Home » Comp. Sci. / Eng., Intelligent Design, Science, Self-Org. Theory » William Dembski and 3 IDers cited in a significant OOL peer-reviewed article by Trevors and Abel

William Dembski and 3 IDers cited in a significant OOL peer-reviewed article by Trevors and Abel

Accepted July 2006

Physics of Life Reviews

[Update: thanks to Todd for a link to the full paper:]

Self-organization vs. self-ordering events in life-origin models

[Update: IDers Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, and R.L. Olsen were cited as well!! They wrote the book in 1984 which is considered the beginning of the modern ID movement. Also, critical remarks were made indirectly of Dawkins.]

Self-organization vs. self-ordering events in life-origin models

by David Abel and Jack Trevors

Self-ordering phenomena should not be confused with self-organization. Self-ordering events occur spontaneously according to natural “law propensities and are purely physicodynamic. Crystallization and the spontaneously forming dissipative structures of Prigogine are examples of self-ordering. Self-ordering phenomena involve no decision nodes, no dynamically-inert configurable switches, no logic gates, no steering toward algorithmic success or “computational halting”.

Hypercycles, genetic and evolutionary algorithms, neural nets, and cellular automata have not been shown to self-organize spontaneously into nontrivial functions. Laws and fractals are both compression algorithms containing minimal complexity and information. Organization typically contains large quantities of prescriptive information. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces nontrivial optimized algorithmic function at its destination. Prescription requires choice contingency rather than chance contingency or necessity. Organization
requires prescription, and is abstract, conceptual, formal, and algorithmic. Organization utilizes a sign/symbol/token system to represent many configurable switch settings. Physical switch settings allow instantiation of nonphysical selections for function into physicality. Switch settings represent choices at successive decision nodes that integrate circuits and instantiate cooperative management into conceptual physical systems. Switch positions must be freely selectable to function as logic gates. Switches must be set according to rules, not laws. Inanimacy cannot “organize” itself. Inanimacy can only self-order. “Self-organization” is without empirical and prediction-fulfilling support. No falsifiable theory of self-organization exists. “Self-organization” provides no mechanism and offers no detailed verifiable explanatory power. Care should be taken not to use the term “self-organization” erroneously to refer to low-informational, natural-process, self-ordering events, especially when discussing genetic information.

….
[40] Dembski WA. No free lunch. New York: Rowman and Littlefield; 2002.

[127] C.B. Thaxton, W.L. Bradley and R.L. Olsen, The mystery of life’s origin: Reassessing current theories, Lewis and Stanley, Dallas, TX (1984).

Many thanks to Dr. Albert Voie for alerting me to this article.

I reported on Trevors and Abel’s other fine article at:

Perfect Architectures which scream design

I reported on Voie’s article at:
Another pro-ID paper passes peer review

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48 Responses to William Dembski and 3 IDers cited in a significant OOL peer-reviewed article by Trevors and Abel

  1. “Organization typically contains large quantities of prescriptive information. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces nontrivial optimized algorithmic function at its destination. Prescription requires choice contingency rather than chance contingency or necessity. Organization requires prescription, and is abstract, conceptual, formal, and algorithmic.”

    Uh – that’s ID. How did this get past the review committee?

  2. What content in the paper does the numeral designator “[40]” refer to?

  3. The list of refrenced works was by author in alphabetical order, that paper was number 40.

    I don’t know how to make the PDF available for every one to read.

    If someone is knowledgeable willing, they are invited to post a link (hint, hint).

    It was a great paper. I hope everyone can read it sometime.

  4. This article makes an important distinction. Pretty much any discussion of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as an argument against NDE includes a post by a pro-Darwinist about crystallization (such as ice formation). The argument is first made that order can not increase in a system — regardless of how much energy enters the system — unless order is imported through the boundary. This is inevitably followed by the counter-argument that ice forms (increasing the “order” of the system) without any influx of order. Until now, I’ve had trouble articulating why I disagreed with this. However, this increase in order comes with a loss of complexity. Increasing both order and complexity (i.e. organization) does not happen without the input of information. And information does not appear to arise without intelligent causation. Are ice crystals more orderly than liquid water? I would say yes. Is ice more complex and specified than water? I don’t believe so (unless it was artificially sculpted for a purpose). CSI exists physically, and can only degrade over time in the absence of intelligent input. Perhaps you could call this the 2nd Law of Information.

  5. The paper may as well have been written by ID theorists.

    It was such a devastating critique of a major OOL theory. It used many arguments found in ID literature. Although Bill was only mentioned once, the fact that this paper is sympathetic to his position is heartening to see.

