The difference is in function. The reason an atp synthase doesn't look like a rounded, polished motor is because things do not appear on that scale, to that accuracy. USE YOUR BRAIN, and think about it
Yes, of course it is. I agree with that. I'm trying to figure out what exactly your argument is. Evolutionary theory explains functions very well. What exactly is your problem with evolutionary theory?
I don't assume the premises are true. [...] 1. The elements of intelligent design make something designed.
Please state what "the elements of intelligent design" are. If it turns out that these are characteristics shared by living organisms, which scientists claim were produced by evolution, then you are indeed making an assumption that you have not yet justified.
Your post is an impolite and unworthy joke of a response
Oh hardly impolite. Pithy, perhaps. Pointed, possibly. But impolite ? Not a bit of it.
As for it being an unworthy joke of a response, it was a simple way of drawing to your attention, that combining two premises which are not true, into a syllogism, does not make the premises any the truer. Use of, and reference to, syllogisms as a way of impressing the audience is likely to fall on very stony ground around this forum.
I don't assume the premises are true.
which are both obvious facts of life
Stating that something is "an obvious fact of life" is an assumption. There is no proof, no reasoning, no evidence - just an appeal to what you see as obvious. Science does not work that way - it needs observation, a theory, testing, evidence and replication and review by others. Saying something is "obvious" doesn't cut it - particularly when millions of people disagree with you. Maybe things aren't as obvious as you think.
The elements of intelligent design make something designed.
As has been pointed out to you, you have yet to define what the elements of intelligent design are. Have at it !
Until you have defined them, so that they preclude the possibility of something else being responsible for life as we know it, then the "elements of intelligent design" won't cut it for you. So far, you are effectively saying "1. Curious George has four limbs. 2. Humans have four limbs. 3. Therefore Curious George is a human."
Life has the elements of design.
No it doesn't. There we go, we've both asserted something.
NOT an assumption, but upon investigation
Scientists have done investigations too. They've observed fossils. They've sequenced genomes. They've witnessed life evolving on a daily basis. They've seen mouse populations change colour to adapt to new surroundings. As Dr A has pointed out to you, they've seen flies evolve new wings. They've made predictions, based on their theories, and seen them proven correct. They've made cures for genetic and other diseases, based on this understanding.
And you have your view that life sure looks designed to you.
No theory - no evidence - no predictions. Just your opinion.
An analogy may help here, to emphasise the fundamental issue which I take with your opinion. Consider a shape sorter - the toy which a toddler plays with, pushing shaped pieces of plastic into shaped holes. That activity requires intelligence to undertake successfully - the toddler needs to look at the shape of the piece in his hand, and match it to the shaped hole to push it through. The fact that a shape has been pushed through might be taken as evidence of an intelligent process. Except that that is not the only way a piece might go through. If you shake the pieces on top of the plastic box enough, then eventually one of them will fall through, by random chance. You have to shake it a hell of a lot of times, of course, but it will eventually happen, without any intelligent agency. And that is what evolution does. It shakes the box incessantly, and once in a while, a piece falls through.
Just because something looks like it happened through an intelligent agency, does not mean that it did.
And just because you think that something belongs to a particular class or group, just because it looks like one, does not make it so.
If that is your view, then I would recommend caution, if ever you visit Thailand.
Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?
The difference is in function. The reason an atp synthase doesn't look like a rounded, polished motor is because things do not appear on that scale, to that accuracy. USE YOUR BRAIN, and think about it. If you tried to paint a portrait of the queen on a piece of A4 sized canvas, could you get the portrait as accurate if you had to paint it on a 1mm squared piece of canvas?
Hmm. Your claim is that God did the design right? So God has some accuracy limit? Just what are you saying here? And by the way, 1mm is not all that huge. Technology allows inscribing transistors about one million times smaller than that with extreme accuracy.
Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. Martin Luther King
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. Thomas Jefferson
Seems to me if its clear that certain things that require ancient dates couldn't possibly be true, we are on our way to throwing out all those ancient dates on the basis of the actual evidence. -- Faith
1. The elements of intelligent design make something designed.
Your premise is indistinguishable from your conclusion. This is called "begging the question".
