in his objections. They are not anti-design arguments.

    As far as sub-optimal or evil designs, this is another failure. It is a religious, moral argument, not a scientific one. Once you acknowledge that it is a moral argument you have to find a basis for that morality. [--> In shoert, what is the worldview foundaitonal IS that you accept that objectively warrants OUGHT, including, rights. Without such, you are either borrowing without attribution or else you are holding to something that is amoral and/or nihilist] The terms “optimization” or “good” and “evil” can only be done in the context of what purpose the designs are trying to serve. [--> If you disagree, what is your alternative] If God is trying to demonstrate in nature the inadequacy of the natural man, and the terrible effect of sin on the natural world, then a perfect design which removed all suffering would be in fact sub-optimal.

    1: Can you accurately and fairly sum up the argument in a short sentence or two? If not, then there is an issue of comprehension. I assume you can.

    2: Having so summed up, do you agree, disagree or partly agree/disagree? If so, to what?

    3: On what grounds? That is, why relative to facts and logic.

    4: What is, in summary, your alternative, and why do you think it is warranted on the merits? >>
    _______

    It would be interesting to see a serious response on the merits.

    KF

  83. 84

    After all, you’ve already stated that I have “fled” a conversation, leaving that conversation “unfinished”. I would, of course, take immediate issue with that particular positioning statement, given that I was one person defending my argument against 8-12 opponents, non-stop for a period of 130+ days (surmounting well over 1100 comments in the process), while not a single person there actually demonstrated that any of the material observations I had made were false.

    And there it is, right?

    Well, not exactly. I have tried to follow some of that conversation (certainly I haven’t read every post by everyone), and as far as I can tell nobody has any problems with any of the material observations you have made at all. The complaint is instead that you have been asuming the consequent.

    As a vastly simplified example, consider the following argument:
    1) All dogs have four legs (material observation)
    2) This object has four legs (material observation)
    3) Therefore, this object is a dog! (conclusion)

    As far as I can see, people can legitimately dispute the logic of this conclusion without the slightest question of a single material observation.

    As I read it, this compliant was made repeatedly, by many people, who presented their case very clearly. “Answering” them by (once again) defending the material observations is missing the point.

  84. David W. Gibson:

    I’ll let UB respond, but it seems you may have have misstated the argument. Perhaps it is:

    1) All dogs have four legs (material observation)
    2) No other object has four legs (material observation)
    3) This object has four legs (material observation)
    4) Therefore, this object is a dog! (conclusion)

    Or perhaps it takes a slightly different form . . .

  85. Back to the opening topic of this thread, there are four basic responses to the argument that bad design means no design. For simplicity, I list these without details (which have been stated elsewhere) and in order of importance:

    1. It is simply false on its face. We have myriad known, empirical examples of designed things that are ‘bad’ (suboptimal) or ‘bad’ (designed to cause pain, misery, death and the like).

    2. It is a religious/philosophical argument, not a scientific one, and is based on questionable philosophical assumptions.

    3. For ‘bad design’ in the sense of evil, cruel, etc., the alternative explanation (no design at all in nature) undercuts the the very argument being made. As a result, it is logically incoherent.

    4. For ‘bad design’ in the sense of suboptimal, imperfect, etc., it is almost always the case that the design turns out, on further inspection, to be ingenious, exquisite, or completely appropriate (e.g., panda’s thumb, vertebrate eye). As a corollary, no materialist making the argument about suboptimal design has ever offered a cogent, engineering-level proposal of how the design could be improved. At most, we get broad handwaving assertions that the design could be better.

  86. EA:

    Excellent.

    I would add in the first,

    2a] We can show why [per a mathematical analysis] it is maximally unlikely that any other object would have four legs.

    G

  87. 88

    Hi David,

    The point was never missed. You are correct that ‘assuming the consequent’ was the charge repeatedly leveled against me. The counter argument was as follows:

    Inappropriate logical operators were being applied to the argument, which do not conform to the argument as it was made (i.e. a misrepresentation), and further, that non-analogous examples were being repeatedly used as a means to employ those inappropriate operators. Like your example above regarding dogs, this included examples such as “rain causes the ground to become wet, the ground is wet; therefore it rained. (if A then B, B, therefore A). Such formulations do not represent the argument being made.
    The argument is that the material entailments stemming from the transfer of recorded information (TRI) are the necessary material conditions of the phenomenon, and that these entailments are capable (i.e sufficient) to confirm the existence of that transfer. In other words, if B is the necessary and sufficient conditions of A, then the argument makes no logical flaw, but instead becomes immediately subject to the evidence – which is exactly the way it was presented to be.

    I used the existence of the fire tetrahedron as an example of the issue at hand. The older “fire triangle” gave the necessary material conditions of a fire (a heat source, a fuel, and an oxidizer) but the triangle by itself could not confirm the existence of a fire (i.e it was not sufficient). In its place, the fire tetrahedron added a specific process to the necessary conditions included within the triangle. That process was the rapid oxidation of a fuel, i.e. combustion. By including that specific process, the fire tetrahedron can confirm the existence of a fire. In the exact same way, the physical entailments of TRI enlist the material requirements of the transfer, but it also goes the extra step of including a specific process. That specific process is fundamental to the transfer of recorded information; it is the production of unambiguous function. So while the material entailments of TRI cannot confirm the existence of TRI, the addition of this specific process allows them that capability.

    This was eventually conceded during the Skeptical Zone conversation by the main proponent of the argument, and that concession (as well as one other) precipitated my leaving that argument after two months:

    ”Of course if the necessary and sufficient conditions of a phenomenon are present, then the phenomenon is present”. – Reciprocating Bill

  88. 89

    And by the way… almost immediately after these concessions were made, the exact same objections resurfaced as if nothing ever happened.

    I believe there is a name for that.

  89. Upright Biped- you are making reciprocating bill whine and cry.

    Hey RB, since you seem to be reading this blog, how about some evidence that blind and undirected processes can produce transcription and translation? Can’t do that so you have to belly-ache about ID- is that it?

    One thing can stop Upright Biped’s argument- and ONE THING only- evidence that purely materialistic processes can produce the semiotic state observed in transcription and translation. Anything else is pure whining and not worth responding to.

    So how about it guys? Care to ante up with some actual evidence (other than Allen Miller’s imagination, that is) that supports your position?

  90. 91

    ”Of course if the necessary and sufficient conditions of a phenomenon are present, then the phenomenon is present”. – Reciprocating Bill

    The point you are trying to make is not clear to me. Bill is saying that IF you can demonstrate (and not just assert) that no other process can possibly produce the material observations, then your logic is correct. And I think this is reasonable.

    But as far as I can tell, the only support for the claim that no other possible process can do the trick that you have presented, is repeating that nobody finds fault with the material observations (the results themselves).

    And therefore, it’s not sufficient to spend the remarkable effort you are making, repeating that (1) the process you have described produces the results you have described, and (2) that the results are as you describe them. Nobody is arguing with this. The argument is that if some other process can produce the same results, then you can draw no conclusions about the process by observing the results.

    And as far as I can tell, in all your efforts, you have not examined any alternative processes that might work. Stating that there ARE or CAN BE no such processes is not a material observation, it’s simply an assertion.

  91. David W. Gibson:

    Bill is saying that IF you can demonstrate (and not just assert) that no other process can possibly produce the material observations, then your logic is correct. And I think this is reasonable.

    Nope, no “proving” the impossible. If Bill et al. don’t like it they can actually step up and demonstrate necessity and chance producing it. Ya see THEY need positive evidence- we have plenty of positive evidence for intelligent agencies creating semiotic states. None for mother nature doing so.

    So what DO you have?

  92. DWG:

    I see:

    Bill is saying that IF you can demonstrate (and not just assert) that no other process can possibly produce the material observations, then your logic is correct.

    Stop right there, we are dealing with an empirical situation. No inductive or empirical fact or principle can be established beyond possible contradiction. To demand such a proof for a case where you should know better is selective hyperskepticism, here a form of question-begging. That’s like the rhetorical fast move played by Darwin when he spoke of a like condition.

    That boils down to demanding a default you have no right to.

    What inductive evidence can and does support is that there are two observed sources of highly contingent outcomes under more or less similar conditions: chance and choice.

    It further supports that in every case where we directly can see the cause of functionally specific complex information, in this case digitally coded algorithmic or otherwise semiotic info, this is by intelligent choice.

    We can then take up the analysis of chance based random walks in a config space of sufficient complexity, to see why that should be so for complex and functionally specific patterns. Namely, there is too much haystack, you can only make a relatively tiny sample, and there is just too little needle.

    Sampling theory — notice, not an exact probability calculation [which is not at all necessary for the conclusion to be all but certain . . . cf. here on] — tells us, with maximum likelihood, you will get hay not needle under such circumstances. Indeed, that sort of analysis is the foundation of the statistical form of the second law of thermodynamics.

    This is what your side is really doing:

    a: in the teeth of a base of billions of test cases across 5,000+ years of recorded history where we directly and routinely observe the ONLY directly known source of digitally coded complex functionally specific information,

    b: Where also the only observed alternative to choice for highly contingent outcomes is intelligent choice,

    c: With the needle in the haystack search challenge also being on the table,

    d: It is being insisted that — to save an a priori commitment to materialism now being imposed on the definition of science and its methods —

    e: The bare logical possibility that chance can throw up any contingent pattern must hold the default unless a logically certain disproof can be produced,

    f: This in a context where it is already known that no scientific — empirical and inductive — conclusion can be shown to demonstrative certainty.

    In short, you are insulating an a priori from empirical test, which is the same as saying that it is not a scientific claim.

    Do you really want to turn science into applied materialist philosophy?

    That is what you are doing.

    If you are doing so, then the rules change.

    We have every right to expose how you rigged the game, and to call you out as materialist ideologues and fellow travellers hiding in the holy lab coat and pronouncing ex cathedra statements as a new magisterium.

    I suggest that you do not want to go down that a priori materialist ideology road.

    KF

  93. Joe: Prezactly. KF

  94. 95

    Joe,

    I think you have identified the problem here. In order to make his case airtight (i.e. that no other possible process can produce his entailments), Upright BiPed must prove a negative. And I think he realizes this, which is why he simply continues to assert this. When the number of possibilities is unknown, process of elimination is not a valid means of picking one.

