Home » Darwinism, Design inference, Functionally Specified Complex Information & Organization, ID Foundations, Intelligent Design, Origin Of Life, science education, Science, worldview issues and society » ID Foundations, 18 (video): Dr Stephen Meyer of Discovery Institute presents the case for Intelligent Design (with particular reference to OoL)

ID Foundations, 18 (video): Dr Stephen Meyer of Discovery Institute presents the case for Intelligent Design (with particular reference to OoL)

Here, HT WK:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Take an hour and a half to learn what ID is about (yes, what it is really about [and cf. here at UD for correctives to common strawman distortions . . . ]), with particular focus on the origin of cell based life [OoL], through watching a public presentation in the UK from a leading ID thinker, Stephen Meyer.

Notice the distinction he underscores relative to the common demonising rhetorical projection of “Right-wing Fundamentalist theocratic agendas” etc.

I clip from the video:

Meyer’s summary of the design inference

Let me also draw in the design inference explanatory filter considered on a per aspect basis, as was presented in the very first post in the ID Foundations series:

The per aspect explanatory filter that shows how design may be inferred on empirically tested, reliable sign

The per aspect explanatory filter that shows how design may be inferred on empirically tested, reliable sign

(NB: Observe Meyer here, on ID’s scientific bona fides.)

It is probably also helpful to add the following, from a reply by Meyer to a hostile review of his book, Signature in the Cell. (It seems that things have got worse over the past few years, we used to have no-views — hostile pretended “reviews” of books not read — now we have hostile no-views of books not yet published.)

Clipping:

The central argument of my book is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of  functionally specified information (especially in a digital form). [--> Notice the usage] Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power. Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question . . . .  In order to [[scientifically refute this inductive conclusion]  Falk would need to show that some undirected material cause has [[empirically] demonstrated the power to produce functional biological information apart from the guidance or activity a designing mind. Neither Falk [[the hostile reviewer], nor anyone working in origin-of-life biology, has succeeded in doing this . . .

Food for thought.

Foundational. END

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134 Responses to ID Foundations, 18 (video): Dr Stephen Meyer of Discovery Institute presents the case for Intelligent Design (with particular reference to OoL)

  1. In the following video, Dr. Durston references a few recent papers, by people who are not particularly friendly to the ID position,

    The Origin Of Life Requires Intelligence – Kirk Durston PhD – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/10335610

    Those recent papers referenced by Dr. Durston, by people who are not particularly friendly to the ID position, dramatically underscore what Dr. Meyer refers to as the DNA Enigma,,,

    The DNA Enigma – Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=1837s

    Quote: “The DNA enigma concerns, instead, the question of origins. The DNA enigma is about the origin of information and this mystery, the origin of this information, where did it come from? How did this DNA molecule aquire this precise sequencing that allows it to direct these mechanical operations? That’s the key question.
    - Stephen Meyer

    To focus in on that ‘key question’. Where did the information come from? As Dr. Meyer further relates the enigma here,,,

    “One of the things I do in my classes, to get this idea across to students, is I hold up two computer disks. One is loaded with software, and the other one is blank. And I ask them, ‘what is the difference in mass between these two computer disks, as a result of the difference in the information content that they posses’? And of course the answer is, ‘Zero! None! There is no difference as a result of the information. And that’s because information is a mass-less quantity. Now, if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation account for its origin? How can any material cause explain it’s origin?
    And this is the real and fundamental problem that the presence of information in biology has posed. It creates a fundamental challenge to the materialistic, evolutionary scenarios because information is a different kind of entity that matter and energy cannot produce.
    In the nineteenth century we thought that there were two fundamental entities in science; matter, and energy. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we now recognize that there’s a third fundamental entity; and its ‘information’. It’s not reducible to matter. It’s not reducible to energy. But it’s still a very important thing that is real; we buy it, we sell it, we send it down wires.
    Now, what do we make of the fact, that information is present at the very root of all biological function? In biology, we have matter, we have energy, but we also have this third, very important entity; information. I think the biology of the information age, poses a fundamental challenge to any materialistic approach to the origin of life.”
    -Dr. Stephen C. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

    And as Dr. Durston relates in the first video, and as Dr. Meyer relates in his lecture, it is not an argument from ignorance. It is an argument from what we do know. We know for a fact that intelligence can produce functional information. And we know of no instances where chance and necessity processes have produced it.

    Before They’ve Even Seen Stephen Meyer’s New Book, Darwinists Waste No Time in Criticizing Darwin’s Doubt – William A. Dembski – April 4, 2013
    Excerpt: I explain all this in a nontechnical way in an article I posted at ENV a few months back titled “Conservation of Information Made Simple” (go here). ,,,

    ,,, Here are the two seminal papers on conservation of information that I’ve written with Robert Marks:

    “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher-Level Search,” Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics 14(5) (2010): 475-486

    “Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success,” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans, 5(5) (September 2009): 1051-1061
    For other papers that Marks, his students, and I have done to extend the results in these papers, visit the publications page at http://www.evoinfo.org
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....70821.html

    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – Abel, Trevors
    Excerpt: Three qualitative kinds of sequence complexity exist: random (RSC), ordered (OSC), and functional (FSC).,,, Shannon information theory measures the relative degrees of RSC and OSC. Shannon information theory cannot measure FSC. FSC is invariably associated with all forms of complex biofunction, including biochemical pathways, cycles, positive and negative feedback regulation, and homeostatic metabolism. The algorithmic programming of FSC, not merely its aperiodicity, accounts for biological organization. No empirical evidence exists of either RSC of OSC ever having produced a single instance of sophisticated biological organization. Organization invariably manifests FSC rather than successive random events (RSC) or low-informational self-ordering phenomena (OSC).,,,

    Testable hypotheses about FSC

    What testable empirical hypotheses can we make about FSC that might allow us to identify when FSC exists? In any of the following null hypotheses [137], demonstrating a single exception would allow falsification. We invite assistance in the falsification of any of the following null hypotheses:

    Null hypothesis #1
    Stochastic ensembles of physical units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #2
    Dynamically-ordered sequences of individual physical units (physicality patterned by natural law causation) cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #3
    Statistically weighted means (e.g., increased availability of certain units in the polymerization environment) giving rise to patterned (compressible) sequences of units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #4
    Computationally successful configurable switches cannot be set by chance, necessity, or any combination of the two, even over large periods of time.

    We repeat that a single incident of nontrivial algorithmic programming success achieved without selection for fitness at the decision-node programming level would falsify any of these null hypotheses. This renders each of these hypotheses scientifically testable. We offer the prediction that none of these four hypotheses will be falsified.
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/2/1/29

    But can we go further in answering ‘the key question’, ‘Where did the information come from?’, than just pointing out the fact that human intelligence is the only known cause of functional information in the universe. It turns out that advances in quantum mechanics does allow us to go further.,, Consciousness is found to be integral to quantum mechanics. Indeed,,

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

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961 – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’

    In fact advances in quantum mechanics have now allowed the argument for God from consciousness to be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Thus we have evidence that ‘Mind’ precedes material reality. But can we clarify the nature of this ‘Mind’? It turns out that quantum mechanics once again sheds light on our question. The mysterious ‘wave function’ of quantum mechanics is described as a infinite dimensional state which takes a infinite amount of information to describe it properly,,,

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    Single photons to soak up data:
    Excerpt: the orbital angular momentum of a photon can take on an infinite number of values. Since a photon can also exist in a superposition of these states, it could – in principle – be encoded with an infinite amount of information.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/7201

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Does the quantum wave function represent reality? April 2012 by Lisa Zyga
    Excerpt: “Similarly, our result that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the wave function and the elements of reality means that, if we know a system’s wave function then we are exactly in such a favorable situation: any information that there exists in nature and which could be relevant for predicting the behavior of a quantum mechanical system is represented one-to-one by the wave function. In this sense, the wave function is an optimal description of reality.”
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ality.html

    Thus we have evidence of consciousness being the ‘ultimate universal reality’, evidence that consciousness precedes the quantum wave collapse to its single bit state, and evidence that that consciousness which precedes wave collapse is associated/co-extensive with a infinite dimensional/infinite information reality. All that is pretty much the definition of omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. Throw in the ‘eternal’ nature of special relativity at the speed of light, and the instantaneous nature of information transfer in quantum teleportation, then you have all the basic attributes of God wrapped up in this evidence.

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

  2. F/N: I have updated the post by incorporating four key slides presented by Dr Meyer. These should help focus our attention on what is being argued and what is not being argued. KF

  3. F/N 2: I decided to also add a clip in which Meyer makes his argument in a nutshell. Notice the use of the concept of functionally specific complex information [FSCI], with particular reference to digital manifestations [dFSCI as GP so often abbreviates]. Also, I have added a flowchart of the per aspect design inference filter and a link to another video lecture by Meyer, on ID’s scientific bona fides. KF

  4. Please let us know when Meyer explains why the origin of new genes with new functions through normal processes of gene duplication, mutation, and natural selection doesn’t contradict his claim that the only way to get new information is through intelligent design. He relies on a universal premise (conservation of information) which is extremely easy to show doesn’t fit the evidence.

  5. Watch the chaos happen as Meyer changes his argument in response to criticism:

    http://biologos.org/blog/on-de.....-signature

    …but, what is Meyer going to do in his Cambrian book? His favorite argument is always that information is caused by intelligence, but he’s not going to be able to use the “I wasn’t talking about biology” emergency escape card when it comes to the Cambrian.

  6. Nick Matzke:

    Please let us know when Meyer explains why the origin of new genes with new functions through normal processes of gene duplication, mutation, and natural selection doesn’t contradict his claim that the only way to get new information is through intelligent design.

    Please let us know how you or anyone determined that gene duplications followed by function changing mutations, are blind and undirected chemical processes.

  7. @NickMatzke_UD:

    Not intelligence, but free will is necessary to create new information. See “Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will, and the Turing Test”.

  8. Earth to Nick Matzke-

    This is why the OoL is so important. If the OoL = designed then the inference would be living organisms were designed to evolve and evolved BY DESIGN. Genetic and evolutionary algorithms are great examples of this premise.

  9. 9

    So while the emergence of stunning arrays of complex and specified organelles necessary for the existence of the “simplest” self-replicator, such as DNA and RNA polymerases, ribosomes, and ATP synthase can be pushed back behind the veil of OOL, because as we all know neo-Darwinism doesn’t address the origin of life, surely it must follow that the origin of information is not a problem for OOL because a mechanism exists in extant cells which accommodates gene duplication and diversification for function modification. This sort of explanatory power is intoxicating.

  10. NM:

    Joe is right.

    Q1] Why not take up the now almost seven month old UD essay challenge and give us a feature length [~ 6,000 word] survey of the decisive evidence that shows the empirically, observationally warranted OOL and OO body plans, by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity?

    Q2] OOL is highlighted as, the origin of the self replicating, code based mechanism seen in cell based life is the first thing to be demonstrated.

    Q3] After that, you need to show us the empirical evidence behind the blind watchmaker incrementalist assertions on origin of major body plans.

    Q4] And, in that you are going to have to show us observational evidence, not just so stories.

    KF

  11. NM:

    I went to your linked:

    Since I had read the book very carefully, and have gone over it many times since, I was amazed that I could have missed this stipulation. Again, he says: “I specifically stipulate that I am [not] talking about … processes (such as random genetic mutation and natural selection) that commence only once life has begun.”

    Did he really specifically stipulate that? Have we been barking up the wrong tree all this time? While we knew the main focus of Meyer’s book was the origin of life (not mechanisms of evolution), his argument clearly stated, we thought, that no large increase in CSI (Complex Specified Information) had ever been demonstrated without the need to invoke intelligence. Period.

    First, Falk is playing fast and loose with context. The overall context of the book is the origin of the living cell, and so the proper issue is indeed how to get to an encapsulated, gated, metabolising entity with a code based self replication capacity.

    So, Meyer is quite right to say that you need to account for the systems on blind physics and chemistry in a reasonable pre-life scenario. This is pivotal.

    Next,there is a subtle, rhetorically pivotal — and fallacious — ambiguity in Falk’s talking about increases in CSI in living systems. As has long been discussed, the whole issue of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information in living systems is about getting to shores of islands of function. Incremental variation within such islands is within the threshold limit of FSCO/I.

    In addition, there is no good observational warrant for any claims that mutations on the order of a few base pairs are capable of cumulatively, with advantageous selection all the way, is capable of transforming body plans, e.g. to make a bird or a functionally similar bird ancestor with the key avian lung and functional wings etc, from some form of reptile. Or, to make a whale from something like a cow or Darwin’s bear.

    These are tantamount to implying a vast continent of incrementally improved function, that is consistent with pop genetics and the claimed timeline. So we are entitled to ask: where is the pattern of transitionals as the DOMINANT feature of the fossil life world? [All those increments to the widely diverse forms SHOULD be statistically dominant and should come up in any reasonable sampling regime as the dominant feature as a result. We should stumble over them every time we go out the door.]

    Similarly, given the pop genetics, generation times, and number of generations to fix an increment, multiplied by the plausible number of increments, we are looking at huge lengths of time that dwarf the timelines held to be so from the fossil beds. Was that a couple of hundred million years to get a human like creature out of an ancestral primate? How many millions to get the what was it 50,000 incremental changes to make a whale that say Berlinsky suggested, with a 5-year baseline and pops of maybe 20,000 with realistic mutation scopes and rates? Or if you have better numbers (kindly justify) show us the sort of required timeline, and then show us how that corresponds to the on the ground evidence you claim.

    Going back a bit, to the Cambrian [which Meyer intends to take up in more details in a couple of months], here is Meyer’s argument from 2004 that your organisation had a lot to do with censorship and expulsion games on:

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

    In order to explain the origin of the Cambrian animals, one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . [but] processes of development are tightly integrated spatially and temporally such that changes early in development will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes downstream. For this reason, mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . . McDonald notes that genes that are observed to vary within natural populations do not lead to major adaptive changes, while genes that could cause major changes–the very stuff of macroevolution–apparently do not vary. In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn’t need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don’t occur.6

    Q6] Show us how you cross the challenge of random changes in body plan per mutations that do not prove embryologically (or equivalently) lethal.

    Q7] Show us how there is observational step by step warrant for such beneficial body plan shaping mutations accumulating to yield novel body plans, and how this comports with pop genetics concerns on time to establish varieties and then move to the next stage per blind watchmaker mechanisms.

    Q8] Go on from that to the step of showing us how, dozens of times over in a relevant window, again with observational warrant, you have origin of novel body plans that per reasonable estimates will take 10 – 100+ mn bits of new genetic info.

    Q9] Explain to us in that context, how there has been a persistent challenge of sudden appearance of forms held to be in a window of what, 5 – 10 mn years, 500+ MYA, and how this was solved, by whom, documented where.

    Q10] The very fact that Meyer is about to release a book following up from the above, suggests that he is confident that the basic case outlined still holds valid and that there is additional detail that will further substantiate it. Why, on what empirically, observationally warranted grounds, do you think this is wrong?

