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E. O. Wilson on ID

Here’s what E. O. Wilson writes in THE NEW SCIENTIST:

. . . Many who accept the fact of evolution cannot, however, on religious grounds, accept the operation of blind chance and the absence of divine purpose implicit in natural selection. They support the alternative explanation of intelligent design. The reasoning they offer is not based on evidence but on the lack of it. The formulation of intelligent design is a default argument advanced in support of a non sequitur. It is in essence the following: there are some phenomena that have not yet been explained and that (most importantly) the critics personally cannot imagine being explained; therefore there must be a supernatural designer at work. The designer is seldom specified, but in the canon of intelligent design it is most certainly not Satan and his angels, nor any god or gods conspicuously different from those accepted in the believer’s faith.

Flipping the scientific argument upside down, the intelligent designers join the strict creationists (who insist that no evolution ever occurred) by arguing that scientists resist the supernatural theory because it is counter to their own personal secular beliefs. This may have a kernel of truth; everybody suffers from some amount of bias. But in this case bias is easily overcome. The critics forget how the reward system in science works. Any researcher who can prove the existence of intelligent design within the accepted framework of science will make history and achieve eternal fame. They will prove at last that science and religious dogma are compatible. Even a combined Nobel prize and Templeton prize (the latter designed to encourage the search for just such harmony) would fall short as proper recognition. Every scientist would like to accomplish such a epoch-making advance. But no one has even come close, because unfortunately there is no evidence, no theory and no criteria for proof that even marginally might pass for science. . . .

Two comments:

(1) ID does not argue from “Shucks, I can’t imagine how material mechanisms could have brought about a biological structure” to “Gee, therefore God must have done it.” This is a strawman. Here is the argument ID proponents actually make:

  • Premise 1: Certain biological systems have some diagnostic feature, be it IC (irreducible complexity) or SC (specified complexity) or OC (organized complexity) etc.
  • Premise 2: Materialistic explanations have been spectacularly unsuccessful in explaining such systems — we have no positive evidence for thinking that material mechanisms can generate them.
  • Premise 3: Intelligent agency is known to have the causal power to produce systems that display IC/SC/OC.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, biological systems that exhibit IC/SC/OC are likely to be designed.

(2) Wilson’s claim that proving “the existence of intelligent design within the accepted framework of science will make history and achieve eternal fame” is disingenuous. The accepted framework of science precludes ID from the start. Wilson and his materialistic colleagues have stacked the deck so that no evidence could ever support it.

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157 Responses to E. O. Wilson on ID

  1. The accepted framework of science precludes ID from the start. Wilson and his materialistic colleagues have stacked the deck so that no evidence could ever support it.

    The deck is also stacked so that no logic or evidence can ever disconfirm that Darwinian mechanisms have the creative power attributed to them. Thus, the overpowering challenges presented in Behe’s The Edge of Evolution are simply ignored or explained away with fanciful storytelling. Evidence doesn’t count for a devout Darwinist if it is disconfirming.

  2. Sounds like this Wilson fellow is one bad man. Whoa, just googled him. He’s pretty old, too.

    Well, he’ll know the Truth soon enough.

  3. I find it funny that materialists build their whole belief system on the self-sufficiency of material and chance to explain everything. Yet when material is taken to its most basic level, with quantum mechanics, it defies any presupposed material explanation and only finds a reasonable explanation within the Theistic framework, i.e. a sub-atomic world that is not limited by time or space built by a Creator Who is not limited by time or space.

  4. The other thing is that the number of biological systems that exhibit IC, SC or OC are in the thousands if not more.

    So providing evidence of how one of these systems arose would not solve the total picture. However, if biology had a track record of providing evidence instead of speculation for how several of these systems arose then the ID position would be much weaker. But as of today they are essentially batting .000.

  5. This is the first comment on Wilson’s post.

    The point is not whether evolution by natural selection is a fact or not. We may well find a more satisfactory theory of evolution. The point is that the ‘facts’ of ‘revealed’ religion are rubbish and the God of ‘revealed’ religion is abominable.

    The first point the commenter makes admits what we all know –that random mutations directed by natural selection (orthodox evolution / gradualism) is not a satisfactory explanation for complex adaptations and the general evolution of life. Fair enough – I share this view.

    The second point is the interesting one, and I think it summarizes most of the views held by evolutionists. That is, intelligent design = a designer which = god which = the god of the bible. It doesn’t take much then to show that this god (the bible one) is not exactly the meek grey bearded one we would all like to imagine.

    Intelligent design is currently the best explanation we have for information rich complex adaptations. And yes, the lack of evidence for naturalistic theories does give more credibility to intelligent design. But to link ID to any religions god is without doubt a blatant strawman tactic.

    There is no reason why this intelligent designer should even be a personal being let alone one that has had any interaction with mankind by way of written documents or miraculous acts. Therefore I return to the first point and ask for a more satisfactory theory of evolution, one that can account for what otherwise we would attribute to intelligence.

  6. Taling about SC:
    Is this a “designed” SC-structure?

    http://www.vsa-apothekensystem e.de/uploads/RTEmagicC_239_Bie nenwaben.jpg.jpg

  7. “Even a combined Nobel prize and Templeton prize (the latter designed to encourage the search for just such harmony) would fall short as proper recognition.”

    Aren’t we still waiting for the first Nobel Prize to recognize the publication of the first description of how RM + NS (or any variant on that theme) produces even one complex molecular machine? I wonder why that is? Maybe E.O. should think about the fact that the modern synthesis is “Science of the gaps”. (I almost wrote “of the gasp”, and that would have been accurate too…)

  8. “strict creationists insist that no evolution ever occurred”.

    I have never met a “strict creationist” by this definition. Another “straw dummy”?

  9. I have heard it said that Intelligent Design is the best explanation for certain biological systems (supposedly thousands of them).

    But it leads me to a puzzle which I have yet to find a satisfactory solution for. Putting aside the veracity or accuracy of design Vs evolution, I am forced to question the value.

    From what I have read Evolution represents at least a partial solution (for those who disagree with this, then we are not discussing the same Intelligent Design which I have read about). Evolution has proven useful in the several areas of research including the study of disease and the development of resistance to treatment.

    When I investigate Intelligent Design, I am unable to discern the value. The designer, and nature of intervention (frequency, mechanism, reason) appear to be outside the scope.

    I don’t wish to present a “strawman” but I have come to my own conclusion that it is analogous to declaring that some problems simply cannot be solved. Even if it is entirely accurate, it this context it seems to serve only as an excuse, a reason to give up on certain research as unsolvable. If this is the case, is it not better to treat all problems (evolutionary steps) as potentially solvable rather than misidentifying one as unsolvable?

  10. ‘Evolution’ to the public is defined as ‘change over time’. Then change that definition and proclaim ‘strict creationists insist that no evolution ever occurred’

    har har

  11. Premise 2: Materialistic explanations have been spectacularly unsuccessful in explaining such systems – we have no positive evidence for thinking that material mechanisms can generate them.

    ellazimm

    Can I please ask everyone to honestly examine the evidence for premise 2. My contention is that there is quite a lot of positive physical evidence that is in accordance with evolutionary theory

    There is empirical evidence that Darwinian mechanisms can produce change by filtering existing genetic information (e.g., cyclic finch beak change with variation in weather patterns), and can produce trivial changes by filtering random genetic changes (e.g., bacterial antibiotic resistance). There is no empirical evidence that Darwinian mechanisms can do much more than this (especially no evidence that such mechanisms can produce complex, functionally integrated machinery), and plenty of evidence that they can’t (that’s what Behe’s Edge is all about).

  12. E.O makes no sense whatsover.

  13. ellazimm,

    your said

    “I will do my best to be open minded but I’d feel better with objective data.”

    “Can I please ask everyone to honestly examine the evidence for premise 2. My contention is that there is quite a lot of positive physical evidence that is in accordance with evolutionary theory whereas there is very little positive empirical evidence in support of ID.”

    You say you like objective information. Then I think you have to put up or shut up. What is the extensive positive physical evidence that is in accordance with evolutionary theory for creating IC, SC and OC? You have to understand you will be the first one to do this, so we are not too hopeful. But give it a shot. And by the way explain just what is evolutionary theory. There are a lot of theories out there.

    Do you disagree that intelligence can create IC, SC and OC? What ID says that this is a given. No one doubts this. It also says that no non intelligent process has ever come close to creating these types of complexity. But you seem to disagree so the onus is on you.

    Good luck.

  14. Systems theory says that natural systems are self-organizing and evolve towards greater complexity. It’s really saying the same thing as Intelligent Design, but scientists might find the terminology more acceptable.

    Older scientific ideas like systems theory and vitalism are very relevant to the evolution controversy, but are seldom mentioned.

  15. Any researcher who can prove the existence of intelligent design within the accepted framework of science will make history and achieve eternal fame. They will prove at last that science and religious dogma are compatible.

    Why does E. O. Wilson think that present-day “Scientists” would even understand what they were looking at once it was submitted; especially since they haven’t understood it yet?

    - More than likely, religionists would recognize it before scientists would.
    - More than likely, it would be discarded as fantasy by “Scientists” and character assassination of the author(s) and his/their followers would begin.
    - More than likely, it wouldn’t be taught in schools because of the religious implications involved; especially if it proved the existence of God.
    - More than likely, it would end up being the target of mass suppression because it showed that “Good” and “Evil”, “Right” and “Wrong”, “Truth” and “Lie” truly exist.

    So, my question is that if someone had such a theory, to whom or to where would they submit it?

  16. This post and the comments by Aquiesce are disturbing to me and I am sure will be plenty disturbing to many other Americans. it sounds as if ID is attempting to distance itself from the God of the Bible. I know for a fact that ID was predicated upon the God of the Bible and it will not behoove the folks who are in charge of ID to attempt to distance themselves from the Designer.

    Compartmentalizations such as ‘well, it might be god or it might be aliens or something that has never even had interaction with mankind’ are the same kind of denials that the materialists make with respect to their absolute lack of a moral foundation since they deny the Holy Spirit.

    I find it hard to believe that such a godly man as DR Dembski and Phillip Johnson and Jonathan Wells are going on the record as saying it is possible that they are holding to a false faith, or that God might just turn out to be an alien or some aloof hyperdimensional being.

    If you don’t accept the God of the Bible then you are just as lost as the direst atheist materialist. What does it profit a man to gain the scientific establishment if he lose his very soul?

  17. “Certain biological systems have some diagnostic feature, be it IC (irreducible complexity) or SC (specified complexity) or OC (organized complexity) etc.”

    Can you define these terms such that they are functionally distinct from “I know it when I see it”? If so, then your point would be a lot stronger. What is exact the mathematical definition of SC, for instance?

    A journal of information theory would no doubt be very excited to publish such a useful tool that can reliably distinguish active design from the products of things like genetic algorithms (if, of course, you would allow for any such a distinction to be made such that SC wasn’t simply an assumed part of anything that looks complex or well adapted): you wouldn’t even have to mention ID or any implications at that point. Why not do that?

  18. Premise 2: Materialistic explanations have been spectacularly unsuccessful in explaining such systems — we have no positive evidence for thinking that material mechanisms can generate them.

    elazimm:
    “Premise 2: Again a matter of opinion and there is no positive empirical evidence against a deterministic explanation.”
    “…..My contention is that there is quite a lot of positive physical evidence that is in accordance with evolutionary theory whereas there is very little positive empirical evidence in support of ID.”

    What would you consider positive empirical evidence for a “non-deterministic” or ID explanation? A pattern in bone microstructure saying “a message from your sponsor”? Somehow observing the event by traveling back in time?

    In your disagreement it is your obligation to present the evidence. Please make it more than evidence for microevolution, which is fully accepted by ID proponents. This also needs to be more than fossil evidence of major transitional forms showing large evolutionary innovations at the order, class and higher levels (also accepted by ID proponents), but fossil evidence of the vast numbers of transitional forms to be expected from the NDE process.

  19. Lazarus, didn’t you get the memo?

    ID must be totally neutral on all God-talk if it’s going to be introduced in public schools as a scientific alternative to evolution.

    Hence design theorists are trying to re-cast the debate as one between a scientific theory which is at least compatible with monotheism (though not implying it) and one that is incompatible with monotheism.

    This is part of why, so far as I understand it, design theorists have been severely critical of “theistic evolutionists,” or for that matter, any person of faith who accepts neo-Darwinian evolution.

  20. magnan it sounds like you believe that men are descended from monkeys. If this is what ID is about I am pretty sure that we can do better. Dr Dembski and Phillip Johnson doesn’t believe this crap and I don’t know why he lets you say this sort of stuff on his blog.

    If Jesus was just an ape then the bible doesn’t mean anything, and if the bible isn’t true then ID isn’t true. there is not other possible designer than the god of the bible and it is a fools errand to go running around pretending that we don’t know that this is true, all in the name of some liberal postmodern all truths are created equal kind of jibberjabber.

  21. Carl Sachs,

    you said

    “This is part of why, so far as I understand it, design theorists have been severely critical of “theistic evolutionists,” or for that matter, any person of faith who accepts neo-Darwinian evolution.”

    Who are these design theorists who are critical of TE? There are plenty of people here who criticize TE but these are certainly not the design theorists you refer to.

  22. Here we go again. Lazarus, please review the recent debate with your comrade Solon in an earlier thread at http://www.uncommondescent.com.....th-throes/.

  23. Jerry,

    I was thinking of Dembski’s criticisms of “theistic evolution”:

    As far as design theorists are concerned, theistic evolution is an oxymoron, something like “purposeful purposelessness.” If God purposely created life through the means proposed by Darwin, then God’s purpose was to make it seem as though life was created without any purpose. According to the Darwinian picture, the natural world provides no clue that a purposeful God created life. For all we can tell, our appearance on planet earth is an accident. If it were all to happen again, we wouldn’t be here. No, the heavens do not declare the glory of God, and no, God’s invisible attributes are not clearly seen from God’s creation. This is the upshot of theistic evolution as the design theorists construe it.

    From “What Every Theologian Should Know about Creation, Evolution, and Design.”

    Moreover, I find that Dembski’s stance is well-represented among pro-ID bloggers here. Or am I totally off-base here?

  24. magnan are you going to address my comments or obfuscate and change the subject?

  25. Lazarus, you might not know this, but we’ve had some trouble lately with people who might have been pretending to be pro-ID but really trying to stir up trouble. (Or at least that’s how the situation seemed to most of the posters here. I still don’t know what was going on with “Solon.”)

    Don’t be surprised if you get a more critical or hostile response than you were expecting — that is, assuming you’re sincere.

  26. Lazarus,

    ID is compatible with Christianity as I see it. I also believe it is compatible with many other religions including pagan religions with multiple gods. It is also compatible with various forms of deism. Even cosmological ID does not necessarily point to monotheism. However, ID is not compatible with atheism. One has to look elsewhere than ID to support their particular religious or philosophical beliefs.

    And by the way, theistic evolutionists do not accept ID and consider themselves very good Christians. They look at ID as worshiping a lesser God, one that could not get it right from the beginning and thus had to constantly tinker. They believe God embedded the inevitability of life and all its variants as part of the initial conditions at the Big Bang. That according to them is a truly omnipotent God. Life to them is a high probability event not a low probability one.

    I do not agree with the TE’s but that is what many of them believe.

  27. Carl thanks for being mildly civil. I am as concerned as you about folks that purport to be pro-ID but when the roll is called are willing to backpedal and attempt to change the subject about what the true design inference is all about.

    I am very concerned that we are harming the cause of Christ.

    For those who wish to know, yes i was Solon.

    I was banned and not allowed to comment for three days and I gave up.

    Following this, a moderator has the temerity to tell me he will be watching my posts in the future!!! Can you believe this? I am eliminated from the conversation, commenters see this as a concession to their ill-conceived and contrived points, and then a MODERATOR tells me that he will be watching me closely! Watching me do what?

    This sort of intellectual dishonesty is at the heart of the ‘ID’ movement and is a serious obstacle to the stated goals of ID, namely winning souls for Christ. All this crap about ‘good science’ is just metaphysical masturbation and you would do well to get back to the basics and skip all of the crap that is just a carrot on a stick to non-believers and a political move to enlarge the base.

    And when you do that, you are not following Christ.

    kairos, I am real, and I don’t really care what your blog says or what kind of garbage you can post here without dealing with the issue: The bible is either true, or not. If it is not true, in your fallen opinion and in the opinion of ‘intelligent’ design, then I will encourage my fellow christians to disassociate themselves from the wolf in sheeps clothing that is ID.

    If you be not for Christ, you be not for me. I don’t know if you read the polls, but you need us.

  28. Carl Sachs,

    I will have to read Dembski’s article more closely and see how he treats the TE’s, especially the ones at ASA who think ID is screwed up theology.

    In the mean time, my beliefs on ID relative to religion are just above and I will have to read all of Dembski article to see if/how he differs. I am not a theologian by any means and Dembski is but so are many of the people at ASA who differ with him.

  29. Lazarus, I (and hopefully others here) see where you’re coming from, but consider the situation from their point of view.

    Firstly, if intelligent design is identified with, or necessarily entails, monotheism, then it cannot, under the present law, be taught as an alternative to neo-Darwinian evolution in a public school science class or in any university which relies on state or federal funding.

    You might think “so much the worse for the law!” but I’m afraid that’s pretty much how it stands.

    Thus, while an ID proponent can be a Christian, nothing about the logic of ID requires her to be a Christian. ID advertises itself as compatible with Christianity, and perhaps it is — but there’s an important difference between “compatible with” and “necessarily entails” and “is identical with.”

    Secondly, while you might not be interested in questions of evidence and theory, many of those here are interested in just those questions. You’ll do little but irritate those of us who find those issues of great interest.

    At the end of the day, you might be best served by simply saying that you and the IDers are fighting in two very different battles on the same war.

  30. Carl Sachs,

    Thanks for pointing out the article by Dembski. I believe it should be required reading for all who come here whether ID supporters or not.

    The other interesting thing about the article is that it was written 11 years ago and I find nothing or very little that should be changed.

    I have often made the claim that ID subsumes neo Darwinism and this article supports that position and so does Michael Behe.

    It is the Blind Watchmaker thesis which is at odds with ID, not neo Darwinism as a scientific theory. We have to recognize that they are different even though many biologists do not see the differences nor do many ID proponents. Both Dembski and Behe accepts neo Darwinism but maintains it has limits and its effect in terms of evolution is real but trivial. I doubt few would question the genetic implications of mutations on inheritance and disease which is classic neo Darwinism and of extreme importance.

    All those coming here with the idea that ID is vacuous should read the article before posting their comments that challenge ID.