    I’d be willing to bet that Bill et. al. feel that they have indeed indentified an alternative process, backed by 150 years of increasingly detailed scientific research. Their alternative may not meet what you feel are the necessary requirements (chance and necessity), but it’s possible that there are MANY possible alternatives. Upright BiPed’s semiosis might be one, chance and necessity might be another, biological evolution might be a third. If the third alternative should happen to be correct, you can’t deem if false simply because it isn’t the second alternative!

    And if you are fixed on one of many possible alternatives, and unluckily you happened to pick the wrong one, you run the serious risk of dismissing evidence for the right alternative because if it’s not evidence for YOUR alternative, you may not realize that it’s evidence at all.

  95. DWG:

    I see again the selective hyperskeptical move:

    I think you have identified the problem here. In order to make his case airtight (i.e. that no other possible process can produce his entailments), Upright BiPed must prove a negative.

    To try to impose that standard on UB is to leave the domain of empirically grounded warrant and testing, i.e it is to abandon science.

    All UB needs to do is to point out that on 5,000 years of cases, complex — 500 to 1,000 bits is a good threshold — digitally coded functionally specific, linguistic, meaningful information has had but one observed cause. Therefore it is an excellently warranted induction to hold that this is a signature of such a cause.

    This is rather like inferring deer from deer tracks.

    You are in trhe position of asserting that unless you can show beyond all possibility that only a deer can produce a deer track, you have no good reason to infer deer from deer tracks.

    Try that one on your friendly local deer hunter when deer season comes in in the USA.

    See how far that gets you.

    KF

  96. 97

    KF:

    What inductive evidence can and does support is that there are two observed sources of highly contingent outcomes under more or less similar conditions: chance and choice.

    But what if this is not the case, or not conceptualized that way? There are many observed complex feedback systems, with many many variables interacting and influencing one another in ways often impossible to completely model. Are such systems “chance” or are they “choice”? Maybe there’s a better term than either, that would be more descriptive.

    It further supports that in every case where we directly can see the cause of functionally specific complex information, in this case digitally coded algorithmic or otherwise semiotic info, this is by intelligent choice.

    I agree as far as this goes. The problem is that there are many cases where we can NOT see the cause of functionally specific complex information. Now, if we take every case of such information and discard all cases where the causes are not obvious, sure enough we see a biased sample. Like taking a bag of black marbles and white marbles, tossing out all the white ones because we don’t understand white, and concluding that all marbles are black!

    And complex adaptive systems with many interacting variables are indeed very hard to model. If you pile up enough variables and make their interactions complex enough, even the best models make poor predictions, and we speak of “fate” to express this unpredictablity. And certainly we could substitute “intelligent agency” for “fate” with no essential changes – it’s still impossible to predict in any detail, and still produces results of marvelous and fantastic natures.

    I would argue that striving to understand as many of the mechanics of such processes as we can, is a worthy enterprise.

  97. David W Gibson-

    The problem is there isn’t any positive evidence for necessity and chance producing transcription and translation.

    I’d be willing to bet that Bill et. al. feel that they have indeed indentified an alternative process, backed by 150 years of increasingly detailed scientific research.

    Pure propaganda. Propoaganda is not an alternative process. Their position doesn’t have any “detailed scientific research”- that is the problem.

    And why this equivocation with “evolution”? ID is not anti-evolution, so what “evolution” are you referring to?

    You don’t have deer tracks. All you have is imagination- “Oh I can imagine a pathway therefor SCIENCE!”

    What’s up with that?

  98. 99

    David,

    The point you are trying to make is not clear to me. Bill is saying that IF you can demonstrate (and not just assert) that no other process can possibly produce the material observations, then your logic is correct. And I think this is reasonable.

    Your narrative is not correct at all. Bill simply did not want to talk about the evidence; he made this very clear. In fact, he stated repeatedly that until I removed the logical flaw from the argument, no survey of the evidence was even necessary. Well, as it turned out, there was no logical flaw – a point which he finally conceded. Moreover, when the false flaw was dealt with, he did not turn to discussions of the evidence even then. He now wants to jump the evidence once again without acknowledging its validity, and would like to change the subject (as Dr Liddle did) into speculations as to the designer – which has nothing to do with the semiotic argument. The entire thing was a tactic specifically designed in order to argue against the evidence without having to address it. Bill sought to serve his own purposes because he fully understands that the material argument is sound.

    As for being “reasonable”, you have suggested that an argument based upon universal observation should be subject to proving a negative in order to be considered valid. Are you sure that is “reasonable”, given that it is also impossible?

    But as far as I can tell, the only support for the claim that no other possible process can do the trick that you have presented, is repeating that nobody finds fault with the material observations (the results themselves).

    The argument presented does not say that there are no other processes that can produce a semiotic state, instead, it claims that a process capable of creating a semiotic state will be required in order to produce the semiotic state observed. This is a matter of simple logic. A biosemiotician does not hesitate to acknowledge the material evidence, even though he or she may ultimately believe that a natural process is capable of creating it. That is a matter of having proper empirical discipline. Quite frankly, a biosemiotician will even regularly state that the rise of semiosis is concurrent with the rise of life, and they would be 100% supported by the evidence in saying so. On the other hand, an evolutionary biologist, steeped in evolutionary speculation, would rather have their spleen removed than to acknowledge that same evidence ( – which is a matter of ideology). And as for repeating that “no one can demonstrate that the material evidence is false”, that is being done in response to the latter.

    The argument is that if some other process can produce the same results, then you can draw no conclusions about the process by observing the results.

    If I go outside and pick up a stone, throw it, and watch it return to the earth, can I draw a conclusion that gravity is at work? Can I do so given that “it falling back to earth” is a universal observation of the cause to which has been assigned to it? By your standards, the answer is resoundingly no. But science does not operate by your standards. I doubt you do either. I am certain of it. When you put a pot of water on the stove to boil, do you turn the stove on, or do you calculate that there may be some other reason it will boil?

    Universal observations have that kind of effect the human family. They are the grist of science, knowledge, and even expectations.

    And as far as I can tell, in all your efforts, you have not examined any alternative processes that might work.

    That is because there are none to observe, yet the argument makes available the possibility that one might be posited. That is a simple acknowledgement of reality; appropriate for both proponents and opponents alike.

    Stating that there ARE or CAN BE no such processes is not a material observation, it’s simply an assertion.

    Again, that is not a claim made by the argument. Even so, it does highlight the fact that the argument is falsifiable with a single demonstration otherwise. It also highlights something else. A school of thought that cannot produce a counter-example becomes non-falsifiable because their assumptions are never subjected to a test of reality.

    This is the position we find ourselves in. One set of ideas (representing the minority) are already supported by the evidence and are subject to falsification, while another set of ideas (those of the majority) have no supporting evidence and are not subject to falsification.

    Which of these two positions is properly scientific?

  99. DWG:

    Can you identify, kindly, specific, credibly observed cases of undirected chance and blind mechanical necessity producing 500 or more bits of complex, coded digital information that functions algorithmically or linguistically?

    The answer is a patent no, or there would be no design theory adherents.

    We can and do show billions of cases across 5000+ years of recorded history, of intelligent designers producing such dFSCI. Over the past 170 or so years now, we have shown such cases in a specifically algorithmic context, more if we bring on the Jacquard loom.

    We know that such designers use language and make symbolic codes, using speech, signs, text and more.

    We know that such code involves intentionality, it involves ability to make signs in accordance with rules and purposes, such that systems use messages to function in algorithmically controlled ways. Indeed, absent hitherto statistically unobserved miracles of lucky noise, we have every reason to understand that there is a causal connexion between the skilled, knowledgeable designing mind and the product of that mind, impressed on some signal carrier, an electromagnetic wave [wireless net access for instance], or a physical symbols such as punched holes in paper tape, or the bumps of braille, and more.

    We have excellent reason to see that such code once it passes a reasonable threshold of complexity, could only credibly be explained on such an intelligent designer.

    That is why the observation that codes and code writers are causally related is not a mere happenstance hasty generalisation. It is not merely correlation, we have specific, directly observed causal mechanisms at work. I press my fingers on keys to type this message, using the mechanisms of the keyboard to fulfill my intentions.

    The appearance of the code in this message — based on ASCII codes and the translation into the alphanumeric glyphs you see — is not mere happenstance of correlation. It is causally connected.

    When I then look and I see similar codes in living cells, used in algorithmic processes foundational to both metabolism and the von Neumann self replicator that is the basis of reproduction of cell based life, I have reason to see that this too is best and most responsibly explained on intelligent action.

    The attempt to impose the notion that we MUST infer to chance in this case, unless we can show that chance could not POSSIBLY be involved is selectively hyperskeptical nonsense, and reflects a priori ideological imposition.

    That this is apparently being seriously argued shows just how badly science has been taken ideological captive to such a priori materialism.

    KF

  100. Onlookers:

    Observe how this thread is still being argued by design theory objectors on a tangent.

    It is clear that they seem to have no cogent response to the points raised by Craig in the OP, or they would have pounced at once.

    KF

  101. 102

    David,

    Upright BiPed’s semiosis might be one, chance and necessity might be another, biological evolution might be a third.

    Darwinian evolution requires the symbol system in DNA to already exist in order to exist itself. To say that Darwinian evolution could have caused the symbol system, is to say that Darwinian evolution can suddenly cause things to happen even before it exist.

    There are many observed complex feedback systems…

    The following ensemble does not function on the basis of feedback:

    (DNA-mRNA-tRNA)aaRS = Specified/Ordered Peptide Binding

  102. 103

    KF,

    The thread being derailed is probably my fault. My apologies. Of course, they have no answers for WLC anyway. :)

    cheers…

  103. DWG:

    Re:

    The problem is that there are many cases where we can NOT see the cause of functionally specific complex information. Now, if we take every case of such information and discard all cases where the causes are not obvious, sure enough we see a biased sample. Like taking a bag of black marbles and white marbles, tossing out all the white ones because we don’t understand white, and concluding that all marbles are black!

    Pardon me, have you studied the way knowledge claims in origins sciences, other scientific contexts where we cannot directly observe processes in action, and other responsible contexts such as scientific forensic evidence are warranted?

    That is, per the uniformity principle — similar to the deer tracks example:

    (i) we observe patterns of cause-effect, processes and associated phenomena in the present and their characteristic results.

    (ii) We validate certain observable traces as characteristically and reliably produced by such processes.

    (iii) Such are deemed empirically reliable signs of the underlying causal processes.

    (iv) We compare what we observe with the similar traces observable from the remote past or remote reaches of space, etc. [For instance, we cannot directly observe or sample stars, and we infer a lot from spectral patterns.]

