Dec 302005
 

doctor(logic) asked this question at TT. How do you define “supernatural causation”? I would like to modify that question and I suspect is what doctor(logic) really wanted to ask anyway.

Can supernatural causation be a part of ID?

Let me try a little test. Feel free to fill in the blanks and do you think a research program can be built under these claims?

A ____________ theorist doesn’t ask whether ____________ exist; instead, two critical questions that a ____________ theorist asks are: where are they and why haven’t we seen them?

But perhaps the most convincing reason to believe in ____________ is that they permit new connections among properties of the observed universe and have a real possibility for explaining some of its more mysterious features. ____________ can have implications for the world we see and explain phenomena that seem incomprehensible when viewed from the perspective of a ____________ (or theorist).


The above quotes were lifted off of an article “Why I believe in higher dimensions” by Lisa Randall

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doctor(logic)
doctor(logic)
14 years ago

Ha!

I’m going to respond here to your last message on our previous thread (less scrolling, and all that).

In reviewing our discussion so far, I think there are a couple of outstanding issues.

Utility
The first is the question of utility. If you are going to admit ID as a scientific enterprise, then teleology has to be subject to scientific inquiry. You can’t call design scientific, but rule that intent and utility are just metaphysical questions.

Life appears to be dominated by random mutation and natural selection. If we assume that it was designed, what was it designed for? What is its purpose? None is apparent, except for survival. Perhaps the designer just wanted to plant a wild garden for no good reason. However, a priori, a designer could have built machines to serve any number of purposes. A designer could have designed machines to refine raw materials, store energy, act as a database, etc. A generic design theory predicts a million different machines, each one with some utility to the designer.

On the other hand, evolution predicts only one machine: a wild garden.

Not only is there no apparent utility of a wild garden to the designer, but we should expect a designer to do have built almost anything other than what we observe. Meanwhile, we should expect evolution to produce just what we see.

Search Space
The second issue has to do with the search space. That is, what inferences are warranted from the knowledge we have versus what we do not have?

For example, you say:

As for human and chimp differences, indeed we are similar but as you said there are radical differences. 80% of our orthologous proteins are different from those of the chimps. I don’t think we know exactly how much are the differences between humans and chimps yet. Until we do an entire genome comparison including regulatory genes, indel, SNP and genome length or all the expressed proteins.

Here, you are saying that we have decades of research yet to do before we understand the biological connection between humans and chimps at a level that you will find convincing.

On the other hand, you argue that we should expect cells to be simplistic machines that are no more complex than Visual Basic programs:

We can build flagellum from scratch. We know that flagellum of that type don’t naturally emerge. Just hollow out a cell and deposit a particular sequence of DNA. We also know that specific DNA sequences could not have emerge by random chance.

…and that we already know enough to conclude that they were designed.

This latter claim is a straw man. No one proposes that you throw genetic components together at random and get a working machine. Of course that won’t happen. There are countless tiny steps that occurred across reproductive cycles over millions of years that led to the systems we see today.

Indeed, one of the hallmarks of organic evolution is a lack of modularity. In software, we strive to isolate one part of program code from another. Without this, programs are very hard to debug or maintain. If you change one thing in a non-modular program, you will have unseen side-effects elsewhere in the software.

However, if we programmers fail to plan ahead, and just make minimal reactive changes throughout the code, then the program becomes a rat’s nest of interlinked routines. Changing one thing can have unpredictable side effects (including sometimes doing the right things for the wrong reasons). This is exactly what we see in nature. Not evidence of forward planning and ease of maintenance, but evidence of step-by-step changes with no regard to performance degradation in related systems.

Let’s get back to the question of when one is arguing from ignorance. I just posted an analogy at Telic Thoughts that illustrates the pitfalls of assuming you understand the big picture of biological research.

I’ll repeat some of it here:

Imagine that I have a deck of cards. I begin turning over cards, and after the first few cards are turned over, a pattern emerges. The deck appears to be largely a standard deck sorted in ascending order of rank, but the Spades have been replaced with identical Jokers.

Let’s establish these theories:

Q1 = “this is a standard deck of cards sorted in order of rank, but Spades have been replaced with Jokers.”

Q2 = “the Ace of Hearts has been removed and replaced with a Joker.”

We turn over 30 cards, and Q1 is further validated, raising our confidence in Q1. Yet, still, the Ace of Hearts has not been seen. So, are we justified in raising our confidence in Q2?

If the deck had been randomly shuffled (and Q1 were false), we should be raising our confidence in Q2 as cards are overturned. This is because, without Q1, we would have no reason to expect that the Ace of Hearts should be at the end of the deck (” “if Q2 were false, on average, in a shuffled deck, we would have expected to find the Ace of Hearts by now” ).

However, our confidence in Q1 means that we don’t expect to significantly raise our confidence in Q2 until we approach the end of the deck. So, our confidence in Q2 remains almost unchanged until the very end.

The reason why this works out the way it does is that Q2 makes no specific predictions along the way. As we make our way through an unsorted deck, our confidence in Q2 changes only because we can estimate the total number of cards in the deck, not because any sorting rule is predicted. That is, P(observation|Q2) is the same for any individual observation. It is only the integral over observations that hopes to change our confidence in Q2.

The point is that generic ID is like Q2. The information we have already acquired about evolution is like Q1. You cannot claim confidence in Q2 when the research program of Q1 clearly shows that you cannot make the inference until much further down the line. If you reject Q1, you can only improve confidence in Q2 by knowing how many cards there are. In evolutionary terms, that means you have to believe that we have already acquired substantially all of the understanding we’re ever going to get from molecular biology. I don’t think either claim for ID can be justified.

Septeus7
Septeus7
14 years ago

You can’t call design scientific, but rule that intent and utility are just metaphysical questions.

Why? Because you say so? False appeal to authority.

Life appears to be dominated by random mutation and natural selection. I

“Petitio principii” Define “dominate” Define “random mutation” amd Define “natural Selection.” You are imposing such metaphsics on on Biology apriori thus “Petito principii.”

DocB

If we assume that it was designed, what was it designed for?

My Reponse: What has Stonehedge designed for? For what purpose? None is apparent. This lack of clear purpose points to the structure being a natural formation. A designer could have designed a structure to refine to provide shelter, store heat energy, act as a store, etc. A generic design theory predicts a million different buildings, each one with some utility to the designer.

On the other hand, erosion predicts only one machine: a wild structure.

Not only is there no apparent utility of a wild structure to the designer, but we should expect a designer to do have built almost anything other than what we observe….

Sorry I finding this copy and paste thing a bit hard to resist…

Once again “Petitio principii.” Define “Wild.” You seem to like that one. Answer your question: What life designed for? The answer is simple: To live, To evolve, To know.

Not only is there no apparent utility of a wild garden to the designer, but we should expect a designer to do have built almost anything other than what we observe. Meanwhile, we should expect evolution to produce just what we see.

“Petitio principii.” There is no prediction there just meanless tautology. The knowlegde of utility is not necessary to the inference of design. As for Utility, how about the “joy of observation?” You have to admit: “Life, its entertainment.”

Here, you are saying that we have decades of research yet to do before we understand the biological connection between humans and chimps at a level that you will find convincing.

On the other hand, you argue that we should expect cells to be simplistic machines that are no more complex than Visual Basic programs:

Hello? Is there any Grey matter in your head at all? The reason for this is bacterial are billions of times less complicated than Primates. Of course it is more likely the simplier programs be more likely explain simpler systems (bacteria) than vastly complex ones (primates). Its logic Doc. Learn some.

This latter claim is a straw man. No one proposes that you throw genetic components together at random and get a working machine. Of course that won’t happen. There are countless tiny steps that occurred across reproductive cycles over millions of years that led to the systems we see today.

Not a strawman. Where did first cell come from? What abiotic reproductive cycles are you refering to and how did you get to know about them? How do you know they where “tiny” steps?