    Not, just so stories and unrealistic models and analogies, but on hard fossil facts and clear empirical numbers and relationships for population genetics that shows the origin of body plans on blind watchmaker incrementalism and the like mechanisms that are commonly touted.

    KF

  12. PS: The Whale example discussions by Sternberg and Berlinski can be seen here on.

  13. Mr. Matzke, I seem to recall that this little exchange you had with Casey Luskin in regards to your claim that purely Darwinian processes could generate functional information:

    Leading Darwin Defender Admits Darwinism’s Most “Detailed Explanation” of a Gene Doesn’t Even Tell What Function’s Being Selected – Casey Luskin – October 5, 2011
    Excerpt: …You just admitted that the most “detailed explanation” for the evolution of a gene represents a case where:

    *they don’t even know the precise function of the gene,
    *and thus don’t know what exactly what function was being selected,
    *and thus don’t know if there are steps that require multiple mutations to produce an advantage,
    *and thus haven’t even begun to show that the gene can evolve in a step-by-step fashion,
    *and thus don’t know that there are sufficient probabilistic resources to produce the gene by gene duplication+mutation+selection.

    In effect, you have just admitted that Darwinian explanations for the origin of genes are incredibly detail-poor.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51551.html

  14. As the preceding shows, it seems that Darwinists have a bit of a problem as to literature bluffing when it comes to demonstrating the origin of functional information by purely Darwinian processes:

    Assessing the NCSE’s Citation Bluffs on the Evolution of New Genetic Information – Feb. 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....ion_b.html

    The NCSE, Judge Jones, and Bluffs About the Origin of New Functional Genetic Information – Casey Luskin – March 2010
    http://www.discovery.org/a/14251

    How to Play the Gene Evolution Game – Casey Luskin – Feb. 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....ution.html

    Intelligent Design and the Origin of Biological Information: A Response to Dennis Venema By: Casey Luskin
    October 3, 2011
    http://www.discovery.org/a/17571

    Responding to Venema’s Response to Meyer’s Response to Venema’s Response to Meyer’s Signature in the Cell: The Last in a Series (We Promise!)
    Casey Luskin October 22, 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52061.html

    Mr. Matzke, Perhaps you can list the specific example of functional information generation by Darwinian processes that Dr. Behe missed in his summary of 4 decades of lab work:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Michael Behe talks about the preceding paper on this podcast:

    Michael Behe: Challenging Darwin, One Peer-Reviewed Paper at a Time – December 2010
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....3_46-08_00

    Where’s the substantiating evidence for neo-Darwinism?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q-PBeQELzT4pkgxB2ZOxGxwv6ynOixfzqzsFlCJ9jrw/edit

  15. Just a suggestion, KF, but would it not be easier to ‘hold’ your benighted, Darwin defenders’ ‘feet to the fire’, if, when challenging these guys with questions, you always number the questions in order, stipulating that they answer each one, sequentially. If they have to miss one, well so be it. Just go on to the next one.

    At the moment, it is too easy for them to treat the specific questions put to them, like anchormen in TV, audience-participation shows, i.e. as infotainment. No serious pursuit of truth at all. Just for Joe Public to let off steam, within bounds that the politicians on the panel won’t find too awkward. I love the way, when a politically incorrect question is raised the anchorman, he points to a member of the audience and calls out, ‘You, Sir, in the orange pullover! Yes. You.’

    Not unlike the poor chap who complained to his doctor that people kept ignoring him. That ratbag of a doctor immediately called out, ‘Next!

  16. I mean like a laundry list – all in one post; not fragmented so that it’s not clear whether any have been left unanswered.

  17. removed at request

  18. removed at request

  19. Nick:

    . . . why the origin of new genes with new functions through normal processes of gene duplication, mutation, and natural selection doesn’t contradict his claim that the only way to get new information is through intelligent design.

    Just want to make sure I am understanding your comment. Are you suggesting that new genes (beyond, say, a few point mutation changes) with new novel functions have been shown to have arisen through random mutation?

  20. Delete #19 and #20 for me, will you, please, KF? They’re pretty mean.

  21. kf, and if you can, please delete 2 and 3 for me. They are ‘genome duplication’ events which added no new information. :)

  22. 22

    “Watch the chaos happen as Meyer changes his argument in response to criticism”

    I wonder if by “chaos” Nick means the breakdown in reasoning that results from question begging.

    From Falk’s defense of Venema’s review of Signature in the Cell:

    “Find a case where a large amount of CSI has accumulated without needing to invoke intelligence, and his argument, Meyer said, fails. This is a strong statement, clearly worded, and there is no hint of Meyer’s stipulation that it doesn’t count if life has already begun. In Dennis Venema’s BioLogos blog series, he showed many cases where there were large increases in CSI (whole genome duplication, for example) without needing to invoke that supernatural intervention was necessary to create it. Chromosomes, the cell division machinery, and nucleotides are “purely chemical and physical antecedents.” The information content in the genome, Venema showed, quadrupled early in vertebrate history through material processes that we know and understand well. Did this not meet the scientific criteria that Meyer specifically called for?”

    (My emphasis)

    Wow. Not only can DNA and cell division machinery be considered “purely chemical and physical antecedents” but we can explain the information content of the first genome by appealing to the information content in extant genomes. Read it for yourself. This stunning display of chaos is the result of Venema arguing that unguided evolution falsifies Meyer’s claims about OOL. Falk merely underscores the problem with this type of reasoning — it begs the question by invoking presumed properties of extant biology in order to account for the information content required for biological origins.

    Meyer’s response to Venema’s review: Of Molecules and (Straw) Men.

    Here’s Luskin’s commentary on the entire exchange: Responding to Venema’s Response to Meyer’s Response to Venema’s Response to Meyer’s Signature in the Cell: The Last in a Series (We Promise!):

    But that is not the “basic argument” of Signature in the Cell, as we saw above. Meyer’s “basic argument” is restricted to the origin of life, not the diversification of life through Darwinian evolution. Venema seems intent on reviewing the appendix to Signature in the Cell, rather than the book itself.

    (Original emphasis)

    From that last article; Luskin quotes Meyer from Signature referencing COI:

    Since I was not principally concerned with whether biological evolution could generate specified information, I decided to formulate a “conservative” conservation law — one that applied only to a nonbiological context (and thus not to any information-rich initial state). My statement of the law does not say anything about whether undirected natural processes could produce an increase in specified information starting with preexisting forms of life. But it does encapsulate what repeated experience had demonstrated about the flow of information starting from chemistry and physics alone.
    Here’s my version of the law of conservation of information: “In a nonbiological context, the amount of specified information initially present in a system, S, will generally equal or exceed the specified information content of the final system, Sf.

    (Meyer, Signature, p. 293, emphases added)

    (Luskin’s emphasis)

    That’s especially relevant since Falk makes this claim:

    Since I had read the book very carefully, and have gone over it many times since, I was amazed that I could have missed this stipulation. Again, he says: “I specifically stipulate that I am [not] talking about … processes (such as random genetic mutation and natural selection) that commence only once life has begun.”
    Did he really specifically stipulate that? Have we been barking up the wrong tree all this time?

    Yes, step right up as the chaos ensues, and Falk appeals to cellular machinery to account for the information required for the OOL by some sort of technicality, as if it wasn’t clear to the folks at BioLogos that appealing to what happens consequent to biological origins will not suffice to explain what happens to bring OOL about. Ultimately Falk comes clean about what’s on the table:

    In the end, our difference is simple, he thinks that the test tubes won’t ever deliver information rich molecules and I think it is too early to say. He has declared the matter more or less settled on the basis of scientific analysis. I consider the matter fully unsettled.

    So Meyer shows that the best explanation for the OOL is intelligence, and the absolute best Falk has to offer is, “I think it’s too early to say.” (He also suggests Meyer has “giving up on the science”.) Read the rest of Falk’s article for loads of mischaracterizations and insipid religious platitudes.

  23. Now Mr. Matzke, why is it that we can’t seem to find evidence for functional information generation by Darwinian processes? Besides the failure in the lab, as noted by Dr. Behe, for Darwian processes to generate functional information, as far back as we can go, we can find no evidence of Darwinian evolution producing new functional information:

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” (250 Million Year Old) Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    Enzymes Complex from the Get-go
    Excerpt: “Given the ancient origin of the reconstructed thioredoxin enzymes (a vital enzyme found in all living cells), with some of them predating the buildup of atmospheric oxygen, we expected their catalytic chemistry to be simple,” said Fernandez. “Instead we found that enzymes that existed in the Precambrian era up to four billion years ago possessed many of the same chemical mechanisms observed in their modern-day relatives.”,, Further examination of the ancient enzymes revealed some striking features: The enzymes were highly resistant to temperature and were active in more acidic conditions. The findings suggest that the species hosting these ancient enzymes thrived in very hot environments that since then have progressively cooled down, and that they lived in oceans that were more acidic than today.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....he-get-go/

    Static evolution: is pond scum the same now as billions of years ago?
    Excerpt: But what intrigues (paleo-biologist) J. William Schopf most is lack of change. Schopf was struck 30 years ago by the apparent similarities between some 1-billion-year-old fossils of blue-green bacteria and their modern microbial counterparts. “They surprisingly looked exactly like modern species,” Schopf recalls. Now, after comparing data from throughout the world, Schopf and others have concluded that modern pond scum differs little from the ancient blue-greens. “This similarity in morphology is widespread among fossils of [varying] times,” says Schopf. As evidence, he cites the 3,000 such fossils found;
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.....a014909330

    Why is this Mr. Matzke? You claim that Darwinian processes can easily produce functional information that is of far greater complexity than our best computer programmers can generate, but when push comes to shove, all your examples turn out to be deceptive literature bluffs, and as far back as we can go in the record we find no evidence for your materialistic/atheistic claim!

  24. Went back up and put in some numbers.

  25. Mr. Matzke, I’m really curious as to why you fight so hard, with such weak evidence, against the Intelligent Design position. For crying out loud Mr. Matzke, researchers can’t even model the SIMPLEST life on earth due to the extreme level of complexity they are dealing with,,,

    To Model the Simplest Microbe in the World, You Need 128 Computers – July 2012
    Excerpt: Mycoplasma genitalium has one of the smallest genomes of any free-living organism in the world, clocking in at a mere 525 genes. That’s a fraction of the size of even another bacterium like E. coli, which has 4,288 genes.,,,
    The bioengineers, led by Stanford’s Markus Covert, succeeded in modeling the bacterium, and published their work last week in the journal Cell. What’s fascinating is how much horsepower they needed to partially simulate this simple organism. It took a cluster of 128 computers running for 9 to 10 hours to actually generate the data on the 25 categories of molecules that are involved in the cell’s lifecycle processes.,,,
    ,,the depth and breadth of cellular complexity has turned out to be nearly unbelievable, and difficult to manage, even given Moore’s Law. The M. genitalium model required 28 subsystems to be individually modeled and integrated, and many critics of the work have been complaining on Twitter that’s only a fraction of what will eventually be required to consider the simulation realistic.,,,
    http://www.theatlantic.com/tec.....rs/260198/

    Shoot Mr. Matzke, there is scant hope of us ever fully grasping the overwhelming complexity in life,,,

    “Complexity Brake” Defies Evolution – August 2012
    Excerpt: “This is bad news. Consider a neuronal synapse — the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse — about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years…, even though it is assumed that the underlying technology speeds up by an order of magnitude each year.”,,,
    Even with shortcuts like averaging, “any possible technological advance is overwhelmed by the relentless growth of interactions among all components of the system,” Koch said. “It is not feasible to understand evolved organisms by exhaustively cataloging all interactions in a comprehensive, bottom-up manner.” He described the concept of the Complexity Brake:,,,
    “Allen and Greaves recently introduced the metaphor of a “complexity brake” for the observation that fields as diverse as neuroscience and cancer biology have proven resistant to facile predictions about imminent practical applications. Improved technologies for observing and probing biological systems has only led to discoveries of further levels of complexity that need to be dealt with. This process has not yet run its course. We are far away from understanding cell biology, genomes, or brains, and turning this understanding into practical knowledge.”,,,
    Why can’t we use the same principles that describe technological systems? Koch explained that in an airplane or computer, the parts are “purposefully built in such a manner to limit the interactions among the parts to a small number.” The limited interactome of human-designed systems avoids the complexity brake. “None of this is true for nervous systems.”,,,
    to read more go here:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62961.html

    Systems biology: Untangling the protein web – July 2009
    Excerpt: Vidal thinks that technological improvements — especially in nanotechnology, to generate more data, and microscopy, to explore interaction inside cells, along with increased computer power — are required to push systems biology forward. “Combine all this and you can start to think that maybe some of the information flow can be captured,” he says. But when it comes to figuring out the best way to explore information flow in cells, Tyers jokes that it is like comparing different degrees of infinity. “The interesting point coming out of all these studies is how complex these systems are — the different feedback loops and how they cross-regulate each other and adapt to perturbations are only just becoming apparent,” he says. “The simple pathway models are a gross oversimplification of what is actually happening.”
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....0415a.html

    3-D Structure Of Human Genome: Fractal Globule Architecture Packs Two Meters Of DNA Into Each Cell – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: the information density in the nucleus is trillions of times higher than on a computer chip — while avoiding the knots and tangles that might interfere with the cell’s ability to read its own genome. Moreover, the DNA can easily unfold and refold during gene activation, gene repression, and cell replication.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142957.htm

    As if that was not humbling enough, they are still uncovering deeper and deeper levels of information in life Mr. Matzke!

