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On Breaking Eggs

The City of Boulder is Colorado’s version of Berkeley, a deeply blue bastion in which an attitude of “lefter than thou” dominates all political conversations.  Example: Section 6-8-3 of the Boulder Municipal Code states: “After December 1, 1986, no person shall knowingly produce, store, process, or dispose of a nuclear weapon or component of a nuclear weapon within the city.”

Never mind that no one is or plans to produce or possess nuclear weapons there. Never mind that if the federal government decided to do so this ordinance would not have the slightest effect. Moral preening is its own reward.

Several years ago I was trying a case in which the city was a party. The city was building a hydroelectric power plant, and I represented a supplier to the project. The issue was whether my client had breached the contract by substituting a comparable component made by a Japanese company for the one specified in the contract. I will never forget my cross examination of one of Boulder’s witnesses. I asked how the city was harmed because the components were essentially identical. He agreed that as far as the power plant was concerned there was no problem, but the City of Boulder has its own foreign policy he testified, and it was boycotting this particular foreign supplier. I knew I was going to win the case when I glanced at the judge and caught her rolling her eyes.

Now the City is jumping on the climate alarmist bandwagon.

Never mind that the computer projections upon which climate alarmism has been based for the last decade have been wildly innacurate. Never mind that there has been no significant overall increase in global temperatures for the last decade. Never mind that the city acknowledges that any action it takes will certainly be meaningless. True believers cannot be bothered with considerations of costs and benefits (or in this case, the lack thereof). The city council would gladly ruin the City’s economy if that were necessary for them to preen.

Someone once asked that consummate leftist Lenin to justify the atrocities the Bolshevik’s were committing in the name of a socialist future. Lenin famously replied, “If you want to make an omelet you have to be willing to break a few eggs.” To which his interlocutor replied, “Comrade, I see the broken eggs everywhere. But where, oh where, is the omelet?”

True believers are dangerous. At least Lenin (however mistakenly) thought he was building a socialist paradise.  The Boulder city council knows its economy-killing regulations will be meaningless.  They are more than willing to break eggs even in the face of absolute certain knowledge that no omelet is to be had. Indeed, it seems that breaking the eggs to demonstrate their moral superiority, not the making of an omelet, is the whole point of the exercise.

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55 Responses to On Breaking Eggs

  1. True believers are dangerous.

    I am with you there. Much more dangerous than scepticism – even “hyperscepticism”.

  2. It reminds some of us of insisting that “Evolution HAPPENED!” while constantly changing the story and demanding implicit, childlike belief in whatever the current version is.

    Given the state of ferment, it is not hard to see why people do this. Because if they said, “Evolution happened, but most of the time we aren’t sure exactly what happened or how, and new findings are always upending old ones” (which is true), the proper response would be: Okay. So?

    And most of their cultural authority would disappear. As well it should. Keeping the cultural authority while losing the plot is the reason for the current evolution circus.

  3. Mark Frank @ 1: The problem is that many skeptics and atheists are “true believers” themselves (in atheism or humanism, respectively). Witness Daniel Dennett’s suggestion that religious people be put in zoos, or Richard Dawkins’s comment that teaching children about God is worse than sexually abusing a child.

    Hyper-skeptics can be easily dismissed, because their arguments fail at a basic logical level. You can’t have your degree of skepticism turned up so high that you don’t believe anything, even when there’s positive evidence for it. Then it turns from skepticism to outright stupidity.

  4. 4

    hello mark, i would say that it depends on what the true belief is an what one is hyperskeptical of. In the context of the post, I would think that the climate people would argue that not only are the hyperskeptics dangerous, but even well reasoned cautious skepticism concerning anthropogenic warming will usher in the apocalypse. Also, a virologist friend of mine claims that those skeptical of certain vaccines will be the demise of us all. And if focused and aggressive hyperskepticism inevitably pushes us into a civilization based on nihilism, that probably is not ideal.

  5. On the other hand, Mark, what about ‘true believers’ who happen to be ‘true believers’, in fact, not just ironically? That is a question atheists a priori refuse to consider, even in the teeth of incontrovertible evidence, as is indicated again and again on this board.

    Luxuriating in cliches like that may induce a warm feeling in atheists, especially, in an ad hoc mutual admiration society in an online forum but in the end, it’s a pretty vapid cop-out, isn’t it?

    The purpose of an open mankind, after all, is to close on the truth. Not moral relativism or a sterile materialism that denies its own epistemic validity, never mind, authority.

  6. If people of good will lack faith, then the field is left to the psychopaths, the snakes-in-suits, who, like the dishonest steward in the parable, commended by his boss, know very well what they want and go for it, bald-headed.

    It’s a parable which seems to be little understood, as people tend to focus on the dishonesty, and are puzzled as to why Christ would seem to have endorsed the approval of the steward’s dishonesty, when he was telling us not to be forever wavering in our belief.

    Worldlings know what they want and go for it. Why don’t Christians? If a painfully honest person asks his bank manager for a loan, he will be treated with a certain reserve, shall we say.

    While such a request by a hail-fellow-well-met, natural-born salesman, who looks as if he could have been involved in some shady business or two at some time or another, and has definitely been round the block, business-wise, will be viewed by the bank manager with a certain cordiality.

    And as for a Russian billionaire seeking to launder a few billion roubles, from some factories he claims to own in Moscow and Petrograd…… Say no more. Nudge. Nudge. Wink. Wink.

  7. And bear in mind that, throughout history and right up to this day, there would seem to be an excellent chance that the leaders in a majority of countries, particularly, perhaps, autocracies, would have been unambiguous psychopaths. Never mind CEOs of large corporations.

  8. Barry:

    True believers are dangerous.

    I absolutely agree, Barry.

    It’s why I love science – because in science all conclusions are provisional, and “belief” is not required.

  9. The “science” of evolutionism is based on belief only…

  10. Don’t you mean that all conclusions are provisional except for ones that preclude a Divine foot from getting in the door?

  11. Elizabeth:

    “It’s why I love science – because in science all conclusions are provisional, and “belief” is not required.”

    In an ideal world, this is true. In the actual practice of science, we find many scientists who are just as prone to dogmatism and certainty as we find in fields such as history, philosophy, sociology, politics, business, education, etc.