  31. Lazarus, look, just get off of the site. This is not your site. And all of this crap about the dishonesty of the ID movement is all BS and you know it. People don’t even allow it to stand on its own two feet so we have to come here and talk to one another without constant interruption by a bunch of people like yourself who use nonsensical irrelevant arguments that have nothing to do with ID. This is why they have to monitor you. I question if you have even read the material and if you are even interested in ID in the first place or if you just come here for a bitch session. If it was my site you would be gone. If Jesus is your thing go do that but ID is not about Jesus. I repeat ID is not about Jesus. It is compatible with fundamentalist Christianity but it is not confined to it nor dependent on it. And we don’t need you. I don’t even want you. We don’t want to win the debate in the political or religious arena we want to win it in the scientific arena. If our (ID’s) ideas can’t champion origin science and appeal to the average mind then it is not meant to be heard. Or as Christ said “let the spiritually dead care for themselves.” It is people like you who constantly conflate ID with religion that are giving this scientific theory a bad name. This is not about Christ. It never has been and it never will be. Christ or no Christ ID stays. It never rested on Christ’s shoulders. ID is supported by the design inference and No Free Lunch and Michael Behe’s work with irreducibly complex biological mechanisms and Stephen Meyers work with fossils, DNA and digital code. We are not selling Christ. If ID increases your faith and that is what you want then great. But don’t come on this site to blabber about nothing and try to pick a political or religious fight. We are trying to progress science and philosophy- trying to move it beyond the fallacy of methodological materialism which ignores truth. If your posy of Christians are only interested in ID as a way of propping up your faith then your not real supporters of ID because you fail to grasp the theory for what it is and worse you are not real Christians because you fail to take Christ for his word. Christ might be the ultimate truth but it’s not provable and it’s not science. Christ always requested faith. Science requires facts.

  32. I was just going to comment that Lazarus was Solon raided from the dead, and there he goes, blowing his own cover. I’m a bit miffed that I didn’t get to post my conjecture before it was confirmed. A body always wants to look a bit prescient, for sure.

  33. Frost122585 – nice post

    Those linking ID to any particular religious view are, in my opinion, doing irreparable damaged to its standing at large and especially in the scientific establishment. As Frost has already aptly put it – ID is compatible with many religious views, but is not confined or dependant on them.

    Lazarus, you must understand that some people (myself included) could never accept the argument that there is a god which could apparently do what is claimed in the bible. This is not because we hate the idea of god.

  34. H’mm:

    I think we could all do with a bit of cooling off from the hot remarks above!

    (BTW, Lazarus/Solon — L/S — there is a Kairos here and a (different) Kairosfocus. I take it your remarks [though I was not present when they were made] target me, as Kairos so far as I know does not maintain his own reference site. If you object to the substance of what I have to say in my always linked, why not address it on the merits of fact and logic; here, especially the logic of inference to best explanation which is the underlying context of scientific thought? And, if you doubt that this is a reasonable exercise for a Bible-believing Christian, then perhaps you need to re-read Rom 1 – 2, esp. 1:19 – 24 [notice the appeal to the acknowledged validity of the evidence of nature without and heart and mind within], 2:6 – 8 and 14 – 16. And, of course, you have not to date taken up my invitation to dialogue from the previous thread.)

    Having noted as above, can we now focus on the interesting points that lie in the contrast between E O Wilson’s claim . . . .

    The formulation of intelligent design is a default argument advanced in support of a non sequitur. It is in essence the following: there are some phenomena that have not yet been explained and that (most importantly) the critics personally cannot imagine being explained; therefore there must be a supernatural designer at work

    . . . and Dr Dembski’s summary:

    This is a strawman. Here is the argument ID proponents [of whom Dr Dembski is arguably the leading exemplar] actually make:

    * Premise 1: Certain biological systems have some diagnostic feature, be it IC (irreducible complexity) or SC (specified complexity) or OC (organized complexity) etc.
    * Premise 2: Materialistic explanations have been spectacularly unsuccessful in explaining such systems — we have no positive evidence for thinking that material mechanisms can generate them.
    * Premise 3: Intelligent agency is known to have the causal power to produce systems that display IC/SC/OC.
    * Conclusion: Therefore, biological systems that exhibit IC/SC/OC are likely to be designed.

    I would especially be interested to see how Dr Dembski defines “organised complexity” as that is tied closely to functionally specified and integrated, complex information. At least, if I am correct to infer that he means something like “systems that are based on multiple, interacting, integrated information- using/based structures that work together towards a common target in a specific environment.” That is, an extension of CSI and IC. [I have in mind things like communication systems, control systems, and general processing systems that use information to structure and/or control the way inputs of materials and energy are transformed into useful products. Photosynthesis and the gene to protein process come to mind for life systems.]

    Also, I believe that it is indeed fair inference and comment to note that we have abundant evidence that FSCI is a commonly observed product of agency [e.g this post, the PCs we are using to read this on], and AFAIK none that it is an observed product of chance + necessity only.

    For in every case where we do observe the causal story directly, we see agents at work, and we have good reasons tied to the underpinnings of statistical thermodynamics, to see that in the context of contingency and sufficiently large configuration spaces, it is maximally unlikely for random walk processes [however filtered for function after the fact] can find the islands and archipelagos of function. That is of course what I discuss in my always linked, Appendix 1 section 6.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: I, too was very impressed with the paper CS linked, and indeed, this is one of the documents that made me sit up and take notice of the ID movement. I think, based on my reading of Rom 1 – 2 as noted above to L/S, that today’s theistic evolutionists have some significant scientific AND theological challenges to meet. Finally, CS’s civility and fair-mindedness are a model for us all.

  35. kairosfocus,

    Below is a quote from Behe at Dover and from this I believe you can see the difference in Organized Complexity from the other two types of complexity though I can see IC can be part of OC in many cases.

    ” ‘On the next slide is a short summary of the intelligent design argument. The first point is that, we infer design when we see that parts appear to be arranged for a purpose.

    The second point is that the strength of the inference, how confident we are in it, is quantitative. The more parts that are arranged, and the more intricately they interact, the stronger is our confidence in design.

    The third point is that the appearance of design in aspects of biology is overwhelming.

    The fourth point then is that, since nothing other than an intelligent cause has been demonstrated to be able to yield such a strong appearance of design, Darwinian claims notwithstanding, the conclusion that the design seen in life is real design is rationally justified.’ ”

    Apparently this explanation was too much for Judge Jones to comprehend.

  36. Jerry

    Thanks.

    GEM of TKI

  37. ellazim

    I didn’t notice anyone refuting your argument against premise 1. If you know the definitions of IC/SC/OC then these are not disputable.

    IC – irreducible complexity is any component assemblage performing a task wherein if any component part is removed it cannot perform the task. Let’s take an automobile for an example. Its task is transportation. We could remove windows, fenders, seats, heater, radio, or any of many other components and it would still perform its task. It is not irreducibly complex. However, as we remove components we would eventually reduce it down to a critical set which was irreducibly complex – axles, wheels, and frame for instance – remove any of those and it no longer functions for transportation in any reduced capacity. It could still serve for something like shelter but it’s useless for the original task. Irreducible complexity does not preclude being useful for something other than the original task – it merely states that removing any component completely spoils the current task. Assemblages of biological components in living things exhibit irreducible complexity in spades. Let’s take a spider and its task is to produce more spiders. You could remove some legs, sensory organs, and many other components without completely disabling its ability to reproduce but at some point nothing more can be removed without completely disabling its ability to produce more spiders.

    Specified Complexity – this an arbitrarily complex pattern that can be independently described. The independent description is the specification. Complexity is defined by Dembski as any pattern which can take on 10^150 or more different permutations. Again let’s look at an automobile. The complexity is given by the number of possible arrangements of the atoms that make it up which easily exceeds 10^150 possibilities. The independently given specification is a self-powered transportation device. Clearly the number of arrangements of its atoms that don’t result in a self-powered transportation device so vastly exceed in number those that do that we can confidently say that an arrangment made by pure chance is so unlikely to produce an automoble that a finite universe with the constraints of space, time, and physical laws of ours won’t produce an automobile. Yet millions of automobiles exist. The reason they exist is because of intelligent design. Intelligent agents make possible what is otherwise statistically impossible. There is no reasonable argument that biological systems do not exhibit specified complexity. The argument is over whether non-intelligent agency can produce biological specified complexity.

    OC – I’m not sure what the formal definition of that is. I presume it’s some combination of IC and SC.

    IC/SC/OC as defined above are clearly and logically diagnostic of design but that doesn’t mean they are certain markers of design. That’s where premise 2 comes into play. The caveat is that no search for non-intelligent mechanisms can ever be complete. They may be exhaustive but there always remains the possibility that something was overlooked, remains hidden, or that chance beat almost impossible odds. This is where reasonable doubt must be exercised. It’s theoretically possible that an automoble could somehow become assembled without intelligent agency but no reasonable person has any doubt that the universe as we know it will not produce an automobile absent intelligent causation. Biological systems are not the same as an automobile of course. Reasonable doubt exists with many reasonable people that non-intelligent mechanisms can spontaneously generate novel biologically complex systems. The onus is on them to demonstrate a reasonable possibility. We already know that intelligent agency can produce these levels of novel complexity. What we don’t know is if any other mechanism is adequate. Chance & neccessity (Darwin’s paradigm) is essentially trial and error with feedback. Trials are generated by chance (random mutation), errors are evaluated by natural selection, and feedback is accomplished by DNA storing the trial arrangement and (if the trial is not catastrophic)generating another trial with new random mutations. Theoretically it’s possible for this mechanism to generate novel biological complexity but it can only be observed generating trivial novelties which are usually destrimental (often catastrophically detrimental) and when not detrimental are seldom anything but very near neutral (hardly any good). Theoretically possible does make something reasonably possible. ID proponents don’t believe this mechanism makes evolution reasonably possible. It appears to us that the more science reveals about the true complexity of biological systems and the mechanism of chance & neccessity is increasingly inadequate to explain it.

  38. Dr Dembski

    Your 3rd Premise states: “Intelligent agency is known to have the causal power to produce systems that display IC/SC/OC”.

    Shouldn’t that be ‘MATERIALISTIC Intelligent agency …..”?

    I see a paradox here (does anyone one else?) which I haven’t managed to get a satisfactory answer to, which is: – if we want to say that materialistic explanations aren’t up to the job (cf: Premise 2) then how can we rely on explanations dependent upon materialism to support our case?

  39. OK WD, What is OC?

  40. Moderator,

    Could you please stop “moderating” my comments? To my knowledge, I have made no previous comments that deserve this, yet I have not always had my comments moderated. Usually, by the time my comment is cleared to post it is buried in the quagmire of other posts and forgotten.

    Thank you,
    John Kelly

  41. John Kelly,

    The system is automated and you’re being treated the same as everyone else.

  42. Why am I being treated differently? You banned me silently the first time I was here and would not allow posting of comments. Then a moderator used my absence to claim that I was a sockpuppet troll (I had to look that up). It was very frustrating and not a good witness.

  43. It’s not personal. Besides personal attacks, ranting, and bouts of cursing, unfortunately there are Darwinists who take perverse pleasure in parodying a contrived stance as an “ID proponent”. I don’t know you so it is difficult to judge your sincerity solely based upon your comments. Google “Shelley the Republican”…I’ve seen those people organize an attack on ID sites before. Just the other day I blocked a poster who was claiming to be a student but the registration information indicated this person was part of an organized atheist organization that explicitly claims its purpose is to defend their beliefs on the internet.

    The short response to your stance is that (as Dembski would put it) ID gives epistemic support in the form of greater explanatory power for Christianity. Unfortunately, the core of ID itself does not currently contain the tools/methods necessary for DesignER detection. So we’re just being honest when we say ID does not point at a specific Designer such as God–it does not because it cannot.

    Also, I wasn’t the moderator who put a temporary 3 day hold on your Solon account.

  44. I’ve been meaning to start collecting the “lovely” sort of comments Darwinists typically make. Here’s one I just blocked:

    “Wilson has accomplished more in his life than your or your unenlightened offspring will ever hope to achieve.”

    I hope that makes people understand why moderation on UD is so heavy. I’ve blocked several instances of stuff like this just in the last couple minutes.

  45. ellazimm: I find your responses to Dr D’s premises to be astoundingly short of sense and substance.

    1. “Diagnostic”? Explain to us, in Darwinist terms, how exception trapping (error correction) mechanisms can arise w/o intelligence. It cannot be done. Knowledge of correct operation is a prerequisite of of error detection and correction.

    2. “matter of opinion”? Surely you jest. Where is the materialist empirical evidence? There isn’t any. The so-called ‘mountains of evidence’ we all keep hearing about is conspicuously absent in the labs. It’s actually mountains of conjecture and wishful thinking.
    In my years of debating Darwinists I’ve observed a singular constant, ubiquitous in every conversation. That constant is that every Darwinist thinks that some other Darwinist has a mountain of proof somewhere. However when asked to present that proof all you get is wild speculations based on micro-evolutionary processes – that neither creationist nor IDist contests. The proverbial mountain is always curiously absent.

    3. “Sufficient but not necessary.”?
    Again, you speak with your foot in your mouth. So what is necessary? And where is your proof? Only intelligence produces symbolic language. Only intelligence produces coded information systems. ONLY intelligence CAN produce such mechanisms.

    There has to be intent, convention and meaning in order for symbolic code to exist – code such as the ‘genetic code’. It is indeed a code. It has semantics, syntax, letters, words, sentences etc. DNA contains the book of life. Books don’t write themselves.

    You really ought to take a long time meditating on these things.

    Shallowness of reasoning is a trait peculiar, not only to the mentally impaired, but also to the materialist scientist. Just as Hoyle stated so clearly.

    “So it came about from 1860 onward that new believers [in Darwinism] became in a sense mentally ill, or, more precisely, either you became mentally ill or you quitted the subject of biology, as I had done in my early teens. he trouble for young biologists was that, with everyone around them ill, it became impossible for them to think they were well unless they were ill, which again is a situation you can read all about in the columns of Nature.”

    Math & Evolution

  46. The EO Wilson post is a perfect set-up for ID because of its thinly-veiled contempt for Christian faith. This pervasive contempt is the underlying reason for the strategy articulated by Phillip Johnson: leave God out of ID.

    As a practical matter, ID cannot win the fight in which it is now engaged if it must also shoulder Christian apologetics. ID is a silver bullet. Life, natural laws, intelligence—all of these cry out “Design!” All ID has to do, then, to bring the propaganda machine for materialism to a grinding halt is to calmly and patiently point out the obvious.

    History shows that using science in an attempt to describe God is futile, as the Dembski white paper implies. There is a qualitative difference between the mind of the scientist and physical reality. Hence it is impossible to identify God through science without characterizing him as pure difference—pure negation, as seen in Descartes—or pure action, as in Newton and Kant.

    Science cannot make the designer known, but science can certainly demonstrate that he exists. And this is just what is happening, not just in ID circles but in many areas of basic research, where less and less attention is being paid every day to the fanciful metanarrative that is Darwinism.

    It makes perfect sense to let the silver bullet slay the beast and carry on the other conversation(s) separately. Leaving God out of the conversation should not mean being ashamed of Christ, however. In that case the wedge strategy ceases to be a wedge and becomes subsumed by the very thing it abhors.

  47. Lazarus, “Why am I being treated differently?”

    You are being treated differently because you are approaching ID from a strong religous perspective, and condemning anyone who does not do likewise.

    I don’t have the privelage of banning you, but if I did, I would. Then I would go to church on Sunday, and worship the Lord with joy.

  48. Lazaruus (or is it Solon), Frost122585 (#33) well expressed my views concerning your attempts to disrupt and undermine this site. This is becoming tedious and repetitive, and was already somewhat hashed out on the previous thread I indicated. It is hard to see why you haven’t been banned.

  49. Testing whether I’m still being moderated (for no reason) before bothering to post an indepth response.

  50. magnan Christ said I come not to bring peace but a sword. That said I don’t need to answer Frost in kind. I am not the judge, God is, and I am trying to share with my fellow Christians why I think science is a dead end. Maybe some of you would like to cast off christians from ID but that would be biting the hand that has brought you here.

    by focusing on answering atheist materialism with theistic materialism ID is throwing the baby out with the dishwater. our one goal should be to win more souls to christ. Philip Johnson agrees. That should be the standard by which ID is measured and if it is then it is failing miserably now.

    No amount of research into insignificant tiny little invisible organisms can change the fact that the bible tells us all we need to know about science. God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It. I have read where Dr Dembski has said similar things about the Word. I believe that he would disagree with you but I fear that he is getting caught up in the worldly battle and losing focus on the spiritual battle.

    So by focusing on the messenger rather than the message you have contrived a convenient path to deny the validity of my comments without dealing with them. I have come to expect this from liberal materialists and atheists but I see that this postmodern relativism has found its way into even those who believe God designed the world with a purpose. For that I am truly sorry and we will pray for you.

  51. ellazimm #29

    All your evidence will conform to Genetic Entropy, I’ll disprove this one, and then I’ll disprove any other specific one of your choosing if you wish.

    Sticker’s sarcoma:

    Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT), also called transmissible venereal tumor (TVT), Sticker tumor and infectious sarcoma is a tumor of the dog and other canids that mainly affects the external genitalia, and is transmitted from animal to animal during copulation.

    Riddle of infectious dog cancer solved

    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....news_rss20

    of special note:

    A mysterious contagious cancer which plagues dogs throughout the world may be the first truly transmittable cancer known, a new study suggests.

    The cancer cells themselves move directly from dog to dog, acting “parasitically” on each infected animal, the researchers say.

    Canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) spreads between dogs through sex or other forms of contact, such as licking and biting, they believe.

    The same cancer appears to infect dogs throughout the world and probably originated from a cancer in a single wolf, or a dog closely related to a wolf, which lived between 250 and 1000 years ago, the researchers say.
    Direct descendents

    Previously, viruses were suspected of spreading CTVT in the same way that the human papilloma virus – found in genital warts – spreads cervical cancer to women through sex.

    But a new genetic analysis shows that the dog cancer cells are direct descendents of tumour cells from the long-dead animal in which the disease originated.

    “The cancer escaped its original body and became a parasite transmitted from dog to bitch and bitch to dog until it had colonised all over the world,” says lead researcher Robin Weiss at University College London in the UK.

    “The idea that this is caused by transfer of the cancer cells themselves, not a cancer-causing virus, has been around for 30 years,” says Weiss. “Now we’ve proved it through forensic DNA analysis.”

    Weiss said that the discovery makes the cancer, otherwise known as Sticker’s sarcoma, “the oldest cancer known to science”, and possibly the world’s longest-lived colony of cloned mammalian cells.

    also:

    The disease seems to have been more aggressive in its past, the researchers say.

    and:

    Dog cells normally have 78 chromosomes; TVT tumor cells contain 57 – 64 chromosome

    Thus it has less information than was first present in the dogs/wolfs from whence it came.

    Thus, It is not proof of the generation of “new” meaningful information in a living organism , which is required to be done to prove evolution true and falsify Genetic Entropy.

    I can guarantee you that all your examples will conform to Genetic Entropy when scrutinized and that you will never demonstrate the generation of novel, meaningful, information by random processes.

  52. ellazimm #29 A little more background;

    Comparison of the tumour DNA with that of different dog breeds, conducted with geneticists and computer experts in Chicago, showed that the culprit is likely to have been a wolf or ‘old’ Asian dog breed from China or Siberia, such as a Husky or Shih Tzu. By counting the mutations in the DNA, the team also concluded that the dog lived between 250 and 1000 years ago.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....075902.htm

    As well I wanted to ask you “Do you falsely believe, as Dawkins does, that Dog Breeding proves evolution?”

  53. do you put babies in the dishwasher?

  54. that last one was in response to Lazarus
    “theistic materialism ID is throwing the baby out with the dishwater”

  55. I may have mixed my metaphors but that does not excuse you from contriving means to evade the point.

  56. lazarus,
    I apologize, I just thought it was funny.

    I would ask you something though. If I were Muslim, could I participate in ID without being baptised, or will you refuse to work with me?

