Home » Intelligent Design » The Strawman Fallacy Demonstrated

The Strawman Fallacy Demonstrated

In a prior post lastyearon employs such a classic example of the strawman fallacy that I can’t resist putting it up for all to marvel at.

In the course of an attack of ID as disguised theism lastyearon writes:  “Meyers: The origin of the gene can’t be explained by chemistry (i.e. must’ve happened supernaturally).”  Meyers has never said anything like the statement in the parenthetical that is attributed to him.  I defy lastyearon to provide any source for his statement.

As I said in the comment thread, when one’s opponents feel they must erect a strawman to attack instead of addressing the arguments one is actually making, that is a sure indicator that they have no response to the actual argument one is making (otherwise they would feel no need to erect a strawman).

 

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32 Responses to The Strawman Fallacy Demonstrated

  1. Quantum and Particle physics cannot explain chemistry. Therefore, we know that lastyearon believes that all the good folks searching for the ‘God Particle’ at the LHC are dirty Theists. And that when Richard Feynman described himself as an ‘avowed Atheist’ what he meant was ‘confirmed Catholic’.

    Is there any reason we should not take at face value lastyearon’s beliefs about the religious beliefs of Particle Physicists? It seems obtuse, counterfacutal, and incoherent to be sure. But if this is what lastyearon believes then it is certainly not a Strawman for him to wear his ignorance openly with pride.

    But then, if we are to understand that epistemic ignorance is an affirmative declaration or theistic belief, only means that lastyearon has declared himself a Theist.

  2. What tickles me to bits is that normally the sources of controversies among logically-minded people of high worldly intelligence are precisely that, i.e. the sources of the controversies will be the premises upon which they are predicated.

    And even in physics – particularly in physics, today, whether of the quantum or the astro variety – premises tend to be abstruse, to say the least. Did not Einstein, when asked about the issue, reply that the criterion he resorted to when choosing his hypotheses, was aesthetic?

    Still, TO THE MIND OF THE MATERIALIST, EVERYTHING IS OF EQUAL IMPONDERABILITY. Indeed, they are in such denial concerning the matter, that they cannot bring themselves to accept that paradoxes qua logical impossibilities (not necessarily impossibilities per se) are, in fact, COUNTER-RATIONAL. No. They must be counter-intuitive. How could they countenance their ‘promissory note’s being worthless. Monopoly money. So, ‘counter-intuitive it is!’ Are we all agreed, then? Thank you. Now, on to more important matters…

  3. No wonder the materialists’ multiverse is the “folie du jour”.

    They remind me of the hucksters who try to sell a kind of lottery via a card enclosed in a national newspaper.

    “Everyone’s a winner.” You could win any thing from a new Mercedes limo to a cat litter tray and scoop. And in very small print, “Calls cost £3.50 a minute and will last no more than 3 minutes.”

    How much less, one wonders? Which prizes are vastly more numerous? And just how cheap and shoddy would they be?

    The now fabled multiverse just happens to be a perfect cameo of their “supermarket thinking”. Not so much a “metaphyical conjecture”, as a scientismificist’s equivalent of belle-lettriste, Ernie Wise’s: “…the book wot I wrote.”

  4. “Meyers: The origin of the gene can’t be explained by chemistry (i.e. must’ve happened supernaturally).”

    Yes, that is an accurate description of Meyer’s point. In William Dembski’s Explanatory Filter, if “chance and necessity” are eliminated because you compute an astronomically incorrect probability, then the default hypothesis is “Intelligent Design.”

    But ID proponents agree that intelligence is supernatural and violates the laws of physics. For example, Eric Holloway recently posted a “mathematical proof” that Intelligent Design is supernatural.

    So what’s your problem? Also, Dembski’s formulation of the Law of Conservation of Information assumes that the laws of physics cannot create CSI. But intelligence can. Therefore, intelligence violates the laws of physics.

    Many creationists and ID proponents have asserted that according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, all systems, even open systems, tend to greater disorder, unless human intelligence intervenes. So intelligence can violate the laws of thermodynamics.

    Moreover, as we recently saw on the thread regarding Jerry Coyne’s ideas about Free Will, many posters here believe that the laws of physics are totally deterministic (thus contradicting experimental results of quantum mechanics and chaos theory.) OTOH, they insist that humans have free will which is non-deterministic, thus violating the laws of physics.

    So yes, if you ask an ID proponent about it, they all believe intelligence is supernatural.

