Intelligent Design, hiding behind the ‘complexity’ of living system

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Laurence Moran at Sandwalk comments on a video excerpt with Bill Dembski, recently touted by the Discovery Institute’s Robert Crowther. What is fascinating that despite more than a decade of Intelligent Design ‘research’ this is the best ID has to offer.

Ironically, Dembski starts of by stating that “what darwinists have done is hidden behind complexities of living systems”. How ironic can this be… While science, as I have shown in several examples, deals in explanations, pathways and hypotheses, Intelligent Design has contributed exactly zero to our scientific understanding of these systems. Worse, while Dembski mentions some complex systems, he also avoids some examples of complex systems science understands quite well how they may have evolved.

My thanks to Robert Crowther for presenting the “best’ response ID has to offer. You be the judge.

(alternative link if embedded version does not work)

Moran Wrote:

Bill Dembski doesn’t like this idea. He doesn’t like the idea of evolution either. Here’s a video where Dembski displays his ignorance about evolution in general and molecular evolution in particular. The title of his talk is “Molecular Machines and the Death of Darwinism.”

I sometimes wonder just how intelligent Dembski is. Does he really think that the eye is our best example of the evolution of molecular machines. Does he think that the bacterial flagellum is the only other molecular machine? Apparently he does because he doesn’t mention replisomes, photosynthesis complexes, blood clotting cascades, the citric acid cycle, or any of the other molecular machines and complex systems where we have a good handle on how they evolved.

But Dembski goes even further than complex machines. He has the inside track on some research that will bring down the Darwinian idol. It’s at the level of individual proteins where we’re finally going to see proof of the existence of God. I can hardly wait.

Compare this to Dembski’s latest approaches so well documented by ERV. It is safe to say that Intelligent Design is equivalent to “scientific” stasis.

As Nick, one of the commenters at Sandwalk observes

Ugh, he really doesn’t understand how science works, and he’s probably wilfully ignorant of the actual research done into protein evolution. This isn’t just bad, it’s a stunning example of intellectual dishonesty on Dembski’s part. The claim we hide behind the “complexity” of the bacterial flagellum being the main example. Either he’s never looked at the research, or like most creationists (and I do view him as that) he’s purposely, dogmatically ignoring it. Which is supported by ERV’s series on that talk he recently gave.

Now my attempt to transcribe part of the talk, however painful it is for me to be forced to listen to Dembski’s description of how science explains the evolution of the eye, a description which has little foundation in reality.

Dembski Wrote:

they gesture at various intermediate systems that might have existed and then basically say “prove me wrong”, “show me that it didn’t happen that way”.

And so they put the burden of evidence on the design people when in fact the burden of evidence should be on them because these systems by any standards look like designed systems and so if they look designed maybe indeed they are designed.

Now, how can you challenge that though because we are now in the minority, it’s the Darwinists who hold the position of power and influence and prestige in the academic setting so how do you overturn that way of looking at things. Well as I said, they are hiding behind complexities. In William Paley’s days, the eye, a mammalian eye was as good an example of design as you could find and he made a design argument based on the eye.

Along comes Darwin, along come his successors and they say look there are all this different eyeballs out there in organisms, slap em down on a table, draw arrows between them from those who are less complex to those who are more complex. It Evolves…

End of story

that’s it

and you see this actually, there is a book derived from the PBS Evolution series that came out in 2001 by Carl Zimmer, the Triumph of Evolution, that triumph is not going to be around too much longer, but if you look at the cover, there are all these different eye balls there and the implication is “obviously the eye evolved”. They eye is so complex, I mean, multi cellular layers and layers of complexity, how are you going to get a handle on that evolutionarily? So what do we do as design theorists? Well, let’s look at simpler systems that are still sufficiently complex so we can get a better handle on that. Now were Behe took the analysis was to the sub-cellular level looking at these irreducibly complex molecular machines these complexes of cells. Now what’s happened with Behe?

The argument so far? Scientists propose scientific hypotheses, Intelligent Design is a minority, so how do we respond? Well, obviously by using an argument based on ignorance.

Note how Bill Dembski argues that 1) the eye in Paley’s day was a good example of design 2) scientists have provided explanations that strongly suggest that the eye evolved, leading to the obvious conclusion that what was a good example of design in Paley’s is no longer such a good example given our increased understanding of science. So much for the reliability of the Explanatory Filter.

Is this really how scientists establish a plausible evolutionary path for the eye? I will explore this in a future contribution. Sufficient to say that ID has yet to explain the origin and evolution of the eye in their own terms beyond “we don’t understand how science explains it thus we believe that design should still be allowed as a plausible explanation”.

As many have already pointed out, ‘design’ is always a ‘logical’ explanation, the real issue is to find evidence which allow one to formulate a scientific hypothesis. ID however considers such an approach to be ‘pathetic’. I can understand since the development of a scientific hypothesis is hard work.

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I’ve been reading a number of really good posts on the creation, evolution, and intelligent design, but I only have a very small amount to say about each one, so I’m going to combine them into a post. The first is from An Evangelical Dialog... Read More

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they gesture at various intermediate systems that might have existed and then basically say “prove me wrong”, “show me that it didn’t happen that way”.

Unfortunately for Dembksi, even if that were all scientists did, it would be a perfectly adequate response. Dembski, Behe, et. al claim that X is impossible. The refutation of that is not that X actually happened, but that X is indeed possible. Supplying a plausible pathway is sufficient to establish that.

They eye is so complex, I mean, multi cellular layers and layers of complexity, how are you going to get a handle on that evolutionarily?

Argument from ignorance, argument from incredulity. It’s two, two, two fallacies in one!

Dembski works overtime to earn his nickname Dumbski, does he not?

No need to call names like that. Dembski is a well respected philosopher and theologian ;-)

If I see another Dembski/ID attack I’m going to vomit. How about this? Consider it settled. ID is a joke. Dembski is not only ignorant but very,very dangerous. Is there nothing else for the “scientists” at PT to write about? If Dembski dies PT is finished!

Gold:

If I see another Dembski/ID attack I’m going to vomit. How about this? Consider it settled. ID is a joke. Dembski is not only ignorant but very,very dangerous. Is there nothing else for the “scientists” at PT to write about? If Dembski dies PT is finished!

Oh no, have no fears, ignorance runs much deeper than Dembski alone.

I can understand and appreciate why some get tired of PT exposing the many errors, shortcomings etc in the arguments of ID proponents, especially people such as Dembski. It’s just that Dembski and Behe are still seen as the few hopefuls for the ID movement and exposing their fallacies while simple still serves a real purpose.

Dembski is not only ignorant but very,very dangerous. Is there nothing else for the “scientists” at PT to write about? If Dembski dies PT is finished!

More generally, there are lots of groups or movements that are dangerous for society as regards science and education, not limited to creationism and other displays of fundamentalism.

In the case of ID it is an antiscience movement that is “designed” to pervert science in general as evidenced by the Wedge. Biology is the chosen target because people are more ignorant of its “mere” 150 year old main theory and more prone to rejects its findings. (In part due to earlier efforts of dogmatic movements.)

So make no mistake about it, PT and other sites collects it fair share of scientists, not only biologists, that want to vent their frustration over such social forces in general and contribute in some small measure to counteract outside the daily work.

On life after ID death, PT has the resources to continue as archive as it and its “sister sites” Talk Origins and Talk Reason has collected a lot of valuable or interesting material.

The issue with a motivation to continue actively, with its large readership, will be contingent on society. Among other motivations, true to form ID will evolve to new forms as long as ignorance and fundamentalism will be discernible social forces. So there is no obvious reason why PT couldn’t age with grace.

