Home » Intelligent Design » The All-Powerful and Infinitely Creative Darwinian Magic Wand: “Deep Time”

The All-Powerful and Infinitely Creative Darwinian Magic Wand: “Deep Time”

In another UD thread a commenter made the following observation and claim:

Darwinists are not going to be surprised by very high function after 3.5 billion years of evolution.

Ah yes, the ubiquitous and all-powerful Darwinian magic wand of “deep time,” which makes the impossible possible, the possible probable, and the probable inevitable — or so goes the completely unsubstantiated Darwinian fantasy that flies in the face of trivial logical scrutiny, basic reason, simple combinatorial mathematical evaluation, and empirical evidence (as elucidated in Behe’s Edge).

Time is not the issue; it’s the probabilistic resources, which are clearly inadequate even if one makes unrealistically optimistic assumptions at every stage of the evolution of living systems.

Forget natural selection; it’s completely irrelevant concerning improving the probabilistic outcome. Throwing out failed random experiments does nothing to improve the probability that the next random, error-induced experiment will be successful.

How can this not be obvious? Just do the math with a simple computer program as I did, and then start to think about the hyper-exponential probabilistic explosion introduced by the massively sophisticated, functionally integrated, digitally controlled, automated, self-replicating, error-detecting-and-repairing, information-storing, information-retrieving, information-processing machinery of the cell.

And this is just the beginning at the cellular level. In those magical 10^17 seconds (three billion years) that Darwinists invoke, not only did this happen, but the human mind came about, with all its powers to investigate and discover this incredible technology.

Please give me a break.

The numbers don’t add up. They don’t add up even by orders of magnitude, and they don’t add up even by many orders of magnitude raised to exponents with many orders of magnitude, when one considers all of the finely orchestrated functional integration required to make even a “simple” cell survive and reproduce.

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63 Responses to The All-Powerful and Infinitely Creative Darwinian Magic Wand: “Deep Time”

  1. Doggonitt, Mr. Dodgen. Stop crashin’ their party, would ya?

    Dotcha know how easily you can get a does from a could?

    Here’s the equation:

    (P*T)/W+1=E

    Translation: probability multiplied by time divided by a wish and add one for good measure = evolvability.

    You can take that equation to Lehman Bro…er. Anyways, you’ll be laughin’ all the way to hedge heaven.

  2. Gil -

    It is not a matter of probabilistic resources. In fact, time works against the evolutionists. Here is why – nearly every chemical reaction in biochemistry is an equilibrium reaction. Yet, if we actually achieved equilibrium, we would be dead. Therefore, the more time that is available, the less likely that the dynamic equilibrium necessary for life would be set up.

    Most probability measures for the origin of life used by IDers is based on the probability of independent events. However, this gives way too much benefit of the doubt to the abiogenisists. The fact is that the probabilities are dependent probabilities, and because the reactions are equilibrium reactions, each reaction takes them one step _further_ away from being able to function properly until life begins.

  3. Interesting. The way I understand evolutionary principles, including natural selection, even without speciation and morphological changes life wold soon deteriorate. The powerful mechanism of natural selection is always at work, continuously, thereby preserving a species.

    But it also allows for evolution by responding to input from the environment. But that’s another story.

    As far as I understand current thinking in the vast and intriguing field of the why and how of evolution, natural selection is much more and quite different from the simple mechanistic version under constant attack from creationists.

    I believe it is commonly referred to as a strawman. I don’t think it is done with intent; it is just that I suspect creationists are not particularly interested in scientific research.

    As far as I can tell, for the time being the strongest arguments for ID are the arguments about why evolution is impossible.

    It can all be boiled down to “the evidence shows something happened in the past. We say Designer did it, natural forces alone couldn’t do it; science says natural forces did it all by themselves, without outside help.”

  4. Cabal, you wrote:

    science says natural forces did it all by themselves, without outside help

    A particular brand of metaphysics says natural forces did it all by themselves. Science* is supposed to find out what actually did it, not just toe a particular metaphysical party line and assume what is to be proved.

    *Personally, I’d prefer not to use the word “science” to describe what those people are doing who are involved in looking for causes of past events, but having read Stephen Meyer’s careful delineation of the methodological differences between normal sciences and historical sciences in “Signature in the Cell” I’ve come to think that the usage is probably too entrenched to change successfully, certainly in the reasonably foreseeable future. Of course, that means that your local family physician can say that s/he’s practising a science, not an art, when s/he tries to find the cause of whatever ails you. I can live with that.

  5. Mr Dodgen,

    Since you are quoting me, I will take the opportunity to respond.

    Throwing out failed random experiments does nothing to improve the probability that the next random, error-induced experiment will be successful.

    Have you discoverd an error in the derivation of the Price equation? If so, please publish it, you will overturn the entire field of population genetics. You also might want to shift your choice of language from the absolute – successful, to the relative – more fit.

    Just do the math with a simple computer program as I did,…

    As an AI checkers programmer, I’m sure you know Lisp.

    (print “Hello World”)

    Suddenly, the math of evolving this function seems more tractable. I guess this functional result “Hello World” will evolve faster and more probably in a universe where LISP is the equivalent of chemistry and physics than a universe where C is the equivalent of chemistry and physics.

    Keep changing the choices of chemistry and physics, and you will eventually wind up with Evoloops, where you don’t have to wait millions of years for life to form and evolve.

  6. Mr Johnnyb,

    Therefore, the more time that is available, the less likely that the dynamic equilibrium necessary for life would be set up.

    I agree with you that forming life on an ever cooling planet would be difficult. However, the surface of our planet is kept far from equilibrium by the constant input of energy from the sun. Your point puts an upper bound on the time available for life to form as the life of the sun. Luckily for us, we seem to have evolved before that upper limit was reached.

  7. Cabal:

    As far as I can tell, for the time being the strongest arguments for ID are the arguments about why evolution is impossible.

    So you are admitting that you are ignorant of ID.

    I say that because in ID literature it is made clear that the design inference is based on our knowledge of cause-and-effect- ie positive evidence.

  8. Cabal (#3),

    You say,

    As far as I understand current thinking in the vast and intriguing field of the why and how of evolution, natural selection is much more and quite different from the simple mechanistic version under constant attack from creationists.

    My understanding was that natural selection was simply the fact that in a competitive environment those organisms that have certain characteristics tend to survive and reproduce more often than those without those characteristics, or with different characteristics. I’d be interested in hearing of this new improved natural selection. Is it intelligent?

    Here’s the problem. Most people acknowledge that certain structures are highly unlikely to have occurred by chance alone. Darwinian theory, IIUC, argues that there is at least one pathway that only requires simple steps, each one of which is mildly improbable, but becomes more probable as the majority of the organisms adopt the step before it. In Darwin’s time, nobody knew exactly what constituted those steps. Now we know that at least some of those steps require changes in DNA.

    But what is not clear is whether there indeed is a simple mutation-by-mutation pathway from an organism without, say, a flagellum to one with a flagellum, with each step (in some environment) being more advantageous than the last, so that the Darwinian process could increase the otherwise astronomically low probability of the flagellum originating. Without such a pathway, natural selection cannot increase significantly the probability of the organism forming a flagellum. But with the possible exception of color vision, which apparently only requires 3 mutations (plus the detecting “wiring”), nobody has shown a mutation-by-mutation pathway to any complex structure, not just to the flagellum.

    Now, it could be argued that there are myriads of possible pathways, and that is certainly a theoretical possibility, in which case we may never find “the” pathway. But that argument ignores the fact that if there are multiple pathways, the task of finding one pathway is made that much easier, as if we test any of the possible pathways we will find it to work in a Darwinian manner.

    The problem with non-Darwinian pathways is that after about 2 or 3 non=selected mutations, the process stalls out in real time. That was the point of The Edge of Evolution, and also Behe and Snokes’ paper discussed extensively in this thread, especially the comments.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ed-at-last
    (Sorry. For some reason the above won’t convert into a link either using A or simply pasting it in. You have to cut and paste it into your browser.)

    This evidence for a viable gradualistic pathway for Darwinian evolution is what jerry has been seeking for years, and has never been shown. It is also what Behe referred to in his book Darwin’s Black Box when he said that there were no evolutionary pathways in the scientific literature. If you can detail such a pathway, or give us a reference to such a pathway, you will have done us all a favor.

