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Author Topic:   Does ID predict genetic similarity?
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 61 of 167 (670583)
08-16-2012 12:01 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by herebedragons
08-16-2012 9:02 AM


Even in the most extreme case, if everything was created only 6000 yrs ago and rapidly diversified after the flood we would still expect a nested hierarchy of sorts, just with large discontinuities between "kinds".

We would expect a nested hierarchy, yes, but not the particular one we observe. Besides, if we are doing science, then we know that life is billions of years old, and that life forms much older than 6000 years fit within the hierarchy in a way that shows a relationship to existing organisms.

The nested hierarchy is a consequence of the process of inheritance with modification

Okay.

If this world were designed to be perfect in every way, wouldn't it be more of a supernatural world?

Well, at least some people believe that earth once was a supernatural perfect world that has since fallen into its current state. Are you dismissing that possibility?

But I think you hit on a major problem with the ID movement when you said "theological views underpinning ID". Rather than asking where does the philosophical ideals and the scientific ideals overlap they try to turn their philosophical ideals into scientific processes. And so far have failed to have those ideals accepted in the scientific realm.

I don't have any issue with where people get their inspiration for their science. But after conception, I expect to see science done. I don't rule out the possibility that there is a way to identify a designed biological life form, but I'm skeptical that we can come up with a scientific procedure for doing so. We have no way to calibrate a method without knowing before hand that life form was definitely designed. I don't believe that methods that work for arrow heads and watches will work for life forms.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison.

“Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men's imperfections, and conceal your own.” George Bernard Shaw


This message is a reply to:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 8524
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 62 of 167 (670585)
08-16-2012 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by herebedragons
08-16-2012 9:02 AM


But isn't that assuming that the nested hierarchy we observe today was the same product the designer originally produced? Very few people still hold to the fixity of species (although there are still some ). Even in the most extreme case, if everything was created only 6000 yrs ago and rapidly diversified after the flood we would still expect a nested hierarchy of sorts, just with large discontinuities between "kinds". The further back you push the "creation event" the smaller those discontinuities would appear. Until, on the other extreme, you have a situation like genomicus proposes that the designer "front-loaded" the LCUA and then we would expect the exact nested hierarchy we observe today.

In order for ID to work in this paradigm you would have to push the designing back to a single ancestor of all life in the very distant past. As you say, there will be discontinuities between created kinds. There is no reason why created kinds should fall into a nested hierarchy. If ID is the argument that the designer plopped a simple RNA replicator on Earth and all life evolved from there then I really don't see any clash between Evolution and ID.

But I don't think the fact that life can be organized into a nested hierarchy excludes the existence or involvement of a designer.

Nothing can exclude the supernatural because the supernatural is unfalsifiable.

Again, this is assuming that what we observe today is the same product that was initially designed.

Let's use the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) as our example. In tetrapods this nerve exits the spinal column, goes down through the neck into the chest, loops under the aorta, goes back up the neck, and then connects to the larynx very close to the spot where the nerve exits the spinal column. This is analogous to running an extension cord across your living room, looping it around the couch, and then back to the tv even though the plug in is right by the tv. It is just poor design.

So how do we solve this problem? Since this is common to all tetrapods does this mean that the common ancestor of all tetrapods did not have this poor design to start, but later developed this trait? Or did all tetrapods at a much later date (after the flood?) independently evolve this clumsy design? What about the inverted retina in all vertebrates? Do we now have to go back to a designed common ancestor of all vertebrates, or independent evolution of an inverted retina across all vertebrate created kinds? Both seem very problematic from an ID perspective.

I think the issue of "poor design" says more about the nature of the material world than it does about the nature of the designer. If this world were designed to be perfect in every way, wouldn't it be more of a supernatural world? But instead, the material world is subject to degradation, decay and death. Could a designer have designed a perfect world? I suppose so, but instead he made it a material universe rather than supernatural.

From everything I have seen, it appears to be a material world operating all on its own without any supernatural influence. That would seem to be the simplest explanation. A deist type position is about the best you could do, IMHO.

I saw someone arguing that he didn't believe in a designer because he had gotten a cavity. He mused that a good designer would have given us titanium teeth that never decay. Really? That's the criteria for a good designer? its not a DNA molecule that can replicate and repair itself, be passed on to the next generation, mutate to allow for diversity, package itself so as to fit within a single cell, etc... I have pretty bad teeth myself, maybe its because I drink too much pop and eat too much candy...

