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Upright Biped Replies to Dr. Moran on “Information”

Dr Moran, sorry for the delay. Other responsibilities intervened for a bit.

Certainly the sequence in DNA is driving reactions. (And there are many varieties)

In your comments you refer to the use of the term “information” within nucleic sequences as a useful analogy, and you say that there is no expectations that it should “conform to the meanings of “information” in other disciplines.” I certainly agree with you that it conforming to other meanings would be a telling turn of events. And I assume your comment suggests that the nucleotide sequence isn’t expected to share any of the same physical characteristics as other forms of information – given that we live in a physical universe where information has physical effects. Ones which we can observe.

I think it makes an interesting comparison; the comparison between the physical characteristics of information transfer in the genome, versus information transfer in other forms. Just recently on this forum we were having a conversation about recorded information, and a question arose if a music box cylinder ‘contained information’. Speaking to its physical characteristics, the answer I gave was “yes”. Just like any other form of recorded information, the pins on a music box are an arrangement of matter to act as a representation within a system. No differently than ink on paper, or the state of a microprocessor, or the lines left on a recording tape, or an ant’s pheromones, or the tone of vibrations we make when we speak; they are all matter/energy arranged in order to represent an effect within a system.

It was also pointed out that a physical arrangement of matter (like the pins on a music box cylinder) cannot by themselves convey information – they require a second coordinated physical object. This second object is easily referred to as a protocol, but physically its is a rule (a protocol) established in a material object. The necessity of this physical protocol is something easily understood; for one thing to represent another thing within a system, it must be separate from it, and if it is truly a separate thing, then there must be something to establish the relationship that exist between the representation and the effect it is to represent (within that system). That is what the second physical object accomplishes, it establishes the relationship between a representation and the effect it represents, which is a relationship that otherwise wouldn’t exist.

There have been examples of this dynamic given in previous conversations. For instance, an apple is an apple, but the word “apple” is a separate thing altogether. Being a separate thing from the apple, there must be something that establishes the relationship between the two. In the case of the word “apple” we as humans have learned the protocols of our individual languages, and they physically exist as neural patterns within our brains. These neural patterns are material things, and they establish the immaterial relationship between a physical representation and its physical effect. This same dynamic is found in all other cases of recorded information. I have previously used the example of a bee’s dance; a bee dancing in a particular way during flight is a separate thing than having the other bees fly off in a particular direction, and the relationship between the two is brought about by a protocol which physically exist in the sensory system of the bee.

In the dynamics of information transfer, the operative observation is that each of these physical things (the representations, the protocols, and their resulting effects) always remains discrete. This is one of the key observations that allows information to exist at all. The input of information is always discrete from the output effect, and the protocol that establishes the relationship between the two, remains discrete as well. They are three completely independent physical realities which share a relationship, with the protocol establishing the relationship between the representation and its effect within the system. In no case does the representation (or the protocol) ever become the effect.

This same dynamic is found in all forms of recorded information; including those used in the information processing systems created by intelligence. As an example, the first automated fabric looms used an arrangement of holes punched into paper cards (which acted as physical representations of the resulting effects within the fabric). Sensors and pins within the machine would sense where the holes were punched, and it would use that information to change and control the colors of threads being woven. In this instance, the configuration of holes served as the representation, and the configuration of sensors served as the protocol, leading to the specified effects. Each of these is physically discrete, while sharing the immaterial relationship established by the protocol.

So here we have a series of observations regarding the physicality of recorded information which repeat themselves throughout every form – no matter whether that information is bound to humans, or human intelligence, or other living things, or non-living machines. There is a list of physical entailments of recorded information that can therefore be generalized and compiled without regard to the source of the information. In other words, the list is only about the physical entailments of the information, not its source. I am using the word “entailment” in the standard sense – to impose as a necessary result (Merriam-Webster). These physical entailments are a necessary result of the existence of recorded information transfer. And they are observable.

That list includes the four material observations as discussed in the previous paragraphs: a) the existence of an arrangement of matter acting as a physical representation, b) the existence of an arrangement of matter to establish the relationship between a representation and the effect it represents within a system (the protocol), c) the existence of physical effects being driven by the input of the representations, and d) the dynamic property that they each remain discrete. Observations of systems that satisfy these four requirements confirms the existence of actual (not analogous) information transfer.

These same entailments are is found in the transfer of information from a nucleic sequence. During protein synthesis a selected sequence of nucleotides are copied, and the representations contained within that copy are fed into a ribosome. The output of that ribosome is a chain of amino acids which will then become the protein being prescribed by the input sequence. The input of information is therefore driving the output production. But the input and the output are physically discrete, as evidenced by the fact that the don’t directly interact, and that the material output is not assembled from the material input.

The exchange of information (from input to output) is facilitated by a set of special physical objects – the protocols – tRNA and its entourage of aminoacyl synthetase. Acting together they make it possible for the input to alter the output, and they do so by allowing them to remain separate. The tRNA physically bridges the gap between the input and the output, acting as a passive carrier of the physical protocol. It accomplishes this by being charged with the correct amino acid by the synthetases (the only molecules in biology which actually hold the rules to the genetic code). The synthetases accomplish their tasks by being able to physically recognize both the tRNAs and the amino acids. They charge the tRNAs with their correct amino acids before they ever enter the ribosome. The actions of the synthetases are therefore completely isolated from both the input and output. In other words, the only molecules in biology that can set the rule that “this maps to that” are physically isolated from both the input and output, while the input and output remain isolated themselves.

These observations establish that the entailed objects (and dynamic relationships) exist the same in the translation of genetic information as they do in any other type of recorded information (in every example from human language, to computer and machine code, to a bee’s dance). These observations have been attacked as being as a misuse of the definition of words (a semantic word game, as you call it). But I have already produced the definitions of the words from a standard dictionary; I’ve restated the observations using those definitions in place of the words themselves; and I have asked the question: “If in one instance we have a thing that actually is a symbolic representation, and in another we have something that just acts like a symbolic representation – then someone can surely look at the physical evidence and point to the distinction between the two. There is also the simple fact that there is nothing about the attachment of cytosine to thymine to adenine that intrinsically means “bind leucine to a nearby polypeptide” as an inherent property of its matter. That is a quality beyond its mere materiality, one it takes on by being in a system with the correct protocol to cause that effect from that arrangement of matter.

There has also been the profoundly illogical objection that because these things follow physical law (and can be understood), they cannot be considered symbols or symbolic representations. Not only does this deny the existence of any symbol in the extreme, it fails for the obvious reason that everything follows physical law. If something can’t be true because it follows the same laws as everything else, then we have entered the Twilight Zone​.

So going back to your comment, a fair reading suggests that the information transfer in the genome shouldn’t be expected to adhere to the qualities of other forms of information transfer. But as it turns out, it faithfully follows the same physical dynamics as any other form of recorded information. As for “disciplines”, you will notice that these observations are very much in the domain of semiotics. Demonstrating a system that satisfies the entailments (physical consequences) of recorded information, also confirms the existence of a semiotic state. It does so observationally. Yet, the descriptions of these entailments makes no reference to a mind. Certainly a living being with a mind can be tied to the observations of information transfer, but so can other living things and non-living machinery. It must be acknowledged, human beings did not invent iterative representative systems, or recorded information. We came along later and discovered they already existed.

Therefore, the search for an answer to the rise of the recorded information in the genome needs to focus on mechanisms that can give rise to a semiotic state, since that is the way we find it. We need a mechanism that can cause an arrangement of matter to serve as a physical representation. We need a mechanism that can establish within a physical object a relationship between two discrete things. To explain the existence of recorded information, we need a mechanism to satisfy the observed physical consequences of recorded information

Do you agree, or do you have evidence that attaching adenine to thymine to guanine is mapped to “start a new protein” in any physical context?

 

 

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75 Responses to Upright Biped Replies to Dr. Moran on “Information”

  1. “Do you agree, or do you have evidence that attaching adenine to thymine to guanine is mapped to “start a new protein” in any physical context?”

    The initiating tRNA (Met) recognizes AUG via codon-anticodon base pairing (in context, for example, the Shine Delgarno sequence, which depends on 30S ribosome interaction with the mRNA).

