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. 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. 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.
In none of these cases is anyone looking for some vague and nebulous "specificity". They are looking for evidence to support or deny a particular hypothesis and have a good idea of exactly what they are looking for. You might as well say that the scientists searching for the Higgs boson are looking for specificity, since they are looking for a predicted pattern in the data that will indicate that the Higgs boson is present. Likewise medical trials are looking for patterns that indicate that the treatment is successful - or for the absence of such patterns.
So really "specificity" tells us nothing about looking for intelligence or design in particular. Any well-designed experiment or investigation that sets out to test a hypothesis will be looking for some specific "specificity".
So, no, it is not "specificity" that is a sign of intelligence or design.
As I pointed out in Message 30 scientists don't use your "specificity" criterion. To be honest, even William Dembski would reject it, since he requires massive improbability in addition to a specification.
quote: No I just implied that even a child on its own plane operating within its limited and undeveloped level of knowledge and understanding could distinguish between something with characteristics of specificity and something just functioning under natural unguided processes and laws.
But unguided processes and laws allow us to make predictions about the behaviour, which constitute specificity by your own definition. So there IS no distinction. The Gian't Causeway has a specification. The spectral lines of Sodium have a specification. They are produced by natural unguided processes.
And one of the things expected of the natural unguided process of evolution is function. If you accept even the possibility that evolution can work, you have to accept that functional systems might be the result of evolution. So how can the existence of such systems be seen as a reason to reject evolution and accept design without begging the question ?
Let us note that the argument is that there are SOME good designs in nature. (Which is true, but not that surprising given evolution).
It is asserted that a designer could explain these, which is also true, but it is speculation to say that a designer DID do it. And the induction bites back - we can equally well say that all known complex designs are the creation of humans (there are a few exceptions which I won't go into yet, except to say that they don't help Mikey's argument at all)
It is asserted - without evidence - that the "good" designs require forethought not available to evolution. Indeed, nobody has found a definite example of this at all, which is rather surprising if there really were an intelligent designer operating.
Evidence for the power of evolution-like mechanisms and for evolution is ignored. So is the fact that we have no candidate designer, nor any reason to think that a designer WOULD create those specific designs.
In fact if there is a designer it seems that he operates almost exclusively by modifying existing designs. Even to the point of modifying land animals to an exclusively maritime life - more than once! This is exactly what we would expect if evolution is true, but is harder to explain on the assumption of a designer. Human designers go back to start from scratch often enough.
quote: Yes... I'm not following the problem. When detecting specificity we have only observed it FORMING from intelligent biological sources. So we conclude that specificity is an intelligent design feature. Just because unintelligent organisms can make use of specificity does not mean they formed it.
Of course that isn't true. Spectral line are produced by any excited atom. The signal of a pulsar is produced with no intelligence. Specificity in your sense is everywhere, produced by unintelligent sources and even the ID movement recognises this.
quote: Very extensively. The problem seems to be that people see me use the word "mutation" and they instantly perceive that I am denying beneficial mutations occur without taking into account the full context of what I am saying. This usually results in a lot of wasted time and me having to repeat myself 5 times before any real discussions on the subject ensues. I am only denying that a beneficial mutation has ever occurred that increased the information in the chromosomal DNA of any multi-celled organism. That type of increase would be necessary in order to go from fins to legs, to lungs, and finally to lap tops.
Oh, some good old fashioned Creationist dishonesty. The big problem with this argument is that there is no measure of information associated with it, and therefore no way to investigate the claim at all. "There are no mutations that match our secret criteria" is not an argument - it is a deliberately vague assertion. In reality, the process of duplication and diversity increases the information in the genome by any reasonable measure, and we know that that happens.
quote: Not sure how spectral lines or pulsar signals qualify as a form of specificity?
I fail to see how the regular pulsed signal of a pulsar could be seen as anything other than specific. Both are specified in that they fit a pattern that can be predetermined.
quote: "Look," I don't know why this is so hard to grasp?
It's very simple. There is no way to take a single mutation or even a small series of mutations and work out if they qualifiy or not. And the only way to test the claim is to look at a single mutation, or a relatively small series of mutations and work out if they qualify or not.
quote: Note that I never said "just an increase of information." I said an increase of NEW information. Please explain to me how duplicating the same information once or even a hundred times could cause a fish to grow lungs with the ability to breath and put oxygen into the blood stream?
And now you are ignoring the fact that I referred to duplication and diversification and stated that it is an increase in information by any reasonable measure. If adding a new useful gene to the genome - even one similar to an existing gene doesn't qualify as an increase in information, what does ?
quote: Yes they do have very predictable patterns indeed. So do crystals, spotted unicorn snails, and a whole host of other things. But a predictable pattern is not what specificity is.
