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Author Topic:   What could/would falsify Irreducible Complexity?
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1723 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 61 of 72 (485788)
10-11-2008 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Kevin123
10-11-2008 6:26 PM


The concept of irreducible complexity makes the theory of evolution laughable

Do you have any examples of anything that is irreduciably complex?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 60 by Kevin123, posted 10-11-2008 6:26 PM Kevin123 has responded

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Coyote
Member (Idle past 186 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 62 of 72 (485803)
10-11-2008 7:57 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Kevin123
10-11-2008 6:26 PM


ID again
If people were able to separate religion from this debate ID would be an accepted theory.

Well, now that's the trick isn't it?

But unfortunately the leading proponent of ID, the Discovery Institute, is firmly associated with pushing a religious viewpoint rather than conducting scientific investigation.

Their Wedge Strategy, a fundraising and planning document which somehow leaked out and was posted on the internet, gave the whole sordid scheme away. Some excerpts:

quote:
We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions. ...

Governing Goals

    * To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
    * To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.


This is why ID is firmly associated with religion.

Oh, and there is always "cdesign proponentsists" -- in which a creationist textbook was converted into a "design proponents" textbook by just doing some cut and pastes. Except that they accidentally left "cdesign proponentsists" in the text, the perfect missing link between "creationists" and "design proponents" -- whoops!


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
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Kevin123
Junior Member (Idle past 3150 days)
Posts: 23
From: Texas, USA
Joined: 10-11-2008


Message 63 of 72 (485804)
10-11-2008 7:57 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by cavediver
10-11-2008 6:34 PM


I would consider anything that needs all its parts to function to be irreducibly complex.

An example that I could use would the be Bombardier Beetle's chemical gun. It shoots chemicals out of seperate compartments that when mixed heat up to over 200 degrees. How could small modifications over time create that kind of weaponry on a bug. Either the system exists as whole or it doesn't work. In fact any mutated version would be life threatening since if the chemicals mix the bug would blow itself up.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3310
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 64 of 72 (485811)
10-11-2008 8:57 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Kevin123
10-11-2008 7:57 PM


Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded Over 25 Years Ago
I started studying "creation science" in 1980. A few years later, my first discussion with a creationist was prompted by my question whether Christian doctrine approved of lying in the service of their god. He was astounded at the question and responded with an unequivocal "no" and asked why I raised such a question. So I told him about the "Bomby" (that's what the creationists would call him) claim that you just repeated and how Gish of the ICR publically admitted that that claim was wrong after a public demonstration that the chemicals in fact do not explode nor react violently with each other. And then after that public admission, Gish and the ICR simply continued making that admittedly false claim with the full knowledge that it's false. And, nearly 30 years later, they're still making that false claim, as evidenced by you having also heard it.

Most of the claims creationists make come from the 1970's (since the "creation science" deception was created circa 1970 in the wake of Epperson vs Arkansas (1968) which caused the "monkey laws" to be struck down) and they had all been soundly refuted by the early 1980's. You see, during the 70's the creationists' debate road show had been chewing up their opponents piece-meal, mainly because none of them knew anything about the creationists' false claims. So those "evolutionist" opponents started studying up and checking out the claims and started sharing the results of their research with each other. Thus they were able to turn the tide circa 1980 and a national clearinghouse for that information, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE -- http://www.ncseweb.org), was formed. Its mainly periodic publication is "NCSE Reports", but that had grown out of its early publications, the Creation/Evolution Newsletter and the journal, "Creation/Evolution".

Issue #3 of "Creation/Evolution", Winter 1981, contained the article,"The Bombadier Beetle Myth Exploded". It's posted on the NCSE site at http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/3955_issue_03_volume_2_number_1__2_21_2003.asp.

There's also a newsgroup that has been discussing the issue for decades, talk.origins . They also have a website, The Talk.Origins Archive at http://www.talkorigins.org, which is a most excellent repository of articles and information on creationist claims and also on how the science they misuse actually works.

Searching for "bombardier beetle" in the archive produced many hits. Two of the first three are from a project in which creationist claims have been collected and categorized and given a brief refutation with links to more complete explanations:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB310.html -- Claim CB310:
The bombardier beetle cannot be explained by evolution. It must have been designed.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB310_1.html -- Claim CB310.1:
The bombardier beetle would explode if the hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone that produce their ejecta were mixed without a chemical inhibitor. Such a combination of chemicals could not have evolved.

And the first hit was for an article written in 1997, "Bombardier Beetles and the Argument of Design", at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html

Oh, and those chemicals are not unique to Bomby, but rather exist in many other insects, as you will learn as you read those articles.

