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Darwinists in real time – a reflection

Since the revelations from Monday’s press conference in Iowa regarding the true reason for Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure denial, I have been studying the comments of Darwinists, to this and this post. The comments intrigue me for a reason I will explain in a moment.

Some commenters are no longer with us, but they were not the ones that intrigued me.*

I’ve already covered Maya at 8, 10, and 12 here, arguing a case against Gonzalez, even though the substance of the story is that we now KNOW that her assertions have nothing to do with the real reason he was denied tenure.

Oh, and at 15, she asserts, “The concern is not about Gonzalez’s politics or religion but about his ability to serve as a science educator.”

So … a man can write a textbook in astronomy, as Gonzalez has done, but cannot serve as a science educator? What definition of “science” is being used here, and what is its relevance to reality?

And getawitness, at 18, then compares astronomy to Near East Studies, of all things. NES is notorious for suspicion of severe compromise due to financing from Middle Eastern interests! I won’t permit a long, useless combox thread on whether or not those accusations are true; it’s the comparison itself that raises an eyebrow.

Just when I thought I had heard everything, at 35, Ellazimm asks, apparently in all seriousness, “Having been involved in a contentious tenure decision myself I can’t see why the faculty are not allowed to make a decision based on their understanding of the scientific standard in their discipline.”

She must have come in after the break,  when the discussion started, because she seems to have missed the presentation. Briefly, Ellazimm the facts are these: They decided to get rid of him because of his sympathies with intelligent design BEFORE the tenure process even began, then cited a variety of other explanations that taken as a whole lacked merit (though there are people attempting to build a case to this day – see Maya above). THEN the truth came out when e-mails were subpoenaed through a public records request. That was AFTER President Geoffroy had represented a facts-challenged story to the public media. In other words, the entire tenure process sounds like a sham and the participants may have engaged in deliberate deception to cover up the fact that it was a sham.

Now, tell me, is that how your faculty makes decisions? Then I hope they have a top law firm and super PR guys.

I see here where Maya tries again at 38: “You may be right that some of his colleagues voted solely due to his ID leanings, but based on my experience with academia I doubt it. ”

What has Maya’s “experience” to do with anything whatever? We now have PUBLIC RECORDS of what happened in the Guillermo Gonzalez tenure case. I could tell you about hiring and promotion decisions I’ve been involved with too, but it wouldn’t be relevant.

Oh, and Maya again at 40: “Produce a predictive, falsifiable theory that explains the available evidence. If Gonzalez, or any other ID proponent, did this, universities would be falling over themselves to offer tenure.”

As a matter of fact, Gonzalez’s theory of the galactic habitable zone – a direct contradiction of Carl Sagan’s interpretation of the Copernican Principle – is eminently testable and falsifiable, and it was passing the tests and not being falsified – as The Privileged Planet sets out in detail, in a form accessible to an educated layperson.

At 59, displaying complete ignorance of legal standards regarding discrimination, tyke writes, “As others have said, even if there was some discriminatory language against GG for his pursuit of ID, there are clearly still enough grounds for ISU to deny him tenure.”

Tyke: If I fire someone because I discover that he doubts the hype about global warming, and he then sues me, I CANNOT say afterward, “Well, I was justified in firing him anyway because he was a crappy employee.” The actual reason I fired him is the one that must be litigated because it is a fact, not a variety of suppositions after the fact. To the extent that the faculty had decided to deny GG tenure on account of his sympathy for intelligent design, and the tenure process itself was an elaborate sham, they cannot now say that they were justified by it. Whether they should have made the decision based on the process is neither here nor there. That was not how they made the decision.

Not a whole lot new here except that MacT sniffs, “Judging by the comments on this and other threads regarding GG’s tenure case, it seems clear that there is very little understanding or familiarity with the tenure process.”

On the contrary, MacT, there is way more understanding and familiarity now than there was before the Register and Disco started publishing the real story.

I studied the comments in depth for a reason, as I said: It was a golden opportunity to see how Darwinists and materialists generally would address known facts in real time when all the participants are alive. After all, I must take their word for the trilobite and the tyrannosaur. But this time the relevant data are easy to understand.

What’s become quite clear is their difficulty in accepting the facts of the case. Intelligent design WAS the reason Gonzalez was denied tenure. We now know that from the records. Again and again they try to move into an alternate reality where that wasn’t what really happened or if it did, itwasn’t viewpoint discrimination.

At this point, I must assume that that is their normal way of handling data from the past as well. Except that I won’t know what they have done with it.

I think I do know why they do it, however. To them, science is materialism, and any other position is unacceptable even if the facts support it. I’d had good reason to believe that from other stories I have worked on, but it is intriguing and instructive to watch the “alternate reality” thing actually happening in real time.

Meanwhile, last and best of all, over at the Post-Darwinist, I received a comment to this post**, to which I replied:

Anonymous, how kind of you to write …

You said, “Opponents of ID complain about the lack of empirical research and evidence to back up ID – and, to be honest, they have a point. There isn’t a lot to show yet.”

With respect, you seem to have missed the point. Gonzalez WAS doing research that furthered ID. His research on galactic habitable zones – an area in which he is considered expert – was turning up inconvenient facts about the favourable position of Earth and its moon for life and exploration.

In other words, when Carl Sagan said that Earth is a pale blue dot lost somewhere in the cosmos, he was simply incorrect. But he represents “science”, right?

Gonzalez is correct – but he represents “religion”, supposedly.

So an incorrect account of Earth’s position is science and a correct account is religion?

Oh, but wait a minute – the next move will be the claim that whatever Gonzalez demonstrated doesn’t prove anything after all, and even talking about it is “religion”, which is not allowed – so bye bye career.

We may reach the point in my own lifetime when one really must turn to religion (“religion?”) in order to get a correct account of basic facts about our planet and to science (“science”?) for propaganda and witch hunts.

Oh, by the way, if you work at a corporation where I “would be astonished at what kinds of things get passed through email”, I must assume that you are prudent enough to make sure that your name isn’t in the hedder.

*Uncommon Descent is not the Thumb, let alone the Pharyngulite’s cave, so if you would be happier there, don’t try to change things here, just go before you get booted.

**I have cleaned up the typos.

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353 Responses to Darwinists in real time – a reflection

  1. One of my favorite Phil Johnson bon mots (I paraphrase): “To the materialist Darwinism just has to be true, and if the facts do not support it, well so much the worse for the facts.”

    In the GG case I would say: “To the materialist if GG is a fellow materialist he must not be qualified for tenure, and if the facts demonstrate that he is imminently qualified for tenure, well so much the worse for the facts.”

    Denyse, if you are contending that materialists are more devoted to their worldview than they are to the truth, it seems to me that your thesis has been confirmed beyond reasonable doubt.

  2. This whole case is really complicated and I don’t understand all the intricate details. O’Leary Thanks for your patient explication of the facts!!!

    I am curious as to what the consequences will be if a legal entity does decide that the faculty decided not to vote for tenure based on Gonzalez’ support for ID? Is that religious discrimination? If so, can this be overturned on those grounds?

    If it is not religious discrimination, how can we get this overturned, i.e. what grounds are there for recourse? Thanks again!

  3. Denyse,

    And getawitness, at 18, then compares astronomy to Near East Studies, of all things. NES is notorious for suspicion of severe compromise due to financing from Middle Eastern interests! I won’t permit a long, useless combox thread on whether or not those accusations are true; it’s the comparison itself that raises an eyebrow.

    None of the cases I mentioned had anything to do with “financing from Middle East interests,” whatever you mean by that. So, that’s a total red herring.

    My point is that it’s ridiculous to be shocked that ID had something to do with GG’s tenure denial. Didn’t he submit The Privileged Planet as part of his tenure case? If so, he’s asked them to consider ID! So it is profoundly unlike the case where you discover that someone “doubts the hype [sic] about global warming.” It’s more like someone sent you a dossier to evaluate that included a book-length articulation of those doubts, and then ask surprised that those doubts played a role in the evaluation. It is also a false analogy because “firing” someone is different from denying someone tenure, and because it’s actually legal in America to fire someone for all sorts of stupid reasons, as long as those aren’t specifically protected.

    I don’t really have a strong position on whether GG should have tenure. I’m not an astronomer, and I’m not at ISU. But as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, any assistant professor in science should be discouraged from publishing a popular science book. As Richard Rowson advises, such books are “a very risky use of a young scholar’s time.” (“The Scholar and the Art of Publishing,” in The Academic’s Handbook, edited A. Leigh DeNeef and Crauford D. Goodwin, second edition, p. 276).

  4. BarryA, I’m not a materialist. I’m a postmodern relativist Christian.

  5. I assure you, getawitness, no one is “shocked” by Gonzalez’s tenure denial; they are shocked by the materialist system that allows it – which they are forced to support with their tax dollars even while abhorring its attitudes and behaviour.

    As a “postmodern relativist Christian”, you sound willing to live as a high tech “dhimmi” in a system that thrives on deception, and to continually make excuses for it to avoid conflict. At least, that is what is sounds like to me.

    I am not shocked – or even mildly surprised – by that either. People like Daniel Dennett have long made clear that that is the position they envision for people like yourself, and if you accept it without protest, so much the better for them.

    But I must tell you that it is not a good advertisement for your approach to Christianity.

  6. you see Dembski – I got in trouble by the moderator for calling Maya stupid- sorry about the incivility- but i knew she was a blind by choice broken record. Also one thing I was thinking about the Darwinian argument- I think it is time we Christians (im kinda agnostic though) need to come to grips with- The God of Darwin is greater than the Christian God in his super natural abilities. He can create a universe out of nothing- create CSI out of nothing- created consciousness out of nothing- defy all possible probabilities and guide the history of the world with out even thinking a thought about it- he can account for all of life’s successes without doing anything or caring – and best of all unlike God, he accounts for none of its troubles because he really didn’t do anything! Talk about a free lunch- gee wiz!

    I liked D’souza’s comment during the debate against the Darwinian atheist- D’souza says to the effect of “They are using the cosmological OJ defense- well it sure looks like he did it in this universe but there could be millions of other universes ones where you killed your wife so as you can see all things considering the glove don’t fit we must acquit!”

  7. “Intelligent design WAS the reason Gonzalez was denied tenure.”

    I must sniff just a wee bit again: I don’t doubt that ID was part of the reason GG was denied tenure. ID is perceived in the scientific community as a dishonest attempt to dress a particular religious viewpoint in scientific clothing. If ID wants to play in the scientific sandbox, it has to play by the rules: Do lots of studies, publish lots of papers in peer-reviewed journals, build up a body of evidence in support of ID theory. Thought experiments and analyses of other people’s data are not enough.

    And Ms O’Leary, despite your protestations, you clearly have not learned what tenure is about. Tenure is not a right, guaranteed by meeting certain minimal requirements. You won’t get an accurate picture of the tenure process from Disco, or a newspaper. Do your homework before you sink in the ad hominem.

  8. Yeah, well, thanks for that advice, Denyse, but I’m not advertising anything.

  9. Speaking of advertisements: Although I don’t have a postition on GG’s tenure, I this this case makes a lousy advertisement for Gonzalez to future employers. He better hope the case at ISU is successful. He’s put all his eggs in that basket, and if it fails, it will be that much harder for GG to get another job at a research university. Everybody who looks at GG for a future job will know he’s brought in very little money. Add to that the DI response to the denial, which lets everybody know that if he’s denied tenure he’ll raise a hue and cry. What research department would want to hire someone like that?

  10. Getawitness writes: “BarryA, I’m not a materialist. I’m a postmodern relativist Christian.”

    I stand corrected: I should have said “materialists,their fellow travelers, and Lenin-esque useful idiots.”

    Thanks for putting me straight.

  11. Thanks, BarryA; I tip my useful idiot cap in your direction.

  12. Didn’t he submit The Privileged Planet as part of his tenure case? If so, he’s asked them to consider ID!

    I don’t think this has been written anywhere. I had assumed the answer was no.

  13. Denyse and Barry,

    Getawitness has been one of the most, if not the most, thoughtful commentator on this site, which has unfortunately been overrun with too many Darwinists acting as if left alone by their parents for the first time. I am disappointed that you would criticize a fellow Christian as a dupe for the other side just because he doesn’t nicely fill the role you would have him play in this whole melodrama.

    Your treatment of GAW makes me ponder 1 Samuel 2:3: “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed.” You might ponder your approach to Christianity and why it fills you with such anger towards fellow believers who don’t toe the line of your certainty.

  14. Although I don’t have a postition on GG’s tenure, I this this case makes a lousy advertisement for Gonzalez to future employers.

    I believe GG wanted to let the matter drop after the initial tenure denial, but was encouraged to pursue both appeals so that others would not have to go through the kind of self-censorship that you advocate. There are some things that are more important than career considerations, don’t you agree?

  15. OUTSTANDING post, Denyse. One that I’ll be able to refer to many times in the future.

    Thanks.

  16. specs, what on earth was you last post about?

    “am disappointed that you would criticize a fellow Christian as a dupe for the other side just because he doesn’t nicely fill the role you would have him play in this whole melodrama.

    Your treatment of GAW makes me ponder 1 Samuel 2:3: “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed.” You might ponder your approach to Christianity and why it fills you with such anger towards fellow believers who don’t toe the line of your certainty.”

    are you reviving the ancient art of cryptography?

  17. Stand up, Denyse, and continue standing up in spite of any tendency to despair as you contemplate a worldview in its death-throes.

    You may well wonder how it is possible that genial crackpots like Carl Sagan and Paul Davies are welcomed with open arms in academia and given generous access to PBS and the Times while someone who makes an eminently reasonable inference of design from the fine-tuning of the universe is excluded as if he were some sort of freak.

    The reason is that Modernism (and its rear-guard movement, Postmodernism) has obtained institutional status and become impervious to reason. If you think you are alone in your despair, consider those on the liberal arts side who must now endure an endless barrage of smug nihilism from hordes of self-absorbed dilettantes who obtained tenure by parroting the party line.

    But the hardening of party lines can also be seen as a harbinger of better things to come. The same academics who thought of themselves as radicals and lovers of freedom thirty years ago have now become reactionaries, as the famous emails make clear. And at that point the difference between dogma and reality becomes too obvious to ignore.

    The old paradigm is already dead. The intransigence you identified is restricted to a few small and shrinking islands. We may feel frustrated by the dogmatism of the universities and the media, but old bastions of materialism like the Times and PBS are rapidly losing influence for that very reason—because they are unable to change.

    They are hardening their lines of defense, but they cannot stop the change that is being wrought through discoveries in basic science. Materialism cannot stand for long when it must manufacture multiple universes in order to account for the orderliness of our own. The same weight that makes its intransigence possible will also cause it to topple over.

  18. I want to state for the record that i feel tenure is a really perverted thing. Most time it is abused and i talking as someone who has daily experience with it. No one deserves a job where you are virtually beyond reproach. How about tenure for the president of the united states. Or how about tenure for musicians : once you hit the top 100 you get to stay there for ever. Tenure is a disgrace to me especially in the modern era where people can go online and get information for free and have it be less bias in most cases than that which they get in a public class room hence, the ID controversy “that isn’t real.”

    Nonetheless it is obvious that tenure exists and he was as deserving of it as any much as any of those other charlatans IMOP.

  19. I often thought that one of the most insightful comments about any intellectual philosophy ever was by Michael Sugrue about post modernism. He said post modernism was an intellectural cul de sac.

  20. specs, what on earth was you last post about?

    I have found getawitness to be a interesting commenter here. He always makes me think,
    even when he goes against the prevailing wisdom. I cannot read his comments
    without walking away with the impression of an individual that has put alot of deep thought and
    energy into his Christian walk. Yet, in the space of several comments, Denyse has questioned
    his approach to Christianity and Barry has labelled him a “useful idiot.”

    And what did he do to suffer such insults? He looked at the same information, but came to a
    different conclusion. Denyse and Barry’s certainty belies, not Christian charity, but a pride of
    intellect. Which is, ironically, an epithet normally reserved for smug Darwinists. I am merely
    asking them to consider whether their rough handling of getawitness was really appropriate.

  21. getawitness, you could have placed yourself in the “fellow travelers” category, but since you did not I won’t argue with you. ;-)

  22. Well, maybe the lesson in all of this is keep your mouth shut before you get tenure, then after you get it, become the biggest, barking-est, meanest, and biting-est dog in their universe.

  23. Knock it off Specs. I didn’t call anyone anything. Read my comment again. It was getawitness who suggested the comment applied to him, not me.

  24. 24

    MacT

    I must sniff just a wee bit again: I don’t doubt that ID was part of the reason GG was denied tenure.

    Well, the evidence begs to differ, yet ISU made up other reasons for the denial which is dishonest. They lie for the purpose of promoting their unsupported naturalistic philosophies. Then they fund their unsupported naturalistic philosophies (like UCD through unguided naturalistic processes) with stolen tax dollars. Why does naturalism require such dishonesty to propagate?

    ID is perceived in the scientific community as a dishonest attempt to dress a particular religious viewpoint in scientific clothing.

    You mean by the tax funded secular community, not by the scientific community. There is a difference. The fact of the matter is that naturalistic philosophies (ie: UCD) are dishonest because they brainwash students with their naturalistic philosophies with stolen tax dollars while censoring all criticisms and opposing views. That’s dishonest. I can give reasons why UCD and other naturalistic philosophies are dishonest, you can’t give me a single reason why ID is dishonest. You merely claim it’s dishonest and making such a claim is easy enough but substantiation is a whole different issue. I say UCD and other naturalistic philosophies are dishonest and I can substantiate. You claim ID is dishonest but you can’t substantiate.

    If ID wants to play in the scientific sandbox, it has to play by the rules: Do lots of studies, publish lots of papers in peer-reviewed journals, build up a body of evidence in support of ID theory. Thought experiments and analyses of other people’s data are not enough.

    ID does research and wants to do more research but the secular community tries to deny them the means to do research. Furthermore, assuming you’re right, just because someone doesn’t do research doesn’t mean their theory is wrong or unscientific. So what if we discover ID to be correct through the course of normal research?

    And Ms O’Leary, despite your protestations, you clearly have not learned what tenure is about. Tenure is not a right, guaranteed by meeting certain minimal requirements. You won’t get an accurate picture of the tenure process from Disco, or a newspaper. Do your homework before you sink in the ad hominem.

    Yeah, we get an accurate picture of the tenure processes from these E – Mails. They deny tenure on the basis of someone’s position on ID and then lie about it. This dishonest processes is funded by stolen tax dollars (they’re taking money that doesn’t belong to them to fund such a dishonest processes). Is that accurate enough for you?

  25. 25

    sp/processes/process

  26. My apologies Barry. When, after GAW disavowal of being a materialist, you modified your statement by adding “their fellow travelers, and Lenin-esque useful idiots” I presumed you were doing so to be inclusive of GAW. I guess I am not used to lawyers adding superfluous phrases to their writings. I am hope GAW is relieved to know that you don’t necessarily include him in either of the categories. After all, “fellow traveller”, while not as blunt as “idiot” does carry it’s own negative baggage.

  27. I asked a question above that no one has addressed. I’ve been coming here for my information instead of the distorted views I’ve found everywhere else on line.

    What is the legal basis of the challenge to ISU? Will it be religious discrimination? If so I could see that being a problem in the long run, although it might get GG a seat in the faculty.

    If it is not religious discrimination, then what? It seems that the funding/graduate student success rate/ publication record issue is a pretty tough obstacle, and that the best chance GG has is to argue that his religious beliefs were held in contempt by the faculty voting on his tenure.

  28. Sally_T: Here’s more info http://www.evolutionnews.org/

    I don’t know what the basis of a lawsuit would be, but since GG is a government employee, I assume the University is required to go through some due process before letting him go (denying tenure). If they conspired beforehand, or violated their own standards, then perhaps there’s been an unlawful termination. There ought to be some kind of equal protection for government employees, I would think.

  29. I disagree with getawitness.

    I would say it is in a young scholar’s best interest to publish popular science books.

    That way he/ she can make their own money to fund their own research and therefore get out of the academic pap that resides at universities.

    To MacT:

    If ID is perceived as you say then it is time to allow ID to be openly discussed in the academic world. Then all will see the perception was wrong.

    But that is part of the problem. It is easy to misrepresent ID as long as ID doesn’t get a voice.

    Also there isn’t one peer-reviewed paper that can account for the physiological and anatomical differences observed between allegedly closely related species, such as humans and chimps.

    The premise that we share a common ancestor with chimps cannot even be tested.

    BTW there is a huge body of observations, data and evidence that support the design indference. All one has to do is to pull their head out and look.

    As for thought experiments that is all the anti-ID side has- and that is a fact. Otherwise the theory of evolution wouldn’t even be able to be challenged. However reality demonstrates the theory relies heavily on speculation and imagination as evidenced by the lack of data explaining those aforementioned differences.

    And anytime you would like to address that it may help your credibility.

  30. getawitness writes, “I’m not a materialist. I’m a postmodern relativist Christian.”

    I know that, in that same sense, you are a Chrisitan/Darwinist. But I was wondering exactly how that works.

    Which Biblical principles get diluted after passing through your filter of postmodernist relativism? Is your Darwinism subject to the same kind of reconstruction? Or, as is more likely the case, do you revise your Christian teachings in the name of open-mindedness, while holding fast to your Darwinist ideology come hell of high water.

  31. Ms. O’Leary,

    Thank you for cutting through the smokescreen of the evolutionists/materialists:

    “Intelligent design WAS the reason Gonzalez was denied tenure. We now know that from the records.”

    Hard evidence is hard evidence no matter what the evolutionists/materialists try to say.

    By the way MacT are you a full fledged Neo-Darwinists, as Dawkin’s, or are you into some kind of punctuated equilibrium like MacNeill?

    I ask so as to know exactly how to address you, I’ve noticed that you have never clearly stated your exact position with the evidence, or any exact evidence for that matter, at least you have not in my discussions with you. So it would be very helpful if you could clarify your position for me please.

  32. well specs my problem is that it is so obvious to me and the others that this is a classic case of an ID lynch mob. I agree that even if I think someone is less than smart that i should except their delusion because after all even Einstein was wrong about a few big things. My problem is that you are using a poor argument in defense of GAW “saying that they are bad Christians and will be judged just puts you right along side of them and dissolves your reproach.” My point is it sounds more like you agreed with GAW then you are hurt by the contributors words being that you just turned around and committed the same crime you claimed them of. On one hand you are mad about how he is treated but on another you defend his position. Which one is it? If both, then go back and pose a stronger argument in favor of GAW’s opinion and post it without resulting to the name calling you criticized the others for. But the reality is I don’t think you cared at all about the name calling- but that you just approved his argument but couldn’t make a strong enough one for yourself.

    Bottom line I thought you judging barry as some for of a bad christian underminded your strong position that I other wise would agree with- I hate the “your a bad christian argument.”

  33. It doesn’t matter that it was tenure denial, it is unfairly applying the rules based on personal beliefs. It is about censorship. I don’t know if he would have gotten tenure based on the rest of his research (I believe he would). The question that ought to be answered (and this is very important) was GG a good scientist and yet was denied tenure mostly (or totally) because he advocated intelligent design. At a private university that would be okay, but at a state funded university that is a denial of his first amendment rights of free speech. If Dover is correct and ID is a religion (which I think is incorrect) then it is religious discrimination too under the 1st amendment.
    anyway, it is probably against loads of policies in ISU’s own handbooks to discriminate on viewpoint.

  34. Denyse, I just saw your comment to me:

    Tyke: If I fire someone because I discover that he doubts the hype about global warming, and he then sues me, I CANNOT say afterward, “Well, I was justified in firing him anyway because he was a crappy employee.” The actual reason I fired him is the one that must be litigated because it is a fact, not a variety of suppositions after the fact. To the extent that the faculty had decided to deny GG tenure on account of his sympathy for intelligent design, and the tenure process itself was an elaborate sham, they cannot now say that they were justified by it. Whether they should have made the decision based on the process is neither here nor there. That was not how they made the decision.

    First of all, they didn’t fire GG. They denied him tenure–i.e. they turned down his application for a permanent position in the faculty. As any lawyer will tell you, applying for a job or position is a very different legal situation than getting fired from one, so it would be wise not to mix up the analogies.

    That being said, I am curious what you think the legal redress will be if a law suit finds that there was discrimination in this case. Since GG wasn’t fired, the court cannot order ISU to give GG his job back, and if ISU can prove that there are legitimate grounds for denying GG tenure, then I don’t believe it’s in the court’s power to force ISU to give GG tenure purely on the basis of the discrimination.

    If a black man applies for a job and overhears a racist remark during the interview, he cannot expect a judge to hand him the job just because the employer is a racist. He has to prove that he has all the necessary qualifications for the job first.

    At best, all the judge can do (besides apply some sort of punitive damages) in GG’s case is to order the faculty to revisit the tenure process with some additional oversight to ensure a fair and open process.

    So once you get any discrimination suit against ISU out of the way, at best, GG will still have to go through the application process for tenure again and, at best again, his case will be decided on the merits of his career so far at ISU.

    So, whether you like it or not, it still boils down to whether GG’s record is good enough for ISU to award him tenure. And that, to me, is far from a slam dunk. His lack of grants and PhD grads under his watch do not help his case, and I don’t have enough information to know if his publication and citation record is good enough on its own to make the difference.

    The citation charts I see posted here seem to include citations of papers he wrote before arriving at ISU, and I doubt publication of a popular science book (now being hawked on Christian apologetics shows, BTW) or articles in SciAm are usually counted in the process.

    I very much want to see a fair process here, but awarding GG tenure on a technicality and not on the merits of his application, is not the answer.

  35. tyke, I think the law is harder on bigots than you suppose, but we will see.

  36. BarryA, I haven’t taken any offense. Can’t we all get along? I think so: you and I haven’t really been mad at each other.

    Denyse, on the other hand, has been mad at me. Apparently I can’t help ticking her off. I’m not sure why.

    StephenB [31],

    I know that, in that same sense, you are a Chrisitan/[sic] Darwinist. But I was wondering exactly how that works.

    Which Biblical principles get diluted after passing through your filter of postmodernist relativism? Is your Darwinism subject to the same kind of reconstruction? Or, as is more likely the case, do you revise your Christian teachings in the name of open-mindedness, while holding fast to your Darwinist ideology come hell of high water.

    StephenB, I’ve tried to avoid getting into theology on a science site. But I’ve always appreciated talking with you, and in a certain sense I “opened the door,” as the litigators would say (eh, BarryA?). So, I’ll talk briefly about how I conceptualize these.

    First, I don’t use the term “Darwinist” to describe my commitment to the scientific mainstream. I don’t think that’s a really useful term. (I may have used it here, but this is a special case because it’s used all the time by the other side.) My acceptance of biological evolution is of a piece with my acceptance of plate tectonics (am I a Wegenerian?), a 4.51 BY age for the Earth, or any number of standard scientific perspectives. Darwin’s texts don’t have any special hold on me, though I’ve read several of them and admire Darwin’s writing and reasoning.

    So “Darwinism” isn’t something that guides my thinking on a day-to-day basis. Neither is “materialism.” On the other hand, although there are lots of ways to think that are not materialist, I can’t see any reasonable way to conduct a scientific inquiry that does not presume materialism as a methodological starting-point. So, imagine if you will the standard scientific perspective, which presumes materialism as method, as a kind of net or web cast over reality. When we think scientifically, we travel along one or another thread of this web. But we are restricted in where we can go — we can only go along the threads. At places where scientific inquiry is very exciting, highly developed through technology, or controversial, a number of threads meet like spokes at a hub.

    My Christianity, which you seem to find kind of curious, is more liturgial than credal. That is, I’ve come to think of Christianity in experiential terms, as my experience of the sacred. In terms of personal history, I grew up with a nominal Christian upbringing, had a powerful conversion experience as a teenager, and was a very conservative evangelical for something like a decade. During that time, I was an inerrantist, which I no longer am. I suppose there is a sense in which that “principle” of inerrancy has gotten “diluted through [my] filter of postmodernist relativism.” To that I’d say that every perspective dilutes some Biblical principles. Every perspective “revises . . . Christian teachings in the name of” something or other.

    I can see from the way you’ve framed the question that you’ll disagree: that I’m the one who’s diluted principles and others (perhaps you) have not, have kept more pure. In my experience, as inerrancy got diluted, poetry was strenghtened; as evangelism was muted, caring was intensified; as eschatology became irrelevant, a commitment to this world grew stronger and stronger.

    Now, is this a consequence of my “Darwinism”? I doubt it. It’s who I am, and I’m comfortable with that. I would say that my Christianity is also a kind of web: differently configured, perhaps more dense and thready. If I approach things as a Christian, I move along those threads.

    So I disagree strongly with the late Stephen Jay Gould that relgioon and science are “Non-overlapping Magisteria.” They overlap all the time. But they’re webs, not blankets. Each one is partial, surrounded mainly by space. They don’t necessarily touch very often, even when they overlap.

  37. “Judging by the comments on this and other threads regarding GG’s tenure case, it seems clear that there is very little understanding or familiarity with the tenure process.”

    Darwinist handbook, page 1:

    3. When confronted with hard evidence against your position, claim the opposition doesn’t “understand”. The opposition will then be forced to prove they do understand, at which point you may simply dismiss them as fundamentalist whackos.

    More seriously, it is abundantly clear why GG was denied tenure: he supports ID. Like duh, right? Ah well, it’s getting close to Christmas, so the internet atheists will be out in full force crying and whining how the GG denial was the right move. I still don’t understand why an atheist would even care what another clump of fortuitously organized matter is doing.

  38. Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980), pp. 5-6:

    A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars — billions upons billions of stars. Every star may be a sun to someone. Within a galaxy are stars and worlds and, it may be, a proliferation of living things and intelligent beings and spacefaring civilizations… There are some hundred billion (10^11) galaxies, each with, on the average, a hundred billion stars. In all the galaxies, there are perhaps as many planets as stars, 10^11 x 10^11 = 10^22, ten billion trillion. In the face of such overpowering numbers, what is the likelihood that only one ordinary star, the Sun, is accompanied by an inhabited planet? Why should we, tucked away in some forgotten corner of the Cosmos, be so fortunate? To me, it seems far more likely that the universe is brimming over with life….

    About the author:

    Carl Sagan was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University, and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Cosmos became the most widely read science™ book ever published in the English language. The accompanying television series became the most widely watched series in the history of public television (PBS) until then, and has now been seen by 500 million people in 60 countries. It garnered both Emmy and Peabody awards. Sagan was also a recipient of the highest award of the National Academy of Sciences, the Public Welfare Medal, for “distinguished contributions in the application of science to the public welfare. …His ability to capture the imagination of millions and to explain difficult concepts in understandable terms is a magnificent achievement.”

  39. “Judging by the comments on this and other threads regarding GG’s tenure case, it seems clear that there is very little understanding or familiarity with the tenure process.”

    MacT, you and maya may well have more acquaintance with the tenure process than many of the commenters here. You certainly are more acquainted with it than I am.

    However, my understanding is that GG’s dossier and application for tenure were submitted to nine highly regarded scientist/professionals of the department’s choosing for review. Six of those nine gave positive recommendations.

    Perhaps you would have voted thumbs-down on the decision. But yours would evidently have been a minority POV.

    The emails indicate that the rest of the department was concerned about the reputation they would acquire with a tenured ID proponent. But the opinions of the outside reviewers indicate that, apart from that concern, GG was deserving of tenure.

  40. I can’t see any reasonable way to conduct a scientific inquiry that does not presume materialism as a methodological starting-point.

    I see that by presuming materialism you have created a method for dissolving reason itself, the very reason by which scientia/knowledge exists. Those who attempt the “biological thinking” typical to Darwinism and biologists in general are trained in this way. They are trained to be blind to ID based on the assumption that there is a Blind Watchmaker and so on. Ironically the fact that their assumption leads them to cite their own imaginations as evidence may indicate the prevalence of what they are training themselves to be blind to. If their assumptions were correct or steadily being proven correct then they would be focusing on logic and the empirical evidence itself instead of imagining things about things. But where did the principle that science must methodically and progressively build and validate a philosophy of materialism come from? It seems to be an artifact of the history of science and philosophy because there is little evidence that science has and will always progressively validate a philosophy of materialism.

    Perhaps Gonzalez was very clever in linking habitability/life with sight/discoverability in a way that is empirically verifiable and so on, as Nature tends to naturally point away from itself for those who have eyes to see it. In contrast Darwinists/biologists seek to link life to blind processes, yet in order to do so they have to rely on things like citing their own imaginations as evidence. (For example, citing imaginary universes to “explain” what can actually be observed in this one.)

    Those who point to blind processes seldom deal with the small problem of their own blindness as an artifact of the Blind Watchmaker. Common word patterns indicating this problem: “I cannot see.” “We must not look…” “We must be methodically blind to the possibility of ID so it’s not even testable. Now let me show you how it’s wrong.” “There is a Blind Watchmaker.” And so on.

    How is it that you are bearing witness as to what is reasonable? You have to have wit to be a witness, yet it seems that you seek methods by which to deny about half of all wit/knowledge. Note those who do not agree with your metaphoric lack of sight can and have seen a method to reason based on an ultimate Rationale for rationality. A vision of knowledge rooted in sight and insight is generally the philosophy which resulted in science as we know it now. In contrast, half-wits have now emerged who try to deny the nature of reason. Yet their own words often bear witness against them, apparently naturally enough. Why do you suppose some scribbling scribes used to write, “Those who have eyes, let them see.”? If all have eyes to see, then will not all naturally see?

  41. getawitness: Thanks for your reply at #37. Let me reduce my earlier question to its simplest essence.

    About 2000 years ago, St Paul wrote this: “for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

    About 150 years ago, Charles Darwin wrote this, “there seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows.”

    Does nature show evidence of design?

    A) The Bible— yes
    B) Modern evolutionary theory —no

    Clearly, there is no middle ground here. So make your choice, and then be forthright about where your loyalties are.

  42. mynm [41], I wasn’t invoking materialism as a “philosophy.” I was referring to materialism more as standard operating procedure. Science is limited in what it can give, and it’s not the only source of knowledge. But it seems to operate pretty well by investigating the world as though material processes are regular and knowable.

    StephenB [42], this is why I avoid having these kinds of discussions. I had hoped you were curious about how I think about these things, despite the way your question was loaded. I hoped we could have a conversation. Instead you turn out — again — to be uninterested in a conversation as dialogue. Well, I’m not going to join your amateur Christian debate club on a blog ostensibly about science.

  43. So, imagine if you will the standard scientific perspective, which presumes materialism as method, as a kind of net or web cast over reality. When we think scientifically…

    It seems to me that the difference between imagining and thinking is the systematic use of words as if they are artifacts with a capacity for bearing meaning/spirit/purpose or information. You begin by saying that you want people to imagine something with you, then seem to imagine that you’re thinking. It seems to me that it’s best to try to know reality, not to cast metaphoric webs over it.

    I was an inerrantist, which I no longer am.

    What if an error created your pattern of thought then and now? Texts as we know them contain errors, including the scripts of Scriptures and so on, yet that doesn’t mean that they cannot point to or bear witness to purer forms of information.

  44. mynm,

    It seems to me that it’s best to try to know reality, not to cast metaphoric webs over it.

    My view is that knowledge is always (at least partly) metaphorical, and that metaphors are important and inescapable ways of understanding; See for example, Lakoff and Johnson, Metaphors we Live By; Johnson, The Body in the Mind; David, “Psalm 23.”

  45. mynm [41], I wasn’t invoking materialism as a “philosophy.” I was referring to materialism more as standard operating procedure.

    That was exactly my point. Your view of science seems to be one which leaves it as a method of validating materialism. In popular understanding this Western vision of the world seems to be a “materialism” of a sort that seems to be based on a pseudo-Newtonian view of the world in which everything can be reduced to hard little bits of something or other hitting something else in long chains of cause and effect.

    Science is limited in what it can give, and it’s not the only source of knowledge.

    That would be very true if science was being or could be limited in a principled way, yet when those with the urge to merge claim that all forms of knowledge can be reduced based on their own, when they claim that the intelligent design of technology and the progressions and progress typical to it and so on and on are all a part of science then they may have to be answered on their own “scientific” terms.

    But it seems to operate pretty well by investigating the world as though material processes are regular and knowable.

    It seems that you’re imagining progress in a certain way instead of studying what has actually happened in history or making empirical observations now. Science and technology are linked, scientists know more about Nature once given technology like telescopes and so on but technology progresses through engineering and design. You seem to imagine that science guided and defined by a philosophy of materialism into always validating materialism will work out well instead of looking to history to see if it actually has.

  46. mynm, I don’t follow what you’re saying. It’s all pitched a level of abstraction that I’m sure must be clear to you but is awfully convoluted to me. I was going to add that you misrepresent what I wrote, but I decided not to because I don’t know what you’re talking about there either!

  47. My view is that knowledge is always (at least partly) metaphorical, and that metaphors are important and inescapable ways of understanding…

    You apparently read what I wrote as an attack on metaphors. It wasn’t. It was an attack on the confusion of mind typical to a blurred pattern of thinking which actually seems to be based on imagining things. What passes for Darwinian reasoning is often a good example of it. Put simply, reasoning is not imagining. They may be complementary and perhaps even married when what is imagined is defined and ruled by sound reason but they can’t be blurred together in the way that those with an urge to merge seek.

    Note that the language of mathematics, a language without metaphors if there is one, naturally speaks to important truths:

    In a piece of mathematics that stands as an intellectual tour-de-force of the first magnitude, Gödel demonstrated that the arithmetic with which we are all familiar is incomplete:
    ‘…that is, in any system that has a finite set of axioms and rules of inference and which is large enough to contain ordinary arithmetic, there are always true statements of the system that cannot be proved on the basis of that set of axioms and those rules of inference. This result is known as Gödel’s First Incompleteness Theorem.
    Now Hilbert’s Programme also aimed to prove the essential consistency of his formulation of mathematics as a formal system. Gödel, in his Second Incompleteness Theorem, shattered that hope as well. He proved that one of the statements that cannot be proved in a sufficiently strong formal system is the consistency of the system itself. In other words, if arithmetic is consistent then that fact is one of the things that cannot be proved in the system. It is something that we can only believe on the basis of the evidence, or by appeal to higher axioms. This has been succinctly summarized by saying that if a religion is something whose foundations are based on faith, then mathematics is the only religion that can prove it is a religion!

    (God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God
    by John Lennox :52)

    I’ve seen some biologists argue that mathematics is not science as if that means that they need not be concerned with what many mathematicians might tell them. (E.g. Wistar) It seems once biologists of this sort are done defining science by their own dissections it will no longer be about a search for knowledge that is true.

  48. mynm,

    Note that the language of mathematics, a language without metaphors if there is one, naturally speaks to important truths.

    Not necessarily. Lakoff, who I mentioned above, has written Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being with Rafael E. Núñez. Another, similar perspective is taken by Brian Rotman, who was a mathematician before he became a philosopher. See his Ad Infinitum (on infinity, among other things), Signifying Nothing: A Semiotics of Zero, and Mathematics as Sign: Writing, Imagining, Counting.

  49. Correction: of course math speaks to important truths. But it’s not necessarily the case that mathematics is “without metaphors.”

  50. It’s all pitched a level of abstraction that I’m sure must be clear to you but is awfully convoluted to me.

    That’s because abstraction is the only way to deal with patterns of information and it seems to me that there are many involved in things. I can ground some bits of text into more of a web for you, just let me know what you do not understand. Perhaps the most important point is that you are apparently defining science as a method of validating and building a philosophy of materialism, apparently because it seems to you that it works out well or some such. Are we making any progress yet?

    The ironic thing about many who engage in arguments based on methodology is that they often seem surprised that what they think of as science continually validates or builds their worldview of philosophic naturalism of some sort. Did they expect it to do something else? It seems that an illusion of continual validation, even that which is based on citing their own imaginations as evidence, causes them to think that progress will always lead to a philosophy of naturalism. Yet what if technology and progress do not inevitably validate and lead to such a philosophy?

  51. you are apparently defining science as a method of validating and building a philosophy of materialism

    I don’t think so. First, I am not really trying to “define” science in the sense of saying what it “really” is. If I’ve given that impression, I was mistaken. Second, I don’t think science “validates and builds a philosophy of” anything. Philosophy seems to me a separate enterprise. But as a practice investigating the material world by material means, yeah, science seems pretty successful.

  52. …it’s not necessarily the case that mathematics is “without metaphors.”

    I didn’t say it was necessarily the case, only that if there is a language without metaphors then mathematics is it.

    What the language of mathematics proves in the case of systems that are closed on their own terms may be a model for knowledge or information in general. I.e. any web of naturalism will always be incomplete, leaving the truth supernatural in some sense, don’t you agree?

  53. Philosophy seems to me a separate enterprise. But as a practice investigating the material world by material means, yeah, science seems pretty successful.

    Only if one agrees that consciousness is a “material means” while apparently relying on a notion of matter devoid of empirical evidence drawn from quantum mechanics. Can you imagine a way to separate consciousness from knowledge?

    Also, one would have to agree that the technology by which science tends towards progress in knowledge is “material means.” Civilization tends to rise based on language, which is associated with knowledge and technology and so on. Yet language is not defined by “material means,” instead it has its meaning based on information content.

    At any rate, I am not saying that matter does not matter. I am only emphasizing the importance of things like mind and encoded bits of information because of how you apparently want to methodically deny them or keep them separate. The problem with your position is that in all probability it’s impossible to keep mind and matter separate and it’s unreasonable to deny the transphysical nature of information.

  54. First, I am not really trying to “define” science in the sense of saying what it “really” is.

    It’s worth noting that this is the key point as it seems to be why Gonzalez was denied tenure, why some are censored, etc.

    Apparently the majority of those who believe in the Darwinian creation myth do think that they can define what science really is. Yet, I’ve never seen much of an argument supporting such a view other than: “Well, it seems like progress has happened so far or somethin’.” I.e. it works. Leaving aside the issue of exchanging seeking the truth for seeking answers that lead to progress, better careers and so on, has it really “worked”? Is progress associated with philosophic naturalism and its validation?

  55. H’mm:

    Let’s start with the real reason that Dr Gonzalez was denied tenure, as stated by his HOD, Dr. Eli Rosenberg:

    Dr. Gonzalez has stated that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory and someday would be taught in science classrooms. This is confirmed by his numerous postings on the Discovery Institute Web site. The problem here is that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. Its premise is beyond the realm of science. … But it is incumbent on a science educator to clearly understand and be able to articulate what science is and what it is not. The fact that Dr. Gonzalez does not understand what constitutes both science and a scientific theory disqualifies him from serving as a science educator.

    Now, of course, “the” definition of what is and is not science is a vexed PHILOSOPHICAL question, one that is pregnant with possibilities for abuse, and one that on the evidence above and in associated threads and linked documents, the HOD [and the staff in general] are plainly ill-equipped to fairly and soundly address.

    So, plainly they begged a big question, and simply inferred from GG’s rejection of methodological naturalism that “Dr. Gonzalez does not understand what constitutes both science and a scientific theory,” which in their naive and/or one-sided view immediately and blatantly disqualifies him to be a professor in a science department.

    This is the same trick/trap that Judge Jones used/fell into in his now infamous abusive ruling at Dover. It also appears in this thread, courtesy GAW, in 37:

    “Darwinism” isn’t something that guides my thinking on a day-to-day basis. Neither is “materialism.” On the other hand, although there are lots of ways to think that are not materialist, I can’t see any reasonable way to conduct a scientific inquiry that does not presume materialism as a methodological starting-point. So, imagine if you will the standard scientific perspective, which presumes materialism as method . . . When we think scientifically, we travel along one or another thread of this web. But we are restricted in where we can go — we can only go along the threads.

    Let us remark on this:

    1] In effect, we are seeing that “science” has been in effect redefined in recent years by materialists dominating key institutions as “the best materialistic explanation of the cosmos from hydrogen to humans.” Then, by definition, if you don’t conform — only thinking in terms of such entities and explanations — you are by definition not practising or don’t “understand” what “science” is.

    2] As a direct consequence, if the actual truthful explanation of the world as we see it happened to be non-materialistic — which is surely a possible situation unless you know enough to know beyond possible revision [not in the gift of finite, fallible humans] — then “science” as redefined by the materialists could not access it. In short, “science” as the handmaiden and propaganda voice of materialism has here taken priority over the classic understanding of science as an empirically anchored truth-seeking activity.

