Home » Design inference, Functionally Specified Complex Information & Organization, ID Foundations, Science, science education » On “seeing” — credibly knowing about — the invisible in science

On “seeing” — credibly knowing about — the invisible in science

Yesterday, following up from recent comment exchanges, I posted about the electron as an example of how we routinely deal with the invisible in science, and on how inductive — believe it or not that is now a fighting word — inference on sign is vital to science.

This morning, I followed up on a remark by Joe in the UB thread that extends the same theme.

I think this should be headlined, so let me clip (quickly, as I do have a draft to follow up on):

____________

>>I have a draft speech to follow up on, but could not resist this:

[Joe:] the [Darwinist/Evolutionary Materialist] response is always “Eons of time cannot be reproduced in a lab and all we have is eons of time to hide behind. Oh and a bunch of promissory notes”

This brings to front-centre, the issue of the unobservable in science I headlined yesterday with the classic Tek 465 CRO as an illustration of how we infer to the unobserved in science per inductive warrant. (Which surfaces the pivotal importance of that syllabus of 18 Q’s.)

Electronics is built on the electron, which is accepted as very real, even a fact of day to day life, though unobserved or even unobservable. We simply see too many convergent effects that cry out for the electron as common cause.

Oil Drop Expt: the drops take charges that are multiples of e, warranting inference to a “lump” of negative charge, the electron

 

We are as a result morally certain of its reality, though what we actually see are things like little drops of oil in a Millikan oil drop exercise, drifting up/down as we try to balance the voltage against gravity. (I well recall my own frustrations working with a lab set for replicating that classic exercise!)

Or, we may see curlicues of bubbles in a bubble chamber or droplets of cloud in a cloud chamber, or of course the trace on a CRO’s phosphor screen.

The inferred, convergent, best explanation is the electron.

Never yet directly seen, and probably never will be, but an accepted fact of life from its effects.

Let’s clip someone politically incorrect on that sort of thinking:

Jn 3:3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[a]”

4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[d] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.[e]

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him . . . 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”[h][NIV, cf here on in context and here on in context for a 101 look at some of the warranting context]

Uh huh, believing in the invisible can make a lot of good sense, to those willing to be docile — teachable — before the evidence. No promises for the willfully defiant who will resort to selectively hyperskeptical objections and cling to any absurdity to protect a cherished materialism proudly flying the false flag of science. (And denizens of TSZ et al, that is an exercise of the right of fair comment on responsible investigation.)

In science, too, we often need to assess the reality of the unobserved.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, where that addresses something like origins, that is done by inference to best current explanation in light of traces of the unobserved and cause-effect patterns and characteristic signs we can and do observe in the present. Where, if we know that per repeated experiment a certain causal factor reliably leaves certain characteristic signs, then it is reasonable to infer from sign to associated cause per that body of investigation. I have long used the case of inferring deer from deer tracks as an illustrative case on the logic involved.

What happens, as was already discussed, is that the living cell is full of FSCO/I, which is a characteristic trace of IDOW — intelligently directed organising work, i.e. design. So, if we see FSCO/I, we are properly entitled to infer to design as cause, given what we observe and what we can see on the needle in the haystack analysis.

The verbal stunts and rhetorical gymnastics we have seen for years from those disinclined to accept so simple a pattern of thought, and the number of spurious counter-examples put forth tell us that the inference is obviously cogent and well warranted.

Why it is controversial is not because it is well warranted, but because it is cutting clean across an entrenched ideology that likes to dress up in a lab coat and loves to fly the flag of science, evolutionary materialism, for descriptive convenience. (And yes, TSZ, that is just a descriptive term, and accurate one.)

So, it is time for some serious rethinking that requires leaving the materialist cave of shadow shows and clearing he mind from the poisonous influences of the smoke of burning ad hominem laced strawmen.>>

_____________

So, in science, we can learn to see the invisible, and to have well-warranted high confidence in its reality. Which is of course another way of saying, knowledge, in the weaker sense: well warranted, credibly true belief.

So, we see here inference to best current explanation on observed evidence giving us scientific knowledge regarding what we did not actually see.

So, it is quite reasonable to infer in science to the invisible but warranted, on empirical traces and an observed pattern of characteristic signs.

All that we design thinkers are asking for, then is willingness to be consistent on the observation that FSCO/I is observed to be a characteristic sign of IDOW as key causal factor. Design, in one word.

Is that too much to ask? END

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95 Responses to On “seeing” — credibly knowing about — the invisible in science

  1. 1

    There is no “reasoning” with those that accept no necessarily valid rules of logic, nor accept any standard moral guide to debate.

  2. WJM: That is a sobering point, but a relevant one. However, the very fact that evolutionary materialism is associated in too many cases with nihilistic might makes right amorality and irrationality (and has been so since the days of Plato in Athens 2350 years ago — notice how the evo mat objectors consistently tiptoe around that little clip . . . ), is highly revealing and a warning. KF

  3. OT: Koonin tries to make nice with epigenetics in his latest paper:

    Does the central dogma still stand? – Koonin EV. – 23 August 2012
    ABSTRACT: Prions are agents of analog, protein conformation-based inheritance that can confer beneficial phenotypes to cells, especially under stress. Combined with genetic variation, prion-mediated inheritance can be channeled into prion-independent genomic inheritance. Latest screening shows that prions are common, at least in fungi. Thus, there is non-negligible flow of information from proteins to the genome in modern cells, in a direct violation of the Central Dogma of molecular biology. The prion-mediated heredity that violates the Central Dogma appears to be a specific, most radical manifestation of the widespread assimilation of protein (epigenetic) variation into genetic variation. The epigenetic variation precedes and facilitates genetic adaptation through a general ‘look-ahead effect’ of phenotypic mutations. This direction of the information flow is likely to be one of the important routes of environment-genome interaction and could substantially contribute to the evolution of complex adaptive traits.ReviewersThis article was reviewed by Jerzy Jurka, Pierre Pontarotti and Juergen Brosius. For the complete reviews, see the Reviewers’ Reports section.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22913395

  4. 4

    KF,

    I think everyone involved in the debate should understand that this is not a “debate” in any meaningful sense in relationship to the two parties having the debate, which is why I applaud Mr. Arrington kicking out many of those who were “debating” in bad faith (whether they realized it consciously or not).

    If one adheres to no first principles – even that of non-contradiction – no meaningful debate can be had. Exposing foolishness or evil is not a “debate”. It is either entirely foolish or evil to be unwilling to admit that what we find in biology represents a profoundly obvious organization of teleological information instrumented as physically designed, interactive, interdependent micro-mechanisms. To insist that such interdependent, organized code and machine processing can construct itself out of pure physics and chance, one must either be evil or mad. What they are denying is that obvious.

    I’m afraid I’ve come to see that the term “willfully ignorant” is too tolerant a designation, and puts us at a disadvantage in this dispute.

    We are not debating with the willfully ignorant; our adversaries are either evil or mad. These people are not here to “find truth”, because there is no “truth” to be found in their world, there are only subjective ideas they wish to impose on others, using whatever rhetorical, emotional, political or violent measures their subjective morality deems fit.

  5. 5
    critical rationalist

    [Joe:]the [Darwinist/Evolutionary Materialist] response is always “Eons of time cannot be reproduced in a lab and all we have is eons of time to hide behind. Oh and a bunch of promissory notes”

    This assumes it is possible to mechanically derive knowledge [how to replicate the OOL, etc.] from experience. But this simply isn’t the case.

    [--> No-one has said or implied this, kindly stop setting up and knocking over strawmen, even after you have been corrected. KF]

    For example, we only got around to testing Newton’s law of gravity roughly 300 years ago. Yet the evidence we used for that test has been falling over every square foot of the earth for billions of years. Nor is this limited to gravity. As far as we know, the evidence to discover the most fundamental truths of all the sciences is right here on our planet. This includes the origin of life. So, it’s not that evidence is scarce – we have plenty. What is scarce are deep, hard to vary explanations for that evidence.

    IOW, if it is possible to mechanically derive knowledge from experience, every discovery should immediately lead to some other discovery, etc. Yet this does not occur. [--> Strawman, now a continuing misrepresentation. Please do better than this. KF]

    Why didn’t we simply “trace” Newton’s law during our previous 49,700 years of experience? Because we cannot derive theories from observations. [--> Question-begging inference built on a set up, knocked over strawman.] Rather, we start out by conjecturing theories, which we then test via observations.

  6. “What is scarce are deep, hard to vary explanations for that evidence.”

    You’ve made this comment before. Do you equivocate when the hard-to-vary explanation for the origin of iterative code is intelligence?

    [W]e cannot derive theories from observations.

    From what did you derive that theory?

  7. 7
    critical rationalist

    KF,

    Despite the fact that we’ve never seen an electron, you seem to think electrons are good explanation for phenomena.

    However, we’ve seen designers. Is it not logically possible an abstract designer with no defined limitations is interceding to directly cause phenomena explained by electrons for some inexplicable reason using some inexplicable means?

  8. CR:

    The fact that you are using an electronics based computer is proof in action that you believe in the effectiveness of the electronics that rests — as the name suggests — on the electrons.

    As to your attempted Lord Russell 5-minute old cosmos type argument, I give the usual answer: any argument that implies that our general senses about the world are grossly inaccurate, faces the burden of proof. One, it cannot meet as it is self-referentially incoherent; relying on the implicit reliability of what it seeks to undermine.

    On a more restricted basis, the Plato’s Cave manipulated world, if you can substantiate the shadow-show games, then you have refuted the manipulative agenda.

    That, unfortunately, is abundantly shown regarding the imposition of a priori materialism on science under the false flag of reasonable methodological constraint and the snide accusation that a theistic world is a chaos not a cosmos. Cf my notes regarding Lewontin’s errors on this, here.

    KF

  9. PS: It is also quite reasonable to infer to design as process on observing the characteristic traces left by designers, such as FSCO/I.

  10. 10
    critical rationalist

    [Joe:]the [Darwinist/Evolutionary Materialist] response is always “Eons of time cannot be reproduced in a lab and all we have is eons of time to hide behind. Oh and a bunch of promissory notes”
    CR: This assumes it is possible to mechanically derive knowledge [how to replicate the OOL, etc.] from experience. But this simply isn’t the case.

    FK: [--> No-one has said or implied this, kindly stop setting up and knocking over strawmen, even after you have been corrected. KF]

    Does this not imply science should be able to replicate the OOL? If not, then why is the absence of such replication relevant?

    Which of our current, best explanations suggest we *should* be able to replicate it?

  11. 11
    critical rationalist

    CR: “What is scarce are deep, hard to vary explanations for that evidence.”

    UB: You’ve made this comment before. Do you equivocate when the hard-to-vary explanation for the origin of iterative code is intelligence?

    No, I do not. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, “That’s just what some abstract designer with no limitations must have wanted” does not represent a long, hard to vary chain of independent explanations.

    Are you suggesting it is? Or perhaps you think it’s a strawman?

    CR: [W]e cannot derive theories from observations.

    UB: From what did you derive that theory?

    Given that I’ve made distinctions regarding this at length elsewhere, it’s unclear if this is even a serious question.

    Critical Rationalism

    - We notice a problem.
    - We propose solutions to the problem
    - Since proposed solutions are essentially guesses about what is out there in reality, we…
    - Criticize the theory for internal consistency. Solutions that are internally inconsistent are discarded.
    - Criticize the theory by taking it seriously, in that we assume it’s true in reality and that all (empirical) observations should conform to them, *for the purpose of rational criticism*. “All observations” reflects all of our current, best solutions to other problems, which are themselves conjecture that have survived criticism.
    - This process continues until only one proposed solution is left, rather than positively supporting one particular theory.

    - The process starts all over again we notice another problem, such as new observations that conflict with our remaining proposed solution.

    Critical rationalism itself follows the same process. As a universal explanation for the growth of knowledge, it started out as conjecture, which we then tested by observations. It was not derived from observations either.

    How do you explain our relatively recent, rapid increase in the creation of knowledge?

  12. CR you state:

    Is it not logically possible an abstract designer with no defined limitations is interceding to directly cause phenomena explained by electrons for some inexplicable reason using some inexplicable means?

    You’re right. It is logically possible for a ‘abstract’ anything to have causal power. But God is not, nor was ever claimed to be, ‘abstract’. In fact Theism claims God is a ‘necessary Being’ who ‘upholds’ all creation:

    Hebrews 1:3:
    He upholds all things by the word of his power

    Revelation 4:11
    “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

    To put it more plainly CR, the Theistic claim for all of reality is this;

    ‘God is the ultimate existence which grounds all of reality!’

    To which you may honestly ask:

    ‘And you know this how?’