This is great. The discussion of dangers to society leads me up to an opportunity to, on topic, announce todays most exciting news, so far!

The swedish government, increasingly concerned with religious fundamentalism and its social effects, have finally decided to put down its foot. This morning a news article reports one member that they will demand so called friskolor (en “free schools”) to exactly follow the general education plan.

Friskolor is a measure to allow a market on education and its resources instead of the old state monopoly. Unfortunately religious forces are interested in these activities. And since Sweden have historically a large number of small cults, mostly religious, there is a number of religious friskolor.

The specific reason for enforcing this is of course that creationism have inveigled itself into some of the administration and/or “educators” of these schools.

The government will also demand full traceability on friskolor funds. Apparently they have found out that at least one school has gotten a substantial amount of capital from a fundamentalist islamic group. Not the type of market forces they originally envisioned.

If I see another Dembski/ID attack I’m going to vomit. How about this? Consider it settled. ID is a joke.

No one here cares about your intestinal problems. How about this? If you don’t like what is written at PT, don’t read it. But the “about” page says “it is a weblog giving another voice for the defenders of the integrity of science”, and that’s what articles like this are about.

Ironically, Dembski starts of by stating that “what darwinists have done is hidden behind complexities of living systems”. How ironic can this be…

It’s hard to imagine anything more so. ID asserts, with zero evidence or logical basis, that there are systems too complex to have evolved, therefore they must be an intelligent designer. Translation: “See? See how complex that is? It’s so complex that God must have made it!” ID isn’t just hidden behind complexity, it is swaddled in it. ID rejects the normal scientific enterprise of reduction of complexity via explanation in terms of underlying processes, structure, and components because, without unreduced complexity to point to, ID would fall apart. Thus, they declare complexity “irreducible”. But “darwinists” dismantle complexity, leaving nowhere to hide.

I sometimes wonder just how intelligent Dembski is.

It’s always hard to judge whether and when the top tier wedgies are stupidly misunderstanding or are knowingly presenting bogus arguments, but Dembski certainly appears to be dimwitted, especially in what he says above. You might think that, if he were bright, he might craft more coherent and persuasive arguments. Frankly, even Egnor’s drivel makes more sense if one is completely unaware of the facts.

Please put links to the research (or at lest properly refrence it)your posts so others can read up on it. I searched for protein, eye evolution etc. but did not find good clear documentation.

SGL:

As this wasn’t a post about the science on a phenomena, I don’t think you can expect the poster to provide specific references. Note that it is the quoted persons who mentions these areas.

And frankly, I expect there is so much material on both evolution of protein-protein interactions and eye that a primer is the right point to start. You can’t expect science having of having a unified “documentation”, it is a live process with a lot of documented research around, some still relevant, some rejected by later research.

Dembski happens to give a reference to a popular science book that may relate and reference the science of eye evolution, from the looks of it. If it doesn’t, dated but hopefully still relevant references are provided by Old Reliable, Talk Origins. Heck, even Wikipedia has an expository article with ~ 20 science references to start you off.

For protein evolution, there are many posts with references right here on PT, though not primers.

One of my favorites is the one on evolution of IC (Behe’s definition #2 or #3 or something such) in aldosterone and cortisol receptors from an ancestral common receptor, with a complete pathway. (You know, the one Dembski claims scientists can’t give.)

Another is the evolution of T-urf13, “a new protein that arose “from scratch”, through a series of duplications, recombinations, and other mutations that occurred spontaneously”.

But I expect the biologists here can give you better pointers to primers.

I searched for protein, eye evolution etc.

Where, in your closet? Try
http://www.google.com/search?q=eye%2Bevolution and http://www.google.com/search?q=%22p[…]evolution%22
for starters.

there is a book derived from the PBS Evolution series that came out in 2001 by Carl Zimmer, the Triumph of Evolution,

Btw, a commenter on Sandwalk points out that Dembski botched this as much as everything else, it is Evolution: The Triumph Of An Idea by Stephen J. Gould and Carl Zimmer, published 2002 (for the hardcover at Amazon).

So much for a Dr Dr “mathematician” giving proper references.

SGL:

Sorry about nearly pointing you to another problematic search. The lesson is to always, always check creationists claims, trivial though they seem to be.

‘design’ is always a ‘logical’ explanation

I fail to see how design is an explanation of any kind.

Perhaps there are some few special cases, but design has no power of discriminating between possibilities. To explain something is to discriminate. To explain is to tell us “why this, and not something else.” And design, without some details being given, is just as comfortable with any state of affairs as with any other.

examples of complex systems science understands quite well

It seems to me that some of the most complex systems in the world of life are found in the relationships between living things - ecology and taxonomy, to name a couple that ID doesn’t seem interested in. The “tree of life” is an extremely complex thing. Moreover, the tree of life has predictive power, so that it appropriate to call it “specified” in a way that “that’s the way that it was designed” is not.

Yes, of course, design “explains” the tree of life as well as it explains any other possible way that living things could be related to one another.

the arrogance of this dick talking about burden of proof. ID has always taken the position “look, it doesn’t matter that there’s BAGS AND BAGS AND BAGS AND BAGS AND BAGS AND BAGS AND BAGS AND BAGS AND BAGS AND BAGS of apparent evidence for evolution, because WE HAVE A MATHEMATICAL DISPROOF, and therefore you must dismiss it as a curious coincidence of circumstantial evidence”. When ID preached to the believers, it has always accepted the burden of proof, and claimed to have met it. This is exactly why the torch-burning mobs took to the streets in Kansas and Dover.

Even among the ranks of the ID proponents that may still believe that ID was more than a stupid political scam, who would take Dembski seriously on this issue? This is one of the perps that was obviously in on the bait and switch that they ran on any rube stupid enough to believe that there was something about ID that they could teach in the science class. Before they ran the bait and switch on the Ohio State Board of Education Dembski had written an essay about what they had to teach about ID, but stuck the “teach the controversy” scam in and just blathered about nothing. Dembski knew that the switch was going in. He might not have agreed with it, but he went along with it.

The Discovery Institute had the replacement scam worked up years before they started using it in the bait and switch ID scam. Every school board legislator that has wanted to teach ID has had the switch run on them. The only one that didn’t take the switch was Dover.

Who would believe Dembski about anything he had to say about this issue? If Darwinism was going to topple, why did they have to run the bait and switch? Why does the replacement scam not even mention that ID ever existed. Why can’t ID be mentioned as part of the controversy? Why can’t they mention why they are running a stupid critical analysis obfuscation scam. Isn’t it stupid to blow a lot of smoke and not be able to tell the audience why you are blowing smoke? Why is it acceptable to lie about your motives and “design” of your political scams? Why do these guys have any supporters left?

PvM, Reading your “comments” on Dr. Dembski’s words is as painful as listening to a cat being skinned. Do you actually try to understand what design scientists say, or you just pay homage to Uncle Darwin, and dismiss all contrary evidence as “un-scientific”?

Let’s take a brief look at your “logic”:

What is fascinating that despite more than a decade of Intelligent Design ‘research’ this is the best ID has to offer.

Even if it is not the best, it’s sufficient to dismantle the Darwinian fairy tale. You have to provide any natural force that has been seen to produce such a highly complex and specified system. Yes, PvM, a force like the wind, or the waves of the sea, or maybe both combined.

Worse, while Dembski mentions some complex systems, he also avoids some examples of complex systems science understands quite well how they may have evolved.

