10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design (Part III)

Intelligent Design — By on August 8, 2006 at 1:14 am

[Note: This is the third part in the list of ways in which neo-Darwinist critics are helping to promote the theory of intelligent design.]
#8 By separating origins of life science from evolutionary explanations.



  • http://steppinginfaith.com Travis

    Thanks for this series, Joe.

  • http://zackofalltrades.com Zack

    Could someone please explain a line of argument that would when when someone complains about ID’s lack of inductive reasoning?
    This argument is basically that “a scientific theory is a framework that must allow you to hypothesize additional theories, and then search for evidence or perform experiments to justify or disprove your hypothesis and create more theories”.
    ID critics will say that ID fails at this, because the only explanation it gives is that “things were designed by the designer”. There is no inductive reasoning, and therefore ID isn’t a scientific theory.
    This as opposed to evolution, where an evolutionist could say that if you found an animal with a certain peculiar bone structure you coul hypotheize the existance of similar animals and go dig in the hills for a while and trying to find it’s ancestor.
    Anyone have a reasonable argument about this?

  • LudVanB

    And here we are…10 arguments later and not a single one of them comes anywhere colse to either refuting the solid scientific validity of the theory of evolution or validating the esotheric belief that is ID. Joe did make a valid point though…he exposed just how badly misinformed the general public is about the ToE and how currupt ID proponents do prey on that misinformation to further their political agenda.
    There is something that does puzzle me though…while it is a fact that the overwhelming majority of IDists are evengelical christians and counts among them not one single athiest as far as anyone knows,they have obviously not throught their approach through because ID,if taken to its only logical conclusions actually refutes the bible.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    LudVanB And here we are…10 arguments later and not a single one of them comes anywhere colse to either refuting the solid scientific validity of the theory of evolution or validating the esotheric belief that is ID.
    True, but irrelevant. That was never the point of this series.
    Joe did make a valid point though…he exposed just how badly misinformed the general public is about the ToE and how currupt ID proponents do prey on that misinformation to further their political agenda.
    I should have added #11 — accusing ID advocates of dishonesty. That’s become the lazy way of dealing with all intellectual opponents nowadays. It’s not enough to say someone is wrong, they must know they are wrong and be lying about it.
    There is something that does puzzle me though…while it is a fact that the overwhelming majority of IDists are evengelical christians and counts among them not one single athiest as far as anyone knows,
    First, let’s consider that only about 5% of the population is atheist. So that narrows it down somewhat. Second, there are atheists who accept ID. Anthony Flew is probably the most notable one. Todd Moody and David Berlinski are agnostics. And David Stove, rejected neo-Darwinism and he was an atheist.
    Also, what about Francis Crick and Fred Hoyle. Neither of them were “evangelical Christians” and they both posited a form of “intelligent design” argument for the seeding of life on earth.
    they have obviously not throught their approach through because ID,if taken to its only logical conclusions actually refutes the bible.
    What?! Why didn’t someone tell me this before?! Here I’ve been a Bible believing Christian and a fellow traveler in the ID movement and never realized that believing that an intelligent being (who I personally believe is God) had a direct, empiracallly detectable role in the creation of the universe actually refutes the Bible.
    Man, my head is spinning now.
    (Sorry to lay that sarcasm on so thick, but I find this as offensive and silly as the claims that there are “two conflicting creation stories” in the first chapters of Genesis and that we Christians just never noticed it before.)

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    Zack,
    Basically, ID critics are just wrong on this point. First, I would question the ID critic about why they think science must work this way. Looking at any intro level book on the philosophy of science to see why this is wrong. You might also want to do a google search on the phrase “science stopper” as there are a number of good arguments on the web about why, if something doesn’t allow for further hypotheses, it could still be considered science. (See, for example, Plantinga’s argument here under the heading “Science Stoppers?”).
    Second, it is false that ID rules out the possibility of hypothesizing new theories and testing them (not in general, at least). Del Ratzsch wrote quite a bit about this in his book, Nature, Design and Science (see Chapters 10 and 11 especially), where he argues that design is a scientifically legitimate concept. Richard Dawkins, a stauch Darwinist, even argues that acting as if things are designed may have some scientific usefulness (see #6 in Joe’s series). So design could be a valid concept in science, even if only instrumentally or as a heuristic.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    Zack,
    Basically, ID critics are just wrong on this point. First, I would question the ID critic about why they think science must work this way. Looking at any intro level book on the philosophy of science to see why this is wrong. You might also want to do a google search on the phrase “science stopper” as there are a number of good arguments on the web about why, if something doesn’t allow for further hypotheses, it could still be considered science. (See, for example, Plantinga’s argument here under the heading “Science Stoppers?”).
    Second, it is false that ID rules out the possibility of hypothesizing new theories and testing them (not in general, at least). Del Ratzsch wrote quite a bit about this in his book, Nature, Design and Science (see Chapters 10 and 11 especially), where he argues that design is a scientifically legitimate concept. Richard Dawkins, a stauch Darwinist, even argues that acting as if things are designed may have some scientific usefulness (see #6 in Joe’s series). So design could be a valid concept in science, even if only instrumentally or as a heuristic.

  • LudVanB

    “Man, my head is spinning now. ”
    Well allow me to bring it to a halt for you by explaining what i mean. Let us take Humans as an exemple. You say we are the result of intelligent design…fair enough…but if thats the case,then observation of the human design and how prone it is to breakdown over a wide variety of ailments shows either one of 2 things about the designer…
    A: the design is filled with flaws which means that IT is imperfect.
    or
    B: The design was created to experience suffering for a good portion of its lifespan on purpose which means IT is the very incarnation of wanton cruelty
    Either way,it refutes the biblical claim of a perfect and just god.

  • http://www.centeredwork.com AndyS

    I have to congratulate Joe on his 10 points for the sheer hubris involved. Here’s a guy with no training whatsoever in the subject, attacking a scientific theory so well established even conservative, Republican-appointed judges rule in its favor (Dover), a theory that has been around for over a century, becoming stronger and stronger every year as thousands of highly skilled scientists test it again and again and again. Libraries are filled to their ceilings with the verifiable evidence supporting evolution, yet Joe’s audacity is such he mounts his attack with nothing more than than well-worn rhetorical tricks of selective quoting, wordplay, and misdirection.

    One example from this last post in the series:

    Joe says,

    But until the theory [of evolution] can be rooted in a firm explanation for how this [abiogenesis] occurs, explanations for an

  • http://bevets.com/evolution.htm bevets

    ORGANIC LIFE beneath the shoreless waves
    Was born and nurs’d in ocean’s pearly caves;
    First forms minute, unseen by spheric glass,
    Move on the mud, or pierce the watery mass;
    These, as successive generations bloom,
    New powers acquire and larger limbs assume;
    Whence countless groups of vegetation spring,
    And breathing realms of fin and feet and wing.
    ~ Erasmus Darwin
    It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are now present, which could ever have been present. But if (and oh! what a big if!) we could conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, lights, heat, electricity, etc. present, that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed. ~ Charles Darwin
    If it is ever found that life can originate on this world, the vital phenomena will come under some general law of nature. ~ Charles Darwin
    The principle of continuity renders it probable that the principle of life will hereafter be shown to be a part, or consequence of some general law. ~ Charles Darwin
    The origin of life was necessarily the beginning of organic evolution and it is among the greatest of all evolutionary problems. ~ George Gaylord Simpson
    The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many scientists a century ago chose to regard the belief in spontaneous generation as a “philosophical necessity.” It is a symptom of the philosophical poverty of our time that this necessity is no longer appreciated. Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing. ~ George Wald

  • Irrational Entity

    If we take point eight seriously, can theories of solar system development be challenged on the grounds of not knowing what caused the big bang?
    Point ten merely confuses me. Being gay, my genes seem to be on a rather dead end course, but then again I consider evolution to be an explanation of species rather than a guide for living life.
    Anyway coming from a fundamentalist background the simple fact of the old earth, human relation with chimps, lack of global flood, etc. is more than adequate reason for me to believe any supposed Intelligent Designer is not the God of the Bible.

  • Amy

    Question for ID folks: If, according to God’s plan, which you are fortunate to know, I am damned, then why should I not kill myself, say, today?
    Sincerely,
    Amy

  • http://philosophicalmidwifery.blogspot.com/ Franklin Mason

    Joe,
    You take this little passage from Stove: “Do you know of even one human being who ever had as many descendants as he or she could have had? And yet Darwinism says that every single one of us does.”
    Apparently, you agree.
    This is a recycled quotation. You’ve used it before, and when you did I complained just as I will complain now.
    Will you please explain to me why it is that Darwinism entails that every organism actually has as many descendents as was possible for it to have?
    If this were so, Darwinism would imply that it was impossible for the young of a species to ever die; for if even a single one were to die, this would entail that future possible descendents would never come to exist. But of course Darwinism implies no such thing. Indeed I would think that death of young is inevitable in a Darwinian world.
    This quotation does surely amount to straw-man. Indeed it so obviously amounts to straw-man that (i) I’m astounded that anyone with any sense would ever have said it, and (ii) I’m astounded that it would be repeated (multiple times).
    Perhaps what Stove means to have said is that species tend to increase in number as food supply, predation, disease, social competition, etc. allow. But this is most surely not the claim that every organism has as many descendents as it was possible for it to have. The attempt to move from the first to the second is a gross non sequitur.

  • http://philosophicalmidwifery.blogspot.com/ Franklin Mason

    From the Wikipedia article on Stove:
    “In his final years Stove began to examine and criticize Darwinism. This surprised and dismayed many of his supporters who were Darwinists and thought Stove was as well, judging from the way he sometimes spoke. However, Stove’s attack on Darwinism was not as radical as it appeared – he accepted evolution was true of all living things, and said he had no objection to natural selection being true of more primitive organisms. What he wanted to attack was the allegedly distorted view of human beings proposed by some Ultra-Darwinists.”
    I take it then that he did not reject Darwinism. Rather he rejected a simplistic version that some thought applicable to human beings. I suspect that what is wanted here is a discussion of the role of culture in human life – it is that which distinguishes us from all other creatures; and surely on the Darwinian world-view, culture is as much an evolutionary artifact as, say, the thumb. It is novel, yes; and it effects procreation in a way not seen before human beings. But the explanation of its existence is ultimately of a Darwinian sort.

  • Alexander Scott

    > Question for ID folks: If, according to God’s
    > plan, which you are fortunate to know, I am
    > damned, then why should I not kill myself, say,
    > today?
    >
    > Sincerely,
    >
    > Amy
    Because tomorrow you could be saved.
    Sincerely,
    Alexander

  • Nick

    An adequate theory of speciation must begin at the beginning. Before there can be species there must first be living organisms. How did these organisms evolve from inanimate matter? No one knows. But until the theory can be rooted in a firm explanation for how this occurs, explanations for an

  • nedbrek

    Amy, let me propose the opposite. If there is no God, then in several billion years all life everywhere will die (due to entropy). So, what does life here and now mean?

  • Nick

    You seem to be using an odd definition of “Darwinist,” as well. If, as is usually the case, Darwinist refers to those who agree with Darwin’s theory of biological common descent with modification(with modern additions and refinements), then the category “Darwinist” would include people who believe Deistic or Theistic explanations for life’s origin as well as those who hold to naturalistic explanations.
    Similarly, one could be an ID “fellow traveler” while holding to naturalistic explanations for the origins of life. By attempting to link “Darwinism” and ID with particular explanations of life’s origin, you are thoroughly muddying the waters.

  • http://churchvoices.com Tim

    Well allow me to bring it to a halt for you by explaining what i mean. Let us take Humans as an exemple. You say we are the result of intelligent design…fair enough…but if thats the case,then observation of the human design and how prone it is to breakdown over a wide variety of ailments shows either one of 2 things about the designer…
    A: the design is filled with flaws which means that IT is imperfect.
    or
    B: The design was created to experience suffering for a good portion of its lifespan on purpose which means IT is the very incarnation of wanton cruelty
    Either way,it refutes the biblical claim of a perfect and just god.

    The only way anyone could put forth this argument is by being so willfully ignorant of Christian teachings that they are absolutely unqualified to level any criticisms at the Christian worldview without quite a bit of education.
    Every strain of Christianity out there acknowledges that the design of the universe was screwed up when sin entered the world. Rebellion against God lead to creation itself (along with humanity) becoming corrupted on a very basic level. The result is that breakdowns in design occur.

  • http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com Collin Brendemuehl

    Joe,
    Good job.
    But you forgot to address our “political” agendas. We’d better hide. They’ve found us out! :0
    The criticisms of ID as a theory certainly do take a defensive tone. Maybe a series on the speculative nature of evolutionary origins, like directed transpermia (Wasn’t that Crick?) or some of the other fantasies that abound.
    Collin
    http://evangelicalperspective.blogspot.com

  • http:/// jhudson

    You are equivocating on the meaning of “intelligent design” here. If we are to take ID advocates at their word, ID does not tell us anything about origins either. IDers claim that certain features of living organisms show evidence of design, but argue that this can be determined independent of any knowledge of the designer or the ultimate origins of the designed objects. They claim that the designer might be God, but equally, he/she/it could be some other limited entity that just fiddles around with organisms.
    While ID is not a mechanical theory, it is a theory of causation; and looking at the irreducibly complex structures and information patterning in even the simplest life forms tells us that the cause of structure was an intelligent agent.
    The same can be said of the universe as a whole; ID addresses the fine tuning of the universe and the privileged position earth holds, as evidences again for considering intelligence as a distinct cause, as opposed to chance and necessity.
    So while ID does not tell us (or attempt to tell us) about the methodology of the origin of the universe and life, it does impose a causal requirement on those events.

  • Rob Ryan

    Joe: “How did these organisms evolve from inanimate matter? No one knows. But until the theory can be rooted in a firm explanation for how this occurs, explanations for an

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • The Raven

    “Every strain of Christianity out there acknowledges that the design of the universe was screwed up when sin entered the world. Rebellion against God lead to creation itself (along with humanity) becoming corrupted on a very basic level. The result is that breakdowns in design occur.”
    Ah… So you’re saying that not only is there evidence of biological organisms being so incredibly complex that there can be no other conclusion than that they are the product of an intelligent consciousness, qua “ID,” yes?
    And yet, the reason why some organisms have what appear to be design flaws or imperfections is the result of Eve offering Adam an apple in the Garden of Eden, yes?
    Now that’s what I call rigorous science!

  • jd

    “Question for ID folks: If, according to God’s plan, which you are fortunate to know, I am damned, then why should I not kill myself, say, today?
    Sincerely,
    Amy”
    Dear Amy:
    I’m quite sure you’re not asking this question seriously, but I’m going to answer it as if you were; because I did ask this question seriously for many years.
    It sounds like you are getting to the point where all rational people eventually get: life is horrible, pointless, meaningless, and cruel. The only choice is to either live for total pleasure today or to kill yourself. (See Flannery O’Connor “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”) Both decisions take their own particular kind of courage.
    There is only one answer and it’s neither of the above: Christ is the only way out of despair.
    I would correct your point about Christians “knowing God’s plan.” We don’t claim to know God’s plan. He doesn’t divulge His plans to us. We just accept that He has one for each of us.
    I’m going to offend lots of people now. Get ready. As a Christian, I believe I was formerly of the damned. I don’t mean just damned in the sense of burning in hell with liberals and land developers for all eternity. I mean that my former life here on earth was literally hell on earth. I “felt” like one of the damned. I believe I am no longer damned because I have accepted Christ’s love for me. I also believe that until you accept Christ as Lord of the Universe you are one of the damned. You might be one of the lucky ones whose life now is pretty good and you look forward to damnation at some future date. Some poor souls are miserable their whole lives and then they go to hell. Any more questions? Have a nice day.

  • ucfengr

    Every strain of Christianity out there acknowledges that the design of the universe was screwed up when sin entered the world. Rebellion against God lead to creation itself (along with humanity) becoming corrupted on a very basic level. The result is that breakdowns in design occur.
    Sin, the sand in the gearbox of the universe.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Putting aside the science for a moment, how then does ID conflict with evolution? Evolution says nothing about the cause, but is all about the methodology. If ID tells us nothing about methodology, then why do ID proponents hold it up as an (the only) alternative to evolution?
    Actually, ID doesn’t ‘conflict’ with evolution, it finds it causally insufficient; that is, evolution posits chance (mutations) and neccesity (natural slection) as the only causes of the structures of living organisms.
    In testing the structures of living organisms, ID finds evidence of another cause; intelligent agency. In doing so, ID isn’t held up as “(the only) alternative to evolution” but a neccesary addition to the already understood cause of mutation and natural selection.

  • http://baraminology.blogspot.com/ Jonathan Bartlett

    “Putting aside the science for a moment, how then does ID conflict with evolution? Evolution says nothing about the cause, but is all about the methodology. If ID tells us nothing about methodology, then why do ID proponents hold it up as an (the only) alternative to evolution?”
    Because the causes being discussed in evolutionary biology are being artificially limitted to those which would not require a designer. Things that would require a designer are not discussed (at least not openly).
    For instance:
    * front-loading
    * separate creation
    * genome decay
    These are important points, but they cannot even be considered by evolutionary biologists because they would require a designer to start.
    Instead we have this idiotic clinging to random mutation + natural selection as the engine for change, despite the fact that it has never been shown to do anything remotely resembling what evolutionary biologists claim it can.
    They refuse to look at other mechanisms, because those other mechanisms require a designer to implement.

  • jd

    “And yet, the reason why some organisms have what appear to be design flaws or imperfections is the result of Eve offering Adam an apple in the Garden of Eden, yes?”
    Dear Raven (AKA Heckle or Jeckle)
    It’s the story of creation. A way for us feeble human beings to comprehend how evil and sarcasm were introduced into the world. Had Eve been a Darwinist and a true evolutionist she would have done the smart thing: she would have eaten the snake. Though some accounts substitute a talking crow for the serpent.

  • Timcol

    Re: #10 “Say what you will about advocates of ID, they actually believe in the basic claims of their theory”.
    Let’s be clear on this one. The standard accepted use of the word theory in scientific circles (not in the popular media) is at least the following:
    1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
    2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis.
    Based on this, ID IS NOT A THEORY in the normally accepted scientific sense. ID has yet to the legwork through scientific research, experiments and peer reviewed papers to build a large enough body of work that is generally accepted by the scientific community.
    It is best an interesting, speculative HYPOTHESIS. And until the ID movement becomes serious about doing the work (which will take many, many years) for it to become a theory, for the vast majority of scientists it will remain just this.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Let’s be clear on this one. The standard accepted use of the word theory in scientific circles (not in the popular media) is at least the following:
    1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
    2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis.
    Based on this, ID IS NOT A THEORY in the normally accepted scientific sense. ID has yet to the legwork through scientific research, experiments and peer reviewed papers to build a large enough body of work that is generally accepted by the scientific community.
    It is best an interesting, speculative HYPOTHESIS. And until the ID movement becomes serious about doing the work (which will take many, many years) for it to become a theory, for the vast majority of scientists it will remain just this.

    So, based on that criteria, when did evolution ‘officially’ become a theory?

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • http:/// jhudson

    Again, though, the theory of evolution doesn

  • LudVanB

    “Tim:The only way anyone could put forth this argument is by being so willfully ignorant of Christian teachings that they are absolutely unqualified to level any criticisms at the Christian worldview without quite a bit of education.
    Every strain of Christianity out there acknowledges that the design of the universe was screwed up when sin entered the world. Rebellion against God lead to creation itself (along with humanity) becoming corrupted on a very basic level. The result is that breakdowns in design occur”
    LOL….i must admit i had not expected that tired old chessnut to be unearthed in a discussion about a subject (ID) that so desperately tries to pass itself off as science.
    I d be very curious to know which part of the “observed intelligent inference” in the human design allows one to logicaly come to the conclusion that the design was once perfect but then suddently became flawed through the ingestion of an apple…because to someone as uneducated as i am,that just sounds like wishy washy esotheric drivel.

  • http:/// jhudson

    LOL….i must admit i had not expected that tired old chessnut to be unearthed in a discussion about a subject (ID) that so desperately tries to pass itself off as science.
    I d be very curious to know which part of the “observed intelligent inference” in the human design allows one to logicaly come to the conclusion that the design was once perfect but then suddently became flawed through the ingestion of an apple…because to someone as uneducated as i am,that just sounds like wishy washy esotheric drivel.

    ID doesn’t address how the design of the universe and life might have come to be ‘flawed’ (or even posits that it is) although I am hrad pressed to understand how a naturalist would see the universe as ‘flawed’.

  • LudVanB

    “Pretending there is a ‘*poof* then there was life’ moment is most unscientific.”
    Indeed…which is why ID fails in its endavor to pretend as science since that is exactly what ID claims…”poof and then there was life”. As far as biology textbooks goes,the reason why they dont dwell on the subject of the sudden appearance of life is because we really dont know exactly how it happened…we just know that it did (obviously since we here) and assume that evolution leads all the way back to wherever/whenever that was…a valid assumption if one examines the available evidence.

  • LudVanB

    “ID doesn’t address how the design of the universe and life might have come to be ‘flawed’ (or even posits that it is) although I am hrad pressed to understand how a naturalist would see the universe as ‘flawed’.”
    Indeed a naturalist would not but we are discussing ID here which as Tim and Joe basicaly admited is little more then stealth christianity trying to pass itself off as science and the “once we were perfect but then we screwed up” nonsense is a central part of that.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Indeed…which is why ID fails in its endavor to pretend as science since that is exactly what ID claims…”poof and then there was life”. As far as biology textbooks goes,the reason why they dont dwell on the subject of the sudden appearance of life is because we really dont know exactly how it happened…we just know that it did (obviously since we here) and assume that evolution leads all the way back to wherever/whenever that was…a valid assumption if one examines the available evidence.
    Actually, ID does no such thing; and misrepresenting ID in such a way goes to another of Joe’s points.
    ID looks as life as it is, and infers from the patterns of the structures that compose living organisms what caused them to come into existence; and in doing so, concludes intelligent agency was a necessity.
    There is no *poof* there.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Indeed a naturalist would not but we are discussing ID here which as Tim and Joe basicaly admited is little more then stealth christianity trying to pass itself off as science and the “once we were perfect but then we screwed up” nonsense is a central part of that.
    I don’t really care what ‘Joe and Tim’ may or may not have admitted; it simply isn’t a part of ID theory.
    Indeed, it isn’t even neccesary to attempt to explain such a thing to validate ID.

  • Greg McCann

    A: the design is filled with flaws which means that IT is imperfect.

    Ooh, it’s the bad-design-equals-no-design argument again.

    Perhaps LudVanB is an exception in this regard, but this argument is commonly advanced due to an astonishing degree of hubris and ignorance in roughly equal proportions.

    To give one example of “bad design” cited by evolutionists (you can find more here), S. Jay Olshansky et al. writing in Scientific American suggest that the human esophagus is badly designed because sometimes we choke when food or water goes down the wrong way. They suggest that it would be better to have two tubes instead — one leading directly from the nose to the lungs and another leading directly from the mouth to the stomach.

    Brilliant! The first time we caught a cold we would suffocate on our own snot. We couldn’t even communicate our peril to our attendants — in fact speech would be difficult even under the best of circumstances — since we would now be talking through our noses (unless, like some pre-adolescents, we learned to speak words while we belch.)

    This only one of many examples of the obtuse arrogance of evolutionists in proclaiming “bad design” and it is so wrong in so many ways. If this is what passes for science among evolutionists, is it any wonder that the ignorant fundies (such as myself) are not buying it?

  • ex-preacher

    And now a word from Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project and evangelical. The following comes from an interview by Tucker Carlson.
    ———-
    Carlson: What do you think of this statement read to the Dover, Pennsylvania public school children that the theory is just a theory and explaining briefly intelligent design? Is that that be read to kids?
    Collins: It sounds as if it’s a good idea to suggest anybody listening to a discussion about science to keep your mind open and to be sure that facts are actually backed up by data. But, of course, that statement is full of a lot more than scientific facts and data and concerns about them. It is a statement that reflects a battle that’s going on right now. And in my view, an unnecessary battle. So let me explain why I say that. As somebody who has watched our own D.N.A. sequence emerge, our own instruction book over the course of the last few years, all three billion letters of our code, and watched how it compares with that of other species, the evidence that comes out of that kind of analysis is overwhelmingly in favor of a single origin of life from which various forms were then derived by a process which seems entirely consistent with Darwin’s view of natural selection. By saying that, some people listening to my words will immediately conclude that I must therefore be opposed to any role for god in the process that’s not true. But I’m not an advocate of intelligent design, either.
    Carlson: Why?
    Collins: Intelligent design is a fairly recent arrival on the scene. Been around 15 years or so. It argues that there are certain constructs in biology, certain particular features that can’t be explained by evolution because they have irreduceable complexity. Take the eye, for instance. How do you develop something as complicated as the eye by a process of natural selection. It doesn’t seem like that would fit with the slow gradual process where small changes get selected for. You’d never get there. The problem with that argument is biology actually is identifying multiple intermediate steps from the simplest single light-sensitive cell to something as complicated as the eye which clearly could have evolution acting upon them and result in a complicated structure. I worry about intelligent design, though I admire its advocates for wishing to put forward something in the way of a rebuttal to the idea that evolution says there’s no god. And we’ll come back to why I think that’s an unfortunate argument. I think intelligent design sets up a god of the gaps kind of scenario. Well, you know, we haven’t yet explained this particular feature of evolution, so god must be right there. If science ultimately proves that those gaps aren’t gaps, after all, then where is god? We really ought not to ask people to do that.
    Carlson: Does evolution even imply that there’s no god?
    Collins: Of course not. Evolution, although it’s called a theory, in science a theory is a collection of observations that are pulled together into a consistent view of things. Electromagnetic theory, for instance. It doesn’t mean it’s still hypothetical and people don’t think it’s right. Biology makes almost no sense without evolution to undergird it. Saying as the opening statement did evolution is a theory, not a fact, that’s not really quite an adequate explanation of the solidity of information we have that —
    Carlson: Do we need a new term?
    Collins: We need a new term. Evolution has reached the point it’s not going to be discarded.
    Carlson: Why don’t we call it a law?
    Collins: Law in science, perhaps a little different. You’re talking about physical laws, say, of gravitation. This is in fact a way of understanding how biological things came into being. But it in no way excludes god. Let me come to that. Science investigates the natural world. It is the way to investigate the natural world. But if god exists, god must be outside the natural world and so science really is silent in terms of answering that question. In that regard, atheists, who say there is no god. Where does god fit in to this, if you think evolution explains life forms including our own? I think it’s fairly straightforward. I’m what’s called a theistic evolutionist. I believe god had a purpose that involved you and me as individuals, people that he wished to have fellowship with. I believe that the way he decided to do that creative step utilized the mechanism of evolution. I don’t think that requires god to step in and fill in these gaps in the development of the eye. I think evolution is self-sufficient.

  • LudVanB

    “Ooh, it’s the bad-design-equals-no-design argument again”
    thats not at all what i said. I made the point that a flawed design would imply a flawed intelligence which means that it could not be the result of the perfect christian god,since perfection as an absolute cannot result in imperfection.

  • LudVanB

    “Actually, ID does no such thing; and misrepresenting ID in such a way goes to another of Joe’s points.
    ID looks as life as it is, and infers from the patterns of the structures that compose living organisms what caused them to come into existence; and in doing so, concludes intelligent agency was a necessity.
    There is no *poof* there.”
    Perhaps…but since you did not adress the rest of my statement about biology textbooks then i ll assume you now agree that they dont contain any “poof” either.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Carlson: Why don’t we call it a law?
    Collins: Law in science, perhaps a little different. You’re talking about physical laws, say, of gravitation. This is in fact a way of understanding how biological things came into being. But it in no way excludes god. Let me come to that. Science investigates the natural world. It is the way to investigate the natural world. But if god exists, god must be outside the natural world and so science really is silent in terms of answering that question. In that regard, atheists, who say there is no god. Where does god fit in to this, if you think evolution explains life forms including our own? I think it’s fairly straightforward. I’m what’s called a theistic evolutionist. I believe god had a purpose that involved you and me as individuals, people that he wished to have fellowship with. I believe that the way he decided to do that creative step utilized the mechanism of evolution. I don’t think that requires god to step in and fill in these gaps in the development of the eye. I think evolution is self-sufficient.
    I find it interesting that Collins is making a theological argument against ID here rather than a scientific one; he is basically saying, God is transcendent, so we can’t observe His working in our world. Elsewhere he has said, “When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery about humankind, you can

  • http:/// jhudson

    Perhaps…but since you did not adress the rest of my statement about biology textbooks then i ll assume you now agree that they dont contain any “poof” either.
    I didn’t realize you had made a ‘statement’ to this end. You agreed biology texts discuss the origin of life and do so in the context of life’s development, which contradicts the notion that they are separate issues.
    The ‘*poof* life occurred’ is found in the arguments of evolutionists in forums like this, not in text books, which was my point.

  • http:/// jhudson

    thats not at all what i said. I made the point that a flawed design would imply a flawed intelligence which means that it could not be the result of the perfect christian god,since perfection as an absolute cannot result in imperfection.
    Even if a “flawed design would imply a flawed intelligence” it would still be evidence of a designer whatever the presumed designer’s nature; that is the point of ID.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    #8 By separating origins of life science from evolutionary explanations.

  • http://www.sufficientscruples.com Kevin T. Keith

    #8 is again nothing more than a reason why uninformed people don’t understand the theory – not a reason why they should actually reject it. Pre-biotic evolution, or abiogenesis, is a different subject from the ordinary subject matter of evolution theory, and it is harder to study because, to all indications, the conditions under which it occurred no longer exist, while we see evolution all around us and have preserved evidence of past evolutionary history. That’s simply the way it is. Thinking that that’s somehow suspicious is merely a sign of ignorance. Scientists can hardly be charged with undermining their own theory by telling the truth about what they know; if that fuels the weird conspiracy-theory claims of creationists, the only reasonable response is to continue telling what they know, not repackage it to cater to someone else’s confusion.
    As for #9, you have to distinguish true ad hominem from merely factual, relevant description. Most critics of evolution theory are gaspingly ignorant, not just of evolution, but of all biology and science in general. Their arguments are howlingly asinine, and they can’t grasp it. Look at their “evidence”: repeated claims that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics prohibits either biological evolution or even the existence of the universe; flat refusals to accept a huge range of widely used and mutually supporting techniques for dating the earth (one clown from the ICR claims he has proven radiometric dating is false because his claimed dates for Grand Canyon rock layers come out backwards – a result, in fact, of fraud on his part); ubiquitous witless calculations of probabilities of random assemblages (DNA bases, protein residues, body parts), with the claim that because it is statistically impossible for (say) a protein molecule to assemble randomly, it is therefore impossible for it to have evolved; continual reliance on claims disproven decades ago, such as that the moon does not have enough dust to be old, or the ocean does not have enough salt, or that the earth’s magnetic field is decaying too rapidly, etc. (And all this not to mention the gross dishonesty that permeates creationist “evidence”, such as continual references to supposed human footprints among dinosaur tracks in Texas, after their status as hoax had already been admitted, the scores of misleading and distorted quotes from staunchly rational scientists and other prominent figures, purporting to support creationism, or simply bizarre stories that are completely made up, such as Darwin’s “deathbed retraction” or the discovery of Noah’s Ark.) This is simply the work of people who can’t or won’t come to terms with the actual substance of the subjects they are discussing. It’s important to recognize that, and “ignorance” (if not “dishonesty”) is the name for it.
    As for #10, it’s frankly idiotic. (See “ignorance”, above.) Evolution scientists certainly believe their theory, and they walk their talk – they use it not only to explain phenomena in the natural world, but to engage in animal testing of new drugs and medical procedures (meaningless if the similarities between species are mere arbitrary coincidences), to explain and intervene in human psychology (impossible if psychology is unrelated to human origins or history), and to develop pest-control and public health strategies premised upon the reproductive strategies of the target vectors (pointless if reproductive competition has no relationship to species survival). For that matter, creationists are pretty convinced of evolution, too, when the chips are down: there are plenty of them willing to ostentatiously spout some gibberish they picked up from a Watchtower pamphlet, but none I’ve ever met who was willing to choose their own drugs or medical treatments on the assumption that animal testing or research models have no relationsip to human biology, or who openly deny that bacteria evolve resistance to drugs, or that predator introduction has an effect on species stability.
    As for whether humans are still evolving, it is often claimed that human evolution is impacted by the fact that our survival and reproduction are now much more influenced by social and cultural factors – our access to effective fertility control, and our use of medicine to extend the lives of the physically impaired – than by mere reproductive efficacy. This makes perfect sense. But it doesn’t contradict anything in evolution theory. The circumstances in which we live and reproduce have changed, and so the consequences of those processes are affected – what else would you expect? Certainly no biologist expects otherwise. The claim that this contradicts some aspect of evolution theory is – again – simple ignorance.
    And, finally, the claim that

  • http:/// jhudson

    Strange, most people are content to enjoy their ipods and air conditioning without demanding to know where did all these really useful electrons come from? Where the universe wasn’t born with an equal amount of antimatter making it impossible for us to enjoy these things today and so on.
    Actually, most studies of the development of the universe attempt to address it

  • http:/// jhudson

    #8 is again nothing more than a reason why uninformed people don’t understand the theory – not a reason why they should actually reject it. Pre-biotic evolution, or abiogenesis, is a different subject from the ordinary subject matter of evolution theory, and it is harder to study because, to all indications, the conditions under which it occurred no longer exist, while we see evolution all around us and have preserved evidence of past evolutionary history. That’s simply the way it is. Thinking that that’s somehow suspicious is merely a sign of ignorance. Scientists can hardly be charged with undermining their own theory by telling the truth about what they know; if that fuels the weird conspiracy-theory claims of creationists, the only reasonable response is to continue telling what they know, not repackage it to cater to someone else’s confusion.
    Again, biology texts simply don’t separate the discussion of life’s origin from its later development the way evolutionists do when challenged – and there is no reason why a biologist would. If it happened as an unguided natural event, it would have been a seamless process, not a leap.
    If it’s matter of “the conditions under which it occurred no longer exist” then our knowledge of all of life’s development is suspect because many conditions existed in the course of life’s history that no longer exist.
    How can we say that those unknown past conditions, which prevent us from being certain about life’s origins, don

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • http:/// jhudson

    Scientists have a pretty decent idea of how the earth formed, of how the oceans and atmosphere came to be, and the like, but there remains a tremendous amount of detail that is unknown or just an educated guess. Our lack of knowledge about the precise way in which the planet formed does not mean that our knowledge of plate tectonics, our ability to forecast areas where earthquakes and volcanoes are more likely, or even our ability to look at geology and see how earthquakes, volcanoes, and glaciers have behaved in the past as the continents moved about the planet is all useless. (apologies for the run-on sentence gone wild).
    Similarly, we use our knowledge to predict the weather on a daily basis, within a certain realm of uncertainty, without being able to pin down the origins of our atmosphere and oceans to perfect accuracy.
    Evolution doesn

  • LudVanB

    “I didn’t realize you had made a ‘statement’ to this end. You agreed biology texts discuss the origin of life and do so in the context of life’s development, which contradicts the notion that they are separate issues.
    The ‘*poof* life occurred’ is found in the arguments of evolutionists in forums like this, not in text books, which was my point”
    No i dont…why do you insist on misrepresenting what i write? Biology textbooks do not discuss the origin of life because A: its not a matter of biology but rather of chemistry and B: the origin of life is not the least bit relevent to the theory of evolution which explores the origin of SPECIES…as far as argument made by evolutionists on this board reguarding the “poof life occurs” drivel,kindly provide an exemple and then we ll discuss it.

  • LudVanB

    “Actually, most studies of the development of the universe attempt to address it

  • http:/// jhudson

    No i dont…why do you insist on misrepresenting what i write? Biology textbooks do not discuss the origin of life because
    Wait, wait; they do discuss it. Simply peruse the contents of any general biology text and you will see it.
    A: its not a matter of biology but rather of chemistry and B: the origin of life is not the least bit relevent to the theory of evolution which explores the origin of SPECIES…as far as argument made by evolutionists on this board reguarding the “poof life occurs” drivel,kindly provide an exemple and then we ll discuss it.
    Having studied biology, I don

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I should have added #11 — accusing ID advocates of dishonesty. That’s become the lazy way of dealing with all intellectual opponents nowadays. It’s not enough to say someone is wrong, they must know they are wrong and be lying about it.
    So ID advocates are always honest? Or are they to be given a ‘get out of dishonesty free’ card because you tell us it is ‘lazy’ to point out dishonesty?
    Also, what about Francis Crick and Fred Hoyle. Neither of them were “evangelical Christians” and they both posited a form of “intelligent design” argument for the seeding of life on earth.
    Well yea if by Intelligent Design you mean, what? As a scientific theory ID asserts you can detect design by measuring complexity in a system. But here it seems to be just a catch all phrase that means everything and nothing. If you don’t like evolution for whatever reason you’re a member of the ID club.
    First, let’s consider that only about 5% of the population is atheist. So that narrows it down somewhat. Second, there are atheists who accept ID. Anthony Flew is probably the most notable one. Todd Moody and David Berlinski are agnostics. And David Stove, rejected neo-Darwinism and he was an atheist.
    Here we go again, ID isn’t about religion. Yet Joe presented, in a deceptive manner, a poll he claimed showing atheism was the dominante belief of scientists and this was evidence that ID wasn’t getting a fair shake. Yet if ID isn’t about religion then why would the religion of scientists in the field matter at all? When the Shroud of Turin was studied by scientists did it matter if the scientist looking under the microscope, categorizing the pollen and fibers found, was Jewish or Christian? Yet even though something as major as the Shroud of Turin can be examined by science without having to care about the religious beliefs of the scientists Joe finds its important to know whether scientists evaluating ID as a theory are religious.
    jhudson
    This would seem to completely contradict this idea that God’s handiwork can’t be observed. Either way, he has a definitive metaphysical position, and his opinions about ID seem to be drawn from that position rather than from a weighing of the actual scientific evidence.
    I recommend seeing my ‘lottery’ analogy on the comments of I&II. I think Collins is saying that since God is by definition outside of and superior to nature he is free to interact with nature if he wants to or to let it do its business. Since what happens is God’s will in the sense that God could not only intervene in nature if he wants but also that he set up nature knowing it would do what it did. This comes with the territory of being an infinite beign. We, however, are not such a beign and whether or not one exists we must make do with the scientific method we have available to us.
    In my lottery example I asked would you mock your mother if she won the lottery and thanked God for it? If not why not? Any standard textbook on probability will tell you the lottery winner is a random function (assuming it isn’t rigged). I never heard anyone object to probability science on religious grounds. Yet by definition God, if he exists, not only knew she would win the lottery but created the universe knowing 18.8322522 billion years later jhudson’s mom would win the lottery.
    The resolution to this is that God is defined as outside of nature so yes the description of the lottery as a random function is fully accurate for HUMANS who are trapped in nature. At the same time God is free to either interven in nature (making your mom the winner, that would be the ID perspective) or to let nature go ALREADY knowing and approving of the outcome.
    Using this analogy, ID is like saying the odds of you mom winning were really low therefore God must have rigged the game in her favor. However this would not be a scientific theory unless you had some actual evidence from nature….say you mom won the lottery 30 times in a row….that could back it up. Until then you can thank God for your mom’s good fortunes but the guys in the math department don’t have to change their probability textbooks.
    Actually, most studies of the development of the universe attempt to address it

  • LudVanB

    “In other words, saying the equivalent of “no comment” when evolutionists are pressed about life’s origin helps ID.”
    Only in so far as the misinformed and the ignorants go

  • http:/// jhudson

    Good grief man…are you doing that on purpose? the point was clearly made that understanding how a Ipod works is not dependant to the knowledge of its origin…same thing with the ToE…it is a means to explain how life changes over time and NOT how it came into existance in the first place…those are seperate fields of scientific inquiries and they are not co-dependant.
    We don’t concern ourselves with the origin of the Ipod because we know it’s origin.
    If someone were to contend that the Ipod were an unguided accumulation of circuitry over time, then we would concern ourselves with the origin of a system that allows circuits to do this; or at least any intellectually curious person would.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Only in so far as the misinformed and the ignorants go
    Ah, yes, ad hominems; you keep proving Joe’s points.

  • Greg McCann

    thats not at all what i said. I made the point that a flawed design would imply a flawed intelligence…

    All such arguments of the form “I could have designed x better, therefore something-or-other…” sound to us like “If there is a God (which there probably isn’t), I’m smarter than He is!” Being the fair and open-minded person that I am, I am willing to admit if proven wrong that perhaps LudVanB really is smarter than God. But as amply shown here, assertions that “I could have done it better” generally tend to be badly and obviously mistaken.

  • LudVanB

    “Having studied biology, I don

  • LudVanB

    “All such arguments of the form “I could have designed x better, therefore something-or-other…” sound to us like “If there is a God (which there probably isn’t), I’m smarter than He is!” Being the fair and open-minded person that I am, I am willing to admit if proven wrong that perhaps LudVanB really is smarter than God. But as amply shown here, assertions that “I could have done it better” generally tend to be badly and obviously mistaken.”
    i dont pretend to be smarter then anyone…i merely observed that an imperfect design implies an imperfect intelligence

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    In other words, saying the equivalent of “no comment” when evolutionists are pressed about life’s origin helps ID.
    And indeed, it does.
    Do you realize how pathetic this is? This is like me saying I’m a better golfer than Tiger Woods as long as he doesn’t actually play me. I guess it’s plausible in the most technical of senses but why is this worth so much to you?
    Having studied biology, I don

  • http:/// jhudson

    I recommend seeing my ‘lottery’ analogy on the comments of I&II. I think Collins is saying that since God is by definition outside of and superior to nature he is free to interact with nature if he wants to or to let it do its business. Since what happens is God’s will in the sense that God could not only intervene in nature if he wants but also that he set up nature knowing it would do what it did. This comes with the territory of being an infinite beign. We, however, are not such a beign and whether or not one exists we must make do with the scientific method we have available to us.
    In my lottery example I asked would you mock your mother if she won the lottery and thanked God for it? If not why not? Any standard textbook on probability will tell you the lottery winner is a random function (assuming it isn’t rigged). I never heard anyone object to probability science on religious grounds. Yet by definition God, if he exists, not only knew she would win the lottery but created the universe knowing 18.8322522 billion years later jhudson’s mom would win the lottery.
    The resolution to this is that God is defined as outside of nature so yes the description of the lottery as a random function is fully accurate for HUMANS who are trapped in nature. At the same time God is free to either interven in nature (making your mom the winner, that would be the ID perspective) or to let nature go ALREADY knowing and approving of the outcome.
    Using this analogy, ID is like saying the odds of you mom winning were really low therefore God must have rigged the game in her favor. However this would not be a scientific theory unless you had some actual evidence from nature….say you mom won the lottery 30 times in a row….that could back it up. Until then you can thank God for your mom’s good fortunes but the guys in the math department don’t have to change their probability textbooks.

    And if your mom won the lottery 100 times in a row, could one come to a reasonable statistical conclusion about the workings of the lottery?
    No most studies do not and many of the theories of how our universe works starting with Newton and before made little or no issue of how the universe began. To illustrate it was only until the second half of the last century that the consensus in science swung away from the idea that the universe always existed more or less as it does now to the idea that it had a beginning.
    Well , then, most modern studies of the universe (for example, string theory) consider the origins of the universe along with the studies of the phenomena contained therein. My point stands.
    Why would evolution prohibit an organism from ‘strategizing’ reproduction?
    Organisms (other than man) don’t ‘strategize’ their reproduction; from our perspective we may see a ‘strategy’, but that is a product of genetically determined behaviors and gestation periods, not intention on part of the organism.
    1. Yes biology texts do separate them.
    Again, peruse any text; Miller

  • LudVanB

    “We don’t concern ourselves with the origin of the Ipod because we know it’s origin.
    If someone were to contend that the Ipod were an unguided accumulation of circuitry over time, then we would concern ourselves with the origin of a system that allows circuits to do this; or at least any intellectually curious person would.”
    Really? so you know exactly who invented the Ipod,how the idea came to that person in the first place,when and how it was first put donw on paper,how many years of research went into its developement…because i dont know any of this and i still understand how an Ipod works.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Obviously there is a distinction since i and most other science minded people see it clearly.
    Most ‘other science minded people’ don’t see a clear distinction; just evolutionists in debates.
    No..its like saying knowing how program runs is not relevant to knowing WHO coded it.
    Doesn’t have to do with who, but how.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Really? so you know exactly who invented the Ipod,how the idea came to that person in the first place,when and how it was first put donw on paper,how many years of research went into its developement…because i dont know any of this and i still understand how an Ipod works.
    That’s because you are rightly arguing that it was the product of intelligence – you are an Ipod intelligent Design advocate; if you weren’t, then there would be a question as to it’s origin.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    And if your mom won the lottery 100 times in a row, could one come to a reasonable statistical conclusion about the workings of the lottery?
    No you would come to two possible conclusions. One is that someone has rigged the lottery and the other is that you have just observed something that happened by pure chance that was very unlikely to have ever happened but was not impossible.
    If the lottery machine was examined with every gadget we had on earth and found to be 100% unrigged what could you then say? Again just that something was observed that had a very low, but not zero, probability of happening.
    From God’s perspective what would we say? Either he intervened in nature, altering its laws, to produce this outcome or that he knew the very, very unlikely thing would happen and let it happen. The ID argument seems to say that we should conclude it was the former rather than the latter. IMO, this serves to diminish God by insisting on trapping him intervening in nature rather than having the option to ‘throw the dice’ knowing he would be happy with how they landed.
    Well , then, most modern studies of the universe (for example, string theory) consider the origins of the universe along with the studies of the phenomena contained therein. My point stands.
    Heh, is relativity modern? If so it was developed at a time when the scientific consensus was for a static universe. Ditto for quantum theory.
    Organisms (other than man) don’t ‘strategize’ their reproduction; from our perspective we may see a ‘strategy’, but that is a product of genetically determined behaviors and gestation periods, not intention on part of the organism.
    Really? How do you know that?
    Again, peruse any text; Miller

  • LudVanB

    “No, his point was that if you act like the beginning doesn’t matter, you help ID.”
    As i said in an earlier post none of the points Joe make either validate ID or refute the ToE from a scientific standpoint. No one who has a clear understanding of the ToE and what it actually says can possibly be swayed by any of them…they can only work on people who’s knowledge of these matters is at best limited. If IDist were any kind of scientists,they would be appaled that the only headway they seem to making rests on public relations instead of good science.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Do you realize how pathetic this is? This is like me saying I’m a better golfer than Tiger Woods as long as he doesn’t actually play me. I guess it’s plausible in the most technical of senses but why is this worth so much to you?
    I was re-stating Joe

  • LudVanB

    Furthermore i would like to point out that while IDists love to attack evolutionists for not adressing the “first cause” in the ToE,they balk at the notion that ID requires both the identity of the designer and the means by which design was implemented with supporting evidence for both in order to qualify as any kind of scientific theory…a clear case of the kettle calling the pot black if ever there was one.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    No that’s not a flaw in my argument. It’s a difference between the analogy and the issue we are discussing but all analogies have some differences. You argued that you had to know something’s origins to understand how it works, the analogy illustrated why you do not.
    I didn’t say that Linux was just like evolution. Don’t extend the analogy beyond its breaking point.

  • http:/// jhudson

    No you would come to two possible conclusions. One is that someone has rigged the lottery and the other is that you have just observed something that happened by pure chance that was very unlikely to have ever happened but was not impossible.
    If the lottery machine was examined with every gadget we had on earth and found to be 100% unrigged what could you then say? Again just that something was observed that had a very low, but not zero, probability of happening.
    From God’s perspective what would we say? Either he intervened in nature, altering its laws, to produce this outcome or that he knew the very, very unlikely thing would happen and let it happen. The ID argument seems to say that we should conclude it was the former rather than the latter. IMO, this serves to diminish God by insisting on trapping him intervening in nature rather than having the option to ‘throw the dice’ knowing he would be happy with how they landed.
    ID really doesn’t concern itself with ‘God’s perspective'; simply whether an object bears the earmarks of design.
    Heh, is relativity modern? If so it was developed at a time when the scientific consensus was for a static universe. Ditto for quantum theory.
    Point? There was still a study about the beginnings of the univers; they simply concluded that it had none; onece they determined that it had a beginning (as we have with life) they concerned themselves with how it began.
    Really? How do you know that?
    Well, unless you are contending that animals have the intellectual wherewithal to consider the course of their reproductive strategies, it seems highly unlikely.
    Yes covering abiogensis, not evolution. The study of the Roman Empire is different than the study of Modern Europe, that a history text might put one in front doesn’t change that. Yes there was a ‘seamless’ flow from one to the other but that doesn’t mean our understanding of both is the same.
    But we still consider the Roman Empire as an intergral part of understanding why modern Europe is the way it is; no historian says, “It doesn’t matter”
    True but then as you insist on the ‘biology texts’ that discuss Miller-Urey evolutionists don’t generally act like the ‘beginning’ doesn’t matter. In fact it does matter a lot but not to the theory of evolution.
    Of course; that is my point; evolutionists who say this are ignoring common biological understandings.

  • http:/// jhudson

    No that’s not a flaw in my argument. It’s a difference between the analogy and the issue we are discussing but all analogies have some differences. You argued that you had to know something’s origins to understand how it works, the analogy illustrated why you do not.
    I didn’t say that Linux was just like evolution. Don’t extend the analogy beyond its breaking point.
    Neither did I say “Linux was just like evolution”; however, Linux is a complex, coded information system, and if someone contended that it existed as the prduct of chance changes to it’s coded routines, the origin of that ability would be of significant concern.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Furthermore i would like to point out that while IDists love to attack evolutionists for not adressing the “first cause” in the ToE,they balk at the notion that ID requires both the identity of the designer and the means by which design was implemented with supporting evidence for both in order to qualify as any kind of scientific theory…a clear case of the kettle calling the pot black if ever there was one.
    So your argument against ID would be a Tu quoque?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actually LudVanB, let’s stop giving ID too much credibility!
    ID has never asserted it explains the ‘first cause’ nor has it asserted evolution explained what happened after the ‘first cause’. In fact, if some type of non-ID abiogensis created the first living things and then some intelligence came along and ‘tweaked’ what it found that too would be an ID theory. Gordon, I pray to God that he does not notice new evolution threads here, used to make a big deal about the Cambrian Explosion where the number and types of living things seemed to increase dramatically. Life existed before it but may have gotten a huge jump start at that period. The movie 2001 likewise presented a post-abiogensis ID scenero where the black monolith intervened to make relatively boring lifeforms more interesting.
    Like water trying to seep into a basement ID tries to run for any and all gaps. This is why ID advocates refuse to answer my questions. Questions that would be perfectly legitimate for any respectable scientific theory. Questions like what was the time period of design? A moment or is there evidence of periodic tweaking thru history? What is the relationship between evolution and ID? Are some species more designed and others more evolved?
    Answering those questions, though, would require ID to actually commit itself to something. If it stated that it was only in play at the beginning of life then that means evolution was in charge from then on. But we have seen ID organizations are not even willing to commit themselves to an ‘old-earth’ statement. While this may make them politically effective, able to draw in support from creationists as well as more scientific minded Christians it hurts their argument that they are a real scientific theory.

  • LudVanB

    “So your argument against ID would be a Tu quoque?”
    nope…ID pretty much argues against itself from a logical perspective because it relies on either infinite regress or esotheric fabulations…my last argument was against the IDists themselves

  • http:/// jhudson

    nope…ID pretty much argues against itself from a logical perspective because it relies on either infinite regress or esotheric fabulations…my last argument was against the IDists themselves
    So, to sum up, I think basically what Joe is saying is that if those who attack ID want to make headway, they have to do two things:
    A. Actuyally understand the arguments ID is making an not conflate them with other issues.
    B. Be able to consistently and reasonably be able to answer those arguments.
    You guys have a long ways to go.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Point? There was still a study about the beginnings of the univers; they simply concluded that it had none; onece they determined that it had a beginning (as we have with life) they concerned themselves with how it began.
    Point is that knowing how the universe began doesn’t help you understand it today in these major cases. On the contrary, learning about relativity and quantum mechanics FIRST helped make theories of how the universe began more sensible.
    Well, unless you are contending that animals have the intellectual wherewithal to consider the course of their reproductive strategies, it seems highly unlikely.
    Are you talking about whether animals ‘decide’ to refrain from reproducing as much as they could or whether any other animal than humans actually reproduces less then they physically could? Whether they do it ‘intentionally’ requires a rather difficult philosophical discussion.
    But we still consider the Roman Empire as an intergral part of understanding why modern Europe is the way it is; no historian says, “It doesn’t matter”
    True but no historian would say our lack of understanding about the Roman Empire impeaches our understanding of modern Europe. Huge swaths of ancient history have been lost and we are really left with only fragments and probably will never understand many things about the ancient world. Nevertheless, that is not an impeachment on our understanding of the modern world. What historian of WWII would take seriously a charge that his ideas are bunk because we only have a fragmentary understanding of all the Roman Emperors?
    Of course; that is my point; evolutionists who say this are ignoring common biological understandings.
    No we are talking past ourselves here. In the above example the WWII historian would call you a doof and tell you he doesn’t need to know all about the Emperors to do his job well. That doesn’t mean, though, that he is saying the efforts of historians who specialize in ancient Rome are worthless or that it wouldn’t be a good idea to learn more about it if we could.
    Neither did I say “Linux was just like evolution”; however, Linux is a complex, coded information system, and if someone contended that it existed as the prduct of chance changes to it’s coded routines, the origin of that ability would be of significant concern.
    Yes IF someone contended that it would be of concern. However no one did contend that so why is it concerning you? Again, don’t try to stretch the analogies beyond their engineered tolerances.

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • http:/// jhudson

    Point is that knowing how the universe began doesn’t help you understand it today in these major cases. On the contrary, learning about relativity and quantum mechanics FIRST helped make theories of how the universe began more sensible.
    Perhaps; but they still aren’t wholly separate considerations; one has bearng on the other.
    Are you talking about whether animals ‘decide’ to refrain from reproducing as much as they could or whether any other animal than humans actually reproduces less then they physically could? Whether they do it ‘intentionally’ requires a rather difficult philosophical discussion.
    Yes, one that is rapidly becoming irrelevant.
    True but no historian would say our lack of understanding about the Roman Empire impeaches our understanding of modern Europe. Huge swaths of ancient history have been lost and we are really left with only fragments and probably will never understand many things about the ancient world. Nevertheless, that is not an impeachment on our understanding of the modern world. What historian of WWII would take seriously a charge that his ideas are bunk because we only have a fragmentary understanding of all the Roman Emperors?
    Actually, I don’t know a single historian who wouldn’t say that “our lack our lack of understanding about the Roman Empire impeaches our understanding of modern Europe.”; everything from languages to archetecture to political systems to the boundaries of various countries can be traced in large part back to Roman times.
    Indeed, even considering WWII, the ‘Third Reich” is a reference to the empires of old. Are you sure you want to cling to thispoint?
    No we are talking past ourselves here. In the above example the WWII historian would call you a doof and tell you he doesn’t need to know all about the Emperors to do his job well. That doesn’t mean, though, that he is saying the efforts of historians who specialize in ancient Rome are worthless or that it wouldn’t be a good idea to learn more about it if we could.
    I just pointed out how such knowledge is essential to a historian of WWII.
    Yes IF someone contended that it would be of concern. However no one did contend that so why is it concerning you? Again, don’t try to stretch the analogies beyond their engineered tolerances.
    It concerns me because the genome is a complex coded information system which is contended to have been derived from a series a random modifications.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Let me try to ask this another way. Say we assume that the ID proponents are right, and that we can infer with some amount of security that the universe as a whole appears to be the result of a universe-designing agent

  • american idiot

    The ‘poof’ discussed here is only necessary in the materialistic, non-supernatural, non-design view of the universe. In otherwords, the self existing is either nothing, or non living material…then ‘poof’ life happened.
    In a theistic design model, no ‘poof’ is necessary as life and intelligence is the essence within eternity (and is the self existing). It would probably just look like ‘poof’ when this vastly superior intellect and being brought a different kind of life within a material universe into being. As opposed to Rob Ryan’s assertion, this scenario actually settles the question, whereas the material/lifeless self existing idea keeps the question and problem in play never-endingly.
    I personally don’t understand all this talk about flawed design. When I look in the mirror, I clearly see evidence to the contrary – put me in coach.

  • LudVanB

    “A. Actuyally understand the arguments ID is making an not conflate them with other issues.”
    You mean like understanding the argument made by the ToE and not conflate it with Abiogenesis?
    “B. Be able to consistently and reasonably be able to answer those arguments.”
    But we do answer them resonably and consistantly…we tell IDist that the question of the identity of the designer,its nature and the means through which the design was conceived and then implemented is central to the hypothesis of ID and simply cannot be put aside if ID really does aspire to be recognised as science…which i m sorry to say is not the case right now.

  • LudVanB

    “In a theistic design model, no ‘poof’ is necessary as life and intelligence is the essence within eternity (and is the self existing). It would probably just look like ‘poof’ when this vastly superior intellect and being brought a different kind of life within a material universe into being. As opposed to Rob Ryan’s assertion, this scenario actually settles the question, whereas the material/lifeless self existing idea keeps the question and problem in play never-endingly.”.
    In other words,a vapid appeal to the esotheric to explain the world when a more mundane explanation does it just fine.
    “I personally don’t understand all this talk about flawed design. When I look in the mirror, I clearly see evidence to the contrary – put me in coach.”
    Well let me ask you this…does your immune system render you completely impervious to every single pathogene in existance? Does your body’s natural healing capabilities allow you to regenerate every wound imaginable no matter how severe? Is your digestive system able to methabolise each and every substance you could possible ingest and turn it into the energy your body needs to sustain itself? If you answer no to any (or most likely all) of these questions that you are an imperfect creature.

  • http:/// jhudson

    You mean like understanding the argument made by the ToE and not conflate it with Abiogenesis?
    Not conflated; related.
    But we do answer them resonably and consistantly…we tell IDist that the question of the identity of the designer,its nature and the means through which the design was conceived and then implemented is central to the hypothesis of ID and simply cannot be put aside if ID really does aspire to be recognised as science…which i m sorry to say is not the case right now.
    Actually, you have been doing exactly what Joe claimed evolutionists do to help ID; run from the origin of life’s relatedness to its development, use ad hominem attacks, and try to equate ID with creationism. Joe was right.
    Part of the reason for this ID is not concerned with “the identity of the designer, its nature and the means through which the design was conceived and then implemented” is because ID is a theory of causes (something I don’t really think evolutionists understand, or they wouldn’t keep asking this question) thus, if I find a rock implement and I want to determine if that implement has been acted upon by intelligence, I could apply the criteria proposed by ID to make that determination; I would not need to know who made the implement to make that determination, and I wouldn’t have to know the full process they used; I would simply have to know that the earmarks of the object in question fit the design criteria; that is, that there was no unguided process that could explain it’s existence – is this even somewhat clear to you?
    In short, asking that question means you don’t understand ID.

  • http:/// jhudson

    In other words,a vapid appeal to the esotheric to explain the world when a more mundane explanation does it just fine.
    Which mundane explanation is there for the origin of life?
    Well let me ask you this…does your immune system render you completely impervious to every single pathogene in existance? Does your body’s natural healing capabilities allow you to regenerate every wound imaginable no matter how severe? Is your digestive system able to methabolise each and every substance you could possible ingest and turn it into the energy your body needs to sustain itself? If you answer no to any (or most likely all) of these questions that you are an imperfect creature
    So, you are saying, if my computer crashes, it wasn’t designed?

  • american idiot

    LudVanB (like classical perhaps?),
    “In other words,a vapid appeal to the esotheric to explain the world when a more mundane explanation does it just fine.”
    Now that’s a stretch! Nothing that’s been said in these posts or anywhere has proven how or if life can come from non life. If you consider life from non life mundane and not equally vapid (and I’ll add ridiculous), I have to wonder about your sanity!
    The second part of my comment was a joke (my virtual un-flawedness aside), an attempt to bring some levity to those who take themselves so very seriously. I will add that I have ingested every word of this comments thread and have not keeled over in an air-sucking, foamed mouth, spasmodic death. That’s got to prove something..

  • http://baraminology.blogspot.com/ Jonathan Bartlett

    “Again, though, the theory of evolution doesn

  • adam

    Just a quick point…being susceptible to illness or digestive problems does not mean the human body is a poor design. It is at least possible, assuming that the body was designed at all, that it wasn’t designed to last forever or to be impervious to everything you can think of. The human body is terrible at functioning indefinitely, but great at wearing out over time (which I believe is what Genesis tells us is supposed to happen). I’m not trying to argue for or against ID, but I do think you have to consider what something is supposed to do before you can determine whether it does it well or not.

