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Intelligent design requires evidence: Ah, but what can be considered evidence?

Recently, an ID-friendly scientist assured me that intelligent design would easily be accepted if only the ID guys would come up with evidence. To my mind, that shows the difficulty people have in understanding what is at stake: the very question of what may count as evidence. Here is how I replied:   
Bench science, like book editing, is independent of content under normal circumstances.

But as Thomas Kuhn points out in Structure of Scientific Revolutions, paradigms determine what counts as evidence.

Mark what follows:

If materialism is assumed to be true and Darwinism is the creation story of materialism, then Darwinism is the best available explanation for the history of life.

So Darwinism is treated as true.

I am NOT saying that that follows logically.

Materialism could be true but its orthodox creation story could be untrue at the same time. Some other materialist story could better account for the evidence, for example.

However, most people do not think that way. (I am describing a course of mental events here, not a logical argument.)

Because Darwinism is treated as true, questioning it is irrational or malign.

If you are a scientist, it is no defence to say that you have uncovered evidence against Darwinism. That makes you a heretic.

Don’t try claiming that you do science better without Darwinism. If you don’t believe it, you shouldn’t be doing science at all, right?

The purpose of science is to uncover the evidence for materialism, and you may as well deny Genesis in a God-fearing chapel as deny Darwinism at the Smithsonian.

You could outperform all your colleagues in research and accomplish nothing except get yourself denied tenure.

What if a theory that clashes with Darwinism better explains changes over time (and even makes verified predictions)?

Well, here’s where the importance of a materialist paradigm comes in: Any explanation that conforms to Darwinism will be preferred to any explanation that does not conform to it – irrespective of a difference in explanatory power that favours the latter.

In the research for the neuroscience book for which I am Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard’s co-author (The Spiritual Brain, Harper, March 2007), I found that really inane and unsatisfactory explanations for various mental states were preferred if they supported the materialist paradigm, over against better explanations that didn’t particularly support it. Sometimes it was ludicrous. But always it was deadly serious.

Kuhn’s Structure is a very useful book to read, for understanding how paradigms determine what can even be considered as evidence.

Thus, in my humble opinion, evidence that supports an ID perspective will be primarily useful to the ID scientists themselves in understanding their own view of the world.

It will be useless for making any general point against the materialist paradigm. ID-friendly evidence will merely be shelved as a problem to be solved or reinterpreted along materialist lines, no matter how flimsy.

So yes, by all means, ID guys, find evidence - but mainly to educate yourself and sketch out your own theory. The more evidence you find, the more unwelcome you will be elsewhere.

ID biochemist Mike Behe was compared to Osama bin Laden in Biology and Philosophy (2003), and that wasn’t because he was thought to be a crank. One doesn’t compare a crank to Osama bin Laden.

Note: bin laden? Yes … here’s the note from By Design or by Chance? “Tamler Sommers and Alex Rosenberg explain in “Darwin’s nihilistic idea: evolution and the meaninglessless of life,” Biology and Philosophy 18: 653–668, 2003 http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/0169-3867 that “Stalin or Osama bin Laden, or Michael Behe, or your favourite villain, is also “an utterly idiosyncratic structure …” The message of the article is that Darwinism requires nihilism. It’s not clear just how these folks understand the nihilism but the grouping of names is unsettling.”
  
After I posted this item to the Post-Darwinist, a commenter kindly noted the following:

At Saturday, October 28, 2006 6:57:24 PM, Jim Sherwood said…

It seems that Michael Behe has done excellent scientific research. He has been listed in American Men and Women of Science, the century-old biographical dictionary of “leaders” in American science, since the edition published in 1994: for 12 years. He is cited for research in the structure of DNA, among other things, in AMWS. He was first listed at the relatively young age of 42.

Since biologist Jerry Coyne has attacked Behe in The New Republic as somehow a “third-rate biologist,” it seems strange that Coyne has never been listed in AMWS. And Coyne published his Ph.D thesis in 1978, so he can’t be much younger than Behe, who is 54 and published his thesis in the same year.

Perhaps Coyne will get better “reviews” from his “peers” as a scientist if he writes enough articles in nonscientific magazines attacking intelligent design theory? Who knows?

Well, yes, Jim, but if I were a Darwinist just now, I would prefer to attack ID than defend Darwinism. Lots of chuckleheads would applaud me for attacking ID even if I wasn’t making any sense at all, but defending Darwinian evolution is currently hard work and slim pickings. You know the sort of thing: Black squirrels survive in Washington, D.C., just as they do in Toronto. Galapagos finches fatten their beaks, or else they thin them, depending on the season. The human race is supposedly dividing  into clever gods vs. moronic dwarfs, though this has never happened before for tens of thousands of years. 

All I ever say about any of this is, no wonder there is an intelligent design controversy and it does not go away! 

 

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94 Responses to Intelligent design requires evidence: Ah, but what can be considered evidence?

  1. What predictions is ID making? What experiments are being conducted to demonstrate the veracity of those predictions?

    I would appreciate someone letting me know these answers. From what I have read thus far most of the writing being advanced by ID is more in the realm of philosophy rather than in systematic scientific investigation. Possibly I am mistaken.

  2. We have plenty of direct observation and experimental data for micro ID. In biology we have artificial selection and genetically modified foods, just to name a couple.

    However when we talk about macro ID, we do not yet have such data. We have to rely on what we know about causal agencies.

    What predictions does ID make? Counterflow, CSI, IC, to name a few.

    Experiments? If someone went into a lab and designed a bacterial flagellum would that ‘prove’ ID?

    However IC and CSI can both be tested experimentally. Some anti-IDists claim that both have been tested and falsified (only to have their claims refuted).

    I would say we are still at the stage of just getting the design inference allowed. After-all we really don’t have any “experiments” that would demonstrate (for example) a population of cetaceans could “evolve” from a population of hooved mammals. What experimnts demonstrate that single-celled organisms can “evolve” into something other than single-celled organisms?

    BTW- the first black squirrel I ever saw was in Pickering- just East of Toronto. I thought OPG had something to do with that…

  3. What is the measure of IC and CSI? Can you calculate these properties for various organic structures? How do we know a snowflake is not designed?

    Being able to define in mathematic terms IC and CSI I believe is crucial to ID. Has a methodology for this been defined?

  4. joseph: “After-all we really don’t have any “experiments” that would demonstrate (for example) a population of cetaceans could “evolve” from a population of hooved mammals.”

    This certainly falls back on the “paradigm dictates evidence” issue raised by O’leary, but, in my mind, we do have experiments showing that a population of cetaceans could evolve from a population of hooved animals. They are “experiments” involving examining DNA sequences, with the evolutionary scenario generating specific hypotheses about what to expect or not to expect when the sequences of various taxa are examined. I know that this is not the type of experiment you were intending Joseph, but there’s simply no other way to demonstrate macroevolution during human lifespans. The best we can achieve are these sort of circumstantial evidence arguments. I also know that many of you will argue that common descent doesn’t in any way prove darwinian evolution–as opposed to some other designed mechanism–that is certainly true, but Joseph’s statement concerned whether there were experiments showing that such evolution (change) could occur (whatever the underlying mechanism.)

    As for the details concerning cetaceans, the clearest examples I know are these from Okada’s group (below), one of which is freely available now. The logic of these retrotransposon insertions and how they are used to infer relationships is fairly easy to follow compared to other methodologies employed in the field.

    Nikaido M, Rooney AP, Okada N.
    Phylogenetic relationships among cetartiodactyls based on insertions of short and long interpersed elements: hippopotamuses are the closest extant relatives of whales.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Aug 31;96(18):10261-6.

    Shimamura M, Yasue H, Ohshima K, Abe H, Kato H, Kishiro T, Goto M, Munechika I, Okada N. Molecular evidence from retroposons that whales form a clade within even-toed ungulates.
    Nature. 1997 Aug 14

  5. “What predictions is ID making? What experiments are being conducted to demonstrate the veracity of those predictions? I would appreciate someone letting me know these answers.”

    Go watch the recent Meyer debate hosted by the Seattle Times. Meyer answers this question about 2 or 3 times, if memory serves me.

    “From what I have read thus far most of the writing being advanced by ID is more in the realm of philosophy rather than in systematic scientific investigation.”

    Substitute “ID” with “Darwinists” in the above quote and you’ll have something closer to reality. Hence the ID vs. Darwin debate, as was discussed in the OP.

  6. SF–What predictions is ID making?

    That biological complexities exist that cannot be reduced consistent with evolutionalry theory.

  7. trinbune7 wrote
    ”That biological complexities exist that cannot be reduced consistent with evolutionalry theory”

    Define what level of complexity cannot be explained by evolutionary theory–because that is the issue. What is the definition, mathmetically, of IC or CSI? It has to be more than simply “it looks designed”. Snowflakes look designed, yet they are a natural formation.

  8. While scientific data itself is not generally subjective, their interpretataion – what they are ‘evidence’ of is an entirely different matter. Hence what constitutes ‘evidence’ in support of ID is an entirely subjective matter, based on individual perceptions, presuppositions, and prejudices.

    However, that being said, the logical step for the ID community is to commence some sort of ‘wet’ research program. This will facilitate the construction of ID based experiments with their own set of ID based predictions. This type of ‘evidence’ is largely what the science community is looking for. The degree of ‘evidence’ required to sway any individual one way or the other is again, likely to be a subjective matter.

    I would imagine that Ken Miller would require less ‘evidence’ than say Dawkins.

    While we’re on the topic, it’s worth mentioning that without an active (read: visible) research program that generates independent ‘evidence,’ the ID community is doomed to being viewed as science-based apologetics at best, and pseudoscientific rubbish at worst, by a large part of the reseach community.
    Certainly the type of ‘meta-analyses’ that have been performed to construct ID tenets (IC, CSI, etc.) were essential. However, the time for shaking cultures, spinning centrifuges, pouring columns, and running gels is rapidly supplanting pounding the keyboard – or at least it should be.

    As has already been mentioned in this discussion, tenets of ID are certainly capable of being tested. Hell, my post-doc will be up soon… if someone wants to put me up in a lab, I can run the experiments myself. I’ve got lots of experience with a system I would imagine qualifies as IC – the ATP synthase.

    In terms of what would constitute adequate or sufficient evidence to legitimize ID as science in the mind of the ‘average’ scientist, there’s really only one way to find out… start laying it out in front them.

  9. mattison0922: “However, the time for shaking cultures, spinning centrifuges, pouring columns, and running gels is rapidly supplanting pounding the keyboard – or at least it should be.”

    Yes, but these types of experiments require very specific ID-based hypotheses targeting specific systems. It is difficult for me to imagine “wet-bench” experimental scenarios where one outcome or another would support ID over evolution or vice versa. Sure, you could remove a chunk of an IC-system and demonstrate it doesn’t work anymore. But I could also extract the heart from a monkey, and the monkey wouldn’t work anymore either. That would do little to convince anyone (not already convinced) that the monkey didn’t evolve. You would have to demonstrate that there was no *possible* evolutionary path that could been taken to achieve the IC system. Convincing folks that you’ve done this within your wet-bench framework would be very difficult if not impossible. And aside from this IC-scenario, I’m having trouble imagining any other types of experiments. You could take the approach of detecting specific engineering principles employed in life, but it becomes a largely theortetical argument as to whether or not darwinian evolution might exhibit those same patterns. I think ultimately ID would have to find some type of smoking gun, perhaps a kind of meta-information in genomes that clearly entails a plan which extends well beyond the current organism…maybe even detailing a future unfurling of evolution. Such a plan could not “evolve” because evolution, as we understand it, does not entail such forethought.

