Home » Intelligent Design » Human evolution: The spin machine in top gear

Human evolution: The spin machine in top gear

For a fascinating misreading of what the recently announced Messel Pit fossil really shows, go here:

Scientists have found a 47-million-year-old human ancestor. Discovered in Messel Pit, Germany, the fossil, described as Darwinius masillae, is 20 times older than most fossils that explain human evolution.

That fossil doesn’t “explain” human evolution; it complicates the picture.

The theory that was gaining ground was that humans were descended from tarsier-like creatures, but this fossil, touted as a primate ancestor, is a lemur-like creature.

Often, I hear from people attempting to patch the cracks in the unguided Darwinian evolution theory, as follows: “We have more information than ever!”

Yes, but what if it is – as in this case – the evidence is contradictory?

Evidence for Theory A subtracts from evidence for Theory B. So if A is right, B must be subtracted from the total. If B is right, A must be subtracted from the total.

Surely, that is pretty obvious. But watching the spin machine in high gear is a fascinating exercise anyway.

No wonder fewer and fewer believe Darwinism.

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360 Responses to Human evolution: The spin machine in top gear

  1. So the answer must be that we are descended from neither?

  2. tribune7. Thank you! I haven’t Googled “Missing link found”, but I’m pretty sure there will be decades of missing link finds finally being found.

  3. “The theory that was gaining ground was that humans were descended from tarsier-like creatures, but this fossil, touted as a primate ancestor, is a lemur-like creature.”

    I think by theory O’Leary probably mean hypothesis. And if it turns out that we are descended from lemur-type primates, would this in fact alter the basic tenets of the theory of evolution? (if so, how?)

    Isn’t this really just a case of science working as usual? Given that the field of paleoanthropology dates probably only to the late 19th century, then it’s fairly obvious that there is still much to learn. These kinds of finds are to be expected, but I don’t see how this alters the theory that homo sapiens are descended from earlier primates.

    Besides, what does ID have to say about this and how does it fit into the ID hypothesis? Are there in fact any ID-oriented paleoanthropologists?

  4. Lenoxus: A proverb says, “It is a wise child that knows his father.”

    All I know is this: Between two competing arguments, in which only one side can be right, information that supports Argument A must subtract from information that supports Argument B.

    I didn’t make that up. It is just logic.

    So, where a number of theories compete, the growth of findings does not necessarily lead to a growth in understanding.

    It may eventually do so, if the findings can be reconciled.

    To put it on a personal plane:

    Either Joe is John’s father or Harry is. Both men can’t be John’s father under any normal circumstance.

    So any good case for the one must necessarily subtract from the case for the other.

    In a reasonable universe, I do not see how it can be otherwise.

    Therefore, a find like this is not necessarily a net gain in information.

    We must first see how many research findings it falsifies.

  5. So we have Argument A and Argument B. One says we are descended from tarsier-like creatures the other from lemur-like creatures.

    But neither Arugment A or B contradict the basic theory of evolution which states that human beings are descended from an earlier ancestor, probably a primate. Besides, who in the paleoanthropology world has been saying that anybody has known for sure the specifics about all this? (yes there have been hypotheses but that’s all, right?)

    Isn’t it well established that knowledge is lacking here and that perhaps this find might help to illuminate?

    I fail to see the “spin” here but then with O’Leary everything of course is a “controversy” of some kind.

  6. JTaylor, thanks. You beautifully illustrate the precise problem that made me begin to question the Darwin industry a decade or so ago.

    The “basic theory of evolution” tells us that either Joe is John’s father – or that Harry is.

    And the two sides have been at it for decades.

    By faith alone, the Darwinian evolutionist knows that – what, exactly? – happened.

    I could not determine from this body of evidence that humans are descended from either group.

    Advice: Never try this in a courtroom.

  7. “Are there in fact any ID-oriented paleoanthropologists?”

    If there were any who identified themselves as such, the nearly certain prediction would be that they would not get any research grants.

    “Isn’t it well established that knowledge is lacking here and that perhaps this find might help to illuminate?”

    Let’s get this published in textbooks with the obvious implications.

  8. jerry@8,
    the first part already is:
    from Futuyma’s “Evolution” p. 80: “There is disageement about how many distinct hominin species and genera should be recognized.. even if the overall pattern of evolution is clear, the specific phylogenetic relationships among hominin taxa may not be.”

    From Strickberger’s “Evolution”, p. 493: “According to molecular evidence primates diverged in the late Cretaceous although the details of primate origins remain fairly obscure.”

    From Freeman and Herron’s “Evolutionary Analysis”, p. 764: “The fossil record for early humans and their kin is frustratingly sparse.”

    the obvious implications being that more research is needed in this area? or something else (please be specific)?

  9. why doesnt the discovery institute fund any ID related paleoanthropological, or and ID related research?

  10. Denyse said: The “basic theory of evolution” tells us that either Joe is John’s father – or that Harry is.

    And the two sides have been at it for decades.”

    I expect they will be at it for a few more decades too…but whether these kinds of findings will fundamentally change the basic tenets of evolution remains to be seen (and remember the theory of evolution does not rely on whether we are descended from species A or species B). So far I haven’t heard anybody say that it will – if Ms O’Leary thinks it might, it would be interesting to hear how.

    I do find it somewhat odd that Ms O’Leary frequently complains that the “other side” are overly dogmatic and rigid – yet when, as in this case, there is new evidence that might change long-held ideas, she seems very dismissive that scientists are changing their minds (again, isn’t this just science working as it is supposed to?).

    Maybe we’ll never know enough detail to be able to completely pinpoint the lineage of our species. It’s rather similar to my personal history, and to continue with your analogy before – I know I’m from English/Irish/French stock – without the appropriate research I couldn’t necessarily tell you who my great-great-great-great-grandfather was. But I can with some degree of confidence point to a region or a particular group, and a time period. Isn’t that is what is happening with this finding – a fine-tuning of our understanding of the specific primate lineage?

    One more time – how does ID interpret this finding? (other than an opportunity to criticize). For example, could ID use this data to make any predictions or is it really ambivalent to such a finding?

  11. JTaylor, they are not changing their minds.

    They are warring over the bones of a dead idea – that it all happened by natural selection acting on random mutation.

    This war was made explicit in primary sources: “Lemur advocates will be delighted, but tarsier advocates will be underwhelmed” by the new evidence, says Tim White, a paleontologist at the University of California, Berkeley. “The debate will persist.”

    The details of the evidence can be plugged in later because they have already approved the story line and will plug in only the details that suit it.

    How does ID interpret this finding: Only as an instance of the immense current, tax-funded confusion on this question.

    There simply is not enough evidence to convince a thoughtful jury at this point, which is why the advice I gave you above at 5 is good: Do not try it in a courtroom.

  12. O’Leary said “How does ID interpret this finding: Only as an instance of the immense current, tax-funded confusion on this question.”

    What do you think should be done differently then, especially considering ID is not currently participating in paleoanthropological research? What kind of research should be done? Or should scientists not even bother?

  13. Tribune7 @ #2

    LOL! That’s classic…literally. And very appropriate to the attempted sensationalization.

    Hopefully anyone investigating it reads the year:
    “Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
    December 22, 1912, Sunday”

  14. 15

    JTaylor:

    Besides, who in the paleoanthropology world has been saying that anybody has known for sure the specifics about all this?

    Isn’t it well established that knowledge is lacking here and that perhaps this find might help to illuminate?

    I fail to see the “spin” here but then with O’Leary everything of course is a “controversy” of some kind.

    Now quoting Sky News, and questions for you JTaylor:

    Scientists have unveiled a 47-million-year-old fossilised skeleton of a monkey hailed as the missing link in human evolution.

    Jtaylor, do agree that this is THE missing link in human evolution?

    The search for a direct connection between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom has taken 200 years – but it was presented to the world today at a special news conference in New York.

    JTaylor, do you believe this is the direct connection we’ve all waited for for 200 years?

    The discovery of the 95%-complete ‘lemur monkey’ – dubbed Ida – is described by experts as the “eighth wonder of the world”.

    JTaylor, do you think this find is the eighth wonder of the world?

    They say its impact on the world of palaeontology will be “somewhat like an asteroid falling down to Earth”.

    Jtaylor.. you know the rest.

    Do you honestly not believe that the Sky News article is a grotesque display of spin puffery? Clearly you don’t, as you have been more circumspect in your responses above.

    So the spin is there. Are you happy with it?

  15. 16

    Correction to the above. “Clearly you do” not “clearly you do.”

  16. 17

    Drat, well… not “clearly you don’t”.

  17. SpitfireIXA said “So the spin is there. Are you happy with it?”

    I didn’t read the Sky News article – but followed the link that Denyse provided above to ScienceDaily (and also read it on other sources) which seemed reasonably even-handed. So my comment was based on this article not the Sky one. But I agree the Sky News report is hyperbolic, and only time can tell what the true implications of the find might be. Nevertheless I haven’t seen anything yet that would be considered falsifying info for evolution.

  18. 19

    Denyse writes “This war was made explicit in primary sources.” That’s a journalistic rather than scientific understanding of what constitutes a “primary source.” That misunderstanding hints at the basic weakness of the original post: it does not cite the research itself.

    In in the post, Denyse seems to suggest that because people will argue about the significance of this finding, we can’t know anything about human evolution. But that’s just silly.

    The paper is freely available here. Why not look at the paper and evaluate it instead of exaggerating uncertainty?

  19. I find Denyse’s position here very difficult to fathom, as she is on record in The Spiritual Brain endorsing some essential facts of human evolution. On page 12 she (and Dr. Beauregard) stated,

    “Lest there be any misunderstanding, it is not the purpose of this book to argue that evolution did not occur. There is a fossil record, after all.”

    On the following page we are asked,

    “What about our nearest animal relatives, the chimpanzees and other large primates?”

    And most pointedly,

    “Does the answer to human nature lie in our animal nature? In our kinship with chimpanzees? With mammals in general?”

    Her answer is “no,” but that is another discussion. The significance of this find is that the evidence with bearing upon the specifics of these kinship relationships is now more complete, reducing uncertainty regarding a period of evolution for which there heretofore had been only a very incomplete record (practically the definition of “information”). To whatever extent prior hypotheses and the predictions therefrom regarding these events need to be revised or abandoned, this find displays the essential engine of science in operation – in particular the role of empirical investigation and empirical evidence.

    I don’t quite grok how that reduces confidence in evolutionary theory, or the contemporary scientific picture of human origins.

  20. 21

    JTaylor:

    Nevertheless I haven’t seen anything yet that would be considered falsifying info for evolution.

    I would agree with this. My point was, respectfully, your blinders to the amusing use of this lemur fossil as sure-fire proof of human evolution — and all of the “religious implications” that theists must come to grips with, supposedly.

    Paleontology cannot prove or disprove evolution (or ID) empirically. Any evolutionary story can be created for any fossil found — or lack of fossils. It can only suggest, and make the process of story-telling easier or harder.

    Diffaxial said:

    …this find displays the essential engine of science in operation – in particular the role of empirical investigation and empirical evidence.

    This fossil is historical evidence, not empirical. It cannot be reproduced in the lab. In other words, it is in the same boat as evolution, which fails empirically.

  21. 22

    SpitfireIXA, empirical findings include observations, not just laboratory experiments.

  22. 23

    JTaylor, there is little purpose for Discovery Institute — with limited funds — to pour money into paleontology. There’s far more bang for the buck in microbiology, which is empirical.

    Paleontology doesn’t need either Darwinists or IDists. It’s the other way around.

    Darwinists (and IDists) can only stand behind the paleontologists and make the story as the fossils are dug up by actual scientists. However, it does matter how the sides predicted the fossil record, which has been decidedly pro-ID.

  23. David Kellogg:

    SpitfireIXA, empirical findings include observations, not just laboratory experiments.

    Absolutely.

    Moreover, predictions and tests of predictions regarding future empirical findings are possible within the historical sciences (such as paleoanthropology), specifically predictions regarding future fossil finds that are entailed by particular models of evolutionary events and relationships.

  24. 25

    David Kellogg,

    You say empirical findings are broader than reproducible experimentation. Yet how many times do we hear how observations by IDists — or historians or archaeologists — aren’t real science because they aren’t “empirical” in the more restricted sense?

    That’s a double standard. Darwinists cannot change their definition of “empirical” depending on their current argument.

    Either “empirical” means reproducible, or it doesn’t. Pick one.

  25. SpitfireIXA:

    Either “empirical” means reproducible, or it doesn’t. Pick one.

    It doesn’t. It denotes information gained my means of observation, experience, or experiment. Some empirical results are reproducible. Some are not.

  26. 27

    Diffaxial,

    Moreover, predictions and tests of predictions regarding future empirical findings are possible within the historical sciences…

    Agree entirely. As well, confidence in the reliability of that information can be high as well, given quality work, wouldn’t you agree?

  27. 28

    SpitfireIXA, I’m not making up the definition of “empirical.” IDers could make empirical observations if they wanted to, they just usually don’t. For example, Michael Behe’s books contain no independent observations, just second-order commentary on the observations (and experiments) of others. They are to science what opinion columns are to journalism.

  28. 29

    Diffaxial at 26 –

    Agreement reached, it’s a beautiful world.

    Do you agree that any organized effort to gather information empirically, based on the definition that we have agreed to, is “science.”

  29. 30

    David Kellogg at #28

    Yes, agreed that the straightjacket version of “empirical” as “only if capable of being reproduced” is not a correct version of the word.

    Whether your statement about Behe is true or not, I’ll pass. That’s another thread-worth.

  30. As well, confidence in the reliability of that information can be high as well, given quality work, wouldn’t you agree?

    Of course. Hard work is required. That hard work includes construction models of specificity sufficient to guide real research (predictions that determine where to turn one’s spade), as well as the actual sweat and toil required to obtain the observations that empirically test those predictions.

    Armchair reinterpretation of others’ efforts, such as typifies ID, doesn’t often qualify as “quality work.”

  31. SpitfireXYZ @ 29

    Do you agree that any organized effort to gather information empirically, based on the definition that we have agreed to, is “science.”

    No. There are many organized efforts to gather information empirically, based upon our agreed definition, that don’t attain the status of science.

  32. 33

    Diffaxial,

    Armchair reinterpretation of others’ efforts, such as typifies ID, doesn’t often qualify as “quality work.”

    And that is exactly what Darwinistm does as well. Paleontology is concrete science. It consists of finding bones, getting them out of the ground, preserving them, and recording their observable traits. It owes nothing to Darwinism.

    Darwinists, like IDists, simply interpret that effort. It doesn’t matter whether most paleontologists are Darwinists, the domains are still a different hat and very different in nature.

    So, either 1) both Darwinists and IDists can do quality work based on empirical evidence, or 2) both can’t. (Whether they actually are or not is not the basis of the logic), wouldn’t you agree?

    I’m for #1, and since the best way to judge such a meta-domain is how well it predicts, ID is proving far better of the two.

  33. 34

    Diffaxial at 32:

    Is my barn door open?

    So, if the use of empirical research is not analogous to science, what special quality does science have that empirical research does not?

  34. I love it how we are told that there is NO MISSING LINK and then finally Darwinism is justified because the missing link has been found!

    I thought it was proven long ago. Wasn’t it?

  35. SpitfirePDQ:

    Darwinists, like IDists, simply interpret that effort…

    So, either 1) both Darwinists and IDists can do quality work based on empirical evidence, or 2) both can’t. (Whether they actually are or not is not the basis of the logic), wouldn’t you agree?

    I would not.

    Paleontology and paleoanthropology operate within the framework of contemporary evolutionary theory, which retains Darwin’s essential insight of descent with modification. That framework both guides and informs those efforts, and those sciences are inextricably and intimately intertwined with the contemporary state of that framework. The fieldwork conducted thereby would otherwise be impossible. That framework is, in turn, often modified in its details by those empirical finds, as theory and empirical work are in constant dialog.

    A few years ago I attended a talk presented by Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, who directs the physical anthropology department of the Cleveland Museum of Natural history, on fieldwork his team has been conducting in the Middle Awash Valley in Ethiopia. There several seasons of hard work in a hot, dry, and remote environment have yielded very interesting fossil discoveries that illuminate a particular phase of hominid evolution. The presentation also outlined the implications of these findings for current models of hominid descent, and described the further excavations that are planned with hopes of resolving questions and testing hypotheses. Hence their fieldwork is possible only in light of current theory. This exemplifies that dialog in pragmatic realtime.

    ID is in no such dialog. Nor can it enter such a dialog, as it cannot generate testable predictions that are useful in guiding empirical research, whether historical or experimental. It certainly has made no such contributions in the field of human evolution.

    I’m for #1, and since the best way to judge such a meta-domain is how well it predicts, ID is proving far better of the two.

    Describe a prediction regarding human evolution offered by ID, and describe the empirical adjudication of the accuracy of that prediction.

  36. Collin,

    I love it how we are told that there is NO MISSING LINK and then finally Darwinism is justified because the missing link has been found!

    I thought it was proven long ago. Wasn’t it?

    Exactly! I thought Lucy was the missing link. Then it was Tiktaalik, now it’s this critter. What next??

  37. Spitfire @ 34:

    Is my barn door open?

    And the livestock are gone.

    So, if the use of empirical research is not analogous to science, what special quality does science have that empirical research does not?

    The heart of the epistemology of science is a dialog between theory and empirical observation. One’s theory must generate entailments (necessary consequences) that give rise to testable empirical predictions, such that failure to observe what is predicted places one’s theory at risk of disconfirmation. Simply gathering observations isn’t enough (nor at all efficient). Neither is the reinterpretation of prior observations.

    Put more simply, one’s model need be expressed such that it is possible to state, “if my theory is true, then we should observe _____. If we fail to observe ______, then my theory is disconfirmed.”

    Scientists labor to devise such empirical tests and then conduct those tests, not avoid them.

    Is ID science? Try it. Fill in the blanks:

    “If ID is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then ID is at risk of disconfirmation.”

  38. SpitFireIXA said:

    It doesn’t matter whether most paleontologists are Darwinists, the domains are still a different hat and very different in nature.

    I believe Diffaxial @36 has it right when he/she says that paleontology only makes sense in the light of evolution.

    One famous example of this is of course Tiktaalik. Here’s a summary by Steven Novella at Neurologica blog of the find by Neil Shubin and colleagues:

    What is especially cool about Tiktaalik is that the researchers, Edward B. Daeschler, Neil H. Shubin and Farish A. Jenkins, predicted that they would discover something like Tiktaalik. These paleontologists made the prediction that such a transitional form must exist in order to bridge the gap between fish and amphibians. Even more, they predicted that such a species should exist in the late Devonian period, about 375 million years ago.

    So they spent several years digging through the earth on Ellesmere Island in Northern Canada, because geological and paleontological evidence suggested that exposed strata there was from the late Devonian. They predicted that, according to evolutionary theory, at this time in history a creature should have existed that was morphologically transitional between fish and amphibians. They found Tiktaalik – a “fishopod,” beautifully transitional between fish and amphibians.

  39. 40

    Diffaxial

    Paleontology and paleoanthropology operate within the framework of contemporary evolutionary theory, which retains Darwin’s essential insight of descent with modification.

    Paleontology existed before Darwin, and has been conducted successfully after that by persons who did not asgree with this framework. Therefore, this framework you speak of is an imposition, not a necessity.

    The fieldwork conducted thereby would otherwise be impossible.

    Which makes this statement untrue.

    Hence their fieldwork is possible only in light of current theory.

    Which imposes the finding before the evidence, like the Aristotelean College did with its perfectlt reasonable retrograde motions, which fit into current theory.

    Practically, has paleoarcheaology achieved success in its predictions? If it had, we would not be treated to a flattened lemur fossil as the eighth wonder of the evolutionary world during the glory of this Year of Darwin. It would be something much more spectacular.

    It [ID] certainly has made no such contributions in the field of human evolution.

    I’m not sure if you meant that as joke, but it’s a good one. Darwinism has equally failed to make any contributions to the field of intelligent design research.

  40. 41

    Diffaxial at 36:

    Describe a prediction regarding human evolution offered by ID, and describe the empirical adjudication of the accuracy of that prediction.

    Prediction one: Vestigial Organs.

    Darwinism says that there should be such useless organs in the human body, ID says little or none. ID won.

    This error by Darwinism had negative consequences such as routine removal of “useless” tonsils and adenoids, lobotomies.

    More importantly, Darwinism imposed a “show-stopper” on the study of these “useless” organs.

    Prediction two: Actionable difference between human “species.”

    Darwin predicted different evolutionary rates in the different human species, which resulted in eugenics and other fun weekend events. If you want to claim this as a win for Darwinism, go ahead.

    Prediction three: junk DNA

    This Darwinist “show-stopper” has set us back decades in understanding what is proving not to be junk.

    Darwinism is zero for three on the most practical predictions about humans.

    Other theories with such a poor showing would have been scrapped long ago, had there not been a philosophical belief at stake –that materialistic “framework” which stands as a commissar over modern paleontological work.

  41. 42

    JTaylor at 39:

    One famous example of this is of course Tiktaalik.

    Any self-respecting field of study would have libraries of examples and wouldn’t have to drag out the same old one.

  42. Spitfire:

    Paleontology existed before Darwin, and has been conducted successfully after that by persons who did not asgree with this framework. Therefore, this framework you speak of is an imposition, not a necessity.

    That doesn’t follow. Pre-Darwinian geology and paleontology compelled the Darwinian conceptual revolution. In turn, the essential frameworks of deep time and descent with modification organized and accelerated paleontological research, as both shared features and differences among organisms were recognized as reflecting patterns of descent. All contemporary work in professional paleontology and paleoanthropology is conducted within that framework.

    Practically, has paleoarcheaology achieved success in its predictions? If it had, we would not be treated to a flattened lemur fossil as the eighth wonder of the evolutionary world during the glory of this Year of Darwin. It would be something much more spectacular.

    Who ever claimed that science (e.g. paleoarcheology) is always successful in its predictions?

    Whoever it is, they’ve got your chickens and cows.

  43. 44

    Darwinism says that there should be such useless organs in the human body, ID says little or none. ID won.

    You gotta be freaking kidding me, right?!

    Some snakes have vestigial pelvises under the skin: link

    Lizards with vestigial legs, under the skin and completely useless: link

    Blind cave salamanders have vestigial eyes: link

    Dandelions have flowers and produce pollen, even though they don’t reproduce through fertilization: link

    Etc, etc, etc…

  44. 45

    Diffaxial at 38:

    I like your defintition of science, which is effectively the scientific method.

    Is ID science? Try it. Fill in the blanks:

    “If ID is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then ID is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    If ID is true, we should observe value in a organism’s components, and not pass them off as vestigial organs that 1) don’t need to be studied, and 2) can be removed without consequence.

    If ID is true, DNA is likely to be efficient, not loaded with junk. It is therefore valid to study these regions.

    If ID is true, humans are designed, and design is conducted with a purpose. Therefore, eugenics may be inappropriate.

    If ID is true, we should see a clear taxonomy in the fossil record, and not an ambiguous hyper-changing mass of evolving organisms that gives clear micro-transitional histories and makes taxonomy all but impossible.

    I could go on. Darwinism’s success rate at the scientific method is abyssmal. That’s why I rejected it. For a short list on this, consult

    Darwin’s Predictions

  45. I like your defintition of science, which is effectively the scientific method.

    ORLY?

    Seriously, if you are satisfied with “predictions” like that, and sources of that quality, well, knock yourself out.

  46. 47

    …and not an ambiguous hyper-changing mass of evolving organisms that gives clear micro-transitional histories and makes taxonomy all but impossible.

    What are you talking about? The standard phylogenetic tree is confirmed independently through utterly independent lines of evidence, both morphological and molecular. The independent trees match up with an astonishing degree of accuracy, despite being arrived at independently.

    The fossil record, while far from complete, also matches up with the standard tree.

    No form of life found so far has violated these classifications.

  47. 48

    Diffaxial at 43

    That does not follow… In turn, the essential frameworks of deep time and descent with modification organized and accelerated paleontological research…

    I’m sure it did. But what does not logically follow is to say, “therefore, their excitement, and only their excitement, makes paleontology possible.”

    Who ever claimed that science (e.g. paleoarcheology) is always successful in its predictions?

    Some success would be helpful, so that we don’t have to see old dead lemurs proclaimed as the eighth wonder of the world and hear every 18 months that the missing link is finally found, and that everything we used to know has been blown away by the pure unadulterated fact of a new find.

  48. 49

    Diffaxial at 45

    Seriously, if you are satisfied with “predictions” like that, and sources of that quality, well, knock yourself out.

    Failing to refute these well-acknowledged issues and predictions, I accept your concession on the point.

    ID stands as a far better practical predictor than Darwinism, as Antony Flew and James Le Fanu have recently understood and accepted.

  49. 50

    Some success would be helpful, so that we don’t have to see old dead lemurs proclaimed as the eighth wonder of the world and hear every 18 months that the missing link is finally found, and that everything we used to know has been blown away by the pure unadulterated fact of a new find.

    You… DO realize there is a difference between the sensational media out to make a buck and the actual scientific research, don’t you?

    Oh. You don’t. Clearly.

    Well, let’s look at the actual paper. Here is the final conclusion of the paper: “Darwinius masillae is important in being exceptionally well preserved and providing a much more complete understanding of the paleobiology of an Eocene primate than was available in the past.”

    That’s it. Interesting, but big whoop.

    Then, some media outlets decided to whip it up into a frenzy to sell more of their magazines and newspapers. Nowhere in the actual paper do you see anything like this.

    In the future, try reading the actual papers instead of the sensationalist media’s melodramatic interpretations of them.

  50. Fossils may tell us many things, but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else. ~ Colin Patterson

    I am firmly convinced that no theory of human evolution can be regarded as satisfactory unless the revelations of Piltdown are taken into account. ~ Arthur Keith

  51. SpitfireIXA: “Now quoting Sky News, and questions for you JTaylor:

    Scientists have unveiled a 47-million-year-old fossilised skeleton of a monkey hailed as the missing link in human evolution.”

    Spitfire, Sky News is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the same man who owns Fox News and it’s about as accurate. There’s nothing surprising about hyperbole and exaggeration from anything owned by Murdoch.

    Stick to the original scientific paper.

  52. From a German newspaper:
    “Private Fossiliensammler hatten die Versteinerung bereits 1983 in der schieferhaltigen Grube Messel bei Darmstadt gefunden und bis vor zwei Jahren für sich behalten. Als dann die Teile des entzwei gebrochenen Fossils zum Verkauf angeboten wurden, griff das Naturkundemuseum von Oslo zu.”
    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/,ra.....9175/text/

    Translation:
    “Private fossil collectors found the fossil in the schistous earth of Grube Messel near Darmstadt in 1983. They kept it for themselves until 2 years ago. The museum of natural history Oslo grabbed the fossil as the pieces, the fossil had broken in two, were offered for sale.”

    So Ida had been around for more then 15 years, why is it all of a sudden becoming SOOOOOOOO important? Oslo had bought it 2 years ago, and they needed that looooong to identify that it had such a significance??? Or is it that there is need to present evidence which is equivalent to the eighths world wonder, mystifying darwinism and strengthening its religious basis?

  53. SpitfireIXA #41

    You can’t be really serious about Darwinism as a ‘show stopper’ for junk DNA research: ‘Junk DNA’ research goes on since molecular biology exists as a scientific field e. g. for at least four decades.
    The very first realization that there is DNA that is not coding for protein along with strong evidence that such DNA has important regulatory functions comes from the 1960′s from the textbook operon model of gene regulation from Jacob and Monod. Since then research on regulatory DNA sequence has been a continously hot topic in modern biology. When in the late 80′s/early 90′s the human genome project was started there were proposals to sequence only the protein coding parts which would have made the whole thing billions of dollars cheaper and faster. However, the leaders of the human genome project – all outspoken darwinists – decided to sequence the whole genome including all the non-coding dna regions. Ironically, these are often much harder to sequence properly then protein-coding regions. Else we wouldn’t even know how much non-coding DNA is out there.
    Furthermore, mRNA splicing – where non-coding introns are removed from mRNAs – is a very activ research field since the 70′s. It is clear for a long time now that sequence in these introns which come from non-coding dna are very important for regulating e.g. alternative splicing.
    Similarly people look for a long time on mobile genetic elements such as LINE and SINE-elements since they are e.g. important for cancer research. and I could go on and on …
    So the research show on junk dna never stopped. The current surge of novel results is due to new technology not available decades ago …

  54. 55

    What this find shows is that lemur-like creatures have been around for a long time. That’s about it.

  55. @deric davidson if the predating is correct! How do you get to 47 million years in the past? I am sure they didn’t use c-14 :-).

    A good overview of dating principles used today!
    http://id-archserve.ucsb.edu/a.....tents.html

  56. Diff:

    “If ID is true, we should observe _EVIDENCE OF DESIGN______. If we fail to observe __EVIDENCE OF DESIGN_____, then ID is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    So it’s true then?

  57. Correlation to other fossils would also be out of the question since it is the first of its kind in that time frame, yet there could be other fossils found in the same strata that are “usually” dated to be 47 mil years.

    How sure are todays dating techniques?

  58. Mr Sxussd13,

    Oslo had bought it 2 years ago, and they needed that looooong to identify that it had such a significance???

    If you read the Intro paragraph of the original article, you can see that they have been waiting for this fossil since 2000 to come out of the hands of a private museum.

    When the discoverers split open the rock to find the fossil, they got two sheets, like a positive and negative photographic image. Sheet A had almost all the detail, and was therefore more valuable. Sheet B was faked up to look more valuable before being sold.

    Dr Franzen at Oslo had Sheet B since 2000, but knew that most of it was fake. He published what he knew in 2000. Sheet A only became available recently, and Oslo purchased it.

    Yes, preparing a holotype fossil does take a long time. In this case, there were additional issues because the bones could not be handled directly (they were crushed), and the sheet actually preserves the soft body outline and even evidence of stomach contents!

    This is not “science by press release”. This is “doing it right takes time” science.

  59. Mr Sxussd13,

    Dating details:

    The Messel fauna belongs to the early middle Eocene or earliest Geiseltalian, MP11 [20] with a calculated radiometric age of ca. 47 Ma based on a basalt fragment coming from an underlying volcanic chimney [21].

    21. Mertz DF, Renne PR (2005) A numerical age for the Messel fossil deposit (UNESCO World Heritage Site) derived from 40Ar/39Ar dating on a basaltic rock fragment. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg 255: 67–75.

    Argon-argon dating is commonly used for this type of rock, and is used over an age range back over 250 Mya.

  60. We should all say thank you to David Kellogg @19 for providing the link to the original paper. I just finished reading it. It is a beautifully written paper, very clear, but you can still catch the underlying excitement of doing science. Wow!

  61. Splitire’s “predictions” vis human evolution @ 41:

    Prediction one: Vestigial Organs.
    Darwinism says that there should be such useless organs in the human body, ID says little or none. ID won.

    Vestigial structures that have lost much or all of their function are observed throughout nature, reflect homology, and as such stand as clear evidence of common descent. They were observed and their apparent “uselessness” was remarked upon long before Darwin (e.g, Aristotle, Larmark, Chambers), although common descent and homology organized our current understanding of these structures.

    Darwin himself noted that vestigial structures may retain secondary functions even after the primary function was diminished or lost. Darwin also clearly sketched the notion what is now called “exaptation” in evolution, which reflects evolutionary changes in the functions of various structures.

    The notions of homology and the reality that biological structures reflect a history of descent with modification (as evidenced by homology) is not in the least specific to human evolution (although human beings carry many such structures.) I am asking for contributions from ID that help us understand human origins, specifically, in a manner analogous to the the discovery of “Ida.”

    This error by Darwinism had negative consequences such as routine removal of “useless” tonsils and adenoids, lobotomies.

    Tonsilectomies have been performed for 2000 years. Thousands of appendectomies a year are required in the U.S. alone and sometimes save lives.

    Lobotomies? Please supply evidence that lobotomy (or any of the other procedures you mention) were motivated by evolutionary theory.

    Prediction two: Actionable difference between human “species.”

    This is too muddled to deserve a response.

    Prediction three: junk DNA
    This Darwinist “show-stopper” has set us back decades in understanding what is proving not to be junk.

    In addition to having been beaten to death, this “prediction” is not specific to human evolution, and therefore fails once again vis my original request.

  62. The vestigial “argument” has been soundly refuted.

    How?

    There is no way to know something’s ORIGINAL function- that is when it is functioning as something else. The appendix is a prime example.

    It does have a function in humans, So do tonsils.

    As for predictions the theory of evolution does NOT have any pertaining to random variation and natural selection.

  63. “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    diffaxial had tried to answer those pertaining to the theory of evolution but the answers were so far off base they were pathetic.

  64. To disconfirm ID all one has to do is demonstrate the object in question can arise via nature, operating freely.

    What part of that is so difficult to understand?

  65. There is an article over at Panda’s thumb cautiously advising that the ‘hype’ over this ‘missing link’ is not ‘by design’ of any of the palaeontologist involved. The media is making the hype, talk of ‘missing links’ are only relevant to those that think there ARE missing links, and only those people that believe each new fossil creates 2 new gaps believe there are missing links to find.

    Basically, I see most of the pro-ID’ist stating ‘but I thought there weren’t any missing link??’, but read the science and you woulnd’t ask such questions. Read the news articles and those questions are natural.

    This is an important find, it does advance what we know about the past (however you choose to interpret it), but dont use what the media says as something to poke the good old scientists doing all the hard work.

    And I’d prefer not to hear anybody claiming that the news outlets are bein told to hype the story, cause the is not a conspiracy corner !

  66. JTaylor:

    SpitFireIXA said:

    It doesn’t matter whether most paleontologists are Darwinists, the domains are still a different hat and very different in nature.

    I believe Diffaxial @36 has it right when he/she says that paleontology only makes sense in the light of evolution.

    It seems as if you believe:

    Darwinism = evolution
    ID = not evolution

    So I believe SpitFireIXA had it right in that comment. Paleontology is part of Darwinism, but Darwinism (specifically) is not part of paleontology. It didn’t matter whether the scientists who discovered/studied the fossil believed it got there by RM+NS, front-loaded evolution, some combination of the two, or something else. It would not have affected their studies either way. As SpitFire said, the fact that most paleontologists are Darwinists doesn’t mean paleontology proves Darwinism correct (again, evolution does not necessarily mean “Darwinism”)

    You’re right, paleontology does only make sense in light of evolution. It doesn’t have to be in light of RM+NS only, or any ID theory. Paleontology is the path, ID only disputes how that path came to be.

    I agreed nearly 100% with PZ Myers on Pharyngula about this. He says the media hype is stupendously overblown, as it is. Now Google has a special logo up with “missing link found!”

  67. Nakashima thanks for the insights, I actually only read about it on German news sites and the information there was rather vague.

    Thanks also on the dating method :) 40Ar/39Ar.

  68. Joseph:

    diffaxial had tried to answer those pertaining to the theory of evolution but the answers were so far off base they were pathetic.

    Please reproduce that exchange here.

  69. Joseph:

    The vestigial “argument” has been soundly refuted.

    How?

    There is no way to know something’s ORIGINAL function..

    The phylogenetic distribution of such structures, examination of like embryological/developmental origins, and now sequencing of genomes leaves no room for reasonable doubt of the homology of many such structures, independent of assertions regarding their function.

    Unreasonable doubt is always possible.

  70. 71

    rna at 50:

    You can’t be really serious about Darwinism as a ’show stopper’ for junk DNA research: ‘Junk DNA’ research goes on since molecular biology exists as a scientific field e. g. for at least four decades.

    I totally agree, rna. That’s because molecular biology is not Darwinism. Molecular biologists, because they are curious engineer-types, will continue to research “junk DNA.” But they will dutifully bow to Darwinism to maintain their grants and jobs.