  • Rob Ryan

    a.i.: “As opposed to Rob Ryan’s assertion, this scenario actually settles the question, whereas the material/lifeless self existing idea keeps the question and problem in play never-endingly.”
    Not exactly. My assertion was “the ‘intelligent designer’ hypothesis just sets aside the problem, replacing it with a where-did-the-designer-come-from-and-what-is-its-nature problem.”
    You’ve answered the first part with the standard monotheistic “eternal” answer (which I don’t think ID claims), and you haven’t addressed the what-is-its-nature part at all.
    My assertion referred specifically to ID, not any particular religion.

  • http:/// jhudson

    I would add to what Jonathan said by pointing out that not only does ID answer bring up some good questions, but comparisons to designed systems is also becoming the over-arching means by which we understand biological systems. I was struck by this quote from Ray Kurzweil in a Scientific American article the other day
    Biology is now in the early stages of a historic transition to an information science, while also gaining the tools to reprogram the ancient information systems of life. Our electronic devices typically update their software every few months, yet the 23,000 software programs called genes inside our cells have not changed appreciably in thousands of years. As we begin to understand biology in terms of its information processes, however, we are developing realistic models and simulations of how disease and aging progress and ways to reprogram them.

  • http:/// jhudson

    I would add to what Jonathan said by pointing out that not only does ID answer bring up some good questions, but comparisons to designed systems is also becoming the over-arching means by which we understand biological systems. I was struck by this quote from Ray Kurzweil in a Scientific American article the other day
    Biology is now in the early stages of a historic transition to an information science, while also gaining the tools to reprogram the ancient information systems of life. Our electronic devices typically update their software every few months, yet the 23,000 software programs called genes inside our cells have not changed appreciably in thousands of years. As we begin to understand biology in terms of its information processes, however, we are developing realistic models and simulations of how disease and aging progress and ways to reprogram them.

  • LudVanB

    “Not conflated; related.”
    Abiogenesis and the ToE are related only as neighboring fields of scientific inquiries (chemistry abd biology). But there simply is no need to understand Abiogenesis in order to study and understand how life changes over time. Evolution scientist do it every day and have not yet encountered any problems that would require full knowledge of how life first appeared to be overcomed. I m sorry but thats just a canard and it will remain a canard no matter how often you repeat it.
    “Actually, you have been doing exactly what Joe claimed evolutionists do to help ID; run from the origin of life’s relatedness to its development, use ad hominem attacks, and try to equate ID with creationism. Joe was right.”
    I dont run from its “relatedness” i said that the full knowledge and understanding of the former is not necessary to understand the latter…of course if you could provide me with an exemple of where evolution scientists are stumped in their studies of the origin of SPECIES as a result of not knowing for sure where,when and how life first began,i m all ears.
    “Part of the reason for this ID is not concerned with “the identity of the designer, its nature and the means through which the design was conceived and then implemented” is because ID is a theory of causes (something I don’t really think evolutionists understand, or they wouldn’t keep asking this question) thus, if I find a rock implement and I want to determine if that implement has been acted upon by intelligence, I could apply the criteria proposed by ID to make that determination; I would not need to know who made the implement to make that determination, and I wouldn’t have to know the full process they used; I would simply have to know that the earmarks of the object in question fit the design criteria; that is, that there was no unguided process that could explain it’s existence – is this even somewhat clear to you?”
    Oh its perfectly clear and completely in line with what i ve been saying all along. Without a clear understanding of the nature of the designer’s intelligence and the mean by which the design is implemented or acted upon than the claim that something looks intelligently designed remains in the realm of uneducated guesses because there is nothing against which to test that claim to discover if the claim is validated or falsifed…Hence ID is not science.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Not exactly. My assertion was “the ‘intelligent designer’ hypothesis just sets aside the problem, replacing it with a where-did-the-designer-come-from-and-what-is-its-nature problem.”
    You’ve answered the first part with the standard monotheistic “eternal” answer (which I don’t think ID claims), and you haven’t addressed the what-is-its-nature part at all.
    My assertion referred specifically to ID, not any particular religion.
    If I found hieroglyphics on the moon, even if I never was able to determine ‘where’ the designer came from, or ‘who’ the designer was, I would be able to apply design criteria to make determinations about the cause of those hieroglyphics; and if I was not allowed to consider intelligent agency, I would have less scientific knowledge than if I was allowed to consider intelligent agency.

  • LudVanB

    “Just a quick point…being susceptible to illness or digestive problems does not mean the human body is a poor design. It is at least possible, assuming that the body was designed at all, that it wasn’t designed to last forever or to be impervious to everything you can think of. The human body is terrible at functioning indefinitely, but great at wearing out over time (which I believe is what Genesis tells us is supposed to happen). I’m not trying to argue for or against ID, but I do think you have to consider what something is supposed to do before you can determine whether it does it well or not”
    I didnt say it was poor…i said it was obviously imperfect. The immune system is supposed to destroy invading pathogens in the human body…if there are pathogens which can bypass the human immune system and attack the human body,then the immune system is by definition imperfect.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Abiogenesis and the ToE are related only as neighboring fields of scientific inquiries (chemistry abd biology). But there simply is no need to understand Abiogenesis in order to study and understand how life changes over time. Evolution scientist do it every day and have not yet encountered any problems that would require full knowledge of how life first appeared to be overcomed. I m sorry but thats just a canard and it will remain a canard no matter how often you repeat it.

    Again, you may say that as part of a debate; it simply isn’t a reflection of actal biological study.
    I dont run from its “relatedness” i said that the full knowledge and understanding of the former is not necessary to understand the latter…of course if you could provide me with an exemple of where evolution scientists are stumped in their studies of the origin of SPECIES as a result of not knowing for sure where,when and how life first began,i m all ears.
    Sure; here is an interesting piece that discusses the difficulty of resolving ancestral relationship because of the unknown surround the origin of life:
    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/biph/1999/00000014/00000003/00186467
    Oh its perfectly clear and completely in line with what i ve been saying all along. Without a clear understanding of the nature of the designer’s intelligence and the mean by which the design is implemented or acted upon than the claim that something looks intelligently designed remains in the realm of uneducated guesses because there is nothing against which to test that claim to discover if the claim is validated or falsifed…Hence ID is not science.

    So, going with the example of my hieroglyphics found on the moon; you are contending that absent a known designer, there would be no way to scientifically determine whether or not it was intelligently designed?

  • http:/// jhudson

    I didnt say it was poor…i said it was obviously imperfect. The immune system is supposed to destroy invading pathogens in the human body…if there are pathogens which can bypass the human immune system and attack the human body,then the immune system is by definition imperfect.
    How does this argue against design?

  • LudVanB

    “If I found hieroglyphics on the moon, even if I never was able to determine ‘where’ the designer came from, or ‘who’ the designer was, I would be able to apply design criteria to make determinations about the cause of those hieroglyphics; and if I was not allowed to consider intelligent agency, I would have less scientific knowledge than if I was allowed to consider intelligent agency.”
    Ah but you see you now prove my earlier point….you can identify Hieroglyphs because you have apriori knowledge as to how they are made and the kinds of intelligence required to make them so you can test them against this knowledge in order to determine if they are indeed hieroglyphs or just the result of some random erosion or movement of dust.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Ah but you see you now prove my earlier point….you can identify Hieroglyphs because you have apriori knowledge as to how they are made and the kinds of intelligence required to make them so you can test them against this knowledge in order to determine if they are indeed hieroglyphs or just the result of some random erosion or movement of dust.
    So if I found a self-replicating, complex coded information system attached to a nano-machine factory on the moon, would I be able to conlcude it was the product of intelligence based on my current knowledge of such systems?

  • LudVanB

    “How does this argue against design?”
    It doen’t…it argues against the designer being a perfect being which goes back to another discussion about the nature of the would be designer.

  • http:/// jhudson

    It doen’t…it argues against the designer being a perfect being which goes back to another discussion about the nature of the would be designer.
    As long as we agree it’s designed, I don’t care how you feel about the designer.

  • LudVanB

    “So if I found a self-replicating, complex coded information system attached to a nano-machine factory on the moon, would I be able to conlcude it was the product of intelligence based on my current knowledge of such systems?”
    If the self replicating machine was a unique occurence on the moon then yes the intervention of an outside intelligence might present itself as a definite possibility…however if we were then to discover that the machine was part of a complex,evolving ecosystem with a wide ancentry catalogued in the fossil record going back to a point where the machine’s farthest ancestor was something completely different then perhaps not so much

  • LudVanB

    “As long as we agree it’s designed, I don’t care how you feel about the designer.”
    Keep your pants on that was merely a hypothetical…i dont agree that there was design because there is simply no way to test it…it just remains a glorified “god of the gap” argument.

  • http:/// jhudson

    If the self replicating machine was a unique occurence on the moon then yes the intervention of an outside intelligence might present itself as a definite possibility…however if we were then to discover that the machine was part of a complex,evolving ecosystem with a wide ancentry catalogued in the fossil record going back to a point where the machine’s farthest ancestor was something completely different then perhaps not so much
    So how many times do you think self-replicating, complex coded information systems attached to a nano-machine factories arose de novo in earth’s past?

  • http:/// jhudson

    Keep your pants on that was merely a hypothetical…i dont agree that there was design because there is simply no way to test it…it just remains a glorified “god of the gap” argument.
    Actually, that would be the ‘only way to produce a complex coded information system according to our current knowledge’ argument.

  • LudVanB

    I dont know i d have to know what a self-replicating, complex coded information systems attached to a nano-machine factories is in the first place.

  • LudVanB

    “Actually, that would be the ‘only way to produce a complex coded information system according to our current knowledge’ argument.”
    And since our current knowledge is in constant exponential growth with no end in sight,thats why we refer to ID as a “god of the gap” argument.

  • http:/// jhudson

    I dont know i d have to know what a self-replicating, complex coded information systems attached to a nano-machine factories is in the first place.
    They are in every millimeter of your body and are essential to the existence of life; you should if you are going to discuss how life came about.

  • LudVanB

    Allow me to ask you this J…in the field of ID study,what is the relationship between ID and evolution? Which species or features of given species are the result of ID and which the result of evolution? Are human beins the direct result of ID or did evolution play a part?

  • http:/// jhudson

    And since our current knowledge is in constant exponential growth with no end in sight,thats why we refer to ID as a “god of the gap” argument.
    Ah, yes:
    #3 By resorting to

  • http:/// jhudson

    Allow me to ask you this J…in the field of ID study,what is the relationship between ID and evolution? Which species or features of given species are the result of ID and which the result of evolution? Are human beins the direct result of ID or did evolution play a part?
    As far as biology is concerned, ID considers structures primarily; information patterns, irreducibly complex relationships, etc.. If those elements are present, intelligence can be tested for; the rest may be the product of natural causes; there are certainly mechanisms proposed by evolution to account for much of what we find in nature.

  • LudVanB

    “They are in every millimeter of your body and are essential to the existence of life; you should if you are going to discuss how life came about.”
    yes cells i thought as much. so to answer your initial question,i dont know for sure how many cells appeared de novo on earth in the past but ive seen no compelling argument from the ID camp that should caume me or anyone to replace “I dont know for sure” with “they are the direct result of an intervention by an unknown intelligent agency”

  • LudVanB

    “#3 By resorting to

  • LudVanB

    “As far as biology is concerned, ID considers structures primarily; information patterns, irreducibly complex relationships, etc.. If those elements are present, intelligence can be tested for; the rest may be the product of natural causes; there are certainly mechanisms proposed by evolution to account for much of what we find in nature.”
    In other words,non-specific vagueries…which is about what i expected

  • http:/// jhudson

    In other words,non-specific vagueries…which is about what i expected
    I can consider a specfic case; personally I think bats provide a good example most can understand.
    Echolocating insectovorous bats are, as an organism, morphologically and systemically irreducibly comples. The integrated combination of high frequency sounds, ear and skull structure, respiratory, nervous, skeletal, and behavoral strutures and systems are integrated in such a way that none of the elements if useful by itself. In fact they would represent a significant detriment without the whole system working together. The best explanation for this irreducibly complex struture is intelliegent agency; it can’t be explained as an accumulation of incremental changes.

  • http:/// jhudson

    There is no such thing as science of the gap…the gap argument is a thought stopping cliche and as such cannot be applied to science which is a thought provoking dicipline.
    Only if it actually offers an explanation now, and not in some imagined future.

  • http:/// jhudson

    yes cells i thought as much. so to answer your initial question,i dont know for sure how many cells appeared de novo on earth in the past but ive seen no compelling argument from the ID camp that should caume me or anyone to replace “I dont know for sure” with “they are the direct result of an intervention by an unknown intelligent agency”
    But you do know; you said: “If the self replicating machine was a unique occurence on the moon then yes the intervention of an outside intelligence might present itself as a definite possibility”
    Life, according to our scientific knowledge, only occured once on earth. In every way it is like the self-replicating machine found on the moon. You are an intelligent design advocate.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actually, I don’t know a single historian who wouldn’t say that “our lack our lack of understanding about the Roman Empire impeaches our understanding of modern Europe.”; everything from languages to archetecture to political systems to the boundaries of various countries can be traced in large part back to Roman times.
    Indeed, even considering WWII, the ‘Third Reich” is a reference to the empires of old. Are you sure you want to cling to thispoint?
    If some space alien came and wiped out every book about the Roman Empire I will still cling to the fact that will have no impact on the truth of the history books about WWII.
    If I found hieroglyphics on the moon, even if I never was able to determine ‘where’ the designer came from, or ‘who’ the designer was, I would be able to apply design criteria to make determinations about the cause of those hieroglyphics; and if I was not allowed to consider intelligent agency, I would have less scientific knowledge than if I was allowed to consider intelligent agency.
    No one ever said you couldn’t consider intelligence as an agent. What ID does, however, is a lot more ambitious. It claims that it can rule out all other possible explanations except intelligence. That’s a lot tougher criteria to hold yourself too than simply saying it’s a ‘possible’ explanation. Just about anything could be considered a possible explanation.
    I didnt say it was poor…i said it was obviously imperfect. The immune system is supposed to destroy invading pathogens in the human body…if there are pathogens which can bypass the human immune system and attack the human body,then the immune system is by definition imperfect.
    How does this argue against design?
    Indeed, how does anything. If something is perfect why it was designed to be perfect. If its imperfect how do we know it wasn’t designed to be imperfect? If it is simple maybe it was designed to be simple and if it was complicated maybe it was designed that way. Why you can even have something designed to appear to be non-designed (how do you know those three rocks at the end of your yard just got there by chance? Perhaps they were set up by some teen playing Zen Rock Garden?).
    I dont know i d have to know what a self-replicating, complex coded information systems attached to a nano-machine factories is in the first place.
    They are in every millimeter of your body and are essential to the existence of life; you should if you are going to discuss how life came about.
    So if we found mold on another planet that would be as equal indication of intelligent design as if we found the complete works of Shakespear translated into alien hieroglyphics?
    #3 By resorting to

  • http://www.twoorthree.net seeker

    either one of 2 things about the designer…
    A: the design is filled with flaws which means that IT is imperfect OR
    B: The design was created to experience suffering for a good portion of its lifespan on purpose which means IT is the very incarnation of wanton cruelty

    Actually, there is a third option, and the one that Christianity teaches. That man and creation were created perfect, but fell, and have been degrading since, but WILL be restored in the future.

    Ecclesiastes 7:29
    This only have I found:
    God made mankind upright,
    but men have gone in search of many schemes.

    However, I agree with you that the problem of evil, and the existence of suffering are serious challenges to faith in God, but intellectually and experientially. I have settled on this – while I can’t find intellectually satisfying explanations for that problem, I HAVE found other questions answered by the scriptures and Jesus that convince me that He is real and worth following. We will always have doubts or questions in some areas, but if we have some central convictions, we can move ahead and wait for those questions to be answered.
    It’s like the old story that I learned from Anthony Demello.
    An infantry leader was on the battlefield, and was shot with a poison arrow. When brought to the doctor, he declared,

  • Gerald, Messenger of Gawd

    Keith is so right. ID proponants are mostly gaspingly ignorant. Not calling anyone names, not ad homineming, just the facts ma’am.
    Sometimes I wonder if proponants of ID have ever asked a question that wasn’t prejudiced by their religion. Have any of them ever actually gone outdoors? I have often wondered if Gordon Mullings wasn’t influenced by the fact that he is surrounded by the “wrath of God” in his study on Montserrat, shaped by hurricanes and pyroclastic flows, just as I have been influenced by my close association with the calm, slow, and sedimentary “calm of God” found in the Mississippi River valley.
    Don’t ask me to define evolution. I have read so much and observed so much, and thought so much without the weight of religion shaping my ideas. My answer to any reply to this post is “Go read the literature of the top scientists and Nobel Prize winners of the world, and that is my view as well.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    If some space alien came and wiped out every book about the Roman Empire I will still cling to the fact that will have no impact on the truth of the history books about WWII.
    Well, absent any actual evidence of this (or comments by actual historians) I will consider this a bizarre fiction.
    No one ever said you couldn’t consider intelligence as an agent. What ID does, however, is a lot more ambitious. It claims that it can rule out all other possible explanations except intelligence. That’s a lot tougher criteria to hold yourself too than simply saying it’s a ‘possible’ explanation. Just about anything could be considered a possible explanation.
    So, finding hieroglyphics on the moon, what are the possibilities, and why wouldn’t we be able to rule some out?
    Indeed, how does anything. If something is perfect why it was designed to be perfect. If its imperfect how do we know it wasn’t designed to be imperfect? If it is simple maybe it was designed to be simple and if it was complicated maybe it was designed that way. Why you can even have something designed to appear to be non-designed (how do you know those three rocks at the end of your yard just got there by chance? Perhaps they were set up by some teen playing Zen Rock Garden?).
    If there are natural forces that account for phenomena, one is not compelled to consider an intelligent agency; but there are certain consistent criteria which measure those aspects which denote intelligent agency, and for which no natural phenomena can acount.
    Thus there are natural phenomena that would account for a rock laying on the ground; there are no natural phenomena which would explain rocks placed in a pattern and purpose exhibited by Stonehenge.

    So if we found mold on another planet that would be as equal indication of intelligent design as if we found the complete works of Shakespear translated into alien hieroglyphics?

    Mold is of course magnitudes more complex than any written work. However, if there natural phenomena which would explain the existence of mold on that particular planet (or anywhere, for that matter), we can dismiss ID.
    It’s a perfectly legit argument, is this how the game is being played? Declare that all the legit arguments are out of line and then challenge evolution to defend itself? This is almost as good as Joe telling us that ID advocates now have the right to be dishonest and we shouldn’t call them on it because that would be ‘lazy’
    How is “there is an imaginary future answer” more legit than “there is a God answer”?
    Can’t? How do you know this? Have you mapped out all possible paths of incremental change and determined that bats can’t be at the end of any of them? Such an endeavour would be greater than examining all possible chess games, something that is beyond not only our computers but even beyond the computing power if all the universe was converted to a computer dedicated to the problem.
    Contention are never based on what we don’t know, but on what we do know. Based on what we know germ theory holds that pathogens don’t arise spontaneously, but arise from already existing organisms. It maybe we simply haven’t discovered a pathogen that arises spontaneously, and when we do, germ theory will be proven false – but we still consider germ theory to be the prevailing theory.
    The irreducibly complex morphology exhibited in a echolocating, insectivorous bat may arise as the result of unguided forces, but toady, that has never been demonstrated; and there is no evidence to indicate it is true for a bat, regardless of imagined future knowledge.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Keith is so right. ID proponants are mostly gaspingly ignorant. Not calling anyone names, not ad homineming, just the facts ma’am.
    I am not sure we can accept the evaluation of ignorance based on someone obviously ignorant of the definition of ad hominem.
    Sometimes I wonder if proponants of ID have ever asked a question that wasn’t prejudiced by their religion. Have any of them ever actually gone outdoors? I have often wondered if Gordon Mullings wasn’t influenced by the fact that he is surrounded by the “wrath of God” in his study on Montserrat, shaped by hurricanes and pyroclastic flows, just as I have been influenced by my close association with the calm, slow, and sedimentary “calm of God” found in the Mississippi River valley.
    As a previous evolutionist, I have considered all of this; indeed, a number of ID proponents (as Joe already pointed out) are agnostics.
    Don’t ask me to define evolution. I have read so much and observed so much, and thought so much without the weight of religion shaping my ideas. My answer to any reply to this post is “Go read the literature of the top scientists and Nobel Prize winners of the world, and that is my view as well.
    Agreed; read the work of Francis Crick; an atheist, Nobel Prize winning scientist, and someone who believes intelligence better explains the existence of DNA

  • http://baraminology.blogspot.com/ Jonathan Bartlett

    LudVanB:
    “Abiogenesis and the ToE are related only as neighboring fields of scientific inquiries (chemistry abd biology). But there simply is no need to understand Abiogenesis in order to study and understand how life changes over time.”
    It depends on what you include in the theory of evolution. Is common ancestry included? If so, then it must be based on an idea of abiogenesis. In fact, any inference of common ancestry from homology requires that you know how the organism was made. If the organism was pre-programmed to change in specific ways, how would you be able to tell the difference between two organisms that were both independently programmed to have a similar adaptation and two organisms that have a similar adaptation due to common descent? Only by _assuming_ (contrary to evidence, even) that such pre-built mechanisms do not exist (because they are incompatible with materialist origins), can you adequately perform inferences of common descent from homology.

  • Clark

    I think the theory is a fine idea, don’t think it should replace science in the science class though but its interesting for coffee shop debates.
    I think the religious “right” needs to stop looking at this as a theory that can be levered to serve creationist feelings, b/c its not about god at all, its about a greater being…okay so you could call that a god, but it could just as well be a bunch of liberals sitting around in corporate luncheon on planet X doodling with their supercomputers….

  • LudVanB

    “Echolocating insectovorous bats are, as an organism, morphologically and systemically irreducibly comples. The integrated combination of high frequency sounds, ear and skull structure, respiratory, nervous, skeletal, and behavoral strutures and systems are integrated in such a way that none of the elements if useful by itself. In fact they would represent a significant detriment without the whole system working together. The best explanation for this irreducibly complex struture is intelliegent agency; it can’t be explained as an accumulation of incremental changes.”
    wrong…there are many possible scenarios by which one can go from the most likely ancestor of the modern bat,a shrew-like rodent that lived about 70-80 millions years ago to the bat in its currect form.

  • LudVanB

    “Only if it actually offers an explanation now, and not in some imagined future.”
    nope…science is quite content to continue research until a satisfactory answer if found to explain every aspect of any given phenomenon instead of doing it the ID way ;declare something you dont understand but that looks well organised to be the work of some mysterious intelligent uber being that caused it to manifest out of thin air before disapearing without a trace. Lots of thing were thought to be impossible to explain through science in the past…until they eventually were..science marches on and i see no reason why it should stop.

  • LudVanB

    “Actually, there is a third option, and the one that Christianity teaches. That man and creation were created perfect, but fell, and have been degrading since, but WILL be restored in the future.”
    Well first of all that statement is purely esotheric and abandons all pretense to rational science because no shred of evidence has ever been uncovered that even remotely suggests the prior “perfection” of man and the universe he lives in as a possibility. But moreover,it fails from a logical perspective as well and heres why…
    Perfection is an absolute and universal constant. Perfection and imperfection are not the 2 ends of a given spectrum…they are mutually exclusive sets of reality and cannot both exists in the same universal confine. In a perfect universe,everything is bound to the law of perfection and function solely according to that law and as such,no being bound to the laws governing the universe can cause thoses laws to become altered in any way because that would require the action of a supernatural entity…a being not bound by those laws. and since humans are not supernatural creatures,no action they take can cause the fundamental nature of the universe they live in to change even in the slightest.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    If there are natural forces that account for phenomena, one is not compelled to consider an intelligent agency; but there are certain consistent criteria which measure those aspects which denote intelligent agency, and for which no natural phenomena can acount.
    On the contrary, you still must consider all posibilities. Yes the three rocks sitting at the end of your yard may have gotten there by ‘natural forces’ but that doesn’t mean someone didn’t put them there.
    Mold is of course magnitudes more complex than any written work. However, if there natural phenomena which would explain the existence of mold on that particular planet (or anywhere, for that matter), we can dismiss ID.
    Indeed it is, yet no one would doubt if we stumbled upon a written work on the moon it would be excellent evidence of alien intelligence yet mold is unlikely to be accepted as proof. Why? For one thing because ‘unintelligent designed’ systems tend to be magnitudes more complex than intelligently designed systems. How do we know this? Well if you don’t want to count life we do have samples of ‘unintelligently designed’ systems such as computer programs with evolutionary algorithyms and they do seem to produce designs that are highly complicated.
    How is “there is an imaginary future answer” more legit than “there is a God answer”?
    Neither is legit however saying ‘we don’t know at this time’ is perfectly legit. Saying ‘we don’t know therefore this is where my favorite hypothesis will sit’ is not.
    The irreducibly complex morphology exhibited in a echolocating, insectivorous bat may arise as the result of unguided forces, but toady, that has never been demonstrated; and there is no evidence to indicate it is true for a bat, regardless of imagined future knowledge.
    Notice how jhudson shifts the goal posts, he wrote:
    The best explanation for this irreducibly complex struture is intelliegent agency; it can’t be explained as an accumulation of incremental changes.
    Notice he said ‘can’t’. Well how does he know it can’t? Or is he just saying ‘hasn’t yet’. If it is the latter he is saying something very uninteresting. Most stuff hasn’t yet been explained in detail and never will. We don’t know the particular path a pebble took to make it end up orbiting Saturn in one of its rings and we probably will never know. However we have no reason to assume anything other than it ended up in its current position by following the laws of motion.

  • http://baraminology.blogspot.com/ Jonathan Bartlett

    “Neither is legit however saying ‘we don’t know at this time’ is perfectly legit. Saying ‘we don’t know therefore this is where my favorite hypothesis will sit’ is not.”
    Except this is what evolution is doing.

  • http:/// jhudson

    wrong…there are many possible scenarios by which one can go from the most likely ancestor of the modern bat,a shrew-like rodent that lived about 70-80 millions years ago to the bat in its currect form.
    The bat isn’t classified with shrews genetically; oddly enough it’s closer to horses genetically. And no such shrew-like animal has been found, not to mention the numerous transitional forms that would be required.

  • http:/// jhudson

    nope…science is quite content to continue research until a satisfactory answer if found to explain every aspect of any given phenomenon instead of doing it the ID way ;declare something you dont understand but that looks well organised to be the work of some mysterious intelligent uber being that caused it to manifest out of thin air before disapearing without a trace. Lots of thing were thought to be impossible to explain through science in the past…until they eventually were..science marches on and i see no reason why it should stop.
    ID is a satisfactory answer; and one that works; we can observe and demonstrate the ability of intelligent agents to produce self-replicating complex coded information systems, and to make modifications to such; no corollary ability is found in nature.

  • http:/// jhudson

    On the contrary, you still must consider all posibilities. Yes the three rocks sitting at the end of your yard may have gotten there by ‘natural forces’ but that doesn’t mean someone didn’t put them there.
    Sure; ID can’t detect everything done by intelligence, only those things that only intelligence can do.
    Indeed it is, yet no one would doubt if we stumbled upon a written work on the moon it would be excellent evidence of alien intelligence yet mold is unlikely to be accepted as proof. Why? For one thing because ‘unintelligent designed’ systems tend to be magnitudes more complex than intelligently designed systems. How do we know this? Well if you don’t want to count life we do have samples of ‘unintelligently designed’ systems such as computer programs with evolutionary algorithyms and they do seem to produce designs that are highly complicated.
    There is no such thing as an ‘unintelligently designed’ computer system; only intelligent computer system built to emulate random events.
    Neither is legit however saying ‘we don’t know at this time’ is perfectly legit. Saying ‘we don’t know therefore this is where my favorite hypothesis will sit’ is not.
    But we do know what the requirements of a complex coded information system are.
    Notice he said ‘can’t’. Well how does he know it can’t? Or is he just saying ‘hasn’t yet’. If it is the latter he is saying something very uninteresting. Most stuff hasn’t yet been explained in detail and never will. We don’t know the particular path a pebble took to make it end up orbiting Saturn in one of its rings and we probably will never know. However we have no reason to assume anything other than it ended up in its current position by following the laws of motion.
    No, it can’t – there is no way to incrementally produce the complex interdependencies found in the systems and morphologies of a bat, and many other organisms. Scientists don’t even pretend to try in this case. There may be another mechanism besides evolution and intelligent design of what we are aware, but ID is sufficient as a cause and a better explanation of the occurrence.

  • LudVanB

    “ID is a satisfactory answer; and one that works; we can observe and demonstrate the ability of intelligent agents to produce self-replicating complex coded information systems, and to make modifications to such; no corollary ability is found in nature.”
    It sure as hell is not…any answer that tells us nothing of the specific mechanism by which a given phenomenon occurs is no answer at all…”some mysterious intelligent entitu which inexplicably hides its presence from us did it” is no answer…its merely a lazy thought stopping postulation

  • http:/// jhudson

    It sure as hell is not…any answer that tells us nothing of the specific mechanism by which a given phenomenon occurs is no answer at all…”some mysterious intelligent entitu which inexplicably hides its presence from us did it” is no answer…its merely a lazy thought stopping postulation
    Well, again, as a theory of causation it’s purpose is not to give us a specific mechanisms (though it points us in the right direction) but to identify causes of a phenomena.
    We can suggest the mechanisms involved in long past events, but in many cases the specifics (as many evolutionists argue when pressed) are long since beyond identifying.

  • gkevin

    I believe that this three part effort is, as the author decries, setting up strawmen to knock them down. ID is theologically distressing. ID is also a violation of Occam’s Razor, if you accept Anselm’s ontonlogical argument for God. (Anselm makes God the most complex explaination, by definition.)
    The justification for ID, as presented by its proponents, is really quite simple. ID is not an attempt to explain God’s general revelation, but an unsuccessful effort to blame societal problems on scientific materialism. The problem with this ‘theory’ is that no scientist can provide ANY data to support it (independent verification of a designer), for to do so would require all knowledge is available to the scientific community. Most efforts to substantiate this sophistry are based on the general public’s lack of scientific knowledge. The idea that entropy has an inherent direction is fallacious, however Dembski still tries to sell that old nutmeg because very few people understand the implications of Modern Physics.
    Perhaps if we had a public which understood both the Bible and Science, they would realize that Paul was right in Romans, and that ID is an effort to revivify the Kantian approach to God (requisite agnostosism), in direct opposition to the Augustinian model.

  • Rob Ryan

    “…there is no way to incrementally produce the complex interdependencies found in the systems and morphologies of a bat, and many other organisms.”
    And you know this how? Utter nonsense.
    ID folks used to say this about the eye, but I guess that critique of evolutionary theory has lost its punch.

  • LudVanB

    “Well, again, as a theory of causation it’s purpose is not to give us a specific mechanisms (though it points us in the right direction) but to identify causes of a phenomena.”
    Indeed its not…its real purpose is to be used as a thought stopping prop and it doesnt point into any direction whatsoever because as you indicated,IDists dont really care to find out exactly how their “mysterious” designer works.
    “We can suggest the mechanisms involved in long past events, but in many cases the specifics (as many evolutionists argue when pressed) are long since beyond identifying.”
    But thats the thing…you dont suggest ANY mechanism because those kinds of things do not interest you
    just out of curiosity,what’s your religion…be honest now…

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Sure; ID can’t detect everything done by intelligence, only those things that only intelligence can do.
    Errr, so intelligence can put 3 rocks at the end of your yard. Why can’t ID detect that again? Aren’t you really trying to say that ID can detect things that ONLY intelligence can do. But in order to know that only intelligence can do something you have to know it cannot be done by anything else.
    In other words, your playing a game of elimination. If everyone in the room but Colonal Mustard is innocent then he must be guilty! But to eliminate all possibilities but intelligence you must not only prove evolution as it currently stands wrong but every conceivable variation wrong as well, even variations that no one has thought of yet. There is frankly no way you can do this.
    There is no such thing as an ‘unintelligently designed’ computer system; only intelligent computer system built to emulate random events.
    Computers can be programed to solve problems using unintelligent means. Again I remind you that you admitted intelligent humans can build simulations of unintelligent systems.
    But we do know what the requirements of a complex coded information system are.
    And what would they be? Intelligence? How do we know that? There are plenty of complicated ‘coded information systems’ that are not laid down by intelligence. For example, tree rings record a great deal of complicated information about climate, weather, soil conditions etc over time yet no intelligence set trees up as recording devices. Ditto for ice cores.
    No, it can’t – there is no way to incrementally produce the complex interdependencies found in the systems and morphologies of a bat, and many other organisms. Scientists don’t even pretend to try in this case. There may be another mechanism besides evolution and intelligent design of what we are aware, but ID is sufficient as a cause and a better explanation of the occurrence.
    Again how do you know? Have you mapped out all possible mutations by generation going back millions of generations and found there is no way to get to point B starting at point A? Or are you simply making this assertion out of thin air?

  • http:/// jhudson

    The justification for ID, as presented by its proponents, is really quite simple. ID is not an attempt to explain God’s general revelation, but an unsuccessful effort to blame societal problems on scientific materialism. The problem with this ‘theory’ is that no scientist can provide ANY data to support it (independent verification of a designer), for to do so would require all knowledge is available to the scientific community. Most efforts to substantiate this sophistry are based on the general public’s lack of scientific knowledge. The idea that entropy has an inherent direction is fallacious, however Dembski still tries to sell that old nutmeg because very few people understand the implications of Modern Physics.
    That is an interesting take I hadn’t heard before; it’s actually a philosophical criticism of ID.
    I think, to some extent, ID is Paley justified.
    As is commonly now known, the breakthrough argument for ID was Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box in which he detailed biomolecular structures, known only recently to us, that exhibit irreducible complexity. There is of course debate over whether they indeed are examples of IC, but if any structure on any level should prove to be, then I think evolution becomes inadequate as an explanation for the development of life.
    Taking if further, ID is offering a view of the basic structures of life that is many ways more ‘mechanical’ (as opposed to materialistic) than evolution itself is, in that it views the genome as an information system and the cell as a collection of nanomachines.
    This is where I think ID will most prevail because the biological sciences themselves, on the whole, are beginning to view the fundamental components of life that way. Also, our own technology is developing in such a way that we are understanding more and more the requirements of such systems. I think there is an inevitable collusion coming between these two trends, and I think ID is better situtated to address those issues than the old victorian era theory of evolution.

  • http:/// jhudson

    And you know this how? Utter nonsense.
    ID folks used to say this about the eye, but I guess that critique of evolutionary theory has lost its punch.

    Actually, it’s more true of the eye than ever, and certainly more true of the morphology and systems of the bat; but I don’t exect you to actually offer an explanation of how the bat might have developed, because of course, you have none.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Again how do you know? Have you mapped out all possible mutations by generation going back millions of generations and found there is no way to get to point B starting at point A? Or are you simply making this assertion out of thin air?
    Yes, I am asserting that there is no way to produce those systems via incremental changes; you are free to disprove me if you can – otherwise, my assertion is as safe and sound as Pastuer’s assertion that pathogens don’t arise spontaneaously.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Indeed its not…its real purpose is to be used as a thought stopping prop and it doesnt point into any direction whatsoever because as you indicated, IDists don’t really care to find out exactly how their “mysterious” designer works.
    Actually we have some ideas thanks to our own developing technology, which is better than evolutionists, who have no idea.
    But thats the thing…you dont suggest ANY mechanism because those kinds of things do not interest you
    Actually, they interest me greatly, just as the producer of hieroglyphics on the moon would interest me.

  • LudVanB

    “Actually, it’s more true of the eye than ever, and certainly more true of the morphology and systems of the bat; but I don’t exect you to actually offer an explanation of how the bat might have developed, because of course, you have none.”
    heres a quick answer to the eye argument.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html
    As for the bat,it presents a more interesting problem since the light bones of bats dont lend themselves well to fossilisation so i guess you may keep that particular gap for the time being. Of course,biologists all over the world are still doing research into the bat’s origin and comming up with interesting leads all the time…i guess they must be stupid to keep on looking when their smarter ID “counterparts” have allready declared the problem solved.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    As is commonly now known, the breakthrough argument for ID was Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box in which he detailed biomolecular structures, known only recently to us, that exhibit irreducible complexity. There is of course debate over whether they indeed are examples of IC, but if any structure on any level should prove to be, then I think evolution becomes inadequate as an explanation for the development of life.
    IC means that there is no pathway to have formed a particular system where the steps are either all beneficial to the species or at least not harmful. As originally formulated, IC meant that if you messed with any part of a system the whole thing would fail (i.e. ‘what good is half an eye?’) but that missed the fact that parts could have formed with other useful purposes intially and then found they worked together well.
    Let me use yet another analogy I used before. How can we know OJ killed his wife? If you’re a prosecutor there’s two ways to prove it. One way is to prove OJ did it. The less common way, though, is to prove everyone else who could have possibly did it is innocent therefore that only leaves OJ. Needless to say you won’t see that second method used very often because there are millions of people in LA and how can a prosecutor prove every one innocent? A defense lawyer only has to prove the prosecutor forgot about one person and the proof is destroyed.
    If you look hard you may find some cases where the second style of proof may work. I remember a case in NY where several prisoners were being transported in a van with a guard and one of them killed the guard. Needless to say they all blamed each other but if you could prove that out of the 4 prisoners 3 of them couldn’t have killed the guard that would be sufficient IMO to prove the 4th guilty.
    Here with IC you’re basically saying that a system is so so complicated only something intelligent could be guilty of making it. In other words, evolution is ‘innocent’ of making it because evolution couldn’t make something so complicated. BUT the logical error here is that not only must you show evolution is innocent but every other possible natural explanation. How do you know there aren’t other hypothesises that involve only natural, non-intelligent actions besides evolution? Proving evolution wrong is not sufficient to prove ID right. You must prove evolution wrong, every possible variation on evolution and all possible non-evolution, non-ID ideas wrong as well…even ones no one has thought of yet. Like the bat example, that is something that hasn’t been done and in this case cannot be done.

  • LudVanB

    “Yes, I am asserting that there is no way to produce those systems via incremental changes; you are free to disprove me if you can – otherwise, my assertion is as safe and sound as Pastuer’s assertion that pathogens don’t arise spontaneaously.”
    Well i m asserting that ID is plagued with a fatal problem of infinite regress (who designed the designer); you are free to disprove me if you can – otherwise, my assertion is as safe and sound as Pastuer’s assertion that pathogens don’t arise spontaneaously.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Errr, so intelligence can put 3 rocks at the end of your yard. Why can’t ID detect that again? Aren’t you really trying to say that ID can detect things that ONLY intelligence can do. But in order to know that only intelligence can do something you have to know it cannot be done by anything else.
    Exactly.
    In other words, your playing a game of elimination. If everyone in the room but Colonal Mustard is innocent then he must be guilty! But to eliminate all possibilities but intelligence you must not only prove evolution as it currently stands wrong but every conceivable variation wrong as well, even variations that no one has thought of yet. There is frankly no way you can do this.
    Well, no, in science we deal with what is known, not with what we imagine might have happened in some other time and place with a different set of physical conditions unknown to us now. It might be sometime somewhere objects could travel faster than light, or germs could arise spontaneously or gravity didn’t exist as it does; but we base our scientific understanding on our knowledge of what the universe as it is now, not what we imagine it might be in a different time and place.
    Computers can be programed to solve problems using unintelligent means. Again I remind you that you admitted intelligent humans can build simulations of unintelligent systems.
    Sure; but we wouldn’t call the system that does that unintelligently designed.
    And what would they be? Intelligence? How do we know that? There are plenty of complicated ‘coded information systems’ that are not laid down by intelligence. For example, tree rings record a great deal of complicated information about climate, weather, soil conditions etc over time yet no intelligence set trees up as recording devices. Ditto for ice cores.
    Tree rings and ice cores do ‘record’ that information, we, as intelligent creatures, infer it; the rings and cores are incidental to the environmental effects, unlike the genome which is an information system structured to actually record and pass on specific information.
    Again how do you know? Have you mapped out all possible mutations by generation going back millions of generations and found there is no way to get to point B starting at point A? Or are you simply making this assertion out of thin air?
    Well, again we base science on what we know, and what we know is that all the irreducibly complex structures for which the cause is known, intelligence is essential; we can speculate about structures for which no cause is observed, but if we base it on our actual knowledge of such systems, we must conclude that they are intelligently designed.

  • http:/// jhudson

    heres a quick answer to the eye argument.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html

    Yeah, this is rather dated and it ignored the actual biochemical requirement of light processing. This was Darwins understanding of the eye, not modern science’s
    As for the bat,it presents a more interesting problem since the light bones of bats dont lend themselves well to fossilisation so i guess you may keep that particular gap for the time being. Of course,biologists all over the world are still doing research into the bat’s origin and comming up with interesting leads all the time…i guess they must be stupid to keep on looking when their smarter ID “counterparts” have allready declared the problem solved.
    Well, no, we have fossil bats, and fossil shrews; nothing betwixt them.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Well i m asserting that ID is plagued with a fatal problem of infinite regress (who designed the designer); you are free to disprove me if you can – otherwise, my assertion is as safe and sound as Pastuer’s assertion that pathogens don’t arise spontaneaously.
    Problem is, not knowing the designer doesn’t contradict the ability to detect design; this is demonstratable by considering any designed object for which the designer is unknown.
    However, I think it might make a great theological discussion someplace, it just is simply beyond the scope of science.

  • LudVanB

    “Well, no, in science we deal with what is known…”
    lol….sorry that one almost caused me to spit my coffee all over my monitor…good one though but you are quite right…..WE in science must proceed with what we know and we know (according to you anyway) that there exist IC systems in nature that can only be the result of intelligence…but we also know of only ONE intelligent creature…US…now we may one day encounter and communicate with other more intelligent beings sometime in the futur but until then,doesnt it seem silly to credit them with anything? after,in science we can only proceed with what we know.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    jhudson has it exactly backwards. In order to say something is IC you are saying you have eliminated all possible explanations but one. How can you know all possible explanations? You can’t.

  • LudVanB

    “Yeah, this is rather dated and it ignored the actual biochemical requirement of light processing. This was Darwins understanding of the eye, not modern science’s”
    Well its dated from 2001 but i m sure they were well aware of the biochemical requirements of light processing 5 years ago way back then so there s no reason to believe that they didnt account for it and the line of developement given is in line with what we know on evolutionary processes and as they indicate,each stage of that process has been observed in various specimen.
    “Well, no, we have fossil bats, and fossil shrews; nothing betwixt them.”
    We do have a few bat fossils from 50 millions years ago which show some remarkable similarities to the modern bat and i said shrew-LIKE,please dont misquote me. But unfortunately as i said we dont have enough information to create a family tree for the bat from the foddil record so as i said,this gap is your.

  • LudVanB

    “Problem is, not knowing the designer doesn’t contradict the ability to detect design; this is demonstratable by considering any designed object for which the designer is unknown.”
    The problem of infinite regress inherent to the “theory” of ID is a very real SCIENTIFIC flaw,weather you choose to adress it or not…theres nothing theological about it.

  • http:/// jhudson

    IC means that there is no pathway to have formed a particular system where the steps are either all beneficial to the species or at least not harmful. As originally formulated, IC meant that if you messed with any part of a system the whole thing would fail (i.e. ‘what good is half an eye?’) but that missed the fact that parts could have formed with other useful purposes intially and then found they worked together well.
    That may or may not be the case; simply because a part is ‘useful’ elsewhere (like a nut or bolt) doesn’t mean that it the system for which it forms a part can be developed incrementally, particularly if it is an essential part of that system.
    Let me use yet another analogy I used before. How can we know OJ killed his wife? If you’re a prosecutor there’s two ways to prove it. One way is to prove OJ did it. The less common way, though, is to prove everyone else who could have possibly did it is innocent therefore that only leaves OJ. Needless to say you won’t see that second method used very often because there are millions of people in LA and how can a prosecutor prove every one innocent? A defense lawyer only has to prove the prosecutor forgot about one person and the proof is destroyed.
    How do you know anyone killed OJs wife and she didn’t just die of natuaral causes? That is the question ID answers.
    If you look hard you may find some cases where the second style of proof may work. I remember a case in NY where several prisoners were being transported in a van with a guard and one of them killed the guard. Needless to say they all blamed each other but if you could prove that out of the 4 prisoners 3 of them couldn’t have killed the guard that would be sufficient IMO to prove the 4th guilty.
    Perhaps; but again, ID attempts to detect the earmarks of causes – it would be used to determine the cause of the drivers death, not the person who did it.
    Here with IC you’re basically saying that a system is so so complicated only something intelligent could be guilty of making it. In other words, evolution is ‘innocent’ of making it because evolution couldn’t make something so complicated. BUT the logical error here is that not only must you show evolution is innocent but every other possible natural explanation. How do you know there aren’t other hypothesises that involve only natural, non-intelligent actions besides evolution? Proving evolution wrong is not sufficient to prove ID right. You must prove evolution wrong, every possible variation on evolution and all possible non-evolution, non-ID ideas wrong as well…even ones no one has thought of yet. Like the bat example, that is something that hasn’t been done and in this case cannot be done.
    Again, you have actually proposed a scenario that helps clarify how ID is useful; when someone dies, there are a few possible causes; really only two from an intelligence perspective – intelligent agency, that is those that are the product of the planning of a mind, and natural causes, that is those shaped by forces that aren’t the product of a mind. Now there may be cases where you can’t tell the difference, but of course, a crime scene investigator concerns himself with cases where you can, and the methodologies that allow that.
    So the question for you is this; with those two choices, is it ever reasonable to say “This was death was the act of a criminal”?

  • http:/// jhudson

    The problem of infinite regress inherent to the “theory” of ID is a very real SCIENTIFIC flaw,weather you choose to adress it or not…theres nothing theological about it.
    There are other infinite regresses in science that don’t elimnate what we understand to have happened; what caused the big bang? What caused the event that caused the big bang? And before that? And before that?
    Does such a regress disprove the Big Bang?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Again let’s notice how a supporter of ID morphs his argument. Not too long ago we were talking about abiogensis and the inexperienced reader here might have jumped to the conclusion that ID and Evolution might experience a meeting of the minds where ID explains the first living thing and evolution explains what happened afterwards.
    But now with the focus on IC the ID supporter is suddenly trying to assert ID not at the beginning of the story but in the middle. Now the designer must show up not only in the beginning but to constantly tweak things along the way. Now the designer is not a majestic God of infinite knowledge but some type of global version of Bill Gates’s Microsoft, constantly releasing ‘patches’ to nudge things in the desired direction.
    As usual, though, the problem here is that even before its merits as a theory can be argued ID must actually be a theory rather than an ideology. As an ideology it seeks to increase its base by being as broad as possible. Hence ID organizations don’t even take a stand on the old earth v. young earth debate. Why be something when you can be all things to all people?
    This is why IDers won’t answer my questions. To do so would be to admit that their ‘theory’ is not science. In all these examples what is interesting is that evolution has answers. Maybe the answers are not complete and many have ‘draft copy’ stamped on them but it has answers. Where is ID’s answers?
    Let’s start with the bat. Where is ID’s answer for the origin of the bat? When was it designed? Was it designed in a moment or over the course of millions of years? Did evolution play a part? If so how much of the bat is designed and how much evolved?

  • http:/// jhudson

    Well its dated from 2001 but i m sure they were well aware of the biochemical requirements of light processing 5 years ago way back then so there s no reason to believe that they didnt account for it and the line of developement given is in line with what we know on evolutionary processes and as they indicate,each stage of that process has been observed in various specimen.
    Well, no, PBS doesn’t even delve into those processes; it’s a simplistic explanation of the nature of the eye, which is expected on a popular science show.
    We do have a few bat fossils from 50 millions years ago which show some remarkable similarities to the modern bat and i said shrew-LIKE,please dont misquote me. But unfortunately as i said we dont have enough information to create a family tree for the bat from the foddil record so as i said,this gap is your.
    One of many, of course. But the gap itself doesn’t prove it, it just further demonstrates the inadequacy of evolution to produce these sort of structures.

  • Mark

    Why is it so that everything seems to be just right for a particular function? Show me something on this earth that does not exhibit incredible design.
    I have followed the evolution v creation debate for a few years now. Evolutionists have not proven their theory in any way.
    For example I am yet to see any undeniable fossil record which clearly identifies the intermediate steps that demonstrate evidence natural selection working its way up to the massive increase in genetic information we see today.
    Come on how long have the palentologists been digging up bones now; hundreds of years all; over the world. Where are the fossils?
    True I

  • http://www.sufficientscruples.com Kevin T. Keith

    [Slightly reorganized quote:]
    [Y]ou have to consider what something is supposed to do before you can determine whether it does it well or not. The human body is terrible at functioning indefinitely, but great at wearing out over time.
    That’s magnificent!
    I think that’s worthy of the Special-Pleading Hall of Fame. Move over, Dr. Pangloss!

  • purple haze

    It’s absurd to think or assert that only models that include a designer or a creator are subject to the problem of infinite regress. So, everything was material? Well, where did that material come from, and that from what, and then that from what? At the end of the day, one has to put their chips down on what they believe to be the self existent, and its character; a leap of faith whichever direction you jump.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Again let’s notice how a supporter of ID morphs his argument. Not too long ago we were talking about abiogensis and the inexperienced reader here might have jumped to the conclusion that ID and Evolution might experience a meeting of the minds where ID explains the first living thing and evolution explains what happened afterwards.
    But now with the focus on IC the ID supporter is suddenly trying to assert ID not at the beginning of the story but in the middle. Now the designer must show up not only in the beginning but to constantly tweak things along the way. Now the designer is not a majestic God of infinite knowledge but some type of global version of Bill Gates’s Microsoft, constantly releasing ‘patches’ to nudge things in the desired direction.

    You have misrepresented my argument completely; where ever there are structures that exist that exhibit certain characteristics, ID is applicable; this could be 4 billion years ago, 500 million years ago, or yesterday; ID doesn’t care, or offer a theological representation of God.
    As usual, though, the problem here is that even before its merits as a theory can be argued ID must actually be a theory rather than an ideology. As an ideology it seeks to increase its base by being as broad as possible. Hence ID organizations don’t even take a stand on the old earth v. young earth debate. Why be something when you can be all things to all people?
    This is why IDers won’t answer my questions. To do so would be to admit that their ‘theory’ is not science. In all these examples what is interesting is that evolution has answers. Maybe the answers are not complete and many have ‘draft copy’ stamped on them but it has answers. Where is ID’s answers?

    Well, I won’t answer many of your questions utilizing ID because it’s not the tool for the job; it’s like you asking why my hammer won’t cut down your tree; and then claiming my hammer ‘isn’t a tool’ when I fail to use it for that purpose.
    Let’s start with the bat. Where is ID’s answer for the origin of the bat? When was it designed? Was it designed in a moment or over the course of millions of years? Did evolution play a part? If so how much of the bat is designed and how much evolved?
    Looking at the mammalian genome, as well as mammalian morphological changes, we can only say certain animals seem to have appeared at particular times; to be specific, we can look at bats which appear in the fossil record about 50 million years ago. There are no precursors, and the genetic information gives no hint as to the specific stepwise changes that allowed them to have their specific body plan and integrated systems. So with that limited information, plus the obvious indicators that mutation and natural selection are insufficient to have produced bat morphology alone, we can say that an intelligent agency acted on the genome of a the mammalian line to produce the information necessary to produce a bat sometime previous to 50mya.
    Two possibilities for the production of that information exiast at this time within an ID paradigm;one would be the direct manipulation of the genome (as is seen in modern transgenics). The other would be front-loading, which would be the production of all the information neccesary for the structures being present in an ancestral organism and having it unfold over time.
    As far as evolutions part in the development of a bat, I think there is more than sufficient evidence to indicate that within the limits of morphological and systemic changes, insectivorous echolochating bats have evolved to fill a number of different niches in the environment.

  • Darrell DeLaney
  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You have misrepresented my argument completely; where ever there are structures that exist that exhibit certain characteristics, ID is applicable; this could be 4 billion years ago, 500 million years ago, or yesterday; ID doesn’t care, or offer a theological representation of God.
    That’s rather odd for a scientific theory. It just doesn’t care. So did the designer make the bacteria that grew on Wednesday or did that bacteria just come from what the designer did on Monday? Don’t care.
    Well, I won’t answer many of your questions utilizing ID because it’s not the tool for the job; it’s like you asking why my hammer won’t cut down your tree; and then claiming my hammer ‘isn’t a tool’ when I fail to use it for that purpose.
    Indeed, and does ID have any job other than being a rather spurious counter-argument to evolution?
    So with that limited information, plus the obvious indicators that mutation and natural selection are insufficient to have produced bat morphology alone, we can say that an intelligent agency acted on the genome of a the mammalian line to produce the information necessary to produce a bat sometime previous to 50mya.
    Obvious indicators that mutation and natural selection are insufficient? How insufficient? Could they achieve, say, 50% of the bat before the designer had to step in? 40%? 0%? How exactly do you measure the capacity of mutation and natural selection to produce different morphologies?
    Two possibilities for the production of that information exiast at this time within an ID paradigm;one would be the direct manipulation of the genome (as is seen in modern transgenics). The other would be front-loading, which would be the production of all the information neccesary for the structures being present in an ancestral organism and having it unfold over time.
    This directly contradicts what you just said. If the bat’s ancestors could not have changed by mutation and natural selection into bats then how could the ‘information for bats’ have been contained in them in the very beginning? If it was present in the very beginning we’d see a continum of generations that get closer and closer to what we see as modern day bats. In other words it would look like a ID abiogensis and then evolution as the path to modern day bats.
    Notice our ID supporter again, the few times he makes any assertions, refuses to provide any back up. He tells us there are ‘limits’ to mutation and natural selection but won’t tell us how he knows this, what causes those limits, and even what those limits are. Could mutation and natural selection cause a blood drinking bat species to derive from an insect eating one? Who knows? Maybe or maybe not, there’s no method to determine this we just have to ask jhudson what he ‘feels’ is the right answer.

  • http:/// jhudson

    If I

  • LudVanB

    I think i just placed my finger on why ID has any proponents most of whom are evengelical creationists…its easy to defend because its a constantly moving target. If and when science discovers and fully catalogue conclusively the means through which humans came from the very first strands of amino acids in the primordial soup,ID will simply say “well the amino acid strand was intelligently designed to eventually produce a human”…and when the appearance of amino acid is explained conclusively through a natural process in the primordial soup,then ID’s position will become ” well the primordial soup was intelligently designed to produce the amino acid strands” and so on and so forth. The ToE relies on the available evidence to survive and doesnt go beyond the existance of life. ID relies primarely on the ABSENSE of evidence to survive and claims everything in the universe as its domain.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Just to further illustrate how worthless this is as a scientific theory, if ‘information’ is ‘front-loaded’ then that would yield a hypothesis that could be tested. Existing species could be studied to see if they have, in their DNA, dormant future species. Likewise if we obtain DNA for our ancestors we should be able to find our modern DNA encoded inside of their primitive DNA.
    If ID was a real scientific theory it would be grasping onto ideas like this and trying to test them. If such a thing were discovered it would deal a serious blow to evolution. After all how could the coding for modern animals exist in primitive ones if modern ones were the result of evolution’s long march of mutation and selection? That would be like saying the modern Titanic movie inspired the actual ship to sink!
    It would also refine ID theory. The results would refine the theory by eliminating one of two possible options (ID at the beginning only v. ID through out history). As happens with evolution it could even yield surprising insights, perhaps ID happened in regular spaced intervals…say every 123,300 years.
    But as jhudson told us, ID just doesn’t care.

  • LudVanB

    I think you may well be on to something here Boon…the “front-loaded genes” hypothesis is the first position i’ve ever seen an IDist take that can be falsified through the scientific method. I wonder where i could get information about the ongoing research into that by ID “scientists”…J?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actually LudVanB someone else here once proposed another. Some IDers claim that mutation cannot create new information, just degrade existing information. The DNA code of several simple types of bacteria is available as is the DNA code of bacteria modified in labs by using natural selection.
    All that need be done is to define what is meant by ‘information’ and measure how much is in the original code versus the mutated code. This could be done with a home computer and internet connection.

  • http:/// jhudson

    That’s rather odd for a scientific theory. It just doesn’t care. So did the designer make the bacteria that grew on Wednesday or did that bacteria just come from what the designer did on Monday? Don’t care.
    So, you say evolution doesn’t care about the scientific question of the origin of life, and that’s to be expected. ID doesn’t attempt to address a theological question, and that’s odd. You need to rethink your definition of ‘odd’.
    Indeed, and does ID have any job other than being a rather spurious counter-argument to evolution?
    Sure; application of design criteria to objects and events whose cause is unknown; that applies to CSI, archeology, SETI, and origins.
    Obvious indicators that mutation and natural selection are insufficient? How insufficient? Could they achieve, say, 50% of the bat before the designer had to step in? 40%? 0%? How exactly do you measure the capacity of mutation and natural selection to produce different morphologies?
    To the degree that a morphology is irreducibly complex, it is impossible for mutation and natural selection to produce it.
    This directly contradicts what you just said. If the bat’s ancestors could not have changed by mutation and natural selection into bats then how could the ‘information for bats’ have been contained in them in the very beginning? If it was present in the very beginning we’d see a continum of generations that get closer and closer to what we see as modern day bats. In other words it would look like a ID abiogensis and then evolution as the path to modern day bats.
    It depends on how far front loading goes back. And there is actual genetic evidence for this; there exist in more ‘primitive’ forms of life information for structures they don’t use – like the bilateral limb development even if no limbs are present. It would be difficult if not impossible to test this for in a bat because we don’t have organisms ancestral to bats; but the information would still be the product of intelligent design, simply stored in the genome for the proper conditions; again we saw this in our own information systems development before we began to discover it in the genome.
    Notice our ID supporter again, the few times he makes any assertions, refuses to provide any back up. He tells us there are ‘limits’ to mutation and natural selection but won’t tell us how he knows this, what causes those limits, and even what those limits are. Could mutation and natural selection cause a blood drinking bat species to derive from an insect eating one? Who knows? Maybe or maybe not, there’s no method to determine this we just have to ask jhudson what he ‘feels’ is the right answer.
    Well, I answer within the limitations of the forum as questions arise; I am willing to produce lengthy treatises on bat morphology as it relates to speciation – actually I rather enjoy those sort of discussions; what I want to know is what would you add to that? You don’t even seem to realize that a vampire bat isn’t insectivorous; which is the sort of bat we have been discussing.
    And by the way; I am not sure what drives someone to write as if he is addressing some audience of well-wishers (“Notice our ID supporter…”), but it smacks of some bizarre form of narcissim.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Just to further illustrate how worthless this is as a scientific theory, if ‘information’ is ‘front-loaded’ then that would yield a hypothesis that could be tested. Existing species could be studied to see if they have, in their DNA, dormant future species. Likewise if we obtain DNA for our ancestors we should be able to find our modern DNA encoded inside of their primitive DNA.
    Actually, we are finding instances of this in the genome; this is a recent example. Here is another.
    If ID was a real scientific theory it would be grasping onto ideas like this and trying to test them. If such a thing were discovered it would deal a serious blow to evolution. After all how could the coding for modern animals exist in primitive ones if modern ones were the result of evolution’s long march of mutation and selection? That would be like saying the modern Titanic movie inspired the actual ship to sink!
    Well, we already know some supposed ‘primitive’ animals are actually more complex in certain ways than presumed more modern ones; here is an example of that. The problem is, up until recently we tended to look at these organism from classification schema rather than from a genetic and biomolecular view; complexity is best viewed at the genetic level.
    It would also refine ID theory. The results would refine the theory by eliminating one of two possible options (ID at the beginning only v. ID through out history). As happens with evolution it could even yield surprising insights, perhaps ID happened in regular spaced intervals…say every 123,300 years.
    Well, it wouldn’t eliminate the other possibility; just help it understand how each might have played a part.
    But as jhudson told us, ID just doesn’t care.
    Actually, I believe IDers are the biggest advocates of exploring issues surrounding front-loading.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So, you say evolution doesn’t care about the scientific question of the origin of life, and that’s to be expected. ID doesn’t attempt to address a theological question, and that’s odd. You need to rethink your definition of ‘odd’.
    That’s a bit like saying evolution doesn’t care about relativity or electromagnetism. Evolution’s focus is not on the beginning of life. To again go back to the WWII history example, it isn’t quite right to say the WWII historian doesn’t care what the Roman Empire Historian says. If the Roman historian said that Rome invented a superweapon that caused Europe to sink into the ocean like Atlantis then yea the WWII historian is going to have a problem with that ‘theory’. Whatever the origin theory turns out to be there is going to be some interaction with evolution but simply saying that because evolution doesn’t tell you the origin isn’t an indictment of it.
    To the degree that a morphology is irreducibly complex, it is impossible for mutation and natural selection to produce it.
    This is meaningless, now irreducibly complexity is a spectrum? Something can be 50% IC? IC, I thought, meant that it could not be formed with successive changes that are either harmless or improvements in and of themselves. So what does it mean to say that something can be IC to a degree? It either is or it isn’t. Besides you’ve told us that a bat is IC so apparantly you have some way of telling us this.
    Well, I answer within the limitations of the forum as questions arise; I am willing to produce lengthy treatises on bat morphology as it relates to speciation – actually I rather enjoy those sort of discussions; what I want to know is what would you add to that? You don’t even seem to realize that a vampire bat isn’t insectivorous; which is the sort of bat we have been discussing.
    How about articulating where one could begin to find these answers? Perhaps a summary of the methods used. You needn’t produce a lengthy treatise on bat morphology but at least give us some reason to be assured you’re actually not just making this up as you go along. When IDers here demanded that science provide them with detailed answers to questions such as the origin of gender, how the eye formed, transitional fossils etc. they have been supplied with high level summaries and links to the more technical papers.
    And by the way; I am not sure what drives someone to write as if he is addressing some audience of well-wishers (“Notice our ID supporter…”), but it smacks of some bizarre form of narcissim.
    I’m under no delusion that I have lots of well wishers on this blog…but I do have a few fans :)

  • http:/// jhudson

    Actually LudVanB someone else here once proposed another. Some IDers claim that mutation cannot create new information, just degrade existing information. The DNA code of several simple types of bacteria is available as is the DNA code of bacteria modified in labs by using natural selection.
    All that need be done is to define what is meant by ‘information’ and measure how much is in the original code versus the mutated code. This could be done with a home computer and internet connection.
    Well, Dembski has asserted that changes to the complex specified information of the sort found in the genome is limited by a universal probablitiy bound, that is, a specified event whose probability did not exceed 1 in 10 150. That would be a place to start.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Actually LudVanB someone else here once proposed another. Some IDers claim that mutation cannot create new information, just degrade existing information. The DNA code of several simple types of bacteria is available as is the DNA code of bacteria modified in labs by using natural selection.
    All that need be done is to define what is meant by ‘information’ and measure how much is in the original code versus the mutated code. This could be done with a home computer and internet connection.
    Well, Dembski has asserted that changes to the complex specified information of the sort found in the genome is limited by a universal probablitiy bound, that is, a specified event whose probability did not exceed 1 in 10 150. That would be a place to start.