    Four More DNA Bases? – August 2011
    Excerpt: As technology allows us to delve ever deeper into the inner workings of the cell, we continue to find layer-upon-layer of complexity. DNA, in particular, is an incredibly complex information-bearing molecule that bears the hallmarks of design.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....49091.html

    DNA Caught Rock ‘N Rollin’: On Rare Occasions DNA Dances Itself Into a Different Shape – January 2011
    Excerpt: Because critical interactions between DNA and proteins are thought to be directed by both the sequence of bases and the flexing of the molecule, these excited states represent a whole new level of information contained in the genetic code,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104244.htm

    Four-strand ‘Quadruple helix’ DNA structure found in cells. Unusual nucleic-acid structure may have role in regulating some genes. – Alison Abbott – 20 January 2013 – with picture
    http://www.nature.com/news/fou.....ls-1.12253

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    Quantum entanglement between the electron clouds of nucleic acids in DNA – Elisabeth Rieper, Janet Anders and Vlatko Vedral – February 2011
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxi.....4053v2.pdf

  26. Finding quantum information in life has been particularly exciting Mr. Matzke!

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness (Permanence/Conservation of Quantum Information)- Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

    Now Mr. Matzke, It would seem to me that any reasonable person would be open, even excited, to the implications of all this. I mean really Mr. Matzke, we have complexity upon complexity at such a extreme level that there is scant hope of us ever fully grasping its workings. As well, on top of all that, at the deepest levels of DNA (and proteins), we find ‘transcendent’ (non-local) quantum information/entanglement that finally gives us some fairly good ‘scientific’ evidence for a ‘eternal soul’.,,, I don’t know about you Mr. Matzke, but that prospect, the prospect that bodily death is not the end, is something that should elicit far more honesty on your part as to investigating these matters scientifically! ,,, If it is actually true that we do have a eternal soul, which I hold the evidence from physics, and personal testimony, to be strongly in favor of that position,,,

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species (or origin of life), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    A neurosurgeon confronts the non-material nature of consciousness – December 2011
    Excerpted quote: To me one thing that has emerged from my experience and from very rigorous analysis of that experience over several years, talking it over with others that I respect in neuroscience, and really trying to come up with an answer, is that consciousness outside of the brain is a fact. It’s an established fact. And of course, that was a hard place for me to get, coming from being a card-toting reductive materialist over decades. It was very difficult to get to knowing that consciousness, that there’s a soul of us that is not dependent on the brain.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ciousness/

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife – Dr. Eben Alexander – Oct 8, 2012
    Excerpt: One of the few places I didn’t have trouble getting my story across was a place I’d seen fairly little of before my experience: church. The first time I entered a church after my coma, I saw everything with fresh eyes. The colors of the stained-glass windows recalled the luminous beauty of the landscapes I’d seen in the world above. The deep bass notes of the organ reminded me of how thoughts and emotions in that world are like waves that move through you. And, most important, a painting of Jesus breaking bread with his disciples evoked the message that lay at the very heart of my journey: that we are loved and accepted unconditionally by a God even more grand and unfathomably glorious than the one I’d learned of as a child in Sunday school.

    Now this is great news Mr. Matzke! Thus why all the deception on your part? Given what I see to be your continually deceptive tactics to deny ID, I truly worry about your soul. About the closest I can get right now to warning someone in your position, as far as NDE’s go, is this former atheist professor who had a glimpse of what was in store for him if he did not change his ways,,

    video – Howard Storm continues to share his gripping story of his own near death experience. Today, he picks up just as Jesus was rescuing him from the horrors of Hell and carrying him into the glories of Heaven.
    http://www.daystar.com/ondeman.....KvFrYYsE31

    Supplemental note:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand – Todd Murphy:
    Excerpt:The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of ‘going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    Music and verse:

    Andrew Peterson – You’ll Find Your Way – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMn3ThuvGMo

    Revelation 3:20
    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

  27. Hi Nick,

    Please let us know when there is textbook published in your alleged field of “Macro-Evolutionary Theory.”

  28. mung:Please let us know when there is textbook published in your alleged field of “Macro-Evolutionary Theory.”

    you’ve already been given two citations in answer to your request. I can’t but wonder why you continue with this charade?

  29. Nick Matzki, re. #4:

    Please let us know when Meyer explains why the origin of new genes with new functions through normal processes of gene duplication, mutation, and natural selection doesn’t contradict his claim that the only way to get new information is through intelligent design.

    I would love to see one particle of hard evidence that your so-called “normal processes” have ever produced one genuinely new gene (as opposed to a homolog generated by one or two point mutations), and more to the point, have ever produced a single novel biological body plan, organ, organ system, or process (such as blood clotting, sexual reproduction, or insect metamorphosis).

  30. franklin @28:

    you’ve already been given two citations in answer to your request. I can’t but wonder why you continue with this charade?

    Were you the one who provided the citations?

    franklin:

    mung, you are correct. I did not supply any reference(s).

    well, duh.

  31. mung: Were you the one who provided the citations?

    Why do you ask?

  32. I wonder if by “chaos” Nick means the breakdown in reasoning that results from question begging.

    Nick only questions Intelligent Design.

    If Nick questions his own “field” of “Macro-Evolutionary Theory” it’s probably not been published.

  33. finishing #31……don’t you think that it is more important that the references have been provided rather than who provided them?

  34. Me: Were you the one who provided the citations?

    franklin: Why do you ask?

    *sigh*

    Because I’d like to be able to locate the citations.

    Is it really so freaking beyond your capacity to grasp that there are people who really do want to know the evidence?

    Do I search on “franklin” to find it, or do I search on “NickMatzke_UD” to find it, or should I just hold my breath and pray for a miracle?

    Who provided the citations you refer to and where did they do it?

  35. franklin:

    finishing #31……don’t you think that it is more important that the references have been provided rather than who provided them?

    There’s no evidence they have been provided.

    Don’t you think that it’s more important that you substantiate your assertions with evidence?

    I guess not.

  36. mung: There’s no evidence they have been provided.

    sure there is! I’ve told you so several times….that’s evidence.

    Why don’t you just go back to wherever you’ve posed your question and see what, and who, provided you with the two references?

    I think it is important that when you ask a question you follow up and see what people have provided in response.

  37. 37

    I would love to see one particle of hard evidence that your so-called “normal processes” have ever produced one genuinely new gene (as opposed to a homolog generated by one or two point mutations), and more to the point, have ever produced a single novel biological body plan, organ, organ system, or process (such as blood clotting, sexual reproduction, or insect metamorphosis).

    Homologs aren’t new genes? You realize, don’t you, that your various systems — blood-clotting, flagellum, immune system, etc., are made up of parts which mostly or entirely consist of homologs to other parts within the system or with other systems of different functions?

  38. franklin:

    Why don’t you just go back to wherever you’ve posed your question and see what, and who, provided you with the two references?

    I’ve posted my question repeatedly.

    You’ve not provided references.

    Nick has not provided references.

    I can’t see what does not exist.

  39. Hi Nick,

    What’s you’re favorite textbook on “Macro-Evolutionary Theory?”

  40. 40

    This passage from Meyer was brought up as a counterargument:

    Since I was not principally concerned with whether biological evolution could generate specified information, I decided to formulate a “conservative” conservation law — one that applied only to a nonbiological context (and thus not to any information-rich initial state). My statement of the law does not say anything about whether undirected natural processes could produce an increase in specified information starting with preexisting forms of life. But it does encapsulate what repeated experience had demonstrated about the flow of information starting from chemistry and physics alone.
    Here’s my version of the law of conservation of information: “In a nonbiological context, the amount of specified information initially present in a system, S, will generally equal or exceed the specified information content of the final system, Sf.

    (Meyer, Signature, p. 293, emphases added)

    But it’s from almost the end of the book! After hundreds of pages of Meyer arguing that he has a POSITIVE argument for intelligence being the cause of the OOL, namely that intelligence is the unique and only source of information, and that the inference to intelligent design is thus just an application of uniformitarian reasoning, he slips this in late in the game, and then ignores it for the rest of his argument and for basically all of the “Signature in Cell” promotional material, essays, etc., until the critics pointed out the huge exception to the “information only comes from intelligence” and “conservation of information” claims.

    I’m just interested in what Meyer will do with the Cambrian Explosion, where he probably will want to make the same argument — new information can only come from intelligence — but he will have no way at all to avoid dealing with the massive amount of evidence that regular natural processes can and have increased information in genomes. But, avoid it he will, or he will have to give up the “conservation of information” argument, and admit that information, at least sometimes, has nonintelligent sources.

  41. Hi Nick,

    Prof Tour wants to read a book on Macro-Evolutionaty Theory.

    What book would you recommend?

  42. Nick

    Please can you explain to me how what Meyer said is a show stopper? I’m trying my best to see it from your point of view and I’m obviously missing it? Are you saying that evolution created life?

    You have clearly missed the mark and your post reminds me of those angry atheists that love quote mining the bible to prove a point that does not even exists.

    What did Dr Meyer say?

    “In the passage quoted above, Meyer makes it excruciatingly clear that in Signature in the Cell he is explicitly restricting his thesis to the origin of the information in the first forms of life — and that in this book he is “not principally concerned” with biological evolution. Signature does very briefly discuss biological evolution in an appendix–and it is this appendix which serves as the primary section Venema cites for justifying why he he’s talking about biological evolution. But even there Meyer leaves no grounds for doubt that this is separate from his book’s basic thesis.

    Despite Meyer’s patient elaboration on this point, Venema’s surrebuttal to Meyer asserts that “the basic argument of Signature requires that biological evolution be incapable of generating new information.”

    But that is not the “basic argument” of Signature in the Cell, as we saw above. Meyer’s “basic argument” is restricted to the origin of life, not the diversification of life through Darwinian evolution. Venema seems intent on reviewing the appendix to Signature in the Cell, rather than the book itself.”

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52061.html

    Sigh….

  43. And what we are asking you for is to show that random mutations can in fact create functional new information…. not gobbeldy goog type insertions, deletions or copies. These mutations don’t create new function they kill us and it is called cancer and diseases.
    Just the other day I hear a Darwinist like you telling me about the benefits of sickle cell disease being an excellent example of a good mutation. Since when is stuff killing you beneficial Nick?

    People get sick and die from mutations Nick! SHOW us how random mutations can create new FUNCTIONAL NOVEL information that change body plans, hearts, lungs sexual reproductive systems, wings, tails, gills, etc.

    Can you do that Nick? Where is the absolute evidence that a fruit fly became a not so fruity fly? A Bacteria to anything else?

    Any examples? Please show them I beg you!

  44. One last thing Nick,

    Dr Meyer is saying the following in his book in case you did not actually read it or still don’t understand it.

    FUNCTIONAL INFORMATION like this post from me to you, building instructions, Network diagrams, Invoices, Information in DNA, statements, books, flow diagrams, comics, brochures, software code, sticky notes on the fridge saying your lunch is in the fridge are all examples of functional information.

    He is saying that this kind of information only comes from intelligence (a mind). Can you show any other process other than a mind being capable of creating anything above?

    So to conclude What Dr Meyer is arguing for is that functional information does not create itself, you would have to believe in miracles then. Do you believe in Miracles Nick?

  45. Nick,
    Last one

    In case you still don’t get it and I have to simplify it more for you;

    The specific arrangement of the information is the evidence that it comes from a mind.

    Example;
    Nick Matzke believes that information can magically poof into existence.

    The information in the example above has been arranged in a very specific way; I have encoded it using my mind and you can decode it and grasp it’s meaning in a functional way!
    This Nick is functional information!

    NbtiMk ews Beas gredw TtreIfda ltndser cdgmalf jhiocre pg gfkhyt egfdsab.

    Now what we have above Nick is also information but I have to ask you is it functional? The information was encoded randomly can it be decoded? How will any decoder deal with random information? Can a system find a use or function for random encoded information if it’s not in its dictionary, library, or search space?

  46. I can’t shut up now forgive me but this is important.

    So DNA has the following;

    1. Functional Information
    2. Encoder
    3. Error correction
    3. Decoder

    Nick can you please show me in a step by step fashion how such a system could randomly without any intelligence, and totally unguided build itself?

    Where did the functional information come from? What was first the encoder? The decoder? Error correction? Functional information?

    This is an irreducibly complex system any part removed and the system fails to function. Can you prove otherwise Nick?

  47. Andre: The pivotal thing is not just functional but functionally specific and complex, where 500 – 1,000 bits is a good threshold for “complex enough.” Hence the attempt to pretend that this summary is radioactive. Sure, like green kryptonite. KF

    PS: Notice, chirping crickets on the direct challenge to provide actual, observational evidence regarding OOL and OO body plans. The morrow marks seven months of the unanswered free- kick- at- goal Darwinism evidential support essay challenge.

  48. KF;

    I have not even started on functionally specific, we are just dealing with the basics in the hope that Nick might grasp it.

  49. Darwin didn’t refute ‘the design argument.’ But that ‘design argument’ is worldview / theological apologetics, it is not ‘natural science.’ Most theists (certainly the vast majority of Abrahamic believers) accept one or another variety of ‘the design argument.’ But that is something very different from gulping down (all rights reserved) ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ as Meyer promotes it in the bowels of Seattle’s politically-aligned Discovery Institute – Director as he is of the CSC.

    KF seems to think he’s sipping champagne (e.g. Dembski – ‘the Newton of information theory’), while serious philosophers of science realise that ID theory is more like rubbing alcohol made to soothe certain peoples’ nerves after the ‘creationism vs. evolutionism’ debates of the 20th c. The next step beyond ID theory will be much more important than anything ‘innovated’ within the DI’s group-managed ‘scientific pseudo-revolution.’

    The most accurate term to describe KF’s position is bitism – the exaggeration of ‘bits’ of information binding on the supposed ID demarcation of ‘science,’ with a cute 500-1000 bits ‘theory’ of ‘Intelligence.’ Everything can be reduced to ‘bits’!! It’s an itty-bitty theory :P

    Meyer sadly continues to labour under the illusion that ‘Darwinism’ is a scientific theory, as he says in the video. Dembski does too. Therefore they try in vain to refute a ‘scientific theory’ that is actually an ideology. When will they learn?

    Stephen C. Meyer is almost totally unprepared to deal with ideology. That’s why many IDists have capitulated to ‘naturalism’ and likewise promote technological evolutionism, as a supposedly acceptable ideology of technological change-over-time. Dembski obviously, but Sewell, Gilder and many other IDist leaders display this unfortunate ideological bent.

    That is why most people understand that ID theory’s OoL ideology is simply an attempt at neo-theologism, scientific theology or theistic science, which distorts what most people mean by ‘natural science’ and its necessary limitations. Thankfully most learned scholars in science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse have seen through the DI’s strategy.

  50. Nick Matzke:

    Homologs aren’t new genes?

    How do you know that they are homologs?

    You realize, don’t you, that your various systems — blood-clotting, flagellum, immune system, etc., are made up of parts which mostly or entirely consist of homologs to other parts within the system or with other systems of different functions?

    Again, how do you know that they are homologs? Does it make you feel good to just baldly declare that they are homologs?

    Also do the existence of homologs speak to a mechanism? IOW are blind and undirected chemical processes the only way a homolog can arise? If not then why are you even bringing it up?

  51. Nick Matzke:

    I’m just interested in what Meyer will do with the Cambrian Explosion, where he probably will want to make the same argument — new information can only come from intelligence — but he will have no way at all to avoid dealing with the massive amount of evidence that regular natural processes can and have increased information in genomes.

    Nick, you are being an ass. You have no idea if blind and undirected processes can increase information in genomes. You have no methodology for making any dtermination as to whether or not evolution proceeds via blind and undirected processes.

    Does it make you feel big to equivocate?

  52. Nick you claim:

    but he will have no way at all to avoid dealing with the massive amount of evidence that regular natural processes can and have increased information in genomes.

