Home » Intelligent Design » Is Mathgirl Smarter than Orgel and Wicken Combined? Doubtful.

Is Mathgirl Smarter than Orgel and Wicken Combined? Doubtful.

Mathgirl wrote in a comment to my last post:  “My conclusion is that, without a rigorous mathematical definition and examples of how to calculate [CSI], the metric is literally meaningless.  Without such a definition and examples, it isn’t possible even in principle to associate the term with a real world referent.”

Let’s examine that.  GEM brings to our attention two materialists who embraced the concept, Orgel [1973] and Wicken [1979].

Orgel:

. . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.

The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189.

Wicken:

‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms [[i.e. “simple” force laws acting on objects starting from arbitrary and common- place initial conditions] and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an [[originally . . . ] external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content . . . Organization, then, is functional complexity and carries information. It is non-random by design or by selection, rather than by the a priori necessity of crystallographic ‘order.’

“The Generation of Complexity in Evolution: A Thermodynamic and Information-Theoretical Discussion,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77 (April 1979): p. 353, of pp. 349-65.]

I assume mathgirl believes Orgel and Wicken were talking meaningless nonsense.  Or maybe she doesn’t and that’s why she has dodged GEM’s challenge at every turn.

Be that as it may, both dyed-in-the-wool materialists and ID advocates understand that living things are characterized by CSI.  Indeed, the law recognizes that DNA is characterized by CSI.  Recently a federal judge wrote:

Myriad’s focus on the chemical nature of DNA, however, fails to acknowledge the unique characteristics of DNA that differentiate it from other chemical compounds. As Myriad’s expert Dr. Joseph Straus observed: “Genes are of double nature: On the one hand, they are chemical substances or molecules. On the other hand, they are physical carriers of information, i.e., where the actual biological function of this information is coding for proteins. Thus, inherently genes are multifunctional.” Straus Decl. 1 20; see also The Cell at 98, 104 (“Today the idea that DNA carries genetic information in its long chain of nucleotides is so fundamental to biological thought that it is sometimes difficult to realize the enormous intellectual gap that it filled. . . . DNA is relatively inert chemically.”); Kevin Davies & Michael White, Breakthrough: The Race to Find the Breast Cancer Gene 166 (1996) (noting that Myriad Genetics’ April 1994 press release described itself as a “genetic information business”). This informational quality is unique among the chemical compounds found in our bodies, and it would be erroneous to view DNA as “no different[]” than other chemicals previously the subject of patents.

Myriad’s argument that all chemical compounds, such as the adrenaline at issue in Parke-Davis, necessarily conveys some information ignores the biological realities of DNA in comparison to other chemical compounds in the body. The information encoded in DNA is not information about its own molecular structure incidental to its biological function, as is the case with adrenaline or other chemicals found in the body. Rather, the information encoded by DNA reflects its primary biological function: directing the synthesis of other molecules in the body – namely, proteins, “biological molecules of enormous importance” which “catalyze biochemical reactions” and constitute the “major structural materials of the animal body.” O’Farrell, 854 F.2d at 895-96. DNA, and in particular the ordering of its nucleotides, therefore serves as the physical embodiment of laws of nature – those that define the construction of the human body. Any “information” that may be embodied by adrenaline and similar molecules serves no comparable function, and none of the declarations submitted by Myriad support such a conclusion. Consequently, the use of simple analogies comparing DNA with chemical compounds previously the subject of patents cannot replace consideration of the distinctive characteristics of DNA.

In light of DNA’s unique qualities as a physical embodiment of information, none of the structural and functional differences cited by Myriad between native BRCA1/2 DNA and the isolated BRCA1/2 DNA claimed in the patents-in-suit render the claimed DNA “markedly different.” This conclusion is driven by the overriding importance of DNA’s nucleotide sequence to both its natural biological function as well as the utility associated with DNA in its isolated form. The preservation of this defining characteristic of DNA in its native and isolated forms mandates the conclusion that the challenged composition claims are directed to unpatentable products of nature.

Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 702 F.Supp.2d 181 (S.D.N.Y. 2010).

Maybe mathgirl knows something that this federal court or Orgel or Wicken didn’t when she says CSI is a meaningless concept.  But I doubt it.

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289 Responses to Is Mathgirl Smarter than Orgel and Wicken Combined? Doubtful.

  1. The question remains of why nobody on the ID side at UD were able to take Orgel and Wicken’s ideas and use them to develop a mathematical formulation of CSI, which is what mathgrrl was asking for.

  2. Well, mathgrrl never discusses the actual definition of CSI and how it might be identified in the real world. She just keeps insisting on a rigorous mathematical definition. And when she is given one she says that it is not good enough without saying why.

    Mathgrrl seems incapable of engaging in logic without it being strict math (although I’ve seen her do little math). She would have us believe that logic and observation can have no bearing on science without an extremely strict measurement. CSI is a logical concept and it is easy to identify it in the real world. It is difficult to measure the “amount” of CSI but it is easy to see the difference between a code and a crystal.

  3. Complex Specified Information is something humans use and deal with on a daily basis.

    Communication would be difficult without it. Manufacturing would be close to impossible without it.

    I would say the human race depends on CSI.

  4. Barry Arrington,

    Reading the source material from Orgel will show that he uses the term “specified complexity” in a subjective, descriptive, qualitative sense. Dembski claims that CSI is a numerical, measurable metric. They are using the same words, but referring to different concepts.

  5. Collin,

    Well, mathgrrl never discusses the actual definition of CSI and how it might be identified in the real world.

    That task is the responsibility of those ID proponents who make the claim that CSI is objectively measurable and indicative of intelligent agency.

    She just keeps insisting on a rigorous mathematical definition. And when she is given one she says that it is not good enough without saying why.

    That statement is completely unsupported by the thread following my guest post, not to mention grossly unfair given the amount of time I devoted to that discussion.

    Even ID proponents like vjtorley recognize that CSI does not have a rigorous mathematical definition. Unless and until you can produce one and demonstrate it by calculating CSI for the four scenarios I detailed, you should be more circumspect with your assertions.

  6. MathGrrl:

    That statement is completely unsupported by the thread following my guest post, not to mention grossly unfair given the amount of time I devoted to that discussion.

    What a crock. If you really wanted to know about CSI you would read “No Free Lunch”.

    However if you did you would learn that CSI is about ORIGINS. There is even a section (3.8) titled The Origin of Complex Specified Information.

    So the only people you are fooling are yourself and our loyal followers.

    Even ID proponents like vjtorley recognize that CSI does not have a rigorous mathematical definition.

    Why does it need one? Does a computer program have a rigorous mathematical definition?

    CSI cannot be expressed by an algorithm. So get off of your strawman already.

    Unless and until you can produce one and demonstrate it by calculating CSI for the four scenarios I detailed, you should be more circumspect with your assertions.

    And until you demonstrate some understanding of he topic the only peple that will listen to you are yourself and your loyal followers.

  7. Joseph @ 5

    Why does it need one? Does a computer program have a rigorous mathematical definition?

    What about a Turing Machine?

    CSI cannot be expressed by an algorithm. So get off of your strawman already.

    I’m not sure that’s right. You claim that something has CSI if it meets certain criteria. Is it “organized” or merely “ordered”, for example. The issue is, can you come up with a test for CSI which (a) anyone can replicate; and (b) can distinguish between arising from “design” and “selection” (to use Wicken’s words).

    If you are just saying “it’s obvious life has CSI and is designed” the I don’t see how that is helpful. You’ll just say that people reject “design” because of *their* philosophical suppositions, and they’ll just say you see “design” because of *your* philosophical suppositions.

    If you want to show that “CSI means design” is the best explanation you need to show why. Of course, you say you do that, by laying out why you think life could not have arisen from natural processes… But unless you can show how CSI (or some other metric) can distinguish between “design” and false-positives for “design”, I don’t see how it’s a useful test.

    And until you demonstrate some understanding of he topic the only peple that will listen to you are yourself and your loyal followers.

    Isn’t that exactly what people say about the ID community?

  8. OT; Bio-Complexity has a new peer-reviewed paper out;

    The Evolutionary Accessibility of New Enzymes Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway
    Ann K Gauger, Douglas D Axe –
    Abstract; Enzymes group naturally into families according to similarity of sequence, structure, and underlying mechanism. Enzymes belonging to the same family are considered to be homologs–the products of evolutionary divergence, whereby the first family member provided a starting point for conversions to new but related functions. In fact, despite their similarities, these families can include remarkable functional diversity. Here we focus not on minor functional variations within families, but rather on innovations–transitions to genuinely new catalytic functions. Prior experimental attempts to reproduce such transitions have typically found that many mutational changes are needed to achieve even weak functional conversion, which raises the question of their evolutionary feasibility. To further investigate this, we examined the members of a large enzyme superfamily, the PLP-dependent transferases, to find a pair with distinct reaction chemistries and high structural similarity. We then set out to convert one of these enzymes, 2-amino-3-ketobutyrate CoA ligase (Kbl2), to perform the metabolic function of the other, 8-amino-7-oxononanoate synthase (BioF2). After identifying and testing 29 amino acid changes, we found three groups of active-site positions and one single position where Kbl2 side chains are incompatible with BioF2 function. Converting these side chains in Kbl2 makes the residues in the active-site cavity identical to those of BioF2, but nonetheless fails to produce detectable BioF2-like function in vivo. We infer from the mutants examined that successful functional conversion would in this case require seven or more nucleotide substitutions. But evolutionary innovations requiring that many changes would be extraordinarily rare, becoming probable only on timescales much longer than the age of life on earth. Considering that Kbl2 and BioF2 are judged to be close homologs by the usual similarity measures, this result and others like it challenge the conventional practice of inferring from similarity alone that transitions to new functions occurred by Darwinian evolution.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2011.1

  9. Kindly cf the post here in the not an argument from ignorance thread.

  10. MG:

    This means you, specifically.

    Dembski provided a metric that — after he hooting and hollering is done — boils down to a search space challenge measured by hot zone bits beyond a reasonable threshold, in the context of a meaningful, observable phenomenon.

    GEM of TKI

  11. PS: the simple brute force X-metric for FSCI does much the same, in a way that goes beyond issues over probability distributions by swamping the search capacity of the observable cosmos.

    PPS: the Semiotic, observing and judging agent may be shadowed in an algorithmic context, but his or her action is not itself reducible to algorithmic computation. An inference to best explanation on empirical observation — the heart of scientific reasoning — is not done by manipulation of strings of symbols on blind rules, and the algorithms that do the work in Turing machines are not themselves reducible to algorithms.

  12. A bit obscure: the creation of the algorithms

  13. Why does it need one? Does a computer program have a rigorous mathematical definition?

    idcurious:

    What about a Turing Machine?

    What about it?

    CSI cannot be expressed by an algorithm. So get off of your strawman already.

    idcurious:

    I’m not sure that’s right.

    Which part?

    You claim that something has CSI if it meets certain criteria.

    Yes. I also claim something is a computer program if it meets certain criteria.

    The issue is, can you come up with a test for CSI which (a) anyone can replicate; and (b) can distinguish between arising from “design” and “selection” (to use Wicken’s words).

    Anyone? Science isn’t for “anyone” nor is investigating.

    That said given my definition qualified people should be able to test for CSI. And to date blind, undirected processes hven’t been shown to poduce anything close o CSI.

    If you want to show that “CSI means design” is the best explanation you need to show why.

    You mean other than the fact that every time we have observed CSI and knew te cause it always always ia some designing agency- coupled with the fct that we have never observed nature, operating freely, producing anything close to CSI.

    IOW the design inference in the pesence of CSI is because of our knowledge of cause and effect relationships. And taht is what makes them refutable- knowledge.

    But unless you can show how CSI (or some other metric) can distinguish between “design” and false-positives for “design”, I don’t see how it’s a useful test.

    What false positives?

    And until you demonstrate some understanding of he topic the only peple that will listen to you are yourself and your loyal followers.

    Isn’t that exactly what people say about the ID community?

    People can say whatever they want. The problem comes when they cannot support what they say, which is the case when people say stuff about the ID community.

  14. Onlookers:

    Isn’t it interesting to see someone suggesting that the explanatory filter on CSI/FSCI tosses out observable false positives. That is, there is an assertion that it rules design in cases where we know that FSCI/CSI was produced by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    Now, observe something: no examples are given.

    So, that person now faces a challenge: produce the credible cases where 1,000 + bits of FSCI has been produced by chance plus necessity without intelligent direction. And, to save a futile exchange, so-called evolutionary algorithms are within existing, intelligently designed islands of function, that is they are canned intelligent work.

    GEM of TKI

  15. Joseph @ 12

    A Turing Machine is a computer with a rigorous mathematical definition.

    That said given my definition qualified people should be able to test for CSI. And to date blind, undirected processes hven’t been shown to poduce anything close o CSI.

    Your statement requires the a priori assumption that life isn’t the result of natural processes. That’s begging the question.

    If CSI indicates design, then what designed the designer? If you make a special case for “the ultimate designer” not requiring design, then that’s special pleading. (Please don’t refer me to the FAQ – that just says the ultimate designer must be “God”, I don’t see how that helps ID’s case that it is not equivalent to creationism).

    You mean other than the fact that every time we have observed CSI and knew te cause it always always ia some designing agency- coupled with the fct that we have never observed nature, operating freely, producing anything close to CSI.

    Again you are assuming that life cannot result from natural causes. Without that assumption, the simplest explanation is that life didn’t exist, and then it begun to exist from causes not yet known. That is fully compatible with Evolution, Theistic or otherwise.

    What false positives?

    A little Googling turned up this:

    Percival Lowell saw that many Martian canals meet at each of several points. The odds of this happening by chance, he calculated, are less than 1 in 1.6 × 10^260, proving that Mars must be inhabited (Lowell, 1907). We now know that the canals were optical illusions caused by the human mind connecting indistinct features.

    People can say whatever they want. The problem comes when they cannot support what they say, which is the case when people say stuff about the ID community.

    Yes, Joseph, people can say what they want… But the whole point of inviting Mathgirl to post at UD, surely, was to discuss her position that “without a rigorous mathematical definition and examples of how to calculate [CSI], the metric is literally meaningless.”

    Barry Arrington’s answer, in this thread, is that we know CSI when we see it. That may be true… But it does not tell us whether CSI requires a designer. We see CSI in the “natural world”. To insist that it cannot have arisen through natural processes is simply assuming the truth of your conclusions.

  16. 16

    mathgirl writes: “Reading the source material from Orgel will show that he uses the term “specified complexity” in a subjective, descriptive, qualitative sense.”

    I take it then that you agree that the concept of CSI as Orgel used it is not meaningless. Good we are making progress.

  17. kairosfocus @ 13

    Examples of false-positive for “design”… Canals on Mars. The “face” on Mars. The bacterial flagellum and the immune system, according to Dr Behe’s critics.

    So, that person now faces a challenge: produce the credible cases where 1,000 + bits of FSCI has been produced by chance plus necessity without intelligent direction.

    If you don’t assume that life *must* have begun with “intelligent direction”, then life itself presumably began through processes not yet understood.

    Maybe there was “intelligent direction”. That is the ID inference. Maybe it wasn’t – maybe it came from natural processes (whether “God” exists or not).

    If ID cannot show some metric to tell the difference between design and non-design, then how can it deal with false-positives?

    And, to save a futile exchange, so-called evolutionary algorithms are within existing, intelligently designed islands of function, that is they are canned intelligent work.

    Yet again you assume the truth of your conclusions. Who says “so-called evolutionary algorithms are within existing, intelligently designed islands of function”? My goodness! You do!

  18. idcurious:

    A Turing Machine is a computer with a rigorous mathematical definition.

    Can you provide it?

    That said given my definition qualified people should be able to test for CSI. And to date blind, undirected processes haven’t been shown to poduce anything close to CSI.

    Your statement requires the a priori assumption that life isn’t the result of natural processes.

    No, it requires that our knowldge of cause and effect relationships is good. And that we can test that knowledge.

    If CSI indicates design, then what designed the designer?

    That doesn’t have anything to do with Intelligent Design. We could only hope to answer that question if we could study the deigner.

    ID is about the design. But thanks for exposing your agenda.

    You mean other than the fact that every time we have observed CSI and knew te cause it always always ia some designing agency- coupled with the fct that we have never observed nature, operating freely, producing anything close to CSI.

    Again you are assuming that life cannot result from natural causes.

    No, I don’t make any such assumption. You can keep saying that but it won’t make it so.

    Without that assumption, the simplest explanation is that life didn’t exist, and then it begun to exist from causes not yet known.

    LoL! I am fine with “we don’t know”. I am against “we don’t know but we know it wasn’t by design” (wink, wink).

    However there isn’t any eidence that blind, undiected prcesses poduced a living organism from non-living matter. Science says life from life.

    What false positives?

    A little Googling turned up this:

    That’s a joke, right? Or are you just flailing away?

    Yes, Joseph, people can say what they want… But the whole point of inviting Mathgirl to post at UD, surely, was to discuss her position that “without a rigorous mathematical definition and examples of how to calculate [CSI], the metric is literally meaningless.”

    MathGrrl has been answered and her strawman exposed.

    But it does not tell us whether CSI requires a designer.

    Our knowledge of cause and effect relationships does that.

    You do understand how science operates, right?

    To insist that it cannot have arisen through natural processes is simply assuming the truth of your conclusions.

    Seems to me all YOU hve to do is demonstrate tha nature, operating freely can produce CSI and a major pice of ID would fall by the wayside.

    OR you can continue to whine and act all obtuse and stuff…

  19. idcurious:

    Examples of false-positive for “design”… Canals on Mars. The “face” on Mars.

    Those weren’t false positives because they ere never subject to close scintific investigation.

    If ID cannot show some metric to tell the difference between design and non-design, then how can it deal with false-positives?

    LoL! Forensic science and archaelogy claim to be able to tell the difference, as does SETI.

    Who says “so-called evolutionary algorithms are within existing, intelligently designed islands of function”?

    The facts demonstrate that is so.

  20. Mathgrrl,

    In the previous threads you were given several mathematical definitions of CSI but I don’t recall you ever saying why they were not good enough. You just kept insisting, over and over, that no one has provided a rigorous mathematical definition. Maybe they haven’t but at least Markf tells us why he thinks they are not good enough.

    It is easy to be critical, but it is hard to really understand something.

  21. Wow. That judge in the OP impresses me. Perhaps there’s hope for America after all.

    The information encoded in DNA is not information about its own molecular structure incidental to its biological function, as is the case with adrenaline or other chemicals found in the body. Rather, the information encoded by DNA reflects its primary biological function: directing the synthesis of other molecules in the body – namely, proteins…

    Terrence W. Deacon has an interesting chapter in Information and the Nature of Reality on what he calls “the absent concept problem.”

  22. Joseph * 18

    Is it really so hard to use Google?

    Formal definition of Turing Machines.

    No, it requires that our knowldge of cause and effect relationships is good. And that we can test that knowledge.

    But ID does not investigate cause and effect relationships You say so yourself. It merely infers an “intelligent designer” – but (you say) it can’t tell us anything about the Designer.

    Your “knowldge of cause and effect relationships” is just your presupposition. How you can “test that knowledge” is Mathgirl’s entire point. You don’t say – other than that you know it when you see it.

    That doesn’t have anything to do with Intelligent Design. We could only hope to answer that question if we could study the deigner.

    You are telling me that we can’t examine the “designer”. My question again – how can you tell the difference between an inferred designer that we can’t examine, and natural processes we don’t yet understand? You do not say.

    ID is about the design. But thanks for exposing your agenda.

    Projection much? I think the FAQ about “who designs the designer” shows ID’s agenda.

    LoL! I am fine with “we don’t know”. I am against “we don’t know but we know it wasn’t by design” (wink, wink).

    We can agree on “we don’t know”.

    That’s a joke, right? Or are you just flailing away?

    Joseph, thy name is projection.

    Seems to me all YOU hve to do is demonstrate tha nature, operating freely can produce CSI and a major pice of ID would fall by the wayside.

    The evidence is that there was no life, and then life arose. We don’t know how. You are the one who is insisting that it could not have happened by natural processes – that nature *does not work*.

    LoL! Forensic science and archaelogy claim to be able to tell the difference, as does SETI.

    Archeology, forensics and SETI rely on being able to examine the abilities, parameters, and intentions of “designers”. You’ve just told me that ID cannot do that.

    OR you can continue to whine and act all obtuse and stuff…

    Which you do in post after post.

  23. IDC:

    If this were not so sadly revealing of how desperate objectors are, it would be amusing:

    Examples of false-positive for “design”… Canals on Mars. The “face” on Mars. The bacterial flagellum and the immune system, according to Dr Behe’s critics.

    1: Recall, the design inference is in the context of an explanatory filter on aspects of phenomena, that comes to the point of FSCI as a test, after first considering natural regularitries and chance contingenies, through looking at high contingency, then complexity and specificity leading here to the quesiton of fucntionally specific complex information. Function must be observfed, and that funciton must be credibly specific. The Mars telescope images that led Schiaparelli et al tot hink of canals on Mars were not a funcitonal entity, so FSCI is not relevant, but instesad broader CSI; which as we saw is also looking at a accounting for hot zones in config spaces on threshold metrics. “Canals on Mars”, were not cases of observed cause of functionally specific complex information of 1,000+ bits caused by chance plus necessity, but basic errors of identification of the features in images — and such an image is already an artifact — of natural objects, later correctly identified as due to misperception. If you will, the artifact of the imaging was the result of [inadequate] design, but an inadvertent one; there never was an observation of oriented canals on Mars forming a reticulatred network on linear elements, and if there were, that would indeed be a strong sign of design. This error of misperception that points to design in images, flawed though the design was, is therefore irrelevant to the observation of algorithmically FUNCTIONAL complex digital code and associated organised execution machinery in the living cell.

    2: The “face” on Mars, again, is not a case of observed cause of FSCI that was seen to be caused by chance plus necessity but of an artifact of low resolution digital photography; again a problem of an image. Had there been a genuine feature on Mars in the shape of a face, similar to Mt Rushmore [but not Old Man of the Mountain NH], that would indeed have been a very strong sign of design on the ground on Mars. But alas — I would have loved for the image to be real — we were going no farther than the image, which we independently know to have been designed and algorithmically functional.The image artefact, again, was indeed the result of design, but not an intended one; and the independent knowledge is that the whole context was that of a design. A lesson on the difference between what instruments may tell us and the on the ground reality. Hence the importance of as direct and/or high quality an observation as we can get. Hence also the point that evo algors set one down in an island of designed function from the outset, put there by the authors of trhe program. So, the results are based on designed hill climbing in such an island, not a good account of hopw to get to the shores of such an island in a vast config space dominated by non-function. They may model micro evolution, but they do not model or show the possibility of macroevolution at body plan origination level, which was what was needed. Starting with the very first body plan, OO life: a metabolising automaton, with a vNSR self replicator facility.

    3: The bacterial flagellum is a case where there is definitely FSCI in DNA, in proteins and in functional organisation, but we do not know by independent means of direct observation, the cause; i.e we do not have a direct observation test, but instead a denial of the evidence of the known cause of FSCI. Behe’s critics have never adequately accounted for it on chance plus necessity without intelligent direction; indeed the TTSS — the usual taliking point — is credibly if anything a derivative of the flagellum and is itself irreducibly complex [another index of design]. In short, this is not even a relevant case, apart from assuming that nope it cannot be what it would be if we accept that FSCI is a reliable sign of design. If the critics were able to show the origin of a flagellum on undirected chance plus necessity that would change but, by a long shot, they have failed to do that.

    4: the immune system is much the same.

    Another clip is even more revealing:

    If CSI indicates design, then what designed the designer? If you make a special case for “the ultimate designer” not requiring design, then that’s special pleading. (Please don’t refer me to the FAQ – that just says the ultimate designer must be “God”, I don’t see how that helps ID’s case that it is not equivalent to creationism).

    5 –> The inference to the act of design on sign, as the most credible cause is sufficient in itself as a scientific effort. (In short, the demand to answer to the infinite regress is a fallacy, e.g. where did the big bang come from was irrelevant to the validity of the inference to a beginning of the observed cosmos at a finite distance in the past on Hubble expansion seen through red shift, and the 2.7 K background.)

    6 -> In fact the WACs do not address the cosmological side of design in any detail. On that side, the evidence first points to the contingency of the observed cosmos, which even through multiverse speculations, requires a necessary being as the root cause. On the logic that that which begins has a cause, and so if a contingent cosmos exists, it has a cause that in the end is not itself caused but is self-explanatory. That is such a being is independent of external necessary causal factors and cannot not exist. Formerly, when the Steady State cosmos theory was accepted, the observed cosmos was thought to be that necessary being, but now we credibly know the observed cosmos to be contingent.

    7 –> In addition, starting with the nuclear resonances that make H, He, C and O the four most abundant atoms in the observed cosmos, and continuing through dozens of laws, constants, initial conditions etc, the observed cosmos is fine tuned in such a way as to support C-chemistry, cell based, intelligent life. That functionally specific, complex organisation is best explained on design.

    8 –> Multiplying the two, we see design by a necessary, powerful, knowledgeable, skilled designer. this is an explanatory inference on empirical data, not a reading from a religious text. In the relevant sense, this is precisely not creationism, i.e. you are repeating a slander based on as the author of WAC 5 said: equating forward to backward.

    8 –> At no point in the WAC’s will you see any inference equivalent to: “the ultimate designer must be “God” . . .” That you falsely assume or assert so, in a context where you could easily have checked if you cared to be fair or accurate, is sadly telling.

    9 –> What you will see is the comment that there are design thinkers who as a worldview choice, believe that the designer of the cosmos is the God of traditional theism. There are also others who hold significantly different views (e.g. Berlinsky [an agnostic], pantheists, platonists — there is one who hangs out here, Timaeus, etc).

    10 –> Your crude attempt to plaster design theory — as opposed to a possible design worldview with the loaded label creationism, is therefore ill founded and unwarranted.

    11 –> I commend to you, if you are genuinely curious to understand what design thinkers and theory are about, a look at the 101 briefing on ID by the NWE online enc, which begins:

    Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

    Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

    ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).

    ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution) . . .

    GEM of TKI

  24. idcurious (#17),

    You give three examples of false-positives for ID. We will take them one at a time.

    1. Percival Lowell’s canals on Mars. If there really were canals on Mars, and if they corresponded to Lowell’s observations, then you might have a case here. All you would have to do is reasonably establish that the canals were in fact dug by unguided natural forces, and your proof would be complete.
    But in fact, the canals (except for one, whose ends are not connected to anything else) do not exist on Mars, but rather in Percival Lowell’s head. And those canals are evidently the result of intelligent design. So your first example fails.

    2. The face on Mars. This object seems to be present only under certain lighting, and is rather simply laid out. The information required to form a vague face-like structure seems low, and certainly is difficult to quantify (which is what has been argued endlessly by such as MathGrrl).
    That face seems to correspond to the Old Man of the Mountain in NH, which most would concede to be a chance stone formation. If one can do free-form association, one can see weasels in clouds, as Shakespeare once observed. The specificity is nowhere near what is found in Mt. Rushmore. With different lighting, the face on Mars disappears, just as the Old Stone Face did when you move away from the chosen viewpoint. In that case, one might even say that the viewpoint was intelligently chosen, rather than the stone face being unintelligently designed. Thus this again is a fail.

    3. The bacterial flagellum definitely has enough complex specified information to qualify as a positive, and if it could be shown that it can be produced by a Darwinian process, your proof would be complete. It would even be a biological example, which would strike at the heart of most ID claims.
    The problem with this example is that all one has is general claims. Those kinds of claims are not supposed to be used as hard evidence in science. What needs to happen is that someone needs to produce a detailed Darwinian pathway from a bacterium without a flagellum to one with a flagellum, listing all the DNA steps, and avoiding more than about 2 steps that individually are deleterious and about 6 steps that are neutral. So far, no one has come close.
    WHen you find such a pathway, come back. Until then, you are operating on faith, and there is no need for those who do not share your faith to agree with you.

  25. MathGrrl:

    Even ID proponents like vjtorley recognize that CSI does not have a rigorous mathematical definition. Unless and until you can produce one and demonstrate it by calculating CSI for the four scenarios I detailed, you should be more circumspect with your assertions.

    To say something like this is either gigantic hubris, or gigantic cognitive dissonance.

    It is completely beyond me that you would still be asking for a demonstration for your putative four scenarios.

    Patently, none of those four scenarios rises to the level of actual CSI. The case of gene duplication is crystal-clear nonsense, easily dispensed with via recourse to Chaitin-Kolmogorov complexity, which is clearly incorporated into Dembski’s description of “specified complexity”. The case of ev, as I have pointed out to you at least five times, is a bit string 265 bits long, which has two sections “evolving” together, which means, roughly, that if the two sections matched entirely, the real “specified” length would by 265/2, and which produces “specificity” at only a handful of locations, with these locations moving around “randomly” (i.e., noise) once some minimum “specificity” is arrived at (which makes it then “maximum” specificity”). IOW, only about one third of the 265 bits at most are “specified”, and so you have a complexity of 2^88, or 10^30. This is inconsequential nonsense compared to one average sized paragraph in English.

    Is this how liberals act? They keep spouting the same tripe no matter how many times there shown to be wrong or in error?

    Oh, . . . I forgot. Yes, that is how they behave.

    Let me put it to you another way since you can’t seem to get the message:

    Even if Bill Dembski himself did the calculation for any of those scenarios, he would conclude that CSI is not present. So, how does that make ANY of those FOUR SCENARIOS worth five minutes worth of anyone’s attention?

    ev demonstrates nothing; and it’s the best that evo-biologists can do.

  26. MathGrrl:

    I have a challenge for you. Scientists assert the “Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum”. I say that it has not been rigorously demonstrated.

    For scientists—and you in particular—to convince me of this supposed “law”, please apply this “law” to the destruction of the World Trade Centers. Unless you can demonstrate clearly that it applies to that event, then the “Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum” is just hyperbole. I await your proof.

    And when you “prove” that, then I’ll show you how to calculate CSI for any one of your four scenarios.