    3] “Classic understanding”? Yes, just as we may easily find in high- quality dictionaries, e.g.:

    science: a branch of knowledge ["true, justified belief"] conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 1990]

    scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate, 1965]

    4] The implications follow at once, in light of GAW’s later remark, in 43:

    I wasn’t invoking materialism as a “philosophy.” I was referring to materialism more as standard operating procedure. Science is limited in what it can give, and it’s not the only source of knowledge. But it seems to operate pretty well by investigating the world as though material processes are regular and knowable.

    5] Implication 1: “science” is known to be synonymous in many quarters with “knowledge” (and even “rationality”) pretty much as the dictionaries cited note. So if something is viewed by the ruling elites in scientific institutions as “unscientific” in the sense of “contrary to today’s institutionalised methodological naturalism,” [MN] that will be heard far and wide as untrue, illogical and irrational. Thus, directly, how GG was treated: as one who is as Dawkins suggested: ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    6] Thus, too why we seem to be seeing a 1984-style doublespeak game. [i] Among the philosophically sophisticated cognoscenti, “science” is just a limited tool and procedure for inquiry playing by a rule of the game we call MN. [ii] But to the public [and this here evidently includes the ISU Physics and Astronomy Dept], if you are unscientific, you are an idiot or worse. For shame!

    6] Implication 2: it is a well-known, commonly observed fact that causal chains involve [i] chance and/or [ii] mechanical necessity showing itself in natural regularities, and or [iii] agent action. Further to this, [a] in EVERY directly observed case of CSI and/or IC and/or OC, the cause is agency, and [b] there are good, empirically anchored — exhaustion of probabilistic resources — reasons for this (linked to the underlying principles of statistical thermodynamics,as Sir Fred Hoyle was fond of pointing out with his now classic 747 in a junkyard example; cf. also my always linked, esp. App 1 section 6). So, to impose that agency is not permitted in scientific explanations if it would in effect challenge the materialistic view of the cosmos, is blatant worldview-level, and in this case arrogantly closed-minded and abusive question-begging.

    7] Implication 3: Those who impose the above question-begging attempted redefinition, then demand “scientific” evidence for the design inference on questions where it could adversely impact the materialist world-picture, know or should know [most IMHCO are philosophically ignorant] that they are deciding the question in advance of the evidence. Prejudice, in one word.

    And, prejudice is a well known antecedent to witch-hunting abuse, unjust discrimination and outright dishonesty as we are plainly seeing in this case.

    GEM of TKI

  56. ID.net i dont know how you go about running your site but I havent seen a word from Denyse at any point in this discussion yet i can see everyones responses to Denyse. This makes me wonder if Karios is even getting th emessages I have been sending him… like no offense but what is going on here?

  57. Getawitness said –


    I can’t see any reasonable way to conduct a scientific inquiry that does not presume materialism as a methodological starting-point.

    Well allow me to enlighten you. When you find design in nature and you cannot find a material designer it then becomes appropriate to suggest a non-material designer. The way this is scientific is that there is a reason that we can imagine the existence of a non-material designer and that is through the medium of information. It is CSI that is being scientifically observed here. There is no known way that the laws of nature can produce it except through intelligent agency. In the sphere of all material intelligent agency there has to be an intelligence that can account for the first material intelligence, logically that it. There are only two possibilities 1. a natural intelligence is built into the universe or 2, there is an intelligence that exists outside of the universe that is probably non material if of course we accept that the intelligence must be greater or equal to the nature of this world. If you can point to an example of natural intelligence being built into the world for example an algorithm that permeates through nature that connects the complex as well as the simple – connecting the ID with the random- then you have a real inter-universal argument for physical built in intelligence. But… all evidence that is currently accepted and understood supports the idea that there is in fact no way to get around causation. It precedes matter. Is time for instance or space a material? The bottom line is- being that we are so ignorant in our ability to comprehend the universe as it is (as shown mathematically by Kut Godel and in physics by Heisenberg) we can, if open-minded, suspect a cause that exists “outside” of matter (in the logical sense), thanks to our wonderful faculty of reason.

  58. So as you can see reason is perfectly compatible with anti materialistic causalities. The question remains can science journey into these questions and the answer is yes. It can learn about this intelligence through study and observation. Trying to test materialism limits and then formulate correlative hypothesis about what is likely to happen under intelligent causation. All the while leaning and growing from the design/engineering perspective and answering questions about origins as well as fundamental questions about the nature of objective reality.

    Give ID 100 years -the transition from institutional Darwinism and there will be new insights ones that i beleive will force Darwin obsolete.

  59. kairosfocus said [56],

    Thus, too why we seem to be seeing a 1984-style doublespeak game. [i] Among the philosophically sophisticated cognoscenti, “science” is just a limited tool and procedure for inquiry playing by a rule of the game we call MN. [ii] But to the public [and this here evidently includes the ISU Physics and Astronomy Dept], if you are unscientific, you are an idiot or worse. For shame!

    I’m not playing any doublespeak games. I’m giving my understanding of science because I was asked. You’re taking that and making that into some kind of justification for GG’s tenure denial, which I have stated several times I have no position on. (I could go either way, but then I don’t have to make the decision.)

  60. Frost, you wrote,

    When you find design in nature and you cannot find a material designer it then becomes appropriate to suggest a non-material designer.

    Forgive me if this example is old hat, but I can’t recall encountering it elsewhere. How much does a design inference depend on the state of knowledge? Take the rainbow. To ancient people, this must have seemed designed. It is beautiful, it looks like an archery bow, it comes out of nowhere and then disappears. To an ancient civilization it seems both complex and specified (that is, it conveys information through its form). Is the ancient idea that the rainbow was designed a design inference? And yet we know it is created by material processes. We know that the rainbow is not designed, at least in the scientific sense. Why is this not a false positive design inference?

  61. Lutepisc,
    “However, my understanding is that GG’s dossier and application for tenure were submitted to nine highly regarded scientist/professionals of the department’s choosing for review. Six of those nine gave positive recommendations.”

    Six of nine positive nods from outside reviewers is NOT a good result. Those are not votes, they are recommendations to help the review committee gain perspective. It’s very rare for tenure to be granted if there is a single negative comment.

  62. getawitness #61:

    To say nothing of snowflakes.

  63. Bettawrekonize
    “I can give reasons why UCD and other naturalistic philosophies are dishonest, you can’t give me a single reason why ID is dishonest.”

    Here is one: “cdesign proponentsists.”

    But note: I didn’t say ID is dishonest, I said it is perceived as dishonest by the scientific community. The tactics described in the Wedge document generate deep suspicion that ID is nothing more than a religious agenda. That perception gets reinforced by events such as the current ruckus about the Texas education authority employee who reportedly lost her job because fundamentalist Christians in her department objected to her support for the teaching of evolution. Personally, I believe most ID proponents are deeply sincere in their beliefs, but I can also understand how others may be more cynical.

    ” . . . just because someone doesn’t do research doesn’t mean their theory is wrong or unscientific.”

    No, but it does mean that their theory is completely unsupported, and incapable of progressing our understanding of the world, or serving as the foundation for a new technology, or inspiring the development of a new cure for some disease, or any of the other myriad things science is good for. Data is the currency of science, and you get data by doing research.

  64. The reason why this is not a false positive for design is that design cannot be logically ruled out. It can only be scientifically proven to be superfluous. If I went to the beach and built a sand castle by digging a hole taking the sand and putting it in a bucket then dumping it out the result would be a hole that was the result of intelligence and design but not something that can’t find a material explanation. It could have been an animal for example that made the hole etc and therefore does not display the specified complexity required by ID to be considered appropriate to distinguish it from natural processes and ID. The rainbow could be designed but it doesn’t display SC. Keep in mind SC is a conservative way of talking our experience of human intelligent design and inferring it out of nature using things like the universal probability bound. Design is NOT independent from nature it is simply within a category of nature that is not widely accepted by the current scientific majority in the world today. Information as I said earlier appears to exist separately from matter. Go back to the big bang for instance. Why did the universe take on the structure it did and not otherwise? It could have been completely random like sand in a bucket- but its diversity is so great and complex. The only presently acting cause that can explain this is guided information or ID. And to play the fallacy from authority, it is these realizations about reality that have converted Antony Flew from a methodological material atheist into a deist or theist- w/e he is now.

  65. That said ID is not God but it suports a God like explanation of the origins of things in reality i.e. biological or cosmological.

  66. Joseph:
    “As for thought experiments that is all the anti-ID side has- and that is a fact. Otherwise the theory of evolution wouldn’t even be able to be challenged. However reality demonstrates the theory relies heavily on speculation and imagination as evidenced by the lack of data explaining those aforementioned differences.

    And anytime you would like to address that it may help your credibility.”

    This is almost too silly for words. Joseph, there is a massive literature, hundreds and hundreds of scientific journals, in which scientists publish the kind of data you say doesn’t exist. Have you ever bothered to actually look up some of the work and read it? Much of it is quite difficult — I don’t claim to understand it all, but I am not an evolutionary biologist — but it’s worth the effort.

  67. BA77:
    “By the way MacT are you a full fledged Neo-Darwinists, as Dawkin’s, or are you into some kind of punctuated equilibrium like MacNeill?

    I ask so as to know exactly how to address you, I’ve noticed that you have never clearly stated your exact position with the evidence, or any exact evidence for that matter, at least you have not in my discussions with you. So it would be very helpful if you could clarify your position for me please.”

    BA77, I consider you a friend, so you can call me Mac. With regard to other labels, I’ve never been initiated into the secrets of the inner sanctum, so I don’t know the Dawkins handshake. I’m a scientist (cognitive neuroscience), but outside my own specialty area I consider myself a consumer of scientific information, but no way an expert. I’m interested in evolutionary biology because it provides a useful way to understand and place in context almost all of the key concepts in my own area.

    I don’t know how to answer your other question. What evidence are you referring to?

  68. GAW:

    First, you will note that I include even the ISU Physics and Astronomy Dept among those being taken in by the game being played by Barbara Forrest and co.

    In any case, the issue is that there is a game going on, and I have identified what that leads to — and has led to. Now, please address the real issue on the merits.

    Next, I see that you say to Frost:

    How much does a design inference depend on the state of knowledge? Take the rainbow. To ancient people, this must have seemed designed. It is beautiful, it looks like an archery bow, it comes out of nowhere and then disappears. To an ancient civilization it seems both complex and specified (that is, it conveys information through its form). Is the ancient idea that the rainbow was designed a design inference? And yet we know it is created by material processes. We know that the rainbow is not designed, at least in the scientific sense. Why is this not a false positive design inference?

    This requires several arrows ( I was tempted to say torpedoes, for those who have watched Dr Carter’s must-see video):

    –> The physics of a life-facilitating cosmos in which we can see and wonder at then scientifically study rainbows, exhibits organised, fine-tuned complexity. [Indeed, this is very close to the work being done by GG!]

    –> In short, the “false positive” claim is immediately suspect as question begging.

    –> Further, the filter is an inference to best explanation, and so is provisional, i,e empirically testable and so in principle falsifiable. If a particular minor case were falsified on the grounds that we didn’t know the relevant physics that leads us to infer to regularity, that does not invalidate the filter as a whole. In fact, it shows that it meets and important scientific criterion, the Galilean of empirical testability.

    –> Next, the filter first looks at CONTINGENCY as a first criterion of applicability, for natural regularities show up so soon as the relevant empirical conditions are met, i.e they are . . . regularities. The rainbow is an easily observable regularity even if you have not worked out the relevant physics of light propagation in dispersive [phase velocity varies with wavelength, and as a rule group velocity is different still] media and at interfaces between media. Just ask you friendly local opticdal systems designer why he looks so worried and pops so many headache pills . . .

    –> After that, the filter assesses the presence of complexity and [especially functional] specificity. In all directly observed cases of such FSCI, the cause is agent action. (This post is an example — we do not refer to lucky noise as the default explanation because of its functionally specified complex information, even in the presence of noise and the odd error or two occasioned by my typing and dyslexia. Forgive me this . . .)

    –> In the case of organised systems that function together based on several or a great many integrated parts that are contingent [they could easily have been structured or put together differently], especially to process information, we see that such fine tuned organisation is a reliable sign of agent action, in the cases we directly observe.

    –> That brings us to Sir Fred Hoyle’s 747 in a junkyard case, and my own discussion based on the relevant statistical thermodynamics first principles. That is we see a scientific reason for the pattern we observe, one anchored on the foundation of a highly successful field of science.

    In short, the attempted counter example fails.

    It is also distractive from the key issue in this thread: there is positive evidence of deceptive and abusive agendas at work at ISU to unjustifiably damage the career of a man who has been working scientifically — and successfully — to provide testable hypotheses and data relevant to the scientific status and success of the inference to design.

    GEM of TKI

  69. PS: Snowflakes: again, we have in hand excellent grounds to see them as the product of chance atmospheric conditions within the requirements for forming a snowflake. Complex, but not information-bearing based on functional specificity.

    This distinction between complexity and specified complexity has long since been properly addressed on the merits [starting with Thaxton et al's TMLO of 1984 in the very earliest true design theory document], but that is simply ignored in the rhetorical games.

  70. kairosfocus, thanks for explaining. After all this time, I still don’t understand specified complexity. Sometimes it’s intuitive, sometimes it’s highly technical. Sometimes there are never any false positive design inferences (I’ve even seen reference here to 100% certainty!), and sometimes it’s “provisional.” Ah well. I’ll keep learning.

    As for distractions etc., I’ll remind you that the original post had Denyse O’L reading (and in the case of my comment, seriously distorting) the commenters on this site. The post was about ISU but also about Denyse’s view of the reasoning of her opponents. In my case, she threw out a red herring and when called on it changed the subject to whether I’m “a good advertisement” for my faith. No correction from her, just trashing of my character.

    Since we’re talking about careers being ruined and Barbara Forrest, did you hear about the Texas science education director who was recently fired for simply emailing an announcement of a talk by Forrest? Anybody on the pro-ID side defended her career yet?

  71. kairosfocus, with respect to the rainbow: were the ancients (who lacked modern statistics) incapable of making a correct design inference, or did they make such an inference incorrectly? Or maybe they made it correctly!

    Remember, the rainbow to them did convey information, a message in the form of a promise. It “said” something like METHINKS I’LL NOT FLOOD THE WORLD AGAIN. I would say that by any intuitive understanding of specified complexity, they were not wrong to see the rainbow as being both specified and complex.

  72. getawitness,

    You discussion about the rainbow is the “God of the Gaps” fallacy.” It is standard fare in the argument against ID, another of the tired clichés we constantly see.

  73. getawitness,

    You were given a good source to read about CSI and a good example, language. Your reply to that was irrelevant and trivial. You seem to be the master of these two types of responses. If one was eager to learn about the debate then one would expect someone to graduate from these types of responses. Maybe it is due to your acceptance of postmodernism which as I said is an intellectual cul de sac because by defintion it can lead nowhere. But that is if there is anything such as an objective definition.

  74. Getawitness,

    “with respect to the rainbow: were the ancients (who lacked modern statistics) incapable of making a correct design inference, or did they make such an inference incorrectly? Or maybe they made it correctly”

    just asking questions over and over of the same origin and nature and saying things like well I kinda understand it all but I don’t understand any of it- when we have explained it to you in great detail just shows that you don’t want to give up a debate that you have lost but cant come up with any more good arguments or points of inquiry.

    SC can only be found in things like computer programs and the like- nature cant arrange a computer program out of matter without an intelligence designing it. The living cell displays SC and no know process has the naturalistic resources available to arrange, design that kind of a system blindly as Darwin predicts. SO we look for a case of intelligent design to explain the cell and we cant find one. Could be aliens perhaps but I’m not a big believer in UFO’s so i say that a non material naturalistic process is the most likely explanation. What it is I don’t know. I don’t read the bible literally myself.

    As for your rainbow-snowflake question the answer is simple logic, yes an intelligence could have a hand in the process of them coming together but a snowflake forming is within the probabilistic resources of the know universe via the universal probability bound which is so low that it says no way can this happen in the universe probabilistically. ID uses this because all logically we have to do is show some or even one instance for design and design in relation to origins is back on the table. People at this site by and large are not impressed with Darwin’s theories, not mathematically, physically, scientifically, philosophically, and possibly theologically . Anything could be designed but we have to find cases of SC that just could not have arisen buy chance. To put in simple- if you reject the process of putting natural-physical causes under the microscope of probabilistic resources then you are a methodological materialist which is some one who holds an illogical idealism towards random purposeless natural processes. I hope you grasp the logic now.

  75. If you dont grasp SC (specified complexity) you need to go read two books one is The Design Inference and the other is No Free Lunch.

    Both books are by Dembski.

  76. Jerry and Frost,

    I’ll back off this particular discussion now. FWIW, I’ve read both NFL and TDI (as well as Dr. Dembski’s book with Intervarsity Press). My problem is that I find them inconsistent. Oh well. It’s probably me, and anyway, this is the wrong venue to articulate those differences.

  77. MacT,

    there is a massive literature, hundreds and hundreds of scientific journals, in which scientists publish the kind of data you say doesn’t exist. Have you ever bothered to actually look up some of the work and read it?

    Speaking of which, earlier you pointed to this:

    Bierne, Helene, Cossart, Pascale
    Listeria monocytogenes Surface Proteins: from Genome Predictions to Function
    Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 2007 71: 377-397

    You originally did not give an exact reference or make a claim about what it was supposed to be supporting. It’s 21 pages; could you please highlight the page or general subject matter that you were referring to?

    GAW,

    #61 would be rejected in the first part of the EF. As for #72, I’m assuming that question is for Christians, but starting with that presumption (accepting the details of the Genesis story for this discussion) ID CAN produce false negatives (and that’s assuming there was not something else occurring other than just the rainbow’s presence, like God explicitly telling Noah “this is a sign…”). But if you’ve read Dembski’s books you’d know that false positives is what we’re concerned with, not false negatives.

  78. Patrick,

    Read all 21 pages. If after that you are not convinced of the power of the modern synthesis then you are obviously a religiously motivated fundamentalist. ;)

    With respect to rainbows- where is the evidence that any one of the ancients in science thought they were designed?

    Snowflakes- specied, perhaps. Complex, no.

    And MacT is correct. The theory of evolution isn’t supported by research as there isn’t any research which can account for the physiological and anatomical differences observed between chimps and humans.

    The best evolutionists can do is to say “Look at the similarities. They musta shared a common ancestor.”

    Good for a story. Bad as far as science is concerned.

    And yes, I have looked at the journals. The data I ask for does NOT exist. I am quite capable of understanding what any scientist writes.

    That you think the data exists pretty much demonstrates you are one gullible person. I used to be but then I started to look for myself.

  79. Snowflakes- specied, perhaps. Complex, no.

    I think that should read:

    Snowflakes- complex, perhaps. Specified, no.

    With respect to rainbows- where is the evidence that any one of the ancients in science thought they were designed?

    I believe GAW is referring to Noah.

  80. Joseph #79:

    Snowflakes- specied, perhaps. Complex, no.

    That puzzles me, Joe. They sure look complex. I would be grateful for your explanation.

  81. Mac, (don’t know how long you will be willing to call me a friend, and let me call you Mac, but, friend is a lot better than what I am usually called by evolutionists, and what I am usually called by a lot of other people too. LOL)

    What I, as well as others, are trying to show you Mac is that this “mountain of evidence” you keep referring to, that proves evolution true, is really just fluff once you start to take a good look at it. Most every IDists here has been through the exact same thing and we cannot find any substance in the fluff once we started to look for it. So please help us out by specifying something specific that you believe proves evolution true, and see if it stands up to honest scrutiny.

    As well Mac you really have me thinking about information being transfered non-locally in the brain through quantum entanglement, and the more I read, this following article, the more I felt that the authors mo^del was not sufficient to explain what he was seeing, and that the quantum non-local , of information transference, in the brain is the correct mo^del for brain functioning that he should have been following. i.e. “electrical excitation of specific neurons in a specific area seemed to prep (quantum entangled excitation) other parts of the brain to receive information. This mo^del would explain why different regions of the brain, having no obvious direct connection with each other (electrical, chemical or otherwise), can operate in such smooth coordinated fashion to accomplish a task such as writing. A purely physical/material mo^del just seems to leave too many questions unanswered for what the evidence they were finding.

    You probably have already read this article, since this is your area of expertise, but here it is anyway.

    Slow brain waves play key role in coordinating complex activity

    http://www.berkeley.edu/news/m.....heta.shtml

  82. They not are complex in the SC sense because they dont have enought parts or diversity in structure to warrent a proability of less than 10^150. That is the definition of complexity in SC. The specified part is about finding an objective pattern which they do seem to maybe have. We all know what a snow flake looks like. Right?

  83. Frost #83:

    They not are complex in the SC sense because they dont have enought parts or diversity in structure to warrent a proability of less than 10^150.

    Thanks for your comment, but I read somewhere that no two snowflakes are identical. If true, doesn’t that mean they are diverse in structure? And consider that a whole lot of snowflakes have fallen.

  84. Isn’t ID just about pointing out emergent properties?

    That was my impression after wading through the stuff about CSI and IC. In other words highly improbable things that could not be predicted from a knowledge of the workings of lower-level entities and processes.

    What if life is an emergent property of matter? Would this strengthen or undermine the ID position?

    If ID is about studying emergent properties then it seems that the argument regarding design is just a proxy for ‘emergent property’ and that does not have the God problem that is associated with the ID movement in popular parlance. any thoughts?

    by the way, KF, biology does not exclude agency. there are thousands of ecologists who would find that statement very curious, and I don’t imagine a single one would agree. But to each their own. Let it be said that when we see a caddisfly case, we know what constructed it, often to the genus level. Clearly that involves agency. Same as a beaver dam, a spiderweb, fairy ring mushrooms, tree rings, a skunk hole or a deer scrape. I wonder if you are not confusing the issue with this business of agency (since ultimately we don’t know of any agent that tacks on tiny outboard motors to bacteria). In my mind these examples fall short of any evidence for Intelligent Design, the good evidence is in the experience of rainbows and snowflakes and the pure pleasure of stroking a kitty beside the fireplace on a cold winters night.

  85. GAW

    Let me make a few notes, sadly, mostly at this stage for the benefit of onlookers. [You come across to me more and more as will fully unresponsive and obtuse. Sorry, but that's "my truth" based on sufficient interaction to substantiate it.]

    1] I still don’t understand specified complexity.

    You have two linked online sources at introducory level, one my always linked, one a link to TMLO ch 8. Mine will link you onward to Dan Petersen’s discussion.

    Interact with them, then come back to us on what is there that is hard to understand — as opposed to hard to accept within a question-begging materialistic frame.

    2] Sometimes it’s intuitive, sometimes it’s highly technical. Sometimes there are never any false positive design inferences (I’ve even seen reference here to 100% certainty!), and sometimes it’s “provisional.”

    Have you done your basic phil of sci homework?

    ALL scientific inferences are provisional, i.e. subject to adjustment, correction or replacement in light of further information from the empirical world and logical analysis.

    As a matter of commonly observed fact, in all cases of FSCI that we know directly the cause, it is agency. This is backed up by the underlying principles of statistical thermodynamics as Sir Fred Hoyle so colourfully highlighted.

    Sorry, but once we touch on information theory, statistical thermodynamics principles and the like, the technical gradient becomes very steep. But, at common-sense level, if something is complex and able to be configured in a lot of ways [ 500 - 1,000 bits worth of ways] and is functionally specific [not just any config will do to fulfil the function] then we routinely infer to agency on it, and it is easy to confirm the reliability of that inference.

    3] Denyse:

    She can speak for herself, and IMHCO she has a point on your behaviour.

    Sorry if you find this point unpalatable, but that is “my truth” based on having interacted with you right up to this minute. [Think about the implications of your implying that we face binding moral obligations and account before issues of objectivity, for you post modern relativism. Then look at Rom 2:1 - 3 and onward vv 4 - 8 and vv 14 - 16 then 13:8 - 10, as you claim to be within the Christian tradition.]

    4] did you hear about the Texas science education director who was recently fired for simply emailing an announcement of a talk by Forrest?

    Kindly provide circumstances. I rt is improper to demand a judgement on my part without providing evidence that would show me the merits or otherwise of the claim. You haven’t even given a name much less a link.

    If the person was abused, that is improper. If there are relevant circumstances you are suppressing, then that would be a turnabout accusation based on half truths or falsehoods.

    In neither case would this undercut the force of the point on what was done to Mr Gonzalez, and on how Evo Mat advocates commenting in this blog have responded inappropriately to the decisive evidence as it has come out “live.”

    Of course, repeatedly changing the subject when put under pressure is a handy rhetorical distractor. [Onlookers, observe how GAW has not cogently addressed the points in the main made above by Denyse, by this commenter and by many others.]

    5] with respect to the rainbow: were the ancients (who lacked modern statistics) incapable of making a correct design inference, or did they make such an inference incorrectly? Or maybe they made it correctly!

    If you are saying the ancients inferred from observing the rainbow to design, this would have been a common-sense inference from beauty and strikingness. These go to issues that are common-sense philosophical, not scientific, and should be judged on a comparative difficulties basis across live option worldviews.

    Relative to those circumstances, the existence of beauty and joy in the C S Lewis sense [closely associated] is itself a serious pointer to God.

    But this is not a scientific issue of inference to design. In short, this is a red herring.

    6] the rainbow to them did convey information, a message in the form of a promise. It “said” something like METHINKS I’LL NOT FLOOD THE WORLD AGAIN.

    I fully expected you to go to this as a “next objection.”

    This understanding of the rainbow as a message was in a specific, theological, revelational covenantal context. It was not the rainbow per se, but the understanding that there was a promise of God in that context that was significant. The rainbow in itself carries no high contingency functionally specific pattern that makes the covenantal promise you are alluding to.

    And, from the very fact of the allusion to a Biblical text you made, you plainly knew that, long before you put this up as a rhetorical objection. The objection is rhetorical not substantial.

    And that, sadly, is now an evident pattern in your remarks. That goes straight to the cogency of Denyse’s remarks to you.

    7} Sally_T:

    First, I have little space to answer, based on the message on posting too fast — using up the bit budget. So, briefly, the issue of imposition of methodological naturalism in biology relates to certain highly specific cases, as is easily confirmable.

    On “emergence” this — as as been discussed in previous threads — is mostly just an appeal to word-magic. There are three known causal forces; if something is contingent and sufficiently specific, random walk searches across the config space are maximally unlikely to achieve the outcome on the gamut of the observed cosmos. [And inference to a quasi-infinite cosmos is a resort after the fact to naked metaphysical speculation.].

    If you mean instead that there are underlying laws of the cosmos — how shown to be so, by whom, published in what literature? — then you need to look at why the cosmos would be so set up that by law, DNA based life would appear and would diversify as it has. That would directly imply some very serious design of the cosmos!

    GEM of TKI

  86. Daniel King, Oh they are diverse no doubt and they are IMO beautiful, nonetheless they are not diverse and complex enough to exhaust all of the natural probabilistic resources in the known universe hence the universal probability bound of 10^150. They could however be designed in some way but they aren’t obviously designed in a scientifically rigorous sense. You see Daniel there are only a very few things in this world that fall outside the UPB like a computer program. Most of these things have intelligent causation. The ones that don’t look designed like the human cell. This is what ID is about detecting design in a scientifically rigorous manner. Some things in nature are close and are there for suspect for design like patterns in the way leaves and branches grow on a tree look very designed but we cant cal it designed for sure unless we can say “look this is completely improbable and apears to serve a purpose in the universe.” Snowflakes look designed but improbable and appears to serve a purpose in the universe.” Snowflakes look designed but aren’t that complex and aside from their aesthetic use they are not functioning in the highly specified way that a cell or a human being for that matter does. Nonetheless, interesting example. I think Dembski said that they can be easily explained by the laws of thermodynamics and the intrinsic properties of water. Whether or not their design is informationally based is hard to say it is possible but not suficiently probable enough to warrent a design inference.

  87. PS: If this goes through, I meant contingent, specific and suffiently complex for a config space to exceed the storage capacity of 500 – 1,00 bits. My always linked discusses two specific and relevant biological cases: OOL and body-plan level biodiversity.

    Caddisfly cases, deer scrapes and whatnot are programmed behaviours of animals, often called instincts — where did the information in those programs come from? We are discussing intelligent not instinctual action, as you should know from doing basic homework.

  88. But ‘instinct’ is a carefully designed, in this case, question begging move by you. Of course it is not the case that these behaviors are programmed. They are plastic and subject to change given context. By any rational account they are the outcomes of decision making processes by rational agents.

    How you would even go about asserting that there is ‘information’ in those ‘programs’ is clear: by obfuscation. How you would go about showing that this is indeed the case is not so clear.

  89. Snowflakes are crystals. Crystals are just the same simple pattern repeated. Simple, repeated patterns are not complex.

    Repetative structures, with all the info already in H2O, whose hexagonal structure/ symetry is determined by the directional forces – ie wind, gravity- are by no means complex.

    However repetative structures, such as crystals, do, by ID standards (read SC Meyers & Dembski), constitute specificity.

    BTW Sally T- biology does absolutely exclude agency- as in there was no agency involvement in the origin of life nor its subsequent diversity.

    If biology didn’t exclude agency then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  90. Ya see it’s the information we are concerned with. The information specifies a snowflake when specific conditions are met. The information is by no means complex- as explained above- simple repetitive pattern.

    Repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive repetitive

    My apologies for the spelling mistake in comment 90… D’oh

  91. Joseph,

    You said

    “However repetitive structures, such as crystals, do, by ID standards (read SC Meyers & Dembski), constitute specificity.”

    What does it specify? The term specificity has meaning in the English language because it specifies something outside of itself. I fail see this in a snowflake or in any crystal.

    By the way I tried to post this in Safari and it failed but immediately posted in Firefox.

  92. “biology does absolutely exclude agency- as in there was no agency involvement in the origin of life nor its subsequent diversity.” I like how that is stated as if its a written fact that there was no agency involved with the origin of life.

    “Simple, repeated patterns are not complex.” Really? Have you ever seen any of MC Eschers artowrk? I would say thats complex artwork. Just because it initially uses a basic pattern doesnt mean anything against it, how its arranged is quite complex. That is why it is so beautiful, taking a simple pattern and making it into something that is absolutly not simple. It is complex when it holds information, and serves a purpose. I would say DNA is a bit more complex than a snowflake.

  93. Sally:

    First, I note how the various objections are serving as a cumulative red herring that is slowly but strongly pulling our attention away from the issues Denyse highlighted, very properly, at the head of this thread. No prizes for guessing why.

    Now, on ST’s point:

    Have you ever written a program with a significant number of decision nodes? What does that imply about its source and its complexity [i.e embracing a large number of contingencies]?

    [Complex Specified Information exists when we have focussed selection across contingencies leading to improbable, functional outcomes. Cf my always linked, and kindly respond on the merits.]

    Have you ever seen such a program with decision nodes that produces a pattern result that is easily recognisable that wrote itself by forces tracing to chance plus natural regularities only?

    Deer caddisflies and whatnot act instinctively, not based on learning, nor with the sort of sophisticated, insightful planning that creates such programmes. And, at most, you may, possibly, be able to show that they are in some degree inte3lligent, creative, problem-solving agents [after all, I am perfectly willing to entertain Kzinti as agents, or advanced robots!], but they are not relevant to the sort of questions we are speaking to.

    Now, kindly explain to me how possession of such instincts explains the origin of cell-based life by chemical evolution tracing to random forces and laws of physics and chemistry only. Or, how it explains the origin of major body plans such as in the Cambrian life revolution.

    Or, the organised, fine-tuned complexity of the laws of physics that set up our life-facilitating cosmos.

    Or why GG’s inference to cosmic scale design disqualifies him as a scientist and science educator [cf GG's HOD's remark in no 56 from just this morning, now buried amidst an avalanche of irrelevancies] and how that justifies the year-long conspiracy against him with its associated deceptions that are now being exposed.

    GEM of TKI

  94. Joseph, go learn some biology and then this discussion will be over.

    Behavioral ecology are just one place for you to start.

    The diversification of life surely requires agency. How do you think natural selection operates, if not by the sum of individual agents? predation? parasitism? mutualism? Straw men are easily demolished, eh?

    Arrrrrgh. this posting comments too quickly business is really frustrating.

  95. BA77:
    “This mo^del would explain why different regions of the brain, having no obvious direct connection with each other (electrical, chemical or otherwise), can operate in such smooth coordinated fashion to accomplish a task such as writing. A purely physical/material mo^del just seems to leave too many questions unanswered for what the evidence they were finding.”

    There is a straightforward interpretation of these findings that does not require invoking unknown nonphysical forces. Physically distant regions of cortex generate oscillating electrical (and magnetic) fields, in frequency bands that fluctuate. These fields can be shown to synchronize their activity (this is technically easy to do). If such synchrony occurs, then we can unambiguously infer that distant groups of neurons are firing (ion channels opening and closing) in synchrony. Exactly how the brain uses this effect to entrain distant regions is not completely clear, but the most plausible explanation is that the synchronous electrical activity represents a medium of communication.

    Thanks for the link. I had seen this work, and some of its precursors, and I’m impressed that you picked up on it. As a footnote, the coupling/decoupling effects in theta and gamma bands change with age, and may account for some of the normal decline in cognitive function we see after about age 70.

  96. “biology does absolutely exclude agency- as in there was no agency involvement in the origin of life nor its subsequent diversity.”

    I like how that is stated as if its a written fact that there was no agency involved with the origin of life.-gore

    It may not be written but that is certainly what is being taught in public schoolrooms and universities.

    Why else would ID be excluded? The ONLY way to exclude ID is to exclude the notion of a designer for the origin of life. That is because is living organisms were designed then there would be no reason to infer the subsequent diversity arose via purely stochastic processes.

    “Simple, repeated patterns are not complex.”

    Really?

    Really, really.

    Jerry,

    Page 54 of Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Stephen C. Meyer states that pattern 3 (ABABABABABABABABABAB) exhibits a simple pattern, a specification of sorts.

  97. This is almost too silly for words. Joseph, there is a massive literature, hundreds and hundreds of scientific journals, in which scientists publish the kind of data you say doesn’t exist.

    If there is an overwhelming amount of data which shows that blind processes like natural selection and random mutation form the brains of animals and humans out of matter then can you cite some of the relevant bits of text describing it? In the end it seems that if there is such data then sight or awareness of form is actually an illusion of formations of matter, the delusion of an illusory mind.

    Perhaps you can overwhelm my mind with the data that you claim exists on the matter? Given that all that we can think with are words and language it seems to me that you ought to be able to describe the data here with words. If you argue, “Oh, if you would only read the texts that I have then you would know.” then describing some of the data here should be a simple matter. It seems that virtually all of the data that would be most relevant to supporting the notion of blind processes forming consciousness or sight is imaginary because it is based on imagining things about the past. But I am just a simple fellow, so perhaps you can educate me.

  98. Joseph, go learn some biology and then this discussion will be over.-SallyT

    Been there, done that.

    Perhaps YOU should learn what is being debated.

    The diversification of life surely requires agency.

    You are clueless. This is about EXTERNAL agency- not the organisms themselves- duh.

    How do you think natural selection operates, if not by the sum of individual agents? predation? parasitism? mutualism?

    Umm, natural selection is a RESULT. It is the RESULT of differences in survival and reproduction among individuals of a population that vary in one or more heritable traits page 11 of Biology: Concepts and Applications Starr 5th edition.

    Allan MacNeil of Cornell says:

    “Natural selection is therefore a result of three processes, as first described by Darwin:

    Variation
    Inheritance
    Fecundity

    which together result in non-random, unequal survival and reproduction of individuals, which results in changes in the phenotypes present in populations of organisms over time.”

    (bold added)

  99. Joseph, you mean to tell me that there is nothing wrong with teaching an assumption of the origion of life based purely off of philosophy and call it science, and then say ID is bad science?

    As for quoting 1 word of my response to “simple repeated patterns are not complex” Is really mature. If your only response is “really really”. I see why debating people on the internet is so pointess. Keep your fingers in your ears if thats what makes you happy.

  100. Joseph, you mean to tell me that there is nothing wrong with teaching an assumption of the origion of life based purely off of philosophy and call it science, and then say ID is bad science?-gore

    Huh? What are you talking about? Of course it is not OK to pass off philosophy as science. Yet it appears that is what is happening. Or haven’t you ever been in a science classroom which discussed biology?

    BTW “Really really” was from Shrek 1. Perhaps you should lighten up.

    Only an immature person would think that an intelligent agency (the artist), who can take simple patterns and make something complex from them is in any way connected with what I posted pertaining to repetitive patterns.

    Please visit my blog:

    Intelligent Reasoning

  101. Simple, repeated patterns are not complex.

    They’re algorithmic, i.e. coded for based on natural laws. What writes or designs natural laws is another question but repeated patterns typically indicate an underlying design or code from which patterns emerge. This seems to be very appealing theologically to many. Yet there isn’t much evidence for it. For example, as I recall Dean Kenyon began searching for a way to reduce life to such patterns of chemical predestination but became convinced that DNA isn’t structured based on a design mediated through natural laws and the properties of chemicals. If I recall, this is because DNA tends to take advantage of “chance” to bear very high levels of information.

    One scientist who began optimistically was Dean Kenyon, who had worked in the laboratory of the Nobelist Melvin Calvin. In 1969, he co-authored a book that was the epitome of the “life is inevitable” school of thinking. Titled Biochemical Predestination, it theorized that chemicals where naturally attracted to each other in the DNA molecules. Their complex folded shapes characterized that mysterious attraction. Three decades later, however, Kenyon had rejected his determinist theory, and was now willing to accept that the origin of life was so beyond law, chance or determinism that an intelligent force, namely a Creator, must have played a role.
    The key flaw in origin-of-life research, Kenyon argued, was that the experiments were intelligent—unlike anything found on the primitive Earth. He cited one project that produced RNA in a test tube. The result prompted an adviser to ask bluntly whether the RNA would have “emerged spontaneously without the gentle coaxing of a graduate student desiring a completed dissertation.” Another pair of research professors joked along similar lines: typical abiogenesis experiments “claim abiotic synthesis for what has in fact been produced and designed by a highly intelligent and very much biotic man.”
    Kenyon elaborated further in his 1995 essay, “Re-creating the RNA World.” He explained, “In vitro RNA selection does not demonstrate that complex ribozymes could have arisen naturally in prebiotic soup, because the in vitro experimental conditions are wholly unrealistic.” Such experiments are contaminated by “intervening intelligence.” What is more, Kenyon wrote, every thing science knew about RNA was summed up in two rules: ‘According to those rules, RNA does not arise from its chemical constituents except (a) in organisms, and (b) in laboratories where intelligent organisms synthesize it.”

    (By Design: Science and the Search for God by Larry Witham :103)

    A series of questions may help… is your hard drive organized by magnetism or is the law of magnetism being used in intelligent ways to store information that you write? If what you write was organized by chemical/material processes it might have a complex pattern, yet the information would ultimately be reducible to the forces that cause it and such knowledge could be summarized/encoded in algorithms.

  102. kairosfocus:
    “On “emergence” this — as as been discussed in previous threads — is mostly just an appeal to word-magic.”

    It’s a little premature to dismiss emergence. Example: Honeycombs constructed by bees show a hexagonal geometry. There’s no debate that bees are genetically endowed with the ability to construct such efficient structures. But that innate feature is not encoded directly in bee genes. There is no “build hexagonal structure” gene. Rather, the hexagonal structure is an emergent property of simpler, interacting factors.

    One: bees are hive animals, and pack together tightly. Two: wax is a soft medium. Three: bee necks are built to swivel. Four: bee heads are (near enough) round. The result is that when a group of bees stand shoulder to shoulder on the soft wax medium, and each one pushes its round head down into the wax and swivels it around, it gradually creates a semi-sphere. When spheres are packed tightly, the result is . . . hexagons (think of soap bubbles clumping together . . . different causal factors, same emergent property).

    These simple factors in the case of bees are the result of natural selection acting at a particular level that isn’t directed in any sense at creating hexagons. But the efficiency of the resulting structures works well for bees. Simple biology, complex results.

  103. Can we get the ‘posting comments too quickly’ thing fixed?

    KF

    Of course you are correct that this is off topic. But some of your assertions are so flagrant that they demand attention.

    I’ve looked at your ‘always linked’ and note that it participates in the same question-begging about instinct as you do here. i’m not a code writer and i don’t see what that has to do with anything, unless you are asserting that multiple possible outcomes (ie decisions by agents) is evidence of a program. If so I suggest you examine the implications of this idea as it pertains to human behavior.

    your appeal to multiple levels of causation further supports my contention that we are dealing with emergent properties. I will avoid the thornier issue of ontological emergence and simply say that as far as science is concerned, we act as if these properties are emergent. This prevents explanatory reduction to lower levels for several reasons, the primary one being that higher level properties are crucial to robust generalizations about higher level processes.

    But you will not recognize that this is the way that biology works, instead demanding a reductionist account of how atoms become men. Clearly the theoretical accounts of atoms and living things are not translatable into the other. Until this is so, you will not be satisfied hence the argument regarding design.

    Intelligent Design ideas (particuarly the CSI and IC notions) are just reiterations of the observation that living things have properties and processes that are not (contingent upon the snapshot of scientific explanation available at this moment) reducible to an account of their lower level properties. There is not much debate in biology about this issue (there are few mereological determinists out there but they are a minority, even within the High Church of Darwinism).

    If you say that deer are incapable of learning, I will grant you your assertion, but I know that you know little about deer. Knowing a little something about deer, it is obvious that they learn very quickly, particularly during the hunting season. The men in my family have many anecdotal stories that attest to this, as does any perusal of the wildlife management literature. Further, even mice and other small mammals are capable of learning (hence our quantitative models of population estimation that take ‘trap-happy’ individuals into account).

    There is a great amount of evidence that fish are capable of learning and making measured decisions (see the literature about foraging under threat of death, tradeoffs on predation risk and forage quality, etc).

    So, the notion that biology ignores agents is plainly false. The notion that animals behave to programmed instincts is a mere assertion fueled by a carefully crafted definition of ‘instinct’ and is falsified by the evidence from behavioral and population ecology and the observations of any person who has ever spent any amount of time observing nature.

  104. Simple, repeated patterns are not complex.

    They’re algorithmic, i.e. coded for based on natural laws.-mynym

    What does Al Gore’s rhythm have to do with anything? :)

    “Complex sequences exhibit an irregular and improbable arrangement that defies expression by a simple formula or algorithm.” Stephen C Meyer, page 53 of Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe.

    (IOW thanks mynym)

  105. Joseph, I don’t know what you are talking about with respect to the ‘matter to brains’ stuff. I pointed out that there is a massive biological literature that deals with organisms as agents (see biocontrol, for example). of course what I THINK you are doing is conveniently moving the goalposts. Your biological education, if true, seems to be failing you here.

    It’s not even a controversial topic, with the few dissenters I listed.

    Further, if you will actually read what I wrote then you will see that I said that selection is the sum of the interactions by agents. That is exactly what you quote from MacNeill, minus the (implicit) recognition that it is agents (organisms) who participate in the birth and death process.

    Living things are very different from non living things. This as far as I can see is a very simple summary of the ID position. I am not sure, although willing to be convinced, that it can be taken any further than this. To make analogies to nonliving things is just the inappropriate use of analogy, and while it is rampant, it is not convincing.

  106. So, the notion that biology ignores agents is plainly false.

    Yet many biologists seem to believe in the Darwinian creation myth which is predicated on ignoring the impact of mind on matter. For example, the intelligent selections typical to organisms based on their sentience and capacity for sight are often imagined as an artifact of processes that are said to be blind or random, such as natural selection and random mutation. If biologists admit to agency and mind then it seems that they need to deal with how such a notion undermines the creation myth that they apparently tend to be dumb and /or blind enough to believe. For example, if Homo sapiens can make intelligent selections which go against what natural selection would predict then how far back does this capability go and to what other organisms might it extend? How much is the impact of natural selection weakened and why do biologists continue to attribute vast power to it if it can be known that it doesn’t even necessarily apply to many organisms?

  107. Sally_T,

    You continue to prove you do not understand the debate.

    Were the animals “designed to evolve” (ID) or did they “evolve via culled genetic accidents” (the current theory of evolution)?

    BTW I have observed dragonflies playing. There just isn’t any other description for what I observed.

    However that has NOTHING to do with the debate! Animal behaviour has NOTHING to do with the debate- except in a round-a-bout way. That is ID would have these organisms tapping into a pre-existing stream of information. (See “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?”)

