Comments

  1. Murat says

    The problem with the Santa Claus example is that there was actually a guy called Saint Nicolas on whom the legend is based. So, when someone claims firmly that character to never have existed, he would be in conflict with some historical facts.

    I think it’s a safer bet to move on with Zeus or Superman when trying to establish agnosticism and atheism with regards to the common knowledge of god.

  2. Steven S says

    Without any evidence of WHO or WHAT designed us, or parts of us, Intelligent Design doesn’t even match the criteria for a hypothesis, let alone a theory. It would have to be testable with a null hypothesis.

  3. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Joey is triggering my throwing hand and I would be inclined to throw tomatoes at his face if we met.

    Nothing is being misunderstood, they prove nothing so they get dismissed like the nothings that the intelligent designed community are. They do nothing scientific, except hijack the work of biologists.

    You’re a tiresome, tapdancing, woo obsessed screeler.

  4. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Richmond, some people like to be watched, leave them be.

    Nah, honestly, those people with the “just has to be” syndrome need to be taught that morality can come without an overseer, just by trial and error. The different expressions of the universe aren’t being overseen by anyone that we can verify to exist, so what’s the point.

  5. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Santa is used because of the man behind the legend, he existed but not his powers, sleigh, magical reindeers and north pole residence.

  6. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Gary is too occult for my current palette. Mute button activated.

  7. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Timothy is a scathing moron, who likes to waste time, his whole act of no right or wrong leaves me thinking that he’s a vacuous beanbag with no value.

  8. Murat says

    @Chancellor #6

    Exactly my point: This example is not a defeater for someone claiming god to exist but to lack certain features attributed to it. Superman, however, as he is created from scratch for entertainment purposes, is.

    Santa Claus is not much different from Jesus with respect to having (maybe) actually existed vs. becoming a legend with many fictional add-ons.

  9. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Lincoln, there is such a thing as moving past the block headed. Don’t waste your time on rocks.

  10. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Yeah but the value as you see is in the base existence and not the extra crap being pushed.

    To: Murat.

  11. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Jake, you have a twin here, granted he seems more reasonable by comparison.

    Jake, even if atheists ran around with a burden of proof due to their non-belief. You. Still. Have. To. Do. The. Fucking. Work. Of. PROVING. Your. Position.

    You ring dishonest and it makes you loathesome.

  12. Murat says

    The way I get it, Joey was basically asking this:

    “Yes, intelligent design was constructed solely to push dogma into the educational system, yes, it was a cover-up, but, aside from that, why do you not value the basic idea that there may be a particular intelligence behind (our) existence?”

    I think what the question lacks is the mention of some scientific study that (through evidence and experiement) arrives at “intelligence” as a “source” for existence.

    If there is such a thing, then intelligent design can gain recognition as not just an “idea” but a “theory”.

    Joey did not come up with any particular such thing. Plus, got stuck in a loophole by suggesting aliens may have created the DNA while accepting the very same aliens may not need any similar external intervention to exist themselves.

    @Chancellor #12
    Your words confirm the validity of the distinction I made, so, I don’t know what else to say about that.

  13. steve73 says

    Am I the only one who recognized that the last caller, “Gary”, is YouTube’s “G Man”? And in true G Man form, he failed to make a valid point.

  14. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    And as for Murat, yeah I feel like I’ve engaged in semantics so I feel icky now, but anyhow:

    An acknowledgement of a powerless Jesus is worthless to the honest power jockers who won’t stand for their He-man being just a man so they won’t accept the real dude.

    The dishonest ones are to be mocked. Either way, their gawd belief gets a punching.

  15. JockeSweden says

    Steve, Gary certainly sounded like Gman. And Jake sounded like a Sye fan. Sigh…

  16. Wiggle Puppy says

    @ Chancellor 7, 17: Yes, Gary is among a group of Youtubers who are obsessed with definitions and have made it their mission to make the label “atheist” seem less reasonable than it is, which is why the conversation went the way it did. Ron from Chicago, who pointlessly argued with Matt about the definition of “theism” a few months ago, is in the same group.

  17. vandy004 says

    @Steve73 I signed up here just to comment that he was G-man but you posted before I got done signing in

  18. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Yikes, Wiggle Puppy, utube theists are scary. So the obsessed crackpotbruhs have huddled their collective neurons and are making a bid at coherency and organising to move on the axp? Nothing but further annoyances will result from them taking time away from finding proof of their gawd. I guess being crap is only worthwhile when you can get the mess onto others also.

  19. Mobius says

    Yikes. This episode was SO painful. First you had mister “God is necessary because God says he is necessary.” Then you had mister “I’m an atheist but I believe in Intelligent Design.” And lastly you had mister “You can’t be an atheist because some people believe trees are gods.” All three conversations went nowhere despite be rather long.

  20. says

    all this sophistry about labels deserves its own fallacy, hence …

    Refutatio ad Nomen (Disproof by Name): what atheists call atheism is invalid, therefore god!

  21. Simon & Mrs Wendy Hosking says

    @Mobis #21

    Spot on summary of the show.