    Before the breakthroughs of modern science in Big Bang Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics, we ‘knew’ this fact from logic; Here are the logical arguments, that I know of, that preceded the empirical evidence for Theism from the Big Bang and Quantum Mechanics;

    Not Understanding Nothing – A review of A Universe from Nothing – Edward Feser – June 2012
    Excerpt: A critic might reasonably question the arguments for a divine first cause of the cosmos. But to ask “What caused God?” misses the whole reason classical philosophers thought his existence necessary in the first place. So when physicist Lawrence Krauss begins his new book by suggesting that to ask “Who created the creator?” suffices to dispatch traditional philosophical theology, we know it isn’t going to end well. ,,,
    ,,, But Krauss simply can’t see the “difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one.” The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ng-nothing

    The Creation Of The Universe (Kalam Cosmological Argument)- Lee Strobel – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993987/

    William Lane Craig – Hilbert’s Hotel – The Absurdity Of An Infinite Regress Of ‘Things’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994011/

    Time Cannot Be Infinite Into The Past – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg0pdUvQdi4

    Aquinas and the Second Way:
    The second approach that Aquinas mentioned is similar to the first, but focuses on cause and effect rather than on potential motion being converted into actual motion. Every effect must have a cause, if you eliminate the cause you eliminate the effect. Once again, since an infinite series of cause and effect is irrational, the principle posits that there must be an original cause that in itself does not need a cause: hence God. Again, this does not posit the God of the Bible, or even a good and benevolent God for that matter, it only posits that a God exists who is the cause of all things and who is the effect of nothing.
    http://preacherwin.wordpress.c.....evelation/

    Here is the empirical evidence which verified those logical arguments for the ‘First Cause’ or for the ‘Uncaused Cause’:

    The Scientific Evidence For The Big Bang – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323668

    Evidence Supporting the Big Bang
    http://www.astronomynotes.com/cosmolgy/s7.htm

    Beyond The Big Bang: William Lane Craig Templeton Foundation Lecture (HQ) 1/6 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esqGaLSWgNc

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.”
    (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970

    “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” -
    Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston – (Paper was delivered at Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday party)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....beginning/

  13. This is the logical argument that preceded our discoveries from breakthroughs in Quantum Mechanics:

    Aquinas and the First Way (First Mover):
    Aquinas recognized that for motion to take place, there had to be something that interacts with it to cause it to move. For a ball to move, for example, it must be struck by another object, for example, the foot of a child kicking it. The ball has the potential to move, but that potential cannot reach its actuality until something else acts upon it. Aquinas argued then, that as the original object that was moved needed to have something act upon it to move, so too does the second object have something act upon it. The boy swings his leg, which moves his foot which in turn moves the ball. And the chain continues backwards from there. He also recognized that without a first mover, the chain of cause and effect must, by definition, go eternally back. Since that idea is absurd to the ordered mind and is not consistent with observable evidence, there must be a first mover upon which nothing is needed to act to cause him to move. This, in turn must be an infinite being outside of creation and hence is God.
    http://preacherwin.wordpress.c.....evelation/

    Jerry Coyne and Aquinas’ First Way – Michael Egnor September 9, 2009
    Excerpt: ‘The First Mover is necessary for change occurring at each moment. The argument is unrelated to the Big Bang; as noted, Aquinas assumed (for the sake of the First Way) that there was no temporal beginning of the universe. The argument works irrespective of whether or not the universe had a beginning in time. The only way to explain change in the natural world is to posit the existence of an unmoved First Mover. Aquinas goes on (in Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologica) to draw out in meticulous detail the necessary attributes of the First Mover, and he demonstrates that it is logically necessary that the First Mover have many attributes (simplicity, omnipotence, etc) that are traditionally attributed to God as understood in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Argument from Motion is rigorous, and I have merely summarized its salient points, but it is straightforward once the premises are established. It is a very powerful argument.’ – Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....24951.html

    Acts 17:28
    ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

    I find this centuries old philosophical/logical argument, for the necessity of a ‘First Mover’ accounting for change occurring at each moment, to be validated by quantum mechanics.

    The ‘first mover’ of Aquinas’s argument is warranted to be necessary from quantum mechanics since the possibility for the universe to be considered a self-sustaining ‘closed loop’ of cause and effect, as materialism had held, was removed with the refutation of the ‘hidden variable’ argument, as first postulated by Einstein, in quantum entanglement experiments. i.e. a non-local, beyond space and time, cause is now known to be necessary to explain the continued existence of material particle within space/time. Theism has always held that a non-local, beyond space and time, cause sustains the continued existence of reality. Some of the high points of evidence are as follows:

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    Electron entanglement near a superconductor and bell inequalities
    Excerpt: The two electrons of these pairs have entangled spin and orbital degrees of freedom.,,, We formulate Bell-type inequalities in terms of current-current cross-correlations associated with contacts with varying magnetization orientations. We find maximal violation (as in photons) when a superconductor is the particle source.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....18/?MUD=MP

    This proof for ‘non-locality’ was further solidified in 2010:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    And this proof for non-locality was further extended in 2011 by Anton Zeilinger, and team, to falsify local realism (reductive materialism) without even using quantum entanglement to do it, i.e. this experiment extended ‘non-local’ realism to the particles themselves, thus extending the empirical evidence to be directly in line with what was posited in Aquinas’s ‘First Mover’ argument:

    ‘Quantum Magic’ Without Any ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ – June 2011
    Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....111942.htm

    Falsification of Local Realism without using Quantum Entanglement – Anton Zeilinger
    http://vimeo.com/34168474

    a further breakthrough in 2011 was here, showing that quantum information is ‘conserved’:

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – March 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    All in all, 2010 & 2011 were very bad years for the materialistic philosophy!

  14. CR,

    Q: Do you equivocate when the hard-to-vary explanation for the origin of iterative code is intelligence?

    A: No, I do not. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, “That’s just what some abstract designer with no limitations must have wanted” does not represent a long, hard to vary chain of independent explanations.

    I did not ask you about what “some abstract designer with no limitations” would have wanted, nor did I ask how you know what “some abstract designer with no limitations” would have wanted. I asked if you equivocate from the value you place on “hard-to-vary explanations” when the only known origin of iterative code is intelligence. And you equivocated.

    “We cannot derive theories from observations”.

    Q: From what did you derive that theory?

    A: Given that I’ve made distinctions regarding this at length elsewhere, it’s unclear if this is even a serious question.

    In your answer, you point to an explanation which states that you: a) notice a problem, then b) propose a solution to that problem. Your quoted text refers to this “solution” as a “theory”.

    Your quote therefore contradicts what you say. You derive your theories from observations, unless you notice problems without observing them.

  15. Onlooker,

    Here’s a definition better suited to your particular situation:

    mung bucket

    n. A bucket used under a beer tap to catch foam and pour-offs. Can get very nasty over time, and can be used on demanding jerks at the bar as a source of a “special pour”.

  16. lol. oops. wrong thread =p

    Guess I’ll have another drink of that bartender!

  17. Don’t ya just hate that.

    :)

  18. Is it not logically possible an abstract designer with no defined limitations is interceding to directly cause phenomena explained by electrons for some inexplicable reason using some inexplicable means?

    Ah, that would explain some recent posts by some people here at UD.

  19. 19
    critical rationalist

    CR: However, we’ve seen designers. Is it not logically possible an abstract designer with no defined limitations is interceding to directly cause phenomena explained by electrons for some inexplicable reason using some inexplicable means?

    KF: The fact that you are using an electronics based computer is proof in action that you believe in the effectiveness of the electronics that rests — as the name suggests — on the electrons.

    First, should I take that a “yes” or a “no”? I can’t tell.

    Second, my grandmother uses electronics, yet, as far as she is concerned, they might as well be magic. It’s unclear why using “electronics” necessarily implies that electrons are the best explanation.

    Third, I accept electrons as the explanation for computers and other phenomena because they represent the longest, hardest to vary explanation which has withstood the most criticism. In no sense do I think repeated observations make “electrons” more probable or positively support them.

    KF: As to your attempted Lord Russell 5-minute old cosmos type argument, I give the usual answer: any argument that implies that our general senses about the world are grossly inaccurate, faces the burden of proof. One, it cannot meet as it is self-referentially incoherent; relying on the implicit reliability of what it seeks to undermine.

    Which is a strawman of my question. Again, If “an abstract designer with no limitations”, really meets the definition of an explanation and it really is *the* best explanation for the biosphere, then why isn’t “an abstract designer with no limitations” the best explanation for everything else?

    Why can we be specific in regards to atoms or moving objects, but not biological adaptations? Why is the biosphere any different? It’s as if you think “design” is some kind of irreducible primitive that cannot be explained.

    KF: That, unfortunately, is abundantly shown regarding the imposition of a priori materialism on science under the false flag of reasonable methodological constraint and the snide accusation that a theistic world is a chaos not a cosmos. Cf my notes regarding Lewontin’s errors on this, here.

    Theism assumes there is some inexplicable realm in which inexplicable beings reach in to effect us. However…

    … if we really do reside in a finite bubble of explicably, which exists in an island in a sea of of inexplicability, the inside of this bubble cannot be explicable either. This is because the inside is supposedly dependent what occurs in this inexplicable realm. Any assumption that the world is inexplicable leads to bad explanations. That is, no theory about what exists beyond this bubble can be any better than “Zeus rules” there. And, given the dependency above (this realm supposedly effects us), this also means there can be no better expiation that “Zeus rules” inside this bubble as well.

    In other words, our everyday experience in this bubble would only appear explicable if we carefully refrain from asking specific questions. Note this bares a strong resemblance to a pre-scientific perspective with its distinction between an Earth designed for human beings and a heaven that is beyond human comprehension.

    Yet, you seem to think that our everyday experience is explicable. This is a contradiction.

  20. 20
    critical rationalist

    KF: PS: It is also quite reasonable to infer to design as process on observing the characteristic traces left by designers, such as FSCO/I.

    Merely saying some designer “just was” complete with the knowledge of how to build biological adaptations serves no explanatory purpose. This is because one could more economically state organism’s “just appeared”, complete with the knowledge of how to build biological adaptations.

    In other words, the current crop of ID does not actually explain how the knowledge, as found in the genome, was created. It merely pushes the problem into some unexplainable realm. It’s a bad explanation because it doesn’t actually solve the problem is claims to address.

    Now, you might think that knowledge has always existed, and therefore need not be explained, but that assumption makes your argument parochial.

  21. 21
    critical rationalist

    UB,

    You seem to keep projecting your conception of knowledge on me, as if you simply cannot imagine there being any alternative. For example,

    UB: I asked if you equivocate from the value you place on “hard-to-vary explanations” when the only known origin of iterative code is intelligence. And you equivocated.

    However, I’d only be equivocating if I was an inductivist. Electrons were not “known” to exist, let alone do anything. Nor can we directly observe them doing anything today. We accept electrons because they are our best, hard to vary explanations for specific phenomena.

    While It’s logically possible that our DNA was the result of *some* intelligence,”That’s just what some abstract intelligence with no defined limitations must have wanted” is a bad explanation for the same reasons.

    Furthermore, the “code” you are appealing to was known to be created to serve a specific purpose. While DNA does serve a purpose, it’s not clear that it was intentionally created to serve that purpose. And if it was, what is the origin of the knowledge this intelligence used to design DNA to serve that specific purpose?

    CR: “We cannot derive theories from observations”.

    UB: From what did you derive that theory?

    CR: Given that I’ve made distinctions regarding this at length elsewhere, it’s unclear if this is even a serious question.

    UB: In your answer, you point to an explanation which states that you: a) notice a problem, then b) propose a solution to that problem. Your quoted text refers to this “solution” as a “theory”.

    Your quote therefore contradicts what you say. You derive your theories from observations, unless you notice problems without observing them.

    Is this the point where you, as the inductivist, stop asking serious questions and ignoring clarifications? For example, is there something about “Since proposed solutions are essentially guesses about what is out there in reality” that do you not understand?

    “We do not derive theories from observations” refers to the specific contents that theory proposes. Theories are tested by observations, not derived from them.

  22. 22
    critical rationalist

    CR: Is it not logically possible an abstract designer with no defined limitations is interceding to directly cause phenomena explained by electrons for some inexplicable reason using some inexplicable means?

    Mung: Ah, that would explain some recent posts by some people here at UD.

    Is that a “No”, in that it is no logically impossible? Or is it a “yes” in that it is logicially possible?

  23. CR:

    It seems that you want to have your cake and eat it, repeatedly caricaturing the views of those you object to.

    I have warned you on this repeatedly, including in the context that beyond a certain point, you are indulging willful continuing misrepresentation in the teeth of correction. There is a short, sharp word for that, that I do not want to be forced to use.

    It is time to call on you to stop before you irretrievably cross the threshold.

    That, of speaking with willful disregard for the duty of care to be true and fair, hoping to profit from misrepresentation being perceived as accurate, fairly presented truth.

    Until you can show us that you can fairly summarise the views you object to, you are failing to meet the first requirement of reasonable dialogue.

    Seemingly, you do not have sufficient respect to actually listen and seek to fairly present what others have to say.

    Beyond this point, unless you change this pattern, you are asking to be presented as a poster child of irresponsible, irrational and disrespectful, or worse, conduct.

    I ask you to cease and desist from your path, amend your behaviour and act responsibly in discussion.

    Forthwith.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: As an example, kindly notice what I pointed out: by using the products of electronics design, you implicitly accept that the relevant field — which by its very name is based on accepting a best explanation argument and evidence pointing to something that has never been directly observed — has grounded a field of reliable knowledge by this means. Similarly, by shifting terms to “hard to vary” you have ducked facing the crucial point: electrons were accepted as real, as supported by empirical evidence and related analysis, as a best explanation. In particular, the Millikan oil drop experiment and other classical investigations led to this and — contrary to your bland denial — provide warrant to moral certainty of the reality of electrons. Electrons are a case in point of how inference to best, empirically anchored explanation, provides good warrant that something (the reality of electrons) is credibly true. That is, of knowledge. The identical pattern of reasoning, per much explanation (cf. here and here on, etc) provides warrant that per inference on well warranted sign, FSCO/I is an index of design as key causal factor. In the case of evolutionary materialism imposed as ideology on origins science, that fails the question-begging test and shifts from inference to best empirically based explanation to best MATERIALIST explanation. Where also, the lack of observational warrant for Darwinian mechanisims innovating body plan level structures is a failure to show sufficient cause. Similarly, there are some troubling signs in the geochronology, including even the vaunted convergent isochrons. and more. The pattern of reasoning is clear, the capacity of inference to best current, empirically grounded explanation — which is simply not a mechanical process, but a creative and comparative judgement on evidence across live options often leading to well warranted albeit defeasible conclusions — to provide warrant in some cases to moral certainty is established, and the difference between a best explanation and the problem of question-begging a prioris and want of demonstrated adequacy of claimed causes is shown. You need to respond to such evidence in its own terms, and cease from strawman misrepresentations of the views and persons you have argued with, as a matter of basic respect and reasonableness.

