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UD Pro-Darwinism essay challenge unanswered a year later, I: Let’s get the essence of design theory as a scientific, inductive inference straight

Today marks a full year since I issued an open challenge to Darwinists to ground their theory and its OOL extension and root, in light of actually observed capabilities of blind watchmaker mechanisms of chance and necessity through an essay I would host here at UD. The pivot of the challenge is the modern version of the very first Icon of Evolution, Darwin’s Tree of Life (which in an incomplete form is the ONLY image in original editions of Origin of Species), here typified by a case from the Smithsonian:

Darwin-ToL-Smithsonian400

Darwinist Tree of Life showing the root, OOL, from the Smithsonian

 

I first did so in an exchange thread, specifically responding to Jerad, then headlined it some days later. In lieu of prompt serious replies, I set up Wikipedia articles in the empty chair, then answered the usual polarising dismissals here and then also a suggestion that Talk Origins’ 29 evidences presentation by Theobald provided an adequate answer.

As is obvious from the headline, a full year later, there still is no robust answer from the advocates of evolutionary materialism.

First, let me refresh memories on the challenge: cf APPENDIX below

The main focus here, however is to begin by clearing the air after the smoke of many burning strawmen, on the core of the scientific design inference claim. A good way to do this is the following clip from a post in the ongoing charitableness debate:

In terms of the essence of the design theory view, it is that the deep past of origins cannot be directly observed so we must study its traces, and infer explanatory models on causal factors shown to produce consequences directly comparable to the traces. Thus such features, where characteristic of a cause, are an empirically reliable sign. And while inductive reasoning on signs is always provisional, it can be highly reliable.

Mechanical necessity such as F = ma, gives rise to low contingency natural regularities that are often reduced to laws. Chance processes yield high contingency outcomes that may follow relevant statistical distribution models such as the normal curve. Design will often be highly contingent also, but will frequently yield patterns such as functionally specific complex organisation and associated information (such as the text string in this post) [FSCO/I]  that are maximally implausible on chance but are on billions of cases observed a reliable sign of design.

No great mystery, and directly empirically testable, just show blind chance and mechanical necessity producing FSCO/I.

Only, that has not happened, many attempts notwithstanding.

So, we have good reason to rule out mechanical necessity if we see high contingency of outcomes under similar starting conditions, and chance if we see something utterly implausible by chance. This being done on a per aspect basis for an object, process, phenomenon, etc.

Nothing intrinsically strange or hard to follow, or in breach of canons of inductive, scientific reasoning.

And certainly no reference to the Nicene Creed or the Chicago declaration on inerrancy etc. No, quote Bible and try to guide science based on interpretation thereof. That is, not inherently religious.

The problem is, Darwinists nailed their flag to the mast 150 years ago, but over the past 60 years it has become plain that the world of life is chock full of signs of design, from DNA on up.

And the further problem over the same 60 years, is that the observed cosmos turns out to give every indication of being fine tuned in many ways that facilitate C chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life.

So, we are now in a position to further follow up on the matters at stake, anon. END

________________

APPENDIX:

UD PRO-DARWINISM ESSAY CHALLENGE: Compose your summary case for darwinism (or any preferred variant that has at least some significant support in the professional literature, such as punctuated equlibria etc) in a fashion that is accessible to the non-technical reader — based on empirical evidence that warrants the inference to body plan level macroevolution — in up to say 6,000 words [a chapter in a serious paper is often about that long]. Outgoing links are welcome so long as they do not become the main point. That is, there must be a coherent essay, with

(i)an intro,
(ii) a thesis,
(iii) a structure of exposition,
(iv) presentation of empirical warrant that meets the inference to best current empirically grounded explanation [--> IBCE] test for scientific reconstructions of the remote past,
(v) a discussion and from that
(vi) a warranted conclusion.

Your primary objective should be to show in this way, per IBCE, why there is no need to infer to design from the root of the Darwinian tree of life — cf. Smithsonian discussion here –  on up (BTW, it will help to find a way to resolve the various divergent trees), on grounds that the Darwinist explanation, as extended to include OOL, is adequate to explain origin and diversification of the tree of life. A second objective of like level is to show how your thesis is further supported by such evidence as suffices to warrant the onward claim that is is credibly the true or approximately true explanation of origin and body-plan level diversification of life; on blind watchmaker style chance variation plus differential reproductive success, starting with some plausible pre-life circumstance.

It would be helpful if in that essay you would outline why alternatives such as design, are inferior on the evidence we face. [As an initial spark for thinking, contrast my own survey of origins science here on (note the onward resources page), the definition of design theory in the UD resources tab top of this and every UD page, the Weak Argument Correctives in the same tab, the general resources that pop up on clicking the tab itself, and the discussion of design theory in the NWE article here. You may also want to refer to the site of the IDEA Center, and the Discovery Institute CSC site as well as Mike Gene's Telic Thoughts. Notice IDEA's essay on the case for design here.] . . . .

I would put this up as an original post, with preliminary contextual remarks and an invitation to respond in the comments section.

I will not submit the post with a rebutting markup or make an immediate rebuttal. In fact, let me make the offer to hold off my own comments for at least five initial comments. I will give you two full days of comments before I post any full post level response; though others at UD will be free to respond in their own right . . . .  [NB: I have given how to contact me in the original Sept 23 post, I will not repeat that in a headlined original post.]

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256 Responses to UD Pro-Darwinism essay challenge unanswered a year later, I: Let’s get the essence of design theory as a scientific, inductive inference straight

  1. Let’s first get what design theory is about straight, in a nutshell. (To do so, we need to clear the air of some burning, toxic ad hominem soaked strawmen.)

  2. …the Darwinist explanation, as extended to include OOL, is adequate to explain origin and diversification of the tree of life.

    Even after many corrections, you continue with this misrepresentation. The theory of evolution is silent on the origin of life on Earth. ToE is not a theory of OoL Your challenge, like much else of what you write here, is bogus.

  3. AF: The predictable strawmen turn up. FYI, AF, I make an explicit statement that I am addressing the theory AS EXTENDED. In my days in High School and College down to today, Macroevo has routinely been presented WITH a discussion of OOL models, often with Oparin and Miller-Urey starring. In addition, just by looking at the OP — and that from a year ago — you will see that the Darwinist TOL model and icon has OOL asits root, Indeed, though he throws a sop to original creation in his closing tangled bank remarks, Darwin speaks to OOL. That is also what the logic implies. Finally, if there is no valid and well grounded empirically warranted chance and necessity OOL account then note that there IS something empirically known to account for FSCO/I, codes, algorithms and execution machines. Namely, design. And, that is not a negative inference on personal incredulity etc etc, it is a positive inference on well tested reliable signs, backed by billions of cases. So, I freely assert: no root, no shoot, no tree and nothing else. Every tree must stand on its own roots! KF

  4. If evolution doesn’t explain OOL (the arise of the first organism) how can it pretend to explain the arise of the following 500 million ones, one million billion times more complex than the first?

  5. F/N: I also think you need to mind your manners and your tongue in light of duties of care to truth, fairness and decency:

    bo·gus
    (bgs)
    adj.
    Counterfeit or fake; not genuine: bogus money; bogus tasks.
    [From obsolete bogus, a device for making counterfeit money.]

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

    In your hostility-laced false accusation as just made, you are managing to show to one and all just why my strictures on the ongoing hate- and slander- fest at TSZ are well warranted.

  6. Oh and I refer you to my earlier reply of December 3rd, 2012.

    Why would anyone re-invent the wheel? If you dismiss Theobold – if you are not interested in the popular works of Coyne, Carroll or Shubin and all the other vast literature written for professionals, students and the general public, what is an essay by some random people who still happen to read the UD blog going to be worth? Not much!

  7. If evolution doesn’t explain OOL (the arise of the first organism) how can it pretend to explain the arise of the following 500 million ones, one million billion times more complex than the first?

    Duplication of course! Once you can make copies, you are away! And the escalation in complexity is not that great. At the cellular level, we are not much different from bacteria. After that, it’s just differentiation and topology.

  8. If evolution doesn’t explain OOL (the arise of the first organism) how can it pretend to explain the arise of the following 500 million ones, one million billion times more complex than the first?

    Duplication of course! Once you can make copies, you are away! And the escalation in complexity is not that great. At the cellular level, we are not much different from bacteria. After that, it’s just differentiation and topology.

  9. See what I did there? The power of duplication!

  10. F/N 2: As a context for why OOL and tree of life/claimed pattern of macro evo are so important to be considered together one may examine here, noting the context of images as from many biology and similar textbooks. KF

  11. KF,

    You should try and absorb what people tell you. The theory of evolution is not and cannot be an explanation of life’s origin. It offers an explanation of how self-replicating organisms might diversify given imperfection in the replicating procedure.

    The origin of life on Earth is currently a mystery to us. There are many OOL theories, partial theories and hypotheses but not much supporting evidence for any of them. This is not surprising as the arrival of life on Earth was possibly over three billion years ago. Seabed turns over a rate of 500 million years or so when it gets remelted into the magma.

  12. Alan Fox

    If evolution is so easy for you, why didn’t you win kairosfocus’ challenge to describe it?

  13. Onlookers,

    notice the dismissive, non-substantial excuses, evasions and turnabout accusations?

    The point on the challenge is blatant and has been obvious from the first: A FREE SHOT AT GOAL. If the macro evo narrative so often presented as “fact” or “fact beyond reasonable doubt” were as well grounded on observed facts and observed dynamics shown capable of the required FSCO/I as is made out, an utterly devastating post could easily be constructed in a feature length article. And the paucity or ineptness of attempted responses would at once be evident to the most casual onlooker.

    If design theory had no substance to the point where it is “bogus” — counterfeit — it would have no ability to answer cogently to such a case.

    And that was explicitly on the table from the beginning.

    In that context, want of a cogent response laying out the case for the “fact” of macroevo backed by a similar case on the very root of the tree of life — cf Smithsonian above — is also revealing, after a full year.

    And as for the if you reject Theobald point, did you notice how AF fails to explain and answer why I cited and answered both Wiki and Theobald as grossly inadequate? The OP has the links.

    Then of course we see above the ducking of the root question and a suggestion that could only come from someone unfamiliar with writing successful code: duplication of “See Spot Run” or of a “Hello World” program followed by accidental changes has zero empirical likelihood of creating a 10 Mbit successful outcome as text or program.

    And I am not even asking anything about the large number of proteins with AA sequences deeply isolated in the config space yielding a pattern of islands of function not credibly reachable by blind and/or incremental mechanisms.

    What is coming out loud and clear is absence of a substantial answer on the part6 of evo mat enthusiasts.

    KF

  14. If evolution is so easy for you, why didn’t you win kairosfocus’ challenge to describe it?

    Is my comment number six and reference to my earlier reply not clear enough? There’s a wealth of literature on all levels for those interested. Variation in the genotype leads to differential survival in the phenotype, leads to change in allele frequency, leads to change in the phenotype. The basic mechanism is easy to explain and understand.

    I am more interested in whether there is going to be the promised theory of “Intelligent Design” one day. Coming up with a better explanation for the diversity of life on Earth would relegate ToE to history like the phlogiston theory.

  15. Alan Fox

    Variation in the genotype leads to differential survival in the phenotype, leads to change in allele frequency, leads to change in the phenotype.

    This explains ZERO.

    You have to explain in details how humans arose from ameba. Bit by bit, second by second, molecule by molecule.

  16. F/N: A clip of a summary response to how Theobald opens his account. The links onwards can be accessed here:

    _________

    >> 6 –> There are several appeals to the true origins site, and to a series on 29 evidences of macroevo. The problems with Talk Origins as a site notorious for rhetorical manipulation are being ducked, and the essential problems with any macro evo blind watchmaker account absent demonstration of origin of FSCO/I by blind chance and mechanical necessity, are already outlined. In addition, we may look at the critique of the Theobald claims here, by Camp.

    7 –> As one key point, observe the opening page of Theobald on his 29 evidences as linked: Universal common descent is a general descriptive theory concerning the genetic origins of living organisms (though not the ultimate origin of life).

    Q: Why is the root of the whole tree so conveniently left off?

    A: because there is no good empirical warrant for the claimed spontaneous origin of life in some chemical stew or other, and as a result apart from misleading icons, it is in a lot of trouble on the scientific merits. In addition, it is a capital illustration of the origin of FSCO/I, and of the failure to provide a viable blind chance and mechanical necessity mechanism. Where, ever since 1984, OOL has been the pivot of inferring design as credible best explanation of cell based life on the issue of origin of FSCO/I in light of empirically credible best explanation. Where also, once we see design as best explanation at this level, there is no good reason to lock out design onwards. That is, we here see a major begging of the question at stake in the teeth of knowing that this is the pivotal issue on the other side of the question. [Cf discussion of OOL at 101 level here on. Also, on OO body plans here on, including Gould's remarks on the fossil record that is often alleged to show directly the universal common descent by BWE, here on in context, including of course the Cambrian revo as a capital illustration -- never mind the dismissive remarks.]

    8 –> As a second point, observe the following categorical blunder, on that same page:

    universal common ancestry entails the transformation of one species into another and, consequently, macroevolutionary history and processes involving the origin of higher taxa. Because it is so well supported scientifically, common descent is often called the “fact of evolution” by biologists.

    9 –> The main rhetorical lever here is that “only fools dispute facts,” and it is multiplied by a subtle no true scotsman [biologist] claim to collective authority.

    10 –> Sorry, absent time travel, there is no possibility of actually observing directly the real remote past of life on earth. So, we are examining traces of the past and are seeking a “best explanation” in light of causal factors in the present observed to give similar results to a sufficient degree of closeness that we can identify empirically reliable signs and then infer per best explanation the credible causes. (Notice, how analogy gets embedded in inductive reasoning here. One of many ways this happens.)

    11 –> Micro evo, as it is called, does not cross the FSCO/I body plan origin threshold, and is therefore not sufficiently parallel to properly conclude that the mechanism for the one is sufficient for the other. And, there is no observed case of origin of the required FSCO/I by accumulated micro evo etc, instead the only empirically known cause of FSCO/I is design.

    12 –> So, what is happening is that big questions are being begged and on the false credit of institutional authority, so that something is being called a fact that is not. Patently, an inferred or claimed best explanation — even if FSCO/I had been warranted on empirical evidence, to come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity — would not be a fact in any proper sense. Scientific theories or models are explanatory constructs and on the history of science are inherently subject to overthrow in light of further evidence. Just ask the physicists on that. That is the category error involved.

    13 –> So, this assertion (which is pivotal in Theobald) is all too clearly a blunder:

    The worldwide scientific research community from over the past 150 years has discovered that no known hypothesis other than universal common descent [in context, on blind watchmaker mechanisms] can account scientifically for the unity, diversity, and patterns of terrestrial life. This hypothesis has been verified and corroborated so extensively that it is currently accepted as fact by the overwhelming majority of professional researchers in the biological and geological sciences

    14 –> Instead, what is at the logically fallacious root of this false and unfounded perception of certainty has been highlighted by Johnson:

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

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

    _____________

    It should be clear as to why I am insisting that every tub must stand on its own bottom, and that claimed mechanisms of the past or explanations of the past must pass the test of causal adequacy relative to key traces, and further showing that the signs in question are able to distinguish candidates without begging questions. >>
    _________

    Why should I have any confidence in Theobald if in opening his discussion he cannot even get what is a fact straight? And, if those citing him so confidently cannot spot so gross a blunder, what does that tell us about the quality of their confidence?

    KF

  17. Niw: That is probably too much. What is needed is to show that OOL and OO body plans (thus also FSCO/I) per OBSERVED blind watchmaker dynamics, is feasible. It is not enough to infer ancestor/descendant relationships form geography or fossil layer sequencing [which can be circular]of homology etc, what is needed is to show on the driving forces of chance variation and differential reprod success, with physics and chem in that warm little pond or the like at the root, can do the job. Along the way some accounting for the Cambrian explosion and similar gap challenges would help. Likewise, accounting for origin of codes, their variants, the origin of gated, encapsulated cellular life forms with metabolism and associated code based self replication would be important. KF

  18. You have to explain in details how humans arose from ameba. Bit by bit, second by second, molecule by molecule.

    Molecule by molecule and second by second? I don’t think there’s time enough before the Earth is engulfed by the sun for such an explanation, So how, pray, am I to accomplish such a task in 6,000 words, notwithstanding correcting your misapprehension that people are descendants of modern amoebae.

    I make no such stipulation for “Intelligent Design” theory. A simple outline summary will do, though definitions of words used in creative ways should be given. Acronyms must be expanded on first use, too.

  19. Oops forgot blockquotes. First line is quoting nirwad.

  20. kairosfocus

    No, that is not too much, that is the minimum. If you ask how a computer arises from matter, a team of computer-science professors and engineers can provide you a scientific explanation. Bit by bit, second by second, molecule by molecule.

    Why do evolutionists – who pretend to be scientific – deserve discounts?

  21. Why do evolutionists – who pretend to be scientific – deserve discounts?

    Ignoring your slur, what is the standard for “Intelligent Design” theory? Are some dots going to be joined up one day?

    As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

    Wm Dembski

  22. Variation in the genotype leads to differential survival in the phenotype, leads to change in allele frequency, leads to change in the phenotype.

    I recognize that it makes no difference to point out material evidence, but to even have a genotype and phenotype requires an irreducibly complex system of representations and protocols which instantiate a physicochemically arbitrary relationship within a physical system. It is not possible by any other means.

  23. It is not possible by any other means.

    That’s the OOL problem. To which nobody yet has an answer. Unless you know different, UB.

  24. For what it’s worth, I agree with previous comments elsewhere about Michael Behe having the sense to argue on the inadequacy of Darwinian explanations for particular evolutionary paths rather than dismissing common descent out of hand. Had I been advising him on strategy, I would have suggested OOL was a surer bet for refuting natural explanations than bacterial flagella and their evolution.

    Still doesn’t get us closer to alternative explanations. Behe is merely refuting Darwinian mechanisms, as is UB, as is KF. With what level of success I leave to observers to judge. A real theory of “Inteligent Design” would set me back on my heels.

  25. KF, Niwrad

    Niwrad #15: You have to explain in details how humans arose from ameba. Bit by bit, second by second, molecule by molecule.

    KF #17: Niw: That is probably too much.

    I tend to agree with Niwrad here. It is the naturalist ambition to explain life by its elementary material parts. For the naturalist there is no ontoligical status for ‘life’,‘consciousness’, ‘purpose’ or an ‘organism as a whole’. Those spiritual entities cannot have causal power in the naturalistic realm, unlike fermions and bosons; it would breach causal closure of the physical.
    Following from such a naturalistic attempt I don’t expect explanations containing terms like ‘life’, ‘organism’, ‘phenotype’. What I do expect is explanations at the level where true existence is to be found, according to naturalism: elementary particles.
    I won’t demand explanations at the level of fermions and bosons just yet, but let’s start with explanations at the level of molecules.

    M.Behe: Modern science has learned that, ultimately, life is a molecular
    Phenomenon
    : All organisms are made of molecules that act as the nuts and bolts, gears and pulleys of biological systems. Certainly there are complex biological features (such as the circulation of blood) that emerge at higher levels, but the gritty details of life are the province of biomolecules. Therefore the science of biochemistry, which studies those molecules, has as its mission the exploration of the very foundation of life. Since the mid-1950s biochemistry has painstakingly elucidated the workings of life at the molecular level. Darwin was ignorant of the reason for variation within a species (one of the requirements of his theory), but biochemistry has identified the molecular basis for it. Nineteenth-century science could not even guess at the mechanism of vision, immunity, or movement, but modern biochemistry has identified the molecules that allow those and other functions.
    It was once expected that the basis of life would be exceedingly simple. That expectation has been smashed. Vision, motion, and other biological functions have proven to be no less sophisticated than television cameras and automobiles. Science has made enormous progress in understanding how the chemistry of life works, but the elegance and complexity of biological systems at the molecular level have paralyzed science’s attempt to explain their origins. There has been virtually no attempt to account for the origin of specific, complex biomolecular systems, much less any progress.
    Many scientists have gamely asserted that explanations are already in hand, or will be sooner or later; but no support for such assertions can be found in the professional science literature. More importantly, there are compelling reasons—based on the structure of the systems themselves— to think that a Darwinian explanation for the mechanisms of life will forever prove elusive. (M.Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, preface X, 2006)

  26. What I do expect is explanations at the level where true existence is to be found, according to naturalism: elementary particles.

    Well, until someone can tell one electron from another, I think you can safely expect to wait a long time. But I did appreciate the chuckle.

  27. Well Alan, there is a potential answer. The answer is that it requires an agent – just as it does in each and every other instance found in nature where recorded information is translated into a specific effect. All we need to do to ignore this answer is turn a blind eye to the material evidence and suspend our universal experience with such systems. As for myself, I am still awaiting a scientific reason we are obligated to do so.

  28. Alan Fox

    Personally I have not to explain ameba-2-man because I am an IDer not believing in macroevolution. I have to explain how the human body was produced by design (let’s leave aside the soul).

    The artificial thing that on earth is more similar to the human body is a modern android human-like robot. Robotics engineers had to face similar problems which the Designer of human body had to.

    If you ask how an android robot arises from matter, a team of robotics engineers can provide you a scientific explanation. Bit by bit, second by second, molecule by molecule. That’s a cent percent ID explanation, of course.

    Mutadis mutandis that could give an idea of an ID explanation of the human body, arising from the mind of God.

  29. The answer is that it requires an agent

    But, unless you are going to dress your agent up in some kind of definition: a who, a what, a where, a when, then it is no more of an answer than tooth fairies or aliens.

  30. Nirwad,

    I just don’t buy the analogy between the chemical processes that go on in living cells with engineering such as computer electronics.

  31. Box: What I do expect is explanations at the level where true existence is to be found, according to naturalism: elementary particles.

    Alan Fox #26: Well, until someone can tell one electron from another, I think you can safely expect to wait a long time. But I did appreciate the chuckle.

    Naturalistic belief:

    “Fermions and bosons. All the processes in the universe, from atomic to bodily to mental, are purely physical processes involving fermions and bosons interacting with one another. Eventually, science will have to show the details of how the basic physical processes bring about us, our brain, and our behavior.” (Rosenberg, Atheist Guide to Reality, chapter 2, p.33)

    So, you subscribe to naturalistic belief that life is reducible to elementary particles, but if someone asks for specifics you chuckle and say that it cannot be done?

  32. So, you subscribe to naturalistic belief that life is reducible to elementary particles, but if someone asks for specifics you chuckle and say that it cannot be done?

    No, I think that what happens depends on the properties of particles, fields and energy. Properties emerge. Water is not like hydrogen or oxygen. Salt is not like metallic sodium or gaseous chlorine. You don’t need to return to basic physics for a higher level explanation of the osmotic pressure of saline solutions.

  33. Alan, what principle is at work that demands that I must state who, what, when, where in order to acknowledge that the unique physical requirements to translate genetic information are identical to physical requirements of language? Since this is your objection, I hope you won’t mind naming the principle and elaborating perhaps with it’s genesis and history in thought and a couple of unambiguous examples. I’d like to be assured you’re not just making it up.

  34. Alan, what principle is at work that demands that I must state who, what, when, where in order to acknowledge that the unique physical requirements to translate genetic information are identical to physical requirements of language?

    I asked about your agent. Read my comment again.

  35. PS UB;

    I quoted you. You should try it sometime.

  36. So you punt. There is no such principle at work.

  37. Well Alan, there is a potential answer. The answer is that it requires an agent* – just as it does in each and every other instance found in nature where recorded information is translated into a specific effect. All we need to do to ignore this answer is turn a blind eye to the material evidence and suspend our universal experience with such systems. As for myself, I am still awaiting a scientific reason we are obligated to do so.

    *my emphasis

    You wrote the above, UB, no? I merely asked you what you mean by an agent. With your mention of material evidence, I wonder what material evidence there is for an “agent” as you define it (or rather you don’t). Is your agent “material” for example?

  38. Alan Fox #30

    I just don’t buy the analogy between the chemical processes that go on in living cells with engineering such as computer electronics.

    There is more than an analogy. I myself won the UD “cell definition” context with a basically robotics-based definition.

  39. Niw, your instincts are sound, though I think molecular issues are at OOL primarily. Beyond, with the way the cell operates as an automaton and automatic factory, the issue is systems architecting, with need to write this into embryonic development code and systems; molecules are involved but as nanoscale machinery. A massive systems programming exercise, and said to have been cobbled together by blind chance and mechanical necessity. This does not pass the giggle test, as is evident from the reaction to my reminder on the standing challenge. Here is my discussion of the robot design challenge as a gateway into the design issue. KF

  40. UB:

    to even have a genotype and phenotype requires an irreducibly complex system of representations and protocols which instantiate a physicochemically arbitrary relationship within a physical system. It is not possible by any other means.

    Spot on.

    Let us see if there is a serious response.

    KF

  41. 41

    Alan Fox: You have to explain in details how humans arose from ameba. Bit by bit, second by second, molecule by molecule.

    I’ll make it much easier on you. Just show how any cell type, tissue type, organ or body plan came to exist using blind watchmaker mechanisms.

    Or demonstrate how many, and what kind, of mutations/variations, and the temporal order thereof, that it takes to turn, say, a chimp into a human.

    Yes, we engineer types want gap-free provenance that your model works.

  42. AF:

    I see your: what is the standard for “Intelligent Design” theory?

    Did you observe the main part of the OP? As in, a description of ID in a nutshell and what is required to test/falsify it?

    As in:

    In terms of the essence of the design theory view, it is that the deep past of origins cannot be directly observed so we must study its traces, and infer explanatory models on causal factors shown to produce consequences directly comparable to the traces. Thus such features, where characteristic of a cause, are an empirically reliable sign. [--> Any origins related theory needs to pass this test of known capability to produce the traces and something that allows us to see that a distinct source/ mechanism is involved] And while inductive reasoning on signs is always provisional, it can be highly reliable.

    Mechanical necessity such as F = ma, gives rise to low contingency natural regularities that are often reduced to laws. Chance processes yield high contingency outcomes that may follow relevant statistical distribution models such as the normal curve. Design will often be highly contingent also, but will frequently yield patterns such as functionally specific complex organisation and associated information (such as the text string in this post) [FSCO/I] that are maximally implausible on chance but are on billions of cases observed a reliable sign of design. [--> Notice the differential analysis of the three relevant classes of causal factors? And the characteristic of design? By direct implication -- as has been stated over and over but willfully ignored, distorted or dismissed -- if such traces are shown not to be characteristic of design then the traces cannot be reliable signs of design. On billions of observations and no successful counter-instances, they are.]

    No great mystery, and directly empirically testable, just show blind chance and mechanical necessity producing FSCO/I.

    Only, that has not happened, many attempts notwithstanding.

    So, we have good reason to rule out mechanical necessity if we see high contingency of outcomes under similar starting conditions, and chance if we see something utterly implausible by chance. This being done on a per aspect basis for an object, process, phenomenon, etc.

    Nothing intrinsically strange or hard to follow, or in breach of canons of inductive, scientific reasoning.

    And certainly no reference to the Nicene Creed or the Chicago declaration on inerrancy etc. No, quote Bible and try to guide science based on interpretation thereof. That is, not inherently religious.

    The problem is, Darwinists nailed their flag to the mast 150 years ago, but over the past 60 years it has become plain that the world of life is chock full of signs of design, from DNA on up.

    And the further problem over the same 60 years, is that the observed cosmos turns out to give every indication of being fine tuned in many ways that facilitate C chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life.

    So, have you anything a little more informed and relevant to say? [Remember, text int his post and your own gives us FSCO/I, so does the functionally specific complex organisation of the computing machine you are using. In all cases, designed. And so forth and so more.]

    KF

  43. kairosfocus #39

    Certainly yes, systems architecting, and at its best in biology, but systems architecting must always be explainable in principle from the top architectural layer to the bottom molecular layer, all the way down. In technology all is explainable that way, there is no reason why in evolutionist biology is different.

  44. But, unless you are going to dress your agent up in some kind of definition: a who, a what, a where, a when, then it is no more of an answer than tooth fairies or aliens.

    my emphasis

    You wrote the above Alan, no? I merely asked you what principle is at work that demands I must state who, what, when, where to acknowledge that the unique physical requirements to translate genetic information are identical to physical requirements of language? For instance, if I cannot name the agent, does that mean that these unique physical conditions cannot be acknowledged without violating some established rule of thought? Do the physical conditions somehow suddenly change so that they are not identical? In other words, how does your objection change the physical evidence?

  45. I’ll make it much easier on you.

    There’s really no need. If people want to reject particular scientific theories, that’s up to them.