    And once again I ask you Nick, where is this massive amount of evidence?
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-452652

  53. Mr. Matzke, how does adding Natural Selection to the mix help?

    Since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful reproduction ever be consistently ‘selected’ for? Any other function besides reproduction, such as sight, hearing, thinking, color, etc.., would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successfully reproducing, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded as so much excess baggage since it would, sooner or later, slow down successful reproduction. Any other attribute that Darwinists try to credit to selection, besides successful reproduction, is nothing more than pipe dreams masquerading as science. Dreams that have absolutely nothing at all to do with explaining the creation of any non-trivial functional information!
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-448416

  54. timothya asks kairosfocus:

    For the millionth time . . . what is it in random mutation and natural selection that he thinks requires a “blind search” of cosmological proportions?

    It needs something other than just blindly stumbling around luckily hitting upon successes. And without what KF said, that is all you have.

    So perhaps you should stuff a sock in it and pipe down as your position doesn’t have anything- no methodology and no supporting evidence.

  55. And cubist is still clueless:

    Real scientists can and do detect design. The standard methodology involves forming a hypothesis of how the maybe-Designed thingie was Manufactured, and then testing that hypothesis of Manufacture.

    Reference please as your “say-so” means nothing. Ya see we have not tested Stonehenge’s manufacture. We have not tested the Pyramids manufacture. Yet we have determined both were designed.

    Ya see cubist, REALITY dicates that we determine the “how” AFTER we have determined design.

    ID (as she is spoke by Behe/Dembski/etc), contrariwise, directly and explicitly ignores the question of Manufacture.

    No, IDists just realize that to get to the “how” we have to first determine design and then study it.

    IOW cubist is ignorant and proud of it.

  56. Gregory:

    Darwin didn’t refute ‘the design argument.’

    True, but he did try to refute “the design argument”.

    And perhaps it is mainstream science that is at issue as mainstream scientists seems to think that darwinism is a scientific theory.

  57. Nick Matske quoting Stephen Meyer

    My statement of the law does not say anything about whether undirected natural processes could produce an increase in specified information starting with preexisting forms of life.

    (Meyer, Signature, p. 293)

    So Meyer is no longer disputing evolutionary theory but directing his arguments solely at the origin of life on Earth. I guess we may as well all go home! :)

  58. Alan Fox:

    So Meyer is no longer disputing evolutionary theory but directing his arguments solely at the origin of life on Earth.

    1- There isn’t any “evolutionary theory”

    2- The origin of life on Earth directly reflects its evolution. Life = design then evolution occurs BY DESIGN. Again this has been pointed out to you many times. Your continued ignorance is very telling.

  59. Nick:

    . . . blood-clotting, flagellum, immune system, etc., are made up of parts which mostly or entirely consist of homologs to other parts within the system or with other systems of different functions?

    First of all, many of your so-called homologs are not as similar as often claimed (we looked at your assertions regarding the flagellum homologs at one point). Second, you know that similarity does not necessarily indicate provenance. Third, you have not provided any reason to believe that a new system could be built from homolog genes in the timeframes available. Fourth, getting the right protein product from a gene is only the first part. It doesn’t matter if you have a whole suite of identical genes (never mind homologs), they don’t just come together automatically to form something like a flagellum. There is a whole higher-order layer of information that uses the protein products to build a functional system. There is zero evidence that all this can be produced by purely natural processes.

    Nick @40:

    You are misrepresenting Meyer’s position. All he has said is that he was focusing on OOL and not on subsequent infusions of information. He has never said that he thinks all sorts of complex specified information can arise through purely natural processes once a simple self-replicator comes along. So you are — purposely I fear — misrepresenting his position.

    In addition,

    . . . but [Meyer] will have no way at all to avoid dealing with the massive amount of evidence that regular natural processes can and have increased information in genomes.

    That is just nonsense and you know it. Most of the time you at least throw in a literature bluff to act as smoke and mirrors for a while, but in this case you don’t even offer a literature bluff. C’mon, can’t you at least do a quick PubMed search for “genome” and “information” and throw a couple of totally irrelevant papers our way? :)

    Contrary to your bald assertion, there is not a massive amount of evidence that regular natural processes can and have increased information in genomes in any meaningful way. Beyond a couple of point mutations here and there at Behe’s edge of evolution, there is zero credible evidence that huge amounts of information can be created through natural processes.

    Your assertion is simply so far out of line with the empirical evidence that it is slipping very close to the line of a lie.

  60. Alan Fox @57:

    So Meyer is no longer disputing evolutionary theory but directing his arguments solely at the origin of life on Earth. I guess we may as well all go home!

    Way to fall prey to Matzke’s deceptive misrepresentation of Meyer’s position. You should know by now that if you take Nick’s statements as gospel you will, more often than not, be misled. And if you’ve read Meyer’s book yourself, then you are but joining in the misrepresentation. Congratulations.

  61. Gregory @49

    I just read your entire post and all I got out of it was the realization that there is nothing to get out of it. On what philosophical grounds are you enabled to be critical of someone else’s philosophical approach? Or is your post about mere politics and your personal preferences within its domain?

  62. Mr. Matzke and Mr. Fox,
    The presupposition of the atheistic/materialistic worldview, which you guys fanatically defend as if your life depended on it, is that we live in a ‘naturalistic’ world but, much contrary to this atheistic presupposition of yours, the best of our cutting edge modern science shows that we actually do live in a Theistic universe.

    The ‘Top Down’ Theistic Structure Of The Universe and Of The Human Body
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NhA4hiQnYiyCTiqG5GelcSJjy69e1DT3OHpqlx6rACs/edit

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961 – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’
    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    The Galileo Affair and “life’ as the true “Center of the Universe”
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    Thus the question of whether or not ‘natural’ processes generated life on earth is already undercut by out best understanding of reality from physics!

    “Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting.”
    – Ernest Rutherford

    Now the only question that remains, since the foundation of reality is shown to be Theistic, is did God create life gradually, in a ‘bottom up’ fashion, or did God create life in more or less an abrupt fashion, i.e. ‘after their kinds’. Finding out whether it was in a bottom up or top down fashion hinges on whether or not the random variable postulate you guys appeal to in your materialistic worldview can create functional information. But when one traces out the source for randomness in the universe one finds out some very interesting things. For instance, if one wants to build a better random number generator for a computer program then a better source of entropy is required to be found to drive the increased randomness:

    Cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator
    Excerpt: From an information theoretic point of view, the amount of randomness, the entropy that can be generated is equal to the entropy provided by the system. But sometimes, in practical situations, more random numbers are needed than there is entropy available.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C....._generator

    Thermodynamics – 3.1 Entropy
    Excerpt:
    Entropy – A measure of the amount of randomness or disorder in a system.
    http://www.saskschools.ca/curr.....rgy3_1.htm

    Yet entropy is known to always be destructive to information:

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

    In fact so tight is the relationship between entropy and information that,,

    “Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology.”
    Charles J. Smith – Biosystems, Vol.1, p259.

    “Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? ….The equations of information theory and the second law are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…”
    Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90, [Quotes Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin]

    And this relationship has finally been demonstrated empirically,,

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    Thus, apparently in the complete loss of reason that accompanies atheism, we have atheists appealing to randomness as a designer substitute when in fact randomness is now shown to be the very antithesis, i.e. consistently destructive, of information generation!
    As a sidelight to this, it is interesting to note Planck’s puzzlement over Boltzmann’s lack of a proposal to measure the constant for randomness in the universe:

    The Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann first linked entropy and probability in 1877. However, the equation as shown, involving a specific constant, was first written down by Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics in 1900. In his 1918 Nobel Prize lecture, Planck said: “This constant is often referred to as Boltzmann’s constant, although, to my knowledge, Boltzmann himself never introduced it – a peculiar state of affairs, which can be explained by the fact that Boltzmann, as appears from his occasional utterances, never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the constant. Nothing can better illustrate the positive and hectic pace of progress which the art of experimenters has made over the past twenty years, than the fact that since that time, not only one, but a great number of methods have been discovered for measuring the mass of a molecule with practically the same accuracy as that attained for a planet.
    http://www.daviddarling.info/e.....ation.html

    The reason Boltzmann “never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the constant” is because it turns out that Boltzmann was an atheist and thus, for him, he thought he had already arrived at the ultimate mathematical description of reality because in an atheistic worldview how can randomness possibly be bounded by a constant? Only in a theistic worldview, which Planck possessed, is it presupposed that randomness would be bounded by a constant.

    “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”
    John C. Lennox

    Moreover, Entropy is, by a wide margin, the most finely tuned of initial conditions of the Big Bang:

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

    How special was the big bang? – Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.
    (from the Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose, pp 339-345 – 1989)

    Moreover, as if the preceding was not bad enough for atheists, it is now found that conscious observation can freeze ‘random’ entropic decay:

    Quantum Zeno effect
    Excerpt: The quantum Zeno effect is,,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Zeno_effect

  63. Thus the obvious question from logic 101 pops out, “How can a random cause give rise to a conscious effect that is greater than the cause?” i.e. “Why in blue blazes should conscious observation put a freeze on entropic decay, unless consciousness was/is more foundational to reality than entropy is?” Moreover, if randomness is the cause of our cognitive faculties, then epistemological failure results. (Plantinga, evolutionary argument against naturalism; Boltzmann’s Brain)

    In fact this undirected entropic randomness of the universe, which is suppose to be the primary source of undirected creativity for Darwinian evolution, is in fact the primary reason why out temporal bodies grow old and die in this universe:

    Genetic Entropy and The Mystery Of the Genome – Dr. John Sanford – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwCu4rh7kUk

    Notes from Dr. John Sanford’s preceding video:

    *3 new mutations every time a cell divides in your body
    * Average cell of 15 year old has up to 6000 mutations
    *Average cell of 60 year old has 40,000 mutations
    Reproductive cells are ‘designed’ so that, early on in development, they are ‘set aside’ and thus they do not accumulate mutations as the rest of the cells of our bodies do. Regardless of this protective barrier against the accumulation of slightly detrimental mutations still we find that,,,
    *60-175 mutations are passed on to each new generation.

    This following video brings the point personally home to each of and everyone of us about the very destructive effects of entropy on our material bodies as we go through temporal time:

    Aging Process – 80 years in 40 seconds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSdxYmGro_Y

    Moreover, as if the preceding were not enough to give a determined atheist a migraine headache to beat all migraine headaches, it is now found that the greatest source of entropy in the universe is found at Blackholes:

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    Moreover,,

    Scientists gear up to take a picture of a black hole – January 2012
    Excerpt: “Swirling around the black hole like water circling the drain in a bathtub, the matter compresses and the resulting friction turns it into plasma heated to a billion degrees or more, causing it to ‘glow’ – and radiate energy that we can detect here on Earth.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....-hole.html

    But, for those of us who are of spiritual persuasion, who have an eye on our eternal destinies, there is something very disturbing to contemplate about these blackholes which are suppose to be ultimate source of ‘random’ creativity in the atheistic worldview:

    i.e. as with the scientifically verified tunnel for any hypothetical observer accelerating to the ‘eternal’ speed of light in special relativity,,,

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

    ,, we also have scientific confirmation of extreme ‘tunnel curvature’, within space-time, for any hypothetical observer falling to an eternal ‘event horizon’ at black holes;

    Space-Time of a Black hole
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8

    Needless to say, these two very different ‘eternalities’ found within space time, one being very ordered and the other being very chaotic, should be very disturbing for those of us who hold, like I, that our souls live past the deaths of our temporal bodies.

    Verse and music:

    Revelation 20:1
    And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

    Live – I Alone
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNrQOUtXYOo

  64. Way to fall prey to Matzke’s deceptive misrepresentation of Meyer’s position.

    Did Meyer not write what Nick quotes?

  65. Nick, re #37:

    Me: I would love to see one particle of hard evidence that your so-called “normal processes” have ever produced one genuinely new gene (as opposed to a homolog generated by one or two point mutations), and more to the point, have ever produced a single novel biological body plan, organ, organ system, or process (such as blood clotting, sexual reproduction, or insect metamorphosis).

    You: Homologs aren’t new genes? You realize, don’t you, that your various systems — blood-clotting, flagellum, immune system, etc., are made up of parts which mostly or entirely consist of homologs to other parts within the system or with other systems of different functions?

    Nice try, Nick.

    The smallest number of protein coding genes necessary for a living cell is currently figured to be approximately 250. The human genome project has calculated that there are approximately 20,000 protein coding genes in our genomes. Are you trying to tell us that those 20,000 human genes are all homologs of the 250 or so that were present in the first life form from which all life is supposed to have evolved by Darwinian processes? And this doesn’t even address the thousands of other examples in non-mammalian life forms. Give me a break! You know very well that there are thousands and thousands of unique genes/proteins whose first appearance in living organisms were not homologs of anything. In addition, there have been many examples found of genes in various organisms that are not homologous to any other genes in any other organisms.

    I repeat, show me one particle of hard evidence that your so-called “normal processes” have ever produced one genuinely new gene. It ain’t there, Nick. The whole theory is based on speculation and wishful thinking.

  66. MrMosis @61

    You have just encountered Gregory at his best.

    Many of his posts are simply meaningless, especially when he harps on about big ID little id.

    A quick skim of his posts is really all I would recommend.

    In fact if you click on his name you will be taken to his blog where you will soon find that no one really bothers to dialogue with him there either.

    Take it as a lesson learned :)

  67. Alan Fox:

    Did Meyer not write what Nick quotes?

    Nick definitely doesn’t understand any of it. So that would be an issue.

  68. Just a note,

    that blind chance and mechanical necessity mean what “blind” normally means in that sort of context, not intelligently directed. The “millionth time” rhetoric is over the top nonsense, as I am not doing anything unusual or hard to understand. And no I am not going to be pulled into a silly weeks long debate over what terms mean, as was done with “arbitrary.”

    And, the point is that you start in a pond with what can get in it or the like, and from the chemistry and physics — known to be based on random chance [cf. Brownian motion, what temperature and heat are about etc] and mechanical forces, you need to plausibly come up with an encapsulated, gated, metabolising automaton with code based self replication.

    The distractive rhetoric disguises the fact that there is simply no empirically warranted chance and necessity account of such.

    We do know that FSCO/I which is abundantly manifest in DNA, RNA and proteins etc, as well as the organised nanomachines, is routinely produced by one observed adequate source, design. Like onto it, we know that he search challenge in configuration spaces will be so overwhelming that it is not plausible for the entities to come about by undirected chance and necessity.

    Design is at the table from OOL as of right, not necessity, and it is the best, empirically warranted explanation for the FSCO/I in life forms.

    That this is so can be easily seen from how the objections pivot on obfuscations and selectively hyperskeptical objections, appeals to authority etc, rather than simply showing how it happened per empirical warrant on chance and necessity.

    KF

  69. KF, be reasonable, evolution diddit!

    ????

  70. Alan:

    Did Meyer not write what Nick quotes?

    Please do try to think through this. I never said Nick didn’t quote Meyer. I said he misrepresented Meyer. Look at Nick’s interpretation of what Meyer said. Then read my response to Nick’s statement.

    Also, if you have read Signature in the Cell, you understand that Nick’s statement, as well as your “Meyer doesn’t have a problem with evolution” silliness, is a misrepresentation of Meyer’s position.