    But even in an ideal world “belief is not required” is not accurate. No scientist can function without belief. To start with, the scientist believes, at a minimum, that there is something called “nature” that operates regularly. If there is no such regularity in the universe, the enterprise of science cannot take place. Further, the scientist believes that the human mind is capable of grasping the regularities of nature. Without such confidence, scientists could not operate. Finally, scientists do in practice “believe” all kinds of things. When evolutionary biologists speculate about evolutionary mechanisms, they believe that macroevolution is a fact and that what needs to be done is not to prove macroevolution, but to establish what makes it work. They do not regard the “facticity” of macroevolution as a provisional truth that might one day be overthrown. Nor do most cosmologists (though we are seeing some doubts nowadays) question the facticity of the Big Bang. They believe the Big Bang happened. They treat that as a non-negotiable, and they work all their other observations and theoretical considerations around what they believe to be a fact — though it may actually turn out not to be a fact. Similarly, working scientists believe that the melting point of lead is such-and-such, that certain kinds of cholesterol are bad for you, etc. These beliefs are not treated as speculations or things that might be overturned; they are regarded as sound bases on which future investigations can be reliably anchored. If a scientist had to re-determine the melting point of lead (because he didn’t want to rely on “belief” in what previous scientists had found) before carrying on with research in, say, metallurgy, the science of metallurgy could never progress. Scientists exercise “belief” in the results of previous science every day. So the idea the scientists function without beliefs, even in the ideal case, is not correct.

    What you perhaps mean to say (and perhaps this is the reason you put ” ” around “belief”) is that scientists function without “faith” — acceptance of truths on the basis of alleged religious authority, or on the basis of trust in the personal character of the person who offers the truth. Well, in the ideal case, that is true. Scientists do not (or should not) accept things based on statements from the Bible, or by the Pope, or because they think that another scientist seems like an honest sort of guy. They accept things because they believe the methods used to determine those things are sound. As long as the scientist who determined the melting point of lead used proper methods, it doesn’t matter if that scientist is the most dishonest person imaginable — and hence untrustworthy, unworthy of faith — when it comes to returning borrowed money or fidelity to his wife etc. His science can still be accepted as reliable. No “faith” is involved in accepting his lab results. But as no one has time to check all experiments, there has to be a general belief in the accuracy of the work of colleagues. Thus, no one, scientist or anyone else, functions without beliefs, in either a private or professional capacity.

    I say this not to quibble over words, but because the ambiguity of the word “belief” means that your statement needs clarification.

    I’d add that philosophy is like science in the sense that it does not rely on “faith” in the sense indicated above. This is not to say that professors of philosophy cannot be dogmatic — they are human, and like scientists or others may fall short of the ideal of their calling. Indeed, I would say that the typical professor of philosophy in my experience is quite dogmatic on at least a few “pet” issues. But in principle philosophy does not accept premises or conclusions based on “faith.” And certainly I find that some philosophers, e.g., Thomas Nagel, come closer to keeping dogmatic “faith” commitments out of their thinking than do some scientists (e.g., Myers, Coyne, Dawkins) whose science, at least in its popular presentation, seems laced with metaphysical commitments which cannot be established by science but only (if they can be established at all) by philosophy or theology.

  12. Timaeus: I agree about the ambiguity of the word “belief”.

    And I also agree that scientists need working assumptions. But those should always be subject to question, and any conclusion predicated on the validity of the working assumptions.

    Also – of course scientists can be dogmatic. But the a scientific conclusion can’t be, nor can an assumption.

  13. Phinehas:

    Don’t you mean that all conclusions are provisional except for ones that preclude a Divine foot from getting in the door?

    No, I meant what I said.

    The only sense in which science precludes a “Divine foot” is that science is incapable of coping with divine feet. There is no scientific methodology that can detect a divine foot. The best we can do is leave the door ajar.

  14. I grew up in Ann Arbor (the Berkeley of the Midwest), and then lived in Boulder (the Berkeley of the Rockies) for nine years. Boy, was I screwed up! I’m in recovery though, and now living in Idaho working hard to un-learn the things I previously “learned”.

  15. EL: “There is no scientific methodology that can detect a divine foot. ”

    Nor the absence of a divine foot.

    There are no “unguided models” that fit the facts quite well for the absence of divine feet.

  16. Mung:

    EL: “There is no scientific methodology that can detect a divine foot. ”

    Nor the absence of a divine foot.

    Precisely. As I keep saying.

    There are no “unguided models” that fit the facts quite well for the absence of divine feet.

    There are unguided models that fit the data very well, but that does not mean there was no guidance.

    There is no such thing as a guided model – a divine guidance model has no explanatory power because it could fit all data equally well.

    This is why it cannot be falsified and why science cannot conclude that there was no guidance.

    That’s why the identity of the designer matters. A non-divine guidance model could have constraints, and those constraints could be tested.

  17. There is no scientific methodology that can detect a divine foot. The best we can do is leave the door ajar.

    Ah, but if that “divine foot” kicked a football (soccer ball, whatever) the real effect would be observable. Would the surface of the ball distort momentarily with the imprint of the divine foot? Would it not fly across the football field in an impressive arc. Observing that event, filming it say, multiple observers; would that be evidence of divine intervention? Could ID proponents look for events which apparently defied the laws of physics, as the football seems to?

    Seriously, if ID tinkering occurs, there must be some interface where the imaginary interventions cause real, observable effects. On the other hand, why cannot God work within the rules (they’re his rules, after all), influencing apparently stochastic events that result in achieving his ineffable purpose?

  18. 18

    Dr Liddle,

    It’s why I love science – because in science all conclusions are provisional, and “belief” is not required.

    Yet just this week you stated on another thread:

    We can show that an ID inference is unwarranted or invalid, but not that it is false.

    And how would you go about doing that Dr Liddle? What would the requirement be to demonstrate, in a scientifically-valid manner, that the inference to design was unwarranted in the existence of life on earth?

    It would seem that in order to demonstrate that option B was “unwarranted” as a proposition; one would need to (at the very least) demonstrate that option A was causally adequate. What do you have in mind to do that?

    What people have proposed is that a process of variation governed only by the laws of physics and chemistry coupled with the tendency of variants better suited to an environment to reproduce more will result in optimised “designs”.

    But the proposition of chemical evolution (as a mechanism capable of establishing a Darwinian-capable self-replicator) is actually unsupported by any empirical demonstration of that capacity. Isn’t that true? And clearly you’ve already defined the explanatory limit of Darwinian evolution, for example:

    I have never, ever, suggested that you could produce a system of self-replicators from a system of non-self-replicators by Darwinian evolution … Clearly it would be an absurd claim, because you have to have self-replicators before you can have Darwinian evolution. By definition.