    You say,

    It can all be boiled down to “the evidence shows something happened in the past. We say Designer did it, natural forces alone couldn’t do it; science says natural forces did it all by themselves, without outside help.”

    I am in agreement with Janice (#4). There are (at least) two meanings of science which should be distinguished. There is science as the study of the reproducible, in which case science has the power attributed to it by popular culture, precisely because it is reproducible. Then there is science as applied naturalism or materialism, in which case science is inherently antitheistic or at least atheistic.

    If you define science the latter way, then you are right that “science says natural forces did it all by themselves, without outside help.” That comes with the definition. But if you are saying that science is the study of the reproducible, the only reproducible (as opposed to postulated) way to produce large amounts of functionally specified information is the action of intelligence. That is why the difference between definitions is important.

    This distinction is important in understanding your statement that

    I suspect creationists are not particularly interested in scientific research.

    Leaving aside the distinction between ID adherents and creationists, both are interested in the study of the reproducible, but neither are particularly interested in proving naturalism or materialism correct (with a few exceptions like Francis Crick). Once the distinction between the definitions of science is clear, and we clearly define the word “science” when we use it, a lot of the talking past each other will disappear.

    How about it? Do you know of any demonstrated mutation-by-mutation pathways from simple beginnings to complex structures?

  9. I just noticed that the link I provided became clickable after it was submitted.

  10. Janice,

    “A particular brand of metaphysics says natural forces did it all by themselves”

    Isn’t it correct that Science as a method of analysis for determining reality can, only in principle use the natural world to explain the natural world? That specific detail of explaining X in terms of natural material based cause & effect is what science amounts to. At what point should another method (e.g. appealing to the untestable supernatural) be used in place of known science?

  11. Paul, but science is necessarily a materialistic approach to understanding reality. In this sense, it doesn’t permit the invocation of immaterial based explanations (supernatural) as they’re in principle utterly untestable/unfalsifiable per how the method operates. From this view, it appears you find it less appealing as it doesn’t explicitly mention god(s), & thus you take it as a consequential threat to your faith.

    Further, your attitude to current science is similar to Myers & other advocates of ID & Creation-Science, especially in the account of the Wedge Document as their motivation appears on face value having less to do with doing better science & more about changing how science is done in order to include the supernatural for sake of religion or such theological implications.

    This is of course a necessity as they seek to undermine materialistic views as they put it, or as you put it ‘neither are particularly interested in proving naturalism or materialism’. That is, they don’t want to do science, they want to change how science is done.

    Indeed, this view can be seen further as in Dover Michael Behe argued that such changes to how the method of science operates are critical for ID as it would open up the possibility of using ID as a method of science. This didn’t last though as ID was later equivocated as bad pseudo science in how reducing the method of science to include for such things would also then involve Astrology as being equally a science. Is this the ‘clear definition of science’ you’re looking for?

  12. # 12 Agentorange:

    From a History of Science point of view alchemy and astrology would be considered human endeavors that later led to a more scientific position.

    Behe was right in stating so.

    A History of Science Ph. D. candidate from Brazil

  13. Enzio,

    Behe is right in stating what? That ID is equally unscientific as Astrology?

    The view of Behe, & of course the others who despise material based analysis, is that in order for ID to be considered as Science the current rules regarding the methodology of science must be changed in order for less verifiable claims to be used to explain reality. Thus the comparison of an outdated concept like astrology with ID is implicit as in order of either to be considered as science, science itself would have to change.

    Astrology & alchemy were shown to be not consistent w/ the empirical evidence & in how the testing procedural requirements of the method showed them not to be congruent w/ reality. The only way to make amends of such observations is to subsequently lower the bar of the methodology, which makes determining what reality is even more precarious, which is precisely what Behe was advocating.

    Is it rational to claim that the bar be dropped so we can re-include already outdated, unscientific ideas like astrology, alchemy?

  14. Agentorange:
    “Paul, but science is necessarily a materialistic approach to understanding reality.”

    I’ve heard this before, but apparently there are different definitions of “materialism.” How are you defining “materialism” as it pertains to a necessary approach to doing science.

    Agentorange:
    “In this sense, it doesn’t permit the invocation of immaterial based explanations (supernatural) as they’re in principle utterly untestable/unfalsifiable per how the method operates.”

    So, correct me if I’m wrong here, but you are trying to equate materialism with naturalism. Just so you know, I am a naturalist ID proponent, yet am agnostic [and leaning away from] materialism.

    The main problem here, though, is in the definition and furthermore demarcation of natural and supernatural. Since you are using the terms in your comment, you must have a way of defining them. Please explain to me the difference between “natural” and supernatural.” Of course, you will have to begin by providing a definition of “natural.”

    Agentorange:
    “Further, your attitude to current science is similar to Myers & other advocates of ID & Creation-Science, especially in the account of the Wedge Document as their motivation appears on face value having less to do with doing better science & more about changing how science is done in order to include the supernatural for sake of religion or such theological implications.”

    I know you weren’t directly addressing me, however it does seem that you are attempting to pigeon-hole all forms of Creationism and ID Theory into one concept and address it with your comment. So, being an ID proponent I would like to comment on your “ulterior motivation” accusation.

    First, what does it matter? How does a person’s motivation affect the logic of an argument? Are you unable to deal with the arguments on face value?

    Second, what does it matter? Yes, you heard correctly … I’m not stuttering. I’m just quite astonished that people still pull the “motivation card” as if it’s supposed to prove something about a given argument’s logical validity.

    Third, just because some people have a specific motivation for why they do research doesn’t mean that everyone has that same motivation, especially when it comes to agnostics and atheists supporting ID research as science. I’ll tell you right now that I find the connection between patterns, probability, specificity, and intelligence extremely intriguing and worthy of research regardless of its further use in philosophy and/or religion and/or metaphysics. I’m sure you agree as the subject would pertain to any scientific research which was utilized to purportedly support an atheistic or nihilistic philosophy. Is this true or not? I just want to make sure you are being consistent.

    Last, if the motivations outlined in the Wedge Document do turn out to be founded in reality, then “changing science” to accommodate such a worldview would only serve to make science more accurate. However, I personally am an ID proponent who doesn’t think that the basic methodologies of science need to be changed at all in order for science to be able to deal with Intelligent Design hypothesis.

    Agnetorange:
    “This is of course a necessity as they seek to undermine materialistic views as they put it, or as you put it ‘neither are particularly interested in proving naturalism or materialism’. That is, they don’t want to do science, they want to change how science is done.”

    What if the foundation of science needed to be re-worked because the current understanding had limitations? I don’t personally think this is the case, but I wouldn’t categorically dismiss the possibility.

    Agentorange:
    “Indeed, this view can be seen further as in Dover Michael Behe argued that such changes to how the method of science operates are critical for ID as it would open up the possibility of using ID as a method of science.”

    Think with me for a moment. What if conscious intelligence wasn’t reducible to naturalism or materialism?
    Agentorange:
    “This didn’t last though as ID was later equivocated as bad pseudo science in how reducing the method of science to include for such things would also then involve Astrology as being equally a science.”

    Now, I don’t necessarily think that the mind/intelligence/consciousness is non-natural and I am agnostic on it being non-material, so we can go through this little exercise together from a similar viewpoint. How would including a theory of non-material mind allow for astrology — the idea that star patterns viewed from the position of earth can guide the decisions I make in my life?

    Of course, again, you’ll have to provide the definition of “material” that you are stating is required as foundational to scientific methodology. Just trying to provoke your thinking away from a narrow view of the subject. ID Theory and its relation to science, and even the subject of science, naturalism and materialism are orders of magnitude deeper than how you’ve characterized the relations.

  15. 16

    agentorange @11,

    “Isn’t it correct that Science as a method of analysis for determining reality can, only in principle use the natural world to explain the natural world?”

    This doesn’t necessarily follow. It’s like saying that we can only study the Natural World [i]relative [/i] to itself. For example, the diagram of the elements within a circuit is an abstract notion we use to understand the physical world around us – the actual behavior of the circuit in no way connected to the behavior of the diagram/graph. The description of the material circuit has been formulated/postulated using abstract methods that are hardly reducible to physics (i.e. the material world). Essentially, an abstract model is used to connect our OBSERVATION to our ANALYSIS of a physical system. Ideas seem to be metaphysically independent of the Nature we’re studying.