  • http://www.sufficientscruples.com Kevin T. Keith

    Some IDers claim that mutation cannot create new information, just degrade existing information. The DNA code of several simple types of bacteria is available . . . . All that need be done is to define what is meant by ‘information’ and measure how much is in the original code versus the mutated code. This could be done with a home computer and internet connection.
    Not necessary. The hypothesis is easily falsiable by observation, without requiring any quantitative estimates of information content.
    It’s already been pointed out (I don’t know who was first to mention it) that standard back-mutation experiments completely disprove the “information loss” claim about mutation. That is, some bacteria have naturally-occuring mutations that most bacteria of that type do not have – they render them unable to sythesize some certain nutrient, or to resist certain antibiotics. You can grow those bacteria in culture only by supplying them with the needed nutrient or keeping them away from antibiotics – if you plate them out on a hostile medium, they do not grow. But, it is easily noted that some samples of cultures of these mutated bacteria, when plated onto hostile media, do grow – they have “back-mutated” into a form that does synthesize the nutrient or resist the antibiotic. (Usually, this is a mutation at the same site as the original mutation, changing it back to the original form.) Exposing bacteria to possible mutation-causing agents and then noting any increase in the rate of back-mutations is the standard screening test for potential carcinogens – it’s done hundreds of times a day at labs around the world, though the phenomenon can also be observed just by leaving the bacteria to their own devices.
    So: bacteria naturally mutate to lose certain functions, but they also naturally mutate to gain those same functions – often by changing and restoring a precise genetic sequence at a specific locus. They do this spontaneously, in the natural environment (though they do it faster after exposure to mutagens). The “loss of information” hypothesis claims that mutations always result in a loss of information. But here, the mutations result in changing from one state to another and then back to the original state. If the first mutation removes information, the second mutation must be restoring that information in order to return to the same genetic sequence – or, alternatively, it’s not correct to talk about mutations in terms of “destroying” and “creating” information. Either way, the hypothesis that mutation always results in a loss of information is false.
    This simple demonstration has long been known. You can guess what effect it has on ID “theorists”.

  • http:/// jhudson

    That’s a bit like saying evolution doesn’t care about relativity or electromagnetism. Evolution’s focus is not on the beginning of life. To again go back to the WWII history example, it isn’t quite right to say the WWII historian doesn’t care what the Roman Empire Historian says. If the Roman historian said that Rome invented a superweapon that caused Europe to sink into the ocean like Atlantis then yea the WWII historian is going to have a problem with that ‘theory’. Whatever the origin theory turns out to be there is going to be some interaction with evolution but simply saying that because evolution doesn’t tell you the origin isn’t an indictment of it.
    Well, it has already been demostrated that no historian would say that – you haven’t even pretended to point one out; and it has been shown how Roman history has impacted a modern understanding of Europe. The fact that you don’t see this belies as much an ignorance of history as it does of biology.
    The origin of life certainly has more bearing on evolution than the name of the designer would have on evidence that a structure is designed.
    This is meaningless, now irreducibly complexity is a spectrum?
    No, I didn’t say that.
    Something can be 50% IC? IC, I thought, meant that it could not be formed with successive changes that are either harmless or improvements in and of themselves. So what does it mean to say that something can be IC to a degree? It either is or it isn’t. Besides you’ve told us that a bat is IC so apparantly you have some way of telling us this.
    I don’t know if this is language problem, or knowledge problem. If I was looking at a dead body, and I said “to the degree we can ascertain whether the wounds were caused by a weapon, we can be certain this person was murdered” that doesn’t mean they were 50% murdered.
    How about articulating where one could begin to find these answers? Perhaps a summary of the methods used. You needn’t produce a lengthy treatise on bat morphology but at least give us some reason to be assured you’re actually not just making this up as you go along. When IDers here demanded that science provide them with detailed answers to questions such as the origin of gender, how the eye formed, transitional fossils etc. they have been supplied with high level summaries and links to the more technical papers.
    How well do you understand insectovirous bat morphology? Get me a brief summary, and I will know where to start.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Well, Dembski has asserted that changes to the complex specified information of the sort found in the genome is limited by a universal probablitiy bound, that is, a specified event whose probability did not exceed 1 in 10 150. That would be a place to start.
    Indeed, the standard way to calculate the probability something will happen is to determine everything that can happen. Take the number of times the something happened and divide by the total of everything that can happen. So a 8 sided die roll can result in 8 possible outcomes, therefore the probability of rolling is 1 divided by 8 or 12.5%.
    Such a calculation, though, requires you to be able to insert meaningful numbers. If you have a weighted die that simple formula will not work because the weight will not cause each event to have an equal probability of happening. Invariably arguments along these lines descend into treating atoms like dice and saying the odds of so many millions of them just happening to hook up in a particular combination are really small etc. etc. but all combinations of atoms do not have an equal probability of happening. C and O2 atoms, for example, are much more likely to hook up and make CO2 rather than C2 and O4’s. To properly calculate this would require computing all possible chemical reactions which is, of course, impossible.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    How well do you understand insectovirous bat morphology? Get me a brief summary, and I will know where to start.
    Nope, make your case yourself. Joe’s already given us a bunch of rules telling us that we have to debate you with ten hands tied behind our backs. Either tell us how you know insectovirous bat morphology is ‘obviously’ IC or we will stop pretending this is anything more than a claim you just plucked out of thin air. I don’t recall any notable writers about evolution like Gould saying “Before you read my books take this quize to see which one fits your knowledge level.”

  • Rob Ryan

    “…but I don’t exect you to actually offer an explanation of how the bat might have developed, because of course, you have none.”
    No, I do not. And I admit it. You, on the other hand, claim to know that no such explanation is possible.

  • http:/// jhudson

    This simple demonstration has long been known. You can guess what effect it has on ID “theorists”.
    ID doesn’t have any qualm with simple observable mutations that are well within the boundaries of CSI.
    In fact, to my knowledge no ID theorist has ever contended “mutation cannot create new information”.

  • http:/// jhudson

    No, I do not. And I admit it. You, on the other hand, claim to know that no such explanation is possible.
    No, I calim that mutation and natural selection isn’t a sufficient explanation, not that one isn’t possible.

  • LudVanB

    It seems J has allready moved away from the “front-loaded genes” hypothesis. Is it possible that the taking of any definite position that can actually be falsified through the scientific method is too dangerous to the precarious “theory” of ID?

  • http:/// jhudson

    Nope, make your case yourself. Joe’s already given us a bunch of rules telling us that we have to debate you with ten hands tied behind our backs. Either tell us how you know insectovirous bat morphology is ‘obviously’ IC or we will stop pretending this is anything more than a claim you just plucked out of thin air. I don’t recall any notable writers about evolution like Gould saying “Before you read my books take this quize to see which one fits your knowledge level.”
    Let’s see; you have a sound emission device which emits frequencies from 14,000 to 100,000 Hz allowing for a broad enough range of sound to probe the environment. To receive that sound, bats have a complex series of folds in their oversize ears that allow them to detect the vertical position of an insect in flight.
    To process this information, the neural substrate of a bat is uniquely structured; even the basilur membrane is thickened precisely 61.0-61.5 KHz frequency range. Even the the neural ganglion are uniquely situated to cut down on background noise. The auditory cortex is also specialized in three different areas to process Doppler effects, processing both the Doppler effect created by it’s own movement as well as compensating for movement of the insect as it beats it’s wing and cross-correlate outgoing signals with returning signals.
    In addition the respiratory system is coupled with both the rate of the wing beats and sound emissions so that which both conserves energy and allows the bat to maintian a steady frequency of sound with which it can traget insects.
    Couple that with the fact that these neural/auditory mechanisms are actually utilized in flight, accomplished by a unique structure of of ultra-elastic skin stretched over low calcium bone structure; completely different than anything found in any other mammal.
    None of these structures is useful by itself, indeed, many or them would detrimental to the survival of the bat if not coupled with the others.
    According to both genetics and the fossil record, bats had these capabilities from the existence of the first known bat.
    I have of course over-simplified for the sake of space.
    Your turn; let’s hear a plausible step-wise description of how such a system developed through accumulated mutations selected for naturally by environmental conditions.

  • http:/// jhudson

    It seems J has allready moved away from the “front-loaded genes” hypothesis. Is it possible that the taking of any definite position that can actually be falsified through the scientific method is too dangerous to the precarious “theory” of ID?
    I did no such thing; in fact I gave examples that indicate it has explanatory capability. It is not a mechanism I favor, but it has support.

  • LudVanB

    I m still waiting for the info on that front loaded gene research,J…i have to go to work in about 2 hours you know…

  • Cheesehead

    Kevin Keith: Ever heard of gene repair? The replacement of an omitted gene in bacteria does not demonstrate new information in the DNA code being created ex nihilo, it demonstrates that we still don’t understand enough about genetics to explain how gene repair is done. Now if you can do an experiment with some unicellular organisms and have them mutate with no outside introduction of DNA into multicellular organisms in which some cells do specialized tasks that others do not, THEN you will have demonstrated the plausibility of your theory.

  • LudVanB

    “Kevin Keith: Ever heard of gene repair? The replacement of an omitted gene in bacteria does not demonstrate new information in the DNA code being created ex nihilo, it demonstrates that we still don’t understand enough about genetics to explain how gene repair is done. Now if you can do an experiment with some unicellular organisms and have them mutate with no outside introduction of DNA into multicellular organisms in which some cells do specialized tasks that others do not, THEN you will have demonstrated the plausibility of your theory.”
    What?!! did i read that last one right? a “science of the gap” argument to support a “god of the gap” hypothesis?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Let’s see; you have a sound emission device which emits frequencies from 14,000 to 100,000 Hz allowing for a broad enough range of sound to probe the environment. To receive that sound, bats have a complex series of folds in their oversize ears that allow them to detect the vertical position of an insect in flight….
    As expected we are treated to the Gee Whiz speech. This can be summarized as simply noting that bats have a complicated audio processing abilities.
    None of these structures is useful by itself, indeed, many or them would detrimental to the survival of the bat if not coupled with the others.
    Indeed, if we can call this anything let’s call it ‘weak IC’. Meaning some system where the parts by themselves have no obvious use. This is as old as Darwin himself who addressed it with the question of ‘what good is half an eye?’
    This argument has long been addressed. Just because parts are serving a function with other parts today doesn’t mean that thsoe parts might have been used for something else long ago.
    ‘Strong IC’ would be a statement with actual proof that some system could not have arisen from a series of steps where each step represented either an improvement or was not harmful in itself.
    Your turn; let’s hear a plausible step-wise description of how such a system developed through accumulated mutations selected for naturally by environmental conditions.
    My turn! You didn’t even go. Is your whole argument based on your statement that none of those structures are useful by themselves? Seriously? That’s your proof that this system could not have arisen from a long line of mutations each one of which was either beneficial or at least not overtly harmful?

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    At this point let me introduce a third thought experiment. Imagine a computer program that works as follows:
    1. It begins with a random phrase, something like adfjeskla.
    2. 5 ‘child phrases’ are spawned from it. The child phrases are spawned by a random function. On average each letter will spawn its own letter, so the ‘f’ will spawn an ‘f’ but there will be a chance that a g or e will be spawned…a lesser chance that a d or h and so on. If you’re statistically minded the child phase will be a random function whose mean is the parent letter with a standard deviation of one letter away.
    3. In round two the 5 child phrases are ranked by some objective measure. Let’s say by those that trigger the fewest spelling and grammer errors in MS-Word. The best phrase shall produce 4 ‘children’, the next two 3 children and the next to last 1 child and the last none. (You can, of course, vary this as you please).
    4. Let this run through as many iterations as you please.
    Now this little program will produce an intelligable English sentence long before what would be produced ‘by chance’ (meaning just selecting a bunch of letters at random). In fact, it could produce anything in English including books, great or poor literature and so on.
    It will do this unintelligently. Why? Well let’s just suppose the first gramatically correct phrase produced by this program is “jhudson is a child abuser”. Could jhudson sue for libel? Probably not since the program’s author had no control over what the first phrase would produce.
    Are there ‘morphological’ limits to what could be produced? Well yes, it couldn’t produce anything in Russian or Arabic, for example. Why? Because those languages use a different alphabet that the parameters of this program cannot make. But there is no work in English that this program could not conceivably produce. As long as it only needs the English alphabet (expanded of course to account for punctutation, caps and other necessities).
    When speaking of what is morphologically possible, the only natural limit that seems to exist is what can be written out of ‘life’s alphabet’. And the alphabet of life is DNA and while the shrew and bat may have lots of differences they are both written with the same alphabet just as Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is made from the same alphabet as Clinton’s 1988 speach to the DNC.
    Now this little illustration is not a simulation of life. There are many differences as there will be in any simulation. What this illustration is meant to point out, though, is that with a simple alphabet a surprising number of radically different ‘forms’ can be created through what is an unintelligent process (and this IS an unintelligent process, if you disagree then tell me o intelligent one how the ‘intelligent designer’ of this program could determine what the first English phrase will be when it is produced from it?).
    Hence when jhudson says it is ‘obvious’ that a simple process of mutation and natural selection could never produce such a ‘radical’ change as having a shrewlike species spawn a bat species he is making a bold statement, bolder than he thinks and bolder than it even may appear to us sensible people at first glance. Can he back it up?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    I m still waiting for the info on that front loaded gene research,J…i have to go to work in about 2 hours you know…
    I provided it in post #169…

  • http://www.sufficientscruples.com Kevin T. Keith

    Ever heard of gene repair? The replacement of an omitted gene in bacteria does not demonstrate new information in the DNA code being created ex nihilo, it demonstrates that we still don’t understand enough about genetics to explain how gene repair is done.
    This is gibberish.
    There are repair mechanisms in DNA (mostly methylation enzymes) that replace damaged bases (not “genes”); they keep the mutation rate lower than it otherwise would be. (And we certainly know how they work.) But the mutation/back-mutation scenario has nothing to do with DNA repair.
    Not all mutations get repaired. In bacteria, a non-repaired mutation is replicated in each generation of daughter cells as part of their genome, generation after generation (as long as they’re in an environment where that mutation is not lethal). At the same time, individual bacteria accumulate other mutations, randomly, as the result of mutagen activity, ionizing radiation, or just random replication errors. Those mutations get passed down to the daughter cells of each cell that has them. Very occasionally, by random chance, one of these mutations affects the site of the original mutation previously mentioned, and possibly mutates it back to what it was, many generations before. In each case, we are talking about the subset of replication errors that are not excluded by DNA repair mechanisms. They go on to survive for generations of bacterial replication, and the mutated gene is itself subject to possible mutation, possibly even back into its original form. Each step in this process is unlikely, and their cumulative (multiplicative) probabilities even smaller, but with billions of bacterial cells in even one culture flask, there’s plenty of opportunity, and the results are fairly predictable.
    And note: the point to this is not that point mutations somehow violate “complex specified information” or whatever other slogan they’re using this week. The point – as my comment makes explicitly clear – is that “back-mutations”, which are commonplace in genetics, are not possible under the ID hypothesis that mutations degrade the informational content of the genome. Since the mutation/back-mutation scenario – again, an extremely common one – involves mutatons away from and back to a given genomic sequence, ending with exactly the same informational content it started with, they can’t both be degrading that content. The second one must be restoring it, it if was degraded at all. So the ID hypothesis about acquiring informational content is false.

  • The Raven

    Nice response on the bats, boonton. An exemplar of brevity and clarity. Whoever has hired you in the world to work for pay has retained the services of a sharp and insightful mind.
    It’s worth noting that all the hoo-hah about how “amazing” the bat’s particular faculties are apply equally to the echolocution sense of dolphins and whales. It applies equally as well to the magnetic detection arrays found in most sharks and particularly in hammerheads.
    The unique flight abilities of the hummingbird mimic those of most insects, stemming from a figure-8 cycle as opposed to a flapping effect, and it’s quite unlikely that such a thing could have happened “naturally,” is the sense I get from this direction of argument. My response is to assess the mental abilities of anyone making such arguments as being exceedingly low. Because in order to feign incredulity at the ingeniousness of nature, one must be non-transcendental (in the literary sense), having no appreciation or awareness of the science of ecology and the mechanisms by which flora and fauna adapt to specific niches.
    In many respects, the claims of IDists – those who would posit a calculus that purports to quantify the “likelihood” of any particular thing happening – are laughably absurd, yet they gain traction thanks to the inability of the ignorati to imagine anything beyond the scope of the rigid boundaries in which their weltanshauungen exist. The knowledge of evolution and that of the origins of life is never, not in a million years ever going to be explained to a deist’s satisfaction.
    Even if it could be captured and photographed and detailed in a scientific paper, the typical religious yahoo wouldn’t believe it or accept it or understand it. It would contradict their dogma and hence, by definition, it would be wrong, regardless of its intellectual rigor or scientific unimpeachableness. To the believer, even proof would not suffice. So ultimately, our argument here is futile – since even the epitome of evidence would be cast aside as so much dross. Imagine we had a physical specimen of homo sapiens at the precise point of hominid development at which we departed from the primates.
    Now imagine what Eric&Lisa would make of it.
    Sad, huh?
    At this point, I’d like to reprise ID science and make sure we all agree as to the rigorous and elegant mechanism of ID and how it applies to naturalistic research. If I’m missing anything important, I would hope that an ID proponent would step forward and correct or elucidate. Therewith…
    1. Should you find a watch in a forest, you will assume you are in possession of a man-made artifact because a watch does not bear the markings of natural phenomena. It is not something that could “evolve.”
    2. A mousetrap is an example of a device that is not incrementalized. That is, each part of a mouse trap performs a specific purpose, but there could be no such thing as a partial mouse trap. You either have the whole shebang or you don’t. A mouse trap could not evolve. You might have a venus flytrap that evolves to prey upon rodentia, but it would be a bigger, faster, meaner flytrap – it would not have the parts of a mechanical mouse trap.
    3. The ID-armed scientist has some kind of rulebook that allows him or her to examine a particular object and decide, upon the criteria established in the rulebook, to declare a particular object “irreducibly complex,” viz our mouse trap or watch above.
    4. Unfortunately, Behe was unable in Dover to set forth such a rule book or such criteria. He was made to seem an absolute fool because there are no established or explainable ID processes. The “science” of ID is as yet a philosophical construct, such that in theory, a system of ID could be described, but it has not yet been described and it is not known if it could be described.
    And that’s where we are with that.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    1. It begins with a random phrase, something like adfjeskla.
    Your organism dies. Start over.
    2. 5 ‘child phrases’ are spawned from it. The child phrases are spawned by a random function. On average each letter will spawn its own letter, so the ‘f’ will spawn an ‘f’ but there will be a chance that a g or e will be spawned…a lesser chance that a d or h and so on. If you’re statistically minded the child phase will be a random function whose mean is the parent letter with a standard deviation of one letter away.
    Each ‘child phase’ must make sense; the genome can’t get off the ground without basic functionality in place; and you must somehow prevent the useful functionality from being modified by the same forces that continue to create useful phrases

    3. In round two the 5 child phrases are ranked by some objective measure. Let’s say by those that trigger the fewest spelling and grammer errors in MS-Word. The best phrase shall produce 4 ‘children’, the next two 3 children and the next to last 1 child and the last none. (You can, of course, vary this as you please).

    ‘Some objective measure'; who sets the measure? Isn’t Word a programmed system? Who programmed it?
    4. Let this run through as many iterations as you please.
    First problem; if you want it to be anything like a real organism, if you don’t get working program from the very beginning; the computer crashes. Start over. Then crash the computer and start over every time you try to add a major section of code that doesn’t work, the first time.
    Now this little program will produce an intelligable English sentence long before what would be produced ‘by chance’ (meaning just selecting a bunch of letters at random). In fact, it could produce anything in English including books, great or poor literature and so on.
    Yes, assuming that an intelligence pre-programs in an ‘end goal’, that is, it knows what is ‘intelligible’. And to correspond it to the functionality of a fully integrated, irreducibly complex system, you don’t get to add ‘letters’, you have to add chapters; and if that chapter has any problems, you have to throw out the whole book and start over.
    It will do this unintelligently. Why? Well let’s just suppose the first gramatically correct phrase produced by this program is “jhudson is a child abuser”. Could jhudson sue for libel? Probably not since the program’s author had no control over what the first phrase would produce.
    Hmmmm…it sort of creeps me out that the first phrase you thought of was that one.
    Nonetheless, you are ignoring that the computer is built by intelligence, that the language and the syntax and the programing to ‘create’ a program that will iterate through possibilities and then select certain options based on the instructions you give it. So we have magnitudes of intelligence bfore we can even pretend that the result if a random generation of various phrases.
    Then one must consider that the person imagining all this obviously knows nothing about computers or the genome, and you realize they are attempting to distract from the fact that they still have no answer for the development of the morphology of a bat.
    Are there ‘morphological’ limits to what could be produced? Well yes, it couldn’t produce anything in Russian or Arabic, for example. Why? Because those languages use a different alphabet that the parameters of this program cannot make. But there is no work in English that this program could not conceivably produce. As long as it only needs the English alphabet (expanded of course to account for punctutation, caps and other necessities).
    When speaking of what is morphologically possible, the only natural limit that seems to exist is what can be written out of ‘life’s alphabet’. And the alphabet of life is DNA and while the shrew and bat may have lots of differences they are both written with the same alphabet just as Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is made from the same alphabet as Clinton’s 1988 speach to the DNC.
    Well, no, again, you are ignoring a couple of facts; there is no evidence of ‘iterations’

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    It’s worth noting that all the hoo-hah about how “amazing” the bat’s particular faculties are apply equally to the echolocution sense of dolphins and whales. It applies equally as well to the magnetic detection arrays found in most sharks and particularly in hammerheads.
    The unique flight abilities of the hummingbird mimic those of most insects, stemming from a figure-8 cycle as opposed to a flapping effect, and it’s quite unlikely that such a thing could have happened “naturally,” is the sense I get from this direction of argument. My response is to assess the mental abilities of anyone making such arguments as being exceedingly low. Because in order to feign incredulity at the ingeniousness of nature, one must be non-transcendental (in the literary sense), having no appreciation or awareness of the science of ecology and the mechanisms by which flora and fauna adapt to specific niches.
    Well, I don’t have to get much farther than this to notice a huge logical error (two actually); your primary argument against the irreducible complexity of the system in a bat seems to be “Look, there are these other irreducibly complex systems for which there is no explanation of their origin – this is no big deal, there are lots of examples!”
    And then you go on to describe the “ingeniousness of nature”; no evolutionary scientist considers nature ‘ingenious'; it is dumb – it just happens to have gotten lucky (from the naturalistic perspective)
    And that’s where we are with that.
    Of course with the exception of the present case, the insectivorous echolocating bat. One still notices that for all the bloviating going on around here, no one even pretends there is an evolutionary explanation for it’s irreducibly complex morphological systems.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    As expected we are treated to the Gee Whiz speech. This can be summarized as simply noting that bats have a complicated audio processing abilities.
    Evolutionary explantion?
    Indeed, if we can call this anything let’s call it ‘weak IC’. Meaning some system where the parts by themselves have no obvious use. This is as old as Darwin himself who addressed it with the question of ‘what good is half an eye?’
    Which part of this system described can work by itself? What is the step-wise description? Aren’t you even going to pretend to know?
    ‘Strong IC’ would be a statement with actual proof that some system could not have arisen from a series of steps where each step represented either an improvement or was not harmful in itself.
    How do you prove a negative? I suppose a bunch of dead half formed proto-bats might be in order – but there is no explanation for how any part would be useful by itself, or how the system could function absent any of the other parts; that IC is strong enough appaerently to keep you from suggesting a single function for one of the elements by itself.
    My turn! You didn’t even go. Is your whole argument based on your statement that none of those structures are useful by themselves? Seriously? That’s your proof that this system could not have arisen from a long line of mutations each one of which was either beneficial or at least not overtly harmful?
    Yes; can you give an example of how any of those elements unique to an insectivorous echolocating bat is useful by itself? Many of them would be very harmful absent the others, particularly from the energy consumption aspect, not to mention that movement would be severely impeded. You have no idea do you

  • Eric & Lisa

    In many respects, the claims of Darwinists – those who would posit a calculus that purports to quantify the “likelihood” of any particular thing happening – are laughably absurd, yet they gain traction thanks to the inability of the ignorati to imagine anything beyond the scope of the rigid boundaries in which their weltanshauungen exist. The knowledge of creation and that of the origins of life is never, not in a million years ever going to be explained to a Darwinists satisfaction.
    Even if He could be captured and photographed and detailed in a scientific paper, the typical darwinist yahoo wouldn’t believe Him or accept Him or understand Him. He would contradict their dogma and hence, by definition, He would be wrong, regardless of His intellectual rigor or scientific unimpeachableness. To the believer, even proof would not suffice. So ultimately, our argument here is futile – since even the epitome of evidence would be cast aside as so much dross. Imagine we had a video tape of the beginning at the precise point of creation when the Lord God said, “And let there be light…”
    Now imagine what the Raven would make of it.
    Sad, huh?

  • Eric & Lisa

    jhudson wrote;
    Then one must consider that the person imagining all this obviously knows nothing about computers or the genome, and you realize they are attempting to distract from the fact that they still have no answer for the development of the morphology of a bat.
    This is the funniest thing ive read on Evangelical Outpost. I’m glad I wasn’t drinking milk when I read that.

  • The Raven

    Not so fast, E&L –
    Haven’t I said repeatedly that I would entertain belief in a deity were I presented with virtually any evidence whatsoever? I sure have. Really, it wouldn’t take much – a miracle, transubstantiation, a voice in my head, I’d pay attention to anything like that. Do the loaves-to-fishes bit in front of me and, well, my skepticism would be massively reduced.
    What I’m noting above is that the burden Joe places on evolutionary theory is far greater. Far greater. See, I’m saying that I’m open to religious ideas as long as there is some credible evidence to support them. I’ve got an open mind, I’m willing to consider any and all ideas out there.
    But to the Joe Carter School of Advanced Biological Studies, any claim of natural selection and any proposal for the origin of species is not acceptable unless 100% complete, with a rock-solid demonstrable chain of evidence that leads directly to an identified first cell, first life form, first protozoa extant millions of years in the past. Failing that, nope, evolution is purely impossible and a non-credible theory.
    Put in those terms, it would be like my saying that I wouldn’t consider a Christian knowledge claim unless you had Jesus’ DNA and the exact GPS coordinates of Jehovah, Heaven, Hell, and photographs of Michael, Ezekial, Arial and the rest of the angels. So let’s be real clear on the asymmetry of the arguments here, ‘kay?

  • http:/// jhudson

    So you have a billion some-odd complex coded, self-replicating, information driven nano-machine factories in every millimeter of your body, and there is ‘no evidence’?
    I don’t think a shaft of light from heaven is going to help here.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Your organism dies. Start over.
    The simulation does not address abiogensis. Absent any competiting phrases the original nonsense phrase is functional enough to spawn child phrases.
    Each ‘child phase’ must make sense; the genome can’t get off the ground without basic functionality in place; and you must somehow prevent the useful functionality from being modified by the same forces that continue to create useful phrases
    Again the ‘child phrase’ need not make sense. The degree it makes sense is only an advantage it has in reproducing over other phrases. If you want a loose analogy to life, it’s a lot easier to get food and reproduce if your a single celled organism if there are no multi-celled ones around yet. Or a guppie is a whale if the ocean only has algae in it.
    ‘Some objective measure'; who sets the measure? Isn’t Word a programmed system? Who programmed it?
    Indeed, so what?
    Yes, assuming that an intelligence pre-programs in an ‘end goal’, that is, it knows what is ‘intelligible’. And to correspond it to the functionality of a fully integrated, irreducibly complex system, you don’t get to add ‘letters’, you have to add chapters; and if that chapter has any problems, you have to throw out the whole book and start over.
    Here there is no ‘end goal’. A phrase will simply spawn more if it has fewer errors than its fellow phrases. AS for what that phrase will be no one can predict. To keep this program managable you may want to limit it to a sentence but there is no reason it would have to throw out imperfect passages.
    Hmmmm…it sort of creeps me out that the first phrase you thought of was that one.
    Yea well the first time I used the example the phrase I thought of was “Gordon wears pink underwear”. I thought it was a cute example to break up the seriousness of the discussion but the guy threatened me with slander nonetheless.
    Nonetheless, you are ignoring that the computer is built by intelligence, that the language and the syntax and the programing to ‘create’ a program that will iterate through possibilities and then select certain options based on the instructions you give it. So we have magnitudes of intelligence bfore we can even pretend that the result if a random generation of various phrases.
    Indeed in real life nature does not select based on which changes better match a human beign or ‘intelligence’. Nature simply selects based on which organisms do a better job of capturing and using energy (aka food). In that regard humans are a bit like the prototype of a new electric car. The reigning champs are single celled bacteria and similiar types of life that seem to be able to get everywhere and live without a problem.
    However this is a minor difference. The point of the illustration was not to simulate nature but to show
    1. How what appear to be radically different morphologies may, in fact, be less different when you realize they were built with the same ‘alphabet’.
    2. A system of random mutation with selection can indeed build complicated, meaningful structures.
    Then one must consider that the person imagining all this obviously knows nothing about computers or the genome, and you realize they are attempting to distract from the fact that they still have no answer for the development of the morphology of a bat.
    I’m still waiting for you to take your turn. But I’ll ask again why do I have to produce an answer about the bat for you? You’re the one with the claim that no path of mutation with selection could have produced the bat. When are you going to prove it?
    Not only is it not a simulation of life, it isn’t even a reasonable description of a program that might simulate the development of life. This example requires so much up front intelligence that describing it as an example of ‘unintelligent process’, is, well, unintelligent.
    You admitted that we intelligent creatures could build simulations of unintelligent processes. Obviously any simulation will require using intelligence. So tell me what would a simulation of an unintelligent process look like?
    How do you prove a negative? I suppose a bunch of dead half formed proto-bats might be in order – but there is no explanation for how any part would be useful by itself, or how the system could function absent any of the other parts; that IC is strong enough appaerently to keep you from suggesting a single function for one of the elements by itself.
    By no explanation do you mean that there is no literature in the vast amount of text written about evolution that could explain the evolution of bats and their supposedly IC system? Or do you mean not only is there a lack of an explanation but there is no explanation even possible that would be consistent with TOE?
    If you showed me a pebble orbiting Saturn I probably would not have any explanation for it that would be consistent with gravity and the laws of motion (in other words, how did it get there) but that’s not the same as saying there is no possible explanation consistent with gravity and the laws of motion…there are quite a few in fact. Likewise if Superman was real there is NO explanation consistent with gravity to explain how he could fly. NONE.
    IF you’re saying the former then your point isn’t all that interesting. If it so happened that someone did happen to have a 900 page monograph explaining the evolution of bats it wouldn’t matter. You would just pick out some other animal until you found one that hasn’t been explained yet. If you’re saying the latter, though, then you have to SHOW how you could possibly know no explanation was possible. Instead you just assume it out of thin air.

  • http:/// jhudson

    The simulation does not address abiogensis. Absent any competiting phrases the original nonsense phrase is functional enough to spawn child phrases
    Oh, yeah, we are pretending that part happened by magic. Okay, significant changes to the morphology of the bat without corresponding survival benefits kill the bat, start over.
    Again the ‘child phrase’ need not make sense. The degree it makes sense is only an advantage it has in reproducing over other phrases. If you want a loose analogy to life, it’s a lot easier to get food and reproduce if your a single celled organism if there are no multi-celled ones around yet. Or a guppie is a whale if the ocean only has algae in it.
    Very lose; presumably the ‘child phrase’ represents the genetic modifications in the offspring; either they have to convey a benefit or be neutral. If they are neutral, they are selected against, and they just hang out in the genome unchanged – so presumably a lot of gibberish would be there until it became detrimental to the organisms survival.
    To convey a benefit, they have to something to enhance survival; which brings us back to incremental positive changes which represent a portion of the morphological systems of the bat; something you haven’t actually addressed yet.
    Indeed, so what?
    Word represents another level of coded complexity that you have just introduced into the system; more magic?
    Here there is no ‘end goal’. A phrase will simply spawn more if it has fewer errors than its fellow phrases. AS for what that phrase will be no one can predict. To keep this program managable you may want to limit it to a sentence but there is no reason it would have to throw out imperfect passages.
    A phrase only has ‘errors’ if it is checked against proper syntax and some other preformed idea of what we want the text to be; nature doesn’t have this built in.
    Yea well the first time I used the example the phrase I thought of was “Gordon wears pink underwear”. I thought it was a cute example to break up the seriousness of the discussion but the guy threatened me with slander nonetheless.
    Still creepy.
    Indeed in real life nature does not select based on which changes better match a human beign or ‘intelligence’. Nature simply selects based on which organisms do a better job of capturing and using energy (aka food). In that regard humans are a bit like the prototype of a new electric car. The reigning champs are single celled bacteria and similiar types of life that seem to be able to get everywhere and live without a problem.
    However this is a minor difference. The point of the illustration was not to simulate nature but to show
    1. How what appear to be radically different morphologies may, in fact, be less different when you realize they were built with the same ‘alphabet’.
    2. A system of random mutation with selection can indeed build complicated, meaningful structures.
    Again, the problem really isn’t the fact that you could ‘eventually’ mutate the genome into anything you might want; the problem is that the mutations required have to produce complex interdependent systems that are simultaneously beneficial to the organisms survival without destroying other pre-existing information (which presumably wouldn’t be protected from the same mutagenic forces) or producing incomplete systems which represent a survival detriment to the organism. In other words, you don’t get to produce half a sentence, you have to produce a cohesive chapter to the book, which fits in with the outline of the rest of the book that already exist; and you don’t get to do it in a step-wise fashion, or you destroy everything up to that point.
    I’m still waiting for you to take your turn. But I’ll ask again why do I have to produce an answer about the bat for you? You’re the one with the claim that no path of mutation with selection could have produced the bat. When are you going to prove it?
    I demonstrated it was irreducibly complex (which you agreed with) meaning the genetics had to be fully inplace to produce a fully working system – an impossibility through random stepwise modification. There is no fossil evidence of stepwise development. There is no genetic evidence of stepwise development. By all measures I have demonstrated it didn’t evolve through mutation and natural selection; I personally don’t care if you respond with something because everything points to our knowledge being complete on this, but your silence on the matter just confirms it further.
    You admitted that we intelligent creatures could build simulations of unintelligent processes. Obviously any simulation will require using intelligence. So tell me what would a simulation of an unintelligent process look like?
    Well, again, we have to have parameters that accurately represent what is happening in life; it would have to generate chunks of cohesive code that run processes within the virtual world. Of course, I don’t think unintelligent processes can do this, so I expect that it won’t work'; indeed to date, it has never has without ‘fudging’ it as you did.
    By no explanation do you mean that there is no literature in the vast amount of text written about evolution that could explain the evolution of bats and their supposedly IC system? Or do you mean not only is there a lack of an explanation but there is no explanation even possible that would be consistent with TOE?
    Both. There are gaping holes in our ability to explain the development of many complex, interdependent systems both in the literature and in evolutions explanatory power; and the more we understand the depth of that interdependence, and the rapidity with which it appeared in the genome, the worse it gets.
    If you showed me a pebble orbiting Saturn I probably would not have any explanation for it that would be consistent with gravity and the laws of motion (in other words, how did it get there) but that’s not the same as saying there is no possible explanation consistent with gravity and the laws of motion…there are quite a few in fact. Likewise if Superman was real there is NO explanation consistent with gravity to explain how he could fly. NONE.
    Exactly; there are chance and necessity causes that would explain an orbiting pebble; there are none for an orbiting computer – it requires the addition of another cause – intelligence.
    IF you’re saying the former then your point isn’t all that interesting. If it so happened that someone did happen to have a 900 page monograph explaining the evolution of bats it wouldn’t matter. You would just pick out some other animal until you found one that hasn’t been explained yet. If you’re saying the latter, though, then you have to SHOW how you could possibly know no explanation was possible. Instead you just assume it out of thin air.
    Can you show it is ‘impossible’ for a computer to arise through natural causes? What about massive changes to the code on the computer that function to enable various processes?
    I don’t know that such certain knowledge can be gained scientifically. In demonstrating that germs don’t arise spontaneously, Pastuer didn’t prove it was ‘impossible’ that there was no circumstance where that might be the case; yet most responsible people wash their hands and cook their food.
    I have shown the system is irreducibly complex; to believe that such a system could arise through a series of incremental steps despite all evidence to the contrary is an act of faith, and I can’t disprove an irrational faith.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Indeed in real life nature does not select based on which changes better match a human beign or ‘intelligence’. Nature simply selects based on which organisms do a better job of capturing and using energy (aka food). In that regard humans are a bit like the prototype of a new electric car. The reigning champs are single celled bacteria and similiar types of life that seem to be able to get everywhere and live without a problem.
    Actually, I missed this and want to point out it’s importance. As you rightly say, bacteria are the ‘reigning champs’ of survival and reproduction. Indeed, they exist in every habitable environment on the planet, in infinitesimal numbers. And they are extremely malable organisms, even sans sexual reproduction; so what would be the selective pressure on these organism to produce other organisms that we know to be less successful at reproduction and survival? Not only less successful, but increasingly less succesful with every future modification?

  • The Raven

    Maybe I’m missing something, hudson, but it doesn’t look like you’ve proved “irreducable complexity” here. What you have, however, is a case of great complexity. Here’s an extract from a peer-reviewed article for Vertebrate Morphology that deals with bat evolution, by Van Cakenberghe, et al.:
    The results from this and previous studies (e.g. Perez-Barberia and Gordon, 1999) indicate that quantitative studies of head shape and diet in an explicit phylogenetic context are capable of
    detecting evolutionary trends, and are important in the general understanding of the evolution of
    dietary specialisation. Moreover our data indicate the importance of including a broad sample of radiations to detect general evolutionary trends. Future studies investigating bite performance and the biomechanics and function of the feeding system will be essential to reconstruct evolutionary pathways for dietary specialization in bats.

    Read the rest here:
    http://webhost.ua.ac.be/funmorph/anthony/pdfs/Van_Cakenberghe_et_al_2002_Topics.pdf
    This, and related material indicates that at some point in the rather recent past there was an explosion of bat diversity, as this successful critter moved into a variety of ecological niches. Bats evolved in very different ways to exploit food sources from beetles to mammals to fruits. And the paper above shows the synergystic relationship between bat morphology and diet.
    As you read this paper, note how the researchers state repeatedly where the gaps in our understanding lie and what questions are currently pressing. We aren’t in a position to chart bat evolution in terms that can fit neatly into a paragraph in a 6th-grader’s textbook, but it appears that we’re learning about the mechanism that results in changes in skull and jaw shape. Science works this way, in small, un-sexy steps involving painstaking research that often lead, at some point, to startling breakthroughs.
    This point cannot be overstated: We know very little about evolution, period. The structure of the theory is so far showing promise because it leads to demonstrable, verifiable knowledge. So while Behe and others run around yammering about mouse traps, real scientists are inexorably making progress toward our understanding of biological development. From a mere glance at the data published, you can see how we are patiently tracing the routes of bat evolution – figuring out the relationships between the hundreds of different bat species and understanding the mechanisms that have caused them to evolve as they have. Yes, these are very complex little animals, but the academy hasn’t thrown up its collective hands and declared, “We’re stumped! These damn things must have been Intelligently Designed.” Far from it. We’re figuring out precisely how they did, in fact, evolve and that’s quite amazing.

  • american idiot

    “Nature simply selects..”
    Anyone find that interesting? How did nature get so smart? Who told the old woman to do that?

  • http:/// jhudson

    This, and related material indicates that at some point in the rather recent past there was an explosion of bat diversity, as this successful critter moved into a variety of ecological niches. Bats evolved in very different ways to exploit food sources from beetles to mammals to fruits. And the paper above shows the synergystic relationship between bat morphology and diet.
    But it says nothing about the development of interdependent systems. Basically it says “bats have these different systems because they eat different things”.
    As you read this paper, note how the researchers state repeatedly where the gaps in our understanding lie and what questions are currently pressing. We aren’t in a position to chart bat evolution in terms that can fit neatly into a paragraph in a 6th-grader’s textbook, but it appears that we’re learning about the mechanism that results in changes in skull and jaw shape. Science works this way, in small, un-sexy steps involving painstaking research that often lead, at some point, to startling breakthroughs.
    Sure it does; but let’s not pretend the paper adds anything to a step-wise development of these morphological systems. Science may not be ‘sexy’ but scientific explanations should explain the phenomena they purport are the result of mechanisms prposed in the theory. If it can’t, criticism is valid, and proposing alternatives part of the process.
    This point cannot be overstated: We know very little about evolution, period. The structure of the theory is so far showing promise because it leads to demonstrable, verifiable knowledge. So while Behe and others run around yammering about mouse traps, real scientists are inexorably making progress toward our understanding of biological development. From a mere glance at the data published, you can see how we are patiently tracing the routes of bat evolution – figuring out the relationships between the hundreds of different bat species and understanding the mechanisms that have caused them to evolve as they have. Yes, these are very complex little animals, but the academy hasn’t thrown up its collective hands and declared, “We’re stumped! These damn things must have been Intelligently Designed.” Far from it. We’re figuring out precisely how they did, in fact, evolve and that’s quite amazing.
    I agree it is amazing; but evolutionary theory is 150 some odd years old, and the structures in question have been studied since Darwin’s day – and the more we know, the less they fit evolutionary theory. There is literally not a single shred of evidence to indacte that these structures can be developed stepwise, and the genetics of bats, our most recent piece of the puzle further confimrs this. That is definitively irreducibly complex.

  • The Raven

    More on bat evolution here:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4213495.stm
    And if this is correct, then the ID dude shows up during the Eocene era. Science marches on.

  • http:/// jhudson

    And if this is correct, then the ID dude shows up during the Eocene era. Science marches on.
    Yes; during the mammalian ‘explosion’. Funny how they always call it that.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Oh, yeah, we are pretending that part happened by magic. Okay, significant changes to the morphology of the bat without corresponding survival benefits kill the bat, start over.
    Errr no not by magic, the rules I laid out were quite clear which phrases reproduce and which don’t. In and of itself a nonsense phrase has no problem reproducing in this simulation, it is only a problem when it is in competition with other phrases that are less nonsenical.
    Now as in the what is believed about bats phrases do not go from nonsene to literature in a single step. The changes are modest and mostly will simply be duplicating the original phrase (recall the rule is on average an letter will reproduce itself). Once this gets going and there’s lots of competiting phrases it’s quite possible that a child will be so defective it will not survive. That’s similiar to life where birth defects often kill or greatly hinder an organism.
    To convey a benefit, they have to something to enhance survival; which brings us back to incremental positive changes which represent a portion of the morphological systems of the bat; something you haven’t actually addressed yet.
    Indeed but when we are talking about billions or trillions of generations the possible paths of different types of incremental changes is huge. To say that none of those paths contain all positive (or at least non-harmful) steps is a bold statement. It’s a bit like saying no game of chess could end with two queens, 2 rooks and a prime number of pawns. Considering that there are trillions + possible games of chess to prove that none could have that configuration requires more than just an assertion. And backing the statement up with “well you show me a valid game that ended that way” doesn’t do either.
    Word represents another level of coded complexity that you have just introduced into the system; more magic?
    Actually it just represents the environment that this takes place in. As I pointed out in real life the environment is one where survival and reproduction depends on the efficient capture and use of energy (aka food). This is an artificial environment because our goal here with the simulation is to study a simplified system.
    Again, the problem really isn’t the fact that you could ‘eventually’ mutate the genome into anything you might want; the problem is that the mutations required have to produce complex interdependent systems that are simultaneously beneficial to the organisms survival without destroying other pre-existing information (which presumably wouldn’t be protected from the same mutagenic forces) or producing incomplete systems which represent a survival detriment to the organism. In other words, you don’t get to produce half a sentence, you have to produce a cohesive chapter to the book, which fits in with the outline of the rest of the book that already exist; and you don’t get to do it in a step-wise fashion, or you destroy everything up to that point.
    On the contrary, a phrase that is only half sensical is perfectly fine here as long as it can handle the competition. Likewise how about a frog with poisenous skin that deters predators? Isn’t that better than a frog without that defense? Yet the frog without the defense can survive provided the competitors are not fierce that it is forced into extinction.
    I demonstrated it was irreducibly complex (which you agreed with) meaning the genetics had to be fully inplace to produce a fully working system – an impossibility through random stepwise modification
    Weakly IC, weakly IC. Meaning the parts as they exist today depend on each other for the whole thing to work. That doesn’t mean those same parts might not have been used in OTHER systems in OTHER ways before they were drafted into the current system.
    Can you show it is ‘impossible’ for a computer to arise through natural causes? What about massive changes to the code on the computer that function to enable various processes?
    Indeed I’m not sure I could prove that either. However as I pointed out with the OJ analogy ‘proof by elimination’ is a very tough thing to pull off which is why people rarely use it.
    Actually, I missed this and want to point out it’s importance. As you rightly say, bacteria are the ‘reigning champs’ of survival and reproduction. Indeed, they exist in every habitable environment on the planet, in infinitesimal numbers. And they are extremely malable organisms, even sans sexual reproduction; so what would be the selective pressure on these organism to produce other organisms that we know to be less successful at reproduction and survival? Not only less successful, but increasingly less succesful with every future modification?
    Well a weakness of my simulation is that it doesn’t account for niches very well. A more realistic simulation would let phrases move about and find places where other rules are applied (say places where the French or Spanish version of Word is used to determine reproductive success). With life energy does not hit the environment in a uniform manner. In some places it comes in as sunlight, others as warmth or currents or whatnot. Life itself alters the way energy is distributed. The success of billions of little tiny life forms means that now suddenly there are all these little stores of energy that a bigger life form can feed on. Now that bigger life forms are around now there’s an opportunity for tiny forms that specialize in infecting big forms and so on.
    We talked about how tree’s capture information in their rings we can say that life itself is capturing information about the distribution of energy on earth and the complexity of life mirrors the complexity of the differences in energy different parts of the earth receives. Something to think about next time you move a piece of lawn furniture in your back yard and notice a spot of wilted, dead grass underneath in contrast to the green of the rest of your lawn.
    Finally, on the pebble around Saturn:
    Exactly; there are chance and necessity causes that would explain an orbiting pebble; there are none for an orbiting computer – it requires the addition of another cause – intelligence.
    On the contrary, intelligence could also explain the orbiting pebble. Perhaps it fell off one of our probes, perhaps it came off a UFO that was visiting the area. It might even have been placed there on purpose by some intelligence for some reason that we can only guess at. I could get even more speculative and imagine it came to the scene in a manner that defies the known laws of physics, such as simply popping into existence from nothing as well as explanations that comply with the laws of physics but are so unlikey as to be all but impossible (such as it quantum tunnelling from a nearby moon).
    If I assembled all these possible explanations I’d have ones that would be consistent with the laws of motion, those that made use of intelligence, those that violated the laws of nature and those that didn’t violate but are highly improbable. If it was a computer found orbiting instead I’d have many fewer explanations that were consistent with the known laws of motion but even then I’d have a hard time of using the ‘proof by elimination’ method to narrow myself down to intelligence.
    Here you are saying you have somehow assembled the trillions of possible paths between what we believe to have been the shrewlike bat ancestor and have determined that none of them could have produced the modern bat using a series of positive changes (or a mix of positive and neutral changes). Remember each path isn’t 100 pages long, isn’t 900 pages long but each path is millions of generations of millions of proto-shrew-bats. The fact remains you cannot establish that no possible path exists from this ocean of possibilities. This is the problem with using IC as a ‘tool’ for reasoning about intelligent design.

  • Bill Smith

    I’m really sorry to have to intrude on this conversation, but do any of you people posting (and pretending to possess some knowledge the the scientific community doesn’t have) realize that DARWIN DID NOT ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN THE ORIGIN OF LIFE, BUT ONLY THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE!!!! HIS BOOK, HIS WRITING WAS ABOUT THE ‘ORIGIN OF SPECIES’ NOT THE ORIGIN OF ‘LIFE.’
    Darwin’s work started in the middle of history and presupposes the existence of many types of life. From these many types, many others emerged du eot evolution, natural selection, etc. Although there is good evidence to suggest that all life can be traceable back to a single life form, Darwin doesn’t really address that claim.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Errr no not by magic, the rules I laid out were quite clear which phrases reproduce and which don’t. In and of itself a nonsense phrase has no problem reproducing in this simulation, it is only a problem when it is in competition with other phrases that are less nonsenical.
    But, that is nothing like how the genome works; an organism is not only in competition with other organisms, but with the environment itself; it’s dead.
    Now as in the what is believed about bats phrases do not go from nonsene to literature in a single step. The changes are modest and mostly will simply be duplicating the original phrase (recall the rule is on average an letter will reproduce itself). Once this gets going and there’s lots of competiting phrases it’s quite possible that a child will be so defective it will not survive. That’s similiar to life where birth defects often kill or greatly hinder an organism.
    Let’s be clear; you have an existing genome (a book) you are adding to that book. In the case of irreducibly complex structures, you are adding whole chapters simultaneously. Those chapters have to make sense in the context of the book.
    Indeed but when we are talking about billions or trillions of generations the possible paths of different types of incremental changes is huge. To say that none of those paths contain all positive (or at least non-harmful) steps is a bold statement. It’s a bit like saying no game of chess could end with two queens, 2 rooks and a prime number of pawns. Considering that there are trillions + possible games of chess to prove that none could have that configuration requires more than just an assertion. And backing the statement up with “well you show me a valid game that ended that way” doesn’t do either.
    There aren’t ‘trillions of possible paths’. There is one possible path per offspring for each generation of shrews. Indeed, because mammals ‘exploded’ rather rapidly and recently some 50 million years ago, there are a much more limited number of generations and pathways. and only one shrew out of each generation gets to be the actual ancestor of the future bat – the mutations occur in individuals, so that mutation would have to have some impetus to accumulate in each future population (which would take a number of years, particularly with neutral mutations), so that that one shrew could add it’s additional mutation.
    It would just have to happen that those very specific one time mutations accumulated in the one population of shrews that produced that one final organism that just happened to express the precise accumulated genetic information that had previously lain dormant in just the right way to produce the required structures to convey a survival benefit.
    And having done that, the organism doesn’t change significantly for another 50 million years. So you can’t rely on big numbers here.
    Actually it just represents the environment that this takes place in. As I pointed out in real life the environment is one where survival and reproduction depends on the efficient capture and use of energy (aka food). This is an artificial environment because our goal here with the simulation is to study a simplified system.
    Yes, but the environment you are proffering has an end goal; nature doesn’t have an end goal, other than survival. To say it another way, Word is purposeful in its selections; nature is not.
    On the contrary, a phrase that is only half sensical is perfectly fine here as long as it can handle the competition. Likewise how about a frog with poisenous skin that deters predators? Isn’t that better than a frog without that defense? Yet the frog without the defense can survive provided the competitors are not fierce that it is forced into extinction.
    Actually, toxicity in frogs is largely determined by diet, not genetics. I raised a number of Dendrobates myself; they are much less toxic in captivity than in nature. That means the frogs got lucky, not that an irreducibly complex system is in the making. A ‘proto-bat’ with de-calcified fingers is at an evolutionary disadvantage unless the corolarry modifications occur with it.
    Weakly IC, weakly IC. Meaning the parts as they exist today depend on each other for the whole thing to work. That doesn’t mean those same parts might not have been used in OTHER systems in OTHER ways before they were drafted into the current system.
    What others systems? What were the parts doing in the ‘proto bat’ before they happened to come together and become interdependent? Do you realize that we are talking neural tuning systems that are literally useless at any other frequencies other than those specifically necessary for finding food in flight? How could that be used ‘elsewhere’? How does IC become stronger than that? A viable evolutionary pathway requires step-wise development; there are simply no such steps for this system, and none are ever proffered.
    Indeed I’m not sure I could prove that either. However as I pointed out with the OJ analogy ‘proof by elimination’ is a very tough thing to pull off which is why people rarely use it.
    You could not prove it, because it is impossible. It was at least possible (indeed likely) that OJ was guilty; there is zero evidence to indicate that it would be possible to develop a computer by chance and necessity.
    Well a weakness of my simulation is that it doesn’t account for niches very well. A more realistic simulation would let phrases move about and find places where other rules are applied (say places where the French or Spanish version of Word is used to determine reproductive success). With life energy does not hit the environment in a uniform manner. In some places it comes in as sunlight, others as warmth or currents or whatnot. Life itself alters the way energy is distributed. The success of billions of little tiny life forms means that now suddenly there are all these little stores of energy that a bigger life form can feed on. Now that bigger life forms are around now there’s an opportunity for tiny forms that specialize in infecting big forms and so on.
    Again, bacteria are capable of filling every niche. They can feed on each other. Later life forms are less successful at filling any niche. This is contrary to evolutionary thinking; there was no impetus for the genome to become anything other than very successful bacteria.
    We talked about how tree’s capture information in their rings we can say that life itself is capturing information about the distribution of energy on earth and the complexity of life mirrors the complexity of the differences in energy different parts of the earth receives. Something to think about next time you move a piece of lawn furniture in your back yard and notice a spot of wilted, dead grass underneath in contrast to the green of the rest of your lawn.
    What are you, a fundraiser for PBS?
    On the contrary, intelligence could also explain the orbiting pebble. Perhaps it fell off one of our probes, perhaps it came off a UFO that was visiting the area. It might even have been placed there on purpose by some intelligence for some reason that we can only guess at. I could get even more speculative and imagine it came to the scene in a manner that defies the known laws of physics, such as simply popping into existence from nothing as well as explanations that comply with the laws of physics but are so unlikey as to be all but impossible (such as it quantum tunnelling from a nearby moon).
    Yes, intelligence could; but it’s not required. You don’t seem to get this.
    If I assembled all these possible explanations I’d have ones that would be consistent with the laws of motion, those that made use of intelligence, those that violated the laws of nature and those that didn’t violate but are highly improbable. If it was a computer found orbiting instead I’d have many fewer explanations that were consistent with the known laws of motion but even then I’d have a hard time of using the ‘proof by elimination’ method to narrow myself down to intelligence.
    Think about what you are saying. You are saying if a computer were found orbiting Saturn, you would have a hard time considering intelligence as a cause of that event. Literally, if you can’t see intelligence in such an event, then you wouldn’t be considered rational by any measure of the word. No scientist in the world, other than perhaps a very drunk one, would offer as a hypothesis to explain a computer orbiting Saturn, the natural causes of chance and necessity.
    Here you are saying you have somehow assembled the trillions of possible paths between what we believe to have been the shrewlike bat ancestor and have determined that none of them could have produced the modern bat using a series of positive changes (or a mix of positive and neutral changes). Remember each path isn’t 100 pages long, isn’t 900 pages long but each path is millions of generations of millions of proto-shrew-bats. The fact remains you cannot establish that no possible path exists from this ocean of possibilities. This is the problem with using IC as a ‘tool’ for reasoning about intelligent design.
    As I detailed above, there aren’t ‘trillions of possible paths’.

  • The Raven

    “As I detailed above, there aren’t ‘trillions of possible paths'”
    I’m inclined to nod to the assertion that there are, if not trillions, certainly an incalculable number of routes to the differentiation of a species. Since you’re hung up on bats, let’s use the Eocene Bat Explosion (nice name for a band, btw) for a moment. Now, we have to remember that what we’re calling a sudden burst is relative to our normal experience, as this period of time lasted from 55 to 34 million years ago – a 20-million-year period. During this span, our protobats were breeding and crossbreeding, and no doubt following the slow gestation common to their modern ancestors – one child per season. So in a given population of protobats, the females are storing the male sperm in their bodies for months while they forage for similar foods in a specific locale. The pressures on one bat will be likely shared by most and it’s certainly conceivable that mutative strains would impact a high number of any population.
    Take the article mentioned before. You’ve noted that echolocution is a complex trait, but let’s look back at the jaw. Seems like you could make the same case with this – given a hard-fruit-eating bat. You could say, “Hey, this bat has a long, thick jaw and powerful jaw muscles such that they are just right for cracking open nuts. This couldn’t have developed naturally, because the bats would have died before there was sufficient time to evolve the trait.”
    Yet, as our reading illustrated, those tens of millions of years have allowed this exact thing and scientists have discovered the mechanism and proven their results by applying them successfully in a predictive capacity borne out by observed data. There should be no doubt that each of the bat’s unique feature can be traced and explained in this manner. But, gee, you’re not going to be happy until every last feature of bat evolution is laid out to your satisfaction before you’ll retract the “irreducably complex” argument, hm?
    Anyway, I noted during my run through of the literature a curious website here:
    http://www.creationism.org/batman/bats.htm
    Turns out that creationists are getting some mileage out of bats and that this is a standard ID/Creationist buggabear. Perhaps what’s confusing here is this notion of “specified” information. That, however, stems from a mistake in perspective. Creatures evolve in response to pressure and in adaptation to exploit environmental niches. Nature abbhors a vaccuum, right? So an animal evolves to take advantage of the environment and those traits that succeed improve survival. The process is self-reinforcing and can work incredibly quickly – as with cockroach immune systems – so that at the end of the day a biological feature can appear to have been “designed” for a niche when, in actually, it merely selected for it. Huge difference.

  • purple haze

    Who designed the selection process??