    I would be interested in hearing any specific experiments people have in mind, as well as their reasoning behind the experiment. Ultimately, mattison is right about what it will take to change people’s minds; vague indications about life “appearing like a computer program” or junk dna “turning out to have a function” wield very little weight in scientific circles. Scientific types want detailed hypotheses about specific biological systems , as well as the necessary empirical experiments/observations to assess them.

  10. One problem in determining design in nature is the fact that ALL OF NATURE is designed. Francis Collins believes that the universe is designed to have the essential properties to sustain life. This is the big picture or background design. This design happens before the big bang. It is much more acceptable and is referred to as small i small d.

    Big I big D is the idea that the small id does not generate what we find in biology.

    Some things we observe in the universe look complicated to us like snow flakes, or fractils, but they are really the result of small id simple rules. Life is not like that.

    We do not get anything like integrated closely specified systems from small id. Biology is full of these integrated systems that we refer to as Specified Complexity, CSI or Irreducible Complexity.

    Materialistic science accepts the id rules as givens but they also believe AS A GIVEN that there are not any more complex inputs needed to generate biological information and complexity.

    They have not demonstrated that to our satisfaction. Dawkins has done some magician’s tricks but we can all see right through them.

    By the way, common descent is not anti ID. It is not essential to ID that species be generated ex nihlo. It is the non random purposeful external and intelligent arrangement of molecules that makes ID different.

  11. idnet.com.au:

    “we refer to as Specified Complexity, CSI or Irreducible Complexity”

    How are these terms defined? Other than their somewhat amorphous use, how are these quantified? Without a quantitative definition there can be no experimentation.

    And that leaves ID as a matter of “faith”–”I believe that complex systems cannot arise from RM+NS”–rather than a demonstratable science.

  12. “And that leaves ID as a matter of “faith”–”I believe that complex systems cannot arise from RM+NS”–rather than a demonstratable science.”

    Very comic. Let me state more correctly:
    ”I believe that complex systems can arise from RM+NS”–rather than a demonstratable science”

  13. kairos,

    That wasn’t meant to be a swipe at ID, just an observation. Until there are quantitative measures for the terms I do not see how anyone can design experiments to support the ideas behind ID.

    “This is designed.” How does one know? How do you measure design? Complex structures arise in nature all the time–are they designed? Are they the result of natural process?

    My point is this: until there are experiments, then ID is a matter of faith.

  14. great ape:
    This certainly falls back on the “paradigm dictates evidence” issue raised by O’leary, but, in my mind, we do have experiments showing that a population of cetaceans could evolve from a population of hooved animals.

    That is the ONLY place such “experiments” reside- in your mind.

    great ape:
    They are “experiments” involving examining DNA sequences, with the evolutionary scenario generating specific hypotheses about what to expect or not to expect when the sequences of various taxa are examined.

    DNA sequences can also be experimental evidence for a common design.

    great ape:
    The best we can achieve are these sort of circumstantial evidence arguments.

    Circumstantial evidence based on a speculative assumption. However from what we do know DNA does NOT make an organism what it is. IOW we know that although genes may influence every aspect of development they do NOT determine it.

  15. CSI and IC have both been defined. CSI is defined as a minimum of 500 bits of information- note Shannon information need not apply (Shannon did NOT care about content nor meaning, whereas CSI is all about contenet and meaning).

    As for IC from “No Free Lunch”:

    IC- A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, non-arbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system’s basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system.

    Numerous and Diverse Parts If the irreducible core of an IC system consists of one or only a few parts, there may be no insuperable obstacle to the Darwinian mechanism explaining how that system arose in one fell swoop. But as the number of indispensable well-fitted, mutually interacting,, non-arbitrarily individuated parts increases in number & diversity, there is no possibility of the Darwinian mechanism achieving that system in one fell swoop.

    Minimal Complexity and Function Given an IC system with numerous & diverse parts in its core, the Darwinian mechanism must produce it gradually. But if the system needs to operate at a certain minimal level of function before it can be of any use to the organism & if to achieve that level of function it requires a certain minimal level of complexity already possessed by the irreducible core, the Darwinian mechanism has no functional intermediates to exploit.

    And we can use the following to initially infer design:

    The criteria for inferring design from the microscopic biological evidence is as Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Leheigh University, puts it in his book Darwin ‘s Black Box: “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components “ (emphasis added)

    Then we have counterflow:

    Counterflow refers to things running contrary to what, in the relevant sense, would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely.

  16. mattison0922 brings up a point in comment #7 but it should be noted that evolutionism doesn’t have what he sez ID should present.

    And I truly think that once people realize the materialistic alternative to ID is sheer-dumb-luck, they will see that the data is best explained by ID. Sheer-dumb-luck is a science stopper whereas ID offers many investigative possibilities.

    And seeing that evolutionism is nothing more than speculations based on the assumption one must wonder what it took to “convince” scientists of its merits?

  17. ScaryFacts

    Snowflakes don’t look designed. They are not assemblages of interdependent parts that perform a function. Machines are designed. Snowflakes are merely repetitive crystal patterns. They look pleasing, not designed. Anyone who thinks a snowflake looks designed has no understanding of engineering or design.

  18. ScaryFacts

    How do you measure design?

    One way would be to first measure “chance” then take the reciprocal to get the design metric.

    If you understand that then you understand why the chance hypothesis of evolution is (at the least) not superior to the design hypothesis.

  19. SF, wha you asked was What predictions is ID making? What experiments are being conducted to demonstrate the veracity of those predictions?

    My response was That biological complexities exist that cannot be reduced consistent with evolutionalry theory.

    You answered with the challenge Define what level of complexity cannot be explained by evolutionary theory–because that is the issue.

    I don’t think you have been following this debate very closely. IC is well defined — that constituent parts of a biological structure would be useless before their current state. Predications have been made — that the flagellum and blood clotting cascade could not be reduced — and attempts have been made to falsify them hence pretty much establishing IC’s scientific merit. The success of those attempts remains hotly debated.

    What is the definition, mathmetically, of IC or CSI?

    I could challenge you to give me a mathematical definition of descent via RM-NS and you would have literally infinitely less luck.

    A primer on probability for Design Inference

    It has to be more than simply “it looks designed”. Snowflakes look designed, yet they are a natural formation.

    Again, you have not been following this debate

  20. greatape wrote:

    Yes, but these types of experiments require very specific ID-based hypotheses targeting specific systems. It is difficult for me to imagine “wet-bench” experimental scenarios where one outcome or another would support ID over evolution or vice versa.

    Yes, they would require ID based hypotheses; I thought that was clear in my first post. In any case, I can think of plenty of experiments that would generate quantifiable data in the context of differential predictions that would support either an ID based or evolution based hypothesis. The experiments can be done, I’ve thought pretty extensively about this.

    Sure, you could remove a chunk of an IC-system and demonstrate it doesn’t work anymore. But I could also extract the heart from a monkey, and the monkey wouldn’t work anymore either. That would do little to convince anyone (not already convinced) that the monkey didn’t evolve. You would have to demonstrate that there was no *possible* evolutionary path that could been taken to achieve the IC system. Convincing folks that you’ve done this within your wet-bench framework would be very difficult if not impossible.

    The experiments you propose rely on something not happening, and are thus not really ‘experiments.’ You don’t prove something with a negative. Experiments such as those you’ve proposed shouldn’t convince you or anyone else for that matter, of the legitimacy of ID.

    And aside from this IC-scenario, I’m having trouble imagining any other types of experiments. You could take the approach of detecting specific engineering principles employed in life, but it becomes a largely theortetical argument as to whether or not darwinian evolution might exhibit those same patterns.

    IC is a perfectly legitimate place to begin investigation. There are many other experiments that could be performed, besides ‘knocking out’ a portion of an IC system. IC is a perfectly reasonable place to begin research. In terms of what the data will say… we won’t know this until the experiments have been done. Stating the experiments won’t work before they’ve been done is somewhat myopic, don’t you think?

    I think ultimately ID would have to find some type of smoking gun, perhaps a kind of meta-information in genomes

    It hasn’t persuaded a large majority of scientists thus far, why assume that meta analysis will somehow gain legitimacy? ID has engaged in enough meta analyses for now. They need to start doing research, irrespective of whether or not the critics think it will be success ful.

    Remember Darwin’s idea was labeled an untestable pseudoscience for some time after it was proposed.

    I would be interested in hearing any specific experiments people have in mind, as well as their reasoning behind the experiment.

    I’ve done this many times… not here, but in the ARN, and other forums.

  21. Playing ‘devil’s advocate’ I would say that initially, when a snowflake is first observed, one might see the pattern as evidence for design. IOW one’s initial inference may be snowflakes are designed but further investigation, if conducted properly (key point), would demonstrate that snowflakes are the simple result of environmental conditions. IOW chance and necessity are all that is required to explain snowflakes.

    And as for “measuring design”, I would use counterflow. How much is present and in what form does it take? > a simple whittling of a stick compared to Stonehenge; Nasca figures compared to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; simple tools for digging, chopping, etc. compared to the advanced technological tools of today.

  22. ScaryFacts is no longer with us. After looking at his blog I determined that he isn’t the kind of person that belongs in our community.

  23. Mattison922:
    ID has engaged in enough meta analyses for now. They need to start doing research, irrespective of whether or not the critics think it will be success ful.

    You mean like this:

    a href=http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=90&isFellow=true>Scott Minnich

    Biochemist Michael Behe used the flagella to illustrate the concept of irreducible complexity and Minnich takes the argument to the next level crediting the design paradigm to leading to new insights in his lab research at the University of Idaho.

  24. Joseph wrote:

    mattison0922 brings up a point in comment #7 but it should be noted that evolutionism doesn’t have what he sez ID should present.

    Joseph, what in the world do you mean by this? I looked back over my post, I don’t see where I claimed ‘evolutionism’ had something that ID doesn’t, unless you’re counting an active wet reasearch program in that assessment.

    In any case, the ID movement doesn’t have an active (visible) research program, whereas ToE does. Could you please clarify what you’re saying.

    This isn’t to say that the ID movement couldn’t have an active bench research program, just that they don’t.

    From what I can tell, your statement implies that the ToE doesn’t have an active research program.

    Surely you can’t be serious.

    And I truly think that once people realize the materialistic alternative to ID is sheer-dumb-luck, they will see that the data is best explained by ID.

    Is this the only alternative though? And more importantly, is ToE necessarily dependent on sheer dumb luck? Certainly the gradualist, Darwinist tenets do rely on sheer dumb luck as you state, but there are lots of different ideas out there.

    James Shapiro’s work suggests that evolution is dependent not on sheer dumb luck, but is a coordinated biochemical process, that responds not only to DNA damage, but in fact is responsive to the environment itself. The natural genetic engineering mechanisms described by Shapiro, argue against random genetic change, at the levels of timing, location in the genome, and varieties of changes at least.

    This work by Shapiro represents another good ‘jumping off point’ for the commencement of ID based research.

    Note: Shapiro is not a supporter of ID.

