Icons of ID: Equivocation on design

| 39 Comments

Intelligent Design proponents often pull a bait and switch when discussing the detection of design. On the one hand they argue that ID contributes to science since it adds the concept of design to science, on the other hand when pressed for examples to support their claims, they point to science making successful design inferences as evidence of the validity of design detection. How can this be? On the one hand ID is portrayed as adding something to science, on the other hand science is argued to already have these concepts.

Of course ID proponents further muddle the issues by confusing Dembski’s design inference as being relevant to how science detects design. On ARN, Salvador is showing all the signs of these confusions as he tries in vain to address the critiques raised by Dayton, Charlie and RBH.

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39 Comments

There is a useful contrast between Mt. Rushmore and the late lamented “Old Man of the Mountain” in New Hampshire. http://www.mutha.com/oldmanmt.html

We know that Mt. Rushmore was designed because we have a mechanism (that was within the means of the purported designer), and a record of design. We did not have the same evidence for the Old Man of the Mountain, and stories of its being designed (e.g., Daniel Webster’s likening it to a cobbler’s sign in the shape of a shoe, so that in N.H. God hung out a sign to show that here he made strong men) remain just that, stories.

So the challenge to Dembski and his acolytes is to use ID to answer the question of whether the Old Man of the Mountain was a weathered designed object, or merely a random collection of rocks that we perceived as a human face in profile.

Non biologist here:

As I understand Behe and Dembski, Behe says natural systems which are irreducibly complex are designed. In DBB he listed one artifical example,(mousetrap) and a few natural examples (flagellae, blood clotting, immune system, etc.). Research after the book was published indicates that these are most likely not irreducibly complex.

Behe has not provided any other examples of IC, and no examples at all above the molecular level. Am I correct?

Dembski has his EF which basically says if it’s a frequent occurence, it’s covered by a natural law; a reasonably rare occurrence, it’s covered by chance; and extremely rare ocurrences which also exhibit complex specifed information (or what ever his current term for that concept is) must be designed.

However, I can’t find any example of Dembski applying his EF to any of Behe’s IC objects, or any other real world objects other than strings of letters, coin flips, hypothetical archers, and a Hollywood movie’s depiction of a fictional display of SETI.

Did I get that right?

Any real world attempts to apply either IC or the EF have been performed by other people, like the Martian man example above, but not by either Behe or dembski. Is that also right?

Joe said,

Non biologist here:

As I understand Behe and Dembski, Behe says natural systems which are irreducibly complex are designed. In DBB he listed one artifical example,(mousetrap) and a few natural examples (flagellae, blood clotting, immune system, etc.). Research after the book was published indicates that these are most likely not irreducibly complex.

Behe has not provided any other examples of IC, and no examples at all above the molecular level. Am I correct?

That is correct.

Dembski has his EF which basically says if it’s a frequent occurence, it’s covered by a natural law; a reasonably rare occurrence, it’s covered by chance; and extremely rare ocurrences which also exhibit complex specifed information (or what ever his current term for that concept is) must be designed.

In some ways, I think what Dembski is attempting is a sheer act of rhetoric; if you rephrase his filter, it essentially says the following:

1) Can the causal history of an event be explained through the application of deductive logic?

2) Can the causal history of an event be explained through the application of inductive logic)?

3) If we can’t explain the causal history through deductive or inductive logic, then we can’t explain it at all. If it can’t be explained, then intelligence is responsible.

(Of course, he’s making the hidden assumption that ‘intelligence’ can’t be explained).

However, I can’t find any example of Dembski applying his EF to any of Behe’s IC objects, or any other real world objects other than strings of letters, coin flips, hypothetical archers, and a Hollywood movie’s depiction of a fictional display of SETI.

Did I get that right?

You did indeed. That’s what makes the posts on ARN so interesting; even a strong advocate of ID (Salvador) is unable to offer any instance of application of the filter - except by changing the filter and it’s application.

This inability to apply the filter successfully may explain why Dembski appears to be downplaying its usage in favor of an emphasis on CSI (another muddy concept in and of itself; and which Dembski himself insists is a subjective evaluation.)

Any real world attempts to apply either IC or the EF have been performed by other people, like the Martian man example above, but not by either Behe or dembski. Is that also right?

Correct.

