Home » Culture, Intelligent Design, Science » How the scientific method, as currently practised, protects weak or bad theories

How the scientific method, as currently practised, protects weak or bad theories

And why it is okay – even necessary -for lay people to critique science theories.

From lawyer and social analyst Edward Sisson: “God of the gaps” assumes that science steadily fills-in gaps. But this is an artifact of the sociological rule that Stephen Jay Gould noted, that widely-accepted theories (i.e., filled-in former gaps) are never rejected until someone comes along to offer a more persuasive replacement theory.

But an existing theory may be false for reasons evident to a rational layperson, due to inherent conflicts in its underlying logic, or due to reliance on falsified assumptions, etc., which a reasoning mind can identify even if the particular person does not have the specialized training necessary to construct an alternative theory. Juries in civil court cases (i.e., laypeople) do this kind of thing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times each year, in product liability cases, design defect cases, medical malpractice cases, patent infringement cases, etc., where an expert for the plaintiff presents a technical theory and the lawyer for the defense, perhaps relying on an expert, identifies holes in the plaintiff’s theory, without having to develop an alternative theory.

The sociological problem in the science world is that there is no funding for the role of a defense-only advocate, whose only job is to poke holes in the plaintiff’s theory, without having to present an alternative theory. Of course, if the defense CAN present an alternative theory, so much the better; but there is no requirement to do so. In the science world, the only funded career-path is for theory-creators.

In the criminal context, it would be as if defendant X could not simply have a defense counsel, but had to hire his own prosecution team whose job was to prove that mister Z was the real criminal; and the trial would be a competition of presentations between the two prosecution teams, where the jury had to decide that either X or Z did the crime.

If we had a scientific system in which there was a regular, funded career path for people to debunk existing theories, without replacing them, what we would see is that issues once thought to have been answered by science (filled-in gaps) would suddenly go blank again, leaving the gap re-opened, with nothing replacing it. We would not see a steady, but false, impression of gaps being steadily filled.

It is to keep this from happening that we are told that only credentialed scientists are allowed to reject theories, and that laypeople are not allowed to do so.

The problem with this argument is that individuals, by the time they reach college age, are pretty much “set” in their level of intelligence and analytical ability. Many have a sufficient intellectual ability to analyze theories, identify logical inconsistencies, etc. All of these people have the ability, should they wish to, to go into science and develop knowledge necessary to be able to present credible new theories — but only a few do. Those who choose not to, still retain the intellectual ability to discredit theories, and later in life, they may find themselves involved in some situation where they apply their minds to some theory to see if it is internally logically consistent, etc. They cannot be ruled out-of-bounds in this, in deference to those few who chose to develop the additional expertise necessary to construct new theories.

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124 Responses to How the scientific method, as currently practised, protects weak or bad theories

  1. A serious point.

  2. 2

    “God of the gaps” assumes that science steadily fills-in gaps.”

    19th century universe: 96% scientific understanding. 4% gap.

    21st century universe: 96% gap. 4% scientific understanding.

  3. The demand that others “provide an alternative theory” is typically a defense mechanism by someone who doesn’t want to acknowledge that there are serious objections to their own theory.

  4. News:

    We would not see a steady, but false, impression of gaps being steadily filled.

    It is to keep this from happening that we are told that only credentialed scientists are allowed to reject theories, and that laypeople are not allowed to do so.

    That of course could be possible,another case of the man keeping the brother down.

    It is my impression that you may reject any theory you please,for whatever reason. However weight your criticism is given depends on your actual knowledge. Another ongoing thread lambasts criticism of ID for it’s total lack of interest in anything about the design argument except how to tell it from non design. Their criticism is discarded as unenlightened to the theory of ID. Is this not the same? Deference given to those who earn it by expending the effort to learn the subject.

  5. v, no it doesn’t depend on your knowledge, it depends on if you make a valid point. There ya go.

  6. Lamarck,
    Chances of making a valid point increase if you know what you are talking about,right? Otherwise it is just Chance.

  7. vel states:

    ‘However (much) weight your criticism is given depends on your actual knowledge.

    Dawkins: I told you we don’t know.

    Stein: So you have no idea how life first started?

    Dawkins: Nor does anybody!

    Richard Dawkins Vs. Ben Stein – The UFO Interview – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4134259/

    ===============

    Materialistic Basis of the Cambrian Explosion is Elusive: BioEssays Vol. 31 (7):736 – 747 – July 2009
    Excerpt: “going from an essentially static system billions of years in existence to the one we find today, a dynamic and awesomely complex system whose origin seems to defy explanation. Part of the intrigue with the Cambrian explosion is that numerous animal phyla with very distinct body plans arrive on the scene in a geological blink of the eye, with little or no warning of what is to come in rocks that predate this interval of time.” —“Thus, elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....mater.html

    The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency – Dr David L. Abel – November 2010
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    http://www.scitopics.com/The_L.....iency.html

    The GS (genetic selection) Principle – David L. Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: Stunningly, information has been shown not to increase in the coding regions of DNA with evolution. Mutations do not produce increased information. Mira et al (65) showed that the amount of coding in DNA actually decreases with evolution of bacterial genomes, not increases. This paper parallels Petrov’s papers starting with (66) showing a net DNA loss with Drosophila evolution (67). Konopka (68) found strong evidence against the contention of Subba Rao et al (69, 70) that information increases with mutations. The information content of the coding regions in DNA does not tend to increase with evolution as hypothesized. Konopka also found Shannon complexity not to be a suitable indicator of evolutionary progress over a wide range of evolving genes. Konopka’s work applies Shannon theory to known functional text. Kok et al. (71) also found that information does not increase in DNA with evolution. As with Konopka, this finding is in the context of the change in mere Shannon uncertainty. The latter is a far more forgiving definition of information than that required for prescriptive information (PI) (21, 22, 33, 72). It is all the more significant that mutations do not program increased PI. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces formal function. No increase in Shannon or Prescriptive information occurs in duplication. What the above papers show is that not even variation of the duplication produces new information, not even Shannon “information.”
    http://www.bioscience.org/2009.....6/3426.pdf
    http://www.us.net/life/index.htm

    “LIFE’S CONSERVATION LAW: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information”:
    http://evoinfo.org/publication.....ation-law/

    The DNA Enigma – Where Did The Information Come From? – Stephen C. Meyer – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4125886

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    ================

    Perhaps the neo-Darwinian high priest of today are much like the gnostic high priests of old, ‘special’ priest who were the only ones entrusted, by their god, with the ‘secret knowledge’ necessary to go to heaven??? Then again the neo-Darwinian high priests of today seem to be much more akin to ‘The Wizard of Oz’ behind the curtain;

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWyCCJ6B2WE

  8. v, if there is a pyramid of knowledge and the capstone is a wild guess, refuted by it’s own evidence the further down you go into specialization…you can safely criticize.

  9. Eric Anderson:The demand that others “provide an alternative theory” is typically a defense mechanism by someone who doesn’t want to acknowledge that there are serious objections to their own theory.

    Exactly. Such persons are saying, “How dare you raise objections to my (pet) theory unless and until you can offer me one I will accept as a replacement for it!

    Or, to put it another, and more blunt, way, they are saying, “How dare you raise objections to my (pet) theory unless and until you can reformulate it so as to disguise the points to which you have objected!

  10. Ilion,

    I think I agree with you that an alternate theory is not necessary to find problems with a theory,with peer review an alternate theory for the evidence is not required to critique the findings of a paper,of course again as a non professional.

  11. BA,

    I agree that Dawkins opinion of how life started is of equal weight as yours. The rest of your post ,sorry life is too short.The fun is in a real human conversation.

  12. Lamarck,
    Sorry you lost me, just to be sure,are you arguing that my opinion on brain sugery is equal to a brain surgeon’s?

  13. vel, Hey I’m open, break your best ‘expert’ out and let’s see what kind of evidence he’s got. Everything I’ve ever seen from neo-Darwinists has always fell apart upon critical scrutiny and has ALWAYS turned out to be smoke, bluster, and mirrors, but perhaps you can privy us to this ‘secret knowledge’ that is kept so well hidden from us ignorant, unwashed, masses!

  14. BA ,

    What do you want me to prove? That evolution is possible?

  15. vel, you ask,,, ‘What do you want me to prove? That evolution is possible?’

    Hmmm that would be nice, but perhaps you can also start off by proving that materialism, upon which neo-Darwinism is built in the first place, is the true description for the foundation of reality, instead of Theism being the true foundation. Don’t you agree that establishing a proper philosophical foundation in science, before entertaining further conjecture, is the proper path to take???

    ==============

    Alter Bridge – Rise Today
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYG3BPvFOgs

  16. vel, perhaps I can help you along on this materialism vs. Theism thing and give you some stuff to chew on.,,, from the best scientific evidence we now have we have very good reason to believe that the entire universe came into origination at the Big Bang. Not only was all mass-energy brought into being, but space-time itself was also brought into being at the Big Bang!!! Thus it logically follows that whatever brought the universe into being had to be transcendent of space-time, mass-energy. Yet the only thing that we know of that is completely transcendent of space-time, matter-energy is information. Thus the question becomes did information bring space-time, mass-energy into being?,,, simple enough question, but how do we prove it vel? It turns out that quantum teleportation breakthroughs have shed light directly on this question!,,, Here are a few experiments establishing the ‘information theoretic’ origin of this universe, as well as establishing the information theoretic ‘sustaining’ of this universe;

    How Teleportation Will Work -
    Excerpt: In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed. — As predicted, the original photon no longer existed once the replica was made.
    http://science.howstuffworks.c.....ation1.htm

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”
    http://www.research.ibm.com/qu.....portation/

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

    ,,,This following experiment shows that the teleportation of ‘infinite’ information is instantaneous;,,,

    Researchers Succeed in Quantum Teleportation of Light Waves – April 2011
    Excerpt: In this experiment, researchers in Australia and Japan were able to transfer quantum information from one place to another without having to physically move it. It was destroyed in one place and instantly resurrected in another, “alive” again and unchanged. This is a major advance, as previous teleportation experiments were either very slow or caused some information to be lost.
    http://www.popsci.com/technolo.....-computing

    ,,,Whereas this experiment shows that quantum information is ‘conserved’,,,

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    ,,,The following articles show that even atoms (Ions) are subject to ‘instantaneous’ teleportation:,,,

    Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups
    Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original (that was destroyed),,,
    http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo.....ammeup.asp

    Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009
    Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,,
    “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....1769/posts

    ,,,Moreover, when the wave state (superposition), which is defined as infinite information, collapses to its particle state, it turns out that the particle state can only convey one bit of information to any particular observer in the universe at a time:

    Zeilinger’s principle
    The principle that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by the Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics.
    http://science.jrank.org/pages.....z17a7f88PM

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

    ,,,moreover, encoded information, such as we find encoded in computers, and yes, such as we find encoded in DNA, is found to be a subset of ‘conserved’ quantum information:

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy.
    Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    John 1:1-3
    In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

    etc.. etc..

  17. Some of the most stupid ideas come from “experts in the field,” especially, and almost exclusively in academia, which is the great engine of stupid stuff ever devised (except in real science which has not yet been completely polluted, like engineering).

    Remember Whole Language, which “describes a literacy philosophy which emphasizes that children should focus on meaning and strategy instruction” instead of learning how to read? This academic nonsense destroyed the literacy of an entire generation of young people. It was stupid from the outset and obviously so.

