Home » Culture, Intelligent Design, Off Topic » If You Want Good Science, Who Better to Ask Than Barret Brown?

If You Want Good Science, Who Better to Ask Than Barret Brown?

Barrett Clown, oh pardon me, Barrett Brown, thinks he makes an argument against ID by humor and satire alone here at The Huffington Post. He is, after all, to be taken deadly seriously, he’s written for National Lampoon for goodness sakes and written a book about Dodo birds. Not really, Dodo birds were really just straw men, or, more accurately, scare crows. If satire counts for argument, then my blog post has done the same job that Barrett’s has. Revel in the irony that Barret would write about “bits of information” to prove his point;

Bits of information are no longer compartmentalized like so many scattered VHS tapes and gothic rock album liner notes, which is why Dembski and company can’t get away with trying to portray ID as a scientific theory with no religious intent while having already admitted that same religious intent to sympathetic Biblical literalists. But that crowd doesn’t seem to understand this fundamental aspect of the Internet, that Google waits in watch of dishonesty. And thus it is that Dembski’s blog Uncommon Descent is among the most interesting things that the Internet has to offer.

Barrett, you want to discuss information theory? I reckon a good penchant for satire gives all the credentials necessary. No, certainly not, you are right, bits of information are no longer compartmentalized like so many scattered VHS tapes and gothic rock albums liner notes, they are compartmentalized in the DNA sequence in such a way that no VHS tape or liner note, however organized, could ever accomplish. No intelligence here folks, I mean, with Barrett, that is. Seriously, he is seriously serious in his satire, which is really just a way to be covertly passive/aggressive, nothing insincere here folks. If this counts for argument, then I am arguing by the same, and this post should be counted as just as valid. I’m intentionally avoiding much real argument and focusing on satire to prove a point, and the point is to expose the absurdity by being absurd in the same way. This guy cracks me up like we were in highschool. Except, I never liked guys like him in highschool, and have even less patience with them now.  Hey Barret, try to dig up some stuff on me buddy, for nothing proves an argument more than mockery and character assassination.

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298 Responses to If You Want Good Science, Who Better to Ask Than Barret Brown?

  1. Excellent takedown, Clive. I noticed that Mr Brown said absolutely nothing about the scientific content of ID theory, for obvious reasons. Instead, it seems he prefers to exploit a few unfortunate episodes for lulz, several of which involve a person who doesn’t even post here anymore! Whatever anyone thinks about UD, they can’t deny that 99% of the posts here are strictly science related.

    If Mr Brown happens to read this, I have just two words in response to his hatchet job article: DEEPAK CHOPRA!!

  2. What, no sense of humor, Clive? I thought satire and sarcasm was all the rage here -but only when it’s your seriously serious satire, which is really just a way to be covertly passive/aggressive, right?

    When you were in high school did you ever tell any of those guys you didn’t like that you didn’t like them? Or did you filter out the things you didn’t like and pretend nothing was actually said?

    Just curious! Your friend, deadman_932

  3. deadman_932

    Wasn’t my sense of humor obvious? It was the same sort of satire as Mr. Brown’s, long on boring and colorless satire and short on argument. Except, maybe mine was a little bit better than colorless :)

  4. Clive:

    If Mr Brown had simply taken time to work his way through the weak argument correctives here at UD, he would have saved making a classic example of red herrings dragged across the track of truth and led out to hominem oil soaked strawmen ignited to cloud, choke, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere.

    I will take just one point: why did he not simply read here on the Logos remark before wrenching it utterly out of context through what darwinist advocates are ever so fond of terming “quote mining”?

    And, if he failed to do his homework that badly [after all his post date is Aug 6th 2009, and for months, the WAC's and the glossary have been shown on every page of the blog he was attacking . . . ], how can he roundly accuse Dr Dembski — who holds double PhDs, one in Mathematics,the other in philosophy (and a masters in theology out of was irt Princeton) — of “lying” when he highlighed that NT theology has here passed a point of empirical test?

    In a UK based jurisdiction, he would be on his way to court to defend a libel charge right now, and with the prospect of having to pay the full costs of the other party and the court too, in addition to damages.

    Satire is one thing, calling people liars without good reason is another thing entirely: uncivil behaviour, and indeed tort.

    For shame!

    The sad thing is that a lot of people will be duped by it, instead of thinking: wait a minute, there might be another side to the story and checking out the facts.

    But those who set out to drive wedges across our civilisation and polarise us into warring factions count on that.

    GEM of TKI

  5. In a UK based jurisdiction, he would be on his way to court to defend a libel charge right now, and with the prospect of having to pay the full costs of the other party and the court too, in addition to damages.

    Don’t you think that the notorious Judge Jones video overdubed by Dr. Dr. Dembski would have had the same consequences.

    But those who set out to drive wedges across our civilisation and polarise us into warring factions count on that.

    Too true. BTW, which side created the wedge document?

  6. kairosfocus,

    You’re exactly right. The fact that he calls Dr. Dembski a liar by taking him out of context, and a racist by associating with the Southern Baptists, tells me that this clown cannot make a real argument, so he resorts to clownish clowning and Barrett Browning.

  7. Marylin Manson isn’t the kid from “Wonder Years”?!!

    But anyway why do people conflate proponents with the theory?

    If an IDist is religious that does not make ID a religious-bent theory.

  8. In science education, as in most things, Pareto’s 80/20 principle seems to apply to the ignorance quotient among anti-ID enthusiasts. I have found that most of my posts consist of providing remedial education for Darwinists who falter on the same 20% of the errors that make up 80% of their correspondence. In short, there are three things that they typically cannot comprehend and, given the reactions to my efforts at remediation, will never comprehend.

    [A] Darwinists do not understand the meaning of the word, “context.” Countless times I have found myself explaining that truth is unified, meaning that theology and science provide different aspects of that same truth. So, when Dembski speaks of “Logos theory,” or when Behe acknowledges that a theist might find ID more “plausible,” or when Stephen Meyer acknowledges that, from a theological perspective, he believes that the designer is God, Darwinists attribute the changing context to an equivocation or a lie. They can’t conceive that a fact can be interpreted theologically, philosophically, and scientifically, and that each those interpretations will provide a different kind of testimony. Thus, if I say that the scientifically verifiable theory of the “big bang” can be expressed Biblically as, “Let there be light,” the Darwinist howls, “Aha, I told you that he was smuggling religion into his science.” Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the Darwinists who can’t comprehend this are “stupid,” I am merely pointing to an inexplicable intellectual deficit and an interesting social phenomenon that sociology has yet to explain.

    [B] Darwinists do not understand the difference between a motive and a method. I can attest to this failing since I have encountered it numerous times on this very site. Darwinists, believing that they have un-earthed highly classified information, continually hearken back to Judge Jones’ decision in which he held that ID that “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents,” and is therefore “religious.” One searches in vain for any indication that Judge Jones understands even at the most basic level that even if that were true, which it isn’t, it would have nothing at all to do with the fact that ID motives have nothing at all to do with its methods. I have asked Darwinists multiple times to extract religion from the concept of “irreducible complexity.” Obviously they can’t. Again, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that Darwinists who can’t make this simple distinction are stupid. I am merely pointing out that they don’t respond well to remedial education.

    [C] Darwinists do not understand the difference between a presupposition and an inference. I would not want to count the number of times that Darwinists have stated outright that ID’s inference to the best explanation is imbedded in its hypothesis—that its findings are mere tautologies—that its ultimate conclusion is a restatement of its premise. More precisely, they cannot comprehend that fact that a presupposition, as expressed through creation science, begins with Biblical faith, while an inference, as expressed through intelligent design, begins with empirical observation. Once again, I am not saying that anyone who cannot mark this difference is stupid. I am simply explaining the difficulty I have had in disabusing them of this notion.

    In summary, Darwinists keep making the same basic few errors, so those in ID who do remedial education find it necessary to repeat themselves from time to time. In keeping with that point, I want to make it clear that I am not trying to dehumanize Mr. Barrett or attribute to him any negative quality of the mind simply because he cannot understand the points at issue. Intellectual deficits can be explained in a number of ways and last thing I would want to do is plant the idea in someone’s mind that he is stupid.

  9. So, it appears that I should have said Mr. Brown and not Mr. Barrett. Sorry, but I have never heard of him so I will revise my last comment as follows: Intellectual deficits can be explained in a number of ways and the last thing I would want to do is plant the idea in someone’s mind that Mr. Brown is stupid.

  10. Barrett’s absolutely right—back in the dark old days before the Internet, disinformation was sustainable. Darwinism could not be openly challenged. The notion that nature cannot be the product of undirected causes was not permitted to be heard. The academic journals would not tolerate it. Secular publishing houses would not tolerate it. Science departments at universities would not tolerate it.

    That’s why so many people enjoy stopping by Uncommon Descent on their coffee break to “talk a little treason.” Barrett prefers the tall tales about origins of Darwin and his cohort because they support a certain worldview. Since worldview is linked to identity, he also prefers a cultural environment where those tall tales cannot be deconstructed. Uncommon Descent, to him, is an affront. Its very existence is personal.

    It is not surprising that bloggers at UD might have said some unseemly things in the heat of the battle over the years. After all, they have no disinterested editor-friend to restrain them from printing what they feel. One might extend the same consideration to Barrett and his ad-hominem attack over at HuffPo. It is not rational to claim that Dembski is “lying” about his interest in ID when he openly describes himself as a theologian.

    Poor Barrett—he doesn’t realize that the battle has already been lost in the court of public opinion. The faux buzz surrounding HuffPo has bewitched him. The vast majority of Americans accept design because it is self-evident. And there’s nothing Judge Jones can do about that.

  11. Barrett Brown has since worked up a clown routine at the Huffington Post as an update to my blog post. You’re right allanius, the vast majority of Americans accept design—which, according to our clown friend, is a result of evolution. For everything is a result of evolution to him. He must really dislike certain outcomes of evolution. Whence comes the discernment between competing worldviews that are all outcomes of evolution? If evolution, to Barrett, admittedly produces false worldviews, such as religion, then why trust it in any other regard? What would Barrett use to make the judgment between evolutionary outcomes that was not itself an outcome of evolution and subject to the same doubt? The judge cannot also be on trial, the thing on trial cannot also be the judge, or else the verdict is invalid. It’s what we call special pleading on Barrett’s part. But, he is, after all, a comedian, and not a philosopher or logician.

  12. Nor is he pretending to be a philosopher or logician, Clive.

    Barrett’s purpose, which he supported, (contrary to your claim) was to merely point out the seeming incongruity of ID as “not necessarily” religious but simultaneously based on Christ — as Dembski has said *all* theories in science must be:

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/William_A._Dembski

    As you see, there was more than one Dembski quote to choose from regarding this.

    The touch of literary irony comes with the nature of the information concerning the claims of the Newton of Information Theory.

    It’s a shame you couldn’t be more humorous about it, Clive. Or at least a little less seemingly injured.

  13. —-deadman-932: “Barrett’s purpose, which he supported, (contrary to your claim) was to merely point out the seeming incongruity of ID as “not necessarily” religious but simultaneously based on Christ — as Dembski has said *all* theories in science must be:”

    I rest my case. As I pointed out at @8, Darwinists ignore context, confuse motives with methods, and mistake an inference for a presupposition. To that we could add the distinction between Christian apologetics and the legitimate science that supports it. Given the fact that this site provides an FAQ, anti-ID partisans have had sufficient time to learn the differences alluded to, so there is nothing here reminiscent of an honest misunderstanding. These failures to address the issue can fairly be interpreted in only one of one of two ways. It’s either willful ignorance or mischievous misrepresentation, all courtesy of the mindless Wikipedia connection. Either way, there is no excuse and no reason to assume good faith dialogue.

    Again, I ask the relevant question: How do you extract relgious ideology from “irreducible complexity.” Would deadman-932 care to address that point without the usual motive mongering? Not likely.

  14. allanius & Clive,

    “The vast majority of Americans accept design because it is self-evident.”

    “You’re right allanius, the vast majority of Americans accept design…”

    So is this regarded as consensus science or consensus non-science? And should GilDodgen be informed?

  15. I rest my case. As I pointed out at @8, Darwinists ignore context, confuse motives with methods, and mistake an inference for a presupposition. To that we could add the distinction between Christian apologetics and the legitimate science that supports it. Given the fact that this site provides an FAQ, anti-ID partisans have had sufficient time to learn the differences alluded to, so there is nothing here reminiscent of an honest misunderstanding. These failures to address the issue can fairly be interpreted in only one of one of two ways. It’s either willful ignorance or mischievous misrepresentation, all courtesy of the mindless Wikipedia connection. Either way, there is no excuse and no reason to assume good faith dialogue.

    Right! We’ll just forget the whole Wedge Document, and the whole bit where Dembski tells one thing to a secular audience and another thing to his Christian audience. We’ll forget the whole Logos of John’s Gospel thing. We’ll forget every single one of those Wikipedia quotes where Dembski clearly shows that Intelligent Design is nothing more than dolled-up creationism.

    Again, I ask the relevant question: How do you extract relgious ideology from “irreducible complexity.” Would deadman-932 care to address that point without the usual motive mongering? Not likely.

    Because, Stephen, it seems that you’re the one who can’t tell the difference between inference and presupposition. Where is your inference coming from? Upon what scientific facts is ID based? How did you come to the conclusion that organisms were intelligently designed? Because of hieroglyphics? You’re only fooling yourself, Steve.

  16. StephenB asks:

    How do you extract relgious ideology from “irreducible complexity.” Would deadman-932 care to address that point without the usual motive mongering? Not likely.

    It is my understanding that Dembski was a theist first, then hit upon his argument regarding design…after already being a believer in a God that created all things, period.

    I haven’t seen anyone produce any example of “irreducible complexity” that is demonstrably devoid of presuppositional bias and/or fallacy-mongering illogic, StephenB.

    Perhaps you can debate that with me at Theology Web, since you seem keen on making claims about such matters.

    I believe we all arrive at our own “inferences” or arguments regarding observed complex structures with presuppositional biases in place at some level of ideation. This is a standard observation in science that is widely accepted to influence not only what we “observe” but also, of course, the quality and nature of inferences drawn from what we observe through the filter of our preexisting biases.

    Some people (you, StephenB?) may *claim* that it is possible to (1) reliably eliminate preexisting bias and then (2) eliably demonstrate that some irreducibly complex structure has some “more likely correct” inferred origin in an “Intelligent Designer” but I have yet to see that demonstrated.

    You can try that over at Theology Web, where there is a nicely structured environment with less potential of moderator bias, in my biased view.

    Surely, you’d be willing to accomodate that change of venue so that you can show your argumentative skillzors

  17. The most frustrating thing in all of this is that the vast majority of people have no idea what ID is all about, so they become easy victims of people like Barrett Brown.

    My wife’s cousin is an extraordinarily bright and talented engineer, and he knows that I’m a software engineer in aerospace R&D. He was stunned to learn of my interest in, and defense of, ID theory. At one family gathering he asked (I paraphrase): “You don’t actually believe that nonsense do you?”

    I then asked him which ID literature he was familiar with. (Please accept my apologies for ending a sentence with a preposition, but the alternatives are worse. As Winston Churchill was once purported to have exclaimed: “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.” But I digress.)

    I listed about half a dozen standard ID book titles. He had not read them, and had not even heard of them. I then listed the names of the major ID proponents. He had not heard of any of them.

    The bottom line is that his only familiarity with ID was through the mainstream media. All he “knew” was that ID is creationism lite.

    At that point I changed the subject to finite element analysis of nonlinear dynamic systems, and a very interesting conversation ensued.

  18. OK, StephenB. Lets have some context here. Should a family protect itself by being innoculated with a 1970′s flu vaccination. Or would it maybe be more prudent to use the current vaccine against the cuurent flu strain. You know, the so called Swine flu that has evolved from the 70′s version.

    Real context. Your call.

  19. Deadman why don’t you keep it here. Will you go so far as saying you can’t separate bias from thought? I don’t see any reason why not. I think what you really mean is we can’t confirm that we can.

    You have to go as far out as “the apple will not fall this time” and that’s not constructive or interesting, unless you see the pathway to the next level. Lead us there.

  20. MeganC why not just come out of the closet. You believe Random mutation and natural selection built both Deep Blue and Gary Kasparov;
    and that man walking on the moon was inevitable because of the properties contained in the first ball of matter from the big bang.

  21. lamarck,

    MeganC why not just come out of the closet. You believe Random mutation and natural selection built both Deep Blue and Gary Kasparov;
    and that man walking on the moon was inevitable because of the properties contained in the first ball of matter from the big bang.

    And you believe that everything that has ever occurred was inevitable due to the properties contained in the creative powers of a highly complex entity (most probably the Biblical war god Yahweh, but don’t let anyone else know that!).

    Mr. Dodgen,

    The bottom line is that his only familiarity with ID was through the mainstream media. All he “knew” was that ID is creationism lite.

    I don’t see anything wrong with this “dilemma”, that is until you sufficiently answer the various connections between ID and relgion that have been posted, some even from Dembski’s own mouth.

  22. 22

    Gil, if my work is so misleading that my readers have become my “victims,” then you or Dembski or anyone else should refute the dozens of points that I have made about intelligent design and the telling behavior of its advocates.

    Dembski has read my book or at least skimmed it. He has written two posts about it. But he has not actually refuted anything I have written. The sole exception was his objection to my references to the Book of Revelation; regarding prophecies of stars falling to the Earth, he cited C.S. Lewis’s assertion that the Bible is written for “grown-ups” who know how to separate metaphor from literalism. It’s a strange objection coming from him; millions of ID sympathizers believe that the Book of Revelation is to be taken literally and will play out more or less as described. Perhaps Dembski thinks that these Biblical literalists are not “grown-ups”? If so, he should say this plainly. He should tell the members of ID’s “natural constituency” that their beliefs are childish.

    The advocates of intelligent design cannot refute what I’ve written about their movement because there is nothing to refute. Also, I can ride my bike real fast.

    Barrett Brown
    Brooklyn, NY
    [email protected]

  23. Ardeekay,
    I’m going to guess that you used to be christian and you have a chip on your shoulder, and that you’ve never seen other posts from me. My “bias” is that the answer to the problem likely lies in the answer to “what is time?”.

    And whats the problem if ID is tied to creationism? Isn’t that what the scientific method is there for?

  24. I’m going to guess that you used to be christian and you have a chip on your shoulder, and that you’ve never seen other posts from me.

    As for the first guess, no, and for the second guess yes, I have seen many other posts by you. Is your most recent one somehow different in a way I should know about?

    And what do you mean by “what is time”? Are you endorsing the view that time is a concept that is hard to define, or that it simply doesn’t exist? Because that would be silly. Time is a very tangible concept, it can even be ripped and bent.

    And whats the problem if ID is tied to creationism

    Not just that they are tied, but that they are one and the same.

  25. lamarck,

    I’m going to guess that you used to be christian and you have a chip on your shoulder, and that you’ve never seen other posts from me.

    As for the first guess, no, and for the second guess yes, I have seen many other posts by you. Is your most recent one somehow different in a way I should know about?

    And what do you mean by “what is time”? Are you endorsing the view that time is a concept that is hard to define, or that it simply doesn’t exist? Because that would be silly. Time is a very tangible concept, it can even be ripped and bent.

    And whats the problem if ID is tied to creationism

    Not just that they are tied, but that they are one and the same.

  26. I don’t see anything wrong with this “dilemma”, that is until you sufficiently answer the various connections between ID and relgion (sic)that have been posted, some even from Dembski’s own mouth.

    Perhaps you are unaware of the fact that at one time I was militant atheist like you. The design argument, and my expertise in mathematics and software engineering, were major factors in my rejection of what I now consider to be illogical and evidence-deprived arguments against design in the universe and living systems, which leaps out at every turn, unless one is irrevocably pre-committed to philosophical materialism and nihilism.

    Of course, a design inference has deism- or theism-friendly implications, just as chance-and-necessity materialism has atheistic implications. Live with it.

    You sir, are the (anti)religious fanatic who refuses to follow the evidence where it leads, not I.

  27. Gil, maybe we should get off the path of making monstrously large blanket statements about the truthfulness or falseness of intelligent design (or evolution), and actually support your wild claims with evidence.

    You claim that your expertise in mathematics and software engineering has helped you to more or less “see the light” through Darwinist lies. You say that proponents of evolution use illogical and evidence-deprived arguments. Can you give me some examples of any such arguments, and what specifically is illogical and evidence-deprived?

    Going further, could you give me an example of what you would accept as positive evidence for the “Darwinist” side?

    On a friendly aside, why exactly do you feel an expert in mathematics and software engineering would have any particular insight onto a matter that is explicitly biological? You wouldn’t hire a software engineer to do your plumbing or appraise your house, would you? I hope you’d hire a plumber or a real estate agent.

  28. Ardeekay,
    “Are you endorsing the view that time is a concept that is hard to define, or that it simply doesn’t exist? Because that would be silly. Time is a very tangible concept, it can even be ripped and bent.

    Yes I am endorsing those and I’m correct. Time is undefined and may not exist. Please define time and otherwise elaborate further. For example, how can infinity be reconciled logically?

    As for creationism and ID. It doesn’t matter if they’re one and the same ultimately. The only question is, is it productive to investigate using science.

    And so you can only have a problem with the scientific method. You must think it’s an insufficient filter to make forward progress.

    The difference between ID and creationism, is that creationism has an absolute set in stone, which is god. Whereas ID will allow for matter itself to be the intelligent agent, or for something not yet conceived of, to be the intelligent agent. But there will be intelligence involved. So ID could be atheist (not god and not matter as cause). Do you disagree?

  29. lamarck,

    Don’t be silly; Deep Blue was built by IBM, IIRC and Mr Kasparov by Mikoyan-i-Gurevich. Man walked on the moon, eh? So when did this supposedly happen and WERE U THERE?

  30. Megan, That was a test and you just passed, because man didn’t go to the moon.

    See “A funny thing happened on the way to the moon”, and other videos by Bart Sibrel, such as “Astronauts gone wild”.

    It’ll be a while before we can get through the van allen belt.

  31. Slightly OT: A while back someone posted a website which featured a timeline on the history of I.D. It traced the modern I.D. movement back to 1953 and Watson and Crick. Does anyone know this website’s address? I think it was here, although it may have been at another I.D. blog.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me out!

  32. 32
    CannuckianYankee

    Re #21

    Ardeekay,

    lamarck: “And whats the problem if ID is tied to creationism”

    Ardeekay: “Not just that they are tied, but that they are one and the same.”

    From Wikipedia:

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

    “Creationism is the religious belief[1] that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in some form by a supernatural being or beings, commonly a single deity.”

    From this Blog:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/id-defined/

    “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.”

    If you fail to tell the difference between Creationism and Intelligent Design, then you really have nothing intelligent to say here.

  33. What’s this? An ID proponent quoted Wikipedia without exploding? What is the world coming to!

    Creationism:

    Creationism is the religious belief[1] that humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe were created in some form by a supernatural being or beings, commonly a single deity.

    Intelligent Design, as defined by William Dembski:

    The theory (sic) of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection

    …so, the difference is that ID proponents still believe life, the universe, and everything is an “effect” of an intelligent cause, they’re just a lot more…vague about it?

    Edit: Also, how does my apparent failure to tell the difference between ID and creationism disqualify me from ever making an intelligent statement…ever? Perhaps you should apply the Explanatory Filter in order to properly discern whether or not my statements are truly intelligently spewed.

  34. 34
    CannuckianYankee

    Shawnboy,

    “It traced the modern I.D. movement back to 1953 and Watson and Crick.”

    I don’t know where the website is, but it is common knowledge that Crick was an advocate of Directed Panspermia.

    http://www.daviddarling.info/e.....rpans.html

    This was his solution to the problem of the origin of life in light of complex protein replicating systems. It seems to be an ID solution. It’s really a speculation though, but it does recognize the problem faced by the Darwinian explanation when faced with the origin of life.

  35. 35

    BarretBrown,

    ——”It’s a strange objection coming from him; millions of ID sympathizers believe that the Book of Revelation is to be taken literally and will play out more or less as described. Perhaps Dembski thinks that these Biblical literalists are not “grown-ups”?”

    That is totally false, of all the books of the Bible, even literalists know that Revelation is heavily metaphorical. The more literal they are, the more they realize that they are literally encountering a real metaphor. It’s called hermeneutics, it’s called scholarship, you should check it out. And Lewis was right, scripture is for grown ups, not mudslinging children. Actually, that’s an affront to children, who are usually and on the whole more respectful than you are.

  36. I.D. is not anti-evolution. That’s a myth started by those looking to conflate I.D. with Biblical creationism in a deceitful attempt at discrediting it. Arguments stand on their merits, not on labels created by dishonest people trying to salvage their failed world view. What I.D. is, is anti-blind watchmaker. We oppose the idea that life “poofed” into existence and we oppose the preposterous idea that a gradual series of copying errors created the mind-blowingly complex nano-machinery found in the most basic of living organisms.

    It’s quite reasonable (although not unquestionable) that large scale macro-evolution has taken place. Evolution meaning that life has changed significantly over it’s history. The question is, by what mechanism(s) did this change take place? Darwin proposed his hypothesis based on the ignorance of the Victorian era. His hypothesis failed miserably. It failed in the fossil record. It failed in the laboratory. It failed in any unbiased, realistic algorithm. I would say it’s long dead, but the truth is it was never alive outside of the minds of the delusional.

    As for I.D., it’s been around since the beginning of science, dating way back to the ancient Greeks. Believing in God leads one to believing that the universe would have an underlying order and rationality (and it does, what a coincidence…). This belief is the foundation, the backbone of science. I would say those people who reject God must also reject all science, including modern medicine, but unlike others I don’t make absurd claims to support my beliefs.

    The modern I.D. movement began with the discovery of the intelligently designed, encoded structure of DNA. It was started by atheists James Watson and Francis Crick, and was furthered by yet another atheist, Sir Fred Hoyle. It wasn’t until the early 90s that it gained a wider audience as more and more people realized how bankrupt abiogenesis and Darwinism were.

    Has the I.D. movement attracted many religious people? You bet your sweet *** it has. My counter-question to the designophobics is this: Why wouldn’t I.D. attract the religious? It is, after all, a breathtaking scientific revolution which proves, as far as science can prove anything, that both our universe and life was designed, which leads us to that oh-so-scary “P” word – Purpose. Just as atheists and agnostics flocked to the now-falsified idea that pond scum and lightning created life (the Frankenstein hypothesis? *laughs*), theists and deists flocked to I.D. Of course, a hypothesis neither rises nor sinks based on its followers’ world view(s). All that matters is the evidence. It doesn’t matter what percentage of I.D. proponents are religious, whether 0%, 100%, or anything in between. All that matters is the evidence (I cannot stress this enough). The evidence says I.D. is true and those who deny it need to be institutionalized. Harsh but true. I’m sorry if that offends anyone reading this.

    What I find baffling are the attempts to censor any and all I.D. proponents. Is censorship the way to progression? Of course not. The way to progression is this: Ideas are challenged. If they withstand said challenge, they remain standing, stronger than ever. Science has progressed. If they can’t withstand said challenge? Then they’re discarded in the trash bin. So then, why is it that those who claim to love science so strongly support censorship in this situation? That throws up a huge red flag. It throws up a huge read flag for two reasons. First, it comes across as incredibly insecure. You’re unwillingly admitting that Darwinism can’t withstand the challenge of I.D. Secondly, it reveals that you have an irrational commitment to Darwinism, a commitment that easily exceeds the boundries of science. This is because Darwinism is your religion. “Poof” is your creation story, chance is your God, and Charles Darwin is your messiah. So goes Darwinism, so goes your religion. In this regard you’re clearly no better than the Biblical creationists who cling to their young Earth views. Perhaps worse, as they at least admit to their faith, whereas Darwinists try and pass their faith off as science while sneaking it into the classroom.

    Before I go, I’d like to ask that all of you sign the Academic Freedom Petition. Let science be science again. Allow progression to take place. Don’t cling to silly 19th ideas, ideas that haven’t been intellectually fulfilling in over a century.

  37. 37

    Ardeekay,

    RDK,

    Why did you spell out your name, and create a new account?

  38. —-deadman-932 “It is my understanding that Dembski was a theist first, then hit upon his argument regarding design…after already being a believer in a God that created all things, period. I haven’t seen anyone produce any example of “irreducible complexity” that is demonstrably devoid of presuppositional bias and/or fallacy-mongering illogic,”

    What Dembski was or is has absolutely nothing at all to do with his methods. For that matter, what you think you have seen about anyone producing “irreducible complexity” has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged relationship between irreducible complexity and religion. So, again, I ask the relevant question: How do you extract religion from irreducible complexity?” For that matter, what religious overtones or concepts do you find in “specified complexity?” Originally, I made the charge that Darwinists cannot distinguish motives from methods. You are confirming that fact.

    —-“Perhaps you can debate that with me at Theology Web, since you seem keen on making claims about such matters.”

    Why would I want to engage you there when I have you here? No one has silenced you on this forum.

    —-“I believe we all arrive at our own “inferences” or arguments regarding observed complex structures with presuppositional biases in place at some level of ideation. This is a standard observation in science that is widely accepted to influence not only what we “observe” but also, of course, the quality and nature of inferences drawn from what we observe through the filter of our preexisting biases.”

    I also made the charge that Darwinists cannot distinguish between a presupposition and an inference. You are confirming that fact as well. Have you read the FAQ on this site yet? Are you interested in preparing for a meaningful dialogue by learning the relevant facts?

    —-“Some people (you, StephenB?) may *claim* that it is possible to (1) reliably eliminate preexisting bias and then (2) eliably demonstrate that some irreducibly complex structure has some “more likely correct” inferred origin in an “Intelligent Designer” but I have yet to see that demonstrated.”

    Where have you looked? In precisely what way does the inference fail in your judgment? You are not being very specific or informative.

    —-“You can try that over at Theology Web, where there is a nicely structured environment with less potential of moderator bias, in my biased view.”

    Why do you feel the need to change venues? You are free to make your case right here.

    —-“Surely, you’d be willing to accomodate that change of venue so that you can show your argumentative skillzors”

    How would that help you establish an argument in support of your point of view?

  39. CannuckianYankee

    I don’t know where the website is, but it is common knowledge that Crick was an advocate of Directed Panspermia.

    This was his solution to the problem of the origin of life in light of complex protein replicating systems. It seems to be an ID solution. It’s really a speculation though, but it does recognize the problem faced by the Darwinian explanation when faced with the origin of life.

    The origin of life is as much a problem for the Theory of Evolution as the origin of matter is a problem for Newton’s Theory of Gravity, which is to say none.

  40. 40

    Ardeekay,

    For the sake of continuity, I’m going to delete this account. You can still post under RDK.

  41. Barret, why don’t you convince us you’ve got the answers then?

    What’s the devastating response to genetic entropy which no one else has been able to produce?

    Do you realize Dawkins would be salivating for your revelations if he knew you had some answers?

    You also to alluded to CSI being disproven. You of course couldn’t come out and say this but weren’t above suggesting it to the easily mislead huffington post crowd. Turns out CSI isn’t a problem for neodarwinists or what? ACTUALLY SAY SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT.

  42. 42

    MeganC,

    ——”So is this regarded as consensus science or consensus non-science?”

    We were making reference to Barrett Brown’s mention of Judge Jones’s court when we made reference to ID winning in the court of public opinion. Stay with the context Megan.

  43. 43

    Thanks for the tip, Clive. A couple of questions:

    1. Does depicting a judge as repeatedly farting constitute “mudslinging”?

    2. How about reporting a fellow professor to Homeland Security based on the willful misunderstanding of a speech?

    3. Perhaps you can explain what Dembski meant when he wrote that “Predictive prophecies in Scripture are instances of specified complexity and signal information inputted by God as part of his sovereign activity within Creation.” Do you share this belief? What would be some good examples of predictive prophecies within Scripture?

    4. Why should anyone hold an ounce of respect for a book that cheerfully advocates the ripping of babies from the wombs of their mothers, as in Hosea 13:16?

    5. Why did the Discovery Institute secretly call for churches to resume the teaching of traditional Judeo-Christian creation mythology in its Wedge Document? Does the Discovery Institute believe that the myth is true, or do they simply advocate misinformation for the purpose of social engineering?

  44. You say that proponents of evolution use illogical and evidence-deprived arguments. Can you give me some examples of any such arguments, and what specifically is illogical and evidence-deprived?

    I did not once mention evolution. How could it not be clear that I’m referring to the Darwinian mechanism of random variation / mutation and natural selection? How many times must we explain this? No one at UD is denying that living systems have changed over time, and therefore have evolved.

    Illogical and evidence-deprived: Extrapolating bacterial antibiotic resistance and finch beak variation to explain the origin of all of biology, including information-processing machinery with error detection and repair, guidance, navigation and control in flying creatures, human consciousness, and everything else that has ever existed in biology.

    Dawkins refers to natural selection as a simple, elegant explanation that solves all mysteries in biology. It is certainly simple, but more importantly it is simplistic, and explains nothing but the trivially obvious. Extrapolating this to account for everything in biology is certainly illogical and evidence-deprived, and such an unsupported extrapolation would be greeted with laughter in any area of hard science.

  45. —Barrett Brown: “The advocates of intelligent design cannot refute what I’ve written about their movement because there is nothing to refute.”

    It is not very difficult to refute your points. You make the classic error of ignoring the context of communication, confusing a presupposition with an inference, and misreading motives as methods. Would you care to discuss in detail the ways in which you violated all three of these logical prerequisites for rational discourse?

    Meanwhile, how about taking on the relevant question: How do you extract religion from “irredicible complexity?” Where are the religious overtones in “complex specified information?”

  46. Clive,

    For the sake of continuity, I’m going to delete this account. You can still post under RDK.

    Thanks. I was looking forward to contributing after a long hiatus from this site, but I returned to find my account mysteriously placed on moderation.

  47. 47

    RDK,

    ——”Because, Stephen, it seems that you’re the one who can’t tell the difference between inference and presupposition. Where is your inference coming from? Upon what scientific facts is ID based? How did you come to the conclusion that organisms were intelligently designed? Because of hieroglyphics? You’re only fooling yourself, Steve.”

    Stephen is not fooling himself. He came to the conclusion that organisms were designed by a design inference after the knowledge of the complexity and vacuous explanation of Darwinian evolution was ascertained, not presupposed before. First things first, RDK. You’re fooling yourself if you believe otherwise. It’s an inference that StephenB makes, that you presuppose was based on a presupposition, quite ironic, really.

  48. camanintx,
    “The origin of life is as much a problem for the Theory of Evolution as the origin of matter is a problem for Newton’s Theory of Gravity, which is to say none.”

    By the same logic, god or any ultimate cause has nothing to do with ID science, true or false?

  49. 49

    Barrett Brown

    ——“The advocates of intelligent design cannot refute what I’ve written about their movement because there is nothing to refute.”

    That is because you have written nothing, and nothing cannot be refuted.

  50. 50

    “Would you care to discuss in detail the ways in which you violated all three of these logical prerequisites for rational discourse?”

    Nah.

    “Meanwhile, how about taking on the relevant question: How do you extract religion from ‘irredicible complexity?’ Where are the religious overtones in ‘complex specified information?’

    Both of those concepts are components of intelligent design, which Dembski himself has associated with “religious overtones” on a number of occasions, most prominently in his book Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology.

    Let me ask you a related question in response: what would it take to convince you that intelligent design has “religious overtones”? If this were indeed the case, how could I prove it?

    To Lamarck: Apologies, but I don’t think it would be productive for me to spend my time in a discussion with someone who is convinced that the moon landings were faked.

  51. 51

    “That is because you have written nothing, and nothing cannot be refuted.”

    That you would accuse me of having written nothing on the subject and would do this in the comments section of a blog post concerning something I have written on the subject and in which you yourself make reference to an entire book I’ve written on the subject about which I’ve allegedly written nothing is, frankly, disingenuous beyond anything I’ve ever seen. You may very well be the most intellectually dishonest of any intelligent design advocate that I’ve ever encountered.

  52. Barret Brown:

    And exactly how is evolution separated from the atheistic worldview of Materialism?