  24. CR:

    As a first step to responsible discussion, I suggest that you should discuss the oil drop experiment from a critical rationalist perspective, including the charging of the drops [by friction or X-rays], the measured charges on the drops, the highest common factor analysis, and the deduced value of unit charge.

    Relate this as well to other investigations that put the mass and charge as well as the charge: mass ratio into relevant ball-parks.

    Then show us how the conclusions reached do not amount to warrant per inference to best current empirically grounded explanation, i.e. knowledge understood as well-warranted, credibly true belief.

    Also, kindly show why you hold that the relevant processes of thought 100 years ago (and similar reasoning today) do not constitute cases of inductive scientific reasoning on the understanding that inductive arguments provide support for but not demonstrative proof of, their conclusions. (Cf here for a good short discussion in the IEP.)

    GEM of TKI

    PS: To gain an idea of how this pivotal experiment played out 100 years ago, cf the video summary here. The historical discussion here and here will help, as may the lab prep paper here.

    PPS: Kindly note this clip from Milikan, regarding a table that summarises results of a four hour observation of a now immortalised oil drop as its charge varied:

    “In this table 4.917 is merely a number obtained…from the change in speed due to the capture of ions and one which is proportional in this experiment to the ionic charge. The column headed 4.917 x n contains simply the whole series of exact multiples of this number from 1 to 18 . . . during the time of observation, about four hours, this drop carried all possible multiples of the elementary charge from 4 to 17, save only 15. . . . . Such tables as these–and scores of them could be given–place beyond all question the view that an electrical charge wherever it is found, whether on an insulator or conductor, whether in electrolytes or in metals, has a definite granular structure, that it consists of an exact number of specks of electricity (electrons) all exactly alike, which in static phenomena are scattered over the surface of the charged body and in current phenomena are drifting along the conductor. Instead of giving up, as Maxwell thought we should some day do, the ‘provisional hypothesis of molecular charges,’ we find ourselves obliged to make all our interpretations of electrical phenomena, metallic as well as electrolytic, in terms of it.”9 [Millikan, Robert A., The Electron, (Chicago, The University of Chicago press, 1963), pp. 74-75.]

    PPPS: Having already adequately answered your latest red herring led away to a strawman on suggested invisible designers [as in Russell and Plato], at 8 above and in the onward linked, I will not further take up that side-track.

  25. 25

    Unfortunately, according to CR’s reasoning, unless we can say where the electron got its charge, we’ve added nothing to the explanation by concluding that “an electron” exists to supply the necessary charge. Thus, the whole field of “electronics” is predicated upon an assumed, magical being – the electron – that just “happens” to provide the charge necessary for the observed action of the phenomenon in question.

  26. CR: Is it not logically possible an abstract designer with no defined limitations is interceding to directly cause phenomena explained by electrons for some inexplicable reason using some inexplicable means?

    Mung: Ah, that would explain some recent posts by some people here at UD.

    CR: Is that a “No”, in that it is no logically impossible? Or is it a “yes” in that it is logicially possible?

    Me:

    That is an admission that it is logically possible, I suppose, that there is a worm crawling around in your brain secreting some chemical which has the effect of causing you to post the stuff that you post here at UD.

    Shall we take that possibility into account when reading your posts and deciding whether it’s even worth it to respond?

    CR:

    You seem to keep projecting your conception of knowledge on me, as if you simply cannot imagine there being any alternative.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    According to you, there is only one way of knowing.

  27. However, I’d only be equivocating if I was an inductivist.

    You equivocated when you replaced your value on “hard-to-vary explanations” (with regard to our universal common experience that intelligence is the source of iterative code) with a strawman about what you think a designer would or would not “want”.

    Electrons were not “known” to exist…

    My comment didn’t have anything to do with unseen electrons. It had to do with the universal observation that iterative code results from intelligence.

    Is this the point where you, as the inductivist, stop asking serious questions and ignoring clarifications? For example, is there something about “Since proposed solutions are essentially guesses about what is out there in reality” that do you not understand?

    No, its the point where I once again point out that you contradict yourself. Our guesses abou what is “out there in reality” are based solely on observation. If your point is that the human ability to think is separate from the world, then you’ve added nothing to the conversation.

    Being boring is forgivable as long as you add something to the conversation.

  28. 28
    critical rationalist

    KF: It seems that you want to have your cake and eat it, repeatedly caricaturing the views of those you object to.

    You’ve repeatedly suggested that observations can make a theory more probable. As such, this is not a characterization.

    Also, I wrote:

    We seem to agree observations cannot be used to [confirm] theories. However, you do seem think that observations can make a theory more probable. But this assumption is highly parochial, as it doesn’t take into account the different kinds of unknowability.

    Your previous post indicated just that. Are you denying that you hold this view?

    KF: Until you can show us that you can fairly summarise the views you object to, you are failing to meet the first requirement of reasonable dialogue.

    I posted two different comparison of Critical Rationalism and Inductivism which did just this. Since you have yet to respond to it, I’ll post them here again.

    KF: Seemingly, you do not have sufficient respect to actually listen and seek to fairly present what others have to say.

    What you’ve said is that observations positively support theories. You might think that inductivism is necessary to make progress, but that would be a form of justificationsm, which is impossible.

    Your accusation of disrespect suggests you do not recognize your conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism.

    Of course, feel free to formulate and present a “principle of induction” that actually works in practice. All I’ve seen so far is that, “everyone knows that’s how science works since Newton”, which doesn’t actually address Popper’s criticism.

    Nor have you directly responded to the idea that we derive theories from observations. Should I take this as acceptance or rejection? Your arguments seem to imply this is the case, but you can easily clear this up with an explicit response.

    For example, here’s an expanded version of Bertrand Russell’s story of the farmer and the chicken, which illustrates the above issue.

    A flock of anthropomorphic chickens has observed a farmer who fed them every day like clockwork since they were chicks. They extrapolate these observations to conclude the farmer will continue to feed them. One day the farmer starts feeding them even more corn that usual. This observation further reinforces their conclusion they will continue to be fed. However, not long after, the farmer puts them in cages and sends them off to slaughter.

    In other words, mere observations alone are inadequate to justify conclusions. This is the problem of induction.

    However, if we’re not careful we’ll miss (or knowingly accept) a more fundamental misconception illustrated in this story. Specifically, that it’s even possible extrapolate observations without first placing them in a explanatory framework.

    Before these chickens could have induced a false prediction, they must first had in mind a false explanatory framework of the farmers behavior, such as thinking he had benevolent feelings towards chickens. However, had the chickens guessed a different explanation, such as the farmer was fattening them up for slaughter, they would have extrapolated observations of his actions differently. In other words, how we form predictions depends on our underlying explanation. According to the benevolent-farmer theory, observations of being fed even more corn suggested the chickens were more likely to continue being fed, while the fattening-up theory suggested this same observation was an omen of imminent slaughter.

    So, again, unless you can explain we can extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework, then theories are not derived from observations.

    KF: Similarly, by shifting terms to “hard to vary” you have ducked facing the crucial point: electrons were accepted as real, as supported by empirical evidence and related analysis, as a best explanation.

    I’ve ducked nothing. Electrons are hard to vary explanations for the phenomena in question in the same sense that good designs are hard to vary without effecting their ability to serve a purpose less well. We can say the same about microscopes, even thought we can observe them. In both cases, this is the criteria I’m referring to.

    How do you explain our relatively recent, rapid increase in the growth of knowledge? What change have we adopted that made the difference?

  29. CR:

    You are now trying the mirror logic trick, which is beginning to confirm my concerns as already stated. Not, a good sign.

    In addition, it is you who have denied the possibility of a probability estimate arising from observational studies.

    Moral certainty is or embeds such.

    And BTW, error bars for a quantity, common in science, are often 3-sigma estimates, or in certain cases 1-sigma estimates. Those are associated with probabilities.

    In the case of Milikan’s electron charge estimate, the +/- 0.5% of given value range was in effect a 3-sigma range.

    I see you also think that by repeating verbiage about hard to vary explanations, you can avoid the import of WHY such would be hard to vary. Namely, warrant on best explanation per factual adequacy, coherence and simplicity.

    So, in conclusion, you are now insistently saying that which was adequately corrected, in the teeth of a pretty concrete counter-example, the confirmation of the reality of the electron, its charge and its mass per observations and measurements by Milikan that materially contributed to his Nobel Prize. In short, you are proving yourself closed to the disconfirming import of observations, which have assigned to your favoured meta-explanations a probability near zero.

    KF

  30. kf, you may appreciate this following video:

    An Interview With Stephen Meyer and Chuck Missler – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC667GIrldQ

  31. 31
    critical rationalist

    KF: Start from the problem that ever since Newton in Opticks, Query 31, 1704, your “inductivist” is a made up strawman, not the real opponent.

    Substituting “true” for “probable” doesn’t’ solve the problem of induction. Specifically, if past observations do not imply anything about future observations, they no more imply probability than truth.

    When we take a critical approach, we look at what evidence is inconsistent with our theories, not consistent. Being consistent with a theory does not get us anywhere because there are an infinite number of un-conceived theories that would also be consistent with the evidence. So, how do you “induce” one theory?

    Arbitrarily? According to your biases or intuition? What specific step does induction instruct us to employ?

    This is the missing step which induction has yet to address, which is missing in your Opticks quote as well.

  32. 32
    critical rationalist

    UB: Do you equivocate when the hard-to-vary explanation for the origin of iterative code is intelligence?

    CR: A: No, I do not. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, “That’s just what some abstract designer with no limitations must have wanted” does not represent a long, hard to vary chain of independent explanations.

    UB: I did not ask you about what “some abstract designer with no limitations” would have wanted, nor did I ask how you know what “some abstract designer with no limitations” would have wanted. I asked if you equivocate from the value you place on “hard-to-vary explanations” when the only known origin of iterative code is intelligence. And you equivocated.

    CR: However, I’d only be equivocating if I was an inductivist. Electrons were not “known” to exist, let alone do anything. Nor can we directly observe them doing anything today. We accept electrons because they are our best, hard to vary explanations for specific phenomena.

    UB: I asked if you equivocate from the value you place on “hard-to-vary explanations” when the only known origin of iterative code is intelligence. And you equivocated.

    Being “the only known”, as in observed, would be an argument from ignorance, even if it were the case.

    If you mean intelligence as an explanation, then how is it hard to vary? Please be specific.

    Nor do I see the difference between an “abstract intelligence with no defined limitations” and an “abstract designer with no limitations”. Neither have much in the way of informational content to be found in error.

    For example…

    …even the statement that “all swans are white”, which is found in conflict with observations and therefore false as a whole, is better than merely “all swans have a color” as the former has more ways to be found wrong. All theories usually contains errors to some degree. In my example, the error is “all”, but it would bring us closer to the truth than merely “all swans have a color” because it encompasses the theory that there are *white* swans. Popper called this property Verisimilitude.

    For example, it’s logically possible one or more designers intentionally went out of its way to obscure its role in designing biological organisms. Even if this was the case, Darwinism would still be the best explanation because it encompasses the theory that the biosphere appears *as if* adaptations of organisms were created by genetic variation that was random to any specific problem to solve and natural selection. IOW, the theory encompasses a specific means by which the designer set out to obscure it’s role, which could also be found false as compared to some other specific means of obscuring its role. As such, this too represents a better theory than merely an abstract designer with no defined limitations.

    Furthermore, some abstract Intelligence without any defined limitations is insufficient to explain DNA. For example, a nonmaterial intelligence that cannot effect our material world could not manifest it. And an Intelligence would need the knowledge necessary to actually implement it, the knowledge that the resulting code would reproduce itself with finite variations, how to repair it, how to encode data into that format, etc.

    What is the source of this knowledge?

    if P then Q
    Q, so P

    is a fallacy.

    If P then Q
    Not Q
    Therefore, not P.

    Is not.

    Mere intelligence does not stick it’s neck out in a way that allows us to make progress via this valid form of deduction.

    It’s as if you think the biosphere was created in a way that makes a theory of biological complexity impossible. As such, you refuse to reformulate this intelligence in a way that allows us to make progress. However, this would be like suggesting atoms were created in such a way that atomic theory is impossible or that objects move in such a way that makes a theory of their movement impossible.

    Why is the biosphere any different?

    No, its the point where I once again point out that you contradict yourself. Our guesses abou what is “out there in reality” are based solely on observation. If your point is that the human ability to think is separate from the world, then you’ve added nothing to the conversation.

    Is it? Please see my above quote to KF.

    The distinction is the role that observations play is an important one.

    Again, it seems you are ignoring clarifications as if the use of induction is “obvious”. As such, any distinctions must not actually add up to anything that diverges from it.

  33. CR:

    When we take a critical approach, we look at what evidence is inconsistent with our theories, not consistent. Being consistent with a theory does not get us anywhere because there are an infinite number of un-conceived theories that would also be consistent with the evidence.

    Who or what determines what is not consistent with our theory?

    Take Darwinism, for example. Or Origin of Life theories.

    I think I see what’s going on here. You’re attacking modern science, and KF is saying this is the way it’s done, deal with it.

  34. 34
    critical rationalist

    Mung: Who or what determines what is not consistent with our theory?