    Indeed, did you not retract your claim that you could show the rise of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator in a simulation? Isn’t it a fact that there is no such demonstration in existence anywhere, or you wouldn’t have needed to create one?

    So if you cannot show the rise of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator, then what exactly do you have in mind to demonstrate that the design thesis is unwarranted? And now that you’ve repeatedly made thse claims, is there any way whatsoever for you to avoid having to submit (as a scientifically-valid explanation) your belief in a non-design scenario?

    Clearly, you are forced to submit your mere belief in an unguided origin of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator for the simple fact you have no valid demonstration of it. So isn’t all you talk of not needing belief, and particularly your pretense of scientific authority, just a bit of a ruse on this topic?

  19. Elizabeth:

    There are unguided models that fit the data very well, but that does not mean there was no guidance.

    Please present those models.

    There is no such thing as a guided model –

    Both evolutionary and genetic algorithms are guided models.

  20. 20

    Dr Liddle wants to promote the idea that she and her comrades can invalidate the design inference with an unknown, undefined process, which neither she nor anyone else can demonstrate. And this is why she loves science. No belief is required, she says.

  21. 21

    Meanwhile, she brushes off contrary evidence to her claims, describing herself as “unconvinced” by material evidence and rationale which she repeatedly has been unable to refute.

    But she loves science because no beleif is required… its all about what can be demonstrated. ;)

  22. 22

    Dr Liddle do you plan to ignore valid criticism of your claims?

    Do you have anything other than your belief there is an unguided origin of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator?

    If you do not, then is it false to claim you can “show that an ID inference is unwarranted or invalid” by means of evidence you cannot demonstrate?

    Will you retract your claim, or simply explain it away?

  23. Dr Liddle do you plan to ignore valid criticism of your claims?

    Yes.

    Do you have anything other than your belief there is an unguided origin of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator?

    No.

    If you do not, then is it false to claim you can “show that an ID inference is unwarranted or invalid” by means of evidence you cannot demonstrate?

    No. ID is unwarranted and invalid because Lizze sez so- and that is all, case closed, nothing to see here.

  24. Upright Biped asks Dr liddle:

    Dr Liddle wants to promote the idea that she and her comrades can invalidate the design inference with an unknown, undefined process, which neither she nor anyone else can demonstrate.

    I submit you are premature here. First we need a “design inference” to evaluate. You, or anyone, need to explain what you mean by “a design inference”. What is a design inference? What can we look for, What can we test?. I think the reason Lizzie gave up on your particular “challenge” was that you would never commit or agree to an operational definition.

  25. Alan Fox:

    First we need a “design inference” to evaluate.

    First we need an “unguided evolution inference” to evaluate.

    What can we look for, What can we test?.

    WRT ID I, told you. WRT unguided evolution, nobody knows.

    I think the reason Lizzie gave up on your particular “challenge” was that you would never commit or agree to an operational definition.

    She gave up because she doesn’t have anything.

  26. 26

    Upright Biped, it appears things are much the same. Within the same thread that you clipped is this:

    Elizabeth B. Liddle says:

    “But we can only do that if they are “falsifiable”. ID is not falsifiable unless we have a specific ID proposal, so we can’t even demonstrate that it is probably false.”

    But I recall her saying from 2011:

    “And so the the ID claim I aim to refute becomes:

    Chance and Necessity cannot generate information, where information consists of arrangements of something that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.” -Elizabeth B. Liddle

  27. UB:

    Dr Liddle do you plan to ignore valid criticism of your claims?

    No.

    Do you have anything other than your belief there is an unguided origin of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator?

    I don’t hold that belief. Nor do I hold the belief that there was a guided origin. I think it is likely that there is a proximally unguided origin, because most things do have proximally unguided origins, but I do not rule out an alternative.

    If you do not, then is it false to claim you can “show that an ID inference is unwarranted or invalid” by means of evidence you cannot demonstrate?

    Yes, because showing that an inference is unwarranted is not the same as showing that it is false. If you cannot show that the modern DNA-RNA-protein system could not have emerged from physical chemical processes and natural selection, then you cannot infer Design. I am not claiming that I have evidence that living things were not designed. I am merely claiming that IDers have not provided evidence that they were.

    Will you retract your claim, or simply explain it away?

    I will not retract any claim I have not made.

  28. JDNAetc

    Upright Biped, it appears things are much the same. Within the same thread that you clipped is this:

    Elizabeth B. Liddle says:

    “But we can only do that if they are “falsifiable”. ID is not falsifiable unless we have a specific ID proposal, so we can’t even demonstrate that it is probably false.”

    But I recall her saying from 2011:

    “And so the the ID claim I aim to refute becomes:

    Chance and Necessity cannot generate information, where information consists of arrangements of something that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.” -Elizabeth B. Liddle

    These two statements are not contradictory.

    The first refers to the non-specific hypothesis that life was caused by a non-specified and unconstrained designer. That is unfalsifiable.

    The second refers to a specific claim made by IDers that “Chance and Necessity cannot create information”. That is falsifiable and is false.

    As I said: nonspecific claims cannot be falsified. Specific claims can be. The second claim is specific, and can be falsified.

  29. 29
    Do you have anything other than your belief there is an unguided origin of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator?

    I don’t hold that belief. Nor do I hold the belief that there was a guided origin. I think it is likely that there is a proximally unguided origin

    hilarious.

    If you cannot show that the modern DNA-RNA-protein system could not have emerged from physical chemical processes

    So now science is based on proving something didn’t happen.

    Great.

    We can show that an ID inference is unwarranted or invalid.

    - – - –

    Do you have anything other than your belief there is an unguided origin of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator?

    - – - –

    I am not claiming that I have evidence that living things were not designed.

    - – - –

    Will you retract your claim, or simply explain it away?

    - – - –

    I will not retract any claim I have not made.

    - – - –

    We can show that an ID inference is unwarranted or invalid

  30. 30

    E.Liddle, I’m sure it was an honest mistake, but you left out half of the ID claim, you say:

    ‘Chance and Necessity cannot create information’

    However the ID claim you accepted was:

    ‘Chance and Necessity cannot generate information, where information consists of arrangements of something that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.”

    If this has been refuted it would prove groundbreaking.