That is because Dembski, unlike you, actually understands what are the rules of ball game. See, PvM, either Darwinism can explain the features we see in the living world, or it can’t. Like Uncle Darwin said, if there is any> system that could not come into existence by slow and gradual accumulation of modifications, his theory would completely breakdown.

The argument so far? Scientists propose scientific hypotheses, Intelligent Design is a minority, so how do we respond? Well, obviously by using an argument based on ignorance.

“Scientific hypothesis?” You are kidding, right? If you come to me and ask “How did that car came into existence?”, and if I line to you 3 or 4 cars all the way to the one you asked about, is that an “scientific hypothesis”, or begging the question?

The fact that nature displays different levels of eye complexity doesn’t mean that one evolved from the other. Only a Darwinist would use such “logic”. Good grief!

Note how Bill Dembski argues that 1) the eye in Paley’s day was a good example of design 2) scientists have provided explanations that strongly suggest that the eye evolved,

Nonsense. The more we learn about any feature of the living world the less we are inclined to accept the notion that it was the result of mindless forces of nature.

What Darwinists have done, as Dembski alludes above, is line up eyeballs, and proclaim to have “shown evolution in action”.

leading to the obvious conclusion that what was a good example of design in Paley’s is no longer such a good example given our increased understanding of science.

Actually, the increased understanding of the highly designed system of the eye makes us less gullible to believe that it came about as the result of mindless forces of nature. Well, except Darwinists. They believe anything.

Sufficient to say that ID has yet to explain the origin and evolution of the eye in their own terms

But they have. You just don’t like “their terms”, because it clashes with your faith in Darwin. Even in your own naturalistic terms, you still haven’t shown us Darwin-skeptics how the mindless forces of nature can create living systems, or even the simplest of all mammalian eyes.

beyond “we don’t understand how science explains it thus we believe that design should still be allowed as a plausible explanation”.

But they do know how science explains it. You just don’t like their explanation.

As many have already pointed out, ‘design’ is always a ‘logical’ explanation, the real issue is to find evidence which allow one to formulate a scientific hypothesis.

It all depends on how you define “science”. If you define science in terms that allow only for non-intelligent forces of nature to operate, then Darwin wins by default.

Mats, when you were recently accused of lying, you admitted it, then tried to justify it. You’ve repeatedly proven that you have the mentality of an obnoxious junior-high mouth-breather, whose word is absolutely worthless; and you have brought nothing of value to any adult debate on this blog. Now go back to bed and stop pretending to be an adult, or a Christian.

Mats,

You are lying again. So, got any evidence for that personal guiding force yet? Thought not.

Just for your information, modern evolutionary theory is not a religion. We do not worship “uncle Darwin”. We do not have “faith” in Darwin. You can take you straw man arguments and set them on fire, maybe then you will see the light.

You should really read up on eye evolution. The Carl Zimmer book mentioned above would be a good start. The Talk Origins archive also has some good information. When you can refute the current models of eye evolution maybe you will convince someone of something. Until then, miindless ridicule is not going to get you anywhere.

By the way, why in the world would science allow only for non-intelligent forces to operate? Man that sure makes anthropology and sociology look bad. You really should get out more.

beyond “we don’t understand how science explains it thus we believe that design should still be allowed as a plausible explanation”.

But they do know how science explains it. You just don’t like their explanation.

Mats is incoherent, as usual. We know how science explains it, and we “like” it.

ID is an absurdity because, among other things, “by design” is not a member of the set {explanations}. Those who offer “by design” as even a possible explanation for an empirical observation have no understanding of the scientific enterprise. Imagine “explaining” that Mt. Rushmore was created “by design” or that the burglar got into the house “by design”, or finding someone guilty of arson because an expert “explains” that the fire was started “by design”.

PvM, Reading your “comments” on Dr. Dembski’s words is as painful as listening to a cat being skinned.

There’s an easy solution: stop reading them.

Mats, you said that ID has explained the origin of the Eye. Where? Could you point us to a detailed, step by step ID explanation for the origin of the eye?

Evolutionists have provided explanations for the evolution of complex structures such as the eye and the bacterial flagellum. ID advocates protest that these explanations are not detailed enough, yet I have never seen an ID explanation that even remotely approaches the level of detail that has been offered to explain these complex structures. So, Mats, perhaps you could step up to plate and help us out here.

Behe, Dembski, and company argue that we should infer design because living things contain systems that are so complex that they cannot reasonably be expected to arise by natural processes. Accordingly, the force of the ID argument depends entirely on convincingly establishing a negative result – that is, convincingly establishing that there is no purely natural explanation that could account for the observed phenomena. I would say that, if you propose to convince us of a negative like this, a substantial burden of proof is upon you to show us why there could not be a natural explanation that we have not yet discovered.

The complexity of biological systems may lead you to believe in a Designer, but if you want to claim that your belief is scientific, you’re going to have to propose a detailed, testable, alternative account for how structures like the flagellum and eye arose. ID advocates seem to want it both ways – they seem to want to pitch Design as an alternative to modern evolutionary theory, yet they make no attempt to provide anything resembling the staggering level of detail that they are demanding of evolutionists.

Highly plausible explanations have been described for the evolution of the eye and flagellum, and they have both been linked to on this site. If you don’t think those explanations are detailed enough, let’s see you do better.

Popper’s Ghost: ID is an absurdity because, among other things, “by design” is not a member of the set {explanations}. Those who offer “by design” as even a possible explanation for an empirical observation have no understanding of the scientific enterprise. Imagine “explaining” that Mt. Rushmore was created “by design” or that the burglar got into the house “by design”, or finding someone guilty of arson because an expert “explains” that the fire was started “by design”.

This is probably the best summary of the uselessness of ID I’ve heard.

Mats, you said that ID has explained the origin of the Eye. Where? Could you point us to a detailed, step by step ID explanation for the origin of the eye?

I’ll try to help. I think the current ID state of the art suggests these steps during the formation of the eye:

1) P.

2) O.

3) O.

4) F.

5) !!

but if you look at the cover, there are all these different eye balls there and the implication is …

Aha. Now we see Dembski’s research technique. Judge the book by the cover. I’m sure that saves a lot of time.

GuyeFaux: You mean Go – er, The Designer – had to stretch “POOF!!” out to FIVE steps? That’s not what any of my bosses would call “working smart.” So much for “intelligent design.”

On the other hand, if such was indeed the case, there would be plenty of documentation to prove it, since a God – er, Designer – who had to work that way, would also have had to send his pointy-haired boss plenty of emails to show how much work he had to do, how complicated the whole process is, why it was taking so long, and why his department can’t cut its budget any further.

Mats Wrote:

Even if it is not the best, it’s sufficient to dismantle the Darwinian fairy tale. You have to provide any natural force that has been seen to produce such a highly complex and specified system. Yes, PvM, a force like the wind, or the waves of the sea, or maybe both combined.

And science has done this, it is called the processes of variation and selection. For many complex and specified systems science has provided exquisite details, and for some the details are less. It’s for those where science does not have all the answers where ID is hiding its designer(s). Dembski’s unscientific position is that when science is providing its hypotheses, ID should insist that the evidence is not sufficient since ID cannot and will not provide any scientific explanations.

What Darwinists have done, as Dembski alludes above, is line up eyeballs, and proclaim to have “shown evolution in action”.

That’s of course a complete misrepresentation of what science has done but I would like to invite Matt to provide us with his best understanding of the scientific explanation for the evolution of the eye, we can then see if he is familiar with the scientific evidence.

My prediction however is that Mats will once again run with his tail between his legs, shaming Christianity and science.