“We conclude-unexpectedly-that there is little evidence for the neo-Darwinian view: its theoretical foundations and the experimental evidence supporting it are weak, and there is no doubt that mutations of large effect are sometimes important in adaptation.” (Orr H.A., & Coyne J.A., “The Genetics of Adaptation: A Reassessment,” The American Naturalist, Vol. 140, No. 5, November 1992, p.726)

Do you feel the Science, Doc? How about more:

“Since the 1930s, the prevailing view has been that evolution moves in a slow shuffle, advancing in small increments, propelled by numerous, minor genetic changes. But some have challenged this dogma, notably H. Allen Orr, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Rochester in New York. . In 1992, he and his colleagues argued that just a few genes, perhaps even one, could power long-term change” (p.1736).Pennisi E., “Changing a Fish’s Bony Armor in the Wink of a Gene, Science, Vol 304, 18 June 2004, pp.1736-1739”

Do feel the peer review Doc? It might actually help if you Evolved-from-Mud religious Technocrat Zealots actual would read some science.

However, if we programmers fail to plan ahead, and just make minimal reactive changes throughout the code, then the program becomes a rat’s nest of interlinked routines. Changing one thing can have unpredictable side effects (including sometimes doing the right things for the wrong reasons). This is exactly what we see in nature. Not evidence of forward planning and ease of maintenance, but evidence of step-by-step changes with no regard to performance degradation in related systems.

NO REGARD TO PERFORMANCE? Are you mad? How many times is the code checked before replication, transcription and translation? Given the volume of data, the cell is a learn mean error-checking machine. Hell, Man, Windows degrades a lot faster than a mouse’s brain and Windows has got practically nothing to do compared to running the process of any living organism.

How about this…you write a program that can regulate metabolism, response to vast alot of stimuli, reproduce, and maintain homeostatis and then you can say how “life is bad design.” Ohh, And you are not allow to copy design from Biology.

As for the card non-analogy…

If the deck had been randomly shuffled (and Q1 were false), we should be raising our confidence in Q2 as cards are overturned

No we would not expect that at because Q2 by definition is false. Because the inital condition speficied
that the alteration was to Spades not to Hearts. Congrats you have failed to make even an coherant analogy. Do you even read what you write?

teleologist
14 years ago

doctor(logic),

The first is the question of utility. If you are going to admit ID as a scientific enterprise, then teleology has to be subject to scientific inquiry. You can’t call design scientific, but rule that intent and utility are just metaphysical questions.

I don’t remember ruling anything. I gave specific reason for what I consider as design and design research. I have support design as science because it is empirical. I gave examples that refuted what I thought was your utility hypothesis. You then replied by saying that is not what you meant by utility. I then said if you mean utility in the same way that Dawkins used “selfish genes” , my argument would be valid. I have said that Darwinism is metaphysics because it is not empirical.

Life appears to be dominated by random mutation and natural selection.

No, you have no evidence of this. Random mutation is one observed phenomenon in biology and natural selection is at best an unproven hypothesis (I am trying to be charitable with NS).

If we assume that it was designed

We should be able to detect it in a rigorous scientific method.

what was it designed for? What is its purpose? None is apparent

Purpose is irrelevant for recognition of design. And what is not apparent to you does not negate that an object is design unless you want to claim omniscience. It wasn’t that long ago when “junk DNA” has no apparent purpose either.

Not only is there no apparent utility of a wild garden to the designer

I still have no idea of what you mean by utility.

we should expect a designer to do have built almost anything other than what we observe.

How so? In any case unless you are the designer of the biotic reality that we observe, you shouldn’t pretend to know what the designer was thinking.

Here, you are saying that we have decades of research yet to do before we understand the biological connection between humans and chimps at a level that you will find convincing.

πŸ™‚ No exactly. What I subtly tried to say is that I expect when we make a more complete comparison between humans and chimps, we will find that the differences will be greater than the proverbial Darwinian claim of 99% similarity.

On the other hand, you argue that we should expect cells to be simplistic machines that are no more complex than Visual Basic programs:

This is also a misrepresentation of what I’ve said. πŸ™‚ First a cell is far more complex than a flagellum. Second, I was responding by to you example of building Stonehenge from scratch. I have not given any cause for you to believe that I think implanting genetic material into a cell is as simple as VB. I remind you, my example was in response to your implication that if we can build it then it must be designed.

…and that we already know enough to conclude that they were designed.

Let me repeat so that there is no misunderstanding. The reason I think the flagellum is design is because of IC and the empirical evidence that Darwinian evolution does not have the ability to produce IC systems.

This latter claim is a straw man.

So are you saying that Darwinian science is dependent on faith in ignorance, while ID is based on empirical knowledge?

No one proposes that you throw genetic components together at random and get a working machine. Of course that won’t happen. There are countless tiny steps that occurred across reproductive cycles over millions of years that led to the systems we see today.

Darwinian science is proposing just that. Throw things together randomly over long periods of time and out comes a complex machine. No reasonable person should accept such an incredulous untestable assertion. In fact empirical experiments have shown the contrary to this random cumulative hypothesis. Organisms have shown that they are either bounded by the amount of changes that can occur. When these limits are breached the result to the organism is death.

This is exactly what we see in nature. Not evidence of forward planning and ease of maintenance, but evidence of step-by-step changes with no regard to performance degradation in related systems.

In programming lingo, there is a random factor at the local level, but not at the global level. The global level is bounded.

Q1 = “this is a standard deck of cards sorted in order of rank, but Spades have been replaced with Jokers.”
Q2 = “the Ace of Hearts has been removed and replaced with a Joker.”

Frankly your analogy seems a bit convoluted. I don’t see how this is representative of our argument. The problem with this type of analogy is that I can restructure it to make it pro-ID. Unless you can make direct correlation between the analogy and biotic reality it is pointless. I’ve given specific reasons why ID is based on sufficient knowledge for the inference and Darwinism has failed. Let’s stick with my specific examples.

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
14 years ago

The mistake made by both Lamarckians and Darwinians was that evolution had an exogenous identifiable cause. No such cause has ever been revealed. Allelic mutation, random as it is, had nothing to do with progressive evolution. Neither did selection, natural or artificial. Neither in my opinion did sexual reproduction. All three of these elements are now and always have been conservative in nature serving to prevent rather than to promote change. Creative evolution, a phenomenon of the past, was driven entirely from within the evolving forms by the controlled release of endogenous prescribed latent blocks of information which were prepared well in advance. All evolutionary innovations appeared in full blown form either when needed or well in advance of that time. The vertebrate eye is an excellent example. The notion that such a structure developed incrementally is absurd. That anyone could still contemplate such an origin is even more absurd. It is even more remarkable when one considers that there are several independently produced variants on the focussing systems involved. In horses for example the eye is not spherical which explains why a horse may not seem to be looking at you when you are close. He is simply selecting that angle which will bring you into focus. Certain fish implement a sliding lens like a bellows camera. In other fish the eye is split to allow simultaneous aerial and aqueous vision. Our eye of course uses an elastic lens to focus. The eyes of Octopi have the retinal layers reversed when compared with the vertebrate eye. The list goes on and on. All these were part of the front-loaded prearranged “blueprints” which have characterized all of creative evolution over the millennia. There is no question in my mind that there never was a role for chance in any of these transformations. Furthermore, I am confident that evolution is finished and was goal-directed with Homo sapiens the ultimate product. I still wait for any evidence indicating a younger mammal species than ourselves, a species which has not improved one bit since our inception about 100,000 years ago. Quite the contrary we are degenerating rapidly, especially in civilized societies through the accumulation of deleterious genes, genes that would be selected against in a more rigorous environment.

The entire Darwinian model is not only inadequate, it is of no consequence whatsoever with respect to creative evolutionary change, a phenomenon no longer in progress. These are the considerations that led me to the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. I note with some pleasure that it remains unchallenged while it continues to receive support from studies on chromosome physiology and the great antiquity of gene families.

“Evolution is in a great extent an unfolding of pre-existing rudiments.”
Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 406

I would only substitute was for is. There is more solid evolutionary science in any one chapter of Nomogenesis than in all the writings of Stephen Jay Gould, Ernst Mayr, William Provine and Richard Dawkins combined. Trust me but of course you won’t. That no longer concerns me. My work is published. Where are the papers by my critics?

teleologist
14 years ago

Can supernatural causation be a part of ID?