  108. Complex sequences exhibit an irregular and improbable arrangement that defies expression by a simple formula or algorithm.

    Good quote… I attempted my summary based on knowledge gleaned from Daniel Dennett. In contrast, he apparently believes that nothing can or will ever defy expression in a relatively simple algorithm. Perhaps I’m not understanding him yet but it seems a very myopic or gullible view based on the notion that because some things can be expressed as an algorithm therefore it is inevitable that Progress will lead to everything being expressed as an algorithm.

  109. Joseph,

    You said

    “Page 54 of Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Stephen C. Meyer states that pattern 3 (ABABABABABABABABABAB) exhibits a simple pattern, a specification of sorts.”

    What does ababab etc specify? Nothing.

    Don’t you understand that few if any understand the concept of CSI. I found no one here who can define it simply. The only readable discussion of it I have seen is by John Calvert and William Harris. I will read Dembski’s new book tonight to see what it adds to it.

    The word specify has a specific meaning (pardon the pun) and should be used in the context of its meaning. That is why DNA is useful, language is useful, computer programs are useful as illustrations of CSI but repeating patterns are useless unless they specify something outside of themselves.

  110. Joseph, I guess I had the wrong impression of you. I think your blog is actually pretty cool! Keep up the good work. As for refering to me as AL GORE… ha that is not why I picked gore as my name. Here is the definition from dictionary.com (in which is the true meaning of why I picked the name)

    gore1 –noun 1. blood that is shed, esp. when clotted.
    2. murder, bloodshed, violence, etc.: That horror movie had too much gore.

  111. mynym (107)

    It is possible to prove via the pigeon-hole principle that for any given description language there are some strings that cannot be compressed (ie. expressed by a relatively simple algorithm.) See: Kolmogorov Complexity

    Namely:

    Compression

    It is however straightforward to compute upper bounds for K(s): simply compress the string s with some method, implement the corresponding decompressor in the chosen language, concatenate the decompressor to the compressed string, and measure the resulting string’s length.

    A string s is compressible by a number c if it has a description whose length does not exceed |s| ? c. This is equivalent to saying K(s) ? |s| ? c. Otherwise s is incompressible by c. A string incompressible by 1 is said to be simply incompressible; by the pigeonhole principle, incompressible strings must exist, since there are 2^n bit strings of length n but only 2^n?2 shorter strings, that is strings of length n ? 1 or less.

    For the same reason, “most” strings are complex in the sense that they cannot be significantly compressed: K(s) is not much smaller than |s|, the length of s in bits.

  112. Joseph, I don’t know what you are talking about with respect to the ‘matter to brains’ stuff. -Sally_T

    Neither do I seeing that I never said it.

    I pointed out that there is a massive biological literature that deals with organisms as agents (see biocontrol, for example).

    Of course organisms are agents. I never said nor implied otherwise.

    However it is obvious that organisms on Earth cannot be responsible for the ORIGINS of organisms on Earth.

    O-R-I-G-I-N-S got it? And if living organisms didn’t arise (on Earth) via purley stochastic processes then there wouldn’t be any reason to infer their subsequent diversity arose solely due to stochastic processes.

    THAT is the debate pertaining to biology.

    Again the question- designed to evolve or evolved via culled genetic accidents?

    Also ID extends beyond biology. Please read “The Privileged Planet” for the design inference pertaining to the universe.

  113. Sally_T,
    Do you believe that a transcendent Intelligence was behind the Big Bang? Or do you believe it was an ?

  114. KF, I’m not going to continue to respond on this issue. Suffice it to say that I’m not the only one who finds the literature on specified complexity inconsistent and woolly. (See the debate above between Patrick and Joseph.) Most of the scientific community, insofar as it have commented on the work, seems to respond similarly. But of course the scientific mainstream does so because of their preexisting evo mat biases, question begging, selective hyperskepticism, etc. etc.

    Perhaps you should consider the possibility that I am not stupid or unread, but that the theory is problematic.

    I only mentioned that I was a Christian because the assumption of the majority here is that everybody who’s a supporter of evolution is some kind of anti-religious fanatic. Now I’m getting berated on theological issues that have nothing to do with science. I wish I’d never mentioned it.

  115. mynym you are referring to what cannot be reduced to constituent lower levels. we may as well call these emergent properties, and as before I say that we should disregard the ontological issue of emergence and focus on explanatory reduction.

    the notion of natural selection carries the implicit recognition of organisms as agents. this evades the reductionist urge to equate mind to matter, as there is no operational basis for doing so. Whether or not it is in principle true or false is irrelevant, since it lies on an orthogonal plane to explanation.

    By the way, I don’t think random is used in the sense that you are using it. Random with respect to fitness is a much better term, although it is a few more characters to type.

  116. Sally_T, if I weren’t married . . .

  117. Jerry,

    It specifies “repeat AB 10 times”- see also pages 59-60 of NFL

    Also the best “simple” explanation I have ever read came from CJYman:

    If it is Shannon information, not algorithmically compressible, and can be processed by an information processor into a separate functional system, then it is complex specified information.

    To Gore/ gore,

    Al Gore Rhythm refers to algorithm, mynym’s post. However I did find it funny that you thought I was arguing against ID. I almost split my staples (19 in the abs) when it hit me. (thank man for percosets!)

  118. Joseph you are correct. Upon rereading I see that it was mynym in comment #97 who said this. My apologies.

    as far as what a ‘genetic accident’ might be, you will have to illuminate me about what it is an accident and what is not. I see some problematic reasoning there.

    BA77, I don’t see how one could determine the truth of such a proposition in one direction or the other. Simply put, emergent properties may not be reduced to lower levels. Whether or not me typing on this computer is an emergent consequence of the big bang, I honestly don’t have a clue. Does not seem to be a very productive line of reasoning however, but it does remind me of some hazy college days conversations.

  119. “Random with respect to fitness”?

    Then one has to define “fitness”.

    If fitness is just the ability to out reproduce others then it is worthless as cooperation rules the natural world. IOW those who reproduce more are most likely aided by those who do not.

    Also at least ID has defined terms like IC and CSI. These can be tested. The other side has nothing to test against. Just saying “It evolved” it not scientific.

  120. mynym you are referring to what cannot be reduced to constituent lower levels.

    You and I may know that but it seems that those who speak for biology do not. I.e. Dennett, Dawkins, etc.

    …we may as well call these emergent properties…

    Or minds. As far as your use of the term emergent we cannot know that mind necessarily emerges “from” matter anymore than one can say that information heard on a radio emerges from the radio itself. The radio can be tuned in to different stations or even smashed, yet that doesn’t prove that the information which is heard on it can be reduced to its mechanical parts or “emerges” from an arrangement of parts. Only those who ignore or try to “separate” the fact that an invisible electromagnetic spectrum exists would engage in such reasoning. If they were prejudiced against admitting that the spectrum exists because it seemed spectral to them, ghostly, magical, invisible, etc., then they would seek false explanations and separate the very thing that explains the actual purpose of a radio forever.

    …and as before I say that we should disregard the ontological issue of emergence and focus on explanatory reduction.

    Then it seems that you’re not really admitting to agency as a reality at all? Dennett and Dawkins do the same, they just make the final rather logical conclusion that if we must always be blind to agency as a reality then materialism will always be progressively validated and so on.

    Does your view of separation lead to a denial of tenure for someone like Gonzalez who argues that intelligence is a reality that in all probability cannot be “separated”?

  121. as far as what a ‘genetic accident’ might be, you will have to illuminate me about what it is an accident and what is not. I see some problematic reasoning there.-Sally_T

    Then the problem is with the evolutionists.

    The old, discredited equation of evolution with progress has been largely superseded by the almost whimsical notion that evolution requires mistakes to bring about specieswide adaptation. Natural selection requires variation, and variation requires mutations- those accidental deletions or additions of material deep within the DNA of our cells. In an increasingly slick, fast-paced, automated, impersonal world, one in which we are constantly being reminded of the narrow margin for error, it is refreshing to be reminded that mistakes are a powerful and necessary creative force. A few important but subtle “mistakes,” in evolutionary terms, may save the human race. -page 10 ending the intro

    That is from the introduction of Biological Evolution: An Anthology of Current Thought, which is in a reviewed series from “Contemporary Discourse in the Field Of Biology”.

    In evolutionary terms all mutations are genetic accidents. If they are not accidents but are planned then that would be ID.

    And if you didn’t know that then perhaps you should go learn some biology.

    Now the percosets are kicking in so I am signing off (I will never jump out of a perfectly good airplane again. I will never jump out of a perfectly good airplane again. I will never jump out of a perfectly good airplane again- hopefully that sinks in.

    I will not go back to Iraq. I will not go back to Iraq. I will not go back to Iraq. I will not go back to Iraq. Hopefully that sinks in too)

    night-night

  122. Sure, in many ways Dawkins is a reductionist. That’s way no one in the biological community agrees much with the selfish gene hypothesis (it is trivially easy to show that selection at that level is counteracted by selection at higher levels. See Gould 2002 for a more thorough treatment of hierarchical levels of selection). The sociobiological pan-adaptationist charade is more evidence to the fallacies inherent in reducing biological entities and processes to simpler parts. On that we can agree, and I’ll submit to you that most biologists also agree.

    At one level, the radio sounds do emerge from a particular arrangement of parts. This is a salient feature of what is called non-aggregativity, that changes in higher levels are associated with changes in lower levels, and that only by full knowledge can that information be causally compressed (allowing reduction). The fact that this spectrum is not invisible and is exploited by many plants and animals it appears is irrelevant to your point, which I believe is concerned with ontological emergence.

    I’m not ‘admitting’ anything about the reality of agents, only that if we believe that phenomena supervene on lower level phenomena then the ontological question is irrelevant.

    I’m not sure what you mean about Gonzalez… I would not want colleagues with low productive output in my department (even if at other points in their careers that output had been stellar). But if that assertion regarding intelligence is attributable to Gonzalez, it is a metaphysical position about the limits to knowledge and in that sense who could disagree?

  123. Joe I would say that what you are referring to is a useful heuristic for describing deviations from reaction norms. Cheers

  124. A Poem for Sally_T

    When information is complex And specified, we have a signOf agency, and we can startTo argue regarding design.

    When CSI’s more than a nameFor shows on Thursday nights at nine, We have a term that we can useTo argue regarding design.

    Methinks when weasles speak in codeIt’s like an information lineNaming the ID-friendly ode:The argument regarding design.

  125. Correct formatting.

    A Poem for Sally_T

    When information is complex
    And specified, we have a sign
    Of agency, and we can start
    To argue regarding design.

    When CSI’s more than a name
    For shows on Thursday nights at nine,
    We have a term that we can use
    To argue regarding design.

    Methinks when weasles speak in code
    It’s like an information line
    Naming the ID-friendly ode:
    The argument regarding design.

  126. I’m flattered, GAW, and although I missed it above, I am happily married as well.

    Nice work! :p

  127. Sally_T,

    There is a little thing called the Anthropic principle that sheds some light on if there was Intelligence behind the Big Bang or not:

    Sir Frederick Hoyle (1915-2001) is the scientist who discovered and established “nucleo-synthesis” of heavier elements as mathematically valid in 1946. When Sir Hoyle discovered the precision with which carbon is synthesized in stars he stated “a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics as well as with chemistry and biology.” What could make a scientist who was such a staunch atheist, as he was before his discoveries, make such a statement? The reason he made such a statement is because Sir Frederick Hoyle was expertly trained in the exacting standards of mathematics. He knew numbers cannot lie when correctly used and interpreted. What he found was a staggering numerical balance to the many independent universal constants needed to synthesize carbon in the stars. These independent constants were of such a high degree of precision as to leave no room for blind chance whatsoever. Naturalism presumes blind chance of natural laws is the ultimate cause for the entire universe coming to be in the first place. Thus, with no wiggle room for the blind chance of naturalism in the numerical values of the universal constants, which allows the precise synthesis of carbon in stars, Sir Frederick Hoyle had to admit the evidence he found was compelling to the proposition of intelligent design by a infinitely powerful Creator. Let’s look at some of these exacting mathematical standards to see the precision of “intelligent design” he saw in the foundational building blocks of universal constants.

    Proverbs 8:27
    “When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep”,

    The numerical values of the universal constants in physics that are found for gravity which holds planets, stars and galaxies together; for the weak nuclear force which holds neutrons together; for electromagnetism which allows chemical bonds to form; for the strong nuclear force which holds protons together; for the cosmological constant of space/energy density which accounts for the universe’s expansion; and for several dozen other constants (a total of 77 as of 2005) which are universal in their scope, “happen” to be the exact numerical values they need to be in order for life, as we know it, to be possible at all. A more than slight variance in the value of any individual universal constant, over the entire age of the universe, would have undermined the ability of the entire universe to have life as we know it. On and on through each universal constant scientists analyze, they find such unchanging precision from the universe’s creation. There are many web sites that give the complete list, as well as explanations, of each universal constant. Search under anthropic principle. One of the best web sites for this is found on Dr. Hugh Ross’s web site.

    http://www.reasons.org/resourc.....sign.shtml

    There are no apparent reasons why the value of each individual universal constant could not have been very different than what they actually are. In fact, the presumption of any naturalistic theory based on blind chance would have expected a fair amount of flexibility in any underlying natural laws for the universe. They “just so happen” to be at the precise unchanging values necessary to enable carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Some individual constants are of such a high degree of precision as to defy human comprehension. For example, the individual cosmological constant is balanced to 1 part in 10^60 and The individual gravity constant is balanced to 1 part to 10^40. Although 1 part in 10^60 and 1 part in 10^40 far exceeds any tolerances achieved in any manmade machines, according to the esteemed British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose (1931-present), the odds of one particular individual constant, the “original phase-space volume” constant required such precision that the “Creator’s aim must have been to an accuracy of 1 part in 10^10^123” or as said another way, “The initial entropy of the universe had to be within one part in 10^10^123!”. If this number were written out in its entirety, 1 with 10^123 zeros to the right, it could not be written on a piece of paper the size of the entire visible universe, EVEN IF a number were written down on each atomic particle in the entire universe, since the universe only has 10^80 atomic particles in it.

    http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_returnofgod.pdf

    This staggering level of precision is exactly why many theoretical physicists have suggested the existence of a “super-calculating intellect” to account for this fine-tuning. This is precisely why the anthropic hypothesis has gained such a strong foothold in many scientific circles. American geneticist Robert Griffiths jokingly remarked about these recent developments “If we need an atheist for a debate, I go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use anymore.”

    “The temptation to believe that the Universe is the product of some sort of design, a manifestation of subtle aesthetic and mathematical judgment, is overwhelming. The belief that there is ‘something behind it all’ is one that I personally share with, I suspect, a majority of physicists.” Physicist Paul Davies

    “Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here. Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate – it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially.” Nobel Prize winning physicist Charles Townes

    The only other theory possible for the universe’s creation, other than a God-centered hypothesis, is a naturalistic theory based on blind chance. Naturalistic blind chance only escapes being completely crushed, by the overwhelming evidence for design, by appealing to an infinite number of other “un-testable” universes in which all other possibilities have been played out. Naturalism also tries to find a place for blind chance to hide by proposing a universe that expands and contracts (recycles) infinitely. Yet there is no hard physical evidence to support either of these blind chance conjectures. In fact, the “infinite universes” conjecture suffers from some serious flaws of logic. For instance, exactly which laws of physics are telling all the other natural laws in physics what, how and when to do the many precise unchanging things they do in these other universes? Plus, if an infinite number of other possible universes must exist in order to explain this one, then why is it not also infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful and transcendent God to exist? Using the materialist same line of reasoning for an infinity of multiverses, if it is infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful and transcendent God to exist then He, of 100% certainty, must exist no matter how small the probability is of his existence in one of the other multiverses, and since he certainly must exist, according to the strict materialistic reasoning, then all possibilities, by default, become subject to Him, since He is, by definition, Omnipotent. As well logic dictates there can only be one infinitely powerful “Lord” of the multiverses. (Having two infinitely powerful Beings is a logical absurdity)

    As well, the “recycling universe” conjecture suffers so many questions from the second law of thermodynamics (entropy) as to render it effectively implausible as a serious theory. The only hard evidence there is, the stunning precision found in the universal constants, points overwhelmingly to intelligent design by an infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator who originally established what the unchanging universal constants of physics could and would do at the creation of the universe. The hard evidence left no room for the blind chance of natural laws in this universe. Thus, naturalism was forced into appealing to an infinity of other “un-testable” universes for it was left with no footing in this universe. These developments in science make it seem like naturalism/materialism was cast into the abyss of nothingness so far as explaining the fine-tuning of the universe.

  128. Using the materialist same line of reasoning for an infinity of multiverses, if it is infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful and transcendent God to exist then He, of 100% certainty, must exist no matter how small the probability is of his existence in one of the other multiverses, and since he certainly must exist, according to the strict materialistic reasoning, then all possibilities, by default, become subject to Him, since He is, by definition, Omnipotent. As well logic dictates there can only be one infinitely powerful “Lord” of the multiverses. (Having two infinitely powerful Beings is a logical absurdity)

    This is badly flawed logic. It does not follow that the existence of an infinite number of universes requires that all conceivable outcomes and eventualities (and all the inconceivable ones too) must have come to pass somewhere at sometime. There does not have to be a universe where Gandalf kills the Balrog and Frodo casts the One Ring into the Crack of Doom (which is what you insist must be the case if a multiverse exists).

    In fact, you are grossly misrepresenting the multiverse hypothesis as most commonly defined by cosmologists. The hypothesis merely states that there are an infinite number of Big Bang events each producing a different set of initial conditions for the universe that results. Most universes would be still-born — too hostile for life, or even stars to form — but some will be like our own. That’s all there is to it. The universes may be infinitely variable, but only in the way that snowflakes are. Each snowflake is different from the next, depending on the conditions of its formation and growth, but they are all still snowflakes–you will never see one that turns out to be a lump of coal, for example.

    So your whole argument is built on a straw man.

    And you seemed to have noticed a flaw in your own logic anyway. If an infinite number of universes does lead to an infinite variety of events and outcomes, then not only does the Christian God pop up somewhere, but so do all the others — Thor, Allah, Odin, Jupiter, Zeus, and the rest. You invoke a get-out clause saying that you can’t have two infinitely powerful beings, but that’s simply a fudge to prevent your whole argument from falling apart. You either have to argue that anything is possible, or that there are limits on what a multiverse can do. You can’t have it both ways.

  129. Sally T -You are out of you league now. You emerging properties theory is wrong. ID says one thing – we can detect the effects of intelligence-. How do we do this? Through specified complexity. SC is complexity (the improbability of a thing happening or “emerging“) using the universal probability bound as a conservative indicator and the observation that the object in inspection ha an objective pattern that has a purpose (specificity). There are very few examples of thins known and most are human made (cars, computer and computer programs, large building etc) the other examples are seen in biology in the cell in particular there are nano-machines, in DNA there is digital code. Now if you want to explain the process by which an super-improbable arrangement of SC “emerges” in nature it is not enough to just say it emerged. You need what Darwin called a “Presently Acting Cause.” So what is the presently acting cause of digital code, and machines? Intelligence!

    Now -for all of the garbage about the computer simulation–pay attention-

    A computer is nothing but a small box that is programmed by intelligent beings using mathematics. The math is problem one. Kurt Gödel proved that no logical mathematical system is complete. What this means in essence is that math cannot describe the world as it IS. It can only arrange perceived data. This is a big problem because the universe does not operate mathematically. Now we have to deal with the probability issue. SC arising cannot be purchased with out ID. A computer can purchase SC via programmed random processes because it is small and highly “communicable.” The universe has a problem with probabilities as it actually is. If you flip a quarter 100 times and got heads all 100 times that probability cannot be grater than the universal probability bound to be considered probable considering all of the universes probabilistic natural resources. But any time you flip a quarter there will be a probability which falls somewhere in the UPB namely ½. The thing is when you flip 100 heads it is no more unlikely then flipping a sequence of heads and tails 100 times. Point being that every action has to be under the UPB but even if you flipped heads until the universe implodes the odds of you getting 100 heads is still outside the universal probability bound! Being that the odds of it occurring does not change given more variables because probabilities are not communicable. In the case of the computer simulation everything is communicable! It is an enclosed system that exists inside a larger system which protects it. That is how a computer works. So the probability of SC emerging is very likely. But as I pointed out in the real world things do not work mathematically, logically or randomly -they operate free of any communicable system as I showed by the individual fliping of the coin being unrelated to the whole sequence. In a computer everything is related by force. By trying to fit the universe in a little box with a designed communicable interrelated system we shrink the size of the problem down from what it actually is in all of its diversity to something much more manageable.

    By putting the information into the box we have already stacked the deck of card loading it with information and the ability of that information to communicably connect the dots and design SC. If this is really to simulate the real universe we should conclude that there is a designer because intelligent people were the ones responsible for the design of that universe and its evolution.

    Another problem is that when you shrink the size of the problem via a computer you have shrunken the problem as well. Remember what I said the odds of flipping 100 heads falls outside the UPB even if you do it until the end of time! That is because each frame of reference as Einstein proved experiences the laws of physical world exactly the same. Now is it more likely that 100 heads would be flipped in a universe the size of ours or in the world simulated axiomatically by the computer? This is the kicker it is much likely in the computer. The reason is that is an enclose system that has less allocation of probabilistic resources. That’s right smaller is better when we are dealing with probabilities. It is more unlikely in the real universe that SC could emerge without intelligence because the odds are still less the UPB but that is taking into consideration a much large pool of probabilistic resources. The computer is a small deal and it’s a much easier trick as you can now see. Because of the universes size there will be more variation among its various probabilities because it is A. NON-communicable and B. More diversified in its possible variations because you have to exhaust much greater resources than inside of the computer

    In other words the computer is not a real experiment- is a little math trick. Id does not make claims that a computer system cannot design evolution through random processes. It says that in reality this happening is way too improbable and its right.

    The final and only attack that can then be mounted is that you have to critique your mathematical system with another one if you are going to assert that yours is right. That is incorrect because you cannot compare a mathematically designed universe to a calculation based on the real one. You need real evidence that it is possible for evo to emerge SC. The only way to critique SC as a theory is to present a competing theory and show how another is more accurate and explanatory. In the computer all you are doing is critiquing mathematics with mathematics and of course depending on how you write the rules anything can happen.

    I have shown why it is specifically emerging intelligence and not just emerging “properties” – and why a computer simulation misses the point, is totally inadequit, bias and worse of all intelligently designed.

  130. Tyke,

    If there are an infinite number of universes then there is an infinite number of universes just like ours and that means that there is an infinite number of universes where they are right now arguing over whether there is an infinite number of universes on William Dembski’s blog.

    Interesting phenomena.

  131. Joseph,

    You said

    “If it is Shannon information, not algorithmically compressible, and can be processed by an information processor into a separate functional system, then it is complex specified information.”

    What is Shannon information and what has it to do with the definition? Is Shannon information different from other types of information and why? What is information?

    Why is “algorithmically compressible” relevant for CSI or is it just relevant for complexity.

    I understand the rest of the definition but have no idea what Shannon information has to do with it.

    The “ababab etc” is meaningless and serves only to confuse the issue. Such a sequence could appear easily in nature either by chance or by law. And the fact that someone uses this as an example means they don’t understand what the concept is about which is not very reassuring on this site.

    I have a mathematics background and read the Design Inference and didn’t understand it. I figured I have to invest a couple months of time reviewing math from years ago to be able to follow the arguments. From what I understand No Free Lunch is not much better because those who have read it don’t seem able to give any cogent explanations either and some others with math backgrounds did not understand it either when they read it.

    The basic idea is easy to understand but it seems to be overlayed with very complicated arguments composed solely of mathematical symbols which seem to leave everyone unable to know what is going on.

    I have a related question. Can something be complex and not contain any information? Or does the term complex really subsume information and the “I” is not needed in CSI.

  132. Joe I would say that what you are referring to is a useful heuristic for describing deviations from reaction norms. -Sally_T

    What I referred to is biological reality- that is in the minds of evolutionists.

    ALL mutations are genetic accidents. Period, end of story. (that is in the accepted evolutionary scenario)

    Only in the Creation Model of Evolution and Intelligent Design are directed mutations allowed. Dr Spetner has his “non-random evolutionary hypothesis” in which he promotes “built-in responses to environmental cues”- see “Not By Chance” which was his response to Dawkins’ “The Blind Watchmaker”.

    And for ID we have “designed to evolve”. What has to figured out is what was originally designed, as well as the algorithm. Dr Behe touches on this in his book “Edge of Evolution”.

  133. jerry information used in this context is the concept of information theory that turns energy into information and assigns levels of information that a given object must contain. THis is dont through a mathematical assesment of the object and then transfered into how much information a given object contains vs any other object.

  134. If I had known that getawitness was going to be subjected to so much scrutiny, I would have dispensed with my only half-relevant criticisms earlier on the thread. There was no need for me to pile on.

    Here is the problem: All throughout these debates it seemed that getawitness has been crying “wolf,” “wolf.” Most of the objections seemed (and still seem)frivolous to me. It happened so consistently, that we stopped taking him seriously.

    However, @115, the wolf finally arrived, and everyone was caught off guard. Diverse notions about the meaning of basic terms [I counted three on the thread] This was no idle objection, and someone needs to deal with it. I would put my two-cents in, but I simply don’t have time today.

  135. Yes BA I don’t have much use for ‘blind chance’ hypotheses either. I haven’t seen too many either. It sure is hard to know the possible states of a system, post facto. right?

    I think you would really enjoy reading ‘Candide’. It seems right up your alley. Have you ever?

  136. Science shows that You can almost have information without energy. theoretically you could inject information into a system without adding any new energy to it but up to this point it would violate the second law of thermodynamics- I beleive* I could be wrong.

  137. Tyke,
    I respectfully disagree, the logic is sound because all probabilities and possibilities automatically become subject to the Omnipotent Being who would eventually arise in the infinity of other universes of varying parameters. I remind you the infinity of other universes are required by the materialistic philosophy itself not by Theism. Materialism has no foresight or intelligence and is de^ad, so it can’t pick and choose which basic parameters will be implemented in a infinity of universes or not, so your snowflake analogy is absurd for you suppose some basic parameters will never change. (The omnipotent Being would also arise an infinity of times I might add).
    I did not set the ground rules for the logic. The ground rules of the logic state that for materialism to be valid in explaining the fine tuning of this universe, then some hypothetical universe generator is out there churning out an infinity of other universes with every imaginable set of parameters, this is absurd as you pointed out because this “materialistic” universe generator would generate universes “where Gandalf kills the Balrog and Frodo casts the One Ring into the of Doom” and Thor is Santa Clause.
    For you to then state that only universes of one basic “snowflake” variety is allowed is an gross error in logic for what is required of materialism to explain the fine tuning of this universe.
    Just what is going to limit the exploration of every possible parameter for a universe in this, I repeat, materialistic scenario.

    No I agree with you it is absurd in the highest degree but it is what materialism has forced upon us. Yet following strict logic for what “blind and de^ad” materialism requires of an infinity of multiverses you still end up with a Omnipotent Being who has all probabilities subject to Himself an infinity of times.

  138. Sally_T ,

    Thanks for the reference. I love to read and will get it if it looks interesting (and is non-fiction).

  139. What is Shannon information and what has it to do with the definition? Is Shannon information different from other types of information and why? What is information?- Jerry

    In 1948 Claude Shannon was the first to formulate a mathematical definition of information. He was interested in the transmission and storgae of data- the binary digit or bit.

    He did not care about content, meaning, value- IOW for him 1,000,000 random characters contained more “information” than a meaningful message containing fewer characters.

    He was basically only interested in the probability of the appearence of various symbols- the statistical dimension of information. *

    That differs from the information required to run a computer, build a house, build a car, etc. In those cases content matters a great deal.

    Why is “algorithmically compressible” relevant for CSI or is it just relevant for complexity.

    Complexity, without which you may just have SI (not Sports Illustrated).

    The “ababab etc” is meaningless and serves only to confuse the issue. Such a sequence could appear easily in nature either by chance or by law.

    Then talk to Stephen C. Meyer. And yes it could easily appear in nature by chance of by law. THAT is the point. It ain’t CSI. At best it could only be S.

    Again I refer to Meyer on page 54:

    “inetehnsdyk]idmhcpew,ms.s/a”

    “Time and tide wait for no man.”

    “ABABABABABABABABABAB”

    Sequence 1 & 2 are complex because both defy reduction to a simple rule. Each represents a highly irregular, aperiodic, and improbable sequence of symbols. The 3rd sequence is not complex but instead is highly ordered and repetitive. Of the 2 complex sequences, only the 2nd exemplifies a set of independent functional requirements- that is, only the second is specified.- Meyer

    By reading Meyer it helped me to understand Dembski. And yes I have told Wm that what ID needs is something that is easily understandable by regular folk- or else no one will be interested and ID will not go anywhere anytime soon.

    I have a related question. Can something be complex and not contain any information? Or does the term complex really subsume information and the “I” is not needed in CSI.

    Does sequence 1 above contain any information? “Yes” according to Shannon but “no” according to the rest of the world. ;)

    In the paper “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories”, Stephen C. Meyer wrote:

    Dembski (2002) has used the term “complex specified information” (CSI) as a synonym for “specified complexity” to help distinguish functional biological information from mere Shannon information–that is, specified complexity from mere complexity. This review will use this term as well.

    * reference “In the Beginning was Information” by Werner Gitt

  140. Why is “algorithmically compressible” relevant for CSI or is it just relevant for complexity.

    Complexity, without which you may just have SI (not Sports Illustrated).

    That’s not quite right. But hey it’s the best I can do on 2 percosets. I will try again tomorrow….

  141. I think StephenB’s comment (135) is very interesting. Personally, I have yet to get a good feel for what specified complexity really is. I take it as a tenet of ID that that which is SC is designed, though I assume not the other way around (i.e. my peanut butter sandwich is not SC, though it was designed). We can infer it was designed because we have yet to see SC occur naturally (without guidance, so to speak). However, I don’t really know when I can place something into the SC box. Is there an equation or set of guidelines that I can put a object through and come out with a yes or no +/- standard deviation, such as peanut butter sandwich no, mitochondiral membrane yes? (feel free to instert your own, much more coherent example)

    Furthermore, I was thinking about a spider’s web. Someone had recently used that example in a different thread for SC I believe. If I see a web, I know that it is designed by a spider; it seems to me that it may be SC (though, obviously that is gut feeling on my part and may be completely wrong – which is why I want a clear, usable definition); so then I ask myself, does that mean that a spider is intelligent? If not, does that mean SC and design do not necessitate intelligence? And if so, how inclusive is the definition of intelligent?

    On a slight side note, the spider talk brought this to mind:

    The Brahmins assert, that the world arose from an infinite spider, who spun this whole complicated mass from his bowels, and annihilates afterwards the whole or any part of it, by absorbing it again, and resolving it into his own essence. Here is a species of cosmogony, which appears ridiculous; because a spider is a little contemptible animal, whose operations we are never likely to take for a model of the whole universe. But still here is a new species of analogy, even in our globe. And were there a planet wholly inhabited by spiders, (which is very possible), this inference would there appear as natural and irrefragable as that which in our planet ascribes the origin of all things to design and intelligence, as explained by Cleanthes. Why an orderly system may not be spun from the belly as well as from the brain, it will be difficult for him to give a satisfactory reason.
    Dialogues Concerning Natural
    Religion
    David Hume

  142. StephenB [135], Thanks for seeing that there was something to my confusion. Sometimes I’ve written you off too, but then you go out of your way to be a decent chap. I can’t stay mad. Here, let me give you a hug. {{{hug}}}

    Meanwhile, I’m watching the back-and-forth and trying to learn.

  143. Leo,

    ALL organisms are (at least) potentially designing agencies and therefore can bring forth CSI/ SC from scratch.

    All “intelligence” means (in this debate) is that which can create counterflow

    As for a peanutbutter sandwhich- don’t just look at the sandwhich, think what it took to make it- including the bread and the peanut butter- so yes it is SC/ CSI.

    Stonehenge looks pretty plain, but not when one considers what it took to build it. Nasca, Peru- same thing.

    Think outside of the box…

  144. Hi, MacT. You wrote:

    Six of nine positive nods from outside reviewers is NOT a good result.

    As I said, you are more acquainted with the tenure process than I am. But it seems counterintuitive to me that 2/3 of the reviewers chosen by the department recommending tenure is a negative result.

    Is there anything on the web you could point me to which might help me feel more assured of this conclusion?

  145. Joseph,

    You state:

    ALL organisms are (at least) potentially designing agencies and therefore can bring forth CSI/ SC from scratch.

    Does that mean that only “designing agents” can create CSI/SC by definition (leading to ID based on SC being a circular argument)? or only that all are able hypothetically, as could other causes (not organisms), but only agents have been shown to so far. And if all are able, does that follow that all are intelligent? Leading to…

    Counterflow refers to things running contrary to what, in the relevant sense, would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely.

    How do we know “what … would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely”? How do we gauge that quantitatively? And what do we consider nature being and how and when do we know if it is acting freely?
    I consider a spider part of nature; therefore, a web is nature acting freely; therefore, a spider does not create counterflow; therefore, a spider is not intelligent; therefore a spider’s web is not intelligently designed. Taking this father, anything that humans do, because we are part of the only nature that we know about, is by definition natural; therefore, humans do not create counterflow etc. Would others consider this correct?

    Also, you did not give me a quantitative measure that I can use to tell if something is SC or not. Thinking anywhere, in a box or out, is not a quantitative gauge, and is therefore not a scientific claim.

  146. Off-topic: BA77, “Candide” is fiction, a satire by Voltaire. It’s a great novel, one of the best ever. Do you not read fiction? I’m curious why.

  147. Joseph,

    Thank you very much for your answers to my questions. I did a quick search for Claude Shannon before I asked my questions and understand his importance in information theory but couldn’t come up with what specifically is Shannon information. You added some things that were simple and easy to understand that was helpful for me.

    I am of the opinion that the concept of CSI is much simpler than it is made out to be and easily understandable and the definition you provided was in sync with what I understood but I did not know why Shannon information was a necessary component.

    That is why I was sort of asking all those specific questions.

    In my opinion CSI should be just SC (to be similar to IC) because complexity subsumes the term information. The term information is not necessary so I am not sure why Shannon information is necessary. It is just some complexity which specifies some other complexity that is functional.

    The perfect example is language which is Meyer’s second example. Your first example would also be SC if in some other language it was parsed through some dictionary and grammar to have meaning. It would then be identical to the first. It could also be the basis for some coded message and in which case it would be the same situation.

    A computer program is an identical situation that is parsed through a compiler.

    DNA is parsed through transcription and translation and ribosomes into proteins that have function. There is probably at least one and maybe more transcription functions that parse the regulatory DNA into specific actions. That is an ID prediction.

    When you limit the discussion to these types of examples the strength of relationship just jumps out at you. The total lack of anything even close to this in nature except for DNA and the systems built on it then makes every other example pale before it. Nature in general just does not produce SC. Never again will someone bring up a thunder storm or some other complex and ordered element of nature as an example of complexity that is SC.

    To me the other examples for SC are not as useful. Maybe Mt. Rushmore is analogous because it refers to something that has nothing to do with itself. Stonehedge is less so because there is no external thing we can point to but we can imagine some.

    I think we are trying too hard to put every situation that has an intelligence origin into the same box with one definition. Maybe there is a set of definitions that will eventually do that but right now it not necessary or at least I don’t believe it is and by trying the one size fits all we run into problems because no definition seems to run the table of possible examples and maybe is not necessary.

  148. Leo,

    Whenever we have observed CSI, SC or IC and knew the cause it has always been via agency involvement. And if we ever observe nature, operating freely doing so then a whole mess of design-centric venues will have to rethink their positions. Also ID would be falsified.

    How do we know “what … would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely”?

    Experience. And experience only- as far as I can tell. That is what archaeology and forensics are based on.

    Stonehenge is – well stones. Nature makes stones- no agency required. Yet no one would think that nature, operating freely, created Stonehenge.

    Yes spiders and humans are part of nature and therefore natural. However natural also means produced by nature.

    Have you ever observed nature produce a spider or a human?

    Complex- 500 bits of information or more, ie reaches the upper probability bound.

    To know that you have to redress the steps necessary to produce that which you are observing.

    Specified- matches a pattern- is coherent- order

    Taking this father,

    You cannot take the matter farther . “Farther” = distance. You meant to say “further”, right?

    getawitness-
    I read fiction- “On the Origins of Species…” by Charles Darwin ;) comes to mind. Also a few books by Dawkins, Carroll, Mayr, Gould, et al. which are best described as fiction.

  149. I am of the opinion that the concept of CSI is much simpler than it is made out to be and easily understandable and the definition you provided was in sync with what I understood but I did not know why Shannon information was a necessary component.

    I agree. It should simpler than it is made out to be- hence my comment to Wm. Dembski, and my attempt to simplify it on my blog.

    In my opinion CSI should be just SC (to be similar to IC) because complexity subsumes the term information. The term information is not necessary so I am not sure why Shannon information is necessary. It is just some complexity which specifies some other complexity that is functional.

    IC is a special case of SC (NFL) and CSI and SC are basically interchangeable. I would CSI is useful when dealing with information, as in a correspondence, computer program and things of that nature. With SC being used for the computer in general.

    Shannon is “important” only because it deals with bits (IMHO). He was the first to formulate a mathematical representation, so he is like the “godfather”, so we pay homage to him. ;)

    And I agree- the first Meyer sequence code be encoded. But as it is it is meaningless.

    From Gitt we get that information requires a sender AND a receiver. If the receiver can’t understand it it ain’t information.

  150. Joseph, I’m confused by what you quoted from CJYman. Here it is, with added bolding…

    If it is Shannon information, not algorithmically compressible, and can be processed by an information processor into a separate functional system, then it is complex specified information.

    William Dembski says on page 144 of No Free Lunch, again with added bolding…

    It is CSI that within the Chaitin-Kolmogorov-Solomonoff theory of algorithmic information identifies the highly compressible, nonrandom strings of digits (see section 2.4).

    I’m sure I’m missing something obvious here, so please forgive me for bothering you, but it seems like those quotes point in opposite directions.

  151. First things first:

    This thread’s OP discusses the way in which Darwinist commenters at UD have responded to an evident outrage in the ISU tenure review process on Mr Gonzalez, as freedom of information materials have become public.

    It is plain that despite being called to address the issue repeatedly, they insist on changing the topic while never seriously or soberly addressing the plain injustice involved or the underlying imposition of methodological naturalism as a question-begging and prejudicial redefinition of science.

    We must start from that, and bear it in mind in addressing or referring to the many objections and issues from all over the map that turn up above — and that are then insistently repeated ad nauseum by virtue of the magic of dismissal of cogent responses.

    Having noted that, let us once again address several key points that are easily lost in the clutter of dismissive and distracting rhetoric:

    1] MacT, 103: It’s a little premature to dismiss emergence.

    Kindly note the CONTEXT of my comment. “Emergence” is being used to brush aside the origin of life and the body-plan level biodiversification challenge of say the Cambrian life revolution.

    On the first, bees forming honeycombs is simply irrelevant to the issue of getting to the nanotechnology of life sysrtems based on pre-life chemistry. The consensus is that there is no robust explanation, and it is precisely because there is no empirical ground for accounting for the required functionally specified complex information by chance + necessity only. For excellent statistical thermodynamics and information theory reasons, as I have discussed in my always linked — and a dismissive remark is simply not good enough to brush this aside, Sally_T.

    Similarly, to get to the DNA to acocunt for novel cell types, tissues and body plans for the dozens of phyla in the Cambrian revolution, many orders of magnitude more than 500 – 1,00 bits of new DNA information that integrates into the cell’s functioning are required, dozens of times over in a narrow window of time on earth. In short the available probabilistic resources are so far exhausted that it is beyond merely plain.

    But we know that agents routinely create digitally coded, data string based FSCI.

    And, if caddisfles and deer are agents [note I am fully prepared to accept robots of sufficeient autonomy as agents so I have no in principle objection, only that instinctual behaviour patterns exhibit programmed response not creative decision-making], that is irrelevant to the issue. The real question is that on issues where the evolutionary materialist world picture is at stake, selective hyperskepticism leads to unwarranted befrore the fact exclusion of the possibility of agent action, as has happened with GG.

    2] Sally_T, 104: i’m not a code writer and i don’t see what that has to do with anything, unless you are asserting that multiple possible outcomes (ie decisions by agents) is evidence of a program

    I am, or at least have been [at machine-code level back in the bad old days]. I know by experience that setting up effective contingent actions in a complex environment requires considerable creative analysis and design, and frankly more troubleshooting than I want to think about now. In short, contingent decision-making leading to effective action is functionally specified, complex and highly sensitive to random perturbations.

    So, I know that any notion that such can be set up by random-walk based processes across an arbitrarily large configuration space is pure rot-gut mountain jack. Cf my always linked appendix 1 section 6 and respond to its reasoning, to see why. Also, to the discussion of information etc in Section A.

    3] I suggest you examine the implications of this idea as it pertains to human behavior.

    Human behaviour, as I have already pointed out, is creative, learnably and hugely abstract-conceptual and intentional, verbalisable as such, morally involved, and vastly more complex than instinctual patterns, however adaptive they may be. In particular, unless we can make truly free and intelligent choices, reason, mind and morality are delusions — and that is a major and utterly unresolved challenge faced by evolutionary materialistic systems of thought — cf. the recent Dennett-D’Souza debate [and I do not thereby endorse the latter in all that he advocates].

    The difference is qualitiative.

    4] the notion that biology ignores agents is plainly false. The notion that animals behave to programmed instincts is a mere assertion

    Red herring leading out to a strawman being repeatedly pummelled.

    First, if I accept that robots of sufficient autonomy can be agents, the real issue is not if biology ever addresses agents [if it addresses humans it must!], but the imposition of methodological naturalism a priori that excludes relevant possibilities on OOL and body plan level biodiversity. Then, that this imposition is historically and philosophically unwarranted [cf. 56 supra], then that it lends it self to bigotry and abuse as has been DOCUMENTED in the GG case.

    5] you will not recognize . . . the way that biology works, instead demanding a reductionist account of how atoms become men. Clearly the theoretical accounts of atoms and living things are not translatable into the other . . .

    It is the evolutionary materialists who have asserted that they have effectively conclusive proof that undirected atoms became men through chance + necessity only [thus OOL and macro-level, RV + NS etc based evolution]. Then, they now use that to denigrate and dismiss a fully qualified scientist with a highly respectable track record as both researcher [60+ papers] and teacher [including publication of a textbook through Oxford], as one who “does not understand what constitutes both science and a scientific theory.”

    Sorry, we have three known general causal mechanisms: chance, necessity, agency. If life emerged by the first 2 only [as is commonly insisted on], it is reasonable to request good evidence for that, consistent with what we know about statistical thermodynamics and information origination — not dismissal of the issue.

    If life spontaneously diversified at body plan level from microbes [500k - ~ 5 millions of DNA base pairs, each capable of storing 2 bits; and, BTW, that capacity is what Shannon info is about] to men, we need to credibly see how the required functionally specified, complex, organised fine-tuned information came to be.

    Tossing out terms like “emergence” without addressing the known and raised issues on information generation point by point is question-begging word magic.

    but then, maybe you are conceding the point, as the highlighted part of this excerpt suggests. Especially, when we see that agents routinely generate FSCI.

    6] 106, there is a massive biological literature that deals with organisms as agents

    Again, irrelevant to the main issues at stake.

    7] Living things are very different from non living things. This as far as I can see is a very simple summary of the ID position

    In short, you have never actually effectively addressed on the merits the stated defintion of ID as a scientific project, nor its immediate applications:

    intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? . . . Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence.

    This excerpt from Dembski appears in Section A of my always linked, shortly after the comm system diagram. Section B discusses its relevance to OOL. C, to body-plan level evolution. D, to the organised complexity of the physics of the cosmos.

    The insistently dismissive unresponsiveness of Evo Mat advocates in this thread and elsewhere is telling.

    8] Defining and measuring CSI

    As I have discussed previously and linked above, TBO in Ch 8 of TMLO show how the concept of CSI emerged as a key clarifying idea in the progress of OOL studies at he turn of the 1980′s under the work of men like Polanyi, Yockley, Orgel, etc.

