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ID Foundations, 4: Specified Complexity and linked Functional Organisation as signs of design

(NB: ID Foundations Series, so far: 1, 2, 3.)

In a recent comment on the ID Foundations 3 discussion thread, occasional UD commenter LastYearOn [henceforth LYO], remarked:

Behe is implicitly assuming that natural processes cannot explain human technology. However natural processes do explain technology, by explaining humans. We may think of computers as somehow distinct from objects that formed from the direct result of natural process. And in important ways they are. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t ultimately explainable naturally. Behe’s argument is therefore circular.

Think of it this way. In certain ways nature is prone to organization. From cells to multicellular organisms to humans. Computers are just the latest example.

In essence, LYO is arguing — yea, even, confidently  assuming — that since nature has the capacity to spontaneously generate designers through evolutionary means, then technology and signs of design reduce to blind forces and circumstances of chance plus necessity in action. Thus, when we behold, say a ribosome in action –

Fig. A: The Ribosome in action in protein translation, assembling (and then completing) a protein step by step [= algorithmically] based on the sequence of three-letter codons in the  mRNA tape and using tRNA’s as amino acid “taxis” and position-arm tool-tips, implementing a key part of a von Neumann-type self replicator . (Courtesy, Wikipedia.)

___________________

. . . we should not think, digitally coded, step by step algorithmic process, so on signs of design, design. Instead, LYO and other evolutionary materialists argue that we should think: here is an example of the power of undirected chance plus necessity to spontaneously create a complex functional entity that is the basis for designers as we observe them, humans.

So, on the evolutionary materialistic view, the triad of explanatory causes, necessity, chance, art, collapses into the first two. Thus, signs of design such as specified complexity and associated highly specific functional organisation — including that functional organisation that happens to be irreducibly complex — reduce to being evidences of the power of chance and necessity in action!

Voila, design is finished as an explanation of origins!

But is this assumption or assertion credible?

No . . . it fallaciously begs the question of the underlying power of chance plus necessity, thus setting up the significance of the issue of specified complexity as an empirically reliable sign of design. No great surprise there. But, the issue also opens the door to a foundational understanding of the other hotly contested core ID concept, specified complexity.

First, let us define, using the ISCID summary (which is based on Dembski’s work):

Specified complexity consists of two important components, both of which are essential for making reliable design inferences. The first component is the criterion of complexity or improbability. In order for an event to meet the standards of Dembski’s theoretical notion of specified complexity, the probability of its happening must be lower than the Universal Probability Bound which Dembski sets at one chance in 10^150 possibilities.

The second component in the notion of specified complexity is the criterion of specificity. The idea behind specificity is that not only must an event be unlikely (complex), it must also conform to an independently given, detachable pattern. Specification is like drawing a target on a wall and then shooting the arrow. Without the specification criterion, we’d be shooting the arrow and then drawing the target around it after the fact.

Immediately, however, we must point out that the specified complexity (and linked functional organisation) concept is not an abstract innovation of Dembski and other leaders of the design theory movement. That movement emerged in the early 1990′s in response to developments and thoughts on origins, especially origin of life, in the 1970′s and 80′s. In that context, the specified complexity concept dates to that earlier era and is in fact one of the key triggers for the emergence of design theory.

For, the early ID thinkers and scientists (starting with Thaxton, Bradley and Olsen [TBO]  in The Mystery of Life’s Origin [TMLO -- download (fat!) here], the first technical level ID book, 1984) were asking: what — on our consistent experience and observation — best explains specified complexity and associated functional organisation?

A world of technology was answering: simple — intelligence, purpose and design.

To see the reason for that answer, let us go back to the originators of the concept of specified complexity and how they understood its significance, i.e. origin of life researchers Orgel and Wicken (with a glance back to Polanyi):

Orgel, 1973:

In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [Source: L.E. Orgel, 1973. The Origins of Life. New York: John Wiley, p. 189. Emphases added. Crystals, of course, would by extension include snow crystals, and order enfolds cases such as vortexes, up to and including hurricanes etc. Cf. here.]

Wicken, 1979:

‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems.  Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’ [“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65. (Emphases and notes added. Nb: “originally” is added to highlight that for self-replicating systems, the blue print can be built-in.)]

Even earlier, as TBO summarised in TMLO, Polanyi had observed in the 1960′s that the distinguishing feature of living systems is [we may safely add: functionally organised] complexity rather than order.

TBO, in ch 8 of TMLO, also give a useful illustrative example that helps us distinguish the three concepts:

Three sets of letter arrangements show nicely the difference between order and complexity in relation to information:

[Type] 1. An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement:

THE END THE END THE END THE END

Example: Nylon, or a crystal.

[NOTE: Here we use "THE END" even though there is no reason to suspect that nylon or a crystal would carry even this much information. Our point, of course, is that even if they did, the bit of information would be drowned in a sea of redundancy].

[Type] 2. A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement:

AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG

Example: Random polymers (polypeptides).

[Type] 3. A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement:

THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE!

Example: DNA, protein.

Yockey7 and Wicken5 develop the same distinction, that “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as could might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, “organization” refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wicken note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of specified complexity. In short, the redundant order of crystals cannot give rise to specified complexity of the kind or magnitude found in biological organization; attempts to relate the two have little future. [Emphases & parentheses added. "Wickens" corrected. (Pardon the typographically ugly multiple emphases; given the many contentions and conflicting claims, it can be hard to see just what is being said.)]

In short, the Type 3 relationship among parts in a whole — i.e. meaningful, functional organisation manifesting specified complexity and associated information — is what is to be explained at the root of the tree of life. And, from our world of experience and habitual common sense, undirected chance and/or necessity are not credible causal factors for such.

