--To my understanding, Intelligent design is a bit opinionated at its best. Can an organism only be seen as intelligently designed if not by opinion? It follows the argument of Irreducible complexity in its own fashion. Irreducible complexity is pined down with ease if taken to high degrees of specificity, it is only valid through plausibility, not possibility.
--In contrast abiogenesis is only valid through possibility, not plausibility. If you may have perfection in environmental conditions and specific chemical reactions in its own complex fluctuating manner, abiogenesis is seen as obviously possible, but it is readily discredited as plausible unless given massive amounts of time and space, then any mathematical probability can be deafened to the limits of your own imaginative scenario.
--Irreducible complexity is valid if seen though a feature of probability or plausibility, like shown through the former, it is simply opinionated to their own degrees. Might anyone share relatively a similar observation within this question?
--Sorry my syntax seemingly is a bit cumbersome here, trying to put what is running through my mind into words.
[Edited because I can't read monolithic paragraphs. --Percy]
[This message has been edited by TrueCreation, 04-20-2002]
[This message has been edited by Percipient, 04-21-2002]
Hi TC. You pose some interesting questions (if I'm understanding your post). To wit, why do scientists accept ToE (and/or abiogenesis), but not ID? After all, both can be said to rest on a speculative foundation, right?
However, there are substantial differences between current scientific thought and research, and ID. My biggest problem with ID in all it's manifestations is that no one has been able to describe the basic observations from nature that led to ID as the default hypothesis. I don't mean "prove ID". I mean the fundamental observations that make ID at least as, if not more, reasonable an explanation than ToE.
Here are a couple of very generic examples of why scientists think that the ToE is a pretty good theory:
1. As an example of coevolution, a scientist observes the existence of an orchid with an extraordinary 30cm-long nectary (Angraecum sesquipedale). His default explanation for the depth of the nectary is evolution. He predicts that, if evolution is true, an insect will be found that specializes on this plant - and only this plant. Twenty+ years after his death, entomologists discover a moth that does in fact specialize on the orchid (Xanthopan morgani praedicta), with a 30cm-long tongue.
2. If natural selection is true, specific environmental niches should require similar adaptations, even if the organisms are radically different. Selection pressures are going to be similar and the problems these organisms face are going to be analogous, therefore phenotype will be similar. This is precisely what is observed. Just a few examples: marsupial thylacines (e.g., Thylacinus cynocephalus) and placental grey wolves (Canis lupus) who are predators on small and medium herbivores; marsupial bandicoots (Macrotis lagotis) and placental desert hares (e.g., Lepus townsendii) who are grass-eaters with similar desert (long ears) and saltatory adaptations; there are innumerable other examples.
3. If natural selection is true, there should be significant variation even within genera in response to differential selection pressures. One example is the golden fer-de-lance (Bothrops insularis) of Quemada Grande (off the coast of Brazil). Although all Bothrops spp. are highly toxic, the golden lancehead is one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. Why? Because on Quemada Grande there are no mammals, so the golden lancehead is forced to subsist on birds. Normally, a lancehead (an ambush predator) will strike its prey and then follow the doomed animal by scent. Since birds - even mortally wounded birds - fly away, the normal tactic isn't effective. Therefore the toxicity of the golden lancehead has, through NS operating over time, increased to enable the species to kill its avian prey almost immediately.
4. If life evolves by descent with modification, the evidence should be recognizable in inherited genetic material - including errors. Retrogenes are molecular remnants of a past parasitic viral infection. Retroviruses, such as HIV and HTLV1 (which causes a form of leukaemia), make a DNA copy of their own viral genome and insert it into their host's genome. If this happens to a germ-line cell the retroviral DNA will be inherited by descendants of the host. Again, this process is rare and fairly random, so finding retrogenes in identical chromosomal positions of two different species strongly indicates common ancestry. There are three different instances of common retrogene insertions between chimps and humans. Within the Felidae (cats), the standard phylogenetic tree (based on the usual morphological, biochemical etc features) has small cats diverging later than large cats, with the blackfooted cat (Felis nigripes) being the first of the small cats to diverge. All small cats, from the jungle cat (F. chaus), European wildcat (F. silvestris), sand cat (F. margarita), to the common house cat (Felis cattus) etc. share a specific retroviral gene insertion. In contrast, the cat lineages that diverged before the small cat lineage (lion, cheetah, and leopard) and all other carnivores lack this retrogene.