  57. ba77,

    I know there was a paper, I can’t remember in what journal right now but I will try to find it, that characterized chromosome number in HeLa’s. The conclusion being a mean of around 90 with a range from 60-140 (numbers are approximations, what I can remember). This seems like an increase in information to me, though, multiple copies of the same code may not qualify. In the same vein, a smaller number of chromosomes does not necessarily mean less information. Furthermore, evolution does not predict greater or lesser information/complexity, just change – it predicts no direction.

  58. Lazarus, I don’t want to add to your agony, or shake your belief, but where exactly does the Bible tell us all we need to know about science?

    Re your post 51: ” the fact that the bible tells us all we need to know about science. God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It.”

    And which version of the Bible do you consider true & infallible?

  59. Leo,

    Evolution does predict greater information/complexity. It started with simple cells and has resulted in us and other very complex animals. If evolution can’t do that, then something else must account for the increase in complexity.
    Also I really don’t think that evidence that a mutation that decreases the complexity of an organism should be taken as evidence that evolution can INCREASE the complexity of an organism.

  60. Re. #29: Elazimm, my point was that your requirement for positive physical empirical evidence (i. e. a “maker stamp”) for ID was unreasonable. Unless you presume to know the intentions of the inferred intelligence behind evolution. For events in the deep past, fossils and DNA and comparative physiology of living related organisms constitute the physical evidence for any view of how it actually happened.

    So how does the physical evidence stack up? You say ” ….that (fossil) record, as far as I can tell is consistent with our current understanding of evolution…..There will always be gaps in the fossil record but gaps do not disprove the theory. And the gaps keep getting narrower and narrower!”

    Well, that certainly expresses the party line for NDE. To be technical, the all embracing application of NDE theory espoused by most evolutionists. This is sort of whistling in the dark and an expresssion of faith. The reality of the fossil record was well expressed by Gould: “…the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology….The history of most fossil species includes two features inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear… 2. Sudden Appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’ (Natural History 86(5), 1977, ps. 14, 13).

    This situation just isn’t going away: “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution so long. It never seems to happen. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Yet that is how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution. (Eldridge, “Reinventing Darwin, 1995, p. 95).

    The Cambrian Explosion is perhaps the most glaring discrepancy with the expectations of NDE. A couple of quotes from the professional literature show the actual situation for the theory. “If we were to expect to find ancestors to or intermediates between higher taxa, it would be the rocks of the late Precambrian to Ordivician times, when the bulk of the world’s higher animal taxa evolved. Yet traditional alliances are unknown or unconfirmed for any of the phyla or classes appearing then.” (Valentine, Development As An Evolutionary Process, p.84, 1987). “The Cambrian Explosion occurred in a geological moment, and we have reason to think that all major anatomical designs may have made their evolutionary appearance at that time. …not only the phylum Chordata itself, but also all its major divisions, arose within the Cambrian Explosion…. Contrary to Darwin’s expectation that new data would reveal gradualistic continuity with slow and steady expansion, all major discoveries of the past century have only heightened the massiveness and geological abruptness of this formative event…” (Gould, Nature, Vol.377, 26 10/95, p.682).

    These quotes are only to show that clearly some of the foremost evolutionists, who know far more than you or me about the fossil evidence, deviate from the “part line” you stated.

    Of course, as the culture war has heated up, it has become more and more politically incorrect and career damaging for professionals to express such objective, realistic views of the current state of the science.

    Very recently in another thread, Dr. Allen MacNeill (hardly an ID advocate, but remarkably open minded) stated “As for macroevolution, I agree that at the present time we have little or no formal theory predicting the observed patterns of change in deep evolutionary time”. Quite an understatement. Of course he followed this up with the usual affirmation that although there is no valid theory, macroevolution still happened. Of course it did – the issue is how it happened, and the evidence does not support NDE as the explanatory model. The Cambrian explosion, development of oxygen breathing systems, bird and bat wings, dolphin/sperm whale biological sonar, it goes on and on. There is only a lot of speculation, “just so” stories.

    The important evolutionary transformations in complexity and innovation always happen “somewhere else” and are not captured as fossils. NDE is a gradual tiny step-wise process which should show up as such in the fossil record. But the vast majority of fossils show a sort of stasis in innovation. So it would always have to somehow be taking place in small peripheral populations that are generally not fossilized due to small numbers, or always happens too fast to leave enough fossils to be detected. But the small peripheral populations are too small to have the large pool of variation needed by the NDE process to select from in each generation. If it always happens too fast for fossilization the number of generations for NDE to accomplish the transformation is severely limited. The last possible explanation is that conditions for fossilization always just happen to be unfavorable during macroevolution, clearly untenable. So this is recognized as a major problem in NDE, with no satisfactory solution as of yet.

    The examples you offered were undeniable examples of microevolution. The NDE model of gradualistic differential selection of modified alleles in a population certainly explains some microevolution. But I specifically asked for more than evidence for microevolution, which is fully accepted by ID evolutionists. Assuming it can account for macroevolution is a huge stretch incompatible with an examination of the empirical fossil data and consideration of the issues of irreducible complexity and specified complexity, the latter two of which you dismissed without justificational backup.

    You ask, “…. what evidence would convince you that evolution can account for the systems you cite?” If you mean neoDarwinian “blind watchmaker” evolution, the very evidence that continues to be missing despite more than a century of looking.

  61. “…the bible tells us all we need to know about science.”

    -Lazarus

    Have you taken your thorozine lately?

    I think that you are clearly either an insane person or a atheist masquerading as an ID proponent. You cant be dumb because your vocab is too developed. Being that insanity is rare i would say you are a fraud. And i not only warn the people on this web blog about it but i think regular people posting should realize this and ignore you. Even the Amish know that the bible doesn’t tell us all we need to know about science. This is the most ridiculous comment i have heard in a year.

    “Why am I being treated differently?”(Lazarus)

    I cant imagine why. Maybe the bible has an answer to this question next to that section about cancer treatments.

  62. excuse me i meant an athiest methodological materialist- even an athiest could beleive in ID.

  63. Duncan-

    No, it should not be materialistic intelligent agency. The reason is that even with in the confines of materialistic causes there has to be at the beginning of the historical regress some kind of intelligent organized cause. If the big bang is the cause of all complexity in the world then all those examples of SC, OC, IC had to be factored into the nature of that fist cause. In other words the cause of the fist physical cause must have been intelligence. People can design things within the laws of materialist methodology but the cause of humans and so forth will eventually require intelligence of some other kind. The universal probability bound and all of the empirical evidence of SC,IC in nature support this.

  64. ellazimm 62

    bornagain77 (#53): I think dog breeding demonstrates the ability to manifest variation but I don’t think the ability to create new breeds of dogs disproves evolutionary theory.

    The main question is “Did new information arise in the sub-speciation of dogs from wolves?”
    We can now answer this question from genetic studies that have been done.

    Here is a Paper that has confirmation of dogs and grey wolves staying within principle of Genetic Entropy.

    http://jhered.oxfordjournals.o.....0/1/71.pdf

    of special note:
    Some sequences found in dogs were identical to those in wolves…
    The sequence divergence within (breeds of) dogs was surprisingly large: the mean sequence divergence in dogs 2.06 + or – 0.07% was almost identical to the 2.10 + or – 0.04% (sequence divergence) found within wolves. (notice that sequence divergence is slightly smaller for dogs than for wolves)
    Coupled with the diverse morphology of domesticated dogs and known hazards of dog breeding, this evidence strongly indicates “front loaded adaptations” at a loss of information from parent species. Thus, this is genetic confirmation of the principle of Genetic Entropy for dogs from wolves!

    This overall pattern of evidence (loss of morphology and loss of genetic diversity) conforms strongly to the evidence supporting the principle of Genetic Entropy found for humans.

    i.e.;Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.”

    even mungo man conforms to genetic entropy;

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....rtid=33358

    Of special note:
    Adcock et al. (7) clearly demonstrate the actual extinction of an ancient mtDNA lineage belonging to an anatomically modern human, because this lineage is not found in living Australians. Although the fossil evidence provides evidence of the continuity of modern humans over the past 60,000 years, the ancient mtDNA clearly does not.

    Thus loss of genetic information even though the fossil record is consistent.

    On and On it goes Elazimm:

    As Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould pointed out almost three decades ago, the general pattern for the evolution of diversity (as shown by the fossil record) follows precisely this pattern: a burst of rapid diversity following a major ecological change, and then a gradual decline in diversity over relatively long periods of time. This is clearly the case among east African cichlid fish, such as those in Lake Malawi and Lake Victoria. As numerous studies have pointed out, Lake Victoria is only a little over 12,000 years old, while Lake Malawi is approximately 1.5 million years old. Lake Victoria has (or had, until the introduction of the Nile perch) over 600 species of cichlids, while Lake Malawi has many, many fewer (the exact numbers are not known, due to rapid species turnover and the difficulty of sampling fish species in these lakes). In other words, the older the lake, the lower the species diversity.
    Allan Macneill

    http://www.terradaily.com/repo.....s_999.html

    “That led me into thinking there’s something weird about these very primitive Cambrian trilobites that you don’t see in other (more recent) ones,” he said.

    The only way to verify his hunch was to conduct an analysis that combined the data compiled in previously published reports. “It’s too much for one person to look at a thousand trilobite species,” Webster said.

    So for his Science study, Webster combed through 68 previously published studies of trilobites, searching for descriptions of evolving characteristics that could be incorporated into his analysis. After eliminating studies that were inappropriate for inclusion, 49 still remained.

    He focused on actively evolving characteristics. The trilobite head alone, for example, displays many such characteristics. These include differences in ornamentation, number and placement of spines, and the shape of head segments. His findings: Overall, approximately 35 percent of the 982 trilobite species exhibited some variation in some aspect of their appearance that was evolving. But more than 70 percent of early and middle Cambrian species exhibited variation, while only 13 percent of later trilobite species did so.

    “There’s hardly any variation in the post-Cambrian,” he said. “Even the presence or absence or the kind of ornamentation on the head shield varies within these Cambrian trilobites and doesn’t vary in the post-Cambrian trilobites.”

    thus conforming to Genetic entropy.

    Elazimm, Trilobites appeared suddenly at the very beginning of the Cambrian explosion and were in the fossil record for over 270 million years. Don’t you think one line would have become something other than a trilobite over all those millions of years? Don’t you think within species variation should of increased instead of decreased? Don’t you think diversity of the within trilobite orders should of increased instead of decreased?

    The evidence goes on and on elazimm: without any falsification of the ID/Genetic Entropy mo^del and without any persuasive evidence supporting the validity of the neo-Darwinian mo^del.

    As well elazimm, if it is possible for complex information to suddenly appear in the Big Bang why is it not also possible for complex information to suddenly appear in the Biological Big Bangs found in the fossil record and alluded to by Eugene Koonin:

    The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution.
    [My paper] Eugene Koonin
    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Major transitions in biological evolution show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity. The relationships between major groups within an emergent new class of biological entities are hard to decipher and do not seem to fit the tree pattern that, following Darwin’s original proposal, remains the dominant description of biological evolution. The cases in point include the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of viruses; archaea and bacteria, and the principal lineages within each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla. In each of these pivotal nexuses in life’s history, the principal “types” seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization. No intermediate “grades” or intermediate forms between different types are detectable. Usually, this pattern is attributed to cladogenesis compressed in time, combined with the inevitable erosion of the phylogenetic signal.

    http://lib.bioinfo.pl/pmid:17708768

    Again Ellazimm, conforming to ID/Genetic Entropy exactly!

  65. Just to rephrase my earlier comment, for the moderators: Allowing this kind of fundamentalist ranting on UD is probably a bad idea and counterproductive. It is a tradeoff at best. Avoid offending some important ID supporters at the cost of wasting time on peripheral issues, giving Panda’s Thumb, et. al. plenty of ammunition, and offending or even driving off many other ID advocates.

  66. Bornagain77, you said, in part:

    Yet when material is taken to its most basic level, with quantum mechanics, it defies any presupposed material explanation and only finds a reasonable explanation within the Theistic framework, i.e. a sub-atomic world that is not limited by time or space built by a Creator Who is not limited by time or space.

    Be careful. Not so sure here. I’m a sympathetic ear but what is not easily understood is easily abused. THAT is more likely the case with QM—this flagrantly abused notion that in the QM realm you have properties that “defy” common sense. This abuse now extends to the patently moonbat notions of Man as Exterminator of Cosmic proportions. See for example the latest nutty abuse of QM in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ear.....mos121.xml

    If I truly believed this “extension” of certain uncertainties and destructiveness of mere observations, I’d also ask for a half-dead cat for Christmas.

    (you won’t need to feed it until you open the box to see if its actually alive) :0

    S (Schrodenger) WT

  67. Magnan, I appreciate your inability to deal with my arguments directly and instead your dismissive comments and whining for censure shows that you have no answers.

    That said I may have mispoken a bit. The bible tells us all we need to know about science, is true, but a better way to put it is science doesn’t tell us anything that we need to know.

    All that we need to know is the message of the bible: God sent his Son to die for us and redeem our sins, and the only important choice we make here on Earth is to accept Him. Fancy apologetics that simply confuse believers with materialist nonsense (yes, that is exactly what much of what I have seen from ID proponents here is) is not a good witness. Using math and big words does not save any souls. There is no secret inside dog cancer cells or in a blood clot that can do anything to save your eternal soul, and that is all that matters in this world.

    To argue that I am wrong is to argue that it doesn’t matter if you are a good witness to your neighbors and to your family that aren’t saved.

    I don’t see how anyone can call themselves a Christian if they do not want to be a good witness, and I don’t see why anyone would be interested in the ID movement if they WEREN’T a christian, unless they are simply the same kind of materialists that they claim to be against, and it is a power struggle.

    This life will pass away, and all the bacteria flagellum in the world will not save you. Only Jesus can, and you will never find Him through science or counting rocks in a microscope. These things are ‘knowledgely falsely so-called’ that the bible speaks about in the last days, and I hate to see fellow Christians taking the mark of the beast just because they have been led astray by ideologues and false doctrine.

  68. well I have no problem with people saying what they think even if it seems impractical. My concern is this. As long as the regular media and class rooms across the country reject ID we have to have a place where we can continue to discuss and develop the ideas/ concepts of ID. Basically we have to get ID into the social arena but as long as it is banned by government we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I think the site has good members overall. I just hope people like Lazarus aren’t allowed to continue to speak totally of topic. The issue is topic. If I got on here and talked all about golf and had the audacity to call ID proponents “metaphysical masturbators” I should be banned, not simply for being off topic or just for language but for disinterest and disrespect. Religion is relevant in moderate amounts but proselytizing is clearly not what this site is for.

  69. Well I’ll deal with your arguments Lazarus. Ok, first I would like to make clear that all of your arguments in the formal sense are a bunch of assertions that basically all fall under the argument that a. the bible is literally true b. the bible is the only truth that matters and c. the bible is all that matters. This site and the work that built ID theory don’t even mention the bible. This site is not a religion site.

    But lets first deal with the premises of your stupid argument. A. the bible is true.

    ok how do you know this for sure. Were you alive when Christ was alive if he ever lived? Did you see the miracles? How do you know that his body wasn’t removed by other people? How do you know that the bible wasn’t written by other people not present for any of this and that it isn’t all heresy or gossip. Where is the video evidence? How can you test this theory? The answer to al of these question that arise with your assertions is 3 things 1. no one knows. 2. it cant be proven. and 3. it isn’t science.

    ID 1. is known to exist 2. can be proven or falsified (in the scientifically superfluous sense) and IS science.

    So as you can see your argument is all based on assertions out of belief. This is not science.

    But i think the real reason you want an ID advocate to debate you is you want us to disprove Christianity because as a Darwinian evolutionist you think we are all closet creationists. Well I am not.

    I was raised Christian. I pray sometimes if I have a problem or something but I don’t know the bible to be true. I don’t force it on other people and I don’t tell other that i know its true when i know that I don’t know if its true or not. I do however hope it is. And I do think ID is science. I think the universe displays signs of intelligence that transcends the ideas of randomness and pointlessness and simple physicals.

    In case you haven’t realized it almost all of the stories that are posted by the formal contributors to this site are about science and design not Christ and religion. And you are being singled out because you are off topic so bad that I think you are a fraud.

  70. Dembski purportedly has said “any view of the sciences that leaves Christ out of the picture must be seen as fundamentally deficient”. I agree, but would go one further: our worldview must BEGIN and END with Christ.

    The great Henry Morris has said “There’s another very important factor to keep in mind. As Christians, we ought to be more concerned with winning souls for eternity than getting a hearing in the public forum. And even more important than winning souls for Christ is unreservedly honoring God’s Word, forever “settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). Someday all the schools will be gone and even heaven and earth will “pass away” but His Word “shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

    By attempting to argue without the Bible, however, the Intelligent Design theorists are ignoring the most important aspect of the whole question—namely, the history of life on Earth. After all, the creation/evolution issue is really a question of history, rather than science. Not could evolution happen, but did it happen? Evolutionists seem to think that Darwin proved that natural selection could account for all the amazing evidences of design in nature. If they can imagine how a feature might have evolved, they feel that proves it did happen. Any impossible event will occur if there is enough time, they like to claim.”

    And IDists seem to think that ‘Intelligent Design’ can account for all the things that evolutionary materialism cannot. They are also mistaken, for only God can account for those things. Thus, God and Intelligent must be synonymous. If so, why the insistence that they don’t need to be, unless Christians are comfortable being ashamed of their faith and lying when they know FULLY WELL who the Designer is.

    So I am not proselytizing. I assume that if you are here, you are probably a Christian. I would like you and all others, me included, to consider our witness and the damage that trying to argue with science does to it.

    Science tells us nothing worth knowing.

  71. Frost the reason that you pray is that you know deep down that God loves you and wants you to come back to him.

    The bible is true because God said it is, and not because of any of the materialist arguments you have put forth but because I have a relationship with the holy spirit and that trumps all or any of your facts falsely so called.

    You have let science be your god and you will be judged by it.

  72. Well you said that god says it so its true but you didn’t say how you knew because you don’t know and you are a fraud. And more importantly you have no argument at all. I pray because as i made perfectly clear I was raised a Christian. People go to shrines in Japan if they are raised Shinto not because they know deep down god loves them. You are dishonest. Deep down I admit that I know intuitively that there is more. but you have not addressed the facts because you are consumed by your
    ego and arrogance. You think that only you are right and this is not science and just because you think it doesn’t mean that you are right. And as far as God judging me, Im not so sure but you are being judged for sure by everyone on this web blog who knows that you are way off topic.

    Now becuase of the responce (or lack there of) you posted to my comments I am no longer going to speak with you. I destryoed your argument you can no longer say no one adressed it. All you want to now do is create a theologicla debate that is never ending. Ill say how can God do this and youll quote the bible. I’ll say how can the bible be trusted when it contradicts itself here and youll create a metaphysical argument bsed on interpretaion. Its all nonsense because you are a fool. Not for beleiveing in God and Christ but for failing to recognise the purpose of this site and the perameters of the theory of intelligent design.

  73. I have never said that ID is not science. I have said that it is irrelevant, because science can tell us nothing that we need to know. ID, by aping scientific arguments, is only distracting the people who need the message of Christ the most: the unsaved.

    The witness of the Holy Spirit is how I know, frost. Not because of any man made apologetics or because of any ‘facts’ falsely so called. How can God contradict Himself? Walt Whitman said “I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes”. How much larger is God? For you to claim that God contradicts Himself is to call yourself God, for only God could even know that.

    You are struggling against God and I cannot help you with that, except to suggest that you seek refuge in His Word and not in fanciful imaginary stories of aliens creating fracterial blagellums or ‘guided evolution’.