    So what’s your problem with lastyearon’s succinct summary of ID theory?

  5. diogenes:

    In William Dembski’s Explanatory Filter, if “chance and necessity” are eliminated because you compute an astronomically incorrect probability, then the default hypothesis is “Intelligent Design.”

    That is incorrect. If there isn’t any specification then we say “we don’t know”. IOW you don’t know what you are talking about, as usual.

    But ID proponents agree that intelligence is supernatural and violates the laws of physics.

    That is a possibility but not the only one. An entity that exists before nature would be pre-natural.

    Also seeing that natural processes only exist in nature, that means natural processes cannot account for the origin of nature, which science says it had. IOW even materialism requires something before nature or some other asnine story.

  6. With Intelligent Design “natural” is contrasted with (the) artificial, not the supernatural.

  7. Joe, you do not understand ID theory.

    Ya see, Dembski’s “proof” of his Law of Conservation of Information asserts that the laws of nature cannot create CSI.

    Ya see, intelligence creates CSI. So intelligence, even in Dembski’s LCCSI, is treated as supernatural.

    That is a possibility but not the only one.

    No sir. Ya see, Eric Holloway showed a mathematical proof that intelligent design implies the supernatural. He mathematically proved it was necessary, not an option. Not a matter of opinion, but proven.

    If you don’t agree, you can point out what’s wrong with his math.

    Ya see, most people on this website consider the laws of nature (without intelligence) to be deterministic, and they reject the clear experiment results of quantum mechanics and chaos theory. So for humans to have free will, human intelligence must violate the laws of nature.

    Which ones? Where? In the frontal lobe? Cortex? Pineal gland?

  8. Joe:

    Ignore Diogenes, per “don’t feed da trollz” — save to provide a corrective for the unwary reader.

    He has had opportunity to correct himself on basic facts and ideas regarding the inference to design, but refuses.

    “E dancin’ wrong but strong . . . ”

    Unfortunately, he is simply here to make contempt-laced talking points that are patently false and to insist on what he knows or should know is false and corrected.

    Quite an inadvertent testimony to the nihilism opened to by evolutionary materialism warned against by Plato ever so long ago. And, because he will not read, he does not know that it is Plato who – in the same context of the just cited, c. 360 BC — drew the contrast, natural vs artificial, where the former is chance +/or necessity, the latter, intelligent (and often skilled and creative).

    Let’s provide some basic corrections, just for illustration:

    Dembski’s “proof” of his Law of Conservation of Information asserts that the laws of nature cannot create CSI.

    a –> Forces of mechanical necessity — what deterministic laws such as Newtonian Gravitation summarise: F = G* (M*m)/r^2 — do not create high contingency. Only chance and intelligence (or, art) have been observed so to do.

    b –> Indeed, it is by the pattern of natural regularity that we detect a law of necessity at work. And, as was pointed out to D but ignored, it is by high contingency that the default shifts to chance.

    c –> But where there is high complexity [many bits of information storage capacity, 500 - 1,000 being a useful threshold], AND such specificity as will confine us to a narrow zone in a space of possibilities, then chance based processes are maximally unlikely to land us in relevant zones.

    d –> This being a basic result of sampling theory where relatively small but adequate samples will with high reliability reflect the bulk of a population. This is the needle in the haystack challenge.

    e –> So, when we have both high complexity — so a vast config space — AND high specificity (especially functional specificity where parts have to match and be correctly arranged) forces of chance and necessity will not reasonably account for the observed result.

    f –> In the case of 500 bits storage capacity, the atomic and temporal resources of the solar system, at chemical interaction rates, are equivalent to taking a one straw sized sample of a cubical haystack as thick as our galaxy. If such were centred on earth, with all but certainty such a sample would pick straw and nothing else.

    g –> That is why it is unsurprising that the only empirically warranted source of such FSCO/I is intelligence.

    h –> And this re routinely observe as a matter of fact. Disputing patent facts is not a very smart move.