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

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

    A Question for Barbara Forrest

    In fact, I’ve heard someone say, “Science is materialism.” Yet science clearly is not materialism. Materialism is a philosophy which makes the dogmatic assertion that only blind material processes generated everything around us, including ourselves. Materialism is thus in direct opposition to Theism which holds that God purposely created us in His image. Furthermore science, or more particularly the scientific method, in reality, only cares to relentlessly pursue the truth and could care less if the answer is a materialistic one or not. This is especially true in these questions of origins, since we are indeed questioning the materialistic philosophy itself. i.e. We are asking the scientific method to answer this very specific question, “Did God create us or did blind material processes create us?” When we realize this is the actual question we are seeking an answer to within the scientific method, then of course it is readily apparent we cannot impose strict materialistic answers onto the scientific method prior to investigation.
    In fact when looking at the evidence in this light we find out many interesting things which scientists, who have been blinded by the philosophy of materialism, miss. This is because the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find. These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method.

    For a quick overview here are a few:

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

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

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

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

    5. Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Disciples – How They Died – Would A Man Die For Something He Knew Was A Lie? – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk0My7sKb7s

  53. 53

    BarrettBrown,

    As for the first two, I have no idea what you’re referring to.

    3. Prophecy is like specified complexity, in that it matches a pre-existing pattern. Here are some prophecies:
    http://www.askapastor.org/proph.html

    4. Because it is Divinely Inspired, but also contains truth of humanity’s perspective and historical truth. Not every word is a commandment, it doesn’t read like a cookbook, you should maybe study a bit more about interpretation. There are things in scripture that man crying out says, that was recorded; this is descriptive, not prescriptive.

    5. I cannot speak to the Wedge Document given that I’ve never read it. But if it advocated traditional Judeo-Christian creation to be taught in church, more power to them. It’s called freedom of religion, and that applies to everyone, not just atheists.

    I’ve answered your questions to the best of my ability.
    Now I have some for you.

    1. You never answered my questions of what outcomes of evolution you are using when judging other outcomes of evolution? Whence comes the discernment? What standard given by evolution are you using to judge evolution as wrong in giving false worldviews? How can your judgments also not be subject to the same doubt? Do you have an infinite regress of evolutionary standards by which you judge the one before?

    2. How can you say that there is any objective standard or moral law if there is no objective moral law giver? Is your morality based on just your personal feelings? Why should anyone agree with you on the grounds of moral personal preference?

    3. How long have you been a comedian?

  54. BarrettBrown,

    ——-”That you would accuse me of having written nothing on the subject and would do this in the comments section of a blog post concerning something I have written on the subject and in which you yourself make reference to an entire book I’ve written on the subject about which I’ve allegedly written nothing is, frankly, disingenuous beyond anything I’ve ever seen. You may very well be the most intellectually dishonest of any intelligent design advocate that I’ve ever encountered.”

    I didn’t mean nothing in terms of quantity, I’m sure you’ve written reams of it. I meant nothing in terms of quality or content. You don’t write against ID outside of empty rhetoric.

  55. Barret, sorry I’m so lowbrow, no need to respond.

    I see nothing from you above the boring “pop” debate level (wedge document etc). Who cares if ID is a vicious cabal? What’s that got to do with science?

    You’re now in the unfortunate position of being grilled on real science by several people at once and having no substantive answers. All the while you basically told everyone at huff post to come on over and watch.

  56. If atheism is a religion, does that make bald a hair color?

  57. lamarck,

    Who cares if ID is a vicious cabal? What’s that got to do with science?

    Exactly. I’ll be interested to see how he responds to Clive’s questions in #53. As a Darwinist, no doubt Mr Brown accepts all beliefs, erm, provisionally. :D

  58. “As for the first two, I have no idea what you’re referring to.”

    Both of those incidents are discussed in my Huffington Post article, which itself was the subject of this blog post.

    “3. Prophecy is like specified complexity, in that it matches a pre-existing pattern.”

    Very well.

    “4. Because it is Divinely Inspired, but also contains truth of humanity’s perspective and historical truth. Not every word is a commandment, it doesn’t read like a cookbook, you should maybe study a bit more about interpretation. There are things in scripture that man crying out says, that was recorded; this is descriptive, not prescriptive.”

    I’m obviously aware of the various interpretations that exist regarding Scripture. But it doesn’t sound like you believe there to be any actual instances of prophecy in Scripture.

    “5. I cannot speak to the Wedge Document given that I’ve never read it. But if it advocated traditional Judeo-Christian creation, more power to them. It’s called freedom of religion, and that applies to everyone, not just atheists.”

    It’s incredible that you would advocate and assist an organization without taking five minutes to read a very controversial document that is a constant subject of debates in which you are prominently and repeatedly involved. I mean, I certainly don’t want to tell you what to do or anything.

    “But if it advocated traditional Judeo-Christian creation, more power to them. It’s called freedom of religion, and that applies to everyone, not just atheists.”

    What a strange response. I obviously advocate freedom of religion; my point is that the Discovery Institute has said one thing to the public and another thing in private, and not one of you has been able to tell me why. That’s because there’s no defense.

    “I didn’t mean nothing in terms of quantity, I’m sure you’ve written reams of it. I meant nothing in terms of quality or content. You don’t write against ID outside of empty rhetoric.”

    You would have had to read my book to know if that’s the case. And I know you didn’t read my book.

  59. And apologies for not answering your other questions just yet, but I’m supposed to be somewhere. Will respond tomorrow.

  60. Clive, BarretBrown was referring to this episode and this episode both of which brought great acclaim to UD

  61. RDK,

    ——-”If atheism is a religion, does that make bald a hair color?”

    No, but it makes it a state of the head.

  62. I have heard this argument before that Atheism is not a religion to that it does not require faith. Well i will grant that logically agnosticism may not require faith nor be a religion as it is the personal belief that one does not know the truth regarding issues of God. However one can even argue that it requires faith to “believe” that you do not know the truth. That may seem strange but the truth of philosophy is that all reasoning is inductive. All things we think we believe are accurate or at least exist in some form.

    However Atheism certainly requires faith. When one certainly has no logical proof that God does not exist- yet insists on believing that- that person is acting with a great deal of faith in their belief about a very unsettled matter. As far as atheism being a “religion”- one needs to define religion and that is where and when the argument becomes semantic. Certain atheists could be classified as religious in various senses and certainly many atheists are indeed “dogmatic” in that they claim truth in their views and opinions about matters that cannot know for sure the value of.

  63. Barrett Brown: Thanks for the response.

    —- [concerning irreducible complexity and specified complexity] You write:

    —–”Both of those concepts are components of intelligent design, which Dembski himself has associated with “religious overtones” on a number of occasions, most prominently in his book Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology.”

    No, not exactly. ID is an orientation, but IR and CS are methodologies. I won’t play Socrates any more, I will just make the point. Irreducible complexity and Specified complexities are the means by which the inference is drawn. Example: You come home one night and find that your room has been ransacked. You rule out natural causes and draw an inference to an intelligent agency [a burglar] who left clues about his activity. With that method, you cannot establish the identity of the burglar, only the fact of his existence. In like fashion, ID draws an inference to the intelligent agent the left clues about his/its/whatever activity. There is no religion in the methodology—none.

    —-”Let me ask you a related question in response: what would it take to convince you that intelligent design has “religious overtones”? If this were indeed the case, how could I prove it?”

    That is a fair quesetion: If you could show me that religion leaks into ID methodology, I would accept the proposition. That some ID advocates may, for all I know, have religious motives, isn’t a factor any more than the fact that many Darwinists have atheistic motives. What matters is the process through which the conclusions are drawn.

    Creation science, for example, starts with Biblical faith; ID starts with empirical observation.
    Creationism [creation science] moves forward: that is, it assumes, asserts or accepts something about God and what he has to say about origins; then interprets nature in that context. Intelligent design moves backward: that is, it observes something interesting in nature (complex, specified information) and then theorises and tests possible ways how that might have come to be. Creationism is faith-based; Intelligent Design is empirically-based.

    Each approach has a pedigree that goes back over two thousand years. We notice the “forward” approach in Tertullian, Pascal, and Kiergegaard—-as Tertullian put it, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem.” With these thinkers, the investigation was faith-based, meaning that, for them, philosophy and science get in the way.

    By contrast, we discover the “backward” orientation in Aristotle, Aquinas, and Paley. Aristotle’s argument, which begins with “motion in nature” and reasons BACK to a “prime mover” — i.e. from effect to its “best” causal explanation — is obviously empirically based. For them, religion, or any proposition, for that matter, must be rationally based but it is not worthy of belief.

    To say then, that Tertullian, Pascal, and Kiergegaard(Creationism) is similar to Aristotle, Aquinas, Paley (ID) is equivalent to saying forward equals backward. What could be more illogical?

  64. @63 should read–”must be rationally based or else it is not worthy of belief.”

  65. —RDK: “Right! We’ll just forget the whole Wedge Document, and the whole bit where Dembski tells one thing to a secular audience and another thing to his Christian audience.”

    —”We’ll forget the whole Logos of John’s Gospel thing. We’ll forget every single one of those Wikipedia quotes where Dembski clearly shows that Intelligent Design is nothing more than dolled-up creationism.”

    There is no need to forget them. The issue is understanding the context in which the statements are made, a monumental task for Darwinists who are untrained in philosophy and information theory.

    Once more, we have the perfect example of exactly what I am talking about–the inabilility to understand context. So, [A] What scientists describe as the “big bang,” [B] the Christian Scriptures describe as “let there be light.” For Darwinists who have difficulty following the argument, I will make it explcit [A] constitutes a scientific perspective on an event while [B] constitutes a theological perspective of the same event. Similarly, “Logos theory” is the theological counterpart to a scientific idea of communication theory. So, when a theologian, such as Dembski, provides his theological perspective, he is not compromsing his science. When he is discussing theology, he is not bound to the scientific method; when he is discussing science, he is. Again, when Einstein said that “he couldn’t believe that God would play dice with the world,” he was providing a theological reflection, independent of his theory of relativity.

    —RDK: “Because, Stephen, it seems that you’re the one who can’t tell the difference between inference and presupposition. Where is your inference coming from? Upon what scientific facts is ID based?”

    The inference is drawn from functionally specified complex information found in nature. In other words, the inference comes from the patterns. A presupposition would be a biblically based conclusion based on religious faith. ID doesn’t use a biblically based methodology. There are no religious concepts imbedded in “irreducible complexity.”

    —-”A presupposition would be something on the order of your rationality, that is, How did you come to the conclusion that organisms were intelligently designed? Because of hieroglyphics? You’re only fooling yourself, Steve.”

    No, that is not the definition of a presupposition. Try again.

  66. RDK, what you need to understand about the wedge document is that it is not a proof or a foil to the theory of ID. While the document did mention religion ID itsefl is not religious. Intelligence is a natural cause. Extrapolating ID to biology and cosmology only requires a nutral openmided postion on materialism.

    The bottom line is that regardless of what people’s agenda is- any theory still has to be debated on it’s own merits. Newton was in his mind decoding God’s thoughts or discovering the hidden things within his creation- but his purpose is not evidence for or against the quality and truthfulness of his theories. And certainly it did not prove to be a negative force against science as Newton’s work lead to so much scientific discovery. Motive mongering only helps one put a theory in political or sociological context. When Richard Dawkins attempts to smash religion and ID in the same book no one calls his arguments invalid because he has an atheistic or agnostic agenda. His arguments are taken up based on their solitary merritts. This is why I think ID will win out because it is concerned with the definition of science which involves Truth. Or as Winston Churchill put it…

    “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.”

  67. Barret Brown,

    The Maker of the following video shows how prophecy stays within the scientific method:

    The Scientific Method Proves Bible Prophecy and Authenticity – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1MdNLj0hPo

    And in fact, the preceding prophecy, when examined in more detail, becomes even more precise.

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrQqhINYrc4

    This following video is very interesting, for though they used the latest of scientific methods to examine the evidence, the answer they got gave them anything but a “materialistic” answer:

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb” – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XLcdaFKzYg

    The following video is downright eye-opening with its evidence:

    The Physical Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah and The Real Reason God Destroyed Them – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf8aUk1C-SQ

    Here is a video that goes into more detail of prophecy:

    The Bible: The Word of God? Extraordinary Claims Demand Extraordinary Evidence – video
    http://video.google.com/videop.....2491778083

    So thus Barret, Since the preceding facts are as sure as the scientific method can ascertain, how do you handle the implications?
    Do you just go into atheistic denial mode and refuse to admit they have any relevance to your life? Or do you look at them and realize you have been wrong in denying God’s reality?

  68. Mr Barrett Brown:

    I came by after a day or so, especially to follow up on my key points in no 4 above:

    ______________

    >> . . . If Mr Brown had simply taken time to work his way through the weak argument correctives here at UD, he would have saved making a classic example of red herrings dragged across the track of truth and led out to hominem oil soaked strawmen ignited to cloud, choke, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere.

    I will take just one point: why did he not simply read here on the Logos remark before wrenching it utterly out of context through what darwinist advocates are ever so fond of terming “quote mining”?

    And, if he failed to do his homework that badly [after all his post date is Aug 6th 2009, and for months, the WAC's and the glossary have been shown on every page of the blog he was attacking . . . ], how can he roundly accuse Dr Dembski — who holds double PhDs, one in Mathematics,the other in philosophy (and a masters in theology out of was it Princeton) — of “lying” when he highlighted that NT theology has here passed a point of empirical test?>>
    ______________

    I now add to these:

    1 –> I can find no evidence that you have either read or otherwise seriously reckoned with the substantial matters in the Weak Anti-ID Argument Correctives that are found at the top of every page in this blog.

    2 –> In that context, I note again that the dateline of your comment at Huff Po is August, while the WAC’s have been publicly accessible for many months now (and similar materials are accessible through IDEA etc).

    3 –> I am confident that had you addressed these matters on the merits, you would find that the substantial issues you have raised — as opposed to concerns on points where this Blog in former days (and under a different regime of management) did occasionally slip into the tasteless — are not at all so one sided as your ad-hominem-soaked, blazing strawman caricature portrays.

    4 –> As an immediate substantiation of the point, I observe that over the past day or so, you have reiterated polarising, ad hominem-laced and strawmannish rhetorical talking points and distractions instead of addressing the substantial matters in the WAC’s, such as No 7 on the Logos theory remark.

    5 –> In that context, here is what you said about Dr Dembski at HuffPo:

    we may determine, is that Dembski is lying; in a 1999 interview with the Christian magazine Touchstone, Dembski stated unambiguously that “[i]ntelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” With ID being increasingly under attack as theology clothed in science, Dembski has since been more hesitant in giving due credit to either John or the Logos.

    6 –> That is, in so many words, on the strength of the 1999 Logos theory remark, you accused Dr Dembski of “lying.”

    7 –> This is what lying is: calculated deception.

    8 –> But in fact, it is very evident that Dr Dembski was not being deceitful then or subsequently, but instead spoke in an explicitly theological context [as a theologian] on theological issues connected to the work he has been doing as a mathematician-scientist-philosopher. Specifically, as the WAC No 7 says on this remark:

    ________________

    >> . . . the quote in question comes from a theologically oriented book in which Dembski explores the “theological implications” of the science of intelligent design. Such theological reframing of a scientific theory and/or its implications is not the same thing as the theory itself, even though each may be logically consistent with the other. Dembski’s point, of course, was that truth is unified, so we shouldn’t be surprised that theological truths confirm scientific truths and vice versa.

    Also, Dembski’s reference to John 1:1 ff. underscores how a worldview level or theological claim may have empirical implications, and is thus subject to empirical test.

    For, in that text, the aged Apostle John put into the heart of foundational era Christian thought, the idea that Creation is premised on Rational Mind and Intelligent Communication/ Information. Now, after nineteen centuries, we see that — per empirical observation — we evidently do live in a cosmos that exhibits fine-tumed, function-specifying complex information as a premise of facilitating life, and cell-based life is also based on such functional, complex, and specific information, e.g in DNA.

    Thus, theological truth claims here line up with subsequent empirical investigation: a risky empirical prediction has been confirmed by the evidence. (Of course, had it been otherwise – and per track record — many of the same critics would have pounced on the “scientific facts” as a disconfirmation. So, why then is it suddently illegitimate for Christians to point out from scientific evidence, that on this point their faith has passed a significant empirical test?) >>
    ________________

    9 –> Let us contrast the plainly materialistic biologist and member of the UD National Academy of Sciences, Dr Richard Lewontin in his January 1997 NYRB article on Sagan’s last book, “billions and billions of demons”:

    __________________

    >> . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth . . . .

    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. >>
    ____________________

    10 –> Here Mr Lewontin has asserted that science is the “only beggeter of truth,” and has gone directly on to define science as materialism applied to observed phenomena, even in the teeth of commonsense evidence that something is wrong with the procedure being applied. (Nor is such confined to only Mr Lewontin, as the 2008 NAS pamphlet on science and Creationism, p. 10, plainly states that: >> In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations . . . >> That is, if evidence or inference is not materialistic in import, it is to be ruled out of court a priori, by the authority of today’s new magisterium.)

    11 –> I think you will understand that science at its best should be the unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) pursuit of the truth about our cosmos, based on empirical evidence and reasoned discussion and analysis. Dr Dembski’s reasoning/methods of inference from empirically reliable sign of intelligence — and that of the wider design theory movement [cf my remark in another similar thread this morning, here] — easily fits into that; but the NAS-Lewontin position plainly imposes a materialistic censorship on science as ONE “begetter of truth.”

    12 –> In that context, it is plain that Dr Dembski is not lying, and that you, sir have made and have now sustained a clearly false accusation in the teeth of easily accessible evidence tot he contrary and in the face of explicit, detailed correction. that is sad, and it is telling.

    +++++++++++++

    Cho, man, do betta dan dat!

    GEM of TKI

    PS; those who think that Wikipedia’s biased article is the last word on ID, should at minimum take time to read the more balanced and corrective NWE online article here. (Notice how this articvle is NOT a rewrite and cleanup of the Wiki article; more the rule for the NWE’s articles.)

    PPS: for those still taken in by anti-ID partyline talking points on the 1996 Wedge Document, a read of the correctives here — inducing the document itself, will be helpful. Similarly, this on the actual history of ID will be helpful.

  69. Late to the party!

    What Dembski was or is has absolutely nothing at all to do with his methods.

    Mr StephenB, may I introduce you to Dr Cornelius Hunter? There is something goose/gander-ish about your position he may find troubling.

  70. PPS: Md brown, I happen to be an Afro-Caribbean thinker with a background in the pure and applied physical sciences. I have never had reason to conclude that racism is an inherent or typical component of ID as a methodology. And I can safely say that my friend (met through UD) and Hispanic Afro-Caribbean, Atom – associated with the Dembski-Marks EIL — will report a similar conclusion. I can say that I did find that ID thought gave useful hints for my further thinking on both thermodynamics and information theory, and on the broad scientific method. [You may consult my always linked online notes through my handle on that.]

  71. Nakashima-san:

    As you know or should know, the objective warrant for the basic ID methods and that for the results of such methods is independent of he worldviews of those who propose them.

    Indeed, since key ID supporters come from a considerable span of worldviews, that is fairly clearly substantiated on the ground.

    GEM of TKI

  72. KF-san,

    Please share that sentiment with Dr Hunter. He seems to think all of our scientific viewpoints cannot excape our religious beginnings.

  73. Hmmm. Where to begin, StephenB, where to begin — given that you’ve provided me with a veritable smorgasbord of tasty assertions regarding design. Ah, I know, I’ll begin with your last question:

    Why do you feel the need to change venues? You are free to make your case right here How would that help you establish an argument in support of your point of view?

    I didn’t claim a change of venue would help my arguments at all, StephenB. I merely stated a reason for me inviting you to debate your claims. Allow me to expand on my reasoning. Here are three good reasons to take this little discussion to Theology Web, StephenB:

    (1) I’ve already mentioned Moderator Bias…and as much as I’m proud of Clive for setting aside any prejudices he may have had regarding my previous commentary at another site….well, gosh, I am concerned about any possible favoritism being shown should you suddenly find yourself being the recipient of the insults you tend to produce, StephenB. Or even if you were to suddenly find facts being ground in your face that you might not appreciate, StephenB. That’s a perfectly reasonable concern on my part, don’t you think? I do.

    (2) As much as I like reading this site, any protracted debate here necessarily brings the lousy format of the site into play. I mean, seriously — thin columns of text averaging about ten words per line? Thin columns of ten-word-per-line text interspersed with the lengthy posts of others engaged in discussions outside of what you and I are interested in discussing, StephenB? Tsk. It’s like reading a newspaper that has bits of other columns stuck in it, requiring me to search for your posts. This brings me to my final point about a change of venue, StephenB;

    (3) TheologyWeb, besides being run primarily by relatively unbiased theists who moderate firmly but even-handedly, well, they also offer dedicated threads — where it would be just you and I discussing and debating points with the exclusion of all others, StephenB.
    Now, I’m actually fairly open-minded to the notion of a cosmogenic origin of life, StephenB. I’m interested in exploring YOUR “interpretation” of the science/math and methodology behind “irreducible complexity” StephenB.

    I’m interested in seeing if YOU can offer more than “Har, har, you don’t know what ‘context’ and ‘presupposition and inference’ mean!!!11One!

    I’m interested in having YOU answer my questions regarding the mutating, evolving Behean-Debskian definitions and methodologies of “design detection” and “irreducible complexity,” StephenB.

    A dedicated thread at TWeb would accomplish that nicely, I think. Besides, StephenB…like so many of your fellow UD-ites, I really don’t recall seeing you posting on any other site. Myself, I post on lots of sites, debating many things, ranging from science to theological points to …well, whatever. I don’t see many ID-people doing that at all, StephenB. How do you folks expect to win others over to your cause when you only post here? I think it’d be good for you to get out, to see other more capacious formats that allow for something other than thin colums of text insterspersed with the brobdingnagian posts of some of the more voluble folks here (see KF’s above).

    It’d be just you and me, and *cough* heck, you might win a convert to the “science” of ID, StephenB!! Think of the good work you could perform. I can assure you that with my background and education, I’d be a valuable asset to your team!

    So, StephenB, there’s more than good 3 reasons in that mix. Now…your reasons for wanting to hash this out here are what? Sure, you’re surrounded by sympathetic ID-ists ready to jump in to aid you or providing convenient distraction.
    Can’t you handle a one-on-one protracted discussion of topics in a neutral site essentially run by theists? People like you seem to never appear outside of UD to debate matters, StephenB…why is that? I’m here with no one supporting me or providing distractions or acting as convenient foils. I’d like to get you in a real discussion in order to see if you can actually provide that detailed information that will be capable of showing me the validity of your views — if you can — and without the barriers to effective communication that I have mentioned.

    Why does that seem so dificult for you to do, considering the reasons I’ve just given for *my* views, StephenB? What are your arguments against those? Any rational ones?

  74. By the way, StephenB; just as a brief teaser on what you’ll be seeing from me. You may want to read this particular .pdf:

    Kruger, J. and David Dunning (1999) Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. J. of Personality and Soc. Psych, Vol. 77, No. 6. (Dec), pp. 1121-1134
    http://www.apa.org/journals/fe.....761121.pdf.

    I don’t think you really grasp much about science at all, StephenB. Nor do I hold your logic or “philosophical” skills in much regard when you seem to be ignoring some basic facts regarding the studies available on bias/presuppositions/worldviews in science and how they affect even the most pristine “methodologies” that —must still be APPLIED, StephenB…applied by fallible humans who may not even be aware of the hidden biases they bring to every aspect of their work and subsequent claims.

    In short, I don’t think you even come close to knowing what you are talking about, StephenB. Here’s a few more things for you to read, on bias in science, in particular:

    Mahoney, M.J. and B.G. DeMonbreun (1977) Confirmatory bias in scientists and non-scientists. Cog Ther Res. 1:176–80. http://www.springerlink.com/co.....lltext.pdf

    Monwhea Jeng (2006) A Selected History of Expectation Bias in Physics. Am. J. of Physics 74 578-583.

    Koehler, Jonathan J. (1993) The Influence of Prior Beliefs on Scientific Judgments of Evidence Quality. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Vol 56(1), Oct 1993, 28-55 http://www.public.asu.edu/~jjk....._OBHDP.pdf

    MacCoun, R.J. (1998) Biases in the Interpretation and Use of Research Results. Ann. Rev. of Psych. Vol 49, 1998, 259-287 http://www.indiana.edu/~educy5.....h_bias.pdf

    Mynatt, C. R., Doherty, M. E., & Tweney, R. D. (1977). Confirmation Bias in a Simulated Research Environment: An Experimental Study of Scientific Inference. Quarterly J. of Experimental Psych. 29(1) 85-95

    Now, don’t think that this means I’ll be willing to sit around this site, digging through posts to find your skinny column of text, StephenB… I really don’t care all that much if you choose to debate me offsite or not, but I won’t be debating you here. It’s simply my preference, for the very good reasons I previously posted. It’s no skin off my nose if you choose to always huddle rabbitlike in this oddly-formatted site, StephenB. I just don’t have to agree with your preferences.

  75. Stephen-

    “ID is an orientation, but IR and CS are methodologies.”

    They are. I think they are flawed for reasons I’ve pointed out elsewhere, but I understand that they need not be religiously motivated. Incidentally, you and others have here accused me of confusing means and motive on this issue, but I have never claimed that possible religious motivations on the part of Dembski et al *necessarily* mean that IR and CS are themselves flawed. That argument has simply been attributed to me due to other people on my “side” having made it.

    I don’t see anything else to disagree with in that post, though elsewhere you accuse me of making an error by ignoring the context of Dembski’s Logos remark. I do no such thing. The problem here seems to be that you guys are of the position that since Dembski was speaking in the context of Christianity when associating ID with the Logos, then I am making some sort of crazy logical error by claiming that Dembski associates ID with the Logos.

    Now I must hurry back to Clive, who has a poor memory and must thus be engaged very quickly before he forgets:

    “1. You never answered my questions of what outcomes of evolution you are using when judging other outcomes of evolution?”

    Okay.

    “Whence comes the discernment? What standard given by evolution are you using to judge evolution as wrong in giving false worldviews?”

    I think what you’re asking is how I can really know anything when I think that evolution provides false worldviews to others, which is to say that I might, too, have been given a false worldview. The answer is that my judgments of the worldviews of others are not of course based simply on them having “evolved” or been the product of evolution, but rather on a variety of other logical factors. So I am not in the difficult position of having only the factor of evolution with which to determine whether a worldview is accurate or not.

    “How can you say that there is any objective standard or moral law if there is no objective moral law giver?”

    I don’t.

    “Is your morality based on just your personal feelings?”

    No.

    “Why should anyone agree with you on the grounds of moral personal preference?”

    They shouldn’t. All of my arguments are of the quietist sort that make no such requirements.

    “3. How long have you been a comedian?”

    If by being a comedian you mean writing humor for money, then since I was 18.

  76. deadman_932,

    (1) I’ve already mentioned Moderator Bias…and as much as I’m proud of Clive for setting aside any prejudices he may have had regarding my previous commentary at another site….well, gosh, I am concerned about any possible favoritism being shown should you suddenly find yourself being the recipient of the insults you tend to produce, StephenB. Or even if you were to suddenly find facts being ground in your face that you might not appreciate, StephenB. That’s a perfectly reasonable concern on my part, don’t you think? I do.

    No, it’s not. As long as you’re civil, there is no need to worry.

  77. deadman_932,

    I’d like to get you in a real discussion in order to see if you can actually provide that detailed information that will be capable of showing me the validity of your views — if you can — and without the barriers to effective communication that I have mentioned.

    If you can’t do that civilly, then there is no real discussion to be had. If you can do it civilly, then the discussion has already been going on for some time—you’re apparently missing it—because StephenB has shown the validity of his views quite well here. This medium and site is just as good as another for “effective communication”. There are no convenient foils, unless foils means others here who will prove you wrong. I think your argument is a red herring, to be honest. Anything that needs to be said for the sake of the argument can be said here. Period.

  78. 78

    BarrettBrown,

    I think what you’re asking is how I can really know anything when I think that evolution provides false worldviews to others, which is to say that I might, too, have been given a false worldview. The answer is that my judgments of the worldviews of others are not of course based simply on them having “evolved” or been the product of evolution, but rather on a variety of other logical factors. So I am not in the difficult position of having only the factor of evolution with which to determine whether a worldview is accurate or not.

    But you do not grant the same logical factors to those who hold contrary worldviews, do you? If you do, then the argument is on grounds outside of the product of evolution, but evolution is supposed to account for everything, even our brains at determining logic. And since you do not believe in an ultimate and transcendental Logic, that we participate in, you must think it the product of evolution. This fundamental underpinning and grounds for everything being the result of evolution cannot be overcome by your bottom-up paradigm of evolution. It cannot pull a boot-strap trick, and somehow elevate itself above itself. All your judgments are a result of evolution, even logic. I guess I’m asking you a more fundamental question than I suspect you’re grasping. If evolution provides for everything, our ability to think and use what we call logic, how can you use it against itself in determining the validity of logic or a worldview? Maybe you weren’t grasping that evolution is the cause of everything when you answered my question before. I’ll give you another go at it.

  79. —-deadman-932: “I’ve already mentioned Moderator Bias…and as much as I’m proud of Clive for setting aside any prejudices he may have had regarding my previous commentary at another site….well, gosh, I am concerned about any possible favoritism being shown should you suddenly find yourself being the recipient of the insults you tend to produce, StephenB. Or even if you were to suddenly find facts being ground in your face that you might not appreciate, StephenB. That’s a perfectly reasonable concern on my part, don’t you think? I do.”

    Why not just try “grounding a fact in my face.” You may just find that I am quite open to facts and reasoned arguments. [I encounter so few of them from my critics]. On the other hand, Clive is an administrator and I am just a humble blogger, so only one of us has the power to moderate. Still, Clive is very open- minded so you should have no difficulty.

    —-“As much as I like reading this site, any protracted debate here necessarily brings the lousy format of the site into play. I mean, seriously — thin columns of text averaging about ten words per line? Thin columns of ten-word-per-line text interspersed with the lengthy posts of others engaged in discussions outside of what you and I are interested in discussing, StephenB? Tsk. It’s like reading a newspaper that has bits of other columns stuck in it, requiring me to search for your posts.

    Oh the trials we must bear.

    —-“TheologyWeb, besides being run primarily by relatively unbiased theists who moderate firmly but even-handedly, well, they also offer dedicated threads — where it would be just you and I discussing and debating points with the exclusion of all others, StephenB.”

    I appreciate what you are saying, but I am communicating primarily to onlookers. My adversaries are not open to my views; most of them are impervious to reason. My task is to expose their irrational posture, which is evident when probed. Sometimes, though, they expose themselves with no help at all from me.

    —-“Now, I’m actually fairly open-minded to the notion of a cosmogenic origin of life, StephenB. I’m interested in exploring YOUR “interpretation” of the science/math and methodology behind “irreducible complexity” StephenB.”

    I often provide them right here.

    —-”I’m interested in seeing if YOU can offer more than “Har, har, you don’t know what ‘context’ and ‘presupposition and inference’ mean!!!11One!”

    I generally take one subject at a time. Things are more orderly that way. Besides, I provided the diagnosis, so my critics should take the medicine. In this case, the medicine would consist of understanding the meaning of “context,” learning the difference between a presupposition and an inference, and grasping the distinction between motives and methods. If they would only read the FAQ section, they would be prepared for intelligent dialogue. But alas, they seldom do.

    —-“I’m interested in having YOU answer my questions regarding the mutating, evolving Behean-Debskian definitions and methodologies of “design detection” and “irreducible complexity,” StephenB.”

    We have threads for those things. Each one has its own theme. [like this one].

    —-“A dedicated thread at TWeb would accomplish that nicely, I think. Besides, StephenB…like so many of your fellow UD-ites, I really don’t recall seeing you posting on any other site. Myself, I post on lots of sites, debating many things, ranging from science to theological points to …well, whatever. I don’t see many ID-people doing that at all, StephenB. How do you folks expect to win others over to your cause when you only post here? I think it’d be good for you to get out, to see other more capacious formats that allow for something other than thin colums of text insterspersed with the brobdingnagian posts of some of the more voluble folks here (see KF’s above).”

    Yes, people have been telling me that I need to get out more.

    —-“It’d be just you and me, and *cough* heck, you might win a convert to the “science” of ID, StephenB!! Think of the good work you could perform. I can assure you that with my background and education, I’d be a valuable asset to your team!”

    There can be little doubt that you would fill the cyberspace with your brilliance if only you were not hampered by UD’s textual format.

    —-“So, StephenB, there’s more than good 3 reasons in that mix. Now…your reasons for wanting to hash this out here are what? Sure, you’re surrounded by sympathetic ID-ists ready to jump in to aid you or providing convenient distraction.
    Can’t you handle a one-on-one protracted discussion of topics in a neutral site essentially run by theists? People like you seem to never appear outside of UD to debate matters, StephenB…why is that? I’m here with no one supporting me or providing distractions or acting as convenient foils. I’d like to get you in a real discussion in order to see if you can actually provide that detailed information that will be capable of showing me the validity of your views — if you can — and without the barriers to effective communication that I have mentioned.”

    The most daunting barrier to effective communication is having nothing to say.

    —-Deadman: “By the way, StephenB; just as a brief teaser on what you’ll be seeing from me. You may want to read this particular .pdf:
    Kruger, J. and David Dunning (1999) Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments. J. of Personality and Soc. Psych, Vol. 77, No. 6. (Dec), pp. 1121-1134
    http://www.apa.org/journals/fe…..761121.pdf.

    Yes, I understand that you think that I think too much of myself. On the other hand, you should study the psychology of moral relativists and learn about their proclivity to go crazy when someone expresses confidence in the existence of objective truth.

    —-“I don’t think you really grasp much about science at all, StephenB. Nor do I hold your logic or “philosophical” skills in much regard when you seem to be ignoring some basic facts regarding the studies available on bias/presuppositions/worldviews in science and how they affect even the most pristine “methodologies” that —must still be APPLIED, StephenB…applied by fallible humans who may not even be aware of the hidden biases they bring to every aspect of their work and subsequent claims.”

    I am well aware of the biases that we all bring to the table. Indeed, it is those who most profoundly understand their own biases that are the most reasonable. They provide methodological safeguards to minimize the problem. The ones you have to watch out for are the ones who don’t think they have any.

    —-In short, I don’t think you even come close to knowing what you are talking about, StephenB. Here’s a few more things for you to read, on bias in science, in particular:
    Mahoney, M.J. and B.G. DeMonbreun (1977) Confirmatory bias in scientists and non-scientists. Cog Ther Res. 1:176–80. http://www.springerlink.com/co…..lltext.pdf
    Monwhea Jeng (2006) A Selected History of Expectation Bias in Physics. Am. J. of Physics 74 578-583.

    The problem is less about the fact that I don’t know what I am talking about and more about the fact that you do not grasp what I am talking about.

    Koehler, Jonathan J. (1993) The Influence of Prior Beliefs on Scientific Judgments of Evidence Quality. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Vol 56(1), Oct 1993, 28-55 http://www.public.asu.edu/~jjk….._OBHDP.pdf
    MacCoun, R.J. (1998) Biases in the Interpretation and Use of Research Results. Ann. Rev. of Psych. Vol 49, 1998, 259-287 http://www.indiana.edu/~educy5…..h_bias.pdf
    Mynatt, C. R., Doherty, M. E., & Tweney, R. D. (1977). Confirmation Bias in a Simulated Research Environment: An Experimental Study of Scientific Inference. Quarterly J. of Experimental Psych. 29(1) 85-95

    Yes, prior beliefs influence our thinking. This is not news. That is why rigorous methodologies matter.

    —-“Now, don’t think that this means I’ll be willing to sit around this site, digging through posts to find your skinny column of text, StephenB… I really don’t care all that much if you choose to debate me offsite or not, but I won’t be debating you here. It’s simply my preference, for the very good reasons I previously posted. It’s no skin off my nose if you choose to always huddle rabbitlike in this oddly-formatted site, StephenB. I just don’t have to agree with your preferences.”

    Yes, you have made it clear that you will not be debating me here. On the other hand, you just invested 22 paragraphs to explain why.

  80. camanintx,
    “The origin of life is as much a problem for the Theory of Evolution as the origin of matter is a problem for Newton’s Theory of Gravity, which is to say none.”