Let’s not forget that even demonstrably genuine IC structures can evolve just as easily as any other kind of structure. There is no logical connection between IC and ID.

Pim wrote:

The bottom line is that human “design detection” is plagued with errors in “specifications” and unreliable probability estimates. Various biases (e.g., availability, representativeness, base rate mis-estimation, and so on) make us unreliable design detectors in any but the most ordinary situations. But we also readily ‘detect’ design where there is none.

In many circumstances, that is true. “The Old Man of the Mountain” could have had a component of intelligent input, we can’t say for certain. Someone *could have* climbed up there and knocked away certain stones to give the impression of a face. The “face on Mars”, is most likely an illusion but you can’t say with certainty that it has no component of intelligent input. Archeologists are constantly bedeviled by artifacts that they cannot determine with certainty if their origin is natural or intelligently guided. So, your statement is true for a large number of entities and you are correct in saying that the detection of design is “plagued with errors”, and that we can be, in many cases, unreliable design detectors and we can mistakingly detect design where there is none. There are many cases where it is simply impossible to determine, with absolute certainty, that design was involved. That having been said, let me point out a whole class of objects in which there can be absolutely no question that design is a component. This is the set of all complex, highly organized machines in which multiple structures are present, multiple processes occur and the structures and processes are integrated in such a way that the structures support other structures, the processes support other processes and all of the structures and processes support each other’s functions and the overall function of the system. An automobile is such a structure in which, even if we did not know the designer, or comprehend the origin of the machine, we could still say with *absolute* certainty that it had a component of insight and intelligence. Such a highly organized system could never, by the application of any known laws of physics or chemistry, ever have emerged without intelligent guidance. Living organisms fall into the same set of objects in which these characteristics are evident. There is simply no way, by the application of any known biological principles or physical laws that these structures could have emerged or these processes could have become integrated into a functional system with a clear purpose without the benefit of insight and intelligent input. The fact that we cannot determine design in *all* entities in no way dilutes the fact that we can determine design in *some* entities with complete and absolute certainty.

Charlie Wagner http://enigma.charliewagner.com http://www.charliewagner.com/casefor.htm

charlie:

There is simply no way, by the application of any known biological principles or physical laws that these structures could have emerged or these processes could have become integrated into a functional system with a clear purpose without the benefit of insight and intelligent input.

The problem is that this statement doesn’t represent your conclusion, but rather your axiom, your doctrine. Opposed to you is the claim that these biological principles are well understood, that our understanding of them is increasing fairly rapidly, and that nothing we learn undermines our understanding.

And so these understandings are presented to you, along with all of the associated experimental methodologies, the body of relevant observations, the chains of reasoning, the various tests, ad nauseum. And your response to all of this is to say “There is simply no way.” There’s a word for this attitude. Probably several.

charlie wrote:

Such a highly organized system could never, by the application of any known laws of physics or chemistry, ever have emerged without intelligent guidance.

I don’t think ANY of the known laws of physics or chemistry make any reference to intelligent guidance, so how does assuming something “could never” arise by them lead to the conclusion intelligent designer is the ONLY other alternative? Also, how would such logic sneak it’s way around the facts?

Charlie writes:

There is simply no way, by the application of any known biological principles or physical laws that these structures could have emerged … without the benefit of insight and intelligent input.

There is a way these structure could have emerged: mutation and selection. Mutation produces changes that are then acted on by natural selection.

…and:

There is simply no way, by the application of any known biological principles or physical laws that these structures could … have become integrated into a functional system with a clear purpose without the benefit of insight and intelligent input.

Once again, selection (or plasticity within the system or lack of constraint) would allow new “systems” or “networks” to become integrated into the organism. Keep in mind, these changes don’t happen all at once – you don’t suddenly have a blood clotting pathway (to use one Behe’s pet examples) show up out of nowhere. These things gradually devolop over time, and therefore are not forced to become integrated at the push of a button.

You cannot say “there is simply no way” when there are hypotheses for how complex biological networks evolve. This is an active area of research, and while scientists don’t have all the answers, they do not claim to have all of the answers either. This is what drives science, and what makes ID lazy and anti-science.

RPM:

I think Charlie is making a statement of *policy*, not a statement of fact.

I think Charlie is making a statement of *policy*, not a statement of fact.

Charlie’s just reiterating the same old 747 in the junkyard argument. His position is nothing more than an argument from incredulity, which he then, as usuals, slaps a god of the gaps argument into.