    (v) On inference to best explanation per tested, reliable sign, we hold that the same process we observe best explains the process we did not or could not but which has the same signs.

    (vi) This is provisional and subject to correction on new evidence, but that is true of any significant scientific finding.

    Now, this is not controversial, it is what is used in ever so many fields of science, pure and applied. And if you, DWG, were to consistently object to this pattern of reasoning, all of your favoured theories about the origins of the cosmos, life, body plans etc would at once collapse.

    But, of course, you and your ilk accept such reasoning — even in cases where the signs are NOT particularly reliable.

    What is going on here is more selective hyperskepticism again, once something you are disinclined to accept is on the table. Namely, that dFSCI is per a massive empirical base, a reliable sign of design.

    In short all that stuff about biased samples etc is simply specious.

    Please take a moment to look back above and see just how many times you have fallen into the same logical pitfalls. Shouldn’t that make you begin to wonder about just how well grounded your thinking on this subject is?

    KF

    PS: UB, I hear you. I think this thread is important on its own merits.

  104. 105

    KF:

    All UB needs to do is to point out that on 5,000 years of cases, complex — 500 to 1,000 bits is a good threshold — digitally coded functionally specific, linguistic, meaningful information has had but one observed cause. Therefore it is an excellently warranted induction to hold that this is a signature of such a cause.

    This would be more compelling if it were true. But alas, natural unguided causes ALSO, and very demonstrably, produce comparable results. I certainly agree that every human design has the same observed cause – a human designed it! But concluding that ALL objects therefore result from human-type design processes is not justified. The proposal is set forward (and quite exhaustively tested) that complex feedback processes driven by very real directing constraints can produce similar entailments.

    Upright BiPed SEEMS (to me) to be arguing that if everything we KNOW is designed, represents the application of human intent, therefore everything we do NOT know is designed but is similar in some respects to what humans design, must therefore have been designed by someone with intent similar to human intent. But this analogy may not be the case. “Kind of semi-human-designed-looking” is really not that compelling an argument that we’re seeing a signature of human-type intent.

    In short, we cannot know the provenance of something by examining it in a vacuum. We must have some knowledge of the history of the object or similar objects.

  105. 106

    What is going on here is more selective hyperskepticism again, once something you are disinclined to accept is on the table. Namely, that dFSCI is per a massive empirical base, a reliable sign of design.

    No, I wouldn’t say this is hyperskepticism. We have a massive empirical base of objects known to be designed by humans or other animals, and objects NOT known to be designed by humans or other animals. What you are arguing is “if everything of KNOWN design is the result of human intent, then everything of UNKNOWN design must reflect similar intent.”

    But what of designs we know are not human? We watch natural processes form fantastic shapes in rocks, for example. Such instances are part of this massive empirical base.

    So I think we have to at least give some consideration to the idea that complex adaptive feedback processes, with countless variables interacting in limitless ways, and with directional constraints as part of the system, are guaranteed to produce “designs” even if they are natural systems.

    So once again, we need knowledge of the process, the history, the actual mechanics before we can draw any firm conclusions. I think you are kind of sliding around the implicit understanding that your massive empirical base includes not just designs, but extensive knowledge of their histories, their designers and the tools, limitations, and goals of those designers. This knowledge is being “smuggled in” and I think it’s best to look directly at it, and recognize it for what it is.

  106. DRG:

    natural unguided causes ALSO, and very demonstrably, produce comparable results.

    Bare, naked assertion.

    What is observed is that in the living cell, dFSCI is REPLICATED, sometimes with small errors. And, until such dFSCI’s origin has been shown, you have no valid causal account of the origin of same. And, recall, you need to demonstrate per observation.

    BTW, 5,000+ years takes us back to the earliest written records that have survived.

    KF

  107. But what of designs we know are not human? We watch natural processes form fantastic shapes in rocks, for example. Such instances are part of this massive empirical base.

    And we also know of humans using natural processes to form everything from fantastic shapes in rocks to otherwise.

    So I think we have to at least give some consideration to the idea that complex adaptive feedback processes, with countless variables interacting in limitless ways, and with directional constraints as part of the system, are guaranteed to produce “designs” even if they are natural systems.

    Sure, it’s entirely possible – and backed by a considerable amount of evidence – that the sort of system you describe could also be the work of an intelligent designer.

    It’s usually outside the scope of ID, but the design status of ‘natural systems’ are also under dispute.

  108. Upright,

    Darwinian evolution requires the symbol system in DNA to already exist in order to exist itself. To say that Darwinian evolution could have caused the symbol system, is to say that Darwinian evolution can suddenly cause things to happen even before it exist.

    My question is this.

    Please support your claim that “the”, i.e the extant symbol system, existed in it’s current form at the origin of life.

  109. 110

    Bare, naked assertion.

    In that case, I concede we’re at an impasse. To me, this is pure empirical observation.

    What is observed is that in the living cell, dFSCI is REPLICATED, sometimes with small errors. And, until such dFSCI’s origin has been shown, you have no valid causal account of the origin of same. And, recall, you need to demonstrate per observation.

    So we have a process. We observe it, we see that it happens. We observe that it does not violate any of the principles of chemistry or physics. We see that it produces Upright BiPed’s entailments. We propose it as an alternative to Design.

    And your objection is, if we do not know (in unspecified detail) the history of the molecules involved in the process, then mere observation that it happens is insufficient.

    But in that case, we should probably note that we also do not know the history of the Design process, or the nature of the Designer. We still can do no more than observe the process in action.

    Now, I see nothing wrong with this state of affairs. We have at least two very different proposals of the mechanism by which the observed processes are happening. Science thrives on competing proposals, because they suggest tests to distinguish between them.

    The problem we encounter at this point, unfortunately, is that Design cannot be eliminated as a possibility by any conceivable test, UNLESS the nature of the Designer is operationally defined clearly enough to examine it.

    So the question one might ask is, IF we assume a Designer, what observation could we make, under what conditions, that would refute this assumption?

  110. null

    Sure, it’s entirely possible – and backed by a considerable amount of evidence – that the sort of system you describe could also be the work of an intelligent designer.

    What evidence?

    Sure, it “could” be. It could be the result of anything, if you put it like that.

    What’s your evidence? Specifically?

  111. Upright,

    So, I make this suggestion. Instead of you cobbling together some idea of the transfer of recorded information without the use of a material representation, an attempt destined to fail, why not accept my offer instead?

    Thanks, but I’ll pass. To be honest, everything has already been said but phrased more elegantly by others, most recently on this thread and right now by David W. Gibson but of course also over at the TSZ.

    And you are right, you answered many posts and by no means fled at the first skirmish.

    However during all that time I was never able to determine how your argument was an argument in support of intelligent design, rather then “other/unknown”.

    Y’know – perhaps the prerequisites for evolution did not, well, evolve. Perhaps a big sea of chemical memory was right there, big self catalyzing network, the size of a planet.

    A whole lot of planet. A whole lot of stuff going on.

    And just as Kariosfocus thinks that a good analogy to evolution is his “needle in a haystack the size of the cosmos” routine, perhaps you are stuck on a fundamental misunderstanding about evolution? Why does “the symbol system” have to exist as it is at the ool?

    After all, there’s gotta be a reason why most everybody at tsz did not simply agree with you – either you are mistaken in some way or they are.

    I’d like to know which. So what about your argument supports ID? As at the moment all I can see is this:

    Darwinian evolution requires the symbol system in DNA to already exist in order to exist itself. To say that Darwinian evolution could have caused the symbol system, is to say that Darwinian evolution can suddenly cause things to happen even before it exist. Therefore Intelligent Design

    So, please provide support for your claim that Darwininan evolution caused the symbol system that Darwinian evolution itself uses or that “Darwinists” are making that claim.

    Now, you wanted to know something about “how”?

  112. What evidence?

    Sure, it “could” be. It could be the result of anything, if you put it like that.

    What’s your evidence? Specifically?

    Every single instance of human designers using natural processes and evolution to design.

    How specific would you like me to be? Should I list every instance of, say… humans using erosion towards an end? How about humans using evolutionary processes, from artificial selection to truncated variation? Should I note instances of humans using fermentation to achieves ends? Hell, should I come up with humans creating fermentation processes and the like?

    Or are you going to tell me that when humans use erosion to achieve a design, or use fermentation, or use any other number of processes, that they aren’t really using natural processes?

  113. Do you believe it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium?

    Do I? Well, before I get to that I want to say that I’m glad Upright Biped has been peddling this pitch for so long. As to me, every time he does he undermines Intelligent Design.

    Why? It’s easy. What is the number one thing I want to know from the ID supporters here? It’s easy.

    I want to know when they think the designer acted.

    It’s easy. It’s simple. It’s one of the most basic question I think you can think of after hearing about ID for the first time.

    There’s much riding on it. If the designer acted “pre-time” or was a “tweaking” designer who can fundamentally alter space time laws etc, then it’s “god”. And not just that, but “God” with a G, the God of the Bible.

    But on the other hand, that’s not going to get ID back into schools. So we’ve another designer, the one that almost every body here pretends to believe in. If life is designed, and the designer is a natural product of the universe then all that’s really done is push the question back a step. But nobody really want’s to come out and say they believe in Alien Designers except the tru believers.

    Kariosfocus is a good example. He insists that “bodyplans” are outside the scope of “Darwinism”. Therefore it’s logical that the designer has to intervene to create those bodyplans. But some of the things (evolution can do nothing, remember) are quite recent – if they were coming in spaceships then we’d probably be seeing them or their trails out in space from years ago by now. But we’re not. And, boy, if the fossil record is only a fraction of what’s existed then this “alien designer” sure has been busy.

    So that’s ID science target no.1 right there, no? You want to get supporting ID, get some before and after pictures of that action. Find that dropped chisel. Search for that spaceship particle trail.

    But anyway, the bodyplans must come from somewhere. The designer must intervene. We just don’t know how. Like Joe says, that’s for “science” to find out anyway at some point in the future.

    So, nice and easy, that designer can go into schools because it might just be an alien “human being”. No supranature required.

    Then Kariosfocus launches into one of his his old testament treatises (have you seen his website?), making it quite clear where his true beliefs lie (hear that cock crow yet KF?). Either way, intervention.

    Or Joe, who believes that each and every mutation is guided. That’s some day job right there for the designer! Do you think it sub-contracts Joe? Must be tiny spaceships, no?