    By the same logic, god or any ultimate cause has nothing to do with ID science, true or false?

    Not hardly. ID goes well beyond just explaining biological life and attempts to describe properties of the designer. Why else would Dembski say that ID was “just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory”?

  81. Barrett Brown: Thanks for the response.

    —-“Incidentally, you and others have here accused me of confusing means and motive on this issue, but I have never claimed that possible religious motivations on the part of Dembski et al *necessarily* mean that IR and CS are themselves flawed. That argument has simply been attributed to me due to other people on my “side” having made it.”

    I want to be fair here, because you didn’t have to go to the trouble of entering the arena. I will make the case in a few words as possible. [I promise]

    You wrote, “With ID being increasingly under attack as theology clothed in science, Dembski has since been more hesitant in giving due credit to either John or the Logos. Bits of information are no longer compartmentalized like so many scattered VHS tapes and gothic rock album liner notes, which is why Dembski and company can’t get away with trying to portray ID as a scientific theory with no religious intent while having already admitted that same religious intent to sympathetic Biblical literalists.”

    This would seem to confirm the anti-ID argument that ID is religion clothed as science. But, ID cannot be religion clothed as science if its methods are really scientific. The scientist himself may have religious motives, he may even be a part of a “Wedge” initiative [proposed social action to compete with materialist ideology expressed in ACLU or the Humanist Manifesto] though nothing like that ever took hold, but neither his methods nor his associations would render ID non-scientific. Conversely, one can hold atheist/agnostic views, serve on the board of the Secular Humanist Association, or support the ACLU, without invalidating the science of evolutionary biology. [By the way, the ACLU and Secular Humanist Associations, unlike the Wedge strategy, really did take hold and have been holding for a long time]. So, bottom line, I do assert that anyone who says that ID is religion clothed as science is, indeed, confusing motives with methods.

    —-You wrote: “Among these possibilities, we may determine, is that Dembski is lying; in a 1999 interview with the Christian magazine Touchstone, Dembski stated unambiguously that “[i]ntelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.”

    Yet, Dembski is not lying nor is he attempting, in any way, to peddle religion as science. Any historical or physical event can lend itself to both a theological and a scientific perspective. Example: The scientist expresses the beginning of space/time/history as the “big bang,” while the theologian expresses it as “Let there be light.” Similarly, the scientist can speak of information theory in a scientific context or “Logos theory” in a theological context. So, when Dembski shifts from the scientific context to the theological context, he is not lying or hiding anything, he is simply expressing his view that truth that can manifest itself in more than one context. Quite the contrary, when he speaks of the “bridge” of science to theology, he is expressing the philosophical opinion about the unity of truth or the idea that one truth can be examined from many different perspectives, and I would agree.

    Religious audiences are interested in that bridge because they can use legitimate science for Christian apologetics. Example: The “fine-tuning” argument is solely scientific; it carries no theological baggage. On the other hand, Christians often appeal to it as a means of making the Creator God seem more plausible, and I would agree that it does. Still, it would be fraud if anti-ID partisans, seeking to discredit the researcher, declared that the elements studied as fine-tuning constants consist of nothing more than religion clothed as science. By the way, that has already happened to Professor Gonzalez at Iowa State. Let me know if you have an interest.

    Bonus information: There are such things as the theology of science and the philosophy of religion. These discussions often approach the intersection of science and theology and help foster discussion over debates concerning whether or not there really is an intersection. Example: Did God create a rational universe build for discovery. Modern science began with an assumption in the affirmative.

    There is much more to say about Judge Jones and the Dover fiasco, [and his outrageous claim that ID = religion] but the present discussion provides a good foundation for broaching that issue at a later time if, indeed, we ever get to it. I think it is better to handle these things in small chunks.

  82. StephenB,

    “Did God create a rational universe build for discovery.”

    OK, somebody else made a similar argument further up and I just wanted to know if you thought that talking donkeys are part of this rational universe?

  83. —-MeganC: “OK, somebody else made a similar argument further up and I just wanted to know if you thought that talking donkeys are part of this rational universe?”

    I don’t follow your question. First, I was not making an argument; I was characterizing a debate issue. To be sure, I believe that the universe was designed for discovery, but I didn’t argue the case because I was discussing another matter in another context. There is that word again—context.

    In keeping with that point, if you can explain to me your perception of the relevance of “talking donkeys” to a rational universe, I might be able to help.

  84. Mr Barrett Brown:

    Let us again note a basic fact: you have accused Dr Dembski of “lying,” as my comment no 68 above above documents form your HuffPo post.

    That is a serious accusation to make, and one that should only be made in a context where one can cogently show that deliberate and intentionally deceptive falsehood is at work.

    Otherwise, one is guilty of the mischief of slanderous false accusation.

    On revisiting this page, while doing some web searches, I see in your argument to SB at 75, the following:

    . . . you accuse me of making an error by ignoring the context of Dembski’s Logos remark. I do no such thing. The problem here seems to be that you guys are of the position that since Dembski was speaking in the context of Christianity when associating ID with the Logos, then I am making some sort of crazy logical error by claiming that Dembski associates ID with the Logos.

    let us compare your actual remarks at HuffPo again:

    __________

    >> we may determine, is that Dembski is lying; in a 1999 interview with the Christian magazine Touchstone, Dembski stated unambiguously that “[i]ntelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” With ID being increasingly under attack as theology clothed in science, Dembski has since been more hesitant in giving due credit to either John or the Logos. >>
    ____________

    1 –> The just above clearly implies that you intend it to be understood that Dr Dembski in 1999 let slip an otherwise hidden agenda, and that that agenda is willfully deceptive; on the nature of the design inference and theory, with subtext hints of potentially tyrannical theocratic imposition.

    2 –> As onlookers can see from no 4 and no 68, the longstanding WAC 7 [of which SB, GP and I are jointly responsible authors] corrects any such inference, with adequate evidence.

    3 –> Namely, a theological/ philosophical discussion of the significance of a scientific finding or opinion [cf SB's cite from Einstein on how he thought God did not play dice . . .] is separate from the empirical warrant for the science itself [which is addressed in several other WAC's . . . ], and in fact what is going on is that Dr Dembski draws attention to the fact that a risky empirical expectation of foundational Christian thought is consistent with current science.

    4 –> Thus, the material issue is not at all whether you are claiming that Dembski associates ID with the Logos. That is an obvious fact, and not in dispute. The issue is how and for what purpose he does so.

    5 –> What is explicitly at stake, sir, is that it is equally undeniably factual that you set his reference to Jn 1:1 in the projected context of an accusation that Dr Dembski is “lying.” You did this thusly:

    ________________

    >> Consider William Dembski, the mathematician and theologian who rose to the top of the nascent intelligent design pack in the late ’90s after claiming to have proven that certain aspects of biology can be attributable only to the intervention of one or more intelligent entities. As for who or what those entities might be, Dembski is coy when addressing a potentially secular audience, claiming that there “are many possibilities.” Among these possibilities, we may determine, is that Dembski is lying; in a 1999 interview with the Christian magazine Touchstone, Dembski stated unambiguously that “[i]ntelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” With ID being increasingly under attack as theology clothed in science, Dembski has since been more hesitant in giving due credit to either John or the Logos. >>

    _________________

    6 –> We have pointed out that long before you ever made the HuffPo post, it was easily checkable on any page at UD by a responsible person that Dr Dembski’s actual context is not one of willful, calculated deception and associated corruption of the methods of science by theocratic or theological imposition.

    [NB: I have found Signs of Intelligence here in the wayback machine. the article starts with and then goes down to a closing section, Design, Metaphysics & Beyond. the logtos theory remasrk comes at eh end of the closign section, after discussign the sceintific issues and nature of IC and CSI as forms of information, then bridging to: >> The primary challenge, once the broader implications of design for science have been worked out, is therefore to develop a relational ontology [NB: thus he is bridging to explicitly philosophical and theological matters here . . . ] in which the problem of being resolves thus: to be is to be in communion, and to be in communion is to transmit and receive information. Such an ontology will not only safeguard science and leave adequate breathing space for design, but will also make sense of the world as a sacrament. The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory. >> ]

    7 –> That the further slander is very credibly at work in your article is immediately evident from the above fuller excerpt of the relvant paragraph in your HuffPo remarks. (Cf WAC 8 on correcting this equally unwarranted and false accusation.)

    8 –> Now, had you bothered to read even just WAC 7, you would have easily seen that: >> Dembski is qualified as a theologian and a philosopher-scientist-mathematician (one of a long and distinguished tradition), so he has a perfect right to comment seriously on intelligent design from both perspectives. >>

    9 –> So, he has every right to first say in his conclusion (having first surveyed the science of the design inference admirably]:

    >> Specified complexity, that key trademark of design, is, as it turns out, a form of information (through one considerably richer than Claude Shannon’s purely statistical form of it) . . . . For instance, specified complexity is what Michael Bee has uncovered with his irreducibly complex biochemical machines, what Manfred Eileen regards as the great mystery of life’s origin, what for cosmologists underlies the fine-tuning of the universe, what David Chalmers hopes will ground a comprehensive theory of human consciousness, what enables Maxwell’s demon to outsmart a thermodynamic system tending toward thermal equilibrium, and what within the Kolmogorov-Chaitin theory of algorithmic information identifies the highly compressible, non-random strings of digits >> then progress to

    >> The primary challenge, once the broader implications of design for science have been worked out, is therefore to develop a relational ontology in which the problem of being resolves thus: to be is to be in communion, and to be in communion is to transmit and receive information. Such an ontology will not only safeguard science and leave adequate breathing space for design, but will also make sense of the world as a sacrament. >>

    and then finally conclude in wha tis now an explicitly metaphysical philosophical ontological context:

    >> The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory. >>

    10 –> In that further context, your current attempt to rewrite the record on what you did, and why we have taken you to task for it, is further sadly telling on the quality of your reasoning and writing, as well as the evident rhetorical agenda at work: red herrings dragged to distract from the truth and led out to convenient, ad hominem laced strawmen, ignited to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere.

    ++++++++++++

    This is not good enough, by a long shot, sir.

    For shame!

    Cho man, do betta dan dat.

    GEM of TKI

  85. StephenB,

    Ok, ShawnBoy stated the following:

    “Believing in God leads one to believing that the universe would have an underlying order and rationality (and it does, what a coincidence…). This belief is the foundation, the backbone of science.”

    I don’t know if that’s what you believe, but I thought so when you gave your example:

    “Did God create a rational universe build for discovery. Modern science began with an assumption in the affirmative.”

    I assumed that agreed with the example, thought I may well be wrong.

    The point I wanted to make about the talking donkey as part of a rational universe is that I always laugh out loud when somebody tries to make the argument that believing in God means you believe in a rational universe. The reason being is that believing in God necessitates believing in talking donkeys(amongst other absurdities mentioned in the Bible) and I think you would agree that talking donkeys are not part of a rational universe.

  86. PS; A footnote. I see your remark int eh HuffPo article: >> Dembski has spent most of the past decade working at universities within the fold of the Southern Baptist Convention, which was founded in the 19th century for the sole purpose of defending slavery . . . >>

    This, in an attempt to blow off the significance, inter alia, of the following from Darwin’s 1871 Descent of Man, Ch 6:

    _____________

    >> Man is liable to numerous, slight, and diversified variations, which are induced by the same general causes, are governed and transmitted in accordance with the same general laws, as in the lower animals. Man has multiplied so rapidly, that he has necessarily been exposed to struggle for existence, and consequently to natural selection. He has given rise to many races, some of which differ so much from each other, that they have often been ranked by naturalists as distinct species . . . .

    At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. >>
    _________________

    It will be clear to any reasonable onlooker, that the attempted immoral equivalency you draw is simply not justified; especially given that the SBC has explicitly repudiated its historic past — which, BTW, was plainly not solely about defence of slavery — and has issued a declaration of repentance for it, BEFORE Mr Dembski was involved with Schools affiliated with that Convention.

    Indeed, it shows intemperate hostility and intent to demonise as a means of polarising the atmpsphere further.

    Surely, you can do better than that.

  87. And why should the Logos of John not be referenced when it Fits the evidence with such strong favor?

    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.

    (of note: “Word” in Greek is “Logos”, and is the root word from which we get our word “Logic”)

    Euler’s Number – God Created Mathematics – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IEb1gTRo74
    This related website has the complete working out of the math of Pi and e in the Bible, in the Hebrew and Greek languages:
    http://www.biblemaths.com/pag03_pie/

    Michael Denton – Mathematical Truths Are Transcendent And Beautiful – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3zcJfcdAyE

    Scientific Evidence For God Creating The Universe – 2008 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQhO906v0VM

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

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009

    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it:

    “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.”

    “No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms’ genomes programmed?” – David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors, “Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity and Their Relevance to Biopolymeric Information,” Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8

    On top of the fact that we now know the genetic code of the simplest organism ever found on Earth is a highly advanced algorithmic code, which far surpasses man’s ability to devise as such, we also know for a fact no operation of logic ever performed by a computer will ever increase the algorithmic code inherent in a computer’s program, i.e. Bill Gates will never use random number generators and selection software to write highly advanced computer codes:

    “… no operation performed by a computer can create new information.”
    Douglas G. Robertson, “Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test,” Complexity, Vol.3, #3 Jan/Feb 1999, pp. 25-34. The Evolutionary Informatics Lab:

    Thus a question for all the Darwinian cheerleaders,,,,Since nature has never been observed generating functional complexity, nor has “materialism been verified as true, why is Darwinian evolution given a free ride in science? Should you not verify your foundation before proceeding in science?

    —–It is also interesting to note that a Compact Disc crammed with information weighs exactly the same as a CD with no information on it whatsoever.

    etc..etc…etc… in references

  88. MeganC,

    Please tell us how “talking donkeys are not part of a rational universe.” I agree that a talking donkey is an unusual event. Though we probably agree that such a phenomenon may violate certain physical laws, I fail to see how it violates logical laws.

  89. 89

    MeganC,

    The point I wanted to make about the talking donkey as part of a rational universe is that I always laugh out loud when somebody tries to make the argument that believing in God means you believe in a rational universe. The reason being is that believing in God necessitates believing in talking donkeys(amongst other absurdities mentioned in the Bible) and I think you would agree that talking donkeys are not part of a rational universe.

    And it’s somehow normal that you should talk? I don’t think you understand the gravity of the peculiarity of existence itself. It’s no stranger that a donkey should talk than a parrot, or us for that matter. You could only take it for granted that you talk, but thinking that it is some necessity of nature that you should talk, is only to not really understand what you mean. The fact that there is a donkey at all is no less strange than that it should talk. They are both baffling phenomena, the one no less than the other. You have no reason to assume one (donkey’s existing at all) as normal, and the other (donkey’s talking) as strange; you’ve only gotten used to the one and convinced yourself that you can then make a comparison as to what constitutes normality and strangeness. But there is no logical (that is, rational) reason, outside of repetition of experience, to make this claim. So you’ve confused yourself that you understand more than you do, and think that you can make a comparison between two black riddles as if they together make up a white answer. They don’t. Not when you really come to understand the situation of existence for what it is, and on that we must remain agnostic, for we have no insight into nature of the sort required. We can only measure effects and record repetitions, but these are descriptions, not explanations of Nature. And you’re confused if you mistake them for explanations, and then think you can use descriptions against other questions of explanation in Nature by comparison. You cannot.

  90. 90

    MeganC

    The virgin birth is still, in this day and age of artificial insemination, regarded as being outside the realm of possibility.

    Open your mind. Please.

  91. I, for one, remain agnostic regarding whether or not donkeys can talk. But if in fact they can, I’m confident that their speech abilities are a product of design.

  92. —-MeganC: The reason being is that believing in God necessitates believing in talking donkeys(amongst other absurdities mentioned in the Bible) and I think you would agree that talking donkeys are not part of a rational universe.”

    OK, I got it. Well, I consider a talking donkey in that context to be a miraculous event, inasmuch as God is reported to “open the donkey’s mouth,” which is symbolic, of course, for providing it with the extraordinary gift of speech.

    So, the relevant question would be this: Do miracles violate the rational nature of the world. The obvious answer is no, since it is only by means of the world’s rational nature that we can recognize a miracle.

    By the way, if the universe wasn’t rational, and, if you didn’t sense that it was, in spite of your protests, you would not be scandalized by a talking donkey, since there would be no reason for being scandalized. On the contrary, it is becaused you think that talking donkeys violate the rational order of the world that you raised the issue.

    At the same time, it is clear that you reject in principle the possibility that miracles could occur in any context. Yet, plenty of people in the New Testament observed miracles, and eyewitness testimony constitutes good evidence. So, if you think miracles are “absurd,” that is only because your ideology prompts you to reject them apriori.

  93. I feel the question is moot,,,to the point of “proving” the Theistic foundation for reality and falsifying the materialistic postulation,,,i.e. this falsification of materialism is accomplished in this experiment….

    Refutation of the “hidden variables” argument that is used by materialists in trying to explain quantum phenomena

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show
    In comparison to classical physics, quantum physics predicts that the properties of a quantum mechanical system depend on the measurement context, i.e. whether or not other system measurements are carried out. A team of physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, led by Christian Roos and Rainer Blatt, have for the first time proven in a comprehensive experiment that it is not possible to explain quantum phenomena in non-contextual terms…..Quantum mechanics describes the physical state of light and matter and formulates concepts that totally contradict the classical conception we have of nature. Thus, physicists have tried to explain non-causal phenomena in quantum mechanics by classical models of hidden variables, thereby excluding randomness, which is omnipresent in quantum theory.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    reference earlier post and subsequent if need be

  94. BA77,

    From what I gather this article is saying matter doesn’t exist at the smallest levels without the intervention of thought or intention; or at least the act of multiple measurements happening at the same time.

    And this is now proven because the only way to measure a small particle is by stopping looking for even smaller particles of matter, and instead measuring multiple aspects of it at once. Otherwise it disappears or defies measurement in some other way.

    If I have it right here, then this would mean many things. Do you know enough to say if I’ve interpreted it right? I’d have a couple questions if so.

  95. “Bornagain77″ (#87) wrote: “It is also interesting to note that a Compact Disc crammed with information weighs exactly the same as a CD with no information on it whatsoever.

    Like wax cylinders or vinyl records’ master discs or floppy discs or hard disks, nothing is removed from a CD (or DVD) when it is recorded upon. So what?

  96. camanintx,
    “Not hardly. ID goes well beyond just explaining biological life and attempts to describe properties of the designer.”

    Well the science itself doesn’t do that of course.

    Materialist evolution and abiogenesis are both sub-fields of the science of materialism with the same end-goal.

  97. Lamark, I’m going to bed right now but look forward to fleshing this out in more detail,,, The take home point for me right now from this experiment, is that this experiment has removed the last vestige of hope materialist had in forging any coherent basis for the foundation of reality, and as such Theism is free to elucidate the overriding structure of this reality to ourselves and to the “logos” of God,,,this may sound a bit brash, but as far as I see it, if all the other horses have dropped dead in a horse race that pretty much settles the matter.
    Also key to understand is “information”, “logos”, is conclusively shown to be its own independent entity in the experiment.

  98. StephenB writes:

    Yes, you have made it clear that you will not be debating me here. On the other hand, you just invested 22 paragraphs to explain why.

    The above claim is factually incorrect, StephenB. I can think of a number of reasons why you may have made this false claim, but none of them are good, in the long run.

    StephenB writes (in response to my point about dedicated threads at TWeb):

    I appreciate what you are saying, but I am communicating primarily to onlookers. My adversaries are not open to my views; most of them are impervious to reason. My task is to expose their irrational posture, which is evident when probed.

    If all potential onlookers are *really* your concern, StephenB: Alexa.com is one of a few stat-gathering sites available on the web. If you check there, you’ll find that Theology Web has more web traffic and more unique users per day than Uncommon Descent. Beyond saying something about the limited reach of Uncommon Descent, it also means that you’d have a larger group of “onlookers” to be dazzled by your use of various ploys — such as your unqualified claim that I’d devoted 22 paragraphs to explaining why I wouldn’t debate you here.

    When I look through your responses to my reasons for wanting to get you in a one-on-one debate at TWeb, in a dedicated thread…that “onlookers” bit was the only cogent one you could muster, StephenB. The rest were glib avoidances like “Yes, people have been telling me that I need to get out more.” and “Oh the trials we must bear.”

    Keep in mind that I had asked for rational responses, StephenB. Keep in mind that the only prospectively rational one you offered turns out to have a large flaw in it. With that in mind, either try again or perhaps just say you really can’t handle any focused two-person debate.
    —————————

    StephenB writes:

    Why not just try “grounding a fact in my face.” You may just find that I am quite open to facts and reasoned arguments.

    Minor point: there’s a distinction to be made between “grounding” and grinding. If you were to have a fact ground in your face by me — at that time I’d be grinding it.

    StephenB writes:

    I provided the diagnosis, so my critics should take the medicine. In this case, the medicine would consist of understanding the meaning of “context,” learning the difference between a presupposition and an inference, and grasping the distinction between motives and methods.

    Except that I grasp all of those things fully well, StephenB. In fact, I appreciate the reality-based detail and nuance of them to a greater degree than you appear capable of.

    So, your “medicine” can be inserted by you into any of your orifices that you choose — mouth, ear, nose, whatever. Just try to affect your brain this time, so that you’d be able to grasp how silly it is to use basic fallacies that you employ so frequently (as with your substitution of moral absolutes with absolute truths).

    (1) My response regarding your initial query “how do you extract religion from ‘irreducible complexity’” was to point to various forms of bias (there are more than just ordinary selection bias). I’d hoped you’d grasp what others on this site and in this very thread have repeated many times: that presuppositions in one dearly-held arena — that serve as core identity-markers of who individuals believe themselves to be — can influence significant aspects of what they do in another arena.

    (2) Your response was to point to Dembski’s “methodology” and imply –then assert, without demonstrating it — that this methodology served to sufficiently mitigate the possible influences of bias. I don’t find that persuasive in the least, because as far as I can tell, the “methodology” of Behe and Dembski is to simply use a thin veneer of pseudoscience to cover the rotted core of “We know it when we see it.”

    So, that’s where we stand in that regard, StephenB.

    In response to me stating that I’d like to explore YOUR interpretation” of the science/math and methodology behind irreducible complexity, you state

    ” I often provide them right here.”

    but when, earlier in the thread, I asked you, in so many words, to show me the methodology that you claim sufficiently mitigate bias/presuppositions from coloring those same methodologies…you declined to answer in any meaningful terms.

    Here is the exchange:

    Deadman_932: “Some people (you, StephenB?) may *claim* that it is possible to (1) reliably eliminate preexisting bias and then (2) reliably demonstrate that some irreducibly complex structure has some “more likely correct” inferred origin in an “Intelligent Designer” but I have yet to see that demonstrated.”

    StephenB: “Where have you looked? In precisely what way does the inference fail in your judgment? You are not being very specific or informative.”

    I was referring to your claim about methodologies (context, StephenB!). I was being specific in stating I had yet to see it demonstrated. That fact remains, despite me reading your “FAQ,” jack, along with the facile major works of Behe and Dembski (although I didn’t pay for them, and wouldn’t do so, ever). Anyway, StephenB, you sure haven’t managed to do anything to alleviate that, but use your standard fallacies, category errors and other ploys to pretend that :

    “Presuppositions” in one arena (religion or lack thereof) don’t amount to potential bias that affects “inferences” made in another (science). This is particularly significant when the “scientist” in question has stated that one of the very reasons for the formulation of his “methodology” was to support a particular worldview in opposition to what he viewed as a more pernicious one: “Godless Darwinism” (and yes, I’m paraphrasing here).

    It’s even more amusing when that argument — that “worldview” biases affect a godless Darwinian scientist’s ability to see the clear, clean utility of “irreducible complexity” methodology as a guide to Intelligent Design — is used CONSTANTLY on this site, and mentioned at least twice in this very thread by ID proponentsists.

    So, StephenB

    (1) If it is true that the “methodology” of Irreducible Complexity as formulated by Behe and elaborated on (moving the goalposts) by Dembski is one in which presuppositions/bias are reduced to any meaningful degree…
    (2) AND it is true that the vast majority of the world’s scientists who have examined such mehodologies and found them lacking in rigor or utility are
    (3) claimed to have been “blinded by bias” by your fellow ID-ers (including Cornelius Hunter and a flock of others)
    (4) what does that say about the ability of ID “methodology” in mitigating bias in users of said methodology? Or all researchers who simply find ID claims on the matter lacking in rigor and substance…are all those people, including other theists, so pervaded by bias that they fail to see what you claim to see?

    Project much?
    ——————————————-
    I’d like to add this bit: If one reads through all of my posts here, I have not stated directly that I know Dembski to be a liar in any way. What I have said is that I remain unpersuaded that any methodology of determining “Irreducible Complexity” can convincingly mitigate against bias and presuppositions in one area of human cognition leaking into another.

    I’ll go further and state that since I don’t see any verifiable, reliable means of eliminating false positives in “Irreducible Complexity” detection, that inferences will be further subject to biased interpretation.

    I’ll leave this discussion at that, StephenB.

    I stated that I wouldn’t be debating you here because of good reasons that I gave. Your reaction, StephenB, was to offer up one bogus excuse and vapid non-responses. So, I can always go back to my usual haunts and enjoy the proceedings from afar. You can read them at that site which cannot be named.

  99. StephenB (#81) wrote: “Yet, Dembski is not lying nor is he attempting, in any way, to peddle religion as science.

    Has Dembski ever testified under oath about this? If he hadn’t avoided testifying at the Dover trial, he might have a bit more credibility in some circles.

  100. 100

    deadman,

    Keep in mind that I had asked for rational responses, StephenB. Keep in mind that the only prospectively rational one you offered turns out to have a large flaw in it. With that in mind, either try again or perhaps just say you really can’t handle any focused two-person debate.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that it is you that cannot handle any debate, otherwise you wouldn’t keep bringing up total irrelevancies like the above.

  101. —-deadman-932: “Presuppositions” in one arena (religion or lack thereof) don’t amount to potential bias that affects “inferences” made in another (science). This is particularly significant when the “scientist” in question has stated that one of the very reasons for the formulation of his “methodology” was to support a particular worldview in opposition to what he viewed as a more pernicious one: “Godless Darwinism” (and yes, I’m paraphrasing here).”

    Who, in your judgment, formulated a methodology to oppose “Godless Darwinism?” Cite the scientist and the specific methodology that you have in mind.

    .
    —“I stated that I wouldn’t be debating you here because of good reasons that I gave. Your reaction, StephenB, was to offer up one bogus excuse and vapid non-responses.
    So, I can always go back to my usual haunts and enjoy the proceedings from afar. You can read them at that site which cannot be named.”

    I am sure that you will be missed.

  102. At 81, I wrote: “Yet, Dembski is not lying nor is he attempting, in any way, to peddle religion as science.”

    —-Paul Burnett: “Has Dembski ever testified under oath about this? If he hadn’t avoided testifying at the Dover trial, he might have a bit more credibility in some circles.

    Dembski did not make the statement, I did. So, perhaps you should ask me why he didn’t lie. On the other hand, I have already explained that. So, the question for the day is this: Why did you quote my opening sentence, which constitutes the claim, and then ignore the rest of the paragraph that justifies it?

  103. 103

    deadman,

    I stated that I wouldn’t be debating you here because of good reasons that I gave. Your reaction, StephenB, was to offer up one bogus excuse and vapid non-responses. So, I can always go back to my usual haunts and enjoy the proceedings from afar. You can read them at that site which cannot be named.

    You have no good reasons whatsoever. Admit it. Go lurk in the back corner with the rest of those mockers at the sight which should not exist.

  104. Mr Burnett:

    I see your:

    Has Dembski ever testified under oath about this? If he hadn’t avoided testifying at the Dover trial, he might have a bit more credibility in some circles.

    Why are you lending your name to an obvious slander?

    Why are you willing to infer that Dr Dembski is guilty unless proved innocent to your satisfaction and in the teeth of easily accessible corrective evidence?

    Do you not see that you have a duty of care to the truth and to the reputation of others, if we are to have a civil society?

    For instance, above, at no 84, the actual context of Mr Dembski’s remarks was given, and (unsurprisingly) it is precisely as was written about in WAC 7 above.

    To make the matter abundantly clear, let us now excerpt in more details from the actual article of 1999. [Onlookers, see who is providing substantiating facts and who is making ad hominem laced assertions without properly warranting such serious accusations and poisonous insinuations.]

    First, the main argument in the 1999 article, so that the facts can speak for themselves:

    ______________

    >> Intelligent design examines the distinction between three modes of explanation: necessity, chance, and design. In our workaday lives we find it important to distinguish between these modes of explanation. Did she fall or was she pushed? And if she fell, was it simply bad luck or was her fall unavoidable? More generally, given an event, object, or structure, we want to know:

    1. Did it have to happen?

    2. Did it happen by accident?

    3. Did an intelligent agent cause it to happen?

    Given an event to be explained, the first thing to determine is whether it had to happen. If so, the event is necessary . . . Not all events are necessary . . . .

    Events that happen but do not have to happen are said to be contingent. In our workaday lives we distinguish two types of contingency, one blind, the other directed. A blind contingency lacks a superintending intelligence and is usually characterized by probabilities. Blind contingency is another name for chance. A directed contingency, on the other hand, is the result of a superintending intelligence. Directed contingency is another name for design . . . .

    Philosophers and scientists have disagreed not only about how to distinguish these modes of explanation, but also about their very legitimacy . . . . Modern science has also struggled with how to distinguish between necessity, chance, and design . . . .

    Since Laplace’s day, science has largely dispensed with design. Certainly Darwin played a crucial role here by eliminating design from biology. Yet at the same time science was dispensing with design, it was also dispensing with Laplace’s vision of a deterministic universe (recall Laplace’s famous demon who could predict the future and retrodict the past with perfect precision provided that present positions and moments of particles were fully known). With the rise of statistical mechanics and then quantum mechanics, the role of chance in physics came to be regarded as ineliminable. Consequently, a deterministic, necessitarian universe has given way to a stochastic universe in which chance and necessity are both regarded as fundamental modes of scientific explanation, neither being reducible to the other. To sum up, contemporary science allows a principled distinction between necessity and chance, but repudiates design . . . .

    But was science right to repudiate design? My aim in The Design Inference (Cambridge University Press, 1998) is to rehabilitate design. I argue that design is a legitimate and fundamental mode of scientific explanation on a par with chance and necessity . . . .

    [S]uppose we lay aside a priori prohibitions against design. In that case, what is wrong with explaining something as designed by an intelligent agent? Certainly there are many everyday occurrences that we explain by appealing to design. Moreover, in our daily lives it is absolutely crucial to distinguish accident from design. We demand answers to such questions as, Did she fall or was she pushed? Did someone die accidentally or commit suicide? Was this song conceived independently or was it plagiarized? Did someone just get lucky on the stock market or was there insider trading?

    Not only do we demand answers to such questions, but entire industries are also devoted to drawing the distinction between accident and design. Here we can include forensic science, intellectual property law, insurance claims investigation, cryptography, and random number generation—to name but a few. Science itself needs to draw this distinction to keep itself honest. As a January 1998 issue of Science made clear, plagiarism and data falsification are far more common in science than we would like to admit. What keeps these abuses in check is our ability to detect them.

    If design is so readily detectable outside science, and if its detectability is one of the key factors keeping scientists honest, why should design be barred from the actual content of science? . . . . It’s [the] worry of falsely attributing something to design (here construed as creation) only to have it overturned laterthat has prevented design from entering science proper.

    This worry, though perhaps understandable in the past, can no longer be justified. There does in fact exist a rigorous criterion for discriminating intelligently from unintelligently caused objects. Many special sciences already use this criterion, though in a pretheoretic form (e.g., forensic science, artificial intelligence, cryptography, archeology, and the Search for Extra-Terrestial Intelligence,[SETI]). In The Design Inference I identify and make precise this criterion. I call it the complexity-specification criterion. When intelligent agents act, they leave behind a characteristic trademark or signature—what I call specified complexity. the complexity-specification criterion detects design by identifying this trademark of designed objects . . . . the basic idea is straightforward and easily illustrated. [He uses the example of Contact to introduce the idea that is formally justified es=elsewhere, as he also states.] . . . .

    Whenever we infer design, we must establish three things: contingency, complexity, and specification. Contingency ensures that the object in question is not the result of an automatic and therefore unintelligent process that had no choice in its production. Complexity ensures that the object is not so simple that it can readily be explained by chance. Finally, specification ensures that the object exhibits the type of pattern characteristic of intelligence . . . . In a design inference, the reference class, the pattern, and the event are linked, with the pattern mediating between event and reference class, and helping to decide whether the event is due to chance or design. Note that in determining whether an event is sufficiently improbable or complex to implicate design, the relevant improbability is not that of the precise event that occurred, but that of the target/pattern. Indeed, the bigger the target, the easier it is to hit it by chance and thus apart from design . . . .

    When called to explain an event, object, or structure, we have to decide: are we going to attribute it to necessity, chance, or design? According to the complexity-specification criterion, to answer this question is to answer three simpler questions: Is it contingent? Is it complex? Is it specified? Consequently, the complexity-specification criterion can be represented as a flowchart with three decision modes. I call this flowchart the Explanatory Filter. [He gives an earlier form, c. 1999; cf WAC 29 and 30 and this discussion on how it has recently been refined on aspects of objects and phenomena.]

    ( START )
    |
    | [CONTIGENCY]–no–>(NECESSITY)
    |
    yes
    |
    [COMPLEXITY?]– no–>(CHANCE)
    |
    yes
    |
    [SPECIFICATION]–no–> (CHANCE)
    |
    yes
    |
    (DESIGN)

    [ . . . ]

  105. Cont’d:

    >> . . . . Patterns that are specifications cannot simply be read off the events whose design is in question. Rather, to count as specifications, patterns must be suitably independent of events. I refer to this relation of independence as detachability, and say that a pattern is detachable only if it satisfied that relation . . . .

    The complexity-specification criterion is exactly the right instrument for detecting design. To see why, we need to understand what makes intelligent agents detectable in the first place. The principal characteristic of intelligent agency is choice. Even the etymology of the word “intelligent” makes this clear. “Intelligent” derives form two Latin words, the preposition inter, meaning between, and the verb lego, meaning to choose or select. Thus, according to its etymology, intelligence consists in choosing between. For intelligent agent to act is therefore to choose from a range of competing possibilities.

    This is true not just of humans, but of animals as well as of extraterrestrial intelligences . . . . Given this characterization of intelligent agency, the crucial question is how to recognize it . . . . Actualizing one among several competing possibilities, ruling out the rest, and specifying the one that was actualized encapsulates how we recognize intelligent agency, or equivalently, how we detect design. Experimental psychologists who study animal learning and behavior have known this all along. To learn a task an animal must acquire the ability to actualize behaviors suitable for the task as well as the ability to rule out behaviors unsuitable for the task. Moreover, for a psychologist to recognize that an animal has learned a task, it is necessary not only to observe the animal making the appropriate discrimination, but also to specify the discrimination . . . . In general, to recognize intelligent agency we must observe an actualization of one among several competing possibilities, not which possibilities were ruled out, and then be able to specify the possibility that was actualized. What’s more, the competing possibilities that were ruled out must be live possibilities, and sufficiently numerous so that specifying the possibility that was actualized cannot be attributed to chance. In terms of complexity, this is just another way of saying that the range of possibilities is complex . . . >>
    _______________

    We can immediately see from this excerpt that Dr Dembski, from the outset, dealt with the issues in a responsible, history of ideas based context, and has summarised his rationale for why complexity + specification are credible and even routinely used criteria for detecting design and recognising the presence of intelligence; not just in ordinary life and in the business of keeping science honest, but in the substance of sciences pure and applied.

    Further to this, it will soon be utterly clear that Ms Forrest et al quote-mined Dr Dembski’s article, by ignoring context and detaching the closing line from the quite clear enough discussion that specifies its significance in that context.

    This was plainly dishonest, not merely incompetent or uncharitable; taking advantage of a common prejudice based on Lewontinian a priori materialism to demonise Dr Dembski’s work. For, a simple reading of the context would have made the matter abundantly clear to a reasonable and unprejudiced person, much less a professor of philosophy.