    La caravane passe…

    If people want to claim some pseudo-theory called “Intelligent Design” has some kind of scientific respectability or equivalence to the ToE to the extent they want it taught to kids in science classes – well, that’s another issue.

  46. Niw: On my thought, once we have OOL explained we have a molecular assembler system, and the capability of create a machine. The issue then is to move to multicellular implementat6ions with higher and higher systems through embryologically unfolded body plans. Which runs right into the barrier that the late occurring muts which we do see do not affect body plans, but the early occurring ones strongly tend to derange the plan and to be lethal. In sh0ort, once we have a molecular scale system, we need to think in system terms, yes involving molecules but at that stage we already have the ribosome etc. And of course this underscores that OOL is much more than half the story. Hence the need to hit hard on the point, nope you must account for OOL. Let us notice again the blunder of asserting facts, facts where there are no facts. KF

  47. AF:

    some pseudo-theory called “Intelligent Design”

    We can see the hostility and false accusation laced bluster above, and the way you have quietly tippy toed away from the blunder made by Theobald of announcing facts that are not facts.

    What we do not see is a credible blind watchmaker account for OOL or of body plans.

    The IDEOLOGICAL a priori materialist caravan may indeed be passing along, but it does not want to listen to the warning that he oasis has dried out and to keep going is fatal.

    KF

  48. I merely asked you what principle is at work that demands I must state who, what, when, where to acknowledge that the unique physical requirements to translate genetic information are identical to physical requirements of language? For instance, if I cannot name the agent, does that mean that these unique physical conditions cannot be acknowledged without violating some established rule of thought? Do the physical conditions somehow suddenly change so that they are not identical? In other words, how does your objection change the physical evidence?

    I make no demands. I merely asked you what you mean by an agent. It’s no problem for me if you’d rather not enlarge on the matter. With regard to your point about language and some analogy with cellular chemical processes, you must know by now that I don’t accept your argument that there is anything that puts language into a set together with aspects of protein synthesis. But I’m just some random guy you failed to convince. Best of luck with advancing your argument. Still can’t see how it relates to “Intelligent Design” though.

  49. Let’s say we accept this statement as true:

    What we do not see is a credible blind watchmaker account for OOL or of body plans.

    If we accept the above statement as true, then the natural question to an ID proponent is whether there is a credible ID account for OOL and for body plans. After all, why would one hypothesis be criticized for a failure shared by its rival hypothesis?

    Are there credible intelligent design accounts for these things? For OOL, what is ID’s explanation of what occurred, how, and when? Notice that this is a completely reasonable set of questions and not at all a turnabout. If we can fault Theory X for not having a credible account of Z, then we can reasonably ask if Theory Y has one. Maybe we want to quibble over what makes a “credible account,” but surely FSCO/I is in itself not an account. At best, it is an index.

    Same idea for body plans. What is the credible scientific account offered by ID about body plans? If we fault “bind watchmaker” on this, then surely ID has its own account to put forward — and surely this account is credible. So, do tell what the account actually is.

    Oh, I can hear it now. I know or should know these accounts already. They’ve been given ad nauseum. And I know or should know the wider cultural context of big-bad a priori materialist thinking that engages in career busting and aggressive neo-marxist, Alinskyite fascism.

    Let’s sidestep these very important and urgent matters to answer in very simple and definitive terms — again, if you please — what the credible accounts actually are that ID offers around OOL and body plans. No links, no 101 explanations at your special angelfire site, no rehearsals of the scientific failures of Darwinism, neo-Darwinism, and Darn-Darwinism. Just ID. That is, only ID’s credible accounts of OOL and body plans expressed in language an American 8th grader could understand.

    Here, let’s begin: “ID offers a credible account of how life on Earth began. In this account, life started X years ago with the first step being _______. [Go on from here.]”

    “ID also provides a credible account of how body plans emerged. ID’s explanation is that __________. [Go on from here.]”

    I look forward to having the credible accounts presented so I can finally jump on the ID bandwagon.

  50. What we do not see is a credible blind watchmaker account for OOL…

    We see no evidence-based theory for the origin of life on Earth. Not because there aren’t theories -there are plenty- (though ID seems remiss here, so you are in agreement with me on this.

    …or of body plans.

    This is quite another matter. Once we have eukaryotes via symbiogenesis, sexual reproduction and multicellularity, all the heavy lifting is done.

  51. Alan,

    I make no demands. I merely asked you what you mean by an agent. It’s no problem for me if you’d rather not enlarge on the matter.

    What you actually said is that I have no explanation if I cannot also tell you who, what, and when. Those are demands, are they not? And my question back to you is how your demands change the evidence. Of course, they don’t. And I have no problem “enlarging” the matter to the extent that there is material evidence to support any proposition. As I have already stated on several occasions, the material conditions of semiosis in the natural world always include the massive preexisting organization of an agent. There are no counter-examples.

    With regard to your point about language and some analogy with cellular chemical processes, you must know by now that I don’t accept your argument that there is anything that puts language into a set together with aspects of protein synthesis.

    Of course you deny it Alan; you appear to be entirely frozen by any material evidence that threatens your preconceptions. Your problem is that you cannot engage the observations and rationale, and then articulate a coherent response to those observations. Once you’re all out of insults and talking points, you simply deny the evidence in front of you. Rinse and repeat. That’s all you’ve ever done.

  52. So, is someone going to actually address the challenge? The suspense is killing me.

  53. There are four challenges going on here:

    1. Provide evidence for a naturalistic origin of life:

    2. Provide evidence for Darwinian evolution: (recognizing that there are many versions but any one of them will do.)

    3. Provide evidence for an intelligent design origin of life process.

    4. Provide evidence for an Intelligent design basis for life changes since life’s origin.

    My assessment is that no one on the planet can do any of these four things so all should be excluded from the science curriculum of biology courses world wide. I think that is a fair outcome of the challenges that has been offered.

  54. Jerry:

    We can credibly detect design as best current, empirically warranted causal explanation of key features of life exhibiting FSCO/I and in fact forming digital, code based, algorithmic molecular nanotech systems.

    Codes imply symbols and rules; which, are manifestations of intelligence. Algorithms manifest purpose, implying volitional intelligence, and the nanotech, molecular execution machinery indicate mastery of technologies we are taking the first stumbling steps with.

    Those are not particularly difficult to recognise, save to those locked into a priori materialism which distorts ability to see clearly.

    But already blood pressure in some quarters is surging to stroke levels.

    Hang on.

    Indeed, things get more interesting as we probe onwards.

    The need for gated encapsulation plus metabolic subsystems integrated with a stored code based von Neumann kinematic self replicator, as a criterion — a pre-requisite — for self replicating cell based life, indicates that these capabilities preceded the sort of life we routinely observe on earth.

    Even more interesting, the cosmology of our universe, and its underlying physics are fine tuned in many ways that set the stage for such life. That points onward to intelligent design of the universe that sets up requisites for the molecular nanotech that is used in cell based life.

    The evidence of this was sufficiently impressive that the lifelong agnostic, Sir Fred Hoyle spoke meaningfully of a super intellect monkeying with physics itself so that there are no blind forces to speak of in the cosmos.

    Food for thought.

    KF

  55. KF,

    You do not have to convince me. So don’t take it as an accurate summation of the evidence. You can put your best shot forward and most will nod their heads in agreement. But some will say that doesn’t prove anything until you can identify the designer and his/her/its methods.

    So let’s see what those for naturalistic processes come up with except for excuses and overwhelming evidence that cannot be summarized. Like the hidden spirit whose name we must not pronounce.

  56. F/N: One hopes that somewhere, what can reasonably be inferred on evidence in hand, vs what can be demanded with ideological malice aforethought in order to excuse refusing to soberly look at evidence is beginning to be clear. Let’s just say that some of our objectors would be failed out of detective school by good old Sherlock Holmes.

  57. Jerry,

    and that would be a manifestation of absurd silliness.

    When we look on a Volvo car vs a Ford, we cannot tell from the vehicle itself that the Ford came off a traditional assemblyline, and the Volvo from the special sociotechnical team based almost coach built factory in Udevalla Sweden. And this is highly relevant evidence that is both observable and fairly commonplace for a lot of systems.

    The difference between a custom crafted fishing rod that is hand built and some machine built rod is only visible from the superiority of the custom unit. I guess the same can be argued for the Volvo. We can tell from the common FSCO/I that both cars and both rods were designed.

    The underlying issue is there is a willful hostility to the resented and feared possibility that life and cosmos may trace to a transcendent designer. We are seeing willful obtuseness in action because an a priori commitment is under pressure from evidence.

    So long as a designer is possible in a situation, the signs of design based on induction count as evidence for design as causal process. In turn, design processes are goal directed and intelligent and are reasonably explained on designers.

    The refusal we are seeing is not reasonable but ideological driven by hostility to the possibility of perticularly unwelcome designers as candidates. Lewontin’s hysterics over the Divine Foot in the door are especially revealing.

    For that matter, the sort of hate- and slander- fests we have been seeing at evo mat, darwinist fever swamps speak volumes that this is not reason speaking but rage against God.

    And when I see — as has been evident in recent months — people whose fear of the shadow of the transcendent leads them to cling to patent absurdities rather than acknowledge even self evident first principles of right reason, I know that I know I am dealing with irrational behaviour.

    If you doubt me on this, scroll up and explain to me how some could imagine that Theobald’s arguments could be so decisive when he starts with the blunder of calling what cannot be a fact, a fact.

    I think we need to make a drastic reappraisal of what we are seeing.

    Indeed, it very strongly reminds me of the more wild eyed Marxist radicals I had to deal with decades ago.

    I know, I know, this is not nice and genteel, but it seems to me the time has come for some very plain speaking to people who have been led to act on the silly — and dangerous — notion that those who dare disagree with them can only be one or more of ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    This is Kulturkampf.

    We did not start it, but we will finish it, with homour.

    KF

  58. @LarTanner

    If we accept the above statement as true, then the natural question to an ID proponent is whether there is a credible ID account for OOL and for body plans. After all, why would one hypothesis be criticized for a failure shared by its rival hypothesis?

    Hypotheses are not created equal. For example:

    A. There are no humans in North America
    B. There are humans living in North America

    To prove A, you have to search the entirety of NA and find 0 humans. To prove B, you simply need to find a single human being living in NA.

    A and B are rival hypotheses, but the evidence requirements are highly different. I can look in one spot in NA and prove B, but that is never sufficient to prove A.

    The premise of your post is fatally wrong.

  59. Well, since nobody has had a go at LarsTanner’s comment at 49, I shall swing my amateur bat. By the way, feel free to smash up my remarks. Just be gentlemanly. I write this in the spirit of getting the ball rolling.

    “ID offers a credible account of how life on Earth began. In this account, life started”… quite a while ago, about 3.5 billion years in fact. Mind you, there is a spot of heated debate on this issue, with some saying it started only a few thousand years back. Alas! ID, as far as I can ascertain, is somewhat mute on the actual timing of the kick-off. To be fair, why shouldn’t it be, I suppose. The question of when life first poked its head around the door would, one supposes, lay more in the field of dating methods and geology. In fact, does the Theory of Evolution, of itself give the dates to life’s origins?

    “The first steps being” deuced difficult to know precisely, as nobody has the foggiest of how to build a living cell from scratch. Great brains are working upon this problem and someday, if ever at all (let us be modest unless we get egg all over our faces), they may crack the problem and start happily producing living organisms of their own choosing and invention. It will be at this momentous point that we shall be able to say “Thus it is done. X,Y,Z tada.” However, and here is the rub in some respects, it is ID’s prediction that the result will come from a piece of most decidedly calculated engineering; Intelligent Design if you will and not from simply swilling around a few chemicals and zapping them. (Please do not take my statements as representative of the ID community, they are purely surmise from my own reading and no doubt if I have dropped a bundle of clangers, then I shall be corrected and informed by those who know much better than I.)

    Now you may be thinking: “Hang on, you haven’t really answered part b of my request Ho-De-Ho.” And you would be right LarsTanner. Full marks for observation old egg. I merely inserted the former comments to play fair. The exact steps are not as yet known by anybody. Except the Designer if they are still about, of course. But I will now try and posit a rough sketch of the first steps…broad brush strokes as it were.

    The Designer wants to make life on Earth. What has prompted them into this decision is, from a purely science basis, unknowable, but dash it, the Designer is a jolly good chemist and engineer. As such they are able to manufacture a multitude of components, precisely co-ordinated to achieve a grand design. Three primary components take centre stage in our knowledge – The Genome, Proteins and the Cell membrane. I shall stick with these fellows.

    Using an exquisite comprehension of semantics, code, physics and chemistry, the designer, after synthesizing the five nucleotides A,C,T,G and U, proceeds to arrange them in a manner that will give the necessary instructions for a single cell to operate upon. Coding for proteins, RNA wotsits etc. This is, to us, such a gargantuan task that I would be a tad pressed for time to elucidate it in detail, what?

    Now the genome is going to have to be housed in something. If it sits there bobbing about in water then it will just get ruined. What is needed is a Cell to go inside. (By the way, the Designer I guess would probably have known this from the off. I don’t think they would’ve concocted a wizard bit of DNA coding and then though “Blast, where am I going to keep this?”) A wall is going to be needed which cannot be dissolved by water and prevent the outside world from totally breaking through and washing everything out. A Phospholipid bi-layer would be useful to be used in generating some power. Then there is a cytoskeleton to hang things on. To make these, the Designer strings the necessary amino acids together to for the necessary proteins for construction. And fats of course.

    After completing the genome and wall of our single cell, the designer may keep it in isolation, to prevent degradation. Now, what next? Of course, Proteins. Some apparatus needs to be capable of reading all of the genome, building amino acids into new proteins, transporting things about. Then there a gates to be placed within the walls of the cell to allow essential nutrients, acids and so forth in and waste out. Motility modules will also be needed which require numerous carefully crafted and integrated odds and ends to work also built out of protein. And then there are energy requirements.
    The blueprint is large, but the Designer has quite the mind for it. Each individual piece is crafted and located in its correct place within the Cell walls.

    What spark is necessary to get all of this into motion, I have drawn a blank on.

    Now I am the first to put my hands up LarsTanner and say how broad lacking in consummate detail the above little sonnet is. Forgive me, I have not the grasp that many of the worthy inhabitants of UD possess. That said, it is in no way an alien process that I have sketched.

    I presently have my elbows squared at my laptop. I have no idea how to build a laptop, but I have watched others do so and I have watched the manufacturing of parts also. Frightfully clever, the craft that goes into some of it. What is noted, is the building of the basic parts from basic material, the assemblage of various parts into modules, the construction of a framework in which to house them and the coming together of the whole lot. Whoops! I missed the writing of the operating system. All zeroes and ones and unintelligible spelling, but highly specific I am told.

    I’m pretty certain that it does not matter if one builds the RAM chip or graphics card before the casing. No doubt there are certain areas in which one thing must come before another, though I suspect that is not true in all cases. What is needed, and this is where I feel the ID proponents are coming from, is an overall plan and somebody brainy enough to augment it. You have to admit, there are numerous similarities with a living cell.

    As I say. This is all very broad, as we are a little short of knowing how to create our own cells at the mo. When we can, we shall be even better informed of what steps are crucial in which order. Both viewpoints suffer from this snag. ID would predict though, that when we do find out how its done, it will be devilishly ingenious and will require a good deal of noggin to bring about. However, we see similar things going on around us daily.

    I hope you haven’t minded my feeble shot at this LarsTanner. No doubt you were after something more rigorous than my rambling chatter. Everybody, on both sides may no pull it apart knowledgably. I just wanted to get the ball rolling. Exciting discussion all.

  60. “But some will say that doesn’t prove anything until you can identify the designer and his/her/its methods.”

    You are quite right on that point Jerry. It is a frequently heard comment. Odd though isn’t it, don’t you think?

    I have no idea who designed the pyramids of Giza let alone what methods they used. But do I believe they were designed? Absolutely! I’d put money on it.

    Not saying the anti-ID lot are necessarily wrong, but not sure that this is the best objection I’ve ever come across.

    Plus, if say, the Bible is from God, and in it He says “I did it.” then we actually would know who the designer was. Of course, science doesn’t accept the Bible as scientific proof. Therein lies the lump in the carpet over which so many trip, methinks. If Science is over all topics and is the sole arbiter of all knowledge, the even if God graffiti-ed his signature on things then we would be trying to get meaning from the molecular structure and chemical composition of the said graffiti instead.

    If one asks a religious question (assuming a Divine creator in this instance) then one must make a thorough religious investigation. Science has its limits here.

  61. Howdy Ho-De-Ho,

    #58

    Frankly, I loved your “sonnet”.

    I think all reasonable people can agree with the properly advanced technology and knowledge, we can assemble extremely complex inter-related objects. After all, we already see the thing working and we know (or can know) the parts that endow it with that capacity. In Darwinian-capable cellular life however, the key is the translation of recorded information. And that requires local relationships that cannot be reduced to the physical laws that our adversaries rely upon to organize such things into functioning objects. And this incredibly high burden must appear in physical form prior to the onset of information-based organization – before even the content of the information can be inputted into the system.

    The general response to this is to profoundly equivocate on what Darwinian evolution is (conflating the map for the territory) and rest their case on transcription alone, completely ignoring the fact that translation (and the relationships required for it exist) must occur in order to reach cellular life.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post very much.

    Best Regards…

  62. Ho-De-Ho,

    You have no idea who designed the pyramids? Really? You don’t believe it was some human beings who lived in the area? Well, let’s cut the rhetorical crap. I am going to assume that you accept that homo sapiens built the pyramids. what species designed life on earth?

    LarTanner’s challenge remains unanswered. Enough with the criticisms of problems with evolution. That only gets you so far. You need to come up with another theory (or admit that your’s is no better than the one you criticise). So under the ID paradigm, how did life begin and how did it progress from single celled organisms to the variety we see today?

  63. Kairosfocus’ challenge remains unanswered. Enough with the criticisms of who was the designer. That only gets you so far. You need to come up with another theory (or admit that your’s is no better than the one you criticize). So under the Darwinian paradigm, how did life progress from single celled organisms to the variety we see today?

    No one has a clue and no one on the planet can present any evidence to defend it. This challenge has been around for years and so far not one person who ever visited this site can answer it.

  64. So under the Darwinian paradigm, how did life progress from single celled organisms to the variety we see today?

    No one has a clue and no one on the planet can present any evidence to defend it. This challenge has been around for years and so far not one person who ever visited this site can answer it.

    Except there are credible ideas of how single celled critters ‘learned’ to group together and form colonies. Some types still exist. And even within these colony structures we see some function differentiation happening.

    To say “No one has a clue . . . .” is just disingenuous. You may disagree with the models, you may find them not to be detailed enough but there are some sensible proposals.

    Added to the multiple lines of evidence supporting universal common descent via modification and . . . well. It’s time for ID to come up with something comparable.

  65. Jerad:

    It’s time for ID to come up with something comparable.

    Personally, I have already done my homework:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....hitecture/

  66. Whatho Upright BiPed. You are very kind old chap. You managed to put much better than me, in a quarter of the space too.

    Though I am not an ID theorist, I follow the line of reasoning developed and think it sounds reasonable enough. Straightforward and observable in the present day, so why not in the past, seems to be the motto.

    Anyway, thanks again for replying to my waffling Upright BiPed. I salute thee with my hat.

  67. Personally, I have already done my homework:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com…..hitecture/

    Good. There are 60 comments on that thread which I’ll try and skim at least. What do other ID proponents think of your scheme/model?

  68. Jerad:

    there are credible ideas of how single celled critters ‘learned’ to group together and form colonies. Some types still exist. And even within these colony structures we see some function differentiation happening.

    Until you have a credible, observational evidence warranted account of how blind watchmaker chance and necessity accounts for FSCO/I, all you have is materialist just so stories that have determined the conclusion in the question begging ideological a prioris.

    As the main point in the OP highlights, there is but one empirically justified source of FSCO/I, design. That is, empirically and inductively, FSCO/I is known to be a reliable sign of design, as deer tracks are reliable signs of the passage of certain animals.

    This also accords with the implications of functionality dependent on correct configuration and coupling of multiple, well matched parts. Namely, that most — vastly most — of the field of possibilities will be non-functional configs; yielding the islands of function in a much larger sea of non function effect. That means that once complexity is above 500 – 1,000 bits, solar system or observed cosmos resources cannot plausibly account for the observed outcome on blind chance and mechanical necessity due to overwhelming search and sampling challenges. The needle in the haystack problem, in short.

    The red herring on demanding that we ignore what we know per empirical warrant to do something that in effect demands us to create a time capsule and travel back to remote times, is a fallacious distractor from what we do and can know. It also is inconsistent, as there is a double standard in inductive reasoning.

    That is, the inductive logic whereby in making a design inference we reconstruct or infer on best empirically grounded explanation of the credible cause of key features of a situation we did not directly see from its traces in the present and known characteristic empirically grounded causal processes that yield such results is a commonplace in science.

    That sort of double standard on warrant is a characteristic feature of an imposed ideological a priori. In this case, the known one of materialism.

    Such ideological a prioris compromise the key value and aim of science to be open to and seek an accurate report or account of the world.

    KF

  69. LT @ 49:

    “ID offers a credible account of how life on Earth began. In this account, life started X years ago with the first step being _______. [Go on from here.]”

    “ID also provides a credible account of how body plans emerged. ID’s explanation is that __________. [Go on from here.]”

    Let’s see.

    Exhb 1: As has been repeatedly pointed out (but ignored) Craig Venter et al show us that molecular nanotech labs are possible and can work on the scale of cells.

    Exhb 2: Venter et al have programmed DNA.

    Exhb 3: DNA has been understood since 1953 to exhibit coded digital information, and from the late 50′s the code has been elucidated.

    Exhb 4: DNA exhibits FSCO/I, known to be produced by design, and only observed to be produced by design. So, it is, per billions of cases, a reliable sign of design as cause.

    Exhb 5: Embryology and genome analysis tell us that body plans are based on cellular replication, specialisation and organisation into cell types, tissues, organs and integrated coherent and complete functional systems forming a body in accordance with a PLAN.

    Exhb 6: Such body plans, at base level, require 10 – 100+ mn bits of FSCO/I over and above the 100 k – 1 mn or so bits for a basic unicellular organism. 500 – 1,000 bits is the upper threshold for blind chance and mechanical necessity, due to needle in haystack search challenges and the island of function effect whereby coupling and arrangement requirements to achieve complex function sharply constrain effective vs possible configs. As has been repeatedly pointed out.

    Exhb 7: Mutations occurring late in embryonic development do not affect major body plan features, those occurring early enough, due to random character, strongly tend to be disruptive and lethal precisely because they interfere with proper integration, coupling, co-ordination and functioning of interdependent, vital parts. Where, mutations are the suggested source of fresh information. Though the tendency is to talk about natural selection, the fact is that differential reproductive success is a culler-out of pre existing varieties not in itself an adder of info. The proposed adder is chance variations, leading straight to the million monkeys at keyboards challenge to get substantial amounts of coded functional info. So far random document generation techniques have got to about 24 ASCII characters, nowhere near the 500 bit threshold of 72 or so. That is a factor of 10^100 short on complexity.
    ______________________________

    Finding a: Design of cellular structures and coding of cells are possible, and in our observation, actual

    Finding b: We therefore note per FSCO/I as sign, that the best current empirically warranted account of the origin of living cells based on gated encapsulation, metabolic sybsystems and a code and algorithm using self replication facility, all executed using molecular (polymer) nanotech, is design.

    Finding c: We know per observation that designs may be effected in various ways, but that the characteristic features point to that source as opposed to blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    Finding d: Body plans, being based on increments of 10 – 100+ mns in FSCO/I, are also to be explained on the known source of FSCO/I and the known fact of the feasibility of engineering of cells.

    Finding e: The pivotal question and point of test is the causal origin of FSCO/I, and is empirically testable and falsifiable.

    Finding f: In addition, as outlined previously in 54, we may infer onwards on specific aspects of the evident designs:

    We can credibly detect design as best current, empirically warranted causal explanation of key features of life exhibiting FSCO/I and in fact forming digital, code based, algorithmic molecular nanotech systems.

    Codes imply symbols and rules; which, are manifestations of intelligence. Algorithms manifest purpose, implying volitional intelligence, and the nanotech, molecular execution machinery indicate mastery of technologies we are taking the first stumbling steps with.

    Those are not particularly difficult to recognise, save to those locked into a priori materialism which distorts ability to see clearly.

    But already blood pressure in some quarters is surging to stroke levels.

    Hang on.

    Indeed, things get more interesting as we probe onwards.

    The need for gated encapsulation plus metabolic subsystems integrated with a stored code based von Neumann kinematic self replicator, as a criterion — a pre-requisite — for self replicating cell based life, indicates that these capabilities preceded the sort of life we routinely observe on earth.

    Even more interesting, the cosmology of our universe, and its underlying physics are fine tuned in many ways that set the stage for such life. That points onward to intelligent design of the universe that sets up requisites for the molecular nanotech that is used in cell based life.

    The evidence of this was sufficiently impressive that the lifelong agnostic, Sir Fred Hoyle spoke meaningfully of a super intellect monkeying with physics itself so that there are no blind forces to speak of in the cosmos.

    =======

    The attempted turnabout fails, and highlights how there is no serious evo mat account backed up be empirical observational warrant, for OOL and origin of body plans (time for abbr: OOBP, for short).

    Let us see if, after a full year, someone from the materialist objector side will step up to the crease and face the bowling.

    KF

  70. Until you have a credible, observational evidence warranted account of how blind watchmaker chance and necessity accounts for FSCO/I, all you have is materialist just so stories that have determined the conclusion in the question begging ideological a prioris.

    Given that we have a few thousands years of observing what morphological changes breeding programs can develop coupled with the fossil record and the morphologies it shows, what we know of the genome and the bio-geographic distribution of species AND not wanting to assume a ’cause’ we have no evidence to have existed at the times under consideration I’d say the evolutionary model is pretty good.

    Science makes observations and tries to construct models that explain what is observed. When a better (or more refined/specific) model is proposed and verified (on existing and new data) then the paradigm changes.

    As always, attacking evolutionary theory doesn’t give you ID. ID needs to develop its own explanatory model. niwrad has a thread which s/he has pointed out to me wherein s/he has a preliminary model. What do the rest of you think of it? I’ve only had a brief chance to consider it but I found some intriguing ideas there.

    As the main point in the OP highlights, there is but one empirically justified source of FSCO/I, design. That is, empirically and inductively, FSCO/I is known to be a reliable sign of design, as deer tracks are reliable signs of the passage of certain animals.

    As usual, I beg to differ. At least as far as the diversification of life on earth is concerned given a as yet unknown original replicator.

    This also accords with the implications of functionality dependent on correct configuration and coupling of multiple, well matched parts. Namely, that most — vastly most — of the field of possibilities will be non-functional configs; yielding the islands of function in a much larger sea of non function effect. That means that once complexity is above 500 – 1,000 bits, solar system or observed cosmos resources cannot plausibly account for the observed outcome on blind chance and mechanical necessity due to overwhelming search and sampling challenges. The needle in the haystack problem, in short.

    Again, evolutionary theory posits that the diversification of life as we know it arose from minor modifications of a first basic form. The minor modifications were also functional. Cumulative selection by environmental pressures (among other things) created new functional configurations. No need to search a vast configuration space for new forms. The ones that survived to reproduce were functional and derived from other functional forms. The modifications that were not functional did not survive. This happens with human pregnancies. It’s possible that up to a third of human pregnancies spontaneously abort because something is wrong.

    In this way all the life forms that have ever existed on earth form a great web of functional forms. No islands. Holes in the web maybe, but no disconnected pieces. And no need to randomly search a vast configuration space for new functional configurations.

    By the way, you make the assumption that the configuration space would have to be exhaustively searched. This, even under your assumption, is not the case. Once a functional configuration was found you’ve got your first basic replicator and the evolutionary process can begin.

    Also, it is not known, nor does ID specify, what kind of functional configuration you’re saying needed to be found. As a result, there’s no way to test how many functional configurations there would be in the configuration space. Some details to bolster your model would be good.

    And, once again, evolutionary theory does not yet know what the first basic replicator was. Neither does the ID community. How it came about is a separate issue. I will grant you that the first basic replicator could have been designed and then, if there was no further intervention, evolutionary processes can explain all that happened after that. But, so far, the ID community has got no proposed first replicator or its source. But, it has to be said, claiming the first basic replicator on Earth came from a designer does lead to the question of where the designer came from. Unless you’re inclined to stop asking questions.