    But I know of a different tale. One that differs from your mythology. Upright Biped advanced an argument that stumped you. You then create TSZ to meet the challenge. The very first post on your site says exactly this. You then failed to refute the claim. So what you have done is demonstrate that ID has a falsifiable claim, and that you could not falsify it. And there are links, screenshots and commentary, including UB entertaining ‘Moribund Cow Squeeze’ post to prove it.

  31. UB

    Dr Liddle,

    It’s why I love science – because in science all conclusions are provisional, and “belief” is not required.

    Yet just this week you stated on another thread:

    We can show that an ID inference is unwarranted or invalid, but not that it is false.

    And how would you go about doing that Dr Liddle? What would the requirement be to demonstrate, in a scientifically-valid manner, that the inference to design was unwarranted in the existence of life on earth?

    Demonstrating the flaws in the reasoning.

    It would seem that in order to demonstrate that option B was “unwarranted” as a proposition; one would need to (at the very least) demonstrate that option A was causally adequate. What do you have in mind to do that?

    Not at all. Take this example:

    We have dead body, holding a razor, with slit wrists. Clearly inference B that the person was murdered is unwarranted – explanation A – suicide by self-inflicted injuries, remains a possibility. However, it turns out that the bloodloss from the wounds is not a causally adequate explanation. We are still not entitled to make inference A, however, because we also note that there is an empty bottle of anti-depressants on the nightstand. But it turns out that the dose taken was also inadequate to kill the guy. Can we now make inference B?

    Nope.

    Exactly the same is true of the first DNA-RNA-protein sytem-using organism. Sure, handcrafted molecules might be the answer. But so are other non-hand-crafted possibilities. We might as yet have no causally adequate set of possibilities, but we have a few potentially contributory alternatives, and no reason to think we won’t find more.

    Design may still be the correct answer. But it is not a valid inference based on what we have.

    What people have proposed is that a process of variation governed only by the laws of physics and chemistry coupled with the tendency of variants better suited to an environment to reproduce more will result in optimised “designs”.

    But the proposition of chemical evolution (as a mechanism capable of establishing a Darwinian-capable self-replicator) is actually unsupported by any empirical demonstration of that capacity. Isn’t that true?

    “Chemical evolution” can’t occur if the chemical evolvers aren’t Darwinian-capable. And yes, there is some empirical evidence for Darwinian evolution in RNA molecules (no DNA, no protein). So the RNA-world hypothesis has some support. Coupled with the Szostak lipid-vesicle hypothesis, there’s the building blocks of a potential account, just as we might also find, in my dead-body scenario, evidence that the person also had terminal heart-disease, which he might have survived for a little longer, had he not decided to swallow his last sleeping pills and make an [inadequate] attempt to slit his wrists.

    And clearly you’ve already defined the explanatory limit of Darwinian evolution, for example:

    I have never, ever, suggested that you could produce a system of self-replicators from a system of non-self-replicators by Darwinian evolution … Clearly it would be an absurd claim, because you have to have self-replicators before you can have Darwinian evolution. By definition.

    Indeed, did you not retract your claim that you could show the rise of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator in a simulation?

    Yes, although I’d still be interested in having a go. But clearly the first Darwinian-self-replicator cannot be the result of Darwinian evolution. If I started with non-self-replicators than the first self-replicator would have to emerge through chemistry and physics without benefit of natural selection. But once I had self-replicators, and once those self-replicators (through non-Darwinian evolution) had heritable variation in reproductive success, if only by virtue of consisting of subunits more prevalent in the environment, then from that point on Darwinian evolution could continue to optimise the population for reproduction within that environment.

    Isn’t it a fact that there is no such demonstration in existence anywhere, or you wouldn’t have needed to create one?

    I actually did come across one after I’d made my suggestion, but I haven’t manage to track it down again. So no, it’s not a fact, but I don’t know of one. I do know of plenty of hypotheses about how it could have come about in reality – read the output from the Szostak lab.

    So if you cannot show the rise of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator, then what exactly do you have in mind to demonstrate that the design thesis is unwarranted?

    Merely the demonstration that the absence of a known causally adequate alternative is not sufficient warrant for a hypothesis. Just because we do not have a causally adequate non-murder alternative does not confer warrant for an inference of murder. If it did, we’d be inferring murder for a very large number of deaths.

    And now that you’ve repeatedly made thse claims, is there any way whatsoever for you to avoid having to submit (as a scientifically-valid explanation) your belief in a non-design scenario?

    I don’t hold such a belief, as I have said. I merely think it more likely than a proximal-design scenario. By which I mean a specific design intervention at the point of abiogenesis, not the general idea that the universe was deliberately created in such a way that life would be an outcome.

    Clearly, you are forced to submit your mere belief in an unguided origin of a Darwinian-capable self-replicator for the simple fact you have no valid demonstration of it. So isn’t all you talk of not needing belief, and particularly your pretense of scientific authority, just a bit of a ruse on this topic?

    No, because, to repeat what I have said countless times, I do not hold the belief that life was not designed. Nor do I hold the belief that it was designed. I don’t actually know how life came about – nor does anyone. I’d back physics and chemistry as the more likely scenario, but that’s not a belief, that’s a hunch.

  32. So now science is based on proving something didn’t happen.

    No, that would be “Intelligent Design” advocates, such as yourself, that keep telling us how evolution (or in your case, the origin of life on Earth via non-supernatural processes) cannot happen and thus the only explanation is “a design inference”. Then you proceed not to tell us what a “design inference” is.

  33. 33

    Demonstrating the flaws in the reasoning.

    Then do so:

    In a material universe, it is not possible to transfer any form of recorded information into a material effect without using an arrangement of matter (or energy) as an information-bearing medium. If that is true, then other material necessities must follow. Firstly, such a medium must evoke an effect within a system capable of producing that effect. Universal observation and logical necessity demonstrate this to be true. Secondly, if a medium contains information as a consequence of its arrangement, then that arrangement must be physically arbitrary to the effect it evokes. Again, universal observation and logical necessity demonstrate this to be true. And thirdly, if an arrangement of matter requires a system to produce an effect, and if that arrangement is arbitrary to the effect it evokes, then the system itself must contain a second arrangement of matter to establish the otherwise non-existent relationship between the arrangement of the medium and its effect. Once again, universal observation and logical necessity demonstrate this to be true. If each of these things are true, then in order to transfer and translate any form of recorded information, the process fundamentally requires two arrangements of matter operating as an irreducible core within the system. And because Darwinian evolution requires the transfer and translation of recorded information in order to exist itself, it cannot be the source of this system. Given these observations, a mechanism capable of establishing this semiotic state is necessary prior to the onset of Darwinian evolution and information-based organization.