I guess it is time for me to take this little test.

A design/string theorist doesn’t ask whether design artifacts/extra dimensions exist; instead, two critical questions that a design/string theorist asks are: where are they and why haven’t we seen them?

But perhaps the most convincing reason to believe in design artifacts/extra dimensions is that they permit new connections among properties of the observed universe and have a real possibility for explaining some of its more mysterious features. design artifacts/extra dimensions can have implications for the world we see and explain phenomena that seem incomprehensible when viewed from the perspective of a Darwinian/ three-spatial-dimensional observer (or theorist).

So why does the Darwinian priesthood embrace string theory but not design? I think it is because string theory fits the Darwinian metaphysic.

The above quotes were lifted off of an article “Why I believe in higher dimensions” by Lisa Randall

teleologist
14 years ago

Excellent examples of eye designs John. The problem gets worst when you consider the convergence of eye features from hugely different animals as sandlance and chameleon from disparate environments.

Alan Fox
Alan Fox
14 years ago

Reactivity to light was the key that unlocked the possibility of photosynthesis. If you accept that organsims that use light for “food” may have an advantage if they are able to respond to the direction the light is coming from, via, for instance a pigmented and shielded spot (Euglena), it is apparent that many pathways exist for the gradual evolution of the eye. Convergence seems inevitable as the role of the eye is to detect patterns of photons of varying wavelengths to produce useful information. All eyes are performing the same task of detection of the same natural phenomenon.

There is a parallel with organisms that pursue a similar lifestyle, such as aquatic carnivores, for instance sharks and toothed whales adopting similar gross body plans.

Alan Fox
Alan Fox
14 years ago

All these were part of the front-loaded prearranged “blueprints” which have characterized all of creative evolution over the millennia.

“Blueprints” is a misleading way of describing the information encoded in the genome of an organism. DNA codes for amino acid sequences (enzymes and other proteins). DNA is more like a recipe than a blueprint, a list of ingredients and how much of which is needed in a particular cell. Particular DNA sequences (HOX genes) control the expression of other genes. (Of course individual cells “communicate” with each other WRT tissue formation etc.)There is no overall design or plan encoded in any way that resembles a blueprint.

Adversarial debate is a poor way to advance knowledge. The inquisitorial (Napoleonic) approach, where common ground is first agreed and then one only needs to argue the points of disagreement is a more productive approach.

Alan Fox
Alan Fox
14 years ago

gross body plans.

Sorry, comment here should have continued with:

… adapted to moving relatively efficiently in deep open water.

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
14 years ago

I see Alan Fox is a gradualist. I thought they were all dead by now. He must be a fan of that ultra-Darwinian Richard Dawkins, believing devoutly in forces that cannot be demonstrated even though they never existed. Dawkins is the antithesis of the “idiot savant.” He is a “brilliant bonehead,” prepared to believe anything so long as it doesn’t not require the abandonment of chance. Hang in there Alan Fox. Maybe you too can be knighted someday.

I still expect Dawkins to do himself in when it finally becomes transparent even to him that he is the quintessential loser.

It is hard to believe isn’t it?

doctor(logic)
doctor(logic)
14 years ago

Septeus7,

You can’t call design scientific, but rule that intent and utility are just metaphysical questions.

Why? Because you say so? False appeal to authority.

Because the process of design inherently involves forward planning – not just the visualization of solution before construction, but the selection of solution (intent and utility).

And, your Stonehenge C&P works very nicely in my favor. Thanks.

In the analogy, Q2 isn’t false by definition. Read it again.

In future, please keep your insults to yourself.

doctor(logic)
doctor(logic)
14 years ago

teleologist,

Utility is what the purpose of life would be in an ID model.

For example, suppose we regularly had crates fall to Earth containing food. Life on Earth took the raw materials, digested it and deposited our waste on a particular place on the planet where it was picked up and sent back into space by an unknown mechanism. Then life would have a utility as a refinery to a space alien.

Another example, aliens seeded the Earth with life in order to terraform the planet. Then they decided not to use the planet for anything.

We don’t observe a purpose to life. Life just survives. This is predicted by evolutionary models. It is merely consistent with design models.

(I have two decks of cards. One contains 52 copies of the Ace of Spades, the other is a regular shuffled deck. I place one of the two decks in front of you and you draw the Ace of Spades. What are the relative odds that you have the Ace deck versus the regular shuffled deck?)

Random mutation is one observed phenomenon in biology and natural selection is at best an unproven hypothesis (I am trying to be charitable with NS).

I’m very sorry to hear you say this. NS is not only a mathematical fact, it is an empirical fact in biology and physics. NS is what makes genetic algorithms work. Maybe, I misunderstand your claim. If you doubt NS, then we’ve reached the limit of our common ground before we’ve begun.

Purpose is irrelevant for recognition of design. And what is not apparent to you does not negate that an object is design unless you want to claim omniscience.

It is relevant to the difference between “design” and “supernatural causation without design.” Supernatural means unexplainable. If you want to talk science, give me an explanation, not a dead-end. Otherwise, why bother with the term “design?” If it doesn’t mean the same thing as it does elsewhere in the English language, you might as well say “magic”, as in, “life evolved by magic over millions of years…”

Also, you are applying a double-standard. Take this for example:

The reason I think the flagellum is design is because of IC and the empirical evidence that Darwinian evolution does not have the ability to produce IC systems.

There is no such evidence. Evolutionary biology has failed to demonstrate the specific mechanisms that led to the evolution of the flagellum. It has not shown that it was impossible.

You are claiming that our ignorance of the details is disproof of possibility.

But why not apply the same to design? Design has failed to produce evidence of the designer, the purpose of the design, the manufacturing facilities and so on. Why should evolutionists not claim that ignorance in the field of ID research is disproof of design claims.

I remind you, my example was in response to your implication that if we can build it then it must be designed.

Actually, my claim was that we generally don’t understand a thing well enough to identify alternatives to design unless we can build it ourselves. For example, our ability to build crystals helps us see that crystals form without design.

In fact empirical experiments have shown the contrary to this random cumulative hypothesis. Organisms have shown that they are either bounded by the amount of changes that can occur. When these limits are breached the result to the organism is death.

This isn’t true. Not all random mutations are deadly. Many have no effect, and many are beneficial. We have no reason to believe that RM-NS is insufficient. We just don’t know all the details yet.

In programming lingo, there is a random factor at the local level, but not at the global level. The global level is bounded.

I don’t know what you are trying to say here. The interconnectedness of the software means that local changes can easily have global effects.

Frankly your analogy seems a bit convoluted. I don’t see how this is representative of our argument. The problem with this type of analogy is that I can restructure it to make it pro-ID. Unless you can make direct correlation between the analogy and biotic reality it is pointless. I’ve given specific reasons why ID is based on sufficient knowledge for the inference and Darwinism has failed. Let’s stick with my specific examples.

The analogy is a general argument that demonstrates that even when you know how big the search space is (i.e., when you know how much you don’t know), you are not always justified in raising confidence in negative hypotheses that make no incremental predictions. Individual theories within NDE have been highly successful (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA210.html), and these theories tell us that we won’t understand the whole picture until we can simulate protein folding and other processes. That is, like Q1, we have high confidence in these theories about specific testable mechanisms. These theories tell us that we have far more research to do before we can rule out NDE. In that case, one cannot justify claims of design purely on negative grounds that there aren’t alternative explanations.

We have discovered much about DNA, mutation, and common ancestry. Evolutionists theorize that these mechanisms can explain life no this planet. However, while they know about the mechanisms they can test in the lab, they haven’t demonstrated, say, macroevolution. You can place your prior confidence level in their enterprise anywhere you want to. However, you cannot legitimately reduce that confidence level on the grounds that evolutionists haven’t demonstrated the details, when it is known it will take decades to achieve their goal.