    “That specific detail of explaining X in terms of natural material based cause & effect is what science amounts to.”

    You’ve not “explained” anything. We have no way of knowing why physical phenomena behave that way other than that’s the way they have been observed to consistently behave through causal repetition. What I am saying is that we can understand the natural world outside of what the natural world provides us. Mathematics is the most obvious case.

    “At what point should another method (e.g. appealing to the untestable supernatural) be used in place of known science?”

    The problem is not appealing to the “supernatural”, but using methodological naturalism (study of nature as if that’s all there is) to rule out any case of the “supernatural” to begin with. Science can say nothing either way. Honestly, how many theist scientists (over the past 1000 years) have conducted science this way? The physical methods they use(d) to investigate and conduct science were certainly valid, and often times confirmed/jived with their metaphysical/theological beliefs after the fact. They came to valid conclusions without applying your rigorously arbitrary definition of what science is, or “contaminating” their results/findings with their world view.

  16. 17

    *is in no way connected.

    And I forgot I had designated that word in italics – I meant to correct it before I posted.

  17. CJYman,

    “defining “materialism”

    Loosely, I would say the relational behavior observed in cause & effect between energy & matter. What can be accurately measured, quantified, qualified, & determined through physical/material based analysis & research. The empirical study of the natural world using only naturally applicable explanations which are in themselves verifiable, testable, hence the name methodological naturalism.

    If you don’t think science is or should be material based, what is the better tested alternative?

    “equate materialism with naturalism”

    At least on face value, yes. However, my point is that science works as it does due to how stringent the requirements are for explaining natural reality with nature alone, anything less becomes something else, but not science. Removing or reducing such requirements then would lead to incorporating of untestable or already outmoded ideas (astrology) which we known aren’t congruent w/ reality.

    Such ideas largely were held for personal motivations (see why ulterior motives matter?) that somehow (?) the alignment of all the planets was all for you the reader of the astrology cards. I mean sure, the thought of astrology is naturally appealing given how we often center everything in the world around us, but alas just b/c it’s comforting doesn’t make it any more true.

    ““natural” and supernatural.”

    Natural = nature. All of physical, material reality, the universe, cosmos, all working according to natural descriptive laws.

    Supernatural = that which is not natural, not physical, not material based, non testable, defies known natural laws. Typically it’s personified by aberration, in which god(s), devils, angels, are invoked to explain such an occurrence.

    “what does it matter? How does a person’s motivation affect the logic of an argument?”

    In light of historical events, of how many times creationists have attempted to downplay it, water it down, or have it tossed out all together, it matters a lot. Past is prologue as they say.

    Especially considering the long held anti-evolution movement is largely made of people whom disagree with the science of evolution not necessarily for evidence based reasons, but rather for theological implications & possible consequences they see to their faith.

    To this extent they further want to change how science is done in order to include the supernatural, this is championed in the Wedge Document & in other ID literature like ’ID 101’, ‘What is ID?’, etc. This isn’t pigeon holing, the same behaviors & attitudes around despising the implications of evolution in particular, & methodological naturalism (science) in general stems from the same reasons of considered consequences to their faith.

    As for the ulterior motives, it’s called conformational bias, & part of the method in science involves ridding such things in order to preserve the most accurate representation of facts. There are no doubt plenty of people who in absence of such regulation would impose their own beliefs in sake of supportive data; indeed this may again explain why they’re looking to change the method itself.

  18. CJYman,

    “motivations outlined in the Wedge Document do turn out to be founded in reality”

    And what if they’re not? This seems to be the motivation behind current opposition to evolution and material based science.

    “What if the foundation of science needed to be re-worked because the current understanding had limitations?”

    I suppose this is possible, but whatever changes are proposed, such changes only hold value if they result in improving how we scientifically determine reality. I doubt by removing stringent requirements on the method that it would result in improvements as it would only open more unsupported, untestable explanations into the fold of science.

    “What if conscious intelligence wasn’t reducible to naturalism or materialism?”

    What evidence is there to suggest it isn’t, or can’t be explained by naturalistic means? I don’t mind throwing out imaginative speculation, but in order to be taken seriously let’s first try to hold to some sense of evidence based reasoning.

    “How would including a theory of non-material mind allow for astrology — the idea that star patterns viewed from the position of earth can guide the decisions I make in my life?”

    Only by reducing the current science requirements would either be even remotely considered, as it is now they’re both equally fallacoius.

  19. HouseStreetRoom

    “This doesn’t necessarily follow. It’s like saying that we can only study the Natural World [i]relative [/i] to itself. “

    More or less, how would one presume to scientifically study something which isn’t reducible to material? It would be hard enough to attribute physical properties to something which is claimed to not be physical/material, worse still to make it testable & distinguishable between the natural occurrences that we can attribute correlation & that which is claimed to be supernatural.

    “diagram of the elements within a circuit is an abstract notion we use to understand the physical world around us”

    So it’s an abstract symbol referring to a material based process.

    “The description of the material circuit has been formulated/postulated using abstract methods that are hardly reducible to physics (i.e. the material world).”

    Admittedly we don’t know everything about physics; even what we do comprehend we only do so to a degree, but apparently enough to form crude materialistic based diagrams on how it operates.

  20. agentorange makes multiple assertions in his responses in this thread. He asserts and accuses Behe of trying to lower the standard of science. As in:

    Indeed, this view can be seen further as in Dover Michael Behe argued that such changes to how the method of science operates are critical for ID as it would open up the possibility of using ID as a method of science. This didn’t last though as ID was later equivocated as bad pseudo science in how reducing the method of science to include for such things would also then involve Astrology as being equally a science. Is this the ‘clear definition of science’ you’re looking for?

    What agentorange like many materialists before fail to understand is that all science is inferential i.e. inferred as the best explanation for the observed phenomena. So this means that astrology could be science if probabilistic correlation between “star reading” and reality was significant but its not to my knowledge. Perhaps rather than blaming Behe and others agentorange could provide us with better definition for science?

  21. “As for the ulterior motives, it’s called conformational bias, & part of the method in science involves ridding such things in order to preserve the most accurate representation of facts. ”

    That is a joke. A better sentence would be

    “As for the ulterior motives, it’s called conformational bias, & part of the method in science involves ridding such things in order to preserve the most political acceptable representation of facts. “

  22. I am sorry but an even more accurate sentence would be

    “As for the ulterior motives, it’s called conformational bias, & part of the method in science involves ensuring such things in order to preserve the most political acceptable representation of facts. “

  23. I just copied this from Cornelius Hunter’s post on proteins and it sums up the problems with evolutionary biology in particular and science in general. Namely, that politically appropriate conclusions are so necessary in many areas of science that it is really hard to take a scientist seriously in many domain areas.

    Here is what Hunter wrote

    “Of course the idea that regulatory proteins and networks evolved does not come from science, it comes from the belief that evolution is true. Strip that away and all that is left is story telling about unlikely events in the name of science. Religion drives science, and it matters.”

  24. Agentorange asks in 18: If you don’t think science is or should be material based, what is the better tested alternative?

    Good question but poorly formulated. The question you should be asking is: When it becomes valid for a scientist to propose non-materialistic explanations or a cause for observed phenomena?

    My answer to that is really simple: when the materialistic and reductionist conclusion is obviously ludicrous. Which are these ludicrous conclusions then for example?

    1.) Consciousness as emergent property of matter
    2.) Universe(s) from nothing caused by nothing
    3.) Explanations that have no basis in reality but have to be made up to avoid teleology or “spookiness”.

    The method I suggest you use when doing science would be humility because as we know the main tool for methodological naturalism is induction which has been disproved by Hume, Russell and others as a reliable method. The best scientific explanation for the three examples above would be:

    “There is data A that indicates X and data B that indicates Y – you choose”.

  25. agentorange,

    More or less, how would one presume to scientifically study something which isn’t reducible to material?

    Cognition and our ability to reason isn’t material, music theory isn’t material, metaphysics isn’t material. Your philosophy of materialism isn’t material.

