MathGrrl’s CSI Thread (cont.)

This is simply a continuation of this thread which was getting rather long.

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499 Responses to “MathGrrl’s CSI Thread (cont.)”


  1. 1 Toronto May 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    kairosfocus,

    Einstein believed there was a relationship between matter and energy.

    Here is his mathematical definition.

    E = MC^2

    Everyone can work with this and prove the soundness of the equation by applying it.

    It’s short, sweet and workable, and, it’s useful.

    I think what everyone wants to see is the equivalent for Dembski’s CSI, something that a scientist can look at and say, “Ahh, I understand”.

    Can you do this for **”Dembski’s”** CSI and apply it to MathGrrl’s 4 examples?

  2. 2 Toronto May 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    kairosfocus,

    I should clarify what I see as the ID movement’s offering as compared to Einstein’s.

    ID is qualifying a part of the equation’s terms with subjective observation.

    If I do the same to Einstein’s, I might say;

    E = MC^2, IF M contains more than 500 electrons,

    BUT

    E **MIGHT NOT** be equal to MC^2 IF M contains less than 500 electrons

    The equation is no longer purely mathematical but subject to other observations and qualifications that are not mathematical at all.

    Dembski claims a mathematical evaluation of information is sufficient for his CSI, but in practice, every attempt at CSI I have seen, requires a unique subjective evaluation of the information in the artifact under study.

    The determination of CSI becomes a very small amount of math, coupled with an exhausting study and knowledge of the object itself.

  3. 3 Flint May 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Consider a couple of examples:

    1) As one measure of childrens’ creativity, they have been asked how many different things they can think to do with a brick. Their lists include such things as paperweights, doorstops, weapons, something to grind down and use the powder as artists’ pigments. Indeed, bricks have been used for all of these things.

    The point here is, each of these uses constitutes a distinct, unique specification, We all use things all the time for purposes for which they were not designed. Bottom line: specification is arbitrary and subjective.

    2) Consider an object left on your doorstep during the night by some space alien. You might guess as to its complexity, but what is it FOR? It could be a chunk of alien landscape, or it could be a work of art, a tool, or the alien’s lunch. You have no clue and no way of collecting one.

    Bottom line: a specification is something that is inherently external to the object itself; creating a specification requires contextual knowledge not provided by the object.

    Unless these conceptual flaws can be addressed, all we can do is count angels on pinheads when the question is, ARE there angels in the first place.

  4. 4 Alan Fox May 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    (In case KF decides to pop back, repeating from the previous thread)

    I am no expert and I may have missed it but I haven’t seen any meaningful definition of CSI from KF or anyone else. If it is out there, why on Earth can’t somebody link to it or copy and paste? How hard can it be, if a mathematical definition really exists?

    Meanwile let me ask KF a related question. KF makes great play with “islands of functionality” eg from the previous thread:

    As to the notion that by begging the question of the FSCI required to get you to an island of function, you can then pretend that hill climbing within such an island is manufacturing information out of thin air, by blind chance and necessity without intelligence, that falls of its own weight; self-refuted.

    …we are dealing with islands of specific function in large spaces of possible arrangements…

    Consider the nonapeptide, oxytocin. It is a hormone with very specific functions in mammals. There are 512 billion minus one possible other peptides of the same length. Does KF assert they are all without biological function of any possible sort? Are there some other functional nonapeptides or could there be millions? The answer is we don’t know what the potential incidence of functionality of the overwhelming majority of possible protein sequences might be. Or we didn’t until Jack Szostak took a stab at it. Arguing that evolution is impossible because functional sequences are rare in evolutionary search space is at best unsupported assertion and, as more research builds on Szostak’s work with ATP binding, is likely to be shown to be specious.

  5. 5 Flint May 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Alan Fox:

    I am no expert and I may have missed it but I haven’t seen any meaningful definition of CSI from KF or anyone else. If it is out there, why on Earth can’t somebody link to it or copy and paste? How hard can it be, if a mathematical definition really exists?

    Alas, no such definition CAN exist. As I recall, even Dembski has admitted to a certain amount of subjectivity to the concept of specification.

    If you really don’t understand the issue here, maybe it’s best to work backwards. Specification is NECESSARILY external to what is being specified. Specifications are ‘final causes’, the purpose for which something exists. And that purpose lies outside the object or process- those things are RESULTS of the purpose, and do not contain that purpose intrinsically.

    Now, why would Dembski explicitly say that specification is intrinsic, and can be calculated in the absence of all relevant data? This is clearly not so. But of course, Dembski “knows” the context he clains is not required. Dembski’s god poofed all living organisms into existence for Divine purposes. And once this is taken for granted, then of course the design one assumes is possessed by an organism, is obvious just by looking.

    So why does Dembski go to such trouble to confect an essentially meaningless measure of what’s not there? Because if he provides the required context, then his approach becomes instantantly and unambiguously religious, and will not fool the courts.

    And of course, this also explains why Dembski has refused every request (there have been many thousands) to calculate the CSI of anything and show his work. To do so, he would have to manufacture a specification arbitrarily (and see my post above – the number of unique specifications of a brick is equal to the number of different uses it can be put to. Each use is a unique, real function.)

    As Judge Jones said at Dover, ID is a fundamentally religious notion, it is not science, and no conceivable science can be decoupled out of the religion.

    • 6 MathGrrl May 10, 2011 at 11:19 am

      And of course, this also explains why Dembski has refused every request (there have been many thousands) to calculate the CSI of anything and show his work.

      I’m not surprised that I’m not the first to ask for a detailed calculation. Can you provide references to Dembski publicly refusing to provide such examples?

      Alternatively, has he ever been challenged on this point publicly? I know that he’s debated against Michael Shermer on more than one occasion, has the topic ever come up between the two of them to your knowledge?

      I (naively, obviously) assumed that when I asked my questions at UD that I’d get more detail than I did. It seems that ID proponents understand that gene duplication is a clear refutation that CSI requires intelligent input, for any straightforward definition of CSI. Rather than admitting that the concept is unsupported, ID proponents instead resort to obfuscated and vague definitions. I’d honestly hoped, and still hope, for better.

  6. 7 Alan Fox May 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Alas, no such definition CAN exist. As I recall, even Dembski has admitted to a certain amount of subjectivity to the concept of specification.

    Hi Flint

    I didn’t expect anyone to produce a meaningful definition of CSI. I am however hoping to see if KF will back up his oft repeated mantra of “islands of function”.

  7. 8 Toronto May 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Flint:
    Specification is NECESSARILY external to what is being specified. Specifications are ‘final causes’, the purpose for which something exists. And that purpose lies outside the object or process- those things are RESULTS of the purpose, and do not contain that purpose intrinsically.

    This is something that ID’ists refuse to address.

    Clearly, a designer wants a certain specified result in his design, **before** he can actually proceed to create it.

    To claim that whatever exists is what was specified should allow evolution to claim the same and that is, that whatever exists is what had to happen.

  8. 9 Flint May 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Toronto:

    To claim that whatever exists is what was specified should allow evolution to claim the same and that is, that whatever exists is what had to happen.

    I’m not sure I understand what you mean here. Certainly one can view evolution as a design process if it’s viewed broadly enough, but this certainly doesn’t imply that whatever is designed, HAD to be designed. Evolution is a contingent incremental process that has “explored” only an infinitesimal amount of the “design space” it’s capable of reaching in principle. And perhaps it’s true that each mutation that becomes fixed in a population, induces an irreversible bias in the subsequent evolutionary directions that population can take.

    As an example, tetrapods likely resulted from a segment duplication that stopped at two limbed segments. Some critters, of course, kept right on segmenting and have many more limbs. But once these rather arbitrary “standards” (four limbs, five fingers, etc.) became fixed, these lineages could ONLY produce varitions with these characteristics. Not that there isn’t an infinity of 4-limbed organisms possible, but that no descendent lineage of the tetrapods is likely to have any more or less than four limbs.

    But in any case, CSI is in practice the projection onto objects, of a combination of political and theological necessity. Theological, because the Designer is known a priori, and political because naming that Designer renders ID unlawful to preach as science in public schools. So again, CSI is subjective, arbitrary, and context-sensitive.

    (And I strongly suspect MathGrrl and her opponents all realize this. But for the opponents, admitting what they know is true defeats the entire purpose of this imaginary “measurement”, which is to PRETEND we can logically assume our conclusions, and then derive our conclusions from our assumptions!)

  9. 10 Toronto May 8, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Flint:
    Certainly one can view evolution as a design process if it’s viewed broadly enough, but this certainly doesn’t imply that whatever is designed, HAD to be designed.

    I agree.

    The environment constrains evolution to produce survivable body plans in whatever form(s) that result. There could be many possible body plans that could survive in a given environment.

    ID claims that any biological function that exists must have been specified which has no merit unless they could provide evidence of that intent beforehand.

  10. 11 Flint May 8, 2011 at 1:52 am

    The environment constrains evolution to produce survivable body plans in whatever form(s) that result. There could be many possible body plans that could survive in a given environment.

    You ain’t kidding. Go out to your backyard, grabe a cubic yard of grass and soil, and count the total number of non-bacteria organisms, and the total number of different non-bacteria. Probably in the hundreds if not thousands, if you cound all the animals, plants, and fungi. Once you include the bacteria, of course, the number is immense.

    ID claims that any biological function that exists must have been specified which has no merit unless they could provide evidence of that intent beforehand.

    Well, I think what you mean is that claims of specification have no scientific merit. But hopefully, we understand that this is not the goal here. The goal is to provide legislators, judges, schoolboards and the like with plausible deniability. Those who support preaching religion in public schools are given as good an excuse as Dembski et. al. can dream up to say “Huh? Religion? Are you sure? After all, it LOOKS like science, it SOUNDS like science, and the people supporting it have scientific degrees and THEY say it’s science. So it must be science, praise Jeezus!”

  11. 12 Alan Fox May 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    There could be many possible body plans that could survive in a given environment.

    Indeed. And myriad undiscovered functional proteins that have yet to be stumbled upon. We don’t know what we don’t know.

  12. 13 MathGrrl May 10, 2011 at 11:37 am

    kairosfocus,

    You repeatedly claim, in the thread previous to this one, that CSI has been rigorously defined mathematically, but nowhere do you provide that rigorous mathematical definition. You could eliminate the need for your assertions by simply reproducing the definition in response to the challenges you are receiving.

    You have also generated a large amount of text without directly addressing the issue at hand, namely whether or not you can provide a mathematically rigorous definition of CSI (as described in Dembski’s papers and books) and detailed examples of how to calculate it.

    Note that if you want to use Durston’s work as an example of CSI, you must first demonstrate that his calculations are consistent with the description of CSI provided by Dembski, since that definition is the basis for claims by ID proponents that CSI is an indicator of intelligent agency. From my perusal of both authors, I don’t believe such a reconciliation is possible.

    The closest that I have seen you come to actually providing a calculation for (the yet to be rigorously defined) CSI is some manipulation of logarithms with numbers of unknown provenance. I therefore propose that we clear the air and try to make some progress by two means. First, please provide a mathematically rigorous definition of CSI in response to this comment.

    Second, please show how to calculate CSI, in detail, for the first of the scenarios I proposed in my guest thread:

    A simple gene duplication, without subsequent modification, that increases production of a particular protein from less than X to greater than X. The specification of this scenario is “Produces at least X amount of protein Y.”

    Note that discussions of islands of functionality, the computational power of the universe, presumed failures of modern evolutionary theory, Durston’s calculations, etc. are not relevant to answering these questions. The issue is whether or not CSI is a useful metric. Please demonstrate why you think it is.

  13. 14 Petrushka May 10, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Arguing that evolution is impossible because functional sequences are rare in evolutionary search space is at best unsupported assertion and, as more research builds on Szostak’s work with ATP binding, is likely to be shown to be specious.

    I believe gpuccio dropped out of his own thread at the point where it was shown that a significant percentage of random sequences can code for functional proteins.

    And of course, protein coding isn’t the only possible function of DNA. Saying that small changes to regulatory functions are either functional or non-functional is like saying that one setting of a volume control is functional, but another setting is non-functional.

  14. 15 Toronto May 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    kairosfocus:

    I see you have started another thread on UD, responding to something I said here. That means I cannot respond, since Clive is afraid to let me respond to your points without his protection.

    I could go undercover as a sock-puppet, but I think that’s the wrong response to people like you and Clive who see censorship as a debating tool.

    I will instead just congratulate you on the leadership and courage you’re showing our young scientists of the future by debating from behind a firewall.

  15. 16 R Hampton May 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    ID claims that evolution MUST work by a blind, exhaustive search — hence the significance of a 500 bit threshold. In this paper, Chaitin et al. argue otherwise:

    To a mathematical theory of evolution and biological creativity
    Gregory Chaitin
    Draft February 5, 2011

    Abstract: We present an information-theoretic analysis of Darwin’s theory of evolution, modeled as a hill-climbing algorithm on a fitness landscape. Our space of possible organisms consists of computer programs, which are subjected to random mutations. We study the random walk of increasing fitness made by a single mutating organism. In two different models we are able to show that evolution will occur and to characterize the rate of evolutionary progress, i.e., the rate of biological creativity.

    httP;//www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~chaitin/darwin.pdf

  16. 18 The whole truth May 11, 2011 at 8:49 am

    kairosfocus is just going to hide behind the wall of censorship at UD, as usual.

    He says: “(Don’t you ever think the Internet is censorship-free.)”

    Yes Gordo, the internet, and more specifically the site you constantly post on (UD), is rife with censorship. You and the other ID-ists there don’t have the guts to come out from behind your protective wall and debate in an honest and open way. You just dictate and proselytize from your lofty UD perch, with little to no worries about being challenged.

    You and other ID-ists get pissed if you’re censored but you completely condone the censorship of people who don’t agree with you or question you.

    You and O’leary and others at UD are perfect for each other, in your massive hypocrisy:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/off-topic-think-politicians-don%E2%80%99t-want-control-of-the-internet-read-this/#comment-379949

  17. 19 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

    CSI- AGAIN-

    CSI is Shannon information of a certain complexity with meaning/ function.

    Using Shannon we see that there are 2 bits of information per nucleotide and 6 bits per amino acid (4 possible nucleotides = 2^2 = 2 bits- 64 possible codons for amino acids and STOP = 2^6 = 6 bits per amino acid)

    That said part of the “specification” is figuring out the variation tolerance, which is what Durston did. What that means is if we have a functional protein of 100 amino acids- a protein that cannot suffer any variation- then it has 606 bits of specifid information, which means it has CSI.

    Now if that protein will function the same no matter what the amino acid sequence is then it doesn’t hae ay specifiecation at all. And then there is everything in between and that is what needs to be determined.

    That said there isn’t any justification for the claim that gene duplications is a blind watchmaker process.

  18. 20 Toronto May 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    JoeG:

    Now if that protein will function the same no matter what the amino acid sequence is then it doesn’t hae ay specifiecation at all. And then there is everything in between and that is what needs to be determined.

    You have things backwards when it comes to specification.

    A specification describes the performance and structure that a designed object/function both conforms to, and is constrained to.

    It by definition must exist before the design stage.

    If you order a red car and they deliver a blue one, the car does not meet spec.

    If you ask for any colour BUT red, a blue car then does meet spec.

    Notice that the specification changed but the cars are identical.

    Now, by simply looking at the two blue cars, can you tell me which is which?

    That is Dembski’s problem, that the “S” in CSI is accepted after the fact.

    Any function that results, according to Dembski, is the one that was specified.

    Dembski’s assertion that an existing function, (f), was the only specified target is clearly shown by claiming the improbability of generating only (f), but no other.

  19. 21 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    toronto:
    You have things backwards when it comes to specification.

    I doubt it.

    A specification describes the performance and structure that a designed object/function both conforms to, and is constrained to.

    Not the “specification” in CSI.

    Biological specification always refers to function. An organism is a functional system comprising many functional subsystems. In virtue of their function, these systems embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the same sense required by the complexity-specification criterion (see sections 1.3 and 2.5). The specification of organisms can be crashed out in any number of ways. Arno Wouters cashes it out globally in terms of the viability of whole organisms. Michael Behe cashes it out in terms of minimal function of biochemical systems.– Wm. Dembski page 148 of NFL

  20. 22 Toronto May 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    JoeG:

    If the “specification” in CSI really means the acceptance of current function, then a gene duplication may result in an increase in CSI, since function may have been added.

  21. 23 Toronto May 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    JoeG:

    If CSI accepts current functionality as specification then so can evolution.

    Any function, however arrived at, is therefore specified.

    This makes ID’s improbability argument against evolution, irrelevant.

  22. 24 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    If the “specification” in CSI really means the acceptance of current function, then a gene duplication may result in an increase in CSI, since function may have been added.

    Gene duplication? There isn’t any evidence gene duplications are via blind, undirected processes.

    If CSI accepts current functionality as specification then so can evolution.

    Any function, however arrived at, is therefore specified.

    This makes ID’s improbability argument against evolution, irrelevant.

    Except ID does NOT argue against evolution- ID argues against blind watchmaker evolution.

    And guess what? There isn’t any evidence that blind, undirected processes can construct useful, functional multi-part systems.

  23. 27 The whole truth May 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Actually Joe, what YOU believe is irrelevant.

    Like the other ID-ists on UD, you resort to censorship on your blog to block out many people who disagree with you or question you. And even if you don’t block them you avoid answering them. I guess that like most xtians you live in fear of the truth and reality (and blipey the clown). LMAO!

    Now Joe, don’t you yet realize that you can’t just say it, and that you have to show it? Didn’t you use those words to someone in regard to evolution?

    Let’s see you and your buddies at UD put CSI or specified complexity or FSCI or bsc or ID or whatever other ID related initials or words there are to the test. An actual test. Calculate the CSI, etc. of a banana, a tadpole, a tree, a pebble, a cloud, a sandstone arch, a mosquito, and a human.

    Maybe you and bornagain77 and kairosfocus can get together, while Dense O’leary serves drinks and tuna sandwiches, and get the tests done, and then come here and reveal your findings and all the details of the tests? You can use all the logs and chis and islands and other baloney you like as long as you do some actual work on real things in nature and show us what you got.

    Come on Joe, put some actual tests and results where your mouth is. Tell your ID buddies on UD to do the same thing.

    By the way Joe, I see that you’re still not fighting to the death to keep religion out of ID on UD. Why is that Joe? After all, you’re the one who said you’ll fight to the death to keep religion out of ID. Surely you’ve noticed that UD is overflowing with religious talk, proclamations, proselytizing, and connections to ID. It’s nearly impossible to find a post or discussion on UD that isn’t about religious beliefs in some way and how they apply to ID and creation. Get with it Joe. Tell those guys and gals on UD to immediately stop bringing up religion and that if they don’t you’ll fight to the death to stop them. You wouldn’t want to go back on your word, would you?

    • 28 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      What you say is irrelevant.

      Where are your position’s tests?

      It appears the theory of evolution is devoid of content = empty. The evidence for that is found in the following avoided questions:

      1- How can we test the premise that the bacterial flagellum evolved in a population that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

      2- How can we test the premise that fish evolved into land animals via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

      3- How can we test the premise that reptiles evolved into mammals via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

      Those are a few of the thousands questions evos need a testable hypothesis for.

      • 29 The whole truth May 12, 2011 at 12:30 am

        Of course you and other ID-ists never avoid answering questions, do you Joe?

        Where’s your positive, testable, verifiable evidence for ID Joe? Same question for CSI, FSCI, BSC, specified complexity, irreducible complexity, etc.

        What is an example of something in the universe that isn’t multi-part?

    • 30 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      Also I am censored on Ogre’s blog and banned from Jerry Coyne’s blog- IOW votard censorship is alive and well.

  24. 31 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Joseph/JoeG/IDguy writes

    …part of the “specification” is figuring out the variation tolerance, which is what Durston did. What that means is if we have a functional protein of 100 amino acids- a protein that cannot suffer any variation- then it has 606 bits of specifid information, which means it has CSI.

    Now if that protein will function the same no matter what the amino acid sequence is then it doesn’t hae ay specifiecation [sic] at all. And then there is everything in between and that is what needs to be determined.

    Other than proteins that are already present in living organisms (an infinitesimally small percentage of all theoretically possible protein sequences) how can one determine the functionality of a protein a priori? So how can one make any claim about specificity regarding any particular protein?

    That aside, you seem to be confident about CSI being calculable. Any chance you could give us an example.

  25. 32 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Oops messed up tags, trying again! (Please delete previous, Mark, thanks in advance!)

    Joseph/JoeG/IDguy writes

    …part of the “specification” is figuring out the variation tolerance, which is what Durston did. What that means is if we have a functional protein of 100 amino acids- a protein that cannot suffer any variation- then it has 606 bits of specifid information, which means it has CSI.

    Now if that protein will function the same no matter what the amino acid sequence is then it doesn’t hae ay specifiecation [sic] at all. And then there is everything in between and that is what needs to be determined.

    Other than proteins that are already present in living organisms (an infinitesimally small percentage of all theoretically possible protein sequences) how can one determine the functionality of a protein a priori? So how can one make any claim about specificity regarding any particular protein?

    That aside, you seem to be confident about CSI being calculable. Any chance you could give us an example.

    • 33 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      Alan Fox:

      Other than proteins that are already present in living organisms (an infinitesimally small percentage of all theoretically possible protein sequences) how can one determine the functionality of a protein a priori? So how can one make any claim about specificity regarding any particular protein?

      Other than bald declarations how can one determine that proteins, functional proteins, can arise without agency involvment? That is without any biological organisms being present?

      Ya see Alan just step up and start supporting your position and you don’t have to worry about ID.

  26. 34 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    @ the whole truth

    May I suggest you wind down the rhetoric in this thread. It will only serve as an excuse for non-participation.

    • 35 The whole truth May 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      Alan Fox, that’s pretty funny. Are you suggesting that I should coddle rhetoric-spewing ID-ists (and especially Joe)?

      I’m already being a lot nicer than I’d like to be and a helluva lot nicer than Joe is on UD or his blog.

      • 36 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm

        No, I specifically said “in this thread”. I note that KF is already huffing about tone and I was hoping his continuing inability to come up with any meaningful definition of CSI wouldn’t be sidetracked.

        RE JoeG. He is reason’s best asset. Long may he continue!

        But you have my suggestion, you are your own master.

  27. 37 The whole truth May 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Hey Joe, if ID doesn’t argue against evolution, then why are there so many articles and comments on UD that argue against evolution, that don’t make any distinction between evolution and blind watchmaker evolution?

    And why do you constantly call people “evotards” instead of blind watchmaker tards?

    Joe, how exactly can ID, CSI, FSCI, BSC, etc., etc., etc. be tested and verified on real things in nature and exactly how can (or should) scientists working on evolution incorporate those tests into their investigations and the ToE? Walk me through a test and verification of some things in nature (like the things I listed above).

    • 38 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      Hey Joe, if ID doesn’t argue against evolution, then why are there so many articles and comments on UD that argue against evolution, that don’t make any distinction between evolution and blind watchmaker evolution?

      I say you are mistaken about that.

      And why do you constantly call people “evotards” instead of blind watchmaker tards?

      I explained that to you already. Apparently you have some mental issues.

      Joe, how exactly can ID, CSI, FSCI, BSC, etc., etc., etc. be tested and verified on real things in nature and exactly how can (or should) scientists working on evolution incorporate those tests into their investigations and the ToE?

      Strange, I have explaine that also.

      • 39 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm

        Oh I missed this:

        Joe, how exactly can ID, CSI, FSCI, BSC, etc., etc., etc. be tested and verified on real things in nature and exactly how can (or should) scientists working on evolution incorporate those tests into their investigations and the ToE?

        Strange, I have explaine that also.

        Oh really!!!

        Link to it (or cut and paste) then!

  28. 40 kairosfocus May 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    FOR THE RECORD:

    I have responded to a clipped comment by MG, here at UD, and following.

    MG — for weeks now — has had some fairly serious explaining of herself, her behaviour and her claims to do, on issues summarised here.

    Today’s performance compounds the problem, and her persistent behaviour is moving across the threshold of uncivil conduct.

    For, beyond a certain point, if she continues to propagate and insist on falsehoods that she knows or should know are false and have been corrected, she is being willful.

    MG, sadly, is now demonstrably at that threshold,and that needs to be said, whatever — predictable — cheap turnabout rhetorical talking points may be made in response to it.

    I for one am sick and tired of being repeatedly misrepresented, caricatured and distorted, in the teeth of repeated, step by step correction. People who act like that — especially after having been corrected over and over — are not suitable partners for serious dialogue.

    They can only be corrected for the record.

    Which I have done.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

    • 41 The whole truth May 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm

      Speaking of willful, rhetorical, uncivil talking points; You and your buddies at UD are masters of such.

      Hey Gordon, is there anything that you don’t consider yourself an all-knowing expert at? Have you ever in your life thought and admitted that you were or are wrong about something? Have you ever heard the term ‘malignant narcissism’?

      Let’s see you test, calculate, and verify the CSI, BSC, specified complexity, FSCI, and whatever other talking points ID-ists claim to be real, calculable, and testable, in the things I listed above (banana, tadpole, etc.).

      Let’s see you connect the alleged ID dots to your god with testable, verifiable evidence.

      Let’s see you show real results, not just a gazillion words and links that mean nothing.

    • 42 The whole truth May 12, 2011 at 1:15 am

      Gordon, come down from your high horse and get real.

      And if anyone is willfully insisting on falsehoods, it’s you and your buddies at UD. The “record” is there for anyone to see, and it shows you to be willfully ignorant of reality, willfully dishonest, willfully hypocritical, and willfully pompous.

    • 43 MathGrrl May 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm

      I did want to thank you for one of your comments, kairosfocus, namely:

      she is being willful

      That made me laugh for more reasons than I could possibly go into here. Yes, I am indeed willful, and my daddy would be proud to know it!

  29. 44 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Which I have done.

    But where is the explanation for how to calculate CSI for any biological element, organism or system?

    That you have not done!

  30. 47 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    …she is being willful.

    Show us a CSI calculation that is meaningful. Or if you have done it, how hard can it be to link or copy and paste. And, if not too much trouble, make this the sole content of one comment so we are not confused in a fog of irrelevance, thanks in advance.

  31. 48 Toronto May 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    JoeG:

    Except ID does NOT argue against evolution- ID argues against blind watchmaker evolution.

    The Evo side does not support blind watchmaker evolution. “Natural” evolution receives digital feedback from the environment with each “bit” change, and that feedback is a simple live or die.

    If what you are fighting against is “pure” randomness, I’m with you.

    “Natural” evolution however, is not that beast.

  32. 49 Toronto May 11, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    kairosfocus,

    Alan Fox has a good idea.

    Write one comment containing one of her four examples that we can all reference.

    Don’t add anything else and we’ll have something we can all refer to.

  33. 50 Toronto May 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    The whole truth,

    We have to be the ones who are civil. The ID side has no good arguments other than they are being shouted down.

    I don’t think we should give them that out by being uncivil.

    • 51 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm

      Toronto,

      The problem is your position doesn’t have any good arguments, ie no positive evidence and that is why IDists get vebally abused-> it is all you really have.

      As for one comment about one of her examples- I gave one- in of her examples she says something about 22 bytes. 22 bytes = 172 bits, meaning no CSI. And to figure out the specified information all anyone has to do i what I said.

      And if mathgrrl wants more than that then I suggest she ante up and pay people for doing her work- fund her project.

      • 52 Alan May 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm

        that is why IDists get vebally abused

        QED

        As for one comment about one of her examples- I gave one- in of her examples she says something about 22 bytes. 22 bytes = 172 bits, meaning no CSI. And to figure out the specified information all anyone has to do i what I said.

        Copy and paste your example, then!

      • 53 The whole truth May 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm

        Joe said: “The problem is your position doesn’t have any good arguments, ie no positive evidence and that is why IDists get vebally abused-> it is all you really have.”

        Does that apply to you and your blog Joe? Does it apply to the other ID-ists on UD? Are evolutionists constantly verbally abused by ID-ists because ID-ists have no positive evidence of their claims and all they have is abuse aimed at Darwin, evolutionists, scientists, judges, atheists, non-christians, materialists, agnostics, and even other ID-ists who don’t agree with them on every single point or claim?

        What do YOU have Joe, besides verbal abuse for “evotards” and “tardtards” who don’t worship your every word? Where’s YOUR positive evidence?

      • 54 The whole truth May 12, 2011 at 12:57 am

        Now that’s funny Joe. Her project? Pay people for doing her work??

        ID is your “project” Joe. Trouble is, you and the other ID-ists haven’t done any real work on it and have no credible tests or evidence. MathGrrl is simply asking for an explanation of an alleged method that ID-ists claim can be used to determine a critical part (CSI) of ID ‘theory’.

        When are you or the other ID-ists going to do some real work on your project (ID) and come up with some real tests and evidence?

    • 55 The whole truth May 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Alan, I understand your motive but they would take that “out” no matter what is said or how it’s said unless what is said is in total agreement with them. Just look at what kairosfocus said about MathGrrl in his drive-by. How on Earth can anyone honestly and reasonably say that she is being uncivil on UD? The audacity of his claim is astounding. He’s just pissed because she doesn’t instantly accept whatever he says, and I have a strong feeling that he’s even more pissed because a woman is questioning him and his pet beliefs.

      And Joe, of all people, actually has the nerve to complain about ID-ists being verbally abused. Have you seen what he says on his blog and on UD?

      The ID-ists on UD aren’t even ‘civil’ enough to allow all people to have their say, even though they complain about censorship and expulsion and claim that everyone has value and should be heard, even when they have different beliefs (see the recent post by Steno).

      Lies, hypocrisy, censorship, and constant put downs of evolutionists, scientists, atheists, etc., are not ‘civil’, and the ID-ists on UD are regularly guilty of all of those things and more. They can dish it out but they can’t take it. It’s mighty christian of ’em.

      • 56 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm

        I don’t expect much else but I just want to make the fig leaf as small as possible! 😉

  34. 57 Joe G May 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    The Evo side does not support blind watchmaker evolution.

    Sure it does.

    “Natural” evolution receives digital feedback from the environment with each “bit” change, and that feedback is a simple live or die.

    More like analog feedback as whatever is good enough usually survives. IOW there are degrees of being alive.

    If what you are fighting against is “pure” randomness, I’m with you.

    “Natural” evolution however, is not that beast.

    Look “natural” selection is an oxymoron and nature is blind and mindless. The mutations are said to be accidents/ mistakes/ errors and these accumulate via various processes, including chance.

  35. 58 Flint May 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    By now, several people have made the point very clearly, that “specification” is a target, a purpose, an Aristitolian “final cause”. It is simply incorrect to assign a specification after the fact. I gave an example of a brick used for half a dozen different purposes. Which is the “real” specification, and how can you tell just by looking at the brick? Toronto gave an excellent example of two identical cars, one of which meets spec and the other which clearly does not.

    And Dembski is saying that the “amount of specification” can be determined just by examining these blue cars. MathGrrl asks, how? So far, these points have been pointedly ignored.

    And I think we all understand WHY this point is ignored. Dembski is taking objects and ASSIGNING them post facto specifications to suit theological needs, and he can’t admit that because then it’s not “science” anymore.

    And since all of these points are instantly fatal to CSI and to ID as pseudoscience, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for them to be addressed. Not when “christian honesty” requires that they be hand-waved away with assertions known to be false.

  36. 61 Flint May 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Archaeologists assign specification after the fact.

    No they don’t. They speculate as to what something may have been used for. Sometimes there are multiple speculations. Sometimes the’re not sure if they’ve found a piece of something that was used, or just a random rock. But most important, they come to their work with extensive knowledge of human design, human purposes, human mechanisms. None of which is inherent in the material they find.

    In other words, the specifications they suggest are EXTERNAL to the objects themselves. They derive from an extensive context not intrinsic to what they dig up. Do you not understand this at all?

  37. 62 Toronto May 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    kairosfocus amd Mung,

    ..are ranting ar MathGrrl on UD.

    They don’t realize that JoeG has outed them here by admitting it’s not evolution as taught in schools that they’re against, but rather “Blind Watchmaker, sudden massive all-at-once mutation in single biological member of a population” evolution.

    This means they’re not proving “Darwin” wrong at all, but rather some bizarre creationist view of evolution that is not part of any curriculum taught anywhere.

  38. 63 Flint May 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I have never yet seen a single creationist find fault with the scientific theory of evolution as scientists understand it. Invariably, they’re finding fault with a distortion of evolution caused by the creationist filters it must pass through to be considered in the first place. In general, they somehow overlook selection pretty consistently.

  39. 64 Alan Fox May 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    KF writes

    –> As the Original Post again excerpts, Dembski’s metric boils down to a measure of functionally specific [self-]information beyond the threshold of sufficient complexity where the empirically and analytically warranted best explanation is intelligence. It therefore imposes a reasonable threshold of complexity, e.g. in reduced form:

    Chi_500 = Ip – 500, bits beyond the solar system resources threshold

    Does this boil down to any more than the usual anything that has a less than one in “some big number” chance of occurring must be “designed”? But God designed everything so where does the “chance of one in some big number get us? Is there no more to KF’s waffle than that?

  40. 65 R Hampton May 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I wonder if Meyer (or kairosfocus) will respond to Chaitin’s paper?

    “This paper advances beyond the previous work on metabiology by proposing a better concept of mutation. Instead of changing, deleting or inserting one or more adjacent bits in a binary program, we now have high-level mutations: we can use an arbitrary algorithm M to map the organism A into the mutated organism A0 = M(A). Furthermore, the probability of the mutation M is now furnished by algorithmic information theory (AIT): it depends on the size in bits of the self-delimiting program for M. It is very important that we now have a natural, universal probability distribution on the space of all possible mutations, and that this is such a rich space. Using this new notion of mutation, these much more powerful mutations, enables us to accomplish the following:

    We are now able to show that random evolution will become cumulative and will reach fi tness BB(N) [Busy Beaver function] in time that grows roughly as N2, so that random evolution behaves much more like intelligent design than it does like exhaustive search.”

  41. 66 Toronto May 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    kairosfocus,

    I have responded to Toronto’s attempted dismissal by putting up some of the most striking simple but powerful empirically oriented equations.

    Then you’ve missed the point.

    We’re not at the equation stage yet, we’re trying to nail down the ‘S’ in CSI.

    JoeG claims whatever works, was specified, as does Dembski.

    That means that any existing biological construct qualifies as CSI.

    It also means that “natural” evolution can claim any biological construct as CSI also, since now neither of us has a pre-design or pre-evolution target.

    This renders any improbability equation irrelevant.

    There’s no point in saying our side can’t hit a target if your side can’t prove the target was actually specified, and that applies for both of us.

  42. 67 Flint May 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Then you’ve missed the point.

    We’re not at the equation stage yet, we’re trying to nail down the ‘S’ in CSI.

    JoeG claims whatever works, was specified, as does Dembski.

    I don’t think we’re ever going to get this point addressed. A specification is not a description. A specification is purpose, a prerequisite, a request, something a design is supposed to meet. A specification CAN NOT!!! be assigned ad hoc, after the fact, based on whatever we decide something does.

    A specification is NOT a function, it is a PURPOSE, a GOAL. Toronto’s two blue cars are identical, yet one meets the specification and one does not. My brick served MANY purposes, all with the same brick.

    So what is the specification for a tree? For someone, it’s shade. For another, it’s lumber. For a third, it’s firewood. For a fourth, it’s to inhibit soil erosion. For another, it’s peaceful beauty. So which is “THE” specification?

    But as I predict, kairosfocus will dodge and hand-wave away this core issue indefinitely.

  43. 68 The whole truth May 12, 2011 at 3:08 am

    What support do you have for your position Joe, besides your “bald declarations”?

    At least science is actually working on things Joe, and has tests and evidence which are continually updated. Your “position” is the same old my-god-did-it nonsense that has been around for thousands of years and still hasn’t tested or verified a damn thing.

  44. 69 kairosfocus May 12, 2011 at 8:49 am

    FOR THE RECORD:

    I have taken time to assess and respond to MG’s “not rigorous” objection, here and immediately following.

    It turns out that the pivotal error made by MG is in the following:

    >> discussions of islands of functionality, the computational power of the universe, presumed failures of modern evolutionary theory, Durston’s calculations, etc. are not relevant to answering these questions. The issue is whether or not CSI is a useful metric. >>

    In context, my corrective response to this patent — and patently closed minded — blunder was:

    >> 40 –> MG knows, or full well should know — having been repeatedly informed, step by step — that it is precisely these considerations that make CSI a useful metric. So, to brush them aside so brusquely as “not relevant” is to close her mind to the material facts and steps in reasoning.

    41 –> the problem then is not lack of “rigour” or want of adequate definition, models and metrics etc, but that MG is refusing to follow the steps that present why the Chi metric and related metrics and models are legitimate and useful. [cf. the linked post at UD for why that is so] This is the fallacy of the closed mind, and is grossly irresponsible and disrespectful; especially when one of her assertions that she has needed to explain — for weeks now — is her unwarranted projections of dishonesty on the part of design thinkers. >>

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

    • 70 The whole truth May 12, 2011 at 10:39 am

      Gordon, since Joe won’t do it, let’s see you apply your endless talking points and other gobbledegook to actually calculating the CSI (or lack thereof) in some things in nature. How about a banana, a tadpole, a tree, a pebble, a cloud, a sandstone arch, a mosquito, and a human?

      If you don’t like that list then how about a snake, a pitcher plant, a meteoroid, a mountain, a fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur, a virus, and a chimpanzee?

      How about any one of those things?

      Do it with no links and no convoluted sermons. Include all the details and results of your tests.

    • 71 The whole truth May 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

      And speaking of closed minds, why do you post on a site (UD) that regularly blocks and bans people? Why do you hide behind the closed minded wall at Uncommon Descent? Why don’t you ever complain to the others on UD that they’re are being closed minded when they block and ban people? Why don’t you post and debate on a site, like this one, where everyone can be heard?

      You come here only to bitch about MathGrrl and then you run back to your closed minded sanctuary at UD and bitch about her there too, knowing that many people will not be allowed to have their say there.

      Why are you and the others on UD so afraid of questions and challenges Gordon? Why are you so closed minded? Is your position so weak and worthless that it can’t handle any questions or challenges? Do you think your position is strengthened by preaching it from behind a closed minded protective wall?

      Do you think that blocking and banning people who question or challenge you or your position is being honest, open minded, respectful, and responsible?

      Do you really think you’re fooling anyone besides your hypocritical, closed minded, dishonest, cowardly UD buddies, with your hypocritical, closed minded, dishonest, cowardly behavior?

  45. 72 The whole truth May 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    From this-

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/footnote-on-einstein-dembski-the-chi-metric-and-observation-by-the-judging-semiotic-agent/#comments

    -thread on UD:

    Mung

    05/11/2011

    8:58 am

    (MathGrrl) By the way, as noted by Toronto on Mark Frank’s blog, a number of the participants there are not allowed to post comments here at UD. In the spirit of open discussion, I hope you will respond there.

    You can’t carry your own water here?

    Like having more monkeys typing on keyboards is somehow going to help you make your case?

    Why would we want to listen to people that have apparently been banned from UD? Have they all of a sudden changed their ways because they aren’t posting here?

    If people there have relevant comments and can’t post here you can copy and paste what they say.

    I, for one, am still waiting on you to make a meaningful case. Why not start there?

    —————————————–
    Hey Mung, let’s see YOU carry your own water here. Come on Mung, man up and come here to debate your position.

    Do you think that hiding behind the protective wall at UD and having more cowardly religious zombies typing on keyboards is going to help make your case?

    By banned people changing their ways, do you mean converting to your religion and joining your ID agenda? Is UD only for mindless yes-men or yes-women who flock to an echo chamber?

    Why should MathGrrl have to post comments by other people? What comments or questions do you think are “relevant”? Why are you and the other ID-ists on UD so afraid of open and honest discussion?

    When are you and other ID-ists going to make a meaningful case?

    MathGrrl has asked some questions about your “case”. You and the other ID-ists on UD keep running away or moving the goalposts. Why are you all so threatened by a girl who asked you to define and apply your “case” to her examples?

  46. 73 Alan Fox May 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Mung continues to dissemble at UD:

    My belief is that MathGrrl felt she was losing the argument here and therefore ran away to some place where she hoped to get some help.

    She was allowed to guest post here, she owes us the courtesty of remaining here to carry on her argument (if she has one)…

    Losing the argument? What argument? Mathgrrl has no opportunity to develop any argument as she has been supplied with no material to criticise.

    All we want to know is whether CSI is just some vague descriptive quality or whether it has some actual validity as a quantifiable property of biological entities. Our preliminary conclusion based on what has been said by KF, who appears to have elected himself Bill Dembski”s spokesman,is that CSI has no validity or utility as a concept.

    …She ought NOT be allowed to just drop in every so often and assert that her challenge hasn’t been met…

    Calling for a ban, mung? Is that not rather cowardly? Can’t you just give us a definition of CSI or admit there isn’t one that makes sense?

    …and oh, by the way, if anyone wants to try they can come to her chosen sanctuary and try to make their case there.

    That’s cowardice.

    Rather than attempt to post at Uncommon Descent where the moderators behave without the least modicum of integrity. What are you afraid of in coming to a forum where commenters are given equal opportunity to speak? Less opportunity to misrepresent?

    • 74 Alan Fox May 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      Sorry, forgot the link

    • 75 The whole truth May 13, 2011 at 7:30 am

      Mung has NO room to talk about cowardice or running to a “chosen sanctuary”. He and the other sniveling cowards at UD hide in their chosen sanctuary (UD) like vampires hide from sunlight.

      The cowardice, hypocrisy, and dishonesty of Mung and the other ID-ists at UD is truly astounding. They’re all just a bunch of gutless liars. They really show what typical christians are all about. If there is a Hell, they are going to FRY.

      Hey Mung, since you don’t have the balls to leave your chosen sanctuary, maybe one of your cowardly UD buddies who reads this (but also doesn’t have the guts to post here) can tell you what I said. I would have posted this on UD but your chosen sanctuary won’t allow me to post anything there.

      You try to sound like a real brave guy picking on a woman from within your chosen sanctuary (UD) that blocks and bans others from commenting. Why don’t you come here and try to sound as brave? Come on Mung-boi the chicken hearted, let’s see what you’ve got, you miserably inadequate pansy-ass wimp.

      MathGrrl has FAR more guts than you and all the other chicken-shit cowards on UD put together. She had the guts to post her reasonable and COURTEOUS questions on your dishonest, hypocritical, chosen sanctuary and all she got in return is bullshit and personal attacks. If she decided to not respond there anymore it’s obvious that it’s not because she’s a coward. It’s likely because it’s a waste of time, and especially on a site that won’t allow open, honest discussion because you all live in knee-shaking fear of open, honest discussion.

      Your chosen sanctuary (UD) should be renamed to Uncommon Douchebagery.

  47. 76 Toronto May 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    kairosfocus,

    Unfortunately, we will be hearing the mantra as to how CSI is meaningless and not “rigorous” for years to come.

    It will remain that way until it’s meaningful and rigorous enough to be used.

    ID actually has a bigger problem with improbability than “unaided by a designer” evolution.

    The “designer” in ID, is limited by his skill, resources and knowledge.

    “Unaided Evolution”, or UE, has no limits at all.

    The only way your designer could compete with a process that has no limitations, is by having no limitations himself.

    That power exists only in entities like the Christian god.

    That would make ID a religious concept in the eyes of the courts.

    The only way out of that problem, is to assume the designer is less powerful than your Christian god and show us that the designer’s limits, intent and working processes, are sufficient to generate life and evolution, without the requirement of being omnipotent.

    Can you do that?

    If not, ID needs a god.

  48. 77 Flint May 13, 2011 at 1:19 am

    “Unaided Evolution”, or UE, has no limits at all.

    I don’t understand this. Unaided evolution has severe limitations. It can only build on what already exists. It can only add what’s truly useful, and not always even then (except for statistical distributions, like drift). It can’t use any raw material that random mutation doesn’t provide. And so on.

    Now, the Designer is unrestricted by these limitations. He can create things without existing precedent (but never has), He can alter nature itself to achieve His will (but never has), He can violate the natural laws and perform miracles (though we’ve never seen one). So these are really different.

  49. 78 Toronto May 13, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Flint,

    Yes, I should have done a better job of explaining this one.

    My “Unaided Evolution” should have been labeled, “Unaided By An Intelligent Designer Evolution”, but that was a mouthful.

    Life, responding to the selective pressures of the environment, has no pre-ordained limits or restrictions on the evolution of body plans. Whatever mutations, or flaws that occur, will either be rewarded or punished by the niche that organism occupies.

  50. 79 The whole truth May 13, 2011 at 9:06 am

    By kairosfocus, from here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/footnote-on-einstein-dembski-the-chi-metric-and-observation-by-the-judging-semiotic-agent/#comment-380068

    Mung:

    You have raised a serious issue.

    The truth is, that over the run of about two months, MG has yet to provide a single substantial contribution, where talking point objections ado not count.

    When I have gone to the other site, I find that the same talking points and many others that have long been cogently answered are being circulated as though there is not a duty to be truthful and fair in reasoning.

    I have decided that I will address the issue here, and only notify for the record there; for those who may wander in and wonder if there is another side to the story.

    Unfortunately, we will be hearing the mantra as to how CSI is meaningless and not “rigorous” for years to come.

    And, MG’s failure to address serious matters seriously, to provide even the smallest response to the request of Dr Torley, to explain evident blunders such as confusing a log reduction with a probability calculation, making some nasty snide suggestions, and her stunt of trying to brush aside the very foundational issues that led to the CSI concept have made her behaviour sink ever further in my estimation.

    She needs to take a long hard look at what she has done and set it straight.

    GEM of TKI

    ——————————————–

    You actually believe you ARE god, don’t you gordon? Or at least you believe that you’re vastly superior to anyone else. I’m surprised that your fat egotistical head fits within the universe. The universe must be a lot bigger than I’ve imagined.

    “nasty snide suggestions”?? What “nasty snide suggestions” did MathGrrl make?

    I have a nasty snide suggestion for you gordon-the-cowardly-pompous-blowhard. Shove your gigantic ego up your ass and explode, but please do it outside the Earth’s atmosphere. There’s more than enough pollution already.

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that you’re going to continue to hide behind the protective wall at UD to “address the issue”. One thing you’re conveniently ignoring though is that it’s only an “issue” that you can “address” if you air it out on an open and honest forum where anyone can question or comment. You ID-ists on UD don’t see ID or CSI as an “issue”, so there’s no issue to address there.

    You don’t have the balls to actually “address the issue” on an open and honest forum, where people are likely to question or challenge your assertions. Endlessly repeating yourself and trying to set a record for the most bullshitting words and links typed and pasted into a post, on a site that blocks and bans most questions and dissenting comments, isn’t addressing the issue. It’s just a cowardly cop out.

    If you think that “notify(ing) for the record” here is going to actually convince anyone that your dishonest words are meaningful, you’re mistaken.

    Truthful and fair???????? You must be joking. You don’t have the slightest idea what “truthful and fair” are. You dwell on a website that is one of the most unfair and un-truthful sites on the entire world wide web.

    You’re the one who needs to take a long, hard look at yourself. I’d suggest that you “set it straight” but I’m sure that’s way beyond your capacity and sense of “duty”.

  51. 80 The whole truth May 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

    By the way gordon, I’ve noticed that even if a person is ‘allowed’ to question or dissent on UD, it’s virtually always manipulated (moderated) to allow only one person at a time, so that it appears like very few if any people actually question or disagree with any ID propositions made there.

    And, even if a person is allowed to question or dissent, they never last long and are banned from further questions or comments. It’s dishonestly manipulative to moderate the site in a way that tries to fool ‘onlookers’ into believing that ID and its particulars are rarely questioned or disagreed with. And by blocking or banning people from posting further questions or comments it falsely makes it look like they gave up, ran away, or were converted.

    No matter how hard you try and no matter how many words you type and paste into your posts on UD, you’ll never accomplish anything positive regarding ID as long as you and other ID-ists are dishonest, hypocritical, and pompous, and as long as you ID-ists don’t come up with some real tests and evidence.

    Yes, I am now deliberately not capitalizing the g in your name. You don’t deserve even that little bit of respect. If I ever happen to capitalize it in the future, consider it a typo.

    • 81 Mark Frank May 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      The Whole Truth

      May I suggest cooling it? I don’t think there is much point in this kind of mutual abuse. No one learns anything and the mutual hostility feeds itself. If you don’t like someone’s debating style then just ignore them (and I have recently been guilty of forgetting this). The comment policy on UD is well known (although a lot of the problems are down to error rather than malice). There is little point in reiterating it.