    This show is so dependent on who calls in. Today they were dishonest which is not unusual – but it’s a different type of dishonesty that ‘we’ need a better way of beating down.

    I used to be a Theist and it’s embarrassing when people call in with this level of tripe. Say what you believe and why you believe it. It’s not that hard!

    – Simon

  22. KJWalker says

    Honestly guys, the moment someone starts an pre-sup argument just hung up.
    They admitted it is a circular argument and only internally consistent, yet think we are unjustified in not accepting it.
    Pre-sup arguments are designed to shut down conversation.

  23. says

    my vote for quote of the evening: joey @ 1:02:07

    “uncreated DNA would look much like what scientists make in the lab, that have no function whatsoever. where they try to make it by nat– they try to make it by chance, by throwing a bunch of [unintelligible] in a mixture and shaking it.”

    hall of fame material, folks.

  24. John Iacoletti says

    Yeah, we’re pretty sure now that Gary was G-Man. I didn’t recognize him because that’s not his usual shtick.

  25. Joey McCabe says

    I was Joey, I am thoroughly disappointed with the conversation. All Russell did was dismiss the inference. But each attempt to dismiss it was faulty by the SAME standards by which he didn’t support ID. I didn’t even get the chance to discuss ID as a theory. He just talked over me by suggesting that there needs to be evidence of a designer in order to say that an object in question IS designed. Which is, of course, RIDICULOUS.

  26. cobbler says

    timothy from Owosso, MI 48867, USA – i had to look it up on google to if it was a real town or a state of mind , but if he was real then he must have had a very strange and sorry educational journey for which he should be pitied or he was just a waste of space troll i am not sure which one . During the exploration of PNG by western peoples over past 119 years only a small group of people in PNG have been found to indulge in cannibalism ,

  27. mi tortent says

    #26 John, and jake was kabane the christian who has argued with matt on the show. he seems to have gone further off the deep end.

  28. paxoll says

    For ID questions, they need to use the hexagonal rock formations as an example. Naturally occurring formation that many argued had to have been designed by ancient people, but we now know how they form. It’s too complex for nature to create is an argument from ignorance and is NOT a scientific theory because it’s not possible to extrapolate and make predictions to be tested.

  29. DanDare says

    Jake got away with some atomic grade bullshit. Induction-shmuction guys. I put a foot in front of another and move forward. Oh that’s cool I say and try again. It happens again. I do it lots of times and then just take it for granted the future keeps being like the past when I get to it. Maybe next time it wont be but my confidence is building and that is good enough. I don’t need inductive logic, just simple heuristic, thanks. Empiricism and repetition means I can build and test models of reality. I don’t need to appeal to anything outside of that for it to prove useful.

  30. DanDare says

    Jakes second piece i stupid.
    1 – can’t have reality with out god
    2 – how do you support that claim?
    1 – revelation
    2 – how do I tell that you had a revelation and are not simply delusional or lying?

    the end

  31. DanDare says

    Joey – peer review is checking that the framing of a hypothesis is testable and that the tests are valid and good methods are applied. The ID stuff is not a-priori rejected. It just doesn’t get submitted because the authors know their work will not pass muster.

    Look at Behe’s work on specified complexity and his rubbish about flagella. He ignores sound principles of evidence, looking for alternative hypothesis and even occam’s razor. There’s bunches of stuff about statistical impossibility where the guys ignore the possibility of massively parallel trials and simply make odds up without foundation. Its unscientific guff made to sound sciency and truthy.

  32. vitalem says

    So – for Jake KS – Um – If I have to betray my trust in my ability to walk forward in order to believe in your god, well, I’m sorry. I’m going to take this “leap of faith” and assume that I will be walking forward if I put one foot in front of the other and force my weight forward. I can’t believe these people put themselves through such self-delusion.

  33. Daniel Engblom says

    Russell, for the love of Jeff, make a habit of using the mute/hold button more, please, I beg of you. You’ve been great and improving even more lately as a host, but this is an area you need to improve on and not let whiny preachy callers who are on auto-pilot ramble all over your attempts at getting them to stop and re-evaluate the discussion, and it’s more painful at least for me as a listener to just have to sit and listen through all the endless droning of callers who are just vomiting out a script as fast and as loud as they can so they don’t have to listen to you guys.
    I hope I don’t come off as too insulting with my own admittedly whiny request, the callers in this episode were just a bit painful to listen to.

  34. gshelley says

    For the people who claim that morality comes from the Bible, I’d like to see one asked if they disagree with the definition of the hosts (well being or whatever).
    I think whatever way they go, there could be a worthwhile conversation
    They agree on well being – they can be asked how can we tell if an action advances well being. Even if they say god knows everything, so His Word on the matter is what we should follow, we can ask about things that aren’t directly covered, or things that we feel don’t advance it, such as slavery
    If they say morality is what God wants, then they can be told that atheists don’t care about that kind of morality (or whatever)

  35. Monocle Smile says

    Kabane is still around? He was a whiny, obnoxious know-it-all (who didn’t know anything) when he called in all those years ago. He’s actually gotten worse? I remember him making the bald claim that all alien abduction stories were the result of hypnosis alone and uttered a “prove me wrong” one-liner to follow that.