That some things can be recognized by science as having intelligent designers is a given. But as the example I often use of ancient hominids’ stone tools, I could probably stand in a field littered with them and not recognize any as anything but rather sharp rocks.

Dembski should remember his own words

We have done amazingly well in creating a cultural movement, but we must not exaggerate ID’s successes on the scientific front.

William Dembski, Becoming a Disciplined Science: Prospects, Pitfalls, and Reality Check for ID

ID may aspire to become a science but so far ID is a vacuous concept either as a scientific theory or as a metatheory [1]


  • Ryan Nichols Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic philosophical quarterly , 2003 , vol. 77 , no 4 , pp. 591 - 611.

    Abstract: Arguments of the following form are given against theories like psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis implies X. Psychoanalysis also implies NOT(X). Hence, no observations of X or of NOT(X) can falsify psychoanalysis. Since an important proportion of propositions implied by psychoanalysis are similar to X in this respect, psychoanalysis is not falsifiable. Since psychoanalysis isn’t falsifiable, it is not a science. In my argument against Intelligent Design Theory I will not contend that it is not falsifiable or that it implies contradictions. I’ll argue that Intelligent Design Theory doesn’t imply anything at all, i.e. it has no content. By ‘content’ I refer to a body of determinate principles and propositions entailed by those principles. By ‘principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue. By ‘determinate principle’ I refer to a proposition of central importance to the theory at issue in which the extensions of its terms are clearly defined. I’ll evaluate the work of William Dembski because he specifies his methodology in detail, thinks Intelligent Design Theory is contentful and thinks Intelligent Design Theory (hereafter ‘IDT’) grounds an empirical research program. Later in the paper I assess a recent trend in which IDT is allegedly found a better home as a metascientific hypothesis, which serves as a paradigm that catalyzes research. I’ll conclude that, whether IDT is construed as a scientific or metascientific hypothesis, IDT lacks content.

Charlie makes some interesting assertions. Too bad, they seem to be somewhat … lacking. Nevertheless, Charlie’s ideas seem to be the most ‘scientific’ ID has gotten so far ;-)

RPM wrote:

There is a way these structure could have emerged: mutation and selection. Mutation produces changes that are then acted on by natural selection.

When I was a young boy, I thought I wanted to be a priest. It seemed cool. I was brought up a devout catholic by my parents and I believed everything they said. By the time I was 15, doubts began to creep in and a year later, I not only rejected the notion of becoming a priest, I rejected catholicism in its entirety. Why did this happen? Instead of blindly accepting what I was told, I began to think for myself. I soon realized that what I had been told was a fairy story, like you tell kids when they are too young to understand. When I was a young boy, I believed in Darwin. I was brought up a devout Darwinian by my teachers in high school and college. It took some time, because I was busy with other things but I eventually rejected darwinism and became a believer in cosmic ancestry and intelligent design. This had absolutely no component of religion, since I was a professed atheist who advocated strongly for the rejection of God. Today, I am a confirmed agnostic, since I have no proof that God is a figment of the imagination. Why did this happen? For the same reason I rejected catholicism. I began to think for myself and not just blindly accept what I had been taught. I began to realize that what I had been taught was largely a fairy story, without a shred of empirical support. You say life could have evolved by mutation and selection. It could not have. One important component is missing. Mutation and selection are quantitative changes. Mutations produce random changes in genomes, selection increases and decreases the frequency of alleles in populations. There is no nexus that links these trivial effects to the organization and integration of structures and processes in living systems. So, it is clear to me that evolutionists are selling us a “bill of goods”. They are proposing a theory for which there is no empirical support. They are telling us that since the frequency of alleles can change in populations, that this can somehow result in the emergence of highly organized, complex systems in which structures, processes and functions are integrated. It just can’t happen the way they think it does. Hopefully, you will not be bogged down in an obsolete and useless paradigm that will hamper your pursuit of scientific knowledge. We need real answers, not fairy tales, and it’s folks like you who will give us those answers. Best of luck and success in your scientific career. I hope I read your name on some future list of Nobel recipients.