      • 82 The whole truth May 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm

        Mark, why did you create this blog?

      • 83 Mark Frank May 14, 2011 at 5:31 am

        Mark, why did you create this blog?

        Lots of reasons. One was to provide place to discuss Id related issues in a calm but uncensored atmosphere. I am not going to ban or moderate anyone unless it is complete SPAM. I just think it is more effective and interesting to talk about the issues rather the personalities. That is my personal opinion not a moderation policy.

  52. 84 Seversky May 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Sadly but predictably, this is all becoming repetitive and futile. MathGrrl, firmly but politely, asks some concise questions: can ID proponents provide a rigorous mathematical definition of CSI and some examples of it being calculated for various objects. A straightforward request, you might think, if the definition exists as claimed.

    Instead, this triggers lengthy sermons from kairosfocus, video playlists from BA77, doubts about MathGrrls mathematical competence and admonishments from all and sundry for not understanding the problem and, in any event, not answering their questions first; in other words, just about any response but answering the actual questions.

    MathGrrl repeats the questions a number of times. These elicit much the same response each time although, to be fair, vjtorley does make a serious attempt to address the issue. In other words, a philosopher is the only proponent of ID to step up to the plate. All the other scientists and mathematicians who are also claimed to support the concept are silent. Even the Isaac Newton of Information Theory is only noticeable by his absence.

    The obvious conclusion is that the best ID has to offer are unable, at least at this time, to substantiate the claims they make about being able to reliably detect, measure and calculate evidence of design whatever the source.

  53. 85 Flint May 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Sadly but predictably, this is all becoming repetitive and futile. MathGrrl, firmly but politely, asks some concise questions: can ID proponents provide a rigorous mathematical definition of CSI and some examples of it being calculated for various objects. A straightforward request, you might think, if the definition exists as claimed.

    Well, as has been pointed out many times, MathGrrl’s question ASSUMES such a definition is possible, and that such calculations can be done. But if you’re going to debate how many angels can dance on a pinhead, you first must establish that angels exist. If they do not, then the question is misleading at the very least. As any trial lawyer can tell you, you’re not allowed to ask questions that assume facts not in evidence.

    A compelling case has been made that specification cannot be deduced post facto. The problem with deriving a specification for anything based on why we do it or what we do with it is, why we do it or what we do with it is limited only by our imaginations. It is NOT inherent in the object or task. MathGrrl’s question assumes it IS inherent. She does this because Dembski insisted on it. But Dembski was clearly incorrect.

    Bottom line: Nobody is going to be able to rigorously define something nobody can establish exists or is even possible. MathGrrl’s question has skipped this critical step. Because specification is arbitrary, CSI is arbitrary. No sensible calculation is possible in principle.

    Design is what is produced by a design process. The design is in the process, not the result. The ID proponents must show the process. So what we have is a long exercise in evasion – they can’t admit there even IS a process, and without one, they can’t establish design.

    So of course it’s repetitive and futile. What would you expect?

    • 86 The whole truth May 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      Flint, you make it sound like MathGrrl is to blame for the absence of evidence. She asked the questions on a site where ID-ists claim to have the evidence. It’s not her fault that they don’t.

      It’s perfectly reasonable to question people who claim to have tests and evidence for ID. If the ID-ists don’t have a mathematically rigorous way to determine CSI, or are unable to apply their alleged tests or evidence to MathGrrl’s examples, they could have simply said so.

      It wouldn’t matter what questions are asked. The ID-ists on UD would still claim that ID is a fact and that any question is either a sign of hyperskepticism or is answered by the allegedly obvious and rigorous evidence in their ID ‘theory’.

  54. 87 Toronto May 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Flint:

    Because specification is arbitrary, CSI is arbitrary. No sensible calculation is possible in principle.

    Design is what is produced by a design process. The design is in the process, not the result. The ID proponents must show the process.

    Nicely stated.

    Dembski, kairosfocus and the rest have to keep evading the details to keep ID alive.

  55. 88 Eugen May 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Flint

    ” The design is in the process, not the result. The ID proponents must show the process.”

    Process:

    imageshack.us/photo/my-images/851/poly31.png/

  56. 89 Toronto May 13, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    The whole truth , Flint,

    Flint, you make it sound like MathGrrl is to blame for the absence of evidence. She asked the questions on a site where ID-ists claim to have the evidence. It’s not her fault that they don’t.

    I agree with “the whole truth” as MathGrrl’s question was targetted at a site where that assumption is claimed to be valid.

    In other words, her question is implicitly prefaced by, “If what the ID side believes is true, then…”.

    It doesn’t mean that she has skipped anything herself, the question is meant to force ID to back up it’s own assertions.

    Are we in agreement “the whole truth”?

  57. 91 Flint May 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    The Whole Truth,

    The way I see it, Dembski WANTS living organisms to be the product of his god. The notion that life is and always has evolved with no direction other than environmental constraints, and no purpose other than replication, is theologically unacceptable to him. He SEES his god’s design in life.

    At the same time, one of the arms of the creationist movement (which is a political movement plain and simple) has the purpose of preaching creationism in public schools. And because courts have consistently barred this, creationism takes multiple approaches to evading it. One, of course, is to elect creationists who will change the laws. And the other is to reposition creationism as being scientific. Dembski is part of this second strategy.

    Accordingly, Dembski has worked hard to create a “fog of scienticity” around creationist theological doctrine. And one tactic to do this is to claim that his god can be derived, scientifically and mathmatically, directly from an examination of where he sees the hand of his god. Behe argues the same. And in support of this fog, he has concocted the notion of CSI, which SOUNDS like science, and which Dembski SAYS is science, and which he SAYS can be calculated objectively using the methods of science. He just kinda sorta didn’t get around to actually doing it, or showing how it can be done.

    I do not for a moment believe that MathGrrl has been hornswoggled into thinking objects or procedures “contain design” which (like mass or color) can be observed and measured. In fact, I have never encountered a single person who believes this because Dembski says so. Only creationists think this, and they think design is somehow in there because, of course, their god is the Designer and PUT it there.

    Now, we all understand that Dembski cannot just say this, because as soon as his god is mentioned, CSI becomes religion and the courts won’t permit it (until the political arm of creationism has elected people who WILL permit it). The pretense that CSI is somehow scientific, like most of creationism, is a charade maintained by evasion, misdirection, personal attack, hand-waving, doubletalk, censorship, and related weapons from the creationist arsenal.

    So along comes MathGrrl, as innocent as you please, falling all over herself to be helpful and contribute to the cause through a willingness to DO the legwork, to go out there and rigorously, unambiguously, repeatably and reliably CALCULATE the CSI, if only someone would be helpful enough to tell her what it IS. Kind of like if Monsanto offered to create souls for corn in their GM lab, if only someone would define one.

    To summarize: MathGrrl has called Dembski’s bluff, has illustrated that the emperor has no clothes, and the sycophants and fellow travelers can’t admit it, nor can they afford to ADMIT that they can’t admit it. What would their god think of them if they were honest?

    And so, we are all treated to a jolly exercise in how creationism deals with reality, an exercise that goes round and round and round every time MathGrrl shows up to ask anyone PLEASE to tell her what CSI is clearly enough to measure it.

    • 92 Toronto May 13, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      Flint,

      I really would like to see kairosfocus’s response to this.

      Can anyone not currently banned post it there?

      • 93 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 1:59 am

        I would like to see a response from him too, but I think we know that gordon would just type and paste a massive amount of unresponsive mumbo-jumbo, and would deny that ID/CSI claims and agendas are religion based.

        For a site that claims it serves the ID community, and that ID isn’t based on religious beliefs, there sure is a LOT of religious talk on UD.

    • 94 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 1:36 am

      I agree flint. My point to you was simply about the way your other comments made it sound like MathGrrl is wrong for asking her questions.

      By asking her questions, MathGrrl has helped to further reinforce what you pointed out above. I think it’s hilarious that one young woman’s reasonable questions brought out so much defensive, evasive, angry, condescending, blustering behavior from the denizens (and self-proclaimed christians) of UD.

  58. 95 Flint May 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Toronto:

    I’m merely summarizing the material from here:

    http://lawreview.wustl.edu/inprint/83-1/p%201%20Brauer%20Forrest%20Gey%20book%20pages.pdf

    That’s a pretty extensive, well documented, yet quite readable discussion. Of course, it takes a legal rather than a scientific or theological perspective, since it’s a law paper. But nonetheless, it’s worth paying attention to.

  59. 97 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 2:06 am

    Flint, “souls for corn”? What? Are you saying that corn plants don’t already have souls?

    Yes, I’m just joking. 🙂

  60. 98 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Mark, thanks for your response. I understand your desires and I think they would work IF the people who support ID, and especially the ones at UD, were reasonable, and willing to discuss ID in a calm and uncensored atmosphere in an effective, interesting, and most of all honest way.

    Unfortunately, they’re obviously only interested in preaching and proselytizing, and pushing their agenda, from behind the walls of their chosen sanctuary (UD).

    It would be nice if they were willing to be open and honest, and would open their forums to anyone who wants to speak there, especially since they claim that everyone has value and should be heard, but it’s clearly not going to happen there.

    They’re also afraid to step out of their sanctuary (except for the occasional drive by) to face questions or challenges on other sites, like this one.

    I see that vjtorley and gpuccio posted here for a short while but ran away when the questions got too tough for them. torley ran back to UD, where he can preach to his heart’s content without worrying about tough questions. gpuccio also ran away but I don’t know where to.

    When it comes right down to it, the whole debate is probably all a waste of time and effort. The staunch ID-ists are going to keep on pushing the same old agenda and the same old lies. Most or all of them need professional mental help but won’t admit it or seek it. Their self-righteousness and delusions are out of control.

    Those of us who question or speak out against them are probably going to keep on questioning and speaking out, because we’re an opinionated and, at times, an unruly bunch. I’d like to think that we’re also a bunch that is interested in truth, and real evidence.

    It may not seem like it but I would prefer to debate as you would, in a calm, effective, and interesting way, and of course I want that to be on an uncensored forum, but when I read what is said on UD I must admit that I get worked up at times and want to just tell those arrogant idiots off. I’d be smart to just quit reading what they say but I guess I’m drawn to a train wreck as much as the next person.

    I have actually held back in my comments here and have found it difficult to do so at times. The dishonesty, hypocrisy, arrogance, and outright lies told by the self-proclaimed christians on UD are hard to tolerate and I suppose I get a little satisfaction in getting some of it out of my system by calling them on their bullshit. I would do it there but they wont let me, even though they say that everyone should be heard. What they really mean is that everyone who agrees with them should be heard.

    I respect the fact that this is your blog and I’ll try not to abuse my privileges here, but I don’t think I can promise to always keep my emotions and words in tight check. If at some point you feel that you must ‘moderate’ me, I would understand. I may not like it, but I would understand.

  61. 99 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 10:35 am

    And now back to the insanity at UD.

    kairosfocus (gordon mullings) the busy little ID rhetor said:

    “And, we must never underestimate our willingness to cling to an absurdity if that is the dominant view in power institutions.

    The reason it is so hard to see the obvious is that we are blinded by that power and its programming.”

    He must be referring to religions, churches, and conservative political groups and agendas.

    He also said: “Let us cry: stop the madness!!!!!”

    Yeah gordo, your madness and the madness of religions needs to stop!

    Then, mung-the-chicken hearted said:

    “Still waiting for MathGrrl to show back up and demonstrate true sincerity. (Like that’s ever going to happen.)”

    Still waiting for you, mung-the-deplorable, to show up outside your chosen sanctuary at UD. Still waiting for you and the other cowards at UD to open your forums to honest, non-manipulated, non-censored discussion.

    Then, kairosfocus-the-inadequate said:

    “MG, unfortunately, has been only showing up every so often to toss back in her repeated objections, regardless of corrections that have been worked through over and over.

    For weeks now.”

    She repeats her questions because she still hasn’t gotten a relevant, coherent response to them. When are you going to show up here and face questions and/or challenges without the protection of the mods at your chosen sanctuary?

    And to top off his massive cowardice and and dishonesty, gordon-the-impotent said:

    “Over at MF’s blog, she seems to have found an echo chamber.”

    That statement is utterly false and you know it gordon. You’re a blatant, willful liar with no scruples whatsoever. The blog you constantly post on (UD) is the echo chamber.

    The only person stopping you from posting here is you, and that goes for all the other cowards at UD too.

    gordon: “Sad.”

    Yes gordo, you’re as sad as it gets.

    And last but not least (for now) gordy-the-loon said:

    “All the more reason why there is that stubborn refusal to think outside of the materialistic box is an ideological captivity, not a sound framework for science.”

    Yep gordy, you’re so qualified to lecture about a sound framework for science, and of course your stubborn refusal to think outside of your unsubstantiated, delusional belief box is not an ideological captivity. You’ve got it all figured out, don’t you? Now if you only had some actual tests and evidence. You know, a sound science framework.

  62. 100 Eugen May 14, 2011 at 11:56 am

    You are an angry elf!

  63. 101 kairosfocus May 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    FOR THE RECORD

    I see that some participants here cannot resist the impulse to violate privacy, despite my repeated plea that this be respected, not least to simply reduce the incidence of spamming I face. (And no, you cannot trigger my expulsion by “outing” me by name, if that is what is secretly hoped for.)

    Such rudely insistent discourtesy, disrespect and incivility are key parts of the reason why I will not participate in materialist echo chamber fora like this.

    (As in Saul Alinsky’s cynical philosophy and/or tactics are utterly destructive and I will not support such behaviour. BTW, that sort of behaviour is the exact reason why several of those complaining all over the internet about being excluded at UD were moderated and/or banned. And, MF, simply saying “nay, my sons . . .” does not remove moral — and in the case of actionable remarks — legal — responsibility for hosting such disrespectful and destructive conduct. Welcome to the world of trollish behaviour on internet fora and the challenge of what to do about it. UD has taken the reasonable decision that since it takes 5 minutes to set up at Blogger, if you go too far, go elsewhere. Get your own soap box. That is very defensible and not unreasonable as the above misbehaviour substantiates.)

    The false and misleading mantra I see above is that MG’s claims have not been answered, but — regardless of correction — the false talking point will plainly be repeated drumbeat fashion regardless of the actual facts on the record. this falls under the issue of the passive lie: to spread a potentially damaging false impression that you know or should know is not true or fair is deceptive.

    I also notice the issue of the selectively hyperskeptical escalating demand. First, CSI was meaningless, but now that Orgel-Wicken have weighed in it is meaningful even before mathematical models and metrics are constructed. Then, such models and metrics — especially Dembski’s Chi metric — were ill defined and irrelevant to biosystems, but the log reduction and application to the Durston values shows this is false. The metrics and models are not “rigorous” but they plainly are sufficiently well warranted to be useful. Threshold metrics are suspicious and even ridiculous — but Einstein won his Nobel Prize largely on the strength of such a model and metric. Now, we must calculate the CSI in a banana etc. But we already have the means to calculate the CSI for proteins involved in bananas etc, and we already have enough in hand to see that cell based life is on the CSI metric well inside the designed threshold.

    It is evident to me that to those whose minds are closed, disrespectful and hostile, no evidence or argument suitable to issues that are based on matters of fact will ever be enough.

    I therefore simply point the open- and fair- minded onlooker who actually wants to know the actual balance on the merits here and here.

    As was already linked but is doubtless lost in a flood of red herring- strawman- ad hominem trifecta fallacy remarks.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

    • 102 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 11:45 pm

      gordon said: “But we already have the means to calculate the CSI for proteins involved in bananas etc…”

      Then do it, and don’t forget the “etc”.

      I suggested several things, not all of which contain cells or proteins. If you have a credible test for CSI, you should be able and willing to apply it to anything. A pebble, a mountain, a snake, a banana, a protein, a leaf, an atom, a cardboard box, a human, or anything else. It doesn’t matter what your preconceived notion is as to whether a thing is designed or not or whether it has CSI or not. For CSI to be a credible and useful metric it only matters that people can use your alleged test to objectively establish whether a thing has CSI or not and the actual amount (or measure) of CSI.

      Even if you were to claim that a particular thing has no CSI, you should be able to show exactly how you reached that conclusion.

      Of course first you need to establish what C, S, and I actually are.

      • 103 Flint May 15, 2011 at 12:25 am

        Maybe we’re asking too much all at once. I would be satisfied with a clear method and calculation showing that one of Toronto’s two identical blue cars has CSI and the other has none. And of course, I’d like him to show his work. As part of his methodology, it might help if he was not TOLD which car has the CSI before he starts. Just to keep him, you know, honest.

  64. 104 Toronto May 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    kairosfocus,

    CSI has no pre-defined specification, i.e, the ‘S’ in CSI.

    Without a pre-defined ‘S’, you have no predefined target.

    Without a pre-defined target, there is no “specific” result the designer is looking for.

    You can’t have a design process that doesn’t have a specific output in mind.

    How can you prove design without intent?

    Where is the intent contained in your string of “bits” in the “information”?

  65. 105 Flint May 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I also notice the issue of the selectively hyperskeptical escalating demand. First, CSI was meaningless, but now that Orgel-Wicken have weighed in it is meaningful even before mathematical models and metrics are constructed.

    No, this isn’t what they said. Orgel wrote that life is “specified”, but he somehow neglects to say who specified it, what the specification was that it was supposed to meet, etc. He seems to mean “organized in some functional way”. Yes, so were Toronto’s two identical blue cars, one of which met the spec and one of which did not.

    Wicken also seems to be using specification as a synonym for function. And in this sense he’s saying “let’s figure out what something actually does, and “post-dict” the intended specification by assuming this meets it.” Wicken is struggling to distinguish life from non-life, which at the margin is problematic.

    And in both cases, at least as I read them, they regard normal evolutionary processes as fully sufficient to produce complex, organized, functional organisms. Even Dembski admitted that natural selection meets his criteria for intelligence as a design process.

    What apparently drove Dembski from the field was a wave of requests that he measure the amount of “design” in numerous objects with which he was totally unfamiliar – some of which were known (by others) NOT to have been designed. Turns out Dembski, like anyone else, cannot possibly assess the “amount of design” without some fairly extensive knowledge of the history and context of what’s being examined.

    So we’re back to the ID claim here that “gee, it’s complicated and it’s organized and it’s functional, so it MUST have been designed. And natural feedback processes aren’t allowed for theological reasons, so that leaves an intelligent Designer.”

    It is evident to me that to those whose minds are closed, disrespectful and hostile, no evidence or argument suitable to issues that are based on matters of fact will ever be enough.

    I don’t see how anyone could disagree with this observation. The Hand of The Designer is projected onto living organisms as a matter of Received Wisdom. It is NOT open to question. Given this, let us reasonably and amicably discuss how obvious it is that the Hand of The Designer is right there. If you question WHETHER there is a Designer at all, you are banned, because you are not being reasonable.

  66. 106 Toronto May 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    kairosfocus,

    First, CSI was meaningless, but now that Orgel-Wicken have weighed in it is meaningful even before mathematical models and metrics are constructed.

    Dembski’s version of CSI is meaningless without knowing the intent of the designer, that is, “specification”.

    If I want you to write software for me, I have to tell you first what I expect, not after you’re done.

    He wants to prove design by calculating the improbability of assembling the bits in an undefined target, in a single member of one generation of a population, which is not even the process, evolution, that he is attempting to disprove.

    What do you think we, the Evo side, means by evolution?

  67. 107 The whole truth May 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    gordon, there is no such thing as an expectation of privacy for someone (you) who publicly plasters their own name all over their own website and elsewhere. If you’re so worried about a persons ‘privacy’, why aren’t you on your buddy Joe G’s case about using Ogre’s real name on his blog?

    “to spread a potentially damaging false impression that you know or should know is not true or fair is deceptive.”

    If there were a god, you would have been struck dead for uttering that massively hypocritical statement. You are one of the most unfair, flagrant liars I’ve ever come across. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I feel like I need to take a long, hot shower after reading the things you spew.

    ‘For the record’, all the things you accuse others of doing, you’re doing, and have been doing for a long time. Typical christianity is just gushing out of you.

    Your echo chamber remark is laughable. UD is the echo chamber, and there’s nothing courteous, respectful, civil, fair, or open minded about a site or its supporters that lies, deceives, falsely accuses, and regularly blocks and bans people, especially when that site says that everyone has value and should be heard, even when they disagree.

    People are regularly blocked and banned on UD simply because they try to post reasonable questions or comments that ID-ists are uncomfortable with, and because UD wants to make it look like few if any people question or challenge what is said there. Any questions or disagreements are carefully controlled and kept to a minimum so as to present a dishonestly choreographed facade. Going “too far” on UD is simply a matter of not pushing the same agenda and talking points of the resident ID screwballs there.

    It’s also laughable that you used the word “actionable”, and I do mean laughable. Nothing said here is “actionable”. I take full responsibility for everything I say, and if you think you can take legal action against me, go ahead and try. I live in the USA, where I can say anything I like, unless it will cause imminent bodily harm, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. The only one with authority here is Mark and he is not responsible, legally or otherwise, for what I say.

    You are right about one thing: false talking points will plainly be repeated drumbeat fashion regardless of the actual facts on the record, and the person leading the charge to do that will be you. You’re the ultimate troll, and I mean that with all due respect, which is none.

    I’ve been thinking of creating a blog just to tell you and your UD buddies what I really think of you, and your reminder of how quick and easy it is has added some inspiration to my thoughts. I may just do it.

    By the way gordy, do you realize how crazy you are? No, I guess you don’t.

    Twt of the USA

    • 108 Mark Frank May 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm

      The whole truth
      The Whole Truth

      I’ve been thinking of creating a blog just to tell you and your UD buddies what I really think of you, and your reminder of how quick and easy it is has added some inspiration to my thoughts. I may just do it.

      I think that might be a good idea. As I say, I am not into banning or moderation but I would like this to be a blog where an ID supporter can make their points without feeling he or she has jumped into a snake pit.

      I don’t agree with everything you say about KF or UD. I will never get into a debate with KF (and a growing list of other UD contributors) for various reasons, but I don’t think he is a liar. I believe he is sincere in what he writes. It is true that many people are banned or moderated out of existence on UD for what appear to be capricious reasons. I think this is more down to the whim of individuals and sometimes technical problems than any deliberate policy to “to make it look like few if any people question or challenge what is said there”. I agree that it is an echo chamber in the sense that there is a lot of mutual congratulation among a small group of contributors for saying the same thing over and over again. That’s true of many blogs. There are some ID proponents on UD who are intelligent, well-informed and pleasant and whose contributions I look forward to – particularly Gpuccio (although he appears to have dropped out) and vjtorley. Any other ID proponent is welcome to comment here should they wish to.

  68. 109 Flint May 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    It is true that many people are banned or moderated out of existence on UD for what appear to be capricious reasons. I think this is more down to the whim of individuals and sometimes technical problems than any deliberate policy to “to make it look like few if any people question or challenge what is said there”.And the fact that pro-ID people are never banned, anti-ID people are frequently banned, and even invariably polite, thoughtful, and informed ID opponents find themselves banned fairly soon, I suppose this is just one of those capricious coincidences – a coincidence that has been happening for years!

    Now, an alternative explanation might fit the data set a great deal better, but if it IS just a thumpingly repetetive sequence of pure coincidences, there’s no real way to test. I know dozens and dozens of people who managed to get zero or one post in at UD before being banned. By coincidence, these were all people who accepted the theory of evolution on the evidence – and most of them were thoughtful and polite.

    Mark, when your coin comes up tails 99 flips out of hundred, “coincidence” has long since lost out to a dishonest coin as the most likely explanation.

    • 110 Mark Frank May 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      I agree that anti-ID people are far more likely to be banned/moderated. My point is that the banning decision is not some strategy. I think it is more the emotional reaction of individual posters. As I understand it there are many people who can ban or moderate. I never did find out who moderated me when I was almost moderated out of existence for a period. Also on at least one occasion I was unable to comment because of technical error which appeared just like being banned.

  69. 111 Toronto May 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Mark,

    I agree with you that the ID side, for the most part, clearly believe what they are saying, as illogical as it may be.

    Their banning practices however, should not be simply ignored, as that is something they use proactively.

    We have to show onlookers to these debates, politicians and voters, especially those who may influence educational standards, that censorship is being practiced by the side that claims they are being censored.

    We exist in their minds as heretics, not simply dissenters, and that sort of behaviour has to be stopped in its tracks.

    This debate we are in, creation versus evolution, is simply a subset of the bigger battle, that of a faith-based society versus one that is secular.

    Look at Dembski being told to re-think the flood story despite any scientific reasons he may have had to disagree with the Bible’s view.

    I was put on moderation on or about my third post, and despite many requests to allow me to properly reply to other commenters, I was never taken off.

  70. 113 Seversky May 14, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    kairosfocus

    I see that some participants here cannot resist the impulse to violate privacy, despite my repeated plea that this be respected, not least to simply reduce the incidence of spamming I face. (And no, you cannot trigger my expulsion by “outing” me by name, if that is what is secretly hoped for.)

    The only reason you are being continually “outed” is because you insist on this absurd pretense of anonymity even though your real name is out in the public domain by your own hand. As for the complaint about spam, the reality is that, like viruses, it is a fact of Internet life. Any sensible person simply employs a good spam filter and antivirus software as protection and goes on about their business.

    Such rudely insistent discourtesy, disrespect and incivility are key parts of the reason why I will not participate in materialist echo chamber fora like this.

    Yet you continue to post to Uncommon Descent where “discourtesy, disrespect and incivility” from some other regulars are routinely passed by the moderators while other contributors, who have been scrupulously polite, are nonetheless banned. Moreover, they are often banned without notice, leaving their opponents to assume that they have been bested in debate and have withdrawn. This is shoddy behavior from people who claim to hold themselves to higher moral and ethical standards than the rest of us. Yes, the owners have the right to moderate the blog in any way they choose but the rest of us are going to point out the hypocrisy of complaining about “Darwinist” oppression while operating one of the more heavily-censored fora around.

    The false and misleading mantra I see above is that MG’s claims have not been answered, but — regardless of correction — the false talking point will plainly be repeated drumbeat fashion regardless of the actual facts on the record. this falls under the issue of the passive lie: to spread a potentially damaging false impression that you know or should know is not true or fair is deceptive.

    The lie is in the pretense that MathGrrl’s requests have been met in full. The most worthy attempt so far has come from vjtorley but my understanding is that MG, Mark Frank and others all have issues with it. Others here have pointed out the possibly insurmountable problem with defining specification. I even go a little further in that I tend to side with Australian philosopher John S Wilkins in arguing that conceiving of information as a property of organisms rather than of the models used to describe them is misleading. CSI must fail as a concept if two of the three legs on which it stands are cut away.

    Now, we must calculate the CSI in a banana etc. But we already have the means to calculate the CSI for proteins involved in bananas etc, and we already have enough in hand to see that cell based life is on the CSI metric well inside the designed threshold.

    If you can calculate the CSI for a banana protein, why not for the whole banana?

  71. 114 Flint May 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I agree that anti-ID people are far more likely to be banned/moderated. My point is that the banning decision is not some strategy. I think it is more the emotional reaction of individual posters.

    !!! Astounding. Not a strategy, just standard practice for theological reasons. Nor is this just a pattern at UD – the net has dozens of creationist sites, and ALL of them use heavy censorship to maintain purity of message. Some of them do not allow comments at all, except by (very ideological) invitation. But it’s not a strategy, oh no! This is kind of like saying there is no government strategy to build roads, it’s just that some personalities within government just kind of, you know, coincidentally do it. Good grief!

    Also on at least one occasion I was unable to comment because of technical error which appeared just like being banned.

    My experience is, there are indeed technical errors. Which always seem to bedevil those whose positions are uncongenial with the owner of the site. But this distinct correlation between technical difficulties and agreement with the owner are another of those strange coincidences.

    But this series of coincidences has only been occurring for the last 15 years, since I started watching. Maybe it’s just a hiccup?

  72. 115 Flint May 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I even go a little further in that I tend to side with Australian philosopher John S Wilkins in arguing that conceiving of information as a property of organisms rather than of the models used to describe them is misleading. CSI must fail as a concept if two of the three legs on which it stands are cut away.
    I suggest that Dembski inserted the word “Information” into his notion in order to make it sound more scientistical, and because Dembski tends to be verbose. He could have called his idea “specified complexity” just as Behe called his idea “irreducible complexity”, rather than “irreducibly complex information.” It’s basically a noise term, applying to nothing in the real world yet.

    CSI really stands on only one leg – the theological conviction that the creationist god poofed life into existence. And this conviction is reformulated (rationalized) into “life could not possibly have originated or evolved without the guidance of the creationist god, therefore the creationist god did it.” And then we can “know” this by discovering “design” in living organisms, which implies a Designer. And thus we have based our assumptions on our convictions, and used those assumptions to derive our convictions!

    Behe, on the witness stand, was challenged that non-theological science has established that living organisms evolve naturally, beyond any conceivable scientific doubt. He was presented with large heavy stacks of documentation, which he dismissed as “not good enough”. But on cross examination, Behe was obliged to admit that the evidence is regarded as insufficient ONLY by those who reject it for religious reasons. And the sum total of his evidence FOR divine design was – well, well, golly, just LOOK at it. How can you miss it? It’s stone obvious to anyone who already believes it’s there. Without this foregone belief, nobody else can see it. I guess Behe would ask that they pray for enlightenment. Scientifically, of course!

  73. 116 Flint May 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I even go a little further in that I tend to side with Australian philosopher John S Wilkins in arguing that conceiving of information as a property of organisms rather than of the models used to describe them is misleading. CSI must fail as a concept if two of the three legs on which it stands are cut away.

    I suggest that Dembski inserted the word “Information” into his notion in order to make it sound more scientistical, and because Dembski tends to be verbose. He could have called his idea “specified complexity” just as Behe called his idea “irreducible complexity”, rather than “irreducibly complex information.” It’s basically a noise term, applying to nothing in the real world yet.

    CSI really stands on only one leg – the theological conviction that the creationist god poofed life into existence. And this conviction is reformulated (rationalized) into “life could not possibly have originated or evolved without the guidance of the creationist god, therefore the creationist god did it.” And then we can “know” this by discovering “design” in living organisms, which implies a Designer. And thus we have based our assumptions on our convictions, and used those assumptions to derive our convictions!

    Behe, on the witness stand, was challenged that non-theological science has established that living organisms evolve naturally, beyond any conceivable scientific doubt. He was presented with large heavy stacks of documentation, which he dismissed as “not good enough”. But on cross examination, Behe was obliged to admit that the evidence is regarded as insufficient ONLY by those who reject it for religious reasons. And the sum total of his evidence FOR divine design was – well, well, golly, just LOOK at it. How can you miss it? It’s stone obvious to anyone who already believes it’s there. Without this foregone belief, nobody else can see it. I guess Behe would ask that they pray for enlightenment. Scientifically, of course!

  74. 117 Petrushka May 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    It appears it is possible to calculate a variation of CSI, and to rationally discuss the evolutionary implications of fitness landscapes. All it takes is actual research.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110511162538.htm

    Scientists study these paths by creating a “fitness landscape”: a diagram of possible genetic states for a particular gene, and each state’s relative fitness in a given environment. There are 120 possible paths through which bacteria with zero mutations could accumulate all five, but the Harvard team found that only 18 could ever actually occur.

    The MIT team built on that study by asking whether bacteria could evolve resistance to cefotaxime but then lose it if they were placed in a new environment in which resistance to the original drug hindered their ability to survive.

    Genetic states that differ by only one mutation are always reversible if one state is more fit in one environment and the other is more fit in the other. The MIT researchers were able to study how the possibility of reversal decreases as the number of mutations between the two states increased.

  75. 118 Petrushka May 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Dare I mention that five mutations appears to violate some sort of natural law, the Edge of Evolution?

  76. 119 MathGrrl May 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Everyone,

    Sorry for dropping off the face of the Internet — just had a week of real world demands. I’ve stepped back into the discussion at UD and have enjoyed catching up on the comments here. I do hope that some of the UD regulars will choose to continue to participate here.

  77. 120 PaV May 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Do you have any questions?

    • 121 Alan Fox May 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Hello, PaV.

      I can’t find any other comment by you, so I am rather puzzled about what question to ask you.

      You could tell me what CSI is if you like.

    • 122 OM May 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      How about a demonstration of the fabled Explanatory Filter?

      I’d like to see the “three-stage Explanatory Filter” demonstrated on a biological entity. A cell, an eye. Whatever really. Totally up to you.

      k tnx by

  78. 123 PaV May 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Alan:

    The best presentation of CSI is, of course, Dembski’s “No Free Lunch” book. As I’ve mentioned to MathGrrl, this requires some real effort to fully understand. Without applying the needed effort, you’re left with some kind of simplified notion of what CSI is.

    Let me add that Dembski has moved beyond CSI to “specified complexity”, something that doesn’t involve ‘bits’, and that adds other facets to specified complexity in response to criticisms made contra CSI. This is all found in Dembski’s “Specification . . .” paper.

    If you really want an understanding of CSI, these are the two principal sources.

    • 124 Alan Fox May 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      Initially, I would just like to know if “complex specified information” is simply descriptive like “intelligent” or “design” for example, or whether CSI is a quantifiable property of entities such as mass or temperature.

  79. 125 PaV May 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    OM:

    I don’t think much emphasis is placed on the “Explanatory Filter” these days. I think Dembski has moved away from it. I, personally, don’t think too much about it.

    However, let me just say at the onset, I’m no “expert” in all matters ID and CSI. I don’t have a “degree” in it. No formal course work exists. Matters of ID have been presented by Dembski, are still around, and have a certain applicability. It’s a way of understanding certain entities, and especially biological ones.

    From what I remember of the EF, and let us apply it to the human eye, e.g., it is essentially a preliminary analysis meant to eliminate the possibility that something can be explained either by chance or by necessity.

    In the case of the eye, it would be highly unreasonable to think that by placing all the proteins present in the human eye that either by chance events, or by some kind of stoichiometric law, these proteins would assemble into a functioning eye.

    Therefore, both chance and necessity don’t apply, and one would then move on to treat it per CSI/”specified complexity” criteria.

    I should note that almost any biological entity is considered to be “specified” given that it has some kind of function. This can be seen by noting that ‘akkislfto’ is a meaningless assemblage of letters whereas ‘specified’ serves a purpose in the English language.

    • 126 Rose May 27, 2011 at 8:01 pm

      “I don’t think much emphasis is placed on the “Explanatory Filter” these days.”

      Joe G. thinks otherwise. I guess he didn’t get the memo.

      “No formal course work exists.”

      That’s apparent.

      “It’s a way of understanding certain entities, and especially biological ones.”

      In what way exactly?

      “In the case of the eye, it would be highly unreasonable to think that by placing all the proteins present in the human eye into a beaker that either by chance events, or by some kind of stoichiometric law, these proteins would assemble into a functioning eye.”

      “Unreasonable” is a matter of opinion and opinions aren’t evidence. And you said “it is essentially a preliminary analysis meant to eliminate the possibility that something can be explained either by chance or by necessity.” Does the EF eliminate the possibility or just opine on what’s unreasonable?

      “Therefore, both chance and necessity don’t apply, and one would then move on to treat it per CSI/”specified complexity” criteria.”

      No, there’s no “therefore” yet. First, the EF has to be properly and scientifically defined, tested, verified, and established. Then, if it passes those requirements, the accuracy and reliability of whether it could be used to determine if necessity and chance don’t apply to a human eye (or anything else) may be calculable.

      “I should note that almost any biological entity is considered to be “specified” given that it has some kind of function. This can be seen by noting that ‘akkislfto’ is a meaningless assemblage of letters whereas ‘specified’ serves a purpose in the English language.”

      Almost any? Which ones aren’t “specified” and exactly how can that be tested and verified? And what about non-biological entities? Which ones are specified and which ones aren’t, and exactly how can that be tested and verified?

      ‘akkislfto’ could easily be a meaningful password or code. Therefore, it would have function and be specified (for and by a human).

      What exactly is the criteria for CSI/specified complexity?

  80. 127 PaV May 27, 2011 at 10:58 am

    OM:

    In the last post, I should have written: “it would be highly unreasonable to think that by placing all the proteins present in the human eye into a beaker, that either . . .

  81. 128 Toronto May 27, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Pav:

    I should note that almost any biological entity is considered to be “specified” given that it has some kind of function.

    This is one of the problems of “CSI/specified complexity”, the claim that if something has some function, it must have been “specifically” intended.

    There is no evidence of any type to suggest this.

    The ToE has no specific target, so we can say, “Whatever works is fine”. ID however, has an intelligent designer who does have a specific target in mind, so you can’t say the same thing.

    1) How do you know what that target was?

    2) How do you make a comparison between the designer’s intention and the result?

    3) Is it fair to claim that the “specification” was met, in hindsight?

  82. 129 Toronto May 27, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Pav:

    “it would be highly unreasonable to think that by placing all the proteins present in the human eye into a beaker, that either . . .

    The ToE agrees with you since the ToE claims small changes in a large population over a large number of generations result in some sort functional advantage.

    What Dembski, kairosfocus, and the ID movement are suggesting however, is that the ToE is claiming more than ~500 bits of change in a single organism that results in the sudden appearance of an eye or other complex structure.

    Since that is not a claim of the ToE, what theory is ID actually claiming to falsify?

  83. 130 Petrushka May 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Since that is not a claim of the ToE, what theory is ID actually claiming to falsify?

    The same theory attacked by Douglass Axe: the theory that evolution must create things in one step.

    You’d think that after a hundred and fifty years, they could at least have read Darwin on the subject.

    It’s just incredibly tedious trying to engage with people who ignore the basic subject matter.

  84. 131 PaV May 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Alan Fox:

    CSI, as defined in NFL, is in bits, and hence indicates some kind of quantity. Likewise, in “Specification”, it is a number—hence like ‘mass’ or ‘temperature’.

    In this sense, then, I guess I would say that it is a measure of some quantity, and here, that quantity would be ‘intelligent/design’.

    All of this happens, though, only if a ‘pattern’ is detected. Philosophically, I suppose one would argue that only an “intelligent agent” can detect ‘intelligence/design’.

    • 132 Alan Fox May 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      …and hence indicates some kind of quantity.

      …and here, that quantity would be ‘intelligent/design’.

      This does seem to lack some detail! Is CSI a property of all matter and is it just that some groupings of matter have “more” CSI than others? How do you go about detecting or measuring it?

      Philosophically, I suppose one would argue that only an “intelligent agent” can detect ‘intelligence/design’.

      That could be an issue, I guess. Especially as, as far as I understand it, ID does not speculate about the nature of “intelligent agents”.

  85. 133 kairosfocus May 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Mr Frank et al:

    FOR THE RECORD:

    Pardon, but the developments over the past two days underscore why it is unreasonable to request or expect me to spend any time here in an exchange of views.

    For capital example, in the case of the commenter who has plainly riffed off this thread of commentary and has now posted a slander and vulgarity laced blog, not only do I see privacy violation as above but also the evident notion from his freshly launched blog that prefacing a clip with vulgarities seemingly constitutes adequate refutation.

    That says volumes about him, none of it good.

    It also says a lot that I was repeatedly invited or even pressured to come here (and told that it is only cowardice and hiding behind a wall of unfair protection that prevents my coming here), and yet, whenever I have taken time to look in here, I can only see little more than a stream of abusive verbal misbehaviour, red herrings, strawman tactics, ad hominems, refusal to actually engage issues seriously on the merits, and willful obtuseness.

    None of which are calculated to attract my attention or interest.

    Sorry, if you want to have a discussion with me, you will not get such by indulging in or tolerating rudeness, incivility, and vulgarity.

    On the substantive matter, I have already long since repeatedly laid out sufficient of facts and reasoning for those truly interested in the facts on and warrant for viewing CSI as a reasonable, quantifiable and credible sign of choice contingency as key causal factor. (Most recently, cf here.)

    I am convinced now that many here will never listen to any argument or evidence that does not fit their preconceptions or the conclusions they have established by imposition of a priori Sagan-Lewontin materialism, which Johnson aptly exposed and corrected long ago now. As to the idea that worldviews need to be assessed on comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power, that is probably lost on such.

    When it comes to the slanderous and vulgar accusations indulged in in the newly derivative blog, I respond here for those interested in a fairer view of the matter, and if you want to know my actual specific thinking on origins science, I suggest here where I have gone on record at responsible length. This foul-mouthed, slanderous commenter plainly has no regard for the truth, for representing the views and character of others fairly, or for decency and basic common courtesy.

    He should be deeply ashamed of himself, but is in fact a capital example of precisely the amorality triggered by evolutionary materialism that Plato warned against in The Laws, Bk X, 2350 years ago.

    I simply ask such: why should I go wading in a cesspit, on the odd chance that here may be a nugget or a pearl in it?

    Do you imagine that by spewing forth verbal sewage, you will attract those whose mindset is any higher than that of the sort of flies that are attracted to filth?

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI

    • 134 Alan Fox May 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      KF

      Your attempt to distract from the simple question “what is CSI” is not unsurprising.

      However, let me correct you on one point. MarkF has allowed a free exchange of ideas here and has remonstrated, as have others, with a particular poster who has then gone on to set up his own blog. Mark, unlike the moderators at UD, enthusiastically supported by you, does not seek to control the agenda. He seeks a free and open exchange of views, ideas and information. (Please correct me if I presume too much, Mark, I don’t mean to speak for you.)

      I am convinced now that many here will never listen to any argument or evidence that does not fit their preconceptions…

      How you think this applies to the commenters here more appropriately than at UD… well, words fail me!

      • 135 Alan Fox May 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm

        “not unsurprising”???

        S/B “not surprising”

        Mea Culpa 😦

      • 136 Mark Frank May 28, 2011 at 5:41 am

        Mark, unlike the moderators at UD, enthusiastically supported by you, does not seek to control the agenda. He seeks a free and open exchange of views, ideas and information.

        Actually I don’t think the moderators at UD do seek to control the agenda.They vary greatly in their approach to moderation and much of it is emotionally based – but that is the subject on that other infamous thread! I guess what I am trying to do here is use opinion to control the discussion rather than banning or moderating. It seems to have worked so far in the sense that a couple of out of order contributors have been stopped commenting.

        As you say I hope this will encourage more free and open discussion. It also means there is no motive for socks or such like.

    • 137 Rose May 28, 2011 at 5:39 am

      Verbal sewage? That’s funny coming from you.

  86. 138 PaV May 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Toronto:

    This is one of the problems of “CSI/specified complexity”, the claim that if something has some function, it must have been “specifically” intended.

    There is no evidence of any type to suggest this.

    Let me use passwords as a way of getting at specification. If you have a password to log onto your bank account, it is normally made up of letters and numbers. Usually it is of such a length that the odds of arriving at a particular password via random strings of characters (both letters and numbers) is so small that no one can break into your account.

    Suppose your bank account required a nine character field. The odds of getting to a particular string of characters randomly would be 35^9, which is about 3.5 x 10^23; or, almost one in a trillion trillion combinations. For someone to arrive at your combination by chance is virtually impossible. And, yet, if you type in these nine characters—voila! you’re logged into your account and can download information. Thus, your nine character assignation is functional. It allows you to use your bank’s online services. It is therefore ‘specified’.

    This means that one trillion trillion nine-character long strings can be typed in which will have no effect (they won’t allow you to ‘log in’). But one of these will. Yours. Thus, since the trillion trillion possible character strings have no function, we can say that there not ‘specified’.

    Applying this to biology: given that most biological information is in the form of DNA sequences hundreds of bases long, then we can say that a DNA sequence which codes for a functional protein having a 110 a.a. length (equivalent to 330 bases) is one sequence out of 4^330—which is astronomically small. And, yet, out of all of these 4^330 ‘possible’ sequences, only this one is ‘functional’; that is, it produces some type of functional product making the life of the cell/organism possible. In parallel fashion, it is only right to say that this particular DNA sequence is ‘specified’.

    Now, along the way, given that the bank has a hundred thousand accounts, each with its own password, if you were to try and arrive at someone’s password by chance, you would run into other ‘specified’ character strings. The odds would be 10^5 x 10^-23 = 10^-18. Needless to say, the ‘password’ without the ‘account number’ is useless information. But this points out that when an information sequence like coding-DNA is considered, unless the cell/organism is utilizing upwards of 10^190 proteins (4^330 = 2^660 = approx. 10^198), the likelihood of coming across a ‘functional’ sequence by chance is somewhat fleeting, amounting to a one in a 100 million chance. A typical cell has maybe 30,000 proteins, leaving us the possibility of arriving at a functional sequence simply by chance of 3 x 10^4 divided by 10^198, or ~3 x 10^-193. This means, if the sequence were highly conserved—as is cytochrome c—that 3 x 10^193 sequences of nucleotides of length 330 would have NO function.

    In sum, if you don’t consider cytochrome c to be ‘specified’, then you shouldn’t consider your bank password to be ‘specified’. Nevertheless, both are ‘specifications’ because they are functional. (Let me mention this: without cytochrome c, cells can’t divide; and, hence, reproduction [and Darwinian selection] cannot take place)

    • 139 Alan Fox May 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      …and, yet, out of all of these 4^330 ‘possible’ sequences, only this one is ‘functional’

      You have no justification for this claim. There is experimental evidence that it far fom being the case.

    • 141 Rose May 28, 2011 at 5:17 am

      Funny thing is that bank accounts, email inboxes, websites, networks, etc., are commonly hacked into, by people using computer programs that generate and apply passwords. If passwords are so difficult and unlikely to be randomly generated, why are hackers successful?

      Are you avoiding my other questions?

  87. 142 PaV May 27, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Alan Fox:

    This does seem to lack some detail! Is CSI a property of all matter and is it just that some groupings of matter have “more” CSI than others? How do you go about detecting or measuring it?

    You can choose to make all of this difficult. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    What about so-called Shannon Information? What does it measure? What quantity does it express?

    While ID is not philosophical, per se, nevertheless, philosophical issues impinge upon it. So, e.g., what exactly does information constitute? And, is it only intelligent agents that can identify it?

    • 143 Rose May 28, 2011 at 5:26 am

      Choose to make all this difficult? I suppose you’d much prefer that people simply accept that ‘God-did-it’ and leave it at that?

      Shouldn’t you be the one answering the questions you posed, and connecting the answers to ID?

    • 144 Alan Fox May 28, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Wikipedia tells me:

      Shannon’s entropy represents an absolute limit on the best possible lossless compression of any communication, under certain constraints: treating messages to be encoded as a sequence of independent and identically-distributed random variables, Shannon’s source coding theorem shows that, in the limit, the average length of the shortest possible representation to encode the messages in a given alphabet is their entropy divided by the logarithm of the number of symbols in the target alphabet.

      So what has that to do with complex specified information in relation to living organisms?

      And as Rose points out, aren’t we drifting off the point? What is “complex specified information”?

  88. 145 PaV May 27, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Alan Fox:

    You have no justification for this claim. There is experimental evidence that it far fom being the case.

    I was using the example of cytochrome c. Are you saying that there is experimental evidence that there are all kinds of isomers of cytochrome c found throughout animal life?

    • 146 Alan Fox May 28, 2011 at 9:29 am

      You need another word than “isomer”. It makes no sense (ismoers are compounds with the same molecular formula but in different structural arrangements) as you use it

      No, I am not claiming there are many different cytochrome c’s, although there are hundreds of homologues so far known. My point is broader. There is no way I am aware of yet of predicting function a priori in proteins. So the only current way to test the function of an unknown protein is to synthesize it and examine it in vitro and in vivo. Oxytocin is a nonapeptide. There are 512 billion possible nonapeptides including oxytocin. How many might have function should mutation and selection stumble upon them? You don’t know and I don’t know, (not to mention the issue that proteins evolve in small steps, evolutionary theory is not tornadoes in junkyards).

      What work has been done (Keefe and Szostak, for example) suggests functionality in proteins not found in vivo is widespread.

      • 147 Alan Fox May 28, 2011 at 9:35 am

        Ah, my link above is broken, sorry!

        Here is another paper adressing the issue of the existence of protein sequences as yet undiscovered by evolutionary pathways.

        HT Petrushka

  89. 148 PaV May 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Toronto:

    What Dembski, kairosfocus, and the ID movement are suggesting however, is that the ToE is claiming more than ~500 bits of change in a single organism that results in the sudden appearance of an eye or other complex structure.