    You don’t gain anything by standing with Nick on this one. Nick was either sloppily or purposely misrepresenting. There is no ground to stand on.

    Of course it is often much easier to misrepresent someone like Meyer rather than address the real issues he raises.

  71. PeterJ couldn’t navigate himself out of a kleenex box. He’s a perfect representative of the lack of education of most IDists. Ad hom as if that is a substitute for wisdom.

    And if not, then he’ll appeal to his local evangelical church for moral superiority. Help Stephen C. Meyer!

    I went to the Discovery Institute’s Summer Program, where it claims to be teaching the next generation to become ‘IDists’ and was highly disappointed. Meyer was there and couldn’t answer simple questions from the ‘next generation’. Why should young people compromise ‘natural science’ with IDist ideology?

    ID leaders are far, far weaker and more insignificant (when you meet them in person and speak to them) than you folks will even consider is possible. That is because many people here *want* to be part of an American movement.

    Elevate them! PeterJ simply must be a giant warrior, an MMA fighter, a world-renowned engineer, a poet of the highest degree, Nobel winner…why, because anyone who subscribes to ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ simply becomes that by belief! “Pass the chips, PeterJ” is more realistic.

    In reality, PeterJ’s intellectual naptime dominates him and he, like most IDists, is too afraid to show his true face in public. But he’ll blame this on ‘Darwinists’ and try to escape lack of courage on someone else. Anyone else is guilty but himself. PeterJ, the self-expelled non-scholar of ‘Intelligent Design,’ a yawning echo of meaninglessness.

  72. Gregory “PeterJ couldn’t navigate himself out of a kleenex box.” :)

    Gregory “I went to the Discovery Institute’s Summer Program”

    So you keep telling us, however, you’ve still to actually prove it?

    Gregory, out of everyone who has contributed to this site, in the 5 years or so that I have been viewing it, you are probably the worst commenter I have come across. And that takes some doing.

  73. 73

    Nick @40,

    “This passage from Meyer was brought up as a counterargument:”

    It was brought up as a counterargument to Falk’s claim that his carefully read and reread, annotated, dog-eared, and nearly totally worn-out copy of SITC made no claim that invoking evolutionary processes in order to account for the information content in the first living cell wouldn’t be appropriate to the context of the debate. It’s something that should be obvious — one cannot invoke properties of biological systems to account for the origin such a system. You were the one to bring Falk’s comments into the discussion. Here’s the relevant snippet from Falk’s article:

    “Since I had read the book very carefully, and have gone over it many times since, I was amazed that I could have missed this stipulation.”

    It shouldn’t have needed stipulation. One must account for the origin of a thing without invoking the thing itself. But it was given anyway in a qualification about the conservation of information. This call for stipulation was pedantry meant to provide a technicality defense of Venema’s lack of focus about the central argument of the book: the origin of the information content required for the first living thing.

    “But it’s from almost the end of the book!”

    I estimate it at 57.3%. However Meyer makes it clear at the beginning of the book exactly what he’s arguing.

    “[SITC] tells about the mystery that has surrounded the discovery of the digital code in DNA and how that discovery has confounded repeated attempts to explain the origin of the first life on earth. Throughout the book I will call this mystery “the DNA enigma.”

    A brief word about the organization of the book: in Chapters 1 and 2 I define the scientific and philosophical issues at stake in the DNA enigma and give some historical background about the larger origin-of-life debate. In Chapters 3, 4, and 5 I describe the mystery surrounding DNA in more detail in order to establish what it is that any theory of the origin of life must explain. After a short interlude in Chapters 6 and 7 in which I examine what scientists in the past have thought about biological origins and how scientists currently investigate these questions, I examine (in Chapters 8 through 14) the competing explanations for the origin of biological information. Then, in Chapters 15 and 16, I present a positive case for intelligent design as the best explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life. Finally, in Chapters 17 through 20, I defend the theory of intelligent design against various popular objections to it. In the Epilogue, I show that intelligent design offers a fruitful approach to future scientific research. Not only does it illuminate some very recent and surprising discoveries in genomics, but it also suggests productive new lines of scientific investigation for many subdisciplines of biology.

    Meyer, Stephen C. (2009-06-06). Signature in the Cell (Kindle Locations 211-221). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. “

    The book’s thesis is stated up front and without equivocation.

    “After hundreds of pages of Meyer arguing that he has a POSITIVE argument for intelligence being the cause of the OOL, namely that intelligence is the unique and only source of information, and that the inference to intelligent design is thus just an application of uniformitarian reasoning, he slips this in late in the game, and then ignores it for the rest of his argument and for basically all of the “Signature in Cell” promotional material, essays, etc., until the critics pointed out the huge exception to the “information only comes from intelligence” and “conservation of information” claims.”

    It shouldn’t even need to be pointed out that invoking the properties of biological systems to account for the origin of biological systems is a logical no-no. It’s beyond me why this should need stating in the first place, much less repeating.

    “I’m just interested in what Meyer will do with the Cambrian Explosion, where he probably will want to make the same argument — new information can only come from intelligence — but he will have no way at all to avoid dealing with the massive amount of evidence that regular natural processes can and have increased information in genomes. But, avoid it he will, or he will have to give up the “conservation of information” argument, and admit that information, at least sometimes, has nonintelligent sources.”

    Yes, we’re all very eager to read Darwin’s Doubt. I’ll point out that counting biological systems as “natural processes” is the same sort of question begging that’s been advanced as an “argument” against SITC, as pointed out previously.

  74. The Discovery Institute doesn’t publish the names of its supposed ‘next generation’ scholars, i.e. its summer program students. It tells students, on the first night, to intentionally hide their identities, to use pseudonyms, to pretend that they are someone else if they want to be taken seriously. Stephen C. Meyer is part of this planned trickery.

    PeterJ might have graduated from kindergarten but most likely didn’t finish high school if one measures the relevance of his posts. Yet he has the nerve to yell against accredited scholars who reject IDT. Why? Simply because they reject IDT and because PeterJ has gullibly become an IDist. This is one of the most sickening examples at Uncommon Descent – no willingness to deal with arguments and only a demonstrated desire to attack persons.

    If IDists think that most scholars actually assess themselves according to IDist ideology, they are only fooling themselves. So I’m a ‘bad commenter’ on the ‘scale’ of PeterJ. So what? That’s like telling me that my orange juice is sour according to someone who’s never seen or tasted an orange. Not a credible judge.

    And that doesn’t ‘take some doing,’ it’s just a fact.

  75. Matzke writes:

    Please let us know when Meyer explains why the origin of new genes with new functions through normal processes of gene duplication, mutation, and natural selection doesn’t contradict his claim that the only way to get new information is through intelligent design. He relies on a universal premise (conservation of information) which is extremely easy to show doesn’t fit the evidence.

    I have a better idea, Nick. Maybe you could explain in detail how evolution produced information through the blind, purposeless forces of matter and energy interacting over eons of time through chance and/or necessity. If conservation of information is extremely easy to show doesn’t “fit the evidence”, maybe you could show where, when and how, and by whom in what peer reviewed journals this has been shown to be the case? For a premise that is supposedly “not scientific”, please explain how conservation of information has been put to scientific testing and shown to be false. Who did these experiments, under what conditions, and how might those results be falsified? Or is this just more of your vigorous hand-waving we’ve grown so accustomed to over the years? (I suspect that to be the case!)

  76. Going a necessary step further than DonaldM #75, what ‘scientific’ proof is there of how an ‘intelligent/Intelligent agent/Agent’ through ‘directed, purposeful’ forces of matter and energy over eons of time (thank goodness he’s not a YEC!) ‘produced’ information? Specifically, please address the when, where, how, why and who questions.

    ‘Evolution’ is not a ‘person,’ not an ‘agent’ according to most scholars, whether theistic or non-thestic.

    ID Theory is a hand-waving competitor to legitimate science in regard to when, where, how, why and who questions.

    Asking Nick M. to do the work for ID’s decrepit explanatory power is inexcusable. Most people, including theists who have looked carefully and in depth at ‘ID theory’ as well as agnostics and atheists, reject the claims of ID as a ‘natural scientific’ proof/inference of ‘Intelligence’ in the universe.

    Most people believe ‘Intelligence’ in the universe based on faith, not on ‘natural science.’ ID theory is ‘distorted’in trying to naturalise faith. Meyer is a proponent of this fuzzy theism parading as an implication of ‘natural scientific’ proof.

  77. OM “responds” to kairosfocus:

    Is it possible you could provide a citation for that claim? That biologists claim that entities like “DNA, RNA and proteins etc, as well as the organised nanomachines” come about by ‘undirected chance and necessity’?

    Read “The Blind Watchmaker” and read any biology textbook.

    Natural selection and drift are both blind and mindless processes. All mutations are said to be errors, mistakes and accidents, ie undirected chance. Even Mayr said that:

    The first step in selection, the production of genetic variation, is almost exclusively a chance phenomenon except that the nature of the changes at a given locus is strongly constrained. Chance plays an important role even at the second step, the process of elimination of the less fit individuals. Chance may be particularly important in the haphazard survival during periods of mass extinction.- Mayr, “What Evolution Is”

    So what is OM saying- that he doesn’t understand what the current paradigm says? Talk about being beyond pathetic, OM lives in that zone.

    OM, proud to be one of Lizzie’s Losers and another great example of not posting in good faith.

  78. 78

    Most people believe ‘Intelligence’ in the universe based on faith, not on ‘natural science.’

    Actually most people believe in intelligence in the universe based on first-hand observational evidence of its cause, and repeated and uniform experience with its effects. Most people take it as given that the universe and living systems show evidence of design. That being the case, the effects of intelligence have a quality which distinguishes them from the effects which material processes are known to produce — things like motors, transport systems, power converters, information storage and processing mechanisms, quality control mechanisms, signalling systems, cybernetic control, manufacturing facilities, code translation apparati, materials synthesis pathways, etc. If we found such things in living systems it just might warrant an inference to design, absent the elucidation of the material processes which are supposed to account for such arrangements.

  79. Gregory @76

    What utter nonesense!

  80. 80

    Gregory, in #71, writes the first interesting, new thing I’ve seen in a long time on UD:

    71 Gregory
    April 22, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I went to the Discovery Institute’s Summer Program, where it claims to be teaching the next generation to become ‘IDists’ and was highly disappointed. Meyer was there and couldn’t answer simple questions from the ‘next generation’. Why should young people compromise ‘natural science’ with IDist ideology?

    ID leaders are far, far weaker and more insignificant (when you meet them in person and speak to them) than you folks will even consider is possible. That is because many people here *want* to be part of an American movement.

    Gregory, have you written up your experiences anywhere? What were the other ID speakers like? What questions did students ask of Stephen Meyer?

    Cheers, Nick

  81. Natural selection and drift are both blind and mindless processes

    Thank you Joe for agreeing with me.

    Then you agre with kairosfocus. Good.

    They are indeed processes and not the random brute force searching misrepresented by KF with his “needles” analogy.

    Umm searching is a process. Natural selection is just differential reproduction due to heritable chance variation. It doesn’t do anything, let alone search. At least a search does something.


    All mutations are said to be errors, mistakes and accidents, ie undirected chance.

    Indeed, but it’s the framework, the process that then takes that raw material and uses some, saves some for later (perhaps!) and discards some that’s important, as you rightly point out.

    It still doesn’t do anything. And it is still undirected chance and necessity, just as kairosfocus said.

    So what is your issue again?

  82. Nick,

    People on here have been trying to get that information from him for quite a long time. Sadly he hasn’t been able to provide, even proof, that he was actually there.

    When asked to provide some in an above post he simply replied:

    “The Discovery Institute doesn’t publish the names of its supposed ‘next generation’ scholars, i.e. its summer program students. It tells students, on the first night, to intentionally hide their identities, to use pseudonyms, to pretend that they are someone else if they want to be taken seriously. Stephen C. Meyer is part of this planned trickery.”

    Like I have to do, go fathom Nick.

  83. 83

    I’m just laughing out loud at #80. It appears that there is indeed an individual in the world who possesses a piqued curiosity about what Gregory has to say. Who would have thought that motive mongering the Discovery Institute could be the basis of a bromance. Love is a beautiful if often an inexplicable thing.

    Please pardon my having a little fun with this. Gregory has been an ongoing source of entertainment and curiosity for quite some time. I’ve never actually seen him respond to requests for detailed accounts of his time at the DI summer program. He just makes the same bland generalities about his personal disappointment, along with the same tired invective that’s become a hallmark of this odd and angry man, who behaves like a comical inquisitor and is loathe to answer questions or demonstrate any perspicacity with regard to ID. Sometime back, it could scarcely have been two months ago, Gregory announced his retirement from UD. Needless to say, the time went quickly, and now he’s back with as much verve as ever. Only now he has an admirer! Shame on you Nick for encouraging him. It is we who will bear the brunt of your indiscretion. :P

  84. I’m not at all surprised that the Discovery Institute doesn’t publish names of young scholars and might even recommend that they lay low for a while. We know for a fact that militant materialists as well as institutions like the NCSE, with Nick’s help at the time it seems, have attempted to torpedo careers, with some success. Laying low for a while is definitely sound advice.

    Unfortunately, Gregory sees conspiracy every time he looks at ID looks and twists things to meet his conspiracy ideation. His assessment and general approach is so unhinged that rational people wouldn’t trust him as a credible witness to events even if he were the only one to have witnessed them.

    Fortunately, there are many others of us who have our own experience. I’ve personally met and talked to Dembski, Meyer, Wells, Behe and others. Of course none of them are larger than life — no-one is. But they are careful, thoughtful individuals who raise good questions and sound arguments. Gregory’s rant is typical of his mudslinging here. Frankly I’m amazed that the folks in Seattle even had the patience to let him stay through the summer program. If the questions he was asking there were as illogical, irrelevant, and off-topic as the detritus he brings to UD, it is a wonder they didn’t buy him a one way plane ticket and send him home after the first day.

  85. Nick, instead of encouraging Gregory in his delusions, why don’t you get back to us on that “massive” amount of evidence you have that huge amounts of information can be infused into the genome by purely natural processes. Ya know, that claim you made that supposedly responded to (your misrepresented version) of Meyer’s argument. The claim that materialists have been making since day one, without any concrete evidence to back it up. The claim on which the whole materialist creation myth rests.

    Please get back to us with some of that “massive” amount of evidence.

  86. Mr. Matzke takes glee in Gregory’s posts. Well O Well, I guess that ruins it for me Gregory. If Mr. Matzke enforces you you have lost all credibility in my book! Gregory, As to your comment here:

    It (DI) tells students, on the first night, to intentionally hide their identities, to use pseudonyms, to pretend that they are someone else if they want to be taken seriously. Stephen C. Meyer is part of this planned trickery.”