One more analogy. Suppose we didn’t have scientific calculators. I come along and claim that the sine of 5.45 raised to the 45th power is 0.71. This just seems off to you, so you rate your confidence in my claim as low. Using pencil and paper, I begin my calculations. After raising 5.45 to the 7th power, I still haven’t verified the result. Can you legitimately reduce your confidence in my claim on the grounds that I should have gotten the answer by now? Of course, not.

Likewise, we don’t know how large the NDE search space is, but we know it’s far, far larger than what we see today. Therefore, purely negative claims like ID are not bolstered by NDE’s not having come up with a detailed simulation at this very early stage.

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
14 years ago

Intelligent Design is transparent to every objective observer. Don’t take my word for it.

“The struggle for existence and natural selection are not progressive agencies, but being, on the contrary, conservative, maintain the standard.”
Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 406

“Evolution is in a great measure the unfolding of pre-existing rudiments.”
ibid, page 406

“To insist, even with Olympian assurance, that life appeared quite by chance and evolved in this fashion, is an unfounded supposition which I believe to be wrong and not in accordance with the facts.”
Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, page 107

“However that may be, the existence of internal factors affecting evolution has to be accepted by any objective mind…”
ibid, page 209

So much for the objectivity of the Darwinian mind and that of all who still hold its aimless, purposeless model to be true. It is without question the biggest hoax in the history of science. It is soon to become but a footnote right next to the Phlogiston of Chemistry and the Ether of Physics. Ether, Selection, Phlogiston or ESP for short, all three nothing but extrasensory perceptions produced by an overactive human imagination.

It is hard to believe isn’t it?

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

(I have two decks of cards. One contains 52 copies of the Ace of Spades, the other is a regular shuffled deck. I place one of the two decks in front of you and you draw the Ace of Spades. What are the relative odds that you have the Ace deck versus the regular shuffled deck?)

50-50
There are two decks. There is an equal; likelihood of placing either deck before the person, and drawing one Ace leaves the matter unresolved.

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

I don’t know why that semi-colon is there. Ignore it.

doctor(logic)
doctor(logic)
14 years ago

Hi Daron,

The drawing of the Ace does not prove which deck you have before you. However, it should alter your confidence level.

How would you wager? There are 52 possible positions for the Ace in the shuffled deck, so the odds that I gave you the shuffled deck and you happened to draw the Ace first are 1:2 x 1:52. Whereas, the odds that I gave you the all-Ace deck are 1:2.

Using Bayes theorem:

P(all-Aces|first Ace) = P(first-Ace|all-Aces) P(all-Aces)/
(P(first-Ace|all-Aces) P(all-Aces) + P(first-Ace|Shuffled) P(shuffled))
= 1 x 0.5 / ((1 x 0.5) + (0.5/52))
= 98%

P(shuffled|first-Ace) = P(first-Ace|shuffled) P(shuffled)/
(P(first-Ace|all-Aces) P(all-Aces) + P(first-Ace|Shuffled) P(shuffled))
= (1/52) x 0.5 / ((1 x 0.5) + (0.5/52))
= 1.9%

You should have 98% confidence that I gave you the all-Aces deck.

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

Hi doctor(logic).
Thanks for the Bayesian formula. If I can remember it it might come in handy sometime.
In this case it seems to provide a mathematical case for something that is intuitively obvious. I expect that is your point?

On the other hand, since you are the doctor of logic, I took your puzzle not as a mathematical test but as a logic/word puzzle – akin to “if we call a tail a leg how many legs does a dog have?”.
As a logic puzzle, the question of which deck you place before me is a 50-50 proposition. What happens subsequent to that placing – the drawing of the Ace – is a separate matter with separate odds. There is a 1/52 chance that if I have the regular deck I will draw the Ace, and although this should be an applied contingency in the question, your final formulation of the question seemed to leave that out – ” What are the relative odds that you have the Ace deck versus the regular shuffled deck?”.
Although it would have been redundant in a straight forward problem, had you said ” What are the relative odds that you have the Ace deck versus the regular shuffled deck AND have selected the Ace?” then it wouldn’t have felt like a trick question.

” A rooster lays an egg on the peak of a barn roof. There is a south by southeast wind blowing at 10 miles per hour. The south side of the roof has a declination of 10 degrees below parallel and the north side a declination of 14 degrees below parallel. Which way does the egg roll?”
If you take the initial situation, “a rooster lays and egg” and ask the question “which way does it roll?” the conditions in between are irrelevant … a rooster can’t lay an egg.
Your condition – “you draw an Ace” – in such a riddle would be just such a point.

I hope you see that I am not arguing, (the math seems fine and comports perfectly to what one would expect) but am just communicating why I thought you were posing a riddle rather than a mathematical problem.

Mostly I am just using up bandwidth to save face.

Alan Fox
Alan Fox
14 years ago

Hang in there Alan Fox. Maybe you too can be knighted someday.

Au contraire!

Being a republican and French resident, I am grooming myself for La Legion d’Honneur, (assuming my application for French citizenship goes through!).

I do think Dawkins is a lucid advocate of evolution, in some ways comparable with Carl Sagan. You should devote more energy to explaining your ideas, John.

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

Doctor(logic) says

Life just survives.

I don’t agree with this at all.

Life also builds monuments, digs in the ground for fossils, ponders existence, proposes alternate universes, composes arias, writes sonnets, reads Harlequin romances, sets Guiness records, smokes cigarettes, enjoys a round of golf, jumps out of airplanes, directs movies, displays art, makes love with no interest in procreation, etc. etc.

It would take a great deal of just-so story-telling, appeals to illusion and regresses through hypothetical causes to confirm survival utility in all of the things life does.

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

Alan Fox.
Couldn’t each of us think of a better way to expend our energies?

teleologist
14 years ago

Alan,

Reactivity to light was the key that unlocked the possibility of photosynthesis.

There is no empirical evidence to support this hypothesis.

If you accept that organsims that use light for “food” may have an advantage if they are able to respond to the direction the light is coming from via, for instance a pigmented and shielded spot (Euglena),

I reject the idea that sensing light would lead to an eyespot. What is the specific genetic pathway that would provide such a transformation? Why didn’t plants develop an eyespot?

it is apparent that many pathways exist for the gradual evolution of the eye. Convergence seems inevitable as the role of the eye is to detect patterns of photons of varying wavelengths to produce useful information.

Could you describe how some of those evolutionary pathways for the eye was tested? Why is it inevitable? Is there a limited genetic pattern on how the eyes can be formed and function?

All eyes are performing the same task of detection of the same natural phenomenon. There is a parallel with organisms that pursue a similar lifestyle, such as aquatic carnivores, for instance sharks and toothed whales adapted to moving relatively efficiently in deep open water.

This is a chicken and the egg problem. Which came first the lifestyle or the specific function of the eyes? It has a tinge of Lamarckism. Even if the environment was the driving force for convergence, it still does not explain the fact that sandlance live underwater and chameleon lives on land. Their lifestyle and environment should be sufficient to promote different function and articulation of the eyes.

teleologist
14 years ago

doctor(logic) ,

Utility is what the purpose of life would be in an ID model.

But ID does not require such a definition.

We don’t observe a purpose to life. Life just survives. This is predicted by evolutionary models. It is merely consistent with design models.

Again how do you prove this?

But let’s assume that you are right. My examples of symbiosis would invalidate your assertion because it shows that the existence of an organism serves to aid the survival of another organism. How do you know this was not the intent of the designer?

(I have two decks of cards. One contains 52 copies of the Ace of Spades, the other is a regular shuffled deck. I place one of the two decks in front of you and you draw the Ace of Spades. What are the relative odds that you have the Ace deck versus the regular shuffled deck?)

The reason I don’t like this type of analogy is because it would be see to change the parameters to support ID. i.e. Suppose you have two decks of cards. One deck is the normal 52 playing cards. The other, one side looks exactly like the backside of the normal deck. However on the face of the card it contains the pictures of baseball players. I put one of the decks in front of you. How long do you think that it will take for you to figure out which is which?