    Many don’t for a minute believe it is actually “junk,” and so functionally they are IDists.

  71. 72

    Diffaxial at 58:

    Thanks for actually trying to refute the points I brought forth.

    Vestigial structures that have lost much or all of their function are observed throughout nature, reflect homology, and as such stand as clear evidence of common descent.

    First, “homologous” and “vestigial” are not the same.

    Since we are talking about human evolution, please provide a list of human vestigial organs. Or we can start from Wiedersheim’s 180 and pare it down to the eventual zero it became.

    Tonsilectomies have been performed for 2000 years.

    Yes, when necessary. It was only during Darwin’s heyday when tonsilectomies were done for NO reason.

    Lobotomies? Please supply evidence that lobotomy … were motivated by evolutionary theory.

    Read James Le Fanu’s “Why Us?” Use of lobotomies increased in the Darwin heyday because the brain’s function was assumed (not proven) to work in a way based on evolutionary/materialistic principles. Those assumptions proved entirely wrong.

    [Spitfire]Prediction two: Actionable difference between human “species.”

    This is too muddled to deserve a response.

    You mean too close to the heart. There’s nothing muddled about it, and it is a matter of public record. Darwinism says that humans were not designed for a purpose but evolved, with some evolving better than others. Therefore eugenics and genocide make logical sense in a Darwin world. Again, read James Le Fanu’s “Why Us?”

    Therefore, ID remains the better predictor on all three examples given @41.

  72. 73

    Diffaxial @66:

    The phylogenetic distribution of such structures, examination of like embryological/developmental origins, and now sequencing of genomes leaves no room for reasonable doubt of the homology of many such structures, independent of assertions regarding their function.

    A typical bait and switch between “homology” and “vestigial.” Homology is no value in the vestigial prediciton. Airplane tires and car tires are homologous. They are not vestigial.

    leaves no room for reasonable doubt

    As long as you ignore the phylogenics, embyonic traits, and gene sequences that don’t fit the Drawinian narrative. Cherry picking does wonders for your theory, no better realized than in the thoroughly muddled tree of life.

  73. Spitfire:

    First, “homologous” and “vestigial” are not the same.

    And Spitfire:

    A typical bait and switch between “homology” and “vestigial.” Homology is no value in the vestigial prediciton. Airplane tires and car tires are homologous. They are not vestigial.

    I didn’t equate “vestigial” and “homologous.” I stated that vestigial structures reflect homology. Many other structures that retain their original functions also reflect homology, and are not at all vestigial. Still others have acquired entirely new functions by means of exaptation – and are therefore also homologous, but not vestigial.

    Airplane tires and car tires are homologous. They are not vestigial.

    “Homology” by definition reflects shared ancestry. Because tires don’t have ancestors, tires devised for differing purposes can’t be homologous.

  74. From the Wall Street Journal today:

    While many scientific discoveries tend to be disclosed in sober fashion, this one was heavily promoted. It has already resulted in a rapidly written book called “The Link” about the discovery and implications of the fossil. A two-hour TV documentary will be shown in the U.S. later this month.

  75. “Put more simply, one’s model need be expressed such that it is possible to state, “if my theory is true, then we should observe _____. If we fail to observe ______, then my theory is disconfirmed.””

    If P, then Q. ~Q, therefore, ~P.

    This is a valid form of argument called modus tollens. So let’s try it like this.

    If evolutionary theory (natural selection plus genetics, roughly) is true, then I expect that it could account for, or explain, the genetic language and the massive amounts of biological information in the genomes of every living thing.

    But it can’t.
    Therefore, it is not true.

    Did I do that right? :-)

  76. Joseph:

    To disconfirm ID all one has to do is demonstrate the object in question can arise via nature, operating freely.

    What part of that is so difficult to understand?

    Well, you could start out by explaining what “nature, operating freely” means. Dembski seems to think that this excludes selection. How do you define it?

  77. 78

    Sorry, tgpeeler,

    I think Diffaxial was talking about observations.

  78. Adel DiBagno

    I think Diffaxial was talking about observations.

    That’s right. A subtle clue is the word “observe” in the following:

    Put more simply, one’s model need be expressed such that it is possible to state, “if my theory is true, then we should observe _____. If we fail to observe ______, then my theory is disconfirmed.

  79. And that is different how? If evolution is true we should OBSERVE that it explains information and language? Hee hee. OK. So that’s how you dismiss information from the discussion? What am I missing here?

    It’s the information that needs to be explained, not the physical structures. “Just so” stories that provide “plausible” (to whom) accounts of how something might have happened, completely miss the point as far as I can tell.
    Then again, I’m not a brilliant scientist who can tell that the fork he ate lunch with was designed but somehow just can’t see it in the most complex language on the planet which builds the most complex structures in the universe whose nano-technology puts any human technology to shame. That I can detect design and intelligence behind this system probably disqualifies me from all intellectual conversations on the subject. Nevertheless, I think the question of information is central to this entire discussion. No?

  80. tgpeeler:

    And that is different how? If evolution is true we should OBSERVE that it explains information and language? Hee hee. OK. So that’s how you dismiss information from the discussion? What am I missing here?

    Let’s just let that one marinate.

  81. Wow, Diffaxial. You sure are a good debater! Avoid the issue with innuendo. Nice. Powerful argument, that. Feel free to actually deal with accounting for information whenever you feel up to it.

  82. tg:

    “Observation” in science denotes seeing, measuring, weighing, counting, recording, and so on, oftentimes with the assistance of instrumentation.

    You’ve filled the blanks with something other than “observation” in this sense.

  83. 84

    Diffaxial:

    I didn’t equate “vestigial” and “homologous.”

    Yes, you did. Your post described homology as if it were a defense of vestigial organs. You’ve corrected that, so we can move on.

    Now that we agree that talking about homology is no value in determining vestigial organs, can you now list the vestigial organs of the human body? Darwinists started with nearly 200.

    (Finally, look up homologous. The hijacked Darwinian definition is not the primary meaning. Airplane tires and car tires are homologous — as are the common designs found in cellular engineering.)

  84. So Ida had been around for more then 15 years, why is it all of a sudden becoming SOOOOOOOO important?

    Think of it as a miracle that the scientific hierarchy has graciously revealed to us.
    No doubt St. Darwin of the Galapagos guided their hands in the timing of it so that it could be revealed in this, the year if his celebration.

    Let us don our lab coats and fire up our Bunsen burners as we chant his praise.

  85. Spitfire:

    Yes, you did. Your post described homology as if it were a defense of vestigial organs. You’ve corrected that, so we can move on.

    Now that we agree that talking about homology is no value in determining vestigial organs

    Given that your grasp of these concepts lies somewhere between tenuous and distorted, it isn’t surprising that you were, and remain, unable to discern nuances in my post that a more knowledgeable discussant would negotiate without difficulty.

    Vestigial organs that have lost their functional roles, or have retained them in an only rudimentary fashion, are recognized by means of their homology with corresponding, still-functioning structures in other species. Since you don’t accept, or even understand, homology as defined in biology there is little point in discussing the particulars of vestigial structures in human beings. Rejection of the reality of homology is

  86. Somehow hit return…to continue:

    Rejection of the reality of homology reflects rejection of common descent and the fundamental relatedness of all living organisms. I have no interest in rehearsing the associated creationist chestnuts with you, or your imperviousness to the mountain of evidence that bears on the topic. IMHO that position reflects science denialism at the level of belief in a flat earth, and my experience has been that debate on such topics with such people is an exercise in futility and a bore.

  87. “Rejection of the reality of homology reflects rejection of common descent and the fundamental relatedness of all living organisms.”

    Is it possible that you are confusing common descent with common Authorship?

    “I have no interest in rehearsing the associated creationist chestnuts with you, or your imperviousness to the mountain of evidence that bears on the topic.”

    I could say the same thing about someone who refuses to engage on the subject of information. When are we going to have that conversation? You know, the one where you tell me how there is a naturalistic explanation for biological information. That one.

    “IMHO that position reflects science denialism at the level of belief in a flat earth, and my experience has been that debate on such topics with such people is an exercise in futility and a bore.”

    I agree that your opinion is humble. My experience has been that debate on the topic of information with such people is an exercise in futility. It’s not so much of a bore because “you people” cannot even engage in the conversation. You can only make personal attacks or ignore or try to distract from the all too real problem that you face. Explaining information.

  88. “The more I read these comments the more I see how ID is evolving ever day to look more like evolution and less like creationism.”

    What is evolving is an understanding of what ID always was.

    As I have said before there is no experiment that ID would not do that materialist science does. It would actually do a lot more so ID expands the horizon of science.

  89. ” my experience has been that debate on such topics with such people is an exercise in futility and a bore.”

    I have not met one anti ID person here who engages ID on substance. ID is science based and is willing to consider any empirical data presented to it. But that is not what happens here. Instead we get comments lamenting how backward or stupid we are. How boring. I do wish the anti ID people would learn some science.

  90. Nnoel:
    ““The more I read these comments the more I see how ID is evolving ever day to look more like evolution and less like creationism.””

    That is a rather strange comment to make, seeing that the evolution of complex and specified information is itself evidence of previous intelligence. An understanding of characteristics of a future target is necessary to presently configure an EA such that it will produce better than chance results (CSI).

    Can you provide any evidence, observational or theoretical, of an evolutionary algorithm which produces CSI self-generating from an arbitrary set of laws (to rule out a set of laws configured with consideration of future results — teleology) interacting with chance occurences (random numbers generated based on atmospheric noise)? Will law and chance absent previous intelligence (foresight and [present] choice with [future] intent) generate said algorithm?

    Maybe it is you, Nnoel, who is just beginning to understand ID Theory?

  91. Prediction three: junk DNA

    Little item hot off the press on this one:

    ‘Junk’ DNA Has Important Role, Researchers Find. ScienceDaily (May 21, 2009)

  92. “Can you provide any evidence, observational or theoretical, of an evolutionary algorithm which produces CSI self-generating from an arbitrary set of laws (to rule out a set of laws configured with consideration of future results — teleology) interacting with chance occurences (random numbers generated based on atmospheric noise)? Will law and chance absent previous intelligence (foresight and [present] choice with [future] intent) generate said algorithm?”

    He cannot. “They” cannot. And they will never be able to. Here’s why, in a nutshell. Information requires language. Language requires symbols and rules. Symbols mean the representation of one thing for another and rules mean agreed upon conventions that enable communication to take place. (Vocabulary, grammar, syntax – without these, there is no meaning, or semantic content.)

    In any naturalistic account of things, mind, and certainly Mind, are excluded. All they have by way of explanatory resources are the laws of physics. But the laws of physics have nothing to say about why the symbols “cat” refer to a certain kind of mammal or the rules that govern why that is true.

    Only mind is capable of representing one thing for another in alignment with the conventions of a language to create information. Physics cannot. Not now. Not ever. This is because contingency is required for the creation of information. Any algorithm based on a regular physical law, say gravity, cannot create information because in order to create information I must choose from among a set of symbols those that combine in a certain way to communicate my message. It takes a mind to do this. The next card “they” play is the chance card but chance is obviously incompetent to create information. Use a random letter generator and see if you get anything that makes sense. In fact, it doesn’t even make sense to do that because that ALREADY assumes the existence of the symbols and the rules. Which are only possible in the presence of mind.

    Naturalism, materialism, and physicalism, are all intellectually bankrupt “isms” that have nothing to say about anything. They are the products of wishful thinking and deliberate and willful denial of the obvious. Is it any wonder that intelligent conversation is difficult with people who reject the authority of reason in matters of truth?

  93. 94
    SaintMartinoftheFields

    If this is simply an exquisetly preserved lemur skeleton, it only means something if you accept universal common ancestry.

    If you don’t accept common descent then this is just a remarkable speciment of a prehistoric lemur and not great-great (a thousand times) grandma Ida.

    PS trying to be humorous in that last paragraph. :)

  94. 95

    You go peeler. :)

  95. Jerry,

    I do wish the anti ID people would learn some science.

    Seconded. I wonder, is there something like a collection of “hall of fame” posts here? Maybe a voting system could be implemented that would allow us to identify particularly substantive science posts. If, for example, someone were to organize Joseph’s and Mapou’s contributions on nested hierarchies and physics, for example, that would save a lot of repetition.

  96. If, for example, someone were to organize Joseph’s and Mapou’s contributions on nested hierarchies and physics, for example, that would save a lot of repetition.

    Woops. Speaking of saving a lot of repetition…

  97. Oh gee. Where did the Darwinists go? And I was so looking forward to a naturalistic explanation of information. Darn. Another time, I guess. Later guys… :-)

  98. tgpeeler @ 93:

    (A stirring anthem to Mind in nature. Cheers rise from the gallery.)

    Now that you know what “observation” in science is, express your vision in this form:

    “My theory is (insert stirring anthem to mind in nature here).

    If my theory is true, then we should observe _____. If we fail to observe ______, then my theory is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    Remember, “observe” in this context refers to seeing, measuring, weighing, counting, recording, and so on, with the assistance of instrumentation if needed. While empirical observation and science are not synonymous or coterminal, the expression of one’s thesis such that it has observable consequences is a necessary condition for the actual doing of science.

    What observable facts are entailed by your theory of the origins of information in biology, such that failure to observe them places your theory of at risk of disconfirmation?

    If you can get your argument into this form, then we’ll have something to discuss.

    With respect to how the current model accounts for the origination of biological novelty and information, read some biology. Or even this web site, where Allen MacNeill has already referenced 50 known sources of variation among organisms, and hence novel genetic information. Selection further imports information from the environment regarding the relative, local adaptive value of these variations in the form of differential reproductive success. The combined result is, inevitably, evolutionary change and sometimes, particularly when combined with population effects (e.g. allopatry), evolutionary novelty (e.g. speciation). That’s the explanation (in its barest possible expression). Of crucial importance: this model provides the basis for empirical research world wide, and hence the further, incremental acquisition of knowledge that, in turn, further modifies theory. Once the the unhelpful hubbub surrounding Ida subsides (including excited pant-hoots from UD and similar sources), it will be apparent that her discovery has contributed to this process.

    We understand you don’t believe it. But until you can express your above hokum in the terms I describe above (in terms of testable observational consequences), there are no alternatives.

  99. Peeler—where have you been all of my life?

    Another way to ask the question is: how do we account for the obvious rationality of nature? Body plans are rational; what in nature can account for this strange fact? How can that which is rational come from irrational materials?

    A kidney is a very bright idea. Without the bright idea of “kidney” in mind, how exactly did nature go about the laborious process of bringing “kidney” into being from nothing? For that matter, what caused nature to commence “kidney” in the first place?

    Is nature a little like Noah, building his ark before there were even clouds in the sky? Nature certainly showed a lot of faith in “kidney” to work so hard on something that cannot possibly have any value until the labor is complete.

    How and why were the earliest changes leading to “kidney” preserved? Why did “kidney” steadfastly overcome all of the obstacles to being if there was no goal in mind? What, is “kidney” just very, very persistent? Stubborn?

    Let the soaring rhetoric begin. Find Obama’s speechwriters and let them pour on the substanceless confetti about deep time, gradualism, nature’s mysteries, etc. Better yet, get Obama himself. The site could use a little eye candy.

  100. Diffaxial:
    “Now that you know what “observation” in science is, express your vision in this form:

    “My theory is (insert stirring anthem to mind in nature here).

    If my theory is true, then we should observe _____. If we fail to observe ______, then my theory is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    Remember, “observe” in this context refers to seeing, measuring, weighing, counting, recording, and so on, with the assistance of instrumentation if needed.”

    … wait a minute. Do we actually have someone here who is willing to learn about ID Theory?

    Or is this just another case of someone not willing to do the research themselves and feels that their gift to the world is to utilize their own ignorance of ID Theory to “expose the IDists.”

    So, what will it be Diffaxial? Do you honestly want answers to your question? Have you seriously done your due diligence and, having read material on ID Theory are yet unable to answer your own question?

    Which is it Diffaxial?

  101. “We understand you don’t believe it. But until you can express your above hokum in the terms I describe above (in terms of testable observational consequences), there are no alternatives.”

    Your hubris is showing. So if it’s not in the terms you describe then there’s nothing to talk about? Hee hee. Good one. There is no sense in even trying to discuss something, anything with you unless and until you recognize the sovereignty of reason in matters of truth. I’m looking forward to your arguments against that proposition. Think about it. It will come to you.

    Your insistence on empiricism, while certainly “scientific” by todays shoddy standards, ignores REASON in the quest for truth. Observations without inferences to the best explanation are just data points. Therefore, you must also include REASON in your epistemology. If you won’t acknowledge that then good luck to you. Have a nice day. Blah, blah, blah. No really.

    BTW, what exactly that I wrote is hokum? I notice that you failed to criticize any one thing in particular. If it’s hokum then it should be easy for you to get specific. Please do. I made assertions and drew conclusions. Feel free to attack any or all of them. “THEY’RE HOKUM” is not really a very good argument where I come from. I can barely credit it that you are serious in that you think this is a valid way to attack arguments.

    Here’s how it works. One starts with premises (or data) and reasons to conclusions. If the reasoning is valid, then you must attack the premises (or data) to defeat the argument. Unless, of course, you make self-defeating claims, in which case my work is done and thanks for doing it. BTW, when you argue against reason as the final arbiter of truth, you will be reasoning to defeat reasoning. Feel free to go ahead and try but I thought I’d give you a hint on that one.

  102. Your hubris is showing. So if it’s not in the terms you describe then there’s nothing to talk about?

    The topic, generally, was the scientific understanding of human origins, prompted by the report of the discovery of Ida. The questions I have posed reproduce the most rudimentary requirement of scientific epistemology, namely testable relationship to empirical observation.

    You’re right to observe that, in the context of a discussion about the scientific understanding of human origins, I’m not interested in ramblings about the operation of Language and Mind in the origin of biological information that offer no hooks for empirical challenge.

  103. 104

    tgpeeler:

    Your insistence on empiricism, while certainly “scientific” by todays shoddy standards, ignores REASON in the quest for truth.

    Do you really believe that REASON is ignored in providing empirical support for empirical hypotheses?

    If so, hee hee.

  104. 105

    And the empirical support and reason for concluding that only a mechanical cause is inferred by the observation of a symbol system embedded in living systems is…what?

  105. 106

    Upright,

    Do you understand the difference between an hypothesis and a conclusion?

  106. 107

    By the way Diffaxial,

    If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the origin of Life. If we fail to observe it, then the theory is at risk of disconfirmation.

    But, if we do find physically inert meaning in the origin of Life (and we do), but you refuse to acknowledge the validity of the observable evidence, then it is up to you to explain a physical source for it.

    Be my guest.

  107. 108

    Adel, conclusions are a based upon reasoned hypotheses. Which, I believe, is exactly peeler’s point.

    Many materialists want that the rules of engagement could trump reason, so that invalidated hypotheses may be retained in order to support a faulty conclusion.

    In other words, they want to argue over words instead of reason, meaning and truth.

    This is where you are now. I asked for the empirical support and reasoning that leads to the conclusion that only a mechanical cause is inferred by the observation of a symbol system embedded in living systems.

    To this, you want to banter about words…not meaning, not truth, and certainly not about the reasoning and support I asked for. You may or may not agree with Popper, but its worth a read.

  108. 109

    Ah…

    A three day weekend, a lake, a boat, a beautiful wife.

    Have a good weekend all…

  109. Mr Allanius,

    We don’t need words such with teleological baggage such as goal, or perceived agency such as persistent and stubborn. Efficient and useful are enough. Does Hallucigenia look rational to you?

    Kidneys are as marvelous as lungs. Or as eyes. Pick an organ – it is marvelous. It took a long time to get that way.

  110. Upright:

    If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the origin of Life.

    Seems to me that your prediction requires a solution to the origins of life before it can be tested. But were the solution to the origins of life in hand, we would already know whether or not life was designed – and we would of necessity have attained that understanding without research guidance from your prediction. So that’s not a prediction that is very useful.

    Moreover, your prediction appears to arise from an assertion that “physically inert meaning” is an essential component of design. (I don’t see why this follows – why a designer could not create initial designs absent this feature, say, using less abstract, physically specified meaning – but hey, it’s your theory). This makes your prediction somewhat tautological: all you are really predicting is that when OOL is solved, life will be found to have been designed, as indicated by the presence of a necessary indicator of design. Again, no help.

  111. Beelzebub and Upright,

    Upright:
    “If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the origin of Life.”

    Actually, that should be brought from the level of “in the origin of life” to “within life.”

    And, we have already discovered physically inert symbolic representation at the foundation of life. And no this is not merely a post-diction as I do believe that it was Aristotle (long before life was understood) who described how the effects of “telic processes” are not defined by the properties of the material utilized within the system in question — that is, Aristotle’s observation can be summed up as a prediction for future cases: “an intelligently designed system will contain a physically inert aspect.” I believe he referred, as an example, to how a ship’s configuration is not in the physical properties of the wood used to create it.

    So that is one, and the main, positive prediction which has been observed within life.

    That prediction is further derived from the observation that an intelligent system known as a “human” is capable of utilizing his/her foresight in order to produce physically inert systems: ie. language, code, and machines.

    Now, what is needed next beyond that positive prediction is a negative prediction — a no-go theorem which will provide potential falsifiability for ID Theory …

    “Any system composed of chance and law absent previous intelligence will not produce physically inert meaning/function.”

    That is easily testable by setting up a program whereby an arbitrary set of laws (to rule out a set of laws chosen with regard for future consequences — foresight) interacts with random (generated by a random number generator based on atmospheric noise) initial and boundary conditions. What is produced? Is there even any theoretical evidence that such a process will produce physically inert function?

    ID Theory:

    1. Observe that intelligence precludes physically inert “meaning/function.”

    2. Use that observation to predict that any system purported to be intelligently designed will, upon further investigation, be found to contain physically inert function/meaning.

    3. Provide a falsifiable and testable statement such as “law and chance absent intelligence will not generate physically inert function.”

    4. Continue to “do science.”

    p.s. ID Theory also requires the physically inert configuration to contain CSI to effectively rule out chance on two levels — high improbability and specificity (correlation).

    p.p.s. “Physically inert” can also be replaced with “formally organized,” as explained in David L. Abel’s published article, “The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity” to provide a more detailed prediction.

    BTW, Beelzebub, I’m still curious of your answer for my comment #101.

  112. CJYman,

    You’re confusing me with Diffaxial. I’m flattered, but we are distinct individuals. He is Lord of the Speakers, and I am Lord of the Flies.

  113. My apologies …

    Point 1. in my last post:

    “precludes” should be “precedes.”

  114. Apparently its a bit too late for me right now.

    Apologies again, beelzebub. My last comment is to be addressed to Diffaxial.

    … or if indeed you are flattered to be confused with Diffaxial as a result of any supposed quality of his argument, you may wish to help him out a bit.

    So with that I am off to bed.

  115. CJYman,

    Diffy doesn’t need my help. In any case, I’m busy fishing for souls on a couple of other threads.

  116. You’re confusing me with Diffaxial. I’m flattered, but we are distinct individuals. He is Lord of the Speakers, and I am Lord of the Flies.

    And University trained.

  117. CJYman:

    “If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the origin of Life.”

    Actually, that should be brought from the level of “in the origin of life” to “within life.”

    Yes, because it is hopeless in the form suggested by Upright for the reasons I note above. But it remains hopeless with your modification, because it now becomes a “prediction” in the same sense that upon gazing upon the blue sky I state, “My theory predicts that the sky is blue,” Aristotle notwithstanding. If your theory is to become scientifically fertile it needs to make meaningful NEW predictions, in such a way that it is subject to meaningful revision or even rejection in response to observations that test those predictions.

    You (and several others) advance by means of very idiosyncratic language (“physically inert meaning,” etc.) a common notion: the fundamental independence of turing computation from the substrate upon which that computation is instantiated. And you seem to think that such a system would be more difficult for selection to find than, for example, a symbol system that is dependent upon the particulars of physical and/or chemical causation, and hence functions at a lower level of abstraction.

    But the reverse may be true. In the instance of the more abstract system, a vast number of physical arrangements can serve as the physical instantiation of a given computational operation (what Hilary Putnam calls “multiple realizability”). This contrasts with a “physically wired” symbol system that is dependent upon the causal properties (say, the chemistry) of the system. In that instance, only one particular physical instantiation will do. It follows that the latter will be much more difficult for variation and selection to “find” than the former. So your fundamental assumption – that a computationally abstract system is more difficult to attain, and therefore requires intelligence, while a system that does not employ such abstraction does not – is simply false.

    Now, what is needed next beyond that positive prediction is a negative prediction — a no-go theorem which will provide potential falsifiability for ID Theory …

    “Any system composed of chance and law absent previous intelligence will not produce physically inert meaning/function.”

    I wonder how many times this will need to be repeated? The above is a test of the alternative theory, not of ID. It would not follow from the failure of the alternative that ID is correct. Both can be wrong. The entire population of U.D., USA seems to be particularly dense on this point.

    That is easily testable by setting up a program whereby an arbitrary set of laws (to rule out a set of laws chosen with regard for future consequences — foresight) interacts with random (generated by a random number generator based on atmospheric noise) initial and boundary conditions. What is produced? Is there even any theoretical evidence that such a process will produce physically inert function.

    This is beyond ridicule. You think building a simulation of a lawful universe of sufficient richness to yield complex organisms characterized by computational abstraction would be “easy”? And that were you to fail to produce a functioning simulation the conclusion is justified that the events you attempted to simulate could not have occurred? Wouldn’t your conscience be nagged by the possibility that your understanding of the underlying events and/or your skill at understanding and constructing such simulations may have been lacking?

    ID Theory:
    1. Observe that intelligence precludes physically inert “meaning/function.”
    2. Use that observation to predict that any system purported to be intelligently designed will, upon further investigation, be found to contain physically inert function/meaning.
    3. Provide a falsifiable and testable statement such as “law and chance absent intelligence will not generate physically inert function.”
    4. Continue to “do science.”

    Number 1: This isn’t an observation. It’s an assumption.

    Number 2: Now you are predicting what you have just assumed.

    Number 3: This isn’t a test of your theory. It is a test of the alternative theory.

    Number 4: You can’t “continue” to do science when you haven’t done any in the first place.

  118. Hoki,

    Read “Nature, Design and Science” by Del Ratzsch- he explains what nature, operating freely is.

  119. Does the theory of evolution make any predictions based on its proposed mechanisms?

    No.

    So what is diffaxial’s point?

    BTW diffaxial, your alleged “mountain of evidence” doesn’t exist.

  120. Joseph:

    Now that you are back, earlier you stated

    diffaxial had tried to answer those pertaining to the theory of evolution but the answers were so far off base they were pathetic.

    I asked you to reproduce that exchange. But you ran away.

  121. “I wonder how many times this will need to be repeated? The above is a test of the alternative theory, not of ID. It would not follow from the failure of the alternative that ID is correct. Both can be wrong. The entire population of U.D., USA seems to be particularly dense on this point.”

    This is a rather stupid statement and indicates a lack of understanding of the issues. My reply to this is rather long so if no one wants to read it, I understand because I am mainly clarifying my thoughts by writing this. I will make this reply in three rather long comments and if anyone wants to comment, feel free.

    There are two choices for any phenomenon, both of them rather broad. One is that certain things happened naturally, the mechanism to be discovered. The second is that these things were produced through intelligent input. And by the way a lot of what may be considered natural, could be the result of a designed process allowed to proceed naturally. For some simple examples, pearl farmers seed their shell fish with an irritant and the let nature do the rest and beavers dam the course of a river and the ensuing wetlands provide an enhanced habitat for the beavers and other animals and plants..

    But in general it is mainly one or the other but what appears to be natural could also be great design. There are no other choices unless you want to proffer some. As I said these are rather broad categories. It is almost impossible to eliminate the intelligent input option. It is not a theory such as gravity, the Standard Model, the Laws of Thermodynamics, Kinetic theory of Gases, Information theory or Plate Tectonics etc yet people keep on asking for some hypotheses and predictions. ID is simply that intelligence is an input at some time in the history of being, the universe, the world, life etc. Some hypothesize that it was in the design of the universe itself and the initial conditions and subsequent boundary conditions of the Big Bang were such fantastic design that it enables natural processes to produce everything we see including this very rare planet, the origin of life and the evolutionary progression through subsequent natural consequences. Some hypothesize that the input was ongoing and there were various events that reflect an intelligent input. This input could have been minimal and then natural processes were allowed to do the rest. To disprove an intelligent input, one has to show natural processes at every turn. It is a difficult job. All ID has to do is show that naturalistic processes fail at some point and that an intelligent input is more reasonable. They only need one point.

    That is the nature of the discussion. It seems unfair to some who whine that ID is unfalsifiable. But that is it. Because ID is more of a logic process and not a specific scientific theory it does not have the usual domain of interest such as plate tectonics, cosmology or even evolution. After all an intelligence could create life or modify a genome to guide life maybe only once and that is not the making of some theory. To create life or modify it is not too hard to understand as it appears to be within human capability in the near future.

    Thus, the possibility of an intelligence creating and modifying life is not an issue. It is whether it ever happened or not that is at issue. If we had a video camera at the time of an intelligent input, we could settle it once and for all but such an event does not exist and we have had people here and at other places demanding such evidence. Short of this something else has to be done.

  122. Part 2 – We have observed a lot of phenomena through out history that could possibly be explained by an intelligent input and the challenge for science is to verify if there may be a natural cause for each. For most of history it was thought that God was personally responsible for most, much, or a lot of these phenomena. From Zeus throwing lightning bolts in anger and the various gods determining the fates of various personalities such as Odysseus to Newton’s hypothesis that God sent comets to stabilize the orbits of the planets. Newton’s laws and then LaPlace’s theory of the heavens seemed to show that all was under control of natural laws. So it was assumed from then on by many that everything must be under control of natural laws. We have no need for Zeus and lightning bolts and for comets stabilizing orbits.

    And we get the conventional wisdom that everything is due to natural laws and chance and it is only a matter of time before science gets around to explaining it. And science has a good track record. But what is glaringly obvious is that science has some spectacular failures in one particular area. So while science continues to chalk up win after win there seems to be one opponent which gets the better of it every time. Consequently, one has to reevaluate the conventional wisdom and maybe consider an alternative to natural processes. ID only exists because science loses most of the time to the heavy weights in this one area, namely life. It does wonderfully well in some important areas of life, specifically medicine, food production and genetics but it is badly outperformed by the problems in the areas of macro evolution and origin of life. Why this failure here? Is there an alternative to naturalistic processes in these two domains. Is intelligence an explanation?

    Hence, every time science fails in these areas it adds credence to the alternative. At this moment in the realm of logic and reason both alternatives exist. Which is more feasible? Every time we see the failure of one alternative it raises the possibility of the other. After all it is possible. We just cannot identify the intelligence. So each failure for a natural pathway raises the probability of the alternative, namely an intelligent input.

    And the rationale for an intelligent input has been bolstered by the knowledge that what underlies life is different from every other area of nature, specifically information. Information is not present in any other area of nature except life.

  123. Part 3 – Now this game of supporting the ID premise is played two ways and both use the tools of science, logic and reason. One shows that time after time that certain naturalistic processes have failed. The second way is to show why naturalistic processes have failed. Both use science and point to the inadequacy of natural processes. There is a third way which one group says must be present before an intelligent input can be accepted and that is evidence for the specific event where there was an input of intelligence.

    The first way above is to challenge each natural explanation for the phenomenon as flawed and show why the explanation could not have possibly happened. This is the frequent challenges to Darwinian macro evolution we have seen not only by the ID people but also by the anti ID people as well as the creationists. It is represented here on this site and in the academic and popular literature by the lack of any coherent demonstration that Darwinian macro evolution ever took place. Now macro evolution did take place and no one is denying that here but there is no evidence for it happening by Darwinian processes or any other known natural processes. All the processes of science are brought to bear in this examination so to declare it non scientific is ludicrous.

    The second way is to use observations of the world and then to complement these observations with some form of analysis, mainly probability, and some understanding of natural processes to illustrate why the failure of naturalistic processes is not only reasonable but to be expected. To this end a couple of different approaches are in their infancy but have showed some reasonable results. One is being developed by Behe and is showing that there does not exist the probabilistic resources to create the changes needed in macro evolution. Behe’s two books, Darwin’s Black Box and Edge of Evolution, are aimed at this objective. Namely, that life is extremely complicated and naturalistic processes seem unable to climb the hurdles necessary to produce macro evolution.

    Another is being done by Dembski and others trying to show something similar using mathematical and probabilistic approaches to show that reaching the complexity necessary for life is beyond the probabilistic resources of the universe. So in lots of way the two approaches are similar but using different methodologies to attack the same problem.

    To argue that this is not science is also ludicrous. One may argue that the techniques by these scientists are flawed or that the interpretation of the results are invalid but to say that they are not using science is absurd.

    Now the naturalists respond with their challenges. The best challenge would always be to show that the phenomena probably arose by naturalistic means but this is rarely done because there seems to be little evidence supporting any particular mechanism. The main challenge is to use something similar to what I described above as the first approach, namely that the intelligent input scenario is flawed just as ID people point out that each naturalistic input is flawed. The creator could not be omniscient, or no one would design such an imperfect system or make these childish mistakes etc. They also point to science’s track record in other areas and that the work on the problem is just getting started etc.

    So we have two broad approaches and any evidence in one camp reduces the likelihood of the other. It is one that won’t be solved any time soon but to assume your side is right a priori is ridiculous. ID is the more reasonable side as far as I can see. They are willing to accept naturalistic explanations when it is demonstrated but are not willing to accept an arbitrary demand of absolute dismissiveness for intelligent inputs that is imposed by the naturalists. One side is flexible and reasonable while the other side is intransigent and unmoving.

  124. “Peeler—where have you been all of my life?”

    Bless you. I’ve been preparing for battle. (Not that the preparation ever stops.) Glad to be finally be here. :-)

  125. Jerry:

    Because ID is more of a logic process and not a specific scientific theory it does not have the usual domain of interest such as plate tectonics, cosmology or even evolution.

    That’s good enough for me.

    ID isn’t a scientific theory. It’s more of a “logic process.” As such, we don’t expect to be able to yoke its assertions to the world by means of empirical tests in the way that genuine scientific assertions must be. To request such a relationship is whining.

    At long last, the right answer.

    Jerry, you better tell the others. They don’t seem to want to hear it from me.

    There are two choices for any phenomenon, both of them rather broad…. All ID has to do is show that naturalistic processes fail at some point and that an intelligent input is more reasonable…Hence, every time science fails in these areas it adds credence to the alternative.

    That doesn’t follow. “We don’t know” is also an alternative. In a scientific context it is a superior alternative to making confident assertions for which there is no positive justification. Moreover, when in the predicament of “we don’t know” only one of the alternatives is capable of generating empirically testable hypotheses and advancing empirical research (as you just stated), and hence only one presents the potential of reducing our uncertainty by scientific means. ID, as “more of a logic process” that doesn’t have empirical purchase on the world, remains parasitical on real science at best. Because irrelevant to empirical investigation, is useless when it comes to actually reducing that uncertainty.

    If that is the sort of “credence” that you find satisfying, you are welcome to it.

  126. “ID isn’t a scientific theory. It’s more of a “logic process.” As such, we don’t expect to be able to yoke its assertions to the world by means of empirical tests in the way that genuine scientific assertions must be. To request such a relationship is whining.”