    I wonder if you’re familiar with the work of Michael Behe?

    He co-authored a paper with a mathematician Daniel(?)Snoke in about 2004. They did a computer simulation of the number of generations that would be needed to produce a 2-3 amino acid change in a genome via recombination and gene duplication. They assumed highly favorable evolutionary conditions (e.g., gene duplications were instantaneously ‘fixed’ in the population). They, of course, had to assume various selection factors, population sizes, etc. IIRC, their output had the two variables of population size and generations, and included ‘curves’ for various assumed conditions. They showed that a simple 2-3 a.a. substitution would require a large size population to reproduce/replicate for over 10^30 generations.

    As a follow-up, he wrote his Edge of Evolution, wherein he documented how long (i.e., how many generations) it took for the malarial parasite to develop chloroquine resistance. His results showed that it took around 10^20 replications (~generations) before it found the 2 a.a. substitutions needed for resistance development.

    One study was theoretical; the other was actual. In neither case do we see “small changes” taking place in a population “over a long number of generations” leading to much change.

    This corresponds, of course, to the improbabilities pointed out by those who favor ID thinking.

    No one—to my knowledge—makes the claim that this 500 bits of change has to take place in one organism. We make the claim that supposed Darwinian mechanisms can ONLY ACCOUNT for very small changes even given large populations and large generation times, and that to extrapolate these changes to account for the high level of information contained in genes would require almost infinite amounts of time.

    • 149 Rose May 28, 2011 at 5:35 am

      So, alleged improbabilities are all you have then?

      I thought you ID-ists were the ones who always say that throwing time at something, like evolution, doesn’t support it? Yet you throw time at evolution to discount it. Interesting.

    • 150 Alan Fox May 28, 2011 at 9:42 am

      I wonder if you’re familiar with the work of Michael Behe?

      He co-authored a paper with a mathematician Daniel(?)Snoke in about 2004.

      There is no mention of anything to do with “intelligent design theory” in that paper.

      • 151 PaV May 28, 2011 at 10:41 am

        Alan Fox:

        I didn’t say that the paper had to do with ID. In fact, it had to do with Darwinian theory. It was a test of the theory’s proposed mechanisms.

        ID is not necessarily a “theory”. It’s more of an “explanation”.

        If you’re familiar with the work of Stephen Meyer’s, then you know that his thesis is that ID has more “explanatory power” than does Darwinism: that is, ID can better explain the kind of complexity—from various kinds of genetic codes to mechanical motors—found in living cells and organisms.

  90. 152 PaV May 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Rose:

    If something is astronomically improbable, then, basically, it’s impossible. What’s wrong with pointing this out?

    Was Darwin aware of the cell’s amazing complexity at the time he proposed his theory? Did he know of the genetic code?

    We do. Why not use this knowledge to help us understand the life about us?

    As to the comment about ‘time’, time is in a way an element of improbability. IOW, if something is astronomically improbable, then huge amounts of time might overcome the odds. At some point, however, we simply run out of time, and then the improbabilities become determinative.

    • 153 Flint May 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      If something appears astronomically unlikely to have happened in some specific way, yet we observe that it has happened, we have three options: (1) Assume magic; (2) assume an extremely unlikely sequence of events; or (3) hypothesize that it occurred through some far more likely but not self-evident manner, and search for one.

      Nearly all these odds-based criticisms are based on “all at once” sorts of models. What are the odds of this AND this AND this AND this AND this AND this all occurring simultaneously. They’re too unlikely to consider. Therefore magic!

      But how about a process that adds something, and later adds something else, and does this over a long period of time? Since this is easily possible, AND theological requirments prohibit the end result from happening, we MUST make false assumptions to defend our foregone conclusions.

      When Behe was asked to account for the many many KNOWN paths by which irredicible complexity can be reached, he grabbed his goalposts and was last seen heading for Andromeda! He now demands DOCUMENTED evidence of EVERY molecular change in EVERY organic molecule over the last 4 billion years! Lab demonstrations aren’t good enough. Both theoretical and computer models that demonstrate that irreducielbe complexity is the NORM, not the exception, aren’t good enough.

      So there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that X is astronomically improbable. But the goal of science is to determine what DID happen, not to point out that something ELSE almost surely didn’t happen.

    • 154 Rose May 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm

      Astronomically improbable according to whom? Is basically impossible the same thing as impossible? It’s going to take a lot more than alleged improbabilities to substantiate ID.

      Of course Darwin wasn’t aware of the complexity of the cell, although he must have realized that biological entities are amazingly complex.

      There’s nothing wrong with using current and future knowledge of the complexity of cells to help us understand the life about us. What’s wrong is to assume a designer that has no basis in fact, and to prop up that assumption with religious beliefs and pseudo-science.

      The time argument can’t reasonably be used by ID-ists, since ID-ists say it shouldn’t be used at all by evolutionists. If ID-ists are going to throw time at the evidence or debate, evolutionists can do the same thing. A lot can happen in hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of years.

      Even though science doesn’t have all the answers regarding evolution, it does have a good amount of evidence (besides time) and is looking for more by doing scientific studies and research. ID has no evidence and is based on assumptions driven by religious beliefs. ID-ists appear to be looking for evidence for ID only in selected internet comments and debates, ID promoting websites, religious texts and beliefs, non-peer reviewed ID promoting books, the gaps or alleged gaps in scientific evidence, highly debatable or already proven wrong ID inferences, and their imaginations.

      If ID-ists could come up with a credible test and positive evidence for ID, science would take notice. In the meantime, ID is just wishful thinking.

      Something I think a lot of ID-ists don’t realize is that many scientists, and others, would probably be open to considering a credible test and positive evidence for ID. So far, that hasn’t been forthcoming.

      • 155 Flint May 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm

        Something I think a lot of ID-ists don’t realize is that many scientists, and others, would probably be open to considering a credible test and positive evidence for ID. So far, that hasn’t been forthcoming.

        By now, this refrain has lost most of its interest. The irreducible core of ID is, of course, the intelligent Designer itself. For which there CAN BE no direct, experimental or observational evidence. And notice that this statistical argument, and ALL other anti-evolution arguments, are not positive arguments. All of them are different ways of saying “if we misrepresent your position in a way that makes you look foolish, OUR claims must win by default.”

        No ID proponent has EVER proposed so much as a single testable hypothesis for observing the Design process in action, or for identifying the Designer, or for distinguishing magical design from natural design. The ID methodology is inherently, unavoidable unscientific – indeed, the exact opposite. Science seeks intersubjective validation, in an attempt to factor out human biases and isolate the underlying reality. ID seeks to reify and glorify human biases. Evidence is the enemy of prayer.

  91. 156 Alan Fox May 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    PaV:

    I didn’t say that the paper had to do with ID. In fact, it had to do with Darwinian theory. It was a test of the theory’s proposed mechanisms.

    I am quite happy to concede, for the sake of argument, that evolutionary theory is incomplete and inadequate. That does not impinge on the validity of ID and whether there is a theory of ID that explains anything.

    ID is not necessarily a “theory”.

    Well, indeed! Apart from your use of “necessarily”, I wholeheartedly agree with this.

    If you’re familiar with the work of Stephen Meyer’s, then you know that his thesis is that ID has more “explanatory power” than does Darwinism: that is, ID can better explain the kind of complexity—from various kinds of genetic codes to mechanical motors—found in living cells and organisms.

    This is like saying CSI is real! Meyer explains nothing. If you disagree, give me a reference to an explanation of anything to do with the current and former biological diversity. Or just tell me what CSI is, for a start.

    • 157 Alan Fox May 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      Oh and PaV

      Did you follow my point about not being able to calculate how improbable sequences are because we don’t know how rare they are?

  92. 158 Flint May 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    If you’re familiar with the work of Stephen Meyer’s, then you know that his thesis is that ID has more “explanatory power” than does Darwinism: that is, ID can better explain the kind of complexity—from various kinds of genetic codes to mechanical motors—found in living cells and organisms.

    It would be a bit more honest to recognize that magic explains EVERYTHING. There is nothing you can point to and say “this happened by magic” where anyone can prove you wrong. Magic is really wonderful like that. It is FULLY explanatory of EVERYTHING. If only it made a prediction, it would be better. If only it could be tested or falsified, it would be better. But hey, no explanation is perfect, and magic sure works well!

    And what is ID’s “expalanation”? Well, ID holds that at some time in the past that we can’t determine, someone we can’t observe did something we can’t guess, by unknowable means, resulting in what we see today. All we can know for sure is tht there must be a Designer who must have done this because, well, because we ASSUMED a designer before we started.

    All clear now? If so, you know more than any biologist ever will, and you didn’t even need to observe or study anything. Aren’t magical explanations grand?

  93. 159 Zachriel May 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    PAV: If something is astronomically improbable, then, basically, it’s impossible. What’s wrong with pointing this out?

    That’s fine, but Behe and Snokes have a number of problems with their argument.

    * It’s hardly novel to claim that rare double-mutations are rare.

    * It’s hardly novel in that drug cocktails to create a ‘mutation-barrier’ have been used for years.

    * Selection and other aspects of population genetics are very important for understanding the evolution of drug resistance.

    * Evolution doesn’t predict that any particular structure will necessarily evolve, so showing that a particular structure is unlikely to evolve is largely irrelevant to the larger question.

    * They apparently don’t understand that a population of 1000 evolving for a 1000 generations has a different evolutionary behavior than a population of a million for one generation.

    * Many adaptations require only a single mutation to begin the process of adaptation, or a duplication which may increase enzymatic activity.

    * Please quit saying it’s not “leading to much change”. Plasmodium eats humans, especially their young. And the adaptation involved overcomes the best efforts of the most highly technological organisms on Earth to beat back the threat.

  94. 160 PaV May 28, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Rose:

    Astronomically improbable according to whom? Is basically impossible the same thing as impossible? It’s going to take a lot more than alleged improbabilities to substantiate ID.

    Here’s Richard Dawkins’ argument for gradualism, found in his Blind Watchmaker: [With respect to the configuration space generated by his “Biomorph” program, which contains half a trillion elements] “But if, instead of jumping you walked, one step at a time, and were given one small coin as a reward every time you happened to take a step in the right direction, you would reach the scorpion in a very short time.”

    So his whole argument against improbabilities is based on an “if”, a supposition. Do you consider this simple supposition sufficient demonstration of the supposed power of ‘gradualism’? Isn’t this no more than a leap of faith?

    Contrariwise, huge improbabilities are there before our eyes. We can’t deny them. Dawkins doesn’t deny them. He says everything give the appearance of design when it comes to organic life. Should we then believe in ‘unseen powers’?

    A lot can happen in hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of years.

    Who would dispute that statement? But the problem is thisL can ENOUGH things happen in hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of years?

    IOW, to “search” a space that contains incredible amounts of elements requires an incredible amount of time. A renown quantum physicist, I believe it is Seth Lloyd, has calculated that the maximum number of particle interactions that can have taken place in the history of the universe is 10^120. When you have a configuration space of 10^198 elements for cytochrome c—without which life could not exist—it is then ‘impossible’ to have searched that entire space blindly given the entire history of the universe. Isn’t this a forceful argument that ‘blind chance’ cannot account for the complexity of cellular life?

    ID has no evidence and is based on assumptions driven by religious beliefs.

    Isn’t this patently false? How does this statement account for the fact that acknowledged atheists—such as David Berlinski—are solidly in the ID camp?

    • 161 Flint May 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm

      Contrariwise, huge improbabilities are there before our eyes. We can’t deny them. Dawkins doesn’t deny them. He says everything give the appearance of design when it comes to organic life. Should we then believe in ‘unseen powers’?

      This is a fallacy. Toss a ball into the air, let it come down, roll a while, and come to rest. What is the probability that the ball would come to rest precisely where it did, and nowhere else? It is infinitesimal. So did we just witness a miracle? Of course not – the ball had to stop SOMEWHERE.

      Considered more generally, nearly everything we see around us is astronomically unlikely. But nothing is miraculous.

      Who would dispute that statement? But the problem is thisL can ENOUGH things happen in hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of years?

      Observation suggests that while evolutionary processes certainly have a maximum speed, that speed is almost never even approached, because new niches simply don’t open up that often. But when they do, they are filled very quickly. The implication is that much more COULD have evolved over those long periods, given sufficient opportunity.

      (And as a footnote, it’s most plausible that the ideal maximum speed of evolution ITSELF evolved. But that’s another essay).

      IOW, to “search” a space that contains incredible amounts of elements requires an incredible amount of time. A renown quantum physicist, I believe it is Seth Lloyd, has calculated that the maximum number of particle interactions that can have taken place in the history of the universe is 10^120. When you have a configuration space of 10^198 elements for cytochrome c—without which life could not exist—it is then ‘impossible’ to have searched that entire space blindly given the entire history of the universe. Isn’t this a forceful argument that ‘blind chance’ cannot account for the complexity of cellular life?

      No, of course not! In the first place, evolution is not a search algorithm, looking systematically through morphology space for everything workable. Evolution is a “do whatever works” algorithm, searching for nothing.

      Nothing that evolution produces occurred by searching any sort of space. If some modification worked well enough, it tended to be adopted. Otherwise, it wasn’t. Nor is evolution blind in this sense either. It is SELECTIVE.

      Basically, this sort of argument is either ignorant or dishonest. It assumes a model of evolution no biologist would ever propose or accept (and would ROFL), it assumes that the (nonexistent) “search process” is non-cumulative and non-contingent, exactly the opposite of how evolution works. And then it draws foregone conclusions based on a deliberate misrepresentation.

      As for Berlinski, he is the only Discovery Institute fellow who is coy about his religious faith, though of course he’s entirely comfortable surrounded by True Believers. He is not a biologist or even a scientist. He has also waffled about his religious outlook numerous times.

      Meanwhile, ID remains faith-based. Who else COULD the “intelligent designer” be, except some supernatural entity? Berlinski might say out of one side of his mouth that he’s an agnostic, but out of the other side he’s saying that there MUST BE some supernatural Designer. Creationist honesty at work.

    • 162 Rose May 29, 2011 at 6:10 am

      PaV, I can’t say I fully understand your quote from Dawkins. I would have to see more of the text to fully understand the point.

      Aren’t all improbabilities or arguments against them based on an “if”?

      The argument against gradualism is one that is often used by ID-ists. Is there something in the ToE that says gradualism is the only time frame by which things can evolve, and that punctuated equilibrium or other factors can’t be involved?

      I realize that not all scientists agree on the particulars of evolution but I don’t see where time is a problem for evolution.

      Dawkins is a popular figure but he is only one voice on evolution. I’m much more interested in evidence than in what one person says. That’s not to say that he is necessarily wrong about anything but I’m not well versed enough on what he contends to decide one way or another.

      “Contrariwise, huge improbabilities are there before our eyes. We can’t deny them. Dawkins doesn’t deny them. He says everything give the appearance of design when it comes to organic life. Should we then believe in ‘unseen powers’?”

      I think Flint has covered improbabilities pretty well. As far as unseen powers are concerned, I would say that no rational person should “believe in” an intelligent designer (God) or other mythical “powers”. I ‘accept’ that there are unseen things that have power, like X-Rays, Gamma Rays, gravity, and many other things that I can’t see with my naked eyes, but that doesn’t mean that I should “believe in” them or that I should even ‘accept’ that there’s an intelligent designer (God) unless someone can show that one (or more) actually exists.

      Even though things like X-Rays, Gamma Rays, and gravity can’t be seen by the naked eye, their effects can be seen by the naked eye, and those effects can be directly and scientifically linked to their cause. X-Rays, Gamma Rays, and gravity are also directly measurable. Any alleged link between nature and a designer is not directly measurable or demonstrable.

      I wonder if you would be willing to answer these questions?:

      Who or what do you think the designer is?

      Which God, if you believe there is one, is the correct or actual one and how do you know?

      How much CSI is there in a hydrogen atom, and an elephant?

      “But the problem is thisL can ENOUGH things happen in hundreds, thousands, millions, or billions of years?”

      Unless someone can actually show that enough things can’t happen, I’ll keep an open mind.

      Regarding searches:

      I don’t understand why ID-ists constantly bring up searches. A search is proactive and usually has a particular target. Can you show that organisms, or their cells, are searching for something in order to evolve?

      Regarding cytochrome c: I don’t know anything about cytochrome c.

      “Isn’t this patently false? How does this statement account for the fact that acknowledged atheists—such as David Berlinski—are solidly in the ID camp?”

      I’ve never heard of David Berlinski. Is he a scientist working on evolutionary processes? Even if he is an atheist, which appears doubtful if he’s associated with the DI, the vast majority of ID-ists are obviously religiously motivated.

      • 163 PaV June 1, 2011 at 8:09 am

        Rose:

        Is there something in the ToE that says gradualism is the only time frame by which things can evolve, and that punctuated equilibrium or other factors can’t be involved?

        Yes. Historically, Darwin insisted on gradualism. Dawkins, too, insists on gradualism.

        I ‘accept’ that there are unseen things that have power, like X-Rays, Gamma Rays, gravity, and many other things that I can’t see with my naked eyes, but that doesn’t mean that I should “believe in” them or that I should even ‘accept’ that there’s an intelligent designer (God) unless someone can show that one (or more) actually exists.

        As I’ve argued here, Dawkins says that biologic life has the appearances of design. Well, there you have it. We’re not talking about something you can’t see, like X-rays and gravity, etc. We’re talking about things you can see. If something looks designed, then we can, and should, presume that there is a ‘designer’. But Dawkins wants us to believe in the power of ‘chance events’. Now, it turns out, we can’t see those ‘chance events’. We can only suppose that they occurred.

  95. 164 PaV May 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Flint:

    If something appears astronomically unlikely to have happened in some specific way, yet we observe that it has happened, we have three options: (1) Assume magic; (2) assume an extremely unlikely sequence of events; or (3) hypothesize that it occurred through some far more likely but not self-evident manner, and search for one.

    How about a fourth option? What about intelligent design?

    The “odds” of my writing ‘xlllsleleiotnnslgoodsnn’ are the same as my writing: ‘Methinks it is a weasel’. The odds of the specific pattern ‘Methinks it is a weasel’ popping up by chance is roughly 26^23; but I have no problem producing it.

    Nearly all these odds-based criticisms are based on “all at once” sorts of models. What are the odds of this AND this AND this AND this AND this AND this all occurring simultaneously. They’re too unlikely to consider. Therefore magic!

    Please explain, then, how cytochrome c came about. It’s 110 amino acids long. So, you have to select the first a.a., then the second, then the third, the fourth, and so on, until you get to number 110. How do you suppose this happened? Chance? If you say ‘chance’, then isn’t ‘chance’ like ‘magic’?

    When Behe was asked to account for the many many KNOWN paths by which irredicible complexity can be reached, he grabbed his goalposts and was last seen heading for Andromeda!

    The trial transcripts I believe are online. I’d be interested in quotations from those transcripts supporting what you say.

    • 165 Flint May 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      I have never seen ANY proposed method of distinguishing magic from intelligent design, as proposed by ID proponents. If there is a difference that can be tested, produce it.

      Please explain, then, how cytochrome c came about. It’s 110 amino acids long. So, you have to select the first a.a., then the second, then the third, the fourth, and so on, until you get to number 110. How do you suppose this happened? Chance? If you say ‘chance’, then isn’t ‘chance’ like ‘magic’?

      I’ll treat this as a serious question. What you are doing is assuming that, from a standing start, there was a goal to produce citochrome c. But this is a misrepresentation. There was never any goal. Some molecules “worked better” than others in terms of adaptation and survival. And then THOSE experienced variations for various reasons, and some of THOSE variations worked better, and so on. At any given time, there are plenty of biological structures that defy any conceivable odds of happening at random. Kind of like every bridge hand is so unlikely, they can all be explained as miracles.

      The trial transcripts I believe are online. I’d be interested in quotations from those transcripts supporting what you say.

      I didn’t say Behe testified this in a trial. Instead, Behe started with his mousetrap. When he was shown at least a dozen different ways it could have evolved from either simpler or more complex BUT STILL USEFUL precedessors, he began to backtrack. When models like AVIDA demonstrated that “irreducible complexity” is the norm, and that it occurs all the time, and that the theory of evolution predicts it, he retreated even further.

      My comment summarizes his position about the bacterial flagellum. After Behe was shown enough different ways it could have evolved, he began demanding that every historical molecular alteration be documented!

      • 166 PaV June 1, 2011 at 8:23 am

        Flint:

        I’ll treat this as a serious question. What you are doing is assuming that, from a standing start, there was a goal to produce citochrome c. But this is a misrepresentation. There was never any goal. Some molecules “worked better” than others in terms of adaptation and survival

        This is a question for abiogenesis, and not evolution. But it points out the problems of trying to explain life in terms of chance processes. Without cytochrome c, cells can’t divide. Considering that the first life was unicellular, if it couldn’t divide, then it couldn’t reproduce. If it couldn’t reproduce, then it had zero possibility of surviving.

        You are aware, of course, that Darwin ends the “Origin of Species” speaking of the Creator who “from one form, or several” made “endless forms” most beautiful. He had to rely on a Creator (=Designer)

        BTW, your comments on Behe and his problems in Kitzmiller are vague, and probably wrong.

        I don’t remember things that well, either. But it did have to do with research articles, and a comment he made in “Darwin’s Black Box” suggesting that there are no references discussing the way in which certain “irreducibly complex” structures have arisen. He was presented with all kinds of articles related to the various components of these structures. But, of course, they didn’t necessarily demonstrate what Behe said was needed. But it was a successful courtroom ploy.

        “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

  96. 167 PaV May 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Flint:

    The ID methodology is inherently, unavoidable unscientific – indeed, the exact opposite. Science seeks intersubjective validation, in an attempt to factor out human biases and isolate the underlying reality. ID seeks to reify and glorify human biases. Evidence is the enemy of prayer.

    Dawkins acclaims that biologic life “looks” like it is designed, but that actually it isn’t. Isn’t the ‘evidence’ that it ‘looks’ designed? Isn’t the ‘faith’ (=bias) involved here that of materialism?

    • 168 Flint May 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Dawkins acclaims that biologic life “looks” like it is designed, but that actually it isn’t. Isn’t the ‘evidence’ that it ‘looks’ designed? Isn’t the ‘faith’ (=bias) involved here that of materialism?

      I’m not sure I understand this question. Yes, without question life “looks designed”. And according to Dembski’s own definition of intelligence (that is, something that makes rational choices between alternatives), natural selection fully qualifies as an intelligent designer, and nature can be said to design life forms through countless opportunities, limitations, constraints, and rewards. And really, the theory of evolution as understood by scientists says exactly this.

      The problem is, the ID people want an ANTHROPOMORPHIC designer, not a natural adaptive feedback process operating over Deep Time. They want someone who LOOKS like them, and who answers prayers, and who has some PURPOSE to designing beyond just the happenstance of survivability.

      So what’s happening here is, you are equivocating on the definition of “design”. Considered broadly, nature is the designer of life forms, and that’s fine. Considered theologically, only some purposeful human-like entity qualifies. And that’s not fine.

      • 169 PaV June 1, 2011 at 8:31 am

        Flint:

        And according to Dembski’s own definition of intelligence (that is, something that makes rational choices between alternatives), natural selection fully qualifies as an intelligent designer, and nature can be said to design life forms through countless opportunities, limitations, constraints, and rewards.

        So ‘nature’ makes ‘rational choices’? Do you really want to say that?

        As to the Designer being “anthropomorphic”, this is true to the extent that we, too, are “designers” and understand the design process.

  97. 170 PaV May 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Isn’t the ‘evidence’ that it is ‘designed’? should read:

    “Isn’t the ‘evidence’ here that biology looks ‘designed’?

    One definition of evidence: “something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign. His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.

    Organic life gives ‘visible evidence’ that it is designed. So sayeth Lord Dawkins.

    • 171 Flint May 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Yes, it does. And science has actually identified the designer, and tested it, and made predictions based on it, which turn out to be accurate. Nature fills the bill.

      But I would question your rather hazy notion of evidence. “Looks designed” is purely subjective. If I think someone “looks ugly”, is that evidence that they’re ugly? Or is that a purely personal opinion?

      Behe (and Dembski) have both said, in different places, that “design” is an attribute like mass or color, which can be measured independently. And this does great insult both to the concept of design, and the implementations. Design is NOT an attribute, design is a CONCLUSION. Which may be wrong.

  98. 172 PaV May 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Alan Fox:

    Or just tell me what CSI is, for a start.

    I’ve asked you about Shannon Information. What is it? What does it represent?

    CSI is rather exhaustively explained and presented in Dembski’s NFL. Do you want me to write you a book-size response as to what CSI is?

    Alan Fox:

    Did you follow my point about not being able to calculate how improbable sequences are because we don’t know how rare they are?

    “Did you follow my point . . . ”

    Alan, is there some reason you think you’re much smarter than I am? Is this what this blog is about, trying to figure out who’s smarter than who? And does the smartest guy win? Or does the truth of things matter at all? Have you heard the phrase: “Out of the mouths of babes?” Smart adults often won’t speak the truth out of fear. Smart isn’t sufficient if we really want to know the truth. A little courage and humility is also needed.

    As to your point: here’s a sentence from the introduction of the paper you’ve cited: “Because folding into a stable 3-dimensional structure is a prerequisite for most biological functions, we did not construct this collection of proteins from random sequences.” (My emphasis)

    Should I keep reading this paper?

    Now, to get at the ‘rarity’ of any gene whatsoever, we can use some simplifying assumptions.

    (1) the average size of a animal protein is 300 to 500 a.a. So, let’s take the low figure of 300 a.a.s.

    (2) polymorphisms within sequences can and do occur.

    (3) some sections of the DNA sequence, however, are conserved.

    Combining (2) and (3), let’s just simply assume that 55% of any gene sequence is ‘conserved’, with 45% being anything it cares to be.

    (4) let’s assume that within all of the known millions of species, one trillion different kinds of proteins are known to exist.

    Okay, let’s do the math:

    20^(300 x .55) is the number of permutations that exist for a given protein.

    There are a trillion proteins.

    The rarity of any particular gene sequence is 10^12/20^165 =~10^12/10^213 = 10^-201.

    • 173 Rose May 29, 2011 at 3:23 am

      “A little courage and humility is also needed.”

      PaV, shouldn’t you be saying that to your fellow ID-ists on Uncommon Descent? If they are confident in their tests and evidence for intelligent design and have the humility to admit when they are wrong, could be wrong, or when the tests or evidence aren’t scientifically sufficient, then why don’t they have the courage to stop banning people for no good reason, the courage to face all challengers there, and the courage to argue their position on other sites where they would have to face people who do know something about science?

      Do you call Dawkins “Lord Dawkins” to make fun of him?

      • 174 PaV June 1, 2011 at 8:38 am

        Rose:

        PaV, shouldn’t you be saying that to your fellow ID-ists on Uncommon Descent? If they are confident in their tests and evidence for intelligent design and have the humility to admit when they are wrong, could be wrong, or when the tests or evidence aren’t scientifically sufficient, then why don’t they have the courage to stop banning people for no good reason, the courage to face all challengers there, and the courage to argue their position on other sites where they would have to face people who do know something about science?

        People are banned at UD for being obnoxious, or for ‘beating a dead horse’, going on and on about a point of little importance.

        Look at the MathGrrl experience—she was allowed to make a post!

        As to science, the science all favors ID, and not Darwinism. Look at Junk-DNA. Look at the tremendous variability found within a species, which is very hard to explain via Darwinian processes, etc.

        I find science moving in my direction; not the opposite.

    • 175 Alan Fox May 31, 2011 at 10:03 am

      CSI is rather exhaustively explained and presented in Dembski’s NFL. Do you want me to write you a book-size response as to what CSI is?

      Nope, I’d just like a précis! 😉 Seriously, if Dembski has explained how to calculate CSI to produce a meaningful metric, it cannot need a whole book to list the calculation, can it? Besides, Dembski does not appear keen to enter the debate. I emailed him and Bob Marks asking for help in either offering their method for calculating CSI or otherwise confirming it can’t be done. No response so far. I do not require precise details of the mathematical manipulations involved, either. I am just curious as to what property or properties of living things are used to produce the calculation. Others have indicated it is just the number of nucleotides in a gene sequence (how is that distinguished from a random sequence or a sequence that has novel functionality, by the way) or the number of amino acid residues in a protein. If that is so, there is simply a threshold below which there is no design and above which it is all design. Seems trivial and useless to me but I may have it wrong.

      Alan, is there some reason you think you’re much smarter than I am? Is this what this blog is about, trying to figure out who’s smarter than who? And does the smartest guy win? Or does the truth of things matter at all? Have you heard the phrase: “Out of the mouths of babes?” Smart adults often won’t speak the truth out of fear. Smart isn’t sufficient if we really want to know the truth. A little courage and humility is also needed.

      I merely asked if you followed my point as you did not respond to it. You have had responses from others pointing out that evolutionary theory is not about targets; it is about stumbling across solutions, with the immediate environment acting as a designer on gene pools. Evolution is not a targeted search and what solutions are potentially available in any particular context are an unknown quantity, though an active area of research.

      • 176 PaV June 1, 2011 at 8:51 am

        Alan:

        hers have indicated it is just the number of nucleotides in a gene sequence (how is that distinguished from a random sequence or a sequence that has novel functionality, by the way) or the number of amino acid residues in a protein

        Alan, I did a calculation on the rarity of any kind of protein sequence. How was ANY sequence ‘selected’? That’s what ‘specification’ is all about: i.e., somehow, some way, certain sequences floating about in an almost infinite ocean of all possible sequences are found to be functional. This function separates them from the almost infinite number of other possible forms.

        Evolution is not a targeted search and what solutions are potentially available in any particular context are an unknown quantity, though an active area of research.

        I’m read recently that Darwin never uses the word ‘evolution’ in the Origin of Species.

        Indeed, ‘evolution’ is not a targeted search. And for that reason cannot give the ‘appearance of design’. But it can give the ‘appearance’ of ‘adaptation’.

        ID people readily accept ‘micro-evolution’, which, indeed, can bring about adaptation. The problem, of course, is with ‘macroevolution’.

  99. 177 PaV May 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Flint:

    It would be a bit more honest to recognize that magic explains EVERYTHING. There is nothing you can point to and say “this happened by magic” where anyone can prove you wrong. Magic is really wonderful like that. It is FULLY explanatory of EVERYTHING.

    Who is invoking “magic”? ID invokes “design”. Dawkins says that things look designed. Is it possible that they were?

    If you’re a materialist, and you consider that only material causes can explain things, then, no, “design” isn’t possible.

    But to assume that nothing other than material causes can explain anything is precisely that: an assumption. You have demonstrated that only material causes are explanatory; you’ve only assumed it. OTOH, ID says that cellular life has the hallmarks of what we know to be the fruit of intelligent design. It’s not assuming anything. It’s simply observing.

    If only it made a prediction, it would be better.

    But it did make a prediction. It predicted that “junk-DNA” would turn out not to be completely useless.

    • 178 Flint May 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      Who is invoking “magic”? ID invokes “design”. Dawkins says that things look designed. Is it possible that they were?

      The Intelligent Designer is clearly meant to be the creationist god. Gods operate through magic. Let’s not pretend here.

      And please, stop playing games with the concept of “design”. Are the wind-sculped rocks in the desert “designed”? They LOOK designed. Are Jackson Pollock paintings designed? They don’t seem to be…

      If you’re a materialist, and you consider that only material causes can explain things, then, no, “design” isn’t possible.

      Not at all. Adaptive feedback processes ALWAYS “design” things, in a very real sense. The problem for ID proponents is, these design processes have no human-type purpose.

      But to assume that nothing other than material causes can explain anything is precisely that: an assumption.

      Yes, that would be an assumption. It can be demonstrated to be a false assumption by producing a non-material cause. Which nobody ever has.

      ID says that cellular life has the hallmarks of what we know to be the fruit of intelligent design. It’s not assuming anything. It’s simply observing.

      NO, it is not! You are seeing what you ASSUME is there. To say that something is blue because we have conventionally decreed that those wavelengths are blue, is an observation. To say that blue is the prettiest color is NOT an observation, it is a conclusion, NO MATTER how much you LOVE the color blue. Design is like beauty – it’s not an observation.

      But it did make a prediction. It predicted that “junk-DNA” would turn out not to be completely useless.

      I wonder how this canard got started. What actually happened was, large chunks of DNA served no functions that were immediately apparent when genes were first identified. The term “junk DNA” is unfortunately, because it implies that if we do not yet know what it does, it must not do anything. But no, ID did not “predict” that we would continue to find functions for DNA that were not previously identified. As best as I can tell, ID proponents made a “post-diction” – they waited until some functions were found outside the genes, and then said “we told you so”. Which of course they had not.

      • 179 PaV June 1, 2011 at 9:07 am

        Flint:

        Not at all. Adaptive feedback processes ALWAYS “design” things, in a very real sense.

        You’re projecting a rational process—the work of a mind—to a ‘chance’ process. You’re being “anthropomorphic”.

        Yes, that would be an assumption. It can be demonstrated to be a false assumption by producing a non-material cause.

        What is the ‘material cause’ of the above statement?

        Design is like beauty – it’s not an observation.

        This statement doesn’t make sense. Unless something is ‘observed’ it can’t be deemed to be ‘beautiful’. You simply mean that “beautiful” can’t be demonstrated in a lab. Does that mean that ‘beauty’ doesn’t exist? Design also exists. And we can ‘observe’ it.

        As best as I can tell, ID proponents made a “post-diction” – they waited until some functions were found outside the genes, and then said “we told you so”. Which of course they had not.

        You might want to read Jonathan Wells new book. Your history isn’t entirely accurate.

    • 180 Rose May 29, 2011 at 4:01 am

      PaV, does a boulder in a stream look designed? Is it designed? Does a rainbow look designed? Is it designed? Does a limestone cave with stalagmites, stalactites, and crystals look designed? Is it designed? Do conjoined twins or people born with no arms and legs look designed? Are they designed? Do the ashes from a burned log look designed? Are they designed? Does the suffering endured by a child born with a horrible, painful, terminal disease look designed? Is it designed?

      • 181 PaV June 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

        Rose:

        Does the suffering endured by a child born with a horrible, painful, terminal disease look designed? Is it designed?

        Yes, it does looked designed.

        Darwin used the same argument in the Origins: i.e., the presence of ‘evil’ in the created order argues against special creation.

        Dr. Cornelius Hunter has written two books about this. What you point out is that at times the Darwinian argument is more theological than biological.

  100. 182 PaV May 28, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Zachriel:

    That’s fine, but Behe and Snokes have a number of problems with their argument.

    * It’s hardly novel to claim that rare double-mutations are rare.

    That’s not what they’re claiming. They’re claiming that huge amounts of generations are required to bring about simple changes. That means change is rare; not that “rare double-mutations are rare”.

    * It’s hardly novel in that drug cocktails to create a ‘mutation-barrier’ have been used for years.

    This only serves to underscore Snoke and Behe’s results.

    * Selection and other aspects of population genetics are very important for understanding the evolution of drug resistance.

    Indeed.

    * Evolution doesn’t predict that any particular structure will necessarily evolve, so showing that a particular structure is unlikely to evolve is largely irrelevant to the larger question.

    What DOES evolution predict?

    * They apparently don’t understand that a population of 1000 evolving for a 1000 generations has a different evolutionary behavior than a population of a million for one generation.

    I’m going to have to go from memory here, but I think they modeled for varying population sizes. In EofEvolution, Behe is dealing with the malarial parasite which reaches a population size of 10^12 at the peak of infection.

    * Many adaptations require only a single mutation to begin the process of adaptation, or a duplication which may increase enzymatic activity.

    Darwin wrote a book that should have been entitled: “Origin of Adaptations”. Is it any surprise that someone wise enough and powerful enough to “design” life would not have built into the designed life forms the ability to adapt to variable environmental conditions? Could such an intellect know to choose one protein sequence out of 10^200 such sequences, but not be able to foresee that conditions on earth would change?

    * Please quit saying it’s not “leading to much change”. Plasmodium eats humans, especially their young. And the adaptation involved overcomes the best efforts of the most highly technological organisms on Earth to beat back the threat.

    And all they have to do to “resist” chloroquine is change two amino acids. But not just any two; it has to be two very specific amino acids. In order to do so, it requires 10^20 chances to find the right two. Isn’t this an argument for ‘stasis’ and not for ‘mutability’?

    • 183 Rose May 29, 2011 at 6:36 am

      PaV, will you please define what you mean by “simple changes” and what kind of change you mean when you say “That means change is rare”.

      • 184 PaV June 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

        Rose:

        “Simple changes” means one or two amino acids being changed within the entire length of some protein.

        “Change is rare” means that to make this above ‘simple change’ requires huge amounts of duplications, which, in turn, means huge amounts of ‘generations’, which means, a huge amount of time, which, finally, means we don’t see a whole lot of these things taking place. Huge populations, though, can reduce the amount of time needed.

  101. 185 Toronto May 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    PaV:

    Let me use passwords as a way of getting at specification. If you have a password to log onto your bank account, it is normally made up of letters and numbers. Usually it is of such a length that the odds of arriving at a particular password via random strings of characters (both letters and numbers) is so small that no one can break into your account.

    Yes, because I “specified” the password I wanted to use.

    I supplied the “specification”. I can now test the password by entering it. If the password is the one I “designed”, I’ll get into my account.

    The specification part comes “before” the password is usable.

    You also can’t look at a list of other people’s passwords and deduce how they were arrived at.

    While some of them might have been chosen, others might simply be randomly generated by the site owner and never changed by the user.

    Show me how you can look at two 9 digit passwords and determine which were specified by the user and which were randomly generated by the site at the first log-in.

    • 186 PaV June 1, 2011 at 9:20 am

      Toronto:

      Show me how you can look at two 9 digit passwords and determine which were specified by the user and which were randomly generated by the site at the first log-in.

      When you say that some passwords are “randomly generated”, you, of course, don’t mean to say that some magical power produced them, do you? We know that the “site owner” is using some kind of random string generator that was “designed” by some computer programmer. So, either the computer programmer ‘designs’ the password, or you do. But, either way, it is ‘designed’. And, it is ‘specified’.

      • 187 Toronto June 1, 2011 at 10:53 am

        Pav:

        So, either the computer programmer ‘designs’ the password, or you do. But, either way, it is ‘designed’. And, it is ‘specified’.

        To be more “specific”, since any computer password that is “randomly generated” is functional, and thus according to you, “specified”, ANY 9 digit string could be a valid password!

        How do you tell, by looking at the “information” in the string, which 9 digit strings, of all possible combinations, are NOT passwords and therefore, NOT “specified”?

  102. 188 Toronto May 28, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    kairosfocus:

    I simply ask such: why should I go wading in a cesspit, on the odd chance that here may be a nugget or a pearl in it?

    Do you imagine that by spewing forth verbal sewage, you will attract those whose mindset is any higher than that of the sort of flies that are attracted to filth?

    Good day.

    GEM of TKI

    Why would somebody, who respects civility like you do, type something like this?

    This isn’t a “cesspit”, and there are a lot of good people here.

  103. 190 Zachriel May 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    “But if, instead of jumping you walked, one step at a time, and were given one small coin as a reward every time you happened to take a step in the right direction, you would reach the scorpion in a very short time.”

    PaV: So his whole argument against improbabilities is based on an “if”, a supposition. Do you consider this simple supposition sufficient demonstration of the supposed power of ‘gradualism’? Isn’t this no more than a leap of faith?

    No, it’s a testable hypothesis. We might, for instance, look for evidence of transitions.

    PaV: Contrariwise, huge improbabilities are there before our eyes. We can’t deny them.

    The typical argument takes the end points of a wide divergence, and then does the big number calculation. However, we can often show the intermediate steps. Consider the mammalian middle ear, irreducibly complex. It seems like the perfect example of a structure that couldn’t evolve, and yet, we can identify intermediates.

    PaV: I’ve asked you about Shannon Information. What is it? What does it represent?

    It has to do with uncertainty. How much information is conveyed with each new symbol? You can find Shannon’s seminal paper here:
    http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/ms/what/shannonday/paper.html

    PaV: CSI is rather exhaustively explained and presented in Dembski’s NFL. Do you want me to write you a book-size response as to what CSI is?

    Unfortunately, Dembski’s definition depends on the background knowledge of the observer (Semiotic Agent), so the metric is inherently subjective.

    • 191 PaV June 1, 2011 at 9:31 am

      Dawkins:” . . . were given one small coin as a reward every time you happened to take a step in the right direction, you would reach the scorpion in a very short time.”

      Zachriel: “No, it’s a testable hypothesis. We might, for instance, look for evidence of transitions.”

      Well, Dawkins speaks of “the right direction”. But I thought Darwinism is undirected. How can an “undirected” process know anything about a “right direction”? Perhaps you can explain.

      Consider the mammalian middle ear, irreducibly complex

      Who has ever made this claim?

      It has to do with uncertainty. How much information is conveyed with each new symbol? You can find Shannon’s seminal paper here:

      We know how Shannon Information is defined; the question is “what does it represent”? To answer that it has to do with uncertainty doesn’t tell me much. Why do we call it information?

      Unfortunately, Dembski’s definition depends on the background knowledge of the observer (Semiotic Agent), so the metric is inherently subjective.

      How does this criticism not apply to so-called Shannon Information? Why don’t they just call it the “Shannon Noise Reduction Technique”? Can anything other than a “semiotic agent” know what “information” is?

  104. 192 Zachriel May 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Zachriel: * It’s hardly novel to claim that rare double-mutations are rare.

    PaV: That’s not what they’re claiming. They’re claiming that huge amounts of generations are required to bring about simple changes. That means change is rare; not that “rare double-mutations are rare”.

    They look at a *particular instance* of a rare double-mutation, then act as if this necessarily applies to the general case. Not all changes may require double-mutations before there is a selectable benefit. On the other hand, the vast majority of possible structures simply can’t evolve.

    Zachriel: * Evolution doesn’t predict that any particular structure will necessarily evolve, so showing that a particular structure is unlikely to evolve is largely irrelevant to the larger question.

    PaV: What DOES evolution predict?

    It predicts that *some* structures, out of the entire universe of possible structures, can evolve, including *all* those that exist in nature.

    PaV: I’m going to have to go from memory here, but I think they modeled for varying population sizes. In EofEvolution, Behe is dealing with the malarial parasite which reaches a population size of 10^12 at the peak of infection.

    Yes, and they conflate that with a smaller population of vertebrates over many more generations. They are not equivalent. It shows they really don’t understand how evolution works.

    PaV: And all they have to do to “resist” chloroquine is change two amino acids. But not just any two; it has to be two very specific amino acids. In order to do so, it requires 10^20 chances to find the right two. Isn’t this an argument for ‘stasis’ and not for ‘mutability’?

    Evolution means that the changes have to “within reach”. If it took a hundred *independent* mutations, then it could never occur. So when you point to something that was within reach of evolution, you aren’t actually saying anything. Of course it was within reach, or it wouldn’t have evolved.

    Their actual claim is that this particular is representative of the whole, that is, that all adaptations require multiple, independent mutations. But that is simply not the case.

    Nor is it an argument for stasis, but evolution. It’s shows that Plasmodium still eats people, even when highly technological means are used to attack them. Plasmodium evolution is quite apparently smarter than you are.

    • 193 PaV June 1, 2011 at 9:54 am

      Toronto:

      We know it is caused by the chaotic interaction of wind and the shutter hinges, but the Semiote doesn’t.

      So, are you saying you “know” what caused DNA to code for specific proteins? (You seem smart, so I’m sure you understand exactly what I’m getting at.)

      To your credit, Toronto, you seem to understand what’s at stake.

    • 195 PaV June 1, 2011 at 10:00 am

      Zachriel:

      It predicts that *some* structures, out of the entire universe of possible structures, can evolve, including *all* those that exist in nature.

      Does evolution ‘predict’ this, or simply ‘assume’ this?

      It shows they really don’t understand how evolution works.

      Is modeling for varying population sizes proof that Snoke and Behe don’t understand how evolution works?

      Evolution means that the changes have to “within reach.”

      Then this means there isn’t much “within reach” of evolution. And, therefore, an argument for stasis.

  105. 196 Flint May 30, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    No, it’s a testable hypothesis. We might, for instance, look for evidence of transitions.

    But this is only half the story, and ID proponents are slippery enough to jump from one half to the other, leaving us playing whack-a-mole.

    There are two aspects of gradualism. The first, as you point out, is the notion of taking very small incremental steps, none of which is particularly difficult. The second is the understanding that there isn’t any predefined “right direction” for any individual step to take.

    So when we understand that the numnber of possible viable changes is beyond calculation, ANY OF WHICH is easily taken, we can predict constant change. What we can NOT do is look at where something is now, and presume this was some sort of a priori goal.

    Dawkins has created examples that do not address this second point. His “weasel” algorithm was intended only to show the amazingly effective power of selection. His Mount Improbable was intended to show that many incremental steps can cumulatively produce something ostensibly unlikely.

    But both of these metaphors can be misinterpreted as implying that there IS a goal – the whole “weasel” sentence, or the top of THAT mountain. Dawkins failed to emphasize that selection is equally likely to move toward ANY POSSIBLE grammatical sentence, or ANY POSSIBLE mountaintop.

    Computer simulations consistently show that using only “whatever works” as the survival criterion, produces amazingly complex results quickly. And ID proponents, faced with the statistical and methodological inevitability illustrated, simply claim that these simulations are “smuggling in” the results. When asked to show where, they never do.

    Dawkins is trying to show that magic, while ALWAYS sufficient because we SAY it is, is not necessary. That processes we CAN understand will easily produce all we see.

  106. 197 Zachriel May 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Today, William got an incredible deal on an old Victorian house. Highly satisfied with his business acumen, William settled in for a blissful night of sleep in his new home.

    SLAM!

    William woke with a start. He listened intently. But he didn’t hear anything, so he settled back to sleep.

    Cree..eak

    William listened even more closely this time until, after a bit, the creaking noise died away. For some reason, he recalled the seller’s maniacal laughter just after William signed the papers to buy the house.

    SLAM!

    William was trembling and his teeth were rattling. He thought about getting out of bed to investigate. Instead, he pulled the covers over his head.

    Cree..eak

    Hmm, William thought. Being a design theoretician, I can use the patented (not really) Dembski Inference to determine if the pattern is being caused by a ghost, er some unspecified intelligent cause.

    SLAM!
    Cree..eak
    SLAM!
    Cree..eak
    SLAM!
    Cree..eak
    SLAM!
    Cree..eak

  107. 198 Zachriel May 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Toronto: The specification part comes “before” the password is usable.

    What Dembski does is introduce a Semiotic Agent, essentially a list of every recognizable pattern by the Semiote. The problem is that the CSI will change if the Semiote becomes aware of a new pattern.

    Let’s say the Semiote is observing a pattern. We know it is caused by the chaotic interaction of wind and the shutter hinges, but the Semiote doesn’t.

    Here’s the formula for specific complexity.
    chi = -log2(BIGNUM*phi(T)*P(T)), if chi > 1, then DESIGN.

    The Semiote tries and fails to find a match to the pattern in its library. Phi(T) is a rather strange calculation. It is the number of patterns that are the same length or smaller than the given pattern. That requires knowing everything in the library, every specification of one word, two words, twenty symbols, etc. In this case, the closest specification is the pattern itself. Let’s just assume the specification is large, say a thousand or a million.

    The Semiote then tries to find a probability distribution. No known probability pattern matches. (Notice that this too depends on the Semiote’s background knowledge. Are P(T) and phi(T) really independent?) So the pattern is highly improbable. P(T) is very small. The longer the pattern, the more improbable. In this case, William will stay awake all night, thousands of Cree..eaks and SLAMs!

    With a sufficiently long chaotic pattern, the Semiote concludes the pattern contains huge amounts of CSI, and is therefore designed. That’s probably why the Cree..eaking and SLAMming keeps him awake at night. It’s almost as if the noise is trying to convey a message.

    Now, let’s clue the Semiote into the source of the pattern. Turns out even if we collapse the specification to one, it still shows CSI. Rather, we have to use our knowledge of the source of the pattern to create a custom chaotic probability function, P(T).

    The ignorant Semiote rendered a false positive, just as people did for angels pushing planets on crystal spheres. Williams cowers under the covers until daylight.

  108. 199 Rose May 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    On UD, kairosfocus said:

    “Volcanoes create a new state of affairs (and, from experience, make chaos and a mess while doing it) but they do not in themselves create information. Particularly, digitally coded, functionally specific complex information that uses symbols to create a meaningful vocabulary, elements of which are combined according to rules to create messages.