These are all the "type" of observations (among multitudes) that lead scientists to think that ToE is a good working theory. These aren't even the best examples - just a couple I came up with off the top of my head. I would say that ID needs to come up with something as good to be taken seriously.
As far as OOL and ID, my take is that since everything else in nature follows predictable natural laws, there is no reason to drag in the unverifiable and untestable assumptions demanded by ID theory. Sure, life hasn't yet been produced in a lab. And yeah, it turns out that the process is a bit more complicated than was first thought, and is going to take more time to tease out. But there's a huge number of very sharp scientists working on the issue, and a lot of the basic chemistry has been verified. The "gap" that a putative "designer" can squeeze into is getting smaller and smaller practically every day.
The same goes for IC structures. Several of the so-called "irreducible" complexes proposed by Behe turn out not to be so irreducible. He's basically "reduced" (sorry, couldn't resist) to one type of bacterial flagella as the only remaining place for his designer to have designed. Now that a number of prominent scientists are starting to tackle that one (and with new gene sequencing techniques, they're really moving forward with teasing out homologies in living organisms that almost - but not quite - have similar, more "primitive" versions of the same thing), irreducible complexity is rapidly becoming irredeemably deconstructed.
The conclusion TC, is that while ID shares superficial similarities with some of the more frontier sciences (like OOL), there is one significant difference: OOL has a solid foundation in organic chemistry (and the fact that all observable nature follows predictable laws), ToE has a solid foundation in direct observations of the natural world, but ID rests on sheer, unfounded speculation. ID is compounded of equal parts "argument from incredulity", "god/designer-of-the-gaps", and "false dilemma fallacy". Until and unless ID can come up with some REAL observations, it will remain in the "outer darkness" of scientific thought - right up there next to the flat earth and geocentric theories.
quote:Originally posted by TrueCreation: ...but it is readily discredited as plausible unless given massive amounts of time and space, then any mathematical probability can be deafened to the limits of your own imaginative scenario.
Actually that would be true if we were talking about sequential trials, single reactions one after the other, however the amount of time needed drops dramatically when many reactions are occuring simultaneously...
For example if you roll a die you have a 1 in 6 chance of getting a 6, if you roll 2 dice you have an 11/36 chance of at least 1 showing a 6, if you roll 3 dice the odds rise to 91/216.....
by the time you get up to millions of simultaneous reactions no matter how improbable the outcome is in a single trial the probability of the result cropping up at least once rises dramatically....
A simple flagellic motor under Quetzel's model would seem to require: 1) 'Pre-adaptations'. (These seem required for all 'complexities', perhaps) Most (perhaps 99.9%) probably have no adaptive advantage, these would thus fail and no 'complexity' would be formed. The ‘correlation’ of ‘observed’ phenomenon with the orchid and moth seems to demonstrate a paired IC phenomenon implying ID. The correlation of these observations seem to … remain in the "outer darkness" of scientific thought - right up there next to the flat earth and geocentric theories … for mutationalists and creationists alike. 2) Demonstration of thousands to millions of 'beneficial DNA-mutations' via artificial selection (at least), and not computer models would seem necessary as well. Correct me if I am wrong: But has there ever been a 'beneficial DNA-mutation demonstrated by artificial selection? 3) The “plausibility” factor seems nill as statistics of complexity-formations fail in what appears the closed entropic system (correct me if I'm wrong).
Conclusion: A likely mechanism for ICs, thus, cannot be inferred by observance of 'homologues' and 'successions' at this point. Pre-adaptive mutations undergo this triple ‘scientific’ impossibility. The IC model ‘appears’ valid for a flagellum-motor and most other ‘complexities’ within stellar and biological forms. ID forces seem highly and conspicuously causative here despite their not being palpable at present.