    The entire “lay people” argument is an attempt by those in power and with influence to defend stupid stuff that anyone can recognize is stupid, except those with Ph.D.s in stupid stuff.

  18. I got my degree in stupidity online.

  19. GilDodgen:

    Some of the most stupid ideas come from “experts in the field,” especially, and almost exclusively in academia

    There is some truth in that

    The entire “lay people” argument is an attempt by those in power and with influence to defend stupid stuff that anyone can recognize is stupid, except those with Ph.D.s in stupid
    stuff.

    And then of course off the rails, it is not a conspiracy to expect critics to be versed in the actual argument they are criticizing . Once again,ID proponents are constantly haranguing opponents for not understanding why to ask for the actual calculation of csi in an organism is completely ignorant . As experts in the field they realize this is a too basic question to deem with an answer.

    Likewise this is how many scientists might feel if their theories involving complex mathematical equations are dismissed as unpersuasive by a layman who struggled with algebra . Unimpressed.

    You have to know enough to know what the actual argument is. This seems pretty basic stuff.

  20. Mung:

    I got my degree in stupidity online.

    You’re lucky, it took me six years in college .

  21. BA :

    Yet the only thing that we know of that is completely transcendent of space-time, matter-energy is information.

    Really, I did not know that, what information was that?

  22. BA,

    start off by proving that materialism, upon which neo-Darwinism is built in the first place, is the true description for the foundation of reality, instead of Theism being the true foundation.

    Does it matter which god is the foundation or is it just the belief in a generic god.? BA ,all science even the untainted ones like engineering assume material causes. In fact most everyday life does as well. While that doesn’t prove it, it has been pretty effective.

  23. Velikovskys @ 22,
    Do you really have that great difficulty comprehending what you read? Or are you just trying to change the subject?

  24. vel; you ask:

    ‘Really, I did not know that, what information was that?’

    All information;

    Information? What Is It Really? Professor Andy McIntosh
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4739025/

    Vel as to 22; so you just want to assume your preferred ‘materialistic’ answer into the origins question by allowing only material causes to be considered for an answer in the first place??? How very ‘scientific’ of you to allow only your preferred answer to be considered as a possible answer.

  25. 25
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Hi, news:

    Logged in this morning as there are a couple of threads I owe responses to, but could not help but respond to this:

    But an existing theory may be false for reasons evident to a rational layperson, due to inherent conflicts in its underlying logic, or due to reliance on falsified assumptions, etc., which a reasoning mind can identify even if the particular person does not have the specialized training necessary to construct an alternative theory.

    I think this is fundamentally wrong. Many scientific theories have resulted from questioning basic premises, and indeed, by advancing conflicting hypotheses for the same phenomena. A lay person can easily find fault with scientific theories – after all, relativity and quantum mechanics are incompatible, ditto wave and particle models of light. And who would have thought that light could have constant speed regardless of how fast the observer is moving? This is why scientific theories are not so much “false” (pace Popper) as inadequate. Nonetheless, in some circs they may be useful.

    Juries in civil court cases (i.e., laypeople) do this kind of thing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times each year, in product liability cases, design defect cases, medical malpractice cases, patent infringement cases, etc., where an expert for the plaintiff presents a technical theory and the lawyer for the defense, perhaps relying on an expert, identifies holes in the plaintiff’s theory, without having to develop an alternative theory.

    Which is why science is fundamentally different from law. Juries must reject a “theory” in law if it doesn’t meet some standard of likelihood that is far far laxer than the standard we use in science for rejecting the null. And, unlike science, when, in law, you convict (do not reject the theory) you consider it proven. Nothing is proven in science. Indeed, nothing is proveable in science because all models are incomplete.

    The sociological problem in the science world is that there is no funding for the role of a defense-only advocate, whose only job is to poke holes in the plaintiff’s theory, without having to present an alternative theory. Of course, if the defense CAN present an alternative theory, so much the better; but there is no requirement to do so. In the science world, the only funded career-path is for theory-creators.

    I think this is a complete misunderstanding of scientific methodology, and also simply wrong. Much of science relies on null-hypothesis testing. The essence of null-hypothesis testing is to “poke holes in the plaintiff’s theory”, and this is done “without having to present an alternative theory”. The null is not an “alternate theory”. Some scientific methods do test alternative theories, and it’s a much more exciting when that happens. But unfortunately, this is rarer. So far from “the only funded career-path” (lol) being for “theory-creators”, the entire role of that [under-]funded career-pursuer is to poke holes in not only her own theories, but to submit those theories for hole-poking by others and to do the same in return. You could describe the entire edifice of science as the process of trying to saw off the branch you have just stepped on to.

    If we had a scientific system in which there was a regular, funded career path for people to debunk existing theories, without replacing them, what we would see is that issues once thought to have been answered by science (filled-in gaps) would suddenly go blank again, leaving the gap re-opened, with nothing replacing it. We would not see a steady, but false, impression of gaps being steadily filled.

    It is to keep this from happening that we are told that only credentialed scientists are allowed to reject theories, and that laypeople are not allowed to do so.

    No, you are not “told” that. But if you want to reject a theory, it helps if you’ve spent some time learning some science, and usually, if you do, you find yourself with a “credential”. Not always. Some of the best work is sometimes done by people still on the way to their “credentials”.

    The problem with this argument is that individuals, by the time they reach college age, are pretty much “set” in their level of intelligence and analytical ability.

    I disagree. Analytical ability improves with technique, like most abilities, and scientific training is training in analysis. Also IQ (even if that is what you mean by “intelligence”) is fluid over time (and is age-normed anyway). There’s a heuristic that says that you need 10 years in a domain before you make any impact on it. I don’t know if it’s true, but it certainly seems to me to be true that the way you look at any domain (and I’ve trained in three rather different domains) deepens immeasurably the longer you remain immersed in that domain, learning its techniques, and internalising its knowledge-base. Even your perceptual abilities improve.

    Many have a sufficient intellectual ability to analyze theories, identify logical inconsistencies, etc. All of these people have the ability, should they wish to, to go into science and develop knowledge necessary to be able to present credible new theories — but only a few do. Those who choose not to, still retain the intellectual ability to discredit theories, and later in life, they may find themselves involved in some situation where they apply their minds to some theory to see if it is internally logically consistent, etc. They cannot be ruled out-of-bounds in this, in deference to those few who chose to develop the additional expertise necessary to construct new theories.

    I find this so wrong it’s hard to know where to start!

    But perhaps the place to start is with the idea that somehow “creating theories” is a different kind of activity to “discredit[ing]” theories”. It isn’t. It’s all part of a single project, which is the core of the scientific project, namely, hypothesis testing. A hypothesis is not a hypothesis until it’s testable; and what you do when you have a hypothesis is test it – namely attempt to demonstrate that it is not true. And the test of a hypothesis, in science, is empirical.

    It need not even be “logical”. After all, once it was clear, empirically, that light was a wave, what logical basis was there for testing whether it behaved like a particle? “Pull the funding! This hypothesis has already been falsified!” Sure, it is possible for a lay-person to say: hang on, but surely, there is a problem here….?” And there is nothing to stop anyone doing so. But if that lay person wants to be taken seriously, then they have to do more than say: “but this doesn’t make sense”. Science is not like math. Scientific models don’t have to make sense – what they have to do is predict data. Of course, if they do make sense, they are more likely to predict the data, and if you get lucky, and put forward a non-sensical hypothesis that does turn out to predict the data, then with luck another scientist will come along and say: look, there’s a far more sensible hypothesis that does just the same, and moreover, predicts these observations which your hypothesis theory doesn’t”.

    But not always. Science remains full of hypotheses that are, at some level, inconsistent with each other, or require assumptions about relationships that we do not (yet) have an explanation for, or even make no sense at all, yet predict our observations remarkably well.

    And I think this misunderstanding, exemplified in your post, goes to the heart of what is wrong with ID as science. I frequently read (Barry has a post right now on this) that ID isn’t about the nature of the designer, merely about demonstrating the signature of design. This suggests that ID proponents think you can do science in the abstract, from an armchair, using math alone, and eschewing the iterative, empirical process that is scientific methodology. In other words, it’s pre-Enlightenment thinking – the kind of thinking that Galileo helped revolutionise.

    Empiricism is messy. It means having an explanatory idea, playing with it, seeing if you can derive testable hypotheses from it (“if this is true, then we might expect to see this….), testing them, using the results to modify your original idea, etc. But it is also rigorous – models (theories, hypotheses) are fitted to data, not the other way round. No model fits any data perfectly, but some fit better than others. Mostly you get a better fit by modifying your model to include some additional factor. Sometimes you find your model ends up with so many additional bits and pieces, that a simpler model, though explaing no more data (occasionally less), does so more efficiently (parsimoniously). After all, Ptolomaic astrolabes work fine, they just use more cogs than Copernican ones.

    And both are wrong, as Kepler showed. Where ID needs to start, IMO, is: OK, life looks designed. I wonder why? What kind of design process might produce such a thing? What characteristics does this design process have? Do species adapt because of some kind of “front-loading” of the genome, or by some kind of “injection” of design at the variance-creation part of the process? Or are there some hidden laws, built into the universe, that we have yet to discover, that makes useful variance in living things more likely than mere chance would suggest? In which case, are these laws what we might call “Necessity”, or something else? And what do we mean by “design”? Are we talking about intentional design? What do we mean by intention? How do we recognise it in the output of human designers, or in the make-up of human designers? Are these properties observable in our putative designer’s output?

    And if ID goes down this path, then it deserves to be taken seriously. I’d take it seriously. Indeed I do, and it has taught me things not only about the evolution of life but the nature of intelligence and intention and design. But if you think that ID can succeed simply by means of lay people pointing out apparent flaws in the standard model, then I suggest you are deeply wrong. The people pointing out the real flaws in the standard model, are in fact, scientists, and they do it every day of their working lives (and often well into their non-working lives too). And the reason they can do it so well is that they have spent years training (acquiring credentials on the way, usually, but that’s epiphenomenal) in the kind of empirical, mathematical, logical, and analytical techniques they need to do the job.

  26. Dr Liddle:

    If a scientific theory is logically self-contradictory, it fails. And a reasonably intelligent and generally educated person with some familiarity with science can see that.

    Similarly, just the same ordinary person can see for him or her self that if you impose evolutionary materialism as a controlling a priori, you are begging the question bigtime.

    As a case in point, observe Lewontin in that infamous 1997 NYRB review article:

    . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [[i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [And Anti Evo and other scornfully objecting onlookers, if you think the immediately following words JUSTIFY the above, or significantly change the force of the point, cf the onward notes and further clips and comments at the just linked. Sorry, your unreasonableness -- not to mention just plain spoiled bratty want of basic broughtupcy -- is what is increasingly on display. (Other onlookers, I am here responding to some things of such astonishing sophomoric dismissiveness, incivility and just plain rudeness, that you would have to see to believe. It has also not registered with such that in the present circumstances of an outing therat that tried to say, mafioso style: we know you, we know where you are, we know those you care for, continued outing tactics are an endorsement of such threats. This utterly reveals and exposes the plain, demonically shameless moral bankruptcy of such evolutionary materialist ideology in action.)]

    Origins science, under such controlling a prioris, is in a first class mess. The emperor is naked beneath that lab coat.

    We must not ever allow a reigning orthodoxy in science get away with hiding behind the holy lab coat.