    Dembski quantified it by using the explanatory filter: [1] contingency, so not natural regularity, [2] complexity i.e high contingency and information carrying capacity, [3] specificity, i.e isolation in the resulting configuration space, functionality and sensitivity to perturbation [aka fine-tuning] being one particularly relevant criterion of such.

    In effect the threshold for CSI is that if we have a multi-part information-using functional system that takes up at least 500 – 1,000 bits of information storage, it cannot credibly be reached by random-walk based strategies on the gamut of the observed cosmos. But, agents routinely generate such systems, and in every case where the EF rules design by the above criteria, and we know the actual causal story, agents are responsible.

    Thus, to a priori exclude agents as a possible explanation of OOL or of body-plan level biodiversity is question-begging at best, dishonestly closed-minded at worst.

    On the physics of the cosmos, we see organised, fine-tuned complexity, which is similarly observed to be a routine product of agents but not of chance + necessity only.

    GG’s work has built on this observation, and it is plain that it is the imposition of an arbitrary, philosophically and historically highly questionable materialist criterion that led his HOD to infer that he does not “understand” what science is.

    9] GAW, 115: I’m not the only one who finds the literature on specified complexity inconsistent and woolly.

    No surprise, given the confusing rhetorical fog being tossed up. Why not start from TMLO as just linked, then address the points under 7 supra and in the onward linked. Then, come back on why you think it is an overly unclear topic as opposed to say defining what “life” is scientifically or what “science” is.
    ____________

    Finally, from the insistently diversionary rhetoric of the Darwinist commenters here at UD in recent days, it is plain that this action is indefensible.

    GEM of TKI

  152. PS: On Honeybees, I’d love to see more than an after-the-fact, just-so evolutionary materialist story level account on the origin of comb-making social insects with associated organisations and communication systems. Also, the origin of relevant biochemistry to support such. Some accounting for the single queen choke point on reproiduction woulsd also be helpful.

  153. GAW,

    Suffice it to say that I’m not the only one who finds the literature on specified complexity inconsistent and woolly. (See the debate above between Patrick and Joseph.)

    Debate? More of a one-line miscommunication than anything, and a wool-headed comment on my part. Joseph cleared that up here:

    Snowflakes are crystals. Crystals are just the same simple pattern repeated. Simple, repeated patterns are not complex.

    Repetitive structures, with all the info already in H2O, whose hexagonal structure/ symmetry is determined by the directional forces – ie wind, gravity- are by no means complex.

    However repetitive structures, such as crystals, do, by ID standards (read SC Meyers & Dembski), constitute specificity.

    Obviously I would agree that the complexity would be low (“complex, perhaps” as I said) as to not be relevant. Snowflakes, although specified, are also low in information, because their specification is in the laws, which of course means that stage 1 in the Explanatory Filter (Does a law explain it?) would reject snowflakes as being designed (which is the point I made way, way back in #78). But I thought Joseph was saying snowflakes contained an independently given pattern that did not find its source in a law. Sorry for causing some confusion, I should have known what he was getting at.

    Try reading this:

    http://www.designinference.com.....cation.pdf

    Make sure to note the first addendum since you’ve read Dembski’s books.

    http://www.leaderu.com/offices.....ified.html

    contingency can explain complexity but not specification. For instance, the exact time sequence of radioactive emissions from a chunk of uranium will be contingent, complex, but not specified. On the other hand, as Davies also rightly notes, laws can explain specification but not complexity. For instance, the formation of a salt crystal follows well-defined laws, produces an independently known repetitive pattern, and is therefore specified; but that pattern will also be simple, not complex. The problem is to explain something like the genetic code, which is both complex and specified. -Dembski

  154. MacT,

    Back in #78 I asked a question about your focus in that paper. The subject matter is broad, ranging from motility to cell wall metabolism in relation to pathogenesis. Perhaps you were referring to this line?

    By BLAST analysis, we found that PKD repeats present in Listeria LPXTG proteins are also weakly similar to the Bap family repeats. Together, these data suggest an evolutionary relationship between all these repeated domains.

    Or perhaps you were referring to the references in there as a starting point?

  155. Overnight PPS: It is worth putting the following excerpt from Wiki on instinct, on the table:

    Instinct is the inherent disposition of a living organism toward a particular behavior. Instincts are unlearned, inherited fixed action patterns of responses or reactions to certain kinds of stimuli. Innate emotions, which can be expressed in more flexible ways and learned patterns of responses, not instincts, form a basis for majority of responses to external stimuli in evolutionary higher species, while in case of highest evolved species both of them are overridden by actions based on cognitive processes with more or less intelligence and creativity or even trans-intellectual intuition.

    Examples of instinctual fixed action patterns can be observed in the behavior of animals, which perform various activities (sometimes complex) that are not based upon prior experience and do not depend on emotion or learning, such as reproduction, and feeding among insects. Other examples include animal fighting, animal courtship behavior, internal escape functions, and building of nests.

    Instinctual actions – in contrast to actions based on learning which is served by memory and which provides individually stored successful reactions built upon experience – have no learning curve, they are hard-wired and ready to use without learning, but do depend on maturational processes to appear . . . .

    Technically speaking, any event that initiates an instinctive behavior is termed a key stimulus (KS). Key stimuli in turn lead to innate releasing mechanisms (IRM), which in turn produce fixed action patterns (FAP). More than one key stimulus may be needed to trigger an FAP.

    In short, on this side-issue, we are talking about genetically programmed — though somewhat adaptive — behaviour patterns. We can note that as we approach the human level we see the rise of agent action through which cognition [which includes prudential and moral considerations, as well as purposes], creativity and intuition override such genetically porogrammed responses or even the more flexible emotional responses.

    Now, we need to set this in context.

    So, Sally_T, I ask that you kindly explain how such considerations as above override the issues of agent action as the best explanatory alternative across the three causal forces, when it comes to the functionally specified, complex information we see in the nanotechnology of the cell, the origination of major body plan innovations, and even the fine tuned, life-facilitating, organised complexity in the physics of the observed cosmos.

    Then, on that explanation, kindly justify the statements and actions of Dr Gonzalez’s colleagues at ISU such as the HOD’s remark on his tenure disapproval memo we see excerpted in 56 above.

  156. Joseph,

    You state:
    Whenever we have observed CSI, SC or IC and knew the cause it has always been via agency involvement. And if we ever observe nature, operating freely doing so then a whole mess of design-centric venues will have to rethink their positions. Also ID would be falsified.

    Fine, I have never had a quarrel with that. As I continue to have no method to quantitatively measure these principles, I will have to rely on you to point them out to me.

    Have you ever observed nature produce a spider or a human?

    Yes, of course I have. Indeed I have been intimately involved in one of those examples, just ask my mother. Nature produces spiders and humans all the time.

    So let’s sum up here. All things that are SC and we know their origin are designed (cars, planes, etc.). Living things are SC (so I’m told), we don’t know their origin but we hypothesize design. My problem, still, is getting an accurate quantitative measure of SC. Complex is anything over 500 bits of information. How does that translate to, say, a spider’s web or a snowflake? (not being a math or computer person) Specified is…?

    Furthermore, to speak of intelligent design. Your counterflow argument I find to be insufficient, for the reasons stated above. So I ask again: Does design have to be intelligent?

  157. KF

    First, thanks for misrepresenting my argument. It is refreshing when that happens because that means there is room to move.

    In order to show that the human behaviors that you need (for other metaphysical reasons) to be separate from what you are denigrating as ‘instinct’, you would need to do some carefully constrained and designed experiments involving raising infants in carefully controlled environments. I know for a fact that no such experiments have been done, and we probably both agree that they should not, so what you are left with (as evidence for your characterizations) is a vulgar statistical correlation. Handwaving. Is there something to what you say? Perhaps. I certainly have the impression that I am corresponding with you via my own agency but it could be instinct. How would you know? Find the genetic ‘program’ or lack thereof?

    This is a crude philosophy and is unnecessary and insufficient to argue a first order ‘intelligent cause’. What you will obtain from such an endeavour is a confounded worldview in which ALL living things and the actions of all living things are ‘designed’ (for instinctual programs imply a programmer, no?). Hence Candide.

    The merits of ID, again, may be distilled to this statement: living things are unlike non-living things. You use this to make the ontological leap that therefore living things are designed (minus a lot of poorly defined semantics about ‘information’ and agency and contingency blah blah).

    Let me remind you of what I am arguing here.

    ‘agency’ is a perfectly accepted notion in biology. As Joseph pointed out, this is not what ID is about (perhaps you would like to disagree with him), but instead ID is ‘EXTERNAL AGENCY’. Fair enough. I ask what is the appropriate domain of this theory?

    Is design is at the level of cellular processes and entities?

    Or is design at the level of organismal adaptations?

    Perhaps design is at the level of the relations of organisms and their environments? Ecosystems are designed? Trophic structure of biomes?

    I sense that an argument could be made, using the logical machinery of the ID position, that all of these entities exhibit the hallmarks of design (nutrient cycles and terrestrial vegetation processing by stream food webs is a fine example).

    So, and please advise if this characterization of ‘design’ at all levels is a mischaracterization, it seems that the domain of the design inference extends from the inner workings of protein binding sites in a cell, to DNA, to phenotypes of organisms (the pandas thumb, giraffes neck), to organismal relations (adaptations for pollinating), to ecosystem processes, to the workings of the biosphere, to the position of Earth in the cosmos, to the very makeup of space-time itself (fine tuning).

    That is a very large domain!

    Now, given that the above is true, then the study of emergent properties (as undetermined, per our knowledge, from lower level properties) as Intelligent Design essentially stops science at this point. Please follow.

    Theories about higher level processes and entities that we may treat (again, avoiding the ontological issue) as emergent (per our theories and explanatory reduction to lower levels), must have crucial roles in robust causal generalizations about higher level processes and entities.

    This is where the ID proposition has very little to offer, as far as I can see. What does ‘the design inference’ imply about the ecology of a soil food web? I can’t see any robust generalizations emerging from the assertion ‘the soil food web is designed’. Can you?

    I would greatly appreciate if IDists would clarify the domain and scope of the ‘design inference’ theory. It is not clear at all how various contradictory notions of ‘information’ and ‘specification’ and ‘complexity’ add anything to this debate, at least until these definitions are used in a precise and consistent matter. The discussion above from others is sufficient to point out that these terms are misunderstood (in mutually exclusive ways) by proponents. Of course I realize that Joseph and others are not scientists and are not involved in the theoretical underpinnings of ‘ID’. But others here are, and I for one would love to see an explication of this problem that does not involve the abuse of explanatory domains.

  158. Leo:

    Spider’s webs are instinctual products; cf. Wiki as cited in 156 on the hard-wired, thus genetically programmed nature of such — which immediately raises the issue of extremely complex and co-ordinated information in the DNA.

    The spider builds the web [and protects itself from being trapped in its own web], but how was it programmed to do so, at the point of origin of spiders — and that includes the whole spider silk manufacturing apparatus and the associated highly specialised proteins. This looks like: CSI, IC and OC to me — the whole shebang!

    Snowflakes — AGAIN — are in part regular [hence hexagonal symmetry] due to the intermolecular bonding patterns of the highly anisotropic H2O molecule,and are partly a random [and thus resistant to macroscopic or brief description, i.e non-specified in the CSI sense] effect of the micro-atmospheric conditions occurring as the individual crystal forms.

    neither is therefore relevant to the issue that design of objects with 500 – 1,000 or more bits of information-storing capacity [i.e 10^150 to 10^301 or more cells in the config space] that are functionally specific [or otherwise stipulated through a simple and detachable pattern], is on every known case the product of agency, and that there is good reason to infer that this is because of the resulting isolation in the configuration space.

    In short, there is fasr more than enough informastion easily available to you to address your stated concern. Why not read it then address it on the raised points, starting with the very closely analogous discussion of crystallisation and nylon vs proteins in Thaxton et al’s TMLO, dating to 1984??

    Further to this, does it not trouble you that you are contributing to the distraction of this thread from a major issue over evident injustice as was brought up in the original post and as was for instance further highlighted in post no 56 above?

    Do you understand what message this sends to not only us who advocate for or are sympathetic to ID, but onlookers?

    GEM of TKI

  159. Lutepisc,

    Check out “tenure” on Wikipedia. It’s reasonbly accurate. This is an extract from Wiki:
    “The cost of a tenure system is that some tenured professors may not use their freedom wisely. Tenure has been criticized for allowing senior professors to become unproductive, shoddy, or irrelevant. Universities themselves bear this risk: they pay dearly whenever they guarantee lifetime employment to an individual who proves unworthy of it. Universities therefore exercise great care in offering tenured positions, first requiring an intensive formal review of the candidate’s record of research, teaching, and service. This review typically takes several months and includes the solicitation of confidential letters of assessment from highly regarded scholars in the candidate’s research area.”

    I can see how you may imagine that 6 of 9 is a good result. Usually it is not, and in most cases, the review committee would deny tenure if even a single recommendation is negative. They want the best people, and there are lots of good people. Why take a chance? However, there is no absolute rule about this, and if there were very strong evidence of (e.g.) teaching and service, and if all of the 6 positive recommendations were extremely strong, then a committee could choose to give less weight to the negative recommendations. But in departments that place more weight on research outputs, any negative recommendations at all usually means no tenure.

    Now, in most institutions, that is not the end of things. The decision to apply for tenure is a strategic one, and always a bit of a gamble. Denial of tenure on first application is common. One reason a junior academic may apply is to test the waters, get specific feedback to learn what needs to change/improve. In some places, the candidate can apply again (the job itself doesn’t disappear with denial of tenure). More likely, the candidate will seek a new institution which may be a better fit with their research goals.

    To reiterate: The outside recommendations are not votes, they are simply expert recommendations from well-established people who can provide an honest and confidential assessment of the candidate’s work and potential for future productivity.

  160. Sally_T:

    Kindly address both the main and the secondary issues on the merits instead of dismissively and with diversions.

    In particular, while indeed since biology addresses human beings and other creatures that arguably manifest agency, what does that have to do with “justifying” the unwarranted and oppressive imposition of methodological naturalism that prevents the otherwise well-warranted inference to design based on empirical evidence on:

    1 — origin of life based on cellular nanotechnologies,

    2 — body-plan level biodiversity, and

    3 — the fine-tuned organised complexity of the physics in our observed cosmos?

    Enough has long since been posted and linked for an astute observer to see that the design inference is well-warranted, so I now turn to the . . .

    Onlookers:

    In fact, the repeated insistence on such dismissive, diversionary tactics as Sally again has exemplified — in defense of the indefensible, i.e blatant injustice nor proved beyond reasonable doubt! — clearly shows that Denyse’s point in the main post has now been fully justified by the onward behaviour of the darwinists themselves.

    And that, even in the face of warnings about the implications of their behaviour!

    So, now that we have clearly seen “a long train of abuses and usurpations” in insistent pursuit of a plainly tyrannical design, we should now take note and act in defense of our liberties and our civilisation from such would-be oppressors and their fellow travellers. For, the ghosts of over 100 million victims over the past 100 years warn us of the consequences of delaying action in such defense until it is too late.

    GEM of TKI

  161. KF

    there is a spider here where I live that has multiple life history strategies including semi-social and social behaviors. Web morphologies are not all the same and vary according to the number and density of social and semi-social females. So far, all attempts to establish the heritability of these behaviors have failed, there is no prediction of social behavior and hence web construction by heredity. It appears that spiders choose their behavior from the context of their immediate surroundings and past experience.

    Of course this may be an exception. But characterizing the relations of organisms to environment and to other organisms as ‘instinctual behaviors’ and thus programmed is a classic case of question begging.

    There is an abundant literature of the plasticity of these supposed ‘instinctual’ programs with respect to introduced plants and insects in invasion biology. I suggest reading some of the work by Fred Gould on host-specificity and two spotted mites, where complex adaptive physiological systems evolve rapidly in response to underutilized niche space, with corresponding molecular, phenotypic and biochemical signaling effects.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on the explanatory value of the design inference and in particular what domain these inferences should claim. I think we all remember DaveScots insistence that explaining everything is akin to explaining nothing. It would be interesting to hear if there are in fact generalizations that may be made about higher level processes from the theory of design (and by that I don’t mean using design at one level to argue for design at another level, which is begging the question).

  162. KF, so design claims the entire domain of all observable phenomena? Interesting.

    I am not interested in the ‘warrant’ of the design inference. As Plantigna freely admits, modal ontological arguments such as warrant are only logically valid if one holds the appropriate presuppositions. I am interested in the empirical application of the ‘inference’ to the larger set of scientific theory, and am waiting to be shown that indeed there are any sort of robust generalizations that apply to higher domains (from the theory of design at lower levels).

  163. Sally_T –I am interested in the empirical application of the ‘inference’ to the larger set of scientific theory, and am waiting to be shown that indeed there are any sort of robust generalizations that apply to higher domains

    Do you grant that it is a subject worthy of investigation and that it should not be dismissed?

  164. Maybe I am missing something but the spider web seems a simple process. Something inside the spider leads it to construct the web. External factors whether they are biological or non biological will exert some force on the spider in terms of what can or will be accomplished.

    This describes human behavior all the time. The main difference with human behavior is the amount our minds can over ride what we instinctively do compared to a lower form of animal. We even use our minds to install instinctive behavior such as brushing our teeth to the point it seems rote.

    Now the question is where did the instinctive behavior of the web weaving come from. It comes from some configuration of the DNA of the spider which leads to certain proteins and certain regulatory actions which exert a force on the spider from within. So the SC of the spider’s DNA leads to web weaving modified by external forces. What is so hard to understand.

    The DNA is the connection to intelligence and design.

  165. Peace,

    Read the NFL quote again- CSI… IDENTIFIES the highly compressible, nonrandom strings of digits.

    Again SC Meyer page 53 of “Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe”:

    Complex sequences exhibit an irregular and improbable arrangement that defies expression by a simple formula or algorithm.

    That followed Dembski’s entry. I am sure that Wm. approved of what Meyer said.

    Patrick,

    You and I are fighting and CSI, SC and ID is in shambles! ;) (don’t you love how people jump to conclusions over minor issues? I should have clarified my snowflake thingy in the first post)

    On to Leo,

    Have you ever observed nature produce a spider or a human?

    Yes, of course I have.

    Humans come from HUMANS and spiders come from SPIDERS. NEITHER are produced by nature.

    Do you not understand biology? Or are you being purposefully obtuse? IOW you just refuse to understand what “produced by nature” means.

    Nature can produce a snow drift. It can produce a hurricane. It can produce a tornado.

    Only a spider can produce a spider’s web- not nature,operating freely. Nature, operating freely cannot produce a car. Humans can using stuff found in nature.

    Counterflow is used by archaeologists and forensic scientists. How do you think they determine an object was designed or that a death was not by natural means? Because they have a grasp on what nature, operating freely, can and cannot do.

    As for the “intelligent” in intelligent design, please read:

    Intelligent Design is NOT Optimal Design:

    But why then place the adjective “intelligent” in front of the noun “design”? Doesn’t design already include the idea of intelligent agency, so that juxtaposing the two becomes an exercise in redundancy? Not at all. Intelligent design needs to be distinguished from apparent design on the one hand and optimal design on the other. Apparent design looks designed but really isn’t. Optimal design is perfect design and hence cannot exist except in an idealized realm (sometimes called a “Platonic heaven”). Apparent and optimal design empty design of all practical significance.

    Also I suggest Del Ratzsch’s book “Nature, Design and Science: The Status of Design in Natural Science”. Wm Dembski’s “The Design Inference” and “No Free Lunch” tell you how to measure CSI/ SC.

    Also some concepts aren’t for everyone. Not everyone can be a brain surgeon. Not everyone can be an engineer, a scientist, a doctor- people have to understand THEIR limitations. However those limitations can never amount to any sort of refutation.

    To Sally_T,

    We are still trying to figure out how deep the design inference runs. Dr Behe does this on the biological level in his new book “Edge of Evolution”. “The Privileged Planet” makes it clear that the design inference extends beyond biology and states that this universe was designed for scientific discovery.

    Dr Behe also added this caveat some years ago:

    Intelligent design is a good explanation for a number of biochemical systems, but I should insert a word of caution. Intelligent design theory has to be seen in context: it does not try to explain everything. We live in a complex world where lots of different things can happen. When deciding how various rocks came to be shaped the way they are a geologist might consider a whole range of factors: rain, wind, the movement of glaciers, the activity of moss and lichens, volcanic action, nuclear explosions, asteroid impact, or the hand of a sculptor. The shape of one rock might have been determined primarily by one mechanism, the shape of another rock by another mechanism.

    Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of “neutral,” nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.

  166. Sally T you didn’t respond to my other clarification of your emerging properties nonsense which is just an attempt to change terminologies in an effort to get around the word intelligence. So pay attention this time. There is only on thing in this universe that is capable of accounting for SC and that is intelligence. We use physics and mathematics to determine the approximate complexity that an object has- then we transfer that into bits of information using information theory (read no free lunch) there is nothing inconsistent about this- it is simple math.

    Why is SC distinguishable from the ambiguous physical terminology of properties? Intelligence is a more specific category than properties and in fact what the theory of ID does is distinguish material properties from intelligent properties. If you put all of the ingredients of a cake into a pot and just wait, it will never cook itself and emerge as a cake. You need to do the work of watching and coking it. This is a purposeful process that defies all of the probabilistic resources in the universe. Why is there a cake because it took a purposive intelligent action to make it that way.

    Where do we get this idea of intelligence from? ID is inferred from presently acting causes that have been shown to produce SC. There is only one that is known and that is intelligence. Everywhere you look , cars, TV, commuters, a football stadium, all have an independent objective purpose and that is why they exist. Ink on a piece of paper does not account for the language and concepts that we cogitate when reading Hamlet- only intelligence can. Darwin suggested that the world’s species came out of a non purposive system of R/M and N/S but he did not know how improbable that was as we do today. It is virtually impossible minus the allowance of some probability via quantum physics.

    How can we use what we know about ID and apply it to the higher taxonomic levels? I suggest you read this paper by Meyers because he explains how ID principles very greatly from Darwinian ones.

    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=2177

    Also there is a good discussion of all of this here which explains why DE got it wrong with the Cambrian Explosion and intelligence can account for it better-

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

    Now how can we use intelligence to account for actual scientific prediction and make use of it?

    If we suspect or are looking for intelligence in say a species we can use intelligence to create an algorithm that narrows the spread of all possible variations (there are many) into a sphere of effects expected under intelligent causation. Say we are trying to figure out how to cure cancer or aids- it would be much more useful to reverse engineer these diseases so as to be able to better predict what and where they will be effecting next. Right now we need nano-technology to even understand the machines inside of the cell and the digital code present in DNA. Give ID 100 years minus the time it takes to transfer out of Darwinian Evolution which has had a monopoly of the scientific establishment for 100 years- and you will see results that I believe will surpass everything and anything Darwin ever predicted.

    Darwin didn’t know about DNA. Crick who elucidated it said that it HAD to be intelligently designed but as an atheist he said it was the result of alien design. Darwin knew nothing about the micro machines inside the cell like transduction circuitry. Darwin knew nothing about information theory. All Darwin did is say that everything is connected but ruled out intelligent causation. Today scientists that actually know what is going on and are at the top of their fields (the real geniuses like Crick that actually did something like discover DNA’s structure) have concluded that the world is full of ID.

    All you are doing Sally is trying to find a wedge argument to dissolve ID. You don’t have one- but you constantly keep attempting to unintelligently design one and it is getting old. And saying things like “well you all just cant accept the fact that there are people out there that think SC is inconsistent” – is not an argument. It is a merely a weak plea for stay of execution.

  167. Sally_T wrote:
    “I would appreciate your thoughts on the explanatory value of the design inference and in particular what domain these inferences should claim.”

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but you seem like a typical troll. Your posts are filled with a condescending attitude and unwillingness to stay on topic. What is the explanatory value of Darwinism? Things change?

  168. Tribune, I am saying that without a solid philosophy behind the ID theory that it will be scientifically useless.

    I don’t mean a philosophy of religion or of ethics or of morals. those are already capture by other theoretical domains. I refer to the relation of scientific theories to other theories. Theories are successful to the extent that they refer to other bodies of theory. In my personal observations, it appears that ID only refers to other theories for a ‘design inference’ and has no higher level application to other theories. This of course remains to be seen (I have seen some here claim that ID will further technological advances in biomedical applications, etc. How this would happen remains to be seen).

    Jerry, how does your extremely reductive account of spider web weaving as determined by DNA differ from accounts of say homosexual behavior based on the same mechanism? Do you accept those accounts as well? We know of no DNA generated mechanism that accounts for either behavior (which occurs at a higher level of organization than DNA) and I am skeptical of reductive attempts. If, just in case, you accept the spider and not the human account, I would suggest that this accounts for the ‘Selective Hyper-Skepticism’ that KF is obsessingly concerned with.

    Joseph, do you agree that the ID claim is that the ‘theory’ of intelligent design encompasses the entire domain of visible phenomena?

  169. of course Shaner it may seem that I am a troll when I am insisting on precise and cogent definitions of loose and fuzzy terms tossed about with abandon. Ignore me at your whim.

    Frost, your reductive account of organism responses to individual or population level changes in DNA frequencies is not much different from what the ‘darwinists’ are doing. It isn’t clear how the ‘design inference’ will facilitate eradication of pests or tailoring particular biomedical applications in ways that are not already in practice. I would be interested in hearing more.

    The insistence that only SC can be produced by intelligence relies on the hidden assumption that organisms reproducing does not produce the phenomenon. Of course, it does. What you are attempting to sneak into the discussion is an ontological account of complexity. It is an appeal to First Causes that science has willingly ruled itself out of. is this an accurate characterization of your view, that science should re-examine First Cause?

  170. Sally:
    “I am saying that without a solid philosophy behind the ID theory that it will be scientifically useless.”

    What does your personal opinion about what you “think” ID is have to do with GG? What is the solid philosophy behind SETI?

    I have to get some work done now, I don’t understand how so many of you guys can post all day long…lol.

  171. Sally T- All you are doing is looking at the world from a totally stochastic and ambiguous mind set and it is obvious- Saying things like – “How do you know its intelligence and not just some other property?” Well, how do you know your name is sally? How do you know a chair is a chair? How do you know that what you are saying is making any sense? This is all just ultimate reductionism gibberish and is not useful at all scientifically. What we do is look for super highly improbable arrangements in the known universe and if we find it and it has an object patter with a purpose we infer design- simple as that. People design things- animals design things- and they posses intelligence and SC. Water cannot build a computer. Wind cannot build an airplane. A coin cannot be flipped heads 150 times in a row. At least not with any real probability in this universe. But there is a process that can do all of thee things easily and that is what we call intelligence.

    You said nothing in either of those responses. ID is a theory. I have explained it perfectly to you. You are only picking arguments with people who will go down the never ending tunnel of nothingness with you. As shaner74 has said what is it about DE that explains everything? Nothing, because it doesn’t and it cant. It isn’t even a “probable” explanation as i have pointed out many times and ignores what we know about the cause and effect structure of the world.

    You are using an argument generally from the perspective of chaos theory which has been rejected and forgotten about by the scientific community because it says nothing and gets us nowhere. Einstein knew this and it is the reason why he said God does not throe dice, when he was debating the universes actual nature through the dialectic of quantum physics or relativity- geometry vs statistics- small vs large- random vs organized- comprehendible vs chaotic-

    “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.”

    This not about your freedom to ask questions or debate. This is about you ignoring answers and repeating the same lines of ambiguous inquiry with obvious disinterest shown by then changing the subject of the discussion (all of this stuff about spiders and webs isn‘t about anything except creating confusion)- and as shaner74 pointed out “with a condescending attitude“–

    And you know it.

  172. Frost, your reductive account of organism responses to individual or population level changes in DNA frequencies is not much different from what the ‘Darwinists’ are doing.

    It is totally different. By supposing that something is designed you then have the prerogative to go back and try to see how it was put together. Obviously you haven’t read Darwin’s origin of species or you would realize that Darwin looked at changes as the result of “random” mutations. If we take this view there is no reason to go and try to see how the cell was informationally designed or to study from what SC intelligence it could have been designed from. The theory of ID says we can detect the effects of intelligence and we can- it is this SC organization that allows us to presuppose a design in the organism. Then after that we can see how the organism works and what kinds of algorithms are necessary to account for its evolution- If we suppose that the cell just arose out of pure matter there is no reason to look for an intelligent processing system using information as its medium as with the perspective of intelligent causation- and we wont be allowed to presuppose an influx of novel information into its system- this then means that we cannot investigate the possibility of extra-terrestrial intervention – not just in the sense of aliens but in any sense-

    ID opens doors that DE philosophically closes.

    I’m sure some of this thinking is going on now but the point is that ID is the explanation that accounts for all of this diversity of investigation not DE. The theory of ID is correct and so is SC and so far IC. DE cannot deal with them and the kind of research I mentioned is not popular in the scientific community because they have been trained to think “in a box” – ID needs to be offered to students and researchers as better explanatory tool than DE which really is outdated- Also people have been trying – and successfully- to stop funding form getting into research from an ID perspective- this is sad and wrong-

    It isn’t clear how the ‘design inference’ will facilitate eradication of pests or tailoring particular biomedical applications in ways that are not already in practice. I would be interested in hearing more.

    Obviously, they differ greatly for all of the reasons I explained- if they didn’t there wouldn’t be a political disinformation war against ID over ridiculous metaphysical biases and research money.

    We are failing miserably in coming up with cures to degenerative diseases and the progress that we have made has all been from a design perspective. I ask why is ID being black listed when it is the more successful scientific research program? This is rhetorical obviously.

    And all this stuff about the first cause is irrelevant. We don’t know when the CSI was injected and there is no reason to rule out the first cause. Science has not given up on a first cause at all it is imperative that physics and mathematics work together to help explain this if science is to fully prosper and grow but it is intangible in most cases currently to say where and when the CSI came into the picture. The important thing is acknowledging the reality of the world which is that intelligence can in fact account for the whole picture and nature cannot based on our observation of the cause and effect structure of the world- DE has been proven inadequate and worse incorrect which is why we call it Neo-DE today all because of the metaphysical implication of holding information and SC up as the lowest and highest common denominator.

    Once again ID has a long ways to go but it cant get there until people like you who have no argument except logic bombs that only serve as a tool for obfuscation- grow up.

  173. Trying thsi again-

    Geneticist Giuseppe Semonti, in his book “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?” tewlls us in chapter VIII (“I Can Only Tell You What You Already Know”):

    An experiment was conducted on birds-blackcaps, in this case. These are diurnal Silviidae that become nocturnal at migration time. When the moment for the departure comes, they become agitated and must take off and fly in a south-south-westerly direction. In the experiment, individuals were raised in isolation from the time of hatching. In September or October the sky was revealed to them for the first time. Up there in speldid array were stars of Cassiopeia, of Lyra (with Vega) and Cygnus (with Deneb). The blacktops became agitated and, without hesitation, set off flying south-south-west. If the stars became hidden, the blackcaps calmed down and lost their impatience to fly off in the direction characteristic of their species. The experiment was repeated in the Spring, with the new season’s stars, and the blackcaps left in the opposite direction- north-north-east! Were they then acquainted with the heavens when no one had taught them?

    The experiment was repeated in a planetarium, under an artificial sky, with the same results!

    At first I thought, and it still could be so, that us agencies tapped into some pre-existing info stream. Then Jerry said:

    The DNA is the connection to intelligence and design.

    and a light went on- I had a eureka moment!

    The information is downloaded into the DNA!

    To Sallt_T:

    The “philosphy” behind ID is you can only truly undrstand something when it is invesigated in its true light. For example our “understanding” of Stonehenge would change if it were veiwed as a totally natural object- meaning it was not built by any agency.

    Joseph, do you agree that the ID claim is that the ‘theory’ of intelligent design encompasses the entire domain of visible phenomena?-Sally_T

    Everything we observe came into existence somehow. ID wants to know how, at least at the basic level of designed or not. Then we seek to understand what it is we are investigating in that light (designed or not).

    Science has to examine “First Cause” beacuse that relates to everything else. For example if living organisms didn’t arise from non-living matter via purely stochastic processes there would be no reason to infer the subsequent diversity arose solely due to stochastic processes.

    Shaner74- I am semi-retired until I recover from the injuries I sustained in Iraq.

  174. The point here is the ID is correct in its explanation of how the world works and DE is not. I believe that this is the reason ID is shunned because it threatens the DE paradigm which is worshipped by the atheistic scientific establishment- Or as Dawkins has said it allows one to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. Fulfilled maybe. Intellectual no.

    I can accept someone’s possession of atheism. There are great theological reasons to be one- but to reject the nature of the world as science has found it is to undermine any moral and ethical reasoning for someone being an atheist or deist or theist for that matter. It is refusing to search for the truth and without any desire to know the truth one cant proclaim to have found it and be taken seriously especially when all of the evidence is against them.

  175. Sally T

    I have been evaluating your responses, and I am not finding any intellectual integrity there.

    You seem to be all over the map. Beginning with legal justification to “emergence” to “instinct” to lower level inferences; you never seem to settle anywhere. Frankly, I don’t get the point of all that…….…Well, yes I do.

    One theme I see “emerging,” is your dogged determination to evaluate ID principles from a materialistic perspective. By definition, ID and materialism are incompatible, as I’m sure you know. So I don’t understand why you continue to try to place a round theory into a square metaphysical framework.

    Thus, you keep hearkening back to “emergence,” which is materialism’s fantasy creation instrument. Why would one expect to make a design inference in biological organisms, when their development has already been defined in terms incompatible with purposeful direction? Indeed, there is no such thing as “trial and error” teleology. Things have either been thought out ahead of time, or they haven’t. Teleology is consistent with a directed process; emergence is consistent with a non-directed process.

    In that same sense, you seem to rework the idea of “agency” as well. You attribute agency to biological organisms, but the agency you are describing lacks the capacity for planning and directing with an end in mind, which means of course, that it is not an agency. The products of an intelligent agent would not emerge spontaneously, they would “unfold” according to plan. So as long as you continue to use the word “agency” in the context of “emergence,” I will have to question either your logic or your sincerity. You need to lose your untenable metaphysical assumption of teleology on the fly.

    Further, it is clear to me, that you are being disingenuous to the max. You can’t be serious when you act as if you don’t know what people mean by this “matter to mind” business. But of course, that concept is only the whole ball game, and, of course, you know that. Either matter arose from mind, or mind arose from matter. Everything turns on that issue. And you don’t see the relevance? Not a chance. You shouldn’t tell fairy tales like that even to your enemies.

  176. Sally T,

    I expect homosexual as well as heterosexual inclinations are genetically based. Right now they seem to be looking for the magic protein but it may lie elsewhere in the genome.

    I expect all sorts of behavioral tendencies are part of the genome. The question then becomes what species can over ride these behavioral tendencies through some sort of mental process. We know humans can but for some behavioral tendencies there seems that no mental will can counteract them. We often admire the person that can over come his/her demons by sheer force of will.

    You call my explanation reductionist. I am just trying to simplify the discussion to increase understanding. It is possible to get more specific as best we can at any level but I often find complex explanations do not get you anywhere except amongst the chosen ones who speak the same language.

  177. Sally,

    The only problem with genetically based homosexual behavior is that according to natural selection, this phenomena would tend to eliminate it from the genome over time. So I suspect that there is an additional factor, maybe something that takes place in gestation or even later that is also a factor. I certainly do not know anything concrete, just speculating.

  178. http://www.narth.com/docs/whitehead2.html

    this is a facinating piece about homosexuality- it also may support- highlight- the influx of information as a deciding factor in the outcomes of peoples choices-

  179. StephenB #176:

    As an interested observer, I think it would be more productive and intellectually stimulating to address Sally’s points, instead of implying that she is dishonest and asking her to shut up. After all, by coming here to “enemy territory” she is giving you an opportunity to make your positions clear.

    By definition, ID and materialism are incompatible, as I’m sure you know.

    That’s a surprise to me. I thought ID was based on science. Would you state the definition to which you are referring and its provenance?

  180. Daniel King,

    ID encompasses a lot of things. ID as it is related to evolution is not incompatible with materialism.

    ID as it related to cosmology points very clearly to something outside the universe and thus you could say does not have materialistic causes in this universe.

    Both are based on science and logic.

  181. the current theory held by the “genes are everything” crowd is that homosexuality could be “triggered” like mental illness given ones environemtal expierence. “Not” that HS is a mental illness but that the enviorment may have a similar corrolation to it. Whether it is reverseable is probably on a case by case basis but who knows. Also, for the record, I do not think that anyone should try to reverse it unless they abolutly wanted to.

  182. Dogpile on the woman. let me see if I can crawl out of here.

    Frost, in 172, you are making an argument for solipcism. Please note that this is not my argument. If you grant animals and plants intelligence then I will have much less of a quarrel with you about the notion of intelligence, but KF has attempted to construct a human exceptionalist argument. Granted, we can identify the products of plant and animal constructions, since we have prior experience with these things. There is no way, that I can see, to parse the two hypotheses ‘the universe is designed that way’ and ‘the universe is that way’. This is particularly relevant since we have at most one data point, and all probability estimates are post facto. The entire system must be observed over all possible states before such calculations have any empirical content.

    The spider web diversion was in response to objections by KF and mynym about agency. Sorry if it sidetracked you. I thought it to be an important distinction.

    Re your second comment: there is nothing about the standard account of descent by modification by speciation that contradicts a functional explanation of the inner workings of cells or anything else. You claim that a design theory is crucial to explaining processes at this level, but it sure doesn’t seem that way (we have a good idea about the ATP pathway, for instance, and we understand how blood clotting works. In this instances the design ‘theory’ is an ontological commitment, not a explanatory commitment). The account begins with the observations of cellular function, which are made irrespective of the ontological commitment (Poof from the Designer, or Poof from a mud puddle). It is not clear how the Design account would substantially transform any facet of this sort of research, and I think this strengthens the argument that it is an ontological commitment.

    Joseph, you have no method for determining In Principle how living things originated from matter. While the design theory may be true in some sense, it appears to me to be confounded with the observation that we have but one data point. See comments above about ontological commitments.

    Frost 175: so this is all an atheist conspiracy? I know a large number of christian detractors of ID as currently formulated who do not make this claim. I would be surprised if this claim could be validated, although it may be true (the High Church has not, yet, invited me to join their secret Black Masses).

    StephenB, I am not sure what you mean by ‘evaluating ID principles from a materialist perspective’. If you will please read my comments you will note that I have drawn a clear distinction between ontological emergence and emergence as it refers to explanatory reduction. If you are unaware of the difference I can send you some links to some quite good papers about the subject.

    The problem with ‘purposeful development’ is it is difficult to measure. How would one measure this? Schindewolf interpreted the equine fossil record from this perspective, but Simpson gave a fully explanatory account of the failings of Schindewolf’s thesis in his 1944 book (Good read). If you are at odds with the ‘random’ thesis, I certainly sympathize with you for this term is unfortunately bound up with all sorts of semantic baggage. In order to clear that air, it should be made manifestly apparent how to sort out ‘purposeful direction’ from the null. And I believe that ‘random with respect to fitness’ or ‘random with respect to perceived needs of an organism’ are robust generalizations that can serve as the null (I do prefer the second, albeit it has baggage of its own).

    On the contrary, I would say that there is a great deal of planning that occurs in plants and animals. There is a fine literature on life history adaptations to specific environmental presses. For instance, a crop pest in North America, the corn rootworm, evolved resistance to pesticides on corn. Crop rotation was undertaken to disrupt the life cycle and free fields from pests already in situ at planting. Two things happened: a new biotype emerged that prefers soybeans (concurrent with tradeoffs that reduced viability on corn), and corn biotypes evolved an extended diapause allowing them to emerge again when corn was planted. this is common in insects. Another example, some caddisflies diapause as eggs from late spring until the early winter, after leaf fall. These particular organisms scrape periphyton off of instream substrates, and periphyton is at its peak abundance during the period when no leaves are on the trees. Planning, no? There are millions of other examples from nature. The punch line should be that those characteristics you propose for an argument to human exceptionalism are not exclusive to humans but are pervasive in nature.

    Regarding your last salvo, beware of false dichotomies.

    jerry, i don’t think there is a problem with reductionist explanations as long as they are robust. There is something inherently distasteful to the idea of genetic determinism, don’t you agree?

  183. Sally now you are becoming even more obviously dishonest in you critiques of the answers your being given and the intellectually integrity of you views are reaching even greater lows.

    Frost 175: so this is all an atheist conspiracy? I know a large number of Christian detractors of ID as currently formulated who do not make this claim. I would be surprised if this claim could be validated, although it may be true (the High Church has not, yet, invited me to join their secret Black Masses).

    Are you saying that people are not trying to deep six ID using arguments that ID is religion, creationism, and the separation of church and state argument (words which don’t exist in the constitution.) I mean get real. I never said it was a black masses conspiracy you just inflated the reality of my argument to try and make it seem ridiculous when it is the absolute fact. People conflate ID with it’s possible metaphysical implications all of the time. And the call it creationism as an attempt to silence it via ad homonym. so don’t play the game with me. Its you who has had to result to hyperbole first.

    As far as animals and plants having intelligences you admit that then you accept the argument- well they in fact are loaded with SC which needs ID- and they do have intelligence- not all of the time though. ID is not an either or theory- it does not say all things are either ID or none are- it says that something “definitely” are and some don’t seem to be but when do we know for sure. Biology is loaded with SC and there needs ID. Yes this can take the form of an ultimate cause debate but unless we were there watching all of the way form a perfect frame of reference (which doesn’t exist) we don’t know when or where SC is introduced into the biological record.

    Hope you can “understand” it now.

  184. jerry,

    Both [biological and cosmological ID] are based on science and logic.

    I’m curious about this, and about the second term (“logic”) especially. Why add “and logic”? Is it because scientific reasoning is not necessarily logical reasoning?

    I think so. People around here use the term “logic” frequently, and just as frequently, I encounter quasi-syllogistic reasoning on this site. But science seems more probabalistic, inductive, and provisional than that. “Logic” suggests deductive reasoning, which is only as good as its premises. Science is inductively reasonable but rarely, I think, “logical” in the deductive sense.

  185. Also it is now perfectly obvious to me that you are not trying to understand the theory better at all. You understand it just fine. What you are trying to do is pick a battle with us and hopefully “stump us” with some obscure objection. This explains why you cant stay on topic and change your ambiguous arguments each time they are refuted. First and 10- better run it! Second and 10- better pass! Third and 10- better try a fea flicker! Forth and 10 – better fake punt! Unfortunately I know my subject matter well which is why you had revert to ridiculous hyperbole, the “I didn‘t say that” argument and of course the “woe, I’m a woman easy on me“ sexism crap.

  186. I don’t see why there is a focus on emergent behavior. Obviously every type of web shape that a spider could possibly create would not be pre-programmed. That’s one extreme. I would also presume that each spider does not have to learn about its body from scratch and figure out web-making. Instead, there is a simple set of rules that combine with the environment and other factors controlling intelligence that result in emergent behavior. So the real question is, where did the “simple set of rules” come from?

    I’ve worked with AI systems. Sometimes I have intended results for emergent behavior that “should” come about in certain environments assuming I tweak the parameters of the “simple rules” correctly. Sometimes there will be unexpected emergent behaviors that surprises me. But the point is, I’m still having to design those simple rules properly. If I don’t the desired emergent behavior will never occur.

  187. If ‘living things’ are loaded with SC, which needs ID, then it appears that SC is introduced into the biological record at the first instantiation of living things. Behe, although he has made other statements contradicting this, has claimed that this is his perspective (fully compatible with DE, although his latest book changes tune somewhat).

    People are fighting ID for a variety of reasons, of course. I don’t accept the notion as it is currently formulated because I think it is an attempt to force a particular ontological presupposition onto science that is an unnecessary encumbrance to inquiry. It is true that ID in the past has been deeply entangled with particular religious points of view, I don’t think it is necessary to rehash that.

    However, your argument was that ID was being repressed by evolutionists who wished to worship an atheistic world view. It seems that you have introduced this topic into discussion, and I merely pointed out that this is an unreasonable interpretation of the facts before us.

    I would say it is being repressed because ‘things or processes which are undetectable are indistinguishable from things that do not exist’. so far the rally against ‘materialism’ has been a rally against things that are detectable or distinguishable. The goal for ID should be to move to the empirical realm.