We don't agree that all things that looked designed were the product of intelligent design. You need to support your premise before we can proceed. You need to demonstrate, with evidence, that the design in life was produced by intelligent designers.
The sun and planets look like they orbit the Earth...whoops!
The world looks flat...whoops!
The continents look like permanent and immovable features of the planet...whoops!
There are only four fundamental elements: earth, air, fire and water...whoops!
Heavier objects should fall faster...whoops!
Life looks designed...whoops!
This is a rather shoddy argument, and not a very nuanced one. For each of these you cited, closer examination of the perceived appearances reveal that these appearances fall away. That is, a "higher resolution" perspective renders these appearances flawed.
Which isn't quite true for biological life. Paley's argument was that life "looks designed," and therefore was designed (by agency). Hume countered that life, in fact, does not look designed and is actually full of fundamental flaws.
But when we look at life on a biochemical/molecular level, the analogy with engineering strengthens, rather than weakens. This isn't true for all the other examples you cited: closer inspection doesn't support the initial appearances.
But when we look at life on a biochemical/molecular level, the analogy with engineering strengthens, rather than weakens.
Does it really? Are you an engineer? I am. I have been a practicing software engineer since 1982. At this point, the greater majority of engineers reading this will have burst into laughter. (most engineering degree programs are extremely demanding and require far greater rigor and sheer hard non-trivial work of their students than any computer science program ever would)
What are you seeing at that biochemical/molecular level that strengthens the analogy with engineering? Do you know anything about engineering practices or principles? One principle is modularity. In programming, we had what was called "spaghetti code", code that jumped all over the place creating all kinds of interdependencies. Spaghetti code is what happens when you don't manage your code well. It is virtually impossible to maintain and code maintenance is absolutely essential to any and all projects! Spaghetti code creates excessive complexity and engineering projects hate excessive complexity. In the life cycle of a software product, the vast majority of the time and expense is spent in maintenance. Create an overly complex piece of software and you create an engineering nightmare which is virtually impossible to maintain.
Let's look at life. What do we see? Complexity. Extreme complexity. Even "irreducible" complexity. Is that consistent with engineering principles? Absolutely not! How could you possibly claim that life was engineered? It is the most piss-poor example of engineering possible! One's workmanship is indicative of one's skill. Similarly, the elegance of one's design is indicative of the Engineer's skill. So then you believe that your Divine Engineer is an absolutely Schlockmeister?
Complexity is not an indication of design, but rather of evolution. The products of evolution are known for their complexity, even "irreducible"complexity. We understand what evolutionary processes are and how they work, so we have used them to perform "design" work. In such experiments, we have observed two very interesting things.
One is that a side product is always escalating complexity. Even outside of such experiments that happens. Take any new software product -- believe you me, I have lived through this so many times in the past 30 years! Management wants a new software product. They tell us that it is almost exactly like this existing product, but with these "few" changes. Oh, and we have to make those changes backwards-compatible with the primary product.
Do you have any idea how evolution works? Take an existing feature. Modify it to do something different. If we still need the old functionality, then you first copy it before you modify it. That is how evolution works and that is how many software products work.
Two things come out of that. One is that the complexity of the code increases irrespective of the mere mortal humans' ability or inability to manage it -- wasn't that the premise of the original Westworld? The other is that you get unexpected results. In mechanical systems, say in an airliner, if you change something in one place then the effects of that change should manifest somewhere near there. You change one little thing in software and the effects can manifest themselves in an entirely different part of the system -- software engineer's famous last words: "I wasn't anywhere near that part of the code!"
Clearly, too much complexity is not a very good indication of an Engineer at work.
Here's another interesting item. The particular experiment I have in mind used evolutionary processes to design a differential amplifier using a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). Now, I've been interfacing professionally with FPGAs for nearly two decades. They are an array of digital circuit elements, the interconnection of which can be defined in a definition file which is then downloaded into the FPGA to create the sequential or combinatorial digital network you wanted to define.