    And seeing that evolutionism is nothing more than speculations based on the assumption one must wonder what it took to “convince” scientists of its merits?

    I’m all for scientific freedom, and I think the ID movement should be free to pursue whatever hypotheses they conjure, without fear of any type of retribution. However, I’m also for accurately representing both sides of the story. Statements like the above tend to make me cringe.

    For example, ToE isn’t “speculation based on assumption,” and to describe it as such seems to be deliberate misrepresentation. ToE certainly is inference based on observation, which IMO, is distinct from ‘speculation based on assumption.’

    And with respect to why so many scientists believe it: because they think the evidence implies this.

    This brings up an important point. What is it that ID seems to fighting against? It’s not common descent. ID’s biggest problem seems to be with the suggested random nature of genetic change and biological variation.

    Behe and WmAD have both expressed varying degrees of support for the idea of common descent. So evolution, doesn’t seem to be the problem. The heart of the problem seems to be related to the ‘sheer dumb luck’ scenario you describe.

    If there were an alternative to this idea (there is), if there were some mechanism that accounted for biological complexity and diversity without the appeal to sheer dumb luck, would you be any more likely to support ToE and the inferences it has made?

  25. Joseph wrote:

    You mean like this:

    a href=http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=90&isFellow=true>Scott Minnich

    Biochemist Michael Behe used the flagella to illustrate the concept of irreducible complexity and Minnich takes the argument to the next level crediting the design paradigm to leading to new insights in his lab research at the University of Idaho.

    That Minnich thinks he has gained valuable insight into the function of the flagellum as a consequence of ID is not insignificant.

    However, its now up to him to turn his ideas into an active ID based research program. I am familiar with Minnich and his work, his work may have ID implications, but thus far I wouldn’t describe any of his peer reviewed work as ‘written from an ID based perspective.’

    Which of Minnich’s papers do you think qualify as ID based research?

  26. Evidence? huh…..well, show me the Designer!! (Peter Ward)

  27. Regarding common descent:

    I do think that it’s time for ID to clarify some issues like common descent. I understand the reasons as to why that is difficult. I think that stronger statements from ID leaders regarding ID being entirely consistent with common descent would be wise.

    That would set the stage for a clearer statement of what ID opposes-the idea that the development of life on this planet has been a matter of chance.

    In other words, get to what ID’s essential nature has always been about-metaphysics

    In my past lurking, I think that DaveScot has spoken quite strongly regarding the need to hold forth about common descent as the reality. I agree.

    There is understandable and willfull misconception about ID. Whatever can help clear up these misconceptions is advisable, IMHO.

  28. Naturalistic Evolution is hypethetico-deductive. (this is true of nearly all endeavors qualifying as scientific). That means it has has attendant deductive consequences that must be true in order for the hypothesis to be true. (note, this does not mean the hypothesis is true if the deductive consequences are satisfied, only that is is not yet false.)

    Evolutionary theory has many deductive consequences that must all simultaneously be true. Not only consequences that were known at the time, but every one that has come to light since. For Evolutionary theory to be true:

    all reproductively isolated populations must diverge over time. Continental drift was undreamt of in Darwin’s time. In order for evolutionary theory to be true, all separated populations in all land masses once joined must diverge over time.

    The Earth must be very old. (Which, BTW, raised at the time a real problem with scientifically accepted notions of the Earth’s age.)

    Inheritance must be particulate, not blended.

    The number of genetic differences between organisms sharing a common ancestor must be consistent with the time since they diverged.

    There are many others, but this list of examples suffices.

    In contrast, ID, has not one binding deductive consequence. It is utterly silent on anything but definitions, which don’t constitute a hypothesis. Until ID figures out how to arrive at deductive consequences, it is difficult to imagine how any research is even possible.

    #2 Joseph:

    What predictions does ID make? Counterflow, CSI, IC, to name a few.

    Those are definitions, not predictions.

    It is also worth noting that those definitions are conclusions from ignorance. Back in the 80s, the exact parallel to IC was used to refute evolutionary theory: wings must have been intelligently designed, because there is absolutely no use for half a wing.

    Good point. However, it was based on complete ignorance of how wings came to be. Understandable, as, at the time, no on knew.

    Until fossils from the Gobi desert were unearthed.

    ID no longer speaks of this.

    #17 DaveScot:

    Machines are designed. Snowflakes are merely repetitive crystal patterns. They look pleasing, not designed. Anyone who thinks a snowflake looks designed has no understanding of engineering or design.

    Using the existence of designed machines as an analog of intentional design in nature is not justified until machines start having babies.

    BTW, I found all of ScaryFacts posts here to be completely respectful, and pertinent. Your barring him based on what he does on his own blog (and which may reflect some very unfortunate experiences) strikes me as completely unnecessary.

  29. Using the existence of designed machines as an analog of intentional design in nature is not justified until machines start having babies

    Does this mean that if scientists were to build a machine capable of reproducing itself and launch it into space and if aliens were to find it, that they would not be justified in believing it to be designed?

  30. Joseph

    Designs have purpose. When a snowflake is first observed it looks designed for what? If there’s no answer to that then it doesn’t look designed to an engineer unless it’s obviously artificial in nature. Ice isn’t artificial. If it was fired ceramic or hammered copper then it would have a compelling appearance of a designed work of art with no other knowledge about it. Otherwise, it’s just an ice crystal with esthetically pleasing symmetry. Lots of crystals of natural occurring substances have pleasing symmetries. Engineers and anyone else expected to be familiar with how crystals form (which I would think should include every physical or life scientist in the world) and what they look like would not say a snowflake looks designed. If you want to include young children and people who flunked 8th grade physical science then I guess they probably would see design in a snowflake. I try to weed out the latter two groups from the discussion here.

  31. What ID advocates need to do is drop the name. If ID accepts common descent and if it accepts modification over time, then it really does accept evolution; it should own up to that. If it is serious about getting accepted in the scientific community, it needs to stop the PR campaigning, stop writing books, and stop painting itself as anti-evolution. It needs to start, as many people said, doing research.

    It shouldn’t worry about alienating the creationists and pseudo-creationists and should get down and dirty publishing papers without the word design or intelligent. It is not uncommon for researchers to publish alternative interpretations of data that other groups have generated, however they usually must have some original data that further supports their hypothesis and contradicts the previous hypothesis (but not the actual data). It happens all the time. Behe tried to do it with Snoke. I don’t think he was very successful, but that’s the kind of stuff that needs to be done.

    The problem is that IDers complain about the Church of Darwin, etc. But from the perspective of scientists, this is a very well established theory. If you are going to contradict it, you better have the pedigree. And that isn’t arrogance or an appeal to authority; it’s how things get done. It’s very difficult to overhaul a widely accepted theory but it’s a lot easier if you aren’t attacking it from the outside. And it will take time, like fifty years before you can reasonably expect to see anything in a grade school biology textbook.

    Another piece of advice: keep it out of the schools and out of the op-ed pages. If this is truly a scientific endeavor, it does not belong on the editorial page of the New York Times. The urgency by which ID advocates are trying to act and the forum with which they present their work (debates, books, editorials) does not impress scientists in the least.

  32. If ID accepts common descent and if it accepts modification over time, then it really does accept evolution; it should own up to that.

    Again, a point is being missed. This is not about politics.

    Common descent and modification over time are irrelevant to ID. You can believe in those things and still be an IDer. You can disbelieve and still be an IDer.

    And why should you expect a true scientist to be swayed by a PR stunt like, well, changing a name?

    Evidence and arguments should be addressed on merit alone.

  33. DaveScot:

    When a snowflake is first observed it looks designed for what? If there’s no answer to that then it doesn’t look designed to an engineer unless it’s obviously artificial in nature.

    Which, of course, begs the question as to, who, or how, one is to determine if there is a “what.”

    There are plenty of for “what’s” behind a snowflake. Life on earth would be a heck of a lot different if snowflakes weren’t “designed” the way they are.

    So, are they designed, or not?

  34. joseph:
    “However from what we do know DNA does NOT make an organism what it is. IOW we know that although genes may influence every aspect of development they do NOT determine it.”

    Yes, DNA doesn’t determine everything about an organism, but I don’t see how that does anything to further your point. And yes, shared DNA sequences could be indicative of common design, but when those shared DNAs are, for example, insertions of Herpes B Viruses, your position becomes increasingly difficult to maintain with a straight face. Like I indicated in my earlier post, demonstration of common decent does not rule out certain design hypotheses, but your idea that there are no types of experiments that could corroborate evolution of species X and Y from a common ancestor–by whatever mechanism, design or chance–is simply not true.

  35. mattison0922: “Yes, they would require ID based hypotheses; I thought that was clear in my first post.”

    I will take your word that you have fleshed out these hypotheses and experiments elsewhere. More often than not, I find that they are alluded to and never described in any amount of detail. Personally, I think if someone could come up with a good experiment that would shed some light on the matter (RM+NS vs. Design), there are many folks out there, on both sides of the aisle, with the resources and will to conduct those experiments. On the darwinian side, clearly there is much confidence among adherents, so what would there be to fear in performing these experiments? There would only be the glory to gain for getting that kernel of data that finally quieted the skeptics. On the ID side, the benefits are even more evident. So what are the specific experiments? They should be posted somewhere as a hitlist so those with adequate resources could tackle them, or, at the very least, debate how informative they would be for the fundamental question so that the hitlist could be refined to a core set of decisive experiments.

    Also mattison0922, when I spoke of meta-information in the genome, what I was referring to was an encoded engineering plan within the genome that exhibited a forethought of design impossible under any modern evolutionary theory. An example would be a layout (within a single genome) for not just the organism housing the genome, but also for the phylogenetic unfolding of future species from that organism. The existence of such meta-information would be entirely inconsistent with darwinian evolution. Finding such an information repository would be more than performing a literature meta-analysis, it would be a fundamental empirical observation in support of ID.

  36. DaveScot

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!!!! I was getting a serial headache from Scaryfacts inane juvenile questions and baseless statements. ( Perhaps we should make a logic & IQ test a prerequisite here for blogging – or is that a bit too elitist?) :)

  37. Frisbee has been weeded out.

  38. Mattison922:
    In any case, the ID movement doesn’t have an active (visible) research program, whereas ToE does.

    What research program does the ToE have? What research is being condusted to see whether or not suingle-celled organisms can “evolve” into anything but single-celled organisms?

  39. What predictions does ID make? Counterflow, CSI, IC, to name a few.

    frisbee:
    Those are definitions, not predictions.

    They HAVE definitions but they are NOT definitions. And they are predictions of ID.

    frisbee:
    It is also worth noting that those definitions are conclusions from ignorance.

    That is also false. Reality demonstrates they are defined from what we do know:

    ]“Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.
    In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed”

    Pg. 72 of Darwinism, Design and Public Education

    BTW we still don’t lknow how wings nor feathers came to be.

  40. mjb2001:
    If it is serious about getting accepted in the scientific community, it needs to stop the PR campaigning, stop writing books, and stop painting itself as anti-evolution.

    Umm only the ID ignorant paint ID as anti-evolution.

  41. joseph:
    “However from what we do know DNA does NOT make an organism what it is. IOW we know that although genes may influence every aspect of development they do NOT determine it.”

    great ape:
    Yes, DNA doesn’t determine everything about an organism, but I don’t see how that does anything to further your point.