  26. Joining Clive at 26:

    Mathematics isn’t material. Software isn’t material. Funny enough, even money ceased to be material.

  27. Innerbling,

    “He asserts and accuses Behe of trying to lower the standard of science.”

    I think you’re incorrectly misrepresenting my argument. My comment wasn’t reliant on Behe’s Dover trial statements at all, such statements of seeking to lower the bar are readily available in the ID literature & many of the original documents they’re associated with, some I mentioned earlier. (ID 101, what is ID?, etc.) This stance isn’t something exclusive to Behe, nor does it rest on his court statement.

    Was Behe’s pleading & advocating to ‘lower the bar’ for ID’s sake? Yes, & explicitly to help make ID a tenable science field.

  28. Innerbling,

    “when the materialistic and reductionist conclusion is obviously ludicrous.”

    Forgetting for a moment that the questions you’re asking are literally on the cutting edge of science & knowledge, can you please elaborate in details why the material based explanations for 1,2,3 are ludicrous & insufficient to where non material & non testable explanations would be more accurate explanations of said phenomena? For example, I would prefer how you get from supernatural X being the cause of natural Y & how this is objectively verifiable.

    What I would like to add now is that despite coming to a lucid understanding of quantum mechanics, it’s ability to account for how energy/matter works in a very predictable way, despite being odd, is the a good explanation. So although things at the Qunta appear beyond comprehension, there appears to be some material based predictability to it.

  29. Clive,

    “Cognition and our ability to reason isn’t material”

    Oh really? I don’t want to put words in your mouth here, so you’re saying that a person, or being/animal, can think/reason in absence of a material brain or central nervous system? I’d like to see how that works.

  30. Alex73,

    “Mathematics isn’t material.”

    But this is an expression of properties we associate w/ & prescribe to this physical world. It’s not imagined out of nowhere & based on nothing, it’s based on the physical world & how it can be reduced to more simplified levels of organization & objectively tested. Even if you contest the thought of math itself is immaterial, that too is material based in having a functioning brain. Unless you’re saying we can think in the absence of a brain.

    “Software isn’t material.”

    Sure it is. Consider the computer game of chess is material based. From our perspective it’s a fancy representation of the game Chess, however the entire game is reducible to binary mathematics. Nevertheless, we can play chess on a computer, knowing full well that nothing is going on except a vast stream of electrons changing places in a web of components according to the physical structure of a tiny computer chip.

    “money ceased to be material.”

    In what way? I assume that you mean the economic use of paper denominations has been reduced by use of physical plastic cards which represent the same purpose of ‘currency’, correct? Both paper cash & plastic cards which represent ‘currency/money’ are equally reducible to physical properties. The man at the store swiping his visa card against a magnetic sensor which tracks & identifies his unique pin in order to withdraw money from his bank account which is digitized & represented electronically would be based & reducible to material causation.

  31. agentorange,

    Oh really? I don’t want to put words in your mouth here, so you’re saying that a person, or being/animal, can think/reason in absence of a material brain or central nervous system? I’d like to see how that works.

    That’s a curious handle you’re using, agentorange, you do realize it poisoned a lot of our troops and a lot of Vietnamese in that war, right? Are you poison? Do you enjoy going by the name of poison? Yes, I am saying that a person doesn’t reason by virtue of their material movements. The reason precedes the movement. To have it the other way around means that no reasoning actually occurs, only physical processes, which will have speed and direction and velocity and weight, but which would be nonsense to call those physical properties the “truth”, or “true” ‘about’ anything.

    “A theory which explained everything else in the whole universe but which made it impossible to believe that our thinking was valid, would be utterly out of court. For that theory would itself have been reached by thinking, and if thinking is not valid that theory would, of course, be itself demolished. It would have destroyed its own credentials. It would be an argument which proved that no argument was sound-a proof that there are no such things as proofs-which is nonsense. Thus a strict materialism refutes itself for the reason given long ago by Professor Haldane: `If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true … and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.’” [Haldane, J.B.S., "Possible Worlds," Chatto & Windus: London, 1927, p.209] But Naturalism, even if it is not purely materialistic, seems to me to involve the same difficulty, though in a somewhat less obvious form. It discredits our processes of reasoning or at least reduces their credit to such a humble level that it can no longer support Naturalism itself.” (Lewis, C.S., “Miracles: A Preliminary Study,” [1947], Fontana: London, Second edition, 1963, reprint, pp.18-19. Ellipses Lewis’)

    “It therefore follows that all knowledge whatever depends on the validity of inference. If, in principle, the feeling of certainty we have when we say `Because A is B therefore C must be D’ is an illusion, if it reveals only how our cortex has to work and not how realities external to us must really be, then we can know nothing whatever. … This admission seems to me completely unavoidable and it has very momentous consequences. In the first place it rules out any materialistic account of thinking. We are compelled to admit between the thoughts of a terrestrial astronomer and the behaviour of matter’ several light-years away that particular relation which we call truth. But this relation has no meaning at all if we try to make it exist between the matter of the star and the astronomer’s brain, considered as a lump of matter. The brain may be in all sorts of relations to the star no doubt: it is in a spatial relation, and a time relation, and a quantitative relation. But to talk of one bit of matter as being true about another bit of matter seems to me to be nonsense.” (Lewis, C.S., “De Futilitate,” in “Christian Reflections,” [1967], Hooper, W., ed., Fount: Glasgow UK, Fourth Impression, 1988, pp.86-88)

    “What makes it impossible that it should be true is not so much the lack of evidence for this or that scene in the drama as the fatal self-contradiction which runs right through it. The Myth [of Evolution] cannot even get going without accepting a good deal from the real sciences. And the real sciences cannot be accepted for a moment unless rational inferences are valid: for every science claims to be a series of inferences from observed facts. It is only by such inferences that you can reach your nebulae and protoplasm and dinosaurs and sub-men and cave-men at all. Unless you start by believing that reality in the remotest space and the remotest time rigidly obeys the laws of logic, you can have no ground for believing in any astronomy, any biology, any palaeontology, any archaeology. To reach the positions held by the real scientists- which are then taken over by the Myth-you must, in fact, treat reason as an absolute. But at the same time the Myth asks me to believe that reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of a mindless process at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. The content of the Myth thus knocks from under me the only ground on which I could possibly believe the Myth to be true. If my own mind is a product of the irrational – if what seem my clearest reasonings are only the way in which a creature conditioned as I am is bound to feel- how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about Evolution? They say in effect: ‘I will prove that what you call a proof is only the result of mental habits which result from heredity which results from bio-chemistry which results from physics.’ But this is the same as saying: ‘I will prove that proofs are irrational’: more succinctly, ‘I will prove that there are no proofs’: The fact that some people of scientific education cannot by any effort be taught to see the difficulty, confirms one’s suspicion that we here touch a radical disease in their whole style of thought. But the man who does see it, is compelled to reject as mythical the cosmology in which most of us were brought up. That it has embedded in it many true particulars I do not doubt: but in its entirety, it simply will not do. Whatever the real universe may turn out to be like, it can’t be like that.” (Lewis, C.S., “The Funeral of a Great Myth,” in “Christian Reflections,” [1967], Hooper, W., ed., Fount: Glasgow UK, Fourth Impression, 1988, pp.117-118)

  32. agentorange,

    But this is an expression of properties we associate w/ & prescribe to this physical world. It’s not imagined out of nowhere & based on nothing, it’s based on the physical world & how it can be reduced to more simplified levels of organization & objectively tested.

    I would love to see a physical zero and a physical square root of two. :) Show them to me please?

  33. Clive,

    “I would love to see a physical zero and a physical square root of two. Show them to me please?”

    Asking for a physical quality of a null is hard to qualify, it seems like a non logical question as it doesn’t conform to known understanding of properties regarding what ‘physical’ & ‘zero’ would entail. That is, it’s not logically consistent.

    It would be like asking for ‘what sound a one handed clap makes?’, or ‘how much does red weigh?’ Such questions ignore the physical properties of reality, & are suspect of being axiomatically & propositionally wrong, you might as well be asking ‘how much god weighs?’