You're behind by decades, so I recommend that you start reading so you can catch up.


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 Message 63 by Kevin123, posted 10-11-2008 7:57 PM Kevin123 has responded

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Kevin123
Junior Member (Idle past 3150 days)
Posts: 23
From: Texas, USA
Joined: 10-11-2008


Message 65 of 72 (485817)
10-11-2008 11:24 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by dwise1
10-11-2008 8:57 PM


Re: Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded Over 25 Years Ago
Ok, I take back the exploding part. Still I don’t believe such a system could have evolved through random mutations even after reading a few of the theories you posted. Evolutionist claim that it started with quinones used to harden the shells and somehow hydrogen peroxide got involved resulting finally in a very cool bug defense system.

So my question would be why would the first bug that mutated to store these quinones in a compartment have dominated the natural selection process. Then when the next mutation occurs and a bug develops a second hydrogen peroxide compartment why would that bug survive and pass on that new traite. And the next and the next... The final product is an impressive defense mechanism but I don't see the natural selection explains a gradual process.

I guess I would look at it like the mount rushmore analogy. Three cavemen stumble upon MT Rushmore, one religious, one evolutionist, and one intelligent design advocate. They are all amazed since they do not possess the tools or knowledge to create something that big and complex. The religious caveman says: they must be gods lets worship them. The evolutionist comes up with theories on how the forces of wind and rain eroded the rock just right over billions of years. The intelligence design caveman says someone more advanced and intelligent must have created this.

Ultimately how would any of the three prove their theory. They cannot. The evolutionist cites erosion patterns, and states that given enough time and trillions of mountains on trillions of planets one was bound to come out like that. He even points out other mountains and rocks that vaguely resemble a person or animal as proof. The creationist cites the mathematical improbability and the complexity of it. The religious caveman cites the bible. I think the reason that evolution is appealing because of the three it does not require anything outside of their understanding.

When I look at bugs with weapons systems before we had guns, ants with coordination and communication that we still do not understand and that makes our species look bad, a bacterial flagellum that is more efficient than any engine we have and DNA that looks like software code, I see intelligence. Can I prove it, no. All I can do is point out that in everything that we can observe order does not come out of chaos unless intelligence is involved.

Experiments to produce a living cell from non-living material fail. Even the experiment that tried to prove amino acids could result from random forces in an early earth has been discredited. The day evolution can replicate the creation of a living cell I will reconsider my position. Surely if it happened randomly, we should be able to duplicate with our technology and intelligence.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2796 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 66 of 72 (485822)
10-12-2008 1:36 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Kevin123
10-11-2008 11:24 PM


Scientists as idiots
The evolutionist comes up with theories on how the forces of wind and rain eroded the rock just right over billions of years.
When one requires the scientist in an analogy to be a complete idiot for the analogy to work one might want to work on the analogy.

The randomness of evolutionary processes, the bit analogous to the wind and rain, only applies to the mutations and not to the selection. An evolutionist would likely know this and, unless you add something to your analogy to equate with selection, wouldn't tend to get confused. Evolutionist leanings are irrelevant to geologic processes.

So, now that the evolutionist and the creationist are of a mind how would they go about discovering the identity of the creator. Archeology comes to mind.

I think the reason that evolution is appealing because of the three it does not require anything outside of their understanding.
You do realize don't you that the evolutionist is the only member of your trio who expressed any comfort with not understanding? They may have no patients with it, but they don't fill the hole with even greater enigmas. There are a great many things I am ignorant of, should I doubt my experience or attribute those things to a superior intelligence?

All I can do is point out that in everything that we can observe order does not come out of chaos unless intelligence is involved.
Snowflakes tell the lie of that argument. You need to find an example of a order that violates thermodynamic. Then you can bypass that lame "complexity" argument and stop spinning your wheels.

The day evolution can replicate the creation of a living cell I will reconsider my position. Surely if it happened randomly, we should be able to duplicate with our technology and intelligence.
And when you can recite all thirty odd volumes of The Encyclopedia Britannica from memory I'll believe in it.

Edited by lyx2no, : Typo

Edited by lyx2no, : Typo

Edited by lyx2no, : Missed it.


Kindly

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

When I was young I loved everything about cigarettes: the smell, the taste, the feel … everything. Now that I’m older I’ve had a change of heart. Want to see the scar?


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3310
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 67 of 72 (485829)
10-12-2008 4:14 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Kevin123
10-11-2008 11:24 PM


Re: Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded Over 25 Years Ago
Still I don’t believe such a system could have evolved through random mutations even after reading a few of the theories you posted.