  188. Patrick, the focus on emergence has been a crucial issue here and I’m glad you are involved in the conversation.

    My interest lies in the role of emergence in blocking explanatory reduction. In your example, the ‘emergent’ properties supervene entirely on the lower level properties of the system. Further, algorithms or rule sets are compressions, which is a second requirement for reduction. In your example, you may explain emergent properties as interactions of lower phenomena.

    We don’t always have that sort of omniscience. I have been interested here in determining what is the proper domain of the ‘design’ theory. Several commenters have suggested that it pertains to all observable phenomena. If so, then it would not have any salience to higher levels of theoretical organization. In other words, it pervades everything and thus can explain nothing. I’m not convinced that this is a fruitful approach.

    Hence my appeal to determine what sorts of generalizations a ‘design inference’ might lead to about higher level phenomena. I’m open to the suggestion that the domain and scope of the design hypothesis can be limited to a subset of ‘all observable phenomena’, and I think this is a crucial requirement for explanatory autonomy. The success of scientific theories is in a large part attributable by their reference to other theories in explanation. I’m curious as to how you might think that ID theory might be used in other frameworks. We have already worked through the objections that biomedical applications and pest eradication applications need not burdened with the ontological commitment to Intelligent Design. I would like to see operational hypotheses that use this inference in higher level explanation.

  189. Joseph, you have no method for determining In Principle how living things originated from matter.-Sally_T

    And you do? But I digress. We can look at living organisms and at least try to determine the minimal requirements it takes to be classified as one.

    Once that is done we can then determine, using our current state of knowledge, whether or not the best explanation is that living organisms were designed or that they arose from nature, operating freely.

    While the design theory may be true in some sense, it appears to me to be confounded with the observation that we have but one data point.

    Like talking to a wall- but anyways- We exist Sally. And there is only ONE reality behind that existence.

    It stretches credibility to say that our existence is due to a lucky mix of just te right chemicals at the right time and place. First there isn’t ANY data, evidence nor observations that show NUCLEOTIDES exist anywhere in nature except in living organisms. And guess what? Both DNA and RNA require nucleotides.

    Not only that but not any sequence will do. We know that because there are stretches of DNA that do not code for some other product.

    The insistence that only SC can be produced by intelligence relies on the hidden assumption that organisms reproducing does not produce the phenomenon. -Sally

    Now that is one stupid statement. It is more than obvious you don’t have a clue when it comes to what ID states. And if you come to blogs to learn about ID then it is obvious that you are just too lazy to do your own research- meaning you are too lazy to read the ID literature written by IDists.

    Organsims are intelligent agencies. An intelligent agency reproducing is perfectly acceptable for ID and its concepts.

    And how about the theory of evolution moving to the empirical realm?

    IC, CSI and SC have all been observed. In EVERY instance of each in which we knew the cause it has ALWAYS been via agency involvement.

    We have tried and true design detection techniques. Now what is it, exactly, that prevents us from using those on biological organisms?

    To Daniel King,

    ID is based on science, materialism- that being everything can be reduced to matter/ energy, is not. Materialsim is a philosophy that is being passed off as science.

  190. getawitness,

    Are you talking about formal mathematical logic or good old horse sense. I didn’t think postmodernism recognized logic because logic immediately eliminates relativist thinking and postmodernism. Plato had a handle on it 2500 years ago when dealing with the Sophists. I love postmodernists. They get very non relativistic when dealing with medicine and bridges.

    Let’s look at evolutionary science. The intelligence could be of this universe but no science as of yet tells us that it must, only that it could. The intelligence could be carbon based but carbon as an element only arose about 8-10 billion years after the Big Bang which is about when our solar system was forming. So logic has to look at other possible explanations besides carbon based intelligence but that may not be entirely science based. I am surprised not to see more discussion on how soon carbon based intelligence could have arisen after the big bang. We are too much influenced by the sophistry of “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.”

    Cosmological ID points to design or to the absurdity of infinite universes with all its infinite possibilities. Hail Zeus!. So use logic to sort it out and it is often not based on science results. Maybe this could be put into a formal logic system but horse sense is a better tool.

    Yes the logic used is probably based on certain assumptions and I have no interest in finding what they are. And all induction is not certainty. But you know what; the debate is not on the fine point of philosophy of science which can not formally define what science is but on why and how people should lead their lives and what information they should have to make decisions.

    If you are interested in science and formal logic then I would spend your time on looking at the relevance of neo Darwinism as a paradigm for evolutionary biology and what is its scientific support system. A relativist thinker should feel at home there with all their contradictions and story telling. It is like the old days where the bard sat around the fire and spun his yarns and everyone could go to bed at night dreaming of all sorts of novel mutations and selection processes as his imagination was set free. No Achilles or Aeneas but gene duplication and symbiosis and more. A postmodernist feast.

  191. Joseph,

    ID is based on science, materialism- that being everything can be reduced to matter/ energy, is not. Materialsim is a philosophy that is being passed off as science.

    Maybe, but how else would you do science?

    Let me give you an example. I have a friend who is studying post-operative delirium in the elderly. Some people who have surgery get delirious for a day or two afterwards. Old people tend to experience this more frequently. But not everybody gets delirious. So my friend is investigating what molecular mechanisms might lead to delirium.

    Now, delirium is state of conscioiusness. The mind, I’m told here, is not material. Yet the only thing my friend can do, as a scientist, is look for material components of post-operative delirium — specific receptors etc. that may be implicated. He looks at different incidence rates for differnt kinds of surgeries, age-related changes in neurotransmission, etc. etc. If the idea he’s currently working on doesn’t pan out, he looks for another meterial mechanism. He looks for numerous mechanisms all working together. If he doesn’t find anything, should he say “I guess it’s just mind, not material at all?” Or should keep looking for material causes for this mental state? I say the latter.

  192. jerry, the Older Sophists kick Plato’s butt. Protagoras rocks.

  193. Sallyt, there you go again, switching up ground –

    “I think it is an attempt to force a particular ontological presupposition onto science that is an unnecessary encumbrance to inquiry.

    Ahhh. So you do understand the theory just fine. In fact fine enough to accuse it of an unnecessary philosophical view. It is very necessary to look through science in a cause and effect way. This is the nature of the universe. But.. we don’t need a first cause because when ever there is SC there must also be ID. So you can trace whatever SC you want back as far as it will go and there will always be ID. What created God? Intelligence did at least that is out best guess going on the cause and effect structure of the world. Here is why ID is the greater theory than DE. What is you explanation for what created God, or any example of SC. Nothing? Randomness? Some unknown force? You have no answer because you reject your experience with reality and its cause and effect structure. It is not enough to say that a person is design by his mother and father. That is garbage and you know it. You have to explain where the CSI came from. Then go back and do it again. There are lots of logical possibilities as to where and when the CSI came into the picture. Perhaps the universe started and then there was a force outside of it that implemented the CSI. Then you have to accept a universe that has influences of a non physical intelligence. If you prefer the universe could be front loaded at the beginning of its creation. That too would require something loading it which would be by all best explanation something outside the universe. And finally you could postulate a natural force that imparts SC from time to time or just unrolls everything in a SC manner. IF so this force mimicked ID or ID it and since ID is the only physical explanation that we can see that is why it is the preferred theory.

    However, your argument was that ID was being repressed by evolutionists who wished to worship an atheistic world view. It seems that you have introduced this topic into discussion, and I merely pointed out that this is an unreasonable interpretation of the facts before us

    Excuse me, I stand partly corrected .IMO people are waging the war against ID based on their extreme atheistic/ materialistic beliefs. The facts however do support my theory though do not prove it. Why would a Christian want to stop the teaching of a theory that helps to promote his/her religion. Unless that person is a fake Christian they would want as many people to believe in their religion as they do. Your argument that people are fighting it for all kinds of reasons is wrong though. Your ontological objection is just a facade covering up you rejection of the possibility of a nonphysical cause. However, there is no reason logically for you to do this. You are by definition a methodological materialist which means that that you reject all possibility of a nonmaterial cause for no logical reason. Congratulations, you are the enemy of ID and of course this site!

  194. The term “emergence ” is a b__l s__t term which means nothing but is meant to explain the relatively sudden appearance of something for which there is no scientific or logical explanation.

    It is all powerful and supersedes all other natural processes. It is like Captain Marvel when he shouted Shazam and magical things happened. Who needs natural selection and mutations when you have emergence in your back pocket to explain everything you don’t understand.

  195. Sallyt is a MM Darwinian Evolutionist. She is just using the term emergence to try and trip you up. She lost on every single argument I mounted and came up with nothing except “I reject your theory.” She claimed not to understand it while using all kinds of bizarre examples of spiders and webs that have nothing to do with the theory and claimed that ID is not being challanged on religiously bias grounds (somthing no one in a halfway house would believe). Then she revealed her self as a MM by saying I don’t think science needs an theory which looks at ultimate causes for it to work = I don’t want to accept an argument that includes a full inspection of all of the evidence. But why? Because she is a MM idealist who just wants to harass the people here at UD. And to add insult to injury — clearly one without a life.

  196. “Excuse me, I stand partly corrected .IMO people are waging the war against ID based on their extreme atheistic/ materialistic beliefs. The facts however do support my theory though do not prove it. Why would a Christian want to stop the teaching of a theory that helps to promote his/her religion. Unless that person is a fake Christian they would want as many people to believe in their religion as they do.”

    Yes, a Christian would want people to believe in and accept Christianity. But if a Christian does not believe that ID is correct, then that Christian would not seek to persuade people with that theory, unless he or she believes that all things, including honesty, are secondary to winning arguments. If ID is true, then that is the reason to support the theory, not because it supplies extra arguments for anyone’s religious views. Similarly, if ID were true, but led to implications that seemed hostile to Christianity, the honest Christian, or any other religious follower, would still promote the truth.

  197. Thanks frost. I hope when I misrepresent you it will be as graciously uncharitable and equally poorly reasoned.

    As far as to ‘what is my explanation for what created god?’, I don’t recognize that as a question that is distinguishable from nonsense. Neither is much of the rest of that post, and I wish you would calm down for a minute and let this sink in:

    Explanatory reduction is a necessary component of scientific theories. It is the goal of theory to examine higher level processes based on lower level attributes and processes. In no way am I trolling or making irrelevant arguments. This is the way that science works.

    Now, that being the case, I wish to know what is the proper domain of the theory of design. From the comments here I have seen that at least some ID proponents suggest that this domain encompasses all observable phenomena in the universe.

    If that is the case, then it is hard to see how ‘design’ could offer any role in scientific theories as a whole. If the design of a cell can not be used to make robust causal generalizations at the level of an individual, a population, an evolutionary lineage or an ecosystem, it will not have much success in science.

    Of course that says nothing about the merits of the ontological argument (X is designed) that can be made. Some of you (Joseph, in particular) claim that ID both encompasses the entire domain of observable phenomena, and is an ontological argument in itself. I would predict that this tautological issue will be a major obstacle to the theory of ID, when formalized, being established as a working model for science. As DaveScot often says, a theory that explains everything explains nothing. It may very well be that the ontological argument is the greatest strength of ID, but as Alvin Plantigna has commented about his ontological proofs, they are only logically valid if one holds the appropriate set of presuppostions a priori.

    Jerry, there is nothing BS about emergence. It is at best necessary consequence of incomplete knowledge and at worst a hard limit to explanatory reduction. I am so far, from our conversation, unconvinced that ‘designed’ does not equal ‘emergent’. Now, that ranges from the best and worst things about emergence, and the ID claim is that it is the worst (blocks explanatory reduction), while the ID practice (EF) is a model of incomplete knowledge.

    It is not an a priori commitment to ‘methodological materialism’ or the homme du jour that is the problem here. Instead, it is an impotence inherent in the currently formulated ID position that is. This impotence is the explanatory irrelevance of ‘design’ in providing robust generalizations about higher level mechanisms.

    I have quite a life, thank you Frost. I am satisfied with it, and I know that I am lucky. But best wishes hon.

  198. getawitness sez:

    Let me give you an example. I have a friend who is studying post-operative delirium in the elderly. Some people who have surgery get delirious for a day or two afterwards. Old people tend to experience this more frequently. But not everybody gets delirious. So my friend is investigating what molecular mechanisms might lead to delirium.

    That has nothing to do with materialism- ie being able to be reduced to matter/ energy.

    Geez you are just grasping at straws now.

    What your friend is doing has NOTHING to do with the theory of evolution.

    However ID may help. If people were designed then delirium would be a state of a messed up design. Then you go in, figure out why it is messed up and fix it.

    Ask your buddy if he conducts his research by stating:

    “If all living organisms share a common ancestor via culled genetic accidents then I predict X causes delirium in the elderly following surgery.”

    BTW how old is elderly? I just had a major operation but I still think all anti-IDists are delirious. ;)

    Do you think that archaeology would even be a science if everything could be reduced to matter/ energy?

    How about forensics? No body would care who did what. Gunshot wound would = lead poisoning. Or “He died because he ceased living- the energy was drained from his body.”

  199. Joseph, you’re confusing materialism with reductionism. They’re not the same, as Sally_T has been pointing out.

    What your friend is doing has NOTHING to do with the theory of evolution.

    Actually, it does: if you model a state such as delirium in animals (and people have) you’re looking at the condition in an evolutionary framework.

    However ID may help. If people were designed then delirium would be a state of a messed up design. Then you go in, figure out why it is messed up and fix it.

    Wow. You should be a consultant on his next grant. “Then you go in, figure out why it is messed up and fix it.” Mmm. Science-y.

  200. jerry and Frost, “emergence” is not BS: it’s used widely in the sciences that should be crucial to ID, namely information theory and complex systems science, as well as elsewhere (complex systems science, for example).

  201. Sally_T,

    Once you have determined something is designed you set out to research it IN THAT LIGHT.

    There is no way one can do any research, with the hope of understanding it UNTIL YOU MAKE THAT INITIAL DETERMINATION- DESIGNED OR NOT.

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....ions.shtml

    Science Asks Three Basic Questions

    1. What’s there?
    The astronaut picking up rocks on the moon, the nuclear physicist bombarding atoms, the marine biologist describing a newly discovered species, the paleontologist digging in promising strata, are all seeking to find out, “What’s there?”

    Make an observation.

    2. How does it work?
    A geologist comparing the effects of time on moon rocks to the effects of time on earth rocks, the nuclear physicist observing the behavior of particles, the marine biologist observing whales swimming, and the paleontologist studying the locomotion of an extinct dinosaur, “How does it work?”

    Figure it out

    3. How did it come to be this way?
    Each of these scientists tries to reconstruct the histories of their objects of study. Whether these objects are rocks, elementary particles, marine organisms, or fossils, scientists are asking, “How did it come to be this way?”

    Imagine that! UBerkley agrees with me!!!

    And geez I already posted that ID does NOT try to explain everything. Do you have a selective reading issue?

    And saying “it evolved” is a scientific explanation?

    Methinks you don’t know what you are talking about Sally_T.

    You have been spoon fed but you refuse to understand even the basics.

    My 5 year old understands this better than you do.

  202. If that is the case, then it is hard to see how ‘design’ could offer any role in scientific theories as a whole. If the design of a cell can not be used to make robust causal generalizations at the level of an individual, a population, an evolutionary lineage or an ecosystem, it will not have much success in science.

    I already explained this to you. And this business about a desin that explains everyhting explainns nothing is bs. It is a logical contrdiction and just becasue some one else said it doesnt mean I think that its true. ID says that we can detect the role of intelligence. What more do you want. That is the theory. What is testable about darwinian evolution? How do you test for randomness? Cant you see that all ID does is what its been doing for a million years. Look at a stone is it an arrow head or a rock. Thats all ID does. That is its “domain” which is another ambiguous attempt at catagorizing reality to fit your model. ID is not based soley on apriori grounds. It is almost totally based on the grounds of direct expierence with observable matter. The question is one of origins. How do you explainthe improbability of given SC. You cant. This doesnt explain everyhting though. It doesnt tell me why somthing is good or bad. Or who the designer is. All of you allogations are illogical and premeditated with the apriori grounds of MM. ID excepts everyhting shown about evlution except its philosphical bias of randomness. DNA cannot be random. How do you account for that?

  203. Materialism is reductionism.

    Materialism

    and

    Materialism:

    Materialism is a set of related theories which hold that all entities and processes are composed of — or are reducible to — matter, material forces or physical processes.

    IOW go pound sand. You lose.

    What your friend is doing has NOTHING to do with the theory of evolution.

    Actually, it does: if you model a state such as delirium in animals (and people have) you’re looking at the condition in an evolutionary framework.

    Not at all. That could also be explained by convergence and common design- that is similar states of delirium.

    It looks like you and Sally_T have been undressed.

    Oh BTW- yes, that is what scientists do- they figure stuff out. Engineers fix it.

  204. I’m open to the suggestion that the domain and scope of the design hypothesis can be limited to a subset of ‘all observable phenomena’, and I think this is a crucial requirement for explanatory autonomy.

    The Behe quote at the end of comment #166 addresses that already.

    The success of scientific theories is in a large part attributable by their reference to other theories in explanation. I’m curious as to how you might think that ID theory might be used in other frameworks. We have already worked through the objections that biomedical applications and pest eradication applications need not burdened with the ontological commitment to Intelligent Design. I would like to see operational hypotheses that use this inference in higher level explanation.

    So you want other applications that would require acceptance of ID? How about designer drugs that take into account the limitations of Darwinian mechanisms predicted by ID? If it’s calculated the only way to develop resistance is through generating CSI or IC then if the predictions of ID are correct then the drug should be very effective.

    What one needs to know to do that:

    a) A drug and how the drug breaks the bacteria or virus
    b) All possible stepwise evolutionary pathways for developing resistance to that drug (potentially the most difficult aspect)
    c) How fast on average the drug kills the virus or bacteria
    d) Rate of replication/estimated limits of Darwinian mechanisms

    Oh, and Joseph, it’s okay to point out errors in your opponent’s logic and assert they are defeated but are denying it but please keep out insults like comparing people to a 5 year old.

  205. Joseph,

    Humans come from HUMANS and spiders come from SPIDERS. NEITHER are produced by nature.

    So basically what you are saying is spider or humans are not a part of nature. I respectfully disagree. I believe what you mean to say is natural forces cannot produce a human without the aid of previously existing humans. A human egg, human sperm, etc are all natural and act in concert with other natural things (electrons shifting in their orbitals in chemical reactions, diffusion as relating to hormones, etc) to produce a human. All totally natural.

    When engaging in a scientific discussion, one has to be clear and specific when choosing their words. The word “natural” can apply to anything found in nature, humans and spiders included.

    Wm Dembski’s “The Design Inference” and “No Free Lunch” tell you how to measure CSI/ SC.

    Actually, I have read them and they really do not. You seem to have a good grasp of how they are measured, you can tell when something is SC or not, so please, for the umpteenth time, tell me how.
    If it will help to be specific, how many, exactly, bits of information are in a snowflake, or a web, or my peanut butter sandwich (feel free to ask me about any variables that you need in this calculation). That will determine whether these are complex or not (apparently they are, I have yet to get a number though), then we can move on to specific. I know it takes time, but that’s just the sacrifice one has to make when doing science (I should know, being a scientist – imagine that, with my pathetic mind and all)

    If this is such a complex concept that poor old me with my little brain cannot understand, I would truly appreciate some enlightenment from an intellectual giant like yourself.

    And no, kairosfocus,

    This looks like: CSI, IC and OC to me — the whole shebang!

    is not a quantitative measure. As much as I respect you instincts, they don’t count when it comes down to it.

    Further to this, does it not trouble you that you are contributing to the distraction of this thread from a major issue over evident injustice as was brought up in the original post and as was for instance further highlighted in post no 56 above?

    Do you understand what message this sends to not only us who advocate for or are sympathetic to ID, but onlookers?

    Does it concern me, no. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, thread that has been sidetracked with various other discussions. I would much rather involve myself in what could be an interesting discussion (which those who disagree can easily ignore), than censor my opinions, quite apart from the fact that said “major event” is available to be discussed on various other threads as well.

    As to what message it sends – what message does it send? That I am interested in the ID hypothesis and would like to know more? *gasp*

    I find it interesting that both you and Joseph attempt, in different ways, in the end to distract from the fact that you cannot answer the simplest question (I’ll state it again just to be clear – how can I determine the quantitative value of complexity for any object?). Certainly your method is more subtle (though you do only mention it in response to one side – interesting, wonder why that is?) while Joseph is more clumsy and apparent, still both are signs of a lack of conviction in ones argument.

    To sum up:

    One of the pillars of ID is SC. In order to determine if something is SC, there has to be a quantitative analysis, if not it is no more than an opinion.

    If someone was to give a possible mechanism of flagellum evolution without any hard proof you would call it a ‘just-so’ story and I would agree. The same, if you say something is SC without any quantitative measure to back up your claim, I would say that is nothing but a just-so story.

  206. SC cannot be purchased without intelligence. Give me an example to contradict this statement. Explain where the SC in the fist cell come from. You just picture a chain of events comming together and that is all science is to you. That is bankrupt. What guided this processes. You can only say a force or nothing. If you say nothing you just reject the question. But sc can be “arranged” via ID. So i have an explanation and you don’t. Also nothing has ever been shown to “emerge.” I i emerge from the door way i didnt just materialize there – I was int he other room or w/e first. Somthing cannot come out of nothing. What “arranges DNA.” It is the improbability of given arrangements like DNA that validates ID and invalidates DE because it can only be explained by intelligence.

  207. Joseph, you’re a little testy aren’t you? Perhaps you should take it easy for a bit.

    Quoting from an encyclopedia of philosophy doesn’t begin to get at the difference between the kind of reductionism you seem to object to and the methods of science. Science is agnostic about whether everything is reducible to “matter, material forces or physical processes.” However, at present “matter, material forces or physical processes” are the only ways we have of studying something scientifically.

  208. Every time I have seen the term emergence used it was to explain how some unusual thing happened quickly without saying how it happened but implying that it happened naturally.

    It is BS and the term emergence should be replaced by the phrase “suddenly appeared through some unknown process we do not understand.”

    Find me some legitimate uses of the term emergence. It is similar to the term “co-option” which is also used in evolutionary biology to express Mickey Mouse’s use of the magic wand as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice to magically create a scenario for a “just so story” of how a new capability appeared. Emergence and Co-option are two examples of the Mickey Mouse theory of evolution.

  209. People are fighting ID for a variety of reasons, of course. I don’t accept the notion as it is currently formulated because I think it is an attempt to force a particular ontological presupposition onto science that is an unnecessary encumbrance to inquiry.

    What you really mean is that ID has a different ontological perspective than the one that fits your comfort zone. You would prefer the ontological perspective that attributes the cause of life to a mindless, purposeless process. But over a century of research efforts, attempting to find pathways to life consistent with your ontological perspective, have come up empty. It’s time for a change.

  210. Every time I have seen the term emergence used it was to explain how some unusual thing happened quickly without saying how it happened but implying that it happened naturally.

    That says something about the limits of what you have seen but not about emergence.

    Let me give you an example: the stock market. The “market” is an emergent phenomenon that exhibits “behavior” — we talk about how the market “reacted” to some bit of news from the Fed or housing statistics — but really it’s just a bunch of individual brokers, computers, etc. The behavior of the market cannot be predicted by the behavior of the individual components, yet the market as a whole has properties that are describable in toto. Does this mean that the market is a challenge to materialism? Well, if you have faith in stocks, maybe. But not really. We know it arises from the behavior of its parts, yet we can’t describe it in terms of its parts. So it’s reducible in one sense (that is, it’s ‘no more than’ those parts) yet not in another.

  211. Every time I have seen the term emergence used it was to explain how some unusual thing happened quickly without saying how it happened but implying that it happened naturally.

    My favorite phrase is “emergent property of” and favorite application of the phrase is consciousness. Consciousness is an emergent property of brain cells. Gotta love it. It explains so much does it not. Like for example, faith in materialism. When reaching an unexplainable roadblock simply use the phrase “emergent property of.” That’ll learn those theists!

  212. leo,

    There are several way of providing a quantitative number to SC. First of SC references something else or it specifies something else that is functional. Use this simple definition.

    Now DNA like a written and spoken language only has meaning by referring to something else. We do not understand what 95% of DNA does but we definitely understand a large subset of it. It sets up a process to produce proteins. So we have these 64 letters in the DNA language called codons which are combinations of the DNA nucleotides. Since they are in threes and there are 4 possible options, there is a total of 64 combinations.

    These codons specify one amino acid in each protein. This is all basic now a days. A typical protein is 300 amino acids long and this requires 1200 nucleotides. It is possible to count the information content in such a protein or nucleotide string and perhaps there are some adjustments that can be made to each protein because most of the amino acid have more than one codon specifying it. Also some amino acids at different parts of the protein are interchangeable. So lets just say that the actual information content is less than the 1200 nucleotides in the gene specifying the protein. The total number of possible combinations in a 1200 series of nucleotides is 4^1200. As I said the actual number will be less.

    Someone more knowledgeable than I can calculate a more exact information content in a typical gene but it is huge. It is a number so big that there is no conceivable way such a combination could arise by accident.

  213. CSI in a particular protein in a particular protein machine, to a certain extent can be measured by the “required specificity” of a specific amino acid sequence required to match its required shape space of interlocking proteins in the machine. It (rough CSI measurement) may actually be as simple as the information (CSI) being the mathematical inverse of the total probability of a required shape space being fulfilled by a particular amino acid sequence for a required function in a particular protein machine.

  214. the stock market is not an emergent behavior. It is the some total of its part and their reactions. The question should be what accounts for the arrangement of this market. It is a SC market that defys improbability and therefore requires intelligence. So can we find any? Yup there are lots are inteligent minds and soforth going into the process that makes the market arrange and function for a purpose.

  215. getawitness,

    I want to thank you for making my point. I describe the term emergence in science as mostly bs and you give me the complexity of the stock market. I never denied there are complex phenomena in the world, some of which we can barely explain. How about a hurricane or a tornado.

    I am not against the use of the word emergence in the English language, just as a crutch to describe something you cannot explain. You don’t have to explain the stock market complexity to me as a graduate of the Stanford Business School I am well aware of many of the untold factors that affect a stock’s price. I have relatives, friends and business associates who have been brokers or involved in Wall Street. A couple of my classmates are worth several hundred million from their careers in the market, mostly bonds though. Me, I never did like finance so I am much poorer.

    Robert Hazen who has written a book on the origin of life and made a Teaching Company course on life’s origins also used the term emergence often. That is where I realized what bs was being presented and being covered by the use of this term. Life emerged and if only we do more research and you fund my grants we will be able to give you more bs so I can get more grants and then we can really emerge.

  216. Humans come from HUMANS and spiders come from SPIDERS. NEITHER are produced by nature.

    So basically what you are saying is spider or humans are not a part of nature.-Leo

    No that is NOT what I am saying.

    Obviously you are too obtuse to even have a discussion.

    Being part of nature does NOT mean they were prioduced by nature. Anything that exists in nature is part of nature, Cars exist in nature. My house exists in nature. Yet no one would ever say that nature produced either cars or my house.

    Listen, as I said this stuff isn’t for everybody. Obviously it isn’t for you. Try knitting or something.

    But anyway the Explanatory Filter provides a process from which a design inference can be made. However to use it requires knowledge.

    getawitness- get a clue, buy a vowel or continue to pound sand.

    ID argues against materialism- the materialism I linked to. Period, end of story.

    Neither you nor Sally_T gets to come here and tell IDists what it is they are arguing against.

    And as I have been saying- it matters a great deal to any investigation whether or that that which is being investigated came to be that way via agency involvement or nature, operating freely.

    What part about that don’t you understand?

    BTW design is a physical process. I know I use it on a daily basis.

  217. Nobody on this post has been able to explain where the information in SC objects comes from. No one. But in the physical world you have SC being accounted for all of the time by ID. The attemp that sallyt tried was to reduce the I in ID to properties. I have no problem with the word properties so long as people know for me it mean intelligence. We can change ID to PD. Fine by mean . So then where does the SC come from outside of PD.

  218. Another thing that is annoying about people like Salyt is that they begin by talking like they are really interested in takeing ID to its logical extreams in intellectual interest. But you later find out that they were really just trying to dismantal it in any way that they could. The reject SC for no reason- say ID is superflous scientifically because it doesnt change how we do science even after i told them how it does- they say they reject ID based on its ontological nature for no reason except it’s ontological nature isn’t important to them or science. Their bias is they reject the possiblity of there being a nonmaterial intelligence acting in the world.

    So they start off asking tough interesting questions then after getting well thought out answers they say well thanks alot but i dont buy it. And when you ask why not they say “im a methadological materialist.”

    What a bunch of religious bigots. Yet, I have to thank them for the mental exercise.

  219. jerry, congratulations on your business degree and on the obscene wealth of your classmates. I was referring not to the behavior of individual stocks but to the behavior of the market as a whole, which we talk about as a whole thing even though it is in fact nothing but a collection of discrete behaviors. We talk about the market as though it has a consciousness or intention when “the market” is not even a thing at all. Similarly with a flock of geese or a school of fish. Perhaps with a hurricane as well, I’m not sure: certainly weather has been an object of study in complexity theory.

  220. Temper, temper, Joseph! You’ll rip a stitch being so much smarter than everybody else.

    If “ID argues against materialism- the materialism I linked to,” as you said. I have no problem with that. Science is silent on materialism as a philosophical perspective. Nevertheless, as a method, science cannot but be materialistic.

  221. If “ID argues against materialism- the materialism I linked to,” as you said. I have no problem with that. Science is silent on materialism as a philosophical perspective. Nevertheless, as a method, science cannot but be materialistic.

    That’s how intelligent design is inferred. By the material.

  222. But it infers beyond the material. It seems to me that science has been wildly successful seeking material explanations for material events. Definitions of science change over time, of course. But it take a lot for me to be comfortable with science reverting to a pre-modern view — which would allow a periodic suspension of natural law for the occasional intervention of non-material causes.

  223. A song for you GAW:

    http://video.google.com/videop.....;plindex=4

    “Science is silent on materialism as a philosophical perspective”

    I don’t think you are right.

    In fact I think you are blatantly wrong. Science needs a hypothesis to guide it and a hypothesis is always grounded in a philosophy.

    To refute your assertion:

    “Science is silent on materialism as a philosophical perspective;”

    Theistic Philosophy Compared to the
    Materialistic Philosophy of Science

    There are two prevailing philosophies vying for the right to be called the truth in man’s perception of reality. These two prevailing philosophies are Theism and Materialism. Materialism is sometimes called philosophical naturalism and, to a lesser degree, is often even conflated with methodological naturalism. Materialism is the current hypothesis entrenched over science as the dom^inant hypothesis guiding scientists. Materialism asserts that everything that exists arose from chance acting on an material basis which has always existed. Whereas, Theism asserts everything that exists arose from the purposeful will of the spirit of Almighty God who has always existed in a timeless eternity. A hypothesis in science is suppose to give proper guidance to scientists and make, somewhat, accurate predictions. In this primary endeavor, for a hypothesis, Materialism has failed miserably.

    1. Materialism did not predict the big bang. Yet Theism always said the universe was created.

    2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

    3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.
    4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle, which allows life as we know it to be possible. Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning, unchanging, clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.
    5. Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support complex life in this universe. Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe in its ability to support complex life.
    6. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.
    7. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.
    8. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity for the “simplest” life on earth.
    9. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Yet we find evidence for “complex” photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Minik T. Rosing and Robert Frei, “U-Rich Archaean Sea-Floor Sediments from Greenland—Indications of >3700 Ma Oxygenic Photosynthesis”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6907 (2003): 1-8) Theism would have naturally expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.
    10. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Yet Theism would have naturally expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

    11. Materialism predicted that there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record. Yet fossils are characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record and overall stability as long as they stay in the fossil record. There is not one clear example of unambiguous transition between major species out of millions of collected fossils. Theism would have naturally expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil record with stability afterwards as well as no evidence of transmutation into radically new forms.

    12. Materialism predicts animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Yet man himself is the last scientifically accepted fossil to suddenly appear in the fossil record. Theism would have predicted that man himself was the last fossil to suddenly appear in the fossil record.

    I could probably go a lot further for the evidence is extensive and crushing against the Materialistic philosophy. As stated before, an overriding hypothesis in science, such as Materialism currently is, is suppose to give correct guidance to scientists. Materialism has failed miserably in its predictive power for science. The hypothesis with the strongest predictive power in science is “suppose” to be the prevailing philosophy of science. That philosophy should be Theism. Why this shift in science has not yet occurred is a mystery that needs to be remedied to enable new, and potentially wonderful, breakthroughs in science.

  224. Ahh, BA77′s “Stuff Materialism Didn’t Predict” list. I’m so honored to be the recipient of that. Would it make any difference if I pointed out to you that each of those findings was made by scientists working material explanations for material events?

    Note to Patrick: you banned Maya for being, among other things, predictable and repetitive. Really? Can we do something about the repetiion on the other side too?

  225. GAW,
    You are wrong again.

    “Would it make any difference if I pointed out to you that each of those findings was made by scientists working material explanations for material events?”

    The scientists were first and foremost working under the scientific method. What makes the list impressive is that each time a major discovery was made it overthrew the prevailing materialistic philosophy that was in the scientists mind at the time of the discovery. There simply is no material, as it is currently defined, explanation for the phenomena we are seeing for the foundational reality of this universe and for life. In fact, for quantum mechanics to be true and to perform its seemingly miraculous defiance of time and space that it does, the “material base of this universe’s reality” must actually be primarily based in what we would term a “higher dimension” so as to do the “miracles it does.

    Did you like the song GAW?

  226. Thank you jerry and ba77 for attempting to answer the question I asked.

    Joseph, I guess it will suffice to say that you have no idea what the term means or how to calculate it, you just use it because Dr. Dembski tells you to. Fair enough, at least I now know what I’m dealing with.

  227. BA77, I like song fine but I prefer the original video. What’s Rihanna doing in that version?

  228. That’s how intelligent design is inferred. By the material.

    But it infers beyond the material. It seems to me that science has been wildly successful seeking material explanations for material events. Definitions of science change over time, of course. But it take a lot for me to be comfortable with science reverting to a pre-modern view — which would allow a periodic suspension of natural law for the occasional intervention of non-material causes.

    Take the blinders off. Science has been spectacularly unsuccessful at explaining how life came to be. There is no point in assuming periodic suspension of natural law. The hallmark of intelligent design is not suspension of natural law but rather a result that would not have been attained by natural law alone but is nevertheless consistent with it.

  229. How can science be antagonistic against an unknown intelligent designer if science can’t even nail down what intelligence is?

  230. How can science be antagonistic against an unknown intelligent designer if science can’t even nail down what intelligence is?

    Intelligence is like a beautiful woman. Sometimes hard to pin down but you know one when you see her.

  231. Hey your right GAW (miracles will never cease),

    The original song is better:

    http://video.google.com/videop.....;plindex=0

  232. pk4_paul @ 231

    You’re not making me confess anything about that Jello-wrestling incident in Amarillo, no matter how hard you try.

  233. Joseph,

    Obviously you are too obtuse to even have a discussion.
    ….
    getawitness- get a clue, buy a vowel or continue to pound sand.

    I realize you’re getting annoyed by the tactics being employed in this discussion but this is the second time I’ve warned you about personal insults. Take a break for a while.

    Note to Patrick: you banned Maya for being, among other things, predictable and repetitive. Really? Can we do something about the repetiion on the other side too?

    Heh, thanks for reminding me…I was thinking the same thing.

    bornagain77, I’ve noticed your sudden tendency to copy and paste large segments of text that often times don’t have anything to do with the subject at hand. Referencing your previous replies is fine–I do it myself–but please attempt to edit your comment and narrow the focus down so it’s not cluttering a discussion.

    GAW,

    But it take a lot for me to be comfortable with science reverting to a pre-modern view — which would allow a periodic suspension of natural law for the occasional intervention of non-material causes.

    If I remember correctly Dembski dealt with exactly that objection in one of his books…

  234. Patrick, thanks. I’ll look for that. I suppose it depends on how “interventionist” design would have to be. This is the advantage, conceptually, of front-loading, which can serve as a kind of genetic Deism. I don’t think front-loading works in terms of genetic history, though, so I’m left, as one who accepts common descent, with either standard material science, which has proven its worth in many areas, or a set of design events scattered through time. But I’ll try and find the point in Dr. Dembski’s work (unlikely to be in TDI, so I’ll check NFL first).

  235. ——–Sally T wrote “The problem with ‘purposeful development’ is it is difficult to measure.

    You seem to be a little evasive here. My point has absolutely nothing to do with “measuring purposeful development.” Consider this: Purposeful development is possible only on condition that some intelligent agency has planned that development with an end in mind. Emergence makes no provisions for such a teleological approach to life and is, therefore, incompatible with intelligent design. You just slide past that as if it was a throwaway line.

    ——Again, you write, “On the contrary, I would say that there is a great deal of planning that occurs in plants and animals. There is a fine literature on life history adaptations to specific environmental presses.

    Well, no. In fact, what you are describing does not constitute “planning” at all. To the extent that it does, it makes “selections” on the fly. Adaptation does not constitute a planned process. To plan is to make decisions (selections) in accordance with an end in mind. In effect, you have deconstructed the ID definition of “plan” and reconstructed it to fit your own pet “emergence” project. You also reworked the word “agency” in the same way, and, apparently for the same purpose —-to create the illusion that “adaptation,” which operates by trial and error, actually constitutes some sort of purposeful direction. Shazaaam! Instant teleology.

    Of course, intelligent design really does reflect a teleological perspective. If an intelligent agent, with a purpose, plans accordingly, evidence of real design will follow. With your scheme, though, the agent has no purpose, and the plan has no direction, other than the way emergence may happen to take it. In that case, design is illusory, because spontaneous emergence does the work creative design is supposed to do.. Thus, if you can sell the idea of emergence, you can undermine intelligent design. One can, after all, detect design only from a teleological perspective. So, why should we humor you by speculating about the impossible task of detecting design in an emergent environment?

    I was somewhat amused by your last response to me. To my comment that “either mind arose from matter” or “matter arose from mind,” you cautioned, “Beware of false dichotomies.” We get a lot of that on this blog—exhortations about avoiding either/or propositions, even when the law of the excluded middle clearly applies. I will say such things as, “the whole is greater that the sum of all the parts,” to which our beloved postmodern critics will inquire, “Are you sure.” It does bring a smile. So, inasmuch as you think it is a false dichotomy, why not offer an alternative?— without changing definitions, of course. You’ve done a little too much of that already.

    Of course, that was the idea all along wasn’t it—-to reframe the issue? Your opening gambit was most entertaining: “Isn’t intelligent design just about pointing out emergent properties?” Oh, you do like to make up your own rules, don’t you? “Hey gang, let’s redefine the raw materials of intelligent design as “emergent” properties and watch the fun begin. Let’s create our own design free zone.”

    Please!

  236. That line in the second to last paragraph should read: “The whole is greater than ANY of the parts.”

  237. She was just a troll. It took me all of two responces. I explained the theory to he and she changed ground like 10 times. She was trying to make the rules. But ID isnt about any rules its about the fact. All of them. She wanted to use emergence- and she wanted to say sicenc has ruled out a first cause- that animals are areproblem for ID’s consistency when they are not- she rejected SC on no grounds except its a false ontological dilema because she doesnt agree with ID’s ontologcial stance becasue she is a methdological materialist. My definition of which is “someone who illogically rules out nonmaterial causeation due to their religious bias against intelligent causeation. The is no evidence that material causeation can being the universe or account for SC. Intelligence can account of SC and information could be the medium for first casue and is the best description of why nad how the universe has structure.

    Oh well, she just wants a religious war.

  238. Onlookers and Participants:

    Much of the above is enlightening, even entertaining.

    I especially liked Joseph at 174 on bird migration by stellar navigation, which joins the bio and the cosmo sides of ID nicely. Joseph again at 202, is just slightly less enjoyable, and also quite illuminating on basic scientific method — though I note that “it evolved” is also “it emerged” nowadays!

    FYI, Sally_T, it is the evolutionary materialists who have taken to themselves the project to say — cue Carl Sagan’s notorious intro to his PBS series, Cosmos [or the Berenstein bears on the same point . . .] — that science has successfully explained beyond revision of the basic framework, the ORIGIN of the cosmos from hydrogen to humans, through the materialistic evolutionary cascade:

    primordial state [perhaps multiverse?] –> big bang and cosmological evo –> stellar and planetary system evo –> chemical evo and OOL –> biological macro-evo on RV + NS etc –> Human evo –> Socio-cultural evo –> the current human situation.

    I — and many others far more august than I ever hope to be — have simply observed that notoriously public claim, and challenge that it has manifestly failed on its own terms, philosophically [being self-referentially incoherent on the credibility of the minds we need to think even evo mat thoughts] and scientifically [this is my always linked].

    Indeed, IMHCFO, Sally_T, your repeated attempts to turn about the issue and to invoke the word magic of “reductionism” and “emergence” tells us that in your heart of hearts, you know that but are unwilling to surrender the evo mat that underlies the failure. [Onlookers, consider the point in Rom 1:19 ff on why this is an increasingly commonly met with attitude nowadays.] So, on the evidence of many remarks above and insistence in the teeth of appropriate correction, you now rhetorically pretend that it is those who are criticising the failure who are “reductionistic” and who fail to understand the import of “emergence.”

    You have also failed to understand the basic logic of abductive inference to explanation, the framework in which science operates. The point is that we observe facts and seek explanations that for good reason would entail them logically [e.g. by cause-effect bonds]. So, if an explanation works as an explanation at all, it is always LOGICALLY valid: E => observed facts. Then, we compare alternative accounts that are reasonable and assess them across: factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory elegance and power, to conclude which is the best to date. We then hold that a best and reliable empirically anchored explanation is a reasonable scientific position etc. IMHCO, as my always linked outlines, the inference to design is the best, empirically and logically well warranted explanation of: OOL, body-plan level biodiversity, and the organised, fine-tuned complexity of the physics of our life-facilitating cosmos.

    BTW, it is also evident that because you do not take cognizance of the definition of ID, you don’t realise that it is a theory of the origin of information of certain types of interest, and so has application to — inter alia — both biology and cosmology. [Has it dawned on you that Mr Gonzalez is an ASTRONOMER, and has worked on astronomical ID issues tied to his major discoveries on Galactic Habitable Zones (the context for many of those 60+ papers and the Sci Am cover page article) and "goldilocks -- just right -- zones" in planetary systems, which is the context for his Privileged Planet thesis?]

    Onlookers, what does this say about Sally_T’s competence to comment seriously on the matters she insistently raised as distractors?

    “Distractors”?

    Yes, so, may I draw our attention back to the key issue for this thread — which it seems the Evo Mat advocates are insistent on distracting us from? Namely, a question of gross and hitherto concealed injustice.

    As Denyse ever so aptly says:

    Since the revelations from Monday’s press conference in Iowa regarding the true reason for Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure denial, I have been studying the comments of Darwinists . . . . I’ve already covered Maya [NB, now no longer with us] at 8, 10, and 12 here, arguing a case against Gonzalez, even though the substance of the story is that we now KNOW that her assertions have nothing to do with the real reason he was denied tenure.

    Oh, and at 15, she asserts, “The concern is not about Gonzalez’s politics or religion but about his ability to serve as a science educator.” . . . .

    getawitness, at 18, then compares astronomy to Near East Studies, of all things. NES is notorious for suspicion of severe compromise due to financing from Middle Eastern interests! . . . .

    at 35, Ellazimm asks, apparently in all seriousness, “Having been involved in a contentious tenure decision myself I can’t see why the faculty are not allowed to make a decision based on their understanding of the scientific standard in their discipline.” . . . .

    Briefly, Ellazimm the facts are these: They decided to get rid of him because of his sympathies with intelligent design BEFORE the tenure process even began, then cited a variety of other explanations that taken as a whole lacked merit . . . THEN the truth came out when e-mails were subpoenaed through a public records request. That was AFTER President Geoffroy had represented a facts-challenged story to the public media. In other words, the entire tenure process sounds like a sham and the participants may have engaged in deliberate deception to cover up the fact that it was a sham.

    I cite again, from 56 above, the statement of GG’s HOD, which he seemed to think warrants exclusion from tenure — but only succeeds in revealing his philosophical naivety:

    Dr. Gonzalez has stated that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory and someday would be taught in science classrooms. This is confirmed by his numerous postings on the Discovery Institute Web site. The problem here is that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. Its premise is beyond the realm of science. … But it is incumbent on a science educator to clearly understand and be able to articulate what science is and what it is not. The fact that Dr. Gonzalez does not understand what constitutes both science and a scientific theory disqualifies him from serving as a science educator.