    So what do all these “beliefs” have in common? Well, they all require the injection of large amounts of information, information that did not exist prior to that injection. Starting to sound familiar?

    Even Upright Biped is making the same claim – if the symbol system was designed, could only have been designed then how did that come about? Either it was space aliens, push it back a level, or it was a direct injection of information from, well, who knows.

    However, given that that is to me the crux of ID and what I suspect others are also interested in perhaps I can find out what some other ID supporters think when pressed on the matter.

    After all, what is ID about if not the instantiation of the “Intelligent Design”? Everything else is just circling the elephant in the room.

    Luckily somebody has already done that hard work.

    So, to recap, the question is

    Do you believe it is possible to transfer recorded information (the form of a thing) in a material universe without the use of a representation instantiated in material medium?

    And my answer is, yes, but only if you violate or suspend the known laws of physics.

    And you know what? That’s exactly how many prominent ID supporters put it when pressed on the matter.


    * Michale Behe on Poof! Theory: *

    “A few years ago, I lectured at Hillsdale College as part of a week-long lecture series on the intelligent design debate. After Michael Behe’s lecture, some of us pressed him to explain exactly how the intelligent designer created the various “irreducibly complex” mechanisms that cannot–according to Behe–be explained as products of evolution by natural selection.
    He repeatedly refused to answer. But after a long night of drinking, he finally answered: “A puff of smoke!”
    A physicist in the group asked, Do you mean a suspension of the laws of physics?
    Yes, Behe answered.” —

    Larry Arnhart’s Darwinian Conservatism blog, Thursday, September 07, 2006. http://darwinianconservatism.b.....ution.html
    William Dembski:

    “…I’m certainly not an advocate of universal common ancestry. I just don’t think the fossil record bears it out.
    I think the Cambrian explosion is a perfect example, where you have just utter, you have these forms which are just there, *** Poof! *** And there are no precursors.”

    Hitchens-Dembski Debate Nov 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    David Berlinski

    : “… Before the Cambrian era, a brief 600 million years ago, very little is inscribed in the fossil record; but then, signaled by what I imagine as ** A SPECTRAL PUFF OF SMOKE AND A DEAFENING TA-DA! ***, an astonishing number of novel biological structures come into creation, and they come into creation at once.” — [The Deniable Darwin (June 1996), Commentary magazine.]

    So, without a suspension of the laws of physics ID can’t even get out of the starting gate.

    So perhaps you should address your question to Behe, Dembski or Berlinski? I’d be interested to hear what they have to say.

    And Upright, remind me again how you propose to solve the problem you pose?

    And then there was light?

  114. Null

    Every single instance of human designers using natural processes and evolution to design.

    How specific would you like me to be? Should I list every instance of, say… humans using erosion towards an end?

    My apologies! Given this:

    Sure, it’s entirely possible – and backed by a considerable amount of evidence – that the sort of system you describe could also be the work of an intelligent designer.

    And that this was what you were responding to (DWG):

    The proposal is set forward (and quite exhaustively tested) that complex feedback processes driven by very real directing constraints can produce similar entailments.

    And so on, up and up the thread, I thought you were making a reference to a biological system and that you had actual evidence for design in biology.

    Again, my apologies.

  115. kariosfocus

    And, until such dFSCI’s origin has been shown, you have no valid causal account of the origin of same.

    Presumably you can demonstrate the origin of the “dFSCI” in the cell? If not then likewise you also have no valid causal account of the origin of same.

    Oh, that’s right, you do have a causal origin, laughable as it may be.

    A cell has dFSCI.
    People design things.
    Billions of things.
    Things have dFSCI.
    Therefore biology is designed.

    And you call that an explanation of the origin of the information in the cell? No wonder you don’t feel any need to publish. You already feel you know all the answers. Except of course how much actual dFSCI is in the cell. You don’t know that, except you can do a bit of math to say it must be >500 therefore design.

    Yet, as I’ve just noted, you’ve and ID have yet to proceed beyond the “Poof!” stage. There’s nothing wrong with that, every belief system is going to have it’s ups and downs. Just take it slow at this early stage in the game.

  116. Joe @ 78

    However no one ever says how they evolved in the first place.

    Therefore Intelligent Design.

  117. DWG:

    I notice, you do not identify your observed case.

    Going further, a computer or a control system do not violate rules of Physics, Chem etc. it is the functionally specific config that is intelligently set up and allows them to work in ways unattainable by nature working freely.

    Indeed Engg — per official defn — uses forces and materials of nature, economically and skillfully, to produce objects, systems and processes for the benefit of humanity.

    I don’t have time to take on a further point by point correction. I just note that there is something systematically erroneous in what I had to correct already, and it evidently continues.

    KF

    KF

  118. Joe,

    There isn’t any physio-chemical connection between the codon and the amino acid it codes for.

    Therefore Intelligent Design.

    Yes, I get that. But what I really want to know is when did/does your designer act? All the time, directing every mutation in real time like you seem to imply with your “mutations are not random” line, or is the “Poof!” moment an injection of information into the GA in every cell that controls and directs mutation?

    What is is Joe? When does you designer act? Did it just create a connection between the codon and the amino acid it codes for and then get back in it’s spaceship? Or did it not need a spaceship at all?

    I know you can’t definitively tell me, but where does the evidence point for you, in what general direction?

  119. No mphillips/ petruska- ID is not anti-evolution. Why do you and david keep equivocating? Obviously you have other issues.

    And mphillips, you can bloviate against ID all you want but the way to refute it is by actually stepping up and demonstrating necessity and chance can do it. David W Gibson baldly asserts it has been done but cabnnot provide any reference.

    Or Joe, who believes that each and every mutation is guided. That’s some day job right there for the designer! Do you think it sub-contracts Joe? Must be tiny spaceships, no?

    Nope, I never said nor implied random mutations do not occur. And the designer needn’t be present to guide mutations- that is what genetic programming is for.

    So, without a suspension of the laws of physics ID can’t even get out of the starting gate.

    Wrong again, as usual. However your position can’t even explain those laws of physics.

    Behe’s point, btw, is that even if “poof” was the mechanism, so what? Science only cares about reality- and if reality says “poof” did it then science has to deal with that.

  120. MP:

    Kindly stop erecting and knocking over conveniently distorted strawmen.

    FYI, in addition to the above [you don't even seem to realise you are mocking a big swath of scientific methods], you need to work through here on to see what I actually say, not what you wish that I said that you pretend is ridiculous.

    And that game is getting awfully close to Alinskyite rules for radicals propagandistic chicanery.

    KF

  121. mphillips,

    I see you have difficulty in understanding how scientific inferences work.


    There isn’t any physio-chemical connection between the codon and the amino acid it codes for.

    Therefore Intelligent Design.

    The process exists and must have an explanation- right? Your lame position cannot explain it and it matches the design criteria. THAT is how it goes in science.

    But what I really want to know is when did/does your designer act?

    THAT is what science is for. ID is about the (detection and) study of design in nature.

    All the time, directing every mutation in real time like you seem to imply with your “mutations are not random” line, or is the “Poof!” moment an injection of information into the GA in every cell that controls and directs mutation?

    Nice strawman. I get it, you are upset because your position has nothing.

    I know you can’t definitively tell me, but where does the evidence point for you, in what general direction?

    In the direction that you are a belligerent equivocator and quite possibly a troll.

  122. kariosfocus

    Going further, a computer or a control system do not violate rules of Physics, Chem etc. it is the functionally specific config that is intelligently set up and allows them to work in ways unattainable by nature working freely.

    The question is where did that intelligent set up come from? You know that.

    Who is arguing that a computer violates the laws of physics?

    Citation please!

    So here we have a given system, the system of symbols, and according to you that is:

    unattainable by nature working freely.

    Could you please describe all the configurations that nature, working freely, can obtain?

    No, you can’t? Then on what basis are you making that claim? That such systems don’t form in the condensation when you take a shower?

    What?

    So now we have the system of symbols, unattainable by nature working freely therefore Intelligent Design

    My bet is on your imperfect knowledge. I mean, every time a similar situation has arisen in the past the gap for the designer shrinks as new knowledge is obtained.

    Sure, you claim it’s getting larger in general here by highlighting “a scientist was surprised by how complex X was” but all that shows you is how bad humans are at prediction.

    Kariosfocus, please provide two lists. The first is all states obtainable by nature working freely, the second the set of states unattainable by nature working freely.

    As the confidence you make your claims with leads me to believe you have unified the fundamental forces of physics and have full transcendental knowledge of reality.

    BTW, 5,000+ years takes us back to the earliest written records that have survived.

    Are you sure you want to go there? You do know that Upright Bipid is arguing that the laws of physics supports an intelligent designer right, and that those laws of physics demonstrably don’t support a 6000 year old universe (were you there? No, but some rocks were and they told me all about it).

    And if your designer acted within the last 6000 years to create all the body plans, where is all that evidence? There should be mountains of it! Literally!

  123. David W Gibson:

    So the question one might ask is, IF we assume a Designer, what observation could we make, under what conditions, that would refute this assumption?

    We already told you- just demonstrate that necessity and/ or chance can produce/ account for it. THAT is how it goes for all design inferences. Newton’s four rules of scientific reasoning make it so.

  124. And so on, up and up the thread, I thought you were making a reference to a biological system and that you had actual evidence for design in biology.

    I do. I was asking you what kind of specific evidence you were asking for.

    No need to apologize again for your misunderstanding – it’s noted. Just be a little more careful from now on.

    Not to mention, considering I mentioned humans using evolution to design, I already implied some of that very evidence. I can call on everything from animal husbandry to Monsanto to Craig Venter’s work to more.

    So again I ask: is this not evidence of intelligent agents using natural processes to design?

    Think long and hard on this one. It’s a toughie, and you’re not doing well so far.

  125. Joe,

    No mphillips/ petruska- ID is not anti-evolution. Why do you and david keep equivocating? Obviously you have other issues.

    And mphillips, you can bloviate against ID all you want but the way to refute it is by actually stepping up and demonstrating necessity and chance can do it.

    Given that to you evolution is necessity and chance, you have just demonstrated that contrary to your stated claim ID is in fact anti-evolution.

    If it were not, they how would refuting ID support evolution?

    Logic, my dear fellow, simple logic!

  126. I mean, every time a similar situation has arisen in the past the gap for the designer shrinks as new knowledge is obtained.

    Nope, the more we know the better the design inference looks.