    Ya see, intelligence creates CSI. So intelligence, even in Dembski’s LCCSI, is treated as supernatural.

    i –> Supernatural, is of course injected because to evolutionary materialist atheistical secular humanists and those influenced by them, this is a term of disdain. So, he intends to namecall and poison discussion. That itself speaks volumes.

    j –> But in fact, you are perfectly correct to observe that intelligence acting by art is a routinely observed phenomenon, such as posts in this thread, including the ones by D.

    k –> Again, it is not wise to dispute facts.

    most people on this website consider the laws of nature (without intelligence) to be deterministic, and they reject the clear experiment results of quantum mechanics and chaos theory.

    l –> This is a case of speaking what is patently false, is known to be false or should easily be known to be false, and is said in hopes of profiting from the falsehood being believed. There is a word for it, that D needs to think about very long and hard, before he speaks again.

    m –> Had D simply paid attention to the per aspect form of the design inference filter raised in a thread a few days past [as well as in several other places at UD] — including in correction to his ill-informed and poisoned remarks at 2 in the just linked, he would have seen that once the node that detects the first default laws of mechanical necessity is passed, we are looking at the second one, at chance. Which is often seen in cases where statistical distributions obtain — the distributions referred to in the flowchart. As in stable statistical distribution laws. Try, Weibull as a simple example, commonly seen with wind speed distributions.

    n –> And, had he investigated to find out facts before making assertions, he would realise that chance and intelligence, two different sources of high contingency on similar initial conditions, are distinct and are both empirically observed.

    o –> However, as anyone who has worked through a decision tree analysis can tell D, actions of choice contingency are not evaluated in the same way that statistical distributions due to chance are. For, intelligence does not act in the same way as chance.

    for humans to have free will, human intelligence must violate the laws of nature. Which ones? Where? In the frontal lobe? Cortex? Pineal gland?

    p –> Setting up and knocking over a strawman.

    q –> On the contrary to D’s reasoning, if we do not have significantly free and responsible choice, reasoning itself reduces to self referential absurdity. Of course, he is not going to be interested in the link that explains why, but that is no reason why we should follow his bad example.)

    r –> For those inersted in thinking about the mind the brain, freedom and responsibility as well as rationality, try the discussion here on, with particular reference to the Smith model. Notice the implications of a two-tier controller.

    In short, we have a case of those who do not know what hey are talking about, persistently making up a strawman ignoramus villainous ID thinker and knocking it over; never mind that they have been corrected or could easily find corrective information if they were concerned to be accurate or fair. It would be comical, if there were not a lot of people misled by these slanders and smears, to the point where they imagine they are right to attack design thinkers.

    Let us hope there is enough conscience left to wake up.

    KF

  9. KF,

    You did not contradict a single point I made. You just copied-n-pasted in the usual description of the EF that I’ve seen a billion times. It doesn’t get any better.

    You re-described the EF, you did not address Dembski’s law of conservation of information. If the laws of nature require that CSI cannot increase, and intelligence can increase CSI, then intelligence is a violation of the laws of nature.

    You did not address Eric Holloway’s mathematical “proof” that intelligent design is supernatural. If that makes you so made, why don’t you go argue with Holloway?

    If you had any EVIDENCE, to contradict what I wrote, you would’ve presented it. You didn’t present it, so you have no evidence. All you got are ad hominems, the end.

    This is a perfect example of what UD is: you respond to every honest description of your own statements with insults and ad hominems. Without ad hominems, you’ve got nothing.

    As we saw in the MathGrrl thread, none of you (except maybe VjTorley and Gpuccio) understand your own “theory.” None of you understand it. You’ve never applied it to any real world problem. That’s why, when MathGrrl asked you to apply your own theory to a simple, simple, simple, real world problem, you dumped HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of ad hominems on her.

    Only Vjtorley understands Dembski’s math, and maybe Gpuccio. The rest of you do not understand Dembski’s math. The rest of you understand nothing but insult, attack, insult.

    If anyone points out that the hypotheses that are so important to you, are very poorly defined, you do not try to define them better. No, it’s insult, attack, insult.

    You just try– you just try– reposting what you wrote with the ad hominems removed. Just as an experiment. Without that, what have you got, KF? You got nothing.

  10. Joe, you do not understand ID theory.

    Not your strawman version- or is it a cartoon version.

    Ya see, Dembski’s “proof” of his Law of Conservation of Information asserts that the laws of nature cannot create CSI.

    The laws of nature can’t create the laws of nature.

    Ya see, intelligence creates CSI. So intelligence, even in Dembski’s LCCSI, is treated as supernatural.

    Artificial or pre-natural.

    Ya see, Eric Holloway showed a mathematical proof that intelligent design implies the supernatural.

    Or artificial or pre-natural. Non-natural even.

    Ya see, most people on this website consider the laws of nature (without intelligence) to be deterministic, and they reject the clear experiment results of quantum mechanics and chaos theory.