  2. Ah, an interlocutor appears. Thanks, Dr Rec.

    I have a qualitative research paper that must be completed by COB. I will return shortly to address your comment.

  3. Therefore, the search for an answer to the rise of the recorded information in the genome needs to focus on mechanisms that can give rise to a semiotic state, since that is the way we find it.

    So you are discussing the origin of life and the origin of the genetic code?

  4. “To start with, a brief introduction to modern evolution theory is given (chapter 1). A central and fundamental concept of this theory is that of “biological information,” since the material order and the purposiveness characteristic of living systems are governed completely by information, which in turn has its foundations at the level of biological macromolecules (chapter 2). The question of the origin of life is thus equivalent to the question of the origin of biological information.” Information and the Origin of Life, from the introduction. By Bernd-Olaf Küppers. MIT Press 1990.

  5. I apologize for the delay DrRec (its the holiday season, I wouldn’t want to be a Grinch). You say:

    – “The initiating tRNA (Met) recognizes AUG via codon-anticodon base pairing.”

    Yes.

    – “in context, for example, the Shine Delgarno sequence”

    Yes, in prokaryotes, it recruits the ribosome to the start codon. In eukaryotes the Kozak sequence performs the same general task. I think wikipedia refers to this as alignment, but a literature summary I have refers to it as recruitment.

    – “which depends on 30S ribosome interaction with the mRNA)”

    Does this indicate to you that any of the following observations are false:

    a) information is recorded by a representational arrangement of matter/energy mapped to an effect within a system

    b) for one thing to represent another within that system, it must be separate from it

    c) a second discrete arrangement of matter/energy establishes the relationship between the representational arrangement and the effect it’s mapped to.

    d) when recorded information is transferred, neither the representational arrangement nor the second arrangement becomes the effect.

    e) a system that satisfies the physical observations (a-d), demonstrates a semiotic system

    f) DNA templates used in protein synthesis are an arrangement mapped to an effect within a system

    g) nucleic sequences determine the ordering of amino acids, but are separate from them.

    h) aminoacyl synthetases (aaRS) establish the relationships between anticodons and amino acids.

    i) during protein synthesis, neither DNA or DNA-templated mRNA or aaRS are incorporated in the prescribed polypeptide

    j) The translation of nucleotides during protein synthesis demonstrates a semiotic system.

    If you would like to challenge point j) then I would ask you to look at the physical objects and their dynamics within the system and point to the distinction among the physical evidence.

  6. UBP: “It was also pointed out that a physical arrangement of matter (like the pins on a music box cylinder) cannot by themselves convey information – they require a second coordinated physical object.”

    That’s true for modern life, which is highly evolved and much more complex, hardy and efficient compared to first life. But it’s possible to have a system in which the second coordinated physical object is not necessary. For instance:

    Start with a polymer made of small molecules (subunits) linked together like beads in a necklace. If those subunits have electrostatic fields that attract and hold similar subunits next to them and those new subunits then are attracted together to form a new polymer which then breaks free of the original, you have reproduction with nothing but the original polymer. No second coordinated physical objects are necessary.

    kairosfocus is fond of going on about von Neumann replicators. In the above scheme, the original polymer takes the place of the memory tape, the subunits floating around the polymer take the place of von Neumann’s stockroom of spare parts and the electrostatic charges take the place of the manipulator.

    Once you’ve got your polymer reproducing vigorously, evolution can start developing ways to make the reproduction more efficient and hardy and eventually you can wind up with today’s highly complex and highly efficient life.

  7. I’m assuming that UprightBiPed actually wrote what I quoted and Barry Arrington just posted it for him. If not, sorry for the misattribution.

  8. 8

    Your assumption is warranted.

  9. dmullenix:

    Once you’ve got your polymer reproducing vigorously, evolution can start developing ways to make the reproduction more efficient and hardy and eventually you can wind up with today’s highly complex and highly efficient life.

    Wow. It’s really simple then. There really is no issue after all.

  10. Dmullenix,

    In front of your very eyes are the observed entailments of recorded information. The physical evidence is there for anyone to see. And no matter what you start with, you must get to this point – because this is the way we find it. This is the central issue regarding the argument given to Dr Moran; genomic information transfer (as it is found to exist) operates by semiosis and demonstrates the readily-observable physical entailments of being semiotic, just like any other form of information transfer ever observed, without exception.

    So let us boil the position down to the two key parameters: a) origins based upon the direct templating (of what you refer to as “information”) and b) the end result of a genuine semiotic system of recorded information.

    This position has been repeatedly addressed with regard to Dr Liddle, who holds the same hopeless monster in her mind’s eye. I responded to her:

    And in a beautifully profound irony, you say ‘its the information (pattern) that really matters, not the substrate’ … Yet how odd then, in order to defend your remaining views, you believe that (in the end) it was the substrate that created the information in the first place. The details of that be damned, even against observable evidence to the contrary. And its not just any information that the substrate created, its the most incredible display of information processing to ever be seen – so much so that calling it “complex” is an insult to the fact.
    Mycoplasma genitalium is one of the least complex freely living organisms on Earth and it has 450+ genes consisting of 582,000 base pairs. How much of that required function do you think you can get to without a representation-translation-effect system in place; in other words, in the absence of the genuine recorded information processing we find in mycoplasma? And it really doesn’t matter where you put the mark Elizabeth, wherever it is, you’ll need the very simplest of chemical organizations to organically produce the immaterial representations and protocols you must have to get any further.

    So, far from refuting anything in the semiotic argument, you’ve simply highlighted the forever compounding improbability of your own position. I am not saying it is impossible, I am saying that no one can even provide a plausible conceptual pathway for making the jump to genuine recorded information, particularly one based upon the (entirely speculative) direct templating of relatively simple organic compounds.

  11. My post was in reply that ATG does map to “start” in a physical context.
    Are you saying it doesn’t? I

    I actually find the language analogy drawn to this physical system more confusing than it is clarifying. If we took the example of my car, are the RPM of the wheels a symbolic representation of the angle of the accelerator? They are separate, representational of each other, and determinate. But inherently physical, despite not being directly physically coupled.

    Similarly, if we take physical ‘ATG’ bases, they are represented throughout-in the DNA, mRNA, inversely in the tRNA, and recognized by the methionyl tRNA synthetase. It isn’t symbolically representative, or truly ‘separate,’ but the same physical handle used for recognition throughout the process.

    If we consider a simpler system, DNA translated into a Ribosome, the system is the effect. If we take a RNA virus, the template for process is physically the genome.

  12. Dr Rec,

    My post was in reply that ATG does map to “start” in a physical context. Are you saying it doesn’t?

    No that is exactly the point. ATG is mapped to “start” in the physical context of a system – but only in a system where there is a physical protocol (a rule) that ATG is mapped to “start”. Otherwise, it has nothing to do with “start”.

    The mapping to “start” is an immaterial quality it takes on by being in a system coordinated to actualize that effect.

    It’s semiotic. (representations, protocols, effects, and appropriate dynamics)

    I actually find the language analogy drawn to this physical system more confusing than it is clarifying.

    I don’t really believe you, but give yourself a pep talk anyway. :)

    If we took the example of my car, are the RPM of the wheels a symbolic representation of the angle of the accelerator? They are separate, representational of each other, and determinate. But inherently physical, despite not being directly physically coupled.

    The spinning wheels of your car are a representation to what, or to whom?

    You? The car?

    Do you think your spinning wheels represent something to the accelerator pedal? How does your accelerator pedal receive this representation from the spinning wheels, and what does it do with it?

    This is the same calamity of anthropomorphic malaise that Dr Liddle waded through. I believe she made her way to the other side. I hope you do as well.

    You are a natural symbol maker. Remove yourself from the sample.

    Similarly, if we take physical ‘ATG’ bases, they are represented throughout-in the DNA, mRNA, inversely in the tRNA, and recognized by the methionyl tRNA synthetase.

    Yes. A rule is maintained throughout the system.

    It isn’t symbolically representative, or truly ‘separate,’ but the same physical handle used for recognition throughout the process.