NS is not only a mathematical fact

There was no mathematical formulation to Darwin’s concept of NS. The modern synthesis have tried to apply some scientific rigors to NS by calling it population genetics. Unfortunately PE has not been able to correlate to reality either. Take a look at Walter ReMine’s work on Haldane’s Dilemma. You can find the link on the sidebar of this blog.

it is an empirical fact in biology and physics. NS is what makes genetic algorithms work. Maybe, I misunderstand your claim. If you doubt NS, then we’ve reached the limit of our common ground before we’ve begun.

Let me start with an argument from authority. The geneticist Sean Carroll said,

The first revolution came when Charles Darwin published his seminal book on evolution, “The Origin of Species.” Darwin explained how, over eons, living organisms became diverse through a process called natural selection, meaning that nature decided which species had best adapted to their environment, and thus would thrive.

The second revolution came with the merging of Darwin’s theories and the science of genetics.

But neither of those approaches revealed how individual animal forms were made or how they evolved.

So was Carroll wrong?

It is relevant to the difference between “design” and “supernatural causation without design.” Supernatural means unexplainable. If you want to talk science, give me an explanation, not a dead-end. Otherwise, why bother with the term “design?” If it doesn’t mean the same thing as it does elsewhere in the English language, you might as well say “magic” , as in, “life evolved by magic over millions of years””

We can debate the semantics of supernatural later, but what is more important is your claim that I proposed a “dead-end” ? What possibly could I have said to give you this idea? Please show me what I said to give you that impression.

Also, you are applying a double-standard. Take this for example:

The reason I think the flagellum is design is because of IC and the empirical evidence that Darwinian evolution does not have the ability to produce IC systems.

There is no such evidence. Evolutionary biology has failed to demonstrate the specific mechanisms that led to the evolution of the flagellum. It has not shown that it was impossible.

How is this a double standard? I gave you the examples of empirical evidence that Darwinian evolution was not able to produce new forms. What specific example do you want to dispute?

You are claiming that our ignorance of the details is disproof of possibility.

No I am saying that Darwinian science is suggesting that we need omniscience to disproof evolution. Unless we become omniscient we will always have gaps in our knowledge.

But why not apply the same to design? Design has failed to produce evidence of the designer

Again the designer is irrelevant to recognizing design. Just as the Darwinist claim that abiogenesis is not required for evolution.

the purpose of the design, the manufacturing facilities and so on. Why should evolutionists not claim that ignorance in the field of ID research is disproof of design claims.

Good question. The answer is because Darwinists have prevented the funding of ID to do the more rigorous research to falsify the theory. The second is that there is an inherent recognition of design objects. Just as you intuitively infer design from Stonehenge, we intuitively infer design from the flagellum, DNA, etc.

Actually, my claim was that we generally don’t understand a thing well enough to identify alternatives to design unless we can build it ourselves. For example, our ability to build crystals helps us see that crystals form without design.

And my point is the opposite. We do know biology well enough to exclude evolution. I’ve given example to support my assertion. For example the Redi experiments provided enough understanding to refute spontaneous generation, but it wasn’t until Pasteur the coffin was nailed shut. You still have not been able to give a definitive standard on how much more do we need to know before we can falsify evolution.

This isn’t true. Not all random mutations are deadly. Many have no effect, and many are beneficial. We have no reason to believe that RM-NS is insufficient. We just don’t know all the details yet.

I’ve acknowledge the possibility of neutral mutations, but regardless the type of mutations there is no evidence of Darwinian evolution. Instead the experiments have shown that repetitive and large scale mutations have been deleterious. Take a look at a paper at fdocc’s blog “Dynamic Genomes, Morphological Stasis and the Origin of Irreducible Complexity”

One more analogy. Suppose we didn’t have scientific calculators. I come along and claim that the sine of 5.45 raised to the 45th power is 0.71.

This is another bad analogy because you can definitely see a trend right?

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
14 years ago

Teleologist

I am obviously wasting my time here on your blog. I have better things to do with my remaining time on earth than to cast pearls beforre those that are stone deaf to what Einstein called “the music of the spheres.”

Adios and Happy New Year.

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

John A. Davison,
I just got here and now see that you are leaving.
I find this unfortunate as I am always interested in your points.

teleologist
14 years ago

John,

I don’t know why you think you are wasting your time. You are the prof. emeritus. Some of us do learn from your wisdom. If nothing else you are a force for good against the dark forces of Darwinism.

Take Care.

doctor(logic)
doctor(logic)
14 years ago

teleologist,

But let’s assume that you are right. My examples of symbiosis would invalidate your assertion because it shows that the existence of an organism serves to aid the survival of another organism. How do you know this was not the intent of the designer?

Evolution predicts symbiosis and many other things that might appear in a wild garden.

Anything could be the intent of the designer, and that’s my point. Why, of all possible things, did a designer create what looks like a pseudo-randomly evolved ecosystem? It’s like seeing the Ace of Spades on our first draw. It’s not inconsistent with being the regular shuffled deck, just improbable.

My analogies are not reversible between our two positions because only ID wants to proceed by process of elimination. Evolutionary theories (like real scientific ones) proceed from positive evidence.

I gave you the examples of empirical evidence that Darwinian evolution was not able to produce new forms.

No, you didn’t. All you can say is that evolution cannot yet demonstrate the details. No one has remotely shown that NDE is impossible. Let me use an argument from authority: about 99% of scientists who study biology disagree with you.

Good question. The answer is because Darwinists have prevented the funding of ID to do the more rigorous research to falsify the theory.

You have thoroughly misunderstood my argument. Evolutionists build a positive evidence case for their position. IDists build an exclusively negative case for their position by elimination, i.e., by saying that if NDE was right, evolutionists should have demonstrated everything by now.

The logical reverse of this is to demand that the IDists build a positive evidence case for their position. The evolutionsists would claim a negative case for their position by elimination, i.e., by saying that if ID was right, IDists should have demonstrated an in depth theory of design, including photos of the designer and his biolab.

The second is that there is an inherent recognition of design objects. Just as you intuitively infer design from Stonehenge, we intuitively infer design from the flagellum, DNA, etc.

Sorry, but the gut makes an exceptionally poor scientific tool. It’s also totally unconvincing because my gut tells me the opposite.

Well, teleologist. I’m afraid this is the end of the line.

I think I can sum things up as follows:

1) You appear claim that no aspects of NDE are remotely plausible. I claim that NDE is predictive and highly suiccessful.

2) You acknowledge the purely negative claims of ID (excluding the gut check), but claim that NDE has been so thoroughly explored that we can rule it out. I claim that there is zero evidence ruling out NDE, and that NDE has already been successful despite having completed about 1% of its research program.

3) You place value in human intuition of design (or lack thereof). I do not.

4) I claim that, based on a utility argument, ID is practically falsified by our observation that Earth is just a wild garden. You didn’t appear to understand my argument.

5) Finally, you claim that virtually all biologists are wrong, and you are right. I don’t believe this conspiracy theory.

I don’t think we have enough common ground to proceed much further.

teleologist
14 years ago

doctor(logic) ,

Let’s narrow the focus of our debate to see if we can get some sort of resolution.

Evolution predicts symbiosis and many other things that might appear in a wild garden.

Why does evolution predict symbiosis? What else does it predict?

Why, of all possible things, did a designer create what looks like a pseudo-randomly evolved ecosystem?

Can you prove that life is strictly random and without purpose? It looks design to me. It is like seeing a baseball card on our first draw.

Septeus7
Septeus7
14 years ago

Because the process of design inherently involves forward planning — not just the visualization of solution before construction, but the selection of solution (intent and utility).

False. Design is not a process just a description of the product of the construction.

You are confusing “design” with “designing.” Some aspects Designing takes place within the intelligence and invovles “planning,” measurement, information, and response to stimuli which involve physical interactions based on information. We can measure these if we were looking for such.

Also the selection of solution is never sure and it not a requirement for design. After all some designs fail. Where did you get the idea that all design is perfect? Doesn’t seem logical.