    No, most people on this website consider the laws of nature to be the result of intelligent design.

    BTW MathGrrl is a guy named Patrick May and he received his answer. As for having nothing it is obvious that is what you have- that and jack.

    CSI is still better defined than anything your position has to offer.

    As for the EF the final decison node makes it very clear that before we can consider the design inference not only do we have to eliminate necessity and chance, but there also has to be a specification.

    One more thing- you don’t have any hypotheses so you don’t have any that are important to you…

  11. “With Intelligent Design ‘natural’ is contrasted with (the) artificial, not the supernatural.”

    That’s an interesting claim, noting the capitalised version of ‘Intelligent Design’. So, are you suggesting ID is ‘artificial’ rather than ‘natural’ or ‘supernatural’?

    Also, could you name your source for the term ‘pre-natural’ or do you seek to define that term yourself?

  12. Joe:

    See what I mean?

    D, evidently will not acknowledge basic correction.

    He now wants to talk about Dembski and conservation of info. While he refuses to acknowledge well-merited corrections, starting with projections he has made.

    (Remember, he has associated his alleged inference to the supernatural to witch-hunts in Salem which in his rhetoric work just like the design inference. He evidently cannot understand that to infer to intelligence on empirically tested reliable signs such as FSCO/I — the relevant form of CSI — is an inference to ART, as opposed to naturally occurring unintelligent causes tracing to necessity and chance; as Plato discussed long before the Christian faith D so patently despises existed. To date, he has not satisfied me that he can correctly interpret a basic old fashioned flowchart and its decision nodes. And, when one indulges smears like his snide reference to That is what we are dealing with here.)

    Since he now wants to twist the conservation of information into pretzels, let us set a record straight, from Dembski in 2002, a few years after publishing NFL:

    Guest
    Bill, what about the information being selected from the environment by a natural algorithm versus an intelligent designer. Choise merely is selecting from available options, whether it be intelligent or not. Algorithms do not have information in them but neither does ID.

    William Dembski
    Hi Guest. It’s an interesting question just how much information is in the environment for a Darwinian mechanism to try to exploit. The problem at this time seems too complex even to get a handle on it empirically. That’s where my appeals to conservation of information and “no free lunch” come in — even if the Darwinian mechanism is the conduit for outputting specified complexity, it first had to be properly programmed. But there’s the other question of whether the Darwinian mechanism is indeed the conduit for specified complexity witnessed in biological systems. Here is where irreducible complexity comes in (ch. 5 of NFL). The only way around irreducible complexity is through indirect Darwinian pathways, but as I’ve argued lately on ISCID, this breaks down for lack of causal specificity.

    In short, the key thing here is that FSCO/I has to come from somewhere and lucky noise is just not credible. Chance can and does degrade info, but it does not credibly cause it once we are beyond the complexity-specificity threshold.

    Or, going to a 2009 comment here at UD that alludes to work on injected active info that makes searches of large config spaces outperform the random walk typical performance:

    Conservation of information, by contrast, falls in a middle-ground between conservation of energy and entropy. Conservation of information says that the information that must be inputted into a search for it to successfully locate a target cannot fall below the information that a search outputs in successfully locating a target. Robert Marks and I show that this characterization of conservation of information is non-tautological. But as stated, it suggests that as we move logically upstream and try to account for successful search, the information cost of success cannot fall below a certain lower bound.

    Strictly speaking, what is conserved then is not the actual inputs of information to make a search successful but the minimum information cost required for success. Inefficiencies in information usage may lead to more information being inputted into a search than is outputted. Conservation of information thus characterizes information costs when such inefficiencies are avoided. Thus it seems to Robert Marks and me that the expression “conservation of information” is in fact appropriate.

    Boiling down, if a search algor reliably outperforms random walks, it has beet fed with info that matches it to the space and target zone. That info comes in the end from intelligence, through averting the successive problem of searching for a successful search.

    Such in the end traces to intelligence.

    [ . . . ]

  13. As to Holloway’s proof, it is that intelligent design IMPLIES the supernatural that CSI traces to something not wholly controlled by physical forces of chance and necessity, i.e. mind [and does evolutionary materialism not imply both atheism and self-refutation via equating mind and brain which last most definitely is under the constraint of physical forces?], per his assumptions and reasoning.