  6. Uh – that’s ID. How did this get past the review committee?

    Via a Trojan Horse. :-)

  7. John Davison would be smiling, the peer-reviewed article uses the word “prescription”.

  8. The quoted text appears to be double pasted within itself. Sal, read your post again and see if you don’t see where the text is repeated.

  9. I think I fixed it now. Thanks Todd!

  10. I fear this URL will be too long and get trapped in the spam chute (post to follow)

  11. I can read the entire thing because I post from an .edu domain with a subscription. Hang on and I’ll post the PDF

  12. Todd,

    I posted the first link in an update to the above. Thanks a million!

    Sal

  13. Okay, link to a copy of the PDF

    Self-organization vs. self-ordering events in life-origin models

    This comment was edited to make the link clickable -ds

  14. Todd,

    I’m sorry for the delays in posting your comments. Since UD facelift a couple months ago, I lost privileges to unspam comments, so we’ll have to wait on one of the other mods. Thanks for your patience.

  15. Todd,

    Your “prior issue” (post #15) requires one to purchase the article (for $30) in order to read it. Don’t you have anything slightly less expensive, if not actually free?

  16. (Or is that $30 fee just for registration?)

  17. That’s okay Sal – #14 has the URL to the PDF.

  18. I just realized, 3 other IDers, the fathers of modern ID, were cited as well: Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen.

  19. It also touches on the argument from the 2LoT, concerning “order” importing through a boundary.

    Funny, it reads as an ID paper. Notice how their “choice contingency”, which is contrasted to Law and Chance, is basically what we refer to as Design.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  20. Dawkins is indirectly squished in the paper. He is lumped in with those who make logical errors:

    The title of Nicolis and Prigogine’s earlier book [86] was incorrect in the title, “Self-Organization in Nonequilibrium Systems”: and correct in the subtitle, “From Dissipative Structures to Order Through Fluctuations”. Unfortunately, others since have continued to blur the distinction between order and organization [32], [33], [36], [37], [38], [54], [63], [64], [65], [66], [67], [68], [82], [95],[123] and [137]. The illegitimate merging of the two concepts now seems almost universal. The “category error” of logic theory leads to countless faulty inferences.

    ….
    Anti-informationists often appeal to epigenetic factors, prions, self-replicating peptides, regulatory proteins and small RNAs to argue life is merely physical without need of formal genetic algorithmic control mechanisms. “The appearance of design” [38] is all that is granted to the most highly organized phenomenon known to science, that of life. A corollary of this perspective is to often view cases of merely self-ordered objects and events as being evidence of self-organization.

    Citations 36,37,38

    [36] R. Dawkins, The selfish gene (2nd ed), Oxford Univerisy Press, Oxford (1989) 1976.

    [37] R. Dawkins, The blind watchmaker, WW Norton and Co, New York (1986).

    [38] R. Dawkins, Climbing mount impossible (1996).

    Poor Dawkins, what will he say when someone asks him at UVa about his leading others to countless faulty inferences.

  21. Sal,

    Dawkins is also cited:

    Unfortunately, others since have continued to blur the distinction between order and organization [32,33,36–38,54,63–68,82,95,123,137]. The illegitimate merging of the two concepts now seems almost universal. The “category error” of logic theory leads to countless faulty inferences.

    [36] Dawkins R. The selfish gene. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford Univerisy Press; 1989; 1976.
    [37] Dawkins R. The blind watchmaker. New York: WW Norton and Co; 1986.
    [38] Dawkins R. Climbing mount impossible. 1996.

  22. You beat me to the punch!

  23. Sal,

    I believe we have a new abbreviation: countless faulty inferences

    CFI!

    (announcer)On the next episode of CFI: Oxford, Detective Dawkins examines the dead body determined to discover what natural forces propelled slugs of lead in a tight grouping pattern near the center mass of the person. Office tensions are never higher when the mighty Det. Dawkins dresses down his weak minded colleagues for suggesting they search for a shooter and a weapon instead of accepting his brilliant ‘punctuated lead attraction’ theory (pockets of gravitational density center around the heart and pull lead atoms from the surrounding environment).

  24. Salvador,

    I went to the thread you linked to regarding Trevors and Abel’s article, “Chance and Necessity Do Not Explain the Origin of Life”, but every link to that article contained in that thread was “dead”. I will hunt for it on the Internet, but if you know of a link, I’d appreciate it if you posted it. Thanks.

  25. See, I have wondered why naturalists aren’t constrained by their own logic to seek “natural” explanations of whatever phenomena they have not direct knowledge of the design of… like computers.

  26. This paper put egg of Barbara Forrest and other Darwinists faces who have claimed Dembski and others have been thoroughly refuted. On the contrary, some of the latest peer-reviewed papers (like this one) are citing them in a favorable manner, and that by experts in relevant fields.