    I’m truly astonished. Even for a darwinist this is ridiculous. You can’t “yoke the assertions of logic to the world by means of empirical tests.” That’s rich. How else does one do it? Really. I’m serious. The “scientific method” is an iterative process that observes and draws inferences from those observations, is it not? You fixate on the observations and apparently overlook or discount the making of inferences. Is that NOT REASONING? This is the core of what is so maddening about trying to get someone like you to see reason. You reject it. I have heard some really ignorant things in my day but this takes the cake. It’s an outright admission of the rejection of reason. Yet you can’t even make an argument for your position without reasoning. Can’t you see that? Sigh…

  127. I’m truly astonished. Even for a darwinist this is ridiculous.

    That passage is an accurate paraphrase of the quoted portion of Jerry’s post. Take it up with him.

    There are many systems of knowledge that are interesting and valuable, but not subject to empirical test and hence not a portion of science proper. And it certainly does not follow from the fact that the “logical process” of ID is not science that genuine science does not employ logic, reasoning, inference, etc.

    I don’t fixate on observation. I argue that observation and theory are in a

  128. In the same vein, I quote my favorite idiot, Richard Dawkins.

    “Evolution is very possibly not, in actual fact, always gradual. But it must be gradual when it is being used to explain the coming into existence of complicated, apparently designed objects, like eyes. For if it is not gradual in these cases, it ceases to have any explanatory power at all. Without gradualness in these cases, we are back to miracle, which is simply a synonym for the total absence of explanation.”

    When insanity like this passes for reasoned discourse and “scientific” explanation, well, that just about says it all. Darwinian evolution is the biggest load of nonsense, the greatest scientific fraud of modern history. I can only surmise that people have too much invested in it to turn their backs on it now that the game is up. Granted, it would take a real set of stones to stand up and say, “Hey, I’ve been had for all these years. Here’s your grant money back. My papers are all farces. At least the ones that have the word evolution in them.” How would one face his peer group at the faculty club?

    The alternative is to go on “believing” what one now knows is a lie. And trust me, everyone knows. Anyone who’s THOUGHT about it for more than 5 minutes, anyway. The whole idea is patent nonsense. When ANYONE can explain information and language in terms of physical laws THEN I will listen. But that’s never gonna happen, as I have argued. Without rebuttal, I might add.

    The logical contradictions and empirical problems in evolutionary theory are legion and I would happily dive in but the “other side” apparently doesn’t “believe in” logic. Oh well…

  129. oops again…

    …a dialog, and that both components are required (and require one-another) for science to work.

  130. I never said there was no empirical tests. There certainly are. You are just used to theories operating under natural forces and then trying to predict just what those natural forces will lead to. And if they lead to the right things then one can say that the natural processes hypothesized received support. Since there are no natural forces with an intelligent input, one has to look for something else but it is still empirical. You are operating under the wrong paradigm. One of the things about intelligence is that it is not predictable. If it was, then it would be not will but a natural process.

    One of the things you look for is the failure of predictions for the naturalistic processes when they should be there. Each such failure is another nail in that naturalistic theory’s coffin and as such increases support for the intelligent cause. It never proves it because a naturalistic process could always be found and I doubt there are any video tapes of the designer in action. And if the causes for the failure is the naturalistic limitations your research has unearthed then that is evidence to support intelligence.

    You still don’t understand that it is an either/or situation. And when either the either or the or is disconfirmed it is evidence for the other (make sure you parse the either’s and or’s correctly.)

  131. “Darwinian evolution is the biggest load of nonsense, the greatest scientific fraud of modern history”

    I use the expression with people that Darwinian evolution is the biggest con job of the 20th century. Here we are on this site in the cross hairs of a whole host of Darwinists and not one has been ever been able to come here and give a coherent explanation of macro evolution. Nor has anyone in any book or on any website been able to do so.

    A pretty pathetic performance.

  132. Jerry:

    One of the things about intelligence is that it is not predictable. If it was, then it would be not will but a natural process.

    What you are really putting your finger on is the fact that your theory doesn’t entail any particular predictions (because an idealized agent can do anything) and hence cannot be given a testable formulation – any empirical finding can be rationalized as resulting from design. It is therefore not subject to empirical disconfirmation and therefore can never be a science, as you correctly underscored in your earlier post.

    Your approach of counting “failures of naturalistic processes when they should be there” is woefully inadequate for reasons that I have repeated several times (and which you haven’t addressed): “we don’t know” is a third position, and it doesn’t follow from “we don’t know” that confidence has increased in ID (which is scientifically impotent in any event). An additional reason to reject this view is the problem of deciding just when such natural explanations “should be there.” Who is going to adjudicate that? You?!

    Peh.

    Lastly, you’ll notice that your model of empirical consequences for ID settles for a state of affairs in which ALL empirical work (that which somehow enables you to decide when there “should” be natural explanations, but are not) is accomplished within the alternative framework, a process to which ID has nothing to contribute. Don’t you find it a little disquieting that your theory has nothing to meaningful to contribute to the incremental advancement of knowledge within the very domains (e.g. biology, human evolution, etc.) to which it claims to pertain?

  133. “Your approach of counting “failures of naturalistic processes when they should be there” is woefully inadequate for reasons that I have repeated several times”

    You are stuck in the limitations of your paradigm. There is nothing inadequate about discerning the truth. That is why ID is much more enlightening than the naturalistic position. You just admitted as such.

    If there were known intelligences wandering around the universe 3.8 billion years ago, no one would think twice about the ID position. If the situation was fast forwarded to today, you would consider intelligence as a potential cause. But you are a prisoner of a limited methodology and because of that you are limited in what you can conceive as possible. ID is not limited as you are. Anything that you could consider, ID can consider. It just can consider more alternatives and can follow the empirical evidence to reach those conclusions.

    So don’t complain to us about the intellectual strait jacket you have placed yourself in. And then you say:

    “Don’t you find it a little disquieting that your theory has nothing to meaningful to contribute to the incremental advancement of knowledge within the very domains (e.g. biology, human evolution, etc.) to which it claims to pertain?”

    What a joke!!! An intellectual position that allows one to consider everything that you can consider but a lot more is not one that limits incremental advancement but advances it. No, it is you with your limited mind set that is impeded from finding explanations, not ID.

    As I said, what a joke.

  134. Anything that you could consider, ID can consider.

    But ID theory makes no positive contributions whatsoever to the process of “considering what I could consider” – the only prong of the argument with content that includes science proper. And in my experience ID “considering” these issues consists of time in an armchair parasitically reinterpreting data obtained by others – in a way that, once again, generates no testable assertions and hence no further research. That isn’t science.

    It just can consider more alternatives and can follow the empirical evidence to reach those conclusions.

    This phase of “consideration,” by your own admission, consists in rearranging conceptual deck chairs (your “logic process” with no real domain of investigation) until you’ve arrived at the conclusion you sought from the outset. There is no empirical research done in this phase because no research can be done in this phase, for the very reasons you suggest above (“will” is inherently unpredictable). “Following evidence” from from your well-worn armchair isn’t research.

    So, consider away! But you’re not getting anything done – which has patently been the case for the entire ID movement since its inception.

    The balance of your post omits mention of the problem that “we don’t know” fails to increase confidence in the ID position, as much as you wish it were so. Nor do you address yourself to the question of who decides when a naturalistic explanation “should be there” but isn’t, and declares ID as supported.

    “A skeleton walked into a bar and asked for a beer and a mop.”

  135. Diff:

    Providing a powerful means to infer on best empirically anchored explanation from empirical signs to intelligent cause is a MAJOR, positive — though of course, often unappreciated — contribution of modern ID theory to science.

    Secondly, FYI, good empirical data are a Commons of the scientific community, so ID thinkers are not parasitic — a loaded word if anything is — to use that in-common base to ask: is there a better way to understand the acknowledged facts?

    (And, in my home discipline, theorists hold a much higher prestige than empirical researchers. Einstein for instance made his name off “parasiting” off the empirical findings of others, providing novel explanations of well known but otherwise puzzling results. largely for his work on Brownian motion and on the photo-effect, he won a Nobel prize, without having done any of the practical experimental work. Indeed, his favourite type of experiment seems to have been the thought experiment — the experiment done in the head.)

    Third, as a matter of fact, design thinkers have been and are providing additional empirical evidence, e.g. consider the long term work of Scott Minnich et al; regardless of judge Jones’ blindness to the obvious in his courtroom. (That a paradigm is small and poorly funded has may make a difference on the quantum of work, but given the force of the work, that smallness has little to do with its revolutionary impact.)

    So, please turn down the rhetoric a notch or two.

    GEM of TKI

  136. Diffaxial

    But ID theory makes no positive contributions whatsoever to the process of “considering what I could consider” – the only prong of the argument with content that includes science proper.

    If the reality is that there is a design to life, the universe, your existence would not that not be positive contribution to what you could consider?

  137. Kairos @ 136:

    Providing a powerful means to infer on best empirically anchored explanation from empirical signs to intelligent cause is a MAJOR, positive — though of course, often unappreciated — contribution of modern ID theory to science.

    Not if it fails to make testable empirical predictions. And it does so fail.

    good empirical data are a Commons of the scientific community, so ID thinkers are not parasitic — a loaded word if anything is — to use that in-common base to ask: is there a better way to understand the acknowledged facts?

    But responses to that question that fail to contribute testable predictions are of no scientific value.

    Einstein for instance…

    Although Einstein did not test his theoretical assertions himself, they were testable. The assertions of ID are not. So the analogy fails.

    So, please turn down the rhetoric a notch or two.

    LOL!! (Although I feel shortchanged, as your post is less than five thousand words and doesn’t have four or five bulleted lists.)

  138. If the reality is that there is a design to life, the universe, your existence would not that not be positive contribution to what you could consider?

    Errup – Do, or do not. There is no try.

  139. “And in my experience ID “considering” these issues consists of time in an armchair parasitically reinterpreting data obtained by others – in a way that, once again, generates no testable assertions and hence no further research. That isn’t science.”

    The best term I can use for this attitude is “clueless.” When science takes on one more additional possible explanation, it does not mean it eliminates all the other explanations. Maybe we should speak in shorter sentences so you may be able to understand.

    ID does not eliminate anything that current science does.

    ID can do any experiment that current science does.

    ID can do additional experiments that current science might not do.

    ID can come to the same conclusions as current science does.

    ID can also come to some different conclusions than current science.

    ID will come to a naturalistic explanation in nearly all experiments.

    But in fact naturalistic explanations can be used to support intelligence based conclusions.

    ID will do some things differently than current science about its conclusions.

    For example, it will not make up any unsupported conclusions.

    It will not use the words “it evolved”, “it was selected”, “it was exapted”, “it emerged” to explain an unknown event or transition.

    ID will not use its imagination as evidence in science.

    Now that you understand some of the things that ID will add to science you may try some other non sequiturs to your array of arguments. But I suggest you try to understand instead. ID adds, it does not subtract. Your point of view subtracts and restricts and oppresses and misinforms.

    So please try an honest and logical argument. It is getting tiresome. No one is asking you to agree with an ID conclusion even if it is completely logical and well supported, but try to represent it reliably instead of distorting it. You might learn something.

  140. Jerry @ 140:

    The only work relevant to the value of ID is the increment of theory and empirical research contributed by ID beyond that conducted within the current evolutionary framework. For the rest we don’t need you.

    The plain fact that ID theorists generate no unique, testable predictions from their framework (for reasons you have cited), and conduct no actual empirical research that arises uniquely from their own framework, testifies to the value of that increment.

  141. “The plain fact that ID theorists generate no unique, testable predictions from their framework (for reasons you have cited), and conduct no actual empirical research that arises uniquely from their own framework, testifies to the value of that increment.”

    The cluelessness just goes on. We will have to make you a poster child for the non sequitur. I never said that there were no unique testable predictions. You are still locked in an inadequate paradigm and do not know how to think outside of it.

    I have used this example a couple times before and it may start you on the way to having a clue. Though somehow I doubt it because I see no flexibility in your comments only a one track attempt to undermine something that follows logic and reason.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-304029

  142. Sorry Diffaxial, that was pretty garbled.

    If the reality is that life is designed would not that be a positive contribution to what you could consider?

  143. “What he doesn’t do is guide his imaginary research by means of imaginary hypotheses and imaginary predictions that arise uniquely from ID, such that ID is put at risk of imaginary disconfirmation.”

    I love it, you don’t understand it and apparently Zachriel doesn’t either or else you would not have made such an asinine statement and used him as your source. But you are getting pretty good at such things so I shouldn’t be surprised. It seems that sprinkling the word “fantasy” several times throughout your comment you seem to think that is enough to debunk something. By the way the scenario came from a discussion I had once with a biologist familiar with the evolution debate on the type of research that would have to be done in order to explain just how current species arose. I asked him a series of questions about how to figure out how specific traits or capabilities arose. He suggested a thorough on going study that compared genomes of a family of species to map their differences and estimate how they arose but that it would probably have to wait since the data is not currently available but should be sometime in the next 10-15 years. I chose bovids since it is a rather small family and would be manageable.

    Changes via micro evolution is not something ID has any problem with and what has happened in nature in the last few million years seems to be mainly that and only that. But that is not what macro evolution is about, at least what ID refers to as macro evolution. Apparently neither of you understand Behe’s ideas in the Edge of Evolution or you would not have given this answer.

    The scenario which you call a fantasy was made up to illustrate a point that most of the changes that are touted as evolution are trivial and essentially devolution. And this is consistent with what ID would predict and as such represents an empirical test of Behe’s ideas. I have not seen anything in any book/article/discussion/treatise on evolution dispute that. And you have not disputed that or provided any counter examples nor has anyone who has ever appeared here. Which is why the scenario though obviously fictitious represents the main problem with evolutionary biology. If you want to call it a fantasy, indulge yourself. It is ok with me.

    The anti ID sole’s contribution to the evolution debate seems to be to mock, ridicule, make stupid statements but not make comments of substance and essentially be irrelevant of which you seem to be an exemplar. I wish someone would come here who could make a decent argument. That way we might learn something new.

  144. Jerry @144

    “What he doesn’t do is guide his imaginary research by means of imaginary hypotheses and imaginary predictions that arise uniquely from ID, such that ID is put at risk of imaginary disconfirmation.”

    Jerry seems to be replying to a post that doesn’t exist.

    If the moderators here are not going to abide by the clear guidelines stated by Barry Arrington, common courtesy would dictate that some indication is made when posts are removed. It would also be courteous to somehow visually distinguish those who are in the moderation queue (perhaps a pink triangle or yellow star next to their names) so that the people they are conversing with know not to expect replies for at least 12 hours.

    JJ

  145. My comments are now being arbitrarily and silently deleted, which I’ll chose to accept as a compliment vis their effectiveness.

    Moderation may remark, “your comment was satirical” (which it surely was, although that satire conveyed a serious observation). To that I reply that in the above thread Jerry has repeatedly characterized my remarks as “stupid,” as “a joke,” and as “clueless,” while I have never used such language. Yet Jerry’s remarks still stand. Moreover, on the “science is self-correcting” thread StephenB has just posted satirical replies he imagines I might make to several of his questions. They also still stand. (I don’t mind.)

    It follows that it is not the satirical component of my post that resulted in its deletion.

    Rather, once again, it is reasonable to conclude that moderation at UD finds it necessary to place its thumb on the scale when the discussion is going badly for ID.

    Jerry: Are you going to hide behind moderation’s skirt, or request that the comment in question be restored? I would.

  146. “Are you going to hide behind moderation’s skirt, or request that the comment in question be restored? I would.”

    It is all right with me if they restore your attempt to discredit something by saying it was fantasy and weird several times or I had fantasies when you admitted you did not understand what I was talking about. It shows the level at which anti ID people operate.

    When someone disparages something they do not understand, I will always call that a stupid comment. There are plenty of more choice words that could be used but “stupid” and “clueless” about the comments are appropriate especially after it was explained to you.

  147. CJYman:
    “Actually, that should be brought from the level of “in the origin of life” to “within life.””

    Diffaxial:
    “But it remains hopeless with your modification, because it now becomes a “prediction” in the same sense that upon gazing upon the blue sky I state, “My theory predicts that the sky is blue,” Aristotle notwithstanding.”

    First, you misunderstand the inclusion of Aristotle. It was his observation re: intelligence and its effects, made long before life was understood, which can now be applied to our understanding of life.

    Aristotles’ observation of the connection between designs and intelligence being used as a prediction for future cases (such as with life) is merely an example of an inference from an observation — which is precisely how an historical examination of evolution itself proceeds.

    As well the connection, on a level of inference and prediction, between my example and yours is shaky at best. How is your observation that the sky is blue a prediction for future cases? What is the question you are attempting to answer in your scenario? After the observation is made, how is it applied as an inference in future cases?

    Furthermore if, on an observatory level, your observation of the sky being blue is in any way similar to the connection between physically inert function and intelligence (as you are claiming or your point would be moot), then we would have to say that it is completely obvious to everyone that as the sky is blue, so does physically inert function derive from intelligence.

    So, your argument fails either way.

    Diffaxial:
    “If your theory is to become scientifically fertile it needs to make meaningful NEW predictions, in such a way that it is subject to meaningful revision or even rejection in response to observations that test those predictions.”

    Since the subject matter of intelligent design is extremely specific, it only deals directly with one major question. As a result there are only two fundamental predictions which need to be in place in order to answer in the affirmative the question which begins ID research into any system, and I have provided both the positive and the negative (potentially falsifiable) predictions which are useful for any future case.

    Diffaxial:
    “You (and several others) advance by means of very idiosyncratic language (”physically inert meaning,” etc.)”

    So you are admitting that you haven’t read enough ID material to understand and therefore critique it? That would make sense since it does indeed appear that you are indeed arguing against ID THeory based on your own ignorance of the subject.

    Diffaxial:
    “a common notion: the fundamental independence of turing computation from the substrate upon which that computation is instantiated. And you seem to think that such a system would be more difficult for selection to find than, for example, a symbol system that is dependent upon the particulars of physical and/or chemical causation, and hence functions at a lower level of abstraction.”

    The question which begins it all has been asked, observation is there, the hypothesis has been provided, the inference laid out, and the criteria for falsifiability has been provided. Do you have any evidence to provide for your position or against the ID position?

    Diffaxial:
    “So your fundamental assumption – that a computationally abstract system is more difficult to attain, and therefore requires intelligence, while a system that does not employ such abstraction does not – is simply false.”

    You have not yet shown, either in theory or in evidence, that a system of only law and chance absent intelligence will produce those physically inert, specified, and highly improbable patterns which you must use your own foresight to produce.

    CJYman:
    “Now, what is needed next beyond that positive prediction is a negative prediction — a no-go theorem which will provide potential falsifiability for ID Theory …

    “Any system composed of chance and law absent previous intelligence will not produce physically inert meaning/function.””

    Difaxial:
    “I wonder how many times this will need to be repeated? The above is a test of the alternative theory, not of ID. It would not follow from the failure of the alternative that ID is correct.”

    Diffaxial, stop and think a bit before you write.

    If the above is answered in the affirmative, then one aspect of ID is true — chance and law absent previous intelligence will not produce certain patterns. Thus those patterns will be indicative of either previous intelligence or some as yet undiscovered exotic causal mechanism which is neither defined as chance, law, or intelligence yet can produce the same patterns as intelligence without foresight. If it is answered in the negative, then one aspect of ID theory will be falsified and distinguishing between law and chance vs. law, chance, and intelligence will not be possible.

    That is all that I am claiming for my statement above which provides predictive utility and falsifiability for ID Theory.

    Diffaxial:
    “Both can be wrong. The entire population of U.D., USA seems to be particularly dense on this point.”

    Of course. And … ?!?!?!?

    CJYman:
    “That is easily testable by setting up a program whereby an arbitrary set of laws (to rule out a set of laws chosen with regard for future consequences — foresight) interacts with random (generated by a random number generator based on atmospheric noise) initial and boundary conditions. What is produced? Is there even any theoretical evidence that such a process will produce physically inert function.”

    Diffaxial:
    “This is beyond ridicule. You think building a simulation of a lawful universe of sufficient richness to yield complex organisms characterized by computational abstraction would be “easy”?”

    Ummm … that’s the point. Will law and chance provide said complex patterns or will intelligence be required? The universe is after all, according to Seth Lloyd, merely a computing machine (read “Programming the Universe). So start the small scale testing and see what happens. If your position is correct we should be able to generate the patterns we are discussing, at the level already provided by evolutionary algorithms, utilizing the set up I mentioned. SO are you going to provide evidence for your position and against the ID position or are you just going to continue to complain about ID Theory based on your apparent ignorance of the fundamentals of the subject?

    Diffaxial:
    “And that were you to fail to produce a functioning simulation the conclusion is justified that the events you attempted to simulate could not have occurred?”

    No. It would only mean that there is no evidence for YOUR position yet, and ID Theory would still be the only viable (and observed) alternative.

    Diffaxial:
    “Wouldn’t your conscience be nagged by the possibility that your understanding of the underlying events and/or your skill at understanding and constructing such simulations may have been lacking?”

    Wow, you are really missing the point. What skills are possessed by chance and law absent any previous intelligence? IF the simulation *necessarily relies* on my skills as derived from my intelligence, then that is merely further confirmation that ID Theory is most likely correct.

    The simulation I recommended effectively removes the intelligence part of the equation thus allowing us to peer into what law and chance on its own will or will not reasonably produce.

    CJYman:
    “ID Theory:
    1. Observe that intelligence precludes physically inert “meaning/function.”

    Diffaxial:
    “Number 1: This isn’t an observation. It’s an assumption.”

    Applying one’s foresight is an experience common to all humans who, at the very least, can read and write.

    Keep in mind that we have never directly observed the Big Bang, photons, or the history of life.

    I observe that other humans, which must possess intelligence as I do (due to common biological construction and ancestry), will produce those patterns (such as your previous comments) which I produce through the use of foresight. Thus I observe the effects of an intelligent system whenever I watch someone, for example, write a letter.

    Are you denying that you use your intelligence to produce your comments here?

    CJYman:
    “2. Use that observation to predict that any system purported to be intelligently designed will, upon further investigation, be found to contain physically inert function/meaning.”

    Diffaxial:
    “Number 2: Now you are predicting what you have just assumed.”

    Incorrect. Refer to my answer to number 1.

    CJYman:
    “3. Provide a falsifiable and testable statement such as “law and chance absent intelligence will not generate physically inert function.”

    Diffaxial:
    “Number 3: This isn’t a test of your theory. It is a test of the alternative theory.”

    It tests both … as affirmative results will back up one and negative results will back up the other.

    I’ve already shown above within this comment how it is indeed a test of ID Theory with could potentially falsify one aspect of ID Theory.

    CJYman:
    “4. Continue to “do science.””

    Diffaxial:
    “Number 4: You can’t “continue” to do science when you haven’t done any in the first place.”

    … and you have yet to back up any of your assertions including this one.

    Diffaxial, thus far I have explained ID Theory to you in terms of inference, observation, prediction, testing, and potential falsifiability; and you have merely shown your ignorance of the fundamentals of ID Theory.

  148. tgpeeler @ 129

    In the same vein, I quote my favorite idiot, Richard Dawkins.

    “Evolution is very possibly not, in actual fact, always gradual. But it must be gradual when it is being used to explain the coming into existence of complicated, apparently designed objects, like eyes. For if it is not gradual in these cases, it ceases to have any explanatory power at all. Without gradualness in these cases, we are back to miracle, which is simply a synonym for the total absence of explanation.”

    When insanity like this passes for reasoned discourse and “scientific” explanation, well, that just about says it all.

    Please forgive me if I have misunderstood your argument – and Dawkins’s too; but I read Dawkins as saying that the eye either is the result of a series of events, i.e. the result of gradual evolution from simple, primitive, light-sensitive organs of sight to complex eyes with color vision or or they were created ex nihilo in one fell swoop. The first scenario seems to lie within the paradigm of evolutionary theory, whereas the latter should be well within what a clever designer might do. And also compatible with magic, which of course never can be ruled out. Or do we know for certain that a force capable of performing magic does not exist?

  149. CYJman:

    How is your observation that the sky is blue a prediction for future cases?

    It is rather my point that observation that the sky is blue is NOT a prediction, as you correctly observe. Your “prediction” regarding the weirdly expressed “physically inert symbol systems” already (putatively) observed within living systems is similarly not a prediction. That’s the point.

    Diffaxial:?“You (and several others) advance by means of very idiosyncratic language (”physically inert meaning,” etc.)”
    So you are admitting that you haven’t read enough ID material to understand and therefore critique it?

    Google searches for “physically inert language” and “physically inert symbol” and “physically inert meaning” yield few hits, and ALL occur within UD. If uniqueness to UD doesn’t make these phrases idiosyncratic, what would?

    You have not yet shown, either in theory or in evidence, that a system of only law and chance absent intelligence will produce those physically inert, specified, and highly improbable patterns which you must use your own foresight to produce.

    By including, “which you must use your own foresight to produce,” you create a test that by definition can’t be attained by natural processes. That’s no test. Moreover, however often repeated by ID advocates, your assertion is a negative assertion about another theory, not a positive assertion that tests and ultimately supports ID theory – the very thing I have been requesting throughout.

    Your insistence that there is a necessary dichotomy such that the failure of one theory supports the other is simply mistaken, for reasons you have never addressed (e.g., “we don’t know” is a third option).

    Further, this doesn’t respond to my comment, which addresses your assumption that abstract computational systems are necessarily more difficult to attain than complexity that depends upon the physical properties of the underlying substrate. I described reasons to expect otherwise. A response would address those.

    Diffaxial:?“This is beyond ridicule. You think building a simulation of a lawful universe of sufficient richness to yield complex organisms characterized by computational abstraction would be “easy”?”
    Ummm … that’s the point. Will law and chance provide said complex patterns or will intelligence be required?

    Such a simulation would be extremely difficult to attain for reasons that have no bearing upon whether the system simulated requires intelligence. Your request is rather like an advocate of “intelligent weather theory” demanding of meteorologists (and their vile materialist accounts of the weather) a completely accurate simulation of the 2005 hurricane season, culminating in Katrina, accompanied by the claim that the failure to supply such a simulation is evidence for intelligent weather theory (hurricanes are initiated by intelligent agents). It should be obvious that it doesn’t follow from the fact that intelligence is required to build such a simulation that hurricanes themselves must be generated by intelligent agents. Moreover, while a completely accurate simulation of the 2005 season may be possible in principle, it should be obvious that were it to fail it wouldn’t follow that intelligence is responsible hurricanes. It may be that our understanding of the phenomenon is correct in many ways, yet incomplete. It may be entirely incorrect, but another natural account of the emergence of hurricanes is possible. Or it may be that our skill at constructing such mathematical simulations is insufficient. So neither the success or lack thereof of our simulation would have bearing on intelligent weather theory.

    Additional positive evidence that subjects intelligent weather theory to empirical test would be required to justify that leap. In order for intelligent weather theory to be subject to empirical test, it must generate predictions that, were we to fail to observe what is predicted, it would be at risk of disconfirmation. – exactly what I have requesting of you. And exactly what you have failed to supply.

    BTW, what do you imagine a computer simulation of ID theory in action would look like? I would imagine a nearly infinite series of assignment statements.

    Diffaxial:?“Number 1: This isn’t an observation. It’s an assumption.”
    Applying one’s foresight is an experience common to all humans who, at the very least, can read and write.
    Keep in mind that we have never directly observed the Big Bang, photons, or the history of life.

    The occurrence of the Big Bang isn’t an observation. That you equate your “observation” to the Big Bang is an admission that “Intelligence precedes physically inert “meaning/function” isn’t an observation either. It Is an assumption, or perhaps a restatement of your hypotheses. Your hypothesis is not an observation.

    Moreover, the initial confirmation of Big Bang Theory beautifully exemplifies the empirical test of a then radical theory by means of predicted entailments, exactly what I have been requesting of ID. It was an ENTAILMENT of Big Bang Theory, articulated well before any such test of that entailment, that the three degree background radiation (now measured at 2.725 K) would be present and would have certain characteristics (e.g. isotropy vis direction and temperature within specific limits). Subsequent detection of the predicted blackbody radiation by Penzias and Wilson, and further observations of same, supplied considerable confidence that Big Bang cosmology is correct. Failure to detect the CBR would have disconfirmed big bang theory.

    That is exactly the sort of test I have been requesting. And exactly the sort of test that has been absent in all of your replies, including Jerry’s imagined research.

  150. Quoting myself above:

    By including, “which you must use your own foresight to produce,” you create a test that by definition can’t be attained by natural processes. That’s no test.

    I’ve thought a bit more about his. Were it phrased, “that requires foresight to produce” my criticism would stand. because evolution does not employ foresight. However, “which you must use your own foresight to produce” is not the same thing. It is a weaker assertion. Many biological structures the equivalent of which people must use planning and foresight to construct have arisen through selection.

  151. Many biological structures the equivalent of which people must use planning and foresight to construct have arisen through selection.

    That’s a woebegone sentence if ever the was one. But it can be parsed with effort.

  152. Diffaxial:
    “It is rather my point that observation that the sky is blue is NOT a prediction, as you correctly observe. ”

    I did no such thing. I correctly observed that the connection between your “inference and prediction” and the actual inference and prediction which I have provided based on Aristotle is “shaky at best. In fact, you only provided an observation absent any inference and prediction so in order for you to back up your assertion of similarity, you will have to answer a couple of the questions I posed. I gave you two options to choose from and a couple of questions which you must answer in order for your assertions to stand.

    As it stand, you merely provided the observation part of the package and if your point is to stand then it must be true that “as we observe that the sky is blue, so we can observe that physically inert function is derived from intelligence.”

    And you continually ignore the fact that the observation of the connection between intelligent systems and their physically inert designs was made before the foundation of life was discovered to contain such physically inert aspects.

    Thus, you have completely ignored my response and twisted my reply — a reply which shows that your argument fails in two different ways.

    So, I re-post my comment:
    “First, you misunderstand the inclusion of Aristotle. It was his observation re: intelligence and its effects, made long before life was understood, which can now be applied to our understanding of life.

    Aristotles’ observation of the connection between designs and intelligence being used as a prediction for future cases (such as with life) is merely an example of an inference from an observation — which is precisely how an historical examination of evolution itself proceeds.

    As well the connection, on a level of inference and prediction, between my example and yours is shaky at best. How is your observation that the sky is blue a prediction for future cases? What is the question you are attempting to answer in your scenario? After the observation is made, how is it applied as an inference in future cases?

    Furthermore if, on an observatory level, your observation of the sky being blue is in any way similar to the connection between physically inert function and intelligence (as you are claiming or your point would be moot), then we would have to say that it is completely obvious to everyone that as the sky is blue, so does physically inert function derive from intelligence.

    So, your argument fails either way.”

    Thus, if inferences and extrapolation of observation (either forward or backward in time) can not be utilized, then an historical examination of evolution itself will not qualify as science. Take your pick.

  153. Diffaxial:
    “Google searches for “physically inert language” and “physically inert symbol” and “physically inert meaning” yield few hits, and ALL occur within UD. If uniqueness to UD doesn’t make these phrases idiosyncratic, what would?”

    So then you must have read the paper I recommended above — p.p.s. “Physically inert” can also be replaced with “formally organized,” as explained in David L. Abel’s published article, “The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity” to provide a more detailed prediction.

    That paper above discusses physically inert switches.

  154. Diffaxial:
    “By including, “which you must use your own foresight to produce,” you create a test that by definition can’t be attained by natural processes. That’s no test.”

    Ummm … no … the test you are referring to is a perfectly viable test of what law and chance will/will not produce. The rest of the question addresses the fact that you do use your foresight to produce certain patterns. It is quite straight forward to ask if a certain test will also produce those patterns.

    Are you stating that those patterns produced by foresight aren’t attainable by natural processes?

    Are you denying that you have ever used your foresight to produce certain patterns.

    Diffaxial:
    “Moreover, however often repeated by ID advocates, your assertion is a negative assertion about another theory, not a positive assertion that tests and ultimately supports ID theory – the very thing I have been requesting throughout.”

    If what you say is true then you are stating that if chance and law can produce certain patterns which ID Theory states that only intelligence will produce, then intelligent design theory will not be falsified. Again, think a bit about what you are writing.

    I have provided both a positive inference based on observation which can be used as a prediction in future cases (ie: if system contains “x” then it is intelligently designed), and a negative prediction which has the potential to falsify a crucial aspect of ID theory. Also, the negative prediction is essential to being able to use the positive prediction.

    And I have explained very clearly many time that in order for ID Theory to be correct:

    1. Certain patterns mustn’t be able to be generated by chance and law absent intelligence.

    2. It must be true that intelligence does indeed produce those patterns.

    Logically, that is all that is necessary, unless you can point to another causal mechanism not defined in terms of either chance, law, or intelligence. BTW, faith based assertions don’t count for science.

    Diffaxial:
    “Your insistence that there is a necessary dichotomy such that the failure of one theory supports the other is simply mistaken, for reasons you have never addressed (e.g., “we don’t know” is a third option).”

    Are you sure you are debating with me here? I have never denied that there could be a third option. I am merely ruling out one option and making an inference to an observed second option. You are familiar with basic scientific methods are you not? Why would we choose “I don’t know” above something already observed?

    I am not relying in any way on a dichotomy. I am relying on the observation that intelligent system generate certain patterns. I am also relying on the fact that in order to be able to separate chance and law from chance, law, and intelligence we need to show that chance and law will not produce what chance, law, and intelligence can produce.

    The fact that you seem to not be able to understand this is incredible.

    Diffaxial:
    “Further, this doesn’t respond to my comment, which addresses your assumption that abstract computational systems are necessarily more difficult to attain than complexity that depends upon the physical properties of the underlying substrate. I described reasons to expect otherwise. A response would address those.”

    You must be arguing with someone else since I made no such statement. Focus a bit. I am providing clear cut observation, inference, prediction, testing, and potential falsifiability. Can you follow along or not?

  155. Diffaxial:
    “Further, this doesn’t respond to my comment, which addresses your assumption that abstract computational systems are necessarily more difficult to attain than complexity that depends upon the physical properties of the underlying substrate. I described reasons to expect otherwise. A response would address those.”

    In further response to this statement of yours, I have not yet dealt with “difficulty” as such. I have merely provided the observation that a highly contingent system which is correlated with a function is neither defined by law nor by chance. Thus, how could we expect it to be caused by either when there is a better alternative?

  156. Diffaxial:
    “Such a simulation would be extremely difficult to attain for reasons that have no bearing upon whether the system simulated requires intelligence. Your request is rather like an advocate of “intelligent weather theory” demanding of meteorologists (and their vile materialist accounts of the weather) a completely accurate simulation of the 2005 hurricane season, culminating in Katrina, accompanied by the claim that the failure to supply such a simulation is evidence for intelligent weather theory (hurricanes are initiated by intelligent agents).”

    Your statement makes absolutely no sense, as the types of patterns produced are fully definable by chance and law and indeed would be produced by the test I outline.

    I am not asking for a simulation of exact occurrences. I am merely asking for a simulation which provides a certain type of pattern which is readily available to evolutionary algorithms. Will the test I propose produce such results?

    Anyway, there you have it. Hopefully that helps you gain a better understanding of my points which it seems that you are having a hard time (either purposefully or not) grasping.

    I will be off to work for a while and may not be able to join back in discussions for a few months. Hopefully you’ll be around when I get back and then we can begin to discuss the fundamentals of ID Theory again.

  157. “Many biological structures the equivalent of which people must use planning and foresight to construct have arisen through selection.”

    A list, please. And aren’t we really talking about the “plan” for the structure? So what you really need to explain, still, is the language and information that builds those structures. No? So back to my original point which renders all of this discussion about what science is and isn’t and what ID is and isn’t moot, still must be addressed. You have implicitly claimed that “nature” (you say selection) can create this novel biological information which creates these structures that would otherwise need planning and foresight to build. No?