    His conclusion is:

    V x, y ( C(x, y) ^ CSI(y) -> ~P(x) )

    Where in line 2 of the proof: V x ( CSI(x) -> ~C&NO(x) )

    Meaning, per symbols used: for all x, y, where x is proximate cause of y, AND y is characterised by CSI, then x is not entirely controlled by physical laws. Where, if x is marked by CSI, it is not causally explicable on chance & necessity — i.e. CSI presumably per empirical warrant and the search space challenge traces to intelligence.

    This BTW is where the pivotal grounding work enters the chain of inference.

    And Gregory’s cite out of context simply opens the door to twisting what EH worked out into rhetorical pretzels.

    That says that CSI — ultimately — is not produced by laws of chance and necessity, though of course it may be transmitted by mechanical programmed systems. Which may even go so far as say OOL being programmed into the physics of the cosmos. (At any rate, life with FSCO/I in it does not necessarily point to a cause in an intelligence beyond the cosmos; as has been freely admitted since Thaxton et al in TMLO, 1984, the first modern technical ID work. It is the fine tuning of the cosmos and its underlying laws etc that strongly points beyond the cosmos’ origin to an intelligent cause that is beyond nature.)

    As in, explaining: x is rooted in intelligence that is not wholly driven and controlled by forces of chance and necessity.

    Cause effect bonds are inadequate to ground logical ground-consequent relationships.

    That is simply another way to say, mind is not trapped in the self-referential circle of chance and necessity, cf the issue here.

    As for D’s thrashing around to regurgitate long since corrected errors made by the sock-puppet known as Mathgrrl, all this shows is the intent to repeat errors as though that would transmute them into truth. FSCO/I and the wider concept of CSI are not meaningless nor impossible to reasonably quantify. Cf here on and for more specific details here.

    All D has convinced me of — beyond his basic want of understanding of design theory and inability to correctly interpret a simple flowchart (he should read the correctives here, or at any rate those caught up in the same talking points who really are interested to arrive at a true and fair view) — is that he is motivated by animus and comes from the well-known circle at the hostile sites.

    KF

  14. Gregory:

    Have you read Plato in The Laws, Bk X; where the nature/art distinction is introduced in one of the first serious design inference discussions on record – a cosmological design inference? (Cf. here for a leg up.)

    Do you see the significance of inferring to (a) chance and/or necessity or (b) art or design, per (c_) empirically tested, and shown reliable characteristic signs?

    Do you appreciate that this points onward to a far more fruitful discussion and investigation than the too often tossed loaded talking points on natural vs supernatural?

    Do you recognise that this has been on the table for 2350 years?

    KF

  15. PS: Plato will make Joe’s “pre-natural” crystal clear.

  16. —-Diogenes: “No sir. Ya see, Eric Holloway showed a mathematical proof that intelligent design implies the supernatural. He mathematically proved it was necessary, not an option. Not a matter of opinion, but proven. If you don’t agree, you can point out what’s wrong with his math.”

    There is nothing wrong with his math, he just made a category error. Natural and supernatural are not the only two options.

    —-Diogenes to Joe: “Ya see, intelligence creates CSI. So intelligence, even in Dembski’s LCCSI, is treated as supernatural.”

    Let’s put your claim to the test. I just generated CSI with my previous sentence and you generated CSI with the one that preceded it. Please explain why you think each was a supernatural event and why you believe that we are both supernatural agents. Also, I would like to know why you place God and us in the same category.

  17. KF and StephenB:

    You both are gravitating closer to things I’ve been saying for years. You’ll perhaps be surprised at what I’ve been working on when you see it.

    “Natural and supernatural are not the only two options.”

    Good. So, then what are the specific categories of the other options in your view?

    Yes, I’ve read Plato’s Laws Bk X and am aware of his art/techne distinction. It of course differs from the modern or contemporary meaning of ID, which has a naturalistic bent (while at the same time seeking to challenge naturalism). Non-naturalistic ‘design in nature’.

    Notice in (c) speaking of ‘empirically.’ What’s to stop searching for signs of intelligence collapsing into empiricism? Are you not both suggesting a ‘non-empirical’ search is also valid?

    Sorry, but ‘pre-natural’ is still not clear from Plato. Care to elaborate? You seem to be coming at this backwards (from a ‘normal perspective’).

  18. Gregory:

    I shakin’ me head.

    Kindly read the weak argument correctives to see where SB and I (with others) have been all along, on record. Particularly note here on. The evidence, in short, says that you have come here with preconceptions that are not accurate.