    It destroys your point.

    great ape:
    And yes, shared DNA sequences could be indicative of common design, but when those shared DNAs are, for example, insertions of Herpes B Viruses, your position becomes increasingly difficult to maintain with a straight face.

    Perhaps those sequences just “look like” Herpes B viruses. Think about what you are trying to say- that some ERV stayed vurtually the same over illions of generations all the while changes are occurring throughout that genome that will give rise to very different (morphologically) populations.

    It could be that A) those really aren’t viral insertions or B) there is a common mechanism at play-> that being a mechanism that allowed a similar viral sequence to insert into a similar DNA sequence in differing populations.

    great ape:
    Like I indicated in my earlier post, demonstration of common decent does not rule out certain design hypotheses, but your idea that there are no types of experiments that could corroborate evolution of species X and Y from a common ancestor–by whatever mechanism, design or chance–is simply not true.

    Those “experiments” assume common descent and then set out to find what those scientists would consider confirming data. However that is bass akwards. IOW there isn’t any experiment that would verify the “conclusions” of the experiments to speak of.

  42. Frisbee asked some pertinent questions. Unfortunately, those questions were already answered in The Design Inference.

    The probability of snowflakes is high, given the necessary and not obviously designed environs in which they form; therefore, they cannot be rigorously shown to be designed. It’s that simple.

  43. DaveScot:
    Designs have purpose. When a snowflake is first observed it looks designed for what?

    To know that we would have to either talk to the designer or study the design/ object in question. The purpose could be to ski- you know to put down a “carpet” of snow to slide on. Oh yeah, we do that now with snow-making machines.

    Would that snow be considered designed?

    DaveScot:
    Ice isn’t artificial.

    But thanks to man we can now make ice in places where nature cannot. We can ice-skate in the summer time- thanks to artificial ice.

    Here is a thought experiment- Today we “know” that no two snowflakes are alike. What would you say if you went ouside during a snowstorm and EVERY snowflake you examined were exactly alike?

    As for the rest of your post I take it you didn’t finish reading mine:

    IOW one’s initial inference may be snowflakes are designed but further investigation, if conducted properly (key point), would demonstrate that snowflakes are the simple result of environmental conditions. IOW chance and necessity are all that is required to explain snowflakes.

  44. frisbee:
    Using the existence of designed machines as an analog of intentional design in nature is not justified until machines start having babies.

    Machines can be replicated. As a matter of fact in chapter 4 of “Darwin’s Ghost” Dr Jones used an analogy of machined parts to illustrate natural selection.

    It should also be noted that reproduction has yet to be explained- as in how did it originate- IOW the ToE starts with that which needs to be explained in the first place.

  45. Joseph

    IOW chance and necessity are all that is required to explain snowflakes

    What are snowflakes necessary to? The vast majority of snowflakes are irregular. Patterned flakes aren’t even necessary for skiing. You’re babbling. Stop.

  46. IOW chance and necessity are all that is required to explain snowflakes.

    DaveScot:
    What are snowflakes necessary to?

    Necessity has several meanings and synonyms-> unavoidability and inevitability being two. So when chance has it- that being the weather conditions are correct- snow happens- it’s inevitable and unavoidable.

    Dave Scot:
    The vast majority of snowflakes are irregular.

    The snowflakes derived via chance and necessity, sure.

    Dave Scot:
    Patterned flakes aren’t even necessary for skiing.

    Perhaps patterned snowflakes offer the best skiing. Then we would also have to consider any artistic purpose. Again perhaps specifically patterned snowflakes offer the best aesthetic value.

    BTW Dave, I did say I was playing “devil’s advocate”. ..

  47. Joseph

    Oh yeah, we do that now with snow-making machines. Would that snow be considered designed?

    This at least raises a talking point.

    We’ll set aside for the sake of argument the fact that snow making machines produce irregular bits of ice so there’s no lacy patterns to charm anyone into thinking they might be designed.

    Snow produced by a snow making machine (if we didn’t know how it was produced) would not warrant a design inference. The possibility of false negatives in design detection is a given. A designed object can look for all intents and purposes like a naturally formed object. We don’t really care about mistakes in that direction. What we care about is not generating false positives (an undesigned object getting a design warrant). Towards that end we must construct our filter to err on the side of not-designed. This is why the mere pattern, however complex, exhibited by snowflakes is not sufficient to even begin consideration of a design warrant. There must also be detachable specification in the pattern. In all cases except for works of art specification is simply a functional purpose. In possibly man-made objects like firepits, arrowheads, and potsherds there is detachable specification in each case. The same holds true for biological objects like genes, ribosomes, and cell walls. All have detachable specification. They conform to an independently given function.

    Until there is a detachable specification identified there is no cause to go rooting about for probabilistic resources. The object is filtered out of any possible positive design warrant earlier in the filtering process if specification is lacking. This may in fact create false negatives but if we didn’t do it this way we open ourselves up to false positives. False positives are show stoppers. If there’s a reasonable chance of a false positive the filter is useless.

  48. Joseph

    Necessity in the context of the evolutionary mechanism “chance and necessity” means functional necessity. There is no necessity in snowflakes. They are a result of chance and law not chance and necessity. Snowflake patterns are non-functional. The pattern serves no particular purpose. It’s necessary for nothing.

  49. Joseph wrote:

    What research program does the ToE have?

    Surely you can’t be serious.

    What research is being condusted to see whether or not suingle-celled organisms can “evolve” into anything but single-celled organisms?

    This is hardly the only relevant idea in ToE. That you would deny ToE is associated with an active research program speaks volumes. Apparently, you consider the decades of hard work done by scientists that does support the notion of common descent as ‘nothing.’ Nice attitude. Positions such as this are incredibly damaging to the credibility of the ID movement as a whole.

    You deny the ToE is associated with an active research program, simply because you consider the program inadequate.

    While I am supportive of the ID movement as a whole, I can’t support such a ridiculous notion as the ToE not being associated with active research.

    Whether or not you think ToE’s research program is adequate is hardly relevant. It’s infinitely ‘more adequate’ than ID’s non-existant research program.

  50. My opinion, only that:

    If the reality is common descent, and if ID has disbelievers in common descent, then ID will not likely get a hearing outside the true believers that it already has.

    On the other hand, if common descent is the reality, and it is accepted, then the movement is free to research and discuss the weaknesses of chance and could gain a wider hearing.

  51. Common descent and modification over time are irrelevant to ID. You can believe in those things and still be an IDer. You can disbelieve and still be an IDer.

    I do not believe this is true. I think that if you want ID to be a valid scientific theory it has to accept common descent with modification. Otherwise you are talking about special creation or extranatural interference with physical laws. If you are correct, ID has a problem. If you can be an “IDer” and disbelieve in common descent then ID cannot ever be a mechanistic theory. I understand that ID claims not to be a mechanistic theory but if it’s going to be on the forefront of biological history theories it’s going to have to eventually come around to finding one. And that mechanism cannot deny common descent. It can have mechanisms of special creation peppered in, like extra-fast mutation rates, but it has to address the issue of common descent sooner or later.

    Which is why I said that it needs to divorce itself from creationism, which it has not successfully done.

    And why should you expect a true scientist to be swayed by a PR stunt like, well, changing a name?

    Well it wouldn’t be a PR stunt. It would be honest research. If ID accepts common descent, scientists who believe in “intelligent design” can go about studying “Darwinian” mechanisms and refuting them with other, smaller and stepwise hypotheses. If you pepper mainstream research with little observations about the failure of certain mechanisms to account for X Y or Z, you begin to build your base, so to speak. And then thrity years from now, IDers might be able to make their case.

    My research involves the regulation of integral membrane proteins by the mechanical properties of the lipid bilayer. The fact that cell membranes could possible control protein function was anathema thirty or forty years ago, although that was when the seeds of the ideas were being started. It’s only been in the last ten years or so that the idea has caught on because of the immense amounts of supporting data for the hypothesis and emergant technologies that allow us to model and probe such interactions. This work did not start with a PR campaign to get a loosy-goosy hypothesis into high school text books. Granted, it’s a much smaller theory than evolution, but that is how it should work. And that’s what I’m suggesting for ID; drop the name and drop the grand claims.

  52. mattison0922, perhaps you should read what Dr Skell and Davison have to say about the ToE and research programs:

    Dr Skell on UD:

    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology. This becomes especially clear when we compare it with a heuristic framework such as the atomic model, which opens up structural chemistry and leads to advances in the synthesis of a multitude of new molecules of practical benefit.None of this demonstrates that Darwinism is false. It does, however, mean that the claim that it is the cornerstone of modern experimental biology will be met with quiet skepticism from a growing number of scientists in fields where theories actually do serve as cornerstones for tangible breakthroughs.

  53. mjb2001:
    I think that if you want ID to be a valid scientific theory it has to accept common descent with modification.

    It does. ID also accepts special creation- YEC or OEC.

    mjb2001:
    If you can be an “IDer” and disbelieve in common descent then ID cannot ever be a mechanistic theory.

    ID isn’t a mechanistic theory, that is beyond design being a valid mechanism. As Wm Dembski states in NFL that is a separate question- (the How was it designed/ how was the design implemented). IOW one can detect design and study it without A) knowing its purpose or the intent of the designer and B) knowing how it was designed or manufactured. Reality demonstrates that in the absence of designer input or direct observation the ONLY posible way to make any determination about the designer, the purpose or the methodology is by studying the design in question by gathering all relevant data.

    I would love to see someone, anyone address common descent. Especially in light of what we do know- that population variation wobbles- IOW wobbling stability is what we observe. And that does not lead to the range of change required if all of life’s diversity owes its collective common ancestry to some unknown population(s) of single-celled organisms (that just happened to have the ability to (imperfectly) asexually reproduce).

    Genetic homeostasis is real. Only fanciful uses of chance, selection and eons of time gets beyond observation. However every objective person understands that is not how science is conducted.

  54. I’ve enjoyed reading through this thread, especially the discussion about snowflakes, as that’s an argument I run up against frequently.

    What strikes me about comparing snowflakes with DNA (for example) is that while both DNA and a snowflake might have an exquisite molecular structure that’s aesthetically pleasing, a snowflake does not carry instructions for building anything… not even the snowflake itself. DNA carries instructions for building and operating a living organism… ANY living organism.

    This fact makes the comparison totally invalid, and exposes another cheap rhetorical device used by ID bashers as an attempt to create confusion around the issue.

  55. DaveScot:
    Necessity in the context of the evolutionary mechanism “chance and necessity” means functional necessity.

    I would like to see a reference for that. What happens when I produce an evolutionist who uses it as I did?

    And it should be noted that we were not discussing “evolutionary mechanism” as we were not discussing living organisms.

    DaveScot:
    Snowflake patterns are non-functional.

    There is quite a bit of non-functional, yet designed, art in this world. There are aesthetic non-functional yet still designed pieces on many a functional structure/ object.

  56. Joseph wrote

    mattison0922, perhaps you should read what Dr Skell and Davison have to say about the ToE and research programs:

    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology. This becomes especially clear when we compare it with a heuristic framework such as the atomic model, which opens up structural chemistry and leads to advances in the synthesis of a multitude of new molecules of practical benefit.None of this demonstrates that Darwinism is false. It does, however, mean that the claim that it is the cornerstone of modern experimental biology will be met with quiet skepticism from a growing number of scientists in fields where theories actually do serve as cornerstones for tangible breakthroughs.