  27. Paul Glenn @ 24

    But in fact, the canals… do not exist on Mars, but rather in Percival Lowell’s head. And those canals are evidently the result of intelligent design. So your first example fails.

    Dr Behe’s critics say that the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum exists only in his head. If so, his inference would be the result of “intelligent design” – but my claim would still stand.

    That face seems to correspond to the Old Man of the Mountain in NH, which most would concede to be a chance stone formation. If one can do free-form association, one can see weasels in clouds, as Shakespeare once observed. The specificity is nowhere near what is found in Mt. Rushmore.

    Despite a gazzillion posts on this topic, no-one here can provide any metric for CSI, other than “one thing has more than another”. What clouds and the NH Old Man of the Mountain show is that humans see patterns everywhere. If we found a monolith on the moon, or a copyright notice in genetic code, I grant you that would be powerful evidence of ID from an unknown source… But without being able to investigate the designer, I don’t see that ID tells us anything at all.

    What needs to happen is that someone needs to produce a detailed Darwinian pathway from a bacterium without a flagellum to one with a flagellum, listing all the DNA steps, and avoiding more than about 2 steps that individually are deleterious and about 6 steps that are neutral. So far, no one has come close.

    Given that this process – however it happened – apparently took millions if not billions of years, your request is completely ludicrous.

    WHen you find such a pathway, come back. Until then, you are operating on faith, and there is no need for those who do not share your faith to agree with you.

    That’s an argument from ignorance, pure and simple.

  28. F/N 1: You may observe drawings — yes, drawings [an already known artifact of design] — of the canali, here. If the structures shown were really on the ground on Mars, that would have indeed been evidence of design there. Alas, the designs were a lot closer to home than that. (And BTW, IDC is being a little disingenuous to suggest that false positive inferences to design on a misperception are a failure of FSCI in the context of the explanatory filter [presuming accurate observation], as a reliable index of design.)

    F/N 2: These images show the two shots of the Mars face feature, before and after sufficient resolution to more closely identify the feature. This is an example of the imprecise, vague facial pattern that we often see in wood panelling etc. But if there really were a carved human face — especially one that is evidently a portrait like Mt Rushmore — on Mars, with smooth skin-like surface and properly shaped nose, eyes, ears, hairline etc, that would be a strong sign of design indeed.

  29. PaV @ 25

    Is this how liberals act? They keep spouting the same tripe no matter how many times there shown to be wrong or in error?

    Mac Johnson is a conservative Christian scientist who <a href="accepts evolution.

    “Intelligent Design is The DaVinci Code of Biology — an emotionally attractive conspiracy theory that seems to explain the most amazing facts and coincidences. But in the end, it’s just not true, and worse yet, it gets one no closer to God. That’s all fine for an entertaining diversion, but it’s a poor base upon which to build either a factual or theological worldview.”

    Or is he by definition not conservative because he does not accept ID?

  30. kairosfocus

    “The more you say, the less people remember. The fewer the words, the greater the profit.” – Francois FeNelon

  31. IDC:

    Sorry, but you have now stepped into the territory of willful falsehood in the teeth of easily accessible corrective information starting with the UD WACs, 25 ff, nb no 27:

    Despite a gazzillion posts on this topic, no-one here can provide any metric for CSI, other than “one thing has more than another” . . .

    1: You should have already seen 9 – 10 above, where you will find a link to a discussion on the way the ID metrics work, but before we get to that the WAC 27 reads in the material parts:

    Another empirical approach to measuring functional information in proteins has been suggested by Durston, Chiu, Abel and Trevors in their paper “Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins”, and is based on an application of Shannon’s H (that is “average” or “expected” information communicated per symbol: H(Xf(t)) = -?P(Xf(t)) logP(Xf(t)) ) to known protein sequences in different species.

    A more general approach to the definition and quantification of CSI can be found in a 2005 paper by Dembski: “Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence”.

    For instance, on pp. 17 – 24, he argues:

    define phi_S as . . . the number of patterns for which [agent] S’s semiotic description of them is at least as simple as S’s semiotic description of [a pattern or target zone] T. [26] . . . . where M is the number of semiotic agents [S's] that within a context of inquiry might also be witnessing events and N is the number of opportunities for such events to happen . . . . [where also] computer scientist Seth Lloyd has shown that 10^120 constitutes the maximal number of bit operations that the known, observable universe could have performed throughout its entire multi-billion year history.[31] . . . [Then] for any context of inquiry in which S might be endeavoring to determine whether an event that conforms to a pattern T happened by chance, M·N will be bounded above by 10^120. We thus define the specified complexity [?] of T given [chance hypothesis] H [in bits] . . . as [the negative base-2 logarithm of the conditional probability P(T|H) multiplied by the number of similar cases phi_S(t) and also by the maximum number of binary search-events in our observed universe 10^120]

    CHI = – log2[10^120 ·phi_S(T)·P(T|H)].

    2: In the next WAC, 28, you may see:

    FSCI is actually a functionally specified subset of CSI, i.e. the relevant specification is connected to the presence of a contingent function due to interacting parts that work together in a specified context per requirements of a system, interface, object or process. For practical purposes, once an aspect of a system, process or object of interest has at least 500 – 1,000 bits or the equivalent of information storing capacity, and uses that capacity to specify a function that can be disrupted by moderate perturbations, then it manifests FSCI, thus CSI. This also leads to a simple metric for FSCI, the functionally specified bit; as with those that are used to display this text on your PC screen. (For instance, where such a screen has 800 x 600 pixels of 24 bits, that requires 11.52 million functionally specified bits. This is well above the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold.)

    3: this is an example of the simple brute force X-metric:

    X = C*S*B, where a semiotic agent identifies contingent complexity beyond the threshold, C; and specificity S, as well as bit depth B. If S & C are 1, then the FSCI is in B functionally specific bits.

    4: these last two metrics and related ones are based in the end on identifying a threshold that makes it maximally unlikely that chance and trial and error will find islands of function, essentially on the gamut of he observed cosmos, cf the linked discussion in 9 above.

    So, CSI and FSCI were identified by Orgel and Wicken in the 70s and metrics have subsequently been developed.

    They exist and they work as advertised.

    The intensity with which tat patent fact is denied by objectors, shows just how threatening the facts are to those locked into the evolutionary materialistic paradigm or related positions.

    GEM of TKI

  32. 32

    ID curious from #15

    “(Please don’t refer me to the FAQ – that just says the ultimate designer must be “God”, I don’t see how that helps ID’s case that it is not equivalent to creationism).”

    From the UD Faq:

    22] Who Designed the Designer?

    Intelligent design theory seeks only to determine whether or not an object was designed. Since it studies only the empirically evident effects of design, it cannot directly detect the identity of the designer; much less, can it detect the identity of the “designer’s designer.” Science, per se, can only discern the evidence-based implication that a designer was once present.

    I suppose when the chips are down, nothing soothes the materialist’s soul :) like telling bald-faced lies.

  33. 33

    What is the metric gaurding against making false positives for undirected natural processes are all that is at work in the cosmos?

    I sure hope its mathematically rigorous.

  34. 34

    IDcurious,

    If we found a monolith on the moon, or a copyright notice in genetic code, I grant you that would be powerful evidence of ID from an unknown source…

    Interesting.

    If you did find such a copyright notice, how would it be discernable to you? In other words, by the use of what particular phenomena could it be incorporated into the genetic code?

  35. Upright BiPed @ 32

    For the very next line in the FAQ:

    “Moreover, according to the principles of natural theology…

    I suppose when the chips are down, nothing soothes the materialist’s soul like telling bald-faced lies.

    Quotemining from your very own website. Bald-faced lies? LOL.

    Upright BiPed @ 33

    What is the metric gaurding against making false positives for undirected natural processes are all that is at work in the cosmos?

    Do you think you typing that phrase was the work of “undirected natural processes”? I take it you accept that there at least *some* “undirected natural processes”.

    The explicit claim of Dr Dembski etc. is that CSI is a measurable quality which can be used to distinguish design from non-design. What Mathgirl has pointed out, time and time again, is that this comes down to no more than “it sure looks designed to me”.

  36. I have a challenge for you. Scientists assert the “Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum”. I say that it has not been rigorously demonstrated.

    “Laws” such as this are simply formalizations of observations. They are not explanatory and cannot be proved or disproved. Laws such as Newton’s gravity fail in extreme conditions.

  37. And when you “prove” that, then I’ll show you how to calculate CSI for any one of your four scenarios.

    Or you could just show us how to do the calculation?

    You imply that you can so go ahead and do it – why create an excuse not to – after all it would completely satisfy mathgrrls polite requests for someone to do that very thing!

    If I asked any of my colleagues working in science to do something similar they would do it without hesitation, repetition or deviation, no fuss or offensive brush-offs like:

    Go away little girl

  38. No, it requires that our knowldge of cause and effect relationships is good. And that we can test that knowledge.

    idcurious:

    But ID does not investigate cause and effect relationships

    Yes, it does. That is what it is all about-> cause and effect relationships.

    idcurious:

    It merely infers an “intelligent designer” – but (you say) it can’t tell us anything about the Designer.

    I said ID is about the design, not the designer. And I have also said that the only way to make any scientific determination about the designer, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question. And that is how it works in forensics and archaeology.

    idcurious:

    My question again – how can you tell the difference between an inferred designer that we can’t examine, and natural processes we don’t yet understand?

    The Design Inference- How it works

    I think the FAQ about “who designs the designer” shows ID’s agenda.

    What you think is irrelevant. What do you have evidence for?

    The evidence is that there was no life, and then life arose. We don’t know how. You are the one who is insisting that it could not have happened by natural processes – that nature *does not work*.

    Science says life begets life. There isn’t any evidence for non-life arising to be life via blind, undirected chemical processes.

    Archeology, forensics and SETI rely on being able to examine the abilities, parameters, and intentions of “designers”.

    They do? Reference please.

    How did we examine the abilities of the designers and builders of Stonehenge (other than Stonehenge itself)? We still don’t know their intentions.

    You’ve just told me that ID cannot do that.

    Except that isn’t what I told you. You have reading comprehension issues.

  39. Upright BiPed @ 34

    If you did find such a copyright notice, how would it be discernable to you? In other words, by the use of what particular phenomena could it be incorporated into the genetic code?

    The SETI programme looks for intelligible messages. If you or anyone else can find an intelligible message in DNA saying “hi mom” (or perhaps “never gonna give you up”), a Nobel prize awaits…

  40. 40

    CuriousID, go look up “natural theology” and get back to us on that. Okay?

    Oh, and when you ho also tell us where the FAQ just says the ultimate designer must be God”

  41. idcurious:

    Dr Behe’s critics say that the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum exists only in his head.

    Yet they don’t have any evidence to support that claim.

    Despite a gazzillion posts on this topic, no-one here can provide any metric for CSI,

    Yet we have.

    Again Shannon provided the metric for information. Dembski provided the metric for specification and complexity.

    But without being able to investigate the designer, I don’t see that ID tells us anything at all.

    Archaeologists can’t investigate their designers.

    Given that this process – however it happened – apparently took millions if not billions of years, your request is completely ludicrous.

    And if all you have is to throw deep time at any issue then your position is ludicrous.

    That’s an argument from ignorance, pure and simple.

    And it’s all yours, pure and simple.

  42. idcurious:

    The SETI programme looks for intelligible messages.

    No it doesn’t. They look for artificial signals, not messages.

  43. DrBot:

    Or you could just show us how to do the calculation?

    Claude Shannon provided the math for information. Specification is Shannon information with meaning/ function (in biology specified information is cashed out as biological function). And Complex means it is specified information of 500 bits or more- that math being taken care of in “No Free Lunch”.

    That is it- specified information of 500 bits or more is Complex Specified Information. It is that simple.

    In her point 3 she has a digital organism of 22 bytes. 22 bytes = 176 bits. That is 176 bits of information carrying capacity so depending on the specificity that will determine the amount of specified information.

    So that is how you do it- count the bits and check on the variability. If you have 500 bits but any arrangement can cause the same effect then it ain’t specified.

  44. idcurious:

    The explicit claim of Dr Dembski etc. is that CSI is a measurable quality which can be used to distinguish design from non-design.

    Claude Shannon provided the math for information. Specification is Shannon information with meaning/ function (in biology specified information is cashed out as biological function). And Complex means it is specified information of 500 bits or more- that math being taken care of in “No Free Lunch”.

    That is it- specified information of 500 bits or more is Complex Specified Information. It is that simple.

    In her point 3 she has a digital organism of 22 bytes. 22 bytes = 176 bits. That is 176 bits of information carrying capacity so depending on the specificity that will determine the amount of specified information.

    So that is how you do it- count the bits and check on the variability. If you have 500 bits but any arrangement can cause the same effect then it ain’t specified.

  45. 45

    The SETI programme looks for intelligible messages. If you or anyone else can find an intelligible message in DNA saying “hi mom” (or perhaps “never gonna give you up”), a Nobel prize awaits…

    So “Hi Mom” would do it for you, but intercellular computations following a engineering schema would not:

    - – - – - – - -

    “These partial computations illustrate the molecular logic allowing the cell to execute the following overall computation: “IF lactose present AND glucose not present AND cell can synthesize active LacZ and LacY, THEN transcribe lacZYA from lacP.”

    Table III. Computational operations in lac operon regulation:

    Operations involving lac operon products
    LacY + lactose(external) ==> lactose(internal) (1)
    LacZ + lactose ==> allolactose (minor product) (2)
    LacI + lacO ==> LacI-lacO (repressor bound, lacP inaccessible) (3)
    LacI + allolactose ==> LacI-allolactose (repressor unbound,lacP accessible) (4)

    Operations involving glucose transport components and adenylate cyclase
    IIAGlc-P + glucose(external) ==> IIAGlc + glucose-6-P(internal) (5)
    IIAGlc-P + adenylate cyclase(inactive) ==> adenylate cylase(active) (6)
    Adenylate cyclase(active) + ATP ==> cAMP + P~P (7)

    Operations involving transcription factors
    Crp + cAMP ==> Crp-cAMP (8)
    Crp-cAMP + CRP ==> Crp-cAMP-CRP (9)
    RNA Pol + lacP ==> unstable complex (10)
    RNA Pol + lacP + Crp-cAMP-CRP ==> stable transcription complex (11)

    Partial computations
    No lactose ==> lacP inaccessible (3)
    Lactose + LacZ(basal) + LacY(basal) ==>lacP accessible (1, 2, 4)
    Glucose ==> low IIAGlc-P ==> low cAMP ==> unstable transcription complex (5, 6, 7, 10)
    No glucose ==> high IIAGlc-P ==> high cAMP ==> stable transcription complex (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11)

  46. Upright BiPed @ 34

    CuriousID, go look up “natural theology” and get back to us on that. Okay?

    From Wikipedia…

    Theology is the systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of supposed religious truth…

    Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience…

    Oh, and when you ho also tell us where the FAQ just says the ultimate designer must be God”

    …According to the principle of “infinite regress,” all such chains must end with and/or be grounded on a “causeless cause,” a self-existent being that has no need for a cause and depends on nothing except itself…

    The only answer posited in the FAQ to the problem of infinite regress of complex designers:

    “[M]any materialists seem to think (Dawkins included) that a hypothetical divine designer should by definition be complex. That’s not true, or at least it’s not true for most concepts of God…”

    That’s not to denigrate religion or theology… There are plenty of philosophers of religion who think ID is bad theology.

    I can only humbly apologise if my one-line summary of the arguments given in the UD faq was too broad for your tastes. I’m sure you’ll agree that Drs. Dembski & Behe have no doubt who the “intelligent designer” must be.

    If you can offer an non-theistic explanation to the problem of infinite regress of complexity, it would be a good thing to add to the FAQ.

  47. Joseph
    Ok, humor me – do the calculations for each of Mathgrrls examples and post them here.

  48. Joseph @ 40

    Yet they don’t have any evidence to support that claim.

    They say they do. Hmmm, who am I to believe?

    Archaeologists can’t investigate their designers.

    That is absolute nonsense.

    And if all you have is to throw deep time at any issue then your position is ludicrous.

    To pretend that deep time is not an issue in considering events which took place over billions of years is utterly absurd.

  49. 49

    IDcurious, I love the way to twisted up the Wiki quote to serve your purpose. Here is the entire descriptive initial entry in total for “Natural Theology”:

    Wiki: “Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology (or revealed religion) which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds”

    You are a bullshit artist and I am gonna be here to call you on it.

    So smile…

  50. DrBot:

    Ok, humor me – do the calculations for each of Mathgrrls examples and post them here.

    She can do them for herself. I still say they are bogus…

  51. Upright BiPed @ 48

    Dcurious, I love the way to twisted up the Wiki quote to serve your purpose.

    I didn’t. Natural theology investigates religous claims on the basis of reason and ordinary experience. They are still religious claims. And you still ignored everything else I said.

    You are a bullshit artist and I am gonna be here to call you on it.

    From the FAQ:

    Ultimately, there can really be only one final cause of the cosmos.

    What might that be, exactly?

  52. Yet they don’t have any evidence to support that claim.

    idcurious:

    They say they do.

    So why are “they” keeping it a secret?

    Archaeologists can’t investigate their designers.

    idcurious:

    That is absolute nonsense.

    How can they seeing that their proported designers are long gone?

    I say the nonsense is all yours.

    And if all you have is to throw deep time at any issue then your position is ludicrous.

    idcurious:

    To pretend that deep time is not an issue in considering events which took place over billions of years is utterly absurd.

    At least you admit your position isn’t scientific. That’s a start.

  53. IDC:

    Please, stop quotemining. WAC’s 22 – 23:

    __________________

    >> 22] Who Designed the Designer?

    Intelligent design theory seeks only to determine whether or not an object was designed. Since it studies only the empirically evident effects of design, it cannot directly detect the identity of the designer; much less, can it detect the identity of the “designer’s designer.” Science, per se, can only discern the evidence-based implication that a designer was once present.

    Moreover, according to the principles of natural theology, the designer of the universe, in principle, does not need another designer at all. If the designer could need a designer, then so could the designer’s designer, and so on. From the time of Aristotle till the present, philosophers and theologians have pointed out that what needs a causal explanation is that which begins to exist. So, they have concludes that such a series of causal chains cannot go on indefinitely. According to the principle of “infinite regress,” all such chains must end with and/or be grounded on a “causeless cause,” a self-existent being that has no need for a cause and depends on nothing except itself. (Indeed, before the general acceptance of the Big Bang theory, materialists commonly thought that the logically implied self-existing, necessary being was the observed universe. But now, we have good reason to think that it came into existence – is thus a contingent being — and so must have a cause itself.)

    Ultimately, there can really be only one final cause of the cosmos.

    To ask, therefore, “who designed the designer,” is to ask a frivolous question. Typically, radical Darwinists raise the issue because, as believers in a materialistic, mechanistic universe, they assume that all effects must be generated by causes exactly like themselves. This leads to a follow-up objection . . .

    23] The Designer Must be Complex and Thus Could Never Have Existed

    This is, strictly speaking, a philosophical rather than a scientific argument, and its main thrust is at theists. So, here is a possible theistic answer from one of our comment threads:

    “[M]any materialists seem to think (Dawkins included) that a hypothetical divine designer should by definition be complex. That’s not true, or at least it’s not true for most concepts of God which have been entertained for centuries by most thinkers and philosophers. God, in the measure that He is thought as an explanation of complexity, is usually conceived as simple. That concept is inherent in the important notion of transcendence. A transcendent cause is a simple fundamental reality which can explain the phenomenal complexity we observe in reality. So, Darwinists are perfectly free not to believe God exists, but I cannot understand why they have to argue that, if God exists, He must be complex. If God exists, He is simple, He is transcendent, He is not the sum of parts, He is rather the creator of parts, of complexity, of external reality. So, if God exists, and He is the designer of reality, there is a very simple explanation for the designed complexity we observe.” [HT: GPuccio]

    Broadening that a bit, we are designers, we are plainly complex in one sense, but also we experience ourselves as just that: selves, i.e. essentially and indivisibly simple wholes. Thus, complex but also simple designers can and do exist. The objection therefore begs the question of first needing to demonstrate that the complexity in human designers is the condition required to allow the design process. It also fails to see that we also experience ourselves as having indivisible — thus inescapably simple — individual identities, and that such a property could well be necessary for the design process. So, it begs the question a second time. >>
    __________________

    See what a difference a little context makes, folks?

    IDC, shame on you!

    GEM of TKI

    PS: UB, please watch language! Vulgarity is unnecessary and invites further incivility, which we don’t need.

  54. 54

    IDC at 50,

    I’m still waiting. You were talking about Life, specifically CSI and you stated that the FAQ “just says the ultimate designer must be God”

    Where does it say that exactly?

    Nowhere.

  55. 55

    By the way IDC, you never answered the question as to what specific phenomena would convince you of a designer behind the genome, but I’ll give you credit for trying to answer.

    Let me help you out.

    You stated that a message “Hi Mom” would do it for you. It is that specific message that you seek? What if it said “Hi Bob”, or “On Sale”, or “Hecho en Mejico”?

    Is it the specific message you are after, or is it the way in which you could discern the message from the start? As an example, all of these messages have meaning that would no doubt be instantiated into the medium by an arrangement of matter. That arrangement would then be subject to rules in order to retrieve the meaning.

    Is that the criteria you have in mind – meaning instantiated into matter by means of the arrangement of that matter subject to rules for decoding – or does the message actually have to say “Hi Mom”?

  56. 56

    Yes GEM, I will watch my language. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone as near and dear to my heart as those who would happily legislate that dissent from their authority be silenced. Even if its none other than an Internet foot soldier who could care less about the scientific investigation of reality.

    :)

  57. 57

    SO tell me IDC, what is your criteria?

  58. idcurious @27

    Dr Behe’s critics say that the irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum exists only in his head.

    Cites please.

    Also, his claim was testable.

    Despite a gazzillion posts on this topic, no-one here can provide any metric for CSI, other than “one thing has more than another”.

    Though how they could possibly know that one thing has more CSI than another with no metric is puzzling.

  59. Claude Shannon provided the math for information.

    I think there’s a lot of confusion over “Shannon information.”

    I’d love to see it get it’s own thread here.

  60. She can do them for herself. I still say they are bogus…

    I’d love to see her math.

  61. Ah, UB

    It’s been a long day.

    One in which my moment of epiphany was to spot that there is no need for corporate bye-laws to be sent to a regulator for approval, but simply notified so the regulator can object if there is a problem, triggering an appeal process if necessary.

    As in, I am looking at a would be censor in action. The positive law view that the state has to control everything and anticipate every eventuality, giving its stamp of approval, is utterly wrong headed.

    Any way, there is a weird sort of reflection into what happened by way of relief, in the threads at UD. For, lo and behold, systematically, the objectors have been wrong, wrong to the point where they seem to struggle to read fairly straightforward materials.

    Imagine, you look at a DRAWING, then infer form this that the inference to design in the drawing on FSCI — complete with a probability calculation that such a pattern would occur by chance — is a false positive for the FSCI metric and the design inference that makes use of it?

    Had the drawing been accurate, the canali network would have been proof positive indeed of design on Mars, as Interstate highways are on our Planet.

    But the drawing was inaccurate and was only evidence of a design on the sheet of paper, based on a false perception on the ground, in turn due to poor resolution instruments.

    The intent was to capture accurately what was perceived, and one supposes that it did so. Only, it was not what was on the ground on Mars.

    How was that twisted into the idea that the FSCI metric triggered a false positive for the explanatory filter?

    Because one expected — or even hoped — to see such errors and so saw them where they were not!

    Ouch . . .

    GEM of TKI

  62. Jeez … so much heat and so little light. How long can all this go on with still no answer to Mathgrrls question ?

    And where is Bill when we need him ?

  63. Mung:

    Metrics have been there all along, just dismissed to fit a preconception.

    G

  64. :oops: substitute purported for “proported” in comment 51- the CSI of the post remains the same. :cool:

  65. idcurious[29]:

    Mac Johnson is a conservative Christian scientist who accepts evolution.

    I wasn’t talking about the argument of ID vs. Darwinism; I was specifically talking about MathGrrl’s insistence that her “scenarios” be rigorously analyzed per CSI.

    Her “scenarios” have no rational legitimacy when it comes to the ID vs. Darwinism since on the face of them, no CSI is present. But somehow—in her mind at least—she thinks that this kind of demonstration is needed for CSI to be mathematically rigorous: thus prompting my demand that she “prove” the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum using the collapse of the World Trade Ctr. buildings, or risk having this law marginalized as not be “rigrously mathematically defined”.

    Only liberals persist in such inanity. They’re very convinced of how right they are. Just ask them.

  66. Liberals? When in the world did this become a conversation about “liberals”?

    Frankly, whatever the value of the demand for a metric, MathGrrl’s posts have shown quite clearly that there’s no consensus among ID thinkers about these issues and that the prominent ID defenders on this blog have been largely improvising.

  67. I think the compelling arguments for ID are the ones ID advocates can actually understand, such as arguments for irreducible complexity (Behe), cosmological fine-tuning (Gonzalez), and the original version of the explanatory filter (Dembski). These can be supplemented by the worldview-level arguments deconstructing Darwinism by such authors as Johnson and Wells. The issue of ID vs. Darwinism, as UD contributors such as Gil Dodgen have cogently pointed out, is after all finally a matter of worldview — the change has to take place on that level before the evidence will fall into its rightful place.

  68. kairosfocus @63

    Metrics have been there all along, just dismissed to fit a preconception.

    Understand you’ve had a long day :).

    Yeah, my response to idcurious was sarcasm.

    On the one hand we have the complaint that there is no metric.

    On the other hand we have the complaint that all the metric reveals is that a is greater to, or less than, or equal to, b.

    So either there is no metric, but there is a metric but it is unsatisfactory.

    Is there a difference?

    In my spare time I’m a programmer. Some times I code functions the purpose of which is to define whether one object is less than, equal to, or greater than another.

    def (otherObj)
    return self.nonsense otherObj.obfuscation
    end

    I’d hate to be accused of having no metric because all my function does is return -1, 0, 1 or nil .

  69. Some of my code did not show up in the above post, lol. Ah well.

  70. 70

    “…is after all finally a matter of worldview — the change has to take place on that level before the evidence will fall into its rightful place.”

    So evidence should take a backseat to worldview. Okay, got it.

  71. Frankly, whatever the value of the demand for a metric, MathGrrl’s posts have shown quite clearly that there’s no consensus among ID thinkers about these issues and that the prominent ID defenders on this blog have been largely improvising.

    Given that’s we’ve been provided four different “scenarios” why would you think it strange that we had to improvise?

    It’s not like we can open up “The Big ID Book In The Sky” and look up each possible scenario in the index and give your the “consensus” answer. Get real.

    Where is it, precisely, that you think the consensus should lie?

    Any chance that you and MathGrrl are being unreasonable?

  72. QuiteID:

    Frankly, whatever the value of the demand for a metric, MathGrrl’s posts have shown quite clearly that there’s no consensus among ID thinkers about these issues and that the prominent ID defenders on this blog have been largely improvising

    To me it shows we are not clones and have differing methodologies to try to explain a point that is best explained by reading the primary literaure- which btw MathGrrl refuses to do with respect to “No Free Lunch” the book that makes it clear CSI pertains to origins.

  73. Joseph,

    Maybe. Certainly your definition of CSI was the first one that made sense. Until then people couldn’t agree on whether specification was measurable, whether CSI was measured in bits or was “just a number” (vjtorley), etc., etc., etc. It was clear that all these people were committed to a concept of CSI, but nobody could agree on what that concept was. Which suggests to me that CSI is less valuable than other ID concepts that I’ve mentioned.

  74. Joseph @ 41

    Dr. Behe’s critics point out that irreducible complexity can evolve.

    Your metric for measuring CSI from Shannon/Dembski seems arbitrary – but it’s nice to see people attempting to address Mathgirl’s points rather than hurling insults.

    How can [archaeologists investigate their designers]… seeing that their proported designers are long gone?

    Are you being serious? Do you have no idea what archeologists do? Or are you telling me that scientists would be able to know things about “teh designor” if we accept the ID inference? I really cannot tell.

    At least you admit your position isn’t scientific. That’s a start.

    Are you having conversations in your head than no-one else gets to hear?

    Upright BiPed @ 54

    From the UD FAQ:

    Ultimately, there can really be only one final cause of the cosmos.

    What would that be, exactly?

  75. Upright BiPed @ 55

    Is that the criteria you have in mind – meaning instantiated into matter by means of the arrangement of that matter subject to rules for decoding – or does the message actually have to say “Hi Mom”?

    That is a very interesting question. How would we know the meaning was “instantiated” (word of the day) by a intelligence rather than not-yet-understood natural processes? The best evidence we have is that life arose over billions of years. I’m afraid I really don’t see that inferring a “designer” which ID can’t tell us anything about is helpful. That said, “hi mom” encoded in DNA would be quite a find :)

  76. dcuios

    Dr. Behe’s critics point out that irreducible complexity can evolve.

    Yes, but without supporting evidence. Also it isn’t that thy could noy have evolved but the MECHANISM. And talkorigins isn’t a valdrfence.

    Your metric for measuring CSI from Shannon/Dembski seems arbitrary – but it’s nice to see people attempting to address Mathgirl’s points rather than hurling insults

    It’s not arbitrary.

    How can [archaeologists investigate their designers]… seeing that their proported designers are long gone?

    Are you being serious?

    Very.

    Do you have no idea what archeologists do?

    Iknow wat they do. And I know they cnot study the deigners.

    At least you admit your position isn’t scientific. That’s a start.

    Are you having conversations in your head than no-one else gets to hear?

    No.I made a point in a post. You responded to that post and that point but did not address the part that your position relies heavily on deep time and as such is not sientfic. So you must agree with it.

    Either that or you are too much of an intellectual coward to step up an deal with it.

  77. Archaeologists still don’t know who designd and buit Stonehenge, so how can they investigate the designer(s)?

    I say they investigate the design and othr traces left behind in order to make some determintion about the designer.

  78. idcurious:

    I’m afraid I really don’t see that inferring a “designer” which ID can’t tell us anything about is helpful.