    Where is the flaw Dr Liddle?

  34. JunkDNAforwhatever

    E.Liddle, I’m sure it was an honest mistake, but you left out half of the ID claim, you say:

    ‘Chance and Necessity cannot create information’

    However the ID claim you accepted was:

    ‘Chance and Necessity cannot generate information, where information consists of arrangements of something that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.”

    If this has been refuted it would prove groundbreaking.

    yes, you are correct, it was a mistake – I did not read carefully.

    I did indeed, I am fairly confident (a link would be nice), state that “And so the the ID claim I aim to refute becomes: Chance and Necessity cannot generate information, where information consists of arrangements of something that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.”

    I also stated that I was not confident I could do so. The reason the word “becomes” is in there was because the claim I originally said I could easily falsify was simpler claim, using resting Dembski’s definition of CSI.

    I hypothesis that the more elaborate claim is untrue, but I do not think it has been falsified.

    But I know of a different tale. One that differs from your mythology. Upright Biped advanced an argument that stumped you. You then create TSZ to meet the challenge. The very first post on your site says exactly this. You then failed to refute the claim. So what you have done is demonstrate that ID has a falsifiable claim, and that you could not falsify it.

    Yes indeed. I have conceded this on a number of occasions as UB knows. We continued to struggle over an agreement on how we would determine how the claim had been met, and I timed out.

    Perhaps someone else would like to take it on.

  35. From my post at TSZ:

    I’m starting off this blog with a post about an interesting discussion I’ve been having* on on the Uncommon Descent blog about the claim, frequently made by Intelligent Design proponents, that Chance and Necessity cannot generate information; information can only be generated by a mind.

    Clearly, to either support or refute this claim, we need clear conceptual definitions of “Chance and Necessity” and “information”.

    William Dembski uses Monod’s terms, “Chance and Necessity” to characterise natural processes, and indeed, devised an Explanatory Filter, for candidate exemplars of information-bearing patterns, whereby, if Chance and Necessity could be serially eliminated, Design could be inferred as the only remaining explanation. There are various ways of defining Chance and Necessity, but for convenience it may be reasonable to regard “Chance” events as unpredictable events (e.g. quantum events) and “Necessity” as reliable physical or chemical laws. In a deterministic universe, of course, once you have a set of starting conditions, all that follows is Necessity, and the opportunities for a Designer lie in specifying the starting conditions in such a way that the willed outcome is inevitable, and/or giving things a poke with a celestial snooker cue to keep them on the willed track. So in a deterministic universe, the ID question would be easy: were the starting conditions willed or a Chance first throw of the dice and/or are the workings-out of those starting conditions left to Necessity or tweaked to suit? In a non-deterministic universe, which it seems we have, Chance has a potentially more interesting and active roll. So the ID question becomes: can the events we observe be explained solely a combination of Chance quantum events and Necessary consequences, or can they be better explained by positing an Intelligent Designer who could affect the way things unfold by nudging quantum Chance and/or the otherwise Necessary consequences?

    But what is meant by “information” mean, in the context of the ID claim? On Uncommon Descent, I made the counter-claim that I could demonstrate that Chance and Necessity could indeed generate information, for any regular English usage of the word information.

    One of the regular posters there, Upright BiPed, took me up on my claim, and my response was to ask him (or any ID proponent) was to provide me with a conceptual definition of information for which he believed ID claim was true. My plan was then to operationalise the definition to our mutual satisfaction, and then to attempt to make good mine.

    So what are candidate definitions?

    Clearly, nobody is making the claim for Shannon entropy, as that would be easily falsified. Dembski’s concept of “specification” is all about narrowing down the set of Shannon entropy-rich patterns to those for which he considers “Design” a reasonable inference, by insisting not merely on a large amount of Shannon information (event-complexity”) as measured in bits, but also a large degree of compressibility, or “pattern simplicity” (“specification”), . When I first made my claim I was anticipating that the definition I’d be getting was something like Dembski’s Complex Specified Information (CSI). Dembski’s claim is that Chance and Necessity cannot generate CSI (or could only do so with such remote probability that the possibility is not worth entertaining).

    However, Upright BiPed suggested something that in my view is much more interesting, in which “information” is defined not a property of a pattern, as with CSI, but the property of a process. One such definition is cited by Stephen Meyer in his book: Signature in the Cell, and is on of the Merriam-Webster definitions, namely:

    the attribute inherent in and communicated by one of two or more alternative sequences or arrangements of something (as nucleotides in DNA or binary digits in a computer program) that produce specific effects

    This makes a lot more sense to me, as I’ve said, and would mean that the ID claim, which I set out to refute, is:

    Chance and Necessity cannot create information, where information is arrangements of things that have specific effects.

    This definition invokes not only a pattern but some form of transmission protocol – information is not just a pattern but a pattern that has effects. And not just any effects – effects specific to a pattern. In other words there is a mapping between pattern and effect.

    However, Upright BiPed also made an additional caveat, which is that to be information, the mapping has to be achieved via some kind of inert arbitrary intermediary (as is done by tRNA in mapping an RNA codon to an amino acid).

    And in addition, I made the caveat that the specific effects should probably be functional in some way – e.g. promote faithful self-replication.

    And so the the ID claim I aim to refute becomes:

    Chance and Necessity cannot generate information, where information consists of arrangements of something that produce specific functional effects by means of inert intermediary patterns.

    And this is the claim I am willing to attempt to refute, provided some ID proponent is willing to stand by the claim!

    Alternatively, if you would like to supply an ID claim that you are willing to stand by, I’d be delighted to hear it.

    It should be perfectly clear from this post to any disinterested reader that I did not claim to be able to refute the claim that Chance and Necessity cannot produce Information, where information was defined as by UB rather than by Dembski.

    However, I found the challenge interesting enough to be willing to have a go.

  36. Given these observations, a mechanism capable of establishing this semiotic state is necessary prior to the onset of Darwinian evolution and information-based organization.

    Prior to evolutionary processes, there has to be a population of self-sustaining self-replicators. But that is a problem for OoL theorists. As yet there is no evidence-based explanation for life’s origin on Earth, though there are plenty of ideas and hypotheses.

    All you seem to be saying is that your argument rules out a non-supernatural explanation for OoL. People will continue to look, notwithstanding!

  37. UB: The flaw is in making an inference from lack of a known causally adequate alternative. As I have shown, in my dead body example, this is fallacious reasoning.