  • http://commentary.faithandshadow.com/ Anthony

    Somebody said, “An imperfect design implies a imperfect intelligence.” That certainly sounds intelligent. But it isn’t. Actually, it’s irrational, and you don’t even need to bring in a Bible to show why it’s irrational. You don’t even need a belief in a god. You can be an atheist and see why such a statement is flawed.
    An imperfect design does not imply an imperfect intelligence. It would only imply that the design was imperfect … (not getting into what constitutes a perfect design) … the intelligence behind it could only be questioned if we knew the purposes of the intelligence doing the designing. Therefore, you might infer imperfect intelligence, but that’s because you don’t have the facts, scientific or otherwise, to actually know if the intelligence, for whatever reason, either chose to design somthing that appeared imperfect or did it by accident or it resulted from a foreseen or unforseen flaw that had grave effects for the design that is, apparently, imperfect.
    Since you brought up that ID doesn’t work with the Bible, I agree. ID does not have to deny evolution and long ages of time. It denies the accident part, but not the always the mechanism. Christianity utterly denies evolution by the act of the special Creation. ID and Creationism are indeed distant cousins, but both do well the toss evolutionary trash into the garbage can of science.
    In the future, we might hope you do your research to know that the Bible has an answer directly to your imperfect rationale that we live in an imperfect design. It says, “All of nature groans because of sin.” It was designed perfectly. It still runs great for the most part–for that you can be thankful. In fact, imperfect design, although an irrational assumption, fits perfectly in the biblical framework. Since you didn’t really approach this, we’ll assume that it wasn’t an imperfect intelligence that brought up such an imperfect argument, but rather an ignorant intelligence bringing up an ignorant argument.
    Apart from the Bible, apparently, a big accident of some kind started the universe anyway, so why get metaphysical about it. Just stick to the science. But speaking of metaphysical, isn’t that’s what needed to get the universe going anyway–metaphysics? The laws governing the start of the universe, that is, the ones that existed before our universe, are not the same ones that govern the universe today–are they? Everyone has religion. You basically can’t avoid it.

  • http:/// jhudson

    I’m inclined to nod to the assertion that there are, if not trillions, certainly an incalculable number of routes to the differentiation of a species. Since you’re hung up on bats, let’s use the Eocene Bat Explosion (nice name for a band, btw) for a moment. Now, we have to remember that what we’re calling a sudden burst is relative to our normal experience, as this period of time lasted from 55 to 34 million years ago – a 20-million-year period. During this span, our protobats were breeding and crossbreeding, and no doubt following the slow gestation common to their modern ancestors – one child per season. So in a given population of protobats, the females are storing the male sperm in their bodies for months while they forage for similar foods in a specific locale. The pressures on one bat will be likely shared by most and it’s certainly conceivable that mutative strains would impact a high number of any population.
    Well, no, the first microbats appears 52 to 50 million years ago; I have no idea where you got 34 mya – they were pretty much what they are today at that time. And the genetics seems to confirm that. So I am not sure where you get ’20 million years’ – whatever happened, happened previous to this time.
    The time period is narrow, not relative to our experience, but the timelines of the development of life overall. But the reality is no matter what length of time there is you still only get one shot per generation, even with “breeding and crossbreeding”, because those events only ultimately produce a single offspring which will be the ancestor of the eventual bat. And because the genes that control the various aspects of the bat morphology aren’t connected (unless you are arguing that echolocating bats sprung whole from some predecessor, which would present a whole raft of other issues) those genes would have to be neutral, awaiting some chance combination of different factors to produce the individual required traits in an organism to produce a survival benefit.
    Take the article mentioned before. You’ve noted that echolocution is a complex trait, but let’s look back at the jaw. Seems like you could make the same case with this – given a hard-fruit-eating bat. You could say, “Hey, this bat has a long, thick jaw and powerful jaw muscles such that they are just right for cracking open nuts. This couldn’t have developed naturally, because the bats would have died before there was sufficient time to evolve the trait.”
    Yet, as our reading illustrated, those tens of millions of years have allowed this exact thing and scientists have discovered the mechanism and proven their results by applying them successfully in a predictive capacity borne out by observed data. There should be no doubt that each of the bat’s unique feature can be traced and explained in this manner. But, gee, you’re not going to be happy until every last feature of bat evolution is laid out to your satisfaction before you’ll retract the “irreducably complex” argument, hm?
    It’s not quite the same; jaws vary in length and size quite easily; we can see this in dogs, which are genetically very similar, by phenotypically quite different. Humans are like this too; what it basically means is that respective to the genome, such changes may not be complex at all.
    And I generally accept adaptive radiation within the limits of the general structure and systemic make-up of an organism. For example I think of lemurs; genetically all the lemurs on Madagascar can be traced back to a single breeding pair about 5 million years ago. That’s incredible; that pair is the ancestor of every lemur on that island from the prehitoric giant lemurs which were the size of gorillas, to the tiny mouse lemurs now there. That’s tremendous diversity from a very small gene pool. But I would be willing to predict (hey, an IDer making a prediction) that with the exception of obvious structural obstructions, that those lemurs can for the most part interbreed. In fact i would be willing to predict that most microbats can interbreed, what would call into question our artificial separation of them.
    I think the wrangling between evolutionists and creationists about what constitutes a ‘species’ or a ‘kind’ is obsolete in the genetic era; the reality is there is great fluidity within a broad range of organisms, but it has limits; and that limit is structures which are irreducibly complex.
    Turns out that creationists are getting some mileage out of bats and that this is a standard ID/Creationist buggabear. Perhaps what’s confusing here is this notion of “specified” information. That, however, stems from a mistake in perspective. Creatures evolve in response to pressure and in adaptation to exploit environmental niches. Nature abbhors a vaccuum, right? So an animal evolves to take advantage of the environment and those traits that succeed improve survival. The process is self-reinforcing and can work incredibly quickly – as with cockroach immune systems – so that at the end of the day a biological feature can appear to have been “designed” for a niche when, in actually, it merely selected for it. Huge difference.
    This isn’t really an accurate description of evolution; creatures don’t “evolve in response to pressure and in adaptation to exploit environmental niches.” Genomes mutate. Those mutations may produce beneficial or detrimental phenotypic traits; or do nothing at all. Those traits may be beneficial respective to the requirements of the environment; or in accordance with the requirement of a new environment; they may not, in which case extinction results. In many instances the mutation rate would have to have speeded up, or slowed down, inexplicably. Many organisms change little or not at all over eons of time.
    Genetically, there is less diversity today then there was in past ages, and as organisms become more specialized in particualur environments, they become less capable of surviving; which is why there are a lot of rats, and few pandas. Evolution simply doesn’t work on the whole the way it is protrayed; and in many cases, it doesn’t seem to explain the phenomena at all.

  • ex-preacher

    If there is a designer, he/she/it/they is not necesarily imperfect, but is definitely evil.
    Think of all the diseases that function so perfectly. When my daughter’s best friend was stricken with leukemia at age 5, I could only marvel at the irreducible complexity and intelligent design behind the rapid growth of the cancer. Though men in their folly try to thwart the creator by developing medicines and vaccines, the great Spirit is too smart for them. I think of my grandfather, a kind and godly man, who suffered from Paget’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and Alzheimer’s. Then his wife, my grandmother acquired the intelligent disease Alzheimer’s and lived with it for 20 years until her mind was utterly useless. And I think of my other grandfather’s mother. She bled to death in 1913 after giving birth to him and a twin sister. The twin sister died six months later. He suffered from near-crippling depression for most of his life.
    The religionists have told us that these things are not God’s fault. Sure he’s the designer, but they’re all our fault. More specifically, it’s all Eve’s fault. So the sons are punished after all for the sins of the fathers. Strange that God didn’t mention that in Genesis 3 when he explained the punishment for sin. The OT teaches repeatedly that things like blindness, deafness, leprosy come from God.
    Don’t you love how the arrival of sin somehow led inevitably to disease, as if God just couldn’t help it. Sin just had to lead to disease. Nothing God could do about it. Just a tough break for humanity. Sin just automatically led to malaria, cholera, AIDS, typhus, yellow fever, heart disease, tooth decay, gangrene, Parkinson’s disease, spinabifida, you name it.
    But then the BIble tells us that God created everything that has been created. I think that would include bacteria and viruses. And ticks and bedbugs. And hookworm. And brown recluse spiders. And rats, mosquitoes, flies. But they were all really nice, sweet creatures before Eve sinned.
    Also, Eve’s sin had to automatically lead to hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons, lightening, floods, drought, tornadoes, volcanoes, etc. Not a design problem at all. All the misery of all the children and other innocents – God is not to blame.
    But we can rest our minds in the thought that all those people killed in the tsunami a while back are freed from earth’s suffering. Most of them, being Muslims, are now burning forever in a hell designed by ________. What a wonderful designer he truly is!!! All praise his name!

  • The Raven

    The laws governing the start of the universe, that is, the ones that existed before our universe, are not the same ones that govern the universe today–are they?
    Category error. Please study and revise. Time is a function of space.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Ex-Preacher wrote;
    If there is a designer, he/she/it/they is not necesarily imperfect, but is definitely evil.
    ID doesn’t speak to the motivations of the designer, only that the evidence points us to a designer.
    So ID doesn’t say if the designer is good, evil, or neutral.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    But we can rest our minds in the thought that all those people killed in the tsunami a while back are freed from earth’s suffering. Most of them, being Muslims, are now burning forever in a hell designed by ________. What a wonderful designer he truly is!!! All praise his name!
    It always interests me that number of times I have run into atheists or ‘ex-believers’ that begin with series of arguments against the existence of God based on ‘scientific’ evidence or some logical reasoning, but when pressed, often digress into diatribes about the pain caused by a presumed Creator. It is often pain they themselves have struggled through.
    How is it that we can be so bitter and angry against a God we say doesn’t exist?

  • ex-preacher

    I’m not bitter or angry at any non-existent god(s). I do admit to a certain amount of impatience with those who seem willingly oblivious to the logical contradiction inherent in their own position. It is revealing that rather than respond to the argument you choose to engage in condescension.
    Most “believers” do not consider the problem of innocent suffering (often referred to as the Problem of Evil, or POE) to be a diatribe. Those who are honest recognize it as one of the most potent arguments against the notion of an omnipotent, omnibenevolent god. I have yet to encounter a more sophisticated counter-argument than “his ways are truly mysterious.”
    Note also that I never presented scientific evidence against the existence of god. In fact, I’m not aware of any. Neither is there scientific evidence against the existence of the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, or the Invisible Pink Unicorn. I simply presented the words of evangelical Francis Collins, who has noted the overwhelming nature of the evidence for evolution. Feel free to respond to his arguments for evolution or my argument from suffering that a supposed designer would have to be evil.

  • Eric & Lisa

    ex-preacher wrote;
    It is revealing that rather than respond to the argument you choose to engage in condescension.
    What is revealing is that your only argument against ID is a red herring fallacy.

  • Eric & Lisa

    jhudson,
    Let me request that you do not allow ex-preacher to derail this thread by chasing after his red herring. You are having a very interesting discussion about IC with Boonton. I’m learning a lot. If ex-preacher or others want to know more about the problem of pain, they can read C.S. Lewis or wait for Joe to start a thread about it.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Again, the problem really isn’t the fact that you could ‘eventually’ mutate the genome into anything you might want; the problem is that the mutations required have to produce complex interdependent systems that are simultaneously beneficial to the organisms survival without destroying other pre-existing information (which presumably wouldn’t be protected from the same mutagenic forces) or producing incomplete systems which represent a survival detriment to the organism. In other words, you don’t get to produce half a sentence, you have to produce a cohesive chapter to the book, which fits in with the outline of the rest of the book that already exist; and you don’t get to do it in a step-wise fashion, or you destroy everything up to that point.
    I’m having a hard time following this argument. It seems to be saying if you had all but one chapter of ‘War and Peace’ for the last chapter to fall out of the system it would have to be perfect otherwise all the previous chapters would be ruined.
    But this wouldn’t be so. The author that wrote War and Peace went thru numerous drafts no doubt, each one reducing spelling and other errors. No doubt even the final draft wasn’t perfect and his editor had to fix some things. While every bat seems perfect to you I’m sure to them they would like to have a lot of improvement in their echolocation systems. Just like we don’t usually sit around feeling good about our intelligence but bemoan how much we don’t know, how badly educated our kids are and how everyone else seems really stupid.
    A coherent book may not fall out of this since Word would only check for spelling and grammatical errors. It would flag a story with perfect spelling and grammer but huge plot holes as superior to a story with a tight plot but several spelling mistakes. I would be curious to see if anyone could try this type of program of an unintelligent system to see what types of phrases we really get….which brings us too:
    Again, bacteria are capable of filling every niche. They can feed on each other. Later life forms are less successful at filling any niche. This is contrary to evolutionary thinking; there was no impetus for the genome to become anything other than very successful bacteria.
    On the contrary a niche could just as easily be something like size as it can place. Bacteria cannot be successful at filling the large animal niche. While bacteria can feed on other bacteria it doesn’t follow then that bacteria is the best predator of bacteria. If, though, you want to count success as copied strands of DNA then year just about everything but bacteria on earth is basically a statistical blip…hardly a contradiction to evolutionary thinking.
    Nature feeds energy to earth in a lot of different forms. It is not sensible to assume that a single ‘design’ would be the best at capturing all the different types of energy anymore than a single model car would be the best fit for all car customers at the same time.
    What others systems? What were the parts doing in the ‘proto bat’ before they happened to come together and become interdependent? Do you realize that we are talking neural tuning systems that are literally useless at any other frequencies other than those specifically necessary for finding food in flight? How could that be used ‘elsewhere’? How does IC become stronger than that? A viable evolutionary pathway requires step-wise development; there are simply no such steps for this system, and none are ever proffered.
    Pretty speculative here aren’t we. When someone comes along and says something like “how could we be designed when we have X, Y, and Z things that serve no useful purpose and are totally wasted” people like you respond with novel, unexpected uses for X, Y and Z. Well the lesson there is don’t be so sure something that seems useless in this vastly complicated machine really is useless. Now though, you could tell me no possible use could have been made for such a system or its parts?
    Think about what you are saying. You are saying if a computer were found orbiting Saturn, you would have a hard time considering intelligence as a cause of that event. Literally, if you can’t see intelligence in such an event, then you wouldn’t be considered rational by any measure of the word. No scientist in the world, other than perhaps a very drunk one, would offer as a hypothesis to explain a computer orbiting Saturn, the natural causes of chance and necessity.
    No what I’m saying is even in such an easy case of obvious intelligence the ‘proof by elimination’ method still wouldn’t be a slam dunk yet that is what you are doing with bats and evolution in general. You are saying because evolution has not yet given you an answer you find acceptable no answer could possible exist aside from the one you support, ID.
    There aren’t ‘trillions of possible paths’. There is one possible path per offspring for each generation of shrews. Indeed, because mammals ‘exploded’ rather rapidly and recently some 50 million years ago, there are a much more limited number of generations and pathways. and only one shrew out of each generation gets to be the actual ancestor of the future bat – the mutations occur in individuals, so that mutation would have to have some impetus to accumulate in each future population (which would take a number of years, particularly with neutral mutations), so that that one shrew could add it’s additional mutation.
    1. Mutations can happen in a range of individuals at once. Notice in my simulation letters are copied, on average, exactly but with a standard deviation of 1 letter. So M, on average will spawn M but there’s so much of a chance of getting an N or L. Genetically I’d imagine you’d probably want multiple individuals with the same mutation because that would get it passed on if it is recessive.
    2. Of course there is only one path which is the path shewish animals followed to bats. But you are asserting that starting with some shrewish animal you couldn’t get a bat given X million years of time. For you to state this you would have to articulate how you could examine all possible variations over so many generations and ensure that none happen to lead to what we would call a bat.
    And having done that, the organism doesn’t change significantly for another 50 million years. So you can’t rely on big numbers here.
    Which is also fine, no one said this change had to be linear.
    Yes, but the environment you are proffering has an end goal; nature doesn’t have an end goal, other than survival. To say it another way, Word is purposeful in its selections; nature is not.
    Not really, there is no ‘end goal’ in my program. Even if you began with a phrase that was free of all errors it still would spawn variations. In other words as long as the program was running the phrases would be changing. WE might as well say nature is ‘purposeful’ in its selection as Word is. The program feeds ‘energy’ to phrases that trigger fewer errors in Word, nature feeds more energy to organisms that are able to process it efficiently.

  • http:/// jhudson

    I’m having a hard time following this argument. It seems to be saying if you had all but one chapter of ‘War and Peace’ for the last chapter to fall out of the system it would have to be perfect otherwise all the previous chapters would be ruined.
    But this wouldn’t be so. The author that wrote War and Peace went thru numerous drafts no doubt, each one reducing spelling and other errors. No doubt even the final draft wasn’t perfect and his editor had to fix some things. While every bat seems perfect to you I’m sure to them they would like to have a lot of improvement in their echolocation systems. Just like we don’t usually sit around feeling good about our intelligence but bemoan how much we don’t know, how badly educated our kids are and how everyone else seems really stupid.
    A coherent book may not fall out of this since Word would only check for spelling and grammatical errors. It would flag a story with perfect spelling and grammer but huge plot holes as superior to a story with a tight plot but several spelling mistakes. I would be curious to see if anyone could try this type of program of an unintelligent system to see what types of phrases we really get….which brings us too:
    The reason the author had the freedom to go through multiple drafts is because his ability to live didn’t depend on his ability write a cohesive and useful chapter to the book (and interestingly, those drafts still required intelligent design); an organism’s survival depends on a functional and cohesive genome producing functional and interdependent systems. Tha bat, in this case, in order to feed in flight as microbats do, depends on the funtioning interdepence of the neural, auditory, respiratory, skeletal, and musculature aspects of the system.
    On the contrary a niche could just as easily be something like size as it can place. Bacteria cannot be successful at filling the large animal niche. While bacteria can feed on other bacteria it doesn’t follow then that bacteria is the best predator of bacteria. If, though, you want to count success as copied strands of DNA then year just about everything but bacteria on earth is basically a statistical blip…hardly a contradiction to evolutionary thinking.
    Success, in evolutionary terms, is copied strands of DNA; the only ‘goal’ of an organism from a purely naturalistic perspective is to live long enough to pass it’s genetics.
    Nature feeds energy to earth in a lot of different forms. It is not sensible to assume that a single ‘design’ would be the best at capturing all the different types of energy anymore than a single model car would be the best fit for all car customers at the same time.
    Again, consumer demands, which are driven by desire and choice, are not the driving force of life according to evolution; passing on one’s set of genes is; and bacteria do it better than any organism.
    Pretty speculative here aren’t we. When someone comes along and says something like “how could we be designed when we have X, Y, and Z things that serve no useful purpose and are totally wasted” people like you respond with novel, unexpected uses for X, Y and Z. Well the lesson there is don’t be so sure something that seems useless in this vastly complicated machine really is useless. Now though, you could tell me no possible use could have been made for such a system or its parts?
    I am asking you to tell me what other use a frequency generated specifically to bounce off an insect in flight and determine its range through cross-correlation and doppler compensation could be to a non-echolocating animal?
    No what I’m saying is even in such an easy case of obvious intelligence the ‘proof by elimination’ method still wouldn’t be a slam dunk yet that is what you are doing with bats and evolution in general. You are saying because evolution has not yet given you an answer you find acceptable no answer could possible exist aside from the one you support, ID.
    No, I am saying the best explanation of those offered when considering the causes of a computer orbiting Saturn is intelligent design; and the best explanation when considering the existence of complex coded information system attached to a nanomachine factory in one’s cells is intelligent design. I am not saying ‘evolution has not yet given me an answer’ I am saying intelligent design has given me a better one.
    1. Mutations can happen in a range of individuals at once. Notice in my simulation letters are copied, on average, exactly but with a standard deviation of 1 letter. So M, on average will spawn M but there’s so much of a chance of getting an N or L. Genetically I’d imagine you’d probably want multiple individuals with the same mutation because that would get it passed on if it is recessive.
    Sure; but the gene the gives the desired result only ever gets passed to the next population through one individual. If that gene proliferates in future populations, then there will be multiple individuals with that gene, but respective to our future bat, only one individual passes that gene to the next generation.
    2. Of course there is only one path which is the path shewish animals followed to bats. But you are asserting that starting with some shrewish animal you couldn’t get a bat given X million years of time. For you to state this you would have to articulate how you could examine all possible variations over so many generations and ensure that none happen to lead to what we would call a bat.
    This is where evolution stops being about actual mutations and described selection scenarios and it is asserted that in the end, it’s really just a big crap shoot and if you roll the dice enough times it’s gotta happen. Of course that might be true if we weren’t dealing with highly complex integrated systems that are just as likely to be damaged by the crap shoot as they are to generate anything useful. We just don’t see either in the fossil record or the genome anything to indicate that that sort of crap shoot ever occurred. What we see is the rapid appearance of a fully functional, highly integrated, very sophisticated sonar generating, insect eating machine.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Success, in evolutionary terms, is copied strands of DNA; the only ‘goal’ of an organism from a purely naturalistic perspective is to live long enough to pass it’s genetics.
    I suppose if you also say the only ‘goal’ of gravity is to fall down.
    Again, consumer demands, which are driven by desire and choice, are not the driving force of life according to evolution; passing on one’s set of genes is; and bacteria do it better than any organism.
    Indeed and if energy on earth had a perfectly uniform distribution then perhaps nothing but bacteria would be the only form of life. But as I pointed out the distribution of energy on earth is anything but uniform but highly complicated leaving numerous niches where one type of life can make a successful living but cannot easily port those tricks to other areas. Bacteria do indeed do this very well (although one might argue that larger organisms do a better job at preserving their genes while bacteria pay for their frequent ‘passing on’ with numerous mutations.
    I am asking you to tell me what other use a frequency generated specifically to bounce off an insect in flight and determine its range through cross-correlation and doppler compensation could be to a non-echolocating animal?
    Are you saying the frequency itself is IC or are you saying the ability to hear minute changes in frequency and generate specific frequencies is IC? Just FYI a while ago I read an article about a blind man who teaches other blind people to use echolocation. Basically making noises and listening to their echos he is able to do an ok job navigating around. Of course it doesn’t work everywhere and it’s nowhere as good as what a bat can pull off but it certainly is useful enough to serve him well. I could imagine shrews venturing into caves might make use of their own hearing and sound making functions for such basic navigation so as to not, say, run off a steep cliff.
    No, I am saying the best explanation of those offered when considering the causes of a computer orbiting Saturn is intelligent design; and the best explanation when considering the existence of complex coded information system attached to a nanomachine factory in one’s cells is intelligent design. I am not saying ‘evolution has not yet given me an answer’ I am saying intelligent design has given me a better one.
    That’s a good start. Let’s recall you asserted you had proven bats were an example of IC now they are only a system where ID is a ‘better’ explanation. But why is it a better explanation? Is it really better or is it just easier? Computing how that pebble got into that odd orbit around Saturn may require a lot of really hard math, maybe require information that was lost over the eons its been orbiting. Isn’t it a lot easier, as an explanation, to say a UFO put it there? It certainly is but what you’ve gained in terms of ease you’ve lost in terms of usefulness.
    Sure; but the gene the gives the desired result only ever gets passed to the next population through one individual. If that gene proliferates in future populations, then there will be multiple individuals with that gene, but respective to our future bat, only one individual passes that gene to the next generation.
    In this simulation one parent phrase will pass its ‘mutations’ onto its many children. As I pointed out my simulation leaves out many elements of life. It is a simulation, not an attempt to recreate all of life down to the atom by atom level.
    Real life has sexual reproduction which adds a new element to the mix since genes get mixed. I think you missed my point about the mutations. If after running this program for a bit we have 100 phrases that begin with the letter ‘m’ then maybe 34% will have children that begin with ‘n’ (1 s.d. away from the mean). If n is the first letter of a future phrase it’s not obvious that a single individual was its parent. In the same manner a mutation may appear in more than one individual in a population at once. In fact this is often the case where a small percentage of insects share an immunity to a certain chemical etc.
    This is where evolution stops being about actual mutations and described selection scenarios and it is asserted that in the end, it’s really just a big crap shoot and if you roll the dice enough times it’s gotta happen. Of course that might be true if we weren’t dealing with highly complex integrated systems that are just as likely to be damaged by the crap shoot as they are to generate anything useful. We just don’t see either in the fossil record or the genome anything to indicate that that sort of crap shoot ever occurred. What we see is the rapid appearance of a fully functional, highly integrated, very sophisticated sonar generating, insect eating machine.
    Errr, no. Let’s go back to the OJ analogy. OJ’s wife and friend are both murdered. If we didn’t know anything we could say that they were murdered by someone in the Los Angeles area….let’s say that’s 5 million options (I’m leaving out, of course, other odd ball sceneros such as UFO’s, angry ghosts, and so on). You’re asserting that OJ is guilty because of those 5 million sceneros all but one can be proven false…the one that has OJ killing the two people. But that’s a difficult style of proof to pull off. You can’t just prove 1 or 2 people besides OJ innocent you have to prove all 4,999,999 and if you miss one, or if your proof for one is imperfect your argument collapses.
    Now of course if we had a time machine and videotaped everything that happened we wouldn’t see 5,000,000 sceneros…we’d just see one whether it was OJ killing the people or even the unlikely UFO landing and framing OJ for the murders. Whatever it was we would only see what happened.
    What you’re doing, though, seems to be saying “evolution hasn’t found a convincing story yet”. That’s like saying OJ’s story about his sister-in-law’s drug habit getting his wife killed for bad debts to drug dealers doesn’t sound right therefore all 4,999,999 sceneros are wrong leaving OJ the only one left.
    This is a fancy way of saying its a false choice and a lot of ID advocates seem to fall into this. A lot of them seem to argue as if proving one particular evolutionary scenero wrong does anything for the truth value of ID. It doesn’t. Assume for a moment evolution is in fact true. The fact is most of the ‘stories’ of evolution will not be in the fossil record, will not be recoverable. Just as we will never know the gravitation stories behind most of the rocks floating around our solar system.

  • The Raven

    “Sure; but the gene the gives the desired result only ever gets passed to the next population through one individual. If that gene proliferates in future populations, then there will be multiple individuals with that gene, but respective to our future bat, only one individual passes that gene to the next generation.”
    That’s one possibility, but it is not a comprehensive description of how a new species might originate, or how a species might evolve. There are at least two mechanisms in play, 1) random mutation and, 2) natural selection. And these two processes can and do work in tandem.
    Here’s an example somewhat closer to home – the emergence of homo sapiens. The current thinking is that there were several groups of hominids in competition around 40,000 years ago: neanderthals and our ancestors, homo sapiens. While originally both groups were mountain/valley dwellers inhabiting caves, as temperatures changed and/or conflict emerged between the groups in the area of what is now central/southern Europe, the homo sapiens population migrated to more temperate climes in the Mediterranean.
    Here’s where it gets interesting. No one is sure what happened to the neanderthals, but they did not follow homo sapiens and they seem to have been susceptible to temperature pressure – they got too cold and died. Or, they ran out of food. Or, disease picked them off. We know from DNA analyses that we didn’t absorb them into our population via cross breeding. But the homo sapiens, now inhabiting the seaside lowlands, changed their diet to one rich in seafood.
    With the radically increased uptake of Omega 3 fatty acids, our progenitors experienced a tremendously rapid increase in brain size over the next 1,000 years or so. Each member of homo sapiens (more or less) is now on a new diet with a new component that fosters a particular physical benefit. It isn’t the “one lucky individual” in this population that conveyed a larger brain, it was all breeding individuals, whose reproductive tissue was now changing in response to diet and environment. In only a few (estimated) generations, we suddenly acquire amazing new faculties of perception, reason, and language. This much is borne out by the fossil record – unless you’re stuck on Adam and Eve, in which case you have to pretend none of this occurred and there were no homo sapiens with smaller brains and the fossils of such were planted in the ground by a diety in order to confuse us here today. I digress.
    Back to bats. Jhudson, are you saying that your research indicates that bats in their current form appeared in one year exactly 30 million years ago? My reading indicates that we only know they appeared during the Eocene, which was a 20-million-year period from roughly 50 to 30 million bc. I’m thus assuming that the shrew-bat evolution occurred over some broad period of time in that epoch. Can’t say how long, but it’s reasonable to assume these creatures didn’t just pop up fully formed one day. As the previous BBC link notes, we’re very short on fossils to work from, so this is a very speculative area.
    But wings are fairly straightforward. We know that the common house cat felix domesticus can fly, sort of, like some squirrels. Veterinarians have been noting for some time that housecats often survive falls of 4 stories or greater, as once they reach sufficient speed they relax and glide thanks to the loose skin they have. So suppose the protobat shrews had taken to jumping from branches to nab insects in flight. Makes sense that the shrews with extra fur and skin would be better “gliders” and those that could would eat better and have superior reproductive opportunities. From here, as in the case of homo sapiens, it won’t take long for this survival benefit to spread throughout the breeding population. Each cycle, there will be more gliders, fewer non-gliders. The process is quick and self-reinforcing.
    Initially, the early bats have sharper eyes and use vision to locate prey, but over time sight is less necessary because they hunt at dusk and night, and they use smell and hearing predominently. That gives us big ears, large nasal cavities. Echolocution will employ these tools later on. That is, you don’t suddenly have these fully expert sonic-hunting animals, but you get there in less time than you’d expect via random mutation.
    And that’s a sticking point for people who refuse to acknowledge evolution and natural selection: the mechanism is not “random throws of the dice without meaning or purpose.” As boonton notes, exploitation of habitat is the purpose that drives individuals. Instinct and biology drive reproduction, which is a benefit to a population, but food acquisition is the task of the individual and the ones that are good at it are the ones that reproduce.

  • http:/// jhudson

    I suppose if you also say the only ‘goal’ of gravity is to fall down.
    ?
    Indeed and if energy on earth had a perfectly uniform distribution then perhaps nothing but bacteria would be the only form of life. But as I pointed out the distribution of energy on earth is anything but uniform but highly complicated leaving numerous niches where one type of life can make a successful living but cannot easily port those tricks to other areas. Bacteria do indeed do this very well (although one might argue that larger organisms do a better job at preserving their genes while bacteria pay for their frequent ‘passing on’ with numerous mutations.
    I am not sure what difference the ‘distribution of energy” would have if bacteria are already observed to exploit every niche imaginable. And bacteria are every bit as capable of ‘preserving genes’ as any organism; we know they have highly conserved sets of genes from their inception.
    Are you saying the frequency itself is IC or are you saying the ability to hear minute changes in frequency and generate specific frequencies is IC? Just FYI a while ago I read an article about a blind man who teaches other blind people to use echolocation. Basically making noises and listening to their echos he is able to do an ok job navigating around. Of course it doesn’t work everywhere and it’s nowhere as good as what a bat can pull off but it certainly is useful enough to serve him well. I could imagine shrews venturing into caves might make use of their own hearing and sound making functions for such basic navigation so as to not, say, run off a steep cliff.
    It’s a very specific frequency that requires specialized neural capabilities to process; it is specifically suited for identifying and honing in on winged insects; shrews (which incidentally, bats aren’t even closely related to) and humans might listen for an echo; they don’t form a sound wave

  • http:/// jhudson

    With the radically increased uptake of Omega 3 fatty acids, our progenitors experienced a tremendously rapid increase in brain size over the next 1,000 years or so. Each member of homo sapiens (more or less) is now on a new diet with a new component that fosters a particular physical benefit. It isn’t the “one lucky individual” in this population that conveyed a larger brain, it was all breeding individuals, whose reproductive tissue was now changing in response to diet and environment. In only a few (estimated) generations, we suddenly acquire amazing new faculties of perception, reason, and language. This much is borne out by the fossil record – unless you’re stuck on Adam and Eve, in which case you have to pretend none of this occurred and there were no homo sapiens with smaller brains and the fossils of such were planted in the ground by a diety in order to confuse us here today. I digress.
    Besides the fact that a “radically increased uptake of Omega 3 fatty acids” would have no effect on the genetics that control the size of our brain, where do you get actual independently verifiable evidence that it was this factor that acuated the mutations that allowed for “amazing new faculties of perception, reason, and language”? And “it was all breeding individuals, whose reproductive tissue was now changing in response to diet and environment” sounds suspiciously Lamarkian – not mutation and natural selection at all.
    Back to bats. Jhudson, are you saying that your research indicates that bats in their current form appeared in one year exactly 30 million years ago? My reading indicates that we only know they appeared during the Eocene, which was a 20-million-year period from roughly 50 to 30 million bc. I’m thus assuming that the shrew-bat evolution occurred over some broad period of time in that epoch. Can’t say how long, but it’s reasonable to assume these creatures didn’t just pop up fully formed one day. As the previous BBC link notes, we’re very short on fossils to work from, so this is a very speculative area.
    Icaronycteris and Palaeochiropteryx appear eaarly in the Eocene, which would put them easily over 50 mya; they are echolocating bats. Molecular data indicates bats shared a common ancestor 50 – 54 million years ago.
    I never said they appeared in ‘one year'; and bat’s are not genetically close to shrews; in fact, the group they are most closely associated with genetically are horses.
    But wings are fairly straightforward. We know that the common house cat felix domesticus can fly, sort of, like some squirrels. Veterinarians have been noting for some time that housecats often survive falls of 4 stories or greater, as once they reach sufficient speed they relax and glide thanks to the loose skin they have. So suppose the protobat shrews had taken to jumping from branches to nab insects in flight. Makes sense that the shrews with extra fur and skin would be better “gliders” and those that could would eat better and have superior reproductive opportunities. From here, as in the case of homo sapiens, it won’t take long for this survival benefit to spread throughout the breeding population. Each cycle, there will be more gliders, fewer non-gliders. The process is quick and self-reinforcing.
    The gliding process is completely different than the way bats fly; and that still doesn’t explain the interdependent echolocation systems that no gliders have -why would they? It would be impossible to utilize in an uncontrolled glide.
    Initially, the early bats have sharper eyes and use vision to locate prey, but over time sight is less necessary because they hunt at dusk and night, and they use smell and hearing predominently. That gives us big ears, large nasal cavities. Echolocution will employ these tools later on. That is, you don’t suddenly have these fully expert sonic-hunting animals, but you get there in less time than you’d expect via random mutation.
    Of the early bat fossil records we have (specifically those listed above) they have been demonstrated to use echolocation. In fact, oddly enough, the most complex bats (those with biosonar) predate the less complex bats in the fossil record, and genetically, opposite what would be expected according to evolution.
    And that’s a sticking point for people who refuse to acknowledge evolution and natural selection: the mechanism is not “random throws of the dice without meaning or purpose.” As boonton notes, exploitation of habitat is the purpose that drives individuals. Instinct and biology drive reproduction, which is a benefit to a population, but food acquisition is the task of the individual and the ones that are good at it are the ones that reproduce.
    You can only ‘exploit a habitat’ if you have the mechanisms to do so; and the mechnisms involved here are highly specific and interdependent; there is no indication they arose simply from environmental pressures.

  • http://www.timpanogos.wordpress.com Ed Darrell

    Joe, do you edit out trackbacks here?

  • The Raven

    judson: Besides the fact that a “radically increased uptake of Omega 3 fatty acids” would have no effect on the genetics that control the size of our brain…
    Don’t tell that to me, tell it to the science boys. They appear to be confused. Here, trying googling “human brain evolution” and you’ll be promptly swamped with references to what I’m talking about. Journal articles abound. Here’s a sample from Nutr Health. 1993;9(3):219-35:
    “Current evolutionary theories do not adequately address the question of how the human brain evolved to be larger and more sophisticated than that of other primates. The human brain/body weight ratio is 4-5 times higher than in primates and, relative to the rest of the body, requires up to 10 times as much energy as in other land-based mammals. Human brain evolution must therefore have required a stable food supply providing a reliable source of both high dietary energy and a cluster of ‘brain-specific’ nutrients over a long period of time. These nutrient and energy requirements are available in the marine and shore-based food chain but are difficult if not impossible to obtain in the terrestrial food chain. We suggest that marine and estuarine ecosystems provided hominids with the appropriate stimulus to develop a relatively large brain. This occurred in conjunction with the evolution of other uniquely human features, particularly relative hairlessness, bipedalism and abundant neonatal subcutaneous fat. Invertebrates, molluscs, small or slow-moving fish, and marine algae would have provided a stable, abundant supply of energy, long chain polyunsaturates and other nutrients essential for the brain and would have done so with comparatively little mammalian competition. The land-water interface would thus have allowed the hominid brain to develop sufficient neurological complexity to enable sophisticated tool and behaviour patterns to evolve in humans as a natural sequel to such a biochemical and environmental stimulus.”
    Plenty of stuff like that. There’s also a theory that our ancestors chowed down bigtime on ruminant brain matter and bone marrow, also rich sources of CLA and O-3s and O-6s, all required for rapid brain size development. What appears to have happened is that with hunter-scavenger root and berry diets, our brains didn’t have enough nutrition and were held in check, but once we obtained the right diet, growth followed swiftly. Natural selection kicks in, and from what I gather, genetic mutation is affected by diet in all mammals. You seem to view genes as being locked up and isolated from phenotype, but that’s not necessarily the case.
    OK – so you track early bats to 50 million years back. Given how fine their bones are, it’s little wonder some “60% of all fossils” are presumed missing for good. But this doesn’t address the developmental period. Did they appear in a single day? How about over a million years? Plenty of time for a natural evolution. When we say they appeared quickly, we’re speaking in geologic time.
    Yes, the gliding process is different from how bats fly. I’m not saying that this was how bats came to be flying creatures. I proposed this as an example of how they might have come to have excesses of skin on their appendages. Eventually, given that, their current structure would be a refinement. This is one possibility – likely or not – but since we’re short of youtube movies showing the development, we are forced to speculate a bit, at least until more evidence is in.
    It’s rather interesting to me that, from the viewpoint of evolution, all ideas are on the table, we can explore, test, check the record, continue to study and predict, and eventually the correct answer will emerge if we look long enough and hard enough and ask the right questions and maybe get lucky. But from an ID perspective, the answer is posited at the outset, and all suggestions are squashed lest they threaten the mythical deity creator.
    In science, there are wrong answers. In religion, there are wrong questions.
    “Of the early bat fossil records we have…”
    And man, we sure don’t have many. Hardly any. Nice rundown here, with photo:
    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/eutheria/chirofr.html
    Since we’re in speculative mode, my money is on the shrew/mole hypothesis (based on tooth similiarities) and that the emergence of insects, vegetable and fruit matter, a fast rise in temperature, and a lack of competitors led to a rapid introduction of a mammal with the characteristics of a bat. We’ve examined, accepted or discarded various possibilities, but the “known” here is so small as to be discouraging. Still, a good discussion of evolution, and thank you for bringing up bats. Very interesting material.

  • Gerald, Messenger of Gawd

    jhudson said: I am not sure we can accept the evaluation of ignorance based on someone obviously ignorant of the definition of ad hominem.
    JH, you assume too much. I have understood Latin for many years; literally, it means “to the man”. The English interpretation is “an attack on an opponent’s character”. That’s why I included my disclaimers, that I was not calling anyone names. I am just stating the fact and agreeing with Kevin that the only reason for any adherence to ID (other than some deceitful conspiracy) must be biological ignorance. Glad I could straighten that out for you.
    jhudson: “Agreed; read the work of Francis Crick; an atheist, Nobel Prize winning scientist, and someone who believes intelligence better explains the existence of DNA.”
    I’m not sure that would be the entirety of Cricks philosphy; he often thought out loud, especially when he’d been smoking some good pot or brain-storming with Watson at the local pub. I doubt if any of such a complicated man as Francis Crick’s philosophy could be summarized in one pithy quote. And he would certainly never credit divine intelligence, not the way he hated religion. Perhaps he meant Nature’s intelligence. Check with the rest of the biologists in the world.

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  • Gerald, Messenger of Gawd

    JH said: “So, you are saying, if my computer crashes, it wasn’t designed?”
    The answer to that would be that it was not perfectly designed.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Don’t tell that to me, tell it to the science boys. They appear to be confused. Here, trying googling “human brain evolution” and you’ll be promptly swamped with references to what I’m talking about. Journal articles abound. Here’s a sample from Nutr Health. 1993;9(3):219-35:
    “Current evolutionary theories do not adequately address the question of how the human brain evolved to be larger and more sophisticated than that of other primates. The human brain/body weight ratio is 4-5 times higher than in primates and, relative to the rest of the body, requires up to 10 times as much energy as in other land-based mammals. Human brain evolution must therefore have required a stable food supply providing a reliable source of both high dietary energy and a cluster of ‘brain-specific’ nutrients over a long period of time. These nutrient and energy requirements are available in the marine and shore-based food chain but are difficult if not impossible to obtain in the terrestrial food chain. We suggest that marine and estuarine ecosystems provided hominids with the appropriate stimulus to develop a relatively large brain. This occurred in conjunction with the evolution of other uniquely human features, particularly relative hairlessness, bipedalism and abundant neonatal subcutaneous fat. Invertebrates, molluscs, small or slow-moving fish, and marine algae would have provided a stable, abundant supply of energy, long chain polyunsaturates and other nutrients essential for the brain and would have done so with comparatively little mammalian competition. The land-water interface would thus have allowed the hominid brain to develop sufficient neurological complexity to enable sophisticated tool and behaviour patterns to evolve in humans as a natural sequel to such a biochemical and environmental stimulus.”

    Plenty of stuff like that. There’s also a theory that our ancestors chowed down bigtime on ruminant brain matter and bone marrow, also rich sources of CLA and O-3s and O-6s, all required for rapid brain size development. What appears to have happened is that with hunter-scavenger root and berry diets, our brains didn’t have enough nutrition and were held in check, but once we obtained the right diet, growth followed swiftly. Natural selection kicks in, and from what I gather, genetic mutation is affected by diet in all mammals. You seem to view genes as being locked up and isolated from phenotype, but that’s not necessarily the case.
    I am not sure what ‘science boys’ you are talking about; very few anthropologists or evolutionary biologists posit this theory, and the ones that do seem to be mostly nutritionists; particularly nutritionists who want to sell dietary programs high in Omega 3 fatty acids. This is pretty weak.
    OK – so you track early bats to 50 million years back. Given how fine their bones are, it’s little wonder some “60% of all fossils” are presumed missing for good. But this doesn’t address the developmental period. Did they appear in a single day? How about over a million years? Plenty of time for a natural evolution. When we say they appeared quickly, we’re speaking in geologic time.
    That’s a good question; the fossil genetic record seems to indicate rapid development, meaning that it happened quickly enough not to leave either a physical or genetic record. How fast, we don’t know.
    Yes, the gliding process is different from how bats fly. I’m not saying that this was how bats came to be flying creatures. I proposed this as an example of how they might have come to have excesses of skin on their appendages. Eventually, given that, their current structure would be a refinement. This is one possibility – likely or not – but since we’re short of youtube movies showing the development, we are forced to speculate a bit, at least until more evidence is in.
    Well, speculation is how most evolutionary developments are explained so you are in good company.

    It’s rather interesting to me that, from the viewpoint of evolution, all ideas are on the table, we can explore, test, check the record, continue to study and predict, and eventually the correct answer will emerge if we look long enough and hard enough and ask the right questions and maybe get lucky. But from an ID perspective, the answer is posited at the outset, and all suggestions are squashed lest they threaten the mythical deity creator.

    Well, no; if there were a observable and testable series of steps that would explain the development of the irreducibly complex structures of microbats, that would disprove the idea that it requires intelligent agency.
    On the other hand, you have made it clear here that there are no ways to “explore, test, check the record, continue to study and predict” the evolution of the structures found in microbats; that would seem to put evolutionary theory in the realm of religious belief.
    “Of the early bat fossil records we have…”
    And man, we sure don’t have many. Hardly any. Nice rundown here, with photo:
    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/eutheria/chirofr.html

    There are plenty of bat fossils:
    And that’s just the Berkely collection.
    Since we’re in speculative mode, my money is on the shrew/mole hypothesis (based on tooth similiarities) and that the emergence of insects, vegetable and fruit matter, a fast rise in temperature, and a lack of competitors led to a rapid introduction of a mammal with the characteristics of a bat. We’ve examined, accepted or discarded various possibilities, but the “known” here is so small as to be discouraging. Still, a good discussion of evolution, and thank you for bringing up bats. Very interesting material.
    I hope you didn’t bet much money; bats aren’t related to shrews at all.

  • http:/// jhudson

    The answer to that would be that it was not perfectly designed.
    But still designed…

  • Gerald, Messenger of Gawd

    By Man, JH. What about God?
    Additional note on Crick:
    From a reveiw of Matt Ridley’book: Mr. Ridley notes, Crick was in middle age when he embarked on his career of scientific discovery, in contrast with the many scientists who make their marks when young.
    Crick forged his own path through life. Mr. Ridley dwells only briefly on Crick

  • http:/// jhudson

    The voice of God in your head, I think.
    Intuition allowed Crick to figure out the double helix in the pub, and mathmatitians later proved him right.

    Well, that, and the fact that he stole research from Rosalind Franklin. ;)
    We love our crawfish e’toufe’ down here, and I see a crawfish as nothing other than a land-dwelling shrimp. Look at them together and you can tell very little basic differences. The crawfish has gotten big and tough compared to his saltwater cousins, but he’s still just a shrimp.
    Well, hey, a guy who likes his mudpuppies can’t be all bad. But knock it off, you’re making hungry and these yankees don’t know a thing about cookin’ crawfish.
    Instead of being irreducibly complex, I see it all as irreducibly simple, that the ocean crab could convert to the garden spider with only a little environmental urging. Eight legs?, is that a coincidence? The little creepy mouth-parts-like hands to take in food. Fangs replacing claws? The skeleton on the outside in both species? Could it happen in 1000 years? That’s a long time, especially with a new generation every year. One thousand generations per millenia. Two beneficial mutations per generation=>2000 beneficial mutations per generation. It might be possible.
    ‘Irreducibly simple’ – is that an oxymoron, or a redundancy?

  • Gordon Mullings

    Joe
    Was over in Antigua for a week and between a lightning strike here and being extra busy, incommunicado.
    I see you have been at it again, on ID, and predictably the rage-against-God meter pegged and much back-forthing on old ground followed.
    I will not waste time, energy and bandwidth, as in fact the evidence of the past year has been that much of what is going on is the classic party-line closed mindedness that characterised say the Marxists- on- a- global- roll circa 1975, which only ended with the

  • LudVanB

    Wow…Gordon is back with his usual paranoid conspiracy drivel of the “god-hating scientists” routine…must one of those exceptional days when the world spins on its axis while hurtling through space at 29.8 KM/S.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    First, I see LVB is quick on an ad hominem and red herring: attack the man and distract attention from the substance. That underscores the relevance of what follows, and shows the point that the underlying issue is not fact and logic but what Aristotle long ago pointed out: our judgemnents when we are pleased and friendly are vastly different from those made when we ar epained and hostile.
    I note on the point further that there is plain evidence of hostility in thsi thread and far more generally, and the resort to ad hominems is a typical sign of such rage.
    Overnight, too, I have felt that on second thoughts a few further notes are helpful on certain specific points, on a sample basis, so that we can see key features of the overall pattern and draw appropriate conclusions:
    1] JH: a good job taking on the rhetorical buzz saw with persistence and facts. The bat example and the plain failure to take it up properly are all too telling. Your summary note following is well worth a thought or two by those with sufficiently open minds to see what is going on:

    While ID is not a mechanical theory, it is a theory of causation; and looking at the irreducibly complex structures and information patterning in even the simplest life forms tells us that the cause of structure was an intelligent agent.
    The same can be said of the universe as a whole; ID addresses the fine tuning of the universe and the privileged position earth holds, as evidences again for considering intelligence as a distinct cause, as opposed to chance and necessity.
    So while ID does not tell us (or attempt to tell us) about the methodology of the origin of the universe and life, it does impose a causal requirement on those events.

    2] LVB: The inference to design is not an inference to perfection nor tot he nature of the designer and the original state of the designs. Also, you need to see that designs often embed trade-offs between competing requirements, so that a design maximised on one dimension suffers on others, perhaps catastrophically. The eye is an excellent example, too often mis-cited as a counter-example due to the alleged imperfections in it.
    JH’s remark is apt: ID doesn’t address how the design of the universe and life might have come to be ‘flawed’ (or even posits that it is) although I am hrad pressed to understand how a naturalist would see the universe as ‘flawed’.
    3] Dover: The claim that the Kitzmiller decision was well argued or made is nonsense, and that was exposed in this very blog in detail at the time. [Andy, though happy to see you commenting again, I am disappointed on lack of real substance!] Judge Jones had a look at the propagandistic movie Inherit the Wind (and apparently he made remarks tot hat effect, this is not just figurative), then went out and simply took the assertions of one side at face value, even in the teeth of plain, evident and easily accessible facts to the contrary, starting with his claim that the design inference is a theistic, contra-scientific inference.
    4] Amy: If, according to God’s plan, which you are fortunate to know, I am damned, then why should I not kill myself, say, today?
    –> This is death ideation, is all too common with those who have the inclinations the Amy who posted in previous threads proclaimed, and it would be wise for you to seek counsel

  • LudVanB

    “First, I see LVB is quick on an ad hominem and red herring: attack the man and distract attention from the substance. That underscores the relevance of what follows, and shows the point that the underlying issue is not fact and logic but what Aristotle long ago pointed out: our judgemnents when we are pleased and friendly are vastly different from those made when we ar epained and hostile.”
    I really enjoy seeing someone like Gordon who throws accusations left and right to complain of ad hominem and red herring…kettle calling the pot black it seems is a concept as old as life.
    “The inference to design is not an inference to perfection nor tot he nature of the designer and the original state of the designs. Also, you need to see that designs often embed trade-offs between competing requirements, so that a design maximised on one dimension suffers on others, perhaps catastrophically. The eye is an excellent example, too often mis-cited as a counter-example due to the alleged imperfections in it.”
    But you make my point for me Gordon…trade offs and problems with competing requirements are the bread and butter of imperfect minds trying to get the best possible balance with the available tools and constraint…but for a perfect all powerfull mind,no such problem could exist since it would simply cause all those competing requirements to align by will alone in flawless symetry. And btw when you start with the “original state of the design” without pointing to any evidence of that prior implied perfection before the so called fall,you leave all pretense of science well behind and jump head first into the purely esotheric,which,scientificaly speaking does your argument no favor.

  • The Raven

    OK, this round produced the following result:
    1. Theory of evolution explained further and de-strawmanned a bit. Explicitly stated to be incomplete and structural in nature. Not a “jury is still out” situation; rather, more “detectives still gathering evidence.”
    2. Hudson forwards claim that without full accounting of cellular biology, all organic cells are evidence of ID; all living organisms from blades of grass to elephants are evidence of ID.
    It remains to be seen whether a “full accounting” is possible, given the criteria requested.

  • John Salmon

    TR-Isn’t a “full accounting” necessary? Shouldn’t a theory that’s supposed to explain things do just that? Why is that too much to ask?
    Somehow the pro-Darwin crowd always adopts a defensive attitude when certain stubborn facts are introduced into the argument. A purely naturalistic theory of evolution has obvious weaknesses, but these are almost seen as proof of its validity, because look at who’s making the criticisms? Why it’s the “ignorati”, the people who have always bitterly opposed science, and oppose it still.
    Never mind that the point is wrong, or that it’s ad hominem all the way. What’s intriguing is how pitifully weak the theory is, since court cases are fought with the full knowledge that the theory, if presented alongside ID, won’t withstand the scrutiny of a typical 14 year old.

  • The Raven

    JS: “TR-Isn’t a “full accounting” necessary? Shouldn’t a theory that’s supposed to explain things do just that? Why is that too much to ask?”
    Depends on what you want the theory to explain. Natural selection describes the relationship between species, the way that organisms change over time. The process we call evolution explains why, among other things, giraffes have long necks, anteaters have long snouts, and tree sloths have long claws. It explains why bits of DNA in one animal share those with another, and it underpins many of the ideas raised in this thread.
    What the theory of evolution doesn’t tell us is why we are here, what the first organism was, what the second organism was, what the third organism was, etc. It doesn’t explain why the earth is covered with organic lifeforms as opposed to being a lifeless rock. It doesn’t explain what happened to the dinosaurs, or why mammals came to be. It does, however, hint at why men have nipples. It does show the relationship between fins and arms, and why things like sickle cell anemia exist.
    Evolution, in other words, is kind of like cellular respiration – it describes a mechanism and a process. When the theory’s critics charge it with failing to offer a “full accounting,” they aren’t asking for scientific knowledge per se, they’re asking for a story, a grand, sweeping narrative that begins with a bolt of lightning striking a hot pool of primordial soup and sparking a bit of protoplasm into existence – or something of that sort, I don’t know, as I don’t think this way.
    But if that’s the demand, then the idea of natural selection will not offer the answer. Paleobiology or some similar discipline might yield some clues in that direction. As I’ve said many times before, not knowing the Origins of Life and not knowing the Reason We Are Here doesn’t keep me from getting up and getting dressed in the morning. It doesn’t keep me from mixing a stiff martini in the evening and strolling out onto the deck, where I look up into the night sky and wonder at the stars, imagining the possibilities stretched before us. About the past, we can try and learn as much as we can, and draw conclusions from the evidence at hand. All this “evolutionary materialist” can tell you is that thus far, the indications are that we live in a world that is entirely consistent with one that is not populated with invisible superbeings, fantastical deities, all-powerful space aliens or vaguely postulated intelligent designers. Those who forward such notions appear to do from the standpoint of validating personal beliefs.

  • ex-preacher

    As far as I can tell, no one has responded to the quote I posted from Francis Collins. I would like to hear jhudson or Gordon explain to us what they do with someone like him. Here he is, an outspoken evangelical with a best-selling book on the harmony between faith and science. At the same time, he is a renowned scientist, head of the Human Genome Project, who completely accepts evolution. Based on his study of DNA, he calls the evidence for evolution overwhelming. He totally rejects ID. He does not even regard it as scientific.
    So what’s his problem? Is he stupid? Or just not as informed as you two? Is he deceived, a tool of Satan and the “evo mats”? Or maybe, he’s just downright evil? Liar, lunatic or logical?
    P.S. Gordon, if you respond, please limit yourself to 12,000 words.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    2. Hudson forwards claim that without full accounting of cellular biology, all organic cells are evidence of ID; all living organisms from blades of grass to elephants are evidence of ID.
    I have no idea what you are talking about here. This might be a strawman if it meant anything substantive at all.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I am not sure what difference the ‘distribution of energy” would have if bacteria are already observed to exploit every niche imaginable. And bacteria are every bit as capable of ‘preserving genes’ as any organism; we know they have highly conserved sets of genes from their inception.
    Yes bacteria is good at exploiting almost every niche imaginable but they are not so successful that they leave no room for other types of life forms to exploit niches as well. In fact, larger animals often are their own niche for bacteria to exploit like the bacteria that lives inside us.
    It’s a very specific frequency that requires specialized neural capabilities to process; it is specifically suited for identifying and honing in on winged insects; shrews (which incidentally, bats aren’t even closely related to) and humans might listen for an echo; they don’t form a sound wave ‘image’ of a moving object that allows them to fly without stopping in order to pick a living creature out of mid-air.
    Indeed but this trick is only in the ‘first generation’ of humans and since we aren’t all moving into dark caves its unlikely the trait would ever be refined. However it is interesting to note that even in clumsy humans, whose hearing abilities are nowhere near other mammels, have a shadow of this skill already in them.
    First off, the explanation for a pebble ending up orbiting Saturn requires no math at all; just the simple awareness of a few facts; rocks exist in and are moving through the solar system, and that large bodies attract smaller bodies. There are no set of corrolary facts to explain the causality of a computer ending up around Saturn or in our cells; intelligent agency is the best explanation, not because it is ‘simpler’ but because we know what the criteria are.
    Really? How did that pebble end up orbiting Saturn? Did it drift in from a comet or another solar system? Was it perhaps blasted off the moon’s surface in a metor impact? A long time ago Joe posted a link here to a scientific article exploring the idea of that life on Earth originated elsewhere. For anyone who bothered to read the paper the author went into detail to calculate the amount of material exchanged between the planets due to metor impacts and such.
    If you exclude the idea that intelligence could have caused something (like a computer orbiting Saturn) then not only do exclude the better anser, but you exclude the right answer. I presume you believe science is in search of right answers?
    You’re getting caught up here in the wrong argument. Of course if we found an old Commodore 64 type computer orbiting Saturn I’d suspect some intelligence had built it and gotten it out there first. However you did assert your hypothesis, you asserted proof by elimination. I only pointed out that even in a slam dunk case as a computer off Saturn proof by elimination is still pretty hard to actually pull off.
    Now what we do know is that very simple natural laws create highly complicated structures. Our ONLY experience with intelligent forms is that they design highly simplistic structures. Our most complicated computer is simple compared to a cell and we know that the more complicated our designs the less successful they are, the more prone to bugs and errors. In fact I believe a computer scientist recently published a rather large book about the complicated structures created by simple computer programs follow simple, very simple rules.
    This is really an odd sort of comparison because it is very difficult to see what you are trying to compare here. You seem to be saying hey, there are lot of mutations and lots of changes going on in the genome, and unless you can eliminate every one of these possible changes as a suspect, you have to consider that any of them for causing a shrew to become a bat. I don’t know how useful this analogy can be to our discussion, because it seems to confuse and conflate a lot of things, but I would say this; contending that having lots of mutations and lots of time are sufficient to produce a irreducibly complex systems doesn’t give us ‘lots of possible suspects’ it is saying all 5,000,000 of those suspects coordinated their efforts together to produce the murder of OJ’s wife; and that would be a fairly straight forward thing to disprove.
    I’m saying you have asserted that we cannot conclude the shrew became the bat over the course of so many millions of generations because the differences are just too radical and the bat’s systems are IC. So take a shrew’s DNA compared to a bat’s. Step by step you can change one into the other. There are millions of paths from on to the other just as there are millions of ways to change A Farewell to Arms into War and Peace if you’re allowed to change one letter per turn. What you are asserting is that of those millions of paths none of them are made up of only positive (or at least neutral) steps therefore natural selection could not have done it.
    If the morphology microbats were the only event lacking evolutionary explanation, then I would be just spitting in the wind here; it just happens to be the easiest example to explain to a layperson. And to be quite frank, I don’t have a problem with evolution as an explanation – I was an evolutionist for a number of years. I just think it lacks the explanatory power ID has on a number of levels when considering life’s history, and I think that evolution is getting increasingly obsolete as we discover the bimolecular workings of the cell and the genome. ID isn’t an article of faith for me, it’s a scientific theory; if the evidence trends against it, it will have to altered accordingly or discarded all together.
    This is precisely what the problem is. Just like the UFO explanation for the pebble there is no situation where the explanation will be unsatisfactory. No matter what the evidence shows design by a designer with undefined powers will always work. Imperfect organism. It was designed so. Perfect organism, designed so. Simple, designed that way. Complicated, designed that way. Even when I tried to push you into a testable prediction about front-loading you backed down. Why if front loading isn’t there then it just wasn’t designed to be there.

  • The Raven

    JH: I have no idea what you are talking about here. This might be a strawman if it meant anything substantive at all.
    Go back to “self-replicating machines” something or other. You’ve said that any biological organism is, ipso facto, evidence of ID. Or did I take that wrongly? If so, pare down your claim.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> In fact b should more than know by now that the design inference is based on what we DO know about designs and their designers, from a massive body of experience with a world full of such designers – human beings.
    What we know about designers:
    1. Their designs tend to be simple when compared to the complexity found in nature, both living and non-living.
    2. The more complicated their designs the more errors they have, the more mistakes and the more ‘rough drafts’ or failures they experience.
    3. Their designs are of limited use, for limited time. They have never been recorded to have been able to design anything that can ‘run on its own forever’ or reproduce itself without the aid and supervision of the designer(s).
    Gordon, as usual, responds to the letters game with the scrabble board argument. Basically that argument is that the odds of pulling a complete phrase out of a scrabble bag of letters is very, very small. However what this ignores is that the probablity in the scrabble bag is a single shot function. In the ‘game’ the probability function is in motion with each generation altering the odds of closing in on a phrase.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton wrote;
    No matter what the evidence shows design by a designer with undefined powers will always work. Imperfect organism. It was designed so. Perfect organism, designed so. Simple, designed that way. Complicated, designed that way.
    Darwinian evolution does the same thing but doesn’t seem to be as reasonable.
    Imperfect organism. It evolved like that. Perfect organism, it evolved like that. Simple? Evolved simple, Complicated? Evolved that way.
    However, if we did have all those different sorts of things, Design would make more sense.
    Sometimes people design simple things instead of complex things on purpose. Sometimes people design things less perfect (Ive got 100 watt lightbulbs and 60 watt lightbulbs in my house for example).
    We have to deal with the reality. And in that sense the point you are trying to make doesn’t really make sense to me.
    If we have complicated things and simple things, perfect things and imperfect things, something will explain their existence. Is that something DE or ID?
    No use complaining about it.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So which is the perfect and imperfect light bulb in your house? The 100 watt or the 60 watt?
    Seriously, though, Darwinian evolution dos not give itself so many easy outs. If it turned out, for example, that humans genetic code was DNA but other life forms had a competly different type of coding system Darwinian evolution almost certainly couldn’t explain that. IDers of course, would say “well I have a PC at work and an Apple at home, why not have a designer use one programming language for one thing and another for another thing”.
    The difference is, though, that DE made its prediction before we knew anything about genetic codes. It commits itself before hand and is then confirmed right. ID waits to see what will happen and then tries to take credit for it.