My guess is your use of "plausible" vs "possible" probably refers in the idea of evolution to Ernst Mayr's willingness to go forward in the face of criticism of the lack of specified 'parameters' of evolution.
The current movement in philosophy of biology however would not appreciate being told it does not make evolution by force without plausibility.
It is possible you are correct, but I tend to think that scientists actually do have all the concepts they need to do their work. The problem is that they may not be supported. If there are facutally millions of years then by the time the sun blows off earth we should be in a position to know this. The problem is that joking jabs aside, it is not nice to be categorically excluded because one may want to reserve the philosophy of time (say post-Bergson)to a dinner conversation only and not be subject to TV commercials that call for speeding up (the time) of "evolution".
Who controls broadcasts should also not be the same people only who recieve behavoir needed to confirm or reject a result of education.
The debate continues...
Hope I never create anything as monolithic as I have in the past.
I think Quetzal and others are still not getting, it so I will put this in every thread I find interesting. Perhaps we are all not familiar with the Laws of information as defined by Dr. Gitt Director of the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (for those of you not familiar with him). He defines eight major theorems having to do with information. I am not saying anything about complexity. There are very complex designs and patterns in the observable world everywhere. The design behind an architectural masterpiece is complex but it does not contain information. Furthermore, DNA and countless other molecules are extremely complex. But the complexity of DNA does not say anything about its information content. Someday someone will undoubtedly figure out how to get a DNA molecule to form artificially (funny thing is even that will take guidance by an intelligent source) but the DNA does not, and will not, have to contain any information whatsoever. The only significance of DNA so far is that it provides the information for life. THE DNA IS NOT THE INFORMATION. It never was and it never will be. Again, that is like saying the words I write are really the information. That is not true. The words I write are the medium for conveying information just as DNA is the medium for conveying information necessary for life. What this means is that information is completely independent of matter or the physical world. It is transcendent in a sense. And yet, it is not amazing or miraculous, for we encounter it daily. We encounter something above and beyond nature everyday; it is regularity, not possibility that changes one’s outlook on a miraculous event. Anyway, the eight theorems generally accepted by individuals in the field of information science are:
1. No information can exist without a code. 2. No code can exist without a free and deliberate convention. 3. No information can exist without the five hierarchical levels: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and apobetics. 4. No information can exist purely in statistical processes. 5. No information can exist without a transmitter. 6. No information chain can exist without a mental origin. 7. No information can exist without an initial mental source; that is, information is by its nature, a mental and not a material quality. 8. No information can exist without a will. Check out http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/magazines/tj/tj_v10n2p181.asp if you would like to see it for yourselves. Again for those of you who haven't read my other posts, let us put forth a definition. If we do not all agree upon debating within the given definition put forth a new one. So consider this: ID is a philosophical standpoint from which research will begin just as evolutionary naturalism is the standpoint from which evolution research begins. ID hypothesizes that there can be natural systems found within nature that contain all the five levels of information, and indeed meet all eight theorems requirements. Therefore, any claim that a system does contain information can be falsified if it does not meet the requirements of information. Finding such systems, or the failure to do so, will either prove or disprove ID’s theory: that a God created the universe. Anything we say about that God goes into other beliefs and propositions. ID is not trying to describe the nature of a system, this can be done without knowing where it came from, which is obvious because so many systems have been described and this debate over origins continues to go on. The decision of origins has never been conclusively reached. Again, ID is not trying to explain how the system works, only the most likely way it got there. For example, for some aborigine to understand a car he need not go back to how the car came to be in the bush. That would tell him nothing about the car. He can however, examine what makes that car go by figuring out how the designer designed it and the laws governing that car which the designer used to make it work. This is what I suggest we debate the merits of ID on. Is it scientific to search for such systems? Are we open to the possibility that the said systems indicate? This and any examples people can put forth refuting or agreeing with the nature of information as well.
