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Author Topic:   The $5,000,000 ID Research Challenge
Taq
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Message 1 of 285 (671833)
08-30-2012 12:39 PM


Some people claim that ID researchers are ignored and persecuted, the result of which is that ID researchers can not get research money to study ID.

So what if they did get $5,000,000 to spend on a new research facility? What would they spend it on? That is the challenge for this thread. Show us what the ID research program would actually need to do, what equipment would be needed to do this research, and how you would prioritize the money in this laboratory. Show us what a real ID research program would look like.

Now mind you, this money is not to be spent testing evolution. It is meant to study ID, not evolution. Any experiments that test evolution will not meet the guidelines set out in the challenge.

Edited by Taq, : No reason given.

Edited by Admin, : Change Title


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 4 of 285 (671838)
08-30-2012 8:55 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Dirk
08-30-2012 8:48 PM


Re: Create life
If I were an ID-ist, I would spend it on trying to create life in the lab. That, in my mind, is their best chance of keeping alive the argument that life can be intelligently designed.

While that is certainly an interesting line of reasoning, it falls short of the challenge. I think we can all agree that an intelligent species could create life. What we are actually interested in is if life on Earth was produced by an intelligence in the past.


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Taq
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Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 15 of 285 (671923)
08-31-2012 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by NoNukes
08-30-2012 10:02 PM


Re: Biologics Institute
The Biologic Institute lists a number of areas in which they intend to do research in support of ID.
http://www.biologicinstitute.org/research/

From what I can tell, it is just a wordy way of saying "we are going to try and disprove evolution/abiogenesis". A good example is this quote:

"The difficulty of interconverting the functions of structurally similar enzymes (Kbl and BioF) has been assessed experimentally by Ann Gauger and Douglas Axe."

Panda's Thumb has a great write up on it. What it boils down to is a crocoduck argument. They tried to show that one protein can not evolve into another through a stepwise change in sequence. However, they didn't start from the ancestral protein. They used the two evolved protein sequences.

What it boiled down to was "not evolution, therefore ID". It was a study on evolution, not ID. It would seem that the rest of their vague research goals are the same, to show that evolution can not occur, therefore ID. In the OP I directly stated that the research money can not be used to test evolution, so it would appear that we are still on square one.


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Taq
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Member Rating: 3.8


Message 16 of 285 (671924)
08-31-2012 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by ringo
08-31-2012 12:16 PM


Re: Create life
That sounds like more of a historical question than a scientific one. "Could it happen?" is easier to detemine in the lab than "Did it happen?"

It is a scientific question, and one that the theory of evolution is able to answer. We can observe evolution in the lab, so we know that it can happen. We can then ask if it did happen in the past, and we can run experiments to see if it did. We can do this by looking for transitional fossils or by comparing genomes. It is a scientifically testable proposition.

I am asking for ID creationists to come up with the same testable hypotheses, and then describe the equipment that they will need to test it.


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 18 of 285 (671928)
08-31-2012 1:07 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by ringo
08-31-2012 12:58 PM


Re: Create life
Suppose we create life in the lab using our intelligence. Knowing that it "could" happen either by intelligence or by evolution, how would you tell which way it "did" happen?

That is the $5,000,000 question, isn't it.

I would love to see an ID supporter try and answer that question.


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
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Member Rating: 3.8


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Message 25 of 285 (672175)
09-04-2012 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Genomicus
09-02-2012 8:11 PM


a. Gene content of the LUCA
1. Prediction: Given front-loaded evolution, the gene content of the LUCA should exceed that of the minimum number of genes required for life. In short, the LUCA should possess information that is unnecessary to life but is required for the rise of the complex life forms we see today.

This really doesn't separate ID from other existing, unguided mechanisms for the production of LUCA. However, you could convince me otherwise.

What experiments would you run to show that these unnecessary parts were the product of design and not unguided contingent processes that came before LUCA?

1. Prediction: It should be noted that the below discussion is not a necessary prediction of front-loading. However, the “Increasing Hydrophobicity Effect” (IHE) hypothesis is a teleological hypothesis that ties in with front-loading, and it can be tested. What is the IHE hypothesis? Mike Gene proposed the IHE hypothesis back in 2007 in his book The Design Matrix. See here for more details. To quote Mike Gene: “…a set of originally designed proteins may have been designed such that they could exploit the effects of C-T transitions, in essence channeling original designs in a direction to increase the chances that a buried, secondary design is extracted. And such events may have been tied to front-loading. (Figure 7) For example, proteins that played essential roles in the evolution of multicelluarity may have been spawned from the IHE. This scenario portrays at least some evolutionary events as an interaction between four dynamics: random mutation, mutation rigged by natural law, intelligent design, and natural selection. This hypothesis also makes a prediction that can be tested. For example, if the multicellular state was front-loaded with life’s design, we would expect to find conserved, multicellular-specific proteins have crucial FLIYWVMCS residues that can be explained by C-T transitions relative to their ancestral state.”