    Also it appears that mphillips requires “absolute” proof- BWAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAA

    So sorry, scientific inferences do NOT work that way.

    Also KF said something about DOCUMENTATION going back to 5000+ years- get a grip, geez…

  127. Given that to you evolution is necessity and chance, you have just demonstrated that contrary to your stated claim ID is in fact anti-evolution.

    No, evolution is just the change in allele frequency over time/ descent with modification.

    If it were not, they how would refuting ID support evolution?

    Dense- you refute ID by providing positive evidence for blind watchmaker evolution.

  128. Joe @ 122

    The process exists and must have an explanation- right? Your lame position cannot explain it and it matches the design criteria. THAT is how it goes in science.

    You appear to be fundamentally mistaken. If that was indeed how “it goes in science” then logic suggests that the fact that it “matches the design criteria” would have been accepted by the scientific community (those who follow how “it goes in science) and Intelligent Design would be the accepted explanation.

    Yet it’s not. So either your understanding of “how it goes in science” is flawed or, well, no. That’s it actually.

    ID is about the (detection and) study of design in nature.

    Then why don’t you start a scientific project with Kariosfocus or BA77 and detect and study some design? Why is it up to everybody else to take that responsibility?

    What’s your actual excuse?

  129. Joe,

    Dense- you refute ID by providing positive evidence for blind watchmaker evolution.

    Why?

  130. Joe,

    So sorry, scientific inferences do NOT work that way.

    Demonstrate how they do work how. Give me a scientific inference that relates to intelligent design.

    Show your working!


  131. Dense- you refute ID by providing positive evidence for blind watchmaker evolution.

    Why?

    1- Newton’s Four Rules of scientific reasoning

    2- Everything written by Behe, Dembski and meyer

  132. Joe,

    Nope, the more we know the better the design inference looks.

    Can you give an example of a recent scientific discovery that demonstrates this?

    Can you give me an example of a scientist who supports your interpretation of that discovery? Preferably one who is not already affiliated with the Disco tute.

    No? thought not.

  133. You appear to be fundamentally mistaken. If that was indeed how “it goes in science” then logic suggests that the fact that it “matches the design criteria” would have been accepted by the scientific community (those who follow how “it goes in science) and Intelligent Design would be the accepted explanation.

    1- There isn’t any such thing a the “scientific community”

    2- No one can produce any evidence that nature didit.

    Then why don’t you start a scientific project with Kariosfocus or BA77 and detect and study some design?

    Already have. Just because you can ignore it and bloviate doesn’t mean anything to me. You are just upset because your position has nothing except some alleged “scientific community” that can’t support it.

  134. MP:

    I need to say one last thing.

    The blatant disrespect and disregard for duties of care to the truth and fairness that are evident above point straight to the amorality of evolutionary materialism and its proneness to ruthless nihilistic factionalism that Plato Warned against 2350 years ago.

    Think about that before you play strawman tactics games again.

    KF


  135. So sorry, scientific inferences do NOT work that way.

    Demonstrate how they do work how. Give me a scientific inference that relates to intelligent design.

    Scientific inferences work via positive evidence and claims. And we have given you plenty of such inferences wrt ID.

  136. Joe,

    Dense- you refute ID by providing positive evidence for blind watchmaker evolution.

    Joe, by the same token you refute blind watchmaker evolution by providing positive evidence for ID.

    Given that the evidence for blind watchmaker evolution is greater then zero (even you admit evolution has some ability) and the positive evidence for ID is in fact zero (poof!) then ID stands refuted before we even start.

    So pony up this positive evidence for ID or evolutionistm is not refuted, by your own definitions!

  137. Joe,

    Scientific inferences work via positive evidence and claims. And we have given you plenty of such inferences wrt ID.

    When did/does your designer act?

  138. Joe,

    2- No one can produce any evidence that nature didit.

    Therefore Intelligent Design.

    Jee, this is easy!

  139. Joe, by the same token you refute blind watchmaker evolution by providing positive evidence for ID.

    Nope. Ya see the blind watchmaker thesis gets its at bat well before ID. So it stands or falls on its own. As I said you don’t understand science.

    Given that the evidence for blind watchmaker evolution is greater then zero

    Nope- it has to start with what needs explaining in the forst place- you lose.

    And I have ponied up positive evidence for ID

  140. null

    So again I ask: is this not evidence of intelligent agents using natural processes to design?

    What’s your opinion on origin of the symbol system?

    Evidence there for an unambiguous claim of intelligent design, as Upright seems to say? Or jury still out?


  141. 2- No one can produce any evidence that nature didit.

    Therefore Intelligent Design.

    Wrong again- geez you are dense.

    To get the design inference you still need positive evidence, ie match the criteria.

    As I said you are out of your league.

  142. mphillips- if the jury is still out then THAT is what needs to be taught in the science classroom.

    And wrt to the “theory” of evolution that is ALL that can be said- the jury is still out.

    So you will be pushing for that in science classrooms, right?

  143. Joe,

    Nope. Ya see the blind watchmaker thesis gets its at bat well before ID. So it stands or falls on its own. As I said you don’t understand science.

    Yet the scientific community appears to disagree with you. Otherwise, ID would have widespread support, and it does not.

    Nope- it has to start with what needs explaining in the forst place- you lose.

    Ah yes, the “biology exists, therefore Intelligent Design”

    When did the designer create biology Joe? Did it just supply the symbol system or did it do more?

    And I have ponied up positive evidence for ID

    Publish or perish Joe. Let me know when you get published, there are plenty of ID journals desperate for content, give one of those a go.

  144. Joe,

    And wrt to the “theory” of evolution that is ALL that can be said- the jury is still out.

    Except it’s not, is it? Biology does not need an “Intelligent Designer”, it’s accepted it’s “Almost Intelligent Designer” AKA Evolution can produce “apparent design”.

    So you are simply flat wrong. Unless you can provide a survey, say, of biologists showing near 50:50 support for ID your empty claim is just that, an empty claim.

  145. Yet the scientific community appears to disagree with you.

    they can disagree all they want to. they sure as heck don’t have anything to support their disagreement.


    Nope- it has to start with what needs explaining in the forst place- you lose.

    Ah yes, the “biology exists, therefore Intelligent Design”

    No, but that is much more than your position has.


    And I have ponied up positive evidence for ID

    Publish or perish Joe.

    All the evidence for ID is in published papers. OTOH your position has nothing in published papers.


  146. And wrt to the “theory” of evolution that is ALL that can be said- the jury is still out.

    Except it’s not, is it?

    Yes, it is. How many mutations to get an upright biped from a knuckle-walker/ quadraped?

    Biology does not need an “Intelligent Designer”,

    Obviously it does.

    it’s accepted it’s “Almost Intelligent Designer” AKA Evolution can produce “apparent design”.

    Nice equivocation but it has never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do it- you are lying.

  147. Joe,

    To get the design inference you still need positive evidence, ie match the criteria.

    Ah, the explanatory filter? Would you care to demonstrate it’s usage? Perhaps you can run the symbol system through it and demonstrate it’s design origin that way? What particular piece of evidence will you be using?

    Could we use a cake as an example? You claim that the CSI of a cake can be determined from it’s recipe and ingredients list, so that solves that. Can you take it from there?

  148. Upright,
    Regarding questions that remain unanswered and in order to help me understand your argument, could you say if this is an accurate restating of your claim?

    X1. All irreducibly complex systems are designed.
    X2. All semiotic systems are irreducibly complex.
    X3. Therefore, all semiotic systems are designed.

    Y1. A system involving representation(s) and protocol(s) is a semiotic system.
    Y2. Protein synthesis involves a representation and a protocol.
    Y3. Therefore, protein synthesis is a semiotic system.

    Z1. All semiotic systems are designed (by X3).
    Z2. Protein synthesis is a semiotic system (by Y3).
    Z3. Therefore, the protein synthesis system is designed.

    As noted here: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....ment-14949
    To me it seem to be spot on. Is it?

  149. Joe,

    Yes, it is. How many mutations to get an upright biped from a knuckle-walker/ quadraped?

    How many interventions by the intelligent designer is it to get an upright biped from a knuckle-walker/ quadraped?

    The thing is Joe that it was only in April 1953 when James Watson and Francis Crick presented the structure of the DNA-helix. You probably were alive then.
    It’s not been all that long. Since then we’ve discovered much. But some things we don’t know (yet) and some things we may never know.

    Therefore Intelligent Design.

  150. Joe,

    Nice equivocation but it has never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do it- you are lying.

    Can do what Joe? Care to get specific? But you know the trouble with that, if it’s a gap it can only get smaller. And all you have to do is look around at all those millions of ex-gaps that never got filled with no “Intelligent Designer” and you don’t have to be a betting man to see which way the wind is blowing.

    It’s never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do “it” therefore Intelligent Design.

  151. Joe,
    Do you have any support for ID that is not just a list of things you think “evolutionism” can’t do.

    There isn’t any such thing a the “scientific community”

    Not only is there a “scientific community” there is a list of scientific community’s that explicitly reject intelligent design.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....ent_design


  152. To get the design inference you still need positive evidence, ie match the criteria.

    Ah, the explanatory filter?

    Science. As I said you don’t have a clue.

    You claim that the CSI of a cake can be determined from it’s recipe and ingredients list, so that solves that.

    The recipe is a capturing of the ACTIONS required. But then again you don’t seem to be able to understand anything.

  153. Do you have any support for ID that is not just a list of things you think “evolutionism” can’t do.

    Yes. Do you have any support for your position that isn’t whiny equivocation? No.

    And anyone can reject ID. However it is very noticeable that those who reject ID can’t find positive evidence for their position. And that makes their rejection just a whine.


  154. Nice equivocation but it has never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do it- you are lying.

    Can do what Joe?

    Not much of anything, obvioulsy. Definitely not more than two new protein-to-protein binding sites- heck not even one new protein.

    It’s never been demonstrated that necessity and chance can do “it” therefore Intelligent Design.

    Nope- again that you can act like a little cry-baby in need of a bottle doesn’t mean what you say means anything.

  155. The thing is Joe that it was only in April 1953 when James Watson and Francis Crick presented the structure of the DNA-helix. You probably were alive then.
    It’s not been all that long. Since then we’ve discovered much. But some things we don’t know (yet) and some things we may never know.

    No I wasn’t alive back then and I see it upsets you that your position is so lame that all you can do is attack ID with your ignorance.