Gerhard: I totally agree with everything you posted in your first paragraph concerning information. How's that for 100% concordance? I am especially gratified by your statement:
quote:But the complexity of DNA does not say anything about its information content. Someday someone will undoubtedly figure out how to get a DNA molecule to form artificially (funny thing is even that will take guidance by an intelligent source) but the DNA does not, and will not, have to contain any information whatsoever. The only significance of DNA so far is that it provides the information for life. THE DNA IS NOT THE INFORMATION. It never was and it never will be. (emphasis added because I REALLY like this statement. This is precisely the point I have been belaboring with ChaseNelson, among others, on this very board. Thank you!)
I also appreciate your succinct elaboration of what ID is proposing. If all ID proponents were as clear and straightforward as your post indicated, I would have absolutely no problem with research involved in determining whether or not such a mechanism exists. You might find it surprising, given some of my other posts, but I honestly don't reject ID a priori as a philosophical basis for possible scientific research (although I do think that bringing a deity into the equation unnecessarily complicates the problem).
My biggest heartburn with ID stems from the fact that a majority of its proponents have placed the "cart before the horse". They have gone from a philosophical basis directly to demanding that ID be taught in schools alongside (or in some cases instead of) evolution. There is literally NO basis for this stance. ID, whatever its merits as a potential research area, has yet to generate any valid data. Beyond "Designer of the gaps" and "argument from incredulity", NONE of the major ID proponents and organizations have developed any empirical information in support of their theory. That being the case, there is no justification for teaching ID in any public school. Develop the basic information, make the basic observations, identify the mechanisms, and THEN ID proponents may have a valid argument. Until then, the entire field is tainted with the politico-religious agendas of its major writers. This is my fundamental problem with the likes of Sen. Santorum - to which you apparently (if for me not very coherently) took exception on the other thread - he is attempting to use his political authority to impose his particular philosophical stance on publicly-funded science education. ID proponents should be shunning people like Santorum like the plague - every time a scientist sees shenanigans like this, it reduces even further the perceived legitimacy of ID as a science.
If you would reread my post to which you responded, you'll find the basic question I asked is not "Prove ID", but rather "What are/were the fundamental observations in nature that form the basis of ID?" I even provided four "type" observations that tend to support a more conventional evolutionary theory. Arguing the negative ("evolution hasn't proven that eubacterial flagella could evolve naturally") doesn't provide positive evidence for ID. This is a straight "Designer of the gaps" fallacy. Absence of evidence doesn't necessarily imply evidence of absence. Science's "I don't know - yet", isn't the equivalent of "ID is true".
I'd be greatly appreciative if you could provide one or two observations, such as I provided, from nature that would substantiate the basic theory of ID you've laid out. Thanks.
Does this constitute "getting it"?
It is transcendent in a sense. And yet, it is not amazing or miraculous, for we encounter it daily. We encounter something above and beyond nature everyday; it is regularity, not possibility that changes one’s outlook on a miraculous event.[/QUOTE]
There's nothing transcendant about genetics, except in the narrow sense that an argument can be made in favor of a cell, for instance, showing evidence of emergent properties - and you'll get a lot of disagreement on THAT assertion as well, from a lot of scientists. Also, it's possible to look at every level (from the organic chemistry level to ecosystem) as a complex adaptive system - CAS can be a useful perceptual tool. However, I would argue that there is nothing "above and beyond nature" in anything we observe in nature, nor that there is anything resembling an objective "miraculous event". Other than that, no argument from me...
[This message has been edited by Quetzal, 05-10-2002]
I would say you "got it" but you use the ole' God of the gaps thing that creationists a hundred years ago fell back on. To say God made the universe does not say we cannot comprehensively understand all that he has made. However, to understand ultimately why information is not really a part of material existence is something we should leave up to God. I would be interested in someone describing the laws of where I or you come up with anything we think. There are trends in thought which lead us to think things usually, but that doesn't explain where the thoughts come from. For example, how did we come up with the idea of fairies? We took all kinds of things from nature, like people, wings, short people, happy feelings etc. and then the rest came from ourselves. That is not describable by nature. So in that sense, I don't think we will ever be able to describe where the idea of atoms, as opposed to something else came from. Why the strong force and electromagnetism? Surely there could be other natural systems with different names that do different things that we have never before encountered. I would not put past in omnipotent God the ability to come up with a new nature that can be investigated in full. We cannot know where or how God thought something up, but if it is rational in its mechanisms like nature, then I am pretty sure we can understand how it works and why it works.