    Let’s take the second part of this first: The representation being sent into the system is created by DNA serving as a template. The protocol that establishes the effect from that representation is the aaRS. At what point in protein synthesis does DNA and aaRS physically interact? Or further, at what point does the DNA-templated mRNA and the aaRS interact?

    Are they separate, or are they not?

    And now to the first part of your comment, where you say that templated DNA sequences are not representations. I will ask you again to answer the question above:

    “If in one instance we have a thing that actually is a symbolic representation, and in another we have something that just acts like a symbolic representation – then someone can surely look at the physical evidence and point to the distinction between the two.”

  13. “The spinning wheels of your car are a representation to what, or to whom?
    You? The car? ….. You are a natural symbol maker. Remove yourself from the sample.”

    Precisely my point!

    The ATG isn’t a symbolic representation to the cell-it is a physical handle that in a physical context tells the ribosome to drop in a MET. That the gas petal and the tires don’t physically interact doesn’t mean they are symbolically communicating-they are physically coupled to other objects in the system.

    The symbology is anthropomorphised.

  14. Dr Rec, you are going in circles.

    Again you want to claim that the system is not symbolic, presumably because it does not follow the observed physical entailments of a symbolic system. Moreover, you don’t seem to want to address those observed entailments and actually point out the distinction you wish to assert.

    You will need to do so to make your case. Simply claiming that the system is physical, is a non-answer. All systems are physical.

    Shall I repeat the pertinent question:

    “If in one instance we have a thing that actually is a symbolic representation, and in another we have something that just acts like a symbolic representation – then someone can surely look at the physical evidence and point to the distinction between the two.”

  15. crickets all day, crickets all night, crickets all day…

  16. I noticed that Larry Moran has taken note of this thread. He apparently has some time off from doing hard science, and was taking the opportunity to besmirch Barry Arrington when he then took the opportunity to distance himself from anything that might have happened here on Uncommon Descent in mid-October. I’m sure no one there noticed.

    It would, of course, serve his purpose to do a little distancing of himself, given that he had his hat handed to him by observations of physical evidence. Perhaps recalling his teen years, he chose to pull up the all the stops and pretend he didn’t remember any of it.

    And it would seem he didn’t have much to remember after all. On enemy territory by his own choosing, among the IDiots no less, he was challenged by one of them on the idea that information transfer during proteins synthesis was not just analogous (as he called it) to other information transfer, but was observationally semiotic. He then typed out 5 responses containing a little over 3400 characters (one of them, a single sentence where he quickly rose to excuse himself from the conversation) addressing the comments of three people, over a period of three days. Who would remember that?

    He says:

    I don’t remember the context but apparently I questioned whether the definition of “information” from computer science and philosophy could be applied to the “information” in DNA sequences. The problem is that, according to Intelligent Design Creationists, if the DNA information is the same as other kinds of information then it has to be created by an agent like some god or some space alien.

    Setting aside (for the moment) the fact that he wasn’t asked about computer science or philosophy, “the problem” he insists “is that according to Intelligent Design Creationist…”

    So he jump starts his memory by first misrepresenting the actual positions involved in the debate; always taking after the low hanging fruit – which have been taken so often they must be greasy by now. But this is how some materialists ideologues feel obliged to work the problem. That’s fine; the more interesting thing is what he says next.

    He says “if the DNA information is the same as other kinds of information then it has to be created by an agent like some god or some space alien”. This sentence is certainly not too difficult to understand. It’s made up of two parts connected by a qualifier – IF this, THEN that.

    Now the first part of this sentence is about the physical evidence itself; the evidence that the transfer of recorded information from the genome observationally demonstrates a semiotic state (both by the type of objects it contains in a system, and by their dynamic relationships to one another). The second part of the sentence deals with items that stand apart from Larry’s ideology. In other words, an agent; the very thing he wishes to immediately cast out as irrational.

    Of course, the first thing one might notice is that the semiotic argument that Larry was given explicitly makes no reference to a mind (and by extension, no god or alien either). It is an argument which claims that the transfer of information from the genome is semiotic in nature (full stop). Again, this is made explicit in the argument itself. The reason for this is simple, the physical entailments of recorded information transfer do not point to the source of information, in fact, the opposite is true. The semiotic argument is based squarely on the fact that the physical dynamics involved are ubiquitous regardless of the source of the information. So as a matter of the actual content of the argument itself, it would be a rather obvious logical fallacy to start making conclusions about the source of information while observing evidence that explicitly does not point to the source of the information. Instead, I used the open term “mechanism” in my comments to Larry, and stand ready to test any mechanism proposed as being causally-adequate to the evidence. In other words, the physical evidence is one thing, and the response to it is another (knowing that the source of the information is in question). Larry apparently lacks this particular discipline.

    But that is not the most interesting part of Larry’s comment. You have to look a little closer.

    He sets up a dichotomy from the very start. He clearly establishes that IF the physical evidence demonstrates that it’s semiotic in nature THEN the mechanism (he has in mind) is something he wishes to immediate cast out as irrational. Of course, he fully acknowledges up front that this is just how the argument was given to him (“according to the Intelligent Design Creationist”) which is an acknowledgment which would carry substantially more weight if that was how the argument was given to him. But it wasn’t.

    But even this is not what is most interesting about his response. The most interesting part of Larry’s response is what he is prepared to do with it, at a professional level. He’s been given physical evidence which he doesn’t like, and so he’s set up a defense against that physical evidence by making it forever answerable (IF/THEN) to what he wants to immediately cast out as irrational.

    So first he ignores the evidence, then he misrepresents the positions, then he changes the argument as it was given to him, then injects his own personal boogeyman, and then forces the evidence to answer to it. In other words, he is an ideologue. Or, am I reading too much into it? Are these the actions of an material empiricists? I don’t think so.

    After all, Larry did not answer the challenge in October by tossing out a line of peer-reviewed papers showing how the observations are wrong, he did not present any physical observations of his own, he did not point to any results of evolutionary algorithms establishing their own representations and protocols – and he certainly didn’t appeal to common sense. He did none of that in October, nor did he do it in December when he wrote about this again on his blog. Quite frankly, he appears rather lazy in defending his position; an appearance that no doubt comes from not allowing it to ever come into question in the first place.

    He says:

    They don’t seem to be troubled by such an explanation because they never ask the obvious question … where did the information in the designer come from?

    No sooner do I accuse Larry of subjecting the physical evidence to his own personal boogeyman, then he goes off and proves me correct. He wants to know where the information in the designer came from. Of course, the value of this question can be easily put into perspective by having the appropriately agnostic position that Larry’s profession requires – but I’ll give a different answer.

    1) You can have whatever metaphysics you want, but if you are going promote yourself as a material empiricist, then there is some point in evaluating evidence where that evidence must be allowed to trump you. That line must be there, and it cannot be made a game of. If it is, then you are no longer an empiricist. Or at the very least, you are a poor one.

    2) Where did the information in the designer come from? That question cannot be resolved by the argument or evidence given to you; it’s that simple. But at the same time, neither the argument nor the evidence can be thwarted by questions it cannot answer. Particularly when those questions are tied to no more than what you personally find incredulous. We did not say The Big Bang could not happen just because we know nothing whatsoever of how it happened. The artifacts of it happening were physically available to us, and we observed them. It’s a matter of evidentiary discipline, Larry.

    By the way, running a public blog for the practical purpose of throwing stones at your opposition (while you willfully ignore the physical evidence) is in bad taste for a practicing scientist.

    “We desire the best available scientific status report on the origin of life.  We shall see that adherents of the best known theory have not responded to increasing adverse evidence by questioning the validity of their beliefs, in the best scientific tradition; rather, they have chosen to hold it as a truth beyond question, thereby enshrining it as mythology. Robert Shapiro, Professor Emeritus Chemistry, New York University, “Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life On Earth”

  17. This thread will soon disappear into the grand UD archive, but before it goes, I would like to ask a question. I have been attempting to launch a website that houses this argument as well as several others. My goal was to launch on Jan 1st, but I am simply out of time. The site in 90% written, but there is a functionality issue I just can’t seem to correct, and a probably a little cleaning up to do.