    The red herring on demanding that we ignore what we know per empirical warrant to do something that in effect demands us to create a time capsule and travel back to remote times, is a fallacious distractor from what we do and can know. It also is inconsistent, as there is a double standard in inductive reasoning.

    Not at all. Evolutionary theory invokes observable forces/causes that can be reasonably supposed to have been available in the given time frame. ID proposes an unspecified/undefined ‘designer’ for which there is no independent evidence. Also, evolutionary theory explains more of the evidence we have: why are some things the way they are? When did some transitions happen? How did they happen? Not specific to the molecular level (which is unknowable) but the model matches the data and can predict undiscovered forms.

    That is, the inductive logic whereby in making a design inference we reconstruct or infer on best empirically grounded explanation of the credible cause of key features of a situation we did not directly see from its traces in the present and known characteristic empirically grounded causal processes that yield such results is a commonplace in science.

    If you use special pleading (i.e. there was an intelligent designer around at the time with the necessary skills and equipment) without any independent evidence then your inference is less parsimonious. Aside from the fact that the ID community has yet to come up with a core hypothesis which can be tested against the evolutionary model of universal common descent with modification. As far as I know there is yet no consensus about when design was implemented for example. There’s lots of work to do!!

    That sort of double standard on warrant is a characteristic feature of an imposed ideological a priori. In this case, the known one of materialism.

    It’s just a matter of what can be reasonably inferred from what we know of the situation. We don’t know there was a designer around at the time. And, again, even if that were granted as an acceptable axiom there is not explanatory ID model to work with.

    Such ideological a prioris compromise the key value and aim of science to be open to and seek an accurate report or account of the world.

    Well, I would always want to find a model that fits that has the fewest assumptions. I don’t see what that has to do with materialism.

    I’d consider what I wrote above to be a decent outline/draft of my response to your ‘darwinian essay challenge’. I feel that the basic argument is there.

  71. Jerad:

    niwrad has a thread which he has pointed out to me wherein he has a preliminary model. What do the rest of you think of it? I’ve only had a brief chance to consider it but I found some intriguing ideas there.

    Thanks Jerad for your interest in my LPA model. In LPA I tried to integrate various viewpoints: (1) a fully ID perspective; (2) a direct robotics parallelism (see also my previous comments above); (3) a match with the actual biological data; (4) a substantial agreement with traditional cosmogony, when it is symbolically interpreted, as it should be.

    LPA is what I believe in, what I honestly can offer to other, without the least intention of deceiving, after many years of interest in many interrelated fields.

    I appreciate also your honest effort to answer kairosfocus’ challenge.

  72. I’d consider what I wrote above to be a decent outline/draft of my response to your ‘darwinian essay challenge’.

    There is zero in this response to support a Darwinian scenario. It is all story telling,

    This may have happened here, that may have happened there.

    Nothing to show there was a gradual naturalistic step by step building with evidence for each step. It could just have been a designer with his/her/its various iterations in the building of complicated life.

    Until one has a rationale for the building of complicated novelties through naturalistic processes, they are at step zero. Selected breeding is just the opposite of that. It is the reduction/restriction of information, not the building of information. The fossil record is the enemy of the gradualist approach especially for complex novelties. They just come out of nowhere.

    The challenge remains unmet by anyone on the planet. Darwin wrote great stories. That is all he did. So have all his disciples. But in the end they are just stories. In reality Darwin contributed very little to science. He did collect a lot of barnacles.

  73. Nothing to show there was a gradual naturalistic step by step building with evidence for each step. It could just have been a designer with his/her/its various iterations in the building of complicated life.

    It could have been a tweaking, experimental designer but there’s no evidence for there being a designer around at the time. AND most people think the natural processes are up to the job.

    Until one has a rationale for the building of complicated novelties through naturalistic processes, they are at step zero. Selected breeding is just the opposite of that. It is the reduction/restriction of information, not the building of information. The fossil record is the enemy of the gradualist approach especially for complex novelties. They just come out of nowhere.

    A rationale? We know replicators reproduce with variation. Some variations are not viable. Some are better able to compete and exploit their environment. Some of their descendants will carry on with the advantages. Variation doesn’t come from out of nowhere.

    The challenge remains unmet by anyone on the planet. Darwin wrote great stories. That is all he did. So have all his disciples. But in the end they are just stories. In reality Darwin contributed very little to science. He did collect a lot of barnacles.

    I’m not sure all the pro-ID contributors to UD would agree with you. And I’ve heard Casey Luskin say many times on ID The Future that people should study and understand evolutionary theory.

  74. OOps, missed a blockquote in comment 72. Sorry!!

  75. I appreciate also your honest effort to answer kairosfocus’ challenge.

    I’m not expert and I figured I should just focus on the basic outline.

    I will spend more time with your LPA model. It seems to me to be a genuine attempt at solidifying an ID paradigm. And I think it has some real explanations for what we observe.

  76. The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many scientists a century ago chose to regard the belief in spontaneous generation as a “philosophical necessity.” It is a symptom of the philosophical poverty of our time that this necessity is no longer appreciated. Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing. ~ George Wald

  77. Apparently the quote reproduced by bevets in comment 75 is not authentic even though versions have been widely disseminated.

    In the following link someone found the original issue of Scientific American:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....rt1-4.html

    I’ll copy and paste for those who find visiting the Talk Origins website an anathema:

    The great idea emerges originally in the consciousness of the race as a vague intuition; and this is the form it keeps, rude and imposing, in myth, tradition and poetry. This is its core, its enduring aspect. In this form science finds it, clothes it with fact, analyses its content, develops its detail, rejects it, and finds it ever again. In achieving the scientific view, we do not ever wholly lose the intuitive, the mythological. Both have meaning for us, and neither is complete without the other. The Book of Genesis contains still our poem of the Creation; and when God questions Job out of the whirlwind, He questions us.

    Let me cite an example. Throughout our history we have entertained two kinds of views of the origin of life: one that life was created supernaturally, the other that it arose “spontaneously” from nonliving material. In the 17th to 19th centuries those opinions provided the ground of a great and bitter controversy. There came a curious point, toward the end of the 18th century, when each side of the controversy was represented by a Roman Catholic priest. The principle opponent of the theory of the spontaneous generation was then the Abbe Lazzaro Spallanzani, an Italian priest; and its principal champion was John Turberville Needham, an English Jesuit.

    Since the only alternative to some form of spontaneous generation is a belief in supernatural creation, and since the latter view seems firmly implanted in the Judeo-Christian theology, I wondered for a time how a priest could support the theory of spontaneous generation. Needham tells one plainly. The opening paragraphs of the Book of Genesis can in fact be reconciled with either view. In its first account of Creation, it says not quite that God made living things, but He commanded the earth and waters to produce them. The language used is: “let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life…. Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind.” In the second version of creation the language is different and suggests a direct creative act: “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air….” In both accounts man himself–and woman–are made by God’s direct intervention. The myth itself therefore offers justification for either view. Needham took the position that the earth and waters, having once been ordered to bring forth life, remained ever after free to do so; and this is what we mean by spontaneous generation.

    This great controversy ended in the mid-19th century with the experiments of Louis Pasteur, which seemed to dispose finally of the possibility of spontaneous generation. For almost a century afterward biologists proudly taught their students this history and the firm conclusion that spontaneous generation had been scientifically refuted and could not possibly occur. Does this mean that they accepted the alternative view, a supernatural creation of life? Not at all. They had no theory of the origin of life, and if pressed were likely to explain that questions involving such unique events as origins and endings have no place in science.

    A few years ago, however, this question re-emerged in a new form. Conceding that spontaneous generation doe not occur on earth under present circumstances, it asks how, under circumstances that prevailed earlier upon this planet, spontaneous generation did occur and was the source of the earliest living organisms. Within the past 10 years this has gone from a remote and patchwork argument spun by a few venturesome persons–A. I. Oparin in Russia, J. B. S. Haldane in England–to a favored position, proclaimed with enthusiasm by many biologists.

    Have I cited here a good instance of my thesis? I had said that in these great questions one finds two opposed views, each of which is periodically espoused by science. In my example I seem to have presented a supernatural and a naturalistic view, which were indeed opposed to each other, but only one of which was ever defended scientifically. In this case it would seem that science has vacillated, not between two theories, but between one theory and no theory.

    That, however, is not the end of the matter. Our present concept of the origin of life leads to the position that, in a universe composed as ours is, life inevitably arises wherever conditions permit. We look upon life as part of the order of nature. It does not emerge immediately with the establishment of that order; long ages must pass before [page 100 | page 101] it appears. Yet given enough time, it is an inevitable consequence of that order. When speaking for myself, I do not tend to make sentences containing the word God; but what do those persons mean who make such sentences? They mean a great many different things; indeed I would be happy to know what they mean much better than I have yet been able to discover. I have asked as opportunity offered, and intend to go on asking. What I have learned is that many educated persons now tend to equate their concept of God with their concept of the order of nature. This is not a new idea; I think it is firmly grounded in the philosophy of Spinoza. When we as scientists say then that life originated inevitably as part of the order of our universe, we are using different words but do not necessary mean a different thing from what some others mean who say that God created life. It is not only in science that great ideas come to encompass their own negation. That is true in religion also; and man’s concept of God changes as he changes.

  78. there’s no evidence for there being a designer around at the time.

    Attack ID by saying show me the designer. One is supposed to be defending Darwinian processes not attacking some unrelated hypothesis. Complete non-sequitur.

    AND most people think the natural processes are up to the job.

    And at one time most people believe that Zeus threw lighting bolts. A complete irrational scientific argument.

    A rationale? We know replicators reproduce with variation

    Great design for adaptation but adaptation is not Darwinian evolution. There is a single cell to man scenario that has to be defended by science. We know there is none so the job is really impossible.

    Variation doesn’t come from out of nowhere.

    Again an example of great design. Nothing more. You are supporting the ID argument. Are you a stealth ID supporter?

  79. Jerad @ 76

    Talk Origins is wrong. Look it up for yourself:

    “The origin of life” Scientific American August 1954 p.46

  80. Talk Origins is wrong. Look it up for yourself:

    “The origin of life” Scientific American August 1954 p.46

    I don’t have access to that issue. Could you reproduce the pertinent article or provide a link to a verbatim transcription.

    It would be good to clear up the discrepancy.

  81. there’s no evidence for there being a designer around at the time.

    Attack ID by saying show me the designer. One is supposed to be defending Darwinian processes not attacking some unrelated hypothesis. Complete non-sequitur.

    If you wish to disregard my comments about ID in the above be my guest.

    AND most people think the natural processes are up to the job.

    And at one time most people believe that Zeus threw lighting bolts. A complete irrational scientific argument.

    I think we’re a bit more knowledgable now though!!

    A rationale? We know replicators reproduce with variation

    Great design for adaptation but adaptation is not Darwinian evolution. There is a single cell to man scenario that has to be defended by science. We know there is none so the job is really impossible.

    Well, many, many people disagree with you.

    Variation doesn’t come from out of nowhere.

    Again an example of great design. Nothing more. You are supporting the ID argument. Are you a stealth ID supporter?

    What? Variation comes from a variety of molecular processes: copying errors, duplications, endogenous retroviruses, splitting of chromosomes, etc, none of which are generated by a designer as far as we know. And, again, if you don’t need a force or cause then don’t invoke it. Especially if there’s no evidence the cause or force exists, now or then.

    I’ve noticed a move towards claiming that perhaps the variation generated by natural processes is directed. But, as always, if natural processes account for what we observe then why look for another answer?

  82. Talk Origins is wrong. Look it up for yourself:

    “The origin of life” Scientific American August 1954 p.46

    If you look at the linked TalkOrigins page there is a partial transcript about what was in the August 1954 edition of Scientific American, pages 44 – 45. I haven’t got time to copy and past at the moment. Sorry!!

  83. “Variation doesn’t come from out of nowhere.”

    Variation in the translated output of the genome?

    Yes, it requires an irreducibly complex semiotic system of representations and protocols, establishing a set of physicochemically arbitrary relationships within a physical system. It is not possible without it.

  84. KF at 69,

    Which of those exhibits accounts for the origin of life (or, how do all of them together account for the origin)? I don’t see a coherent explanation of how life on Earth first arises.

  85. Jerad,

    I observe your attempt at an outline response, which despite the ducking of the bigger half-problem, OOL is to be respected as taking the matter seriously. Indeed, if you can revise and address OOL, I am quite willing to headline it as an attempted answer.

    However, it has certain pivotal and telling gaps.

    First, we see:

    [KF:] As the main point in the OP highlights, there is but one empirically justified source of FSCO/I, design. That is, empirically and inductively, FSCO/I is known to be a reliable sign of design, as deer tracks are reliable signs of the passage of certain animals.

    [J:] As usual, I beg to differ. At least as far as the diversification of life on earth is concerned given a as yet unknown original replicator.

    The fact remains, that the only actually observed source of FSCO/I is indeed design. You have substituted an inadequately grounded assertion as though it were a factual observation to the contrary. Unfortunately, as Theobald indicates, this confusion of a tower of inferences for indisputable facts we have observed is a characteristic problem of evolutionary materialist thought.

    You have not seen not even a remainder of that hypothetical replicator and lush documentaries etc to the contrary, we do not have observations of the incrementalist origin of body plans either.

    I will respond in summary below, for more details (including on cases I mention) I refer onwards as follows . . . not least because in a comment there is a tight budget of links that can be given, I think about seven:

    1: The overall problem and particularly the issue of FSCO/I, my outline here. Dembski’s NFL will give more details as will Meyer’s Signature in the Cell.

    2: OOL, my 101 outline here, and for onward reading Meyer’s Signature in the Cell.

    3: OOBP, my 101 outline here, and for onward reading, Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt

    I need to pause and speak to the “fact fact Fact” claim, noting here from Wiki:

    . . . When scientists say “evolution is a fact” they are using one of two meanings of the word “fact”. One meaning is empirical, and when this is what scientists mean, then “evolution” is used to mean observed changes in allele frequencies or traits of a population over successive generations.

    Another way “fact” is used is to refer to a certain kind of theory, one that has been so powerful and productive for such a long time that it is universally accepted by scientists. When scientists say evolution is a fact in this sense, they mean it is a fact that all living organisms have descended from a common ancestor (or ancestral gene pool) [8] even though this cannot be directly observed. [["Evolution as theory and fact," coloured emphasis added. Acc: Aug. 7, 2010.]

    Immediately, we can spot a no true scotsman fallacy mixed into what frankly has to be called a big lie brazen falsehood. The anonymous authors of Wiki knew or should have known that the appeal to universal consensus of credibly qualified scientists is false.

    The first use in the clip simply describes observed minor variations in life forms that are sometimes called micro-evolution, which is indeed a non-controversial fact. It is then used as a basis for a gross, observationally unwarranted extrapolation that is demanded by a priori commitment to evolutionary materialism rather than based on any actual facts of observation — which they have to concede when they say: “even though this cannot be directly observed.”

    If it is not a fact we have seen in a deep past we cannot observe, it is a theoretical explanatory inference or rather a large mound of same, period.

    In short the presentation of body plan level macro evo allegedly driven by chance variations and differential reproductive success leading to claimed descent with unlimited modification across a branching tree pattern, as “fact”, is plainly loaded with precisely the sort of confusion of towers of inference for actual observed objective facts that can potentially close our minds to the truth. In addition, it appeals to the naked authority of the particular school of thought and philosophy that dominates a given day.

    Indeed, by improperly using the term “universally,” the Wiki article actually tries to disenfranchise qualified but dissenting scientists.

    Therefore, we must always be very careful indeed to distinguish actual credible facts of direct observation from inferences built on them, and we must always be open to the possibility that what we think are facts — especially on matters that we cannot directly observe — may just possibly embed an error or two.

    A revealing illustration of this pattern is the reference you made to the unknown replicator, as close as you get to OOL.

    Was such seen? Nope, as you concede.

    Was such seen as an integral code based algorithm using facility integrated with a metabolic nanofactory in a gated encapsulated enclosure? A fortiori, no.

    The massive FSCO/I and IC of such an entity scream: design. That is, we have excellent reason to infer design at the root of the tree of life. Thereafter, for argument let us accept universal common descent and lay aside for a moment the now notorious pattern of contradictory molecular trees and mosaics such as the platypus (more consistent with a code library in a design system than an incremental tree). Do we have any good, observationally based ground to reject designed branching and unfolding by things like frontloading and use of viri as vectors to inject planned triggers for development?

    Nope, only the a priori exclusion of design which is already the only observationally backed, viable candidate sitting at the table at the root of the whole tree. And therefore sitting at the table as of right thereafter.

    Do I need to explicitly cite the co-founder of evolutionary theory as an advocate of intelligent direction of such?

    Let me do so, as he was a foremost person in things like bio-geography, from preface:

    . . . the most prominent feature of my book is that I enter into a popular yet critical examination of those underlying fundamental problems which Darwin purposely excluded from his works as being beyond the scope of his enquiry.

    Such are, the nature and causes of Life itself ; and more especially of its most fundamental and mysterious powers growth and reproduction. I first endeavour to show (in Chapter XIV.) by a care-ful consideration of the structure of the bird’s feather; of the marvellous transformations of the higher insects ; and, more especially of the highly elaborated wing-scales of the Lepidoptera (as easily accessible examples of what is going on in every part of the structure of every living thing), the absolute necessity for an organising and directive Life-Principle in order to account for the very possibility of these complex outgrowths.

    I argue, that they necessarily imply first, a Creative Power, which so constituted matter as to render these marvels possible ; next, a directive Mind which is demanded at every step of what we term growth, and often look upon as so simple and natural a process as to require no explanation ; and, lastly, an ultimate Purpose, in the very existence of the whole vast life-world in all its long course of evolution throughout the eons of geological time.

    This Purpose, which alone throws light on many of the mysteries of its mode of evolution, I hold to be the development of Man, the one crowning product of the whole cosmic process of life-development ; the only being which can to some extent comprehend nature; which can perceive and trace out her modes of action ; which can appreciate the hidden forces and motions everywhere at work, and can deduce from them a supreme and over-ruling Mind as their necessary cause.

    For those who accept some such view as I have indicated, I show (in Chapters XV. and XVI.) how strongly it is sup-ported and enforced by a long series of facts and co-relations which we can hardly look upon as all purely accidental coincidences. Such are the infinitely varied products of living things which serve man’s purposes and man’s alone not only by supplying his material wants, and by gratifying his higher tastes and emotions, but as rendering possible many of those advances in the arts and in science which we claim to be the highest proofs of his superiority to the brutes, as well as of his advancing civilisation.

    From a consideration of these better-known facts I proceed (in Chapter XVII.) to an exposition of the mystery of cell-growth ; to a consideration of the elements in their special relation to the earth itself and to the life-world ; while in the last chapter I endeavour to show the purpose of that law of diversity which seems to pervade the whole material Universe. [The World of Life: a manifestation of Creative Power, Directive Mind and Ultimate Purpose, pp. vi - vii 1914 UK edn., I introduce my own simplifying paragraphing]

    In short, not even universal common descent suffices to remove the relevant issues from the table. To exclude design as the best explanation of the manifest FSCO/I it is necessary to first empirically overturn on ACTUAL OBSERVATIONS the pattern whereby we consistently see FSCO/I produced by design.

    This, you have simply not done.

    This also both shows why OOL is pivotal — as the usual resort to the magical powers of natural selection (chance variations and differential reproductive success — contrary to your onward suggestions, have never been observed to give rise to body plans) is off the board. Your attempted dismissal of OOL is therefore decisive, and not in your favour. By silence, it implies that you indeed have no credible account by which FSCO/I can and does come about by blind chance and mechanical necessity.

    That glaringly highlights the gaps evolutionary materialism advocates keep papering over.

    Next you outline geographic and similar observations. The documented variations are all well within body plan level and in no wise suffice to erase the FSCO/I origination challenge.

    This next step you made reveals the significance of the explanatory failure of the view you advocate:

    [J:] evolutionary theory posits that the diversification of life as we know it arose from minor modifications of a first basic form. The minor modifications were also functional. Cumulative selection by environmental pressures (among other things) created new functional configurations. No need to search a vast configuration space for new forms.

    The problem is that it is known that 100 k – 1 M bits of info makes about the right level for a “simple” — misnomer! — unicellular life form, but from both calculation and observation of genomes of body plans we see that new body plans, Phylum and Sub-Phylum level in effect, will indeed require 10 – 100+ million new bits of info. The idea that something of this complexity coupled to functional specificity can be achieved one tiny functional step at a time, selected for on population genetics, is in fact a major point of explanatory gap for the theory. For instance to make a whale like creature out of a cow like one, someone has estimated up to 50,000 stepwise changes, many of them co-ordinated. Given reasonable pop sizes in light of ecological niche, generation scales, and time to fix, we are not going to see enough scope for such an incrementalist account to work. This is multiplied by the dynamics of building a body plan through embryological development as the early stage mutations required are making chance changes in a tightly coupled interdependent functional system and have a known strong tendency of lethality

    Similar, for making a man like creature out of a chimp like creature.

    This is further substantiated by the widespread and systematic patten of missing links, from the Cambrian on. Indeed, Gould has long since highlighted across his career how systematic are the gaps by underscoring that sudden appearance, stasis and disappearance are the dominant feature of the fossils, not the sort of incrementalist pattern that Darwin hoped for. This after over 1/4 million fossil species and millions of examples in museums, with billions of same in the ground. The gradual, branching tree pattern has been imposed on the fossils, not inferred from them.

    This runs directly contrary to your bold assertion:

    [J:] all the life forms that have ever existed on earth form a great web of functional forms. No islands. Holes in the web maybe, but no disconnected pieces. And no need to randomly search a vast configuration space for new functional configurations.

    Just to cite Gould in his last work, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002):

    . . . long term stasis following geologically abrupt origin of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists. [[p. 752.]

    . . . . The great majority of species do not show any appreciable evolutionary change at all. These species appear in the section [[first occurrence] without obvious ancestors in the underlying beds, are stable once established and disappear higher up without leaving any descendants.” [[p. 753.]

    . . . . proclamations for the supposed ‘truth’ of gradualism – asserted against every working paleontologist’s knowledge of its rarity – emerged largely from such a restriction of attention to exceedingly rare cases under the false belief that they alone provided a record of evolution at all! The falsification of most ‘textbook classics’ upon restudy only accentuates the fallacy of the ‘case study’ method and its root in prior expectation rather than objective reading of the fossil record. [[p. 773.]

    Gould’s earlier comments are worth putting on record:

    “The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.” [[Stephen Jay Gould (Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), 'Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?' Paleobiology, vol.6(1), January 1980,p. 127.]

    “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'The return of hopeful monsters'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, p. 24.]

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

    [Darwin:] The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find intermediate varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps [[ . . . . ] He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record will rightly reject my whole theory.[[Cf. Origin, Ch 10, "Summary of the preceding and present Chapters," also see similar remarks in Chs 6 and 9.]

    Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never “seen” in the rocks.

    Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'Evolution's erratic pace'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI95), May 1977, p.14. (Kindly note, that while Gould does put forward claimed cases of transitions elsewhere, that cannot erase the facts that he published in the peer reviewed literature in 1977 and was still underscoring in 2002, 25 years later, as well as what the theory he helped co-found, set out to do. Sadly, this needs to be explicitly noted, as some would use such remarks to cover over the points just highlighted. Also, note that this is in addition to the problem of divergent molecular trees and the top-down nature of the Cambrian explosion.)]

    Yes, you have given the popular narrative that is eagerly promoted. Unfortunately, it does not comport well with the on the ground actually observed facts of the dominant pattern of life forms.

    Next:

    [J:] you make the assumption that the configuration space would have to be exhaustively searched. This, even under your assumption, is not the case. Once a functional configuration was found you’ve got your first basic replicator and the evolutionary process can begin.

    A strawman caricature, I am afraid.

    What I have pointed out — by argument anchored in the logic and experience of complex functional systems — is that we are dealing with multiple part, complex systems dependent on proper organisation to work. That is, per Wicken’s “wiring diagram” parts have to be arranged in a specific nodes and connections pattern, with matching and coupling, as is often illustrated by the exploded view. This implies a structured set of yes/no decisions to get parts, matching, placement and configuration right. If you have ever had to dis assemble and clean a fishing reel or a gun or the like, you will instantly understand the point. That set of Y/N q’s specifies information implicit in functional organisation, and is closely related to the way an autocad drawing is coded and stored in a file.

    Now, let us start with our warm little pond or the like with various salts and so forth. Your silence on OOL apart from a one liner shows that the magnitude of the challenge to get a gated, encapsulated metabolic entity working off key-lock fitting folded polymer molecules and coupled to a code based self replicating facility has overwhelmed the ability to provide a remotely plausible and observationally warranted solution. At low end, this is for 100 kbits of genomic info.

    To get from that to the dozens of body plans, you nee4d to g4enerate 10 – 100+ mn bits more, dozens of times over.For the Cambrian, maybe in 10 MY but 3.5 Bn years would not make a difference tot he scope of the challenge.

    What you are trying to suggest is that this can be eliminated by an assumed branching tree pattern of incremental fixed changes, i.e. a few bits at a time. Sounds great until you inject two problems: utter want of observational basis of such a complex emergence, and the challenge of writing such a code transformation functional all the way, and getting it fixed in population of reasonable size and lifespan. The evidence points to 2 – 7 bases as a step limit for practical purposes. If you go for duplication and variation by drift then reentry to function, you are looking at searching huge spaces by chance.

    In short, isolated islands of function are real [just ask embryos with lethal early muts about that] and the challenge of bridging hem is real, very real.

    It cannot be waved away by Dawkin’s metaphorical easy back way up Mt Improbable.

    Similarly, if these incremental forms were there, they would utterly dominate the history of life. So, why are they systematically, overwhelmingly missing to the point where Gould and colleagues went out to construct an alter5native evo theory to account for their absence, over the course of decades?

    There are enough fossils that we should see a very different picture from what we see if the claims were so.

    [J:] I will grant you that the first basic replicator could have been designed and then, if there was no further intervention, evolutionary processes can explain all that happened after that.

    Nope.

    The OOBP issue is not going to go away with a one liner. Once design is sitting at the table as a viable explanation for FSCO/I it is there all the way.

    Once, you do not have DIRECT OBSERVATION of blind chance and m4echanical ne4cessity generating FSCO/I.

    Which you do not.

    [J:] Evolutionary theory invokes observable forces/causes that can be reasonably supposed to have been available in the given time frame. ID proposes an unspecified/undefined ‘designer’ for which there is no independent evidence. Also, evolutionary theory explains more of the evidence we have: why are some things the way they are? When did some transitions happen? How did they happen? Not specific to the molecular level (which is unknowable) but the model matches the data and can predict undiscovered forms.

    Why do you insist, after ever so many corrections, on a strawman caricature of design theory and what it posits and argues on what evidence? (Just as a test, try to cite a statement by any prominent design theorist that argues in the way you do. You will find none such. You have been taken in by a caricature presented by unscrupulous objectors. I suggest you go up to the OP and simply read the summary of what ID actually argues there, which you and other objectors have ignored. ID is not a mirror image to the a priori materialism of Lewontin, Sagan, US NAS, US NSTA et al.)

    Let’s go back to Newton’s Rules of inductive, scientific reasoning which he used to introduce the Universal Law of Gravitation (in Principia):

    Rule I [[--> adequacy and simplicity]

    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true [[--> it is probably best to take this liberally as meaning "potentially and plausibly true"] and sufficient to explain their appearances.

    To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.

    Rule II [[--> uniformity of causes: "like forces cause like effects"]

    Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

    As to respiration in a man and in a beast; the descent of stones in Europe and in America; the light of our culinary fire and of the sun; the reflection of light in the earth, and in the planets.

    Rule III [[--> confident universality]

    The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

    For since the qualities of bodies are only known to us by experiments, we are to hold for universal all such as universally agree with experiments; and such as are not liable to diminution can never be quite taken away. We are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of experiments for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising; nor are we to recede from the analogy of Nature, which is wont to be simple, and always consonant to [398/399] itself . . . .

    Rule IV [[--> provisionality and primacy of induction]

    In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

    This rule we must follow, that the arguments of induction may not be evaded by [[speculative] hypotheses.

    Similarly, in Opticks, Query 31, Newton said: “although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur.”

    In this spirit, the design inference simply observes that there is an observable fact, FSCO/I . . . under whatever label and in whatever form. It is, on billions of cases reliably the product of design, there being no actually observed exceptions caused by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. In addition, there is good analytical reason to see that such alternative causes are not credibly capable of creating FSCO/I. The attempted claim that macroevolution is a fact in counterexample is instead a fallacy driven by an ideological a priori. Exactly the kind of speculative hypothesis that Newton so often challenged as not being reasonable as an answer to an inductively grounded point.