Charlie Wagner http://enigma.charliewagner.com

Charlie Wrote:

You say life could have evolved by mutation and selection. It could not have. One important component is missing. Mutation and selection are quantitative changes. Mutations produce random changes in genomes, selection increases and decreases the frequency of alleles in populations. There is no nexus that links these trivial effects to the organization and integration of structures and processes in living systems.

Yest there is. Check out the work on scale free networks. Before denouncing a theory it is helpful to support one’s assertions Charlie. This seems to be a common afflication among ID proponents it seems. Too bad.

Chaz writes

Instead of blindly accepting what I was told, I began to think for myself.

A lapsed Catholic atheist rebel Dylan fan who grew up in the 50s and 60s but who claims to have never smoked a joint??

Impossible. Therefore, you must have been created by aliens.

Charlie, I’m baffled by this remark:

Mutation and selection are quantitative changes. Mutations produce random changes in genomes, selection increases and decreases the frequency of alleles in populations. There is no nexus that links these trivial effects to the organization and integration of structures and processes in living systems.

Are you trying to imply that there exists no connection between the genotype and the phenotype? Because that’s all that you’re asking for here: the trivial ‘effects’ are modifications to the basic code which defines the physical characteristics (the organization and processes in living systems, if you will). Change the code; change the physical organism. This has been well understood for more than a century.

If you’re talking about something else, perhaps you’d be clearer.…

Rilke wrote:

If you’re talking about something else, perhaps you’d be clearer . …

It seems perfectly clear to me.

Read my article here, it might help: http://www.charliewagner.net/casefor.htm

I understand why Charlie does not want to be clearer. Other than assertions, he has nothing to support his claims. ID in action I’d say.

PvM, have you read the article he refers people to? Is it any good? Would you say it obliterates evolution?

Charlie Wrote:

It took some time, because I was busy with other things but I eventually rejected darwinism and became a believer in cosmic ancestry and intelligent design.

Charlie, once agian, I ask you : How are your alians that have created and modified life over the years exempt from the same “There is simply no way, by the application of any known biological principles or physical laws that these structures could have emerged or these processes could have become integrated into a functional system with a clear purpose without the benefit of insight and intelligent input.”

You create a paradox. Your aliens are either subject to the same “biological principles” and “physical laws” as we are or they are supernatural which in essence would make them “God(s)”

Charlie Wrote:

They are proposing a theory for which there is no empirical support.

So is the vast majority of scientist in some conspiracy or are they all under some mass hallucination

Charlie Wrote:

Hopefully, you will not be bogged down in an obsolete and useless paradigm that will hamper your pursuit of scientific knowledge.

Useless? Sheeesh tell the pharmaceutical companies that use this paradigm. I’m sure they’ll be glad to know that the successes they have are just blind luck and have nothing to do with this “fairy tale” called evolution.

Hey maybe there is a conspiracy that the pharmaceutical companies are actually the alians in disguise.

Hmmm God is a fairy tale. Life changing via mutations and natural selection is a fairy tale. Little green men that have designed us and micro manage our development because we couldn’t have come about via one of the first 2 mechanisms and those same little green men some how came into being in direct oposition to the same laws and principles that CW say would prevent us from coming into being without “intelligent input” is the only other alternative and therefor must be fact and not fairy tale.

Makes sense to me.….unfortunately only when I’m dropping acid or some other mind altering drug.

Lets look at a common definition of “Cosmic Anscestory” “Cosmic Ancestry implies, we find, that [color=red]life can only descend from ancestors that were at least as highly evolved as itself. [/color]And it means, we believe, [color=blue]that there can be no origin of life from nonliving matter in the finite past[/color]. Without supernatural intervention, therefore, we conclude that [color=purple]life must have always existed.”[/color]

click here for more info.

So Charlies theory is that life has an [color=red]upper threshhold.[/color]

[color=purple]That organisms as complex as us have always exsisted.[/color]

[color=blue]Given an infinate amount of time life could come into exsistance[/color]

Don’t get me started on the “finite past”

Some how these “ancestors” are not supernatural, exsisted before and through the big bang, can not evolve themselve. Hmmm alot like what the bible says. The life was created in kinds and will never change from those kinds.

Let it be known I don’t have a problem with shifting abiogenisis to space. I do have a problem with it going back ~14 billion years when all that exsisted was “nonliving matter”

I myself am a big pile of “nonliving matter”. Heck I’m mostly water and last time I checked H²0 was not living. Matter is matter. The matter that makes me up will be the same matter when I’m dead.