Why is utility i.e. functionality a non-scientific concept. We talk about functionality all the time. Why the Structuralist supremacy? Are you saying that Engineering and Programming are nonsciences? They consider questions of functionality and intent all the time. Have you never heard of reverse engineering?

For example, if in the process of reverse engineering I find a part that I do not know its intended purpose, I propose a hypothesis based on the structure and placement of that part as to its intended purpose say complete a type of circuit. I’ll test the hypothesis by constructing the type of circuit hypothesis predicts it will complete and as a control I’ll pick something else which I could complete the circuit but would produce a poor result. If the test part works better than the control part I’ll know that I’m heading in the right direction.

According to you what I did was not science, even through I had a hypothesis, a test, and a control because I used intent and utility as part of experiment design.

If your definition of science is so narrow as to prohibit things like reversing engineering and controlled testing then I say screw your “Science.” Complain all you want how I’m smuggling Christian metapysics into “science” my but I’m going keep experimenting and testing.

The evidence of intelligence is it effect “design” i.e. information and/or meaning based construct.

Very bad catagory errors.

And, your Stonehenge C&P works very nicely in my favor.

So you agree no humans built Stonehedge? Nice….

In the analogy, Q2 isn’t false by definition. Read it again.

In future, please keep your insults to yourself.

Depends on what you mean by “ascending order.” If the ascending order is compared to the ideal ascending order with no jokers then is no expectation of ascent but if the ascend is compared to best possible ascent one at least one suit replaced then there is an ascending order.

I still fail to see what exactly it is your point.

Alan Fox
Alan Fox
14 years ago

Teleologist

Unless someone performs a successful Miller-Urey style experiment, or life that has evolved elsewhere is discovered, much of what happened WRT to how life on earth arose and developed will remain unknown and speculative. But once you have a light-sensing chemical (chlorophyll), the advantages to an organism of being able to regulate its metabolic processes according to whether it was night or day (as green plants do today) seem self-evident.

Plants are certainly light-sensitive (eg phototrophic hormones cause growing plants to grow towards a light source. As multicellular plants are sessile and have no nervous system, it is difficult to see how a plant could take advantage of an eyespot. Plants also lack brains, hearts, guts etc,, etc.

Could you describe how some of those evolutionary pathways for the eye was tested?

A short question: not easy to give a short answer, (nor am I, as a layman, qualified to give any definitive answer). I don’t think any evolutionary pathway has been “tested”, and I can’t imagine how one could go about it, except with organisms with fast reproductive cycles, i. e. bacteria.. However a huge amount of work has been done in so many fields (paleontology, geology, comparative anatomy, molecular biology etc.) which adds indirect evidence and does not conflict with current theory. Where apparent discrepancies arise, they often turn out to be fruitful avenues of enquiry (e.g. constructing phylogenetic trees from DNA comparison and from comparative anatomy).

WRT to convergence in eye anatomy, my point was a simple one, All eyes are exploiting the same physical properties of light. To be able to use the phenomonen, there has to be a light detection element, an arrangement to collect and analyse images etc. Different solutions to the same problem are are bound to be similar, and that is what is observed. There is much literature available for those genuinely interested.

Re your sandlance and chameleon, I’m not sure what the problem is. If you could expand a little, I will try and respond.

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
14 years ago

If anyone is interested in my views they are welcome at my blog prescribedevolution.blogspot.com/

I recommend it be carefully scanned before asking questions which have in all probability already been answered.

teleologist
14 years ago

Alan,

But once you have a light-sensing chemical (chlorophyll), the advantages to an organism of being able to regulate its metabolic processes according to whether it was night or day (as green plants do today) seem self-evident.

Is this suppose to be a response to my comment that there is no empirical evidence to your assertion that “reactivity to light was key to photosynthesis” ? I think you are describing 2 different systems. Your first assertion assumed a putative molecule, giving rise to a complete chemical pathway, which is a just so story. Your example here is an existing metabolic system, which can be modified to improve its function. Depending on the change that you are talking about improvement to the system is certainly possible.

Plants are certainly light-sensitive (eg phototrophic hormones cause growing plants to grow towards a light source. As multicellular plants are sessile and have no nervous system, it is difficult to see how a plant could take advantage of an eyespot. Plants also lack brains, hearts, guts etc,, etc.

You are confusing the original premise. You asserted that it might be advantageous for an organism to sense the direction of light. I asked for a specific pathway. What I was looking for was some meat to this Darwinian just so story. i.e. What was this pre-eyespot organism? How did it use light for food? What were the numerous mutational steps and how was the system put together?

I raised the plant example because I assumed even at its primitive origin, it still used light for survival. I then apply your evolution hypothesis to this organism and question why shouldn’t it develop an eyespot. Your response is peculiar. Are you suggesting that the requirements prior to an organism developing an eyespot, it must have a brain, heart and gut? What you are suggesting is an organism with a brain, heart, gut and totally blind, but thrived in survivability. At this point random mutation will create a light sensitive molecule that has no selective advantage but is sustain in this organism until a full set of optic nerves can be evolved. At which point it will still have to wait until chance mutations can connect the function of this molecule to the brain. Sorry I just don’t see how this can happen, but more importantly there is no empirical evidence for this that I know of.

Consider the Venus Flytrap wouldn’t it be advantages for it to develop an eyespot. It can at least sense the prey. After it evolved the eyespot it can wait for a triggering control to evolve. It doesn’t have to be a fully functional brain. It just needs to be reactive to what the eyespot senses.

WRT to convergence in eye anatomy, my point was a simple one, All eyes are exploiting the same physical properties of light. To be able to use the phenomonen, there has to be a light detection element, an arrangement to collect and analyse images etc. Different solutions to the same problem are are bound to be similar, and that is what is observed. There is much literature available for those genuinely interested.

Actually that is not an accurate description of the problem. Darwinian evolution assumes common ancestry. So once the eye is evolved it is either lost or modified. In convergence the idea is that 2 distantly related organism evolved the same type of eyes independently. This divergence does not happen all that often according to Darwinian evolution. The point is that if evolution is random there should be many different solutions to the problem. Yet when given a chance to evolve a random solution it arrives back at the same one. It seems analogous traits are much more indicative of design than random mutation. There are many literatures that talk about convergence but few if none talks about how the random mutation can arrive at the same solution. On the contrary, the papers that I read are surprise and astonished that convergence occurs. They refer to these events as improbable and unlikely.

WRT the convergence of the sandlance and chameleon, here are some common features.
Camouflage: cryptic eye and body coloration.
Rapid, accurate strikes at small, mobile prey.
Specialised feeding apparatus.
Independent switching pattern of eye movements.
Extreme ocular mobility.
Lens with reduced power.*
Cornea with increased power.*
Corneal accommodation.*
Monocular range-finding (accommodative cues shown in the chameleon, inferred in the sandlance).
Deep convexiclivate fovea in the retina.
Nodal point and axis of rotation of eye well-separated.*
Large image magnification.
Monocular movement parallax possible without eye translation.*

What is the common problem for these 2 species that would drive them to this common solution? If the problem is just sight why should the sandlance’s eyes be any different than the other fishes or the chameleon from other lizards?

doctor(logic)
doctor(logic)
14 years ago

teleologist,

Let’s narrow the focus of our debate to see if we can get some sort of resolution.

Why does evolution predict symbiosis? What else does it predict?

NDE is a naturalistic mechanism that explains how life evolves to adapt to its environment. Since other life forms are part of that environment, life will evolve to form predator-prey relationships and symbiotic relationships. That is, evolution is non-linear.

Why, of all possible things, did a designer create what looks like a pseudo-randomly evolved ecosystem?
Can you prove that life is strictly random and without purpose? It looks design to me. It is like seeing a baseball card on our first draw.

You are confusing purpose with complexity and function. Our ecosystem is very complex and contains many pathways and mechanisms that keep the whole system alive. This is consistent with both design and evolution. The question is, what is predicted by each theory?

Why do we create custom bacteria? To eat oil slicks. Why do we build intelligent machines? To automate tasks we don’t want to perform directly. We don’t invest the resources in building artificial life without any purpose or human utility. The life we create solves a problem for us.