    As a result of such, we are entitled to see that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause. And since designs reflect planning, purpose etc, such are habitually and appropriately associated with designers. Those committed to a materialist a priori may not be inclined to respect an inductive inference in this context, but that says more about the strength of the ideological a priori than about the strength of the induction.

    This then shows how the following builds on a poor foundation:

    [J:] If you use special pleading (i.e. there was an intelligent designer around at the time with the necessary skills and equipment) without any independent evidence then your inference is less parsimonious. Aside from the fact that the ID community has yet to come up with a core hypothesis which can be tested against the evolutionary model of universal common descent with modification.

    You are again knocking over a strawman of your own manufacture.

    The suggestion that the design inference is untestable is a second strawman caricature in the teeth of abundant correction to the contrary.

    I say it again: were it shown that FSCO/I was in fact per observation credibly, reliably produced by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity — as has been repeatedly tried and as just as repeatedly has failed — then the ID hyp in the domain of the world of life would collapse.

    The design inference is testable and per Newton has stood the test on billions of test cases. It is on canons of inductive reasoning, and billions of actual cases, that we can be confident that FSCO/I in its various guises is a reliable sign of design.

    [J:] We don’t know there was a designer around at the time. And, again, even if that were granted as an acceptable axiom there is not explanatory ID model to work with.

    The repeatedly corrected strawman caricature of ID appears again.

    It is clear that until there is a willingness on the part of objectors to accurately represent ID, it will be impossible to have a positive discussion.

    And so we see:

    [KF:] Such ideological a prioris [--> they were cited] compromise the key value and aim of science to be open to and seek an accurate report or account of the world.

    [J:] I would always want to find a model that fits that has the fewest assumptions. I don’t see what that has to do with materialism.

    Let us refresh our memory yet again, on the pivotal Lewontinian admission of an ideological a priori assumption, which may be found with four other examples including from the US NAS and NSTA, here on:

    the problem is to get them [ = the public] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [--> notice the admission of hostile prejudice and contempt laced dismissiveness], the demons that exist only in their imaginations [--> a fortiori], and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting and inescapably utterly IRRATIONAL]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[--> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [= al of reality for the a priori materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [[--> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[--> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Bold emphasis and notes added. If you have been taken in by the common talking point that this is quote mined, kindly cf the just above link.]

    This is a blatant statement of the ideological captivity of science to materialism and undermines its objectivity and credibility as long as it is in that thralldom.

    Philip Johnson’s rebuke to Lewontin, Nov that year was richly deserved:

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

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

    KF

  86. LT: Obviously, you refuse to recognise the reality of technological design and development of systems. The Exhibits point to this as a sufficient cause and that is all that is required for what ID ACTUALLY argues. KF

  87. I’ve noticed a move towards claiming that perhaps the variation generated by natural processes is directed. But, as always, if natural processes account for what we observe then why look for another answer?

    Two things:

    You constantly come back to attacking ID when you are supposed to be providing evidence for Darwinian processes.

    Second, all I am doing is saying that anything you have said could also support an ID position. It does nothing to support a Darwinian hypothesis which is the basic challenge. By focusing on the trivial, you have ignored the actual debate. The debate is not over modern day genetics which is not part of the evolution debate though a lot of people try to equate the two. They are unrelated. No one has ever been able to make the connection between the two.

    One has to look for another answer because the adaptation process is an example of great design but not an example of evolution. For that one has to look elsewhere which is what a lot of scientist are doing. Buth they have found nothing so far. That does not say they will not find something but they have said that Darwinian processes do not lead to evolution unless you want to say trivial changes are evolution. If you admit this then you have essentially given up on the challenge.

  88. KF@86,

    Sufficient cause is one thing, but your charge — your own words — call out for accounting for the origin of life.

    I take it ID is unable to account for OOL other than asserting ID as sufficient cause and as the ID itself as not being what we could reasonably describe as “alive”?

  89. LT, The relevant context is that life exhibits in copious quantum a signature of design. I have laid out evidence that such molecular nanotech design is within reach of even ourselves. That is sufficient, absent positive evidence that FSCO/I is not in actuality itself a signature of design. THAT is what you really need to show from your side and the abundant side tracks leading away from it show that such has simply not been done by objectors to the design hyp. Strawman caricatures of ID and the like, or imposition of ideological a priori materialism do not answer to the case. KF

  90. @LarTanner

    Sufficient cause is one thing, but your charge — your own words — call out for accounting for the origin of life.

    His words asked Darwinian evolution to account for the origin of life. Your consistent attempts to focus on ID’s “failing” appears to be a concession that it cannot.

    As noted earlier, claims are not created equal. It is valid to ask different levels of evidence for different claims.

  91. Darwinian evolution can’t account for the origin of life.

    That’s why the essay challenge is silly.

  92. EL, that strawman is all burned up. First, I have explicitly stated that I am addressing the framework that is extended to include OOL as well as macro evo, as is represented in say the Smithsonian tree of life diagram as shown, again, just scroll up. If you will look in typical bio textbooks at HS and college level you will see that for decades, it has been routine to look at both together. And in the logic of the case OOL is indeed the root of the tree of life framework. So it is reasonable to address both. Obviously darwinist supporters do not want to look at the root of the tree of life, and it is fully appropriate for us to ask why, especially as textbooks have routinely presented the two together. These matters, I have pointed out to you directly up to a few days ago, so your strawman tactic is without excuse. KF

  93. Yes, I know, KF. But we don’t have an explanation of the origin of life, Darwinian or otherwise. So asking for one is whistling in the wind.

  94. ‘But, unless you are going to dress your agent up in some kind of definition: a who, a what, a where, a when, then it is no more of an answer than tooth fairies or aliens.’
    - Reynard

    ‘I make no demands. I merely asked you what you mean by an agent. It’s no problem for me if you’d rather not enlarge on the matter.’
    - Reynard

    From a sneering bombast, to almost abject deference – but without conceding any sort of comprehension of the unique significance of the role of the posited agent.

    Alan, could it be possible that you realised how irrational it was of you to raise such a totally irrelevant question?

  95. EL @ 91
    I have on occasion heard boosters of the Neo-Darwinian view appeal to the selection / variation mechanism to explain aspects of OOL.

  96. Well, it depends exactly on how you define “life”. Most OoL hypotheses postulate that first Darwinian-capable self-replicators were simple enough to have emerged spontaneously from chemistry, and from there on, evolved, via the Darwinian mechanism, to what we now know as life.

    But as that mechanism, namely self-replication with heritable variance in reproductive success requires self-replicators that reproduce with heritable variation in reproductive success, it cannot, self-evidently, account for those self-replicators.

    And we do not have an account either of how those self-replicators arose, or how they such self-replicators might get, via the Darwinian mechanism, to the DNA-RNA-protein system that we know in extant life forms.

    So if an entity only counts as “life” if it has DNA, then the hypothesis is that Darwinian-mechanisms would have been required to get from simpler self-replicators to DNA-based self-replicators, but we do not have a clear account of what may have occurred, and even if we did, we would also need a non-Darwinian account of how that non-DNA-but-Darwinian-capable proto-life form emerged from non-life.

    There are some interesting leads, but no complete account as yet, and even when it does, it cannot be tested directly as what did happen, only as what could have happened.

  97. EL, isn’t it amazing that students in school who don’t have the choice of critically evaluating what hey are being taught and by implication 0of being in a textbook, taught as effectively true, are being taught something that Darwin’s defenders are unwilling to defend in an open forum, the full tree of life including the root? That he same is present at the Smithsonian web site, and so on and so forth? Does this not look a lot like propagandistic indoctrination that cannot stand the light of scrutiny? KF

  98. That site does not say that the Darwinian mechanism can account for the root.

    In fact it doesn’t even say that the Darwinian mechanism accounts for the tree.

    What it says is that Darwin proposed, and, indeed, evidence has continued to confirm, that all known life forms have common ancestry.

    It doesn’t say where the first ancestor came from, nor does that page mention the Darwinian mechanism.

    Certainly if Universal Common Descent is true, as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates it to be, then we need an explanation for three things: how life adapted; how life diversified; and how it began in the first place.

    Darwin proposed a mechanism for the first. He didn’t, in fact, give a mechanisms for the second, but we have one now. He explicitly did not claim to have an account of the third.

    Nor did he have any explanation of where the heritable variation came from. Again, we know much more about that now.

    So no, it doesn’t look like “propagandistic indoctrination” at all. The page on “evolution” is particularly good:

    Simply put, evolution is change. It is change in groups of living things over time, a process that connects all forms of life to one another. Charles Darwin called evolution “descent with modification” from a common ancestor.

    The evolution of living things has been occurring for billions of years and is responsible for the dazzling diversity of life on Earth. That is a fact. Details of the mechanisms of evolutionary change, such as mutation and natural selection, are still being studied and explained.

  99. But we don’t have an explanation of the origin of life, Darwinian or otherwise. So asking for one is whistling in the wind.

    Then proceed on the rest of the challenge.

  100. Certainly if Universal Common Descent is true, as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates it to be,

    Then start with this. But realize that even if you do establish UCD as true (no truth in science?), it is in no way support for Darwinian processes. If UCD is true, it could also be support for whatever process one dreamed of that was naturalistic or designed.

    I have never seen a good proof for UCD, so it would be enlightening.

  101. Upright Biped

    As I have already stated on several occasions, the material conditions of semiosis in the natural world always include the massive pre-existing organization of an agent.

    Sure you have! Still doesn’t make what you mean by “an agent” any clearer. Humans evolved language. Humans weren’t around when life began. What agent are you talking about when discussing origin of life on Earth?

    It might be worth noting that I think there is currently no good explanation for how life arose on Earth. Evolutionary theory is certainly no help in that regard.

  102. Of course, Common Descent doesn’t support the Darwinian mechanism. The Darwinian mechanism was proposed to account for the “descent with modification” that must have happened if Common Descent were true.

    And of course there is no “proof” in science: what we have are data that form a tree. That tree requires explanation, and Common Descent with modification explains it beautifully, whether you attribute the modification to Darwinian, Design, or any other mechanism.

  103. Alan, could it be possible that you realised how irrational it was of you to raise such a totally irrelevant question?

    Are you alluding to me asking what agent “Upright Biped” is talking about? Why is it irrelevant? Seems absolutely crucial to his argument.

    …without conceding any sort of comprehension of the unique significance of the role of the posited agent.

    Well, my incomprehension about Biped’s agent prompted me to ask the question. If some agent started life on Earth, then why on Earth is Biped being coy with this revelation?

  104. Alan, I am not defining an agent. I am defining the unique material conditions which are fundamental to the translation of recorded information into a physical effect. The only places these specific material conditions can be identified are in protein synthesis, language, and mathematics. They are found nowhere else.

  105. I have never seen a good proof for UCD, so it would be enlightening.

    Ignoring for the moment that Science doesn’t deal in proofs (that’s mathematics), where have you looked, so far, for evidence that suggests common descent?

  106. One huge problem with the ID movement is that it essentially bases its conclusion on the wreckage of a straw man.

    Nobody claims that science has demonstrated that ID did not happen, nor even that ID is not a necessary part of the explanation for the origin, adaptation and diversification of life.

    What science has done is to demonstrate pretty conclusively that Common Descent is true (it is accepted by a number of ID proponents, including Behe, and was eventually accepted by Denton) – the nested hierarchies and their exquisite mapping to the geologic column, and proof-of-concept that the Darwinian mechanism (heritable variation in reproductive success) does result in adaptation. It has also discovered that both that mechanisms and drift can account very nicely for speciation (branching of the tree), and of course the science of genetics has demonstrated beautifully the vector of heritable variance.

    We still don’t know just how that variance occurs, and to what extent the variance-generation mechanisms may themselves be the result of population-level Darwinian processes, nor whether some key “Big” events (e.g. symbiosis) were crucial to certain key nodes in the tree.

    And perhaps some of those Big events, if they happened, were Designer Intervention. We cannot say that they weren’t, nor can we say that we have any explanation other than Designer Intervention, but nor can we say that Designer Intervention is the only possible option.

    Evolutionary science, and “evolution” are not about the theory that there was no designer.

    They are simply mechanistic theories, as all scientific theories, as to how the world works. It’s possible that the world wouldn’t work without intermittent or continuous Designer tinkering, but the history of empirical science over the last 400 years suggests that it does.

    Which would not tell us, even if it could, that the whole thing wasn’t designed, like a Mac to “Just Work”.

  107. Alan, I am not defining an agent. I am defining the unique material conditions which are fundamental to the translation of recorded information into a physical effect. The only places these specific material conditions can be identified are in protein synthesis, language, and mathematics. They are found nowhere else.

    Nowhere else? Well, let’s run with that claim for a moment. You are ruling out transfer of physical information anywhere in the universe unless it involves language, mathematics or protein synthesis. Is that correct?

  108. The translation of a dimensional representation into a functional physical effect has only been identified in protein synthesis, language, and mathematics.

  109. The translation of a dimensional representation into a functional physical effect has only been identified in protein synthesis, language, and mathematics.

    M’kay! So there is an identifiable common element that links protein synthesis, language and mathematics that is not found elsewhere. So, what is it?

  110. And, is it your position, Upright Biped, that self-replication with hereditary variance of any entity is impossible without it?

  111. All translation requires protocols to establish the arbitrary relationship that must exist between the representation and its effect on the system. That fact alone is unique among all other physical systems – only seen within the living kingdom. But there is a subset of that observation where translation requires a second set of protocols to establish dimensionality within system.

    For example, when an ant recognizes a pheromone, that physical object is recognized by its three dimensional structure, and an effect is produced based upon that recognition. But there are representations that have a dimensional component to their operation, where a representation is recognized (again by its three dimensional structure) but an effect is not immediately produced from that recognition, instead they operate in a single dimension to recognize another object (and perhaps another after that) before producing an effect. In order to function, such systems require “systematic” protocols to establish this dimensional quality in both the medium and in the translation apparatus (i.e. the three-nucleotide codon, the start function, the stop function, etc). So while all semiotic systems require material protocols to establish the physicochemically arbitrary relationship between the arrangement of the medium and the effect it evokes in the system, this extra dimensionality requires a second “systematic” protocol in order for the system to function.

    Dimensional semiotic systems demonstrate the added quality of being able to encode virtually any amount of information of any kind – maintaining a physically economical store of representational objects. And the only other examples of dimensional semiotic systems are mathematics and language.

  112. Liddle, define “entity”, and what is “it”?

  113. EL:

    Stop playing strawman games and deceitful evasions. You know I have lost all patience with one hosting hate and slander fests. The only issue in my mind is how knowing your enabling behaviour is.

    And, right now it is not looking good for you.

    You full well know that as the illustration above shows, OOL is the root of the Darwinist tree of life. That is not even a question.

    It is also the truth that for decades, probably since the 1950′s or early 60′s at latest, High School and College textbooks have routinely presented these as a seamless whole, typically giving the false impression that these things were effective facts. That is deceitful indoctrination, and it gets my attention bigtime.

    I have utterly no patience for rhetorical games that deceitfully pretend these are not so. That you cannot bring yourself to acknowledge such blatant facts, and the haste to sever OOL from OOBs tells me that you know that something is very wrong and are seeking to cover it up.

    As an educated person and a scientist who holds a degree that translates to teacher of the love of wisdom, you have duties that go far beyond the ordinary person.

    It is time you lived up to it.

    Just remember, your side began the kulturkampf that you are enabling.

    We will finish it, and will do so with honour.

    GEM of TKI

  114. Alan:

    But, unless you are going to dress your agent up in some kind of definition: a who, a what, a where, a when, then it is no more of an answer than tooth fairies or aliens.

    Elsewhere UB has been more specific, stating that he is referring to “living agents”:

    RB:

    Please tell us what class of mechanisms you, or semiotic theory, assert is required to create (result in, cause) the entailments/the TRI/a semiotic state.

    UB:

    Our universal experience is that semiotic states rise only (or are in operation only) from massive organization (i.e. living agents). There is no evidence to the contrary.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-438858

    Which would include aliens but exclude tooth fairies and immaterial deities, I would think.

  115. I apologise for my lack of responsiveness to this thread. I have other demands on my time.

    I’d like to try and deal with issues first in a general sense. That is, I’ll try and address some general criticisms first.

    Defending evolutionary theory vs ‘attacking’ ID. I feel that supporting evolutionary theory sometimes entails comparing it to other proposed models that explain the data and evidence in an attempt to show why the evolutionary model is better. It seems to me that it is useful to address issues based on what the audience, in this case ID proponents on this forum, would be familiar with. And so I thought some comparisons would not be out of bounds. That being said I think my arguments for the strength of evolutionary theory stand on their own regardless of my arguments against the currently proposed ID hypothesis. You are welcome to disagree.

    The origin of life problem. Evolutionary theory has always said that it is only addressing how life developed on this planet. NOT how it came to start. NO ONE knows how the first basic replicator came to be on Earth. But, evolutionary theory is proposing a model of how things happened after there was a first basic replicator. To claim that it doesn’t deal with the origin of that first basic replicator is criticising it for something it does not claim to address. To say, then, that’s it’s not an adequate answer is looking at a bigger picture than what evolutionary theory is addressing. And, it must be said, no other model addresses that issue either. ID has shied away from dealing with it so why is it considered a valid criticism of evolutionary theory?

    Level of detail. Again, evolutionary theory does not claim to be able to spell out specific, step-by-step genetic level modifications for any particular transition. Nor does any other model. The question is: which of the proposed models best explains the data as we know it without assuming some unknown cause or force?

    How do you know the variation is unguided? Well surely the default assumption would be that it’s not directed. It must be the case that directed is the unusual, special case which must be established. Undirected assumes, at least, one fewer causes and so is more parsimonious. Newton and Ockham would agree. The best model is the one with fewest assumptions.

    The origin of functionally complex specified information. Again, evolutionary theory starts with a first basic replicator. Everything else is derived from that based on small changes. The changes/variation that are viable are given another chance. The non-functional modifications die on the vine. There are no islands of functionality for the simple reason that evolutionary processes cannot jump those gaps. And no evolutionary theorist is suggesting that they do jump those gaps. This is essentially the irreducible complexity issue. And Dr Behe and Darwin both saw/see this as a critical issue. IF evolutionary theory is wrong then this is a decision point. Dr Behe has proposed some irreducibly complex mechanisms. Evolutionary biologist disagree. They have some strong arguments. IF ID is gong to prove its point then this is a feasible realm to make its case. But it’s going to take some work.

    Again, let’s be clear. NO ONE know how life originated on Earth. Not evolutionary theory or ID. The question is: given a first basic replicator then which model best matches the data and is most parsimonious? The data includes the fossil record, the genomic information, the morphological diversity AND the bio-geographic distribution of species. Which model is in agreement with that data, best explains that data and can make predictions of what will fill the gaps?

    I think the evolutionary model beats all other models. And, just as a point of comparison, trumps ID in at least two ways: in its explanatory power (when, how, why), in its use of fewer assumptions (natural observed causes vs an undefined, unobserved designer).

    You may disagree. As is your right. But to ask the scientific community to consider an alternative you have to come up with a cogent, cohesive hypothesis that beats evolutionary theory as an explanatory, data matching, parsimonious model.

  116. jerad:

    Until the evolutionary materialist model demonstrates capability of blind watchmaker mechanisms of chance and necessity having capability to cause FSCO/I in the context of OOL and OOBP, it has zero relevant explanatory power. Just so stories maybe, but no reason to accept that codes, string data structures storing algorithms on scale 100 K – 1 Mbits at OOL and 10 -100+ mMbits for OOBP, have credibly arisen by such mechanisms. The inference to such is clearly ideologically driven, not inductively driven. And, there IS a well known reliably tested, reliable causal factor capable of such, design. A so-called parsimonious explanatory model that has failed to demonstrate the required capacity to cause FSCO/I is not a valid explanation, it is simply an imposed ideology dressed up in a lab coat and backed up by institutional power games and cultural power. Not, that I expect such strictures to make any more impression on the deeply indoctrinated today than similar correctives did with Marxists decades ago. What will break such bewitchment is the collapse of power of the ideology, similar to events of 1989 – 1991/2. But, there will be more and more who will begin to see that the Emperor has no clothes as themes like this play out. KF

  117. What is it about the word, ‘irrelevant’ you don’t understand Alan?

    The question was not a two-parter, was it? It’s enough to establish that by far the best inference is ‘design’, necessarily implying an agent.

    Why do you insist on the question being twofold? Suppose your second question is beyond the scope of science; although as it happens, it isn’t, while materialism is!

  118. Sometimes the common-sense answer is so overwhelmingly obvious, anyway, that ordinary parsimony seems positively profligate.

  119. Dr. Liddle,

    Not sure to whom you are referring when you write, “nobody claims”, in your 2nd paragraph in post #106.

    It seems many atheist scientists claim that a major reason they dismiss design, is because science has demonstrated that a designer/creator is not necessary (Dawkins, Myers, etc.). Personally, I feel they prefer it that way, as Nagel pointed out.

    Also, the tangible evidence appears to support many distinct trees (the sudden simultaneous appearance of many kinds), subsequently arranging in nested hierarchies through processes of decent with modification. Do you mean UCD when you use the term ‘common decent’?

    Thank you for the clarification.

  120. Jerad:

    “How do you know the variation is unguided? Well surely the default assumption would be that it’s not directed. It must be the case that directed is the unusual, special case which must be established. Undirected assumes, at least, one fewer causes and so is more parsimonious. Newton and Ockham would agree. The best model is the one with fewest assumptions.”

    If the best model is the one with fewest assumptions, “undirected” does not fare well. How about “we don’t know?” Undirected is hardly a default. It’s what Darwinian theory seeks to show.

  121. Elizabeth Liddle:

    Of course, Common Descent doesn’t support the Darwinian mechanism. The Darwinian mechanism was proposed to account for the “descent with modification” that must have happened if Common Descent were true.

    Wrong again Elizabeth.

    Darwin’s theory of natural selection is there to “explain” the appearance of purpose and design in living things. Adaptation.

    Darwin’s theory of common descent serves to “explain” why features which make no sense under a hypothesis of adaptation [think homologies] exist.

    They go hand in glove to make each other unfalsifiable and that was Darwin’s true “scientific” achievement.

  122. @98 Elizabeth Liddle writes:

    Certainly if Universal Common Descent is true, as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates it to be, then we need an explanation for three things: how life adapted; how life diversified; and how it began in the first place.

    It would seem rather obvious to me, however, that if you don’t have a naturalistic explanation for 3, then you don’t have a naturalistic explanation for 1 and 2 because you can’t naturally explain metabolic pathways for which to have any mitosis or biogenesis at all. Believing that mutations could even occur to naturally explain 1 and 2 would take tremendous faith if you have no valid mechanism for such mutations.

    There is also the question of “evidence overwhelmingly indicates” (universal common descent). Why do you think it is that critically thinking individuals who are non religious (such as David Berliski for example) do NOT believe the evidence is overwhelming? Why would any critically thinking individual dissent from UCD if the evidence is so overwhelming? More importantly, IS this evidence “comparative” where you use induction OR is the evidence falsifiable (where you use observation?) We can look at HERV’s and Human Chromosome 2 and other alleged evidences and see that these observations can clearly be “interpreted differently” just as the partial skeletons and bone/skull fragments can be interpreted differently.

    Is it the fossil record you are referring to? Is it mutations or observed survival of the fittest? Or is it the 10′s of thousands of comparative inductions which COULD be interpreted differently were you to learn that universal common descent theory may not be true?

  123. Certainly if Universal Common Descent is true, as the evidence overwhelmingly indicates it to be, then we need an explanation for three things: how life adapted; how life diversified; and how it began in the first place.

    The only thing “overwhelming” about UCD is the rhetoric used to prop it up:)

  124. If the best model is the one with fewest assumptions, “undirected” does not fare well. How about “we don’t know?” Undirected is hardly a default. It’s what Darwinian theory seeks to show.

    Undirected assumes no unknown, undefined causes/agents. Directed, at this point, does assume an unknown and undefined agent.

    Why would you pick a model with an unknown, undefined, undetected agent? You don’t know what it’s capable of. You don’t know when it was around. You don’t know if its still around.

    Undirected works fine. We don’t need to invoke something we don’t know anything about.

  125. Until the evolutionary materialist model demonstrates capability of blind watchmaker mechanisms of chance and necessity having capability to cause FSCO/I in the context of OOL and OOBP, it has zero relevant explanatory power. Just so stories maybe, but no reason to accept that codes, string data structures storing algorithms on scale 100 K – 1 Mbits at OOL and 10 -100+ mMbits for OOBP, have credibly arisen by such mechanisms. The inference to such is clearly ideologically driven, not inductively driven. And, there IS a well known reliably tested, reliable causal factor capable of such, design. A so-called parsimonious explanatory model that has failed to demonstrate the required capacity to cause FSCO/I is not a valid explanation, it is simply an imposed ideology dressed up in a lab coat and backed up by institutional power games and cultural power. Not, that I expect such strictures to make any more impression on the deeply indoctrinated today than similar correctives did with Marxists decades ago. What will break such bewitchment is the collapse of power of the ideology, similar to events of 1989 – 1991/2. But, there will be more and more who will begin to see that the Emperor has no clothes as themes like this play out.

    Well, can we hear your version of how and when life began on earth? Will you tell us what the first replicator was? How does your version of ID account for the fossil record? Pick a lineage and say when a line was crossed and a new body plan had to be designed and implemented.

    Show me how your model is better and has more explanatory power.

  126. Upright Biped:

    By entity I meant “thing that physically exists”.

  127. littlejohn: certainly many atheists have claimed that because we have a theory that provides a plausible account of the evolution and diversification of life from much simpler beginnings, there is no need to invoke a deity to explain it, any more than we still need to invoke a deity to explain why the sun rises, or lightning strikes.

    But the claim that science has shown that there was no designer, or that it has shown that no feature of living things exists that could not have evolved, and could only have been designed by an ID is not a scientific claim, and I know of no-one who has attempted to make it.

  128. KF: there is a simple misunderstanding here. In Darwin’s words:

    There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.

    In other words, Darwin, and indeed modern evolutionary theory is about descent from “few forms or one”.

    It is NOT about the origins of those “few forms or one”.

    If you want to uses the tree analogy, it accounts for the trunk to the twigs; it does not account for the origin of the trunk.

  129. Mung: I’m sure it is your view that I am wrong. It is my view that you are.

  130. EL:

    Kindly stop perpetuating a willful misrepresentation.

    You full well know that I am responding to the specific situation that it is commonplace in textbooks and research museums etc that evolutionary theories are presented in the context of a tree of life rooted in OOL.

    And specifically for decades, to our certain knowledge these have been presented as essentially certain fact in biology textbooks at secondary and college levels. Those are the facts that you need to answer to. And on classics, if you will simply scroll up you will see that the co-founder of modern evolutionary theory, Wallace, explicitly criticised the omission of OOL by Darwin, in his own The World of Life.

    The question that serious minded onlookers need to ask is, why is it that there is a concerted effort to pretend that it is improper to address the warrant for what is presented to students as essentially unquestionable fact that they cannot effectively challenge — on pain of academic penalties?

    And, why are you ever more complicit in that suppressive effort of ideological indoctrination?

    It is beginning to seem that the reason is that OOL is the pivotal case that unravels the whole confidently presented narrative of the establishment in the lab coats, and there is no good evo mat answer to it.

    It is quite plain from the issues and substance required to be addressed, that OOL needs to be fairly addressed in a context with design sitting at the table, especially given the only empirically warranted source of FSCO/I, data structures bearing coded algorithmic information and associated execution machinery.

    GEM of TKI

  131. KF: I beg to differ. I submit that it is you who are misrepresenting evolutionary theory.

    Clearly, Darwinian evolution cannot occur in the absence of self-replicators.

    Clearly, then, Darwinian evolution cannot account for the origin of those self-replicators. This is simple logic, and nobody would be foolish enough to pretend otherwise, and of course Darwin himself was quite explicit about that.

    What part of “we do not yet have an explanation for the origin of Darwinian-capable self-replicators” do you not understand?

    Insisting that scientists are falsely claiming that we do, when no-one actually does, is blatant misrepresentation.

    Of course OoL needs to be addressed if we are to have anything like a plausible naturalistic account of life from non-life. And even if we did have such an account it would not a) tell us for sure that that is what happened nor b) exclude the possibility that an Intelligent Agent did not design the entire system and/or intervene occasionally or continuously to make sure it delivered what it intended.