    Is there anyone (who actually knows what they’re doing) out there in the blogosphere that would consider lending a hand? I can be reached by emailing the “contact” at “complexitycafe”, followed by a dot and a com. The site is written on a Joomla platform.

    Remember, the donation of expertise is a terrible thing to waste.
    ;)

  18. So the ribosome just recognizes the codon and just drops in the proper amino acid?

    Just ay anything as long as it ain’t “design”.

  19. Suppose that we allow that the genetic code was as “semiotic” as you like. (We’d have to dispense with the question-begging role of symbology in society, which is what de Saussure had in mind.). The code is a bit fuzzier than a human equivalent – EBCDIC, say – but still, arguably, a translation system from one representation to another.

    I would have to say: so what? The ID inference is that this ‘informational’ content is a strong pointer to design, since without a Mind, what can information mean? But I don’t see the justification for this. It is logically possible for the broad set of symbolic codes to include a subset that is designed. You may not see how a code can come into existence without being designed, but that is beside the point. With typical human arrogance, we determine that the products of our minds approach the limits of the possible. Then, with a quick touch of deferential humility, we admit that the ‘natural’ code must be the product of a Mind far greater than our own.

    But I don’t see any problem with a natural symbolic code, neither produced by nor intended for interpretation by a mind. Because this code is not rigidly informational, it has a plasticity that is significant in its evolution. But then, much of our symbology evolves too, sometimes with and sometimes without intention.

    With our intelligence, we have discovered a means of intentionally generating symbolic representations that bear many similarities to that natural genetic code. This does not mean that all symbolic representations must necessarily be intentionally generated.

  20. ChasD:

    You may not see how a code can come into existence without being designed, but that is beside the point.

    and:

    But I don’t see any problem with a natural symbolic code, neither produced by nor intended for interpretation by a mind.

    OK, but:

    a) Well, if you see “how a code can come into existence without being designed”, why don’t you explain that to us? An explicit model, please. An explanation is however due, I suppose.

    b) This would be, to my knowledge, the only known example of a natural symbolic code. Quite an exception, I would say.

    So, you don’t see any problems, and I am happy for you. Problems certainly complicate life. Unfortunately, I am not as lucky, and I see a lot of problems there. I suppose I will have to live with that…

  21. ChasD, that was quite a punt.

    StephenB use to have a bit of fun with exacerbated materialists on this forum; evoking the idea of them saying to the evidence “Fit damn you, FIT!”

    But standing directly in front of these physical observations, you’ve gone one step further. You’ve folded your arms as quipped “It doesn’t even have to fit”. Or, how did you put it – “So what?”

    With our intelligence, we have discovered a means of intentionally generating symbolic representations that bear many similarities to that natural genetic code. This does not mean that all symbolic representations must necessarily be intentionally generated.

    “…bear many similarities…”

    By ‘similar’ you must mean it has the exact same types of physical objects operating in a formal system, performing the exact sames roles, demonstrating the exact same physical dynamics, resulting in effects which are observed to be under the direct contraint of the objects within the system.

    “…natural genetic code…”

    This is the obvious fallacy of ‘assuming your conclusion’, which you asserted directly in front of observable physical evidence to the contrary. You get to label it “natural” (as in unguided in its origin) when you prove it with physical evidence. Not before.

    “This does not mean that all symbolic representations must necessarily be intentionally generated”

    No it doesn’t. It also doesn’t mean that two objects of opposing charges (+/-) must repel each other, just because they always do.

    Chas, for the system to operate, it requires two objects with immaterial qualities (the physical representations contain an immaterial abstraction mapped to the resulting effects within the system, and the protocols establish the immaterial relationships that otherwise wouldn’t exist). These two physical objects must the coordinated to one another in a formal system in order to produce the ouput. That is the way we find it.

    The question is not what it “does not mean”.

  22. Dr. Liddle was talking about two different systems – the DNA based system that rules today’s life and the much simpler “direct templating” system, as you call it, that began life. No contradiction on her part, just a misunderstanding on yours.

    “So let us boil the position down to the two key parameters: a) origins based upon the direct templating (of what you refer to as “information”) and b) the end result of [the DNA based] system of recorded information.”

    I rephrased your words to get rid of “semiotic” which is generally associated with intelligence. Using it tends to make your arguments circular.

    Ok, so how do we get from a to b? The scientific world claims that the direct template system embodied Darwinian evolution which is a process that slowly extracts information from the organism’s environment and ratchets that information into the genome a few bits at a time.

    This system is well known, both in the field and in lab experiments. Even Young Earth Creationists have been forced to accept it although they claim it’s limited and the bits don’t add up over time.

    ID, on the other hand, “explains” today’s DNA based system by claiming that an Intelligent Designer, who would have to be billions of times more complex than the DNA system you’re trying to explain, added the information.

    However, ID has no evidence for the existence of this Designer and no way of explaining how He could come into existence.

    Tell you what. You show us some persuasive evidence for the existence of the Intelligent Designer and I’ll look at your “explanation” more favorably. Until then, I’ll stick with Darwinian evolution since it is known to exist and be capable of extracting the information needed to make an organism from the environment.

  23. Dr. Liddle was talking about two different systems – the DNA based system that rules today’s life and the much simpler “direct templating” system, as you call it, that began life.

    And the evidence for this “dorect templating” start to life is what?

    The scientific world claims that the direct template system embodied Darwinian evolution which is a process that slowly extracts information from the organism’s environment and ratchets that information into the genome a few bits at a time.

    They still need evidence for taht claim. Bald claims are meaningless to science. And taht remains a bald claim.

    ID, on the other hand, “explains” today’s DNA based system by claiming that an Intelligent Designer, who would have to be billions of times more complex than the DNA system you’re trying to explain, added the information.

    Nice strawman.

    However, ID has no evidence for the existence of this Designer and no way of explaining how He could come into existence.

    There is plenty of evidence that one designer did exist at one time. Also ID is not about the designer. ID is about the design. Until we can study the designer the designer is off limits.

    Tell you what dmullenix, to refute the design inference all YOU have to do is actually step up and produce positive evidence for YOUR position. Then Newton’s First Rule applies and ID is refuted.

    Yeah stick with Darwinian evolution and ignore the evidence that demonstrates it breaks things but cannot construct anything requiring more than two new protein-to-protein binding sites.

    BTW I like the lie you ended your post with:

    Until then, I’ll stick with Darwinian evolution since it is known to exist and be capable of extracting the information needed to make an organism from the environment.

    Unfortunately for you Darwinian evolution does NOT apply to the origin of life as you just suggested.

  24. dmullenix,

    You are just a little late to the party. Dr Liddle and I had been having that conversation rather consistently since May, exchanging literally tens of thousands of words over more than a dozen threads. Despite your best effort to impute a talking point where one did not exist – there was neither a contradiction on her part, nor a misunderstanding on mine.

    The remainder of your post is laced with unsupported assumptions and bald assertions. Perhaps you thought you were talking to someone who wouldn’t notice. But as expected, you did not address the evidence in earnest. You simply want to assert that the system is not based upon rerpesentations and protocols, and apparently want your opinion to carry the day. Yet your opinion has already been thoroughly challenged. I am happy to repeat the pertinent question, which you must actually address in order to support your assertion:

    “If in one instance we have a thing that actually is a symbolic representation, and in another we have something that just acts like a symbolic representation – then someone can surely look at the physical evidence and point to the distinction between the two.”

    You see, this is how empirical thought is carried out. You must address the physical evidence.

  25. JoeG, like it or not, ID has already made a whopping big statement about The Designer. You claim that he is Intelligent.

    This necessarily means that He is billions of times more complex (and hence unlikely) than the whole DNA system. That’s not a strawman, it’s a fact: intelligence is complex. The more intelligent, the more complex. There’s no way around that.

    Meanwhile, I’m waiting for ID to produce any kind of positive evidence for their position. When and where did The Intelligent Designer create the DNA system?

    Did it happen all at once or in steps?

    You show me your evidence and I’ll show you mine.

