For example Archaeologists infer intelligence in an artifacts formation by looking for specified design clues. That is to say features that the archaeologist recognizes as being formed with purpose in mind.
And what objective purpose have you identified in life forms? Don't confuse function with intelligent purpose. A natural bridge can function as a bridge without having been intelligently designed for that purpose. A complex cave system can function as the habitat for numerous organisms without having been intelligently designed for that purpose.
Marine biologists detect levels of intelligence in dolphins by studying specified communication patterns of the dolphins. That is to say, patterns that the biologist recognizes as having specific meanings to the dolphin community.
They are assessing biological intelligence that comes from brains. Unintelligent organisms also have "specified communication patterns", so it's a mistake to infer from examples like ourselves and the dolphins that communication requires intelligence.
And finally, SETI scientists search for extra terrestrial intelligence by looking for specific radio signals that are narrow in bandwidth and are known only to occur artificially by an intelligent source with an intended purpose.
Note that in all three of these scientific fields, intelligence is being detected by something that can be termed as "specificity." Specificity can be defined like this: A distinguishing quality or attribute explicitly set forth; as Intended for, applying to, or acting on a particular thing: Something particularly fitted to a use or purpose.
Once again, don't confuse any function we can specify with intelligent purpose. By using the word "intended" above, you seem to be assuming your conclusions. In all of your examples, scientists are looking for intelligence in known biological beings with nervous systems and brains, or (with SETI) hypothetical biological beings from other life systems. Intelligence is a known attribute of some life forms, but is not known to exist independently of a life system (our machines aren't independent of us, even if we manage to make intelligent ones).
JBR(my bold) writes:
Any event or object which exhibits a pattern that matches a foreknown pattern that was completely interdependent of the first. In other words, for an observer to test for specificity, he must be able to recognize it from a completely independent experience. This can either be a pattern that produces a recognition response or a functional response. Therefore if specificity is recognized by the scientific community as a sign of intelligence, then whenever we observe it we can conclude that its origins are from an intelligent source.
"Specificity" is not recognized by the scientific community as being necessarily a sign of intelligence.
I repeat: Unintelligent organisms also have "specified communication patterns", so it's a mistake to infer from examples like ourselves and the dolphins that communication requires intelligence.
DNA uses specified base code sequences and arrangements as the blue prints to build the correct cells. Here we have a clear case of code being transmitted, and then received to producing a functional response match, completely independent of the first (specificity). Devoid of any observable evidence that shows how it can possibly form naturally, it should be concluded to have originated from an intelligent source. Yet seemingly, for completely unscientific personally biased reasons, that conclusion is rejected time and time again.
Chemical function and communication is not confined to intelligent organisms, so why associate it with intelligence? Bacteria communicate with each other in chemical codes, and translate signals into action.
And intelligence is only associated with life systems, so it's hardly a likely explanation for the origin of life, is it?
And what objective purpose have you identified in life forms? Don't confuse function with intelligent purpose.
Ummm... tap, tap, tap, (on the screen). Did you miss the part of the definition for specificity that includes "function?"
No. What I was questioning is your use of the word "purpose" (and later, "intent"). I was suggesting that you were assuming that "function" implies intelligent purpose and intent. I pointed out to you that "function" is commonly produced by unintelligent processes.
By "objective purpose", I meant purpose from the designer's perspective. You were talking about archaeology, and archaeologists perceiving intelligent design in objects they uncover. They perceive this partly because they are familiar with the designers (us) and our purpose in making tools, weapons and buildings. So, what I wanted to know was: what intelligent purpose do we see in life forms? What are bacteria for from a designer's perspective? What's a giraffe for? What is Plasmodium falciparum for?
Because you've brought up archaeology, I want to know how biologists can see intelligent purpose in organisms in the same way that an archaeologist can perceive intelligent purpose in an arrowhead or an axe or the foundations of the building. Once again, don't confuse function as being a purpose from the perspective of the designer.
For example a combination lock requires a specific code to be entered before it performs the "function" of unlocking. Of course I'm not going to cite lame functions like, how a hand is perfectly fitted to grasp, or anything like that. However DNA, on the other hand, uses specified base code sequences and arrangements as the blue prints to build all the correct cells, in all the correct locations.
This illustrates your fundamental mistake. You look at DNA, and then at something which is intelligently designed by an organism (the combination lock by humans) and see an analogy between the two. I've already pointed out that both intelligent and unintelligent organisms use "specific codes". Chemical signals are actually used as the prime method of communication by unintelligent organisms far more often than by intelligent ones.