  27. “On the contrary, some of the latest peer-reviewed papers (like this one) are citing them in a favorable manner, and that by experts in relevant fields.”

    I think a significant factor may be that many scientists (like the rest of us) can only take so much of the garbage spewing from the mouths of those like Dawkins. It drives them to retaliate by saying what they’re actually thinking. Also, the ID scientists have simply not been refuted – if they had been there wouldn’t be an ID debate. They’ve raised deadly serious problems for Darwin, and they aren’t going away no matter how much hand-waiving there is.

  28. I found Trevor and Abel’s work sifting thru PubMed, quite by happenstance. And posted here sometime ago because it was an argument for design then, though not so obvious.

    Please see…
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=1208958

    I enjoyed how they categorized the information of random, ordered, and functional. FSC = Functional Sequence Complexity. It makes sense to define what we are looking at in these terms. RM & NS are woefully inadequate to describe what is observed today.

    Its a good read to see the direction they were headed in at the time and one I think ID contributes to quite succinctly.

    ———————
    to Jared, offtopic

    I tried responding to you over the weekend in the other thread, but access has been quite unstable lately at times.

    Bottom line, we are all biased. Dawkins, PZ for example, myself(Judeo-Christian, Protestant background with New Testament Catholic foundations), and yes; you too are biased. So is Paulsen. To not admit so, is to be disengenuous I think.

    We each bring to the table our experience in life. Some of us change views as a result of careful consideration. I have.

    Some of us I admit are better than others at standing back for a moment and reviewing ideas without bias. Undoubtedly, a good attitude for science and theology.

    So, if you have the thesis available I’ll read it or please point to an online link. If my humor was to biting, my apologies. But it does not make my point any less valid for those who have read Origen and Augustine – knowing they do not believe what Paulsen forces upon them.

    I defended them naturally, albeit with a humorous take which I thought was well conceived.

    I asked you for a reference other than one single source of Paulsen. One that would not conflict with his own bias. You did not refer any.

    Here is a direct online source for Origen and Augustine, some of their pupils and others…
    http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

    I rechecked quickly this weekend and find nothing which could conclude that they are “reluctant witnesses” to a corporeal God.

    I rely on Old and New Testament(parsing and learning Hebrew and Greek as time permits), Judaic teachings and scholars, the early Christians, along with modern scholars to form my opinion. Admittedly, this has only been a passion for the last 3 1/2 years and I am not a trained theologian.

    Are you familiar with the Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith?

    http://www.hebrew4christians.c.....karim.html

    Specifically, please see the link: Third principle. God is Incopreal and Incomparable.

    I always go back to Israel, the tribes of the original covenant with Abraham to ask; what is their view? Afterall, the Word was with God and he always referenced the original source as passed by Moses and thru the Tribes of Israel.

    I do not lend much weight to modern prophets that stray far from the original text, or contradict entirely the original meaning.

    Here are the 13 principles from a Rabbinic source:
    http://www.vtc.net/~cdgoldin/r.....hink14.htm

    I also rely on scholars; like Beckwith, to inform me of other religious doctrines besides my own…
    http://www.findarticles.com/p/.....10827/pg_8

    I do try to be careful in my assesments for searching out the truth. I am certainly not a bigot, but I’m not afraid to point out problems when others may have biased viewpoints themselves.

    I’ll leave it at that as I suppose we will not agree. Except to read the thesis, I’ll not respond on the subject again.

  29. I had posted sometime ago, but well worth posting again. A PubMed article by Trevor and Abel, Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity; random, ordered, Functional(FSC) for the direction they’re heading.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=1208958

    It is an eloquent look past the obvious failures of RM to account for OOL, as well as current diversity. It is the clarification required at high level to move forward I think. It can still account for RM&NS, but in a way which shows planned conservation of information, rules-based, repair mechanisms, communication, etc.

  30. Theological post #1.

    Michaels7 -

    So, if you have the thesis available I’ll read it or please point to an online link. If my humor was to biting, my apologies. But it does not make my point any less valid for those who have read Origen and Augustine – knowing they do not believe what Paulsen forces upon them.

    The thesis of “Early Christian Belief in a Corporeal Deity: Origen and Augustine as Reluctant Witnesses” was to “argu[e] that the writings of Origen and Augustine show that early Christians may have believed in a corporeal, anthropomorphic God.”