    Similarly, a snowflake’s form reflects the state of affairs where and when it formed, and the rings in a tree reflect the passage of time, the weather, etc, but these are simply dynamical results on initial conditions leading to outcomes, they are not information.

    It is we who look on who observe and study the dynamics, outcomes etc, creating information as we do so.”

    He seems to be saying that information is only in the way we see things and is not in the things themselves. If that’s the case, any measurement of information in something is really not a measurement of information IN something. The information is outside the thing and is only in our minds.

    I would ask then, how can there be CSI in something if there’s no information IN something?

    Did PaV retreat to UD?

  109. 200 Alan Fox May 31, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Now, to get at the ‘rarity’ of any gene whatsoever, we can use some simplifying assumptions.

    OK

    (1) the average size of a animal protein is 300 to 500 a.a. So, let’s take the low figure of 300 a.a.s.

    Oxytocin: 9 residues. Titin: 34,350 residues.

    (2) polymorphisms within sequences can and do occur.

    OK

    (3) some sections of the DNA sequence, however, are conserved

    OK

    Combining (2) and (3), let’s just simply assume that 55% of any gene sequence is ‘conserved’, with 45% being anything it cares to be.

    Ah! How do you justify this assumption? Not that it is really relevant to my point which is about what unknown potential function may exist in the unimaginably large number of theoretically possible sequences that so far remain unexplored by current living organisms or that have disappeared with the 90 percent or so of species that have gone extinct.

    (4) let’s assume that within all of the known millions of species, one trillion different kinds of proteins are known to exist.

    How is this anything other than a pure guess? And see above for relevance.

    Okay, let’s do the math:
    20^(300 x .55) is the number of permutations that exist for a given protein.
    There are a trillion proteins.
    The rarity of any particular gene sequence is 10^12/20^165 =~10^12/10^213 = 10^-201.

    Or not, depending on whether your assumptions are justified

    • 201 PaV June 1, 2011 at 9:35 am

      Alan:

      To use the language of Thomas Aquinas: Thus, there is an “unknown potential function”, and we call it God.

      • 202 Alan Fox June 2, 2011 at 8:58 am

        Well that is a philosophical belief. I am sure you are right that those left clinging to ID as a philosophical belief call the “designer” God. This is what I find fascinating about ID and its remaining proponents. What Dawkins referred to as “virtuoso believing”.

    • 203 PaV June 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

      Alan Fox:

      Oxytocin: 9 residues. Titin: 34,350 residues.

      Are you saying, then, that there is no such thing as an ‘average’ length protein? Certainly you can’t be doing that? So, this is no real objection. We all know about bell-shaped curves.

      Ah! How do you justify this assumption?

      Because most proteins don’t show that great a level of polymorphism. I think the 55% figure is low. Make it 35%, and you still have a tremendous level of rarity. Make it a trilion trillion number of known proteins: it’s still incredibly rare for any kind of a protein to exist.

      This is where the Unknown Potential Function comes into play! 🙂

      • 204 Alan Fox June 2, 2011 at 8:52 am

        Are you saying, then, that there is no such thing as an ‘average’ length protein? Certainly you can’t be doing that? So, this is no real objection. We all know about bell-shaped curves.

        With sufficient data, of course you can produce an average. What data did you base your “the average size of a animal protein is 300 to 500 a.a.” on?

        Because most proteins don’t show that great a level of polymorphism.

        And your evidence for this claim is?

        My point about unknown function in novel or theoretical protein is that we currently have no way of predicting function a priori so we can make no claim about “small islands of function”. So any claim about improbability is pure guesswork. We don’t know what we don’t know.

      • 205 Alan Fox June 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

        Addendum to post following:

        Except what work has been done, pioneered by Keefe and Szostak, suggests functional proteins are widespread among random sequences.

  110. 206 Alan Fox May 31, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Steve Matheson has a series of posts on fitness landscapes that seem to bear on current (at least if PaV is still interested) discussions.

  111. 207 PaV June 1, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Flint:

    his is a fallacy. Toss a ball into the air, let it come down, roll a while, and come to rest. What is the probability that the ball would come to rest precisely where it did, and nowhere else? It is infinitesimal. So did we just witness a miracle? Of course not – the ball had to stop SOMEWHERE.

    Isn’t the path the ball takes determined by the laws of physics and the constraints imposed upon it?

    But what law, or laws, determines that a nucleotide sequence should take a particular conformation? I can’t think of any.

    As for Berlinski, he is the only Discovery Institute fellow who is coy about his religious faith, though of course he’s entirely comfortable surrounded by True Believers. He is not a biologist or even a scientist. He has also waffled about his religious outlook numerous times.

    Then what about DaveScot at UD, who is a self-proclaimed atheist? What about Sir Fred Hoyle, who was a self-proclaimed atheist and vehemently opposed to Darwinian evolution?

    • 208 Rose June 1, 2011 at 11:00 am

      What about them?

      You keep appealing to authority, or at least to what you perceive as authority. I really don’t care what any of those people say, unless it is backed up by evidence.

      You duck and dodge and play childish games, and everything you’ve said could have simply been ‘God-did-it’ and it would have been the same.

      You said the suffering I referred to looks designed, but you didn’t answer as to whether it is designed and you also didn’t answer most of the other questions I’ve asked.

      Are the questions too tough for you?

      If your god designed the suffering of a child with a horrible, painful, terminal disease, and you worship such a deliberately vicious monster, well, words fail me as to how much loathing I feel toward you and your god.

      • 209 PaV June 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm

        Rose:

        If your god designed the suffering of a child with a horrible, painful, terminal disease, and you worship such a deliberately vicious monster, well, words fail me as to how much loathing I feel toward you and your god.

        This is the stuff of theology, not biology. Thermonuclear bombs are designed.

        As to DaveScot and Fred Hoyle, I’m simply rebutting Flint’s allegation that the ID position is no more than religious bias, creationist thought.

        This charge doesn’t hold up when atheists see potholes in Darwinian thought.

        As to the questions, I don’t think I have too many hard ones to answer. I think my answers have been to the point.

    • 210 Flint June 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

      Isn’t the path the ball takes determined by the laws of physics and the constraints imposed upon it?

      The point is, the number of possible resting places is essentially infinite. And this point was made in support of the argument that nearly everything that ever happens in our universe is vanishingly improbable. Every bridge hand is so vanishingly unlikely, you might consider them ALL to be miracles, from your argument.

      But what law, or laws, determines that a nucleotide sequence should take a particular conformation? I can’t think of any.

      And because you can’t think of any, there aren’t any? Why not just chalk it up to the laws of chemistry, in addition to the physical laws controlling the environment within which that chemistry happened?

      Then what about DaveScot at UD, who is a self-proclaimed atheist? What about Sir Fred Hoyle, who was a self-proclaimed atheist and vehemently opposed to Darwinian evolution?

      Well, who does DaveScot think the Designer was? After all, the only sort of Designer who could have “intelligently designed” life is ipso facto unacceptable to an atheist. Then again, DaveScot is, shall we say, known to be truthful only by accident.

      As for Hoyle, you are ASSUMING that anyone who doesn’t accept the theory of evolution, must necessarily believe in Intelligent Design. Hoyle did neither. He believed in panspermia – Earth seeded from outer space. Of course, in his model those original seeds evolved…

      (But then again, what might we expect from an astronomer, much less from a notorious internet airhead?)

      • 211 PaV June 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm

        Flint:

        The point is, the number of possible resting places is essentially infinite.

        There is an ‘infinite’ number of possible resting places in a 600 square foot area? Are you serious? What is the footprint of this ball you throw into the air, 10^-900 meters?

        Logically, if there is an infinite number of possible resting places then the ball will NEVER come to rest. But it does. You said so.

        Why not just chalk it up to the laws of chemistry, in addition to the physical laws controlling the environment within which that chemistry happened?

        Read Meyer’s Signature in the Cell where he addresses these very issues. Watson and Crick realized that if there were chemical bonds prescribing certain bonding preferences amongst the DNA nucleotides, then the sequencing would be prescribed, and then DNA wouldn’t have the ability to hold information. As it turns out, one nucleotide bond is the same as the other.

        So, let me ask you again: what law, or laws, determines that a nucleotide sequence should take a particular conformation?

        As to DaveScot, I believe he thinks aliens did it. Dawkins isn’t opposed to this idea either.

        Aristotle believed in design. Was he a Creationist too?

    • 212 Alan Fox June 2, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Then what about DaveScot at UD, who is a self-proclaimed atheist?

      Dave seemed drawn to John Davison’s “prescribed evolution” theory, more often referred to as “front loading”. Eventually he claimed to have arrived at his ideas independently and the great schism took place between him and John.

      I doubt, if you could contact Dave today, he would be very supportive of standard ID theory (forgive the oxymoron). I think I still have his email address (we have exchanged a few in the past) and see if he is interested in commenting though I very much doubt it.

      Dave motives were always political; he was no ID zealot.

  112. 213 Rose June 1, 2011 at 11:43 am

    According to Pav: “People are banned at UD for being obnoxious, or for ‘beating a dead horse’, going on and on about a point of little importance.”

    If that were true, all of the ID supporters on UD would have been banned long ago.

    “Look at the MathGrrl experience—she was allowed to make a post!”

    And look at how she has been treated. Plus, if it weren’t for the deliberately biased banning on the part of the moderators at UD there would be a lot more people pointing out that her questions have not been coherently or evidentially answered and that the grossly uncivil treatment she has been subjected to is completely contrary to UD’s stated policies and way out of line.

    I’m convinced that the whole thing with MathGrrl was a set-up. She was only “allowed” to post her questions on UD so that she could deceitfully be shown to be a deliberately scheming trouble making agent from the ‘dark side’. It didn’t work on those of us who think and see clearly.

    The people making accusations toward MathGrrl are projecting their own devious and scheming thoughts and actions.

    • 214 PaV June 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm

      Rose:

      what law, or laws, determines that a nucleotide sequence should take a particular conformation?

      She wasn’t banned, was she? The only ones treating her badly were me and KF. To me, MathGrrl was insincere……and at times dishonest. But she got to post something there, didn’t she? That’s because she wasn’t being obnoxious.

      Plus, if it weren’t for the deliberately biased banning on the part of the moderators at UD there would be a lot more people pointing out that her questions have not been coherently or evidentially answered and that the grossly uncivil treatment she has been subjected to is completely contrary to UD’s stated policies and way out of line.

      You must be kidding. vjtorly treated her like his kid sister—something she didn’t deserve.

      Look at her screen name: MathGrrl, as in Grrrrrr, the sound a dog makes. And we know what female dogs are called, don’t we? Well, her screen name is to let us know who were dealing with.

      It should be obvious to all that MathGrrl’s motives were not ‘pure’.

      She misrepresented herself on the post. She received apt answers. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

      • 215 Alan Fox June 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

        She received apt answers.

        That is simply untrue.

        If it were true that somewhere in the fog of obfuscation, there lies an actual meaningful definition of CSI and to demostrate this you only have to paste the link. You can’t do it because no meaningful definition of CSI exists.

      • 216 Flint June 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm

        MathGrrl posed a legitimate question (albeit based on the assumption that CSI is calculable, and not just noise made up in support of theological and political exercises. Which is of course a false assumption, since CSI really IS just a meaningless noise phrase).

        But she was invariably polite, direct, thoughtful, and sincere. She simply refused to be sidetracked away from her original question – which nobody could answer, nobody wanted to ADMIT they couldn’t answer, so they attacked her instead. Whcih you are still doing.

        She didn’t misrepresent herself, she received no apt answers, and you are lying. Period.

  113. 217 Zachriel June 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Zachriel: It predicts that *some* structures, out of the entire universe of possible structures, can evolve, including *all* those that exist in nature.

    PaV: Does evolution ‘predict’ this, or simply ‘assume’ this?

    It’s a claim.

    Zachriel: It shows they really don’t understand how evolution works.

    PaV: Is modeling for varying population sizes proof that Snoke and Behe don’t understand how evolution works?

    Yes. There is a significant difference between a large population for a small number of generations, and a small population for a large number of generations. There’s also a difference between a large genome and small genome.

    We listed many problems with the thrust of their argument, the most important of which is that they are erecting a strawman of evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory doesn’t posit that any particular structure can or will evolve, so knocking down the strawman doesn’t constitute a valid falsification.

    Zachriel: Evolution means that the changes have to “within reach.”

    PaV: Then this means there isn’t much “within reach” of evolution. And, therefore, an argument for stasis.

    Not at all. It shows that some structures are difficult to evolve, but that doesn’t tell us anything at all about the general case. Indeed, the vast majority of structures will never evolve.

    • 218 PaV June 1, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      Zachriel:

      “It’s a claim.”

      As in, “I claim to be the Prince of Denmark”?

      Yes. There is a significant difference between a large population for a small number of generations, and a small population for a large number of generations.

      But, of course, that’s exactly why they modeled their results using different sized populations. If they had used only one sized population, I could see your distress. But as it is, it appears you’re arguing that they should have done exactly what it turns out they did do.

      Evolutionary theory doesn’t posit that any particular structure can or will evolve, so knocking down the strawman doesn’t constitute a valid falsification.

      But, in fact, they weren’t looking for any kind of particular structure at all. They were simply looking at a.a. substitutions giving rise to a peptide bond, or something along that line. This is an almost trivial kind of change. And they couldn’t have cared where it occurred or how it happened.

      As to what is “within reach” of evolution, Behe notes that he was quite surprised just how little microevolution can accomplish. I wasn’t. But, of course, I had read Hoyle’s “Mathematics of Evolution”.

      BTW, Hoyle’s analysis of Darwinian mechanisms led him to conclude that the most you could expect out of evolution was two a change of two steps in either direction (basically, two a.a.’s, just like Behe found in EofE).

      • 219 Flint June 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm

        As to what is “within reach” of evolution, Behe notes that he was quite surprised just how little microevolution can accomplish. I wasn’t. But, of course, I had read Hoyle’s “Mathematics of Evolution”.

        Just out of curiosity, WHY would you seek the answers to biological questions, by reading a book by an astronomer who not only had no education or experience with biology, but whose biological claims were regarded as completely wrongheaded and uninformed by actual biologists?

  114. 220 Flint June 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    PaV

    Flint:

    Not at all. Adaptive feedback processes ALWAYS “design” things, in a very real sense.

    You’re projecting a rational process—the work of a mind—to a ‘chance’ process. You’re being “anthropomorphic”.

    Yes, that would be an assumption. It can be demonstrated to be a false assumption by producing a non-material cause.

    What is the ‘material cause’ of the above statement?

    Design is like beauty – it’s not an observation.

    This statement doesn’t make sense. Unless something is ‘observed’ it can’t be deemed to be ‘beautiful’. You simply mean that “beautiful” can’t be demonstrated in a lab. Does that mean that ‘beauty’ doesn’t exist? Design also exists. And we can ‘observe’ it.

    As best as I can tell, ID proponents made a “post-diction” – they waited until some functions were found outside the genes, and then said “we told you so”. Which of course they had not.

    You might want to read Jonathan Wells new book. Your history isn’t entirely accurate.

    Ah, where to begin.

    1) I explained that design is a process. I did not ASSUME that it was a directed, or intelligent process, or that there was an agent. Nature designs snowflakes in the sense I was using. I made that sense clear.

    2) You do not “observe” beauty. Beauty is an interpretation, not an observation. Yes, you must apply your interpretations or preferences or foregone conclusions to SOMETHING that you observe. But that does NOT make your interpretations or preferences or forgone conclusions observations in and of themselves.

    Yes, beauty exists in the same sense that design exists – it is something we INTERPRET onto what we observe. Beauty and design exist in your mind, not in the object your mind is running through its preference filters.

    And if you are citing Jonathan Wells as any sort of authority, you cannot reach past the choir with your preaching.

    • 221 PaV June 2, 2011 at 12:04 am

      Flint:

      Nature designs snowflakes in the sense I was using. I made that sense clear.

      Snowflakes are the result of the varying initial conditions of liquid water being constrained by boundary conditions. It is law-like behavior. Why attribute them to design? Just because they’re patterned?

      Design involves using instrumentality in a coordinated and concerted manner in order to bring about a desired end.

      Consider a kaleidescope. It is able to produce various intricate patterns. But the patterns themselves simply follow the laws of nature given the material being used to fabricate the kaleidescope.

      The kaleidescope is ‘designed’ to make patterns; but the patterns are not ‘designed’. I think this is an important distinction. There’s no one ‘designing’ snowflakes. We simply have water freezing under particular conditions of humidity, temperature, and barometric pressure.

      Beauty is an interpretation, not an observation.

      Does beauty only exist in minds, and not in reality? Are you trying to say that beautiful girls don’t exist, only mental interpretations of beautiful girls? Does a ‘designed’ circuit not exist? Is it only my interpretation that exists, but the circuit doesn’t?

      This is all a bit thorny here.

      However, if you admit a kind of existence that is not physical existence, i.e, material existence, then isn’t that non-material world also capable of causality? And, if so, then shouldn’t science admit of it? Just some questions.

      Flint, you don’t have to read Jonathan Wells new book. But maybe if you did, you’d learn something you wouldn’t otherwise know. And maybe that something would cause you to reevaluate your views. Why not be open to such a thing?

      • 222 PaV June 2, 2011 at 12:06 am

        Yikes! There’s an extra blockquote in there somewhere. Sorry.

      • 223 Flint June 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm

        Snowflakes are the result of the varying initial conditions of liquid water being constrained by boundary conditions. It is law-like behavior. Why attribute them to design? Just because they’re patterned?

        Because they “obviously look designed.” Which is the ONLY, SOLE criterion you are using.

        Design involves using instrumentality in a coordinated and concerted manner in order to bring about a desired end.

        And how do you know this is not true of snowflakes? PROVE there is no “snowflake god” out there exercising endless creativity within a hexagonal format.

        Consider a kaleidescope. It is able to produce various intricate patterns. But the patterns themselves simply follow the laws of nature given the material being used to fabricate the kaleidescope.

        And this is different from you and me now, exactly? Are we not patterns following the laws of nature and the materials available to produce us? I don’t think anyone would disagree with this, the challenge is to identify the natural processes which have combined over time to accomplish it. Are those natural processes? Yes, they are. Is the process adaptive? Yes. Does it involve feedback? Yep. Can it be essentially replicated? Yes. So now what? Or are you arguing that very very very complicated multifaceted gradual natural processes must require magic? You aren’t clear on this.

        The kaleidescope is ‘designed’ to make patterns; but the patterns are not ‘designed’. I think this is an important distinction. There’s no one ‘designing’ snowflakes.

        How do you know that? What distinguishes something as patterned as you, from a snowflake, so that you can be so confident nobody is doing snowflakes, but somebody is doing you?

        Does beauty only exist in minds, and not in reality?

        Of course. Beauty is an emotional response to something we find personally congenial.

        Are you trying to say that beautiful girls don’t exist, only mental interpretations of beautiful girls?

        The girls themselves exist. Whether they are beautiful is, again, in the eye of the beholder. And to a large degree, it’s also a matter of culture and fashion. Standards of beautiful girls across cultures and time are surprisingly variable.

        Does a ‘designed’ circuit not exist? Is it only my interpretation that exists, but the circuit doesn’t?

        A designed circuit is the output of a known, observable design process. We can say the circuit is designed because we know the process, in full detail.

        So back to one of my original examples. An alien leaves something on your doorstop during the night. What is it? You have no clue, no way of getting a clue. It could be just chunk of where the alien came from. It could be a work of art, a tool, or the alien’s lunch. Most likely, the alien’s own specification would fall outside human experience and be incomprehensible to us. So is it designed? Without that background knowledge, you cannot know.

        And we’re back where we started. You CAN NOT KNOW whether anything was designed, without a solid understanding of the design process and the design goals. Lacking that knowledge, you can’t legitimately just assume a design onto anything where you wish to “find” one.

        However, if you admit a kind of existence that is not physical existence, i.e, material existence, then isn’t that non-material world also capable of causality? And, if so, then shouldn’t science admit of it? Just some questions.

        Not particularly intelligent questions, though. You must DEFINE the “kind of existence” you’re talking about, in some observable, testable way. THEN you must perform the tests, and your methodology should assume the null hypothesis (that is, no such existence) unless you find positive indications otherwise. And IF you can successfully establish that “kind of existence”, then you can begin to investigate it to see if causality works there. But without any of that, you’re just mixing a word salad without any referent to anything whatsoever.

        Look, I know you WANT this other “kind of existence” to “exist” (whatever that might mean in this context), because that would be where your Designer lives. But science can’t just assume the imaginary because you need it to be true.

        Flint, you don’t have to read Jonathan Wells new book. But maybe if you did, you’d learn something you wouldn’t otherwise know. And maybe that something would cause you to reevaluate your views. Why not be open to such a thing?

        And how interested would you be in some books purporting to show that earth is the center of the universe, the moon is green cheese, and 9/11 never happened? Those books exist, you know.

        Seriously, Wells is on record as being a Moonie directed by his nutcase “father” to learn just enough science to use fancy jargon in his religious apologetics. You really ought to try to escape your ghetto and enjoy the Real World now and then. You would find a great and meaningful richness simply incomprehensible to someone who has crawled into a creationist hole and pulled the hole in after them.

  115. 224 Flint June 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I’ll treat this as a serious question. What you are doing is assuming that, from a standing start, there was a goal to produce citochrome c. But this is a misrepresentation. There was never any goal. Some molecules “worked better” than others in terms of adaptation and survival

    This is a question for abiogenesis, and not evolution.

    No, absolutely wrong. You really ought to READ what you are denying, it makes you look, you know, less ignorant. Keep reading, if possible…

    But it points out the problems of trying to explain life in terms of chance processes. Without cytochrome c, cells can’t divide.

    You are once again ASSUMING that evolution “had to” produce cells. Why? Evolution has NO TARGET. It blundered onto cells because of fortune, happenstance, chemistry, raw materials at hand, etc. Or maybe you are assuming that there is only one possible way for cells to divide, which is so unlikely it must have been magic. But if evolution had stumbled on some different mechanism, you could make exactly the same argument, which would be equally false.

    Considering that the first life was unicellular, if it couldn’t divide, then it couldn’t reproduce. If it couldn’t reproduce, then it had zero possibility of surviving.

    And once again, you are assuming that evolution MUST produce cells, and that those can ONLY reproduce in one way. These assumptions are false.

    You are aware, of course, that Darwin ends the “Origin of Species” speaking of the Creator who “from one form, or several” made “endless forms” most beautiful. He had to rely on a Creator (=Designer)

    No, he didn’t. But he DID need to mention one, given the limitations of his day. For Darwin, the “creator” was the evolutionary process itself.

    I don’t remember things that well, either. But it did have to do with research articles, and a comment he made in “Darwin’s Black Box” suggesting that there are no references discussing the way in which certain “irreducibly complex” structures have arisen.

    And in response, Behe has been absolutely DELUGED with studies showing MANY ways those structures could have arisen. This is why he now demands absolutely historical evidence of every molecular change in the last 4 billion years. Nothing else is “good enough”. I notice you carefully “forget” about this wealth of refuting material. Do you think if you ignore it, it will all go away?

    He was presented with all kinds of articles related to the various components of these structures. But, of course, they didn’t necessarily demonstrate what Behe said was needed. But it was a successful courtroom ploy.

    What made it successful was, Behe was asked what WAS needed, and he could not provide any scientific answer. He was just left sitting there sputtering, pointing to some structures and saying “But it WORKS, it functions, it does things, it must have been designed.”

    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

    But later, you argue that beauty is a measurable property of the object being observed, and not an opinion of the observer. You need to keep your evastions straight.

    • 225 PaV June 2, 2011 at 1:09 am

      Flint:

      You are once again ASSUMING that evolution “had to” produce cells. Why?

      Cells are alive. So evolution produced non-living things?

      Is this a descent into the RNA world somehow? Please, not that!

      No, he didn’t. But he DID need to mention one, given the limitations of his day. For Darwin, the “creator” was the evolutionary process itself.

      What makes you so sure of your interpretation?

      Darwin needed the ‘one or many forms’ because otherwise he would not have any kind of replicating machine. His theory is all about replications.

      BTW, Darwin also calls upon the Creator when he talks about the evolution of the eye.

      And in response, Behe has been absolutely DELUGED with studies showing MANY ways those structures could have arisen.

      I don’t know where you get this. I believe Behe has stated that in all the citations given to him at the trial he could not find any demonstrated pathways to irreducible structures.

      You know, he’s either right, or he’s wrong. Why don’t you find what he’s said about this post-Kitzmiller, and then search out the papers he has so categorized?

      What made it successful was, Behe was asked what WAS needed, and he could not provide any scientific answer. He was just left sitting there sputtering, pointing to some structures and saying “But it WORKS, it functions, it does things, it must have been designed.”

      There’s not a hint of graciousness in this attack of yours. Can’t one disagree with another without demonizing them?

      This is your “interpretation” of things. But it can be done a little bit more even-handedly.

      PAV: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

      Flint: “But later, you argue that beauty is a measurable property of the object being observed, and not an opinion of the observer. You need to keep your evastions straight.”

      Did you happen to notice that it ends with the word “beholder”. Beauty can only be experienced if someone is “beholding” something. That was my point. You missed it.

      • 226 Flint June 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm

        Cells are alive. So evolution produced non-living things?

        What? You are assuming that if it ain’t cells, it ain’t alive. This is a false dichotomy.

        Here’s a question that might help you: How many different molecular structures might develop self-replication? You know, besides RNA and DNA. A billion, maybe? 100 billion maybe? Evolution stumbled on one of these, and ran with it.

        Darwin needed the ‘one or many forms’ because otherwise he would not have any kind of replicating machine. His theory is all about replications.

        I think you are guessing, and you guessed wrong. Darwin conjectured that, of these many many BILLIONS of possible avenues to life, more than one may have got started initially. But when they came into contact, one of those forms outcompeted the others. Now, whether there actually WERE two or more basically different approaches can’t be known, but Darwin simply didn’t rule it out. He didn’t NEED them.

        BTW, Darwin also calls upon the Creator when he talks about the evolution of the eye.

        And can you produce a source for this claim? I know that Darwin uses a certain common rhetorical approach in that chapter: he STARTS OUT by saying that the eye is so amazing, one would look almost foolish thinking it could have occurred naturally. THEN Darwin goes on to do a “Climbing Mount Improbable” development, to show how eyes evolve.

        (And be honest, please. Nothing Darwin wrote, and no scientific explanation of anything whatsoever, relies on ANY creator, or any magic, or anything supernatural. At all.)

        I don’t know where you get this. I believe Behe has stated that in all the citations given to him at the trial he could not find any demonstrated pathways to irreducible structures.

        Yes, Behe stated this. He was then loaded down with so much documented, experimental evidence to the contrary that he complained that it weighed too much! And THEN he had the brass balls to say that it wasn’t good enough! So let’s make this clear: There are many many pathways to irreducible complexity, which is in any case a prediction made by the theory of evolution, and was laid out AS such a prediction in the 1920s. The only thing Behe made clear at the trial was that (1) he was totally unfamiliar with the very field he was testifying as an expert on; an d (2) he had NO INTEREST IN LEARNING ANYTHING about that field. He is a crank. What he thinks doesn’t matter, unless you are wedded to error and need some anti-hero to hold your hand and assure you that error is good.

        There’s not a hint of graciousness in this attack of yours. Can’t one disagree with another without demonizing them?

        This is your “interpretation” of things. But it can be done a little bit more even-handedly.

        Look, Behe is ignorant in the pejorative sense of the word – UNWILLING to learn better. He has been publicly repudiated by his own department at Lehigh University. He is not doing ANY science, of any kind.

        But, to be even-handed, I will say I think Behe is sincere. Sincerely deluded, but sincere. He ignores ALL the relevant facts and science for the same reason creationst do generally – they and he do not WANT reality to be true.

        And untimately, Behe is simply evil. He is working to actively undermine science, he is letting himself be used by evil people as a figurehead (“see, here’s a REAL SCIENTIST who thinks Goddidit”).

        This isn’t really a matter of disagreement. It’s a matter of policy. I’ve read that there are people in the Pentagon who can deny the truth so sincerely that they can look you straight in the eye and deny you’re there, and believe it! Behe is poisonous.

        Did you happen to notice that it ends with the word “beholder”. Beauty can only be experienced if someone is “beholding” something. That was my point. You missed it.

        Huh? That statement can be rewritten, without changing either its meaning or its connotations, as “beauty is entirely subjective.” That is, the appreciation of beauty occurs in the mind of the beholder, and NOT in the object being beheld. Without a beholder, nothing is inherently beautiful. Or designed.

  116. 227 Flint June 1, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    As to DaveScot and Fred Hoyle, I’m simply rebutting Flint’s allegation that the ID position is no more than religious bias, creationist thought.

    This charge doesn’t hold up when atheists see potholes in Darwinian thought.Do you really think you are fooling anyone? Have you actually READ the material from Philip Johnson, or William Dembski? It’s all Jesus, through and through. Have you ASKED DaveScot who the Designer was?

    You are correct, though, that some people reject the common understanding of evolution for non-religious reasons. I will note that these people are generally NOT promoting Intelligent Design, which PRESUMES a designer that even the DI has identified as being the creationist god.

    But yes, there have been some non-biologists who reject evolution for reasons having nothing to do with either religion OR evidence. If you were to READ (this is a real problem for you, I realize) what Hoyle said, you’ll realize that he believed there was an intelligent agency and purpose behind the universe, but he wasn’t a Christian. He knew absolutely nothing about biology. The version of evolution he criticized bore no resemblance to the scientific understanding, and he was dismissed by biologists for that reason. And HE is your hero?

    (And although I have little hope you will actually READ any of this, I wish to point out to anyone who DOES read that none of these critics “see potholes in Darwinian thought.” They are invariably attacking a hopeless misrepresentation of modern scientific understandings. I won’t even bother trying to untangle these understandings from those of a Biologist who lived 150 years ago, EVEN IF Darwin’s position were EVER to be properly presented.)

    • 228 PaV June 2, 2011 at 1:15 am

      Flint:

      Do you really think you are fooling anyone? Have you actually READ the material from Philip Johnson, or William Dembski? It’s all Jesus, through and through. Have you ASKED DaveScot who the Designer was?

      This statement is wrong. And it’s dumb. Why is everything a caricature to you?

      But yes, there have been some non-biologists who reject evolution for reasons having nothing to do with either religion OR evidence. If you were to READ (this is a real problem for you, I realize) what Hoyle said, you’ll realize that he believed there was an intelligent agency and purpose behind the universe, but he wasn’t a Christian. He knew absolutely nothing about biology. The version of evolution he criticized bore no resemblance to the scientific understanding, and he was dismissed by biologists for that reason. And HE is your hero?

      Flint, this is just a rant. I don’t want to dignify it with a response.

      • 229 Flint June 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm

        This statement is wrong. And it’s dumb. Why is everything a caricature to you?

        I see things as they are. But if you wish, I can provide you links to LONG dissertations in support of my statements. The core of ID is the Designer. The Designer is, and was created as, a pseudonym for the creationist god. End of story.

        Flint, this is just a rant. I don’t want to dignify it with a response.

        OK, let’s leave the editorializing out of it. Hoyle was an astronomer. He knew squat about biology. Biologists then and now dismiss his criticisms as attacks against a strawman version of evolution nobody has EVER seriously proposed. And once again, I wonder why you’d choose a biologically ignorant astronomer as your source.

    • 230 PaV June 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm

      Flint:

      And untimately, Behe is simply evil. He is working to actively undermine science, he is letting himself be used by evil people as a figurehead (“see, here’s a REAL SCIENTIST who thinks Goddidit”).

      I guess you’re not following my suggestion to not ‘demonize’ your opponents.

      Huh? That statement can be rewritten, without changing either its meaning or its connotations, as “beauty is entirely subjective.” That is, the appreciation of beauty occurs in the mind of the beholder, and NOT in the object being beheld. Without a beholder, nothing is inherently beautiful. Or designed.

      Have you ever explained just what beauty is to a person born blind?

      Everything comes to us through the senses. It all starts with something outside of ourselves.

      And, as to the ‘subjective’ side of beauty, there is a ‘subjective’ side to any observation we make, and to any knowledge we have. But this is not to deny reality, or to deny the possibility of our knowing things.

      For example, you know what a chair is, I presume. If I asked you to draw one, I’m rather sure I know what it would look like.

      But would it look anything like the woven chairs made by the Native Indians? Probably not. There’s always a little ambiguity when the ‘form’ of the ‘chair’ reaches its limits. And then one would have to ‘interpret’ some configuration to either be, or not be, a chair. But we know that chairs exist; just like we know that beauty exists. And it exists out there; not just ‘in here’, in our heads.

      • 231 Flint June 3, 2011 at 8:02 pm

        Have you ever explained just what beauty is to a person born blind?

        I would never suggest that blind people have no imagination. Would you?

        Everything comes to us through the senses. It all starts with something outside of ourselves.

        Are you serious? Maybe we don’t have a mutual understanding of “everything”. What comes through our senses is raw sensory data. What reaches our mind is a tiny subset of such data, heavily massaged through subconscious filters we developed through a lifetime of experience and resulting expectations. And it’s also colored by our preferences, our tastes, and our processing power.

        And, as to the ‘subjective’ side of beauty, there is a ‘subjective’ side to any observation we make, and to any knowledge we have. But this is not to deny reality, or to deny the possibility of our knowing things.

        Yes, everything we sense has this subjective component BECAUSE of all that filtering and coloring. Science struggles mightily to achieve what is called “intersubjective validation”. Which means, agreement on what we sense despite people of a wide variety of personalities, preferences, hostilities, etc. sensing the “same thing.” Removing as much as possible of the subjective component of observation is a difficult challenge, and often not very well achieved. But it happens enough that science makes real progress, and we can accept that there IS a real world out there, which is objective existence.

        For example, you know what a chair is, I presume. If I asked you to draw one, I’m rather sure I know what it would look like.

        Yes, of course. But would it be a beautiful chair? If you’re like most people, you can walk into a furniture store and wonder that anyone in their right mind would ever buy most of that crap. You might find only one beautiful chair. And so might I, and so might Tom, Dick and Harry. And among us, we would likely select five different chairs!

        But we know that chairs exist; just like we know that beauty exists. And it exists out there; not just ‘in here’, in our heads.

        And so this statement is clearly nonsense. The chair exists. The beauty is in our minds only. You, and I, and Tom, and Dick, and Harry are ALL delighted that we bought the only beautiful chair in the store, and that the other four have terrible taste. Yet we all agree that we each bought chairs.

        Beauty and design, once again, are entirely internal. We take the raw sensory chair data, and we run it through our personal preferences, experiences, memories, expectations etc. and we come to a conclusion as to whether we as individuals find the chair beautiful. Or, as you write:

        But would it look anything like the woven chairs made by the Native Indians? Probably not. There’s always a little ambiguity when the ‘form’ of the ‘chair’ reaches its limits.

        And here, you have inadvertently recognized that beyond some limit, whether it’s a chair AT ALL becomes ambiguous. Is it designed? You would have to guess, and you might get a false positive or a false negative (determined by asking the Indian if it’s a chair or something). Because, of course, the design is in your interpretation, not in the maybe-chair itself.

        I wrote about the alien object as an illustration. I presume it was an effective illustration, since I notice you carefully fail to address it. You know perfectly well your best approach to deciding if it was designed, would be to flip a coin. You have NO DATA. The object itself tells you nothing. Yes, you can weigh it and measure it and examine it in detail, you can describe it pretty much completely. You might even be able to produce a duplicate. What you can NOT do is tell if it was designed. Design does not lie in the object itself.

  117. 232 Rose June 2, 2011 at 7:36 am

    PaV, you said, about MathGrrl:

    “Look at her screen name: MathGrrl, as in Grrrrrr, the sound a dog makes. And we know what female dogs are called, don’t we? Well, her screen name is to let us know who were dealing with.

    It should be obvious to all that MathGrrl’s motives were not ‘pure’.”

    And you said to Flint:

    “There’s not a hint of graciousness in this attack of yours. Can’t one disagree with another without demonizing them?

    This is your “interpretation” of things. But it can be done a little bit more even-handedly.”

    PaV, you have a problem with women, don’t you? Especially strong, intelligent women who don’t need an imaginary sky friend to make themselves feel that they are someone special. Do you feel threatened by such women because you know deep down that you are a cowardly little boy?

    You also have a problem with honesty, integrity, decency, and reality. Throughout my life I’ve noticed that christians and other religious people are very rarely someone I want to associate with. Like you, they have huge double standards and expect a lot more from others than they do from themselves. They, like you, look down from their selfishly-built lofty perch and cast unwarranted aspersions on those whom they arrogantly believe are less ‘Godly’ than they are.

    They, like you, live in a constant state of fear and false bravado and project the dishonest, sinister, demonizing, un-pure thoughts they have onto those whom they fear and secretly envy. Reality, and the people who don’t fear it, are the monsters and demons under your bed, in your closets, in your dreams, and lurking in every shadow.

    The reason you religiosos tremble when your beliefs are questioned or challenged is because somewhere in your mind you know that your beliefs are based on fear-filled ancient fairy tales. Science scares you because it investigates and reveals reality and you fear that it will shatter every last bit of your fantasy world.

    In hopes of preventing that shattering you and many other religiosos try real hard to bend science to fit your religious beliefs. You know deep down that your beliefs are absurd so you try to convince yourself and others that the stamp of approval from science will authenticate those beliefs.

    If your beliefs had any real substance and were the true representation of an omnipotent ‘God’ that designed and created the universe and life, you wouldn’t need or want science to approve them. The fact that you and others try so hard to get the approval of science for your religious beliefs shows that you know your beliefs are a figment of your fearful imagination.

    I can’t help but think of the people who think that a diploma bought off the internet will authenticate and substantiate their knowledge, even when they don’t have any.

    Your real agenda is to infiltrate science and the lives of everyone on Earth with your beliefs so that you can convince yourself that your beliefs are true. Your appeals to authority show that you want and need approval from others. Appealing to a “God” to make yourself feel important and special is the ultimate appeal to authority and it shows that any people who do so are too weak to stand on their own and think for themselves.

    I’m picturing a little boy who, when confronted by someone bigger than himself, says, ‘If you hurt me I’ll tell my Dad!’

    Why do you think religious people call god “Father” or their “protector”?

    By the way, you’ve got no room to chide Flint or anyone else for an “attack” or an alleged lack of “graciousness”. You and your friends on UD hide behind a protective wall where you launch constant attacks on people you see as a challenge to your unrealistic beliefs. It’s not gracious to do that.

    Your ridiculous and vicious interpretation of the way MathGrrl spells her user name and your allusion to her being a bitch dog shows just how paranoid, undignified, delusional, and spiteful you are. You’re definitely a typical christian.

    • 233 PaV June 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Rose:

      I hope you feel better now that you’ve told me how things are, and who I am, and so forth.

      You write this:

      PaV, you have a problem with women, don’t you? Especially strong, intelligent women who don’t need an imaginary sky friend to make themselves feel that they are someone special. Do you feel threatened by such women because you know deep down that you are a cowardly little boy?, . . .

      and then lecture me about being paranoid, undignified, etc.?

      What I said about MathGrrl was an observation. Am I correct, or am I wrong. Why don’t you ask MathGrrl how the “Grr” came about, and what, if anything, it was meant to convey?

      As to her lack of ‘pure’ motives, it is clear in the comments she’s made here and there on other blogs that she had an agenda when she went to UD with her ‘demands’. Again, I think this is quite obvious.

      And, BTW, how do you know I’m a Christian? Did I say I was?

      • 234 Rose June 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm

        “What I said about MathGrrl was an observation. Am I correct, or am I wrong. Why don’t you ask MathGrrl how the “Grr” came about, and what, if anything, it was meant to convey?”

        Maybe YOU should have asked MathGrrl why she chose that spelling BEFORE you condemned her for it. What’s “obvious” is that you never considered the fact that other spellings of MathGrrl were likely already taken and/or that she chose that spelling just to be different, with no intention at all of conveying what you made up in your paranoid, delusional, accusatory mind. Look who’s talking about being “pure”. Pfft.

        “As to her lack of ‘pure’ motives, it is clear in the comments she’s made here and there on other blogs that she had an agenda when she went to UD with her ‘demands’. Again, I think this is quite obvious.”

        “Obvious” only to a paranoid undignified godbot who feels threatened by reasonable questions.

        “And, BTW, how do you know I’m a Christian? Did I say I was?”

        You’re a godbot. It doesn’t really matter what particular kind.

        And look who’s talking when you say:

        “I guess you’re not following my suggestion to not ‘demonize’ your opponents.”

        “You would do well to follow your own advice.”

        “Who’s the one guilty of projection?”

        “This sounds exactly like YOU”

        “You’re interpreting it the way you want to.”

        You really ought to practice what you preach.

        And to this, “at this point I’m not really too interested in your take on it.”, I’ll say > right back at you.

        “I hope you feel better now that you’ve told me how things are, and who I am, and so forth.”

        I do feel better now.

        As Flint said (and you should really listen):

        “you cannot reach past the choir with your preaching”

        “You really ought to think before writing.”

    • 235 PaV June 3, 2011 at 6:20 pm

      Flint:

      Biologists then and now dismiss his criticisms as attacks against a strawman version of evolution nobody has EVER seriously proposed. And once again, I wonder why you’d choose a biologically ignorant astronomer as your source.

      This would all make a persuasive argument if there were biologists who could come up with an explanation for evolution that fits the facts.

      Mutoo Kimura tried diligently to come up with an explanation for the genetic diversity found in animal species. The only way he could was to employ his Neutral Theory. If you read his book on the Neutral Theory, you’ll find that he basically is saying that natural selection doesn’t take place.

      I have yet to see any mathematical formulation of NS that fits the facts. Were that to happen, I would change my mind.

      Hoyle decided to do population genetics starting from scratch, not finding the works of the considered masters mathematically adequate. The result was, “The Mathematics of Evolution.”

      The work is rather probing. He comes up, using his own starting points, with many of the major results of population genetics. But his analysis showed, basically, that genomes can move a little this way or that, but that it was extremely limited movement that they could make.

      Now, is a big-time critic of Darwinism embraced by the community of biologists? Of course not. Why? Because he’s threatening orthodoxy. (The same is true, of course, of Michael Behe)

      No one accepted the Big Bang either, until measurements proved it to be correct. And why did they reject the Big Bang? Because it seemed too ‘religious’ an idea. Does this sound anything familiar?

      • 236 Flint June 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm

        This would all make a persuasive argument if there were biologists who could come up with an explanation for evolution that fits the facts.

        Do you know what a scientific theory is? It is a proposed explanation that best fits all known relevant facts. The facts come first in science, the explanation follows. (This is the opposite of religion). THEN, if they theory is correct, many other things must be true, which must be tested for. If they are false, the theory is incorrect. If they are true, the theory is supported. The theory of evolution is regarded (outside of certain religious circles) as the best-documented, best-supported, most thoroughly-attested theory in the entire history of science. And it is regarded this way after tens of thousands of scientists have performed countless millions of tests.

        Mutoo Kimura tried diligently to come up with an explanation for the genetic diversity found in animal species. The only way he could was to employ his Neutral Theory. If you read his book on the Neutral Theory, you’ll find that he basically is saying that natural selection doesn’t take place.

        OK, this is wrong in two respects. The simple respect is, Kimura is saying no such thing. He is saying that natural selection, by itself, cannot explain the genetic diversity found. So he proposes an additional mechanism.

        The other way it’s wrong arises from a complete misunderstanding of evolution. Evolution-the-fact says, life forms change over time. That’s ALL it says. But WHY and HOW does this happen? What are the mechanisms causing this change? That’s the theory of evolution. Biologists accept that there is more than a single mechanism, and more than a small handful of mechanisms. There are quite a few mechanisms. There is, at the edge of research, considerable dispute over how many mechanisms there are, exactly how they all work, etc. That’s what science is all about. But evolution itself is a fact. It happens.

        I have yet to see any mathematical formulation of NS that fits the facts. Were that to happen, I would change my mind.

        This is a straw man again. Natural selection and evolution are different things, in the same way that dawn (an observation) is different from celestial mechanics (an explanation). And so, if you wish NS to “fit the facts”, you must isolate those facts that NS fits, understanding that it is only ONE mechanism and no biologist would ever say that it explains all facts. It does not. And I would seriously doubt anyone who said it does.

        Now, is a big-time critic of Darwinism embraced by the community of biologists? Of course not. Why? Because he’s threatening orthodoxy. (The same is true, of course, of Michael Behe)

        This appeal to authority is kind of beside the point (but very indicative of a certain thought process). Hoyle’s analysis was rejected because it was WRONG. Note carefully that Kimura was NOT rejected. Why not? Because Kimura was NOT wrong (though your statement that Kimura says NS doesn’t happen, is wrong and Kimura would be the first to point that out). Yet Kimura was without doubt questioning “the orthodoxy.” If your vision of science as a static fortress with massive walls defending it from all challenges were true, how do you think science actually discovers ANYTHING?

        Hoyle’s math is just fine, and not the problem. The problem is, he applied his math to a misunderstanding of what biologist could have told him ACTUALLLY HAPPENS IN NATURE. And at this point, note that population genetics and the requisite math is very common, and very useful, and tells us things to look for that we may not have thought of otherwise. So there’s nothing wrong with applying math to population genetics. What’s wrong is applying it to what does not happen.

        So Hoyle was like the apocryphal physicist who used math to prove bumblebees can’t fly. Yet we SEE that they fly, and we SEE that genomic change is not so limited. So should we believe our direct observations, or should we believe those who “proved” that we can’t possibly be seeing what we see? I really don’t understand your defense of someone who was wrong 50 years ago, and is now (with the intense development of population genetics) just as wrong. It’s almost like you REQUIRE error to support your position. And you might roll THAT around in your head for a while.

        No one accepted the Big Bang either, until measurements proved it to be correct. And why did they reject the Big Bang? Because it seemed too ‘religious’ an idea. Does this sound anything familiar?

        Of course, Hoyle rejected the Big Bang, and even gave it that name to mock it – and was mortified when it was adopted!

        There MAY have been some who initially dismissed the idea because it “sounded too religious”, but the main reason it was not instantly universally accepted was, it wasn’t all that well supported at first. It was a hypothesis which made testable predictions. One by one, those predictions were tested (some tests required the development of a good deal of technology, like the COBE satellite, etc.) And as the idea passed one test after another, it became more widely accepted. That’s how science works.

        Now, if there are any knowledgeable people left who STILL cling to Hoyle’s steady-state preference, THAT would be a religious response. They might say “The Big Bang doesn’t fit the facts, and if it did I would change my mind.”

  118. 237 Mark Frank June 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Flint, Rose, Pav

    As you know I am not into any kind of regulation of discussion, but all three of you might want to step back from what has become little more than a session of mutual insults.

    My hope is that it is possible to have a worthwhile discussion based on mutual respect without any kind of enforced moderation. On occasion this may require a willingness to turn the other cheek, bite one’s lip or some other kinds of facial mutilation.

    Thanks

    Mark

    • 238 Alan Fox June 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Yes, let’s refocus on the OP and someone could just come up with a definition of CSI that makes sense.

      KF?

      PaV?

      Dr’s Dembski and Marks?

      Anyone?

      • 239 PaV June 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm

        Alan: Read Dembski’s NFL. CSI should be clear to you after doing so.

      • 240 Alan Fox June 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

        Read Dembski’s NFL. CSI should be clear to you after doing so.

        I doubt you believe that. Anyway it’s not necessary. ARN have a convenient précis posted by Bill Dembski himself of his 2002 oeuvre. Dembski makes great play with the concept of specification. He appears to think that evolutionary processes are a search of some kind. There is no specification and there are no targets in evolutionary theory. Dembski makes much reference to David Wolpert’s “No Free Lunch” theorems. They don’t entail any concept of a target. It seems to me Dembski’s whole negative argument that evolutionary processes cannot find viable solutions for organisms and their niche is based on an utter incomprehension of evolutionary theory. Evolution is not a specified search.

        So where in “No Free Lunch” is the meaningful definition of CSI as a measurable quantity? Where are the worked examples pertaining to living organisms?

  119. 242 Flint June 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Flint:

    The point is, the number of possible resting places is essentially infinite.

    There is an ‘infinite’ number of possible resting places in a 600 square foot area? Are you serious? What is the footprint of this ball you throw into the air, 10^-900 meters?