    If information is the distinguishing factor between living and non-living things, and it is. Then whatever method of investigation you want to espouse must be able to account for that information. No? If not, then you are not explaining anything. Just so stories about how “natural selection” (I use scare quotes deliberately because n.s. is a fiction – it is a literary device that has fooled many, many people – it means only living things reproduce. And it is based upon three false premises.) “builds” things needs to really explain how this is done. That means details. And within the methodological naturalism that you propose, you don’t have the explanatory resources to explain that information. Not now. Not ever. You are bailing on a sinking ship. I’ll shut up forever if you can just show me how undirected physical forces can create information. For that is what you are claiming. But you can’t do it and so you avoid addressing the issue. I’m sure there will be some point in this post that you will seize upon in order to avoid the discussion once again.

    So, just to be clear. I think you owe an explanation of how information is created through “selection” or “natural selection” or “natural processes” or “physics.” In other words, without mind. And if you don’t think you owe such an explanation, please say why.

  158. above post references Diff @ 151

  159. Re. Cabal @ 149

    The only point I was making is that Dawkins is irrational. Evolution MUST be gradual even if it is NOT ALWAYS GRADUAL. How can that be taken seriously by anyone?

  160. 161

    Diffaxial, you asked for someone to fill in the blanks:

    If my theory is true, then we should observe _____. If we fail to observe ______, then my theory is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    And I obliged:

    If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the origin of Life. If we fail to observe it, then the theory is at risk of disconfirmation.

    And CJY corrected me (rightly so) with what I intended to say:

    If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the function of Life. If we fail to observe it, then the theory is at risk of disconfirmation.

    The reasoning behind my comment is rather simple: physically inert meaning that leads to function is the very essence of design. If design is true, we may expect to find artifact(s) of physically inert phenomena that confers meaning and leads to life’s function (which is exactly what we find at the molecular level of all living systems).

    As I’ve stated before, a red plastic ball is a physically inert object. Certainly all of the hydrocarbons contained in the ball are obeying the physical laws that govern this Universe, but there is nothing in those physical laws that says “dye yourself red and form a sphere”. That requires a physically inert something else – a result beyond what the molecules must do themselves.

    The amino-acid serine is necessary for Earth’s living systems. However, serine does not come about by combining the nucleotides adenine, guanine, and thymine. Instead, it’s the order of these nucleotides along a linearly-read sequence of other nucleotides that leads to the production and use of serine in the body. That is, produced and used after the DNA symbol is first transcribed into messenger RNA, which is then transported elsewhere so it can be translated into what the original sequence had instructed from the start – serine. One thing represents another, but is not physically connected to it.

    So the symbol system in Life is like all true symbol systems, they are physically inert. There is no analogy in this observation; it is what it is. Think of this in terms of seeing an apple and saying the word “apple”. In reality, an apple does not come out of your mouth, but a symbol does. That symbol is the word “apple” (in another language the word would be something else). In fact, materialists have come on this site and conceded the inert quality of the symbol system (citing codon reassignment experiments as a falsification of the contrary view). So the symbol is not bound by law; it is instead bound by an agreement of what the symbol means. It’s an agreement between non-physically-coupled objects or entities (such as DNA, messenger RNA, and the resulting amino acid, protein, or process).

    Instructions inherently have meaning, and that meaning leads to function in living systems. All of this is evidenced by the fact that to discover the code within DNA we observed the input, compared it with the results, and deduced the meaning of the symbols being used. The symbols did not create the proteins themselves, but they represented them in the language used to confer meaning.

    So there is, in fact, physically-inert meaning imbedded in matter which leads to the functioning of all living tissue. And to be perfectly clear, the language is just the container of the information. The container is physically inert, and so is the information it contains.

    Notice I’ve said nothing about intelligence, or observers, etc. I don’t have to. Information was imparting meaning into physical objects and driving life long before we were around to observe it. If there were not a single humanoid ever born onto this planet, information, language, symbols, and meaning would have still been in full use. Our casual observation of it has no impact on the reality of its existence.

    You can’t logically (or reasonably) challenge that reality as far as it being physically inert, you can’t challenge it as far as being meaning, and you can’t challenge it as far as leading to function.

    However, because you are a metaphysical materialist (living in an age when advanced knowledge has shown your ideology to be indefensibly falsified) you have become necessarily adept at parsing trivial nonsense from cold hard observable facts. The preceding thread is a monument to your ability to bullshit your way through a conversation. So be it.

    The glaring difference between our positions is that I rationally incorporate what we observe in nature, while you irrationally ignore it.

  161. Spectacular post. I wish I could have written it. I eagerly await his response to either of us. As an aside, in the movie the Wizard of Oz there is a scene when Dorothy is in the Emerald City and the Wicked Witch of the West (WWW) skywrites “SURRENDER DOROTHY.” On any naturalistic account of the existence of those letters, the WWW will be ignored. Because if we have described all the physical facts then all the facts are fixed. Or so they claim. Yet I could describe the composition of the smoke, the wind currents, air pressure, humidity, etc… in exhausting detail (well, I couldn’t but some weather person could) and I’ve still said nothing about the WWW, Dorothy, the symbolic nature of the letters, the rules of the language, or the message. In other words, anything that matters. Doesn’t that kind of sum up the whole naturalistic enterprise? They have NOTHING to say about anything that matters. Yet various versions of naturalism, materialism, and physicalism still hold sway over the “scientific” community. WFT is up with that? It astonishes me that this farce isn’t consistently held up to the public ridicule and scorn it so richly deserves. Anyway, great post.

  162. Upright:

    And CJY corrected me (rightly so) with what I intended to say:

    No, Upright, I corrected you in 111, by pointing out the abject circularity of your original proposal.

    I eagerly await his response to either of us.

    Don’t go holding your breath, peeler, because I have a day packed with professional obligations and probably won’t be able to get to it until this evening, if at all.

    Plus murky flapdoodle of the kind you and Upright manufacture takes more time to address than do assertions that make sense.

  163. Diffaxial,

    The theory of evolution does NOT provide any predictions based on the proposed mechanisms.

    That you continue to harp on ID predictions demonstrates you haven’t a clue as your position doesn’t predict anything beyond change and/ or stasis.

  164. As for the contributions of ID one MAJOR contribution is that living organisms are NOT reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

    And that tells us there is something more to living organisms than just their chemical reactions.

  165. 166

    Diffaxial you have not answered anything. You did in 163 as you did in 111. Nothing.

    Evidence is tough – ain’t it.

  166. Diffaxial you have not answered anything. You did in 163 as you did in 111. Nothing.

    Evidence is tough – ain’t it.

    OK – explain to us how your original proposal can work, even in light of its circularity.

    For your convenience:

    If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the origin of Life.

    Seems to me that your prediction requires a solution to the origins of life before it can be tested. But were the solution to the origins of life in hand, we would already know whether or not life was designed – and we would of necessity have attained that understanding without research guidance from your prediction. So that’s not a prediction that is very useful.

  167. Joseph,

    The theory of evolution does NOT provide any predictions based on the proposed mechanisms.

    Excellent point. In contrast with ID, ToE is merely a bunch of just-so stories. NO Darwinist has ever listed the specific mutations which can change a fish into an ape.

  168. Joseph:

    Since you are back, earlier you stated:

    “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    diffaxial had tried to answer those pertaining to the theory of evolution but the answers were so far off base they were pathetic.

    I asked you to reproduce that conversation (a link to it will do), but you ran away. You returned, I asked again, but you ran away again.

    Please reproduce the exchange in which I made these pathetic remarks.

  169. re #163

    “Don’t go holding your breath, peeler, because I have a day packed with professional obligations and probably won’t be able to get to it until this evening, if at all.

    Plus murky flapdoodle of the kind you and Upright manufacture takes more time to address than do assertions that make sense.”

    Aah. The old I’m too busy and you’re too stupid argument. Wow. I AM impressed!! Two for the price of one!! Well, whenever you get around to it I’ll be waiting (and breathing all along). At least you could enlighten me as to WHY my question to you is “flapdoodle.” That is, why explaining information is not important. Other than that you can’t do it, that is.

  170. tgpeeler:

    At least you could enlighten me as to WHY my question to you is “flapdoodle.”

    I’m not Diffaxial, but I’m guessing the flapdoodle would include claims like, “Information requires language.” Perhaps you can cite some support for that claim from the information theory literature.

  171. And another thing. How in the world did we come to the point where design needs to be justified? Or that the idea that it can be detected is controversial in any way, shape, or form? It’s insanity to be arguing with people who, on the one hand, purport to be paragons of rationality and devotees of empirical evidence but abandon reason at the drop of a hat and ignore any evidence (which, ironically, is ALL the evidence) that is inconvenient, or more accurately, challenges their worldview. I suppose when “they” are reduced to name calling and refusing to engage because they are “too busy” that is some kind of progress. Because we ALL KNOW, don’t we? There is no way this is about “science.” This is about rebellion against reality. People are free to do that, of course. But the man who jumps off a building can claim to be flying for only so long. Why he would do that, or think he can avoid reality by insisting to the death that he really is flying, however, is beyond me. And to ingore or hurl insults at the people who are screaming “hey Dude, you’re not flying, you’re falling” is perhaps the saddest aspect of the whole deal.

  172. 173

    Diff,

    You are clinging to a sinking ship – and asking me to address your earlier post is asking for more rain, a glass of water, and a wet towel.

    Seems to me that your prediction requires a solution to the origins of life before it can be tested.

    Okay, so you want to ignore the correction made (origins > function), that’s fine.

    In any case, this is nothing more than a blind assertion without merit. I ask you: “Why” would we have to solve OOL before we could “test” whether the information in DNA was actually information after all? Or that it is physically inert? Or that it is driving living systems? Does the information in DNA do anything? Are proteins made up of nucleotides?

    Are you saying that until we know the answers to the origin of information and how that information came about, then Francis Crick cannot assume that he has found something? Are you then saying that all the scientist working on the Information Paradox are wasting time because the information that drives living systems cannot be recognized as information until we know how it came about? Is it that no one can know anything about the qualities of the information until then? Shall we then make a list of all the other things we make assumptions upon without knowing how they came about?

    No, of course not. What you are saying is that you need to say something that sounds good, even if it is logically vacant. Not to worry though, this is a common problem whenever you’re defending ideological assumptions which are incompatible with the evidence. The only thing I can suggest to you is to drop the ideological assumptions and simply address the evidence.

    - – - – - – - – -

    While I am here, please allow me to also help you along with your “circular argument” argument.

    A circular argument is something like “you can believe what I say, because I said so”, where the conclusion assumes the premise. But this is not the type of comment you asked for. You asked a very specific question about observations:

    “If x, then y”.

    Notice that word (“then”) between the x and the y? It plays an important role in your question. Along with the “If” at the start of the sentence, the two words are essentially asking for a meaningful equality to be placed both before and after the “then”. “IF x THEN y”. In other words, the qualities inherent in the theory should be equated with the qualities seen in the observations.

    If that meaningful equality exist, then it does not make it a circular argument, it makes the IF part valid by virtue of having a meaningful equality with the THEN part. If your logic leads to believe otherwise, then every “If x then y” question in science is wrong.

    Now, if I say “If design is true, then design will be observed” then I have not so much made a circular argument, but have made a completely meaningless comment. Actually, no argument exists at all because there is no meaningful relationship between the IF and the THEN (instead, they are simply the same). Equality is then a given, and any inequalities cannot be accessed.

    But that is not what I said – I said “If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the function of Life”

    In this comment I have allowed for a meaningful relationship to be made between the “IF” theory and the “THEN” observation. Hence, there is nothing circular about it.

    - – - – - – - –

    Finally, I like to you to understand that many in ID already know that the physically inert nature of biological information cannot be explained by physical law and chance. It’s the death knell to ideological materialism. The questions I would ask of you I’ve already asked (often face to face) with proponents on both side of the argument (McNeil, Behe, Kraus, Elsberry, Gene, Moran, Alexander, Myers, etc). It’s always the same ole shuck and jive maneuver when it come right down to it.

    We also know that Behe has never been answered. We know that Dembski is willing to stand in the torrent of the mathematical trivialities thrown at him while the point he makes is trampled upon. So be it. We watch as the explanations grow bigger and more profuse instead of becoming streamlined into elegance and parsimony.

    For some of us (speaking for myself) we watch not just what you say, but what you are saying. By this I mean, your argument must act within the rules of opposing force. When you deflect a direct question and flank off into the weeds – we see it for what it is. If you had a defense against the argument that chance and necessity cannot account for information and language, then you would have made it a thousand times over. If you had an argument that a volitional act is not inferred by the evidence, you would have made that as well (and would have done so with the observation that chance and necessity can indeed lead to physically-inert language and information).

    In this regard, your presence here (along with Beelzebub and Nakashima, and Hazel, and a thousand others) has been most helpful. I hope you’ll hang around.

  173. “Moreover, while a completely accurate simulation of the 2005 season may be possible in principle, it should be obvious that were it to fail it wouldn’t follow that intelligence is responsible hurricanes.”

    So models won’t be provided because, if they fail, ID’ers will claim that they failed?

    “Your request is rather like an advocate of “intelligent weather theory” demanding of meteorologists (and their vile materialist accounts of the weather) a completely accurate simulation of the 2005 hurricane season, culminating in Katrina, accompanied by the claim that the failure to supply such a simulation is evidence for intelligent weather theory”

    I don’t follow this argument. There is no demand that a completely accurate simulation of the hurricane season of 2005 is required. It would just be nice to know that we understand how hurricanes are formed by natural processes. Which we do. Thus, no design required.

  174. 175

    Rob, are proteins made of nucleotides?

  175. Rob #171 “I’m not Diffaxial, but I’m guessing the flapdoodle would include claims like, “Information requires language.” Perhaps you can cite some support for that claim from the information theory literature.”

    This is rich. ARE YOU SERIOUS?? I’ll do better than that. I’ll give you a chance, as many chances as you like, all for free, to falsify my statement and PROVE me wrong. So all you have to do is come up with one instance of information that does not require language (symbols, vocabulary of some kind, rules of grammar and syntax, and minds on either end of the message). Go ahead. But do it quickly if you can because my curiosity is killing me.
    Quite frankly, I thought I was stating the obvious. No, really. Go ahead and communicate information without the use of a language. And if you can’t come up with a way, maybe you could tell me how you could imagine that it would work conceptually. Only because I’m interested in understanding why someone would even question that claim once they’ve thought about it for a second or two. Hmmmmm. Maybe that’s the problem.

  176. “and minds on either end of the message”

    Or more precisely, living things. Here I am obviously using humanity as a model but it applies in the animal world as well.

  177. Diffaxial,

    Answer the questions again and most likely your earlier tripe will be repeated.

    I do not have time to search for your already refuted nonsense.

    One of the nonsensical things you said was that humans have a disabled gene for making vitamin C- as if that was evidence for the theory of evolution.

    That is a moronic claim.

    “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    So here is your chance to demonstrate that you are not FoS.

    However I have noticed that you would rather dwell of your past mistakes.

    And here I am giving you a chance to prove yopu didn’t make any mistakes.

    So have at it.

  178. Joe @ 64:

    diffaxial had tried to answer those pertaining to the theory of evolution but the answers were so far off base they were pathetic.

    Diffaxial @ 69:

    Please reproduce that exchange here.

    (Joe runs away).

    (Then Joe comes back)

    Diffaxial @ 121:

    Now that you are back, earlier you stated

    diffaxial had tried to answer those pertaining to the theory of evolution but the answers were so far off base they were pathetic.

    I asked you to reproduce that exchange. But you ran away.

    (Joe runs away).

    (Then Joe comes back)

    Diffaxial @ 169:

    I asked you to reproduce that conversation (a link to it will do), but you ran away. You returned, I asked again, but you ran away again.

    Please reproduce the exchange in which I made these pathetic remarks.

    Joe @ 178:

    Answer the questions again and most likely your earlier tripe will be repeated.
    I do not have time to search for your already refuted nonsense.

    IOW, Joe runs away.

  179. I didn’t run away,

    I am not going to waste my time looking for your already refuted nonsense.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

    And why don’t you answer just fill in the blanks:

    “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    Diffaxial runs away… (meaning he? will not fill in the blanks)

  180. OK I found Diffaxial’s nonsense.

    You can read it here:

    - convergent phylogenetic hierarchies (eg. paleontological and genetic)
    - chronological fossil series
    - geographic distributions of features
    - transitional forms – eg. Tiktallik, the cynodont therapsids, hominid evolution, legged fossil whales, etc.)
    - inactivated human genes for the production of vitamin C
    - flightless birds species necessarily unique to the islands upon which they are found.
    - incipient/recent speciation in allopatrically separated populations

    Not one is a prediction of evolution and not one is based on natural selection nor random variation.

  181. Joe, as you are in a mood to respond to questions, people are still wondering about your encounter with a RPG in Iraq and whether you served there in a military capacity.

    Also, about the career in marine biology…

  182. Joseph,

    Only a couple of the anti ID people that come here understand anything about evolution let alone what the debate is about. Allen MacNeill is the exception. So what they post is usually nonsense and from some third party or source. Don’t expect intelligence discussions with them.

  183. Not one is a prediction of evolution and not one is based on natural selection nor random variation.

    I see. So are you saying that the predictions Diffaxial listed are also predicted by Intelligent Design theory? Would this thread be the place to take each example in turn and discuss in more detail?

  184. Only a couple of the anti ID people that come here understand anything about evolution let alone what the debate is about. Allen MacNeill is the exception. So what they post is usually nonsense and from some third party or source. Don’t expect intelligence discussions with them.

    It is unfortunately true that of the ID critics that make the choice to attempt to post here (itself a small percentage of all mainstream scientists) the ablest tend to be eliminated by the interesting moderation criteria applied here. You are thus left with us harmless and toothless critics that cannot fail to even make you and Joe look good. Unless either of you want to participate in debate elsewhere, I guess you will have to put up with it.

  185. “Unless either of you want to participate in debate elsewhere, I guess you will have to put up with it.”

    Where would that be? I’ll play. Wherever “that” is, I’m guessing they can’t account for information with material causes either. This is so boring sometimes. Or since we’re both here, we could play now. I would like for someone to either:

    1. Account for information with, or by means of, material causes, physics, whatever, apart from mind, OR
    2. Tell me why this is not worth doing. Why I am deluded for thinking this is an important issue.

    Only because I believe the inability of darwinians everywhere to answer this question (#1) destroys the neo-darwinian theory.

  186. “I see. So are you saying that the predictions Diffaxial listed are also predicted by Intelligent Design theory? Would this thread be the place to take each example in turn and discuss in more detail?”

    How hard must this be? Can we detect design? Yes. We do it every day. Even children can do it and they do it effortlessly.

    Hint, anything that involves information involves language, and anything that involves language involves symbols and rules, and anything that involves symbols and rules involves mind, and anything that involves mind involves design. Done.

    The genetic language, which builds all living structures based on the information contained in the genomes, therefore, indicates mind. It’s not that hard. If you disagree, then defeat my argument. Go back and refute a premise or tell me where my reasoning breaks down. If you can do that, I’ll change my mind. If you can’t, then either change yours or acknowledge your slavish devotion to dogma apart from reason.

    p.s. You guys need to get Richard Dawkins to quit writing books. What he says betrays the insanity of what you purport to believe. Here’s a little tidbit from his book “River Out of Eden” regarding purpose, which indicates intelligence, which indicates design.

    “The illusion of purpose is so powerful that biologists themselves use the assumption of good design as a working tool.”

    How funny is that? THE ILLUSION OF PURPOSE is so powerful that EVEN biologists, those hard-headed, fact driven, robotic and mechanical reasoning machines, EVEN they are taken in and ASSUME design. Wow. Now I know what real reasoning looks like. Let me see if I’m getting this right. First of all, we deny the existence of design/purpose/intelligence/God as a matter of fact (in other words we start with a conclusion rather than premises that lead to a conclusion). Then we observe design/purpose/intelligence all over the place and wonder how do we account for that? Hmmmm. Oh, I know, since we’ve denied the existence of those things, it must only be THE APPEARANCE of those things. So we’ll use the appearance of design/purpose/intelligence to explain the world we see and also use it as “PROOF” that design/purpose/intelligence don’t really exist. Or at least, if they do, they are not detectable. TFF (Too … Funny) That’s a technical Marine Corps term that can also be translated as what bull$hit.

    Here’s another one from “The Blind Watchmaker.”

    “We can accept a certain amount of luck in our explanations, but not too much. The question is, how much?”

    Hee hee. If this doesn’t take the cake I don’t know what does. And YOU GUYS are the rational ones?? If you insist…

  187. —-Alan Fox: “It is unfortunately true that of the ID critics that make the choice to attempt to post here (itself a small percentage of all mainstream scientists) the ablest tend to be eliminated by the interesting moderation criteria applied here.”

    Can you point to a single instance in which a strong argument for neo-Darwinism was cut off by UD moderation policy? Indeed, can you point me to an example of anyone ever providing a plausible argument for neo-Darwinism on this site? People don’t get banned here for arguing, they bet banned for refusing to argue.

  188. tgpeeler, I like your attitude. You are a man after my own heart.

  189. OK I found Diffaxial’s nonsense.

    You can read it here:

    Wow. How silly is it to suggest that rm + ns predicts that humans should have lost the ability to synthesize vitamin C? What utter flapdoodle.

  190. Ditto to what StephenB says in 189.

  191. 192

    Peeler,

    Thank you for the compliment at 162.

    Please allow me to return it at your 186-7.

    cheers…

  192. 189/191

    Aw shucks. But thanks. Really.

  193. and 193. I guess it’s a slow Friday in many places! :-)

  194. [184] Alan Fox;

    I see. So are you saying that the predictions Diffaxial listed are also predicted by Intelligent Design theory?

    ID provides a basis for inferring design. Using the method of Wm Dembski, we can conclude that the genome was designed. The genome fulfils the criteria of the ‘design inference.’

    Now, let’s point out that when we talk of ‘design’, we’re not talking about some kind of archetectural software that “designs” a building. We can more or less ‘predict’ what such a program will ‘design’ given the input. When we talk of a designer, however, we’re dealing with agency: that is, free will. So, Alan, can you predict for me what your wife will do this afternoon?

    That we’re dealing with a designer—hence, free agency—doesn’t diminish ID as a science; it simply limits what can be predicted. Nevertheless, let’s look at predictions. (ID has nothing to be ashamed of here; in fact, just the opposite)

    Assuming that the Designer is like us (revelation tells us it’s the opposite)—a free agent guided by reason—we can make certain predictions of design because we know about designing.

    Two predictions then:

    (1) Junk-DNA is not junk. Why? Because no “designer” is going to waste 97% of DNA for a measly 3% of functioning DNA. What does Darwinian theory predict? Lots of junk DNA. Why? Because of the random processes involved. And what are we discovering: that more and more and more of junk-DNA not only has function, it has vital functions to play.

    (2) Front-loading. ID predicts that the genome would likely be “front-loaded”. Why? Because “designers” use the same basic materials and methods of construction to build all kinds of different buildings of varying sizes, shapes, and appearances. What have we discovered? That the gene for ‘digits’ in the hand and foot are found in ancient Amphioxus, hundreds of millions of years before land animals needed such a gene. Darwinists are ‘surprised’. Why? Because according to their theory nothing should exist that doesn’t confer some advantage, and what possible reason would there be for having the means of forming ‘digits’ when you body plan is no more than a ‘stalk’ planted on sea bottom.

    Two predictions: Score: ID-2; Darwinism-0. But, of course, we ALL just KNOW that Darwinism is correct.

    Sorry, I just don’t buy it.

    But how could so many scientist be wrong, you ask? Actually, this is a very good question. Is the answer ‘groupthink’? Oops, I’m sorry, it’s called ‘scientific consensus’. My bad.

  195. tgpeeler:

    ARE YOU SERIOUS??

    Certainly. Classical information theory is about probabilities, not necessarily language. From the seminal paper on the subject:

    The message may be of various types: (a) A sequence of letters as in a telegraph of teletype system; (b) A single function of time f (t) as in radio or telephony; ( c) A function of time and other variables as in black and white television — here the message may be thought of as a function f (x;y; t) of two space coordinates and time, the light intensity at point (x;y) and time t on a pickup tube plate; (d) Two or more functions of time, say f (t), g(t), h(t)—this is the case in “three-dimensional” sound transmission or if the system is intended to service several individual channels in multiplex; (e) Several functions of several variables—in color television themessage consists of three functions f (x;y; t), g(x;y; t), h(x;y; t) defined in a three-dimensional continuum—we may also think of these three functions as components of a vector field defined in the region — similarly, several black and white television sources would produce “messages” consisting of a number of functions of three variables; (f) Various combinations also occur, for example in television with an associated audio channel.

    Do all of Shannon’s examples necessarily entail language?

    As a trivial example, if there is a 50% chance of rain today, and I look out the window and see that it’s raining, my uncertainty is decreased by 1 bit. Where is the language in this message?

    Only because I’m interested in understanding why someone would even question that claim once they’ve thought about it for a second or two. Hmmmmm. Maybe that’s the problem.

    Or maybe a second or two isn’t enough at the Pierian spring.

  196. 197

    R0b, At the risk of repeating the phrase of the day – you cant be serious.

    Think before you type.

    Perhaps it would have been useful to you if you hadn’t left off the heading and the opening sentence that initiated the paragraph you posted.


    “By a communication system we will mean a system of the type indicated schematically in Fig. 1. It consists of essentially five parts:

    1. An information source which produces a message or sequence of messages to be communicated to the receiving terminal.”

    Your post is a technical description of a communications system. What is it do you think is being communicated?

    The remainder of the description is as follows:

    2. A transmitter which operates on the message in some way to produce a signal suitable for transmission over the channel. In telephony this operation consists merely of changing sound pressure into a proportional electrical current. In telegraphy we have an encoding operation which produces a sequence of dots, dashes and spaces on the channel corresponding to the message. In a multiplex PCM system the different speech functions must be sampled, compressed, quantized and encoded, and finally interleaved properly to construct the signal. Vocoder systems, television and frequency modulation are other examples of complex operations applied to the message to obtain the signal.

    3. The channel is merely the medium used to transmit the signal from transmitter to receiver. It may be a pair of wires, a coaxial cable, a band of radio frequencies, a beam of light, etc.

    4. The receiver ordinarily performs the inverse operation of that done by the transmitter, reconstructing the message from the signal.

    5. The destination is the person (or thing) for whom the message is intended.

    Come on…

  197. 198

    R0b, surely you can distinguish between language, transmission, and method?

  198. 199

    By the way R0b…(this was in the Abel paper you objected to, as well has has been noted by theorists and mathematicians for and repeated for years on end)

    “Linear complexity” has received extensive study in many areas relating to Shannon’s syntactic transmission theory [1-3]. This theory pertains only to engineering. Linear complexity was further investigated by Kolmogorov, Solomonoff, and Chaitin [4-8]. Compressibility became the measure of linear complexity in this school of thought. Hamming pursued Shannon’s goal of noise-pollution reduction in the engineering communication channel through redundancy coding [9].
    Little progress has been made, however, in measuring and explaining intuitive information. This is especially true regarding the derivation through natural process of semantic instruction. The purely syntactic approaches to sequence complexity of Shannon, Kolmogorov, and Hamming have little or no relevance to “meaning.” Shannon acknowledged this in the 3rd paragraph of his first famous paper right from the beginning of his research [2]. The inadequacy of more recent attempts to define and measure functional complexity [10-45] will be addressed in a separate manuscript.

    Shall we rehash it again?

  199. Rob, what do you not get about what I am claiming? Did you even consider, for a second, what I am asking?

    Let me spell it out for you one last time.

    For one thing, you are ignoring, not addressing, the argument I made. I am not talking about the TRANSMISSION of information (which is what Shannon was all about) I am talking about the ORIGINATION of information.

    So, that said, let me be painfully clear about my premises and then my conclusion and then you can have a shot at what I am actually talking about.

    Premise 1: No information can be originated without the systematic, i.e. rules based, use of symbols. That is what I call “language.” This applies to all human languages and all animal languages as well. We typically think of symbols as letters but they can also be sounds, pictures, movements or gestures, clicks, scents, and so on.

    Discussion of premise (trying to save you some time here): This is intuitively and necessarily true. No symbols, no language, no information. How is it possible to communicate anything to anyone without using some sort of symbology? If you want to confuse the transmission of information with the creation of information I suppose you are welcome to do that. But don’t kid yourself, information is not generated without two things, mind and language. In fact, that is premise 2.

    Premise 2: Only mind can account for symbols, and the rules that govern the use of those symbols, to create information.

    Discussion of premise. Physics cannot do this. No way, no how. Physics is about rules in the classical world (gravity, say) and probabilities in the quantum world (decay of nuclei, say). Neither can explain why “cat” means a certain kind of mammal and “act” means to do something, something done, or a segment of a play, depending on the context. Only a mind (or a living thing in the case of animals) can take a string of symbols (a symbol is one thing that represents another thing) and string them together according to a set of rules to create information. ONLY A MIND CAN DO THIS. And if you say, “well a honey bee doesn’t have a mind” I’d say then it is all the more amazing that a honey bee knows how to “dance” to tell his honey bee friends “hey, the pollen is over here.” That means that somehow, that “honey bee dance” language is programmed into its DNA. There’s something the evolutionary biologists can do with all the time they’ll now have on their hands – figure out the honey bee dance. Now that everyone with a functioning brain knows that not only is evolution not true, it can’t even possibly be true.

    Premise 3: The distinguishing characteristic of life is information. Nobody disputes this.

    Premise 4: It is absolutely essential that any purported explanation for the existence of life MUST be able to account for the massive amounts of biological information that exists in the genomes of every living thing.

    Discussion of premise: It seems reasonable to me to demand of an explanation that it actually explain what needs to be explained. So if information is the distinguishing characteristic of life, then any theory of life should damn well better explain information. Pardon my French.

    Conclusion: Since only mind can explain information, Darwin and his acolytes have always been, and will always be, FOS. :-)

    The darwinian, or neo-darwinian account of life is one that explicitly rejects Mind/mind. Therefore, it can’t possibly explain life. Therefore it can’t possibly be true.

    Another way to say this is that information ALWAYS reduces to, or is explained by, MIND. It is never explained by matter. If you are looking for causes then you will always find MIND as the ultimate cause for information. This quest to understand causes seems to me to be a very scientific endeavor. Indeed, it IS the scientific endeavor.

    So when we see language and information, the ID person goes, AHA, there must be MIND at the bottom of this because we KNOW that mind is ALWAYS at the bottom of information. It’s really simple. It’s not that hard. As I said earlier, even children can do it so I assume that evolutionary biologists can eventually develop that skill, too.

    Now, if you will be so good as to identify the holes in my argument and thus set me on the path to truth, I will be forever grateful. No really, I will.

  200. Alan Fox:

    So are you saying that the predictions Diffaxial listed are also predicted by Intelligent Design theory?

    They are not predictions borne from any theory.

    Joe, as you are in a mood to respond to questions, people are still wondering about your encounter with a RPG in Iraq and whether you served there in a military capacity.

    I answered the military part in the thread I posted about Iraq and the RPG.

    I was in Iraq (Saudi, Egypt, Colombia, Mexico, etc.) as a technical advisor to the US military in Iraq.

    I traveled in an unarmored SUV from Baghdad International down RPG/ IED Ally to Camp Victory.

    From there we headed North to Balad.

    Our positions came under attack three times in six days.

    What was I doing there? One of my areas of expertise is explosives and IEDs (improvised explsive devices)- and there are plenty of those over there- so I was trying to help our guys stay alive and in one piece. But that meant going out with them on their patrols and showing them how to do it.

    As for RPGs- they are not meant for shooting one person. So when you see a guy lining you up all you have to do is move – you can see it coming- but you have to be sure that nothing behind you is going to get hit and rain stuff down on you.

    And the explosion will help you move a little faster- like a big push from a big tailwind. I am pretty sure I out-jumped Carl Lewis- but now I have a very messed up knee.

    Also, about the career in marine biology…

    I never had one.

  201. R0b,

    Shannon information is useless because it does not care about content.

    IOW a string of 1 million random characters would have more (Shannon) information than an instruction manual with 999,999 chracters.

    And that is just plain crazy

  202. And what Upright said, too. :-)

  203. 204

    Hi tgpeeler,

    Premise 1: No information can be originated without the systematic, i.e. rules based, use of symbols. That is what I call “language.” This applies to all human languages and all animal languages as well. We typically think of symbols as letters but they can also be sounds, pictures, movements or gestures, clicks, scents, and so on.

    I’m not sure this premise is valid. Consider the genetic code. At its simplest, the code is a physical association between DNA codons, tRNA anticodons, and the amino acids associated with each tRNA. There is growing experimental evidence that this association could have come about purely due to the stereochemical affinities of these entities. The “rules-based use of symbols” in this case would be the stereochemical affinities between the entities, with the entities themselves being the symbols. The only reason we call this a “code” or a “language” is because we recognize an association between the entities. We should not fall into the trap of assuming that the association itself is a language. That would be akin to confusing a metaphor with the actual object of interest.

  204. Upright & Peeler–you guys are on fire. Keep wiping the floor with them. You’re making the site entertaining again.

  205. [196] ROb:

    Sorry for butting in here; however, I think some clarification is needed.

    If Shannon has a ‘theory’ of information, then that theory must be communicated via the rules of language, does it not? And all the various mathematical treatments of sound and light using a time function is simply a way of using the rules of mathematics to simulate information. Telegraphy uses the rules of telegraphy in order to communicate, again, with the backdrop of the rules of language. If we train a chimpanzee to ‘communicate’ with us using images on a screen, we have simply ‘imposed’ a rule on the chimpanzee, to which the chimp can respond. But it’s ‘our’ rule. Yes, information may be transferred, but it is always according to some set of rules. AND, the rules must be understood by both sides for information to be transferred. We humans can ‘communicate’ with animals using ‘rules of communication’. But they are our rules. Animals in nature can communicate. But they are “nature’s” rules. If only one side of the mathematical equations that describe the transfer of information are understood, then no information can be transferred. How, then, did these rules arise in nature? The only known rules of information transfer are those of language. Where did the rules of language (not just the genetic code, but communication between animals themselves) found in nature arise. In our experience, the only ‘rule-givers’ are intelligent agents. So what is your explanation?

  206. Tom Peeler asks:

    1. Account for information with, or by means of, material causes, physics, whatever, apart from mind, OR
    2. Tell me why this is not worth doing. Why I am deluded for thinking this is an important issue.

    There is something we need to do first. We need a definition of “information”. Joe says “Shannon information” is no good. We don’t have a definition of “complex specified information”, “functionally specified information” or “active information”. Is information quantifiable? Saying it cannot be created (“Law” of conservation of information?) implies that it is. What is the unit of information?

    There are a few other terms that could do with definitions. Intelligence is a word used here with gay abandon. A definition that carries any information is harder to come by.

    So, tell me what you mean by “information” and I’ll try and answer your question.

    Only because I believe the inability of darwinians everywhere to answer this question (#1) destroys the neo-darwinian theory.

    If you think your argument destroys darwinian theory, perhaps you should advance it in a forum where more darwinians are able to take note and respond.

  207. Thanks for sharing your experience in Iraq, Joe. I must have misread your comment of a while ago about studying marine biology.

  208. StephenB writes:

    Can you point to a single instance in which a strong argument for neo-Darwinism was cut off by UD moderation policy? Indeed, can you point me to an example of anyone ever providing a plausible argument for neo-Darwinism on this site? People don’t get banned here for arguing, they bet banned for refusing to argue.

    There is much evidence and argument for darwinian evolution posted elsewhere on the web. I don’t see any working biologists posting here giving explanations and citing evidence of natural selection, random mutation and common descent with modification. Prima facie evidence for moderators curtailing the ablest proponents of current evolutionary theory?

    Elizabeth Liddle? Bob O’Hara? Allen MacNeill?