    You’re asking Geometric calculations (square root of 2), so we can refer to Geometry which translated means ‘Earth Measurement’. Think about the significance of the meaning of that term for a moment & what is necessarily implies. You’ll find it’s associated with measuring physical, spatial dimensions (plane curves, etc.). That is, it’s foundationally based on physical properties of reality, it’s not something which is immaterial or imaged without any basis of physical reality, and it exists in the very world that surrounds us.

    You can’t have one without the other. That is you can’t have geometric math’s without the very physical world & its properties representing it. This is how I would say they’re reduced to a material based origin.

    Such Geometric calculations are bound to the physical world & the properties it exhibits, if they’re imaterial, explain in what way.

  34. agentorange,

    Asking for a physical quality of a null is hard to qualify, it seems like a non logical question as it doesn’t conform to known understanding of properties regarding what ‘physical’ & ‘zero’ would entail. That is, it’s not logically consistent.

    This is your problem not mine. The person who claims that mathematics is physical has this difficulty, not me.

  35. Clive,

    “Yes, I am saying that a person doesn’t reason by virtue of their material movements. The reason precedes the movement. “

    I want to be clear here. Are you saying that in the absence of a physical, material, brain/central nervous system, a being/animal can think or reason? If so how?

    The issue I find w/ your statement is that in terms of reductionism in how psychology is reducible to biology, & biology is reducible to chemistry, & chemistry is reducible to physics. In this view, & per the enormous amount of evidence for it, physical drugs (particularly neurological & hallucinogenic), & the body’s own hormones, do impact our brains processing & reasoning ability & therefore it would indicate that at some level at least material based processes can change our perception & ability to reason effectively.

    “To have it the other way around means that no reasoning actually occurs, only physical processes, “

    This is only if you overly simply it & utterly reduce it to simply chemical processes, but this is a modo hoc fallacy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.....omposition

  36. Hello agentorange,

    As I briefly stated earlier, I am both a naturalist and an ID proponent, yet I am agnostic toward materialism. This will provide some context for how I am responding to your comments.

    agentorange:
    “Loosely, I would say the relational behavior observed in cause & effect between energy & matter. What can be accurately measured, quantified, qualified, & determined through physical/material based analysis & research.”

    It seems that by “materialism,” you mean “that which is reducible to only matter and energy.” Besides the fact that I’m not sure anyone knows what matter/energy really is, it seems that the uncertainty principle, if indeed true, provides an absolute limit on measurability and as far as I understand arises from an understanding that the foundation of reality is not localized to “balls” of matter,but rather to information … probability of states. So, you would need to further define what you mean by “matter” and, it would seem that your definition of “materialism” above is already called into question if quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle is indeed a true and accurate description of the foundations of our universe. I am by no means an expert on the subject and that is why I am agnostic on this subject of materialism. If you can provide some more in depth commentary on the subject that would be great, however I’m not so sure that “matter” can really be explained to support a materialistic view which boils down to localized mass — and thus accurate measurement and quantification — being fundamental to everything.

    Agentorange:
    “The empirical study of the natural world using only naturally applicable explanations which are in themselves verifiable, testable, hence the name methodological naturalism.”

    I am perfectly fine with methodological naturalism as a tool. However, the philosophy of naturalism is not required for ID Theory to be considered science. All that is required is the same type of observation, mathematical measurement, computational simulation, and inference into the past which is utilized to provide evidence for evolution. The nature of “intelligence” is separate from ID Theory in the same way that the nature of abiogenesis is separate from evolutionary theory. Intelligence does exist and operates according to some type of principle and some form of abiogenesis had to have occured in the past (barring a hand ripping through time and space), yet those facts are separate from the study of the patterns which result from intelligence and from the study of the patterns of evolution respectively.

    Agentorange:
    “If you don’t think science is or should be material based, what is the better tested alternative?”

    You seem to be jumping from methodological naturalism being used as an investigative tool to a statement that only material phenomenon are amenable to scientific research. And this is where our discussion can’t continue until we are on the same page as to the definition of “matter.” For example, is consciousness “material?”

    Consciousness definitely exists as per my own and I’m sure your own experience. In fact we wouldn’t be able to experience anything with our senses, which is foundational to science if we lacked consciousness. However, consciousness is purely subjective. It is the essence of subjectivity. We can not objectively grasp it, yet as briefly explained above, it does exist. So, if matter/energy is objective and consciousness is subjective, consciousness will never fit into a materialistic science.

    Now, as per Penrose and Hameroff’s theory of consciousness, I do believe that a certain aspect of consciousenss is measurable (E=h/t) and their hypothesis requires the construct of consciousness to exist at the foundation of our universe, and it is therefore perfectly natural, yet if Penrose and Hameroff are correct and consciousness is fundamental alongside matter/energy and since it is also purely subjective and not localized, then there is no way that it can be said to be material in any way, shape, or form. Yet, we are able to study and measure it to a certain extent. This is a glimpse into how a phenomenon can be both natural and amenable to scientific research, yet not fully material. Hence my agnosticism to a necessarily “materialistic” view on science.

    Agentorange:
    “However, my point is that science works as it does due to how stringent the requirements are for explaining natural reality with nature alone, anything less becomes something else, but not science.”

    In the context of our discussion, are you suggesting that intelligence is a non-natural phenomenon? If so, what exactly do you mean by that?

    Agentorange:
    “Removing or reducing such requirements then would lead to incorporating of untestable or already outmoded ideas (astrology) which we known aren’t congruent w/ reality.”

    Astrology is outmoded exactly because it is amenable to scientific research. I’m sure that measurements based on probability dis-confirm any association of our personal life with star patterns and what these patterns supposedly tell us.

    Are you talking about a requirement that only “material” things can exist, or that science can only deal with that which is in some way measurable? If an ID Theory was constructed whereby the effects of intelligence could be reliably measured, would you consider that a scientific endeavor? On the other hand, if you say that intelligence and its effects cannot *in principle* be measured does this now mean that intelligence can not exist or that it is immaterial and thus not amenable to scientific research? If the later, then would you categorically be against attempting to “update” science and discover “new” methodologies, which still included testability, for including the study of intelligence and its effects in science?

    Agentorange:
    “Such ideas largely were held for personal motivations (see why ulterior motives matter?) that somehow (?) the alignment of all the planets was all for you the reader of the astrology cards. I mean sure, the thought of astrology is naturally appealing given how we often center everything in the world around us, but alas just b/c it’s comforting doesn’t make it any more true.”

    On “motivations,” do the atheistic motivations of some scientists to “not allow a divine foot in the door” automatically disqualify any of their research from being considered from a scientific viewpoint? The answer to this question is not that science is necessarily atheistic, since in this instance you are disqualifying certain research based on motivation and not ground rules of science.

    Agentorange:
    “Natural = nature. All of physical, material reality, the universe, cosmos, all working according to natural descriptive laws.”

    Is the quantum uncertainty at the foundation of our universe physical/material/natural if it can’t be accurately measured? How accurately does something have to be measured in order for it to be categorized as “natural?” Would multiverses, outside of our cosmoms be “natural” even though they are in principle unmeasurable by us? Is consciousness amenable to mathematical description even though it is the essence of subjectivity and is not objective in any sense? Is consciousness natural?

    What about patterns which are not definable by mathematical description and do not result from any of the physical/measureable properties of the matter/energy utilized. Examples are essays, automobiles, and DNA. I’ve written more on this at http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-337588. You may want to check it out.

    Agentorange:
    “Supernatural = that which is not natural, not physical, not material based, non testable, defies known natural laws. Typically it’s personified by aberration, in which god(s), devils, angels, are invoked to explain such an occurrence.”

    So the category of “supernatural” has to be updated as more natural laws are discovered? How do these aberrations defy known natural law? I don’t think anyone, yourself included, has adequately and non-ambiguously provided a useful definition of “natural” so of course its negation is not going to be well defined. How do you know that these aberrations are not material based? Are the fundamental waves which quantum mechanics describes “material” based?

    Agentorange:
    “Especially considering the long held anti-evolution movement is largely made of people whom disagree with the science of evolution not necessarily for evidence based reasons, but rather for theological implications & possible consequences they see to their faith.”