Because you can see a similarity in DNA and things that we humans make does not make an argument for intelligent design. We build canals and irrigation ditches. But the first cultures to do so would have been wrong if, because of this fact, they assumed that their gods had designed the rivers and streams.
Archaeologists are not looking for signs of intelligence. They're seeking evidence of ancient human cultures.
I think that they frequently look for signs of intelligently designed artifacts as evidence for ancient human cultures. The effect of intelligent tool use on things is probably the easiest way to identify ancient human presence in any area, don't you think? (Apart from the bones of ancient humans themselves, of course).
Archaeologists no more have a method for detecting intelligence than creationists.
Archaeologists don't have a strict formula, certainly, but use a number of observations. They certainly don't have a formula that would apply universally, and therefore nothing that could be used by those who argue for intelligent design by unknown designers in the biosphere.
I think that they frequently look for signs of intelligently designed artifacts as evidence for ancient human cultures.
Perhaps this is what archaeologist do in effect, but it cannot be true that scientist actually search for intelligence. If their search was truly for intelligence, then design proponents could describe that procedure in detail and at least make the attempt to apply it to nature.
They (design proponents) can't apply the complex combination of observations and knowledge of archaeologists to biology because, as I said in the post you're replying to:
"Archaeologists don't have a strict formula, certainly, but use a number of observations. They certainly don't have a formula that would apply universally, and therefore nothing that could be used by those who argue for intelligent design by unknown designers in the biosphere."
Design proponents claim that real scientists simply know designed objects when they see them and that Iders should allowed to claim the same ability for biological things.
Sort of. More precisely, what they tend to do is try to argue by analogy. That's why I've pointed out to Just Being Real that our intelligently designed canals are no reason to infer that rivers are intelligently designed.
NoNukes already provided the answer. I'll just add that if it were really true that archaeologists seek "the effect of intelligent tool use" it would mean they're able to distinguish it from "unintelligent tool use," whatever that is.
Would it? Or would it mean that they would just have to distinguish it from "everything else"?
But of course that's not what they do.
They seek signs of what people do, intelligent or not, from coprolites, ancient footpaths and campfires to spearheads, buildings, housewares and artwork.
Sure. And how do they distinguish the rocks in the picture below from a natural formation? The excessive presence of human coprolites?
If you think archaeologists are detecting signs of intelligence rather than signs of human activity,……
Those two aren't mutually exclusive. Signs of intelligent design are assumed (perfectly reasonably) to be signs of human activity.
then try to describe how archaeologists detect intelligence and how it differs from merely detecting human activity.
It's effectively a subset of detecting human activity. Largely because we're the only high level intelligent designers known to operate on this planet.
I've already pointed out that archaeologists do not have a specific formula. Think of the observations you yourself can make about the rocks in the picture I posted above. From the picture alone, are they observations that would conclusively eliminate intelligent biological aliens visiting this planet as possible agents who could be responsible for the rocks? At first glance, what is there about them that has to be human?
Of course, even from the limited information in that one picture, we could very reasonably assume that the stonework is human. I certainly would. But that reasonable initial assumption might come at least partially from the fact that we're the only beings capable of such stuff known to have existed on this planet, and we have no evidence at all to suggest there were any other beings of our level of intelligence operating here.
Do you suppose that it is necessary to know every facet of somethings purpose just to be able to infer intelligent design?
Just being real writes:
Could a child who never saw a gun, distinguish an AR-15 military assault riffle from naturally occurring things in the forest? Or would he have to know exactly what it does and why it was made first?
Don't things in forests have "specificity"?
The child actually might be generally aware of purpose in manufactured articles without knowing the specific purpose of that one. Just like we might recognise general purpose behind putting blocks of stone on other blocks of stone without knowing the specific purpose of Stone Henge.
Well I would say that in the same way an arrowhead sparks an independent recognition response in the archaeologist, the incredibly specific order of base code sequences and arrangements of DNA sparks an independent recognition response in the micro biologists who have cracked that code.
Just Being Real writes:
There is no fundamental mistake here BG. One could make the argument that a combination lock is not intelligent. The object that uses the specificity to perform basic functions does not need to be aware that it is doing so. However the lock example illustrates how we (the observers) can detect intelligence in somethings design when we see a specific independent recognition response take place. When the correct code is entered into the lock, or the correct code is read in the DNA sequence. It is still recognizable specificity. And thus far we humans have only "observed" specificity form from intelligent sources.