A transformed version of a classic example used to make it seem plausible that given enough time and resources, chance can duplicate anything that intelligence is usually credited for, will help us see why:

a –> Imagine that our whole observable universe [~10^80 atoms] was suddenly transformed into planetary systems having terrestrial, earth-like planets occupied by monkeys sitting at keyboards, with typewriters [let us make these ASCII typewriters, for convenience, without loss of generality] and paper, supported by banana plantations,  forests and factories to keep things in working order, and rail road networks tying all together:

Fig. B: A monkey at the keyboard. (Courtesy Wiki, public domain)

b –> These multiplied trillions and trillions of diligent monkeys spend their time banging away at the keyboards at random, say 10 strokes per second (better than 60 average length English “words” per minute, were their strokes to make sense).

c –> The classic argument is that — on simple mathematics of having enough resources to exhaust the possibilities for combinations of keystrokes — at length, they would produce the entire Shakespearean corpus, simply by virtue of random keystrokes; so chance, if given enough time and resources will produce anything that we see designers doing.

d –> In fact, given the significance of the Abel universal plausibility bound, advocates of this idea are wrong, and Cicero is right:

Is it possible for any man to behold these things, and yet imagine that certain solid and individual bodies move by their natural force and gravitation, and that a world so beautifully adorned was made by their fortuitous concourse? He who believes this may as well believe that if a great quantity of the one-and-twenty letters, composed either of gold or any other matter, were thrown upon the ground, they would fall into such order as legibly to form the Annals of Ennius. I doubt whether fortune could make a single verse of them. How, therefore, can these people assert that the world was made by the fortuitous concourse of atoms, which have no color, no quality—which the Greeks call [poiotes], no sense? [Cicero, THE NATURE OF THE GODS BK II Ch XXXVII, C1 BC, as trans Yonge (Harper & Bros., 1877), pp. 289 - 90.]

e –> Q: How so? A: Take the 10^80 or so atoms of our observed cosmos, and allow them to change state every Planck time [rounded down to 10^-45 s], for the thermodynamically credible lifespan of the said cosmos [~ 10^25 s or 50 mn times the estimated  time since the usual date for the big bang]. That gives us 10^150 possible Planck-time states to search a configuration space, whether by monkeys at keyboards or any other physical means. But, just 1,000 bits, where 1 bit is one yes/no decision, specifies such a space of 2^1,000 = 1.07 * 10^301 states. Which means that he whole observed universe for its lifespan would not sample more than 1 in 10^150 of the possible states, so small a fraction that once the functionally organised states that the scope of search relative to the scope of the space is a practical zero. Lucky noise, whether by monkeys at keyboards or otherwise, is not a credible explanatory cause for functionally specific, complex organisation and related information [FSCO/I].

Fig. C: The Cosmic search window, showing how a search on the scope of our observed cosmos could not capture more than 1 in 10^150 of the possible configurations for 1,000 bits.

f –> In short, Wiki’s remark early in its article on the monkeys at keyboards “theorem” is technically true but materially misleading, when it says:

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

In this context, “almost surely” is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the “monkey” is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters ad infinitum. The theorem illustrates the perils of reasoning about infinity by imagining a vast but finite number, and vice versa. The probability of a monkey exactly typing a complete work such as Shakespeare‘s Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time of the order of the age of the universe is minuscule, but not zero.

g –> But in fact, it is a practical zero, the same sort of practical zero that is relied upon to establish the statistical form of the second law of thermodynamics [cf article 2 in this series]. Ironically, deep in the article, the usual Wiki anonymous collective of authors does in fact make the corrective point, drawing on a classic edition of a famous short textbook in Statistical Thermodynamics:

The text of Hamlet contains approximately 130,000 letters.[note 3] Thus there is a probability of one in 3.4 × 10183,946 to get the text right at the first trial. The average number of letters that needs to be typed until the text appears is also 3.4 × 10183,946,[note 4] or including punctuation, 4.4 × 10360,783.[note 5]

Even if the observable universe were filled with monkeys typing from now until the heat death of the universe, their total probability to produce a single instance of Hamlet would still be less than one in 10183,800. As Kittel and Kroemer put it, “The probability of Hamlet is therefore zero in any operational sense of an event…”, and the statement that the monkeys must eventually succeed “gives a misleading conclusion about very, very large numbers.” This is from their textbook on thermodynamics, the field whose statistical foundations motivated the first known expositions of typing monkeys.[3]

h –> The next round of the exchange is to hop up to the multiverse, where in effect the available search resources are multiplied by a speculated quasi-infinite universe as a whole that has in it effectively infinitely many sub-cosmi, including one that got lucky. Namely our own.

i –> This is more subtly flawed, in two key ways. First, there is no empirical evidence for such a quasi-infinite multiverse, so this is an exercise in speculative metaphysics, not inductively based, scientific inference.  Second, the fine-tuning associated with the “cosmos bakery” such a multiverse requires to allow it to support creation of a distribution of sub-cosmi that searches our very narrow life-permitting range closely enough to credibly capture our own fine-tuned case, is itself “suspicious.” That is, the multiverse concept itself points to design as best explanation, once we exist in our world.

j –> The multiverse proposal, in short, is a case of an ad hoc metaphysical speculation designed to save the phenomena for a view that is in trouble on other grounds. The question of question-begging to foreclose a serious level playing field inference to best explanation across live options, rears its head.

k –> The only thing that would save the lucky noise inference, is a demonstration that a cosmos-generating intelligence is — logically — impossible. And such is not forthcoming.

In short, the basic inference to design on observing specified complexity and/or associated functionally specific, complex organisation and information [FSCO/I], is inductively strong. For, we routinely observe such FSCO/I being made by designers, and we only observe it coming from such. And, we can back it up with an analysis on the isolation of islands of function in a configuration space, once we are dealing with at least 500 – 1,000 or so functionally specific bits.

In turn, the metric just introduced, is actually quite familiar: the bits we routinely use in IT contexts are functional and specific — a bit of noise would easily disrupt function.

So, we have a commonplace, basic metric for our simplest metric and threshold for “sufficiently complex” for inferring to design on seeing FSCO/I. (NB: More complex metrics are discussed here.)

The debates over more sophisticated metrics and thresholds, especially given the above, make no material difference to the above conclusion.

But, given their contentiousness, it may be useful to cut to the chase and speak about [especially, digitally coded] functionally specific, complex information and related organisation: FSCI, or FSCO/I.

In the end, debates over models and metrics or abbreviations, simply distract attention from a fairly straightforward and hard to confute inductive inference from observed pattern of signs, FSCO/I and its reasonably — empirically, provisionally and inductively — inferred meaning, design as most credible causal process. END

_______________

PS: DV, [d]FSCI and FSCO/I will come up next in the ongoing series . . .

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22 Responses to ID Foundations, 4: Specified Complexity and linked Functional Organisation as signs of design

  1. http://www.utne.com/Wild-Green.....ments.aspx

    I wanted to submit this link for someone to look at but wasn’t sure how to do so.

    It’s a good example of ‘scientists’ not really being interested in the truth. In this case they are following the $$$.

  2. Okay, let’s say we were to agree with lastyearon that human design is merely a naturalistic process. Surely we can still discriminate between one naturalistic process and another, right?