    According to Richard Dawkins it wold be a totally different type of biology- so it would be helpful.

    It is likethe difference between a geologist looking for geological processes for the formation of Stonehenge vs archaeologists investigating it from a design perspetive.

  79. Hi Joseph

    Yes, but without supporting evidence. Also it isn’t that thy could noy have evolved but the MECHANISM. And talkorigins isn’t a valdrfence.

    Right. The mechanism. What does ID tell us about the mechanism? Zilch.

    Talkorigins is packed with references to the scientific literature. You seem to live in a world where you get to decide what other people say and why they say it…

    No.I made a point in a post. You responded to that post and that point but did not address the part that your position relies heavily on deep time and as such is not sientfic. So you must agree with it.

    Deep time certainly scientific – your avoidance of it isn’t my problem.

    Either that or you are too much of an intellectual coward to step up an deal with it.

    My you are an odd individual.

    I note you never returned to the Turing Machine being a mathematically rigorous form of computer. You don’t seem to know much about computer science or archeology…

    Archaeologists still don’t know who designd and buit Stonehenge, so how can they investigate the designer(s)?

    From aboutstonehenge.info:

    “Most scientists agree on the modern theory that three tribes built Stonehenge at three separate times. In approximately 3000 B.C., it is believe the first people to work on the site were Neolithic agrarians. Archaeologists named them the Windmill Hill people after one of their earthworks on Windmill Hill, which is near Stonehenge. The Windmill Hill peoples built large circular furrows, or hill-top enclosures, dug around a mound and had collective burials in large stone-encased tombs. Most of their burial mounds point east-west. These people were a blend of the local peoples and Neolithic tribe members from Eastern England. They were one of the first semi-nomadic hunting and gathering groups with an agricultural economy and contained a strong reverence for circles and symmetry. They raised cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, grew wheat and mined flint…”

    There is lots and lots more there. Read about the Beaker people and the Wessex people.

    It is likethe difference between a geologist looking for geological processes for the formation of Stonehenge vs archaeologists investigating it from a design perspetive.

    But you’ve told me repeatedly that ID can’t tell us anything about the designer. What other scientific tools can we use to help us understand “the designer” if we infer there was one, but we can’t say anything scientific about it?

  80. idcurious:

    The mechanism. What does ID tell us about the mechanism?

    Design is a mechanism.

    Talkorigins is packed with references to the scientific literature.

    There isn’t any scientific literature that supports the claim of refuting Dr Behe.

    Deep time certainly scientific – your avoidance of it isn’t my problem.

    Throwing deep time at issues is not scientific and your avoidance of that proves my point- that you are an intellectual coward.

    I note you never returned to the Turing Machine being a mathematically rigorous form of computer.

    Show me a turing machine.

    You don’t seem to know much about computer science or archeology

    It is a safe bet that I know more than you do.

    Archaeologists still don’t know who designd and buit Stonehenge, so how can they investigate the designer(s)?

    From aboutstonehenge.info:

    Vague speculation based on their investigations of the evidence left behind- just as I said.

    Still no specifics. And still no investigating the designers.

    It is likethe difference between a geologist looking for geological processes for the formation of Stonehenge vs archaeologists investigating it from a design perspetive.

    But you’ve told me repeatedly that ID can’t tell us anything about the designer.

    Except that is not what I said. You have serious mental issues and should seek help.

  81. My caim about ID and the designer is and aways has been that in the absence of direct observation or designer input, the only possible way to make any scientific determination about the designer(s) or the specific process(es) used, is by studying the design in question.

    And that is what ID is all about- the detection and study of designs.

  82. Joseph @ 80

    Design is a mechanism.

    Really? Without anything at all about the designer? Did it set things in motion to use blind, undirected processes? Did it have a master plan? Was there one designer or hundreds? Where did the designer come from? ID can’t tell us anything at all.

    There isn’t any scientific literature that supports the claim of refuting Dr Behe.

    You saying this doesn’t make it so. Scientists have shown the bacterial flagellum can still have functionality with parts removed. They have provided plausible mechanisms for how it might have evolved. Can they show exactly how it happened? No – but as it happened over millions if not billions of years, that’s not surprising.

    Throwing deep time at issues is not scientific and your avoidance of that proves my point- that you are an intellectual coward.

    You appear to be staggeringly ignorant about a great many things.

    Show me a turing machine.

    Case in point. Have you never heard of Google?

    DIY Turing Machine in Action.

    It is a safe bet that I know more than you do.

    It’s becoming ever more apparent that there is just no point in talking to you

    Vague speculation based on their investigations of the evidence left behind- just as I said… Still no specifics. And still no investigating the designers.

    No specifics? Archeologists know what animals the people kept, what tools they used, what they ate, where they came from, what symbols they commonly used, when they lived, and plenty more. You are in a complete state of denial. If you are representative of the ID movement then lord help us all.

    Except that is not what I said. You have serious mental issues and should seek help.

    You seriously need to learn how to talk to people.

    You @ 38:

    “I said ID is about the design, not the designer. And I have also said that the only way to make any scientific determination about the designer, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question. And that is how it works in forensics and archaeology.”

    You @ 41:

    “Archaeologists can’t investigate their designers.”

    You are telling me that ID cannot say anything about the designer – just the design. And yet forensics and archaeology rely on the *evidence* that the “designers” left behind. Absent that evidence, they can tell us nothing about why something happened, who did it, when it happened, or what their motives where.

    And that is what ID is all about- the detection and study of designs.

    And yet you provide no way of distinguishing between “design from an unknown designer for unknown purposes” and “natural processes not yet understood”.

    This is the crux of Mathgirl’s point, as far as I can see.

    One final point. The original post in this thread quotes Leslie Orgel. Here’s another quote from him:

    “Evolution is cleverer than you are.”

    His point? “Trial and error” strategies are often better than centralized intelligent human planning.

  83. Design is a mechanism.

    idcurious:

    Really?

    Yes, you seem to be ignorant about many things.

    Throwing deep time at issues is not scientific and your avoidance of that proves my point- that you are an intellectual coward.

    You appear to be staggeringly ignorant about a great many things.

    Sed the ignorant evo.

    Scientists have shown the bacterial flagellum can still have functionality with parts removed. They have provided plausible mechanisms for how it might have evolved.

    They have not demonstrated that a bacterial flagellum can evolve via accumulating random mutaions fom a popultion that never had one.

    No way to even test the premise.

    Vague speculation based on their investigations of the evidence left behind- just as I said… Still no specifics. And still no investigating the designers.

    No specifics?

    Not on the designers.

    Archeologists know what animals the people kept, what tools they used, what they ate, where they came from, what symbols they commonly used, when they lived, and plenty more.

    How do they kow that tos people are the people who designed Stonehenge?

    A far as they know those are just the people who lived in the area.

    You are telling me that ID cannot say anything about the designer – just the design.

    ID is about the design not the designer. There isn’t anything in ID that prevents us from trying to figure out the designer.

    The theory of evolution is not about the origins of life- and ID is not about the designer.

    And yet forensics and archaeology rely on the *evidence* that the “designers” left behind.

    That is what I said.

    And that is what ID is all about- the detection and study of designs.

    And yet you provide no way of distinguishing between “design from an unknown designer for unknown purposes” and “natural processes not yet understood”.

    Strange how I provided exactly that.

    And evolution is so clever there isn’t any evidece ofblind, undirected processes producing a functional multi-part system.

  84. So are you saying that Turing machine was designed by that equation you linked to?

  85. QI:

    Re, 73: Certainly your [JOSEPH'S] definition of CSI was the first one that made sense. Until then people couldn’t agree on whether specification was measurable, whether CSI was measured in bits or was “just a number” (vjtorley), etc., etc., etc. It was clear that all these people were committed to a concept of CSI, but nobody could agree on what that concept was.

    1 –> First, this is not “Joseph’s definition,” as can be seen from the UD WAC’s no 28, which cashes out a metric, the X-metric. That the WAC uses the range 500 – 1,000 bits makes little difference. (Cf here for a more detailed elaboration, and here for an explanation of the links between the various metrics. This last builds on discussions in the LGM thread, given the talking points that have been flying around recently.)

    2 –> In short, in coming here as in effect a critic, the evidence suggests that you have not done basic corrective reading in a context where it is explicitly warned:

    WAC Intro: . . . Many who interact with us on this blog recycle . . . misinformation. Predictably, they tend to raise notoriously weak objections that have been answered thousands of times. What follows is a list of those objections and our best attempt to answer them in abbreviated form. If you have been sent here, you are now being asked to familiarize yourself with basic ID knowledge so that you can acquire the minimal amount of information necessary to conduct meaningful dialogue . . .

    3 –> Now, CSI can be considered as a number, and in discussing with VJT, I have pointed out that the number can be understood as in effect information in bits beyond a reasonable threshold, as the – log2 [DE*p] format implies.

    4 –> You will notice, all along since MG raised objections and talking points that I have repeatedly stressed that if one does not understand what the simple X-metric is doing, s/he cannot understand the more sophisticated metrics. Identify that something is contingent and complex beyond 1,000 bits, identify that it is objectively specific, and then count up the information it uses, in bits., The result is a measure of its functionally specific complex info in bits.

    5 –> That 1,000 bit threshold is big enough to flatten off all objections on probability metrics etc, and to show how the search resources of our observed cosmos could not scratch the surface of the number of possibilities in the config space.

    6 –> At the same time, it is small enough that with 125 bytes or 143 ASCII characters in hand, you plainly cannot write much of a functional control program or specify a lot of description. Or, write much more than one longish sentence of about 20 English words. Can’t say a lot in 20 words.

    7 –> Now, all of this is debating on the mathematical metrication of complex specified information or functionally specific, complex information. These were quire meaningfully identified and specified up to material family resemblance — the same basis on which we identify what a living thing is for biology [there is no one general necessary and sufficient conditions definition of life, much less a quantitative metric for living/non living] — in the 1970′s by Orgel and Wicken as is cited again in the OP by BA above. That is what MG keeps on ducking and is still ducking.

    8 –> So, please don’t let talking points designed to throw up confusion on measurement of quantities mislead you to think what is to be quantified, is meaningless.

    9 –> Most important things that are very meaningful cannot be reduced to a simple number by defining a unit and estimating a ratio relative to that unit, then reporting N number of Q quantity.

    10 –> In that context, observe how consistently MG has ducked dealing with the X-metric and the Durston et al FSC metric; no prizes for guessing why. (Cf here for a newly put up excerpt — it is hard slogging to wade through the whole paper to figure it out — that sums up what this is about and what it does as well as how it ties in with the other metrics.)

    11 –> there has been one significant debate, that shows up that there is a flaw in the Dembski derivation of his Chi-metric, but it does not make a dime’s difference to what that metric ends up doing: specifying a threshold of 398 to about 500 bits depending on phi_S(T), beyond which you can be confident that the complex, specified object that has been reduced to an information metric in bits, is designed. (VJT’s CSI-lite simply rounds up the threshold to the top of that range.

    13 –> The X-metric, to eliminate the onward debates on how you can assign probabilities, simply makes the threshold so big that once you have a reasonable way to get a bit count, the config space specified by the threshold will swamp any prospect that the observed universe will be practically able to search out so big a space by random walks and trial and error. If you see a 747 or a paragraph in English, it is not a likely product of chance and mechanical necessity going on to hit and miss trial and error, which is what the infinite monkeys analysis is about.

    14 –> That monkeys at keyboards random typing and then filtering resulting text for function is what evolutionary materialistic mechanisms boil down to: finding islands of function by random walks then moving around in such islands and hill climbing by rewarding accidentally hit on improvements.

    15 –> The problem is, that the threshold at which the complexity overwhelms trial and error based search on random walks, is quite low: 400 or 500 – 1,000 bits; 10^120 – 10^150 up to 10^301 possible configs. [The total number of quantum states of the atoms in our solar system since its origin -- mostly in the sun -- is about 10^102, scoping out available probability resources, lower than the bottom end of the range.]

    16 –> the real issue is that FSCI as just described has never been empirically observed save by intelligence, and for reasons tied to the swamping out infinite monkeys analysis, that is understandable.

    17 –> There is no credible observational evidence — notice yesterday the blunder-filled distraction on the Marian canali and the like — and no reason to believe that chance and necessity can credibly give us FSCI on the gamut of our observed cosmos.

    18 –> That is what all those red herring and burning strawmen to make a smokescreen talking points are designed to distract you from.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: IDC was it above is trying to cite a known, unfortunately massively dishonest materialist talking point site, Talk Origins, as though it is an authority. Sorry, if that is your source that is not a good sign. To see what is going on, see if you will find there a straightforward acknowledgement of the imposition of a priori materialism on origins science and its damaging implications. And, you will also see that one has to be very selective indeed in citing Wiki. Take it as an evo mat driven, too often ideologically biased 101 site [for all the good stuff that is there], and cross check.

  86. Did it set things in motion to use blind, undirected processes?

    There isn’t any evidence that blind, undirected process can construct functionl multi-part systems.

    Did it have a master plan?

    Most likely.

    Was there one designer or hundreds?

    Yes.

    Where did the designer come from?

    ID isn’t about the designer(s).

    Man you are pathetic.

    True ID doesn’t he all the answers but that is what science is for.

    Your position doesn’t have anythng and that is why you are forced to flail away at ID.

  87. F/N: For those who don’t want to scroll up and click on the links, here is UD WAC 28:

    ___________________

    >> 28] What about FSCI [Functionally Specific, Complex Information] ? Isn’t it just a “pet idea” of some dubious commenters at UD?

    Not at all. FSCI — Functionally Specific, Complex Information or Function-Specifying Complex Information (occasionally FCSI: Functionally Complex, Specified Information) – is a descriptive summary of the particular subset of CSI identified by several prominent origins of life [OOL] researchers in the 1970?s – 80?s. For at that time, the leading researchers on OOL sought to understand the differences between (a) the highly informational, highly contingent functional macromolecules of life and (b) crystals formed through forces of mechanical necessity, or (c) random polymer strings. In short, FSCI is a descriptive summary of a categorization that emerged as pre-ID movement OOL researchers struggled to understand the difference between crystals, random polymers and informational macromolecules.

    Indeed, by 1984, Thaxton, Bradley and Olson, writing in the technical level book that launched modern design theory, The Mystery of Life’s Origin [Download here], in Chapter 8, could summarize from two key origin of life [OOL] researchers as follows:

    Yockey [7] and Wickens [5] develop the same distinction [as Orgel], explaining that “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, “organization” refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wickens note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of specified complexity. In short, the redundant order of crystals cannot give rise to specified complexity of the kind or magnitude found in biological organization; attempts to relate the two have little future. [TMLO, (Dallas, TX: Lewis and Stanley reprint), 1992, erratum insert, p. 130. Emphases added.] [NB: that reference to erratum insert tells you this comes from the PRINT copy reprint]

    The source of the abbreviation FSCI should thus be obvious – and it is one thing to airily dismiss blog commenters; it is another thing entirely to have to squarely face the result of the work of men like Orgel, Yockey and Wickens as they pursued serious studies on the origin of life. But also, while the cluster of concepts came up in origin of life studies, these same ideas are very familiar in engineering: engineering designs are all about stipulating functionally specific, complex information. Indeed, FSCI is a hallmark of engineered or designed systems. [I add: ever wonder why so many engineers, applied scientists and computer programmers are ID supporters? They know what they are looking at, and they know how hard it is to get it developed.]

    So, FSCI is actually a functionally specified subset of CSI, i.e. the relevant specification is connected to the presence of a contingent function due to interacting parts that work together in a specified context per requirements of a system, interface, object or process. For practical purposes, once an aspect of a system, process or object of interest has at least 500 – 1,000 bits or the equivalent of information storing capacity, and uses that capacity to specify a function that can be disrupted by moderate perturbations, then it manifests FSCI, thus CSI. This also leads to a simple metric for FSCI, the functionally specified bit; as with those that are used to display this text on your PC screen. (For instance, where such a screen has 800 x 600 pixels of 24 bits, that requires 11.52 million functionally specified bits. This is well above the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold.)

    On massive evidence, such cases are reliably the product of intelligent design, once we independently know the causal story. So, we are entitled to (provisionally of course; as per usual with scientific work) induce that FSCI is a reliable, empirically observable sign of design. >>
    ____________________

    I doubt the issues could have been more explicitly laid out in the sort of short essay compass that was required, and the conceptual definition is supported by a simple metric with a concrete example that shows how it works on the very object you are using to read this post.

    As to MG’s attempt to drive a wedge between CSI and FSCI, it stands exposed for — pardon my directness, but given what was there all along and repeatedly pointed out but ignored or brushed aside improperly — a shabby, shallow rhetorical gambit.

    Scrolling up to no 27 in the WACs, the Durston metric, the table of results for 35 protein families and the Dembski metric were also identified, discussed and linked (though the details on the Durston metric, which are more technical, were not given).

    Whatever the merits and demerits of objections on how Dembski got there, the Dembski metric — as I showed [and as is evident from a simple enough analysis of what something of form C = - log2(D*p) means: C is information beyond a threshold: C = Ip - K, K a threshold] — boils down to so many bits of info beyond 398 – 500 bits depending on the circumstances.

    Since the search resources of our solar system are of order 10^102 events, and those of the cosmos 10^150 events, it is reasonable that things significantly beyond those thresholds are designed, on search space isolation grounds. With the 1,000 bits used in my X-metric, that rises to moral certainty.

    The Durston metric — apart from giving 35 values of FSCI published in the peer reviewed literature [and recall, FSCI is a subset of CSI] — gives a way to estimate the scope of islands of function and to compare the islands to the space of possibilities, as is shown in the excerpts and notes here.

    The basic information was there all along.

    Attention was repeatedly drawn to it when MG raised her challenges and talking points, but was dismissed or deliberately ignored.

    Repeatedly.

    Over several threads and weeks.

    That has to be willful.

    Now, I believe the onward analysis of threshold metrics as the context for Dembski and for VJT’s CSI-lite, draws these back together into the same setting as the X-metric, which was simpler to understand to begin with.

    And the Durston metric shows how we may empirically identify islands of function and compare to config spaces.

    I trust that this is enough to help those who want to be helped.

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  88. 88

    IDcurious,

    That is a very interesting question. How would we know the meaning was “instantiated” (word of the day) by an intelligence rather than not-yet-understood natural processes?

    Well, I suppose after finding meaning instantiated into matter an investigator would probably begin by asking themselves “where else” do we find such a phenomena. Questions then follow:

    a) Is that a reasonable response? If not, then why not?

    b) If the resulting scientific explanation is that it came about by a yet-not-understood process, how would that conclusion be tested for its veracity?

    c) On what specific grounds would that explanation be favored over one that is based upon what we already know about such phenomena?

    The best evidence we have is that life arose over billions of years.

    Is this a positioning statement, or is there a point you’d like to make? Quite frankly, I think you’ll find that the best estimates are that life arose almost immediately after the earth cooled to a reasonable degree, and that it was highly organized and complex at that time.

    I’m afraid I really don’t see that inferring a “designer” which ID can’t tell us anything about is helpful.

    “Where we came from” has been a fairly viable topic for the greater part of human history. I would think that most people find it an integral part of understanding reality as it is. Are you suggesting that the validity of the issue is directly related to whether or not you personally find it interesting?

    That said, “hi mom” encoded in DNA would be quite a find

    So you’ve returned to my question with a requirement that the Design argument produce “Hi Mom” from DNA as a means to validation it -is that correct?

    - – - – -

    Here are a few questions you might like to ask yourself, or for extra credit you can answer them here:

    Is meaningful information recorded in DNA by the arrangement of material symbols?

    How is information created?

    Are there any examples of recorded information that were not first the product of perception?

    Is there any information in existence anywhere that is not the product of perception?

    Are there any examples of recorded information that exist without the use of symbolic representation?

    How are symbols created?

    What makes a symbolic representation a symbolic representation?

    How is the symbol-to-object relationship established in a symbol?

    Are there any examples of naturally occurring symbols?

    Is there any distinction between an analog symbol (howl of a wolf) and a digital symbol (morse code)?

    Are the symbols used to record information freely chosen?

    Are there any examples of symbols used to record information which were not freely chosen?

  89. Joseph,

    What a crock. If you really wanted to know about CSI you would read “No Free Lunch”.

    I did. I also read some other of Dembski’s papers. None provide sufficient detail to calculate CSI objectively.

    CSI cannot be expressed by an algorithm.

    You seem to be in agreement with vjtorley but in disagreement with those ID proponents who claim to be able to measure CSI in bits. Since you agree that CSI does not have a mathematically rigorous definition, I believe our conversation is complete.

    Thank you for your time.

  90. Barry Arrington,

    mathgirl writes: “Reading the source material from Orgel will show that he uses the term “specified complexity” in a subjective, descriptive, qualitative sense.”

    I take it then that you agree that the concept of CSI as Orgel used it is not meaningless. Good we are making progress.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I meant exactly what I wrote. The concept of “specified complexity” presented by Orgel is not the same as the concept of “specified complexity” discussed by Dembski. I have said nothing about whether or not Orgel’s concept is coherent or meaningful.

  91. Collin,

    In the previous threads you were given several mathematical definitions of CSI but I don’t recall you ever saying why they were not good enough. You just kept insisting, over and over, that no one has provided a rigorous mathematical definition.

    That is not an accurate summary of my guest thread. If you believe it is, please reference particular comments where I dismissed definitions so cavalierly.

    I repeatedly requested a rigorous mathematical definition of CSI as described by Dembski. This is the metric claimed by ID proponents to indicate the involvement of intelligent agency. None of the definitions offered in that thread were consistent with Dembski’s writings.

  92. PaV,

    Patently, none of those four scenarios rises to the level of actual CSI.

    Without a rigorous mathematical definition of CSI and an example calculation, that assertion is baseless.

    Even if Bill Dembski himself did the calculation for any of those scenarios, he would conclude that CSI is not present. So, how does that make ANY of those FOUR SCENARIOS worth five minutes worth of anyone’s attention?

    It would show that CSI does have a rigorous mathematical definition and that it can be objectively calculated. I find it passing strange that no ID proponent (other than vjtorley, of course) seems to consider that valuable.

    ev demonstrates nothing; and it’s the best that evo-biologists can do.

    That assertion could use some support as well.

  93. PaV,

    I have a challenge for you. Scientists assert the “Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum”. I say that it has not been rigorously demonstrated.

    For scientists—and you in particular—to convince me of this supposed “law”, please apply this “law” to the destruction of the World Trade Centers. Unless you can demonstrate clearly that it applies to that event, then the “Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum” is just hyperbole. I await your proof.

    And when you “prove” that, then I’ll show you how to calculate CSI for any one of your four scenarios.

    The immediate thought in my head upon reading this was Charles Babbage’s memorable statement: “I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”

    I’m not making any claims based on conservation of angular momentum. ID proponents are making claims based on CSI. The burden of proof is on those making the claim. I’d like to see that proof.

  94. Joseph,

    DrBot:

    Or you could just show us how to do the calculation?

    Claude Shannon provided the math for information.

    You have previously agreed that Dembski’s description of CSI does not use Shannon information. Why do you keep bringing up this red herring?

  95. QuiteID:

    Maybe. Certainly your definition of CSI was the first one that made sense. Until then people couldn’t agree on whether specification was measurable, whether CSI was measured in bits or was “just a number” (vjtorley), etc., etc., etc. It was clear that all these people were committed to a concept of CSI, but nobody could agree on what that concept was. Which suggests to me that CSI is less valuable than other ID concepts that I’ve mentioned.

    QID: this comment exhibits quite a bit of ignorance on your part; ignorance in the sense that you are very likely not familiar with Dembski’s book, “No Free Lunch”, and neither with his paper on “Specification”—a paper, I may note, that is strictly an on-line publication.

    Why do I point out that his Specification Paper is only on-line? Because in it he addresses criticism leveled at him in his NFL book. So, it is a rebuttal to his critics—critics, I may add, that seem to themselves be ignorant of what Dembski wrote. I had a go-round with one of these critics, and came to the conclusion that he very likely either didn’t read the book, or only looked at it superficially.

    MathGrrl falls into this latter category.

    Now you want to make a big thing about the various views that have been promulgated. The fact that there are different views seems to bother you—as it does MathGrrl. The nub of this dissettlement is the fact that we have two versions, if you will, of “specified complexity”: CSI in NFL, and “specified complexity” in the Specification Paper. Jeffrey Shallit, for example, said that Dembski’s definition of CSI had changed from one book to another. Is this really a problem?

    Do you know how many different kinds of solutions there are to Einstein’s equations? Quite a number. Does the fact that you can come up with different numbers using GR mean that GR is not “mathematically rigorously defined”? I don’t think so.

    In answering MathGrrl’s ridiculous demands—and that was, and is, what they are; no more, no less—I chose to invoke CSI (from NFL) for two reasons: (1) I’m more familiar with it than with the Specification paper; nad (2) it is simpler to apply. And, per NFL, CSI is defined in “bits”.

    Let’s remember, poor old MathGrrl was complaining that she didn’t know how to do any of these calculations. Why add refinements when the basics aren’t even understood? Hence, my approach.

    vjtorley, OTOH, chose to invoke the Specification Paper. The approach, though seemingly mathematically different, is essentially the same. Dembski only throws in refinements to rebut the criticisms leveled at him. The paper stands on its own. And to assuage the dilettantes of Information Theory, Dembski chose to couch the mathematics so that a “number”, rather than “bits” is the parameter measuring “specified complexity”.

    Newtonian gravity and Einsteinian gravity give you the same numbers basically for anything happening here on earth. Does the fact that they’re different, and arrived at in a completely different way mean that “gravity” is not “rigorously defined” mathematically? MathGrrl’s tactics are just that: tactics. She should know better. That she doesn’t know any better is an indictment of her; not ID.

    So there you have the reasons for the differences. And, conceptually, and mathematically, they are the same; one is simply a refined version of the former (a refinement brought about by silly criticism directed at CSI).

    So let’s let that dead dog just lay.

    P.S. I went through an artificial example for MathGrrl’s comprehension. The essentials are all there. What is she going to do now? Is she going to apply them to here “four scenarios”? She should be able to. So why doesn’t she do just one of them and “wow” us? We await.

    But, of course, her lament is: it can’t be done! So she does nothing!

  96. Onlookers:

    Re MG & 94: Dembski’s description of CSI does not use Shannon information.

    I predict the following will be ignored or strawmannised.

    Dembski’s description of CSI uses Hartley’s information as negative log probability.

    He goes beyond the concern of Shannon [info carrying capacity of Gaussian noise bandlimited channels in bits per symbol then symbols per second in light of signal to noise power ratios . . . theoretical capacity not practical capacity as out codes and modulation systems have some ways to go] to deal with the meaningfulness and function of info, thus answering questions on credible cause.

    Shannon’s H is a metric of average info per symbol, based on the same fundamental negative log metric, but weighted by the probability of any one symbol to give that weighted average.

    H = – [SUM on i] pi log pi

    Ii = – log pi (on Hartley’s suggestion, which gives an additive metric)

    We can already see that the Dembski metric boils down to info in bits beyond the threshold of 398+ bits, thus identifying as being in a large enough config space that we can rule out lucky noise as a credible source.

    This was already discussed above; no response.

    The two are related derivations form the fundamental concepts, but distinct for different purposes.

    The fundamental metric is NOT Shannon Info, H, but the Hartley metric, I = – log(p).

    Now, let us see if MG is responsive, or continues what looks more and more like ignore, dismiss, cloud and side track games.

    GEM of TKI

  97. PaV, you write,

    QID: this comment exhibits quite a bit of ignorance on your part; ignorance in the sense that you are very likely not familiar with Dembski’s book, “No Free Lunch”, and neither with his paper on “Specification”—a paper, I may note, that is strictly an on-line publication.

    In fact, I have read both. I find NFL to be the strangest, least helpful ID book I have ever read. The paper is a bit better but it’s not particularly good at guiding future research. It’s hard to know how to build a research program on such slippery foundations.

  98. KF @ 96:

    You may be misinterpreting MathGrrl’s statement. As I read it,

    1) Joseph put forward Shannon’s work as providing “the math for information”.

    2) MathGrrl pointed out that Joseph had previously accepted that Dembski did not use Shannon information in his descrioption of CSI.

    If I read your post correctly, you are also asserting that Dembski did not use Shannon information.

    So with whom are you in agreement? Joseph or MathGrrl?

  99. Muramasa,

    If you noticed MathGrrl didn’t comprehend what I posted. Apparently neither do you.

    AS I said CSI is Shannon information with meaning/ function and of a certain complexity. (shannon information doesn’t care about meaning/ content/ function)

    Stephen Meyer goes over that in “Signature in the Cell”.

    So again Shannon provided the math for the information part. Dembski did the math for the complexity and also for the specification.

  100. MathGrrl

    You have previously agreed that Dembski’s description of CSI does not use Shannon information. Why do you keep bringing up this red herring?

    Why do you keep quoting me out-of-context?

    CSI is Shannon information of a certain complexity and with meaning/ function.

    What the heck is your problem?

  101. If you really wanted to know about CSI you would read “No Free Lunch”.

    MathGrrl:

    I did.

    Methinks you are lying.

    I say that because in NFL Dembski makes it clear that CSI pertains to origins. And what he means but the quote you mined is that we don’t have to know how it arose. If CSI is present then it is safe to infer it arose via some designing agency.

    That is the whole point.

    CSI cannot be expressed by an algorithm.

    You seem to be in agreement with vjtorley but in disagreement with those ID proponents who claim to be able to measure CSI in bits.

    It can be measured in bits. I did it for your example #3. 22 bytes = 176 bits.

    Then you factor in the variation tolerance to get the specification.

    Then start counting.

  102. MathGrrl:

    The concept of “specified complexity” presented by Orgel is not the same as the concept of “specified complexity” discussed by Dembski.

    Dembski expanded on what Orgel said. IOW he used Orgel’s concept and modernized it.

    Are you sure you read “No Free Lunch”? Chapter 4 and chapter 6- he discusses previous talks about specified complexity.

  103. Joseph @ 83

    Throwing deep time at issues is not scientific and your avoidance of that proves my point- that you are an intellectual coward.