    So you refuse to look at the scientific evidence because people have a tendency want to uphold their metaphysical viewpoint? You do realize this works both ways. Furthermore, you do realize that some if not all of the big names in the ID Movement are not anti-evolution. They are merely anti-blind and unguided evolution and they provide evidence for it.

    Agentorange:
    “To this extent they further want to change how science is done in order to include the supernatural, this is championed in the Wedge Document & in other ID literature like ’ID 101’, ‘What is ID?’, etc. This isn’t pigeon holing, the same behaviors & attitudes around despising the implications of evolution in particular, & methodological naturalism (science) in general stems from the same reasons of considered consequences to their faith.”

    Well, I guess its time for me to stop speaking for other people. I’m not sure about all of their views on natural vs. supernatural, yet neither am I sure about your views and how coherent they are. I personally see no need to get into a semantic battle of categorization since this does nothing for the actual question of “can we detect the effects of previous intelligence.” We either can or we can’t, and it doesn’t matter if intelligence turns out to be “supernatural” or not according to anyone’s definition of the term.

    You also do realize that many people won’t accept ID Theory because of its implications for their faith — trusted and believed worldview. So again, I see absolutely no use for or validity in motive mongering.

    Agentorange:
    “As for the ulterior motives, it’s called conformational bias, & part of the method in science involves ridding such things in order to preserve the most accurate representation of facts.”

    Again, conformational bias happens on both ends of the spectrum. This is why repeatability of the results and a strong, logical argument are required. It seems absolutely clear to me that the only necessity for pulling out the “motive” card is because someone is unable to deal with the logic and results of an argument at face value. Although, sure, a study of motives could also be useful for sociological research. However, it doesn’t seem that would be your intent here, since you would also provide examples of the motives of the other side of the argument and also of the motives of those neutral to this debate for comparison. Correct me if I am wrong.

  37. agentorange,

    “To have it the other way around means that no reasoning actually occurs, only physical processes, “

    This is only if you overly simply it & utterly reduce it to simply chemical processes, but this is a modo hoc fallacy.

    You can’t have it both ways. It is either reducible to chemistry which is reducible to the laws of physics, or it isn’t. If it is, no reasoning can be done that couldn’ be opposite of its conclusions based on different chemicals or material movements, and if it isn’t, then this problem disappears. If you’re claiming that in principle your clearest reasoning is not up to you but up to material movements, then this reason is not itself clear by virtue of any external fact or inference, it is a matter of material causation, which cannot produce an ought from an is. Your thoughts would be forever encircled within the realm of physical properties and not based on independent and metaphysical laws of logic or reason which are not reducible to the laws of physics or chemical reactions. You’re destroying your only hope of reason by arguing that it is not objectively true or independent of however your brain happened to be moving about. This is not the fallacy of composition.

  38. Agentoorange answers to my post in 28 by stating:

    “I think you’re incorrectly misrepresenting my argument. My comment wasn’t reliant on Behe’s Dover trial statements at all, such statements of seeking to lower the bar are readily available in the ID literature & many of the original documents they’re associated with, some I mentioned earlier. (ID 101, what is ID?, etc.) This stance isn’t something exclusive to Behe, nor does it rest on his court statement.”

    So you are not only blaming Behe but also every other scientist that explains observed phenomena with what she thinks as the best explanation? You don’t seem accept that the inference to the best explanation is the correct way to do science or that there could be multiple competing explanations – why? Are you saying that scientists should always infer worst explanation, only testable explanations or what?

    Further more agentorange asserts in 29:

    “Forgetting for a moment that the questions you’re asking are literally on the cutting edge of science & knowledge, can you please elaborate in details why the material based explanations for 1,2,3 are ludicrous & insufficient to where non material & non testable explanations would be more accurate explanations of said phenomena? For example, I would prefer how you get from supernatural X being the cause of natural Y & how this is objectively verifiable.”

    I am astonished as I write this reply to even have to answer why non-caused events are ludicrous? Everyone should understand that if there exits non-caused events in this reality all science, knowledge and rationality would become completely meaningless. That’s why transcendent origin of the universe can be objectively deduced because its the only rational possibility. But as a caveat it’s also possible to assert that we live in irrational reality, but this can never be rational position because that would be self-contradictory.
    This also applies to 1. as if consciousness is emergent property of matter free will and conscious choices would become illusory and even deterministic. This would also mean that you could become ID proponent by eating a pill.

    However when it comes to these questions which as agentorange said are at the cutting edge it is smart to have humility and consider multiple options. That is why I said it is reasonable for a scientist to say:

    “There is data A that indicates X and data B that indicates Y – you choose”.

    Why does agentorange seem to resist this reasonable statement?

  39. A friend of mine, while arguing for evolution, said to me, “You don’t know what time can do.” I later thought that if you replaced the word “time” with “God” you’d have an expression of faith.

  40. … and to add on to what I stated in #37, software is most definitely not “material” in accordance with how Agentorange has defined “materialism:”

    Agentorange:
    “Loosely, I would say the relational behavior observed in cause & effect between energy & matter. What can be accurately measured, quantified, qualified, & determined through physical/material based analysis & research.”

    Software does not arise from a cause and effect relationship between energy and matter. The energy and matter which are utilized to create software have nothing to input on the design of the software. That is why software is abstract — it does not rely on any physical/measurable/quantifiable/material aspects of matter. It can be encoded in any material substrate, yet it is independent of that substrate. The matter itself is not the software. Software is most definitely not material based, yet it can be measured probabilistically. So along with consciousness (as explained above in #37), a study of software provides an example of science which uses methodological naturalism as an investigative tool yet does not rely on materialism. IMO, therein lies the difference between naturalism and materialism.

  41. … delete the software and no physical measurement of the system will have changed.

  42. Innerbling,

    Hey Clive, you thought I had an interesting name, what do you make of a name like ‘Innerbling’?

    I don’t think blame is appropriate; it’s little harsh. I am attributing their views of being anti materialistic & anti to how the current method of science operates as it’s in their very own literature that this is their position & philosophical stance. This is specified in their books in how they want to change certain demarcations regarding the scientific method in order to make ID tenable. Would you u prefrer I cite it from the Wedge, or the other ID books I mentioned?

    “You don’t seem accept that the inference to the best explanation is the correct way to do science or that there could be multiple competing explanations – why?”

    By looking at how ID requires fundamental changes to the method of science in order to be included, & further that such changes would thereby necessarily include other unsupported ideas (alchemy, astrology) as actual sciences, it becomes apparent it’s not a valid reason to ‘lower the bar’.

    If anything it should be asked why the method should be required to change if a said hypothesis, ID, can’t meet the current requirements that all other science theories operate under at least to some degree or another?

  43. agentorange,

    Hey Clive, you thought I had an interesting name.

    I don’t find your name interesting, my father was poisoned with agent orange, which contributed to his early death.

  44. CJYman,

    “Software does not arise from a cause and effect relationship between energy and matter.”

    Well of course computer software doesn’t.

    “The energy and matter which are utilized to create software have nothing to input on the design of the software”

    Are you saying the energy/material based beings that created Windows, or the UD blog, had no input into the design of how it would turn out? I don’t think you meant this, so then what?

    “delete the software and no physical measurement of the system will have changed.”

    Enough with the categorical statements.

    Any OS platform & software application is equally applicable for this demonstration, as they’re ultimately using physical components to operate. That is undeniable. Assuming you’re using Windows, & MS Office as an application, go ahead an open up Task Manager & kill the process for Office & notice as the physical CPU & RAM respond accordingly to changes in load.

    But if you’ll only accept a ‘deletion of software’ of installed software, then again consider that you had MS Office previously on your machine, & after some thought you’d decided to uninstall/delete it. This would impact the normal physical load of resources that the CPU, RAM, bus, etc. would normally be involved in executing. In terms of processes, threads, & up to the level of electricy used, such changes can be & are measureable.

    Indeed, IBM & many other large companies recognizing this have actively virtualized much of their computer infrastructure as it’s more efficient & allows for versatility in managing resources & electricity usage based on demand.

    Additionally, in a drive (SSD or HHD) the arrangement of physical electronic bits on the disks will have physically changed in response to those macro changes. Obviously the disk itself at the macro level hasn’t changed, however the pattern of organization inside the disc in terms of electronic bits will have changed. These would be the physical measurable differences say prior to & after deleting software from a machine.