    Paulsen and Griffin’s thesis in “Augustine and the Corporeality of God” is “that although Augustine, the fifth-century bishop of Hippo, did not believe in a corporeal God, his letters show that the common Christians of his time did. Griffin argued that a careful look at Augustine’s subtle writings reveals more than sufficient evidence to show an early Christian belief in an anthropomorphic God. ”

    The same also applied to Origen, apparently. This is why they’re reluctant witnesses – they testify of a belief of the Christians they found abhorrent. The rank-and-file Christian of the day held beliefs that Augustine and Origen did not share, and, in fact, fought. The second paper was the result of reading Augustine’s writings exhaustively.

    It’s like the Darwinists in their denial of design.

    One wonders where the original Christians – those closest in time to the ministry of the Apostles – got their heretical ideas about God having a body from, if it had been taught from the beginning that God is the God of classical theology, with all the properties (and notable lacks) thereof.

  31. Following Trevors and Abel:

    Chance brings about randomness. Laws bring about order. Purposeful direction brings about organization.

    And organisms are organized.

    Got it.

  32. Michaels7 -

    For more about ancient Israel, may I suggest “The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second God” by Margaret Barker? “In this groundbreaking book, Barker claims that pre-Christian Judaism was not monotheistic and that the roots of Christian Trinitarian theology lie in a pre-Christian Palestinian belief about angels derived from the ancient religion of Israel. Barker’s beliefs are based on canonical and deutero-canonical works and literature from Qumran and rabbinic sources.”

    Needless to say, when Moses saw the backside of God, while God covered God’s own face (Exodus 33:22-23), he seemed to be describing a corporeal, anthropomorphic God.

    The more we know about primitive Christianity and ancient Judaism, the less they look anything like today’s.

  33. Regarding off topic discussions, you all can arrange to direct each other and readers to another weblog to have such discussions. I don’t mind that a couple posts to negotiate a venue appear here so that others can go there if they are interested.

    For the sake of the UD readers, try to keep the discussion on topic and interesting and informative.

  34. Sorry, Sal – I don’t have a blog, and I’m hesitant to give out my email on this forum. I was only responding to someone who personally addressed me.

  35. jaredl,

    There are other forums for these discussions, out of courtesy to the readers, I request you go the extra mile to find a place to vent and communicate on these topics in the future.

    Also, you can create another e-mail account for these sorts of communications and even advertise it publicly. I recommend since you are so profuse, that you work on creating your own blog.

    The next time someone requests info of you may discuss the topic with them via your new e-mail or the other forum or your new weblog. I think that is a reasonable request on my part.

    I don’t mean to be to harsh, but I don’t think many of your posts appeal to our readership here.

  36. jardl

    I can recommend this forum http://www.christiandiscussion...../index.php

    It is an excellent forum with lots of people who are interested in discussing theology as much as you are.

  37. Sal -

    If what you mean is that this blog is a place where a certain orthodoxy of thought shall be enforced – be it theological, philosophical, or scientific – then perhaps you aren’t being harsh.

    It is, after all, a private place, and you’re free to place any restriction on the expression of ideas you wish.

    I simply did not understand that this blog was not for discussion, but rather simple cheerleading and villification of heterodox opinions. Sometimes, I have problems discerning the unspoken rules.

    Let the cheerleading continue.

  38. Hmm, are you sure distribution of that paper isn’t protected by copyright? Usually access to papers is restricted for a reason.

  39. jared:

    It is, after all, a private place, and you’re free to place any restriction on the expression of ideas you wish.

    Read the title of this entry, jared. It was simply suggested you take your burgeoning off topic discussion elsewhere as a consideration for on-topic readers. Just be courteous and don’t get yer knickers in a bunch. Blogspot or blogger will get you going in a matter of minutes.

    Hodor,

    You are likely right.

  40. Todd,

    Thanks, but when I click your link (hmmmm, that sounds like some sort of future catch-phrase), all I get is the following:

    “Your browser can’t find the document corresponding to the URL you typed in.”

  41. Hodor,

    Feel free to alert us if we need to delete a link or whatever to respect copy rights. I wish to honor those rights.

    The links provided were to a subscription service which some of us have “free” access to because of institutional affiliations.

    Occasionally the authors are kind enough to provide free copies at their personal websites.

    Sal

  42. Well, the copies I provided were PDFs from sciencedirect, so I’ve removed the file, I don’t know what I was thinking. (NOTE: My link was independent of this blog and its owners)

  43. todd,

    There is a little clause in the copy right act for “scholarly use”. You may not have been in violation of any law, but it doesn’t prevent someone from making trouble.

    I appreciate your attempt to assist others in accessing scholarly material. It is possible that a few months from now the materials will be available in the public domain. I’ve seen that happen with various other articles. After a “cooling off period” the article is released for public domain circulation.

  44. Salvador, my apologies…

  45. Michaels7,

    No problem my friend.

    Sal

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