    Now, as I commented in 56: ““the” definition of what is and is not science is a vexed PHILOSOPHICAL question, one that is pregnant with possibilities for abuse, and one that on the evidence above and in associated threads and linked documents, the HOD [and the staff in general] are plainly ill-equipped to fairly and soundly address.”

    CONCLUSION: In the face of such a decisive public record on the merits, the tactic of insistently diverting the thread to anything but the vital issue of exposing and correcting blatant injustice is a grim and terrible warning of what is likely to happen — again — if evo mat-driven secularist radicals and their fellow travellers of various stripes gain further power in our civilisation.

    It has been well-said, that “to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed.”

    At least, if we are at all prudent . . .

    GEM of TKI

  239. PS: Sally_T — why not look at my summary on the toolkit to think on such matters here. Also, IMHCFO it would repay you to look at related ethical matters here, especially on epistemic virtues and vices and the incoherence of relativism.

    Now, Ah really gawn to ketch up on sleep.

  240. Kairos, I was hoping you would weigh in on this one. As i pointed out- she denied the term intelligence becasue she didn’t like it. Dodged an explanation of SC. Claimed ID and DE as research programs were the same, tried to obfuscate the whole topic talking about spiders and webs, claimed she didn’t understand the theory and then dissmissed it all on unsupported ontological grounds.

    This is a hopeless situation for her as you can see she had to run away from everyhting ID threw at her. Pitty that she is the victim of her preconcieved biases. She waved the majic wand of Darwin only to find that inteligence in fact did exist.

  241. I have never denied intelligence, but I will state that so far you have absolutely no way to measure it.

    Same goes for ‘SC’ or CSI or what have you. How much information or complexity is in a peanut butter sandwich, you were asked above and ignored. This is crucial,. If ID is going to have a referential domain larger than theology it must make use of the concepts in other disciplines. How do you measure it? BA your suggestion will not work because there multiple pathways to producing amino acids through synonomous subsequences.

    Joseph and Frost you have consistently failed to understand the concept of emergence and the context of this discussion.

    I have stringently avoided all discussion of ontological emergence, for they devolve into the standard belly button gazing fare that BA’s list of things that theism predicts and KF’s business about ‘sadly, rhetorical, selective hyperskepticism, sad’.

    Stephen for all of your concerns, your quote ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’ is a statement of ontological emergence. So is Behe’s ‘Irreducible complexity’.

    Again, my comments refer to the role of emergence in scientific theories. Emergence blocks explanatory reduction to properties of lower levels.

    This most of you (except for those that stumbled over ‘emergence’) can accept. When I claim that ID is essentially a study of emergent properties (particular vagaries of life, particular vagaries of particular place in solar system, etc) and as such blocks any attempts of explanatory reduction to lower levels, some of you got mad. That is fine, ID doesn’t have to be reduced to lower levels.

    IF however it wants to be taken seriously as science, then it must refer back to higher levels (see above). Irreducible emergent properties must be used in higher level generalizations and theories. This was my question regarding how the ‘design inference’ was going to be used. I have received no clear answer, although Joseph provided a partial one in between fits (calm down hon!) when he suggested that the Edge to Evolution may be useful in designing new drugs or medicines. Interesting, but so far remains to be seen.

    Frost sweetie I’m not running away from this discussion, I just have other things going on in my life and can’t be here to respond to your every comment. That said, I’ll stop by a few times this weekend. I think it is important that you actually deal with the distinctions between the ontological and explanatory emergent properties and consider the block to explanation that design puts in the way. Also consider what quantitative measures you might use to decribe SC or CSI.

    cheers

  242. Sallyt I meant runing away in that you ignored my explantions to you questions. Not the fact that you have or have not been posting. It is good to see though that you finnaly accept intelligence as a useful conception- Have you read no free lunch? The way we measur eit is by breaking down complexity into matter/energy then useing information theory and what science currently holds about information bing stored into bits- to try and get some handle on intelligence. I never said its perfect but as i pointed out math isnot either Godel proved this beyond any shadow of a doubt. I dont want to keep calling you a troll so please keep the condascending tone to a polite level and ask specific questions not this rigormoral about what “domain” or “emergence” we dont have enough time to come to a universal philosophical agreement of what each term exactly means to one another- as far as ontology you can have no emergence whith out a first casue at least not in the physical sense. Did you mean it in the metaphysical sense like after a chair is built chairness as a concept has emerged through the embodiement of its object?

    If you try and be a little more specific and “explicit” I have no problem with calming down but dont you think there is a reason most people on this site think you are beating around the bush? Meet me half way if you can.

  243. Sally T,

    There is a lot of complexity in a peanut butter sandwich and even more in a pbnj. But it is not specified. A typical rock formation has an enormous amount of information and complexity but it is not specified.

    DNA has an enormous amount of complexity and is specified because some of it specifies an independent entity, namely proteins. Now the part of DNA that does this is only a small percentage of the total genome but it is large absolutely and can be quantified mathematically. My guess is that much of the remaining genome will end up specifying various processes for the organism to reproduce, develop and survive but as of yet it is only speculation.

    So from now on forget about peanut butter sandwiches or similar examples. You have now graduated into complexity that specifies an independent entity. So please limit your discussions to such areas from now on no matter how much you like peanut butter sandwiches.

  244. Sallyt,

    What you are rally asking is how do you define intelligence specifically-

    The ability to match ends to means. Not means to ends… “Ends to means-”

    Next you will say that this is an illusion because we just think we are matching ends to means but really the ends we have in mind are just the means in disguise-

    well that very well may be but it allows us the ability to design SC and wind and erosion cannot “trick itself into thinking its matching ends to means”

    So the cell- have you ever studied the unbelievable intricacy of the cell- it is this amazing mico-world and the fine tuning of the universe that made atheist Antony Flew a theist or deist or w/e he is. The specificity of these things is jaw dropping. Things that took us millions of years to design have been with us al along in the cell. And its still a mystery as I pointed out because Darwin’s explanation of Randomness uses the meaning of the word wrongly and he really means ” of unknown origin and unknown process.” If the universe was just a little off we would not exist. Why? How? Why don’t we live in a universe that is very flexible where we can say “oh well life is everywhere, its not special at because it’s so easily done, on every planet everywhere.” Because we don’t. Why cant we explain this? Because we can and the explanation we have has aggravated the status quoe’s universal paradigm and metaphysical biases.

    For this medicine question. I’m not going to sit here and play the ID hasn’t cured AIDs yet game. Neither has DE. But it is people like you that have stopped ID from getting any public research money or EVEN TO BE FRICKEN PEER REVIEWED! I mean come on it is deserving of some exposure at least. You cant call it unfruitful until you give it a fair run. If you are convinced that it cant do anything DE can’t then you have admitted your philosophical bias before even listening to my answer of your question. So please keep an open mind and allow me to further explain.

    Science today teacher Darwin even though a lot of what he has said has turned out to be wrong and now you have Neo-Darwinism- why we insist on keeping his name IMO is the atheistic bias but hat is just an opinion not provable- Drugs and medicine research is conducted by people have been tough that mutation and NS can account for everything in life. The truth is that probabilistically it cannot. A scientific trained in ID will look at bugs or drugs and not only discern where Darwinism is no longer a viable explanation but will look at the problem from the perspective of information theory asking how is this thing designed. ID is the only theory and template that opens biology up to this scientific view. I agree that some of this thinking is going on already but if you tough the theory or accepted it as a theory or even just peer reviewed the stuff you would not be wasting time but attacking the problems of science from a novel non-main stream approach that deviates form the norm and as i have pointed out clearly hold scientific merit at hr every least in its explanatory power. Also you cant ask for super explicit examples of how ID has resolved an issue that DE has not especially when we haven’t had the time or money or for that matter extreme exposure that DE has had. No one knows if a theory or research program will be fruitful until its allowed a good chance to develop. I would be for all kinds of novel theories being given peer review- science is about “thinking, and exploring” not rejecting things via the institution. Just because a bunch of people reject an idea doesn’t mean its wrong-Special theory of relativity was not given the Nobel prize for physics the first time it was up for it because the panel couldn’t understand the theory! Point is- let people be creative and novel and try to meet them half way and give their ideas honest exposure especially when ID has so much explanatory power though observation of the known cause and effect structure of the word- people would not be wasting time and money on this theory if they didn’t think it was right- unless you think its all about religion that is which is not judging the theory on its merits. Of course even if religion was a motivating factor for some or all of its advocates, it still doesn’t mean the theory is useless- it might be proven totally wrong but if it made positive contributions to science it was most likely worth it. It might be proven wrong and then picked back up again later- this has happened once with Darwin to today- Science, especially on the big questions, swings back and forth.

    One more thing , please keep your questions to me as one at a time I cant have a 10 way discussion with you at the same time and get anywhere significant or speak to the heart of your questions. I have explained how it differs from DE on a research basis. I have explained why ontology is important even if you reject first cause. Don’t just repeat the questions- ask “explicit” questions about my answers.

  245. Also I gave you quantitative measures in bits of information – this is not merely speculation it is the core of the theory- DNA is loaded with information and it is very important that we get a handle on it.

    Now here is where the real concepts come into play- First of all ID does write promissory notes as well as Darwinism (that all of the fossil records will align in accordance etc) i remind you that Darwin got it wrong when he said small changes over long periods of time bring about vast speciation- the Cambrian explosion showed huge differentiation in species at the highest taxonomic levels- this is not a refutation of evolution or its tree of life per se’ but it is if we are to put it on a chronological time scale because “why haven’t we seen the same rate of speciation sense then.” It is obvious that DE cannot predict what level of mutation will occur or how the exogenous and endogenous factors will deal with that change – preserving it or destroying it- so we have an intuitive break down. How can all of this just be acting without any accordance to natural laws? Why is there no continuity to the time intervals of speciation?

    Darwin had an answer- “Randomness”

    Now the problem with this world is that it doesn’t fit the bill except in a very stochastic sense. Everything is not random or I would float up to the ceiling every once in a while. This is the problem I have with methodological materialists they reject further metaphysical explanations so they reduce the argument to terminologies that barely and really don’t accurately describe the situation at hand.

    Randomness is not correct. SC and the universal probability bound not only bring intelligence into play as a factor but put a limit on how far EVo can go before it runs out of Materialistic natural probabilistic resources-

    Its not Random that we should cal those mysterious and elusive mutations but “unexplained”

    The philosophical reasoning that goes into the labeling of the process random has huge metaphysical exponents – so does if we say everything is planned.

    ID though makes no claim that everything is planned by intelligence it simply asserts that we “can” detect the role that intelligence plays in nature when the complexity and specificity of the object in inspection reaches astronomical levels.

    ID does not rule out the possibility that everything is designed- it does not rule out the possibility that everything was not designed – it rules out unguided natural processes via probability not possibility-

    The reason why we are talking about intelligence and not properties is the at intelligence is what we see in humans and intelligent life and it is the only thing that has displayed the power to move matter to design SC. Now intelligence is a property and it could be everywhere but we only see it in humans and language requires that we differentiate between human causation and wind erosion etc. Intelligence therefore could just be a property but it is the one we are familiar with in humans- You are trying to draw a line between Intelligence as we use in in the vernacular and properties as it could apply to everything in the universe- we are specifying the property- its not thermodynamics- its not gravity- its not wind and erosion- all are reside inside the circle of properties.

    The question of ontology is an important one but not limited to a first casue. Even though modern physics points to a first casue at the onset of the big bang, we need not rely on one. The who designed the desinger argument works fine with ID- intelligence desined intelligence infinetly if you wish, or some super intelligence kicked it all off at the first casue- but no unintelligent casue is suficient to explain the SC in nature.

  246. Sally:
    Same goes for ‘SC’ or CSI or what have you. How much information or complexity is in a peanut butter sandwich, you were asked above and ignored.

    Jerry:
    DNA has an enormous amount of complexity and is specified because some of it specifies an independent entity, namely proteins.

    The nature of the complexity cited is key. The selection value of codons is linked to their capacity to accurately represent specified amino acids or directive signals such as initiation and stoppage. The utility of codons lies in their symbolism. Symbolism is not only need be linked to aa and ultimately protein properties, it is linked to proper sequencing of amino acids ensuring the needed folding of the protein. Sometimes an entirely distinct protein- a chaperone- is needed to ensure accurate folding.

    All of this is measurable and quantifiable. It is not however, explained through a reductionist approach. Symbolic systems of information are not constructed through random processes that invoke selection as an explanatory filter. There are some biological functions that are truly basic because they involve processes that are critical to life. Such functions are irreducibly complex as are their proteins. The usual tactic of explaining the source of irreducubly compllex functions by referencing “precursor” molecules fails at the point of life’s origins. It fails because its proponents are determined to exclude ID from the explanatory mix.

  247. pk4-paul,

    you say:
    All of this is measurable and quantifiable.

    Could you please, for once, measure and quantify it before you draw any conclusions. Thanks.

  248. Informational content of a sandwich?? I’m sorry but what does that have to do with anything?

    But your main question (how to measure the informational content or “quantitative measures you might use to describe SC or CSI”) was answered in comment #152, albeit buried in a long response:

    500k – ~ 5 millions of DNA base pairs, each capable of storing 2 bits; and, BTW, that capacity is what Shannon info is about

    Even Dawkins would agree with that:

    In practice, you first have to find a way of measuring the prior uncertainty – that which is reduced by the information when it comes. For particular kinds of simple message, this is easily done in terms of probabilities. An expectant father watches the Caesarian birth of his child through a window into the operating theatre. He can’t see any details, so a nurse has agreed to hold up a pink card if it is a girl, blue for a boy. How much information is conveyed when, say, the nurse flourishes the pink card to the delighted father? The answer is one bit – the prior uncertainty is halved. The father knows that a baby of some kind has been born, so his uncertainty amounts to just two possibilities – boy and girl – and they are (for purposes of this discussion) equal. The pink card halves the father’s prior uncertainty from two possibilities to one (girl). If there’d been no pink card but a doctor had walked out of the operating theatre, shook the father’s hand and said “Congratulations old chap, I’m delighted to be the first to tell you that you have a daughter”, the information conveyed by the 17 word message would still be only one bit.

    Not quite a sandwich but the above explanation still is relevant to how to measure the informational content of any object.

    Computer information is held in a sequence of noughts and ones. There are only two possibilities, so each 0 or 1 can hold one bit. The memory capacity of a computer, or the storage capacity of a disc or tape, is often measured in bits, and this is the total number of 0s or 1s that it can hold. For some purposes, more convenient units of measurement are the byte (8 bits), the kilobyte (1000 bytes or 8000 bits), the megabyte (a million bytes or 8 million bits) or the gigabyte (1000 million bytes or 8000 million bits). Notice that these figures refer to the total available capacity. This is the maximum quantity of information that the device is capable of storing. The actual amount of information stored is something else. The capacity of my hard disc happens to be 4.2 gigabytes. Of this, about 1.4 gigabytes are actually being used to store data at present. But even this is not the true information content of the disc in Shannon’s sense. The true information content is smaller, because the information could be more economically stored. You can get some idea of the true information content by using one of those ingenious compression programs like “Stuffit”. Stuffit looks for redundancy in the sequence of 0s and 1s, and removes a hefty proportion of it by recoding – stripping out internal predictability. Maximum information content would be achieved (probably never in practice) only if every 1 or 0 surprised us equally. Before data is transmitted in bulk around the Internet, it is routinely compressed to reduce redundancy.

    That’s good economics. But on the other hand it is also a good idea to keep some redundancy in messages, to help correct errors. In a message that is totally free of redundancy, after there’s been an error there is no means of reconstructing what was intended. Computer codes often incorporate deliberately redundant “parity bits” to aid in error detection. DNA, too, has various error-correcting procedures which depend upon redundancy. When I come on to talk of genomes, I’ll return to the three-way distinction between total information capacity, information capacity actually used, and true information content.

    It was Shannon’s insight that information of any kind, no matter what it means, no matter whether it is true or false, and no matter by what physical medium it is carried, can be measured in bits, and is translatable into any other medium of information. The great biologist J B S Haldane used Shannon’s theory to compute the number of bits of information conveyed by a worker bee to her hivemates when she “dances” the location of a food source (about 3 bits to tell about the direction of the food and another 3 bits for the distance of the food). In the same units, I recently calculated that I’d need to set aside 120 megabits of laptop computer memory to store the triumphal opening chords of Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (the “2001″ theme) which I wanted to play in the middle of a lecture about evolution. Shannon’s economics enable you to calculate how much modem time it’ll cost you to e-mail the complete text of a book to a publisher in another land. Fifty years after Shannon, the idea of information as a commodity, as measurable and interconvertible as money or energy, has come into its own.

    DNA carries information in a very computer-like way, and we can measure the genome’s capacity in bits too, if we wish. DNA doesn’t use a binary code, but a quaternary one. Whereas the unit of information in the computer is a 1 or a 0, the unit in DNA can be T, A, C or G. If I tell you that a particular location in a DNA sequence is a T, how much information is conveyed from me to you? Begin by measuring the prior uncertainty. How many possibilities are open before the message “T” arrives? Four. How many possibilities remain after it has arrived? One. So you might think the information transferred is four bits, but actually it is two. Here’s why (assuming that the four letters are equally probable, like the four suits in a pack of cards). Remember that Shannon’s metric is concerned with the most economical way of conveying the message. Think of it as the number of yes/no questions that you’d have to ask in order to narrow down to certainty, from an initial uncertainty of four possibilities, assuming that you planned your questions in the most economical way. “Is the mystery letter before D in the alphabet?” No. That narrows it down to T or G, and now we need only one more question to clinch it. So, by this method of measuring, each “letter” of the DNA has an information capacity of 2 bits.

    Just like kairosfocus already explained briefly….

    Why 4 nucleotides?

    Back to Dawkins:

    Whenever prior uncertainty of recipient can be expressed as a number of equiprobable alternatives N, the information content of a message which narrows those alternatives down to one is log2N (the power to which 2 must be raised in order to yield the number of alternatives N). If you pick a card, any card, from a normal pack, a statement of the identity of the card carries log252, or 5.7 bits of information. In other words, given a large number of guessing games, it would take 5.7 yes/no questions on average to guess the card, provided the questions are asked in the most economical way. The first two questions might establish the suit. (Is it red? Is it a diamond?) the remaining three or four questions would successively divide and conquer the suit (is it a 7 or higher? etc.), finally homing in on the chosen card.

    I’m sure everyone remembers similar examples in Dembski’s books?

    Remember, too, that even the total capacity of genome that is actually used is still not the same thing as the true information content in Shannon’s sense. The true information content is what’s left when the redundancy has been compressed out of the message, by the theoretical equivalent of Stuffit. There are even some viruses which seem to use a kind of Stuffit-like compression. They make use of the fact that the RNA (not DNA in these viruses, as it happens, but the principle is the same) code is read in triplets. There is a “frame” which moves along the RNA sequence, reading off three letters at a time. Obviously, under normal conditions, if the frame starts reading in the wrong place (as in a so-called frame-shift mutation), it makes total nonsense: the “triplets” that it reads are out of step with the meaningful ones. But these splendid viruses actually exploit frame-shifted reading. They get two messages for the price of one, by having a completely different message embedded in the very same series of letters when read frame-shifted. In principle you could even get three messages for the price of one, but I don’t know whether there are any examples.

    Another example:

    http://www.mcld.co.uk/hiv/?q=HIV%20genome

    The integrated form of HIV-1 is approximately 9.8 kilobases in length (9,213-nucleotide structure) and is highly polymorphic.

    So in general I don’t see the point in further discussing the “how to measure the informational bits” since there is not any major disagreement on this issue. UD is not a teaching course. We generally assume that commentators have prior knowledge of the subject matter.

    The demand to “measure and quantify it before you draw any conclusions” is thus unjustified. It’s like demanding that we first teach you your ABC’s (how to measure informational content and the specifics of CSI) while everyone else wants to discuss grammar. Read the literature, comprehend it, and then you can be part of this debate.

  249. Patrick, this has been one of the more interesting threads I’ve seen here. Kudos for moderating it so well.

  250. Leo, read Patrick’s comment. Do you really believe the information content of DNA is unmeasurable or is this just a dumb talking point?

  251. Sally T:

    You have not yet addressed my point that “adapting” does not constitute “planning with an end in mind.”

  252. Sally T:

    My corrected comment was “The whole is always greater than one of the parts.” (Obviously true). You ignored that and commented on the posting error, which read, “The whole is greater than the sum of all the parts.” (Conditionally true)

    Apparently, you missed the correction, so I won’t hold you accountable for that. Still, you need to respond to the point. Point #1 is unassailable; point #2 is trivial. Forget about #2 and address #1. Don’t you believe in logic.

  253. Jerry, at #181 you wrote, “ID as it is related to evolution is not incompatible with materialism.” Could you elaborate on that?

  254. Joseph:

    Thank you for your service and sacrifice. I am proud to be in the same intellectual confederation with one such as you, albeit in my own stumbling way.

  255. Thanks patrick.

    this is a major problem that Dawkins has raised. In his urge to reduce everything to genes, he has made a few errors. ID has copied those errors it appears. Please follow.

    We don’t know how the phenotype is constructed from the genotype. We do know that it is possible for the phenotype to not vary, while the genotype does. This means that the phenotype does not ‘supervene’ upon the genotype, even though most of us will agree it is dynamically determined by it.

    The lack of supervenience is an important issue. It means that we cannot explain higher level properties as a function of lower level properties, and that is a big deal. So the bottom up approach of calculating probabilities is blocked by the lack of supervenience of the higher level properties on the lower levels. This is also true for Dawkins’ gene selection theories. They are both in a corner that prevents their utility in other theories at higher levels above their own.

    Treating the DNA code as if it were a prewritten program or a code is an ontological issue that also (purposely) blocks explanatory reduction. It may very well be the case that all of the cellular processes and entities are mere consequences of the properties of consitutent matter. At this point, it is not clear. I’ll agree with you say, how could that be, but i do think it is worth keeping on the table as a null model.

    ‘Information’ in terms of nucleotide sequences can yield information for phylogenetic analysis. However, there are two distinctions that are worth pointing out.

    Phylogenetic analsyses use the sum of all the ‘information’, ie each nucleotide in the sequential alignment, combined with other theories (models) of nucleotide evolution (substitution, replacement, insertion, deletion, etc) to derive generalizations at a higher level

    The ID measure of nucleotide information appears to be a generalization of the lower levels, but not knowing how those lower levels contribute to higher levels (phenotype) blocks any attempt to use information as a meaningful term in higher levels.

    The difference lies in the way that nucleotide sequence data are treated. To phylogenetics, a sequence of X length has X data points. To ‘information’, a sequence of X data points is reduced to a single measure of information, in whatever unit.

    How would you use ‘information’ in a higher level explanation? What is ID desiring to explain with ‘information’? In my experience, ‘information’ has only been used to argue negatively against other explanatory domains, by raising the ontological emergence of biological ‘information’ issue. How are ID’ers using information in positive explanatory accounts of higher level phenomena (Note that someone above has asserted that the entire universe contains ‘information’ and that the explanatory domain of ID is the entire observable universe. this seems problematic to me. anyone else?)

    so, while I will agree that you can derive a number for any arbitrary unit of measurement, I don’t see the explanatory utility of compressing the ‘information’ in a DNA sequence to extract a single number that is supposed to have any meaning. So pk4paul, I don’t see the point in the measurement. We already have better methods that are tied to other explanatory domains, and ID so far is not tied to any higher levels of explanation.

  256. So, is it now possible to come together on basic terms?

    Moon Craters

    Specified: yes/no
    Complex: yes/no

  257. I don’t see what the issue is ‘the whole is always greater than one of the parts’. Can you remind me?

    Adaptation carries a lot of teleological baggage. Hence (again I’ll pick on Dawkins) much of the discussion about adaptation has been plagued by the same logical inconsistencies that accompany the calculation of ‘probabilities’ that ID is so fond of. Many critics of panadaptationism have repeatedly pointed this out, but it has not reached the community as a whole. Sociobiology is a fine example of runaway reductive approaches that are ultimately rather unsucessful.

    But, perhaps this is a digression.

    I guess we should clarify, do you believe a spider has a ‘end goal in mind’ when constructing a web?

    A beaver has an ‘end goal in mind’ when constructing a dam?

    I think so. So in this sense we recognize the teleology of biological agents.

    We don’t, and most likely can’t (although many have argued this over and over) identify the teleology of First Causes. ID, in this thread, has consistently been associated with the First Cause. If that is true, then it is philosophy and perhaps good philosophy, although it is of the same ontological argument that Plantigna agrees is only valid when one carries the appropriate presuppositions and not a convincing argument otherwise. I prefer arguments that are more robust.

    If you believe that spiders and beavers are just biological robots following a program, that is at least a hypothesis. I pointed out that the plasticity of behaviors, even within the same individual, blocks explanatory reduction to genetic properties (although KF or someone raised the issue multiple outcomes, that is an ontological emergence issue and not the issue I am concerned with: nominal emergence, nonaggregativity, causal incompressibility and supervenience as a block to explanatory reduction). This is further supported by the observation that we don’t understand how genotype produces phenotype or behaviors, so while it may be true it is certainly not established.

    regarding the table, you are mentioning ‘nominal emergence’. the height of the table would be a nonaggregative property since it is determined by a particular configuration of the parts of the table. there is a difference, and nominal emergence is neither necessary or sufficient to produce nonaggregativity.

  258. Sally:

    Treating the DNA code as if it were a prewritten program or a code is an ontological issue that also (purposely) blocks explanatory reduction.

    It does not block explanatory reduction. What the recognition of coding does is allow for alternative explanations. Explanatory reduction needs to be based on plausible biochemical analyses. The problem with plausibility is inherent in the biochemistry. You can “treat” codes as if they arise from underlying chemical realities. If successful you will make a reductionist approach the prefered explanation. There are no roadblocks to such an effort other than the ones imposed by nature.

  259. Patrick, pk4-paul and other,

    A “dumb talking point”??? This one of the pillars of the ID hypothesis and NO peer reviewed, published research has done, to my knowledge, to show one concrete example of the process by which the calculations are made.

    I think it would be nice to take this exercise to the next level. This is, perhaps, the kind of research that some in the ID community should be doing, and if I understand it correctly, it would not require any funding to do as all (or at least enough to start) of the information exists and everyone (expect me) is an expert at it.

    So, to take an example, let us look at the dystrophin protein. I pick this because it is very large and therefore very complex and will serve as a good example for the ID community.

    All relevant information can be gathered here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/si.....dystrophin

    including genetic sequence, protein sequence, tertiary structures, etc.

    To get things started, I imagine the start codon will contain more information than other condons (making it already more complicated than Patrick let on). Furthermore, condons that code for aa’s like serine or cysteine would likely account for more complexity than a glycine, due to their effects on protein structure. I also imagine that the wobble position would cause some issues, for example, because a leucine can be coded by 6 different codons, they would each contain less complexity than tgg, tryptophan, which is encoded by only that one.

    Dystrophin is a useful protein because we know about many of the mutations that take occur and how they affect the protein function, both directly and in the context of the entire organism. This can give a good idea as to the immutability of the sequence. There are reviews that will list all the mutations known, in full. There may be some issues when taking into account other factors that affect protein function, for example, intronic spicing, trans-acting factors, etc. It would be an interesting experiment to mutate each aa individually and quantitate protein function.

    As well, looking into the promoters, enhancers, insulator elements, etc. would be required. Also, epigenetic factors including chromatin methylation, acetylation, etc etc have to be factored in.

    I realize this is extremely complicated, however, if this is done it is actual scientific data to verify the SC hypothesis. I find it deeply distressing that none of these factors were mentioned in any of the previous post about the nature of the complexity of a DNA sequence/protein. It gives me pause concerning the depth of molecular biology knowledge in this community. Furthermore, if one wants to extract the informational content from these systems and compare them in a meaningful way to everything else in nature so as to prove that nature cannot produce CSI, one also needs a detailed understanding of everything from the bond strength of inorganic crystal structures to fusion rates in stars.

    Before you say nature has never produced CSI you have to prove nature has never produced CSI. That is the point I am trying to make.

    I could imagine some people will look at all the data and say, of course it is complex, but the only way to convince people of you cause to do the calculations and prove that it is complex and publish your results in a peer reviewed journal. It is very easy to sit at home and type diatribes expressing you revulsion at the scientific community for not taking ID seriously, but unless you do some actual work you won’t and don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

  260. whether ‘codes’ arise as the consequences of the properties of the constituent elements, compounds and molecules is certainly a testable hypothesis. I’m not familiar with that type of research so i have no idea of how generally this is accepted. Within my field, we more or less accept the coding analogy as a useful heuristic but not an ontological commitment.

    The notion that DNA determines every feature about organisms is a reductionist trap that has swallowed good biologists and seems poised to swallow the ID movement. Of course one way to escape the trap has been to claim various forms of human exceptionalism. these are incoherent as i have tried to show on this thread. another way to escape the trap is to show how reductive explanations are blocked by emergence.

  261. Sally: Within my field, we more or less accept the coding analogy as a useful heuristic but not an ontological commitment.

    That’s fine. However, in exploring the issue of origins one needs to follow the trail of evidence wherever it leads. Once one begins to argue for a supernatural entity based on natural test data he or she has departed the realm of the empirical. One cannot force ontological commitments based on test data.

  262. I’m not sure I get your point. Can you elaborate? Are you saying that there is no way to argue positively for ‘design’ from empirical grounds?

    My previous comment was regarding the irrelevance of whether or not DNA has ontological emergence, but that treating it as a ‘code’ (an emergent property itself) allows for robust generalizations at higher levels. That does not, as you seem to say above, imply an ontological commitment.

    However, ‘design’ does. At least in some formulations of the design inference (not the ones where Dembski has admitted that natural selection may produce CSI, see Elsberry and Shallit). So what you are saying cannot be done (forcing ontological commitments from data) is certainly what the ‘design inference’ entails.

  263. “Are you saying that there is no way to argue positively for ‘design’ from empirical grounds?”

    No. I’m saying that such an argument cannot be conflated with ontology.

    “My previous comment was regarding the irrelevance of whether or not DNA has ontological emergence, but that treating it as a ‘code’ (an emergent property itself) allows for robust generalizations at higher levels. That does not, as you seem to say above, imply an ontological commitment.”

    The generalizations are unsecured in the absence of data supporting the reductionist approach to codes. The supporting ediface is the plausibility of emergence. If that concept is faulty then the whole structure is shaky.

    “However, ‘design’ does.”

    Does what? Force a commitment to a belief in God?

  264. Sally T: On the problem of elevating “adaptation” to the level of “planning.”

    Please. I am not interested in spiders right now. That’s someone else’s gig.

    Let me provide you with your own quote:

    “I would say that there is a great deal of planning that occurs in plants and animals. There is a fine literature on life history adaptations to specific environmental presses. For instance, a crop pest in North America, the corn rootworm, evolved resistance to pesticides on corn. Crop rotation was undertaken to disrupt the life cycle and free fields from pests already in situ at planting. Two things happened: a new biotype emerged that prefers soybeans (concurrent with tradeoffs that reduced viability on corn), and corn biotypes evolved an extended diapause allowing them to emerge again when corn was planted. this is common in insects. Another example, some caddisflies diapause as eggs from late spring until the early winter, after leaf fall. These particular organisms scrape periphyton off of instream substrates, and periphyton is at its peak abundance during the period when no leaves are on the trees. Planning, no? There are millions of other examples from nature. The punch line should be that those characteristics you propose for an argument to human exceptionalism are not exclusive to humans but are pervasive in nature.”

    Now, inasmuch as we now agree that planning includes having “an end in mind,” I am simply asking who/what/ is doing the planning?
    We already know that you don’t think an intelligent agent programmed the organisms with any information, so we can rule that out for now.

    The problem is that both processes you describe do not constitute having an end in mind so much as they illustrate a reaction to the environment. Now for most neo-Darwinists, this would not be a problem. They would simply assert that it is a purposeless, mindless, unplanned, process. Who knows, after all, what the environment is going to do?

    But you are saying such is not the case. You are saying it is a planned process.

    For an organism to plan it must know “in advance” where it wants to go. If the environement is making the decisions, then the organism can hardly be choosing the direction. That would mean that it is a non-directed process.

    But you are saying that it is a directed process. That would seem to be a problem. If the organism doesn’t know where it is going until the environment exerts its influence and demands that the organism adapt, how can you say that the organism is following its own plan for development.

  265. “Treating the DNA code as if it were a prewritten program or a code is an ontological issue that also (purposely) blocks explanatory reduction.”

    You have missed the entire point Sallyt. This is not about reductionism- you are the only one demanding reductionism and I’m not sure why. If reductionism was the purpose of science we could look at Mt Rushmore and conclude that wind and erosion did the designing work. Why? Because it is perfectly possible that the wind blew the rocks and over maybe millions of years and rain and erosion washed channels into the hill and the shape of the hill was naturally over millions and millions of years just so close that it didn’t take too much evolution to finish the job off.

    Reduction perspectives in science are only as good as their explanatory power. Take you genetic situation. You have chromosomes and they are capable of containing a lot of genetic inheritance – so you can reduce it back then you have to account for the information and you go back again – then you say the information came from this- and we go back again and again- No matter how far you go back Sallyt the problem never goes away in fact it becomes worse- instead of having wind and erosion you have a human being- instead of chromosomes you have DNA + the exogenous environmental factors + odds that over x time the ability to evolve and reproduce would be favorable. We not only have to look for connecting materialistic intermediaries but also we must assess what it is that guided the process along so fruitfully- this certainly is a total improbability- and the more complex the object the further one must go to get this account and therefore the more improbable the explanation-

    Intelligence however has the ability to not only account for teleology but also design environments conducive to evolutionary change- Take for example the changes necessary for a one cell organism to become a human being- what is the probability and time scale of this happening? Why along the way was there not other examples of diverging designs for example half man half reptile? Half-man half-fish half-man half-horse- why did everything organize into neat species? Why are there homologous similarities that cross specie lines? All of these questions are not about a common lineage but about the process by which that linage aligns itself.

    It is possible that CSI could have been introduced anywhere along the way- just because you can create a just so story back tracking evolutionary lineages doesn’t mean that is how it happened-

    ID can account for the structure and process of evolution but DE cannot- at best DE can come to a tree of life picture in the end but will have no ability to explain what directed that development or how CSI emerged- this is the ontological question that you raised -what emerged the property of CSI and what is its domain? CSI is not confined to any one domain- it can be anywhere except one place which is embodied in the material itself. Put all of the materials needed to bake a cake in a pot and wait as long as you want and you will never have a cake. You need baking instructions and an oven and a vehicle that can make that process happen. CSI requires more than material- things like time, space, movement, laws and the such are not embodied in matter itself but are ways of describing the characteristics that matter elucidates. Space cannot be reduced via DE and N/S yet it exists. Movement cannot either. These are the components of the evolutionary process that are at the heart of Darwin’s inadequacies. ID can move matter- can make space or room- can set laws- can choose when and where to place those mutations- It is amazing to me that anyone could have such a hard time grasping this. Francis Crick concluded DNA must have been intelligently designed and until you rewrite the standard explanation of DNA I wont be taking your unenlightened opinion on this matter seriously- you have ignored all of the mathematical obstacles to evolution the ones that forced Dawkins to write CMI and in the end your only goal is to reduce the argument into nothingness when the truth is that ID IS the reductionist explanation because nothing else is adequate. You cannot fool me with this method of luring us into speculation on a problem when one doesn’t exist -all the while ignoring every piece of evidence presented to you. IF you look deep enough into anything it will eventually vanish- not just in mere concept but in physics- matter is actually composed of force fields encapsulating nothing but infinite space. If you try and look deep enough even matter can disappear- I think that you have not developed yourself intellectually enough to grasp the simple concepts of ID yet-

    Or as Emerson put it-

    “People only see what they are prepared to see.”

    The significance in life is not found in the ultimate reductionism that you worriship – Einstein would never have discovered special relativity if not for his belief in the higher plane of thought and the mysterious questions of ontology – Take a lesson from C.S. Lewis who knew all of this too well…

    “To see through all things is the same as not to see.” —C. S. Lewis

    We can certainly say that your explanations of the evolution lineage could be right but without being there to see it happen in person it is just speculation and a just so story and we are still left with “SC“ and ID and no guiding force- but the point you need to accept is that by rejecting ontological explanation as part of science you have not set the rules but merely conceded the point-

    This shadow game has grown tiresome and ID is glad to accept your resignation even if it must be by default.

  266. We have been discussing whether or not the ‘design inference’ is going to add a single thing to other scientific theories, and the probable reasons that it will not.

    It is empirically equivalent to say ‘a cell is designed’ and ‘a cell just is’. The ontological burden is on the ‘designed’ proponent, and Hume showed very well the problems with this argument and they have never been countered.

    But the notion that one may measure something related to ‘design’ is curious and worth investigating. So far there is no rigorous or robust method for doing so, even if we are to grant the category error in comparing the design of arrowheads, interstate systems, and caddisfly cases to objects and processes that we have never seen any entity design.

    So the measurement issue is crucial, but as many have demonstrated there is no meaningful (biologically referential) unit of value. This doesn’t mean, in principle, that it is worthless. It does mean however, in order to be successful (useful in science, with explanatory autonomy), that it must be referential to biology theory in general, or it will be completely orthogonal and have little utility to working biology as a whole, instead a meta-analysis (much like the study of the use of rhetoric in scientific theories is not science in itself, wink wink).

    So far the ID debate has been centered around the question ‘Can we detect design of man-made objects’. So far, it has not strongly established that this is possible. In the meantime, the analogical exercise of negative argument from Behe is an attempt to distract or stall scientific debate until these loose ends can be nailed down, and that requires an objective analyses of ‘So i grant you living things look like they are the product of ‘Intelligent Design’. Now what? How will this influence the actual practice of science? If, as you say, the designer could be entirely natural (as I am saying is the appropriate null hypothesis, if that even qualifies as a hypothesis), this may be worth investigation. If it becomes a navel gazing exercise in reification of definitions of designers that are outside the realm of investigation, then it will prove unsuccessful.

  267. Joseph, I guess it will suffice to say that you have no idea what the term means or how to calculate it, you just use it because Dr. Dembski tells you to. Fair enough, at least I now know what I’m dealing with.- Leo

    Wrong. It will suffice to say that you have no idea what the term means or how to claculate it. Wm. never told me to do anything. Wm,, however, has formulted the process.

    And I have known what I have been dealing with for years.

    Also Sally_T continues to confuse me with someone else- for example:

    Joseph and Frost you have consistently failed to understand the concept of emergence and the context of this discussion.

    Take a look and you will see that I have NEVER said anything against or for, emergence. NOT ONE WORD!

    To calculate SC/ CSI you have to first determine what it would take to duplicate that which is being investigated.

    For example the peanutbutter sandwhich- first you have to determine whether or not agency activity was involved. If “yes” then to calculte the CSI/ SC you would do the following:

    First you have to duplicate the bread-making process. Then calculate the information and the ingredients required- pretty much straight forward addition.

    Step 2 would be the peanutbutter- same thing- what does it take to make peanutbutter.

    Step 3 would be the process of adding the peanutbutter to the bread.

    Step 4 would be to add all of those steps together and count the bits.

    With IC one just has to count the number of components involved and then figure out how they have to go together- the sequence configuration.

    To Sally_T:

    No one is trying to identify the First Cause. All we are doing is trying to determine whether or not agency activity was required.

    And as reality demonstrates it matters a great to whether or not that which is being investigated arose via agency involvement or not. Just ask any archeaologist, forensic scientist or fire investigator.

    Treating the DNA code as if it were a prewritten program or a code is an ontological issue that also (purposely) blocks explanatory reduction. Sally_T

    Nonsense. Treating the DNA as if it were a prewritten program or code is perhaps the ONLY way of truly understanding it.

    Take encoded messages as a perfect example (I used to work in encryption)- say you receive a signal that to you sounds like jibberish. However you know it’s not because you are tapping into a system that doesn’t do jibberish.

    Now if one knew it was a prewritten intelligible message then one would go about trying to decode it in an attempt to understand it. However if one had no such idea then the real message would be lost to that person.

    The notion that DNA determines every feature about organisms is a reductionist trap that has swallowed good biologists and seems poised to swallow the ID movement.-Sally_T

    IDists know better. Creationists know better.

    Giuseppe Sermonti, geneticist, tells us “The Big Differences are Not Due to Genes” (chapter X in “Why is a Fly Not a Horse?”).

    In chapter VI he says:

    The scientist enjoys a privilege denied the theologian. To any question, even one central to his theories, he may reply “I’m sorry but I do not know.” This is the only honest answer to the question posed by the title of this chapter. We are fully aware of what makes a flower red rather than white, what it is that prevents a dwarf from growing taller, or what goes wrong in a paraplegic or a thalassemic. But the mystery of species eludes us, and we have made no progress beyond what we already have long known, namely, that a kitty is born because its mother was a she-cat that mated with a tom, and that a fly emerges as a fly larva from a fly egg.”

    IOW no one knows where the information for form resides.

    Denton once wrote that although genes may influence every aspect of development they do not determine it (“Uncommon Dissent” entry).

    And that is why when evolutionists insist that genetic similarity means universal common descent, those who know better just laugh.

    And if we can determine/ recognize the teleology of biological agents then what stops us from recognizing/ determining the teleology of non-biological agents?

    And how would we know that they are non-biological especially if they leave the same signs behind?

  268. Sally-T,

    To turn your question around, “How will retaining a false paradigm (neo-Darwinism) in biology help the progress of science?

    Is not the primary purpose of science to relentlessly pursue a more complete understanding of the truth whatever, and wherever, that truth may be?

    I myself believe many breakthroughs in science are being severely hampered by neo-Darwinism, because science is not asking the tough questions that science truly should be asking, like “How exactly was the design implemented?”

    In fact, science may now be equipped to answer such questions, because many promising lines of investigation are opening up to this field of inquiry through breakthroughs in the area of non-local quantum mechanics.

    A quick search reveals:

    Robust quantum entanglement can involve millions of atoms or molecules.

    http://listserv.arizona.edu/cg.....&P=59

    Nonlocal Effects of Chemical Substances on the Brain
    Produced through Quantum Entanglement

    http://www.ptep-online.com/ind.....-06-04.PDF

    Quantum Control of Molecules
    Kent R. Wilson (University of California, San Diego)

    please note this fact:

    “non-local control of large molecules in solution (including proteins)”

    Needless to say, This is a VERY promising area of research.

    So Sally-T the real question is why in the world should solid truth be denied its proper place in science, when so much promise is held by relentlessly pursuing a more complete understanding of the truth?

  269. We have been discussing whether or not the ‘design inference’ is going to add a single thing to other scientific theories, and the probable reasons that it will not.-Sally_T

    Seeing that any investigation relies on how that which is being investigated came to be, it is obvious the design inference matters a great deal.

    Once it is determined that a cell is designed we investigate it in that light- just as an archeaologist would approach a rock differently if he could find signs of counterflow- ie “work” associated with that rock.

    Also detectives would not go out looking for a murderer if the forensics determine a natural cause of death.

    BTW reality also demonstrates that we do not have to know the designers in order to first detect/ determine design and then set out to understand it.

    But the notion that one may measure something related to ‘design’ is curious and worth investigating. So far there is no rigorous or robust method for doing so, even if we are to grant the category error in comparing the design of arrowheads, interstate systems, and caddisfly cases to objects and processes that we have never seen any entity design.

    That’s too funny. What the heck do you think Wm Dembski was doing in “The Design Inference” and “No Free Lunch”?

    What was SC Meyer doing in “DNA and the Origin of Life: Information, Specification, and Explanation”?

    And what do you think Behe did with “irreducible complexity”?

    Totally unbelievable…

  270. It does mean however, in order to be successful (useful in science, with explanatory autonomy), that it must be referential to biology theory in general, or it will be completely orthogonal and have little utility to working biology as a whole, instead a meta-analysis (much like the study of the use of rhetoric in scientific theories is not science in itself, wink wink).

    In other words we are looking for some selection process that explains how chemicals in a prebiotic soup commenced a process that culminated in a cell. We want something referencing a replicating organic substance that with some extrapolation and a dash of imagination can be set forth as an explanatory model. Something Darwin would be proud of and Hume could have used to philosophically polish off believers in entities existing outside this universe (multi-universe concepts duly excepted of course wink wink).