  74. S Wakefield Tolbert,

    I’ve seen the nutty stuff floating around about QM, for all I know there could be some truth in the midst of all the garbage, but I still feel that when QM is thoroughly and properly refined, it will yield rich gold for the ID camp.
    Especially in establishing the fact that information is a thoroughly transcendent entity, Thus answering the primary question for the ID/evo debate, “Where is the information coming from?”

    for instance this preliminary evidence I’ve found:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....0354/posts

    of special note:
    But whereas in Bell’s test these quantities are derived from the so-called ‘linear’ polarization of the photons — crudely, whether their electromagnetic fields oscillate in one direction or the other — Zeilinger’s experiment looks at a different sort of polarization, called elliptical polarization.

    Like Bell’s, Zeilinger’s equality proved false. This doesn’t rule out all possible non-local realistic mo^dels, but it does exclude an important subset of them. Specifically, it shows that if you have a group of photons that all have independent polarizations, then you can’t ascribe specific polarizations to each. It’s rather like saying that you know there are particular numbers of blue, white and silver cars in a car park — but it is meaningless even to imagine saying which ones are which.

    Me again:
    So when they try to derive a specific measurement for information, in a group of photons, they have uncertainty in the photons, yet when an observer makes a measurement for a specific photon only then does the information become specific.

    I consider this experiment hard proof that information is not inherent to photons but is indeed independent of it. Thus ruling out the possibility of specific information arising from energy.

    I admit that evidence is a little hard to see but this next piece of evidence drives the point home:

    I found the following this morning in trying to establish informations independence and transcendence of the “material realm:

    http://www.siam.org/news/news.php?id=562

    Landauer’ s principle:

    The most enduring fruit of Landauer’s speculation is the (seemingly counter-intuitive) conclusion that the only part of the computing process that necessarily consumes energy is the erasure of information.

    Information on the position of the particle can be acquired reversibly without having to pay the energy bill, but erasing information does have a cost!

    Thus I reason, the law of conservation of information can be tied semi-directly to the law of conservation of energy.

    i.e. If information “arose” as a purely “material” supplement to energy then the first and second law would heavily suggest that the information could be erased with no consumption of energy.

    i.e. in fact the thermodynamic laws would suggest energy would be recovered from information upon its erasure, Since information would be presumed to be “made out of energy” in the materialistic framework. If information was truly a dependent “supplement” to energy, as is presupposed in materialism, then energy by all rights should be expected to be recovered by the informations erasure. Yet since erasure of information is proven to consume energy and computing “new information’ is proven to not necessarily consume information, this provides solid foundational scientific support to the fact that information is a completely separate entity from energy/matter.

    Thus, I would like to think, we can now safely say, like energy, information can neither be created nor destroyed.

    Information can be discovered by men, and written on material mediums, and information can be imparted into this material realm by a “Designer”, but ultimately all information that can exist already exist in the “spiritual realm”, it is timeless, it is a real “physical entity, that has the exact physical consequences to energy that would be required if the “spiritually real” existence is absolutely true!

  75. However, ID is not compatible with atheism. One has to look elsewhere than ID to support their particular religious or philosophical beliefs.

    Well, given that ID is nothing to do with religion, why would an atheist look towards ID to support his or her beliefs anyway?

    And ID is absolutely compatible with atheism. How many times do people like Dembski and Behe have to say that ID does not, cannot, identify the designer?

    Three non-religious possibilities for the identity of a designer:

    1) An advanced alien species seeding our planet and, perhaps, even guiding our development by means unknown and unseen.

    2) An even more advanced alien species who created our universe in their equivalent of a laboratory having designed all the parameters we now know as the fundamental laws of physics.

    3) We are all part of a designed simulation (a la The Matrix) that is indistinguishable from reality, and therefore is, to all intents and purposes, our reality.

    While there is no doubt that if any of these theories for the identity of a designer is true, there would be supreme theological and religious ramifications, none of the above designers could rightfully be considered a supernatural deity worthy of worship and adoration.

    While perhaps only (1) is reasonably plausible, none of them can be ruled out by ID. Asserting that the designer is a supernatural entity is a matter of faith, and will likely always remain so.

  76. Tyke, I would basically agree except I would say that atheism seems to fall both part outside and inside ID. If you believe that nothing designed the universe and this is your idea of atheism than no you cant believe i ID. Encarta dictionary says atheism mean someone who does not believe in god or deity. The problem is what is the definition of deity which they list as “a god is a postulated preternatural or supernatural being, who is always of significant power, worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, or respected by human beings.” The problem then arises that you cant not worship this deity and possible cannot think this deity to be holy or divine.” But ID allows for a designer that is not holy or divine or worshiped. Example of which is an extraterrestrial intelligence that designed things in the universe that we do not know of yet. Basically its obvious. Even an atheist has to admit the possibility of Design in the universe. Now if its proven ad the designer comes down they can reject the reality in denial. This too would be an atheist. But the possibility is still there. ID just allows this possibility to be acceptable in the scientific realm through the challenge of IC and SP. Also another possibility as laid out by William Dembski is a natural intelligence built in to the universe. In this sense the intelligence is there in the physical realm but no designer is revealed. An atheist can admit that design is detectible but may also at the same time reject the idea of a supernatural designer. The only problem then is the word supernatural. If it means hard to believe- like an alien intelligence that we cant yet realize then its ok. But if it means something that transcends the physical realm that is where atheists reject ID. An agnostic should be perfectly accepting of ID as it is a gateway where by his apathy could be swayed.

  77. ID just allows this possibility to be acceptable in the scientific realm through the challenge of IC and SP.

    You mean IDists claiming that ID does not require a deity is nothing but a scam to avoid the religious test in American law? Shh! Not sure you really want to say that here!

    I understand that the word supernatural can be a little fuzzy since anything that happens without an apparent cause can be considered to be supernatural (just as lightning used to be attributed to the Norse god Thor).

    But I don’t get why that rules out atheists from believe that ID is a valid theory. There is nothing in the theory of ID that requires the designer to be supernatural, so any discussion of the meaning of the word is moot.

    After barely 10,000 years our own civilization is already getting to the stage where we may someday soon be able to construct our own artificial lifeforms from scratch (yeah, maybe we’re still 100 or 200 years off still, but that’s a blink of a eye in cosmic terms).

    Just think where we might be after another million years of continued scientific progress, or another 10 million. It’s not hard to imagine an advanced alien race using technology within the scope of our scientific understanding to create life on Earth. There is nothing supernatural required, and therefore atheism is perfectly congruent with the possibility of that type of ID.

    I wrote a short story (unpublished) several years ago on exactly that premise. Humans found the remains of a long dead alien civilization, including a Science Hall of Fame that had a statue holding the representation of a strand of DNA which matched exactly to one found in all lifeforms on Earth (i.e. a copyright or signature). They had found the designer.

    The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize it was an ID-related story until months afterwards!

  78. 78
    cdesignproponentsists

    I have to admit that I agree with (2). If the Discovery Institute publishes its secrets, I’m sure the scientists will have no alternative to award you the Nobel Prize and place you in the history books. I personally think that Professors Dembski and Behe already have startling evidence for God, but are just waiting and seeing how far those bungling naturalistic scientists keep messing around with Chance.

    Tyke,

    I hope you’re not serious about aliens being the Designers. There’s only one logical answer as to what the Designer is. Who designed aliens?

  79. I may have not made my point that clear. The point is this, if supernatural intelligence requires something greater than us then some atheists may consider that a God of sorts. It depends on how an atheist defines him/her self. But ID falls under the materialistic sciences in so far as we are able to observe its effects empirically therefore atheists have to rule out logical causes (god or something of the sort) apriori. You see atheism is a belief system just like Christianity. It makes claims regardless of the evidence. That is why i say some atheists would agree with the science of ID and some not. Aliens could be considered super natural especially if they have technology that we cannot fathom. Likewise a unknown intelligence that is natural but built into the world could be considered supernatural. Irreducible complexity requires almost a supernatural explanation because all of the natural explanations have failed to account for it. In Dembski’s book no free lunch he explains that super natural doesn’t mean not natural or outside of nature but just extremely improbable or amazing but intelligent causation due to its incredible power could be excluded by atheists as some form of God. Atheism can be a form of religion with man at the center of all things. I don’t think it is a scam that ID does not require a deity. I think it is the reality of the theory. You just don’t need one. DNA, IC, SC, are all within the realm of alien intervention. Now there are some ID people who argue for fine tuning of the universe. This obviously makes the problem a bit bigger. It is difficult for us to picture a material intelligence that could create a universe but that does not mean one could not exist. It is the concept and the logic of its possibility that counts given the right evidence. Dembski often talks about an intelligence that is built into the universe. This is what Aristotle believed that the world was endowed with teleology. Whatever the nature of the intelligence is we don’t know and have no way of knowing but some atheists would dismiss the possibility apriori on the grounds that nothing more intelligent exists. Think of it this way could a biblical literalist accept evolution if it was against the word of the bible. No. Not even if evolution was proved as scientifically right. This is because literalist Christians already have prior commitments to the nature of origins.

  80. cdesignproponentsists, if you study the theory of ID you will see that it is about evidence and arguments not about God. And it is rediculous to think that Dembski and Behe and the rest know somthing like a smoking gun for God (whatever God you are refering to). If there is more break throughs like Irreducible Complexity or Specified Complexity they will come out as soon as they are formulted for all of the reasons any great sicentific theory is released, money, fame, forwarding science-philosophy etc. Now its possible that they are working on some new theories quietly as to avoide critcism before they finetune their arguments. As for God being the only answer read my post above I talked at length about how Intelligent Design is about detecting Intelligent causeation which could be alien. Most of the evidence for ID in biological such as IC. This is surely with in the reach of ET’s. Now as for the orign of those ET’s it could just be nature. It would be improbable but its possible. If it was the case there still is a place for ID when it comes to detecting the aliens design in nature say in DNA on earth. Many people think that it could only be God for all kinds of reasons but the fact is that your guess is as good as mine right now.

  81. To simplify: A liberal Atheist can except ID but a “Religious Atheist” (my term) cannot. Obviously Atheists could fall somewhere between these two extremes as believing in ID a little or barely at all.

    The point is one has to be able to accept the idea of detectible information transcending matter in some sense and that through this detection a logical inference of ID can be made. However, the problem arises with the reality of ID which points to a higher intelligence (or intelligences), at least in the vernacular sense of “higher”, due to the complexity of SC and IC, and while that intelligence could be material the “higher” part could be controversial for atheists.

  82. To be honest, I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with me or not! It would help if you could break your responses into paragraphs.

    You see atheism is a belief system just like Christianity. It makes claims regardless of the evidence.

    Well, atheists believe there is no evidence for a God, in particular a God as depicted in the holy books of the world’s major religions. But most atheists don’t rule out the existence of God entirely. They just think that the evidence is not strong enough to warrant following any religion.

    It’s often said that atheists are just like everyone else except that they believe in one fewer religion than the rest. To me, evidence for Christianity is just as weak as you all think the evidence for Islam, or Bhuddism, or Hinduism is.

    Irreducible complexity requires almost a supernatural explanation because all of the natural explanations have failed to account for it.

    Yes, but as I said, we are already developing the rudimentary tools to manipulate and, one day, create new life. It’s not even “almost supernatural”, it’s simply a matter of having a mature enough technology.

    In Dembski’s book no free lunch he explains that super natural doesn’t mean not natural or outside of nature but just extremely improbable or amazing but intelligent causation due to its incredible power could be excluded by atheists as some form of God.

    Well, that’s fine, but that’s what most people would call “seems to be supernatural”. I am using the widely accepted definition. Prayer, miracles, ghosts would all fall under the common definition. Advanced technology would not. We’re not there yet, but we probably will be some day.

    Atheism can be a form of religion with man at the center of all things.

    No. That sounds like Humanism. Not all atheists are Humanists. Atheism is simply belief that there is no supernatural entity worthy of worship. Nothing more, despite what many here will tell you. I certainly don’t think that man is at the center of all things. We are a part of nature and, given the vastness of the Universe, a highly insignificant part of it (except to us and our loved ones, of course!)

    Whatever the nature of the intelligence is we don’t know and have no way of knowing but some atheists would dismiss the possibility apriori on the grounds that nothing more intelligent exists.

    Only those few atheists who believe we are alone in the universe, and they have no hard evidence upon which to base that assertion. (In any case, it is usually Christians who will claim that Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation, for the obvious religious reasons.)

    Either way, ID is theoretically fully compatible with atheism, even if not many atheists actually believe it to be the correct explanation for how we got here.

  83. To simplify: A liberal Atheist can except ID but a “Religious Atheist” (my term) cannot. Obviously Atheists could fall somewhere between these two extremes as believing in ID a little or barely at all.

    The point is one has to be able to accept the idea of detectible information transcending matter in some sense and that through this detection a logical inference of ID can be made. However, the problem arises with the reality of ID which points to a higher intelligence (or intelligences), at least in the vernacular sense of “higher”, due to the complexity of SC and IC, and while that intelligence could be material the “higher” part could be controversial for atheists.

    I wish I’d seen the simplified version before I replied to you! :)

    I think that what you’re saying is that some atheists do not accept ID is possible.

    Well, I suspect you are correct, but that does not make them right. It is trivially easy to imagine aliens who are more intelligent than we are, given the endless supply of science fiction aliens we have to hand. It is also very easy to imagine that we are not the first planet upon which an advanced civilization developed, and that they, for whatever reason, decided to design and seed life on other planets.

    True, it does not solve the problem of where they came from, but the answer to that question is not accessible unless we one day met our alien designers. But then I believe the existence of an infinitely intelligent, omnipotent, omniscient supernatural deity is as equally as vexing and impenetrable, if not more so.

    The bottom line is that ID is compatible with a materialistic designer, and I think that you will find that most atheists would agree in theory, even if only a few actually believe ID to be a superior theory to evolution.

  84. And this is the substance of the whole argument of ID. Its ok to be an atheist. There are a lot of good reasons to be one or to reject the bible or other religious doctrines. But if the evidence points to more than just randomness and purposelessness and material causation then we need to stay open minded. ID theorists believe that intelligence accounts for the gaps as well as the evidence of SC and IC. This is why I am sympathetic to the idea. Not because of a prior commitment to God but because I have decided that my experience with Darwinian evolution and the debates and books that I have read have made ID more reasonable and probable due to ID’s explanatory power and the lack there of with Darwinian evo. A good atheist would look at the evidence and say you know what maybe your right, i reject God but maybe there is more intelligent causes in this world than humans and maybe they played a role in origins. But a full methodological materialistic atheist will say no, your wrong nothing is capable of designing except human beings which are just the result of purposeless, non-intelligent natural processes. Religious atheists reject the entire idea of intelligence as quantitative. Them its qualitative and subjective like the word beauty or something. s As one can see ID poses a serious threat to reasonable atheists and this is one of the reasons so many people hate the theory and why they call ID proponents CREATIONISTS and ID religion. The fear it because the evidence is coming down against a random purposeless universe where man is at the center. And this is why i get upset when I see Christian fundamentalists going off about Jesus and how ID is just fake form of religion. Both religious fundamentalists and religious atheists ignore and reject the facts of science because they fear a universe that is not exactly the way they want it. Everyone should be able to fallow the facts and decide honestly where they lead.

  85. tyke, i think we basically agree.

  86. But most atheists don’t rule out the existence of God entirely

    -Tyke

    Just to slip hairs yes most do. It is agnostic who say “show me evidence and ill take it in consideration very seriously.” Agnostics really are perfect people for ID because they have no prior commitments. As far as your coment about humanists I admit your right but i have never heard anyone say I am a humanist. My point here is that most humanists go under the title atheist due to its more popular acceptibility. So you are correct but I had humanists in mind it is just a term I rarely hear and use. My mistake. I think it would be inteesting to do a poll and see how many athieists are actually humanists and dont know it. Why did you have to complicate everyhting with the word humanist! :)

  87. tyke-Only those few atheists who believe we are alone in the universe, and they have no hard evidence upon which to base that assertion.

    Well the problem is that they would put the burden of proof on the ID proponents and not accept evidence until the fact is proven- but this is not sicence.

    Also I accept the natural definiiton of supernatural and would consider some unfathomable advanced alien technolnogy as supernatural if its effects were seen without any prior knowledge of its nature or existence.

  88. Just to slip hairs yes most do. It is agnostic who say “show me evidence and ill take it in consideration very seriously.”

    Well, we could debate the meanings of atheist and agnostic all night, but suffice to say that two of the most well known, militant and outspoken atheists (Dawkins and Hitchens) will tell you that they cannot completely rule out the existence of a deity. One would have to have God-like powers in order to rule it out.

    The main difference between agnostics and atheists is the degree to which they accept there could be a God. Agnostics think that it is possible, even probable, atheists, on the whole, think it is highly unlikely. (e.g. it’s possible the Face on Mars is an alien artifact, but you’d better show me some pretty darn good evidence before I am willing to believe it).

    It’s really two different regions on the same thread of disbelief, and I think you will find there is a great deal of overlap between the two camps.

  89. I don’t agree with your definitions. Atheists think there is no God and from this view look at evidence skeptically. Agnostics don’t care but don’t believe because most religions don’t have enough physical evidence to deserve belief. As far as overlap the bell curve applies to everything but atheists don’t believe in god at all and really don’t even regard the idea as possible. Agnostics are willing to weigh the facts and are open minded but don’t see the light yet. As for the face on mars I think an atheist would lean towards no way is that the result of a civilization because there was no other civilizations. But an agnostic might say well it looks like a face maybe it is well have to see more evidence first though. Atheism is a bias and it usually applies to God so these terms don’t work as well for physical alien design. I agree with you that atheism is compatible with ID but only as long as it is aliens or material intelligent design. The problem is that no free lunch then says that the aliens to be designed due tot heir specified complexity. This requires either a god like being or designer that transcends the physical world or a natural intelligence that it built into the world as Aristotle thought. The first is unacceptable to all atheists the seconded would push most atheists to the edge of their philosophical position. This is what ID holds. Dembski’s theory of sc applies to al things even the aliens. So if you use it to infer alien design you must then assume design of the aliens because they would most likely be very specified and complex. Basically there is only one view point that rules out ID and that is a philosophical belief that is called methodological materialism. What this says is that everything must be caused by physical processes that are not intelligent. This is a ridiculous stance because is excludes intelligence for no reason except on the grounds that all causes must be empirical. This doesn’t apply to gravitation theory or dark matter but sense they are within the universe its ok to the methodological materialists. ID says that there is another element in the universe called intelligence which is comprised of information. The bottom line is that information trumps matter for ID advocates. This is why an alien design can be detected and why our government enacted SETI. But some atheists will reject the possibility of aliens being designed by an intelligent cause that transcends matter. In other words the idea that evolution is guided by some form of information that has an as yet unknown cause would be rejected. But this is what ID says and looks for with SC. ID can purchase an inference of alien intelligence just fine but if you believe in the theory you have to believe in the possibility of a higher intelligence outside of physical matter. If you reject the second part you are just cherry picking and are probably an atheist methodological materialist. If you accept the second part you are either agnostic, believer, or atheist who believes the cause is an intelligent cause that is natural. Basically an intelligence that is natural never had personal interest in the world or is just a set of intelligent physical laws that create SC as the prime reality and as we are unable to study this it is not open to scientific scrutiny as to whether it was or was not intelligently designed. This would be a natural intelligence. That an athiest could beleive in. It would be like saying I think the world is more like a great thought than a random mess.