    For example, you walk down the street and find someone lying on the ground with an ice pick in his chest. Even assuming that humans are “a natural process” can we use clues from the scene to infer whether or not the ice pick was “placed” there on purpose or whether or not the wind blew it into the victims chest? Of course we can.

  3. Collin:

    An interesting point.

    From William Provine, though, truly convinced evolutionary materialists go on to challenge the notion of intentions that are significantly free and self-moved. Here is his classic remark at the Darwin Day address at U Tenn, 1998:

    _______________

    >>Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . . . Without free will, justification for revenge disappears and rehabilitation is the main job of judicial systems and prisons. [[NB: As C. S Lewis warned, in the end, this means: reprogramming through new conditioning determined by the power groups controlling the society and its prisons.] We will all live in a better society when the myth of free will is dispelled . . . .

    How can we have meaning in life? When we die we are really dead; nothing of us survives.

    Natural selection is a process leading every species almost certainly to extinction . . . Nothing could be more uncaring than the entire process of organic evolution. Life has been on earth for about 3.6 billion years. In less that one billion more years our sun will turn into a red giant. All life on earth will be burnt to a crisp. Other cosmic processes absolutely guarantee the extinction of all life anywhere in the universe. When all life is extinguished, no memory whatsoever will be left that life ever existed.

    Yet our lives are filled with meaning. Proximate meaning is more important than ultimate. Even if we die, we can have deeply [[subjectively and culturally] meaningful lives . . . .

    [[Evolution: Free Will and Punishment and Meaning in Life, Second Annual Darwin Day Celebration Keynote Address, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, February 12, 1998 (abstract).]>>
    _______________

    In case you think this is mere abstraction, cf here on the Loeb -Leopold Nietzsche superman murder of a young boy case contested by Darrow just before the Scopes trial in Tenn. (Bryan intended to bring it up in his closing summation, but due to Darrow’s maneuverings and the judge’s disgust that never happened, and five days later, Bryan was dead.)

    So, the very notion of “purpose” in any meaningful, responsible sense, is under attack, too. But, that has its own implications that point to the inherent, inescapable self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialism.

    Reductio ad absurdum.

    GEM of TKI

  4. EJ:

    Cows eat grass — obvious.

    Cows, on sustainability SHOULD eat grass [instead of farm-grown corn that could otherwise be feeding people etc], perhaps is more contentious, but surely simply holding a position on such a point should not be enough to disqualify an otherwise qualified scientist?

    I do note, though that the following statement is subtly controversial and goes beyond what we can observationally justify:

    . . . the Chronicle couldn’t even get Wendy Wintersteen, the dean of Iowa State’s agriculture school, to go anywhere near it. When asked whether cows evolved to eat grass, she replied, “I don’t have an opinion on that statement.”

    Strictly, we do not know that cows evolved, or that they evolved to eat grass. On general principles and the plausibility of macro-evolution as an inference on natural history — though not an observed fact — many would conclude that cows did evolve, and as grass-eating animals. Others might want to point out that the body plan involved is well beyond the FSCO/I threshold, so there is a serious question whether we have a mechanism per Darwinist evolutionary theory, that would substantiate that claim, much less observed evidence that would make it conclusive as “fact.”

    It is a lot less controversial to make some conclusions on cows and Maize, aka Corn. Cows came from a different part of the world, and are thus, perhaps not well adapted to live on corn.

    So, it is no surprise to see:

    Corn allows cows to get fatter faster and be ready for slaughter sooner. But there are downsides, including the fact that cows have trouble digesting corn and must be fed antibiotics to prevent them from becoming ill. What’s more, the beef from corn-fed cows tends to have more fat.

    So, we need to ask ourselves some fairly pointed things about agro-industry based on feeding cows so much corn they need antibiotics to keep from getting sick on it, and the question of how much fat in beef is reasonable needs to be addressed too.

    And, one for the cows: should we be eating cows at all? (And I love my steak and roast as much as the next man, but fair is fair. Let old Daisy have her say!)

    Or, is there more lurking here that we don’t yet know?

    GEM of TKI

  5. I totally agree with LYO. Either you believe everything is natural, or nothing is. Either God created the universe or it occurs naturally. If it occurs naturally then there is no basis for separating out humans and computers (and everything else we make or cause) and saying they are not natural.

  6. In the previous thread I was simply trying to show what Irreducible Complexity–as it was originally defined by Mr. Behe–is saying, and how it is wrong. In DBB, IC is meant as a way to detect if something was designed, by ruling out evolution ( or as you guys say “chance + neccessity”, “undirected natural causes”, “blind purposeless causes” etc. ). It is an if ~P then Q argument. The onus is on proponents of IC to demonstrate ~P by ruling out an evolutionary pathway.

    Behe tries to do that by arguing that just as natural processes can’t create computers, they can’t create IC systems in biology. Here is that quote from Mr. Behe:

    Might there be an as-yet undiscovered natural process that would explain biological complexity? No one would be foolish enough to categorically deny the possibility. Nonetheless, we can say that if there is such a process, no one has a clue how it would work. Further, it would go against all human experience, like postulating that a natural process might explain computers.

    I pointed out that this argument is circular. It boils down to this:
    Behe: Evolution can’t create IC systems.
    Naturalist: Why not?
    Behe: Because it would be like evolution creating computers.
    Naturalist: But evolution did create computers, by creating humans.
    Behe: No they didn’t because evolution can’t create IC systems.

  7. @6, surely Behe’s statement says it all anyway:

    “No one would be foolish enough to categorically deny the possibility.”

    If the IDist can’t deny the possibility of a natural process producing biological complexity how can they say it is IC?

    The rest of Behe’s statement goes on to establish very clearly that he making an argument from credulity.

  8. LYO:

    Thanks for your comment.

    I think though that on the merits it will be clear from onward remarks in the previous thread (as well as above) that in fact your attempted dismissal, failed.

    Cf here at 99 and here at 98 in that thread, and the OP above.

    In brief, chance plus necessity on the gamut of the observed cosmos do not credibly have the design capability you suggest or assume, the multiverse alternative ends up having to account for a finely adjusted “cosmos bakery” that turns out life facilitating subcosmi, not the equivalent of useless burned hockey pucks or masses of half-baked inedible dough. Specifically, on irreducibly complex systems, the need to have conditions C1 – 5 satisfied for systems of any complexity of consequence rapidly amounts to more than enough implied functionally specific, complex information to run into the challenge in the OP for this thread.

    I enumerate:

    C1: Availability. Among the parts available . . . there would need to be ones capable of performing the highly specialized tasks . . . even though all of these items serve some other function or no function.