    And exactly why do you think this is done Gregory? The reason this is done is because of systematic persecution of anyone who does not toe the Darwinian party line! If you don’t believe me, perhaps you will believe the man who Mr. Matzke, as far as I know, is suppose to meet this summer to explain macro-evolution to:

    Top Ten Most Cited Chemist in the World Knows That Evolution Doesn’t Work – James Tour, Phd. – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCyAOCesHv0

    A world-famous chemist tells the truth:
    Excerpt: In the last few years I have seen a saddening progression at several institutions. I have witnessed unfair treatment upon scientists that do not accept macroevolutionary arguments and for their having signed the above-referenced statement regarding the examination of Darwinism. (I will comment no further regarding the specifics of the actions taken upon the skeptics; I love and honor my colleagues too much for that.) I never thought that science would have evolved like this. I deeply value the academy; teaching, professing and research in the university are my privileges and joys…

    But my recent advice to my graduate students has been direct and revealing: If you disagree with Darwinian Theory, keep it to yourselves if you value your careers, unless, of course, you’re one of those champions for proclamation; I know that that fire exists in some, so be ready for lead-ridden limbs. But if the scientific community has taken these shots at senior faculty, it will not be comfortable for the young non-conformist. When the power-holders permit no contrary discussion, can a vibrant academy be maintained? Is there a University (unity in diversity)? For the United States, I pray that the scientific community and the National Academy in particular will investigate the disenfranchisement that is manifest upon some of their own, and thereby address the inequity.
    - James Tour, Phd
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

    Here is the modest proposal that brought persecution:

    Scientific Dissent From Darwinism List
    Proposal: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”
    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

    Perhaps you may think this systematic persecution who does not toe the Darwinian party line is just one man’s opinion Gregory, well you would be wrong in that thought,,

    EXPELLED – Starring Ben Stein – Part 1 of 10 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIZAAh_6OXg

    Slaughter of Dissidents – Book
    “If folks liked Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” they will be blown away by “Slaughter of the Dissidents.” – Russ Miller
    http://www.amazon.com/Slaughte.....0981873405

    Moreover Gregory, I don’t know what country you are from but in this country most people highly value freedom of speech. That is most people save for Darwinists:

    On the Fundamental Difference Between Darwin-Inspired and Intelligent Design-Inspired Lawsuits – September 2011
    Excerpt:
    *Darwin lobby litigation: In every Darwin-inspired case listed above, the Darwin lobby sought to shut down free speech, stopping people from talking about non-evolutionary views, and seeking to restrict freedom of intellectual inquiry.
    *ID movement litigation: Seeks to expand intellectual inquiry and free speech rights to talk about non-evolutionary views.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50451.html

    Intelligent Design Supporter Expelled from Civil Liberties Organization – podcast – January 2013
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_00-08_00

    Now Gregory, contrary to whatever conspiracy theories you may believe about ID, the fact of the matter is that there are very good reasons for young people who are just starting out in their careers to keep their heads low as to questioning the established atheistic dogma of Darwinian evolution. At least until they are firmly rooted in their career field.

  87. OT: Was Adolf Hitler a Christian? – The Real Agenda Behind The Propaganda – video
    http://www.cbn.com/700club/fea.....index.aspx

  88. keiths sez:

    Evolution is not a blind search

    I repeat:

    Evolution is not a blind search

    Yes, keiths. Saying unguided evolution is a blind search is giving it way too much credit.

    Unguided evolution is more of a “whatever happens and if it isn’t fatal it may stay”. And that is much weaker than any blind search, even a legless blind search.

    Did you have a point?

  89. BA: It is blatant — let me just say: White Rose Movement & martyrs — that Hitler was of the spirit of antichrist, as I showed visually here, as it seems the sort who make such poisonous but ill founded accusations will not read the documentation (which is also provided via the linked). There is a disturbing anti-christian, utterly irrational hatred and there is a linked wave of slander that now seem to stalk our civilisation, that is flashing warning bells for those who are willing to listen;the recent incident of listing Evangelical Christians and Catholics in — at the top of — a list of extremists with Al Qaeda by a US Army presenter is emblematic. I suggest that those who are sober minded should try here on for a 101 on the warrant for the Christian faith, and if there are concerns on the sins of Christendom [any significant movement with a long history will have its sins . . .] I suggest here. But for those whose motivation is such a nihilistic hostility that it amounts to (frankly) unreasoning hate, they can only be exposed and so defeated, they will be that deaf to reason and benumbed to conscience or correction. KF

  90. Joe

    What OM really needs to provide is an apology and retraction for the false accusations by invidious association he has given, and TSZ needs to provide a similar apology for willfully harbouring such misbehaviour.

    Beyond that, it seems the mad rush to object, object, object has now reached a pitch that such do not even see what they are saying. I doubt that they intend pantheism, though that is a strict implication of thinking that the molecular motions of various items in some warm little pond exhibit purpose.

    And as for the notion that chance variation plus differential reproductive success based on the fittest survive and the ones that survive are the fittest, exhibits the sort of effective purpose that a designer does, that falls of its own weight. And the implication that the phenomena of the world of life give off strong appearance of design, puts the serious question as to whether such appearance is so as it simply reflects reality on the table. Which will not go away by question- beggingly redefining science and its methods in service to a priori Lewontinian materialism.

    Johnson’s November 1997 retort to Lewontin’s infamous assertion of a priori materialism driving science, is worth clipping again:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    But what they intend is to demand proof of a claim advanced by their own side, on the projection that it must be those silly ID thinkers who are making things up.

    Mechanical necessity or physical necessity of course demotes laws that, once an initial condition exists and in absence of disturbance, will unfold in a predetermined way, a la Newtonian dynamics or the like. That is the context in which Laplace famously envisioned a super-intellectual demon who, knowing the initial conditions of the cosmos, would be able to calculate its path at all future times.

    Chance, denotes the situation that entered current physics by the door of molecular motion. Temperature, for instance is a measure of the average random kinetic energy in modes of freedom for microparticles in systems. This reflects how it was realised that gases are made up from masses of molecules in constant motion, colliding, bouncing off walls, etc. Cf discussion here in my always linked on how this rapidly sets up a system with effective randomness, even in the classical world. Mix in sensitive dependence on initial and intervening circumstances and we see how we get to the sort of effective randomness of tossing a fair die. Add quantum results and we have a door to the evidently fundamentally random. Thee are ever so many physicalists or materialists, who imagine that this exhausts causal possibilities, and so we see Monod’s famous c 1970 book Chance and Necessity. This also reflects earlier thought to Plato’s day and beyond. Such physicalism, however, is fatally self referential, and incoherent once we have to try to account for the credible, knowing, reasoning mind that makes real decisions and must in order to reason and know. There is no good reason to not accept the contrast between “natural” meaning the sense: blind chance and/or mechanical necessity, vs ART, the intelligently directed and purposeful, aka design. Evolutionary materialism rooted attempts to account for mind as we experience it, either collapse into self refutation or else must smuggle in something more than matter and meat between our ears. As the linked shows at first level.

    But then, OM and ilk are patently unwilling to accept that we have thought seriously about where we are and why. In their minds, we are obviously ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked or some mix thereof. The warped, prejudice driven bigotry, is not seen for what it is, and hence such feel free to make all sorts of strawman caricatures, laced with the most nasty and false accusation or insinuation based ad hominems and set alight through sneering, snide or incendiary rhetoric.

    They do not see the nihilism and the way they are burning down our civilisation.

    Don’t forget, in the pages of UD, we have had to stand up to defend reason and its foundational first principles.

    For shame!

    KF

  91. BA & 86: well said, saved me needing to further comment. KF

  92. Joe, envisioning Chance variation and natural selection wandering in a somewhat biased — skewed — random walk across config space on a raft till it runs out of atomic and temporal resources is a very useful tool. The problem is, that 500 – 1,000 bits, orders of magnitude too low, is long since enough to exhaust the raft’s resources. The notion that such can find the shores of cell based life without wafting or currents pushing in, is patently incredible. Thus the tendency to try to chop off the root of the Darwinist three of life. But no roots, no trunk, branches or support for the twigs and leaves. So, at the root, we have evidence pointing to the only known force capable of creating the sort of entity we need: design, reflected in the reliable sign of FSCO/I which the objectors are so desperate to sweep off the table. And if design is there at the root, there is no reason why it should not be there all along thereafter. But, that gives the Lewontinian materialistsa the vapours. Instead of getting all hot and scattered in a dither, I suggest they need to first justify that hey on tehir premises have sound minds that can erect reasonable and accurate theories. The self referential incoherence will be readily apparent on a simple inspection. Then they can start afresh in a way that actually allows the evidence to speak. But first we have to put up with volcanic eruptions of temper tantrums, potty mouths, outing tactics, threats to career and family etc etc. And the ugly nihilist ruthless faction element Plato warned against 2350 years ago — notice how they are ever so silent in the face of that little bit of instructive history (do you need for us to move on to an exposition of the parable of the cave and why the deluded denizens wanted to kill their liberators?) — will have to be exposed and defeated. KF

  93. 93

    Nick Matzke

    Please let us know when Meyer explains why the origin of new genes with new functions through normal processes of gene duplication, mutation, and natural selection doesn’t contradict his claim that the only way to get new information is through intelligent design. He relies on a universal premise (conservation of information) which is extremely easy to show doesn’t fit the evidence.

    Nick, I wouldn’t be surprised if Meyers simply responded by telling you that mutations are a built-in part of the program.

    Program designers try to anticipate how users will interact with their programs. They attempt to write robust, ironclad code that will keep running. If I write a function that involves a division operation, I will error-detecting code to prevent users from trying to divide by zero. The program will keep running.

    In the same respect, if the DNA designer(s) understood that the cell’s external environment (which the cell is programmed to interact with) would undergo changes over time, and sometimes radical and abrupt changes that, if not accounted for, could kill the cell, wouldn’t the designer want to include code that would react/respond to the changes and give the cell a fighting chance to stay alive?

    And so an ID perspective for the OOL should have no problems with mutating genes, or Natural Selection, for that matter (in fact Meyer has said he’s fine with Natural Selection). Programming the ability for genes to mutate would be a duh-no-brainer for a designer.

    Let’s just hope that the DNA designer was better than your average Microsoft coder. So far so good ;)

  94. “systematic persecution of anyone who does not toe the Darwinian party line!” – BA77

    This is called ‘Expelled Syndrome.’ It is a particular (specified complex/simple) disease of the IDM (probably KF can count the ‘bits’ of this disease!). Most UD folks quite obviously suffer from it, except for those like vjtorley who have nothing to lose, who have never published or tried to publish a single thing in peer-reviewed literature. I’m not a doctor and can offer no solution or subscription to overcome this psychological disease. You folks must face this reality yourselves, but you are not yet ready to do this.

    IDism is host to more pseudonyms and multiple internet names than perhaps any other claimed ‘scientific’ theory in history! The DI promotes this intentional deceptiveness (identity crisis) to young people on a yearly basis at its Summer Program. The Secret Meeting in Seattle propagating IDism to American youth!

    Dr. James Tour rejects ID theory – doesn’t think it is scientific. You folks avoid this fact like a plague on your houses. Facing truth seems unimportant to you when you continually do this.

    “If Mr. Matzke enforces you you have lost all credibility in my book!” – BA77

    Soon to be Dr. Matzke, as it seems. Such is a typical IDist strategy: you’re either with us or you’re against us; black and white American evangelical thinking. And you wonder why more people don’t embrace your ‘movement’?!

    What IDists say towards people who openly, honestly and thoughtfully reject their ‘theory’ (as witnessed countless times here) while pretending to remain responsibly ‘theistic’ and ‘traditional’ is simply this: “He must be angry; he doesn’t laugh at our jokes.” … “He must be stupid; he isn’t smart like us.” … “We are revolutionaries; everyone else is ‘plugged in,’ ‘passive’ and ‘programmed’ by the enemy of humanity.”

    The truth is that I’m laughing at your jokes which are framed as serious and I’m smiling at ID theory that really isn’t so important in the grand scheme of things. ‘Sacrilege’ – this is your likely next accusation. And of course I must be crazy simply because standing up and rejecting your ideology is responsible and necessary. Abrahamic believers such as me reject IDism because it is a distortive, backwards-looking ideology rather than a progressive ‘natural scientific’ theory for the 21st century.

    The vast majority of Abrahamists around the world already believe in ‘Design/Creation.’ But IDists seek to proof/infer/apologise this belief using ‘natural science.’ Most of us think this IDist ‘strategy’ is unnecessary and potentially destructive.

    Yet IDists will continue to think they are the most creative, radical, superior, super-heroes of academic freedom, revolutionaries, etc. What can truthfully be said of such persons is that they are delusional, stuck in neo-creationist wishful-thinking. And nothing more need be said. PSYCHE.

    As an aside, if Eric Anderson stepped in the ring with me, he’d be busted up so badly in the first round that he’d want to stay seated on his chair and not stand up for a second. My e-mail is available to him if he has the IDist gumption and confidence to try. We’d play the results here of his ideological sitting-down.

    “Gregory, I don’t know what country you are from” – BA77

    It’s quite simple to find out; just click on my name and then on ‘About.’ You’ll find the answer quickly. That electric finger-work might be too much to ask of an IDist, but the links are provided.

    Honestly, sadly, tellingly of USEvangelicalism, IDism is so far outside of its claims of competency as to astonish most scholars regarding its pretensions to ‘natural scientific’ validity. IDism is not humble, it is religiously motivated hubris.

    I am calling Stephen C. Meyer out. Could he face a legitimate overcoming challenge to the DI’s CSC? Steve Fuller handily dominated him and Meyer accepted the ‘theodicy’ argument requirement of IDism while in the U.K. If Meyer should face me he’d realise how misanthropic his IDist ideology has actually become, probably unbeknownst to him.

    And yes, I have retired from UD. It is not worth my time. But I’m on working vacation now, with a few moments to spare. The falsehoods and dead-end daydreams of certain UD folks should be exposed to the truth, no matter how much it hurts them psychologically.

    My working approach is too far beyond the IDM for most here to allow themselves to acknowledge; it is quite far ahead of Meyer and Dembski and much less polemic (!). It is constructive, healing, helpful and ‘progressive’ in the evolution, creation, processes, origins discourse. What would it take for IDists to shed their obvious white-washing of truth and breathe some fresh air on the topic?

    Gregory

    p.s. let us put Dembski’s competence to test: I’d like to see Dembski take on nightlight in a game of chess. Dembski plays chess and speaks pretentiously about his ID mathematics, his calculative abilities and foresight. I’d put my betting money on nightlight any day of the week.

  95. Gregory:

    First, be reminded that it is by restraint that I am for the moment allowing you to comment in threads I own. You have unresolved problems. And right now with your increasing resort to irrelevant personalities, you are close to my limits. FAIR WARNING.

    Second, if you are unwilling to acknowledge the reality of censorship and career busting then that means simply that you are one of the enablers of same. With all that that implies about disregard for duties of care to truth, accuracy and fairness on your part.