And thus Mats shows his ignorance of science when he says

It all depends on how you define “science”. If you define science in terms that allow only for non-intelligent forces of nature to operate, then Darwin wins by default.

On the contrary, science includes intelligent forces, its just that the evidence does not really support intelligent forces. But since science is always open to new explanations, perhaps Mats can explain how ID explains the eye, the translation system or the flagellum? More and more examples where science’s explanations are provided and ID is invited to show it can explain it better.

How come we have seen no takers?

Simple, ID has no explanations, cares about no explanations, all it insists on is misrepresenting how science really works.

So Mats, explain to us, why, as a Christian, do you insist on misrepresenting science to exclude a priori intelligence? Do you understand how silly such a claim makes you look, and with it, Christianity? Of course, it also affects ID but most people already have come to reject it, Christians and non-Christians alike.

In Christ

John Marley:

but if you look at the cover, there are all these different eye balls there and the implication is …

Aha. Now we see Dembski’s research technique. Judge the book by the cover. I’m sure that saves a lot of time.

Well, the alternative is reading the book and since it is all about the usual evolutionary heresy, why bother. We all know it is all about just so stories. Common descent may be true but not for us monkeys.

More seriously, when ID proponents explain scientific knowledge, they quickly review not the state of science but their best understanding of science. Thus they quickly reveal a level of ignorance of science which exposes the level of disregard for science that many have come to consider as a liability for Christian faith, not dissimilar to the disregard of science by YEC. Just compare ID’s descriptions of the Cambrian with actual science.

Since I am open to new data, I am of course willing to entertain the possibility that ID will explain any of these complex and specified systems.

In the mean time, Mats can perhaps tell us in his own words, what complex and specified means, and what the concept of ‘design’ means.

It’s a question I have asked him many times and he still seems to be struggling with them. I think I’ll give him some more time.

Mats once defined the “theory of ID” as

Patterns in Nature that are best explained as the result of an inteligent (sic) cause, as oposed (sic) to a purely undirected (mindless/impersonal) cause.

While this is obviously not a theory of anything, I do invite Mats to show that these patterns (eye, translation, flagellum) are explained better. Since science has provided its explanations, all ID needs to do is provide a better explanation and show that this explanation indeed is better.

Should be simple… What about it Mats?

Mats? …

ID is an absurdity because, among other things, “by design” is not a member of the set {explanations}. […]

This is probably the best summary of the uselessness of ID I’ve heard.

I’m glad you liked it. :-) Now if only we could get this meme spread around more.

ID advocates seem to want it both ways – they seem to want to pitch Design as an alternative to modern evolutionary theory, yet they make no attempt to provide anything resembling the staggering level of detail that they are demanding of evolutionists.

See above. ID advocates treat “by design” and “it evolved” as explanations, and much of the media and the lay public think that there’s a “scientific debate” about which of the two is correct. What we need to do is explain to the general population that “by design” isn’t an explanation, any more than “it evolved” is. If we could get across what empirical explanation is about, then we wouldn’t even have to get into whether there is evidence of design or whether evolution could or could not possibly do this or that.

Patterns in Nature that are best explained as the result of an inteligent (sic) cause, as oposed (sic) to a purely undirected (mindless/impersonal) cause.

While this is obviously not a theory of anything, I do invite Mats to show that these patterns (eye, translation, flagellum) are explained better.

As I’ve noted previously, “explained as the result of” is not at all the same thing as “explained”. Consider, for instance, “her suicide was best explained as the result of an unanswered cry for help, as opposed to a desire to die”. Note that this characterizes the suicide, but it tells us nothing about the event itself. “best explained as” is equivalent to “is more likely to have been” – it’s an idiom that doesn’t actually have anything to do with explanation, in the sense that science provides. So asking Mats or any other IDiot for the explanation is missing the point, because they weren’t claiming to have one. And that is the point – they aren’t even in the right realm.

Since I am open to new data, I am of course willing to entertain the possibility that ID will explain any of these complex and specified systems.

Hey, I’m willing to entertain the possibility that my car has turned into a fire breathing dragon and that there are 10 suns in the sky (I haven’t looked) – why not, as this “entertainment” of possibilities doesn’t seem to require anything of me; it’s entirely up to my car, or the sky, or the IDiots.

Ta-da! I have PROOF that eyes are intelligently designed.

I still have yet to fathom how it is possible for ID people like Mats and Bornagain (who I’m not sure are actually trolls - they’re from UD) not to see the worthlessness in what they support.

They can’t even talk about ID, even when invited to - does this failure kind of get buzzed out of their head every time it happens?

I mean, what exactly /do/ ID fans know about their theory? Do they assume, like the Underpants Gnomes, that even if they don’t know the Step 2 in their plan, someone else does?

Doesn’t it strike them a little odd that in all these years, they haven’t seen anyone actually /do/ anything with ID? I, and I suspect several other readers, have written programs which utilise the basic principles of evolution. Where are the proofs of concept of the basic principles of ID?

I just can’t understand how they can come here, say basically nothing, get dozens of substantial replies, and then go back to UD where more people say basically nothing, and keep congratulating themselves, in a place where dissent is banned? Doesn’t that even feel fake?

How about we make a post for IDers to dump absolutely EVERYTHING they want to say about ID, ALL the stuff they want to get off their chests, ALL the overwhelming evidence, ALL the reasons we should accept ID, ALL the stuff they’ve learned about ID that they want people to hear, ALL the stuff they accuse us of censoring?

Surely no honest ID fan will have a problem with this?

One thing that always amazes me is how “complexity” is supposed to be evidence for “design”. For, in what kinds of situations do we use genetic algorithms, which we adapted from our observations of the evolution of complex life? Why, we use them in areas where the phenomena are too complex for our rational “design” methods even with computers, and where by contrast evolutionary methods can find their way through the thicket of bewildering “possibilities”.

Evolution, and evolutionary computation, is what we’d expect to see coming up with non-rational, limited by derivation, but highly complex, solutions to adaptational problems. Rational intelligence would cut through evolutionary limitations (like birds, bats, and pterosaurs having only leg bones to modify into wings), yet cannot deal fully with the complexity found in life—unless of course this “designer” is God–which it is, but then ID can’t be science (we don’t know of any unlimited intelligence, or conversely, of any intelligence bizarrely constrained by evolutionary thinking). We’ve adapted evolutionary methods precisely to produce the sorts of derivative evolutionary solutions that our minds and our computers cannot produce (or cannot produce easily, anyhow), copying nature’s (or God’s) methods where our traditional methods are not adequate. They deny even this undeniable fact, rather claiming that we copied (and adapted) a design process in order to cope with complexities where rationality fails.

Everything is thus backward in ID. Real science uses evolutionary methods where design does not work well, while IDists claim that evolutionary methods are due to design. The obvious evolutionary limitations existing in evolved animals are said by IDists to be there precisely because the designer is not limited (again, it’s God), and claim that it is wrong for us to demand limits in science–when science cannot exist without limits (which is what really matters in the artificial “naturalism” arguments). Most of all, the very fact that life is beyond our ability to design it means, to the IDists, that, by analogy, a “designer” is responsible for life appearing.

I cannot think of any idea that claimed to be science which was opposed to science in so many aspects which are crucial to science.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Venus, I had a similar thought. My idea was to host a website/forum where IDists could post all their evidence for ID, the only restriction being that they could not mention evolution or “Darwinism”. After all, scientific theories should be able to be defined without referencing competing theories.