That same mutating DNA molecule also produces disease. Would an omnipotent and omniscient designer leave us with biological systems that produce children with devastating and painful cancers? It would seem to me that such a designer would have to purposefully include this in the design. This is not something that would just slip by quality assurance. Such a designer would have to consciously decide that yes, children will die an early and painful death because of this design.

But I think you hit on a major problem with the ID movement when you said "theological views underpinning ID". Rather than asking where does the philosophical ideals and the scientific ideals overlap they try to turn their philosophical ideals into scientific processes. And so far have failed to have those ideals accepted in the scientific realm.

I would suggest that their philosophical ideals force them to ignore the evidence, and then propose ideas that are not supported by the evidence.

Edited by Taq, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by herebedragons, posted 08-16-2012 9:02 AM herebedragons has replied

Replies to this message:
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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 1217 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 63 of 167 (670603)
08-16-2012 12:57 PM
Reply to: Message 58 by Tangle
08-16-2012 3:46 AM


I'm afraid you are always going to be pushed back into philosophy because saying that the design for life was not divine begs the question of how the non-divine creator came about.

This question is easy to answer:

1. That the first genomes on earth were designed in no way implies that the intelligence that designed these genomes was also designed. This is because we have only limited knowledge on the scope of intelligence. I.e., there are many possible forms of intelligence that could exist, including non-biological intelligence. We have little information on how intelligence originates because the only intelligence we have experience with is biological intelligence (and AI). For example, it is possible that some intelligence exists that consists solely of different patterns of electric impulses and currents. This is the theme of Arthur C. Clarke's story "Crusade": a planet bathed in extremely cold seas of helium is an ideal environment for the origin of electrical intelligence because electric currents can run forever (given that the helium functions as a superconductor). Thus, electric currents run throughout this planet, and over time they evolve into a computer intelligence. The story goes on, of course, but the point is this: certainly, even if our own biological life could not have plausibly evolved, it is possible that other forms of intelligence exist which could evolve. The argument that "saying that the design for life was not divine begs the question of how the non-divine creator came about" is therefore deeply flawed IMHO. There is an easy solution to this question, as explained above.

2. Also, the question is a bit irrelevant to me because, for the most part, I'm trying not to argue for ID based on the implausibility of evolution but rather based on positive evidence for ID. In other words, it is perhaps possible for non-teleological processes to produce life but this does not mean that these processes did produce life. When discussing biological origins, it must be remembered that we are talking about actual history and not about what could have been. As I explained in a previous thread:

The intelligent design/evolution discussion has somewhat ignored the historical nature of biological origins. By this I mean that ID proponents have focused on demonstrating that biological system X could not have evolved through Darwinian mechanisms, instead of asking the simple question: did biological system X actually evolve or was it intelligently designed? In other words, the discussion over biological origins has essentially become a question of plausibility, rather than a question of what actually happened. Biological system X could plausibly evolve but this does not mean that it did. The human mind is quite capable of imagining very creative non-teleological scenarios for the origin of any biological system, and we have to take this into account when considering the origin of a given biological system. A statement of plausibility says little about what actually happened in the history of a system, and thus independent evidence is needed to support any conclusion, be it non-teleological or teleological. We need to emphasize the historical nature of biological origins and instead of endlessly arguing over the plausibility (or lack thereof) of evolutionary mechanisms, we should try to determine what actually happened in the past.

Thus, if evolution could possibly account for the origin of the first genomes on earth this does not translate into what happened in the past. And if the evidence points to ID having played a role in the origin of the first genomes then this is what actually happened, but this does not mean that the origin of the first genomes requires intelligence - and this, in turn, means that evolution could account for the origin of the initial intelligence.

(It should be noted that I do question the competency of non-teleological processes to explain the origin of certain biological systems, but this isn't where my focus is)

In summary, the argument that ID necessarily leads back to a deity is not at all rigorous and makes several problematic assumptions.

That apart, a point based system based on good and bad design features in nature in order to provide evidence for a designer isn't going to get you anywhere either, simply because with evolution, better design wins over poorer design - so the result is the same.