    @John
    That’s how normal, well-intentioned, honest people behave. The folks you refer to are none of those. Part of me pities people like G-Man and TrueEmpiricism and the Alex/Adam/Brad troll because clearly they have problems that they need to work out; their current behavior just lets the issues fester.

  36. says

    @44 John Iacoletti

    Something I’m curious about – one of the benefits of moving out of the public access studio was to be able to start using Caller ID. Was that ever implemented, or was it not very useful?

  37. Leo K says

    @24 Mobius and @35 DanDare
    I too was surprised these guys got as much time as they did, at first I wanted the caller to simply get to the point and/or end the call, but then I thought it was useful for the hosts to flush out these extraordinary claims.

    @Anyone who can offer any kind of insight into this show
    I’m still confused as to what the purpose of these callers. Why do people call into the show? I understand the purpose of the show is to offer a positive atheist front for theist to look at and see that we’re not all heathens, but why offer them a platform to spout out their nonsense. For the most part, I have yet to hear a single hosts explicitly solicit people to call into the show, yet week after week, they’re lines are filled and ready for all sort of characters. Why? I’m still relatively new to the show, and might have missed some earlier episode which established the guidelines and purpose for having a phone bank available, and any assistance (or link) to why these folks do this would be helpful.

  38. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @John Iacoletti #44:

    Why don’t these people just say who they really are when they call?

    TrueEmpiricism and G-Man tell themselves the AXP crew will recognize their names: screen them out, delay the call until the lightning round, or sabotage the sound quality to make them look bad. They tell themselves you are litigious as another silencing technique, and they will bravely rhetorically fight back in court and win.
     
    They tell themselves you are dishonest and ignorant, and their only goal in even calling is to “p0wn” famous atheists with what they consider ironclad logic, to make an example of you to their fans. “I call trees god; you acknowledge trees; atheism loses if any god exists; theism wins!” They get together and rant about it afterward on their YouTube channels.

  39. Monocle Smile says

    @Leo K
    The show has been on for over 20 years. You can dig into much older episodes if you wish to get an idea of its evolution. They used to get mostly callers from the Austin area, but the internet opened up a much larger audience, and they’ve gotten extremely popular.

    The show doesn’t merely offer a platform for nonsense. That’s not the point. It’s so people see the discussion happen live. At least 99% of religious media is unidirectional. A message is preached from the pulpit without question. Now, stuff like that can have its place and I’m not opposed to one-way messages in general (several AXP hosts have given public talks), but “we’re willing to hear you out in public and discuss things rigorously instead of speaking in bumper stickers” is a great way to make people think twice. Don’t be concerned about the callers themselves; the show is for the audience, not the callers.

    Have you ever been to the AXP website? They offer some stuff there as an explanation.

  40. jeffh123 says

    This was an interesting and frustrating episode. A lot motor mouth folks, going on and on, but not saying much and a lot of circular arguments and special pleading.

  41. Leo K says

    @MS #49
    Thank you for the reply, I am working my way through the shows (as time permits), starting with the most recent and working my way back. So far, I’ve gotten up to February and on the fence on whether I should move onto January, but not seeing the purpose of continuing on. I’m one of the none(s), so this show isn’t really offering me anything except drowning out the office chatter around me.

    Actually, that’s not entirely true, I like the show Matt, Jen, and Tracie are on and their use of logical arguments to dismantle/decipher a caller’s statements/arguments. I tried to Google some of the phrases they’ve used to see if I can find a reference material various types of logical fallacies out there, and well, that led to some no so interesting results. Do you know if they’ve ever mentioned (or do you know of) any decent authors/books which might lend some insight into these types of logical fallacies. I would prefer a scholarly book (or type material) to reference; web articles and YouTube videos have left a lot to be desired.

  42. mond says

    On the subject of presups seeming to be one of the more popular apologetics of the moment.

    I would count it as a win.

    It’s is basically the ‘god did it’ argument applied to unsolved philosophical questions and ideas.

    The reason that I count it as win is that science and human understanding have progressed.
    Most of the ‘god did it’ explanations of the past eventually get a real explanation (complete or partial).
    Apologists are now forced to seek out even more esoteric arguments.

    The down side of course is an unfamiliar apologetic can seem difficult answer but John and Russell did a good job of trying to tie him down on proving his assertions.

    I am sure the popularity of presups will lead to it’s ultimate downfall when we become more familiar with the concepts and arguments against it.

  43. Monocle Smile says

    @Leo K
    RationalWiki is pretty good at outlining logical fallacies, although it’s not written objectively (I don’t mind the leftist leaning, but just FYI) and uses some jargon with which you may be unfamiliar.
    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy outlines fallacies, I believe, though in formal, long-winded terms.

    Here’s an excellent link:
    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/taxonomy.html

    If you’re only going by the latest shows, you’re going to be missing a ton of context. The history of the show is important, but keep going. Perhaps try to find some clips of the “greatest hits,” there have been some particularly impactful callers in the past. Were you ever a theist? The show may have more meaning to those of us who were raised believers.