    Is this a problem with your theory? If so, this seems to be a red flag.

    Theories should be specifically constructed so they conflict with as many competing theories as possible when criticized. Otherwise, we cannot make progress.

    You want to make progress, right?

    Mung: I think I see what’s going on here. You’re attacking modern science,…

    If I was attacking modern science, I would be objecting to its conclusions as a whole. Can you point out where I’ve done that?

    Mung: …. and KF is saying this is the way it’s done, deal with it.

    What KF is saying is there is an alternative, non-deductive thing called inductive inference, which is valid by its own supposed standard. I agree that’s what he is *saying*. However there are two problems with his position.

    First, is the missing step I refereed to. KF has yet to explain what this inductive inference consists of, how it’s supposed to be applied, etc.

    Second, we have a conflict: inductive inference says we can get theories from data, while deductive inference says we cannot. If we take both the deducted conclusion and the contradictory inducted conclusion, then plug them into a deductive argument, this causes even deduction to fail spectacularly because, using deduction, we can derive any statement from X and NOT-x.

    So, KF is saying science “does it” using a type of inference he has yet to define or explain, which does not solve any problems and would require us to abandon deductive logic. (which *is* well defined and can be used to solve problems in practice)

    Just saying “that’s the way it’s done” is not the same as actually explaining how it works, in practice.

  35. ‘For example, is there something about “Since proposed solutions are essentially guesses about what is out there in reality” that do you not understand?

    “We do not derive theories from observations” refers to the specific contents that theory proposes. Theories are tested by observations, not derived from them.’

    No. No. No. No. No, C.R. Successful, scientific hypotheses, to the degree that they are ground-breaking, will always be the culmination of innumerable observations, some perhaps of a quite generalised nature, perhaps going back many years and/or not in areas of experience readily identifiable as germane. Observation has to be joined up, like joined-up writing.

    One would not, on the face of it, suspect that Einstein’s pondering on a man sliding down a sunbeam had been the culmination of intensive, discursive excogitation, were it not that he would have been inspired to reflect on it within the generally adult context of physics, upon which he was given to unrelentingly excogitate, like a dog with a bone. Thus, hypotheses should be far more works of erudition than mundane speculation – than ‘guesses’.

    Hypotheses may indeed partake of elements that are not observable in the sense of measurable, as per Einstein’s aesthetic criterion when choosing his hypotheses. However, Einstein could see that his insight was being misunderstood. With the typically clumsy thinking so manifest in scientism, many must have all but abandoned the actual science, in their quest for ‘elegance’!

    Thus, if successful, hypotheses at any esoteric level will be arrived at intuitively, when the multiple strands of past sensual observations, possibly including some of a quite generalised nature, marry with a knowledge and understanding, also, already acquired, which will provide the larger encompassing context of the scientist’s world-view in relation to the topic at hand.

    Indeed, successful hypotheses are not guesses, not wild stabs, but informed, indeed, indeed, to the layman, very esoterically informed, conjectures. Occasionally, some of our current scientific luminaries embark upon an intellectual ‘walkabout’, however, such as our multiverse proponents. I’ll say no more.

    Sometimes, it may be a very, very, simple, but epochally successful conjecture, when a man such as Einstein possesses an intellectual integrity matched by a supreme self-confidence, and an understanding of the hegemony of herd-thinking in Academe.

    However, that latter quality cannot be a vapid, presumptuous arrogance – in consequence of which great scientists, such as the atheist, Laplace, have lost their minds precisely as a result of that.

    Compare Einstein’s ‘humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind,’ with the atheist myrmidons’ ‘promissory note’!

  36. ‘If I was attacking modern science, I would be objecting to its conclusions as a whole. Can you point out where I’ve done that?’

    Please CR, no facile and vapid non sequiturs. A person might attack modern science – indeed this forum is precisely designed to do so – by attacking major elements within it: primarily, the totalitarian protectionism of the religious zealots of scientism.

    It doesn’t damn modern science in its entirety, but it is still an attack on it, and a very meritorious one at that.

  37. 37

    As I see it the foundation error in Critical Rationalist’s ideas–made clear in thru first few posts– is one of presumptuousness. CR implies in his statements that the side he is on is the side of critical thinking and science in essence trying to lord over science and take ownership of it and relegate believers in god to a straw man version of “supernaturalism”, and this obviously without justification or regard to history when it comes to many great figures of science and their private beliefs.
    To even suggest that-as KF put it– we would be willing to accept or should feel forced to accept “a chaotic theism” is to demonstrate lack of understanding and insight or just bad faith. I have often witnessed atheists argue in this fashion with child or adolescent like understanding of the issues they discuss and are passionate about creating more “heat than light”. Not understanding that science is done by the will not necessity. A default to supernatural agency would be equally unacceptable to a believing scientist as it would be to a unbelieving one and that should be quite obvious. While many things could be possible not all are equally likely or warranted when seeking simple material explanations which is the first goal and will of science done by anyone.

  38. CR:

    Being “the only known”, as in observed, would be an argument from ignorance, even if it were the case.

    1. Intelligence is the only known source of iterative code. You now can either support your comment or retract it. (…of course, you will do neither)

    2. Under your view, anything that science observes as a ‘regularity’ is an argument from ignorance. Our universal common experince of phenomena becomes meaningless. As an example; the idea that the Earth orbits the Sun is therefore a faulty explanation. Just because it’s the only explanation that can integrate all observations, it is nontheless based upon observations, and as such, we may observe something else tomorrow which may contradict it.

    - – - – - –

    This line of reasoning by you is precisely what I was talking about. When universal observation creates a “hard-to-vary” explanation which suits you, your happily integrate it. Yet when is creates a hard-to-vary explanation which you dislike, then it becomes an “argument from ignorance”.

    You equivocate.

    Now, support your implied comment that some form of intelligence is not the only known source of iterative code.

  39. CR:

    A quick initial response to your general tenor.

    Have you even bothered to read what I have been writing in any true sense beyond passing eyes over to pick up snips to snipe at rhetorically?

    As of now, it does not look like that is so.

    I say this to your shame.

    Have you not noticed that long since I have explicitly addressed the affirming the consequent issue [as a personal note, over 25 years ago in writing, and before that in my personal thinking as I found the discussions of it in works I saw inadequate . . . ], and used that as part of why inference to best current explanation on comparative difficulties and in light of observed evidence is pivotal to the process of science?

    And, have you seen why “current” is there, i.e. the result is provisional?

    Did you then see that I have cited both Locke and Newton to show that they were aware of this challenge to and limitation of human knowledge claims and pretensions, 300+ years ago?

    Can you not see that part of the very reason why I speak of knowledge as warranted, credibly true belief is that I am aware of this limitation, and of the range in degree of warrant that attaches to knowledge claims as a result?

    (Do us all a favour, kindly read here and reflect on it. Include, watching the vids. That way, you will at least avoid tilting at a strawman.)

    In short, are you even aware that scientific knowledge claims at explanatory level are inherently weaker than say those of a self-evident truth like 2 + 3 = 5?

    Do you not see that this is indeed a principle of induction, that experience based knowledge claims — and if we are to access specific facts of external reality and integrate them in our knowledge, we must access such — face the issues of the limitations of inductive reasoning?

    It sure looks like you have set up yet another strawman, a demand that induction provide an equivalent degree of warrant as can be so of deduction. But, so soon as deduction tries to engage external reality, it too runs into the limitations of induction.

    That is why I have looked carefully at the generally accepted modern understanding of induction: it is the form of argument that addresses evidence that supports its conclusions, but is not held to demonstrate them. Such warrant comes in degrees, and can amount to moral certainty in important cases.

    Milikan’s establishment of the reality, charge and mass of the electron is a case in point. A Nobel Prize winning one, as it turns out, cf. 24 above from Sept 15.

    And this case gives the lie to your assertions on the lack of ability of inductive reasoning to establish a conclusion to be more probable than not, or to have a probability value assigned to it per the strength of the support given.

    As pointed out — I notice how you are dodging the post above, no 24, where the facts are laid out for you to address — Milikan established the reality of the electron to moral certainty, by showing how oil drops under observation for hours at a time amidst ions in the air, changed their charge in stepwise increments of a certain negative charge. In the published case I linked, a certain immortalised drop changed in increments from 4 to 17 e, save for 15 e, across about four hours. (And BTW, having struggled with a lab version of the apparatus, I assure you that the bare facts reported speak to experimental virtuosity that is almost unbelievable, similar to the concert pianist hitting 120 perfect notes per minute on a piece known by heart for hours at a time.)

    This case and many many others like it established by direct observation, that change is observed to vary in stepwise uniform increments. It further established that the scale of those increments was a certain value to within 1/2% of the value. This can be taken as a +/- three-sigma range, which is (per the likely relevant Gaussian error distribution) a 99.7% probability range.

    From the value of e so determined and Thomson’s e/m ratio established otherwise, Milikan was able to deduce the mass of the electron.

    He then exploited the concept that we experience a uniformity in the world that we have a right to extend in absence of contrary evidence — per Newton’s rules of reasoning, etc. — and drew up a confident, empirically reliable inductive generalisation without needing to observe every electron in the cosmos.

    Which of course is yet another bugbear for you.

    Let me cite Avi Sion to you yet again, who sets the matter out aptly (this is not a case of blind adherence to authorities, as you seem to want to project; FYI, William G Perry was simply grossly wrong in his dismissive mischaracteristation of authority and naive promotion of radical relativism and partisan commitment):

    We might . . . ask – can there be a world without any ‘uniformities’? A world of universal difference, with no two things the same in any respect whatever is unthinkable. Why? Because to so characterize the world would itself be an appeal to uniformity. A uniformly non-uniform world is a contradiction in terms.

    Therefore, we must admit some uniformity to exist in the world.

    The world need not be uniform throughout, for the principle of uniformity to apply. It suffices that some uniformity occurs.

    Given this degree of uniformity, however small, we logically can and must talk about generalization and particularization. There happens to be some ‘uniformities’; therefore, we have to take them into consideration in our construction of knowledge. The principle of uniformity is thus not a wacky notion, as Hume seems to imply . . . .

    The uniformity principle is not a generalization of generalization; it is not a statement guilty of circularity, as some critics contend. So what is it? Simply this: when we come upon some uniformity in our experience or thought, we may readily assume that uniformity to continue onward until and unless we find some evidence or reason that sets a limit to it. Why? Because in such case the assumption of uniformity already has a basis, whereas the contrary assumption of difference has not or not yet been found to have any. The generalization has some justification; whereas the particularization has none at all, it is an arbitrary assertion.

    It cannot be argued that we may equally assume the contrary assumption (i.e. the proposed particularization) on the basis that in past events of induction other contrary assumptions have turned out to be true (i.e. for which experiences or reasons have indeed been adduced) – for the simple reason that such a generalization from diverse past inductions is formally excluded by the fact that we know of many cases [[of inferred generalisations; try: "we can make mistakes in inductive generalisation . . . "] that have not been found worthy of particularization to date . . . .

    If we follow such sober inductive logic, devoid of irrational acts, we can be confident to have the best available conclusions in the present context of knowledge. We generalize when the facts allow it, and particularize when the facts necessitate it. We do not particularize out of context, or generalize against the evidence or when this would give rise to contradictions . . .[[Logical and Spiritual Reflections, BK I Hume's Problems with Induction, Ch 2 The principle of induction.]

    Sion actually argues that this is a first principle of right reason, and your performance is showing us why he has a point.

    So, with all due respect, you seem to have a serious problem being self-critically aware int eh face of countervailing evidence.

    There is good reason to see, pace your views, that induction is important and inevitable, that it provides degrees of warrant, up to and including moral certainty, and that it is a form of reasoning wherein evidence is given its voice to lead to and support conclusions, even where we may not prove such beyond all doubt per first principles that are undeniable on pain of absurdity.

    If we were to confine knowledge to such cases, we would face an utterly impoverished picture of the world, and we would be left with a view of what knowledge means that runs utterly contrary to what that term normally means.

    Well warranted, credibly true claims or explanations can be deemed knowledge, in short. Yes, subject to correction in the face of further reasoning and experience, but such have the burden of proof to show the contrary of the well-founded and empirically reliable views that have been accepted. Which is exactly what Newton said in Opticks, Query 31, 300+ years ago.

    In short, CR, it is long since high time to stop playing clever strawman games and evasive tactics, and face the evidence and argument in front of you seriously.

    Start from the analogue CRO with the displayed wave forms in the OP, which are held to be traces pained by electron beams that are hitting a phosphor screen, in a controlled way that allows us to measure amplitude, frequency and other parameters of the wave forms, and thence to deduce bandwidths and frequency spectra etc.

    Remember, the CRO is a standard instrument, and the analogue CRO is directly dependent on the behaviour of the electron [based on its charge and mass and the thermionic effect] in magnetic and electric fields.

    GEM of TKI

  40. CR:

    Let me address:

    Mere intelligence does not stick it’s neck out in a way that allows us to make progress via this valid form of deduction.

    It’s as if you think the biosphere was created in a way that makes a theory of biological complexity impossible. As such, you refuse to reformulate this intelligence in a way that allows us to make progress. However, this would be like suggesting atoms were created in such a way that atomic theory is impossible or that objects move in such a way that makes a theory of their movement impossible.

    Why is the biosphere any different?

    Have you taken time to see even a snippet of what has been put forward as to why Functionally Specific complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I] is held to be an empirically reliable, trusted sign of intelligence? (The linked case includes a discussion of how this is so used in a literally life or death situation, on a routine basis.)