    As to whether testifying in Judge Jones’ kangaroo court — which was plainly driven by the same prejudices and on the general design issue made a patently unjust and indefensible, materialism agenda- serving ruling based on simply copying a post trial submission by the ACLU that was utterly tendentious and riddled with even gross errors of fact — would have made Dr Dembski’s remarks more credible to the prejudiced and slanderous, I think — especially in light of how we have seen in recent weeks here at UD how Dr Behe’s remarks int eh trial were twisted by the ACLU-instructed Judge in his decision — the ordinary unprejudiced mind can see enough to recognise the game that is afoot already.

    But, we need to see the conclusion that Dr Dembski drew based on the above.

    This, in toto:

    ______________

    >> Design, Metaphysics & Beyond

    Where is this work on design heading? Specified complexity, that key trademark of design, is, as it turns out, a form of information (through one considerably richer than Claude Shannon’s purely statistical form of it). Although called by different names and developed with different degrees of rigor, specified complexity is starting to have an effect on the special sciences.

    For instance, specified complexity is what Michael Behe has uncovered with his irreducibly complex biochemical machines, what Manfred Eigen regards as the great mystery of life’s origin, what for cosmologists underlies the fine-tuning of the universe, what David Chalmers hopes will ground a comprehensive theory of human consciousness, what enables Maxwell’s demon to outsmart a thermodynamic system tending toward thermal equilibrium, and what within the Kolmogorov-Chaitin theory of algorithmic information identifies the highly compressible, non-random strings of digits. How complex specified information gets from an organism’s environment into an organism’s genome will be one of the key questions at an upcoming Santa Fe Institute symposium, “Complexity, Information & Design: A critical Appraisal” (October 1999).

    Shannon’s purely statistical theory of information is giving way to a richer theory of complex specified information whose possibilities are only now coming to light. [Cf Abel's 2009 review article on the current state of that transformation, based on a string of ID-supportive, foundational peer reviewed articles.] A natural sequel to The Design Inference is therefore to develop a general theory of complex specified information.

    The primary challenge, once the broader implications of design for science have been worked out, is therefore to develop a relational ontology [thus he is now projecting on trends of matters philosophical and metaphysical . . . defining IMMEDIATE CONTEXT for what follows] in which the problem of being [the key subject matter of ontology] resolves thus: to be is to be in communion, and to be in communion is to transmit and receive information. [inter alia this points to a major addressing of the classic problem of the one and the many, and hints at the solution of redemptive, Trinitarian Christian Theism: the one and the many are grounded in the Triune Godhead] Such an ontology will not only safeguard science and leave adequate breathing space for design, but will also make sense of the world as a sacrament [thus, his context is now explicitly theological as well].

    The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. [Puts forth a comparative advantage of a theistic over a materialistic ontology] Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory. [ontologically and theologically remarks on the significance of empirically grounded scientific findings on the key role of information in the core of existence of a life-friendly fine-tuned cosmos and cell based life rooted in information storing DNA; in light of a correlation to a foundational Christian theme found in jn 1:1 ff: "1In the beginning was the [Logos -- 'Word" -- information, communication, reason/rationality Himself], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men . . . “]>>

    _______________

    As the WAC 7 notes, in so committing the Christian faith to a rational, information grounded ontology, teh elder John exposed that faith to a searching empirical test. One that had it turned out instead that the foundation of all things was chaos, not cosmos, would have been used by opponents to vex adherents of the Christian form of the Judaeo-Christian worldview.

    So, it is entirely appropriate for a Scientist who is also qualified in Philosophy and Theology to draw forth on the matter, especially in an article in a Christian Magazine [and later a book; since the magazine issue was so popular].

    Ms Forrest et al knew, or should have known this, and it was plain to one with a modicum of background knowledge, much less a qualified philosopher.

    So, the quote-mining exercise she and others indulges was and remains inexcusable.

    +++++++++++

    Mr Burnett, sadly, you are lending your name to a slander.

    You need to do something about that.

    GEM of TKI

  106. PS: re DM @ 104: It’s very clear to any unbiased observer why some people here never appear on any forum other than Uncommon Descent. Thanks for your hospitality while it lasted, Clive!

    –> Slamming the door on the way out of the room; having failed to deal with the matter cogently on the merits.

  107. PPS: Clive:

    A SUGGESTION: Can we get Dr Demski’s permission to post the 1999 Touchstone article here st UD, with perhaps an introduction that sets in context and follows up [or, in he case of the EF, slightly updates by focussing attention on the particular aspect in view] its contents?

    [I think this will go a long way to dissipating the sorts of slanders above; as will a link to the SM history of ID and the review on the truth about the Wedge document that I linked above.]

    –> I would also love a link to the 2009 Abel review article on Chaos and Complexity, as to have built up a series of foundational peer reviewed articles that now warrant a survey like tat is a further significant milestone in the Design revolution.

  108. 108

    kairosfocus,

    I’ll ask him.

  109. 109

    Stomp, Stomp, Stomp your feet!

    Where is your inference coming from? Upon what scientific facts is ID based?

    This question is a snap.

    Firstly, the nucleic sequences in DNA (which makes all life possible) utilizes a symbol system of encoded information that is physico-dynamically inert, meaning; there are no material forces that cause it to exist as it does, and hence, no material causes to explain its existence (in other words, for an explanation to be offered, it must first be said to exist, but it doesn’t).

    There are no chemical bonds along the linear chain of DNA that causes nucleic acids to form in any pattern whatsoever, so from a purely physical standpoint, each base is just as likely to appear next in the chain as any other. In fact, if it were physically ordered by its chemical properties, it would be fundamentally incapable of functioning as it does (and must). These are empirical facts which are not even in question.

    Secondly, there is the issue of the symbol system itself. Think of this in terms of seeing an apple and saying the word “apple”. In reality, when you say “apple” it is not an actual apple that comes out of your mouth, but a symbol of an apple. That symbol is the word “apple” (in another language the symbol/word would be something else). And, the only way in which we can communicate what the word “apple” means is by a non-physical agreement between us as to what the symbol represents. So the symbol is not bound by physical law (there are no laws that say it must be represented by the word “apple”) it could be anything as long as we agree to it. It is instead bound by a non-physical mapping of what the symbol means. This is exactly what is taking place inside the cell with DNA.

    The proteins that make life possible are not made up of nucleic acids themselves – however, it is the arrangement of nucleic acids as symbols within the DNA chain that causes proteins to be created and coordinated within the cell. For instance, the nucleic acid Thymine, followed by Adenine, followed by Guanine means “terminate the addition of amino acids” during the process of protein synthesis, yet, there are no physical properties in any of these chemical compounds (Thymine-Adenine-Guanine) which actually means “stop”. How could they? Yet this is exactly what they map to within the symbol system in DNA. This again, is an observed fact which is not even in debate.

    These are the physical facts. They are not ID facts or otherwise, they are simply the scientific observations readily available to anyone who wants to know them.

    It is then a rational line of investigation that (based on the empirical evidence) life exist by virtue of selection for function at the level of information (the actual sequencing of nucleotides that organizes living tissue). The fact of the matter (and the ultimate reason by which this debate takes on its typical ugly tone) is that this evidence (and others like it) is intractable to any purely material explanation.

    This is what Polanyi stated in 1968 when he posited that the very existence of an immaterial communications system within the body was a falsification of purely material explanations. It is also what Dembski alluded to when he showed that the specified complexity within the system was outside the probabilistic resources of the universe. It is also what Behe highlighted in the observed manifestation (the end product) of such phenomena within the irreducible molecular structures in the cell. And it is also what Abel has shown by his qualitative analysis of the mechanisms at play in bringing such a system into a functional state. The same thing goes for Thaxton, and Denton, and Kenyon, and Durston, and Trevors, and Axe, and Chiu, and Meyer, etc, etc, etc.

    “Materialism” as a tool of investigation will certainly be every bit as useful as it has been in the past, but materialism as a dogmatic ideological worldview has been falsified on its face – falsified by its own empirical evidence.

    It is not a matter of what we do not know, but of what we already know to be true. Consequently, materialists ideologues are left only to attack the motives of others, to misrepresent their arguments as something they are not, and to make special pleadings for unknown material forces which are not even in observation.

  110. Clive:

    Great!

    UB:

    Dead right.

    GEM of TKI

  111. More generally, given an event, object, or structure, we want to know:

    1. Did it have to happen?

    2. Did it happen by accident?

    3. Did an intelligent agent cause it to happen?

    Given an event to be explained, the first thing to determine is whether it had to happen. If so, the event is necessary . . . Not all events are necessary . . . .

    Funy to observe how different people have widely differing opinions about how the universe works:

    My approach to events is

    1. Investigate and determine cause(s).

    2. If cause(s) can be determined, file under ’caused’.

    3. If cause(s) cannot be determined, file under ‘magic’.

  112. Cabal:

    Closing off for now. Parting thoughts.

    I observe your 111:

    1 –> this is a 605 character string of ASCII text in contextually responsive English, i.e it is functionally specific. [Think about what random letter changes would rapidly do to it.]

    2 –> Its characters are plainly not a matter of mechanical necessity; they are contingent.

    3 –> There are two well known, empirically observed causes of highly contingent outcomes: chance and choice.

    4 –> Now, the configuration space of 605 128-state characters is: 128^605 ~ 7,28 *10^1,274. Converting the observed cosmos as a whole into a search engine running for its lifetime would allow scanning ~ 10^150 states, or ~ 1 in 10^1,124 of the space.

    5 –> This is not a significant franction of he space, rendering islands of fucntion as described beyond rthe available search resources of he cosmos.

    5 –> Choice, not chance aptly explains it, and it is well known that intelligence is capable to such degrees of choice: in this case ~ 1,300 binary choices in sequence, a much more feasible target.

    6 –> Now, of course intelligence and mind are “magical” to a worldview committed to evolutionary materialistic explanations — it can only get to mind by the poofery of “emergence.” [Cf my remarks here on the problems of the lucky noise model for creating intelligently functional outcomes.]

    7 –. for the rest of us, being intelligent beings ourselves, i tis intuitively and empirically credible that we may explain by reference to law of necessity, chance contingency and choice contingency, differentiating the latter two by noting how choice gets us to specified complexity and related manifestations of mind in action.

    __________

    GEM of TKI

  113. Cabal (111),

    Mine’s much the same except instead of your 3 I have “cause presently unknown”. Calling it “magic” is a bit of a cop out, whereas calling it “unknown” at least allows for the possibiltiy that better information will come along to give the cause.

  114. StephenB (92),

    “Yet, plenty of people in the New Testament observed miracles, and eyewitness testimony constitutes good evidence.”

    Not really – eyewitness testimony is not usually “good” evidence, it’s notoriously unreliable. I was once one of three independent witnesses to a street crime, and whilst we all reported the overall impression of the event much the same (and within about twenty minuts of its end) the details – description of the perpetrator, duration of the event – were remarkably different. That is quite usual.

    Accounts in the New Testament have a further problem – they were not usually (and maybe not at all) written by those who observed the “events”. We need to bear in mind this was a time and society where literacy was rare. Often the accounts were written decades after, when memories become unreliable (keep a diary and you’ll know about this only too well). In short, they are often second-hand (or more remote even) accounts written years afterwards, and often for political/theological purposes.

    “So, if you think miracles are “absurd,” that is only because your ideology prompts you to reject them apriori.”

    I’d use the phrase “extremely unlikely” rather than absurd.

  115. Lamark you may find this interesting in relation to the spooky world revealed by quantum mechanics:

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRpbNgBn8XY

    i.e. not only is reality “deriving” from higher dimensionality “logos’, reality is “tailor-made” for each individual “observer”…

    i.e.:

    COBE – WMAP Satellites – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huaS_iSITQs

    Earth As The Center Of The Universe – image
    http://universe-review.ca/R02-16-universe.htm

    the whole universe could truthfully be said to be “centered on” a single person. Thus, much contrary to the mediocrity of earth and of humans, brought about by the heliocentric discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus, this finding of a “4-dimensional space-time” for our universe is in fact very comforting to Theistic postulations in general, and even lends very strong support of plausibility to the main tenet of Christianity which holds Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.

  116. Lamark, this may be of interest to from what is now established by quantum mechanics:

    This following video and article give deep insight into what the image formation on the Shroud signifies for reality:

    A Particle Physicist Looks At The Turin Shroud Image – 4:25 minute mark of video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgvEDfkuhGg

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection?
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

  117. 117

    Upright BiPed,

    You state:

    There are no chemical bonds along the linear chain of DNA that causes nucleic acids to form in any pattern whatsoever, so from a purely physical standpoint, each base is just as likely to appear next in the chain as any other.

    This is, of course, absolutely incorrect. The nature of DNA replication means the sequence, based on physio-chemical properties of the bases, retains a pattern. Now, you are right in saying that when the pattern is broken any base is likely to appear. This is just what is seen and referred to as random mutation.

    If your speaking of the ‘first’ DNA chain, well, we obviously don’t know enough (anything?) to make such claims and likely never will.

    The proteins that make life possible are not made up of nucleic acids themselves – however, it is the arrangement of nucleic acids as symbols within the DNA chain that causes proteins to be created and coordinated within the cell.

    No, proteins are not made up of amino acids, but they get there pattern due to the physio-chemical interactions between mRNA, tRNA, ribosomes, and others. TAG means something physically and chemically in the ribosome in order for translation to stop.

    When one looks at the actual process all that is observed are physical occurrences in a material world.

  118. Lamark,
    I would like to stress this point:
    Quantum mechanics tells us that wave collapse is “centered” on each observer, whereas 4-D space-time cosmology tells us the universe is “centered” on each individual observer,,,a rather interesting congruence in science, between the large and small, I would think!

  119. H’mm:

    Re WM@115: proteins are not made up of amino acids, but they get there pattern due to the physio-chemical interactions between mRNA, tRNA, ribosomes, and others. TAG means something physically and chemically in the ribosome in order for translation to stop.When one looks at the actual process all that is observed are physical occurrences in a material world.

    H’mm:

    1 –> When one looks at a compur5er in action, all one sees ae4 physical occurences in the world of physico-dynamic processes.

    2 –> But, this fails to address what makes a computer different from a pile of parts.

    3 –> Namely, inelligently directed, funcitonal organisaiton that stores digital data and uses it based on prescriptive languages to execute algorithms step by step; trnasforming inputs to yield outputs.

    4 –> Comparing to the protein synthesis process, I suggest we look at the diagram here and the zoom-in here; then examine the survey of the process here, from a medical perspective. Topics include:

    The Genetic Code [i.e. a digital code that forms the base for a prescriptive sequence of actions]
    Characterization of tRNAs
    Amino Acid Activation [a preliminary step]
    The Wobble Hypothesis
    Order of Events [a step by step goal-oriented sequence of actions]
    Initiator tRNAs and Initiation Codons [START]
    Initiation Factors
    Activities of eIF-3
    Specific Steps in Initiation
    The eIF-2 Cycle
    Elongation [successive chain of steps]
    Termination [STOP]
    Incorporation of Selenium
    Regulation of eIF-4E Activity [control]
    Regulation of Translation [mapping from Hamming block code space to aa sequence] by Heme, Control of eIF-2 Activity
    Regulation of Translation by Interferons
    Regulation of Translation by Iron
    Regulation of Translation by Antibiotics [i.e. ability to intelligently adjust or divert the process]

    5 –> As the highlights suggest, the only reason why an observer will fail to recognise a functionally organised, digital information and language based step by step targetted process in the latter is a priori commitment to refuse to see what does not sit easily with an evolutionary materialist worldview.

    6 –> And, in the connexion of this particular thread, all such should be very careful to observe that the substantial issue is addressing a slander.

    7 –> So, s/he should be very careful of providing enabling behaviour for “getting away with” slander.

    ____________

    GEM of TKI

  120. lamarck, #96

    camanintx,
    “Not hardly. ID goes well beyond just explaining biological life and attempts to describe properties of the designer.”

    Well the science itself doesn’t do that of course.

    Are you saying that the science of ID doesn’t posit an intelligent designer?

  121. Can we please have a separate thread to discuss the ‘talking donkey’ issues?

    I feel it is an important subject to debate and right now it’s being swamped by whatever else is going on this thread.

    May I suggest the topic hark back to my original question:

    Are talking donkeys part of a rational universe?

  122. Talking Donkey?
    Francis Imparting Some Intelligence
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X4N1lDfxXk

  123. 123

    MeganC @119

    Your question has been adequately addressed in posts 88-92 up thread by Clive, StephenB and others. You may have missed these responses.

  124. I have a question about evolution that I have been puzzling about for a while and would like to get feedback about it.

    There is a surgical procedure called a hemispherectomy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemispherectomy), in which half of the brain is removed. This drastic operation is sometimes done to treat severe epilepsy in children. Amazingly, recovery is usually near-complete. This healing capability of the body seems impossible to have been acquired through evolution, since the procedure has been done in only the last tiny fraction of human history, hence a long evolutionary process could not account for it.

    In general, how does one account for the body’s ability to heal from surgical “injuries” which humans have experienced only in relatively recent times?

  125. 125

    KF,

    Clearly the cell isn’t a computer, but I’m sadly not surprised at your use of this as an analogy due to your a priori commitment of ID. It’s a simple and transparent strawman. First we compare a cell to a computer (with no explanation given), then we state what everyone obviously knows (that a computer was designed by an ‘intelligent designer’, that would be humans), therefore concluding that it should be equally obvious that the cell was designed by an ‘intelligent designer’ (would that be humans also? perhaps that gaping hole in the ID armour must wait for a later date). This is then followed by a weak semantic argument with a conclusion that has no foundation unless one subscribes to that same a priori commitment as the author, in which case it is a rousing success. Finally, to top it off there is an accusation of slander! if one is so bold as to disagree with you. I must admit this to be a radically effective method of concluding a discussion in triumph. Methinks you should call up the British Chiropractic Association and ask for the membership department. I doubt any qualifications are necessary.

    As an aside, may I suggest Chapter 6 of “Molecular Biology of the Cell” and the images enclosed. Particularly the section on RNA to Protein.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bo......1052#1086
    You will find it to be a still quite basic introduction to translation, however some of the figures will outline the physical and chemical nature of the process nicely.

  126. MeganC

    For what it’s worth, I’ll second your request. I think your question, “Are talking donkeys part of a rational universe?” is a philosophically interesting one.

    Here’s my answer, for what it’s worth. Are colorless green ideas that talk furiously part of a rational universe? No. Category mistakes are so meaningless as to be “not even wrong.” They don’t even get a toehold in a rational universe. (I hope most readers will realize that I have taken the above example from Noam Chomsky, and slightly amended it for my own purposes.)

    Are talking silent people part of a rational universe? No. Rational discourse is incompatible with logical contradiction.

    Are talking donkeys part of a rational universe? I’d say yes, with some caveats. After all, donkeys do at least have something to talk with – teeth, a mouth and a tongue (unlike trees, for instance) – so at least there’s no category mistake.

    Are donkeys naturally capable of producing the sounds humans make? I very much doubt it (chimps can’t). Are donkeys naturally capable of producing meaningful sentences with a propositional content? It would appear not.

    To suppose that a donkey once talked would therefore imply supposing that some intelligent being, who was not a donkey, commandeered the donkey’s vocal cords for a short interval and made it issue forth with a stream of sound, which a human person standing nearby was able to recognize as a sentence in his/her language.

    That is an extremely odd thing to do, as I think you will agree. However, it would not (as far as I can tell) require the violation of any law of nature. Hence a talking donkey is not only logically possible, but nomologically possible. All it requires is the presence of an intelligent being who is capable of making the donkey produce a stream of meaningful discourse – and who would want to do such a thing.

    I should add that this is a scenario that not even an atheist could rule out. After all, it is quite possible that intelligent beings other than humans exist in the cosmos. If other intelligent life forms exist, they are likely to be technologically far ahead of us. Hence by Arthur C. Clarke’s 3rd law, which states that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” it is quite possible that some aliens have the technological wherewithal to make donkeys talk. As we know nothing about said aliens, we have no idea whether some of them occasionally engage in such feats, just for the fun of it.

    As regards the talking donkey, the only substantive point on which Christians differ from atheists is that Christians additionally believe that a disembodied being (God, or some angel) could perform such a feat. Traditionally, Christians have held that an angel was responsible. The larger question here is: is disembodied agency part of a rational universe? Now that’s certainly worth a post of its own.

    I should point out, finally, that belief in ID does not necessitate belief in talking donkeys; neither does belief in God. (Ask Thomas Jefferson.)

  127. Winston Macchi

    You write that “[c]learly the cell isn’t a computer.” May I refer you to the following presentation by Christoph von der Malsburg:

    Organic Computing: Life without Software .

    You might also like to look at Rolf Wurtz’s book, Organic Computing (2008, Springer), much of which can be viewed online via Google.

    Finally, for a more radical approach to the question of what a computer is, I’d recommend physicist Steve Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science . Wolfram takes the view that practically all natural systems – a human brain, a turbulent fluid, or a cellular automaton – perform computations of equivalent sophistication; hence they are all computers.

  128. BA77, I’m in a bad reception spot right now so can’t see the vids but I’ll check them out.

    “Also key to understand is “information”, “logos”, is conclusively shown to be its own independent entity in the experiment.”

    I don’t think it’s too brash to say the materialists are foiled at this point. Because at first glance, studying larger matter than the quantum level would seem to be a good research path for the ultimate truths, despite this experiment. After all it does give results in some ways.

    But if matter is dependent on thought or intention or observation, then this puts reality entirely into the ID camp.

    Because to make a leap; materialists have this whole time been unwittingly studying remnants or manifestations of intelligence or thought, and not “physical objects”.

    However to be fair, larger matter is displaying different properties at this time. We aren’t moving rocks with thought.

    My follow up question was; have they tried a mechanical measurement with no humans involved to see what the result would be? I don’t know if it’s possible with something that small.

  129. Mr Barrett Brown:

    It is sadly clear from your consistent refusal to be accountable for your slanders, that you are sadly uncivil and irresponsible.

    Worse, you seem to think that you and your ilk will gain an advantage in the marketplace of ideas and values by promoting such uncivil conduct.

    I fear that you are right, for the ghost of Socrates warns us that democratic civilisation — as opposed to mob-ocracy — is a delicate thing, critically dependent for its sustainability on a people who respect he image of God in one another, and thus see that slander is blasphemy against our common Creator.

    [And, this may have something to say about what happen when a generation arises that arrogantly casts aside the wisdom in the US DOI of 1776: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed with certain unalienable rights . . . " For, when we wantonly disregard and dismiss the self-evidently true, we end in a morass of absurdities and worse.]

    You therefore need to take a long, hard look at what happens to a society when slander such as you have exerted against Dr Dembski and hte wider ID movement poisons civil discourse.

    (Onlookers, you may think I am exaggerating. I am not. Let’s just say that I have lived through a low grade civil war, in Jamaica in 1979 – 80. THAT’s where this sort of atmosphere-poisoning wedge rhetoric and agit-prop folly are all too predictably headed; if unchecked.)

    But, to know that is at least half way to standing up to such destructive polarisation before it is too late.

    So, let us act before it is all too literally bloodily too late.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Mr Macchi, I have already pointed you to a comprehensive overview of what is going on in the cell, which you have plainly not read or digested otherwise. I did not make the facts up that he cell uses digital code based storage, and carries out step by step sequences of instructions to create proteins, I simply cited a fairly standard summary and noted on its significance; which you plainly cannot accept because it cuts across your worldview. And, in this context of a far more serious issue on the table as just addressed, I have no time for further lengthy back-forth on distractive points that boil down to enabling behaviour on your part and that of those who are similarly playing debate games when slander and poisoning of civil discourse are the real issues that need to be on the table.

    PPS: Similarly, MeganC, you need to keep things in proportion to the serious issues on the table. You may think miracles are inherently irrational or chaotic, a la Lewontin et al. On this one, you are up against the likes of Newton, Pascal and many other founders of modern science of like weight, and a considerable body of serious evidence and argument. But, in a context of evidently willful poisoning of the atmosphere for civil discussion, such is at best a distractive side issue: SLANDER is what is on the table, and people of good will must now come to the defense of civil society. THAT is what is at stake.

  130. Winston M.

    I think you misunderstood the point. The point is not necessarily that cells are analogous to computers and are therefore intelligently designed. The purpose of the analogy was to show that computers, while operating according to physical and chemical laws, cannot be explained through recourse to those same laws. Nothing in the laws of physics and chemistry dictates the existence of a computer. Computers are entirely contingent. It is the same with cells. They certainly function according to known laws of physics and chemistry; there is nothing beyond normal physical processes going on in a cell. But this does not explain the origin of the cell (or the computer).

    In other words, natural law itself allows for many different arrangements of, say, DNA nucleobases. There is nothing in physics or chemistry that explains why one particular arrangement should exist. Just like there is nothing in the laws themselves that explain why my laptop (made of ordinary elements) is in its particular configuration. One could know all the laws of physics and chemistry and still be unable to predict my laptops existence. My laptop is consistent with natural law (there is no “magic”), but cannot be explained by natural law. Are you claiming that there are known laws responsible for forming specific chains of DNA or creating cells? If so, which laws do this (i.e. go beyond merely allowing DNA arrangements to specifying them)?

    Jeff

  131. Lamark you asked:

    “My follow up question was; have they tried a mechanical measurement with no humans involved to see what the result would be? I don’t know if it’s possible with something that small.”

    Well actually, I believe, they have to use a mechanical devise every time at this level, but a human is always involved at some time in the future and must look at the results to see what happened, so using a “automated” device still does not remove the observer as far as the spooky world of the quantum level is concerned,,,, You see Lamark,,, at the quantum level the particle/wave acts like it knows how we are going to look at it before we even make up our minds if we going to look at it,,, they proved this by trying to “trick” the photon with a high speed computer, which made the decision to look, or not to look, while the photon was in transit… It is just plain downright spooky stuff,,, in fact after studying this quantum stuff for a while I was fairly well convinced that God’s omnipotent power extends to each and every “quantum event” in this universe, even if “quantum reality” has to be of His “permissive” will in order to allow evil to run its course in this universe,,, there is just far too much “supernatural” control involved for it to be otherwise. And as the experiment showed it is a totally non-local control which basically body slams any materialistic postulation put forward,,,it is indeed very impressive and very spooky,,,

    Here are a couple more videos that may shed a little more light:

    The Miraculous Foundation of Reality – Dr. Quantum – Double Slit & Entanglement – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzQuU6FpYAk

    Explaining The Unseen Spiritual Realm – Dr. Quantum – Flatland – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhjNlp5RIZs

    The Electron – The Supernatural Basis of Reality – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv_YQl6XSMM

    Quantum Mechanics – The Limited Role Of The Observer – Michael Strauss
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elg83xUZZBs

  132. MeganC,
    My posts by no means “swamp” yours and I take umbrage to what you imply.

    I suggest you drink a red bull, go do some parachute wind sprints, and type up an article and submit it. Initiative. You could call it “Megan’s donkey”, like shrodinger’s cat.

  133. —Barrett Brown: “Also, I can ride my bike real fast.”

    Yes, and away from all meaningful intellectual challenges.

  134. BA77,

    “they proved this by trying to “trick” the photon with a high speed computer, which made the decision to look, or not to look, while the photon was in transit…”

    This for me means thought is completely pervasive on a level I hadn’t thought of before. The “looking at it later” part possibly means time doesn’t exist because it was their intention that mattered. Thanks that was the type of narrowed down version I was looking for.

  135. BA77,

    “they proved this by trying to “trick” the photon with a high speed computer, which made the decision to look, or not to look, while the photon was in transit…”

    This is the double slit experiment I think, which I know about. But I didn’t know about the high speed computer.

    This means thought is completely pervasive on a level I hadn’t thought of before. The “looking at it later” part possibly means time doesn’t exist because it was their intention that mattered. Thanks that was the type of narrowed down version I was looking for.

  136. 136

    vjtorley,

    I understand that, in such a broad context, the language of computers and computation is used. However, I think it quite clear from KF’s post that the computer in reference was your standard desktop. Hence the:

    Comparing to the protein synthesis process

  137. 137

    KF,

    … I have already pointed you to a comprehensive overview of what is going on in the cell, which you have plainly not read or digested

    Indeed I have read it, and much like it (though vastly more detailed) previously. This is why I can easily pointed out that your a priori conclusions are masking that which is plainly before your eyes. Alas, you will have not of it and so I leave you to revel in your utter self confidence.

  138. 138

    Winston Macchi,

    This is, of course, absolutely incorrect.

    The backbone structure of DNA is formed by the covalent bonds between its sugar and phosphate constituents. There are weak hydrogen bonds laterally across the bases that create complimentary pairs and also facilitate unzipping the molecule for replication. However, the same N-glycosidic bond of the bases to the inner structure takes place regardless of the base being attached at any binding site.

    There are no bonds from base-to-base along the linear strand of the double helix that determines which nucleotide base appears next in the chain.

    In other words, the sequencing in DNA is not dynamically ordered, as can be easily evidenced by its aperiodic nature. (There are weak hydrophobic and van der Waals interactions, but none of these are of any significance in determining sequence specificity). In fact, it is exactly this independence that gives DNA is information carrying capacity.

    The nature of DNA replication means the sequence, based on physio-chemical properties of the bases, retains a pattern.

    As already stated: the specific pattern of the sequence is retained not by bonds between the bases, but by the covalent bonds in the phosphate-sugar backbone to which the bases are attached. It is incorrect to say that the pattern is “retained” by the chemical properties of the bases – it is not.

    If your speaking of the ‘first’ DNA chain, well, we obviously don’t know enough (anything?) to make such claims and likely never will.

    Make such a claim as what? A claim, for instance, that there are no determinant bonds/forces along the linear axis of DNA that specify which one nucleotide is to be followed by another? This is not a merely a claim, it is the observational reality as we find it. The prescriptive information contained in the sequencing of DNA is not the result of the chemical properties of the sugars, phosphates, or nucleic acids that make up its constituent parts.

    No, proteins are not made up of amino acids, but they get there pattern due to the physio-chemical interactions between mRNA, tRNA, ribosomes, and others.

    You’ve got me stumped here. In the quote you gave from my post I never mentioned “amino acids”. I stated that proteins are not made up of nucleic acids, but it is the sequence of nucleic acids that creates the protein.
    But just so you know, proteins are in fact made up of amino acids. The chain of amino acids that fold into proteins are assembled by the interactions you name (mRNA, tRNA, ribosomes), but the chain of amino acids does not get its “pattern” from them, and it does not get its pattern from their physico-chemical properties either. That pattern comes from nowhere but the sequence of nucleotide in the DNA molecule.

    TAG means something physically and chemically in the ribosome in order for translation to stop.

    It certainly does. But that entire chemical process of termination is thrown into action after the symbol (signaling that process of protein synthesis is complete) appears in the nucleic sequence. How fortunate that release factors just happened to be in the area, and even more fortuitous that they themselves were coded for in the DNA molecule (requiring release factors for their own production).

    When one looks at the actual process all that is observed are physical occurrences in a material world.

    Except for the perhaps minor reality that the prescriptive sequencing that makes the entire process function has no material causes to exist, and none that can explain in material terms how it was formed. None.

    Not Oparin, not Miller, not Lehninger, not Wald, not Kenyon, not Prigogine, not Kauffman, not Muller, not Quastler, not Eigan, not Kuppers, not Dawkins, not Schneider, not Adami, etc etc.

    The issue is intractable to a material explanation.

    - – - – - – - -

    All evidence points to a rational new conclusion. Life exist by virtue of selection for function at the level of information.

  139. 139

    A quick comment about the computer-DNA analogy/objection:

    Symbolic code was running living systems for millennia before man even appeared on Earth. There is no analogy necessary.

  140. 140

    jlid,

    Perhaps you are right. If the point was in fact something as banal as stating that cells are not a required outcome of the physical laws, merely something that could happened that is entirely consistent with their existence and need not depend on anything other then them, then yes I agree.

  141. 141

    Upright Biped,

    There are weak hydrophobic and van der Waals interactions, but none of these are of any significance in determining sequence specificity

    This is where you are incorrect. During replication DNA polymerases use the 3′ OH groups to add the next base. Which base they add is entirely dependent on the existing strand based on the bonds that exist between bases.

    You’ve got me stumped here…

    Sorry about that. Simply a typo by me.

    But that entire chemical process of termination is thrown into action after the symbol (signaling that process of protein synthesis is complete) appears in the nucleic sequence.

    It is only a symbol because of it’s physical structure and chemical properties. It’s very material makes it symbolic. It may be a language, but it is a physical language.

  142. 142

    Howdy-

    Just wanted to drop by and note that I do intend to respond to the questions that have been left for me as soon as I have some time. I may do so at another venue so that it’ll count as work instead of me just arguing on the internet. Also, I appreciate the thought that you’ve all put into this debate. Thanks.

  143. camanintx,
    You’re talking about positing a designer, then describing properties of one, it’s two different things.

  144. Winston,

    I think this fact might be more important than you think. Consider any other natural phenomenon, say, an igneous outcropping. Everything about the outcropping can be explained purely through reference to the chemical and physical properties of the various elements and compounds within the rock. Given the precise physical/chemical scenario, the rock had no other choice but to crystallize the way that it did.

    On the other hand, the origin of structures like DNA cannot be explained purely through reference to the physical and chemical properties of the molecules themselves. As you agreed, the physical and chemical properties are neutral regarding the structure of DNA and cannot explain the specific arrangements that we find. Perhaps in the future we will find a physical/chemical scenario that does result in the origin of specific, functional DNA sequences. As of now, though, the origin of life resists explanation in terms of physical and chemical properties, as genetic information transcends such properties.

  145. kairosfocus says,

    (Onlookers, you may think I am exaggerating. I am not. Let’s just say that I have lived through a low grade civil war, in Jamaica in 1979 – 80. THAT’s where this sort of atmosphere-poisoning wedge rhetoric and agit-prop folly are all too predictably headed; if unchecked.)

    But, to know that is at least half way to standing up to such destructive polarisation before it is too late.

    So, let us act before it is all too literally bloodily too late.

    Anyone who would suggest that allowing people to mock ID and its proponents might lead to bloody conflict is himself a menace. I’m contacting the Department of Homeland Security as soon as I complete this note, to request that Preacher Gordon Mullings never be granted a U.S. visa.

  146. I have a little unfinished business with Barrett Brown. Earlier, I explained that Brown recklessly ignores the context of Dembski’s Logos remark when he charges him with lying.

    He responded as follows: “I do no such thing. The problem here seems to be that you guys are of the position that since Dembski was speaking in the context of Christianity when associating ID with the Logos, then I am making some sort of crazy logical error by claiming that Dembski associates ID with the Logos.”

    But Brown does much more than that. He insinuates that Dembski consciously tries to mislead his audiences and purposely hides his true views to create a false impression. As he puts it, “Dembski is coy when addressing a potentially secular audience, claiming that there ‘are many possibilities.’” “Among these possibilities, we may determine, is that Dembski is lying; in a 1999 interview…Dembski stated unambigously that ‘intelligent design is just the Logos Theology restated in the idiom of information theory.’”

    Yet, as I explained to Brown, the same truth can be expressed both scientifically and theologically, and I specifically pointed to the example of the empirically based notion of the “big bang,” and the Gospel command, “Let there be light.” So, clearly Brown misses the obvious parallel to that event expressed in two ways, and the parallel notion that information theory and Logos theory also express the same truth two ways. Indeed, even after I explained it to him, he still missed it.

    So, clearly, Dembski’s statement that there are “many possibilities,” is both accurate, honest, and uncontroversial, at least among those who are educated enough to understand the meaning of context. Yet Brown, whose education obviously does not include interdisciplinary analysis, get’s carried away with his own ignorance and characterizes Dembki’s statement about “many possibilities” as a stealth attempt to mislead the world about his true beliefs. Yet Dembski, like many major ID scientists, has been up front with his belief that, from a theological perspective, he believes the designer to be God.

    Even that that, Brown has not returned to this site to apologize to Dembski for the slander or to even provide a semblance of an argument in defense of his egregious logical error. So, what can we say of such a man who, even after having been corrected and educated, continues his slander while ignoring his own intellectual dishonesty.