    And, in pointing to the importance of empirical support for scientific hypotheses, we are saying nothing more than Newton did in his rules of reason, i.e. that scientific explanatory models must be accountable before reliable observational evidence — so much the worse for ultimately self-refuting pomo deconstruction games. (Also, cf. here.)

    Finally, if you cannot understand Plato speaking through the Athenian Stranger on that which is first and that which comes after what is first, then unfortunately your basic challenges start further back than philosophy. Perhaps, you should start by making an accurate summary of Plato as a first challenge.

    When you show us that you can accurately summarise Plato, then maybe there is a basis for onward discussion.

    KF

  19. Steve: Excellent challenge to D. Let us see if he will wake up enough to respond on the merits rather than spew further toxic, distorted talking points tanked up on in the usual fever swamps. KF

  20. “With Intelligent Design ‘natural’ is contrasted with (the) artificial, not the supernatural.”

    That’s an interesting claim, noting the capitalised version of ‘Intelligent Design’. So, are you suggesting ID is ‘artificial’ rather than ‘natural’ or ‘supernatural’?

    Yes. Ya see artificial stuff exists in nature and does not require the supernatural, just some agency.

    Also, could you name your source for the term ‘pre-natural’ or do you seek to define that term yourself?

    The English language. Ya see “pre” means before and what happened before nature arrived would be pre-natural.

    And then there is Plato- thanks KF

  21. Welcome, Joe.

    “Wherever we go, we meet Plato and Aristotle on the way back . . . ” [From memory, ancient Greek saying.]

    KF

  22. –Gregory: “Good. So, then what are the specific categories of the other options in your view?”

    Come let us reason together through the Socratic method.

    Given: Natural is defined as Law or Chance or Law/Chance. Intelligence, then would be something else.

    How would you differentiate between the intelligence (or the intelligent agent) that designed the DNA molecule and the intelligence that designed the sentence you just wrote? Just use your own terms.

  23. “Natural and supernatural are not the only two options.” – StephenB

    “Good. So, then what are the specific categories of the other options in your view?” – Gregory

    “Intelligence, then would be something else.” – StephenB

    1. Natural, 2. Supernatural, 3. Intelligence (+ any more categories?)

    Are you saying there cannot be ‘natural intelligence’? Are you suggesting ‘intelligence,’ e.g. human intelligence, is ‘outside of nature’ or ‘non-natural’ or ‘extra-natural’ or ‘nature-plus’ or…?

    “How would you differentiate…” – StephenB

    I would differentiate on reflexive grounds between what I type on computer and DNA molecules.

    How would you differentiate the same question which you appear to have begged by starting with your conclusion, that DNA *is* ‘designed’? I’ll readily admit that my sentences *are* composed, made, created, designed, constructed, etc. because I am reflexively invested in them.

    “With Intelligent Design “natural” is contrasted with (the) artificial, not the supernatural.” – Joe

    It’s funny, because I’ve been saying natural vs. artificial (and several other categories) for years. When I say this next time, will you support it, Joe? It’s also funny because I study intelligent agents on a daily basis, but Douglas Axe, Anne Gauger, Scott Minnich (and the rest of the biology contingent in IDM) don’t focus primarily on ‘intelligent agents.’ I’m not convinced how this possibly makes them better prepared to discuss either intelligent agency or intelligent agents than I and my colleagues are, but please shed some light on this situation if possible.

    The scholars/scientists who most closely or regularly study ‘intelligent agents’ are ____________s?

    By your logic, people working in ‘natural sciences’ study natural entities, while people involved in ‘artifical sciences’ (whatever that means) study artificial entities. Does this accurately reflect what you mean?

    “artificial stuff exists in nature and does not require the supernatural, just some agency.” – Joe

    Well, it might be more accurate then to say “artificial stuff is ‘surrounded by’ nature” to distinguish it from the ‘nature’ itself which did not ‘design’ it. If you claim that ‘artificial stuff’ can exist ‘in nature,’ but essentially differs from ‘nature’ that seems unnecessarily messy.

    But more questions arise already from the above: Is the ‘agency’ you speak of ‘natural’? Can ‘agency’ be anything but ‘natural’? Likewise, is the intelligence (possessed by the agent in question) ‘natural’ or can it be ‘non-natural’? For that matter, is language ‘natural’ or not, i.e. what we construct our sentences with?

    p.s. today I introduced ‘intelligent design’ (in a broader conversation about science, philosophy and religion) to 12 people, none of whom had previously heard of it. When was the last time…

  24. Gregory-

    Natural is defined as “produced by nature or existing in nature”- therefor my car, an artifact, is also natural.