I'll respond to this bit in a future post, but the for the moment let me offer this comment: by the above argument it appears that evolution does predict that good design in systems rather than both good and bad design because "better design wins over poorer design - so the result is the same." Yet we see many instances in the biological world of inherently flawed design, which I think is an effective response to the quoted statement above.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by Tangle, posted 08-16-2012 3:46 AM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
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 Message 65 by NoNukes, posted 08-16-2012 1:38 PM Genomicus has replied
 Message 69 by Tangle, posted 08-16-2012 6:55 PM Genomicus has replied
 Message 128 by herebedragons, posted 08-21-2012 9:52 PM Genomicus has replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 8524
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 64 of 167 (670606)
08-16-2012 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Genomicus
08-16-2012 12:57 PM


The story goes on, of course, but the point is this: certainly, even if our own biological life could not have plausibly evolved, it is possible that other forms of intelligence exist which could evolve.

If we are going to keep the origin of this intelligence within our universe, then we have a rather interesting problem. Our universe has a finite history. That designer had to evolve naturally without the help of another designer at some point in our universe's history. I think there is every reason to believe that we are that designer.

Also, the question is a bit irrelevant to me because, for the most part, I'm trying not to argue for ID based on the implausibility of evolution but rather based on positive evidence for ID. In other words, it is perhaps possible for non-teleological processes to produce life but this does not mean that these processes did produce life. When discussing biological origins, it must be remembered that we are talking about actual history and not about what could have been.

The problem posed by the opening post is more subtle than this. I think even ID proponents agree that if common ancestry is true then we should see shared DNA between species. No one is arguing that shared DNA is an implausible outcome of evolution.

What ID proponents seem to be doing (not necessarily you, but other ID proponents as discussed in the opening post) is trying to have ID produce the same evidence that evolution would. This is an attempt to save the ID hypothesis. It certainly violates Occam's Razor, but that is just a rule of thumb so it can worked around. However, this position is very hard to rationalize. What it boils down to is a designer going out of its way to make life look like it evolved (at least for ID models where complex life is separately designed).

We humans certainly do not do this. For example, we stuck an exact copy of the GFP gene into vertebrate fish allowing them to glow under UV light. We didn't go out of our way to change the sequence of the GFP gene so it would appear to be distantly related to jellyfish, and then stick the same GFP gene in all of the species necessary to make it look like the GFP gene was present in the common ancestor of vertebrates and cnidarians. Why would we? If we wouldn't, why would another designer do that? It makes no sense at all. It runs counter to what we would consider intelligence.

In summary, the argument that ID necessarily leads back to a deity is not at all rigorous and makes several problematic assumptions.

That depends on the ID model. I think we are all well aware of ID proponents who argue that an intelligence like ours can not be produced naturally.


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NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 65 of 167 (670607)
08-16-2012 1:38 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Genomicus
08-16-2012 12:57 PM


I'll respond to this bit in a future post, but the for the moment let me offer this comment: by the above argument it appears that evolution does predict that good design in systems rather than both good and bad design because "better design wins over poorer design - so the result is the same." Yet we see many instances in the biological world of inherently flawed design, which I think is an effective response to the quoted statement above.

I disagree. Your response is not effective.

Better design always wins is not what is predicted by evolution. Designs are subject to natural selection and only designs that result in a negative effect on surviving until reproducing are selected against. So a design that shortens life after reaching maturity but still allows siring/bearing and raising offspring (assuming rearing is even necessary) won't be selected against.

So some things are optimized, other things become fixed without being optimized. There are plenty of things that humans do that they are not optimized to do (e.g. rock climbing, or running) but we have the climbing and running abilities sufficient for animals with our other traits to survive in our particular niche.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison.

“Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men's imperfections, and conceal your own.” George Bernard Shaw


This message is a reply to:
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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 1217 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 66 of 167 (670610)
08-16-2012 1:54 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by NoNukes
08-16-2012 1:38 PM


I disagree. Your response is not effective.

Only because you're misinterpreting it.

For example, I never argued that evolution predicts that biological systems will be optimally designed, contrary to what you imply. What I did argue is that if we accept Tangle's argument that "better design wins over poorer design - so the result is the same," then it seems as if evolution would predict that biological systems will be optimally designed. However, since Tangle's argument is not correct (and assuming I'm interpreting in the right way), evolution makes no predictions regarding optimality or lack thereof.