There is a mistake. We have observed what you are calling "specificity" from both unintelligent sources and intelligent sources. Remember that your examples of intelligent designers are always organisms. Your precise observation should be that we have observed signal systems and codes being used by both unintelligent and intelligent organisms. That takes away your reason for associating such things with intelligent design alone.
You can also observe that both intelligent and unintelligent organisms are dependent on the DNA system. So you can make a further observation. "Code" and "specificity" are prerequisites for all known intelligent designers.
From that, you can come up with an inductive scientific law, if you like.
"Specificity" is a necessary prerequisite for intelligence.
Incidentally, archaeologists find out things about the past from looking at things in the present. Biologists do this also. You're absolutely wrong in claiming that there are no known examples of beneficial mutations in multicellular organisms.
How extensively did you search the relevant literature before coming up with your conclusion?
You've expressed it a bit differently this time. This time you've said that archaeologists detect "high level intelligent designers." That's not true, either, unless "high level intelligent designers" is a synonym for human beings. If you look at the Wikipedia article on archaeology, the word intelligent or intelligence doesn't even appear.
The article doesn't have a section on how artifacts and human architecture are identified, does it?
They not only don't have a specific method for detecting intelligence, they're not even looking for it.
If they're looking for artifacts and architecture, then they're certainly looking for intelligently designed things. The method involves a large number of observations combined with accumulated knowledge. No fixed magic formula does not mean no method. Paleontologists don't have a magic formula for deciding whether two similar fossils are of the same family. A number of observations combined with accumulated knowledge is the method.
All species possess a specific blend of qualities that makes them unique, and biologists or paleontologists or archaeologists can seek out and study the expression of those qualities in nature. Recognizing the signs of a dung beetle tunnel or a Hadrosaur nesting ground or an ancient city is what is done, rather than seeking signs of a given level of intelligent expression.
That last sentence might be a clue as to where we differ. If humans were not intelligent and highly cultural creatures, we could do exactly as we do with the dung beetle and the Hadrosaur, and there'd be no need for a separate field called archaeology. But when it comes to human artifacts and architecture, we're not obliging enough to just make one type of stone axe and one kind of nest or shelter, and then to keep repeating that wherever we are in the world throughout the ages.
So, what's left as our specific marker (apart from our bones, excrement and footprints)? What I was originally suggesting is that the intelligent shaping of materials and the landscape in a way that is often highly distinctive compared to what's formed by unintelligent processes is a useful thing to look for. Think of designed human homes in all known cultures. Is there one thing that they all have in common that you could look for as an archaeologist apart from "apparent relics of intelligently designed structures large enough to fit several humans inside".? The diversity is so great that I can't think of a single thing they've all got in common that's more specific.
And the sign of intelligently designed structures (on any planet) would be straight lines and geometric shapes, for practical engineering purposes that relate to the physical nature of this world.
So what do archaeologists look for in arial surveys?
But probably the most compelling reason that archaeologists do not seek out signs of intelligence is that it doesn't have a rigorous scientific definition, as IDists make clear in debate after debate.
That's because intelligence is a biological phenomenon in an evolutionary world. Try making a rigorous scientific definition of "digestive systems", and we have the same problem. Which early ones do we count in? We ourselves as a species are impossible to rigorously define. When does our ancestral group become us, and what are the essential characteristics that define our exact species? (Then consider our relationship to Neanderthals for a headache - because part of them appears to be part of some, but not all, of us). Welcome to the world of being an imprecisely defined being.
Archaeologists (and other scientists) frequently deal with concepts that do not have rigorous scientific definitions. A lack of rigorous definition of intelligence would be a problem for zoologists dealing with animal intelligence, rather than archaeologists who are dealing with creatures who definitely have it however we choose to define it. That doesn't stop the zoologists from looking for it in a whole variety of creatures, though.
As for IDists, and their design detection which relies on pointing at things that we have certainly intelligently designed and then drawing parallels to things in nature, that doesn't really relate to what archaeologists are doing at all. One of the best ways to deal with the IDists approach is to ask whether it follows that, because we build artificial hills, that the hills and mountains were intelligently designed. Or, as I asked JBReal (a question he avoided) whether our intelligently designed canals mean that the rivers were designed.