  147. Mr Tom English:

    Your remarks at 143 – 4 are a further slanderous outrage, underscoring the precise force of what I am warning against:

    . . . the ghost of Socrates warns us that democratic civilisation — as opposed to mob-ocracy — is a delicate thing, critically dependent for its sustainability on a people who respect he image of God in one another, and thus see that slander is blasphemy against our common Creator [Note how I then put this in the immediate context of the 2nd paragraph of the US DOI of 1776] . . . .

    You [i.e. Mr Barrett Brown of HuffPo and ilk, including of course the far more significant case of a certain Ms Barabara Forrest of the Louisiana Humanists [= atheists], ACLU etc who has made a career out of the particular slander in view] therefore need to take a long, hard look at what happens to a society when slander such as [ = exemplified by] you have exerted against Dr Dembski and the wider ID movement poisons civil discourse . . .

    Anyone who reads with reasonable care and attention to duties of care will see that I am warning against the all too historically well documented menace of runaway incivility driven by slanderous demonisation — and thus, dehumanisation — of people on ideologically tinged, politically contentious matters.

    That is what happened in Jamiaca across the 1970′s, and led to mob-tactics and then low grade civil war in 1979 – 80.

    (NB: On ID, incivility-driven demonisation and dehumanisation have already demonstrably led to slander and plainly unjustified career busting [von Sternberg and Gonzalez -- BTW a Cuban American, so a fellow Caribbean -- come immediately to mind], and to the holding of the children of the state of Kansas hostage: to Lewontinian a priori materialism imposed by the US national Academy of Sciences and otehrs in the name of “good” science education.)

    It has also happened in a lot of other places and times, to the point where demonisation/ dehumanisation of the other has long been identified as a key precursor to persecution and worse.

    THAT is the sting in racism [with blacks and Jews as first exhibits in recent history . . . and note the current trend of radicalised IslamITS -- as opposed to ordinary Muslims -- to refer to Jews as "descendants of apes and pigs"], and it is the root of how radical socialist, “Communist” revolutions ever so often ended up in mass slaughters across C20, amounting to over 100 Millions dead (China alone totting up ~ 70 millions, with the late unlamented USSR not that far behind, and with Cuba near the back of the pack with a mere 14,000 – 18,000 or so from the reports I have seen . . . ), OUTSIDE of actual wars. For that matter, it must be noted that he mass slaughter of the unborn in the USA, now amounting to 48+ millions since 1973, has been accompanied by rhetoric designed to dehumanise the unborn child AND to demonise those who make principled objections. (God help us, I tgather the global abortion toll since the 1980′s may be well over a BILLION.)

    So, I must underscore again, by way of warning: when a society tolerates the sort of slanderous demonisation of any minority — SUCH AS that associated with the would-be theocrats slur, invidious insinuation, and allegation now ever so commonly used against ID (and which is the point of quote-mining Dr Dembski’s Logos reference, as I have demonstrated) — it is walking on a very dangerous road.

    Against all such agendas of demonisation and dehumanisation, I plead in the voice of the Apostle Paul, echoing his Master:

    Rom 13:8 . . . the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 13:9 For the commandments,7 “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,”8 (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”9 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    1 Cor 13:13:4 Love [try substituting 'Jesus' to see what Paul means here] is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 13:5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. 13:6 It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. 13:7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [NET Bible]

    Finally, shooting at the messenger who brings warnings of danger ahead — which is what your foolish stunt of reporting me to the Homeland Security administration boils down to [doubtless, to get me into the databases on a watch/fishy berhaviour list] — is ANOTHER sign of the breakdown of decent civil democratic culture.

    Surely, you can do better than that!

    GEM of TKI

    PS: HSA Watchers, you may easily enough contact me through my email in the always linked through my name, and get an idea of exactly what I am from the web site thereby linked to. I must ask: What are the procedures for dealing with malicious false reporting of “threats”? (I know US Libel laws — after what happened to Gen Westmoreland — are not worth the paper they are written on.)

    PPS: Mr Macchi, you simply underscore t5he force of the corrective points made to you. UB has replied very soundly, and you would do well to heed him.

  148. Stephen:

    Well said.

    Thanks.

    It is sad that Mr Barrett Brown has clearly resorted to drive-by slander, and plainly has no concerns for the many duties of care connected to publishing articles critical of other people.

    GEM of TKI

  149. PS: It seems the case of the quote-mined Logos reference shredded above is an all too typical illustration of the level [utter want] of analysis in Mr Brown’s “Flock of Dodos [Strawmen],” which is advertised as “a superbly unorthodox, serenely offensive and splendidly hilarious look at the forces behind the most talked-about pseudo-theory in modern history.” In short, the article at HuffPo is part of a longstanding slander campaign on Mr Brown’s part. Those who enable such incivility should think very carefully about the trends they are enabling by praising or distracting from corrections of such slander, and where such a real-world slippery slope historically heads.

  150. 150

    I see that I am being accused of dishonesty and cowardice for not responding to several comments on this blog; this is ironic, as I did respond at around 10:00 pm with an explanation that I had articles to finish though I will respond when I have more time, but my comment is still “awaiting moderation” at the time of this writing, 5:00 am EST, even as some ten other comments have gotten through. Again, I fully intend to finish this argument, but I’ll be doing so from another, more reliable venue. Assuming you get this message, any of you are of course welcome to comment at my Huffington Post blog, where I’ll respond to anyone who cares to question me.

  151. @145 should read, “empirically-based nonotion of the “big bang,” and the Genesis [not Gospel] command, “Let there be light.”

  152. Mr Barry Arrington (and Mr Tom English):

    In response to the slanderous false report of myself as a threat in 143-44 above by Mr English, I have just now filed a false threat report complaint with the US Homeland Security Department, cc blog owner.

    I also note that Mr English took occasion of making such a malicious false report — itself redolent with issues over breakdown of civlity and resort to abuse of policing powers to address differences of opinion [i.e precisely the trend I am warning against] — to violate my privacy.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Mr English [I believe a representative of the anti evolution forum, but I am not sure my memory is accurate on that] doubtless knows how to contact me. If he does so I would be more than happy to communicate to him a copy of my counter complaint on his malicious false threat report intended to block my travel. And I note that such a block is a measurable point of damage so it makes the matter a tort.

  153. Kairosfocus,

    In 143-44, I was satirizing Dembski’s report of Eric Pianka to Homeland Security, which Barrett Brown covers in his article.

    Pianka no more advocated bringing about the death of 90% of the human population than you advocated violence against jeering evolutionists. Both of you merely stated that dire events could be coming our way. Only a propagandist and/or drama queen would represent either of you as a menace to homeland security.

    It’s sad when a bit of obvious humor elicits 908 words of irrelevant response. Will you return now with a doubly-agitated post of 1816 words and four postscripts?

  154. Mr English:

    On the contrary to your just above attempt to deflect my taking seriously your public announcement of a slander-based threat report made against me, you have precisely demonstrated the trend of rising incivility and ideologically driven demonisation that I have wared against.

    [This trend is relevant to the ID controversy, but it ranges far and wide across the culture of our civlisation; for which I am deeply concerned and pessimistic, as a principled small-d democrat. (I need not elaborate my estimate of the general level of "folly-tricks" in our civlisation; beyond using that Caribbean street- pun- in- a- word.) In short, I EXPECT to lose the ideological battle, but as I learned ever so long ago now in Sunday School, "where duty calls for danger, be never wanting there." In short, the virtue and duty of courage does not ask whether one will likely lose or get hurt, but instead: what is the right thing to do.]

    Now, sir, when you put my name out in public in the context of making a false threat report to the Dept of Homelaned Security, you can rest assured that I will take it quite seriously as a move beyond anything that can legitimately be called “satire.”

    As already noted, I have reported you to the Dept for — by your public declaration — filing a malicious false threat, and violating my privacy in the process. Since you explicitly identified a hoped-for point of damage in so reporting me, that makes your malicious report an easily measurable tort.

    You will understand that I will take the announced malicious false report far more seriously than your attempted brushing aside just now as mere “satire.”

    Sorry, I was not born yesterday.

    As to Mr Dembski and Mr Pianka’s public announcements in which he gleefully projected — perilously close to hoping for — the demise of a large fraction of humanity, that is a serious matter; just as new US Science Advisor Mr Holdren’s views published in 1977 on population control etc look — ever so sadly — a lot like genocide advocacy.

    And, all of this aptly underscores my point on leading in, tolerating, enabling or taking advantage of the breakdown of civility and how it converts democracy into mob-ocracy, a prelude to tyranny.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: FYI I am not a “preacher,” and hold relevant qualifications in the physical sciences to speak with some measure of understanding on the intersection between information theory, digital systems theory and bio-information based systems, with applications to both education and general policy and the associated institutional and trans-institutional conflict and change process. As my always linked has long since made plain; for I am an independent ID thinker.

  155. kairosfocus,

    I have just now filed a false threat report complaint with the US Homeland Security Department, cc blog owner.

    This just gets better and better. Evidently you don’t understand the meaning of the word “false.” It’s quite extraordinary to find myself thinking simultaneously of Bill Clinton and Gomer Pyle.

    And I note that such a block is a measurable point of damage so it makes the matter a tort.

    ROTFLOL. Would you like to explain how someone who simply forwarded your comment to Homeland Security (not that anyone with a sense of humor would think I actually did) would expose himself to liability?

  156. TM English,

    Obviously you failed to adequately identify your comment as humor. Fart noises are an authorized identifier here.

  157. A note on cell computation:

    Cells Are Like Robust Computational Systems,
    Excerpt: “We now have reason to think of cells as robust computational devices, employing redundancy in the same way that enables large computing systems, such as Amazon, to keep operating despite the fact that servers routinely fail.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....103205.htm

  158. Mr English:

    I repeat; I was not born yesterday.

    Your onward attempt to turn a serious matter of privacy violation and false threat report to US Homeland Security into “satire” simply underscores the force of the point I have made on the breakdown of civility on ID and many other matters.

    And, let us not forget, the whole point of this thread is that Mr Barrett Brown made a slanderous false allegation against Mr Dembski; in a context of the known theocracy slur.

    I think onlookers can see for themselves why such a malicious false report threat will have to be taken seriously; and why it merits a serious response.

    Which I have taken.

    I guess it is an irony that the current matter so sharply underscores my overall point on where the sort of breakdown of civility that the theocracy slander represents, historically leads.

    GEM of TKI

  159. You are right Kairofocus,,, but they are uncaring and hard hearted to the shocking truth of the matter.

  160. BA:

    Thanks.

    your note is about redundancy in gens that exercise regulatory control on genes — a feature of what would be an operating system in the PC’s on our desktops.

    What I have primarily emphasised is the basic well-known fact that DNA is a digital storage medium for genetic information, based on a four-state discrete — digtal — code. And, that it is used in step by step — algorithmic — implementation of protein synthesis from START to elongation step by step to STOP and then onward header-based dispatch to use sites in the cell [headers being snipped off as appropriate], etc.
    Viruses and regulatory genes of course show how the programs are flexible and in the case of the latter, redundant.

    Mr Macchi and others who take his rhetorical stance, simply further reveal the blatant selective hyperskepticism of their views, and the absurdities it lands them in.

    Here is Crick, as long ago as 1953, on the code based discrete nature of DNA:

    Now we believe that the DNA is a code. That is, the order of bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another)” [From a letter to his son March 19, 1953. cited Thaxton.]

    GEM of TKI

  161. PS: Mr Macchi, FYI, strings of alphabetic letters are a classic example of a digital code system. Your quarrel is not with the ID movement, it is with Sir Francis Crick and the later scientists who identified and characterised the genetic CODE.

  162. 162

    jlid,

    I think you may be overselling your point. If I consider any rock in general, say one I find on a beach, I can’t, nor can anyone, tell you using only the rock – why it is the shape that it is, why it has a chip here or a scratch there, they it’s rounded on one edge, etc. That rock has a history that we don’t know and may never know. That does necessarily mean it’s history is confined to the material, but we have no reason to doubt that as of now, and I believe that would require some positive evidence.

  163. kairosfocus:

    a slander-based threat report made against me

    The burden of proof is on the plaintiff in defamation cases. Quote the factually false statement I made about you, and identify the pecuniary damage you have suffered as a consequence. I’ll be waiting with bated breath.

    privacy violation

    Do you remember Dave Springer telling you to shut up your whining about this? His rationale was perfectly sound.

    And, let us not forget, the whole point of this thread is that Mr Barrett Brown made a slanderous false allegation against Mr Dembski; in a context of the known theocracy slur.

    No, it’s your point, and in your self-importance, you’ve entirely forgotten what Clive actually wrote. There are five instances of satire in the opening article, and none of slander. There is not even the suggestion of slander. No one but you mentioned slander until comment 124.

  164. The first line of the article states:

    “Gene regulatory networks in cell nuclei are similar to cloud computing networks, such as Google or Yahoo!, researchers report today in the online journal Molecular Systems Biology.”

    It is simply amazing that they compare the “simple” cell to the most advanced systems we have in operating systems…

    But the evolutionists confronted with this thinks nothing of mumbling over and over “Evolution did it,,,evolution did it…

    Mindless darwinbots with not an ounce of independent thinking..

    Seems eerily similar to the mindless humans in the movie “Matrix”, who were in reality asleep,,,with “the Matrix” slowly sucking the life out of them.

    Making The Matrix Pod Scene
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTW1wOYsNZc

  165. Talking donkeys aren’t part of the rational universe? Someone please alert Richard Dawkins.

  166. 166

    Re: Talking donkeys
    I once saw (and heard) a talking dummy. Honest, with my own eyes and ears. It was made of wood, but it sounded like a man, and could even converse normally.
    I thought it was just the man sitting behind it who made it appear to talk, but now I realize that explanation is far too simple. I was actually living in an irrational universe.

  167. mr Enfflish:

    thi si what you said:

    [having just quoted the undersigned]

    Anyone who would suggest that allowing people to mock ID and its proponents might lead to bloody conflict is himself a menace. I’m contacting the Department of Homeland Security as soon as I complete this note, to request that Preacher [violates privacy of undersigned] never be granted a U.S. visa.

    There are more than enough violations of duties of care in it to interest those who on your direct statements and implications in 143 – 44 above, seem to have received your malicious false complaint against me. (Tort is more than libel, and libel more than direct statements.)

    As to your insistence on a “right” to violate my privacy, we see in the just cited an apt case of just how you have sought to use the earlier violations of my privacy to make a false and malicious report by name, and thereby impose on me serious administrative penalties that would prejudice my prospects for dealing with officialdom in the US [and since we live in an integrated world where watch lists are obviously shared, internationally].

    And, you have shown not he slightest compunction for what you have done. indeed, your dismissive remarks about “whining” show that you seemingly do not understand the full magnitude of what you have said that you have done.

    Case proved.

    GEM of TKI

  168. pardon:

    Mr English

  169. 169

    T M English,

    Do you remember Dave Springer telling you to shut up your whining about this? His rationale was perfectly sound.

    I won’t tolerate this.

  170. Winston,

    Perhaps; I am curious to see the limits of the argument.

    To continue, while one may find a rock and be unable to exactly explain all of its nicks and scratches etc., explaining the rock itself in principle is very straightforward (even the nicks and scratches are explicable in terms of known physical forces, e.g. abrasion). Again, one need only appeal to the physical and chemical properties of the lava or magma which preceded it. Physical knowledge of the elements and compounds are sufficient to explain how the rock formed. Even if earth were no longer volcanically active, it would be a straightforward activity to recreate igneous rocks by gathering the appropriate materials and subjecting them to a particular physical scenario (e.g. heat and then cooling). The physical and chemical properties take care of the rest.

    It is not the same with DNA. We are yet unable to recreate the origin of genetic information, though probably thousands of different physical scenarios have been tried. Unlike our igneous rock, there are no straightforward physical or chemical properties of the elements themselves that explain the DNA, just as there is nothing in the properties of the elements of my laptop to explain the origin of my laptop.

    Are there any other analogues in nature to the problem of the origin of life? Any other natural phenomena that are not straightforwardly explained by the physical and chemical properties and laws, once we understand the properties and laws?

  171. Tom, it’s all fun and games until someone gets yanked out of bed in the middle of the night and grilled by an agent named Callahan who has dog breath and won’t let them lawyer up because all of their so-called rights went out the window the moment they became a suspected terrorist and they’re just lucky he doesn’t have his Cheney-approved waterboard handy. I hope you’re happy.

  172. One of the hallmarks of naive citizens is that they take freedom for granted even as they sleep while their civil liberties are being taken away.

    The Department of U.S. Homeland Security issued a nine page document entitled, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” This report is obviously politically motivated and seeks to target individuals who have strong social and political views on such subjects as abortion, homosexual marriage, and other topics supported by the current administration.

    The document targets conservative minded individuals in the U.S. that “may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration, as well as groups that “reject federal authority in favor of state of local authority, implying that such are “antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues.”

    the loss of civil liberties. Darwinists tend not to understand liberty, which is why they often abuse it to the extent that they have it, as did T M English when he “outed” his adversary.

    Not one Darwinist here, for example, has ever lamented the loss of freedoms exposed in the movie “Expelled.” They are happy when their adversaries is forbidden to or prevented from expressing themselves, which is not unrelated to the fact that their failed paradigm survives only throught a tyrannical educational system.

  173. Well, my post jumped the gun before I was able to correct the grammatical errors, but I think you get the drift. (They [Darwinists are happy when their adversaries [ARE] forbiddn to or prevented from expressing themselves, which is not unrelated to the fact that their failed paradigm survives only through a tyrannical educational system.)

  174. Since I’m not getting my own tyhread, here goes…

    riddick,

    “Please tell us how “talking donkeys are not part of a rational universe.””

    Donkeys can’t talk, don’t talk and never have talked.

    “I agree that a talking donkey is an unusual event. Though we probably agree that such a phenomenon may violate certain physical laws, I fail to see how it violates logical laws.”

    It is logical that donkeys can’t talk and that they never have talked.

    Clive Hayden,

    “And it’s somehow normal that you should talk?”

    Why shouldn’t I talk?

    “I don’t think you understand the gravity of the peculiarity of existence itself. It’s no stranger that a donkey should talk than a parrot, or us for that matter.”

    So what would a parrot and a donkey have a conversation about?

    “You could only take it for granted that you talk, but thinking that it is some necessity of nature that you should talk, is only to not really understand what you mean.”

    Could you please rephrase this as a question?

    “The fact that there is a donkey at all is no less strange than that it should talk. They are both baffling phenomena, the one no less than the other.”

    So if I told you that I saw a donkey surfing while texting on a mobile ‘phone, you would believe me?

    “You have no reason to assume one (donkey’s existing at all) as normal, and the other (donkey’s talking) as strange; you’ve only gotten used to the one and convinced yourself that you can then make a comparison as to what constitutes normality and strangeness.”

    If only you could turn this into a film script; imagine: Planet of the Donkeys: They can Talk!

    “But there is no logical (that is, rational) reason, outside of repetition of experience, to make this claim. So you’ve confused yourself that you understand more than you do, and think that you can make a comparison between two black riddles as if they together make up a white answer.”

    No inference to a-telic non-talking donkeys? Are we not doing science here?

    “They don’t. Not when you really come to understand the situation of existence for what it is, and on that we must remain agnostic, for we have no insight into nature of the sort required. We can only measure effects and record repetitions, but these are descriptions, not explanations of Nature. And you’re confused if you mistake them for explanations, and then think you can use descriptions against other questions of explanation in Nature by comparison. You cannot.”

    …but I just did?

    StephenB,

    “OK, I got it. Well, I consider a talking donkey in that context to be a miraculous event, inasmuch as God is reported to “open the donkey’s mouth,” which is symbolic, of course, for providing it with the extraordinary gift of speech.”

    So it’s a synbolic miracle by God that made the donkey look like it was talking?

    “So, the relevant question would be this: Do miracles violate the rational nature of the world. The obvious answer is no, since it is only by means of the world’s rational nature that we can recognize a miracle.”

    How do you rationally recognize a miracle? And can you give a working example?

    “By the way, if the universe wasn’t rational, and, if you didn’t sense that it was, in spite of your protests, you would not be scandalized by a talking donkey, since there would be no reason for being scandalized. On the contrary, it is becaused you think that talking donkeys violate the rational order of the world that you raised the issue.”

    More ideas for Clive’s script, great!

    “At the same time, it is clear that you reject in principle the possibility that miracles could occur in any context. Yet, plenty of people in the New Testament observed miracles, and eyewitness testimony constitutes good evidence. So, if you think miracles are “absurd,” that is only because your ideology prompts you to reject them apriori.”

    There’s a documentary film series I think you would enjoy, it’s called: Harry Potter.

    vjtorley

    “For what it’s worth, I’ll second your request. I think your question, “Are talking donkeys part of a rational universe?” is a philosophically interesting one.”

    It’s the though that counts…but it’s not looking good.

    “To suppose that a donkey once talked would therefore imply supposing that some intelligent being, who was not a donkey, commandeered the donkey’s vocal cords for a short interval and made it issue forth with a stream of sound, which a human person standing nearby was able to recognize as a sentence in his/her language.”

    So the donkey was just acting a kind of microphone for an “intelligent being”? By what mechanism was the commed issued and executed?

    “That is an extremely odd thing to do, as I think you will agree. However, it would not (as far as I can tell) require the violation of any law of nature. Hence a talking donkey is not only logically possible, but nomologically possible. All it requires is the presence of an intelligent being who is capable of making the donkey produce a stream of meaningful discourse – and who would want to do such a thing.”

    How would this work in the case of a talking bush?

    “I should add that this is a scenario that not even an atheist could rule out. After all, it is quite possible that intelligent beings other than humans exist in the cosmos. If other intelligent life forms exist, they are likely to be technologically far ahead of us. Hence by Arthur C. Clarke’s 3rd law, which states that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” it is quite possible that some aliens have the technological wherewithal to make donkeys talk. As we know nothing about said aliens, we have no idea whether some of them occasionally engage in such feats, just for the fun of it.”

    Planet of the Donkeys 2: The Aliens Return!

    “As regards the talking donkey, the only substantive point on which Christians differ from atheists is that Christians additionally believe that a disembodied being (God, or some angel) could perform such a feat. Traditionally, Christians have held that an angel was responsible. The larger question here is: is disembodied agency part of a rational universe? Now that’s certainly worth a post of its own.”

    Planet of the Donkeys 3: Aliens versus Disembodied Agents

    lamarck,

    “My posts by no means “swamp” yours and I take umbrage to what you imply.”

    I didn’t mantion your posts specifically, I said: “…[The 'donkey'question' is] being swamped by whatever else is going on this thread.”

    “I suggest you drink a red bull, go do some parachute wind sprints, and type up an article and submit it. Initiative. You could call it “Megan’s donkey”, like shrodinger’s cat.”

    Submit the article here?

    KF,

    “Similarly, MeganC, you need to keep things in proportion to the serious issues on the table.”

    Why do you seriously disregard the issue of talking donkeys, on the issues?

    “You may think miracles are inherently irrational or chaotic, a la Lewontin et al. On this one, you are up against the likes of Newton, Pascal and many other founders of modern science of like weight, and a considerable body of serious evidence and argument.”

    Have you encountered a rational miracle? If so, is it repeatable and/or testable, if only in principle, on the merits, after teatime?

    “But, in a context of evidently willful poisoning of the atmosphere for civil discussion, such is at best a distractive side issue: SLANDER is what is on the table, and people of good will must now come to the defense of civil society. THAT is what is at stake.”

    No, yes, maybe and only a good oil-soaked movie script is at stake at the moment.

  175. 175

    MeganC,

    I could give you several paragraphs on the talking donkey. Someone else might give you several paragraphs and say something else. Still someone else might disagree with both of us and agree with you that no donkey has ever talked.
    The point? It has nothing to do with ID.

    Besides, if you claim that the first cell or even some simpler form of life was a random chemical accident, you have forfeited the privilege of calling anything impossible, unlikely, or irrational, ever. The bar of acceptance cannot be set any lower.

  176. Megan,

    I believe Stephen has nailed it, in that you believe miracles do not ever happen ever. Yet to believe this you would have to believe that “reality” itself was not a miracle:

    “To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.”
    —Walt Whitman

    Like Whitman I consider my existence a miracle.

    But to go further you would have to explain the foundation of reality itself in “non-miracle” terms, but this is not possible for you since reality is based on principles that blatantly defy our concepts of time and space;

    The Electron – The Supernatural Basis of Reality – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv_YQl6XSMM

    The Miraculous Foundation of Reality – Dr. Quantum – Double Slit & Entanglement – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzQuU6FpYAk

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    It seems to me Megan you are approaching the whole issue from the wrong direction, It seems you should be asking if miracles are possible from what we know of the basis of reality, instead of excluding miracles from what you have presumed to be a non-miracle basis of reality.

  177. Excuse me, I meant:

    I believe ScottAndrews has nailed it,

  178. bornagain77,

    Do you by any chance have any videos of talking donkeys (besides Shrek)?

  179. Megan:

    Talking Donkey?
    Francis Imparting Some Intelligence
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X4N1lDfxXk

  180. 180

    MeganC,
    Having a serious discussion can be exasperating enough at times, but providing amusement for you is a waste of energy.

  181. Way up in 17 Gil Dodgen says, “My wife’s cousin is an extraordinarily bright and talented engineer …” Unlike Gil I come from a blue collar background and none of my extended family has ever expressed any credulity Darwinwise.

    Why would that be?

    I’d certainly never claim that any of my tribe are as bright as Gil’s wife’s cousin, so why should they be wiser in regard to this particular subject?

    Let me suggest that it’s a matter of indoctrination and “expertism”. One’s professors need never have defended Darwin, never have openly professed him in class, and yet the bright college student soon learns that all the bright folks are believers, and if he wants to belong to the smart crowd he doesn’t question. He may become highly skilled or knowledgible in a particular field and consequently respect his teachers and fellow practitioners, and such respect and trust tends to cross over to experts in other fields.

    Heresy is a much more serious matter among the priesthood or intelligentsia than it is among the commoners. A commoner can question authority and who really cares? It’s when the priests begin to question that the magisterium feels threatened.

    And so I have to say that when I meet up with blue collar relatives or friends I haven’t seen in a while I generally find that they are attuned to ID, interested, even so much as to be familiar with some of the lit.

  182. bornagain77,

    I said donkey, not mule; learn the difference.

  183. What’s all this donkey business?

    You talking about Balaam’s ass? If so where’s your imagination? Can’t you imagine aliens of a superior technology—say a technology that could have created life and the ass and man in the first place—intervening to give the ass a boost?

    As Arthur C Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

  184. *StephenB

    —MeganC

    *Well, I consider a talking donkey in that context to be a miraculous event, inasmuch as God is reported to “open the donkey’s mouth,” which is symbolic, of course, for providing it with the extraordinary gift of speech.”

    —-MeganC: “So it’s a synbolic miracle by God that made the donkey look like it was talking?”

    No, it’s a symbolic account of a real miracle. You are not doing well with your analysis inasmuch as the phrase “extraordinary gift of speech” connotes a real event.

    —-“How do you rationally recognize a miracle? And can you give a working example?”

    You rationally recognize a miracle by understanding that the God who created and sustains the laws of nature, also has the power to bypass those laws at any time. The universe is rational because God made it that way. Rational universes don’t just appear out of the blue, regardless of what your Darwinist friends tell you. A working example of a miracle would be a miraculous healing that cannot be explained by medical doctors. Another example would be Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Another example would be Jesus raising himself from the dead—–all real events that have occurred in time space history and verified by eyewitness testimony. Of course, your talking donkey would also qualify as a working example, which causes me to wonder why you would raise a question to which you have already been provided an answer.

    *By the way, if the universe wasn’t rational, and, if you didn’t sense that it was, in spite of your protests, you would not be scandalized by a talking donkey, since there would be no reason for being scandalized. On the contrary, it is because you think that talking donkeys violate the rational order of the world that you raised the issue.”

    —- “More ideas for Clive’s script, great!”

    You are still not doing very well with your analysis as you obviously did not understand my point. Try again.

    *At the same time, it is clear that you reject in principle the possibility that miracles could occur in any context. Yet, plenty of people in the New Testament observed miracles, and eyewitness testimony constitutes good evidence. So, if you think miracles are “absurd,” that is only because your ideology prompts you to reject them apriori.”

    —-“There’s a documentary film series I think you would enjoy, it’s called: Harry Potter.”

    A more intelligent response would have been this: “Sure, I reject miracles, because science has declared them to be impossible.” Or, “You cannot justify miracles and you violate the principles of rationality by accepting the possibility. It would have been incorrect, of course, but it would have been more thoughtful. As it is, no one knows whether you are trying to lampoon me or whether you are tacitly declaring your own skepticism. Again, humor is effective only when it follows sound analysis.

  185. Since the Darwinists have derailed the thread with discussions about talking donkeys and rationalizations about violating kairosfocus’s privacy, I hasten to remind everyone that Barrett Brown still stands refuted and exposed @146 for dishonestly referring to Dembski as a liar.

  186. Megan states:

    I said donkey, not mule; learn the difference.

    in response to this video of a mule talking:

    Francis Imparting Some Intelligence
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X4N1lDfxXk

    So talking mules are part of a rational universe for you but talking donkeys are not?

  187. Inasmuch as Barrett Brown reports that he has been held up in moderation, I retract my comments indicating that he is not willing to defend his remarks.

  188. StephenB,

    Darwinists tend not to understand liberty, which is why they often abuse it to the extent that they have it, as did T M English when he “outed” his adversary.

    Not one Darwinist here, for example, has ever lamented the loss of freedoms exposed in the movie “Expelled.”

    This is polymorphously ironic.

    First, I was expelled, along with Charles Foster Johnson, from Mississippi College, which deemed itself the “sister institution of Baylor,” after writing about insane gender discrimination at the school.* Our fellow students organized a press conference, to be held at the on-campus chapel, and the administration foolishly banned the event. So the students crossed the street and held the conference on the steps leading up to the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Clinton. The expulsion got weekend newspaper coverage throughout the state, and radio coverage in the Jackson area for a day. Faculty members joined in the protest, and the administration backed down. A couple years later, however, the president of the school, Lewis Nobles,** vetoed the English department’s decision to employ me as a graduate teaching assistant.

    Second, when Baylor removed Bob Mark’s pages for the Evolutionary Informatics Lab from its server, I protested on the Web and in private correspondence with Baylor administrators and regents. I also joined the EIL as an affiliate for a time. My feeling was that others had stood up for me, and that it was my turn to stand up for someone. Furthermore, I believe that it is most important to support free expression of the ideas that you find most objectionable. (Some of you may recognize my allusion to a court decision on flag burning.)

    Third, you are complaining about my exercise of free speech. When someone signs his comments with his initials, refers all “onlookers” to his off-site writings, and divulges both his nationality and country of residence, he has retained no privacy to weigh in the balance against my freedom of expression.

    *[Mississippi College required female, and not male, students to be in their dormitories at certain hours. The oldest dorm had fire escapes, and the administration nailed shut the windows opening on them to keep women from violating hours. It took an order from the city fire marshal to get the school to remove the nails.

    Mississippi College was also contesting a federal-court injunction to release its pay records. When the administration finally complied, it came to light that the salaries of female faculty members were about 80% of those of their male counterparts. It was common to hear in those days the interpretation of "help meet" as "second income," along with the conclusion that women need not earn as much as men for their contributions to the Christian mission of the institution.]

    **[Lewis Nobles became (in)famous when he was convicted for embezzling $3 million from the school. He was even the butt of a joke in a Leno monologue.]

  189. R0b,

    Tom, it’s all fun and games until someone gets yanked out of bed in the middle of the night and grilled by an agent named Callahan who has dog breath and won’t let them lawyer up because all of their so-called rights went out the window the moment they became a suspected terrorist and they’re just lucky he doesn’t have his Cheney-approved waterboard handy. I hope you’re happy.

    I flew on airliners shortly after 9/11 without an iota of trepidation, and I will continue to joke. It makes me much happier than I would be if I joined the masses who have forgotten entirely, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” and who plead instead, “Take my liberty; just don’t let me die.”

    As it happens, a former student — an Army captain in uniform — once approached when I was at the ticket counter in an airport, and made some silly joke about me. Of course, I was detained. The captain was terribly embarrassed, but I didn’t hold it against him.

    I assure you, I deplore the million-person watch list, breast-groping searches, and sundry related symptoms of a citizenry that prefers the illusion of risk elimination to the ideal of personal freedom.

  190. Come on, Clive, take me out of moderation. Not since I was a child have I told anyone to “shut up.” Look over my past comments, and you’ll see that it’s not at all my style. I was relating Dave Springer’s response to kairosfocus’ repeated complaints about violation of his privacy.

    I generally do not tease people here, but KF was making such an easy target of himself that I got carried away. It truly is very easy to pull his chain. I apologize for working him into a tizz.

    As someone who has investigated what Bob Marks calls evolutionary informatics for 15 years, who reads the technical papers of Dembski and Marks carefully, and who responds to them thoughtfully, I’d like to keep posting here under my own name.

  191. —T M English: “I assure you, I deplore the million-person watch list, breast-groping searches, and sundry related symptoms of a citizenry that prefers the illusion of risk elimination to the ideal of personal freedom.”

    You value personal freedom do you? How is it, then, that you don’t value a blogger’s freedom to decide when he will use a psuedonym and when he will not? Is it your personal philosophy that an individual should not have the privilege of setting personal boundaries in his correspondences and to decide when and under what circumstances those boundaries can be permeated? If so, I would be interested in knowing more about the moral framework that informs those kinds of convictions.

  192. 192

    T M English,

    Come on, Clive, take me out of moderation.

    No.

  193. StephenB (#187) wrote: “Inasmuch as Barrett Brown reports that he has been held up in moderation, I retract my comments indicating that he is not willing to defend his remarks.

    Don’t forget, there are two (or more?) tiers of participation here. Some of us are delayed in the moderation queue for hours or days, and some of our comments don’t see the light of day at all.

  194. “Rude” (#181) wrote: “…when I meet up with blue collar relatives or friends I haven’t seen in a while I generally find that they are attuned to ID, interested, even so much as to be familiar with some of the lit.

    The great majority of “blue collar” folks I meet with are far more likely to be attuned / interested in good old-fashioned creationism than intelligent design. And those that have heard of intelligent design seem to think it is significantly similar to (if not the same as) creationism.

    So are your blue collar relatives / friends attuned / interested / familiar with creationism as well as with intelligent design? And how well do they know the difference?

  195. —-T M English: “Second, when Baylor removed Bob Mark’s pages for the Evolutionary Informatics Lab from its server, I protested on the Web and in private correspondence with Baylor administrators and regents. I also joined the EIL as an affiliate for a time. My feeling was that others had stood up for me, and that it was my turn to stand up for someone. Furthermore, I believe that it is most important to support free expression of the ideas that you find most objectionable.”

    I didn’t know that. Under the circumstances, I will happily remove your name from my roster of happy Darwinists who cheered when Professor Marks was expelled. As a glorious exception to the rule, you do not deserve to be charged for positions that you do not hold, even if most of your colleagues did celebrate the event that you allude to. That is why I was offended by Barrett Browns comments about William Dembski, which were clearly misguided, as I made clear at 146.

    On the matter of “outing” kairosfocus, it was, in my judgment, the combination of the disclosure and its association with the “Homeland Security” [and the uncomplimentary characterizations] that went over the line. As I pointed out earlier, the Department of Homeland Security is not a politically neutral organization, and I have no idea how seriously they go after their ideological adversaries, but I do know for a fact that they have them in their sights.

    Meanwhile, your moderation probably will not last very long. Clive Hayden does not treat his adversaries the way the academy treat us, so you will likely be back in business before you know it.

  196. I wrote a little while ago (#194) that “The great majority of “blue collar” folks I meet with are far more likely to be attuned / interested in good old-fashioned creationism than intelligent design.

    And I just found this: “An Aug. 5-7 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans to rate whether each of the three theories were definitely true, probably true, probably false, or definitely false. Fifty-eight percent said creationism was definitely or probably true, but a majority, 55%, also said evolution was definitely or probably true. One in three Americans believe the evolution explanation is false. Fewer believe intelligent design is true, likely because a significant proportion of the public is unfamiliar with the term (28%, while an additional 9% did not have an opinion).

