ID and evolution: Where ‘Purposeful arrangement of parts’ collide

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In the following exchange, Behe seems to be uncertain as to what intelligent design really does. When asked about exaptation, he answers that exaptation is consistent with intelligent design (but what isn’t…). He then claims that intelligent design ‘only focuses on the mechanism of how such a thing would happen’.

Q. But it is certainly, exaptation – for example, a bird wing developing from some kind of feathered structure on a dinosaur that didn’t necessarily allow flight, that’s what evolutionary biologists propose, and they call it exaptation?

A. That’s entirely possible, and that’s consistent with intelligent design, because intelligent design only focuses on the mechanism of how such a thing would happen. So the critical point for my argument is, how such things could develop by random mutation and natural selection.

Q. And again, intelligent design doesn’t describe how it happened?

A. That’s correct, only to say that intelligence was involved somewhere in the process.

Things get more interesting when Behe repeats a claim he seems to have used almost as often as the reference to the Big Bang namely

A. Yes, it’s improbable.

Q. Okay. And you haven’t – and based on that, you conclude that intelligent design is a much more probable explanation?

A. Not just based on that, based on the purposeful arrangement of parts.

“Based on the purposeful arrangement of parts”. Now think about this for a moment, the use of the term purpose is used to conflate with function. Otherwise the argument would be “we recognize design because of the design of the parts”. Now we have reached a problem for intelligent design, namely that by using the term ‘purposeful’ instead of the more appropriate term ‘function’ they cannot exclude natural processes as having caused this function to arise. In other words, intelligent design is based on a simple appeal to ignorance.

Let’s look at this more carefully so that the confused ID proponent may also appreciate the problem. Behe argues that known natural pathways are improbable to explain ‘X’, since ‘X’ has functioning parts, one can infer ‘design’. But the statement says nothing about the ‘designer’ and thus any process which can cause the appearance of teleology, such as for instance evolutionary processes, needs to be considered. Since Intelligent Design does not propose any explanation, pathways or mechanisms (although ID proponents seem to contradict themselves occasionally), intelligent design cannot even compete with the ‘we don’t know’ explanation. In fact, lacking any positive, independent evidence, there is no reason to conclude that an intelligent designer was involved.

This is important since many ID proponents seem to be confused about this, even though Dembski and other IDers have stated, often almost as a side note, that inferring design does not mean inferring a designer. As Welsey Elsberry has so aptly observed in the early years of ID, intelligent design’s design inference cannot exclude a fully natural designer.

Why is this important? Very simple: We know of various ‘purposeful arangement of parts’ which evolved, thus the conclusion is simple: due to the obvious risk of false positives (although Dembski denies sometimes that such false positives exist and accepts false positives at other times), the ID design inference cannot compete with ‘we don’t know’ since it is an appeal to ignorance.

That we have examples of purposeful arrangements by intelligent designers is of no help since we have examples of purposeful arrangements by evolutionary processes. Or alternatively, while ID proponents may argue that evolutionary processes known so far, are unlikely to explain a particular purposeful arrangement of parts, it cannot compete even with this hypothesis as it lacks any measure of probability. In other words, even though the probability of a particular purposeful arrangement of parts via evolutionary mechanisms may be small, the probability of such a system having arisen via an intelligent designer may be even smaller. And since ID refuses, for obvious reasons, to limit its designer or provide means, motives, opportunity, it fails to provide a scientifically relevant alternative.

And that my friends, is the reason why intelligent design is scientifically vacuous, flawed and misguided. That intelligent design is forced to defend its claims in court, under oath, seems quite helpful in establishing how vacuous ID scientifically really is. And the Discovery Institute seems to realize this as it is quick to ask the judge to not rule on the issue of intelligent design and science, since ID can be ‘useful’ for scientific discussions. Of course, so can any other creationist argument be argued to be useful for scientific discussion. In order to establish if ID is scientifically relevant, and thus has a secular purpose, it is essential that the courts rule on the issue of intelligent design and science.