    GEM of TKI

  27. vel to continue from post 16 on this materialism vs. Theism thing. Materialism presupposed that the universe always existed, yet Theism presupposed that this universe had a beginning and was brought into being from the highest transcendent of God which is not constrained by time and space. And indeed this transcendent origin postulated by Theism is what the evidence of the Big Bang has turned out to confirm in dramatic fashion:

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Evidence For The Transcendent Origin Of The Universe – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347185

    And as I cited in 16, teleportation experiments have shown that information is dominant of mass-energy, as well as transcendent of space time. So can we now construct a coherent ‘top down’ Theistic picture of reality, instead of chasing our tail in a circle with the incoherent ‘bottom up’ materialistic pictures of multiverses??? I believe so.

    Further reflection on quantum teleportation experiments:

    That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation (separation) of its ‘infinite’ information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. (i.e. a photon ‘disappeared’ from the ‘material’ universe when the entire information content of a photon was ‘transcendently displaced’ from the material universe by the experiment, when photon “c” transcendently became transmitted photon “a”). Thus, Quantum teleportation is direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. ‘transcendent’ information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, telling energy exactly what to be and do in the experiment. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed and, in information demonstrating transcendence, and dominion, of space-time and matter-energy, becomes the only known entity that can satisfactorily explain where all energy came from as far as the origination of the universe is concerned. That is transcendent information is the only known entity which can explain where all the energy came from in the Big Bang without leaving the bounds of empirical science as the postulated multiverse does. Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, a photon of energy, as transcendent information does in teleportation, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities as energy does possess in the first law of thermodynamics (i.e. Energy cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means according to the first law). To reiterate, since information exercises dominion of energy in quantum teleportation then all information that can exist, for all past, present and future events of energy, already must exist.
    As well, the fact that quantum teleportation shows an exact ‘location dominion’, of a photon of energy by ‘specified infinite information’, satisfies a major requirement for the entity needed to explain the missing Dark Matter. The needed transcendent explanation would have to dominate energy in a very similar ‘specified location’ fashion, as is demonstrated by the infinite information of quantum teleportation, to satisfy what is needed to explain the missing dark matter.

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    Moreover, the fact that simple quantum entanglement shows ‘coordinated universal control’ of entangled photons of energy, by transcendent information, regardless of distance, satisfies a major requirement for the entity which must explain the missing Dark Energy. i.e. The transcendent entity, needed to explain Dark Energy, must explain why the entire space of the universe is expanding in such a finely-tuned, coordinated, degree, and would have to employ a mechanism of control very similar to what we witness in the quantum entanglement experiment.

    Job 9:8
    He stretches out the heavens by Himself and walks on the waves of the sea.

    Thus ‘infinite transcendent information’ provides a coherent picture of overarching universal control, and specificity, that could possibly unify gravity with the other forces. It very well may be possible to elucidate, mathematically, the overall pattern God has chosen to implement infinite information in this universe. The following article backs up that this assertion may be possible:

    Is Unknown Force In Universe Acting On Dark Matter?
    Excerpt: It is possible that a non-gravitational fifth force is ruling the dark matter with an invisible hand, leaving the same fingerprints on all galaxies, irrespective of their ages, shapes and sizes.” ,,Such a force might solve an even bigger mystery, known as ‘dark energy’, which is ruling the accelerated expansion of the Universe. A more radical solution is a revision of the laws of gravity first developed by Isaac Newton in 1687 and refined by Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in 1916. Einstein never fully decided whether his equation should add an omnipresent constant source, now called dark energy. ,,Dr Famaey added, “If we account for our observations with a modified law of gravity, it makes perfect sense to replace the effective action of hypothetical dark matter with a force closely related to the distribution of visible matter.”,,,

    “I discovered that nature was constructed in a wonderful way, and our task is to find out its mathematical structure”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    Reflections on the ‘infinite transcendent information’ framework, as well as on the ‘eternal’ and ‘temporal’ frameworks:

    The weight of mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. Yet, mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light, because, from our non-speed of light perspective, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for the mass going the speed of light. Whereas conversely, if mass could travel at the speed of light, its size will stay the same while all other frames of reference not traveling the speed of light will disappear from its sight.

    Special Relativity – Time Dilation and Length Contraction – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSRIyDfo_mY

    Moreover time, as we understand it, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

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

    ,,,Yet, even though light has this ‘eternal’ attribute in regards to our temporal framework of time, for us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, will still only get us to first base as far as quantum entanglement, or teleportation, is concerned.

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    That is to say, traveling at the speed of light will only get us to the place where time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, ‘past and future folding into now’, framework of time. This higher dimension, ‘eternal’, inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not ‘frozen within time’ yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Experimental confirmation of Time Dilation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....nfirmation

    It is very interesting to note that this strange higher dimensional, eternal, framework for time, found in special relativity, finds corroboration in Near Death Experience testimonies:

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

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

    It is also very interesting to point out that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), is also corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as an observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences:

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

    Here is the interactive website (with link to the math at bottom of page) related to the preceding video;

    Seeing Relativity – C.M. Savage and A.C. Searle – Department of Physics and Theoretical Physics,
    Australian National University
    http://www.anu.edu.au/Physics/Searle/

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

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

    Also, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them, yet, and this is a very big ‘yet’ to take note of; this ‘timeless’ travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. Yet, in quantum teleportation of information, the ‘time not passing’, i.e. ‘eternal’, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but is also ‘instantaneously’ achieved in our temporal framework. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus ‘pure transcendent information’ is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which ‘It’ resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned).

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

    Logic also dictates ‘a decision’ must have been made, by the ‘transcendent, eternal, infinite information’ from the primary timeless (eternal) reality ‘It’ inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive by yet another line of evidence besides the necessity for a ‘first mover’ to explain quantum wave collapse.

    The First Cause Must Be A Personal Being – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4813914

  28. 28
    Elizabeth Liddle

    If a scientific theory is logically self-contradictory, it fails.

    Can you give me an example?

  29. Dr Liddle:

    Please.

    ANY intellectual structure that turns out to be logically incoherent fails, per the first principle of right reason known as the law of non-contradiction.

    And, we both know that once evolutionary materialism is grafted unto evolutionary theory,t he system becomes inescapably self-contradictory through unde3rmining the mind itself.

    That has been in the public at least since Haldane’s rebuke c 1930.

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  30. Can you give me an example?

    An example of passive-aggressive intellectual dishonesty.

  31. Ilion,

    Do you really have that great difficulty comprehending what you read

    Yes sometimes with BA to be honest, be a pal and simplify the question that I am avoiding…thanks

  32. 32
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Ilion: no, there is nothing dishonest about my question, and nothing “passive-agressive about it either”.

    kf:

    ANY intellectual structure that turns out to be logically incoherent fails, per the first principle of right reason known as the law of non-contradiction.

    Which was why I asked for an example. It is not clear what this means when applied to a scientific hypothesis.

    And, we both know that once evolutionary materialism is grafted unto evolutionary theory,t he system becomes inescapably self-contradictory through unde3rmining the mind itself.

    No, I don’t know that. Indeed I dispute it.

    That’s why I wanted an example. If this is your example, then can you lay it out in a form that lays bare the self-contradiction of the relevant scientific theory?

  33. BA,

    Vel as to 22; so you just want to assume your preferred ‘materialistic’ answer into the origins question by allowing only material causes to be considered for an answer in the first place

    Slow down BA, I never said that material causes were the only explanation to origins. I said science limits itself to material causes. Just like ID limits itself only to the question of whether design appearance is caused by an intelligence. Of course you limit the possible answers but you work within a known framework.

  34. Well vel, the question I asked:

    ‘start off by proving that materialism, upon which neo-Darwinism is built in the first place, is the true description for the foundation of reality, instead of Theism being the true foundation.’

    and your evasive response was;

    ‘BA ,all science even the untainted ones like engineering assume material causes. In fact most everyday life does as well. While that doesn’t prove it (materialism as the foundation of reality), it has been pretty effective.’

    Yet, the elephant in the living room question you avoided was ‘did purely material causes cause the entire universe and everything in the universe’ or did God do it? Thus we are questioning the materialistic philosophy itself! It is blatantly obvious you cannot impose strict materialistic answers prior to investigation! Shoot even in the engineering example you cited, you yourself would never think to claim that bridges engineered themselves would you?!? Thus why should you even think to claim that the unmatched precision we witness in the universe, with the extremely finely tuned constants, and the unmatched sophistication we find in life, with nano-machines and programming, was produced by purely material processes??? Yet, the most blatant evasive move on your part was ignore the overwhelming evidence from quantum teleportation that gives us sure footing to know that this universe had a transcendent origin, as well as the sure footing to know that this universe is transcendentally maintained!

    ==============

    Nickelback – Savin’ Me – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JQiEs32SqQ

  35. vel you state:

    ‘Slow down BA, I never said that material causes were the only explanation to origins. I said science limits itself to material causes.’

    Who said science limits itself to purely material causes??? A materialist/atheist no doubt!!! So should we throw quantum mechanics out of science since is does not conform to material causation but blatantly defies our concepts of time and space???

    ===================

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    William Shakespeare – Hamlet

    The artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method has blinded many scientists to the inference of God as a rational explanation in these questions of origins. In fact, the scientific method, by itself, makes absolutely no predictions as to what the best explanation will be prior to investigation in these question of origins. In the beginning of a investigation all answers are equally valid to the scientific method. Yet scientists have grown accustomed through the years to the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method. That is to say by limiting the answers one may conclude to only materialistic ones, the scientific method has been very effective at solving many puzzles very quickly. This imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method has indeed led to many breakthroughs of technology which would not have been possible had the phenomena been presumed to be solely the work of a miracle. This imposition of materialism onto the scientific method is usually called methodological naturalism, methodological materialism, or scientific materialism etc… Yet today, due to the impressive success of methodological naturalism in our everyday lives, many scientists are unable to separate this artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy from the scientific method in this completely different question of origins.

    A Question for Barbara Forrest
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....rrest.html

    In fact, I’ve heard someone say, “Science is materialism.” Yet science clearly is not materialism. Materialism is a philosophy which makes the dogmatic assertion that only blind material processes generated everything around us, including ourselves. Materialism is thus in direct opposition to Theism which holds that God purposely created us in His image. Furthermore science, or more particularly the scientific method, in reality, only cares to relentlessly pursue the truth and could care less if the answer is a materialistic one or not. This is especially true in these questions of origins, since we are indeed questioning the materialistic philosophy itself. i.e. We are asking the scientific method to answer this very specific question, “Did God create us or did blind material processes create us?” When we realize this is the actual question we are seeking an answer to within the scientific method, then of course it is readily apparent we cannot impose strict materialistic answers onto the scientific method prior to investigation. No less than leading “New Atheist” Richard Dawkins agrees:

    “The presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.” Richard Dawkins

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    In fact when looking at the evidence in this light we find out many interesting things which scientists, who have been blinded by the philosophy of materialism, miss. This is because the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find. These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method.

    Steps of the Scientific Method
    http://www.sciencebuddies.org/.....thod.shtml

    For a quick overview, here are a few:

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

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

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

    4. Materialism predicted that material has always existed, Theism predicted ‘material’ was created. – ‘Material’ was created in the Big Bang.