My goal isn’t to prove that there’s no purpose to life on Earth because I don’t think that’s a scientific goal. Rather, I would highlight the fact that there is no evidence of purpose to life on Earth, and that, had we been designed, I would expect to see some. This doesn’t mean that we weren’t designed, it just means that making our purpose invisible (or non-existent) is only one possible design goal out of a million. A generic ID theory has to cover all the bases – design for terraforming, refining, data storage, experimentation, for later consumption, etc. In Bayesian terms, we have to ask what is the probability that ID predicts our purposeless Earth versus a purposeful one. We don’t know what the odds are, but, in generic ID, we have no reason to prioritize one designer purpose over another. In that case, purposelessness is just one design goal out of a million.

Suppose the odds of designing purposeless life are better, say, 1 in 52. πŸ™‚ Evolution predicts purposelessness every time. Design predicts it one in 52 times. So far, we have only seen purposelessness.

Alan Fox
Alan Fox
14 years ago

Is this suppose to be a response to my comment that there is no empirical evidence to your assertion that “reactivity to light was key to photosynthesis” ?

It was an attempt to explain what I think. But I, and, I suspect, you are both laymen, here and we are not going to expand our knowledge by debating with each other. We both need to consult primary sources. An internet blog can be a very mind broadening experience but we need more input.

You are confusing the original premise.

I am equally confused by your response. For me evolution is how an organism is adapted by its environment. Light always shone on Earth. Photosynthetic processes would not evolve if light were not present. Visual equipment is rapidly lost in cave-dwelling organisms that have chanced to exploit that particular environment. The multicellular land-dwelling green plants, are geologically speaking, a young group, much later than the sea-dwelling PreCambrian animals for example, and evolution needs something to build on. Remember all organisms that are not immortal must have an unbroken ancestry of viable antecedents, each generation not very different from parent or offspring. The Venus Flytrap has nothing to work with. no starting point for sentience.

Regarding convergent evolution you say:

The point is that if evolution is random there should be many different solutions to the problem. Yet when given a chance to evolve a random solution it arrives back at the same one.

Well, sort of. There have been several separate evolutionary pathways to an eye. The mammalian eye and the Cephalopod eye (perhaps eye/brain is more accurate) are different solutions to the “problem” That the end result is remarkably similar (and remarkably different) is down to the fact that they are doing the same job of seeing light images by the co-adaptation of cells and cellular components.

As time permits, I will read up on the Sandlance and Chameleon but in response to “what… …would drive them to this common solution” I think an answer is forming along the lines of my previous paragraph.

Alan Fox
Alan Fox
14 years ago

It seems analogous traits are much more indicative of design than random mutation.

Sorry, I meant also to say, that this is a fundamental (no pun intended) problem. Evidence that to me clearly shouts “common descent” is conclusive evidence of design for others. That the DNA structure is universal to all organisms that possess it, that the DNA code is virtually universal to all organisms, that amino acids are universally laevorotatory, well it’s all evidence for evolution, obviously! πŸ™‚

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

When you flip the card and see bacteria you have a 98% πŸ™‚ chance that you are dealing from the “purpose” deck.
The highly adaptable life form is responsible for a good portion of the oxygen we breathe, the fixing of atmospheric nitrogen in our soil to be converted to protein for the majority of the food chain, the return of nitrogen from waste to the atmosphere, the production of food and oxygen from hydrogen sulfide at the sea vents for other life there, … they are the terraformers.
The thousands of species living symbiotically in the human system regulate and refine virtually every biological process of man. They help digest our food, produce and release our vitamins, regulate reproductive health, keep harmful pathogens out of our lungs, keep our skin healthy, etc.
The bulk of the >million species of bacteria on the planet weigh ten times as much as the rest of the planet’s animals. Virtually wherever there are conditions there are bacteria making life possible for the rest of us.
They are here eating/respiring all manner of chemicals and when we make a mess they adapt and eat that too.

doctor(logic)
doctor(logic)
14 years ago

Daron,

But what does the whole ecosystem do?

As I said, life is non-linear. Each successive generation becomes part of the environment. The ecosystem you describe is just what evolution predicts.

We observe that life works. We reverse-engineer life to see what things must be true such that life doesn’t violate the laws of physics. This is all observation. Observing that the parts fit together so that the laws of physics are obeyed isn’t evidence for evolution or design. It’s just evidence for materialism.

What I’m looking for is utility beyond survival and natural selection. Of course life fits together so it works, that’s a given. The question is, what is the whole thing for?

Terraforming is certainly one possible utility, e.g., an alien placed primitive life on Earth in order to create an oxygen atmosphere. However, it looks like the aliens went and left the pot on the stove for 4 billion years. Taking a billion+ years seems like a pretty inefficient way to terraform a planet. Inorganic nanotechnology would work much faster than this, probably taking less than a decade, and certainly less than a million years (for the casual alien who’s not in a hurry). Not a compelling utility, if you ask me. I’m not looking for perfection in the design, but 8 orders of magnitude seems more than sloppy.

It’s ironic that here on Telological Blog and over at Telic Thoughts, there’s an aversion to discussing any details of teleology. If we’re here for a purpose, what is that purpose? πŸ˜‰

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

If I told you the purpose you would ask for references and say the answer was unscientific. πŸ™‚

One bit at a time.
Bacteria obviously has purpose beyond its survival. Its purpose is to aid in the maintenance of the entire planet. We couldn’t have bones, teeth, DNA or ATP without the conversion of phosphates by bacteria and their ilk.

Evolution does not predict this ecosystem. If it did, evolution would predict that wherever there are conditions there would be some kind of life evolved to utilize those conditions.

I say we need atmospheric nitrogen for protein synthesis (oh, and for deflecting harmful radiation from our atmosphere), and isn’t it lucky that there is bacteria (and plants and herbivores) here to prepare it for our uses? The evolutionist says ” only because we evolved to use the nitrogen”. I say we need phosphorus for our life functions, and isn’t it lucky that there is bacteria (and then plants and then a water cycle) to transfer it from its rock source to us? The evolutionist says “only because we evolved to use the phosphorus available”.

By this logic every planet, every solar system, every condition should be teeming with life no matter the conditions.

Benjii
Benjii
14 years ago

Can someone help me understand the design detection method. I’m reading Bill’s seminal book, The Design Revolution. It’s a good book, however, some of the concepts are too intricate too understand.

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
14 years ago

The purpose of it all is transparent to me, The Big Front Loader (BFL) decided to see to it that evolution would proceed in such a certain inexorable way that its obviously final product, Homo sapiens, would be able to realize exactly that scenario, that it was a planned event and with that realization would come to understand that there indeed has been a purpose in the universe and that chance had no role whatsoever in the origin and subsequent evolution of life. It has been a gigantic riddle about to be solved. In fact I regard it as already having been solved with the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

How do you like them skewered Vienna sausages?

Benjii
Benjii
14 years ago

Professor Davison, if Darwinism is practically dead, then, why are there still Darwinian pundits like Dawkins and Blackmore?

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

I think John A. Davison’s point is bang on. (granting, of course, some room for my misinterpretation…)

Every little purpose found where it wasn’t expected -ignored for whatever reason (vestigial organs and junk DNA come immediately to mind) – is indication that purpose, and not chance, is the guiding force.
Learning to expect and to seek the purpose is part of the process.

I like them skewered Vienna sausages just fine.

teleologist
14 years ago

doctor(logic),

You are making tautological arguments. It is devoid of science. This is the problem with Darwinian evolution and which is the reason I call Darwinism a religion. What you have been doing is putting forth putative ancestors and putative pathways. You are building a house of cards and not science.

NDE is a naturalistic mechanism that explains how life evolves to adapt to its environment. Since other life forms are part of that environment, life will evolve to form predator-prey relationships and symbiotic relationships. That is, evolution is non-linear.

This is exactly the problem that I am talking about. You are mixing apples with oranges. Living organisms have the ability to adapt to their environment in a limited extent. There is no empirical evidence that environment can influence macroevolution. There is also no empirical evidence that random mutation can create large scale changes as macroevolution.