    Joseph, because I rarely post on this blog, doesn’t mean I don’t read it. I am aware of Dr. Skells recent comments, and I am further aware of Davison and his PEH.

    In any case, it appears that Davison’s opinion isn’t valuable enough around here to keep him from being banned. Though I am not here to debate the moderation policy.

    Joseph, you’re still missing the point. Nowhere, here or in any other forum have I ever claimed evolution or Darwinism is the ‘cornerstone of modern biology.’ Furtermore, whether or not it’s a ‘fruitful heuristic in terms of experimental biology,’ is not entirely relevant either.

    The research program may not be ‘fruitful,’ but it nonetheless exists. Now you can go and find some other quote that further substantiates your idea that evolutionary research amounts to ‘nothing,’ and is ‘not fruitful.’ But it doesn’t change the fact that the research is there to discuss, dismiss, or whatever it is you choose to do with evidence that isn’t to your liking.

    ID, no matter what its scientific potential, no matter how valid its arguments may be, no matter how much ‘secret’ research is happening, can’t make this same claim. For you to argue otherwise is just bad for the ID movement. What you’re doing by doing this is making ID about being anti-evolution, not about being ID. Surely you must realize this is bad for the movement, and in my understanding, is not really what the movement is supposed to be about.

    Which brings a highly relevant point to mind: why is it that you’re so opposed to ID doing research? The crux of my statement in this forum was that ID needs to do some ‘wet’ science, a seemingly reasonable request for a discipline that appears to be trying hard to establish itself as a legitimate scientific pursuit.

    For some reason, you apparently find this incredibly unreasonable. What is it about IDist’s getting in the lab and doing some experiments that is so bothersome to you?

  57. Anyone who thinks a snowflake looks designed has no understanding of engineering or design.

    and yet if the same snowflake pattern were to be found cut into a field of corn, I suspect you would have no problem intuitively recognising it as as designed, just from the pattern :-)

  58. Mattison922:
    Which brings a highly relevant point to mind: why is it that you’re so opposed to ID doing research?

    ID doesn’t do research, IDists do. And I am very much FOR IDists doing research. As a matter of fact it was scientific research that led Gonzalez to the design inference beyond biology.

    And THAT is the point- scientists should conduct their scientific research and if the data warrants it they should be able to infer ID.

    So again I ask- if an IDist goes into a lab and designs a bacterial flagellum would that satisfy you? IOW what experiment will make you happy?

    Also exactly what research do you think is attributed to the ToE? For example is anyone researching the premise that single-celled organisms can “evolve” into something other than single-celled organisms?

    IOW just because there is scientific research being conducted in no way implies said research is based on the ToE.

  59. Joseph wrote:

    ID doesn’t do research, IDists do. And I am very much FOR IDists doing research. As a matter of fact it was scientific research that led Gonzalez to the design inference beyond biology.

    And THAT is the point- scientists should conduct their scientific research and if the data warrants it they should be able to infer ID.

    Okay, semantics aside, I have no problem with any of what you’ve stated above. I think scientists should feel free to pursue whatever hypotheses they feel the data leads them to. I’ve never said anything but this.

    So again I ask- if an IDist goes into a lab and designs a bacterial flagellum would that satisfy you? IOW what experiment will make you happy?

    I don’t recall you asking me this question, but whatever. In any case, it’s not me that you should be attempting to satisfy. I’m a working scientist who supports the ‘right’ of IDists to pursue their hypotheses. So in that sense I am ‘convinced.’ But to answer your question, I don’t think ‘designing a flagellum’ would be an appropriate experiment for ID to undertake.

    Also exactly what research do you think is attributed to the ToE?

    All research where the researchers used ToE as their basis for hypothesis formation and generation of predictions.

    For example is anyone researching the premise that single-celled organisms can “evolve” into something other than single-celled organisms?

    Perhaps. I don’t know to be honest with you. So are you implying that this is the only valid research path available to ToE. I would beg to differ with you about this.

    IOW just because there is scientific research being conducted in no way implies said research is based on the ToE.

    Of course not. No one is implying that all research is a consequence of ToE, only those projects that use ToE as their basis for hypothesis formation, and generation of predictions.

  60. mattison0922: “Of course not. No one is implying that all research is a consequence of ToE, only those projects that use ToE as their basis for hypothesis formation, and generation of predictions.”

    Yes. Thank you.

  61. mattison922:
    But to answer your question, I don’t think ‘designing a flagellum’ would be an appropriate experiment for ID to undertake.

    Again I ask what WOULD be an ‘appropriate’ experiment for ID to undertake?

    For all your dancing you have yet to answer that simple question.

    mattison922:
    No one is implying that all research is a consequence of ToE, only those projects that use ToE as their basis for hypothesis formation, and generation of predictions.

    As in…? We have already been told that there is no way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time, so exactly what predictions are you talking about?

    For example is anyone researching the premise that single-celled organisms can “evolve” into something other than single-celled organisms?

    mattison922:
    Perhaps. I don’t know to be honest with you. So are you implying that this is the only valid research path available to ToE. I would beg to differ with you about this.

    Just about anything else would fit in to the Creation model of “variation within a Kind” and therefore by saying it is research of the ToE is a bit deceptive.

  62. Joseph wrote

    Again I ask what WOULD be an ‘appropriate’ experiment for ID to undertake?

    For all your dancing you have yet to answer that simple question.
    Dancing? You are a drama queen aren’t you ?

    In any case, I believe your question is asked with full knowledge of a thread on the ARN wherein I (using the same username) outlined a very rough idea of one such research project. I’m almost 100% sure you remember this thread, and I believe you commented on it in this forum.

    In any case, I would simply refer you there to save myself one whole heck of a lot of typing.

    As in…? We have already been told that there is no way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time, so exactly what predictions are you talking about? Is this true? I don’t think this is true. We certainly can predict in a general way things that might happen.

    With antibiotic resistance, one can predict with some degree of accuracy the systems that will be selected for. Antibiotic resistance was in fact predicted by ToE. Admittedly mechanisms of resistance were more prolific and diverse than originally predicted, but this is likely more a reflection of our ignorance re: mechanisms of genomic rearrangement than an inadequacy in the ToCD.

    Genetic homology, are also predicted by ToCD, and while genetic homology may also be predicted by ‘common design,’ what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. IOW, don’t claim genetic homology is somehow ‘evidence’ for common design, but not evidence for common descent.

    Just about anything else would fit in to the Creation model of “variation within a Kind” and therefore by saying it is research of the ToE is a bit deceptive.

    Whether or not they’ll fit into a creation model is not relevant. I don’t deny that evidence obtained using hypotheses other than creation/ID can yield evidence that has implications for creation/ID. This isn’t in dispute.

    For some reason, you’re continuing to obscure the only point I’ve made: ID has no active ‘wet’ research program, and ToE does. ID desperately needs an active research program if it wants to establish itself as a legitimate science. I’m sorry that this bothers you, and I’m sorry that you can’t face it.

    ToE based ‘wet’ research programs exist; lots of people make a good living off of ‘em. ID basesd ‘wet’ research programs may exist, but thus far, no one outside of a select few prominent ID theorists knows about them or their discoveries.

    Like I said, if someone wants to put me up, I’ll do the experiments.

    You guys (MJB, WmAD, PEJ) listening (reading) up there???

  63. Sorry about the quoting mistake above…. forgot to preview.

    This forum desperately needs an editing function.

    Mods, please feel free to fix my tag error in the above post.

  64. Common descent and modification over time are irrelevant to ID. You can believe in those things and still be an IDer. You can disbelieve and still be an IDer. . .I do not believe this is true.

    Michael Behe believes in common descent and modification over time. He is an IDer. Young Earth Creationists don’t believe in common descent and modification over time. Accordng to opponents of ID, they are IDers.

    I think that if you want ID to be a valid scientific theory it has to accept common descent with modification.

    It’s not a matter of what I want or what you want, it’s what describes reality. If ID does better than the existing model, then it has to be accepted as a valid scientific theory regardless of any other conditions.

    Otherwise you are talking about special creation

    Why would that be unscientific? Advocates of abiogenesis pretty much claim this and they are considered scientific.

    or extranatural interference with physical laws.

    ID specifically refrains from addressing this as it does common descent and the age of the Earth.

    Well it wouldn’t be a PR stunt.

    Name changes are always PR stunts.

    If ID accepts common descent,

    ID has nothing to do with common descent, pro or con.

    scientists who believe in “intelligent design” can go about studying “Darwinian” mechanisms

    They can do that now.

    All ID is simply an objective claim backed by evidence that it is more reasonable to believe that life was designed rather than to have occurred by accident.

    If you want to belive that all of life’s manifistations were coded by a designer into a single cell 3.9 billion years ago and evolved via undirected means into the biodiversity today, fine. You’re an IDer.

    If you want to believe all life was created according to kind 6,000 or so years ago, fine. You’re an IDer.

    If you want to believe in something in between, fine. You’re still an IDer.

    What you can’t believe is that we are here by random events.

    Another point, common descent is getting a little fuzzy even among ID skeptics.

  65. About the snowflakes.

    Dr. Dembski specifically addresses this in one of his books.

    I read the explaination — for free :-) — online yet have been unable to find it again. IIRC, snowflakes have no specificity in their structure hence have no information content hence should not be considered designed.

    If Dr. Dembski should happen to be lurking, he’d be the one one to correct any errors in the above description.

    Regardless, the structure of snowflakes is specifically addressed in the canon of ID.

  66. joseph: “As in…? We have already been told that there is no way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time, so exactly what predictions are you talking about?”

    Ok, here’s an example: evolution predicts that reproductive proteins should be among the fastest evolving due to issues like sperm competition, etc. When these genes are sequenced, they are indeed among the fastest.
    This, in turn, opens up an whole entire realm of research on sperm competition and the biology of sexual conflict, which are themselves the subject of numerous experimental studies.
    Proof of darwinian evolution? No. Generated hypotheses with associated experimental evaluation? Yes. There are tons of hypotheses and auxillary hypotheses like these generated and tested. There are entire scientific journals dedicated to reported the results, not to mention many others (science,nature, pnas) that publish these findings as well. It is one thing to deny RM+NS as the explanation of evolution, it is quite another to be so out of touch with reality as to deny the existence of an entire branch of experimental biology. I know my vote doesn’t count for beans since I’m a admitted ID skeptic, but, concerning the common descent deniers, I echo the sentiments made by others above…with friends like these, ID doesn’t need enemies.

  67. mattison

    re ID ‘wet research’

    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;

    Keeping that in mind I would point out the Harvard Origin of Life in the Universe project.

    The project’s stated purpose is to discover and physically demonstrate possible natural mechanisms by which self-replicating polymers that evolve over time (polymers that demarcate life from non-life such as ribosomes). The project’s purpose is framed in such a way that it constitutes verification of abiogenesis – that life can begin by the interaction of natural, undirected forces with basic elements and compounds found in natural settings.

    However, if we look at the hypothesis ID puts forward “intelligent agency is required to generate the basic machinery of life” then the Harvard ID project, if successful, is the falsification of the ID hypothesis.

    There’s your ID wet research program. Just because they don’t call it ID research doesn’t mean that isn’t what it is effectively doing.