  26. Like many others, I was entertained for months by Dr. Liddle’s attempt to explain the simplest things to ID fanbois. That was just as entertaining as Math Grrl’s attempts were before her, but not nearly the knee slapper that the old “Weasel” debacle was. I still get a chuckle out of “quasi latching”.

    I repeat: She is and was talking about two different things: the very first replicator and the modern, highly evolved DNA system. The random assembly of the first substrate did simultaneously create the information that was passed on in reproduction. Ages later that simple system was replaced by the DNA system where the information is stored in the more stable DNA and then transferred to the RNA for use.

    I don’t think I’m talking to someone who doesn’t notice something, I think I’m talking to someone whose whole world view would collapse in ruins if you noticed something.

    Your whole position boils down to: ‘I could create a system like the DNA system and I’d be using symbolic representation to do it, therefore it was designed and uses symbolic representation.’

    That is not how empirical thought is carried out. It’s a little bit like the Virgin Mary. Yes, it’s logically possible that she was impregnated supernaturally, but there’s are simpler explanations that should also be considered.

  27. dmullenix:

    All designers are intelligent: without cognitive (and purposeful)representations they would not design at all.

    It is only your personal assumption that intelligence needs complexity. That is a philosophical position (and a wrong one, IMO), and not a fact. It is true that human intelligence is expressed through complex tools, like the brain, but there is no reason to assume that that is a requirement for any form of intelligence. Intelligence is a property of consciousness, and as we don’t know what consciousness is, we cannot assume with certainty that it needs complexity. Indeed, one of the astonishing formal properties of consciousness is that it refers every representation to a single, simple perceiver, the “I”. That is a good basis to argue that consciousness and intelligence are, in essence, simple realities. But again, that is philosophy, and in philosophy neither you nor I can claim that our views are the only existing or the only accepted ones.

    That human consciousness expresses itself through a complex physical instrument, while trivial, does not prove that complexity is needed for consciousnes and/ir intelligence. The conscious intellugent agent who designed biological beings, after all, was not likely to be a human.

    When and where did The Intelligent Designer create the DNA system?

    When? In a window from about 3.8 to 3.5 billion years ago, according to present knowledge.

    Where? On this planet, I suppose.

    All at once or in steps?

    Probably in steps, but design steps. I believe, as my own position, that life emerged more or less in the prokaryotic form known as LUCA, form an integral design process. I don’t believe in simpler precursors of prokaryotic life, of which there is no evidence at all.

  28. JoeG, like it or not, ID has already made a whopping big statement about The Designer. You claim that he is Intelligent.

    Unlike yourself.

    This necessarily means that He is billions of times more complex (and hence unlikely) than the whole DNA system.

    Reference please. Or admit you just made that up. As for “unlikely” THAT ONLY PERTAINS TO YOUR POSITION. Probabilities do not apply to design as it is a given that designers know how to design what it is they are dsigning.

    Meanwhile, I’m waiting for ID to produce any kind of positive evidence for their position.

    ID has presented plenty of positive evidence. OTOH your position doesn’t have anything, nothing at all.

    When and where did The Intelligent Designer create the DNA system?

    Thank you for proving my point. Ya see in order to determine the when and where we FIRST have to study the design. And THAT is ID-> the detection and study of design.

    You show me your evidence and I’ll show you mine.

    Except you don’t have any evidence and you don’t have a testable hypothesis.

    All you “have” is somethings happened sometime in the past and these things kept accumulating over vast eons of time and here we are.”

    Ya see dmullenix, the way to a design inference is THROUGH your position as required by Newton’s First Rule. And taht means if you had some positive evidence then ID would be a non-starter. Yet here we are.

    You lose…

  29. The random assembly of the first substrate did simultaneously create the information that was passed on in reproduction.

    If it happened you would have a point.

    Ages later that simple system was replaced by the DNA system where the information is stored in the more stable DNA and then transferred to the RNA for use.

    If such a thing happened you would have a point.

    Your whole position boils down to: ‘I could create a system like the DNA system and I’d be using symbolic representation to do it, therefore it was designed and uses symbolic representation.’

    And your whole position boils down to “Anything but design no matter what!”

    But anyway, as I keep telling you and you keep ignoring as if your ignornce means something- to refute the design inference just demonstrate that stochastic processes can account for it. Ya see it is the FAILURE of YOUR position to provide a scientific explanation that has allowed ID to get a crack at it.

    As for empirical, well obviously your position doesn’t have a clue what that is…

  30. dmullenix,

    In your opening post to this thread, you affirmed that the genetic translation system requires representations and protocols to operate, but then asserted that (some) unknown process could create the jump from a model of direct templating to the current system. Yet you provided no physical evidence of this process, nor any substantive rationale for it. In your second post, you then removed the word “semiotic” from the descriptions being given, implying that there are no representations and protocols in the system. And yet again, you provided no physical observations to support this, nor any substantive rationale.

    Now certainly, there is no way which I can prevent you from inserting your personal, political, or religious invectives in place of physical observation and pertinent rationale. I can only stand by the material evidence, and continue to ask you to address it in earnest. By doing so, I give you the opportunity to support your position based upon that material evidence. Or alternatively, your off-substance remarks will be illustrative that such evidence does not exist.

    These are the relevant obsvertions:

    a) information is recorded by a representational arrangement of matter/energy mapped to an effect within a system

    Is this tue or false? If false, please provide evidence and rationale.

    b) for one thing to represent another within that system, it must be separate from it

    Is this tue or false? If false, please provide evidence and rationale.

    c) a second discrete arrangement of matter/energy establishes the relationship between the representational arrangement and the effect it’s mapped to.

    Is this tue or false? If false, please provide evidence and rationale.

    d) when recorded information is transferred, neither the representational arrangement nor the second arrangement becomes the effect.

    Is this tue or false? If false, please provide evidence and rationale.

    e) a system that satisfies these physical observations, demonstrates a semiotic system

    Is this tue or false? If false, please provide evidence and rationale.

  31. Upright, I asked you to drop the word “semiotic” because, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Wikipedia defines “semiotics” like this: “Semiotics … is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication. Semiotics is closely related to the field of linguistics, which, for its part, studies the structure and meaning of language more specifically.”

    Wikipedia defines “sign (semiotics)” like this:”A sign is understood as a discrete unit of meaning in semiotics. It is defined as “something that stands for something, to someone in some capacity”. It includes words, images, gestures, scents, tastes, textures, sounds – essentially all of the ways in which information can be communicated as a message by any sentient, reasoning mind to another.

    Since you are trying to prove that someone (a sentient reasoning Intelligent Designer) is reponsible for the DNA system, your inserting words that mean someone into your definition makes your whole argument circular.

    You are holding out a mechanical system which accomplishes all of its work without involving any sentient being whatsoever and insisting that it’s proof of a sentient being. Sorry, but that’s what you have to prove with evidence.

    Evidence! You know, the stuff you’re demanding from us. Let’s see samples of the first life and later life. Show us the whole DNA/RNA/tRNA/protein synthesis system coming into existence overnight and you’ll have good evidence supporting your claim. If it develops slowly and step by step we’ll have good evidence for our claim. But nobody has such evidence because whatever happened, it happened billions of years ago at a sub-microscopic scale and we haven’t found any fossils yet.

    Neither side has such evidence, but you’re declaring victory because you’ve defined your answer into the question. “It was semiotics.” Sorry, that doesn’t work.

    Meanwhile, science has a process, variation and natural selection, that is known to exist, is observable in the real world and the lab and generates information incrementally. Your side has a claim “supported” by circular reasoning.

    No wonder Dr. Moran doesn’t waste his time coming over here to argue with you.

  32. Gpuccio 2.2.1.1.2: “All designers are intelligent: without cognitive (and purposeful) representations they would not design at all.”

    Correct! All Designers must contain internal representations of the outside world in order to design anything. Those representations contain a LOT of information. That’s one of the reasons that intelligence cannot be simple. ID says that The Intelligent Designer designed the DNA/RNA system that we see today. Let’s look at one key part of that system, the ribosome:

    The bacterial ribosome is made from RNA and proteins. Wikipedia says it contains about 4500 RNA nucleotides and “multiple smaller proteins.” RNA has four different nucleotides, so each one contains 2 bits of information. That’s about 9000 bits of information in the RNA alone, plus hundreds or thousands more bits in the proteins.