As far as the notion of transcendendance, I might have been a little unclear. If information does not come from nature than it cannot be a part of it. It is information, not DNA or genetics, that is transcendental. In the same way, reason, which cannot blossom from nature, is above and beyond nature, but that was all a philosophical aside. We are used to the constant bombardment of information and reason, two things that do not come from nature and therefore might be considered miraculous. That all depends on your definition of miracle.
Finally, I am not concerned about ID in education. Like any new field of research it has some way to go before we start teaching it. If students would like to consider alternative explanations for origins that it is up to them. It is sad that most students are complacent and do not desire to look into the big questions, but that is entirely up to them. It does say, afterall, in most textbooks that evolution is a theory. If they want to be sastified with only one possibility that is up to the student.
Oh yes, as far as an example of a system containing undeniable evidences with regards to showing vast amounts of information, I think i mentioned that DNA is a system which stores that kind of information. DNA is the main system behind life so that's probably a pretty good starting example. When I find another system that doesn't cover practically everything in its field (biology) I'll be sure to inform you.
[This message has been edited by Gerhard, 05-10-2002]
What I am working on this regard is to build first an ISO 7-layer biodiveristy informatic node communication model that with the hardware and software testing advances that could acrue out of the information that un-regulated data transfer can faciliated (Gitt's divisions??) done to use by GBIF users I would attempt to enter the centerd evolution thinking of the time that that becomes reality using logic carrier choice as a critical motivator of progress in determinint biologic change of protoplasm dimensions.
Steven J. Gould's efficacy would be circumcriable in the scope of Gitt, iwould guess and Gish's DNA would be given, life will not be created, and the lab will be able to use the 7 layer function divided assembly lines to ordinate some cardinality of levels of selection in nature and the polymorphism issue will be left to the use of postioning whatever mutations would support the creativity of the trait enveloped...the interface would have much to do without sociobiology but that is to say even more than I feel freed real up.
[This message has been edited by Brad McFall, 05-13-2002]
Extremely impressive vocabulary Mr. McFall. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how it is supposed to read and what you are replying in regards to. I am guessing by what can be understood that you are either designing a model that can produce new information purely by natural processes in general or only in DNA. Please clarify, and I say this humbly because I am only a junior in highschool, but clarify with a little more in layman's terms if you could. Also, from what I have read of Stephen J. Gould I have not seen how "his efficacy would be circumscribable in the scope of Gitt." Finally, is "Gish" supposed to be Gitt (sorry, but some other words were spelled wrong and I can't be sure.) It sounds like if were comprehensible, it might be interesting and I would like to understand.
quote:Originally posted by Gerhard: Extremely impressive vocabulary Mr. McFall. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how it is supposed to read and what you are replying in regards to. I am guessing by what can be understood that you are either designing a model that can produce new information purely by natural processes in general or only in DNA. Please clarify, and I say this humbly because I am only a junior in highschool, but clarify with a little more in layman's terms if you could. Also, from what I have read of Stephen J. Gould I have not seen how "his efficacy would be circumscribable in the scope of Gitt." Finally, is "Gish" supposed to be Gitt (sorry, but some other words were spelled wrong and I can't be sure.) It sounds like if were comprehensible, it might be interesting and I would like to understand.
Umm, if you can't understand Brad, then it is a very good sign. He has a bit of a problem stringing together meaningful sentences! As to your question, I think one of the problems is that you define information as something that has the prerequisite of an intelligent source. Indeed, if this definition is true, then you've a point. My argument is simply that the 'information' contained in DNA is not necessarily the handiwork of a designer (or at best a clumsy one). For example, why should so much of DNA consist of 'junk'? If anything, this junk DNA prevents a smooth flow of information. Secondly, DNA is subject to the laws of chemical bonding. The question is whether or not there is an opportunity for these types of chemicals to produce a self-replicating sequence without intelligent intervention. Can you show why intelligence is an absolute requirement?