Given the quality of the testimony of intelligent design proponents, I am not surprised that the Discovery Institute must be very worried.

Further in the testimony, Behe testifies as to what the concept of irreducible complexity really is. When confronted with a statement Behe supposedly made in a newspaper about the flagellum and the Type III Secretory System, he confirmed that even if the Type III Secretory System were ancestral to the flagellum, the flagellum would still be irreducibly complex (and thus ‘designed’).

Q. Okay. And then you go on to say that you still think – well, I’ll leave that. Your argument is that, even if the type III secretory system is a pre-cursor to the bacterial flagellum, is a subset, the bacterial flagellum is still irreducibly complex because that subset does not function as a flagellum?

A. That’s correct, yes.

Q. And, therefore, the bacterial flagellum must have been intelligently designed?

A. Well, again, the argument is that, there is – that when you see a purposeful arrangement of parts, that bespeaks design, so, yes.

The discussion then continues about ‘slow design’ where Behe paints himeself even more in a corner. The plaintiffs’ lawyer is doing an incredible job in showing how Behe’s claims are just an ‘empty box’. Behe, under cross, admits to the following

Q. Good. In slow design, same thing. At some point, we had a subset of the proteins, and eventually, we got to the whole thing?

A. That’s right. The crucial question – the only question is the mechanism.

But intelligent design has NO mechanisms to offer, so once again it seems that ID remains scientifically vacuous.

Q. Okay. So in the case of evolution, there is mechanism that’s been proposed, natural selection?

A. Yes.

Q. And you’ve agreed that natural selection certainly is a phenomena that operates in the natural world?

A. That is correct.

So Behe has now admitted that so far the only issue is of ‘mechanism(s)’, in other words, ‘slow design’ or ‘evolutionary design’ differ only in mechanism(s) involved. And evolution has identified plausible mechanisms.

Behe is now confronted with a major problem, how to make a case of design. Predictably he returns to ‘purposeful arrangement of parts’ but the lawyer does not let him off that easily and forces him to admit some remarkable ignorance and tautology.

Q. Then we’ve got slow design, and there we have no mechanism at all, no description of a mechanism?

A. We have no description of a mechanism. We do infer design though from the purposeful arrangement of parts.

Q. Now yesterday, I asked you some questions about the designer’s abilities. And you said, all we know about its abilities is that it was capable of making whatever we have determined is design. That’s the only statement we can make about the designer’s abilities?

A. Yes.

Q. And in terms of the designer’s – as a scientific statement?

A. That’s correct.

Q. And the only thing we know scientifically about the designer’s motives or desires or needs is that, according to your argument, the only thing we would know scientifically about that is that it must have wanted to make what we have concluded as design?

A. Yes, that’s right.

Q. In fact, the only way we can make the statement scientifically that a designer exists is that it made whatever we conclude was design?

A. Yes, that’s right.

Can we say circular reasoning…

Behe tries to move the goalposts but the lawyer is quick to point out Behe’s previous testimony

And as my work with David Snoke shows, that even getting small changes in pre-existing proteins, that is parts, is no easy task. So the question –

Q. Unless you have a whole ton of soil?

A. I’m sorry?

Q. Unless you have a whole ton of soil?

A. So that’s actually an excellent question. Did those parts themselves also have to be designed? And I think right now, the question is open.

Behe is then asked about whether or not intelligent design, in this case for the flagellum has been tested. Since Behe proposed a way to test ‘scientifically’ if the flagellum could evolve, and since such a test was never performed we now are treated to the following amusing exchange

Q. Okay. So you can’t claim that the proposition that the bacterial flagellum was intelligently designed is a well-tested proposition?

A. Yes, you can, I’m afraid. It’s well-tested from the inductive argument. We can, from our inductive understanding of whenever we see something that has a large number of parts, which interacts to fulfill some function, when we see a purposeful arrangement of parts, we have always found that to be design. And so, an inductive argument relies on the validity of the previous instances of what you’re inducing. So I would say that, that is tested.