  209. PaV writes:

    [184] Alan Fox;

    I see. So are you saying that the predictions Diffaxial listed are also predicted by Intelligent Design theory?

    ID provides a basis for inferring design. Using the method of Wm Dembski, we can conclude that the genome was designed. The genome fulfils the criteria of the ‘design inference.’

    Pardon me if I remark that just seems as if someone asked for an example of an unsupported assertion!

    Now, let’s point out that when we talk of ‘design’, we’re not talking about some kind of archetectural software that “designs” a building.

    Well, that narrows the concept of “design” a little. Do you actually have a definiftion of what “design” is?

    We can more or less ‘predict’ what such a program will ‘design’ given the input. When we talk of a designer, however, we’re dealing with agency: that is, free will. So, Alan, can you predict for me what your wife will do this afternoon?

    If I don’t prepare the vegetable plot ready for some tomato seedlings that she has gone to get from the market, I have a pretty good idea!

    That we’re dealing with a designer—hence, free agency—doesn’t diminish ID as a science; it simply limits what can be predicted. Nevertheless, let’s look at predictions. (ID has nothing to be ashamed of here; in fact, just the opposite)

    Assuming that the Designer is like us (revelation tells us it’s the opposite)—a free agent guided by reason—we can make certain predictions of design because we know about designing.

    What do you mean by “desgn”? What do you know about “designing”? Does a beaver design a dam, for instance? Is a design for a dam in the genome of beavers. What do you think the sequence might look like? A damunculus?

    Two predictions then:

    (1) Junk-DNA is not junk. Why? Because no “designer” is going to waste 97% of DNA for a measly 3% of functioning DNA. What does Darwinian theory predict? Lots of junk DNA. Why? Because of the random processes involved. And what are we discovering: that more and more and more of junk-DNA not only has function, it has vital functions to play.

    I predicted junk DNA would turn out to have functions. I wrote it in my diary. I can send you a photocopy as evidence.

    (2) Front-loading. ID predicts that the genome would likely be “front-loaded”. Why? Because “designers” use the same basic materials and methods of construction to build all kinds of different buildings of varying sizes, shapes, and appearances. What have we discovered? That the gene for ‘digits’ in the hand and foot are found in ancient Amphioxus, hundreds of millions of years before land animals needed such a gene. Darwinists are ’surprised’. Why? Because according to their theory nothing should exist that doesn’t confer some advantage, and what possible reason would there be for having the means of forming ‘digits’ when you body plan is no more than a ’stalk’ planted on sea bottom.

    RM and NS predicts that organisms vary, and are differentially selected by their immediate environment. In this sense, “information” is “front-loaded”. The genetic variation is sorted after entering the gene pool. Life is one long experiment on viability.ID needs to make novel, testable predictions to get a pass as science.

    Two predictions: Score: ID-2; Darwinism-0. But, of course, we ALL just KNOW that Darwinism is correct.

    Assuming for the sake of argument, you have just demolished evolutionary theory, you have not advanced the cause of ID as science. You need at least a positive theory of ID that makes novel, testable predictions.

    Sorry, I just don’t buy it.

    That’s OK.

    But how could so many scientist be wrong, you ask? Actually, this is a very good question. Is the answer ‘groupthink’? Oops, I’m sorry, it’s called ’scientific consensus’. My bad.

    There is also the issue of evidence. As Einstein remarked on being told that 100 German scientists had signed a petition rejecting his theory, “If I am wrong, one would be enough!” Or paraphrasing Gandhi ” Evidence for Intelligent Design would be a very good thing”!

  210. Bob O’Hara was asked more than once to provide a defense of Darwinian evolution and he never replied. Once he suggested an old text book. That was it. Allen MacNeill was asked to give a defense of macro evolution and said there was no model to explain it. Another time he gave examples of micro evolution. Jack Krebs was asked to defend macro evolution as science. He refused every time he was asked. Jack said he had studied evolutionary biology. He once broke down and provided micro evolutionary examples and when called on it only said that the experts said it was so.

    The only honest anti ID person here who was an evolutionary biologists and used the name great_ape said there wasn’t any evidence but because of all genome similarities believed in naturalistic evolution. great_ape hasn’t posted in about two years.

    There have been other biologists here who have posted and they have failed to add anything.

    So I believe there is overwhelming evidence that there is no evidence for macro evolution.

  211. In our experience, the only ‘rule-givers’ are intelligent agents.

    What are intelligent agents? Are sentient beings intelligent? Are humans intelligent? How intelligent? Is intelligence defined? There is a thread at Telic Thoughts where a commenter, aiguy, would like some definitions of intelligence. Have a look at the comments. Allan MacNeill makes some good points, too.

  212. Jerry,

    Why doesn’t Bob O’Hara post here any more? It is simply because he can’t. Ask Clive, he will confirm it.

    He is far from the only one.

    Why do you never venture to other sites where evolutionary biologists might dispute your assertion “that there is no evidence for macro evolution”?

  213. Alan Fox:

    I must have misread your comment of a while ago about studying marine biology.

    Studying marine biology does NOT translate into a career in marine biology.

    As for aiguy he is clueless and nothing will ever satisfy his quest for “intelligence”.

    And Allen MacNeill is just as clueless as aiguy.

    You do realize that as opposed to making ignorance-laiden cracks about ID all one has to do to refute the design inference is to demonstrate that nature, operating freely, can account for iy.

    IOW demonstrate that the object in question is reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

    Support YOUR atelic position.

    Yse beavers design their dams.

    Nature, operating freely could not build one.

    Nature, operating freely could not build a spider’s web.

    Nature, operating freely could not build a termite mound.

    All of those are examples of agency activity, and that is what ID seeks to determine- was agancy involvement required or did nature, operating freely produce it?

    Ya see experience has taught us that it matters a great deal to any investigation whather or not that which is being investigated arose via agency involvement or nature, operating freely.

    RM and NS predicts that organisms vary, and are differentially selected by their immediate environment.

    The YEC model of variation within a KInd makes that prediction also.

    Does the theory of evolution make any exclusive predictions?

    That is something that ONLY its proposed mechanisms could produce?

    As for evidence of ID what part of transcription, with its proofreading, error-correction and editing, strikes you as being cobbled together via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    What part of translation, with its signaling of a tRNA to bring the correct amino acid to the ribosome and then stringing those amino acids together, strikes you as being cobbled together from an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    What I am trying to say is what is the evidence for the atelic position?

    Perhaps if there was some evidence for it then so many people wouldn’t reject it.

  214. Biped @ 173:

    In any case, this is nothing more than a blind assertion without merit. I ask you: “Why” would we have to solve OOL before we could “test” whether the information in DNA was actually information after all?

    I don’t know. Ask the guy who asserted it. I asserted something else, something pertaining to your original, quickly abandoned, “test” of ID:

    Biped @ 107:

    If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the origin of Life. If we fail to observe it, then the theory is at risk of disconfirmation

    “Origin of life” was no typo, as demonstrated by the subsequent paragraph:

    But, if we do find physically inert meaning in the origin of Life (and we do), but you refuse to acknowledge the validity of the observable evidence, then it is up to you to explain a physical source for it.

    I pointed out the uselessness of your prediction in 111:

    Seems to me that your prediction requires a solution to the origins of life before it can be tested. But were the solution to the origins of life in hand, we would already know whether or not life was designed – and we would of necessity have attained that understanding without research guidance from your prediction. So that’s not a prediction that is very useful.

    Much of yours that follows is an extrapolation of what I didn’t say:

    Are you saying that until we know the answers to the origin of information and how that information came about, then Francis Crick cannot assume that he has found something? Are you then saying that all the scientist working on the Information Paradox are wasting time because the information that drives living systems cannot be recognized as information until we know how it came about? Is it that no one can know anything about the qualities of the information until then? Shall we then make a list of all the other things we make assumptions upon without knowing how they came about?

    No, Indeed, I am not even saying “we have to solve OOL before we could ‘test’ whether the information in DNA was actually information after all.” That was some other guy.
    ————-
    Biped continues @ 173

    While I am here, please allow me to also help you along with your “circular argument” argument.

    A circular argument is something like “you can believe what I say, because I said so”, where the conclusion assumes the premise. But this is not the type of comment you asked for. You asked a very specific question about observations:
    “If x, then y”.

    Notice that word (”then”) between the x and the y? It plays an important role in your question. Along with the “If” at the start of the sentence, the two words are essentially asking for a meaningful equality to be placed both before and after the “then.” In other words, the qualities inherent in the theory should be equated with the qualities seen in the observations.

    If that meaningful equality exist, then it does not make it a circular argument, it makes the IF part valid by virtue of having a meaningful equality with the THEN part. If your logic leads to believe otherwise, then every “If x then y” question in science is wrong.

    This is far too gauzy. What you need is a formulation that unequivocally permits reasoning by modus tolens. I’ve repeatedly stated what is required. For example, I explicitly stated in 38 above that the formula ““if my theory is true, then we should observe _____. If we fail to observe ______, then my theory is disconfirmed” is a simplified expression of “one’s theory must generate entailments (necessary consequences) that give rise to testable empirical predictions, such that failure to observe what is predicted places one’s theory at risk of disconfirmation.”

    You claim that what is needed is something you call “meaningful equality.” You don’t want it to mean “identity” (you correctly observe that if you state, “If design is true, then design will be observed” then you have have made a completely meaningless comment.) But you do want it to mean “The qualities inherent in the theory should be equated with the qualities seen in the observations.”

    So let’s test “meaningful equality” as above for coherence with an unequivocal example:

    Big Bang theory entails the cosmic background radiation. That converts to, “If Big Bang theory is true, then we should observe CBR (including many characteristics specified with considerable precision). If we fail to observe CBR, then Big Bang theory is disconfirmed.” Big Bang theory has entailments (necessary consequences) that give rise to testable predictions (we will observe the CBR) such that failure to observe the CBR puts Big Bang theory at risk of disconfirmation. Indeed, had the CBR not been observed, BBT would have been rejected.

    No let’s try your fuzzy “meaningful equality” test. “The qualities inherent in the theory should be equated with the qualities seen in the observations.” Therefore we ask, “Are the qualities inherent in Big Bang theory equatable with the qualities seen in the cosmic background radiation?”

    The answer is no. First, Big Bang theory is a theory, the presence of the CBR is a predicted observation. They are expressions at different levels of abstraction. Theories cannot be empirically observed; that is why we go to the trouble of specifying necessary empirical entailments related to the theory by means of modus tolens that can be observed. Second, Big Bang theory obviously includes a great many other crucial assertions and predictions beyond the existence of the CBR. The “qualities” of Big Bang theory” are not coterminal with that of the CBR, and in fact entail far more than the CBR. Big Bang theory and the CBR are not related because they they display “meaningful equality” in the sense you describe above; they are related because the former entails the latter, and the latter is observable.

    A few other observations arise from this application.

    “Physically inert meaning” is a very vague concept, and fading fast. I thought I understood it to refer to something like the independence of Turing computation from the underlying physical substrate, but your illustration vis the red plastic ball seems to suggest something more general, non computational, with nothing necessarily to do with information, symbols, or meaning. I understand that a plastic ball has a form imposed upon it that does not arise directly from the physics of the polymers of which it is composed. But there is no “meaning” or “symbol” content that I can see.

    Given that “physically inert meaning” has now been exemplified by phenomena as diverse as human languages, animal communication, substitutable associations between codons and events downstream, and now the form of a red plastic ball, it seems to me that, before you can offer it as an “observation,” and as a necessary entailment of design, the notion is sorely in need of sharpening and operational definition such that we can have SOME idea of when we are observing it, and when we are not.

  215. Alan Fox:

    We need a definition of “information”.

    You mean one that you will accept.

    Information is what makes us what we are and it enables us to communicate.

    You also asked for a definition of “design” and that is presented in Del Ratzsch’s book that you said you have read (“Nature, Design and Science”).

    Alan the evolutionary scenario doesn’t have anything rigorously defined.

    The premise is so vague it is useless.

    The bottom line is you need to stop griping about ID and actually find something that would support the atelic position.

    That should be easy given all the resources at the evolutionists disposal.

    Yet even though we know much, much more about eyes and vision systems than Darwin did, the “evidence” for their evolution is the SAME!!! That is we see varying degrees of complexity in yeyes and vision systems and we “know” the original population(s) did not have either (therefor they evolved).

    And that is just sad…

  216. “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    If Intelligent Design is true I would expect to see signs of agency involvement. If we fail to observe signs of agency involvement or the signs we do see turn out to be producable vua nature, operating freely, then ID is at risk of disconfirmation.

    IOW to falsify ID all one has to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely, can produce the object/ event in question.

    What part of that don’t you guys understand?

  217. Alan Fox:

    Why do you never venture to other sites where evolutionary biologists might dispute your assertion “that there is no evidence for macro evolution”?

    It appears that evolutionary biologists use a definition of “macro-evolution” that is not being debated by anyone.

    Allen MacNeill has continually proved that very thing.

  218. 219

    Jerry writes:

    It is represented here on this site and in the academic and popular literature by the lack of any coherent demonstration that Darwinian macro evolution ever took place. Now macro evolution did take place and no one is denying that here but there is no evidence for it happening by Darwinian processes or any other known natural processes.

    For those who still think macrovolutionary processes have not or cannot be observed or examined experimentally, I suggest reading this essay by molecular biologist Art Hunt on his blog The RNA Underworld:

    “Is macroevolution impossible to study (Part 2)?

    The plant kingdom is many things – the basis of agriculture and civilization, a natural laboratory with a stupefying capability in organic synthesis, a source of untold numbers of pharmaceuticals, antimicrobials, herbals, and other chemical playthings, a fascinating range of biological form and function, and an eminently accessible subject for studies of evolution. Along the lines of the last two bullets, one of the more interesting aspects of plants is the range of growth habits that may be adopted. Among these are two sets of contrasting characteristics – annual or perennial, and herbaceous or woody. Differences in these characteristics are among the bases for classification of plant species. For this reason, but also because accompanying morphological differences can be quite considerable, evolutionary changes that involve transitioning between these states are macroevolutionary. Thus, it stands to reason that studying the means by these characteristics evolve amounts to experimental analysis of macroevolution, and understanding the underlying mechanisms constitutes an explanation of macroevolutionary processes.

    The article goes on to describe work with the plant Arabidopsis thaliana in which mutaions to two genes resulted in dramatic changes to the plant’s reproductive growth habits, changes that would, if found in two different populations would place them in different higher taxa. In other words, small, microevolutionary processes can be observed to produce macroevolutionary types of changes.

    The article can be found here:

    http://aghunt.wordpress.com/20.....dy-part-2/

  219. Alan Fox:

    I must have misread your comment of a while ago about studying marine biology.

    Studying marine biology does NOT translate into a career in marine biology.

    So did you study marine biology for a while? At a recognised institution?

    As for aiguy he is clueless and nothing will ever satisfy his quest for “intelligence”.

    You may not like what he is saying, but it is obvious from his articulate comments, that aiguy is quite bright, even intelligent!

    And Allen MacNeill is just as clueless as aiguy.

    Calling Allen MacNeill clueless? That’s clueless!

    You do realize that as opposed to making ignorance-laiden cracks about ID all one has to do to refute the design inference is to demonstrate that nature, operating freely, can account for iy.

    I suppose that refuting ID would not strengthen the evolution hypothesis, any more than claiming evolutionary theory is wrong strengthens the argument for ID. Furthermore, I don’t see what there is that could be called the science of ID that is yet ready to be refuted.

    IOW demonstrate that the object in question is reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

    Support YOUR atelic position.

    I don’t have a philosophical position. I am still looking at evidence. Evolutionary biology, molecular biology and embryology are making new discoveries on a wide scale. It’s fascinating. Not much ID research to report, yet, though.

    Yse beavers design their dams.

    Interesting. How do they learn their design skills? Beaver college?

    Nature, operating freely could not build one.

    Yet beavers appear to have instinctive behaviour patterns that result in dammed lagoons. They apparently display these behaviours even in captivity, isolated from wood and water.

    Nature, operating freely could not build a spider’s web.

    So the designer does it?

    Nature, operating freely could not build a termite mound.

    All of those are examples of agency activity, and that is what ID seeks to determine- was agancy involvement required or did nature, operating freely produce it?

    You are at once saying agency activity (whatever that is) designs beaver dams and at the same time ID is seeking to determine it.

    Ya see experience has taught us that it matters a great deal to any investigation whather or not that which is being investigated arose via agency involvement or nature, operating freely.

    I guess that is the crux of the matter. Demonstrate that an unknown, unseen, undetectable agent tweaks living organisms would be an interesting thing to demonstrate. I await developments.

    RM and NS predicts that organisms vary, and are differentially selected by their immediate environment.

    M’kay!

    The YEC model of variation within a KInd makes that prediction also.

    Ah, but remember nested hierarchies. In the ToE model, all organisms must fall into clades of descent, back to the universal common ancestor. I didn’t realise YECs agreed with this. Especially as 6,000 years is not long enough for this to happen.

    Does the theory of evolution make any exclusive predictions?

    Apparently not, if YECs accept evolutionary theory.

    That is something that ONLY its proposed mechanisms could produce?

    Er, can’t parse this.

    As for evidence of ID what part of transcription, with its proofreading, error-correction and editing, strikes you as being cobbled together via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    I admit this is a hard one. The evolution of the genetic code is possibly impossible to elucidate. Work continues.

    What part of translation, with its signaling of a tRNA to bring the correct amino acid to the ribosome and then stringing those amino acids together, strikes you as being cobbled together from an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    Work continues.

    What I am trying to say is what is the evidence for the atelic position?

    Perhaps if there was some evidence for it then so many people wouldn’t reject it.

    Science cannot address teleology. It can only work with what is observable, detectable, testable. Science will not find God. But science will continue to look for natural explanations.

  220. Alan Fox:

    Science cannot address teleology.

    Yet scientists do just that.

    What do you think archaeologists look for? Signs of teleology.

    Forensics- dtermine a criminal act from nature.

    Also you say something about nested hierarchies.

    Yet you have proven that you don’t even understand the concept.

    Also refuting ID would strengthen the atelic position.

    That is just plain obvious.

    It can only work with what is observable, detectable, testable.

    ID is testable. It is observable and detectable.

    Demonstrate that an unknown, unseen, undetectable agent tweaks living organisms would be an interesting thing to demonstrate.

    That is not what ID postulates.

    IOW once again you have proven you don’t understand ID.

    So why don’t you take the time to educate yourself and then come back and ask specific questions?

    You are at once saying agency activity (whatever that is) designs beaver dams and at the same time ID is seeking to determine it.

    So you lied when you said you read Del’s book.

    Ya see we look for signs of agency involvement- ie agent activity. That is how it works in ALL design-centric venues.

    Then we can test the inference by figuring out if nature, operating freely, can produce it.

    Evolutionary biology, molecular biology and embryology are making new discoveries on a wide scale.

    And yet nothing to support their position.

    Go figure…

  221. Beaver college?

    Name’s been changed :-)

  222. To falsify ID all one has to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely, can produce the object/ event in question.

    IOW ID is testable and falsifiable.

    What part of that don’t you guys understand?

  223. Nature, operating freely could not build a spider’s web.

    So the designer does it?

    The spider IS the designer of its webs.

    The beaver IS the designer (of their beaver dams).

    The termites are the designers of their termite mounds.

    In each case nature, operating freely could not have produced the structures in question. Therefor agency involvement was required. And in each case the agency has been identified.

  224. 225

    Joseph, just to clarify: is the agency of the spiders, termites, and beavers intelligent?

  225. “Why doesn’t Bob O’Hara post here any more?”

    He used to post here for at least a couple years. I do not know the circumstances of his banishment. But when he was here, he was asked about macro evolution and essentially declined to answer. So I do not know what your point is.

    “Why do you never venture to other sites where evolutionary biologists might dispute your assertion “that there is no evidence for macro evolution”?”

    I do not have much time for this and when I have gone to other sites, I rarely saw a cordial conversation. And there have been evolutionary biologists who have come here so no one is prohibiting them from coming. They can come as long as they are cordial.

    As I often say, I miss great_ape who was a gentleman and as knowledgeable as anyone who ever came here. He was an evolutionary biologist.

    I suggest you find a biologists who can explain the evidence for macro evolution to you and then bring it here for discussion. If it is presented in a factual and cordially way then I am sure there will be a good discussion. Try it and see what happens.

  226. I will say this again. There are no good definitions of

    science, intelligence, life and species.

    If any one doubts this, then maybe they should provide a definition. Yet we discuss all of them here and with little misunderstanding. For intelligence we all sort of know what we mean by it but some people here just want to throw anything they can into the gears to stop a discussion so they will ask for a precise definition.

    And a friend of mine once dated a girl from Beaver College. But they changed the name of the school in recent years. They used to meet out by the dam.

  227. ““Why do you never venture to other sites where evolutionary biologists might dispute your assertion “that there is no evidence for macro evolution”?””

    Funny you should ask. I am doing that right now at Richard Dawkins web site. The ignorance there is appalling. I can’t get them to agree on what “natural selection” is or see that ultimately they must explain everything with the laws of physics since they eschew mind.

    I meet the same sort of “resistance” everywhere. So now you are retreating into semantic games. All along we’ve known what information and language are but now that a devastating argument has been made all of a sudden we need to go back and rethink our definitions. This is what makes arguing with naturalists about anything so entertaining. They can’t justify the first thing about anything so the bobbing and weaving is just something to behold. Trying to get you to stake out a truth claim and back it up or actually deal with an argument that’s been made is virtually impossible.

    More to come after I take my wife to dinner. :-)

  228. 229

    Dave Wisker asked me to post the following response to jerry (Dave Wisker’s in permanent moderation):

    Jerry writes [124]:

    It is represented here on this site and in the academic and popular literature by the lack of any coherent demonstration that Darwinian macro evolution ever took place. Now macro evolution did take place and no one is denying that here but there is no evidence for it happening by Darwinian processes or any other known natural processes.

    For those who still think macrovolutionary processes have not or cannot be observed or examined experimentally, I suggest reading this essay by molecular biologist Art Hunt on his blog The RNA Underworld:

    “Is macroevolution impossible to study (Part 2)?

    The plant kingdom is many things – the basis of agriculture and civilization, a natural laboratory with a stupefying capability in organic synthesis, a source of untold numbers of pharmaceuticals, antimicrobials, herbals, and other chemical playthings, a fascinating range of biological form and function, and an eminently accessible subject for studies of evolution. Along the lines of the last two bullets, one of the more interesting aspects of plants is the range of growth habits that may be adopted. Among these are two sets of contrasting characteristics – annual or perennial, and herbaceous or woody. Differences in these characteristics are among the bases for classification of plant species. For this reason, but also because accompanying morphological differences can be quite considerable, evolutionary changes that involve transitioning between these states are macroevolutionary. Thus, it stands to reason that studying the means by these characteristics evolve amounts to experimental analysis of macroevolution, and understanding the underlying mechanisms constitutes an explanation of macroevolutionary processes.

    The article goes on to describe work with the plant Arabidopsis thaliana in which mutations to two genes resulted in dramatic changes to the plant’s reproductive growth habits, changes that would, if found in two different populations would place them in different higher taxa. In other words, small, microevolutionary processes can be observed to produce macroevolutionary types of changes.

    The article can be found here.

  229. tgpeeler,

    I am doing that right now at Richard Dawkins web site. The ignorance there is appalling. I can’t get them to agree on what “natural selection” is or see that ultimately they must explain everything with the laws of physics since they eschew mind.

    LOL. I just checked in over there, and that thread is a real circus. It seems like they should be able to explain the concept in a few sentences, but most of them carry on paragraph after paragraph with no point.

  230. 231

    Dave Wisker,

    You’re out of moderation. I’m not sure why you were ever moderated, I think it happened before my time.

  231. 232

    Alan Fox,

    ——”Jerry,

    Why doesn’t Bob O’Hara post here any more? It is simply because he can’t. Ask Clive, he will confirm it.”

    Why would you be asking Jerry a question that I made about moderation?

  232. tgpeeler @228

    Funny you should ask. I am doing that right now at Richard Dawkins web site. The ignorance there is appalling.

    There is considerable ignorance on display in that thread, indeed.

    I can’t get them to agree on what “natural selection” is or see that ultimately they must explain everything with the laws of physics since they eschew mind.

    I just read through the thread and there seems to be a consensus that natural selection is the result of heritable traits, imperfect replication, and the consequent variations in reproductive success. Natural selection is not a force, in the physics sense, and this was explained to you in that thread.

    Frankly, your deliberate obtuseness there does the ID movement no favors. Those who would challenge the scientific orthodoxy must first understand it themselves. Failure to do so makes it very easy for ID opponents to ignore us even when we have valid points.

    JJ

  233. David Kellogg,

    I am glad that Dave Wisker is not in moderation. He has been posting here for several months off and on and has been a great source of information.

    However, there seems to be a misunderstanding about macro evolution and we have had this discussion before. The term does not have any firm definition and the one we are using here at ID are the origin of new systems or as I call it the origin of complex novel capabilities. This usually implies the working of several new parts of an organism. We have had this discussion with khan before and that what some others are calling macro evolution is not what we are calling macro evolution.

    It is possible to get some very dramatic morphological changes with very little change in a genome. ID has no problem with that and as has been said many times accepts all the changes that various mechanisms of change can produce (Allen MacNeill’s 50+ engines of variation.) I believe that teosinte and maize or corn are the same species but look completely different so the cultivation of corn from teosinte would not be an example of macro evolution. Just as the breeding of a Labrador Retriever from a wolf would not be macro evolution.

    Similarly the change of one or two elements of a genome in a plant that produced a dramatic morphological change or even changed it from an annual to a perennial would not be what we would call macro evolution. It is obviously an interesting change and may be of immense practical value. One can certainly object but ID has no problem with such changes and these types of things are not under debate. To represent it as such is a misunderstanding.

    If one wants, then we can agree that there are different types of macro evolution and the one ID objects to as never or rarely being demonstrated is the introduction of new systems within the organism. I have to personally admit I have very little understanding of plants and most of what I have read is about animals.

    Think wings, echolocation, blood pressure system in giraffes, warm bloodiness, four chamber hearts, neurological systems, eyes, avian oxygen transport system, the many adaptations in whales to live in water etc. It is quite possible that some of these complex systems may be shown to follow simple evolutionary paths and if so then ID would not object.

  234. 235

    jerry,

    Here is what I don’t understand. In that link you gave me some time ago presenting the ID concept of macroevolution, you talked about microevolutionary processes being capable of producing changes up to the genus level at best. I have to ask just what evidence brought you to derive this limit. The reason I ask is, consider the rodent families Muridae (mice) and Sciuridae (squirrels). What differences between these two higher taxa require complex adaptations that could not have been achieved via microevolutionary processes?

    Similarly, lets go even higher up the taxonomic chain to orders. Consider the orders Lagomorpha (rabbits, hares, and pikas), Macroscelidea (elephant shrews), and Rodentia (rodents). What differences between them require complex adaptations that could not have been achieved via microevolutionary processes?

  235. 236

    You’re out of moderation. I’m not sure why you were ever moderated, I think it happened before my time.

    Thanks Clive.

  236. 237

    Art Hunt has told me he would be glad to discuss his article on UD, if that were possible. Clive, could Art be given posting privileges? I’ve heard complaints that not enough evolutionary biologists post here. Art’s pretty accomplished in his field.

  237. 238

    Shubin N & C Marshall (2000). Fossils, genes and the origin of novelty. Paleobiology 26(4): 324-340

    From the abstract (my emphasis):

    Discoveries from both paleontology and developmental genetics have shed new light on the origin of morphological novelties. The genes that play a major role in establishing the primary axes of the body and appendages, and that regulate the expression of the genes that are responsible for initiating the making of structures such as eyes, or hearts, are highly conserved between phyla. This implies that it is not new genes, per se, that underlie much of morphological innovation, but that it is changes in when and where these and other genes are expressed that constitute the underlying mechanistic basis of morphological innovation. Gene duplication is also a source of developmental innovation, but it is possible that it is not the increased number of genes (and their subsequent divergence) that is most important in the evolution of new morphologies; rather it may be the duplication of their regulatory regions that provides the raw material for morphological novelty. Bridging the gap between microevolution and macroevolution will involve understanding the mechanisms behind the production of morphological variation. It appears that relatively few genetic changes may be responsible for most of the observed phenotypic differences between species, at least in some instances.

    This ties in with Allen MacNeil’s ideas on the engines of variation, I would think.

  238. 239

    jerry writes:

    Think wings, echolocation, blood pressure system in giraffes, warm bloodiness, four chamber hearts, neurological systems, eyes, avian oxygen transport system, the many adaptations in whales to live in water etc. It is quite possible that some of these complex systems may be shown to follow simple evolutionary paths and if so then ID would not object

    Insect wings:

    Averof M and SM Cohen (1997). Evolutionary origin of insect wings from ancestral gills. Nature 385: 627-630.

    From the abstract:

    Two hypotheses have been proposed for the origin of insect wings. One holds that wings evolved by modification of limb branches that were already present in multibranched ancestral appendages and probably functioned as gills. The second proses that wings arose as novel outgrowths of the body wall, not directly related to any pre-existing limbs. If wings arose from dorsal structures of multibranched appendages, we expect that some of their distinctive features will have been built on genetic functions that were already present in the structural progenitors of insect wings, and in homologous structures of other arthropod limbs. We have isolated crustacean homologues of two genes that have wing –specific functions in insects, pdm (nubbin) and apterous. Their expression patterns support the hypothesis that insect wings evolved from gill-like appendages that were already present in the aquatic ancestors of both crustaceans and insects.

    Multichambered hearts:

    The fact is, we know empirically that subtle modifications of embryonic genes can result in novel traits. Is it hard to imagine the evolution of the multichambered vertebrate heart from a simple one-chamber precursor? Researchers have shown that a simple regulatory change (well within the power of a simple random mutation) during development can result in
    “an unexpected phenotype: transformation of a single-compartment heart into a functional multicompartment organ.” in the invertebrate tunicate Ciona intestinalis.

    See:

    Davidson B, WSJ Beh, L Christiaen, and M Levine (2006). FGF signaling delineates the cardiac progenitor field in the simple chordate, Ciona intestinalis. Genes and Development. 20: 27287-2738

    Avian oxygen transport system:

    It appears to be a feature that birds may share with therapod dinosaurs:

    O’Connor PM and LPAM, Claessens (2005) Basic avian pulmonary design and flow-through ventilation in non-avian theropod dinosaurs. Nature 436:253-256.

    From the article:

    Recent studies of non-avian theropod dinosaurs have documented several features once thought solely to characterize living birds, including the presence of feather-like integumentary specializations, rapid, avian-like growth rates, 28, and even bird-like behaviours captured in the fossil record. Either implicitly or explicitly, these studies have linked anatomical, physiological or behavioural inferences with an increased metabolic potential, suggesting that if not bird-like in metabolism, theropods were at least ‘more similar’ to birds than to reptiles. Our study indicates that basal neotheropods possessed the anatomical potential for flow-through ventilation of the pulmonary system, emphasizing the early evolution of respiratory adaptations that are consistent with elevated metabolic rates in predatory dinosaurs.

  239. Dave Wisker,

    “Here is what I don’t understand. In that link you gave me some time ago presenting the ID concept of macroevolution, you talked about microevolutionary processes being capable of producing changes up to the genus level at best.”

    If you want to know what the basis for the discussions are, it is Michael Behe’s Edge of Evolution. This book indicated the limitation of naturalistic processes in creating novelty. The focus of the book was on single celled organisms but there is no reason it could not be extended to animals which have considerably less reproductive events to generate novelty.

    “The reason I ask is, consider the rodent families Muridae (mice) and Sciuridae (squirrels). What differences between these two higher taxa require complex adaptations that could not have been achieved via microevolutionary processes?”

    If two separate families are only separated by micro evolutionary changes, then ID would not contest it or have problems with it no matter how high up each were on a classification ladder. I believe the order is rodents. Could both these families be just the results of micro evolutionary processes acting on some larger gene pool than either one and the consequences are due to separate environmental conditions. Or are there some critical characteristics of either family that can not be explained by such a process and is the result of possibly one of Allen MacNeill’s engines of variation creating a unique capability in one of the gene pools that was not in the other or in any other family of this order. Just what are the critical differences between the two families and could the difference be explained by devolution rather than evolution. And by that I mean, are the only differences due to a narrowing of the gene pool plus maybe some minor mutations that have no system building capabilities.

    It is an hypothesis that what we see in nature is devolution or a limiting of the gene pools and not evolution and an expansion of the gene pools. Not an absolute conclusion but not something I have seen eliminated. It has been broached many times before and if the hypothesis were not true, then why hasn’t evidence to contradict it been presented in textbooks, books on evolution or elsewhere? If such information was available it would immensely bolster the naturalistic evolution argument. Just show the differences are not due to trivial straight forward micro evolutionary processes but due to the building of complex novel capabilities over time. There should be a trail in fossil record and in the current suite of animals in the world today indicating the capability of naturalistic process to build these changes.

    Remember that ID is primarily concerned with information and says that naturalistic processes do not have the capability to produce substantial differences in the information content of a genome that will lead to novel complex capabilities. ID doesn’t say that substantial changes to a genome don’t take place, only that these major changes do not lead to new major capabilities. If the examples brought forward represent only minor changes of the genome then ID will have no problems even if the morphological differences are large. I personally think that such a system (micro evolution) represents good design and enables species to adapt when faced with new environments. But I also believe there is a limit to what these adaptions can be. I and I believe most others here are willing to be proven wrong. But so far no one has done it.

  240. re #233 “I just read through the thread and there seems to be a consensus that natural selection is the result of heritable traits, imperfect replication, and the consequent variations in reproductive success. Natural selection is not a force, in the physics sense, and this was explained to you in that thread.

    Frankly, your deliberate obtuseness there does the ID movement no favors. Those who would challenge the scientific orthodoxy must first understand it themselves. Failure to do so makes it very easy for ID opponents to ignore us even when we have valid points.”

    Let’s deal with the pedagogical issue first. I grant you that playing dumb may not have been the best gambit. Still, the confusion my “innocent” questions provoked was astonishing to me, particularly on that forum.

    Now to your prior point. The consensus of what “natural selection” is on that thread is pretty meaningless to me. I contend that n.s. is a myth, a word game at best. It merely describes being alive. Any organism that is “fit” is by definition, alive. And any organism that is alive is by definition, fit. This is a classic case of circular reasoning. Not only that, but the idea is based on, as far as I can tell, three faulty assumptions. One is rational and two are empirical. In any case, my contention is that the reigning scientific orthodoxy regarding life is about as “scientific” as a flat earth. This battle won’t be won in this generation in academia. There are too many vested and intrenched interests who will literally have to die off before this stranglehold will be broken. The best that any of us, I assume you are one of “us,” I don’t know you, can hope for is to persuade uncommitted or genuinely inquisitive people. Ruling castes never go easily into the night. I think the next generation of thinkers will have a shot at setting things right and they will be standing on the shoulders of the ID giants of today who are making extreme sacrifices, the academic equivalent of Iwo Jima (I’m a retired infantry Marine and I’m not exaggerating, much, about the sacrifices, when I say that – to invest ones life in academic pursuits and then put it all on the line in the defense of truth is very admirable – I like to think I’d do it but who knows), but I’ll never see the day.

    Do organisms adapt to their environments? Yes. But that is not “natural selection” at work. What we see is the interplay of exquisitely designed organisms that can not only survive where they are but also have the capability, built in, to adapt to changing circumstances. The genetic language, I predict (duh), will turn out to be the most complex and intricate language in the universe. When we think of what goes on in a living organism, all of it driven by information encoded in DNA, we should immediately infer that there is something more at play than time, chance, and necessity.