    Are you considering ANY footprint overlap as being “the same place”? I shouldn’t think my statement needs any explanation at all.

    Logically, if there is an infinite number of possible resting places then the ball will NEVER come to rest. But it does. You said so.

    Which means your statement isn’t correct or logical. In fact, it’s silly. Like saying that the number of possible different baseball games is infinite, and therefore no game will ever end! You really ought to think before writing.

    Why not just chalk it up to the laws of chemistry, in addition to the physical laws controlling the environment within which that chemistry happened?

    Read Meyer’s Signature in the Cell where he addresses these very issues. Watson and Crick realized that if there were chemical bonds prescribing certain bonding preferences amongst the DNA nucleotides, then the sequencing would be prescribed, and then DNA wouldn’t have the ability to hold information. As it turns out, one nucleotide bond is the same as the other.I’m not sure I understand your point here. Two bonds might be the same, but the opportunity to form a bond can be different on two different occasions.

    So, let me ask you again: what law, or laws, determines that a nucleotide sequence should take a particular conformation?The same “laws” that determine whether a flipped (and honest) coin comes up heads or tails. The number of independent variables, and the range of those variables, makes the result essentially unpredictable.

    As to DaveScot, I believe he thinks aliens did it. Dawkins isn’t opposed to this idea either.

    Aliens did what? Engineered all evolution? Seeded life on earth, which actually started elsewhere? Invoked a magic spell?

    Aristotle believed in design. Was he a Creationist too?

    If Aristotle thought the gods did it, then yes, he was a creationist. I wonder which god he thought was responsible for what.

    • 243 PaV June 3, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      PaV:Logically, if there is an infinite number of possible resting places then the ball will NEVER come to rest. But it does. You said so.

      Flint:Which means your statement isn’t correct or logical. In fact, it’s silly. Like saying that the number of possible different baseball games is infinite, and therefore no game will ever end! You really ought to think before writing.

      The mathematician Hilbert had a proof demonstrating, contra Cantor, that an infinity cannot be present within a finite set.

      Dispute Hilbert if you like.

      There is an infinite number of possible outcomes for a roulette wheel; but the fact is that each time a ball is rolled, an output ensues—just like all baseball games end.

      You would do well to follow your own advice.

      Flint:

      So, let me ask you again: what law, or laws, determines that a nucleotide sequence should take a particular conformation?

      If there is some ‘law’, and this is your word, ‘determining’ a nucleotide sequence, then you no longer have a ‘code’ at work, but a ‘law’. So, which is it?

      There are laws to English usage; we call them syntax. But they don’t ‘determine’ what I write.

      While I’m on this, the 2009 paper by Yuras doesn’t take into account the binding freedom of both DNA and t-RNA. While riboswitches may bind to amino acids, and while certain triplets might bind preferentially, there isn’t an effective equivalence of binding energies for the nucleotides, which means that the riboswitches couldn’t possibly act in a code-like fashion.

      If Aristotle thought the gods did it, then yes, he was a creationist. I wonder which god he thought was responsible for what.

      He saw ‘design’ everywhere he looked. And, he thought the world was quasi-eternal. I don’t think he believed in creation. He did believe in an Unmoved Mover.

      As to Darwin and the Creator and the eye:

      From the Origin of Species (Chapter 7)

      He who will go thus far, if he find on finishing this treatise that large bodies of facts, otherwise inexplicable, can be explained by the theory of descent, ought not to hesitate to go further, and to admit that a structure even as perfect as the eye of an eagle might be formed by natural selection, although in this case he does not know any of the transitional grades. His reason ought to conquer his imagination; though I have felt the difficulty far too keenly to be surprised at any degree of hesitation in extending the principle of natural selection to such startling lengths.

      It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye to a telescope. We know that this instrument has been perfected by the long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man?

      Here Darwin is saying that the Creator’s power of intellect is greater than man’s, and that if man can fashion a telescope, certainly the Creator can ‘fashion’ the eye of an eagle.

      Why not roll all of this around in your mind a little? This Creator Darwin was talking about was, here, really a Designer.

      • 244 PaV June 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm

        Correction:

        There is an infinite number of possible patterns of outcomes if a roulette wheel is rolled an infinite number of times. . . .

      • 245 Flint June 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm

        The mathematician Hilbert had a proof demonstrating, contra Cantor, that an infinity cannot be present within a finite set.

        Dispute Hilbert if you like.

        OK, I’ll correct my language, since you apparently cannot distinguish between mathmatically infinite, and “essentially infinite” in practice. In practice, every difference, however tiny, produces a different ballgame.

        Here Darwin is saying that the Creator’s power of intellect is greater than man’s, and that if man can fashion a telescope, certainly the Creator can ‘fashion’ the eye of an eagle.

        What? Darwin is saying nothing of the sort! Darwin did not believe in a “creator” the way you do, and you are projecting your beliefs into his words.

        What he is saying here is, SOME people just presume that their creator is just some sort of superman with magical abilities but works the same way we would. After all, he has just finished an entire chapter detailing how the eye could develop using a fundamentally different process than humans do. And his creator (that is, nature) is NOT like humans, it works totally differently.

        Why not roll all of this around in your mind a little? This Creator Darwin was talking about was, here, really a Designer.

        I’ve said this already. Darwin regarded evolution as a design process. And it IS a design process, insofar as it is a selective, adaptive feedback process. And we’re back to Darwin’s point that you completely missed. What makes a natural design process so totally different from a human design process, is that nature has no goal or target or a priori specification. The process is all there is. Darwin is dismissing those who require a human-with-magical-powers creator to do things the way we do.

        (I really can’t believe you could misread Darwin so egregiously! He says, we compare the eye to a telescope. We know how PEOPLE designed a telescope. We PRESUME that the eye must have been designed the same way. But this is presumptuous, Darwin says. It is presumptuous to presume a creator who “works by intellectual powers like those of man.” Darwin’s creator has no intellect, no mind, no purpose. The eye developed only because it was useful, and more development made it more useful, one incremental unpredictable change at a time.

        You need to roll this around in your mind a little.)

  120. 246 PaV June 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Flint:

    In practice, every difference, however tiny, produces a different ballgame.

    Does the DNA of a cell produce different proteins every time its DNA is transcribed? See the difference?

    What? Darwin is saying nothing of the sort! Darwin did not believe in a “creator” the way you do, and you are projecting your beliefs into his words.

    Who’s the one guilty of projection? Listen to what you say next:

    What he is saying here is, SOME people just presume that their creator is just some sort of superman with magical abilities but works the same way we would. After all, he has just finished an entire chapter detailing how the eye could develop using a fundamentally different process than humans do. And his creator (that is, nature) is NOT like humans, it works totally differently.

    This sounds exactly like YOU, not Darwin. You’re interpreting it the way you want to.

    Here’s what Darwin says two sentences later:

    Let this process go on for millions on millions of years; and during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass as the works of the Creator are to those of man?

    How are you going to spin this quote?

    Sorry, but at this point I’m not really too interested in your take on it.

    • 247 Flint June 4, 2011 at 1:07 am

      Does the DNA of a cell produce different proteins every time its DNA is transcribed? See the difference?

      The original argument presented here was one embodying a statistical fallacy, namely that using post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning, we could confidently say that if something is prohibitively unlikely to have happened by chance, it must have been Designed.

      My counter to that argument was, nearly everything that happens in reality is vanishingly unlikely. I pointed out that these statistical arguments always work backwards – they assume THIS bridge hand was the “goal”, and calculate how unlikely it was. But the proper approach is to point out that SOME bridge hand has a probability of unity.

      The statistical fallacy rests on the assumption that the way things are, is the way they were intended to be, or the only way they could be. This is a false assumption. And based on this false assumption, irrelevant calculations produce astronomical odds.

      And so I pointed out that the odds against EXACTLY THIS baseball game are astronomical, and always will be. But this is NOT a valid argument that baseball games are miracles.

      How are you going to spin this quote?

      There’s no need to spin it, despite your efforts. I really don’t know what you are even trying to say anymore. If you think Darwin was ascribing evolution to a creator, then you are misreading him. If you think that there is any supernatural component in the theory of evololution, then you are incorrect.

      • 248 PaV June 4, 2011 at 4:12 am

        Flint:

        The original argument presented here was one embodying a statistical fallacy, namely that using post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning, we could confidently say that if something is prohibitively unlikely to have happened by chance, it must have been Designed.

        Improbability is only one part of CSI. So why do you presume that it is everything? Because that is what you’re doing.

        Improbability is a measure of complexity; but something also has to be ‘specified’. The way CSI works is that a ‘pattern’ is discovered, and this pattern must have tractability, which means that the pattern can be perceived independently of the event. Then, based on the chance hypothesis, a rejection region is determined. If the rejection region is extreme enough, then design is inferred.

        If a ball is thrown into the air, and then allowed to come to a rest, what pattern is there in that? None.

        If you’re playing poker and you’re dealt a Royal Flush, that is a pattern. But the rejection region is not extreme enough. So it is not design. But, if you’re dealt a Royal Flush one hundred times in a row, then the rejection region would be small enough to conclude design was involved.

        Simple, isn’t it. Just read Dembski’s No Free Lunch.

        If you think Darwin was ascribing evolution to a creator, then you are misreading him.

        If you think Darwin was not ascribing evolution to a creator, then why did you write creator, and not ‘Creator’?

        But, again, Darwin doesn’t use the word evolution. And Darwin had a problem with ‘origin of life’ issues; so he took the easy way out—perhaps.

      • 249 Alan Fox June 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

        PaV:

        Improbability is only one part of CSI. So why do you presume that it is everything?

        Evolution is not a search for a target. Solutions (particular species adapting to particular niches) to evolutionary problems are not specified in advance.

        Painting targets around solutions after the fact and claiming the shot was impossible is a basic failure to understand evolutionary theory. Everything that has occurred has a probability of one.

        And in case you missed it before, evolution is not a targeted search!

  121. 251 Alan Fox June 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Sorry it’s the new glasses.

    Résumé, excursion.

    Hat tip: Vince Torley

  122. 252 Flint June 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Improbability is only one part of CSI. So why do you presume that it is everything? Because that is what you’re doing.

    No, that’s not what I’m doing. I am showing that the argument of statistical improbability is a fallacy. We can toss that one, it’s simply wrong.

    Improbability is a measure of complexity; but something also has to be ‘specified’.

    And as has been pointed out to you ad nauseum, a specification cannot be derived from examining an object. A specification may or may not have existed for an object to meet, but you CANNOT TELL THAT from the object alone.

    PLEASE respond to the alien object I’ve mentioned. Was it specified? How can you know?

    The way CSI works is that a ‘pattern’ is discovered, and this pattern must have tractability, which means that the pattern can be perceived independently of the event.

    And here we go again. The “pattern” is whatever you decide it is. If I grab an ordinary rock out of the field, is it specified? BUT if I use that rock as a doorstop or a paperweight, THEN it meets a specification. And the rock can be very complex.

    You are playing a game here. You are saying “I WANT to believe that MY imaginary sky daddy POOFED life into existence. How can I support this desire? Well, I can grab something I NEED to have been POOFED, and I can “find” design in it, and then I can think up “aspects of design” that this thing meets, and then I can say this thing meets those aspects.” And it’s no secret that you are starting with foregone conclusions, and trying to force reality to fit them. And when it’s demonstrated to you that reality refuses to fit, you simply ignore the demonstrations and repeat your claims. As though words written twice double in meaning. But that is the religious approach – if you SAY something is true enough times, it must BE true.

    But unfortunately for you, design remains a process, not a property of anything. And if you know nothing about that process, you CAN NOT legitimately “discover” design, no matter how much you want to. That alien object might BE the alien itself! But as I said earlier, you could examine that object down to the subatomic level and STILL not know if it was designed.

    If you’re playing poker and you’re dealt a Royal Flush, that is a pattern. But the rejection region is not extreme enough. So it is not design. But, if you’re dealt a Royal Flush one hundred times in a row, then the rejection region would be small enough to conclude design was involved.

    You are stacking the deck here! Yes, if you deal ANY hand repeatedly, it’s reasonable to assume there’s a reason for it. The reason could be simple – someone forgot (or chose not to) shuffle the cards. OR there are only 5 cards in the deck being dealt. But design? No, you IMPOSED design because you WANTED it to be there.

    Simple, isn’t it.

    Too simple. The algorithy is:
    1) Pick what you prefer to see design in
    2) Point to it and say “I see design”
    When Dembski was challenged to calculate CSI, he ran away and has never returned. Even HE realizes that he CAN NOT KNOW if the alien object was designed, without knowing the intent of the designer (if any) and the design process (if any). He can only guess.

    If you think Darwin was not ascribing evolution to a creator, then why did you write creator, and not ‘Creator’?

    If you were familiar with the background, you would realize that in Darwin’s day, biology wasn’t understood and supernatural Creation was assumed. Darwin was WELL aware of this – he started out to become a cleric! Darwin knew that in proposing a natural feedback process by which life changes over time, he would be vilified. So he compromised, using his creator as a metaphor, but NEVER ascribing anything supernatural to his process. He was adamant about that. There IS NO MAGIC in biology.

    Now, if you wish to think that natural feedback processes are (unnecessarily) guided by some invisible hand, go right ahead. But remove that hand, and the process does not change.

    But, again, Darwin doesn’t use the word evolution. And Darwin had a problem with ‘origin of life’ issues; so he took the easy way out—perhaps.

    Darwin wrote elsewhere that he did not like the term “evolution” because he considered it to refer too generally to incremental change of any sort. He argued that “descent with modification” was more descriptive. And he was probably right, but it was a clumsy phrase, and didn’t get adopted. As for origin of life, Darwin had NO DATA. Recall that Darwin was a scientist, and not given to conjecturing or speculating in the absence of data. He could demonstrate descent with modification. He could not demonstrate abiogenesis. Which in fact remains undemonstrated.

    • 253 Alan Fox June 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm

      Nitpick to Flint

      He could not demonstrate abiogenesis. Which in fact remains undemonstrated.

      I think it is fair to say that abiogenesis did occur is demonstrated by the presence of life on Earth. How abiogenesis occurred remains obscure.

      • 254 Alan Fox June 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm

        Nitpick to Alan

        Grammar leaves a bit to be desired!

        I think it is fair to say that abiogenesis did occur, as is demonstrated by the presence of life on Earth

      • 255 Flint June 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

        OK, good point. We know it occurred, but not how. But the PROCESS has not been demonstrated, which was my point. The process of speciation HAS been demonstrated. But this is a minor point, I agree.

    • 256 PaV June 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm

      Flint:

      But that is the religious approach – if you SAY something is true enough times, it must BE true.

      Flint, this kind of thinking is very unhelpful. It will get you nowhere.

      I’ve already pointed out that there are atheists that embrace ID. OTOH, there are Christians who believe that God ‘used’ the evolutionary process = theistic evolution.

      If I happened to be a fundamentalist Christian, believing in six days of Creation, then, yes, I’d be forced to oppose Darwinism.

      But that’s just not the case. So why simply assume that any objections I make to Darwinian theory are religiously based? That’s simply an easy way out.

      So, hopefully, you can set all of that to the one side.

      Consider an object left on your doorstep during the night by some space alien. You might guess as to its complexity, but what is it FOR? It could be a chunk of alien landscape, or it could be a work of art, a tool, or the alien’s lunch. You have no clue and no way of collecting one.

      Bottom line: a specification is something that is inherently external to the object itself; creating a specification requires contextual knowledge not provided by the object.

      Unless these conceptual flaws can be addressed, all we can do is count angels on pinheads when the question is, ARE there angels in the first place.

      This was from a month ago. I wasn’t even aware of this thread at the time.

      If you found a chiseled piece of ‘flint’, formed in the shape of an arrowhead, would you consider that to have been done by native Americans? Scientists do that all the time. Were native Americans intelligent agents? Yes. Then, if the piece of flint meets certain criteria (thus matching known examples of arrowheads) then it was “intelligently designed”.

      In the case of an alien object, if it were a piece of their “landscape”, then chemical analysis would determine its ET origins. But, if we’re dealing with a rock, produced by law-like processes, whether here or on some other planet, then, no, it would not be “intelligently designed”. However, once you start talking about a “work of art”, or a “tool”, then if this is palpably the case, then we know we’re dealing with an intelligent agent—that it, there’s some ‘purpose’ or ‘end’ to the art or the tool—then we could conclude that it was intelligently designed.

      Isn’t this straightforward stuff?

      Here’s a better approach.

      Do you think that a protein sequence in DNA has the hallmarks of what a word is in the English language? If not, why not?

      And as has been pointed out to you ad nauseum, a specification cannot be derived from examining an object. A specification may or may not have existed for an object to meet, but you CANNOT TELL THAT from the object alone.

      Why are you trying to find ways of “not” understanding CSI, instead of trying to understand it?

      You speak of a religious bias. Is there such a thing as a anti-religious bias?

      You speak of alien objects. Exactly what is the SETI project trying to do? Just what happened in Sagan’s book, Contact?

      A message was sent that was recognized as “specified”. The SETI people are looking for “patterned” signals.

      If “patterned signals” isn’t an indicator for intelligence, then just why is that what they’re looking for?

      And, if you “cannot derive” a pattern from examining an object, then why does SETI exist?

      Just some questions . . .

      Yes, if you deal ANY hand repeatedly, it’s reasonable to assume there’s a reason for it.

      Voila! The design inference. This is basically what ID is about. Under certain circumstances, there’s a “reason” why something happened; not a “law” that brought something about

      ven HE realizes that he CAN NOT KNOW if the alien object was designed, without knowing the intent of the designer (if any) and the design process (if any). He can only guess.

      If a six-year old Pakistani youngster ran across the helicopter tail section left behind when bin Laden was taken out, and did not have any adults to tell him what it was, then:
      (1) would he have decided that this object was some kind of rock, tree or plant; (2) would he have thought that some kind of random process brought it about; or, (3) not knowing who built it, or why, would he have concluded that somebody ‘built’ it?

      Now, if you wish to think that natural feedback processes are (unnecessarily) guided by some invisible hand, go right ahead. But remove that hand, and the process does not change.

      To try and get at this point, I want, now, to ask a rather straightforward question: Do you believe that all dogs trace themselves back to wolves?

      As for origin of life, Darwin had NO DATA. Recall that Darwin was a scientist, and not given to conjecturing or speculating in the absence of data. He could demonstrate descent with modification. He could not demonstrate abiogenesis. Which in fact remains undemonstrated.

      This might be so. But considering his comments both in his conclusion and in his section of the development of the eagle eye, you cannot rule out that, at that point in his life, Darwin accepted the fact that only the Creator could get ‘life’ going in the first place. We know that later on he would talk about some pond of warm water, etc. But at least in Origins, he is presuming the Creator’s powers. It’s not being fair-minded to just wave this possibility away.

      • 257 Flint June 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm

        Flint, this kind of thinking is very unhelpful. It will get you nowhere.

        It is how religious thought works. Which is why religions got nowhere for millennia. THINK about it.

        I’ve already pointed out that there are atheists that embrace ID.

        Nonetheless, ID is creationism at the core. The Intelligent Designer is the creationist god. If you disagree, take it up with your fund raisers!

        But that’s just not the case. So why simply assume that any objections I make to Darwinian theory are religiously based? That’s simply an easy way out.

        Because you have not presented anything remotely scientific. You refuse to address the problems with specification, with reasoning backwards from conclusions, with the body of evidence supporting what you reject.

        In the case of an alien object, if it were a piece of their “landscape”, then chemical analysis would determine its ET origins. But, if we’re dealing with a rock, produced by law-like processes, whether here or on some other planet, then, no, it would not be “intelligently designed”.

        Yes, of course. If it were an alien tool, or work of art, or the alien itself, chemical analysis would ALSO tell you it came from elsewhere. And you would be NO CLOSER to knowing if it were designed.

        However, once you start talking about a “work of art”, or a “tool”, then if this is palpably the case, then we know we’re dealing with an intelligent agent—that it, there’s some ‘purpose’ or ‘end’ to the art or the tool—then we could conclude that it was intelligently designed.

        Good grief! The point is, you have NO DATA. You have ABSOLUTELY NOW WAY TO KNOW what might be “palpably the case”. You must PROJECT this onto the unknown. And that’s the whole point. You CAN NOT infer design from examining the object. You require knowledge of the process that produced the object. And you don’t know this.

        Isn’t this straightforward stuff?

        Yes, which makes it so hard to believe you just cannot see it! What you just wrote was, IF you ALREADY KNOW that it was designed, you can “infer” design. If you ALREADY KNOW it was not designed, then you can infer it wasn’t designed. Yes, very straightforward. If you do not ALREADY KNOW anything whatsoever about it, you can’t infer anything. And that’s the simple point.

        Why are you trying to find ways of “not” understanding CSI, instead of trying to understand it?

        Because, as you and I just established, specification consists of what you ALREADY KNOW before even looking at something. And if you do not ALREADY KNOW anything, then specification is not possible to determine. I understand completely. I think you do to, but you are not willing to admit it.

        You speak of alien objects. Exactly what is the SETI project trying to do?

        SETI relies on a set of assumptions. They even explicitly list those assumptions. And they admit that if their assumptions are wrong, then their project is hopeless.

        The SETI people are looking for “patterned” signals. If “patterned signals” isn’t an indicator for intelligence, then just why is that what they’re looking for?

        They actually have a fairly detailed statistical description of the ambient noise they’ve been picking up for a long time. If any genuine alien signal is encrypted in such a way as to resemble that noise, then SETI has little hope. So what they’re looking for is some extended signal that is distinctly, highly differentiated from that noise. It need not even be a “pattern” in your sense. It just has to be distinctly different.

        Voila! The design inference. This is basically what ID is about.

        Whoa! Set aside your foregone conclusions. I did NOT SAY design, I said “reason”. You jumped immediately from reason to design. But the theory of evolution is nothing if not a detailed, extended reasonable explanation for life’s diversity. Yet you seem to be saying here that no matter how reasonable, it’s still not design!

        So if the deck only has 5 cards, which produce the same 5-card hand over and over, is there “design” in the deal? Certainly there is a reason why all hands are alike.

        If a six-year old Pakistani youngster ran across the helicopter tail section left behind when bin Laden was taken out, and did not have any adults to tell him what it was, then:
        (1) would he have decided that this object was some kind of rock, tree or plant; (2) would he have thought that some kind of random process brought it about; or, (3) not knowing who built it, or why, would he have concluded that somebody ‘built’ it?

        Depends on whether that Pakistani child has ANY experience with man-made materials, as a basis for comparison. If that same child saw a face in the clouds, what might he conclude?

        To try and get at this point, I want, now, to ask a rather straightforward question: Do you believe that all dogs trace themselves back to wolves?

        What I “believe” doesn’t matter. I am not intimately familiar with dog breeding, but I know that wolves, dingos, coyotes, etc. have a common ancestor. Perhaps some breeders started with relatives of wolves. I could look it up, it’s not a matter of “belief”.

        This might be so. But considering his comments both in his conclusion and in his section of the development of the eagle eye, you cannot rule out that, at that point in his life, Darwin accepted the fact that only the Creator could get ‘life’ going in the first place.

        I have no idea what Darwin might have accepted, and I can’t see how it matters today at all, unless you are writing a biography and need some human interest to add to it.

        But no, in Origins he is NOT “presuming the Creator’s powers”, he is proposing a mechanism that could produce life’s diversity without involving any creators at all. His work was about what causes life to change over time, and it was very explicitly NOT about how life itself got started.

        Now, it might be relevant to point out that abiogenesis is today an active topic of research, and quite fascinating. There have been several books written about it. But it seems strange to ponder what the authors of these books might “believe” about something different.

  123. 258 Zachriel June 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    PaV: The way CSI works is that a ‘pattern’ is discovered, and this pattern must have tractability, which means that the pattern can be perceived independently of the event. Then, based on the chance hypothesis, a rejection region is determined.

    As we pointed out above, specification and the chance hypothesis are both subjective. The measure of specific complexity changes depending on the background knowledge of the Semiote, leading to false positives for design.

    If we use a chaotic, deterministic function as an example, any normal probability function will indicate high complexity, yet the sequence is highly specified. The metric yields an answer of Design, even if it’s just the Cree..eak and SLAMs! of an old, breeze-tossed shutter.

    • 259 PaV June 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      Alan:

      And in case you missed it before, evolution is not a targeted search!

      Says who????!!!

      You say that. But what proof do you have?

      As has been argued many times before, and which is not only plausible, but, given what we know, also highly likely, is that the Designer designed life so as to ‘adapt’ to conditions.

      What might this mean?

      Well, of course, it’s the difference between macro and micro evolution. A particular genome is brought into existence, and from there, using the built in mechanisms of change—mutation, recombination, etc—organisms adapt to their particular habitat.

      This is clearly seen in the case of the lizard species transplanted from one Adriatic island to another, and that, within 35 years time, changed its jaw size, its behavior, and grew cecal valves in its stomach.

      In this case, look at the tremendous disparity between local habitat—that is, one island versus another in a rather small geographical area—and the sizable changes that took place.

      What is of note is: (1) this all happened too quickly to be accounted for by Darwinian theory of any type, and (2) that obviously the genes needed for these changes were already present within the species (“front-loaded”, if you will).

      But this is all microevolution.

      The gaps between genomic structure identifying types is simply too large to be crossed over using Darwinian mechanisms. Darwinists simply assume, and then, insist, that these gaps can be bridged, but without providing evidence.

      For example: where are the intermediate forms needed for such a non-targeted search?

      Darwin thought the world quasi-eternal. But we know the earth is no more than 5 billion years old. This quasi-eternity is no longer available to science. Sorry about that!

      • 260 Flint June 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm

        You say that. But what proof do you have?

        This is the wrong question. Evolution simply does not require a targeted search model. So saying that there IS a targeted search is a positive claim, requiring positive supporting evidence. “You can’t prove me wrong” is NOT positive supporting evidence.

        As has been argued many times before, and which is not only plausible, but, given what we know, also highly likely, is that the Designer designed life so as to ‘adapt’ to conditions.

        But you are again “finding” whatever fits your foregone conclusions. Evolution as understood in science, is an adaptive feedback process. Such processes lead to functionality appropriate to the environment they are adapted to fit. This happens without any external purposeful Designer. So again, pasting on a Designer where one is not necessary, requires positive evidence. You have none. You have nothing more than an a priori belief in a designer.

        Well, of course, it’s the difference between macro and micro evolution.

        Sigh. A few steps in some direction is a micro-journey. A few thousands steps is a macro-journey. The PROCESS of taking steps is identical for both.

        What is of note is: (1) this all happened too quickly to be accounted for by Darwinian theory of any type, and (2) that obviously the genes needed for these changes were already present within the species (“front-loaded”, if you will).

        But one not sharing your foregone conclusions won’t see this the same way. Rapid morphological changes are demonstrated all the time. We call this “selective breeding”. But nature can also perform selective breeding just as rapidly, if environments are sufficiently different. So your first note is wrong.

        Your second note is correct, but misinterpreted. A genome contains many many many many many characteristics not actualized often. Consider dog breeding – people started with wolves, and have produced enormous variation. They did this in a very short period of time because those variations were already present in the genome. Nobody introduced specific new mutations to cause these variations, and nobody yet even knows how.

        And the theory of evolution implies that such variation MUST be present. Without variation, selection is moot. But beyond those variations already inherent in the genome, the breeders are helpless. They cannot breed a dog with some characteristic not recessive in the genome, unless they wait for some unpredictable mutation to increase the “vocabulary” of traits they can isolate and emphasize.

        The gaps between genomic structure identifying types is simply too large to be crossed over using Darwinian mechanisms. Darwinists simply assume, and then, insist, that these gaps can be bridged, but without providing evidence.

        Ah, once again the creationist blind spot. They assume so deeply that nothing new is possible, that they think “evolution” means one CURRENT species morphing somehow into another CURRENT species. No matter how many times they read about the tree analogy, and get to observe that branches do NOT converge back into other branches, they just cannot see it! In their view, the origin of species and origin of life was a single atomic event, producing all there is or ever will be.

        Darwinists do NOT assume that evolution is trying to evolve dogs into cats. Evolution doesn’t work that way, and nobody has ever said it does. Evolutionary biologists (Note: “darwinists” is a silly term. You might as well say that physicists are “Newtonists”. Scientists respect the explanations that work, they do NOT worship the people proposing them. That’s the religious approach) say that a species can branch into two or more species, each of which can branch into two or more new species, and so on. Given enough time, the distant descendents of each branch will no longer resemble one another very closely. They are NEW lineages. The genetic gaps between them will be significant. There is no “crossing” in practice or theory or expectation.

        Please, if you’re going to critique a theory, you should critique what is actually proposed, and not some absurd misrepresentation.

        For example: where are the intermediate forms needed for such a non-targeted search?

        Uh, open your eyes. Look at yourself. You are an intermediate form between your ancestor and your descendents. Look at anything alive today. ALL are intermediates between the past and the future. Nobody can predict exactly how each will change in the future, but change itself is certain.

        Darwin thought the world quasi-eternal. But we know the earth is no more than 5 billion years old. This quasi-eternity is no longer available to science. Sorry about that!

        And this is relevant to what, exactly? Are you talking here about some sort of maximum evolutionary speed? In which case, yes, there certainly IS a maximum possible speed at which evolution can take place, which is throttled by (1) the rate at which beneficial variations appear; and (2) the rate at which changing environments MAKE them beneficial. When environments change slowly, evolution happens slowly. When mass extinctions have occurred, they have been followed by EXPLOSIVE evolutionary radiation of the survivors into all those nice empty new niches.

        And the moral of THAT story is, evolution CAN happen a great deal faster than it ordinarily does, and it HAS happened a great deal faster, on those rare occasions when lots of opportunity appears. 4 1/2 billion years is plenty of time.

    • 261 PaV June 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      The measure of specific complexity changes depending on the background knowledge of the Semiote, leading to false positives for design.

      I don’t think it necessarily leads to a “false positive’; in fact, it should be just the reverse.

      Here’s what I mean. If I don’t have the sufficient background for detecting a pattern, then I won’t detect the pattern. If there is no pattern, then there is no ‘chance hypothesis’, and no way to evaluate if design is implicated. In that case, you would have to conclude that whether the particular object you’re looking at is designed or not is simply unknown. But you certainly wouldn’t conclude that it was designed.

      If we use a chaotic, deterministic function as an example, any normal probability function will indicate high complexity, yet the sequence is highly specified.

      Why don’t you give a specific example. I’m not sure what a “chaotic, deterministic function” looks like.

      • 262 Flint June 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

        Here’s what I mean. If I don’t have the sufficient background for detecting a pattern, then I won’t detect the pattern. If there is no pattern, then there is no ‘chance hypothesis’, and no way to evaluate if design is implicated.

        Yes, you are correct. If YOU lack the appropriate knowledge, YOU won’t know if there’s a pattern there or not. You must guess. If you guess wrong, this is a false positive or negative, depending on your guess. But there MIGHT be a pattern you are not informed enough to recognize.

        Here is an example that might help you. Consider a field full of rocks. You say these do not “possess design.” But let’s say I find one of those rocks very comfortable to sit on, and I use it as a chair. NOW it has a specification. If you don’t see me sitting on it, then you would falsely conclude there is no specification. Let’s say I move some of those rocks to my yard to make a rock garden. NOW they are serving a functional purpose, they have a pattern we can see. But they are the same undesigned rocks, except now they are designed! Your terms are ambiguous.

        Almost anyone looking at a close-up of a snowflake would presume design – the pattern is regular, it is symmetrical, it is complex, it is generally considered beautiful. The only reason you could possibly say a snowflake is not designed is if you ALREADY KNOW that it’s not designed. And hey, you could be wrong. There could be a snowflake-god, infinitely creative, Designing every one. Why not?

  124. 263 PaV June 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Alan:

    Painting targets around solutions after the fact and claiming the shot was impossible is a basic failure to understand evolutionary theory. Everything that has occurred has a probability of one.

    It’s interesting you use this language. It comes from Dembski’s writings, doesn’t it?

    This is exactly what the notion of ‘tractability’ is meant to avoid.

    And, about “a basic failure to understand evolutionary theory”. Please!

    What is so hard to understand about evolutionary theory. “Survival of the fittest.” “Descent with modification.”

    Population genetics is another story. But, there again, the theory is not commensurate with the facts. I’ve mentioned Kimura.

    And things have gotten exponentially worse since the time of Kimura. There is simply no way that you can explain the level of polymorphism in the human genome with such explanations as directed selection, balanced polymorphisms, etc.

    As is now admitted: neo-Darwinism is dead. Read that this way: classical population genetics is dead!

    And when we take an actual biological example, such as the malarial parasite, these problems are all borne out.

    • 264 Flint June 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      Population genetics is another story. But, there again, the theory is not commensurate with the facts. I’ve mentioned Kimura.

      But you failed to understand your own point. Kimura EXTENDED the theory. Scientific theories are NOT like scripture, they are living documents, subject to change at any time. Kimura identified facts they theory was not able to accommodate. That’s what a good scientist does. The theory was obliged to change. That’s what good theory does.

      So here is something for you to meditate on: it is one of the principles of science that facts underly theories. Since all the facts can never be known, THEREFORE in principle no theory is ever complete or completely correct. It is taken as a given that ALL theories can be improved. This is a strength of science, not a weakness.

      You seem to be pointing to cases where the theory has been improved, and using them to argue that the theory is “wrong”, apparently in the hopes of sticking some random god into the holes to glue things together. But you STARTED with the random god, and now you’re searching for some way to insert it where it serves no useful purpose.

      “Neo-Darwinism”, we all hope and trust, will ALWAYS be in the process of dying, constantly replaced and renewed by a better, more complete, more accurate, more predictive, more explanatory version. Endlessly.

      And if you don’t understand that, you run the risk of arguing that BECAUSE we do not know everything, therefore everything we DO know is wrong. And that’s pure anti-science. Just because many more steps remain on your journey, doesn’t mean those steps already taken got you nowhere, so you should just give up and pray at your imagination. That’s a council of despair.

      • 265 PaV June 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm

        But you failed to understand your own point. Kimura EXTENDED the theory.

        I’ve read the entire book. I wonder if you have. I think not. Why? Because Kimura arrives at his Neutral Theory as a remedy for what neo-Darwinism cannot explain. And, in his book, he uses an example employing an elephant population to basically say that normal neo-Darwinian explanations cannot account for hardly any changes given the known time that elephants have been around.

        Kimura, of course, was attacked by the neo-Darwinists.

        “Neo-Darwinism”, we all hope and trust, will ALWAYS be in the process of dying, constantly replaced and renewed by a better, more complete, more accurate, more predictive, more explanatory version. Endlessly.

        This sounds almost like a religious tract.

        neo-Darwinism isn’t dying. It’s ‘dead’. And they’re hoping to find something to replace it with. Evo-devo is the hope. But, evo-devo is about pushing the right buttons (the Hox genes, e.g.) at the right time (epigenetics). Yet, the more fundamental question remains: where did the buttons come from?

        Whereas neo-Darwinism purported to have an answer for that, with its demise, Darwinism has no such explanation. The “Emperor is dead!”

        So here is something for you to meditate on: it is one of the principles of science that facts underly theories.

        But Darwin’s facts were wrong:

        (1) he presumed a quasi-eternal world. Sorry, not so.

        (2) he presumed that the pre-Cambrian would be long and extensive. Sorry, not so.

        (3) he thought that any fossils found in the pre-Cambrian would show high levels of complexity. Sorry, not so.

        (4) he thought that the fossil record, when fully uncovered, would produce the “missing” intermediate forms. Sorry, not so.

        Why should we believe his theory then?

    • 266 Alan Fox June 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      Lets for the sake of argument accept that you are correct that, as you put it, “Neo-Darwinism is dead”.

      This has no bearing on whether any other theory attempting to explain life’s diversity has any merit.

      As far as I am aware, there is no theory of intelligent design. Am I wrong? If you think there is such a theory, perhaps you could enlighten me about what it entails and predicts. Or just for starters you could explain how to calculate CSI.

      • 267 PaV June 4, 2011 at 6:27 pm

        The ‘theory’ of Intelligent Design does exist in this sense: that an analysis of objects, given the right conditions, can lead to a conclusion of certain objects having been ‘intelligently designed’.

        Is this ‘theory’ a theory that explains biological complexity? Yes. But it isn’t a ‘theory’ about biological complexity; it is a theory about how, and under what conditions, one can conclude that an object is intelligently designed. IOW, ID theory has application to origin of life questions, and to diversity of life questions; but that is not what it is intended to be. Dembski, in NFL, uses many examples of CSI; and then, and only then, does he ‘apply’ it to a biological example.

        Alan, why the impertinence? You know where to find the basis for CSI determinations. It’s in NFL. So why do you pretend that no such thing exists? As I said to Flint, why are looking for all the ways “not” to understand CSI? If you read Dembski’s NFL hoping you won’t end up understanding it, I assure you, that’s what will happen. Why not try reading it and understanding it?

      • 268 Alan Fox June 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm

        Alan, why the impertinence?

        What impertinence? Oh ye of the mote and beam!

        You know where to find the basis for CSI determinations. It’s in NFL. So why do you pretend that no such thing exists?

        I already replied to your comment suggesting I read NFL. You said:

        Read Dembski’s NFL. CSI should be clear to you after doing so.

        and I replied:

        I doubt you believe that. Anyway it’s not necessary. ARN have a convenient précis posted by Bill Dembski himself of his 2002 oeuvre. Dembski makes great play with the concept of specification. He appears to think that evolutionary processes are a search of some kind. There is no specification and there are no targets in evolutionary theory. Dembski makes much reference to David Wolpert’s “No Free Lunch” theorems. They don’t entail any concept of a target. It seems to me Dembski’s whole negative argument that evolutionary processes cannot find viable solutions for organisms and their niche is based on an utter incomprehension of evolutionary theory. Evolution is not a specified search.

        So where in “No Free Lunch” is the meaningful definition of CSI as a measurable quantity? Where are the worked examples pertaining to living organisms?

        I see you now write:

        Dembski, in NFL, uses many examples of CSI; and then, and only then, does he ‘apply’ it to a biological example.

        Well give us the page reference to this biological example and we can all go home. Surely I don’t need to search through the whole book when you have already spotted what everyone has been waiting to see. A worked biological example of how to calculate CSI. How can this have been so hard?

        I’m all agog!

  125. 269 Toronto June 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Pav,

    Alan: And in case you missed it before, evolution is not a targeted search!

    Pav: Says who????!!!

    Pav, ID arguments hinge on the requirement that evolution has a “target”. That way you can model evolution as a “search” and present improbability as a barrier to what the “Theory Of Evolution” can actually construct.

    You can have that point, ..if.., you had a way of “specifying” what the future target had to be.

    This would then also apply to the “specification” component of the ID argument which is sometimes termed, “CSI”

    While a blind process like the “ToE” cannot actually “specify” a target beforehand, it should be very easy for your side since you have a “designer”.

    Show us the designer’s “specification” or “requirements”, of any biological structure that exists, independent of that structure itself.

    • 270 Flint June 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      Toronto:

      Excellent point. Biology says “we can’t predict what’s coming.” ID seems limited to waiting until it comes, and THEN saying it “meets specification.”

      I’m willing to bet that PaV WILL NOT paint the target onto the wall until AFTER the arrow strikes. But then, he will calim that’s where the Designer “must have been” aiming all along.

      What a sucker’s game!

    • 271 PaV June 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Toronto:

      In the Cambrian, we find the development of ‘body-types’. I consider those to be ‘targets’, if you will.

      Subsequently, as various chordates differentiated, I would assume that different ‘targets’ were formed.

      Once, however, those ‘targets’ are formed, then built-in adaptive mechanisms would allow those ‘targets’ to diversify.

      We live in a world fill with the diversity of life. Whole genome analysis is leading us day-by-day backwards in time towards some of these ‘targets’. Likewise, it seems every day now that we hear about some fossil, caught in find detail, revealing that present day species look identical to those from hundreds of millions of years ago. Shouldn’t we consider these, then, as ‘targets’?

      As to ID, ID doesn’t need a ‘target’; it needs a pattern, and a ‘chance hypothesis’ that is associated with that pattern.

  126. 272 Toronto June 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Pav,

    Flint: ..it is one of the principles of science that facts underly theories.

    Pav, please show us facts about your designer and his processes.

    If you don’t have those facts to base your conclusions on, ID doesn’t actually have a theory at all.

    • 273 PaV June 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      Pav, please show us facts about your designer and his processes.

      Richard Dawkins says that life looks ‘designed’. Well, if looks designed, then you need to show me facts that it isn’t designed, right?

      • 274 Rose June 4, 2011 at 8:10 pm

        I can hardly type because I’m laughing so hard.

        You’re actually using a statement from one person, Dawkins, as support (completely out of context of course) for your claims of design “theory”?? Hilarious!

        Does your response really answer this request?:

        “Pav, please show us facts about your designer and his processes.”

        As Sargent Friday would say, “Just the facts ma’am.”

        By the way, why do you capitalize creator and design/designer? Do you think that capitalizing those words will somehow elevate them to special status?

        Do you think your god is paying attention to whether you capitalize those words or not, and are you worried about offending it/him/her if you don’t capitalize them?

        Your over-reaching appeals to what Darwin personally thought about a creator are as relevant as whether you personally like to eat mushrooms or brussel sprouts. Darwin proposed an hypothesis that laid a reasonable and testable foundation for further research and discovery. That hypothesis has become the ToE and it’s still being adjusted, to accommodate and explain the facts as they are discovered. That’s the way science works.

        ID, on the other hand, has no reasonable hypothesis and is not testable on nature. It’s simply a religious inference based on religious beliefs and wishful thinking.

        And no, it doesn’t matter if you name a couple of people who support ID or don’t support the ToE, that you claim are atheists.

  127. 275 Alan Fox June 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Alan:

    And in case you missed it before, evolution is not a targeted search!

    Says who????!!!

    You say that. But what proof do you have?

    There are many better qualified than me to educate you in evolutionary theory. The simple point is that the theory does not postulate a goal. There is no evidence that life on Earth is pursuing any goal other than individual survival or, rather, the survival of its genetic heritage. So the evolutionary biologist has no need of that hypothesis – that there is a guiding hand.

    I have no wish for you to abandon any religious faith in your particular version of God but religious dogma cannot usurp reality. Scientific evidence will always outweigh religious opinion. The Dalai Lama and, to a lesser extent, the Pope, recognise this. If you argue against reality you will inevitably lose. I cite the Camping example! 😉

    What proof do you have about CSI? How do you quantify it?

    • 276 PaV June 4, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Alan:

      You say that. But what proof do you have?

      But what “proof” do you have that no such “targets” exist?

      Why not talk to Craig Ventner. Does he try to randomly search for new life forms, or does he take a known life form and tweak it—as built-in adaptive mechanisms do in all that lives?

      here is no evidence that life on Earth is pursuing any goal other than individual survival or, rather, the survival of its genetic heritage.

      Then how do you explain life forms that are identical today to what they were like hundreds of millions of years ago?

      We know that the earth has experienced tremendous temperature changes and tremendous environmental changes. They’ve found fossils of tropical species in Russia, e.g. So how do explain that through all this incredible amount of time, and through all of thee incredible changes that these life forms have remained identical? Do you have an explanation? Could they be ‘targets,’ away from which no movement needs to be made?

      • 277 Rose June 4, 2011 at 8:18 pm

        “Then how do you explain life forms that are identical today to what they were like hundreds of millions of years ago?”

        Name a life form that is “identical” to one that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.

    • 278 PaV June 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      So the evolutionary biologist has no need of that hypothesis – that there is a guiding hand.

      What the evolutionary biologist needs, instead, is some plausible scenario for life having formed via natural selection alone.

      neo-Darwinism sprang up to replace Darwinism. Why? Because of Mendel—you remember, the priest who discovered genetics. This led to the Hardy-Weinberg Law, and stasis. Means then had to be found to allow for genetic changes. Thus Fisher, Haldane and Wright developed methods to try and buttress an otherwise floundering theory.

      Kimura. More problems for neo-Darwinism.

      Now, Darwinism is dead. Why? Because we know what genomes look like, that’s why.

      What’s the trend here? The more we find out, the less Darwinism makes sense.

      What do we read in the press, for the most part: (1) observations confirm Einsteins theory; (2) observations show “surprisingly” that this, that, or the other is the case when evolutionary biologists always thought this, that, or the other. Nothing but confirmations for GR. Nothing but “surprises” for Darwinians.

      There are many better qualified than me to educate you in evolutionary theory. The simple point is that the theory does not postulate a goal. There is no evidence that life on Earth is pursuing any goal other than individual survival or, rather, the survival of its genetic heritage. So the evolutionary biologist has no need of that hypothesis – that there is a guiding hand.

      Let’s agree that the above letters were the result of a keyboard on somebody’s computer. Now, it could be that there was some kind of a glitch in the keyboard, and that this string of characters just happened to randomly materialize. Or, it could be that from above the keyboard ants were falling from the ceiling and hitting the keyboard at random.

      Let’s test this null hypothesis that random effects caused this string of characters to result.

      Well, we know that there are 46 keys on the keyboard that can produce a digital character. The’chance’ hypothesis is the null hypothesis: i.e., that these characters are the result of ‘random’ events. However, based on my educational background, I can read this entire length of characters. I see a pattern. So, is there CSI or not?

      Well, given the chance hypothesis, and the pattern given, the probability of this pattern arising by chance is 1 in 46^500 (approx.).

      The rejection region thus constituted is well below the UPB of 10^-150. Thus, I conclude that this character string is the result of intelligent design.

      Now that’s how CSI works.

      Tell me Alan: was this a ‘false positive’?

      • 279 Flint June 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm

        What the evolutionary biologist needs, instead, is some plausible scenario for life having formed via natural selection alone.

        NO, you are working backwards to derive data from assumptions. The evolutionary biologist needs DATA. From those data, he attempt to determine evolutionary mechanisms. Biologists today are in unanimous agreement that there are multiple simultaneous mechanisms at work. Unlike the religious approach, biologists are not trying to force conflicting observations to fit foregone conclusions. If multiple mechanisms are found, then natural selection is not acting alone. Simple.

        neo-Darwinism sprang up to replace Darwinism. Why? Because of Mendel—you remember, the priest who discovered genetics. This led to the Hardy-Weinberg Law, and stasis. Means then had to be found to allow for genetic changes. Thus Fisher, Haldane and Wright developed methods to try and buttress an otherwise floundering theory.

        Kimura. More problems for neo-Darwinism.

        And why is any of this a problem? In science, theories exist to be tested. The goal of all this incessant testing is to discover ways in which the theories are incorrect or incomplete. This is how science is supposed to work. It’s not a weakness, or an error. Science is not scripture, it is in constant motion, experiencing constant improvement. YOu seem to have no concept of how science works, or should work.

        Now, Darwinism is dead. Why? Because we know what genomes look like, that’s why.

        You are being silly now. Early versions of the theory have been sequentially overwritten by newer versions, based on better and more data. And whole armies of researchers are out there seeking yet MORE data, in the hopes of improving the theory all the time.

        What’s the trend here? The more we find out, the less Darwinism makes sense

        Weird, man! The trend is the same as in ALL OTHER BRANCHES OF SCIENCE – the more we find out, the better our theories become, and the more obsolete older versions of the theories become. And this is exactly how science works.

        What do we read in the press, for the most part: (1) observations confirm Einsteins theory; (2) observations show “surprisingly” that this, that, or the other is the case when evolutionary biologists always thought this, that, or the other. Nothing but confirmations for GR. Nothing but “surprises” for Darwinians.

        And indeed, this worries the physicists. No significant improvement in theory since Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, now over 100 years old. Contrast this with biology, where new and unexpected discoveries are the norm, and knowledge is increasing in giant steps. This is a sign of HEALTH, not death. You don’t understand science at all.

        However, based on my educational background, I can read this entire length of characters. I see a pattern. So, is there CSI or not?

        I have to laugh. Yes, “based on your educational background”, you can detect CSI. You needed that background. And that’s because the CSI did not reside in the sentence, it resided in your background knowledge. You CAN NOT determine CSI from examining the object in a vacuum. You MUST have prior knowledge. Just as we’ve been saying all along.

        Now, let’s say for the sake of discussion that I invent a brand new language, with my own symbols, vocabulary, syntax, grammar, etc. Let’s say I’m the only one who can read it. Does it have CSI? Not to anyone else in the world, it doesn’t. But to me, it beats the bejesus out of the OPB. So does it have lots of CSI (my reading) or none (everyone else’s)? NOTE that the written marks have not changed at all, ONLY the viewer has changed. So is the CSI in the marks, or in the viewer? THINK REAL HARD about this, now.