"random mutations"? What are you talking about? We're saying that it evolved. You're completely ignoring the role of selection.

BTW, misrepresenting evolution as operating solely by "random mutations" has been an all too common creationist practice for decades. You're not the first to be deceived by them.

So my question would be why would the first bug that mutated to store these quinones in a compartment have dominated the natural selection process. Then when the next mutation occurs and a bug develops a second hydrogen peroxide compartment why would that bug survive and pass on that new traite. And the next and the next... The final product is an impressive defense mechanism but I don't see the natural selection explains a gradual process.

There are a number of things you need to learn and study:

1. Logic. Or at least the informal logical fallacies. So you can recognize when they're being used, both by others and by yourself.

Your use of argument from incredulity here, for example. You don't understand it, therefore you conclude that it's wrong. No, all that really means is that you don't understand it. The solution is not to reject it out-of-hand, but rather to learn more about it.

2. Evolutionary theory. If you are going to critique something, then shouldn't you at least know something about it? If you are going to oppose evolution, shouldn't you have learned everything you could about it? Otherwise, how could you possibly be effective in your efforts?

3. "God of the Gaps". It's a false theology that believes that God lies in the gaps of our knowledge. It diminishes God into a pathetic impotent deity who must forever hide in fear of Man's science and growing knowledge which cause those gaps to constantly shrink. It is also the fundamental operational theology behind creationist and IDist thinking, that if something can be explained in natural terms, then that eliminates God. Your flawed Mt Rushmore analogy bespeaks of a "God of the Gaps" mentality.

4. "Creation science" claims. You've already seen that the claims you are being fed are false and that they have a history in which they were formed and refuted. Learn those histories. Find out where those claims came from and what the responses to them have been. Discover yourself how they are lying to you, rather than having to endure us having to educate you in a public forum.

Reread the article at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html, realizing that an invagination would be the beginning of a chamber. That an invagination at the site where the chemicals are produced would enable the organism to concentrate them there, which would make them more effective as a defense and would be selected for. That selection continues from generation to generation with each generation being the starting point for the next (Dawkins called this cumulative selection and probability models show it to be very effective). You should also keep in mind that you're dealing with a population, such that it is not a question of the probability of a single line of descent possessing the changes necessary being small, but rather that the probability that none of the lines of descent would -- that latter probability becomes vanishingly small. If any immediate advantage is to be had, then it will be selected for and the offspring possessing that advantage will be the starting point for the next generation.

Edited by dwise1, : word choice: diminish instead of belittle


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cavediver
Member (Idle past 1723 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 68 of 72 (485831)
10-12-2008 4:50 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Kevin123
10-11-2008 11:24 PM


Re: Bombardier Beetle Myth Exploded Over 25 Years Ago
Ok, I take back the exploding part. Still I don’t believe such a system could have evolved through random mutations

Why would anyone care what you believe? You have already demonstrated a woeful lack of knowledge of the subject you are attempting to critique, and you seem to have a suspiciously large axe to grind for one who claims to not be religious. You produce no "evidence" that hasn't been refuted a million times and you present some of the most pathetic of analogies straight from the creationist/ID arsenal. Perhaps you should actually take some time to learn this subject before embarressing yourself further?


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 69 of 72 (485851)
10-12-2008 12:14 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Kevin123
10-11-2008 6:26 PM


simple problems ...
Welcome to the fray, Kevin123,

The test would be easily conducted. You use two separate rooms and each of these rooms would contain different materials. In the first room random forces would be applied to the materials, in the second room an intelligent agent (human) would be introduced. Which one produces an item that is IC? Conduct that experiment billions of times and the results would be the same. Therefore based on scientific methods which is the better theory based on experimentation and observation?

If you are attempting to test ID against evolution, then (a) this is not a falsification test for ID, as both could work at different speeds and who finished first is irrelevant, and (b) it is not a representation of evolution but of random events, so the failure of this portion signifies nothing (while eventual success would be noteworthy). Likewise the testing of human intelligent design against human intelligent design proves nothing, because we already have an exceedingly high opinion of our intelligence, and think that anything we do approaches god-hood.

You are also not considering other possibilities that are possible. Let me rephrase your proposal to show some of your logical errors:

There are three rooms, in one you have a computer in a room operated by random code generation processes capable of being guided by an outside undetectable (ie supernatural) intelligence, in the second room you have a human programmer before a computer, and in the third you have a computer that operates by a simple algorithm: try 10 variations, take the best solution, make 10 variations on it and test again.