I can just see a conversation going like this:

IDist: “The eye is complicated, therefore it’s designed”
Me: “By who? How? When? Give details.”
IDist: “Er.…It couldn’t have evolved!”

*BUZZER GOES OFF*

who I’m not sure are actually trolls - they’re from UD

Non sequitur. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29:

An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who intentionally posts controversial or contrary messages in an on-line community such as an on-line discussion forum with the intention of baiting users into an argumentative response.

They can’t even talk about ID, even when invited to - does this failure kind of get buzzed out of their head every time it happens?

Their image of themselves is not like your image of them. They think they are waging a war for their cause, that they are in the right, and that they have repeatedly bested us. And they don’t need to talk about ID, because ID is simply a front for their belief in God, which is unshakable and needs no defense. ID is just a tool for them to use in their battle against the evil atheistic Darwin demon.

Perhaps we should consider another possible explanation. With the regularity that exactly one troll shows up on each and every thread, it is possible that they have regular meetings, decide who will spam what thread and assign exactly one troll to every thread. Why would they do this? Perhaps they are paid to do so. They never use their real names, and sometimes they use more than one name just to cause confusion, so they are never held accountable for anything they write. They never even try to convince anyone of anything with any real arguments and they never respond to any criticism. Really, the only possible motivation for such behavior is insanity, or financial profit. After all, the DI doesn’t seem to use their millions for anything constructive. I really can’t beleive that anyone has ever been converted to any religion by someone who was shown to be lying in order to convince them.

Surely no honest ID fan will have a problem with this?

That set is empty.

And what makes fundamentalism, i.e., ignorance, dangerous to socient?

I’m sure it is obvious why it is dangerous to society.

But if you want some always observed reasons it is because fundamentalism, or in your case the cult of theosophy, is dogmatic and rejects knowledge. More contingent reasons are for example that most often it works actively against science and education.

You seem to be discussing freedom of speech and of organization. That is another subject entirely.

Note that society allow hurtful activities to some extent, because the alternative is more hurtful. That doesn’t mean we should let such organizations continue uncontested. We must show why they are hurtful and point to better alternatives for its victims.

Incidentally, the same concern for freedoms mean that you can go in and check for yourself on the work of scientists, or study to become one. Nobody needs to be a passive and ignorant victim, as you suggest.

Finally, your ideas can be heard in science when they have proved themselves to be science. Go ahead and do the work, contrary to what IDiots say there is no conspiracy to suppress good ideas. This attempt of making an impression is btw an excellent example of exactly how fundamentalists et cetera are harmful.

Mats:

PvM, Reading your “comments” on Dr. Dembski’s words is as painful as listening to a cat being skinned. Do you actually try to understand what design scientists say,

Hilarious, since your own attempt to paint ID as having ‘scientists’ is like listening to a cat being pulped.

There is 0000 evidence presented by ID people, no observations, no experiments and especially no definitions that are usable to the standards of empirical sciences.

You yourself go on and prove this by immediately uttering the following absurdity:

it’s sufficient to dismantle the Darwinian fairy tale. You have to provide

As PvM said, ID offers nothing, zip, nada, 0000. I’m sure that you doesn’t want to recognize the fallacy of false choice when you see it, experienced bullshit artist as you are. But even if evolution is wrong it doesn’t prove creationism right, as there are always other possibilities.

Or between you and me, even if I would be wrong it doesn’t automatically prove you right.

Example suited for the typical creationist: The visiting policeman: “So, I hear you have seven brothers. I’m looking for…” You, quickly: “Excuse me, I have six brothers and a sister.” Your father: “Um, no, actually you have seventeen more brothers and sisters in the next two counties…”

So, what is your positive evidence for ID?

The science community have waited for an answer, any inkling of an answer, the last 20 years or so…

Mats Wrote:

PvM, Reading your “comments” on Dr. Dembski’s words is as painful as listening to a cat being skinned. Do you actually try to understand what design scientists say, or you just pay homage to Uncle Darwin, and dismiss all contrary evidence as “un-scientific”?

Mats, given how pathetic is your own understanding of modern biology, this is the height of hypocrisy.

Even if it is not the best, it’s sufficient to dismantle the Darwinian fairy tale.

Nowhere near, Mats. Nowhere near. Do you have any idea, any idea whatsoever, of the kind of evidence standards to which modern science, biology included, operates?

Don’t bother to answer that, I’ve heard your lies too often.

This demonstrates that you have no clue as to the nature or the meaning of the evidence that supports MET.

You have to provide any natural force that has been seen to produce such a highly complex and specified system.

No. First, you must provide useable definitions of “complex” and “specified”. Not Dembski’s claptrap.

Second, Natural Selection, coupled to heritable variation, has been observed to be a powerful force for change. The force is there - the only problem with its ability to generate speciation is in your head.

Yes, PvM, a force like the wind, or the waves of the sea, or maybe both combined.

You are such an idiot, Mats. I can use your own example against your argument. The wind and ocean currents are both complicated phenomena (how far ahead can we predict the weather?). How do these arise? Through the interactions of gravity, electromagnetism and the known laws of thermodynamics and chemistry. They are both examples of phenomena where complexity emerges from a few basic rules.

So, based on the fact that you accept that the wind and waves can arise naturally from a few basic and well-understood laws, on what basis do you deny that natural selection can generate new species?

Mats Wrote:

That is because Dembski, unlike you, actually understands what are the rules of ball game.

Yes, Mats, but what you and Dembski both fail to understand is that, whereas a ball game has arbitrary, human-made rules, science is about finding out how reality actually is.

See, PvM, either Darwinism can explain the features we see in the living world, or it can’t.

Again, you use the anachronistic term “Darwinism” as if the last 148 years of research in biology had not happened. Darwin’s theory, while powerful in its own way and supported by a great deal of evidence at the time, was but a shadow of MET. This is because we have learned new things since Darwin pulished TOOS. That’s what science does.

Darwin’s original theory could not explain some of the features we find, not because Darwin failed, but because there were things he did not know that have been discovered since. If you had read TOOS, you would know how frequently Darwin recognised the lack of available data.

So, MET is an extensively-modified form of Darwin’s theory. It explains the modern diversity of life, and it is still a work in progress. Details are being filled in. Mysteries are being investigated. Problems are being addressed. Who is doing all this? Certainly not Dembski and his friends. No, this work is being done by scientists.

Like Uncle Darwin said, if there is any> system that could not come into existence by slow and gradual accumulation of modifications, his theory would completely breakdown.

He did say that. We now have a slightly different formulation. Modifications are not necessarily required to be “slow and gradual” (in geologic terms) - we now know that the rate of evolution may change quite widely. HIV, for instance, may evolve resistance to an individual antiretroviral compound in a matter of months (which is why AIDS patients are generally given 4 or 5 antiretroviral agents simultaneously). Be that as it may, MET requires that change be accumulated only from available precursors (hence we can have what started as a means of propulsion - a fish’s tail - becoming, over millions of generations, a fly-swatter on cattle, but with the same underlying structure, i.e. the shape and connectivity of the caudal vertebrae).

However, you deliberately miss the point that Darwin’s central thesis - Natural Selection - is still acknowledged within MET as being a significant mechanism for evolutionary change. You claim it is not, but you have not provided one shred of evidence to back up that assertion.

Mats Wrote:

“Scientific hypothesis?” You are kidding, right? If you come to me and ask “How did that car came into existence?”, and if I line to you 3 or 4 cars all the way to the one you asked about, is that an “scientific hypothesis”, or begging the question?

The fact that nature displays different levels of eye complexity doesn’t mean that one evolved from the other. Only a Darwinist would use such “logic”. Good grief!