    C2: Synchronization. The availability of these parts would have to be synchronized so that at some point, either individually or in combination, they are all available at the same time.

    C3: Localization. The selected parts must all be made available at the same ‘construction site,’ perhaps not simultaneously but certainly at the time they are needed.

    C4: Coordination. The parts must be coordinated in just the right way: even if all of the parts . . . are available at the right time, it is clear that the majority of ways of assembling them will be non-functional or irrelevant.

    C5: Interface compatibility. The parts must be mutually compatible, that is, ‘well-matched’ and capable of properly ‘interacting’: even if [parts] . . . are put together in the right order, they also need to interface correctly.

    ( Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science, pgs. 104-105 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). HT: ENV.)

    For systems of any significant complexity relevant to life forms, the implied chain of yes/no decisions to specify, make available at the right time and place, coordinate, assemble and correctly interface the components of an irreducibly complex system will soon enough surpass 1,000. That puts such systems — and there are many in biosystems — well beyond the search capacity of the observable cosmos.

    That leads directly to the force of my comment at 98 in that thread:

    _______________________

    >> there is excellent reason to distinguish the credible capabilities of nature [here, chance + necessity] and art [i.e. intelligence . . . an OBSERVED entity in our world, we need not smuggle in assumptions about its nature or roots, just start with that basic fact, it is real].

    Namely, as complex, functionally specific organised entities are in deeply isolated islands of function in large config spaces, undirected chance plus mechanical necessity will on random walks from arbitrary initial points, scan so low a proportion of the configs that there is no good reason to expect them to ever land on such an island, on the gamut of the observed cosmos. This is the same basic reasoning as undergirds the second law of thermodynamics on why spontaneous trends go towards higher probability, higher entropy clusters of microstates: i.e. more and more random distributions of mass and energy at micro-levels.

    But, we routinely see intelligence creating things that exhibit such FSCO/I. So, we have good — observational and analytical — reason to recognise such FSCO/I as a distinct characteristic of intelligence.

    What LYO is trying is to say that once we ASSERT OR ASSUME that nature is a closed, evolutionary materialistic system, items of art such as computers “ultimately” trace to chance + necessity that somehow threw up humans. But we do not have a good right to such an assumption.

    Instead, we need to start from the world as we see it, where nature and art are distinct and distinguishable on their characteristic consequences and signs.

    When we do so, we see that the sign is evidence of the signified causal factor. On the strength of that, we then see that life shows FSCO/I and is credibly designed. Major body plans show FSCO/I and are credibly designed, and finally the cosmos as we see it shows that the physics to set it up is finely tuned so that a complex pattern of factrors sets up a cosmos that supports such C-Chemistry intelligent life as we experience.

    So, once we refuse to beg worldview level questions at the outset of doing origins science, we see that a design view of origins is credible, and credibly a better explanation than the blind chance + necessity in a strictly material world view. >>

    _______________________

    In addition, BA has made a direct challenge at 100 in that thread that it would be good for you to address [for preference, there; which is still open]:

    Did you say Natural Processes explain humans? I sure would like to see your evidence (any evidence besides ‘just so stories) for the ‘natural’ explanation for some of these characteristics of humans.

    The Amazing Human Body – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5289335/

    GEM of TKI

  9. LYO, on new business:

    1: In DBB, IC is meant as a way to detect if something was designed, by ruling out evolution ( or as you guys say “chance + neccessity”, “undirected natural causes”, “blind purposeless causes” etc. ).

    As was already repeatedly pointed out, evolution and Darwinian, chance plus necessity mechanisms are quite distinct.

    The IC concept highlights that blind chance variations plus natural selection on differential reproductive success, does not have the power — per both empirical observations and analysis of the search challenge to create the functional complexity required (e.g. specific interfacing compatibility is a big headache as anyone needing rare car parts can tell) — to credibly account for IC entities.

    Intelligently directed evolutionary mechanisms — descent with modification — are still on the table, that get us to the functional body plans then have room for adaptability to fit niches.

    2: It is an if ~P then Q argument. The onus is on proponents of IC to demonstrate ~P by ruling out an evolutionary pathway.

    This is little more than Darwin’s deck stacking as was already addressed there. On the contrary, it is those who propose that chance plus necessity can climb the threshold to account for FSCO/I, including IC, that have a point to EMPIRICALLY demonstrate.

    Design thinkers have long since shown why, and we have billions of cases in point, we think that FSCO/I, inclusive of IC, is on observation only and routinely produced by intelligent cause, and on analysis, is only credible as teh result of such cause.

    This is an inferece to best empirically anchored explanation case, and evolutionary materialists have no right to a default, in which only if there is no possible way their suggestion could work, it should be rejected.

    Kindly look above on the issues over the infinite monkeys theorem.

    3: Behe tries to do that by arguing that just as natural processes can’t create computers, they can’t create IC systems in biology

    Nope, he argues that first, there are NO detailed blind chance plus necessity accounts for the origins of such IC systems in biology in the relevant literature. That was true in 1996, and — despite the strawman arguments on T3SS — remains so today.

    Second, he pointed out he nature of the challenge,a s we can see from the C1 – 5 issues just above.

    In that context, the only empirically credible source of such entities is intelligence.

    4: Behe: Evolution can’t create IC systems.
    Naturalist: Why not?
    Behe: Because it would be like evolution creating computers.
    Naturalist: But evolution did create computers, by creating humans.
    Behe: No they didn’t because evolution can’t create IC systems.

    Strawman, joined to a circular argument on your part and a turnabout attempt.

    On what direct, empirically observed grounds can you show that on undirected, chance plus necessity, darwinian type evolutionary mechanisms of chance variation plus natural selection “did create computers, by creating humans”?

    That is, this is an inferential conclusion — probably driven by a priori imposed evolutionary materialism a la Lewontin — that has not answered empirically to the issue of the origin of FSCO/I by chance plus necessity without intelligent direction. Such FSCO/I is deeply embedded in the required DNA, and in many systems that go into the human body plan, and suggested ancestral plans all the way back to the original one, i.e origin of cell based life.

    FSCO/I, we routinely see being created by intelligence — e.g. posts in this thread for a simple example — and we only see being so created by intelligence.

    Unless and until you can show cause that per observation, such FSCO/I is credibly created by undirected chance plus necessity, the Darwinian mechanisms will only be able to account for small adaptive changes, mostly by loss of function.