    Your essay challenge is the equivalent of “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

  132. It is quite plain from the issues and substance required to be addressed, that OOL needs to be fairly addressed in a context with design sitting at the table, especially given the only empirically warranted source of FSCO/I, data structures bearing coded algorithmic information and associated execution machinery.

    What is your version of the origin of life? What do you think was the first basic replicator? When do you think it came into existence?

  133. Jerad,

    have you bothered to read the response to your position statement, which can be seen at 85 above?

    If you do so, you will see that I have focussed on distinguishing what we can and do know — e.g. the only empirically grounded source for FSCO/I which warrants the conclusion that FSCO/I is a sign of design as cause, from what is presented as knowledge or even “fact” but is fatally crippled by ideological a prioris.

    Many of the things you demand to know are things we do not and cannot presently know in light of good observational evidence (as opposed to circular reasoning riddled models), so it is pointless to substitute one just so story for another.

    What we do know credibly on Newton’s four rules, is that that which is inductively well supported should not be subjected to the judgement of metaphysically loaded suppositions and stories that are NOT so supported. The reason for that is obvious, as ideology would then be imposed on the search for the empirically grounded truth about our world, censoring it. As has plainly — demonstrably — happened.

    It has already been pointed out that common descent up to and including universal common descent, is not equivalent to the cause of that common decent being blind watchmaker chance and mechanical necessity.

    And, Design theory is a theory of the origin of [particularly functionally specific] complex organisation and information, with backing of billions of empirical observations. The conclusion — which you have not been able to touch — is that on induction and on the supportive needle in haystack analysis, FSCO/I is an empirically reliable sign of design as cause. First relevant to OOL, then also relevant to OOBP. Whether or not the evidence in the end warrants a conclusion of universal common descent, design is still a relevant issue, on inductive evidence.

    That is why I reminded you earlier, that until and unless you or your ilk show good empirical evidence per actual observations that FSCO/I is in fact credibly also caused by blind chance and mechanical necessity, the conclusion that it is a signature of design still applies.

    Having noted that, I will simply observe that we have a common observat6ion of the nature of cells, leading to the conclusion that cells are the foundation of biological life. If we accept the timelines [themselves with troubling circularities etc] the locus in time is some 3.5 – 4.2 BYA that these showed up on earth. The evidence we do have indicates that such cells require three integrated and interdependent elements, [a] gated encapsulation, [b] a metabolic nanofactory, [c] an integrated von Neumann kinematic, code using self replicator facility that reproduces a, b and c. The a, b and c seem irreducibly complex as mutually dependent sub systems, and system c is itself irreducibly complex and involves codes, data structures that store coded algorithmic information, algorithms, and execution machines. This is chock full of FSCO/I, a known signature of design.

    These strongly point to design, and we already know — as was pointed out in 69 above — that intelligent design of cell components is possible and even actual, thanks to Venter et al. That is, there is no reason to infer that design of cells is impossible, so we should take seriously the presence of FSCO/I and irreducibly complex design patterns as signs of design. As well, we should note that codes imply symbols and rules, pointing to language and mind. Similarly, algorithms point to purpose and to volitional mind.

    If we go beyond to the setting up of a cosmos fine tuned for C-chemistry aqueous medium, cell based life, we have reason to take seriously the lifelong agnostic and Nobel equivalent prize holder Sir Fred Hoyle’s comments about a super-intellect monkeying with the physics and cosmology of the universe, and that there are probably no blind forces worth talking about in the cosmos. (That is actually in some respects the bigger half of design theory.)

    Coming forward, it seems that on the timeline, we can rate the period to 550 or so MYA, as terraforming.

    The Cambrian explosion, on this timeline looks like the point where the transition to major patterns of multicellular organisms was pushed through, at least for animals. Of course plants and the mysterious Ediacaran forms would fit that general picture.

    The pivotal issue for ANY multicellular form is again the source of FSCO/I required to give the coded algorithmic info to form cell types, tissues, organs and an integrated system coherent and feasible form zygote or equivalent through embryo to fully formed creature and reproducing creature.

    And so on onwards to man.

    Man is a fresh departure as this now involves language capacity and associated verbal intelligence and moral governance. Even on the utterly flawed 2% different from chimps or the like story, we need to account for the same 10 – 100+ mn bits of additional FSCO/I. And the pop genetics issues need to be reckoned with too, as was commented on and linked onwards at 85.

    I have already noted on the known use of viruses to engineer genomes, which gives a mechanism. Does not need to be the only one.

    You will note that in this discussion, there is no reference to any religious tradition (save agnosticism), or text or creedal declaration, and certainly there is no imposed ideological a priori such as is documented in 85 for evo mat. It is based instead on inductive reasoning and publicly known evidence.

    Similarly, there is no specific inference to any particular designer as such. Contrary to what objectors imagine, just as we can separate inference to arson from inferences about specific suspects, we can separate general inference to design as cause on evidence and induction from discussions or the like about particular designers. This I have just showed in outline.

    That said, as 69 points out and as has been pointed out elsewhere, that we seem to have a cosmos set up through fine tuning for C Chemistry aqueous medium life suggests an extracosmic designer of enormous power and skill. That such a cosmos would then have life in it, based on that pattern, should be no surprise, nor should it be surprising that such life would be chock full of signs of design that point to a minded, language using designer.

    If we move a little cross the border into phil, we can see that on first principles of reason, a contingent cosmos points to a root cause that is a necessary and thus eternal being. That is, a necessary being has no dependence on external enabling on/off causes, and so a serious candidate will be either possible or impossible — the latter because core characteristics cannot be satisfied without mutual ruin (square circles are impossible) — and if possible then present without beginning or end in all possible worlds. Thus, actual. The truth in “2 + 3 = 5″ is an example, it never began, does not depend on some external cause to begin to be so and cannot ever fail to be so.

    So, in answering the Lewontinian- Saganian- Dawkinsisan type ideology of contempt to those who believe in a root necessary being who is a Creator God, it should be evident above that believing in a God who meets the above requisites and is inherently good, the Creator and sustainer of the cosmos, is a reasonable worldview. Indeed, it is worth noting that one way to address the issues of necessary propositions like the above, is that these are eternally contemplated by an infinite mind.

    In short, we can easily see that principled theism is a reasonable worldview, and that there is no need whatsoever to make up accusations about grotesque conspiracies to impose some imagined theocratic conspiracy. That so many insist on such smears in the teeth of evidence to the contrary says far more about them than about the targets of their smears.

    And so it should be clear why I also went across the border into phil, I have to answer a grotesque, ill-founded, hate-stirring conspiracy narrative. Science issues are not the only issues that need to be on the table.

    KF

  134. EL: You are now simply being stubborn and playing the drumbeat repetition game in the face of direct and material facts that you cannot deny: The tree of life from root up is presented as a matter of fact in museums and in biology textbooks around the world; while especially the root –OOL — clearly reveals the key gaps in this, the very first icon of evolution. That is, you are willfully enabling both ideologically riddled indoctrination of students in schools, and are misrepresenting the reason for OOL being in the year old challenge in order to avoid addressing it through providing a toxic distractor that pivots on a subtle personal attack. On the charitable interpretation. KF

  135. KF, please show me a single example of a museum that gives the impression that we currently have a convincing account how life emerged from non-life (OoL).

    Or that Darwin’s theory made any attempt to explain it.

    I think if you tried to write in straightforward English instead of these rhetorical metaphors it might become clearer to you that what you think is being said is not actually being said.

  136. As for “subtle personal attacks” – your attacks on my integrity are far from “subtle”, they are absolutely blatant, and moreover attack me in my own name.

    I do not contest your right to do so. But I do ask you to consider your hypocrisy in this regard.

  137. EL, you full well know that simply by presenting the tree of life framework, with OOL and by irresponsibly redefining science on materialist terms in a context that scientism is a known major factor, the impression is given that OOL by naturalistic abiogenesis is a “scientific” fact ["fact" also being irresponsibly redefined]; the debate being about how. You are also artfully suppressing decades of evidence in textbooks at secondary and tertiary level. A challenge that engages the whole framework is fully warranted, as you know or full well should know. KF

  138. EL: I am making no “subtle” attacks on your personal integrity. I openly and for abundant cause with evidence level the well grounded charge that you are a willful enabler and host of slanders and slander-fests that have targetted me personally and design theory more generally. This includes false accusations pivoting on a grotesque conspiracy theory that portrays design thinkers as morally equivalent to nazi totalitarians who are engaged in a secret agenda to impose a tyrannical theocracy on our entire civilisation. Further, on abundant observation of a common culture, talking points and people, your blog, TSZ is a very familiar entity, an ideological face card front organisation for utterly vile fever swamps like AtBC. I further hold that you know or should know this, and that you refuse to correct the situation. These things unfortunately do go to your integrity and responsibility as an educated person who has stood up in public on a significant controversial issue, but that is not a mere matter of dismissible rantings of someone else, but of publicly observable facts and reasonable inferences therefrom. If you wish these problems to go away, what you will need to do is clean up TSZ and make a public statement explaining the truth, retracting and apologisng for outrageous behaviour sustained in the teeth of complaint, pleas to do better and well merited correction. GEM of TKI

  139. KF:

    EL, you full well know that simply by presenting the tree of life framework, with OOL and by irresponsibly redefining science on materialist terms in a context that scientism is a known major factor, the impression is given that OOL by naturalistic abiogenesis is a “scientific” fact

    Please cite an instance of where “OoL by naturalistic abiogeneis” is said to be a scientific “fact” in any text book or museum.

    Please note also that science never needed “redefining in naturalistic terms”. Science has been the study of the rules nature since the dawn of empiricism (roughly, in the Western World, since 1600). Science is a methodology for finding out about the world. Non-natural mechanisms are outwith its methodology.

    By “non-natural” I do not, of course include “intelligent” mechanisms. But I do include super-natural mechanisms.

    Natural science cannot test for the agency of the supernatural.

    If you want to investigate the supernatural you need a different methodology, such as theology, or, possibly, philosophy. Empirical science simply does not have the tools.

  140. KF:

    EL: I am making no “subtle” attacks on your personal integrity.

    Indeed you are not, KF. As I said, they are not subtle at all, they are blatant.

    I openly and for abundant cause with evidence level the well grounded charge that you are a willful enabler and host of slanders and slander-fests that have targetted me personally and design theory more generally. This includes false accusations pivoting on a grotesque conspiracy theory that portrays design thinkers as morally equivalent to nazi totalitarians who are engaged in a secret agenda to impose a tyrannical theocracy on our entire civilisation. Further, on abundant observation of a common culture, talking points and people, your blog, TSZ is a very familiar entity, an ideological face card front organisation for utterly vile fever swamps like AtBC. I further hold that you know or should know this, and that you refuse to correct the situation. These things unfortunately do go to your integrity and responsibility as an educated person who has stood up in public on a significant controversial issue, but that is not a mere matter of dismissible rantings of someone else, but of publicly observable facts and reasonable inferences therefrom. If you wish these problems to go away, what you will need to do is clean up TSZ and make a public statement explaining the truth, retracting and apologisng for outrageous behaviour sustained in the teeth of complaint, pleas to do better and well merited correction. GEM of TKI

    In other words you are attacking my integrity. That you think you have cause, is irrelevant – you are still attacking it.

    And you are attacking it because I have “enabled” others to attack yours. That they think they have cause is also irrelevant.

    People are entitled to speak as they find. That includes you, and it includes the posters on my blog.

  141. Awfully sorry for sticking this post in so late. It makes me frightfully embarrassed. This is just a response to 5for at post 62. Feel free to ignore me everyone, I just didn’t wish to be rude to 5for.

    5for, I am solidly alongside you in believing that humans in the local vicinity of the Pyramids of Giza, put the old bricks and mortar together. We see things so distinctly eye-to-eye on that matter, that passers-by could mistake us for siblings. However, on reading my post back to myself I can see that it was a bit loose on explanation. I do hope it didn’t cause you to be cheesed off 5for. I read your comment to me as if spoken by an indulgent schoolmaster correcting some sloppy work written by a normally well behaved pupil. When you called for a halt on the rhetorical nonsense, I sensed a spot of ire though. My apologies if it did 5for, please allow me to explain myself.

    Though you and I are of the unanimous view that humans piled up the Pyramids, that is, you may be surprised to hear, not a position held by everybody. I know this because I spoke to a fellow once who said he thought it was aliens who had done the deed in question. He was an excellent fellow, and though he sounded to me like one talking out of his ears, he possessed such sane views on many other topics that I couldn’t dismiss him as an utter wally. In fact he had some pretty decent reasoning, though I was not convinced.

    The point of my mentioning this 5for, is that if I were totally even-handed, I don’t think I could say definitively that I know who built the ancient wonders. Please don’t think I am being facetious about this, nor rhetorical. I am not. Some have told me that there are no records about the building of the Pyramids. I cannot vouch for this as I haven’t had the time to perform a thorough investigation. The Pro-alien camp point out that since the ancient Egyptians couldn’t even look at a wall without being seized with an urge to chisel a hieroglyph in it, it is rather rummy that there are no jottings about the most conspicuous sand castles in Africa. Of course, one can counter that the old Egyptians didn’t have too many qualms about chiselling out undesirable information – A dirty, underhanded practice that has scourged humankind in all its ages. However, the Pyramids themselves would have proved highly inconvenient exhibits to any Egyptian history editor.

    So do we know with consummate accuracy who exactly built them? You and Me, 5for, are firmly on the ‘Egyptians did it’ bench. We seem to have the weight of evidence on our side. But let us, for arguments sake, say that we were wrong. Shoving aside the sense of utter humiliation felt for our strident views, would we then say that the Pyramids are not designed? After all, we know not from whence they came anymore. I for one would start talking more with the Pro-Alien gang. Some may not accept that stance. Perhaps they would want to know firstly, where the aliens came from, and what their methods of space-travel were. I don’t think I should be so reticent. I know Architecture when I see it, and from observation I am pretty convinced that natural doings don’t build the Pyramids. That I couldn’t explain space-travel would be a fringe issue, although it would certainly be exciting fringe to contemplate.

    I do hope I have explained myself more fully. My statement “I have no idea…” was, I agree, a bit shoddy. It was an ill-placed literary foible. Forgive me. Mind you, there seem to be some fellows about who seem to use the ‘Who is the Designer then?” question, a little too particularly. Almost tantamount to asking “was it Bob, Gareth or Wendy that built the Pyramids?” In that sense I truly would have ‘No idea.’

    Kind Regards to you 5for.

  142. EL, you full well know that simply by presenting the tree of life framework, with OOL and by irresponsibly redefining science on materialist terms in a context that scientism is a known major factor, the impression is given that OOL by naturalistic abiogenesis is a “scientific” fact ["fact" also being irresponsibly redefined]; the debate being about how. You are also artfully suppressing decades of evidence in textbooks at secondary and tertiary level. A challenge that engages the whole framework is fully warranted, as you know or full well should know. KF

  143. EL, you know or full well know that the issue is that of your publicly obseervable enabling behaviour of slander, grotesque conspiracy theories and worse. Kindly cease from such behaviour. KF

  144. Onlookers, kindly don’t forget that EL et al full well know that if they actually had a sound case to make and submitted it, it would be published. They know that it would be immediately and obviously evident that there was no cogent answer, and that this would be a decisive case at UD. Therefore draw the appropriate conclusions from the straining to find an excuse not to attempt the same, especially given the fact that the museums and the textbooks do present the full tree of life framework in a concept of redefined science that imposes a priori materialism, and in that context also assume scientism as backdrop giving the public and students the impression in school or in museums or in the media etc that this is all fact or pretty much fact that only the ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked dare question. Remember, this has gone on for a full year and is the backdrop of the slander fests that have targetted me personally and the design theory movement more broadly. KF

  145. What I know, KF, is that some people at my site have posted theories, including conspiracy theories, and opinions of you that you consider unfounded.

    What I also know is that you have posted theories, including conspiracy theories, and opinions of me, that I consider unfounded.

    Where the symmetry ends, however, is that I consider that you are perfectly entitled to post your views, whether I think they are unfounded or not.

    In contrast, you consider that I have some kind of moral duty to prevent the posters on my blog from posting theirs.

    This, in my view, is simple hypocrisy.

  146. PS: Note, the comment at 85 by me is about 5300 words, and gives an idea of what can be done in the compass of a feature length article of 6,000 words.

  147. Onlookers, kindly don’t forget that EL et al full well know that if they actually had a sound case to make and submitted it, it would be published.

    Of course. But we don’t. And no-one is claiming that we do.

    There is no current empirically supported hypothesis of OoL, although there are some strong leads.

    Anyone who claims that science has shown how OoL happened is making a false claim.

    Anyone who claims that science has shown that OoL occurred “naturally” is making a false claim.

    So continuing to post your “challenge” is simply to challenge people to defend what they have never claimed.

    The very model of a straw-man challenge.

  148. EL: I openly and for abundant cause with evidence level the well grounded charge that you are a willful enabler and host of slanders and slander-fests that have targetted me personally and design theory more generally. This includes false accusations pivoting on a grotesque conspiracy theory that portrays design thinkers as morally equivalent to nazi totalitarians who are engaged in a secret agenda to impose a tyrannical theocracy on our entire civilisation. Further, on abundant observation of a common culture, talking points and people, your blog, TSZ is a very familiar entity, an ideological face card front organisation for utterly vile fever swamps like AtBC. I further hold that you know or should know this, and that you refuse to correct the situation. These things unfortunately do go to your integrity and responsibility as an educated person who has stood up in public on a significant controversial issue, but that is not a mere matter of dismissible rantings of someone else, but of publicly observable facts and reasonable inferences therefrom. If you wish these problems to go away, what you will need to do is clean up TSZ and make a public statement explaining the truth, retracting and apologisng for outrageous behaviour sustained in the teeth of complaint, pleas to do better and well merited correction. GEM of TKI

  149. PS: Note, the comment at 85 by me is about 5300 words, and gives an idea of what can be done in the compass of a feature length article of 6,000 words.

    I can do it in 11:

    “As yet we have no empirically supported naturalistic theory of abiogenesis.”

  150. EL: I openly and for abundant cause with evidence level the well grounded charge that you are a willful enabler and host of slanders and slander-fests that have targetted me personally and design theory more generally. This includes false accusations pivoting on a grotesque conspiracy theory that portrays design thinkers as morally equivalent to nazi totalitarians who are engaged in a secret agenda to impose a tyrannical theocracy on our entire civilisation. Further, on abundant observation of a common culture, talking points and people, your blog, TSZ is a very familiar entity, an ideological face card front organisation for utterly vile fever swamps like AtBC. I further hold that you know or should know this, and that you refuse to correct the situation. These things unfortunately do go to your integrity and responsibility as an educated person who has stood up in public on a significant controversial issue, but that is not a mere matter of dismissible rantings of someone else, but of publicly observable facts and reasonable inferences therefrom. If you wish these problems to go away, what you will need to do is clean up TSZ and make a public statement explaining the truth, retracting and apologisng for outrageous behaviour sustained in the teeth of complaint, pleas to do better and well merited correction. GEM of TKI

    In that case support your accusations with evidence.

  151. EL:

    Kindly stop the strawman caricatures of the challenge, as well as of the reasons why I have insisted that the full tree of life as presented by Smithsonian and commonly seen in textbooks, be addressed.

    Let me highlight:

    UD PRO-DARWINISM ESSAY CHALLENGE: Compose your summary case for darwinism (or any preferred variant that has at least some significant support in the professional literature, such as punctuated equlibria etc) in a fashion that is accessible to the non-technical reader — based on empirical evidence that warrants the inference to body plan level macroevolution — in up to say 6,000 words [a chapter in a serious paper is often about that long]. Outgoing links are welcome so long as they do not become the main point. That is, there must be a coherent essay, with

    (i)an intro,
    (ii) a thesis,
    (iii) a structure of exposition,
    (iv) presentation of empirical warrant that meets the inference to best current empirically grounded explanation [--> IBCE] test for scientific reconstructions of the remote past,
    (v) a discussion and from that
    (vi) a warranted conclusion.

    Your primary objective should be to show in this way, per IBCE, why there is no need to infer to design from the root of the Darwinian tree of life — cf. Smithsonian discussion here – on up (BTW, it will help to find a way to resolve the various divergent trees), on grounds that the Darwinist explanation, as extended to include OOL, is adequate to explain origin and diversification of the tree of life. A second objective of like level is to show how your thesis is further supported by such evidence as suffices to warrant the onward claim that is is credibly the true or approximately true explanation of origin and body-plan level diversification of life [--> Have you seen the abundant claims of "fact" and the dismissals of "the supernatural" as irrational and anti-knowledge?]; on blind watchmaker style chance variation plus differential reproductive success, starting with some plausible pre-life circumstance.

    It would be helpful if in that essay you would outline why alternatives such as design, are inferior on the evidence we face. [As an initial spark for thinking, contrast my own survey of origins science here on (note the onward resources page), the definition of design theory in the UD resources tab top of this and every UD page, the Weak Argument Correctives in the same tab, the general resources that pop up on clicking the tab itself, and the discussion of design theory in the NWE article here. You may also want to refer to the site of the IDEA Center, and the Discovery Institute CSC site as well as Mike Gene's Telic Thoughts. Notice IDEA's essay on the case for design here.] . . . .

    I would put this up as an original post, with preliminary contextual remarks and an invitation to respond in the comments section.

    I will not submit the post with a rebutting markup or make an immediate rebuttal. In fact, let me make the offer to hold off my own comments for at least five initial comments. I will give you two full days of comments before I post any full post level response; though others at UD will be free to respond in their own right . . . . [NB: I have given how to contact me in the original Sept 23 post, I will not repeat that in a headlined original post.]

    That is a reasonable challenge given what is going on in our schools museums, media, the streets, workplaces [including career busting], court rooms, legislatures [Try EU parliament . . . ], and on the Internet.

    That you and your ilk are trying to find every excuse to not address it while smearing or enabling smearing of those who say prove your claims, speaks volumes.

  152. How does one distinguish between the natural and supernatural? It seems to me that the distinction is entirely arbitrary, and the term supernatural is used solely as loaded language designed to create bias against certain positions. Is that about right?

    From what I see, the claims kairosfocus, Upright Biped, Stephen C. Meyer, and Michael Behe make are all testable, falsifiable claims, certainly more so than any abiogenesis account of origins. If the supernatural is neither testable, nor falsifiable, then we can logically conclude that these are not supernatural claims, and Elizabeth’s entire silly excuse argument comes crumbling down.

  153. EL, You know full well or should full well know that my charges are abundantly warranted on evidence. You also should full well know that the underlying distortions of the so-called wedge document, malicious twisting of what the design inference is about, and conspiracy theories promoted by Barbara Forrest, NCSE and other sources are inexcusable and malicious in light of say the history of the run up to Bismark’s Kulturkampf. What is needed at this juncture is not attempts to brush the facts as shown and accessible aside, but to correct your grievous wrongs before they help spread a conflagration across our civilisation with incalculable, destructive consequences. KF

    PS: Onlookers, kindly cf the recent thread here on in context for my assertion that the matters are well warranted. For the hosted personal smears issue cf the thread here, noting that as usual EL denied the evident facts. This is looking like part of modus operandi. For the onward links to AtBC, Anti Evolution and the like, you will have to go to Google, they are THAT atrocious and filthy.

  154. How does one distinguish between the natural and supernatural? It seems to me that the distinction is entirely arbitrary, and the term supernatural is used solely as loaded language designed to create bias against certain positions. Is that about right?

    As far I am concerned, what is “natural” is what can be detected by science. However, some people, including KF, make the charge that science rules out “a priori” certain causes – what he, citing Lewontin, calls “the Divine Foot”. What he means by that you will have to ask him.

    From what I see, the claims kairosfocus, Upright Biped, Stephen C. Meyer, and Michael Behe make are all testable, falsifiable claims, certainly more so than any abiogenesis account of origins. If the supernatural is neither testable, nor falsifiable, then we can logically conclude that these are not supernatural claims, and Elizabeth’s entire silly excuse argument comes crumbling down.

    And no, so far, I have seen no empirically testable claims from any of the people you mention, including Behe.

    It is in principle perfectly possible to derive testable claims from ID, but I haven’t seen any presented so far (with the possible exception of a stab at a front-loading hypothesis).

  155. Jammer

    FYI, from the days of Plato in The Laws, BK X on, the proper contrast for empirical investigation and discussion has been, the natural tracing to chance or accident and necessity vs the ART-ificial, tracing to intelligent action. The distinction natural vs supernatural is notoriously horrifically hard to pin down to the point of being an almost meaningless rhetorical exercise by appeal to prejudice. [Just try to get a non-question-begging definition of "natural" and "supernatural" that is not rhetorically loaded.)

    Some candidate agents acting by ART can be within the cosmos and others may well be beyond it [such as the designer of the observed fine tuned cosmos], but the crucial issue is natural vs artificial.

    As far as design theory is concerned, the pivotal issue on the world of life is: the source of FSCO/I in light of empirical observation, related analysis and scientific induction. If FSCO/I is not an empirically grounded, well warranted sign of design, the inference to design in the world of life collapses.

    Many have tried, all observed cases have failed. That seems to be a part of the context for the latest lines of anti-ID talking points.

    KF

  156. EL, you full well know that FSCO/I by whatever name is the pivotal point of test. Indeed, two years ago you were learning programming and were going to build a program to create FSCO/I without improper design intervention. That seems to have long since fizzled. KF

  157. EL, 149:

    As yet we have no empirically supported naturalistic theory of abiogenesis

    with no naturalistic — a priori, materialistic, empirically warranted theory of abiogenesis, then that leaves the acknowledged fact that cell based life based on gated encapsulation of a metabolic automaton with a self replicating facility that uses coded algorithmic info, without naturalistic explanation.

    That leaves on the table the fact that iot is full of FSCO/I to be explained on the only empirically warranted source of FSCO/I, design.

    From that simply observe that the living cell is the root of the tree of life.

    Thence, design is best explanation for that root.

    Design sits at the table from the root on, by right.

    When we note that major body plans and associated features tend to come in — dozens of times over — at 10 – 100+ mn bits each of additional FSCO/I, that points to design as best explanation, with room for adaptation to niches.

    There is no need to dispute the overall conventional timeline, though it itself is problematic.

    From this, there should be no Kulturkampf targetting those who are simply saying on the evidence, design should not be ruled out on question begging a prioris, or even that it is best warranted starting with OOL.

    KF

  158. have you bothered to read the response to your position statement, which can be seen at 85 above?

    Yup, but, to be honest, it’s pretty much the same thing you’ve been saying all along.

    If you do so, you will see that I have focussed on distinguishing what we can and do know — e.g. the only empirically grounded source for FSCO/I which warrants the conclusion that FSCO/I is a sign of design as cause, from what is presented as knowledge or even “fact” but is fatally crippled by ideological a prioris.

    And I still disagree with you that intelligence is the only such source as least as far as DNA is concerned. I think there is excellent evidence that the observed genomes came about through purely natural processes. GIVEN the first basic replicator. Which neither of us can specify.

    I agree that functionally complex specified information is generally a sign of intelligence but most of the offered examples are non-living. AND, as always, if you don’t have independent evidence of an intelligent designer around at the time (whenever you think that was) with the necessary skills and equipment (whatever you think that was) then I think you’re assuming a cause or force which makes your stance less parsimonious.

    But I’ve said all that before. Guess we’re at the same old stalemate.

    Many of the things you demand to know are things we do not and cannot presently know in light of good observational evidence (as opposed to circular reasoning riddled models), so it is pointless to substitute one just so story for another.

    Many of the things you ask of Evolutionary Theory are things that we don’t yet know. I think you are generalising your observed evidence with non-living systems to a situation where that generalisation is not tenable. And, as has been said many, many, many times: Evolutionary Theory is concerned with what happened AFTER life began. If you want to discuss the origin of life then you should be talking to biologists and chemists working in that realm.

    What we do know credibly on Newton’s four rules, is that that which is inductively well supported should not be subjected to the judgement of metaphysically loaded suppositions and stories that are NOT so supported. The reason for that is obvious, as ideology would then be imposed on the search for the empirically grounded truth about our world, censoring it. As has plainly — demonstrably — happened.

    Newton was primarily interested in natural, non-intelligent causes. He tried to measure and define and limit them. He thought the whole thing was set up by God but the way he pursued his exploration was via mechanistic processes.

    And, Design theory is a theory of the origin of [particularly functionally specific] complex organisation and information, with backing of billions of empirical observations. The conclusion — which you have not been able to touch — is that on induction and on the supportive needle in haystack analysis, FSCO/I is an empirically reliable sign of design as cause. First relevant to OOL, then also relevant to OOBP. Whether or not the evidence in the end warrants a conclusion of universal common descent, design is still a relevant issue, on inductive evidence.