Oh, dear, Mats. Once again you are either being less astute than a 4-year-old, or you are deliberately missing the point.

The fact that eyes of differing complexity exist indicates that each level of complexity is advantageous in its own right. Thus, whereas before 1859 the mammalian eye presented a difficult organ to explain, the fact that differing levels of complexity are each advantageous indicates that we can, indeed, propose that a complex eye evolved from a simpler one. Darwin himself addressed this point in TOOS.

The fact that we can propose a sequence of events whereby the mammalian eye evolved does not, of course, prove that it occurred in the way we suppose, but it does demonstrate that such a sequence of events is both possible and plausible. There is no known mechanism to prevent our purported sequence of steps in eye evolution. Thus, no other hypothesis has come close to giving us a plausible explanation for the evolution of the mammalian eye.

I suppose you would respond by saying that ID gives a “better” explanation, but, sadly, you’d be wrong. Again. Simply classifying something as “designed” provides no understanding of how it came to be the way it is, unless one is able to form a sensible hypothesis about the abilities and motives of the designer.

Additionally, the mammalian eye constitutes evidence against Intelligent Design, because the position of the retina is all wrong. The nerves and blood vessels pass in front of the light-sensitive cells, and exit the eye through the blind spot. This means that (a) if you stare at the sun or look at the sun through a telescope, you can burn out some of the nerves in your retina, and (b) for each eye, we all have a small area where that eye supplies no information at all. In what way could anyone claim this is the result of intelligence?

Mats Wrote:

Nonsense. The more we learn about any feature of the living world the less we are inclined to accept the notion that it was the result of mindless forces of nature.

Earth calling Mats, Earth calling Mats … Hello? Can you hear us?

Obviously not.

Mats, how about you come back to Earth for a visit one day, and actually make an effort to learn some biology. You have amply demonstrated in the last month or so that you do not possess even an elementary understanding of biological knowledge or of the process of science in a more general sense. And then you have the hypocrisy to lecture us on how human understanding changes as we learn more.

Mats, in order to learn more, first one must learn something. Go away and learn something about biology, but from an actual scientist, not from a lying creationist.

What Darwinists have done, as Dembski alludes above, is line up eyeballs, and proclaim to have “shown evolution in action”.

Mats, this is a strawman and you know it. You are lying, both to yourself and to the gentle readers of PT.

I have addressed your main thrust here in my previous comment. Go back and read it again.

Actually, the increased understanding of the highly designed system of the eye makes us less gullible to believe that it came about as the result of mindless forces of nature. Well, except Darwinists. They believe anything.

Hmmm, let’s see … I spot 3 fallacies there.

(1) Argument from personal incredulity.

The “highly designed system of the eye”, as you call it, may look designed to you, but that does not mean that it is. Just because you have trouble believing that God didn’t specifically invent the human eye (with all its flaws) does not make it so.

(2) False dichotomy.

You seem to be claiming that, because (in your world) the eye did not come about through “mindless forces of nature” that it must have been designed. That is illogical, because you consider only two possibilities. How can you ever know that those two are all the available explanations? Why do you not consider “we don’t know yet” as a possibility?

(3) Poisoning the well.

Your clearly derogatory tone in reference to what you insist on calling “Darwinists” does not affect the strength of the arguments in favour of MET.

In addition to the three logical fallacies, you make several assertions that you have frequently made in the past. You did not support them then, and you still seemingly refuse to support them.

When PvM points out the inadequacy of the ID “explanation”, your response was:

But they have.

No, they haven’t, you feeble-minded little liar. ID explains nothing unless it can make some sensible proposals about the motives and abilities of the designer.

You just don’t like “their terms”, because it clashes with your faith in Darwin.

You’re projecting here. You are the one who fails to accept the evidence. You are the one who finds something problematic with evolution being unguided or mindless or impersonal. Why? Obviously it clashes with your concept of small-scale divine intervention. Why you insist that God has to leave fingerprints all over creation, I cannot fathom. Is your God so small and trivial that He cannot act through natural forces? You seem to have a problem with God being truly omniscient and omnipotent (which would not preclude the action of God through the evolutionary mechanisms that we observe, and are recorded in our genes and in the fossil record).

Even in your own naturalistic terms, you still haven’t shown us Darwin-skeptics how the mindless forces of nature can create living systems, or even the simplest of all mammalian eyes.

The information is there for you to find. Since you are the one gainsaying the scientific consensus, it is up to you to educate youraelf if you do not wish to accept that consensus.

It is also up to you to provide some reason (such as actual evidence or a genuinely logical argument) that we should doubt the mechanisms described in MET. The mechanisms in MET are able to account for all of the diversity we observe in biological entities. If you doubt this, the burden of proof is yours.

You have yet to present anything that even remotely resembles evidence or logic to support your hypothesis. You have even failed in presenting a credible form of your argument. You continue to make unsupported assertions, and you continue to attack MET despite showing an abysmal understanding of modern science in general and MET in particular. You refuse to accept corrections from experts (yes, many of us who comment here are actual scientists, who do or have done actual science, so we really, genuinely do know what we are talking about), and you refuse to answer straightforward questions.

I have rarely seen such a pathetic debating performance.

PvM

Mats Wrote: Even if it is not the best, it’s sufficient to dismantle the Darwinian fairy tale. You have to provide any natural force that has been seen to produce such a highly complex and specified system. Yes, PvM, a force like the wind, or the waves of the sea, or maybe both combined.

And science has done this, it is called the processes of variation and selection.

Variation and selection operate after the system already exists. What we are talking about is the origination of the system, not how the systems changes and “variates” after it is already existing. Nice try, PvM.

For many complex and specified systems science has provided exquisite details, and for some the details are less.

Details like lining up simple eye balls to the more complex eye balls? That level of “exquisite details”?

Dembski’s unscientific position is that when science is providing its hypotheses, ID should insist that the evidence is not sufficient since ID cannot and will not provide any scientific explanations.

It’s not that the Darwinian “evidence” is not suficient. The problem is that the “evidence” is not adequate.

science includes intelligent forces, its just that the evidence does not really support intelligent forces

Of course it does. Remember that the Darwinian tale was invented to explain the design in the living world. Since there is design, it’s logical to posit an Intelligent Cause. What your Darwinian story tries to explain is that such design in the living world could come about without intelligent causation.

Simple, ID has no explanations, cares about no explanations, all it insists on is misrepresenting how science really works.

More hand waving.

Mats once defined the “theory of ID” as

Patterns in Nature that are best explained as the result of an inteligent (sic) cause, as oposed (sic) to a purely undirected (mindless/impersonal) cause.

While this is obviously not a theory of anything, I do invite Mats to show that these patterns (eye, translation, flagellum) are explained better.

They are obvioulsy better explained as the result of an Intelligent Cause, since non-inteligent causes (mindless, impersonal) have not been able to produce such detail and such genius anywhere, as far as we know.

However, if you believe (on faith) that mindless, impersonal forces can produce such features, by all means, give us empirical evidence for that, not interpretations of the past. Give us any known mindless/impersonal force of nature able to generate the interdependent systems present in the living world.

Darwinist Nigel tossed his two cents:

Second, Natural Selection, coupled to heritable variation, has been observed to be a powerful force for change.

Again, you try to misdirect the point.

Nigel, we are not talking about changes within already existing life forms. We are talking about the natural force able to bring those forms into existence. How many times do we have to say that?

You unwillingness to address the mian point shows that, deep down, you know that the mindless forces of nature can’t do the job.