    This changes how the CPU handles the loads of threads involved in a given process of execution. Such CPU cycles (hertz), bus speed, RAM, & other physical materials are physically linked to the load that can be processed in a given amount of time. Software, abstract or not, is contingent on physical material like CPU’s, RAM, managing code execution.

  45. Agentorange:
    “I am attributing their views of being anti materialistic & anti to how the current method of science operates as it’s in their very own literature that this is their position & philosophical stance.”

    Well, if the current method of science artificially imposes a materialist outlook as you have defined above, then there are some things which exist within our universe and which can be measured to some extent which are “not allowed” to be researched for some strange reason. However, I have shown above, in #37 and #41 that these non-materialistic (as per your definition) phenomenon which do indeed exist can be included in science, while still utilizing methodological naturalism as a tool of investigation. So the scientific method that you seem to be referring to only needs to change in the sense of dropping off a useless and artificially constraining categorization — that of “not allowing non-material phenomenon to be investigated.”

    Agentorange:
    “This is specified in their books in how they want to change certain demarcations regarding the scientific method in order to make ID tenable.”

    Yep, pretty much just drop the useless demarcation between natural and supernatural since no one, including yourself has been able to define “natural” in a useful manner and therefore its negation is not usefully defined either. Oh, and BTW, every single book I’ve read on ID Theory and specific hypothesis has only included the same types of inference and methodological naturalism as a tool that all other sciences including evolution utilize.

    Agentorange:
    “Would you u prefrer I cite it from the Wedge, or the other ID books I mentioned?”

    Yes, actually I am curious to see some quotes.

    Someone else asks Agentorange:
    “You don’t seem accept that the inference to the best explanation is the correct way to do science or that there could be multiple competing explanations – why?”

    Agentorange:
    “By looking at how ID requires fundamental changes to the method of science in order to be included, & further that such changes would thereby necessarily include other unsupported ideas (alchemy, astrology) as actual sciences, it becomes apparent it’s not a valid reason to ‘lower the bar’.”

    First, you completely evaded the question. If you would have answered it, you would have realized that there is in fact no “lowering of the bar.”

    Second, how does examining non-material (as per your definition and my explanation of such phenomenon above) phenomenon, such as software and consciousness (explained in my comment #37 and #41-42), allow for alchemy and astrology? Alchemy was falsified based on an understanding of chemistry, and the ideas behind astrology are falsified probabilistically.

    Agentorange:
    “If anything it should be asked why the method should be required to change if a said hypothesis, ID, can’t meet the current requirements that all other science theories operate under at least to some degree or another?”

    But it can and does. ID Theory utilizes the same inference and tool of methodological naturalism — ie cause and effect — that all other sciences use. Or are you trying to argue that intelligence is somehow non-natural (whatever that means)? The only problem is the artificial, ambiguous, not-well defined, and useless categorization that you are insisting is required for science. And you haven’t even provided any reasoning for your position yet. You’ve only made assertions that there is a comparison between alchemy, astrology and ID Theory. I’m sorry but I don’t see the comparison. Please explain yourself.

  46. CJYman:
    “The energy and matter which are utilized to create software have nothing to input on the design of the software”

    Agentorange:
    “Are you saying the energy/material based beings that created Windows, or the UD blog, had no input into the design of how it would turn out? I don’t think you meant this, so then what?”

    The beings which created Windows are composed of more than just matter/energy. There is more “software” within those very beings and thus the non-material property of the “software” is pushed back a level.

    CJYman:
    “delete the software and no physical measurement of the system will have changed.”

    Agentorange:
    “Enough with the categorical statements.”

    I see your explanation and you are completely missing the point. I must not have been clear enough. Deleting the software is the same as scrambling up all the components of the hardware, in context of the point I was making referencing how software is independent of its material substrate. So the point still remains and I should have just been a little more clear in my statement. Delete the software/hardware/all organization independent of the physical substrate and measurements of the physical substrate used to carry the information will not have changed. The point is that the organization in certain phenomenon is independent of any of the physical/material/measurable properties of matter/energy.

    CJYman:
    “Software does not arise from a cause and effect relationship between energy and matter.”

    Agentorange:
    “Well of course computer software doesn’t.”

    Then, since we are agreed, let’s continue with my comments in #37 and 41 and the 46. It appears that your argument about science not being allowed to study non-material phenomenon (as per your own definition) becomes vacuous. Of course, that is only if I’m correct in my interpretation of what you are stating here.

  47. Agentorange states:

    “By looking at how ID requires fundamental changes to the method of science in order to be included, & further that such changes would thereby necessarily include other unsupported ideas (alchemy, astrology) as actual sciences, it becomes apparent it’s not a valid reason to ‘lower the bar’.

    If anything it should be asked why the method should be required to change if a said hypothesis, ID, can’t meet the current requirements that all other science theories operate under at least to some degree or another?”

    I am sorry but your comment just doesn’t make any sense to me. I will try to clarify my lack of sense about your comment rigorously:

    Let scientific theory be X and correlating induced data set be A. The problem of course is that there could also be N amount of other theories that correlate with data set A as well or better than X. So it necessarily follows that the theory X is always unreliable i.e “only” best explanation for data set A. Hume and Russell also said that when more data is induced there could always be data that invalidates theory X. So inference to the best explanation is really the best we can do i.e. infer theory X as the best explanation for phenomena A.

    If you think I am still wrong could you please clarify to me how do you think current scientific theories are formulated? And what kinda fundamental and specific changes you think ID proponents are demanding to be changed in the method?

  48. 49

    There is, and can be, no proof that there are chance events in nature. For all we know, it is what we don’t know about a deterministic universe that leads us to believe in chance occurrences. Consider that a deterministic chaotic system “looks random” only because there is no way to measure it with absolute precision. (By the way, we can measure information in our observations of the system, and the information increases indefinitely with repeated observations. Intelligence is not required to “create” information.)

  49. Nakashima:
    As an AI checkers programmer, I’m sure you know Lisp. (print “Hello World”). Suddenly, the math of evolving this function seems more tractable.

    You missed the point. I could create a computer language in which entering the single letter H would print “Hello World,” and what would that prove?

    The point of my example was to demonstrate how quickly combinatorics create an unsearchable number of possibilities, assuming a search algorithm with no intelligent guidance (with the analogy being amino acid sequences in proteins, which must satisfy functional integration requirements with other proteins).

    agentorange:
    As for the ulterior motives, it’s called conformational bias, & part of the method in science involves ridding such things in order to preserve the most accurate representation of facts.

    Precisely. The ulterior motives and conformational bias of Darwinists cause them to ignore the facts or misrepresent them, and make up silly stories that defy simple logic, mathematics and evidence, in order to support a conclusion that was reached in advance, on the basis of an inherently unfalsifiable philosophical commitment.

    On the subject of “the supernatural”: There is nothing supernatural, if nature is defined as the way things really are. If there is something more than matter, energy, chance, and physical law at work in the way things really are (which I believe modern science has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt), then talk of the “supernatural” is simply irrelevant.

    Design in the universe and living systems is evident. Get used to it.

  50. agentorange,

    Sorry for the late reply. It seems that you are a hard core materialist and committed not to distinguish between what is immaterial and what is a a particlular material representation of the same thing.

    Consider the history of science for example. For a very long time majority of mathematics was considered as an art, having no relationship to nature around us. E.g. the theory of conic sections was not concieved as a concious effort to descibe planetary orbits. Much later, complex numbers were not invented to be used for spectral analysis. Curved spaces were not introduced do describe gravity and space-time. Actually, mathematics of many concepts were established well before it turned out that they do describe phenomena in nature.

    Software remains the same on the hard disk in the form of magnetic domains, in the memory in form of electric charges, in the optical fibre as a sequence of light pulses, on the CD as series of lands and pits, in the air as a pattern of radio waves ans also written down on paper. It is still the same even if you encrypt it.

    About money, you really should talk to an economist to understand what it really is.

    Matter may be the susbstrate that carries it, but the concept that information exists independent of its substrate has been found very useful in science and business also.