The first one models intelligent supernatural design, the second models intelligent human design, and the third one models mutation and selection.

The task is to design something that a human cannot design. Which one/s do you think will succeed? Do you consider the failure of the first room as falsification of ID?

Note that this third example is a common occurrence these days

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_computation

quote:
Evolutionary computation uses iterative progress, such as growth or development in a population. This population is then selected in a guided random search using parallel processing to achieve the desired end. Such processes are often inspired by biological mechanisms of evolution.

Note that this is serious science, and there is at least one journal dedicated to it:

http://www.mitpressjournals.org/loi/evco?cookieSet=1

quote:
Evolutionary Computation provides an international forum for facilitating and enhancing the exchange of information among researchers involved in both the theoretical and practical aspects of computational systems of an evolutionary nature.

The journal publishes both theoretical and practical developments of computational systems drawing their inspiration from nature, with particular emphasis on evolutionary algorithms (EAs), including, but not limited to, genetic algorithms (GAs), evolution strategies (ESs), evolutionary programming (EP), genetic programming (GP), classifier systems (CSs), and other natural computation techniques.


Enjoy.

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Edited by RAZD, : added "likewise" sentence

Edited by RAZD, : clarity inside the first room


we are limited in our ability to understand
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Rebel American Zen Deist
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This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3310
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 70 of 72 (485873)
10-12-2008 4:10 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by RAZD
10-12-2008 12:14 PM


Re: simple problems ...
In an old EE Times (trade journal), Colin Johnson reported on an evolutionary computation project in which a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) was evolved into an amplifier. The result worked very well and was highly complex -- irreducibly complex, in that any change to it after the fact that a person would try would cause it to fail to work. Instead of being digital, it made use of the digital circuits' analog characteristics, something that no intelligent designer would have thought of attempting. I'm not even sure whether the researchers were ever able to completely figure out the design.

The lesson I pulled from that article is that the product of intelligent design is modular and fairly simple, whereas the product of evolutionary processes is complex, even irreducibly complex.

Sorry, I have no reference to that article. I xeroxed it back then (about a decade ago) and it's filed away somewhere, but I don't know in which box in that big stack of boxes.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 71 of 72 (485877)
10-12-2008 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by dwise1
10-12-2008 4:10 PM


Re: simple problems ... complex solutions?
Yeah I've heard similar stories. The one I like is the optimized antenna design:

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/000880.html

quote:
Evolutionary design is a computerized creative process which relies on the same notions of natural selection and mutation that underlie biological evolution. Take a large number of individuals, each slightly different. Introduce some mutation, either by randomizing small bits or mixing elements from individuals (the electronic version of sexual reproduction). Check the resulting generation against the goal -- how well do the various designs accomplish the needed task? Get rid of some of the designs that do very poorly, add more of the designs that do fairly well. Now repeat the process. Many thousands of times.

Click to enlarge

NASA's 2004 conference on evolvable hardware just finished up, and it turns out that NASA is doing some of the most interesting work around with evolutionary design. The Evolvable Systems Group researches techniques for engineering hardware for NASA missions without explicit blueprints. Antenna design consumes a great deal of their attention, as some of the interactions between components in the antenna frame and with the spacecraft itself can be very difficult to model. The antennas that the evolutionary designs come up with often don't really look like traditional devices (see above), but that's okay: it's how they work that counts.

As funky as these antenna designs are, I think that the most intriguing research the ESG is now doing is with coevolutionary algorithms. (The ESG site links to a paper on coevolutionary design the group did for the 2002 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation here -- PDF. It's heavy going, but interesting.) Whereas traditional evolutionary design is a strictly Darwinian, competitive process, coevolutionary design integrates cooperative aspects as well, making for a richer, more complex evolutionary environment -- and one which better mimics reality.



(link in the original)

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
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This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19759
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 6.4


Message 72 of 72 (485879)
10-12-2008 4:47 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by dwise1
10-12-2008 4:10 PM


Irreducible Complexity, Evolution and Falsification of the ID premise
The result worked very well and was highly complex -- irreducibly complex, in that any change to it after the fact that a person would try would cause it to fail to work.

We have also seen "irreducibly complex" functions evolve in biological systems (Irreducible Complexity, Information Loss and Barry Hall’s experiments), and the point to be made is that this falsifies the ID conclusion that IC systems must be designed if they can't evolve.

Once you have demonstrated that ONE IC system can evolve naturally then the onus shifts for proof on any other IC system to show that it cannot possibly evolve if you are going to use the ID argument.

This of course is an impossible task (proving a negative) and thus the concept that an IC system is proof of ID is falsified.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
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