  • Eric & Lisa

    The difference is, though, that DE made its prediction before we knew anything about genetic codes. It commits itself before hand and is then confirmed right. ID waits to see what will happen and then tries to take credit for it.
    Now you’re saying something else.
    First you say that there are perfect things and imperfect things, complex things and simple things and ID purports to explain them all.
    I point out to you that DE also purports to explain them all and you change the subject.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’m illustrating how ID really explains nothing while claiming to explain all. Now DE doesn’t claim to explain all but it explains a lot and it explains it in a more productive manner than ID as I illustrated.

  • Eric & Lisa

    There is a big difference between an explanation and a prediction. You seem to be combining the two things.
    You also have offered nothing as an example to demonstrate your point.
    Let’s put your assertion in contrast to my assertion and see who is right.
    My assertion is
    ID and DE claim to explain the same things.
    Your assertion is
    ID claims to explain everything while DE only claims to explain a lot of things.
    Would you agree with this summation of our two positions?
    If this is accurate, give me an example of something that ID claims to explain that DE does not.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    The pattern of rhetorical sniping rather than serious engagement on the part of Evo Mat advocates in the thread beyond my observations above shows why I have posted as above and linked for the benefit of onlookers.
    Kindly note that I invited a careful, responsible examination — and EX, the summary above is well under 12,000 words, and the linked article surveys several major fields at approximate textbook chapter length — of linked discussions on the underlying issues:

    1] An examination of the scientific status of the inference to design in the context of the routine inference to signal vs “lucky noise” in a communication context.
    2] An examination of several specific cases of interest: (1) origin of the molecular scale information systems and machinery of life; (2) origin of biological diversity at the scale of macroevolution in light of (1) and some remarks in peer-reviewed and popular articles; (3) cosmological issues in light of finetuning of the physics of the observed universe.
    3] A look at issues relating to the origin of a credible mind on evo mat premises. [This is a wider issue in philosophy, on comparative difficulties, not strictly a scientific issue; more later]
    4] An examination of associated classical and statistical thermodynamics issues, inclusive of the informational thermodynamics approach.

    The resort to further rhetorical sniping rather than a serious engagement of the issues just listed, or for that matter JH’s case of the bat — an example of the unmet challenge of accounting for biodiversity — reveals what is at stake here. For, neo-darwinian evolution is hardly a complete theory, nor is it capable of accounting for critical phenomena relevant to its claims. But alternatives which DO account for these points are dismissed and theoir proponents attacked because there is an underlying worldview agenda at stake. Therefore it is appropriate to highlight that fact, and address rhetorical — not scientific — points such as above in that light.
    Now, I remark on several points:
    1] B: Pink underwear AGAIN
    –> I observe that B has again resorted to an utterly unjustified accusation in the above, which I have already strongly objected to [for he MUST know that the association of a man with pink underwear without convincing evidence is a loaded and highly slanderous accusation rather than a fair remark]. It is also revealing on the underlying attitudes of contempt and disrespect aptly summed up in Prof Dawkins’ notorious remark that those who disbelieve darwinism [that which allegedly makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist — a contradiction in terms], are ignorant, or stupid or insane or wicked.
    –> Again, the pretence of innocence is brought forth, and no apology or retraction are forthcoming. But worse, this was a case where I was not even a participant in the thread and he did not even have trhe decency to email me on the claim. An apology is again due, and indeed overdue — as in the case of his invidious comparison of myself to nazism at Christmas time in the Dover thread I linked above.
    –> FOR SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2] LVB: I really enjoy seeing someone like Gordon who throws accusations left and right to complain of ad hominem and red herring…kettle calling the pot black it seems is a concept as old as life.
    –> Here we see the “he hit back first” mentality joined to the deceptive turnaround accusation. FYI, I have POINTED OUT the tactics that you and others of your ilk have resorted to, and in that context have justified my claims by reference to cases in point. That is not an attack to the man, it is an exposure of shoddy rhetorical devices in the context of making a serious engagement of the issue. If it feels bad to be exposed as resorting to selective hyperskepticism games, strawman misrepresentations, red herrings and ad hominem attacks, then simply refrain from such devices and address the issues on the merits of fact, logic and inference to best explanation!
    –> Further to this, I have taken time to summarise the major points I have on the subject after about a year of interaction on the topic in this blog, and have linked to where I have discussed in further details [and made onward links]. In short, I have focused on the major issues, and as just noted, they stand un-addressed.
    –> if you wish to rise above the level of empty rhetoric, kindly address the major issues on the merits.
    3] trade offs and problems with competing requirements are the bread and butter of imperfect minds trying to get the best possible balance with the available tools and constraint…but for a perfect all powerfull mind,no such problem could exist since it would simply cause all those competing requirements to align by will alone in flawless symetry.
    –> This is of course a bare assertion of what LVB imagines would be the condition of a perfect designer; in effect he is here assuming to divine and constrain the mind of a designer he apparently believes does not exist. That assertion is of course a strawman led out to by a red herring, and part of a self-serving rhetorical agenda: burn the strawman and trumpet the

  • Rob Ryan

    John Salmon: “What’s intriguing is how pitifully weak the theory is, since court cases are fought with the full knowledge that the theory, if presented alongside ID, won’t withstand the scrutiny of a typical 14 year old.”
    Gordon Mullings: “…I expect within 25 years this debate will be over, decisively

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Yes bacteria is good at exploiting almost every niche imaginable but they are not so successful that they leave no room for other types of life forms to exploit niches as well. In fact, larger animals often are their own niche for bacteria to exploit like the bacteria that lives inside us.
    Sure; but if there is no niche that is unexploitable by bacteria, and there are abundant niches for them to fill, what selection pressure would there be to evolve extravagant and energy intensive structures that make them less apt to survive?
    Indeed but this trick is only in the ‘first generation’ of humans and since we aren’t all moving into dark caves its unlikely the trait would ever be refined. However it is interesting to note that even in clumsy humans, whose hearing abilities are nowhere near other mammels, have a shadow of this skill already in them.
    We all have that skill; we simply don’t notice it because we don’t need it.
    Really? How did that pebble end up orbiting Saturn? Did it drift in from a comet or another solar system? Was it perhaps blasted off the moon’s surface in a metor impact? A long time ago Joe posted a link here to a scientific article exploring the idea of that life on Earth originated elsewhere. For anyone who bothered to read the paper the author went into detail to calculate the amount of material exchanged between the planets due to metor impacts and such.
    Actually you seemed to have answered you own question; based on natural known phenomena, there is no reason to posit that pebbles around Saturn are the product of intelligent agency.
    You’re getting caught up here in the wrong argument. Of course if we found an old Commodore 64 type computer orbiting Saturn I’d suspect some intelligence had built it and gotten it out there first. However you did assert your hypothesis, you asserted proof by elimination. I only pointed out that even in a slam dunk case as a computer off Saturn proof by elimination is still pretty hard to actually pull off.
    Again, do really think that the cause of that computer orbiting Saturn would be in doubt? Considering we both readily agree that it would in no way be the product of natural forces, it doesn’t seem in any way difficult to demonstrate.
    Now what we do know is that very simple natural laws create highly complicated structures. Our ONLY experience with intelligent forms is that they design highly simplistic structures. Our most complicated computer is simple compared to a cell and we know that the more complicated our designs the less successful they are, the more prone to bugs and errors. In fact I believe a computer scientist recently published a rather large book about the complicated structures created by simple computer programs follow simple, very simple rules.
    But you agree, we create many things via our intelligence that nature cannot?
    I’m saying you have asserted that we cannot conclude the shrew became the bat over the course of so many millions of generations because the differences are just too radical and the bat’s systems are IC. So take a shrew’s DNA compared to a bat’s. Step by step you can change one into the other. There are millions of paths from on to the other just as there are millions of ways to change A Farewell to Arms into War and Peace if you’re allowed to change one letter per turn. What you are asserting is that of those millions of paths none of them are made up of only positive (or at least neutral) steps therefore natural selection could not have done it.
    Can we kill the shrew thing? Bats aren’t evolved from shrews, that has been demonstrated genetically.
    And there are not ‘millions of paths’ to derive a specific interdependent system which has the purpose detecting insects in flight to allow a microbat prey on them on the wing. There has to be a specific frequency. There has to be Doppler compensation. There has to be cross-correlation. The respiratory system has to be coordinated both with the auditory and musculature of the wings. There aren’t millions of pathways to such a system – specific changes have to be made to specific already existent structures in a manner that will allow them to work together, or the system fails.
    This is precisely what the problem is. Just like the UFO explanation for the pebble there is no situation where the explanation will be unsatisfactory. No matter what the evidence shows design by a designer with undefined powers will always work. Imperfect organism. It was designed so. Perfect organism, designed so. Simple, designed that way. Complicated, designed that way. Even when I tried to push you into a testable prediction about front-loading you backed down. Why if front loading isn’t there then it just wasn’t designed to be there.

    See, the problem with your argument is that while it might be true that ‘intelligent agency’ could be the cause of a number of events – for example a pile of pebbles on the ground, it is unnecessary to posit such an explanation because there are other readily available forces that could act to produce that pile of pebbles. Indeed, while it would be unreasonable to assert the ‘UFO’ explanation for most phenomena, it would be rational to offer it as an explanation for an inscribed monolith found orbiting Saturn which is sending transmissions to Alpha Centauri. Not only would it be a rational explanation, but indeed, the best of various options.
    In the same way, as we consider the causes of complex-coded information system driving nano-machines in bodies, of the explanations we might consider, intelligent agency is not only rationale but indeed the best of various options.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Go back to “self-replicating machines” something or other. You’ve said that any biological organism is, ipso facto, evidence of ID. Or did I take that wrongly? If so, pare down your claim.
    I said that the cause of existence of a self- replicating, complex-coded information system attached to a nano-machine factory is best explained by intelligent agency. The fact that such structures exist in every living creature is incidental.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> You can in principle change the code of the one into the other, if you are an intelligent agent, certainly. But, the point of functionally specific irreducibly complex information embedded in body plan-level genetics and embryological development is this: random mutation and natural selection have to do so blindly and creating at each simple step a viable organism. The criterion of “simple step” is that we would have to do steps within the reach of random search at each stage. Such body plan level shifts have to work embryologically, then give incremental survival advantages to a small sub population.
    There are numerous analogies here. The old Rubix Cube puzzle is a good one. If you recall you had to get all the solid colors together. In the example of changing one book into another imagine you had to change just one word per turn.
    Now Gordon’s point here is one I’ve fully acknowledged. In a Rubix Cube you could turn the puzzle any way you wanted (although breaking it apart and putting it back together again would probably be cheating). However with the book changing a word may make the whole thing collapse and lose its sense. WEll maybe not changing a word but the point is that you can’t just change the words willy nilly because natural selection says favorable traits get selected. Changing words in a way that causes the book to make less sense would be like an organism adopting bad traits because thousands of generations later they will come in handy. That sort of thing hints that someone or something is forcing bad traits on the organism in order to direct its change.
    But let’s take our book. You can change one word per turn and the book cannot loose any of its sense in each turn as you try to approach a totally different text. Is it possible that no path exists that will work? That there is no way to change the text one word at a time and still maintain a consistent, sensible story? Perhaps but there’s no way to just know this or assert it. OUt of millions of paths there is no way to just know that all of them exclude the one trait that would be consistent with natural selection.
    –> I observe that B has again resorted to an utterly unjustified accusation in the above, which I have already strongly objected to [for he MUST know that the association of a man with pink underwear without convincing evidence is a loaded and highly slanderous accusation rather than a fair remark]. It is also revealing on the underlying attitudes of contempt and disrespect aptly summed up in Prof Dawkins’ notorious remark that those who disbelieve darwinism [that which allegedly makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist — a contradiction in terms], are ignorant, or stupid or insane or wicked.
    –> Again, the pretence of innocence is brought forth, and no apology or retraction are forthcoming. But worse, this was a case where I was not even a participant in the thread and he did not even have trhe decency to email me on the claim. An apology is again due, and indeed overdue — as in the case of his invidious comparison of myself to nazism at Christmas time in the Dover thread I linked above.
    I notice that Gordon and jhudson spend a lot of time being ‘disturbed’ or ‘offended’ by this rather mundane hypothetical. But they dodge answering it. If the phrase was created by the programmer then the programmer effectively wrote it making him subject to libel. If the programmer isn’t responsible for the content of the phrase then who is? Essentially it is a random occurrance, but how can that be when we have had it asserted the odds of such a random thing are so minute that it couldn’t be expected to happen in the entire universe? Answer, your probability calculations don’t understand the argument properly.

  • LudVanB

    “I said that the cause of existence of a self- replicating, complex-coded information system attached to a nano-machine factory is best explained by intelligent agency. The fact that such structures exist in every living creature is incidental.”
    Not when the later is biological…besides,you also need to have independant verification of that intelligent agency’s existance in the first place. The only intelligence we can say exists with any reasonable degree of certainty is ours…and since we certainly couldnt have “designed” ourselves then the intervention of an intelligent agency to explain the origin of life does not lend itself as the best explanation.

  • http://theeverwiseboonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Sure; but if there is no niche that is unexploitable by bacteria, and there are abundant niches for them to fill, what selection pressure would there be to evolve extravagant and energy intensive structures that make them less apt to survive?
    I think its rather obvious that there are niches where bacteria are not well suited to survive. Large animals is one good one, while some bacteria are bigger than others there’s a limit to how big a bacteria can be.
    We all have that skill; we simply don’t notice it because we don’t need it.
    We don’t have that skill equally. No doubt like all other skills some of us are better at it than others. If it became important enough for selection pressure.
    Again, do really think that the cause of that computer orbiting Saturn would be in doubt? Considering we both readily agree that it would in no way be the product of natural forces, it doesn’t seem in any way difficult to demonstrate.
    I’m not talking about doubt, resonable doubt or even beyond that. There’s not even reasonable doubt that Jack Ruby shot Oswald but there’s proof that in ecludian geometry the sum of the angles in a triangle is 180 degrees. EVen with Ruby I’m sure some clever tv writer could come up with a scenero where there really was another killer and the shooting on live tv was a ruse. Beyond reasonable doubt? Yea but still not proof in the sense that there is no way to have a triangle with 181 degrees in ecludian geometry.
    And there are not ‘millions of paths’ to derive a specific interdependent system which has the purpose detecting insects in flight to allow a microbat prey on them on the wing. There has to be a specific frequency. There has to be Doppler compensation. There has to be cross-correlation. The respiratory system has to be coordinated both with the auditory and musculature of the wings. There aren’t millions of pathways to such a system – specific changes have to be made to specific already existent structures in a manner that will allow them to work together, or the system fails.
    Unless this began not as a system to locate flying insects but to navigate gross obstacles on the ground…then perhaps just to locate swarms of insects and then refined to a finely tuned navigation system. AS we see even with human beigns the tolerances for this in the beginning are much greater.
    See, the problem with your argument is that while it might be true that ‘intelligent agency’ could be the cause of a number of events – for example a pile of pebbles on the ground, it is unnecessary to posit such an explanation because there are other readily available forces that could act to produce that pile of pebbles. Indeed, while it would be unreasonable to assert the ‘UFO’ explanation for most phenomena, it would be rational to offer it as an explanation for an inscribed monolith found orbiting Saturn which is sending transmissions to Alpha Centauri. Not only would it be a rational explanation, but indeed, the best of various options.
    But it sounds as if we found some moss under a rock on one of Jupiters moons that would be EVEN GREATER evidence of intelligence than finding a broadcasting monolith. In fact, it sounds like the orbiting C-64 is less evidence for intelligence than pond scum on some moon. Doesn’t that sound odd to you?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Not when the later is biological…besides,you also need to have independant verification of that intelligent agency’s existance in the first place. The only intelligence we can say exists with any reasonable degree of certainty is ours…and since we certainly couldnt have “designed” ourselves then the intervention of an intelligent agency to explain the origin of life does not lend itself as the best explanation.
    Again, if we found a advanced computer on Mars which was far advanced beyond our own technology, the it would be rationale to posit an inteligence as the cause of the machines existence; even if we knew nothing of the intelligence that produced it.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    I notice that Gordon and jhudson spend a lot of time being ‘disturbed’ or ‘offended’ by this rather mundane hypothetical. But they dodge answering it. If the phrase was created by the programmer then the programmer effectively wrote it making him subject to libel. If the programmer isn’t responsible for the content of the phrase then who is? Essentially it is a random occurrance, but how can that be when we have had it asserted the odds of such a random thing are so minute that it couldn’t be expected to happen in the entire universe? Answer, your probability calculations don’t understand the argument properly.
    I don’t recall ever expressing offense or disturbance; actually I have rather enjoyed the discussion. And I have exhaustively responded to your queries.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    I think its rather obvious that there are niches where bacteria are not well suited to survive. Large animals is one good one, while some bacteria are bigger than others there’s a limit to how big a bacteria can be.
    I can’t think of one niche unsuitable to bacterial life that was hospitable to any life at all.
    We don’t have that skill equally. No doubt like all other skills some of us are better at it than others. If it became important enough for selection pressure.
    Yes, but the blind don’t exhibit that skill because they have been ‘selected’ to; they just happen not to have their sight making their reliance on hearing more pronounced. Obviously, if such people were left to the elements, they would be a ta a distinct disadvantage compared to their sighted compatriots.
    I’m not talking about doubt, resonable doubt or even beyond that. There’s not even reasonable doubt that Jack Ruby shot Oswald but there’s proof that in ecludian geometry the sum of the angles in a triangle is 180 degrees. EVen with Ruby I’m sure some clever tv writer could come up with a scenero where there really was another killer and the shooting on live tv was a ruse. Beyond reasonable doubt? Yea but still not proof in the sense that there is no way to have a triangle with 181 degrees in ecludian geometry.
    Well, no, we would understand the computer was the product of intelligent agency because there are certain distinct earmarks that distinguish it from those objects which result from natural forces. Another ‘story’ could be posited for the assassination of Oswald because it is possible for other persons to have precipitated such events; it is not possible for a cause other than intelligence to have been responsible for the existence of a computer, where ever that computer might be found.
    Unless this began not as a system to locate flying insects but to navigate gross obstacles on the ground…then perhaps just to locate swarms of insects and then refined to a finely tuned navigation system. AS we see even with human beigns the tolerances for this in the beginning are much greater.
    I don’t quite understand what you mean by “AS we see even with human beings the tolerances for this in the beginning are much greater.”? If you mean blind persons hear better, then while it is helpful to those individuals in contemporary society, in a natural situation they would have great difficulty surviving; indeed it is unlikely they would survive at all. I am not sure how a system of the sophistication seen in microbats could develop when they would quickly succumb to the lack of an essential sense.
    As well, we have to remember that evolutionarily, such refinements are not the product of the pursuit of the exploitation of a niche, but of happenstance and selection. The specific systems in question are not independently useful; locating ‘swarms of insects’ would require the organism in question have the ability to physically pursue those insects, which means flight; as well as the behaviors to take advantage of the flight capability. In turn, that flight capability would require echolocation systems to allow for the successful location and apprehension of those insects while moving through the air.
    And we go back to the understanding that the development of such a precise system would require incremental modifications in population of organisms; populations for which there is no fossil or genetic evidence.
    But it sounds as if we found some moss under a rock on one of Jupiters moons that would be EVEN GREATER evidence of intelligence than finding a broadcasting monolith. In fact, it sounds like the orbiting C-64 is less evidence for intelligence than pond scum on some moon. Doesn’t that sound odd to you?
    Actually, if life were a common occurrence (or even apparent anywhere else other than earth) it would lend some credibility to the idea that it is the product of natural events, particularly if some environment existed where the basic circumstances of life’s development were observable. Of course, to our knowledge, no such place exists.
    You find the orbiting C-64 more impressive than pond scum, because you see pond scum (presumably meaning algae) as Darwin did; simple and readily producible under the right circumstance – but that is a misunderstanding of the complexities of even the simplest forms of life, whose complexities exceed anything yet produced by our intelligence.

  • The Raven

    “evo mat-linked mechanisms are unable to account for the structures we do see, but we know that intelligent agents routinely generate such systems and structures.”
    Hold on a sec, Gordon. The theory of evolution accounts for a great many of the biological structures we see every day. The point I’m acknowledging and a key idea to bear in mind in all discussions of evolution is that the theory does not yet account for all structures.
    Let’s go back to the bat business a moment. One of those papers cited earlier in the thread states that we’re woefully short on bat fossils of the type we could lay out in a series and label “first bat,” “first adaptation,” “second adaptation” and so forth. From the 50mya period we have one relatively intact specimen. Yet, bats still constitute some 30% of all mammals – there’s a gazillion of ‘em, right now, eating, sleeping and breeding. There have been for 10s of millions of years. That’s a lot of bats.
    So where are all the fossils? As one researcher explains it, the majority of bats live in aboreal habitats. Those that expire rarely remain intact for long. That is, insects and larger animals usually make off with the carcasses, and these things have extremely fine and delicate bones. We’re lucky to have as many examples as we do. Yet we’ve got far less than a fraction of a billionth of a percent of the total to work with.
    This idea applies to the entire fossil record. We’re piecing the story together from fragments, and our lack of comprehensive data is not a fault of the theory that underpins the record, it’s the fact that the record is composed of a very rare process that converts biological matter to an inert and stable state. For every neanderthal encased and preserved in a block of ice, millions simply vanish into dust. That doesn’t stop research, but it does mean that researchers have to draw conclusions.
    As for natural selection and, oh, say, anteaters, the process does explain their long snouts. 1) Anteater with longer-than-average snout eats more, is healthier, breeds more. 2) Healthier, promiscuous anteaters interbreed more. 3) Recessive gene for long-noses replicates more quickly. 4) Short-nosers become rare, scarce, extinct. In summary: Nature selects for the better design, rewards it with survival. Apply to giraffes, sloths, etc.
    At some point, a species reaches optimal design. A point at which further mutation does not convey a benefit. The cheetah is a superb example. Clearly a member of the cat family, this one is really fast. But the energy expense is at the limit of the organism. If they evolve to be any faster, they’ll need larger muscles and stronger bones, which will slow the animal down. Any faster, and the cost of a successful hunt outweighs the caloric reward. This version, the one we have, is pretty much optimalized. Evolution “explains” this.
    Now, regarding “intelligent agents routinely generating” such structures, as you put it, we should ask whether intelligent agents do, in fact, generate complex biological structures outside of the breeding cycle. Many animals create things: birds build complex nests, ants build nests, bees create complex hexagonal hives, etc. Human beings have finally managed to create, via genetic engineering, tailored organisms. Thus, the ID proponent speculates that we ourselves are engineered. That’s a philosophical argument. In the absence of evidence, any evidence whatsoever, such thinking is rather fanciful.
    Indeed, examine the humble helium atom. Two protons, 2 neutrons, 2 electrons. One of the simplest structures in the universe, yes? Yet no laboratory in the world could “create” one from nothing. But say we could. Now this thing has a pair of electrons. Where are they? Can science explain that? No, it can’t. We can predict the most likely location of those electrons but we can’t pinpoint them because determining their physical location breaks down the probability wave that describes their location. Not unlike Huygen’s double-slit experiment, we have a phenomenon that is deucedly difficult on our hands. But it is perfect and it works. So, you’re basically saying that helium is evidence of ID, since we can’t thoroughly “explain” it to an idiot child’s “because why? because why?” level of infantile satisfaction.
    Anything we cannot create, cannot trace back to the origin of the universe, is thus proof positive of ID. You yourself forward the absurd “finely tuned universe” argument, so no explanation of anything – surely not the processes of living cells – would satisfy you. You’d just move on to the next target. Maybe galaxies: “Man cannot create galaxies, or explain them, hence ID exists.”
    Yet, in virtually our lifetimes, we have discovered DNA – unknown to prior generations, and unlocked deep secrets of biology. Looking over the history of science and the process of discovery whereby we have indeed come up with incredibly rich detail of our natural environment, we should have every reason to believe that we will, truly, delve further. Mysteries on the table today will eventually move into the “solved” column of the ledger sheet. At least, they will as long as the forces of medieval ignorance and Calvinist Puritanism can be held at bay. For there will always be those who attempt to padlock the door of the laboratory, warning that we are tampering with the forces of creation or blaspheming by attempting to ferret out the mysteries of existence. Such Ludditism would push us back to Amish-like communities of piousity and intellectual darkness.
    Shame on all who possess enough intelligence to grasp the rudimentary principles of science and yet maintain the stubborness to curse them with raised fists.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Let’s go back to the bat business a moment. One of those papers cited earlier in the thread states that we’re woefully short on bat fossils of the type we could lay out in a series and label “first bat,” “first adaptation,” “second adaptation” and so forth. From the 50mya period we have one relatively intact specimen. Yet, bats still constitute some 30% of all mammals – there’s a gazillion of ‘em, right now, eating, sleeping and breeding. There have been for 10s of millions of years. That’s a lot of bats.
    So where are all the fossils? As one researcher explains it, the majority of bats live in aboreal habitats. Those that expire rarely remain intact for long. That is, insects and larger animals usually make off with the carcasses, and these things have extremely fine and delicate bones. We’re lucky to have as many examples as we do. Yet we’ve got far less than a fraction of a billionth of a percent of the total to work with.
    Actually, as I pointed out earlier, there are numerous bat fossils, and a brief search reveals that there are a number of fossils of Palaeochiropteryx, the first bat.
    Indeed, we find these fossils because from the very begining bats seem to have been noctournal animals that spent a significant portion of their lives in caves; and dead bats, dying in large numbers over a period of years are buried in bat guano, which would make for excellent preservative circumstances.

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    As for natural selection and, oh, say, anteaters, the process does explain their long snouts. 1) Anteater with longer-than-average snout eats more, is healthier, breeds more. 2) Healthier, promiscuous anteaters interbreed more. 3) Recessive gene for long-noses replicates more quickly. 4) Short-nosers become rare, scarce, extinct. In summary: Nature selects for the better design, rewards it with survival. Apply to giraffes, sloths, etc.
    It’s a nice theory but again, it relies on simplifying the actual case, ignoring the requisite and interdependent changes in digestive systems, behavior, sensory apparatus, and neurology.
    At some point, a species reaches optimal design. A point at which further mutation does not convey a benefit. The cheetah is a superb example. Clearly a member of the cat family, this one is really fast. But the energy expense is at the limit of the organism. If they evolve to be any faster, they’ll need larger muscles and stronger bones, which will slow the animal down. Any faster, and the cost of a successful hunt outweighs the caloric reward. This version, the one we have, is pretty much optimalized. Evolution “explains” this.
    Actually, as has been made clear, ‘optimal design’ appears to have been reached with the existence of bacteria over a billion years ago. Everything that followed was much less capable of survival.
    Now, regarding “intelligent agents routinely generating” such structures, as you put it, we should ask whether intelligent agents do, in fact, generate complex biological structures outside of the breeding cycle. Many animals create things: birds build complex nests, ants build nests, bees create complex hexagonal hives, etc. Human beings have finally managed to create, via genetic engineering, tailored organisms. Thus, the ID proponent speculates that we ourselves are engineered. That’s a philosophical argument. In the absence of evidence, any evidence whatsoever, such thinking is rather fanciful.
    In the case of birds and bees (everyone here is familiar with the birds and the bees, correct? :) ) their behaviors are genetically derived; therefore it is incorrect to compare their development of complex structures with those of intelligent agents, which are the product of choice.
    It is by understanding the earmarks of ‘choice based’ intelligently derived structures and events that we can identify them in structures whose origin is unknown. Thus we can differentiate between an arrowhead and a sharp rock.
    Indeed, examine the humble helium atom. Two protons, 2 neutrons, 2 electrons. One of the simplest structures in the universe, yes? Yet no laboratory in the world could “create” one from nothing. But say we could. Now this thing has a pair of electrons. Where are they? Can science explain that? No, it can’t. We can predict the most likely location of those electrons but we can’t pinpoint them because determining their physical location breaks down the probability wave that describes their location. Not unlike Huygen’s double-slit experiment, we have a phenomenon that is deucedly difficult on our hands. But it is perfect and it works. So, you’re basically saying that helium is evidence of ID, since we can’t thoroughly “explain” it to an idiot child’s “because why? because why?” level of infantile satisfaction.
    Anything we cannot create, cannot trace back to the origin of the universe, is thus proof positive of ID. You yourself forward the absurd “finely tuned universe” argument, so no explanation of anything – surely not the processes of living cells – would satisfy you. You’d just move on to the next target. Maybe galaxies: “Man cannot create galaxies, or explain them, hence ID exists.”
    This misstates the argument terribly; ID argues that there are structures whose natures consistently indicate intelligent agency as a cause of existence. It is the positive evidence of these structures that indicates intelligent agency, not the absence of knowledge about their origin.
    Thus we propose that Stonehenge is intelligently designed, and do not do so for the Devil’s Tower.
    Yet, in virtually our lifetimes, we have discovered DNA – unknown to prior generations, and unlocked deep secrets of biology. Looking over the history of science and the process of discovery whereby we have indeed come up with incredibly rich detail of our natural environment, we should have every reason to believe that we will, truly, delve further. Mysteries on the table today will eventually move into the “solved” column of the ledger sheet. At least, they will as long as the forces of medieval ignorance and Calvinist Puritanism can be held at bay. For there will always be those who attempt to padlock the door of the laboratory, warning that we are tampering with the forces of creation or blaspheming by attempting to ferret out the mysteries of existence. Such Ludditism would push us back to Amish-like communities of piousity and intellectual darkness.
    Actually, it is the discovery of DNA, a complex, coded information system, and the increasing knowledge of it’s interdependent and machine like nature that have brought intelligent design to the fore.
    Shame on all who possess enough intelligence to grasp the rudimentary principles of science and yet maintain the stubborness to curse them with raised fists.
    I agree with this; that is why I have ceased clinging to a dated Victorian theories and instead come to see the one which actually explains the working of life as preferable.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Yes, but the blind don’t exhibit that skill because they have been ‘selected’ to; they just happen not to have their sight making their reliance on hearing more pronounced. Obviously, if such people were left to the elements, they would be a ta a distinct disadvantage compared to their sighted compatriots.
    Not so fast, imagine a pre-bat animal venturing deeper and deeper into a cave. While sight doesn’t hurt the ability to ‘see’ by echos would confer an advantage since one with an above average ability would be able to venture a bit deeper, perhaps stumble upon food that others could not or hide from predators a bit better. In that context sight becomes the trivial trait just as in the context of humans ‘echo seeing’ is a minor trait compared to sight.
    Well, no, we would understand the computer was the product of intelligent agency because there are certain distinct earmarks that distinguish it from those objects which result from natural forces. Another ‘story’ could be posited for the assassination of Oswald because it is possible for other persons to have precipitated such events; it is not possible for a cause other than intelligence to have been responsible for the existence of a computer, where ever that computer might be found.
    I notice that in your examples you are using things already known to have been designed or imagined by humans (computers, monoliths etc). Yet the problem with this is that we already know the answer. It isn’t clear to me at all that just because we know ‘obvious’ cases of design through experience that we could recognize design that we have never observed.
    Actually, if life were a common occurrence (or even apparent anywhere else other than earth) it would lend some credibility to the idea that it is the product of natural events, particularly if some environment existed where the basic circumstances of life’s development were observable. Of course, to our knowledge, no such place exists.
    Why? If we found old computers on just about every moon in our solar system I doubt many would seriously entertain some unknown natural process spits out computers. They would simply assume that aliens had at some point made extensive visits to our solar system and left behind a lot of junk. If pond scum as you say couldn’t be a natural occurrence then finding it all over would indicate nothing else than a lot of intelligent design over a lot of space rather than just one one planet.
    Didn’t you tell us you had ruled out ANY natural process that could have created life?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    Not so fast, imagine a pre-bat animal venturing deeper and deeper into a cave. While sight doesn’t hurt the ability to ‘see’ by echos would confer an advantage since one with an above average ability would be able to venture a bit deeper, perhaps stumble upon food that others could not or hide from predators a bit better. In that context sight becomes the trivial trait just as in the context of humans ‘echo seeing’ is a minor trait compared to sight.

    Again, here is one of the ‘just-so’ stories that typify evolutionary thinking. It is easy enough to imagine stuff; but let’s not pretend that imaginary solutions, derived from evolutionary thinking, are anymore certain than imaginary solutions derived from any other vantage point. It is an interesting contemplation, but it doesn’t in any way demonstrate the actual development of the structures in bats.
    And while this scenario may explain the loss of sight, as it would for any other known cave dwelling organism, it in no way explains the development of precise echolocation capabilities, which don’t seem to be present in other organisms which live in caves.
    I notice that in your examples you are using things already known to have been designed or imagined by humans (computers, monoliths etc). Yet the problem with this is that we already know the answer. It isn’t clear to me at all that just because we know ‘obvious’ cases of design through experience that we could recognize design that we have never observed.
    There are certainly a number of cases where it could be either; stone tools, ancient human activities like carving up animals, suspicious deaths investigate by crime scene investigators, and of course SETI-like explorations. In each case we investigate based on presumed earmarks that would allow us to determine intelligent activity in the case of events whose cause is unknown, and might have an alternate natural explanation.
    And we have agreed I think that we could readily identify alien ‘technology’ based on our own understanding of technology; and that is what we see in the cell; a very sophisticated technology, that we only understand as our own develops.
    Why? If we found old computers on just about every moon in our solar system I doubt many would seriously entertain some unknown natural process spits out computers. They would simply assume that aliens had at some point made extensive visits to our solar system and left behind a lot of junk. If pond scum as you say couldn’t be a natural occurrence then finding it all over would indicate nothing else than a lot of intelligent design over a lot of space rather than just one one planet.
    Actually, I said, “particularly if some environment existed where the basic circumstances of life’s development were observable”; in that case positing a intelligent design cause would be unnecessary.
    But this really begs the question; if we agree our own computers can’t be naturally caused, and that computers based on alien technology can’t be naturally caused, what reason would we have to think organic computers can be naturally devised? Particularly when the technology of those computers is much more sophisticated than our own?
    Didn’t you tell us you had ruled out ANY natural process that could have created life?
    Of course; I offered a falsifiable statement. That is what science does; it would only take one example to the contrary to prove me wrong.

  • Eric & Lisa

    To see a good example of what Joe is talking about in his 10 ways that Darwinists help intelligent design, take a look at the “neutral” wikipedia page on Intelligent Design.
    Supposedly it gives an accurate description of intelligent design. Clearly it is written by Darwinists. It is so over the top anti-Intelligent Design that anyone reading it will come away probably believing in Intelligent Design.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton,
    Did you miss my statement to you earlier and my question answering your assertions, or did I miss your answer?

  • plunge

    Unfortunately, this series was the same old same old recycling of a bunch of misunderstandings and half-truths. PZ myers did a pretty good job of explaining why, so no need to belabor the point too much.
    Eric & Lisa, you seem unaware of what the neutral point of view rule and others for wikipedia are actually about. They are NOT “equal-time/all opinions are equally valid” rules.

  • LudVanB

    “Again, if we found a advanced computer on Mars which was far advanced beyond our own technology, the it would be rationale to posit an inteligence as the cause of the machines existence; even if we knew nothing of the intelligence that produced it.”
    If we found ANY computer on mars,basic or advanced,the most logical conclusion would be that a HUMAN intelligence is responsible for its presence there because to the best of our knowledge,only human being in the entire universe uses computers. If we found cells on the moon (which would be dead because the moon does not provide the necessary elements to sustain live cells) to go back to your first analogy (or rather your second since the first was about the hieroglyphs),then the only logical conclusion based on the available data would be that somehow they came from earth,the only place we know of where cells exist…there’s a few possible means through which those cells could have found their way to the moon but the most likely would be a large meteor hitting the earth and sending chunks of earth back into space as a result of the impact on which there would be some living (but now deceased) organism and then for that chunk of earth to crash on the moon. See?…no need to appeal to mysterious uber intelligences from beyond as an explanation.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Again, here is one of the ‘just-so’ stories that typify evolutionary thinking. It is easy enough to imagine stuff; but let’s not pretend that imaginary solutions, derived from evolutionary thinking, are anymore certain than imaginary solutions derived from any other vantage point. It is an interesting contemplation, but it doesn’t in any way demonstrate the actual development of the structures in bats.
    Let’s take a step back here, you didn’t ask for the actual story. Your claim was that of all the possible sceneros there was no plausible one, I gave you one. While you may be prepared to write a treatesie on bats I’m not and I don’t intend to.
    If you told me there was no plausible way for gravity to account for a pebble orbiting Saturn I’d give you half a dozen plausible sceneros. Colliding moons, a cast off from a comet, a part of the original material from which Saturn formed, a volcanic eruption on one of Saturn’s moons and so on… Those are indeed ‘just so stories’ but so what? You’re trying to assert there is no ‘just so story’ that is consistent with the theory, well there is. Hah! Now whether it’s the actual story, that’s beyond my scope here.
    And while this scenario may explain the loss of sight, as it would for any other known cave dwelling organism, it in no way explains the development of precise echolocation capabilities, which don’t seem to be present in other organisms which live in caves.
    On the contrary, it would explain both. Having sight isn’t a bad thing even in a dark cave but the advantage is much reduced if there is hardly ever any light. So the loss of sight isn’t surprising since the blind have no real disadvantage anymore (and it might even be an advantage, what’s the point of spending time and energy growing eyes if you can’t ever use them?). As for why other organisms didn’t develope precise echolocation capabilities, perhaps small mammels already have a head start with what is already excellent hearing. Perhaps other organisms have head starts in other areas such as smell, which insects make great use of.
    There are certainly a number of cases where it could be either; stone tools, ancient human activities like carving up animals, suspicious deaths investigate by crime scene investigators, and of course SETI-like explorations. In each case we investigate based on presumed earmarks that would allow us to determine intelligent activity in the case of events whose cause is unknown, and might have an alternate natural explanation.
    All cases where we are looking for either things we have made ourselves or have imagined ourselves making (such as an interstellar radio beacon in the case of SETI).
    Actually, I said, “particularly if some environment existed where the basic circumstances of life’s development were observable”; in that case positing a intelligent design cause would be unnecessary.
    Life’s development is observable today on our planet. If you mean life originating when there was no life you have the problem that life radically alters things. Our atmosphere and planet is radically different today because it has life on it. We have no sample size of observations of life’s original condition so our ability to draw conclusions here is thin.
    But this really begs the question; if we agree our own computers can’t be naturally caused, and that computers based on alien technology can’t be naturally caused, what reason would we have to think organic computers can be naturally devised? Particularly when the technology of those computers is much more sophisticated than our own?
    ARe ‘organic computers’ anything like the computers we know are made by us (either in reality or in theory)? They are a far cry. Reasoning by analogy isn’t exactly forbidden but it is limited. The more unlike the two things you’re trying to draw into an analogy the more difficult it is to pull off in a convincing fashion.
    Didn’t you tell us you had ruled out ANY natural process that could have created life?
    No I didn’t, I’m saying you have ruled it out but you have not supported your assertion.
    Of course; I offered a falsifiable statement. That is what science does; it would only take one example to the contrary to prove me wrong.
    Assume for a moment that abiogensis is either too time consuming or too difficult to reproduce in a lab in our lifetimes but is nevertheless true. What falsifiable statement about ID could then be made? Remember I’ve excluded impossibles like a hypothetical video tape of life on earth starting on year 0 appearing or recreating it in a lab.
    Eric & Lisa
    Did you miss my statement to you earlier and my question answering your assertions, or did I miss your answer?
    I’m not sure, could you check again what it was you’re looking me to respond to?

  • http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/ jhudson

    If we found ANY computer on mars,basic or advanced,the most logical conclusion would be that a HUMAN intelligence is responsible for its presence there because to the best of our knowledge,only human being in the entire universe uses computers. If we found cells on the moon (which would be dead because the moon does not provide the necessary elements to sustain live cells) to go back to your first analogy (or rather your second since the first was about the hieroglyphs),then the only logical conclusion based on the available data would be that somehow they came from earth,the only place we know of where cells exist…there’s a few possible means through which those cells could have found their way to the moon but the most likely would be a large meteor hitting the earth and sending chunks of earth back into space as a result of the impact on which there would be some living (but now deceased) organism and then for that chunk of earth to crash on the moon. See?…no need to appeal to mysterious uber intelligences from beyond as an explanation.
    I have no problem with cells on the moon being from earth (though it would be easy enough to test this, presuming we could extract DNA); but that just begs the question about how those cells came to exist in the first place.
    Even if we proposed the Martian computer was human, it would still be the product of intelligent design.
    But what if that computer were encased in stone layers we knew to be thousands of years old; would one still be forced to conclude it was the product of’human’ effort? Under what circumstance would one consider other intelligent life?

  • Eric & Lisa

    It’s not that far up really, just after your comment:
    I’m illustrating how ID really explains nothing while claiming to explain all. Now DE doesn’t claim to explain all but it explains a lot and it explains it in a more productive manner than ID as I illustrated.
    Is my response to that comment.
    jhudson,
    Perhaps you can help me here but how could you ever convince a Darwinist of design?
    It seems to me that a true naturalist could never admit design in anything. Period. Intelligence and Design should simply be illusions, whereby we humans have evolved and computers, cars, airplanes and cell phones are all created by nature through natural selection. To say that somehow we are outside of the natural process would seem to me to undercut the entire theory.
    Have you heard this line of thought before?

  • LudVanB

    “I have no problem with cells on the moon being from earth (though it would be easy enough to test this, presuming we could extract DNA); but that just begs the question about how those cells came to exist in the first place. ”
    I dont think it begs any such question but rather answers the question of where the cell on the moon came from (earth)… as for where cells PERIOD come from thats another question alltogether and one that abiogenesis (chemistry) is doing a good job of answering even as we speak. the world is about 13-16 billion years old,the world about 4 billion and life about 1 billion,give or take a 1 hundred million or 2 and we ve been trying to answer the question of where life comes from originally for what…a couple of centuries? i think its still early in the game to be throwing in the towel and just say god…er sorry “some unknown uber intelligence” (wink nudge) did it all.
    “Even if we proposed the Martian computer was human, it would still be the product of intelligent design.”
    Yes but i dont see how you think that makes any point in your favor? as i said,humans are the only known computer users that any one has ever heard of so obviously that martian computer would be human in origin.
    “But what if that computer were encased in stone layers we knew to be thousands of years old; would one still be forced to conclude it was the product of’human’ effort? Under what circumstance would one consider other intelligent life?”
    If that was the case,and we are advancing a hypothetical to the furthermost extreme in my opinion, then the logical conclusion would still be that its presence on mars was the result of human actions…that would sure open a lot of interesting possibilities about humans and what they did in the distant past but that wouls still not be anything other than proof of HUMAN intelligence.

  • LudVanB

    “Perhaps you can help me here but how could you ever convince a Darwinist of design?”
    i can think of a surefire way of doing that…obtain independant evidence of said designer’s existance,arrange a meeting between the designer and the darwinist and have the designer explain to the darwining how IT designed the darwinist. that are to do it.

  • Eric & Lisa

    LudVanB,
    That already happened and they killed Him for it.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Isn’t it interesting to see that the evolutionary materialism advocates in the thread consistently fail to address the substantial issues, instead resorting to at best dismissive remarks, at worst rhetorical sniping and personal attacks and/or excuses for such?
    What does that tell us about the balance of the case on the merits? [Especially, since there are a great many major, well-funded web sites attempting to defend evolutionary materialist

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    But what if that computer were encased in stone layers we knew to be thousands of years old; would one still be forced to conclude it was the product of’human’ effort? Under what circumstance would one consider other intelligent life?
    Then we would conclude it was human-like life. Notice even here we go with what we know first. We don’t assume some type of Greek Gods made the computer or a supernatural type of beign.
    It seems to me that a true naturalist could never admit design in anything. Period. Intelligence and Design should simply be illusions, whereby we humans have evolved and computers, cars, airplanes and cell phones are all created by nature through natural selection. To say that somehow we are outside of the natural process would seem to me to undercut the entire theory.
    On the contrary, if there were serious problems with evolution a philsophical naturalist could make peace with intelligent design very easily. Since ID doesn’t tell us anything about the nature of the designer a big question mark is the end of the story.
    Imagine we start making robots and we get really, really got at them. We make robots that can reproduce themselves and even evolve. Say one of our space ships crashes on a distant planet with some of these robots. As ages pass these robots grow and become intelligent and start asking where they came from. By this time the human race is long gone and so is any trace of the ship that crashed on their planet. They study intensely all the natural elements on their planet and conclude there is no way machines made of bolts, wires and circuit boards could have evolved without intervention.
    What are they left to conclude? Either they came from somewhere else were mechanical life could have originated or they were put there, again by ‘something else’. However what that something was is now reduced to nothing more than a guess. How could they guess that humans evolved and made robots and accidently left some on that planet?
    “Perhaps you can help me here but how could you ever convince a Darwinist of design?”
    Articulate a coherent theory for starters. Actually commit to something. If you claim to have a tool to detect design explain clearly how it works, explain what results happen if you apply that tool.
    That already happened and they killed Him for it.
    Jesus was killed by Darwinists? Call Mel Gibson now!
    Gordon:
    –> The text I have bolded concedes the case: the point is that significant random changes in biosystems expressed early in embryological development [as would be required for macroevolution at basic body plan level] are utterly overwhelmingly highly prone to be destructive, eliminating themselves from the gene pool.
    –> In the analogy of changing one book into another, that would be like insisting that each and every random change must itself make grammatical, spelling and plot-line sense, at each stage. The proper burden of proof to show that such a pathway exists between two major novels properly belongs to B, and the fact that he here tries to shift that burden is strong evidence that he cannot meet it.
    Quite the contrary, you and jhudson are asserting here that no such path exists. You are asserting that all paths are destructive therefore could not have happened through natural selection. Considering there is no way to even begin to calculate how many paths there might be, let alone list them, it is quite fair that you prove this point.
    Again if I told you that no valid chess game could end with two knights, two queens, a prime number of pawns and one rook on the board it’s not your job to prove me wrong by searching all the possible valid game of chess (a number so huge that even a computer as large as the universe would take essentially forever to calculate them all) but for me to prove myself correct by showing how I could know such a thing considering the huge number of possible games.
    –> In the analogy of changing one book into another, that would be like insisting that each and every random change must itself make grammatical, spelling and plot-line sense, at each stage. The proper burden of proof to show that such a pathway exists between two major novels properly belongs to B, and the fact that he here tries to shift that burden is strong evidence that he cannot meet it.
    so what? Out of the trillions of paths there are hundreds of billions of invalid ones. Only one need exist, although I suspect thousands or even millions might as well.
    –> I have long since suggested a “simple” empirical test of the limitations of random searches to target FSCI-based results; one that is well within reach of the 5% of the US population who declare themselves atheists. Get a few million old PCs and floppies, rig up a random magnetising circuit, then wipe at random once per minute or so, and test for a properly formatted document in any reasonable PC document format. After a year report on the number of documents so produced. My prediction: ZERO. [After 16 months there have been, equally predictably, ZERO takers. No need to guess why; i.e. when confronted by a concrete empirical test case within reach, evo mat advocates implicitly acknowledge the limitations of a random search after all.]
    This is what I meant when I talk about the scrabble bag. Yes simply tossing out random letters has a tiny chance of producing anything (this is essentially a scrabble bag using a computer). However note that is not how the hypothetical text program I laid out operates.
    So again if someone bothered to code my program and it produced something slanderous about Gordon could Gordon sue the programmer? If not then why not? As Gordon claims above a sensible phrase could almost certainly have not happened ‘randomly’ therefore someone must have been responsible for creating it. If not the programmer then whom?
    –> B, this is a dodge of the patent fact that it is YOU who, using your mind and PC have again raised a grievous and unjustified slander against me — after you have previously raised the same insult and have gone on to invidiously compare me to nazism, equally without evidence.
    But how could I, the hypothetical programmer, have done such a thing? Since the changes to the initial nonsense phrase are done randomly how could I determined ahead of time it would spawn something slanderous?
    –> Two problems here. First, we pretty well know the sort of computers we have made over the past 70 years, so if the Martian machine was out of line with that, though recognisable as a computer, we would have a good reason to infer that the machine was not of HUMAN origin, though obviously it would be of intelligent origin.
    Or that there is something we have gotten very wrong about human history. That too would be a valid conclusion and given what we know about the difficulties of pulling off interstellar travel one that would merit significant consideration.

  • http:/// jhudson

    If that was the case,and we are advancing a hypothetical to the furthermost extreme in my opinion, then the logical conclusion would still be that its presence on mars was the result of human actions…that would sure open a lot of interesting possibilities about humans and what they did in the distant past but that wouls still not be anything other than proof of HUMAN intelligence.

    Clinging to a completely irrational belief in light of overwhelming evidence to the contrary sort of puts one outside the pale of reasonable discussion I am afraid.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton, how come you still havn’t answered the only question ive asked you?
    You were happy to answer a question I put to jhudson but you skipped right over the question I asked you. Why?

  • The Raven

    Ohfergawdsake, Gordon.
    In the Berkeley link I offer above, we have this:
    “In fact, the oldest known complete fossil bat, the Eocene-age Icaronycteris shown at left, shows specializations of the auditory region of the skull that suggest that this bat could echolocate.
    The oldest megachiropteran (flying fox, or fruitbat) is Oligocene in age, from Italy; it and a Miocene fossil from Africa make up the entire known fossil record of megachiropterans.”
    Whereas, as jh misrepresents the issue – and you confound it – the reader is to assume a completely different story. As to why we have such a paucity of fossils, I offered several explanations as proposed by a biologist in the field. No, jh refutes nothing, but, more interestingly, appears caught between two positions, summarized thus:
    1. All organic matter is proof positive of ID.
    2. Inorganic matter is different.
    But that doesn’t make any sense, since the Creator created the universe (as the religious would have it) would not each and every particle of it bear the signature mark of the Designer?
    And once you guys finally admit that pond scum is evidence of ID, I’m content to walk off, laughing and shaking my head. The irreducible complexity being held up as the exemplar is a case of the devout poking their noses into the laboratory and knocking things off the benches like a bunch of spastic children. Incredibly, in only a few brief decades, we are coming to learn the secrets of the cell. Yet, today, we hardly grasp a fraction of it. Different disciplines are studying life from every imaginable angle. We’re just beginning, for example, to understand the function of apolipoproteins in the lipid transport system.
    You guys are simply jumping the gun. We’re nowhere near claiming that any complexity in the cell is “irreducible,” whatever the hell that means. But ever since our earliest proto-Indo-European ancestors began cultivating livestock and domesticating wild animals, ever since Mendel began selectively polinating peas, and ever since we’ve learned how to genetically engineer bacteria that do such useful things as mitigate the damage of oil spills, we’ve shown that we can manipulate biological systems – today right down to the genetic level.
    And if the only criticism you have is that evolutionary theory doesn’t wrap up every conceivable question to your ridiculously absurd desired level of detail, right now, this instant, upon the snap of your fingers, why, the entire thing is useless and the “best” answer is an invisible flying superbeing. Yeah, that’ll clear everything up.
    High time you folks got back to the real business of religion: scaring people with threats of Hades and singing your hosannas at ice cream socials.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Boonton, how come you still havn’t answered the only question ive asked you?
    You were happy to answer a question I put to jhudson but you skipped right over the question I asked you. Why?
    Eric & Lisa, didn’t I very nicely ask you once to point out the question you think I missed?
    But that doesn’t make any sense, since the Creator created the universe (as the religious would have it) would not each and every particle of it bear the signature mark of the Designer?
    This is a potent argument. However ID asserts that there’s a difference between designed and non-designed. If everything in the universe is designed by the Creator then design in terms of ID takes on the status of ether before Einstein blew it out of the water. If everything is designed then what exactly is the purpose of a test for design?
    Then again let’s take a step back and remember that ID supporters tell us over and over again that the designer is not necessarily God or any type of supernatural beign. In that case then a lot of stuff on the earth must be undesigned…even life itself must mostly be non-designed since it clearly has been running on auto-pilot for quite some time now like an untended garden that has long since grown wild.
    Which makes you wonder they some theists have clung to this so strongly. It is bizaar to assert that God did not want a rock to be on a beach when you trip over it while walking towards that watch in the sand. Why is it so important to them to be able to ‘capture’ God in some type of scientific test when it comes to life but not everything else?

  • http:/// jhudson

    Whereas, as jh misrepresents the issue – and you confound it – the reader is to assume a completely different story. As to why we have such a paucity of fossils, I offered several explanations as proposed by a biologist in the field. No, jh refutes nothing, but, more interestingly, appears caught between two positions, summarized thus:
    1. All organic matter is proof positive of ID.
    2. Inorganic matter is different.

    Well, no, I was fairly clear; self-replicating, complex, coded informations systems driving nano-machine factories are best explained by ID. The fact that organic life is at it’s base a self-replicating, complex, coded informations system is incidental; unless you can posit a better explanation for the cause of existence of such a struture, you have no point here.
    But that doesn’t make any sense, since the Creator created the universe (as the religious would have it) would not each and every particle of it bear the signature mark of the Designer?
    Why would it? Does everything you do bear your signature? If you kick some sand about, could someone come along later and tell that the sand lay where it did because your actions? Only certain kinds of structures definitively bear the earmarks of design. Many events and objects are the are the products of ongoing processes; process that are not themselves intelligent agents.
    And once you guys finally admit that pond scum is evidence of ID, I’m content to walk off, laughing and shaking my head. The irreducible complexity being held up as the exemplar is a case of the devout poking their noses into the laboratory and knocking things off the benches like a bunch of spastic children. Incredibly, in only a few brief decades, we are coming to learn the secrets of the cell. Yet, today, we hardly grasp a fraction of it. Different disciplines are studying life from every imaginable angle. We’re just beginning, for example, to understand the function of apolipoproteins in the lipid transport system.
    If you laugh off ‘pond scum’ it is because you don’t realize undestand what it is made of; we have begun to learn the ‘secrets of the cell’ and it isn’t the product of random events – it is best understood and studied as an information system.
    You guys are simply jumping the gun. We’re nowhere near claiming that any complexity in the cell is “irreducible,” whatever the hell that means. But ever since our earliest proto-Indo-European ancestors began cultivating livestock and domesticating wild animals, ever since Mendel began selectively polinating peas, and ever since we’ve learned how to genetically engineer bacteria that do such useful things as mitigate the damage of oil spills, we’ve shown that we can manipulate biological systems – today right down to the genetic level.
    Interesting that you claim in the same sentence that you don’t know what ‘irreducibly complex’ means, and then claim we are no where near discovering it’s presence in a cell (how you would know this if you don’t know what it is, no one can say).
    This is after you made the claim we are coming to “learn the secrets of the cell”. This may be the most inconsistent set of statements I have ever seen in this short of a period of time.
    And if the only criticism you have is that evolutionary theory doesn’t wrap up every conceivable question to your ridiculously absurd desired level of detail, right now, this instant, upon the snap of your fingers, why, the entire thing is useless and the “best” answer is an invisible flying superbeing. Yeah, that’ll clear everything up.
    It would be nice if, after 150 years, it explained something other than why bacteria resist antibiotics.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Why would it? Does everything you do bear your signature? If you kick some sand about, could someone come along later and tell that the sand lay where it did because your actions? Only certain kinds of structures definitively bear the earmarks of design. Many events and objects are the are the products of ongoing processes; process that are not themselves intelligent agents.
    No but when we talk about a Creator we are talking about an infinite beign and that carries with it some philosophical/theological baggage that you just don’t get with simple things like us. One of which would be the fact that with infinite knowledge, when he kicked some sand he would know in the most minute detail where each grain would land and what the implications would be even millions of years later.
    Now if you’re saying that the ‘evidence of design’ is also evidence of design by a non-infinite beign then that contradicts your previous assertions that ID makes no statements on the designer.
    BTW, why exactly is it that ID refuses to even discuss anything about the designer or when and how he went about his business? When someone discovers a slab of stone with writing on it a grad student would be laughed out of the profession if his final report concluded “we know some intelligence did this”. He would be expected to explain who did it, ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks etc.? When they did it? How they did it? And so on.

  • http:/// jhudson

    Then again let’s take a step back and remember that ID supporters tell us over and over again that the designer is not necessarily God or any type of supernatural beign. In that case then a lot of stuff on the earth must be undesigned…even life itself must mostly be non-designed since it clearly has been running on auto-pilot for quite some time now like an untended garden that has long since grown wild.
    Which makes you wonder they some theists have clung to this so strongly. It is bizaar to assert that God did not want a rock to be on a beach when you trip over it while walking towards that watch in the sand. Why is it so important to them to be able to ‘capture’ God in some type of scientific test when it comes to life but not everything else?
    First off, the purpose of ID is not to ‘capture God'; it is to detect design where ever that is possible.
    It’s really not that hard to understand; certain events and structures are indicative of intelligent design; others may be the product of intelligent design, but the way they occur or the method by which they are constructed is not indicative of intelligent design. Thus, if I make a robot that moves rocks around, that robot would have structures that indicate intelligent design, but the particular placement of a rock, though the result of an intelligently designed machine, may not.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    And what is the test that ID would use to tell us the robot tests positive for ID but the pattern of rocks on the ground doesn’t test positive or negative for ID?

  • http:/// jhudson

    No but when we talk about a Creator we are talking about an infinite beign and that carries with it some philosophical/theological baggage that you just don’t get with simple things like us. One of which would be the fact that with infinite knowledge, when he kicked some sand he would know in the most minute detail where each grain would land and what the implications would be even millions of years later.
    You are positing theological attributes to an intelligent designer science can’t explore; ID doesn’t say it’s an ‘infinite being’ or that the designer has ‘infinite knowledge'; I don’t even know how one would know this scientifically. ID simple says there are certain attributes that indicate design; if those attributes are present, it’s the product of intelligent agency.
    Now if you’re saying that the ‘evidence of design’ is also evidence of design by a non-infinite beign then that contradicts your previous assertions that ID makes no statements on the designer.
    No, I am saying intelligent design doesn’t attempt (nor could any scientific measure) to qualify the designer in terms of it’s temporal nature.
    BTW, why exactly is it that ID refuses to even discuss anything about the designer or when and how he went about his business? When someone discovers a slab of stone with writing on it a grad student would be laughed out of the profession if his final report concluded “we know some intelligence did this”. He would be expected to explain who did it, ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks etc.? When they did it? How they did it? And so on.
    That actually changes depending on the proximity of the event. We know a bit about recent designers, and much less about designers that are much older; if one finds a stone tool that is several thousand years old, we could determine whether the tool is the product of design, but not neccesarily which person or persons produced it.
    In the same way, if SETI detected a signal they thought indicated an extra-terrestrial intelligence, they wouldn’t be dismissed because they didn’t know the specific identity of the originator of the signal.

  • http:/// jhudson

    And what is the test that ID would use to tell us the robot tests positive for ID but the pattern of rocks on the ground doesn’t test positive or negative for ID?
    If the robot was composed of irreducibly complex structures, that would be indicative of ID.
    Rock placement would only be indicative of ID if it was patterned in such a way to convey information for a purpose.