    But to take your specific case

    In a material universe, it is not possible to transfer any form of recorded information into a material effect without using an arrangement of matter (or energy) as an information-bearing medium.

    In other words all information has a material medium. Yes.

    If that is true, then other material necessities must follow. Firstly, such a medium must evoke an effect within a system capable of producing that effect.

    Of course. You cannot have an effect in an unaffectable system.

    Universal observation and logical necessity demonstrate this to be true. Secondly, if a medium contains information as a consequence of its arrangement, then that arrangement must be physically arbitrary to the effect it evokes. Again, universal observation and logical necessity demonstrate this to be true.

    No. To take your own example of the music box: if the cylinder of a music box contains information by virtue of the arrangement of its pins, the arrangement is far from arbitary to the effect it evokes. The effect it evokes depends entirely on the arrangement of the teeth of the comb. Change the comb and you will get a completely different effect from the same teeth. Even more to the point, file down the pins a bit and you won’t get an effect at all. In contrast, you can write a piece of music on paper, or engrave it in copper, or even plant it in grass, and the effect on a human musician will be the same. In other words, human beings use arbitrary symbols; musical boxes do not. Nor do cells.

    And thirdly, if an arrangement of matter requires a system to produce an effect, and if that arrangement is arbitrary to the effect it evokes, then the system itself must contain a second arrangement of matter to establish the otherwise non-existent relationship between the arrangement of the medium and its effect. Once again, universal observation and logical necessity demonstrate this to be true.

    No. This can be the case, but is not always the case. Take the example I gave of self-reproducing RNA. There was no “second arrangement of matter” to pass on the arrangement, and the arrangement was not “arbitrary”. In fact, optimal arrangements for information transfer evolved. And clearly information wastransferred, because the result of the reactions was copies of the original.

    If each of these things are true, then in order to transfer and translate any form of recorded information, the process fundamentally requires two arrangements of matter operating as an irreducible core within the system. And because Darwinian evolution requires the transfer and translation of recorded information in order to exist itself, it cannot be the source of this system.

    And because one of your premises is wrong, so is your conclusion. I suggest you are being misled by the use of the passive voice, as in “recorded information”. Think about who, or what, is doing the recording.

    Now let’s imagine a very simple system (one a proposed a few years ago now): Bead-string reproduction. Imagine a big tub of potentially interlocking popper-beads in a box. Each bead has a hook at each end. In the middle, the green beads have a square section protrusion, while the red beads have a squarehole. The blue beads have a cylindrical protrusion and the yellow beads have a cylindrical hole.

    The beads are in a big box that is jiggled energetically on a conveyor belt. After a while someone withdraws a green bead from the box. Up with it comes a long string of other beads, each hooked to the next, in the order GBBYRYGGYGR. Not only that, but each green bead has a Red bead stuck to it sideways, and each blue bead has a yellow bead stuck to it sideways etc, so there is a double strand:

    GBBYRYGGYGR
    RYYBGBRRBRG

    Now the conveyor belt goes into a heated room where the protrusions all shrink and the double strand separates into two single strands,

    GBBYRYGGYGR

    and

    RYYBGBRRBRG

    but as the hooks are largely (but not totally) unaffected by the heat, the longitudinal sequences tend to remain remain intact.

    Then the box emerges from the hot room and more jiggling occurs. Now each of the separate strands acquires a second strand:

    GBBYRYGGYGR
    RYYBGBRRBRG

    RYYBGBRRBRG
    GBBYRYGGYGR

    or possibly

    RYYBG
    GBBYR

    In other words, the original double strand has now reproduced.

    Information has therefore been transferred from the original double strand into the second strand. These in turn, if the conveyor belt continues, will reproduce, as will other sequences. Also some parts of some sequences will recombine with others

    However, if yellow beads are rather rare in the box, then sequences that have more green and red elements than blue or yellow will tend to reproduce more readily. Also shorter sequences will tend to reproduce more readily than long.

    In other words a Darwinian-capable population of self-replicators has spontaneously emerged from a population of non-selfreplicators, and evolved to optimise reproductive success.

    I actually set that up as a simulation, and it works just fine, but of course it doesn’t have that intermediate step. But, as I have shown, such a step is not necessary for information to be recorded and transferred.

    Given these observations, a mechanism capable of establishing this semiotic state is necessary prior to the onset of Darwinian evolution and information-based organization.

    Where is the flaw Dr Liddle?

    Your premise that all information-transfer systems must involve an arbitrary relationship between what is transferred and what does the transferring, and that such a transfer must involve an intermediary physical system. Also your assumption that physics and chemistry are inadequate to result in information transfer. In my bead example the beads are simply molecules with different chemical properties, the jiggling is simply heat, and the conveyor belt is simply convection, all things known to be around on early earth.

  38. +1

  39. 39

    Good grief.

    At what point does a response become so loaded with a sheer detatchment from reality (real systems) that it becomes impossible to detangle? And who has time to constantly go back over the same ground, as if even a single observation had been refuted?

    I’ll respond later today when I have the time.

  40. Far from being “detached from reality” what I have done there is to give a very clear analogy to a proposed mechanism, one that has been actually tested in a lab, with real molecules. One thing IDers seem to ignore is that molecules have very powerful forces associated with them that makes my popper-bead example a lot less probable than a real molecule. But it served for illustration. Plug in more plausible bonding values and you’ve got a self-replicating system that does not require proteins or DNA yet is Darwinian capable.

    So that moves the simplest possible Darwinian-capable self-replicator way simpler than a DNA-RNA-protein system, and within plausible reach, I suggest, of straightforward chemical properties of known molecules.

    So perhaps tackle my post before you do the “Good grief” thing. And no, you have not refuted any of this. You may think you have, but I bet to differ. I think you have consistently entirely missed the point I have been trying to make.

  41. Elizabeth Liddle:

    “I think it is likely that there is a proximally unguided origin, because most things do have proximally unguided origins [take this internet posting for example], but I do not rule out an alternative [e.g., an intelligently designed internet posting].”

    There, fixed it fer ya!

  42. Upright BiPed:

    So now science is based on proving something didn’t happen.

    Don’t mistake what she says for what she believes.

  43. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Coupled with the Szostak lipid-vesicle hypothesis, there’s the building blocks of a potential account…

    Simply. False. Unless you’re building a fantasy. We’ll call them “wishful thinking” blocks.

    I present to you the volume, Protocells: Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter

    Find the bridge, I dare you. Then my advice, once you’ve found it, try to sell it.