PvM Wrote:

Other than assertions, he has nothing to support his claims.

You spend post after post, page after page, debunking and criticising Dembski and Behe and Wells and this is all you give me?

Frankly, I’m insulted ;-)

Charlie Wagner http://enigma.charliewagner.com

Charlie:

Read Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer. It is not at all uncommon for devout Catholics to become devout atheists, or Communists, or whatever. And vice versa. They will claim to have reason on their side in either case, not because they reason well, but because they are true believers.

I tried posting this twice. Neither post has appeared after several hours. I’m betting it was too long, so I’ll break it down into bite-sized pieces:

Wayne Wrote:

How are your alians that have created and modified life over the years exempt from the same…

I never claimed aliens created life. I don’t have the first clue where life came from. All I ever said is that random processes cannot account for it and intelligent input is required. The nature of this input is unknown.

Wayne Wrote:

So is the vast majority of scientist in some conspiracy or are they all under some mass hallucination

Frankly, I don’t really know what the vast majority of scientists think. In public they claim to defend evolution, but I never see anything in the peer-reviewed journals that address this subject. There’s a lot of talk in the specialty journals about micro-evolution (mutations and changes in gene frequency due to natural selection) but this is an established principle. What I would like to see, which I don’t, is something that links these changes in gene frequency with the emergence of highly organized structures, processes and systems.

Charlie Wagner

Wayne Wrote:

tell the pharmaceutical companies that use this paradigm. I’m sure they’ll be glad to know that the successes they have are just blind luck and have nothing to do with this “fairy tale” called evolution.

Once again, you’re not paying attention. I never called evolution a fairy tale. I called darwinism a fairy tale. I think evolution occurred with the benefit of intelligent input. Besides, pharmaceutical companies do not rely of “evolution”, they rely on well established principles of genetics, including mutation and selection. Nothing that they do involves the emergence or evolution of highly organized complex systems such as eyes, ears or other major adaptations.

Wayne Wrote:

because we couldn’t have come about via one of the first 2 mechanisms and those same little green men some how came into being in direct oposition to the same laws and principles that CW say would prevent us from coming into being without “intelligent input” is the only other alternative and therefor must be fact and not fairy tale.

One of the oldest problems facing humankind is the problem of “First Cause”. Why is there anything, instead of nothing? When and how did it all start? Is it “turtles all the way down”? Evolution has the same problem of infinite regress. All evolved forms were modified from pre-existing forms. But is it just an infinite regression of pre-existing forms? When and how did it all start? The question of First Cause has been addressed by Philosophers and Scientists since the beginning of time. No solution has been forthcoming, although I will offer one for your contemplation. The First Cause problem stems from the knowledge that everything in the world has a cause. Because of this, you eventually must come to a primary cause, which religions call God. But this begs the question: “who made god?”. If everything must have a cause, then God too must have a cause. Religion says: “not so, God has always existed.” and leave it at that. But I contend that if there is anything in the universe without a cause, it might as well be the universe itself, rather than God. Since I don’t believe in God, there’s only one option as far as I can see: the universe and the life in it have always existed. There’s simply no reason for thinking that the universe had a beginning. Cosmologists seem to have an even different view. They claim that the universe came into existence without a cause. It’s really only poverty of our limited human imagination that everything must have a beginning. For evolutionists, the question “where did life come from” may be no different from the question “where did matter come from?”

Hannes Alfven Wrote:

“There is no rational reason to doubt that the universe has existed indefinitely, for an infinite time. It is only myth that attempts to say how the universe came to be, either four thousand or twenty billion years ago.”

“Since religion intrinsically rejects empirical methods, there should never be any attempt to reconcile scientific theories with religion. An infinitely old universe, always evolving, may not be compatible with the Book of Genesis. However, religions such as Buddhism get along without having any explicit creation mythology and are in no way contradicted by a universe without a beginning or end. Creatio ex nihilo, even as religious doctrine, only dates to around AD 200. The key is not to confuse myth and empirical results, or religion and science.”

“The difference between myth and science is the difference between divine inspiration of ‘unaided reason’ on the one hand and theories developed in observational contact with the real world on the other. [It is] the difference between the belief in prophets and critical thinking, between Credo quia absurdum [I believe because it is absurd–Tertullian.] and De omnibus est dubitandum [Everything should be questioned–Descartes.]. To try to write a grand cosmical drama leads necessarily to myth. To try to let knowledge substitute ignorance in increasingly large regions of space and time is science.”