  • The Raven

    “Interesting that you claim in the same sentence that you don’t know what ‘irreducibly complex’ means, and then claim we are no where near discovering it’s presence in a cell (how you would know this if you don’t know what it is, no one can say).”
    No inconsistency. The “designed-by-intellegence” argument is claiming to be “science” because it has some thus-far-not-described ability to take some object or other and apply some sort of “test” to it. The test I’m refering to is the one Behe couldn’t produce in Dover, btw. But you claim there is one, and because of that you have a “scientific method,” complete with guys in white lab coats.
    So boonton and I are asking: “What is the test?” Because you’re claiming that by employing this highly scientific process, you can determine that some object or biological organism has “irreducable complexity.” Thus I’m pointing out that if we do not completely understand the entire mechanics of cellular chemistry, replication, and so forth, then we still have room to go before we have a more complete understanding. OK?
    Nobody is able to dash into the room shouting about anything being “irreducable” because there hasn’t been an explanation of what it means for something to be “reduced.” In fact, the flaggelum and the eye have already been totally debunked as “irreducable,” as in those cases it was shown that a biological structure can be re-employed in new directions; in fact, the principle was one of biological economy, and it was really quite straightforward and not at all evidence that these structures could not have evolved. They are the same as all other biological structures, which appear to be natural in origin and not manufactured by some outside agency.
    Now, there appear to be some questions you have about living cells. You think the answer to those questions lies in a deus ex machina. So my response is that until we have a more exhaustive understanding of cellular biology, you have no grounds upon which to claim that any part of it is “non-explanable” except for mysterious and unknown intelligences that we all know is the underpinning of your religious dogma. All this coy giggling behind the fingers of “Oh – I didn’t say it was God, now” is exactly the kind of dishonesty that Joe refers to in his latest on this subject.
    And how can the “best” explanation for something be the one that is not in accord with multiple branches of science that are in full agreement to the contrary? Because if ID were true, it would invalidate mountains of reviewed research and invalidate oceans of confirming experimental data. Actually, the only confirmation it would provide would be toward the claims forwarded by the Biblical creation myth. Which is the point.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You are positing theological attributes to an intelligent designer science can’t explore; ID doesn’t say it’s an ‘infinite being’ or that the designer has ‘infinite knowledge'; I don’t even know how one would know this scientifically. ID simple says there are certain attributes that indicate design; if those attributes are present, it’s the product of intelligent agency.
    While we are at it, then, what exactly is meant by intelligent versus non-intelligent design? ID should at least have a rigerous definition of intelligence.
    That actually changes depending on the proximity of the event. We know a bit about recent designers, and much less about designers that are much older; if one finds a stone tool that is several thousand years old, we could determine whether the tool is the product of design, but not neccesarily which person or persons produced it.
    Ahhh my friend, but you forget that you backed away from your ‘front loading’ hypothesis. ID doesn’t say that ID happened just at the abiogensis point. In fact, your discussion about bats leads to the conclusion that even as recently as 50 MYA the designer was still tinkering.
    In the same way, if SETI detected a signal they thought indicated an extra-terrestrial intelligence, they wouldn’t be dismissed because they didn’t know the specific identity of the originator of the signal.
    Errr yea they would. In fact, one such signal has been dismissed, do a search for the WOW signal. Because it has never been repeated and we cannot get a fix on anything interesting in the direction it came from it is basically not considered a success…although if 200 years from now we discover there is intelligence living on a planet in that direction it will be considered our first contact.
    If the robot was composed of irreducibly complex structures, that would be indicative of ID.
    So you would have to prove IC in order to say something passes the test for ID. Right?

  • http:/// jhudson

    While we are at it, then, what exactly is meant by intelligent versus non-intelligent design? ID should at least have a rigerous definition of intelligence.
    Two parts via Dembski; the design is a purposeful arrangement of parts, typically understood as the actualized products of a phenomenon which is capable of undertaking the conceptualization and actualization of a plan.
    Ahhh my friend, but you forget that you backed away from your ‘front loading’ hypothesis. ID doesn’t say that ID happened just at the abiogensis point. In fact, your discussion about bats leads to the conclusion that even as recently as 50 MYA the designer was still tinkering.
    I specifically said several thousand years could be enough time to prevent positive identification of a designer (as is a distance of some miles); several thousand is much less than 50 million last I checked.
    But there are other reasons why identity might be a problem. In the cases you cited, we knew the identity of the Egyptians et. al. because they were part of a large ongoing civilzations. Individual actions occuring for brief periods of time would make that sort of identification much more difficult.
    And the desire on the part of a designer to be identified individually is also an issue. While we might know something generally about who initiated the construction of the pyramids, we no nothing of individual engineers and and builders who undertook its construction.
    Errr yea they would. In fact, one such signal has been dismissed, do a search for the WOW signal. Because it has never been repeated and we cannot get a fix on anything interesting in the direction it came from it is basically not considered a success…although if 200 years from now we discover there is intelligence living on a planet in that direction it will be considered our first contact.
    WOW was unable to be confirmed because their are no other examples like it; it we got multiple regular signals from a source, particular if the patterns were complex, specified, and purposeful (Like an interpreted message which actually communicated something) then we would consider intelligent agency regardless of our knowledge of the producers of that signal.
    So you would have to prove IC in order to say something passes the test for ID. Right?
    IC is one test, but if it is present, then it would indicate design, yes.

  • http:/// jhudson

    No inconsistency. The “designed-by-intellegence” argument is claiming to be “science” because it has some thus-far-not-described ability to take some object or other and apply some sort of “test” to it. The test I’m refering to is the one Behe couldn’t produce in Dover, btw. But you claim there is one, and because of that you have a “scientific method,” complete with guys in white lab coats.
    Actually, Behe has said that irreducible complexity is fairly easy to test; simply demonstrate the development of a living cell or IC structure by way of unguided forces.
    So boonton and I are asking: “What is the test?” Because you’re claiming that by employing this highly scientific process, you can determine that some object or biological organism has “irreducable complexity.” Thus I’m pointing out that if we do not completely understand the entire mechanics of cellular chemistry, replication, and so forth, then we still have room to go before we have a more complete understanding. OK?
    Actually I think we are getting to the point where this can be tested rather vigorously. We can now perform fairly specific knock-out tests, removing genes that specifically control structures in organisms. If IC structures can develop in a step-wise fashion, it should simply be a matter of knocking out components and seeing if those structures still function.
    Nobody is able to dash into the room shouting about anything being “irreducable” because there hasn’t been an explanation of what it means for something to be “reduced.” In fact, the flaggelum and the eye have already been totally debunked as “irreducable,” as in those cases it was shown that a biological structure can be re-employed in new directions; in fact, the principle was one of biological economy, and it was really quite straightforward and not at all evidence that these structures could not have evolved. They are the same as all other biological structures, which appear to be natural in origin and not manufactured by some outside agency.
    Actually, the irreducibly complex biomolecular structures of the flagellum and the eye have never been ‘debunked’ except by just so stories that typify evolutionary explanations. And as I have shown here, structures like the morphological organization of microbats doesn’t even pretend to have an evolutionary explanation. There are numerous structures like this.
    Now, there appear to be some questions you have about living cells. You think the answer to those questions lies in a deus ex machina. So my response is that until we have a more exhaustive understanding of cellular biology, you have no grounds upon which to claim that any part of it is “non-explanable” except for mysterious and unknown intelligences that we all know is the underpinning of your religious dogma. All this coy giggling behind the fingers of “Oh – I didn’t say it was God, now” is exactly the kind of dishonesty that Joe refers to in his latest on this subject.
    Science is based on what we know now, not what we hope we might know in the future. If every theory were as dependent on future evidence as evolution is, there would be no scientific progress at all because every theory ever proposed could conceivably be proved right in the ‘future’. We know information systems and machines to be the product of intelligence, and no evidence has ever been given to the contrary – and it is exceedingly obvious that you will be offering nothing new on this subject.
    And how can the “best” explanation for something be the one that is not in accord with multiple branches of science that are in full agreement to the contrary? Because if ID were true, it would invalidate mountains of reviewed research and invalidate oceans of confirming experimental data. Actually, the only confirmation it would provide would be toward the claims forwarded by the Biblical creation myth. Which is the point.
    As I have said, the “more exhaustive” our understanding of cellular biology, the less evidence there is that it could have happened by chance. Evolution is dependent on over-simplified understandings of life’s development. The reality is biology is moving away from the soft science of evolutionary explanations toward the more rigorous examination of life as an information system; Darwin is passe as most 150 year old Victorian ideologies are. No real science currently depends on Darwinian evolution in any pragmatic sense.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I specifically said several thousand years could be enough time to prevent positive identification of a designer (as is a distance of some miles); several thousand is much less than 50 million last I checked.
    In the example I gave I did not claim that positive identification of authors of several thousand year old documents could be done. Almost always they can’t but nevertheless a great deal could be said about them. Even knowing which culture they derived from is very informative.
    Some of the questions I ask IDers (which they never answer) concern the nature of the design. When was it done? Where? Is there evidence for competiting designers and so on. These are questions that are often asked of ancient ‘designed’ relics even when there is no hope of ever finding specific information about the human author.
    But there are other reasons why identity might be a problem. In the cases you cited, we knew the identity of the Egyptians et. al. because they were part of a large ongoing civilzations. Individual actions occuring for brief periods of time would make that sort of identification much more difficult.
    But how brief? If natural selection is as limited as you say it is then it sounds like there would need to be a lot of designing happening accross a lot of different species…even some going on today!
    And the desire on the part of a designer to be identified individually is also an issue. While we might know something generally about who initiated the construction of the pyramids, we no nothing of individual engineers and and builders who undertook its construction.
    Irrelevant, ID claims it has a test to detect design therefore the desire to conceal themselves is irrelevant here. No doubt OJ would have wanted to conceal the fact that his DNA was all over a murder scene but DNA testing is not stopped by his wishes.
    So you would have to prove IC in order to say something passes the test for ID. Right?
    IC is one test, but if it is present, then it would indicate design, yes.
    Well you never went into any other tests so let’s stick with IC at the moment. You have to prove IC but this is where you fail. You claim that it is hard to imagine that animal A could have spawned animal B through a series of mutations that were naturally selected because animal B has some traits that are very specific to animal B and it’s hard to imagine these traits working as they do now if even one element is slightly different. You claim this is backed up by the fact that evolution has not articulated a series of steps that would meet this criteria.
    The problem with this, though, is that we are not talking about a simple series of steps. Going from species A, which is really a huge population of genetically diverse individuals to species B involves numerous generations with nearly all the information being lost in each step. How can you prove that no such path exists when the possibilities are so numerous? See my analogy about no chess game being able to end in a particular configuration of pieces. You may be able to show that all the chess games that were recorded ended that way, you may be able to show that great chess thinkers haven’t laid out how a game could end that way but that is still a long way from showing that of all the possible chess games none could ever end in that configuation if the rules of the game were consistently observed.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Actually, Behe has said that irreducible complexity is fairly easy to test; simply demonstrate the development of a living cell or IC structure by way of unguided forces.
    Actually, the irreducibly complex biomolecular structures of the flagellum and the eye have never been ‘debunked’ except by just so stories that typify evolutionary explanations. And as I have shown here, structures like the morphological organization of microbats doesn’t even pretend to have an evolutionary explanation. There are numerous structures like this.
    This is where you get it wrong. What are you asking for? If a ‘just so’ story features unguided mutations that are selected naturally that result in a structure that you claim is IC then IC fails the test. Remember IC claims there is NO plausible series of steps that could have produced it. If one plausible series is introduced then that claim is gone. Here again is the proof by elimination problem. If you claim OJ is guilty because everyone else has been proven innocent the defense lawyer just has to show that you failed to prove at least one other person innocent.
    Considering that it is undeniable just about all but a few bits of information on bats has been lost doesn’t it seem like you’re setting the bar unreasonably high here? YOu’re basically saying bats are IC unless you give me not only a plausible story of how they couldn’t be (that would be, after all, a ‘just so’ story) but you also prove that story happened in any arbitrary level of detail I wish to enforce. Otherwise ID wins!
    Science is based on what we know now, not what we hope we might know in the future. If every theory were as dependent on future evidence as evolution is, there would be no scientific progress at all because every theory ever proposed could conceivably be proved right in the ‘future’. We know information systems and machines to be the product of intelligence, and no evidence has ever been given to the contrary – and it is exceedingly obvious that you will be offering nothing new on this subject.
    On the contrary, science is very much based on the future. If tomorrow suddenly we stop falling down then our theory of gravity is in a lot of trouble. Evolution has a lot of support because discoveries made after the theory was formulated fall very much in line with it or its modifications. ID, on the other hand, seems to be purposefully set up to be nearly impossible to test in any lab. It seems to be impossible to falisfy without some impossibly high level of evidence (such as complete genetic codes of every generation of bat starting today and going back 50-100MY).
    Unlike evolution it appears that IDers would rather their theory not be tested, in fact they seem to gravitate towards a theory that is untestable…. In other words they would rather not prove it correct but would rather make it almost impossible to prove wrong.

  • http:/// jhudson

    In the example I gave I did not claim that positive identification of authors of several thousand year old documents could be done. Almost always they can’t but nevertheless a great deal could be said about them. Even knowing which culture they derived from is very informative.
    Sure, it helps, but is not always possible, and historical knowledge is not particularly ‘scientific’ per se; it’s often more of an art.
    Some of the questions I ask IDers (which they never answer) concern the nature of the design. When was it done? Where? Is there evidence for competiting designers and so on. These are questions that are often asked of ancient ‘designed’ relics even when there is no hope of ever finding specific information about the human author.
    The first, and obviously currently debated question is whether it was designed; you are jumping way ahead of where the science is at. It took one hundred years for germ theory to be established before it was the over-arching paradigm controlling our understanding of the spread of disease.
    But I am curious, as an evolutionist, why aren’t you concerned about the same questions about something like a bat? When did the neccesary mutations occur that allowed for echolocation? What are the specific mutations for this adaptation, and to what ancestral genome? What actual circumstances allowed an organism to develop this way? Is there more substantial evidence that it did evolve in the presumed manner other than conjecture?
    I don’t understand why evolutionists settle for ‘it just evolved, no more questions’.
    But how brief? If natural selection is as limited as you say it is then it sounds like there would need to be a lot of designing happening accross a lot of different species…even some going on today!
    No irreducibly complex structures have ever been observed to evolve; and everything we observe to day is just simple rearrangements to the genome that do not ultimately result in the evolution of such structures. But we are now able to make our own changes to the genome; and that is part of how we know what it takes to make those significant changes.
    Irrelevant, ID claims it has a test to detect design therefore the desire to conceal themselves is irrelevant here. No doubt OJ would have wanted to conceal the fact that his DNA was all over a murder scene but DNA testing is not stopped by his wishes.
    My point was really one of self-identification and communication. We know quite a bit about the Egyptians, not because of ‘science’ but because they wrote it down. Overall, science is very limited in this regard.
    Well you never went into any other tests so let’s stick with IC at the moment. You have to prove IC but this is where you fail. You claim that it is hard to imagine that animal A could have spawned animal B through a series of mutations that were naturally selected because animal B has some traits that are very specific to animal B and it’s hard to imagine these traits working as they do now if even one element is slightly different. You claim this is backed up by the fact that evolution has not articulated a series of steps that would meet this criteria.
    Actually, I never said that; I said IC structures could not develop through a series of step-wise mutations; it has nothing to do with imagining animal A or B. Let’s be clear.
    The problem with this, though, is that we are not talking about a simple series of steps. Going from species A, which is really a huge population of genetically diverse individuals to species B involves numerous generations with nearly all the information being lost in each step. How can you prove that no such path exists when the possibilities are so numerous? See my analogy about no chess game being able to end in a particular configuration of pieces. You may be able to show that all the chess games that were recorded ended that way, you may be able to show that great chess thinkers haven’t laid out how a game could end that way but that is still a long way from showing that of all the possible chess games none could ever end in that configuation if the rules of the game were consistently observed.
    The reality is evolution always breaks down when explaining IC structures; it doesn’t really matter how many steps it might take, no steps can be demonstrated. None are observed. None can be tested. Your whole argument here is that we can’t question evolution because it can’t really be examined rigorously; and that doesn’t help us confirm evolution, though it does tell us evolution isn’t a scientifically tested theory, it is simply a series of stories told in scientific language.
    But it doesn’t even have to be a living organism; all that needs to be demonstrated is to show an functioning structure that can be developed through an unguided series of steps to disprove IC.
    This is where you get it wrong. What are you asking for? If a ‘just so’ story features unguided mutations that are selected naturally that result in a structure that you claim is IC then IC fails the test. Remember IC claims there is NO plausible series of steps that could have produced it. If one plausible series is introduced then that claim is gone. Here again is the proof by elimination problem. If you claim OJ is guilty because everyone else has been proven innocent the defense lawyer just has to show that you failed to prove at least one other person innocent.
    No, IC doesn’t fail the test as a result of a made up story that oversimplifies the actual facts.
    ‘Plausible’ here means something that could be shown to happen in reality (through ordinary scientific means), not in evolutionists made up world.
    I don’t have to prove ‘everyone’ innocent; I only have three choices for causes, chance, neccesity, and intelligent agency. Chance and neccesity can’t alone account for the existence of IC strutures, so that leaves intelligent agency.
    Considering that it is undeniable just about all but a few bits of information on bats has been lost doesn’t it seem like you’re setting the bar unreasonably high here? YOu’re basically saying bats are IC unless you give me not only a plausible story of how they couldn’t be (that would be, after all, a ‘just so’ story) but you also prove that story happened in any arbitrary level of detail I wish to enforce. Otherwise ID wins!
    Again, demonstrating how the individual existing components of the bats’ morphology can exist in a useful manner independent of one another is key here; saying ‘some mammal wondered into a cave and got big ears’ isn’t sufficient.
    On the contrary, science is very much based on the future. If tomorrow suddenly we stop falling down then our theory of gravity is in a lot of trouble. Evolution has a lot of support because discoveries made after the theory was formulated fall very much in line with it or its modifications. ID, on the other hand, seems to be purposefully set up to be nearly impossible to test in any lab. It seems to be impossible to falisfy without some impossibly high level of evidence (such as complete genetic codes of every generation of bat starting today and going back 50-100MY).
    We may be in trouble if gravity ‘fails’, but our understanding of gravity now is not contingent on future unkown discoveries.
    Take germ theory; it demonstrated with a certain number of examples that organisms couldn’t arise spontaneously but instead were the product of other organisms. It would have been impossible to test every single environment or every existing organism to establish this theory, but based on what we know, it holds true. It could be proved wrong with a single example to the contrary.
    If abiogenecists were allowed to hold germ theory at bay utilizing the same methods as evolutionists, they could just argue that ‘germ theory’ hasn’t tested all the possible circumstances, or that evidence for abiogenesis was forthcoming once enough was known about microorganisms.
    But that isn’t how science works; it is based on what we know – and what we know is that germs come from other germs, and that IC structures cannot develop incrementally, pending evidence to the contrary.
    Unlike evolution it appears that IDers would rather their theory not be tested, in fact they seem to gravitate towards a theory that is untestable. In other words they would rather not prove it correct but would rather make it almost impossible to prove wrong.
    Actually, as I said, science is in a sense ‘catching up to’ ID. Forward looking science is often hard to test; many of Einstein’s predictions weren’t able to be tested until some years after he made them (like gravity bending light). We are beginning to be able to knock out genes; as we are able to do so more precisely, we should be able to test the stepwise development of IC structures.
    We are also learning more about the nature of information, and that will allow us to definitively describe its parameters viv a vis the stepwise development of complexity.
    And of course there has been some conjecture about what it would take to develop an IC structure like a bacterial flagellum by subjecting bacteria which have very short generational spans to highly pressurized selective forces.
    None the less, ID itself is easily testable; we test it all the time as we apply intelligence to the development of complex structures; we know ID can modify the genome in complex ways. It is evolution that is completely untested in this regard.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    Now that for the moment my net access is a bit better, I decided to check back.
    I observe quite a back-forth between B and JH, with JH the obvious winner on points. I also notice that the material issues JH, I and others have raised above have plainly hit home.
    As to Raven’s objection raised to me, he should note that I simply cited JH, who is obviously someone who knows what he is talking about on bats. He should be talking to JH.
    However, just for fun, here are a few notes now that real access is back up for me:

    1] PNAS, 2001: When scaffolds from molecular phylogenies are incorporated into parsimony analyses of morphological characters, including morphological characters for the Eocene taxa Icaronycteris, Archaeonycteris, Hassianycteris, and Palaeochiropteryx, the resulting trees suggest that laryngeal echolocation evolved in the common ancestor of fossil and extant bats and was subsequently lost in megabats. Molecular dating suggests that crown-group bats last shared a common ancestor 52 to 54 million years ago.
    2] Wiki on “Eocene”: The Eocene epoch (56-34 Ma) is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Palaeogene period in the Cenozoic era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Paleocene epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene epoch. The start of the Eocene is marked by the emergence of the first modern mammals. The end is set at a major extinction event that may be related to the impact of one or more large bolides in Siberia and in what is now Chesapeake Bay.
    3] EBSCO article: The origin and early evolution of bats is among the greatest controversies m modern organismal biology . . . . The fossil evidence for bat origins is extremely sparse. Like birds, bats have delicate bones and their skeletons usually do not stand up to the forces of fossilization. There are a few notable exceptions, including the hundreds of Eocene bat skeletons (Figure 1) known from a quarry near Darmstadt in Germany (Habersetzer and Storch 1987). Unfortunately, the fossils available only complicate matters. They do not represent transitional morphologies between quadrupedal (four-footed) mammals and flying bats (Novacek 1985), and they represent animals nearly as specialized as their modern relatives. Little is known of the oldest bat fossils from the late Paleocene of Wyoming (Gingerich 1987), but nothing indicates that they were different from their Eocene descendants. There is no Archaeopteryx for bats. Rather, the fossil record indicates merely that bats are a group that diversified early in the evolution of placental mammals.
    4] Tree of life web project: The fossil record of bats extends back at least to the early Eocene, and chiropteran fossils are known from all continents except Antarctica. Icaronycteris, Archaeonycteris, Hassianycteris, and Palaeochiropteryx, unlike most other fossil bats, have not been referred to any extant family or superfamily. These Eocene taxa are known from exceptionally well-preserved fossils, and they have long formed a basis for reconstructing the early evolutionary history of Chiroptera (see review in Simmons and Geisler, 1998).

    –> We can easily enough deduce thathere is adequate fossil evidence that bats have been around, from all continents save Antarctica, and in the usual geodating schemes, from about the layers where mammals first appear.
    –> What is scarce is fossils on bat origins, as ther is no mosaic like archaeopterix — which BTW is supposedly 75 MY youngfer than fossils of more typical birds from Texas I think it is. But what is not told to us is that such scarcity of transitional forms is in fact a pervasive feature of the fossil record right back to the Cambrian layers.
    –> In short, there is evidence that globally bats have been preserved as fossils and from the approximate “time” that diverse mammals appear. Butr, just as for a great many other varieties of life forms, they appear with their distinct characteristics and there are no clear transitional forms.
    –> But since that “has” to be read in a gradualist grid, rationalisations for the absence of transitional forms are trotted out.
    ++++++++++++
    See you all later
    Grace, open eyes
    Gordon

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    But I am curious, as an evolutionist, why aren’t you concerned about the same questions about something like a bat? When did the neccesary mutations occur that allowed for echolocation? What are the specific mutations for this adaptation, and to what ancestral genome? What actual circumstances allowed an organism to develop this way? Is there more substantial evidence that it did evolve in the presumed manner other than conjecture?
    As a gravitationalist why aren’t you concerned about that pebble that’s orbiting Saturn? Wouldn’t it be amazing if it had drifted in from another solar system? Another galaxy? If it was left over from a massive collision of two moons?
    I don’t understand why evolutionists settle for ‘it just evolved, no more questions’.
    You mean science journals do not publish papers that talk about the process of the evolution of specific species?
    My point was really one of self-identification and communication. We know quite a bit about the Egyptians, not because of ‘science’ but because they wrote it down. Overall, science is very limited in this regard.
    Again you stated that ID has a test for design. If so the desire of the intelligence to conceal itself is irrelevant. Either the test works or it doesn’t. Now a really interesting question is what if an intelligence of infinite power wanted to conceal its hand. Wouldn’t life produced by it appear…say…natural?
    Actually, I never said that; I said IC structures could not develop through a series of step-wise mutations; it has nothing to do with imagining animal A or B. Let’s be clear
    Very well but we are talking about one type of species evolving into another type through a series of step-wise mutations. Is calling them animal A and B worthy of such objection then?
    The reality is evolution always breaks down when explaining IC structures; it doesn’t really matter how many steps it might take, no steps can be demonstrated. None are observed. None can be tested. Your whole argument here is that we can’t question evolution because it can’t really be examined rigorously; and that doesn’t help us confirm evolution, though it does tell us evolution isn’t a scientifically tested theory, it is simply a series of stories told in scientific language.
    Except the ‘stories’ motivate scientists to go out and find pieces of evidence that either confirm or disprove them and as scientists do some stories get reinforced and others get demolished. That is how science works accross all its accepted theories. How does ID do this? What is stunning about ID is not only does it produce no real stories it seems purposefully designed to never produce any evidence in either direction. In other words it seems rather immune to any emperical analysis…which is perfectly normal for a PHILOSOPHY but not a scientific theory.
    But it doesn’t even have to be a living organism; all that needs to be demonstrated is to show an functioning structure that can be developed through an unguided series of steps to disprove IC.
    Such as my text program.
    No, IC doesn’t fail the test as a result of a made up story that oversimplifies the actual facts.
    ‘Plausible’ here means something that could be shown to happen in reality (through ordinary scientific means), not in evolutionists made up world.

    The hell it doesn’t. You have repeatedly stated that IC means it could not have come about through a series of steps by natural selection. Therefore you starting with population A, generation 1 and then mapping all the possible variations that may appear in generation 2, 3, 4 and so on at no point do you arrive at population B where B is some organism such as bats and A is some organism that, if you don’t want me to say shrew like I’ll just say is ‘not bats’.
    The set of all possibilities just from generation 1 to 2 is beyond any reasonable ability to calculate let alone the number of generations that would come and go in say just 500,000 years (a blip in geological time). To establish IC you have to show that none of these possibilities results in either population B at any point or if it does the path is not one that could have been produced by natural selection.
    We may be in trouble if gravity ‘fails’, but our understanding of gravity now is not contingent on future unkown discoveries.
    I’m not sure what this even means. Newton’s understanding of gravity was by definition imperfect because he was not aware of Einstein’s discoveries.
    Take germ theory; it demonstrated with a certain number of examples that organisms couldn’t arise spontaneously but instead were the product of other organisms. It would have been impossible to test every single environment or every existing organism to establish this theory, but based on what we know, it holds true. It could be proved wrong with a single example to the contrary.
    Ahhh but Pasteur’s experiments regarding spontaneous generation were tests of a specific kind of theory…that rotting food somehow spawns flies and other such things from itself. Theories of spontaneous generation were once common with a host of variation, rain drops causing mites or whatnot. By isoloting the food he was able to show that indeed this theory was wrong but that in itself does not establish spontaneous generation doesn’t or cannot happen. Other experiments were necessary to disprove other theories of spontaneous generation among other species and the invention of the microscope led people to realize that there was a whole ecology that exists just below the scale of what our naked eyes consider tiny but technically even spontaneous generation as a theory was knocked down but never knocked out entirely.
    It just so happens that evolution depends on spontaneous generation to NOT happen. Or more specifically it can only happen very, very rarely (like once or twice in a planet’s life) or under conditions that were radically different from today. Why? If spontaneous generation happened a lot then life today and at any point in history would be a mix of newly generated forms mixing with the offspring of ancient forms. It would be impossible to sort them out. Other sceneros are possible though. Spontaneous generation might be common but creating life forms that are so primitive we do not recognize them as such today (and because they are born into a world of life that’s had plenty of time to evolve they haven’t been able to get a foot on the ground for the last billion years or so).
    If abiogenecists were allowed to hold germ theory at bay utilizing the same methods as evolutionists, they could just argue that ‘germ theory’ hasn’t tested all the possible circumstances, or that evidence for abiogenesis was forthcoming once enough was known about microorganisms.
    If they or anyone else utilized a proof by elimination they would be held to the same difficult standard. In more formal language you’re argument reads:
    A was caused by something in the set of {a,b,c,d,e,f,….}
    everything in the above set but c is false
    therefore c must have caused A
    If we said A was ‘the modern bat’s echolocation system’ then you’re saying c is ‘Intelligent Design’ and the method you’re deriving that is IC which means everything else but c is false. That would include things like ‘whatever the current evolutionary explanation is’ but also ‘whatever some evolutionary idea that a grad student in Sri Lanka has but hasn’t tried to publish yet’ and also ‘some other explanation that isn’t evolution but isn’t ID and hasn’t been thought of yet’ and so on.
    Actually, as I said, science is in a sense ‘catching up to’ ID. Forward looking science is often hard to test; many of Einstein’s predictions weren’t able to be tested until some years after he made them (like gravity bending light). We are beginning to be able to knock out genes; as we are able to do so more precisely, we should be able to test the stepwise development of IC structures.
    Actually many of Einstein’s predictions were tested before he published his theory. For example that the speed of light appears constant no matter where the observer measures was noticed before he wrote his theory. He famously used an eclipse of the sun to test his gravity bending light prediction. ID, though, is unique in that its supporters seem to fight any attempt to test it except in brain dead, easily won ‘tests’ like “show me a scientist who can get a beaker of inorganic material to yield life forms in a week”.

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS Clarification: first “modern” mammals appear.
    Also, I find it astonishing how hard it is for B et al, after over a year, to understand a very basic chain of reasoning:

    1] We empirically know three major sources of cause: chance, natural regularities/necessity, intelligent agents.
    2] Natural regularities are such that as soon as they are present the effects follow, e.g. once we have fuel, heat and oxidiser, we have a fire. That is, they are irrelevant to the material part of contingent cases.
    3] Chance relates to available probabilistic resources, and so we do not expect that wildly improbable, functionally specific events happen by chance. For instance there was a case of an election commissioner whose party got the preferred position in the ballots 40 of 41 times I think it was — he was convicted of fraud. [In our case we are looking at events on the scope of the known cosmos, and that means that functionally specific ebvents beyond 1 in say 10^150 are not at all most likely to be chance based — there are too few proabilistic resources in the known cosmos.]
    4] Now, we know of a causal force that routinely generates functionally specific complex events well beyond the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos: intelligent agency. For instance, a string of 120 alphanumeric text characters in sense-making English is a case in point, as I have already discussed.
    5] Therefore, the most credible explanation for such phenomena as exhibit FSCI is intelligent agency, absent convincing proof otherwise. [And that means that if you wish to reject agency as the best current explanation, YOU have the burden of proof.]
    6] It so happens that the molecular nanotechnology of life and the fintetuning of the cosmos exhibit just such FSCI. therefore the best explanation of them, relative to what we know empirically is that they are the products of intelligent agency.
    7] Such an empirically well-warranted inference standing by itself says nothing about the nature of the agency, but that does not detract from what we credibly know. In short, there is no good reason to ignore ands dismiss what we can credibly infer because we cannot for th emoment on that particular line of reasoning identify more than that.
    8] However, there is a wider, worldviews level context that is impinged on by these considerations, just as in the recent past, atheists such as Dawkins punced on Darwinism as a context for claiming that they were intellectually fulfilled atheists.
    9] For, the origin of the cosmos is obviously beyond the cosmos, and the possibility of an intelligent originator of the cosmos as we knw it, cuts clean across an institutionally powerful worldview and life agenda, evolutionary materialism.
    10] Similarly, since the cosmos is finetuned for life such as we enjoy, that suggests that the best candidate for the originator of life is the originator of the cosmos, an intelligent, powerful entity vastly beyond our capacity. That is too close for comfort to the God of theism for atheists and their fellow traveller secular humanists to be comfortable.

    So, perhaps then it is not surprising to see the intensity of the rhetoric from the secularist, evolutioary materialist side. But that means that they need to stop imposing an atheist’s veto on the science and actually engage the evidence and the comparative difficulties issues seriously and objectively.
    Sadly, this thread shows that that is exactly what there is no intention to do. That, in turn should tell onlookers that they instinctively recognise that their case is weak on the merits.
    Okay for now
    Gordon

  • The Raven

    jhudson: OK, on bacterium flagella, is this explanation suasive?
    “Although a detailed analysis will not be performed here, the transition between random dispersal and dispersal + chemotaxis is quite gradual; adding just a small amount of directional drift to the random walk of bacteria allows gradual migration towards nutrient gradients and away from toxins or waste products. The advantages of directional drift over random diffusion are exponential (Berg, 1993), and the costs in terms of extra carbon consumption are trivial compared to the already small costs of building a flagellum in the first place.”
    http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/flagellum.html
    Anybody with questions on this subject ought to give the full document a look. Note that evolutionary principles argue strongly against purely “random” mutations, and that in contrast there is a directionality to the process that goes a long way toward refuting arguments based on statistical probability. Nature doesn’t test every possible outcome, rather, it favors good ones and rewards them with further refinement until the optimal outcome is achieved.
    A “just so” story?
    “An obvious intermediate stage between spindle and cilium would be a non-swimming appendage made of microtubules with a selectable function like increasing surface area, helping the protozoan to remain suspended in water, increasing the chances of bumping into bacteria to eat, or serving as a stalk attaching the cell to a solid substrate. One can’t argue that such a non-swimming appendage is merely convenient imagination or unlikely to be selectable, as modern protists with analogous non-swimming microtubular appendages do exist and find them perfectly useful, the axopodia of heliozoa being an example.”
    Sometimes, we need to employ our faculties of reason to understand the world. We can’t hope for a completely illustrated guide complete with footnotes to confirm our hypotheses, but when our predicted results match observed reality, we have an indication that we’re on the right track.
    Intelligent design, on the other hand, simply says “something, not us, is responsible.” So what might that something be? Aliens come to mind. Extra-dimensional superbeings transcending time and space are possible. If these turn out to be massive octopi-like creatures that are seeding this planet as a future food-source, well, we’re in big trouble. Maybe a transcendental Santa Claus created life, or Tinkerbell, or maybe we ourselves eventually create a time machine, and use a more advanced version of our current genetic and nanotechnolgical prowess to visit earth 200 million years in the past and seed our oceans with life-stock, thus creating our own pasts. Ah – freedom from Victorian science feels great!
    Seriously, the “gaps” in the fossil record are to be expected. Only a infinitismal fraction of the creatures that have ever existed become fossilized. The rest simply vanish. Over 99 percent of all species that ever lived are now extinct. So we have a problem, like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. Not only do we have to figure out where the few pieces we actually have in hand go, but we have to describe the pieces we’ll never have. And evolution does a fantastic job of piecing together the evidence.
    In fact, the entire ediface of evolution would be imperiled, if not destroyed, by a single contradiction in the fossil record – such as a “pre-Cambrian rabbit,” for instance. Complaining that we haven’t found a missing fossil is one thing, but the trend toward refinement and greater complexity is always in accord with the theory. The earlier structures are simple. The later ones are tuned via natural selection. An assertion? No, this is observed reality.
    As the article I posted in an earlier thread noted, the amount of energy to produce a new species is fantastically huge and is employed over a vast amount of time. Give 100 billion scientists working non-stop 24 hours a day a million years with infinite resources and limitless energy, and maybe you could test that out. But we don’t need to because we’ve figured out the mechanism and explained why it probably won’t happen in the lab. Sorry, ID, but that’s just the way it is.
    Here’s a very layman-oriented explanation for the evolution of the eye:
    Here’s how some scientists think some eyes may have evolved: The simple light-sensitive spot on the skin of some ancestral creature gave it some tiny survival advantage, perhaps allowing it to evade a predator. Random changes then created a depression in the light-sensitive patch, a deepening pit that made “vision” a little sharper. At the same time, the pit’s opening gradually narrowed, so light entered through a small aperture, like a pinhole camera.
    Every change had to confer a survival advantage, no matter how slight. Eventually, the light-sensitive spot evolved into a retina, the layer of cells and pigment at the back of the human eye. Over time a lens formed at the front of the eye. It could have arisen as a double-layered transparent tissue containing increasing amounts of liquid that gave it the convex curvature of the human eye.
    In fact, eyes corresponding to every stage in this sequence have been found in existing living species. The existence of this range of less complex light-sensitive structures supports scientists’ hypotheses about how complex eyes like ours could evolve. The first animals with anything resembling an eye lived about 550 million years ago. And, according to one scientist’s calculations, only 364,000 years would have been needed for a camera-like eye to evolve from a light-sensitive patch.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html
    Apply Occam’s Razor. Does the above seem more likely than the faster-than-light traveling band of supergalactic bubble-headed space aliens with a life-lab, seeding planets? Or do you stick with the aliens because you saw a science fiction movie with flying saucers in it and “gosh and golly gee, I’d sure love to ride in a flying saucer!” That’s about as persuasive as ID gets.
    Look, jh, I’m sympathetic – cult members love to believe that they’re in the vanguard of a progressive, important group. You want to believe that you’re valiantly fighting the forces of a cold, mechanistic worldview that de-privileges man. According the Wedge Document, ID is the frontrunner, and you guys just need to work it into the school curriculum. Once established (gawdelpus), the next level of “scientific research” will introduce the Bible as the “best” explanation for the Designer. So forgive those of us who are committed to making certain that this descent into a neo-Dark Ages does not come to pass.
    Yet, your fears are groundless. What Gordon terms “evo-mat” is not and never will be a reality; there is no danger of a world coming into existence populated by unfeeling utilitarians in labcoats producing genetically engineered robotic creatures a la Koontz’s Frankenstein.
    Just as life seems compelled to “want to happen,” filling every available niche, so too, our species tends toward the creation of beauty, the appreciation of art and perfection, enjoyment in the company of others and satisfaction in the amelioration of suffering. We strive to be the utmost we can be, and there’s no need to validate a myth that we have some special “mission” involving a dead prophet, rather, it is our task to solve the problems of our time and gather, in times of leisure and reflection, in times of challenge and work, to demonstrate that we have earned our place in the thread of history.
    While it would be nice to know precisely how the first cell came to be (and maybe we’ll find that out someday), we have bigger fish to fry. Go visit Littlegreenfootballs sometime and read the commentary there. Any commentary. You’ll find non-stop, unmitigated bloodlust. Calls for dropping nuclear bombs on half of humanity, exhortations to torture and brutalize our fellow man, demands that we force entire populations to fear us to the point of urinating themselves upon the very mention of our name. Unfortunately, not all of us have evolved, and many are left behind at a level of barbarity that questions the progress we homo sapiens have accomplished. That’s the kind of work true evangelicals might accomplish, given a bit of luck.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton, this is what you wrote;
    I’m illustrating how ID really explains nothing while claiming to explain all. Now DE doesn’t claim to explain all but it explains a lot and it explains it in a more productive manner than ID as I illustrated.
    This is what I wrote in response

    There is a big difference between an explanation and a prediction. You seem to be combining the two things.


    You also have offered nothing as an example to demonstrate your point.


    Let’s put your assertion in contrast to my assertion and see who is right.

    My assertion is
    ID and DE claim to explain the same things.
    Your assertion is
    ID claims to explain everything while DE only claims to explain a lot of things.
    Would you agree with this summation of our two positions?
    If this is accurate, give me an example of something that ID claims to explain that DE does not.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Eric & Lisa,
    ID claims to be able to claim how to detect design by an undefined intelligence with undefined powers in a system. DE does not.
    I would perhaps like to consider rephrasing ID claims to explain everything while DE only claims to explain a lot of things.
    to, maybe ID claims to explain everything regardless of the facts both currently known and to be discovered while DE only claims to be explain a lot of things and as new facts are discovered remains consistent with them.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton wrote;
    ID claims to be able to claim how to detect design by an undefined intelligence with undefined powers in a system. DE does not.
    Yes, and DE claims to be able to detect evolution through a process called natural selection. They are different theories after all. This doesn’t at all answer my question it avoids it completely.
    ID claims to explain everything regardless of the facts both currently known and to be discovered while DE only claims to be explain a lot of things and as new facts are discovered remains consistent with them.
    For example? I’ll ask the same question again, what is it that ID claims to explain that DE does not, i’ll be satisfied with just one example.
    Jhudson,
    You may want to peruse through the thread that Joe started at the top of this page. Boonton is lying there about his conversation with you here. Hopefully you have time to read through it.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Yes, and DE claims to be able to detect evolution through a process called natural selection. They are different theories after all. This doesn’t at all answer my question it avoids it completely.
    I’m not aware of any test that DE proposes to tell me if some thing is came into being by evolution or some other means. In economics supply & demand explain how market prices change but simply being told the price of something in some unidentified store doesn’t tell you whether it was set by supply & demand (it might, after all, be a gov’t store in a controlled economy).
    Perhaps I should have worded it better but ID seems interestingly immune to the facts. It not only makes no testable predictions but ID advocates seem to go out of their way to make sure that their theory cannot make any predictions at all.
    You may want to peruse through the thread that Joe started at the top of this page. Boonton is lying there about his conversation with you here. Hopefully you have time to read through it.
    Hmmmm, ok well what you’re going to tell us what your point is or is this some type of game? What does the winner get?

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton wrote;
    Hmmmm, ok well what you’re going to tell us what your point is or is this some type of game? What does the winner get?
    No game, jhudson answered you in the other thread. Thanks jhudson.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I wondered whether going into more back-forthing would be of much help.
    I doubt it, given the major issues that are being glided by on the part of evo mat advocates in the back-forth game. [For instance, the Design-is-not-science canard flies in the face of the fact that for most of the history of science, classical, medieval or modern, practitioners within design oriented worldviews have either been dominant or a major fraction. That in fact holds to this day. It is just that today the atheists have the microphones — but the “net is changing that.]
    So, I am thinking that one of the best things I can do is to bring the focus of the series back to the fore. To do that, let’s collect and briefly remark on Joe’s 10 points on how Evo Mat advocates inadvertently help design thinkers make their case.
    So, here goes:

    1] By remaining completely ignorant about ID while knocking down strawman versions of the theory
    2] By [falsely] claiming that ID is stealth [Biblical] creationism.
    3] By resorting to

  • Chris Lutz

    The Raven:
    Anybody with questions on this subject ought to give the full document a look…
    This document written, at the time, by a geology post graduate student. Matzke’s paper doesn’t provide a detailed, step-wise explanation of how the flagellum could have evolved. He looks for homology and then says, and I describe loosely “See some similar systems were here in the past, they could have been coopted after some unknown mutations, gene duplication, etc. Then presto, we have the flagellum as we see it today. Take that you ID losers.”
    But we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations. – Franklin Harold: The Way of the Cell

  • Gordon Mullings

    Oh boy: I see a clipoff on a definition:
    DESING, OED: design noun 1 a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made: he has just unveiled his design for the new museum.
    [mass noun] the art or action of conceiving of and producing such a plan or drawing: good design can help the reader understand complicated information | the cloister is of late twelfth century design. an arrangement of lines or shapes created to form a pattern or decoration: pottery with a lovely blue and white design.
    2 [mass noun] purpose, planning, or intention that exists or is thought to exist behind an action, fact, or material object: the appearance of design in the universe. verb [with obj.] decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object), typically by making a detailed drawing of it: a number of architectural students were designing a factory

    GEM

  • Darrell DeLaney

    “DD, more seriously [on one level . . . ], the point is that a design inference on cosmic origins and on life origins and diversification are incompatible in the end with the worldview of evolutioary materialism, not with empirically attested examples of actual evolution

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    IC again:
    –> First, the definition is simple: if a functional object has several parts and removing any one part destroys its function, it is irreducibly complex. For instance, try a mousetrap, or a bacterial flagellum. For that matter, such behaviour is common in a great many contexts, e.g. just one part failing in a car engine can cause it to fail to function properly. You should not be trying to dismiss what you have not done basic homework on.
    This is a weak definition. Take the classic example of the mousetrap. Imagine it was originally mounted to the floor instead of a base. It could still function although giving it a base would be an incremental improvement since now you can position it anywhere in the room. All systems have tolerances, even the famous bats here do not all have echolocation systems that work exactly the same. I don’t doubt for a second if you had a room full of bats and you subjected them to objective tests you’ll find that some bats have more finely tuned systems than others, some might have systems that do a better job in certain situations than others just as two healthy human champion swimmers will still have some physical differences between them.
    We have also seen even a mammel as clumsy in echolocation as humans do have some skill in it that could be refined through selection should some odd circumstance cause that to happen.
    So again to make sense to establish IC you cannot just show the system would fail if one of the parts were different. You have to show that no possible combination exists where the parts could have been brought together thru incremental, positive (or neutral) changes. This is a proof by elimination and you don’t have the power to pull it off.
    –> If the research to show the detailed pathways were there it would be published, eagerly. but in fact what happens is that there is a paucity of fossil evidence on origins [bats being TYPICAL] and at the molecular level, again apart from just-so stories, Behe’s point still stands.
    Actually a detailed pathway could not be published because it would consume more paper than has ever been produced. A detailed pathway would have to consist of every genetic change over every generation of one species that evolves into another. Since even describing the complete genetic code of every member of the population at generation 0 would be nearly impossible so would the above. The ‘just so stories’ charge nicely covers this by trying to counter any attempt to summarize or abbreviate the effort.
    –> As has repeatedly been shown, your program to get text at random, once targetting is taken out, soon futilely exhausts the probabilistic resources of the known universe.
    Whose targetting? Again let’s go to that famous slandar question you refuse to answer. If I’m targetting then you could sue me if my program produced something slanderous about you. But then how did I target considering there seems to be no way of knowing what phrase will come out of at one end when I start the ball rolling with a nonsense phrase at the beginning?
    Darrell
    As has been said, there is no reason one can

  • Rob Ryan

    Gordon: “Let’s see: after 150 years of effort to support materialistic evolutionism [in fact more properly a philosophical claim] as “science,” we have:[ blah blah blah irreducible complexity blah blah blah]”
    Tell me, Gordon: how is it that despite your very compelling and scholarly arguments, only a TINY percentage of those in the best position to judge share your doubts about evolution? Are you smarter than the scientists?
    Oh, yeah; they are blinded by their naturalistic presuppositions.
    Why are attacks on the teaching of evolution to the exclusion of creationism, including ID, routinely shot down by the courts? Are you smarter than the judges?
    Oh, yeah; the liberal judges are wrongheadedly and wrongheartedly ignoring the obvious.
    Onlookers should be able to clearly see who is “selectively hyperskeptical”.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    The broad pattern of the thread is clear enough, namely that evolutionary materialist claims are being propped up by rhetoric rather than substantial addressing of the merits on fact, logic and explanation. Notice which side is consistently addressing the issues, and which is seeking to distract attention and attack the man

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS: I see I missed another invidious insinuation by RR: Design Theory and Biblical Creationism as he should know, are quite distinct. But of course RR here relfects the rhetorical agfenda of NCSE et al, to ytry to tar design thought with the label “Creationism,” the better to get the real issues lost in the propagandistic hysteria. Again, deceptive rhetoric ratrher than addressing issues honestly on the merits.
    GEM

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    -> This is insistence on a refuted claim. The basic fact is that there are well-known three causal forces, chance, necessity and agency.
    First of all it isn’t clear that chance is a casual force. Why did jhudson’s mom win the lottery? Not because of chance but out of necessity. The balls were acted upon with forces that required them to come out as they did. The ‘chance’ was an expression of our ignorance of the forces applied to the ball and our inability or unwillingness to calculate the implications. Maybe on the quantum level ‘chance’ truely exists but for now chance just collapses into necessity. So we are left with necessity and agency. Yet what is agency? Now we stumble into a philosophical discussion of whether we intelligent beings have free will (which you’ll find theists and atheists on both sides of that one). My friends, Gordon left science behind long, long ago.
    –> FYI, yet one more time, B, the floor would become the base of the trap, and an inferior and unreliable one at that — it neither facilitates disposal nor lends itself to t e precise alignment that a mousetrap requires to reliably trigger when it should.
    Indeed, so giving it a base seperate from the floor would be…ohhh…an INCREMENTAL improvement! The original mouse trap wasn’t quite IC after all. A more primitive version could have existed and still functioned!
    –> We can also observe that there is no substantial merit on the claim that a lengthy text can by random processes and making spelling and grammatical and plot sense at each stage, be transmuted into another book within the scope of the probabilistic resources of the known universe. When called upon to address the merits, B resorts to slanders in the teeth of having had his claim that the calculations cannot be done exploded – yet again.
    Hmmmm, how can we OBSERVE that? Did you perhaps write a program along the specs I laid out? Or perhaps you applied some mathematical tools to it and derived a proof that you can lay out for us?
    PS: I see I missed another invidious insinuation by RR: Design Theory and Biblical Creationism as he should know, are quite distinct.
    Indeed, the amazing ID is both a desert topping and a floor polish! It’s anything you want it to be. If you don’t like that people are opposing it then accuse them of religious bigotry. Then turn around and tell us that ID has nothing to do with religion!

  • Rob Ryan

    “RR knows, or should know, that I am a Physicist myself.”
    Until this moment, Gordon, I had no idea what you did for a living. I assumed you were retired, since you have so much time on your hands. How would I know what you do? As I have told you before, I usually skip your interminable posts because (a) you haven’t said anything new in a long time, and (b) I think you argue dishonestly, although perhaps you are not aware of it, since you seem so wounded when your errors and misrepresentations are pointed out to you.
    Be that as it may, I do not see how your status as a physicist trumps the expertise of scientists whose focus is much more closely related to evolution. My certification in teaching English doesn’t qualify me to teach German.
    “So when he writes like that he wishes on his own authority to rob me of my qualifications simply because I do not buy into a self-refuting philosophy hiding in a lab coat.”
    How dare you presume to know my wishes? I’m sure you are qualified to comment on gravity and things like that. I have no wish to rob you of anything, including your delusions. I just want to stop them from spreading like a cancer on society.
    Get over yourself and your whiny martyr complex, please.

  • The Raven

    Gee, Gordon, you seem to really have a thing going for Judge Jones. Wherefore the grudge?
    Chances are it’s because he shot down ID in a court of law, not in a PTA meeting where religious whackjobs can stack the deck, but in a neutral forum where each side was allowed to make its best case with foremost expert testimony and the presentation of evidence. All the proponents of ID had to do was make a clear and compelling case. Guess what?
    They couldn’t.
    And Jones did precisely what any clear-thinking individual would have done in the same circumstances – he ran the charletans of ID out of his chambers on a rail, tarred and feathered with the cheap hucksterism with which they have made a tidy career fleecing the investors of bogus anti-think-tanks like the Discovery Institute.
    Remember, Gordon, Behe was challenged to demonstrate an example of how ID can “test” a given structure for “irreducable complexity” and he failed. Now why do you think that is? It’s because ID is nothing more than the hoary Protestant and Baptist exhortation that there are “things too profound for Man to know.” It looks at a structure like the eye and slams its hand on the Bible and gibbers like a drunken boozer about impossibility. And science doesn’t do that. If a problem seems insolvable, then we attack it again and again, over and over, year after year, century after century, until we crack that puppy open like a cardboard box.
    Note the explanation I provided earlier for the development of the eye in response to hudson’s challenge to demonstrate an evolutionary chain of steps that would render an IC into an RC. Done.
    You want an explanation for flaggela? Done.
    And if you’re not satisfied with those answers, well, son, then you just keep looking. ID stops looking. It closes the book. It tells everybody to “move along, nothing to see here.” And that kind of willful, blind stupidity is the kind of thing that really irks me about fundamentalist rigidity. It closes doors, shuts minds, stops inquiry, and leads us right back into a world where we burn heretics at the stake.
    I asked you before, “what is ‘irreducable complexity’?” and your answer was that the question has already been addressed. It hasn’t, at least, not the sense that I asked it. Because what I’m querying is the general idea of what it means to say that something is “irreducable.” F’rinstance, hudson claims that bat echolocution has that property. But we see in the case of dolphins and whales that formerly land-based mammals migrated back to aquatic habitats and evolved that very same ability. (Unless, of course, you assert that they possessed the faculty on land originally, which isn’t a logical position.)
    Again, what does it mean to say that bat echolocution is “irreducable”? It means that you are taking a philosophical flag and planting it right there in the field of inquiry. And the words on that flag say, “Goeth ye no further. No answer here. Stoppeth ye inquiry. Curtain down. Case closed.” Yet, in the case of the eye, clarified earlier, we see that someone has indeed forwarded a simple, step-by-step process with examples taken from nature that can be observed today at every position.
    So that case of “irreducability” has been demolished. So what does this do to ID theory? Do you shift the goalposts, saying, “OK, so you explained that one, but you still haven’t solved the blood clotting irreducability.” And you plant the flag down again, a little further back.
    Do you see what you’re doing? And Gordon, as a physicist, you should be doubly aware that many “insolvable” problems of physics have fallen, like dominoes, one after the other. Why, today we learn that a Russian mathematician has provided a solution to a problem that had stood for 150 years (regarding 3-dimensional mapping). But ID would have had a flag planted long ago on that one.
    Ultimately, all you have with ID is a single declarative statement: “We haven’t figured this out yet.”
    It is in our very nature to press onward into the unknown and tackle the great mysteries of existence. It is against our nature to give up and fall back on mythological mojo, which is why we no longer believe that it is the Hammer of Thor ringing down on the painted shell of the heavens that produces the visual effect we now know to be distant stars.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Perhaps we should add to Joe’s list the obsessive attempt to keep on multiplying or resurfacing trivial objections!
    Okay, let’s continue to correct on points overnight:
    1] B: First of all it isn’t clear that chance is a casual force. Why did jhudson’s mom win the lottery? Not because of chance but out of necessity.
    –> First, where natural regularities act, as soon as the causal conditions are present, the result is identically present — e.g. heat + oxidiser + fuel = fire. So, necessity standing by itself cannot properly [i.e. sufficiently in this case] causally explain contingency: events that might/might not happen.
    –> Agency can bring together the material causal factors, e.g. to make one of those infamous summer camp bonfires. But so can chance, as in many a forest fire: the twigs just happened to fall here not there, and the lightning struck just there not somewhere else like a rock where there is no fuel.
    –> On the pretence that one cannot identify empirically adequate cases of agency, and that in a scientific context, let us just note that B knows full well that he is an agent, and that when he submits a comment tot his thread he expects it to be interpreted by other agents as a signal not lucky noise. [Philosophical disputes on the origins and properties of agents are besides the point. And, every case of a determinist I have ever met assumes that I should take his/her statements as not being predetermined by forces irrelevant to logic, truth and intent. In short the sort of physicalist determinism resorted to by evolutioary materialists is self referentially contradictory and thus absurd on its face. B has been corrected on this numerous times, but is of course insistent on being “wrong but strong.”]
    –> As to the notion that any one person wins a lottery by necessity, the proper answer to that is that if that is so, then the lottery is rigged. [And, not all conceivable lotteries are winnable; if one exceeds the probabilistic resources available, the lottery can become unwinnable.]
    –> in the context of the origin and diversification of life based on the now partly understood molecular nanotechnology and information systems we see, that threshold has long since been crossed. thus, the best sufficient causal explanation is plainly agency.
    2] The ‘chance’ was an expression of our ignorance of the forces applied to the ball and our inability or unwillingness to calculate the implications. Maybe on the quantum level ‘chance’ truely exists but for now chance just collapses into necessity.
    –> Here we see a category confusion, best addressed through an example from my online notes on the subject [which it seems B is yet to simply read seriously]:

    the decision faced once we see an apparent message, is first to decide its source across a trichotomy: (1) chance; (2) natural regularity or as Monod put it, “necessity”; (3) intelligent agency. Each of these, clearly, stands at the same basic level as an explanation or cause, and so the real question is to rule in/out relevant factors at work, not to decide before the fact that one or the other is not admissible as a “real” explanation. For instance, heavy objects tend to fall under the natural regularity we call gravity. If the object is a die, the face that ends up on the top from the set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} is for practical purposes a matter of chance. But, if the die is cast as part of a game, the results are as much a product of agency as of natural regularity and chance. Indeed, the agents in question are taking advantage of natural regularities and chance to achieve their purposes.

    –> We may pretend that we could with sufficiently powerful calculation engines and a specification of initial conditions and acting forces, precisely predict the outcome of the die being thrown or the balls being tumbled in the drum until one drops out. But in fact as soon as one enters the cascade of calculations and that of imprecisions and uncertainties we soon see sensitive dependence on initial conditions leading to utter unpredictability.
    –> Indeed, B should know as well that for three-body problems, it is still true that analytical solutions are known for only several special cases. Beyond, all is approximations and iterative simulations subject to all the perils thereby introduced.
    –> Further to this, the underlying point is that the alleged dominant driving force of NDT-style macroevolution is random changes to genes feeding into natural selection. The challenge is that [because of the complexity of life forms at molecular level] the islands of functionality are so sparse that this soon exhausts the probabilistic resources of the known universe.
    3] giving it [the mousetrap] a base seperate from the floor would be…ohhh…an INCREMENTAL improvement!
    –> Onlookers, observe the distraction: the issue is that if you TAKE AWAY the base, the mousetrap fails to work, not whether a better mousetrap can be built by improving the base, e.g. By making a plastic molded base. Irreducibly complex systems are such that if one or more parts are taken away, they will fail to function adequately.
    –> This brings us to the concept of the irreducible core of a system. IC systems often have improvements that make for better performance, but that does not eliminate the issue that at core there is an integrated cluster that must all be present for the system to function properly. [For instance, in spacecraft, redundant modules are built in, for safety’s sake.]
    4] Hmmmm, how can we OBSERVE that? Did you perhaps write a program along the specs I laid out? Or perhaps you applied some mathematical tools to it and derived a proof that you can lay out for us?
    -> Onlookers, observe the fallacy of the closed mind in action. For it was but yesterday morning that I took time to show, by laying out just how the project he proposes would rapidly exhaust the probabilistic resources of the known universe, that his project is logically and physically strictly possible but so improbable that it will fail as a matter of overwhelming probability.
    –> Similarly, I do not wait with bated breath to see all the molecules of Oxygen in this room rush to one end, as the statistical form of the 2nd law of thermodynamics allows with odds ~ 1 in 10^200 or so. I believe the statistical distributions for good reason, and do not waste my time on the probabilistically absurd.
    –> And of course just as for those who would dismiss thermodynamics and build perpetual motion machines, the burden of proof, based on overwhelming observation of the relevant probability and associated experience, rests on B. [Observe again his by now predictable attempt to shift the burden of proof!]
    5] the amazing ID is both a desert topping and a floor polish! It’s anything you want it to be. If you don’t like that people are opposing it then accuse them of religious bigotry. Then turn around and tell us that ID has nothing to do with religion!
    –> B is here resorting to ridicule in the teeth of evident fact, here the standard definition of the enterprise of Design Theory.
    –> I again cite Dr Dembski: 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.
    –> As B well knows, the direct scientific focus of an area of inquiry can be separated properly from associated issues and questions on worldviews. Otherwise, given that say a Prof Dawkins has blurted out that that darwinism makes it possible for him to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, then teaching NDT in the name of science would be imposition of atheism. [Indeed, some desire it to be just that, but we can separate the worldview issues from the science and test for logical and empirical adequacy and explanatory power. Design theory passes, NDT increasingly obviously fails as an account ont he origin of life and its macro level diversity.]
    6] RR: I had no idea . . .
    –> RR that is easily explained by your further statement that “I usually skip your . . . posts.” That is, you have asserted in the teeth of easily available evidence that you ignored.
    7] I think you argue dishonestly, although perhaps you are not aware of it, since you seem so wounded when your errors and misrepresentations are pointed out to you
    –> First, if you are ignoring you are by your own confession in no position to know what I have or have not said that is “new” nor have you or anyone else in the blog credibly demonstrated — as opposed to asserted — dishonesty on my part. [I have made occasional errors, and have corrected them on realising that. I recall a particular exchange where you accused me of lying, though in the end the evidence did not at all substantiate that. I refer onlookers to this note on the material facts relevant to the issue. It seems there is a prevalent secularist myth that bible-believing Christians are a threat to liberty, whilst ignoring the history of the costly and material contributions of said Christians tot he rise of modern liberty, including the US founding. Onlookers will be particularly interested to observe the cites from the Congressional proclamations of days of fasting and prayer and thanksgiving in 1776 and 1777, which are of specifically and distinctly Christian character ands lend a strong contest to understanding the import of certain key references in the US DOI and the US Constitution, and the background documents I have cited.]
    –> On the material issue in this thread, I believe it is fair comment to say that I have not distorted or misrepresented or misunderstood the key issues, or the balance on the merits of factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power.
    8] I do not see how your status as a physicist trumps the expertise of scientists whose focus is much more closely related to evolution.
    –> First, onlookers, kindly observe the original assertion: how is it that despite your very compelling and scholarly arguments, only a TINY percentage of those in the best position to judge share your doubts about evolution? Are you smarter than the scientists?
    –> To this, I responded:

    –> Of course, we immediately see here a slander: RR knows, or should know, that I am a Physicist myself. So when he writes like that he wishes on his own authority to rob me of my qualifications simply because I do not buy into a self-refuting philosophy hiding in a lab coat.
    –> He also betrays what by this has to be willful ignorance of the history of science and ideas more generally: for, not only is the underlying re-definition of science question begging but also there are any number of instances where minority ideas subsequently abundantly vindicated have been despised [and in some cases even persecuted] by the majority of scholars and the wider intelligentsia at given times.
    –> The underlying social dynamics are well known, as is the known presence of disinformation games by institutions such as MCSE on this. Mb>In any case, the material issue is which argument is substantially better on the merits, not how many noses can be counted on one side or the other.