    The crux of my argument (I’ll present it in full blown form later) is that to explain life one must explain information. This claim, to my knowledge, is uncontroversial. Therefore, the true explanation for life will be able to account for information. But natural processes (physics – or “natural selection” plus genetic mutation – or ANY other naturalistic explanation, one that denies the place of mind) cannot possibly account for information because nothing in physics (or chemistry) can explain symbols and rules for the use of those symbols. Only mind can do that. Therefore, the game is OVER. All anyone has to do is “do the math.” Either mind or “no mind.” “No mind” cannot explain information, and therefore it cannot explain life. Therefore mind is the answer. It’s really that simple. For anyone who takes reason seriously, that is. Obviously, “they” don’t but outsiders looking in may. Anyway, thanks for your comments and I’ll get back out to Dawkins’ web site and be much more direct. Give them something to really shoot at. :-)

  241. 242

    Dave Wisker,

    Art Hunt can comment here, if he hasn’t been black-listed before.

  242. Thanks to the crew here for looking at my essay. If this message goes through, I will have more to say about jerry’s remarks.

  243. 244

    Hi jerry,

    If two separate families are only separated by micro evolutionary changes, then ID would not contest it or have problems with it no matter how high up each were on a classification ladder. I believe the order is rodents. Could both these families be just the results of micro evolutionary processes acting on some larger gene pool than either one and the consequences are due to separate environmental conditions.

    Why would the ancestral gene pool have to have been “larger”? It seems to me far more likely– given what we know about heredity– that the genomes are roughly the same as the ancestral one, but have diversified independently since the split. I don’t see how a “narrowing” is necessary to explain differences acquired since divergence. Some lineages can undergo losses of variation due to extreme specialization (think of highly specific plant-pollinator coevolution), but that is due more to competitive pressure, not simple divergence due to reproductive isolation.

    This sounds like that ‘devolution’ hypothesis you mentioned. Can you point me to a paper in which that hypothesis is outlined? Frankly, I’ve never seen it in the evolutionary literature.

  244. 245

    Clive,

    Art used to comment here, and may have been blacklisted under Dave Scot’s reign, although why (other than agreeing with Abbie “ERV” Smith in a heated thread on Behe’s new book) was not made clear. At any rate, his attempts at commenting now get lost in the aether.

    I’ve known Art personally for some time, and I think his expertise in molecular biology and biochemistry, and the fact he works with plants, would make his input here informative and useful. Not that he’s going to agree with most folks ;)

  245. Dave Wisker, you said:

    “Why would the ancestral gene pool have to have been larger”

    The process I have seen explained for most species development is the separation of a sub population with a smaller gene pool and subsequent development so that there is no longer possibility of inner breeding. Often it has been indicated that this sub population has a dramatically different gene pool than the parent population. Since it came from the gene pool of the parent population it must be smaller. Once lost it is unlikely a characteristic will return except through gene transfer and since this is now a new species this is much less likely to happen. Also natural selection will tend to refine gene pools due to environmental conditions and as environment conditions change again will cull it more. Genetic drift will also tend to reduce variability. This is one of the explanations I have seen for extinction, the lack of variability in the gene pool due to contraction over time. Now there is always the possibility of mutations adding to a particular gene pool but in general the process explained to me is one mainly of culling not expanding. This is an issue for empirical investigation.

    Can squirrels and mice inner breed? (artificially I guess if possible at all) If they can, then the taxonomy is not correct. If they cannot which is what seems likely, then what characteristic of each is different and preventing such a breeding. How did these characteristics arise? Were they part of other families in the order and if so then they most likely preceded either family. All of this is an empirical issue.

    As I have said many times before on this site, the conclusions on what actually happened will come down to genome comparisons and this will probably happen in the next 15-20 years for some lineages. But right now I have not seen any indication from anyone in evolutionary biology that species differences or genera differences or family differences are due to the origin of complex novel capabilities. Now I am sure there may be some and when they are researched it will have to be determined how they arose genetically.

    ID says the whole discussion comes down to changes in information because that is what guides the changes we see morphologically and what are the probabilities that such changes in the information controlling the physical changes could arise by naturalistic processes. ID says it is very limited and this was the argument of the Edge of Evolution and at the center of the debate.

  246. 247

    Diffaxial,

    All of your posts so far have centered on objecting to my descriptive terms of various observations and phenomena. These descriptive terms are generally not seen as being in any way hard to grasp. For instance, I have a teenage daughter who understands that a red plastic ball is a physically inert object in terms of its existence – in that there is nothing in the hydrocarbons of the plastic that causes it to become a red ball. It requires the act of an agent to accomplish that. She is also able to grasp that other things, such as language and meaning, are physically inert as well.

    So if you are, perhaps, a slow learner or have difficulty with modest conceptualizations, then I simply did not pick up on it. More than likely I may have overlooked it given your pompous certainty that terms such as “physically inert” and “meaning” are so overwhelmingly difficult and vague as to hinder your understanding of the underlying concepts being discussed. I apologize for not being more empathetic to any special needs you might have.

    To be quite honest, up until your last post I simply assumed that you were just another materialist bigot illuminating what Karl Popper referred to as a Conventionalist. This is one who is so dogmatically attached to the current paradigm that they constantly argue over mere words, in place of allowing themselves to accept or recognize the meaning. It seams the issue is often cloaked in a contrived endeavor for clarity, which is both obvious and unending. Popper referred to “such arguments” over words as “specious and insignificant”.

    Having said all that, I want you to know that I am more than willing to slow down for you. In fact, I am more than happy to relinquish all descriptive terms directly to you. In true Popperian fashion “they are not important”. Frankly I only use the term “physically inert” because it’s shorter than saying “something that exist, but its existence is not explained by its own physical properties and is not the product of chance”. However, if you feel there is a better term that means the exact same thing, then by all means suggest it and I’ll use your term.

    I also see that you are struggling with the term “meaning”. If you’ll look back I suggested the illustration of saying the word “apple”. When you think “apple” and then say the word “apple” it’s not a physical apple that is coming out of your mouth. Instead it’s a word that means apple. In other words, the word “meaning” suggests something that represents something else, but is not physically connected to it. Again, if you have a word that suggests the same thing, then we can use that term as well.

    Now if we go back and put these two descriptions (physically inert and meaning) together we end up with something like this: something that exist, but its existence is not explained by its own physical properties and is not the product of chance -and- this something represents something else without being physically connected to it”. What ever terms you’d like to use for that is fine with me (again, the words are not as important as the concept).

    So let’s now return to the sentence that you wished to have the blanks filled in. (…and by the way, the minor correction made to my first post was not made because the first post was wrong, misleading, or untrue – it was made because I temporarily forgot that mentioning OOL, would give those dogmatic conventionalist I told you about an opportunity to throw anarchy to reason, as Popper suggested. I therefore replaced the term “origin of life” with the term “function of life”. I had truly hoped the change would not have thrown you off too badly, so I apologize for confusing you yet again).

    You asked: “If my theory is true, then we should observe _____. If we fail to observe ______, then my theory is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    To which I responded: “If the theory of design is true, then we should observe physically inert meaning in the function of Life. If we fail to observe it, then the theory is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    Now, with the ousting of my confusing terms and the replacement of them with what is intended by them, we can now see what the concept entails.

    If the design theory is true, then we should observe “something that exist, but its existence is not explained by its own physical properties and is not the product of chance -and- this something represents something else without being physically connected to it” in the function of Life. However, if we do not observe “something that exist, but its existence is not explained by its own physical properties and is not the product of chance -and- this something represents something else without being physically connected to it” in the function of Life, then the theory of design is at risk of disconfirmation.

    Yes…I know it’s certainly a mouthful, but I simply wanted to remove the offensive and confusing words I used so that you may more easily grasp the underlying concept.

    (Oh but wait, I also see that you are particularly sensitive to the phrase “meaningful equality” when I suggest that if x then y requires a meaningful equality to be placed between the theory x and the observation y. I can only suggest for you the dictionary in this instance: meaningful = having a meaning or purpose, equality = a quality or state of being equal. I am suggesting that the observation should have qualities that are meaningfully and purposefully in a state of being equal to what is prescribed by the theory. Again, I apologize for leading you into a condition of abject bewilderment).

    So now, back to actual issue…

    We do, in fact, observe through scientific methods that living things are given the ability to function by “something that exist, but its existence is not explained by its own physical properties and is not the product of chance -and- this something represents something else without being physically connected to it”

    This “something” to which I am referring is the information contained in DNA, and the symbol system by which that information is communicated.

    Both the information and the symbol system are “something that exist, but its existence is not explained by its own physical properties and is not the product of chance”.

    This is the point to where you have been challenged. Your sentence had its blanks filled in, and it is far beyond time for you to answer the concept and not the words.

    I commented earlier that:

    “You can’t logically (or reasonably) challenge [this] reality as far as it being physically inert, you can’t challenge it as far as being meaning, and you can’t challenge it as far as leading to function.”

    I also said:

    “If you had a defense against the argument that chance and necessity cannot account for information and language, then you would have made it a thousand times over. If you had an argument that a volitional act is not inferred by the evidence, you would have made that as well (and would have done so with the observation that chance and necessity can indeed lead to physically-inert language and information).

    So you go think about the words that you want to replace mine with. They can be anything you wish, it’s not important (only the rational truth of the concept is important). We can call physically inert “ballyhoo”, and we can call meaning “flapdoodle”. It’s all good by me.

    I’ll be right here when your ready to address the issue.

  247. Dave Wisker,

    Art Hunt’s attitude in one of the articles that David Kellogg pointed to was very hostile to ID and both essentially expressed strawman arguments. If he were to comment here and I hope he does, then he should have a different attitude both here and in other places about what is being discussed and also recognize the lack of relevance of his arguments in those two articles to the debate.

    He may have many other arguments that are very relevant but in the two articles linked to on macro evolution both are not relevant. They are interesting articles. And after a quick perusal of what else is on his site, he would be a valuable source for anyone wanting to learn about biology and evolution.

    One of the reasons we dislike those who oppose ID is the complete lack of respect by most of them for the people here who support ID. There is a long litany of pejoratives used to describe those who support ID and it is not the basis for any meaningful discussion and it often expressed right off the bat in initial comments here by new posters.

    If one wants to come here and have a fruitful discussion, then one has to have a different attitude. For example, your comments here have been respectful and we appreciate it but if you should then go to another forum and belittle and mock those here then what reason should we have to respect you or even want to have a conversation with you.

    And if people have such little respect for us, why do they continue to come here and often try to dominate the discussions. Especially when they know so little. I find it an amusing side issue in this whole debate. So I hope Art Hunt is willing to come here with that in mind so we can all learn but if it is just to put us down then it will not be of much use or if he goes back and belittles us someplace else then it is a waste of time.

  248. jerry,

    Often it has been indicated that this sub population has a dramatically different gene pool than the parent population. Since it came from the gene pool of the parent population it must be smaller.

    I don’t understand this. why does “different” = “smaller”? some alleles that were more variable in the ancestral population may have become fixed or less variable in the new population (which I assume is what you mean by a narrowing of the gene pool), but others may have become more variable due to e.g. relaxed selection. so there is no need for the gene pool to become smaller with speciation.

  249. 250

    Hi jerry,

    The process I have seen explained for most species development is the separation of a sub population with a smaller gene pool and subsequent development so that there is no longer possibility of inner breeding. Often it has been indicated that this sub population has a dramatically different gene pool than the parent population.

    .

    A smaller gene pool may have a different distribution of allelic frequencies than the parent population. That doesn’t mean its capacity for the generation of new variation is dramatically less: after all, its still shares the same number of genes with its parent. If it remains very small and completely isolated from every other population then yes, its stock of variation will dwindle considerably. But both conditions remaining static for long periods of time are more the exception than the rule. Many subpopulations develop complete isolation over long periods of time, with hybrid zones of contact with other subpopulations bringing in fresh alleles (but at a dwindling rate) for some time before breaking off contact eventually, which can allow them to grow quite large before final, complete isolation. .

    Can squirrels and mice inner breed? (artificially I guess if possible at all) If they can, then the taxonomy is not correct

    Not according to the Biological Species Concept. The key factor is that the populations be reproductively isolated, and this isolation can come in several forms. For example, as far as I am aware, squirrels and mice never attempt to mate with each other. For all intents and purposes, they are isolated reproductively by behavior. That they may still be interfertile through, say, artificial means is moot. The fact is they are reproductively isolated enough that they never exchange genes in nature, and have been isolated enough to have accumulated enough differences that one could never mistake one for the other. This does leave some ambiguity and uncertainty when it comes to pinpointing when a population stops being a variety or incipient species, and becomes a full-fledged species. But that isn’t particularly new or controversial: even Darwin noted that the difference between a variety and species is often arbitrary.

    But right now I have not seen any indication from anyone in evolutionary biology that species differences or genera differences or family differences are due to the origin of complex novel capabilities

    That may well be because there is little reason or evidence to think the differences are due to the origin of complex novel capabilities, at least in general. That would render ID’s definition of macroevolution far too restrictive to be of any utility, in my opinion.

  250. Hi jerry,

    You said recently:

    “But right now I have not seen any indication from anyone in evolutionary biology that species differences or genera differences or family differences are due to the origin of complex novel capabilities”

    Taken along with your earlier comment about my essay, this statement gets to be confusing. I take it that you don’t see woody growth habits (as seen in redwoods) as a complex capability different from what we see in, say dandelions. I also take it that perennial vs annual growth habits are also not different “compex capabilities”. OTOH, wings, 4-chambered hearts, warm bloodedness and the like are. From where I sit, there really isn’t much of a difference as far as “novel complex capabilities” between what you see in animals and what I discuss in plants.

    Perhaps you can clarify your assertion by laying out some explicit metrics that you use to make these distinctions.

  251. Dave Wisker, you said:

    “That would render ID’s definition of macroevolution far too restrictive to be of any utility, in my opinion.”

    ID would have no problem with a different definition of macro evolution but the concept ID is interested in is the origin of complex novel capabilities and somehow something has got to express that. Macro evolution has been the usual term to encompass this. Here is a discussion of the problems ID is interested in that I have posted about a half dozen times. The latest was few months ago

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-299358

    Also I think anyone disputing ID should also read this first. I believe you already read it.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-296129

    Certainly Darwin knew the real issue involved the origin of complex functional elements and tried to address the eye as a result by pointing to a light sensitive spot.

  252. Biped @ 246:

    Thank you for your patience with the handicapped.

    All of your posts so far have centered on objecting to my descriptive terms of various observations and phenomena. These descriptive terms are generally not seen as being in any way hard to grasp.

    In a scientific context it is important to define terms descriptive of potential observations operationally (per Bridgeman etc.). The examplars you provide of “physically inert meaning” encompass so many examples (human languages, animal signaling, aspects of genetic transcription) that it needs to be sharpened considerably before it can be of any real observational use.

    If the design theory is true, then we should observe “something that exist, but its existence is not explained by its own physical properties and is not the product of chance – and – this something represents something else without being physically connected to it” in the function of life.”

    OK, that’s better. Let me think about it…

    “…Something not explained by its own physical properties” (e.g. “law” or “necessity,” ),

    “…and is not the product of chance…”

    Sound familiar?

    What you are essentially reproducing in this clause is something very close to the EF. So your prediction in essence reduces to, “If design is true then we should observe something that ‘passes’ the EF…” (perilously close to “If design is true then we should observe design”), to which you’ve added, “…AND this something represents something else without being physically connected to it in the function of Life.” So your prediction inherits all the problems of the EF (not the least of which is that it doesn’t work) PLUS the additional burden of operationalizing the detection of “something that represents something else without being connected to it.”

    As a bonus, your test also indicates that a something that passes the EF without displaying symbolic abstraction (“physically inert meaning”) has failed to satisfy your test for design.

  253. 254

    Diffaxial,

    In a scientific context it is important to define terms descriptive of potential observations operationally (per Bridgeman etc.). The examplars you provide of “physically inert meaning” encompass so many examples (human languages, animal signaling, aspects of genetic transcription) that it needs to be sharpened considerably before it can be of any real observational use.

    Unless part of their use is the real observation that they all arrive by means of an agent. (Since someone might be interested in what causes them)

    What you are essentially reproducing in this clause is something very close to the EF.

    Is there anything about this sentence that makes any sense? Firstly, you asked for an entailment of design which could be verified by observation. I gave you one. Secondly, the EF is a mathematical tool for detecting the inference to design; it’s only been around a few years. What I gave you is a verifiable description of what has been giving function to Life since way back when.

    See how that works?

    Diffaxial…?

    You lost when you allowed me to fill in the blanks of your sentence. ID always wins when ID leads with the evidence. You should have gone off in the weeds along time ago.

    But ya didn’t.

  254. You lost when you allowed me to fill in the blanks of your sentence. ID always wins when ID leads with the evidence. You should have gone off in the weeds along time ago.

    Allowed? I’ve been BEGGING for a coherent entailment and a doable test thereof for weeks. I’m still waiting, your hard blowing notwithstanding.

  255. 256

    You have one on the hook right now… be my guest.

    Deal with the evidence for a change of pace.

    If you have an observation of chance and necessity leading to physically-inert language and information, then say it.

    Or

    Do we indeed observe physically inert meaning (as its been defined here) in the function of Life?

  256. If you have an observation of chance and necessity leading to physically-inert language and information, then say it.

    Or

    Do we indeed observe physically inert meaning (as its been defined here) in the function of Life?

    No one is going to observe anything corresponding to those definitional cow pies. They’re beyond useless on any side of the argument.

  257. 258

    Dave Wisker,

    I’ve taken Art out of the blacklisted pool and put him under moderation. He can now comment, subject to being moderated. If I see that he doesn’t need moderation, I’ll take him off that list too.

  258. 259

    Diffaxial,

    Those cowpies are already part of the scientific record. You been given the references to those exact phrases (“physically inert”, Abel) and then even posted the other yourself (“meaning”, Shannon).

    Then, you were told via Popper that the argument over the words was “specious and insignificant” in light of the evidence. The meaning of the words was provided to you. You had the context and had the choice to either challenge or ignore.

    And as your parting shot all you have to say is “cow pies”.

    You have made an admission by default that we do indeed observe physically inert meaning in the functioning of Life.

    That is the entailment of Design.

  259. 260

    I’ve taken Art out of the blacklisted pool and put him under moderation. He can now comment, subject to being moderated. If I see that he doesn’t need moderation, I’ll take him off that list too.

    Most excellent, Clive. I’ll let him know.

  260. 261

    Hi jerry,

    ID would have no problem with a different definition of macro evolution but the concept ID is interested in is the origin of complex novel capabilities and somehow something has got to express that. Macro evolution has been the usual term to encompass this.

    The ’usual’ term? I don’t think so. Steve Stanley, in his book Macroevolution: Pattern and Process defined it as simply evolution above the species level. So did Ernst Mayer. Theodosius Dobzhansky (one of the architects of the Modern Synthesis), in his book Genetics and the Origin of Species used the same definition. He went on to say:

    The words “microevolution” and “macroevolution” are relative terms, and have only descriptive meaning; they imply no differences in the underlying causal agencies.

    Another architect of the Modern Synthesis, G. Ledyard Stebbins, took that thinking even further in his book Processes of Organic Evolution. He doesn’t mention either term even once.
    As we have discussed earlier, change above the species level does not depend solely on complex adaptation. So, macroevolution in its usual sense (that is, the one used by most biologists) doesn’t either. I suggest that the definition of macroevolution as the origin of complex adaptation is misleading and unnecessary, and therefore should be dropped.

  261. re #255

    “Allowed? I’ve been BEGGING for a coherent entailment and a doable test thereof for weeks. I’m still waiting, your hard blowing notwithstanding.”

    And I’ve been patiently waiting for you to address the necessity for explaining information and the complete inability of any naturalistic program, including evolutionary theory, to do that. Come on, either tell me why explaining information isn’t important or, if it is, then go ahead and explain it, conceptually, at least, in terms of evolutionary theory. I’m sure I’m not the only one waiting to hear this…

  262. Upright Biped @ 259:

    Those cowpies are already part of the scientific record. You been given the references to those exact phrases (”physically inert”, Abel) and then even posted the other yourself (”meaning”, Shannon)

    Those exact phrases. You got me there.

    But two problems with the above:

    1) Abel doesn’t use the phrase “physically inert meaning.”

    2) I didn’t post or refer to the Shannon article. You’re thinking of that other guy again.

    3) R0b did link to a seminal Shannon paper above. It doesn’t contain the phrase either.

    Plop.

  263. Hi jerry,

    I’ll echo Dave Wisker’s comments without more elaboration. And ask a question to help clarify things. You said “the concept ID is interested in is the origin of complex novel capabilities”. Also, in commenting about my essay (linked to above), you seemed to dismiss the suggestion that things like perenniality and woody growth habits (say, trees vs dandelions, to provide a contrast we can all relate to) as being “complex novel capabilities”. However, by any biological criteria, these properties of plants are every bit as novel and complicated as the things you listed that pertain to animals. So my question is – what metric are you using to determine if particular features are “complex novel capabilities”?

  264. 265

    Diffaxial,

    ——”No one is going to observe anything corresponding to those definitional cow pies.”

    ——”I’m still waiting, your hard blowing notwithstanding.”

    This is why I put you in moderation.

  265. 266

    Clive,

    By what standard do Diffaxial’s comments merit the imposition of moderation if the following insults by Upright Biped (all of which come from a single comment) do not?

    So if you are, perhaps, a slow learner or have difficulty with modest conceptualizations… given your pompous certainty… I apologize for not being more empathetic to any special needs you might have… I simply assumed that you were just another materialist bigot… I am more than willing to slow down for you.

  266. 267

    Diffaxial,

    Those exact phrases. You got me there.

    But two problems with the above:

    1) Abel doesn’t use the phrase “physically inert meaning.”

    2) I didn’t post or refer to the Shannon article. You’re thinking of that other guy again.

    3) R0b did link to a seminal Shannon paper above. It doesn’t contain the phrase either.

    Plop.

    Are you a glutton for punishment?

    David Abel used the term “physically inert” in describing the sequencing of nucleotides within DNA. He used this term in a peer-reviewed journal and apparently it was found that reasonable men and women who are concerned with such things, as the sequencing of nucleotides within DNA, are able to communicate these ideas to each another by using terms such as physically inert.

    Now, perhaps this going to come as a shock to you, but, the sequencing of nucleotides in DNA has meaning.

    This concept of “meaning” is also very much covered in Abel’s work. I posted just one of the many relevant passages regarding “meaning” from his work earlier in this thread (and by the way, the concept also appears in Shannon’s paper under the nefarious and confusing term “meaning” on page one).

    Now, lets put the idea together for the last time…1) Something that has meaning (like the sequencing of nucleotides in DNA for instance) is observed to be 2) Physically Inert…and can be represented by the combination of those two terms (1+2).

    The combination of those two terms would result in a phrase (throughout the greater English-speaking world) such as “physically inert meaning”.

    What could such a phrase possibly mean, you ask again?

    Again, I offer the context – something that is physically inert in its existence, and lo and behold, it has meaning as well. That meaning (as it turns out) is what gives living things their ability to function as living things. I simply cannot repeat this any more, so I hope you got it this time.

    This is the concept that I offered to you as an observationally verifiable entailment of the theory of Design – as per your specific request.

    Subsequently, I have conceded all descriptive words to you (you can pick whatever you like) and have only held that the concepts must stay in accordance with the observable evidence.

    So now I’ll ask again:

    Do we indeed observe such a physically inert symbol system communicating physically inert information in the function of Life?

    - – - – - – -

    Your previous answer was “cow pies” …or more accurately, your previous answer was “No one is going to observe anything corresponding to those definitional cow pies. They’re beyond useless on any side of the argument.”

    Of course, this was just your affable way of deflection from having to address the question at hand. We all understand that. But it is also undeniably apparent that scientific journals do not share your concern in communicating these concepts with these words.

    So don’t repeat your claim. Give yourself a pep talk, and just answer the question instead.

  267. 268

    Serendipity, I have nothing to do with moderation on this board. I have been moderated here myself.

    I seek no protection from Diffaxial, and have absolutely nothing to fear from a thing he can say to me. Diffaxial can’t address the issue – bottom line. What he does is BS his way around the issue and pretends he addressed something.

    If there was any reason to moderate him, that would be it. Either way, he will loose this argument, as he already has.

  268. 269

    Diffaxial,
    You cannot challenge the observation that the method used to communicate the information contained in DNA is a representative symbol system which happens to be physically inert. You cannot challenge the observation that the information itself is physically inert as well. And you cannot challenge that this physically inert symbol system communicating physically inert information is what leads to function in Life.

    That is the entailment you asked for, and that is what I gave you.

  269. A Footnote:

    Here (from Thaxton’s cite) is what the future Sir Francis Crick wrote in a letter to his son, Michael, March 19, 1953.

    That is, just as soon as he and Watson had worked out what the DNA molecule was like:

    “Now we believe that the DNA is a code. That is, the order of bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another)”

    As can be easily seen, the functionality of DNA is to store information used to construct and increasingly evidently to regulate the construction of the molecular nanomachines of cell-based life. To do so, the key thing is the SEQUENCE of bases on the chain, which gives rise to specific SHAPES that for instance in Ribosomes, are such that 3-letter mRNA codons translated from the DNA fit (key-lock sense) the appropriate tRNA (with the attached amino acid for a growing protein molecule). Thus, we see a digital information system in action, based on a 4-state element, expressed in string code sequences.

    Of course, there are start and stop codons, and an intervening string data structure; so that the protein expressing algorithm is: start protein coding and expression, add amino acid1, 2, . . . n, STOP protein coding. Thereafter the aa string is folded (and may have additional atoms or active groups added to activate it) and transported to appropriate use sites in the cell.

    Protein functionality, of course is based on overall folded shape [which may be that of an agglomeration], bonds, active sites, strength of intra-chain interaction etc. that functionality is NOT a physical chemical consequence of the chemistry of an RNA string, but the result of PROCESSING (read, express, in sequence) THE INFORMATION ENCODED IN THE CODONS.

    So, UB is right to cite Abel et al on the fact that –as Crick pointed out right from the beginning of the DNA era — we are dealing with ORGANISED step by step, digitally coded information processing; not simple chains of physical-chemical interaction. What counts is the shape of the successive RNA 3-letter codons, derived in turn from the carefully stored codons in DNA. The matching tRNA, a separate molecule with an appropriate aa attached, locks to the codon in the Ribosome, and adds its AA to the emerging protein (similar to how the correctly shaped key unlocks the padlock . . . ). the specific sequence of the protein chain, and especially its side-groups [the chemistry of chaining has but little influence on the side group activity, again], then leads to a particular pattern of intra-molecular interactions and a highly complex folding to minimum-energy configuration.

    It is molecules in those configurations that then work together, often based on similar key-lock fitting, to effect teh complex processes of cell based life. but to do that the right clusters in the right relative configurations have to be in the right places at the right times, and that brings in the cell’s internal transportation network.

    The overall system if of such a magnitude of functionally specific informational complexity that the only reasonable comparison is the more complex works of engineering that we know of. [Tornado in a junkyard forms a functional 747, complete with onboard computers, anyone . . . ?]

    Save, for this further complexity — BTW, a further elaboration remarked on by no less than William Paley (who contemplated the implications of a self-replicating watch) — the cell is a self-replicating automaton.

    Von Neunann worked out the architecture for that back in the 40′s [it requires storing the blueprint and having an internal factory capable of replicating itself from instructions in the blueprint . . . a proto ID movement predicitve success . . . ], but we are not yet capable of this degree of sophuistication in our enginerring. much less, to do so using molecular nanotechnologies . . .

    So, looks like those who wish to explain the origin of life on the evolutionary materialist paradigm have a challenge to explain the SPONTANEOUS origin of a complex [way beyond 1,000 functional bits] digital information processing system out of molecular noise int hat still warm pond beloved of Sir Charles Robert Darwin. (And spark in gas exercises under cosmologically implausible lab conditions do not come NEAR to answering the need to get the info system together, even if all the parts were present and encapsulated. You do not get a functioning watch together by shaking the parts in a bag, not even once if the whole universe were reduced to bags of watch parts shaken for the thermodynamically plausible lifespan of the universe.)

    Then, when it comes to body plan level innovations required to get to the architectures of major groups of life forms, the information challenge moves form 600,000 bits for first life to 10′s – 100′s of megabits, dozens of times over. Nor will random variation plus natural selection causing cumulative selection answer to the helm on that: BEFORE you can climb up, step by easy step, from the beach of first functionality to the upper reaches of Mt Improbable, you have to first get tot he shores of Isle improbable, at random on a vast sea of non-functional DNA etc configurations. (not to mention, accounting for epigenetic information issues too.)

    And that, sirs, is why this claimed unobserved remote past origin of life and origin of body plan level biodiversity spontaneously through undirected chance plus necessity is just-so story materialist spin, not science. Something that Mr Richard Lewontin of the US NAS has confessed to back in 1997 in his NY review of Books article on Mr Sagan’s last book:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    In short, this is an issue of worldviews imposeed by powerful interests acting under false colours of science — not science as it should be: an unfettered but responsible search for the truth about our world based on empirical evidence — in the end.

    Hence, the intensity of the kulturkampf we seem to have on our hands. (Sadly, this weekend, a madman has taken the war metaphor to the point of murder; playing right into the hands of those whose Marxist training — thesis, antithesis, synthesis through ruthless power struggle [and,as Clausewitz famously advised, war is but the extension of politics to the battlefield . . . ] — makes them ever so loathe to “waste a crisis.”)

    GEM of TKI

  270. Dave Wisker:

    Steve Stanley, in his book Macroevolution: Pattern and Process defined it as simply evolution above the species level.

    Yet “species” is very ambiguous.

    Also YECs accept “evolution” above the species level.

    The definition of macroevolution that makes a distinction is the following:

    1) “microevolution”—the name used by many evolutionists to describe genetic variation, the empirically observed phenomenon in which exisiting potential variations within the gene pool of a population of organisms are manifested or suppressed among members of that population over a series of generations. Often simplistically (and erroneously) invoked as “proof” of “macro evolution”

    2) macroevolution—the theory/belief that biological population changes take (and have taken) place (typically via mutations and natural selection) on a large enough scale to produce entirely new structural features and organs, resulting in entirely new species, genera, families, orders, classes, and phyla within the biological world, by generating the requisite (new) genetic information. Many evolutionists have used “macro-evolution” and “Neo-Darwinism” as synonymous for the past 150 years.

    The point being by using the the term the way that evolutionary biologists use it there isn’t any debate about macro- and that means that definition is useless and misleading.

  271. David Kellogg:

    Joseph, just to clarify: is the agency of the spiders, termites, and beavers intelligent?

    A spider is an agency.

    A beaver is an agency.

    A termite is an agency.

    They all fit the definition of “intelligent” as it pertains to ID.

    That is “intelligence” can produce counterflow.

    (intelligent and agent are synonyms)

  272. Gene dupication-

    With gene duplication that duplicated gene requires a binding site in its regulatory region.

    And there is a peer-reviewed paper that demonstrates how difficult it is to get ONE mutation to get a binding site- that is one mi=utation to complete the sequence.

    waiting for two mutations.

    Not only that but if that new gene does not change the protein product will be just the same as the first gene’s, meaning all you get is another one of those proteins.

    So not only do you need a new binding site you also need that new gene to change such that it produces a different protein that can then also do something different.

    Then there are other transcription factors required.

    So the bottom line is undirected, goal-less evolution just does not have enough time.

    And time is all you have to resolve the problems I just mentioned.

  273. Diffaxial:

    I’ve been BEGGING for a coherent entailment and a doable test thereof for weeks. I’m still waiting,

    I have provided such an entailment.

    YOU just appear to be too messed up to understand it.

    To falsify ID all one has to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely, can produce the object/ event in question.

    IOW ID is testable and falsifiable.

    What part of that don’t you guys understand?

    Answer that question diff.

    You have also FAILED to fill in the blanks:

    “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    diffaxial had tried to answer those pertaining to the theory of evolution but the answers were so far off base they were pathetic.

    Stop avoiding that.

    All you are doing is proving that you don’t have a clue.

  274. tgpeeler @241

    Let’s deal with the pedagogical issue first. I grant you that playing dumb may not have been the best gambit. Still, the confusion my “innocent” questions provoked was astonishing to me, particularly on that forum.

    I don’t see the confusion — could you point to specific posts?

    My reading of it is that you were asking a question based on a misunderstanding of natural selection. Some of your respondents spent some time trying to tease out the underlying incorrect assumptions, which obviously takes more time than making erroneous statements in the first place.

    Now to your prior point. The consensus of what “natural selection” is on that thread is pretty meaningless to me. I contend that n.s. is a myth, a word game at best. It merely describes being alive. Any organism that is “fit” is by definition, alive.

    You are mistaken. As I noted above, and as several people at RichardDawkins.net attempted to explain to you, natural selection is a result of imperfect replication leading to differential reproductive success. It’s not that complex a concept. Natural selection is readily observed; it is not a myth.

    Not only that, but the idea is based on, as far as I can tell, three faulty assumptions.

    And those are?

    In any case, my contention is that the reigning scientific orthodoxy regarding life is about as “scientific” as a flat earth.

    Modern evolutionary theory is well supported by empirical evidence. It will take more than your simple assertions to refute that.

    Personally, I think that Dr. Behe’s work on the edge of evolution is likely to show that MET is insufficient, but that doesn’t mean that it is completely worthless. Until ID researchers produce empirical evidence demonstrating the limitations of MET mechanisms, it is the only scientific game in town.

    This battle won’t be won in this generation in academia. There are too many vested and intrenched interests who will literally have to die off before this stranglehold will be broken. The best that any of us, I assume you are one of “us,” I don’t know you, can hope for is to persuade uncommitted or genuinely inquisitive people. Ruling castes never go easily into the night. I think the next generation of thinkers will have a shot at setting things right and they will be standing on the shoulders of the ID giants of today who are making extreme sacrifices, the academic equivalent of Iwo Jima (I’m a retired infantry Marine and I’m not exaggerating, much, about the sacrifices, when I say that – to invest ones life in academic pursuits and then put it all on the line in the defense of truth is very admirable – I like to think I’d do it but who knows), but I’ll never see the day.

    A rigorous, falsifiable theory of ID that makes testable predictions combined with empirical evidence derived from those tests is all that is required. Certainly there will be those who oppose ID on philosophical grounds, but real scientific evidence cannot be ignored.

    Do organisms adapt to their environments? Yes. But that is not “natural selection” at work.

    More precisely, populations adapt, not individual organisms. That adaptation takes place via differential reproductive success based on random variations in replication. That process is what is meant by “natural selection.”

    What we see is the interplay of exquisitely designed organisms that can not only survive where they are but also have the capability, built in, to adapt to changing circumstances.

    I agree. Unfortunately, neither of us, nor any ID researchers, have any empirical evidence to support the claim of design. ID is a nascent theory. We shouldn’t overstate our case.

    The genetic language, I predict (duh), will turn out to be the most complex and intricate language in the universe. When we think of what goes on in a living organism, all of it driven by information encoded in DNA, we should immediately infer that there is something more at play than time, chance, and necessity.

    The crux of my argument (I’ll present it in full blown form later) is that to explain life one must explain information. This claim, to my knowledge, is uncontroversial. Therefore, the true explanation for life will be able to account for information. But natural processes (physics – or “natural selection” plus genetic mutation – or ANY other naturalistic explanation, one that denies the place of mind) cannot possibly account for information because nothing in physics (or chemistry) can explain symbols and rules for the use of those symbols. Only mind can do that. Therefore, the game is OVER. All anyone has to do is “do the math.” Either mind or “no mind.” “No mind” cannot explain information, and therefore it cannot explain life. Therefore mind is the answer. It’s really that simple. For anyone who takes reason seriously, that is. Obviously, “they” don’t but outsiders looking in may. Anyway, thanks for your comments and I’ll get back out to Dawkins’ web site and be much more direct. Give them something to really shoot at.