He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1970 He and Fred Hoyle are my highest inspiration. And Richard Feynman of course…

Charlie seems to be abandoning all good science it seems

Wayne Wrote:

because we couldn’t have come about via one of the first 2 mechanisms and those same little green men some how came into being in direct oposition to the same laws and principles that CW say would prevent us from coming into being without “intelligent input” is the only other alternative and therefor must be fact and not fairy tale.

One of the oldest problems facing humankind is the problem of “First Cause”. Why is there anything, instead of nothing? When and how did it all start? Is it “turtles all the way down”? Evolution has the same problem of infinite regress. All evolved forms were modified from pre-existing forms. But is it just an infinite regression of pre-existing forms? When and how did it all start? The question of First Cause has been addressed by Philosophers and Scientists since the beginning of time. No solution has been forthcoming, although I will offer one for your contemplation. The First Cause problem stems from the knowledge that everything in the world has a cause. Because of this, you eventually must come to a primary cause, which religions call God. But this begs the question: “who made god?”. If everything must have a cause, then God too must have a cause. Religion says: “not so, God has always existed.” and leave it at that. But I contend that if there is anything in the universe without a cause, it might as well be the universe itself, rather than God. Since I don’t believe in God, there’s only one option as far as I can see: the universe and the life in it have always existed. There’s simply no reason for thinking that the universe had a beginning. Cosmologists seem to have an even different view. They claim that the universe came into existence without a cause. It’s really only poverty of our limited human imagination that everything must have a beginning. For evolutionists, the question “where did life come from” may be no different from the question “where did matter come from?”

Hannes Alfven Wrote:

“There is no rational reason to doubt that the universe has existed indefinitely, for an infinite time. It is only myth that attempts to say how the universe came to be, either four thousand or twenty billion years ago.”

“Since religion intrinsically rejects empirical methods, there should never be any attempt to reconcile scientific theories with religion. An infinitely old universe, always evolving, may not be compatible with the Book of Genesis. However, religions such as Buddhism get along without having any explicit creation mythology and are in no way contradicted by a universe without a beginning or end. Creatio ex nihilo, even as religious doctrine, only dates to around AD 200. The key is not to confuse myth and empirical results, or religion and science.”

“The difference between myth and science is the difference between divine inspiration of ‘unaided reason’ on the one hand and theories developed in observational contact with the real world on the other. [It is] the difference between the belief in prophets and critical thinking, between Credo quia absurdum [I believe because it is absurd–Tertullian.] and De omnibus est dubitandum [Everything should be questioned–Descartes.]. To try to write a grand cosmical drama leads necessarily to myth. To try to let knowledge substitute ignorance in increasingly large regions of space and time is science.”

He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1970 He and Fred Hoyle are my highest inspiration. And Richard Feynman of course…

Charlie Wagner

Wayne Wrote:

click here for more info.

I see you found Brig’s website. He does a fabulous job. Hi Brig!

Wayne Wrote:

So Charlies theory is…

That life came to earth from elsewhere, that intelligent input was necessary for life to evolve and that the universe has always existed. And a whole s***load of “I don’t know.”

Wayne Wrote:

The matter that makes me up will be the same matter when I’m dead.

And a log cabin is made of the same matter as a forest full of trees. That’s where the intelligent input part comes in. Assembling matter into structures, processes and systems that have function.

Joe McFaul in Comment #11548 Wrote:

Did I get that right?

Will you settle for a ‘C-‘? “Research after the book was published indicates that these are most likely not irreducibly complex.” Don’t forget about research before the book was published. But whether they are IC depends on slippery issues: what function, exactly, do you have in mind? where exactly do you draw the boundaries of the ‘system’? how do you divide the ‘system’ into ‘parts’? how strictly do you interpret ‘all parts required?

None of that matters to biology. IC is a normal expected result of evolution.

“Behe has not provided any other examples of IC,…” From time to time he suggests that a single protein is IC.

*Note that “IC can’t evolve” is standard creationism, except that before the DI and their ID campaign, creationists didn’t have the catchy new term IC.