It’s ‘well tested’ from the inductive argument although it has not really been tested and the test proposed by Behe has never been performed.

Scientifically vacuous…

And before taking a recess for break, Behe makes the following statement about ID which accentuates the vacuity.

Q. And before we leave the blood clotting system, can you just remind the Court the mechanism by which intelligent design creates the blood clotting system?

A. Well, as I mentioned before, intelligent design does not say, a mechanism, but what it does say is, one important factor in the production of systems, and that is that, at some point in the pathway, intelligence was involved.

72 Comments

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Behe’s proposed experiment, putting a non-flagellated bacterial culture under selective pressure for 10,000 generations to see if a flagellum pops up

Alternatively, we could test ID by putting a non-flagellated bacterial culture under selective pressure for 10,000 generations and see if God pops up.

“but I’m certain that finding a lawyer’s talent for formal logic and a scientist’s knowledge and understanding of evolution in the same individual is quite rare.”

Did you mean informal logic?

The really amusing thing is that we don’t see the Discovery Institute scam artists taking Behe’s testimony apart. How many times have they claimed that ID isn’t about mechanisms? Here is the incompetent Behe, claiming that ID is all about the mechanism, and he has to do it for obvious reasons. A birds wing obviously evolved from a tetrapod limb. He has to argue that the designer did it, but the only difference between the design inference and biological evolution is how the designer did it. He can’t even deny that the designer could have used natural mechanisms to accomplish the design. He has to claim that he can see evidence for non natural mechanisms, but he doesn’t have the evidence. All the IDiots are in the same boat.

Wrote:

Behe’s proposed experiment, putting a non-flagellated bacterial culture under selective pressure for 10,000 generations to see if a flagellum pops up, is a preposterously inaccurate model for actual evolution, for multiple reasons.

A bigger problem is that, the success or failure of such experiment does not prove/disprove IC in any way.

It is almost impossible prove a negative via experimentation. In practice no experiement is exhaustive enough to categorically reject the possibility. Trying to do so is like shooting a moving target that respawn.

That impossibility is what IDists hinge on.

What the plantiff’s lawyer could have done is ask Behe that if bacterial flagellum evolves in a lab, whether IC can still stand on other alledgedly irreducibly complex “machines”, like the bloodclotting system. If he answer yes, then IC cannot be disproved by his own proposed test. If he answer no, he has to explain why not.

Still, the lawyers did a pretty good job all things considered.

I’ve read all of the Behe transcripts up to and including day 11. Does your post cover day 12? If so, where did you get the transcript from?

I would have liked to see the lawyer take Behe to task about the paper he wrote on how long it would take a population of 1 billion bacteria to experience the right mutations to create an irreducibly complex feature. I think the lawyer hinted at it but I think he should have asked Behe how long it would have taken using the amount of bacteria in a ton of soil and actually get him to do the calculations.

I think Behe said 20,000 years for 1 billion bacteria, the lawyer asked how much bacteria there are in a ton of soil and he said 10 to the power 16, which means that it would take 0.002 years for an irreducibly complex feature to happen through mutation alone (no selection going on) in a ton of soil.

That’s about 17.5 hours.

That would have been funny. Very funny.

RE: the two year selective experiment for flagella

The worst thing about this experiment is that it will almost certainly result in both sides claiming victory, simply because the bacteria would most likely not evolve a flagella. There are, presumably, other ways to propel a bacteria, and when a chaotic mixture of re-used proteins from elsewhere in the cell get thrown together to make some unexpected means of propulsion, the biologists will say “see, it worked!”, while the ID folks will say “see, that’s not a flagella!”. No wonder nobody’s seen the point in doing the experiment.

“…but I’m certain that finding a lawyer’s talent for formal logic and a scientist’s knowledge and understanding of evolution in the same individual is quite rare.”

Oh, I think he had some help with the topic. Right, Nick?

Behe’s proposed experiment, putting a non-flagellated bacterial culture under selective pressure for 10,000 generations to see if a flagellum pops up, is a preposterously inaccurate model for actual evolution, for multiple reasons.