I am afraid that is exactly what it is. I'm afraid you are just another creationist who doesn't understand his own argument.
quote: No observer, upon seeing a spectral line for the first time would say that this phenomena matches a foreknown pattern he is familiar with that is completely independent of this phenomena.
Actually they would note that the light produced fall into very narrow bands of frequencies rather than being spread across the spectrum. Specificity ! And you can take more atoms of the same element and get exactly the same pattern ! (IIRC spectral lines are also predictable from theory).
quote: However, upon first sight of Mt. Rushmore, even if the observer was unfamiliar with the persons depicted their, the busts would spark a foreknown recognition response of the human figure. Likewise in my combination lock example, an observer would be able to see that a specified numeric code, completely independent of the lock, causes a function response in the locking mechanism.
And you will note that in both these cases it is not the vague concept of "specificity" that does the work.
quote: "BINGO" If that is true then those who affirm that universal common decent is a fact based on observations in biology, are just plain lying.
Typical creationist amorality. When caught being dishonest, start slandering the opposition.
No, the fact that your test is worthless does NOT make all the observations in biology that support common descent miraculously vanish. Taxonomy, biogeography, fossils, genetics all continue to exist.
quote: That's because you can't infer UCD of lower organisms to higher organisms without at least one example showing that the basic mechanism can and does work.
In the same way that Wegener couldn't infer continental drift without a mechanism ? And before you go overboard on that comparison don't forget that Wegener's view was impossible given the then-current view of the structure of the Earth. Evolution is far from impossible - the fact that your test is rigged and worthless shows that you don't even have a valid objection to it!
Think about it. If you can't identify which mutations fit your criteria then we can't know we've observed them even if they happen! Thus failing to "observe" them happening is simply a result of the fact that YOU failed to set up a valid test. So that's no objection to evolution. And worse still for you, it means that to the best of our knowledge there is nothing special about these mutations - and if there is nothing special about them then it isn't even valid to single them out as "adding information" - let alone think that there is some reason that they can't happen. Now given that we do know of processes which DO add information to the genome the whole "information argument" is really just blowing hot air.
quote: Therefore since we have only observed true specificity come from intelligent sources, and because the DNA of all living things contains incredibly high levels of specificity, we must conclude based on observations, all living things have an intelligent source.
Really ? Does it contain more specificity than a salt crystal ? The cubic shape is a very good specification. DNA, on the other hand is not very specific at all. Large amounts of DNA may be changed freely with absolutely no effect. Other areas are relatively insensitive to change. Even for the very limited regions where the sequence is critical there are usually some changes which can be made. And that's just considering the mutations which don't have any significant effect ! If the specification is function, you need to throw in all the other ways of achieving the function, too. So obviously DNA is not that highly specified.
quote: If it is "new" in that it hasn't existed before in the gene pool, and it benefits the organism, then that is exactly what I am talking about. Got anything like that?
The blood clotting system is an example. And here's an example where a protein from blood clotting has been duplicated and adapted to use in a venom Molecular evolution caught in action
quote: No Paul, I'm afraid I understand my argument very well. You don't seem to be able to grasp the definition of specificity. Just something following natural laws of physics and producing a predictable pattern is not specificity
It is according to your original definition, and according to Dembski, too.
Looking at your examples:
quote: 1. ABCABCABCABCABCABCABC
2. A CAT SAT ON THE MAT
1 is a better example of a specified pattern, because you don't need to understand English to recognise it.
quote: Look Paul, its actually quite simple. All we need is a controlled study in which a parent group that did not possess some certain trait that over several generations evolved a new novel beneficial trait as a result of added new never before existed information to the DNA of that population.
Since it's your idea of "information" that you refuse to explain that doesn't help. If you are going to rule out any examples on the grounds that they don't meet a criterion you won't explain there really isn't any point in me trying.
quote: That is exactly why it is NOT specificity. Just recognizing a pattern isn't specificity. Recognizing a pattern that is "intended for, applying to, or acting on a particular thing: Something particularly fitted to a use or purpose," is specificity.
Wrong. Here's your own definition:
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. Any event or object which exhibits a pattern that matches a foreknown pattern that was completely interdependent of the first
In fact the bolded part - the part you want to ignore - is a BETTER definition of specificity than the part you are using.