  271. Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence. — William A. Dembski

    Wm then asks:

    Intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?

    The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself-not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs. Inferring that biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent is a humdrum process that requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the hard work that biochemistry has done over the past forty years, combined with consideration of the way in which we reach conclusions of design every day.- Dr Behe

    ]“Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.
    In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed”
    Pg. 72 of Darwinism, Design and Public Education

  272. Joseph,

    I hope you don’t think that I’m trying to cause trouble. I’m just trying to make sense of this.

    I interpret William Dembski’s statement to mean, “The term ‘CSI’ identifies …”, meaning that the highly compressible strings that he mentions are CSI. That seems to make sense in the context of the paragraph, and I don’t see any other way to interpret it. What does it mean to you?

    Every time William Dembski talks about algorithmic compressibility in relation to design detection, he treats compressibility as favorable to a design inference. He does this consistently in his math, definitions, explanations, and examples, in both The Design Inference and No Free Lunch, as well as in his other work. So I hope you can understand my confusion when I see you, CJYman, and even Stephen Meyer excluding compressible strings from things that exhibit CSI.

    Your quote from Stephen Meyer certainly stands as evidence for your position, but William Dembski seems to reject that position. Can anyone on this boards shed some light on this for me? Much thanks.

  273. Hi Frost [and others]:

    Though the thread — due to the dismissal, distortion and distraction rhetorical tactics of the evo mat advocates [who cannot bring themselves to face an issue of manifest injustice; itself a serious warning sign for us, cf. 56 and 239] — has long since passed the point of furhter utility in general, one or two points are worth a remark.

    1] Frost, 241: she [Sally_T] denied the term intelligence [cf below] becasue she didn’t like it. Dodged an explanation of SC. Claimed ID and DE as research programs were the same, tried to obfuscate the whole topic talking about spiders and webs, claimed she didn’t understand the theory and then dissmissed it all

    Par for the course Frosty, and notice the even bigger dodge at work: there is a major injustice out there and Evo mat advocates are unwilling to face their duty to justice.

    Let us take fair warning and act prudently int he face of the threat such represent to whatever shreds of liberty we have left.

    2] Sally_T, 242: I have never denied intelligence

    You have tried to obfuscate the distinction between intelligent agent action creating novel, complex functional information-bearing structures, and instinctive, fixe4d programs that carry out such FSCI. The bird navigation example at 174 is sufficient to answer to the issue, and of course has been dodged.

    3] but I will state that so far you have absolutely no way to measure it [intelligence].

    Technically half-true, materially misleading.

    Can we measure Justice on a ratio or interval scale? Does that then mean that we cannot rank examples of action objectively on a range from utter injustice to perfect justice? [Or have we forgotten so easily the old statistician's NOIR acrostic for different types of metrics?]

    Does that give us a right to disregard blatant examples of injustice and refuse to stand up for justice for a man set upon by men who swallow whole a deceitful distortion of the nature of science and use it to trashy his reputation and career as a scientist? [Cf again 56 and 239.]

    Oh, but we were supposed to be talking about the distraction off a distraction off a distraction, on “intelligence” . . . .

    Forgive me. Intelligence plainly is rankable on degrees from utterly unintelligent [rocks] to ultimately intelligent [God], which is a basis for an ordinal metric, or even along parts of the range a pseudo-interval scale such as IQ.

    In part, it shows itself in creative behaviour, including the origination of functionally specified complex information beyond say 500 – 1,000 bits or so of storage capacity required, which we see in origin of life, origin of body-plan level biodiversity, and the information required to summarise the finely tuned, life-facilitating physics behind the cosmos as we observe it.

    Not to mention, the information requisites for the instinctual DNA programs for little birdies to know to migrate south west was it, when at a certain time of year and time of night certain constellations are in a certain part of the sky, and when at a different time of year they are in another part of the sky, to migrate back.

    Y’know, the sort of stuff that I discussed in the always linked, Section A, which has duly been dismissed but obviously never seriously read. [Indeed, right at the beginning of the section there is a link to Shannon's original paper and there is a discussion on Shannon Information under the name of F R Connor's discussion for first time learners.]

    4] How much information or complexity is in a peanut butter sandwich, you were asked above and ignored.

    ANS: Construct an optimal or even just effective algorithm to make a PB sandwich.

    How many yes/no steps are involved? That measures the info storing capacity. Is this beyond 500 – 1,000 bits? That is the threshold of complexity. Is this config part of an archipelago that is functionally effective and isolated in the resulting possible config space? If so, it is Specified in the Dembski-Orgel type sense.

    Now, more to the point, if Sally_T had bothered to look at the always linked Appendix 1 section 6 [or in Ch 8 of TMLO as linked more than once], she would have seen a much more serious discussion of precisely this issue, using the basic principles of statistical thermodynamics. Or, she could have simply taken to heart the point the late great Sir Fred Hoyle made in his famous example of referring to the likelihood of a tornado assembling a 747 from parts in an aerospace junkyard.

    But, that would hardly suit her distractive rhetorical tactics would it. And, let us note, this is a distraction from facing and correcting injustice.

    5] you have consistently failed to understand the concept of emergence and the context of this discussion . . . . I have stringently avoided all discussion of ontological emergence

    Let’s do a bit of dictionary bashing again [GAW, your dismissal in another thread is again telling]:

    [Am H Dict again] on·to·log·i·cal: Of or relating to essence or the nature of being.

    In this context the issue is the ORIGINATION, cause and source of FSCI as found in relevant biological and cosmological systems. That in a context where [a] cause-effect bonds are observed to be rooted in one or more of chance, necessity, intelligent agency, and [b] in every observed case of FSCI, the materially relevant source is agency. Indeed – apart from on origins – science and statistics routinely uses null hypotheses and distinguishing statistical filters and the like to credibly and rationally infer to the relevant likely source from this triad. But on origins, when matters of the dominance of the evo mat worldview are at stake, suddenly it is “unscientific” to not beg the question by ruling out agency ahead of looking at the evidence.

    Now, too, Mr Gonzalez, because on matters of origins he is unwilling to a priori prejudicially exclude the possibility of intelligent agency as the cause of the relevant organised complexity, has been deemed not to be a scientist and has been punished in a way that has hitherto been concealed from the public, which was then covered up with frankly lies.

    So for Sally_T to insistently dodge the issue of the origination of information, is to duck the question at the heart of a case of injustice.

    But, we forget we were to deal with the word magic of : “emergence.”

    Nope, it was already addressed above and is again implicit in the above. Emergence simply means that something happens. But why? Chance? Natural mechanical regularity? Agent action?

    If S_T means that “spontaneously” life and body plans emerge — and sub-cosmi that facilitate life — that means she is including one or more of chance and necessity, but excluding agency.

    Now, we see good reason why chance is not a good candidate: the config spaces are so vast that it is utterly unlikely to happen that way, so on high-contingency things like life etc agency is a far better explanation. And to try to swamp those odds by inferring to multiverses runs straight into the next issue – the organised complexity of the laws required to make a life-facilitating cosmos in which life may emerge and diversify into what we see.

    So: if instead she means that there is a law of necessity written into nature as we observe it, or into the wider universe as a whole underlying a multiverse of subcosmi that makes the “emergence” of life-facilitating sub-cosmi then of life that undergoes body-plan level biodiversity “inevitable,” then that is a very interesting and highly purposeful super-law indeed. The best and obvious explanation for such a law: AGENCY.

    And of course, Dr Gonzalez was looking at the set-up required to get to planets in which such life may exist or emerge and indeed become curious and investigate its surroundings scientifically. His examination led him to the privileged planet hypothesis, for which his colleagues decided to punish him for breaking the PC rules they sought to impose as a constraint on the unfettered, empirically anchored investigation of the truth about our world.

    H’mm: that pesky injustice issue keeps on cropping up in the strangest places, doesn’t it!

    6] Emergence blocks explanatory reduction to properties of lower levels.

    Not at all the case. To point out that if something begins, it is not self-caused and that causes fall into chance, necessity and agency is not “reductionist,” but simply to state a well-known fact about our world – and agents are obviously “higher” than the information they generate. The denial of this or its dismissal is a sign that the position S_T is adopting is fact-challenged and obscurantist.

    Why the denial? Because she plainly cannot answer tot he force of the issue that grounds itself in that fact of life: things that begin are caused, and causes come in three main flavours, as we commonly observe them. So, which of the forces is acting and what does that mean – and why are you distracting from or dismissing that?

    Worse, why in a context where the issue you would dodge leads straight to a question of righting an injustice?

    CONCLUSION: It still stands that “In the face of such a decisive public record on the merits, the tactic of insistently diverting the thread to anything but the vital issue of exposing and correcting blatant injustice is a grim and terrible warning of what is likely to happen — again — if evo mat-driven secularist radicals and their fellow travellers of various stripes gain further power in our civilisation.”

    It has been well-said, that “to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed.”
    At least, if we are at all prudent . . .

    GEM of TKI

  274. CONCLUSION: It still stands that “In the face of such a decisive public record on the merits, the tactic of insistently diverting the thread to anything but the vital issue of exposing and correcting blatant injustice is a grim and terrible warning of what is likely to happen — again — if evo mat-driven secularist radicals and their fellow travellers of various stripes gain further power in our civilisation.”

    That is exactly right. Today it is the astronomy department at the Iowa State University. Tomorrow it could be the whole world.

  275. PS: Basic definition of CSI:

    Let’s go back to TBO’s TMLO, 1984, ch 8; i.e. the first true ID book, in the public for nearly 25 years now:

    ______________

    Peter Molton has defined life as “regions of order which use energy to maintain their organization against the disruptive force of entropy.”1 . . . . n existing living systems, the coupling of the energy flow to the organizing “work” occurs through the metabolic motor of DNA, enzymes, etc . . . The origin of the metabolic motor (DNA, enzymes, etc.) itself, however, is . . . difficult to explain thermodynamically, since a mechanism of coupling the energy flow to the organizing work is unknown for prebiological systems. Nicolis and Prigogine summarize the problem in this way:

    Needless to say, these simple remarks cannot suffice to solve the problem of biological order. One would like not only to establish that the second law (dSi 0) is compatible with a decrease in overall entropy (dS

    Only recently has it been appreciated that the distinguishing feature of living systems is complexity rather than order.4 This distinction has come from the observation that the essential ingredients for a replicating system—enzymes and nucleic acids—are all information-bearing molecules. In contrast, consider crystals. They are very orderly, spatially periodic arrangements of atoms (or molecules) but they carry very little information. Nylon is another example of an orderly, periodic polymer (a polyamide) which carries little information. Nucleic acids and protein are aperiodic polymers, and this aperiodicity is what makes them able to carry much more information. By definition then, a periodic structure has order. An aperiodic structure has complexity. In terms of information, periodic polymers (like nylon) and crystals are analogous to a book in which the same sentence is repeated throughout. The arrangement of “letters” in the book is highly ordered, but the book contains little information since the information presented—the single word or sentence—is highly redundant.

    It should be noted that aperiodic polypeptides or polynucleotides do not necessarily represent meaningful information or biologically useful functions. A random arrangement of letters in a book is aperiodic but contains little if any useful information since it is devoid of meaning.

    Only certain sequences of letters correspond to sentences, and only certain sequences of sentences correspond to paragraphs, etc. In the same way only certain sequences of amino acids in polypeptides and bases along polynucleotide chains correspond to useful biological functions. Thus, informational macro-molecules may be described as being [aperiodic -- from print copy] and in a specified sequence.5 Orgel notes:

    Living organisms are distinguished by their SPECIFIED COMPLEXITY. Crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity.6[block caps and other emphases added]

    Three sets of letter arrangements show nicely the difference between order and complexity in relation to information:

    1. An ordered (periodic) and therefore specified arrangement:

    THE END THE END THE END THE END

    Example: Nylon, or a crystal.

    [NOTE: Here we use "THE END" even though there is no reason to suspect that nylon or a crystal would carry even this much information. Our point, of course, is that even if they did, the bit of information would be drowned in a sea of redundancy].

    2. A complex (aperiodic) unspecified arrangement:

    AGDCBFE GBCAFED ACEDFBG

    Example: Random polymers (polypeptides).

    3. A complex (aperiodic) specified arrangement:

    THIS SEQUENCE OF LETTERS CONTAINS A MESSAGE!

    Example: DNA, protein.

    [GEM NOTE:Definition by relevant example is at least as valid as attempted definition by precising statement, and indeed we first form a concept then try to see if statements of possible definition reliably include examples and exclude non-examples. We see here several digital strings that exemplify SCX and two contrasting cases. Kindly compare proteins and DNA. Also, cf this discussion by Peterson at popular level.]

    Yockey7 and Wickens5 develop the same distinction, that “order” is a statistical concept referring to regularity such as could might characterize a series of digits in a number, or the ions of an inorganic crystal. On the other hand, “organization” refers to physical systems and the specific set of spatio-temporal and functional relationships among their parts. Yockey and Wickens note that informational macromolecules have a low degree of order but a high degree of SPECIFIED COMPLEXITY. In short, the redundant order of crystals cannot give rise to specified complexity of the kind or magnitude found in biological organization; attempts to relate the two have little future.

    _____________

    In short, the concept was a natural product of OOL research over 25 years ago.

    Wm A D has refined it by developing mathematical models, and by applying to it the explanatory filter as has been discussed repeatedly above and in the always linked, and serious, responsive discussion has been requested.

    Onlookers: observe how just as repeatedly it has been ignored or dismissed. For that, sadly, the plainly best explanation is that actually addessing and seeing that the SC concept is actually just a descriptive term for a commonly observed distinction, would have brought us rapidly back to the real focus.

    Namely:

    Why is it that a scientist who insisted on exploring the empirical evidence on and implications of organised and specified compleixty in our cosmos is being punished for his “sins” against materialism in a taxpayer-funded institution of alleged higher learning?

    GEM of TKI

  276. Something weird is happening to blockquotes, Patrick. [I saw a very different thing in my preview.]

  277. OOPS: My bad, I forgot the HTML force of a LT sign. N & P Quote should read:

    Needless to say, these simple remarks cannot suffice to solve the problem of biological order. One would like not only to establish that the second law (dSi GTE 0) is compatible with a decrease in overall entropy (dS LT 0), but also to indicate the mechanisms responsible for the emergence and maintenance of coherent states.2

    Then, TBO Comment a bit later on:

    ____________

    Only recently has it been appreciated that the distinguishing feature of living systems is complexity rather than order.4 This distinction has come from the observation that the essential ingredients for a replicating system—enzymes and nucleic acids—are all information-bearing molecules. In contrast, consider crystals . . . .

  278. Kairosfocus, read 246 and 265- I think I have dealt with the issues at length.

  279. Hi Frosty:

    Y’know, the one about how our favourite snowman knocks ‘em out COLD . . .

    I see yours at 245, 265. Mine is somewhat complementary, with a focus on:

    [1] the key issue that the evo mat advocates keep on raising up red herrings to drag across the trail of truth and justice,

    [2] in fact the issue was dealt with on the record, perfectly adequately as a concept, by the very first design theory book,as far back as 1984. {NB: it built upon the work of Orgel — who it seems first used the term specified complexity — and other key OOL researchers.]

    [3] Wm A D thereafter introduced a mathematical form of the concept, which withthe explanatory filter allows us to apply it to specific cases using techniques that are in principle the same as used commonly in statistics and related fields.

    In short the sort of huffing and puffing we see in the main constitute:

    [a] newbies who don’t know who to go to to find out accurately and clearly [and Patrick et al this leads straight back to the need for a FAQ and a forum!],

    [b] those web-wandering enthusiasts for Evo Mat who pounce on or seek to sow and then exploit such uncertainty and confusion,

    [c] people who genuinely are trying to work through the nuances of what they think is a very complex topic (at advanced levels it is, but at basic ones it is quite simple in fact) — but are IMHCO ill advisedly doing so in a forum where they are liable to add to the confusion sowed by the spin doctors (Such Dr Dembski’s destails in his books or his reference paper site], and of course,

    [d] pro-grade experts at the art of misrepresentation and selective hyper-skepticism playing their propagandistic red herring and strawman games to evade the force of a very serious argument — in pursuit of an agenda that increasingly plainly cannot stand on its own merits.

    I hope both of our responses are helpful to at least groups 1 and 3.

    2 and 4, we can only correct then if they prove closed minded, expose — and the insistence on distractions in 5the teeth of the duty to stand up against injustice is telling on who are in groups 3 and maybe 4. [BTW, BarryA one difference with a courtroom: there is an "Umpire" there who will cut off foolishness if it cuts across rules of proper procedure, and will force a close-off on such foolishness if it refuses to be corrected. We call him/her a Judge.]

    GEM of TKI

  280. Kairosfocus, nice piece-

    You see people like Sallyt are not trying to work through the intricacies of the theory as we both have pointed out- they are merely looking for a way out of accepting it based on personal opinion-

    The theory is perfectly valid as one can use all of the examples of SETi, archeology, statistical fraud detection, plagiarism (I’m not happy about this one I have 3 long papers do this week) and finally just ask yourself the simple pragmatic question Crick asked himself “could aliens have designed or played a role in life’s development?” The obvious answer is YES. Going on all of the other examples of ID there is no reason to think that their intelligence (as we know it) would not be detectible. Simple as that. Once you get to the entire cosmos the SC identification question becomes harder because that kind of an ID under inspection is not ID “exactly” as we know it. Nonetheless it certainly could- even should -have similar properties to our idea of ID. This is just using the trusty faculties of reason and simple logic- (this is something so universal even a nuclear physicist and a second grader could agree on it)

    m A D thereafter introduced a mathematical form of the concept, which with the explanatory filter allows us to apply it to specific cases using techniques that are in principle the same as used commonly in statistics and related fields.

    The explanatory filter IMO is not perfect and Dembski always said it wasn’t. But its better than nothing and I think its pretty darn good.

    Yes there is the example of trees with leaves that branch out in complex patterns- these patterns have SC and we don’t really think of them as good design candidates because as a whole they are not too complex- still they could have been manipulated or as I like to call it “injected” at some point with CSI.

    The reason I reject engaging people like this is not because they ask piercing questions but because they reject answers that are ontological in nature- You cannot have “any” kind of a scientific discussion without coming to terms with the issues of epistemology and ontology. As I have pointed out time and again ID is consistent with an infinite reality or a finite one- the epistemological issue is open as well – Can we detect design in nature- of course!- Can we postulate design in biology or when we cannot find a material designer or his/her finger prints? – of course that is what the EF is all about! Can we say for sure that God, or aliens, or some other form of ID was involved? Not short of interacting with that ID or as I like to say “not short of a close encounter of the third kind. I maintain that intelligence and nature is an excellent model if not the best when looking for congruence in nature-

    Keep up the god work brother! :)

  281. For the record “Frost” is a reference to Robert Frost (one of my favorites) and my date of birth (Christmas 85) and the implicit weather connection here in Maryland United States.

  282. Peace,

    Just admit it- you are atrouble-maker! ;) (just kidding).

    You have to take the quote from page 141 in context. And to do so you must go back and read section 2.4 which starts on page 58.

    In the 1960s Chaitin, Kolmogorov, and Solomonoff investigated what makes a sequence of coin flips random. Also known as algorithmic information theory (see section 3.2), the Chaitin-Kolmogorov-Solomonoff theory began by noting that conventional probability theory is incapable of distinguishing bit strings of identical length (if we think of bit strings as sequences of coin tosses, then any sequence of n flips has probability 1 in 2^n).

    Now back to page 141- Here I believe Wm is saying that CSI helps identify those sequences which are non-random- ie someone cheated- beacuse if they were truly random they would not be algorithmically compressible.

  283. Joseph if I have confused you for someone else my deepest apologies. That would be worse than claiming to be a Muslim or something just for the sake of debate.

    OK let’s you use your example. Can you do the calculations? I understand the process, I’m just not sure how to calculate the ‘information’ in the bread making process. Do I include the ‘information’ in the genetic makeup of the ingredients? So, we would need a measure for oil, and for the peanut butter (since it probably has DNA and is certainly a product of the expression of DNA), and also for the wheat, and the yeast? I am interested in what is releveant here and what is not to measure.

    How does one measure a ‘bit’ of information? what is the difference in number of bits between, say, one slice of bread with peanut butter on both sides, or two slices of bread with peanut butter in the middle?

    this is of course important. I would like to see the math for the CSI in a peanut butter sandwich. I think you need a measure that specifies the probability that THESE PARTICULAR atoms, out of all of the other atoms in the universe, are configured together in this region of space, as well as the CSI in the biologcial materials in the sandwich, the CSI in the particular configuration of those materials versus the possible configurations.

    At this point in the thread I have heard many claims that this is doable. i want to see it done.

    Regarding GG, anyone bringing in less than 50 grand in six years is not going to get tenure, especially if they have not graduated a single student and their publication record drops to the basement. I don’t see how ‘Justice’ is even involved, no one owed GG tenure. They judged him on his merits, and found him wanting. Everything else is pure PR BS from you know who. Do you believe GG is ‘owed’ tenure? has he ‘earned’ it? Is it like something that you just check off on a list and you get your reward at the end? I don’t know how much you know about academia.

  284. If we can use this method to get an estimate of the CSI in a peanut butter sandwich, and then show how this sort of generalization is useful in biology, then you can count me in. I think someone needs to run around and calculate the information in many many many peanut butter sandwiches, or what have you, before we can get some meaningful inferences.

    I have a secret: modern biology is already doing this, and they aren’t hindered by the seemingly useless ‘information’ statistic that is essentially the compression of all meaningful information. I have been attempting to get an explanation from some of you how exactly this ‘information’ business is going to advance any scientific discipline, because I think that is crucial (imagine you are writing a research proposal for funding. this is the sort of question that must be answered before you convince people it is worthwhile. moaning and groaning about civil rights and God doesn’t convince people).

    the design inference seems to tell us nothing about lower levels and is not useful in higher level generalizations. in other words it has no utility in scientific theories. yet. i think if some of these issues are worked through maybe.

  285. Joseph if I have confused you for someone else my deepest apologies.

    Seeing that I never said anything about emergence- for or against- you did confuse me for someone else.

    However it is also obvious that you are dealing with many people at once so I can see how you could be easily confused.

    That would be worse than claiming to be a Muslim or something just for the sake of debate.

    People can claim anything for the sake of debate. Did you have a point?

    OK let’s you use your example. Can you do the calculations?

    The purpose of my example was to get away from the calculations and to simplify.

    If you want calculations read “No Free Lunch”.

    I understand the process, I’m just not sure how to calculate the ‘information’ in the bread making process.

    The process used is the information. Count the bits in the process- each letter = 5 bits.

    Do I include the ‘information’ in the genetic makeup of the ingredients?

    No- just the ingredients as a whole. No need to get technical because, as I said, this is to simplify.

    How does one measure a ‘bit’ of information?

    1 letter has 5 bits- 2^5 = 32. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet.

    the design inference seems to tell us nothing about lower levels and is not useful in higher level generalizations.

    Nice claim coming from someone who obviously doesn’t understand ID.

    Behe, Meyer and Dembski have shown how the design inference is used in biology.

    You can ignore them all you want but that will not make them go away.

    Biological information is crucial to understanding biology. The ORIGIN of biological information is especially crucial- for the reasonms I have already presented and you appear to be ignoring.

    You can say “it evolved” until the cows come home but that ain’t exactly scientific.

    As far as Gonzalez is concerned you are missing the point, which is it was already decided, based on his affiliation with ID, that he would not be granted tenure.

  286. Joseph, is the point of simplifying as you say just to get around actually trying to do the calculations? it seems that if CSI is an actual quantity, your method of simplification would cause one to massively underestimate the amount of information. How do you determine a priori what information is relevant to measure?

    I have not seen any use of the design inference in biology, only to biology. I have consistently demonstrated that it has no use in other biological theories and is a theoretical cul de sac.

    Until you can actually show that your calculations of ‘information’ are doable and have any significance whatsoever, it is spurious to keep harping about the ORIGIN of your metric. You can’t even demonstrate that it is a metric, with respect to a simple peanut butter sandwich (Look, I’ll make it easy on you. It can be smooth peanutbutter and not Krunchy). Please, someone here show me how this is done. Until you can demonstrate that this information business is a robust method providing robust generalizations then I am afraid it is a big So What to science.

    Regarding GG, based on his record, it was also evident that he would not be granted tenure. Unless there is some sort of Steve Fulleresque affirmative action thing. Are you saying that we need affirmative action for IDists?

  287. I’d love to see some CSI calculations. Sal started that effort at some website (I forget which), but got distracted when he started grad school and never finished.

  288. 288

    As Joseph points out, Dr. Dembski has given the math for anyone who is willing to remove there materilist blinders long enough to look at it. But as Joseph also points out, you don’t need a lot of big words and mumbo-jumbo to look at the “Glory” of Creation and see the hand of Design at work.
    I think Sally is led by the blind and has fell into the ditch (Luke 6:39).

  289. Sally, wouldn’t smooth peanut butter have more information since more processing is required to make it smooth?

  290. As Joseph points out, Dr. Dembski has given the math for anyone who is willing to remove there materilist blinders long enough to look at it.

    Very true, but wouldn’t a unique example be cool? I keep hearing that no one has ever calculated CSI outside of Dr. Dembski’s publications and it would be great to point to it happening in real time. I have to admit a peanut butter sandwich probably won’t impress Darwinists who would want to see it done on a biological feature, but since Joseph isn’t a biologist, it would probably be unfair to ask him to start there.

  291. Poachy, yes I would but this is why we need-a more-a money for the research! If ID was taught along side Darwinian Evolution in school it would open students minds up to the beautiful mysterious universe that we live in, its compexity and teleology, and maybe we would have more, more creative students and exciting results. The theory of ID is after all far more exciting than the “boom its a cow” of DE.

  292. James perhaps you are willing to do the math?

    if no one here can do the math, are we just taking Dembski’s word for it that these approaches do actually tell us anything useful about the world?

    It seems to be a sort of apologetic for a priori assumptions. That is fine, but let us be up front about that. Unless we can break down the calculation of CSI in a standardized way and make the appropriate generalizations with regard to other biological theories, then it will have a hard time making a go of it in the world of theory. Since it doesn’t seem to add anything to the empirical content of a theory (after all, design is just an ontological commitment) it seems that it will have limited traction.

    But that could be wrong. Poachy is correct, smooth peanut butter must have more information since it has had the smoothing process applied to it. Or perhaps that removes information. i would love to hear Dembski’s input here, and settle the debate about CSI and smooth or crunchy peanut butter. Perhaps he can calculate the statistic we desire as well. I’m interested in how we represent the information in the biological material that is the peanuts and oil and honey and associated components that are all necessary parts of the specified complexity that is peanut butter. It seems that since DNA is in the peanut butter, we have a probability bound Design Inference before we even get to the Sandwich construction. Do we reset the Explanatory Filter after it is triggered?

  293. The funny thing is that the DE side is trying to argue “dishonestly” that ID has nothing to offer- and is no different than what DE is doing now- yet when someone says well lets test out that hypothesis and teach it in school along side DE, the DE crowed goes NO WAY! ABSOLUTLY NOT! THIS IS RELIGION AND WILL DESTROY THE INSTITUTION’S INTEGRITY AND MAKE US ALL STUPID! Why are they so scared of a theory that will do nothing other than help maintain the status quo? Or put it this way, what is it about the status quo that is so fragile that it cant afford another widely accepted point of view? Especially one that is no different than the current one?

  294. I don’t want anybody to quantify the CSI in a peanut butter sandwich. I just want someone to quantify its peanut-buttery deliciousness.

  295. Joseph, is the point of simplifying as you say just to get around actually trying to do the calculations?

    No it was so that people like you wouldn’t feel left out.

    it seems that if CSI is an actual quantity, your method of simplification would cause one to massively underestimate the amount of information.

    Not at all- but please explain how it “would cause one to massively underestimate the amount of information”.

    It could be but if you reach the UPB using the simplified method then you can be assured that the UPB would be reached by accounting for everything.

    How do you determine a priori what information is relevant to measure?

    Any information required should be and can be measured.

    I have not seen any use of the design inference in biology, only to biology.

    Have you looked? Dr Axe uses it. His people at the Biologic Institute use it.

    Also I should remind people that the current issue is whether or not, while conducting scientific research, a scientist should be allowed to reach a design inference if the data, evidence and observations warrant it.

    Until we get to the point were scientists are allowed that option it is moronic to ask for anything else.

    Just how is “it evolved” of any use?

    Sally it is obvious it is a waste of time discussing this with you. You can’t even show how the current paradigm is of any use at all.

    Regarding Gonzalez it may be “evident” to you but the fact remains it was already decided beforehand that he would not be granted tenure due to his involvement with ID.

    People said the design inference didn’t make any predictions- yet “The Privileged Planet” lists several.

    I have asked, and never receieved an answer, about the predictions made from the anti-ID position. Go figure. IOW it appears that the anti-ID position is not scientific.

    Or maybe you could step up and present ONE- one from cosmology would be nice and one from biology would also be helpful.

    However I am sure you will not present anything.

  296. one simple prediction: nested hierarchies. confirmed.

    If all information is necessary, then it seems that we would reach the UPB just at the level of the DNA in the peanut. Hence, the EF would trip and we would infer that peanuts are designed and thus the peanut butter sandwich was designed. also anything that has peanuts in it. like the trashcan. seems to be useless unless you ignore information, and THAT is selective hyperskepticism at it’s finest (cherrypicking data to produce a priori convictions). if you ignore the DNA in a peanut butter sandwich you are underestimating the total information in the sandwich.

  297. Sally_T-

    The math is just to reach or verify the design inference.

    IOW by doing the math you are trying to eliminate stochastic processes.

    And if you guys cannot tell that a peanutbutter sandwhich requires agency involvement then there isn’t much hope for you…

  298. Have you looked? Dr Axe uses it. His people at the Biologic Institute use it.

    Joseph, I have looked at the Biologic Institute website previously and found nothing. It is an empty shell.

    http://www.biologicinstitute.org/

    “Coming soon” is all it has said for a while. Perhaps you could help by calculating “soon”, then move on CSI? ;)

  299. I have asked, and never receieved an answer, about the predictions made from the anti-ID position. Go figure. IOW it appears that the anti-ID position is not scientific.

    You are absolutely right, Joseph. But that is only half the equation. We need to show the world that the ID position is scientific. So, about that peanut butter sandwich? ;)

  300. Umm nested hierarchy is not a prediction of the theory of evolution.

    Darwin didn’t use NH as evidence for common descent. And as a matter of fact NH was used as evidence for common design BEFORE Darwin. Darwin explained NH by counting on timely extinction events.

    Thank you for demonstrating you don’t understand the theory of evolution!

  301. And if you guys cannot tell that a peanutbutter sandwhich requires agency involvement then there isn’t much hope for you…

    Joseph, I’m starting to get the feeling that you aren’t interested in showing us the math. :(

  302. Sally,

    this is a major problem that Dawkins has raised. In his urge to reduce everything to genes, he has made a few errors. ID has copied those errors it appears.

    I purposefully chose Dawkins to articulate the basics of information theory so no one could claim it was wrong because the source was an ID proponent. Dawkins is not wrong when it comes to the “how to calculate”. The real question is whether Darwinian mechanisms are capable of producing this information, which is of course where we would disagree.

    Your other objections in that comment dealt with philosophy, so I’ll let others discuss those. Although I will note that one of Dembski’s books discusses Hume, or maybe it was a post on UD, I forget. Anyone else remember where that was located?

    Do I include the ‘information’ in the genetic makeup of the ingredients?

    No, like Dawkins illustrated (in the first paragraph I quoted) whether using a card or a verbal confirmation the message would still be only one bit. It’s an abstraction. The information in DNA is likewise an abstraction, since the information content is not directly inherent to the chemical properties.

    How does one measure a ‘bit’ of information? what is the difference in number of bits between, say, one slice of bread with peanut butter on both sides, or two slices of bread with peanut butter in the middle?

    In your example you only gave 2 options so 1 bit is enough to represent that information.

    this is of course important. I would like to see the math for the CSI in a peanut butter sandwich. I think you need a measure that specifies the probability that THESE PARTICULAR atoms, out of all of the other atoms in the universe, are configured together in this region of space, as well as the CSI in the biologcial materials in the sandwich, the CSI in the particular configuration of those materials versus the possible configurations.

    Sorry, that’s an unreasonable demand since that’s not how it works. Unless there is information encoded into the atomic structure, which I doubt, it’s irrelevant.

    I’m not going to do any research for this, so the numbers won’t be accurate, but I’ll give a quick example for your sandwich.

    The specification is that it is a peanut butter sandwich, an independent pattern based upon a purposeful 4-part arrangement and layering of 3 ingredients(bread, peanut butter, and jelly) which can vary in type. As in, it’s not a pile of groceries.

    I don’t know how many types there are for each ingredient (nor will I bother looking that up) but I doubt there is more than 65536 types of bread, so that can be represented by 16 bits. Ditto for the other 2 ingredients. Note that I’m boosting these numbers. The sandwich has 4 parts, with 3 ingredients, which can be arranged 24 ways (4!=24). Now in that overall configuration space only 2 arrangements matter to us:

    bread, pb, jelly, bread
    bread, jelly, pb, bread

    (16/bread)+(16/pb)+(16/jelly)+(16/bread)+(5/arrangement of parts)

    So the pb sandwich contains 69 informational bits at most, which is not anywhere close to 500 bits so the EF would reject is as being designed in stage 2. As I said, I boosted the numbers to highlight this point.

    EDIT: I eliminated the “how the pb is spread” from the equation since it made the example more complicated since the number of parts and possible arrangements could then fluctuate. I also made a dumb error in the original since I neglected to include the arrangement of parts even though I had previously written that as the specification and that’s also the most important factor to being a pb sandwich. Doh!

    Yes, the pb sandwich is designed. Yes, that also means that the explanatory filter would produce a false negative for sandwiches, unless you happen to be making a Dagwood sandwich with at least 32 parts (although, again, 16 bits per ingredient is likely overkill and 32! arrangements would require 128 bits by itself). Dembski has already explained why formalized design detection method are set up this way in order to prevent false positives.

    Even though the Explanatory Filter is not a reliable criterion for eliminating design, it is, I argue, a reliable criterion for detecting design. The Explanatory Filter is a net. Things that are designed will occasionally slip past the net. We would prefer that the net catch more than it does, omitting nothing due to design. But given the ability of design to mimic unintelligent causes and the possibility of our own ignorance passing over things that are designed, this problem cannot be fixed. Nevertheless, we want to be very sure that whatever the net does catch includes only what we intend it to catch, to wit, things that are designed. –Dembski

    leo,

    Yes, it is generally recognized that calculating the “true” information content can be difficult, especially when all factors are taken into account. Everyone acknowledges this, including Dawkins.

    I find it deeply distressing that none of these factors were mentioned in any of the previous post about the nature of the complexity of a DNA sequence/protein. It gives me pause concerning the depth of molecular biology knowledge in this community.

    I was trying to keep things simple as to explain the basic concepts. Your demand is not a simple task like the pb sandwich example. I “could” sit down and run those numbers for you, but quite frankly I don’t have time. Merely moderating UD sucks up enough of my time as it is.

    Before you say nature has never produced CSI you have to prove nature has never produced CSI. That is the point I am trying to make.

    We’ve never OBSERVED Darwinian mechanisms producing CSI with 500+ informational bits. ID can be falsified by this one piece of positive evidence, which is currently nonexistent.

  303. Patrick, as an abstraction, it must deal with real properties. I say that there is information, in the same sense that you are using it, in the position of objects in the universe. This is the position taken by GG, if I am not mistaken.

    If there is indeed information, this must be included. The probability that all of the atoms in a peanut butter sandwich are in that particular configuration and cluster of space time is staggeringly high, certainly higher than the UPB.

    There are many ingredients in peanut butter (look at the label). ditto for bread. i’m sure that the ingredient are not homogenous, and that is also information.

    My point is that this metric is an ad hoc abstraction. You don’t appeal to the laws and processes that put those atoms in this particular area in the universe as information here, but you do when it is the Earth and the Sun in the galaxy.

    I will restate my claim that ‘CSI’ is just a study of emergent properties that are unpredictable from the lower levels. The ID argument is to argue that this implies a particular ontology. The relative nature of the measure suggests, however, that it is a mishmash of numbers that don’t represent any sort of actual process or pattern or entity, because the measurements and domain are arbitrary.

  304. Sally — You can’t even demonstrate that it is a metric, with respect to a simple peanut butter sandwich

    Take an acorn. If the conditions are right it is a near certainty that it will grow into an oak — all without agency.

    Take a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and knife and put them in proximity. There is no certainty that a peanut butter sandwich will be made. Actually, without agency, there is a certainty that a peanut butter sandwich won’t be made.

  305. The probability that all of the atoms in a peanut butter sandwich are in that particular configuration and cluster of space time is staggeringly high, certainly higher than the UPB.

    That could be said of any object/event in any time or place. What specification would considering these atoms provide? “Unless there is information encoded into the atomic structure, which I doubt, it’s irrelevant.”

    So according to you when I consider the information in the writings made by a pen I must consider the atoms of the ink. Or if considering a digital bit I must also take into account the medium by which it is stored, whether it be a HD, RAM, or anything. You are essentially asserting that information theory cannot exist…

    There are many ingredients in peanut butter (look at the label). ditto for bread. i’m sure that the ingredient are not homogenous, and that is also information.

    I took that into account already by allowing for 16 bits, which should be more than enough for all types of pb and bread.

    I say that there is information, in the same sense that you are using it, in the position of objects in the universe. This is the position taken by GG, if I am not mistaken.

    My point is that this metric is an ad hoc abstraction. You don’t appeal to the laws and processes that put those atoms in this particular area in the universe as information here, but you do when it is the Earth and the Sun in the galaxy.

    ID has several different tools/methods for design detection. Don’t falsely conflate them in sum just because they may overlap in part. The positioning of the sun and earth also does not encode information in itself. The positioning of ink on a paper does.

  306. Patrick — Yes, the pb sandwich is designed. Yes, that also means that the explanatory filter would produce a false negative for sandwiches,

    Patrick, in order to show the peanut butter sandwich was truly a random event, wouldn’t you also have to factor in the number of free-floating bread slices and accessible concentrates of peanut butter and jelly within a particular environment?

    I think it is safe to say that a tornado going through a cafeteria might be more likely to form a P&J sandwich than a tornado through a junkyard would a 747 but it is also still safe to say chance would be easily filtered out when finding one on a counter.

  307. I’m not saying that ‘information science’ cannot exist, I am saying that you are inappropriately applying to biology.

    I am not familiar if GG has attempted to use the EF and UPB in his arguments? Has he? Please advise.

    Does something written in invisible ink carry the same amount of information as something written with black ink, or something written using animal tracks? Imagine having a deer hoof on the end of the stick, and writing your name in the sand with the deer hoof. the hoof prints are visible and tell us something. its hard to see how there is not information in that.

  308. All;

    Once again, I call attention to Sally T’s deconstruction project;

    redefine agency as “instinct;”

    redefine design inference as “ontological presupposition;”

    redefine adaptation as “planning.”

    redefine the science of design detection as the problem of design “application;”

    redefine “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (substance) to mean “emergence.” [

  309. Does something written in invisible ink carry the same amount of information as something written with black ink, or something written using animal tracks? Imagine having a deer hoof on the end of the stick, and writing your name in the sand with the deer hoof. the hoof prints are visible and tell us something. its hard to see how there is not information in that.

    The information is abstracted from the storage medium. Dawkins used the example of whether you’re using pink and blue cards or verbal words to say “it’s a girl”. In the computer you’re using it does not matter if the information is located in the RAM or hard drive, which store the information very differently. The atomic structure of the components in the computer don’t change that information. It’s still the same information.

    And, yes, there is information in that the sand writings were done with deer hooves but it’s a separate bit of information since, I repeat, the type of storage medium does not change the information itself. My name “Patrick” is the same whether digitally stored or written in sand or with ink on paper. Heck, my name could be encoded using DNA.

  310. StephenB,

    you asked

    “Jerry, at #181 you wrote, “ID as it is related to evolution is not incompatible with materialism.” Could you elaborate on that?”

    ID says nothing about the designer of life and admits it could be another intelligence in this universe. If this is the case then the designer of life on this planet and its evolutionary outcome could be a material entity.

    I discuss this a little bit more in #191.

  311. there is not more information in something written with deer hooves?

    don’t i use an information measure, with a probability bound, to infer that deer hoof made a deer track, and not a lion or a vegetarian tyrannosaurus rex or my grandmother? Sure I do. And you are saying this information is not contained in the message? i call that cherrypicking.

  312. Stephen, I am not interested in deconstructing anything past the appropriate levels of abstraction. Please deal with the arguments themselves and not the misrepresentations of them.

    I have pointed out that the inappropriate use of the term instinct is the predicate for a human exceptionalism argument, and using it in such a way requires that organisms cannot be agents. if that is confusing to you we can go through it again.

    I’m not redefining the design inference, i am noting that it is an ontological claim. I demonstrated that it is presuppositiong because the use of the CSI and EF concepts in a rigorous way demands that everything is ultimately designed. QED.

    Adaptation I have not reduced to planning. I made the observation that organisms plan. This can be adaptive.

    I have noted that design ‘detection’, is at worst deliberate obfuscation and at best semantical silly buggers. i am interested in the application of these concepts, once the kinks get worked out (trying to help you out here). this is crucial for ID to play a role in science.

    that is essentially the definition of emergence stephen. not sure what your quibble is there. of course if you have misunderstood the discussion of emergence with respect to explanatory reduction, then it is upthread and it might benefit you to understand the issues.

  313. tribune,

    Take a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and knife and put them in proximity. There is no certainty that a peanut butter sandwich will be made. Actually, without agency, there is a certainty that a peanut butter sandwich won’t be made.

    While that’s fine enough for a weak design inference, we’re trying to discuss formalized methods here. Stage 1 of the EF would be passed since a pb sandwich is not explained by a law. The informational bits is then calculated in stage 2, and its complexity is found wanting. So a false negative.

    BTW, if the type of ingredient doesn’t matter and all it takes to specify the pb sandwich is the 4-part arrangement of 3 ingredients then 5 informational bits is enough. If, like in your example, there are only 2 ingredients and 3 parts then 3!=6 and 3 bits is enough. But I wanted to make the example more complicated.

  314. Patrick — I see your point.

    Perhaps the only way we can know P&Js are designed is through experience reinforced by Stage 1 of the EF.

    Now, Sally, why do you think DNA is not designed?

  315. tribune, I don’t hold that opinion. I am intrigued by the possibility that it may be. I have not been by convinced by any demonstration that it is. If the ‘we have seen peanut butter sandwiches made’ explanation is the most rigorous method so far, and I believe that to be true, then it fails to show that DNA is designed.

    This is the problem: ‘Design’ may in fact be true. But the methods developed so far do not demonstrate that it is. Further, the particular methods developed in attempts to show ‘design’ are configured in such a way that they have no utility in applying to other biological theories. This I think is the more serious aspect of the problem, although a rigorous design detection schemata is crucial, design has to be understood as a function of biological entities and not just an ontological argument.

  316. Sally, why would design detection have to have material utility?

    Isn’t the pursuit of understanding grounds enough for investigation?

    Also, consider this: The “we have seen peanut butter sandwiches (are you English?) made” explanation is the only the best for peanut butter sandwiches.

    As Patrick noted, Dembski’s methodology would likely give a false negative for peanut butter sandwiches w/regard to design.

    But we know peanut butter sandwiches are designed as simple as they may be. DNA is exponentially more complex and specified.

    I think it is safe to say the simpler something is, the less we can be sure it is designed.

  317. Sally T writes, “I have pointed out that the inappropriate use of the term instinct is the predicate for a human exceptionalism argument, and using it in such a way requires that organisms cannot be agents. if that is confusing to you we can go through it again.”

    Sorry, but I am not the one who is confused. According to neo-Dawinism organisms cannot think, nor can they plan; they can only adapt to the environment—–. This is related to your misguided attempt to redefine adaptation as planning.

    —-“-I’m not redefining the design inference, i am noting that it is an ontological claim. I demonstrated that it is presuppositiong because the use of the CSI and EF concepts in a rigorous way demands that everything is ultimately designed. QED”.