    No-one is throwing deep time at anything. Pretending that billions of years of time is not an issue in discussing billions of years of history is simply brain-dead.

    Sed the ignorant evo.

    You are throwing out the research, evidence and opinions of thousands of scientists in hundreds of different fields because they disagree with the pre-conceptions of Joseph P. Nobody.

    They have not demonstrated that a bacterial flagellum can evolve via accumulating random mutaions fom a popultion that never had one.

    The evidence is that the bacterial flagellum evolved from simpler forms. ID proposes that the mechanism for this was “design” from an unknown “designer”.

    How do they kow that tos people are the people who designed Stonehenge?… A far as they know those are just the people who lived in the area.

    You think it’s more likely that space aliens or incorporeal beings came down to earth and build stonehenge at the same time as these people lived in the area, then vanished with no trace? /facepalm.

    Your position doesn’t have anythng and that is why you are forced to flail away at ID.

    No, Joseph, you don’t have anything to say, and hence you flail away at science – and proclaim that you know better than thousands of scientists in hundreds of different fields because they disagree with your pre-conceptions.

  104. Joseph @ 84

    So are you saying that Turing machine was designed by that equation you linked to?

    No. The Turing Machine describes something that works in nature if the correct parts are in the correct order. Ribosomes are naturally occurring Turing Machines.

    Similarly there are naturally occurring nuclear reactors – discovered after humans built their first nuclear reactors.

    Science tells us nature is way smarter than we are. You want to pretend that nature doesn’t work.

  105. idcurius:
    No-one is throwing deep time at anything.

    Except evoluionists.

    You are throwing out the research, evidence and opinions of thousands of scientists in hundreds of different fields because they disagree with the pre-conceptions of Joseph P. Nobody.

    Nope, you are lying, of course.

    The evidence is that the bacterial flagellum evolved from simpler forms.

    That is the untestable speculation based on the untestable assumption.

    On Stonehenge:

    You think it’s more likely that space aliens or incorporeal beings came down to earth and build stonehenge at the same time as these people lived in the area, then vanished with no trace?

    No. The person who built my house doesn’t live in it.

    No, Joseph, you don’t have anything to say, and hence you flail away at science – and proclaim that you know better than thousands of scientists in hundreds of different fields because they disagree with your pre-conceptions.

    Except I don’t have any preconceptions and was a devoted evo until started looking more closely at the scientic evidence.

    It happened to long-atheist Anthony Flew too- and Den Kenyon, Michael Behe, Michael Denton, etc., etc., etc.

  106. So are you saying that Turing machine was designed by that equation you linked to?

    No.

    That is a we were dicussing.

    The Turing Machine describes something that works in nature if the correct parts are in the correct order.

    Most designed things fit that categoy.

    Ribosomes are naturally occurring Turing Machines.

    About as “naturally occurring” as my cars.

    Science tells us nature is way smarter than we are.

    No it doesn’t.

    You want to pretend that nature doesn’t work.

    Stop lying about me. You are pathetic.

  107. Upright BiPed @ 88

    Well, I suppose after finding meaning instantiated into matter an investigator would probably begin by asking themselves “where else” do we find such a phenomena.

    We find them everywhere in naturally occurring DNA. We have no idea at present how to create DNA.

    We have two basic explanations for this.

    One, DNA came about from simpler structures given the right circumstances (as yet unknown) and enormous amounts of time…

    The other that something “intelligently designed” DNA that did not itself require intelligent design.

    Humour me. Can you understand why the second explanation might seem problematic?

    Do you accept that recognisably human beings existed for thousands of years without using symbolic representations?

  108. Joseph @ 105

    he person who built my house doesn’t live in it.

    Archeology doesn’t tell us which individuals built stonehenge. It tells us which cultures did – most likely, given all the evidence.

    It happened to long-atheist Anthony Flew too- and Den Kenyon, Michael Behe, Michael Denton, etc., etc., etc.

    You list four names. You ignore the vast majority of life & earth scientists who say there is no merit in ID. Cherry picking, much?

    [Ribosome's are] About as “naturally occurring” as my cars.

    That sums up the level of your argument quite perfectly.

  109. idcurious:

    Archeology doesn’t tell us which individuals built stonehenge. It tells us which cultures did – most likely, given all the evidence

    Strage that is what I said.

    You ignore the vast majority of life & earth scientists who say there is no merit in ID.

    I ignore bald declarations.

    [Ribosome's are] About as “naturally occurring” as my cars.

    That sums up the level of your argument quite perfectly.

    And your bald assertions and lies sum up the level of your argument quite perfectly.

    In what way are ribosmes “naturally occurring”? here isn’t any evidence for nature, oprating freely, producing them.

    We find them everywhere in naturally occurring DNA. We have no idea at present how to create DNA.

    Craig Venter created DNA and there isn’t any evidence that nature, operatin freely, can do the same.

  110. idcurious:

    You list four names.

    I could list more- that is what the “etcs” are for, duh.

    Strange here aren’t any defections from ID to the blind watchmaker…

  111. Onlookers:

    Re, MG, 90: The concept of “specified complexity” presented by Orgel is not the same as the concept of “specified complexity” discussed by Dembski. I have said nothing about whether or not Orgel’s concept is coherent or meaningful.

    1 –> In short, MG cannot respond to the meaningfulness and coherence of Orgel’s remarks, or she would condemn herself out of her own mouth. For, Orgel’s credibility and soundness are not on trial, MG’s are.

    2 –> Orgel (and Wicken) make perfectly good sense, and describe phenomena familiar to those of us who have had to design and get complicated, multiple component things to work.

    3 –> They are functional, they are specific, they are complex, they are information rich. They exhibit specified complexity — not just any complexity will do, we need the particular complexity that fits in the right place in the right way. That’s why we talk about specifications for components and for overall designs.

    4 –> H’mm, has MG ever had to try to get hard to find spares for a vehicle or something like that?

    5 –> Orgel spoke in the particular context of living systems, but immediately compared crystals [which varies all the way from snow to quartz to metals], and random polymer mixes [could be amorphous substances, but more likely tars were in mind]. So, while chemical and related contexts are in view, this extends to fairly wide areas, and shows that the concepts live in a wider conceptual world than just biological cells and their functional sub-units.

    6 –> We have declarative distinction without explanation, i.e. on MG’s authority [and/or those who back her up] we are apparently to accept that the use of the same term in similar contexts by Orgel and Dembski were utterly different. Sorry, no authority is better than facts, logic and assumptions. And in science empirical facts have a lot to say.

    7 –> Already we saw how specified complexity and functionally specific complexity do evidently speak to bio-systems but also much wider than that, they are a commonplace in a world where we have complex functional systems that require specific components put together in specific ways, to work.

    8 –> And that gives us a conceptual understanding and definition on material examples. Such definitions are commonplace in science, e.g we define life that way. (And there are no mathematically exact definitions of life too, but that does not make “life” a meaningless or useless term. Of course all of this has been pointed out in previous threads, as those who were there can back me up on, but they were brushed aside or ignored by MG. her denials ring very hollow to those of us who were there to see.)

    9 –> going on, as can be seen form UD WAC 27 – 28, what Dembski did was to seek to create a mathematical model and metric for CSI, appreciating that the concept applies far wider than bio-function.

    10 –> Indeed, once we have an independent specification of a state of affairs or configuration, where there are a great many possible configurations, the concept is applicable, e.g in statistical thermodynamics [special clusters of microstates in the context of lab level macrostates . . . and BTW, information comes in the door though this too], or for that matter, special hands of cards.

    11 –> Dembski was particularly concerned to identify what a specification is or can be, and he used K-compressibility as a way to generalise, though not only this, he speaks of independent, detachable descriptions or set target zones in spaces of possible configurations etc. Islands of function fit right in there.

    12 –> Dembski defined a metric, one that uses the concept of a target zone and the action of a semiotic agent whose shadow appears in his expression. Since the observer who judges is an inescapable part of science that should not be objectionable, at least, to the fair minded. Judgements by semiotic agents/observers can be objective, as we may see in how Jayne developed his informational view of thermodynamics. And in quantum mechanics, the observer is an integral part of the theory. Even in measuring a length a common way is for an observer to take a look and compare to a scale. Even in the case of an automated process with transducer based measurements, someone has had to set things up and program the system to do the job right, and someone else has to look at it to see that things remain on track.

    13 –> The intelligent judging observer and actor are a little hard to get rid of, even when machines set up by such are acting as proxy. These, too were pointed out and ignored or brushed aside.

    14 –> Whatever debates may be made on Dembski’s derivation, as pointed out repeatedly, he produced a specific model and equation. Surely, this is mathematical.

    15 –> The expression, as was pointed out above, boils down to measuring or calculating a probability, then converting it to base 2 log measure information [a la Hartley, a commonplace in Info theory, giving bits], then subtracting a threshold of 398+ bits.

    16 –> This compares favorably with the number of events of the atoms in our solar system across the time since the big bang, though without the full effect of the second term, it is a bit less than the number of quantum events for the observed cosmos. The second term tends up to that level, take away 500 bits (as VJT did).

    17 –> the idea then is that once the specific information in an entity is beyond about 400 – 500 bits of complexity [10^120 to 10^150 possibilities], relatively small statistical weight clusters, i.e specific subsets, will be so overwhelmed by the statistical weight of the rest of the set of configs, that it is maximally unlikely that they can be observed as arising from blind chance and necessity, i.e. non-foresighted, non intelligent sources.

    18 –> In short, if you see 18 or more words in English you are well warranted to infer to an intelligent writer, not monkeys pounding away at keyboards at random or the like. A Jumbo Jet points to Boeing not a tornado in a junkyard. One of the gauges on the instrument panel — much simpler — speaks of an avionics instrument maker, not a bull running amok through a high tech hardware shop. A significant computer program speaks of a programmer, not Bill Gates hiring monkeys for peanuts and bananas to bang away at keyboards in Redmond. (Rumours of convoys of banana-carrying trucks heading for MS’s campus in Redmond are not to be credited.)

    19 –> All of this is simple enough. Why is it so stoutly and stubbornly resisted, with all sorts of declamations and declarations of “meaninglessness” and worse, much worse?

    20 –> Because of where it points for the origin of the living cell. For, this is a functionally specific, complex, highly organised, information rich automaton that is self-assembling and self-replicating, with stored data structures and algorithmic, step by step co-ordinated processes and machines. It uses digitally coded instructions that in aggregate run far beyond the 1,000 bit threshold that is a point where the inference to design is morally certain.

    21 –> If CSI or FSCI are reliable signs of design, the living cell is patently designed.

    22 –> So, do we have good evide3nce that these things are not good signs of design? Just the opposite: we have BILLIONS of cases in point in evidence that they are very food signs of design, and not one good case that they are failing. (The pathetic attempt yesterday to cite the canali in drawings meant to represent the surface of Mars, is an example of how desperate objectors are.)

    23 –> We rightly make momentous judgements on evidence that is nowhere near as good, in a lot of important contexts.

    24 –> But the evolutionary materialistic, secular humanist worldview that is so dominant in elite circles in our civilisation is evidently at stake, and this motivates a lot of the opposition to the inference to design of life. For if life is designed, who might the designer be?

    25 –> That may be a significant question in its own right, but the inference from empirically reliable signs to the signified event of design as best explanation for origin, is both prior to such a debate and separate from it.
    ________

    It is time that we woke up to that, and called to account those who are trying to actually redefine science to exclude the possibility that even the best warranted explanation that might not sit comfortably with evolutionary materialism, cannot be entertained, never mind the cost of robbing science of its integrity.

    Instead, let us recognise that science at its best is:

    an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) progressive pursuit of the truth about our world, based on observation, inference, analysis, modelling, experiment and uncensored but mutually respectful discussion among informed investigators.

    GEM of TKI

  112. Muramasa, re 98:

    Shannon based his work on Hartley’s log metric suggestion for information.

    His H-metric is about average info per symbol, and that H is the usual meaning of “Shannon Info.”

    Dembski’s work is based ont eh same Hartley log metric, and overlaps considerably with Shannon’s work. But Dembski is not so much concerned to deduce channel capacity regardless of content as to extend the thinking to take in function, and specificity.

    He has added significant steps to do so.

    he has not contradicted Shannon’s work, nor is his work unrelated. He builds on what Shannon did.

    Durston et al do so in a somewhat different way, developing H to create another metric that is related.

    Dembski ends up with a metric in bits that are beyond a threshold of complexity, in a context of specificity.

    This builds on, it does not contradict nor does it go off on an unrelated line, to Shannon’s work.

    I actually said pretty much this above. I am just emphasising the relatedness here.

    GEM of TKI

  113. Basically all I have left is:

    Desmond has a barrow in the market place
    Molly is the singer in a band
    Desmond says to Molly “girl I like your face”
    And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand

    Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on
    Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on

    Desmond takes a trolley to the jewellers stores
    Buys a twenty carat golden ring (Golden ring?)
    Takes it back to Molly waiting at the door
    And as he gives it to her she begins to sing (Sing)

    Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on
    Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on, yeah (No)

    In a couple of years they have built
    A home sweet home
    With a couple of kids running in the yard
    Of Desmond and Molly Jones
    (Ah ha ha ha ha ha)

    Happy ever after in the market place
    Desmond lets the children lend a hand (Arm! Leg!)
    Molly stays at home and does her pretty face
    And in the evening she still sings it with the band

    Yes, ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on (Ha ha ha)
    Hey, ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on

    In a couple of years they have built
    A home sweet home
    With a couple of kids running in the yard
    Of Desmond and Molly Jones
    (Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha)

    Yeah, happy ever after in the market place
    Molly lets the children lend a hand (Foot!)
    Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face
    And in the evening she’s a singer with the band

    Yeah, ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on
    Yeah, ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on

    And if you want some fun
    Take ob-la-di ob-la-da

  114. 114

    Hello IDC, (#107)

    Well, I suppose after finding meaning instantiated into matter, an investigator would probably begin by asking themselves “where else” do we find such a phenomena.

    We find them everywhere in naturally occurring DNA.

    Firstly, to claim from the outset that DNA is naturally occurring is to make an assertion you have no evidence for. In other words, it is the mistake of simply assuming your conclusion (without evidence).

    Secondly, you seem to be missing the setting of the question. We in fact found meaning instantiated into matter when we discovered the genetic code within the DNA molecule. The manifest goal is to understand what kind of forces could be responsible for its origin. Using the discovery itself as an example of where we can find what was just found has some rather obvious logical issues, as I am sure you will become aware if you’ll just think it through.

    Perhaps the appropriate response is the one I suggested. That would be to ask ourselves “where else” do we find meaning instantiated into matter. That would give us a clue as to what forces are capable of what is to be explained. That is why I asked you if this was a reasonable approach to the issue. You instead chose not to answer the question.

    We have two basic explanations for this.

    You then go on to say that the two possibilities are a natural origin and a designed origin. What is interesting about your comment is the treatment you give the two options. For the option of a natural origin you relax the requirements for some indication that it may be the correct answer by first envisioning simple structures, tons of time, and in the end you simply throw up your hands and say we don’t know. How much less of a requirement of evidence could be offered than that? On the other hand, for the designed origin you placed additional baggage on the claim which is not even reflected in the evidence. There is nothing in the biological evidence for ID that states anything about additional qualities of the designer other than the capacity to instantiate the design. Zilch.

    Moreover, in neither of these options do you make any attempt at addressing the realities of the discovery.

    Humour me. Can you understand why the second explanation might seem problematic?

    It only becomes problematic when one becomes personally certain that he or she knows what the ultimate reality is, and his or her visions don’t comport to the observable evidence.

    You may rest assured; reality itself will be the judge of truth, not any man’s preconceptions.

    That is why arguments from incredulity are unpersuasive when the evidence is against you.

    Do you accept that recognizably human beings existed for thousands of years without using symbolic representations?

    Why in the world would I think that? Higher and lower animals across the planet use symbolic representation all the time. What would make me believe that early human beings were incapable of it?

    The point of this you need to wrestle with is that semiosis and information predated mankind, evolution, and most probably Life itself. Mankind was not the starting point of any of it.

    - – – – – – – – – -

    Now, I answered you questions and observations fairly and forthrightly. Return the favor with any of the questions I asked you:

    Is meaningful information recorded in DNA by the arrangement of material symbols?

    How is information created?

    Are there any examples of recorded information that were not first the product of perception?

    Is there any information in existence anywhere that is not the product of perception?

    Are there any examples of recorded information that exist without the use of symbolic representation?

    How are symbols created?

    What makes a symbolic representation a symbolic representation?

    How is the symbol-to-object relationship established in a symbol?

    Are there any examples of naturally occurring symbols?

    Is there any distinction between an analog symbol (howl of a wolf) and a digital symbol (morse code)?

    Are the symbols used to record information freely chosen?

    Are there any examples of symbols used to record information which were not freely chosen?

  115. Joseph @ 109

    In what way are ribosmes “naturally occurring”? here isn’t any evidence for nature, oprating freely, producing them.

    Ribosomes are created every day by the billions in nature. Your point, surely, is that they are so complex that they required some initial “intelligent design”, by some designer that did not itself require “intelligent design”.

    Craig Venter created DNA and there isn’t any evidence that nature, operatin freely, can do the same.

    You seem to think that unless we know *how* something happened, we can’t say that it did happen.

    Strange here aren’t any defections from ID to the blind watchmaker…

    As ever you are clueless about both evolution and the complete lack of impact Intelligent Design has had on science – I’m sure largely because of people like you.

  116. Upright BiPed @ 114

    Firstly, to claim from the outset that DNA is naturally occurring is to make an assertion you have no evidence for. In other words, it is the mistake of simply assuming your conclusion (without evidence).

    Please think before you write. DNA occurs in all living things. Living things are “natural”. Your position, surely, is that DNA could not have initially come into being except for the actions of an “intelligent designer” that did not itself require “intelligent design”.

    Secondly, you seem to be missing the setting of the question. We in fact found meaning instantiated into matter when we discovered the genetic code within the DNA molecule.

    Right. We found “meaning instantiated into matter” in all living things. So it is all around us. It is part of us.

    Using the discovery itself as an example of where we can find what was just found has some rather obvious logical issues, as I am sure you will become aware if you’ll just think it through.

    The obvious logical conclusion is that “meaning instantiated into matter” is a part of nature – whether nature is “designed” or otherwise, whether the Christian God exists or otherwise, whether Darwin was right or otherwise.

    It is ID that insists that there is a special case – that everything else requires “intelligent design” except it’s “intelligent designer”.

  117. IDC:

    Re, 115: “Ribosomes are created [replicated] every day by the billions in nature”

    See how important word choice is?

    What we see day by day is the manufacture of ribosomes on a pre-programmed plan using the facilities of a metabolising, self-replicating automaton.

    The proper issue is the ORIGIN of the relevant facilities, including the programs, data and machinery that allows ribosomes to be made in the billions daily.

    And, with a modicum of thought and charitable/reasonable reading [an intellectual duty towards fairness and truth], it would have been quite plain that this was Joseph’s context of intent in 109.

    Where did the information based, automated, digital code driven assembly system that creates the ribosome as a component of the cell come from?

    As a clue, we know that digital code is a manifestation of language, working by instantiating meaning into matter per conventions of symbolic representation. Such capacity to conceive of symbols, to encode, to express in properly formatted data structures etc comes form one known, observed source: intelligence.

    We also know that chance contingency and blind mechanical forces credibly could no9t searchthe config space of 1,000 bits to more than 1 part in 10^150, effectively no search; on the gamut and thermodynamic lifetime of the observed cosmos. So, even functionally specific information of 125 bytes length is maximally unlikely to have come about by such “natural” means. Intelligence routinely greatly exceeds this amount, as posts in this thread and control programs in industry show.

    In the case of the living cell, we are dealing with DNA that starts out at 100+ thousand bits of information (which BTW is extraordinarily tight code, as we just saw a BLANK Word 97 document took up 155 k bits just to have an empty sheet on screen).

    On — admittedly defeat-able, as all scientific theories are — inference to best, empirically tested explanation, the most plausible cause for the ribosome, the manufacturing capacity that makes new ones in the billions daily, and the wider self-replicating cell, is ART, working by design driven by skill, knowledge and intent.

    Generally speaking, this conclusion is resisted, not because of credible evidence that nature working freely and without intelligent intervention — i.e by chance and necessity — can and does originate things like ribosomes, but because the implications of such being artificial in their root, are unpalatable, and we have a dominant school of thought in science and related institutions that is committed to a priori evolutionary materialism.

    This last is documented fact (read Lewontin et al and keep on reading to the US NAS and NSTA, then see the cogency of Johnson’s corrective rebuke).

    In short, we are seeing the ideological captivity of science.

    Apart from that, by March 1953, when it was realised that DNA was a code based system at the heart of life, it would have been immediately obvious that life is a technology of an intelligent designer. (Techne, BTW, is the Greek word we translate as ART; and that is what Jowett used in translating Plato’s The Laws Bk X, which discussed the issue of cause by chance/accident, nature [phusis]/necessity and art 2,350 years ago.)

    GEM of TKI

  118. kairosfocus @ 117

    It is indeed origins which is the point here.

    We also know that chance contingency and blind mechanical forces credibly could no9t searchthe config space of 1,000 bits to more than 1 part in 10^150, effectively no search; on the gamut and thermodynamic lifetime of the observed cosmos.

    What you are provided is your model of how you think evolution works… And when a model conflicts with reality, it isn’t reality that is wrong.

    Lord Kelvin calculated in the 1860s that the Sun was between 20 and 400 million years old. He didn’t know about nuclear fusion. His model was wrong.

    Your model of evolution completely ignores the endless input of the environment on your search landscape, as well as the incremental gaining of information (in fits and starts) over immense time.

    When faced with the fact that the vast majority of biologists reject ID, all you can offer is that their understandings of evolution are all wrong and that yours is right. Is that really the most likely explanation?

  119. IDC:

    Re: We found “meaning instantiated into matter” in all living things. So it is all around us. It is part of us . . . . The obvious logical conclusion is that “meaning instantiated into matter” is a part of nature – whether nature is “designed” or otherwise, whether the Christian God exists or otherwise, whether Darwin was right or otherwise.

    What is it that is empirically known to have capacity to create symbolic codes, data structures to express that code in matter, and to use such codes in algorithms to make machines do targetted, complex things that result in successful function?

    ANS: Only one kind of entity, i.e intelligence. And, per the infinite monkeys analysis that you and your ilk have consistently dodged, for years, on the gamut of the cosmos, chance contingency on random walks plus blind mechanical necessity are so incapable of generating FSCI on the scope of 1,000 or more bits, that we can comfortably conclude that such FSCI is a reliable sign of design. Design entails designer, on empirical data, we are not imposing a designer a priori, we are inferring from the evidence and known patterns of observed designers vs nature operating freely.

    Next, you go on to a further revealing bit of dismissive rhetoric:

    It is ID that insists that there is a special case – that everything else requires “intelligent design” except it’s “intelligent designer”.

    1 –> Have you paid any serious attention to the implications of the logic of contingency in a cosmos where that which has a beginning — is contingent — has a cause?

    2 –> If something, X, begins, it means that there are circumstances under which X does not exist, and other circumstances under which it does. That is, there are certain factors that must be in place for X to begin and/or continue.

    3 –> For instance (and here I follow Copi in his key example in his Logic) with a fire, each of air [oxidiser], fuel and heat is necessary, and the three together are sufficient for the fire. If any is absent, no fire, if the three come together fire begins, if one is removed, fire goes out. Contingency.

    4 –> Now, we have credible evidence that matter is contingent [E = m*c^2], and indeed that our cosmos as a whole is similarly contingent. It has necessary causal factors that have had to be switched on for it to exist and be sustained. Our cosmos is not independent of external causal factors.

    5 –> So, something ELSE has to exist with capacity to cause a cosmos such as we observe.

    6 –> Some have speculated on multiverses and quantum fluctuations etc, but that still does not reckon with the implications of the way our cosmos is credibly fine tuned in dozens of ways that support C-chemistry, cell based intelligent life such as we have.

    7–> The underlying multiverse as speculated would be credibly at least as much fine tuned (thus contingent) to give rise to a cosmos such as ours.

    8 –> So, we are back at the point that a contingent being requires in the end a being that is independent of external causes, i.e is a so-called necessary being. Such a being did not have a beginning, and cannot cease from being.

    9 –> Formerly, when it was widely believed the observed cosmos as a whole was without beginning — cf the so-called Steady State universe theory — that necessary being was thought to be the wider observed universe; but these views collapsed in the face of the Hubble red shift evidence that points to a beginning, and the supportive 2.7 K background radiation. Our cosmos credibly is contingent, on scientific evidence.

    10 –> The logic of contingency therefore points to a necessary being behind our cosmos, and as the cosmos is credibly fine tuned, that necessary being would have to be one capable of such fine tuning of a cosmos being created: powerful, purposeful, intelligent, knowledgeable, skilled.

    11 –> That is an inference to best explanation, on empirical observations and logic about cause in our world, and on the known characteristics of designers. As you just saw, it is not a a prioi imposition on the facts, it emerges naturally from the facts on probing them with questions along the lines of: what best explains phenomenon X.

    12 –> The answer, on cosmological inference to cause in a necessary being,and to the intelligent designer that is capable of building a fine tuned cosmos, sounds significantly like the God of traditional theism.

    13 –> Maybe, that should be taken as a clue that belief in such a God is credible on the evidence of our world and ourselves in it. Which sounds rather familiar, again:

    Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse . . .

    14 –> The old apostle put his worldview on the line, subjecting it to empirical test — if the world around us and our self-knowledge did not point that way, we can be assured that materialists would be trumpeting that to the high heavens, as they formerly did when they thought they had evidence that science provides support to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

    15 –> So, why is it that so soon as the evidence does support the old apostle, we find the sort of sarcastic wish to brush the whole subject aside without consideration of evidence and logic,as though the notion of a necessary being is patent nonsense?

    16 –> Does not that sound a bit like the fallacy of the closed, hostile mind the old apostle also warned against?

    Rom 1:20 b: . . . men are without excuse.

    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. [Inthe old days as idols in temples, nowadays, similar images are often presented in the name of "science" and are used to make it seem that it is possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. But in fact evolutionary materialism is inherently self refuting and thus necessarily false.]

    17 –> Now, plainly, that evidence should be faced; not irritably derided and dismissed without careful examination.

    18 –> That is a matter of the cosmological level inference to design and associated issues of what best explains a contingent, fine tuned cosmos, going strictly beyond science into worldview level philosophical issues. (Would that speculators on multiverses would admit that their speculations go beyond empirical test and are thus philosophical, too. But, they usually do not, and so we have to step up to the line and deal wit the matter on logic and inference to best explanation. Turns out the multiverse is itself fine tuned, so the suggestion does not divert the issue.)

    19 –> There is another matter of strawmannish misrepresentation in the teeth of evidence repeatedly pointed out, as you suggest that design theory as such is about “its designer.”

    20 –> this is a case of repeating a slanderous misrepresentation that you know or should by now know is inaccurate. DESIGN THEORY — FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME — IS ABOUT INFERENCE TO DESIGN AS CAUSAL PROCESS, NOT TO THE IDENTITY OF THE DESIGNER(S) INVOLVED.

    [ . . . ]

  120. 21 –> In addition to the UD WAC’s top right this and every UD page, and the definition of ID also top right this and every UD page, The NWE summary of ID at 101 level — all of which you should now carefully read, if you are at all concerned to be truthful or fair minded instead of merely playing the insincere troll wasting our time — is apt on this:

    Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

    Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

    ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).

    ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution) . . .

    22 –> It is time to be direct: if you, IDC, say the like of what has been cited again [or refuse to retract it in the teeth of abundant corrective evidence], it is because you are willfully distorting, misrepresenting and slandering the truth you know or should know, for rhetorical advantage. In short, you would prove yourself a liar.

    23 –> So, let us sum up:

    (a) ID is about the inference on empirical sign, from what we observe to the act of design as credible cause where FSCI or the like are seen;

    (b) ID per se is not an inference to the identity of the designer, though the act of design points to the existence of a designer, and may give some clues that we may use in characterising said designer.

    (c) In the case of cell based life, on the work of Venter et al, design is a known and plausible cause of the sort of FSCI we see in DNA, and on billions of test cases plus the infinite monkeys type analysis, the ONLY empirically known cause of such FSCI is intelligence.

    (d) FSCI can for convenience be defined as functionally specific complex information as described by Orgel and Wicken, and beyond 1,000 bits per the X-metric [which, as UD WAC 28 has pointed out for years, boils down to the common measure of info in bits we see for files, once they are big enough], and/or other more sophisticated metrics. FSCI is also often associated with functionally specific complex organisation [FSCO] on a Wicken “wiring diagram.”

    (e) FSCO is equally diagnostic of design, and can be reduced to FSCI as a measure of its functional complexity by converting its wiring diagram into a net list of specified nodes, arcs and interfaces then counting bits and checking vs the 1,000 bit limit.

    (f) Repeat, the only empirically known source of such FSCO/I is design, and on the infinite monkeys analysis, it is maximally implausible that chance contingency and unintelligently directed natural forces and regularities could give rise to FSCO/I. There are billions of test cased in point, all around us.

    (g) The observed cosmos is contingent, credibly had a beginning [typically estimated as 13.7 BYA] and its underlying physics is credibly fine tuned in many dozens of ways to support C-chemistry, intelligent life.

    (h) The best explanation for that is a necessary being as designer, with the intelligence, purpose, power, knowledge and skill to create such a world. (Just as this post is best explained on a designer with the purpose, knowledge and skill to create it.)

    (i) The specific nature and identity of such a designer cannot be estimated on scientific evidence, but the evidence supports the inference that such a designer is the best candidate to explain our observed cosmos, and us in it.

    (j) This chain of inferences is subject to testing and possible defeat, if it can be shown that FSCO/I can credibly be generated by chance driven stochastic contingency and associated undirected natural forces giving rise to natural regularities, starting from arbitrary initial conditions that are not in “special” configurations. [Already, the cosmological evidence points to very special and fine tuned initial conditions of the cosmos.]