    Philip Johnson’s rebuttal to Lewontin is 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. [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.] >>
    _______________________

    GEM of TKI

  10. Collin,

    Okay, let’s say we were to agree with lastyearon that human design is merely a naturalistic process. Surely we can still discriminate between one naturalistic process and another, right?

    For example, you walk down the street and find someone lying on the ground with an ice pick in his chest. Even assuming that humans are “a natural process” can we use clues from the scene to infer whether or not the ice pick was “placed” there on purpose or whether or not the wind blew it into the victims chest? Of course we can.

    You suggest that even if human intelligence is a natural process (rather than being, say, a supernatural process, or being somehow ontologically distinct as in substance dualism), ID can still discriminate intelligent cause from all other causes. You illustrate your point by showing how we infer “purposeful behavior”, discriminating that from non-purposeful behaviors like the wind.

    Many have suggested that the Darwinian evolutionary process is “purposeful” in the sense that engineers use the term, i.e. that it employs negative feedback (the pre-reproductive death of individuals) to regulate toward a goal (reproductive success in some environmental niche). Obviously evolution lacks conscious intent, but once one assumes that intelligence is “merely” a naturalistic process, it appears impossible to exclude evolutionary processes from intelligent causes on the basis of purposeful behaviors.

  11. 11
    EndoplasmicMessenger

    LYO,

    The argument is not circular. You say:

    I pointed out that this argument is circular. It boils down to this:
    Behe: Evolution can’t create IC systems.
    Naturalist: Why not?
    Behe: Because it would be like evolution creating computers.
    Naturalist: But evolution did create computers, by creating humans.
    Behe: No they didn’t because evolution can’t create IC systems.

    The correct expression of this dialog would be as follows:

    Behe: Evolution can’t create IC systems.
    Naturalist: Why not?
    Behe: Because it would be like random mutation and natural selection creating computers.
    Naturalist: But random mutation and natural selection did create computers, by creating humans.

    We do not know this. You are begging the question. Can you show me on experiment where it has been demonstrated that random mutation and natural selection created human beings? No, you can’t.

    This is exactly the point under question and you assume it is true. You cannot assume to be true what you are trying to demonstrate is true.

  12. Well put, EM. LYO’s argument is invalid for another simple reason, and that is that he mis-characterizes what Behe says as well. Behe does not say, “Evolution cannot create IC systems because it would be like evolution creating computers.” What he says is that it is extremely unlikely that evolution created IC systems because an IC system by definition needs all of its parts present at the same time and constructed properly for the system to function at all. This makes it improbable to the point of practical impossibility for Darwinian processes to have created them. Neither human beings nor computers figure in the argument at all. (He invoked computers in LYO’s quote merely as an example, not as an argument. See Darwin’s Black Box.)

    And to LYO: as I pointed out in the last thread to which we both contributed, IC clearly shifts the burden of proof to the Darwinists. It is not incumbent on Behe to “demonstrate ~P [Darwinism is false] by ruling out an evolutionary pathway.” On the contrary, given the definition of IC and the fact that innumerable biological systems can be demonstrated to be IC (through knockout experiments, etc.), the onus is on the Darwinists to show that evolutionary pathways exist leading to their emergence. This has never been done by any of the Darwinists for any IC biological system, in spite of the challenge to do so having been out there for several decades, at least.

  13. Onlookers:

    I find it highly interesting how tangential and tracing to other threads much of the above is.

    (Indeed, much of the above would better fit the previous thread, here and an earlier one that specifically addressed AIG’s general line of objections, here; which are still open and contain discussions of the substantial issues being brought up above. I suggest you at least skim the threads before continuing here. For, it is fair comment to say that many of the objections above were already answered in original posts or in comments.)

    For this thread, I again draw our attention to the infinite monkeys theorem and its implications.

    For, this theorem shows the basic — and unanswered, for decades [e.g. I first saw Kittel's book in the 1970's] — challenge faced by those who propose that chance plus necessity on the gamut of our observed cosmos, can produce FSCO/I. Which, in light of the implications of challenges C1 – 5 (cf comment no 8 above, coming from ID Founds 3′s OP) also is the usual case with IC systems.

    In short, once we deal with large enough configuration spaces — i.e. once we have at least 500 – 1,000 elementary yes/no decisions to get to a functionally specific arrangement — the observable cosmos is simply not big enough to credibly account for such on undirected forces of chance plus necessity acting on matter and energy.

    Indeed, the Wiki article cited in the original post has in it a snippet on an example from thermodynamics I have cited over and over over the years, and which I first encountered in statistical thermodynamics class:

    If I let my fingers wander idly over the keys of a typewriter it might happen that my screed made an intelligible sentence. If an army of monkeys were strumming on typewriters they might write all the books in the British Museum. The chance of their doing so is decidedly more favourable than the chance of the molecules [that have spread through a vessel, spontaneously] returning to one half of the vessel.[Arthur Eddington (1928). The Nature of the Physical World: The Gifford Lectures. New York: Macmillan. pp. 72. ISBN 0-8414-3885-4.]

    The point is, that the infinite monkeys theorem, properly understood, is an apt illustration of the implication of systems free to take up configurations spontaneously at basic component level.

    Since functional or otherwise interesting specific configurations that are independently identifiable (as opposed to painting the target after the arrow has hit the barn wall) will normally be very very very small zones within the config space, the overwhelming tendency of spontaneous interactions will be to push configurations away from such islands of interest. Unless, something active is pushing the config there, or keeping it there.

    So, the first unmet challenge of evolutionary materialistic thought on biological origins, is to explain and show empirically, that blind chance plus necessity acting on reasonable molecules in a pond or other credible pre-biotic environment, can credibly get us to a metabolising cell that has in it a self replicating facility, specifically a code based, stored information von Neumann self-replicator. That is, they need to show that their frame of thought can credibly — no red herring distractors, begged questions or strawman caricatures of alternative views, please — account for the root of the tree of life: its claimed spontaneous origin.

    After speculations ever since the 1870′s, and after experiments and further speculations since 1953, it is fair comment to say that this is utterly unmet and increasingly challenging to meet.

    Second, having got to first life, there is an equally unmet challenge to show that major body plans can credibly spontaneously arise through chance variations and differential reproductive success leading to descent with ever-increasing modification of body form, capability and function.

    Let us observe: the very existence of this post shows how in our common world, intelligence is an observed entity. That is, whatever its origins and ultimate nature, intelligence is a real fact, an empirically confirmed one. One that routinely is observed to create functionally specific complex organisation and/or information.