  90. so my view is that atheism barely can cling on to the theory of ID as a whole. But most would reject it. Nonetheless, ID is atheist compatible. In about the same way windows 95 is compatible to the latest War Craft. :P

  91. Frost122585 – post 66

    Thanks for your response. I don’t mean to dismiss your post, but I’m afraid I don’t think you’ve read Dr Dembski’s statement properly. Have another look, especially at: -

    “(1) ID does not argue from “Shucks, I can’t imagine how material mechanisms could have brought about a biological structure” to “Gee, therefore God must have done it.” This is a strawman.”

    Both Dr Dembski and DaveScot have specifically said on other posts on UD that the fact that humans have proved able to, for example, manipulate living cells, is proof positive that intelligent design – of some sort, at least – is a reality. I think that this statement, in itself, is self-evidently true. But my question is, what is the basis by which we can stretch it to apply beyond a materialistic application to a non-materialistic one?

  92. Duncan, in 40:

    ‘MATERIALISTIC Intelligent agency …..”? . . . . if we want to say that materialistic explanations aren’t up to the job (cf: Premise 2) then how can we rely on explanations dependent upon materialism to support our case?

    It seems no-one has answered you specifically.

    One key problem with your remark is that information is a major characteristic product of intelligence. Information’s properties are radically different from those of matter-energy, as a moment’s thought will show; e.g. voltages are high/low, information values are true/false etc – i.e to move from physical signal to informational data you need a code [or at least a modulation] which is in all observed cases where we directly see the causal process an expression of a mind, and constitutes an essentially conventional assignment of values to meanings.

    Similarly, no neuronal discharge is right/wrong, true/false — and reducing mind to neuronal networks ends up in hopeless incoherence.

    The same information (for all practical purposes), can be in many locations at the same time. And much more.

    In short, there is no good reason to infer on the evidence we have, that materiality is an essential component of either information or intelligent agency. So, absent begging a major metaphysical question, imposing MATERIALISTIC is not correct.

    Further to this, there is a considerable body of evidence across time and space for the reality of non-material agency.

    Last but not least, evolutionary materialism is essentially and inescapably self-referentially inconsistent, once it has to address the credibility of the minds we have to use to think materialistic thoughts.

    GEM of TKI

  93. For the ID idea to be compatible with atheism or science it would have to rule out a supernatural agency as the designer. As long as the possibility of a supernatural designer exists within the ID framework it cannot be considered a scientific proposition no matter how many folks believe it is — the best one could say right now is that it maybe a scientific idea pending further research. If folks want to rule in a supernatural designer then they need to come up with a supernaturalistic methodology that can examine supernatural phenomenon in the same way that the scientific method is used to examine natural phenomenon.

    Ideally, to further the idea as a scientific proposition, ID proponents should be working hard to pinpoint the designer, or at least rule out a supernatural designer, since he/she/it is the key to the whole concept. Failing that, at minimum I’d expect them to be working to prove that the tools they use to identify biological structures that are supposedly too complex to have evolved can distinguish between apparent design and real design. Nobody seems to be pursuing active research in either of these areas although if I’ve missed something I’d be very grateful if someone can point me in the direction of any published papers on those subjects.

    There seems to be a lot of research that could be done to prove or disprove ID beyond doubt, however, there doesn’t seem to be much research going on at all. Instead, it seems like the ID movement expects their idea to be immediately elevated to the status of scientific theory — which given the research done to date is a fantasy! — and to overturn the dominant theory by simply critiquing evolutionary mechanisms (which is a good thing and done by evolutionary biologists all the time) or setting up PR machines to claim their “theory” is being suppressed by the “establishment.”

    This all smacks of hyperbolic propoganda aimed more at establishing credibility amongst the masses rather than gaining support amongst scientists by conducting scientifically valid (i.e., exploring natural causes) research.

    It strikes me as very odd that the folks critiquing evolutionary theory on this blog and in the comments are not applying the same level of critical thinking to the embryonic idea of ID. Instead, the thinking seems to be we perceive holes in evolution and question those, but we’re not going to question any holes in ID. Instead, we’re simply going to state that ID trumps evolution because of the holes we’ve picked in evolution. That is a negative argument and not how scientific understanding grows.

    Why isn’t anyone asking and answering questions like: Who is the designer? If we’re so complex that we need a designer who designed the designer? How does he/she/it design and build things? Why did it take billions of years to do? Why weren’t we designed straight away? What predictions does the theory make? How can it’s finding be used to benefit humankind?

  94. 1-ID doesn’t say anything about the supernatural.

    2- ALL scenarios lead to something beyond nature- even the anti-ID materialistic scenario.

    3- Science is ONLY concerned with the reality behind the existence of that which is being investigated. If the data, evidence and observation suggest the supernatural then so be it.

    4- REALITY demonstrates that the ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer(s) or the specific process(es) used in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

    5- ID does not require a belief in “God” so therefore one can be an atheist and an IDist.

    and please read the following:

    The design hypothesis, complete with predictions, potential falsifications and confirmations.

  95. Kairosfocus, post 95

    Thanks for your post.

    I’m not quite sure what you are saying.

    Information and intelligence clearly do have their own properties, but are you suggesting that they exist of themselves, in some sort of metaphysical state, floating around, waiting to be adopted (or perhaps arranging to be)? Does that mean that the information held by the 99% of species that are now extinct continues to exist somewhere? Or that the successor to the internal combustion engine already exists as an ‘intelligence’ of some form, it’s just nobody’s picked it up yet? If so, I really can’t agree with you. Intelligence and information in relation to living things may not be physical concepts, but they are always consequential of a material agent.

    In any case, what Dr Dembski describes in Premise 2 surely IS a materialistic intelligence? What you are describing is his conclusion.

  96. If someone had proof of a designer, to whom or to where would they submit it for review?

  97. If someone had proof of a designer, to whom or to where would they submit it for review?

    The world, via any method possible.

    And to further my previous comment (97)-

    6-Intelligent Design is about the design, not the designer(s) (duh).

    7-If we knew the designer(s) then we wouldn’t be reaching a design inference, design would be a given.

    8-IDists do ask the questions such as “who, when, why, where, how”. We just understand reality- REALITY demonstrates that the ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer(s) or the specific process(es) used in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

    That is how every design-centric venue approaches it- Stonehenge- design determined and decades of research to come to the understanding we currently have. Nasca, Peru- same thing.

  98. Regarding alien designers needing to be more complex:

    That’s true (well, at least they need to be as complex) but as for the next point of regression (who/what created them) the only answer is that we don’t know.

    It is perfectly plausible that a ten million year old civilization has figured out their own origins–perhaps by design, perhaps by evolution, perhaps by some other naturalistic mechanism we currently have no means of detecting or understanding. Unless or until we met that civilization, we would never know.

    So while positing naturalistic alien designers does not solve the ultimate question of where the Universe came from, it doesn’t rule out a materialistic origin either. But then, asserting the existence of an even more complex entity, like God merely puts off the question of ultimate origins also. If there is a supernatural creator of the Universe we still cannot tell empirically if

    (a) why such a being exists

    (b) why such a being is worthy of worship (this is a matter of religion and faith, not science, not even ID).

    Even if one day we determine there must be a designer of the Universe, we still may not be able to tell if said designer is God, Q, or an alien child doing his homework assignment in third grade hyper-physics.

    (P.S. Paragraphs really do help, guys!)

  99. In addition to what Tyke stated-

    We can only deal with what we can observe- that is we can observe the design and not the designer(s). And until we can observe the designer(s) that part of the equation may well be beyond science.

    Once specified complexity tells us that something is designed, there is nothing to stop us from inquiring into its production. A design inference therefore does not avoid the problem of how a designing intelligence might have produced an object. It simply makes it a separate question.”
    Wm. Dembski- pg 112 of No Free Lunch

    The same goes for the designer(s).

  100. Hello duncan, post 98

    “Intelligence and information in relation to living things may not be physical concepts, but they are always consequential of a material agent.”

    I disagree. They are consequential of an intelligent agent — not necessarily material.

    1. Coded information (ie. sequential arrangement of nucleotides in DNA) is not caused by the properties of the materials (the nucleotides) which are merely used to *transfer* information.

    2. If information is precluded by intelligence, and if intelligence is necessarily founded upon information, then …

    3. We have a closed loop travelling from information (not caused by material properties as per #1) to intelligence (which is then subsequently also not caused *only* by material properties) and back to information, with no room for strictly material causation. Material is only used as a conduit.

    4. Thus, both information and intelligence may be non-material or at the very least contain non-material properties (good bye materialism). After all, all that we can observe is that information and intelligence flows through material yet is not caused *only* by the properties of that material.

  101. Lazarus, I don’t think you are insane or dumb as Frost122585 unkindly accused you. I think you are raising some good points, and that is why the moderators have allowed you to stay. Although you are often expressing yourself in a somewhat ad-hoc or careless way, and that is perhaps partly the limitation of the medium like this blog. Try to think about what you write before posting it. It is your careless and categorically or fanatically sounding statements like “Science tells us nothing worth knowing” that irritate people.

    The crucial part of the disagreement and confusion here in this forum, and in the world in the last 500 years, is about the nature of knowledge – Science, or scientia in Latin means knowledge. Historically and philosophically, it is the problem of knowledge, or of the kinds of knowledge, its value, how we acquire it and what it means. If you get a chance, try reading John Henry Newman’s “The Idea of a University” which contains some of his most effective writing “…the high protecting power of all knowledge and science, of fact and principle, of inquiry and discovery of experiment and speculation…”

    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_Newman )

    As any Christian ought to know and profess, there is knowledge in the Bible just as there is knowledge in natural sciences. And the interesting question(s) about some scientific or science related or science guiding knowledge in the Bible still hasn’t been settled satisfactorily. But these are difficult things to argue about even for the experts, so be patient. And it is also a difficult battle for the ID to deal with the knowledge of what it means to be “intelligent” and “designed,” and, once discovered, what such knowledge ought to mean to scientists be they theists or atheists.

    Your point, that for a Christian the knowledge presented by the Bible, (how to save one’s soul for eternity, how to be good, ethical, happy, how to live in peace, harmony, etc.) ought to be one’s primary concern, should be understood and well taken. Such knowledge is of more importance than the knowledge of how to find cure for cancer or how to fly to the Moon. But is doesn’t mean that knowledge of how to cure cancer is useless, or that acquiring knowledge of how to fly to the Moon shouldn’t be a good and fun thing to do. In fact, the same questions should matter to atheists as well. You are also correct that those who idolize modern (natural) science, those who make it the sole source of all meaningful knowledge, or the absolute knowledge, and discard the knowledge in the Bible as nonsense, are making a crucial mistake. (Re post 74: “You have let science be your god and you will be judged by it.”) Indeed, such people do it at their own peril.

  102. CJYman, post 103

    Thanks for joining in!

    Perhaps ‘consequential’ is not the word I mean? I don’t mean ‘caused by’, I mean ‘inextricably linked to’. The salient point is, when the material agent is removed the information ceases to exist. Do you believe the contrary, and that, for example, the information held by the 99% of now extinct species does still exist?

    My main question remains, though, what is the difference between Dr Dembski’s premise 3 and his conclusion? Doesn’t premise 3 have to mean ‘MATERIALISTIC intelligent agent’, otherwise it’s just a circular argument?

    And doesn’t this then beg the question that if we want to say that materialistic explanations aren’t up to the job (cf: Premise 2) then how can we rely on explanations dependent upon materialism to support our case?

  103. Carl Sachs in 31 above—what a kind and thoughtful response! I’d ban the guy altogether, but then maybe it’s healthy to see that intolerant religious types don’t much like ID either. Nevertheless I’ve a few bones to pick with you in 20:

    “ID must be totally neutral on all God-talk if it’s going to be introduced in public schools as a scientific alternative to evolution.”

    My sense is that introducing ID into government schools is not a goal of most ID advocates and it has nothing to do with why ID is and should remain separate from theology and biblical studies.

    “Hence design theorists are trying to re-cast the debate as one between a scientific theory which is at least compatible with monotheism (though not implying it) and one that is incompatible with monotheism.”

    Getting ID into the schools is NOT the motive for what you otherwise encapsulate rather nicely. The genius of ID is that it has seen through to the philosophical assumptions behind the culture war. Getting this out in the open where it can be discussed is no small achievement.

    “This is part of why, so far as I understand it, design theorists have been severely critical of ‘theistic evolutionists,’ or for that matter, any person of faith who accepts neo-Darwinian evolution.”

    Hmm … I’m not interested in people’s professions of personal faith (live and let live!), but I am irked by what I see as outragiously illogical arguments coming from the TE side. Am I irked more by the TEs’ faith in Darwin than the atheists’ faith in the same? Yes, generally so, but not just because I see the TE as a traitor. Rather it’s what I see as his seemingly disingenuous confusion, his apparent fear of being marked as an intellectual heretic, his inability to engage in rational disputation.

    Though I see the TE and the atheist Darwinist in error on scientific and philosophical levels, the TE, as you suggest, is most in error—i.e., ID “is at least compatible with monotheism (though not implying it) [whereas Darwinism] is incompatible with monotheism.”

    When you look for motive—when you read the ID lit—I think you will see some brilliant and thoughtful and sincere folks. They are not absolutists who seek to turn the tables on Darwin and make ID the state religion. No, it’s the lack of pluralism on an intellectual level that they loathe.

  104. Hello again, duncan (post 105):

    “Perhaps ‘consequential’ is not the word I mean? I don’t mean ‘caused by’, I mean ‘inextricably linked to’. The salient point is, when the material agent is removed the information ceases to exist. Do you believe the contrary, and that, for example, the information held by the 99% of now extinct species does still exist?”

    Yes, it does seem upon first glance that information is linked to material. Ie: remove the material conduit and information is destroyed. However, I do still stand behind my last post. There is a closed chain of causation between intelligence and information.

    And now a new thought jumps across my mind. Does the destruction of the conduit actually destroy the information? If material only acts as a conduit, this means that the information existed before it was sent through the conduit. Destruction of the conduit (material) would only seem to destroy that specific *transfer* of the information.

    In the case of biology, if life and evolution are a necessary result of and are guided by the laws of nature, then wouldn’t the information at the foundation of our natural laws hold the information necessary for the creation of life and evolution?

    IOW, if life is seen as a guided search program, the space it is searching as it evolves is a space set up by the laws of nature. Thus any information that life discovers and the active information to arrive at those targets already existed within the program of our universe and the search space of our universe’s natural laws.

    So, I guess the next question:

    “Is the universe founded upon material?”

    duncan:
    “My main question remains, though, what is the difference between Dr Dembski’s premise 3 and his conclusion? Doesn’t premise 3 have to mean ‘MATERIALISTIC intelligent agent’, otherwise it’s just a circular argument?

    And doesn’t this then beg the question that if we want to say that materialistic explanations aren’t up to the job (cf: Premise 2) then how can we rely on explanations dependent upon materialism to support our case?”

    Good questions. I’ll have to give that some more thought.

  105. —–Lazarus: A response to #76

    Are you aware that the academy, the press, and even the government have all slandered and smeared ID scientists and used every means available to ruin their careers? Are you aware that these slanders and smears are part of a broader strategy to use the researchers religious faith as pretext for accusing them of practicing faith-based science, ignoring the fact that the science itself cannot logically be faith based? Are you aware that these same institutions quote people like you to keep the lie alive? Are you aware that religion and science are totally compatible because the creator God, whom you claim to believe in, revealed himself in Scripture AND IN NATURE?

    If you are NOT aware of these things, then you are a naïve, possibly nominal Christian. You disregard your own teaching, which bids believers to “be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.” Indeed, if you think that God did not “leave clues” for scientists to find, you don’t even read your own bible.

    If you ARE aware of these things, then you are an anti-Christian bigot, seeking to harass other bloggers on this site and disrupt the logical flow of ideas. This would indicate that you need to get a life.

    Under the circumstances, then, I offer a conditional piece of advice.

    If you are a Christian, go to you dictionary and look up the word, ”proportionality.” Christian bloggers on this site no doubt do take their faith seriously, but they are not ideologues. That is why they instinctively use good judgment about introducing religious themes as a complement to scientific discoveries.

    If you are a troll, start studying the science of intelligent design. I have found that the vast majority of those who criticize intelligent design cannot even define the relevant terms accurately, which means, of course, that, in spite of their arrogance, they seldom know what they are talking about. They embody the dubious virtue of “triumphant stupidity.”

    So, whether you are real or phony, the solution to your problem is to make a disciplined effort to get a clue. Educated people do not spend all their time googling; they actually read books.. Also, while reading your Bible, meditate on this one: “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”

  106. So while positing naturalistic alien designers does not solve the ultimate question of where the Universe came from, it doesn’t rule out a materialistic origin either. But then, asserting the existence of an even more complex entity, like God merely puts off the question of ultimate origins also.

    I respectfully disagree. There is a reason Dembski states in his writing that methodological materialism is not compatible with ID. And this has to do wit the design inference. IF aliens display Specified complexity then they require an intelligent design inference. Meaning that something intelligent must have design them. If it is a natural intelligence built into the universe then some atheists would totally reject his concept as a form of a God because it could be viewed as qualitatively “higher.” The point here is that information transcends matter as ID holds. This is in part anti-materialist. Some atheists will not find this compatible with their “belief” system.

    As for your comment about there must be a designer for God or w/e the intelligent designer is this is incorrect. If we don’t know the nature of the designer we can only admit the possibility that it was designed. We can presuppose such because we don’t know its nature or where it exists. To apply the materialists concept of cause and effect to something that might not be totally materialistic in nature would be a fallacy. Manny ID people think God is the designer and that God exists as the prime reality. This is just a belief or philosophical position but it is a possibility and to rule it out would be incorrect. This is why it is called intelligent design. Where does the information originally come from. Where did the instructions come from. Where did the complexity come from. Modern science points to a neutral nor non intelligent causation. This non-materialistic intelligence can however be detected and defined as intelligence by its observable effects in the physical realm. If you have a problem with an intelligence that transcends physical matter than ID is not compatible with your view. Read the definition of the site.

    “Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted. The problem, therefore, is not merely that science is being used illegitimately to promote a materialistic worldview, but that this worldview is actively undermining scientific inquiry, leading to incorrect and unsupported conclusions about biological and cosmological origins. At the same time, intelligent design (ID) offers a promising scientific alternative to materialistic theories of biological and cosmological evolution — an alternative that is finding increasing theoretical and empirical support. Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project.”

    ID requires something more than material causation hence, intelligence or information but ID doesn’t require a God- Especially a benevolent God of the bible. ID advocates would be called “Informational Idealists” if the physical scientific evidence for ID wasn’t so strong right now.

  107. sorry my first paragraph is a quote from tyke that i am responding to.

  108. H’mm:

    While looking at developments in LED lighting, decided to take a look back here. A note or two, to address key conceptual issues:

    1] Jor, 96: As long as the possibility of a supernatural designer exists within the ID framework it cannot be considered a scientific proposition no matter how many folks believe it is

    This depends on the current attempt to redefine science as in effect the best evolutionary materialist explanation of the cosmos from hydrogen to humans. But, this is inaccurate to the history of science over the past 500 years, misrepresents the work and views of not only many scientific pioneers but also many practitioners today, and is question-begging.

    In fact, this precisely exhibits the corruption of science by imposition of materialist ideology that the remark at the top of the RH column in this blog discusses.