    Have you even considered that, once we move to the world of empirical facts, we are no longer in the neat abstract world where valid deductions are good enough to establish chains of proofs? That is, we face the issue of needing to have a reasonable base of observations and credible summaries and explanations of patterns that are the messy stuff or real world inductive reasoning.

    We have billions of cases in point in libraries, in our life experiences, a whole industry of informatics, and more across 5,000 years of recorded history [the very existence of written record is an illustration of the point], backed up by the needle in the haystack, infinite monkeys theorem analysis. That is a wide basis on which to infer inductively that we have here found an empirically reliable sign that intelligently directed organising work [IDOW] — per inference to best current explanation — is responsible for meaningful symbol patterns and/or complex functionally specific organisation beyond a reasonable threshold.

    Namely, and as has been discussed in outline here on, that on the gamut of our solar system:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the threshold

    That is, once we see at least 500 bits of FSCO/I, we have adequate reason to infer that such is not credibly the product of blind chance and mechanical necessity on the gamut of the solar system. That is our practical universe as far as chemical-level interactions goes. (We can go up to 1,000 bits to cover the gamut of our observed universe, but in fact that is being exceedingly generous. A solar system is the practical limit for chemical interactions relevant to formation of cell based aqueous medium life and the like. If something is exceedingly unlikely to form in a solar system, we can take it to the bank that it is exceedingly unlikely to form on the gamut of the observed cosmos.)

    Now, in fact, intelligence is just as much an empirical fact as any other. And, intelligences are observed to use IDOW to create artifacts, many of which are routinely beyond the FSCO/I threshold, and which exhibit the relevant patterns.

    That is evidence that design is possible and a mechanism of causation.

    Thus, it is reasonable to accept it as an explanatory candidate in explaining origin of relevant objects.

    Now, of course, not all cases of intelligent activity will manifest FSCO/I and it is possible for an intelligence to seek to conceal its work. It is also possible for an intelligence to use chance based random walks as a means of adapting a designed self replicating entity to a varying environment. Indeed, robustness is a superior real world criterion to artificial optimisation to an ideal circumstance. (Notice in linear etc programming, post optimality analysis that looks at robustness of solutions, no prizes for guessing why.)

    But all of that is tangential, even distractively so to the point of the red herring fallacy.

    For, we are dealing with a well established empirically reliable sign of design, and we are dealing with cell based life forms that are chock full of that sign, FSCO/I.

    So, what is relevant is whether we can reasonably trust the sign.

    A wide body of experience says yes.

    And, the very fact of the convoluted and strawman tactic based objections to induction that are now being put on the table, is strong evidence that there are no serious counter-examples.

    Imagine, onlookers, we are now left to see design thinkers defending the inductive pattern of reasoning used in science from objectors to design. And notice, we don’t seem to see other objectors saying wait a minute, science is indeed such and so.

    That speaks volumes on what was meant when such were flying the flag of science in claiming to have objections to design on science.

    KF

  41. Kairosfocus posted this:

    Imagine, onlookers, we are now left to see design thinkers defending the inductive pattern of reasoning used in science from objectors to design. And notice, we don’t seem to see other objectors saying wait a minute, science is indeed such and so.

    I defy anyone to make sense of this.

  42. timothya-

    Let me try to help you-

    There is one group of people who claim to be pro-science, ie the anti-IDists. There is another group of people who those anti-IDists say are anti-science, ie the IDists. Yet it is the IDists who seem to understand how science works and the anti-IDists are just clueless.

    That said, there doesn’t seem to be anyone else stepping in and correcting the anti-ID side.

  43. Joe posted this:

    There is one group of people who claim to be pro-science, ie the anti-IDists. There is another group of people who those anti-IDists say are anti-science, ie the IDists. Yet it is the IDists who seem to understand how science works and the anti-IDists are just clueless.

    I defy anyone to make sense of this.

  44. I defy anyone to make sense out of timothya

  45. TA: Simply observe the above thread, and in particular the exchange with CR now across several threads. Pay particular attention to the case of Milikan’s oil drop experiment and the inductive establishment of the reality, charge and mass of the electron — scroll up to the OP. KF

  46. timothya:
    I defy anyone to make sense of this.

    I challenge you to defend induction and science.

  47. Jerad, timothya, critical rationalist, et innombrables confreres, why not consider the term, ‘design’ qua ‘plan’, ‘scheme’, ‘plot’ – with the additional dimension of time (and necessarily, purpose, of course)?

    Does it seem to you a fair assumption that photons, would not, themselves, compute and adjust their speed of travel to ‘hit’ the Observer at their absolute speed, irrespective of the speed of the latter’s travel in the same direction?

    If so, what omniscient, omnipotent agency, taking a personal interest in the Observer – as would be required – would you postulate?

  48. Evamolution?

  49. Axel posted this:

    Does it seem to you a fair assumption that photons, would not, themselves, compute and adjust their speed of travel to ‘hit’ the Observer at their absolute speed, irrespective of the speed of the latter’s travel in the same direction?

    If so, what omniscient, omnipotent agency, taking a personal interest in the Observer – as would be required – would you postulate?

    I wouldn’t postulate such an agency, since none is required to explain the fact of nature (formalised in the laws of physics). In other words, that’s how matter and energy behave in this particular universe. To add a requirement for an omniscient, omnipotent agency to the explanation would be to pile up entities unnecessarily.

    However, I will take up an earlier point:

    Jerad, timothya, critical rationalist, et innombrables confreres, why not consider the term, ‘design’ qua ‘plan’, ‘scheme’, ‘plot’ – with the additional dimension of time (and necessarily, purpose, of course)?

    Excellent idea. In fact that is precisely the approach that science takes when grappling with the relationship between causes and effects (including those involving conscious, intentional, purposeful causes). It is a matter of science to attempt to understand the nature of a cause, its constitution, its origin, its mode and methods of operation, and in the case of a conscious cause, its intention or purpose.
    The weird thing is: ID refuses to do so. In fact, it explicitly rules out such questions (quoted from Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin, in turn quoting from Stephen Meyer’s Signature in The Cell):

    The theory of intelligent design does not claim to detect a supernatural intelligence possessing unlimited powers. Though the designing agent responsible for life may well have been an omnipotent deity, the theory of intelligent design does not claim to be able to determine that. Because the inference to design depends upon our uniform experience of cause and effect in this world, the theory cannot determine whether or not the designing intelligence putatively responsible for life has powers beyond those on display in our experience. Nor can the theory of intelligent design determine whether the intelligent agent responsible for information life acted from the natural or the “supernatural” realm. Instead, the theory of intelligent design merely claims to detect the action of some intelligent cause (with power, at least, equivalent to those we know from experience) and affirms this because we know from experience that only conscious, intelligent agents produce large amounts of specified information. The theory of intelligent design does not claim to be able to determine the identity or any other attributes of that intelligence, even if philosophical deliberation or additional evidence from other disciplines may provide reasons to consider, for example, a specifically theistic design hypothesis.

    If ID is unable to provide any insight into how (or in some cases why) a designer pursued a particular course, or even of the nature (or intentions) of that designer, then its project reduces to saying “it is designed, well, because it is designed”.

    This is one of the reasons why scientists say that ID doesn’t actually explain anything, and also why it is an unscientific activity.

    I can’t resist asking why you used the term “innombrables” in your contribution. Is it because “we” are members of an uncountably large community (hmmm, maybe we are doing something right), or because you can’t count? Not judging, just asking.

  50. timothya,

    Think of ID as the medical examiner. We rule out “natural” causes.

    We don’t get into who did it or why.

    That’s up to the detectives, provided the death is ruled a homicide.

  51. Actually, I think of ID as the old-fashioned lift attendant.

    “Ground floor, haberdashery, millinery and foundation garments.

    Which floor, sir/madam? The eighth floor? Sorry, I don’t have a button for that one. You’ll have to get out and walk up the stairs.”

  52. timothya:

    I wouldn’t postulate such an agency, since none is required to explain the fact of nature (formalised in the laws of physics).

    Those laws of physics are evidnece for a designer.

    If ID is unable to provide any insight into how (or in some cases why) a designer pursued a particular course, or even of the nature (or intentions) of that designer, then its project reduces to saying “it is designed, well, because it is designed”.

    Well timmy the ONLY possible way to make any scientific determination as to the how, in the absence of direct obsrvation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

    And guess what? Arachaeologists have artifcats that they don’t know how it was done.

  53. Joe posted this:

    Those laws of physics are evidnece for a designer.

    Interesting idea – that would require your designer to intervene in every single quantum event everywhere and at every time in the history of the universe to ensure the collective outcome happens to end up where we are. Are you sure you want to argue that viewpoint?

    And this:

    And guess what? Arachaeologists have artifcats that they don’t know how it was done.

    So your conclusion is that we should construct explanations for reality on the basis of what we don’t know? Let’s call it The Ignorance Dividend. Celebrate the ID!


  54. Those laws of physics are evidnece for a designer.

    Interesting idea – that would require your designer to intervene in every single quantum event everywhere and at every time in the history of the universe to ensure the collective outcome happens to end up where we are.

    No, it would not. Why would you even suggest such a thing? Once the laws are designed and implemented it would be hands-off, duh.


    And guess what? Arachaeologists have artifcats that they don’t know how it was done.

    So your conclusion is that we should construct explanations for reality on the basis of what we don’t know?

    Non-sequitur.

    Perhaps you should just go back to bed.

  55. BTW timothya, evolutionism relies on our ignorance- it is full of ignorance dividends….

  56. Joe posted this:

    Once the laws are designed and implemented it would be hands-off, duh.

    Got any evidence for the prior design of the laws of physics? Any evidence of the nature of your designer? Any evidence of your designer’s origin? Method of operation? Your designer’s purpose? Any reason to believe that your idea is anything other than armwaving bafflepoop?

  57. Got any evidence for the prior design of the laws of physics?

    Do YOU have any evidnece for your position? Any at all? I thought not.

    Obvioulsy all YOU have is to flail about.

  58. I posted this:

    Got any evidence for the prior design of the laws of physics? Any evidence of the nature of your designer? Any evidence of your designer’s origin? Method of operation? Your designer’s purpose? Any reason to believe that your idea is anything other than armwaving bafflepoop?

    Joe responded with this:

    Do YOU have any evidnece for your position? Any at all? I thought not.

    Obvioulsy all YOU have is to flail about.

    I guess that means no, you don’t have any evidence. Thanks for the clarification.

  59. Yes, timohya, it is obvious that you don’t have any evidence to support your position and all you can do is act like a belligerent little child.

    Your parents must be very proud…

  60. timothya posted this:

    Got any evidence for the prior design of the laws of physics?

    What does THAT even mean? Why is that even a requirement?

    Any evidence of the nature of your designer? </blockq

  61. Any evidence of the nature of your designer?

    ID is NOT about the designer(s) and we don’t know who the designer(s) were.

    Any evidence of your designer’s origin?

    No one knows if the designer had nor needed an origin

    Method of operation?

    I already covered that. Do you think your ignorance means something?

    Your designer’s purpose?

    How is that relevant?

  62. Joe posted this:

    What does THAT even mean? Why is that even a requirement?

    It was a question prompted by this post of yours:

    Once the laws are designed and implemented it would be hands-off, duh.

    Simple really. If you claim that a proposition is true, then back it up with evidence. In this case, you claim that the laws of physics are designed. Fine. Produce the evidence.

    (It is possible that you are presuming the truth of something that you need to explain. But that is unlikely, isn’t it.)

  63. TA: Evidence of cosmological design per fine tuning that enables C-chemistry, aqueous medium cell based life, 101, as already repeatedly linked (and as posted here at UD over a year ago). Note, the onward links on far more detailed and elaborate discussions. Beyond those, are the many serious articles in the academic literature. KF

  64. timothya sez:

    In this case, you claim that the laws of physics are designed. Fine. Produce the evidence.

    The evidence has been produced- Walter Bradley has written about it. Just because you are ignorant of the evidence doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    OTOH all your position can say about those laws is “they just are (the way they are)”- Hwking in “A Briefer History of Time”

  65. Thank you Kairosfocus

    [Welcome, let's see if TA is even inclined to pay attention to the evidence he plainly so confidently demanded as he did not expect it to be there. KF]

  66. Here is Joe’s excellent summary of ID:

    ID is NOT about the designer(s) and we don’t know who the designer(s) were.

    No one knows if the designer had nor needed an origin

    I already covered that. Do you think your ignorance means something?

    How is that relevant?

    So, to summarise without the gratuitous insults:

    ID claims that (non-human) design exists in nature.
    ID cannot explain the nature of the putative designer.
    ID cannot explain the origin of the putative designer.
    ID cannot explain how the putative designer carries out its actions.
    ID cannot explain the purpose or intention of the putative designer.

    And this ID business is a scientific argument exactly how?

    [TA, you have developed a habit of strawman snipping and dismissive sniping. Kindly, stop it. There are endless articles here at UD that survey the relevant evidence and lay out the arguments, including the foundation series that I just linked no 6 on cosmological design. I suggest that you scroll up to the top of this or any UD page and work your way through the resources tab, including the definition of ID and the weak argument responses. In addition, you may find the online enc article on ID here helpful in gaining a basic understanding. And my own presentation here on will probably be helpful, if you truly want to learn what the case for the design inference is. Failing doing your homework and seriously responding on the merits, you will show yourself to be an irresponsible objector, to be regarded as little better than a slightly improved troll. KF.]