  44. Monocle Smile says

    @mond
    Presuppositional apologetics is like a child playing a game of “I win.” The game involves the child changing the rules on a whim such that they declare “I win” as often as possible. There’s no regard for anything else, and it doesn’t matter if the rules contradict each other or if they pass logical muster. The kid’s just going to say “I win” regardless of anything.

  45. says

    Ugh, Jake’s call just made me want to scream!

    And his approach is deeply dishonest, because he says that this argument is the reason he believes, and I don’t think that’s ever the case with apologists. Before letting him launch into his arguments, I think that perhaps the hosts should corner him on that point, something like this:

    “Let’s put the argument you are about to make into a box. If you found that the box contained a fallacy, and that the argument in the box was invalid, would you still believe in your religion? Yes? If you would still believe, then the argument in this box is NOT the reason why you believe. So we don’t need to even open this box, we can just throw it away. Now let’s find out why it is that you actually hold your beliefs. What’s the thing that, if shown to be untrue, would actually change your mind? Because that’s the thing that we should be talking about, not all this circular philosophical wanking.”

  46. Leo K says

    @MS #53
    To whether I was a theist or not, I’m not entirely sure how to answer that, but lets say there was some level of theism within my house while I was growing up, but nothing was ever forced down my throat. In a way, I was encourage to follow what ever flavor faith I wanted to at the time, without my parents hindering me with their own interpretations of what they believed in. It was definitely not a normal upbringing from what I’ve been seen and witness from others around me. This freedom allowed me to objectively look at various belief structures, see if it was a fit for me, try them out for a spell, only to realize that I was simply fooling myself. I eventually came to the conclusion that there simply isn’t any evidence to conclude in the existence of anything beyond what we understand as reality. That’s reality with a little ‘r’ not a big ‘R’; not interested in getting into a discussion over what exactly is reality with any arm-chair philosophers who might read this response.

    So, I can relate to some of the thoughts and views some have expressed on the show, specially that kid (who some call a troll) that keeps calling in from Colorado with different names and keeps trying to get one of the hosts to confirm his ill-formed beliefs. I’ve been in his shoes, and it didn’t take much more for me to drop all the woo I was finding to justify my weak beliefs in the supernatural. He’ll eventually drop all that BS, and just realize our time on this earth is far to precious to waste cycles on believe nonsense.

    Which brings me back to my earlier quandary about following this show. It’s fun to get a dose of crazy everyone once in a while, if only to put into perspective the follow of certain types of thoughts, but I don’t see the overall purpose to subjecting yourself to this weekly abuse. I came across this show because it was mentioned on the Thinking Atheist, and I’ve seen a few interviews/talks Matt’s given on YouTube. I listened/watched several shows, and it just baffled me as to why the hosts were subjecting themselves to this. What’s driving me batty is the fact that at no point have I heard any of the hosts (as of yet) explicitly request people to call in, yet their they are. It’s just weird, but likely something I missed from earlier shows.

    Apologies for the long winded response, I’ve just a curious person.

    Oh, and thanks for the link, haven’t come across that one, I’ll take a look at it when I get home. As for the RationalWiki, I wasn’t too impress with what I saw over the weekend on that site, it was entertaining, but I prefer a more scholarly/structured approach to learning about certain topics. Once I get a good understanding of it, then sites like RationalWiki (and other user generated content) is used to get a more nuance understanding of certain topics.

  47. Monocle Smile says

    @Leo K
    Out of curiosity, are you American?

    AXP does this for a very good reason, and it’s not about themselves. In the US, people wear false beliefs proudly and push them upon others through voting and more traumatic means. We have a serious education problem here and critical thinking is largely eschewed in favor of tradition and easy answers. Opposing religion is a great avenue for challenging this head-on, as religion is perpetrator #1 of the listed crimes against the intellect. Matt’s said before that he wants to change the world, and there’s evidence that he and AXP in general has had an effect on people.

    The hosts don’t need to explicitly ask people to call in anymore, really. When your show has been on the air for 20 years and has only grown in popularity, those lines are going to be full each and every week.

  48. Leo K says

    @MS #57
    As for my nationality. I’m from and live in Florida, so according to the rest of the country, our claim to being part of American, let alone the human race, is up for debate. 😉

    As for the religious fanatics pushing their agenda into pubic forum, I’m fully aware of that, and I’m currently following some legislation working its way through the Florida house/senate to grant some interesting rights to theist students within our public schools. On the surface it grants theist kids the right to claim what ever they want in their homework assignments without reprisal from the teacher, and some other “niceties” they claim should be granted because secular students have been granted them. I didn’t think much of the original bill tht passed its way through the house, but once it got into the senate, it bloated into a ridiculous ‘land-grab’ of a bill to “protect the rights” of theist students. The bill is nonsensical, and I can’t wait for it to blow up in their face the first time a Muslim, Scientology, Satanist, etc, group of kids request to have the same rights as the other more traditional christian groups. This is just one ugly lawsuit waiting to happen, and unfortunately, my tax dollars will be used to defend this idiotic bill.