    GEM of TKI

  121. kairosfocus @ 119

    1 –> Have you paid any serious attention to the implications of the logic of contingency in a cosmos where that which has a beginning — is contingent — has a cause?

    Arguments such as William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument depend on reality meeting the A-Theory of time. Most physicists today think a B-Theory of time more closely matches reality. At the quantum scale, cause and effect is very different than we know it.

    You really need to learn to write shorter posts.

    And quoting the Bible at me? Is that an official part of ID theory?

  122. IDcurious, you stated;

    ‘At the quantum scale, cause and effect is very different than we know it.’

    Please do tell us exactly what is your postulate for ’cause’ within quantum mechanics, specifically the ’cause’ for quantum wave collapse.

  123. “Your model of evolution completely ignores the endless input of the environment on your search landscape, as well as the incremental gaining of information (in fits and starts) over immense time.

    When faced with the fact that the vast majority of biologists reject ID, all you can offer is that their understandings of evolution are all wrong and that yours is right. Is that really the most likely explanation?”

    That certainly was apparent in the very long thread I participated in. No alternate explanation for the vast amount of evidence in the hominid fossil record, just philosophy, computer programming analogies and claims that evolution is “mathematically impossible”. Not to mention a draconian moderation policy for certain people who must ask over and over again for the original claims made by people here at Uncommon Descent to be backed up by the evidence.

    Of course, it is 6AM CDT as I write this; it’ll be suppertime before anyone else sees it.

  124. IDC:

    Please stop distorting and dismissing the truth willfully in the teeth of easily available evidence that you plainly cannot confute.

    That will only make you into a liar; first, one who lies to him or her self then swallows and regurgitates and spreads those lies.

    More than adequate evidence as to the only empirically credible source of FSCO/I has already been given, in this round for days on end in thread after thread.

    Sine you want to appeal to the consensus of the scientists who dominate the key institutions, it is necessary to show the bias and its impact. (Apparently, you refused to go to the linked quotes that show the truth beyond reasonable doubt. So, we have to cite it in extenso here.)

    The decisive evidence of not only the Lewontin summary but also the direct statements of the US NAS and the NSTA, is that evolutionary materialism is being imposed as a censoring and controlling a priori on science, to the point where for instance students in Kansas were threatened by NAS and NSTA if the school board there did not adopt a novel, a priori materialistic redefinition of what science is.

    Indeed,the further evidence is that people are being subjected to censorship and unjust career busting over this. We just had a case where Gaskell won a US$ 125,0000 settlement by the U of K on this.

    Just to document without having to go out on a link — so lazy have we become -, let me excerpt what the US NAS and the NSTA have said about the nature of science, as well as Lewontin’s infamous remarks:

    ___________________

    Lewontin:

    >> To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . .

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

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

    US NAS:

    >> In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature [NB: this is a question-begging imposition of he natural vs supernatural question-begging dichotomy, in a context where the obvious proper contrast is natural vs ART-ificial, both of which are eminently capable of empirical investigations], scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations [as a matter of fact, in some cases, certain well-known claimed supernatural interventions would be subject to empirical investigation]. Any scientific explanation has to be testable — there must be possible observational consequences that could support the idea but also ones that could refute it. Unless a proposed explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could potentially count against it, that explanation cannot be subjected to scientific testing. [the signs of art are subject to empirical investigation] [Science, Evolution and Creationism, 2008, p. 10 ] >>

    US NSTA:

    >> The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts [naturalism is the philosophy and worldview that builds on materialism] and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .

    [[S]cience, along with its methods, explanations and generalizations, must be the sole focus of instruction in science classes to the exclusion of all non-scientific or pseudoscientific methods, explanations, generalizations and products [And given the imposition of naturalism, guess what this means: censorship, especially of the contrast between nature and art. As well there is no definable scientific method with a clean datum line that excludes the pseudo-scientific, so this boils down to imposition of ideological materialism] . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science [they admit the point but skip over the implication, long since pointed out by Laudan, Lakatos, Feyerabend and many others that they knew or full well should have known, i.e this is willful deception and manipulation], a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence [repeats the imposition of ideological materialism] that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. [FYI, chance, necessity and ART all leave empirically observable, characteristic traces that are testable, so this is another deception by implied falsehood about the nature of art and its empirical signs] Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism [critical awareness is one thing, selective closed minded hyperskepticism, e.g Sagan's evidentialism, is wholly another, let's correct: extraordinary [to me] claims require extraordianry [adequate] evidence], peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [makes the imposition of ideological a priori materialism explicit, in the very definition of science they propose; notice, they have had to already admit that science cannot be reduced to a simple to state definition.] [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. ] >>
    ___________________

    In short, we are looking at ideological imposition on science, of a priori materialism.

    Philip Johnson’s rebuke was justly deserved:

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

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

    QED.

    GEM of TKI

  125. In what way are ribosmes “naturally occurring”? here isn’t any evidence for nature, oprating freely, producing them.

    idcurious:
    Ribosomes are created every day by the billions in nature.

    Cars, trucks and houses are created by the millions in nature. You are obtuse.

    Craig Venter created DNA and there isn’t any evidence that nature, operatin freely, can do the same.

    You seem to think that unless we know *how* something happened, we can’t say that it did happen.

    Nope, not even close- you are a liar.

    Not only that your response doesn’t have anything to do with what you were responding to.

    Strange here aren’t any defections from ID to the blind watchmaker…

    As ever you are clueless about both evolution and the complete lack of impact Intelligent Design has had on science – I’m sure largely because of people like you.

    Another lie and another non-sequitur.

    I know more about evolution than you do idcurious.

  126. idcurious:

    DNA occurs in all living things. Living things are “natural”.

    Yeah and my cars are “natural” too.

    It is ID that insists that there is a special case – that everything else requires “intelligent design” except it’s “intelligent designer”.

    Except ID isn’t about the designer.

    Just as the heory of evolution keeps the origin of life seperate ID keeps the designer seperate.

    And that is for the reasons I have already provided and apparently you cannot grasp.

  127. Onlookers (and IDC):

    I think I need to do a point by point on IDC at 121, as s/he continued to spew strawman rhetoric based talking points:

    ______________

    >> Arguments such as William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument

    1 –> I made no reference to Craig’s Kalam cosmological argument whatsoever, only to the implications of credible contingency of our cosmos. I even took time to point out the way in which the Steady State type cosmos view was formerly taken as supporting the idea that he observed universe as a whole was the necessary being that explains the contingent beings in our cosmos. But of course that collapsed on the decisive evidence that decided in favour of the big bang scenario. So we live in a credibly contingent cosmos that has to be causally explained, requiring a necessary being as the root.

    2 –> On the logic of cause, a contingent being requires a root in a necessary being, and that is strictly independent of time [apart from the common-sense point that a cause must be temporally present at the time when an effect dependent on it initially exists]. In addition, that goes past the suggested multiverse, as this is fine tuned and thus contingent as well.

    depend on reality meeting the A-Theory of time.

    Most physicists today think a B-Theory of time more closely matches reality.

    3 –> the inference from contingency to necessity as root cause is independent of theories of time, so kindly stop strawmannising one argument that you have no answer for to a bastardised form of another that you imagine you can rebut. A double strawman.

    At the quantum scale, cause and effect is very different than we know it.

    4 –> You will kindly notice that I particularly emphasised NECESSARY causal factors, and I did that with quantum theory specifically in mind.

    5 –> For instance, no neutron outside a nucleus and no decay into a proton, i.e the neutron’e presence outside the nucleus is a necessary condition of its decay, and its presence in the nucleus is a necessary condition of having neutrons to balance the electrostatic repulsion across time instead of decaying with a half life of a few minutes (and thus the stability of atomic matter)

    6 –> Just so, a contingent being has necessary causal factors without which it could not come into existence.

    7 –> Our cosmos is credibly contingent [having a beginning is one sign of contingency, and I pointed to the convertibility of matter to energy as well . . . ] and is in requirement of causal explanation on something external that provides the necessary causal factors.

    8 –> On the logic of contingency and necessity, that a contingent cosmos exists, entails the existence of an underlying necessary being as the causal root of that contingent being.

    9 –> As was pointed out and sidestepped, the fine tuned nature of that contingent being then points to a necessary being of particular character; an intelligent designer.

    You really need to learn to write shorter posts.

    10 –> If you would seriously read digests of much more extensive reasoning and evidence, and would put up remarks that are truthful and fair minded, I would have no need to spend time and energy to correct masses of misleading and false statements and fallacious reasoning, such as through this markup.

    And quoting the Bible at me?

    11 –> I cited the epistle of Romans as a part of the long discussion on worldviews in our civilisation; I have also in other contexts cited Plato and many others..

    12 –> If you find it offensive to be reminded that 2,00 years ago the apostle put his worldview on the line on the contention that the evidence would compellingly point to a designed nature, and has been supported over 2000 years of investigation, that tells me a lot about attitude, and none of it good.

    Is that an official part of ID theory?

    13 –> You could easily have read the definitions and introductions and corretives that were already linked this morning, which would have instantly told you not at all.

    14 –> But on your presentation of yourself, you know this full well, or should know it.

    15 –> You are putting up the old “ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo” smear beloved of Barbara Forrest et al, and that in the teeth of corrective evidence you know or should know.

    16 –> Sadly, that makes you a willful deceiver and slanderer. Please, think again and do better than that, mon! >>
    ______________

    GEM of TKI

  128. F/N: Onlookers,

    observe the continued silence from objectors on the analysis of the Dembski CSI metric as boiling down to a measurement of information in bits beyond a threshold of 398+ – 500 bits; thus a metric of being on an island in a config space sufficiently deeply isolated that the only empirically credible explanation is design.

    To remind:

    CHI = – log2 [2^398*D2*p]

    CHI = Ip – (398 + K2), in bits
    Observe, also, that the remarks of Durston et al that place their metric in this same context, are being glided over in equally loud silence.

    Citing the Durston et al 2007 paper linked in the UD WAC 27:

    Consider that there are usually only 20 different amino acids possible per site for proteins, Eqn. (6) can be used to calculate a maximum Fit value/protein amino acid site of 4.32 Fits/site [NB: Log2 (20) = 4.32]. We use the formula log (20) – H(Xf) to calculate the functional information at a site specified by the variable Xf such that Xf corresponds to the aligned amino acids of each sequence with the same molecular function f. The measured FSC for the whole protein is then calculated as the summation of that for all aligned sites. The number of Fits quantifies the degree of algorithmic challenge, in terms of probability, in achieving needed metabolic function. For example, if we find that the Ribosomal S12 protein family has a Fit value of 379, we can use the equations presented thus far to predict that there are about 10^49 different 121-residue sequences that could fall into the Ribsomal S12 family of proteins, resulting in an evolutionary search target of approximately 10^-106 percent of 121-residue sequence space. In general, the higher the Fit value, the more functional information is required to encode the particular function in order to find it in sequence space. A high Fit value for individual sites within a protein indicates sites that require a high degree of functional information. High Fit values may also point to the key structural or binding sites within the overall 3-D structure.

    In short, the claims of MG that attempt to drive a wedge between Dembski and Durston collapse. And, the notion that there is no meaningful, measurable mathematical characterisation of CSI also collapses.

    As a bonus, the 35 values of FSC in fits published by Durston et al, are accessible to the question of whether CSI is measurable and measured and published in the peer reviewed literature.

    CSI is meaningful conceptually and mathematically, it is based on the same Hartley log probability metric for information as Shannon’s H — which measures average information per symbol — uses.

    Its characteristic measure is to evaluate Hartley-Shannon [and I think there is a Kotelnikov in there too] information on log probability, and to test for ability to pass a threshold that marks a reasonable level of difficulty of search on random walk plus trial and error [similar to monkeys at keyboards scanned for meaningful text]. Durston did not emphasise the threshold but Demski does.

    Beneath, there is the simple X-metric that was there all along, and is as common as typical file size statements on your computer.

    MG’s position collapses.

    GEM of TKI

  129. bornagain77 @ 122

    Please do tell us exactly what is your postulate for ’cause’ within quantum mechanics, specifically the ’cause’ for quantum wave collapse.

    It’s clear collapse occurs on the macroscopic scale. Beyond that there are various interpretations. If a tree falls and no-one is there to hear it, does it make a noise? Yes – there’s just no-on there to hear it.

  130. kairosfocus @ 123

    Sine you want to appeal to the consensus of the scientists who dominate the key institutions, it is necessary to show the bias and its impact.

    Standard evolutionary theory is widely accepted by theistic scientists. They see a bigger picture than you, apparently. There are more signatories to the Clergy Letter Project, accepting evolutionary theory, than there are to any lists of supporters of ID or Creationism.

    It’s bizarre that you are so hung up on everyone else’s biases, and you can’t see your own.

    Are you paid every time you mention Lewontin?

  131. Joseph @ 125

    Yeah and my cars are “natural” too.

    Your cars are undoubtedly the process of natural beings. Moreover, they are the product of evolution – the incremental effects of thousands of designers and countless design choices. It’s your inability to accept that nature does the same thing over much longer periods of time which leads to me suggest that, to you, nature does not work.

  132. Joseph @ 124

    I know more about evolution than you do idcurious

    You also think you know more than anyone who rejects ID no matter how qualified. Your staggering cluelessness about archaeology, computer science, and evolutionary theory is conclusive evidence otherwise.

  133. Joseph @ 124

    I know more about evolution than you do idcurious

    You also think you know more than anyone who rejects ID no matter how qualified. Your staggering cluelessness about archaeology, computer science, and evolutionary theory is conclusive evidence otherwise.

  134. kairosfocus @ 126

    I think I need to do a point by point on IDC at 121, as s/he continued to spew strawman rhetoric based talking points

    For heaven’s sake, KF, look at your own posts.

    Whenever you are challenged you spew longer and longer posts saying the same thing over and over again, getting redder and redder in the face.

    I really doubt that anyone reads your posts in full except to mock them. I certainly don’t have the time.

  135. I know more about evolution than you do idcurious

    idcurious:

    You also think you know more than anyone who rejects ID no matter how qualified.

    Liar.

    Your staggering cluelessness about archaeology, computer science, and evolutionary theory is conclusive evidence otherwise.

    And finish with a false accusation.

    You must be very proud of yourself.

  136. idcurious:

    Your cars are undoubtedly the process of natural beings.

    What does that even mean? You are an obtuse equivocator.

    Moreover, they are the product of evolution – the incremental effects of thousands of designers and countless design choices.

    Nice bald assertion.

    It’s your inability to accept that nature does the same thing over much longer periods of time which leads to me suggest that, to you, nature does not work.

    It’s YOUR inability to produce positive evidence for any of your claims which leads me to to suggest that, to you, bald assertions are scientific evidence.

    And unfortunately for you you don’t have any positive evidence that supports your nonsense.

  137. Onlookers:

    When Darwinist objectors switch to fussing over the length of the posts that correct them on fact and logic, point by point, that is a sure sign they have lost on the merits and have no sound response on points.

    GEM of TKI

  138. OK so idcurious is “OM”/ “oldmainthekydidit”.

    This moron pollutes my blog on a daily basis. It has claimed it will come here to get me banned.

    Do we really need this pap here?

  139. H’mm:

    Berra’s blunder, mark 2:

    IDC: [cars] are the product of evolution – the incremental effects of thousands of designers and countless design choices.

    This is tantamount to acknowledging that intelligent design is a valid “evolutionary” mechanism.

    So, a priori locking out of valid tests on reliable empirical signs for this “evolutionary mechanism” is doubly inexcusable.

    GEM of TKI

  140. 140

    IDC at 116.

    So not only does IDC simply assume his/her conclusions, but defends the practice as an act of superior intellect. By his definition the space shuttle is a naturally occuring phenomena; a logical position which is beyond reproach.

    And of course, all the while he/she avoids any discussion of the actual evidence.

    Another case of perfected denial.

    (shrug)

  141. Joseph @ 137

    OK so idcurious is “OM”/ “oldmainthekydidit”.

    This moron pollutes my blog on a daily basis. It has claimed it will come here to get me banned.

    Another failure for the explanatory filter. Does that make it 100%?

    I am not “OM”, whoever he is.

    Is that how you deal with dissent, Joseph? You hurl abuse, then call for people you disagree with to be banned?

  142. kairosfocus @ 138

    This is tantamount to acknowledging that intelligent design is a valid “evolutionary” mechanism.

    Of course it is – if we know who the designer is, or have some way of empirically testing for this designer.

    Do you want to nominate who your designer is, KF, and tell me how scientifically we can test for or against it?

  143. 143

    Lets us play out the IDC’s materialist logic for a moment.

    A configuration of metal called a trigger is activated. In turn a hammer hits the firing pin of a capsule of propellant, pressure from the expanding propellant thereby launches a projectile through a tube causing the projectile to spin and exit at high velocity.

    Thats right ladies and gents, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King both died of natural causes.

    It would be funny if it weren’t absolutely true.

  144. Upright BiPed @ 139

    So not only does IDC simply assume his/her conclusions, but defends the practice as an act of superior intellect. By his definition the space shuttle is a naturally occuring phenomena; a logical position which is beyond reproach.

    Nonsense. I’m just demonstrating that claims of “bias” by evolutionary scientists are false, and the claims that posters here no more about evolutionary scientists than evolutionary scientists are laughable. (Full disclosure – i am not a scientist). The Space Shuttle was clearly built by intelligent designers. Us. It’s still the product of an enormous amount of design evolution.

    What you guys can’t get your head around is that it was less than 100 years from the Wright Brothers’ first flight to the Space Shuttle, but that it took 4 billion years odd of evolution from the first microbes to us.

    We still don’t understand how life arose. Thats one astounding thing about the Universe. ID just can’t handle “we don’t know” as an answer.

  145. idcurious-

    It is obvious that you are a loser and a liar. Dissent? You lies are not dissent. Your intellectual cowardice is not dissent. Your ignorance is not dissent. Your bald assertions and false accusations are not dissent.

  146. 146

    IDC, here are the questions I asked which you continue to avoid. Care to engage?

    - – - – - – - –

    Is meaningful information recorded in DNA by the arrangement of material symbols?

    How is information created?

    Are there any examples of recorded information that were not first the product of perception?

    Is there any information in existence anywhere that is not the product of perception?

    Are there any examples of recorded information that exist without the use of symbolic representation?

    How are symbols created?

    What makes a symbolic representation a symbolic representation?

    How is the symbol-to-object relationship established in a symbol?

    Are there any examples of naturally occurring symbols?

    Is there any distinction between an analog symbol (howl of a wolf) and a digital symbol (morse code)?

    Are the symbols used to record information freely chosen?

    Are there any examples of symbols used to record information which were not freely chosen?

  147. idcurious,

    ID is OK with “wdon’t know”.
    However what tars like you say is “we don’t know but we know it wasn’t designed”.

    Also you don’t have any evidence that microbes can evolve into anything but microbes. Your position is a non-starter.

  148. idcurious:

    Of course it is – if we know who the designer is, or have some way of empirically testing for this designer.

    Don’t need to know the designer and we have ways of empirically testing for this designer.

    Go figure…

  149. Onlookers:

    This is sad.

    IDC, in a context where the explanatory filter and the related metrics of FSCI — already conclusively shown, just being ignored — provide a known reliable means of testing empirical signs for their being sources in the act of design, is still in denial that this reality is there all around him.

    For instance, this post exhibits FSCI.

    Is it most credibly the product of a monkey at keyboard process with a filter for text that lo and behold just pops up something in English and responding to the issue of this thread and sends it out, or intelligence?

    The answer is self-evident.

    DNA exhibits the same FSCI, which we can measure using any of several metrics; the easiest being the X-metric, where DNA for a typical 300 AA protein is about 1,800 functionally specific bits. FSCI of that length (for just one of hundreds of proteins) is credibly beyond the reach of blind chance and necessity on the gamut of our observed cosmos. So, we have every right to conclude on like causes like that DNA is designed. Venter proves that DNA can be designed.

    So, OOL and OO body plans could be explained on a molecular nanotech lab somewhat more advanced than Venter. Or, some other sufficient — intelligent and capable — causal factor.

    Now, too, the observed cosmos is contingent and fine tuned in ways that support the existence of C-chemistry cell based intelligent life.

    That FSCO points to design by a necessary being that is powerful, intelligent, knowledgeable and skilled enough to design and implement a cosmos. This was discussed earlier above. (Strawmannised and dismissed.)

    It is beyond the realm and remit of science to make the connexion, but our “inside” knowledge of designers, suggests that the likely designer of the life we see and experience is the same as the designer of the cosmos, even if the designer may have used programmed laws and conditions, and/or secondary agents to do such in that hypothesied lab.

    But, IDC refuses to acknowledge what is right there all the time, in front of him or her. Sad.

    The case on merits being long since over, talking point objections to the design inference on reliable empirical sign continue apace.

    Doubly sad.

    GEM of TKI

  150. Upright BiPed @ 145

    I’m guessing you are certain of your own answers, but here goes.

    Is meaningful information recorded in DNA by the arrangement of material symbols?

    I’m not sure what you mean by “material symbols”, but information is encoded.

    How is information created?

    Depends on the circumstances.

    Are there any examples of recorded information that were not first the product of perception?

    I’m not sure what you mean by “the product of perception”, but there are fossils, the echos of the big bang, tree rings, C14 in organic matter, etc.

    Is there any information in existence anywhere that is not the product of perception?

    See above?

    Are there any examples of recorded information that exist without the use of symbolic representation?

    See above?

    How are symbols created?

    Some by natural processes including evolution, some by intelligent agnts such as ourselves.

    What makes a symbolic representation a symbolic representation?

    Depends on your definition & use of “symbolic representation”.

    How is the symbol-to-object relationship established in a symbol?

    Ask Noam Chomsky? Ask his detractors?

    Are there any examples of naturally occurring symbols?

    Plants signalling insects through colour and smell?

    Is there any distinction between an analog symbol (howl of a wolf) and a digital symbol (morse code)?

    Encoding and decoding?

    Are the symbols used to record information freely chosen?

    Do plants freely choose their smells and colours? or are these the results of evolution?

    Are there any examples of symbols used to record information which were not freely chosen?

    Does asking the same question over and over get you anywhere? What is this, the Parallax View?

  151. Joseph @ 146

    However what tars like you say is “we don’t know but we know it wasn’t designed”.

    What ID says is that the best explanation is that life was designed. What evolutionary theory asks is by who, when, and how, and if life requires intelligent design, why doesn’t the designer?

    Interesting how you get to hurl abuse, and yet you call for me to be banned.

  152. IDcurious despite your blatant dodge for postulating a reasonable cause for quantum wave collapse, there is actually only one known ‘transcendent’ cause which is sufficient to explain quantum wave collapse to each ‘central observer’ in the universe.

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944)(Of Note: Max Planck was a devout Christian, which is not surprising when you realize practically every, if not every, founder of each major branch of modern science also ‘just so happened’ to have a deep Christian connection.)

    Colossians 1:17
    “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

    IDcurious, instead of dodging the issue perhaps you would like to defend the alternate materialistic ’cause’ for Quantum wave collapse called Many World’s????

    Many-worlds interpretation
    Excerpt: ‘Many-worlds is a postulate of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the reality of wavefunction collapse, which implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real—each representing an actual “world” (or “universe”).’
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....rpretation

    You see how easy that is IDcurious???, you just deny the overwhelming Theistic implications of what happens right before your very eyes by postulating infinite imaginary universes!!! But of course you pay the price of destroying the foundation of science when you do that!!!

    Finely Tuned Big Bang, Elvis In The Multiverse, and the Schroedinger Equation – Granville Sewell – audio
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4233012

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy. This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world. Neither is it the case that “nothing” is unstable, as Mr. Hawking and others maintain. Absolute nothing cannot have mathematical relationships predicated on it, not even quantum gravitational ones. Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.,,, the evidence for string theory and its extension, M-theory, is nonexistent; and the idea that conjoining them demonstrates that we live in a multiverse of bubble universes with different laws and constants is a mathematical fantasy. What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....pologetics

    Further notes:

    This following site offers a more formal refutation of materialism:

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism – By Bruce L Gordon:
    Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.
    http://www.4truth.net/site/c.h.....ialism.htm

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The falsification for local realism (materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

  153. However what tards like you say is “we don’t know but we know it wasn’t designed”.

    idcurious:

    What ID says is that the best explanation is that life was designed.

    You have some inability to respond to what I post.

    But anyway ID supports that claim.

    What evolutionary theory asks is by who, when, and how, and if life requires intelligent design, why doesn’t the designer?

    You are a joke- evolutionary theory doesn’t ask that. Imbeciles ask that.

  154. bornagain77 @ 151

    ID == GodDidIt. Right?

    Joseph @ 152

    LOL.

  155. Onlookers:

    IDC clearly has nothing further of substance to say, and has begun to resort to recirculating atheistical talking points that have long since been corrected, and re-corrected just this morning. (E.g. cf 119 ff above on contingent and necessary beings and cause.)

    He knows, or should know better.

    Sad.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Joseph, I think you need to lower the volume on your tone, please.

  156. IDcurious and exactly what is your ‘sufficient transcendent cause’ to explain universal quantum wave collapse to each ‘central observer’??? Do you choose absurdity over God??? Do you find God so ‘shameful’ to your personal scientific taste as to deny Him his rightful ‘scientific’ due of being the only known sufficient cause for rationally explaining the creation and sustaining of this universe? Perhaps you should more soberly be ashamed of yourself for entertaining such irrationality as to deny Almighty God His rightful place in reality, as well as your heart, in the first place!

    Luke 9:26
    “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

    ,,Many people think that life after death is ‘imaginary’. Yet to suggest ‘imaginary’ denotes that someone thinks that life after death is somehow a ‘non-conformity’ to reality. Yet, there are several lines of evidence that point to the ‘physical’ reality of a ‘higher dimension’ above this 3-Dimensional (3-D) reality;

    Please note how 3-D reality folds and collapses into a tunnel shape, in direction of travel, as the constant for the speed of light is approached, in this following video. Please pay particular attention to the full relativistic effect at the 3:22 minute mark;

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

    Note how the full relativistic effect at the 3:22 mark matches the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ effect noted in many Near Death Experiences, as well as conforms to the tunnel experience Bill Wiese mentioned in the video;

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    As well, please note mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light, because, from our non-speed of light perspective, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for the mass going the speed of light, whereas conversely, if mass could travel at the speed of light its size will stay the same while all other frames of reference not traveling the speed of light will disappear from its sight.

    Special Relativity – Time Dilation and Length Contraction – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSRIyDfo_mY

    As well, please note how special relativity also confirms the reality of a higher ‘eternal’ dimension for time, which is also noted in very many Near Death Experiences;

    ,,, when traveling at the speed of light time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. speed of light travel gets us to the eternal, ‘past and future folding into now’, framework of time. This higher dimension ‘eternal’ inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not ‘frozen within time’ yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    etc.. etc…

  157. 157

    #149

    Aha, you responded! Good for you, (even with some snark for good measure).

    I have a Research Planning meeting to conduct, but will happily return afterwards to respond.

  158. Joseph,

    CSI is Shannon information of a certain complexity and with meaning/ function.

    Sometimes Dembski seems to be discussing a calculation similar to Shannon’s, but at other times he seems to favor Kolmogorov complexity. This is exactly why a rigorous mathematical definition is required.

  159. Joseph,

    Methinks you are lying.

    Methinks you are rude.

    I say that because in NFL Dembski makes it clear that CSI pertains to origins.

    Other ID proponents do not hold your view. I also note that you provide no references to support your claim.

    CSI cannot be expressed by an algorithm.

    You seem to be in agreement with vjtorley but in disagreement with those ID proponents who claim to be able to measure CSI in bits.

    It can be measured in bits. I did it for your example #3. 22 bytes = 176 bits.

    Either there is an algorithm to compute CSI or there is not. Which is it?

  160. kairosfocus,

    Re, MG, 90: The concept of “specified complexity” presented by Orgel is not the same as the concept of “specified complexity” discussed by Dembski. I have said nothing about whether or not Orgel’s concept is coherent or meaningful.

    1 –> In short, MG cannot respond to the meaningfulness and coherence of Orgel’s remarks, or she would condemn herself out of her own mouth.

    Whether or not Orgel’s concept is meaningful has nothing to do with the core point that Orgel’s concept is qualitative while Dembski’s is supposed to be a quantitative metric. They are using the same words but referring to different concepts.

  161. kairosfocus @ 154
    bornagain77 @ 155

    IDC clearly has nothing further of substance to say, and has begun to resort to recirculating atheistical talking points

    This is easier to cut-and-paste than retype from #129:

    Standard evolutionary theory is widely accepted by theistic scientists. They see a bigger picture than you, apparently. There are more signatories to the Clergy Letter Project, accepting evolutionary theory, than there are to any lists of supporters of ID or Creationism.

    Upright BiPed @ 156

    With good humour, rather than snark, I hope… The elephant in the room, of course, is DNA. *If* that arose naturally, that’s game over for your arguments. What I have not seen is any sensible argument of why it didn’t. It’s very easy to raise large numbers to the powers of other large numbers. I certainly don’t rule out “God” from anything. Particular expressions of “God” which are unsupported, maybe…

  162. Mathgrrl,

    Looking back at my posts, I think I do owe you an apology. I criticised you for not understanding when I probably was not understanding you very well. Kind of hypocritcal of me. Anyway, sorry.

  163. IDcurious, appealing to consensus to defend the indefensible???

    ‘Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

    “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.,,, – Michael Crichton,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13351.html

  164. MG:

    Please, quantities attach to qualities. Dembski, as was said form the outset — and indeed as is in the WAC 27 — provided a model and metric for the property of living systems that Orgel recognised.

    A property that is closely correlated to information, and to functionally specific organisation. One that is commonplace in engineered systems and other contexts where intelligent agents create things that bear functional information.

    In addition, the metric he provided boils down to the same Hartley log probability metric that Shannon based hos work on.