    –> I think that should be clear enough: answer tot he material issue and stop counting noses as a way to try to discredit the qualification of the minority raising serious questions of fact, logic, explanation and interpretation. [Remember too, this is all in a context in which career busting and the most vicious smears have been repeatedly resorted to by NCSE and their ilk.]
    –> Further to the point, the core issue on origin and diversification of life is a matter I have given years of formal study to: information and communication systems, and also related statistical thermodynamics. I have noted the basic points on each of these issues here and here. In short, the questions at the core of the back-forth are on subjects I think I have a right to say I know a little about.
    9] Get over yourself and your whiny martyr complex, please.
    –> Onlookers, I have corrected RR, B and others on the resort to distractors and personal attacks, in some cases amounting to slanders. That is not at all a martyr complex.
    –> Further to the case, I have laid out the issues in responsible details on fact and logic and explanation. It is sadly telling that those who resorted to personalities are now complaining that I have pointed that out and have corrected them.
    10] Raven: you seem to really have a thing going for Judge Jones. Wherefore the grudge?
    –> I do not hold a grudge, but I strongly object to imposition of demonstrably over-reaching and unjust, ill-founded decrees by judicial power. I know all too well where that can lead.
    –> Onlookers: note again, that here Raven does not come back to the substantial matters but asserts base motive on my part, That is, of course a personal attack rather than addressing of issues on the merits.
    11] Chances are it’s because he shot down ID in a court of law
    –> Judge Jones, on the record, imposed a falsely-founded unjust decision int he teeth of the evident facts, starting with the patent one that there is such a thing as a peer-reviewed scientific ID literature. He next went on to impose an unjustified redefinition of science and ignored well-founded testimony tot he contrary of his decision.
    –> Thus, the assertion that he “shot down” ID [in any sense on the merits of fact and logic] is itself ill-founded.
    12] Behe was challenged to demonstrate an example of how ID can “test” a given structure for “irreducable complexity” and he failed.
    –> I think this is a capital example of how the case and wider issue have been INTENTIONALLY distorted [by NCSE and their ilk] and of how witnesses and experts and issues have been misrepresented in the public.
    –> IC is a frequently encountered phenomenon in a great many fields that fall under the rubric pure or applied science, and so the only real issue is whether it is relevant to specific biological systems [which at molecular level are the most complex, tightly integrated systems we know, i.e on the face of it there will be candidates for IC here].
    –> On that perhaps you are not aware of the phenomenon encountered in knockout gene studies, in which beyond a certain point the celluar life-systems collapse and bacterial life functions fail, at about 360,000 genes. In short, there is a high level threshold of irreducible complexity in life systems in general.
    –> Beyond that, Behe proposed a cluster of several candidates for IC [most notably the flagellum], and pointed out that in the relevant literature as at 1996, NO detailed technical accounts of the molecular NDT-based evolutionary paths to these systems existed, which was and is a matter of fact.
    –> Since then attempts have been made, but they boil down to the usual just-so stories, and/or other irrelevancies like Miller’s Y pestis which turns out to have the genes for the flagellum but has switched off the full set; using a subset to implement another system.
    –> In the Dover case, my observation is that Behe sought to be careful, conscientious and accurate, in the teeth of “the snares of the King’s attorneys.” What has not come through to the public is the force of say Darwin’s own observation on the relevance of what Behe came to term IC as a test for his theory. Citing Lonnig in a peer-reviewed article in the submittals to Dover [again . . .]:

    examples like the horseshoe crab are by no means rare exceptions from the rule of gradually evolving life forms . . . In fact, we are literally surrounded by ‘living fossils’ in the present world of organisms when applying the term more inclusively as “an existing species whose similarity to ancient ancestral species indicates that very few morphological changes have occurred over a long period of geological time” [85] . . . . Now, since all these “old features”, morphologically as well as molecularly, are still with us, the basic genetical questions should be addressed in the face of all the dynamic features of ever reshuffling and rearranging, shifting genomes, (a) why are these characters stable at all and (b) how is it possible to derive stable features from any given plant or animal species by mutations in their genomes? . . . .
    A first hint for answering the questions . . . is perhaps also provided by Charles Darwin himself when he suggested the following sufficiency test for his theory [16]: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” . . . Biochemist Michael J. Behe [5] has refined Darwin’s statement by introducing and defining his concept of “irreducibly complex systems”, specifying: “By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning” . . . [for example] (1) the cilium, (2) the bacterial flagellum with filament, hook and motor embedded in the membranes and cell wall and (3) the biochemistry of blood clotting in humans . . . .
    One point is clear: granted that there are indeed many systems and/or correlated subsystems in biology, which have to be classified as irreducibly complex and that such systems are essentially involved in the formation of morphological characters of organisms, this would explain both, the regular abrupt appearance of new forms in the fossil record as well as their constancy over enormous periods of time. For, if “several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function” are necessary for biochemical and/or anatomical systems to exist as functioning systems at all (because “the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”) such systems have to (1) originate in a non-gradual manner and (2) must remain constant as long as they are reproduced and exist. And this could mean no less than the enormous time periods mentioned for all the living fossils hinted at above. Moreover, an additional phenomenon would also be explained: (3) the equally abrupt disappearance of so many life forms in earth history . . . The reason why irreducibly complex systems would also behave in accord with point (3) is also nearly self-evident: if environmental conditions deteriorate so much for certain life forms (defined and specified by systems and/or subsystems of irreducible complexity), so that their very existence be in question, they could only adapt by integrating further correspondingly specified and useful parts into their overall organization, which prima facie could be an improbable process — or perish . . . .
    According to Behe and several other authors [5-7, 21-23, 53-60, 68, 86] the only adequate hypothesis so far known for the origin of irreducibly complex systems is intelligent design (ID) . . . in connection with Dembski’s criterion of specified complexity . . . . “For something to exhibit specified complexity therefore means that it matches a conditionally independent pattern (i.e., specification) of low specificational complexity, but where the event corresponding to that pattern has a probability less than the universal probability bound and therefore high probabilistic complexity” [23]. For instance, regarding the origin of the bacterial flagellum, Dembski calculated a probability of 10^-234[22].

    –> In short, IC was accepted ever since Darwin as a test for his theory, and easily explains successfully a dominant feature of the fossil record that has challenged the darwinian scheme for 150 years. It is also plausible relative tot he known complexity of life forms at molecular level.
    –> While knockout studies etc may yet provide further tests of the system, we already credibly know from the physical logic of the processes involved in many instances that loss of just one of the parts leads directly to loss of function, e.g. the flagellum: take away the paddle and no motility. Take away the bushing and no rotation, take away the ion-drive and no movement, etc.
    –> You are also neatly side-stepping Scott Minnich’s materially relevsant testimony and the result of his tests on biological systems for IC.
    –> I refer onlookers to Behe online, complete with the full trial transcripts of his Dover testimony
    13] And Jones did precisely what any clear-thinking individual would have done in the same circumstances – he ran the charletans of ID out of his chambers on a rail, tarred and feathered with the cheap hucksterism with which they have made a tidy career fleecing the investors of bogus anti-think-tanks like the Discovery Institute.
    –> Again, onlookers, observe the distraction from addressing material facts to personal attacks.
    –> On the contrary the evidence is that Judge Jones ignored the evidence and gave a decision in the teeth of the evidence, as was discussed at length at the time in this thread.
    14] ID is nothing more than the hoary Protestant and Baptist exhortation that there are “things too profound for Man to know.” It looks at a structure like the eye and slams its hand on the Bible and gibbers like a drunken boozer about impossibility
    –> Rubbish, and in the teeth of points repeatedly raised in this very thread: ID is an empirically anchored study of how from empirical traces such as FSCI, one may infer to design, thus intelligent activity.
    –> This is nothing to do in principle with Bible citations or speculations. Instead, it points out that we have no good grounds for arbitrarily and question-beggingly excluding on matters of origin agency as a possible causal force. It is well known that agents routinely create artifacts that exhibit both IC and FSCI, so this is an appeal to what we do know not to what we do not know.
    –> In the case of the eye, or the flagellum, or the molecular-level complexity of life, in fact after the rhetoric is over, we still have yet to hear a detailed account of how without exhausting the probabilistic resources of the known universe, random processes plus natural regularities can give rise to the sort of functionally specific complex systems we see. but, we routinely know that agents routinely produce such systems that exhibit FSCI, though of course we are not as sophisticated yet as the eye is.
    -> Onlookers should notice that after spouting the purple prose there are simply no like the technical discussions and popular summaries that would be abundant if there was in fact such a set of accounts.
    –> And BTW, just-stories, which is what you cited earlier, are not what we are talking about.
    15] ID stops looking. It closes the book. It tells everybody to “move along, nothing to see here.”
    –> Yet another propagandistic distortion. In effect the inference s that on matters of origin, agency “must” be ruled out as a non-explanation. Why? because it violates the set of “permissible” explaining forces on matters of origins permitted by methodological naturalism: chance and necessity, in Monod’s words.
    –> But, do we not know that agency is a commonly encountered causal force, so the burden of proof to exclude it must rest on those who would cut it out?

    ANS: on origins matters, Raven would impose the assumptions of evolutionary materialism , so that only entities fitting into the cascade of materialistic evolutions, from cosmological to chemical to biological to sociocultural are “permitted.” In short we see here the begging of worldview level questions and just why methodological naturalism so soon becomes just plain old fashioned Philosophical Materialism by the back door.

    –> besides, the next step after identifying traces of agency is to go on to see how the design was doe, using something like TRIZ, thence reverse engineer and forward engineer new systems based on the design principles. So, the design inference is not a science-stopper or a technology-stopper, and indeed historically modern science arose in a cultural situation and among individuals dominated by design-oriented worldviews. So this is not only mistaken but a lie by the knowledgeable advocates, one that Raven is — probably blindly — parroting.
    16] I asked you before, “what is ‘irreducable complexity’?” and your answer was that the question has already been addressed. It hasn’t, at least, not the sense that I asked it. Because what I’m querying is the general idea of what it means to say that something is “irreducable.
    –> Onlookers, I again point R to the following, just from yesterday:

    –> First, the definition is simple: if a functional object has several parts and removing any one part destroys its function, it is irreducibly complex. For instance, try a mousetrap, or a bacterial flagellum. For that matter, such behaviour is common in a great many contexts, e.g. just one part failing in a car engine can cause it to fail to function properly. You should not be trying to dismiss what you have not done basic homework on.
    –> Second, there is a well-known list of candidates for this status, and in many instances the reasoning that they are IC is obvious, as excerpted above [refers to Lonnig]. Behe did the literature search and showed that apart from just-so stories, no detailed technical path to create the system through NDT mechanisms has ever appeared in the literature as at 1996. Miller’s later attempt and others to this day are similarly failing.
    –> Even more directly, among the best regarded of all laws are those of thermodynamics. But they are assertions that are in principle unproved and unprovable, however they have clear empirical support. But if you can build a repeatable perpetual motion machine, you will destroy the foundation of these laws [I am not exactly holding my breath on this one]. That is, the answer to Behe is to show him wrong, not to resort to rhetoric.

    –> Onlookers, what is there hard to understand about “several [strictly, = 3 or more] parts”? About failure resulting from the removal of any one or more of the parts? About the mousetrap and an example of same [NB B’s attempts to substitute the floor for a mobile base, which ends up being . . . a base]? About a motor feeding though bushings to a spinning paddle to push an object through water, and that removing any of these will break down the function? Is this not willful obtuseness?
    –> When it comes to the bat’s system, it has several parts, all of which must function in an integrated way for the bat to navigate and feed successfully as a bat. The burden of proof that the complex and tightly integrated systems do not exhibit an irreducible core lies with the objectors, given what is known about radar and sonar targetting systems. [Let’s just say that DARPA would give its crown jewels to get a system that works as well and is as compact and light as those in the microbats, the smallest of which weigh in at 2 g. Guess why, in part the bats are a subject of inquiry . . .?]
    17] in the case of the eye, clarified earlier, we see that someone has indeed forwarded a simple, step-by-step process with examples taken from nature that can be observed today at every position. So that case of “irreducability” has been demolished. So what does this do to ID theory? Do you shift the goalposts, saying, “OK, so you explained that one, but you still haven’t solved the blood clotting irreducability.” And you plant the flag down again, a little further back.
    –> Again, let it be known: R is citing a just-so story, not an account that addresses the need to generate the genetic systems and epigenetic structures that embryologically get us an eye, in probabilistic steps that do not individually or in aggregate exhaust the 1 in 10^150 odds [or in fact much tighter for the 600 MY on the 6 * 10^24 kg worth of earth on which the macroevolution of the eye is claimed to have happened among animals something like at least three independent times in separate phyla: chordates, arachnids, mollusks

  • Darrell DeLaney

    “–> This is insistence on a refuted claim. The basic fact is that there are well-known three causal forces, chance, necessity and agency. Because of a commitment to evolutionary materialism as a philosophical frame of reference, there has been an attempt in the name of methodological naturalism, to artificially constrict the options on matters tied to origins, in the teeth of where the actual evidence on facts points.”
    “2] How did ID happen?
    This is a secondary question, as the first issue is that on an inference to best explanation basis, we can credibly see that there is the FACT of design as the best explanation for FSCI in several key phenomena connected to origins.”
    I really don

  • Eric & Lisa

    Gordon,
    Thanks again for your comments, I always find them very refreshing and a little revealing.
    These types of comment sections go straight to Joe’s point about how Evolutionists help Intelligent Design.
    Instead of wanting to have a reasonable discussion, all they can do is get angry, call people liars, change the subject, and come up with stories.
    While those who support Intelligent Design continue to present careful examination of the evidence in the face of being insulted and attempts to distract and change the subject.
    Good job to both you and jhudson, ive learned a lot.

  • The Raven

    Gordon – I fear you still haven’t grasped the essence of my primary question. I’m going to ask it one more time, and restate it somewhat for further clarity.
    Question: What does it mean to say that some organic structure is “irreducable”?
    The word “mean” is italicized to underscore the extended sense of the word. I’m not asking for a definition of the term as ID proponents use it, for the general explanation, involving mouse traps and whatnot, is fairly straightforward. No, I’m asking you what the net effect is, what the import is, what the outcome of such a labeling is intended to accomplish.
    For example, say that we’re listening in on a classroom that’s engaged in evolutionary microbiology studies. And in this class, graduate students have been asked to propose projects for the coming term:
    Student: I have a research idea I’d like to pursue.
    Teacher: Yes? What is it?
    Student: Well, I’m rather curious about the development of protozoan flaggela and I’d like to create a diachronic taxonomy to show the likely route of Peranema evolution, classifying its ancestors.
    Teacher: No, I’m sorry. You can’t do that.
    Student: Really? Why not?
    Teacher: Because what you’re asking is impossible. Design Theorists from the Discovery Institute have already looked into that and applied the cutting-edge tools of Design Science into the development of the flagella and they’ve determined that this is a case of Irreducable Complexity.
    Student: Irre.. what? What does that mean?
    Teacher: It means that, while you’re certainly free to look into other structures with reducable complexity – that may have evolved – the flagella is the result of Intelligent Agency.
    Student: I’m sorry… I’m not following you.
    Teacher: Well, now we know, thanks to Design Science, that at some point in the distant past, some unknown intelligence visited this world and consciously designed many of the organic structures around us. The Discovery Institute has saved us all a whole lot of trouble by using their patented technology to discover which structures demonstrate Intelligent Design, and when they flag such structures, we know that there’s nothing left to learn about their evolution. One day, long ago, they didn’t exist. Then, BAM! All of a sudden they did. There’s no other explanation and you’d be wasting your time (and mine) by even trying.
    Student: [eyeing the door] So you’re saying that the purpose of ID theory is to spare us from examining questions that cannot be answered?
    Teacher: No, not exactly. The purpose of ID is to prove the existence of a deity. That it saves us a lot of time is just a bonus effect.
    That should be enough to clarify my question, Gordon. Is what you’re proposing likely to lead to the sort of scenario I’ve outlined above? Because I’m having a hard time working out how it wouldn’t have that effect.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Instead of wanting to have a reasonable discussion, all they can do is get angry, call people liars, change the subject, and come up with stories.
    Did I ever mention that I think Eric & Lisa is/are a disgrace to this blog?

  • Rob Ryan

    “…answer tot he material issue and stop counting noses as a way to try to discredit the qualification of the minority raising serious questions of fact, logic, explanation and interpretation.”
    You bring the “counting noses” on yourself when you make sweeping use of terms like “selective hyperskepticism” to describe what you see as the basis of the worldviews of those who don’t go along with yours. The term loses meaning when it is clear that you use it to dismiss all views but that of a minority. “Skepticism”, maybe, but not “hyperskepticism”. You are, in my opinion, one of the most selectively hyperskeptical people I have communicated with. You are also among a large group of people I see as selectively gullible. Notice I restrain myself from the hyperbolic “hyper-gullibility”. Words lose meaning when they are applied too broadly.
    “…nor have you or anyone else in the blog credibly demonstrated — as opposed to asserted — dishonesty on my part.”
    As you know from our brief correspondence, you and I differ on this point. Interested persons may review the exchanges in question if they wish. You may provide them with our private correspondence as well. I have moved on.
    “..R is citing a just-so story…”
    This addresses the comments of The Raven, not myself, but I can’t help but marvel at the temerity of a man who believes what Gordon believes in invoking this term.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    For the record, what exactly is meant by a “just so story”?

  • Rob Ryan

    Boonton:”For the record, what exactly is meant by a “just so story”?”
    If I may, Boonton, I believe it is an allusion to Kipling’s stories that explain origins in an entertaining but unlikely way, such as “How the Whale Got His Throat”, “How the Camel Got His Hump”, “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin”, etc.” My statement reflects my view that biblical stories have more in common with such tales than do scientific hypotheses.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I think this thread shows why it was so important for Joe to point out the problems he has. Sadly, instead of fixing the problem, we see a repetition of the problem, underscoring the force of Joe’s point.
    I will note a few quick points:
    1] E&L: Thanks, appreciated. Never mind the personalities of the likes of B.
    2] DD: I really don

  • The Raven

    Thanks for the answer, Gordon.
    So what you’re saying is that my classroom dialogue would not occur because in an academic setting, the peculiar notions of ID would not be introduced. You’re saying that scientists and researchers in the field will simply ignore any assertions from the ID camp and carry on as usual, yes?
    To press further, since ID can “prove” nothing, and makes no useful contribution to our understanding of the world, its impact on modern thought is nil. That’s what I thought.
    Very good. No foul, then. You folks can feel free to point at any natural structure you like and declare this or that “irreducibly complex” and the people engaged in actually figuring out the truth of the matter will forge ahead and eventually determine the facts of the matter.
    If this is not the case, then it is incumbent on the ID people to make a rock-solid, empirical case that can withstand peer review and academic scrutiny to an extent that satisfies the scientific community. Behe and his Dumbsquad have failed in every case to do this and I assume they shall continue to make themselves the laughingstock of any credible evaluative body to which they present their theories.
    One more thing: You present a lot of statistical numbers in this discussion, along the lines of “X evolving has a 10-to-the-hundredth-power chance of happening” and I can’t imagine anybody taking such math seriously. But the numbers look very “scientific” to hoi polloi, I’m sure. See, we don’t have to calculate every atom in the universe, being located in every conceivable position, to determine what is actually occurring and what has occurred in the past. That entire line of thinking is a false trail. Nor do we have to pretend to make such calculations, slap our hands to our heads, and stagger around in blind amazement at how unlikely reality is. Reality is, by definition, 100 percent likely and is not proof of anything except its own existence.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Raven:
    I appreciate the shift to more of a dialogue based interaction over the past day or two, even though there is still to much of sarcasm for my taste and — sad to say — there are one or two surfacings of personalities that reflects an underlying irrational, disrespectful and undignified contempt that you would do well to re-assess.
    I will address points:
    1] my classroom dialogue would not occur because in an academic setting, the peculiar notions of ID would not be introduced. You’re saying that scientists and researchers in the field will simply ignore any assertions from the ID camp and carry on as usual, yes?
    –> I am saying, first, that there are such things as schools in science, and situations where there are multiple paradigms.
    –> Second, I am pointing out that the days of unchallenged just-so accounts in the literature are over. Your hypothetical grad student would have to come up with viable mechanisms, not just probabilistically implausible stories that gain currency because they conform to a preferred paradigm.
    –> Third, I am pointing out that the implications of fascist style thought policing on the part of DI [which BTW is predominantly a more or less somewhat libertarian-oriented thinktank on public policy matters . . .] is a canard.
    2] since ID can “prove” nothing, and makes no useful contribution to our understanding of the world, its impact on modern thought is nil.
    –> Here comes that intellectual double-standard problem again. Science is an inherently provisional exercise, based on inferences to best current explanation of phenomena, within the constraint of empirical facts. “Proof,” therefore, is not a proper category relative to science. More broadly, in the realm of contingent facts accessed empirically, proof is not the proper category, as has long been pointed out by say Simon Greenleaf — and recall, in using the term selective hyperskepticism, I am simply giving a descriptive term to what this founding father of the modern theory of evidence long ago identified as a basic flaw in much skeptical thought:

    [S 26, Testimony] In the ordinary affairs of life we do not require nor expect demonstrative evidence, because it is inconsistent with the nature of matters of fact, and to insist on its production would be unreasonable and absurd . . . The error of the skeptic consists in pretending or supposing that there is a difference in the nature of things to be proved; and in demanding demonstrative evidence concerning things which are not susceptible of any other than moral evidence alone, and of which the utmost that can be said is, that there is no reasonable doubt about their truth . . . .

    –> Secondly, I should note that there is a reason why I use HYPER-skepticism; namely to highlight that this is not just merely critical awareness at work, but the selective imposition of a criterion of “proof” that is not reasonable for matters of fact, a criterion which, if used across the board would cause collapse of the domain of knowledge, including the implicit or explicit knowledge claims of the skeptic.
    –> Third, the empirically-anchored inference to design restores to the armory of scientific thought access to the full range of known causal forces: natural regularities, chance, and agency. That is in itself a significant achievement.
    –> Fourth, by identifying several specific cases of evident FSCI and/or IC, this inference opens up a gateway to rethink a major area in which science has been inadequately rigorous in its analysis and hypothesis testing.
    –> Fifth, onlookers can confirm that I pointed out that the implication of your hypothetical anecdote is that Discovery Institute would in effect be imposing a thought-police censorship on scientific investigation, and would be doing so by imposing a criterion of invincible ignorance. I pointed out that this has no foundation, apart from NCSE-style canards. I also pointed out yet another contribution: the days of unchallenged just-so stories are over.
    –> Thus it is hardly the case that design as a paradigm makes no contribution to our understanding of nature.
    –> I think I see as well the underlying assumption that “agent action” is not a “proper” causal force. Look closer and see if that is not because you are implicitly assuming reductionist evolutionary materialism, which “must” reduce mind to matter acting under chance and necessity. But in fact this immediately leads to the reduction of your own thought to forces irrelevant to logic, truth or validity. That is, we are looking at a self-referential contradiction, an inescapably self-defeating frame of argument:

    [evolutionary materialism] argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature. Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of chance.
    But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this picture. Thus, what we subjectively experience as “thoughts” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as unintended by-products of the natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains. (These forces are viewed as ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance and psycho-social conditioning, within the framework of human culture.)
    Therefore, if materialism is true, the “thoughts” we have and the “conclusions” we reach, without residue, are produced and controlled by forces that are irrelevant to purpose, truth, or validity. Of course, the conclusions of such arguments may still happen to be true, by lucky coincidence

  • Gordon Mullings

    PS; Onlookers may find David Berlinski’s remarks in the context of inter alia the alleged evolutionary path to the eye adn its even more alleged computer simulation, here, interesting.
    [I have BTW now read Ms Coulter’s book, and think that the focus on here intemperate remarks ont he four widows, though theier behaviour merits scrutiny too, was a distraction from the substantial points she had to make. I found too that there was a noticeable jump in quality in her chapter on the Design controversy, sufggestig that there had been a serious interaction with knwledgeable people there. I still profoundly dislike her tartness and consider it less than Christian, as I communcated to her and to her WND editor.]
    GEM

  • Gordon Mullings

    H’MM: A little voice is telling me that I should be a little more specific: I am speaking of proof as DEMONSTRATION, in the sense that mathematical or loigical results are demonstrated. “Proof,” as Greenleaf notes, and as my excerpt went on to cite, can be used in a weaker sense:

    [27] . . . . In proceeding to weigh the evidence of any proposition of fact, the previous question to be determined is, when may it be said to be proved? The answer to this question is furnished by another rule of municipal law, which may be thus stated:

    A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence.

    By competent evidence, is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence, is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt. . . . . If, therefore, the subject is a problem in mathematics, its truth is to be shown by the certainty of demonstrative evidence. But if it is a question of fact in human affairs, nothing more than moral evidence can be required, for this is the best evidence which, from the nature of the case, is attainable. Now as the facts, stated in Scripture History, are not of the former kind, but are cognizable by the senses, they may be said to be proved when they are established by that kind and degree of evidence which, as we have just observed, would, in the affairs of human life, satisfy the mind and conscience of a common man. [Testimony, Sections 26, 27, emphases added.]

    It is quite evident that the problem is that such a weaker sense of proof which is applicable to scientific findings, is all too easily conflated with demonstration through the game of worldview level question-begging epitomised by the evidentialism that lies behind the classic phrase “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
    The problem? Extraordinary, as a rule means that there is worldviews trouble at work, and the kind of discussion and proof being entertained is not that of open comparative difficulties dialogue.
    GEM

  • Eric & Lisa

    I find the Raven’s school room example incredibly ironic in light of reality.
    We see every day the Darwinists keeping ID out of the classroom, you’re not even allowed to speak about it, or discuss it. The minds of the children are closed.
    However, those who support ID have never asked to have Darwinian evolution removed from the schools, only to have IDE taught alongside of DE.
    So The Raven’s criticism can more accurately be levelled against Darwin supporters than ID supporters.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Eric & Lisa:
    Actually, in the case of Discovery Institute it is worse:

    1] They acknowledge that Design Theory is too pioneering to be taught in the High School science classroom as a set topic, though they have pointed out that it is within the academic and constitutional rights of teachers and students to discuss topical issues and concerns properly relevant to science and science education that may come up. [That is, they oppose censorship.]
    2] They have NEVER advocated that ID be taught in High School as in effect a topic in the course, but instead have pointed out that there is a controversy surrounding Darwinian Evolution, relative to key gaps in the theory and facts, that should be taught, along with the required critical thinking skills to make an assessment appropriate to being an informed, scientifically literate citizen. [They call this teaching the controversy.] For instance:

    The Institute favors teaching students more about biological and chemical evolution, including scientific criticisms of these theories raised in peer-reviewed science journals . . . . Discovery Institute supports the Kansas Science Standards. The Standards expand the information presented to students about biological and chemical evolution by including some of the scientific criticisms of these theories. They also adopt a definition of science that is consistent with the definition of science adopted by other states. The Science Standards do not propose teaching intelligent design theory . . . . Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design either through state science standards or through local school district policies. The Institute favors teaching students about the scientific evidence for and against neo-Darwinism rather than requiring them to learn about alternative theories. At the same time, the Institute believes there is nothing unconstitutional about discussing the scientific theory of design in the classroom, and it opposes efforts to persecute teachers who may wish to discuss or answer student questions about the scientific debate over design in a pedagogically appropriate manner . . . . Discovery Institute is not a creationist organization, and it opposes including either creationism or the Bible in biology textbooks or science classes . . . . Students need to learn more about evolutionary theory, not less . . . . Over 600 doctoral scientists from such fields as biology, biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and mathematics have signed a statement circulated by Discovery Institute expressing their skepticism of the central claim of neo-Darwinian evolution, namely that natural selection and random mutations are sufficient to explain the complexity of life. The list of 610 signatories includes member scientists from National Academies of Science in Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India (Hindustan), Nigeria, Poland, Russia and the United States. Many of the signers are professors or researchers at major universities and international research institutions

    –> A legal opinion they have posted as representing their views is here.
    3] In the case of the Dover School Board, they legally advised the Board against the policy they adopted, which led to the lawsuit. In summary, the DI position is: “While Discovery Institute does not support efforts to require the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, it also strongly opposes the ACLU’s attempt to censor classroom discussion of intelligent design.” They have similarly advised against “warning label policies” etc., consistent with the principle: teach MORE about evolution not less — ie. include the tools and information for critical analysis of it, in light of the historically accurate, epistemologically warranted understanding of science [cf. 5 below].
    4] In the case of Kansas, they advised and testified to the existence of the controversy and that it should be taught. [It is to be noted too that the school board’s revision nowhere mandated the teaching of either Creation or Design:

  • Rob Ryan

    E&L: “We see every day the Darwinists keeping ID out of the classroom, you’re not even allowed to speak about it, or discuss it. The minds of the children are closed.”
    I hope you are just ignorant of the facts and not deliberately propagating an untruth. The truth is, students and teachers ARE allowed to talk about it. What “Darwinists” Have done is to prevent IDers from forcing its inclusion in the curriculum. Huge difference.
    E&L: “However, those who support ID have never asked to have Darwinian evolution removed from the schools, only to have IDE taught alongside of DE.”
    That’s a little disingenuous. Creationists HAVE tried and failed to ban the teaching of evolution, and they lost that battle. They regrouped, renamed themselves, and adopted what they saw as a more tenable position and pursued a less ambitious legal strategy. Make no mistake: theists, particularly Christians, are still trying to impose their worldview on a captive audience. This is clearly seen in Tennessee, where the Pledge of Allegiance must by law be recited in every public school classroom. My daughters have the option of standing and subjugating themselves to the god of the Knights of Columbus or remaining in their seats and enduring the ostracism of their peers.

  • Goirdon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    Sadly predictable:
    1] RR: What “Darwinists” Have done is to prevent IDers from forcing its inclusion in the curriculum.
    –> Please see the above, RR: you implied that DI was embarking on censorship, but there is a clear policy AGAINST censorship.
    2] Creationists HAVE tried and failed to ban the teaching of evolution
    –> Here we see a conflation in the teeth of evidence and requests to correct what now has to be viewed as a mischievous and calculated confusion: design theory and Creationism are clearly distinct.
    –> Besides, so far as I have ascertained, Creationists have not tried to remove the teaching of evolution from curricula since the courts ruled on the matter, decades ago. Even in the 1980’s the position they argues was for teaching alternative views and models with evidence.
    –> So, on the material underlying issue, NEITHER Design Thinkers nor Biblical Creationists have been censors. [Indeed, even the old statutes from many decades ago — which had popular support BTW — were in large part intended to avoid unnecessary controversy and undermine support for the teaching of science in general.]
    3] They regrouped, renamed themselves, and adopted what they saw as a more tenable position and pursued a less ambitious legal strategy. Make no mistake: theists, particularly Christians, are still trying to impose their worldview on a captive audience.
    –> This is again a mischievous misrepresentation: the material issue is that there has been censorship on the definition of science by evolutionary materialists, on the contents of textbooks by the same, and on curricula by the same, with intent to provide undue walls of protection for what a leading public advocate called a theory that “makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”
    –> In fact, further, it can be shown that Biblical Creationism and Design Theory come from very different frames of reference i the history of ideas, that they arose in divergent movements clustered around diverse thinkers, and that the issue is often misrepresented by the likes of a professor Barbara Forrest [whose “expert” testimony was swallowed whole by Judge Jones.]
    4] This is clearly seen in Tennessee, where the Pledge of Allegiance must by law be recited in every public school classroom. My daughters have the option of standing and subjugating themselves to the god of the Knights of Columbus or remaining in their seats and enduring the ostracism of their peers.
    –> Here we have a changing of the subject, joined to a misrepresentation of the historical facts and current situation.
    –> Onlookers, kindly note that “In God we Trust” is a longstanding theme in American culture which enjoys popular support. For instance, here [and note it does not appear in the main article, which begins with a section on Lyrics] is the fourth stanza of the American National Anthem, which I believe dates credibly to 1814:

    O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto:

  • Gordon Mullings

    A note: Here you will find the State definitions of Science. It will show just how commonplace the KS definition is.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’ve allowed Gordon to prattle on a bit while I thought about his lack of a response to my points. It seems pointless to engage in much more quoting Gordon’s points, responding to them and so on. Rather I’ll make a more general argument.
    It is not clear Gordon’s underlying ‘scientific’ assumption that all events are either caused by chance, necessity or agency is incoherent and vague. As I pointed out with lottery balls, even a classic example of ‘chance’ is really caused by necessity. True Gordon correctly points out the problem that even if we made hyper accurate measurements of the forces applied to the balls as they were dropped into the lottery machine even the smallest of errors would result in calculated results that would be different from the true results.
    However this simply returns us to the fact that chance does not exist as a cause but as an expression of our ignorance. On a true/false quize that you failed to study for guessing gives you a 50-50 chance of getting the question right. Studying might give you a 100% chance, or maybe a 75% chance. The lottery example is just one in many that would be equilivant to a quize that’s so hard no amount of studying would give you a 100% chance of getting the questions right. (I’m leaving aside here quantum mechanics where probability may in fact exist in some real form)
    OK, then, if chance is just necessity then we can still divide ’causes’ into agency or necessity right? Wrong. First can you prove agency even exists? Those on both sides of the debate about God have mounted arguments that free will is something of an illustion. Even if you reject that we do know that many of our ‘voluntary’ decisions are actually made automatically, with no thought at all. Even if we are agents with free will many of our very own actions are ones of necessity, not agency.
    As philosophical categories this scheme requires a lot of work but as science it is beyond hopeless and that is why it isn’t used. I dare Gordon to present a scientific text that uses his three main ’causes’ as a starting point of anything (ID texts excluded of course).
    Now Gordon has presented no evidence that my program could not produce intelligble phrases or that a game of changing one book into another by changing one word per turn (but keeping the whole thing sensible) could not be played. He has charged that the ‘probability’ of such a thing is so below his magical threshold that he need not engage in such an argument. However he has not presented any valid method of calculating such probability. When he has attempted to show how he could magically calculate such a probability he was skillfully taken down here by someone with much better knowledge than I have (I think it was Raven BTW).
    A long time ago on a similiar thread someone counted how many words were written by all the authors. They found that Gordon’s comments equalled everyone else’s put together. I have to say, sadly value does not follow quantity.

  • The Raven

    E&L: “We see every day the Darwinists keeping ID out of the classroom, you’re not even allowed to speak about it, or discuss it. The minds of the children are closed.”
    Actually, I’d say you’re probably right. “Darwinists” is a bit of a stretch, but intelligent, secular, clear-thinking Americans with a firm understanding of why there should be a separation of church and state have worked diligently to keep ID and creationism out of the public schools. As they should.
    Now, if you want your child to learn all about the exciting, “pioneering” science of ID, you have some choices. Teach it yourself. Send your child to church. Send your child to a private school with ID in the curriculum. And, in fact, all Americans have the same freedom.
    “But,” you object, “all children should be taught the controversy!”
    No, we’re going to have to hold the line here. Fox News and modern right-wing journalism have attempted to “balance” issues by presenting opposing points of view whenever expedient. Thus, if you interview someone who thinks we have some big troubles in the Middle East, you have to also bring in someone who opines that everything over there is just peachy. If you make a claim for global warming, you also have to present the ideas of some crackpot who disputes the matter. It’s a kind of balance, sure. But all the experts, scientists, professors, researchers, everybody’s over on one side of the table, and the other side is represented by a single unknown looney who disagrees with everyone.
    That’s where we are with ID – it’s not as if there is a genuine difference of opinion, it’s just that the academy isn’t interested in letting the four or five paid hacks at the Discovery Institute rewrite our understanding of science and nature. They might get to do that, but they’ll have to do it the hard way, just like anyone else. They’ll have to publish, put their findings out for public review, and see if they can make their case in terms that are verifiable, replicable, and not falsifiable.
    Oh, and E&L? We can pretend all day long that you and Gordon and Joe are very interested in ID and thing there’s something to it, but in reality it’s just creationism and what you really want is to force all children to be taught in school that there is a god and that they should worship it. ID is a bridge, or wedge issue to help move that along. Pretending otherwise is simply disingenuous.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton wrote to Gordon;
    I’ve allowed Gordon to prattle on a bit while I thought about his lack of a response to my points.
    and he also wrote;
    A long time ago on a similiar thread someone counted how many words were written by all the authors. They found that Gordon’s comments equalled everyone else’s put together. I have to say, sadly value does not follow quantity.
    This has become Boonton’s favorite “argument” these days on the Evangelical outpost. He apparantly has nothing more to say than to call people names, critic their writting skills, make observations about the author of an argument rather than address the argument directly and invent stories and draw analogies in order to prop up his defeated belief system.
    Perhaps this is what Joe means when he says that supports of Darwin help Intelligent Design. If they don’t have anything but ad hominem to add people figure it out after awhile.
    Keep up the good work Boonton and for your sake I sincerely hope you’re a better economist than you are a supporter of Darwins theories on evolution.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    While Eric & Lisa don’t like name calling on this blog I feel compelled once again to note that I feel they are a disgrace.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    In all seriousness, the Eric&Lisa collective should know better than. There is not a single person on this blog, including ID supporters, who have taken Gordon’s arguments and points as seriously as I have tried too and have given them as much time. E&L, when they bother to make an argument, are taken seriously by me as well.
    If you read this thread from the beginning (or many of the other evolution related ones) you will see very little name calling. YOu will see a lot of patience as ID supporters have had every opportunity to make their case. It is stunning how many diverse topics come up on these threads but what is rarely stunning is Gordon’s posts. They are almost always the same, repeating the same arguments over and over again in the same ways. You may not like my stories and analogies but I do try to vary them so I can make my points better. We don’t even get that with Gordon.

  • The Raven

    Boonton: I see that you once again present me with a target-rich environment.
    –> Onlookers, note how once again, Boonton returns to ad hominem attacks against me, wholly unwarranted and a most despicable practice.
    –> As for his “stories,” I’m glad he admits to his “just-so” explanations. Unlike myself, who always supports an argument with statistical data as determined by Michael Demski and other DI luminaries.
    –> As for Mssr. Boonton’s “explanations” and far-fetched reductio ad absurdem voyages into selective hyperskepticism, need I repeat that when the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection spread throughout a hostile land, many were pre-disposed to deny it. So, how did this unlikely emergence of Truth and Proven Fact gain such a strong hold?
    –> In no cases do I ever fail to provide less than 10^125 words in any posting, so that my meaning is clear and unambiguous. My training as an electrical physicist and Master of Communications demands as much. Be this a fault, mea maxima culpa.
    –> Please note that when I refer to “random chance,” my meaning should not be misconstrued as referring to James Bond’s classic nemesis Odd Job, and that evolution demands we suspend disbelief, given that no examples of DME have been witnessed; further, that countless examples of DI ID are easily determined via FSCI and, here, rendered in ASCII.
    –> All: As evidenced by my own weblog, there may even be no evidence of credible and logical thought to be found with the labcoats of philosophers, and IMHCO the same could be said of any of my “cut and paste” manifestoes. YMMV.
    —————–
    Grace, close mouths.
    PS: C’mon, Boonton, had ya going for a minute, now, didn’t I?

  • Rob Ryan

    GM: “Sadly predictable”
    Pot, kettle, black.
    GM: “FYI there is no proper Atheist’s veto on the freedom of association and expression of others.”
    Never said there was, as you well know. As far as I’m concerned, people can recite the pledge until they are out of breath. But don’t COMPEL it.
    GM: “notice, your daughter has a perfect right to not join in the pledge should she wish. She has a perfect right to express her reasons why. She has a right to be protected from bullying and intimidation if objectors resort to unfair behaviour.”
    Sounds easy, but you know the schoolyard doesn’t work that way and never has. I’m glad you are so sympathetic to my daughter’s plight, She would like to keep herfriends, though. Being a pariah is hard on a ten-year-old.
    GM: “I believe on good evidence that this too has long appeared in US coinage, from at least C19.”
    Occasionally, but not mandated until the 1950s, with their knee-jerk response to the red threat. Bad idea then, time to change it back to “e pluribus unum”, a far superior motto, and more inclusive.
    GM: “you implied that DI was embarking on censorship, but there is a clear policy AGAINST censorship.”
    Where did I do this? Is this a slander?
    GM: “In short, RR wishes to discard the history and subvert the long-expressed general will of the American people.”
    Stop saying what I wish. You are wrong, and your reading of history is as skewed. As for the will of the people, I’m more concerned with the Constitution. In some parts of our country, the will of the people was the perpetuation of slavery. The will of the people needs some parameters: separation of church and state was not only the will of the framers of the Constitution, it is also a darn good idea.
    GM: “Here we have a changing of the subject…”
    Not a changing of the subject, just citing another specific to support a general statement. Your slanting and distortion are obvious to everyone but you.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Subverting the wishes of the American people? What the hell does that mean? It sounds like it means disagreeing with ‘the people’ which means what Gordon thinks 50%+ happened to vote or say in a poll.
    BTW, isn’t resorting to such collectivist rhetoric rather chilling, especially for someone familiar with how bad this sort of thing can get? How many are abused in communist countries for the crime of disagreeing with “the people”. By definition here if Raven is one of “the people” too and his voice is no less than any other person’s.

  • Rob Ryan

    GM: “Here we have a changing of the subject, joined to a misrepresentation of the historical facts and current situation.”
    I almost forgot. You have NO basis for accusing me of misrepresenting “the historical facts and current situation.” It is precisely as I said. My daughters must stand and recite or remain quietly in their seats, alone and conspicuous. The state has placed them on the horns of a dilemma. If I were to resort to your tactics and state what your wishes are, I would have to conclude that you wish little girls would fall into line with monotheistic presuppositions or face the consequences. Shame!

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    It is pretty clear that the evolutionary materialist advocates on the thread have little or no substantial response tot he material issues, and have repeatedly resorted to ad hominems, distractors and strawmen arguments, as repeatedly documented above. Now, they have resorted to a turnabout accusation that by pointing out [and BTW, actually substantiating — and that is why it takes a fair length to address the points] the fallacies involved, I am using ad hominems.
    That is its own refutation, and neatly falls into the precise point highlighted by Joe in the series of posts.
    Now, amidst the ad hominems and distractors there are a few odd points worth a remark or two:
    1] B; It is not clear Gordon’s underlying ‘scientific’ assumption that all events are either caused by chance, necessity or agency is incoherent and vague. As I pointed out with lottery balls, even a classic example of ‘chance’ is really caused by necessity.
    –> B, you evidently have not understood the rots of chaos, as is implicit in your further admission: True . . . if we made hyper accurate measurements of the forces applied to the balls as they were dropped into the lottery machine even the smallest of errors would result in calculated results that would be different from the true results. However this simply returns us to the fact that chance does not exist as a cause but as an expression of our ignorance.
    –> We can note several corrections here, and much of this has been gone over in previous threads, so I am really just documenting for the sake of serious inquirers among onlookers, current and future:

    0] I have already sufficiently highlighted the difference between chance, necessity and agency by example of agents throwing dice to play a game. The dice fall under a natural regularity, gravity. The side that faces up is for all intents and purposes a matter of chance, and the agents are using the above two forces to fulfill their own purposes, e.g. to play a game. In short, I have provided a definition by example adequate to our purposes.
    1] The point of a random outcome is that it is unpredictable in detail relative to the start points, beyond possibly a distribution.
    2] In the case of sensitive dependence on initial conditions, aka chaos, even deterministic forces give rise to unpredictable, or in effect uncontrollable in the fine, results precisely because of the amplification of minutest divergences in starting and intermediate conditions. (A cubical die has eight corners and twelve edges, and so the tiniest tipping one way or another as it tumbles can give rise to a much amplified divergence as it tumbles. I defy B to reliably predict the outcome of a die toss apart from a statistical distribution, regardless of how much computing power, within practical limits, he tosses at it.)
    3] On the material case, namely chemical evolution of biofunctional molecules and followed by random mutations, the resulting configurations can in principle be any one as well as any other one. [The selection filters act on the results of the random processes.]
    4] That is, precisely based on the relevant models used in abiogenesis and NDT, the generation of diversity is not purposeful or driven by necessary and controllable forces relative to initial conditions. once we see that and apply the appropriate assessment of the configuration spacewe easily see that the proposed processes will rapidly exhaust the probabilistic resources of the known universe.
    5] The sort of configuration space probabilistic analysis offered above is directly relevant to these cases; a matter that is routinely done i say physical chemistry, as can be explored through TBO’s analysis here, where entropy numbers come from assessing the number of microstates [configurations at microscopic level] that fit in under a given macrostate [macroscopic/functional description] based on the Boltzmann relationship s = k ln w. this is more or less standard stuff B, an economist, is trying to object to, in short. he is out of his league, and it shows.

    –> B is in part right to note that probabilities are indices of our ignorance, but there is a very serious reason for that ignorance here. We cannot get into was it Laplace’s idea of setting up the initial conditions and then calculating the train of all subsequent events, even in a Newtonian universe due tot he phenomenon of chaos. Further than that, at micro level we are in a Quantum world, and there probabilities and all sorts of observer interference effects come into play so that the result is even more driven into the unpredictable. Probabilities ands statistical distributions are and will remain a key component of physical science for the foreseeable future.
    –> And, BTW, B, when you insist on retreading long since exploded arguments, I think for the sake of newbies it is appropriate to summarise why they do not hold water. [The problem also reflects what is very evidently willful obtuseness on your part, joined to opining ignorantly on matters that you do not understand, as we just saw.]
    2] can you prove agency even exists?
    –> This is burden of proof shifting, in a philosophical exercise. That means that coherence is a relevant criterion of assessment.
    –> Here, first observe that we experience the world through our own agency — e.g. the fact that we each expect that other participants in this thread are giving real arguments and ideas. We implicitly accept that we are not just spilling over with lucky noise in the neural networks in our brains driven by the underlying a-logical, socio-cultural and bio-physical forces.
    –> As long as we accept that there is a possibility of real dialogue, then we implicitly accept the reality of agency as a causal force. Even, when we try to deny it or play selective hyperskepticism with it, in this thread.
    –> In short, B is either being self-referentially inconsistent or selectively hyperskeptical. In neither case is this a serious argument.
    3] Gordon has presented no evidence that my program could not produce intelligble phrases or that a game of changing one book into another by changing one word per turn . . . he has not presented any valid method of calculating such probability
    –> Again, not a serious argument. I have pointed out that the process required would soon exhaust the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos, and B has simply tried to pretend that that sort of probability issue does not exist.
    –> As to the issue of calculating of probabilities of randomly selected subsets of a configuration space, B now pretends that someone else’s invalid objection counts — invalid for reasons already pointed out, and which in any case set out to ridicule rather than address [thus the “skill” involved is rhetorical not technical]. Sorry, B is objecting to standard approaches here.
    –> In very simple terms, B: toss a fair die. Is there any good reason to prefer any one of the outcomes from {1,2,3,4,5,6}? No: the die is fair [i.e. not weighted or set up with magnets etc.]. Then, the odds of any one face being topmost are 1/6, on an a priori calculation. A simple experiment with any fair die will show that pretty soon enough, an a posteriori assessment.
    –> Extend that to the configuration space of a million words of average length 7 letters from the ASCII set of 128 states. That is 7 million letters, each of which exists in 128 states: 128^[7*10^6]. My calculation of the configuration space is 6.13*10^[14,750,459]. There are maybe 10^80 atoms in the known cosmos.
    –> Within that configuration space, the requirement of making spelling, grammar and plot sense at each stage of a random shift soon will run you into the problem that the functional states are incredibly sparse in the configuration space. [I did the calculation before for 7-letter words in the context of the generous estimate of the scale of English vocabulary. It soon ran into the exhaustion of the probabilistic resources of the known universe, as usual.]
    –> The point is that when you have a multi-element contingent system, with a resulting large configuration space and random changes targetting islands of functionality you run into problems real fast.
    –> That is also the fundamental reason why neither abiogenesis through the sort of chemical evolution or macroevolution through NDT are probabilistically credible. Logically and physically strictly possible, but probabilistically so incredible that agency is a far better explanation.
    4] Raven: intelligent, secular, clear-thinking Americans with a firm understanding of why there should be a separation of church and state have worked diligently to keep ID and creationism out of the public schools.
    –> Onlookers, note that R has simply made an unresponsive assertion, with a subtext of contempt that flies in the face of facts already summarised and linked.
    –> The lack of response on fact and logic joined to barely concealed contempt is telling.
    5] all the experts, scientists, professors, researchers, everybody’s over on one side of the table, and the other side is represented by a single unknown looney who disagrees with everyone . . . . That’s where we are with ID – it’s not as if there is a genuine difference of opinion, it’s just that the academy isn’t interested in letting the four or five paid hacks at the Discovery Institute rewrite our understanding of science and nature.
    –> Again a contempt-filled slander, that neatly ignores the fact that there is a serious issue on the table with technically serious people who take serious positions for serious reasons. [On GW, when you have Bill Gray the hurricane equation man as a skeptic, that counts seriously indeed. On the issue of the intractable problems with NDT, that is all over the peer reviewed literature over the span of decades.]
    –> Onlookers, here is the dissent from Darwinism list, with over 600 highly qualified scientists from around the world [look at the stated qualifications and institutional affiliations to see what I mean], who have signed to a skepticism of the NDT that I share:

  • Rob Ryan

    GM: “First, the Pledge is NOT compulsory..”
    Not in a legal sense, which, of course, I acknowledged when I pointed out she has the option of sitting in silence. The word “compel” has a societal sense as well:
    “to cause to do or occur by overwhelmng pressure”
    source: Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
    When you are 8 and 10 years old and all your classmates, including your friends, perform a school-related act, the pressure to conform is enormous.
    GM: “What is most likely happening is that the situation is that there is an aggressive stance being taken, rather than respectful dissent…”
    You are wrong. My daughters both rise and say the Pledge. It has never occured to them NOT to, and I haven’t suggested that they not. When the elder approached me and asked why the words “under God” were in the Pledge, I told her that many people believed that was true and that the words were added at a time when lawmakers wanted to make a clear distinction between our nation and its enemies. I informed both daughters that they didn’t HAVE to rise and recite, and they looked at me like I was crazy. “Daddy, do you know what would happen if I did that?” She reminded me of the daycare incident in which she was surrounded by little East Tennessee children telling her that she, her sister, and her parents would all go to Hell if they didn’t accept Jesus as their savior. (You should google the sad case of India Tracy in my area). So my girls prefer to give lip service to a god they do not believe in. And I quietly (at least around them) resent it.
    So, you have insinuated incorrectly that my daughter’s attitude precipitated or exascerbated the problem, you’ve implied that she should be content with the few friends who would accept her nonparticipation, and you’ve demonstrated an appalling lack of understanding and empathy. Too bad Christian charity doesn’t extend to the children of atheists.
    GM: “It is plain that he thread is about …”
    Of course, it is all right if YOU broaden the discussion, no matter what it is, to the worldview level so you can release your barrage of apologetics.
    GM: “You will kindly note that you have spoken in terms of compulsion, and I have pointed out that no compulsion is present.”
    And you will kindly note that the compulsion I spoke of was not LEGAL compulsion, which was obvious from my context, but social compulsion. Another strawman argument. You like to bandy accusations of fallacies from others that are in fact your bread and butter.

  • Rob Ryan

    GM: “Further to this, the censorship in question is implicit, i.e. I am reading your remarks as not being in vacuo; in the specific context where inter alia you are not explicitly dissociating yourself from the accusations of censorship, and some of your own remarks lead or hint by quite shallow subtext down that same line.”
    What a convoluted rationalization. You accused me of implying that the DI favored censorship, and I said no such thing! Now you try to weasel out of your glaring misstatement with some farcical “reading between the lines” argument. That does little to engender trust between discoursers. Just like last time, when you tried to say I refused to acknowledge the contributions of Christians to the rise of modern liberty, when in fact I had richly acknowledged it at the outset. This, I think, is sadly indicative of your credibility.

  • Cheesehead

    RR: ” My daughters have the option of standing and subjugating themselves to the god of the Knights of Columbus or remaining in their seats and enduring the ostracism of their peers.”
    Gosh!!!That’s terrible. Maybe you should homeschool them!

  • Eric & Lisa

    Even socially your daughters are not compelled to rise and say the pledge.
    None of my children are compelled to rise and say the pledge, legally or socially. That is because they are home schooled.
    If you were so concerned about your children pledging allegiance to some nutter group Knights you’d do the right thing by them no matter the cost. Or perhaps you’re not so concerned but you are simply distracting from the conversation about ID and DE because the science behind ID asks too many hard questions that advocates of DE cannot answer.
    Gordon
    If I could make a suggestion to both you and Jhudson. Try and ignore them. Not totally, but the distractions. Is it really important to this conversation about ID and DE what happens to Rob Ryan’s girls in high school or is he simply trying to distract from the topic? Does it really matter that they continually use fallacious arguments at an attempt to distract from the topic?
    Each time you point out their character slanders, their fallacies, and bite on the red herring’s, people get lost in the attacks on personalities and don’t remember how they failed to answer the tough questions.
    You and jhudson, who are both scientists, are able to answer the tough questions for the schmucks who watch and listen here. I’m one of the few who actually posts from time to time and I admit, I bite on the bait but neither of us should. It’s a distraction.
    Instead, rise above it. Ignore all parts of the posts that are Larry Lord in nature and keep doing what Boonton has accused you of doing. Repeating the unanswered questions that ID raises about DE.
    Do not allow them to degrade the conversation into useless back and forth over distractions from the topic.
    If you and jhudson can do it, I think i’d be able to do it also. Ignore the nonesense, the personal attacks and press them on the tough issues. They won’t have anything left to say.

  • Chris Lutz

    Rob Ryan:
    This is clearly seen in Tennessee, where the Pledge of Allegiance must by law be recited in every public school classroom. My daughters have the option of standing and subjugating themselves to the god of the Knights of Columbus or remaining in their seats and enduring the ostracism of their peers.
    Actually, similar situations happen all of the time. When I was in Jr. High, you had a required gym outfit to wear. Now, some Christian denominations believe that women should always wear skirts. The solution was to allow them to wear an approved skirt. Do you think they stood out from the group? Of course they did and I’m sure they were probably teased to some extent. (I suffered for the fact that they stenciled your name on the outfit. Having CLUTZ displayed prominently across my chest resulted in two years of jokes. :-) ) Notice though, the solution wasn’t to declare that all of the ladies had to wear a skirt.
    The same thing happened with allowing students to opt out of reading certain books based on the content and doing other material. The solution in both cases is to allow the minority to either opt out toally or to opt out of the specific problem while performing an equivalent action. Your solution seems to be that because you are offended, everyone else has to stop what they are doing. In this sense, you are the one impressing your opinion on everyone else.

  • Rob Ryan

    Cheesehead: “Maybe you should homeschool them!”
    Maybe the government should stay out of the god debate and stop providing kids with the dilemma. It’ hard for me to see how anyone would be harmed if we went back to the original Pledge language or dispensed with it altogether.
    E & L: “If you were so concerned about your children pledging allegiance to some nutter group Knights you’d do the right thing by them no matter the cost. Or perhaps you’re not so concerned but you are simply distracting from the conversation about ID and DE because the science behind ID asks too many hard questions that advocates of DE cannot answer.”
    Nice. First you suggest I abandon my right to a public education for my daughters (who are in ELEMENTARY school; you are not a very close reader!), then you cast doubt on my parental concern, then you suggest I feel threatened by your goddidit philosophy. Feel the Christian love. I resist the allure of ad hominems, but Boonton’s assessment of your contributions to the discourse here are starting to look pretty valid to me.

  • Gordon Mullings

    All:
    It is plain that the substantial issue in the thread is over, and even more plain that Joe’s point has told decisively:

    having an inadequate case on the merits, the NDT’s advocates are left to wander into a rhetorical morass of red herrings leading out to strawmen that they then triumphalistically burn with their favourite accusatory firebrands. Chief among these are attacks to the man and side issues charged with political agendas and strong feelings. And, even on those issues, they are playing the same rhetorical games, to the point where “compulsion” is not compulsion and censorship is not

  • Rob Ryan

    Onlookers will notice that once more GM has resorted to convoluted and impotent rationalizations for his misrepresentations. The facts do not bear them out.
    Apparently, to compel a person is not to compel a person if one can avoid the pressure through surrendering rights and undergoing an inordinate amount of personal sacrifice. This requirement, I think, underscores the pressure of which I spoke. Your argument is based on a failure to understand what it is to compel someone.
    My daughters continue to attend public school, where they are happy and successful, because on balance it is best for them. I would rather endure the unfairness in light of the bigger picture than bring economic hardship on my family over one issue that my children are dealing with better than I am. And what sort of message would it send to my children if I pulled them out of school over this issue? That one must run from bigots and bullies? We’ll stay the course, and perhaps in time they will be inclined to resist what is put upon them. Unlike religious families who homeschool because they feel public school endangers the religious indoctrination of their children, I have great confidence in my children.
    Quite frankly, the thought of E&L homeschooling fills me with an ineffable sadness.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> And, BTW, B, when you insist on retreading long since exploded arguments, I think for the sake of newbies it is appropriate to summarise why they do not hold water. [The problem also reflects what is very evidently willful obtuseness on your part, joined to opining ignorantly on matters that you do not understand, as we just saw.]
    Heh, look whose talking about retreading long exploded arguments. Gordon’s breakdown of causes into three categories is not science and is at best C- philosophy. Gordon retreds all the reasons why we use probability but he doesn’t address the fact that probability itself is not a cause at all.
    More to the point his attempts to calculate the probability of abiogensis happening have long since been debunked. Probability here requires understanding all possible chemical reactions that would be applicable to the primitive earth. Reactions will alter the probabilites making life more or less probable and this is not an area that is well understood. Gordon’s probabilities here are worse than the Drake equation where almost all the numbers are nothing more than guesses.
    –> This is burden of proof shifting, in a philosophical exercise. That means that coherence is a relevant criterion of assessment.
    This is the problem, ‘agency’ is not a scientific concept but a philosophical one. There are many things even human beings do that are involuntary and might not be described as agency. We soon lurch into the philosophical question of whether agents are truely free or if their decisions are determined by necessity.
    –> Again, not a serious argument. I have pointed out that the process required would soon exhaust the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos, and B has simply tried to pretend that that sort of probability issue does not exist.
    You have asserted such with no reasoning, no support nothing to back you up.
    –> I have pointed out that the point of democracy is that majorities rule and minorities are heard and protected, as can be seen in my remarks on RR’s daughter. I have also pointed out that the rise of liberty in modern times has had not a little to do with stances take by Christian people standing within their worldviews. The accusation is therefore grossly unjust.
    As every schoolchild should know the US is not a Democracy but a Democratic Republic. This means for one thing quote often a majority is insufficient to get something passed, rather a supermajority is needed to get over the hurdle of pushing elected representatives to pass desired legislation. Also it means our gov’t was set up with purposefully undemocratic rules. Some of these are embeded in the elected portions of our gov’t. For example, Senators were originally appointed by the states rather than by general election. More striking small states are given disproportionate representation through the Senate and so on. Most important to this discussion, though, is that there is a limit to what even a supermajority may do in our gov’t. Unlike Greece or Rome in their brief democratic eras we do not even trust ‘the people’ with ultimate unchecked power.
    Chris:
    Notice though, the solution wasn’t to declare that all of the ladies had to wear a skirt.
    The difference is that wearing shorts is not a de facto religious statement of any type (aside from the rather trivial one of disagreeing with a religion that forbids short-wearing). Imagine, though, if the gym uniforms had stenciled on them the core creed of Islam “There is no God but God and Muhammad is his Prophet”. Would this be as neutral if a majority of the community were Muslim and supported it but permitted Christian or Jewish students to substitute a Cross or Star of David?
    The same thing happened with allowing students to opt out of reading certain books based on the content and doing other material. The solution in both cases is to allow the minority to either opt out toally or to opt out of the specific problem while performing an equivalent action. Your solution seems to be that because you are offended, everyone else has to stop what they are doing. In this sense, you are the one impressing your opinion on everyone else.
    The question falls as to why the material is being assigned. If it is assigned for secular reasons, neutral in terms of faith, then it is upon the offended person to request to ‘opt out’. If it is being assigned for conversion or indoctrination then the tables are turned and it is upon the school officials to demonstrate that they are being neutral.
    This makes the test a bit trickier because the same book may pass or fail depending on the context. If, say, the Bible or Koran is assigned because the class is meant to explore major historical texts or pieces of world literature then I’d say it the offended should opt out. However if a school decides to institute ‘Bible study’ or ‘Koran study’ I’d say they’d have to prove they were being netural both in regards to faith and in regards to those who reject faith as well.