    That means the agency could be natural, yet not natural, at the same time. That also means that nature isn’t natural because it cannot be produced by nature.

  25. It’s funny, because I’ve been saying natural vs. artificial (and several other categories) for years. When I say this next time, will you support it, Joe?

    If you really need it and I am around.

    It’s also funny because I study intelligent agents on a daily basis, but Douglas Axe, Anne Gauger, Scott Minnich (and the rest of the biology contingent in IDM) don’t focus primarily on ‘intelligent agents.’

    That is because ID isn’t about the agency. ID is about the design.

    The scholars/scientists who most closely or regularly study ‘intelligent agents’ are _voyeurs___________?

  26. 26

    Just throwing this out there.

    Information is contingent. If this is so, then both meaningful text and coding sequences are contingent, and therefore cannot be the result of necessity – because that would constitute a logical contradiction. This leaves either chance or agency as causal candidates.

    Those denying the possibility of agency involvement, with regard to protein coding sequences, should be clear that either they accept chance as an explanation, or they deny that information is contingent.

  27. Gregory:

    Presumably, the supernatural agents you have in mind will be intelligent.

    Intelligent cause per design is assessable on characteristic traces left, without committing to being in or beyond the observed cosmos. Save, that other circumstances may point that way in a given case, e.g. the intelligent cause of a cosmos with physics fine tuned for life.

    KF

  28. 28

    Also of note is that there exists multiple categories of explanation for any given phenomenon:

    - Causal (who/what)
    - Procedural (how)
    - Chronological (when)
    - Spatial (where)
    - Philosophical (why)

    Evolutionary theory appears to have pretensions of explaining all categories with regards to living systems. Intelligent Design seeks to address the first, which opens the door to the second (being an approach of either engineering or physics and chemistry). There is no apparent reason to saddle ID with the ridiculous burden of being a singular explanation for everything. In that regard, there is no inherent conflict between ID and the concept of evolution (gradualism, common descent) – only between intelligent design and unguided material processes in reference to causal explanations. ID proposes that material causes can be differentiated from intelligent ones through qualitative and quantitative analysis.

  29. –Gregory: “I would differentiate on reflexive grounds between what I type on computer and DNA molecules.”

    Whatever technique you use to conceptualize the categories is OK with me. But lets do that. I am asking you to define, in categorical terms, the difference between CSI produced by God (as in a DNA molecule) and CSI produced by a human (the sentence you just wrote).

    We know that we can rule out natural causes because we have already defined them as law/chance. So what do we call the two causes just alluded to? Let me try to move things along just a little bit. If we call Divine intelligence a “Supernatural intelligent cause, what do we call human intelligence? I will answer that question in my own way in the next paragraph, but I would be interested in your answer as well.

    –”Are you saying there cannot be ‘natural intelligence’? Are you suggesting ‘intelligence,’ e.g. human intelligence, is ‘outside of nature’ or ‘non-natural’ or ‘extra-natural’ or ‘nature-plus’ or…?”

    That is a very good question. By definition, a “natural cause” is defined as law/chance. Intelligence from any source, therefore, cannot be a natural cause. We must differentiate between [1] “nature,” which is not creative and repetitiously follows the laws of matter as an effect vs. [2] “art,” which reshapes matter and creates something new as a cause.

    Beyond that, we must differentiate between (2a) Divine or Angelic art (or any other alleged superhuman cause) and (2b) human art. I refer to the former as “supernatural intelligence” and the latter as “non-natural” intelligence. When the ID proponent analyzes data, he can scientifically detect the difference between [1] and [2], but he cannot, without the help of a philosopher, detect the difference between (2a) and (2b)

  30. CR: Correct. KF

  31. 31
    Chance Ratcliff

    Thanks KF. Are you agreeing with my #26 or #28, or both? I’m toying with the idea that if information is contingent, it cannot logically be the product of necessity. I’m interested to hear if there are good objections to this.

  32. CR: I had seen 26. 29 is also apt. On empirical observation and analytical — blind search for a needle in a haystack — grounds, there is good reason to see that where we find FSCO/I, we find it is rooted in design. To overturn this all that would be needed is a good counterexample, which is simply not forthcoming. KF

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