A bigger problem is that, the success or failure of such experiment does not prove/disprove IC in any way.

Yes it does. If you start from scratch and in just a few years get a flagellum as we know them, that’s a miracle.

While everyone seems to agree that ID cannot be tested in any meaningful way, it seems to me that Behe’s insistance that he can detect design can be. Why doesn’t someone create a moderately complex problem in chemical synthesis (“Start with A,B,C… and a list of elementary reactions and create a pathway to X,Y,Z.”). Have a bunch of undergrads solve it as well as an evolutionary computer code. Then ask Behe or someone else to pick out the solution that was not “designed”.

There’s another problem with Behe’s test. The probability of evolving a specified feature is not the same as the probability of evolving a novel feature which may prove very useful. So perhaps Behe’s test should be the evolution of any novel, useful feature, say, the ability to eat nylon. What would be the probability of that ever happening?

That’s an excellent point on the choice of the word purposeful. It is ambiguous, and could mean either functional, which is still unproven or designed, which would be circular logic, since it is being used as an indication of design.

Ron Okimoto wrote:

The really amusing thing is that we don’t see the Discovery Institute scam artists taking Behe’s testimony apart. How many times have they claimed that ID isn’t about mechanisms? Here is the incompetent Behe, claiming that ID is all about the mechanism, and he has to do it for obvious reasons.

Behe wound up saying ID “focuses exclusively on the proposed mechanism” and “it does not propose a mechanism” and then admitted the proposed mechanism ID focuses on is really natural selection. I think the ID will be ok with that. Unfortunately for them it shows ID is just creationism. Behe is quite the one man clown show:

Q Back to my original question. What is the mechanism that intelligent design proposes?

A And I wonder, could – am I permitted to know what I replied to your question the first time?

Q I don’t think I got a reply, so I’m asking you, you ve made this claim here, “Intelligent design theory focuses exclusively on the proposed mechanism of how complex biological structures arose.” And I want to know what is the mechanism that intelligent design proposes for how complex biological structures arose?

A Again, it does not propose a mechanism in the sense of a step-by-step description of how those structures arose. But it can infer that in the mechanism, in the process by which these structures arose, an intelligent cause was involved.

Q But it does not propose an actual mechanism?

A Again, the word “mechanism” – the word “mechanism” can be used broadly, but no, I would not say that there was a mechanism. I would say we have an aspect of the history of the structure.

Q So when you wrote in your report that “Intelligent design theory focuses exclusively on the proposed mechanism,” you actually meant to say intelligent design says nothing about the mechanism of how complex biological structures arose.

A No, I certainly didn’t mean to say that. I meant to say what I said in response to that last question, that while we don’t know a step-by-step description of how something arose, nonetheless we can infer some very important facts about what was involved in the process, namely, that intelligence was involved in the process.

And let me go back one more time to the Big Bang theory. Again, we don’t have a mechanism for the Big Bang, but we can infer some important events about what happened, and that was that it happened in some explosive manner, it happened a distinct time ago and so on.

So additionally, I might say, that it also focuses on other proposed mechanisms that purport to explain the purposeful arrangement of parts. And so I think it is quite accurate to say that that’s exactly where intelligent design focuses.

Q So it actually – it focuses on other proposed mechanisms, by that you mean natural selection, don’t you?

A No, just a natural selection, complexity theory and so on. But certainly the most widely accepted, and then the one that you would have to convince most people – or explain to most people is not well supported is the one which is the currently accepted explanation of natural selection.

Q Okay. And so in terms of mechanism, it’s just a criticism of Darwinian evolution’s mechanism and not a positive description of the mechanism?

A No, I disagree. I say that while, again, while it does not give you a step-by-step description of how such things occurred, it does tell you something very important about the cause or the way in which these structures arose, and that was through the actions of an intelligent cause.

Q So, Professor Behe, why don’t we go to your deposition and see how you answered the questions then, okay?