    Ignoring the proteins altogether, The Designer had to contain at least 9000 bits of information just to specify the RNA portion of the ribosome. How much information would you say is in the whole DNA/mRNA/ribosome/tRNA system? Certainly hundreds of thousands of bits.

    So The Designer can’t be simple, He has to contain hundreds of thousands of bits of information just to design the DNA system and megabits more to design the rest of a cell. UprightBiPed is “explaining” the existence of the DNA system by saying that a far more complex Intelligent Designer did it. That’s not an explanation unless you can show us where that Designer came from.

    The idea that intelligence is somehow “simple” is dead.

  33. dmullenix:

    we can keep the word “semiotic”, or just change it to “apparently semiotic”, if we just drop any a priori assumption that a sentient or conscious agent is necessarily implied. That is correct, because we don’t want any form of circular reasoning.

    But we can well retain another aspect of the word “semiotic”, that is not dependent on that assumption, and that is exactly what UB, IMO, means in his reasoning. You have offered that yourself, in your quoted definitions:

    “A sign is understood as a discrete unit of meaning in semiotics. It is defined as “something that stands for something”".

    I have only dropped the “to someone in some capacity”. We can well substitute the following:

    A sign is understood as a discrete unit of meaning in semiotics, defined as “something that stands for something” in a system, to some other part of the system, without any necessity relationship between the two “somethings” (IOWs, through a symbolic mapping).

    Again, it is not a problem of words. We can drop “semiotic” and use any other term, provided we agree on the meaning.

    And then comes the empirical part: that semiotic (or whatever) systems are always produced by sentient, conscious beings. The genetic code would be, as far as I know, the only exception, if it were not designed.

    Can you accept the reasoning in this form?

  34. dmullenix:

    You are either confused, or just bad at philosophical reasoning.

    You say:

    All Designers must contain internal representations of the outside world in order to design anything.

    Wrong. The correct form is: “All Designers represent the outside world in their consciousness in order to design anything.”

    You don’t understand the fundamental difference between the conscious I that represents, and the things that are represented. The things represented are certainly complex, but the conscious I that represents them can well be simple. Indeed, I firmly believe that it is simple.

    The origin of such strange ocnepts like meaning and purpose derives exactly from that interaction between a simple perceiver and complex things percieve. It’s the perceiver who gives meaning to things. Complex objective things, in themselves, have no meaning.

    And i’s the preceiver who has desires and purposes. Complex objective things, in themselves, have no desire or purpose.

    The nature of the perceiving I is a mystery. You cannot apply to consciousness the principles that govern objective matter. They are two different things, as far as we can say and as far as we can perceive.

  35. Dmullenix,

    Your complaint perhaps centers (once again) on you coming in late to the conversation. All of this territory has already been covered, but I don’t have the slightest bit of problem going over it all again. Firstly, I have (from the very beginning) used the broad description of semiosis as a phenomenon which exist anytime one thing “means, represents, symbolizes, stands for, or is mapped to” another thing – but is separate from it. This description is in no way a violation of the core modern understanding of semiosis across all disciplines (in fact, it upholds that modern understanding entirely) but at the same time, it does not require an observer as a proximate entity in the process. Secondly, what this means, of course, is that the code that runs through your computer can rightfully (and genuinely) be recognized as a semiotic process, but does not require an observer inside your CPU doing the observing. Thirdly, you might also note the very specific remarks made within the argument that a “reference to a mind” needn’t be considered in order to form a coherent description of the physical dynamics involved in the process (based upon physical observations). Fourthly, it is fully recognized in the argument that the source of the semiosis is in question, so the term “mechanism” is used as an appropriate descriptor of the source, which may be shown to either be a mind, a material process, or something else – thereby specifically avoiding any logical fallacy or circularity. Fifthly, any attempt to deny the use of the term semiosis in biology (particularly on definitional grounds) will not only have to face the physical evidence, but will also be forced to ignore the fact that modern biological research has spawned a growing recognition of biosemiosis among biologists (as evidenced by the existence of refereed journals dedicated to the subject of biosemiosis, as well as biologist who regularly refer to semiotic processes in their research, eg Shapiro). And finally, Dr Liddle was told throughout (and the offer is extended to you as well) that we may call these things anything we wish – because it is the observed physical dynamics which are at issue. So, in short, your complaint has no basis. It’s invalid.

    Now having said that, I would like to explain to you where the positions are located in the argument, given that you seem to have lost your way. The semiotic argument advances the claim that the transfer of genomic information during protein synthesis is genuinely semiotic (eg; it contains representations, protocols, and effects). In order to support this claim, observations of the physical objects within the genetic system (and their dynamics relationships to one another) are provided, and those observations are compared to other known instances of semiosis and information transfer. The observations are then shown to fully support the claim by being identical in their physical existence.

    Now to a key point:

    Did you by chance happen to notice where in the argument the term “semiosis” was first used? It was mentioned in the conclusions portion of the original argument, David. Prior to that, the entire argument was based solely upon physical observations of evidence. And again in my last response to you (at 2.2.1.2.3), did you happen to notice where “semiosis” was mentioned in that post? Again, it was mentioned in the conclusions portion of the post. Do you understand?

    Semiosis is the conclusion of the observations of physical evidence. So now, please take a moment and consider the sheer impotence of your complaint when you make the ridiculous suggestion that an argument ‘for semiosis’ cannot conclude ‘semiosis.’ It is truly amazing that you could come to such an illogical determination that an argument becomes “circular” the very moment it states its case and affirms itself based upon the evidence in that case. Give me a break.

    And so now I would like to mention what was not mentioned in your complaint. In my previous posts to you, I have asked you to actually address the physical evidence if you wanted to demonstrate that the process was not semiotic. I will now ask you again.

    Stop playing games. You did not address even a single one of the questions I asked (at 2.2.1.2.3). So either: a) address the evidence and show it false, b) leave the argument altogether, or c) concede that the physical evidence is valid, and that the rise of genetic translation requires a mechanism capable of establishing a semiotic state.

  36. gpuccio in 2.2.1.1.5:

    Me: All Designers must contain internal representations of the outside world in order to design anything.

    gpuccio: Wrong. The correct form is: “All Designers represent the outside world in their consciousness in order to design anything.”

    The only things The Designer represents in his consciousness are the things He is currently thinking about. If He’s designing a ribosome, He needs all 9000+ bits of information in His consciousness. When He’s designing something else they reside in His memory.

    There’s a subsection of philosophers that say that there is nothing remotely simple about consciousness, but frankly they don’t know squat about how the mind works, they don’t keep up with cognitive science and they don’t seem interested in learning anything about it. They tend to be dualists and theists and, not to put too fine a point on it, they are time wasters with nothing to contribute to the discussion. They talk, talk, talk and get nowhere because they can’t or won’t learn enough about what we’ve discovered about consciousness to hold an intelligent conversation.

    Consciousness seems simple because we are blissfully unaware of the buzz of unconscious activity that creates it. We study it in the lab nowadays and we can pry some of its pieces apart and study them.

    We can flash a stimulous, such as a blinking light, on a screen and see it every time until someone flashes a second light right after the first one and suddenly it vanishes until we turn the second light off and then it reappears. And we have to have the timing of the second flash right because consciousness is a dynamic process and if you flash the second light at the wrong time it’s too late to cover the first one.

    We can use fMRI to see decisions being made before the decider is aware of them. We can use the data to predict the choice that will be made before the subject makes it.

    We can watch different parts of the brain light up as a subject does mathematical problems in his head and then watch another part light up as he switches to “listening” to music in his imagination.

    We can tap him on his nose and his foot at exactly the same time and he will report feeling the taps at the same time despite the signal from his toe taking several milliseconds longer to make it to his brain.