Yes, PvM, a force like the wind, or the waves of the sea, or maybe both combined.

You are such an idiot, Mats. I can use your own example against your argument. The wind and ocean currents are both complicated phenomena (how far ahead can we predict the weather?).

But not living, breathing, self-healing, self-reproducing systems. But thanks for the non-sequitur.

How do these arise? Through the interactions of gravity, electromagnetism and the known laws of thermodynamics and chemistry. They are both examples of phenomena where complexity emerges from a few basic rules.

I sure do hope you are not comparing the complxity of the waves in the sea, with the compelxity inside a living system. Are you ?!!

So, based on the fact that you accept that the wind and waves can arise naturally from a few basic and well-understood laws, on what basis do you deny that natural selection can generate new species?

Oh dear.….You are comparing sea waves with living systems.

Nigel, I don’t have to tell you this, but as you know, there are plenty of obvious diferences between waves and whales.

Mats Wrote:

That is because Dembski, unlike you, actually understands what are the rules of ball game.

Yes, Mats, but what you and Dembski both fail to understand is that, whereas a ball game has arbitrary, human-made rules, science is about finding out how reality actually is.

Your “science” also has arbitrary and human-made rules.

1st rule: Naturalism.

2nd rule: Naturalism.

3rd Rule: In doubt, check rules #1 and #2.

Seriously now, it’s because of your “rules” that ID has been rejected a priori.

However, you deliberately miss the point that Darwin’s central thesis - Natural Selection - is still acknowledged within MET as being a significant mechanism for evolutionary change. You claim it is not, but you have not provided one shred of evidence to back up that assertion.

Even if NS was Darwin’s original ideia, it really only operates after the system exists. We are talking about the genesis of the system, not how the systems variates.

The fact that eyes of differing complexity exist indicates that each level of complexity is advantageous in its own right.

More Darwinian circular reasoning. At this mmoment you are asking yourself “Where is my circular reasoning?!!”. Well, follow me and think about the answers to my questions:

1. How do you know that the eyes were advantageous for the life form?

(At this time you’ll think “Well, because they are here!)

2. Why are those eyes still here?

(You will now think to yourself “Because they are advantageous!”)

If you have to use circular reasoning to defend your belief, then something is not right.

But even if you dismiss this, the fact that the eyes were “advantageous” assumes what you have to stablish. What you see as “advantageous” could on the other hand be “well designed from the start”.

Thus, whereas before 1859 the mammalian eye presented a difficult organ to explain, the fact that differing levels of complexity are each advantageous indicates that we can, indeed, propose that a complex eye evolved from a simpler one. Darwin himself addressed this point in TOOS.

Or perhaps those eyes were “designed to do what they do, and they do it well. Don’t you think? I do too.”(R)

You see a linage between those eyes because you assume evolution. However, one can assume something else by looking at those eyes.

The fact that we can propose a sequence of events whereby the mammalian eye evolved does not, of course, prove that it occurred in the way we suppose, but it does demonstrate that such a sequence of events is both possible and plausible.

You can propose whatever you want. You can propose that eyes evolved from toenails, we don’t care. What we want is empirical evidence that mindless forces can generate such structures. Lining up eyes doesn’t show descendency. It shows that you can line up eyes.

There is no known mechanism to prevent our purported sequence of steps in eye evolution.

You could line them up in the reverse order too, and there wouldn’t be any “known mechanism to prevent our purported sequence of steps in eye evolution.”

I suppose you would respond by saying that ID gives a “better” explanation, but, sadly, you’d be wrong. Again. Simply classifying something as “designed” provides no understanding of how it came to be the way it is, unless one is able to form a sensible hypothesis about the abilities and motives of the designer

But classifying systems as “simpler” or “complex” is exacly what Darwinists do, and it says nothing as to how such structures came into existence.

Lining up eyes doesn’t say how they came into existence. You and other Darwinists have to show us the natural force able to generate such structures without any mind involved at any stage.

Mats: you have already admitted you’re a liar, and that you’re not at all ashamed of it. Why should your word count for anything here?

Wow, someone nuttier than the creationists.

Mats:

PvM

Mats Wrote: Even if it is not the best, it’s sufficient to dismantle the Darwinian fairy tale. You have to provide any natural force that has been seen to produce such a highly complex and specified system. Yes, PvM, a force like the wind, or the waves of the sea, or maybe both combined.

And science has done this, it is called the processes of variation and selection

Variation and selection operate after the system already exists. What we are talking about is the origination of the system, not how the systems changes and “variates” after it is already existing. Nice try, PvM.

You are incorrect.

For many complex and specified systems science has provided exquisite details, and for some the details are less.

Details like lining up simple eye balls to the more complex eye balls? That level of “exquisite details”?

Your ignorance of science is not much better (and the good news is: not much worse either) than Dembski’s

Dembski’s unscientific position is that when science is providing its hypotheses, ID should insist that the evidence is not sufficient since ID cannot and will not provide any scientific explanations.

It’s not that the Darwinian “evidence” is not suficient. The problem is that the “evidence” is not adequate.

By whose standards? I provide answers and you reject them out of sheer ignorance

science includes intelligent forces, its just that the evidence does not really support intelligent forces

Of course it does. Remember that the Darwinian tale was invented to explain the design in the living world. Since there is design, it’s logical to posit an Intelligent Cause. What your Darwinian story tries to explain is that such design in the living world could come about without intelligent causation.

Exactly, science does not exclude intelligent causation a priori, it just has found better explanations.

Simple, ID has no explanations, cares about no explanations, all it insists on is misrepresenting how science really works.

More hand waving.

Note the absence of explanations?

Mats once defined the “theory of ID” as

Patterns in Nature that are best explained as the result of an inteligent (sic) cause, as oposed (sic) to a purely undirected (mindless/impersonal) cause.

While this is obviously not a theory of anything, I do invite Mats to show that these patterns (eye, translation, flagellum) are explained better.

They are obvioulsy better explained as the result of an Intelligent Cause, since non-inteligent causes (mindless, impersonal) have not been able to produce such detail and such genius anywhere, as far as we know.

Is that it? As far as you know? Is that the extent of your argument from personal ignorance?

However, if you believe (on faith) that mindless, impersonal forces can produce such features, by all means, give us empirical evidence for that, not interpretations of the past. Give us any known mindless/impersonal force of nature able to generate the interdependent systems present in the living world.

I have and while I have done so you have failed to provide any ID explanation. Why is it that when ID is pressed, it always resort to ‘but Darwinian theory cannot explain it either’. Fully ironic.

So Mats, willing to give up? You are clearly unprepared for doing battle at any scientific level.

So to answer your question about interdependent systems, the present day best evidence shows that these scale free systems can arise from simple processes of duplication and preferential attachment, creating systems which are robust and yet evolvable.

In other words, without much detail I have provided you with scientific observations and their best explanation. Provide us with the ID explanation? Or is all you have to offer that despite scientific explanations ID can do better but that when asked for details, it retorts with ‘pathetic’, ID does not deal in such trivial issues. We know we are right and need no ‘stinkin’ details’. Really Mats, I can appreciate your faith but you are lacking a bit in the front of providing compelling reasons. IF ID is really a better explanation then you need to show that this is the case.

Remember that you have avoided my request to define design. I understand since if you gave in to my request we would quickly establish that ID in the presence of scientific explanations, even ones that are inadequate is still unable to compete.

I noticed Mats emphasis on the word design, remember that in ID speak ‘design’ is noting more than the set theoretic complement of regularity and chance. Nothing more…

In other words, Design is that which science cannot yet explain, and when science has an explanation, even an inadequate one, ID has to show that it has a better explanation. And of course, it never has and never will.