    Thanks for letting us know what you are.

    Now, I issue a decision regarding further participation in threads I own.

    YOU ARE TO REFRAIN FROM PERSONALITIES SUCH AS YOU HAVE INDULGED ABOVE AND YOU ARE TO CONFINE YOURSELF TO THE MAIN SUBJECTS OF DISCUSSION ON THE MERITS. YOU HAVE LONG SINCE EXHAUSTED PATIENCE, AND ARE BEING RUDE. STOP.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  96. Well by golly Gregory, humbleness is definitely not a stumbling block for you in life is it???,,, After a fairly incoherent, fairly self centered, rant you p.s. us with “let’s settle all this ID vs. neo-Darwinism stuff with a game of chess!” :) Winner takes all eh Gregory??? :) Why not checkers or Go to settle the matter Gregory my man??? :)

    Epicycling Through The Materialist Meta-Paradigm Of Consciousness – May 2010
    GilDodgen: One of my AI (artificial intelligence) specialties is games of perfect knowledge.

    See here:

    worldchampionshipcheckers.com

    In both checkers and chess humans are no longer competitive against computer programs, because tree-searching techniques have been developed to the point where a human cannot overlook even a single tactical mistake when playing against a state-of-the-art computer program in these games. On the other hand, in the game of Go, played on a 19×19 board with a nominal search space of 19×19 factorial (1.4e+768), the best computer programs are utterly incompetent when playing against even an amateur Go player.,,,
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-353454

    But, now that you bring chess up Gregory, chess does expose a fatal flaw in neo-Darwinian thinking:

    Another reason why the human mind is not like a computer – June 2012
    Excerpt: In computer chess, there is something called the “horizon effect”. It is an effect innate in the algorithms that underpin it. Due to the mathematically staggering number of possibilities, a computer by force has to restrict itself, to establish a fixed search depth. Otherwise the calculations would never end. This fixed search depth means that a ‘horizon’ comes into play, a horizon beyond which the software engine cannot peer.
    Anand has shown time and again that he can see beyond this algorithm-imposed barrier, to find new ways, methods of changing the game. Just when every successive wave of peers and rivals thinks they have got his number, Anand sees that one, all important, absolute move.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-computer/

    Part of the reason why Anand is able to push beyond the ‘horizon effect’ of the chess programs is shown here:

    Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video (notes in description of video)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8516356/

    Moreover, at the 11:50 minute mark of this following video, 21 year old world Chess champion Magnus Carlsen explains that he does not know how he knows, seemingly without effort, his next move of Chess instantaneously, that ‘it just comes natural’ to him to know the answer instantaneously.

    Mozart of Chess: Magnus Carlsen – video
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/w.....contentAux

    A chess prodigy explains how his mind works – video
    Excerpt: What’s the secret to Magnus’ magic? Once an opponent makes a move, Magnus instantaneously knows his own next move.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50.....er;housing

    In fact, this ability to ‘instantaneously’ know answers to very complex problems, problems that would take super-computers a very long time to solve, has long been a very intriguing characteristic of some autistic savants;

    Is Integer Arithmetic Fundamental to Mental Processing?: The mind’s secret arithmetic
    Excerpt: Because normal children struggle to learn multiplication and division, it is surprising that some savants perform integer arithmetic calculations mentally at “lightning” speeds (Treffert 1989, Myers 1903, Hill 1978, Smith 1983, Sacks 1985, Hermelin and O’Connor 1990, Welling 1994, Sullivan 1992). They do so unconsciously, without any apparent training, typically without being able to report on their methods, and often at an age when the normal child is struggling with elementary arithmetic concepts (O’Connor 1989). Examples include multiplying, factoring, dividing and identifying primes of six (and more) digits in a matter of seconds as well as specifying the number of objects (more than one hundred) at a glance. For example, one savant (Hill 1978) could give the cube root of a six figure number in 5 seconds and he could double 8,388,628 twenty four times to obtain 140,737,488,355,328 in several seconds. Joseph (Sullivan 1992), the inspiration for the film “Rain Man” about an autistic savant, could spontaneously answer “what number times what number gives 1234567890″ by stating “9 times 137,174,210″. Sacks (1985) observed autistic twins who could exchange prime numbers in excess of eight figures, possibly even 20 figures, and who could “see” the number of many objects at a glance. When a box of 111 matches fell to the floor the twins cried out 111 and 37, 37, 37.
    http://www.centreforthemind.co.....hmetic.cfm

    But Gregory how should any of this be possible if ‘mind’ is merely emergent from the brain as neo-Darwinism holds?

    Are Humans merely Turing Machines?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cvQeiN7DqBC0Z3PG6wo5N5qbsGGI3YliVBKwf7yJ_RU/edit

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter”.
    J. B. S. Haldane ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

  97. [GREGORY, I ASKED YOU TO REFRAIN FROM RUDE BEHAVIOUR. I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND JUST WHAT SENSE OF "PERSONALITIES"* WAS INVOLVED. STRIKE TWO. KF
    _____________

    * "7. Usu. personalities. a disparaging or offensive personal remark. " (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc.)]
    =================

    My “unresolved problems” are with IDism. IDists have failed to be honest or rational, to offer satisfactory answers. That’s the reality, not the fiction that KF is pushing.
    Human beings are involved in this conversation.

    Yet KF has the disgusting myopia to say: “REFRAIN FROM PERSONALITIES”

    Refrain?! Really!? So, I should just check my humanity, my personality at the door?!?

    KF wants people to be merely robots…why?

    GEM – rudeness is your only available conclusion because I thoughtfully reject IDism. I reflexively reject your pretentious claims to ‘scientific’ relevance. Abrahamic believers are properly theists, but we are not naturalistic-IDists who ‘should’ embrace IDism. We see through this façade and wish to move forward without entertaining your reductionistic appeals.

    Many, many, many scholars are theists and get along just fine with the mainstream evolutionary theories (including Darwinian theories). You cite as if to demand ‘career busting’ – this is a minority few ‘rebels’. Most scholars are interested in truths, but the IDM focuses its attention on a minority of ideologues and expends its energy and resources almost entirely on them.

    I’m not a Darwinist, neither do I think Darwinian evolution provides a satisfactory ‘philosophy/theology of OoL.’ That is not new or controversial. But I do NOT accept bitism aka IDism. There is no need for that!

    You want to PROOVE ‘design/Design’ using statistics and mathematics. I believe honest Abrahamic believers will continue to reject your strategy. It is not intellectual, it is not smart, it is not credible.

    p.s. BA77, will you ever take a break from irrelevance? S.C. Meyer is clearly not capable of responding in a humanistic way, misanthropic as he is. As his follower, why are you?
    ===========
    The abusive behaviour that G is enabling, as clipped by BA77 above:

    >> Top Ten Most Cited Chemist in the World Knows That Evolution Doesn’t Work – James Tour, Phd. – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCyAOCesHv0

    A world-famous chemist tells the truth:
    Excerpt: In the last few years I have seen a saddening progression at several institutions. I have witnessed unfair treatment upon scientists that do not accept macroevolutionary arguments and for their having signed the above-referenced statement regarding the examination of Darwinism. (I will comment no further regarding the specifics of the actions taken upon the skeptics; I love and honor my colleagues too much for that.) I never thought that science would have evolved like this. I deeply value the academy; teaching, professing and research in the university are my privileges and joys…

    But my recent advice to my graduate students has been direct and revealing: If you disagree with Darwinian Theory, keep it to yourselves if you value your careers, unless, of course, you’re one of those champions for proclamation; I know that that fire exists in some, so be ready for lead-ridden limbs. But if the scientific community has taken these shots at senior faculty, it will not be comfortable for the young non-conformist. When the power-holders permit no contrary discussion, can a vibrant academy be maintained? Is there a University (unity in diversity)? For the United States, I pray that the scientific community and the National Academy in particular will investigate the disenfranchisement that is manifest upon some of their own, and thereby address the inequity.
    – James Tour, Phd>> KF

  98. OT: Axel, you may appreciate this musical prodigy:

    Bluejay: The Mind of a Child Prodigy – video
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7186319n

  99. Gregory, you’ve got nothing:

    Billy Preston – Nothing from nothing 1975
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_DV54ddNHE

  100. Andre @ 46: Excellent, headlined. KF

  101. PS: G, your dismissive rhetoric regarding design theory is duly noted. I raise you one entire course worth of response, here on.

  102. Now keiths is relegated to just saying anything:

    Evolution explores the haystack by starting from the current needle and exploring the points in the haystack that it can reach from there. If it finds a needle at any of those reachable points, then it proceeds to search from the new needle.

    What a crock of unsupportable tripe. Unguided evolution doesn’t explore anything. Blind and undirected chemical processes do not lend themselves to exploration, keiths.

    Unguided evolution is as I said “whatever happens and if it isn’t fatal it may stay”.

    Deal with it.

  103. KF #101

    I’m not dismissive of ‘design theory.’ Much ‘design theory’ I accept and (try to) learn from. It is specifically (surely you can understand ‘pattern recognition’!) the notion of ‘INTELLIGENT DESIGN THEORY’ that is problematic.

    KF is quite clearly not a defender of ‘design theory’ (if he were, he would regularly cite non-ID design theorists) but a proponent of ‘intelligent design theory.’ There’s a difference, folks, whether or not you like to admit it in public.

    Repeat: Dr. James Tour rejects ID theory – doesn’t think it is scientific. You folks avoid this fact like a plague on your houses. Facing truth seems unimportant to you when you continually do this.

  104. So keiths sez that unguided evolution is not a blind search but a blind exploration?

    explore:

    2- To search into or travel in for the purpose of discovery

    search:

    1-To make a thorough examination of; look over carefully in order to find something; explore.

    There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between searching and exploring. And that means keiths is a bigger dolt than we thought.

  105. Gregory:

    Dr. James Tour rejects ID theory – doesn’t think it is scientific.

    It meets the criteria for being scientific. Perhaps if Tour provided valid reasoning we would listen. Until then why should we?

  106. Gregory,
    I’m with Mr. Matzke on this one. Please tell us of your experiences with the Discovery Institute and please be *very* specific about the simple questions Dr. Meyer could not answer.

  107. Gregory:

    As an aside, if Eric Anderson stepped in the ring with me, he’d be busted up so badly in the first round that he’d want to stay seated on his chair and not stand up for a second.

    I will gladly step in the ring with you, Gregory.

  108. There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between searching and exploring.

    Joe can’t seem to read the definitions he quotes. A search involves looking for something specific; a target. An exploration is serendipity. Evolutionary processes “stumble upon” possibilities.

  109. Alan, You don’t have to search for something specific. You can search just to see what you will find, if anything. Alan doesn’t seem to understand the English language.

    But yes, I agree and have said that with unguided evolution is more like stumbling upon something. However that ain’t going to get you anywhere.

  110. You can search just to see what you will find, if anything.

    That’s exploring, Joe.

  111. Yes Alan, the two are interchangeable, just as the definition I provided says.

    Do you know how to read, Alan?

    search:

    1-To make a thorough examination of; look over carefully in order to find something; explore.

  112. Yes Alan, the two are interchangeable, just as the definition I provided says.

    Wonderful demonstration, which I hope others are observing, of why those who introduce a term should provide a definition to avoid misunderstanding. Now, it is clear to me that, in the context of Keiths’ comment:

    In terms of the needle and haystack metaphor, the problem faced by evolution isn’t to find needles by probing random locations throughout the entire haystack — that would be a blind search — but something quite different. Evolution explores the haystack by starting from the current needle and exploring the points in the haystack that it can reach from there. If it finds a needle at any of those reachable points, then it proceeds to search from the new needle.

    I suspect that keith is making a distinction between a targetted search and an unguided exploration (random walk) around the reachable space (bridgable from one viable allele and its expressed protein to another.)

    I am sure keiths will clarify for us. Words are an imperfect way of conveying meaning, even when there is a genuine effort at communication.

  113. Umm a blind search is NOT a targeted search. And neither you nor keiths can support what he said.

    Also unguided and blind exploration is a contradiction.

  114. Robin sez:

    Earth to Joe – evolution is not blind.

    Intelligent Design Evolution is not blind. Unguided evolution is blind, mindless and without purpose.

    I can provide references to support my claims.

  115. Re AF (& KS):

    Evolution explores the haystack by starting from the current needle and exploring the points in the haystack that it can reach from there. If it finds a needle at any of those reachable points, then it proceeds to search from the new needle.

    This is a summary of body plan adaptation micro evolution, not a summary of body plan origination macro evo. It also ducks the pivotal case the root of the tree of life, OOL.

    The key search issue — as repeatedly highlighted, just ignored — is that complex functional specificity [nodes and arcs structure encoded requires 500+ structured yes/no decisions to give the node list, i.e. 500 bits of FSCO/I . . . about 3 followed by 150 0's, or the number of H/T possibilities for 500 coins in a line] sharply constrains the number of possible, feasible configs. That is, we have islands of function or isolated [clusters of] needles in our haystack. One which BTW, is at the 500 bit threshold, 1,000 light years thick — the thickness of our galaxy — and where the atomic resources of our 10^57 atom solar system running at maximum generous speed for atomic level interactions [10^-14 s], for the lifespan of the solar system [10^17 s], are able to pick just one blind straw sized sample to hit a desired clump. (Substitute stars and planets by superposing the hay stack on our galactic neighbourhood and you see that having a large no of quite big clumps — the sun is IIRC 800,00 mi across, earth 8,000, etc — does not solve the problem at all, once we have THAT much config space to deal with. Solar systems are on average several light years apart, e.g. Proxima Centauri is 4.3 LY away. 1 LY is the distance light — which takes 8 min 20 s to pass 92 Mn miles form the sun — travels in a year, i.e. 9.4605284 × 10^15 meters, or about 10 * 10^12 km or 6*10^12 miles. So, “straw” — gibberish — utterly dominates the space. Recall, a 500 bit space read as ASCII text will have every possible 73 character ascii string in English in it, as just one thing in it. Every possible sentence or phrase with 73 characters is in that stack!)

    The problem is not to move around in a clump of needles, but to get to the clump.

    The implicit assumption in the tree of life metaphor and analogy, is that there is a vast continent of incrementally accessible function in body plan space. But of this, — as the problem of mutual matching and coordinated arrangement and coupling brings out — that is not to be expected by the nature of the functional organisation challenge. With protenome space we know that there is a major problem of getting to folding AA sequences, with evidence pointing to 1 in 10^64 or so or worse.

    You can try to dismiss the evidence all you want, it is there. The assumption of a continent has no evidence.

    Getting to the next level, the actual fossil record reflects this. Yes there is an imposition of a tree structure, indeed one is written into software for molecular trees (which conflict from one tree to the next), but that is not what he fossils say. There are now 1/4 million plus fossil species, millions of individuals in museums, and billions in the beds all over the earth from all the claimed ages of life. They show a strongly stamped pattern of discrete forms, adaptations of forms, and jumps between forms. this is usually summed up as sudden appearance, stasis and disappearance.