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

    6. Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9)-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    references:
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1ubha8aFKlJiljnuCa98QqLihFWFwZ_nnUNhEC6m6Cys

    ,,,for a far more detailed list of failed predictions of neo-Darwinism see Dr. Hunter’s site here:

    Darwin’s Predictions
    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

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

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy & the Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355

    Last, but certainly not least, as a Christian I would be very remiss if I failed to ask you to accept the free gift of eternal life from the living God who created this universe and all life in it. In fact, almighty God has made a very clear path for us “fallen human adults” to completely reconcile with Him so we may be able to stand before Him in heaven. We do this by humbly accepting what He has done for us through Christ on the cross so that we may be able to stand in the glory of the presence of almighty God in heaven (For our God is an all-consuming fire – Hebrews 12:29). In fact by accepting Christ into your heart, you will be cleansed spotless of your sins in the presence of almighty God. So how about it, Will you accept this priceless gift of Jesus Christ into your heart today so you may able to receive the priceless gift of eternal life in heaven? —

    Revelation 3:20
    ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.’

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

    The Disciples – How They Died – Would A Man Die For Something He Knew Was A Lie? – music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4193404

    ————————————

    Evanescence – “Bring Me To Life” – Video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM

    Wake Me O Lord

    Wake me O Lord from this sleep of mine
    To the living wonders of creation that are so fine
    With a “Oh, that’s nice” I shall not content
    NO, only when You speak shall my heart be spent
    Others may suffice their cravings of Awe
    With an “Oh Well” shrug of the wonders they saw
    But I know You are in each piece of reality
    Yes, in the wind, the stars, and even the sea
    So this vow to You I make
    No rest in me my heart will take
    Till Your face and hands again I see
    In the many waters of reality
    For the truth be known to You indeed
    That if I see You not with my heart and head
    I’m not really born again, but instead am dead

  36. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Indeed, nothing is proveable in science because all models are incomplete.

    Of course, we don’t actually know that all models are incomplete, for that can never be proven.

    And of course everything in science is based upon model creation, even the science of creating models is itself based upon an incomplete model.

  37. Elizabeth Liddle:

    And if ID goes down this path, then it deserves to be taken seriously. I’d take it seriously.

    In other words, if ID would just put the cart before the horse Elizabeth would take it seriously.

    If Darwinian mechanisms can theoretically produce designs, why don’t demonstrations of the inability of Darwinian mechanisms to produce designs support ID?

  38. there is nothing dishonest about my question, and nothing “passive-agressive about it either”.

    She got you there Ilion.

    Questions cannot be dishonest or passive-aggressive.

  39. 39

    Mung:

    Of course, we don’t actually know that all models are incomplete, for that can never be proven.

    It can be safely assumed, however, because there are always residuals in our models.

    And of course everything in science is based upon model creation, even the science of creating models is itself based upon an incomplete model.

    Sure. There are many kinds of questions that science cannot even start to address – moral questions, for instance. Although it can give us important information that we need to take into account when considering ethical principles.

  40. 40

    Mung:

    Questions cannot be dishonest or passive-aggressive.

    If only :)

    How about “Have you stopped beating your wife?” to take a classic, which is both.

    But mine was neither.

  41. 41

    If Darwinian mechanisms can theoretically produce designs, why don’t demonstrations of the inability of Darwinian mechanisms to produce designs support ID?

    Because, my dear Mung, Darwinian mechanisms demonstrably can produce designs, as is evidenced by GAs.

    And your objection that GAs smuggle in design by means of a fitness function has been repeatedly addressed – the fitness function is the analog of the environment, not the analog a Designer (presumably no-one is claiming that the ID in ID is the environment? – if they are, I will sign on right now, as will the vast majority of biologists).

    And presumably you do not mean that the initial population of virtual organisms have to be designed? Because that wouldn’t be a criticism of Darwinian evolution, which assumes minimally self-replicating critters, which is what GAs start with.

    Therefore, Darwinian mechanisms, which is what is left in a GA (or at least in many) can produce designs.

    Functional designs that have practical uses.

  42. Mung @ 36,
    Moreover, in the quote upon which you comment, EL is employing an all too common misunderstanding of what ‘to prove’ means.

    But, let’s skip over that particular misunderstanding, and focus just on what she said in the quote in relation to her over-all claim that we mere “civilians,” who are forced at gun-point to pay the bills for the Church of Darwin don’t have the intellectual right, nor moral, to reject the Darwinistic “consensus”.

    EL claims that “nothing is proveable in science“, by which she properly means, “no scientific pronouncement can be show actually to be true within the system of ‘science’” (or, to put it another way, “Any particular scientific statement may be true, or not; but ‘science’ cannot distinguish which it is“). Now, this proper phrasing of what she really did mean to say (or, at any rate, ought to have meant to say) is true, but it’s also a very different thing from the meaning of what she actually wrote.

    So, on the one hand, EL seems to be asserting the true statement that no scientific pronouncement can be show, by the means available to ‘science’, to be true. But, on the other hand, EL asserts the false claim that we “civilians” have the intellectual — and moral — duty to accede to the pronouncements of scientists … and especially as relates to creation myth of materialistic atheism.

    Not only is the second assertion false, but, in the context of a coherent epistemology, the two together are self-contradictory.

  43. Dr Liddle:

    Here is Haldane, on the problem of materialism when imposed on evolutionary theory — and he was a relevant evolutionary theorist:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” [["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    Do kindly let me know in precisely what ways you find this in error, and if you wish more elaborations, I suggest you read the linked context, or — at a more technical level — you may take Nature of Nature, and look at Bruce Gordon’s opening bat essay, p 4 on.

    I therefore await your specifics.

    And of course there is [cf pp 63 -5 Darwin's foreshadowing of this problem of evident self-referential incoherence.

    Let me insert paras to help us follow:

    C. D. to W. Graham. Down, July 3rd, 1881.

    DEAR SIR,—I hope that you will not think it intrusive on my part to thank you heartily for the pleasure which I have derived from reading your admirably-written Creed of Science, though I have not yet quite finished it, as now that I am old I read very slowly.

    It is a very long time since any other book has interested me so much. The work must have cost you several years and much hard labour with full leisure for work.

    You would not probably expect any one fully to agree with you on so many abstruse subjects; and there are some points in your book which I cannot digest. The chief one is that the existence of so-called natural laws implies purpose. I cannot see this. Not to mention that many expect that the several great laws will some day be found to follow inevitably from some one single law, yet taking the laws as we now know them, and look at the moon, where the law of gravitation—and no doubt of the conservation of energy—of the atomic theory, &c., &c., hold good, and I cannot see that there is then necessarily any purpose.

    Would there be purpose if the lowest organisms alone, destitute of consciousness, existed in the moon?

    But I have had no practice in abstract reasoning, and I may be all astray.

    Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance.* But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

    Secondly, I think that I could make somewhat of a case against the enormous importance which you attribute to our greatest men; I have been accustomed to think second, third, and fourth-rate men of very high importance, at least in the case of Science. Lastly, I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world.

    But I will write no more, and not even mention the many points in your work which have much interested me. I have indeed cause to apologise for troubling you with my impressions, and my sole excuse is the excitement in my mind which your book has aroused.

    I beg leave to remain, dear sir, Yours faithfully and obliged.

    While the usual rhetors will as usual tell us not to believe our lyin' eyes [for them, quoting unwelcome, embarrassing passages is ALWAYS "quote-mining"], the meaning and context of this notorious letter are plain enough, in both aspects I have highlighted. (It is interesting that CRD hints at belief in cosmological design, too, even as he then bridges to undermining the logical powers of our minds.)

    There is a serious and unanswered problem of self reference and evident incoherence here, once materialism is force fitted unto evolutionary theory.

    I suggest that recourse should be made to Wallace, to see a different way.

    GEM of TKI

  44. OOPS: Kindly strike on cosmo design.

  45. 28. If a scientific theory is logically self-contradictory, it fails.

    Can you give me an example?

    —–

    Yes. All of science. You’re saying the truth of reality is that it contradicts itself and so doesn’t exist. And so you’re saying nothing exists because it can’t be conceived of. And so finally you’re saying that my statement contradicts itself and does not exist because it doesn’t communicate a certainty to you. Science is systematic knowledge of the material world, or systematized knowledge in general.

  46. EL @ 41, trotting out the same old dishonest claims about “genetic” algorithms.

    She knows that what she asserts is false (i.e. she lies); moreover, she knows that *we* know both:
    1) that it is false;
    2) that she knows it is false;

    and then she has the gall to get all pissy at being called a liar.

    In truth, she gets all pissy because she has good reason to believe that foolish “nice” persons will take offence on her behalf; that these “nice” persons will object not to her dishonesty, but to the “incivility” of someone calling her on her dishonesty.

  47. BA:
    Not really sure we got to the origin of the universe from is it a good idea to know what you are talking about before dismissing it as scientifically dishonest.

    Against my better judgement I watched your video on information. It brings up a couple of thoughts. First do you actually find that persuasive at any level?
    Again this is your claim:
    Yet the only thing that we know of that is completely transcendent of space-time, matter-energy is information and I asked ” what information”. In your mind was info present before the big bang just waiting to manifest itself in this post? It seems strange to elevate information to the same level as the divine.

  48. V, when you say info isn’t divine, for argument’s sake I’d like to say that thought is information, or information is a subset of thought. Either way it’s a consideration.

    How can a god be more divine than a consideration then? Something qualitatively transcends you’re consideration? God can’t be more divine than an idea, because an idea monitors whether god is more divine. That God created the idea of ideas doesn’t change that because consideration still monitors the idea that god came first and so is more important.

  49. EL @ 41, trotting out the same old dishonest claims about “genetic” algorithms.

    Maybe she will stick around this time and defend her false claims about GAs, but based on past experience I seriously doubt it.

    GAs don’t design anything. What they do is search a space. Maybe they get lucky and find a design, maybe they don’t.

    It’s easy enough to test her claims, but she, so far, has declined to participate in any actual testing of them.

    Not very scientific of her.

  50. Sorry BA , you are a lot quicker posting than I .

    Who said science limits itself to purely material causes??? A materialist/atheist no doubt!!! So should we throw quantum mechanics out of science since is does not conform to material causation but blatantly defies our concepts of time and space???

    No one to my knowledge has proposed that quantum mechanics does not have materialistic causes. People are using real math and smashing real matter in order to explain it. Remember our Hawking conversation? That is the “Theory of Everything” that you and Ilion contend is literally the theory of everything. It seeks to unite relativity with quantum mechanics. All using material causes.

    Not sure but I think it was theists attempting to make science repeatable and verifiable which laid the foundations of modern science. In fact you actually made that point in the past.

    Hey if you think science should embrace all causes, fine.How do you see that working? I write a paper ascribing the cause of cancer to god’s punishment to man for something one of his ancestors did, then what? If you have a materialistic and a nonmaterialistic theory ,how do you decide which is correct?

  51. 51

    So what is the difference between “searching a space” and “designing” Mung?

    Think carefully before you answer.

    They don’t need to “get lucky” in order to find a design – the environment, as in nature, hugely raises the probability that they will.

    Now I guess you could argue that there’s no such thing as a “design” – that all potential “designs” are there in search space, waiting to be found”, where search space consists of all possible combos, including a vast majority of non-solutions.

    But it would be an odd position for an ID proponent :)

    But be that as it may: the question would then be – does a Darwinian algorithm find the small subset of useful combos from the entire search space of combos more quickly than a search in which each combo has an equal probability of being selected on every trial.