QED

Mats wrote:

“How do you know that the eyes were advantageous for the life form?”

Well Mats, if you don’t think that eyes are advantageous why don’t you stop using yours? Seriously, do you really think that this is some sort of rational argument? Here is a partial list of some of the ways in which light reception can be selectively advangtageous:

1) Sensing if light is present or not (can help in photosynthsis by moviing into the light)

2) Sensing what direction light is coming from (can aid in predator avoidanceand seeking shelter)

3) Sensing movement or shadows (can also help in predator avoidance or prey detection)

4) Sensing unfocussed images (same as above and many more uses)

5) Sensing focussed images (same as above and many more uses such as finding mates)

6) Sensing color images (same as above and also many more uses such as finding ripe fruit, discriminating between closely related species, etc.)

And by the way, these are not theoretical conjectures. There is a vast literature on sensory physiology and the adaptive significance of light reception in many different species. Of course, if you had bothered to read any of the references that were recomended to you, you would already know all this. Willful ignorance is evidence only of your own dishonesty.

Mats wrote:

They are obvioulsy better explained as the result of an Intelligent Cause, since non-inteligent causes (mindless, impersonal) have not been able to produce such detail and such genius anywhere, as far as we know.

However, if you believe (on faith) that mindless, impersonal forces can produce such features, by all means, give us empirical evidence for that, not interpretations of the past. Give us any known mindless/impersonal force of nature able to generate the interdependent systems present in the living world.

Evidence has been cited and discussed on this very blog:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]m_evolu.html

Dembksi, Behe (and presumably you as well) reject this because you don’t think sufficient detail has been provided. Yet, if you are going to insist that we document every single mutation, selection pressure, etc, involved in the evolution of the flagellum before you will accept it as a valid counterexample, I am led to wonder why you would expect the scientific community to accept “It was designed” as an alternative.

Earlier in this thread, I challenged you to provide a comparably detailed ID explanation for the origin of the flagellum and/or eye. You’ve made a couple of posts since then, but you haven’t really attempted to answer that challenge.

As others have pointed out, “It was designed” is not an explanation. Just imagine what Dembski and Behe would say if we answered challenges like the flagellum and the eye by saying nothing more than “They evolved via natural processes”.

Mats, you also seem to regard methodological naturalism as an arbitrary exclusion of supernatural explanations (correct me if I’m wrong on that). Actually, methodological naturalism is the only way that science can operate. To see why, imagine for a moment that you are leader of a team of physicists that has access to a time machine. You go back in time to witness Jesus walking on water, just as the Bible says. Your team wants to use scientific approaches to try to figure out how He did that. How would you do it? Well, you might imagine several possible approaches.

1. Check to see if He was walking on a sandbar.

2. Check to see if He was using some sort of suspension system.

3. Check to see if some kind of projection system was involved.

See the problem? The only experiments that even remotely make sense are the ones that test natural explanations! Science, by its very nature, depends upon the idea that natural events follow certain regularities. If you drop a rock from your hand, it will consistently fall. Two atoms of hydrogen bonded to a single atom of oxygen consistently make a substance with particular properties. Such regularities allow us to predict natural events and generate testable hypotheses. When our predictions are disconfirmed, we know that we need to refine our understanding of nature. The success of this process depends crucially upon our ability to weed out hypotheses that prove to be inconsistent with data. A supernatural event – by definition – is unconstrained by natural laws. If an event is completely unconstrained by natural laws, then scientific data become irrelevant for the simple reason that we have no way of determining what we should and should not expect the data to look like.

Returning to the above example, you might go back to your time machine with a deep conviction that Jesus walking on water was a miracle. No matter how strongly you believe it, though, “it was a miracle” can never be a scientific explanation for the simple reason that it can never be tested. Saying “it was a miracle” is basically the same as saying “It happened through some process that is completely unconstrained by natural laws”. Thought of in that way, it should be clear why supernatural explanations must forever fall outside of the realm of science. That does not necessarily mean that miracles don’t happen but it does mean that – if they do – science can’t test them.

When you think about it, saying “It was designed by an intelligent agent” doesn’t tell us much. A religious evolutionist like Ken Miller might wholeheartedly believe in a Designer AND believe that we evolved from bacteria through natural processes. If the only thing you are willing to tell us is “Life was designed” then you haven’t even told us why we should take that as an alternative to evolution in the first place.

So, once again, if you propose to shoot down evolution, I’ll tell you how to do it. The first step must be to propose a detailed, testable, alternative explanation. The second step is to show that your testable explanation accounts for a wide range of data better than evolution does.

Mats said:

They are obvioulsy better explained as the result of an Intelligent Cause, since non-inteligent causes (mindless, impersonal) have not been able to produce such detail and such genius anywhere, as far as we know.

Sure, right after you demonstrate that intelligent causes (mindful and personal) have been able to produce such detail and such genius anywhere. As far as we know, that hasn’t happened. As creationists are so fond of reminding us, DNA is far far more complex than anything man (the only intelligent force we know of) has produced.

Mats said:

They are obvioulsy better explained as the result of an Intelligent Cause, since non-inteligent causes (mindless, impersonal) have not been able to produce such detail and such genius anywhere, as far as we know.

Sure, right after you demonstrate that intelligent causes (mindful and personal) have been able to produce such detail and such genius anywhere. As far as we know, that hasn’t happened. As creationists are so fond of reminding us, DNA is far far more complex than anything man (the only intelligent force we know of) has produced.

I can’t decide if “Brenda Tucker” is a parody or not, which is roughly the same way I felt after the first dozen or so visits to Uncommon Descent.

So Mats, who is the genius that designed the human eye inside out with a blind spot and a propensity for near sightedness, far sightedness, glaucoma, cataracts, color blindness, etc.? Doesn’t sound like very intelligent design to me. In fact, it sounds exactly like what one would expect from mindless impersonal forces constrained by historical contingency. As a wise man once said, unintelligent design really doesn’t get you anywhere.

Seems to me that a really intelligent designer would have anticipated the need for infrared vision and the ability to detect electromagnetic radiation outside the current visible range. Shoot, even an unimaginative designer could have used the mollusc eye as an example and avoided the inside out mistake. After all, if that was their work as well then they really should have known about it.

Oh well, at least you are not arguing that eyes are useless anymore.

David Stanton says… There is a vast literature on sensory physiology and the adaptive significance of light reception in many different species.

Heck, David, If a list of 5 good things you can do with a partial eye doesn’t convince him (it won’t) there’s always the triops, a group of smallish fairy shrimp, favorite of high school bio-lab aquariums everywhere.

The ancestors of these creatures have two eyes under the carapace, in the usual place. But it turns out that they live a lifestyle where it’s useful to detect predators moving above them, so guess what - this species is smack-dab in the middle of growing a third eye right up on top.

Granted, this third eye is quite primitive, not all that much more than a clump of light sensitive cells, but it does provide a wide-angle early warning system, a little tiny shrimp-sized predator radar, and seems to enhance survival significantly.

Significantly, it’s an entirely different evolutionary path from the existing, ancestral compound eyes, apparently derived from modified secretory cells.

Of course, I’m preaching to the choir, and it’s still not going to convince Mats. After all, it’s just an organism that finds half an eye so useful it’s right in the middle of evolving a third one right in front of us. Hell, what kind of evidence is that?

(Triops longicaudatus, for all those keeping score, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triops for a quick overview )

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 14, 2007 1:29 PM.

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