  197. 197

    Winston,

    It is true that sometimes there can be no amount of evidence that can force one to reconsider their thoughts. Its a personal choice one has to make.

    There are no physical bonds that cause any nucleotide in DNA to either precede or follow any other nucleotide in DNA. (Replication has nothing to do with it).

    Sit down with an actual printout of a DNA sequence, and perhaps you’ll understand what is at issue.

    As a side note, you might carefully consider why so many biologists, mathematicians, and theorists are trying to understand the origin of the code (the source of why one nucleotide follows another).

    I have a feeling if it ever gets out that all they needed to do is read UD. well… :)

  198. Participants and observers:

    A footnote or two:

    1] Handles and mens rea vs dismissal of “whining”

    The recent exchange above occasioned by TME’s attempt to justify his misbehaviour by reference to “whining” has shown a further excellent reason to use a handle rather than a personal name: just as a modest lock on an equally modest door plainly cannot block a determined break-in but do prove forced entry towards mens rea, the violation of privacy involved in “outing” someone [as was done above] proves malicious intent.

    (And, notice how the “magic” of mentality and the linked issue of empirically grounded inference to design on evidence are is deeply embedded in the routine and vital concerns of justice. [This is of course also closely connected tot he central issue at stake in this blog and in the wider debate over design as a legitimate, empirically detectable feature of the real world, per reliable signs.])

    2] The issue in the main

    Now, too, the initial issue in this blog is quite serious indeed, as SB has just summarised: Mr Barrett Brown has demonstrably slanderously and falsely accused Dr Dembski of “lying,” in the context of an insinuation that Dr Dembski is doing so to conceal a hidden tyrannical theocratic agenda, in a recent blog post at HuffPo.

    Above, culminating in a step by step demonstration based on citations form the Touchstone article of 1999 in 104-5 and aptly summarised by SB in 146, it has been shown beyond reasonable doubt that this is a slanderous false accusation. (And, since we see other moderated persons — where, the above exercise in thought police tactics by TME shows why that is sometimes necessary — being released well within a day, it is clear that BB has problems addressing the issue on the merits.)

    Worse, it seems that Mr Brown has long sustained and sought to profit from such slanders, having published a book that gives far and wide sustained circulation to easily proved false accusations. A book that is still advertised on the Internet, even after it has been pointed out — and demonstrated — to the author, e.g. above, that he is slandering and falsely accusing people.

    That too, we need to take very seriously indeed, and think through what the rising prevalence of such mischief means for our civlisation.

    3] Distractors/red herrings and other enabling behaviour:

    When such serious matters are on the table as the above, to insist on relatively minor side issues is distractive to the point of being a red herring. Moreover, when such side issues are insisted on in the teeth of long since being cogently answered, it raises quesitons as to whrter the matters are being raised for their own sake or because they are providing a handy ink cloud behind which a squid in trouble can withdraw at speed.

    Worse, such is in effect in support of the plainly utterly indefensible.

    That is, it plainly constitutes enabling behaviour for uncivil conduct; which is corrupting the vital public square of our civilisation.

    ______________

    Let us draw the sobering lessons we need to from what has transpired before our eyes over the past few days, and then let us arise and defend not merely civility but what it protects: our civlisation.

    GEM of TKI

  199. 199

    Gordon: you haven’t been “outed” by Mr. English. Your name has been known for a good long while now, having first appeared (as far as I know) on this blog over a year ago. You complained and requested moderator intervention. DaveScot granted that request, only to rescind the banning that resulted a few hours later:

    DaveScot

    08/04/2008

    9:18 pm

    Sorry Sparc. You’re back.

    KairosFocus: Stop complaining about people using your real name here. You link to your website constantly and your real name appears on it. Fix it yourself one way or the other but don’t expect us to waste our time on it anymore.

    So, as many onlookers have surely noted well, your name is just about the worst-kept secret ever. All one need do is take you up on one of those always-offered invitations to consult your “always linked” and then visit your homepage via another link you kindly provide at the bottom. Lo and behold, one sees a title:

    The Kairos Focus

    and finds out that:

    This web page was created by Gordon Mullings

    and then, after following one more link, learns that this Gordon guy is part of something called “The Kairos Initiative”. Well, golly gee! Whoever could this Kairosfocus person who’s always signing his posts on UD with “GEM of TKI” be? Hardly a mystery for the ages (and that’s without even bothering to take into account the various biographical details, like your island-of-residence, that you regularly volunteer here, typically apropos of nothing).

    And, as a quick Google search with the terms “gordon”, “mullings” and “materialism” reveals, you posted under your own name at various blogs back in 2005 and 2006. There’s no mistaking that inimitable style, including posts with links to what looks like an earlier iteration of that which is “always linked”, catchphrases like “selective hyperskepticism”, “onlookers” and “functionally specified, complex information”, and even one signed “GEM”!

    So, the only one to blame for your “violated” privacy here is you: you have outed yourself Gordon E. Mullings of The Kairos Initiative.

  200. Doomsday Smith:

    GEM of TKI’s ‘issues’ with his own name might not be his fault, it could be this:

    Auto-Nomatophobia

    That said, he has certainly made almost no effort to conceal his identity so his hysterical complaints about invasions of privacy are just more clouds of burning oil-of-pomposity.

    BB of IM

  201. DS:

    You have again failed to recognise that there is a vast difference between having accessible information which can be taken for responsible use, and trumpeting personal information in a context of blatant abuse and malicious intent.

    In short, your just above post shows utter disrespect and uncivil behaviour.

    Perhaps it has not crossed your mind that the immediate context for the stunt you just pulled — obviously hoping to silence me through personally harmful attack [i guess, among other things I can expect a spam wave . . . ] — is one in which (i) TME has stated 24 hours ago or so, that he was going to report me as a security threat to the Homeland Security Dept of the US, and (ii) a bit later, he claimed to report on a part of the conversation in making that thought-police accusation?

    In short, you have only succeeded in indulging in further violation of my privacy — breaking a basic rule of respect — and showing your own MENS REA through enabling behaviour for false accusation.

    And, that is certainly a major part of “outing” behaviour.

    Moreover, this is all in the further context that the original and main issue in this thread is that Mr Barrett Brown has slandered Wm Dembski in a recent column at HuffPo.

    Worse, that is in the yet further context of a book that seems to be premised on the same false accusations. That is, Mr Brown has sought to PROFIT by slandering people.

    And, now, what do we see, once that is laid out?

    1 –> Having been confronted on the false accusations and refuted on them, we have seen no substantial or serious response,

    2 –> Only proxies showing up here and dragging red herrings across the track of the truth, and led out to ad hominem- soaked strawmen ignited to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere.

    3 –> In short, we see ever more signs of MENS REA at work.

    4 –> All, precisely trending to the damage of civility and the delicate liberties that it protects. (Which is exactly the point that triggered TME’s thought police tactics.)

    5 –> Or, do we need to explicitly cite the Saul Alinski rules and tactics that are at work on this?

    ‘you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments.’ . . . .

    “The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are to be displace by new patterns…. All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.” . . . .

    Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

    “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

    “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

    FYI, Mr Alinski was a communist agitator seeking to overthrow democratic civilisation by eating the heart out of its culture and undermining the legitimacy of key institutions. Then, out of the resulting chaos, the revolutionaries would seize power. To what likely end, 100 million ghosts from the past century can all too vividly tell us.

    Shame on you!

    GEM of TKI

  202. BB:

    You are simply joining in the enabling behaviour — for multiple layers of slander.

    Now, basic broutghtupcy 101: it is a basic standard of civility to respect others and their reasonable expectations or requests.

    You have disregarded this, and seem to think that adding to the cloud of smoke from burning strawmen soaked in ad hominems is a contribution to he progress of the thread.

    Let us compare the “balance” of “offenses” here:

    B Brown; Slander and seeking to profit from it.

    TME: threatening or actually carrying out a false threat report to the US Department of Homeland Security, including violation of privacy in so doing. [FYI, compare the principle of a modest door and a lock on it: not "everything-proof" against invasion, but a barrier that is crossed only by demonstrating MENS REA. (That is one function of a handle; as you and your ilk have now demonstrated to all onlookers beyond reasonable doubt. Shouldn't you be proud?)]

    KF: maintaining a link to a web site with accountability information on contributions made on important but controversial matters. Also — showed that BB has slandered WD.

    DS & BillB: Jumping up and down and cheering on the violation of privacy.

    In short, it is plain that all you have succeeded in doing is revealing your own MENS REA.

    GEM of TKI

  203. Clive:

    An observation: basic civility and respect have shown their central importance to having a reasonable conversation on a blog, over the past day or so.

    A suggestion: insistent incivlity and disrespect should be considered undermining and distractive offenses agains the purpose of the blog. And, it is a plain violation of the trust implied by granting automatic posting privileges. [That is, it should be underscored that automatic posting is a privilege earned a preserved by showing trustworthiness through civility and cogency.]

    GEM of TKI

  204. PS: Cogency? [Yes, as that is the reason for the Weak Argument Correctives.]

  205. PPS: Clive, I should probably underscore that the issue is — per Alinski’s rules of subversion — among other things the disorganisation of civility-protecting policies at UD, in order to help remake UD in the image of the Darwinista objectors [any serious pro-ID post will be swarmed under by a cloud of Darwinista shut-up rhetoric objections, without regard to limits of decency]. And, of course, if you fail to do as they want, they will forever object that you are a hypocrite — another Alinski tactic. But,the above thread abundantly vindicates the reason for the resolute defense of civility, including through reasonable disciplinary measures.

  206. KF,

    As I suspected and your post at 203 demonstrates, this self generated outrage is simply a rather pathetic attempt to persuade Clive to ban all the people on this website who disagree with you.

    You consistently show a lack of respect, both for individual viewpoints that are different than your own, and for scientific evidence and process, so why are you surprised when people treat you the same way?

    Referring to you by your own name, the one which you use on your own website, which you link to and which you base your GEM of TKI on is NOT SLANDER nor is it UNCIVIL. Please show some respect for the English language and for others on this site; Stop throwing mud around.

    Shame on you.

    showed that BB has slandered WD.

    No I didn’t, that’s slander, I expect your apology.

  207. BillB:

    1] Your behaviour has manifestly been uncivil and disrespectful, including providing enabling behaviour to those who HAVE slandered and/or threatened to or carried out thought police tactics; as is plain from my context above. [Sb is right that context is a definite problem for many of the objectors we see here at UD.]

    2] I have not been disrespectful to people, but have been challenging to ideas, and have consistently addre4ssed them on the merits, with abundant evidence, as say my always linked will easily substantiate. In short, you have now indulged in yet another selectively hyperskeptical tactic, the turnabout accusation.

    3] As the above linked rules on moderation state and/or imply, automatic posting is a privilege that is conditional on proving oneself trustworthy.

    4] Losing that privilege for cause — as has happened in all too many cases, especially on the Darwinist side — is not uncivil behaviour on t6he part of those tasked to keep the discussion civil and on target, despite your turnabout false accusation just now.

    5] nor, is requesting that he rule be clearly and explicitly [re-]stated and enforced in light of current developments. (These include abuse of my name and other information, in the further context of a threatened or actually carried out false reporting of the undersigned as a security threat to be put on watch lists, and the yet further context of an unresolved case of slander and profiting from slander by Mr Brown.

    _________

    I hold no power at UD, so as a concerned contributor to discussion who has been abused as just outlined, I have suggested a clarification to the rules, which I believe is eminently defensible in the face of what you and your ilk have done.

    And in closing: again, you have adequate handles to address me without using my personal name [which is made accessible for responsible use at an external site], adn those who have sought to use my name to get me in trouble with international policing agencies or just to threaten such HAVE committed slander. Willful enabling behaviour that then provides a handy ink-cloud to cover the withdrawal of slanderers or worse at speed, is utterly uncivil conduct.

    G’day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

  208. KF,

    I have never used your name, or reported you to the authorities. Other people have used your name, which appeared on your ‘always linked’ with no note to the effect that you find your name offensive or its use to be a violation of privacy. No one related to this site has reported you to the authorities as far as I am aware. This all appears to be an elaborate fantasy based on your sense of humour failure in relation to the satirising of WD’s own antics.

    Your attempt to connect me to some imagined campaign to slander you is simply disgraceful. You evidently believe that you are ‘without sin’ because you so love to cast stones.

  209. Mr BillB,

    showed that BB has slandered WD.

    No I didn’t, that’s slander, I expect your apology.

    KF-san was using BB for Barrett Brown here, even though he had started the post with BB meaning the post was addressed to you. With all the sturm und drang, we don’t need accidental slights to add to the confusion.

  210. Nakashima,

    Well caught, I retract my tongue in cheek accusation and apologise for the mistake.

    Thanks.

  211. Paul Burnett 194,

    So are your blue collar relatives / friends attuned / interested / familiar with creationism as well as with intelligent design? And how well do they know the difference?

    Good question.

    As for my blue collar relatives, they’re more of an unchurched and/or heretical genre and thus more prone to slough off the pronouncements of sectarians be they of the Church or Concensus Science. I know of none who are YECs.

    But you’re right—those outside the academy or power elite or otherwise untouched by the urge to be accepted tend to be more open to heretical ideas. What I hate most are the conspiracy theories (of which thankfully my rels seem mostly immune). It is wrong to repeat tales that perhaps could be true, where there is seemingly some indirect evidence, but are at best only a hypothesis of evil. An evil report (the biblical dibbah ra‘ah) goes contrary to all Judeo-Christian ethics and is a grievous sin. But then, as it turns out, today’s elites tend to be as guilty of this as the plebs (as re, for ex., 9/11 conspiracy theories).

    I’ve worked at blue collar jobs as also in the academy, and have encountered good and evil and the bright and the stupid in each. Each station in life has its opportunities for virtue and its temptations for evil. Envy and resentment lurk in the woodwork for all—see George Gilder’s The Israel Test (Richard Vigilante Books, 2009)—a must read.

  212. 212

    BillB,

    That said, he has certainly made almost no effort to conceal his identity so his hysterical complaints about invasions of privacy are just more clouds of burning oil-of-pomposity.

    You will respect kairosfocus’s wishes and refrain from using his real name, as will everyone else here.

  213. 213

    Sorry, Clive, I didn’t see that until I submitted that post.

  214. Clive:
    I have never used that persons real name so in that regard I have always respected his wishes.

    You ought to point out to him that others who arrive here and use his name might not know that he finds it offensive (It certainly is rather odd behaviour) so his protestations about slander should be witheld until after a polite request for people to stop has been ignored.

  215. Excuse me Clive, may I ask what grade BillB and Doomsday Smith are currently in?

  216. Now that we have settled the issue of talking donkeys [I hope] and established the fact that kairosfocus is free to establish his communicative boundaries in spite of his adversaries’ wishes to deny him that privilege, I hasten to remind everyone that Barrett Brown, the subject of this thread, still stands accused of dishonestly accusing William Dembski if lying.

    At 146, I provided a summary of the reasons why this outrageous charge is one more example of Darwinists’ incapacity to reason in context. A day or so ago, Mr. Barrett persuaded me that UD’s moderation policy and his own time demands were hampering his ability to respond to my post. Further, he invited me to visit the Huffington Post, implying that he would be happy to engage me there. (This is the second time this week someone has withdrawn from dialogue while suggesting that another venue would solve the problem.) I am not sure how that works. If he didn’t have time anyway, then the moderation didn’t slow him down; if the moderation policy slowed him down, then he apparently had the time. If he has time to indulge me on his own website, why doesn’t he have time to do it here? In any case, he indicated that he would eventually make it a point to defend his comments.

    Taking him at his word, and ignoring his seemingly contradictory reasons for not responding, I retracted my earlier charge that he was unwilling to defend his remarks. Make no mistake, however, I was not nor do I retract my charges against him, I am simply giving him the benefit of the doubt concerning his motives for not responding. His charges are indefensible, and, as I stated earlier, the residual effect of his incapacity to understand the context principle involved in interdisciplinary communication.

    So, the question is this: Why do Darwinists fail to understand “context.” For one thing, having renounced the principles of right reason and logic [they do it on this site regularly], they end up renouncing reason itself and the object toward which it aims, namely truth. Sometimes, the process is reversed, that is, sometimes they renounce truth as a destination and follow up by renouncing reason, which is the vehicle by which we arrive at it. (What good is the vehicle is there is no destination). Either way, their skepticism renders them incapable of understanding the various aspects of truth, which manifest themselves in theology, philosophy, science, and other disciplines. (By the way, it also renders them incapable of distinguishing motives from methods and presuppositions from inferences). Following the lead of the postmodernists, they cling to the idea that truth is subjective; that we can make it up as we go along, or, that we can “socially construct it,”— that it is “created in context.” No. It is discovered and understood in context, which is why all areas of study, rightly understood, will confirm the other.

    So, when someone like Dembski explains that information theory in science can be expressed as the “Logos theory” of the Gospel, which is little more than an affirmation of the principle that truth is unified, Darwinists such as Barbara Forrest or Barrett Brown, mindlessly accuse him of lying, or imply that his religious beliefs are leaking into his scientific methodology. In keeping with that principle, when I explain that the “big bang” can be linked to the Genesis command, “Let there be light,” they scratch their heads and wonder what I could possibly be talking about. To renounce truth and the principles of right reason is to become unreasonable. The problem is that unreasonable people often feel the need to persecute and lie about reasonable people and, by way of public education, to breed other unreasonable people in their own image and likeness. That way there will be no one around to challenge them. Misery loves company.

  217. KairosFocus: Stop complaining about people using your real name here. You link to your website constantly and your real name appears on it. Fix it yourself one way or the other but don’t expect us to waste our time on it anymore.

    I have to admit that this does not equate to “shut up,” and I apologize for posting the phrase.

  218. 218

    StephenB,

    I hasten to remind everyone that Barrett Brown, the subject of this thread, still stands accused of dishonestly accusing William Dembski if lying.

    At 146, I provided a summary of the reasons why this outrageous charge is one more example of Darwinists’ incapacity to reason in context. A day or so ago, Mr. Barrett persuaded me that UD’s moderation policy and his own time demands were hampering his ability to respond to my post. Further, he invited me to visit the Huffington Post, implying that he would be happy to engage me there. (This is the second time this week someone has withdrawn from dialogue while suggesting that another venue would solve the problem.) I am not sure how that works.

    Thank you StephenB, for he does still stand accused, and has obviously not adequately responded here, and like the other commenter, has no reason to run and hide to another venue.

  219. 219

    Oramus,

    Excuse me Clive, may I ask what grade BillB and Doomsday Smith are currently in?

    You should ask them.

  220. 220

    BillB,

    Clive:
    I have never used that persons real name so in that regard I have always respected his wishes.

    You ought to point out to him that others who arrive here and use his name might not know that he finds it offensive (It certainly is rather odd behaviour) so his protestations about slander should be witheld until after a polite request for people to stop has been ignored.

    I completely agree.

  221. 221

    Doomsday Smith,

    Sorry, Clive, I didn’t see that until I submitted that post.

    It’s fine, I understand.

  222. 222

    As promised, I have posted my responses at the Huffington Post blog as an update to the Dembski article.

  223. 223

    BarrettBrown,

    Hayden denounces me as “a comedian;” I would note that we’re now represented in the Senate, as we should be. Comedians are the greatest people in the world.

    He also asks an astonishing question:

    He must really dislike certain outcomes of evolution. Whence comes the discernment between competing worldviews that are all outcomes of evolution? If evolution, to Barrett, admittedly produces false worldviews, such as religion, then why trust it in any other regard?

    I don’t trust evolution any more than I trust gravity or attractive women. I don’t make any claims to the effect that evolution only produces swell things and makes everyone smart and honest. I’m not all totally in love with evolution; I just think it’s the case. And I’m amazed that Hayden would ask me to account for the results of the process to which I ascribe when it is he and his fellow intelligent design advocates who attribute divine purpose to nature, not I. And what’s up with those airline peanuts, amirite?

    That is a complete non-answer. I’ve asked you to give a real response again, your update on HuffPost doesn’t cut it for it doesn’t even address my questions. I answered your questions, now you answer mine, and don’t weasel out of it by talking about my memory. Can you not answer my questions? Can you not? It certainly appears that you cannot. If you can, do it here and now. Evasion won’t work Barrett.

  224. 224

    Barret faces the same ignigma that anyone else suffers when they try to ignore the observed facts.

    Material things cannot form the representative symbol system found in living tissue.

    Discreet physical objects that are caused to act based on an input symbol that has no physical or chemical connection to the output function cannot be formed by physical or chemical means.

    We don’t find such things anywhere, because they don’t exist anywhere.

    All that can be done by the materialists is to assume their conclusions, ask for special pleading, attack their opponents personally, misrepresent the argument, obfuscate the evidence, stick together in numbers, and try ignore it all.

    Materialism has been falsified by its own evidence. Period.

  225. From the Huffington Post.

    —-Barrett Brown: “The crux of their argument is that it is entirely appropriate to speak on this from a theological context on some occasions and in a scientific context on others. I agree.”

    The problem is that Barrett Brown does not understand the subject well enough to agree or disagree.

    —-“But it is not appropriate or honest to go in front of a mainstream audience and try to give the impression that he is agnostic on the identity of the designer, when he has already told a sympathetic Christian audience that it is absolutely certain that the designer is Christ, and that science divorced from Christ is invalid.”

    This is a remarkably uninformed comment. First, Dembski’s comment about Christ is a statement about the “bridged between science and theology.” Now let’s think this through for a moment, [which means that Darwinists (and Brown) are temporarily excused.] [A] From a PHILOSOPHICAL?THEOLOGICAL perspective, if information theory reflects a “message,” and Christ, as creator, is the messenger, [revelation in Scripture AND in nature], does it not follow that there is an unbreakable bond between the sender of the message and the message itself? [B] From a SCIENTIFIC perspective, one cannot discern the identity of the designer from a design inference any more than one can identify the identity of a burglar after having made the design inference that his house was ransacked.

    In keeping with that point, one might believe the burglar to be a jealous neighbor, and even have good reasons for thinking that, but the design inference cannot determine that information. It can only discern that the physical chaos did not likely occur as a result of natural causes. At the same time, one can believe that science is useless without Christ all day long. That has nothing at all to do with the scientific process of detecting the EFFECTS of Christ’s handiwork. Nothing. It is impossible to extract the identity of Jesus Christ from the number of information bits in a DNA molecule.

    [OK, Darwinists and Barrett Brown, the hard part if over and you may uncover your eyes and unstop your ears.]

    —“Dembski has done this repeatedly. Aside from the incident I mention in the above article, he did it again during a CNN debate with Skeptic founder Michael Shermer. After explaining the stunning complexity we see among the components of the cell, Dembski is asked by host Daryn Kagan, “Are you explaining that by saying it’s God that answers those questions?” He responds, “No, what we’re saying is that there’s an intelligence involved.”

    Of course. The only thing the design inference can do is detect the presence of an intelligent agent.

    —-Barrett Brown: “Nonsense. Dembski can validly claim that intelligent design need not be religiously motivated, but he cannot claim, when asked if he explains “specified complexity” with reference to God, that he does not. He does.”

    Barrett Brown obviously does not understand the difference between God, who creates specified complexity FROM THE TOP DOWN and does indeed have an identity, and the scientist, who detects specified complexity from the BOTTOM UP in nature, which verifies only the existence of a designer. Again, Brown is confused over context, perhaps willfully so. I can talk all day long about the prospect of my jealous neighbor leaving specified patterns when he ransacks my house, but I cannot detect the identity of my jealous neighbor by observing effects of his intelligent activity, I can only detect the presence of SOME intelligent agent.

    —-“He doesn’t do it when talking to Daryn Kagan, but he does do it whenever addressing a Christian audience.”

    Maybe that’s because Daryn Kagan is curious about lies coming from the Huffington Post, tying ID methodology to religion, while Christian audiences are curious about the bridge between science and theology— as in, you know, like, the title of the book.

    —“I would evoke a favorite metaphor of the intelligent design crowd – that what they do when seeking to detect design is much akin to what a police investigator does when trying to solve a crime by way of forensics.”

    Oh good, let’s see if Mr. Brown can arise from the ashes of postmodern irrationality and show some signs of intellectual life.

    —-“Imagine that Dembski is a detective who has spent years studying a crime scene. He determines that the crime was perpetrated by a certain Jesus H. Christ, and even writes several reports to the effect that he is absolutely certain that this is the case.”

    In other words, let’s see what can happen if you assume that ID can do something that it has already explained it cannot do. As Chesterton once said, “Grant me this one assumption and everything else will be easy.”

    —-“Then he talks to someone whom he’d like to convinced of the soundness of his forensic methodology, but he knows that this person is disinclined to agree that Christ was the perp, so when asked if he explains the crime as having been performed by the perp in question, he says, “No, what we’re saying is that there’s a criminal involved” and then goes on to list a couple of possibilities without even mentioning Christ. That detective would be lying. Dembski, too, is lying.”

    Can you believe this? Brown sets it up so that ID can detect the identity of the designer, which its methodology obviously cannot do, then he scolds it for claiming that it can both detect personalities and not detect personalities.

    Unfortunately, I have had no success in registering with the Huffington Post to hold Barrett Brown accountable for his views, and he obviously does not have the courage to defend his remarks here. So, he gets a pass.

    One thing sure, I repent ever retracting my assertion that Mr. Brown slinked away because of any moderation policy or his own time constraints. If he had time to post here to tell us he didn’t have time, he had time to defend his remarks. Clearly, he was just using that pretext as an excuse to avoid scrutiny. He did, indeed, slink away. Once again weasel-like behavior and ignorance are rewarded in a culture gone mad.

  226. BA77, I link-hopped onto a very interesting page to say the least. Have you heard of Christopher Michael Langan? You can access his “Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe” theory of reality here:

    http://www.megafoundation.org/...../CTMU.html

    It may turn out to be a handy addition to your information toolbox.

    BA77: The take home point for me right now from this experiment, is that this experiment has removed the last vestige of hope materialist had in forging any coherent basis for the foundation of reality

  227. Megan, I was just messing with you.

  228. Dear Barrett,

    When you have a donkey’s ass as a representative, then Darwin’s evolution as dogma in our schools has certainly worked its magic over time. I see you been programmed well.

    Chimps in office and chimps in media… laughs galore. Nothing like a dumbed down clown spreading his feces on a dumbed down town.

    A man who either didn’t know how to pay his taxes or deliberately ignored them. Must make you proud.

    About as proud as Swami love fest?

    Ohhhh that huffpo, what a swell place of hatred and venom spewing, dark, dank cave dwellers.

    Dr. Dembski must be doing something right to get one of the most sleeziest pubs online to attack him.

    Keep it up UD!

    You guys are doing great. Nothing like a buffoon attacking a PhD to set one straight as to facts, lol.

    I wonder if the “brites” at HuffPo have learned well from their dear leader…

    “Huffington was accused of plagiarism for copying material for her book Maria Callas; the claims were settled out of court.[14]”
    (see wiki)

    I wonder how much she settled out of court? Such a professional bunch there.

    Anyone talk to John Rogers lately? Channeling John Rogers? Channeling whatever sex twisted Swami orgy you like for masta swami rami.

    Another gem from Wiki history on Huffpo…
    “After her attempts to woo the religious right, in 1994, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau created a spoof of Arianna Huffington’s spiritual experiences with a Los Angeles-based spiritual organization founded by John-Roger, the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA). The purpose of the MSIA is to teach Soul Transcendence, which, according to the MSIA website, is becoming aware of yourself “as a Soul and as one with God, not as a theory but as a living reality”. Huffington has said that “I’ve been involved with John-Roger and the church for many years now.”[citation needed] Tax returns show Huffington as an MSIA donor.[citation needed]“

  229. Another beaut of a story about HuffPo antics…

    Swine flu? no problem. Just listen to HuffPo quacks…

    HuffPo’s dangerous hacks, quacks and cultist

    I’d suggest little Barrett clean his own house of crazies out first before attacking Dembski.

    “Salon has a great post by a doctor about medical quackery at the Huffington Post, where a columnist recently suggested colon cleansing could treat swine flu. This is the downside of HuffPo’s open, unpaid model — and culty recruiter”

    LOL! So, you got a bunch of cultist running the HuffPo show. Whats it like Brown to work for such whackos?

    Get a colon cleansing lately just in case. One cleansing a day keeps Swine Flu away!

    Hahahaha…. thanks for the laughs.

    Another Euro-trash whacko cultist who professes to lecture others about science and religion in America.

    No thanks, our ancestors left to get away from the idiots long ago. Now you bring your utter stupidity across the ocean. This explains the time of darkness clearly during Europe.

    When whackos like this controlled all communication and education.

    You can be a serf again all you like, just go to jolly liverpool or manchestor and wait in lines for your colon cleansing under the brilliantly planned healthcare rations of socialist.

    Why do socialist trash come to America? They’re so unhappy that they have to make everyone else unhappy like them?

    lol… bend over Barrett, HuffPo’s gotta gift for you, the new, improved Socialist ObamaCare, led by HuffPo quacks! hahaha…. thanks for the jokes rube.

  230. Particiapnts and onlookers:

    First, some wrap-up business:

    _______________

    Clive:

    Thanks.

    BillB:

    Pardon my accidental use of the same abbreviation with two different meanings.

    It is Mr Brown who is the central focus for this thread; for his sad insistence on slander. (More later, in light of his “update[s]” at HuffPo.)

    Nakashima-San:

    Thank you.

    TME, BillB & DS (etc):

    It is normal use on the Internet to address people by their given handles or names. As a rule, those who dig up personal information beyond that and then “out” it, are doing so out of ill intent.

    Further to this, FYFI, in a large part of the world, it IS rude to arrogate the right to address someone by their given name, apart from a certain degree of personal friendship or intimacy; and in particular in an adversarial context. For instance, it so happens that the present Chief Minister of Montserrat has for periods been my personal physician, but I do not regard that as giving me the right to address him by his first name; especially in public. And to do such in a [hypothetical] context where I were say criticising his policies, would be utterly beyond the pale.

    StephenB:

    Excellent work.

    ____________

    Re Mr Brown:

    We may first observe that Mr Brown links as his authority on the Logos citation, TalkOrigins. That simple fact alone should tell us much of what is wrong with the attitude and contents of the piece (and by inference, the underlying book on which strength Mr brown seems to put himself out as an “expert” of sorts on Intelligent Design.)

    Again: by extracting remarks out of their proper context — and cf 104 – 5 above for the exact context of Mr Dembski’s “Logos” remark — T.O. and Mr Brown have used the post-modernist hermeneutics of suspicion to extract a maximally adverse reading and have improperly accused Mr Dembski of “lying.”

    This can be seen in a certain point of the “update” that I now wish to take up, in a bit of a supplement to SB’s excellent take-apart above:

    Several intelligent design supporters have accused me of slandering William Dembski by asserting that he is lying when he expresses his alleged opinion that the intelligence behind design could be one of many things, including something “natural.” The crux of their argument is that it is entirely appropriate to speak on this from a theological context on some occasions and in a scientific context on others. I agree. But it is not appropriate or honest to go in front of a mainstream audience and try to give the impression that he is agnostic on the identity of the designer, when he has already told a sympathetic Christian audience that it is absolutely certain that the designer is Christ, and that science divorced from Christ is invalid. . . . . Dembski can validly claim that intelligent design need not be religiously motivated, but he cannot claim, when asked if he explains “specified complexity” with reference to God, that he does not. He does. He doesn’t do it when talking to Daryn Kagan, but he does do it whenever addressing a Christian audience.

    1 –> When Dr Dembski — who holds a PhD in philosophy — notes that the specific designer behind say cell-based life on earth could be “one of many things,” he is stating an inherent limitation of the key methods of science (especially on origins), i.e. that it works by inference to best of competing current, empirically warranted explanations and is thus inherently provisional. That is a limitation of science in general, and caution in light of such is not lying.

    2 –> It should be further noted in light of 104 – 5 above, that the design inference is in light of examination of the characteristics of contingent phenomena, and detection of empirically reliable markers of intelligence, such as specified complex information, which may often be found in irreducibly complex functional entities based on co-tuning of components to work together at an operating point.

    3 –> On the strength of such, an inference to design is warranted, but this is not sufficient in itself to deduce the identity of the particular designer. (All of this, BTW, has been pointed out step by step in the Weak Argument correctives, which Mr Brown still gives no evidence of having read with understanding before launching into criticisms and accusations.)

    4 –> In the further context of say the evidence of our universe being a fine-tuned, complex entity based on multiple interactions of subtle laws and parameters and objects to form a fit habitat for life, it is then reasonable — and now a commonplace in cosmology — to infer that the observed cosmos shows evidence of being designed.

    5 –> This further context then supports the onward inference that a credible candidate for the designer of life on earth is the same intelligence behind the cosmos that facilitates such life. Such an extra-cosmic [the observed cosmos obviously, per self-evident reason, cannot be its own cause], powerful intelligence who created a cosmos of which it can be soberly said “In the beginning . . . let here be light” does sound sufficiently like the God of Judaeo-Christian theism, that it is not unreasonable or deceptive to further infer or even argue that the God envisioned on this worldview is the most credible candidate designer; and even that the current state of science supports [which is a very different term from "proves"; science is incapable of proof in the classical sense of that term] such.

    6 –> It is false,irresponsible and slanderous, then, to twist Dr Dembski’s words into a hermeneutics- of- suspicion based demonising reading that he is seeking to deceive “mainstream” audiences while arguing to Christian ones that — wink, wink, nod, nod — design theory is theology in scientific guise. And that suspicion-driven slanderous misreading is precisely what Mr Brown has advocated, and still advocates. (That modern science is currently returning to its roots, on which once the unfettered evidence speaks for itself and strongly points to a designer and upholder of the cosmos, may be alarming to committed materialists such as those who dominate — and too often domineer — major scientific and cultural institutions, but it is entirely in the spirit of the thought of say a Newton in the General Scholium to that most significant work of modern science, Principia. For, the overwhelming majority of the founders of modern science, saw science as reading God’s book of nature and thus being able to “think God’s thoughts after him.” That is, they saw nature as sacred and science as vocation — thus, even worship — in its proper sense. And, manifestly, from the works of a Newton, or a Maxwell, or a Kelvin or a Linnaeus or even a Francis Collins, one can plainly successfully do first class science in such a paradigm.)

    7 –> And in particular, specified complexity grounds inference to design of say DNA-using digitally coded algorithms that build, fold and dispatch proteins to do the work of the cell. The cosmological ID inference is NOT an inference on specified complexity as such but — notoriously — on fine-tuning of complex interacting components that form an exquisitely balanced operating point.

    8 –> The difference between the two should be obvious from the fact that many who reject the design inference on the cell, accept and even advocate the design inference on the finetuing of the cosmos; indeed I believe a certain Mr Ken Miller is among these, and a certain Mr Colin Francis is at least sympathetic.

    9 –> So, Dr Dembski is correct to draw the distinction between what the inference from specified complexity in general — and in particular on the functionally specific complex information in DNA and its complex coded information — warrants, and a wider worldview level conclusion based on the full reach of accessible evidence and experience [e.g. what happens if you happen to have personally met God in life-transforming, miracle-working power, in the face of the risen Christ? As, MILLIONS have . . . ?] and on the philosophical — as opposed to scientific — method of comparative difficulties across competing worldviews.

    10 –> This is not deception or deviousness, it is being serious about the strengths, limitations and contexts of the different aspects of our reasoning process. And, that comes out rather explicitly in the actual touchstone article at he base of the accusation of “lying” where Dr Dembski first lays out he method in detail circa 1999 then moves on to explicitly discuss wider metaphysical issues connected to it.

    11 –> And so, since this is on the public record in multiple ways in painfully explicit step by step details from the very beginning of the process, it is utterly unwarranted and indeed mischievous to self-servingly twist this through the hermeneutics of suspicion, into ad hominem laced demonising accusations or insinuations of a theocratic agenda of deception.