  68. great ape:
    Ok, here’s an example: evolution predicts that reproductive proteins should be among the fastest evolving due to issues like sperm competition, etc. When these genes are sequenced, they are indeed among the fastest.
    This, in turn, opens up an whole entire realm of research on sperm competition and the biology of sexual conflict, which are themselves the subject of numerous experimental studies.

    But the theory of evolution doesn’t predict gametes. It doesn’t even predict sexual reproduction.

    great ape:
    It is one thing to deny RM+NS as the explanation of evolution, it is quite another to be so out of touch with reality as to deny the existence of an entire branch of experimental biology.

    Nice strawman. I do NOT and NEVER have denied experimental biology. I do say that has nothing to do with the ToE, which is obvious from the responses given.

    Common descent is accepted on faith, not science. Those who accept common descent and won’t accept ID just expose their double-standards.
    ————————————————————

    mattison922:
    For some reason, you’re continuing to obscure the only point I’ve made: ID has no active ‘wet’ research program, and ToE does. ID desperately needs an active research program if it wants to establish itself as a legitimate science. I’m sorry that this bothers you, and I’m sorry that you can’t face it.

    I doubt the ToE has a ‘wet research program’ and you have done nada to refute that. Sure there is experimental biology, but that, along with anti-biotic resistance has nothing to do with the ToE.

    What bothers me is the obvious double-standards you employ, as well as your continued deception.

    Is Bacterial Resistance
    to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?

    and

    The “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense

    Except in the Light of Evolution” Myth:

    An Empirical Study and Evaluation

    Homology is usually assumed:

    Homology and Homoplasy

  69. mattison922:
    In any case, I believe your question is asked with full knowledge of a thread on the ARN wherein I (using the same username) outlined a very rough idea of one such research project. I’m almost 100% sure you remember this thread, and I believe you commented on it in this forum.

    In any case, I would simply refer you there to save myself one whole heck of a lot of typing.

    What you posted must not have been very informative because I do not remember it. However I would appreciate a link.

  70. I almost can’t believe what I’ve just read… but whatever.

    Joseph wrote:

    I doubt the ToE has a ‘wet research program’ and you have done nada to refute that. Sure there is experimental biology, but that, along with anti-biotic resistance has nothing to do with the ToE.

    Joseph, you’re certainly free to dismiss the years and years of “experimental biology” that scientists have conducted under ToE based assumptions, as ‘not an evolutionary research program,’ but you’re doing nothing for your own credibility.

    In any case, while I appreciate the links, I am more than a little familiar with the major apologetics sites and their scientific content.

    And while I’m inclined to agree that antibiotic resistance is not evidence for macroevolutionary change, and further feel that such change in microorganisms is not directly applicable to large multicellular organism like human beings (due to selection cost and reproduction times), it was nonetheless ‘predicted’ by evolutionary theory.

    What bothers me is the obvious double-standards you employ, as well as your continued deception.

    :lol:
    Now this is rich.

    Which double standards are those, Joseph? Like I said, the only point I’ve ever really tried to make is that ID needs a research program.

    Yes, we can plainly see that researchers assuming the ToE have at least tried to carry out a research program is extremely troubling to you. But that’s the point, no matter how much you think their efforts may be misguided, their assumptions wrong, or their research not about evolution, in many cases, the researchers have at the very least tried to create a research program based on ToE.

    I’ll ask again, very specifically, which double standards have I employed?

    And perhaps even more importantly, where, very specifically, is even a single act of “deception,” much less “continued deception?”

    I did note however, that you posted this:

    Common descent is accepted on faith, not science. Those who accept common descent and won’t accept ID just expose their double-standards.

    in response to another poster. I can only assume that this is what you’re referring to when you say “double standards.”

    What’s truly amazing is how you pretty much read only what you want to read.

    I’m actually on this forum as an ID supporter, which I’ve made clear at least a couple of times in this thread. On the other hand, I can at least maintain a semblance of objectivity… or perhaps reality, with respect to the status of ID and ToE as a research science.

    DaveScot wrote:

    Keeping that in mind I would point out the Harvard Origin of Life in the Universe project.

    The project’s stated purpose is to discover and physically demonstrate possible natural mechanisms by which self-replicating polymers that evolve over time (polymers that demarcate life from non-life such as ribosomes). The project’s purpose is framed in such a way that it constitutes verification of abiogenesis – that life can begin by the interaction of natural, undirected forces with basic elements and compounds found in natural settings.

    Yes, but this paragraph really amounts to a heap of rubbish. There’s no such thing as a ‘self-replicating polymer that evolves over time.’ It’s a fantasy in the absence of enzymes.

    However, if we look at the hypothesis ID puts forward “intelligent agency is required to generate the basic machinery of life” then the Harvard ID project, if successful, is the falsification of the ID hypothesis.

    I’m not interested in ‘falsfication’ of ID. I am interested in ID based research. Fine, leave falsification of ID up to Harvard and their gargantuan waste of money, pursuing an idea that not only isn’t supported by the evidence, but lacks even a semblance of parsimony.

    There’s your ID wet research program. Just because they don’t call it ID research doesn’t mean that isn’t what it is effectively doing.

    Dave, falsifying ID and building experimental support for ID are disparate functions. One is distinctly the role of naturalistic-only science, and the other is the responsibility of the ID community.

  71. mattison922:
    I almost can’t believe what I’ve just read… but whatever.

    Why do I get the feeling that what you just read and what was posted are not the same thing?

    mattison922:
    Joseph, you’re certainly free to dismiss the years and years of “experimental biology” that scientists have conducted under ToE based assumptions, as ‘not an evolutionary research program,’ but you’re doing nothing for your own credibility.

    You should worry about your own credibility. Puffing out your just and thumping it does nothing to help your case.

    mattison922:
    In any case, while I appreciate the links, I am more than a little familiar with the major apologetics sites and their scientific content.

    Again you should worry about the ‘scientific content’ you present. We’re still waiting.

    mattison922:
    And while I’m inclined to agree that antibiotic resistance is not evidence for macroevolutionary change, and further feel that such change in microorganisms is not directly applicable to large multicellular organism like human beings (due to selection cost and reproduction times), it was nonetheless ‘predicted’ by evolutionary theory.

    You can believe whatever you want to. That any organism changes and adapts to its environment is perfectly fine with the Creation model and therefore has nothing to do with the ToE.

    For someone who posts a lot you really don’t say anything.

    Now how about that link to your ARN discussion board post.

    mattison922:
    What’s truly amazing is how you pretty much read only what you want to read.

    Your projection is duly noted.

    What about that experiment in support of the ToE? Dr Behe recommended one during the Dover trial but those ignorant evos just turned it around and the judge even used it as judgement against ID- that being that evos will not conduct an experiment that would substantiate their claims and at the same time refute an ID icon.

    That is the double-standard I speak of- asking one thing of ID all the while knowing evos will never provide the same level of data.

    As for ID based research start with “The Privileged Planet”- there is plenty there

  72. Joseph wrote:

    You can believe whatever you want to. That any organism changes and adapts to its environment is perfectly fine with the Creation model and therefore has nothing to do with the ToE.

    Again, you’ve missed the point entirely. As was noted above, I have no problem with data fitting in with other models. That’s not the issue, if you’re willing to claim antibiotic resistance fits in with the creationist models, that it is it fits in with their predictions, you have to concede the same for ToE. It fits their model, it fits their predictions in a loose manner, and thus can be described as ‘evidence’ in support of the theory.

    Sorry, but the door swings both ways.

    Now how about that link to your ARN discussion board post.

    ARN has a search function. Use it.

    What about that experiment in support of the ToE? Dr Behe recommended one during the Dover trial but those ignorant evos just turned it around and the judge even used it as judgement against ID- that being that evos will not conduct an experiment that would substantiate their claims and at the same time refute an ID icon.

    So? How does this absolve ID of having to actually do some research? Whether or not the evidence that ‘evos’ claim is up to your standard is – for the dozenth time, not the issue.

    The issue is: ID needs an active research program wherein their hypotheses are tested. Because you don’t think ToE has this, doesn’t absolve ID of this responsibility. If ID wants to be recognized as science, then it needs to engage in science.

    That is the double-standard I speak of- asking one thing of ID all the while knowing evos will never provide the same level of data.

    I’ve insisted on no level of data, I’ve merely pointed out that the ID community needs a reserach program. End of story. You can continue to whine about the inadequacies of evolutionary findings, and whatever else, but none of this absolves ID of the responsibility of actually doing science – if ID wants to be recognized as a scientific discipline that is.

    I think I see part of the problem:

    As for ID based research start with “The Privileged Planet”- there is plenty there

    I’ve read PP… actually finished about 2 months ago.

    In any case, PP isn’t ID based ‘research,’ at least not in the sense that we’ve been discussing research… wet bench lab research. And of course I realize there is no ‘wet’ research in cosmology. In any case, PP is a summary of cosmological research findings that are relevant to ID.

    You might as well cite DBB as research for biological ID, which it’s not; or cite The Panda’s Thumb as evolutionary research. It’s not. These are summaries of research findings molded into coherent ideas, but are not ‘research’ in the sense we’ve been discussing it.

    This isn’t to discount the importance of these works, just to distinguish them from research.

  73. ID has nothing to do with common descent, pro or con.

    tribune,

    And evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis, pro or con. But IDers claim that evolution has to deal with the origin of life one way or another. I maintain the same with ID and common decent.

    Regardless of what Dembski says about ID not being a mechanistic theory, it will never succeed unless it starts addressing mechanisms. It can’t constantly point out where “darwinian” mechanisms fail and in the same breath deny that it has the responsibility to come up with an alternative. Because it does.

    The fact that you can be a YEC and be accepted into the ID fold indicates that ID is not serious about finding evidence. Because there is ample, ample evidence that the earth is billions of years old. If ID is constent with common descent and YEC, then it is not a valid theory because evolution and special creation (in that complex “kinds” are created de novo and do not evolve into other “kinds”) are in direct opposition. And if ID is consistent with both of them, it says absolutely nothing useful about *how* life changes over time.

  74. The foregoing discussion illustrates some of my confusion on the issue of ID being science. I think that science has to do with what the truth or facts are concerning the earth and the history of life. So, I am confused about how ID can be science but somehow have adherents who believe that the earth is old and others who believe that it is young. The earth can’t be old and young at the same time. I am sure someone can explain it to their satisfaction, but I can’t believe that ID will make much progress as science under the current conditions.

    Now, my previous thoughts relate to ID as science and I will, at least, adopt a wait and see attitude on that. But, my understanding of the essence of ID is that it is a metaphysical or worldview movement. That is it’s primary strength. I think the movement will get a hearing from the general public from it’s message against materialism and for purpose. The issue of design is interesting. The issue of purpose in life is ultimate.

    So, it seems to me that the future of the movement should morph fully into a kind of science-based apologetic with the purpose of demonstrating the inadequacies of materialism and advancing the cause of purpose. Really, isn’t that what all of us proponents are interested in.

  75. Again, you’ve missed the point entirely. As was noted above, I have no problem with data fitting in with other models. That’s not the issue, if you’re willing to claim antibiotic resistance fits in with the creationist models, that it is it fits in with their predictions, you have to concede the same for ToE. It fits their model, it fits their predictions in a loose manner, and thus can be described as ‘evidence’ in support of the theory.

    Sorry, but the door swings both ways.