Underlying that is the fact that our ancestors often did come to the conclusion that such natural phenomena were the work of the gods. Creationists wear modern clothes, drive cars and use computers, but underneath there's been little change from the superstitious folk who started building Stonehenge for their world shaping gods 5,000 years ago.
Scientific observation D: When artifacts are studied basic facts about their origin can be conferred. Such as the observation that only things with an intended purpose, function, code, or pattern, are produced by intelligent sources.
I think you meant: things with an intended purpose, function, code, or pattern are produced only by intelligent sources. If you did, and you intended the word "intended" to apply to all four nouns, then that seems correct, as intent seems to imply intelligence. However, it's not an observation. The use of "intended" makes the statement true by definition. As functions, codes and patterns can also be produced by unintelligent sources (sources incapable of conscious intent), your statement doesn't help you make the case you want to make.
Scientific observation E: The code found in the base protein pairs of the DNA of all living things is described by many micro biologists themselves as being highly specified. There are no observed cases of DNA forming by natural unguided processes, and there are no observed cases of added new never before existed information to the chromosomal DNA code of a multicelled organism, which is the only thing that could even imply that it is possible to form by natural unguided processes.
Somehow, I don't think you were being strictly truthful further up the thread when you told me you had searched the scientific literature extensively for what you're claiming hasn't been observed in that last sentence. As for the first sentence……….
Scientific observation F: The more than 122 parameters of the Earth, such as size, position, angle, atmosphere, moon position, rotation speed, water content, and planetary orbital order, that make life possible here, are a clear display of highly specified life support systems.
The "parameters" of any planet will always be exactly right for everything that is part of the planet. What else would you expect?
Scientific observation G: Physical forces such as electromagnetic forces, nuclear intensity, strength of gravity, mass of material, temperature, excitation of nuclei, speed of light, centrifugal force of planetary movements, and rate of expansion are all fine tuned to the exact parameters need for life to exist. This is yet another life support system displaying a highly specified nature.
Of course the "parameters" of the universe will be exactly right for everything that is part of it. What else would you expect? And if they're exactly right for life, there would be no need for anyone to intelligently design D.N.A., would there?
Come on subbie, I know you are blinded with dislike for me but even you can see that that aerial inherently just doesn't require design.
There's a brief description of what subbie's talking about on the page linked below, mike. NASA needed a tiny antenna (able to fit in a one-inch space) to send and receive signals from satellites to earth. The software that designed it uses a process deliberately modelled on biological evolution, and it can out perform intelligent engineers.
The equivalent of the environment in biological evolution is the performance combined with the necessary constraints (the tiny size).
It illustrates that variation and selection can produce excellent practical function, such as that which we see in life forms.
It's not just any old coat-hanger attached to your radio.
Nested hierarchies are manmade inventions. Cytochrome C was not designed to make it look like evolution occurred. Men see evolution when there is none. That isn't God's fault. You are going to have to show me how cytC produces nested hierarchies and how morphologies produce nested hierarchies before I can decide if they do indeed look the same, and if so, what reason would be behind it.
The tree below is drawn from Cytochrome C differences. The lengths of the branches and twigs correspond to the numbers of differences. Do you see the point that it comes out very similar to what would be expected from morphology?
The point about Cytochrome C is that the differences are irrelevant to function, so there's no need for this resemblance.
So, what reason is there behind this, and, in relation to the O.P., what would we expect to see in a designed world?
Yes it is true by definition. But why do we know it is true? Because of observation.
No. By definition.
Therefore I meant exactly what I said. We seem to be in agreement that intended objects by nature require an intelligent source.
The problem is when anyone tries to nail down just what constitutes a fair means by which one can accurately detect and asses "intent." This is where there seems to be a gross double standard on the part of atheists and agnostics. As I have already pointed out, no one seems to have any problem using the specificity of the information in a dolphins communication, to detect and determine levels of intelligence.
It's not at all clear what you mean by "specificity". Both unintelligent and intelligent organisms communicate. A sign of intelligence in communication might be flexibility. The ability of organisms to invent new signals and improvise. The automated chemical codes of unintelligent organisms like ants and bacteria are far more similar to D.N.A than what we and the dolphins do.
And no on has trouble with an archaeologist using patterns of specific information that he foreknows from completely independent sources to determine if an object he is examining is man made or naturally formed.
Archaelogists make a combination of observations to determine if something is an artifact. They do not have a formula that they can apply universally. Their methods are useless to SETI, and SETI's methods are useless to them. So there is no universal formula for you to apply to something else completely different, like chemical self-replicators.