  67. PS: TA, contrary to your confident manner assertions above, that we have good warrant to conclude per inference to best empirically grounded explanation that many things in our world and even the observed cosmos were designed, is momentous, even without direct evidence beyond that. Indeed, it decisively shifts the balance on what worldviews are credible, and in particular it is a further reason beyond its inescapable self referential incoherence (which many are tempted to disregard), to reject the evolutionary materialist ideology that now seems to have a stranglehold on science and science education. That tweredun is a serious thing to have found beyond REASONABLE dispute, per empirical investigation. The ongoing meltdown of design objectors where they are now attacking inductive reasoning and knowledge, speaks volumes, loudest volumes, on the impact of that finding.

  68. timothya-

    We don’t know who built Stonehenge, nor why, nor how. We don’t know where the alleged designer(s) came from. However we still say that Stonehenge was in fact designed and we study it in that light- because it makes a difference.

    Everything we do know came from investigating all of the evidence. THAT is how science operates.

    And seeing that the design ID is concerned with is far more advanced than anything archaeology has uncovered it is gong to take us more time to figure it out.

  69. Joe,

    We don’t know who built Stonehenge, nor why, nor how. We don’t know where the alleged designer(s) came from.

    We have good ideas about how and why. And the people in Britain at the time left lots of other physical evidence of their presence and life style. We know where they came from as well ’cause of the pattern of emigration apparent from the temporal dispersions of their pottery and other goods. And studying artefacts like Stonehenge we can make good guesses about the designers. Clearly they thought having a ‘calendar’ like Stonehenge was important, they wanted to know what time of year it was. They must have used the stone circles (for there are hundreds) for rituals as well or they wouldn’t have made them so elaborate and permanent. There are no gods or figures associated with the sites (that I know of) so they may not have had any theological associations. They clearly had very good organising skills! And they were obviously skilled rock carvers.

    Until ID can make some conjectures at least about the reasons, timings, etc of design implementation it can’t claim to be a better explanation of the data than evolutionary theory. It can’t really claim to be an explanation at all until it explains things.


  70. We don’t know who built Stonehenge, nor why, nor how. We don’t know where the alleged designer(s) came from.

    We have good ideas about how and why.

    What makes them “good ideas”? And how did we arrive at those “good ideas”? My bet is exactly how I said.

    And the people in Britain at the time left lots of other physical evidence of their presence and life style.

    Umm those people could have just happened upon Stonehenge.

    And studying artefacts like Stonehenge we can make good guesses about the designers.

    That is what I said- we find out about the designers by studying what they left behind.

    But nice of you to selectively quote me and ignore all the rest of what I posted in the same comment.

  71. timothya:

    Actually, I think of ID as the old-fashioned lift attendant.

    I appreciate the utter lack of pretense of objectivity re ID.

    It’s refreshing.

  72. timothya:

    ID claims that (non-human) design exists in nature.

    Isn’t it obvious?

    ID cannot explain the nature of the putative designer.

    So?

    ID cannot explain the origin of the putative designer.

    So?

    ID cannot explain how the putative designer carries out its actions.

    So?

  73. Mung: Has TA looked seriously at what beavers do, yet? (before moving up to looking at cosmological design evidence, that points to an intelligent designer capable of planning a cosmos and building it, implying a lot of both wisdom and power. And, we know a lot on how designers work, there are entire professions on that subject, try as well TRIZ. KF

  74. 74
    critical rationalist

    CR:

    [A] Being “the only known”, as in observed, would be an argument from ignorance, even if it were the case.

    [B] if you mean intelligence as an explanation, then how is it hard to vary? Please be specific.

    Nor do I see the difference between an “abstract intelligence with no defined limitations” and an “abstract designer with no limitations”. Neither have much in the way of informational content to be found in error.

    UB:

    1. Intelligence is the only known source of iterative code. You now can either support your comment or retract it. (…of course, you will do neither)

    Should I take that as [A] or [B]? Honestly, I cannot tell.

    UB:

    2. Under your view, anything that science observes as a ‘regularity’ is an argument from ignorance. Our universal common experince of phenomena becomes meaningless. As an example; the idea that the Earth orbits the Sun is therefore a faulty explanation. Just because it’s the only explanation that can integrate all observations, it is nontheless based upon observations, and as such, we may observe something else tomorrow which may contradict it.

    No, it’s not. When you say “regularity” you seem to be suggesting the following…

    A is q, b is q, c is q, […] |= every x is q

    Therefore you think we can can, in a sense, “get a theory ” by induction or that a theory can be a conclusion.

    However, the evidence always looks like….

    a is o or p or q or r …

    b is o or p or q or r …

    C is o or p or q or r …

    etc.

    For induction to be a knowledge creating method we can actually use in practice, it has to offer a way to pick between o, p, q, r, etc. It needs to provide guidance for that step of the process. This is the part that is missing.

    A regularity in nature isn’t “obvious”, just a Newton’s connection between falling apples and orbiting planets were not obvious. His theory may appear obvious to us in hind site, but the background knowledge (uncontroversial and widely accepted knowledge itself based on explanations) that served as his starting point had existed for quite some time beforehand. His theory was tested by observations, not derived from it.

    Again, When we take a critical approach, we look at what evidence is inconsistent with our theories, not consistent. Being consistent with a theory does not get us anywhere because there are an infinite number of un-conceived theories that would also be consistent with the evidence.

    And one of the ways we look for inconsistent is using observations.

    UB.

    This line of reasoning by you is precisely what I was talking about. When universal observation creates a “hard-to-vary” explanation which suits you, your happily integrate it. Yet when is creates a hard-to-vary explanation which you dislike, then it becomes an “argument from ignorance”.

    You equivocate.

    So, it’s hard to vary because we only know of one source? But that’s an argument from ignorance.

    See my comment #xxx to Axel where I present an example of a hard to vary explanation.
    UB

    Now, support your implied comment that some form of intelligence is not the only known source of iterative code.

    Huh?

    Beings with complex material brains, such as human beings, are the “only known source” of intelligence. What does that tell us about the origin of biosphere?

  75. 75
    critical rationalist

    Axel: No. No. No. No. No, C.R. Successful, scientific hypotheses, to the degree that they are ground-breaking, will always be the culmination of innumerable observations, some perhaps of a quite generalised nature, perhaps going back many years and/or not in areas of experience readily identifiable as germane. Observation has to be joined up, like joined-up writing.

    Axel,

    See #34. Background knowledge (uncontroversial and widely accepted theories about observations) culminate into new problems to solve. While you cannot have problems in the absence of observations, you cannot then use observations to tell us *which* specific theory to induce to solve that problem. Again, being consistent with a theory does not get us anywhere because there are an infinite number of un-conceived theories that would also be consistent with the evidence. So, how do you “induce” one theory among them?

    To quote Popper….

    Some scientists find, or so it seems, that they get their best ideas when smoking; others by drinking coffee or whisky. Thus there is no reason why I should not admit that some may get their ideas by observing, or by repeating observations.
    - KP: Realism and the Aim of Science

    IOW, ideas are constrained not observations but by wither they propose to solve the problem identified by observations. No one had ever observed an electron. Nor did electrons resemble the observations that led to the problem at hand. We can say the same about the curvature of space-time. The unseen does not resemble the scene.

    Axel: Indeed, successful hypotheses are not guesses, not wild stabs, but informed, indeed, indeed, to the layman, very esoterically informed, conjectures. Occasionally, some of our current scientific luminaries embark upon an intellectual ‘walkabout’, however, such as our multiverse proponents. I’ll say no more.

    Again, from Popper…

    Great Scientists… are men of bold ideas, but highly critical of their own ideas: they try to find whether their ideas are right by trying first to find whether they are not perhaps wrong. They work with bold conjectures and severe attempts at refuting their own conjectures.
    - KP :’Replies to my Critics’, in P. A. Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of Karl Popper (1974), Book 2, 977-8.

    Almost everyone… seems to be quite sure that the differences between the methodologies of history and of the natural sciences are vast. For, we are assured, it is well known that in the natural sciences we start from observation and proceed by induction to theory. And is it not obvious that in history we proceed very differently? Yes, I agree that we proceed very differently. But we do so in the natural sciences as well.

    In both we start from myths—from traditional prejudices, beset with error—and from these we proceed by criticism: by the critical elimination of errors. In both the role of evidence is, in the main, to correct our mistakes, our prejudices, our tentative theories—that is, to play a part in the critical discussion, in the elimination of error. By correcting our mistakes, we raise new problems. And in order to solve these problems, we invent conjectures, that is, tentative theories, which we submit to critical discussion, directed towards the elimination of error.
    - KP : The Myth of the Framework: In Defence of Science and Rationality (1993)

    But I shall certainly admit a system as empirical or scientific only if it is capable of being tested by experience. These considerations suggest that not the verifiability but the falsifiability of a system is to be taken as a criterion of demarcation. In other words: I shall not require of a scientific system that it shall be capable of being singled out, once and for all, in a positive sense; but I shall require that its logical form shall be such that it can be singled out, by means of empirical tests, in a negative sense: it must be possible for an empirical scientific system to be refuted by experience. (1959)
    - KP : The Logic of Scientific Discovery

    So, the key difference here is that we know our conjectures will contain errors. We expect this from the very start. So, our primary goal is to search of errors in those theirs, rather than search for support. And even Popper can be improved upon, as they are no myths in sense we think of they today. Deutsch has also introduced the criteria of a bad explanation, which is shallow and easily varied. This is in contrast to a long chain of independently formed explanations.

    Consider the ancient Greek myth explaining seasons. Hades, God of the Underworld, kidnaps Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, and negotiates a forced marriage contract, requiring her to return regularly, and lets her go. And each year, she is magically compelled to return. And her mother, Demeter, Goddess of the Earth, is sad, and makes it cold and barren. That myth is testable. If winter is caused by Demeter’s sadness, then it must happen everywhere on Earth simultaneously. So if the ancient Greeks had only known that Australia is at its warmest when Demeter is at her saddest, they’d have known that their theory is false.

    So what was wrong with that myth, and with all pre-scientific thinking, and what, then, made that momentous difference? I think there is one thing you have to care about. And that implies testability, the scientific method, the Enlightenment, and everything. And here is the crucial thing. There is such a thing as a defect in a story. I don’t just mean a logical defect. I mean a bad explanation. What does that mean? Well, explanation is an assertion about what’s there, unseen, that accounts for what’s seen.

    Because the explanatory role of Persephone’s marriage contract could be played equally well by infinitely many other ad hoc entities. Why a marriage contract and not any other reason for regular annual action? Here is one. Persephone wasn’t released. She escaped, and returns every spring to take revenge on Hades, with her Spring powers. She cools his domain with Spring air, venting heat up to the surface, creating summer. That accounts for the same phenomena as the original myth. It’s equally testable. Yet what it asserts about reality is, in many ways, the opposite. And that is possible because the details of the original myth are unrelated to seasons, except via the myth itself.

    This easy variability is the sign of a bad explanation, because, without a functional reason to prefer one of countless variants, advocating one of them, in preference to the others, is irrational. So, for the essence of what makes the difference to enable progress, seek good explanations, the ones that can’t be easily varied, while still explaining the phenomena.

    Now, our current explanation of seasons is that the Earth’s axis is tilted like that, so each hemisphere tilts toward the sun for half the year, and away for the other half. Better put that (not to scale) up. (Laughter) That’s a good explanation: hard to vary, because every detail plays a functional role. For instance, we know, independently of seasons, that surfaces tilted away from radiant heat are heated less, and that a spinning sphere, in space, points in a constant direction. And the tilt also explains the sun’s angle of elevation at different times of year, and predicts that the seasons will be out of phase in the two hemispheres. If they’d been observed in phase, the theory would have been refuted. But now, the fact that it’s also a good explanation, hard to vary, makes the crucial difference.

    If the ancient Greeks had found out about seasons in Australia, they could have easily varied their myth to predict that. For instance, when Demeter is upset, she banishes heat from her vicinity, into the other hemisphere, where it makes summer. So, being proved wrong by observation, and changing their theory accordingly, still wouldn’t have got the ancient Greeks one jot closer to understanding seasons, because their explanation was bad: easy to vary. And it’s only when an explanation is good that it even matters whether it’s testable. If the axis-tilt theory had been refuted, its defenders would have had nowhere to go. No easily implemented change could make that tilt cause the same seasons in both hemispheres.

    – David Deutsch: A new way to explain explanation, 2009 TED talk

    An abstract designer with no limitations is a bad explanation because it’s shallow and easily varied. Such a designer can be easily varied to predict anything because it’s only related to the biosphere by the myth itself.

    Axel: Compare Einstein’s ‘humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind,’ with the atheist myrmidons’ ‘promissory note’!

    My view of the matter, for what it is worth, is that there is no such thing as a logical method of having new ideas, or a logical reconstruction of this process. My view may be expressed by saying that every discovery contains an ‘irrational element,’ or ‘a creative intuition,’ in Bergson’s sense. In a similar way Einstein speaks of the ‘search for those highly universal laws … from which a picture of the world can be obtained by pure deduction. There is no logical path.’ he says, ‘leading to these … laws. They can only be reached by intuition, based upon something like an intellectual love (Einfühlung) of the objects of experience.’ (1959)

    – KP: The Logic of Scientific Discovery

  76. 76
    critical rationalist

    Axel: A person might attack modern science – indeed this forum is precisely designed to do so – by attacking major elements within it: primarily, the totalitarian protectionism of the religious zealots of scientism.

    Mung’s claim made no such specificity as to what element I was criticizing. He implied that my criticism was of “modern science”.

    I think I see what’s going on here. You’re attacking modern science, and KF is saying this is the way it’s done, deal with it.

    My criticism isn’t of modern science. My criticism is of how inductivists *think* modern science makes progress. This is in contrast to thinking modern science doesn’t actually make progress, therefore attacking the results of that progress.