Dembski’s EF: see Theft over Toil. (www.talkorigins.org). Also note that the EF is a schematic of a standard creationist pattern of thought. But before the DI, creationists didn’t have the catchy new term for it. Are you beginning to see how they get away with claiming it’s not creationism?

“However, I can’t find any example of Dembski applying his EF to any of Behe’s IC objects,…”.

Egad! how could miss the most famous reindeer of all, the bacterial flagellum? Dembski goes on and on, and then on, and then on about how IC is a special case of Design inference via the EF and about the wonderful flagellum as the prize case. It’s a whole chapter in one of his books, No Free Lunch I think it was, and one of his topics at www.designinference.com Of course this is a fine case of the folly of the whole EF and IC approach. But what the DI knows and scientists can’t come to grips with is that their stuff only has to work as propaganda.

Charlie Wrote:

And a log cabin is made of the same matter as a forest full of trees. That’s where the intelligent input part comes in. Assembling matter into structures, processes and systems that have function.

Charlie does the earth have function? Does the Solar system have function? Does the galaxy have function? Does the rock in your back yard have function? I say they all have functions. Nature is all functions. I don’t look at a quarts crystal and see flat surfaces and come to the conclusion that someone must have put each molecule together 1 by 1. I look at it and understand that this structure comes from the physical laws of nature. I look at life in the same manner just much more complex. The function of your log cabin is to provide shelter. Shall I then extend this to the fact that a cave can also provide shelter that is also must be designed? It has a function! When I see a tree knocked over and spanning a river shall I conclude that it was done by an intelligent agent because it provides a function to cross the river or should I look at it as a tree that has been knocked over by natural causes and one of the emergent properties of this tree is that now it serves as a bridge over the river.

Charlie Wrote:

I never claimed aliens created life. I don’t have the first clue where life came from. All I ever said is that random processes cannot account for it and intelligent input is required. The nature of this input is unknown.

you are skirting the issue. From your posts you seem to believe in a non-supernatural extra terrestrial source for life and all the changes that occur to life. That life micro manages evolution here on earth by your accounts. That life is also exempt from all the same natural laws you imply that would prevent us from being here without it.

So basically you have no clue or proof of your idea, want scientist to drop their conspiracy where they “In public they claim to defend evolution” but as you imply here and, if I need to I’ll track it down, before on this site say they can not possibly knowingly support evolution personally (words to that effect).

Charlie Wrote:

Cosmologists seem to have an even different view. They claim that the universe came into existence without a cause.

I don’t believe this is the what most Cosmologists believe. From my understanding is that they may regard our perception of our universe of having a pseudo beginning but as I understand many are looking at ways that we might be able to look at the universe before the big bang. Even with older models of a cyclic universe they referred to the “Big Bang” as a reference point not really a overall beginning.

and one more time Mutation and Natural Selection is NOT “random processes” I would say there are patterns we can see. You see those patterns and attribute it to a micro-managing entity. Most scientists look at as emergent properties from the physical laws.

Wayne Wrote:

does the earth have function? Does the Solar system have function? Does the galaxy have function? Does the rock in your back yard have function? I say they all have functions.

Well, this is not the first time I’ve had problems with the word “function”. It doesn’t seem to be clear to people what I mean by the word, so perhaps it might be better not to use it any more. First of all, there’s a difference between intrinsic functions and co-opted functions. I can put a circular saw on the floor to hold a door open. That doesn’t mean the function of the saw is to hold open the door. That’s a co-opted function. The function of a circular saw, the action for which it is particularly fitted or employed is to saw through wood. Also, I’m talking about the function of a system, in which structures and processes are integrated in such a way that they produce a particular action. That eliminates your rock and any other natural systems that do not exhibit organization. (see my paper for a specific definition of organization) The log cabin example is probably not the best possible example because its status as an organized system is not fully established. Perhaps it would have been better if I had said: “A computer contains the same matter as a pile of metal, glass and plastic. That’s where the intelligent input comes in. Assembling these raw materials into structures, processes and systems that produce specific outcomes in the form of actions or products”. For example, computers produce actions in the form of data processing, storage and imaging. Chloroplasts produce products, in particular, glucose. The functions that I’m referring to are the functions of integrated systems, measured by the outcomes they produce. So, eliminate all co-opted functions and eliminate all entities that are not organized, integrated systems and what do you have left? Machines and living organisms, that’s all.