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Tangle
Member
Posts: 8551
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 67 of 167 (670640)
08-16-2012 6:41 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Genomicus
08-16-2012 1:54 PM


Genomicus writes:

For example, I never argued that evolution predicts that biological systems will be optimally designed, contrary to what you imply. What I did argue is that if we accept Tangle's argument that "better design wins over poorer design - so the result is the same," then it seems as if evolution would predict that biological systems will be optimally designed. However, since Tangle's argument is not correct (and assuming I'm interpreting in the right way), evolution makes no predictions regarding optimality or lack thereof.

In a straight fight, better design will always win over poorer design. Of course it will.

But nature is rarely a straight fight and evolution is not remotely interested in optimising - it's very happy with good enough and make do and mend. And when some feature is no longer under survival pressure, practically anything will do. We have stacks of evidence for this from junk DNA to vestigial organs and the inverted retina (above).

The point is that where there are design deficiencies seen in nature they can only be a negative for the argument from design; for self-evident reasons. Whilst evolution has no problem with bad design and we can show where, how and why it happens.

So you need to explain why a designer would design badly and why it would do it in such a way to make it look identical to how evolution actually does it.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

This message is a reply to:
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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 1752 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 68 of 167 (670641)
08-16-2012 6:50 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by GDR
08-16-2012 12:39 AM


Re: Make up your minds!
GDR writes:

Human experience has been that it requires principles for us to design something. As it is all we know, then we would expect that if we are the product of intelligent design there would be principles. That isn't to say that there couldn't be another way that we would be unaware of.

"Principles" aren't a necessary prediction of the hypothesis that the world was intelligently designed, are they?

GDR writes:

We agree that there are principles involved in science including evolution. I also agree that that isn't conclusive proof of anything but we can come to our own conclusions.

It is my belief that seeing as how there are principles and order, and that out of that has come intelligent life that it is more plausible that we have come from an intelligent first cause than not.

I'm well aware of your beliefs, but they have nothing to do with what an I.D. hypothesis would predict.

GDR writes:

If we accept the fact that we are a product of intelligent design then because of human experience it would logical that we would think it likely that there would be certain principles as part of the design. Again, it doesn't mean that we would necessarily be right following that line of thinking.

To summarize: Principles are not a prediction of the hypothesis that the world was intelligently designed.


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Tangle
Member
Posts: 8551
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 69 of 167 (670642)
08-16-2012 6:55 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Genomicus
08-16-2012 12:57 PM


gernomics writes:

The argument that "saying that the design for life was not divine begs the question of how the non-divine creator came about" is therefore deeply flawed IMHO. There is an easy solution to this question, as explained above

The 'easy' answer is to imagine another form of life that can wish itself into existence. This life form is non-biological but can make something biological and trasfer it to another planet for no obvious reason. And your evidence is a science fiction novel?

You seem to be determined to find the absolutely hardest route through these problems -you've given yourself a triple or quadruple Ockham to explain away.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Genomicus, posted 08-16-2012 12:57 PM Genomicus has replied

Replies to this message:
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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 1752 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 70 of 167 (670644)
08-16-2012 7:04 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by herebedragons
08-16-2012 11:54 AM


Re: Make up your minds!
herebedragons writes:

Perhaps because this a physical universe. If there weren't principals how could it function? There is nothing to bind him to using the principals we observe. But why would he not be bound to establishing principals in designing a material, physical universe? If there were not principals a physical world could not exist.

All of which misses the point. Neither principles nor a physical universe are predictions of an intelligent design hypothesis.


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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 1217 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 71 of 167 (670645)
08-16-2012 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by Tangle
08-16-2012 6:55 PM


The 'easy' answer is to imagine another form of life that can wish itself into existence [note: I didn't say this intelligence could wish itself into existence did I?]. This life form is non-biological but can make something biological and trasfer it to another planet for no obvious reason. And your evidence is a science fiction novel?

For some odd reason you completely ignored the parts that I bolded, where I emphasized that it is possible that non-biological intelligence can exist and evolve. Given that this possibility is no more outlandish than the existence of a god, there is no reason to assume that if biological life requires design, then the intelligence behind our biological life likewise requires design, forcing us to backtrack up to a deity.