    12 –> Which INCLUDES the insistent, willful misreading of the Wedge document and its context of addressing and rebalancing the outcomes on a very real ideological and worldviews conflict in our civilisation; in part on doing good science and communicating the result of that good science and its implications to the public, over the heads of the evolutionary materialist magisterium that seeks to censor science and turn it into the handmaiden of secularist materialism, as we may see from the direct statements of the US NAS member Lewontin [show us where the NAS rebuked him for this . . . ] and the actions of that august body on education policy on origins science. [Indeed, Mr Brown's hit piece is itself evidence on the reality of the secularist, evolutionary materialist agenda in action, its typical methods, and where its trends point. Onlookers, do you want to go to a world in which to raise issues such as the above leads to the threat or fact of being reported to policing agencies as a terrorist watch-list level threat? Remember: that is exactly what happened to me above, over the past few days.]

    ____________

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Mr Brown, the issue is not whether you are able to answer to Mr hayden’s “satisfaction” — notice, onlookers,the pomo subjectivism implied in that — but whether you have done your duty of care to the truth [= "that which says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not," per Ari in metaphysics 1011b etc.], and whether you have given the courtesy of readings of reasonable charity to to others who you seek to critique. On abundant evidence, sadly, you have not.

  231. DATCG

    I do believe the just above from you is a bit over the top, stridently contemptuous, and beyond the pale of civility.

    Please.

    GEM of TKI

  232. Let us read — per the attempt to bring the Wedge document into the issue as though this is a proof of a theocr5atic agenda — into evidence for this thread, certain extracts from NAS member Lewontin’s [in]famous 1997 NYRB article.

    For, in reviewing Sagan’s Demon-haounted World (1996), in January 1997, Lewontin went on record as follows, in his ‘Billions and billions of Demons”:

    ______________

    >> . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [BTW, self-refuting rubbish: this is a truth claim in popular level philosophy not science; i.e even the claim itself shows that science cannot be the "only" begetter of truth] . . . . Sagan’s argument is straightforward. We exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of physical relations among material entities. [Thus, the next level of self-refutation] The vast majority of us do not have control of the intellectual apparatus needed to explain manifest reality in material terms, so in place of scientific (i.e., correct material) explanations, we substitute demons . . . .

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs [reductio ad absurdum, anyone . . . ], in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. 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. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen. >>

    ________________

    Of course, given that it is obvious that for miracles to stand out as signposts of wonder to a reality beyond the mundane events of this world [as well as for us to be morally governed, accountable creatures], there will have to be an orderly, predictable general pattern to the world [i.e., immediately, a strong basis for science as the study of the orderly, repeatable general patterns, causal factors and principles of the world, without any a priorism about absolute universality of such], this article reveals Mr Lewontin’s profound ignorance of the relevant issues. And, BTW, teh most significant claimed miracle of the Christian perspective is given based not on direct declaration of miracle, but on the implications of using ordinary, generally reliable senses and observing a certain individual put to death publicly and buried, then three days and up to 40 days later, alive and kicking and even cooking a roast fish lakeside breakfast, so to speak, with up to 500+ eyewitnesses at the same time.]

    In short, academician Lewontin has here attacked a strawman.

    On the more direct point, let us observe the assumption of materialism and its pernicious censoring effects on science:

    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.

    Should not science, instead, be an unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) progressive pursuit of the truth about our world based on empirical evidence and reasoned analysis?

    And if science as insitutionalised and as influential in our culture needs to be rescued from being held hostage and censored by a priori materialism — again, kindly show us where the NAS definitively repudiated such a stance instead of evidently adopting it — then it is more than reasonable that think-tanks should adopt programmes of exposure of the agendas at work, and of liberation and correction.

    Duly, read into the record.

    GEM of TKI

  233. Has Barret Brown tucked tail and ran off like a scolded puppy dog?

  234. More for the record: Johnson has a useful essay on the basic nature of science in a world dominated by materialist ideology, here. It is still worth drawing attention to an accurate history of the roots of design theory, here.

  235. Also: watch the video.

  236. One last item: the ID bridge book at Google Books. Do a word search in the book to see Logos and its contexts of use. The discussion from pp 225 – 6 on is particularly interesting. So is that from about 88 on, which discusses the Stoic use of logos in the context of Paley’s natural theology. Socrates’ remarks p. 89 are worth a thought or two. And, of course more.

  237. KF,

    Yes it is over the top. Satire and humor like that of any SNL skit or the brand that HuffPo writers schill out in their sleep with anger, ridicule, derision, smugness, arrogance and ugliness against anyone that disagrees with them or they see as a possible threat to their future version of Utopia.

    Their operation is a 24/7 onslaught of sleeze and mud throwing. It is what it is. They deal in deception, disinformation and as you quite rightly pointed out above are aligned with “any means necessary to win.”

    Demonize, Distract, and Destroy if all else fails. They do not care about you, your life, Dembski or anyone else that does not fit into their narrow world view.

    They have their master(s) too.

    The background, the confused and chaotic lifestyle of sex and worhsip is something informed people know about Huffington. I learned about her escapades with John Rogers over a year ago.

    I simply held a mirror up to their faces so they can see the hideous ways of their world order which is full of double-standards and hypocrisy.

    They live in a ring of the cult. They believe in unscientific medical treatments and false religious leaders who take advantage of people through some very sick and twisted practices.

    Yet, a “comedian” thinks he should challenge an ethical man outside his own dark world, ignoring the angry, bitter and many lost kooks at Huffpo.

    I always respect your post here KF and know you have weight here. If the moderators want me to back off, I will.

    At the very least, everyone should know about the hypocrisy from this website and their leader who trashes people all the time, who in fact makes news, invents news and is always in trouble leaping over the edge of any journalistic norms.

    I’m surprised that Dawkins, a strident hater of all things religion associates with so many at HuffPo that are into cult worship.

  238. KF,

    I’ll tone it down, but I’ll shine light as is required. There was a lengthy investigation of John Rogers and Huffington by the LA Times which dug up sordid issue after issue.

    Who is John Roger, good friend of Huffington? He is a “mystical traveler” who channels through Roger Delano Hinkins. Evidently he performs exorcisms as well.

    From Wiki:
    “In late 1963 Hinkins had a near-death experience while undergoing surgery for a kidney stone after which he fell into a nine-day coma. After this experience, Hinkins was aware of another ‘spiritual personality’ that had superseded / merged with his previous personality. He began to refer to himself as “John-Roger’ in recognition of this transformation. [14]“

    So, another “being” or “spiritual personality” “merged” with his previous personality. This new persona – the double identity – began to see new spiritual truths in which he shares now with the faithful. Ms. Huffington got caught up with the “new identity” in the 80s and 90s. She has been a major supporter and contributer to the cult.

    “From the Glossary of ‘Fulfilling Your Spiritual Promise’, ‘Mystical Traveler Consciousness’ is defined as energy from the highest source of Spirit whose purpose on Earth is to awaken people to the awareness of their Souls. This consciousness is always embodied through a physical form on Earth. [16]“”

    So essentially, you have an online “news” rag that schills for socialist utopia, that slings mud at other people for their personal religious beliefs. Yet, in her hypocrisy and in Browns hypocrisy, they refuse to look at themselves.

    Mr. Brown may be an atheist, but he is working for a believer in “channeling” of John Rogers.

    I’m curious as to what the “mystical traveler” has taught Mr. Brown about science, religion and everything?


  239. From an article in Gawker…

    “Arianna Huffington for many years sought to downplay the extent of her involvement in the Movement For Spiritual Inner Awareness(MSIA), a cult ex-members described as sexually and financially exploitive in a series of Los Angeles Times exposés in the 1980s and 1990s. During her then-husband’s 1994 U.S. Senate run, the Greek-born socialite claimed movement founder John-Roger (pictured with her at a 2004 book party, left) was a mere friend, and pictures of him holding her daughter were ordered withheld from the group’s newspaper, the editor later said. But the Huffington Post editor-in-chief is an ordained “Minister Of Light” in the group and once described John-Roger to Interview as her “way-shower.”

    “What about the role she has fashioned for her cult in HuffPo staff development?”

    “Late last year, former staffers say, Huffington directed two Huffington Post employees to attend an Insight Seminar in Westlake Village, California. Though technically distinct from MSIA, Insight shares a founder, John-Roger, and a “Spiritual Director,” John Morton (right) with the group. This sharing of staff goes back at least 20 years, when the LA Times reported Insight was rife with MSIA “volunteers” and obtained emails showing John-Roger was calling the shots. A former top-ranked church minister told the paper Insight was used to draw new recruits into MSIA.”

    “One of the staff members made to attend the event was HuffPo’s New York-based Living section editor, Anya Strzemien (left), according to two insiders. Strzemien did not respond to an email seeking comment, but Huffington Post is said to have paid the bill for her flight and multi-day stay in California, and by all accounts the trip occurred at Arianna’s behest. Said one tipster: “It was kind of a joke in the office, like ‘is she going to be brainwashed by the creepy cult.’” It is not clear if Strzemien was attending for personal development, to “cover” the event for HuffPo or both.”

    The other staffer was apparently an unnamed Los Angeles-based scheduler struggling to serve Huffington, an erratic and sometimes brutal presence over staffers who work out of her Brentwood mansion. It was made clear to this person, one source said, that attending the conference was necessary to keep her job. Huffington asked the staffer to think about how important her job was to her, then suggested the seminar as a way to refocus — a neat way of making the event mandatory without being explicit and perhaps running afoul of laws governing religion in the workplace, the source said. After struggling with the decision for a week, and supposedly making a fruitless plea to HR in New York, the scheduler ended up attending, only to leave the company a month or two later.”

    “Tithing, or giving a percentage of one’s monthly income to MSIA, is also recommended. Because of its tax-exempt status as a church, MSIA is not required to make public its financial records, but by all indications people contribute money freely — in some cases in large lump sums.”

    “One devotee happily told the newspaper about handing over a check to the group for $500,000, without even knowing how it would be used.”

    “But it is all but impossible to read the LA Times’ three exhaustive articles on MSIA, dating to 1988 and 1994, without coming to the conclusion that the movement is, in fact, a scary cult, and among the last organizations Huffington should be calling on to prepare HuffPo to keep growing as the economy, and soon politics, cools down.”

    “John-Roger is depicted as a paranoid leader who secretly wires each room in Insight headquarters with a microphone connected to his office, who taps the phones, and who warns that his critics “had been infected by a powerful and contagious negative force known as the Red Monk,” a spirit of whom members were terrified. He removed “negative entities” in a popular “exorcism-like” ceremony known as the “Super II’s,” organized hours-long “Prana Awareness Trainings” involving “repeatedly answering a simple question,” and organized followers into a complex hierarchy, including a Melchizedek Priesthood and an inner, elite circle of attractive young male ministers known as “the Guys.”

    “The LA Times said one of these favored sons was among at least three close John-Rogers associates who said they had sex with him “as an important spiritual favor:”

    In July of 1977, John-Roger put [Victor] Toso on staff, and he joined the rarefied ranks of “the guys.” But things didn’t go smoothly. “He kept telling me I didn’t have what it took to be on staff,” Toso said. Finally John-Roger told him that he would have to move from the hillside estate to the movement’s Purple Rose Ashram of the New Age in downtown Los Angeles, he said.

    Toso says that he dropped to his knees and sobbed, begging John-Roger to tell him how he might become a better servant of the Traveler.

    “It dawned on me what I had to do,” he said.

    To stay on staff, Toso said he knew he would have to engage in sexual relations with John-Roger. “I decided to make the Faustian pact,” he said. “And, indeed, I was admitted into the brotherhood.”But the pact didn’t sit well with Toso, even as he found his life with the Traveler vastly improved. And one day “I walked in on another staff member having sex with J-R. I had been naive enough to believe I was the only one,” Toso said.

    In last year’s interview, John-Roger denied he had sexual relations with Toso or any other staff member.

    Toso said he was later “defrocked” in front of other church members and stripped of his wallet, credit cards, watch, ring and airline tickets, and had to write a “dishonest” letter to get them back. Other former members, named in the series, testify to brainwashing and other forms of manipulation. “My God, I was manipulated and used,” former MSIA newspaper editor Victoria Marine told the newspaper.

    In the articles, John-Roger denies having sex with or brainwashing his followers.

    Whatever his flaws, and whatever it is that has drawn so many to look to him almost as a messiah over the past 38 years, a “Mystic Traveler” to be physically envisioned while chanting and to be paid for “polarity balancings,” “John-” Roger Hinkins shares with Arianna Huffington a reputation for having two faces, one of seductive, overpowering charm and the other for a nasty temper.

    Wrote the LA Times:

    Two [former staffers], Toso and Wesley Whitmore, recall thinking that in contrast to his public behavior, John-Roger in private was often angry, vindictive and bizarre, occasionally shouting that he was under attack from negative forces. But their devotion to John-Roger kept them from addressing these issues, they said.

    And so it is with Arianna and her badly battered staff. She could hardly have picked a more appropriate guru.

    HuffPo, all the news that is produced by a follower of the cult messiah “John Roger”

    It is very sick and twisted stuff, but I doubt Mr. Brown ever turns his rage and self-righteous attacks against his boss and “Minister of Light” or her cult messiah dual peronality freak – John Rogers.

    Frankly, this is all very sad stuff. The abuse by “John Rogers” of his staff for sexual favors and the gullible antics of Huffington forcing staffers to participate in Insight against their will. I feel sorry for all these people caught up in this sad mans insanity and the Huffpo leaders lost following of it.

    The article is well worth reading to know who is behind the news at HuffPo, about the hypocrisy of its owner and their “writers” and the utter hypocrisy of the atheist who write articles from time to time at her sight. Do these atheist attack Ms Huffington’s beliefs as much as they sling mud against ID?

    Doubtful, very doubtful.

  240. For anyone who cares, I finally found a user name that the Huffington Post would accept [LouisB]. I did my best given the fact that these alleged advocates of free speech would allow me only 250 words to counter Barrett Brown’s multi-page screed. [24 hour delay]

    We now know what Barrett Brown means when he avoids the UD wesite and stumps for a “more reliable venue.” His message is this: Give your adversary about one-tenth of the space to correct your errors, a convenient restriction by the way, since it generally takes a lot more space to correct mental confusion that it does to express it.

    Let it also be said that Upright Biped and Lee Bowman did splendidly at that site and utilized their space restrictions wisely and effectively.

    Still, it seems evident that UD’s format, which allows reasonable expression and adaquate space, is far more conducive to getting at the bottom of things, which is why Barrett Brown wants no part of it.

  241. DATCG @239: Very interesting.

    “When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes in anything.” G. K. Chesterton.

  242. —Gaz: “Not really – eyewitness testimony is not usually “good” evidence, it’s notoriously unreliable.”

    —-”I was once one of three independent witnesses to a street crime, and whilst we all reported the overall impression of the event much the same (and within about twenty minuts of its end) the details – description of the perpetrator, duration of the event –were remarkably different. That is quite usual.”

    Again, you are struggling with “context.” Did anyone in your group question the “existence” or the “reality” of the event. Of course not. The issue is not did all witnesses agree on the details of Christ rasing Lazarus from the dead; the issue is this: Did they all see it happen. The answer is yes.

    Eyewitness testimony in the Gospel accounts differ just as significantly as in other cases. Ironically, many skeptics discount the reports BECAUSE of the diversity. Get it. One groups says the Gospels are unreliable history because they are too diverse. Another group claims that the Gospels are unreliable because the apostles huddled together and made up a unified story.

    Even at that, the issue goes much, much deeper. On the one hand, you can have the eyewitness testimony of one person at a moment in time, which can indeed be unreliable [in some cases] and quite reliable in other cases depending on the context. On the other hand, the Gospel account provides eyewitness testimony of hundreds, maybe thousands of testimonials that draw on similar experiences day after day, week after week, and year after year. Further, you have corroborating evidence from hundreds of others on the other side of that testimony that were in a position to refute those reports if they were not accurate.

    Among those who reported Christ’s miracles, the most reliable of them all were his enemies, pharisaic bureaucrats, who didn’t want them to happen, were sorry that that they happened, and, just for good measure, tried to explain them away. No one responds that way to events that didn’t happen.

  243. StephenB,

    It is something I know of quite well. I was once a blind, unskeptical person on the far left like “comedians” for quite sometime in my youth. My past is littered with friends on the far left who lent their minds to all kinds of cultist beliefs and superstitions from astrology to tarot cards and even channeling buffoons.

    Many would participate in such lunacy, then turn around and cuss out any other religious person for their beliefs.

    I was a participant at times in the buffoonery of leftist mocking and ridicule. I was not brought up in a tender world. If some dimwit attacked you, you quickly put him in his place. The abrasiveness of some of my responses(in particular to mockers like the HuffPo variety) is a direct result of my youthful experience in far left peer groups who always mocked christians mostly behind their backs with disgusting remarks especially about the girls. Notice how this has carried over into the political arena today?

    Rags like Huffpo, do not teach people how to think or appropriate discussion and exchange. Instead, they teach mocking, scoffing and hatred. If KF is upset with me, he’d be furious if he knew what actually is stated about him, Dembski and others between these leftist cult followers and atheist. Every once in awhile we get taste. Their hatred and rage slips out.

    I know the mind very well of people like this comedian and those like Franken. They’re quite small-minded and narrow thinking people. He is in reality a truly insecure person. His attacks on people like Dembski are not for some higher truth, but based upon his own inadequate and unhappy life. People like this grow very bitter in adulthood and turn to mocking others, especially those they believe themselve to be superior to. They have their own churches. They just exist at rave parties or standup improve where insulting a christian is like singing a hymn.

    Angry comedians are a dime a dozen, or comedians who claim to be of the enlightened, reasoned, rational “brites” of society are nothing but adult class clowns who never grew up mentally or emotionally. They’ve typically never read any opposing literature. Having accepted the indoctrination, they cling to it for comfort food among consensus thinkers.

    In our society today because there are so many confused and lost people, hurting, afraid to look at their own lives, they latch onto the comedian or talking heads who vents and raves in mocking absurdities against “perceived” enemies of faux “liberalism.” Corporations like GE feed the frenzy with Smear Meisters like Olberman. This is just another smear, albeit a lame one, not of very good quality.

    I do not doubt that Brown “feels” he is the one carrying the banner of rationalism. But in truth, he is simply regurgitating old falshoods.

    A few weeks behind the scenes with these people shows how petty, scared, superstitious, filled with rage and anger their lives truly are. And especially how manipulative their leaders are.

    Can you imagine a media boss forcing you to go to a “spiritual” light training course?

    Their lives are certainly not based upon anything rational, but usually based on some conspiracy of fear.

    They currently own the schools, universities, and media. But they fear ID? LOL.

    No, what they fear is open and honest debate without the mocking, scoffing and derision so common place in leftist media today. They do not seek a truly liberal debate, as that would be a discussion on facts, known and unknown and an exposure of the shamwow media in America today.

    So, they poison the well and attempt to damage the character of their adversaries instead of actually taking on the problematic issues of their beliefs. They worship at their own worldly alters with their own high priest. Many are just to blind to see their false idols.

    It is their blind hypocrisy and arrogance that makes them such bold mockers and scoffers.

    Many of these people are the most irrational you’ll meet on earth and spew the most vile hatred, lies and deception about you if you oppose their views.

    Many on the left today, having been spoonfed this garbage all their lives from TV, print and schools as children are ignorant of the insipid nature of the beast they follow. The dull-headed, non-creative harping ways of a mocker at happy hour and in-crowd parties grow boring quick if one is not inebriated with a tequila shot or whatever liquid tranquilizer most depend upon to stay happy in mockers paradise.

    They cast aspersions, false accusations, outright lies at times, defamatory remarks, etc., upon pretentious grounds of superior morality built upon atheist dogma, a few tokes off a joint, a few snorts of cocaine and the navel gazing dance floor of alcohol submission to their gods.

    They seek fame and fortune, only to find alcohol, drugs, sex and bitterness in their own hearts. Instead of removing the bitterness, they knee-jerk react to attacking those they fear. So, from party to party darling… drink to drink darling, from light show to light show they retread the red carpet of insecurity begging for the spotlight for some semblance of adoration and “love” from their fans.

    The hollywood lifestyle is anything but rational, informed or free of idol worship. The Huffpo is just an outgrowth of the fetid lifestyles and narcissistic people who show up in the valley searching for fame and fortune. Most end up writing for rags like HuffPo for free or worse off in life.

    The allure of the rich, famous and cool crowd is an allure of madness.

    GK Chesterton summed it up nicely in your quote.

    And true to form, the hollywood crowd believes in anything from John Rogers Dual-Personality cults to “balancing polarity” through meditative rituals of repetitive mantras or the sheer lunacy of swin-flu snakeoil sales as seen on Huffpo.

    The most irrational place on this earth is the milieu of leftover echtoplasm that “ghostbusters” never cleaned up in hollywood. And for a stupified, blind comedian to plead ration from such a cesspool of failed thought is I must say, laughable to me.

  244. DATCG:

    Thanks.

    We need to model a basically sober, civil, respectful tone, even when we do indulge in gentle ribbing, or need to use satire or the like to get through to the otherwise hard-hearted or jaded and neglectful of duty to truth and the right.

    Your summary of life in the age of teenage rebellion that never grows up, is all too grimly accurate. (And deeply reminiscent of Rom 1.)

    I took a gander across at HuffPo, and while I admire SB and UB for their serious responses, the general tone simply exemplifies what Rom 1 warned of, and what Alinski taught; which last has now evidently seeped into the culture at large through the counsels and doctrines of his disciples — who plainly do not have any good intent for our civilisation and especially its Judaeo-Christian foundations.

    (I see as well that SB’s response at HuffPo seems to be at the top of the page for now at least. And, that for now those who were so strident here in the past few days are conspicuous by absence.)

    The results of such puerility and uncivil conduct, if unchecked, are predictably utterly destructive; as we saw from the above smears and attempt to play at thought police.

    As to the hate and verbal sewage [especially when one's back is turned], it sadly reflects the scriptural principle that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

    Sadly so, and pregnant with the things warned against in Rom 2:6 – 8.

    In the end, the utter emptiness, hostility and moral decrepitude of the life lived in rebellion against God are some of the strongest signs that something is very wrong with such a life.

    One for prayer, and for the call to repentance and reformation.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: SB, is there a 24 hr wait over there for a post to appear? Or, is that just for the first one? (If so, it puts a very different colour on the complaints by Mr BB there that he had to wait a few hours for comments to appear here.)

  245. —-”kairosfocus: “PS: SB, is there a 24 hr wait over there for a post to appear? Or, is that just for the first one? (If so, it puts a very different colour on the complaints by Mr BB there that he had to wait a few hours for comments to appear here.”

    As I tried to post early this morning, a message appeared informing me that there would be a 24 hour wait [for those who have not established a trust relationship]. Also, I learned that my user name had already been taken. Accepting that condition and changing my user name to LouisB, I then sent several messages only to have each one rejected on the grounds that it was too wordy. It was then that I learned that I would only be allowed 250 words.

    Since I was already there, I decided to use the space available to provide an abbreviated [and I do mean abbreviated] response to Barrett Brown’s outrageous assault on William Dembski. Just to give you an idea of how unreasonable that is, consider that the length of this message explaining my initiation and my intent consists of 205 words, so I don’t think I was given much of an opportunity to do the necessary remedial education for Darwinists. It isn’t easy to explain the relationship between information theory and the “Logos theory” of the Gospel in a drive-by message to an audience who is unfamiliar both with the philosophy of science and the philosophy of religion, as almost all Darwinists are.

  246. SB:

    H’mm . . .

    Why does that HuffPo policy of trusted/untrusted commenters [and given the level over there, what makes for "trust"?], with the latter having to wait a bit before posting sound familiar?

    In other words, plainly, Mr Brown’s complaints — and underlying insinuations over “censorship” and “theocratic tyranny” (we can read between the lines Mr Brown) — in one of his updates that he had to wait a whole 3 – 4 hours for his comments to appear here are disingenuous, even puerile and two-faced.

    How sadly typical.

    And, it is plain that if a serious forum were required, to address the matter substantially on the merits, this one is it. So, refusal to engage civilly in a relatively level playing-field is itself a further evidence that Mr brown knows or strongly suspects that he does not have a good case on the merits.

    And, remember, that from 4 to 104 – 5 and your masterful summary at 146 above, the issue is slander by demonstrably falsely accusing Dr Dembski of lying in the pursuit of a hidden theocratic agenda. Slander that has been published in a book, i.e presumably slander for profit. And certainly, slander that has given the “authority” of being a published and praised author.

    Sad, ever so sad; but utterly revealing. Somewhere out here Alinski’s ghost is laughing — as is another, club footed ghost of an Agit-prop minister who learned well from the Communist propaganda tactics.

    Do we understand what we are thoughtlessly doing to our civlisation, in the face of a time of mortal danger?

    Do we care?

    If things continue on this track, our grandchildren will — for good reason — curse us for self-destructive fools.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Some may wonder at the historical allusions above. They are grounded in Mr Brown’s onward misbehaviour, in his current “reply” to SB in the HuffPo comments.

    Excerpting:

    you and his other allies continue to hide from the documented accounts of Dembski’s fascist behavior in trying to get Professor Pianka investigated as a potential terrorist by reporting him to the Department of Homeland Security, as well as his demonstrably false accusation against Judge Jones.

    1 –> There is a live case of serious, malicious threat or fact of thought police reporting to the US Homeland Security Department connected to this thread, Mr Brown. As the victim, I note that it was by one of YOUR allies, so the “fascist” shoe looks to be on the other foot here. [Rest assured, I will continue to follow up the case as one who makes such a threat -- regardless of claiming that it was only in jest -- is doing something that is very, very dangerous. And, a precise manifestation of exactly where the incivility of the now routine pattern of anti-ID slanders and the like point.]

    2 –> The above citation is also a double cross-complaint, intended to deflect attention from your demonstrated false and slanderous accusation against WmAD of “lying” (to advance a hidden theocratic tyrannical FASCIST agenda), which contrary to your implication you have NOT cogently “already addressed . . . several times, both here and at Dembski’s blog.”

    3 –> As anyone scrolling up here or looking at the linked will see [esp. by comparing your remarks with 104 - 5, 146 in this thread . . . onlookers, observe who is giving glittering generalities and vague dismissals, and who is giving specifics with onward direct evidence], you have simply reiterated slanders and distractions in the teeth of demonstration of falsity and misrepresentation.

    4 –> On the subject of radical environmentalists as demonstrable threats against our safety and security, we do not need to point to fringe groups and gleeful announcements of those drooling over 90% of the human population dying off [i.e. Pianka's incitements -- remember the openly terrorist "guerilla warfare" group, Earth Liberation Front, Mr Brown? As in: "the collective name for anonymous and autonomous individuals or covert cells who, according to the ELF Press Office, use "economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment" . . . . It is now an international movement with attacks reported in 17 countries"]; all we have to do is point to the track record of Mr John Holdren and his colleagues, who have definitely promoted genocide. In short, the real locus of “fascism” — YOU introduced the term, not me — today is credibly a lot closer to the current global halls of power than Dr Dembski.

    [FYI, onlookers: Fascism -- contrary to Gramsci's and Stalin's myth -- is an ideology of the LEFT: it is a statist, society- control ideology that is attached to the demagogic personality cult of el maximum above-the-law Nietzsche-an superman leader as political messiah in time of "unprecedented" crisis; with some sort of millenarian myth of the mass identity and "eschatological hope" [i.e. it is of course a species of spirit of antiChrist-driven Christian heresy: the kingdom of man, not God] to pull “the people . . . the people” into line with the partyline. (And with thought police lurking, you had better know what he line is!) Behind closed doors, of course, back-room deals are being made meanwhile with other key powers, whether local cartels or power groups or other states confronting the same enemies of the moment. Cf Orwell’s 1984 for excellent — and all too prophetic — satire on it.]

    5 –> When it comes to Judge Jones, you will know from my current intervention on DATCG having gone over the top, that I do not hold truck with uncivil conduct on any side. DATCG heeded correction and has put up some sterling comments, comments that are highly valuable — and which you and your ilk would do well to heed.

    6 –> That said, it it is equally demonstrable to the above that Judge Jones ran a kangaroo court in Dover, and that his decision insofar as it addressed ID as science, ignored cogent and factually well founded evidence in open court and associated submissions, and instead was demonstrably based 90+% on blindly copying Ms Forrest et al’s slanders and gross errors of fact.

    7 –> The same slanders and errors you are currently echoing and seeking to distract attention from by dragging in distractive red herrings, leading them over to ad hominem soaked strawmen and igniting hem to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere. Including the well known Fascist-style agitprop tactic of the turnspeech (he hit BACK first) accusation. One of the most notable cases was the already alluded to Fascist Agit-prop minister of the 1930′s & 40′s accusing Churchill and the British of of Big lies, through a Big Lie.

    8 –> So, please, for the sake of our civlisation, heed the above corrections, Mr Brown.

  247. 247

    I have tried repeatedly to post on Mr Browns ‘lil forum and have had 4 rather tame postings simply disappear. All my posts that did make it through took until the next day to clear.

    And as StevenB points out, its rather difficult to cover the requisite ground with a mere 250 words.

    I notice that Mr Brown’s attack was a mere 2791 words, so I suppose limiting StephenB to 250 is close to a fair fight.

  248. UB:

    As in disappear AFTER appearing?

    Or, simply failing to obtain “approval” by the HuffPo moderators [censors]?

    Rich!

    In either case this underscores that UD is the better forum for discussing the issues seriously.

    GEM of TKI

  249. lamarck, #143

    camanintx,
    You’re talking about positing a designer, then describing properties of one, it’s two different things.

    The theory is called Intelligent Design, isn’t it? This must be referring to design guided by an intelligent agent, because the other definition of intelligent doesn’t quite fit with what we know about biological systems.

    Now, if you’re saying that the designer need not be aware of the outcome of it’s design, you are going to have a hard time arguing against evolution, since natural selection fits this bill rather nicely.

  250. Typical far left hypocrisy.

    1) Smear campaign and character assination with deception, ridicule and lies, lotsa name-calling, jeering and juvenile rants
    2) Hypocrisy – doing the exact same thing in which they claim is wrong
    3) Still thinking they’re on higher ground with better morals even if they are nothing more than random mutations selected gradually over long periods of time.

    But, I’ll say it again. This is good news, take it as all joy, for in their childish attempts they reveal their emotional fears. Its as if they keep looking under their beds for the big bad boogie monstor after picking their nose.

    Dembski, Behe, UD, Expelled, ID, the flailing and wailing of failed Darwniist propaganda has them running away in fear from genuine conversations about science.

    Instead, the minions are sent in resorting to low-brow snort humor, low hanging fruit of comedic stand-ins. Oh look, I can stick my tongue out at you… blaaaa blaaaa. Bet you can’t be so rude. Double dog dare ya.

    Desparate for attention or to stop the inevitable truth from unfolding, or both, they stoop back down as their cave-dwelling ancestors and pick up mud – splat – haha, they say. Look what I did in a childish voice. Snicker, snicker as a Beavis.

    Yep, thats science Barrett.

  251. Another fine example of Barrett Browns fear, hate and loathing over at Protein Wisdom…

    Barret Brown channeling Libertarian when not listening to John Rogers channeling energy spirits

    Notice how others pet the little child in Barrett? He needs love, he just doesn’t know it. Scared little puppy dog, poor thing. Evil theorcrats lurk his halls at night, singing Holy, holy holy.

    We’ll need to send a John Rogers exorcism child of light expert over immediately to his rescue, or inform his boss he needs a vacation at the Light of Perpetual Re-Calibration.

  252. 252

    Carmanintx,

    The theory is called Intelligent Design, isn’t it? This must be referring to design guided by an intelligent agent, because the other definition of intelligent doesn’t quite fit with what we know about biological systems.

    Ignoring for the moment that your comment is incoherent, you might be interested to know that “what we know of biological systems” is that they have a non-physical/chemical component that causes them to exist.

  253. Upright BiPed, #252

    Ignoring for the moment that your comment is incoherent, you might be interested to know that “what we know of biological systems” is that they have a non-physical/chemical component that causes them to exist.

    Would that “non-physical/chemical component” have a name?

  254. 254

    CarmaninTx,

    Yes, its called an “artifact”

  255. camanintx,
    Could you elaborate or restate this in a different way? Don’t follow you completely. For instance:

    “Now, if you’re saying that the designer need not be aware of the outcome of it’s design, you are going to have a hard time arguing against evolution, since natural selection fits this bill rather nicely.”

    Natural design is very codified at this point. But what’s the designer not being aware mean?

  256. Footnotes:

    1] HuffPo has nothing new of consequence this morning that revises the force of the above. Just another ill-informed ditto-head ad hominem, building on Mr Brown’s attempted rebuttal to SB by reiterating already corrected fallacies and falsehoods in an artificially maintained echo-chamber.

    2] It is especially sad to see how those who so stridently champion themselves as such exponents of liberty and fairness, show themselves to have clay feet. But hen, that is true of us all. Let us acknowledge the fact of moral fallen-ness and then let us all seek to repent and grow towards the right, encouraging one another in that path.

    3] In the Post Shannon thread, there are some interesting issues on Monsieur Schutzenberger’s functional complexity.

    GEM of TKI

  257. Upright BiPed, #254

    Yes, its called an “artifact”

    Would you care to provide any evidence that this “artifact” exists and is what causes life to exist?

  258. lamarck, #255

    camanintx,
    Could you elaborate or restate this in a different way? Don’t follow you completely. For instance:

    “Now, if you’re saying that the designer need not be aware of the outcome of it’s design, you are going to have a hard time arguing against evolution, since natural selection fits this bill rather nicely.”

    Natural design is very codified at this point. But what’s the designer not being aware mean?

    Just because something appears designed doesn’t mean that the designer knew what the result would be before hand.

    If I mix ingredients together to make a cake following a recipe, then I can say that the cake was intelligently designed. But if I add ingredients based on how they affect the overall taste, without any thought of what the end product might be, I may get the same results but intelligence is no longer required.

  259. 259

    carmanintx,

    No offense, but this dance isn’t going to last long is it?

    - – - – - – - –

    Does DNA exist? Yes

    Does DNA contain any such artifact of design? Yes

    How so? Well for one thing, because there are no physio-chemical properties that cause it to exists the way it does.

    Why does that mean it is an artifact of design? Because an act of volition is the only force operating in nature that has the unique “causal adequacy” to create the effect observed in DNA.

    How do you know we wont figure something else out? No one has a crystal ball, but we already know the physical properties and chemical bonds at work within DNA. There isn’t an origins researcher alive that is studying mystery force x. ID isn’t based on what we don’t know, but what we already know to be true.

    Well, that doesn’t mean you can go off and say it might be designed then. Why?

  260. Uptight BiPed, #259

    No offense, but this dance isn’t going to last long is it?

    Only as long as you keep providing ambiguous answers.

    Because an act of volition is the only force operating in nature that has the unique “causal adequacy” to create the effect observed in DNA.

    What is this effect observed in DNA that you think requires an act of volition?

  261. camanintx,
    “If I mix ingredients together to make a cake following a recipe, then I can say that the cake was intelligently designed. But if I add ingredients based on how they affect the overall taste, without any thought of what the end product might be, I may get the same results but intelligence is no longer required.”

    That’s fine but how does this apply to evolution? There’s no mechanism put forth to build a cake randomly. Time constraints and entropy and vestigial-ness are the main issues.

  262. 262

    CarmaninTx

    Read this paper, calculate what you think the authors have wrong, and we’ll talk again. (pay particular attention to the phrase “volitional agency”)

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=1208958

  263. lamarck, #261

    That’s fine but how does this apply to evolution? There’s no mechanism put forth to build a cake randomly. Time constraints and entropy and vestigial-ness are the main issues.

    It’s all about intent. Intelligent Design claims that life is too complex to have evolved therefore something must have designed it to be the way it is.

    If you say that the designer didn’t have any particular intent when creating life, then you are admitting that random chance and unguided forces are adequate to explain it. As soon as you say that the designer intended to create life as it is, you’ve attempted to describe a property of the creator and gone much further than the Theory of Evolution ever does.

  264. Uptight BiPed, #262

    CarmaninTx

    Read this paper, calculate what you think the authors have wrong, and we’ll talk again. (pay particular attention to the phrase “volitional agency”)

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g…..id=1208958

    I think Abel and Trevors have created a definition of functional complexity which suits their purpose but doesn’t necessarily correspond to biological systems. Christopher Adami presents a definition more suited to biological genomes and shows how natural selection is capable of explaining it.