    Such as the ASCII text of this post.

    Such as digitally coded stored information, and functional instructions to act on that information.

    So, without getting into worldview level speculations, we can make a simple inductive inference:

    1: we have causal factors A and B that (on both observation and analysis) are not credible sources of phenomenon X [whether in isolation or in combination], and

    2: we have causal factor C that is a known, repeatedly observed source of phenomenon X

    3: indeed, it is a routine source of X, and the only observed source of X.

    4: So, the best, empirically and analytically supported causal explanation for X is A and/or B[Correction, on common sense: C].

    Q: Why then the strong insistence on trying to explain X on A and B, i.e FSCO/I on chance plus necessity?

    A: Ideology, not science. Ideology that led to the question-begging error above by LYO, and which was so aptly summed up by Lewontin in his 1997 NYRB article:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    [From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997.]

    It is time to think again.

    Indeed, in response to Zero Seven at 7 above: when a claimed causal factor [A and/or B] has no observational basis and is analytically challenged, while factor C is an observed cause of phenomenon X, one has a perfect epistemic right to be incredulous — how interesting to see how this loaded word is dredged up instead of the one that is usually used by such advocates when they want to reject claims: skeptical — in responding to those who prefer A and/or B to C.

    Indeed, the most reasonable position to take is that an obse4eved case of X is an empirically reliable sign of C!

    GEM of TKI

  14. Collin@2

    I feel for you. I had exactly the same thought. It seems like aiguy and others really cannot see the forest for the trees. aiguy wishes to play word games by taking the word purposeful and saying the evolutionists say that darwinian evolution is purposeful. Two extremes of the meaning of purposeful are conflated to be the same thing.

    Perhaps we should talk about “conscious actions” or some other phrase in the effort to get them to actually confront the issue.

  15. aiguy:

    Obviously evolution lacks conscious intent, but once one assumes that intelligence is “merely” a naturalistic process, it appears impossible to exclude evolutionary processes from intelligent causes on the basis of purposeful behaviors.

    Thank you. That is a very good example of how all the materialistic frame of thought must necessarily be based on a fundamental denial of the empirical existence of cosnciousness, and of its right to be part of a map of reality.

    Why? You have said it well: because of a simple (and unsupported) assumption.

    So, you have to redefine all the words which have been created to describe conscious states, intelligence first of all. So that you can create semantic confusion, and provide some false impression that your assumption is reasonable.

  16. New business:

    1: 07, 7: If the IDist can’t deny the possibility of a natural process producing biological complexity how can they say it is IC?

    First, as the original post for the previous thread on IC, here will immediately show [see the rhetorical advantage of waiting for a new thread to make objections on what is demonstrated in a previous one?], irreducible complexity is an OBSERVABLE case where to get the basic function, we have multiple, mutually matched, necessary comnponents.

    That is, take one out and function ceases. Put it back in with the others, and functionality returns.

    Indeed, in the case of the bacterial flagellum, Scott Minnich in his lab knocked out and replaced all 35 key proteins for the cellular outboard motor, proving the IC nature of this entity.

    Second, what is a “natural process,” and given the infinite monkeys issue as discussed above in this thread’s OP, what does it mean to “deny the possibility”? [I take it we here distinguish natural/artificial on chance and/or necessity vs intelligence and action through skill and art, and that if something is not empirically and analytically reasonable observable, it is not a reasonable possible explanation. Cf the infinite monkeys theorem discussion above.]

    Surely, at this late stage, we are not resorting to the deck-stacking argument that once it is logically possible that chance and necessity could conceivably cause an IC entity to occur, then this “must” be the proper explanation?

    The SCIENTIFIC issue is inference to best, empirically warranted explanation, and (as was just seen in comment 13) there is no empirical warrant for factors A and B in the case pf phenomenon X: chance and necessity are not empirically justified sources of functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, but factor C is, intelligence. Routinely so.

    So, we reason as science routinely does, abductively: facts F1, . . . Fn are to be accounted for, on possible explanations Ea . . . Ej. Of these, E1, . . . Ei may be ruled out on empirical and analytical grounds as not being plausible [cf again the infinite monkeys theorem and the thermodynamics comparison], but Ej is an observed cause.

    In the empirical world, knowledge is on reasonable and empirically based warrant by inference to best explanation, not proof beyond all possible dispute or doubt.

    2: Behe’s statement goes on to establish very clearly that he making an argument from credulity

    Not at all, Behe is reasoning on inference to best, empirically anchored explanation of a phenomenon. As was again just explained.

    Cf Wiki’s discussion on abductive reasoning here for a 101.

    3: AIG, 10: Many have suggested that the Darwinian evolutionary process is “purposeful” in the sense that engineers use the term, i.e. that it employs negative feedback (the pre-reproductive death of individuals) to regulate toward a goal (reproductive success in some environmental niche).

    AIG has [unfortunately for him] picked someone who used to teach control systems and electronics, to try to play the technical terms game with. Here, negative feedback.

    Usually, negative feedback is built into complex systems, as a deliberately designed regulatory element. the idea is that by sampling and feeding back output values, and comparing with — usually, subtracting from — a target value at a comparator, an error signal can be generated, transformed though a controller [proportional, integral and differential manipulation are classic: PID controllers] and then used to drive an actuator. The actuator output then pushes the plant towards the desired operating point, where it will in principle “rest” by having its error, drift and rate of change of error all go to zero. (In praxis, that is a major headache, requiring very careful control loop design, tuning and maintenance across time.)

    In the case of a servosystem, in a basic case the target point across time lies on a [spatial] path, and so the actuator will adjust the behaviour of the plant towards tracking the path. A classic example being a pre-programmed sailing path for a ship, that then is steered on an autopilot.

    So, design and goal-directed purpose are strongly built into regulatory or path-following systems that have negative feedback.

    We may analyse something like a simple pendulum as having an analogy of negative feedback,by which displacement form the equilibrium point [hanging straight down] brings to bear forces that pull it back to that point, but with a tendency to overshoot and go into oscillations that would gradually decay to the equilibrium. This is indeed similar to the challenge that feedback regulated systems commonly encounter, i.e given that phase shifts around a loop are frequency dependent, and that noise tends to be a broadband and unavoidable phenomenon, there is a tendency for outputs to overshoot and oscillate about the set-point or path, called “hunting.”

    (Pardon a technical aside, onlookers: In extreme cases, as the poles in the complex frequency domain wander over to the RH side [for the Laplace transform s variable] or out of the similar bound for other variables, positive feedback and thus oscillations, begin, through the Barkhausen effect.)