    Sweet…

  156. mphillips-

    about the explanatory filter-> it is a process that mandates the user(s) follow Newton’s four rules of scientific reasoning. Archaeologists have to follow that line of reasoning. Forensic scientists also must follow that line of reasoning.

    True it depends on the user and is as flawed as the user. But other than that what could any objection be about a process that mandates you follow the rules?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  157. @ TIMAEUS post number 80 – Apology ahead of time for the length.

    TIMAEUS: Glad we agree on the basic facts about ID.
    However, your expression “true IDers” is undefined, and I wonder what it could possibly mean. It seems to imply that there are a lot of people going around calling themselves ID supporters who are either not ID supporters at all, or only half-baked ID supporters. I don’t understand that. ID has a fairly clear definition, and it is not that hard to say who supports it and who doesn’t.

    I suspect that a far higher percentage of ID proponents are YECs than you imagine. If we take not just the leadership, but add in the rank and file, I wouldn’t be surprised if 25-35% of ID supporters were YECs.
    I would expect the largest group would be the OECS, maybe 40-60% of the total.

    I would expect that 10-20% are either evolutionists (like Behe) or at least consider themselves open to evolution, provided the empirical evidence is there and that the evolutionary process is understood as guided or planned in some way, rather than due to randomness and natural selection.

    TJGUY:
    What I mean by true IDers are more the leaders of the movement who really understand the science. I have not seen even 1 article on Uncommon Descent that supports YEC ideas. But I’ve seen many that support the idea of an old earth. Have you ever seen a pro-YEC article by a leader in the ID movement? Maybe I have heard of one. I can’t think of his name right now, but his pro ID articles hardly ever deal with his YEC views s far as I know. So actually I am not aware of any pro YEC articles by ID scientists.

    When you think about it, there is no YECer that would deny that creation and life has an Intelligent Designer. So YECers are a subset of ID, but not all IDers agree with the YEC interpretation. The approach is totally different. Not all IDers believe in design by the God of the Bible, especially if you add the young earth idea to it. That is all I was trying to say. Personally, I would separate YEC from ID though.

    TIMAEUS: On Genesis 1, you are taking for granted something that many Biblical scholars would dispute, i.e., that the single verse in Genesis 1 from which animal vegetarianism might be inferred is a strong statement of animal vegetarianism. The verse doesn’t actually state that animals are all vegetarian, and the inference, while reasonable, is not a slam-dunk, because language is used elastically by writers and not always precisely.

    Most of the creatures people encounter everyday are herbivorous, not carnivorous, so the writer may have had in mind the typical case; alternately, the writer may have had in mind the indirect dependency of even carnivorous animals upon plants.

    TJGUY: “God said, “I am giving you all the grain bearing plants and all the fruit trees. These trees make fruit with seeds in it. This grain and fruit will be your food. 30 And I am giving all the green plants to the animals. These green plants will be their food. Every animal on earth, every bird in the air, and all the little things that crawl on the earth will eat that food.” And all these things happened. 31 God looked at everything he had made. And he saw that everything was very good.”

    Modern day biblical scholars may dispute that, but I think you will find that this was the dominant interpretation all through church history. It certainly fits well with the idea that God created a perfect world that was later damaged by sin and will once again be restored in the future. The passages in Isaiah fit with this interpretation nicely. God clearly says that He is giving all the green plants to the animals and that these plants will be their food. I prefer the obvious plain meaning of the words. If you go beyond these, then you can make the Bible say almost anything you want to. I think the onus is on you to show that the plain meaning of the words is NOT what God intended to communicate. Again, if this is not what God intended to communicate, then He didn’t do a very good job in communication since most people believed this vegetarian thing up until Science came along and corrected us.

    TIMAEUS: The case would be stronger if anything else in Genesis 1 supported the vegetarian interpretation, or even supported the view that Genesis 1 depicted a world unlike our own, i.e., more perfect than our own. But there is no indication that Genesis 1, in its general description or in its specific descriptions, has in mind anything but the world as we know it. It would be odd if in that one verse alone Genesis 1 suddenly became a “golden age narrative.”

    Personally, the “very good” statement that God made in 1:31 fits very nicely with this as does vs 29 where humans are given plants to eat as well. And it wasn’t until after the flood that God said humans could eat meat. So if vs 29 clearly means “no meat” for humans, then wouldn’t it seem like vs 30 would mean “no meat” for the animals too since they are written with the same words?!

    Plus there is Ch. 3 where God explains the curse. “cursed is the ground because of you;?in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;?and you shall eat the plants of the field.”

    One of the results of the curse is said very clearly to be thorns and weeds. Up until now, they didn’t have to worry about these things in God’s perfect creation, but now the ground is cursed and is producing thorns and weeds. Again, this tends to support the perfect creation that was damaged by sin. Romans 8 also speaks about creation groaning and being put in bondage.

    “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

    God subjected the creation to futility, but one day it will be redeemed, just like our physical imperfect bodies.

    TIMAEUS: “The other problem is that the rest of the Old Testament gives very little support to the notion.”

    True. There is no direct support, but Isaiah, Romans, and Revelation can
    certainly fit very naturally with this interpretation. Like I said before, this interpretation was the predominant interpretation of the early Church Fathers and that is important in my opinion – not that they could not have been mistaken, but it lends nice support to the accuracy of this interpretation.

    TIMAEUS: “The lion lying down with the lamb etc. can be understood as poetic language referring to the restoration of peace in the human world, and outside of such expressions in poetry, there is precious little to go on.“
    If you choose to interpret that as poetry, then that is your choice. Even poetry has a basis in reality. Whether these descriptions are symbolic or literal, they convey the clear message that there is something wrong about animal carnivory, violence, pain and suffering. If these things were normal and “very good”, why should they be remedied in a future restoration?

    Besides, animal carnivory, violence, pain and suffering here is described by the word “hurt” which is also translated as “evil” in other passages. So it seems clear that it is a physical evil and would not have been present in God’s original creation.

    I think you want to change the clear meaning of the words and interpret it simply as world peace in order to support your TE view which literally would crumble if there was no animal death before humans. It is written clearly that the lion WILL lay down with the lamb. It fits nicely with idea of a perfect creation marred by sin and restored in the future. It makes sense of how a good God would intend the world to be.

    There will be no more death in heaven. So why would He create a world with death here and now? And not only that, why would He use death and suffering as the very tool for creating the variety of life that we see? Just doesn’t make sense to me, nor do I think it fits well with God’s Word.

    Remember humans were created with no death. Death passed on humans when? Only when Adam sinned. God said that if they would eat the fruit, they would surely die. The process of physical death began at that point and from that point on, because of Adam’s sin, physical death was a given for all humans – outside of Elijah and maybe Enoch.

    TIMAEUS: “There is no indication that the verses you quote from Revelation have anything other than human death in mind, and the same could be said of the passage you quote from Paul. Further, Job seems to be speaking about the original creation, not the fallen creation, when God describes an order of nature like the one we know today.”

    TJGUY: The point of Revelation is that the future eternal state will not have any death, pain, or suffering in it. It gives the idea that death, pain, and suffering is not ideal to God. So, I doubt there would be pain, death, or suffering among the animals in heaven either – like Isaiah seems to indicate.

    Even if there are NO animals in heaven, still the idea that God’s ideal world is free of death, pain, and suffering, says much about who God is and I think this has implications for how we interpret Genesis and His Word.

    TIMAEUS: “And Genesis 2 mentions nothing about original animal vegetarianism, or about any change in animal diets after the Fall.”

    TJGUY: Genesis 2 is a summary of the events of the 6th day of creation so of course it wouldn’t say anything about that. However, you are right that Genesis 3 does not say anything about that either, but the fact that it does say they were given plants for food and yet now we see them eating meat can support this view nicely.

    TIMAEUS: “When we take everything into account, and not just one verse in Genesis 1, the case for original animal vegetarianism in the Bible is not strong. It’s a possible interpretation, but that’s the most that can be said. So it’s hardly binding on Christians doctrinally. And of course there’s nothing about it in the Creeds.”

    I disagree with you here because taking everything into account instead of re-interpreting the Bible in a way to relegate this possible interpretation to just one verse, I think it fits quite nicely with the overall story of the Bible. But you are certainly welcome to your own interpretation. Certainly it is not important enough to be in any creed and our view on this has nothing to do with any requirement for heaven. I agree that it is not binding on Christians.

    TIMAEUS: “But back to the more general point: why couldn’t a God who “will be what he will be” ordain animal suffering? Fundamentalists don’t blink an eye when God orders the slaughter of innocent infants and the sexual enslavement of captive women after the genocide of whole peoples; why are they so troubled by the consumption of sheep by wolves or tuna by sharks? The Biblical God is clearly not a God whose main priority is to make sure that no one innocent ever suffers.”

    TJGUY: Why couldn’t He have ordained animal suffering? I guess there is nothing concrete that I could say to rebut that. I guess it is not an impossibility, but if He did that, it would not reflect on Him very well. It doesn’t fit well with what we know to be true about God from His Word. And especially, since the interpretation that “He didn’t ordain suffering, pain, and death among the animals in the beginning” is a clear possibility, I think it should be the preferred interpretation as did almost all of the Church Fathers.
    Father Rose in his book Orthodoxy and Genesis: What The Fathers Really Taught.

    One of the most important points repeatedly made by the ‘Fathers’ and by Rose was that the pre-Fall world was categorically different from the world that we live in now. His view and the view of the early Church Fathers was that the Fall and Curse had a profound effect on the whole Creation and that neither animals nor man were carnivores before the Fall, but probably only became so after the Flood.

    By the way, how are you using the word “fundamentalist” here? Who or what is a fundamentalist? Are you using it in a derogatory manner? Just curious.
    What do you mean by saying that fundamentalists don’t blink an eye….? Are you saying that you think there are people who are happy that those passages exist in the Bible?

    I don’t know if I want to identify myself as a fundamentalist, but personally, I have trouble understanding some of those passages, however, I recognize that God is God. He is holy and has the right to judge as He sees fit. Using the term innocent is a bit misleading as all humans are sinners and not really innocent. We sinned with Adam and are born into Satan’s kingdom. We are His enemy until we are reconciled with Him through Jesus. Genocide is not really a fair description of what happened and I resent you attributing that to God Almighty, your Creator. He always does what is right. Like I said, He is holy and has the right to judge as He sees fit. Judging evil is a good thing! Eternal punishment is also severe and it shows just how bad sin is in God’s eyes. Besides, this genocide was punishment for generations of sin. I would be very hesitant to criticize God for His holy judgments in situations that you didn’t observe and know very little about.