      • 280 Rose June 4, 2011 at 8:24 pm

        “What the evolutionary biologist needs, instead, is some plausible scenario for life having formed via natural selection alone.”

        Wrong. Natural selection is just one part of the ToE, and the ToE is not concerned with the formation of life anyway. The ToE is concerned with the evolution and diversity of life and the associated factors.

      • 281 Alan Fox June 5, 2011 at 10:08 am

        Tell me Alan: was this a ‘false positive’?

        What do you know about how fertile or barren “search space” is? Until you do, you can say nothing about probability. Evolutionary processes have explored a minute fraction of all available viable organisms that could grow and reproduce under the control of genes that are as yet untested.

        So talk of one in a gadzillion is not even wrong and talk of false positives ludicrous. If you want to debunk evolutionary theory, first you have to know what it is and does. Then consider that “Intelligent Design” theory is still an oxymoron. You need some kind of alternative hypothesis to start with. Claiming evolution doesn’t work is irrelevant to the issue of what “Intelligent Design” might finally amount to, other than a catchy name.

        Frankly, from what I hear said in favour of CSI, it is, if ever it turns out to be some real property, merely another way of saying “evolution doesn’t work”. God did it just isn’t a scientific explanation for anything.

  128. 282 Toronto June 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Pav,
    In the Cambrian, we find the development of ‘body-types’. I consider those to be ‘targets’, if you will.

    It’s not enough to say that something, merely by virtue of it’s existence, was the “targetted outcome” of a process.

    The ToE can accept anything, but no “intelligent designer” would think that by randomly throwing ingredients into a pot, that he would end up with his intended dinner dish, lasagna. 🙂

    1) ID cooks with recipes

    2) Evolution cooks with leftovers! 🙂

    • 283 PaV June 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Toronto:

      The ToE can accept anything, but no “intelligent designer” would think that by randomly throwing ingredients into a pot, that he would end up with his intended dinner dish, lasagna.

      You’re, of course, right. No intelligent designer would act that way.

      So please explain to me how the cell’s error-correcting mechanism works?

      If the ToE can “accept anything”, then what in the world does it mean to “correct” something. What’s the need for doing that if anything is acceptable?

      No more ‘cooked up’ examples. 🙂

      • 284 Flint June 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm

        So please explain to me how the cell’s error-correcting mechanism works?

        If the ToE can “accept anything”, then what in the world does it mean to “correct” something. What’s the need for doing that if anything is acceptable?

        No more ‘cooked up’ examples.

        And no more semantic games, OK? Is it a deal?

        What “anything is acceptable” means is, there is no pre-specified target. It means evolution is a matter of “whatever works”. It does NOT mean things that fail are still acceptable. It means that anything that works is acceptable, regardless of what direction it leads. As an analogy, consider a road trip where you randomly select turns. There are still rules – you’re not able to drive off the road. But there’s no such thing as a wrong turn provided you’re still on a road. There’s no destination, there’s only an algorithm: keep moving, turn at random, stay on the road.

        Anyway, about error correction. Yes, there is a mechanism for “proof-reading” copies of DNA strands as they are duplicated. It’s highly likely that the accuracy of this mechanism has evolved over time. It if lets too many errors through, within a few generations there are no viable organisms. End of experiment. If it lets too few errors through, then an environmental change will wipe out the entire population because variation isn’t wide enough for any variety to survive. End of experiment.

        So there is an optimal level of error correction, a Goldilocks level of not too loose, not too strict. And it evolved by natural selection – lineages with too-loose or too-strict error correction didn’t survive.

  129. 285 Toronto June 4, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Pav,

    Pav: “Let’s test this null hypothesis that random effects caused this string of characters to result.”

    Let’s experiment.

    1) Show it to someone who understands English. He will conclude design.

    2) Show it to someone who doesn’t. He will say, “What is that?”

    That’s the problem. You have to recognize the attributes of English language construction to demonstrate what you call “specification”.

    If an alien somehow sent a sentence in his language onto my computer screen, I wouldn’t say design, I’d say my computer is broken.

    Everyone is trying to point out the problem of subjectivity to you, but you refuse to acknowledge it as a problem.

    • 286 PaV June 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Flint:

      It if lets too many errors through, within a few generations there are no viable organisms.

      By your definition of there being NO TARGET, what is an “error”? By definition, your definition, there is no such thing.

      • 287 Flint June 4, 2011 at 10:35 pm

        By your definition of there being NO TARGET, what is an “error”? By definition, your definition, there is no such thing.

        Huh? Let’s go through this as slowly as necessary, as many times as it takes, I guess.

        No target means, no design goal. In other words, no specification. No design requirements life is “trying” to reach. Did you read my example of the driving process? Apparently not, so I’ll repeat it. Imagine following this algorithm for taking a road trip: (1) keep moving, (2) turn at random; (3) stay on the paved roads. That’s it. Your trip will be a complex pattern. It will all “work” in the sense that you keep moving. There is no destination. This is how evolution works. It has rules to follow, but it has no destination. The rules for evolution are:

        1) That there be a source of variation.
        2) That variation be heritable.
        3) That in the long run, there are too many offspring for the available resources.

        And that’s it! This algorithm produces endless variety, endless diversity, and NO DESTINATION, no goal, no target.

        Now, a “copying error” may be a misnomer, and I see that you are quick to misinterpret anything you possibly can. So let’s say there is a process in place that produces NEARLY exact copies, but not quite exact. And that there is an optimal “difference level”, so that survival is jeopardized if the differences are either too few or too many.

        (I understand that the notion of intentional errors might confuse you. I was using the commonly understood terminology, and I forgot that you don’t understand it.)

    • 288 PaV June 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm

      That’s the problem. You have to recognize the attributes of English language construction to demonstrate what you call “specification”.

      You’ve heard, no doubt, about the Rosetta Stone. I had the delight of seeing it first-hand at the British Natural History Museum. It was used to decipher hieroglyphics. Everyone knew that the hieroglyphics was a language, but they couldn’t figure it out.

      The only problem, if you will, is knowing how many ‘letters’ in the alphabet there are.

      But, going back to the English phrase, suppose you don’t know English. Then you can’t analyze it. So, you can’t conclude it was designed. There’s no ‘false positive’ then, right?

      So, I’m scratching my head a little bit because you say that if an alien were to somehow send a sentence in his own language onto your computer screen, you wouldn’t know it was a message. You’d think you’re computer was broken. So why is our government spending money on SETI? That’s my question.

      • 289 Flint June 4, 2011 at 10:48 pm

        But, going back to the English phrase, suppose you don’t know English. Then you can’t analyze it. So, you can’t conclude it was designed. There’s no ‘false positive’ then, right?

        What argument are you trying to support here? Archaeologists are frequently finding bits of things that might, or might not, have been parts of something early peoples used for something. There have been many cases now considered to be false positives – initially thought to have been used, then later thought not to.

        And you really do need to read more about SETI. It’s based on a lot of assumptions. And currently much of the project is on hold, for lack of funding.

        Everyone knew that the hieroglyphics was a language, but they couldn’t figure it out.

        They hypothesized that it was a language, based on contextual information – like where it was found, how it was used, etc.

        The only problem, if you will, is knowing how many ‘letters’ in the alphabet there are.

        The most common written languages have no alphabet. Egyptian heiroglpyhics were a combination of ideograms, letters, and phenomes.

  130. 290 Flint June 4, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I’ve read the entire book. I wonder if you have. I think not. Why? Because Kimura arrives at his Neutral Theory as a remedy for what neo-Darwinism cannot explain. And, in his book, he uses an example employing an elephant population to basically say that normal neo-Darwinian explanations cannot account for hardly any changes given the known time that elephants have been around.

    Yes. So? I don’t see your point. Kimura EXTENDED evolutionary theory, just as I said. All you are doing is repeating that.

    Kimura, of course, was attacked by the neo-Darwinists.

    Rather than repeat this like a mantra, let’s consider what actually happened. From Wikipedia:

    A heated debate arose when Kimura’s theory was published, largely revolving around the relative percentages of alleles that are “neutral” versus “non-neutral” in any given genome. Contrary to the perception of many onlookers, the debate was not about whether natural selection does occur. Kimura argued that molecular evolution is dominated by selectively neutral evolution, but at the phenotypic level changes in characters were probably dominated by natural selection rather than sampling drift.

    Golly. One would hardly recognize this reality from reading your misrepresentations.

    <blockquote<“Neo-Darwinism”, we all hope and trust, will ALWAYS be in the process of dying, constantly replaced and renewed by a better, more complete, more accurate, more predictive, more explanatory version. Endlessly.

    This sounds almost like a religious tract.The question is, did you understand that statement AT ALL? Your non sequitur response indicates you didn’t even think about it.

    neo-Darwinism isn’t dying. It’s ‘dead’. And they’re hoping to find something to replace it with.

    ROFL! Yes, yes, the theory of evolution (called “darwinism” by the religious opponents) has been either dead or dying for well over a century. It is the most prolonged death in history, and the only problem is the exuberant health the theory enjoys.

    Evo-devo is the hope. But, evo-devo is about pushing the right buttons (the Hox genes, e.g.) at the right time (epigenetics). Yet, the more fundamental question remains: where did the buttons come from?

    Uh, they evolved.

    Whereas neo-Darwinism purported to have an answer for that, with its demise, Darwinism has no such explanation. The “Emperor is dead!”

    Earlier, I wrote that the religious method consists of saying the same falsehoods over and over, making them come true by sheer repetition. And here you illustrate that very technique. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of scientists ratify, clarify, and extend the wonderfully powerful theory of evolution every day.

    But Darwin’s facts were wrong:

    (1) he presumed a quasi-eternal world. Sorry, not so.

    Be honest. Darwin presumed enough time for his mechanism to produce the variety we see around us. Remember that Lord Kelvin had calculated an age of the earth at that time of only a few million years. Darwin recognized that wasn’t enough time, and said the earth must be older (NOT quasi-eternal). Darwin was right, Kelvin was wrong. Kelvin didn’t know about radioactives.

    (2) he presumed that the pre-Cambrian would be long and extensive. Sorry, not so.

    No, he didn’t. Where are you getting this stuff? Now, the first indications of life, like stromatolites, have been dated back over 4 billion years. The Cambrian was only 550 million years ago, so life had 3 1/2 billion years to develop BEFORE the Cambrian. Isn’t that long enough for you? What exactly IS this “fact” you are citing?

    (3) he thought that any fossils found in the pre-Cambrian would show high levels of complexity. Sorry, not so.

    But they do! The problem is, hard body parts didn’t evolve until the Cambrian, so fossils from before that time are rare. Very difficult for ANY soft parts to fossilize, much less leave much evidence of complexity. Now, if Darwin actually thought fossils of soft parts showing complexity would be found, then he was guessing and this guess wasn’t very good. But so what?

    (4) he thought that the fossil record, when fully uncovered, would produce the “missing” intermediate forms. Sorry, not so.

    What? Are you seriously saying the fossil record is fully uncovered? Really?

    Why should we believe his theory then?

    Because it works. Because it has been rigorously tested millions of times. Because it has passed ALL of those tests.

    So something needs to be clarified, if not for you (I despair of clarifying anything for you), then for anyone else reading. So:

    The current scientific theory of evolution has changed a huge amount since a part of it was proposed by Darwin. Darwin himself, and his work, bears the same resemblance to the current theory, that van Leeuwenhoek’s work bears to modern medicine. Important early work, historically interesting, but far from current. The current theory involves several more important mechanisms for change, far more detail about the roles the various components play, deeper understanding of within-species and between-species interactions, all of genetics, and so on.

    But in actual practice, Darwin’s ideas play a far smaller role in evolutionary theory than Newton’s ideas play in gravitational theory.

    So this entire question is based on false assumptions, to wit

    1) That we “believe” Darwin’s theories. We don’t. We ACCEPT, AFTER TESTING those aspects of his theory that pass the tests. Most of what Darwin wrote turns out to have been wrong anyway. We honor and respect Darwin’s memory for what he got right.

    2) That Darwin’s work is currently even relevant anymore. It’s not. It is of historical interest only.

    It’s important to understand that Darwin’s importance is that he got the field of biology oriented in a useful direction. And that field then carried on, leaving Darwin himself far behind. Today, about the only place we find Darwin mentioned at all, is in the world of creationism, which clings to their “worship the founder” mentality despite all evidence. Perhaps they are trying to denigrate biology by depicting it as a cult of personality? This is neither honest nor true, but apparently creationists don’t much care about those qualities.

    • 291 PaV June 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      Flint:

      From Wikipedia:

      Kimura argued that molecular evolution is dominated by selectively neutral evolution, but at the phenotypic level changes in characters were probably dominated by natural selection rather than sampling drift.

      First, I guess you’re aware that anything placed on Wikipedia that counters Darwinian orthodoxy immediately disappears.

      Second, what’s the difference between a “heated debate” and being attacked?

      Third, what the above quote is saying is this: once something gets put into place in the genome, THEN natural selection can do something about it. But this is no different than an IDer accepting “microevolution”.

      Kimura had a very dim view of what natural selection could accomplish. So do I.

      Fourth, Kimura did not “extend” evolutionary theory; he pointed out its limitations, and, because of said limitations, offered another theory hoping to give credence to population genetics. Neutral Theory is more of a “replacement” of neo-Darwinism; not an “extension”. But, of course, you seem rather willful in what you choose to believe and not believe. So I won’t hold my breath thinking you’ll be open-minded about it.

      Yes, yes, the theory of evolution (called “darwinism” by the religious opponents) has been either dead or dying for well over a century. It is the most prolonged death in history, and the only problem is the exuberant health the theory enjoys.

      That’s only because the NCSE is out killing, metaphorically, all its opponents. Have you heard of Craig Sternberg?

      Uh, they evolved.

      Uh. That’s what neo-Darwinism was supposed to prove. But it’s dead, remember? Ask Allen MacNeil at Cornell. I’m quoting him.

      As a bit of logic, when you assume that which you set out to demonstrate, it’s called a circular argument.

      Darwin recognized that wasn’t enough time, and said the earth must be older (NOT quasi-eternal). Darwin was right, Kelvin was wrong. Kelvin didn’t know about radioactives.

      Darwin, like Lyell, were students of Hutton at Edinburgh. Hutton believed in an ‘eternal’ world, much as did Aristotle, and others. Both Lyell and Darwin, in proposing “gradualism”, banked on an eternal time frame for their slow processes to work. Guess what? There’s the Big Bang. Darwin didn’t know about that either.

      No, he didn’t. Where are you getting this stuff? Now, the first indications of life, like stromatolites, have been dated back over 4 billion years. The Cambrian was only 550 million years ago, so life had 3 1/2 billion years to develop BEFORE the Cambrian. Isn’t that long enough for you? What exactly IS this “fact” you are citing?

      (1)Stay current. New evidence has discredited the idea of stromatolites existing billions of years ago. It has been almost conclusively demonstrated that what was considered to be Stromatolites is simply some non-organic compound.
      (2) Even if it had ten billion years to develop, it DIDN’T!! Multi-cellular forms only appear in the Ediacara (although new evidence suggests that earlier than that animal forms were already present “on land”—which, of course, if confirmed, throws all of evolutionary theory into turmoil).
      (3) Those forms ( I haven’t seen the latest animal forms I mentioned in (2) yet) are very simple. This is almost the opposite of what Darwin expected. [Before you tell me everything that I don’t know, let me ask you this: Have you ever read the Origin of Species? I have. Most of it, twice. Parts of it three to four times. So don’t make yourself out to be an expert on what Darwin said, or did not say, if you haven’t even read the book.]

      The problem is, hard body parts didn’t evolve until the Cambrian, so fossils from before that time are rare. Very difficult for ANY soft parts to fossilize, much less leave much evidence of complexity.

      Have you heard of dinosaur footprints? Have you seen fossil feathers before? This is a canard.

      What? Are you seriously saying the fossil record is fully uncovered? Really?

      Are you seriously saying that the fossil record is still imcomplete—after, wrongly, telling me that ‘stromatolites’ are 4 billion years old. Aren’t bacteria “soft-bodied”, BTW? Contradictions, here, my dear Flint.

      Because it works. Because it has been rigorously tested millions of times. Because it has passed ALL of those tests.

      Clearly, you’re a ‘true believer’. You have your ‘holy scripture’. How dare I question your ‘high priest’!

      Why don’t you read the Origin of Species and note this: how many times does Darwin use these kinds of phrases: “I believe . . .”, “I do not doubt . . .”, etc. It’s not a theory; it’s a hypothesis. And Darwin “believed” he was right. Yet, in almost every kind of prediction he made, he was wrong.

      But I don’t expect anything like that to slow down a ‘true believer’ like yourself.

      t’s important to understand that Darwin’s importance is that he got the field of biology oriented in a useful direction.

      It seems that Darwin’s success comes from getting people to believe that ‘adaptive feedback loops’ can do the very same things that people from ancient times attributed to a Deity. You’ve substituted one god for the One, True God.

      BTW, is a dog chasing its tail an example of a feedback loop?

      • 292 Flint June 5, 2011 at 12:52 am

        First, I guess you’re aware that anything placed on Wikipedia that counters Darwinian orthodoxy immediately disappears.

        Conspiracy theories now? Spare us.

        Second, what’s the difference between a “heated debate” and being attacked?

        None at all. Nearly every new idea presented in ANY field of science generates a heated debate – or is immediately attacked, if you prefer. At conferences where papers are presented, the questions are frequently hostile and pointed. New ideas require positive evidence correctly collected and analyzed. Kimura went through this process. He was able to defend his ideas quite well, and succeeded in putting genetic drift on the evolutionary map, so to speak.

        Third, what the above quote is saying is this: once something gets put into place in the genome, THEN natural selection can do something about it. But this is no different than an IDer accepting “microevolution”.

        But of course. I don’t understand your complaint here. Selection requires variation from which to select. Kimura identified another source of variation, and demonstrated that drift can happen independently of selection. OK, fine. Now, how this is like an IDer accepting “microevolution” I can’t guess. Microevolution is simply a short-term snapshot of an ongoing process. A longer-term section is macroevolution. It’s all the same process. I showed you the process. You are a master at ignoring everything presented to you.

        Kimura had a very dim view of what natural selection could accomplish. So do I.

        So? Natural selection is one of many mechanisms by which evolution takes place. And there are legitimate differences of opinion as to how to weight each one. The difference is, Kimura is trying to figure out how evolution works. You are trying to rationalize a foregone conclusion that it DOES NOT HAPPEN.

        Fourth, Kimura did not “extend” evolutionary theory; he pointed out its limitations,

        PaV, this is stupid. Kimura extended the theory. Pointing out the limitations of a theory is one way to improve the theory. Improvements are almost always extensions. You are playing word games again.

        and, because of said limitations, offered another theory hoping to give credence to population genetics.

        No, this is not correct. He offered an EXTENSION, that is, an ADDITIONAL mechanism by which genes spread through a population. And he identified a very real mechanism. Your argument is that, since some pregnancies result from artificial insemination, THEREFORE the “theory” of sex through intercourse must be wrong! Neutral Theory does NOT replace natural selection in any way. You are making things up.

        But, of course, you seem rather willful in what you choose to believe and not believe. So I won’t hold my breath thinking you’ll be open-minded about it.

        Do you project often? You have proved yourself to be stone blind to ANY facts uncongenial to your faith. No matter who presents them.

        That’s only because the NCSE is out killing, metaphorically, all its opponents. Have you heard of Craig Sternberg?

        Ah, back to the conspiracy theory. It can’t possibly be, you know, ACTUAL EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS that matter, oh no!

        And while Google produces a couple of Craig Sternbergs, one a rehabilitation specialist in New Jersey, and the other a credit counselor in Washington, I can’t relate them to anything you are writing.

        Uh. That’s what neo-Darwinism was supposed to prove. But it’s dead, remember? Ask Allen MacNeil at Cornell. I’m quoting him.

        Ah, now I happen to be familiar with Allen MacNeill. He is an evolutionary biologist – you know, someone working in a dead field? He teaches introductory biology and evolution at Cornell. And he has been roundly criticized for making statements sensible within their context, but which dishonest creationists (is there any other kind?) take out of context. As you do. But I explained about the incredible dying theory at length. You simply ignore it, and repeat. You are impermeable.

        Darwin, like Lyell, were students of Hutton at Edinburgh. Hutton believed in an ‘eternal’ world, much as did Aristotle, and others. Both Lyell and Darwin, in proposing “gradualism”, banked on an eternal time frame for their slow processes to work. Guess what? There’s the Big Bang. Darwin didn’t know about that either.

        So what? WHO CARES what Darwin might have believed? Darwin is of historical interest only.

        Even if it had ten billion years to develop, it DIDN’T!! Multi-cellular forms only appear in the Ediacara (although new evidence suggests that earlier than that animal forms were already present “on land”—which, of course, if confirmed, throws all of evolutionary theory into turmoil).

        We were talking about life. Not multi-cellular life. You have moved your goalposts. Put them back. Life developed for several billion years before multi-cellular structures appeared.

        And no, finding life “on land” does no such thing. Again, you have NO CLUE how science works. So let’s say it is verified that there was some multicellular life on land before the Ediacara. What do you suppose evolutionary biologists would do with this information? Deny it? Panic? Run off to pray at the creationist god? Or would they accept that there is more to life’s history on earth than was previously discovered? I think they’d be pretty excited at this addition to the proposed history.

        And yes, I’ve read Origin of Species, or at least the first and sixth editions. But I read it to gain some insight into what Darwin knew and how he drew conclusions from that. I did NOT read it searching for ammunition to use against him. He is a figure from history. His book is today a historical document, but not a scientific document. It is not studied in most biology or evolution academic programs, EXCEPT for historical interest.

        Have you heard of dinosaur footprints? Have you seen fossil feathers before? This is a canard.

        Do some homework. “Fossilized” soft parts ARE basically footprints. They aren’t really “true fossils” where inorganic molecules replace organic molecules. They are impressions in rocks. So are “fossilized” features. And this limits what can be learned about what left those impressions.

        Are you seriously saying that the fossil record is still imcomplete—after, wrongly, telling me that ‘stromatolites’ are 4 billion years old. Aren’t bacteria “soft-bodied”, BTW? Contradictions, here, my dear Flint.

        It’s been estimated that perhaps .000001% of all fossils out there have been discovered. This number may be too big.

        I suggested stromatolites as evidence that life is far older than 550 million years (the Cambrian). There is plenty of other evidence.

        Yes, bacteria are soft bodied. What’s your point? You are evading everything everyone is telling you, repeatedly.

        Clearly, you’re a ‘true believer’. You have your ‘holy scripture’. How dare I question your ‘high priest’!

        Ah, the true religious mindset emerges. As if anyone wondered. What I’ve been doing is presenting evidence. Where you misinterpret even the obvious, we have all been correcting you. You are impervious to corrections. You denigrate evidence as THEOLOGICAL ERROR.

        how many times does Darwin use these kinds of phrases: “I believe . . .”, “I do not doubt . . .”, etc. It’s not a theory; it’s a hypothesis. And Darwin “believed” he was right. Yet, in almost every kind of prediction he made, he was wrong.

        So what? WHO CARES what Darwin might have thought?

        It seems that Darwin’s success comes from getting people to believe that ‘adaptive feedback loops’ can do the very same things that people from ancient times attributed to a Deity. You’ve substituted one god for the One, True God.

        Ah, of course. YOUR god trumps evidence.

        But for those not yet deep in defensive prayer, Darwin is remembered today for getting biology to ask the proper questions, to do more appropriate research, to formulate more fruitful hypotheses. And at first, he wasn’t very successful, because of course that research had not been done and the data weren’t available. He “got them to believe” only in the sense that his ideas withstood a truly enormous massive 150+ year research effort.

        And eventually, MOST people decided that evidence MATTERS. Even theists accept that in learning how reality operates, they are understanding more and more deeply how their personal god accomplishes His will. But there will always be people who, when facts refute their interpretation of selected verses of their chosen holy scriptures, will reject the facts and cling to their scriptural interpretations. THEY know how their god works, better than their god does! I don’t know whether to be appalled at the arrogance, or pity the delusions.

  131. 293 Toronto June 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Pav,

    Flint: “What “anything is acceptable” means is, there is no pre-specified target”

    Exactly.

  132. 294 Zachriel June 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    PaV: What is of note is: (1) this all happened too quickly to be accounted for by Darwinian theory of any type, and (2) that obviously the genes needed for these changes were already present within the species (“front-loaded”, if you will).

    There are no posited historical transitions where evolution proceeded faster than the fastest known rate of evolution, which has been observed to occur at rates of thousands of darwins.

    PaV: The gaps between genomic structure identifying types is simply too large to be crossed over using Darwinian mechanisms.

    There are no posited historical transitions that exceed what could be expected of evolutionary processes.

    PaV: Darwin thought the world quasi-eternal.

    Darwin thought the world was hundreds of millions of years old.

    • 295 PaV June 5, 2011 at 12:24 am

      Zachriel:

      You’re just making this stuff up. Let’s see chapter and verse.

      Darwin thought the world was hundreds of millions of years old.

      He alludes to ‘eternity’ in the Origins.

      • 296 Flint June 5, 2011 at 1:06 am

        Once again, WHO CARES how old Darwin thought the world was? Lord Kelvin thought it was only a few million years old, yet creationists are not citing him to reject physics.

      • 297 PaV June 5, 2011 at 3:30 am

        Flint:

        Once again, WHO CARES how old Darwin thought the world was? Lord Kelvin thought it was only a few million years old, yet creationists are not citing him to reject physics.

        You cannot have infinite gradations—such as those needed for the ‘perfection’ of the eye—unless there’s a lot of time.

        A quasi-eternal world is not tangential to Darwinian thought, as much as you want to huff and puff about it.

  133. 298 Zachriel June 4, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    PaV: Why don’t you give a specific example. I’m not sure what a “chaotic, deterministic function” looks like.

    If you saw a tapestry, exhibiting nearly endless complex variations on a theme, you would likely say it was designed.

    PaV: Because Kimura arrives at his Neutral Theory as a remedy for what neo-Darwinism cannot explain.

    Neodarwinism is a rather nebulous term, but the theory of evolution today is not the same theory as when the Modern Synthesis was devised in the 1930’s.

    PaV: Kimura, of course, was attacked by the neo-Darwinists.

    No, he wasn’t. His theory was subject to scrutiny, though. That’s what happens in science. And though it has been accepted in part, biology has moved beyond Kimura too.

    PaV: This led to the Hardy-Weinberg Law, and stasis.

    Um, no. Hardy-Weinberg only applies in the theoretical case of an infinite population, random mating, and in the absence of selection and mutation. It’s a base-point for understand what happens when real populations don’t meet these conditions. This leads directly to neutral theory, by the way. If a population is finite in number, then evolution will occur even in the absence of selection and mutation, a process called drift.

    PaV: What do we read in the press, for the most part: (1) observations confirm Einsteins theory;

    The Theory of Gravity is in a huge state of flux.

  134. 299 Rose June 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    PaV said:

    “Here’s what I mean. If I don’t have the sufficient background for detecting a pattern, then I won’t detect the pattern. If there is no pattern, then there is no ‘chance hypothesis’, and no way to evaluate if design is implicated. In that case, you would have to conclude that whether the particular object you’re looking at is designed or not is simply unknown. But you certainly wouldn’t conclude that it was designed.”

    Exactly!

    Lions exist, right? When a male lion sees a female lion, do you think he thinks, “Wow, that little beauty sure is well designed!”?

    Do you think he cares about her ‘beauty’?

    Would a lion be able to tell the difference between a human designed garden and a natural garden?

    Would a lion be able to read a book and determine that it was designed by humans?

    Do new born babies believe in a god?

    Do newborn babies recognize or infer design of any kind?

    Your beliefs in ID are formed by your religious programming and by your life being spent around human designed things. Unfortunately, you mix your unrealistic religious beliefs with human designed things to come up with a distorted view of reality. You’re projecting your religious beliefs into nature/reality, where they don’t belong.

    What are you really afraid of? That science will someday prove beyond any doubt that your god doesn’t exist and that you’ve wasted your life believing in something that is a fairy tale? Is your attempt to inject god into science a safety net for your beliefs? In other words, if you and the other ID proponents can get science to welcome ID with open arms, will you then feel that your religious beliefs are safe from further, credible scrutiny?

    Even if science doesn’t ever find anything that proves beyond any doubt that your god doesn’t exist, that still doesn’t mean that your god exists or that any god exists.

    Which god/creator/designer is the correct one, and which person exactly determines that for certain?

    Most of the people on this planet don’t believe in the christian god, and many gods have been proposed and believed in throughout history. How’s that for an appeal to authority? Does it change your mind about your beliefs, whatever they are?

    If I were to name some people who claim that the flying spaghetti monster is the one and only god, and that the fsm designed life and everything in the universe, would that convince you that it’s true, or would you expect to see real evidence that could be tested and verified independent of the people making the claim?

  135. 300 Toronto June 4, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Pav,

    “By your definition of there being NO TARGET, what is an “error”? By definition, your definition, there is no such thing.”

    A couple could have a child and not care whether it’s a boy or girl.

    So, there’s no “target”.

    The child however, whether boy or girl, could have a birth defect, or in another sense, an “error”.

    You are again focusing on semantics instead of understanding a point in the same context that it was made.

  136. 301 Toronto June 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Pav,

    “But, going back to the English phrase, suppose you don’t know English. Then you can’t analyze it. So, you can’t conclude it was designed. There’s no ‘false positive’ then, right? ”

    The problem with ID, and you’ve highlighted it here, is that you can’t detect “design” in something you’re unfamiliar with in the first place.

    Worse, if a Lithuanian types what he thinks is a random string of chars, it may look like something valid in English.

    Since there is no target, (as our Lithuanian doesn’t know English), a valid English sentence wouldn’t register on his improbability scale.

    He would simply say, “See, the odds against typing a Lithuanian sentence are way beyond the UPB!”

    • 302 PaV June 5, 2011 at 2:07 am

      Toronto:

      The problem with ID, and you’ve highlighted it here, is that you can’t detect “design” in something you’re unfamiliar with in the first place.

      Are you unfamiliar with DNA? Do you not know its chemical properties? These things are familiar and known to us.

      Worse, if a Lithuanian types what he thinks is a random string of chars, it may look like something valid in English.

      Since there is no target, (as our Lithuanian doesn’t know English), a valid English sentence wouldn’t register on his improbability scale.

      But we know that DNA is both ‘transcribed’ and ‘translated’.

      If you looked at machine code, binary strings, you probably couldn’t make heads or tails out of it. But a computer could.

      Likewise, if you look at genomic strings, nucleotide strings, you might not know what you’re looking at, but the protein machine called a ribosome does. It—the ribosome—recognizes patterns. Thus, the nucleotide string is ‘specified’. It forms a ‘pattern’ as far as the cell is concerned.

      • 303 Flint June 5, 2011 at 2:16 am

        Thus, the nucleotide string is ‘specified’. It forms a ‘pattern’ as far as the cell is concerned.

        But so what? A pattern is not a specification. A function is not a specification.

        We return to the alien object. You can replicate it down to the last atom. You can describe it completely. YOu can even DO things with it. But you STILL have no idea if it is designed. Design is NOT a property like mass or color. Design is a PROCESS. Some objects are the output of design processes. But if you don’t know the process, you cannot know if you have design.

        You can describe what DNA actually DOES all day long, and this gets you no closer to design. Yes, it has a pattern. So does a snowflake. Yes it has a function. So does a doorstop. But does it “have” design? Only if you decide it does.

        You certainly miss the point more persistently than anyone I’ve ever known, despite everyone here making that same point dozens of times. You REFUSE to understand.

      • 304 Flint June 5, 2011 at 2:31 am

        Are you unfamiliar with DNA? Do you not know its chemical properties? These things are familiar and known to us.

        Do you not even realize that you are equivocating here?

        Toronto used the word “unfamiliar” in talking about a language. What does that mean? To be familiar with a language is to know its intended meaning and purpose. Not just to be exposed to lots of it, but to UNDERSTAND WHY AND HOW it works the way it does.

        But you have changed the meaning of “familiar” from “aware of the purpose” to “aware of the existence.” That is dishonest (or dumb). You could memorize every single word in the English dictionary, and you still could not be said to be “familiar with english”.

        Toronto was simply using your example to show you that you actually DO understand the need for knowledge external to what you are examining. You need a context, a goal, a purpose, a PROCESS. And you missed his point as usual.

        You are PROJECTING an a priori purpose onto DNA, which is derived from your theological requirements and not in any way from the DNA itself. Can’t you SEE this?

  137. 305 Rose June 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    PaV said;

    “Improbability is only one part of CSI. So why do you presume that it is everything? Because that is what you’re doing.”

    Natural selection is only one part of evolution and the ToE. So why do you presume that it is everything?

    “This would all make a persuasive argument if there were biologists who could come up with an explanation for evolution that fits the facts.”

    Biologists and other scientists are working every day to find and explain how nature works. As new, credible discoveries and explanations are made they will be incorporated into existing theories, or new theories will be developed. Science isn’t perfect and it’s often slow and stubborn but at least the people involved in it are actually doing something to figure things out.

    ID proponents, on the other hand, just sit around bitching about Darwin, science, and evolution and don’t have a shred of positive evidence or “facts” to back up their claims of an intelligent designer (god).

    Is there an ID scientist actually out in the field (nature), looking for evidence of an intelligent designer (god), and publishing papers on what he/she has discovered? Or, are the alleged ID scientists just picking apart papers and books written by biologists and projecting their own religious beliefs into the way they see the evidence?

    One common thing about religious people is that they want and expect all the answers, right now! So they make up some stories and beliefs to satisfy themselves that they know everything, or at least all that needs to be known.

    Science and the accompanying technology are an ever developing method of investigation and explanation. All the answers can’t be determined right now, but that doesn’t mean that science and the accompanying technology aren’t getting the ‘job’ done or that religion is a good filler in the meantime.

    The ‘job’ is huge because nature is huge, and also because too many people are trying to prevent science from operating as it should.

    • 306 PaV June 5, 2011 at 4:45 am

      BTW, Flint, you still haven’t answered my question about dogs and wolves. I await.

      • 307 Alan Fox June 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm

        BTW, Flint, you still haven’t answered my question about dogs and wolves. I await.

        What has this to do with CSI? Can you calculate the CSI of a wolf or a dog? Forgive me if I begin to think that you cannot tell us anything meaningful about CSI or how to spot it or measure it and you are attempting to distract from the point of the OP.

    • 308 PaV June 5, 2011 at 4:50 am

      Rose:

      Biologists and other scientists are working every day to find and explain how nature works. As new, credible discoveries and explanations are made they will be incorporated into existing theories, or new theories will be developed. Science isn’t perfect and it’s often slow and stubborn but at least the people involved in it are actually doing something to figure things out.

      You realize, of course, that the university system began as a system of seminaries, don’t you? The University of Paris was one of the oldest seminaries. Princeton, Harvard: these were seminaries. You wear cap and gown because the monks wore their festive gowns when the Bacclauereate Mass was said upon graduation.

      Science started within Church circles. Or would you like to forget these inconvenient facts?

      • 309 Rose June 5, 2011 at 10:40 am

        PaV, your desperation is showing. Nothing you said above has anything to do with any of my points.

        I’ve been thinking about your accusations toward MathGrrl. You’re doing exactly what you accuse her of, and more. Your motives and actions are not “pure”. You’re using every trick in the book to avoid reasonable questions and answers and you’re projecting your own trickery and games into what we’re all telling you. To say that you’re being ‘intellectually dishonest’ would be a major understatement.

        To use one of you own statements, “You make one idiotic statement after another”.

    • 310 PaV June 5, 2011 at 4:57 am

      Flint:

      Toronto used the word “unfamiliar” in talking about a language. What does that mean? To be familiar with a language is to know its intended meaning and purpose. Not just to be exposed to lots of it, but to UNDERSTAND WHY AND HOW it works the way it does.

      Please explain to all of us reading this thread: why and how does the English language work the way it does?

      We await.

      You are PROJECTING an a priori purpose onto DNA, which is derived from your theological requirements and not in any way from the DNA itself. Can’t you SEE this?

      So what you’re saying is the DNA has no purpose, right? Could you elaborate. I’m having problems with my ‘theological requirements’ at the moment, but it nevertheless seems to me that if DNA has no purpose, then we ought to get rid of it. Don’t you agree?

  138. 311 Flint June 5, 2011 at 1:04 am

    A bit of stuff for those who are curious:

    So what were the first living things and when did they appear? Studies of genetic material indicate that a living group of single-celled organisms called Archaea may share many features with early life on Earth. Many Archaea now live in hot springs, deep-sea vents, saline water, and other harsh environments. If the first organisms resembled modern Archaea, they also may have lived in such places, but direct evidence for early life is controversial because it is difficult to distinguish between complex inorganic structures and simple biological ones in the geologic record. The oldest evidence for life may be 3.5-billion-year-old sedimentary structures from Australia that resemble stromatolites.

    (From here: http://paleobiology.si.edu/geotime/main/htmlversion/archean3.html)

    • 312 PaV June 5, 2011 at 2:31 am

      This is not current. Way past current. You ought to read the science dailies. Look at the UD website; you’ll see there a post about land-based animal forms from about 1 billion years ago.

  139. 313 PaV June 5, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Rose:

    Natural selection is only one part of evolution and the ToE. So why do you presume that it is everything?

    I think most evolutionists would think that NS is a rather big part of the ToE. Now Darwin says that NS isn’t responsible for all the changes we see; but it is his basic mechanism.

    Take NS away from evolution, and you have no driving force at all.

    Flint keeps speaking about ‘adaptive feedback loops’. If there is no NS, then there is no ‘feedback’. I’m not sure where that leaves you. I suppose Neutral Drift. But Neutral Drift is incapable of explaining the levels of specified information we see in complex life forms. It moves and acts way too slowly. The ONLY place where you’ll see it work, basically, is in extremely large populations, that have very short reproductive cycles: like bacteria, or ………the malarial parasite! And we know not much happens there!! 🙂

    ID proponents, on the other hand, just sit around bitching about Darwin, science, and evolution and don’t have a shred of positive evidence or “facts” to back up their claims of an intelligent designer (god).

    Is it really this simple?

    Anyone backing ID is run out of the University. Don’t believe me? Well, Flint just finished telling us that at LeHigh Univ., Behe’s fellow faculty members have distanced themselves from him. Caroline Crooker lost her job. Guillermo Gonzalez didn’t receive tenure, etc.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. You can’t complain IDers are doing nothing, and then push them out of the laboratory door.

    And why? Because they think Darwin is wrong?

    Let me see here: Galileo is punished for judging that the sun is the center of the solar system. And that’s not what Catholic orthodoxy held (it was a much more complicated affair than that, BTW). And now, in the 20th Century, as the Catholic Church is berated by scientists, they will ruin the career of anyone who disagrees with them. (And, of course, there’s the shameful case of Immanuel Velikovsky. And, what about Peter Duesberg?)

    Shameful. And hypocritical. And what is at the root of all this: human pride! Don’t tell me I’m wrong or I will kill you!!

    Is there an ID scientist actually out in the field (nature), looking for evidence of an intelligent designer (god), and publishing papers on what he/she has discovered?

    Behe is at Lehigh. He’s published papers and written books. Dembski and Marks are at Baylor. Douglas Axe is publishing papers.

    As if any of this had anything to do with actual reality, or the truth. Does one have to be ‘peer-reviewed’ to be able to distinguish what is true and what is not? That’s silly.

    And what about the paper on Arsenic replacing Phosphate in the Mono Lake bacterial species? What there? Ah, the wonders of ‘peer-review’.

    One common thing about religious people is that they want and expect all the answers, right now! So they make up some stories and beliefs to satisfy themselves that they know everything, or at least all that needs to be known.

    Let me rewrite this:

    One common thing about black people is that they want and expect all the answers, right now! So they make up some stories and beliefs to satisfy themselves that they know everything, or at least all that needs to be known.

    Would you ever consider writing such a statement? Then why is it OK if you substitute “religious” for “black”. Prejudice is prejudice. Hatred is hatred.

    • 314 Rose June 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

      “Does one have to be ‘peer-reviewed’ to be able to distinguish what is true and what is not? That’s silly.”

      I didn’t say anything about peer review, and you apparently missed what I said about “in the field (nature)”.

      Anyone can make discoveries and anyone can publish their discoveries if they want to. If a discovery is credible and revealing, science will take notice. You make it sound as though ID proponents are deliberately and cruelly kept in solitary confinement and are not allowed to make their opinions or alleged discoveries public.

      Maybe if you godbots would quit trying to infiltrate science with your religious beliefs, you might not run into problems with publishing in scientific journals, and if you would stick to science you might not run into problems with jobs at scientific institutions and labs.

      Instead of trying to force your beliefs into science, why don’t you establish your own labs, research teams, and institutions and do your own novel research, and publish in your own journals or websites? Maybe you can get some religious high rollers to sell their Rolex watches and Rolls Royces to contribute toward the cause?

      Nature is out there. What are you waiting for?

    • 315 OM June 5, 2011 at 11:33 am

      PAV
      The ONLY place where you’ll see it work, basically, is in extremely large populations, that have very short reproductive cycles: like bacteria, or ………the malarial parasite! And we know not much happens there!!

      Yes indeed, the malarial parasite has been spectacularly unsuccessful in it’s work, infecting millions of people despite every array of modern science to prevent those infections, crippling whole areas of some countries, costing billions in lost productivity and generally being a total misery to millions of people. Yes, not much has happened there. Yes indeely. Perhaps you should get infected yourself and then see how you feel about it then?

      So presumably you think the malarial parasite was designed? As you’ve just spent several thousand words on this thread explaining the insufficiency of evolution to evolve such things the only remaining logical conclusion is that it was designed.

      Even Behe says that it appears the malarial parasite was designed, do you agree with Behe? If so, what sort of designer does such a thing?

    • 316 OM June 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

      PAV,
      And what about the paper on Arsenic replacing Phosphate in the Mono Lake bacterial species? What there? Ah, the wonders of ‘peer-review’.

      At least peer review works most of the time. It’s not perfect, nothing is. But it does not explain the reluctance (fear) of ID supporter to get their work peer reviewed.

      It’s very odd how ID supporters refuse to get peer reviewed for their own work but then feel free to criticize the process.

      It’s also funny how there’s no ID peer reviewed paper that actually includes the phrase “Intelligent Designer”.

      GEM of TKI happily writes tens of thousands of words a day that he thinks supports ID but he could spend a fraction of that time writing a paper instead that could progress the case for ID but never actually does. When asked he says that no such paper would even be published so he’s not going to bother. That’s the one guaranteed way to ensure that such papers never even get published – to not even try.

      So don’t have a go at peer review when your sides quality of work does not even rise to that level in the first place.

      Wake me up when Axe publishes a paper that actually refers to the “Intelligent Designer” rather then snide allusions to the insufficiency of Darwinism to do something that nobody thought it could do in the first place.

      Most ID supporters realize their work cannot be peer reviewed and so they turn to writing book after book. Book after book after book, as everybody knows that $$$ is the real point of ID. Why publish a paper that costs you money when you can write a book that makes you money! And that’s why ID has not progressed a whit since Pandas. Not that it was but Pandas made it clear that ID==Creationism so that destroyed any chance ID had in the academic community. Of course, if you can make and support your arguments then I’m sure any ID paper would be criticized on it’s merits. But that’ll never happen, not when the lure of $$ is calling.

  140. 317 Toronto June 5, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Pav,

    Pav: “If you looked at machine code, binary strings, you probably couldn’t make heads or tails out of it. But a computer could.”

    Again, you have hit the nail right on the head.

    If you aren’t ..already.. familiar with an object, you can’t conclude design.

    This means you are limited to detecting design, in things that you are familiar with.

    For instance, what does the binary string “F8 08 A7” mean to a computer?

    Does it mean the same thing to an RCA 1802 as it does to a Motorola 6801?

    Does it mean anything to either of them?

    Can you tell from the “information” itself or do you need some other outside “information”?

    • 318 PaV June 5, 2011 at 4:33 am

      Toronto:

      For instance, what does the binary string “F8 08 A7″ mean to a computer?

      Does it mean the same thing to an RCA 1802 as it does to a Motorola 6801?

      Does it mean anything to either of them?

      If you saw a paragraph written in Lithuanian, would you know what it means? No. But a Lithuanian who speaks English could ‘translate’ it for you.

      You cannot understand machine code; but machines do. Now, do you want to say that machine code is not designed. Can we be that inane? I don’t think so.

      If the cell can ‘translate’ DNA into proteins, then the cell recognizes the ‘code’; not ‘machine code’, but the ‘genetic code’. A language. And language is ‘specified’, or it is not language. Thus, proteins represent ‘specified’ strings of characters. The only question remaining is: is the string of nucleotides determined by chemical bonding or not? If it isn’t (which it is most assuredly not), then given what we know of the code (there are four freely interchangeable nucleotide bases), then we can develop a ‘chance hypothesis’, and, if the UPB is exceeded (which it easily is) then we can conclude that the genetic sequences that translate for the protein is “designed”.

      What’s so hard to see about this?

      • 319 OM June 5, 2011 at 10:55 am

        PAV
        You cannot understand machine code; but machines do. Now, do you want to say that machine code is not designed. Can we be that inane? I don’t think so.

        A) I generate 100KB of random code.
        B) I attempt to execute that code on a computer
        C) Code fails to execute – it was random after all.
        D) I evolve a new computer, each time trying the random code on it and seeing how closely it performs according to a predefined target (E.G. Display the letter “A” on screen).
        E) Eventually I evolve a computer where the code executes and displays the letter “A” on screen.

        Does my 100KB of random code have CSI or specification at E) ? What about A) ?

  141. 320 Toronto June 5, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Pav,

    Pav: “One common thing about black people is that they want and expect all the answers, right now! So they make up some stories and beliefs to satisfy themselves that they know everything, or at least all that needs to be known.”

    Being black is NOT equivalent to being religious.

    I cannot choose my race but I CAN choose a belief system.

    The two terms are not in the same category at all.

    “Would you ever consider writing such a statement? Then why is it OK if you substitute “religious” for “black”. Prejudice is prejudice. Hatred is hatred.”

    It is unfair of you to attribute prejudice to Rose’s statement about a belief system.

    There was no prejudice and no hatred.

    • 321 PaV June 5, 2011 at 4:41 am

      Toronto:

      Being black is NOT equivalent to being religious.

      Did I say there was?

      I asked a question. Why is it OK to be prejudiced against religious people?

      If you don’t think it is a prejudice then here’s a dictionary definition of prejudice:

      unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.

      What if Rose had written:

      “One common thing about Jews is that they want and expect all the answers, right now! So they make up some stories and beliefs to satisfy themselves that they know everything, or at least all that needs to be known.”

      Do you see what I’m saying yet?

      • 322 Rose June 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

        I wrote what I wrote, not what your paranoid, delusional, dishonest, projecting mind imagines I wrote.

  142. 323 PaV June 5, 2011 at 4:24 am

    Flint:

    Microevolution is simply a short-term snapshot of an ongoing process. A longer-term section is macroevolution. It’s all the same process.

    When I was seven years old, I could broad jump 5 feet.
    When I was 11 years old, I could broad jump 10 feet.
    When I was 16 years old, I could broad jump 14 feet.
    Therefore, when I am 70 years old, I’ll be able to broad jump 35 feet.

    Do you see something wrong here?

    How blithely you phrase it: “A longer-term section is macroevolution.” Oh, well, I guess that proves everything we need to know.!!

    The difference is, Kimura is trying to figure out how evolution works. You are trying to rationalize a foregone conclusion that it DOES NOT HAPPEN.

    Neutral Drift and NS can be invoked to explain microevolution. And to a limited extent. Anything beyond that is mere conjecture. You have a foregone conclusion that chance mechanisms can explain macroevolution. Or else, you have proof. But if you have proof, and not just conjecture being invoked as fact, then produce the ‘proof’. I await.

    And, if you don’t produce the ‘proof’, then why am I not permitted to question your thesis?

    Ah, now I happen to be familiar with Allen MacNeill. He is an evolutionary biologist – you know, someone working in a dead field? He teaches introductory biology and evolution at Cornell. And he has been roundly criticized for making statements sensible within their context, but which dishonest creationists (is there any other kind?) take out of context. As you do. But I explained about the incredible dying theory at length. You simply ignore it, and repeat. You are impermeable.