    As you well know, many people feel that you have yet to make your arguments rigorous enough. You can argue it over and over again but the truth is that you have little support in academia.

    That is why I reminded you earlier, that until and unless you or your ilk show good empirical evidence per actual observations that FSCO/I is in fact credibly also caused by blind chance and mechanical necessity, the conclusion that it is a signature of design still applies.

    I think that has been done. You disagree.

    These strongly point to design, and we already know — as was pointed out in 69 above — that intelligent design of cell components is possible and even actual, thanks to Venter et al. That is, there is no reason to infer that design of cells is impossible, so we should take seriously the presence of FSCO/I and irreducibly complex design patterns as signs of design. As well, we should note that codes imply symbols and rules, pointing to language and mind. Similarly, algorithms point to purpose and to volitional mind.

    I didn’t say it wasn’t possible that there was design involved. I don’t think you’ve shown that it’s a) required or b) present.

    If we go beyond to the setting up of a cosmos fine tuned for C-chemistry aqueous medium, cell based life, we have reason to take seriously the lifelong agnostic and Nobel equivalent prize holder Sir Fred Hoyle’s comments about a super-intellect monkeying with the physics and cosmology of the universe, and that there are probably no blind forces worth talking about in the cosmos. (That is actually in some respects the bigger half of design theory.)

    One man’s opinion does not a consensus make. AND we don’t even know if the Universe is tuneable!!

    Coming forward, it seems that on the timeline, we can rate the period to 550 or so MYA, as terraforming.

    Okay.

    The Cambrian explosion, on this timeline looks like the point where the transition to major patterns of multicellular organisms was pushed through, at least for animals. Of course plants and the mysterious Ediacaran forms would fit that general picture.

    What do you mean ‘pushed through’? Lots of design was implemented?

    The pivotal issue for ANY multicellular form is again the source of FSCO/I required to give the coded algorithmic info to form cell types, tissues, organs and an integrated system coherent and feasible form zygote or equivalent through embryo to fully formed creature and reproducing creature.

    Well, you know my opinion on how new ‘body plans’ arise.

    Man is a fresh departure as this now involves language capacity and associated verbal intelligence and moral governance. Even on the utterly flawed 2% different from chimps or the like story, we need to account for the same 10 – 100+ mn bits of additional FSCO/I. And the pop genetics issues need to be reckoned with too, as was commented on and linked onwards at 85.

    I just don’t see the transition as being insurmountable by natural forces.

    I have already noted on the known use of viruses to engineer genomes, which gives a mechanism. Does not need to be the only one.

    Maybe. Obviously humans are working on that kind of ‘design’ now.

    You will note that in this discussion, there is no reference to any religious tradition (save agnosticism), or text or creedal declaration, and certainly there is no imposed ideological a priori such as is documented in 85 for evo mat. It is based instead on inductive reasoning and publicly known evidence.

    True. About your post being ‘religion’ free. (added later: until now anyway)

    Similarly, there is no specific inference to any particular designer as such. Contrary to what objectors imagine, just as we can separate inference to arson from inferences about specific suspects, we can separate general inference to design as cause on evidence and induction from discussions or the like about particular designers. This I have just showed in outline.

    But when inferring arson the investigators assume known techniques and physical limitations of humans known to exist with given capacities. Their assumptions are pretty specific.

    That said, as 69 points out and as has been pointed out elsewhere, that we seem to have a cosmos set up through fine tuning for C Chemistry aqueous medium life suggests an extracosmic designer of enormous power and skill. That such a cosmos would then have life in it, based on that pattern, should be no surprise, nor should it be surprising that such life would be chock full of signs of design that point to a minded, language using designer.

    I think you’re stepping beyond what has been established with solid, empirical and independent evidence.

    If we move a little cross the border into phil, we can see that on first principles of reason, a contingent cosmos points to a root cause that is a necessary and thus eternal being. That is, a necessary being has no dependence on external enabling on/off causes, and so a serious candidate will be either possible or impossible — the latter because core characteristics cannot be satisfied without mutual ruin (square circles are impossible) — and if possible then present without beginning or end in all possible worlds. Thus, actual. The truth in “2 + 3 = 5? is an example, it never began, does not depend on some external cause to begin to be so and cannot ever fail to be so.

    I’ll leave the philosophising to others.

    So, in answering the Lewontinian- Saganian- Dawkinsisan type ideology of contempt to those who believe in a root necessary being who is a Creator God, it should be evident above that believing in a God who meets the above requisites and is inherently good, the Creator and sustainer of the cosmos, is a reasonable worldview. Indeed, it is worth noting that one way to address the issues of necessary propositions like the above, is that these are eternally contemplated by an infinite mind.

    Not something I choose to debate.

    In short, we can easily see that principled theism is a reasonable worldview, and that there is no need whatsoever to make up accusations about grotesque conspiracies to impose some imagined theocratic conspiracy. That so many insist on such smears in the teeth of evidence to the contrary says far more about them than about the targets of their smears.

    Good thing I haven’t done those things then. Or encouraged them. Or promoted them. Or associated with them.

    And so it should be clear why I also went across the border into phil, I have to answer a grotesque, ill-founded, hate-stirring conspiracy narrative. Science issues are not the only issues that need to be on the table.

    But I shall restrict my comments to the science issues.

    I don’t see us moving past our typical impasse. So if you don’t wish to respond I shan’t take offence or be concerned.

  159. KF

    EL, You know full well or should full well know that my charges are abundantly warranted on evidence.

    No, I don’t know that. I know that people have expressed views on my blog that you disagree with, and make allegations that you reject, but I do not know that your “charges are abundantly warranted on evidence”.

    You also should full well know that the underlying distortions of the so-called wedge document, malicious twisting of what the design inference is about, and conspiracy theories promoted by Barbara Forrest, NCSE and other sources are inexcusable and malicious in light of say the history of the run up to Bismark’s Kulturkampf.

    And you should also know that the paranoid twisting of my blog into a “front” for some organisation, and your constant implication that I and my “ilk” are attempting to destroy all that you hold dear is no less “inexcusable”. But the way to resolve these fears is discussion, not censorship.

    What is needed at this juncture is not attempts to brush the facts as shown and accessible aside, but to correct your grievous wrongs before they help spread a conflagration across our civilisation with incalculable, destructive consequences. KF

    And there you go again, KF, in this very post.

    PS: Onlookers, kindly cf the recent thread here on in context for my assertion that the matters are well warranted. For the hosted personal smears issue cf the thread here, noting that as usual EL denied the evident facts. This is looking like part of modus operandi. For the onward links to AtBC, Anti Evolution and the like, you will have to go to Google, they are THAT atrocious and filthy.

    “modus operandi”.

    I rest my case.

  160. F/N: I have posted a composite, rough draft response tot he challenge of a year ago, based on Jerad at 70 and EL at 149. KF

  161. EL, sorry, given what you have done, modus operandi is — sadly — warranted. KF

  162. KF

    with no naturalistic — a priori, materialistic, empirically warranted theory of abiogenesis, then that leaves the acknowledged fact that cell based life based on gated encapsulation of a metabolic automaton with a self replicating facility that uses coded algorithmic info, without naturalistic explanation.

    But plenty of strong leads, and no particularly good reason to expect that no such explanation is possible – and, in any case, were the explanation to be “non-naturalistic”, then no scientific method would be able to detect that fact.

    We do not have any methodology in science for detecting the “non-natural”. Indeed, the word really only makes sense as referring to factors that science cannot explain.

    If you want “non-natural” on the table, then you need a different methodology. If you want “intelligent designer” on the table, fine. But then stop accusing scientists of ruling out non-natural “a priori”.

    That leaves on the table the fact that iot is full of FSCO/I to be explained on the only empirically warranted source of FSCO/I, design.

    Well I think your FSCO/I is a useless metric, so I dispute your premise, and in any case, to infer that because all known causes of cases of X is Y, therefore the unknown causes of cases of X must by Y as well is logically fallacious. It’s the fallacy of the excluded middle.

    From that simply observe that the living cell is the root of the tree of life.

    Possibly. Possible something simpler that does not resemble modern living cells. For example an RNA rather than DNA-based cell.

    Thence, design is best explanation for that root.

    No. It might be the explanation, but your argument doesn’t hold.

    Design sits at the table from the root on, by right.

    It could sit anywhere, root or branch. But not “by right”. If you want it to earn its seat, then provide a testable hypothesis.

    When we note that major body plans and associated features tend to come in — dozens of times over — at 10 – 100+ mn bits each of additional FSCO/I, that points to design as best explanation, with room for adaptation to niches.

    Your premise is unwarranted.

    There is no need to dispute the overall conventional timeline, though it itself is problematic.

    Not really.

  163. “FSCO/I by whatever name is the pivotal point of test.”

    And when will we see a GEM scientific publication in a credible international journal that passes peer review on KF’s obviously religious-science cock-sure claim?

    Never?

  164. “As yet we have no empirically supported naturalistic theory of abiogenesis.”

    We now have closure on part of the challenge. Namely, there is no theory based on naturalistic causes that can account for the OOL. So we should move on to the second part of the challenge, namely, is there a defense based on science that supports Darwinian processes for the origin of new life forms since the first life appeared.

    I maintain:

    “As yet we have no empirically supported naturalistic theory of evolution and in particular Darwinian evolution in all its iterations.”

    This particular challenge has been around on this site for years and has yet to be answered. As part of anything attempting to answer the second part of the challenge, no one can invoke anything about the inadequacy of intelligent design as part of their defense of Darwinian processes or any other naturalistic process. The so called inadequacy of ID for anything is not a proof of any particular theory.

    So we should forget the OOL part of the challenge because we agree there is no plausible naturalistic process that could explain it. So let’s move on to Part 2.

  165. jerry:

    Namely, there is no theory based on naturalistic causes that can account for the OOL.

    That is literally true. But that does not mean that there can be no theory based on naturalistic causes that can account for the OoL.

    It just means that we don’t have one yet, although, as I keep saying, there are some promising leads.

    More to the point: there can be no scientific theory of OoL based on non-naturalistic causes

    If you want non-naturalistic causes you need a different methodology.

    If you want science, you are stuck with natural.

    Which doesn’t rule out intelligence of course. But science won’t tell you about non-natural intelligent agents, only natural ones.

    no one can invoke anything about the inadequacy of intelligent design as part of their defense of Darwinian processes or any other naturalistic process.

    Indeed. Intelligent design can explain anything. But in so doing, it explains nothing.

    Nobody will defend “Darwinian processes” because of “the inadequacy of intelligent design”. They will defined Darwin processes because the explain the data and predict new data.

    This is a very revealing thread, and shows very clearly how mistaken the understanding of ID supporters is about what science can, and cannot, claim.

    No scientific theory can ever be “adequate”. No scientific theory can ever rule out the possibility that the putative mechanisms are all false, and are simply the result of an omnipotent intelligent agent who likes to mess with our heads.

    The theory of evolution is not the theory that life was not designed. So challenges to defend a claim that is not made will be greeted, as here, with *crickets*.

  166. KF

    EL, sorry, given what you have done, modus operandi is — sadly — warranted. KF

    Your conspiracy theory is noted.

  167. Nobody will defend “Darwinian processes” because of “the inadequacy of intelligent design”.

    They do it all the time. In any discussion of evolution anywhere, the discussion turns frequently to how ID is inadequate. I can point to 4 such instances on this thread alone.

    ID proponents just as frequently make the mistake by responding to the reverse challenge. They should leave it alone and just concentrate on the issue. Which is why I spelled it out in my challenge in a couple places on this thread.

    This is a very revealing thread, and shows very clearly how mistaken the understanding of ID supporters is about what science can, and cannot, claim.

    Nonsense. What it reveals is the emotional reaction to non-sequiturs as a method of argument. I doubt your understanding of science is any better than mine or a lot of others here. People like to rant on blogs and that is what we are mostly seeing. I have been in two Ph.D programs and ABD in one before helping to start a new business which changed my direction in life.

    No scientific theory can ever be “adequate”. No scientific theory can ever rule out the possibility that the putative mechanisms are all false, and are simply the result of an omnipotent intelligent agent who likes to mess with our heads.

    Couple comments to this:

    Then why all the negative remarks about ID on the internet and the obvious disdain for those who espouse it.

    I don’t like making religious arguments here so I mostly stay away from it. But I once heard a lecture a few years ago on the Book of Job. At the time all I knew about Job was he had been severely afflicted by God to test him. I never read it or knew any of the particulars.

    At one point in the lecture the comparison was made of Job to a maggot or worm and made the point that the maggot knows more about us than we know about God. So yes, maybe there is some playing with us by God but in reality we can only get a small fragment of what it is all about. But we see often humans telling God how to do it right.

    Now i hope my comment on Job or God gets filed away and no one tries to make a point about it. But emotions rule the day.

  168. with *crickets*

    Very, very OT as some say. One theory on how the Beatles got their name was it was in homage to Buddy Holley and the Crickets.

    When anti-ID people treat ID proponents with respect, That Will be the Day.

  169. jerry: ID is, IMO, a fruitless hypothesis as currently formulated. In that sense it is “inadequate” – not in the sense that it is not enough to explain what we observe, but because by being able to explain anything, it makes no predictions, and therefore explains nothing.

    In a quite different sense, all scientific models are “inadequate” – there are always data they don’t explain.

    But if ID is to be taken seriously by science, and it could be, there has to be an actual predictive hypothesis. Otherwise we simply don’t have the methodology to tackle it. It remains, like it or not, “ID of the gaps”. And there will always be gaps, and they will always shrink.

    Nonsense. What it reveals is the emotional reaction to non-sequiturs as a method of argument. I doubt your understanding of science is any better than mine or a lot of others here. People like to rant on blogs and that is what we are mostly seeing. I have been in two Ph.D programs and ABD in one before helping to start a new business which changed my direction in life.

    It was not an “emotional” response at all, but a very dispassionate one. I found it interesting. I obviously don’t know the background of other people here, but one of my jobs is not doing scientific research but teaching scientific methodology, so I have a fairly good understanding of what does, and does not, constitutes a valid scientific claim. And what I am seeing, over and over, are people who seem to have the firm impression that scientists are claiming things that they are not – or, if they are, are not valid scientific claims!

    Then why all the negative remarks about ID on the internet and the obvious disdain for those who espouse it.

    Lots of reasons, and they are probably comparable to those motivating the negative comments about “Darwinism” here, and the obvious disdain for those who are alleged to espouse it, whatever it is supposed to be. Mainly fear, IMO. And mutual misunderstanding.

  170. jerry: people should always be treated with respect, as I’m sure you agree.

    Ideas, however, are not always so worthy.

  171. EL: In that case, kindly cease and desist from hosting of slander fests. KF

  172. And what I am seeing, over and over, are people who seem to have the firm impression that scientists are claiming things that they are not – or, if they are, are not valid scientific claims!

    Then why is the Darwinian paradigm in the curriculum? It is obvious that it is prevalent world wide (actually an understatement) but yet no one has ever been able to justify it on scientific grounds.

  173. Gregory, you have been adequately answered long since. Kindly leave this thread, based on your past behaviour which you have not taken back. KF

  174. F/N: a summary of the state on OOL, from Orgel and Shapiro:

    [[Shapiro:] RNA’s building blocks, nucleotides contain a sugar, a phosphate and one of four nitrogen-containing bases as sub-subunits. Thus, each RNA nucleotide contains 9 or 10 carbon atoms, numerous nitrogen and oxygen atoms and the phosphate group, all connected in a precise three-dimensional pattern . . . . [[S]ome writers have presumed that all of life’s building could be formed with ease in Miller-type experiments and were present in meteorites and other extraterrestrial bodies. This is not the case.

    A careful examination of the results of the analysis of several meteorites led the scientists who conducted the work to a different conclusion: inanimate nature has a bias toward the formation of molecules made of fewer rather than greater numbers of carbon atoms, and thus shows no partiality in favor of creating the building blocks of our kind of life . . . .

    To rescue the RNA-first concept from this otherwise lethal defect, its advocates have created a discipline called prebiotic synthesis. They have attempted to show that RNA and its components can be prepared in their laboratories in a sequence of carefully controlled reactions, normally carried out in water at temperatures observed on Earth . . . .

    Unfortunately, neither chemists nor laboratories were present on the early Earth to produce RNA . . .

    [[Orgel:] If complex cycles analogous to metabolic cycles could have operated on the primitive Earth, before the appearance of enzymes or other informational polymers, many of the obstacles to the construction of a plausible scenario for the origin of life would disappear . . . .

    It must be recognized that assessment of the feasibility of any particular proposed prebiotic cycle must depend on arguments about chemical plausibility, rather than on a decision about logical possibility . . . few would believe that any assembly of minerals on the primitive Earth is likely to have promoted these syntheses in significant yield . . . . Why should one believe that an ensemble of minerals that are capable of catalyzing each of the many steps of [[for instance] the reverse citric acid cycle was present anywhere on the primitive Earth [[8], or that the cycle mysteriously organized itself topographically on a metal sulfide surface [[6]? . . . Theories of the origin of life based on metabolic cycles cannot be justified by the inadequacy of competing theories: they must stand on their own . . . .

    The prebiotic syntheses that have been investigated experimentally almost always lead to the formation of complex mixtures. Proposed polymer replication schemes are unlikely to succeed except with reasonably pure input monomers. No solution of the origin-of-life problem will be possible until the gap between the two kinds of chemistry is closed. Simplification of product mixtures through the self-organization of organic reaction sequences, whether cyclic or not, would help enormously, as would the discovery of very simple replicating polymers. However, solutions offered by supporters of geneticist or metabolist scenarios that are dependent on “if pigs could fly” hypothetical chemistry are unlikely to help.

    The essential problem is, of course, trying to account for FSCO/I on other than its only empirically known and analytically plausible source, design.

    KF

  175. F/N: How many times has it been pointed out above that the essential design inference is as follows, from the OP:

    In terms of the essence of the design theory view, it is that the deep past of origins cannot be directly observed so we must study its traces, and infer explanatory models on causal factors shown to produce consequences directly comparable to the traces. Thus such features, where characteristic of a cause, are an empirically reliable sign. And while inductive reasoning on signs is always provisional, it can be highly reliable.

    Mechanical necessity such as F = ma, gives rise to low contingency natural regularities that are often reduced to laws. Chance processes yield high contingency outcomes that may follow relevant statistical distribution models such as the normal curve. Design will often be highly contingent also, but will frequently yield patterns such as functionally specific complex organisation and associated information (such as the text string in this post) [FSCO/I] that are maximally implausible on chance but are on billions of cases observed a reliable sign of design.

    No great mystery, and directly empirically testable, just show blind chance and mechanical necessity producing FSCO/I.

    Only, that has not happened, many attempts notwithstanding.

    So, we have good reason to rule out mechanical necessity if we see high contingency of outcomes under similar starting conditions, and chance if we see something utterly implausible by chance. This being done on a per aspect basis for an object, process, phenomenon, etc.

    Nothing intrinsically strange or hard to follow, or in breach of canons of inductive, scientific reasoning.

    And certainly no reference to the Nicene Creed or the Chicago declaration on inerrancy etc. No, quote Bible and try to guide science based on interpretation thereof. That is, not inherently religious.

    The problem is, Darwinists nailed their flag to the mast 150 years ago, but over the past 60 years it has become plain that the world of life is chock full of signs of design, from DNA on up.

    And the further problem over the same 60 years, is that the observed cosmos turns out to give every indication of being fine tuned in many ways that facilitate C chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life.

    I invite objectors to actually address same in light of say the remarks on Newton’s 4 rules in 85 above.

    In light of the abo0ve thread, I suggest that every tub must indeede stand on its own bottom. For ID that is that FSCO/I in one form or another, is inductively seen to be a reliable sign of design. To cause it to collapse it suffices to actually show that FSCO/I can and does in our observation come about by blind watchmaker chance and necessity.

    This is so simple that I have to seriously wonder about the attitudes and motivations of those who insistently caricature this.

    As for the evo mat paradigm, taking in both the root and the branches etc of the tree of life — as is found in textbooks and museums alike — it needs to empirically show causal adequacy of the claim that in a warm little pond or the like chemicals became cells by chance and necessity sans design. Similarly, it needs to show good observational warrant for the claim that body plans requiring 10 – 100+ mn bits of genetic info can and do arise by blind chance and necessity.

    Failing such demonstration, it remains that the evo mat paradigm prevails as an ideologically enforced reigning orthodoxy.

    KF

  176. KF:

    In that case, kindly cease and desist from hosting of slander fests.

    I do not consider that what is posted on my site differs in any way from what is posted here. Neither is legal slander, and I respect people’s right to express what they think to be the truth, whether I agree with them or not.

    You compared me to Goebbels.

    You accused me of hosting a “front” for some other organisation with some nefarious plan.

    Nothing on my site is any nearer to “slander” than either of those two allegations.

  177. Jerry:

    Then why is the Darwinian paradigm in the curriculum?

    Because it is a highly predictive model.

    It is obvious that it is prevalent world wide (actually an understatement) but yet no one has ever been able to justify it on scientific grounds

    Of course it has scientific support. Copious amounts.

    I think you may be mistaking the claim “this theory is true” for “this theory makes predictions that are supported by the data, and is therefore highly likely to be broadly true, although not, of course complete”.

    The two claims are crucially different, and mistaking the second for the first lies at the root of the misunderstanding IMO.

  178. KF: FSCO/I is not a widely recognised construct, and as far as I know, there is no published work that defines it or provides enough data for it to be calculated for any real-world entity.

    Therefore there is no empirical evidence to support your claim.

    Comparable metrics have indeed been calculated (by Durston et al, and Hazen et al) for protein sequences but all they demonstrate is that the observed protein sequences are unlikely to have arisen by random draw.

    However, nobody suggests that they arose by random draw, so that does not infirm the hypothesis that they arose by Darwinian processes.

  179. EL:

    I do not consider that what is posted on my site differs in any way from what is posted here

    Big lie tactic, multiplied by blame the victim turnabout accusation.

    If you use the tactics, and host slander fests, expect me to call them by their blunt names and thus give antecedents. Just because these tactics have been filtered through Alinsky and have become all to pervasive does not change their history.

    It is high time that you face what you have been enabling, and what you have been doing.

    None of this would have come up if you would have simply stuck to addressing the issues on merits instead of getting in deep agit prop waters with the sharks that swim there like a proverbial pilot fish.

    KF

  180. Because it is a highly predictive model.

    I would help the science world by a listing of all these predictions.

    Of course it has scientific support. Copious amounts.

    This whole thread is about providing scientific support but all we have is *crickets*.

    I have never seen any scientific support for Darwinian processes let alone copious. And I have read quite a lot (e.g. Dawkins, Coyne, Gee, Ayala, Futuyama and others). So point those here to this copious overwhelming evidence. It must be summarized somewhere. Somebody must have hinted at it in some publication.

  181. jerry

    I would help the science world by a listing of all these [Darwinian] predictions.

    the following site is dedicated to it:

    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

  182. They are “listed” in scientific publications, jerry. Hundreds of thousands of them.

    To get a good summary you’d need to be a bit more specific. Which aspect of “Darwinian processes” do you find least supported?

  183. the following site is dedicated to it:

    This is one of Cornelius Hunter’s sites. I read it in detail about 3-4 years ago when he first put it up. It said it was last updated over 3 years ago.

    Maybe I will re-read it again to refresh my memory.

    I could do a better job of justifying Darwinian evolution than most of the anti-ID people here. I learned it to understand just what was being presented. In the process I found out all its shortcomings. Which can be best summed up as it leads to nothing of consequence and is wholly dependent on a designer would not do it this way. So it is necessary to trash ID in defending Darwinian processes. But any good theory would not require such an approach.

    Will Provine gave up the game one time when he said one had to have faith in order to believe in Darwinian evolution. No truer words were ever said in the evolution debate.

  184. EL:

    KF: FSCO/I is not a widely recognised construct, and as far as I know, there is no published work that defines it or provides enough data for it to be calculated for any real-world entity.

    Red herring led away to a strawman, soaked in subtle ad hominems and snidely set alight.

    FSCO/I — short for functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information — is indeed my personal acronym to summarise a mouthful. That absolutely is immaterial to its substance or the roots in Wicken and Orgel in the 70′s, taken up by Thaxton et al in the 80′s, and quantified in the 90′s onwards by Dembski then reduced to a simple form here at UD a couple of years ago. Where in fact you EL directly know or should know (save that you stubbornly deny what does not suit you to admit) that it covers things like commonly encountered file sizes, such as this PDF is 197 kBytes.

    I will give a single citation, from Dembski, which has repeatedly been drawn to your attention but which you have stubbornly refused to acknowledge as existing:

    p. 148: “The great myth of contemporary evolutionary biology is that the information needed to explain complex biological structures can be purchased without intelligence. My aim throughout this book is to dispel that myth . . . . Eigen and his colleagues must have something else in mind besides information simpliciter when they describe the origin of information as the central problem of biology.

    I submit that what they have in mind is specified complexity [[cf. here below], or what equivalently we have been calling in this Chapter Complex Specified information or CSI . . . .

    Biological specification always refers to function . . . In virtue of their function [[a living organism's subsystems] embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the sense required by the complexity-specificity criterion . . . the specification can be cashed out in any number of ways [[through observing the requisites of functional organisation within the cell, or in organs and tissues or at the level of the organism as a whole] . . .”

    p. 144: [[Specified complexity can be defined:] “. . . since a universal probability bound of 1 [[chance] in 10^150 corresponds to a universal complexity bound of 500 bits of information, [[the cluster] (T, E) constitutes CSI because T [[ effectively the target hot zone in the field of possibilities] subsumes E [[ effectively the observed event from that field], T is detachable from E, and and T measures at least 500 bits of information . . . ”

    FYI, this book, NFL, was a revised form of a PhD thesis and was itself peer reviewed. The above was thus peer reviewed TWICE.

    Similarly, thanks to components lists and exploded views, we can reduce a complex functional system comprising matched, coupled arranged parts into the equivalent of a string of yes/no questions. This is a simple summary of how say Autocad makes a digital rep of a system. That is, discussion on functionally specific complex coded strings of binary digits is WLOG.

    In short, FSCO/I, speaks to a functional form of CSI, in the further context where there is an implied process for reducing functionally specific organisation to an equivalent bit string based description.

    I cite the reduced expression here:

    Chi_500 = Ip*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold

    . . . which you know or should know is simplified from Dembski 2005 and applied through the standard transformation between probability and info metrics. The simplification is here on in context and is accessible to anyone with HS Algebra up to logs.

    There is utterly no need to play at appeal to authority games to see such.

    Now, frankly, the only reason I have repeated this summary the umpteenth time in the face of repeated denials and dismissals, is so onlookers can see just how unreasonable and willful your behaviour has been.

    I fully expect that within months you or others of your ilk will pretend again that you can dismiss FSCO/I as you have tried again above.

    After a certain point, however, your willfully stubborn refusal to acknowledge cogent facts presented over and over is deceptive and reflects wanton disregard for duties of care to accuracy, fairness and truth.

    KF

  185. To get a good summary you’d need to be a bit more specific. Which aspect of “Darwinian processes” do you find least supported?

    My God, it is the overwhelming evidence argument. Somehow the overwhelming evidence missed all the authors I mentioned.

  186. Big lie tactic, multiplied by blame the victim turnabout accusation.

    No, it is not a lie KF. I do not lie. And accusations of hypocrisy tend to be “turnabout” – doesn’t make it invalid.

    Where there is real assymmetry is, as I’ve pointed out, is that I endorse your right to call me a liar, and compare me to Goebbels, and yet you expect me to defend you against others who have the same right.

    If you use the tactics, and host slander fests, expect me to call them by their blunt names and thus give antecedents. Just because these tactics have been filtered through Alinsky and have become all to pervasive does not change their history.

    I’d never even heard of Alinsky before I read your posts. Slander (“fest” or not) has a legal definition. Posts on my site do not meet that definition.

    And any other definition is equally met by your own posts to me.

    It is high time that you face what you have been enabling, and what you have been doing.

    I have been enabled to do precisely what Barry enables you to do here.

    None of this would have come up if you would have simply stuck to addressing the issues on merits instead of getting in deep agit prop waters with the sharks that swim there like a proverbial pilot fish.

    KF

    I always address issues on merits. Anything else is a figment of your imagination.

  187. EL:

    They are “listed” in scientific publications, jerry. Hundreds of thousands of them

    Hurling the elephant and/or literature bluff.

    A Darwin zealot speciality.

    KF

  188. EL:

    I always address issues on merits.

    So says someone hosting hate and slander fests.

    KF

  189. My God, it is the overwhelming evidence argument. Somehow the overwhelming evidence missed all the authors I mentioned.