    TIMAEUS: “I think that YECs are under the spell of a modern form of sentimentalism in their angst over the fact of death in the created world. I think that the horror of death — other than early, violent or agonizing *human* death — is simply not a major theme in genuine, uncontaminated Hebraic thought. So I have no problem with an order of creation that includes death from the very beginning.

    Not *all* death is a result of human sin. And the part that isn’t the result of human sin, is in my view the duty of Christians to accept, not rail against.”

    TJGUY: You are free to think what you want. Am I under a spell? I don’t see it that way. I just believe what God tells us in His Word without trying to reinterpret it to meet the standards of modern science based on methodological naturalism. Evidently you feel that the interpretations of modern men using methodological naturalism based Science is more accurate and should be given more authority than the eyewitness accounts and authority of God’s Word. That is how I see it.

    TIMAEUS: “Not *all* death is a result of human sin. And the part that isn’t the result of human sin, is in my view the duty of Christians to accept, not rail against.”

    TJGUY: I understand that this is what you believe, but that is just your opinion. Again, that opinion differs with the common interpretation of Christians throughout church history.
    YECers believe the Bible does teach that all death is at least an indirect result of human sin. So, from our point of view, there is no death that is not a result of human sin to rail against.

  158. Onlookers:

    Pardon an observation.

    One of the rhetorical tactics that sometimes shows up in a blog type format, is the snow job.

    When a serious issue is on the table that would require serious reflections that point where one side of an issue would not go, it is often effective to bury it in a blizzard of tangential, red herring and strawman tactic based comments. Sometimes, this goes to the next step: soak in oil of ad hominems and ignite through either incendiary or subtly snide sparks, to create a choking and confusing cloud of poisonous, polarising rhetorical smoke.

    So, let us first note where the main issue for this tread from the original post stands on the merits.

    This can be summed up in a post that in a matter of a few hours, was buried some 70 posts deep, mostly driven by one or two objectors, who never seriously responded to the main issue.

    Clipping EA at 86 above, shortly after I had drawn attention back to the original issue:

    Back to the opening topic of this thread, there are four basic responses to the argument that bad design means no design. For simplicity, I list these without details (which have been stated elsewhere) and in order of importance:

    1. It is simply false on its face. We have myriad known, empirical examples of designed things that are ‘bad’ (suboptimal) or ‘bad’ (designed to cause pain, misery, death and the like).

    2. It is a religious/philosophical argument, not a scientific one, and is based on questionable philosophical assumptions.

    3. For ‘bad design’ in the sense of evil, cruel, etc., the alternative explanation (no design at all in nature) undercuts the the very argument being made. As a result, it is logically incoherent.

    4. For ‘bad design’ in the sense of suboptimal, imperfect, etc., it is almost always the case that the design turns out, on further inspection, to be ingenious, exquisite, or completely appropriate (e.g., panda’s thumb, vertebrate eye). As a corollary, no materialist making the argument about suboptimal design has ever offered a cogent, engineering-level proposal of how the design could be improved. At most, we get broad handwaving assertions that the design could be better.

    Observe the persistent ignoring of this issue by objectors over the past half-day or so, all across the life of the thread.

    That goes to show that they have no serious and cogent response on the merits.

    And, evidently, they have no sufficient sense of duty to the truth, the right and the fair to take up an interest in exploring the implications of a serious point, the only impulse we can discern is to go off on a tangent and to indulge in dismissive strawman distortions. Which can be seen for dozens and dozens of posts, persistently maintained in the teeth of repeated correction.

    Let me pick just one as a capital example, from MP at 119 above:

    There isn’t any physio-chemical connection between the codon and the amino acid it codes for.

    Therefore Intelligent Design.

    Yes, I get that. But what I really want to know is when did/does your designer act? All the time, directing every mutation in real time like you seem to imply with your “mutations are not random” line, or is the “Poof!” moment an injection of information into the GA in every cell that controls and directs mutation?

    In a similar red herring – strawman tactic vein, we can see the same at 139 above:

    2- No one can produce any evidence that nature didit.

    Therefore Intelligent Design.

    Jee, this is easy!

    Now, MP et al were already directed to explore a serious and sustained 101 level educational presentation of the design perspective as a balancing view on origins science, from here on. One would have thought a serious interlocuter would have taken up the opportunity to get his or her facts and reasoning straight, so at least they would address the real design inference in its real context, not strawmen.

    One would have been wrong. This was of course ignored in the haste to play strawman tactic games as we saw above over the course of yesterday.

    For the benefit of the interested onlooker, let me provide some corrections to the clips just above:

    [ . . . ]

  159. 1 –> It is not simply a matter of the lack of a physical-chemical causal chain between DNA bases and protein sequences that points to the use of a code, but the presence of a definite pattern of symbolic rules for assignment of meaning, the well-known genetic code. As the just linked Wiki article — inadvertently testifying against known ideological interest — notes:

    The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded in genetic material (DNA or mRNA sequences) is translated into proteins (amino acid sequences) by living cells.

    The code defines how sequences of three nucleotides, called codons, specify which amino acid will be added next during protein synthesis. With some exceptions,[1] a three-nucleotide codon in a nucleic acid sequence specifies a single amino acid.

    2 –> That is, there is a pattern of rules of representation that allow one type of molecule chained together as a data storing string structure, to be transcribed, then used as the control tape for the ribosomes that translate this code into the sequence of amino acids used in proteins and enzymes. Where, no enzymes and proteins, no functional, metabolising cell, and no self-replicating capacity either.

    3 –> Thus, we see an irreducibly complex cycle that could not credibly have come about incrementally from some simple mix of chemicals in some warm little pond or equivalent. We see instead a complex, integrated information based processing system that creates the AA chains for the workhorse molecules of cell based life.

    4 –> Remember, too, that on the whole the proteins have to then be further processed, such as through agglomeration, activation and chaperoned folding, to achieve their functional 3-D structure, a structure that is so complex that our processing capacity struggles to analyse it.

    5 –> by suppressing this material context, a simplistic strawman is set up for ridicule and dismissal.

    6 –> Then, the demand is deliberately put to change the subject from tangent no 1 to tangent no 2. It being known that the detection of signs of design does not implicate the circumstances of the design in general, a demand is placed that unless you can provide that we will dismiss the first point.

    7 –> This is about as silly as it would have been to dismiss Kepler’s identification of the kinematics of planetary orbits on observations, because he did not identify the underlying forces. Or, as silly as it would have been to try to dismiss Newton’s finding that there is a principle of universal gravitation on grounds that he has not provided a mechanism for it. Which BTW, some DID indulge, only to be lashed by that worthy with his no me fingo remark.

    8 –> In fact we see here and abandonment of a key aspect of the scientific method. Each well grounded finding stands on its own merits, and is a brick in the growing body of knowledge and insight. We do not have a method that identifies the who, when and how specifically of design, even though we long since know that here is more than one way to skin a cat. So what, we have a major achievement in hand: empirically reliable signs that credibly point to design as cause of the origin of life and major body plans, not the hitherto established assumption that incremental genetic accidents reinforced by differential reproductive success suffice to explain the world of life.

    9 –> The second clip is even more revealing of a simplistic strawman being set up to be knocked over and used as the basis for ridicule and dismissal of the real case on the merits.

    10 –> Now, the claimed mechanism of small favourable chance genetic variations reinforced by differential reproductive success in ecological niches, is held to explain not just minor variations that are often accompanied by loss of information [what we do observe] but
    the origin of major body plans requiring 10′s – 100′s of millions of bits of genetic info, dozens and dozens of times over, to account for the origin of major body plans. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DIRECTLY OBSERVED, and observation of a mechanism in the present is a reasonable requirement for demanding the right to project it into the remote past that we did not observe.

    (Cf my ignored discussion of the warrant of scientific methods, on this question of addressing the unobserved past in light of dynamics and signs in the present, at 104 above. That refusal to engage the pivotal question of how scientific reconstructions of the remote unobservable past are made on a reasonable basis, is telling.)

    11 –> Similarly, the search space challenge to form the sort of complex integrated functional entities that are key features of body plans that naturally leads tot he problem of islands of function isolated in vast config spaces, has not been seriously addressed on either observation or analysis by too many advocates of blind chance and mechanical necessity acting through generic variation and differential reproductive success.

    12 –> As a result of this, a mechanism that partially explains variations within an island of function has improperly been extrapolated to the very different one of finding these islands in vast config spaces where the atomic resources of the solar system or cosmos we observe are demonstrably vastly inadequate to credibly find such unrepresentative zones.

    13 –> What is really driving the process of thought by objectors such as DWG and MP, is this bit of a priori materialist metaphysics imposed on science and its methods and findings, as extracted from the NSTA declaration on the teaching of science of 2000, which is reflected in the notorious “Copycat” Jones ruling of 2005 in Dover, PA:

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence [--> and, too often, when the empirical observations that should back up the mechanisms are missing, then icons are extrapolated and exaggerated to make it seem that the missing evidence is there] that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. Emphases added. The Directors knew or should have known per duties of care that ever since Plato in the Laws Bk X 360 BC, the real alternative to blind chance and necessity is intelligence acting by art, and leaving empirically reliable signs. But it is ever so ideologically convenient to erect a "supernaturalism" strawman.]

    14 –> In short, what is really going on is ideological a priori materialism seizing political control of science and science education, and imposing its agendas by virtue of that power.

    15 –> Which is why ruthless or even nihilistic political faction tactics are routinely cropping up in the debates from the supporters of that agenda. Plato’s warning, in light of the chaos triggered by Alcibiades in Athens c 400+ BC, should therefore give us all serious pause. To such, the highest right is might, and factions like that seek to live by the principle of ruthless domination.

    This is happening in the wider information ideological battlespace to the point where I am beginning to wonder if part of what is happening here at UD is that the design issue is being caught up in the Internet battles surrounding a US election coming up in a couple of months.

    As the Weak Argument Correctives (accessible under the resources tab on this and every UD page) have long pointed out, a favourite tactic of ID objectors is to change the subject to political agendas, and insinuate that design theory is part of the alleged vast right wing theocratic conspiracy that seeks to bring back the inquisition, the rack — a capital example of evil design put forth by Craig in his discussion and slide show — and the crusades etc.

    Activists in such an agenda will be trained in distraction and talking point pushing, snowing-/ swarming- under tactics.

    We need to at least bear that possibility in mind.