    And the answer is yes.

    ergo, GAs design things, in the colloquial use of the term, and “find useful designs in the search space” in your terminology.

    Or do you dispute that a Darwinian search algorithm has no more chance of finding a useful solution from search space than does a random draw?

  52. Ilion:

    Please, your language.

    If we allow our discussion to descend into coarse language, it invites a whole new wave of incivility. Which is a huge problem that undermines serious discussion of design theory.

    So, kindly fix language.

    GEM of TKI

  53. 53

    Ilion:

    EL @ 41, trotting out the same old dishonest claims about “genetic” algorithms.

    She knows that what she asserts is false (i.e. she lies); moreover, she knows that *we* know both:
    1) that it is false;
    2) that she knows it is false;

    and then she has the gall to get all pissy at being called a liar.

    In truth, she gets all pissy because she has good reason to believe that foolish “nice” persons will take offence on her behalf; that these “nice” persons will object not to her dishonesty, but to the “incivility” of someone calling her on her dishonesty.

    On the contrary, Ilion, I do not “know” that it is false at all. Indeed I will continue to argue strenuously that it is true until you can provide a compelling counter-argument.

    And far from getting all “pissy” about “incivility” (not my word) I have a pretty strong hide regarding incivility, as witnessed by my tenure as admin on Talk Rational, bless their little dark hearts.

    I do get pissy about being continually accused of dishonesty, however, as it effectively renders communication impossible, which is the only reason I participate on a message board.

    It’s not as though there’s free beer.

  54. Dr Liddle:

    You know or should know that simply on the gamut of our solar system, the config space for 500 bits is not reasonable searchable save by intelligence.

    GEM of TKI

  55. Miss Priss:Please, your language.

    Go read the Bible.

  56. 56

    So, on the one hand, EL seems to be asserting the true statement that no scientific pronouncement can be show, by the means available to ‘science’, to be true.

    Thank you.

    But, on the other hand, EL asserts the false claim that we “civilians” have the intellectual — and moral — duty to accede to the pronouncements of scientists … and especially as relates to creation myth of materialistic atheism.

    No, I made no such claim, nor anything resembling it.

  57. … for instance, while I rarely use the word, myself, there is no difference, whatsoever, between characterizing someone’s claims/arguments and ‘dung’ or as ‘merde’ … or as ‘shitty.’

    ‘Pissy’ is a wholly appropriate English word to use to describe Dr Luddite’s typical reaction to having her dishonesty explicitly named.

  58. … and, ‘pissy’ is a pretty appropriate English word to use to denote the Miss Grundy-ish freaking-out over using the word ‘pissy’.

  59. vel, at 50, and you expect to think that you are even trying to be reasonable with those shallow excuses?? Sorry,,,, no dice!!! Perhaps you should take lessons from Elizabeth for you aren’t even close to Elizabeth’s level of subtle dishonesty.

  60. 60

    ‘Pissy’ is a wholly appropriate English word to use to describe Dr Luddite’s typical reaction to having her dishonesty explicitly named.

    lol.

    Seriously, Ilion, you can’t do better than this?

  61. Elizabeth Liddle:

    I will continue to argue strenuously that it is true until you can provide a compelling counter-argument.

    Compelling counter-arguments have been provided. Numerous compelling counter-arguments. Numerous times.

    Yet you just repeat your unjustifiable claims over and over ad nauseam.

    Exhibit:

    No, I’m talking about evidence … evidence that Darwin’s mechanism actually works, can be observed to work, and that its prerequisites are present … The fact that GAs work (novel solutions are found to problems presented as a fitness function).

    Mung:

    Great! That’s what you’ve been asserting and we’ve been asking for since you first showed up here, and what we are still waiting for.

    Time to put up or shut up, as they say.

    You:

    …………….

    Wait for another thread. Repeat the same claim.

  62. EL:I do get pissy about being continually accused of dishonesty, however, as it effectively renders communication impossible, …

    Communication is logically impossible, and thus utterly impossible, when one party or the other holds itself free to engage in intellectual dishonest. It is not the accusation of dishonesty that makes communication impossible, it is the dishonesty itself which makes it impossible.

    Either:
    1) you habitually engage in dishonesty (which you do), or
    2) Mung and I and a few certain others are engaging in dishonesty (which we are not) by characterizing your well-observed behavior as dishonesty.

    Either you are dishonest or we are dishonest; it is someone’s dishonesty that makes a rational discussion impossible, not the pointing out of the dishonesty.

  63. Ilion (62),

    The evidence suggests (2).

  64. Lamarck:

    God can’t be more divine than an idea, because an idea monitors whether god is more divine. That God created the idea of ideas doesn’t change that because consideration

    That seems a little like circular argument,how does an idea monitor god, any idea? I assume you believe God is a actual being, not merely conceptual. Equating god with info, there again is lots of info observed,is all its source god? Is information the same as knowledge ? I don’t know , you might flesh this out a bit more.

  65. BA :
    !! Perhaps you should take lessons from Elizabeth for you aren’t even close to Elizabeth’s level of subtle dishonesty

    Man you guys need to cut back on the coffee, then isn’t my blatant dishonestly ( in your opinion) really more honest than EL’s subtle dishonesty( in your opinion), so why would you wish me to be more dishonest?

    BA , we can get to the answer to everything, to tell the truth I find smaller questions more interesting,like your fact about information outside space and time.
    BA
    vel, at 50, and you expect to think that you are even trying to be reasonable with those shallow excuses??

    It would be nice if you gave me the benefit of the doubt . I personally find myself totally reasonable. You know what might help if you want to pursue this conversation? Quote a
    shallow excuse and in your own words show me the error of my ways

  66. 66
    Elizabeth Liddle

    You have an excluded middle, there Ilion.

  67. 67
    Elizabeth Liddle

    kf

    Dr Liddle:

    You know or should know that simply on the gamut of our solar system, the config space for 500 bits is not reasonable searchable save by intelligence.

    GEM of TKI

    No, I don’t know this, kf. Indeed, it’s the crux of the whole issue.

    It is claimed, repeatedly, that only intelligence (intentional purposeful intelligence) can find a tiny subset of solutions in a Vast search space.

    The counter-claim is that Darwinian processes can also do this.

    This is why GAs are relevant.

    Mung:

    Compelling counter-arguments have been provided. Numerous compelling counter-arguments. Numerous times.

    I recall two:

    One is that fitness functions in GAs are intelligently designed.

    The other is that GAs require a starting population of minimally functional self-replicators.

    Do you have any others?

  68. Ilion:

    You are out of order.

    And, you are willfully contributing to the pattern of incivility that we need to overcome if we are to get beyond mudslinging to actually address a serious question on its merits.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: I think you need to do some thinking on the change in what is acceptable language between the Elizabethan era [or even the era of the Webster's 1828 dictionary] and today.

  69. 69
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung, when you have a moment, I’d appreciate a response to my post @ #51

  70. 70

    Elizabeth,

    So what is the difference between “searching a space” and “designing” Mung?

    Think carefully before you answer.
    I’ll take a stab. Design has intent. Intent isn’t abstract. Design of the sort being discussed isn’t abstract. It does or makes something.

    I did some reading on this and found that every example of the output of GAs involved optimizing the arrangement of preexisting components or behaviors.

    For example, a GA enabled a fighting robot to employ the most effective combination of punches and kicks. However there is no indication that it “invented” new moves or modified its form to execute new moves.

    None of them implemented a design. Both the input and the output required intervention. They are computer programs performing as written, nothing more.

    The limitations in the outputs were also noteworthy. A search for polymers yielded only polymers, not novel uses for those polymers. Taking that next step would call for someone writing a new GA.

    It demonstrates roughly what we actually see in biological evolution, including its limitations, not what you extrapolate from it. And it does not implement any designs.

  71. V, It was addressed to you but it was just an excuse to state the unassailable fact that God is no better than me. I’d like to hear if BA disagrees. BA do you want to argue? Kind of bored today, thought I’d spend some time on UD. I don’t think there’s really much to argue about. A relative truth is not the truth, it can’t be.

  72. EL:You have an excluded middle, there Ilion.

    No, I don’t. If I did, you could identify it.

  73. Dr Liddle:

    Re:

    No, I don’t know this, kf. Indeed, it’s the crux of the whole issue.

    It is claimed, repeatedly, that only intelligence (intentional purposeful intelligence) can find a tiny subset of solutions in a Vast search space.

    Now, there is an overlooked thread this weekend, based on a response to NR. In that thread, I looked at the significance of the 500 bit scale config space relative to the search resources of our solar system. Let me clip:

    the only credible cause of something that has that many functionally specific bits is intelligence as we OBSERVE it, based on the challenge of finding islands of specific function in a large space of possibilities, beyond the solar system [our effective universe] threshold. (FYI, over the time since the usual estimate for the big bang, 10^57 atoms would go through about 10^102 Planck time quantum states where it takes bout 10^30 such to do the fastest — ionic — chemical reactions. 500 bits is about 10^150 possibilities, 48 orders of magnitude beyond, that is, a search of 10^102 steps at most will not sample enough of the possibilities to plausibly capture something that is UNrepresentative of the distribution as a whole.)

    And, plainly, functionally specific configs are going to be absolutely overwhelmed by gibberish in the space of possibilities.

    If you are looking for needles in haystacks but sample only 1 in 10^48 of the haystack, overwhelmingly you are going to be picking up a tiny bit of straw. The gamut of search is not reasonable relative to the isolation of the target in the field of possibilities. To give an idea, let us say that a needle and a straw both weigh about a gram. Looking for a 1 gram object in a pile of straw [assumed to be about right for a straw's weight and a needle's weight] weighing in at 10^42 tonnes [and at about the density of water, 10^42 tonnes would be a cubical bale of straw, something like 625 billion miles on the side . . . [i.e. about 0.1 light year on the side, a light year being 5.87849981 × 10^12 miles miles or a shade under 10^16 m]], by sampling 1 gram at random just does not cut it as a reasonable search.

    [EXPLANATION: A one straw-sized sample from a 600 billion miles on the side bale, i.e. big enough to swallow our solar system without noticing, is obviously overwhelmingly likely to pick up only straw. But 10^102 Planck-time quantum states of 10^57 or so atoms in that solar system, would be 1 in 10^48 of the set of possibilities for a 500 bit system, i.e. the same problem of . And remember, what this means is that our solar system is comparatively pulling just one straw-sized sample. Would you be willing to bet that such ample would be needle not straw?]

    So, we see a simple example of how functionally specific complex organisation and associated information [FSCO/I] beyond a reasonable complexity threshold is a reliable sign of design. An empirical sign.

    So, we immediately see that we have a reasonable empirical procedure and test for inference to design on specified complexity beyond a threshold. A process that is subject to empirical test and falsification on the very simple challenge: provide a good OBSERVED counter-instance where it is credible that undirected chance and necessity led to FSCO/I beyond say the solar system threshold.

    That is the scope of the challenge to a non-intelligent search on the gamut of our solar system, with a space of possibilities for just 500 bits. Or, 72 ASCII characters.

    This is the reason why I had commented: “You know or should know that simply on the gamut of our solar system, the config space for 500 bits is not reasonable searchable save by intelligence.”

    A random sample of size 1 straw to a bale more than a light month across, is going to overwhelmingly be likely to pick up the dominant feature: straw. It matters not if it is strewn with a great many needles, so long as the needles are of such a proportion as to be UNrepresentative of the overall bale.