    Let me clip W. Ford Doolittle and Eric Bapteste in PNAS:

    Darwin claimed that a unique inclusively hierarchical pattern of relationships between all organisms based on their similarities and differences [the Tree of Life (TOL)] was a fact of nature, for which evolution, and in particular a branching process of descent with modification, was the explanation. However, there is no independent evidence that the natural order is an inclusive hierarchy, and incorporation of prokaryotes into the TOL is especially problematic. The only data sets from which we might construct a universal hierarchy including prokaryotes, the sequences of genes, often disagree and can seldom be proven to agree. Hierarchical structure can always be imposed on or extracted from such data sets by algorithms designed to do so, but at its base the universal TOL rests on an unproven assumption about pattern that, given what we know about process, is unlikely to be broadly true. This is not to say that similarities and differences between organisms are not to be accounted for by evolutionary mechanisms, but descent with modification is only one of these mechanisms, and a single tree-like pattern is not the necessary (or expected) result of their collective operation . . . [[Abstract, "Pattern pluralism and the Tree of Life hypothesis," PNAS February 13, 2007 vol. 104 no. 7 2043-2049.]

    Poof goes the favourite tree of life icon of evolution, as I pointed out seven months ago in the essay challenge.

    In short, there is simply no coherent reason to accept the tree of incrementally advantageous variations spanning a vast continent of functional forms. BUT BECAUSE OF A DOMINANT EVOLUTIONARY MATERIALIST SCHOOL OF THOUGHT, THIS IS IMPOSED, IS TAUGHT AND IS OFTEN BELIEVED.

    So, what is an alternative?

    Let the kangaroo genome speak, as has been pointed out recently but as usual inconvenient facts are ignored in the rush to push the usual talking points. So here is ABC Au, citing Professor Jenny Graves, outgoing director of the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence for Kangaroo Genomics :

    The tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), was the model kangaroo used for the genome mapping.

    Like the o’possum, there are about 20,000 genes in the kangaroo’s genome, Graves says.

    That makes it about the same size as the human genome, but the genes are arranged in a smaller number of larger chromosomes.

    “Essentially it’s the same houses on a street being rearranged somewhat,” Graves says.

    “In fact there are great chunks of the [[human] genome sitting right there in the kangaroo genome.”

    Remember, marsupials and placentals are supposed to have branched 150 MYA, and that is about twice as long ago as T Rex et al.

    In short we are here seeing a known design pattern, code libraries, with code reuse and modification.

    But then why let mere evidence and facts interfere with a perfectly good ideology of a priori evolutionary materialism, it seems.

    Sadly telling.

    No wonder Johnson’s rebuke to Lewontin’s a priori imposition of materialism on origins science is so apt:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    KF

  116. F/N: When we see people trying to argue that the “blind watchmaker” mindless chance variation driven processes THEIR SIDE HAS PUT FORWARD are “not blind” — not non- foresighted — that takes the cake.

  117. Robin’s big comeback:

    A) There is no reference to anything called “Intelligent Design Evolution” in any scientific textbook or journal that I can find. Please provide a scientific reference that describes what this is.

    There is no reference to anything called “blind watchmaker or unguided Evolution” in any scientific textbook or journal that I can find. Please provide a scientific reference that describes what this is.

    Good luck with that.

    B) Define “blind” as you are using it above.

    The same way that Coyne, Dawkins et al., use it.

    Here, eat this:

    Natural selection and evolution: material, blind, mindless, and purposeless

    And I have noticed that you haven’t supported your claim. How typical.

    So here we have Robin, eating worms again. Yum, yum.

  118. Poor clueless Robin:

    Why in the world would I provide a reference for something I never claimed or accepted? Of course there’s no reference for “blind watchmaker or unguided Evolution”; you made the name up.

    LoL! Keiths is using unguided evolution and dawkins gave us blind watchmaker evolution. Only an arse would say that I made them up and here we have Robin.

    Geez evolutionism posits accumulations of genetic accidents, Robin

    And yet oddly, you can’t – contrary to your previous claim – provide a reference for your supposed “Intelligent Design Evolution”.

    What do you think ID is? Do you think that your ignorance of your opponent’s position is a refutation?

    Here’s an actual reference to the Theory of Evolution as I understand it and accept it.

    That is a reference to some vague claim of evolution. And a claim that ID is OK with.

    As for rebutting keiths’ comment- he doesn’t say anything that can be supported. It is all a bald assertion.

    BTW I never said evolution was looking for a goal. That is the whole point, duh. There isn’t any search. there isn’t any exploration. Whatever survives to reproduce is all it is.

    “Directed by the relative survival”? What is that?

  119. I see keiths has clarified his point for you, joe.

  120. ID is so obvious and incontrovertible – as the most elementary common sense, not as ‘faith’, as, I think, Greg, claimed in one post; as elementary as 2 + 2 = 4 … the alphabet, that that quote at the top of the page, of Henry Quastler, had me in hysterics. It just sounds so understated and ironic. I mean these words:

    ‘The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, really…? ROFL

  121. Well, the alphabet is ‘elementary common sense’ in that it’s elementary and used to convey mutually-intelligible information.

  122. Is it the cocktail hour where you are, now, Axel?

  123. Alan, keiths agrees with me:

    Actually, evolution is blind, in the sense that mutations happen randomly with no regard to their utility for the organism. Evolution has no foresight.

    Bingo!

    Then it goes south:

    What matters is the local structure: how are needles distributed in the vicinity of the needles that have already been ‘occupied’ by evolution?

    The whole point is there aren’t any needles in the vicinity. But yeah, if you artificially place needles all around blind and undirected processes will most likely stumble upon one.

    But then he totally blows it:

    1. He assumes that the initial replicator is hopelessly complicated,we make no such assumption and that the haystack is therefore enormous, but he gives no justification for this bogus assumption.

    WRONG- and you can’t even demonstrate blind and undirected chemical processes can A) produce a simple self-replicator and B) take that simple starting point and make it more and more complex.

    Ya see keiths, it is all about positive evidence. And that is something you sorely lack and it bothers you so you have to make stuff up and attack that.

    And again, there isn’t any search and there isn’t any exploration-

    Unguided evolution is as I said “whatever happens and if it isn’t fatal it may stay”.

    Deal with it.

  124. And when all else fails, just lie:

    It has been shown that what IDists call “CSI” can easily be produced by well-known undirected, non-foresighted processes.

    What a load [SNIP-- Joe, caution on language]. But I wouldn’t expect anything else from that ilk…

  125. It looks like Robin gets it:

    Evolution, as I understand it, doesn’t search. It isn’t looking for anything. It provides a mechanism for biological variation that is either useful, neutral, or detrimental to biological entities in given environments. The environments as well are variable, thus there is an incredible array of biological/ecological combination sampling, along with an incredible array of biological/functionality sampling. But in no case is evolution “looking” for any given outcome, combination, or characteristic. Either an outcome works, or it doesn’t.

    Bingo! However that is definitely not a designer mimic. It has no hope of ever producing new protein machinery. That would be left to sheer dumb luck. And that ain’t science.

  126. Gregory writes: (in post 76)

    Going a necessary step further than DonaldM #75, what ‘scientific’ proof is there of how an ‘intelligent/Intelligent agent/Agent’ through ‘directed, purposeful’ forces of matter and energy over eons of time (thank goodness he’s not a YEC!) ‘produced’ information? Specifically, please address the when, where, how, why and who questions.

    Interesting Gregory puts this way asking “scientific” proof. You do realize Gregory that you’re assuming the very point at issue, otherwise known as the fallacy of begging the question. You clearly adhere to a definition of science that is entirely built on naturalism…as in philosophical naturalism…full blown. So, perhaps you could explain how you know scientifically (by your own definition of science) that the properties of the Cosmos are such that any apparent design we observe in natural systems can not be actual design, even in principle. Let me emphasize I’m looking for only SCIENCE here. I have no interest whatsoever in you philosophy, metaphysics or theology. What scientific experiments have been conducted and by whom to confirm this hypothesis? Where can I find this reported in the relevant peer reviewed scientific journals? And I’d love to know how this hypothesis might be falsified. Please provide all the SCIENTIFIC detail you wish! That, or be intellectually honest enough to admit that your definition of what is and is not science is informed by your philosophical (ie NOT scientific) premise, which I completely reject.

    Gregory continues:

    Asking Nick M. to do the work for ID’s decrepit explanatory power is inexcusable. Most people, including theists who have looked carefully and in depth at ‘ID theory’ as well as agnostics and atheists, reject the claims of ID as a ‘natural scientific’ proof/inference of ‘Intelligence’ in the universe.

    Most people believe ‘Intelligence’ in the universe based on faith, not on ‘natural science.’ ID theory is ‘distorted’in trying to naturalise faith. Meyer is a proponent of this fuzzy theism parading as an implication of ‘natural scientific’ proof.

    “Most people”??? And pray tell how did you make that determination? Where is that survey? Who conducted it? Where can I find it in the relevant peer reviewed journals? And you’re so completely wrong about Meyer that its not even worthy of a response. When you continually refer to “natural scientific” proof, you give away the game. You’re a philosophical naturalist, or at least you accept the premises of philosophical naturalism in order to “protect” science. Great. Wonderful. As it pertains to this discussion…who cares! If you have some actual science, even using your own definition of science (which is highly flawed to start with), then please present it…sans philosophy!

  127. Cocktail hour? I wouldn’t know, Reynard. I don’t come from a background which might in some degree be characterised by imbibing such sophisticated blends of p*ss (in Aussie parlance, at least).

  128. Fair enough, Axel. Those two comments just seemed a little, well, spaced. You’re from Oz? My daughter was out in Australia until recently. She was in Hobart for quite a while and tells me Tasmania is “amazing”.

  129. Science, of course, is not in the business of proof. (And I here show that I do not see mathematics as properly a Science, though it is often hosted in science faculties for convenience. Maybe, next door to computing.) Science provides explanations that are empirically well warranted, relative to reliable and for preference repeatable observations. Such are inherently provisional and tentative in principle, though well tested findings carry great reliability. KF

  130. I was there a couple of times. And NZ, too. Both great, great countries. But when you’re young, the grass in the other field is always greener. Until you get back there and remember why you left!

    Did your daughter say what impressed her particularly about Hobart or Tasmania? I was only ever in South Australia, for a brief time in NSW and West Australia. My mother, sister and step-father had been in Queensland and NT.

    What a character my step-father, Vince, was. He’d been a speedway rider, served in the Black Watch, then the commandos throughout the WWII, then Palestine. And when he was injured he served as Mountbatten’s bodyguard. (I don’t read anything sinister into that..!). And he was only about five foot three or four. If that. Though broad with it. It’s always puzzled me how those regiments of wee, Glaswegian keelies must have fared so well in bayonet charges, given their reputation. In NT, he was crocodile shooting!

  131. Thanks for the clip about the musical prodigy, Philip. What was it that prompted it?

    In another connection, to return to that hilarious 2+2 = 4, dressed up as advanced mathematics:

    ‘‘The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.’

    Its sententious tone and epigrammatic brevity lend a real pungency to the irony, don’t they? As if heavy sarcasm was all but obscured from view, as we watch ‘twinkle-toes’ ballet-shoes ‘tripping the light fantastic’, oblivious to what’s above them. And yet, Henry Quastler could not have been more serious, or more justifiably so.

    Science is an unusual faculty within the Academy, in that it has an infants’ school wing, which many of today’s leading lights apparently attend on a regular basis, to garner inspiration for their hypotheses.

    My favourite, I think, is the one where nothing turns itself into everything. On the other hand, a five-year old could be smarter….

  132. “You’re a philosophical naturalist, or at least you accept the premises of philosophical naturalism in order to “protect” science.”

    No, DonaldM, I am not a ‘philosophical naturalist.’ I’m not even a ‘methodological naturalist,’ even though I study human beings, both ‘nature’ and ‘character.’ Of course, that doesn’t stop you from making accusations and spewing prejudices, but it doesn’t show well on IDists when you do this.

    lpadron #106 – Not at UD. I don’t consider this a balanced site. It is generally not truth seeking, but rather ideology spreading. Most people at UD are too scientistic in their support for the necessary ‘scientificity’ of ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ to conduct an honest dialogue. A very few don’t insist on the scientificity of ID, but that distinguishes them from ID leaders, who are really the only ones I take somewhat seriously in the IDM.

    #107 – I called out Stephen C. Meyer (topic of this thread) and UD’s ‘Joe’ wants to ‘battle’ for him! How many armchair wannabes are there in the IDM who speak as if they know while regurgitating IDist books and videos?

    ID leaders are far too rhetorically crafty and selective with their PR strategy today to face actual challenges to the ‘movement’ they lead. It is not in their best interest to do what Meyer agreed with Fuller about regarding ‘theodicy’ – it would destroy the ‘Wedge’ strategy. I saw many failures and expressions of ‘Expelled Syndrome’ of the IDM from within, at the DI. Perhaps the time will come for engagement with one or some of them again, but that time is not now. More serious scholarship and more important work remains to be done.

    BA77: “But Gregory how should any of this be possible if ‘mind’ is merely emergent from the brain as neo-Darwinism holds?”

    This sounds like a ‘blame everything on Darwinism’ ideology. As a Christian, BA77, you could compose a laundry list of ‘guilty’ people for the brain –> mind position. No mercy is what you show to a 19th c. figure from Down.

    At the DI’s summer program in the social sciences and humanities session, you folks probably wouldn’t believe the number of social ‘maladies’ the DI blames on ‘Darwinism.’ Actually, you probably would because that is the same mimicked myopia often demonstrated here. It is really quite astonishing how humanisticially myopic the DI is in blaming Darwin! And they don’t employ a single sociologist!!!

    To repeat what was said above: Darwin didn’t refute ‘the design argument.’ But that ‘design argument’ is worldview / theological apologetics, it is not ‘natural science.’ Most theists (certainly the vast majority of Abrahamic believers) accept one or another variety of ‘the design argument.’ But that is something very different from gulping down (all rights reserved) ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ as Meyer promotes it in the bowels of Seattle’s politically-aligned Discovery Institute – Director as he is of the Center (for the Renewal of) Science and Culture.

  133. 133

    @Gregory:
    Intelligent design too broad of a term to distance itself from any ills of society.

    However there are small subsets of intelligent design, which actually can do such a thing. For instance, traditional Christianity:
    - They follow the teachings of Jesus.
    - They do not engage in idol-worshipping.
    - They do not fight in wars (today they are mainly waged by atheists, muslims and trinitarian “objectivists”).
    - They do not engage in man-made politics.
    - They hate sin and they love the sinner.
    - …

  134. ‘traditional Christianity’ – a “small subset of intelligent design”!!!

    With that, the case rests.

    Happy Sunday in America, folks! = )

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