    The attempt to bring in so-called natural selection into the feedback driven system model is even farther afield.

    By contrast with comparator-based systems, differential reproductive success of competing sub-populations only means that some will thrive and others will not in an environment. There is no goal, on the Darwinian chance variation plus differential reproductive success model, just a random drifting that is maintained as long as it fits survivable niches across config space.

    But, all of this is within an island of function, i.e a body plan replete with FSCO/I and IC subsystems. So, how do we get to the island of function [within which we can wander around and find peaks of optimal performance or specialisations to our heart's content], through the same mechanism, stsarting withthe very first cell based body plan?

    No answer.

    Darwinian type mechanisms can explain variation on a body plan, but they consistently cannot account for the origin of said plans, which to begin with require 10′s – 100′s of millions of new bits of functional, co-ordinated bio-information that has to start by being embryologically feasible.

    The functional information generation question is being begged, bigtime.

    4: Obviously evolution lacks conscious intent

    And so it is only capable of blocking the non-functional and eliminating the less functional across time in competition for niches to survive.

    It has no empirically or analytically credible basis for creating the level of information and organisation required for origin of complex function.

    5: once one assumes that intelligence is “merely” a naturalistic process, it appears impossible to exclude evolutionary processes from intelligent causes on the basis of purposeful behaviors.

    Notice, AIG is picking up on a for the sake of argument assumption that goes back several threads. That argument ran on the point that we can observe and empirically distinguish chance, necessity and agency on reliable signs, whatever the ultimate cause of agency. The argument then would require the further point that on the sort of infinite monkeys theorem analysis we see above in the OP here, chance and necessity are not credible sources of FSCO/I on the gamut of the observed universe. (Note here, how AIG ducks that onward question, using the revealingly question-begging phrase “naturalistic process.”]

    The deck-stacking argument, duly, appears: impossible to exclude evolutionary processes . . .

    But, the issue is not what is logically impossible but what is the best, empirically and analytically warranted explanation.

    Intelligence is a real phenomenon, of disputed ultimate nature, but it is experienced and observed. So, it is a fact that we can use as a fact.

    Intelligence routinely produces FSCO/I, as posts in this thread show. more than that, it is the ONLY directly observed cause of such FSCO/I, including IC systems.

    On the infinite monkeys analysis, we see that such FSCO/I systems, including IC ones, are not the credible result of chance plus necessity acting on arbitrary initial configurations of matter and energy, not on the gamut of the observed cosmos.

    Thus, while intelligently directed evolutionary mechanisms are a credible partial explanation for life forms as we see them, the evolutionary materialistic, darwinian scheme is not. And, oddly enough, even many Young Earth Creationists of modern stripe would agree with this just above: they hold that rapid adaptation to niches, accounts for much of the diversity we see in life forms. They see this as a built-in, front-loaded mechanism. Similarly, going all the way back to the co-founder of evolutionary theory, Wallace came to see that intelligent evolution is a more credible explanation that the strictly naturalistic, chance plus necessity on matter and energy only view.

    At least, if evolutionary materialism — thus, materialism — is not smuggled in the back-door as a question-begging a priori constraint.

    _____________________

    And, that looks ever more plainly, to be the root issue: a priori imposition of materialism, question-beggingly redefining science as materialistic ideology in a cheap lab coat.

    [The echo of Ms Forrest’s favourite barb against design thought is deliberate.)

    If science is about the unfettered, responsible progressive, open-ended and open-minded pursuit of the truth about our world based on empirical evidence, reasoned analysis, observationally grounded theoretical models, and discussion among the informed, then that is a distortion of science.

    One that we must correct, forthwith.

    GEM of TKI

  17. andrewjg,

    aiguy wishes to play word games…

    On the contrary, I am always the one asking for semantic clarifications. About 80% of the arguments on these forums are mired in the ambiguities of terms like “purpose”, “intelligence”, “design (noun)”, “design (verb)”, and so on.

    … by taking the word purposeful and saying the evolutionists say that darwinian evolution is purposeful.

    It’s very funny how you put this! I did NOT say that “evolutionists say” anything of course – because I really couldn’t care less what “evolutionists say”! I think it is terribly dull to argue about what other people say – instead I am interested in arging about the issues (evolution, design, and so on).

    Two extremes of the meaning of purposeful are conflated to be the same thing.

    Exactly!!! Now you see the problem. The same is true of the word “design” of course – does it mean “a pattern of comlex form and function”? Or does it mean “the result of process of conscious planning”? It can mean both obviously, and these equivocations make it hugely difficult to make progress in these debates!

    Perhaps we should talk about “conscious actions” or some other phrase in the effort to get them to actually confront the issue.

    YES!!! I could not agree with you more! Excellent suggestion Andrew – that would bring a new level of clarity to the discussion.

    gpuccio,

    AIGUY: Obviously evolution lacks conscious intent, but once one assumes that intelligence is “merely” a naturalistic process, it appears impossible to exclude evolutionary processes from intelligent causes on the basis of purposeful behaviors.

    GPUCCIO: Thank you.
    You’re welcome.

    That is a very good example of how all the materialistic frame of thought must necessarily be based on a fundamental denial of the empirical existence of cosnciousness, and of its right to be part of a map of reality.

    Well, I’m not a materialist and I do not deny the empirical existence of consciousness, so I don’t think you’ve understood me.

    Why? You have said it well: because of a simple (and unsupported) assumption.

    Which is what?

    So, you have to redefine all the words which have been created to describe conscious states, intelligence first of all. So that you can create semantic confusion, and provide some false impression that your assumption is reasonable.

    As I just explained to Andrew, I am actually the one who would like to eliminate semantic confusion by reaching agreements on what we mean when we use these words. Many people (including many ID proponents I’ve met on this board and others) believe that the word “intelligence” has nothing to do with consciousness for example.

    Let’s take Andrew’s suggestion and make our definitions clear!

    Here are some suggested definitions:

    1) CONSCIOUSNESS: our phenomenal awareness, or that which disappears when we fall into a dreamless sleep and returns when we awaken.

    2) MIND: a conscious entity

    3) INTELLIGENCE: the ability to produce complex form and funciton (CSI, fCSI, etc) with or without consciousness

    4) DESIGN (noun): something which displays complex form and function

    5) DESIGN (verb): the act of producing a design (n).

    6) PURPOSEFUL: a process employing negative feedback to regulate toward a goal

    7) INTENTIONAL: consciously aware of goals (although this may be confused with the technical meaning in philosophy of mind… so perhaps we should just say “consciously aware of goals”?)