    I assumed there must have been some plea early on to encourage folks to call in beginning, how long have you been following the show? Have you seen a significant change in the callers (either for the positive or negative) since you started listening/watching?

  49. rodney says

    @Leo, I would say it’s better to start with the earlier episodes and work your way forward. You say you especially like Matt, so you might start when he first started hosting. But really, if you’re not enjoying it, and it’s driving you batty, then I would suggest finding something else to listen to, that’s what I would do anyway.

  50. Chancellor says

    @(#31)Joey McCabe: Welcome to the blog! It took some time for your comment to come through so don’t mind the lack of acknowledgement at present.

  51. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    @(#31)Joey McCabe: Welcome to the blog! It took some time for your comment to come through so don’t mind the lack of acknowledgement at present.

  52. Joey McCabe says

    Well hey, thanks! Yeah…I haven’t actually felt like they were addressing me but in fact talking past me. Russel did nothing more than apply two standards to the design inference in different contexts.

  53. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Welcome to the blog.
    There’s much to unpack here. ID is not science. There are no falsifiable hypotheses. If there were, then experiments could be done and flophouses like the Discovery Institute wouldn’t need to make up conspiracy theories to excuse their failures at every turn.

    It is absolutely not ridiculous to say that knowledge of a designer is needed for a design inference. If we do in fact conclude that something is designed, it’s always because we utilize apriori knowledge about how things work, like manufacturing processes. If you had no knowledge of snow and went to an alien planet only to find a snowflake the size of a chariot wheel, what would you conclude?
    I can also provide links to a number of images and challenge you to identify which ones are of designed objects. I can virtually guarantee you’ll get some wrong.

    What’s even worse is that if you’re someone who claims “everything is designed,” then you’ve undermined your entire argument with a silly tautology.

  54. John Iacoletti says

    Joey, I was trying to address what you were saying. IMO, you never justified your assumption that DNA (or any complex thing in general) is something that requires an intelligent agent. It’s the eye argument all over again. What are your criteria for distinguishing “guided by intelligence” from “not guided by intelligence”?

  55. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Joey McCabe

    I was Joey, I am thoroughly disappointed with the conversation. All Russell did was dismiss the inference. But each attempt to dismiss it was faulty by the SAME standards by which he didn’t support ID. I didn’t even get the chance to discuss ID as a theory. He just talked over me by suggesting that there needs to be evidence of a designer in order to say that an object in question IS designed. Which is, of course, RIDICULOUS.

    I’m partial and sympathetic to Russell’s position, but I’m not entirely sure that I agree completely.

    If you have the inclination, drop your evidence on us here, please.

    Also, if you have the time, here is a proper peer reviewed paper ought to be mandatory reading when discussing intelligent design creationism and science.

    > How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    > (final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    > Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

  56. cobbler says

    my quote for the day came from joey , who (paraphrased) said about Egyptians ” hell they did not build skyscrapers ”
    but apparently he did not learn about the PYRAMIDS

  57. DanDare says

    @Leo K the show serves several purposes
    – engage the theist community
    – exibit reasoned atheism
    – disseminate reasoning styles and conversational approaches

    Some things I have learned over the years:
    ask “what do you believe and why” and then actively listen to the response. If its a non-answer bring it back to the question.
    Recurring debunked arguments recur. Its good to identify them in their various disguises and understand why they are debunked.
    Philosophy is useful when done well for trying to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible.

  58. Monocle Smile says

    Call Review:
    – I’m from Michigan. Timothy is a troll and lying out his ass. He seems just butthurt that the country isn’t a strict Christian theocracy. He cites Ron Wyatt and bitches about “liberals” who run Snopes, which should tell the audience all anyone needs to know. It’s not uncommon in the rural Midwest.
    – I don’t need to recap Jake, but I find it hilarious that the guy who dismissed alien abduction reports is the same guy who uses lack of reports to claim certainty that there’s no Santa Claus. I’m not a fan of how Russell approaches creationists (though I do like his presuppotionalist approach), and someone like Kabane especially needs to be smacked around. Maybe I’m just too much of an AronRa fanboy.
    – Holy shit, among the rest of the Cdesign Proponentsists crew, Joey brought up Jonathan Wells? I don’t believe this guy is an atheist at all, or at least, he’s a terrible critical thinker. Wells is a Moonie and wrote a whole fucking book about his motivation for getting a PhD. I’m guessing Joey also saw Ben Stein’s steaming turd of a “documentary” and believed everything at face value. Joey, virtually nothing about the stories in “Expelled” is true. And now Joey’s talking about people being ahead of the peer-review process. But who cares? Most people aren’t. The time to accept something is AFTER it’s been demonstrated to be true. There’s no virtue in believing something for bad reasons even if you end up correct. That’s piss-poor thinking. I liked how Russell went after the forensics vs. DNA design inference. ID is exclusively anthropocentric and attempts to make the audience forget this.