    The main difference, mathematically is that Shannon was looking at average info per symbol, which he calculated as a weighted average:

    H = – [SUM on i] pi* log(pi)

    Shannon then went on to use this to talk on the carrying capacity of channels that are noisy, on signal to power ratio. (This BTW has in it an implicit inference to the recognisable distinctiveness of meaningful, coded and/or modulated signals as opposed to meaningless noise. That is, an intuitive, pre-theoretic inference to design.)

    Dembski’s work builds on the Hartley info metric, and is capable of providing a model and measure that allows the distinction signal noise to be based on a measure and/or calculation. Specifically, he applied a complexity threshold thusly:

    CHI = – log2(2^398*D2*p)

    Where p is of course a probability metric on a config space of possible signals, only those from a relevant — and independently describable [one role that K-compressibility plays] — target zone being meaningful or significant or functional or possessing whatever salient feature of interest.

    Transforming on Hartley where Ip = – log(p):

    CHI = Ip – (398 + K2), in bits.

    That is, we take a relevant information metric, and look for how many bits we are beyond a threshold set by 10^120 – 10^150 possibilities, which is considerably in excess of the number of quantum states of he atoms of our solar system to date [~ 10^102].

    VJT’s CSI-lite varies by simply going up to the effective limit on the threshold of 10^150 possibilities, or 500 bits.

    My own simple brute force X-metric uses 1/0 state dummy variables as multipliers on contingent complexity beyond the threshold of 1,000 bits, and observed functional or similar specificity — both of which are eminently and fairly easily observable — then multiplies by the number of bits in the relevant functional entity:

    X = C*S*B, in functionally specific bits

    The threshold of 1,000 bits is sufficient that no search on the scope of our cosmos is capable of being above effectively a practical zero fraction of the config space. It turns out that this is a glorified, more focussed version of the common metric of bits on working files on PCs, CDs etc.

    Durston et al, as was pointed out earlier today at 127, are doing much the same, identifying hot zones of function on studying variability of protein family AA sequences across the living world and estimating a metric on Shannon’s H on moving from a ground state to a functional one.

    Citing and highlighting their words:

    Consider that there are usually only 20 different amino acids possible per site for proteins, Eqn. (6) can be used to calculate a maximum Fit value/protein amino acid site of 4.32 Fits/site [NB: Log2 (20) = 4.32]. We use the formula log (20) – H(Xf) to calculate the functional information at a site specified by the variable Xf such that Xf corresponds to the aligned amino acids of each sequence with the same molecular function f. The measured FSC for the whole protein is then calculated as the summation of that for all aligned sites. The number of Fits quantifies the degree of algorithmic challenge, in terms of probability [info and probability are closely related], in achieving needed metabolic function. For example, if we find that the Ribosomal S12 protein family has a Fit value of 379, we can use the equations presented thus far to predict that there are about 10^49 different 121-residue sequences that could fall into the Ribsomal S12 family of proteins, resulting in an evolutionary search target of approximately 10^-106 percent of 121-residue sequence space. In general, the higher the Fit value, the more functional information is required to encode the particular function in order to find it in sequence space. A high Fit value for individual sites within a protein indicates sites that require a high degree of functional information. High Fit values may also point to the key structural or binding sites within the overall 3-D structure.

    In short the Durston approach is about he same islands of function approach, and it is looking at the challenge to get to these islands by chance dominated mechanisms in possibilities space. The key differences being that they have not assigned a specific threshold of complexity, and that hey are using a particular metric based on observed sequence variability of protein families. Such methods fit in the wider approach of Dembski.

    There is no wedge of separation and conflict between Durston et al and Dembski. And, that means that the 35 published FSC values in fits are relevant to an understanding of the meaningfulness and utility of the CSI concept and its metrics.

    Just as, Dembski’s provision of a model and metric does not invalidate but instead builds on Orgel’s work. Your attempt to drive a conceptual wedge between Dembski and Orgel-Wicken fails also.

    We see that CSI is conceptually meaningful, relevant to many domains of interest, and is amenable to modelling and provision of metrics in various ways. To measure for CSI by assigning a probability in sequence possibility space and taking the neg log, then subtracting a threshold or reasonable complexity is plainly reasonable and effective.

    We may want to debate the precise threshold [notice how I use 1,000 bits], but there is no doubt that in all cases where we could assign a probability and convert into info, or simply provide a direct info metric in bits and subtract Dembski’s threshold, even at the 400 bit level, items that pass that metric invariably prove to be designed if we directly know their provenance.

    In short, your challenge to the meaningfulness and mathematical soundness of the general or specific Dembski approach, collapses.

    GEM of TKI

  165. I say that because in NFL Dembski makes it clear that CSI pertains to origins.

    MathGrrl:

    Other ID proponents do not hold your view. I also note that you provide no references to support your claim.

    What other ID proponents do not hold that PoV?

    And I provided the quotes from “No Free Lunch”. You ignored them. I provided other sources too. You ignored those also.

    What else can I do?

    It can be measured in bits. I did it for your example #3. 22 bytes = 176 bits.

    Either there is an algorithm to compute CSI or there is not. Which is it?

    There is a difference between that ad what I said.

    There isn’t any algorithm for “meaning” and “function”.

    BTW you are welcome- I answered oneo your “examples”.

  166. CSI is Shannon information of a certain complexity and with meaning/ function.

    Sometimes Dembski seems to be discussing a calculation similar to Shannon’s, but at other times he seems to favor Kolmogorov complexity. This is exactly why a rigorous mathematical definition is required.

    CSI is a specified subset of Shannon information. Kolmogorov does say someting about complexity.

    I would say they can be used together.

  167. F/N: Onlookers, sadly IDC is still recirculating already answered talking points.

    No authority is better than his or her — or their collective facts, reasoning and assumptions. So, look above at 123 and see the problem of a priori imposition of materialism, and how it objectively corrupts the credibility of origins science.

    To the point where the very definition of science is demonstrably being warped by materialistic ideology — cf the citations from the US NAS and NSTA! — and where careers are being damaged.

    To the point where in the most recent headlined case, U of K had to pay US$ 125,000 in settlement to Gaskell.

    In that context, citing an alleged consensus is irrelevant. Plain and established facts have already spoken, and not good news.

    We all have a job to do to reform the practice and understanding of science and science education.

    GEM of TKI

  168. bornagain77 @ 162

    IDcurious, appealing to consensus to defend the indefensible???

    You are telling me that rejecting ID is rejecting God. Many Christians say otherwise. Are you saying they are not real Christians?

    kairosfocus @ 166

    To the point where in the most recent headlined case, U of K had to pay US$ 125,000 in settlement to Gaskell.

    Gaskell believes the Bible is the absolute authority over the truth. Is that the ID official position?

    Didn’t our very own Dr. Dembski recently have a run in with the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary over the age of the earth?

  169. Onlookers: IDC continues with blame the victim enabling of career busting.

  170. He is also insistent on the design theory is creationism talking point smear, regardless of having already been corrected.

  171. Joseph:

    Do you seriously mean that there is someone claiming that CSI is not an origins related issue?

    Why then is it that it is the Darwinist establishment who are leading eh charge against the concept and its metrics?

    “Watch what me do, nuh what me say . . .”

    GEM of TKI

  172. kairosfocus,

    MathGrrl claims that CSI is not an origins related issue. ot only that she also claims to have read “No Free Lunch”, the book that makes it clear CSI is an origins related issue.

  173. J:

    Really . . . ?

    H’mm, let us observe Orgel’s context again:

    . . . In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [[The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189.]

    a: Now, Orgel was . . . an origin of life researcher.

    b: So, his CSI concept, in a book of that title –OOL — was therefore in a discussion of . . . OOL.

    c: So from the outset, CSI is a pattern then a metric linked to the distinguishing features of cell based life that mark it out form granite rocks, tars in test tubes, and crystals.

    d: Wouldn’t that distinction be particularly key in an OOl context?

    e: Going beyond, when life gets more complex, what happens? Let’s hear Meyer in that PBSW paper that NCSE orchestrated the hounding of Sternberg over:

    The Cambrian explosion represents a remarkable jump in the specified complexity or “complex specified information” (CSI) of the biological world . . . One way to estimate the amount of new CSI that appeared with the Cambrian animals is to count the number of new cell types that emerged with them (Valentine 1995:91-93) . . . the more complex animals that appeared in the Cambrian (e.g., arthropods) would have required fifty or more cell types . . . New cell types require many new and specialized proteins. New proteins, in turn, require new genetic information. Thus an increase in the number of cell types implies (at a minimum) a considerable increase in the amount of specified genetic information. Molecular biologists have recently estimated that a minimally complex single-celled organism would require between 318 and 562 kilobase pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life (Koonin 2000). More complex single cells might require upward of a million base pairs. Yet to build the proteins necessary to sustain a complex arthropod such as a trilobite would require orders of magnitude more coding instructions. The genome size of a modern arthropod, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, is approximately 180 million base pairs (Gerhart & Kirschner 1997:121, Adams et al. 2000). Transitions from a single cell to colonies of cells to complex animals represent significant (and, in principle, measurable) increases in CSI . . .

    f: CSI involved in origin of body plans. Nah, can’t be serious . . .

    g: CSI having a measurable increase in that context. Nah, he didn’t really mean that . . .

    h: And of course Dembski’s calculation for the flagellum is in an origins context . . .

    ____________

    I guess we can’t believe our lying eyes.

    After all CSI is NOT about the origin of life or species etc!!

    Indeed, it is not even a meaningful concept!!!

    No mathematical definitions anywhere to be found . . .

    CSI = -log2(2^398*D2*p)

    CSI = Ip – (398 + K2), bits beyond a threshold

    Nah, meaningless.

    GEM of TKI

  174. F/N: No Free Lunch Google Preview cover page.

  175. F/N 2: NFL as just linked, pp. 144 & 148:

    144: “. . . since a universal probability bound of 1 in 10^150 corresponds to a universal complexity bound of 500 bits of information, (T, E) constitutes CSI because T [i.e. "conceptual information," effectively the target hot zone in the field of possibilities] subsumes E [i.e. "physical information," effectively the observed event from that field], T is detachable from E, and and T measures at least 500 bits of information . . . ”

    148: “The great myth of contemporary evolutionary biology is that the information needed to explain complex biological structures can be purchased without intelligence. My aim throughout this book is to dispel that myth . . . . Eigen and his colleagues must have something else in mind besides information simpliciter when they describe the origin of information as the central problem of biology.

    I submit that what they have in mind is specified complexity, or what equivalently we have been calling in this Chapter Complex Specified information or CSI . . . .

    Biological specification always refers to function . . . In virtue of their function [a living organism's subsystems] embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the sense required by the complexity-specificity criterion . . . the specification can be cashed out in any number of ways . . . “

    Here we see all the suspects together caught in the very act.

    Let us line up our suspects:

    1: CSI,

    2: events from target zones in wider config spaces,

    3: joint complexity-specification criteria,

    4: 500-bit thresholds of complexity,

    5: functionality as a possible objective specification

    6: biofunction as specification,

    7: origin of CSI as the key problem of both origin of life [Eigen's focus] and Evolution, origin of body plans and species etc.

    8: equivalence of CSI and complex specification.

    Rap, rap, rap!

    “How do you all plead?”

    “Guilty as charged, with explanation your honour. We were all busy trying to address the scientific origin of biological information, on the characteristic of complex functional specificity. We were not trying to impose a right wing theocratic tyranny nor to smuggle creationism in the back door of the schoolroom your honour.”

    “Guilty!”

    “Throw the book at them!”

    CRASH!

    GEM of TKI

  176. IDcurious, you appeal to consensus to defend the indefensible, then you appeal to the fact that some Christians have been duped to say that Christians can believe in evolution??? And since when does any of that have to do with the science of Quantum Mechanics??? Since you brought quantum mechanics up,, I asked you a straightforward question as to a rational cause for universal quantum wave to each ‘central observer’. A cause that does not dissolve into absurdity. And what do you do??? You dodge the issue entirely and appeal to consensus for Darwinian evolution!! If I wanted to know about consensus, I would have asked you!!! Please address the issue of why you personally would rather believe in absurdity than believe in God!!!!

    ,,, But to bring this home for you, since I very much doubt you will answer the universal quantum wave collapse question honestly, It is found that ‘quantum information/entanglement’ resides in molecular biology on a massive scale;

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA & Protein Folding – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    ,,, yet quantum entanglement/information cannot be reduced to a materialistic basis;

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The falsification for local realism (materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    ,,, Thus Idcurious since material particles cannot be the cause of quantum information/entanglement in molecular biology, and Darwinian evolution is based on the materialistic framework, please tell me what the cause is for quantum entanglement/information in molecular biology??? You get one guess!

  177. kairosfocus @ 175: “We were not trying to… smuggle creationism in the back door of the schoolroom…”

    vs.

    bornagain77 @ 176: “Please address the issue of why you personally would rather believe in absurdity than believe in God!!!!”

    vs.

    Uncommon Descent FAQ: “Ultimately, there can really be only one final cause of the cosmos.”

    bornagain77 @ 176

    please tell me what the cause is for quantum entanglement/information in molecular biology??? You get one guess!

    Is it Jesus?

    kairosfocus @ 175: For all your re-hashing the same things you’ve said over and over, I can’t see where you’ve addressed the point that your stated model of evolution is clearly wrong – since it does not address (among other things) the input of the environment on your search landscape, and incremental information gains over immense periods of time?

  178. IDcurious, you stated this answer;

    Is it Jesus?

    ,,to this question,,

    please tell me what the cause is for quantum entanglement/information in molecular biology??? You get one guess!

    ,,,,I can’t believe you actually got the question right,, and as absurd as it may seem to you and as much as you may mock it, the major Theistic postulate for non-reducible ‘transcendent information’ being foundational to the universe, and even to all life in the universe, is found in the New Testament in John 1:1-5. The postulate is not found in the Old Testament, nor is found in any other holy book of any other religion that I am aware of! and It certainly is not a materialistic postulate!

    John 1:1-5
    ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

    ,,, Yet IDcurious, you may say, so what, so the New Testament got the postulate right for transcendent information being foundational to life, that still doesn’t ‘scientifically’ prove that Jesus created life. And so it doesn’t, yet, but quantum entanglement/information in molecular biology at least puts the ball firmly in the ‘Theistic park’ since only Theism offers a rational ‘transcendent cause’ with the sufficiency to explain the effect in question. All other proposed causes dissolve into absurdity. Here is a example of the ‘absurdity’ that a ‘non-reductive’ materialist may postulate:

    I like this following paper for though it is materialistic in its outlook at least Dr. Eugene Koonin, unlike many materialists, is brutally honest with the genetic evidence we now have.

    The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution – Eugene V Koonin – Background:
    “Major transitions in biological evolution show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity. The relationships between major groups within an emergent new class of biological entities are hard to decipher and do not seem to fit the tree pattern that, following Darwin’s original proposal, remains the dominant description of biological evolution. The cases in point include the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of viruses; archaea and bacteria, and the principal lineages within each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla. In each of these pivotal nexuses in life’s history, the principal “types” seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization. No intermediate “grades” or intermediate forms between different types are detectable;
    http://www.biology-direct.com/content/2/1/21

    Biological Big Bangs – Origin Of Life and Cambrian – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4284466

    It should be noted that Dr. Koonin tries to account for the origination of the massive amounts of functional information, required for the Cambrian Explosion, and other ‘explosions’, by trying to access an ‘unelucidated and undirected’ mechanism of Quantum Mechanics called ‘Many Worlds’. Besides Dr. Koonin ignoring the fact that Quantum Events, on a whole, are strictly restricted to the transcendent universal laws/constants of the universe, including and especially the second law of thermodynamics, for as far back in time in the universe as we can ‘observe’, it is also fair to note, in criticism to Dr. Koonin’s scenario, that appealing to the undirected infinite probabilistic resource, of the quantum mechanics of the Many Worlds scenario, actually greatly increases the amount of totally chaotic information one would expect to see generated ‘randomly’ in the fossil record. In fact the Many Worlds scenario actually greatly increases the likelihood we would witness total chaos surrounding us as the following points out:

    The Many Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, that Koonin has used in his paper, is in fact derived because of the inability of ‘materialistic scientists to find adequate causation for quantum wave collapse (adequate causation that did not involve God!):

    Quantum mechanics
    Excerpt: The Everett many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[39] This is not accomplished by introducing some new axiom to quantum mechanics, but on the contrary by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

    Perhaps some may say Everett’s Many Worlds in not absurd, if so,, then in some other parallel universe, where Elvis happens to now be president of the United states, they actually do think that the Many Worlds conjecture is absurd,, and that type of ‘flexible thinking’ I find to be completely absurd!!! And that one ‘Elvis’ example from Many Worlds is just small potatoes to the levels of absurdity that we could draw out if Many Worlds were actually true.

    The Absurdity Of The Many Worlds Hypothesis – William Lane Craig – Last 5 minutes of this video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784630

    etc.. etc..

    IDcurious, perhaps you feel science is won by popularity, as I seen you argue ‘popularity’ as if doing so establishes your theory as true, but as far as the evidence is concerned, the warrant for ‘transcendent’ design in life is growing far stronger than it has ever been!

  179. Onlookers:

    The biggie being forgotten– as usual – above, is that before you can evolve you have to get first life. And before you can evolve on a new body plan, it has to originate and survive the embryonic stages.

    Until you get to islands of function, including the first one, you cannot go anywhere within the islands.

    And the threshold of unsearchably large spaces starts at at most 1,000 bits worth of functionally specific information. Way too small for biology: First life 100 + bits, new body plans 10 mn + bits.

    So, the ideas of fitting into lovely new niches in environments that are themselves evolving, falls apart on the need to first get to the shores of islands where there are such environments.

    So, observe this one thing: the ONLY observed examples of evolution that are seen are micro-cases, well within the thresholds, and also macro evo is a massive extrapolation from what is seen.

    First get to your island before speaking of hill climbing on it, or suggesting how the landscape can be reshaped by quakes or even inhabitants.

    GEM of TKI

    GEM of TKI

  180. OOPS: First life 100+ k bits.

  181. 181

    IDC,

    I read through your responses. It is clear that you and I are sufficiently far apart that it would be easier to just take a bite out of the center than trying to go point by point.

    Allow me to post this one response, and you can choose if you wish to comment further.

    You indicate that you think information is “in” material things…like tree rings, carbon atoms, etc. I therefore have a fundamental disagreement with you. There is no information contained in these things. Information is not in the things of the universe, it is about those things instead. When I come across persons who hold your view, I generally attempt to make the distinction between information and matter. There is no information inside an atom of carbon. An atom of carbon contains a certain number of protons, electrons, and neutrons – but there are no particles of information. The information we have of carbon came about from our perception of it, and from nowhere else.

    A recent visitor here thought I’d lost my mind if I did not agree with him that a simple clock created information. I reminded him that a clock was just a device that rotated a needle around a dial with markings on it. I asked him to consider a thought experiment: if I were to glance at the clock and tell myself it was three o’clock – but was mistaken in that it was only two o’clock – would he then say that the clock created misinformation, or was it I?

    Obviously, this is a simple observations of the macro world, but it begins a chain of reasoning which easily continues through the remaining topics I had asked about earlier. I believe these general observations are supported by the observable evidcence, but I certainly struggle with some of them.

    In any case, I’ll stop here. You are welcome to respond if you see fit.

  182. 182

    If information is in all material things, then there is just as much information on an empty hard drive as on one full of encyclopedias. The concept of information is rendered meaningless.
    Consider the following sentence: The moon is made of green cheese. The sentence is information. Does it exist separately from matter, or is the moon actually made of green cheese?

  183. 183

    If matter and the information that describe it are one and the same, then why do we need weather reports? The weather already exists.
    If tree rings are information, then what is accomplished by counting them? What do we have after we count them that we didn’t have before?
    If information is contained in the properties of matter, observed or not, than can information be wrong? How can information describe future and past states if those states do not exist?
    What is the etymology of the word “information?”

  184. kairosfocus @ 179

    Apologies – I had meant to refer to your calculations on the origins of life, rather than to evolution. In the same way, you look at probabilities without any regard to then environments in which life arose, and incremental increases in information.

    So, observe this one thing: the ONLY observed examples of evolution that are seen are micro-cases, well within the thresholds, and also macro evo is a massive extrapolation from what is seen.

    Case in point. In 15,000 years we’ve seen evolution from wolves to great danes & chihuahuas. Maelestes is thought to to be like the common ancestor of cats & dogs, and lived around 71-75 million years ago. Your complaint appears to be that we haven’t “observed” events which took tens of millions of years.

    Thanks for your shorter post, btw.

  185. ScottAndrews @ 182

    If information is in all material things, then there is just as much information on an empty hard drive as on one full of encyclopedias. The concept of information is rendered meaningless.

    Not at all. See my reply to Upright BiPed below.

  186. Upright BiPed @ 181

    You indicate that you think information is “in” material things… like tree rings, carbon atoms, etc. I therefore have a fundamental disagreement with you.

    Information can clearly be in material things. Yes, something is required to process that information for it to be meaningful – but that something need not be a conscious entity. Look at how plants or proteins or molecules in dna process information. No “intelligence” is required. Just some way of reacting to inputs from the environment.

    I believe these general observations are supported by the observable evidcence, but I certainly struggle with some of them.

    Humility. What a wonderful thing to see. Despite our spats, Upright BiPed, I salute you. Thanks for an interesting discussion.

  187. bornagain77 @ 178

    The postulate is not found in the Old Testament, nor is found in any other holy book of any other religion that I am aware of! and It certainly is not a materialistic postulate!

    The concept came into Judaism and then Christianity from the Stoics and earlier Greek philosophy.

    BTW, didn’t you get the memo? ID isn’t meant to be religious. Supposedly…

  188. Onlookers:

    IDC continues to circulate already answered talking points.

    He cites the Dog-wolf species and its variations as examples of evolution. this is in the main evolution by ARTIFICIAL selection — thus DESIGN, and it is of course yet another case of microevo within an island of function.

    As to the idea that islands of function have varying topography ion their fitness landscapes, so do real islands. In NFL, if MG and IDC had read it, they would have seen that Dembski speaks of just such variability. But moving around in such an island, before and after an earth quake or the like, or before and after a major earth moving project so to speak, is entirely different form finding the shores of such an island.

    Microevo within an island of function, on variations well within the search space challenge, are utterly distinct form the required leaps in functional information to find the shores of such islands in the wider — mostly non-functional — config spaces.

    This latest tanked up talking point from the fever swamps and spread everywhere by the cloud of propagators, crashes in flames, as misdirected and strawmannish.

    GEM of TKI

  189. F/N: Cf more detailed discussion here. (Observe the OP too, especially the cite from NFL on just what CSI is about and where it comes from..)

  190. F/N 2: Observe how MG et al seem to be heading for the tall grass on the issue of quantification, significance/meaningfulness and relationships of the Dembski metric relative to Orgel, Durston etc.

  191. idcurious:

    In 15,000 years we’ve seen evolution from wolves to great danes & chihuahuas.

    That is false. Artificial selection is not evolution. Evolutin is non-telic and artificial selection is telic.

    Look at how plants or proteins or molecules in dna process information. No “intelligence” is required.

    Nice bald assrtion.

  192. Collin,

    Looking back at my posts, I think I do owe you an apology. I criticised you for not understanding when I probably was not understanding you very well. Kind of hypocritcal of me. Anyway, sorry.

    Your apology is greatly appreciated, but unnecessary. I’ve been enjoying our conversation immensely and hope it continues. My skin is thick enough for a little rhetorical rough-and-tumble. ;-)

  193. kairosfocus,

    Durston et al, as was pointed out earlier today at 127, are doing much the same, identifying hot zones of function on studying variability of protein family AA sequences across the living world and estimating a metric on Shannon’s H on moving from a ground state to a functional one.

    If Durston’s metric is actually the same as Dembski’s (or a “subset” thereof, whatever that means), you should be able to demonstrate that mathematically. Either compare the two and demonstrate a transformation from one to the other or show how applying Durston’s metric and Dembski’s metric to the same systems results in the same answer, consistently.

  194. Joseph,

    I say that because in NFL Dembski makes it clear that CSI pertains to origins.

    MathGrrl:

    Other ID proponents do not hold your view. I also note that you provide no references to support your claim.

    What other ID proponents do not hold that PoV?

    All of those who claim to be able to calculate CSI for biological and other systems.

    Just to be sure that we’re not talking past each other here, what exactly do you mean when you say that CSI “pertains to origins”? Are you saying that it can only be calculated for origin of life scenarios? Are you saying that evolutionary mechanisms can move CSI from the environment into biological systems? I’m not sure what the consequences of your claim are.

  195. MathGrrl,

    You are grasping. Srange how you cannot support your claim yet I have supported mine.

    You have said you have read “No Free Lunch”, yet that book makes it clear CSI pertains to origins- ie inception(s). There is even an entire section devoted to that very topic.

    Now I have provided the references. OTOH you have provided exactly nothing.

    Now you continue to equivocate:

    Are you saying that evolutionary mechanisms can move CSI from the environment into biological systems?

    Agan your use of “evolutionary mechanisms” is meaningless for the reasons already provided.

  196. MG 193: Answered in the CSI newsflash thread, here. MG needs to have paid attention tothe highlighted excerpt from Durston that clearly shows what his metric is doing and how it fits with CSI. Snipping:

    The number of Fits quantifies the degree of algorithmic challenge, in terms of probability [info and probability are closely related], in achieving needed metabolic function. For example, if we find that the Ribosomal S12 protein family has a Fit value of 379, we can use the equations presented thus far to predict that there are about 10^49 different 121-residue sequences that could fall into the Ribsomal S12 family of proteins, resulting in an evolutionary search target of approximately 10^-106 percent of 121-residue sequence space. In general, the higher the Fit value, the more functional information is required to encode the particular function in order to find it in sequence space. A high Fit value for individual sites within a protein indicates sites that require a high degree of functional information.

    Durston and Dembski are consistent and mutually supportive, indeed, if you put in a Durston fites metric beyond 500 or so bits, you will get teh CSI answer,. Durston’s H is allowing an estimate of the protein target zone on empirical investigation, and thence a probability and information complexity threshold estimate.

    GEM of TKI

  197. 197

    Yes, something is required to process that information for it to be meaningful – but that something need not be a conscious entity. Look at how plants or proteins or molecules in dna process information.

    It takes children years to learn how to read and write, and they need to be taught how. Most never invent their own language. Yet we credit molecules with doing all three unassisted? Without hard evidence, why should a reasoning person not immediately abandon this line of speculation? (The answer is not when a better theory is offered. Unicorns are a better theory.)
    The existence of machines that process information does not explain the origin of the information. If anything it reminds us that no explanation has been provided.

  198. SA:

    Very well said!

    GEM of TKI

  199. And idcurious,

    Natural processes only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for it origin, which science says it had.

  200. 200

    Because we see this process all over nature, in DNA, plants, animals, everywhere… What do you think individually teaches these billions of entities to process information?

    That’s begging the question if I’ve ever heard it. It arose naturally because it exists. Brilliant. It certainly narrows the field to one foregone conclusion. I don’t think you realize how this short-circuits any attempt to reason or consider the evidence.

  201. Just passing through. No time to chat at the moment. Just wanted to mention that my screensaver is evidence that law+chance absent intelligence can, given enough time (usually 5 min.), generate patterns we would normally attribute to intelligence. My screensaver does not require intelligent intervention in its operation. Quite the opposite in fact, since it requires the *absence* of intervention in order to operate. Isn’t it amazing what law+chance absent intelligence can generate!!!!!!

    You IDiots so lack the ability to reason!

    Oh, and I don’t care that CSI has been calculated for a few different scenarios as examples for MathGrrl to apply to her own scenarios, if IDers refuse to do MathGrrls examples since preliminary calculations show that they wouldn’t amount to having a positive value of CSI or because of the inherent difficulty and lack of information for at least one of them, then it’s obvious that CSI isn’t rigorous in any mathematical sense. I mean, it’s also obvious that Shannon Information has no rigorous definition since MathGrrl hasn’t provided a calculation of the difference in Shannon Information between the Taj Mahal and the CN Tower.

    I hope that those who have seen me around here before have noticed the sacrcasm in the above statements.

    I should be back to commenting next week after Finals. Hopefully MathGrrl will still be around since I have unfinished business to discuss referencing my last comments.

    My last comment.

    MathGrrls response.

    I will briefly note that onlookers can go through the thread that is being referenced in those comments to see if there is any question referrencing my explanation of CSI (which is identical to KF’s explanation so far as I can tell) and my calculation of CSI in Titin that I did not answer, especially as it pertains to the math involved, which is one thing that MathGrrl has specifically been asking for (and has been given over and over again).

  202. 202

    As I’ve lurked on these threads, I marvel at the energy expended to combat irrationality with reason. It reminds me of my crazy uncle Bob.
    Bob: I’m I leopard, no doubt about it.
    Me: No, you’re human.
    Bob: Prove it.
    Me: No one’s ever seen a hairless pink leopard that talks. You look more like me than a leopard.
    Bob: If you’re so certain that I’m human, define human. Rigorously.
    Me: Umm… stands on two legs…shares certain genes…
    Bob. Aha! You can’t even rigorously define human! How can you possibly tell me that I’m not a leopard?

    Finally I realized that uncle Bob has had all the evidence he needed all along. He just really wants to believe that he’s a leopard, and he won’t be convinced otherwise. Or he’s insane.

  203. F/N: With client, dog breeding etc is not on mutuations in the main, but on genetic variation from the impqct of multiple genes on characteristics. So there tend to be hard limits on how much variation is possible. The species isw a fuzzy category, as I noted on red deer, American type Elks and various relatives. In NZ, red deer and elks are interbreeding even though the elks were recently categorised as different species. Family — e.g. dogs, cats, etc — is probably on the whole closest to the “kind” in Genesis.

  204. idcurious:

    There are 35 species of wild canids. Do you think Noah had two each of all 35 on his Ark, or do you think that these species came from common ancestors?

    That doesn’t address what I said- I was talking about the different dog breeds.

    How do you know they are really different species?

    They most arose from a population that had the information for that diversity already in it.

    2- The bald assertion is saying that nature can do something given enough time

    There is overwhelming evidence from multiple sources that evolution occurred.