    Anybody care to accept or modify these definitions so we can stop playing word games?

  18. kairosfocus,

    Enjoying every word of your posts. Thanks for taking the time.

  19. lastyearon:

    In the previous thread I was simply trying to show what Irreducible Complexity–as it was originally defined by Mr. Behe–is saying, and how it is wrong. In DBB, IC is meant as a way to detect if something was designed, by ruling out evolution ( or as you guys say “chance + neccessity”, “undirected natural causes”, “blind purposeless causes” etc. ). It is an if ~P then Q argument. The onus is on proponents of IC to demonstrate ~P by ruling out an evolutionary pathway.

    Behe tries to do that by arguing that just as natural processes can’t create computers, they can’t create IC systems in biology.

    You didn’t read the book, did you?

    From DBB:

    “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.”

    Ya see in order to infer design first you must eliminate nature, operating freely. And after that there must also be some positive sign.

    And in the end your position has it all- meaning yours is the position that, if it can, refute the design inference by actually producing some positive evidence for the construction of functioning multi-part systems.

    Yet you have failed for over 150 years.

    Naturalist: But evolution did create computers, by creating humans.

    And if you had any positive evidence for that then you would have a point- actually ID would be falsified if it is ever demonstrated taht blind, undirected chemical processes could do such a thing.

  20. aiguy:

    Many have suggested that the Darwinian evolutionary process is “purposeful” in the sense that engineers use the term, i.e. that it employs negative feedback (the pre-reproductive death of individuals) to regulate toward a goal (reproductive success in some environmental niche).

    Who has said that? What publication(s)?

  21. KB:

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I hope to continue to lay out a summary of foundational ID concepts, to serve as a reference backbone in the face of the many misunderstandings and misrepresentations that are out there.

    DV, next up will be the FSCI concept, as maybe the most practical form of the core signs of design for general level discussions.

    Onward, I want to look at many other themes such as cosmology, origin of life, origin of mind, origins science in society and education policy, etc.

    GEM of TKI

  22. AIG:

    I suggest you look at the UD glossary, to see definitions of many ID-relevant terms.

    I will comment on your definitions, as follows:

    ________________

    >> 1) CONSCIOUSNESS: our phenomenal awareness, or that which disappears when we fall into a dreamless sleep and returns when we awaken.

    a –> our understanding of this begins with self awareness and awareness of the world, linked to experience and the subjectivity of I-ness, ability to choose, decide, reason, deliberate, create and communicate meaningful messages.

    b –> By extension we recognise this in other similar creatures, and would accept this of those that are materially similar in behaviour and responses, i.e. we are looking at self-moved, self-aware, intentional behaviour.

    2) MIND: a conscious entity

    c –> Minds are intelligent, volitional, and communicative

    3) INTELLIGENCE: the ability to produce complex form and funciton (CSI, fCSI, etc) with or without consciousness

    d –> the strike shows where a question was begged, in favour of strong AI

    e –> intelligence has a much better, less question-begging, observably testable definition elsewhere, e.g. the UD glossary:

    Wikipedia aptly and succinctly defines: “capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn.”

    f –> We routinely experience this, and if an entity can do the like, we would recognise it as intelligent [and especially self-moved and purposing] without having to write in on with or without being conscious.

    4) DESIGN (noun): something which displays complex form and function

    g –> Simply wrong headed, and it would set up an accusation of circularity, i.e this is an argumentative definition, or word games.

    h –> Designed entities are goal-directed configurations that reflect intelligence. Wiki cites a formal definition while noting that like many other things — cf “life” — no one definition fits all cases. Design is a conception and an experienced phenomenon, not a cut and dried Procrustean bed term.

    i –> Wiki (always good to get an admission against ideological interest) cites:

    (noun) a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints;

    (verb, transitive) to create a design, in an environment (where the designer operates)[3: "Ralph, P. and Wand, Y. (2009). A proposal for a formal definition of the design concept. In Lyytinen, K., Loucopoulos, P., Mylopoulos, J., and Robinson, W., editors, Design Requirements Workshop (LNBIP 14), pp. 103-136. Springer-Verlag, p. 109."]

    5) DESIGN (verb): the act of producing a design (n).

    j –> Cf supra

    6) PURPOSEFUL: a process employing negative feedback to regulate toward a goal

    k –> strawmannish, insistently wrong and question-begging, cf 16 above. This post, and sentences in it have no negative feedback structure yet are manifestly purposefully created and reflective of that. Here, to correct an insistent error.

    l –> purposefulness and willfulness are first recognised as labels for experiences, actions and concepts that we form as self-moved creatures. We want to get something, or to get our way, and we find ourselves clashing with others, and having to compromise.

    m –> From these and similar experiences we form the concepts labelled purpose, will, choice etc.

    n –> Such experiential, example and family resemblance based concepts and experiences amount to an ostensive description or indication, and are prior to any precising denotative verbal definition, which will only be acceptable insofar as it matches and refines our conception. [I again invite AIG et al to start from Wiki's pretty good article on definition.]

    7) INTENTIONAL: consciously aware of goals (although this may be confused with the technical meaning in philosophy of mind… so perhaps we should just say “consciously aware of goals”?)

    o –> reasonable insofar as it goes

    Anybody care to accept or modify these definitions so we can stop playing word games?

    p –> Cf above, and many previous threads, where loaded definitions and redefinitions pro-offered by AIG et al have led to useless disputes that served only to distract from a basic cluster of facts about design and its detection on an inductively reliable basis.

    q –> For instance, notice how this exchange is increasingly tangential to the issue, points and evidence in the original post.

    r –> Can someone show us a case of specified complexity and linked functional organisation requiting at least 1,000 basic Yes/No decisions to specify, where we directly know the causal story and the case is one where blind chance and mechanical necessity have spontaneously created the CSI-bearing entity?

    s –> Plainly, no — or that would have been trumpeted to the high heavens.

    t –> Routinely [even posts in this thread are cases in point] CSI traces to design and to designers, on direct observation. Thus, we have excellent inductive grounds to infer form sign to signified, on the previously developed expression:

    I: [si] –> O, on W

    (I observe a pattern of signs and infer — perhaps defeatably, but with high confidence — a signified object, on a warrant)

    u –> In addition, the infinite monkeys analysis above in the original post [notice how no-one has tried to refute it!] shows why this induction is analytically well warranted.>>
    __________________

    GEM of TKI

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