Now, Uncle Sugar (AKA Uncle Sam) through the US Air Force trained me in digital circuitry. When I enlisted at the same time I was getting married, I figured that electronics was a good field to get into. In the enlistment process, even though I scored lowest in clerical I still scored so well that I could pick my AFSC (Air Force Speciality Code, since degraded into an MOS). I wanted to learn electronics and I figured that since computers were so complex then computer electronics must be the most complex. Ironically, computer electronics is the simplest form of electronics possible, but it led to me getting my Computer Science degree at my Permanent Duty Station.
Here's where that is pertinent. In most transistor circuits, you have three modes of operation: Full cut-off, switched off -- full saturation, switched on -- FORBIDDEN ZONE, the range inbetween where analog operation occurs. FPGA circuits are digital circuits. Digital circuits NEVER operate in the FORBIDDEN ZONE. A digital circuit never EVER operates within the forbidden zone of voltages. At least, NEVER EVER BY DESIGN.
In addition, every digital circuit has an analog characteristic. No circuit is every purely what it is supposed to be, but there are always all kinds of parasitic capacities, inductances, and all other kinds of mean nasty electrical kinds of nonesense. The physical complexities to be found within the simplest of electronic circuits can be next to mind-boggling.
Back to that diffential amplifier using an FPGA. Every single element in that FPGA, being a digital component, had a particular digital functionality. That digital functionality is very important, because that defines the limits of what a mere human engineer could ever possibly work with.
So what happens when the design in the FPGA goes beyond what any human could have possibly done?
Yes, precisely, bragging about your knowledge and thinking instead of giving us demonstrations of it.
I don't decide if a hypothesis is "robust." The statistics do. That's not bragging. That's statistics.
No, that was you making unsupported assertions that you "hardly ignore the biological evidence of life's history," and that you "rely on such evidence every day for making robust molecular evolutionary hypotheses." When challenged the story suddenly changed and the robust hypotheses weren't about ID but were "in reference to published and ongoing molecular phylogenetics research relevant to bacterial systematics," and that "the hypotheses are 'robust' because, well, statistics and stuff."
Robust molecular evolutionary hypotheses aren't ID hypotheses. If I had meant robust ID hypotheses, I would have said robust ID hypotheses. Idk, maybe you should consider upping your verbal comprehension game. Understanding what I wrote isn't hard, but the powers of your imagination were nevertheless able to attach your own story to it.
Whatever you really meant, instead of claims of how substantially your thinking is based upon evidence and how strong your hypotheses are, it would be better to just attempt to demonstrate those claims through your discussion in this thread, and then let people make up their own minds.
Kinda hypocritical, Percy, because you're not following your own advice. Instead of claiming how I "like to ignore the biological evidence for life's history," it would be better to just attempt to demonstrate that claim through your discussion in this thread, and then let people make up their own minds.
To me you appear to be not only ignoring the evidence of life's history, but ignoring it while it's being called to your attention. We know the power of mutation and selection, it's unambiguously obvious throughout life's history, but you ignore it as you consider the transition from life to non-life and instead baldly state that DNA couldn't have emerged naturally.
- Where have I denied the power of mutation and selection in shaping biological life on Earth?
- When have I denied the unambiguous evidence for the nature of life's history on Earth?
- What internally consistent armamentarium of evidence that documents the evolutionary history of life and that also supports the purported transition of non-life to biological life on Earth am I ignoring?
- Where have I baldly stated that DNA couldn't have emerged naturally?
It would do you well to actually read what I write instead of conjuring stuff up.
You asked explicitly if I had any other arguments beyond the analogies being discussed. I answered that question by affirming that my one other argument was related to theology and the origin of life.
Theology? Better check your Message 66 again. No mention of theology.