    A far more sensible view of science is that it seeks to accurately describe, explain, predict and influence or control phenomena in the natural and human worlds, in light of empirical investigation, theoretical analysis and associated discussion among the community of peers.

    Design Theory is very compatible with such an understanding, which does not try to smuggle in metaphysical controls on what sort of explanations will be acceptable, so long as they are well supported by relevant empirical data.

    2] to further the idea as a scientific proposition, ID proponents should be working hard to pinpoint the designer, or at least rule out a supernatural designer, since he/she/it is the key to the whole concept.

    Not at all. The point of ID as a properly scientific investigation comes out forcefully in Dembaski’s classic definition by question and answer:

    intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? . . . Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence.

    The reliable detection of agency in the causal process of an observed phenomenon (as opposed to the phenomenon being the product of chance + mechanical necessity only) is already an important and relevant empirically anchored scientific question with several very interesting contexts. Indeed, it is plain from the attitude and behaviour of too many champions of the evolutionary materialist paradigm, the serious pursuit of the question has the capacity to trigger a major scientific revolution.

    The onward question of designer identification is also interesting, and has some pretty serious applications. [For instance, the boys over at Langley have a major interest in such investigations.]

    3] I’d expect them to be working to prove that the tools they use to identify biological structures that are supposedly too complex to have evolved can distinguish between apparent design and real design.

    It is already known that in every case where we directly know the causal story, complex specified information, irreducible complexity and organised complexity are the products of agent action. As my always linked discusses, we also know that the statistical considerations underlying statistical thermodynamics give an excellent account for why that is likely to be so.

    Namely, when we deal with sufficiently contingent arrangements of entities of interest [ability to store say 500 - 1,000 or more bits of information-storing capacity is a useful yardstick], we see a configuration space that is so large that islands and archipelagos of functionality are so isolated that chance-based search strategies are maximally unlikely to reach to such zones of function on the gamut of our observed universe. And that holds regardless of the degree of functional filtering we impose after selecting an arbitrary cell in the config space. [In short, random variation across possible configurations and functional or competitive functional selection are dynamically impotent in such cases, due to exhaustion of probabilistic resources. Genetic algorithms as a rule reward closeness to islands of functionality, regardless of actual functionality, so do not form an exception to this observation.]

    So, we have an acceptably reliable indicator, already — indeed, this is quite similar to what we do when we make many types of statistical inference, and for that matter when we infer to message not lucky noise in a noisy communication situation. But, on certain cases of interest, it lends support to worldviews that the evolutionary materialists are uncomfortable with, so in too many cases we see resort to uncivil behaviour to dismiss or suppress such work. That’s a shame.

    4] . . . scientifically valid (i.e., exploring natural causes) research

    There is no good reason to confine scientific research to the exploration of natural causes, especially if such causes are interpreted to mean “originating in chance plus necessity only.”

    For instance, computer science and information science investigate situations which most certainly involve agency. Extending, we may scientifically explore drug action using the same techniques used in general biochemistry. I recall that many objects and phenomena profitably studied in materials science and optical science are agent produced. Even the classic spring which is foundational to Hooke’s law is an artificial object, as is the pendulum that in the classic story lies at the foundation of modern science. And much more.

    5] Duncan, 98: Information and intelligence clearly do have their own properties, but are you suggesting that they exist of themselves, in some sort of metaphysical state, floating around, waiting to be adopted (or perhaps arranging to be)?

    I mean precisely what I said, and illustrated: information [a characteristic product of agents in action as we observe it] has materially different properties from those of matter and energy.

    We have to live with and try to understand the roots of that fact, not try to dismiss it with a rhetorical tactic.

    6] Intelligence and information in relation to living things may not be physical concepts, but they are always consequential of a material agent.

    We know no such thing, sir. We have observed agents, but have no good reason for inferring or assuming or asserting that agents — including ourselves — must be material only entities.

    Indeed, we have good grounds for inferring/ observing that agent action is radically different from matter-energy cause-effect chains. Otherwise, as was already linked, we end up in self-referential incoherence, through undermining the credibility of the very minds we must use to think even materialistic thoughts.

    7] D, 105, I don’t mean ‘caused by’, I mean ‘inextricably linked to’. The salient point is, when the material agent is removed the information ceases to exist.

    We know no such thing. This is a bare assertion that assumes/asserts far too much about the metaphysics of reality, including mind, and information. A better approach is to not5 foreclose possibilities ahead of time by not assuming evolutionary materialism is the truth about the cosmos and its origin. IOW, we should reject the imposed rule used by too many scientists and philosophers of science, known as methodological naturalism. A better and historically well-justified approach is already discussed above.

    8] doesn’t this then beg the question that if we want to say that materialistic explanations aren’t up to the job (cf: Premise 2) then how can we rely on explanations dependent upon materialism to support our case?

    Premise 2, OP: Premise 2: Materialistic explanations have been spectacularly unsuccessful in explaining such systems — we have no positive evidence for thinking that material mechanisms can generate them

    In short, it is an observed — but often hotly denied or dismissed — fact that evolutionary materialist accounts and models that try to trace all relevant phenomena to chance and necessity only, spectacularly fail in the key relevant cases.

    If you are uncomfortable with that formulation, perhaps, we could simply substitute that in the relevant cases models/explanations based on chance + necessity only consistently (and for good and inescapable reason tracing to exhaustion of available probabilistic resources) fail to account for CSI/IC/OC. This, after up to 150 years of trying in some cases [Cambrian body plan revolution], and certainly several decades on OOL, with massive resources dedicated to the task. [Cf my always linked for an introductory summary on this.]

    However, there is a major institutional commitment to methodological naturalism, which blocks level playing field consideration of the obvious force of the point from premise 3: Intelligent agency is known [though massive observation and experience] to have the causal power to produce systems that display IC/SC/OC.

    In short, there is an institutional roadblock to considering the fact that we know that chance, necessity and agency act into causal situations. There is a name for that: begging the question.

    Once the question is un-begged, it is immediately apparent that, conclusion: Therefore, biological systems that exhibit IC/SC/OC are likely to be designed.

    Nor does this shut off science — even if one goes on to the further worldview level — as opposed to scientific — inference that the most likely candidate for the designer is the God of Theism.

    For, one is free to investigate to see if we can overturn premise 2 as adjusted or in its original form. One is free to undertake investigations into the mechanisms and principles used in the systems that are understood as having been desitned, just as we do in optics or pharmacology etc. And much more.

    So, let us move on beyond power games, question-begging, self-referentially inconsistent worldviews masquerading as “science” and unjust career-busting.

    GEM of TKI

  109. hey kairosfocus,

    An interesting comment. I’m going to restrict myself to the side issues and ask for clarification on this one bit:

    There is no good reason to confine scientific research to the exploration of natural causes, especially if such causes are interpreted to mean “originating in chance plus necessity only.”

    For instance, computer science and information science investigate situations which most certainly involve agency. Extending, we may scientifically explore drug action using the same techniques used in general biochemistry. I recall that many objects and phenomena profitably studied in materials science and optical science are agent produced. Even the classic spring which is foundational to Hooke’s law is an artificial object, as is the pendulum that in the classic story lies at the foundation of modern science. And much more.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying here. Some of the early arguments against the experimental laboratory (see Leviathan and the Air-Pump by Shapin and Shaffer) were based on the idea that the laboratory was an artificial environment. As indeed it was. But the artificial conditions of the laboratory are meant to illustrate natural processes by observing those processes under controlled conditions. It sounds to me like you’re saying that the very existence of the laboratory contradicts naturalistic science. Are you? Because I thought that argument was put to bed a couple of hundred years ago. But maybe you’re saying something else.

  110. GAW:

    I am saying that observed phenomena studied through scientific means include not only those tracing to chance and to mechanical necessity but also to agency.

    Consider Newton’s investigations with a prism, or Hooke’s with a spring for simple cases. Were these foundational investigations in Physics any less scientific because these entities are agent-originated, i.e designed?

    Plainly, not at all.

    [And for that matter, indeed, an experiment is contrived, i.e designed. We routinely -- and often demonstrably reliably -- infer that the phenomena we observe there and the laws we infer as explanations or patterns carry over into situations we have not designed nor have we observed the origin of directly, in the cosmos. I am saying just the opposite of what you seem to fear.]

    Next, I am pointing out — as I do in section A of my always linked — that when we consider a communication and/or information technology situation, we are routinely scientifically studying agent-originated entities. In particular, we comfortably and reliably make the inference to message not lucky noise when we study signals in the presence of noise or potential noise. (DNA is an information-bearing molecule, with a sophisticated message of information carrying capacity that starts at about 500, 000 to 1 million bits in observed situations. This is far, far beyond the reach of random walks in the appropriate configuration space, on the gamut of our observed universe. And related multiverse proposals are in this context essentially ad hoc, after the fact patches that are metaphysics not empirically tested science.]

    In statistical investigations we similarly make inferences to design when we set out to reject chance null hypotheses.

    To artificially restrict the set of possible causal factors ahead of time [in a context where it so happens that the credibility of a certain worldview that likes to call itself "scientific" is at stake] is therefore to beg the question, and it robs science of its true force as an empirically constrained search for learning and understanding the truth about the universe, however imperfect the status of the search may be at any given time.

    GEM of TKI

  111. Uh, I think I understand what you’re saying even less now. I don’t see why the existence of computer science, or of experiments conducted with springs or prisms, speaks to the design question as ID puts it.

  112. rockr- “Lazarus, I don’t think you are insane or dumb as Frost122585 unkindly accused you.”

    I never called Lazarus dumb I said Lazarus was not stupid because he/she had a developed vocab. I then said therefore Lazarus is either crazy or a fraud. A fraud meaning someone who is not a fundamentalist Christian but merely posing as one. The reason I think Lazarus is a fraud is that the claims or points Lazarus have made all have nothing to do with ID. The only comments directed towards the theroy of ID are about how ID is irrelevant and an idol and even the lovely term “metaphysical masturbation.” I don’t mind people coming on the blog who are skeptical of the theory of ID. I would love to talk to them and set them straight. But when all you do is say the bible is all that matters and your proof is your relationship with the holy spirit, and insult virtually everyone at this web blog then I have a problem. People need to stay on topic and show real intellectual interest to the concept/s of this site. I would and should be rejected if all I talked about was golf and how ID is all BS.

  113. Duncan, good question here —But my question is, what is the basis by which we can stretch it to apply beyond a materialistic application to a non-materialistic one?

    I have recently read and finished NO Free Lunch by William Dembski. Now its not my book so i “could” be wrong but this is what i gather. The Design inference Dembski’s first book spelled out what specified complexity is. It has to do with an improbable event falling outside of the universal probability bound and having an arbitrarily objective pattern. Now once you locate SC you can now infer design. The reason why is because SC needs something more complex that it to account for it arising due to is pattern and its improbability. This is what we see with a radio wave of prime numbers that we could infer alien intelligence with as I the move contact. This is a materialistic form of inferring ID. Now that we have shown SC we need to account for the designer. If its aliens where did they come from. This is where God or a natural intelligence usually comes in. The reason is that information must transcend matter at some point if we are to explain how a big bang of just matter assembled into intelligent creatures. There are to be an informational medium that transcends the matter and organizes it. Now it may not be God. It could be some other intelligence that we cannot fully comprehend. Nonetheless ID is about detecting design not finding designers. The prime numbers that SETI could detect would certainly reveal alien presence but we wouldn’t know anything about the aliens themselves. All we would have is speculation. The point here is that Information transcends matter. The digital code in DNA could not have formed by chance. We can therefore see that something more than material processes are having an influence in our universe.

  114. No free lunch says you cant get SC for free eventually you run out of material processes and something like information is required to account for the complexity of life in the universe.

  115. To simplify if you could not find an embodied intelligence to account for SC then unembodied intelligence is the likely candidate. You can infer SC regardless of whether it is the effect of embodied or unembodied designers. Dembski holds that Intelligent Design is always inferred by its effects not its causes.

    I would like to plug in a quote here from an excellent book that I bought called The Design Revolution by William Dembski.

    Chapter 25 THE SUPERNATURAL

    Pg. 188

    “I’ve never liked the term supernatural. The problem with terms like supernatural or supernaturalism is that they tacitl presuppose that nature is the foundational reality and that nature is far less problematic conceptually than anything outside or beyond nature. The super in supernatural thus has the effect of a negation.”

    He is saying that materialistic causes of the world conceptually rule out an informational cause. NFL says that only intelligence can purchase NFL. This could be a unembodied designer that simply imparts information into the physical universe. It might be a natural intelligence built into the world as well. Aristotle thought that the world was endowed with teleology- or that nature was just naturally full of design. What or where the nature of the designer is not known.

  116. GAW [and L/S etc]:

    First, let us connect some dots:

    a] There are entire sciences as well as areas of focus within sciences that deal with the study of entities that are designed by agents. That is, one may properly scientifically investigate that which is a result of agent action. Inference to/ the known presence of agency is not an automatic “science-stopper.”

    b] In other words, in scientific work, we can and do — and in some cases it has been very important — frequently study entities and situations that were designed.

    c] Indeed, we may then — often successfully and highly reliably — extend conclusions from such artificially set up situations to situations where we do not directly know how the situation came to be. (Often we call such situations “naturally occurring” or “natural” ones. Notice how I have here left the issue of the origin of “natural” situations open.)

    d] In many specific fields of study — especially where statistical inference is a part of the scientific process — we routinely infer to the action of one or more of the following general causal factors: (i) chance, (ii) mechanical necessity showing itself through natural regularities, (iii) agent action.

    e] In these fields, we routinely rely on the results of such findings, e.g the inference to message, not lucky noise, or the inference to drug action, or the inference to intentional action not accidental circumstance, etc. [Cf here my discussion in Section A, my always linked.]

    f] Now, for instance, DNA is a known case of a highly complex, digitally coded data string used in the information processing of the cell. In real cases its storage capacity is of order 500,000 to 4,000,000,000 4-state elements, or 1 mn to 8 bn bits. Such complexity — even at the lower end — is far (orders of magnitude) beyond the Dembski type bound of 500 – 1,000 bits; beyond which the probabilistic resources of the observed universe are exhausted. Thus we know that DNA is maximally unlikely to have arisen by chance on the gamut of the observed cosmos. Since highly contingent situations reliably trace chance or agency not mechanical necessity, we are empirically and logically well-warranted in inferring to agency to explain the origin of cell-based life.

    d] Similarly, the origin of major body-plan level biodiversity, e.g. as the Cambrian life revolution documents, is credibly known to require increments to DNA and functionality that are well beyond the similar threshold. Thus, we are again well-warranted to infer to agency to account for such body-plan level biodiversity. Indeed, the recent results highlighted by Behe on malaria, underscore just how limited RV + NS is on such functional innovation.

    e] Going up to the cosmic level, we observe that the physics to set up a universe that is friendly to life is highly complex, co-adapted in a multitude of fine-tuned ways, and in general credibly exhibits organised complexity. Thus, the late, great, Sir Fred Hoyle was credibly well-warranted to observe — I suspect, now he knows for sure:

    From 1953 onward, Willy Fowler and I have always been intrigued by the remarkable relation of the 7.65 MeV energy level in the nucleus of 12 C to the 7.12 MeV level in 16 O. If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis, these are the two levels you would have to fix, and your fixing would have to be just where these levels are actually found to be. Another put-up job? Following the above argument, I am inclined to think so. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has “monkeyed” with the physics as well as the chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. [F. Hoyle, Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20 (1982): 16.]

    Now, absent imposition of a certain worldview level alleged criterion of what is “scientific,” none of this would be exceptional. And, when we see that that criterion — often termed “methodological naturalism” — is historically unwarranted and is premised on a philosophically questionable worldview AND that it is observed to distort science away from being a free, open-ended, open-minded search for the truth about the cosmos in light of empirical findings and associated analysis, we are further well-warranted to challenge the imposition of the claimed criterion.

    I believe this summary should help us rethink and reconceptualise, thus relieving the cognitive dissonance triggered by the contrast between what is credibly so based on evident facts when linked to their implications and best explanations, and what many of us have been taught to believe.

    Next, I note that inference to intelligent action is not to be equated to inference to supernatural agency. Just as, we are not well-warranted to impose the restriction that candidate agents “must” be material entities, given the radical distinction between mental and informational properties on the one hand, and material entities on the other. In short, the design inference is a scientific enterprise that opens our minds to the full set of possibilities in science and thence at worldview level.

    Third, I believe Lazarus/Solon owes me a justification of his dismissive remark, that my always linked is “rubbish” or words to that effect, in another thread. Failing such justification, he has plainly removed himself from the pale of civil discussion of serious issues at a responsible level. Since the above is a reasonable precis of the case I make in the always linked, I invite him to respond here. (It would also be relevant — given his uncharitable dismissal of metaphysics — to invite him to in that same context address the remarks here, noting their original context as lecture notes for a compulsory course at the Jamaica Theological Seminary — a noted Evangelical Seminary in the Caribbean.)

    Fourth, I also follow up on a biblical allusion he forced me to, based on the statements in Rom 1:19 – 24 etc. In this text, Paul infers that the testimony of the external world and the inner mind and conscience point to an Agent responsible for creation. If Paul claims this, and it seems that he does, that is a matter open to inspection and testing against what we know from styudying nature; or, at any rate, what we believe we know from studying nature. That means that if the evidence comes in on afair and responsible assessment the other way, Paul is wrong on at least this point. In that context, the issues connected to design above are a reasonable test.

    Perhaps, we can focus on the merits of the issue, then?

    GEM of TKI

  117. kairosfocus -”Third, I believe Lazarus/Solon owes me a justification of his dismissive remark, that my always linked is “rubbish” or words to that effect, in another thread. Failing such justification, he has plainly removed himself from the pale of civil discussion of serious issues at a responsible level.”

    Don’t waste your breath. Lazarus is merely a ploy. As far as Paul’s claim about evidence for God being found inside. I think that that could obviously simply be his own personal experience and may not be true for someone else. God could in fact make it not obtainable for someone else for his own reasons. This is not science. This sight is a medium for intelligent scientific discussions not totally subjective ones. An inappropriate example would be say for example if I said that the virgin marry flew in my window last night and had a long talk with me about ID and told me that it is all true. This is nonsense and no one wants to here it because and especially on a web page no one can experience what I am saying to judge for themselves. Lazarus is not to be pitied, or laughed at and especially not to be taken seriously. Lazarus is to be ignored.

  118. kairosfocus,

    OK, thanks. I think I understand your reasoning a little better now. I’m trying to avoid hasty responses — you see how well they’ve worked for me in the past! :-) So I’ll have to ruminate on this for a while.

  119. Hi Frost

    I have noticed several quite usefuyl posts from you.

    On Lazarus, on another thread, I invited him to dialogfue with me in a less restrictive forum, or privately through email. He refused, in the terms just noted above. I am inclined to believe that it is most likely that he is trying out a Sokal-style hoax [which I found to be highly immoral on Sokal's part -- exploiting trust], or else that he is in serious need of correction. In effect, I am here challenging him to step up to the batting-crease and show serious level thought and that level of sportsmanship that Cricket is well-noted for.

    Failing this, he deserves to be ignored and/or removed from this forum.