    Your in the latter, in that you’re suggesting modern science cannot make progress in the case of the biosphere, therefore attacking the specific results of that progress.

  77. 77
    critical rationalist

    @michael#37

    MS: As I see it the foundation error in Critical Rationalist’s ideas–made clear in thru first few posts– is one of presumptuousness. CR implies in his statements that the side he is on is the side of critical thinking and science in essence trying to lord over science and take ownership of it….

    Again, see #34. Do you have any criticism of it? If so, please share it with us.

    MS: … and relegate believers in god to a straw man version of “supernaturalism”, and this obviously without justification or regard to history when it comes to many great figures of science and their private beliefs.

    From a comment on another thread….

    Theism assumes there is some inexplicable realm in which inexplicable beings reach in to effect us. However…

    … if we really do reside in a finite bubble of explicably, which exists as an island in a sea of inexplicability, the inside of this bubble cannot be explicable either. This is because the inside is supposedly dependent what occurs in this inexplicable realm. Any assumption that the world is inexplicable leads to bad explanations. That is, no theory about what exists beyond this bubble can be any better than “Zeus rules” there. And, given the dependency above (this realm supposedly effects us), this also means there can be no better expiation that “Zeus rules” inside this bubble as well.

    In other words, our everyday experience in this bubble would only appear explicable if we carefully refrain from asking specific questions. Note this bares a strong resemblance to a pre-scientific perspective with its distinction between an Earth designed for human beings and a heaven that is beyond human comprehension.

    Yet, you seem to think that our everyday experience is explicable. This is a contradiction.

    Do you have any criticism of the above? Please be specific. In the absence of such criticism, it seems you are merely offended that your conception of human knowledge is an idea that would be subject to criticism.

  78. ‘…there are an infinite number of un-conceived theories that would also be consistent with the evidence.’

    Where do you get that from, CR. On you on a Multiverse ‘trip’?

    ‘Great Scientists… are men of bold ideas, but highly critical of their own ideas: they try to find whether their ideas are right by trying first to find whether they are not perhaps wrong. They work with bold conjectures and severe attempts at refuting their own conjectures.
    - KP :’Replies to my Critics’, in P. A. Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of Karl Popper (1974), Book 2, 977-8.’

    There are bold ideas and bold ideas, CR…. and then there is the anihilation of reason, writ large, such as the Multiverse. You can do better than that.

  79. Joe:

    What makes them “good ideas”? And how did we arrive at those “good ideas”? My bet is exactly how I said.

    If you mean considering all the evidence then I agree. Which is how we know quite a bit about the people who built Stonehenge an what it was built for.

    Umm those people could have just happened upon Stonehenge.

    Um .. . why would you think so? There’s clear evidence about who and when and how and why.

    That is what I said- we find out about the designers by studying what they left behind.

    But nice of you to selectively quote me and ignore all the rest of what I posted in the same comment.

    My main disagreement with you was regarding your assertion that we don’t know much about how or why or by whom Stonehenge was built. I think there is good evidence that addresses all those points. And it comes from studying Stonehenge itself and all the other cultural evidence left behind by the people around at the time as I’m sure you’d agree. Consider all the evidence.

    I think the problem is that you want to use Stonehenge as an example of an artefact that is clearly designed but one that can’t tell us much about the designers in an attempt to bolster your opinion about why ID can’t ponder the nature of it’s hypothsised designer. I think you’d better pick another example. One with less contraflow. Maybe the Nazca lines? Clearly designed but with much less evidence regarding how or why.

  80. Typical CR,

    UB: Now, support your implied comment that some form of intelligence is not the only known source of iterative code.

    CR: Huh?

    Beings with complex material brains, such as human beings, are the “only known source” of intelligence. What does that tell us about the origin of biosphere?

    I did not ask you of about the source of intelligence, and I did not ask you about the origin of the biosphere.

    You implied there was another known source of iterative code other than some form of intelligence. I therefore asked you to support your claim.

    As has become completely evident in your modus operandi, you immediately move by deception in order to protect your views.

  81. lit·er·al·ly? ?/?l?t?r?li/ lit-er-uh-lee]
    adverb
    1. in the literal or strict sense

    2. in a literal manner; word for word

    3. actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy

    There is literally no sense in carrying on a conversation with you.

  82. ‘An abstract designer with no limitations is a bad explanation because it’s shallow and easily varied. Such a designer can be easily varied to predict anything because it’s only related to the biosphere by the myth itself.’

    Unfortunately, there, you have made a false analogy. Or rather been taken in by a shallow, in fact, vapid, by David Deutsch.

    Indeed, it may be that an easy-to-vary postulation is generally less propitious than a hard-to-vary one. However, to take that as ipso facto disqualication of the merit of a particular easy-to-vary postulation is naive in the extreme. It is not a ‘bad explanation’ if it happens to be true, no matter how ‘bad’ it might be, according to Mr Deutsche’s canons.

    The all-knowing, all-powerful, personal agency regulating the speed of light in our world to the individual Observer would hardly have to conform to the strictures or the orthodoxies of Mr Deutsch or Mr Popper in his ideas or his actions.

    ‘Some scientists find, or so it seems, that they get their best ideas when smoking; others by drinking coffee or whisky. Thus there is no reason why I should not admit that some may get their ideas by observing, or by repeating observations.’
    - KP: Realism and the Aim of Science

    A disappointingly facile, vapid remark from Popper, which the supercilious tone does nothing to attenuate, but perhaps only made in idle conversation.

    The fact is, as I wrote initially, the former would already have performed their observations, the recreational drug merely allowing the right side of their intelligence to operate optimally, as sometimes occurs in dreams.

    ‘Mung’s claim made no such specificity as to what element I was criticizing. He implied that my criticism was of “modern science”.’

    No explicit specificity, but you were evidently discussing an element or aspect of science; of course, you had not been holding forth on the evils of modern science generally.

    So, Mung would, I should think, have been extrapolating the latter because it constitued what he considered a sufficiently significant element or aspect of modern science for your disquisition to have represented an attack on it.

  83. ‘As I see it the foundation error in Critical Rationalist’s ideas–made clear in thru first few posts– is one of presumptuousness. CR implies in his statements that the side he is on is the side of critical thinking and science in essence trying to lord over science and take ownership of it and relegate believers in god to a straw man version of “supernaturalism”, and this obviously without justification or regard to history when it comes to many great figures of science and their private beliefs.’

    What else do they have, Michael Servetus? As you point out, they are photophobic, so they must rely on donning the emperor’s suit, and holler their own sartorial elegance for all they’re worth and, alas, a whole lot more.

  84. ‘In other words, that’s how matter and energy behave in this particular universe. To add a requirement for an omniscient, omnipotent agency to the explanation would be to pile up entities unnecessarily. I wouldn’t postulate such an agency, since none is required to explain the fact of nature (formalised in the laws of physics).’
    timothya

    Explaining the facts of nature, its forms and the laws (recurrent patterns of behaviour) it observes, are precisely what empirical science is supposed to be about, timothya. This is so elementary that enlightening you seems brutal enough to invite litigation. You can’t just say, ‘Them thar’s the laws of nature.’

    Unfortunately, you have just made another gross error. While light interacts with and in our space-time universe, it is clearly not proper to it, since it does not defer to relativity. Indeed, is that not the case with all of the most elementary particles, that they issued from the Singularity at the Big Bang; so far from being natural, they are supernatural or, if you prefer, supra natural or praeternatural. No. I shouldn’t encourage your evasions from what is staring you in the face.

    You quote from Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature in the Cell:

    ‘The theory of intelligent design does not claim to be able to determine the identity or any other attributes of that intelligence, even if philosophical deliberation or additional evidence from other disciplines may provide reasons to consider, for example, a specifically theistic design hypothesis.’

    To which, by way of response, you have the temerity to intone:

    ‘If ID is unable to provide any insight into how (or in some cases why) a designer pursued a particular course, or even of the nature (or intentions) of that designer, then its project reduces to saying “it is designed, well, because it is designed”. This is one of the reasons why scientists say that ID doesn’t actually explain anything, and also why it is an unscientific activity.’

    That, ‘mon cher ami’, is simply a bizarre non-sequitur – though, if I remember correctly, you have a marked propensity for uttering non sequiturs – and even doing so with a certain triumphalist flourish (dare I say, ‘panache’?).

    Of course, you would love Meyer to have opted to forthrightly extrapolate a theistic provenance for the myriad designs of the natural universe, because it would suit the obscurantist purposes of your good self and your ‘innombrables confreres’. Although it cries out from the roof-tops, they, have, however, astutely preferred to belabour you about (upsides?) the head on your own turf, or what you claim to be your own turf, though that, i.e. true science, is very far from being the case.

    How you all manage to ignore the actual, empirical science that has been adduced in support of the design inference just on this site, will, I expect be a matter for wonderment to future generations; not unlike the reluctance for eminent scientists to let go of ‘phlogiston’, or the eponymous disease said by the medical profession of the day to afflict runaway slaves; or the slowness of the medical profession to accept the antiseptic role of cleanliness, notably on the part of surgeons while carrying out operations.

    ‘I can’t resist asking why you used the term “innombrables” in your contribution. Is it because “we” are members of an uncountably large community , or because you can’t count? Not judging, just asking. (hmmm, maybe we are doing something right)’

    Indeed, in the eyes of the corporate funders of modern scientific research, undoubtedly so. However, my reason for favouring ‘innombrables’ was much simpler; I had already favoured ‘confreres’, which seems to me to apply to a larger catchment than simple, ‘colleagues’. Plus, there is a certain polysyllabic humour, not unmixed with – to our ears, at least, a certain Mayor of Clochemerle-style pomposity in such French words, particularly in what seems a concatenation of them, even though they number only two. ‘Mesdames et Messieurs j’ai le grand honneur de vous inviter a cet evenement historique’ sort of thing. Not verbatim, though I think the first clause is.

  85. Axel posted this:

    You can’t just say, ‘Them thar’s the laws of nature.’

    I didn’t. You are, once again, barking up the wrong epistemological tree. It is the facts of nature that are as they are – including the invariant speed of light. Relativity’s spacetime is a geometry that successfully integrates the behaviour of matter and energy at large scales. Supernatural entities are superfluous to the explanation (they add nothing to the accuracy or precision of the results derived from the theory.

    And then:

    While light interacts with and in our space-time universe, it is clearly not proper to it, since it does not defer to relativity.

    What does this mean? If “deferring” to relativity means “exhibiting relativistic effects”, then light certainly “defers” to gravity. In fact it was precisely one of these instances that so neatly confirmed Einstein’s theory in 1919.

    And further:

    Indeed, is that not the case with all of the most elementary particles, that they issued from the Singularity at the Big Bang; so far from being natural, they are supernatural or, if you prefer, supra natural or praeternatural.

    No it is not the case. That is just airy persiflage, and involves piling up more entities. You really should see someone about that.

    And:

    Of course, you would love Meyer to have opted to forthrightly extrapolate a theistic provenance for the myriad designs of the natural universe, because it would suit the obscurantist purposes of your good self and your ‘innombrables confreres’.

    You mean he does actually think the designer is a god, but refuses to say so? I had often thought so. But that misses the point. I take ID at its word when it says that it makes no predictions about the nature of the designer. In burking the issue it fails the test of science.

    And then:

    How you all manage to ignore the actual, empirical science that has been adduced in support of the design inference just on this site, will, I expect be a matter for wonderment to future generations; . . .

    Would that be all of the evidence that convinced a non-scientist judge that cdesign propensists were peddling a religion. Don’t make me laugh.

  86. ‘It is the facts of nature that are as they are – including the invariant speed of light.’

    There you go again, timmy. You’re in an endless loop, simply because your aptitude for reasoning is just not up to snuff, for a board like this. You’re out of your depth.

    ‘I take ID at its word when it says that it makes no predictions about the nature of the designer. In burking the issue it fails the test of science.’

    It doesn’t burk the issue and it doesn’t fail the test of science. Your ‘naturalism’ fails the test of science.

    https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1c54Y5O4Uc7T_-spOgXQCI_Zru7dHyk5coIOapNYxDTg&pli=1

    Don’t thank me for enlightening you. Thank bornagain. Oh, is it you he’s stopped exchanges with? I see no future in our wee exchanges either, tim.

  87. All that nonsense about ‘piling up entities….’ For crying out loud!

  88. TA:

    why do you insist on dragging in barbed and poisonous canards that have long since been adequately answered? [Cf specific response here.]

    That sort of behaviour bespeaks one coming here full of arrogant contempt and standing on his assumed moral and intellectual superiority, only here to smirk and sneer, distract and disrupt, not to actually engage in genuine dialogue.

    But then, you may think a web forum is not like barging into someone’s living room and carrying on rudely and slandering one’s host then and there with barbed, thinly veiled remarks. Then, on being asked to leave, walking off in a huff sniffing about your right to say obnoxious things anywhere you please.

    In short, I am calling you to THINK about how you are behaving, and to realise that there are real human beings on the other side with real feelings and with a genuine sense that the design theory view has a serious point; people who in many cases have advanced relevant degrees to make a judgement like that.

    So, kindly, learn a modicum of respect and good manners such as you would use while sitting in someone’s living room.

    KF

  89. 89
    critical rationalist

    CR: Mere intelligence does not stick it’s neck out in a way that allows us to make progress via this valid form of deduction.

    KF: Have you taken time to see even a snippet of what has been put forward as to why Functionally Specific complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I] is held to be an empirically reliable, trusted sign of intelligence? (The linked case includes a discussion of how this is so used in a literally life or death situation, on a routine basis.)