Sharpshooter fallacy. If evolution took a different turn and favored A-T transitions instead you would be talking about how proteins that evolved though A-T transitions were front loaded. You are simply taking the result and painting a bull's eye around it. This is a major problem for all of your approaches.

Edited by Taq, : No reason given.


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Taq
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Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 27 of 285 (672222)
09-04-2012 7:43 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Genomicus
09-04-2012 6:31 PM


At the same time, unguided evolution does not predict a non-minimal LUCA. It makes no prediction at all regarding the gene content of the LUCA. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "quantification" in this context.

Then you seem to agree that your scheme does not differentiate itself from other unguided processes since it is explicable in either model.

If we found examples of multicellular-specific proteins that evolved through massive cytosine deamination events in a precursor gene this would only make sense from a teleological perspective because such proteins could only feasibly evolve from a protein with a specified initial condition. In other words, given a random protein sequence, there's no reason at all why cytosine deamination events should turn it into a protein with another function.

Where did you show this?

The non-telic position must explain why it is that the genetic code is arranged such that cytosine deamination almost always results in increased hydrophobicity.

More to the point, why would a telic position predict this? Why not a decrease in hydrophobicity to encourage interaction with polar molecules?

I mean an actual experiment. The ancestral flagellar sequences would be reconstructed and then actually translated in the cell such that we have a pretty good idea of what the ur-flagellum looked like and how it functioned.

I really, really doubt that this can be done, but that certainly would be an interesting experiment. If anything, this comes closest to meeting the challenge.


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
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Member Rating: 3.8


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Message 31 of 285 (672266)
09-05-2012 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by Percy
09-05-2012 8:30 AM


Re: My Take
I don't understand the nitpicking about Genomicus's research proposals. If the ID crowd were actually engaged in any of the investigations he proposes I, for one, would be applauding. I'd still think the research was unfounded upon any real world observations, but at least it would be actual research on ID. It would be a welcome break from all the dishonest portrayals of evolution they usually engage in.

Scientists are nitpickers to the nth degree. That we feel it necessary to nitpick to the extent we do is actually a complement.

Also, there is a difference between doing research and doing experiments. A research program should have a sense of progress where each set of experiments leads to a new direction, new questions, and a new set of experiments. Genomicus' proposal lacks that. Instead, it is very rigid and pre-determined. It would seem that the conclusion has already been reached, experimental results be damned.

The one idea that does interest me is the proposed work on the ur-flagellum. A few people have given this a go, but have not really worked towards a functional ancestral sequence. Most of the analyses I have seen are focused on phylogenetic signals instead of functional proteins. This would certainly be new knowledge, so this idea already has a major leg up on the other proposals. However, there are very major hurdles. Given the time since the ur-flagellum and HGT I think it would be extremely difficult to get an accurate ancestral genome, not to mention the epistatic interactions with the rest of the ur-genome. So while it is a very, very interesting proposal I don't think it has much chance of real success.


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


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Message 35 of 285 (672307)
09-06-2012 10:57 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by Genomicus
09-05-2012 7:01 PM


Yes, but a fundamental distinction needs to be made. In one instance (the non-telic model), we are simply able to explain the potential observation that the LUCA had unnecessary genomic information.

Right. What you need to find is an observation that could not be explained by non-telic processes but can be explained by telic processes.

Also, I would have every expectation that the LUCA would have unnecessary genes since all modern life has DNA sequence that they don't need. I would stop short of calling it a prediction, but every observation of evolution that we have made points to the strong possibility that the LUCA would have unnecessary DNA.

If DNA was engineered, then we need to account for why cytosine was chosen instead of a base that was not so prone to deamination (indeed, it has been argued that no engineer would use cytosine as a base in DNA because of this).

You need to answer that if statement at the beginning before you can proceed to the other ideas.

Then you form a hypothesis: from an ID perspective, a plausible explanation for this pattern is that it can be exploited for front-loading, such that an initially designed protein fold can turn into a completely novel fold quite quickly through multiple cytosine deamination events. It would be an effective mechanism for producing key multi-cellular specific proteins, particularly for molecular machines that have system-dependent parts. Next, we'd go out and experimentally test this hypothesis.

I still fail to see how you test for intent. For all we know, the designer meant for life to stay unicellular. It could be that the designer did not forsee C-T transitions leading to the evolution of multicellular organisms.

You keep painting the bull's eye around multicellular life, but you have no way of showing that this was ever the target. Likewise with C-T transitions being the target for front loading. That is why I keep referring to the Sharpshooter Fallacy, because that is the fallacy you are committing.