Apparently the meaning of the word "related" escapes the scope of your lexicon. My other argument was related to theology in the origin of life, as I was discussing how theology need not be invoked in an agency-based hypothesis for the origin of biological life on Earth. But sure, go ahead and keep ignoring what I'm actually saying and letting your lack of attention to detail permeate this discussion.
My only intent was to refute the idea that any design hypothesis necessarily leads to an invocation of the supernatural.
And when your refutation was challenged you ignored that challenge, continue to ignore it, and are evading like crazy. I ask you once again, what is the factual foundation for your supposed refutation? By what evidence and reasoning do you conclude that life on Earth could not have arisen naturally?
You mean non-teleologically, not "naturally." If a non-biological intelligence engineered life on Earth, then it'd still be natural.
Anyways, I've already outlined why the life on Earth is categorically different than other forms of self-replicators. It is code-based, but self-replicating systems need not demand the use of a code:
"What is it about life that leads me to suspect agency was involved in its origin? It is the presence of a genetic code, coupled to the fact that life -- at its core -- makes use of molecular machinery that smacks of rational design not reflective of hodge-podge Neo-Darwinian co-option scenarios. There is more to this suspicion, but this is a start and will help clarify my point.
At this point, you think my suspicion necessarily entails an appeal to the supernatural (or that it ultimately must do so through infinite regression). But that can only be true if self-replicating systems unlike what we find here on Earth could not have ever emerged elsewhere in the cosmos. On the one hand, you feel like I must appeal to the supernatural -- to an utterly unknown entity. But if I can appeal to an unknown entity, why must that entity be supernatural? Why can't it be perfectly and utterly natural?
After all, we know that there are myriads of possible non-biological, non-genetic-code-based self-replicators. One need only examine the research of Rebek and colleagues (see, e.g.,  and ) to understand that the analogs of genetic codes, bipartite complementarities found in nucleic acids, and ribosomes are hardly needed for the existence of non-biological autocatalytic systems. Their model is based on principles of self-complementarity -- an elegantly minimalistic pathway to non-biological, molecular evolution. Such a model is similar in principle to the non-computationally-intensive Penrose block replicators (see, for example, ).
Much more could be cited here as it pertains to self-replicating systems that are quite unlike biological life on Earth, such as dendrimers  and zeolites .
The point here is rather straightforward. Your argument that my position necessarily entails an infinite regression to a god is hard to entertain when one considers that either (a) my position must resort to something we know absolutely nothing about (gods and such), or (b) it can resort to phenomena we actually have some knowledge and documentation about (non-code-based self-replication). I see no reason why option A is the only option, and nor have you made a case for that."
You responded with asking me if I have evidence that biological life can't arise naturally. It's notoriously difficult to demonstrate a negative; the burden of evidence is on you to demonstrate that life on Earth could have plausibly originated without the intervention of agency -- and that this actually happened in Earth's history.
...and are evading like crazy.
You didn't even begin to address this comment of mine, from Message 66: "Then present your non-science-fiction-y evidence that life arose on Earth through non-teleological mechanisms."
I actually am addressing the points you're raising; but you didn't even respond to that. Who's the one evading like crazy now?
The hostility here is all you...
Most* intelligent adults of sound judgment don't think it mature to draw comparisons between someone they're discussing stuff with and people like Donald Trump. But hey, you do you -- maybe you're the exception to that overall generalization of respectable adults.
*Based solely on personal experience and not statistical studies.
But when we look at life on a biochemical/molecular level, the analogy with engineering strengthens, rather than weakens.
For the sake of argument let's concede your point, that the analogy to engineered objects strengthens the more closely we approach the biochemical/molecular level. Let's call it a very interesting hypothesis that's worth exploring.
But this has been a hypothesis of ID for a very long time, so if this were actually a productive avenue of research then there should be a great deal of evidence by now. Where is it? And contrariwise, what evidence is there to exclude evolution (selection of modifications produced by descent) as the designer? Evolution is the only apparent "agent" out there.
The hypothesis you described earlier was that life here did not arise naturally but was designed by life from elsewhere that did arise naturally. Were you able to find any evidence for this hypothesis while you were away?