  59. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To MS
    Concerning Jonathan Wells, you seem to imply that there’s better intelligent design creationist proponents. I have ask: really? Are there? Behe maybe? But Behe’s not a young Earth creationist, and IIRC Behe actually believes that common ancestry is true (a point often missed by people who cite him).

  60. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ah, I forgot about Dr Dino. What a great guy (/s). Folds young Earth creationism and presuppositionalism all into one neat package for consumption.

  61. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    I see your point, but I wasn’t getting at that. They all suck. Some are merely more obviously charlatans than others.
    He’s even worse at playing his part than the court jester types like Ian Juby and Carl Baugh; he appears in “documentaries” as a scientific authority, but outs himself with books and assorted public statements. Were I forced to pick a team of creationists to run a con job, Wells would be the first one I leave off my list. If Joey can’t identify Wells as someone who is obviously not a ‘scholar’ publishing ‘ID science,’ then I wonder how hard he’s looked at any of his claims.

    Behe is actually more infuriating to me. He seems to know better and the paycheck is what’s pushing him to spout nonsense.

  62. Joey McCabe says

    John, the eyes argument isn’t exactly wrong at face value. In fact, Hume never actually refuted the watchmaker argument. All he concluded was the “life isn’t like machines”. Which was true at his time, but now is no longer the case. SO the watchmaker argument saw a resurrgence because of what we came to find out about chemistry and DNA. “Complexity” in the context of ID requires 2 things. 1. Functionality relative to sequencing and 3. An amount of 500 or above.

  63. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Criteria 1) needs elaboration. It seems to be intentionally set up for equivocation, like most ID “science.”
    As for 2)…”Complex specified information” is a made-up “metric” courtesy of William Dembski. It is impossible to calculate. It appears to be entirely arbitrary, which is why there are zero actual scientific papers about it. Your answer to this is to propose an impossible and laughable conspiracy theory, which should tell you something.

    Also, if you really, truly think DNA operates like computer code, you have lots and lots of learning to do. The metaphor is used to demonstrate a single point, and how they operate is not that point. It’s like you have no education concerning evolution at the genetic level and how DNA developed. We actually have loads of data on RNA-world and how DNA was borne of evolution at its earliest stages.

  64. says

    Presuppositionalists are so frustrating yet intriguing and hilarious. Matt Slick, Sye Ten, Jake; they all have the same exact rhetoric, same exact attitude (passive-aggressive, arrogant, and condescending), and same exact manner of speaking. They have a way of getting into somewhat abstract and esoteric subject matter to make their case seem more logical, yet they make the simplest mistake of “proving” a God with “God must exist because God must exist by definition.” Sure, you can try to start with a god and try to model the world from there, but that doesn’t mean that model must be true (and it is almost certainly going to be flawed). And how this relates to the Christian God I have no clue.

  65. DanDare says

    @Joey in #73. There are three types of people in the world. Those that can count to three and those that can’t.

  66. Joey McCabe says

    The statement “CSI” has no merit is essentially ridiculous. CSI is a DESCRIPTION or quantitative definition of the arrangement of code and language. To say it’s a “made up metric” that is “arbitrary” is absolutely false. Dembski isn’t the FIRST information theorist to talk about the term. The concept of CSI (Not in those exact terms) was around LONG before Dembski. It’s a key aspect of information theory and bioinformatics. They might not call it “CSI” but that’s because they have no idea what a tautology is.

  67. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Joey McCabe
    Back in respected academia, where standard information theory is in use, i.e. Shannon information theory, it has been shown conclusively (in computer simulations) that the unguided process of random mutation plus natural selection leads to increased information content in the replicator. Ex:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_program

    IIRC, Behe and Dembski both say that this is impossible. IIRC, to get around this undeniable evidence, they use a different, non-standard definition of “information”, which as far as many people can tell, it is not formally specified, including professionals like PZ Myers who have read their whole books, and still come away without finding a formal mathematical definition. It’s all smoke and mirrors, with no actual mathematical substance, because if they employed the standards information theory definitions, then it would be trivial to show that their claims are wrong.

  68. Sigmun Lloyd says

    Joey, please present your evidence/case. You spend all your time tripping over word meanings and claiming you weren’t allowed to make your point.
    I’m interested in hearing your ideas, how you support them, what evidence you can bring and how you would test them.
    Cheers

  69. Joey McCabe says

    Enlightenment. You do realize that the weasel program has been thoroughly debunked by ID advocates and even information theorists themselves.

    The inference to the best explanation uses uniformitarianism to determine causes in the past. Any inference made in science has an aspect of “ignorance” attached to it.

    The ID inference fits well within the parameters of an inference to the BEST explanation.

    1. Intelligence creates complex specified information
    2. DNA contains complex specified information
    3. We know of no OTHER cause that is adequate to explain complex information

    Therefore, the best explanation for the CSI in DNA is intelligence.

    It’s quite simple…and this SAME inference outside the context of biology is made in almost every OTHER field of study. Especially in forensics and archaeology.

  70. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    You do realize that the weasel program has been thoroughly debunked by ID advocates and even information theorists themselves.