A Okay.

Q Could you look at page 179 of your deposition.

A Yes.

Q I asked you, “What is the proposed mechanism of how complex biological structures arose according to intelligent design theory?”

A Yes.

Q And you answered, “Intelligent design does not propose a mechanism, it simply tries to support the conclusion that intelligent activity was involved in producing the structures.”

A Yes. And that language, I think, is completely consistent with what I was trying to say here today, that it does not tell you step by step how something was proposed – or how something was produced, but nonetheless it says something very very important about the origin of the structure, and that is that intelligent activity was involved in producing it.

Q And then further down the page at line 24 I asked you, “In terms of the mechanism, it’s just a criticism of Darwinian evolution’s mechanism and not a positive description of a mechanism.” And what did you answer, Professor Behe?

A I said “that’s correct.” But again, I think this is completely consistent with what I just said. Again, it does not propose a step-by-step description, but it – but it proposes or it accounts for some very important features of what was involved in it’s origin, and that is intelligent activity.

Behe’s proposed experiment, putting a non-flagellated bacterial culture under selective pressure for 10,000 generations to see if a flagellum pops up, is a preposterously inaccurate model for actual evolution, for multiple reasons.

A bigger problem is that, the success or failure of such experiment does not prove/disprove IC in any way.

We can already get a good idea of how IDists will respond. If you look at experiments on abiogenesis, which produced complex molecules, here’s what creationists and IDists said:

Wells says that the Miller-Urey experiment should not be taught because the experiment used an atmospheric composition that is now known to be incorrect. Wells contends that textbooks don’t discuss how the early atmosphere was probably different from the atmosphere hypothesized in the original experiment. Wells then claims that the actual atmosphere of the early earth makes the Miller-Urey type of chemical synthesis impossible, and asserts that the experiment does not work when an updated atmosphere is used.

In other words: if the experiement actually resulted in producing a flagellum, IDists might claim that the conditions where the experiement was done was different than the one where the flagellum historically appeared and that actual conditions would’ve made it impossible for the flagellum to arrise through evolution.

And of course frontloading is another obvious fallback position, regardless of the fact that it makes no sense.

Re Alienward’s last post- Along with redefining “science” and “theory” to mean their opposites, we can now see that Behe’s performed the same service for “consistent”. Nice hat trick.

From jim:

While everyone seems to agree that ID cannot be tested in any meaningful way, it seems to me that Behe’s insistance that he can detect design can be. Why doesn’t someone create a moderately complex problem in chemical synthesis (“Start with A,B,C… and a list of elementary reactions and create a pathway to X,Y,Z.”). Have a bunch of undergrads solve it as well as an evolutionary computer code. Then ask Behe or someone else to pick out the solution that was not “designed”.

There’s a freeware program on the Web called Framsticks that allows one to design and/or evolve “organisms” that fulfill certain goals in a fairly realistic physics environment. For example, you can select for “organisms” that move rapidly. I’ve used it as a demo to show the efficacy of mutation and selection to undergrads.

The Framsticks site has an archive of “organisms” that people have sent them– either those that are especially outstanding performers or interesting for some other reason. Some are designed, others evolved from scratch. I went through their collection of “fastest runners” and found that it’s pretty easy to tell the designed ones from the evolved ones. The first difference is that all of the designed “organisms” look like quadrupeds or hexapods or wheels, while the evolved “organisms” come up with ways of getting around that I never would have thought of.

The second difference, of course, is that the evolved “organisms” tend to move much, much faster.

–B

As you know, ID is unfalsifiable, so real-life experiment cannot disprove it. Suppose we get a flagellum. What will stop IDiots from arguing that a Designer helped with it? Obviously, such an experiment must exclude the potential influence of a designer, but since in ID framework we cannot exclude supernatural designer, a successful experiment refuting ID is hardly possible.

Obviously, such an experiment must exclude the potential influence of a designer, but since in ID framework we cannot exclude supernatural designer, a successful experiment refuting ID is hardly possible.