  • The Raven

    So, Gordon waves the red shirt and declares victory. About what we’d expect.
    In fact, what we have seen thus far is Joe, jhudson, and Gordon lay out several conflicting and contradictory ideas that have explained virtually nothing and proved even less.
    To be fair, their joint presentations have explicated why Intelligent Design is a philosophical position, but never a scientific one. Toward that end, we’ve looked at how ID defends itself against criticism, how it might be applied in a real-world context, what predictive features and utility it might possess, where it enters the discussion of evolution and origins, and a few other matters. My goal in the above is not to be comprehensive, but to underscore the breadth and scope of the discussion to this stage.
    Gordon quippethed: * what is design theory, and why it legitimately claims to be scientific as opposed to the evo mat advocates’ accusations: ID is “creationism in a cheap tuxedo” and is associated with theocratic tyrannical political agendas by “the religious right”
    First off, I note with amusement that he followed my parody with one of his own, trotting his shopworn “500+” begged question, plus his favorite quotations from Rhodesians and Collosseums. So in the quote above he avows that ID theory is detached from Christian dogma, yet in its defense he hauls out Jesus stories and Biblical cites. And he wonders why we infer that ID proponents are Bible thumping jackanapes trying to gussy up the infertile mendacity of ID with an unpersusive patina of academic authority. He answers his own question.
    We saw jhudson ask for any – “any” – explanations evolutionary theory could offer for any of the classic ID conundrums, which include bat echolocution, blood clotting, the development of the mammalian eye, and the protozoaic flaggela. I offered several as proposed from academics. He responded by refusing to consider any hypotheses, and labeled such as “just-so stories,” leading me to conclude that, just like Joe, Gordon, and the Discovery Institute boys, jhudson does not approach ID as a scientific discipline, but rather commits the fatal error of deciding what outcome is desired in advance (in this case, verification of a deistic worldview) and then bends and twists the evidence at hand until it accords with the predetermined bias.
    That’s why we don’t let this kind of thinking infect our schools.
    Also, in response to my classroom dialogue, it emerged that ID theory would not prevent a student of evolutionary or developmental biology from exploring questions that ID considers moot. This is very important, because if ID were, in fact, an acceptable idea, then it would supplant evolution just as would any other conceptualized framework that better describes the evidence than does the theory of evolution.
    This point is apparently still not grasped by the ID interlocutors. A religious zealot cannot conceive of evolution as being anything but a competing religion. Thus, it must be crushed and eradicated as an “enemy” because it undermines the deistic worldview. Yet, the secular approach sees the matter entirely differently. As a logical positivist, I operate on the basis of reason. Should I be confronted with evidence that the theory of evolution is incorrect, I revise my thinking to accord with the better evidence. No earth-shattering adjustment required. The theory of evolution does not occupy a place in my consciousness that is even “important,” in this sense. I am not attached to it in any way. But if you present me with a trilobite fossil, for instance, and ask some questions, the best knowledge I have available is drawn from evolutionary theory and I would answer on that basis.
    ID does not constitute a scientific theory of anything, and is thus not in competition with evolutionary thought. Although it is, as shown in this discussion, apparently a philosophical postulate. We know this because boonton, myself and others have challenged the ID proponents to explain how ID theory can be applied in a practical context and have been presented with the most amazing and astonishing display of verbal gymnastics I’ve seen short of Johnny Cochran’s “Wookie defense”:
    1. ID postulates irreducable complexity.
    2. Structures and organisms can be tested for this complexity.
    3. No such test is offered.
    4. Several cases are examined.
    5. Cases disproved, or lack of evidence (e.g., a fossil record) is cited as grounds for accepting ID.
    6. Then, jhudson claims that an incomplete description of cellular biology is “proof” of ID, such that all organic matter, including “pond scum” is “proof” of ID.
    7. I raise the question of inorganic matter and clarify that ID purports to explain all unknown questions, including those of cosmological origin.
    8. ID thus conflates to the Judeo-Christian God myth.
    And Gordon sees this as game, set, and match. Not in my book. Not by a long shot.
    Let’s take the idea of vascular constriction. Is this process “irreducably complex”? If we remove one component of the system, does it cease to function? Which component do we remove and why? How is that selection made, who makes it and why? ID falls flat on its Christian fundamentalist face as it makes the attempt, just as it did in Dover. Game over, case closed.
    Note to Evangelicals: The theory of evolution is not an attempt to “take God away” from you. You want him, you keep him. The theory is our best understanding (to date) of the whys and hows of biology and ecological systems. It has predictive value, it has explanatory value, and in those areas where our understanding is incomplete, it suggests places where further effort may be most fruitful. It doesn’t address your religion except in those places where your religion proposes divine intervention in natural processes. So stay out of science, stay out of the academy, stay out of the Great Discussion that began in the Enlightenment and go back to church. Sing. Pray. Read your Bible. Believe in your faith. Just stay away from the realm of secular, rational society and we’ll all get along just fine.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    There seems to be little of substance in the further remarks since this morning.
    If any of B, RR and R have a substantial response on points of consequence they can post it or post links to it. (But since over the past several days they have had ample opportunity to do so and fail we can easily enough see why.)
    I will note on just one point: R, there are two key design inference concepts, FSCI and IC.
    As you should know from observation, I have in the main spoken to FSCI, and have pointed out that it is closely related to a routine inference we make in communicative situations. The unwillingness on the part of B to accept standard statistical weight of macrostate calculations, and related probabilities that exhaust the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos show very quickly just how serious the insights from those calculations are.
    There are several serious candidates for IC,t he other key insigt, most notably the flagellum. Kindly tell me how an electrical i/o motor as the flagellum is, can function without one or more of the rotor, or the shaft or the bearings or the paddle. Then kindly explain the 30 unique proteins associated with the structure and the fact that Y pestis in effect has the set of genes for the full flagellum even though it uses only a subset to make a related device. In short, your claim that IC is not credible, plainly collapses.
    Meanwhile the outcome of the thread is plain: Joe is dead right, that evo mat and NDT advocates inadvertently lend support to the rising paradigm of design thought, because of its lack of substance.
    ++++++++++
    Grace, open eyes
    Gordon

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    There are several serious candidates for IC,t he other key insigt, most notably the flagellum. Kindly tell me how an electrical i/o motor as the flagellum is, can function without one or more of the rotor, or the shaft or the bearings or the paddle….
    Again we are back to proof by elimination. To make this work one must show there is NO possible path. I’ve used numerous analogies to demonstrate the problem with this argument. One is the 5 million people in LA the night OJ’s wife was killed. A detective who proved all 4,999,999 innocent leaving just OJ would accomplish a proof by elimination. In this analogy OJ would be ‘ID’ and the 4,999,999 would be every possible evolutionary ‘just so story’ as well as all possible theories that are variations on evolution or even totally non-evolution but not ID.
    The other analogy was a parlor game where we shall take a book and change one word each turn to try to turn it into another book with the rule that each change must preserve a sensible book. If that rule were relaxed there would be trillions of paths that we could use to change the book to anothe one just as there’s numerous ways you can ‘solve’ a rubix cube puzzle. Imposing that rule eliminates many paths that would have been easy but does it eliminate all of them? Probably not. If it left 100 of them those 100 paths would be derided as ‘just so stories’ by our ID friends here. If we had wandered into a parlor and found a previous team had pulled the game off all we’d know is that they probably used one of those 100 legal paths….if we found a few drafts along the way then maybe we’d be able to prove the specific ‘just so story’ that happened.
    Gordon has asserted that no possible path exists for non-living chemicals to have created a living thing. He uses a ‘scrabble bag’ approach to this ignoring the fact that chemical reactions do not make all possiblities equal. Crudly, if you have a room filled with O and H you are likely to end up with H2O. H3O, H4O2 etc. are not equally likely to show up. In contrast if you’re dumping two letters out of a scrabble bag “to” is equally likely to show up as “bx” or “qr” etc. (actually scrabble does not use an equal number of each letter in the alphabet so I’m being a bit simplistic there).
    So Gordon asserts that abiogensis requires an ID but he also asserts that after abiogensis life could not have developed its diversity through the mechanisms of natural selection alone.
    So now we have two proofs by elimination. Not only has Gordon been able to calculate all possible chemical reactions and conclude that abiogensis couldn’t have happened (the ole 1 shot in 10^100 or whatever) but he is also able to calculate all possible genetic variations that a primitive life form could possible spawn and conclude in none of them could a flagellum form. Actual academic papers that lay out possible paths are dismissed as ‘just so stories’ but this ignores the fundamental problem with proof by elimination. If a defense lawyer proves the prosecutor failed to really prove the innocence of just one of the 4,999,999 people then the case collapses.
    It’s interesting that Gordon calls the flagellum a candidate for IC. Why is it a candidate? Because to him no one has come forward with a non-ID path that could result in a flagellum, or a bat’s echolocation system, or an eye etc. But the set of all possible variations is huge. Is on the order of making a statement about all possible games of chess.
    The last analogy I used was an assertion that no valid game of chess could end in a particular configuation of pieces. If we view natural selection as a game where the rules are variations that survive must be beneficial we can restate ID’s assertion as no valid game could result in a primitive non-flagellum life form spawning eventually a flagellumed life form.
    If someone said a valid game of chess could not result in a particular configuation it would be sensible to ask how he knew such a thing. Since the set of all possible games of chess exceeds the computing power of the entire known universe he could not have simply searched all possible games. Perhaps he had discovered a mathematical rule that could eliminate certain members from the set of all possible games without actually being able to compute the set. But if his response to your demand for proof was simply “show me a published game that ever ended that way” his assertion would be exposed as nonsense.
    Which is where we are now. Same old arguments going around in circles although I have to say I don’t regret this. Through these thousands of posts I at least have had the opportunity to refine my arguments and let them ‘evolve’ if you will. Sadly Gordon to me sounds exactly the same as he sounded a year ago. No doubt he and his sycophants like Eric/Lisa will feel that is because they have arrived at a state of perfection. I’ll let others decide if that is the case.

  • Eric & Lisa

    Boonton wrote;
    Same old arguments going around in circles although
    They only go around in circles because of your purposeful ploy at ignorance. I’ll remind you that jhudson already answered your O.J. story
    This is really an odd sort of comparison because it is very difficult to see what you are trying to compare here. You seem to be saying hey, there are lot of mutations and lots of changes going on in the genome, and unless you can eliminate every one of these possible changes as a suspect, you have to consider that any of them for causing a shrew to become a bat. I don’t know how useful this analogy can be to our discussion, because it seems to confuse and conflate a lot of things, but I would say this; contending that having lots of mutations and lots of time are sufficient to produce a irreducibly complex systems doesn’t give us ‘lots of possible suspects’ it is saying all 5,000,000 of those suspects coordinated their efforts together to produce the murder of OJ’s wife; and that would be a fairly straight forward thing to disprove.
    But we really aren’t considering a lot of suspects; really only two, evolution which proposes chance and necessity as a cause, and ID which posits intelligent agency as a cause. Of those two, we look for the best evidences that they were the cause of the event in question; and intelligent agency better fits both the profile and the evidence.
    and further
    Your argument seems to work as much against evolution as for it; we don’t base scientific theories on the stories they tell, but on whether the evidence supports it. OJ was considered a legitimate suspect because of certain criteria that were considered; material found at both the crime scene and his home, motives he might have had, his past relationship with Nicole, his fleeing, his inability to produce a solid alibi, etc. In the case of structures like those found in microbats, intelligent design best fits the evidence we have in hand; evolution doesn’t at all.
    And about your writting a chapter of a book jhudson also already answered
    The next is that natural selection doesn’t select ‘half’ a code'; it requires a working code. It’s not like a book where if you don’t finish the chapter you can come back and write the rest later; it is like a computer program; and if you don’t finish it, the computer crashes; or the proto-bat dies; no more opportunity to code additional functionality. The ‘morphological limit’ in this case is the degree to which a system is dependent on the inter-connection of the respective parts to function.
    Boonton further wrote;
    Through these thousands of posts I at least have had the opportunity to refine my arguments and let them ‘evolve’ if you will.
    You’re saying the exact same things you were saying earlier in the post and those things were already answered by jhudson. You do seem to forget quite easily as you wrote;
    …you will see very little name calling
    and then you wrote
    No doubt he and his sycophants like Eric/Lisa
    Which goes to demonstrate my point spoken of earlier. Namely
    He apparantly has nothing more to say than to call people names…
    But let’s see how the book analogy ended, with Jhudson writting
    The reason the author had the freedom to go through multiple drafts is because his ability to live didn’t depend on his ability write a cohesive and useful chapter to the book (and interestingly, those drafts still required intelligent design); an organism’s survival depends on a functional and cohesive genome producing functional and interdependent systems. Tha bat, in this case, in order to feed in flight as microbats do, depends on the funtioning interdepence of the neural, auditory, respiratory, skeletal, and musculature aspects of the system.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I see E&L have pointed out the underlying problems at work very well.
    Now, B has decided to try to take up the flagellum, so let us deal with that case just a little.
    1] B: we are back to proof by elimination. To make this work one must show there is NO possible path.
    –> I can see B has done very little troubleshooting of functioning systems.
    –> The point is, B [and more to the point, onlookers], there is a logic to the functioning of the flagellum, rooted in (a) the applicable physics and (b) the components that (c) apply that physics jointly to achieve a function — moving the bacterium around:

    a] physics: electrical forces driving a rotor, mechanically linked to a propulsion paddle that works by essentially newtonian action-reaction forces.
    b] inboard components: the ion-driven rotor, the shaft and bearing through which it passes –> generate and transfer to the outside the torque that transfers power to drive the motor
    c] outboard component: the paddle or “tail” which spins in the water –> exerts the action-force against the liquid medium in which the bacterium lives, so that the reaction-force drives it forward [or in reverse — the drive is reversible].
    d] logic of joint action: rotor makes force -> shaft and bearing transmit it –> paddle applies it to the external medium as action –> reaction coupled to relative masses of bacterium and body of water creates drive.
    e] implied irreducible complexity: each stage in the chain of cause-effect is necessary for the function to happen, so cutting any one step in the chain (obviously, save tot he willfully obtuse] defeats the function. Furthermore, as the linked summary article [which has pictures!] highlights, the flagellum features:

    * Water-cooled rotary engine, driven by proton motor force.
    * Self-assembled and repair.
    * Over 250 polypeptides make up over 30 structural parts.
    * Each structure must be attached with an exact periodicity along the microtubules.
    * In some cases has 2 gears (forward and reverse).
    * Operates at speeds usually around 17,000 rpm but seen as high as 100,000 rpm.

    f] Overall inference to best reasonable explanation: such a joint-action system could not credibly have originated by NDT processes of random mutation to make the required protein chains plus natural selection, without rapidly exhausting the probabilistic resources of the known universe.
    g] Observation on the objection: B uses selective hyperskepticism in the evidentialist form, demanding a demonstrative proof on a matter of abductive reasoning, which is inconsistent with the general nature of science and matters of empirical fact. He does so in this case because it would otherwise challenge his worldview. Were he to apply this standard consistently, he would have to abandon al scientific claims of consequence, but of course he does so only selectively, ahgains claims that challenge his underlying worldview, evidently evolutionary materialism.

    2] a parlor game where we shall take a book and change one word each turn to try to turn it into another book with the rule that each change must preserve a sensible book. If that rule were relaxed there would be trillions of paths that we could use to change the book to anothe one
    –> Here B is trying to eliminate the requirement of accessing functional states through random processes at each stage of his “macroevolution” from one book to another, i.e. he wants to be able to simply keep going until he attains a target. [That is why Rubik’s cube is NOT a good parallel: there are no functional constraints on the individual states between beginning and end states.]
    –> This simply implicitly concedes the point:

    a] The mechanism of NDT-style evolution is mutations plus natural selection at each stage, with survival of the most successful reproducers. It is held that this creates adaptations to ecological niches and achieves not just micro but macroevolution, explaining biodiversity without reference to design thus mental purpose — thus Dawkins’ neologism: “designoid” i.e. only appearing to be intelligently designed.
    b] B decided to illustrate this by saying that one book can be transmuted into anoter through random changes in the strings of letters in them.
    c] This is obviously logically and physically possible: for 7 million alphanumeric characters, if we were to somehow generate all possible configurations of the 128-state characters, all books and texts of that length would be among the texts so produced. Also, similarly, it is logically and physically possible that all the oxygen molecules in a room could suddenly run to one end, asphyxiating those in it.
    d] Why then do we never hear the latter in a murder trial defense, or the former in a defense against plagiarism? ANS: because of the probabilities involved, which as summarised above again and again, are of such that they would exhaust the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos. That is, when something that is logically and physically possible on a chance basis is sufficiently improbable relative to that basis, but we can see that t is far more probable and plausible on the assumption of intentional, intelligent agents at work, the latter is the obviously better explanation.
    e] Further to this, at each stage in the NDT mechanism, we need to have differential success in reproduction, i.e. we are looking at an inherent functional criterion. That is why the requisite that at each stage of the “evolution” from one book to another, spelling, grammar and plot line sense should be preserved is a reasonable constraint.
    f] That immediately reveals the fallacy involved in the reasoning put forth by B: the functional configurations of 7 million ASCII characters are so sparse relative to the configuration space of 128^[7*10^6] = 6.13*10^[14,750,459], that the probability of practically achieving that logical and physical possibility is indistinguishable from zero.
    g] Similarly, as noted for life forms in the online note here, just for DNA alone, observed life forms have a minimum of about 500,000 base pairs, and knockout studies show autodestruction when such forms go down to about 360,000. tat is there is evidently an irreducible core. The configuration space for 360k 4-state elements is again vastly beyond the probabilistic resources of the cosmos. The requirements of biofunctionality and the sparseness of functional states lead to the same result.
    g] So, if we see the existence of entities with these characteristics: long messages constrained to be grammatically and meaningfully functional, or life forms depending on the accuracy of complex DNA codes to function, then the best explanation is the same: agency.

    –> One may of course freely reject such an inference to best explanation, but at a price — surrender of one’s vaunted rationality.
    3] Not only has Gordon been able to calculate all possible chemical reactions and conclude that abiogensis couldn’t have happened (the ole 1 shot in 10^100 or whatever) but he is also able to calculate all possible genetic variations that a primitive life form could possible spawn and conclude in none of them could a flagellum form. Actual academic papers that lay out possible paths are dismissed as ‘just so stories’ but this ignores the fundamental problem with proof by elimination.
    –> This is just a caricature, a convenient strawman set up and knocked over, and is driven by selective hyperskepticism. As was cogently discussed above. Many times.
    –> The sort of statistical weight of microstates attaching to a given macrostate calculation I have summarised in the above, are in fact a standard approach in statisticsl thermodynamics. The weighing out of relative weights and drawing probabilistic inferences therefrom are also more or less standard.
    –> the “just so” story approach [cf below to Raven on this] to trying to account for the FSCI in life at molecular level is well-documented in the literature, and I have addressed cases in point in my note here. It was true in 1996 that no detailed, rigorous account of the origin of any credible candidate for IC ]or for that matter FSCI] existed in the peer-reviewed literature, and despite occasional over-eager headlines, that remains so today.
    4] Gordon calls the flagellum a candidate for IC. Why is it a candidate? Because to him no one has come forward with a non-ID path that could result in a flagellum, or a bat’s echolocation system, or an eye etc. But the set of all possible variations is huge.
    –> Notice, I have provided specific cogent reasons for that candidacy, repeatedly. These have been ignored and/or rushed aside through selective hyperskepticism, in a rush to reaffirm the underlying commitment to evolutionary materialism.
    –> On an inference to best explanation basis — which is the relevant one in science — B’s acknowledgment, “the set of all possible variations is huge,” has implications for the lack of capacity of random search mechanisms to arrive at the required FSCI and/or IC. However, agency routinely generates such systems that exhibit these characteristics, and we use these characteristics routinely to recognise instances of agency — Dembski and Behe have only given us a more precise way to recognise this. So, on an IBE basis, it is patently a better explanation to infer to agency than to chance; and those are the viable candidates for such a contingent system.
    –> Furthermore, the same acknowledgment — “the set of all possible variations is huge” — also implies that B in the end has no substantial objections to the sort of statistical weight calculations as I have made. But, he is loathe to openly acknowledge that, guess why . . .
    5] we can restate ID’s assertion as no valid game could result in a primitive non-flagellum life form spawning eventually a flagellumed life form.
    –> This is precisely what has not been said; clearly B is not even paying attention to what has been said.
    –> What has been pointed out is that when functional states [at least some of which are credibly irreducibly complex] are sufficiently sparse in a configuration space, the proposed random approach soon exhausts the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos. That is, the probability of getting to any one of these states from any other of them, and/or that of accessing them from an arbitrary starting state, is vanishingly small.
    –> However, we also separately, as agents in a world of agents, routinely observe that such functional configurations are routinely generated by agents. In that context,the best explanation across the relevant causal forces for contingent systems, chance or agency, is agency. This is of course an appeal to what we do know, not to what we don’t. To defeat it, simply produce a clear empirically well-warranted counter example

  • Rob Ryan

    “RR is — in the teeth of the evidence, some of which has been again cited or linked above [note the unresponsiveness to such evidence by RR] — insisting that the biblical worldview is hostile to liberty.”
    No, you are wrong again. I’m insisting that many people who espouse a biblical worldview are hostile to liberty.
    “He then used this as the basis for sadly slanderous personal attacks.”
    As apparent in this thread and those alluded to earlier, it is I, not GM, who has been slandered. GM consistently mischaracterizes my statements to set up a strawman which he uses as a pretext to present ad nauseum his slanted view of history. The foregoing are just the most recent examples. Stay tuned for his next installment.
    By the way, Gordon: if you want people to respond to your weak-as-well-water arguments, dole them out one or two at a time. I’ve already responded to your silly coinage argument. The Dutch DOI is not an American document. As a previous declaration of independence, it is of course a forerunner of our own. What is your point? Briefly, please. You are the only one who wishes to sit at the keyboard for hours at a time.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    They only go around in circles because of your purposeful ploy at ignorance. I’ll remind you that jhudson already answered your O.J. story
    Jhudson’s error is that he misunderstands the analogy. I’m not talking about one or two mutations out of 4,999,999 but one or two paths of mutations. If you began with, say, ten billion ‘pre-bats’ and said each would have one child that would survive to reproduce in the next generation how many possible mutations might pass between generation 1 and generation 2? Trillions. Trillions more possibilities for generation 2 to 3. A single path would be one, just one, set of mutations from generation 1 to generation X where X is a million, two million, ten million or whatever number of years later.
    In a chess game there are by my count 18 possible opening moves (any pawn could move one or two spaces plus the two night can move). Then black can have 18 possible opening moves as well. To illustrate how many paths there are in just a single turn of a chess game you have 18*18 = 324 paths. In contrast a single member of a population reproducing can spawn many, many more than just 18 variations.

    But we really aren’t considering a lot of suspects; really only two, evolution which proposes chance and necessity as a cause, and ID which posits intelligent agency as a cause. Of those two, we look for the best evidences that they were the cause of the event in question; and intelligent agency better fits both the profile and the evidence.

    Ahhh but ID asserts it is true because nothing else is. Guess what, when you say that you not only have to prove evolution untrue but everything else…everything variations on evolutionary theory, even non-ID theories that are not evolutionary. Then you have to prove you captured all possibilities, everything.
    Next youquote this passage:
    The next is that natural selection doesn’t select ‘half’ a code'; it requires a working code. It’s not like a book where if you don’t finish the chapter you can come back and write the rest later; it is like a computer program; and if you don’t finish it, the computer crashes; or the proto-bat dies…
    It is things like this which make me wonder if ID advocates here are even capable of mounting an argument on good faith, on making a good faith effort of understanding the arguments put against their positions.
    Did you not read in my previous post where I talked about two versions of the book game? The easy one where you change one book into another by changing a word at a time. The hard one where each turn had to preserve a sensible book. This is just yet another restatement of the fact that the ‘natural selection game’ excludes many, many possible paths.
    Which goes to demonstrate my point spoken of earlier. Namely
    Since you have deemed yourself to be so wise as to declare people on this blog ‘disgraces’ while at the same time crying that evolutionists sometimes call people names I’ve decided to grant you an exemption from my general rule of trying to focus on people’s arguments rather than their lack of character. Congratuations, you’ve EARNED it.
    Let’s hit your last attempt:
    The reason the author had the freedom to go through multiple drafts is because his ability to live didn’t depend on his ability write a cohesive and useful chapter to the book (and interestingly, those drafts still required intelligent design)…
    1. I notice once again we are back to any simulation requires intelligence to set up therefore any and all simulations must be really evidence of ID. Except really stupid ones that wouldn’t work like Gordon’s example of trying to get a sensible computer file by writing random digits on a floppy disk.
    2. In both the text program I sketched out and the book game the requirement of the future generation to be functioning was incorporated. In the text program this was captured by the fact that a selection process was applied to each generation before it was allowed to reproduce. If a phrase was had more problems than its siblings it would not be able to reproduce. Likewise IRL an organisms needn’t be perfect but it did have to be good enough to fend for itself in competition with all its siblings plus all the other life forms. In the book game I already showed you how this requirement is simulated.

  • Gordon Mullings

    RR;
    You are in gross error and insistent on it: wrong but strong.
    1] Freedom and inquiry
    First, while there are people who across time have espoused a biblical worldview and who have been enemies of liberty, they did so in violation of a great many of its tenets — and in many cases precisely becase they did not know the tenets.
    It is clear that biblicaly-based people over the past 5 centuries in particular, i.e. since the Bible was put into the hands of the ordinary man — have played a major role in the rise of modern liberty, as I have just again summarised.
    In that context, I find it telling that those who would impose or support censorship on academic freedom [as I have described and as you have, sadly, exemplified], now turn around and accuse those who defend it from the base of the principles of that same biblical worldview that, in effect, they are likely to be among the many theocratic enemies of liberty who find shelter under the Bible.
    In terms of US history, I again draw onlookers’ attention to the 4th stanza of your National Anthem, and to the common inscription on US coinage since C19, in light of the C18 pattern shown by the Congressional proclammations of 1776 – 77 and the contemporaneous terms and ideas in the US DOI of 1776, in light of the centuries of biblically anchored thought that led up to it. It is plain that in US history, Biblically based thought has been a major contributor to the rise of modern liberty, so it is slanderous to fail to give a balanced view of that.
    Therefore it is improper to simply plaster people who make reference to such a context as if they were by that fact most likely to be enemies of liberty, and intent on subjugating the predominantly secularist people of the US under theocratic tyranny. [Onlookers, go back up and see the excanges over the alleged compelling of his daughters to say the pledge of allegiance in public schools.]
    Further to that, I find it telling that those who defend darwinian censorship insist on irresponsibly conflating design thought with biblical creationism, the better to make that dubious link. And that, in the teeth of explicit and well-warranted reasons not to make that conflation. [Onlookers can see for themselves just how often that has been done in the recent threads.]
    In short, the well-poisoning agenda and the associated invidious insinuations are all too plain.
    But in fact, on the issue under discussion, the ones imposing censorship are all too obviously the secularist darwinists, and you have endorsed them;

    RR [5:47 am, Aug 18, above in this thread]: What “Darwinists” Have done is to prevent IDers from forcing its [ie ID’s] inclusion in the curriculum.

    –> As noted, what the DI has advocatred is precisely not this, but rather that the controversy surrounding NDT as is easily documented from the peer-reviewed literature should be taught
    –> Secondly, they have advocated that teachers and students should have a right to discuss topical issues that may come up properly in addressing the relevant subjects, which plainly includes that Design is an emerging alternative paradigm. THat is, opening up discussion in light of scientific issues and underlying empirically warranted facts, not creatring a false impression that all is cut and dry and as settled as is newtonian gravitation, say.
    –> Third, they have properly objected to question-begging, hstorically unwarranted imposed censoring redefitions of science designed to suppress such freedom of academic thought by imposing an evolutrionary materialist worldview on what is/is not science. The case of Kansas is telling in that regard.
    –> Fourth, even in the cases of Dover and Georgia, when we look at the substance of what was advocated [and against which DI advised], it is well within reasonable freedom of academic pursuit. So, not even the School boards in question are credibly enemies of either academic or general freedom.
    In short, it is pretty clear that the censors and imposers have not been the design thinkers.
    2] Arguments
    –> Onlookers can judge well enough for themselves the relative strength of arguments and who has stood on fact and logic onthe main subject vs who has resorted to the rhetoric of distractors, strawman arguments and personal attacks.
    –> RR, why not simply REFUTE — or even link to such refutations — what I have had to say, by showig the balance of merits on fact and logic if what I have had to say is as weak as you allege? [Onlookers, guess why . . .]
    ++++++++
    GEM

  • http://TheEverwiseboonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    –> The point is, B [and more to the point, onlookers], there is a logic to the functioning of the flagellum, rooted in (a) the applicable physics and (b) the components that (c) apply that physics jointly to achieve a function — moving the bacterium around:
    As in standard form, parts a-e are simply restatements of the flagellum’s ‘gee whiz’ factor. Yes indeed the flagellum is very complicated and could easily be broken if some person started trying to mess around with it. Then we get:
    f] Overall inference to best reasonable explanation: such a joint-action system could not credibly have originated by NDT processes of random mutation to make the required protein chains plus natural selection, without rapidly exhausting the probabilistic resources of the known universe.
    g] Observation on the objection: B uses selective hyperskepticism in the evidentialist form, demanding a demonstrative proof on a matter of abductive reasoning, which is inconsistent with the general nature of science and matters of empirical fact. He does so in this case because it would otherwise challenge his worldview. Were he to apply this standard consistently, he would have to abandon al scientific claims of consequence, but of course he does so only selectively, ahgains claims that challenge his underlying worldview, evidently evolutionary materialism.
    Sorry Gordon has not demonstrated that he can reliably calculate meaningful probabilities of such a thing originating by NDT. All this text reduces down to nothing more than “evolution is wrong because I say so”.
    The book game:
    –> Here B is trying to eliminate the requirement of accessing functional states through random processes at each stage of his “macroevolution” from one book to another, i.e. he wants to be able to simply keep going until he attains a target. [That is why Rubik’s cube is NOT a good parallel: there are no functional constraints on the individual states between beginning and end states.]
    Here Gordon is clearly distorting the truth yet again. I introduced the ‘relaxed rule’ to demonstrate how many possible paths would exist if you DIDN’T have to worry about each turn. The point remains that out of the huge number of paths playing the game on ‘easy mode’ there has been no evidence presented that all 100% of those paths would be banned once the harder rule was imposed. Only one out of the trillions need survive the imposition of the rule that each turn must preserve a sensible book of some sort.
    If such a path exists then the question is why would NDT not find it given that even by admitting ‘microevolution’ exists you are admitting that a natural process is afoot that seeks out beneficial selections.
    On restating ID in game form:
    –> What has been pointed out is that when functional states [at least some of which are credibly irreducibly complex] are sufficiently sparse in a configuration space, the proposed random approach soon exhausts the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos. That is, the probability of getting to any one of these states from any other of them, and/or that of accessing them from an arbitrary starting state, is vanishingly small.
    But if a path does exist with a non-flagellum life form on one end and a flagellumed life form at the other end then the probability is that natural selection will find it. After all, by definition the path would be made up of steps that are beneficial to the organisms (or at least neutral). COnsidering that even a small population of single celled organisms will go through a huge number of generations in a single year (let along a few thousand or million years) it is highly improbable that a path wouldn’t be traced.
    –> And, BTW, chess configurations are not randomly accessed, but are accessed through rule-obeying agents. That holds even for chess playing machines, as they are the product of agents, i.e. — Ryan and Raven too note this – the design is there front-loaded. [A chess game in which we tried to get valid moves by random moves on the board would again rapidly exhaust the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos.]
    I hope this is not yet another attempt to fight the analogy by pointing out a feature of it that was not related to the discussion. For the record though, in principle if one had infinite computing power once could create a chess playing program that would simply search all possible games and play the one that would result in the best possible outcome. There are some games that have ‘solutions’. Tic-tac-toe for example always leads to a draw if you have two good players. Some games have been proven that a certain combination of moves always results in a win. Many have wondered if perhaps there is a series of moves white could play that would be unbeatable…if such a game were found the entire game of chess would be destroyed since players would just have to learn that sequence to always win but to date no such sequence has been found. However since the number of possible games is beyond computation there is no proof that such a game doesn’t exist. It may very well exist but we will never find it in the life of the universe. Or someone may publish it tomorrow!
    On religion:
    –> thereby is begged a very big question: worldviews are not life-agenda neutral, onlookers.
    Indeed, a worldview that the gov’t should remain neutral in matters of religion is not in itself neutral. It was highly radical. For centuries it seemed perfectly sensible to people that the gov’t should be an extension of God just as the local police are subject to the ultimate laws of the state and Federal gov’t.
    In the example given Chris’s gym required students to wear shorts but allowed female students with religious differences to wear skirts. There is no endorsement of a religion here. There is no religion whose central tenant is to wear shorts and even if there was there are plenty of non-religious reasons people would choose shorts for physical exercise. On the other hand, if Chris’s school required the gym shirts to have “There is no God but Allah and Muhammed is his Prophet” on them there is no question that is an endorsement of a religion. While it’s good if the school would allow an exemption for students who do not share the Muslim faith, it is not what it should be.
    Now there are a few communities in the US where Muslims make up a sizable portion of the population. In Gordon’s view if they happen to get elected to a school board they could institute such a policy and to challenge it would be to ‘subvert the will of the people’. Rob here is taking this thing seriously. Declaring that you believe in God is not a trivial thing. Not some silly ceremonial function that no one believes in anymore but just follow for the sake of tradition (like clanging glasses after a toast might have once been thought to scare off evil spirits, now it’s just done because its the thing to do).
    On the contrary, it is the religious right here that doesn’t get it. That thinks a declaration of belief in God is a trivial ‘ceremonial deism’ (a phrase used by SUPPORTERS of mixing God with public ceremonies). You only have to change this phrase to something different to see it is anything but trivial, though. Rob is correct in advocating neutrality. Gordon equates this with hostility but this is a function of being too comfortable. Hostility would be having a pledge that rejected a belief in God or explicitly endorsed a faith that is not consistent with Christianity (such as the Islamic declaration).

  • Rob Ryan

    “It is clear that biblicaly-based people over the past 5 centuries in particular, i.e. since the Bible was put into the hands of the ordinary man — have played a major role in the rise of modern liberty, as I have just again summarised.”
    All of which I have freely acknowledged on many occasions. It is worth pointing out, however, that more often than not the freedom they won was won in opposition to other Christians. The American War of Independence provides a key example. The western man’s love of freedom seems a more salient contributor than a religious worldview. When we look at our country’s freedom fighters, we find devout Christians like Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams fighting alongside deists like Paine and Jefferson.
    “I find it telling that those who would impose or support censorship on academic freedom [as I have described and as you have, sadly, exemplified], now turn around and accuse those who defend it from the base of the principles of that same biblical worldview that, in effect, they are likely to be among the many theocratic enemies of liberty who find shelter under the Bible.”
    Apparently, you equate opposing the IMPOSITION of a curriculum to be support for “censorship on academic freedom”, when it is in fact the opposite. I can’t believe you are casting by implication the ousted Dover IDers as supporters of academic freedom.
    “I again draw onlookers’ attention to the 4th stanza of your National Anthem..”
    Why bother? I concede freely that God-belief in general and Christianity in particular are part of our national heritage. The state is secular, but the people are and have been largely religious. This has found expression, unfortunately, in governmental endorsements of religion that I view as inconsistent with the establishment clause.
    “…to the common inscription on US coinage since C19…”
    Appearing occasionally, by no means often, prior to the 1950s. Congress endorsed a Knights of Columbus initiative at the height of the Cold War in a pseudo-patriotic feel-good measure that clearly runs counter to the spirit of the establishment clause.
    “…in light of the C18 pattern shown by the Congressional proclammations of 1776 – 77 and the contemporaneous terms and ideas in the US DOI of 1776, in light of the centuries of biblically anchored thought that led up to it.”
    You seem to be pooh-poohing the possibility, clearly come to fruition, of a secular state aring from a predominantly Christian milieu.
    “It is plain that in US history, Biblically based thought has been a major contributor to the rise of modern liberty…”
    But not the ONLY contributor. You keep moving the goalposts. First you say that bible-believing Christians have made a major contribution to the rise of modern liberty. I have acknowledged this contribution richly. Now you want to give the bible itself credit. Very well. There is undoubtedly much expression of the love of freedom in the book. Surely, this informed many of the freedom fighters. However, there is also an apparent sanctioning of the institution of slavery; at least some C19 CHRISTIANS felt that to be so. Also, you seem to forget that the people from whom our freedom was won were bible-believing Christians, too.
    In short, GM’s skewed view of history is not supported by the facts. Furthermore, he presents his inferences as valid conclusions despite their obvious flaws, creating a strawman which he attacks with a dangerously imbalanced battery of cut-and-paste manifestos. Perhaps he hopes his ideological ooponents will be cowed by the sheer volume of his commentary.
    It’s almost as sad as it is provocative.

  • Rob Ryan

    RR: “Appearing occasionally, by no means often, prior to the 1950s.”
    I must amend this factual error on my part. The Mooto “In God We Trust” appeared quite often on several coins in the years following the civil war. There were periods of interruption for some values. In 1956 it was made the national motto. I have long maintained that “E Pluribus Unum”, which has also appeared on many U.S. coins and the Great Seal.

  • Rob Ryan

    …is a superior motto, more inclusive and less divisive.

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers
    Passed by to see further developments worth a serious response, if any.
    So far, sadly, a lot of further unsubstantiated assertions [some apparently driven by the fallacy of the closed and hostile mind and/or failure to do basic homework — e.g. RR, if you would but look at the linked section of an article on Govt under God, you would see that there is a very specific discussion of slavery and the Christian faith, with biblical and historical factors brought out, including the issues of repentance and reformation, and links to more] and the same sort of tactics Joe discussed in the series of posts. Some problems with selective hyperskepticism too. too bad, a good serious dialogue would be of help to a lot of people, on both sides of the question.
    I invite a serious response, based on evident and credible facts and either demonstrations deriving from those facts or an explicit analysis of why the proposed explanations are better than those I have offered, relative to factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power. After all, science and history are both matters of abductive reasoning.
    So far, though, the persistent absence of such a serious response underscores the point Joe has made on the poor quality of the arguments used by advocates of NDT in opposing the ID paradigm.
    I think too, all of this is important as this hread esxposes the attitude and perception we will have to address and engage as we take on the massive task of rescuing Western culture from its near-fatal malaise, though repentance, discipleship, reformation and the blessings of God — all though that Good News that GFod has for us.
    See you all, later; probably overnight, God willing.
    Grace, open eyes
    Gordon
    PS: I thought today that a note on the biblical framework for government, liberty and productive citizenship under God even in trying toimes and circumstances would be helpful. Then on second thought remembered that I have been linking just one section of a note on that topic, so no need to again do an exposiion of Rom 13 Dan etc etc.
    Kindly look here, esp in sections B, C, D, E, F, before asserting or implying that the biblical worldview is so antithetical to liberty that people living or working from that perspective are suspect, whichof course is part of what is driving the hostility to the issue that design is a legitimate scientific investigation.
    [I note in particular, that, ever so sadly, RR has to date — so far as I can see [I would love to be able to correct myself on this RR, as you have had to correct yourself on coinage before being corrected by others] — been unable to bring himself to accept that Christians and other biblically-influenced people acting out of the accurate biblical teaching as just linked or the like have made a serious contribtion to the rise of modern liberty. I think that lack of balance is telling, and quite sad.]

  • Gordon Mullings

    Onlookers:
    I had hoped that, overnight, we would belatedly see some substantial remarks, but obviously there have been none.
    I think I should take up several of the matters in the above, as there is an underlying rhetorical pattern that explains why for instance accusations of slavery and theocratic tyranny pop up in discussions on what is, properly, a scientific question on origins.
    The reason lies in a classic observation by Aristotle, that arguments appeal to emotions, the perceived credibility of authorities and only thirdly to facts and logic. Of the first, he noted that our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are quite different from those we make when we are pained and hostile.
    In short, the name of the game is well-poisoning; an all-too-familiar tactic in this thread from the evo mat advocates’ side.
    Why address the actual case on the merits of fact and logic when you can drive in a wedge and get “your side” angry enough not to listen? And, on the other side, to intimidate uninformed potential participants, to get them to either never speak out or embarrass and shut them up. [Astute readers will immediately spot that here must be a very good reason why evo mat advocates see it as more helpful to their cause to shut down dialogue than to engage the merits of fact and logic on the material issues. No prizes for guessing why . . .]
    So, now, let us address some points that will help clear the air by balancing the issues as presented in light of relevant facts and reasoning. That way, we can return to the path of dialogue as opposed to wedge-tactic rhetoric.
    but first, there are a few points in which the evo mat advocates inadvertently illustrate the actual balance of the case on the merits:
    1] B; If you began with, say, ten billion ‘pre-bats’ and said each would have one child that would survive to reproduce in the next generation how many possible mutations might pass between generation 1 and generation 2? Trillions.
    –> This ignores both the evidence that actual mutation rates are low, and that that those mutations relevant to major body plan innovations are expressed early in embryological development and affect the functionality of a tightly coupled, delicately balanced system. That is, random changes expressed at that stage of development are likely to be self-destructive. So, we see Lonnig of the Max Planck Institute, in a peer-reviewed paper [repeatedly cited, just as repeatedly ignored; guess why . . .]

    One point is clear: granted that there are indeed many systems and/or correlated subsystems in biology, which have to be classified as irreducibly complex and that such systems are essentially involved in the formation of morphological characters of organisms, this would explain both, the regular abrupt appearance of new forms in the fossil record as well as their constancy over enormous periods of time. For, if “several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function” are necessary for biochemical and/or anatomical systems to exist as functioning systems at all (because “the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”) such systems have to (1) originate in a non-gradual manner and (2) must remain constant as long as they are reproduced and exist. And this could mean no less than the enormous time periods mentioned for all the living fossils hinted at above. Moreover, an additional phenomenon would also be explained: (3) the equally abrupt disappearance of so many life forms in earth history . . . The reason why irreducibly complex systems would also behave in accord with point (3) is also nearly self-evident: if environmental conditions deteriorate so much for certain life forms (defined and specified by systems and/or subsystems of irreducible complexity), so that their very existence be in question, they could only adapt by integrating further correspondingly specified and useful parts into their overall organization, which prima facie could be an improbable process — or perish . . . .

    –> Also, Meyer [cited in the same place] has some light on the topic:

    one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . [but] processes of development are tightly integrated spatially and temporally such that changes early in development will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes downstream. For this reason, mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . . McDonald notes that genes that are observed to vary within natural populations do not lead to major adaptive changes, while genes that could cause major changes–the very stuff of macroevolution–apparently do not vary. In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn’t need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don’t occur.6 [Emphases added.]

    –> In short, here the issue of irreducible complexity with that of the origination of complex biofunctional information easily explain a major feature of the fossil record: abrupt origin, stasis, disappearance, that has long dogged NDT as an anomaly. That is, as I commented: micro-evolutionary changes are late-developing, and do not affect the core body plan and its associated functions. Such mutations are indeed possible and are observed. But, when the mutations get to the fundamental level of changing body plans — i.e. macro-evolution — they face the implication that we are now disturbing the core of a tightly integrated system, and so the potential for destructive change is much higher. Consequently, the genes that control such core features are stabilised by a highly effective negative feedback effect: random changes strongly tend to eliminate themselves through loss of integrity of vital body functions.
    –> It is not just that to get from a generic mammal to a bat you need mutations, bu that these mutations must be at each stage biofunctional, and have to affect a tightly integrated body plan with closely coupled, delicately balanced systems necessary to life and reproduction. That constraint immediately leads to the problem of sparseness in the configuration space of the DNA [and associated epigenetic structures through which DNA functions to guide creation of a novel life form], thence even more rapidly, to exhaustion of the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos.
    2] Did you not read in my previous post where I talked about two versions of the book game? The easy one where you change one book into another by changing a word at a time. The hard one where each turn had to preserve a sensible book. This is just yet another restatement of the fact that the ‘natural selection game’ excludes many, many possible paths.
    –> Here, B again reveals the basic gaps in his own understanding. The point JH and I have been making, B, s that the very same principle of survival and reproduction of the fittest necessarily requires that macroevolution- supporting mutations in life forms have to be at each and every stage biofunctional, as just discussed. That is why the requirements, as just pointed out, so rapidly exhaust the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos.
    –> In short your “simple” game is simply irrelevant as an analogy, as is your Rubick’s cube example. Further, as shown earlier, when a 1 Mn word book must be transformed by random changes into another book while at each stage making spelling, grammar and plotline sense, that runs directly into the challenge of sparseness just noted.
    –> That is, it is strictly logically and physically possible for book transmutation to happen, gradualistically or even in one step — err, giant leap. But, the improbabilities involved are so far beyond merely astronomical that intelligent agent action is by far and away the best explanation for an alleged case, as we know what such agents commonly do. Similarly, major body plan innovation requires DNA transformation on the scale of the book in question, and that is maximally improbable.
    3] we are back to any simulation requires intelligence to set up therefore any and all simulations must be really evidence of ID. Except really stupid ones that wouldn’t work like Gordon’s example of trying to get a sensible computer file by writing random digits on a floppy disk.
    –> Now, let us ask: why does B see the challenge to generate a floppy with a legible text in a machine-readable format by chance as “stupid”?

    ANS: because he knows that the case is one where a strictly logically and physically possible result would have to surmount such a hurdle of improbability that it would be maximally unlikely to occur, to the point of being practically impossible.
    For, it is of course strictly possible to generate by chance a formatted floppy with a data file embedded in it, a challenge that is in fact comparable to the transmutation of one book into another, or body-plan innovation by random DNA shuffling, or origination of the DNA and associated nanomachines of life at cellular level by similar chance driven chemical evolution. But, the probabilities are so vanishingly small that B realises in the only case where he would have to put up or shut up, that it would be an embarrassing failure.

    [Note to B and other evo mat advocates: the challenge to put together a farm of 1 Mn old PCs, load them up with floppies and randomly wipe the surfaces then read for formatted text once per minute for a year is a valid empirical test of the Dembski claim that generating FSCI by random searches is maximally improbable. And, BTW, B and onlookers, this was a test relating to abiogenesis. A similar test for macroevolution would be to take 1mn floppies with existing formatting and texts, then hit them with random bit changes and test for spelling, grammatical, and plot-functional or program-functional sense. Any floppy passing the test then becomes the seed for the rest, otherwise, if the result is only a spelling error, let it proceed; errors in grammar and or plot line remove the floppy from the pool. Repeat for a year or so. Will a new book result after the year? How many Evo mat thinkers out there are willing to put their money where their mouths are, and so set out to produce B’s transmuted book by random processes? The ID empirically testable prediction: you will have a lot of messed up text at the end of the year, and a great many of the original floppies will have been retired from the process. Indeed, if we stipulate that every time this happens the PC too has to retire hurt, by year’s end you might have very few PCs still in the game.]

    .

    –> In short, B here implicitly and inadvertently acknowledges the telling force of the point I have made in the online note on this topic:

    we all [intuitively] recognise that if an apparent message is contingent [it did not have to be as it is], is functional within the context of communication, and is sufficiently complex that it is highly unlikely to have happened by chance, then it is much better to accept the explanation that it is what it appears to be — a message originating in an intelligent [though perhaps not wise!] source — than to revert to “chance” as the default assumption . . . . we all intuitively and even routinely accept that Functionally Specified, Complex Information, FSCI, is a signature of messages originating in intelligent sources.
    Thus, if we then try to dismiss the study of such inferences to design as “unscientific,” we are plainly being grossly inconsistent. Further to this, the common attempt to pre-empt the issue through the redefinition of science as what can be explained on the premise of evolutionary materialism – i.e. primordial matter-energy joined to cosmological- + chemical- + biological macro- + sociocultural- evolution, AKA “methodological naturalism,” is itself a begging of the linked worldview level questions. (Cf. also Meyer’s closely related discussion of the demarcation problem here.) For in fact, the issue in the communication situation once an apparent message is in hand is: inference to (a) intelligent — as opposed to supernatural — agency [signal] vs. (b) chance-process [noise]. Moreover, at least since Cicero, we have recognised that the presence of functionally specified complexity in such an apparent message helps us make that decision.
    More broadly the decision faced once we see an apparent message, is first to decide its source across a trichotomy: (1) chance; (2) natural regularity or as Monod put it, “necessity”; (3) intelligent agency. Each of these, clearly, stands at the same basic level as an explanation or cause, and so the real question is to rule in/out relevant factors at work, not to decide before the fact that one or the other is not admissible as a “real” explanation. For instance, heavy objects tend to fall under the natural regularity we call gravity. If the object is a die, the face that ends up on the top from the set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} is for practical purposes a matter of chance. But, if the die is cast as part of a game, the results are as much a product of agency as of natural regularity and chance. Indeed, the agents in question are taking advantage of natural regularities and chance to achieve their purposes.

    –> GAME, SET, MATCH, B.
    4] In both the text program I sketched out and the book game the requirement of the future generation to be functioning was incorporated. In the text program this was captured by the fact that a selection process was applied to each generation before it was allowed to reproduce. If a phrase was had more problems than its siblings it would not be able to reproduce.
    –> This of course neatly glides by the core of the issue: sparseness of the functional configurations in the configuration space, to the point where the search for candidates for progressive functionality would immediately bring the system to a halt.
    5] Yes indeed the flagellum is very complicated and could easily be broken if some person started trying to mess around with it.
    –> This of course implicitly concedes the material point but then refuses to acknowledge its force. No, B: remove any one of the components of the flagellum and it fails to work as an i/o motor. That is, it is irreducibly complex.
    –> The core problem for NDT that follows is just as Lonnig highlighted as excerpted: if “several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function” are necessary for biochemical and/or anatomical systems to exist as functioning systems at all (because “the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”) such systems have to (1) originate in a non-gradual manner and (2) must remain constant as long as they are reproduced and exist . . . if environmental conditions deteriorate so much for certain life forms (defined and specified by systems and/or subsystems of irreducible complexity), so that their very existence be in question, they could only adapt by integrating further correspondingly specified and useful parts into their overall organization, which prima facie could be an improbable process — or perish
    6] We now transition to the rhetoric games: Gordon has not demonstrated that he can reliably calculate meaningful probabilities of such a thing originating by NDT. All this text reduces down to nothing more than “evolution is wrong because I say so”.
    –> This of course grossly misrepresents what I an a great many others have pointed out: the major gap in NDT on explaining the random generation of biofunctional genetic information by random chance . It also attempts to improperly shift the burden of proof.
    –> No, B: NDT needs to show how FSCI at novel body plan level in life systems is sufficiently likley to originate by chance to be credible, which is what is required for differential success in survival and reproduction to shift populations across time. In short, the Cambrian life revolution stands squarely across the road, blocking it. As Petersen summarises at popular level:

    a well-known (and unsolved) problem for Darwinism is the Cambrian Explosion . . . For the first three billion years of life on Earth, only single-celled organisms such as bacteria and bluegreen algae existed. Then, approximately 570 million years ago, the first multi-cellular organisms, such as sponges, began to appear in the fossil record. About 40 million years later, an astonishing explosion of life took place. Within a narrow window of about 5 million years, “at least nineteen and perhaps as many as 35 phyla (of 40 total phyla) made their first appearance on Earth….” Meyer reminds us that “phyla constitute the highest categories in the animal kingdom, with each phylum exhibiting unique architecture, blueprint, or structural body plan.” These high order, basic body plans include “mollusks (squids and shellfish), arthropods (crustaceans, insects, and trilobites), and chordates, the phylum to which all vertebrates belong.”
    These new, fundamental body plans appeared all at once, and without the expected Darwinian intermediate forms.

    –> As to the notion that the probability challenges I noted are not credible, observe how in the above, when it comes to a here and now test, B implicitly accepts their force. That is why he views the floppy test as “stupid.” That is, he knows it would fail with near certainty.
    7] I introduced the ‘relaxed rule’ to demonstrate how many possible paths would exist if you DIDN’T have to worry about each turn.
    –> In short, B here drops the natural selection [thus, required advantageous biofunctionality in the real case] part of the NDT mechanism: mutations plus differential success in survival and reproduction. This simply begs the question.
    –> A subtler issue lurks too. By accepting that there is a vast number of possible configurations of randomly generated text strings, B accepts that the configuration space is vast, as is the direct implication of the calculation for a 1-mn word text with 7-character words as typical: 128^[7*10^6], for 7 mn ASCII characters.
    –> Now, if we select any given text at random from the field, that in effect means that we select any one text on an equiprobable basis, i.e. we are just as likely to get to any one as any other. But, chaining that process, starting with one text and changing one or a few words at random in train for long enough is equivalent to doing that jump-at-once; except it would take longer.
    –> So, we are looking at the situation that a good estimate of the odds of moving from one functional text to another by random processes is in effect the same as selecting a text at random from the configuration space, i.e. the likelihood of getting to functional texts is on a best estimate basis the fraction of the configuration space that is taken up by functional texts: spelling, grammar, plot. [In short, we have just got to an index of probability, similar to the odds of a 4 o tossing a die are 1 of 6, as we have no reason to prefer any one outcome..]
    –> this fraction is of course very sparse indeed, as can be seen by the upper bound created by just the spelling requirement: there are some 800K words in English, and 128^7 = 5.63*10^14, so we are looking at about 1 in 1.42*10^9, generously saying that there are 800,000 valid 7-letter strings. Grammar and plot line requirements then make the matter go downhill from there. In short the 1 mn PCs would first generate a lot of scrambled words, which would mess up the text [junk DNA?]. Where new words are created, they would likely be ungrammatical in their location, and/or would break up the plot flow. So the ID prediction is simple to make for this case. So much so we don’t really have to go practically do it: a thought experiment like this is good enough to show the point as the dynamics are not in dispute. [Indeed, we as a often pick up typos from the grammatical blunders or meaning blunders that result.]
    –> That is for just one “average” word change. As soon as we chain we are exponentiating and will rapidly pass the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos, odds of order 1 in 10^150 or so.
    –> THAT is why the floppy test for word transmutation from book A to book B would rapidly break down.
    8] If such a path exists then the question is why would NDT not find it given that even by admitting ‘microevolution’ exists you are admitting that a natural process is afoot that seeks out beneficial selections . . . . if a path does exist with a non-flagellum life form on one end and a flagellumed life form at the other end then the probability is that natural selection will find it. After all, by definition the path would be made up of steps that are beneficial to the organisms (or at least neutral).
    –> Kindly re-read Lonnig and Meyer as excerpted above, B: the issue is that NDT-style macroevolution passes the threshold of exhausting the probabilistic resources of the cosmos; information-switch off or loss-based microevlution [what we observe] does not have to generate new body plans, and does not cross the threshold. Cases of creative mutations leading to microevolution are rather thin on the ground too, perhaps non-existent, but let’s just say, rather rare.
    –> the case of originating a flagellum de novo is of course a body plan innovation level event for what B implicitly accepts is an irreducibly complex structure. NS has to have biofunctional structures to work on, and the sparseness f such on the assumption of chance origin of complex functional information is the reason why NDT is facing a roadblock here.
    9] in principle if one had infinite computing power once could create a chess playing program that would simply search all possible games and play the one that would result in the best possible outcome.
    –> B plainly does not understand what infinity is. And, he here inadvertently shows the problem again: the probabilistic resources of the known cosmos are finite, and so odds worse than 1 in 10^150 are effectively impossible relative tot he known cosmos.
    [And the infinite universe as a whole escape attempt is a resort to speculative metaphysics that opens the door to the issue of comparative difficulties across live option worldviews. I that context, why is there a determined effort to censor out certain options?]
    10] a worldview that the gov’t should remain neutral in matters of religion is not in itself neutral.
    –> the problem is that we are dealing with WORLDVIEWS, which is broader than religions, in the institutionally defined sense — many allegedly “non-religious” worldviews are accepted for esentially religious reasons and function in ways that are tantamount to religions.
    –> So it is possible to have a quasi-establishment of a secularist quasi-religion, and that is exactly what has happened in the USA. The alleged “neutrality” boasted of is a myth in very important and telling respects.
    –> Further to this, the US founding was essentially and explicitly Judaeo-Christian in its worldview foundations, as I have copipously documented in the linked notes.
    –> Onlookers should observe here the implication of things like the 1776 proclamation of a day of fasting and prayer in a specifically Christian context [and the subsequent Dec 1777 day of thanksgiving was even more explicitly Christian!], and the historical underpinnings to the ideas expressed in the DOI, articles of confederation and constitution.
    –> In short I am pointing out that there are any number of key, credible facts that do not fit with a secularist explanation, but these facts are simply not to be found in the typical courses and media discussions. Thus, we again see censorship of education and information, leading to ignorance on the massive scale of inconvenient but material facts that would show the inescapable factual inadequacy of the secularist myth of US origins and more broadly the subtext of accusation and slander that Bible-based Christians are an inherent threat to liberty.
    –> Note here the US Library of Congress summary on the actual religious and worldview and ideas roots of the US founding, from a recent exhibition where they displayed many original documents and so were accountable before their contents:

    The Continental-Confederation Congress, a legislative body that governed the United States from 1774 to 1789, contained an extraordinary number of deeply religious men . . . both the legislators and the public considered it appropriate for the national government to promote a nondenominational, nonpolemical Christianity . . . . Congress was guided by “covenant theology,” a Reformation doctrine especially dear to New England Puritans, which held that God bound himself in an agreement with a nation and its people [I add: Shades of Vindciae, the 1581 Dutch DOI, Lex, Rex, and even Locke not to mention Blackstone and the Colonial sermons such as Mayhew’s 1750 reflection on the execution of Charles I of England. Have a look in my notes . . .] . . . The first national government of the United States, was convinced that the “public prosperity” of a society depended on the vitality of its religion. Nothing less than a “spirit of universal reformation among all ranks and degrees of our citizens,” Congress declared to the American people, would “make us a holy, that so we may be a happy people.”

    11] RR: All of which I have freely acknowledged on many occasions
    –> First, let us remember the material issue: RR praises the Darwinists who have blocked exposing students to critical examination of the gaps int he NDT, and prevents discussion of alternative paradigms in the classroom, all on the notion that the peer reviewed scientific critiques and the peer reviewed alternatives in question do not exist and/or are not science but “religion,” and that more directly such religion is a threat to freedom as well as science. [Cf Jones’ Dover decision and the like.]
    –> In that context, we should parse the words and look at the context a little deeper than what appears on the surface. For the above excerpt responds to: “It is clear that biblically-based people over the past 5 centuries in particular, i.e. since the Bible was put into the hands of the ordinary man — have played a major role in the rise of modern liberty, as I have just again summarised.” Now of course, there is a telling gap that still remains: the issue that these Bible-based and Bible-influenced people were — on evidence I have provided in summary — IN MATERIAL AND EVEN PREDOMINANT PART IN MANY KEY CASES ACTING OUT OF THE BASIS OF THE BIBLICAL WORLD OF IDEAS.
    –> That RR refuses to accept this is easily seen from the further observation he makes: The western man’s love of freedom seems a more salient contributor than a religious worldview. What he here also fails to note is that that very love of freedom was in material part shaped by precisely those biblical ideas he would dismiss as insignificant. For instance, as I excerpted in my notes:

    Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you – although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. [1 Cor 7:21 – 23.]; . . . .
    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery . . . . You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” If you keep biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. [Gal. 5:1, 13 – 15.]

    –> it is worth noting that Gal is a key point of reference in Jamaican Sociologist and Harvard Professor [this web survey does not explicitly acknowledge that the U of London degree in question was at what was then UCWI, in Jamaica] Orlando Patterson’s major work on Freedom. As Martin Henry aptly notes:

    ON THE fly leaf of Orlando Patterson’s book, Freedom, appears the words of Galatians 5:1, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of bondage”. Our slave-side ancestors at Emancipation would have deeply identified with these words of Paul’s. The book, described as a “magisterial work” in the publishers blurb, traces the emergence and evolution of freedom to stand today “unchallenged as the supreme value of the Western world”.
    Most human languages did not even have a word for the concept of freedom before Western contact. Freedom is also, Patterson proposes, “the central value of Christianity: being redeemed, being freed by, and in, Christ, is the ultimate goal of all Christians”; Christianity being “the first and only world religion that placed freedom