    On Paul’s teaching in Rom 1, a bit of context will help. Romans is the most consciously intellectual, philosophical and theological document in the New Testament. In Ch 1, in the passage as pointed to, Paul is appealing to publicly available evidence that is accessible to every man, wit5hout reference to any special revelation. In so doing, he clearly cl;aims thast the world without andf the mind and hearet within are sufficient evidence to leave us without excuse on the issue of the4 existence of a Divine Agent as the originating force behind the cosmsos as we experience it. In the philosophically central section of the text:

    Rom 1:19 . . . . what may be known about God is plain to [men], because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse . . . 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles [some would add, in those days in temples, now in museums, magazines and on TV] . . . 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.

    So, the question is, is he right or wrong.

    Up to Darwin, it was commonly held that he was right. After Darwin, in many — but not at all, all — academic and intelligentsia circles, it has been held that he is wrong.

    The Design inference issue, as Antony Flew points out, puts the question back on the table, and in his considered opinion, tilts it back the other way.

    Of course,t his is a question of worldviews, but we should note 6that as I have shown and linked above, much of what is going on is a radical restructuring of science driven by worldview level assumptions of materialism.

    Also, as Lakatos has pointed out, once we look at research programmes, they have an architecture based on a belt of theories and a core that deeply embeds worldview level assumptions.

    So we cannot so easily dismiss worlodview issues by assuming or imposing methodological naturalism as a datum line between science and non-science. For that matter, Popperian style falsificationism has issues to face at this level too — just contrast that iconoclast, Feyerabend.

    GEM of TKI

  120. You use a big vocabulary and I am being forced by you to look up all of these words. Nonetheless I feel that you are wrong. If you look at the claims of ID they are mathematical, empirical, mechanical and logical. This is because logic is less refutable, mechanical explanation requires empirical geometric understanding and math is more or less a universal language. The goal of these is to take as much subjectivity and belief as possibly out of the arguments. This leads to good arguments and god science. This site should have one bias and that is relevance. I will admit that there is one aspect of ID that I find requires a bit of subjectivity and that is the specified part in specified complexity. I have no problem with the universal probability bound and all of that i do think the idea of something being arbitrary independent as a given patter is a bit subjective. For example to single something out is useful for investigation but it ignores all other things and thus could be in a sense imposed upon the world. For example is a chair independent form the ground it rests on independent form the tress outside also connected to the ground etc. All in all I am convinced by there is always the problem of perspective and induction. But i do think we try to reduce subjectivity as much has possible .That is why I said the Virgin Mary flew in my window last night and told me ID was true. This kind of reasoning should not be allowed on the site Im sure we both agree. Where I disagree with you is in trying to get Lazarus to debate you because the kind of debate you would be partaking in is not like a chess match. There are no rule or chess board because at Lazarus has made it perfectly clear he/she has no intention of playing by any rules except the idea that he/she. is right and the bible is all fact and even more the bible is al that matters. Lazarus is not even posing an argument. Lazarus has no interest in ID. Lazarus called us all “metaphysical masturbators” which is a ridiculous insult that is based only once again on stupid assertion. If you want to initiate a theological debate with Lazarus feel free although I would personally hate to see posts by Lazarus up on the site again. Just be aware that nothing constructive will likely come out of it because Lazarus is a fraud and is not interested in ID at all.

  121. My point is that we don’t have to venture into the realm of Heideggerian prose to see that Lazarus is way off topic and beyond enlightenment or reproach. I do however think that you want to take the level of thought to the appropriate higher level .So don’t take my disagreeing with you as insulting just pragmatically a different approach to dealing with fools like Lazarus. As my father always told me when I was trying to deal with someone who was being totally unreasonable- “Don’t be so generous with your knowledge.”

  122. The Sokal Affair refers to an incident in 1996 when Professor Alan Sokal, a physicist at New York University, submitted a deliberately pseudoscientific paper for publication in an academic journal of cultural studies. The paper, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” (published in the Spring/Summer 1996 issue of Social Text) was submitted to see if an academic journal would (according to Sokal) “publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions.”

    Popperian cosmology is Karl Popper’s philosophical theory of reality that includes three interacting worlds, called World 1, World 2 and World 3. Popperian cosmology also includes Karl Popper’s theory of objective epistemology, also known as his theory of falsifiability.

    Paul Karl Feyerabend (January 13, 1924 – February 11, 1994) was an Austrian-born philosopher of science best known for his work as a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for three decades (1958-1989). His life was a peripatetic one, as he lived at various times in England, the United States, New Zealand, Italy, and finally Switzerland. His major works include Against Method (published in 1975), Science in a Free Society (published in 1978) and Farewell to Reason (a collection of papers published in 1987). Feyerabend became famous for his purportedly anarchistic view of science and his rejection of the existence of universal methodological rules. He is an influential figure in the philosophy of science, and also in the sociology of scientific knowledge.

    Oh yeah, ok.

  123. Hi Frost

    First, I do address, in reasonable details, the relevant science [and inescapable associated philosophy] issues tied to ID, as my always linked will show.

    (Cf my name in the LH column. Sorry on the technical teminology — it is inescapable once we are at this level. And BTW, to those out there who disparage us as random wanderers in shooting off in ignorance, I think it is fair to say that all regular commenters here have been subjected to a serious level of scrutiny that is at least a passing fair substitute for peer review, and in a multidisciplinary context. We have everything from biologists and mathematicians to computer scientists, engineers, biologists, medical doctors, theologians, lawyers and philosophers here — and on multiple sides of the questions. So, just wade in and spout off something that is poorly warranted and see what will happen to you in short order. Then compare anything else out there — including the standard that we find too often in courtrooms, open source reference sites such as Wikipedia, “serious” media and too many scientific magazines and journals. That’s why I am using this blog to clarify and test my own thinking, towards onward use in serious educational contexts, as is say CS from a different perspective. And, while there is a lot of complaining onthe high spam and moderation standards, I find that this is vital to keepingt out ad hominems and repetitious, closed-minded assertions substituting for serious argument. Dave Scott and Patrick etc, thanks for a thankless job, even though I am one of the ones who keeps on breaking the system down! Hey, I haven’t busted it for coming on a whole week! Thanks, Mark over at Akismet, too. When all is said and done, UD and its team will have made a major contribution to restoring the balance in our civilisation, not just in science.)

    In my always linked, and often in references to it, I invite comment and interaction. Pixie, for instance took me up, and the result is included in the current version of the document.

    What has happened is that L/S has raised a theological challenge, tied to the phil issues, and has been rather dismissive and — frankly — disrespectful.

    I am therefore first showing him that the theology INVITES assessment of the phil issues [as Rom 1 highlights], and that the science issues are relevant to those issues. So, saying “the Bible says X” does not even properly address what the Bible does say, in Rom 1, Ac 17 etc.

    If he will engage on the merits, I believe he has much to learn, starting with the stated message of Rom 1 and Ac 17.

    If not, he is exposing himself as simply rude and ignorant, or else as an outright fraud — a Sokal style hoaxer.

    But if so he has been duly detected and challenged, which if he refuses to address on the merits, he has ducked. If he ducks and refuses to apologise ands amend his ways, he has no basis to then go out there and claim that he was unfairly excluded from the discussion by moderators, and/or that he was rudely ignored by the regular contributors and commenters here.

    In short, we are dealing with a multiple-front battle with objectors form several directions: the evo mat advocates, some theistic evolutionists of the Miller type school, those Creationists who fit into the sort of pattern that L/S either represents or parodies.

    In such a situation, we do need to emphasise the central scientific questions, as you will see that I do.

    But equally, we also need to address objections and objectors from their multiple perspectives, lest they “frame” the way the issues are perceived and put out to the public in ways that block the reasonable common man from being able to make up his own mind in a fair and balanced, well-informed way.

    GEM of TKI

  124. Well good luck with all of that but I think that I will save my breath for more interesting discussions with people who actually want to engage in a real dialogue. People like yourself. Btw keep using all terms they make the discussion much richer. But I maintain that I would like to never see another post by Lazarus again if they are all going to just be theological arguments rooted in biblical absolute literalism and a personal narcissistic false sense of philosophical argumentation. I really have a problem with people who just assert things that cant be proven and then say their proof is in their head/soul or w/e and finish it all off with a cherry on top in the form of a classical circular argument like “its all true because God said it is true.” To me that is all just bs.

  125. I feel that when I am debating this kind of a person I am more or less just debating a Prophet Yahweh.

    http://video.google.com/videop.....;plindex=0.

  126. I agree with Frost122585 that Lazarus is a troll. Based on the things he’s said (“The bible is true because God said it is”, “I know for a fact that ID was predicated upon the God of the Bible”, “if the bible isn’t true then ID isn’t true”, “God Said It, I Believe It, That Settles It”), I’m guessing he’s hoping to get some “Amen, brother!” responses, link to it on pandasthumb, and claim that as proof of ID’s religious motivation.

    This quote (when he was solon in a previous thread):

    “Janice I am not so sure that what we need is more science, but probably less of it. Think of the literally billions of dollars that is wasted on a bankrupt religion masquerading as a science! When we can re-take control of our government and when we get back on the path to God as a society then we can save trillions of dollars!”

    is a little more blatant than some of his more recent posts. He seems to be trying to be more subtle now since that didn’t get a lot of support.

  127. tyke @ 91

    Well, we could debate the meanings of atheist and agnostic all night, but suffice to say that two of the most well known, militant and outspoken atheists (Dawkins and Hitchens) will tell you that they cannot completely rule out the existence of a deity. One would have to have God-like powers in order to rule it out.

    I know you’re talking about atheist v. agnostic here, but I think Frost122585 mentioned humanism.

    Dawkins is indeed a Humanist, as is E.O. Wilson. Antony Flew was as well; I don’t know if his standing has changed.

  128. DL, your “amen brother” comment had me laughing out loud and rolling on the floor. I’m sure were correct in our assesment.

    Lazarus- “Janice I am not so sure that what we need is more science but probably less of it.”

    Lol,… rediculous.

  129. Frost, Objective science is about reducing subjectivity and sticking with the objective and demonstrable, and I wish we could deal only with such science. It would make things a lot easier.

    (Re your 120 & 123 : “But i do think we try to reduce subjectivity as much has possible .That is why I said the Virgin Mary flew in my window last night and told me ID was true. This kind of reasoning should not be allowed on the site Im sure we both agree.” )

    However, there are ample examples from the history of science and philosophy that the subjective and irrational intuition (not subject to rational) does play some significant part. For example, Kekule discovered the highly elusive ring structure of the benzene molecule based on a dream. Or Descartes, the “Father of Modern (digitalized) Mathematics” leading to modern science & technology, who claimed that he discovered the foundations of a “marvelous science” in a dream. On a larger scale yet, consider Descartes’ objective to discover a sound scientific method. His whole reasoning starts with separating the dream from reality, see for example,

    http://www.anselm.edu/homepage/dbanach/dcarg.htm

    If it were true that a vision like Virgin Mary told you that ID were true, such a statement would still contain some “information”, especially if were indeed true. (And it would mean something even if you lied to us.) Now if you posted on this forum that you solved one of the great unsolved scientific or mathematical problems, be it one that would prove ID once and for all, or say you proved the Goldbach conjecture, and if at the same time you claimed the solution was revealed to you in a dream by an angel or by a spirit during an ouji-board seanse, what would be the value of such a statement? Would it be inappropriate to tell us how you acquired such stunning knowledge? In fact, if you didn’t tell us, wouldn’t you be witholding an important piece of information from us?

    Modern psychology calls this precognitive dreaming. History, including the history of science, is to a large degree based on such dreams. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precognitive_dreams )

    And I am sure Denyse O’Leary, one of the moderators in this forum, might be especially interested in such stuff which you would ban, since her Spiritual Brain is based on disproving “Cartesian Dualim” which postulated that brain and mind are separate.

    P.S., providing Lazarus is not a troll, don’t be too hard on him:

    “I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams to imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake.” (attributed to Descartes)

  130. ——-Frost 122585, (On Lazurus) “I feel that when I am debating this kind of a person I am more or less just debating a Prophet Yahweh.”

    I appreciate and agree with your reasonable objections to the irrational religious injections that threatened to cheapen the scientific discourse. The operative word here is, “irrational.” One of the reasons posts such as those of Lazarus tend to disrupt and even destroy destructive dialogue is because they take something very beautiful and made it very ugly.

    Let me offer a risky, but, I hope, helpful analogy. Islamists radicals have taken the idea of Christian martyrdom, a very praiseworthy thing, and transformed it into a very repulsive thing. Christian martyrs sacrifice their lives for the love of a noble cause; Islamist martyrs throw away their lives out of slavish obedience to an ignoble cause. The former values life and would save others with his act; the latter devalues life and would take as many others with him as possible. Thus, the very term martyr, which once evoked admiration, now causes fear and disgust. As a theologian once put it, “The corruption of the best is the worst.”

    Any discussion about the intersection of science and religion is subject to the same uses and abuses. Taken in the right proportions, theology illuminates science, and science confirms theology. No one has commented on this more beautifully than Dembski, and, alas, his enemies have tried to turn it into something very ugly. In fact, understanding theology and science, as Dembski does, enables him to more accurately assess the limits of science. He well understands the line that separates the two realms, while his enemies, typically grounded in materialism, don’t even know that there is a line.

    Further, if you take the time to investigate kairosfocus’ links, you will find that he exhibits this same virtue of “proportionality”, focusing at times solely on science, and at other times on a variety of other issues that either influence science or are influenced by it.

    Sadly, our materialistic culture breeds, in large part, one-dimensional, narrow-minded scientists, who have become detached from and even contemptuous of the humanity they are supposed to be serving. They have become insular almost to the point of madness. I interacted with a researcher yesterday who, thanks to methodological naturalism, has completely lost perspective about the things that matter most. For one thing, he could not even bring himself to admit that I can draw inferences about design from an ancient hunter’s spear. For another, he lacks the wisdom that can only be found outside of science. His unabashed battle cry dramatizes his point: “whatever we can do, we ought to do.” Science’s radical isolation from philosophy and religion has indeed taken its toll. ”

    Having said that, your comment on 115 does resonate: “People need to stay on topic and show real intellectual interest to the concepts of this site.” I couldn’t agree more. I submit further, that we should not allow clueless trolls like Lazarus to contaminate our public discourse by causing us to abandon something beautiful that he has tried to make ugly. We should always free to discuss supra-scientific themes as long as we place them in the right context temper and them in the right proportions.

  131. As much as I would like to agree with you about the rest of what you say, I am not so sure about the analogy of Christian martyrs and Muslim martyrs versus noble and ignoble causes.

    I don’t know of too many contemporary Christian martyrs. Do you have examples? I was thinking at first of Eric Rudolph but surely you can’t mean that?

  132. stephenb, Absolutely.

    Queston: I am new to this site and am wondering how people make quotes grey and with smaller bounds?

  133. Wow! in my last paragraph on 132, I posted too quickly and transposed two phrases that may well distract.

    Obviously, I meant—-”Having said that, I don’t want to minimize an important point: your comment on 115 does resonate:……..

    and in the final sentence……”as long as we place them in the right context and temper them in the right proportions.”

    Sorry!

  134. Frost, use blockquote tags:

    <blockquote>QuotedText</blockquote>

    will show up as

    QuotedText

  135. Frost, use blockquote tags:

    QuotedText

    will show up as

    lets see

  136. wow, ok thanks alot apollos!

  137. YW ;-)

  138. Rockyr, I appreciate what “you” are saying about the informational value of a subjective expierence. I have to say 2 things. 1, The kind of thoughtful reasoning that you cited and layed out is not the nature of the claims Lazarus has made. I think Lazarus is a troll and that is just my opinion. There was nothing resembling an argument except a very simple one that was a. The bible is the only true knowledge B. only true knowledge matters and C. The bible is all that matters. Everyone ignored and rightfully complained when Lazarus began to insult everyone on the post saying one nasty unfounded unsupported thing about ID after another and completely dismissing it altogether for no reason. Lazarus has no reason to be on this site. If i went to a National Football league site and just tlaked about how football sucks and only rugby is a real game I would be removed and rightfully so. Now I am not a bible literalist so i have the pleasure of judgeing people based on their actions. I have concluded Lazarus and Lazarus types are not only bad for this site but really bad for the ID movement in general which I am currently very much an advocate of. My quote about the virgin Mary flying into my bedroom window was not supported by any great scientific discovery of any sort and analogous Lazarus claims were not either, they were not even suppoted by current science. I agree with your point but it does not apply to Lazarus except in a very moot way.

  139. SteveB, Frost, . . . and digdug et al:

    First, Stephen, thanks for your you will find that he exhibits this same virtue of “proportionality.” Appreciation [even if also joined to points of critique] enlivens and enhances positive discussion.

    Now, too, I see DD trying to splash mud over the crucial difference between genuine martyrdom and the abuse of the term by Islamists [as opposed to the many ordinary decent people who are Muslims, who form the single largest pool of victims of radical violent Islamists] to try to make a sensible and important point into something ugly.

    Evidently, he does not know that it is a commonplace that the past 100 years has, sadly, seen more Christians perish for refusing to surrender to intimidation and oppression designed to make them abandon their convictions based on their encounter with God in the face of Christ, than in any previous century. Just for one instance, Christians were a very high proportion of the 2 – 3 millions killed by the Khartoum regime in southern Sudan. In another incident that should have been headlined in the US — but was mentioned in passing a few times, then all too conveniently forgotten — When the Columbine massacre occurred, students were in some cases asked concerning their Christian faith, and if they acknowledged Jesus were murdered.

    Nor is Mr Rudolph in any way a Christian martyr. In the words of St Peter:

    1PE 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

    DD should apologise, or else he has shown himself to be an ill-bred, worse informed trollish slanderer. (Onlookers, that sort of all too commonly encountered uncivil, disrespectful, hostility-laced, ill-informed and supercilious spoiled brattiness is a good part of why UD has to maintain such a high moderation and spamming threshold. It does not speak well of the current state of our civilisation.)

    Now, on a point or two of note:

    1] Rockyr, 132: there are ample examples from the history of science and philosophy that the subjective and irrational intuition (not subject to rational) does play some significant part. For example, Kekule discovered the highly elusive ring structure of the benzene molecule based on a dream.

    Actually, I am not so sure this is an IRRATIONAl act, so much as a flash of creative intuition that synthesised a key model or approach to understanding intensely studied but then poorly understood phenomena. That intuition was then amply confirmed by onward investigations.

    Similarly, Einstein often conceived his most fruitful insights through daydreams, e.g. taking an imaginative ride on a beam of light, then working out the mathematical consequences of that. Subsequently, he became a champion of the Gedankenexperiment [sp?], i.e the thought-experiment, which has now been extended into scientific visualisation on the computer.

    On the engineering side, Tesla was noted for his ability to mentally assemble a novel electrical machine in his mind, run it for several weeks, then disassemble it and inspect it for the likely amount of wear and tear. (I shudder to think of how much shop experience went into that!)

    At a more trivial level, one of my old HS Math teachers tried long and hard to get us to the point where we had in our heads our own mental chalkboards where we could rapidly write down a derivation or difficult calculation [including of course the relevant diagrams] then check it before committing to paper.

    Rationality has dimensions far beyond the mere assessing of chains of implications.

    These points also bring us to the issue of . . .

    2] The logic of explanation

    We are very used to reasoning from premises that are generally accepted to their implications, i.e demonstrative, deductive “proof.” But science and a lot of other things actually work in a different way, by abduction [sometimes, adduction].

    Here, we examine a set of credible but puzzling [indeed, often apparently contradictory] facts, and ask what best explains them. Then we compare competing explanations and accept the best one as the most likely, relative to tests such as factual adequacy [covering the widest range of facts], coherence [logical consistency] and having dynamics that can credibly originate or “drive” the observed patterns from a reasonable starting point], elegant simplicity [as opposed to ad hoc-ness or being simplistic].