The word "specificity" is derived from "specific" an "specification". Anything with a specification must be specific - and a pattern is a very good specification. Moreover your repeating ABCABABCABC example is MUCH more specific than DNA because it is tightly controlled by a specification. Change any element of the sequence and the pattern is broken. Most bases of the genome can be changed without affecting anything 9including function). So if all we are considering is specificity, DNA is not very specific at all.
So please stop using a horribly mangled version of Dembski's argument and abusing terminology. If you want to talk about something better labelled "functionality" - even given YOUR definition of "specificity" then do that. Not that it will help you..
quote: LMHO. Let me get this straight. Instead of sitting back and listening to me explain what I mean when I say something, and then responding to what I mean, your going to tell me what I mean? Well alright. While you're at it why not go ahead and argue for me too. You can even rebut yourself. We'll all just sit hear and watch the one man show.
I guess that you didn't notice that I quoted YOUR definition.
Moreover the English language is not your exclusive domain. You can at least use it sensibly instead of inventing your own definitions for already existing words. Especially if you are going to change definitions mid-argument.
quote: ince by that you mean that Dembski is a great guy with really good arguments, and that mine are similar but unrelated, but equally valid... thanks for saying so.
No, I mean that Dembski is a not very nice guy with some crappy arguments - that are still better than yours. Dembski's arguemnts could at least work in principle. It's just not practical to use them in anything but very simple cases. Though I guess that you both misrepresent the work of others.
quote: Seriously though, help me out here. When a marine biologist listens to dolphins communicate, how do they decipher those chirp sounds as intelligent, as opposed to say... an annoying car alarm chirp? I mean if just repeating patterns are much more specified than actual language, please quantify for me why the dolphin speak is more meaningful information... that is if you think it is?
OK, I'll help you. Here are some basic facts to start with. Specification is not the same as meaning. Nor is it the same as complexity. Nor is it the same as reacting to circumstances. Nor is human assessment limited to simply looking out the sounds without considering relevant information about the producers of the sound. Got all of those ?
Simple repeated patterns are highly specific, but they are not complex, not necessarily meaningful and can be easily produced by unintelligent sources. That's why specificity is a very bad measure of intelligence.
quote: Jimminy Christmas, I didn't know I was going to have to teach English too. Okay so in keeping with your logic here, let's look at a statement you made.
You guys always have to resort to arrogant bullying to try to cover over your mistakes.
quote: Note that the bold portion clearly says that intent and specified manner, are a part of the definition for the word "meaning."
Let's look at that definition, then.
2. Disposed or intended in a specified manner. Often used in combination: a well-meaning fellow; ill-meaning intentions
Is this really a meaning that can be applied to functional systems in living beings? I think not. And is it really identical to the meaning of "specificity". Let's look at that.
Noun 1. specificity - the quality of being specific rather than general; "add a desirable note of specificity to the discussion"; "the specificity of the symptoms of the disease" particularity, specialness - the quality of being particular and pertaining to a specific case or instance; "the particularity of human situations" 2. specificity - the quality of being specific to a particular organism; "host specificity of a parasite" particularity, specialness - the quality of being particular and pertaining to a specific case or instance; "the particularity of human situations"
It seems pretty clear that something can specifity without having meaning. Which would mean that I was right.
The rest of your post is just more of your arrogant bullying and slander. The fact that actually following my logic would require you to look up the meaning of specificity managed to completely escape you, as did the context of the usage of meaning that you chose to focus on. Or even the fact that showing that meaning could also be specificity is hopelessly inadequate to disproving the statement that you said that you were looking at.
When will you guys learn? Trying to bully people into accepting your grossly inflated opinions of yourselves just doesn't work.
quote: That's a counter-claim because the evidence shows that all organisms are made to do what they do NOW. The burden of proof is upon you to show that we are going to or coming from some place.
That's a non-sequitur. There's no contradiction at all. Unless you are claiming that all organisms are designed from scratch to be exactly as they are now, which would be a rather silly claim. Why would design by incremental change not produce something "designed to do what it does NOW" ?
quote: Usually, "modification", could firmly be put into the category of, "superficial".
Small changes add up.
quote: (Another topic entirely, as you are claiming that all organisms are transitionals, but largely I do not agree. I don't see they are moving to or from anything, if anything that is evolution's biggest problem and always was.)
In fact I am not making that claim. What I AM claiming is that all modern species resemble earlier species. Consider the transitional sequences we have, despite the limits of the fossil record.
quote: Not ignored, it's that the evidence is not sufficient in comparison to a known fact.
Since all you have is a weak inductive argument - and a lot of dubious assumptions - then I guess that we can just dismiss your argument. It's nowhere near comparable to the evidence for evolution.
quote: We know that planning and thinking go into the very best human designs yet biological designs are far superior. Logically, if you REQUIRE a designer for known human lesser designs, then you should require an even greater designer for superior designs.