    Excuse me, but that is total nonsense. In fact, everyone, Darwinists and Iders alike, know that most things are not designed. What are you talking about?
    ——-“Adaptation I have not reduced to planning. I made the observation that organisms plan. This can be adaptive.”

    Either you are deconstructing or else you are confused logically. To plan is to facilitate the adaptive process, but to adapt is not necessarily to plan. If A then B does not translate into If B then A. Reread my comments about “having an end in mind.” To adapt is to change course; to plan is to have a destination. It is possible to change direction all the time and not know where you are going. In fact, many of the responses on this thread are like that.

    ——–“I have noted that design ‘detection’, is at worst deliberate obfuscation and at best semantical silly buggers. i am interested in the application of these concepts, once the kinks get worked out (trying to help you out here). this is crucial for ID to play a role in science.”

    I notice you had no difficulty attributing design to my response.

    ——-that is essentially the definition of emergence stephen. not sure what your quibble is there. of course if you have misunderstood the discussion of emergence with respect to explanatory reduction, then it is upthread and it might benefit you to understand the issues.

    Don’t you wish I didn’t understand? If you subjected your murky notion of emergence to 1/100th the scrutiny that you subject the well- defined notion of design inference, you would abandon it and never speak of it again.

  318. Jerry:

    at #191 you write, “The intelligence could be carbon based but carbon as an element only arose about 8-10 billion years after the Big Bang which is about when our solar system was forming.”

    If we make a design inference, are we not detecting evidence of a plan that must have preceded the development. How can a universe evolve into a designed phenonenon? How can undesigned matter morph into designed intelligence without some kind of outside help? How would you explain the fine tuning?

  319. I’m still waiting for ONE prediction made by the anti-ID position for cosmology.

    It would also be a good thing to present ONE prediction made by the theory of evolution- please keep in mind that any prediction must be based on the proposed mechanisms.

    Thank you.

    To Sally_T- we have and use effective design detection techniques.

    What is it, exactly, that prevents us from using those tried-n-true techniques on biological organisms and the universe?

    Also it would very helpful to your position to answer the following:

    How was it determined that the universe and living organisms are the result of purely stochasttic processes?

    What was the methodology used?

    I know you won’t answer that because once you do everyone will see that the design inference is far more rigorous than the anti-ID position.

    You may find the following of interest:

    An honest admission

  320. StephenB,

    All I was saying is that the intelligence was probably not carbon based but there is no certainty of that. Non carbon based intelligences is a wide open ball game including intelligence(s) outside the universe.

  321. Here’s my prediction:

    My questions will be ignored and my typo will be picked on.

  322. Joseph [301],

    Darwin didn’t use NH [nested hierarchy] as evidence for common descent. And as a matter of fact NH was used as evidence for common design BEFORE Darwin. Darwin explained NH by counting on timely extinction events.

    The first sentence is not true. Darwin did use nested hierarchy as evidence for descent. It’s true that nested hierarchy was used before Darwin, but Darwin explained nested hierarchy (he didn’t use that term) by descent.

    It’s pretty good evidnece, too! Chapter 10 of the OOS is called “On The Geological Succession of Organic Beings.” A section of this chapter is called “On the Affinities of extinct Species to each other, and to living forms.” And this section begins:

    Let us now look to the mutual affinities of extinct and living species. They all fall into one grand natural system; and this fact is at once explained on the principle of descent. The more ancient any form is, the more, as a general rule, it differs from living forms. But, as Buckland long ago remarked, all fossils can be classed either in still existing groups, or between them. That the extinct forms of life help to fill up the wide intervals between existing genera, families, and orders, cannot be disputed. For if we confine our attention either to the living or to the extinct alone, the series is far less perfect than if we combine both into one general system. With respect to the Vertebrata, whole pages could be filled with striking illustrations from our great palaeontologist, Owen, showing how extinct animals fall in between existing groups. Cuvier ranked the Ruminants and Pachyderms, as the two most distinct orders of mammals; but Owen has discovered so many fossil links, that he has had to alter the whole classification of these two orders; and has placed certain pachyderms in the same sub-order with ruminants: for example, he dissolves by fine gradations the apparently wide difference between the pig and the camel. In regard to the Invertebrata, Barrande, and a higher authority could not be named, asserts that he is every day taught that palaeozoic animals, though belonging to the same orders, families, or genera with those living at the present day, were not at this early epoch limited in such distinct groups as they now are.

    Note the bold (added): the “grand natural system” (nested hierarchy) is “explained the principle of descent.” Later in this section, Darwin includes the only figure in the OOS, which is an illustration of that explanation.

  323. Joseph, I read “an honest admission.” I’m not sure what it’s supposed to mean. No scientific method can determine “that living organisms and their subsequent evolution are solely due to stochastic processes.” Even in a purely naturalistic universe there are lots of non-stochastic processes. So secondclass, whoever that is, is not admitting anything of consequence.

    Why the fixation on that word?

    That’s partly what I meant by your idiosyncratic vocabulary: you’re putting words in the mouths of others. Certainly I’ve never heard an evolutionist say science has determined “that living organisms and their subsequent evolution are solely due to stochastic processes.” Who has said that? Or is that just a straw man?

  324. Joseph, I should clarify 324 above. It’s true that nested hierarchy plus the historical progression of forms forms are best explained by descent. Darwin looked at nested hierarchy in context rather than in isolation. So if you want to say he didn’t use nested hierarchy by itself as evidence for descent, big deal. That would be like complaining that he was too smart.

  325. From the “Contemporary Discourse in the Field Of Biology” series I am reading Biological Evolution: An Anthology of Current Thought.This is part of a reviewed series expressing the current scientific consensus.

    Uncertainty, randomness, nonlinearity, and lack of hierarchy seem to rule existence, at least where evolution is concerned.- page10

    Ya see gaw, evolution does NOT have a direction! Traits can be gained or lost depending on the mutations and the circumastances.

    The old, discredited equation of evolution with progress has been largely superseded by the almost whimsical notion that evolution requires mistakes to bring about specieswide adaptation. Natural selection requires variation, and variation requires mutations- those accidental deletions or additions of material deep within the DNA of our cells. In an increasingly slick, fast-paced, automated, impersonal world, one in which we are constantly being reminded of the narrow margin for error, it is refreshing to be reminded that mistakes are a powerful and necessary creative force. A few important but subtle “mistakes,” in evolutionary terms, may save the human race. -page 10 ending the intro

    “While hierarchic schemes correspond beautifully with the typological model of nature, the relationship between evolution and hierarchical systems is curiously ambiguous. Ever since 1859 it has been traditional for evolutionary biologists to claim that the hierarchic pattern of nature provides support for the idea of organics evolution. Yet, direct evidence for evolution only resides in the existence of unambiguous sequential arrangements, and these are never present in ordered hierarchic schemes.”

    “Of course evolutionary biologists do not look for the direct evidence in the hierarchy itself but rather argue, as Darwin did, that the hierarchic pattern is readily explained in terms of an evolutionary tree.”- page 131 of “Evolution:A Theory in Crisis”

    Only if diagnostic character traits remain essentially immutable in all members of the group they define is it possible to conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process.-Ibid page 135

    Charkes Darwin in “On the Origins of Species…”:

    Extinction, as we have seen in the fourth chapter, has played an important role in defining and widening the intervals between the several groups in each class. We may thus account for the distinctness of whole classes from each other- forinstance, of birds from all other vertebrate animals- by the belief that many ancient forms of life have been utterly lost, through which early progenitors of birds were formerly connected with early progenitors of the other and at that time less differentiated vertebrate class.

    Go ahead- spin that as you will. The bottom line is nested hierarchy is a totally unexpected outcome as far as the theory of evolution is concerned.

    gaw sez:

    No scientific method can determine “that living organisms and their subsequent evolution are solely due to stochastic processes.”

    Thank you for admitting the theory of evolution is not based on scientific methodology.

    Why the fixation on that word?

    That is what is being debated.

    That’s partly what I meant by your idiosyncratic vocabulary: you’re putting words in the mouths of others.

    What do you think culled genetic accidents are? A stochastic process. IOW had you known anything about the theory of evolution or the debate you would know that “stochastic processes” are at the heart of both.

  326. One would expect a priori that such a complete change of the philosophical bias of classification would result in a radical change of classification, but this was by no means the case. There was hardly and change in method before and after Darwin, except that “archetype” was replaced by the common ancestor.– Ernst Mayr

    Simpson echoed those comments:

    From their classifications alone, it is practically impossible to tell whether zoologists of the middle decades of the nineteenth century were evolutionists or not. The common ancestor was at first, and in most cases, just as hypothetical as the archetype, and the methods of inference were much the same for both, so that classification continued to develop with no immediate evidence of the revolution in principles….the hierarchy looked the same as before even if it meant something totally different.

    IOW nested hierarchy was and is used as evidence for Common Design. Charles knew this and had to account for NH any way he could. So he hijacked the idea, just as he hijacked natural selection.

    IOW UCD accomodates nested hierarchy. It wasn’t expected.

  327. Joseph,

    Thank you for admitting the theory of evolution is not based on scientific methodology.

    No, I said that your ridiculous caricature of the theory of evolution is not based on scientific methodology.

    From the “Contemporary Discourse in the Field Of Biology” series I am reading Biological Evolution: An Anthology of Current Thought.This is part of a reviewed series expressing the current scientific consensus.

    Actually, it’s a supplemental text for high school students. From the publisher’s web site:

    Engaging, accessible, and challenging, this volume is an inviting survey of the field of evolution for high school students.

    Also:

    Interest Level: Grades 10 – 12
    Reading Level: Grades 10 – 12

    http://www.rosenpublishing.com.....K000004283

  328. Thank you for admitting the theory of evolution is not based on scientific methodology.

    No, I said that your ridiculous caricature of the theory of evolution is not based on scientific methodology.

    It’s not mine and it’s not a caricature.

    Actually, it’s a supplemental text for high school students.

    So they are teaching a ridiculous caricature to high school students? Is that what you are saying?

    How about Dawkins? He also seems to support the same model as I do. Does that mean he supports a ridiculous caricature?

    How can that be that the head of science at Oxford supports a ridiculous caricature?

    “The major tenets of the evolutionary synthesis, then, were that populations contain genetic variation that arises by random (ie. not adaptively directed) mutation and recombination; that populations evolve by changes in gene frequency brought about by random genetic drift, gene flow, and especially natural selection; that most adaptive genetic variants have individually slight phenotypic effects so that phenotypic changes are gradual (although some alleles with discrete effects may be advantageous, as in certain color polymorphisms); that diversification comes about by speciation, which normally entails the gradual evolution of reproductive isolation among populations; and that these processes, continued for sufficiently long, give rise to changes of such great magnitude as to warrant the designation of higher taxonomic levels (genera, families, and so forth).”
    - Futuyma, D.J. in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates, 1986; p.12

    I take it you think that is another ridiculous caricature.

    Something that has become painfully obvious- YOU are a ridiculous caricature.

  329. Futuyma’s description is fine, subtle, elegant, and right. But you’re no Futuyma.

    Your caricature (“the universe and living organisms are the result of purely stochasttic processes” and variations thereof) is much more sweeping and crude, and elevates “stochastic processes” to include everything — including, apparently, non-stochastic, determinate processes that also exist in nature, to say nothing of our recent — and only recent — manipulation of evolution in particular directions by breeding and more modern technologies. If you think repeating “stochastic processes” and “culled genetic accidents” ad nauseum says anything resembling that fine quote from Futuyma, I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless in the face of such delusion.

  330. Stephen, according to which ‘neo-darwinists’ do organisms neither think nor plan? This should be good.

    Reaches for popcorn, pokes the slumbering RTH in the corner.

    Actually, Stephen, were one to use the explanatory filter consistently, he would find that every single artifact under scrutiny is designed. What is the probability that these particular atoms, out of all the individual atoms in the universe, are configured together in this lump of space-time? To claim that this is not information is very inconsistent. How do you know it is not information? Aren’t you letting the evidence lead you ‘where it may’. That is evidence that you must deal with, this staggering improbability that we are here instead of anywhere else, before going on to more banal calculations like the amount of CSI in a turkey drumstick or perhaps a quiche. The EF is tripped when mice fart. What good is that? You can only bypass the EF by cherrypicking ‘information’.

    If you had been paying attention instead of picking your nose, or going neener neener neener I can’t hear you, then you would have recognized the discussion of emergence has revolved around how scientific theories accomodate processes and entities that are not reducible to lower levels. Not any sort of magic properties that theism could not predict nor any sort of ‘design’ that is supposedly quantifiable but cannot tell a peanut butter sandwich from a pile of droppings (which, containing DNA, would undoubtedly trip the EF. Again, it’s hard to keep the explanatory filter supplied with batteries, it’s always going off).

    If you were honest, and not (apparently) intent on shoehorning the baby jesus into science discussions in public school classrooms, you would attempt to demonstrate how one would determine that a peanut butter sandwich is designed, per the method that Dembski has written in jello.

    We can start with the little things that we know have required human agency, before moving onto others where there is not a hint (i.e., organisms and higher level entities). You should demonstrate that the method 1) is usable for a variety of objects, 2) uses the complete set of ‘information’ that you can woo from an object, and 3) actually means something in terms of other domains of biological knowledge. Unless, of course, the aim is to raze the edifice of biology and replace with ‘infermayshunology’ in which case we should talk about some other things first.

  331. Onlookers:

    Isn’t it interesting to see just how hard and how insistently evolutionary materialism advocates have run away from the vital focus of the thread as set by Denyse?

    Namely, the issue of addressing a blatant injustice based on the imposition of so-called methodological naturalism as a question-begging and prejudicial redefinition of science, which has in turn shown just how effectively it censors the truth and seeks to silence those who would stand up for it in the halls of science. Let’s remind ourselves again [cf OP and 239]:

    Since the revelations from Monday’s press conference in Iowa regarding the true reason for Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure denial, I have been studying the comments of Darwinists . . . . I’ve already covered Maya [NB, now no longer with us] at 8, 10, and 12 here, arguing a case against Gonzalez, even though >the substance of the story is that we now KNOW that her assertions have nothing to do with the real reason he was denied tenure.

    Oh, and at 15, she asserts, “The concern is not about Gonzalez’s politics or religion but about his ability to serve as a science educator.” . . . .
    getawitness, at 18, then compares astronomy to Near East Studies, of all things. NES is notorious for suspicion of severe compromise due to financing from Middle Eastern interests! . . . .

    at 35, Ellazimm asks, apparently in all seriousness, “Having been involved in a contentious tenure decision myself I can’t see why the faculty are not allowed to make a decision based on their understanding of the scientific standard in their discipline.” . . . .

    Briefly, Ellazimm the facts are these: They decided to get rid of him because of his sympathies with intelligent design BEFORE the tenure process even began, then cited a variety of other explanations that taken as a whole lacked merit . . . THEN the truth came out when e-mails were subpoenaed through a public records request. That was AFTER President Geoffroy had represented a facts-challenged story to the public media. In other words, the entire tenure process sounds like a sham and the participants may have engaged in deliberate deception to cover up the fact that it was a sham.

    Of course, at 56 [and 239] above we can see, courtesy an excerpt from GG’s ISU HOD, Dr. Eli Rosenberg:

    Dr. Gonzalez has stated that Intelligent Design is a scientific theory and someday would be taught in science classrooms. This is confirmed by his numerous postings on the Discovery Institute Web site. The problem here is that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. Its premise is beyond the realm of science. … But it is incumbent on a science educator to clearly understand and be able to articulate what science is and what it is not. The fact that Dr. Gonzalez does not understand what constitutes both science and a scientific theory disqualifies him from serving as a science educator.

    Notice carefully how not one of the above higlighted Darwinism advocates and their fellow travellers has seriously and cogently explained how it can be philosophically or historically warranted that such methodological naturalism can be taken as a criterion of competence as either a scientist or science educator. And for excellent reason. It is in fact a back-door way to smuggle in the politically correct principle too often used to silence serious dicussion in recent years, namely, the tendentious idea that science – as a “proper” rule of the game — is censored from addressing the third major cause of events, agents, whenever it does not suit the evolutionary materialist worldview.

    That should serve as a clear and present warning sign on the tyrannical tendencies of such evolutionary materialism. So, let us take due note and act to protect ourselves before it is too late.

    Now, let us pause and deal with a few of the usual red herrings, rabbit trails and strawman issues that the evo mat advocates have so persistently sought to hijack this thread with:

    1] Poachy, 275: Today it is the astronomy department at the Iowa State University. Tomorrow it could be the whole world . . .

    This probable troll evidently does not realise the ironical accuracy of his remark. For, as the UD blog has discussed in recent months: [1] the European Union has drafted a policy statement that would do just the same sort of oppressive imposition EU-wide, [2] the Minister of Education in Sweden has put up an equally indefensible policy on private schools, and [3] at the Dawkins-supported recent Crystal-Clear Atheism conference, conferees made this same agenda all too blatantly plain.

    In short, what has been happening in recent years to Dr Richard von Sternberg and Prof Guillermo Gonzalez is not an isolated phenomenon. It is a decades-long trend, one that is under-reported, and one that is laced with terrible memories of what Darwinism-inspired regimes have done over the past 100 years. And all of that was foreseen by Uncle Charlie himself, as we can cite from Ch 6 of his 1871 The Descent of Man:

    At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked,* will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.
    ________

    Anthropological Review, April, 1867, p. 236

    Next, he doesn’t even pause to reflect on the monstrous implications of what he has just said. Instead he coolly continues:

    With respect to the absence of fossil remains, serving to connect man with his ape-like progenitors, no one will lay much stress on this fact who reads Sir C. Lyell’s discussion,* where he shews that in all the vertebrate classes the discovery of fossil remains has been a very slow and fortuitous process . . .[and yes, that plea to “explain” gaps has been made ever since Darwin, never mind just how embarrassingly rich the record has become since then . . . BTW, I am simply re-excerpting here what I posted in the 24th Mar 07 Darwin and the Irish thread, at no 21.]

    Well over 100 million ghosts rise to warn us – but are we even listening?

    2] Sally_T, 284: I’m just not sure how to calculate the ‘information’ in the bread making process . . . . How does one measure a ‘bit’ of information? . . . . this is of course important. I would like to see the math for the CSI in a peanut butter sandwich

    H’mm, as important as, say, cogently and seriously addressing a major on-topic question of injustice, Sally_T?

    Besides, the sort of question was actually long since addressed in the thread, in my always linked [cf. Section A, esp. the excerpt from Connor on defining and measuring information, then the onward point of identifying CSI.]

    But, just in case, let’s summarise it again: [a] how many yes/no steps are involved in an algorithm to make a Peanut butter sandwich? [b] Each yes/no step implies one bit – binary digit — of information. So as others have highlighted: to identify and assemble the ingredients, then top put them together in order entails a chain of actions based on yes/no choices. [c] The sum of those choices is the information content of a PB sandwich.

    It turns out that on the sandwich itself, the information content is well below the threshold that RELIABLY signals design; and of course the UPB threshold was deliberately chosen to be a tight filter that will only pass cases of design inference that are not reasonably expected to happen on the scope of our whole observed universe, across its entire lifespan. BTW, they are a lot commoner than you think, Sally_T! [Now, for instance, the biological origin of the sandwich's ingredients as deriving from life-forms is another matter, one with genetic information that is far beyond the 500 – 1,000 bits that marks the UPB. (I include up to 1,000 bits to take in islands and even archipelagos of functional information in the relevant configuration space.)]

    3] Regarding GG, anyone bringing in less than 50 grand in six years is not going to get tenure [etc]. . .

    Just as Denyse pointed out in the OP, Sally_T predictably ducks the plain facts on the record to make an irrelevant, red herring leading out to a strawman, point (that also ducks the fact that we see that there is reason to infer a hostile intellectual climate driven by the attitudes and agendas we see at work, and of course the mere fact that GG is responsible for a major breakthrough in planet-detecting astronomical research). May we note Denyse again, putting in Sally_T for Ellazim:

    Briefly, [Sally_T] the facts are these: They decided to get rid of him because of his sympathies with intelligent design BEFORE the tenure process even began, then cited a variety of other explanations that taken as a whole lacked merit . . . THEN the truth came out when e-mails were subpoenaed through a public records request. That was AFTER President Geoffroy had represented a facts-challenged story to the public media. In other words, the entire tenure process sounds like a sham and the participants may have engaged in deliberate deception to cover up the fact that it was a sham.

    And, finally . . .

    4] 331: Unless . . . the aim is to raze the edifice of biology and replace with ‘infermayshunology’ in which case we should talk about some other things first.

    In short, we may safely conclude that Sally_T is not serious, and is certainly willfully obtuse and non-responsive on cogent and easily available facts, and should simply be ignored – save as a classic example of the problems we face.

    FYI Sally_T, Design theory is a separate theory of information that just so happens to have something very cogent to say to a gaping, information-shaped hole in the current evo mat paradigm in biology and related areas. But obviously, the evo mat ideologues are not listening to the message being sent by the information-bearing DNA molecules at the core of cell-based life.

    GEM of TKI

  332. Sally — you would attempt to demonstrate how one would determine that a peanut butter sandwich is designed, per the method that Dembski . . .

    But Dembski’s method doesn’t work well with peanut butter sandwiches. It would be the same for patterned wallpaper. We know it’s designed, but Dembski’s way would indicate that it’s not.

    We can start with the little things that we know have required human agency, before moving onto others where there is not a hint

    But why? Imagine a group many generations ago moving an undressed stone to a spot to use as a boundary marker. Now, this spot is at the bottom of a hill. Dembski’s EF’s will never pick up that the stone was used for a designed purpose.

    Dembski never claims his method will not give false negatives. A more interesting — and impeaching –exercise will be to use his method to give a false positive.

  333. Futuyma’s description is fine, subtle, elegant, and right. But you’re no Futuyma. -gaw

    And my representation is the same as Futuyma’s, Dawkins’ and Mayr’s. Mayr tells us in “What Evolution Is” that teleology is NOT allowed!

    IOW my alleged caricature is borne from the minds of the top evolutionists!!! Go figure.

    Not to mention the 38 Nobel prize winners who sent a letter to Kansas stating “Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of
    an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.”

    IOW stochastic processes.

    Your caricature (”the universe and living organisms are the result of purely stochasttic processes” and variations thereof) is much more sweeping and crude, and elevates “stochastic processes” to include everything — including, apparently, non-stochastic, determinate processes that also exist in nature, to say nothing of our recent — and only recent — manipulation of evolution in particular directions by breeding and more modern technologies.

    Artificial selection, ie breeding, is NOT part of the theory of evolution. Artificial selection is a telic process, meaning those breeds would not have appeared had nature operated freely.

    Also how do you think those alleged “determinate processes”, such as the laws of naturte, arose in a non-telic scenario? It had to be via stochastic processes.

    If you think repeating “stochastic processes” and “culled genetic accidents” ad nauseum says anything resembling that fine quote from Futuyma, I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless in the face of such delusion.

    EVERY mutation, by evolutionary standards, IS a genetic accident.

    To deny that is to prove you do not know anything about the theory of evolution.

    Culling is the process of elimination- and it is also part of the evolutionary scenario- some mutations are kept while others are not.

    So the bottom line here is gaw doesn’t know what he(?) is talking about and then thinks this ignoarance can be used as some sort of refutation.

  334. LoL!! Sally_T describes her position:

    If you had been paying attention instead of picking your nose, or going neener neener neener I can’t hear you,

    That is all Sally has been doing- picking her nose, and closing her mind.

  335. Sally_T is no longer with us.

  336. To getawitness,

    Everything that Futuyma presented, with the exception of natural selection- which is a result, is a stochastic process.

    Natural selection just means that nature did the culling.

    However NS is nothing more than whatever survives to produce more offspring, survives to produce more offspring. IOW “there is no way to tell what will be selected for at any point in time” (Dennett).

    My prediction about Sally_T- she will join the ranks of others and will go to other blogs claiming some sort of victory.

  337. Davescot, and I’m wearing black. Allow them a eulogy. Getawttness, was a great Darwinist he never said anything substantive. And Sallyt won’t be missed at all because she was a bloviating methodological materialist ideologue. She ignored everything that people told her and just pulled a broken record campaign of total gibberish. Talking to Sallyt was like talking to a wall. RIP GAW & ST.

  338. Sally: “Actually, Stephen, were one to use the explanatory filter consistently, he would find that every single artifact under scrutiny is designed. What is the probability that these particular atoms, out of all the individual atoms in the universe, are configured together in this lump of space-time? To claim that this is not information is very inconsistent. How do you know it is not information?”

    Dembski dealt with these points many times over. The reason specified is attached to complexity is to provide a means by which outcomes resulting from undirected causal factors can be distinguished from intelligent causation. It is the difference between aiming at a wall and landing an arrow on it randomly and hitting a bullseye drawn on the wall. The first could be done blindfolded and the location of the hit not an intended result. The second implies a purposeful outcome- design.

    Sally: “If you were honest, and not (apparently) intent on shoehorning the baby jesus into science discussions in public school classrooms,…”

    Your whole approach is dishonest. You are the one focused in religious implications of discussions focused on DNA, information and other non-religious topics. That comment exposes you.

  339. Joseph,

    Here I believe Wm is saying that CSI helps identify those sequences which are non-random- ie someone cheated- beacuse if they were truly random they would not be algorithmically compressible.

    Here you’re saying that compressibility can be an indication of cheating, which is a case of design. But CJYman excluded compressible strings from CSI. Do you see the contradiction I’m trying to resolve? Thank you for your help.

  340. Before this thread dies off I’d like to point out that Sally was not rejecting ID itself. Instead, she was rejecting the foundational science that ID builds upon. It’s difficult to hold a conversation when she rejects the methods that other Darwinists used for years before Dembski ever became an ID proponent.

    Now one part of her objections makes sense to me. The major methods of ID are limited in usability for general purposes due to the propensity to produce false negatives. So why can’t there be an extension to ID that is acknowledged as not being 100% accurate but is more practical? After all, our minds do it all the time: we detect design but it’s not 100% accurate. A revised method that is optimized for realtime calculations would be useful for AI programs. I realize that the ID community has a focus of combating Darwinism now but producing such general purpose applications of ID would help ID become more acceptable.

    I think she was using “emergence” in a limited sense and not a “Shazam, we have CSI somehow” manner. In comment #187 I pointed out that even though there ARE emergent properties they rely on the design of the controlling factors. But she focused on the emergent properties instead of whether Darwinian mechanisms are capable of producing these controlling factors.

    Also, back in #155:

    Back in #78 I asked a question about your focus in that paper. The subject matter is broad, ranging from motility to cell wall metabolism in relation to pathogenesis. Perhaps you were referring to this line?

    By BLAST analysis, we found that PKD repeats present in Listeria LPXTG proteins are also weakly similar to the Bap family repeats. Together, these data suggest an evolutionary relationship between all these repeated domains.

    Or perhaps you were referring to the references in there as a starting point?

    I gave it a quick read but didn’t follow back the references. Unless I’m overlooking something, the primary focus was on making predictions about the functionality related to certain sections of the genome that control surface proteins. They then analyzed everything to see if the function-to-genome-section prediction was correct. In other words, normal good biology that has little to do with providing positive evidence for Darwinian mechanisms (no, comparing the genomes and assuming the mechanisms work does not count). The only thing related to Darwinism I noticed in my scan
    was that obligatory salute and some references.

    But I may have overlooked something, so that’s why I asked MacT what page/section he was referring to. Unfortunately, I’ve asked twice now so I’m forced to write it off as a literature bluff.

    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=2228

    Literature bluffing is the indiscriminate citation of scientific papers and articles whose titles or abstracts may seem germane to the problem at hand, but which on careful reading prove not to settle the issue, or even not to have any relevance to it. Like a squid spewing out ink to confuse a pursuer, or a fighter jet dispensing chaff to deflect incoming missiles, a literature bluffer floods the discussion with citations to distract attention from the real issues.

    Bibliographic search engines such as PubMed make it easy for literature bluffers to compile long lists of citations. The literature bluffer, however, rarely explains the arguments or evidence contained in the publications on the list. That would defeat the bluffer’s purpose, which is not really to address the merits of the case, but rather to overwhelm the reader with the apparent weight of scientific authority. The reader is then left with the work of actually studying the publications and assessing their relevance.

    From Sal:

    What I learned however, is bluffing via materials not available online. When we deal with materials that require subscription or a book that is out of print or really expensive. It becomes cumbersome to combat the literature bluff.

    And honestly, how many are willing to spend the time and money? The critics count on the fact that you’ll read the entire book or article and realize it was irrelevant. But that is VERY HARD to demonstrate irrelevance. And by that time, the discussion is out of the public eye. They successfully used a stalling tactic to make a quick getaway from the debate….

    They can leave the audience with the illusion that maybe it was relevant and addressed the issue. After all the audience must take your word against theirs.

    Unfortunately, MacT already has a history of doing such things. See these comments:

    Modularity and Design

    I first corrected his misstatement that the “mutational bias” was a mechanism in itself; it really was an outcome with an unspecified “mutational process”.

    He responded:

    The proposed mutational process is an inference based on considerations of how modularity could arise. The authors state that there are now several models that are consistent with this account, and suggest how empirical data could help decide.

    I asked in turn:

    Yes, but what is this “proposed mutational process” and what are the “several models that are consistent with this account”? Obviously you cannot copy and paste the entire paper but some specifics (or external references) would be nice.

    He never responded. It’s difficult to discuss things when someone is trying to make a point with vague references and no details. I’d still like to follow up on this article so perhaps if I have time I’ll find a copy.

    Becoming a Jedi Master in the online ID Wars

    Evolutionary Logic

  341. Only one point has not been addressed. Design inference does not rely on ontological presupposition.

    I realize that this thread is flooded with distractions from the main theme which ought to have dramatized the injustice that has been visited on GG, and I agree with all those, especially kairosfocus, who lamented the fact that we simply changed direction without any good reason.

    Still, no one has yet dealt with the recurring theme that design inference requires an ontological assumption. This false and destructive idea underpins the neo-Darwinist notion that design is illusory. If Kant, the philosopher had not concluded that the image of design in the mind isn’t real, Darwin would never have dared to claim that design in nature isn’t real. According to Kant, these images of reality in the mind (in this case design) do not necessarily reflect the object that is being observed. Given this assumption, ID is defeated even before it enters the arena
    It is this philosophical skepticism visited on us from Hume, and complicated by Kant, that gives Darwinists the intellectual confidence to continue their bad science. It isn’t often that the scientists will provide us with testimony to that fact, but that is exactly what Sally T offered us on several occasions.

    —–“It may very well be that the ontological argument is the greatest strength of ID, but as Alvin Plantigna has commented about his ontological proofs, they are only logically valid if one holds the appropriate set of presuppostions a priori”

    ——“It is empirically equivalent to say ‘a cell is designed’ and ‘a cell just is’. The ontological burden is on the ‘designed’ proponent, and Hume showed very well the problems with this argument and they have never been countered.”

    ——“There is no way, that I can see, to parse the two hypotheses ‘the universe is designed that way’ and ‘the universe is that way’.”

    ——“So what you are saying cannot be done (forcing ontological commitments from data) is certainly what the ‘design inference’ entails.”

    ——“THAT is selective hyperskepticism at it’s finest (cherrypicking data to produce a priori convictions).

    ——“What you are attempting to sneak into the discussion is an ontological account of complexity.”

    ——“I think it is an attempt to force a particular ontological presupposition onto science that is an unnecessary encumbrance to inquiry. It is true I would predict that this tautological issue will be a major obstacle to the theory of ID, when formalized, being established as a working model for science.”

    What I am taking issue with is the claim that this “argument has never been dealt with.” Few people are aware of it, but it has indeed been answered, and we all need to be aware of it. If we are going to win the argument about design in nature, we must be also be prepared to refute this philosophical skepticism that upholds the Darwinist scheme.

    I will not generate an insufferably long post over this matter. You either grasp the importance of it or you don’t. Suffice it to say that Dr. Adler echoes Aquinas and Aristotle with his warning that a “a little error in the beginning leads to a great one in the end.” As Aristotle points out, “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.” This is precisely what happened when Kant extended Hume’s errors and tried to create an elaborate philosophical system to solve a problem that wasn’t really there in the first place. We really can trust our mind to report the truth about nature’s design. I hope that you will google “Little Errors in the Beginninng,” by Mortimer J. Adler, PhD. He is one of the finest minds of the twentieth century.

    We have all had enough experience to know that if you want the truth, you are going to have to search for it diligently, apply yourself assiduously, and fight your way past the obfuscators in the process. This is the truth and it ties in with what most on this blog are trying to do.

    Again, that is, “Little Errors in the Beginning,” by Mortimer Adler Ph.D.

  342. Here I believe Wm is saying that CSI helps identify those sequences which are non-random- ie someone cheated- beacuse if they were truly random they would not be algorithmically compressible.

    Here you’re saying that compressibility can be an indication of cheating, which is a case of design.-Peace

    Yes in special cases in which randomness, and therefore incompressibility, are expected.

    CJYman excluded compressible strings from CSI.

    No one said the compressed string contains CSI. It is just that in those special cases it is a sign of agent activity- IOW chance was not the only thing at play.

    Do you see the contradiction I’m trying to resolve?

    I can honestly say that I do not.

    Take care.

  343. stephenb, thanks for bringing up Dr. Adler, a great advocate of philosophy as common sense, refined and expanded.
    He was a great antidote to self satisfied postmodern navel gazing.

    http://radicalacademy.com/adler_little_errors.htm

  344. SteveB and others:

    A few notes on Kant, Sally_T, radical skepticism and the like:

    1] SteveB, 342: I realize that this thread is flooded with distractions from the main theme which ought to have dramatized the injustice that has been visited on GG, and I agree with all those, especially kairosfocus, who lamented the fact that we simply changed direction without any good reason . . .

    Sadly, on evidence of repeated refusal to address that main issue, while raising every sort of red herring and strawman one could imagine, there was indeed a reason, but not a good one: plainly, desire on the part of Evo Mat advocates to distract attention from major injustice on their party’s part. We need to draw the lesson and heed its implications.

    2] Design inference does not rely on ontological presupposition . . . . no one has yet dealt with the recurring theme that design inference requires an ontological assumption.

    In fact, first, it is more of a deceptive rhetorical trick in too many cases.

    It is not too hard for reasonably educated people to follow a line of reasoning that is commonplace to anyone who has done a FIRST course in statistics – and that more or less includes anyone who has done a Biology major:

    a] It is well-known relative to vast and commonplace experience that one or more of three common causal patterns MAY act into a given situation: [1] chance [manifesting through stochastic processes that produce statistical distributions in outcomes], [2] mechanical necessity [showing itself in observable natural regularities], [3] intentional agent action [showing itself in outcomes that are contingent and specified relative to plausible purposes of candidate agents, and in outcomes that would be improbable relative to a chance null hypothesis].

    b] In cases that are dominated by contingency as opposed to fixed, regular patterns perhaps perturbed by a bit of noise, we see that we face alternatives: chance or agency. At this stage all that we have done is that we have ruled out natural regularities. (We have not assumed that agents are acting or that they actually exist, only that they are POSSIBLE and should not be assumed away — especially by selective hyperskepticism and undue burden of proof shifting — ahead of examining evidence.)

    c] As a standard approach, chance based on a reasonable model is the null hypothesis. We then test the actual outcome against the pattern that the chance hyp would throw out.

    d] If the actual outcome is credibly within the rejection regions, we reject the null at whatever reasonable level of confidence is appropriate. One sets the rejection regions relative to what proneness to errors are acceptable or preferred: rejecting the null when we should accept it, or accepting the null when we should reject it. [The explanatory filter cheerfully accepts many false negatives on design because of the significance of the cases it rules in; it is set up that way.]

    e] Thus, we have found epistemic warrant for the hypothesis that the outcome is dominated by agent action, and that is in fact without the need to assume anything about any particular class of agent.

    –> As I discuss in my always linked, [and as is commonly and easily accessible all over the Internet] Dembski and others have simply taken up this basic, commonly applied and effective Fisherian approach to statistical inference and have applied it to cases of interest to the Design theory movement. [He addresses the manufactured objection that there must be a Bayesian approach instead here and here, noting that in fact there is an excellent reason to see that we revert to Bayesian approaches because we have intuitively at least applied the Fisherian approach and see that something is fishy! [Pun not intended, at least at first . . .]]

    –> What has happened is that because the results cut across the currently dominant evolutionary materialism in the Guild of scholarship, selective hyperskepticism has been applied to dispute what should be a no-brainer.

    2] If Kant, the philosopher had not concluded that the image of design in the mind isn’t real, Darwin would never have dared to claim that design in nature isn’t real. According to Kant, these images of reality in the mind (in this case design) do not necessarily reflect the object that is being observed.

    In fact, Kant here actually outright contradicts himself.

    How can he know that it is the real case that the image of design in the mind isn’t real”? In short, he is being self-referentially inconsistent. (One could just as easily assert that the image of non-design in the mind is not “real.”)

    That is, once we make a radical assertion that the world of ideas and the world of reality are radically isolated from one another, the whole project of rationality collapses.

    In fact, as I have already excerpted recently, this little error in Kant has long since been exposed, e.g. In F. H. Bradley ‘s gentle but stinging opening salvo in his Appearance and Reality, 2nd Edn (Clarendon Press, 1930), p.1:

    “The man who is ready to prove that metaphysical knowledge is impossible has . . . himself . . . perhaps unknowingly, entered the arena [of metaphysics] . . . . To say that reality is such that our knowledge cannot reach it, is to claim to know reality.”

    On the “little errors” reference, Adler has implied as much.

    3] According to Kant, these images of reality in the mind (in this case design) do not necessarily reflect the object that is being observed. Given this assumption, ID is defeated even before it enters the arena

    First, all that we need to take from that, is that we are finite and fallible creatures and so all of our reasoning is subject to error. Including, all our scientific reasoning. So, we must be careful and humble, recognising that our scientific reasoning is provisional and subject to correction in light of future investigations. That of course includes a certain research programme known as the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, and the asserted “rule of procedure” methodological naturalism..

    Balancing that, until and unless we have good reason to infer that we are in error in a given case, it is reasonable to be confident that reasoning based on reliable approaches is to be trusted over against radical, self-destructive global skepticism or selective application of the principles of such radicalism to reject what one does not want to believe while implicitly “exempting” those things one is inclined to believe – the fallacy of selective hyper-skepticism in short. (Simon Greenleaf’s subtly acid comment is well worth hitting the link, folks!)

    4] What I am taking issue with is the claim that this [Hume-Kant] “argument has never been dealt with.”

    I agree. And in fact even in my always linked asdn onward links, there are things that would address this issue, if Sally_T had been inclined to actually take up the phil issue seriously and explicitly on a level playing field comparative difficulties basis on worldview analysis matters.

    She obviously was not, being insistently content to state vague assertions and dismiss what she was not wishing to face, on the main issue of injustice, and on the secondary ones she raised, including this one.

    And, given the issue of blatant and indefensible injustice done to Dr Gonzalez she insistently wanted to distract us from, the reason is, sadly, obvious.

    GEM of TKI

  345. PS: Okay, I see four links is the limit. (I had five. Hope this does not send me back to Mark and co.)

    Patrick, thanks for the new little statement that there is a mod piling.

  346. Yes, 4 links is the limit before a comment will be held in moderation. The reason for this is that a common characteristic of comment spam is a large number of hyperlinks.

  347. Patrick:

    Thanks, ever so much.

    GEM of TKI

  348. Joseph,

    I can honestly say that I do not.

    Well, I appreciate the effort. Since Dembski’s math explicitly says that, all else being equal, more compressible strings have more specified complexity, and since his examples reinforce this principle, I’ll try to contact Dembski directly for an explanation. Thanks for your help.

  349. Peace:

    Maybe I can help clarify, re:

    Dembski’s math explicitly says that, all else being equal, more compressible strings have more specified complexity .

    Take a long enough digital element string. “Long enough” meaning that it can store at least 500 – 1,000 bits of information. Thus, it has 10^150 to 10^301 or more cells in its configuration space.

    Surely, such strings can reasonably be described as contingent [for any one value instantiated, there are many other possible values that could have been instantiated] and complex [there is a “lot” of information storing capacity there].

    Now, consider two alternatives:

    CASE A: a random string, e.g. fiedbhvfgfjdkyfdgfjdkidgtfdigcvydosydhcklxsiud

    CASE B: a meaningful text string written out in English, that is according to the rules and structures of written English

    The later can be simply and detachably – and indeed, functionally, be described. The former, can in effect only be described by reproducing the string. [Even in the case of a wining lottery combination, that would hold.]

    Now, on a random text generation event, something like case A is exceedingly more likely than something like Case B. But, intelligent agents routinely generate things like case B.

    Indeed, sufficiently long cases like B have ONLY been generated by such agents, in our observation.

    Observe how A has in it “fie,” “kid,” “iud” and “dos” but not even one seven-letter word. (I in fact simply closed my eyes then typed at random for a few seconds.)

    Three-letter words and acronyms are far more common in the space of 26^3 [~ 1.76 * 10^4 config space cells] than are seven-letter words in the space 26^7 [~ 8.03 * 10^9 cells; the vocab of English was ~ 800,000 words when I was growing up and learning such trivia in the name of education]. This was of course pointed out by Denton in that 1985 ID sleeper, Evolution: A Theory in crisis.

    This is significant.

    Putting that more or less in the terms Prof Sewell now prefers: objects in nature do not spontaneously do macroscopically describable things that are microscopically improbable. That is, since the more chaotic macrostates are so much more likely on chance, it is maximally unlikely that we get the sort of case B outcome by chance.

    The obvious challenges? First, DNA and other nanotechnologies in the cell exhibit patterns that look like case B not A, and we know that the cell’s functionality is closely coupled to he exactitude of the chemical composition and folding of its key molecules. (This has relevance tot he origin of life and to he body-plan level diversity of life.) Second, if we were to summarise the physics that apparently undergirds our life-facilitating cosmos, we see that it is a case of organised, fine-tuned complexity that would exhibit a pattern more like case B than A again. [Cf. My always linked for a discussion.]

    So, why then is there such an insistence in many quarters that the observed CSI and/or IC and/or OC in the cases just pointed out “must” only be explained relative to chance + necessity only?

    GEM of TKI

  350. A footnote:

    DK at 63 raised the issue of snowflakes.

    Given the IMHCO somewhat unsatisfactory and incomplete nature of several remarks above on this, and also other questions on CSI I decided to develop a new appendix in my always linked, on the origin, coherence and significance of the CSI concept.

    As a part of that, I addressed the snowflake as a claimed counter-example to the concept. (NB: I also added a few remarks on the issue of causal factors: chance, necessity, agency; here.)

    The interesting point about snowflakes is that hey partly constitute crystals, and are partly an agglomeration of crystals formed under the influence of atmospheric conditions at their time and place of formation. The crystalline structure is obviously a manifestation of order.

    The complex but essentially random agglomeration is a manifestation of random complexity constrained by orderly bonding forces that push them towards the hexagonal symmetry.

    Thus, in looking at his case we need to bear the two levels of structure in mind. This is rather similar to DNA and proteins: the monomers are relatively simple orderly structures, the polymers are information rich because they are functionally specified and (generally speaking) beyond the UPB’s limit of 500 – 1,000 bits of information storing capacity.

    We can call that limit, the edge of chance. For, we know from a wealth of direct observation of cases of the origin of such, that CSI manifesting structures beyond that limit are the product of intelligent agency.

    GEM of TKI

  351. kairosfocus:

    Thank you for your very complete and clear contribution to this fundamental point. I warmly encourage everybody on this blog to carefully read your new linked discussion on CSI and causal factors.

    Sometimes we get sidetracked in our discussions regarding relatively minor points, but we should from time to time get back to the true strength of the ID theory: CSI, IC, and the principles of design inference. Those are the fundamental truths which no darwinist dares address, and which will ultimately change forever the scientific scenario. We need to get back to simplicity, clarity and focus, and your contribution is a perfect example of how to do that.

  352. Thank you for your input, kairosfocus.

    Dr. Dembski kindly answered my inquiry. Essentially, he reiterated what he has said elsewhere, that compressibility is one of the properties that can give us a specification, functionality being another.

    He has never said that incompressibility is required for or indicative of complexity, and his examples certainly belie that assertion. With no disrespect intended for Joseph, CJYman, or Stephen Meyer, I’ll side with Dr. Dembski on this.

  353. [...] his argument? Note: The character of Gonzalez’s opposition speaks for itself in that some continued to defend the mythical grounds even after the truth was out. (May [...]

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