    We can pulse the left front portion of a subject’s brain and he will lie more often than normal and if we pulse the right side of his forhead he will lie less often. (http://www.popsci.com/technolo.....t-tell-lie)

    We can shut down a man’s ability to speak with another magnetic field. (http://www.popsci.com/technolo.....-abilities) A few minutes Googling will find many more examples.

    You may firmly believe that consciousness is simple, but the facts say it is not.

    Consciousness isn’t even a mystery any more. It’s been downgraded to a problem. A few hundred years ago we had absolutely no idea how consciousness worked. It was a mystery. Today we’ve got it narrowed down to the brain and we’re learning the details of how it works. It has become a problem to be solved.

    Now, where did The Designer get the 9000 plus bits of information He needed to design the ribosome?

  37. gpuccio in 2.2.1.2.5 “we can keep the word “semiotic”, or just change it to “apparently semiotic”, if we just drop any a priori assumption that a sentient or conscious agent is necessarily implied. That is correct, because we don’t want any form of circular reasoning.”

    Why use a word that leads our thinking astray? “Semiotic” was coined to refer to signs, symbols, metaphors and other aspects of human thought and language. But signs, symbols, metaphors and others things like that can be implemented mechanically. For instance, we don’t need intelligence to explain how a three codon mRNA triplet causes asparagine to be inserted into a protein. There isn’t even any room for an intelligent agent in the process.

    An intelligence could do the design work, but in order to do that it first has to have the huge quantity of information that is required to do it. You can’t design a tRNA molecule that will detect three adjacent “U” bases on a segment of mRNA and select a Phenylalanine amino acid for the protein being assembled unless you know about the atomic bonds and electrostatic charges on the various bases of the mRNA and the anticodons of the tRNA. And that knowledge is called information and a Designer needs a ton of it to do biological design.

    That is ID’s real job – to account for The Designer and the information He has to have to design and ID has no way to do that.

    Of course, this is very frustrating for ID because we all know that The Designer is actually supposed to be God and He’s onmiscient, so He and the information are just there, darn it! However, in several thousand years of trying nobody’s been able to account for God either.

    ID has its work cut out for it.

  38. UprightBiPed: See my reply to gpuccio in 2.2.1.2.7.

    Show me the information.

  39. dmuuleniz exposes his ignorance once again:

    That is ID’s real job – to account for The Designer and the information He has to have to design and ID has no way to do that.

    Not even close as ID is NOT about the designer. We infer, from experiences and observations, that the designer had the capability to design what was designed. That is how it works in archaeology- at first Stonehenge was thought to be an alien construction. Then the work of a wizard.

    There is plenty of evidence that one designer did exist at one time. Also ID is not about the designer. ID is about the design. Until we can study the designer the designer is off limits.

    Tell you what dmullenix, to refute the design inference all YOU have to do is actually step up and produce positive evidence for YOUR position. Then Newton’s First Rule applies and ID is refuted.

  40. I see that Larry Moran (and probably thousands of others) has asked the same question I did:

    “They don’t seem to be troubled by such an explanation because they never ask the obvious question … where did the information in the designer come from?”

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....cible.html

  41. “Not even close as ID is NOT about the designer.”

    And where did that Designer get the information He needs to design with from?

    “We infer, from experiences and observations, that the designer had the capability to design what was designed.”

    Ignoring the possibility of evolution from the get-go because you KNOW it was the designer.

  42. And where did that Designer get the information He needs to design with from?

    How is that relevant?

    How did the designers of Stonehenge het the information they needed to design from?

    Ignoring the possibility of evolution from the get-go because you KNOW it was the designer.

    Wrong again, as usual. 1- ID is NOT anti-evolution. 2- evolution does not apply to the OoL.

    Tell you what dmullenix, to refute the design inference all YOU have to do is actually step up and produce positive evidence for YOUR position. Then Newton’s First Rule applies and ID is refuted.

    Strange taht you choose to whine as opposed to actually putting up…

  43. So beacuse other morons can ask an irrelevant question that somehow makes it valid?

    Strange that when all it would take is for Moran or any anti-IDist to refute ID is to actually produce positive evidence for their position all they can do is act like spoiled brats.

  44. From the same article, quoting Barry Arrington:

    “No ID theorist has ever argued that evolution is impossible because complex biochemical systems cannot self assemble “all in one go.” This is an absurd caricature of the argument from irreducible complexity (IC).”

    Whenever an ID theorist gives an example of this type:

    “Take a protein 100 amino acids long. There are 1.267 E 130 ways to arrange 100 amino acids. If you assembled such an amino acid 100 times a second it would take you 4 E 130 years before you got the correct combination and the universe isn’t old enough!”

    they are arguing exactly that.

  45. There’s nothing irrelevant about it. ID just can’t answer it.

    Gotta go to work now, cu tomorrow.

    I’m sure you will have told us all where the information comes from by then.

  46. Tell you what dmullenix, to refute the design inference all YOU have to do is actually step up and produce positive evidence for YOUR position. Then Newton’s First Rule applies and ID is refuted.

    Strange that you choose to whine as opposed to actually putting up…

  47. LoL! Just because Dave sez it isdn’t irrelevant makes it so!

    No Dave if YOU say it is relevant it is up to YOU to make YOUR case. But you don’t have a case so you just spew nonsense.

    Where did the information in the designer(s) of Stonehenge come from Dave and HOW is that relevant to determining that Stonehenge was designed?

  48. Plausible events occur plausibly. Implausible events do not occur in practice. There is simply no empirical evidence of that. If life had been able to spontaneously self-organise at some distant point in the past, we would have seen it happening today also simply because the conditions on our planet are life-friendly. But for some stupid reason we don’t see it. Why would that be the case?

  49. Darwin gave a pretty good reason for that in Origin.

  50. Are you referring to his hypothetic assumption that any newly appeared primitive life would have been instantly devoured by more advanced life? I guess contemporary science would have been able to detect that anyway.

  51. By the way, a living cell cannot even reintegrate itself if its membrane is pierced with a needle. It dies as a consequence of this even though all other things are perfectly okay for it to live (temperature, acidity of the environment, presence of food, etc.). So what spontaneous emergence are we talking about?! Is that science?

  52. “This does not mean that all symbolic representations must necessarily be intentionally generated.”

    Perhaps you could provide us with a single counter-example.

  53. dmullenix, you’ve gone from ignoring physical evidence, to ignoring my posts. Your abbreviated reply at 2.2.1.2.8 is the third time you have simply refused to address the content of my posts. The reason for this should now be obvious to any fair reader; you cannot argue your case against either the evidence, or the rationale. Otherwise, you would have already done so.

    Physical evidence and reason are rightfully promoted to the height of empiricism and materialism by its adherents. The very last thing one should expect a materialist to do is avoid the observations of physical evidence. One should not expect a materialist to make a game of it. Yet, both observable physical evidence and coherent reasoning have been provided to you to affirm the claim that protein synthesis demonstrates a semiotic state. But you ignore both the evidence and reasoning outright. And you do so willfully. When an ideologue ignores physical evidence and clings instead to the claim that the existence of a designer is impossible, then he has shown his cards.

    - – - – - – - – -

    In your post to GP you disregard all observations to the contrary, and simply re-assert (once again) that the system is not semiotic. If that is true, then it must be true at an observational level. In other words, you can point to the physical evidence and show the distinction between something that is a symbol and something that just acts like a symbol.

    Why have you repeatedly refused to do this?

  54. I can’t refrain from citing somebody famous. I hope it is not an off-topic because we can apply this to evolutionism as an ideology. The name of this man is Dr Goebbels.

    If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

  55. http://www.sutter.com/PDF/RP0028_King-2.pdf

    And I guess all those people conceived via in vitro fertilization don’t exist.

  56. When the truth becomes your enemy, watch out!

  57. Maybe it’s because we don’t know where to look for a self reproducing molecule that’s too small to be seen in a microscope and which would probably last about one minute before it got eaten?

  58. Merry Christmas, Eugene S! For Christmas, I’m giving you the Godwin Award and kairosfocus gets one too for supporting you.

    I don’t suppose that either of you have even considered the possibility that ID is the big lie? Nah.

    Merry Christmas anyway.