    Well, you can’t have been reading the right books. Or perhaps there is some key problem that you see that they did not address.

    That’s why I asked you to be specific. What is it that you consider undemonstrated?

    Genetic variants produce phenotypic variants. check.
    Phenotypic variants that reproduce better leave more copies of their genetic sequences in the population. check.
    Speciation occurs. check.
    Phylogenetic analyses of morphological features form a tree with high statistical significance indicative of common ancestry. check
    The inferred trees map with exquisite precision on to the geological column. check.
    Phylogenies based on genetics match phylogenies based on morphological features. check.
    Where they are discrepant, a mechanism has been found (HGT) to account for the discrepancy. check.
    This postulated mechanism makes predictions that have been confirmed by data. check.

    There’s a start, jerry.

  190. So says someone hosting hate and slander fests.

    Why not read my posts?

  191. Speciation occurs. uncheck.

    I have never seen any evidence in any of the books I have read that shows new species occurring that were not trivial examples. University of California at Berkeley also publishes videos on line of their evolution course required for biology majors. I did not see it in this course either and I looked at it for 3 different professors.

    Now this depends on the definition of species. I prefer to use the definition that Rosemary and Peter Grant use, which is two populations are different species if they are genetically incompatible. That is the genetic combination of sperm and egg cannot produce a viable offspring that can breed. According to the Grants all the finch variants of the Galapagos Islands are one species. And it would take about 20-30 million years to produce a new species under this definition.

    Behe in his book, Edge of Evolution says there has never been an example of a new species above the genus level that can be attributed to naturalistic processes.

    This would be a good place to start to defend Darwinian processes. By listing the new species that have arisen by Darwinian processes. No trivial examples with emphasis on the origin of new complex capabilities.

    Phylogenies based on genetics match phylogenies based on morphological features.

    Is this true. This should be a separate discussion. From what I understand they often produce different trees. Again this does not point to Darwinian processes so I am not sure how this can be used as support.

    There’s a start, jerry.

    None of the rest are specific to Darwinian processes so are not really proof of anything. Remember the goal is to defend Darwinian processes not just naturalistic evolution. Nearly all of what you listed does not apply to Darwinian processes per se.

    I would be interested in your examples of horizontal gene transfer or symbiosis you mentioned above.

  192. Jerry,

    What is a “trivial” species?

  193. jerry

    new species above the genus level

    This is nonsensical.

    This is Meyer’s mistake too – the idea that some speciation events are “trivial” and others, at higher “levels”, much less “trivial”.

    The theory is (whether you accept it or not) that ALL speciation events start off “trivial”, but that as time goes by, and the two lineages interbreed less and less, and thus adapt differentially and drift apart, the difference between them becomes greater and greater, and each lineages subdivides – speciates – again “trivially” over and over, to generate, over time, the nested hierarchies that we observe: phyla, classes, orders, genera, etc.

    But ALL start off as “trivial” subdivisions of a single population that at first resemble each other as closely as a couple of populations of finches on two neighbouring islands.

    This mistake is at the heart of Meyer’s book, and also, I suggest, lies at the heart of the insistence from ID proponents that “microevolution” is possible but that “macroevolution” isn’t.

    It’s all microevolution, and it’s all “trivial” speciation, but as the lineages continue, the diverge further and further apart, and resemble each other less and less.

    Each offspring, nonetheless, closely resembles its own offspring and its own parent.

    As I say, you may not accept it, but that is the theory, not the theory that somehow evolution jumps between radically different “body plans” in a single leap, or that the divergence between the cat lineage and the dog lineage was somehow more, at the time, than the divergence between finches and finches.

  194. It’s all microevolution, and it’s all “trivial” speciation, but as the lineages continue, the diverge further and further apart, and resemble each other less and less.

    Hear, hear!!

  195. After a certain point, however, your willfully stubborn refusal to acknowledge cogent facts presented over and over is deceptive and reflects wanton disregard for duties of care to accuracy, fairness and truth.

    We’ve acknowledge your opinions. But you can’t browbeat the world into your way of thinking. But you might persuade people if you got your work published in a peer reviewed journal.

    FYI, this book, NFL, was a revised form of a PhD thesis and was itself peer reviewed. The above was thus peer reviewed TWICE.

    Whose PhD thesis? Dr Dembski’s? Have you got a title and a summary of his PhD thesis?

    Big lie tactic, multiplied by blame the victim turnabout accusation.

    If you use the tactics, and host slander fests, expect me to call them by their blunt names and thus give antecedents. Just because these tactics have been filtered through Alinsky and have become all to pervasive does not change their history.

    It is high time that you face what you have been enabling, and what you have been doing.

    None of this would have come up if you would have simply stuck to addressing the issues on merits instead of getting in deep agit prop waters with the sharks that swim there like a proverbial pilot fish.

    KF you keep referring to issues that have nothing to do with the merits of the arguments. You keep trying to whip up opposition to a ‘slander fest’ and a culture war. You keep accusing people of enabling abusive behaviour.

    We disagree with you. A vast majority of the scientific community disagrees with you. I would expect Dr Dembski or Granville Stewart or Gil or someone to be here supporting your arguments but they aren’t contributing. I’m sorry if that’s harsh but . . .

    Have you ever thought that maybe, possibly you’re wrong? Or, at least, that you need to do some more work to establish your ideas? Maybe some of the resistance you’re facing is because your work is not right? At least not yet?

  196. EL @ 193

    This is nonsensical.

    This is Meyer’s mistake too – the idea that some speciation events are “trivial” and others, at higher “levels”, much less “trivial”.

    The theory is (whether you accept it or not) that ALL speciation events start off “trivial”, but that as time goes by, and the two lineages interbreed less and less, and thus adapt differentially and drift apart, the difference between them becomes greater and greater, and each lineages subdivides – speciates – again “trivially” over and over, to generate, over time, the nested hierarchies that we observe: phyla, classes, orders, genera, etc.

    In all fairness, you miss the point. You referenced speciation as an aspect of the ensemble of evidence that undergirds the grand evolutionary narrative. However, it is critically flawed to leap from observed population changes (which can, indeed, properly be called “trivial”) to unobserved (and, in principle, unobservable given the lengthy periods of time putatively required) changes to morphology that involve extensive reworkings of critical biological systems (e.g. cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, musculo-skeletal, reproductive, nervous, etc.). The data that we actually possess, that is, what we know empirically, show that populations can and do change over time and that natural selection plays some role in the process. Some of these population changes may be characterized as examples of speciation, but whether or not some change qualifies as speciation is largely a matter of definition (classification is, after all, a purely human construct, not some truth inescapably deduced from observation). At any rate, speciation or not, what we have observed in no way demonstrates that larger changes in form are accessible via a stepwise pathway of “trivial” changes. I think it’s safe to say that most people here understand that evolution (in its larger UCD sense) putatively occurs minor change by minor change. What is disputed is whether such changes can actually do the job. No one knows if that is possible – one may hypothesize, conjecture, assume, or speculate to their heart’s desire, but no one knows. In fact, there is much evidence to the contrary. All human experience with breeding shows that a degree of alteration is accessible but that there are constraints – genetic plasticity has its limits.

    This mistake is at the heart of Meyer’s book, and also, I suggest, lies at the heart of the insistence from ID proponents that “microevolution” is possible but that “macroevolution” isn’t.

    It’s all microevolution, and it’s all “trivial” speciation, but as the lineages continue, the diverge further and further apart, and resemble each other less and less.

    You’re cheerleading for an idea that you favor, but the empirical and logical foundation undergirding it is an abject disaster.

  197. EL @ 189

    Genetic variants produce phenotypic variants. check.
    Phenotypic variants that reproduce better leave more copies of their genetic sequences in the population. check.

    True – though irrelevant to the grander claims of evolutionary theory.

    Phylogenetic analyses of morphological features form a tree with high statistical significance indicative of common ancestry. check

    Debatable – It’s possible to take any set of objects and arrange them in a hierarchical fashion based on similarity. Such an arrangement, though, says nothing meaningful about why said objects possess such similarity and cannot demonstrate common ancestry.

    Phylogenies based on genetics match phylogenies based on morphological features. check.

    Also debatable – Meyer’s new book has an excellent consideration of the conflicts between molecular and morphological phylogenies (as well as amongst molecular phylogenies themselves). Here’s a reference you may be familiar with: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22891620

    This postulated mechanism makes predictions that have been confirmed by data. check.

    But its causal adequacy to accomplish what its supposed to do is hardly established, and even a flawed model may make some valid predictions (just as a flawed syllogism may still have a valid conclusion).

  198. BTW, EL
    Did you ever amend that snarky post about Meyer not knowing the singular form of phylum? It’s all over the book. That suggests to me that you’re not reading it very carefully. Is that perhaps because you already know you won’t like its conclusion?

  199. @193 Elizabeth Liddle writes:

    The theory is (whether you accept it or not) that ALL speciation events start off “trivial”, but that as time goes by, and the two lineages interbreed less and less, and thus adapt differentially and drift apart, the difference between them becomes greater and greater, and each lineages subdivides – speciates – again “trivially” over and over, to generate, over time, the nested hierarchies that we observe: phyla, classes, orders, genera, etc.

    But ALL start off as “trivial” subdivisions of a single population that at first resemble each other as closely as a couple of populations of finches on two neighbouring islands.

    How come the fossil record doesn’t show this type of gradual micro evolution? The species are distinct in the fossil record…and there are almost as many missing links as there are species.
    Also, at some point you are going to need new types of genes to emerge for different morphological organs and functions…Where is the “evidence” that this can even occur? Will you admit that there is a difference between a change in the morphology of a bird beak and slowly mutating for something like an eyeball?

  200. Jerad:

    KF you keep referring to issues that have nothing to do with the merits of the arguments. You keep trying to whip up opposition to a ‘slander fest’ and a culture war. You keep accusing people of enabling abusive behaviour.

    I keep highlighting the documented fact of ruthless agitprop. I keep pointing out that the behaviour of too many of those who are more genteel unfortunately reflects the good — enabling — cop side of a notorious manipulation tactic. That happens when such go along with evil on their side and either pretend it is not there, or collaborate with rather than shun it. I point out abuse of administrative systems to besmirch, penalise, bust careers. I point out unjust court rulings that ignore plain and documented facts, making mistake riddled declarations beyond competence by virtue of copying twisted submissions by agit prop groups — gross errors and falsities and all. I even point out outing to enable such attacks, and threats against uninvolved family, including MY OWN CHILDREN.

    Do you see what you are enabling, now, by your pretence that something is wrong with shining a spotlight on wrong?

    But moreso, you full well know that I have, at length addressed the merits, and would much prefer to have a discussion on that basis.

    But, I am not going to walk into a vicious back alley knife fight armed only with seminar briefing notes expecting a reasoned discussion with those who have chosen to use vicious tactics.

    How dare you highlight what the vicious have done and the fact that the genteel have provided an allegedly civil platform that enables it is yet another resort to blaming the victim.

    And, you don’t want me to point out some of the history behind that tactic. Just remember, I am a descendant of slaves.

    It is time that you and your ilk faced what you have been doing and cleaned up your act.

    On the subject of, oh there are ever so many who think in a different way, that is no problem. No majority vote, even of the distinguished and august has ever by itself determined the truth of a matter. Truth is that which says of what is that it is, and of what is not, that it is not. Appeals to authority and alleged consensus have nothing to do with it. And in science, the warrant for inductive claims is inherently provisional, subject to correction. There is a long history of the vast majority being wrong.

    So, it comes right back to the pivotal point.

    Namely, there are billions of observed cases of origin of FSCO/I. In every one of them — and this is backed up by the needle in the haystack search challenge and analysis — the cause is design. Thus, we are fully entitled to take FSCO?I as a reliable sign of design. Codes, data structures using codes. Algorithms in such data structures and associated execution machines are classic examples, routinely observed by the billion all around us, just consider the cell phone.

    It turns out that from DNA upwards, cell based life is chock full of exactly these signs of design.

    And, as has been brought out above, this directly speaks to both OOL and OOBP.

    Regardless of what the a priori materialist establishment thinks.

    KF

  201. Regardless of what the a priori materialist establishment thinks.

    Or whether someone writes a 6,000 word essay!

    I am sure you will manage to carry on regardless of everything that you cannot fit into your personal paradigm.

  202. Did you ever amend that snarky post about Meyer not knowing the singular form of phylum?

    Yes, she has:

    I’d have expected an urbane, Cambridge-educated guy like Meyer to know the [ETA: spot the erroneous] singular of “phyla” but that’s minor compared to his crashing howler of an attempt to demonstrate what the term means.

    ETA:3 Note: As Mung has pointed out, Meyer shows that he does know the singular of “phyla”, he just doesn’t get it correct it in this particular diagram. However, as I have said elsewhere (and above), this error is minor compared with the howler of including only a group of of descendents in his circled “phyla”, not the whole branch, which as I’ve said, undermines his entire argument.

    link

  203. There is no “front organisation”. TSZ is my hobby blog. I have no connection with AtBC apart from occasionally posting there.

    There is no “knife fight”. There is an internet discussion.

    Please try to find some perspective on this KF.

  204. Optimus:

    Did you ever amend that snarky post about Meyer not knowing the singular form of phylum? It’s all over the book. That suggests to me that you’re not reading it very carefully. Is that perhaps because you already know you won’t like its conclusion?

    No, it merely reflected the fact that when I added the additional figure to my post, in which it is wrong, I temporarily forgot that Meyer had explicitly explained plural and singular earlier in the book. And yes, I readily conceded my error, in comments, and corrected it in the text.

    I still await any response from any IDist about the howler.

  205. EL:

    Why not read my posts?

    EL, FYI — and as you full well know, I have read your post in which you tried to deny hosting a smear by invidious association with Nazism.

    I have read and archived the post you are hosting that makes grotesque accusations connected to a conspiracy theory that has long since been exposed as blatantly false. I duly noted in that post discussion thread how a false accusation of fraud stood effectively unopposed.

    Your pretence at innocence is wearing rather thin.

    KF

  206. Optimus:

    Debatable – It’s possible to take any set of objects and arrange them in a hierarchical fashion based on similarity. Such an arrangement, though, says nothing meaningful about why said objects possess such similarity and cannot demonstrate common ancestry.

    This is incorrect. It’s a bit like saying that it’s possible to take any scatter plot and draw a line through them based on eyeballing the data points.

    Phylogenetics doesn’t work like that, any more than correlation works like that. It tests tree fits against the null hypothesis of no tree and or an alternative tree.

    If the analysis returned many trees with similar fits, the best tree would not be better than any other tree under the null, and so you would reject “tree”.

    And given that the results deliver “tree” with extremely low probability under the null, that finding demands explanation. Common descent is one possible explanation, and predicts that organisms with the features indicated by their position on the tree will be found in that order in the fossil record.

    Which is confirmed by data.

    So many ID supporters hugely underestimate the amount of hard quantitative science that goes into a scientific conclusion.

    And when referred to papers, respond “literature bluff!”

    Science is Hard Work. Scientist don’t sit around looking at data and making up stories – “just so stories” as you guys like to call them. Yes, they “make up stories” but those stories are worthless unless they have a rigorously tested statistical fit to the data and predict new data

    And nor do they sit around thinking up ways to exclude the Divine Foot.

    They don’t have to. Until someone comes up with a predictive Divine Foot model, there is nothing even at the door.

    And when they do – fine. But by definition, that Foot will no longer be very Divine – it will be a predictive model, like any other, and thus constrained.

    It would be very easy to test the hypothesis that wind sprites are responsible for dust devils.

    It is impossible to test the hypothesis that an omnipotent deity is responsible for anything at all.

  207. KF:

    I have read and archived the post you are hosting that makes grotesque accusations connected to a conspiracy theory that has long since been exposed as blatantly false. I duly noted in that post discussion thread how a false accusation of fraud stood effectively unopposed.

    I do not know what post you are talking about, and the post of mine you link to in the post of yours you link to makes no such accusation.

    Support your own accusation or withdraw it.

    +++++++++++

    EL, just stop the pretence, you full well know the Sept 12, 2013 Dave Hooke thread in which the OP lays out grotesque conspiracy narratives and in which there is a false accusation of fraud in the comments. Since you demand that I document why I am saying that you are hosting a slander fest, I take this as an informal permission to put up my archive for examination, here. Read, examine the onward linked documentation, and then explain to us why you have tolerated such behaviour on your blog. KF

  208. EL, You know as well as I do, even better the overlaps in people, attitudes, culture and content, with TSZ serving as a more genteel front, which by and large does not have the grossest abusive behaviour. You know full well that something that may well start out and an idealistic effort, if not properly policed [historically, this actually includes churches, charities and the like] can be taken over by ruthless agit prop operators using the notorious methods of Alinsky and others. As in, you are of age to know that long, sad history. I am looking at the results, and I am calling the result what I know from having had to deal with this process live on the ground. Just as a historical example in my bones, the PNP of the 1950′s threw out four pivotal communist infiltrators, but 20 years later, the son of the founder failed to throw out the subversives of his time, and Jamaica paid a terrible and yet lingering price. So did Grenada, by extension of what was going on in Jamaica. And all along there were ever so many who were going along as good cops. My uni campus was a significant place in that process right up until communism collapsed as a global phenomenon and the Russian state sent a delegation to publicly apologise to Jamaica for what had been done to us at horrific cost. In light of that sort of background, I can say freely that TSZ, if it was set up for idealistic reasons, has long since been subverted through failure to police itself effectively. The result is the hate and slander fests with grotesque conspiracy stories that we see. KF

  209. If it is one you quote as:

    And at what point is it KF that you expect to march Alan around the camps? When your religious war is won and the immoral atheists defeated?

    I’d go on but I’m afraid I may say some things that would not be compatible with the general purpose of the thread or indeed civility.

    I would like to note however that both the Nazis and KF think that homosexuals are immoral and/or deviants. So draw your own conclusion as to who’ll be marching who round what camp if they get their way.

    As you know full well, the post that OMagain refers to was a post by you comparing Alan Fox to Germans who had to be “marched round the camps” to see what they had “enabled”.

    He rightly objected to that characterisation of Alan.

    He also commented that both you, and the Nazis, consider[ed] that homosexuality immoral and deviant.

    In other words, exactly as you regularly do, he drew attention to what he saw possible consequences of certain views. And indeed, many gay people feel seriously frightened, with cause, by the anti-gay rhetoric of many religious movements.

    He is entitled to express that view, just as you are entitled to express the view that I am running some kind of “front” organisation for some nefarious Marxist cabal aimed at eliminating the religious from the world, and to compare me to Goebbels.

    I think you are quite wrong, but I defend your right to express these views, just as I defend OMagain’s.

    And I will not suppress them because you disagree, any more than I will demand that Barry suppresses your outrageous slurs on my motivation, integrity, and principles.

  210. How come the fossil record doesn’t show this type of gradual micro evolution? The species are distinct in the fossil record…and there are almost as many missing links as there are species.

    The fossil record is a collection of snapshots in time. The chances of getting fossilized rather than decaying or being scavenged are slim and then the fossil has to be found. Hence the fossil record might be compared to a jigsaw with most of the pieces missing and no picture on the box lid. But we keep finding new pieces and the overall picture fits the hypothesis of increasing diversity and common descent, with five major extinction events such as the Permian-Triassic extinction, sometimes referred to as “the Great Dying”. What is it in the fossil record that makes you think that evolution was not gradual?

    Also, at some point you are going to need new types of genes to emerge for different morphological organs and functions…Where is the “evidence” that this can even occur? Will you admit that there is a difference between a change in the morphology of a bird beak and slowly mutating for something like an eyeball?

    In multicellular organisms, there are no genes for body plans or organs. The phenotype emerges by cell growth and differentiation. Regulator genes, the HOX gene family, are found across animals, plants and fungi. The growth of sheets of cells and differentiation into tissue types is influenced by expression of a cascade of promoters and switches all following local rules. In this way eyes develop in the embryo; an exercise in topology. There is variation in the result (some of need glasses)giving thee raw material for natural selection to work on.

  211. EL, I have responded to your demand at 207 by taking it as informal permission to post the annotated archived thread which documents my reasons for saying that you are hosting a slander and hate fest. In addition, it links to onward resources that give first level responses to the main false assertions that have plainly been taken for fact and are motivating outright declared enmity — of course projected unto ID/ Creationists/ Theists/ Christians as enemies of humanity, as I have also duly annotated. Do you begin to understand what you are hosting? KF

  212. …but 20 years later, the son of the founder failed to throw out the subversives of his time, and Jamaica paid a terrible and yet lingering price.

    Off-topic but as you raised it…

    Are you referring to Michael Manley? Do you blame him personally for the political violence that occurred in the 1970s? What lingers?

  213. ID/ Creationists/ Theists/ Christians as enemies of humanity

    You do see things in very black-and-white terms, KF. I doubt any poster at TSZ would characterize all Christians as enemies of humanity. The strongest objectors to the sort of right-wing fundamentalist groups that seem to want to gain political control in the US. They oppose their ideas and their methods.

    I had a look at your annotated thread. Can’t for the life of me see why certain phrases upset you so much. Nobody is trying to forcibly prevent you following your Christian beliefs per se.But if you want to impose a particular belief on others or force them to avoid a particular lifestyle just because you don’t like it (homosexuality, for instance) then you can expect to be opposed. Freedom of thought and respect for others has to be reciprocal. I’d take you more seriously if I thought your views on religion and politics had any influence beyond your doorstep. Thankfully, this does not appear to be happening.

  214. Oops:

    The strongest objections are to the sort of right-wing fundamentalist groups that seem to want to gain political control in the US.

  215. kairosfocus,#184:

    FSCO/I — short for functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information — is indeed my personal acronym to summarise a mouthful. That absolutely is immaterial to its substance or the roots in Wicken and Orgel in the 70?s, taken up by Thaxton et al in the 80?s, and quantified in the 90?s onwards by Dembski then reduced to a simple form here at UD a couple of years ago.

    If you have evidence that Wicken and Orgel’s usage of the term “complexity” is the same as Dembski’s in the context of “specified complexity”, I’d be interested to see it.

    FYI, this book, NFL, was a revised form of a PhD thesis and was itself peer reviewed. The above was thus peer reviewed TWICE.

    You’re probably think of The Design Inference, which was based on Dembski’s thesis for his PhD in philosopy. As far as I know, NFL, including the part you quoted, has never been subject to any formal peer review.

  216. KF

    EL, I have responded to your demand at 207 by taking it as informal permission to post the annotated archived thread which documents my reasons for saying that you are hosting a slander and hate fest.

    You have my permission to post anything you like from my blog, and indeed I will post a link to your annotated version at TSZ.

    As I keep saying – I am not afraid of dialogue, nor will I suppress it.

  217. kairosfocus,#184:

    I fully expect that within months you or others of your ilk will pretend again that you can dismiss FSCO/I as you have tried again above.

    This month marks the 15th anniversary of the publication of The Design Inference, Dembski’s first public exposition of his “specified complexity”, aka CSI, concept. Critics have been challenging his claims ever since then, and I submit that the issues are still not resolved.

    Recently, for example, we have Lizzie’s “EleP(T|H)ant” posts, highlighting the fact that CSI is defined in terms of a null hypothesis and we can’t even begin to estimate it for the null hypothesis of Darwinian evolution.

    I’ll try to state this issue as explicitly as I can with regards to FSCO/I, and you can tell me where you think I’m going wrong:

    1) At your always linked, you introduce a simplified measure of the degree of complexity, defined simply as “the quantity of bits to store the relevant information”.

    2) This seems to refere to a fixed-length coding, so if the sample space is size |Ω|, then the degree of complexity of any given outcome is log2(|Ω|) bits. Is this correct?

    3) If so, then this degree of complexity is quantitatively equivalent to P(T|H) where H is a hypothesis characterized by an equiprobable distribution over Ω. Correct?

    4) Given a large amount of CSI or FSCO/I under a given null hypothesis, the most we can infer is that that particular hypothesis is wrong. Still correct?

    5) Therefore, your simplified FSCO/I measure can, at best, eliminate null hypotheses characterized by equiprobable distributions. Right?

    6) Nobody has proposed that complicated biological systems form by purely random combination. Correct?

    7) Therefore, with regards to biology, your simplified FSCO/I measure can only eliminate a hypothesis that is already universally rejected anyway. Is that right?

    If you can point out exactly where I have gone wrong, I would appreciate it. If you can do so without editorializing, moralizing, or expressing indignation and/or outrage, I would appreciate it even more.

  218. EL: Do not besmirch the good word “dialogue” with what I have had to archive. madam, you have some serious explaining to do. KF

  219. I keep highlighting the documented fact of ruthless agitprop. I keep pointing out that the behaviour of too many of those who are more genteel unfortunately reflects the good — enabling — cop side of a notorious manipulation tactic. That happens when such go along with evil on their side and either pretend it is not there, or collaborate with rather than shun it. I point out abuse of administrative systems to besmirch, penalise, bust careers. I point out unjust court rulings that ignore plain and documented facts, making mistake riddled declarations beyond competence by virtue of copying twisted submissions by agit prop groups — gross errors and falsities and all. I even point out outing to enable such attacks, and threats against uninvolved family, including MY OWN CHILDREN.

    I would never make threats against you or your family nor do I condone such behaviour.

    I fail to see what you think I can or should do about the other behaviour you find so objectionable. I am here, commenting on this forum on my own. I have no affiliation or association with any of the groups or blogs you frequently mention.

    Do I not have the right to speak up for what I think is verified and solid science? You have the right to cast aspersions on my motives but it doesn’t make your inference correct. And you are casting aspersions by making it look like I’ve ignored your requests to stop enabling. Without saying what it is I should do exactly.

    Do you see what you are enabling, now, by your pretence that something is wrong with shining a spotlight on wrong?

    Shine a spotlight all you wish. But spotlight the actual wrongs you perceive NOT those who are innocent.

    I get criticised routinely here at UD. I’ve been called brain dead, a moron, a shill and lots of other defamatory terms. Evolutionary theory is almost always criticised and put down and said to be so much fairy tales and made up stuff. Some people’s comments here mostly consist of ridiculing evolutionary theory. How much of a spotlight do you direct towards this blog? Are you absolutely sure there isn’t a double standard? Do you think you just might give more leeway to those with whom you agree?

    But moreso, you full well know that I have, at length addressed the merits, and would much prefer to have a discussion on that basis.

    Then why do you keep bringing up with me my enabling behaviour when I’ve done nothing of the sort?

    But, I am not going to walk into a vicious back alley knife fight armed only with seminar briefing notes expecting a reasoned discussion with those who have chosen to use vicious tactics.

    What does this have to do with me?

    How dare you highlight what the vicious have done and the fact that the genteel have provided an allegedly civil platform that enables it is yet another resort to blaming the victim.

    Me? How dare I? How did I highlight what other people have done? You keep bringing it up! I don’t even know what you’re talking about most of the time. Do you want me to stop answering your posts?

    And, you don’t want me to point out some of the history behind that tactic. Just remember, I am a descendant of slaves.

    What does that have to do with discussing the merits of evolutionary theory and ID?

    You know very little about me and my background.

    It is time that you and your ilk faced what you have been doing and cleaned up your act.

    My ilk?

    You really don’t seem to believe that someone can disagree with you without having some hidden agenda.

    You also seem to want to stifle your ‘opponents’ whilst giving free reign (almost) to your supporters. ID supporters on this forum are encouraged to make fun of and ridicule evolutionary theory and its supporters. It happens to me ALL THE TIME. And I see precious few attempts to moderate such behaviour except to keep on lid on actual profanity.

    On the subject of, oh there are ever so many who think in a different way, that is no problem. No majority vote, even of the distinguished and august has ever by itself determined the truth of a matter. Truth is that which says of what is that it is, and of what is not, that it is not. Appeals to authority and alleged consensus have nothing to do with it. And in science, the warrant for inductive claims is inherently provisional, subject to correction. There is a long history of the vast majority being wrong.

    I was merely pointing out that a lot of people have done a lot of work which has been vetted by generations of others in the same field. More work is being done everyday. And the vast majority of those doing that work and the results they’ve established run counter to your assertions.

    Namely, there are billions of observed cases of origin of FSCO/I. In every one of them — and this is backed up by the needle in the haystack search challenge and analysis — the cause is design. Thus, we are fully entitled to take FSCO?I as a reliable sign of design. Codes, data structures using codes. Algorithms in such data structures and associated execution machines are classic examples, routinely observed by the billion all around us, just consider the cell phone.

    I’ve agreed, there are lots and lots of examples of non-living objects which were designed, which we know who designed them, we know the equipment and the techniques used.