Thus the requirement for Methodological Naturalism in science. If we cannot assume the lack of a supernatural meddler, no scientific experiment would mean anything, in any field of scientific exploration.

“Suppose we get a flagellum. What will stop IDiots from arguing that a Designer helped with it?”

Of course, such an experiment would never result in a flagellum. But, if it did, it would be interesting to see how the public would respond to ID claims that intelligence was involved. They claim not to identify the designer, but there aren’t many non-deities who could sneak into the lab and put a flagellum on a bacteria. I suppose a scientist could do it, but would likely leaving a telling genetic trace of the vector used (e.g. “how did this plasmid get here…”)

Anyway, that would leave the IDists claiming that God came down and miraculously put the flagellum in there. The public would be skeptical of someone pointing to a tube of bacteria and calling it a miracle. The underwhelming crudeness of it would make people doubtful. People are apt to believe that God created man and the universe in some unfathomable way at some unknown time in the past, but they would mostly have a harder time believing that God plays cheap parlor tricks in test tubes for no apparent reason.

The public would be skeptical of someone pointing to a tube of bacteria and calling it a miracle. The underwhelming crudeness of it would make people doubtful. People are apt to believe that God created man and the universe in some unfathomable way at some unknown time in the past, but they would mostly have a harder time believing that God plays cheap parlor tricks in test tubes for no apparent reason.

Dude, “the public” routinely sees the face of the holy virgin in things like grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing is “too crude” to be a miracle.

After Paul Nelson announced at Friday’s AEI symposium Behe was now now doing this experiment, the “How would you control for the designer(s) possible activities during your flagella experiment?” question was directly posed (to John Calvert IIRC). And completely ignored. Dembski, with his characteristic brilliance, has already proposed the designer(s) may employ zero-energy, infinite wavelength quantum field effects to alter quantum probabilities in chemical reactions. Teach the controversy!

Slightly off topic but as the relevant thread is disappearing over the horizon, I thought I would link the response from Dr. K. John Morrow, one of Behe’s reveiwers see here

More of Behe’s testimony on the details of mechanism. This is the sort of exchange that defies all attempts at logical parsing…

A. That’s entirely possible, and that’s consistent with intelligent design, because intelligent design only focuses on the mechanism of how such a thing would happen.

Q. And again, intelligent design doesn’t describe how it happened?

A. That’s correct, only to say that intelligence was involved somewhere in the process.

Huh?

Behe squirmed: Again, the word “mechanism” — the word “mechanism” can be used broadly…

For instance, an anally retentive pedant fixated on pathetic details might use the word “mechanism” to mean “the physics and chemistry of how something happens”. The Intelligent Design Theorist, on the other hand, might use the word “mechanism” to mean “Not only do we have no *&#@!ng clue, we have no idea how to get one!”

I would say we have an aspect of the history of the structure.

I would say this guy is an embarrassment to biochemistry PhD’s everywhere. I wonder where “mechanism” might be taken to mean “an aspect of the history of a structure” anywhere in any biochemistry text or article worth the paper it’s printed on.

Re “the designer(s) may employ zero-energy, infinite wavelength quantum field effects to alter quantum probabilities in chemical reactions.”

So, the, um, “designer” uses something that (1) has no energy with which to do anything, and (2) can’t be aimed at any target smaller than the universe due to its large wavelength.

Did I miss something along the way?

Henry

Henry J:

It may not have any discernable meaning, but it *sounds* scientistical as all hell. Remember it’s a PR battle. You have time for one 10-second sound bite. Your task is to sound like Einstein to the ignorati. There won’t be time for your questioner even to say “huh?” You’ve been sensible enough to answer someone who wouldn’t know a quantum from a koala, but knows enough not to show it. Your fallback position is “what tests have you performed that show I’m wrong?”

It’s not a hard game to play, really.

Bayesian Bouffant wrote: “… choice of the word purposeful. It is ambiguous, and could mean either functional, …”

No! It’s not ambiguous. It’s a trap! A semantic trap. The language is loaded with a bomb – don’t use it. It can not mean functional.