    Stop with the equivocation. ID is not anti-evolution.

    It is you who is saying something magical was needed to make that happen.

    Your position relies on magical mystery mutations- You don’t have any other possible mechanism.

    So once the DNA programme is up and running, you think evolution takes its course.

    What does that even mean? Evolution doesn’t have a course beyond survive and reproduce and directed mutations via built-in responses to environmental cues would be the course.

    Except – wait – you think one species cannot evolve into another.

    Liar. I said the different dog breeds wouldn’t exist without artificial selection.

    Natural processes only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for it origin, which science says it had.

    You exist in nature, but you think you didn’t have a natural origin?

    Another swing and miss. You are just clueless.

    Nature, operating freely did not produce me, so no, there isn’t any evidence that any organism had a natural origin.

    If, as the science says, only organisms can make other organisms, then it is artificial- we are all artifacts of the original populations.

  205. 205

    No, Scott, it’s simply the best explanation for the evidence.

    I’m not saying that it’s not the best explanation. I’m saying that the explanation doesn’t exist. No one has yet said, ‘We have scientifically determined that it happened like this.’ Sometimes speculation can provide the best answer, but not without some shred of historical basis. Sorry if I won’t kneel at the altar.

    You need to explain how this “intelligent designer” would not itself require “intelligent design”.

    There is no explanation of anything that doesn’t face the problem of infinite regression. Or have you figured out where it all started?

    as the great numbers of scientists and Theologians who support Theistic Evolution show.

    Theologians are useless at best. Why should I care what they think?

    I ask again: What do you think individually teaches these billions of entities to process information? Unicorns?

    I believe that, as in the case of all information-processing machines of known origin, they were designed.
    I know you’re trying to get me to say that because the very words amuse you. But you believe that the best explanation is something that no one has ever seen or even theorized in detail. And your clear disdain for the reasonable inference of design suggests that your death grip on the Darwinian fairy tale is more emotional than intellectual.
    Inferring design isn’t as material as looking at microbes under a microscope. It leaves a lot of questions. But it’s a whole lot more scientific than just making stuff up.

  206. Joseph @ 208:

    Stop with the equivocation. ID is not anti-evolution.

    And yet this thread is rife with comments saying that evolution and/or the emergence of life is scientifically impossible.

    Please, please tell me your preferred explanation.

    Did the “intelligent designer” intervene at every speciation event? Or did it pre-programme genetic variation to allow speciation events through “front loading”? Or was it something else?

    What’s your evidence to suggest your explanation is better than that accepted by the overwhelming majority of life scientists, Christian and otherwise?

    Your position relies on magical mystery mutations- You don’t have any other possible mechanism.

    Ya know, Joseph, it’s all very well to say you disagree with science… But you really should show that you have the first clue what science says beforehand.

    Liar. I said the different dog breeds wouldn’t exist without artificial selection.

    Wow. And you call for *me* to be banned.

    Wild canids range from 4 pound north american swift foxes to 120 pound great wolfs. Where was the artificial selection involved in differentiating between these animals?

    Nature, operating freely did not produce me, so no, there isn’t any evidence that any organism had a natural origin.

    Did nature, operating freely, produce my cat Stanley? Or is the word “freely” in your sentence just gibberish?

    If, as the science says, only organisms can make other organisms, then it is artificial- we are all artifacts of the original populations.

    Was the original population artificial? Was whatever created the original populations artificial? How far back do you go? Or is it artificial turtles all the way down?

    Scientists overwhelmingly believe that life arse somehow from non-life, despite not knowing how it happened. Could it be (as with just about everything else) that you don’t understand what they are actually saying?

  207. ScottAndrews @ 209

    …Sometimes speculation can provide the best answer, but not without some shred of historical basis. Sorry if I won’t kneel at the altar.

    The earliest rocks show no evidence of life. Then we have evidence of life. Then the fossil record shows an enormous variety of life. We have ample evidence that evolution happened. Even Joseph agrees…

    What is your alternative explanation, exactly?

    There is no explanation of anything that doesn’t face the problem of infinite regression. Or have you figured out where it all started?

    We don’t need to know “where it all started” to understand to some extent at least what happened afterwards. It is ID that insists life required an “intelligent designer” which itself did not require “intelligent design”.

    Inferring design isn’t as material as looking at microbes under a microscope. It leaves a lot of questions. But it’s a whole lot more scientific than just making stuff up.

    If the intelligent designer did not require an intelligent designer, why does life?

  208. idcurious:

    And yet this thread is rife with comments saying that evolution and/or the emergence of life is scientifically impossible.

    I don’t see any of that.

    Please, please tell me your preferred explanation.

    So you are admitting total ignorance of ID?

    Did the “intelligent designer” intervene at every speciation event? Or did it pre-programme genetic variation to allow speciation events through “front loading”? Or was it something else?

    Umm that is what science is for- to help us answer those questions. Thanks for proving ID is not a dead-end.

    Right now we have the evidence that living organisms are the result of intentional design.

    What’s your evidence to suggest your explanation is better than that accepted by the overwhelming majority of life scientists, Christian and otherwise?

    1- If “they” had the evidence to support “their” position(s) I would most likely be one of “them”

    2- The evidence is as already presented

    Liar. I said the different dog breeds wouldn’t exist without artificial selection.

    Wow. And you call for *me* to be banned.

    Wild canids range from 4 pound north american swift foxes to 120 pound great wolfs. Where was the artificial selection involved in differentiating between these animals?

    Wow, indeed- different dog breeds- stay focused.

    Nature, operating freely did not produce me, so no, there isn’t any evidence that any organism had a natural origin.

    Did nature, operating freely, produce my cat Stanley?

    The cat’s parents produced your cat.

    Was the original population artificial?

    That is what the evidence says.

    Scientists overwhelmingly believe that life arse somehow from non-life, despite not knowing how it happened.

    Do they?

    Anthony Flew and many others used to think so but no longer do. Methinks you are making it up.

    (I will check out your link later- no time now)

  209. 209

    Scientists overwhelmingly believe that life arse somehow from non-life, despite not knowing how it happened.

    Bad news – poor uncle Bob has died. I had to go identify him.
    Me: How did he die?
    Coroner: He was murdered!
    Me: How do you know?
    Coroner: It’s the best possible explanation. How else would he have died?
    Me: But surely you must have some evidence.
    Coroner: (Rolling his eyes) Fine. I’m certain that he was murdered because he was either shot, stabbed, poisoned, or killed in some yet unknown way, or some combination of all of the above. But we don’t need to know any of the specifics to know that it was murder. That’s the scientific conclusion.
    Me: Did you investigate any other possibilities?
    Coroner: No.
    Me: But that doesn’t make sense. If you don’t know that any one of them specifically happened or what part of the body it happened to, then how can you rush to the conclusion that he was murdered? Come to think of it, hasn’t this office concluded murder for every single death in the past 150 years?
    Coroner: What do you think it was, a unicorn? Why do you keep questioning science?

  210. Joseph @ 212

    Shall we try to be civil?

    I don’t see any of that.

    I had understood you to be saying that mutations leading to evolution between species must be “magical”?

    Right now we have the evidence that living organisms are the result of intentional design.

    So says you. And yet almost every professional biologist disagrees.

    Anthony Flew and many others used to think so but no longer do. Methinks you are making it up.

    Please, please please show me your evidence that Intelligent Design has made any impact on biology.

    “Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.” – Paul A. Nelson, Fellow, Discovery Institute, 2004

    “In comparison to the [ID-supporting] Discovery Institute’s forty-eight (48) scientist signatories, the Science Organizations Amicus Brief is signed by fifty-six (56) science organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In comparison to the eight (8) biologists who signed the DI brief, the Science Organizations Amicus Brief is signed by about twenty-one (21) biology organizations. Altogether, hundreds of thousands of scientists are represented by this collection of organizations.” – Pandas Thumb, 2005

  211. 211

    We don’t need to know “where it all started” to understand to some extent at least what happened afterwards.

    Then why do you keep bringing it up?

    The earliest rocks show no evidence of life. Then we have evidence of life.

    I think I’m starting to see the reasoning at work here. If something wasn’t here and then is, that’s natural causes. Clearly I’ve been putting too much thought into this.

  212. idcurious:

    We don’t need to know “where it all started” to understand to some extent at least what happened afterwards.

    Actually the two are linked. Even Richard Dawkins admits we would be looking at a totally different biology.

    It is ID that insists life required an “intelligent designer” which itself did not require “intelligent design”.

    AS ID doesn’t say anything about the designer, you are lying.

  213. idcious:

    I had understood you to be saying that mutations leading to evolution between species must be “magical”?

    Speciation isnt being debate so I wouldn’t say that. I provide a link that explained what I meant.

    You ask for civility yet you act obtuse. Methinks you are trying to provoke specific responses.

    Right now we have the evidence that living organisms are the result of intentional design.

    So says you. And yet almost every professional biologist disagrees.

    1- So says me and billions of others.

    2- Biology is the study of LIVING organisms, not abiogenesis

    Please, please please show me your evidence that Intelligent Design has made any impact on biology.

    Show me your evidence that the blind watchmaker has had any impact on biology- that is besides leading biologists astray?

  214. 214

    I don’t. The cited text at 217 is yours, not mine.

  215. 215

    …Or the quote at 211. Whichever. In plain english, you stated that there was no life, and then there was, as if that meant something by itself. If that wasn’t an argument for your position, then why say it? Why then ask me if that’s how I think science works? You said it, not me.

  216. 216

    Joseph – quoting satire:

    Those mutations can change a fish into a land animal and then a land animal into an aquatic one- again without anyone knowing how or why.

    idcurious:

    All science so far.

    Tell me I didn’t read that right. If you really mean that, then this will stop being fun and I’ll start feeling guilty.

    Comedy gold.

    In a Farrelly brothers sort of way.

  217. Right now we have the evidence that living organisms are the result of intentional design.

    idcurious:

    Not even Paul Nelson, Dr Dembski or Dr Behe say that.

    Of course they do. It is the main part of ID.

    I’ve been reading that link you gave on “magical mystery mutations”.

    I say that because those mutations can change an invertebrate to a vertebrate and no one knows how or why. Those mutations can change a fish into a land animal and then a land animal into an aquatic one- again without anyone knowing how or why.

    All science so far.

    All based on science.

    Wet electricity. Whereas the electricity that powers our computers is comes from the flow of electrons through a conducter and “hates” water, the electricity that runs our bodies is designed for a wet environment…

    Electricity “hates” water?

    Drop a live line in a tub of water and watch what happens.

    Take a tub of water and dump it on your TV set while it is on.

    So you are totally clueles about a great many things.

    Comedy gold indeed.

  218. IDC:

    Wild dogs are not breeds.

    GEM of TKI

  219. 219

    Someone on this forum said something a year or two ago. I don’t remember who, or the words, but the thought stuck with me.
    If a person believes that inanimate matter self-organized to describe itself in a symbolic code, and further into complex organisms, and then into self-awareness and the ability to discover its own inner workings and launch spacecraft to the moon, than that person has relinquished the authority to reject anything at all as true or false.
    I can say that somewhere there’s a moon made of green cheese. There’s an alternate universe in which Abraham Lincoln is still President, and another in which all six episodes of Star Wars, the good and the bad, all took place, verbatim.
    How can the materialist object? That it’s improbable? There’s no evidence? They have already accepted the statistically impossible as inevitable on faith as they wait for supporting evidence. They have excluded those lines of reasoning from their belief system. They are therefore not in a position to reject anything, ever. Not even a universe in which life was designed by unicorns.

  220. kairosfocus @ 227

    Wild dogs are not breeds.

    My point was that human selection took us from wolves to great danes & chihuahuas in around 15,000 years. Non-human selection went from Caninae to 4 pound north american swift foxes & 120 pound great wolves in around 26 million years.

    (Apologies for the double-post above).

  221. IDC:

    Please. No strawmannish or red herring antics with semantics. You were replying to a statement about dog BREEDS, and that is why I corrected your remark.

    Further to this, the observed variation in the domestic dog, with a relatively few exceptions is about mendelian characteristics manifested in clusters of genes [multiple genes contributing to characteristics, so isolation leads to specific breeding out of variability, thence true-breeding types, or breeds that have relatively narrowed down gene pools; cf mongrelisation as opposed to hybridisation] and breeding towards selection of existing characteristics, moving towards limits. That is why there are hard limits to what can be done in many cases. This is not evolution in any reasonable understanding of the term.

    There are cases of mutation involved of course, e.g. the English Bulldog’s “mashed” face. But that is not the dominant aspect of the artificial selection for physical and/or temperamental characteristics.

    To present such breeding as though it were a manifestation of evolution, is highly misleading today, and there is far less excuse for it than in Darwnin’s day when there was not a general understanding of mendelian genetic inheritance.

    GEM of TKI

  222. IDC:

    Your shift to attacking the man, is revealing that you have no real response on the merits.

    I specifically corrected you on a key error on the meaning of “breeds.”

    I then pointed out the onward issue on breeding and production of dog breeds as mostly due to narrowing down gene pools on desired characteristics, rather than genetic innovation (though of course there have been some mutations involved, such as the bulldog’smashed in face).

    You now come back with remarks on millions of years of dog evo — we were not there and did not observe any such nor do we have record, this is an inference and extrapolation. Your claimed macro evolution of body size and plan, is entirely speculative.

    And the “evidence” you called up in support points predominantly to variation on characteristics tracing to multiple interacting, already existing genes, not genetic evolution.

    The evidence cited does not even support the assertion of 26 My worth of macro-evo.

    GEM of TKI

  223. F/N: The fact that we are dealing with recognisable dogs suggests a common body plan. Size is plainly mostly a regulation of growth and linked proportions. Multiply some gene pool narrowing by small regulatory gene mutations and see if you do not end up with a range of recognisable cousins of different sizes and minor proportion variations. But the critcal issue is the origin of the information that formed the body plan in the first place, which is simply not being addressed in all the focus on distractive issues on size (further driven by errors confusing mutations with mendelian characteristics being filtered out by selective breeding).

  224. 224

    idcurious:
    It’s difficult to persuaded by your point of view when you yourself seem mostly persuaded by what theologians and other people think.

    Science does not know how life began. But that is not the same as knowing nothing.

    No, but it’s the same same thing as not knowing how life began.

    Claims that this was “statistically impossible” are based on models which aren’t clearly defined.

    My point is that if you’re waiting for math to deliver the verdict on this all the way to ten decimal places, you’ve already missed the boat. Before we had math we had reason. It doesn’t launch space shuttles, but it’s still a good tool to have in the box.

  225. idcuriou:

    Non-human selection went from Caninae to 4 pound north american swift foxes & 120 pound great wolves in around 26 million years.

    How can we test that claim? And then how can we test it as via blind,undirected chemical processes?

  226. idcurious:

    Science does not know how life began.

    Then science cannot say that the subsequent evolution was via bind, undirected chemical processes.

    As I’ve pointed out over and over again, a great many theists have no problem with the standard scientific view of evolution and science.

    And obviously a great many more do have issues with it.

    If you have evidence for an “intelligent designer”, “intelligent design”, or anything “supernatural” then brilliant – let’s see it.

    That evidence has been presented. Are you admitting that you are ignorant of ID?

  227. 227

    Scott Andrews said:

    They have already accepted the statistically impossible as inevitable on faith as they wait for supporting evidence.

    There are those who would say that “statistically impossible” doesn’t parse, the idea being that a thing is either impossible or it’s not. Thus a statement that thing is “statistically impossible” seems to admit possibility, and thus makes no sense.

  228. Onlookers:

    IDC (as with many other darwinists) has problems reading for intended meaning in context. That makes for great difrficulty in trying to have a reasonable discussion. Their tendency to look with contempt on and verbally bash those who may differ with their partyline doctrine — we are all ignorant, stupid, insane and/or wicked — worsens the problem. Sadly, IDC indulges this just above.

    Perhaps, I should clarify that I spoke of generally accepted records of observation by intelligent, credible observers, as the context suggests. Fossils, BTW, are not records, but objects on the ground. We construct a record based on recovery of same and compilation into a body of record, mostly over the past 200 or so years.

    Observe the balance of the AmHD:

    n. rec·ord (rkrd)
    1.
    a. An account, as of information or facts, set down especially in writing as a means of preserving knowledge.
    b. Something on which such an account is based.
    c. Something that records: a fossil record.
    2. Information or data on a particular subject collected and preserved: the coldest day on record.
    3. The known history of performance, activities, or achievement: your academic record; hampered by a police record.

    We were not there 20+ MYA, and reconstructions on a projected model timeline are not to be equated to observations.

    The consequences of that sort of gross error of imagining we know just how the deep past before observer record ran, are discussed in the IOSE here.

    We may have dog family fossils indeed, but we cannot claim that our reconstructed family tree is fact [NB: "only fools dispute facts," so if you can get a hypothesis framed in impressionable minds as a fact . . . ], nor can we properly project a reconstructed, hypothesis-riddled timeline as though it were a fact.

    In any case, the underlying error is still being resisted: most of the variation in dogs is explained by genetic narrowing by selective breeding with some influence of a few mutations. We are not talking about the origin of the body plan of the dogs here but of variations among dogs.

    Onlookers may find this video just highlighted by JohnnyB helpful. (Notice the specific remarks on dog nose variation on Runx-2, and the wider remarks on genetic variations on mutations.)

    GEM of TKI

  229. Hi IDC,

    You wrote:

    -”The website you linked to to attack evolution (which you said ID does not do) argues that water does not conduct electricity. That is utterly moronic.”

    Um… I just checked his website and… It doesn’t really say that (and really its only attacking unguided evolution anyway) so I’m not sure why you keep bringing that up.

    Also, you wrote to SA:

    -”Given that your views are demonstrably false when it comes to evolution being atheistic or ID supporters not being dominated by theology, and the complete lack of any actual evidence for ID, I’m secure that no matter what else, ID is full of it.”

    Can’t say much on the ID/theology angle, but I did want to remind you…

    ‘Evolution’ isn’t atheistic. Unguided random mutations that arose from non-living matter without divine interference is explicitely atheistic, and is the form of ‘Evolution’ most people tend to… for lack of a better term, preach. It’s this evolution most of us are referring to or have a problem against.

    Hope that clears things up.

    - Sonfaro

  230. idcurious:

    We do have records. We have a substantial fossil records, comparative anatomies of extinct and modern species, genetic evidence, and the fact that wolves and dogs can be hybridized, while foxes and dogs cannot.

    None of that can say whether or not the procsses were blind and undirected or they were telic, ie directed.

    Do you really deny that dogs and foxes share a common ancestor?

    How can we test the claim they do? And then how can we test the claim blind, undirectedprocesses led to the divergence?

    As for evidence for ID, it is here, on UD as well as oter blogs, books and peer-reviewed papers.

    It is the evidence that convinced all te defectors to switch.

    Strange how none have left ID to become blind watchmaker proponents.

  231. Joseph and IDC:

    Please moderate both tone and language.

    An immoderate tone and disrespectful or vulgar language simply promote incivility, and do nothing to address the merits of the issues on facts, logic, warrant, and underlying assumptions.

    Please, please, please.

    GEM of TKI

  232. kairosfocus,

    You are right, my bad. idcurious is on a mental-midget mission to get me banned and I have allowed its continued lies and misrepresentations to goad me into doing just that.

    But OK…

  233. IDC,

    …ID isn’t a religious movement. Some of its supporters however are. -_-

    I was explaining our (Religious peoples) beef with Evolution as preached. Its why we flock to ID.

    - Sonfaro

  234. idcurious:

    I just realized it is your blog. That makes it worse. Why would you write:

    “Wet electricity. Whereas the electricity that powers our computers is comes from the flow of electrons through a conducter and “hates” water, the electricity that runs our bodies is designed for a wet environment…”

    Electricity hates water?

    Yes it does, for the reasns provided-> for example yu do not putyour TV under water, plug it in and turn it on- well maybe YOU do.

    There is a reason why the power grid isn’t under water.

    But I am sure you won’t understand any of that. Obviously you are deranged.

    Given the zero evidence for telic interference, practically every working biologist disagrees with you – even the theistic ones, who see a bigger picture than you…

    There is plenty of evidence for the design inference and your alleged majority cannot support their claims.

    And that “bigger picture” says that natural prcesses only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for its origin, which science says it had.

    What about Dr Dembski? Do you think that just bcause you can pull something out of your arse that it is meaningful

  235. In support of my claim aout water and electricty:

    Water and Electricity Don’t Mix

    water and electricity

  236. Joseph,

    If, as you say, “electricity hates water”, then how come water makes electricity (lightning, batteries, hydroelectric)?

    How come water makes something that hates it?

  237. idcurious:

    Your original claim: “Whereas.. electricity… “hates” water, the electricity that runs our bodies is designed for a wet environment…” – which is gibberish.

    Perhaps it is “gibberish” to someone as uneducated as you appear to be. But so what?

    That’s completely different – but even with the best reading you are saying the appearance of electricity in living things is somehow problematic.

    Another imbecilic inference. Typical.

    I know electricity and water don’t mix.

    Now you do anyway.

    And yet you deny in the face of evidence (which KF throws out because we “weren’t there”) that evolution can happen within nature.

    Liar.

    Pulling things out of your arse. That sums your posting up spectacularly.

    Nice projecion AV boy…

  238. utdja:

    If, as you say, “electricity hates water”, then how come water makes electricity (lightning, batteries, hydroelectric)?

    Oh well gee golly gee.

    Why aren’t power grids under water?

  239. 239

    Thus a statement that thing is “statistically impossible” seems to admit possibility, and thus makes no sense.

    It means that a thing is so unlikely to happen that it’s reasonable to assume that it never has or will.
    You’re right. It’s not the same as absolute impossibility. But by these standards, I don’t think the word impossible even means anything.
    The point is that even if the odds are only one in a hundred thousand, it’s a really good idea to recognize the uncertainty (that’s an understatement) and realize that we probably haven’t found the best answer.

  240. 240

    idcurious:

    Given that your views are demonstrably false when it comes to evolution being atheistic or ID supporters not being dominated by theology

    I haven’t said anything to either point. And yet my views are demonstrably false? I’m not surprised, given that the line between imagining and demonstrating has become so blurred.

    I’m secure that no matter what else, ID is full of it.

    Interesting. So even if every other explanation is wrong, you’re certain that design is not an explanation. Most people claim to reject design because they have a more accurate understanding. It’s refreshing when someone admits that they’re just eliminating the possibilities that don’t suit them. It might send science down a dead-end road, but at least it goes faster.

    Your “math” is based on a complete misrepresentation of what most scientists say about how and when evolution and the appearence of life happened, as incomplete as they are the first to admit that understanding is.

    I don’t believe anyone has said anything specific enough that math could be applied to it. Like I said before, there aren’t bad explanations. There aren’t any explanations. It’s just ‘primordial soup blah blah maybe ice blah blah maybe clay blah blah… Don’t worry, we’ll fill in the blanks later. But somehow we’ve managed to rule out design.’
    Do you really believe that science has never been tainted by ideology or jumped to wrong conclusions? Do you think that all scientists live on Vulcan where logic has cast of the weight of emotion?
    I don’t mean to offend, but someone once said that the definitive American insult is, “Do you believe everything you read?” Ask yourself why that’s in insult.

  241. 241

    idcurious:

    Not at all. As I said to you before, if you have any evidence for ID I would love to see it.

    Something tells me that you don’t frequent Darwinist forums asking for the specifics of evolutionary pathways or an explanation of how new proteins evolved. When’s the last time you asked them whether the first life formed in a soup, a deep-sea vent, clay, ice, a crystal, or a comet?
    Something tells me that your rigorous intellectual thirst for specifics doesn’t extend in that direction. But when it comes to design, no one’s going to take you for a fool!
    I read once about a science teacher who claimed that his VW Bug was alive, and made his students prove him wrong. After reasoning for an hour they learned the lesson he was teaching: It’s not worth the effort to prove the obvious. Ridiculous ideas don’t deserve our time. Even the attempt to formulate ID is a generous accommodation.

  242. Onlookers:

    Apparently, IDC also does not understand what degrees of possible warrant mean, or why some will mark a distinction between what is undeniably so, what can be warranted as fact beyond reasonable doubt, what can be warranted to moral certainty [you would be irresponsible to act in important matters as though it were false or dubious], what is likely to be true on the preponderance of evidence, what may be so, what is interesting but not warranted enough to act on, what is doubtful, and what is probably to certainly false. (Notice, the points or bands on a rating scale of warrant.)

    In particular, when we are not in a position to directly substantiate truth claims, and where we do not have credible record of those who were, we should beware of imagining that our models or narratives or claims are facts.

    Just above, I provided a case where a major textbook by major authors and a major publisher, reviewed by 100 reviewers, did just that basic blunder, leading to spectacularly overblown claims about the remote, unobserved, unrecorded past. Earlier, I have pointed to a major case in the study of claimed human ancestry, that is even worse and flies a red flag to anyone who is serious about understanding epistemological constraints on our claim to know the past. There are notorious cases of lava flows that were observed a few hundred years ago dating in the millions or so of years on radiodating methods. Similar flows cascading down Grand Canyon that may well have been observed by Amerindians, radiodate the same as similar rocks from strata that IIRC are dated stratigraphically as 1/2 bill YA or so. There is a current UD post on how, suddenly, the projected date for flowering plants has been pushed back by 200 mn years on the model timeline. A couple of generations back, scientists were astonished to find a fish they had thought extinct for dozens of millions of years, living off E Africa and Indonesia.

    IDC in his haste to drag red herrings away to strawmen he can soak in ad hominems and ignite — the better to cloud issues, poison and polarise the atmosphere, did not pause to think about what that sort of pattern is telling us about the state of both science and science education in our day. This is of a piece with an emerging pattern of habitual misrepresentation of points, issues, views and people, as well as projective, turnabout false accusations.

    Sadly, currently, IDC is playing the irresponsible, ideological agenda motivated troll rather than making any reasonable contribution to UD; and he needs to apologise for misbehaviour — as Joseph has promptly done — and clean up his act right away.

    But, we need not make that sort of blunder, nor let such distract us from important issues on the merits.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: If you want to see my remarks on timelines, cosmology and dating of the remote past beyond record, cf here.

  243. F/N: For the evidence on OOL that IDC does not think exists (that is symptomatic of what is wrong in his thinking), cf here and the onward linked, for a 101.

    Start — per the immediately linked — by thinking seriously about what is involved in the origin of a metabolising automaton that enfolds as an integral component a von Neumann kinematic self replicator.

    Don’t omit videos.

    Also IDC and those of like ilk should bear in mind:

    1 –> We are dealing with inference to best warranted causal explanation on the balance of a true and fair view of the empirical evidence, in light of what we do know and can empirically verify about the nature of cause.

    2 –> The “there is no evidence” jibe is a reflection of Sagan’s evidentialism blunder:

    extraordinary [to me] claims require extraordinary [ADEQUATE] evidence

  244. Onlookers:

    Sadly predictable.

    IDC has no answer on the merits to what was just linked [nor has he taken time to read and view, e.g. ID lab researcher Scott Minnich's 1 hr lecture], so he drags the “ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo” slanderous red herring talking point out to a strawman distortion of what was just linked, and sets up a burning.

    He plainly hopes to evade accountability for his irresponsibility and trollishness — notice his evasive half excuse for his misbehaviour — behind the smoke of burning strawmen, as he beats a hasty retreat.

    Sad.

    And, sadly predictable on long observation of ideological darwinists and evolutionary materialists of like ilk.

    Let me snip just the remark by Rabbi Moshe Averick that exposes the hollow pretensions, brazen question begging and deceptive imposition of ideology in the name of “science” [= "knowledge"] of the evolutionary materialists on the subject of OOL, including catching Dr C Richard Dawkins out in a blatant contradiction:

    ________________

    >>In Dawkins’ own words:

    What Science has now achieved is an emancipation from that impulse to attribute these things [[origin of life and/or its major forms] to a creator… It was a supreme achievement of the human intellect to realize there is a better explanation … that these things can come about by purely natural causes … we understand essentially how life came into being.20 (from the Dawkins-Lennox debate)

    “We understand essentially how life came into being”?! – Who understands? Who is “we”? Is it Dr. Stuart Kauffman? “Anyone who tells you that he or she knows how life started … is a fool or a knave.” 21

    Is it Dr. Robert Shapiro? “The weakest point is our lack of understanding of the origin of life. No evidence remains that we know of to explain the steps that started life here, billions of years ago.” 22

    Is it Dr. George Whitesides? “Most chemists believe as I do that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of chemicals in the prebiotic earth. How? I have no idea… On the basis of all chemistry I know, it seems astonishingly improbable.”

    Is it Dr. G. Cairns-Smith? “Is it any wonder that [many scientists] find the origin of life to be utterly perplexing?” 23

    Is it Dr. Paul Davies? “Many investigators feel uneasy about stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they freely admit they are baffled … the problem of how and where life began is one of the great out-standing mysteries of science.”

    Is it Dr. Richard Dawkins? Here is how Dawkins responded to questions about the Origin of Life during an interview with Ben Stein in the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed:

    Stein: How did it start?
    Dawkins: Nobody knows how it started, we know the kind of event that it must have been, we know the sort of event that must have happened for the origin of life.
    Stein: What was that?
    Dawkins:
    It was the origin of the first self replicating molecule.
    Stein: How did that happen?
    Dawkins: I told you I don’t know.
    Stein: So you have no idea how it started?
    Dawkins: No, No, NOR DOES ANYONE ELSE.
    24

    “Nobody understands the origin of life, if they say they do, they are probably trying to fool you.” (Dr. Ken Nealson, microbiologist and co-chairman of the Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life for the National Academy of Sciences)

    Nobody, including Professor Dawkins, has any idea “how life came into being!” [[The Design Argument: Answers to Atheists' Objections, online at Aish.com here. (Especially note Dawkins' "must have been . . . " deductions from his a priori evolutionary materialism, as highlighted.)] >>
    _________________

    Origins science is far too important to leave in the hands of evolutionary materialism ideologues hiding in the holy lab coat.