    But even inanimate objects are not created via an exhaustive search through some vast configuration space.

    It turns out that from DNA upwards, cell based life is chock full of exactly these signs of design.

    And I think that could have come about via natural processes.

    And, as has been brought out above, this directly speaks to both OOL and OOBP.

    But you can’t say how or when. Or what the origin of life on earth looked like. You’ve explained nothing even if I grant you design.

    Regardless of what the a priori materialist establishment thinks.

    You’re lucky. You live in a time and a place where your opinions are not censored. You have the right to disagree with a scientific consensus. You can post here and on your own blog without being visited by some authority figures. You live in a country (amongst others) with laws that protect your rights and NO ONE is trying to take those rights away from you. No matter what you think.

  220. Ooops, mucked up some formatting again. I don’t seem to be getting a preview like I used to.

    My apologies.

  221. KF, I have posted a link to your pdf here.

  222. Do not besmirch the good word “dialogue” with what I have had to archive. madam, you have some serious explaining to do.

    I see you only got to page 8 of that thread with your annotations. Is that as far as you could get before an attack of the vapours or is the rest not so bad as to be worthy of opprobrium?

  223. It’s all microevolution, and it’s all “trivial” speciation, but as the lineages continue, the diverge further and further apart, and resemble each other less and less.

    There is no evidence that the process you describe leads to anything of consequence. No one is saying the process does not operate but no one has shown it leads anywhere. If so, give examples. Provide evidence not speculation or wishful thinking.

    I have never seen anyone who has done so in all that I have read or seen. If it exist then why don’t supporters of this approach provide examples/evidence. One can only conclude it does not exist. And if the evidence does not exist with all this investigation then a logical conclusion is that it probably never happened.

    As I said I find the most interesting thing about this debate is the behavior of the individuals in it.

  224. 6) Nobody has proposed that complicated biological systems form by purely random combination. Correct?

    As far as I know the process is random. Are certain nucleotides more susceptible to mutation than others? Do you have information that it is not? And if you do then what is the probability distribution of biological formation especially changes in the genome for the coding of new proteins.

    And why would a different distribution change anything. In layman’s language. No jargon or formulas.

  225. Jerad, do you realise how much enabling behaviour for what I have had to archive, you have put up? Please, think again. KF

  226. AF,

    I actually marked up beyond that point, but it was already surplus to needs. The most horrific thing about this — and it reminds me uncomfortably of propaganda stirred hysterias I remember all too vividly — is that a lot of the people spewing the slanders believe them to be facts. When that includes this from the OP’s end, that should give all sensible people serious pause:

    If the odd nice, deluded, and ignorant but honest creationist is offended by a lack of charity, that is tough as far as I am concerned. Obliviousness is no excuse for assisting the enemies of humanity.

    Dr Dawkins, behold the fruit of your toxic talking point that those who disagree with you are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    Hate stirred by slander and resulting hate speech taken as justified commentary against “enemies of humanity” — i.e. design supporters equated to Creationistss and Christians, then taken to be part of a right wing theocratic totalitarian conspiracy to treasonously subvert our civilisation.

    Hate and hate speech, pure and simple.

    All duly hosted at TSZ and presented to the naive public as innocent dialogue and fair comment on facts.

    Time to wake up to the matches that are being played with.

    KF

  227. 6) Nobody has proposed that complicated biological systems form by purely random combination. Correct?

    As far as I know the process is random. Are certain nucleotides more susceptible to mutation than others? Do you have information that it is not? And if you do then what is the probability distribution of biological formation especially changes in the genome for the coding of new proteins.

    I suspect you may have misunderstood R0bb’s point which was referring to the way CSI and its variations are calculated. An example would be saying the chance of a 100 residue protein of being found is 1 in 100 raised to the 20th power. This assumes that this particular protein it completely unique in function and is the only possible protein that could be used and that the assembly is “tornado-in-a-junkyard” rather than what is actually postulated; incremental steps.

    But ToE starts with a viable self-sustaining replicator and variation and selection will stumble across other proteins that may be only slightly worse, similar or better in a particular function (or indeed a duplication can allow a new function to be stumbled upon). So the whole premise of “one in a gadzillion” is flawed. I think strawman is the word in vogue.

  228. Jerad,

    I apologize for the late response.

    “Undirected assumes no unknown, undefined causes/agents. Directed, at this point, does assume an unknown and undefined agent….”

    “Undirected” assumes that it was undirected. This is why I asked why you don’t simply say “I don’t know.” You don’t know if it’s undirected. Therefore, “I don’t know” is the default here. You’re obviously inserting your own metaphysical beliefs into the equation in order to prove your metaphysical beliefs.

    “…..Why would you pick a model with an unknown, undefined, undetected agent? You don’t know what it’s capable of. You don’t know when it was around. You don’t know if its still around…..”

    I haven’t picked any model. I hold to allowing evidence to speak for itself. If it shows evidence of being undirected, I’m perfectly willing to allow that.

    “…..Undirected works fine. We don’t need to invoke something we don’t know anything about.”

    Undirected works find until we discover that it it’s directed. We don’t need to invoke anything to get there.

  229. …the enemies of humanity…

    A bit over the top, perhaps. The distinction is made between leaders and followers in a political movement. Maybe the author should have thought to mention the option of having things brought to the followers’ attention by marching them…

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    I apologise for not taking things seriously as the issue of what should be taught as science to American kids has only an indirect (so far at least) effect on my life. On the other hand, I fully appreciate how people can feel threatened under the pressure of fundamentalist Christian organisations that wish to undermine settled science teaching. You seem only too eager to control what others see and do. I find that more worrying than the sometimes intemperate language that is widespread on the internet.

  230. Me too. And I find it extraordinary that KF can, on the one hand, talk about you, and me, as “enablers” comparable to the Germans who had to be “marched round the camps” to see what their enabling had done, and then single out as “slander”, davehooke’s remark about the “obliviousness” of an “honest creationist” being “no excuse for assisting the enemies of humanity”.

    Both remarks are completely over the top. But for KF as the author of one to object to davehooke’s comment is reveals a lack of self-awareness of the most acute kind.

    Be that as it may, I will no more take down that thread than I will ask Barry to censor KF’s stream of conspiracy theories about the “enablers” and “fronts” for shadowy organisations he seems to think are out to recreate some Marxist dystopia.

    He has right of reply at my blog, and if he reads the comments carefully will note many dissenting comments. Indeed, I dissented myself.

    But like you, Alan, I am much more worried about the control of what is said, than I am about what is said.

    Censorship is the first step to authoritarianism, as I’m sure KF will agree. I will not censor discussion on my blog.

  231. jerry: the problem here is with the word “random”, which tends to mean something different in layman’s language than in scientific language (where it still has more than one meaning), as I’m sure you aware! But here’s a go in layman’s language anyway.

    When DNA is copied, the copy is never identical to the original. However, very similar copies are much more likely than very different copies. However, when sperm and egg cells are formed, which only contain one set of chromosomes instead of two, there is a systematic “shuffling” of the chromosomes so that my eggs each contain a bit from my mother and a bit from my father, so that my son will have assorted bits from all four of his grandparents, not just from two. This also means that new sequences appear as the mix’n'match process takes place. Again this process isn’t “random” in one sense – there are some recombinations that are far more likely than others – but as far as we know it is “random” in the sense that there is no process by which a combination that the eventual offspring will find useful is more likely than a combination that it won’t.

    And of course the chances of the offspring reproducing is partly “chance” in the sense that even if he has a wonderful set of DNA sequences he may simply not meet Ms Right, or Ms Right may turn out to be infertile. So the “natural selection” part also has a “chance” or “random” in that sense element.

    But the end result, statistically, is that any sequence that results in an adult with a better-than-average chance of breeding successfully is going, by definition, to become more common in the population than one that results in a worse-than-average chance.

    So that part isn’t “chance” in the sense of “one thing is as likely as another” – a “more-fit” adults are very much more likely than a “less-fit” adults, where “fit” means: “has a good chance of breeding successfully in the current environment.

    And if a slightly-better-mousetrap increases those chances, than sequences that contributes to a slightly-better-mousetrap will become more common, as will slightly-better-mousetraps.

  232. AF; Not merely over the top, especially when placed in the context of a grotesque conspiracy narrative taken as fact by the circle of both original poster and commenters. This is a culture of hate and slander; including an accusation of fraud — not error, fraud; an assertion that was taken as if it were “of course” true, there is not a peep of protest. That sirs, includes me by implication and I ent no fraud and the false accusation of fraud is a mortal insult. This is slander plain and out. It is high time that what has been going on is faced and corrected. KF

  233. Elizabeth,

    You are describing a very common biological process which few will disagree with. The question is what new information does it create? The mixing of the various genomes will produce a new genome which statistically is unlike any before it. So that is definitely new but is the gene pool substantively changed?

    Are there examples of this process creating new complex capabilities or is it just a little variation for the new gene pool?

    What is necessary is for new genome coding regions to arise and here the layman’s idea of random applies. I have not seen anyone suggest otherwise. There is no process that monitors what is in these regions of the genome so I would assume “random” is applicable. If it is not random, then what determines what gets accepted and what doesn’t.

    Always willing to learn.

    PS – I have never seen your recombination argument used for the origin of new genes other than it just provides a new random sequence in the genome which may be of potential use. Then we are into traditional probabilities. If not, why not?

  234. EL: Slander and hate speech, which is what I have addressed are not within the ambit of free speech. At legal level they rise to tort, or defamation. In political discourse they lay the basis for the sort of Kulturkampf that sullied the career of Bismark and set up latent hostilities that I shudder to think of where they went in 1939. There is no excuse for harbouring slander, hate-stirring conspiracy narratives and the sort of post where millions of people are declared to be “enemies of humanity.” Not to mention, unjustified accusations of fraud. and so forth. There is just no excuse for what has been done and for the shoot the messenger attitude that has prevailed over days and days. KF

  235. Not merely over the top, especially when placed in the context of a grotesque conspiracy narrative taken as fact by the circle of both original poster and commenters. This is a culture of hate and slander; including an accusation of fraud — not error, fraud; an assertion that was taken as if it were “of course” true, there is not a peep of protest.

    There is an issue of fact. There has been an attempt by groups of politically and religiously motivated people to get “Intelligent Design” inserted into school science curricula in the US. ID is not science and there is nothing scientific to teach. There was a clear court decision that rejected ID as science. To claim that there is a scientific core to ID that can be taught as science can only be ascribed to ignorance or fraud.

    That sirs, includes me by implication and I ent no fraud and the false accusation of fraud is a mortal insult. This is slander plain and out.

    I don’t accuse you of fraud as the possibility exists that you genuinely think that ID has scientific merit. I doubt (and am prepared to be corrected) that anyone at TSZ has accused you of fraud. Frankly, I don’t think anyone considers you important in promoting ID in the US. Montserrat is not exactly yhe centre of the World.

    It is high time that what has been going on is faced and corrected.

    If a US court considers a whole raft of evidence, including testimony from Michael Behe and concludes that ID is not science, then I don’t think a charge of slander against those of us who think the court’s conclusion was sound is appropriate.

  236. Nothing on that site rises to any higher level of “hate” than is frequently posted by you, and others, on this site, and none to the level of legally defined “hate speech” or “slander” under UK law.

    There is no allegation of legal fraud.

    As for “hate-stirring conspiracy narratives”, just read any one of the posts you have addressed to me over the past few months if you want to know what a “hate-stirring conspiracy narrative” looks like. Or to Jerad, even, who does not even post on my blog and who I have never met in my life except online here.

    Please, kairosfocus, for once, just look in the mirror.

  237. EL, why don’t you give the first context, where AF OM and others were involved in an attempt to portray principled objection to or questioning of homosexualisation of our civilisation as equivalent to nazism? And why don’t you give the context of the rebuke of the White Rose movement martyrs to the people of Germany? In the onward context that the subject on the table included career busting and worse, already aspects of a kulturkampf. Then also, try to understand what it means when we see ideologues spinning grotesque conspiracy narratives portraying those they disagree with — us — as “enemies of humanity,” misanthropes, with all of that onward connexion to Robespierre and Nero’s attacks on Christians? As in, big red flag. and again you try to turn about the matter and blame the victim, then wonder why we point out that this is enabling — in your case literally hosting — slander and hate fests. Again and again you try to suggest that “a nuh nutten” or that you are all innocent and unjustifiably under challenge for hosting “dialogue” and refusing to “censor,” in the face of clear evidence of what is going on — remember what is on the table is your hosting of slander leading to declaration that we are enemies of humanity. You can take it to the bank that we are seeing just what is going on. KF

  238. I find evolutionists’ arguments based on accusations of imposing theocracy in the US and US courts ruling that “ID is not science” and ID that would ruin student’s education and bla bla… pretty boring.

    [--> Niw, this is Orwellian Doublespeak for implying that ID thinkers = Creationists = Right wing theocratic fascists = Nazis intent on totalitarianism. Hence the assertions of grotesque conspiracy stories taken as fact, and the deeming of millions as enemies of humanity without a peep of protest. Such are not something to be taken lightly, especially if one reckons with the mirror psychology of projection. KF]

    Personally, as IDer, I am interested to impose theocracy in the US as I am interested to create an aquafarm on Saturn. Moreover I am not US citizen, then one hundred US court rulings about ID-is-not-science would count zero, for me.

    What I know is that evolution is not a theory of similarities, rather a theory about RM+NS mechanisms transforming ameba into man. It is useless that here Darwin’s people continue to speak about similarities. Similarities are pretty much explainable by common design too. The problem is that the proposed naturalistic mechanisms don’t work, cannot work, will never work. Evolution is an atomic hoax. That’s all.

    [Niw, I strongly suggest that in future you moderate language. It is appropriate to discuss that there are serious issues of a priori materialism imposed on science and that this raises issues of ideological blindness and institutionalised error enforced in some cases by seriously questionable tactics. But hoax implies widespread deliberate fraud. Unless you can provide evidence of such calculation, refrain from such. KF]

  239. Because I don’t know the context, KF. And I’m not busting anyone’s career.

    What I see is you spinning conspiracies and in the same breath accusing people on my blog from spinning conspiracies.

    That is hypocrisy, KF, though I think, to be fair, the problem is that you simply cannot see it.

    As for a “principled objection to” homosexuality, that cuts no ice with me. Racists have “principled objections” too – doesn’t make it right.

    [--> EL, you just compared objection to a pattern of behaviour to an obvious pattern of visible markers which has no behavioural referent, using one of the secular equivalents of blasphemy in our day, which takes on grim colour from the pattern of enabling at your blog including deeming millions enemies of humanity. It is obvious that you have paid no attention to the distinction. I suggest again that you read here, on seeing another side to the now heavily promoted presumption that homosexual behaviour is genetically instamped and unalterable. But more than this, I spoke to an ideological twisting of key institutions in our civilisation [including law], by speaking of an ISM. The matters raised here, here, here, here and here should help underscore why I did so. But, again, I now expect no responsiveness or compunction on your part. I simply warn you that the attempt to suggest that principled moral objections to and social concerns over homosexualisation of our civilisation is to be equated to racism (and earlier you hosted and enabled similar remarks targetting me and equating such objections to the conduct of Nazis so we all know the Orwellian Doublespeak codes that lie beneath your invidious comparison to racism . . . ) bespeaks an underlying extremism and hostility beneath the genteel facade on your part that reminds me all too uncomfortably of the genteel side of plantation society. I think you need to take a serious pause and do some serious rethinking. KF]

    Homosexual people have been murdered for who they are, just as black people have been murdered for who they are.

    [--> And no one has expressed or implied approval for either; and as an educated person you full well know that principled objection implies that the principles are moral. There is no moral justification for racial prejudice. There are serious moral questions attaching to promotion of unnatural sexual acts and habitual behaviour on same, and on the manipulation of marriage and family in our civilisation. The leap from principled objection to ideology to speaking of murder directly compared to murder of people because of skin colour is an outrage. The implied ad hominem laced strawman underscores why it is necessary to highlight your hosting of a blog in which millions have been unjustifiably labelled enemies of humanity in a context of slanders and conspiracy spinning taken as fact. KF]

    The principle used makes no odds. If that kind of thing is going to be ended, people have to be free to speak out.

    [--> Freedom of speech is not an excuse for promotion of slander or hate. Nor does it excuse the sort of subtle smearing by invidious association you just indulged, continuing a dangerous pattern that has been there for months. KF]

  240. There you go, KF – niwrad just said evolution is a “hoax” – are you going to suppress his post?

    Or do you agree with me that he is entitled to his view?

    Or will you slide some magic razor between an ID proponent who calls evolution a “hoax” and an “evolutionists” who calls ID a “fraud”?

    [EL, your continued enabling behaviour is revealing. I suggest that in future, instead of projecting words and thoughts unto me that do not belong, you consider that there is something seriously wrong with papering over a declaration that millions are enemies of humanity in a context of slanders and grotesque conspiracy myths taken as fact by suggesting that such defamatory hate speech and incitement fall under freedom of expression. KF]

    Think about it.

  241. Jerry:

    You are describing a very common biological process which few will disagree with. The question is what new information does it create?

    It depends entirely on how you are defining “information”.

    The mixing of the various genomes will produce a new genome which statistically is unlike any before it. So that is definitely new but is the gene pool substantively changed?

    If the mixing produces a more fertile adult, then yes, the gene pool will change. It must, because that fertile adult will spread that new mix to her offspring and they to theirs.

    Are there examples of this process creating new complex capabilities or is it just a little variation for the new gene pool?

    Why should there be any limit to the variation? If new variants are being generated all the time, and some of those are beneficial, why shouldn’t the gene pool keep moving towards an optimum?

    What is necessary is for new genome coding regions to arise and here the layman’s idea of random applies.

    New genes are rare, and new coding genes even rarer, but they do happen. What is far more common are variants on existing genes.

    I have not seen anyone suggest otherwise. There is no process that monitors what is in these regions of the genome so I would assume “random” is applicable. If it is not random, then what determines what gets accepted and what doesn’t.

    Always willing to learn.

    Well some regions of the genome are more subject to variation than others – an IDist might argue that this is by design, while a Shapiro-ist might argue (I would) that if some regions are particularly fertile ground for adaptive variations, then populations with genomes in which this region is prone to variation will tend to be more robust in the face of environmental change, and therefore survive when others go extinct. In other words, the Darwinian mechanism may well (and it’s hard to see why it wouldn’t) above the level of the populations, as well as at the level of the population.

    But there’s still lots we don’t know. What intrigues me is just how powerful the Darwinian mechanism is as a creative force. Sure, it’s possible that a creator was necessary to kickstart the thing (though I don’t see any particularly good reason to assume so) but once going, its powers are IMO awesome, even in the very limited models we can build in silico.

    Anyway, I really appreciate this conversation, jerry, thanks!

    PS – I have never seen your recombination argument used for the origin of new genes other than it just provides a new random sequence in the genome which may be of potential use. Then we are into traditional probabilities. If not, why not?

  242. 242
    TheisticEvolutionist

    Always the same example by liberals!

    Homosexual people have been murdered for who they are, just as black people have been murdered for who they are. The principle used makes no odds. If that kind of thing is going to be ended, people have to be free to speak out.

    But you forgot to mention cases of heterosexual people being murdered for being who they are and many cases of white slavery and innocent white people being murdered just because they are white. It’s happened both ways, gays and blacks are not the only victims. Evil exists in all races, creeds and genders. I can understand why atheism is appealing to some people!

  243. Of course, many people have been murdered for who they are. Of course gays and blacks are not the only victims. The sole reason for the example was that it was the issue under discussion.

  244. In my post @ 241, the PS is jerry’s not mine – I inadvertently left my c&p in the post.

  245. Dr. Liddle,

    Does not the ‘creative force’ you invoke (‘heritable variation in reproductive success’), serve as a means to an end, namely survival?

    It seems to me that survival is purposeful, and if life is ultimately purposeful, perhaps purpose is a valid reason to assume the existence of a creator.

  246. EL & AF:

    Game over.

    Not a sign of a twinge of compunction over the matters that have been exposed. Remember, that includes an OP hosted by you EL and tot his moment enabled by you, that accuses millions of being enemies of humanity [presumably some being ringleaders to go through the equivalent of St Peter's upside down final appearance in Rome, and most dupes and so secondarily enemies to be "re-educated"], words that should chill anyone with a knowledge of relevant history.

    A bad sign indeed.

    You forget that I have the plantation in my bones.

    I know what it means when I am dealing with those who have not even a bit of remorse over what they have done or enabled.

    As a first step, I am terminating this thread of discussion, as a mark of warning.

    As a second step I suggest to the two of you that you take a time of reflection on what you are enabling.

    I hope that somewhere there is enough in you to have a spark of remorse.

    Failing that, the signs are bad indeed.

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI
    ++++++
    F/N: Due to a glitch, this took time

  247. Jerad, do you realise how much enabling behaviour for what I have had to archive, you have put up? Please, think again

    No, I don’t know what you’re talking about, even if I think I’ve parsed your convoluted grammar. I’ve spent hours of my time posting at UD, in good faith, with no agenda, no help, no conspirators, no compensation and very little appreciation or respect. And I get abuse, questions about my motives and intellectual capacity and very little thanks or understanding.

    But you feel compelled and justified in marginalising me and my comments as being wrong and enabling of behaviour which I have not condoned, participated in or even been aware of.

    You want me to respect and heed your views but it seems to me that you have no interest at all in me as a person. I’m just some ‘enemy’ that must be defeated. By stealth or by fire. As long as you appear to hold the ‘higher’ ground.

  248. “Undirected” assumes that it was undirected. This is why I asked why you don’t simply say “I don’t know.” You don’t know if it’s undirected. Therefore, “I don’t know” is the default here. You’re obviously inserting your own metaphysical beliefs into the equation in order to prove your metaphysical beliefs.

    The behaviour we observe matches the undirected model. ‘We don’t know’ implies it’s hard to tell but . . . there is no indication of direction. At all.

    I haven’t picked any model. I hold to allowing evidence to speak for itself. If it shows evidence of being undirected, I’m perfectly willing to allow that.

    Good, then we’re in agreement. There is no evidence that mutations are directed.

    Undirected works find until we discover that it it’s directed. We don’t need to invoke anything to get there.

    When we discover a solid, verifiable reason to conclude ‘directed’ then I’ll change my tune.

  249. The problem is that the proposed naturalistic mechanisms don’t work, cannot work, will never work. Evolution is an atomic hoax. That’s all.

    ‘ . . . will never work.’ No bias here then eh?

    I just don’t understand something. ID proponents want to have an honest and open dialogue about the science and yet when some of us ‘Darwinists’ don’t just spout off about ‘IDiots’ but take the time to attempt to have a real conversation here at Uncommon Descent we are met with ridicule, adamant refusal to see our point of view and accusations about our motives and characters.

    Thanks for the welcome.
    =======
    Jerad, tone is a problem on both sides, as can be seen from the issue on the table over deeming millions ENEMIES OF HUMANITY, from your side. I wish it were not. On topical point, until darwinists show per credible observation that blind watchmaker chance and necessity is capable of generating bio-functional complex specified information, they simply do not have a mechanism in hand. Only, an imposed a priori of materialism per Lewontin et al, which is ideology not science. CY, below, is right that if we don’t know, we don’t know. But, we do know a definite source for FSCO/I, design. This covers codes, data structures with algorithmic coded information, algorithms and associated organised execution machines. Until and unless it is shown otherwise, per Newton’s rules as discussed in 85 above, we have every epistemic right to conclude on billions of cases in point, that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design as cause. If you wish to continue discussions on the merits, there is an open thread based on your comment 70 above. I have terminated this thread after dealing with a glitch, as a warning that we have here crossed a serious threshold and that rhetoric as usual and enabling as usual are not good enough. KF

  250. As a first step, I am terminating this thread of discussion, as a mark of warning.

    A warning? A warning of what? Is UD going to start banning people whose opinions they don’t like again?
    =========
    Jerad, it seems you are choosing not to notice that we are now dealing with someone, EL, who is hosting a blog where — in an atmosphere of slanders and conspiracy stories taken as unquestionable fact — millions have been deemed “ENEMIES OF HUMANITY” without a peep of protest. And on being formally notified of same, we see a blithe business as usual, rhetorical attack as usual, enabling as usual mentality. This is not freedom of expression, it is enabling of slander and hate speech. Something YOU are secondarily enabling by trying to further spread a false accusation of censorship over difference of opinion. Hate speech and enabling thereof fall outside the pale of such freedom. You too need to take warning. KF

  251. Elizabeth Liddle @131:

    Clearly, Darwinian evolution cannot occur in the absence of self-replicators.

    Sure it can. It takes place every day inside computers. Look up evolutionary algorithms.

  252. Elizabeth Liddle @193

    It’s all microevolution, and it’s all “trivial” speciation, but as the lineages continue, the diverge further and further apart, and resemble each other less and less.

    Standard Darwinian hogwash. And this from the person who also proclaims her personal belief that the theory is incomplete.

  253. Elizabeth Liddle @204:

    No, it merely reflected the fact that when I added the additional figure to my post, in which it is wrong, I temporarily forgot that Meyer had explicitly explained plural and singular earlier in the book. And yes, I readily conceded my error, in comments, and corrected it in the text.

    lol. She cherry-picked a diagram from chapter 7 and injected it into her discussion of chapter 2 because all the diagrams from chapter 2 she posted and the actual text from chapter 2 didn’t support her claim that Meyer didn’t know the difference and in fact directly contradict her claim that Meyer didn’t know the difference.

    Heck, even the diagram she cherry-picked from Chapter 7 has the term PHYLUM on the right hand side.

    And yes, I readily conceded my error, in comments, and corrected it in the text.

    But not because it was slanderous, right Alan Fox?

  254. Jerad,

    “The behaviour we observe matches the undirected model. ‘We don’t know’ implies it’s hard to tell but . . . there is no indication of direction. At all.”

    Again; you’re begging the question. You can’t begin with a determination that there is no direction and then state: “we see no indication of direction at all.”

    It’s OK to have models, but the model must match the evidence, not our initial metaphysical assumptions. This is why “I don’t know” should always be the beginning assumption; the default. And to the contrary, It doesn’t imply that it’s hard to tell; rather that in whatever we are looking for we can’t assume one way or another (directed or undirected). We must allow the evidence to speak for itself.

    ME: “I haven’t picked any model. I hold to allowing evidence to speak for itself. If it shows evidence of being undirected, I’m perfectly willing to allow that.”

    “Good, then we’re in agreement. There is no evidence that mutations are directed.”

    I can see how you have come to that conclusion based on your initiall assumptions; which I believe are circular.

    “When we discover a solid, verifiable reason to conclude ‘directed’ then I’ll change my tune.”

    You don’t really have a basis for “changing your tune” if you are intent to continue with your initial metaphysical assumption of (apparently) materialism. Materialism is a default for nothing.

  255. Where are these undirected models? How are they calibrated?

  256. It’s OK to have models, but the model must match the evidence, not our initial metaphysical assumptions. This is why “I don’t know” should always be the beginning assumption; the default. And to the contrary, It doesn’t imply that it’s hard to tell; rather that in whatever we are looking for we can’t assume one way or another (directed or undirected). We must allow the evidence to speak for itself.

    We never KNOW for sure. [Jerad: do you know this for sure? Do you see how you are self-refuting here? KF] We can only find approximations. And the ones that fit that use the fewest unknown causes are more parsimonious.

    We don’t KNOW how gravity works but we can model it. We don’t KNOW a lot of things but we can predict and estimate their effects.

    You’re picking on this one aspect for some reason. If some event or events occurs unpredictably and a random ‘model’ fits the data well then we use it.

    You don’t really have a basis for “changing your tune” if you are intent to continue with your initial metaphysical assumption of (apparently) materialism. Materialism is a default for nothing.

    If someone found data that showed that certain mutations were predictable then I would alter my view. Your assumption about my ideology is unfounded and telling. You think I hold my views because of an ideological commitment which makes it easier for you to dismiss my views because you think even I don’t REALLY believe it.

    [--> Jerad: On the contrary, circular systems of thought such as a priori materialism are self reinforcing and seem to the true believer to be The Truth, the Golden Key to understanding all of reality. Kindly, provide observational warrant for blind watchmaker chance and necessity being able to produce a gated, encapsulated metabolising entity using algorithmic coded information and having a von Neumann self replication facility. Ditto, for origin of the 10 n- 100+ mn bits of incremental algorithmic coded info required for novel body plans, dozens of times over. Absent such the typical darwinist evolutionary picture of origins lacks a root and a mechanism capable of explaining branches in the Darwinist tree of life such as that used by the Smithsonian. We do know on billions of cases that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design. KF]