    I’m very interested to see your argument. I would note that one common problem with the “argument from information” is that ID proponents too often fail to clearly define what they mean by “information,” switching from Shannon information to Kolmogorov complexity to imprecise English language definitions willy nilly. The mathematical case needs to be made very clearly and consistently.

    The other problem typically seen with this argument is failure to take into account known evolutionary mechanisms. The most common consequence of this is that the “information” measured is ultimately computed as 2 raised to the number of bits assumed to be required to describe the artifact in question. This is, in fact, the probability of the artifact coming into existence de novo. That is not what MET claims happens.

    If you can avoid those two problems, you will indeed give the folks at RichardDawkins.net a run for their money.

    Good luck,

    JJ

  275. Mr Joseph,

    If you read that paper, you can see that the title is somewhat ironic. I don’t see how it supports your position.

  276. Mr Joseph,

    For the sake of specificity, can we talk about the distinction of land animals by how many holes (0, 1, 2) there are in the skull? This is an important cladistic distinction.

    However, its importance is only after-the-fact.

    Assume one hole was the ancestral condition. At some point, a species arises where the hole closes during development. At another point, a gene duplication creates a species with two holes. Isn’t that speciation, and micro-evolution? From one ancestral species, we now have three. A few million years have passed.

    A hundred million years later, we can look back and say, wow, those three species went on to have descendants that were quite varied. We categorize thousands of species over millions of years by different charaters. This character of hole in the skull turns out to be useful, and we assign it to a high level in the taxonomy.

    That is all after the fact. At the time, hole variation was a speciation event. I think this is a general idea, that differentiating characters at higher and higher levels in the taxonomy took place as speciation events further and further in the past.

    That is why people want to reduce macro-evolution to micro-evolution. At the time, it _was_ micro-evolution. Only our perspective allows us to call it macro-evolution.

  277. 278

    Mr Nakashima:

    That is why people want to reduce macro-evolution to micro-evolution. At the time, it _was_ micro-evolution. Only our perspective allows us to call it macro-evolution.

    Exactly. That is why Stebbins was able to write his book Processes of Organic Evolution without referring to either term.

  278. arthur hunt,

    You will have to pardon my ignorance on this subject but I know very little about plants. So maybe as a help you could explain in layman’s language or point to something that is fairly easy to understand about the differences between woody growth habits and the growth patterns in dandelions if that is different from herbaceous and what controls them in a plant organisms. Also could you do the same for perennial and annual plant mechanisms since it seems that the mutations in the experiment you described affected both.

    Meanwhile, I will try to review some biology on this but may not have enough time in the next 10 days since I will be traveling a lot.

  279. Dave Wisker,

    We can argue over just what macro evolution means but that somehow avoids the question of the origin of complex novel capabilities or to what is often referred to in the evolution literature as novelties. If you want to propose another definition for this phenomena then suggest one.

    One of the issues under debate is that a lot of modern evolutionary biology asserts that there is no difference between micro and macro evolution. This assumes that evolution proceeds on a gradual basis and that macro evolution is just enough micro evolution played out over time. There is no evidence that this is true for anything of substance in the evolution debate and in fact many in the evolutionary biology community consider gradualism or the Darwinian form of gradualism dead.

    So the people here who support ID use the term macro evolution to represent that divide that micro evolution cannot seem to cross and was expressed best in the Edge of Evolution. I am sure there are examples where there are some interesting new things generated by micro evolution but in general they are limited and from our point of view explain little of the important issues in the path from microbes to man let alone all of it and definitely not the path from molecules to man.

    I see that Joseph has also provided a definition of both micro and macro evolution that gets at the distinction we believe is at issue.

  280. 281

    Hi jerry,

    We can argue over just what macro evolution means but that somehow avoids the question of the origin of complex novel capabilities or to what is often referred to in the evolution literature as novelties. If you want to propose another definition for this phenomena then suggest one.

    How about “the origin of complex novel capabilities”? ;)

  281. I think all of us recognize that RM and NS are real and capable of changing life.

    The question is how much change are they capable of producing?

    And what should be remembered is that you place the limit anywhere after LUCA, you stop being a neo-Darwinist.

  282. 232
    Clive Hayden
    05/30/2009
    6:59 pm wrote:

    Alan Fox,

    ——”Jerry,

    Why doesn’t Bob O’Hara post here any more? It is simply because he can’t. Ask Clive, he will confirm it.”

    Why would you be asking Jerry a question that I made about moderation?

    I was pointing out to Jerry, who seemed unaware of the fact, that Bob O’Hara no longer posts here because he is banned.

    If you recall, you refused to rescind the ban, notwithstanding Barry Arrington’s new moderation policy because you said Bob had been rude about UD at AtBC. I searched, but couldn’t find a post of Bob’s that was insulting to individuals, and wondered if you could give an example. You refused, claiming to be too busy.

    Hope that clarifies my previous comment.

  283. 284

    Diffaxial,

    I was scanning over a copy of Abel’s paper and it occurred to me that I should not have placed the quotation marks where I did in post 259 referring to Abel’s paper.

    What I posted was “physically inert” which should have been physically “inert.” Adding the word physical was mine and not Abel’s, although Abel’s terms insist the exact same thing.

    Abel: “Sequencing is dynamically inert [58]. Even when activated analogs of ribonucleotide monomers are used in eutectic ice, incorporation of both purine and pyrimidine bases proceed at comparable rates and yields [59]. Monnard’s paper provides additional evidence that the sequencing of untemplated single-stranded RNA polymerization in solution is dynamically inert – that the sequencing is not determined or ordered by physicochemical forces.”

    Later, Abel expands the phrase to say “physico-dynamically decoupled” in parentheses following his use of the word “inert” and the phrase “dynamically inert”.

    I am not telling you this because it makes even a sliver of difference (because I gave you the context of my use of the term which is identical to Abel’s use of the term) as can be seen from the quote above, as well as from other references within his work:

    Abel: “Metabolism employs primarily proteins. The nucleotide sequences in mRNA prescribe the amino acid sequences that determine protein identity. DNA is largely inert. It plays no direct physicochemical role in protein binding, transport and catalysis.”

    Abel: “It could be argued that the engineering function of a folded protein is totally reducible to its physical molecular dynamics. But protein folding cannot be divorced from the causality of critical segments of primary structure sequencing. This sequencing was prescribed by the sequencing of Hamming block codes of nucleotides into triplet codons. This sequencing is largely dynamically inert. Any of the four nucleotides can be covalently bound next in the sequence. A linear digital cybernetic system exists wherein nucleotides function as representative symbols of “meaning.” This particular codon “means” that particular amino acid, but not because of dynamical influence. No direct physicochemical forces between nucleotides and amino acids exist.”

    Abel: “The semantic/semiotic/bioengineering function required to make proteins requires dynamically inert configurable switch-settings and resortable physical symbol vehicles. Codon syntax communicates time-independent, non-physicodynamic “meaning” (prescription of biofunction).”

    Abel: “Literal genetic algorithms, not figurative ones, prescribe and control life. Nucleotides function in an objective, not just a human subjective symbolic capacity. The particular symbol selection at each decision node of nucleotide polymerization is isolated from physicodynamic causation by a dynamic discontinuity [196, 304, 305]. Although the instructions are physically instantiated into material symbol systems using physical symbol vehicles, the programming is fundamentally formal.

    Abel: “Semantic/semiotic/bioengineering function requires dynamically inert, resortable, physical symbol vehicles that represent time-independent, non-dynamic “meaning.” (e.g., codons).” [1] No empirical or rational basis exists for granting to physics or chemistry such non-dynamic capabilities of functional sequencing. Neither chance nor necessity (fixed law) can program configurable switches to integrate circuits or organize formal utility.”

    - – - – - – - – - –

    I hope this helps you understand the real issue, but you’ve given no reason to beleive it will. Perhaps some day you’ll be prepared to integrate the observable scientific evidence into your worldview. You might start by acknowledging the fundamental entailment of design as it has been spelled out here (and has been confirmed by Abel and thousands of others in various capacities).

  284. 285

    Upright BiPed, you may not know that Diffaxial has been placed in moderation, and therefore cannot respond.

    It’s striking that he has been placed in moderation and you haven’t, even though he has never said anything approaching what you have said to him upthread, to wit:

    “So if you are, perhaps, a slow learner or have difficulty with modest conceptualizations…”

    “I may have overlooked it given your pompous certainty…”

    “I apologize for not being more empathetic to any special needs you might have.”

    “To be quite honest, up until your last post I simply assumed that you were just another materialist bigot…”

    “I want you to know that I am more than willing to slow down for you…”

    That’s just from one comment. Diffaxial refrains from personal comments and is in moderation, yet you routinely say this kind of stuff and (it seems) get away with it.

    Guess it depends which side you’re on.

  285. Mr BiPed,

    In trying to understand your use of the term “physically inert” across several threads here at UD, I’ve asked if it is related to the same term used by Newell and Simon, or if it was related to HH Pattee’s term “dynamically inert” as adopted by Abel. May i take your last post as a final statement that your “physically inert” is the same as Pattee’s “dynamically inert”?

  286. “I was pointing out to Jerry, who seemed unaware of the fact, that Bob O’Hara no longer posts here because he is banned.”

    I knew Bob O’Hara was banned for quite awhile now but didn’t know when it started or for what. The last I remember him posting here was some time last summer. The last thing I remember is Dave referring to Bob as our token Irishman needed for diversity quotas.

  287. Yes people want to believe that macro is just a bunch of accumulated micro, but there isn’t anything to support that PoV.

    IOW if all you have is to throw eons of time at something then you don’t have anything.

  288. Mr Joseph,

    In the case of holes in the skull, what is the problem with seeing that as speciation and micro-evolution?

  289. 290

    David,

    Take a look upthread and please post the number of comments that Diff made that directly addresses the concept he asked for (and then ignored once it was given to him).

    I can help.

    He didn’t until 10, 200 words were posted (back and forth) trying to get him to address the actual concept and stop obfuscating over the words. A great number of those words were devoted directly to the fact he was obfuscating over the words in place of dealing with the context given.

    And here is another thing: he did not attempt to answer the concept until after I treated him with the level of handicapped understanding he was displaying. And when I say after, I mean immediately afteras in response to.

    And what was his long-awaited rebuttal to the actual concept being given to him?

    Diff:

    “…Something not explained by its own physical properties” (e.g. “law” or “necessity,” ),

    “…and is not the product of chance…”

    Sound familiar?

    What you are essentially reproducing in this clause is something very close to the EF. So your prediction in essence reduces to, “If design is true then we should observe something that ‘passes’ the EF…”

    In other words, his response was a nonsensical load of crap. Which was then immediately followed by a return to obfuscation.

    Perhaps that is what the moderators reacted to.

    - – - – - – - – -

    And as for Diff being a sweet little girl on a bike ride to Grandma’s house:

    “Given that your grasp of these concepts lies somewhere between tenuous and distorted…”

    “I have no interest in rehearsing the associated creationist chestnuts with you”

    “I’m not interested in ramblings about the operation of Language and Mind in the origin of biological information”

    “The entire population of U.D., USA seems to be particularly dense on this point.”

    “This is beyond ridicule… ”

    “You can’t “continue” to do science when you haven’t done any in the first place. ”

    “ID isn’t a scientific theory.”

    “Don’t you find it a little disquieting that your theory has nothing to meaningful to contribute… ”

    “in my experience ID “considering” these issues consists of time in an armchair parasitically reinterpreting data obtained by others ”

    “you’re not getting anything done – which has patently been the case for the entire ID movement since its inception ”

    “I feel shortchanged, as your post is less than five thousand words and doesn’t have four or five bulleted lists ”

    “exactly the sort of test that has been absent in all of your replies, including Jerry’s imagined research.”

    “murky flapdoodle of the kind you and Upright manufacture ”

    “(Joe runs away). (Then Joe comes back)”

    “Armchair reinterpretation of others’ efforts, such as typifies ID, doesn’t often qualify as “quality work.” ”

    “I’m still waiting, your hard blowing notwithstanding.”

    “No one is going to observe anything corresponding to those definitional cow pies. They’re beyond useless on any side of the argument”

  290. 291

    Nakashima, I have given you links to two entire papers on the subject. May I simply suggest that you read them? Thanks.

  291. This Dr. Abel is amazing. I don’t understand why he doesn’t have a higher profile in the ID community. With his expertise in biology, chemistry, and information theory, he has everything required to place ID on a firm theoretical footing. Has he ever posted here?

  292. 293

    Upright Biped writes:

    And as for Diff being a sweet little girl on a bike ride to Grandma’s house…

    Upright,

    To argue tu quoque misses the point, which is that the moderation here is inconsistent and heavily biased in favor of ID supporters.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think either of you should be in moderation, nor do I think that the adult readers of this blog need to be coddled and protected from this kind of stuff. They can judge for themselves whether to grant it credence.

  293. “Yes people want to believe that macro is just a bunch of accumulated micro, but there isn’t anything to support that PoV.”

    It requires faith as Will Provine admitted in a debate with Phillip Johnson at Stanford in 1994.

    “Phil also argues that we cannot conceive of a natural process that can produce both diversity and adaptations. It seems to be clear that, indeed, natural selection can account for adaptations because Phil believes the Hawaiian Drosophila evolved through naturalistic processes. In those seven-hundred some odd species of Drosophila there are some of the most exquisite adaptations you would ever lay your eyes upon or understand. Indeed, they are jammed with adaptations. And so Phil obviously believes that natural selection can produce exquisite adaptations. The question is only whether it can do so over long periods of time. It seems to me that it’s a leap of faith to believe that natural selection can, but it’s a little bitty leap.

    I even have faith that it’s going to get light tomorrow morning. That is nothing but pure faith, but it’s a little, bitty leap of faith. We have to keep in mind the sizes of leaps of faith.”

    The issue is always information and simple changes are easily understood as are the Drosophila adaptations. But can natural selection along with the engines of variation produce the necessary information changes to go from microbes to man. The Drosophila are a bait and switch. If Provine had the real thing do you not think he would have produced it instead of talking about faith. Human nature supports ID again.

    And then he makes an odd statement that seems to imply that what is needed for evolution is within the organism.

    “As far as artificial selection is concerned, the point is that artificial selection is effective, not that it’s purposeless. Over long periods of time, natural selection is sure to be more powerful than artificial selection, because it can “see” more of the organism that we ever could.”

    An aside, it seems that Provine seems to be throwing gradualism under the bus in this debate which is consistent with Allen MacNeill’s comments here. Provine sticks by common descent and it is only the mechanism that is under debate. He does not stick by gradualism. Here is the link

    http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161main.htm

  294. 295

    Alan Fox,

    I didn’t claim to be too busy to answer you about Bob O’Hara. You can look through his threads over at AtBC same as I can.

  295. 296

    Clive,

    According to Barry Arrington, comments made on other blogs do not disqualify a person from commenting here at UD:

    50

    Barry Arrington
    03/13/2009
    10:41 pm

    CannuckianYankee writes:
    “I’m just wondering Clive, Let’s say a person such as, oh, PZ Meyers wanted to post here and he kept his language cordial and non-insulting, would he be welcome to post? I would be interested in reading what he has to say without all the hyperbole that is a part of his language in his own blog. I might enjoy seeing how others here would challenge him.”

    I’ll answer that. If PZ — or anyone else — came here and minded his manners, he would be more than welcome. I’m not holding my breath though, because PZ does not appear to be able to rise above adolescent name calling.

    According to Barry, Bob O’H is “more than welcome” as long as he “minds his manners” here.

    Are you overriding Barry’s stated policy? If so, then on what basis?

  296. 297

    serendipity,

    I wasn’t suggesting that two wrongs make a right. I was pointing out to David that his representation of Diffaxial as a wounded duck was utter nonsense.

    Also, the issue of moderation has nothing whatsoever to do with protecting adults from this “kind of stuff” – no more than the physical evidence of design has anything to do with its opponents or defenders.

    If you’ll glance up at the top of this screen you’ll see the phrase “Serving the Intelligent Design Community”. This is an advocate website that operates a forum.

    ID is a minority view within the scientific and academic community (even though it is the majority view in the population as a whole). Neither of these have anything whatsoever to do with the empirical evidence for ID.

    The opponents of ID are not simply adhering to one of two paradigms they feel are interchangeably based on the best inference to the correct explanation of the natural world. Far from it. The vast majority of the opponents of ID are ideologically biased (to their very core) because of what they see as the personal implications of the evidence. Therefore (and this is the key) they have no desire at all to address the evidence on its face.

    You can see this in the comments themselves “I’m not interested in ramblings about the operation of language in the origin of biological information” as well as the pedantic obfuscation that follows (virtually always made on the false grounds of clarifying and understanding the concepts at hand).

    Therefore, this endeavor for UD has practical consequences. UD can open the door and this forum will sink into nothing but a shooting galleria for people who would love nothing more than to exercise their ideological spleens. In which case, ignoring the evidence for ID will rule the day, every day, and every minute of every day.

    Or, the website can try to force opponents to address the evidence when it’s given to them. In Diffaxial’s case, he was simply a fool. He actually asked for someone to give him the evidence in a proper “If x, then y format. When he got it, he simply could do no more than try to steer the argument into the weeds. I did not bite.

    His lesson is never ask an ID proponent specifically about the evidence.

    You can do that kind of thing over on the slum boards at AtBC because you can smother the ID proponent with meaningless and trivial volume. However, if you do it on UD, you are likely to be forced into dealing with it.

    The result of this, of course, is that UD has to tolerate the ridiculous claim that those mean and disingenuous ID proponents have prevented materialism from making its case. As much as I would like to, I simply cannot put that kind of inanity into its proper perspective.

    - – - – - – -

    To be fair to UD, the above view is my own. If Diffaxial was moderated by UD for some other reason, I have no idea what it was.

  297. 298

    Upright Biped writes:

    To be fair to UD, the above view is my own.

    Indeed it is. The official moderation policy at UD is quite different:

    UD’s moderation policy is fairly simple: As a general rule, so long as your comment is not defamatory profane, or a vicious personal attack, you can say pretty much what you want. We have no interest in censoring viewpoints, because we believe ID is true and consequently in any full and fair debate we will win — and if we don’t win we either need to learn to debate better or change our position.

    You wrote:

    If Diffaxial was moderated by UD for some other reason, I have no idea what it was.

    That’s odd, because Clive explained it this morning right here in this thread:

    265

    Clive Hayden
    06/01/2009
    12:53 am

    Diffaxial,

    ——”No one is going to observe anything corresponding to those definitional cow pies.”

    ——”I’m still waiting, your hard blowing notwithstanding.”

    This is why I put you in moderation.

    I hope you’ll join me in requesting that Diffaxial be removed from moderation in light of the obvious double standard.

  298. 299

    Sure Serentipity, I already said there is nothing Diffaxial can say that I fear. But first. let’s see what you have to offer in return.

    You took one trivial sentence out of my post and ignored the entire context that preceded it. That being that Diffaxial merely argued against the descriptive words and not the actual concept in play. He did the materialist dance around the meaning that Popper suggested conventionalist will do in order to shield their cherished theories from the potential of fate of falsification.

    I, on the other hand, simply placed the observable evidence in the blanks he asked for.

    In that vein, what else is there in my post that you agree with?

  299. 300

    Upright,

    I read your entire post, but I saw no reason to comment on it except to point out that it is at odds with the official UD moderation policy, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

    If you dislike Diffaxial’s style of argumentation, then you are free to say so, as you have already done many times. If your case is persuasive, then intelligent readers will be swayed. If it isn’t, they won’t. I see no reason why a biased application of the moderation policy is desirable or necessary.

    As Barry wrote:

    We have no interest in censoring viewpoints, because we believe ID is true and consequently in any full and fair debate we will win — and if we don’t win we either need to learn to debate better or change our position.

    If you disagree, I suggest you take it up with Barry.

  300. 301

    Seredipity,

    Fair enough. You read the entire post, and in the face of everything to the contrary in plain sight, you came to the independent conclusion that the issue of fairness doesn’t revolve around Diffaxial not addressing the entailment he demanded, it was that UD cut him off after he ignored it for several thousand words.

    Apparently for you, the “debate” mentioned in Barry’s policy only needs to be full, not fair.

  301. Hi jerry,

    You said:

    “You will have to pardon my ignorance on this subject but I know very little about plants. So maybe as a help you could explain in layman’s language or point to something that is fairly easy to understand about the differences between woody growth habits and the growth patterns in dandelions if that is different from herbaceous and what controls them in a plant organisms. Also could you do the same for perennial and annual plant mechanisms since it seems that the mutations in the experiment you described affected both.

    Meanwhile, I will try to review some biology on this but may not have enough time in the next 10 days since I will be traveling a lot.”

    You ask for a mouthful (and more, and without paying tuition, to boot!). I apologize for trying to be brief, but maybe one or two analogies can help.

    The contrast between woodiness and herbaceous growth is roughly analogous (in strictly physical terms) to that between cartilaginous and bony skeletons. (The analogy isn’t perfect – cartilaginous skeletons are more substantive than the dandelion’s support structure. But I think this helps to understand the contrast.)

    Perenniality vs annual growth habits is trickier to convey. But these properties are as different as the differences in behavior one sees in, say, insects and animals (to fumble with an example off the top of my head).

    You didn’t get to my question – how does one go about determining whether a characteristic is novel and complex? What are the units of measurement?

    Ten days, eh? I’ll look for your answers.

  302. 303

    Upright,

    For a debate to be full and fair, participants must be free to present their arguments as they see fit.

    If you find it difficult to debate someone who isn’t following your own idiosyncratic “fairness” script, then you’re doing it wrong. Debate is a competitive affair; you need to be able to present your best argument with no help from your opponent.

    Also, be careful what you wish for. If someone’s personal notion of “fighting fair” were truly and objectively the criterion, then a lot of ID proponents would be consigned more or less permanently to the penalty box.

    Far better to let the readers judge who is arguing fairly and who isn’t. We don’t need the moderators to do this for us.

  303. 304

    “Fair enough. You read the entire post, and in the face of everything to the contrary in plain sight, you came to the independent conclusion that the issue of fairness doesn’t revolve around Diffaxial not addressing the entailment he demanded, it was that UD cut him off after he ignored it for several thousand words.”

    Upright I wouldnt pay much attention to Serendipity’s criticism. You addressed Diffs request and rather respond he played dumb and started playing the defintional word game. You refused to play his game…. took Diff at face value and dumbed every thing down since that was the game Diff was playing.

    Serendipity is now trying to make the victim the villain. Predictable really.

    Vivid

  304. 305

    Hi jerry,
    One of the issues under debate is that a lot of modern evolutionary biology asserts that there is no difference between micro and macro evolution. This assumes that evolution proceeds on a gradual basis and that macro evolution is just enough micro evolution played out over time.

    I don’t buy the assertion that microevolution assumes gradual change. It certainly isn’t inherent in the definition, which is change in the genetic composition of population. The definition certainly does entail gradual change, as in an adaptation that is the result of a series of mutations of small effect over time, but it does not preclude small genetic changes resulting in major morphological or developmental changes over a comparatively short period of time. Nor does the definition rule out complex adaptations—they require genetic change within populations just like the less complex ones do. Speciation doesn’t stop the microevolutionary process either—it continues along ever more diverging lineages. All of this is observable. There is no speculation here. And it is not wild speculation that the longer two or more lineages are reproductively isolated from each other, the more different they will become. This is observed in experiments that have watched the process as long as practically possible. Once divergence has begun and can be maintained through reproductive isolation, the process of growing differentiation is inevitable, empirically as well as theoretically. So it is up to those who insist on macroevolutionary change requiring something other than microevolutionary processes to identify the barrier preventing ever-diverging lineages from accumulating enough differences to justify placing each in different higher taxa. Walter ReMine and Michael Behe are usually mentioned as having identified such barriers, but having read both, I have concluded neither has done any such thing.

  305. Mr BiPed,

    Yes, thank you! I read the first paper when Mr Cordova mentioned it, and I read the second paper when you brought it to me attention. That is why I was able to trace Abel’s use of “dynamically inert” to HH Pattee.

    I assume you have done the same research, and changed the phrase to “physically inert” for a good reason. However, if you now say it has the same meaning, I just want to confirm that, in the face of previous discussions.

  306. 307

    Serendipity,

    You’re speaking as if in vacuum, with nothing around to gauge what has come before you made your entrance.

    Apparently you’re bias is to think that someone wasn’t given a chance to address the entailment he asked for (despite the 10,200 words that were passed after it was given to him). Quite frankly, I am wondering why you assume you have enough data to voice an opinion at all.

  307. 308

    Hello Nakashima,

    Yes, please take the description at face value.

    The nucleic sequencing in DNA is physically inert if I explain that “by physically inert I mean that it does not exist by means of physico-dynamic forces and is not the product of chance”.

    You see how easy that is?

    You are certainly welcome to refer to it in whatever term you’d like.

  308. JayM #275

    “You are mistaken. As I noted above, and as several people at RichardDawkins.net attempted to explain to you, natural selection is a result of imperfect replication leading to differential reproductive success. It’s not that complex a concept. Natural selection is readily observed; it is not a myth.”

    I beg to differ and this is the core of the disagreement. If natural selection is an unguided process, and it is, by definition. That’s what it means, no design, no teleology, no intelligence, no planning, nothing that is associated with mind. Then all that REALLY means is physics. Right? If there is no mind in the causal chain of events, then there isn’t. But if there isn’t, then we only have physics to explain everything. Dawkins himself understands this. He says early on in “The Blind Watchmaker” (page 5 of my paperback copy) that: “All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way.”

    Now, what this very special way that they are deployed is curious, and I notice that there aren’t any physicists that have explained this “very special way.” I also notice that Dawkins’ very language indicates a designer. After all, inanimate things don’t “deploy” anything, as far as I know. In any case, “natural selection” = physics.

    In “The God Delusion” (page 181 hardbound) he says:
    “The physical stance always works in principle, because everything ultimately obeys the laws of physics.”

    This is another recognition of what his underlying philosophical position (naturalism or something like it) says.

    In “Philosophic Inquiry” (page 161 hardbound) Beck says: “Mechanism is, in biological theory, the view that living organisms can be exhaustively explained in terms of the hypotheses and laws of chemistry and physics. Mechanism as a biological theory is a special case of the more general metaphysical theory of materialism…”

    And this on page 388 of the same book:
    “Materialism is the naturalistic metaphysics that regards nature as consisting of matter in motion. Whatever is apparently not matter in motion is to be regarded as “mere appearances” of what is matter in motion. All explanation, therefore, in philosophy as well as in science, is to be phrased in terms of the laws now known or yet to be discovered concerning the relationships among the different kinds of matter and the laws of their motion with respect to each other.”

    Francis Crick says the same thing in “Of Molecules and Men” (page 10) when he says: “The ultimate aim of the modern movement in biology is in fact to explain all biology in terms of physics and chemistry.”

    So my point is this. If everything is to be explained in terms of physics, and this means “natural selection” in biology, then why don’t physicists know about “natural selection”? Go ahead and ask a physicist if “natural selection” is a physical force. I have. He will say “no” and maybe laugh at you for thinking such a thing. But if “natural selection” isn’t a force in nature, as described by physics, which is all we have to describe anything, remember, then what is it, EXACTLY, and what is the source of its immense causal powers?

    I suggest that it is a word game. Let me make an even bolder claim and say that “natural selection” is a myth. Referring to “natural selection” to explain life is like referring to volcano gods to explain lava flows. If only physics has causal power in nature, and “natural selection” isn’t part of physics, well then, “natural selection” has no causal power in nature. For this not to be true, you have to assert that other things in nature (mind, for example) have causal power, but the individual wedded to naturalism or something like it (materialism or physicalism) will never do that. Or, you have to assert that “natural selection” is part of physics. Good luck with that.

    Therefore, whatever “we” observe in nature is not “natural selection” in action. I will say again, this is the biggest fraud ever foisted upon the scientific community and a gullible public. “They” say science is self-correcting, unlike “faith.” Hmmm. This doesn’t seem to be the case with Darwinian or neo-Darwinian evolution. Now that “we” know about information, DNA, and so on it flies in the face of “natural selection.” Eventually, science discarded phlogiston and the ether. But those concepts didn’t have the theological implications that design has. That’s why “science” is so resistant to it. If you still disagree, then defeat this argument:

    Premise: Only the laws of physics have causal power in nature. (Fundamental naturalist claim)
    Premise: But “natural selection” is not part of physics. (Just ask a physicist. He will only recognize four forces: gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear strong and weak.)
    Conclusion: Therefore, natural selection has no causal power in nature. (So what is it, again, really?)

    “Not only that, but the idea is based on, as far as I can tell, three faulty assumptions.” (me)

    “And those are?” (JayM)

    They are:
    1. The metaphysical assumption. There is no purpose or design in nature. I can quote Dawkins and many others to confirm this. I’m not making it up.
    But, natural selection is based on the “struggle for survival.” No? Yes. But wait a second, I thought we JUST SAID that there was no purpose in the universe.

    Let me go ahead and cite Dawkins just to make my point. In “River Out of Eden,” page 132, he says:
    “Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

    Now I don’t know about you but in the universe I live in you can’t have things both ways. It’s called the law of non-contradiction. There cannot be purpose in the universe AND not be purpose in the universe. So which is it? Dawkins tries to have it both ways by referring to “apparent purpose” and “apparent design” but how would he know of “apparent purpose and design” if these things did not exist in the first place? He would not.

    Therefore, since there IS NO PURPOSE IN NATURE, according to their own fundamental worldview, THERE IS NO PURPOSE IN NATURE. But obviously there is, so how to get around that inconvenient fact? The invention of “natural selection” fits this bill nicely. They SAY it’s “blind physical forces” but then they turn around and give it the characteristics of design and purpose. The “struggle for survival” and all that. I hate to break it to you but I can’t think of anything more fundamental than the struggle to survive. And struggling is always purposeful, is it not? Certainly it is in this case. That’s indicated by the words “for survival.”

    2. The two empirical assumptions are from Malthus. He came upon the idea that (1) populations would grow geometrically and (2) food supplies would grow arithmetically. Darwin read Malthus and it was from these two false assumptions that he came up with the “struggle for survival” since there will inevitably be more organisms than there is food to support them. Well, this is just nonsense as far as I can tell. Perhaps you can direct me to studies that confirm these two premises.

    3. Therefore, for these two reasons, I say that “natural selection” is a fraud, a subterfuge, a myth, a fakery, well, you get the picture. When “we” observe (not me, I could care less) organisms adapting to their environments in different ways we are NOT seeing “natural selection” in action, we are witnessing the interplay of an exquisitely designed organism and its environment. Note that many organisms can exist successfully in many different environments and many “niches” within each environment. This reflects design, not evolution.

    “Modern evolutionary theory is well supported by empirical evidence. It will take more than your simple assertions to refute that.”

    It is hardly well supported by empirical evidence and that’s because the same data can be accounted for in a different way. Design can accommodate all of the same data and actually make sense of it instead of butcher it. Here is a short list of empirical problems for evolutionary theory.
    1. No way to account for information.
    2. The fossil record has no transitional forms. (Where ARE those birds turning into reptiles? Or was it the other way around?) Have you actually ever read Dawkins describe how it “might have” happened? It’s hysterically funny. Another time I’ll post his description.
    3. According to modern cell theory, life only comes from life. So what’s the explanation for first life? (Hint: if you are a Darwinist, it’s “duh, I dunno.”) And yes, I know that evolution doesn’t claim to account for first life but let’s get serious for a minute. How good an explanation can it be that starts with: “well somehow things got started … add a lot of “natural selection” and some genetic errors plus a few billion years and HERE WE ARE.” That’s “science”?
    4. As far as I can tell, there is no real explanation of cause and effect in evolutionary theory aside from the volcano god of “natural selection.” For instance, I’d really be interested to know how natural selection accounts for the thousands of species that live on a coral reef. Some fish have bright colors and that is explained by “n.s.” Some fish have drab colors and that is explained by “n.s.” Some fish have fins (n.s.) and some don’t (n.s.). Some shells have hard shells and some don’t. Some corals are hard and some are soft. “Natural selection” accounts for all of this? Well, how, exactly? Considering that there is no “purpose” or “foresight” or “design.” Doesn’t it seem odd then that every creature is somehow fitted for its environment? I find it curious.
    5. Dawkins and others are fond of saying that the first life was simple and grew more complex over time. Oh really? Do a Google search on smallest bacteria and you will find, as I did once, it could be different now, that the smallest one has about 200 GENES. Who knows how many base pairs of DNA that is. The point being, there is no such thing as “simple” life. Of course, Behe is excoriated for pointing out the blindingly obvious concept of irreducible complexity. As if everyone doesn’t “get” that. Cells are irreducibly complex. Remove the mitochondria, for example, and see how long the cell lasts. Long enough to evolve them? I doubt it.

    “A rigorous, falsifiable theory of ID that makes testable predictions combined with empirical evidence derived from those tests is all that is required. Certainly there will be those who oppose ID on philosophical grounds, but real scientific evidence cannot be ignored.” (JayM)

    It’s not the evidence that’s being ignored. It’s the explanation for that evidence that’s so lacking with evolutionary theory.

    “More precisely, populations adapt, not individual organisms. That adaptation takes place via differential reproductive success based on random variations in replication. That process is what is meant by “natural selection.”” (JayM)

    What have you said? Differential reproduction. “Parents” and children aren’t clones. OK. I’ll buy that. And the success part? Only living things reproduce? Really. I would never have thought that is so, so profound. And you have managed to attribute the existence of a genetic language and the existence of trillions and trillions of bytes of biological information to a process that denies the existence of the only thing in the universe that is known to be able to manipulate symbols in accordance with rules to communicate information. A mind.

    “What we see is the interplay of exquisitely designed organisms that can not only survive where they are but also have the capability, built in, to adapt to changing circumstances.” Me

    “I agree. Unfortunately, neither of us, nor any ID researchers, have any empirical evidence to support the claim of design. ID is a nascent theory. We shouldn’t overstate our case.” JayM

    “We” have been understating our case for far too long. Evolution is NONSENSE. It’s beneath contempt. If you have read anything by Dawkins, you know how irrational the guy is. Dennett is the same way. Coyne, Mayr. They all are. They’re full of double talk and nonsense. Someone could make a career just out of picking up the intellectual trash spread around by Dawkins.

    “I’m very interested to see your argument. I would note that one common problem with the “argument from information” is that ID proponents too often fail to clearly define what they mean by “information,” switching from Shannon information to Kolmogorov complexity to imprecise English language definitions willy nilly. The mathematical case needs to be made very clearly and consistently.” JayM

    This may be true but conceptually it doesn’t need much more than common sense. For crying out loud, can anyone honestly say that physics can account for information? Please. Information requires language (symbols, vocabulary, and rules). The manipulation of symbols, according to rules, is something only a mind can do. What part of physics, exactly, would you suggest that can even begin to address the representation of one thing for another? General relativity? Quantum physics? The Standard Model? Thermodynamics? It’s a non-starter. There is no way.
    I will make the argument soon. In the meantime, Hubert Yockey has an excellent book, “Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life,” that confirms much of what I say about information, although he approaches it differently and he certainly disagrees with my conclusions. His bad. ?

    “The other problem typically seen with this argument is failure to take into account known evolutionary mechanisms. The most common consequence of this is that the “information” measured is ultimately computed as 2 raised to the number of bits assumed to be required to describe the artifact in question. This is, in fact, the probability of the artifact coming into existence de novo. That is not what MET claims happens.”