Of course I'm not citing a science fiction story as evidence, and I think you know that

That merely served to illustrate my point - a point which IMHO you basically ignored. Please respond specifically to my point, which is as follows:

1. You argued that intelligent design, philosophically, will always lead us back to a god.

2. I responded that this is incorrect because there is the possibility of a non-biological alien intelligence existing that does not require intelligence in order to originate, and if we accept this possibility, then ID does not necessarily require the existence of a deity.

Edited by Genomicus, : No reason given.


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Genomicus
Member (Idle past 1217 days)
Posts: 852
Joined: 02-15-2012


Message 72 of 167 (670646)
08-16-2012 7:10 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Tangle
08-16-2012 6:41 PM


But nature is rarely a straight fight and evolution is not remotely interested in optimising - it's very happy with good enough and make do and mend. And when some feature is no longer under survival pressure, practically anything will do. We have stacks of evidence for this from junk DNA to vestigial organs and the inverted retina (above).

Yes, I know you have stacks of evidence for flawed design, but at the same time there are stacks of biological systems that, at their core, clearly display rational design and show no signs of flawed design.

So you need to explain why a designer would design badly and why it would do it in such a way to make it look identical to how evolution actually does it.

Alternatively, I could take the approach that poor design counts against the design inference, which means that design probably wasn't involved in the origin of that system.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Tangle, posted 08-16-2012 6:41 PM Tangle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Tangle, posted 08-16-2012 7:59 PM Genomicus has replied
 Message 79 by Coyote, posted 08-16-2012 8:25 PM Genomicus has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8551
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 73 of 167 (670648)
08-16-2012 7:48 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Genomicus
08-16-2012 7:06 PM


Genomicus writes:

For some odd reason you completely ignored the parts that I bolded, where I emphasized that it is possible that non-biological intelligence can exist and evolve.

That is indeed true. And you have ignored the small problem that this imagined non-biological intelligence has to create a biological organism and transport it here some 4bn years ago. Given that the universe is around 14bn years old this menas that your imagined intelligence has to evolve itself in a primordal universe, build it's experiment from parts it has no obvious knowledge of, build a transport mechanism we cannot as yet conceive of, identify a likely home a few million light years away(?) and get it here at exactly the right time for it to be able to survive on our cooling planet.

Then you might attempt to answer why it would feel this necessary to do, given that they apparently have taken no further interest in us.

All this against the much easier hypotheses that we already have.

Given that this possibility is no more outlandish than the existence of a god, there is no reason to assume that if biological life requires design, then the intelligence behind our biological life likewise requires design, forcing us to backtrack up to a deity.

On what grounds do you say that your hypothesis is no more outlandish' than a deity? I find it barking mad and I don't believe in a god. We have better local solutions, why search for the absurd?

1. You argued that intelligent design, philosophically, will always lead us back to a god.
Given that I'm an atheist, that is hardly likely to be my argument. It is however, the usual argument of infinite regress. I have to say that the idea of pushing abiogenesis back another stage and claiming that that stage could start itself is new to me. And it's totally unecessary when we have mechanisms that don't require your added improbability.

ID does not necessarily require the existence of a deity.

No, it requires something far, far, far more unlikely.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

This message is a reply to:
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jar
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Posts: 33957
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 74 of 167 (670649)
08-16-2012 7:56 PM


Post as placeholder
This post is meant to make sure that when we get around to closing time I can post a summary.

To answer the question posed in the title, of course, since ID is nothing but making stuff up it can predict anything or everything and even predict mutually exclusive results. ID is a gem.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

  
Tangle
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Posts: 8551
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 75 of 167 (670650)
08-16-2012 7:59 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by Genomicus
08-16-2012 7:10 PM


Yes, I know you have stacks of evidence for flawed design, but at the same time there are stacks of biological systems that, at their core, clearly display rational design and show no signs of flawed design.

Exactly. when necessary, evolution creates great survival designs. Good design will win over bad - when there is a need. There's nothing at all surprising about that, in fact it's a core principal of the ToE.

The ToE predicts both good and bad design. You have to explain the bad.


Alternatively, I could take the approach that poor design counts against the design inference, which means that design probably wasn't involved in the origin of that system.

I suggest you take this route.


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

This message is a reply to:
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