    But more relevantly, what happens is that these sorts of tactics then begin to propagate, and begin to become a habitual pattern of debate — red flag word — on the Internet and on the ground. Much as, the destructive agit-prop tactics of the neo-marxist agitator Saul Alinsky have now become commonplace. And, the linked benumbing of conscience and sense of responsibility to truth and fairness, is wreaking far deeper havoc.

    It is time for objectors to design theory to get serious and soberly address the issues on the merits instead of the strawmen.

    KF

  160. tjguy:

    Thanks for your courteous reply.

    I agree with you that a YEC position is not generally advanced in the opinion columns here on UD. On the other hand, ID leaders who are generally known to support a YEC position have written many columns here; e.g., Paul Nelson. And of course many YECs contribute to the discussion here, and the only time they have been banned or suspended, to my knowledge, is when they have behaved obnoxiously. (We had one make some anti-Catholic remarks, for example.)

    My point was that Paul Nelson is just as much a “true IDer” as Bill Dembski, and I think that Bill Dembski would agree.

    On another point, I agree with you about the overlap and the differences between ID and YEC.

    Regarding one of your questions, my usage of “fundamentalist” was popular shorthand for “literalist-inerrantist” (which takes longer to type), but I agree that the word has many meanings and therefore is not very precise. I’m sorry if it confused. I didn’t mean it as derogatory.

    My point was that literalist-inerrantist folks will defend the literal truth of the commandments of God to virtually annihilate the Canaanite peoples, and therefore must be aware that God’s purpose is not always to guarantee the maximum comfort of all his creatures. And yes, I know, there is the question whether the Canaanites “deserved” it for their sin, but all kinds of people deserve punishment for their sin, and God lets them off, and in any case, the infants and small children could not have consciously supported or condoned their parents’ sins. So God sometimes — if one’s hermeneutic is literalist-inerrantist — causes non-guilty creatures to suffer for some greater purpose. The same might be the explanation of animal death by carnivory.

    You said a few times that throughout most of Christian history Genesis was interpreted as teaching an original animal vegetarianism, or that most of the Church Fathers held to this interpretation. The first thing to say is that literalist-inerrantist folks have never scrupled to go against “most of Christian history” when they thought it appropriate (e.g., on the practice of infant baptism, for example, which even Luther and Calvin maintained); the question of what the Bible teaches and what Christians have thought it teaches are two different questions. The majority is not always right. The second thing to say is that I would like to see sources for the historical claim. Can you give me references to where Origen, Clement, Tertullian, Augustine, Cyprian, the Cappadocians, etc. said that all animals were vegetarian before the Fall? (Whether or not *people* were vegetarian before the Fall is another matter.)

    In two or three places you inferred things about my position which I have never stated and in fact would reject.

    I am not a “TE” as TE is normally understood — perhaps no commenter here has launched more frequent attacks on BioLogos and other fortresses of TE-dom than I have. Small “te” — “theistic evolution” in the original sense of 100 or more years ago, the belief that God created through a process of evolution — where evolution is understood to be a guided or planned process, not a random one — I remain open to, as it is compatible with the geological record and also with the omnipotence and providence of God.

    I don’t subscribe to naturalism, nor do I think the Bible should be reinterpreted in order to harmonize with modern science. The Biblical interpretations I gave you arose out of my academic work (undergraduate and graduate) in Biblical studies, not out of any craven deference to evolutionary biology.

    My differences with YEC people (whom I in many ways very much respect) are not primarily over science (though in the past YEC people did in fact produce some very bad science), but over theology generally and Biblical interpretation specifically. I don’t understand “Christianity” in the same way that most YEC people understand it, and I don’t interpret the Bible as they do, because I think that Christianity is much richer, broader and more diverse than most YEC people will allow, and because I think the YEC hermeneutical principles are too narrow, and actually deform the Biblical teaching by applying to the Bible a form of literalism which the writers never dreamed of.

    To put this as clearly as possible: if a Cambrian rabbit were found tomorrow, and evolutionary theory completely collapsed as a result, I still would not become a YEC, nor would I become a literalist-inerrantist in my reading of the Bible. My interest in the Bible and Christianity was never grounded in any desire to oppose evolution or any other modern scientific theory. It is what I studied *outside of* the natural sciences — Latin, Greek, Hebrew, ancient history, ancient literature, ancient religion, comparative religion, philosophy, literary theory, history of Christian thought, history of Jewish interpretation, etc. — that convinced me that literalism-inerrantism was the wrong way to approach the Bible. Whatever happens regarding Darwinism and intelligent design, my thoughts on the Bible won’t be affected. I’m not going to regard Genesis 1-11 as an “eyewitness account” of anything, and I’m not going to give up my judgment that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2-3 were originally two different stories with different purposes, and therefore shouldn’t be conflated, and I’m not going to give up my reading of Job, which is that suffering was part of even the original creation.

    I don’t deny your sincerity for a minute. I believe you really are trying to base your Christian theology on what you believe the Bible teaches. I simply disagree with you about some of the things that the Bible teaches. I don’t think the Bible teaches that there was any “fall of nature,” and I don’t believe that anything was changed after the Fall other than the items specified in Genesis 3, i.e., death, hard work for food from the ground, pain in childbirth, the subjugation of women, and conflict between serpents and human beings. I don’t think that Genesis 3 teaches that mosquitoes started biting people and other animals only after the Fall, or that lions ate cabbages and carrots before the Fall. And I don’t think that even the verses you cited from Genesis 1, read carefully in Hebrew, *necessitate* your interpretation.

    But all of this takes us away from the purpose of this site. In my view, YECs have as much right as anyone else to support ID and consider themselves IDers, and I have no problem if they become more involved here; but if they are going to try to “sell” a YEC hermeneutics and a YEC theology, on a site which is supposed to be theology-neutral, then I have the right to “sell” my alternate theological wares in the same marketplace. I don’t mean by that that you are being pushy, because you aren’t; I just mean that I reserve the right to counter-theologize here whenever any YEC person theologizes. If I sounded more aggressively anti-YEC than that, I shouldn’t have. YECs should be welcome here and I have neither the moral nor the administrative authority to try to drive them away. So don’t take my personal theological objections as representative of ID generally, or of UD policy. I’m speaking only for myself, and don’t mean to inhibit you in any way from participating fully here or in any other ID forum or activity. Best wishes.

  161. 162
    sagebrush gardener

    mphillips asks “Does [life] violate any rules of physics or chemistry?” That is like asking whether an encyclopedia violates any rules of physics or chemistry – or whether a complex computer program violates any rules of electricity or magnetism. Of course they don’t – but the question completely misses the point because the essence of those things is not physics, chemistry, electricity, or magnetism, but information. Trying to understand life with only the rules of physics and chemistry is like trying to understand Adobe Photoshop by using a voltmeter.

  162. NickMatzke_UD:

    This would be relevant if ID people thought the designs in biology were made by dumb or nasty humans. But you guys think a perfect, good God is the designer.

    Hi Nick, looking forward to your autobiography.

    I understand the title you’re contemplating is Nick Matzke: A Study in Self Delusion

    I endorse that title.

    “We guys” think God is the designer of what?

    I think you’d go to any length, really.

    God designed trees
    Thick branches sometimes fall off trees
    Human uses fallen branch to kill other human
    God guilty of bad tree design

    When you condemn God, for whatever it is today that you want to condemn him for, you condemn yourself.

  163. Timaeus:

    I think the YEC hermeneutical principles are too narrow, and actually deform the Biblical teaching by applying to the Bible a form of literalism which the writers never dreamed of.

    BINGO!

    The very LAST thing that Jesus was, was a “fundamentalist.”

  164. Timaeus, I think you are too kind to our YEC bretheren. ;)

    I’m still waiting for a YEC response to The Privileged Planet. Do you know of one?

  165. Even poetry has a basis in reality.

    Actually, it’s reality that has a basis in poetry.

  166. Timaeus:

    The second thing to say is that I would like to see sources for the historical claim. Can you give me references to where Origen, Clement, Tertullian, Augustine, Cyprian, the Cappadocians, etc. said that all animals were vegetarian before the Fall?

    I think that’s a fairly weak argument. An argument from silence? Are there searchable versions of their works now?

    It would not surprise me at all if such a thing could be found in the writings of “the fathers.” But then, I don’t consider them infallible anyways. Many of them were probably literalists. Consider the chiliast controversies.

    Tertullian believed in a literal physical resurrection of the literal physical body, didn’t he?

  167. 168

    Looks like a fun thread. I might read all of it.

    I have a question for anyone who has:

    Did anyone raise any objections to the idea that perfect design is possible?

    A perfect car would have the same amount of interior space as my local Wal-Mart, but would still fit on the road and under stop lights. It would have infinite gas mileage and be able to stop instantly even at speeds exceeding that of light.

    In other words, a perfect car design is impossible. I would say the same thing for organisms.

  168. 169

    Perhaps I exaggerated too much. Let’s say that the definition of “perfect” cannot include violations of the laws of physics.

    One still cannot design a perfect automobile. If a car has a lot of interior space, that cuts down on its gas mileage. If you maximize the gas mileage, you eventually have to cut down on interior space, not to mention the power of the engine and get rid of automatic transmission, which most people prefer. In other words, all design requires engineering tradeoffs in order to maximize certain capabilities or to simply balance certain specifications with other equally important specifications.

    Perfect design, whatever it is, is impossible. And Genesis never claims that God created perfection. He made it “very good.”

  169. tragic mishap:

    Good analogy, and well stated.

  170. I myself have problems with the concept of God as a designer. I think ‘design’ is just a metaphor we use because it is familiar to us. We shouldn’t push it too far when trying to apply it to God.

  171. WLC is on point. Objections to design that hinge on putative design flaws are inconsequential. Objections to design based on supposed cruelty are in truth theological issues and thus invite theological answers. I haven’t seen a single post that successfully contradicts that reality.

  172. Like I’m going to contradict WLC!

  173. That ‘God is good’ actually does rely on true knowledge. Normally we don’t have that because the mind is inherently corrupt (whether envisaged as Calvin’s ‘total depravity’ or the more generic notion of ‘ignorance’) Ideas about ‘the nature of God’ whilst seen through this lens, are false projections, idle imaginings. The ‘goodness of God’ can only be revealed to the ‘spiritual vision’ which is realized through prayer. But all this blather about ‘whether God is good’ is like putting lipstick on a chicken or legs on a snake. The God which the atheists criticize never existed.

Leave a Reply