Charlie Wagner http://enigma.charliewagner.com

Wayne Wrote:

From your posts you seem to believe in a non-supernatural extra terrestrial source for life and all the changes that occur to life. That life micro manages evolution here on earth by your accounts. That life is also exempt from all the same natural laws you imply that would prevent us from being here without it.

Don’t read more into what I say than what’s there. I believe life came to earth from elsewhere and did not arise de novo on a primordal earth. I believe that intelligent input was necessary for the evolution of life and I believe that the universe and the life in it have always existed. That’s all.

Wayne Wrote:

So basically you have no clue or proof of your idea, want scientist to drop their conspiracy where they “In public they claim to defend evolution” but as you imply here and, if I need to I’ll track it down, before on this site say they can not possibly knowingly support evolution personally (words to that effect).

I don’t claim to have empirical evidence that these things are true. But just as I suspect there are many priests and rabbis that don’t believe in God, I also suspect that there are many scientist who have serious doubts about current evolutionary theory but don’t voice these concerns out of fear for their careers. I have had private conversations with scientists after which I came away with the overriding opinion that they held private views that were at odds with their public views. I will not name them here because I won’t betray a confidence or presume to speak for someone else, especially when they are no longer around to defend themselves.

Wayne Wrote:

I don’t believe this is the what most Cosmologists believe. From my understanding is that they may regard our perception of our universe of having a pseudo beginning…

Don’t confuse “beginning” with “cause”. You can have a beginning, with or without cause. My understanding is that Big Bang cosmology says that the universe had a beginning, but not a cause. I’ll ask Sean Carroll or Ryan Scranton about this.

Okay this is enough. Discuss this further on the bathroom wall please. As it has nothing much to do with the topic of the thread.

Come now, folks - Salvador has many hidden talents that clearly show his significant insight into biological evolution.

http://ece.gmu.edu/student_competitions.htm

PvM - the bathroom appears to be locked.

pete -

“However, I can’t find any example of Dembski applying his EF to any of Behe’s IC objects, … “.

Egad! how could miss the most famous reindeer of all, the bacterial flagellum? Dembski goes on and on, and then on, and then on about how IC is a special case of Design inference via the EF and about the wonderful flagellum as the prize case. It’s a whole chapter in one of his books, No Free Lunch I think it was, and one of his topics at www.designinference.com Of course this is a fine case of the folly of the whole EF and IC approach. But what the DI knows and scientists can’t come to grips with is that their stuff only has to work as propaganda.

The point is, Dembski hasn’t applied his filter to anything at all.

The filter is a formal process that requires one to evaluate and sweep from consideration all the various historical pathways leading to a given event.

Dembski has never done the math. On anything. His single ‘example’ of the flagellum is not a use of the filter; since he does not take into account any other pathways.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 21, column 12, byte 1004 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

Sal, thanks for the links as they show in detail the vacuity of your arguments exemplified even further by your grandstanding. The failure of ID to present any positive theory of design is duely noted. Salvador’s inability to address the Shallit and Elsberry paper shows that ID is hiding as usual in the darkness of our ignorance.

For instance Salvador, aware of the impact of Elsberry and Shallit’s contributions to debunking ID claims without ANY supporting evidence that

the anti-IDists use Elsberry and Shallit’s mis-representations and stawmen versions of Dembski’s work.

Of course Elsberry and Shallit neither mis-represent nor present strawmen versions of Dembski’s work and support their claims in a meticulous detail. No wonder ID is afraid…

Enjoy Information Theory, Evolutionary Computation, and Dembski’s “Complex Specified Information” by Elsberry and Shallit.

Take care dear Sal, you’re the best thing that ever happened to the ID movement and I mean that in the ‘nicest’ context possible. As a scientist I cannot encourage others more to familiarize themselves with your statements and claims.

;-)

What is actually fairly sad about Salvador is that I’m not even sure that he’s aware of the fact that he’s “lying for Christ.” Not only does this make him a genuine ‘canker-sore’ in the mouth of the DI, it also goes a long way to discredit genuine Christianity as a valid intellectual pursuit.

My own theory is that he’s an evolutionary biologist troll; no one could be quite as dense as he appears to be.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on December 9, 2004 10:43 PM.

Human Gland Probably Evolved From Gills was the previous entry in this blog.

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