    First of all, it’s Richard, and not Craig Sternberg. And he got run out of the Smithsonian. I’m surprised you’re not aware of that.

    Second, where do you come up with this nonsense: “He has been roundly criticized for making statements . . .” Do you really believe this stuff. He’s an evo-devo guy. Why don’t you google “allen macneill neo-darwinism dead uncommondescent”. See what you come up with.

    But with your fertile imagination, you’ll have some way of spinning whatever you find there. Wonderful!

    No, this is not correct. He [Kimura] offered an EXTENSION, that is, an ADDITIONAL mechanism by which genes spread through a population. And he identified a very real mechanism.

    The man who’s never read Kimura’s book knows exactly what Kimura said. Wonderful. Read the book first. Read what Kimura said about NS. And then spout off if you want.

    According to you, Flint, Kimura didn’t criticize NS; instead he just “extended” it, and per your quote from Wikipedia, there was a “heated discussion” about this. Oh, I see. He extended it. And that’s why everyone got upset. It makes perfect logic. You couldn’t possibly have your facts wrong, could you?

    “Fossilized” soft parts ARE basically footprints.

    But, of course, that was my whole point: if you can find fossil footprints, then you can find “soft parts”, which they have done. So talking about the imperfection of the fossil record is a canard. If it was there, we would have found it by now.

    What do you suppose evolutionary biologists would do with this information? Deny it? Panic? Run off to pray at the creationist god? Or would they accept that there is more to life’s history on earth than was previously discovered? I think they’d be pretty excited at this addition to the proposed history.

    You make one idiotic statement after another. Life has been thought to have arisen in the ocean depths for one primary reason: UV radiation. This will cause a rethink of gradualism.

    PaVIt seems that Darwin’s success comes from getting people to believe that ‘adaptive feedback loops’ can do the very same things that people from ancient times attributed to a Deity. You’ve substituted one god for the One, True God.

    FlintAh, of course. YOUR god trumps evidence.

    Who’s trumping what. Dawkins says that life appears designed. Isn’t it up to you to prove otherwise? Where’s your proof? There’s no proof. There’s only ‘belief’.

    So what? WHO CARES what Darwin might have believed? Darwin is of historical interest only.

    Let me see. Darwin doesn’t matter. Neo-Darwinism is dead. What does that leave exactly?

    We were talking about life. Not multi-cellular life. You have moved your goalposts. Put them back. Life developed for several billion years before multi-cellular structures appeared.

    We were talking about Darwin. I made the point that Darwin expected that the pre-Cambrian would have fossils that exhibited a diversity similar to that from the Cambrian til now.

    You said you read the 1st and 5th editions of Origins; then, surely you ran across this:

    Consequently, if the theory be true, it is indisputable that, before the lowest Silurian or Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Cambrian age to the present day; and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures

    Just tell me when you get tired of being wrong.

    • 324 Flint June 5, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      First of all, it’s Richard, and not Craig Sternberg. And he got run out of the Smithsonian. I’m surprised you’re not aware of that.

      For anyone interested, here are the actual facts about Sternberg:

      http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/sternberg

      Note the key differences between the facts and PaV’s description. Like, everything.

      Just tell me when you get tired of being wrong.

      Ah, the irony.

    • 325 Flint June 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm

      Consequently, if the theory be true, it is indisputable that, before the lowest Silurian or Cambrian stratum was deposited long periods elapsed, as long as, or probably far longer than, the whole interval from the Cambrian age to the present day; and that during these vast periods the world swarmed with living creatures…

      Someone seems to have forgotten that prokaryotes are living creatures, with which the world swarmed for a couple of billion years before the Cambrian. But someone seems to have a very very selective memory. Darwin was correct. PaV is wrong. Can he admit error, or only project it onto others?

  143. 326 Seversky June 5, 2011 at 6:43 am

    PAV wrote:

    First of all, it’s Richard, and not Craig Sternberg. And he got run out of the Smithsonian. I’m surprised you’re not aware of that.

    The Souder Report, which was basically a rehash of the preliminary findings published by the Office of the Special Counsel (OSC), stated as follows:

    The Deputy Secretary responded on May 3, 2006, by claiming that the Smithsonian has “conducted an internal inquiry, including a review of OSC’s preliminary findings, and concluded that Dr. von Sternberg is a Research Associate in good standing at NMNH, and that he has the same access to office space, laboratories, collections, libraries and other common facilities as that accorded to other Research Associates.”

    So Sternberg, in spite of his complaints, was neither fired from, nor “run out of the Smithsonian”. I’m surprised you didn’t know that.

    On the other hand, he did approve a Stephen Meyer paper for publication in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington which was later disavowed by the Society as inappropriate, to which it also published a rebuttal and which the Society’s president described as “”a really bad judgment call on the editor’s part”. I assume you knew that.

    • 327 Seversky June 5, 2011 at 6:46 am

      Sorry, I seem to have screwed up the HTML tags there

    • 328 PaV June 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

      Seversky:

      The Deputy Secretary responded on May 3, 2006, by claiming that the Smithsonian has “conducted an internal inquiry, . . .

      So when the Smithsonian conducted their “own” study, they found they had done nothing wrong. So, I guess that’s the end of the case.

      And, of course, there’s the word “claiming”. This sounds like the OSC was reaching the conclusion that the study conducted by the Smithsonian may have been a white-wash. What is the overall context of this quote?

      As to the Paper that was later “disavowed”, does this speak well of science where first a paper is accepted and published, and then when political pressure is applied the paper is then rescinded? This is an embarrassment for science. Nothing more.

      From the letter of the OSC to Sternberg:
      During our initial investigations, OSC has been able to find support for many of your allegations. However, the SI is now refusing to cooperate with our investigation. OSC is not able to take statements and receive further paper discovery that would allow for final conclusions.

      From the concluding portion of the letter:
      These e-mails are consistent with many others at this time. Your managers are still attempting to find a way to terminate your access. However, they have decided that the politics aren’t right for them to let you go. They wanted to make it clear that you should “do the right thing and resign.” This supports your allegation that you were subjected to a hostile work environment. Finally, the last e-mail cited sets forth a troubling summary of events were people had to be investigating your work activities beyond that which is done for other RAs. They are even inspecting what you have been checking out from the library. We are very concerned where this type of scrutiny can lead. Your job as a scientist is to ask the hard questions and make other scientists think about their positions. This type of scrutiny does not engender the correct atmosphere. From the information received by OSC, not a single e-mail shows that a manager attempted to halt this type of retaliatory investigation or admonish those that had already taken place.

      • 329 OM June 5, 2011 at 11:24 am

        PAV
        As to the Paper that was later “disavowed”, does this speak well of science where first a paper is accepted and published, and then when political pressure is applied the paper is then rescinded? This is an embarrassment for science. Nothing more.

        What does it say when the paper is only published because of a persons connections with somebody working in the journal rather then on the merits of the paper itself? What does it say when a paper is published in a venue that would not normally publish such a paper?

        Wikipedia notes:

        The issue of the Proceedings in which the Meyer article appears was to be Sternberg’s last before stepping down, having resigned in October 2003. Sternberg’s decision to publish Meyer’s paper and the method by which it was done prompted widespread controversy, ultimately resulting in the journal’s publisher deeming the paper inappropriate for publication on the grounds that its subject matter represented a significant departure from the journal’s normal content and stating that it did not meet the scientific standards of the journal; Sternberg handled the review process entirely on his own, without the involvement of an associate editor, in contradiction of typical editorial practice. They stated that Sternberg went outside the usual review procedures to allow Meyer’s article to be published,[14] and that the paper was published “without the prior knowledge of the council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, or associate editors.”[13] The Biological Society of Washington’s president, Roy McDiarmid called Sternberg’s decision “a really bad judgment call on the editor’s part.”[13] The Council also refused to print a rebuttal of the article and stated that it believes there is no credible evidence for intelligent design to explain the origins of diverse life.[14]

        What there is untrue?

        Or if you’d rather not address all that then just answer a single question.

        Did the paper’s subject matter represent a significant departure from the journal’s normal content?

        Yes or no.

        A follow up question: Would the fact that the “review” process was handled by Sternberg alone, without the involvement of an associate editor, in contradiction of typical editorial practice worry you at all? Why do you suppose it was done like that instead of the way that presumably every previous paper had been published in that journal?

        Or are these facts simply inconvenient to the narrative you want to tell, “expelled” all over again?

      • 330 OM June 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

        PAV,
        As to the Paper that was later “disavowed”, does this speak well of science where first a paper is accepted and published,

        To be clear, *who* accepted the paper? Be specific….

        And did that person have any prior ID axe to grind? Or were they a neutral person with regard to ID?

        Did the people who did the “disavowing” have a change to check the paper out for themselves before publication? If not, why do you have a problem with them later disavowing something they did not have a chance to see in the first place?

        Any honest person assessing the situation does not come to the conclusion that this is a case of ID being suppressed for ideological reasons. An off topic paper was published in a journal that never publishes such papers and the normal review process was bypassed. Perhaps ID supporters should concentrate on getting work published on it’s merits rather then who they know at the journal.

        I don’t expect you to address any of these points or any of the other points that people have raised with regard to this issue as then that would remove it’s value as a talking point for you in future. You can hardly honestly use these points again if you acknowledge the situation is not as the ID camp attempts to portray it.

        And this is what you spend your time doing instead of science, instead of supporting ID.

      • 331 OM June 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

        PAV
        As to the Paper that was later “disavowed”, does this speak well of science where first a paper is accepted and published,

        And lastly, can you given a *single* example of an ID supporter who attempted to publish a paper in a mainstream journal but who was rejected solely on the basis that the paper supports ID rather then any technical error etc in the content?

        I don’t believe you’ll be able to point to a single example, which somewhat undermines the claims that ID papers cannot be published. If nobody has even tried then how do you know?

        A *single* example please. And then perhaps you can talk about how well “science” treats such papers.

        Until then, well, I await *your* peer reviewed paper.

  144. 332 OM June 5, 2011 at 10:49 am

    PAV,
    You cannot have infinite gradations—such as those needed for the ‘perfection’ of the eye—unless there’s a lot of time.

    Which type of eye do you mean?

  145. 333 OM June 5, 2011 at 10:58 am

    PAV
    You have a foregone conclusion that chance mechanisms can explain macroevolution. Or else, you have proof. But if you have proof, and not just conjecture being invoked as fact, then produce the ‘proof’. I await.

    No doubt you have proof that intelligent design can explain macro evolution.

    So produce the ‘proof’. I await.

    Of course, if all you have is “evolution could not have done it therefore ID” then your position is the same position that the IDers have been taking since The Origin of Species was written.

    • 334 PaV June 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      OM:

      You apparently have a lot to say. Let’s begin.

      What does it say when the paper is only published because of a persons connections with somebody working in the journal rather then on the merits of the paper itself? What does it say when a paper is published in a venue that would not normally publish such a paper?

      Does it say that the science community is willing to do anything to make sure pro-ID papers are not published in ‘peer-reviewed’ journals? That certainly fits the subsequent facts surrounding this controversy.

      Did the paper’s subject matter represent a significant departure from the journal’s normal content?

      Yes or no.

      My first remark clarifies your question. If it is a departure, then why was it a departure? Was it because of a campaign against anything that would legitimize ID in any way? Can you rule this out? Have you facts to demonstrate this?

      A follow up question: Would the fact that the “review” process was handled by Sternberg alone, without the involvement of an associate editor, in contradiction of typical editorial practice worry you at all? Why do you suppose it was done like that instead of the way that presumably every previous paper had been published in that journal?

      You’re not guilty of a one-sided view, are you?

      Here’s what Sternberg has to say:

      Finally, critics of the Meyer paper have made the false claim that proper procedures were not followed by quoting out of context a sentence from the inside cover of the Proceedings which reads, “Manuscripts are reviewed by a board of Associate Editors.” What the sentence means is that manuscripts are reviewed by some member of the group of associate editors. At no time in the past has the board as a whole (or even more than one associate editor) ever reviewed any paper, nor has that practice and policy changed as a result of the Meyer controversy

      Here’s his website: http://www.richardsternberg.org/smithsonian.php?page=statement

      Did the people who did the “disavowing” have a change to check the paper out for themselves before publication? If not, why do you have a problem with them later disavowing something they did not have a chance to see in the first place?

      I’ve mentioned here already the case of the Felisa Wolfe-Simon’s paper on ‘arsenic-based’ life.

      Now here is an instance of some monumental claim. It was ‘peer-reviewed’, and then published in Science. It has, just this week, been severely attacked for poor methodology. Has “Science” ‘disavowed’ that paper?

      It was ‘peer-reviewed’, so everything should be just peachy-keeno, right? Have Felisa Wolfe-Simon’s keys been taken away.

      Why don’t you wake up and smell the coffee?

      And lastly, can you given a *single* example of an ID supporter who attempted to publish a paper in a mainstream journal but who was rejected solely on the basis that the paper supports ID rather then any technical error etc in the content?

      Well, funny you should ask. This just happened. Dr. Leo Spetner’s critique of Wilf&Ewens’ paper, “There is plenty of time for evolution” was rejected by PNAS.

      Here’s a link to Spetner’s paper: http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/no-evidence-that-there-is-enough-time-for-evolution/comment-page-2/#comment-382878

      Here’s what Spetner wrote:

      This paper is a critique of a paper that appeared recently in the Proceedings National Academy of Sciences USA and rightfully should have been published there. It was submitted there and was rejected without review and the reason given was that the Board did not find it “to be of sufficient interest for publication.” When I noted how unreasonable this reply was, the editor replied that the paper “makes some obvious and elementary points of no relevance to the paper, and in my opinion does not warrant publication.” The Board then refused to comment further on the matter. It was clear that the Board’s rejection was not on the merit of the substance of the paper but for some other, undisclosed reason.

      Which type of eye do you mean?

      I’m referencing Darwin’s comments regarding the ‘eagle eye’, which he apparently thought was the perfection of sight.

      No doubt you have proof that intelligent design can explain macro evolution.

      Why don’t you read Meyer’s “Signature of the Cell”? He argues that ID has more “explanatory power” than Darwinism. Isn’t it obvious that if life is designed—and Dawkins tells us that it sure looks designed, and ID says it has the hallmarks of intelligent design—that some super intellect is responsible, and thus IS the explanation for life. This might be an assumption, but it is an assumption that fits appearances, and fits facts.

      So no one is saying ID is ‘proved’. Scientists like Meyers are saying it makes the most sense of the facts we’re aware of. This can’t be said of Darwinism/neo-Darwinism/ModernSynthesis/evo-devo.

  146. 335 Toronto June 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Pav,

    “If you saw a paragraph written in Lithuanian, would you know what it means? No. But a Lithuanian who speaks English could ‘translate’ it for you.”

    Bingo!!!

    If you found an “alien artifact”, you’d need an “appropriate alien” to tell you what it was!

    If you found a “designed life-form”, you’d need that “designer” to tell you how he made it!

    If I’m wrong, and you don’t need to to know anything about the designer and his methods, you should be able to tell me what purposes viruses serve in his grand design.

    • 336 PaV June 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      If you found an “alien artifact”, you’d need an “appropriate alien” to tell you what it was!

      This might be true. But we wouldn’t need an alien to tell us it was designed!

      If I’m wrong, and you don’t need to to know anything about the designer and his methods, you should be able to tell me what purposes viruses serve in his grand design.

      Aha. We’ve made it to the theology questions, just like Darwin did.

      Why did Jesus die on the Cross?

      Who knows why virus’ exist. But we can be sure of this: if it appears not to be good, then it’s proof that God doesn’t exist. AND, if it looks good, then some kind of evolutionary ‘just-so’ story can be woven to explain the presence of what is good.

      Ah,…simple-mindedness! Got to love it.

      • 337 Toronto June 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm

        Pav,

        “This might be true. But we wouldn’t need an alien to tell us it was designed!

        Yes you do, since you don’t know, …what it is.

        You’ve missed the point of the virus example.

        It points out the constraints we have to function under when attempting to interpret some other person’s, or god’s, intentions.

        You don’t know your designer’s methods well enough to understand how the world, is “meant” to work.

        You can prove me wrong by showing me why the designer insisted on DNA as a requirement of the “type” of life we have observed so far.

        I’m not asking for an opinion here, I’m asking you to speak for the designer.

      • 338 Rose June 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm

        Asking what purposes viruses serve in the grand design of your alleged designer is not a theological question, unless you are contending that the designer is a god. Are you?

        If ID is a scientific inference, hypothesis, or theory, and since you and other ID proponent claim that there is purpose, planning, and specification in the designer and its designs, then it shouldn’t be a problem for you or any other ID proponent to explain the purpose of viruses in the context of ID.

        By the way, who or what designed the designer?

  147. 339 Toronto June 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Pav,

    “One common thing about religious people is that they want and expect all the answers, right now!

    This is what Rose actually said.

    It’s a statement about people with a certain world-view.

    That group contains people who are, black, white, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, sects, cults, etc. and private versions of deities.

    The statement is about an individual’s personally adopted mindset.

    It’s about how people respond to the world we all live in.

    There is no religious or racial group being targeted at all.

    • 340 Rose June 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm

      Toronto, I do appreciate your supportive comments, but to be fair it can be said that my comments ‘target’ many religious people, and especially some christians since they’re mostly the ones promoting ID. As you’ve pointed out though, and I will reinforce, I am not targeting any particular race of people. The idea of race never entered my mind. The only ‘prejudice’ I have is against people who try to deny reality and force their beliefs into where they don’t belong.

      PaV’s substitution of blacks for religious people is just another one of his tricks to divert attention away from the relevant issues and to demonize me.

      Like you said, religious beliefs are chosen, or at least adopted, while race is not. I don’t hold things against people that they cannot help or change.

      It’s funny how PaV mostly keeps attacking Darwin (the man) instead of the current ToE (the theory and evidence) and that he tells others to keep current while he wallows in and attacks the ancient past of Darwin’s books. I also can’t help but wonder if his chosen god and beliefs are “current” or if they’re just the same old god and beliefs that were first proposed long, long ago.

      He and other Id-ists apparently think that if they can smear Darwin himself with enough dirt ID will be welcomed by science and the ToE will be rethought and rewritten. People like PaV must think that Darwin is some kind of god who is competing with their god. Otherwise, why would they hate Darwin so much and try so hard to discredit him?

      Since ID-ists don’t have any evidence or working theory for their claims they apparently figure that attacking the guy who gets the credit for proposing natural selection is going to bolster their claims.

      What’s really bugging PaV and other religious people who fight about evolution is the likelihood of science finding things that question, challenge or disprove their religious beliefs, even though science isn’t deliberately looking for things that question, challenge or disprove religious beliefs.

      ID-ists know that their beliefs are based on unrealistic stories and faith and that science deals with realistic facts. Realistic facts, and the ongoing revelation of them by science, scares many religious people. As reality continues to be uncovered and explained, many religious people are faced with facts that are irreconcilable with their antiquated beliefs. So they either have to modify or throwout their beliefs or try to find a way to force them into the facts and reality. That’s the problem when people base their thoughts and life on religious dogma.

      • 341 PaV June 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm

        Rose, I’m not trying to demonize you. But it is very easy to have animosity towards a particular group, whoever they may be, and be completely unaware of the feelings.

        He and other Id-ists apparently think that if they can smear Darwin himself with enough dirt ID will be welcomed by science and the ToE will be rethought and rewritten.

        Only a liberal could make this kind of a comment. I point out how Darwin was wrong, and this is “smearing” him? Good gracious!

        It’s like criticizing Obama; that’s “racism”. What nonsense.

        This is all of the left’s attempt to “demonize” thought. We call it political correctness; and we find it even in science journals. But, of course, the hippies of the sixties are now the ‘peer-reviewers’ of today. So none of this is any big surprise.

    • 342 PaV June 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      Have you become Rose’s editor. She wrote some other unflattering generalizations that you’ve omitted. I’m just trying to open eyes here. It’s easy to be blinded to our own prejudices.

      • 343 Toronto June 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm

        Pav,

        I guess I’m guilty of.., wait for it…., looking at the world through “Rose” coloured glasses!

        🙂

        “It’s easy to be blinded to our own prejudices”

        Yes, and any religion can provide prejudices for its own members also.

        Just look at the Sunni/Shia conflict and the Catholic/Protestant troubles in Northern Ireland.

      • 344 Rose June 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm

        Unflattering generalizations???????

        Like your “unflattering generalizations” about liberals, the left, hippies, science journals, peer reviewers, etc., etc.??

        You are exactly that which you condemn. You are not only blind to your own prejudices but you will use any ruse and lie to demonize your enemies, while putting yourself on a pedestal. Do you really believe that your childish games will fool me? How old are you, 7?

      • 345 Rose June 7, 2011 at 5:44 am

        PaV, you’re right, it’s easy to be blinded to our own prejudices. You’re obviously not applying that prospect to yourself though.

        Like every religious person I’ve ever met, you think that your worldview is the enlightened one. You believe you can see things that non-believers can’t. You believe you have a god-given key to the door of superior knowledge and awareness.

        You and other ID-ists likely believe that you’re the chosen disciples of god and that you’re doing people a favor by trying to bring them into the enlightened fold. bornagain77 and kairosfocus sure do come to mind, but then so do all the other godbots on UD.

        There are religious people in my own family and they all have the same affliction that every other religious person I’ve ever met has: tunnel vision with very limited distance. It amazes me how little they actually see, especially when it comes to nature. They miss, reject, or ignore what’s going on around them or even right in front of them. They resist learning as though it’s a crippling disease.

        Like you and other ID-ists they often refer to a book (like the bible or some other religious sales pitch) or to a particular person (like the author of a book or their pastor) as the support for their beliefs. And like you they often also refer to a book or a particular person they don’t agree with as at least one of the reasons they don’t accept anything but their religious beliefs. They’re fixated on a book and/or a person and they shut themselves off to any other or new information, even when that information is easily provable beyond any reasonable doubt.

        Now I’m not saying that everything in science or nature can be proven beyond any reasonable doubt but some things can, and many religious people won’t even try to accept those things.

        Many religious people attribute what they don’t understand to their god’s will or actions, which provides an effective block to further curiosity or inquiry. god-did-it, I believe it, and that settles it is not an open-eyed or productive mindset for gaining knowledge.

        I’m sure that you think I’m the one who is blinding myself to the obvious and that my biases, prejudices, and programming are keeping me from the enlightenment and knowledge that religious people believe comes only from a dutiful relationship with their chosen god.

        If you can show me proof that your god or any god exists, I’ll change my mind, but don’t expect me to take your word for it or to swallow your dishonest religious and political agenda pretending to be a scientific theory.

        Instead of writing copious amounts of religiously and politically motivated Darwin bashing dishonest drivel on UD, maybe you and the other ID-ists should get together, go out into nature, find actual evidence of ID or your god, formulate a credible, honest scientific hypothesis to test, understand, and explain it, and then present it to the world.

        In the meantime, all you’ve got is:

        Looks designed, god-did-it.

  148. 346 Alan Fox June 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    PaV in a comment upthread tells me there is a biological example of how to calculate CSI in Dembski’s “No Free Lunch” I am just waiting for the page reference.

    link

  149. 349 Rose June 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    PaV, you like to repeat what Dawkins said, but of course you use it out of context:

    “Dawkins says that life appears designed. Isn’t it up to you to prove otherwise? Where’s your proof? There’s no proof. There’s only ‘belief’.”

    Appears designed isn’t the same as designed, and you conveniently left out other statements of his.

    Dawkins is a popular speaker but he isn’t the foundation of science. The ongoing research, theories, hypotheses, and evidence are. Using one sentence of his in a dishonest way to support your claims is an exercise in futility and desperation.

    • 350 PaV June 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm

      Appears designed isn’t the same as designed, and you conveniently left out other statements of his.

      The sun appears to go around the earth. But I’m rather sure you could prove that it’s the other way around.

      So, where’s the proof that life isn’t designed?

      • 351 Rose June 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm

        You like to play games, so let’s play some games.

        Where’s your proof that life isn’t designed by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Borg, or Kermit the frog?

        Where’s your proof that the universe isn’t just a bubble in a bathtub?

        Where’s your proof that your god isn’t a blood sucking parasite that lives on a reptilian host on the planet Bozo in the Chocolate Milk solar system in the Banana Slug galaxy in the 41st quadrant of the Pond Scum universe in the 548th dimension of Oz?

        I await.

  150. 352 Rose June 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    PaV said:

    “And, if you don’t produce the ‘proof’, then why am I not permitted to question your thesis?”

    You can question the “thesis” all you want. What you can’t do is try to force your personal religious beliefs into science.

    What about “your thesis”? Is it beyond question? Where’s your proof?

    • 353 PaV June 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      You can question the “thesis” all you want. What you can’t do is try to force your personal religious beliefs into science.

      Try to think things through, Rose. If there are atheistic IDers, and theistic Darwinists, then what it the world does disagreeing with Darwinism have anything to do with “religious beliefs”? It’s nothing more than a distraction from substantial debate.

      • 354 Rose June 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm

        “Substantial debate” is based on arguments that have substance. Your game playing arguments have no substance.

        Do you actually believe you’re fooling anyone with a clue that your agenda isn’t religious and political?

        Yet again, you are the one doing that which you condemn. You and your ID cohorts are the ones creating and promoting distractions.

  151. 355 Onlooker June 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I have recently been following the controversy over evolution via Uncommon Descent. I have been very impressed by the scientific arguments over at that site. I must say that when ID has such concise and to the point proponents as Kairos Focus then Darwinism has little chance of surviving the next fortnight.

    In the face of extreme provocation from such as Mathgrrl who is sadly tarnished with strawman red herring ad hominem argumentum ad populum brutus adsum iam garnish due to association with atheists such as Pol Pot and others who would sadly denigrate an upstandingly honest, straight, and stoic member of the ID community, it is no wonder that no-one has provided a rigorous definition of CSI in the face of such egregious provocation by unrelated parties.

    I hope that MG sees the errors of her ways and also learns to spell “girl” properly, as such aggressive behaviour (I blame Geri Halliwell) is typical of Darwinian smoke and mirrors. When will evolutionists learn to stick to the arguments?

    • 356 Toronto June 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Onlooker,

      Geri Halliwell, now there’s a designer!

      Could she, do ya think, maybe……?

      Nah.

      🙂

    • 357 PaV June 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

      Onlooker, why don’t you read Dembski’s No Free Lunch. You’ll find there a definition of CSI.

      And, BTW, in mathematics, when you ‘define’ something, it can be almost anything you want it to be. E.g. kinetic energy, entropy, Gibb’s Free Energy, etc. All of these are convenient terms that physicists use, usually combining quantities that can be measured.

      CSI is a convenient metric for deciding if a ‘design inference’ is merited which uses a measurable quantity of improbability.

      Furthermore, Dembski no longer uses CSI. He uses the concept of “specified complexity”, which he defines in his paper on “Specification”.

      Of course, MathGrrl, in her insuperable wisdom, came to UD demanding a “rigorous mathematical definition” of CSI using ONLY Dembski’s paper on Specification—which, of course, doesn’t use the term. It was quite obvious she had made no effort to understand Dembski; her only intent was an attempt detract from ID.

      • 358 Alan Fox June 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm

        Section 5.10, p. 289f, “Doing the Calculation” apparently.

        Anyone with a copy of “No Free Lunch” to hand?

      • 359 Onlooker June 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm

        To the extent that I’m a bacterial flagellum and I want to conclude I wasn’t assembled by pure blind chance, that calculation is very useful.

      • 360 Rose June 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm

        “Of course, MathGrrl, in her insuperable wisdom, came to UD demanding a “rigorous mathematical definition” of CSI using ONLY Dembski’s paper on Specification—which, of course, doesn’t use the term. It was quite obvious she had made no effort to understand Dembski; her only intent was an attempt detract from ID.”

        As if any of this had anything to do with actual reality, or the truth.

        You make one idiotic statement after another.

        And there you go again, making things up, playing games, and telling lies. It really bugs you that MathGrrl is intelligent, and won’t let you and the other ID-ists on UD distract her from the questions she originally asked. Your attempts to smear her are laughable. They also show what an insecure baby you are.

        kairosfocus is probably your hero as he is the most flagrant of the MathGrrl attackers on UD. The diversionary games he plays and the accusations he makes are hypocritical and childish beyond description. He is the poster boy for willful dishonesty and drumbeat repetition of rhetorical talking points and strawmen laced with ad hominem blah blah blah blah blah blah ad nauseum.

        As kairosfocus points out, anyone can read through the threads on UD (and here) and see what has been said. It all comes down to malicious attacks on MathGrrl and still no relevant, coherent answers to her questions, and still no usable definition or demonstration of ID’s CSI or specified complexity claims.

        Or would you like to forget these inconvenient facts?

        What’s so hard to see about this?

        You say: “CSI is a convenient metric for deciding if a ‘design inference’ is merited which uses a measurable quantity of improbability.”

        You say that. But what proof do you have?

        If it’s so convenient, then use it on the things I previously listed! Do you and the other ID-ists really believe that you can just say it but don’t have to show it, and that science will just accept it on your say-so?

        Ah,…simple-mindedness! Got to love it.

        Why don’t you wake up and smell the coffee?

        Just tell me when you get tired of being wrong.

  152. 361 Onlooker June 5, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Pav, on what page will I find this definition? Let’s sort this out and kill off Darwinism by Monday lunchtime. Then we can get on with real science instead of this sham that so many biologists have been pretending to do. They must go to work and spend all day playing Angry Birds.

    I can see that CSI is very convenient, PaV. Mathgrrl refuses to acknowledge how convenient it really is.

    Oh, but if CSI is yesterday’s thing then let’s start doing some “specified complexity” calculations instead. How do I work out my own specified complexity, for example? I would love to know how specific and complex I am.

    • 362 PaV June 6, 2011 at 3:02 am

      Onlooker:

      Dawkins says that life looks designed. Do you agree?

      • 363 Onlooker June 6, 2011 at 8:35 am

        I think we should stick with proper scientists like Dembski rather than sham evolutionists like Dawkins. After all, Dembski has a calculation.

        Tell me, has Dembski conclusively demonstrated that the bacterial flagellum is designed?

  153. 364 R Hampton June 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Pav said; “Neutral Drift and NS can be invoked to explain microevolution. And to a limited extent. Anything beyond that is mere conjecture.”

    and; “To try and get at this point, I want, now, to ask a rather straightforward question: Do you believe that all dogs trace themselves back to wolves?”

    From what I’ve heard from the ID community, the evolution of dog from wolf is an example of micro-evolution for the simple fact that the two species can inter-breed.

    So now I have ask a rather straightforward question of Pav: Because Foxes and Wolves can not inter-breed, do you believe that the two genus (Vulpes and Canis) evolved from a common ancestor (i.e. is this an example of micro-evolution)?

    If yes, then what is your evidence?

    If no, then what has been intelligently designed in one or both genus that therefore precludes evolution?

    • 365 PaV June 6, 2011 at 3:21 am

      RH:

      So now I have ask a rather straightforward question of Pav: Because Foxes and Wolves can not inter-breed, do you believe that the two genus (Vulpes and Canis) evolved from a common ancestor (i.e. is this an example of micro-evolution)?

      If yes, then what is your evidence?

      If no, then what has been intelligently designed in one or both genus that therefore precludes evolution?

      It’s not entirely clear what you’re trying to get at.

      First of all, microevolution is very limited. So I don’t think that it can explain large differences between species.

      Let’s remember that Darwin instructed us that we’re always really dealing with ‘species’; the rest is taxonomic determinations.

      So, the answer is: No, I don’t think they had a common ancestor.

      But, logically, this must be the case. Modern physics has had to deal with reality that is non-continuous; i.e., ‘quantum’. I think it is a big mistake—a logical one—to think that species have histories that are continuous. The argument for discontinuities would be the same as for not accepting that microevolution can lead to macroevolution. I’m almost unique at UD in taking this position. Now, whereas I think that there is such a thing as ‘common descent’, I simply don’t accept it as being continuous. I consider it to be discrete.

      Now, when we’re dealing with discrete realities, it is then hard to know exactly how these discrete realities get connected up. So, in the end, just as in all of our physical world, there is this collision of the classical continuous view (“gradualism”/Darwinism/microevolution) with the quantum/discrete (macrovevolution).

  154. 366 Toronto June 6, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Pav,

    “Dawkins says that life looks designed. Do you agree?”

    1) I have a friend who looks like Robin Williams.

    My friend, however, is NOT Robin Williams, but he still looks like him.

    2) Life looks like it is designed.

    Life however, is NOT designed, but it still looks like it is.

    • 367 Pedant June 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      When I was three years old, I could tell the difference between an earthworm and a toy soldier. I knew that toy soldiers came from Woolworth’s and earthworms came from the park. Later, I learned that toy soldiers were designed and manufactured, but that earthworms came from earthworms.

      Earthworms never looked designed to me. No living creature ever has.

      • 368 Toronto June 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm

        Pendant,

        I agree. Life had no “Intelligent Designer”.

        What I was trying to point out to Pav, was that a statement of the form, “..looks like a result of…”, does not mean, “..is a result of…”.

      • 369 PaV June 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm

        Life however, is NOT designed, but it still looks like it is.

        To say, “Life is not designed”, is a dogmatic statement. Do you have proof of that? Scientific proof; not theological arguments.

      • 370 PaV June 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm

        Later, I learned that toy soldiers were designed and manufactured, but that earthworms came from earthworms.

        You make statements like this without really understanding what you’re saying.

        So, tiny soldiers, made out of plastic, you freely admit were “designed and manufactured.” Have you stopped to think about this:

        (1) you had to move your soldier; but the earthworm moves all by itself.

        (2) the soldier is completely inert; but the earthworm is able to search for food sources, eat, digest, etc.

        (3) somebody else has to produce a new soldier; but, as you said yourself, “earthworms come from earthworms”. Not only are they able to move, provide for themselves, they can also reproduce.

        But, of course, the earthworm ISN’T designed. Only the tiny, plastic toy soldier.

  155. 371 Toronto June 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    kairosfocus has just posted a comment about CSI with this in it, quoting Dembski;

    ” . . (1) A designer conceives a purpose. (2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan. (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions. (4) Finally, the designer or some surrogate applies the assembly instructions to the building materials. (No Free Lunch, p. xi.)”

    It looks like Dembski is saying that specification must be done BEFORE the implementation of the design.

    It’s something no IDist, including kairosfocus, has yet admitted though many of us have pressed them.

    If Dembski is right, the specification must exist somewhere.

    • 372 PaV June 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Toronto:

      Yes, the “plan” is the specification. Isn’t that somewhat evident? This isn’t really surprising.

      • 373 Toronto June 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm

        Pav,

        That means that you cannot deduce the speification at “2)” simply from the existence of “4)”.

        It also implies that “2)” exists.

        Where is “2)” so that we can check it against “4)” to see if the specification is met?

        Human designers do this all the time.

      • 374 Rose June 6, 2011 at 9:42 pm

        Do you have a copy of the plan that you can post here, or should I just look for it in the bible?

        And regarding these statements of yours:

        “The design inference. This is basically what ID is about. Under certain circumstances, there’s a “reason” why something happened; not a “law” that brought something about”

        What is or was the “reason” something happened, define “something”, and exactly what are or were the “certain circumstances”?

  156. 375 David June 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    PaV:

    But, of course, the earthworm ISN’T designed. Only the tiny, plastic toy soldier.

    That’s my point. Even a child can tell the difference between something manufactured and something that’s alive.

  157. 377 Toronto June 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Pav:

    Let’s take this one step at a time.

    “1) I have a friend who looks like Robin Williams.

    My friend, however, is NOT Robin Williams, but he still looks like him.

    Please think about this statement.

    If you can’t understand why this statement relates to your Dawkins reference then I don’t think we can debate anything at all.

    You are taking ALL statements literally instead of grasping the context in which they were made.

    I believe that is the biggest stumbling block I’ve seen in any interaction between our sides.

    Here’s another attempt.

    “That cloud looks like a dog.”

    Did I mean, “The cloud is a dog”?

    Should anyone now have to prove to you that dogs cannot fly, simply because Dawkins or I said those words?

    Life’s “designer”, is the environment.

    There was no intention, that I can see, on the part of the environment, or biological structures, on what forms came out of this “design” process.

    • 378 PaV June 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

      The ID argument is not: “Life looks designed.”

      I have consistently said here: If life looks designed, as Richard Dawkins clearly states, then to posit that it, in fact, is NOT designed, should require some kind of proof. So, what is that proof?

      I used an analogy: It looks like the sun revolves around the earth. But it doesn’t. And, there is proof for the fact that it doesn’t.

      Should anyone now have to prove to you that dogs cannot fly, simply because Dawkins or I said those words?

      When you say that “that cloud looks like a dog,” you’re saying that it’s shaped like a dog. That is, the ‘form’ of the cloud, and the ‘form’ of a dog are similar.

      When you say that something ‘looks designed’ this is a statement about its ‘substance’, not its ‘form’. Different categories of perception.

      • 379 Onlooker June 6, 2011 at 6:51 pm

        There isn’t proof that the Earth revolves around the sun. There is *evidence*. However, a geocentric model is possible. It just requires extraneous ad hoc details.

        ID is clearly nothing like that.

      • 380 Toronto June 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm

        Pav,

        Richard Dawkins says there is no god.

        Because of that statement, are you now obligated to provide proof that there is one?

        Is the onus on you to provide proof to counter someone’s assertion?

        I’m asserting that you have $9.25 in your pocket.

        I now expect you to bear the burden of proving that you don’t!

        🙂

      • 381 Rose June 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm

        PaV, your infatuation with Dawkins is noted. Your word and mind games are also noted.

        You said the following statements:

        “The best presentation of CSI is, of course, Dembski’s “No Free Lunch” book. As I’ve mentioned to MathGrrl, this requires some real effort to fully understand. Without applying the needed effort, you’re left with some kind of simplified notion of what CSI is.”

        “Let me add that Dembski has moved beyond CSI to “specified complexity”, something that doesn’t involve ‘bits’, and that adds other facets to specified complexity in response to criticisms made contra CSI. This is all found in Dembski’s “Specification . . .” paper.”

        “If you really want an understanding of CSI, these are the two principal sources.”

        “Alan: Read Dembski’s NFL. CSI should be clear to you after doing so.”

        “Why are you trying to find ways of “not” understanding CSI, instead of trying to understand it?”

        “The way CSI works is that a ‘pattern’ is discovered, and this pattern must have tractability, which means that the pattern can be perceived independently of the event. Then, based on the chance hypothesis, a rejection region is determined.”

        “Alan, why the impertinence? You know where to find the basis for CSI determinations. It’s in NFL. So why do you pretend that no such thing exists? As I said to Flint, why are looking for all the ways “not” to understand CSI? If you read Dembski’s NFL hoping you won’t end up understanding it, I assure you, that’s what will happen. Why not try reading it and understanding it?”

        “Furthermore, Dembski no longer uses CSI. He uses the concept of “specified complexity”, which he defines in his paper on “Specification”.”

        “As to ID, ID doesn’t need a ‘target’; it needs a pattern, and a ‘chance hypothesis’ that is associated with that pattern.”

        “Alan: Read Dembski’s NFL. CSI should be clear to you after doing so.”

        “CSI, as defined in NFL, is in bits, and hence indicates some kind of quantity. Likewise, in “Specification”, it is a number—hence like ‘mass’ or ‘temperature’.”

        “In this sense, then, I guess I would say that it is a measure of some quantity, and here, that quantity would be ‘intelligent/design’.”

        “All of this happens, though, only if a ‘pattern’ is detected.”

        “I don’t think much emphasis is placed on the “Explanatory Filter” these days. I think Dembski has moved away from it. I, personally, don’t think too much about it.”

        “Matters of ID have been presented by Dembski, are still around, and have a certain applicability. It’s a way of understanding certain entities, and especially biological ones.”

        Okay then, since you’ve put in the real, needed effort and you fully understand CSI, specified complexity, and ID, can you tell me how much CSI and/or specified complexity there is in Flint’s example of a rock that is just lying on the ground versus the same rock when used as a doorstop?

        How much CSI or specified complexity is there in a banana, a hydrogen atom, a grain of sand, the water in a river, and an elephant?

        How exactly is a “pattern’ determined, and will you show how it’s determined regarding the things I listed (banana, hydrogen atom, etc.)?

        Will you define/describe the “chance hypothesis” and a “rejection region” and how they apply to the things I listed?

        What “other facets to specified complexity” has Dembski added and how will you use them to accurately measure the CSI or specified complexity in the things I listed?

        What certain applicability does the EF still have and how is it used as a way of understanding certain entities, and especially biological ones?

        I await.

        We await.

  158. 382 Petrushka June 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Here’s what Dembski himself says about doing a calculation:

    Because specified complexity is a probabilistic notion, determining whether a physical system exhibits specified complexity requires being able to calculate probabilities. One of the objections against intelligent design becoming a viable scientific research program is that one cannot calculate the probabilities needed to confirm specified complexity for actual systems in nature. This chapter shows that even though precise calculations may not always be possible, setting bounds for the relevant probabilities is possible, and that this is adequate for establishing specified complexity in practice.

  159. 383 Onlooker June 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    It looks like the Earth is the centre of the universe. To say that the Earth is not the centre of the universe should require some kind of proof. Where is that proof? Clearly, life was designed and the Earth is at the centre of the universe.

    • 384 Rose June 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      I saw a guy on a street corner who looks like Jesus. To say he isn’t Jesus would require proof. Where is that proof? Clearly he is Jesus.

      And yesterday when I was in the woods I saw something that looks like a Sasquatch. To say that it isn’t a Sasquatch would require proof. Where is that proof? Clearly it was a Sasquatch.

      I also have a friend who looks like a Sasquatch Jesus. Need I say more?

      • 385 Onlooker June 6, 2011 at 7:42 pm

        The interesting thing about the example of the Earth being the centre of the universe is that the evidence for it is not insufficient.

    • 386 PaV June 7, 2011 at 4:48 am

      I saw a guy on a street corner who looks like Jesus. To say he isn’t Jesus would require proof. Where is that proof? Clearly he is Jesus.

      Thees kinds of statements only betray a kind of ignorance. “Accidents” are not “substance”. Read up on your philosophy.

    • 387 PaV June 7, 2011 at 4:49 am

      Onlooker:

      It looks like the Earth is the centre of the universe. To say that the Earth is not the centre of the universe should require some kind of proof. Where is that proof?

      Why don’t you read Galileo’s tract? I’m sure you’d find it interesting!

  160. 388 Rose June 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    PaV, to say life is designed is a dogmatic statement. Do you or anyone else have proof of that? Scientific proof, not theological arguments.

    If you don’t have the proof, maybe some of the other ID proponents can show the scientific proof here? Why not ask dembski, bornagain77, kairosfocus, stephenb, gil dodgen, o’leary, joseph, behe, wells, mung, uprightbiped, and all the others to present and debate the proof here?

    It shouldn’t be a problem for people who are confident in their position and are unafraid of showing their proof where all others can speak freely and won’t be banned just for disagreeing with them.

    I await.

    We await.

    • 389 PaV June 7, 2011 at 4:45 am

      We’ve descended to the silly.

      Life appears to all—even Richard Dawkins—to be designed. Shouldn’t that be our starting position, and then those who think it is NOT designed should present their proof/evidence that it is not?

      • 390 Pedant June 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

        PaV:

        Life appears to all—even Richard Dawkins—to be designed.

        As I’ve been saying, living things have never looked designed or made by human agency to me, and I doubt that I’m unique in that respect. It’s interesting how some people think that everybody must see the world exactly the way they do.

      • 391 Rose June 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm

        To all? You speak for all?

        When are you going to quit repeating what Dawkins said? And if you’re going to persist in bringing him up, at least quote the entirety of what he said.

        One of the many things you don’t understand about science, or at least biological/evolutionary science, is that it’s not trying to prove that nature isn’t designed or that there is no god. Biological/evolutionary science is only interested in what it can actually find and test, based on evidence. It is indifferent to religious beliefs.

        There is no scientific evidence of a creator/designer/god, therefor there is nothing for biological/evolutionary science to test. Your religious beliefs are not scientific and are separate from biological/evolutionary science.

        If you really think there’s scientific evidence of a creator/designer/god, you are going to have to figure out a legitimate, scientific way of showing it. You simply cannot expect science to accept your unsubstantiated personal beliefs and agenda and take on the task of trying to prove or support them.. None of you ID-ists have proposed a legitimate, scientific way of finding and testing evidence of a creator/designer/god.

        Another thing you don’t understand is that personal opinions or viewpoints don’t matter, no matter who is expressing them. Your reliance on what certain people say is a totally useless argument. The evidence is all that matters.

  161. 392 Rose June 7, 2011 at 12:12 am

    PaV said:

    “While ID is not philosophical, per se, nevertheless, philosophical issues impinge upon it.”

    If it isn’t philosophical, then is it theological, or is it scientific?

    • 393 PaV June 7, 2011 at 4:43 am

      You seem afraid of God, and in love with Darwinism. Is your love for Darwinism “scientific”, or “theological”?

      ID is all about probabilistic reasoning. It has philosophical and theological implications, but is grounded in observables.

      What about the “anthropic principle” in physics? Are those who say that the fine-tuned relationship between the constants of physics is so utterly improbable that it argues for a supernatural Creator no longer scientists? And what about those scientists who come up with extreme hypothetical explanations only to overcome the argument that the anthropic principle presents? Are they no longer doing science?

      If you conclude that life was designed, then I don’t think biology is much affected at all. We have examples of microevolution—as limited as it really is. So, maybe we’ll look at whole genomes differently than before, and analyze them differently; but this is a very modest price to pay (if there is any price at all to pay) and the upside is that people won’t waste time going down dead-end streets. So, likely it will be a net positive. And science will continue to march on—-JUST as it did before Darwinian theory came along, when everyone presumed that life was designed/created.

      • 394 Rose June 8, 2011 at 2:37 am

        “ID is all about probabilistic reasoning.”

        In other words, it’s like poker or betting on horses, with even less reliability.

        “It has philosophical and theological implications, but is grounded in observables.”

        In other words, it’s not scientific.

        “What about the “anthropic principle” in physics?”

        Who cares? We’re not talking about the anthropic principle.

        “Are those who say that the fine-tuned relationship between the constants of physics is so utterly improbable that it argues for a supernatural Creator no longer scientists? And what about those scientists who come up with extreme hypothetical explanations only to overcome the argument that the anthropic principle presents? Are they no longer doing science?”

        Also irrelevant, but I will say that anything based on mere speculation is not science to me.

        “If you conclude that life was designed, then I don’t think biology is much affected at all.”

        Then why bother with that conclusion?

        “So, maybe we’ll look at whole genomes differently than before, and analyze them differently; but this is a very modest price to pay (if there is any price at all to pay) and the upside is that people won’t waste time going down dead-end streets.”

        I thought you said it wouldn’t affect biology much at all, so what would be different in any analysis and exactly what “dead-end streets” would it prevent scientists from going down and wasting their time on?

        “And science will continue to march on—-JUST as it did before Darwinian theory came along, when everyone presumed that life was designed/created.

        Everyone?

        Why does Darwin bother you so much?

  162. 395 R Hampton June 7, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Pav: “It’s not entirely clear what you’re trying to get at.

    First of all, microevolution is very limited. So I don’t think that it can explain large differences between species.”

    Let me put in another way, how would an ID theorist scientifically determine if the Fox and Wolf descended from a common ancestor (and thus an example of “micro-evolution”)?

    It is my understanding “micro-evolution” can only be eliminated from consideration IF an intelligently designed feature can be detected (one that could not have arisen through evolutionary processes).

    Given that you believe Foxes and Wolves did not evolve from a common ancestor, one or the other must have been intelligently designed. What then is the statistically improbable feature found in either Wolves or Foxes?

    • 396 PaV June 7, 2011 at 4:09 am

      Rose:

      Okay then, since you’ve put in the real, needed effort and you fully understand CSI, specified complexity, and ID, can you tell me how much CSI and/or specified complexity there is in Flint’s example of a rock that is just lying on the ground versus the same rock when used as a doorstop?

      I commend you for the time and effort you made collecting all those quotes; but, unfortunately, the question you ask is, sorry to say, rather bone-headed.

      Intelligent agents automatically produce CSI. That’s why CSI is the hallmark of intelligent agents. But that’s when they’re communicating information.

      Here, however, the complexity of the rock (though it lacks any specificity) is law-derived (the laws of physics). It does not equate to any CSI. Putting the rock underneath a door to hold it open, is something an intelligent agent could choose to do. But what information value does something like that have? I can’t think of any.