You are confusing purpose with complexity and function. Our ecosystem is very complex and contains many pathways and mechanisms that keep the whole system alive. This is consistent with both design and evolution. The question is, what is predicted by each theory?

What are you talking about? You are the only that’s been saying life has not purpose. It exists only to survive. I asked you prove that life is strictly random and without purpose? What does that have to do with complexity?

Why do we create custom bacteria? To eat oil slicks. Why do we build intelligent machines? To automate tasks we don’t want to perform directly. We don’t invest the resources in building artificial life without any purpose or human utility. The life we create solves a problem for us.

There you go again. You are making an unfounded assumption. What you would do as a designer is not necessarily the same as a designer of life on earth. It is not even representative of what I would do. I would invest my time and money for the benefit of strangers with no benefit to myself. Does that falsify your Darwinian hypothesis?

Let’s put all rhetoric aside. Let’s just stick strictly with testable and observable science. Let’s start with your assertion that RM & NS (an observed fact) can produce macroevolutionary developments. I’ve already shown that even Sean Carroll do not believe that is possible.

To test your hypothesis, let’s use the same topic I’ve been debating with Alan, the evolution of the eye. How many mutation events did it take to evolve a light sensitive cell? What was the selective advantage in each of these intermediate steps? If the intermediate was not beneficial then it must be either neutral or deleterious. If NS preserved this neutral mutation why didn’t it preserve all other neutral mutations? I think this is enough to get us started. Remember, for NDE to be scientific you must show empirical evidence for each of these steps.

You also said.

Why, of all possible things, did a designer create what looks like a pseudo-randomly evolved ecosystem?

I asked you prove the appearance of randomness. Darwinists criticize ID for not having science to backup its inference. I am asking you to do the same. Show me the science to support your assertion that all life is random. Let me help you out. One way to show that life is random is to prove that there is no designers in the entire universe maybe even multiverse. If there are other designers then you have confirmed with them that they did not design life on earth. This is obviously an impossible task so this option is out. The other option is to positively show that life can be created randomly. How do you do that? i.e. If you assume the painting Mona Lisa was the result of a random process. How do you verify that empirically. You can try different random processes to create the painting or its equivalent. You can randomly splatter paint on a canvas until the painting of Mona Lisa comes out. You can throw paint up in the air and blow the paint with a jet engine while it is in the air. Watch to see if the image of Mona Lisa appears on the canvas. The Darwinists will say this is ridiculous because evolution happens over millions of years. IOW, Darwinian evolution is a just so story and unverifiable.

teleologist
14 years ago

Alan,

You are making tautological arguments. It is devoid of science. This is the problem with Darwinian evolution and which is the reason I call Darwinism a religion. What you have been doing is putting forth putative ancestors and putative pathways. You are building a house of cards and not science. There is just no empirical evidence to your assertion that “reactivity to light was key to photosynthesis” ?

I am equally confused by your response. For me evolution is how an organism is adapted by its environment. Light always shone on Earth. Photosynthetic processes would not evolve if light were not present. Visual equipment is rapidly lost in cave-dwelling organisms that have chanced to exploit that particular environment. The multicellular land-dwelling green plants, are geologically speaking, a young group, much later than the sea-dwelling PreCambrian animals for example, and evolution needs something to build on. Remember all organisms that are not immortal must have an unbroken ancestry of viable antecedents, each generation not very different from parent or offspring.

You did not address any of my questions.
1. What was this pre-eyespot organism?
2. How did it use light for food?
3. What were the numerous mutational steps and how was the system put together?
4. Are you suggesting that the requirements prior to an organism developing an eyespot, it must have a brain, heart and gut?

The Venus Flytrap has nothing to work with. no starting point for sentience.

Why is sentience a requirement for evolution of an eyespot? I suggested evolution can connect this eyespot to a something like a cilium to close the trap. Remember this example is used to challenge your assertion that organisms that use photosynthesis would naturally evolve an eyespot because it confers an advantage.

That the end result is remarkably similar (and remarkably different) is down to the fact that they are doing the same job of seeing light images by the co-adaptation of cells and cellular components.

This is just storytelling. It is no better than a fairy tale.
1. What is that job?
2. How long did it take to evolve this genetically?
3. Why didn’t other similar organisms living in the same environment with the same habits evolve the same convergent features?

At some point Darwinian evolution will have to produce some scientific evidence, until then it is just an atheistic religious belief promoted by most Darwinists.

I meant also to say, that this is a fundamental (no pun intended) problem. Evidence that to me clearly shouts “common descent” is conclusive evidence of design for others.

This is our first point of agreement. This is the reason I’ve been asking you to provide empirical evidence for all the putative Darwinian assertions that you’ve been making.

BTW, plants may be relatively young but photosynthesis is old, very old. If you are not already aware of it, check into cyanobacteria.

teleologist
14 years ago

Daron,

If I told you the purpose you would ask for references and say the answer was unscientific.

doctor(logic) is using an argument from ignorance. It is a negative argument against the gap in our knowledge. πŸ™‚

Evolution does not predict this ecosystem. If it did, evolution would predict that wherever there are conditions there would be some kind of life evolved to utilize those conditions.

Good point. It is also misleading for Darwinists to claim that evolution predict this, evolution predict that. I’ve asked them how. How does evolution predict anything? Psychics predict all sort of thing every day. Is that science? A scientific prediction involves a set of parameters that can be evaluated to produce a given result. Where is the prediction from Darwinists of our current ecosystem prior to the present? Can evolution give us a detail prediction/description of what the ecosystem will look like one year from now? Can evolution predict what the human genome will look like a decade from now? What prediction? Evolution is vacuous of any scientific predictive powers.

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
14 years ago

I am now holding forth at “brainstroms” so there is no need to repeat myself here. Besides I am getting cramps in my fingers. I never did learn how to type properly. Thanks for the support Daron

teleologist
14 years ago

doctor(logic),

What I’m looking for is utility beyond survival and natural selection. Of course life fits together so it works, that’s a given. The question is, what is the whole thing for?

IDists can speculate on the purpose but it is beyond our scientific capability at this point. For all we know all of life was designed for the benefit of Mankind. What you are asking us to prove is a universal negative. It is incumbent upon you to prove that life has no purpose. It exist only to survive. Please refer back to my example of Mona Lisa.

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

Teleologist,
I was thinking that same thing earlier.
Purposelessness of the gaps. (say that 10 times fast)

John A. Davison,
My pleasure.
I have enjoyed your very unorthodox blog for several weeks now and am only too happy to point people to your excellent ideas.

edarrell
edarrell
14 years ago

John, you may want to look at what Olivia Judson has to say:

Alan Fox
Alan Fox
14 years ago

Teleologist

I have already said I am a layman, but it would still be nice to be considered worthy of more than “cut & paste ” responses. πŸ˜‰

Answers to your questions in the order they appear.

1. I don’t know.
2. using photosynthesis.
3. I don’t know.
4. No

Your eye spot as trigger seems plausible. In the continuing experiment that is life on Earth, the evolutionary pathway has not had sufficient time time to develop, perhaps. Intermediate forms would be at a selective disadvantage, maybe. I don’t know.( A supernatural designer would know :))

Sentience (in the sense of a neurological network) is not required for an eye spot to be useful. A functioning system would be able to differentiate between light level now and light level measured before last movement, and a movement in a new random direction as necessary. This simple logic system can function by a purely chemical process. This is how Euglena appears to behave.

1. seeing.
2. I don’t know
3. We can both cherry-pick here to suit our arguments. Let me make a general point, that where organisms pursue similar lifestyles in similar environments, they will show similar adaptations, within the overall limitation that I stated earlier:

“Remember all organisms that are not immortal must have an unbroken ancestry of viable antecedents, each generation not very different from parent or offspring.”

Green plants, indeed, did not re-invent the wheel, chloroplasts are the remnants of symbiotic cyanobacteria. (Ribosomes, mitochondria and, possibly, other organelles are the result of initially symbiotic relationships.)