    I call bullshit. Citation, please. I have good reason to distrust what “ID advocates” have done, since it doesn’t seem to amount to much. Also, you seem to be stepping around defining CSI in rigorous style.

    Intelligence creates complex specified information

    You have another problem here. Russell and John both got you to stumble and for some reason you think we’re dumb or didn’t watch the show. You’re talking about human specific actions. Pretending that “intelligence” is some easily definable quantity that scales linearly is extremely wrong.

    and this SAME inference outside the context of biology is made in almost every OTHER field of study. Especially in forensics and archaeology

    No. You’re just plain wrong. We know what HUMANS do and can do, so it makes sense to infer evidence of HUMAN actions. This is an extremely relevant point that you seem to be dismissing on a whim.

    Why did you not address my snowflake question?

  71. says

    @ Joey

    The ID inference fits well within the parameters of an inference to the BEST explanation.

    1. Intelligence creates complex specified information
    2. DNA contains complex specified information
    3. We know of no OTHER cause that is adequate to explain complex information

    Therefore, the best explanation for the CSI in DNA is intelligence.

    What I’ve always found particularly interesting about arguments for intelligent design is that they just can’t help but by weaselly, or self-servingly arbitrary in their premises. As has been pointed out before, an additional observation one might have here is that human intelligence creates complex specified information, and that’s about as far as we’ve been able to observe. Your “inference to the best explanation” posits the existence of a key component outside of what is observed- or can be safely inferred- while ignoring aspects that conflict with the preferred conclusion. Like every other argument for ID, all this one is is a meticulously arranged argument from ignorance set out with the aim of reaching a desired conclusion, rather than providing a conclusion based on the premises.

  72. DanDare says

    Science works from the known. Humans are known to make buildings. We have not observed other things make buildings. If you find a building and don’t know how it came to be you infer humans until evidence comes along that it was something else. Natural forces can and do produce com0lex molecules without need of any intervention. Recently humans have learned to do so to some degree. You find a complex molecule that pre existed modern humans you infer its natural until evidence comes along that it was synthesized by an intelligent being.
    And yes Csi is a rubbish number with no solid grounding because it rests on the assumption that you can tell what is specified without anyone observing the specification.

  73. Garrett Watson says

    FYI – Jake was not Kabane. Kabane’s real name isn’t Jake and he’s not from Kansas. Also didn’t sound like him.

  74. Daniel Williams says

    Regarding how we can know whether earlier humans/hominids could have been like us, Shanidar Cave has provided pretty compelling physical evidence of empathy, conflict, and belief in ritual:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanidar_Cave

    These aren’t even moderns humans, but Neaderthals. Also happens to be in the 60k yo range that was being spitballed.

  75. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Enlightenment. You do realize that the weasel program has been thoroughly debunked by ID advocates and even information theorists themselves.

    I was not aware. It seems like a pretty open-and-shut example of a population of replicators, undergoing random mutation, and under selection pressure, which exhibits an increase in information.

  76. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Can’t help but post:

    3. We know of no OTHER cause that is adequate to explain complex information

    But we do. The answer has been known for a long time. It’s an extremely improbable chance event giving rise to a replicator (abiogenesis), and the replicator then replicates, with occasional replication error (random mutation), and the survival of several replicators is different depending on which mutations they have due to external pressures (natural selection).

    Come on. This shit is not new. At least pretend to give a reason why abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution doesn’t work.

    You also have a basic epistemological flaw: In some situations, the evidence may only permit a betting ratio of “1 out 5 chances” that the best explanation is correct. In that kind of situation, you don’t accept that the best explanation is correct. You withhold judgment. It is flatly wrong that we should accept as true that the best explanation is correct. Instead, we should only accept an explanation as correct when there’s a bunch of evidence which changes our betting odds to some high ratio, at least 50%, and preferably much higher, like 90%, or 99%, e.g. “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Otherwise known as Bayesian epistemology 101.

    PPS:
    Under this proper epistemological framework, at least I have lots of evidence that Darwinian evolution happens in the real world, including the concordance of the taxonomic tree of life and the molecular genetics tree of life, and all of the other usual evidences, which you can easily google. I have seen basically no particular evidence for a creator of any kind, except for this “well, I don’t know how else it could have happened, therefore a god did it”.

    To your argument that this sort of reasoning is common in archeology and criminal forensics, that may be. It may even be correct. It may have been reasonable to employ this sort of reasoning 200 years ago. But then Darwin happened, and we learned about another way that it could have happened, which had no designer.

  77. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PPPS:
    The basic argument of this sort of information-theory creationists goes like “it cannot be caused by material processes, and therefore it must be an immaterial mental process”. However, there is no such thing as an immaterial mental process. All mental processes are material processes.

    The human mind is a a simple result of the human brain, and the human brain operates according to simple, uncaring, unguided, material, physical processes. The brain is a mere physical machine, and the mind is nothing more than a temporary result of the operation of that machine. Therefore, mental processes are merely one kind of material mechanical processes.