    If you want to find a needle in such a bale, get a scanner that detects needles and allows you to move tot he needle. Which is an intelligent search.

    When it comes to life forms, the issue is that most configs of relevant atoms and molecules are NOT going to make metabolising, self-replicating entities. The degree of complexity involved is going to dwarf the scope of our 500- bit straw bale, but the search resources on the gamut of our solar system are not going to shift.

    And, I repeat, until you hit on a functioning config, you are not going to be able to hill-climb through chance variations and natural selection.

    GEM of TKI

  74. PS: Sorry, that thread responds to DWG.

  75. Miss Grundy, who seems to think he is more holy than God:You are out of order.

    And, you are willfully contributing to the pattern of incivility that we need to overcome if we are to get beyond mudslinging to actually address a serious question on its merits.

    Listen to you!

    Well, on the bright side, you have finally removed my ability to rationalize certain of your behavior (for example, you long-standing refusal to admit that ‘chance’ is not and cannot be a cause of anything) as due to honest error. Clearly, you value something or other higher than truth, or reason.

  76. 76
    Elizabeth Liddle

    ScottAndrews: thanks for your response!

    Elizabeth,

    So what is the difference between “searching a space” and “designing” Mung?

    Think carefully before you answer.
    I’ll take a stab. Design has intent. Intent isn’t abstract. Design of the sort being discussed isn’t abstract. It does or makes something.

    That wasn’t quite what I was getting at, Scott. If you have two processes, each of which comes up with a novel design, presumably in each case, what was come up with was one of a small subset of the possible useless things that could be made with the materials to hand. My question is: given the output, what makes one design and the other not? Both have “searched” a “search space” and plucked a functional solution to some problem from it.

    I did some reading on this and found that every example of the output of GAs involved optimizing the arrangement of preexisting components or behaviors.

    For example, a GA enabled a fighting robot to employ the most effective combination of punches and kicks. However there is no indication that it “invented” new moves or modified its form to execute new moves.

    None of them implemented a design. Both the input and the output required intervention. They are computer programs performing as written, nothing more.

    The limitations in the outputs were also noteworthy. A search for polymers yielded only polymers, not novel uses for those polymers. Taking that next step would call for someone writing a new GA.

    It demonstrates roughly what we actually see in biological evolution, including its limitations, not what you extrapolate from it. And it does not implement any designs.

    Well, I can’t speak for fighting robots, this fairly famous example of the use of evolutionary algorithms for designing antennae resulted in novel designs:

    http://alglobus.net/NASAwork/p.....ntenna.pdf

    To quote the Discussion:

    In addition to being the rst evolved hardware in space, our evolved antennas demonstrate several advantages over the conventionally designed antennas and manual design in general. The evolutionary algorithms we used were not limited to variations of previously developed antenna shapes but generated and tested thousands of completely new types of designs, many of which have unusual structures that expert antenna designers would not be likely to produce. By exploring such a wide range of designs EAs may be able to produce designs of previously unachievable performance. For example, the best antennas we evolved achieve high gain across a wider range of elevation angles, which allows a broader range of angles over which
    maximum data throughput can be achieved and may require less power from the solar array and batteries. With the evolutionary design approach it took approximately 3 person-months of work to generate the initial evolved antennas versus 5 person-months for the conventionally designed antenna and when the mission orbit changed, with the evolutionary approach we were able to modify our algorithms and re-evolve new antennas speci cally designed for the new orbit and prototype hardware in 4 weeks. The faster design cycles of an evolutionary approach results in less development costs and allows for an iterative \what-if” design and test approach for di erent scenarios. This ability to rapidly respond to changing requirements is of great use to NASA since NASA mission requirements frequently change. As computer hardware becomes increasingly more powerful and as computer modeling packages become better at simulating di erent design domains we expect evolutionary design systems to become more useful in a wider range of design problems and gain wider acceptance and industrial usage.

    my bold

    And that’s with a fairly low-dimensioned search space. Other examples I know of are algorithm-writing GAs which actually produce usable code, often with “ingenious” novelties (Dr Bot has given some nice examples of error-checking algorithms), including algorithms for optimising yield from hedgefunds.

    Obviously GAs don’t solve problems not presented to them, but then nor do biological populations. You won’t evolve fins and flippers in the middle of the Gobi desert :)

  77. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Or do you dispute that a Darwinian search algorithm has no more chance of finding a useful solution from search space than does a random draw?

    I don’t know what a “Darwinian search algorithm” is.

    Is it a blind, unguided, unassisted search for nothing in particular whereby the only information provided is of the oops, that didn’t work, kill that one off variety?

  78. 78
    Elizabeth Liddle

    If you want to find a needle in such a bale, get a scanner that detects needles and allows you to move tot he needle. Which is an intelligent search.

    Or it could also be a Darwinian search. That’s the point!

    Darwinian search algorithms do not search every straw in the haystack with equal probability. Not only that, but they aren’t looking for a a needle in a haystack anyway!

    What they are looking for is spiders, and once they find a bit of a spider web, then they just have to follow the web until they reach a spider. And there are lots of spiders.

    tbh I think the “search” metaphor is getting in the way here, but if we are going to use it, it’s important to characterise the search carefully.

    Let’s take that antenna example: There is a huge “search space” consisting of every possible combination of antenna arm angle, radius, and whatever other parameters they had in there.

    Clearly if the evolutionary algorithm simply draw combos at random and then at the end picked the best, a) it wouldn’t be an evolutionary algorithm and b) it would take far too long.

    So it doesn’t do that. It starts with something minimal – maybe four straight arms – then tweaks them at random.

    Then of those it takes the best and copies them with random tweaks.

    Then of all of those, it takes the best, and copies those with random tweaks.

    Then of all of those, it takes the best, and copies those with random tweaks.

    Now, you can easily see that nothing like the entire search space is being sampled. Indeed it is perfectly possible that some potentially fertile part of search space has been entirely over-looked. That doesn’t matter. The point is that the algorithm ensures that the next part of space ot be probed is adjacent to something that works fairly well. And, as the search space itself is likely to have structure (viable solutions are likely to be adjacent to one another), all the algorithm has to do is to find a spot where there are better spots nearby in order to improve the solution.

    And I think this is probably at the heart of the issue – Dembski, and, I think you, are making what I think is a major error in assuming that “search space” has no structure – that being in one part of the solution space gives you no special vantage point in getting to the next.

    I think it’s a case of math hiding the truth rather than revealing it! Because if we abandon the metaphor, and just think, practically, about how either a designer, or an evolutionary algorithm goes about improving a design, both start with prototypes, and both tweak.

    The designer has the advantage of being able to select her tweaks from ones that look potential (rejects solutions before they even reach the drawing board, or even consciousness), but the algorithm has the advantage of exploring directions that the human designer would be inclined to reject as weird.

    The human designer also has the advantage of being able to take imaginative leaps (aha! perhaps if we took an aircraft engine and put it in a car….) which the algorithm can’t do (and that is one of the reasons to think that a Darwinian algorithm, rather than an imaginative designer, designed living things – we don’t see those leaps of solutions across lineages).

    But given enough iterations, the evolutionary algorithm may often beat the human designer because of its ability to search more of the search space, including initially unfruitful directions, making use of the structured nature of most solution spaces (and the highly structured nature of biological search spaces).

    But try to get an evolutionary algorithm to find a winning lottery ticket will fail miserably, because lottery winning space is completely unstructured (at least it should be – Gaming Commissions usually see to that!)

  79. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Now I guess you could argue that there’s no such thing as a “design” – that all potential “designs” are there in search space, waiting to be found”, where search space consists of all possible combos, including a vast majority of non-solutions.

    But it would be an odd position for an ID proponent

    I have to say, sometimes the things you write are a tad confusing.

    Why would I first say that there is no such thing as a design and then argue that there is such a thing as a design? That would be absurd.

    But as to your last sentence, I have argued precisely that, so I don’t know why you would find it odd. :)

    If a design does not exist it cannot be found by any search, period.

    If a design does not exist within the space being searched it cannot be found regardless of the algorithm employed to conduct the search of the search space.

    This should be uncontroversial.

    So how does atheism, materialism, naturalism, Darwinism, etc. (take your pick) explain the existence of these designs coupled with the fact that they just happened to be within the search space and reachable by a search of that space?

    Pure dumb luck?

    Take the (in)famous Dawkins WEASEL program by way of example.

    Do you dispute that the target phrase “methinks it is like a weasel” exists within the search space defined by the program?

    Do you dispute that an algorithm has been employed that not only searches the relevant space, but is capable of locating the target phrase?

    Are you going to assert that the GA employed by the program designed the target phrase?

    If not, why not?

    Because that is precisely what you are arguing with respect to GAs in general, that they perform the actual act of designing the target or targets that are being searched for.

  80. vel, you state:

    ‘Quote a shallow excuse and in your own words show me the error of my ways’

    and yet you stated:

    ‘No one to my knowledge has proposed that quantum mechanics does not have materialistic causes.’

    and yet:

    Quantum Entanglement – The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The falsification for local realism (materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    This following study adds to Alain Aspect’s work in Quantum Mechanics and solidly refutes the ‘hidden variable’ argument that has been used by materialists to try to get around the Theistic implications of the instantaneous ‘spooky action at a distance’ found in quantum mechanics.

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    (of note: hidden variables were postulated to remove the need for ‘spooky’ forces, as Einstein termed them — forces that act instantaneously at great distances, thereby breaking the most cherished rule of relativity theory, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.)

    The immediate question is, “What does conscious observation have to do with anything in the experiments of quantum mechanics?” and thus by extrapolation of that question, “What does conscious observation have to do with anything in the universe?” Yet, the assertion that consciousness is to be treated as a separate entity when dealing with quantum mechanics, and thus with the universe, has some very strong clout behind it.

    Quantum mind–body problem
    Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....dy_problem

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    Here is the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries:

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
    http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_.....io/wb1.htm

    i.e. In the experiment the ‘world’ (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a ‘privileged center’. This is since the ‘matrix’, which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is ‘observer-centric’ in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

    etc.. etc…

    vel, of course you will probably deny any of this matters

  81. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Darwinian search algorithms do not search every straw in the haystack with equal probability.

    How do you know this?

    Not only that, but they aren’t looking for a a needle in a haystack anyway!

    What they are looking for is spiders, and once they find a bit of a spider web, then they just have to follow the web until they reach a spider. And there are lots of spiders.

    That’s a joke, right? A bit of that British humor?

  82. 82
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    Now I guess you could argue that there’s no such thing as a “design” – that all potential “designs” are there in search space, waiting to be found”, where search space consists of all possible combos, including a vast majority of non-solutions.

    But it would be an odd position for an ID proponent

    I have to say, sometimes the things you write are a tad confusing.

    Why would I first say that there is no such thing as a design and then argue that there is such a thing as a design? That would be absurd.

    You said that an evolutionary algorithm “searched” rather than “designed”. I wondered what you meant.

    But as to your last sentence, I have argued precisely that, so I don’t know why you would find it odd. :)

    If a design does not exist it cannot be found by any search, period.

    Nor by a designer, presumably.

    If a design does not exist within the space being searched it cannot be found regardless of the algorithm employed to conduct the search of the search space.

    This should be uncontroversial.

    Indeed. And nor can a designer find it.