      If ID maintains that only intelligent agents can produce CSI, then why do you look for it in rocks? Do you have rocks for brains? 🙂

      How exactly is a “pattern’ determined, and will you show how it’s determined regarding the things I listed (banana, hydrogen atom, etc.)?

      Will you define/describe the “chance hypothesis” and a “rejection region” and how they apply to the things I listed?

      Why should I explain all this for you when all you have to do is get Dembski’s book and read it for yourself?

      Some library must have it. It’s not like you HAVE to buy it. (I know you would consider it immoral to spend your money and thus cause Dembski to gain from it! 🙂 )

      • 397 Rose June 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

        In other words, PaV, you aren’t able or willing to define CSI or specified complexity or demonstrate how to use it on things in nature.

      • 398 Rose June 9, 2011 at 9:17 am

        PaV asked:

        “If ID maintains that only intelligent agents can produce CSI, then why do you look for it in rocks? Do you have rocks for brains?”

        So then, the atoms in rocks have no CSI? The rock in rocky planets, moons, asteroids, and meteoroids has no CSI? If so, does that mean that planets, moons, etc., were not intelligently designed?

    • 399 PaV June 7, 2011 at 4:22 am

      RH:

      Let’s be clear: microevolution is like the peppered moth going from dark to light coloration. (and back again)

      This isn’t really going to get you species difference. (I’m assuming here that species CAN’T produce fertile offspring; not just simply DON’T produce fertile offspring—IOW, sterility)

      If foxes and wolves mate and produce fertile offspring, then I would say that it is plausible that microevolution brought their separation about; but not probable.

      Given that you believe Foxes and Wolves did not evolve from a common ancestor, one or the other must have been intelligently designed. What then is the statistically improbable feature found in either Wolves or Foxes?

      What do their genomes look like? Are they exactly the same? Do they have exactly the same protein sequences? Does one have genes that the other doesn’t? Or vice-versa?

      If one gene sequence separates them, and that sequence is over a 100 a.a.s long, the improbability of it arising from chance mutations is astoundingly small—the “statistically improbable feature” you’re looking for.

    • 400 PaV June 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      My reply is further down.

  163. 401 PaV June 7, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Toronto:

    Richard Dawkins says there is no god.

    Because of that statement, are you now obligated to provide proof that there is one?

    If I were arguing that God did exist, yes, then I would have to provide proof. But we’re not talking about that, are we? We’re talking about whether or not life appears to be designed. I say, “Yes”. And so does Dawkins.

    You’re saying life isn’t designed; so you ought to produce the evidence that it isn’t. Simple, right? 🙂

    • 402 Toronto June 7, 2011 at 11:33 am

      Pav,

      “If I were arguing that God did exist, yes, then I would have to provide proof. But we’re not talking about that, are we? We’re talking about whether or not life appears to be designed. I say, “Yes”. And so does Dawkins.”

      1) You’re saying that if you assert the existence of god, it’s you who would have to provide proof of that assertion.

      2)You’re also saying that if you instead assert the that life was intelligently designed, you DON’T have to provide proof at all, instead we have to prove you’re assertion is wrong!

      You’re right. It is simple 🙂

      • 403 PaV June 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm

        Isn’t it possible to decide that something is designed without being able to know who designed it?

        For example, on TV there are ads for various kinds of contraptions. Now, obviously they are ‘designed’; but by who? An engineer? An architect? A computer engineer? A farmer?

        IOW, being ‘designed’ is a quality in and of itself. That can be decided upon without knowing exactly who engineered it.

        You’re trying to conflate the two. But they need to be separate questions.

  164. 404 PaV June 7, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Let’s stay current:

    This is from today’s Science magazine:

    Epistatic interactions between mutations play a prominent role in evolutionary theories. Many studies have found that epistasis is widespread, but they have rarely considered beneficial mutations. We analyzed the effects of epistasis on fitness for the first five mutations to fix in an experimental population of Escherichia coli. Epistasis depended on the effects of the combined mutations—the larger the expected benefit, the more negative the epistatic effect. Epistasis thus tended to produce diminishing returns with genotype fitness, although interactions involving one particular mutation had the opposite effect. These data support models in which negative epistasis contributes to declining rates of adaptation over time. Sign epistasis was rare in this genome-wide study, in contrast to its prevalence in an earlier study of mutations in a single gene.

    This is an abstract of an article.

    The more beneficial a mutation, the more negative the epistasis. The more the negative epistasis, the more rates of adaptation declined.

    Ah, yes, the power of Darwinism.

    • 405 Alan Fox June 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      PaV

      We still are no nearer finding out what you or Demsbki or anyone else means by CSI. You got as far as giving me a sort of page reference. I take you have the book to hand. Just tell me what Dembski uses as his biological example when he gives the method for calculating CSI.

      Ah, yes, the power of Darwinism.

      We’ve been over this. Your personal incredulity about evolutionary processes is not of interest. I am perfectly happy to concede for the sake of argument that evolution is a very bad theory.

      Now, you tell me the CSI calculation for a biological example exists. If so, you can tell me what Dembski uses in his example, can’t you?

  165. 408 Zachriel June 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    PaV: The more beneficial a mutation, the more negative the epistasis.

    The study concerned multiple mutations, not single mutations. (However, we haven’t read the study yet.)

    PaV: The way CSI works is that a ‘pattern’ is discovered, and this pattern must have tractability, which means that the pattern can be perceived independently of the event. Then, based on the chance hypothesis, a rejection region is determined.

    What’s the chance hypothesis? Is this something other than just knowing the answer? Say we have a complex, non-repeating pattern. How would you determine the appropriate chance hypothesis?

    • 409 PaV June 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      Zachriel:

      The study suggests that as mutations multiply, instead of getting more beneficial, they become more harmful. But, of course, this could have been guessed at a century ago. (And probably was)

      The ‘chance hypothesis’ has to do with the mechanism by which the pattern develops.

      So, if you have 0s and 1s representing “heads” and “tails” as they turn up using a standard coin, then, obviously, every 0 and 1 has a 50% chance of showing up, and a string of 0s and 1s 25 binary digits long would have a ‘chance’ of happening equal to 1 in 2^25.

  166. 410 Toronto June 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Pav,

    When X asserts something to Y, who bears the burden of proof?

    • 411 PaV June 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      I suppose X. And you’re asserting that life, though giving every indication of being designed, is not. So we await the proof.

      • 412 Toronto June 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm

        Pav,

        Who is it that is asserting, life gives every indication of being designed, “Darwinists” or “Dembskiists”?

  167. 413 Petrushka June 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    The ‘chance hypothesis’ has to do with the mechanism by which the pattern develops.

    So, if you have 0s and 1s representing “heads” and “tails” as they turn up using a standard coin, then, obviously, every 0 and 1 has a 50% chance of showing up, and a string of 0s and 1s 25 binary digits long would have a ‘chance’ of happening equal to 1 in 2^25.

    But that is precisely the scenario addressed by the Weasel algorithm. What you are ignoring is fecundity and the differential preservation of children.

  168. 414 Zachriel June 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    PaV: The study suggests that as mutations multiply, instead of getting more beneficial, they become more harmful.

    Not harmful, just less helpful than expected.

    PaV: The ‘chance hypothesis’ has to do with the mechanism by which the pattern develops.

    That’s funny. If we know the mechanism, then we already know if it was designed or not.

    So suppose we have a complex, non-repeating pattern. We don’t know the cause. What chance hypothesis should we use?


    Dembski: “Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?”

    • 415 PaV June 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      Zachriel:

      PaV: The study suggests that as mutations multiply, instead of getting more beneficial, they become more harmful.

      Zachriel:Not harmful, just less helpful than expected.

      Wouldn’t you then call it “diminished” epistasis, and not “negative” epistasis?

      So suppose we have a complex, non-repeating pattern. We don’t know the cause. What chance hypothesis should we use?

      It all depends on what you mean by a “complex, non-repeating” pattern. Are you talking about electromagnetic “noise”, e.g., or a random number generator?

      • 416 PaV June 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

        Zachriel:

        Remember, patterns have to be “specified”. Being a “pattern” isn’t sufficient.

  169. 417 Onlooker June 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Why don’t you read Galileo’s tract? I’m sure you’d find it interesting!

    Galileo and I have the same evidence, we just interpret it differently.

    Just because I support the theory with ad hoc extraneous details, I don’t see why people should call me a crackpot. Don’t you agree?

    On another point, golf balls are designed so I think it’s reasonable to infer that planets are designed.

  170. 418 Onlooker June 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Dembski calculates the probability that each of the proteins of the flagellum were assembled at random. If we assume the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex (and that evolution is a random process) Darwinism is sunk.

  171. 421 Zachriel June 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    PaV: Wouldn’t you then call it “diminished” epistasis, and not “negative” epistasis?

    Another paper in this month’s Science has an article on “Diminishing returns epistasis”.

    Chou HH, Chiu HC, Delaney NF, Segrè D, Marx CJ. Diminishing returns epistasis among beneficial mutations decelerates adaptation. Science. 2011

    In any case, epistasis refers to the interaction between traits on different loci, more specifically, ε = W(XY) − W(X)W(Y), the difference is fitness between the double mutant and the two single mutants. If ε < 0 then, it has negative epistasis. That's true even if they all have positive fitness compared to non-mutants.

  172. 422 Zachriel June 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    PaV: Remember, patterns have to be “specified”. Being a “pattern” isn’t sufficient.

    Yes, let’s assume for the purposes of discussion that we can determine a specification. Presumably the chance hypothesis is independent of the specification, so how do we, in general, choose a chance hypothesis?

    • 423 PaV June 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm

      Well, it all depends on what the specified pattern looks like: it it is a bit string, the chance hypothesis is one thing; if it’s DNA, then it’s another, if it’s a string of multiple choice answers, that’s another type of chance hypothesis.

      • 424 Rose June 8, 2011 at 1:42 am

        Look, why don’t you and the other ID-ists quit playing games and just apply all the rhetorical ID talking points (CSI, EF, FSCI, chance hypothesis, pattern, irreducible complexity, specified pattern, specified complexity, functionally specific complex gobbledegook, specific specified specificity, functionally functional functions, or whatever other BS) to some actual things in nature?

        Let’s see the complete process of how any ID claims/tests are actually used on some real things in nature, and the results. No more baloney. No more stalling. No more tricks.

        I await.

        We await.

  173. 425 Petrushka June 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    so how do we, in general, choose a chance hypothesis?

    I was wondering along those lines when the topic of strings of heads was brought up.

    It seems that most ID calculations of probability do not take population size into account. If you toss half a dozen coins at a time and get to keep the best outcome, a string of any length is rather certain.

    So the question is, does the chance hypothesis being considered accurately model evolution?

    • 426 PaV June 8, 2011 at 12:00 am

      f you toss half a dozen coins at a time and get to keep the best outcome, a string of any length is rather certain.

      What would a “best outcome” look like when you’re tossing six coins at a time?

  174. 427 Flint June 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Another thing you don’t understand is that personal opinions or viewpoints don’t matter, no matter who is expressing them. Your reliance on what certain people say is a totally useless argument. The evidence is all that matters.

    And another thing he doesn’t understand about science is that in science, conclusions are tentative, not Absolute Truth. And another thing he doesn’t understand is that these tentative conclusions are derived form the evidence, and not the other way around. And another thing he doesn’t understand about science is that it that theories rests on tests, not consensus. Nearly every new thing science discovers, means that EVERYONE was wrong previous to the new discovery.

    His view of science, implicit in the hundreds of posts he’s made here, is that it’s entirely a matter of who is the True Prohpet. Is it Dembski, or is it Darwin or Dawkins? And if either prophet is wrong, the other must be right.

    We have here a case where education has failed beyond all recognition.

    • 428 Rose June 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

      Well said Flint.

    • 429 PaV June 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      Flint:

      And another thing he doesn’t understand about science is that in science, conclusions are tentative, not Absolute Truth.

      But you act as if Darwinism IS Absolute Truth. When I question it, a frenzy breaks out here.

      And another thing he doesn’t understand is that these tentative conclusions are derived form the evidence, and not the other way around.

      Then happily present all this evidence. ID more or less concedes microevolution. Behe does. So, where’s the proof about macroevolution. Or, are we simply dealing with belief in Darwinism?

      And another thing he doesn’t understand about science is that it that theories rests on tests, not consensus.

      Right now, if you don’t join the Darwinian “consensus”, you’re being ramrodded out of academe.

      Nearly every new thing science discovers, means that EVERYONE was wrong previous to the new discovery.

      Unless it has to do with Darwinism.

      His view of science, implicit in the hundreds of posts he’s made here, is that it’s entirely a matter of who is the True Prophet.

      It’s not about a “True Prophet”; it’s about the truth.

      • 430 Toronto June 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm

        Pav,

        “But you act as if Darwinism IS Absolute Truth. When I question it, a frenzy breaks out here.

        But what we’re discussing is the theory of evolution, 2011, not the findings of a scientist in 1859.

        You wouldn’t call a modern aircraft designer a “Wrightist” and bring up references to 1903 design methods and then claim there is no way an aircraft made of wood and fabric, driven by a piston engine could break the speed of sound.

        What I’m saying is that you are not questioning evolution when your mindset is still in 1859.

        Question today’s version of evolution and maybe you can actually come up with something new.

        Dembski and Behe also do not address evolution, they question whether or not a single biological offspring could suddenly generate a complete new working bilogical structure built on absolutely nothing that previously existed.

        Since that’s not evolution, their attempts at refuting evolution can’t get anywhere.

        They’re improbablity arguments are not aimed at what is taught in schools as evolution.

  175. 431 Rose June 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    To expand on Flint’s excellent choice and use of the word ‘prophet’:

    PaV, I’m not a “Darwinist” or any other ist with someone’s name in front of it. I don’t follow or worship any ‘prophets’ or gods. I respect some people but I don’t become an ist of theirs. Darwin deserves credit for the things he accomplished and started, but that doesn’t make him my prophet or god.

    One of the biggest differences between me and religious people like you is that when something new is discovered and confirmed, I don’t have a problem with accepting the new discovery. My thoughts are not based on rigid religious dogma. My mind is open to new discoveries and reasonable explanations, as long as they’re based on valid evidence. People who rely on rigid religious dogma are constantly in danger of having to throw out their entire belief system when things are discovered that challenge or disprove that dogma. Since I have no such rigid beliefs, I’m not a bit afraid of new discoveries. In fact, I look forward to them and for them. I can easily accept new discoveries, no matter how big or small they are, as long as they’re based on valid evidence. I may be surprised by some new discoveries but I’m not threatened by them.

    If you or someone else could show valid evidence of intelligent design or a god I would easily accept that too, Just saying it though, won’t work.

    Let’s say I’m out in nature and I see an animal behaving in way I’ve never seen before and have never heard of, even though I may have seen and studied many individuals of that species for a long time. Should I ignore it or think that I must be imagining things or should I accept that it’s just something I haven’t seen before and that I have just expanded my knowledge? If I decide to report it, should I expect everyone else to automatically believe me or should I first get evidence to back up my claim? If someone else reports a newly discovered behavior, should I automatically believe them or should I ask for evidence? If they do have valid evidence, should I ignore it? Should it make any difference because of who is reporting it?

    I really don’t care who puts forth a claim. I care about whether they have evidence to support it.

    • 432 PaV June 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Rose:

      My mind is open to new discoveries and reasonable explanations, as long as they’re based on valid evidence.

      But is your mind open to a different view of who religious people are, and what motivates them, and how and why they act?

      It seems not.

      • 433 Rose June 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm

        It’s obvious what motivates religious people like you. You make it clear in how you act and what you say . So no, I’m not open to a different view of you. Any rendition of you, by you, would just be another self-serving pack of lies and games, and I’m not interested in your lies and games, except to condemn them.

  176. 434 Flint June 8, 2011 at 1:27 am

    For those with the right sort of sense of humor, here is a good read:’

    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/demise.html

    The imminent demise of evolution, it turns out, has been just around the corner for 185 years. Yet another hilarious illustration of the “religious method” — to make something come true, you SAY it’s true and SINCERELY BELIEVE what you say. And if you say it twice, it’s twice as true. Pay no attention to the thriving health of something so long on the deathbed.

  177. 437 Rose June 8, 2011 at 8:01 am

    PaV, you asked and said:

    “So why simply assume that any objections I make to Darwinian theory are religiously based? That’s simply an easy way out.”

    Is being deliberately deceitful and dishonest an encouraged part of your religious beliefs? You’re a member of a religion (catholocism/christianity) that has done every corrupt thing it can to deceive people and cover up or justify large scale rape of children, killings, destruction of numerous cultures, and many other atrocities by priests, bishops, cardinals, popes, and their agents, throughout the history of the religion. You’ve maliciously accused MathGrrl of having motives that are not “pure”, and other derogatory things, even though you’re a flagrant liar whose motives are rotten to the core.

    You pretend to be interested in science and to have an honest, scientifically focused motive in your challenges to Darwinian theory. When faced with your obvious religious prejudices and dishonest religious and political ID/creationist agenda, you dishonestly respond as though you’re mystified as to why anyone would think your motives and agenda are fundamentally religious and political in nature.

    Well, let’s consider some of your own words. Many of your posts here and on UD are laced with religious and political references, and defense of religion and religious people,. Here are just a few:

    “You’ve substituted one god for the One, True God.”

    “To use the language of Thomas Aquinas: Thus, there is an “unknown potential function”, and we call it God.”

    “This is where the Unknown Potential Function comes into play!”

    “Why did Jesus die on the Cross?”

    “Only a liberal could make this kind of a comment.”

    “This is all of the left’s attempt to “demonize” thought. We call it political correctness; and we find it even in science journals. But, of course, the hippies of the sixties are now the ‘peer-reviewers’ of today. So none of this is any big surprise.”

    “Why is it OK to be prejudiced against religious people?”

    “You realize, of course, that the university system began as a system of seminaries, don’t you? The University of Paris was one of the oldest seminaries. Princeton, Harvard: these were seminaries. You wear cap and gown because the monks wore
    their festive gowns when the Bacclauereate Mass was said upon graduation. Science started within Church circles.”

    “You seem afraid of God, and in love with Darwinism.”

    “Well, I would think the scientific description of the Universe would involve quite a lot of describing; but the Chrisian and Jew could say that the ‘Universe is composed of all that God made and brought into being, both visible and invisible’. It seems to me that this would be a vastly ‘shorter’ description than anything a scientist might come up with.”

    “Fred Hoyle said that it was pondering these exceptional values that made him change from being an atheist to believing that the world was the result of a super intellect.”

    “Earlier I mentioned that the God hypothesis could actually be simpler than a purely naturalistic theory, if one could use the idea of God to derive the observed laws of nature (or at least some other features of the universe).”

    “Genesis: “God said, let there be light; and there was light.””

    “But why does God choose this particular value?”

    “So how can God explain that which is infinitely beyond what our feeble minds can ascertain?”

    “First of all, I’m a Catholic, and each and every Sunday the Son of God comes to us under the appearance/form of bread and wine. Under those appearances, he’s manipulated by priest and parishioner alike. God is very humble. This isn’t a problem.”

    “Second, if God were no more than a set of rules, then He would be, for all intents and purposes, a part of the natural order, and not supernatural whatsoever. If that were the case, then I might as well be a pantheist.”

    Okay PaV, do you still want to pretend that you’re not a dishonest, hypocritical, deceitful, creationist catholic/christian god zombie?

    Liars and deceivers always trip themselves up. They think that no one is paying attention, but that’s often a big mistake. Don’t worry though PaV, just go to confession, and say a few hail marys, and your imaginary god will forgive you. I won’t.

    • 438 PaV June 8, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      Rose:

      You’ve maliciously accused MathGrrl of having motives that are not “pure”, and other derogatory things, even though you’re a flagrant liar whose motives are rotten to the core.

      You’re accusing me of far worse than anything I accused MathGrrl of. What were her motives? What does Grr mean? Why don’t you ask her and find out before you accuse me of this, that or the other.

      You are incredibly anti-religious. You’re almost filled with hate for religious people. Why?

      You pretend to be interested in science and to have an honest, scientifically focused motive in your challenges to Darwinian theory.

      Kepler was a priest. Mendel was a priest. Le Maitre, the originator of what came to be known as the Big Bang, was a priest.

      So, why exactly, do you think there’s some kind of incompatible difference between science and religion? Are you prejudiced? It sure looks like it.

      But then you write something like this:

      When faced with your obvious religious prejudices and dishonest religious and political ID/creationist agenda, you dishonestly respond as though you’re mystified as to why anyone would think your motives and agenda are fundamentally religious and political in nature.

      What do you do, Rose, when you’re faced with your obvious anti-religious prejudices? Do you attack? Do you demonize?

      Okay PaV, do you still want to pretend that you’re not a dishonest, hypocritical, deceitful, creationist catholic/christian god zombie?

      There’s no need to pretend. I can easily separate the two when needed.

      I didn’t disagree with Darwinism until I was 45. If I had been prejudiced, then how do you explain my entertaining Darwinism as valid for all those years? But, of course, none of this means anything to you. You have your prejudice.

      When are you going to start burning churches down? I’m curious.

      • 439 Rose June 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm

        “You’re accusing me of far worse than anything I accused MathGrrl of.”

        Because you’re guilty of far worse than anything you’ve accused MathGrrl of. Your accusations are completely false. Mine are completely true, as is evidenced in your own words.

        “What were her motives? ”

        Her motives, as expressed in her words, are to get a coherent definition of CSI.

        “What does Grr mean? Why don’t you ask her and find out before you accuse me of this, that or the other.”

        That you make such a big deal out of the spelling of her user name shows what a whiny little baby you are. WHO CARES, besides you, how her user name is spelled or why she chose that spelling?! You’ll try any trick to divert attention away from the real points and demonize those whom you think of as your opponents, even when all they do is ask reasonable questions or make reasonable comments.

        Why should I ask MathGrrl why she spells her user name that way?? I’m not the one who is accusing her of anything or seeing something sinister in the spelling of her user name. and my accusations toward you are based on what you say, not on the spelling of her user name.

        “You are incredibly anti-religious. You’re almost filled with hate for religious people. Why?”

        I hate liars and frauds, whether they’re religious or not. However, what I hate most is when religious zombies like you use religion as a facade of righteousness to mask your true self, which is a lying, game playing con man.

        “Kepler was a priest. Mendel was a priest. Le Maitre, the originator of what came to be known as the Big Bang, was a priest.

        So, why exactly, do you think there’s some kind of incompatible difference between science and religion? Are you prejudiced? It sure looks like it”

        You’re not Kepler or Le Maitre. Some people may be able to effectively separate their religious beliefs from science but it’s way more than obvious that you and your fellow ID/creationists will do no such thing.

        “What do you do, Rose, when you’re faced with your obvious anti-religious prejudices? Do you attack? Do you demonize?”

        I attack or demonize those who attack and demonize others for no good reason.

        You’re the one with the dogmatic prejudice. You’re the one who is trying to cram your religious beliefs into science. I’m not trying to cram “anti-religious” beliefs or “prejudices” into religion. I don’t go to churches or religious websites and tell them that they should consider or accept my beliefs, or lack thereof. I don’t even mention religious beliefs or “anti-religious” beliefs unless someone else brings them up first. You and your fellow ID/creationists constantly bring them up in relation to ID, and science. You ID/creationists even bring them up, on UD for instance, when there is no relevant relation to ID or science at all, and even though UD claims that ID has nothing to do with religious beliefs. You just won’t keep your mouths shut about your religious beliefs and you want those beliefs to be a major part of absolutely everything that everyone ever thinks or does. You even want science to use your beliefs as the foundation for investigations and explanations. You won’t be satisfied until you can dominate every human activity with your ridiculous, brain-deadening fairy tales.

        “There’s no need to pretend. I can easily separate the two when needed.”

        Liar.

        And it’s always “needed” since science has NOTHING to do with religious beliefs, ever. THAT’S what you don’t understand.

  178. 440 Onlooker June 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    So, where’s the proof about macroevolution

    Obviously, there is none that will satisfy a clear headed thinker like yourself, but the Darwinists say these are pertinent:

    Evidence for rapid speciation
    Speciation by natural and sexual slelection
    From micro to macro evolution in field crickets
    Speciation of e coli in the lab (Lenski)
    Some more observed speciation events

    • 441 PaV June 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm

      Rose:

      You’re not Kepler or Le Maitre. Some people may be able to effectively separate their religious beliefs from science but it’s way more than obvious that you and your fellow ID/creationists will do no such thing.

      And the basis for field theory is the action principle, and the action principle comes to us from Maupertuis who reasoned to it assuming that Nature (notice the capital letter, he’s using it as something created by the Creator) works in the simplest of ways.

      Got that. Science flourished in the West. Why not China? Isn’t that the longest known civilization? Why didn’t science flourish there? Because an ordered universe is a corollary of Scripture.

      You’ll understand if I choose to ignore your posts in the future.

      • 442 Seversky June 8, 2011 at 11:00 pm

        Got that. Science flourished in the West. Why not China? Isn’t that the longest known civilization? Why didn’t science flourish there? Because an ordered universe is a corollary of Scripture.

        It was unwise of you to offer such an easy hostage to fortune. From the Wikipedia entry on the history of Chinese science:

        The history of science and technology in China is both long and rich with many contributions to science and technology. In antiquity, independently of other civilizations, ancient Chinese philosophers made significant advances in science, technology, mathematics, and astronomy. The first recorded observations of comets, solar eclipses, and supernovae were made in China. Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine were also practiced.

        Among the earliest inventions were the abacus, the “shadow clock,” and the first flying machines such as kites and Kongming lanterns. The four Great Inventions of ancient China: the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing, were among the most important technological advances, only known in Europe by the end of the Middle Ages.

        And from the Wikipedia entry on the List of Chinese Inventions:

        The Chinese invented technologies involving mechanics, hydraulics, and mathematics applied to horology, metallurgy, astronomy, agriculture, engineering, music theory, craftsmanship, nautics, and warfare. By the Warring States Period (403–221 BC), they had advanced metallurgic technology, including the blast furnace and cupola furnace, while the finery forge and puddling process were known by the Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220). A sophisticated economic system in China gave birth to inventions such as paper money during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). The invention of gunpowder by the 10th century led to an array of inventions such as the fire lance, land mine, naval mine, hand cannon, exploding cannonballs, multistage rocket, and rocket bombs with aerodynamic wings and explosive payloads. With the navigational aid of the 11th-century compass and ability to steer at high sea with the 1st-century sternpost rudder, premodern Chinese sailors sailed as far as East Africa and Egypt. In water-powered clockworks, the premodern Chinese had used the escapement mechanism since the 8th century and the endless power-transmitting chain drive in the 11th century. They also made large mechanical puppet theaters driven by waterwheels and carriage wheels and wine-serving automatons driven by paddle wheel boats.

        I would say the Chinese did rather well in spite of being deprived of the benefits of Christianity. You may want to reconsider your position.

    • 443 PaV June 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Onlooker:

      What we know as Darwinian evolution is very limited indeed. These links simply tell us of the fairly insignificant things that Darwinian evolution can do.

      But this is not to say that the results of these insignificant changes are not, at times, somewhat stunning. Adaptation, upon adaptation, gives us endless forms most beautiful.

      But it’s not macroevolution.

      Alfred Wallace, the co-discoverer with Darwin of the “law of divergence”, the foundation of Darwinian thought, disagreed with Darwin, holding that only a supernatural entity could move evolution in its various directions.

      Huxley, Darwin’s “Bulldog”, was perplexed late in his life that no examples of what we would call macroevolution had ever been discovered.

      Maybe, someday, something like that will be discovered; but until then, Darwinian theory should be place on the dust-heap of history.

      • 444 Rose June 9, 2011 at 3:30 am

        Darwin, Huxley, and Wallace. Yep, that’s mighty “current” of ya.

        Even though there’s still a lot to learn about evolution, whether ‘micro’ or ‘macro’, a testable and progressive scientific theory (the ToE) sure beats ‘god-did-it’ and other beliefs that are based on very antiquated religious BS.

        I know that this won’t sink in, but you can’t just say that the ToE isn’t any good or isn’t good enough. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to propose a better theory/hypothesis that is based on real evidence, not fairy tales.

  179. 445 Onlooker June 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Grrl

    How did we get from Doris Day to this? It’s shocking, and utterly relevant to the question of how to calculate CSI. I don’t know how you can bear to look at anything Mathgrrl writes, PaV. Her tone is just soo aggressive and unladylike, and sheds some light on the flaws in evolutionary thinking.

  180. 447 PaV June 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Sewell’s lawyer Lepiscopo points out that in retracting Sewell’s article, Applied Mathematics Letters “effectively accepted the unsubstantiated word and unsupported opinion of an inconsequential blogger, with little or unknown academic background beyond a self-professed public acknowledgment that he was a ‘computer science grad’ and whose only known writings are self-posted blogs about movies, comics, and fantasy computer games.” This blogger’s unsupported opinion “trumped the views of an author who is a well respected mathematician with a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Purdue University; a fully-tenured Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas–El Paso; an author of three books on numerical analysis and 40 articles published in respected journals; and a highly sought-after and frequent lecturer world-wide on mathematics and science.”

    Got to love you Darwinists. Real heroes, you.

    • 448 Toronto June 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      Pav,

      You’ve got to give the publishers some credit.

      Sewell tried to sneak, “Our Existence Depends On An Intelligent Designer” into the paper.

      They saw through it, maybe a bit too late, and now he’s getting some cash and publicity.

      It should never have been accepted since it was really a paper about “religion versus nature”.

      Using the 2nd law as an argument against evolution is not going to pay any dividends.

      • 449 PaV June 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm

        Isn’t it really a paper about how the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics can, or cannot work?

        Doesn’t it describe boundary conditions?

        Doesn’t it suggest that the simple importing, or exporting, of energy (heat) across a boundary isn’t enough to account for NON-THERMAL phenomena?

        Or did you bother reading it?

    • 450 Flint June 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Interesting response, very lawyerly. Is this guy’s math wrong? Well, let’s ignor that while we produce an entire paragraph of ad hominem. The guy with the correct math should be ignored because he’s not famous, because he blogs about other topics, because he’s not a mathmatician, and because Sewell has written books and articles!

      And here I was taught that applied math was susceptible to objective proofs, regardless of who did the math. I guess I didn’t go to creationist schools. And notice how when the Creationist says 2+2=5, this is Absolute Truth because he’s a Creationist. When a mere grad student points out that 2+2-4, this is an “unsupported opinion.”

      Lawyers, gotta love them.

      • 451 PaV June 8, 2011 at 10:49 pm

        Flint:

        You tell us, Flint: is his math wrong? Did you follow the math? Did you understand his argument?

        If you put milk in a refrigerator, it won’t turn into a milkshake. If you want a milkshake, just cooling down the milk—a more “ordered” (more entropy)—won’t change a thing. If you want a milkshake, then you have to add ice cream, sugar, and flavoring.

        That’s Sewell’s point: taking away heat doesn’t change things. If you want change, you can’t just import what’s cold, you have to import all the things that go to produce the changed product.

        But I guess you already know all that.

    • 452 Rose June 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm

      The money was paid because of a policy at AML that concerns rejection after acceptance and because it was cheaper than defending a law suit. A mistake (accepting the article) by a less than diligent person at AML, and the later rejection and payment, does not substantiate the claims in the article. The article should never have been taken seriously by AML in the first place.

      Read the story below PaV, and then try to convince me that only ID/creation supporters are criticized for proposing or publishing unsubstantiated claims.

      http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/a-strong-critique-of-the-arsenic-paper/

      Yeah, NASA screwed up too. No person or organization is too big to escape scientific scrutiny, even if that scrutiny is after acceptance, peer review, or publication. .

      • 453 Rose June 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm

        By the way PaV, is what bugs you most the fact that even “an inconsequential blogger, with little or unknown academic background beyond a self-professed public acknowledgment that he was a ‘computer science grad’ and whose only known writings are self-posted blogs about movies, comics, and fantasy computer games” can easily see through bogus arguments by ID/creationists? The denigration of that person just makes your revered hero and prophet, Sewell, look even more inept.

      • 454 PaV June 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm

        Rose:

        About your comment that follows: are you capable of writing any kind of phantasy that pops up in your head. You’re a true Darwinist: a great imagination.

      • 455 PaV June 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm

        Rose:

        You seem oblivious to so much.

        First, a blog entry was posted at UD immediately after this paper came out. One of the ID people, the guy posting it, DEFENDED the paper.

        So here’s a paper that is all about possible alien life, and someone at UD is defending it. Oh, what religious bigots we are!!!! Right Rose?

        BTW, I said from the onset that it was suspicious. After reading some early comments, it was obvious to me—but not to the poster—that the paper was wrong.

        I feel vindicated.

        Second, why was I suspicious? Here’s why: because it sounded to me like naturalists/materialists/atheists finding just what they’ve been looking for for so long.

        IOW, I smelled a bias. Yes, that’s right: a BIAS!!

        Was it a “religious bias”? NO! It was a “secular bias”!!!

        So, before you start hurling your stones my way, let’s see what’s right before our eyes: a case where secularist, overly excited about what might prove them right, overstep proper scientific methodology!!

        Third, this is Science!!!!! It’s peer-reviewed! It’s one of the more prestigious publications! And what happened? Egg all over their faces.

        So, in this wonderful world of ours, is it “peer-reviewed” science coming to the rescue of religious bigotry——-or the other way around?

        Fourth, NASA was involved. Prestigious scientists. And egg on their faces. Alas. What has science come to? [It’s come to doctrinaire Darwinists and secularists pushing their agenda down the throats of everyone else. How disturbing! How embarrassing for science!]

        So enough about the wonders of how science corrects itself. It is a complete embarrassment that the article was allowed to be published.

        Imagine, here’s this novice scientist “discovering” that a bacterial species living in a lake that has incredibly high levels of arsenic can tolerate a low phosphate, high arsenic environment. Wow!

  181. 456 Petrushka June 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Even Ken Ham isn’t stupid enough to use 2LOT against evolution. But Grannie won’t see any money. It all goes to the lawyer.

    Not surprising since ID is mostly lawyers.

  182. 457 Onlooker June 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I have a copy of that scurrilous Darwinist letter that halted publication of Sewell’s paper:

    Dr Rodin,

    I am appalled to see a preprint, apparently from Applied Mathematical Letters, of the often repeated and often refuted nonsense of Granville Sewell on an anti-science web site.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/elsevier-publishes-granville-sewells-latest-on-the-second-law/

    Dr Sewell, whose expertise lies in partial differential equations, has writen several times on the relevance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics to the topic of evolution. Each time he makes poor arguments that do not show any understanding of the physics or chemistry involved, clearly contradicting the philosophy of your journal.

    A concise refutation is
    http://ajp.aapt.org/resource/1/ajpias/v76/i11/p1031_s1

    The reputation of AML will be harmed by publishing this article by Sewell.

    Yours,
    David vun Kannon

    The abstract of that cited paper:

    Quantitative estimates of the entropy involved in biological evolution demonstrate that there is no conflict between evolution and the second law of thermodynamics. The calculations are elementary and could be used to enliven the thermodynamics portion of a high school or introductory college physics course.

    Obviously, the fact Sewell’s paper was retracted at the last minute had nothing to do with being alerted to the fact the paper contradicted without evidence the extant scientific literature. It was a conspiracy!

    • 458 PaV June 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

      Onlooker:

      Obviously, the fact Sewell’s paper was retracted at the last minute had nothing to do with being alerted to the fact the paper contradicted without evidence the extant scientific literature. It was a conspiracy!

      There is absolutely no substance to this comment of yours. So why do you choose to make silly comments like this? I wonder.

      If they were alerted to the fact that Sewell’s paper was contradicted by another, then why did they issue an apology and pay for lawyer’s fees? Did you think that one through?

      And, BTW, is that how science operates according to Onlooker: if ONE paper is PUBLISHED, and another paper is submitted contradicting the already published paper, then it SHOULDN’T BE PUBLISHED?

      Tell Rose all about this. She’ll have to change her tune about how science “corrects” itself—not like us religious types!!

      • 459 Rose June 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

        PaV, science does correct itself, even if it isn’t as quickly as you would like.

        People like you (ID/creationists) are constantly asserting that there’s a ‘Darwinian’ conspiracy to keep what you consider to be valid scientific papers out of scientific publications, simply because those papers challenge ‘Darwinian’ thinking, and that papers that favor ‘Darwinian’ thinking are too easily accepted and published. My “tune” is to point out that it doesn’t matter what a paper proposes or challenges. If a paper is crap, it will be revealed as crap, even if it takes awhile.

        Even IF there’s a ‘Darwinian’ bias at some publications or organizations, and even IF some papers are wrongfully rejected or too easily published by some publications, that doesn’t mean there’s a ‘Darwinian’ conspiracy throughout science and all scientific publications. It just means that some people at some publications or organizations may be lazy, or stupid, or owe someone a favor, or are biased, or who knows what. The process isn’t perfect, but it ultimately works pretty well.

        When you’re cooking up ‘Darwinian’ conspiracy theories, consider this: Many, many papers are rejected all the time that have nothing to do with ‘Darwinian’ thinking, or evolution, or evolutionary biology, or religious beliefs, or atheism, or ID/creation, or gods, and many of those rejected papers are likely written by scientists who accept the ToE. You know, what you would call “Darwinists”. Many papers concerning evolution, evolutionary biology, paleontology, geology, etc., submitted by strong ToE advocates, are also rejected all the time. Do you really believe that only papers submitted by ID/creationists or ToE challengers are rejected, and that all papers neutral or favorable to the ToE are published?

        No matter what happens at any journals/publications, or at NASA or any other organization/institution, the evidence is ultimately what matters. Anyone who thinks they have a valid claim can publish it. Maybe not in Science, or Nature, or AML, or any other scientific publication, but if they really want to they can present it to the world. Just look at the books or websites by Dembski, Behe, and Wells. IF a presented claim is valid, word will get around and science will take notice. If it’s not valid, word will get around on that too, and science will likely ignore or reject the claim, no matter where or how it was published.

        If you or any other ID/creationist think you have a valid claim, present it, publish it, show it to the world. Just don’t expect it to be accepted by science or anyone else simply because you believe it. You need evidence. Testable, verifiable evidence, especially if you want or expect your claim to overturn currently accepted scientific theory.

    • 460 PaV June 8, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      Onlooker:

      The paper you cited simply says that the amount of energy associated with biologic life forms is easily available. But, as I note below, what life forms actually need is not energy; they need a loss of energy. So available energy has to be used to remove energy from a closed system to an open system. I used the example of a refrigerator.

      But that is not what Sewell is arguing at all. He is arguing that a simple energy exchange is not enough to serve as an explanation for the presence of life, and its high degree of order.

      In the paper, Sewell replaces S, heat entropy, with an X-entropy. He applies the equations to carbon gas. What it means is that if you want to stop carbon from “diffusing” in a solid, you have to work to decrease the amount of carbon present in the solid.

      Entropy is a heat diffusion equation. But other things can diffuse. We’re dealing with rate equations. His point is that at the boundary of the closed system with the open system, something has to cross the boundary to make the equations work.

      In the case of heat, heat has to cross the boundary. In the case of carbon; carbon has to cross the boundary. In the case of ordered information (think DNA), then “ordered information” has to cross the boundary. Heat won’t suffice.

      So, he has a larger and significant point he wants to make. He’s not contradicted by your cited paper.

  183. 461 Toronto June 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Pav,

    “Doesn’t it suggest that the simple importing, or exporting, of energy (heat) across a boundary isn’t enough to account for NON-THERMAL phenomena?

    Yes, the 2nd law has nothing to do with evolution!

    It’s been billions of years, and still we have seismic activity, volcanic activity and radiation from space and the sun.

    At the surface of the planet, where we live, we have all the difference in energy that we can cope with.

    Nature has all the energy it needs and the second law is not a barrier to evolution on Earth in any way.

    • 462 PaV June 8, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      Toronto:

      Yes, the 2nd law has nothing to do with evolution!

      I’m glad you’ve come to your senses.

      (Uh, if you take a Pentium -3 chip and cool it down, it won’t become a Pentium -5 chip)

      And, BTW, the best way of thinking about the 2nd Law is not about energy coming our way; but of energy going the other way.

      Here’s what I mean: you have a refrigerator with an ice-maker. Liquid water comes in; ice cubes form. Entropy has decreased. Order has increased.

      The refrigerator is a “closed system”; but it’s connected, via the refrigeration unit, to the outside. So, in order to get the inside “cold”, heat must be removed. It is removed across the “boundary” (the refrigerant tubing) to the outside. Which is why we feel heat coming from the back of the refrigerator.

      So, you see, “life” doesn’t need “warmth”; it needs “cold”. So, do you still want to invoke 2nd Law arguments in favor of evolution?

      • 463 Toronto June 8, 2011 at 11:49 pm

        Pav,

        “So, do you still want to invoke 2nd Law arguments in favor of evolution?”

        No, because the 2nd law has nothing to do with evolution!

  184. 464 Toronto June 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Pav,

    The first nation to use rockets in warfare were the Chinese as they invented gunpowder.

    They also invented spaghetti, not the Italians.

    So “The Flying Spaghetti Monster”, is actually a gift from China. 🙂

    • 465 PaV June 8, 2011 at 11:27 pm

      Toronto:

      Do you “invent” gunpowder, or do you discover it?

      But you’ve evaded the question, haven’t you? Why did science arise in the West? But, of course, the university system arose in the West also. As I’ve already mentioned, the university system began as a system of religious seminaries.

      Just another inconvenient fact for those afflicted with group-think.

      • 466 Rose June 9, 2011 at 4:06 am

        Tell me, why did science arise in the West and what makes you suggest that it did? What do you mean by “arise”?

        There’s no group-think in your religion, or other religions, is there?

        Invented is probably a better word than discovered when it comes to gunpowder. There wasn’t any gunpowder just lying around for someone to discover. It had to be mixed from multiple ingredients. It took experimentation, tests, and refinement. It could be said that it was discovered via invention or invented because of discoveries. Does it matter?

  185. 467 PaV June 8, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Rose:

    The denigration of that person just makes your revered hero and prophet, Sewell, look even more inept.

    You’re simply projecting your world-view onto mine. I don’t think like that. Apparently, you do.

  186. 469 Mark Frank June 9, 2011 at 5:36 am

    I haven’t been able to keep up with the flood of comments here. Do you need another continuation?

    • 470 PaV June 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Personally, I think we’ve had enough fun for one thread.

    • 471 Toronto June 9, 2011 at 11:22 am

      Mark,

      We definitely need another one as my browser is getting very slow dealing with a thread this long.

      Pav,

      The fun is just starting! 🙂

    • 472 Alan Fox June 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      It might be worth it if there were any likelihood that someone can either give us some serious proposition for how to evaluate CSI or alternatively confirm that CSI is a fiction. How likely is either scenario?

      • 473 Alan Fox June 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm

        If you think there is any mileage in Granville Sewell’s arguments about 2nd law violations, would not that be better as a separate thread? It is pretty much old hat

      • 474 PaV June 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

        Alan:

        Would you like to look at my copy of No Free Lunch and view all of the margin notes, underlining, highlights, and highlights upon highlights it contains?

        It was hard work to come to grips with CSI. No pain, no gain.

        I can’t give easy answers. Easy examples, yes. But not easy answers.

      • 475 Rose June 10, 2011 at 6:26 am

        I would suggest doing an ‘improbability’ calculation (LOL), but I already know the answer: ZERO likelihood.

  187. 476 Onlooker June 9, 2011 at 10:07 am

    And, BTW, is that how science operates according to Onlooker: if ONE paper is PUBLISHED, and another paper is submitted contradicting the already published paper, then it SHOULDN’T BE PUBLISHED?

    A person can only accept the evidence they know of. Therefore it is utterly reasonable of you to assume there are not MANY papers on thermodynamics and evolution, as you can check for yourself on Google Scholar.

  188. 477 Onlooker June 9, 2011 at 10:32 am

    So available energy has to be used to remove energy from a closed system to an open system. I used the example of a refrigerator.

    I would use the example of the Earth surrounded by space. Or weather systems. Or biological organisms.

    • 478 PaV June 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Onlooker:

      I would use the example of the Earth surrounded by space. Or weather systems. Or biological organisms.

      Then why are we told that life may have begun near a geothermal vent? The presumption is that energy is needed, when in fact, a decrease in entropy ( a cooling) is needed?

      • 479 Toronto June 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

        Entropy in thermodynamics really relates to the distribution of available energy.

        If you have a closed system where every molecule is at the same energy level, you have reached a state of entropy, meaning the energy present is not usable to perform any work.

        This has nothing to do with the absolute temperature, only temperature differences.

        I hope someone here with some physics background can jump in and give a more formal definition.

      • 480 Onlooker June 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm

        Energy is needed, of course. Energy is needed to do anything.

        Cooling is not a decrease in entropy. Entropy is a measure of the arrangements of microstates that are indistinguishable from macrostates.

        Living systems take up low entropy material from the environment and return high entropy waste products.

        As actual biologists Brooks and Wiley have laid out in many published papers and their book Evolution is entropy,

        evolution is an axiomatic consequence of organismic information and cohesion systems obeying the second law of thermodynamics

  189. 481 Zachriel June 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    PaV: Then why are we told that life may have begun near a geothermal vent? The presumption is that energy is needed, when in fact, a decrease in entropy ( a cooling) is needed?

    What’s needed is an energy gradient, and enough thermal energy to push key reactions.

    • 482 PaV June 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      Zachriel:

      Yes, an energy gradient is needed. But two are needed, one decreasing entropy, and one increasing entropy—and, one needs to be linked to the other.

      This happens with a refrigerator: ice on the inside, liquid water on the outside. Liquid water with relatively higher entropy, and ice, with lower entropy.

      • 483 Toronto June 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm

        Pav,
        Entropy is not a measurement of energy, it is instead a case of energy distribution.

        You could put two gases in two seperate isolated chambers, each at a different temperature yet both may be in an identical state of entropy.

        This means that within either chamber, the energy available to be used for work, is identical despite the fact each chamber contains a different total energy content due to the different temperature of the gases.

  190. 484 Onlooker June 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    That should be ‘indistinguishable AS’ not ‘indistinguishable from’. Entropy is a measure of the arrangements of microstates that are indistinguishable from a macroscopic perspective. Basically, you can rearrange the atoms of something with high entropy (a glass of water) lots of ways and it makes no difference to how it looks. There are less ways to rearrange the atoms of an ice sculpture so that it looks the same.

  191. 485 Mark Frank June 9, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I have created a continuation thread here..

  192. 486 PaV June 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Toronto:

    If you have a closed system where every molecule is at the same energy level, you have reached a state of entropy, meaning the energy present is not usable to perform any work.

    You’re describing a state of thermal equilibrium. Entropy is related to work. As entropy increases, work is being done. That’s why in the refrigerator analogy, heat is being produced on the outside. Heat equals higher entropy. Meanwhile, inside the refrigerator, water molecules are slowing down and vibrating less. Their mobility is lessened. Which represents a decrease in entropy.

    A “soup” full of nucleotides has much higher entropy than a DNA/RNA strand. Hence, some process must be at work which: (1) can cause an entropy increase, and (2) be connected to another process (which necessarily has to be separated from the first process of entropy increase) decreases the entropy of the “soup”.

    This seems to me problematic. That is, refrigerators don’t build themselves.

    But, of course, more is needed. Just cooling down a “soup” of nucleotides can’t be enough. How could this possibly effect any kind of specified base ordering?

    • 487 PaV June 9, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Onlooker:

      Cooling is not a decrease in entropy. Entropy is a measure of the arrangements of microstates that are indistinguishable from macrostates

      The higher the energy state of a molecule, the greater the number of microstates it can exist as; the lower the temperature the fewer.

      “Cooling” isn’t an exact definition of a decrease in entropy by no means; however, it facilitates the actual physics involved. The refrigerator analogy, when it comes to positing an open system where a decrease in entropy is driven by an increase in entropy, seems fairly apt. And it’s fairly familiar to us all.

  193. 488 Zachriel June 9, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    PaV: A “soup” full of nucleotides has much higher entropy than a DNA/RNA strand.

    Which has more entropy, a diamond or a human brain?
    Which has more entropy, a shuffled deck or an ordered deck?

    • 489 PaV June 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      Zachriel:

      What’s your point, exactly?

      markf has started a third thread. At some point we’ll have to carry things over to there. I’ve already left one reply there.

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