He just smuggled in teleology without anyone noticing. Anyone remember the theology professor, earlier witness, who was saying that science can tell you how the water boils, but theology (teleology) tells you why – he wants a cup of tea? That’s purpose. It’s not function, it’s not a synonym.

“…by using the term ‘purposeful’ instead of more appropriate term ‘function’ they cannot exclude natural processes as having caused this function to arise. In other words, intelligent design is based on a simple appeal to ignorance.”

I think you’ve all made a very subtle error in your analysis that could bite you in the ass later if you argue with an IDer. When Behe says: “Based on the purposeful arrangement of parts,” the word ‘purposeful’ smuggles in teleology and you can’t say evolution is teleological, can you? Purpose is always an answer to the theological “why” question and not the mechanistic “how” question.

A mechanistic “natural processes” answer does exclude the “Why” questions.

At this point the lawyer should be bringing up the testimony of an earlier witness that seems forgotten. Anyone remember the theology professor who was saying that science can tell you how the water boils, but theology (teleology) tells you why – he wants a cup of tea?

Thus you cannot really say: “…we have examples of purposeful arrangements by evolutionary processes,” without saying evolutionary processes are teleological and thus fall into a semantic trap set by the IDer.

What the IDers seem to be ultimately ignorant of (what we all are at this point) is intelligence itself – intelligence has to remain an unknown to IDers. Purpose and teleology cannot have natural explanations for them. But at some point in evolution we would expect to see the naturally evolving precursors to intelligence and purpose as humans know them.

Norman Wrote:

intelligence has to remain an unknown to IDers. Purpose and teleology cannot have natural explanations for them.

Yes. This has been for many years an intergral part of ID, although rarely dwelt upon. Paul Nelson, in his lectures, assigns “intelligence” a third metaphysical category, neither natural nor supernatural. Dembski actually once defined “intelligence” as “the ability to make a choice” - synonymous with “free will.” Stephen Meyers, when the topic of explainability and “intelligence” arose at a conference I attended, with a broad grin said “But you can’t explain this!” as he flicked something -a paper clip I thought- into the audience. ID should actually be called VP, Volitional Purposivity.

This is why they quickly change the subject when you question them on using their alleged ID detection techniques on not just the products of beavers, but spiders and slime molds. Although the trusty regress of design via a designed proxy is always available to them. Hall of mirrors stuff.

Henry J Wrote:

Did I miss something along the way?

Perhaps Dembski’s next book. $29.95 at Amazon. Small price to pay to learn how to focus the unfocusable.

No, it’s not deceitful at all. I make arguments you can’t even follow intellectually,

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAHHHAHHH!

GAWD! That was the FUNNIEST thing I’ve seen in the last six months.…

Blasty use the Bible and Behe for Science on Sunday

The rest of the week use critical thinking

It is a skill no religion will teach you. It is the skill scientists in their work value above all else. You are not born with it is something you learn. Take a course in it or get a book.

Go back to the begining and OPEN YOUR MIND do not start with

“I already know the answer so I will make the evidence fit my preconcieved answer”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking

Increase the weighting when the claims have strong support especially distinct chains of reasoning or different news source|sources, decrease the weighting when the claims have contradictions. Adjust weighting depending on relevance of information to central issue. Require sufficient support to justify any incredible claims; otherwise, ignore these claims when forming a judgment.

And while you are at it take one of these pink pills

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cause_and_effect

You will need to read AND understand these because there is going to be a QUIZ and you are going to have the chance to prove to the whole world that you are indeed

A. Smart enough to go back and re-read and understand Lenny’s and STJ’s very patient, helpful and understanding assistance to get the fine points of something that obviously excites you !

B. Or .….

I make arguments you can’t even follow intellectually

BWA HA HA HA HA AH HA HA HA AH AH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good one, Blast.

I hear “pride” is a sin, Blast. Ever wonder why?