    So how does atheism, materialism, naturalism, Darwinism, etc. (take your pick) explain the existence of these designs coupled with the fact that they just happened to be within the search space and reachable by a search of that space?

    Pure dumb luck?

    No. OK, I think we are getting to a crucial insight here.

    Take the (in)famous Dawkins WEASEL program by way of example.

    Do you dispute that the target phrase “methinks it is like a weasel” exists within the search space defined by the program?

    Not at all. Obviously it was.

    Do you dispute that an algorithm has been employed that not only searches the relevant space, but is capable of locating the target phrase?

    Not at all.

    Are you going to assert that the GA employed by the program designed the target phrase?

    If not, why not?

    You are, again, mistaking the designing of the critter itself for the design of the fitness function. In the case of the WEASEL program, this is irrelevant, but WEASEL is totally unlike biology in a huge numbers of respects, not least because there is no distinction between genotype and phenotype, and, just as important, only a single solution to the problem posed.

    But in other GAs this is extremely important – the fitness function is the analog of the environment, not the analogy of the critters whose phenotype fits them to survive within it.

    Because that is precisely what you are arguing with respect to GAs in general, that they perform the actual act of designing the target or targets that are being searched for.

    I’m talking about the critters within the GA who are the analog of biological critters in natural environment. The GA itself is the whole caboodle – self-replicating population plus environment.

    The population evolves to consist of well adapted critters that are not designed by anyone, whther in a GA or in a natural environment.

    In a GA the environment is designed, in nature it is not. Nonetheless a natural environment presents a vast array of fitness functions for any population to meet.

  83. BA quoting velikovskys:

    ‘No one to my knowledge has proposed that quantum mechanics does not have materialistic causes.’

    The term to my knowledge means to my knowledge, that is to my knowledge. I ‘ll be glad to look at your links . When time allows

  84. 84

    Elizabeth,

    If you have two processes, each of which comes up with a novel design, presumably in each case, what was come up with was one of a small subset of the possible useless things that could be made with the materials to hand. My question is: given the output, what makes one design and the other not?

    You’re asking what to call design that isn’t design. By definition there is no such thing.

    GAs don’t fit it. You have a computer with a processor designed by teams of people, built by a process that required its own design, and then you design and execute a program that operates within specified parameters. By following your instructions it acts as an extension of you.

    And because it rolls the virtual dice, its innovations are credited to those dice, which were also designed?

    The outputs of GAs are design. There is no design without design, unless it’s designed to look like it wasn’t.

  85. Dr Liddle:

    In this context, a search on the scope of applying the full atomic resources of our solar system, running at the maximum physical rate, will be comparable to a single straw to a cubical bale 1 light month across.

    THAT is the problem.

    And, UNTIL YOU GET A VIABLE BODY PLAN, STARTING WITH THE FIRST METABOLISING AND SELF-REPLICATING CELL BASED LIFE, AND GOING ON TO EMBRYOLOGICALLY FEASIBLE PLANS FOR MULTI-CELLULAR ORGANISMS YOU CANNOT DO A DARWINIAN SEARCH.

    Why?

    because unless you have reproductive functionality, you have no reproduction to have variation and natural selection on.

    That is why the issue is and has always been origin of body plans, with the first one the start-point.

    And remember, 500 bits is basically 250 bases, or equivalent to a protein of maybe 80 – 90 AAs. ONE novel, short protein.

    GEM of TKI

  86. F/N: meyer in the PBSW article on origin of body plans in teh Cambrian:

    _______

    >> The Cambrian explosion represents a remarkable jump in the specified complexity or “complex specified information” (CSI) of the biological world. For over three billions years, the biological realm included little more than bacteria and algae (Brocks et al. 1999). Then, beginning about 570-565 million years ago (mya), the first complex multicellular organisms appeared in the rock strata, including sponges, cnidarians, and the peculiar Ediacaran biota (Grotzinger et al. 1995). Forty million years later, the Cambrian explosion occurred (Bowring et al. 1993) . . . One way to estimate the amount of new CSI that appeared with the Cambrian animals is to count the number of new cell types that emerged with them (Valentine 1995:91-93) . . . the more complex animals that appeared in the Cambrian (e.g., arthropods) would have required fifty or more cell types . . . New cell types require many new and specialized proteins. New proteins, in turn, require new genetic information. Thus an increase in the number of cell types implies (at a minimum) a considerable increase in the amount of specified genetic information. Molecular biologists have recently estimated that a minimally complex single-celled organism would require between 318 and 562 kilobase pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life (Koonin 2000). More complex single cells might require upward of a million base pairs. Yet to build the proteins necessary to sustain a complex arthropod such as a trilobite would require orders of magnitude more coding instructions. The genome size of a modern arthropod, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, is approximately 180 million base pairs (Gerhart & Kirschner 1997:121, Adams et al. 2000). Transitions from a single cell to colonies of cells to complex animals represent significant (and, in principle, measurable) increases in CSI . . . .

    In order to explain the origin of the Cambrian animals, one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . [but] processes of development are tightly integrated spatially and temporally such that changes early in development will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes downstream. For this reason, mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . . McDonald notes that genes that are observed to vary within natural populations do not lead to major adaptive changes, while genes that could cause major changes–the very stuff of macroevolution–apparently do not vary. In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn’t need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don’t occur. >>

    _________

    That is the issue that needs to be addressed squarely, and — consistently — is not.

  87. Elizabeth Liddle:

    So what is the difference between “searching a space” and “designing” Mung?

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

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

    They don’t need to “get lucky” in order to find a design – the environment, as in nature, hugely raises the probability that they will.

    sigh.

    Throwing away things that don’t work improves the probability of finding what, exactly?

    And by how much is the probability increased, exactly?

    More baseless claims.

  88. F/N 2: The evidence in hand points to 100,000+ bits worth of DNA info as a reasonable minimum for a first functional, self-replicating cell.

  89. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Obviously GAs don’t solve problems not presented to them, but then nor do biological populations.

    Obviously, GAs are designed to solve specific problems put to them and not just any old problem.

    Obviously, biological populations are not like GAs.

  90. 90

    I’m a programmer. If I write a GA and use it to produce some novel new product, who gets paid – me or my GA?
    Does it become public domain? After all, I didn’t really do anything, it was my GA.

  91. 91
    material.infantacy

    ‘So what is the difference between “searching a space” and “designing” Mung?’

    Searching, as in blind searching, is effectively impossible for a sufficiently large sequence of possibilities. (P(x) < 10^-150).

    Intelligent searches, as in designed searches, effectively cut down the search space, obviating the need to proceed in a random or lexicographical fashion.

    A simple binary search (also intelligent, designed) coupled with the use of a magnetometer, could find KF’s needle in less than 50 attempts — at least that would reduce the needle search to a volume of less than 1 meter. (Warning: hasty math employed.)

    A GA assisted search mechanism invokes necessity more than chance. Chance is incapable (see above) and necessity must assume physical laws which work to produce the desired outcome. (Any GA which doesn’t accurately model these physical laws can’t be Darwinian, IMO. Happy to be corrected.) Combine chance with necessity in a GA and you have a great way of exploring a reduced search space when you may not know precisely the target you’re looking for, but you know about where it’s likely to be found.

    Sorry if I miss the point, I’m behind on this thread, working haphazardly on another post which will hardly prove worth the time I’m investing.

  92. 92
    material.infantacy

    ^^ Find the needle in less than 150 attempts. xp

  93. Silly Person who refuses to comprehend that ‘chance’ doesn’t cause anything @ 87:The evidence in hand points to 100,000+ bits worth of DNA info as a reasonable minimum for a first functional, self-replicating cell.

    DNA is not information and does not information. DNA codons may well be a conventional encoding that symbolically represents information, but they are no more actual information than any computer code is … or than words are.

  94. “… and does not [contain] information …”

  95. 95
    material.infantacy

    Does anyone think chance caused this sentence to contain information?

    Chance can cause all kinds of things, but it certainly can’t cause the information we see contained in this sentence.

    The information contained within this sentence could likely not have been caused by chance, although it may or may not contain information, depending on whether or not it was caused by chance.

    Chance could cause this: “aujtrhjmviiumrnmguwpnghsafgny” but it couldn’t cause this: “string containing information” unless, of course, chance could cause strings to contain information, which is not entirely impossible.

    With that finally out there, how could chance cause the information contained in DNA? Is it possible? Or, out of all the things which chance does cause, is the information contained in DNA not on the list?

    xp m.i

  96. haha. m.i picks up the red phone and issues the launch codes.

    Dembski one wrote that chance can generate information, it just can’t generate complex specified information. I don’t know if he still believes that chance can generate information.

    But chance cannot be a cause of anything, for chance is no thing.

    There are unknown causal factors, and there are causal factors which can be described using certain distributions, but that is different from chance causing those distributions.

  97. 97
    material.infantacy

    lol Mung, I was a little afraid that I might be taken seriously. xp

    No I don’t think chance “causes” anything; however we are fond of saying “it happened by chance” just as we are of saying “the sun rose at 5:58 AM” or “the sun sets at 8:05 PM.”

    Some of these are linguistic conveniences, and practically everybody knows what one means when they are uttered.

    In casual conversation, it hardly seems worth the worry that these aren’t entirely accurate accounts, IMO; although I CAN see the importance of fretting for a published paper, or a book (depending on the audience).

    m.i.

  98. Mung @ 95,
    Exactly. To claim that “chance” caused some effect is exactly to say that the event or state-change is not an effect at all, for one is claiming that it happened without cause.

  99. Elizabeth Liddle:

    You are, again, mistaking the designing of the critter itself for the design of the fitness function.

    I am doing no such thing.

    The “critters” in weasel are character strings.

    The “fitness function” in weasel decides which string from the population provides the closest match to the target phrase and therefore which string will be used to seed the next generation.

    It’s nice to see you finally admit that both the critters and the fitness function are designed.

    If we used for our genome strings of 23 characters how would we ever hope to find the target? Of if we varied the length of the genomes during a run?

    In the case of the WEASEL program, this is irrelevant, but WEASEL is totally unlike biology in a huge numbers of respects, not least because there is no distinction between genotype and phenotype, and, just as important, only a single solution to the problem posed.

    Are you denying that WEASEL is Darwinian?

  100. 100
    material.infantacy

    MODERATORS: I have a comment stuck in the moderation queue. I think I committed the “too many links” infraction.

    I’d appreciate if you could wave it through, as it’s remarkably, undeniably profound, and intended for the benefit of all humanity.

    ’cause that’s how I roll.

  101. ba77;

    … perhaps you can also start off by proving that materialism, upon which neo-Darwinism is built in the first place, is the true description for the foundation of reality, instead of Theism being the true foundation.

    It seems to me that our experience with theories built within the paradigm of theism is a story of how we have come to understand nature as something operating within strict physical law, without detectable traces of magic or forces outside of the manifest physical reality at work.

    I am thinking of forces like energy and gravity, and how they seem to be the workhorse of the universe; at work both in the formation of anythingm from galaxies to black holes, solar systems and much more.

    Whereas the ‘theory’ that unknowable, unidentifiable entities (not forces, magical or not) have been at work sometime, somewhere, somehow, – in biology. While at the same time, from our experience with reproduction observe how entirely materialistic forces in a materialistic way are capable of building the most complex machine ever built: The human body.

    As far as I can tell, the question ID claims has been answered is just a question that has not been answered: Did anything not material, i.e. one or more intelligence(s) not resident in a physical substrate ever perform any action on this or any other planet?