  51. And before I forget:

    Chemical experimemts resulted unexpectedly that compounds are made up of integer ratios of its elements. E.g. water is made up of two parts of hydrogen and one part of oxigen. As the measurements became more accurate this rule became more and more obvious. This resulted in the use concept of the atom, because although it was unobservable at the time, the concept of the atom was useful to describe the reason behind the integer ratios. Later this concept turned out the fundamental reality behind matter.

    It is good to have useful concepts after all…

  52. Mr Dodgen,

    The point of my example was to demonstrate how quickly combinatorics create an unsearchable number of possibilities, assuming a search algorithm with no intelligent guidance (with the analogy being amino acid sequences in proteins, which must satisfy functional integration requirements with other proteins).

    And as you just shown, the next step is too connect a particular set oc combinatorics to the real world, because different choices of physics and chemistry make life easier or harder to generate, just as the choice of programming language makes “Hello, World!” easier or harder to generate.

    Connecting a particularly simple set of combinatorics to the real world is called the tornado in the junkyard problem. You may want to review the end of the “Throwing a Grenade…” thread from 10 Jan to see how inappropriate it is.

  53. GilDodgen:
    “On the subject of “the supernatural”: There is nothing supernatural, if nature is defined as the way things really are. If there is something more than matter, energy, chance, and physical law at work in the way things really are (which I believe modern science has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt), then talk of the “supernatural” is simply irrelevant.”

    EXACTLY!!!! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  54. Sooner Emeritus said: “By the way, we can measure information in our observations of the system, and the information increases indefinitely with repeated observations. Intelligence is not required to “create” information”

    You are confusing data and information. Data becomes information when you make those repeated measurements with your intellect. Intelligence is required to change it from data to information.

  55. 56

    Collin,

    You are confusing data and information. Data becomes information when you make those repeated measurements with your intellect. Intelligence is required to change it from data to information.

    Not to demean, but this sounds like something someone with a background in information systems would say.

    All information theorists, including Dembski, keep “intelligence” out of the definition and measure of information. You cannot make an inference to intelligent design on the basis of an information measurement if you define information as intelligent processing of data. It is essential to the design inference that, say, complex specified information be objectively present in an entity, and not just in the eye of the intelligent beholder.

    If you compare active information to complex specified information, you’ll see that Dembski eliminated an agent in the definition of information. He called the agent a “semiotic agent” instead of an “intelligent agent.” This was just a restriction of the form of intelligence, and it did not eliminate circularity from his approach for detection of intelligent design.

  56. 57

    Sooner,

    Information is not the state of something of interest, it is about the state of something of interest.

    There is no information in the material that makes up the universe – except that which is created through the perceptive and communicative processes of an agent (be it earthworm or astronaut).

  57. 58

    Mr. Dodgen,

    You have said that everything real is natural. This renders the word nature superfluous.

    Most Christians, Jews, and Muslims will agree with me that the Creator is real, and is not the created. The created is what we call nature. There is no way to regard the Creator’s creation of nature as anything but supernatural. We believe that nature is constrained in ways that the Creator is not. Thus it is essential to distinguish the Creator as supernatural.

    Note also that the notion of a miracle is shot to pieces unless there is the prospect of supernatural disruption of the course of nature. We cannot say even that God has answered a prayer unless we distinguish the natural unfolding of reality from the reality resulting from supernatural intervention.

    Would you please tell us what motivates you to try to eliminate the distinction between the creation and a Creator that really exists apart from and above the creation?

  58. Sooner Emeritus,

    Note also that the notion of a miracle is shot to pieces unless there is the prospect of supernatural disruption of the course of nature. We cannot say even that God has answered a prayer unless we distinguish the natural unfolding of reality from the reality resulting from supernatural intervention.

    I think you mean a disruption in general, and which disruption we claim to be something that we call “supernatural” since the disruption is different from what we call “natural”. But we don’t know what to call natural, all we call natural is something provisional, like the 19th century materialists called the indivisible atom, but it’s not indivisible anymore. We must keep this oddity called nature as a provision, not as a vision that we perceive and understand like we do laws of reason and laws of logic–for laws of reason and logic are real laws—laws of nature are just weird occurrences that repeat, but repetition doesn’t mean that we understand them or can perceive their necessity or that they couldn’t, or won’t, be otherwise. It just means that they repeat, but that doesn’t mean that they are understood as we understand with our reason something like the law of non-contradiction. We don’t have explanations of the repetitions, we only have descriptions of them. But descriptions do not make an argument against other descriptions. A description is never a valid argument against a proscription. And since we do not understand the rules of nature as we understand the laws of logic, we cannot use them to rule anything else, such as other descriptions, out.

  59. 60

    Upright BiPed (57),

    Information is not the state of something of interest, it is about the state of something of interest.

    Not that information theorists would not like to deal with semantics, but virtually all of information theory explicitly excludes it. Semantics-free definitions of information have proven extremely useful in science and engineering.

    There is no information in the material that makes up the universe – except that which is created through the perceptive and communicative processes of an agent (be it earthworm or astronaut).

    What will you measure information on, if not configurations of matter? And how will you show me information, but by physical measurement?

    Transmission is not communication. You shouldn’t talk about communication unless you can demonstrate that a physical entity has the objective of producing a particular change in physical state in the receiver of the transmission. Sensory organs transmit signals along neural pathways. A scientist may define an objective in the transmission, and analyze how effective the transmission is at achieving that objective. It’s important to keep in mind that the “communication” is the scientist’s abstraction, not something that is objectively present in the organism.

    Genetic transcription and translation is transmission, not communication.

  60. 61

    Sooner,

    Please feel free to parse my words in any manner you wish. Your post does not change the observation that there are no particles of information hiding among the atoms of the universe.

    If you can provide some examples of information (that which informs us; “to give form to”) which did not arrive by perception, then I’ll address it.

  61. 62

    Clive Hayden,

    I agree with much of what you’ve said about the limits of our knowledge of nature. But you have not spoken to the fundamental distinction of the real Creator and the created reality. Christians, Jews, and Muslims generally agree that the Creator transcends the creation. Reality goes beyond that which is accessible to us through empirical observation. The “super-” prefix is going to show up somewhere, if not in “supernatural.”

    Science, as commonly understood from a Judeo-Christian-Islamic viewpoint, is a process of improving explanations of an ever-growing body of observations, not of the Creator, but of what our senses reveal of creation. Interestingly, many Christians believe that scientific observation may yield evidence of ghosts, but few believe the same of angels. The boundary between the natural and the supernatural is hazy, but it does exist for us, and we need language to refer to it.

  62. Sooner Emeritus,

    The boundary between the natural and the supernatural is hazy, but it does exist for us, and we need language to refer to it.

    Yes. And notice that in times past, anything that was considered supernatural, such as radio waves (which were once considered supernatural) and the quantum particles that are both a wave and a particle and that blink in and out of existence like magic, are considered to be natural. The assumption is that what was considered supernatural will be called natural when we begin to know more about it. But we never “know” more about it as an explanation, we only know more about how to describe it. And it could go the other way around too, everything that we observe could be considered supernatural, and it would absorb all the rest of any phenomena into itself when we can describe more of it. I’ve never understood, in line with my last comment to you, how nature ceased to be mysterious as an explanation by virtue of getting descriptions of it. We arbitrarily assign it to be natural, and then arbitrarily assign things as supernatural by comparison. But we do not really understand either of what we are comparing. We can understand laws of reason and morality, but why a bird should fly and lay eggs, or an apple should fall if its stalk is cut (and I don’t mean the mystery of gravity, what I’m discussing is much more fundamental) we have no knowledge, because we cannot see the two events in either case connected by necessity nor by reason or logic; all we can say is that we discovered them as such, and then go about describing the events. We have no standard of comparison to compare Nature to, and we cannot compare its actions to our understanding of the laws of logic and reason, for it is perfectly reasonable (that is, it is not logically impossible) for an apple to fly arbitrarily though the air if the stalk is cut, or for roses to be green instead of red. This elementary wonder of nature should be maintained, and all that we call positivism and scientism has a philosophy that has forgotten this distinction that we do not understand nature as we understand real laws, laws of reason and logic, where we can see the reasonableness of a thing that doesn’t need to exist in order to be reasonable, such as the law of non-contradiction. We have no equivalent insight to what we call nature or the supernatural as explanations.

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