    If it swings BOTH ways it doesn’t support either. Apparently you missed the point completely.

    Now how about that link to your ARN discussion board post.

    Mattison922:
    ARN has a search function. Use it.

    The ARN discussion board’s search function requires membership to the discussion board.

    What about that experiment in support of the ToE? Dr Behe recommended one during the Dover trial but those ignorant evos just turned it around and the judge even used it as judgement against ID- that being that evos will not conduct an experiment that would substantiate their claims and at the same time refute an ID icon.

    Mattison922:
    So? How does this absolve ID of having to actually do some research? Whether or not the evidence that ‘evos’ claim is up to your standard is – for the dozenth time, not the issue.

    IDists do research. However that is not the issue. The issue is you ask of ID what the ToE has never produced.

    Mattison922:
    The issue is: ID needs an active research program wherein their hypotheses are tested. Because you don’t think ToE has this, doesn’t absolve ID of this responsibility. If ID wants to be recognized as science, then it needs to engage in science.

    If the ToE is recognized as science without what you ask of ID, THAT is a double-standard.

    Mattison922:
    In any case, PP isn’t ID based ‘research,’ at least not in the sense that we’ve been discussing research… wet bench lab research.

    Actually to a working scientists it most certainly would be. We can test the premise of DNA-only based complex living organisms and we can test the premise that complex living organisms require water. We cab also use TPP’s findings to search for ETs seeing it gives us the factors to look for.

    Part of TPP’s findings are based on the lab experiments that show the same laws that apply here on Earth also apply in any other part of this universe.

  76. mjb2001:
    And evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis, pro or con. But IDers claim that evolution has to deal with the origin of life one way or another.

    The point being, of course, that if living organisms didn’t arise from non-living matter via some blind watchmaker-type process (non-goal oriented) then there would be no reason to infer its subsequent diversity arose solely due to those types of processes (stochastic). IOW abiogenesis is directly linked to any theory of evolution.

    mjb2001:
    Regardless of what Dembski says about ID not being a mechanistic theory, it will never succeed unless it starts addressing mechanisms. It can’t constantly point out where “darwinian” mechanisms fail and in the same breath deny that it has the responsibility to come up with an alternative. Because it does.

    Design is a mechanism, albeit just as vague as RM&NS, but a mechanism non-the-less.

    mjb2001:
    The fact that you can be a YEC and be accepted into the ID fold indicates that ID is not serious about finding evidence. Because there is ample, ample evidence that the earth is billions of years old.

    Actually the evidence the Earth is billions of years old relies heavily on untestable assumptions. That is a fact. It is also a fact that determining the age of the Earth depends directly on HOW it, the solar system and the galaxy were formed.

    mjb2001:
    If ID is constent with common descent and YEC, then it is not a valid theory because evolution and special creation (in that complex “kinds” are created de novo and do not evolve into other “kinds”) are in direct opposition. And if ID is consistent with both of them, it says absolutely nothing useful about *how* life changes over time.

    ID isn’t ‘constent’ with either. ID will accept what the data supports. And right now the ONLY data that supports common descent relies heavily on common descent being assumed. The data we do have points to wobbling stability.

    IOW if common descent is “true” you had better provide the evidence that gets us beyond the observed genetic homeostasis.

  77. Mattison

    Yes, but this paragraph really amounts to a heap of rubbish.

    Oh dear. I struck a nerve. I’m afraid the rubbish is all yours as I will show.

    There’s no such thing as a ’self-replicating polymer that evolves over time.’ It’s a fantasy in the absence of enzymes.

    Enzymes ARE polymers. Duh. But if your point was that nucleic acid based polymers can’t self replicate absent amino acid polymers then you’re way behind the 8-ball already. See ribozymes and autocatalysis and Rebek and Joyce. The project leader himself has this to say:

    DS: That will be a good question to ask to each of the team members, because I’m sure you’ll get a different answer. To me, the big question is, “How can a molecule have the same number of atoms and seems to be similar to an RNA molecule, and yet it doesn’t do anything biological?” You put a bunch of it in a solution and it just sits there and eventually decays. But if you put just a single strand of ribozyme in the solution, 20 minutes later the whole thing is teeming with copies of the molecule. And not only that, you’ve left it in the sun, so it got hot, and it’s full of copies which are slightly different – they’ve evolved to degrade less under sunlight than the original molecule you put in.

    So what is the difference between the two molecules? The way it looks now, discovering the difference will be accomplished in the lab. I once asked Gerald Joyce, “Why do you spend all this time in the lab, when we can build the molecule in the computer, atom by atom, and then run this computer program to see what the different possibilities are?” He convinced me that there was no computer on Earth big enough to do this. The molecular reactions in the lab, in just one second, are about a million times faster than what a computer can do. There won’t be a computer capable of that for at least 50 years.

    I’m not interested in ‘falsfication’ of ID.

    Oh, I didn’t know that. Let’s pack our bags and go home everyone. Mattison isn’t interested in falsification of ID.

    I am interested in ID based research. Fine, leave falsification of ID up to Harvard and their gargantuan waste of money, pursuing an idea that not only isn’t supported by the evidence, but lacks even a semblance of parsimony.

    Mattison pooh-poohs a multidisciplinary list of distinguished scientists I’m informed just received $100 million in funding to pursue research into the molecular origins of life. I hope their program survives your devastating critique. They must all be shaking in their boots and looking for new jobs even as we speak.

    Dave, falsifying ID and building experimental support for ID are disparate functions.

    Yay! You got something right! The Harvard project intends to first demonstrate that intelligent agents in labcoats can cobble together the basic molecules of life from simple components. If and when they know how to do that they will then seek ways the same feat could be accomplished sans test tubes and air conditioning.

    One is distinctly the role of naturalistic-only science, and the other is the responsibility of the ID community.

    Who is responsible for assigning these responsibilities? I need to speak with them. By your malformed logic biologists can’t reference experimental results obtained by geologists in support of biological hypothesis unless the geologists explicitely state their experiments are in support of biology. Sheesh. That’s not how science works. Research results are available to everyone, even to those who have ideas that aren’t aligned with the originators of the data. What turnip truck did you say you fell off of recently?

  78. mjb

    And evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis, pro or con.

    Evolution 101

    I maintain the same with ID and common decent.

    I maintain otherwise. So there!

    It can’t constantly point out where “darwinian” mechanisms fail and in the same breath deny that it has the responsibility to come up with an alternative.

    If it is shown that a model fails, why is there a responsiblity to provide a replacement?

    The fact that you can be a YEC and be accepted into the ID fold indicates that ID is not serious about finding evidence.

    Are you aware that contemporary YECers have made valuable advances to the biological sciences — far more more so than the best known Darwinistic polemicists?

    Because there is ample, ample evidence that the earth is billions of years old.

    There is. And can you understand why it is not unreasonable to discount it?

    If ID is constent with common descent and YEC, then it is not a valid theory because evolution and special creation (in that complex “kinds” are created de novo and do not evolve into other “kinds”) are in direct opposition.

    ID is neutral on it.

    And if ID is consistent with both of them, it says absolutely nothing useful about *how* life changes over time.

    It doesn’t try, although by effectively rebutting bald materialism it does allow for other things to be considered by reasonable people than undirected forces as the source of biodiversity.

  79. Not to kick a dead snowflake, but I think the difference is between self-ordering and self-organizing.

  80. If it is shown that a model fails, why is there a responsiblity to provide a replacement?

    Because then it isn’t a theory or an explanation or anything really. It’s just a critique.

    I’ll be honest, I think ID is a bunch of BS. But I’m willing to give design inference a chance if ID proponents would start addressing mechanisms. I do not think that “design” in and of itself is a mechanism. The closest I’ve seen is the idea of “front-loading”. I find that very interesting and I’ve seen it discussed very little by anyone other than DaveScot here. It’s readily testable, sounds perfectly consistent with what is observed in the historical record of life, and I’m willing to give that one a shot. But when I here people say that ID isn’t responsible for coming up with mechanistic alternatives to the modern theory of evolution, I again have serious doubts to the power of the theory.

    I believe Dembski claims that he doesn’t need to get into the piddling little details of the mechanisms by which ID accounts for the diversity of life but I find that disingenuous when the main critique of RM+NS is that there is nothing but “story-telling” because there is no detailed evolutionary pathways worked out.

  81. DaveScott

    How can a molecule have the same number of atoms and seems to be similar to an RNA molecule, and yet it doesn’t do anything biological?” You put a bunch of it in a solution and it just sits there and eventually decays. But if you put just a single strand of ribozyme in the solution, 20 minutes later the whole thing is teeming with copies of the molecule.

    Correct me if I am wrong but in order for this thing to work don’t you need free nucleotides, an RNA template, and a ribozyme? Or does the ribozyme just duplicate itself?

    Where do the nucleotides come from?

    What catalyzes the nucleotides to form RNA?

    Assuming you can get RNA and a ribozyme together in a solution that allows the ribozyme to catalyze and duplicate itself, then what? What is the next gradual step towards life that confers a selective advantage on the RNA?

  82. Because then it isn’t a theory or an explanation or anything really. It’s just a critique.
    But if the critique is on target, why would you want to continue to believe something that can’t be?

  83. mjb2001:
    I’ll be honest, I think ID is a bunch of BS.

    Given the materialistic alternative to ID is sheer-dumb-luck, which is total BS, one must wonder what your position is.

    mjb2001:
    But I’m willing to give design inference a chance if ID proponents would start addressing mechanisms.

    And I would be willing to give evolutionism a chance if they could demonstrate what mutations were responsible for what changes.

    As of today we don’t even know whether or not any amount of mutations coupled with any selection process can bring about the range of change required. And then there is genetic homeostasis, which the best you can do is hand-wave away.

    mjb2001:
    I do not think that “design” in and of itself is a mechanism.

    Unless you redefine “design” and “mechanism”, design is definitely a mechanism under currently accepted definitions of both.

    mjb2001:
    But when I here people say that ID isn’t responsible for coming up with mechanistic alternatives to the modern theory of evolution, I again have serious doubts to the power of the theory.

    They say it for very good reasons:

    1) The ONLY way to possibly determine a specific design mechanism or implementation process, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the object in question.

    2) ID and mechanisms:

    It thus seems the Darwinist really does not have that much of advantage over the ID proponent when it comes to the mechanism complaint. Not all scientists are convinced that all biological history = microevolution + deep time. [3] And when it comes to outlining the specific mechanisms at play, Darwinists often have little more to offer than just-so stories which have yet to be told in glorious scientific detail. Thus, if we are to be satisfied with a vague appeal to the blind watchmaker as the cause behind some biotic feature, there is little room to complain that “ID is the mechanism” is too vague. And if we demand the specifics of the implementation of ID (the actual mechanism), then we should be willing to offer the specifics of the blind watchmaker’s ancient work.

    mjb2001:
    I believe Dembski claims that he doesn’t need to get into the piddling little details of the mechanisms by which ID accounts for the diversity of life but I find that disingenuous when the main critique of RM+NS is that there is nothing but “story-telling” because there is no detailed evolutionary pathways worked out.

    THAT is the point- the double-standard is obvious and has been exposed in this post.

  84. joseph: “Nice strawman. I do NOT and NEVER have denied experimental biology. I do say that has nothing to do with the ToE, which is obvious from the responses given.”