    And how would we know?

  102. 102
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung: re WEASEL – WEASEL is Darwinian in the sense that replication with variance in the ability to self-replicate in an environment results in adaptation to that environment.

    In the case of WEASEL, the ability of a critter to self-replicate in the environment is determined solely by how closely it resembles the sentence “methinks it is like a weasel” and no other criterion. So although it fits the definition, it isn’t at all like any livng population in any natural environment (although it is a little like a living population of pigeons in a pigeon fancier’s environment, where the breeder has a single criterion for breeding).

    If you want to say, therefore, that the environment does the designing, in WEASEL, that’s fine.

    Similarly the pigeon fanciers do the design in pigeon breeding.

    But the analog in natural selection to the Designer, in that case is the natural environment

    That’s what does the designing (if you are going to be consistent).

    In which case I sign on for ID: I believe that life was, and continues to be, designed by the environments, resulting in exquisitely designed living things that function beautifully in a myriad of environments.

  103. Elizabeth Liddle:
    In the case of WEASEL, the ability of a critter to self-replicate in the environment is determined solely by how closely it resembles the sentence…

    You realize, of course, that the “critters” in WEASEL do not self-replicated.

  104. 104
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Of course the critters in WEASEL self-replicate.

    If they didn’t it wouldn’t work.

    Self-replication with heritable variance in ability to self-replicate.

    Or is this another quibble on whether sexual reproduction counts as self replication?

    I think when I made my WEASEL I gave it sexual reproduction.

    So call it breeding. Something that produces offspring, anyway.

  105. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Of course the critters in WEASEL self-replicate.

    How?

    Or is this another quibble on whether sexual reproduction counts as self replication?

    Well, since the critters in WEASEL don’t reproduce sexually, I’d have to say no, it’s not a quibble about whether sexual reproduction counts as self replication, and since there was never a first quibble about whether sexual reproduction counts as self replication, this would not be another quibble about it.

    Nor do the critters in WEASEL “produce offspring.” Nor do they breed.

    Does the truth really hurt the case for Darwinism that much?

    Does it hurt so much to say that a string stored in one memory location is copied into another memory location overwriting the string at that location?

    Why do you insist on calling that procedure “self-replication”?

  106. In what sense of ‘equivalent’ is “replication of an ‘organism’ by its environment” equivalent to either self-replication or sexual reproduction?

  107. Well, you see, if each “organism” is represented in memory by “bits” and we copy x number of bits from “organism” A and copy x number of bits from “organism” B and we combine them to create a representation for “organism” C that just is sexual reproduction, by definition.

    And it helps to likewise pretend that these are actual organisms, even though they aren’t.

    Of course, if Elizabeth can convince herself that I’m talking about living organisms and populations rather than the representations that exist in a GA it helps her pretend that I’m being completely unreasonable and don’t know what I’m talking about.

  108. 108
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung:

    Well, since the critters in WEASEL don’t reproduce sexually, I’d have to say no, it’s not a quibble about whether sexual reproduction counts as self replication, and since there was never a first quibble about whether sexual reproduction counts as self replication, this would not be another quibble about it.

    Oh good. I will resume referring to the production of offspring by parents as “self-replication” again. I guess we could also call it “reproduction”.

    Nor do the critters in WEASEL “produce offspring.” Nor do they breed.

    Mung, do you understand how WEASEL algorithms work?

    I offered to post one here, but then it turned out there were lots online. Have you not looked at the code?

    Does the truth really hurt the case for Darwinism that much?

    um.

    Does it hurt so much to say that a string stored in one memory location is copied into another memory location overwriting the string at that location?

    Golly.

    Mung, do you know what a “model” is?

    And you can model reproduction in various ways. Having the offspring commit parenticide isn’t usually a good idea.

    Why do you insist on calling that procedure “self-replication”?

    Because that would be what we were modelling, except that an automatic parenticide model you suggest would be pretty useless (unless you had lots of offpring from each parent, of course, that would work). But in that case you wouldn’t be “over-writing” the parent with a single offspring. You’d need more greater memory allocation for a start.

    Normally you would let each critter reproduce (“self-replicate”) serially for as long as they survive some culling procedure.

    Go have a look at some code. Or maybe I’ll post mine.

  109. 109
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Ilion:

    In what sense of ‘equivalent’ is “replication of an ‘organism’ by its environment” equivalent to either self-replication or sexual reproduction?

    Not sure who you are addressing, or who you are quoting. Organisms aren’t replicated by their environment.

    If I said so, it was a typo. But I can’t find where anyone said so.

    Unless you are thinking that when, in a computer model, an “offspring” virtual critter is generated within the model, that the critter is being “replicated by its environment”.

    Well, no. Again, you’re mistaking the territory for the map. Actually in this case you’ve mistaken the territory for the inhabitants of the territory.

    Computer models are models, run on a computer. The computer isn’t part of the model.

    Nor are all components of the model, “the model”. They are, well, components of the model.

    In something like the clock model, the analog of the environment is the competition between three randomly drawn clocks (cf two bulls fighting for fair lady).

    The analog of the population of organisms is the starting population of virtual “clocks” (only two of which have any clock function at all).

    The analog of reproduction is the process by which the two winning clocks in any competition have their genomes randomly combined and then mutated to produce one “offspring”. The two winning parents and their offspring are then returned to the pool.

    BTW, I have just realised that Mung meant that the losing candidate parent was overwritten by the offspring of the successful parent.

    Yes, in this case, that’s what happens, but that’s not the reproduction analog, that’s the analog of less successful critters dying sooner (and a handy way of keeping the population constant – you don’t have to, though, I often let my population Ns fluctuate).

  110. 110
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung:

    Well, you see, if each “organism” is represented in memory by “bits” and we copy x number of bits from “organism” A and copy x number of bits from “organism” B and we combine them to create a representation for “organism” C that just is sexual reproduction, by definition.

    And it helps to likewise pretend that these are actual organisms, even though they aren’t.

    It’s. A. Model.

    Of course, if Elizabeth can convince herself that I’m talking about living organisms and populations rather than the representations that exist in a GA it helps her pretend that I’m being completely unreasonable and don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Well, you don’t seem to know what a model is.

    OK: let’s say it isn’t a model. Let’s say it’s a perfectly real GA set up in order to produce novel clock designs.

    Or, if you like, consider the NASA antenna-designing GA.

    In both cases, just as in nature, we have:

    1.A population of self replicators

    2.An environment that favours some function not possessed, or possessed only in crude form by the population.

    3.Self-replication with variance

    Right? Exactly what we have in nature.

    And, in both the clock program and the antenna program, the population evolves to become a population of virtual organisms that performs the function favoured by that environment extremely well.

    Why will that not happen in nature as well, given that the conditions and contingencies are identical?

  111. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Mung, do you understand how WEASEL algorithms work?

    I’m getting the distinct impression that I understand how they work far better than you do.

    Mung, do you know what a “model” is?

    Enough not to confuse what is being modeled with the GA being used.

    http://ccl.northwestern.edu/ne.....cAlgorithm

    What is it that you think the Weasel program is intended to model?

  112. Organisms aren’t replicated by their environment.

    Ergo…

  113. 113
    Elizabeth Liddle

    Mung, how about you write a WEASEL program, and post it here?

    And I’ll post mine.

  114. You can post yours if you like, but I don’t plan to re-invent the wheel:

    http://rosettacode.org/wiki/Evolutionary_algorithm

  115. Ruby is currently my favorite language, so let’s look at a Ruby version. Pretty easy to understand.

    # Define the goal/target that the GA is searching for

    @target = “METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL”

    # Define the set of characters that we get to choose from

    Charset = ” ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ”

    STOP RIGHT THERE!

    My gosh. Two lines into the program and we’ve just been smacked in the face by design.

    Why limit the possible character to just this set?

    Aren’t they exactly what we need for the program to work?

    How do we know in advance that that we should choose from that set of characters?

    Elizabeth, would you say that these characters are random with respect to the goal or target phrase?

    Should we infer that living organisms have been gifted by a designer with just the set of ‘characters’ they need in order to find the ‘solution’ to the problem they are attempting to solve?

    So what can we do to alter the bias and obvious design?

    Choose from a random set of characters.

    Alter the characters that are available during the run.

    Toss in complete non-characters.

    But whichever path we decide to take we absolutely must dispense with this blatant case of intelligent design.

  116. You ran into design the instant you selected the end-target.

  117. Mung,

    G. J. Chaitin is developing a mathematical model of Evolution, and he starts by explaining how a random walk can limit its exploratory field by purely natural means (“A mathematical theory of evolution and biological creativity”, http://www.cs.umaine.edu/~chaitin/sfi.pdf) I suspect the ideas will be further developed in his latest book, “Proving Darwin: Making Biology Mathematical”, to be published in 2012.

  118. Mung, how about you write a WEASEL program, and post it here?

    Once again, I must remark with amazement at the potency of “natural selection” — so potent it is that artificial “natural selection” (i.e. any “model” of it ever presented or discussed) is utterly indistinguishable from “un-natural selection”.

  119. RHampton7 @ 117,
    So, Chaitin has finally swallowed the Darwinistic Kool-Aide he’s been swishing around in his mouth?

    On the one hand, I’m not surprised, as it was clear to me that he *wanted* to believe evolutionism to be true. But, on the other hand, of the very tiny bit of his prose writing (about his work) I’d read, it also seemed clear that he grasped the logical/mathematical absurdity of Darwinism.

    Goodness!? Will he next jump on the ‘avida’ bandwagon — which his work in mathematics shows does not do, and cannot ever in principle do, what its developers and proponents claim it does?

  120. I’m getting the distinct impression that I understand how they work far better than you do.

    LOL, thats made my week mung ;)

    # Define the goal/target that the GA is searching for

    @target = “METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL”

    Or we could use a multi variable function, or make reproductive ability intrinsic to the environment. Lots of ways to do it.

    # Define the set of characters that we get to choose from

    Charset = ” ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ”

    Good, we have some analog of physical matter.

    STOP RIGHT THERE!

    My gosh. Two lines into the program and we’ve just been smacked in the face by design.

    Yes, life needs to be made from stuff in order to exist and you need differential replication rates for evolution to occur. If you want to create a model (or in this case a simple pedagogical example) you need to write some software.

    What you’ve got here is ‘goalpost blindness’. For evolution to occur you need some prerequisites (replication, phenotypes, differential replication rates) which could, in the case of biology, all be the result of God designing the universe.

    pointing to a designed evolutionary system doesn’t stop it working, just as pointing out than an airplane was designed doesn’t render it incapable of flight.

  121. You ran into design the instant you selected the end-target.

    true

  122. Hi DrBot,

    It probably wasn’t that difficult for you to miss the point, perhaps due to ignoring half my post, the half that addresses the objections you raised.

    Would you object to the following, and if so why?

    @target = “METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL”
    Charset = “ METHINKSLKAW”

    I mean, seriously, what do we need all those excess letters for? We can do the same thing with 12 letters and a space, can’t we?

    Are they just there for effect, for the illusion? Yeah, probably.

    Why did the GA designer choose that set of characters and not some other set of characters, and was it in fact a design decision?

  123. Weasel uses 26 characters. How many different characters do you think are in the DNA character set?

  124. Why am I not surprised.

    DrBot, Elizabeth, MIA.

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