But we also know that evolution-like methods can achieve better designs than humans in some applications. That's a known fact.
quote: An analogy is that if we have a professional footballer, and an inept, non-professional player, then if a certain standard is required to score goals against a good goal-keeper, and the inept player can't achieve these goals, would it be logical to state that you do not need a greater football player to achieve that standard?
But Mikey, it's only your assumption that evolution can't achieve great results. Putting your assumption into an analogy doesn't make it any better. It's still a dodgy assumption.
quote: It's not just that there is an induction of some good designs. The DNA, code, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and apobetics involved shows a superior standard to even the best man-made designs, with incredible information-density, off the scale.
Mikey you're using Gitt's argument, but by Gitt's standard DNA doesn't have any semantics. The mechanical processes of reproduction and development can completely interpret DNA - but Gitt says that mechanical processes can't deal with semantics. And the genome seems to be a bit of a mess, really, with a lot of DNA that carries no real information.
And yes it is an induction of SOME good designs. Because as you know there are plenty of bad designs - and bad designs which only make sense as modification of previously existing designs.
quote: What does that prove? That 100% induction of all designs, complex ones, required designers.
It shows that your induction has a problem. Your dataset is very limited and your conclusions are unsafe.
quote: (Also, I can't mention bad designs in this topic, because it is a can of worms. There are so many variables involved, such as the difference between Biblical belief, where there is a fallen world, and a general theism. For example, if you believe in a vague god, then if he created everything as it is now, then you have the Problem Of Evil to deal with, and the different variables between different types of religious faiths.)
Actually you CAN admit that they exist. In fact if you want to be honest you SHOULD admit that they exist, that it is not a simple case of loads of good designs and none that you think could be due to evolution. The mere fact that you have an apologetic that supposedly explains them away is not reason enough to ignore them. (Although the idea that Adam and Eve were quadrupeds seems a bit bizarre to me - do you really believe that human bipedalism is a "degeneration" due to the Fall ? If not then why is human anatomy a modified quadruped anatomy, with some attendant problems ?)
quote: My only real intention in this thread is to show that I have reason to believe in a designer,
Then it is rather counter-productive to dismiss better arguments out of hand.
quote: To convince me personally, on a personal level, Paul, you would have to explain how two chopsticks are a better tool for rebuilding an engine, than the standard mechanical tools.
You mean that actual examples of evolution-like mechanisms producing complex designs don't count ? Why not ? Surely that's better than a dodgy analogy that begs the question ?
Mikey, I concede that by desperate rationalisation and wilful ignorance you can keep to your beliefs. I just don't think that that any belief that requires such drastic steps is worth keeping.
quote: Yes it is true by definition. But why do we know it is true? Because of observation. 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. 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. 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.
You mean this is where you resort to false accusations because your argument fails. We know that the conclusions of scientists researching dolphin communication and archaeologists do not rely on your notion of specificity. Their inferences use other information which we do not have in the case of life (for instance both start with the existence of an intelligent agent, instead of concluding that one exists without other evidence)
A notable feature of victims of the apologetic mentality is a tendency to invent their own "facts"
Microbiologists do not claim that specified sequences require an intelligent source. Also, DNA comes about through natural mechanisms all of the time. It is called biological reproduction.
Oh really? I can name several off the top of my head if you like that do make that claim. Spetner, Stephen Myer, Frank L. Marsh, Gary E. Parker, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, Douglas Axe, Guillermo Gonzalez, Albert Voie, John A. Davison, D.W. Snoke, David Berlinski, Scott Minnich, Stephen Meyer, Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, H. Saedler, Granville Sewell, David L Abel, Jack T Trevors, Robert Marks, Kurt Dunston and David KY Chiu, etc.
How many of these people are microbiologists? I know for a fact that Behe is a biochemist, Dembski isn't any sort of biologist, Gonzalez is an astronomer, Snoke is a mathematician, Berlinski has no biological qualifications either, Meyer is a philosopher and Sewell is another mathematician.
quote: How many of these people are microbiologists? I know for a fact that Behe is a biochemist, Really... that's your big come back Paul? I just splattered a list off the top of my head of ID scientists, for speed, but you don't think if I slowed down picked through them more carefully I can come up specifically with microbiologists?
That's YOUR big comeback? You THINK that there are SOME microbiologists in your list of microbiologists? You spattered off a list of ID supporters - they aren't all scientists despite your assertion above - and tried to pass it off as a list of microbiologists? Thanks for making my point.