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 45 of 285 (678624)
11-09-2012 12:49 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by tesla
11-09-2012 8:49 AM


Re: spend it on space exploration/ Brain research.
Perhaps there is a species that is more advanced than the human race on another planet. Maybe that species could shed light on some of our ignorance, or even have higher capabilities of consciousness that human minds cannot even imagine.
Dump the money into designing ships and satellites to head for the earth-like planets we are discovering, dump it into light-speed research. Basically: dump it into space.

The only other way to research possibilities of discovering ID truth is to better understand our own consciousness. So it could also be dumped into brain research, and brain mapping. Maybe we could learn to ‘read’ brain waves via understanding how our brains record and relay information so well, that we could both read or write to a brain from a moderate distance. Maybe being able to do so would open the door to communication with an intelligence that is distant, yet still communicable with the right understanding.

So, there you have it. That’s what I would do if I was advocating or performing research on ID.

Perhaps there is a species that is more advanced than the human race on another planet. Maybe that species could shed light on some of our ignorance, or even have higher capabilities of consciousness that human minds cannot even imagine.
Dump the money into designing ships and satellites to head for the earth-like planets we are discovering, dump it into light-speed research. Basically: dump it into space.

The only other way to research possibilities of discovering ID truth is to better understand our own consciousness. So it could also be dumped into brain research, and brain mapping. Maybe we could learn to ‘read’ brain waves via understanding how our brains record and relay information so well, that we could both read or write to a brain from a moderate distance. Maybe being able to do so would open the door to communication with an intelligence that is distant, yet still communicable with the right understanding.

So, there you have it. That’s what I would do if I was advocating or performing research on ID.

So your research would be more on how we could use ID in the future to design technology, correct?


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Taq
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Member Rating: 3.8


Message 55 of 285 (679323)
11-13-2012 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by tesla
11-09-2012 8:59 PM


Re: spend it on space exploration/ Brain research.
My argument would imply that the potential for such a thing, and even the potential for the idea of this universe being a design by a greater being, is true.

I am more interested in research that demonstrates that an intelligent designer DID design things in the past. Can you describe the types of experiments you would need to do in order to figure this out?

So what would be wrong with a few billion worshipers of thier God doing what they have always done and seek God?

More to the point, why would they need $5,000,000 dollars to do scientific research that would support their claims?

Don't tell me you would turn down five million dollars to experiment on solar sail capabilities?

The title of the thread is not "The $5,000,000 Solar Sail Challenge".


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 56 of 285 (679324)
11-13-2012 11:36 AM
Reply to: Message 54 by tesla
11-11-2012 8:16 AM


Re: Human brain part of the world we live in? of course it is silly.
No. My proposal is to study the brain to better understand consciousness in hopes new knowledge will shed light on possibilities of greater consciousness, and how to look for it.

That would not satisfy the requirements for the challenge I have set forth in this thread.


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 60 of 285 (679527)
11-14-2012 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by tesla
11-13-2012 6:11 PM


Re: Human brain part of the world we live in? of course it is silly.
Could you repost your requirements for the challenge, including any modifications you have made through discussion?

A poster here, Genomicus, has made some interesting claims about intelligent design. He has claimed that the designer put front loaded genes into early life which allowed for the emergence of complex systems later in the evolutionary history of life. Quite a few of us found his approach to be much more scientific than other ID approaches, but it still lacked a focused scientific vision. That is what gave birth to this thread.

First and foremost, I am looking for a research program that uses the fossil record and modern organisms (be it developmental biology, genomics, morphology) in a scientific manner. Specifically, I am looking for the ID scientist to make testable predictions and then test them, and these need to be positive evidence for ID, not negative evidence against evolution.

The primary focus of your ideas are not focused on the history of life. Rather, you are focused on the future of human intelligence. Even if we gain super-intelligence and are able to design planets of life of our own this does not mean that we came about because of such a cause. You still need to find evidence for ID in the past, and that evidence should be found in our genomes and in the fossil record.


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 61 of 285 (679528)
11-14-2012 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 57 by tesla
11-13-2012 6:07 PM


Re: spend it on space exploration/ Brain research.
Until more information about our universe is known, there isn't anything you could do to begin researching such a question.

Obviously, not everyone agrees with you. There are people who are claiming that the evidence we have right now is sufficient for concluding that life is designed. I am interested in how actual research would back those claims.

The money isn't for them to support claims. the money is for scientists to explore potentials.

So what experiments would they run to explore the potential that life was designed?


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Taq
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Posts: 7997
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 65 of 285 (679730)
11-15-2012 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by tesla
11-14-2012 10:16 PM


Re: Human brain part of the world we live in? of course it is silly.
Well, my belief is more that in order to understand the past, we need more capabilities to see it as it really is first.

Would it be safe to say that the research I am asking for can't be done right now?


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