  59. Me in 2.2.1.2.4:

    “Evidence! You know, the stuff you’re demanding from us. Let’s see samples of the first life and later life. Show us the whole DNA/RNA/tRNA/protein synthesis system coming into existence overnight and you’ll have good evidence supporting your claim. If it develops slowly and step by step we’ll have good evidence for our claim. But nobody has such evidence because whatever happened, it happened billions of years ago at a sub-microscopic scale and we haven’t found any fossils yet.

    Neither side has such evidence, but you’re declaring victory because you’ve defined your answer into the question. “It was semiotics.” Sorry, that doesn’t work.

    Meanwhile, science has a process, variation and natural selection, that is known to exist, is observable in the real world and the lab and generates information incrementally. Your side has a claim “supported” by circular reasoning.”

    Show us some samples of first life. If science is right, then it would have started out very simply and grew gradually more complex, probably over a period of millions of years, until it reached today’s levels of complexity.

    If ID is right, then fully complex life should just suddenly appear. We should go from dead rocks to fully modern bacteria with no intermediate steps.

    If you can show us bacteria suddenly appearing from dead rock, you’re going to convert scientists to ID theorists because evolution can’t do that.

    But I’ll bet you $10,000.00 that even if the samples showed that life appeared slowly it wouldn’t convince an ID theorist that his theory was wrong. You’d just claim that it was The Designer that produced the first self reproducing molecule and The Designer sho produced all of the intermediate steps that eventually produced modern life. Or maybe front loading and fine tuning. Because ID just has to be right.

    Meanwhile, just keep demanding evidence without ever admitting that ID has none to support its theory of abiogenesis either.

  60. Stonehenge was designed by the humans who were known to live there at the time and they had tens of thousands of years to learn how to cut rock, transport it from the two quarries where it was cut and erect it.

    http://www.history.com/news/20.....struction/

    They missed being around when the first life appeared by several billion years and molecular construction would have been way beyond their capabilities if they were.

  61. How is that relevant? Because you’re not going to build anything unless you know how to build it and that “know how” IS “information”. No “information”, no “know how”.

    ID is TOTALLY anti-evolution. ID was killed a century and a half ago by evolution. If evolution is true, ID is not needed. Every theory in ID first assumes that evolution can’t do the job.

    Newton’s first rule is, “We ought to admit no more causes of natural phenomena than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearance.”

    Evolution and natural forces are both true and sufficient to explain life. An Intelligent Designer necessarily contains enormously more information than the life it is trying to explain. It’s not necessary, so Newton’s first rule rejects it.

  62. As Chas D told you in reponse 7, “semiotic” refers to human (that is, intelligent) use of symbols. It’s circular reasoning / begging the question to use the term when you’re trying to argue that the DNA system is the product of intelligent design.

  63. We can’t give you an explict model because nobody, science or ID, has any samples of how DNA was developed. Give us some fossils spanning the period where DNA was being developed and we’ll be happy to answer that question.

    Without fossils to show how it was done, we’re left with the observation that the result is entirely materialistic in nature and the knowledge that evolutionary processes can produce the information needed to create what we see incrementally.

    ID, on the other hand, seems to have no choice but to kick JoeG’s fabled Newton’s First Rule out the window and invent an Intelligent Designer containing billions of times more information than is found in the DNA system it’s trying to explain in the first place. And ID has no idea of where that astonishingly improbable amount of information could possibly come from.

    Wait … maybe you could become Mormons. I think they claim that the Gods sort of evolved. Maybe that would work. Except it would still violate Newton’s First Rule because if evolution could explain a Designer, it could explain DNA too, so the Designer would be superfluous.

  64. That’s just guesswork, not empirical science. Such guesswork could be called naive if we did not know what philosophical commitments caused it. If we don’t know something, we must explicitly say so without prevarication. However what we hear materialistic naturalism say is nowhere near. It says, it must be so. Full stop.

    The sheer lack of empirical observation of such self-replicators convincingly tells us that the beginning of life on our planet was a unique event which in addition was highly implausible if explained only by chance and necessity.

  65. That’s just guesswork, not empirical science. Such guesswork could be called naive if we did not know what philosophical commitments caused it. If we don’t know something, we must explicitly say so without prevarication. However what we hear materialistic naturalism say is nowhere near. It says, it must be so. Full stop.

    The sheer lack of empirical observation of such self-replicators convincingly tells us that the beginning of life on our planet was a unique event which in addition was highly implausible if explained only by chance and necessity.

  66. Merry Christmas, DMullenix! Best wishes for the New Year to all of us.

    No, I do not think that ID is the big lie. I am convinced that materialistic naturalism is inadequate in tackling the problem of life origin. A lot of great minds agree with me on this issue :) Moreover, I think that its explanation of the current state of life is also inadequate.

    Apologies for posting 11.2.1 in the wrong place.

  67. Petrushka,

    Sorry I did not get the message. How is that link relevant to the particular question of self-replicators not being around in astronomical numbers for continuous billions of years to make spontaneous life origin a statistical plausibility?

  68. DMullenix, And thanks for the award as well :) I just could not resist it and proved the rule of thumb. That was amusing.

  69. dmuulenix:]

    ID is TOTALLY anti-evolution.

    Only an ignorant liar would say such a thing.

    Every theory in ID first assumes that evolution can’t do the job.

    Again, your ignorance is meaningless here.

    How are YOU defining “evolution” that makes ID anti-evolution?

    If we go by how the experts define evolution then ID is NOT anti-evolution

    And seeing that you are a nobody to science I will have to go with what science says.

    dmullenix:

    Evolution and natural forces are both true and sufficient to explain life.

    That is the propaganda yet there still isn;t any evidence to support it.

  70. Where did the information in the designer(s) of Stonehenge come from Dave and HOW is that relevant to determining that Stonehenge was designed?

    Stonehenge was designed by the humans who were known to live there at the time and they had tens of thousands of years to learn how to cut rock, transport it from the two quarries where it was cut and erect it.

    Guess what Dave? We learned all of that by studying the design. And that means it was NOT relevant to determining whether or not it was designed.

    You lose, as usual.

  71. 1- Variation is part of natural selection

    2- Neither natural selection nor genetic drift has been shown to construct new, useful and functional multi-part systems. Only designers are known to construct such systems.

    If ID is right, then fully complex life should just suddenly appear.

    Wrong again, as usual.

    If you can show us bacteria suddenly appearing from dead rock, you’re going to convert scientists to ID theorists because evolution can’t do that.

    How do you know “evolution” can’t do that?

  72. lol

    It’s pointed out to you that the argument does not use “semiosis” within the argument itself, but only concludes that translation is semiotic – after a review of the physical evidence.

    You read it, and ignored it.

    It’s pointed out to you that the contemporary use of the term “semiosis” does not require an “observer” as a proximate entity in the process, and that this fact is demonstrated in real time by each of us in our everyday lives (ie computer systems).

    You read it, and ignored it.

    It was pointed out to you that the argument specifically makes no reference to a mind.

    You read it, and ignored it.

    It was pointed out to you that the argument uses the word “mechanism” as an appropriate alternate, since the origin of the semiosis would be (and is) in question.

    You read it, and ignored it.

    It was pointed out to you that there are already peer-reviewed journals dedicated to bio-semiotics, not to mention working biologists who regularly speak of semiotic systems in biology.

    You read it, and ignored it.

    It was pointed out to you that it is entirely illogical to call an argument “circular” just because it makes its case.

    You read it, and ignored it.

    And finally, it was pointed out to you that you keep simply asserting that the conclusion of semiosis in wrong, but that you steadfastly refuse to address the evidence and demonstrate how that conclusion is wrong.

    Your final response is to continue ignoring the evidence, and simply re-assert your claim instead.

    Consequently, you have demonstrated the perfect example of willfull ignorance on behalf of one’s ideology, and you have shown no restraint in doing so.

    - – - – - –

    …and you and I both know you are intelligent enough to realize that is exactly what you’ve done. The exchange is right in front of you.

  73. Merry Christmas, UD.

  74. Merry C hristmas, UB and all!

  75. 75

    Merry Christmas…

    s/n: UBiped’s post should link from resources.

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