    GEM of TKI

  245. Ouch, the blockquote should terminate at 24, sorry.

  246. 246

    idc @269:
    This becomes a bit less interesting when you admit that you don’t critically analyze your own beliefs, only those you disagree with, and that both are derived from the news.
    We don’t all need to be scientists, but we can still think for ourselves. To paraphrase the proverbial mother’s question, if the newspaper reported that scientists said we should jump off the roof, would you do it?

    Just out of curiosity, you mentioned that scientists know at least something about the origin of life, although not everything. Let’s put that to the test. Can you provide one asserted, agreed upon fact regarding the origin of life? It doesn’t have to be rock-solid, but a little specific would be better. But let’s not split hairs. Just something that everyone agrees on based on evidence. And, I’m not even asking for the evidence. How often do you get that deal? Just tell me some statement that is scientific consensus regarding the origin of life.

  247. 247

    Scott Andrews, @262, referring to “statistically impossible”:

    It means that a thing is so unlikely to happen that it’s reasonable to assume that it never has or will.
    This idea only makes sense if you’re referring to the probability of some unlikely event which has happened, happening again.

    An illustration: Some years ago I was in a neighborhood tavern at which time two people across the room were playing pool. One of them apparently had made a very difficult shot to win the game, and the other, who had a piece of cue-stick chalk in his hand, tossed it over his shoulder in exasperation. As I watched, the path of the piece of chalk described a lovely and perfect parabola ending in a startling PLOP! in the drink of a guy sitting about eight feet away at the bar.

    The first thing we always think when we see something like that happen is “What are the odds?” The answer is “Very steep indeed.” But despite the fact that I had just witnessed a of 1 in [some large number] phenomenon those odds would only be useful or meaningful to us if we asked the losing pool player to do it again.

    Also note that there was no intentionality in the chalk landing in the drink; it was about as random an occurrence as could be. There was no aiming and no target– it just happened. Nonetheless, something with a very high probability against occurrence did occur.

    This story illustrates, I think, why the argument from large numbers, or low probability, ultimately fails. The idea of a “Universal Probability Bound,” as Dembski describes it, is only useful (and then in a rather lame way) when considering the probability of repeated occurrences. Also, in order to use it as an argument mitigating against abiogenesis, one must first assume a target, which is the fatal blow to the argument–it becomes tautological.

  248. 248

    Sorry, I messed up the quote tags in 275. My comment on Scott’s observation begins with “An illustration:”

  249. 249

    James Grover @275
    I understand that improbable events do happen. But let’s look at that another way. Suppose you’re at a bar having a beer, and people are shooting pool nearby. You step away, come back, and there’s chalk in your beer.
    What’s the first thing you’re going to say: Who put that chalk in my beer? Or, How did someone accidentally throw chalk in my beer from across the room without looking?
    The point isn’t that improbable events don’t happen, but that we usually look for a better explanation.
    Remember, in this case, the chalk has to land in the beer, come to life, make more chalk, and build a civilization.

  250. 250

    idc @278:
    So are you conceding that nothing is known regarding the origin of life (I’m pretty sure the answer isn’t bacteria) or do you have an answer for my question at 274 (cited in your post)?

  251. “Right now we have the evidence that living organisms are the result of intentional design.”

    idcurious:

    Post it.

    Again?

  252. IDC, 273:

    Why not read the linked onward remarks in the excerpt you picked, to see just why these comments are there?

    [Hint: the FOUR onward linked phrases are a longstanding answer to the Barbara Forrest "ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo" smear, and the "ID is a right wing theocratic tyrannical conspiracy" smear.]

    While you are at it, you may want to answer to the ACTUAL case of:

    i: inference to design as

    ii: the best empirically anchored — as opposed to religious text based — explanation of the origin of life, on

    iii: the observed irreducible complexity and FSCI found in the “simple” cell, being found instead to be

    iv: a digital information processing entity that comprises

    v: a metabolic automaton integrating

    vi: a von Neumann self-replicator facility, in turn

    vii: involving digital, symbolic codes and rules, data structures, algorithms, storage media, and nanotech, molecular executing machinery;

    . . . that you tried to turn into a distractive strawman about creationism that you could conveniently burn while beating a hasty retreat from having to address the response to a challenge YOU brazenly issued above!!!

    In short, your bluff has been called, and so far you are unable to back it up.

    Which explains your hasty retreat while covering it by playing the trifecta fallacy card: slanderous red herring, led away to a strawman caricature soaked in nasty ad hominems, and igniored to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere.

    That is such a standard Saul Alinsky getaway or divide, polarise and subvert tactic that it has been summarised, dissected and corrected in advance.

    Bluff called, put up your response on the merits, or admit defeat.

    GEM of TKI

  253. PS: I have answered in the NEWS FLASH thread, here, with the four links that IDC needs to read and take to heart, but probably will not — on track record.

    I see too that he is unable to understand the issue of warrant on reconstruction of the remote past that I have made; citing a remote past geodate as though it is a fact, not a revisable point on a model timeline that is equally revisable, but uncheckable by real observations of the actual past.

    He is, further, evidently unable to absorb the point I have repeatedly made and underscored on the difference between what we see for the level of warrant on geochronology and what we see for cosmology.

    As in, could he kindly:

    1: examine the point I made on Fig G.4a in this page of the IOSE course/a> in light of

    2: the discussion of Fig G.4 and

    3: the onward remarks in section (b) with particular attention to the discussion surrounding Fig G.5c, noting

    4: the related remarks on cosmological fine tuning here, and

    5: along the way accurately summarisING what I have said about the observed HR diagrams of stellar clusters and their significance for cosmological timelines?

    It is so much easier to set up, poisonously soak and burn a strawman, than to address the real person and the real case you are dealing with.

    (As in IDC is so unfamiliar with the design theory that he does not understand that the cosmological fine tuning inference to best explanation pivots on the generally accepted big bang cosmology. As in, he further does not understand that the inference to design of life on earth requires no more than a suitably advanced molecular nanotech lab a few generations beyond Venter. Nor, that it is the empirically credible beginning of the observed cosmos that points to its origin in a necessary being, even though the speculative multiverse. Or, that it is the multidimensional finteuning that enables C-chemistry, cell based intelligent life that points to that necessary being being powerful, skilled, purposeful, and knowledgeable enough to design and effect such a cosmos as we observe. But, it is so easy to set up and burn down a Bible-thumping creationist caricature instead of doing he real work of actually learning what it is he is dealing with on evidence and issues.)

    Meanwhile, we still see no ability to respond on the merits to the answer to the challenge he put on the table above, on OOL.

    IDC, your bluff is called again.

    So far, all you have done about it is to burn strawmen and try to beat a hasty retreat behind a cloud of poisonously slanderous rhetorical smoke.

    That should tell us all we need to know about what is really going on on your part.

  254. Pardon on two melded links. The one on point 4 is distinct from that on 1.

  255. 255

    idc:

    It is genuinely hilarious to be accused of not critically analyzing my own beliefs by someone who says “Even the attempt to formulate ID is a generous accommodation.”

    I only say that because the notion of life popping out the ocean all by itself is ridiculous. If you believed that the moon was made of green cheese and someone bent over backwards to show that wasn’t so, that would also be a generous accommodation.
    I’m sure you think that it’s a mistake for me to be so dismissive. But isn’t that what we all do when we hear nonsense? We need to be able to distinguish reality from fantasy without a scientific study.
    That’s not the same thing as being close-minded. I’ll believe in a three-headed unicorn, but you’ll have to show it me, and I’ll probably be suspicious at first.

    You are just upset that science rules out (a) Young Earth Creationism; and (b) rigid interpretations of the Bible – both the dominant social positions in the culture you were born into and live in.

    You’re wrong on the first two, and you have no idea where I live. Do you believe me, or do you need a scientist to tell you first?

  256. idcurious:

    Science examines *how* things happened.

    Exactly. And ID says some things happen(ed) by design and we can use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships to sort it out.

    And we do that because we know it matters a great deal to any investigation if that which is being investigated arose by design or by necessity and/ or chance.

    idcurious:

    Maybe we’ll never find out, scientifically, what caused life.

    Yet how it started is directly linked to how it changes.

    IOW if we can’t say how it started (telic vs non-telic processes) we can’t say how it evolved (telic vs non-telic processes).

  257. 257

    You are just upset

    ps – Wrong there, too. I’m smiling from ear to ear. I’m showing teeth. But I’m signing off for at least the next several hours, and I need to not make a habit of this.

  258. 258

    Scott Andrews @277:

    The point isn’t that improbable events don’t happen, but that we usually look for a better explanation.

    Scott, it was you who used the nonsense phrase “statistically impossible.” My point was only to demonstrate why it’s nonsensical.

    I think that the person whose state of quiet reverie was disturbed by the wholly unexpected arrival of a foreign object in his drink would probably be thought unbalanced if he were to claim that it had arrived there miraculously rather than making the much more plausible assumption of natural occurrence.

  259. Onlookers (and IDC):

    Re IDC: First, I observe his continued incivility at 285 above. More ad hominem soaked burning strawmen, behind which he hopes to make a hasty retreat.

    Instead of allowing ourselves to be distracted, let’s simply call attention to the brazenly boastful bluff he made at 265, IDC posting:

    You [Joseph] said: “Right now we have the evidence that living organisms are the result of intentional design.”

    [IDC] Post it. I dare you. I double dare you. I double double dare you.

    Oh. There is none. What a surprise.

    I will not remark on tone, I will not, I will not . . .

    Anyway, IDC, here is the evidence at 101 level, and you are invited to address it on the merits or retract your boast in 265.

    GEM of TKI

  260. Why aren’t power grids under water?

    utidjian

    Well part of the answer could be that the people that use power grids do not live under water.

    We live all around it. Heck we could just plug it into the Mississippi River.

    Sometimes the people that use electricity are sometimes separated from where it is generated by a lot of water thus… power cables have been laid under water to lots of places. Like islands (Remember Jaws II?), offshore rigs.

    Yeah, shielded in its own little DRY environment.

    I have to ask that if, as you say, electricity hates water, then why does electricity favor the wettest path through things?

    I take it you didn’t read the links I provided.

    BTW:

    In his book “Signature in the Cell” Stephen C. Meyer addresses the issue of Intelligent Design and religion:

    First, by any reasonable definition of the term, intelligent design is not “religion”.- page 441 under the heading Not Religion

    “Intelligent Design is based on scientific evidence, not religious belief.”- Jonathan Wells “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design”

    in “The Design Revolution”, page 25, Dembski writes:

    Intelligent Design has theological implications, but it is not a theological enterprise. Theology does not own intelligent design. Intelligent design is not a evangelical Christian thing, or a generally Christian thing or even a generally theistic thing. Anyone willing to set aside naturalistic prejudices and consider the possibility of evidence for intelligence in the natural world is a friend of intelligent design.

    He goes on to say:

    Intelligent design requires neither a meddling God nor a meddled world. For that matter, it doesn’t even require there be a God.

    Yeah baby…

  261. 261

    jg:
    I didn’t make it up. Google it. Yes, I noticed that it comes up a lot on creationist sites.

    In my illustration I pointed out that we tend to ignore less plausible possibilities in favor of more likely ones. That’s not to say that the unlikely never happens, but if we start ruling out the most likely first, we’re going to be wrong a lot. I wasn’t suggesting that we should consider entirely unknown factors first rather than simpler explanations.
    Unfortunately, science seems to have settled on accidental abiogenesis as the best possible explanation, when the odds alone at the very least warrant considering other possibilities.

  262. SA:

    The “nothing is known” you picked up in 279 really means that the evo mat attempts to explain OOL have dismally failed.

    There is an obvious alternative, but there is a stubborn refusal to entertain it.

    Who’da thunk the cell has in it a digital, coded information storage and processing facility and one that drives a von Neumann self replicating facility integrated with a metabolic system? What do we know about the source of codes, algorithms, programs and implementing machines?

    Should we not be struck with force by Paley’s point — I have never seen it referred to by those who so gleefully strawmannise his watchmaker argument — on the impact of discovering that his watch in the field was capable of replicating itself?

    Here is Denton’s awestruck description, which will lift the tone:

    _________________

    >> To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter [[so each atom in it would be “the size of a tennis ball”] and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell.

    We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines . . . . We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices used for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction . . . . However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours . . . .

    Unlike our own pseudo-automated assembly plants, where external controls are being continually applied, the cell’s manufacturing capability is entirely self-regulated . . . .

    [[Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler, 1986, pp. 327 – 331. This work is a classic that is still well worth reading. ] >>
    __________________

    It is high time that we tore off the Lewontin-Sagan a priori materialist blinkers and thought afresh about what best explains what we are seeing!

    GEM of TKI

  263. DESIGN . . .

  264. 264

    KF:
    That’s an amazing illustration. When people shrug off the improbabilities or the reasons why many infer design, it usually means that they don’t grasp how complex these things are. (Just using the word “complex” brings scorn, as if shouldn’t be taken into consideration.) We’re not looking at a mousetrap. We’re just beginning to observe a technology far more advanced than anything we’ve ever conceived.

  265. Scott:

    That is one of the most powerful word pictures I have ever read, and it has been on the record since 1985.

    But, if you look top, right you will see a link to videos that have brought up the picture, and there are many animations that make the same point. Here is a narrated version of the famous Inner Life of the Cell video. (Illustra Media has its own video on unlocking the mystery of life that is actually linked from the same OOL page in IOSE, at the end of the introduction. Ch 3 here is very interesting. You can buy a DVD, been on the market for many years now.)

    I cannot help feeling that if you don’t know about the sort of complexity we are speaking, it is by choice.

    Why do you think I have been repeatedly linking the discussion of the vNSR at the heart of the cell’s self-replicating capacity?

    That capacity, joined tot he metabolising automaton that is also coded for is in my opinion, decisive. For, we have metabolising capacity reduced to symbolic representation and replicated as a part of the action of a self replicator. Totally irreducibly complex and there at the root of any tree of life. This is Paley’s watch that reproduces itself, on steroids.

    GEM of TKI

  266. 266

    I wonder if some would be less biased if the cell and its components had more straight lines and fewer curves. We tend to design with lines and right angles. It’s what we look at all our lives. Perhaps it’s just harder for people to imagine someone designing something without that restriction. It looks less organized until you get an idea what it’s doing.

  267. IDC,

    We still don’t understand how life arose. Thats one astounding thing about the Universe. ID just can’t handle “we don’t know” as an answer.

    Tweak: To say confidently how life arose, scientists would require a time machine to take them into the past and return them to the present. Leading origin-of-life researchers like Tom Cech and Gerry Joyce have no problem admitting that we will never know for sure what happened. The ID crowd can’t handle “we cannot know scientifically” as an answer.

    Francis Collins points out the danger of making God too small. I point out the danger of making too much of science.

  268. Scott:

    I have actually thought of just that point, quite often.

    But in fact in many engineered systems, we have a lot of free form or curved structures.

    Most impressive to me is the pattern of nodes, interfaces and arcs that can be converted to net lists [thus specified as FSCI on FSC organisation, as I elaborated here. That is also where the Denton clip lives, right after a pic of a neuron.)

    GEM of TKI

  269. N:

    Again, the point is that we do know what has been created, by whatever process, now pretty well.

    We can identify what we are looking at: a metabolising automaton based on informational polymer nanotechnology. Information that is digitally coded, and algorithmically processed.

    Then, shocker: additionally we have an integrated von Neumann kinematic self replicator, that implies storage of the code for the metabolic automaton. We can even identify a mini assembly NC controlled manufacturing unit, the ribosome. Complete with drive-in control tapes and position-arm nano-robotic effectors, the tRNAs.

    That sort of high tech is where we want to head with engineering systems — I have my eye on the Industry 2.0, open source tech, Global Village Construction Set movement [it is up to 50 key technololgies for modular industry-agriculture colonies now], which is a sort of manual self-replicator that cna carry out the workshop scale “metabolism.”

    Now, where do codes come from and what does it mean for one thing instantiated in a manipulated bit of matter, to serve as a physically set up symbol for another thing?

    Data structres and stored programs and data, tape controllers for NC machines? Position-arm effectors, etc etc?

    What do we do about he infinite monkeys analysis used in thermodynamics whe it tels us thsat sugh funcitonallys peciricf complex informaiton is out of teh reach of the known un-intelligent forces of the cosmos, when we simultaneously know that FSCI is a routine product of intelligence?

    Pardon a frank response to a fighting word.

    Your dismissive term “crowd” shows a want of seriousness in addressing some pretty serious questions without materialistic blinkers or go-along, get -along with those who do and who are known to hold and ruthlessly use power.

    Please, think again.

    GEM of TKI

  270. 270

    idcurious,

    If the intelligent designer did not require an intelligent designer, why does life?

    This can be answered only if we knew whether the intelligent designer required design, which we cannot say, but life, we can definitely say requires design.

  271. 271

    idcurious,

    Scientists overwhelmingly believe that life arse somehow from non-life, despite not knowing how it happened.

    Then it’s not science, I don’t care what scientists believe otherwise outside of science.

  272. F/N: Onlookers, I suspect that “Scientifically” above means on a priori materialism, in the guise of methodological naturalism. This of course censors origins science and undermines its ability to seek the truth unfettered by such impositions [but acting intellectually and ethically responsibly], in light of empirical observation, explanatory analysis, and informed, fair minded discussion. If you have locked out the most credible explanation, it is no wonder the OOL does not make sense on the censoring terms.

  273. Clive:

    Scientists overwhelmingly believe that life arse somehow from non-life, despite not knowing how it happened.

    Then it’s not science, I don’t care what scientists believe otherwise outside of science.

    I agree entirely. Philosophical naturalism is a stance of some scientists.

    However, I cannot see any practical benefit in concluding that some phenomenon is due to supernatural intervention, even if it actually is. Science seeks always to explain nature in terms of nature. It does not tell the Truth. There were no halcyon days when it did. Newton’s explanation of God’s role in correcting the orbits of planets around the sun was false.

    IDists love one verse that Paul wrote to the “rational” Romans, but apparently are indifferent to Job 38-42.

  274. Joseph @ 238:
    “Why aren’t power grids under water?”

    might want to check this out:
    http://tinyurl.com/3oyxadv

    and:
    http://tinyurl.com/3t6rsab

  275. kairosfocus:

    The ID movement will not succeed in reducing science to forensics.

  276. N:

    The ID movement is not trying to reduce science to forensics.

    That is a snide strawman caricature; typical of the sort of derogatory and dismissive, disrespectful talking points often promoted by the evolutionary materialist elites who have imposed a question-begging, censoring a priori on science, and their publicists.

    We have not forgotten Dawkins’ sneering smear: ignorant, stupid, insane and/or wicked.

    On the contrary to such, the plain fact is that we have identified, documented and exposed what is beyond reasonable doubt — we have direct authoritative statements as well as the admissions of leading and representative practitioners — an a priori, censoring, question-begging, dubious agenda-promoting imposition of materialism on origins science, and have, quite properly, called for reform.

    This, because such impositions censor and silence the facts before they are allowed to speak with due weight, and impose a predetermined, question-begging materialist, PHILOSOPHICAL narrative and agenda on science.

    The Lewontin-Sagan position is particularly apt as an expose:

    To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . .

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

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

    Instead, if science is to regain its integrity and hold credibility in the long term, a major reformation is called for.

    Philip Johnson’s retort to Lewontin is quite in order:

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

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

    Our complaint, its proof, and the remedy could not be plainer.

    For instance, how we view the nature, purpose and approaches of science has to be restored to a modern version of the historic view of what science is about that we can document from say Newton’s classic statement in his 1704 work, Opticks, Query 31:

    _______________

    >> As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses [i.e. unsubstantiated metaphysical speculations or impositions] are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations. [Emphases added.] >>
    _______________

    [ . . . ]

  277. I suggest the following, as a start for clarifying what science is, or should be about, in light of the recent problems and in light of Newton’s classic observations:

    . . . science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:

    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical — real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,

    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional — abductive explanation of the observed facts,

    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein's favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],

    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,

    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)

    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world.

    In addition, origins questions are freighted with major consequences for our worldviews, and are focused on matters that are inherently beyond our direct observation.

    So, since we simply were not here to see the deep past, we are compelled to reconstruct it on more or less plausible models driven by inference to best explanation. This means that our results and findings are even more provisional than are those of operational science, where we can directly cross check models against observation. That further means that origins science findings are inherently more prone to controversy and debate than more conventional theories in science.

    That allows us to take a judicious, balanced, critically aware view of the processes, findings and degree of warrant and provisionality attaching to scientific knowledge claims.

    Now, those who draw power from or are comforted by the just so stories spread by those who promote the imposition of the philosophical speculation of materialism under the false colours of science, are fighting the expose and the reform. Since the polls make plain that we are dealing with domination of key elites, the battle will be generational.

    But, that is understood.

    The challenge to you, sir, is where you stand, on what is plainly the wrong side of history. The snide caricature you just put up tells us that you need to change your entire view and approach.

    GEM of TKI

  278. PS: The above assertion by N is also a subtle form of the “ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo” smear that keeps on cropping up. For, it is a main ingredient of the brew served up by the evo mat fever swamps.

    This can be seen by asking yourself what it is that cheap detective novels focus on: whodunit, of course. In short, the subtly loaded strawman is that design theory is little more than creationism in disguise. This aspect of N’s rhetorical talking point is corrected in the CSI News Flash thread.

    We must not allow such red herrings, led away to strawmen soaked in ad hominems, and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere, distracting us while those who have no answer on the merits escape behind the choking, confusing cloud.

  279. F/N: In 273, N also manages to stumble into the false dichotomy promoted by the same evo mat fever swamps, that the debate on causal factors is about natural vs supernatural:

    I cannot see any practical benefit in concluding that some phenomenon is due to supernatural intervention, even if it actually is. Science seeks always to explain nature in terms of nature. It does not tell the Truth . . .

    1 –> N, clearly, needs to consult the UD WAC 17, where he may see:

    17] Methodological naturalism is the rule of science

    Methodological naturalism is simply a quite recently imposed “rule” that (a) defines science as a search for natural causes of observed phenomena AND (b) forbids the researcher to consider any other explanation, regardless of what the evidence may indicate. In keeping with that principle, it begs the question and roundly declares that (c) any research that finds evidence of design in nature is invalid and that (d) any methods employed toward that end are non-scientific. For instance, in a pamphlet published in 2008, the US National Academy of Sciences declared:

    In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. [Science, Evolution and Creationism, p. 10. Emphases added.]

    The resort to loaded language should cue us that there is more than mere objective science going on here!

    A second clue is a basic fact: the very NAS scientists themselves provide instances of a different alternative to forces tracing to chance and/or blind mechanical necessity. For, they are intelligent, creative agents who act into the empirical world in ways that leave empirically detectable and testable traces. Moreover, the claim or assumption that all such intelligences “must” in the end trace to chance and/or necessity acting within a materialistic cosmos is a debatable philosophical view on the remote and unobserved past history of our cosmos. It is not at all an established scientific “fact” on the level of the direct, repeatable observations that have led us to the conclusion that Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun.

    In short, the NAS would have been better advised to study the contrast: natural vs artificial (or, intelligent) causes, than to issue loaded language over natural vs supernatural ones

    Notwithstanding, many Darwinist members of the guild of scholars have instituted or supported the question-begging rule of “methodological naturalism,” ever since the 1980’s. So, if an ID scientist finds and tries to explain functionally specified complex information in a DNA molecule in light of its only known cause: intelligence, supporters of methodological naturalism will throw the evidence out or insist that it be re-interpreted as the product of processes tracing to chance and/or necessity; regardless of how implausible or improbable the explanations may be. Further, if the ID scientist dares to challenge this politically correct rule, he will then be disfranchised from the scientific community and all his work will be discredited and dismissed.

    Obviously, this is grossly unfair censorship.

    Worse, it is massively destructive to the historic and proper role of science as an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) search for the truth about our world in light of the evidence of observation and experience.

    2 –> When we zoom in and look at N’s astonishing remark, “It [science] does not tell the Truth” we see that he has unfortunately swallowed the ingredient of the evo mat fever swamp brew that substitutes evolutionary materialist myth-making for truth-seeking.

    3 –> As was excerpted from newton’s Opticks, query 31 in 276 just above, science is about the unfettered pursuit of the truth about our world on empirical evidence.

    3 –> While it faces limitations on what we can know — for we can and do err — if science dismisses the pursuit of the truth in light of evidence and instead “seeks always to explain nature in terms of nature” it falls straight into the Lewontinain a priori materialism trap already pointed out.

    4 –> And, science held in thralldom to a priori materialism loses its integrity and right to stand up and speak as an objective voice, as it would become little more than a mouthpiece for materialism.

    5 –> let us hear Lewontin yet again, for plainly the warning is not being heeded:

    To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . .

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

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

    5 –> Philip Johsnon’s corrective is also necessary, yet again:

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

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

    6 –> The problem: a priori imposition of censoring materialism that distorts the ability of science to seek the well warranted truth about our world, the longstanding warning on the dangers of such an imposition, and what needs to be done to correct it could not be plainer.

    7 –> But, it needs to soak in:

    a: science should not be subjected to the imposition of a priori materialism, whether blatant or in the subtle disguise of “methodological naturalism.”

    b: It should not be caught up in the trap of demanding only naturalistic explanations for phenomena, but instead should seek to be:

    an unfettered (but ethically, epistemologially and intellectually responsible) progressive pursuit of the provisionally but well warranted knowledge of the truth about our world based on empirical evidence, observations, experiment, logical-mathematical analysis, explanatory modelling and theorising, and uncensored but mutually respectful discussion among the informed.

    c: In that light it should not be ensnared by the false dichotomy, natural vs supernatural, as there is a credible and longstanding — Plato more or less said it was immemorial in his day, in The Laws, Bk X — way of analysing phenomena, processes and objects based on empirical evidence that allows us to think in terms of natural vs ART-ificial (intelligent) causes and their characteristic empirical signs.

    If we were tempted to think that the danger is exaggerated or imaginary, N’s remarks above should serve to disabuse us of such a notion.

    For, probably in all naivete, he thought to correct us on what he thought were gross errors of imposing creationism on science. But, it turned out that he only inadvertently exposed how he has himself fallen into the trap of a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism on science.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: In his attempt to cite Job 38 etc, N would be well advised to read here (and onward, cf Lucretius and Lahiri etc.) on the REAL corrective point being emphasised there. As in, if we were not there, we should not pretend to all but certain knowledge of the remote past of origins — remember, people are erroneously talking about the “observed” “fact” of macroevolution and are comparing our knowledge of the past of origins to the roundness of the world or the orbiting of the planets [which by sharp contrast are directly observable, not an inference projected to a remote and unobservable past . . . ], as I have been emphasising on the matter of model timelines, above.

  280. 280

    Consider this thought experiment:
    In 100 years, with your advanced quantum computer, you create a simulated world full of sentient, living things. They have no knowledge of you or any record of how they came to be. (Note the lack of anything supernatural in this illustration.)
    When the time comes that they want to explore their origins, would we expect them to exclude the possibility of your existence? Should they be chastised if they don’t endlessly search for an explanation they will never find because that’s supposedly more scientific? If that’s reasonable then I guess I’m not.
    It’s been said that science is not the search for truth. Isn’t it the search for knowledge, and are the two mutually exclusive?
    The argument that design requires the supernatural and therefore isn’t scientific really translates to, ‘This possibility seems way to hard to investigate, so we’ll just keep looking over here instead.’

  281. paragwinn,

    Do you think the electricty carrying cables for the underwater power grids will be shielded from the wet environment?

  282. Scott:

    Re: It’s been said that science is not the search for truth. Isn’t it the search for knowledge, and are the two mutually exclusive?

    Knowledge — on the ground — is best understood as well warranted, credibly true belief. There is room for potential error, correction and progress in the implicit provisionality. Hence a permanent need for research and critical inquiry.

    If one over-emphasises the possibility of error and instead substitutes utility: empirically reliable results, then on loses the distinction between theories and models. Models are often very useful indeed, but hey are not good enough to be theories, as they are known to be false or “simplified.”

    Newtonian dynamics was dethroned when relativity and quantum came along, but it is still very useful and quite reliable in most areas. Most.

    The point is, that scientific investigations cannot keep its integrity if it abandons the search for truth, however we may err in the attempt.

    And if we allow a metaphysical a priori like materialism to dictate to science, then it is now under censorship. It loses credibility.

    And BTW, that is part of why when I point out limitations of geochronological investigations, there is such a sharp reaction, because there is a wish to believe in the truthfulness of the myth with the imprimatur of science.

    You cannot have it both ways. Science as freely truth seeking or science as materialistic myth making.

    GEM of TKI

  283. idcurious has stopped responding.
    Has he been banned?

  284. critter @ 284:

    Most likely “in moderation” (as this comment will probably be.) I hear that the wheels of moderation move pretty slowly on the weekend. Unlikely to see anything until Monday.

  285. C & U:

    I suggest you look at IDC’s track record over the past day or so, especially compared with J, noting what happened when both — J in the lead [vulgarity] — were called on to clean up their act.

    J apologised, IDC doubled down. A telling contrast.

    GEM of TKI

  286. 286

    Noesis,

    I agree entirely. Philosophical naturalism is a stance of some scientists.

    However, I cannot see any practical benefit in concluding that some phenomenon is due to supernatural intervention, even if it actually is. Science seeks always to explain nature in terms of nature.

    Supernature and nature are philosophical assumptions. Because what we call nature repeats and holds steady doesn’t mean that we really understand it, all we do is describe it by science. So it cannot be used as a rule to rule anything else out.

  287. CH:

    The idea that nature is all there is, and everything reduces to time plus chance plus matter-energy and the forces of mechanical necessity that drive it, is an assumption, not a conclusion on facts.

    For instance, it is utterly incapable of accounting for our experience of ourselves as self-moved, significantly free thinking and choosing, minded, embodied beings. Indeed, the evolutionary materialist worldview reduces to self referential incoherence when it tries to address the mind.

    And that has been known for a very long time.

    GEM of TKI

  288. I do wish the moderators would simply announce when & why a poster was banned.

  289. Perhaps curiousity killed the idcurious… :cool:

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