    Sequence Complexity in Darwinian Evolution

  265. Onlookers:

    As you will know from following the thread, the main focus — despite several side-trails (which have sometimes served as — one hopes and posits — inadvertent enabling behaviour) — is the demonstrable [cf 104 - 5, 146 esp.] slandering of the design movement and especially Mr Dembski by Mr Barrett Brown, as an unfortunately typical representative of an increasingly dangerous pattern of uncivil conduct on matters of public importance.

    He has now indicated that he is moving on to the next topic, thusly:

    I’ve got a new piece up at [XXXXXXXXXXX], this time attacking Charles Krauthammer instead of the intelligent design yahoos.

    In short, he is insistent on slander, having last said of Dr Demsbki: >> William Dembski is a degenerate hypocrite who reported an enemy to the government and alleged improper conduct on the part of a judge without first checking to see if the judge had actually done anything improper . . . >>

    (Of course, adn as discussed above, in fact Mr Pianka’s gleeful proclamations of the death of 90% of the human race in the context of the declarations of Mr Holdren etc and the presence of the ELF terrorists — as pointed out above, put a different light on his assertions. Similarly, Judge Jones plainly indulged himself in improper and abusive judicial activism, which has been pointed out right from the outset and has been abundantly demonstrated by the exposed fact of the copycat ruling on ID based on the ACLU’s distortions and misrepresentations of even basic facts. All this has been shown above. Worse, this very thread illustrates a case of threat or fact of thought police attack on the undersigned, for pointing out where the uncivil conduct that Mr Brown and acolytes exhibit trends. Not to mention, it turns out that for all the screaming of censorship and unfairness in moderation at UD, the policy in the thread at HuffPo is manifestly so biased that UD is the manifestly better forum.)

    The term “yahoos” plainly shows that Mr Brown is utterly unrepentant of his slander for profit, and that the evidently indulges the new atheist myth that those who object to their attitudes and arguments are thereby shown to be “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.”

    Given the track record of where such contempt-filled, hostility justifying bigotry can end, we should take warning.

    And, act in our own defense, before it is too late

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Camanintx, the second paper you link is predicated on distracting from the fact of organised, specific, digital code based algorithmic functionality in the cell, and the challenge of initially getting TO that baseline: notice how it simply assumes initially functioning entities and speaks of their increasing complexity [thereby ALSO ducking the precise distinction being drawn by Abel et al by the way . . . ]. There is no base in science for a credible, empirically well warrnted path from a lightning struck warm litte pond with micro or milli molar concentrations of a few amino acids etc, and the observed cell. And, to there4after originate novel body plans in a way that is embryologically credible, what Schuzenberger called “typographical mistakes” in the 1966 Wistar consultation are even less credible: in short, this has been ont he table at the top level for over 40 years, but simply brushed aside by those who dominate the relevant realms of institutional science and science education. We do know that intelligent designers routinely produce such digital, functional information and the systems that execute it; thus ther inference that such are a credible candidate for life and biodiversity at bodyplan level is empirically grounded. In short, the problem is not hill-climbing once we are on a beach-head of function but to get to islands of fuctionality in the sea of possible configurations of the relevant entities. It is question-begging to implicitly assume that almost any confuiguration will function in the required sense. Shapiro’s stricture is apt:

    ______________

    >> The analogy that comes to mind is that of a golfer, who having played a golf ball through an 18-hole course, then assumed that the ball could also play itself around the course in his absence. He had demonstrated the possibility of the event; it was only necessary to presume that some combination of natural forces (earthquakes, winds, tornadoes and floods, for example) could produce the same result, given enough time. No physical law need be broken for spontaneous RNA formation to happen, but the chances against it are so immense, that the suggestion implies that the non-living world had an innate desire to generate RNA. The majority of origin-of-life scientists who still support the RNA-first theory either accept this concept (implicitly, if not explicitly) or feel that the immensely unfavorable odds were simply overcome by good luck. >>
    _______________

    See the problem? [And see what Mr brown et al are distracting from through their haste to red herrings and ad hominem-soaked strawmen? Do you also see why we have reason to be concerned in light to the want of serious concern over manifest injustice on the part of those who turned up above to raise points in this thread from the evolutionary materialist [and fellow travellers] side?]

  266. kairosfocus: Also, be advised that Barrett Brown now refuses to print my refutation of his unsatisfactory response to my original comments on the Huffington Post. So, to review, he [a] refused to face scrutiny here, [b] covered that fact by inviting me to engage him there, and [c] allowed me to print one comment at that location, and then [d] censored my follow up comments. Thus, he now publically claims to have answered all my refutations without allowing me the response which would make clear that he did no such thing.

  267. Stephen:

    Why not post the response here that Mr Brown re3fused to carry, then give it in an expanded form that would say what you want to, more fully.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: How sadly reminiscent this all is of Rom 2:1: >> 2Therefore2 you are without excuse,3 whoever you are,4 when you judge someone else.5 For on whatever grounds6 you judge another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge practice the same things. [NET Bible]>> Let us pray that there will be some waking up and repentance, turning from the pattern so exposed.

  268. kairosfocus, #265

    PS: Camanintx, the second paper you link is predicated on distracting from the fact of organised, specific, digital code based algorithmic functionality in the cell, and the challenge of initially getting TO that baseline: notice how it simply assumes initially functioning entities and speaks of their increasing complexity [thereby ALSO ducking the precise distinction being drawn by Abel et al by the way . . . ].

    Which has nothing to do with the Theory of Evolution. Saying that the origin of life is a problem for the TOE is akin to saying economic theory is wrong because it cannot explain how the first coin was minted.

    There is no base in science for a credible, empirically well warrnted path from a lightning struck warm litte pond with micro or milli molar concentrations of a few amino acids etc, and the observed cell.

    Arguing that abiogenesis is false because it has not been proven true is a logical fallacy.

    We do know that intelligent designers routinely produce such digital, functional information and the systems that execute it; thus ther inference that such are a credible candidate for life and biodiversity at bodyplan level is empirically grounded.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but have any of these intelligently designed functional information systems exhibited any of the properties of life?

  269. “Arguing that abiogenesis is false because it has not been proven true is a logical fallacy”

    People do this all the time with ID. So are we to assume that you support ID as a possibility with as much probability as abiogenesis. After all nature has no track record of producing FSCI but intelligence does. So I would assume that the leaning should be toward intelligence with the dark horse in the race, abiogenesis.

    I quickly went through Adami’s paper and it seems that if his proposition is true, it will show up in genomes. Since genomes are getting much easier and less costly to map and to analyze, then his ideas should be verified in the near future or discredited.

    Adami’s claim is at the heart of the debate. ID says that no naturalistic method can generate the new information for novel complex capabilities and apparently Adami says it can. Fair enough and the proof will be in the pudding, that is in the genomes.

  270. jerry, #269

    People do this all the time with ID. So are we to assume that you support ID as a possibility with as much probability as abiogenesis.

    Since the probability of an intelligent designer existing is even more remote than life itself, abiogenesis is not quite the dark horse you think it is.

    After all nature has no track record of producing FSCI but intelligence does. So I would assume that the leaning should be toward intelligence with the dark horse in the race, abiogenesis.

    When some of these FSCI’s we’ve created begin to exhibit the properties of life, then maybe I’ll accept Abel and Trevor’s conclusions.

  271. 271

    CarmaninTx,

    Well I think its probably appropriate that you repond to a paper by a molecular biologist (with the careeer path in origins research) with a paper by a physicist (with a career path in artificial life).

    But who cares? I am familiar with the paper you’ve posted, but you came up a little short on critque. So what is the specific distinction you find compelling?

  272. “Since the probability of an intelligent designer existing is even more remote than life itself,”

    Why is this so? There is no evidence that nature can do it but there are lots of indications that intelligence can do it. You don’t have anything so you assert something. That’s not good science let alone logical.

    You are welcome to express faith in something but an honest person would admit it is faith. ID has some logic behind it, abiogenesis has none for it and evidence against it.

  273. “Since the probability of an intelligent designer existing is even more remote than life itself,”

    The person who wrote that is slightly confused, since the probability of life existing is obviously 1 as life does indeed exist. Similarly, if intelligence is the only plausible, observable cause which can produce the type of information processing system that defines one major aspect of life and if the information which makes up a living organism isn’t even defined by law or chance (which it isn’t) then the probability of intelligence existing before life and indeed designing it is closer to 1 while the probability of life arising from law and chance absent intelligence is closer to 0 if not actually 0 [since there is no available evidence of such an assertion].

    Sorry for that last long winded sentence, but I’m sure you get the point.

  274. camanintx,

    “If you say that the designer didn’t have any particular intent when creating life, then you are admitting that random chance and unguided forces are adequate to explain it.
    As soon as you say that the designer intended to create life as it is, you’ve attempted to describe a property of the creator and gone much further than the Theory of Evolution ever does.”

    Are you going to admit that there is no path from rocks to rock stars using materialism or not?

    Your premise is that if there was a path it would be impossible to know if god or matter was the cause and you are correct.

    Regarding intent of designer, ID is tracking down design to see where it leads. How does this postulate god’s intent or have anything to do with god?

  275. Camanintx:

    We must of course first note that the primary focus of this thread is a slander, and that such is so important — to to the destructive effects of snowballing incivility in our civlisation — that it should not be distracted from; on pain of indulging in enabling behaviour.

    Having noted that, I observe your:

    Saying that the origin of life is a problem for the TOE is akin to saying economic theory is wrong because it cannot explain how the first coin was minted.

    1 –> This reveals a key gap in understanding the significance of the complex functional information generation challenge for processes tracing to chance + blind necessity; which would be best addressed here at UD by reading the weak argument correctives linked from every page of the main blog.

    2 –> FYI, the hurdle in OOL studies is to get TO the first body-plan, with genetic and metabolic components etc., which would be a case of complex functional information generation out of lucky noise. And, judging by the ~ 600 k bits storage capacity for the threshold of preserved biofunction on knockout studies, we are looking at a config space challenge to find islands of function that is well beyond the critical 500 – 1,000 bits level. (At 1,000 bits, the search resources of our cosmos cannot scan as much as 1 in 10^150 of the possible configs, making chance and/or necessity utterly implausible. But of course intelligent designers routinely create FSCI using entities that go well beyond that threshold.)

    3 –> So, the first point of relevance is that absent a viable mechanism to get to first life, evolutionary materialist paradigms do not have a root for the hypothesised tree of life. (A point that has been cleverly ducked ever since Darwin.)

    4 –> And dusting off a bit of my other areas of studies, BY SHARPEST CONTRAST AN ECONOMY WITHOUT COINS IS STILL VERY POSSIBLE (THOUGH LESS EFFICIENT), I.E. BARTER. And, so soon as a convenient store of value and means of exchange is informally arrived at, money in some form would emerge — whiskey, nails and cigarettes have all done that in fairly recent times — money is in other words an emergent phenomenon that arises spontaneously from interacting intelligent, value-seeking agents. (What governments and banks do is to [sometimes] enhance credibility, convenience and credit.) That is, your rhetorical analogy multiply fails.

    5 –> FYFI, and as noted already, the complex functional information generation challenge does not vanish when we move beyond first life. For, on genetic studies, the information for novel body plans is of order 10′s – 100′s + of mega bits; which would have to be embryologically feasible, and make for a viable reproducing population.

    6 -> That is, the FSCI-generating challenge is WORSE for a theory that projects spontaneous formation of the branches of the hypothetical tree of life for a biosphere based on dozens of basic body plans. [And remember, natural selection may in part -- up to the challenge of circularity -- account for the survival of the fittest, but it does not account for their arrival. As Schutzenberger observed, typographical mistakes do not write complex functional programs. intelligent designers routinely do so.]

    7 –> Thus, on seeing functionally specific complex information, we have good positive, empirically based reason to view it as a sign of intelligent design. [Indeed, in no case of known origin do we see say 1,000 bits of FUNCTIONAL complex information emerging by chance and/or necessity; but routinely see such coming from intelligences.]

    8 –> So, we have excellent reason to conclude that on best explanation, when we see FSCI, we are seeing traces of an intelligent hand at work. nor, do we have any good reason to confine such intelligences to our selves as exhausting the actual or possible types of intelligent designers out there.

    9 –> Therefore, pace a priori closed mindedness a la Lewontin and the US NAS’ edicts, there is no good reason to reject that inference when we see such FSCI in the breadth of body plans in life forms, and in first life.

    GEM of TKI

  276. lamarck, #274

    Regarding intent of designer, ID is tracking down design to see where it leads. How does this postulate god’s intent or have anything to do with god?

    The point is, the TOE is no more concerned with the origin of life than economic theory is concerned with how the first coin was made. ID on the other hand is totally dependent on it, since without intent there is no way to distinguish design from natural causes.

  277. Caman:

    Repeating an error does not convert it into a correct statement:

    1 –> The core issue of design theory is that there are known, reliable, empirically observable signs of intelligence which once present point to design in and of themselves. (For instance, complex, functionally specific information. In all cases of known origin, FSCI comes from design, and we see why chance + necessity only would futilely exhaust the search capacity of the observed cosmos without being likely to ever find an island of function. for instance just 1,000 bits of storage capacity will specify 10^301 states, i.e. over the SQUARE of the number of quantum states the observed cosmos would scan across its thermodynamically credible lifespan. If you search 1 in 10^150 of a space of possible configs, you are not likely to find target islands of function in it. And we see the island topography as function is coded and specific so that typos so to speak do not write meaningful novel sentences that instruct the assembly of novel function, but on overwhelming probability destroy and never recover function.)

    2 –> It so happens that DNA has such information in it, in the form of digital instructions and data structures to store them.

    3 –> Once we move beyond micro-evolution, which connects to small genetic changes, we face the problem of finding highly specific targets of complex funct6ion in configuration spaces that will be dominated by vast seas of non-function.

    4 –> the only KNOWN means of traversing such spaces and reliably reaching targets on the gamut of the resources of our cosmos, is intelligence.

    5 –> So, on the FSCI in DNA etc, it is reasonable to infer to design, then to ask questions about other known characteristics of designers, i.e intent etc; and even onward possible identities.

    6 –> DNA as a factor shows up in BOTH OOL (at the root of the hypothetical tree of life) AND at the major branches where we get to dozens of body plans; so the usually claimed mechanisms for evolution become credibly inadequate at these levels; but design is known to be capable of getting to such scopes of complexity. (And your money analogy has been disestablished long since.)

    7 –> Now, it may be of interest to you to pose such issues, but you should note that the functional effect is to side-track a thread on a major issue: SLANDER. So, you need to be aware that your behaviour can become enabling behaviour for such slander. Please, think about that.

    GEM of TKI

  278. kairosfocus, #275

    2 –> FYI, the hurdle in OOL studies is to get TO the first body-plan, with genetic and metabolic components etc., which would be a case of complex functional information generation out of lucky noise.

    So you are saying that the infinite monkey theorem is wrong?

    3 –> So, the first point of relevance is that absent a viable mechanism to get to first life, evolutionary materialist paradigms do not have a root for the hypothesised tree of life. (A point that has been cleverly ducked ever since Darwin.)

    Just as ID ducks the question of where the designer came from?

    4 –> And dusting off a bit of my other areas of studies, BY SHARPEST CONTRAST AN ECONOMY WITHOUT COINS IS STILL VERY POSSIBLE (THOUGH LESS EFFICIENT), I.E. BARTER.

    Way to miss the forest for the trees.

    5 –> FYFI, and as noted already, the complex functional information generation challenge does not vanish when we move beyond first life.

    Since this has been observed, the challenge appears to have been met.

    In Solution, Evolution Creates an Artificial Enzyme

  279. Mr Camanintx,

    The upside of that story was that the search was among only 4 trillion molecular species, a far smaller number than is usually discussed.

    The downside is the use of the “D” word in describing how those 4 trillion were chosen by the experimenter to be the initial population. ;) His webpage puts it slightly differently.

    Starting with a completely random pool provides a sparse but unbiased sample of sequence space, so that different, independent solutions to a given problem can be obtained. We can sample more than 10^15 nucleic acid sequences and, after a few cycles of selection and amplification, recover the descendants of the rare functional molecules in the initial population. In vitro selection for sequences that fold into highly specific binding sites has been used to isolate many nucleic acids, called aptamers, that bind a wide range of small biomolecules, including nucleotides, amino acids, antibiotics, and cofactors.

    That page is also interesting for actually having a bit measure of increased function.

  280. kariofocus, #277

    2 –> It so happens that DNA has such information in it, in the form of digital instructions and data structures to store them.

    Try not to confuse analogy with reality.

    3 –> Once we move beyond micro-evolution, which connects to small genetic changes, we face the problem of finding highly specific targets of complex funct6ion in configuration spaces that will be dominated by vast seas of non-function.

    Zeno of Elea also proved that Achilles couldn’t overtake a tortoise if it had a head start. Both arguments are fundamentally flawed.

    4 –> the only KNOWN means of traversing such spaces and reliably reaching targets on the gamut of the resources of our cosmos, is intelligence.

    Only if you are trying to reach a pre-determined target. Random walk processes are perfectly able to identify acceptable targets in evolutionary spaces.

    Stochastic Models for Horizontal Gene Transfer

  281. Caman:

    I must underscore that your arguments sound ever more like a distractive effort.

    Please — fair warning — please, remember the context of this thread, and that the party you are addressing has not just got an academic interest in the issue of slander but was threatened above — if it was only threatened [I have had to treat the matter as more than an idle threat] — with being reported to the US Homeland Security administration, for pointing out the implications of snowballing incivility.

    I do not just now have time to take you up point by point, so I will speak to a couple of pivotal misunderstandings [which you could have averted by examining the Weak Argument Correctives accessible from every page in the main UD blog].

    Now, first, on your “infinite monkeys theorem,” I note that the problem is that infinity is just that: infinite — beyond the finite; i.e. non-empirical.

    Our observed cosmos — all that we are warranted to assume or assert on for this — has about 10^80 atoms, 3/4 of which are H, much of the remainder He, with C less than 1%. On using the Planck time as a yardstick [~ 10^-43 s] and 10^25s [~ 10^17 years] as a thermodynamically plausible lifespan for the cosmos, we can at most see 10^150 states of all the atoms of the cosmos.

    1,000 bits entails a configuration space of ~ 10^301 states, which means that the whole cosmos acting as a search engine, and acting on chance + mechanical necessity in the ~ 13.7 *10^9 y since the singularity that is a common estimate, could not have sampled or searched or scanned as much as 1 in 10^150 of the configs; an unimaginably small fraction of the available config space of just 1,000 bits of information storage capacity. (This combinatorial explosion effect is BTW, not unrelated to the complexity challenge faced by hardware troubleshooters and software debuggers.)

    But, intelligence routinely uses insight and creative imagination to target precise islands of function in the space for entities that are far more complex than that. (For instance just 143 ASCII characters in contextually responsive English — about 18 – 20 typical words — are at the 1,000 bit threshold, and are demonstrably in an island of function as random perturbation of the string will show. Do you write by getting a million monkeys to pound away at keyboards at random, then scanning for a contextually responsive text in good English? So you expect a rock-fall down a hillside at the border of Wales to come to rest in the configuration: Welcome to Wales? Does Mr Gates write Windows 7 — or even a “hello World” program by putting a troop of monkeys to pound away at random at typewriters? Does Dell make the computers for Mr gates by making monkeys play with the parts bins at Round Rock? Why then do you and the dominant school of thought think the DNA code for first life [probably ~ 600 - 1,000 k bits storage capacity] or for major body plan innovations [probably ~ 10's - 100's M bits storage capacity] wrote itself by chance + necessity?)

    Indeed, the ONLY empirically confirmed, directly observed source of such FSCI is intelligence [and that in the context of the search challenge we see above]; so much so that we can take it as a reliable sign of such intelligence. [Do you routinely assign posts on this blog to lucky noise and/or the blind mechanical forces of nature?]

    Now, what that means is that we have an empirically reliable principle: FSCI is a sign of intelligence, i.e a scientific finding.

    As to the identity or intent of he particular intelligence responsible, that is not usually something that we can establish on the mere fact of observing a sign of intelligence.

    (To use SB’s example, we may from seeing how our house was ransacked and how files etc were disturbed and jewellery and key documents taken, that we were invaded by intelligent agents not a tornado. But that does not give you a right to fire off a half-cock accusation against a nosy or noxious neighbour. Try that and you are liable to end up on the losing side of a tort case.)

    However — as is also pointed out in the thread above — when we bring to bear the other side of deisng theory, cosmological inference on fine-tuning of the cosmos that supports life, we find that a more specific inference becomes plausible. For, the cosmos shows signs of design, and design that makes intelligent, cell-based biological life possible, in aggregate multidimensional and exquisite fine-tuning. So, it is reasonable that an extra-cosmic, very piowerful intelligence intent on making life was involved. That makes such intelligence suspect no 1 for intelligent life inthe cosmos.

    As to intelligent life on earth — on specifically scientific, empirically constrained inference — that [a] may be the direct creation of such an extra-cosmic intelligence, or [b & c] it may be an intentional or accidental by-product of already existing life in the cosmos.

    The strength of the third possibility depends on one’s views of the powers of chance and necessity to originate major body plans.

    I think that — on the same FSCI origination issue highlighted already — the evidence points away from such capacity of chance and blind necessity, so the finger points to deliberate design of life on earth; but we cannot currently distinguish whether the particular intelligence involved was within or beyond the cosmos.

    And — pace your dismissive and ad hominem laced rhetorical remarks above — such caution is a matter of being respectful of the limits of data and reasonable inference from data in hand, not ducking issues.

    GEM of TKI

  282. PA: Horizontal gene transfers are irrelevant to the origin of the DNA codes in the transferred genes. It is information origination, not transfer,that is the key issue that needs to be squarely faced, not brushed aside through a convenient red herring and strawman. [And, BTW, one very well known means of horizontal transfer of algorithmically functional information and associated data structures is the code library and associated code re-use.]

  283. KF-san,

    If I may suggest, you might improve your argument by making it more realistic.

    While it is easy enough to multiply out these large numbers by adding their exponents, I think most readers of this blog already know that it is not chemical or Darwinian evolution that you are thereby refuting, it is random search. This is a windmill you have conquered over and over.

    It would be more powerful if you assumed what you wish to disprove, evolution, and then reason to the contradiction that there is not enough states in the universe to accomplish something useful, like building a genome. This is what you often pretend to do, but do not do.

  284. kariosfocus, #281

    Why then do you and the dominant school of thought think the DNA code for first life [probably ~ 600 - 1,000 k bits storage capacity] or for major body plan innovations [probably ~ 10's - 100's M bits storage capacity] wrote itself by chance + necessity?)

    If scientists can produce 22 different amino acids in one week from just a few flasks of water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen, don’t you think you might be overstating the odds just a little? Especially when nature had millions of years and a whole planet to work with.

    However — as is also pointed out in the thread above — when we bring to bear the other side of deisng theory, cosmological inference on fine-tuning of the cosmos that supports life, we find that a more specific inference becomes plausible. For, the cosmos shows signs of design, and design that makes intelligent, cell-based biological life possible, in aggregate multidimensional and exquisite fine-tuning.

    Before you can argue fine tuning, you first have to explain how all these cosmological constants came to have the values they do and what range of potential values they might have had. Since we aren’t even sure what these constants are, I doubt you’ll be able to answer the first much less the second.

  285. Caman,

    “without intent there is no way to distinguish design from natural causes.”

    What definition of intent are you using? Can a tracker follow the deer’s tracks while not worrying about intent or what if any properties the deer possesses? Are you saying we must assume a deer’s tracks are the product of a deer or that we must not?

    You have yet to clarify your position. Can you explain what you actually mean? I’m forced to guess with my own examples. If intent can be divorced from ID, and we are talking about stripped down definitions, then state your case in a new way so I can follow what it relates to.

    Is your problem not with ID but with how ID proponents might have communicated ID sometimes? If so what does that have to do with anything?

  286. Onlookers (And participants):

    This thread is a pivotal one for UD, and for he wider significance of rthe design controversy.

    For, in it, we see highlighted the characteristic amorality of evolutionary materialism, and its reduction to the absurdity that might makes right. So, per such premises, if you can get away with it, slander is no big thing, nor threatening people with — or possibly carrying out — false accusations of being terrorist threats, or the like.

    And, if you can successfully distract attention from such injustice, then that is the useful rhetorical gambit to undertake. And utility tempered by prudence if you do not hold enough power to get away with it, is the only measure of behaviour.

    That is sad indeed.

    Nor, is it a new development.

    For, in 360 BC, Plato already saw this in his opening salvo reductio argument against evolutionary naturalism, in the Laws, Book X:

    _____________

    >> Ath. . . . But as to our younger generation and their wisdom, I cannot let them off when they do mischief. For do but mark the effect of their words: when you and I argue for the existence of the Gods, and produce the sun, moon, stars, and earth, claiming for them a divine being, if we would listen to the aforesaid philosophers we should say that they are earth and stones only, which can have no care at all of human affairs, and that all religion is a cooking up of words and a make-believe . . . . They say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . .

    The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism is hardly a new or a primarily "scientific" view!] Art sprang up afterwards and out of these, mortal and of mortal birth, and produced in play certain images and very partial imitations of the truth, having an affinity to one another, such as music and painting create and their companion arts. And there are other arts which have a serious purpose, and these co-operate with nature, such, for example, as medicine, and husbandry, and gymnastic. And they say that politics cooperate with nature, but in a less degree, and have more of art; also that legislation is entirely a work of art, and is based on assumptions which are not true . . . .

    these people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new.] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might, and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others, and not in legal subjection to them. >>
    ________________

    Such an ethic of might makes “right” has been all too manifest in this thread and in the parallel HuffPo one.

    In short, ever since Plato, it has been plain that the view that chance and necessity acting on material entities are the prior causes leads to radical relativism and ends in equating justice to “might makes right.” [Onlookers, cf the parallel thread on the new atheists and amorality in the context of the problem of evil, here.]

    So, so long as our innate, inescapable sense that justice is binding, matters greatly and is far more than “might makes right” speaks true, we can see that since philosophical naturalism and/or materialism reduces to amorality — and thus reduces ethics to might makes right — it patently reduces itself to absurdity.

    It is thus necessarily false, and it is manifestly pernicious and dangerous.

    As, the fiasco with Mr Barret Brown’s slanderous fulminations backed up by censorship ever so amply demonstrates.

    Not only so, but the persistent pattern of deflective arguments above to turn this tread from a decisive point through distractions to issues long since adequately answered in the Weak Argument correctives is chillingly revealing in the light of Plato’s analysis.

    So, onlookers, we have been forewarned.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Nakashima-san et al: you will see that I am seriously disturbed at the pattern of your arguments, in the context of what is truly at stake in this thread. Please, think soberly about that.

    PPS: I will simply say on the matter of the search space challenge for both OOL and body-plan level biodiversity [and onlookers, yes this was in the always linked all along -- as well as much more on related issues . . . ], that it is unmet and above you simply seek to dismiss it with a literary allusion to a comical figure, don Quixote. As to the idea that oh the 22 Aa’s are formed in a test-tube in a week, so life can form easily, I simply point out that racemic formation of chemicals has little to do with functionally organised, algorithmically controlled homochiral molecular nanomachines as a core aspect of life (no more so than that a cat 5 hurricane passing over a hardware store will credibly build a house out of stirring up the available components), AND that if the homochirality was injected at he outset you are failing to spot undue investigator interference. At his stage I have but little time or patience for distractions given what is REALLY at stake but is being insistently ignored and distracted from. What you have plainly demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt through enabling behaviour in the teeth of repeated reminder, is callous indifference to manifest injustice. Prudent people will take warning from that. G’day, sirs.

  287. kairosfocus,

    This thread is a pivotal one for UD, and for he wider significance of rthe design controversy.

    For, in it, we see highlighted the characteristic amorality of evolutionary materialism, and its reduction to the absurdity that might makes right.

    Evolutionary materialism is incapable of amorality. If you mean that you have highlighted the characteristic amorality of evolutionary materialists, come out and say it. Also explain to us how you have divined that the people who have taunted and teased you are philosophical, rather than methodological, materialists.

  288. kairosfocus,

    Is this your idea of civil discourse?

  289. kairosfocus,

    Not only so, but the persistent pattern of deflective arguments above to turn this tread from a decisive point through distractions to issues long since adequately answered in the Weak Argument correctives is chillingly revealing in the light of Plato’s analysis.

    Don’t you think this is just a bit of a stretch, going from the “weak argument correctives” (where, by the way, are the correctives for the weak arguments IDers so often trot out?) to Plato and “might makes right.” The only person exercising might here at UD is Clive Hayden.

  290. kairosfocus:

    So, so long as our innate, inescapable sense that justice is binding, matters greatly and is far more than “might makes right” speaks true, we can see that since philosophical naturalism and/or materialism reduces to amorality — and thus reduces ethics to might makes right — it patently reduces itself to absurdity.

    Your view of ethics strikes me as parochial, as do those of many religious people. Have you ever taken a philosophy course in the topic?

    I have known some atheists who were highly ethical. If you have not, you need to get out more. Furthermore, I have known quite a few Christians who were quite unethical, regarding their salvation as a “get out of jail free” card — i.e., they believed that their professions of faith would get them to heaven, no matter how little regard they showed for the Golden Rule.

  291. kairosfocus,

    What is your estimate of the number of onlookers in comment 286? Keep it in mind that this thread no longer appears on the UD home page.

  292. Onlookers:

    It’s a good thing I decided to pass back.

    SG’s comments just above underscore the precise pattern of problems I have highlighted.

    Recall, the main issue on the table is deliberate slander, and that a secondary issue is threatening a participant with malicious report to the Homeland Security Dept; and maybe it was more than “just” a threat too.

    As to the ethical import of evolutionary material-ISM, ever since Plato, as already cited, the system of thought has been A-moral.

    Spell that: is-ought gap, as in from a material is, you cannot derive an ethical ought.

    (As Elizabeth Anscombe long ago corrected Hume en passant, one cannot derive the ought from the is, save when the ought is inherent in the import of the fundamental reality. That is a key advantage of theism, never mind all the current carping at deontological ethics etc [the Euthryphro dilemma being especially long since past sell-by date): the inherently good God commands that which is good and for our own good, which we can see through the light of conscience-guided reason and the pursuit of virtue, is indeed not arbitrary. [My 101 level discussion is here, including on why I do not go along with relativism on ethics.] And, the heart of sound sustainability of development analysis is the ethics of equity.)

    G’day again

    GEM of TKI

  293. lamarck, #285

    What definition of intent are you using?

    Pronunciation: \in-?ten(t)-sh?n\
    Function: noun
    1: a determination to act in a certain way

    Can a tracker follow the deer’s tracks while not worrying about intent or what if any properties the deer possesses? Are you saying we must assume a deer’s tracks are the product of a deer or that we must not?

    We are talking about intelligent design, aren’t we? Tracks left by deer are hardly design, much less intelligent.

  294. Caman,

    Then give me an example of ID postulating that a designer is determined to act in a certain way.

  295. Onlookers:

    It’s a good thing I decided to pass back.

    Yes, they’re depending on you.

    Recall, the main issue on the table is deliberate slander…

    I don’t get that when I read Clive’s article. Do you control the issues on the table? Sometimes UDers start new threads to address “pivotal” issues arising in other threads. Why don’t you log in to UD as a white-box user and move this side discussion, which you are sure trumps the original in importance, to the top of the blog?

  296. lamarck, #294

    Caman,

    Then give me an example of ID postulating that a designer is determined to act in a certain way.

    Referring to the glossary here on UD:

    Intelligence – 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.”

    Since ID is “the science that studies signs of intelligence,” wouldn’t design itself be a sign that something planned to act in a certain way?

  297. Onlookers:

    “Interesting” isn’t it when the objectors to ID “suddenly” take an interest in substantial points from the Weak Argument Correctives and Glossary? For instance, just above, CIT wants to parse the definition of Intelligence, and one of those for Design Theory. (Pardon my suspicions for a moment, let’s pause and speak to the point just above.)

    CIT evidently wants to understand what ID is as the study of SIGNS of intelligence. Well . . .

    1 –> ID is not the study of intelligence itself (an unobservable . . . ) but of its characteristic signs, from which one infers and empirically supports the presence of the signified.

    2 –> This is similar to how (ever since J J Thomson’s work in 1897 or so) we do not directly observe electrons and other more exotic particles — can you show me a photograph of an electron? — but are quite confident of their presence from signs of their interactions that leave observable traces such as bubble chamber tracks or dots on oscilloscope screens; and onward, infer to other constructs, e.g. I used to illustrate the Lorentz Force by setting an old [!] CRO to XY mode and using a hand-rotated bar magnet to deflect and pull the dot around with it in a circle, to explain Induction Motors and TV deflection yokes, etc. (Have you ever seen “energy” or “time” either?)

    3 –> In short, it is a commonplace in science to have integrative constructs or concepts that are not directly observed but are viewed as well substantiated on inference to best explanation of clusters of observed phenomena and characteristic signs.

    4 –> just so, we know [from personal experience and observation] that intelligences exist and act into the world, producing artifacts with characteristic traces, which of course manifest the purposefulness of intelligence, i.e reflect that intelligences plan and implement such towards goals. ID sets about studying such traces, so that from the resulting credible signs of intelligence, we may infer from sign to intelligence in cases where we do not directly observe an intelligence at work. FSCI is of course one such sign, and in the more technical form, FSC, has been not only quantified but at least one list of 35 measured values in functional bits [= "fits"] has been published for families of proteins [cf WAC 27 for the link to Durston et al].

    But, such technical matters are in reality a distraction from something far more serious that has emerged in this pivotal thread, and has formed its main focus. [SG, kindly observe from the original post, the link to the HuffPo hit piece, the prominence given therein to a false accusation of "lying" as the context for his VHS video reference -- cf 104 - 5 for a detailed expose -- and then let us return to the main focus for the thread.]

    For, this thread has revealed:

    a –> The real context for the last sentence of the Touchstone 1999 article [cf esp 104 - 5 above] that Mr Brown at HuffPo et al [and behind him, Ms Forrest etc.] have latched onto. (That is, as WAC 7 highlights, having outlined ID theory and techniques c. 1999, WmAD was making some explicitly philosophical and theological remarks as he projected onward and outward from the technical scientific matters. Far from “lying” or concealing a hidden tyrannical theocratic agenda [cf. WAC's 7 - 8], he was providing a corrective to the smuggling in of a priori, Lewontinian materialism into science, education and other key institutions of our civilisation.)

    b –> The slander-based, demonising incivility embedded in the false accusation of lying and hidden tyrannical theocratic agendas, once it begins to snowball, is destructive to the culture of mutual respect that is foundational to our liberties. And, when I pointed this out, I found myself promptly threatened with and/or actually reported to the US Homeland Security Dept, to put me on a terror-threat watch list. In short, the thread contains a live example of slander and destructive tyrannical incivility — from the evolutionary materialist side. [I have taken initial steps to lodge an official complaint.]

    c –> HuffPo reveals that the common taunt that UD is censoring and suppressive of dissent — for all the problems we have had here — is too often hypocritical, sometimes even evidently cynically so. Here, Mr Brown made much of how his comments were moderated and held up for a few hours, but in fact at his own thread, dissenting comments by other participants in this thread were not only sharply constricted as to length, but were held up for a day or in many cases simply never appeared, no explanation. So, if one is serious about having a civil discussion on the merits, UD is the place to do it.

    d –> moreover, the thread also shows that he WAC’s [and glossary] do in fact form a key point of departure for addressing serious questions on design theory, by cutting away a lot of thorny, noxious brushwood based on misunderstandings — often based on naively thinking that the critics of ID have given a true and fair view of what they are attacking [a problem that holds all the way up to Judge Jones' Dover decision . . . ] — so that a more serious discussion can ensue. (And SG, that is a vital and even positive contribution.)

    GEM of TKI

  298. PS: SG — It is clear that UD serves as a forum of record for the ID movement [now being associated with BOTH Dr Dembski and Dr Behe, as well as Dr Hunter, Dr Sewell etc]; so much so that it is now being targetted by the ideologues at HuffPo etc. [They would never give UD exposure if they did not think the impact of this blog was insignificant.] And, in fact, UD leadership report as at some months back, 6 – 9,000 unique visitors per day; which is not insignificant for a relatively technical blog.

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