    I didn’t say you denied experimental biology; I said you denied an entire branch of experimental biology dealing with the generation of hypotheses based on ToE and their testing. Whatever you think of its merits, it exists. Consult the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, for instance–pretty much everything in there is testing some ToE-generated hypothesis. I’m having trouble deciding if you’re for real or if you’re just pulling folks’ chain here.

    “Common descent is accepted on faith, not science. Those who accept common descent and won’t accept ID just expose their double-standards.”

    I don’t accept common descent on faith. I accept common descent because predictions predicated on common descent are continually confirmed. While you can make limited arguments that shared features also indicate common design, that doesn’t work for DNA elements that can be shown and have been shown, via population genetics, to be evolving neutrally. Predictions about common descent hold for these loci as well (e.g. deletions in pseudogenes, viral sequences, retrotransposons, etc.) No contest, no question, case is closed and won’t be reopened. You can get open minded people to hear you out over design, but you’ll never be taken remotely seriously trying to deny something that has been so solidly established as common descent.

  85. joseph: “Nice strawman. I do NOT and NEVER have denied experimental biology. I do say that has nothing to do with the ToE, which is obvious from the responses given.”

    great ape:
    I didn’t say you denied experimental biology; I said you denied an entire branch of experimental biology dealing with the generation of hypotheses based on ToE and their testing. Whatever you think of its merits, it exists. Consult the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, for instance–pretty much everything in there is testing some ToE-generated hypothesis. I’m having trouble deciding if you’re for real or if you’re just pulling folks’ chain here.

    I think someone pulled your chain, you bought it and now you are trying to sell it. However I’m not buying. Dr Skell and many others disagree with you. Therefore they must also be “pulling your chain”.

    Now how about some ToE research that demonstrates a population of land mammals can “evolve” into a population of cetaceans? Or how about just the mutations required for upright, bipedal walking?

    Or even some data that tells us what makes an organism what it is, beyond the following:

    What makes a fly a fly? In his book (English title) “Why is a Fly not a Horse?”, the prominent Italian geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti, tells us the following :

    Chapter VI “Why is a Fly not a horse?” (same as the book’s title)

    ”The scientist enjoys a privilege denied the theologian. To any question, even one central to his theories, he may reply “I’m sorry but I do not know.” This is the only honest answer to the question posed by the title of this chapter. We are fully aware of what makes a flower red rather than white, what it is that prevents a dwarf from growing taller, or what goes wrong in a paraplegic or a thalassemic. But the mystery of species eludes us, and we have made no progress beyond what we already have long known, namely, that a kitty is born because its mother was a she-cat that mated with a tom, and that a fly emerges as a fly larva from a fly egg.”

    “Common descent is accepted on faith, not science. Those who accept common descent and won’t accept ID just expose their double-standards.”

    great ape:
    I don’t accept common descent on faith. I accept common descent because predictions predicated on common descent are continually confirmed.

    Common descent doesn’t make any predictions. It just accomodates the data as its proponents see fit.

    great ape:
    While you can make limited arguments that shared features also indicate common design, that doesn’t work for DNA elements that can be shown and have been shown, via population genetics, to be evolving neutrally.

    When neutrally evolving “DNA elements” can be shown to provide the changes required you will have a point.

    great ape:
    Predictions about common descent hold for these loci as well (e.g. deletions in pseudogenes, viral sequences, retrotransposons, etc.) No contest, no question, case is closed and won’t be reopened.

    Common descent didn’t even predict sexual reproduction.

    great ape:
    You can get open minded people to hear you out over design, but you’ll never be taken remotely seriously trying to deny something that has been so solidly established as common descent.

    Common descent is only “established” in the minds of those who don’t know any better. No one, I repeat, NO ONE even knows whether or not any mutation/ selection process can bring about the changes required. And guess what? There isn’t any way to scientifically test, repeat nor verify the premise.

    IOW common descent isn’t science. The best one can hope for is to assume common descent and then set out to find what they think is confirming data. However reality demonstrates wobbling stability and sexual reproduction puts an end to “evolution” (that is on the grand scale you support).

  86. About mechanisms I should add that no one is preventing anyone from delving into possible/ plausible specific mechanisms of design. ID, being the detection and study of (the design) just makes the designer and the process a separate question. Which, as reality demonstrates is OK because one does not have to know either, the designer nor the process, before determining design and then studying it- perhaps in the hope of determining the answers to those questions.

  87. And I would be willing to give evolutionism a chance if they could demonstrate what mutations were responsible for what changes.

    Ok. Here’s a little analogy. You call me up in the morning from your house and you tell me you’re coming over to mine right away. An hour later you arrive in a car. I’m not entirely sure what roads you took, but with a little investigative research I can probably figure out the most likely route. I also know about how fast you traveled so I can deduce your average speed. What I cannot tell you is, at any given point in your trip how fast you were at that exact moment, which lane of the highway you were in, or when and if you stopped for gas.

    When you say things like “As of today we don’t even know whether or not any amount of mutations coupled with any selection process can bring about the range of change required” you are basically saying we don’t even know whether or not you even took a car to my house. You might have flown. Or swam. Or teleported.

    THAT is the point- the double-standard is obvious and has been exposed in this post.

    No, it’s not a double-standard. Biology expects you to come up with mechanisms. That you aren’t convinced the mechanisms are valid is irrelevent. ID doesn’t even bother to try.

  88. mjb,

    I believe Joseph’s point is there are some things hard science does not or cannot tell us. We fill in the gaps inferentially. RM&NS+Time is just as inferential as ID. Since genetic code is the mechanism by which an individual organism unfolds from an initial single cell state, and individual organisms are required for populations, the mechanism for species must originate in the same place.

    ID doesn’t disagree with the mechanism for cellular energy synthesis and darwinism didn’t discover it.

    The rest is speculation informed by philosophy, which is ultimately have faith based premises. As Joseph as pointed out, what science has shown us via our own designed mutations and/or selection (breeding) – what we do see is a range of acceptable change, which has never crossed the form boundary. Finch beaks serve the same purpose for different environmental conditions.

    We infer design because life is wholly dependent upon information, which is a product of intelligence, and there is no empirical support information is produced by happenstance due to the properties of the physical universe.

    So ID has a mechanism – genetics and has a cause for the mechanism – intelligence. This makes room for prescribed evolution or designed models of individual classes of life. If you rule out design as a possibility from the start, you do so not because it isn’t possible, but because it isn’t philosophically palatable.

  89. And I would be willing to give evolutionism a chance if they could demonstrate what mutations were responsible for what changes.

    mjb2001:
    Ok. Here’s a little analogy. You call me up in the morning from your house and you tell me you’re coming over to mine right away. An hour later you arrive in a car. I’m not entirely sure what roads you took, but with a little investigative research I can probably figure out the most likely route. I also know about how fast you traveled so I can deduce your average speed. What I cannot tell you is, at any given point in your trip how fast you were at that exact moment, which lane of the highway you were in, or when and if you stopped for gas.

    But your ‘analogy’ is goal-oriented. Evolutionism is not. Therefore its use, as all of your “arguments”, are un-informed and deceptive.

    mjb2001:
    When you say things like “As of today we don’t even know whether or not any amount of mutations coupled with any selection process can bring about the range of change required” you are basically saying we don’t even know whether or not you even took a car to my house. You might have flown. Or swam. Or teleported.

    No I am not basically saying anything close to that. What I am saying is exactly what was posted. We don’t know. The best we can do is assume/ speculate that some mechanism did.

    And your continued reliance on your very flawed ‘analogy’ is very telling.

    THAT is the point- the double-standard is obvious and has been exposed in this post.

    mjb2001:
    No, it’s not a double-standard.

    All evidence to the contrary, of course. Here it is again- and ignoring it will not make reality go away:

    “It thus seems the Darwinist really does not have that much of advantage over the ID proponent when it comes to the mechanism complaint. Not all scientists are convinced that all biological history = microevolution + deep time. [3] And when it comes to outlining the specific mechanisms at play, Darwinists often have little more to offer than just-so stories which have yet to be told in glorious scientific detail. Thus, if we are to be satisfied with a vague appeal to the blind watchmaker as the cause behind some biotic feature, there is little room to complain that “ID is the mechanism” is too vague. And if we demand the specifics of the implementation of ID (the actual mechanism), then we should be willing to offer the specifics of the blind watchmaker’s ancient work. “

    mjb2001:
    Biology expects you to come up with mechanisms.

    Biology doesn’t expect anything. People might have expectations, but as I have already stated and supported, they are misguided.

    mjb2001:
    That you aren’t convinced the mechanisms are valid is irrelevent. ID doesn’t even bother to try.

    Just as evolution and abiogenesis are made into separate questions, even though abiogenesis DIRECTLY impacts any subsequent theory of evolution, the designer and the process are separate from the detection of design and the subsequent study of it.

    Did you look up the words “design” and “mechanism”? Do you now understand that design is indeed a mechanism? And it is as valid of a mechanism as RM&NS.

    That said there have been at least a few specific mechanisms mentioned- front end loading; built-in responses to environmental cues (Dr Lee Spetner in “Not By Chance”); and a similar type of goal-oriented program put forth in a Feb 2003 SciAm artcle titled “Evolving Inventions”.

  90. Jehu

    I think he implied that the solution contained all the appropriate nucleic acids. He then describes putting many strands of RNA in the solution, strands around the same size as a ribozyme but not a ribozyme, and nothing happens. But if instead he puts just a single strand of a ribozyme in it within 20 minutes it’s teaming with copies of the ribozyme. Perhaps that’s an incorrect reading. It may be teaming with copies of the other RNA strand. He might have worded it in a less ambiguous way. You might want to follow the Joyce link. There’s less ambiguity.

  91. mjb2001

    If intelligent agency isn’t a mechanism then what is it?

  92. Todd

    If you rule out design as a possibility from the start, you do so not because it isn’t possible, but because it isn’t philosophically palatable.

    Well said!

  93. DaveScot,

    Would intelligent agency not be the cause? Isn’t the code itself the mechanism? Or is the code the intelligent agent?

  94. Just in case mjb2001 has trouble with dictionaries- as it appears most anti-IDists do:

    Main Entry: 1de·sign
    Pronunciation: di-’zIn
    Function: verb
    Etymology: Middle English, to outline, indicate, mean, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French designer to designate, from Medieval Latin designare, from Latin, to mark out, from de- + signare to mark — more at SIGN
    transitive verb
    1 : to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to plan : DEVISE, CONTRIVE
    2 a : to conceive and plan out in the mind b : to have as a purpose : INTEND c : to devise for a specific function or end
    3 archaic : to indicate with a distinctive mark, sign, or name
    4 a : to make a drawing, pattern, or sketch of b : to draw the plans for
    intransitive verb
    1 : to conceive or execute a plan
    2 : to draw, lay out, or prepare a design
    - de·sign·ed·ly /-’zI-n&d-lE/ adverb

    Main Entry: mech·a·nism
    Pronunciation: ‘me-k&-”ni-z&m
    Function: noun
    1 a : a piece of machinery b : a process, technique, or system for achieving a result
    2 : mechanical operation or action : WORKING 2
    3 : a doctrine that holds natural processes (as of life) to be mechanically determined and capable of complete explanation by the laws of physics and chemistry
    4 : the fundamental processes involved in or responsible for an action, reaction, or other natural phenomenon — compare DEFENSE MECHANISM

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