Blast, show us the parts where we can’t keep up in the simple statement: “garter snakes do not have any frontloaded cobra toxin genes”.

Or are you just hoping everyone will forget what a crashing idiot you showed yourself to be in that argument?

Blast, its S&A Red again. You most assuredly do not

make arguments you can’t even follow intellectually, and then you convince yourself that you know more.

I’m a reasonably intelligent, nearly 60 year old, retired Navy guy whose been around. Even had some college education (computer science). I think I have a pretty good intellectual grasp of science and the scientific method, and you do not make any sense with your “arguments”. You just make a lot of unsupported claims and throw in some scientifically sounding words now and then. You never actually answer the questions the people here ask (like mine), you can’t come up with any clear evidence of your claims, and when the posters here, who have been actually very patient with you, question you, you resort to name calling. The posters here do know more than you about anything to do with science. This site is for defending real science against, and exposing, the non-scientific ID and creationist purposeful distortions and outright lies that are constantly spouted. As people have endlessly pointed out to IDers and creationists, even if some supernatural force does act on nature, there is no way to prove or disprove it using science. You can believe that “the designer” did something all you want, but nobody else has to believe it, just because you say so. You, Heddle, Neurode, EvoPeach and the rest keep coming back with the same old nonsense, get corrected on it, learn nothing, then come back for more. it’s a waste of bandwidth, but hey, the lurkers, who come here looking for answers, can see that you and your ilk have none.

it’s a waste of bandwidth, but hey, the lurkers, who come here looking for answers, can see that you and your ilk have none.

and that’s the most important thing about Panda’s Thumb, I think. When undecideds see the desperate and uninformed attemps Blast, Sal Cordova, etc make to destroy the last 140 years of science, they get it.

Q. Okay. And then you go on to say that you still think — well, I’ll leave that. Your argument is that, even if the type III secretory system is a pre-cursor to the bacterial flagellum, is a subset, the bacterial flagellum is still irreducibly complex because that subset does not function as a flagellum?

A. That’s correct, yes.

Q. And, therefore, the bacterial flagellum must have been intelligently designed?

A. Well, again, the argument is that, there is — that when you see a purposeful arrangement of parts, that bespeaks design, so, yes. *******

A major problem with intelligent design is the concept that one, anyone, can spot a “purposeful arrangement of parts.” If a human eye was intelligently designed, was an ape’s?, a snake’s?,a fish’s?, a wasp’s?, a fly’s, a fruitfly’s?, a Planaria’s?, a euglenid’s?

1) Where will the line be drawn? Who will draw the line? What happens if two people disagree on where the line should be drawn? Do we vote? 2) Can one construct a system of objective criteria by which “intelligent design” or “purposeful arrangement” can be defined? Or must a human make the decision (or even Hal)?

IC is just as subjective as the term “cute”

just because something can be described, doesn’t make it objective in the least.

If i utilized the constant lack of objective critical thought that IDiots do, i could easily conclude that atoms are “irreducibly complex”, until i learned about quantum theory, and quarks, gluons, etc.

IC just stems out of “Ignorance Apologetics” if you will. It’s just an excuse to imply knowledge out of ignorance, and somewhere somebody makes some money out of doing so, by bilking those who simply don’t know better.

most people think biology to be an “soft” or “easy” science for some reason, but ask any physicist who has a buddy who does field research in biology who has the easier job.

When you start actually looking “under the hood” you find that life is messy, chaotic, and UNINTUITIVE; folks like Blast can’t get used to this idea because they refuse to open the hood to take a gander, or else when they do, they don’t bother to ask their local mechanic what the heck it is they are lookin at.

I make arguments you can’t even follow intellectually

Only because they’re incoherent.

I can hear you now: “It looks designed. It looks irreducibly complex. But it isn’t. It just isn’t!”

Audio hallucinations are a serious condition – I’d have that checked right away.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 24, 2005 1:22 AM.

Desperate times ask for desperate arguments was the previous entry in this blog.

Oh, the Irony! is the next entry in this blog.

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