Actually I can not think of a single case in which "intent" is detected apart from the use of specificity as I have already defined here. However Katy bar the door and all hell brakes loose the moment someone points out that this same specificity is observed in something that implies the involvement of a Supreme Being.
What "same specificity"? What does a macro-molecule have in common with a with a broken clay pot?
I fully understand that patterns can be produced by unintelligent sources, but you seem to be using pattern and "code" as if they were synonymous. I would like to see an example of a "code" that was observed having formed by unintelligent sources.
Well if you would like that, why don't you look at unintelligent animals, rather than us and the dolphins?
The "parameters" of any planet will always be exactly right for everything that is part of the planet. What else would you expect?
Think about what you are saying. That's like saying that out of 500 billion dump-trucks full of marbles you find only one marble with a perfect biosphere and intelligent organisms living on it, and saying "Oh well there is nothing really all that unique about it."
I had thought about what I was saying. If you identify a "whole" which is made up of "parts", the whole will always be exactly right for all the parts. I didn't say anything about whether or not this planet is unique. I'd assume that they all are.
Given the subject of this thread, it's inevitable that we're going to be treated to some "fine tuning" arguments. While there are various technical points that can be made about these individually, I want to cover what is wrong at the base of all of them. That is, the fact that their proponents unwittingly assume their conclusions. This is how it works.
If we look at the results of the last complete N.B.A. season, with all the scores of all the games coming out exactly as they did, we can easily work out that it would be extremely unlikely for that particular set of results ever to be repeated. Without working it out, less than a one in a quadrillion chance.
Let's propose a group of people called the "mafiaists". They believe that the mafia, prior to the season's commencement, had bet on all the games, and had bet on exactly the same set of scores that happened. In other words, the season panned out exactly as the mafia wanted it to. From the point of view of the mafiaists, the probability of the season matching the mafia's betting exactly would be so remote that they would reasonably come to believe that the mafia must have fixed the results. The mafia must have intelligently designed the season, presumably by bribing/threatening all the teams into acting out all the games in a way which resulted in all the desired scores.
Of course, for the rest of us, the results wouldn't seem remarkable, because we have no reason to believe anyone desired that specific season to be as it was before it happened. We would therefore have no reason to believe the season was fixed, or intelligently designed.
Astronomer Martin Rees has pointed out that there are a number of physical constants in this world that are "fine tuned" in a way that is just right for life (although that has been disputed). To many of us (including Rees) it's hardly a great surprise that a universe with life in it has a physical nature which would accommodate life. We see the numbers of the constants, like the basketball season, as being just as likely as any other set of results.
Now, let's propose a group of people called the "theists". They believe that there was someone who wanted the world to be as it is, and who particularly wanted our kind of life to exist, just as the mafia are believed by the mafiaists to have wanted a particular basketball season to take place. From the perspective of the theists, it looks as though the constants must have been intelligently fixed, because, as with the mafia, how would their god get its desired outcome just by chance?
Both the mafiaists and the "intelligent design" theists aren't actually basing their views on the numbers. The views are actually based on the prior belief that some beings or being wanted things to be as they are.
Things being as they are is never, in itself, evidence for intelligent design.
JBR is making a similar mistake when he refers to the "parameters" of this planet being exactly right for life. They would be. The "parameters" of any planet will be exactly right for anything that's a part of that planet.
He may as well point to the continent of Australia, and say: How amazing. The coastline of Australia is exactly right to fit the continent of Australia.
It's only if you assume that some intelligent being wanted Australia to be exactly as it is that you could see intelligent design in its parameters.
Are you able to give an example of an unintelligent organism "creating" communication code? Or do they communicate through pre-programmed responses? And if the later is the case, where did that program originate?
Here's where you seem to be assuming your conclusion.
Think about what you're observing. You can see organisms producing signals that can be recognised by receivers. Most of these organisms are unintelligent. Yet you're singling out the intelligent ones, and coming out with the inference that signals and coding require intelligence. When you observe signals that don't have any known intelligence behind them, you'll immediately assume they must have been programmed by a programmer. So, you have to ask yourself whether you'd ever be able to observe an unintelligent signalling system that would falsify your conclusion. If bundles of chemicals with no brains sending and receiving signals don't fit as being "unintelligent communication", then what would?
I mentioned earlier in the thread another observation that you should make. Codes and signalling are a prerequisite for all known intelligent designers. Our real observation is codes first then intelligence, not the other way around.