    The very idea that lipid vesicles are a bridge to anything real is laughable. Wishful thinking.

  44. Elizabeth Liddle:

    You cannot have an effect in an unaffectable system.

    Rather, you cannot have an effect without a cause, and not just any cause, but a cause capable of producing the effect.

    You cannot have an effect in an unaffectable system.

    What’s an unaffectable system? Is that something you just made up? Google produces two hits, one of them yours. Don’t know what to say, just spout gibberish.

  45. Elizabeth:

    If you cannot show that the modern DNA-RNA-protein system could not have emerged from physical chemical processes and natural selection, then you cannot infer Design

    Umm Lizzie, the onus is upon the people claiming the modern DNA-RNA-protein system could emerge from physical chemical processes and natural selection. THAT is how science operates and you have nothing. You can’t even produce a testable hypothesis for the claim.

    And seeing that there isn’t any such evidence AND it matches Behe’s design criteria, we infer it was designed.

    The second refers to a specific claim made by IDers that “Chance and Necessity cannot create information”. That is falsifiable and is false.

    Umm that ain’t the claim, Lizzie. ID’s cliam is the following (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    And it still stands.

  46. Elizabeth Liddle:

    In other words, human beings use arbitrary symbols; musical boxes do not.

    Unless they are music boxes made by humans.

    I have a music box that actually accepts cylinders with each cylinder producing a different musical score when the music box is played.

    Not arbitrary. Right. So why does every cylinder I load in not play the exact same song?

    Upright BiPed:

    Good grief.

    At what point does a response become so loaded with a sheer detatchment from reality (real systems) that it becomes impossible to detangle?

    Man, Upright BiPed, I see what you mean. Such an amount of utter nonsense in such a few words. How does she do it?

  47. Elizabeth:

    And yes, there is some empirical evidence for Darwinian evolution in RNA molecules (no DNA, no protein).

    If that is what you have then you have nothing as nothing new “evolved”. And what the experiment started with is, well, nothing like it has ever been observed to come about with us.

    Take the example I gave of self-reproducing RNA.

    It wasn’t self-reproducing RNA.

    There was no “second arrangement of matter” to pass on the arrangement, and the arrangement was not “arbitrary”.

    There were 2 RNAs- one for a template and one for the catalyst that catalyzed ONE BOND between two smaller strands of RNAs that went onto the RNA template.

  48. Joe:

    It wasn’t self-reproducing RNA.

    Sure it was. It just wasn’t an example.

  49. Simply molecules with different chemical properties + simply heat + simply convection, all things known to be around on early earth = self-replicating system.

    Simple. POOF!

    Of course, none of this stuff is still on earth today, oh no.

  50. Don’t mistake what she says for what she believes.

    And you claim some moral superiority over Sal!

  51. You know Alan, you might have some moral ground to stand on yourself if you could ever manage to turn your “skeptical self” towards some of Elizabeth’s posts here.

    They are so filled with nonsense some times that even Upright BiPed is forced to just say “good grief” and throw up his hands.

  52. 52

    Dr Liddle, I’ve now returned to give you a response.

    UB: Where is the flaw Dr Liddle?

    Dr Liddle: Your premise that all information-transfer systems must involve an arbitrary relationship between what is transferred and what does the transferring, and that such a transfer must involve an intermediary physical system.

    The observation of an arbitrary relationship is based on our unbroken universal experience with information systems; and it demonstrates that there is a physicochemically arbitrary relationship between the arrangement of the medium and the functional effect it evokes within the system.

    You don’t believe this relationship exists, and further, you don’t believe it’s necessary to the function of the system. Okay. Let us see what you have to say, and perhaps we can even identify why your response remains incoherent with reality.

    - – - – - – - – - – -

    UB: if a medium contains information as a consequence of its arrangement, then that arrangement must be physically arbitrary to the effect it evokes.

    Dr Liddle: No. To take your own example of the music box: if the cylinder of a music box contains information by virtue of the arrangement of its pins, the arrangement is far from arbitrary to the effect it evokes. The effect it evokes depends entirely on the arrangement of the teeth of the comb.

    This response contains what I see as an intentional sleight of hand to avoid the issue. Either that, or you place more critical thought on your choice of pizza toppings than you do on the translation of information. For someone who purports to speak in the name of science, this is unfortunate, and it’s only made worst by the fact that this specific issue has been repeatedly pointed out to you for over two years.

    Let us say that you and I sit at a table aboard a vessel in the deep blue sea. You sit on one side of the table, and I sit on the other. Between us is a music box made of brass parts. You hold the music box, while I remove the screws that attach the comb. After I remove the comb, I then remove the cylinder as well. I set the cylinder directly in front of you, and toss the comb overboard. Now please tell me Dr. Liddle, from the material make-up of the brass, and from the positions of the pins on the cylinder, can you derive middle C?

    Of course you can’t. You can’t do it because middle C is established by the comb. The arrangement of the medium is physically and chemically arbitrary to the effect it evokes. If the pins require the comb to establish their effect, then the relationship between them is not a matter of inexorable law, it is arbitrary with regard to those laws. Using doublespeak to imply the relationship between the pin and musical note is not arbitrary, because the comb steps in to establish the connection, is pure bafflegab. Along these same lines, you have on occasion even suggested that a craftsman in the music box field could look at a cylinder and probably figure out which pin was middle C. It’s just more bafflegab.

    But the issue goes much deeper than just the doublespeak you use. You continue to not recognize why information systems are the way they are. I think without that recognition, you allow yourself the uninformed liberty to continue with these confused ideas about what information does and how it does it.

    Somewhere in the world right now there is a bird getting ready to land on a tree branch. She has located that branch with her eyesight and has spread her wings and changed their shape in order to slow for the landing. Just as she approaches the branch, she will rotate her body forward, extend her legs, and open her claws. Every step of that action is controlled by the transcription and translation of information. The specialized organization of her visual system transcribes the light waves entering her eyes into a neural pattern. That pattern is a material representation of the approaching branch. It will then be sent to her visual cortex where it will evoke an effect through material patterns that already exist there. It is these existing patterns that will establish the effect from the representation. In other words, there is absolutely nothing you can measure from those neural patterns that is inexorably tied to “extend your legs and open your claws”. The relationship between the representation and the effect is physicochemically arbitrary, because it has to be. Why? Because the point in time when a bird should open its claws is not determined by inexorable physical law, it is established locally by the translation of information. From a purely material perspective, the arbitrariness is necessary in order to facilitate the input of information into a physical system, where it can constrain the output of that system in a way which is subject to physical law, but not determined by it. It would not be possible to introduce informational constraint in a physical system, if the relationship between the input and output was determined by inexorable law alone. Specifically, it is the absence of an inexorable physical connection between the representation and effect which makes the input of information possible. So, not only do we observe this arbitrary relationship in all such systems, but we also understand why it exists. It’s a physical necessity.