    In such reasoning, the explanations are always provisional, though they often attain to what is called moral certainty. This is because there is a counter-flow between the directions of logical implication and empirical support. Namely, Explanation entails observed facts, but the facts are where the empirical support comes from. So the explanation pattern cannot be a proof, though it can attain to high reliability and confidence.

    And of course, this is a matter of philosophy [and even intersects with theology, for the ultimate explanations at he core of our worldviews have theological (or anti-theological) aspects!], not “science.”

    That brings up . . .

    3] SB, 133: our materialistic culture breeds, in large part, one-dimensional, narrow-minded scientists, who have become detached from and even contemptuous of the humanity they are supposed to be serving.

    Precisely, and sadly, because their education and indoctrination have been ever so narrow, and they have been taught to be arrogantly dismissive about the worldviewl-level [philosophical, moral and theological] questions that naturally emerge from their studies. And, in fact, such are some of the logical consequences of evolutionary materialism, which should warn us of its incoherence and delusional character.

    4] For one thing, [a materialist scientist SB encountered recently] could not even bring himself to admit that I can draw inferences about design from an ancient hunter’s spear.

    Here we see selective hyper-skepticism at work. He uses the very same logic of inference to best explanation in his day by day scientific work. But so soon as his evolutionary materialist worldview is in question, he cuts off the logic arbitrarily, and raises all sorts of objections that would not come up in any other comparable case. So, he is logically incoherent, question-begging and closed-mindedly insecure.

    5] he lacks the wisdom that can only be found outside of science. His unabashed battle cry dramatizes his point: “whatever we can do, we ought to do.”

    In short, we see nakedly revealed the corruption of morality by evolutionary materialist ideology in the guise of science.

    Has he ever pondered why it is that, even though many more lives were saved by applying the scientific findings of the Nazi concentration camps experiments on prisoners than were taken in the experiments, Medical science actually went back and replicated the findings until they could purge the text-books and the research literature of all of that foul “work”?

    In short, there is a vast difference between legitimate inquisitiveness and vicious curiosity. But then, I suspect that exposure to phil of science and ethics of science is not frequently to be found in the core of professional science programmes in universities. Given the relevant and horrible history, one wonders why . . . NOT.

    6] Science’s radical isolation from philosophy and religion has indeed taken its toll.

    I would put that a bit differently:

    Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted . . . At the same time, intelligent design (ID) offers a promising scientific alternative to materialistic theories of biological and cosmological evolution — an alternative that is finding increasing theoretical and empirical support. Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project . . .

    (No prizes for guessing the source of this excerpt . . . ; – ) .)

    GEM of TKI

  140. —–digdug24, “As much as I would like to agree with you about the rest of what you say, I am not so sure about the analogy of Christian martyrs and Muslim martyrs versus noble and ignoble causes.”

    Thanks for the ability to clarify. I do not consider “Muslim” to be synonymous with “Islamist,” the former, a militant terrorist, the latter a believer in the Koran, who may not be sympathetic with that kind of extremism.

    As an example of a 20th Century Christian martyr, try Maximian Kolbe, who offered up his life at a Nazi concentration camp to save another captive who had already been condemned to death. After hearing the man weep, (he didn’t want to leave his wife a widow and his children fatherless) Kolbe asked the executioner to kill him instead. His request was granted.

  141. PS: Frost, you have now several times raised some issues on the religious view of life, in a way that I think needs a balancing point or two, on the reasonableness of Bible-anchored Christian faith (as a part of the sider context of the cultural side of the ID issues), pardon, Patrick et al.

    I think you will find a more balanced approach to handling the Bible here and here.

    In the former, for College level students and similar youth leaders in training, you will see the difference between simplistic literalism and an introductory-level grammatico-historico-contextual approach to understanding the Biblical message in its context and bridging to its relevance to our own context today; all in light of seeking a proper balance of hermeneutical issues. (On related apologetics issues at a similar level, cf here.)

    The latter gives a bit of a balancing push on the evolution of theology over the past several centuries, as a part of an into to phil course for theology students.

    Yes, there are those who have a naive, ill-informed approach to the Bible as Christians [and can give a bad name to Evangelicals if they blunder into a more sophisticated forum than they are used to], but that is not by any means the whole story.

  142. H’mm: On looking at Stephen B in 144, I think I need to pull back a bit of my harshness in 142. Apologies, DD.

  143. —–kairosfocus: “I would put that a bit differently::”

    ‘Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted . . . At the same time, intelligent design (ID) offers a promising scientific alternative to materialistic theories of biological and cosmological evolution — an alternative that is finding increasing theoretical and empirical support. Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project . . .’

    (No prizes for guessing the source of this excerpt

    Agreed. In its misguided attempt to distance itself from religion, science filled its own vacuum by wedding itself to materialist philosophy.

  144. Karios- I am new to the site and was wondering what all of the stuff is that i see when i click on your name. Could you be explicit becuase I dont know too much about this site yet.

  145. Hi Frost

    When you register, you can give a web page link, which will show in your handle, a WordPress feature. The linked page is my own take on the ID issue, starting with the significance of information.

    GEM of TKI

  146. I assume that I am ‘DD’ in the post above.

    If so, no need to apologize because frankly I didn’t read the several hundred lines of navel gazing. Not until I saw that in a subsequent post did I even catch it.

    But you still have conflated martyr with victim. Several millions killed somewhere because they were Christians? I don’t see how that makes them martyrs. No more than several hundred thousand Iraqi civilians killed because they were in the neighborhood, or how ever many death row inmates killed because they were guilty.

    Being a christian does not a martyr make… I would think it would be deeper than that. Hence my suggestion that under those criteria Eric Rudolph may indeed be a martyr to some. He had a cause, and I’m not so sure that the Sudanese Christians had a cause. Perhaps you can tell me more.

  147. Frost, thanks for your reply, I am glad we agree about the value of the subjective knowledge and experience. About Lazarus – it’s true that he lost his cool and started to babble and offend, and it wasn’t nice, and it may have warranted his expulsion just on those grounds.

    However, (psychologically), that is what happens to most people when they get frustrated about not being understood. There were snippets of truth in what he was trying to express. I don’t want to be an arbiter about whether he should be expelled or not, and he certainly should be if he is a troll, but my gut feeling is that he is a Bible literalist or a Bible fundamentalist, ( I don’t like to use this word in this context but it is being used by others), to whom the Bible is all that matters. In a way these “fundamentalists” are right – all things considered, to a Christian the Christian way of life is of more importance than any (natural) science. If we didn’t have any science, like say Jews 2000 years ago in the time of Christ, we could still live a good and meaningful life. In their oversimplification of the problem, these people see modern science as a direct threat and enemy and insofar as the see that the ID is against modern science — which ID certainly is not, it is only against the abuses in modern science. Just as ourselves, these literalists sense or know that this is a key battle about the kind of society we will live in. They want to be on our side and be a part of this battle against the deadly threats to their way of life, which threaten us as well, so we are fighting the common enemy.

    In fact, what you are asking the moderators to do, is to ban all such Bible literalists from ID, and there are many of them, because you perceive them as a liability since we all get falsely mis-labeled as such, often on purpose, by the anti-ID Darwinists and evolutionists. Actually, and historically, it were these fundamentlists, people like William Jennings Bryan, who kept the fight going when the rest of the world, including Catholics, almost caved in and accepted Darwinism hook-line-and sinker. I think we should stress and loudly keep stressing and correcting and complaining that the modern ID is NOT about such incoherent and confused literalism as Lazarus presented. Yet we should not alienate these people but try to look deep into what is good and correct about such Biblical “fundamentalism.”

  148. Kairosfocus, I used the word “irrational” because I couldn’t quickly think of a better word, and that is why I added “not subject to rational” to clarify. I agree that precognition is not an irrational act in the strict primary sense of that word. Perhaps a better word would be super-rational, (or sub-rational), or even better, to avoid the super/sub confusion, it is a preter-rational function — in the sense of preternatural, or what is beyond natural and beyond rational.

    However, I don’t agree with you that all such “dreams” or precognitive dreaming is of the same kind, for example that haphazardly altering one’s mind, such as by hallucinogenic drugs, will or may lead to positive results. This is where we should be careful and employ strict reason to our “dreaming”, or we may get a nasty surprise. There is also a difference between dreaming and day-dreaming, and between genuine enlightenment or phantasms. That is what the original meaning of the word “day-dream” was meant to convey, so I don’t think anybody should brag about doing science by day-dreaming. Even Einstein’s daydreaming led to abuses of reason, since you cannot literally or actually apply his physics to people flying at the speed of light – that is where all the nonsensical relativistic paradoxes, like the Twin paradox, come from. That is also why I am opposed to treating things like parallel universes or alien biology as valid science – they are not factual and they are irrational.

    Just curious, where did you get the Tesla trivia from? I read some of his biographies, and I agree that he was a genius superior even to the genius of Edison, but I don’t remember reading about such mental capability of his as imaginatively assessing wear and tear of machines. (Other than simply guessing, by an educated guess, using one’s knowledge and experience with materials.)

  149. ———-digdug24: “If so, no need to apologize because frankly I didn’t read the several hundred lines of navel gazing. Not until I saw that in a subsequent post did I even catch it.”

    ———-“But you still have conflated martyr with victim. Several millions killed somewhere because they were Christians? I don’t see how that makes them martyrs. No more than several hundred thousand Iraqi civilians killed because they were in the neighborhood, or how ever many death row inmates killed because they were guilty.”

    ———-“Being a christian does not a martyr make… I would think it would be deeper than that. Hence my suggestion that under those criteria Eric Rudolph may indeed be a martyr to some. He had a cause, and I’m not so sure that the Sudanese Christians had a cause. Perhaps you can tell me more.”

    While your opening insult is not directed at me personally, your subsequent comments relate to my earlier post. The only real question for me is whether to confront your ignorance or marvel at your arrogance. No one around here conflates “martyr” with “victim,” except you. It should be clear that I had originally used the term martyr to mean one who would prefer to choose death rather than renounce his faith. The definition would also include anyone who, through charity, lays down his or her life for someone else. What matters is the act and the motive.

    So, obviously, not all Christians are martyrs. This is basic logic 101. Already you have distorted a definition and ventured an irrational conclusion. Now we must address the way you muddle through the critical distinctions, especially those that pertain to intention and purpose.

    Can you get your head wrapped around the idea that suicide bombings and mass murders may not qualify as the best expression of charity? Can you appreciate the fact that SOME Sudanese Christians volunteered to offer up their lives rather than submit to the tyranny of Islamic persecution? Can you fathom the concept that the death penalty has nothing to do with voluntary sacrifice and everything to do with paying for a crime? Why not just go ahead and expand martyrdom to include members in gangs who were killed in a street fight?

    So, there is a big problem here. Either you don’t read with comprehension or you cannot reason in the abstract. In any case, you forfeited the opportunity to engage in good faith dialogue with your opening salvo. A general principle: He who cannot navigate through a syllogism should not enter into a controversy.

    Clearly, there is no reason to carry on with this foolishness, because there is no point to it. Anyone who cannot distinguish between the heroism of Maximilian Kolbe and the savagery of Eric Rudolph is uneducable.

  150. Stephen your uncharitable remarks are misdirected. I was responding completely to post 142, who directly combobulated the issue by bringing up nonsequitors. However, thanks for the heads up on who is looking for a flamewar here though, I’ll avoid discussion with you about anything else unless I’m looking for a fight.

    Cheers

  151. digdug 24: I apologize. My remarks were uncharitable—–and premature. It was not my intention to shut down dialogue, and I hope I haven’t. Critical questions are welcome anytime.

  152. H’mm:

    Some follow-up notes are in order, though it is also clear that the thread has drifted from the subject in the main. That subject is important enough that we need to get back to it.

    Namely, a correct and fair view of ID,a nd an understanding that there is a questionable injection of materialist philosophy and associated ideological agendas into the current institutionalised praxis of science, science education and science popularisation, which is having deleterious impact through courts and policy-making.

    On points of specific note:

    1] Martyr

    For the benefit of interested onlookers here is OED:

    martyr noun a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs

    Historically, the word comes form the ordinary Greek word for “witness,” marturos. Early Christians, starting with Stephen [cf here Ac 6 - 8] rewrote the definition in their blood, by standing peacefully and even cheerfully steadfast in the face of threats, torture and unjust death for refusing to surrender what they knew [BTW from another Greek word, gnosis] to be the truth from having met God in the face of Christ.

    The early Christians recognised this to be sufficiently specially empowered by God to identify it as a spiritual gift [a charism]. They distinguished suffering to the point of death for one’s witness to Christ from mere suffering, using the term we translate “confessor” for those who only suffered, short of actual death.

    As Peter himself pointed out [cf. cite above], it is a gross — and too often cynically propagandistic — disrespect to the many, many who have followed in Stephen’s path, to conflate this with either one who has acted the part of a common criminal and, especially, one who is a murderer, whether he is Mr Rudolph or one of the 19 of 9/11, etc etc.

    2] Rockyr, 150: In their oversimplification of the problem, these people see modern science as a direct threat and enemy . . . these literalists sense or know that this is a key battle about the kind of society we will live in.

    Sadly, this is very understandable, as there has been a major attempt to redefine “science” — through the concept of so-called methodological naturalism — into a synonym for [evolutionary] materialism. For such, science becomes in effect the best materialist explanation of the cosmos from hydrogen to humans.

    This is an utterly unwarranted, question-begging philosophical move that is counter to the actual history and much of the praxis of science. [Cf here.] Indeed, we can get a far better “definition” by consulting even not so old, high-quality dictionaries, here OED 1990 and my Mother’s 1965 Webster’s 7th Collegiate:

    science: a branch of knowledge ["true, justified belief"] conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990 -- and yes, they used the "z" Virginia!]

    scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate, 1965]

    But, since right now the evolutionary materialists in the main hold the institutional power centres and control the mikes, they — as Mr Wilson just did — can easily misrepresent the truth by giving that false impression [in defiance of their duties of care regarding truth and fairness] and, sadly, are abusively exploiting the prestige of science to promote their worldview and associated agendas.

    In some cases, that is — as I noted above — because of major gaps in science education. But we should be hearing loud and clear from the leaders on philosophy and history of science, who have let the likes of Ms Barbara Forrest get away with distortions that are so grossly out of line with the truth that they HAVE to be deliberate lies or else reflections of imbalance that would have to be clinical.

    Sometimes, silence in the face of slander is complicity.

    3] we should stress and loudly keep stressing and correcting and complaining that the modern ID is NOT about such incoherent and confused literalism as Lazarus presented. Yet we should not alienate these people but try to look deep into what is good and correct about such Biblical “fundamentalism.”

    I agree. Unfortunately, in the case of Lazarus, whether because of his frustration or because of his being a Sokal-style parody, he has not responded when corrected or even invited to serious dialogue.

    4] 151, I don’t agree with you that all such “dreams” or precognitive dreaming is of the same kind

    I never asserted such. I spoke to how we have different ways to be rational, and the ability to creatively synthesise and vislualise is a part of the picture, resting on profound insight.

    5] Tesla

    On Tesla, I have long since forgotten the source on that tidbit — it would have been an electronics publication for engineers or technicians from about 20 – 25 years ago. If one has sufficient experience with actual behaviour of machines, one can intuitively appreciate boundary conditions and dynamics, thence estimate their behaviour, far beyond what one can calculate. That is a part of what experience and technical judgement are about, and visualisation is a part of that process.

    (It struck me then, because it parallelled Einstein’s visualisations and thought experiments, and the way that certain early IC designers would use similar visualisation to guide them in laying out the IC layers. That was before there was software that could help them do that. BTW, in the European style engineering tradition, a heavy emphasis is still made on drawing and associated 3-D visualisation, as a crucial design technique. There is a logic to such scientifically informed visualisation that cannot be effectively and intelligibly reduced to words, as any experienced person can tell you. On the more abstract side, from my own experience and observation of my own students, it was a breakthrough to be able to visualise the Laplacian s-plane through the stretchy rubber-sheet technique, allowing one to see frequency response curves and intuitively appreciate damping effects, then quantify from observation. Years later, students were still telling me about pole-spotting from time-domain behaviour of e.g. car suspensions on the roads!)

    GEM of TKI

  153. God that is a lot of reading just to get a few basic points. Try the Cliff Notes version next time KF.

    First, there are many folks who would disagree with you about Rudolph being a martyr. Pure relativism at it’s finest. For the record, I don’t consider him a martyr. But it is clear that he did endure quite a bit of hardship and suffering because of his beliefs.

    Regarding point 2, I’m not so convinced that there is a scientific alternative to ‘materialism’ in the methodological sense. I agree this is more about philosophy, but I don’t understand what you will replace methodological naturalism with.

    3 It is telling of one’s character when they are forced to harangue a commenter once that commenter has been removed from the discussion. Can we just forget about the trolls? What purpose does it serve to attack someone who cannot answer you?

  154. I am still hoping that you will accept my olive branch. In any case

    ——1) “First, there are many folks who would disagree with you about Rudolph being a martyr. Pure relativism at it’s finest. For the record, I don’t consider him a martyr. But it is clear that he did endure quite a bit of hardship and suffering because of his beliefs.”

    Please make the distinction between taking someone else’s life and giving up your own. It is not a small one.

    —–2) I’m not so convinced that there is a scientific alternative to ‘materialism’ in the methodological sense. I agree this is more about philosophy, but I don’t understand what you will replace methodological naturalism with.”

    Methodological naturalism is the science stopper. It is not necessary to rule out “design infernece” in order to test for natural causes.

    ——3)” It is telling of one’s character when they are forced to harangue a commenter once that commenter has been removed from the discussion. Can we just forget about the trolls? What purpose does it serve to attack someone who cannot answer you?”

    Learn from my mistake with you and don’t attack character or intelligence.

  155. digdug24 at #156:

  156. Sure stephen.

    I am still in doubt over any useful definition of ‘martyr’ that does not have slippery slopes on either side.

    Following that, I am not sure what operational benefit there is to the ‘design inference’. After that, what? It seems that one would still adopt the methodological form of science currently in use. AFAICT the only difference would be in the tangential substitution of whatever we call the thing you use to infer design, and that would only be relevant for the inference. I don’t see how this is redefines science, and I don’t see the practical purpose of the ‘design inference’. I do see the religious implications as practical and comforting but that is a different story.

    Per character comments, perhaps you are right. Lets let the trolls be and let each other be. I will follow your example.

  157. DD:

    On implications of relativism [an implication of evolutionary materialism], as illustrated by attempted debates over whether the proper meaning of “Martyr” is a matter of serious controversy:

    OED: martyr: noun a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs

    [Am H D] Murderer: One who commits murder.

    [Am H D] Murder: The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.

    [Am H D] Unlawful: Not lawful; illegal. Contrary to accepted morality or convention; illicit. [NB: of course this itself begins to skirt the issue of objective morality, with serious implications for our rights and for justice!]

    Kindly cf point 1, no 155. I note that apart from complaining that I have given details, all that has in effect been said is that there are those who would disagree with me. SteveB is right to remark:

    Please make the distinction between taking someone else’s life and giving up your own [in peaceful witness to one's convictions]. It is not a small one

    If relativism cannot tell the difference between the victim and the perpetrator of murder — all martyrs are by definition murder victims, even where the murder is carried out under false colour of law — then it is in serious, serious trouble.

    GEM of TKI

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