On second thought, no offense Mr. McFall, but if you don't want to try to clarify the post, then please don't. I have read alot of your other posts and frankly, there seems to be a communication failure in all of them, so unless its comprehensible save us both some time and don't reply please. I read you post probably 20 times and I still don't get it so I'm pretty sure anything else you say will fly right by me too.
Joe: can you show an example where information does not come from an intelligent source? Why should I be refuting or backing a definition of information that seems to be accepted in its field? I think that is the job of the men who spent years of research on the evidence that led them to the definition. Its not like I have asked you to prove an example of where the Law of Conservation of Energy is not true. That is so far next to impossible. If you disagree with the definition why don't you point out an example of where it doesn't work?
Perhaps you did not read the theorems, also. Self-replicating sequences do not constitute information. I could do this: I do I do I do I do I do I do I do- forever and it would not be information; people would just think the post was really done by McFall. And how the actual medium is organized and what it consists (with regards to DNA) of does not say anything about the information stored in it. I could program something ridiculous on the computer with all sorts of extra junk language that is useless, but if I made the entire program meaningful and thus, with an information content it would still be information. What's more, the program would still be coming from me. I cannot personally show why information cannot originate independently of a mental source because I do not have a full grasp of the mathematics behind information sciences. But then, I don't have a full grasp behind the mathematics of general relativity and if I were to argue that Newtonian physics is not applicable to all circumstances in nature I would still be correct. So I don't have to know every technicality behind the general principle. Again, I am open to any example that actually goes against the definition I put forth. Like I also said in one of my posts- any other proposition we make about that deity (i.e. he is clumsy) goes beyond what I am discussing.
[This message has been edited by Gerhard, 05-13-2002]
It is sometimes said that there's only a thin line between genius and insanity. Brad's posts are very difficult to interpret, and I think it's due to two causes. One is that his vocabulary is large and his sentence structure is both complex and incorrect, stringing together multiple noun/verb clauses in a froth that leaves one gasping for air. The other is that he combines concepts from seemingly disparate disciplines together in unexpected ways.
In light of the story of John Nash, a graduate of my alma mater recently made famous by Hollywood, it might be wise to give Brad's contributions a careful look. I don't pretend to be any better than anyone else at making sense of them, but to dismiss them as nonsense is, I think, a mistake.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gerhard: [B]Joe: can you show an example where information does not come from an intelligent source? Why should I be refuting or backing a definition of information that seems to be accepted in its field? I think that is the job of the men who spent years of research on the evidence that led them to the definition. [/QUOTE]
JM: Actually, in the case of ID, it was due to years of trouble getting creationism into the classroom that led to the definition!
quote: Perhaps you did not read the theorems, also. Self-replicating sequences do not constitute information.
JM: I did not make this claim. I asked whether or not self-replicating molecules could form without intelligent intervention. You claim they can. I agree.
quote:I cannot personally show why information cannot originate independently of a mental source because I do not have a full grasp of the mathematics behind information sciences.
JM: that's the rub isn't it? You cannot show this, yet you believe in it for religious reasons! Now, before you go off to far I do not feel it is wrong to refer to DNA coding as 'information'. I simply do not ascribe that to an intelligent source. The only way for you to do so is to simply make a bald assertion.
quote: But then, I don't have a full grasp behind the mathematics of general relativity and if I were to argue that Newtonian physics is not applicable to all circumstances in nature I would still be correct. So I don't have to know every technicality behind the general principle.
JM: However, if you want to come up with a quantum theory of gravity, then you must go beyond the basic principles. The mere assertion that 'information', as applied to biological systems, requires an intelligent designer is simply a leap of faith. It is not required.
quote: Again, I am open to any example that actually goes against the definition I put forth. Like I also said in one of my posts- any other proposition we make about that deity (i.e. he is clumsy) goes beyond what I am discussing.
JM: Actually, it is not beyond the scope of the discussion. You have done NOTHING more than to assert that biological information requires an intelligent source. How could we falsify this assertion? What evidence would lead you to conclude that 'information theory' as applied to biological systems would not require an intelligent designer?