    Somewhere in the world right now there are waves coming off the surf, and depending on a vast number of physical variables, the reeds standing in the path of those waves will sway one way or another as the waves pass by. And the little whitefish swimming through the reeds will see them shift, and they’ll adjust their route to the left or right in order to swim through them. This is a temporal event that requires the whitefish to respond to the endlessly variable input of their environment. But there is no inexorable physical connection between reeds shifting in the surf and the direction a whitefish should turn at a certain point in time. That connection is established locally within a system. The system requires a certain capacity to respond, and that capacity requires a means to act within inexorable law, but to produce effects that are not determined by it. That capacity is established by having a physicochemically arbitrary relationship embedded within the system. It’s a physical necessity.

    There are species of plants that do not tolerate well in dry conditions. Some of those species will adopt a chemical they find in their normal water supply to act as a signal to protect themselves from impending dryness. If they sense a reduction in that chemical within their cell tissue, they immediately close their pores as a means to preserve the amount of water they’ve already absorbed. But there is no inexorable physical connection between the presence of a water-born chemical and the preservation of a plant. That connection is local and context specific; it requires a physicochemically arbitrary relationship in order to connect the input of information to the production of an effect. It’s a physical necessity.

    I have (for some time) been waiting for someone on your side of this argument to commit themselves to special pleading. Actually, I thought it would come about in a different form, but now it occurs to me that you are that person. If one is to add up all the positions you’ve taken over the past two or so years, the bottom line on your reasoning is: even though every material condition we find in genetic information is found in every other instance of information, you propose that genetic information is just flat different. Yes, genetic information requires form to be instantiated in the arrangement of a material medium (just as in all other instances of information) but it’s different. And yes, genetic translation has a second arrangement of matter to establish what the effect of the medium will be (just like in all other instances of translation) but it’s different. Yes, in the genetic system there is an arbitrary relationship between the arrangement of the medium and the effect it evokes (just like in any other instance of information) but it’s different. And yes, the genetic system preserves this arbitrary relationship (just as it does in all other instances) but it’s different. And yes, the effects produced by genetic translation create the unambiguous function within the living kingdom (just as it does in any other instance of informational effect) but like the others, it’s different.

    I use to try to prompt Patti May into special pleading by asking him to point out the distinction between an arrangement of matter that is a genuine representation and one that “just acts like” a representation – but he was always on the alert not to engage in details. You are different in that regard. You’re willing to engage and say polite but silly things – like, there is no arbitrary relationship between the pins on a music box cylinder and the notes of a song because the comb steps in to establish that relationship. Or, when you agreed that it was not possible to record information without a material medium, and not possible to translate it into an effect without a system, but refused to say both were necessary. Oh well.

    The bottom line is that the genetic translation system is semiotic just like any other information system, and it most certainly has a physicochemically arbitrary relationship instantiated within it. It’s a physical necessity. If you’d like to posit an unguided origin of the system, then fine, but you don’t get to pick and choose what observables you’ll entertain.

  53. 53

    The flaw is in making an inference from lack of a known causally adequate alternative.

    You’ve said this, or something like it, so many times. Do you not yet realize you are simply assuming your conclusion? You’d have to know that an “adequate alternative” actually exists in order to claim a flaw. But you don’t have that knowledge, so you simply assume an alternative exists – and the real flaw reveals itself. Yet, on the other hand, I make no hard conclusions in my argument as to what can and cannot establish the semiotic state in protein synthesis, I merely point out the material reality that a semiotic state must be established (because that’s the way we find it). I also point out that the semiotic state is a physical necessity which is corroborated in any other instance of translated information. You (in turn) object to these observations because they substantially raise the stakes on what is “adequate”.

    The issue at hand is whether or not there is a purely unguided means to establish the physicochemically arbitrary relationships observed and required to translate genetic information into proteins. These relationships have to be established prior to the type of functional organization afforded by the translation of a medium into an effect. It’s a physical necessity for the system to function, and specifically in the case of the genetic system, there is also the issue of establishing the dimensionality of the code. It requires not only the establishment of the aforementioned relationships, but also a mechanism to establish the codon at three nucleotides, as well as the start and stop functions. These attributes must be established independently in both the medium and in the system’s protocols in order for it to operate. So the logical flaw in play here is to ignore our universal observation of these particulars, and assume something that bears no resemblance whatsoever to any existing systems. And if someone should ask for evidence of these unknown mechanisms, simply make appeal to ignorance as a means of rationale. That’s the real flaw Dr. Liddle, and it’s all of your making.

    Again, if you’d like to posit an unguided origin of the system, then fine, but you don’t get to pick and choose the way the systems operate. In the meantime, I will consider a guided origin, because that is the only mechanism that can be demonstrated as adequate.

  54. Elizabeth does love her analogies. I guess they have to stand in for facts. The problem here is that she believes there is some other plausible alternative to design. There isn’t, so her analogies fail.

    Elizabeth, you don’t just get o make stuff up and then claim you have an alternative hypothesis that mus be taken seriously.

    Oh sure, there’s information processing going on, but we have a hypothesis that pink bubblegum when coupled with duct tape and magical pixie dust can produce information processing systems. And you can’t prove it doesn’t, Upright BiPed, so your argument is flawed. What utter garbage.

    Imagine with me, if you will, a space flight encountering a spacesuit orbiting the moon. Inside, the body of a deceased human male. Just imagine all the alternative scenarios we could come up with for the presence of a dead astronaut in space.

    But in our experience, there’s only one way for a man to get into space. Reality intrudes. Facts are facts.

    Such is the case for design.

  55. “…only intelligent design meets the causal adequacy requirement of a historical scientific explanation. In other words, our uniform experience of cause and effect shows that intelligent design is the only known cause of the origin of large amounts of functionally specified digital information.” – Stephen Meyer

    We know intelligent causation is adequate. We don’t know diddly about the causal adequacy of made up hypotheticals which are completely divorced from reality.

    And until we do, they are not a relevant alternative hypothesis.

    Dream on Lizzie.

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