    So, if we ran across the designer of the biosphere, we could tell if it was was in danger depending on its steps listed there, such as eye movements or asking it questions? But an abstract designer with no defined limitations doesn’t necessary have a body, let alone eyes or any desire to do thinks like answer questions assuming, it had a way to speak to us or even wanted to. In fact, it’s unclear an abstract designer with no defined limitations could even have a medical condition in the first place that needs treatment. None of which are part of your definition.

    KF: Can you not see that part of the very reason why I speak of knowledge as warranted, credibly true belief is that I am aware of this limitation, and of the range in degree of warrant that attaches to knowledge claims as a result?

    Again, Substituting “true” for “probable” doesn’t’ solve the problem of induction. Specifically, if past observations do not imply anything about future observations, they no more imply probability than truth.

    Is this something you’re simply not reading? If not, it still appears you do think past observations imply something about the future, which is the problem of induction.

    KF: In short, are you even aware that scientific knowledge claims at explanatory level are inherently weaker than say those of a self-evident truth like 2 + 3 = 5?

    Would you saying 2 + 3 = 5 is or is not falsifiable?

    KF: Do you not see that this is indeed a principle of induction, that experience based knowledge claims — and if we are to access specific facts of external reality and integrate them in our knowledge, we must access such — face the issues of the limitations of inductive reasoning?

    No, I’m unable to see it. This is because you’re missing the step I pointed out above. Did you read it?

    KF: It sure looks like you have set up yet another strawman, a demand that induction provide an equivalent degree of warrant as can be so of deduction. But, so soon as deduction tries to engage external reality, it too runs into the limitations of induction.

    No, it doesn’t Apparently, you still working from a misconception of Critical Rationalism, or you cannot recognize your own conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism.

    KF: That is why I have looked carefully at the generally accepted modern understanding of induction: it is the form of argument that addresses evidence that supports its conclusions, but is not held to demonstrate them. Such warrant comes in degrees, and can amount to moral certainty in important cases.

    I know that’s what you, and others may think, but that doesn’t mean it actually happened that way. Being open to criticism, please fill in the missing step. In addition, your link to Salmon’s criticism has been addressed.

    KF: Milikan’s establishment of the reality, charge and mass of the electron is a case in point. A Nobel Prize winning one, as it turns out, cf. 24 above from Sept 15.

    What we look for are inconstancies to our theories, not confirmations. Feynman even pointed out the problem with this…

    We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of the ways we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It’s a little bit off because he had the incorrect value for the viscosity of air. It’s interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of an electron, after Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little bit bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

    Why didn’t they discover the new number was higher right away? It’s a thing that scientists are ashamed of – this history – because it’s apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan’s, they thought something must be wrong – and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number close to Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that…[6][7]

    So, they were looking for confirmations, not inconsistencies, which is the problem I keep pointing out over and over again.

    Regardless of how many links you post which uncritically accept inductivism, you still haven’t address the criticism in #34.

    So, KF is saying science “does it” using a type of inference he has yet to define or explain, which does not solve any problems and would require us to abandon deductive logic. (which *is* well defined and can be used to solve problems in practice)

    Just saying “that’s the way it’s done” is not the same as actually explaining how it works, in practice.

    As a critical rationalist, I realize human conceptions of knowledge are ideas that are subject to criticism and would be open to inductivism should you fill in this missing step. But as of so far, your response is that “everyone knows science uses inductivism”, which represents uncritical acceptance and does not refute Popper’s argument.

  90. CR:

    You are again resorting to strawman distortions. The Glasgow Coma scale tests rely on inferring conscious intelligence from in part behaviour that emits FSCI, in the form of speech. This in turn relies on inference to best explanation and is inductive.

    That is, we see a routine case of inductive reasoning.

    On the wider subject of the role of induction in science, this thread has — appropriately — posed a concrete, Nobel Prize winning case of induction in action, Milikan’s oil drop experiment(s) that established to moral certainty, the existence, charge and so also mass of the electron. Of course within experimental error.

    You have tried to evade this, by raising issues of a genuine problem with empirical investigations, ballpark thinking. That is an evasion. That experiments may have a bias problem is acknowledged, it is part of the provisionality of empirical warrant.

    Similarly, you refuse to accept that warrant, credible truth and acceptance with due degree of confidence are components of what we commonly understand to be knowledge. But not even complex mathematics, post Godel, delivers absolute certainty beyond future correction.

    Your attempt to pretend that falsifiability is some sort of criterion of merit on something like the truth expressed in 2 + 3 = 5, is similarly indicative of something very wrong with your thinking. As you know or should know, this is a simple result that on understanding it is seen as true and as what must be so, on pain of obvious absurdity. Such self evident truths are foundational to reason, which is not science but the foundation thereof. Indeed, it is by the light of such that we discern truth from falsity and that something is identifiable as one or the other but not both. Your very system requires implicit acceptance of such.

    Similarly, your problem with the proper criticism of your view, that in fact corroboration is a case of unacknowledged inference on best explanation per testing, is that you confuse rebuttal talking points with successful refutation. Let me go further [for record for onlookers, it is long since evident that you are unlikely to do more than push up further talking points], as already pointed out, the reason why the electron is a “hard to vary” explanation, is that it is the best warranted one.

    And so forth. Enough has been said to show for the open-minded onlooker to see the balance on merits.

    KF

  91. 91
    critical rationalist

    Axel: Indeed, it may be that an easy-to-vary postulation is generally less propitious than a hard-to-vary one. However, to take that as ipso facto disqualication of the merit of a particular easy-to-vary postulation is naive in the extreme. It is not a ‘bad explanation’ if it happens to be true, no matter how ‘bad’ it might be, according to Mr Deutsche’s canons.

    First, as with many here, you seem to be having difficulty grasping the argument being made. Critical rationalism rejects justificationism and embraces fallibilism. This even include accepting that Critical Rationalism is an idea that may be mistaken, as could any other theory of human knowledge. We might live in a universe were bad explanations are true, but this wouldn’t make them any less of a bad explanation as defined above.

    But, I invite you to actually think about that for a moment. If we take that seriously, as if it were true for the purpose of criticism, then how could we know anything?

    That the truth consists of hard to vary assertions about reality is the most important fact about the physical world. It’s a fact that is, itself, unseen, yet impossible to vary.

    If the above explanation is false, how else do you explain our relatively recent and rapid increase in the growth of knowledge? Why does knowledge come to us in the form of long, hard to vary chains of explanations? So, it would seem your own “easy to vary postulations” is a bad explanation for what we observe.

    However, justification *is* naive in the sense you’re referring to. From the Wikipeedia entry on Critical Rationalism…

    William Warren Bartley compared critical rationalism to the very general philosophical approach to knowledge which he called “justificationism”. Most justificationists do not know that they are justificationists. Justificationism is what Popper called a “subjectivist” view of truth, in which the question of whether some statement is true, is confused with the question of whether it can be justified (established, proven, verified, warranted, made well-founded, made reliable, grounded, supported, legitimated, based on evidence) in some way.</b

    So, as you pointed out, whether something is true or false is irrelevant to it being “probable.”

    Axel: The fact is, as I wrote initially, the former would already have performed their observations, the recreational drug merely allowing the right side of their intelligence to operate optimally, as sometimes occurs in dreams.

    Being a justificationist, I realize this might be difficult for you to recognize. But there is a step that inductivism simply does not provide guidance for. In the absence of this step, Inductivism isn’t possible. Nor was Popper necessary speaking of recreational drug or cigarettes.

    As for the rest. I’m not suggesting that modern science is evil. I’m suggest that inductivists are confused about how they reach conclusions.

  92. 92
    critical rationalist

    Axel: What else do they have, Michael Servetus? As you point out, they are photophobic, so they must rely on donning the emperor’s suit, and holler their own sartorial elegance for all they’re worth and, alas, a whole lot more.

    Axel,

    From the following essay on Hayek, Bartley and Popper: Justificationism and the Abuse of Reason

    3. Responses to the dilemma of the infinite regress versus dogmatism

    In the light of the dilemma of the infinite regress versus dogmatism, we can discern three attitudes towards positions: relativism, “true belief” and critical rationalism [Note 3]

    Relativists tend to be disappointed justificationists who realise that positive justification cannot be achieved. From this premise they proceed to the conclusion that all positions are pretty much the same and none can really claim to be better than any other. There is no such thing as the truth, no way to get nearer to the truth and there is no such thing as a rational position.

    True believers embrace justificationism. They insist that some positions are better than others though they accept that there is no logical way to establish a positive justification for an belief. They accept that we make our choice regardless of reason: “Here I stand!”. Most forms of rationalism up to date have, at rock bottom, shared this attitude with the irrationalists and other dogmatists because they share the theory of justificationism.

    According to the critical rationalists, the exponents of critical preference, no position can be positively justified but it is quite likely that one (or more) will turn out to be better than others in the light of critical discussion and tests. This type of rationality holds all its positions and propositions open to criticism and a standard objection to this stance is that it is empty; just holding our positions open to criticism provides no guidance as to what position we should adopt in any particular situation. This criticism misses its mark for two reasons. First, critical rationalism is not a position. It is not directed at solving the kind of problems that are solved by fixing on a position. It is concerned with the way that such positions are adopted, criticised, defended and relinquished. Second, Bartley did provide guidance on adopting positions; we may adopt the position that to this moment has stood up to criticism most effectively. Of course this is no help for people who seek stronger reasons for belief, but that is a problem for them, and it does not undermine the logic of critical preference.

    The latter is not a “emperors suit” just because you cannot recognize your own conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism.

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    critical rationalist

    KF: You are again resorting to strawman distortions. The Glasgow Coma scale tests rely on inferring conscious intelligence from in part behaviour that emits FSCI, in the form of speech. This in turn relies on inference to best explanation and is inductive.

    First, it seems you are still unable to grasp the difference I keep pointing out. If it was inductive, then you should be able to fill in the step I’ve identified at missing in induction. But you have not. Nor is merely using observations at some point in the process induction. This is your misrepresentation of my comments and references.

    Second, we know speech is intentional because the individual being assessed is asked specific questions about their name, location, marital status, etc., which are specifically tailored based on our explanations about how the brain works, such as how it is effected when impaired, etc. IOW, we can tell it’s specified because we know what the answers should be due to the species, gender, etc.
    However, this is *not* the case in regards to the biosphere.

    Now, you might believe that the particular forms organisms, and the knowledge used to build, them were “specified” by a designer, but that is part of the framework you are using to extrapolate observations, rather than using induction. Again, observations cannot tell us anything, one way or the other, without first conjecturing an explanation.

    KF: You have tried to evade this, by raising issues of a genuine problem with empirical investigations, ballpark thinking. That is an evasion. That experiments may have a bias problem is acknowledged, it is part of the provisionality of empirical warrant.

    I’m evading? Still waiting for a response to the following..

    Substituting “true” for “probable” doesn’t’ solve the problem of induction. Specifically, if past observations do not imply anything about future observations, they no more imply probability than truth.

    So, I’ll ask yet again. Do past observations imply anything about future observations? Yes or No?

    KF: Similarly, you refuse to accept that warrant, credible truth and acceptance with due degree of confidence are components of what we commonly understand to be knowledge. But not even complex mathematics, post Godel, delivers absolute certainty beyond future correction.

    Strawman. I accept that a great number of people think knowledge is warranted, justified true belief, However, I’ve presented and referenced arguments that indicate otherwise.

    KF: Your attempt to pretend that falsifiability is some sort of criterion of merit on something like the truth expressed in 2 + 3 = 5, is similarly indicative of something very wrong with your thinking.

    So, is that a “No”, in that you do not think 2 + 3 = 5 is not subject to falsification? Is there a particular reason why you keep avoiding direct questions, then go on to paint me as if I have an absurd world view?

    Again, my point isn’t that science doesn’t work. It’s that science doesn’t’ work the way you think it does. If anyone keeps presenting a strawman, it appears to be you.

    KF: Similarly, your problem with the proper criticism of your view, that in fact corroboration is a case of unacknowledged inference on best explanation per testing, is that you confuse rebuttal talking points with successful refutation.

    If you cannot even recognize the problem, then it’s unclear how you can conclude what has or has not been refuted. Again, we start out with a problem. You, on the other had start out with “observations”. The problem is your inability to recognize problems as the starting point, rather than observations.

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    I’d like to press the point against Kairosfocus from a somewhat different direction — which is to say, I have no qualms about “induction,” because I think Peirce’s theory of “abduction” gives us a serviceable alternative to both Hume and Popper.

    Two objections:

    (1) When we postulate the existence of unobservable entities, we need to be able to ascribe to them certain kinds of causal powers. These powers seem to fall into two classes: (a) the powers to generate the observed regularities that prompted us to posit them in the first place; (b) the powers to generate non-observed but observable regularities which could be looked for in subsequent experiments. So merely postulating unobservables isn’t enough; we’ve got to specify their properties well enough to treat future experiments as confirming, or disconfirming, the postulation.

    (2) In general, the distinction between observables and posits is, I think, best treated as a methodological distinction rather than as an ontological one. (I suspect that treating it ontologically, if taken consistently, would leave us with no response to Hume’s ‘Academic’ skepticism.) What is posited but not observed will vary over time, based on, say, our level of technology. Mendel posited genes, and had no way of observing them — geneticits today can observe genes directly. And particle physicists can observe electrons, whereas they were posits for Millikan. So I think it would be a bad idea to treat this distinction as adequate for any ontological work, for or against naturalism or theism, etc.

  95. Here’s a beautiful example to add to the collection of non-human intelligent designers:

    Mystery Behind Deep-Sea Crop Circles off the Coast of Japan Solved | Yahoo! News

    Good, clear photos here.

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