    I’m not sure I fully grasp what you are saying here. But again, the game is already up. The “known evolutionary mechanisms” are nonsense. Look, in order for something to be a good explanation it must explain WHAT NEEDS TO BE EXPLAINED. Does it not? Of course it does. And in the case of life, what needs to be explained is INFORMATION, and the language that communicates that information. Yet the only explanatory resource “they” have is physics. But physics can’t even begin to explain information. Why are “we” (not you and I) still having this conversation with “them”?

    Here are a few comments from Yockey.

    Page 2. The existence of a genome and the genetic code divides the living organisms from nonliving matter. There is nothing in the physico-chemical world that remotely resembles reactions being determined by a sequence and codes between sequences.

    Page 3. Their work (Watson and Crick) completed the modern view that the message in the genetic information system is segregated, linear, and digital.

    Page 3. Information theory and coding theory and their tools of measuring the information in the sequences of the genome and the proteome are essential to understanding the crucial questions of the nature and the origin of life.

    Page 5. The belief of mechanist-reductionists that the chemical processes in living matter do not differ in principle from those in dead matter is incorrect. There is no trace of messages determining the results of chemical reactions in inanimate matter. If genetical processes were just complicated biochemistry, the laws of mass action and thermodynamics would govern the placement of amino acids in the protein sequences.

    Page 6. Information, transcription, translation, code, redundancy, synonymous, messenger, editing, and proofreading are all appropriate terms in biology. They take their meaning from information theory (Shannon, 1948) and are not synonyms, metaphors, or analogies.

    Page 7. The genetic information system is the software of life and, like the symbols in a computer, it is purely symbolic and independent of its environment. Of course, the genetic message, when expressed as a sequence of symbols, is nonmaterial but must be recorded in matter or energy.

    Well, you get the point. There is MUCH MORE. How he missed out on the correct conclusion mystifies me.

  309. 310

    peeler

    (another excellent post)

  310. 311

    Upright Biped writes:

    You’re speaking as if in vacuum, with nothing around to gauge what has come before you made your entrance.

    And you’re speaking as if the entire thread weren’t available to anyone who chooses to read it.

    Apparently you’re bias is to think that someone wasn’t given a chance to address the entailment he asked for…

    I haven’t expressed an opinion on the matter. What I have said is that you, he and all commenters should be able to present your arguments as you see fit.

    Quite frankly, I am wondering why you assume you have enough data to voice an opinion at all.

    Why? Were you and Diffaxial having a secret off-thread dialogue that doesn’t appear here?

  311. Pertaining to human evolution-

    Is there any data which demonstrates any amount of mutational accumulation can take a knuckle-walker and from that get an upright biped?

    Do we know what gene, gene or DNA sequences are involved in such a transformation?

    If we don’t then how can we scientifically test the premise?

  312. Spiders, termites and beavers-

    I have stated that those three are agencies.

    To illustrate that point if you take a walk in the woods and came across a stream with a beaver dam what would you know?

    That beavers had at one time, been there.

    The dam is evidence of their past presence.

    If you come across a spider’s web, you know that at least at some time in the past a spidr had been there. The web is evidence of the spider’s past activity.

    If you come across a termite mound that is evidence that at some time in the past termite activity took place.

    We know, via experience, that in each case that nature, operating freely, could not have produced those structures.

    That is what ID seeks- to differentiate between nature, operating freely and agency activity.

    Ya see experience has also demonstrated that it matters a great deal to any investigation whether or not that which is being investigated arose by nature, operating freely or agency involvement.

  313. I’ll address myself to a few points that have been raised since being placed in moderation.

    Biped has repeated his claim that I ignored a request for an answer to a particular question for “10,200 words.” Let us examine that interval.

    The first instance of the statement of concern occurred in Joseph’s post @ 64, reproduced here in its entirety:

    “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”
    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”
    diffaxial had tried to answer those pertaining to the theory of evolution but the answers were so far off base they were pathetic.

    You’ll notice two things about the forgoing: 1) There is no question, and 2) the real thrust of the quote is to insult by asserting without justification that my previous response was “pathetic.” My response was to call Joe out by requesting that he reproduce the exchange so that we could make a judgment regarding whether my responses were truly “pathetic (this in part because I really had no idea what he was referring to.)

    As any reader can ascertain, Joseph evaded supporting his “pathetic” characterization in any way for nine days despite repeated requests. He saw fit to cover his nine-day evasion with repetitions of “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation,” but in light of his earlier characterization of my earlier response as “pathetic” and his repeated failure to justify same I saw no reason to dignify those repetitions with a response, not the least because his repetitions were accompanied by statements such as, “Answer the questions again and most likely your earlier tripe will be repeated. I do not have time to search for your already refuted nonsense.”

    As any reader can ascertain, the groundwork for a double standard in moderation was already being laid as these remarks prompted no comment from the moderator.

    Joseph at last responded @ 181 to my request:

    OK I found Diffaxial’s nonsense.
    You can read it here:
    - convergent phylogenetic hierarchies (eg. paleontological and genetic)?- chronological fossil series?- geographic distributions of features?- transitional forms – eg. Tiktallik, the cynodont therapsids, hominid evolution, legged fossil whales, etc.)?- inactivated human genes for the production of vitamin C?- flightless birds species necessarily unique to the islands upon which they are found.?- incipient/recent speciation in allopatrically separated populations
    Not one is a prediction of evolution and not one is based on natural selection nor random variation.

    However my actual response at that location was as follows:

    Joseph:

    If the theory of evolution is true then we should observe ________.

    - convergent phylogenetic hierarchies (eg. paleontological and genetic)?- chronological fossil series?- geographic distributions of features?- transitional forms – eg. Tiktaalik, the cynodont therapsids, hominid evolution, legged fossil whales, etc.)?- inactivated human genes for the production of vitamin C?- flightless birds species necessarily unique to the islands upon which they are found.?- incipient/recent speciation in allopatrically separated populations
    etc. etc. etc. etc….
    Whether or not you agree that the above predictions have been confirmed (another question entirely – and we already know you don’t, so don’t bother going there), what would strengthen this FAQ are predictions of analogous specificity that arise uniquely from ID, such that failure to observe puts ID at risk of disconfirmation.

    You’ll notice that, in the flow of the discussion that was ongoing on that thread, the question posed to me on that thread BY JOSEPH was not “if natural selection is true” but rather the very different, “if the theory of evolution is true” (see Joseph @ 75 on that thread). My response was to the latter. His complaint on this thread that my predictions didn’t specifically address natural selection is a bit misplaced, given that the question HE posed didn’t specifically request same.

    In short, Joseph’s claim I had earlier provided an answer to his question is patently false; he hadn’t posed his current question (“If natural selection is true”), but rather another question (“If evolution is true”). Further, in reproducing my response he chose to omit reproduction of the additional two lines that would make it clear that he was mistaken in asserting that I had previously answered his question, whether in pathetic fashion or otherwise. I’ll let others reach their own conclusions regarding whether that omission was deliberate.

    With respect to moderation at UD, here we have further instances of your double standard, as “pathetic,” “tripe” and “nonsense” are clearly no less strong than “cow pie” and “your hard blowing.” (Not incidentally, allowing such comments to pass without moderation intervention encourages the conclusion that similar remarks are appropriate.)

    I stand by my discussion with Biped. I immediately addressed his initial attempt at a response, which was obviously defective and subsequently withdrawn for that reason. I also stand my my criticisms to date of the poor quality and scientific uselessness of his amended “predictions.” However, issues of that kind cannot be discussed from behind the wall of moderation.

  314. Mr BiPed,

    I don’t see why you have included “and not the product of chance” in your definition of physically inert. For example, with the four nucleotides of DNA, it is exactly the arbitrary possible sequences that make DNA inert. Where those sequences come from, chance, necessity, history, design, etc. are the subject of the discussion.

  315. Dave Wisker, you said:

    “Once divergence has begun and can be maintained through reproductive isolation, the process of growing differentiation is inevitable, empirically as well as theoretically. So it is up to those who insist on macroevolutionary change requiring something other than microevolutionary processes to identify the barrier preventing ever-diverging lineages from accumulating enough differences to justify placing each in different higher taxa.”

    ID does not deny that separation occurs and that speciation happens but that the level of differences in this type of speciation process are trivial in the scheme of things. Even with 540 million years since the pre Cambrian. As Provine said a lot of changes happened, it is the mechanism that is under debate. No one has shown any mechanism that can produce these complex functional changes.

    There is speculation but that is all we have seen. I have read the Brosius article in the Vrba and Eldredge book which seems to be the cutting edge in possible explanations. But even with review there is a noticeable lack of examples.

    We realize that it is impossible to recreate the DNA of the past fossil record so surrogate measures have to be used. So one has to go to the fossil record for hypothetical transitions that would record this complexity building and it is missing. Or go to the current suite of species in the world to look for these transitions and there are no examples.

    Though the methodology is not entirely equivalent, cosmology has examined star formation and other processes by sampling stars at different distances and at different stages of development to have hard examples of a complete transition from dust to star to collapse or super nova to new star or to black hole etc.

    Actually life is much more complex than star transitions but no similar array of examples exist in life today. What does exist are trivial in the microbes to man scenario such as the Drosophila adaptations. Very interesting in some ways but not in the real evolution debate. As Provine said, all there is, is faith, He calls it small faith, we believe it is a large amount of faith.

    Now we would call it a day and each side could continue on its merry way investigating the various possibilities if one side would admit in public and in the textbooks and in the academic literature that it was faith. But no we get only a hard wall that their way is absolutely correct and the other way is complete nonsense. This attitude has nothing to do with science and reason and logic but 100% to do with ideology. One side is reasonable and considers all the possibilities and one side is intransigent. Guess which side is which. Hint: ID will consider all the possibilities.

  316. 317

    Serendipity,

    “I haven’t expressed an opinion…”

    Try giving a reasonable interpretation of events a whirl.

    What you have done is taken a position that someone has been denied their ability to respond on this thread. You’ve even gone so far as to visit other threads on UD to promote the idea that someone has been denied their voice. The facts seem to hardly matter at all.

    You’ve chosen to ignore a couple of minor issues:

    a) The person in question posted 45 comments totaling 7917 words without constraint.

    b) There is a practical inequity brought on by those who refuse to address the issue.

    What is becoming clear is that you would like to do as Diffaxial did. Where he tried to take the conversation into the weeds to avoid his defeat, you’d like to take it in the weeds after his defeat – n’importe quoi pour la fraternité, right?

    Well, if you are truly determined to play nurse for Diffaxial, then by all means jump in.

    Can you provide the revitalizing argument that he was unable to provide?

    In not, then be honest about it and leave it alone.

  317. 318

    Naskashima,

    I just read your question. It has merit. I like it!

    Please allow me to return later in the day to post a response (responsibilities are calling).

  318. “Where those sequences come from, chance, necessity, history, design, etc. are the subject of the discussion.”

    From what I understand a large percentage of these sequences are transcribed. In other words they are theoretically available for protein formation. Maybe someone here who is more familiar with the translation process could comment on whether a random RNA polymer could be made into a protein or if there is some other factor that distinguishes some RNA polymers as suitable for protein formation.

    This is a technical question and I rather not dig at the moment to find the answer if someone knows it.

  319. 320

    Hi jerry,

    have read the Brosius article in the Vrba and Eldredge book which seems to be the cutting edge in possible explanations.

    What is so “cutting edge” about exaptations? And how do they conflict in any way with what I described? Exaptations are merely changes that have deferred selective value. They still involve genetic change within a population and therefore fall comfortably within microevolutionary processes. Haldane and Kimura were talking about them back in the late 50′s and early 60′s.

  320. 321

    Hi jerry,

    From what I understand a large percentage of these sequences are transcribed. In other words they are theoretically available for protein formation. Maybe someone here who is more familiar with the translation process could comment on whether a random RNA polymer could be made into a protein or if there is some other factor that distinguishes some RNA polymers as suitable for protein formation.

    This is a technical question and I rather not dig at the moment to find the answer if someone knows

    I don’t think we know for sure. However, there are some emerging ideas. Kevin Struhl discussed them back in 2007, but he seems to think the vast majority of transcription in eukaryotic genomes results in what he calls “transcriptional noise”:

    Struhl K (2007). Transcriptional noise and the fidelity of initiation by RNA polymerase II. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 14: 103-105
    From the abstract:

    Eukaryotes transcribe much of their genomes, but little is known about the fidelity of transcriptional initiation by RNA polymerase II in vivo. I suggest that ~90% of Pol II initiation events in yeast represent transcriptional noise, and that the specificity of initiation is comparable to that of DNA-binding proteins and other biological processes. This emphasizes the need to develop criteria that distinguish transcriptional noise from transcription with a biological function.

  321. 322

    Jerry,

    Also, mature mRNA contains specifc sequences for binding ribosomes (the 5′ cap, for example), plus any translatable transcript must also begin with the amino acid methionine (the amino acid associated with the ‘start codon).

  322. 323

    Upright Biped writes:

    What you have done is taken a position that someone has been denied their ability to respond on this thread.

    He’s in moderation, Upright.

  323. 324

    Serendipity,

    StephenB pointed you to post #290 when you complained. I pointed you to 297, 299, 301, and 306.

    You win.

  324. 325

    Art Hunt asked that I post this invitation to all interested in jerry’s transcript question (moderation takes too long)

    jerry asked:

    “From what I understand a large percentage of these sequences are transcribed. In other words they are theoretically available for protein formation. Maybe someone here who is more familiar with the translation process could comment on whether a random RNA polymer could be made into a protein or if there is some other factor that distinguishes some RNA polymers as suitable for protein formation.

    This is a technical question and I rather not dig at the moment to find the answer if someone knows it.”

    This is one of the themes I explore on my blog. The moderation wait here doesn’t exactly promote timely discussion, so I would invite you (and anyone else here who is interested) to read some of my essays and ask questions. There’s lots of stuff that is relevant to this debate, and it’s fascinating for many, many reasons.

    Here’s an introductory essay that starts to get at the question of the non-coding RNAs that many here are captivated by many here:

    http://aghunt.wordpress.com/20.....ond-power/

    Here’s an essay that discusses the evolutionary transition from ncRNA to protein-coding gene:

    http://aghunt.wordpress.com/20.....-treasure/

    And here’s an essay that discusses an example of such a transition:

    http://aghunt.wordpress.com/20.....l-protein/

    I apologize for the link-fest. I promise that these essays are very pertinent to jerry’s question and that they raise interesting issues for ID proponents. (Not surprisingly, I am also of the opinion that this subject is the coolest stuff in the world…) Read, ask, and above all else enjoy!

  325. 326

    Upright Biped writes:

    StephenB pointed you to post #290 when you complained. I pointed you to 297, 299, 301, and 306.

    None of which refute my claim that a double standard has been applied.

    You win.

    Agreed.

  326. I’d like to thank Dave for posting my comment, to apologize to the discussants for the typos, and to apologize to the moderator for doing things this way. It’s not that I did not trust that the comment would be posted (eventually), but that I worry that the comment might be missed or ignored if it was far removed from jerry’s comment. I don’t know how moderated comments get inserted into the discussion, and figured this was a faster way to get “in line”.

  327. —UP “You win.”

    —serendipidy: “Agreed.”

    Not agreed. Hiding, obfuscating, misrepresting others’ arguments, ignoring context in favor of trivialities, and failing to address substance are all violations of civil discourse and are just as deserving of moderation as rudeness. Indeed, they are usually the cause of rudeness.

  328. 329

    tjpeeler,

    For instance, I’d really be interested to know how natural selection accounts for the thousands of species that live on a coral reef. Some fish have bright colors and that is explained by “n.s.” Some fish have drab colors and that is explained by “n.s.” Some fish have fins (n.s.) and some don’t (n.s.). Some shells have hard shells and some don’t. Some corals are hard and some are soft. “Natural selection” accounts for all of this? Well, how, exactly? Considering that there is no “purpose” or “foresight” or “design.” Doesn’t it seem odd then that every creature is somehow fitted for its environment? I find it curious.

    I’d suggest first looking into the ecology of coral reef communities. I suggest RH Karlson’s Dynamics of Coral Communities as a starting point. It discusses what structures the food webs on coral reefs, and also the levels of competition in these environments. Then I recommend reading Chapter 6 (“Divergence and Spoecies Interactions”) of Dolph Schluter’s The Ecology of Adaptive Radiation, to get a background on how ecological opportunity and competitive pressures fuel species diversity. Without an understanding of the forces that build and shape these complex and diverse communities, it is easy to dismiss evolutionary explanations for them. It has been my experience that a firm grounding in basic ecology is essential to understanding evolution.

  329. Arthur Hunt,

    This was on one of your links.

    “Thus, studies that pertain to the origins of new protein-coding genes are going to factor largely in the scientific aspect of the ID debate, especially since ID proponents insist that new protein-coding genes cannot arise “by chance.”

    Yes and no. Yes in the sense that the origin of protein coding genes will be a factor in the debate. But no in the sense that ID insist that new protein-coding genes cannot arise by chance. ID has no absolutes and believes that much of what we see in life arose by natural processes. But not all. So one, two or even several genes arising by natural means would not undermine ID though it would make it less likely for a lot of people. The premise is that it is unlikely that genes or proteins arose naturally; not that it is impossible. If this sounds like a cop out, it isn’t. I believe it is reasonable. By giving you one or two or even a couple dozen examples I am not giving away the ranch but recognizing that the process set up can do this but in limited ways. So I have a question and I probably do not know how to express it correctly.

    There are search procedures, really not searches since nature is not teleological unless it is programed to be such and since a search presupposes an active process that is looking for something. Thus, there are really no searches but something that looks like one. Processes that introduce modifications to a working protein will produce many siblings, cousins and distant relations that are also working proteins, some not as good as others but some that may be better. That is easy to understand. But is a random set of amino acids a working protein? What percentage of these could be?

    So maybe you might want to comment on that and the chances that a random process maybe in some unused part of the genome first forms a DNA sequence that would lead to a working protein and then also form the necessary other elements in the genome so that it eventually gets transcribed and translated. What has to happen. Because ID believes this is rare. So one of the cases you will have to make is that this is not rare.

    If this takes too long or if you do not have enough time, I understand. Also I will be traveling for the next 10 days so will have limited time to see what has been posted etc. But I am sure others might be interested since it is rarely someone comes here who wants to talk science and has as much knowledge as you do.

  330. Sigh. I never can shut up. So now this distraction when the major point is completely overlooked. It’s about the information. Let’s get back to that. Somebody, anybody, tell me either that (1) accounting for information is pointless and or unnecessary, and why, OR (2) tell me how any naturalistic account of information (and language) is coherent. Let’s try to stay on point. Information/language is the key. As I have argued for ad nauseam. Honestly, unless the darwinists can get this right none of the rest of it matters because if my questions cannot be answered (and they cannot) intelligence, or mind, is the only game in town.

    p.s. “Without an understanding of the forces” And what “forces” would those be? Are any of them recognized by physics? Because if they aren’t, then another word game is being played and design and purpose are being smuggled in by the back door.

  331. Hi jerry,

    I’ll get a few answers into the queue before calling it a night.

    You asked (among other things):

    “But is a random set of amino acids a working protein? What percentage of these could be?”

    I cannot give you a complete answer. But I can say with confidence that the upper bound of this “percentage” is on the order of one in 10^10 random sequences or so. This number comes from a variety of combinatorial protein chemistry experiments (phage and mRNA display). This sounds pretty rare. But consider that a very, very dilute solution of such sequences, on the order of 1 picomolar, will have each and every possible functionality in it, if these functionalities are roughly this rare. In other words, 1 in 10^10 is pretty darn frequent when it comes to protein sequence space.

    You also asked:

    “So maybe you might want to comment on that and the chances that a random process maybe in some unused part of the genome first forms a DNA sequence that would lead to a working protein and then also form the necessary other elements in the genome so that it eventually gets transcribed and translated. What has to happen. Because ID believes this is rare. So one of the cases you will have to make is that this is not rare.”

    One of the linked essays discusses exactly this. Basically, the order of appearance is not as you suppose. The first “step” involves the background transcription and junk RNA that is so ubiquitous. This step is, by all accounts, not at all rare. The second step would involve some incorporation of sequence signals that stabilize the RNA and shunt it out of the “junk RNA” degradation pathway. These processes are also not particularly or impossibly rare. Then comes the origination of the protein-coding region. Fig. 7 of Thompson and Parker (reproduced at the end of this essay) illustrates these processes nicely. IMO, none of these steps in isolation pose probablistic problems, nor do they when considered as a package.

  332. 333

    tjpeeler asks:

    p.s. “Without an understanding of the forces” And what “forces” would those be? Are any of them recognized by physics? Because if they aren’t, then another word game is being played and design and purpose are being smuggled in by the back door.

    A basic grounding in coral reef ecology, especially how communities there are structured would at least prevent you from asking the questions, which, when I attempted to help you, are now so distracting.

  333. 334

    Hi tgpeeler,

    Premise 1: No information can be originated without the systematic, i.e. rules based, use of symbols. That is what I call “language.” This applies to all human languages and all animal languages as well. We typically think of symbols as letters but they can also be sounds, pictures, movements or gestures, clicks, scents, and so on.

    Consider the genetic code. At its simplest, the code is a physical association between DNA codons, tRNA anticodons, and the amino acids associated with each tRNA. There is growing experimental evidence that this association could have come about purely due to the stereochemical affinities of these entities. The “rules-based use of symbols” in this case would be the stereochemical affinities between the entities, with the entities themselves being the symbols. The only reason we call this a “code” or a “language” is because we recognize an association between the entities. If the hypothesis for the stereochemical origin of the genetic code is correct, then such a code or language (and the information conatined within) did not require intelligence for it to form.

    Here are just a few papers (and their abstracts) discussing it: :
    Grafstein D (1983). Stereochemical origins of the genetic code. J Theor. Biol. 105(11): 157-174

    Abstract:

    The origin of the genetic code may be attributed to a postulated prebiological stereochemistry in which amino acid dimers, the trans -R,R’-diketopiperazines, interacted with prototype codon and anticodon nucleotide sequences. An intricately coupled stereochemistry is formulated which displays a binary logic for amino acid-codon recognition. It is shown that the diketopiperazine ring system can be inserted between any terminal pair of base paired nucleotides in a codon-anticodon structure with exact registration of complementary hydrogen bonding functional groups. This yields a codon-dimer-anticodon structure in which each amino acid residue is projected towards and interacts with a particular sequence of vicinal nucleotides on either codon or anticodon. The projection direction and the sequence of nucleotides encountered is a strongly coupled function of the choice of codon terminal nucleotide and the handedness of the amino acid. The reciprocal chemical nature of the complementary base pairs drives the selection of dimers containing quite dissimilar and chirally opposed amino acids. Application of the stereochemical model to the in vivo system leads to a general correlation for amino acid-codon assignments. The genetic code is restated in terms of the dimers selected. The profound symmetry of the code is elucidated and this proves useful for correlative and predictive purposes.

    Hendry LB, ED Bransome, Jr, MS Hutson & LK Campbell (1981). First approximation of a stereochemical rationale for the genetic code based on the topography and physicochemical properties of “cavities” constructed from models of DNA. PNAS 78(12): 7440–7444

    Abstract:

    To examine the question of whether or not the genetic code has a stereochemical basis, we used artificial constructs of the topography and physicochemical features of unique “cavities” formed by removal of the second codon base in B-DNA. The effects of base changes on the stereochemistry of the cavities are consistent with the pattern of the genetic code. Fits into the cavities of the side chains of the 20 L amino acids involved in protein synthesis can be demonstrated by using conventional physicochemical principles of hydrogen bonding and steric constraints. The specificity of the fits is remarkably consistent with the genetic code.
    Yarus, M, JG Caporaso & R Knight (2005). Origins of the genetic code: the escaped triplet theory. Annual Review of Biochemistry 74: 179-198.
    Abstract:

    There is very significant evidence that cognate codons and/or anticodons are unexpectedly frequent in RNA-binding sites for seven of eight biological amino acids that have been tested. This suggests that a substantial fraction of the genetic code has a stereochemical basis, the triplets having escaped from their original function in amino acid–binding sites to become modern codons and anticodons. We explicitly show that this stereochemical basis is consistent with subsequent optimization of the code to minimize the effect of coding mistakes on protein structure. These data also strengthen the argument for invention of the genetic code in an RNA world and for the RNA world itself.

  334. Diffaxial,

    You have serious issues.

    “If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”
    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    To which you respond:

    You’ll notice two things about the forgoing: 1) There is no question

    Umm it is the SAME format that you and RB have been using foIDists to fill in those blanks.

    I and everyone else has notioced that YOU have continually FAILED to fill them in.

    Instead you blather on.

    As for reproducing your response I posted a link to it.

    Now are you going to fill in the blanks or continue to prove that your position is baseless and useless?

    If natural selection is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then natural selection is at risk of disconfirmation.”
    “If random variation is true, we should observe _______. If we fail to observe _______, then random variation is at risk of disconfirmation.”

    Your original responses were not even predictions of the theory of evolution.

    THAT is why I called it a pathetic attempt.

    IOW all you have done is to demonstrate you don’t know much of anything about the theory you are trying to defend.

  335. Dave Wisker,

    The origin of the genetic code is based purely on speculation that it arose via stochastic processes.

    However there is no way to scientifically test that premise.

    And yes if scientists do someday reduce the genetic code to matter, energy, chance and necessity then ID would be falsified.

    However I predict that Stonehenge will be found to be from geological forces before the genetic code is found to be so reducible.

  336. Art Hunt,

    If you want to demonstrate macro-evolution it would be best if you stayed with animals.

    Even YECs understand that plants act differently than animals.

    In a YEC scenario plants do not “reproduce after their own Kind”. That only pertains to animals.

    So while your point about plants is interesting it does NOT do anything to support your case.

  337. Mr Joseph,

    Are we having a scientific discussion or a religious discussion? What does a Bible quote mean to macro-evolution? If there was a line in the Qur’an saying “Allah told me macro-volution is true.” would that settle things?

    Or is it now your position that macro-evolution can happen in plants, but not in animals?

  338. 339

    In a YEC scenario plants do not “reproduce after their own Kind”. That only pertains to animals.

    Got a reference?

  339. 340

    Joseph,

    The origin of the genetic code is based purely on speculation that it arose via stochastic processes

    Actually, Joseph, it does have some experimental support (as the second reference specifically mentions), so to call it purely speculation is incorrect.

  340. 341

    Plants are sophisticated eukaryotic organisms, and to leave them out of any discussion of macroevolution is ridiculous.

  341. Nakishima,

    The point is that Art is using an example that no one is debating.

    IOW Art is being deceptive.

    Ya see in order to refute an argument one has to address THAT argument.

    If one instead presents an example that is not being debated then that is just plain dishonesty.

    Now if the Bible said that “God Created the first populations of single-celled organisms and Commanded them to evolve into the rich diversity we observe today”, then Creationists would accept macro-evolution.

    However as it stands today there isn’t any scientific data which supports that premise.

  342. Dave Wisker,

    There isn’t any support for an unguided path to the genetic code.

    There isn’t any support for the nucleotides forming and then linking up to get the intial strand that would be translated.

    And there definitely isn’t any data which demonstrates a ribosome can form via unguided processes.

    But I hope the work continues as those failures should, sooner or later, demonstrate that the attempts are futile.

    As I said geologists will find a geological explanation for Stonehenge before anyone finds a non-telic explanation for the genetic code.

    Then you say:

    Plants are sophisticated eukaryotic organisms, and to leave them out of any discussion of macroevolution is ridiculous.

    To include plants in a discussion about animals is dishonest.

    To then link what we see in plants to animals is ridiculous.

  343. Adel,

    The Bible is the reference- That and all the Creation websites.

    Really all you have to do is to write to AiG (for example) and they will explain it to you.

  344. 345

    jospeh,

    I think you need to justify why this discussion of macroevolution has to be restricted to animals.

  345. Is there any data which demonstrates any amount of mutational accumulation can take a knuckle-walker and from that get an upright biped?

    No

    Do we know what gene, gene or DNA sequences are involved in such a transformation?

    No

    If we don’t then how can we scientifically test the premise?

    We can’t but we are comfortable in the fact that it happened so therefor it is science.

  346. Dave Wisker:

    I think you need to justify why this discussion of macroevolution has to be restricted to animals.

    I did.

    1- Plants are very different than animals.

    2- Plant genetics is much different than animals

    Even YECs understand that plants act differently than animals.

    In a YEC scenario plants do not “reproduce after their own Kind”. That only pertains to animals.

    So while your point about plants is interesting it does NOT do anything to support your case.

    So what part of all that don’t you understand?

  347. 348

    joseph,

    1- Plants are very different than animals.

    In what qualitative way that justifies excluding them from a discussion of macroevolution?

    2- Plant genetics is much different than animals

    In what qualitative way that would exclude them from a discussion of macroevolution?

  348. 349

    Joseph [344], about plants:

    The Bible is the reference- That and all the Creation websites.

    Really all you have to do is to write to AiG (for example) and they will explain it to you.

    From the AiG website:

    Once more the evidence of the real world is seen to be consistent with the truth of Genesis; plants reproduce ‘according to their kind’. That is, gingkos have consistently produced gingkos, pines have consistently produced pines, and magnolias have consistently produced magnolias ever since the Creator spoke them into existence to reproduce ‘after their kind’

    The reference is to Gen 1:11, which reads “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”

  349. 350

    David Kellogg,

    That’s what I found in both places, but I hoped that Joseph could back up his interesting claim.

  350. Mr Joseph,

    Bold type, like all caps, does not make an assertion more true.

  351. Biped @ 215:

    This ["physically inert meaning"] is the concept that I offered to you as an observationally verifiable entailment of the theory of Design – as per your specific request.

    (Emphasis in the original.)

    This beautifully captures what is misguided in your predicted “observation,” and what renders it unretrievably gauzy and scientifically useless in its current form: you confuse theoretical conjecture with observation. Simply put, one doesn’t observe concepts. Observation consists in counting, measuring, weighing, noting the positions of indicators, recording velocities and locations, noting operationally defined features, developing photographic plates, and on and on, sometimes with the aid of instrumentation. One cannot “observe” conceptually abstract and operationally undefined notions such as “physically inert meaning.” Such a notion belongs at the level of theory, which is constructed to both predict and confer meaning upon specific observations.

    It is because theory is conceptual rather than observational that entailments are required that arise necessarily from one’s theory, in turn giving rise to predictions of specific observable phenomena that can be counted, weighed, measured, and so forth, a process above illustrated by BB theory and the CBR. In your case, what you want to say is that your theory of design necessarily gives rise to physically inert meaning (you don’t say why this is a necessary entailment – can’t the designer design otherwise? – but that is another problem), AND that physically inert meaning gives rise to particular entailments that CAN be observed (counted, weighed, measured, detected, etc.) in particular contexts. Those predicted observations include _____________, which indeed must be observed or your theory is placed at risk of disconfirmation. This is what I have been requesting throughout, and what you have yet to supply. I notice that Abel does no better. At the end of his article he punts: rather than suggesting empirical findings that flow from his theoretical prose he challenges evolutionary biology to support its theory instead.

    More generally, the complexity of living organisms, including to whatever degree biological phenomena can be an analogized to the human use of symbols, is the phenomena that calls for explanation, and is not itself, alone, evidence for a particular explanatory theory. Simply stating “design entails physically inert meaning” then pointing to “the function of life” and making the bare assertion that it displays “physically inert meaning” (including the further bare assertions that it is an entailment of design AND can only have arisen from design) does nothing more than restate your hypothesis. That is rather like developing a theory of a murder, then citing the fact that the victim is dead in support of your theory. All theories of the crime culminate in a person being dead.

    Until ID takes the risk of offering a theory that includes “moving parts” – necessary entailments concerning design, the designer, etc., as well as the unique observational consequences of those entailments – it will remain stillborn as well.

  352. re #333
    Hi Dave, you said: “A basic grounding in coral reef ecology, especially how communities there are structured would at least prevent you from asking the questions, which, when I attempted to help you, are now so distracting.”

    I see that you have another long post so I will read that before responding, but I think somehow we are talking past each other and not engaging. Because the questions I am asking seem eminently sensible to me, no matter what the structure of coral reef communities look like. I cannot get traction, whether because of my inadequate communication skills or my lack of Ph.D. credentials in science (or anything else – I’m an M.S. guy) but if the difference between life and non-life is information, and who doesn’t think that is true, then information is the key. Information MUST be explainable in a coherent and rational way or else nothing has been explained. Let me read your next post and I’ll get back to you.

  353. JayM, Dave Wisker,

    Natural selection is a figment of the imagination.

    1. All animals produce healthy and weak offspring at each generation.

    2. Healthy and weak offspring all reproduce. ‘Strong’ genes and ‘weak’ genes are both required for the stability of the organism.
    3. All animal types survive on the basis of cooperation, not competition. Competitive activity within a group scrambles the gene pool in order keep the reproductive ratio stable; never too many strong, never too many weak.

    It is the consistent reproduction of both healthy AND weak offspring that allows the animal kingdom the possibility of mutual survival.

    I.E. the rabbit produces several to keep a couple. The snake produces hundreds to keep several. The insect produces thousands to keep hundreds.

    In essence, it is the weak that are the pillars of life.

  354. 355

    Hi Oramus,

    Natural selection is simply differential reproductive success. Consider any heritable trait. A variant of that trait which enables individuals possessing it to have more offspring who live to adulthood than those which possess other variants will become more common in the population.

    That is not a figment of the imagination. It is a simple, observable, predictable (indeed inevitable) demographic fact.

  355. Dave Wisker,

    Thanks for your comment.

    It seems from your comment below that you miss the point. There are always offspring that live to adulthood and reproduce regardless of any inherited trait. Both offspring with advantageous traits and without both make it to the finish line. In your words, traits will become common then not common, common, then not common.

    Nature is not selecting anything. Nature is not preserving, eliminating or building anything. Rather, organisms express and suppress traits according to need in an algorithmic fashion; a big difference IMB.

    Organisms exhibit (as described above)genomic plasticity. Yet they cannot build upon mutations as Neo-Darwinism claims in order to break environmental risk thresholds.

    Adaptability is not evolution. Evolution, defined in its original sense as an unfolding of life, happened and the past and is finished.

    What biological activity we witness now is basically the running of a maintenance program; peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys, with no new plateaus reached.

  356. Mr Oramus,

    If I understand you correctly, if I trace the life history of all zygotes from conception to death, there is no difference in reproductive success based on their phenotype? The weak and the strong produce, on average, the same number of offspring that themselves live to reproductive age? The runt of the litter does as well as the alpha male?

  357. 358

    Hi Oramus,

    It seems from your comment below that you miss the point. There are always offspring that live to adulthood and reproduce regardless of any inherited trait. Both offspring with advantageous traits and without both make it to the finish line.

    I’m afraid it’s you that missed my point entirely. It is not that individuals with both make it to the finish line, its the differential proportions of those with the respective traits that make it that is important.If more with the advantageous trait make it, the trait will become more and more common, sometimes even replaving the less advantageous variant. This is simple, observable, and well-recorded population genetics.

  358. 359

    Oramus,

    Nature is not selecting anything. Nature is not preserving, eliminating or building anything. Rather,
    organisms express and suppress traits according to need in an algorithmic fashion; a big difference IMB.

    It is important to not confuse the metaphor with the object of interest.

  359. 360

    Joseph, I defer to your expertise on nested hierarchies. Nevertheless, you seem to be out to lunch here [347]:

    Even YECs understand that plants act differently than animals.

    In a YEC scenario plants do not “reproduce after their own Kind”. That only pertains to animals.

    So while your point about plants is interesting it does NOT do anything to support your case.

    So what part of all that don’t you understand?

    I understand it, it’s just wrong.

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