    If material processes cannot do some thing, then neither can mental processes, because mental processes are just a kind of material processes. Thus this entire creationist argument crumbles into dust.

  78. John Iacoletti says

    Please define “Complex specified information” and then justify how you know that DNA contains it.

    “We know of no OTHER cause” is just an argument from ignorance, plain and simple.

  79. tonyinbatavia says

    “We know of no OTHER cause” is just an argument from ignorance, plain and simple.

    I appreciate that you keep hitting hard on this point, John I. The way these shits keep disguising their ignorance as reason and evidence and conclusions — and theories! — cannot be allowed to persist without us always calling them on it. These asshats would look at a mountain on Mars and say that humans designed it because they once saw Mt. Rushmore.

  80. Joey McCabe says

    So I am looking at a lot of the responses here and trying to find a theme. What I came up with is:

    1. The inference is unsubstantiated because “humans” are the basis for the observation.
    2. Define complex specified information
    3. ID is an argument from ignorance.

    I’ll address each one.

    1. I wonder how you guys are defining “humans”. I ask this question with reference to archaeology because technically it’s also true that there were no “humans” in the past if the inference is being limited in such a way. So then the question has to be asked, what created the 1 million year old bowl and knife? We know what 21st century humans can create, but by definition, there were no 21st century humans 1 million years ago. (unless you believe in time travel). Also, Humans aren’t the only known intelligence on earth. To get straight to the point; intelligence is not limited to humans nor should it be limited to humans just because the extrapolation comes from our observation of what CURRENT humans create. Objects found in the ground are determined to be tools independently of the existence of humans. http://www.livescience.com/50908-oldest-stone-tools-predate-humans.html

    2. This is a hard thing to do, but not overtly difficult to comprehend. I could simplify it by saying a complex sequence relative to functionality but that might be to simplistic. So I’ll do it through demonstration.
    a. ABC ABC (Like Salt) are ordered but not really that complex
    b. Abeufnefidbkfendsd (Like junk randomly chosen letters from a scrabble bag) are complex but are not really ordered
    c. Go to the store (Language) is complex and ordered. This is what Specified complexity is.

    3. “We know of no OTHER cause” is one premise within the entire argument. However, design inference in ANY field of science will ALWAYS simplify to “we know of no other cause”. An inference or induction is BY DEFINITION an argument from ignorance, because it assumes a sort of false dichotomy or “no black swan” fallacy. Evolution could be completely incorrect because of factors we later discovered. Why? Because the inference to the best explanation makes assumptions about the universe based on assumptions of what we DO know and not what we MAY know later. Its our only option. We can’t know EVERYTHING about the causal properties of the universe and then make arguments for their origin. That’s not how science works….and it’s an unreasonable standard to apply to ID.

  81. Murat says

    @Joey McCabe #31

    This very first post of yours suggests you are open to the idea of INTELLIGENT DESIGN but you do not necessarily think that there needs to be a DESIGNER for that ID to have taken place.

    IMO, there’s an oxymoron here. Design, by definition, requires a designer.

    If you will end up with “no designer”, what’s the point of re-naming nature as “intelligent design” other than just opening space for a new terminology for the obvious?

  82. Murat says

    @Joey McCabe #93
    Well, does that quote not come down to it, eventually?

    “He just talked over me by suggesting that there needs to be evidence of a designer in order to say that an object in question IS designed. Which is, of course, RIDICULOUS.”

    Ok, between what you have actually written and what I get out of it, there’s this problem of placing whether the horse or the carriage before the other. But, Russell was pointing out to the definition of how we come to tag something as a “design”, and if you do not have in hand the existence of a designer, then, there’s practically nothing to skip the term “nature” and introduce the word “design” into fields of science.

    As for your example about an art exhibition: You see a sculpture and conclude that there has to be a designer.

    No. Not really.

    I am the curator and I simply found a rock on the cliffs, took it here to the hall, place it among other abstract scultures by various artists, then put a price tag and a name on it. What makes you think of it as design is nothing other than an illusion. The ambiance fools you. This one seems no different than the others, so, you conculude that it has processed in pretty much the same way, by some “intelligence”. Nope, I just found it like that.

    That analogy can’t serve the argument of ID. But with that specific example of a rock / statue, it can help us see what is wrong with jumping to the conclusion of “design” when being exposed to nothing other than nature.

  83. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Some very specific questions were asked that you ignored, but you made an attempt with some of them, so I’ll let it slide.

    Objects found in the ground are determined to be tools independently of the existence of humans

    That’s only because species other than humans use tools. Even some species of birds use tools. That’s completely irrelevant. We’re not talking about sharpened stones.

    We know what 21st century humans can create, but by definition, there were no 21st century humans 1 million years ago

    You seem to be arguing that the set of things 21st century humans can do and the set of things that ancient humans could do are mutually exclusive, which is one of the most baffling things I’ve ever heard.

    I could simplify it by saying a complex sequence relative to functionality but that might be to simplistic

    No, it’s just word salad and thus devoid of any real meaning.

    a. ABC ABC (Like Salt) are ordered but not really that complex
    b. Abeufnefidbkfendsd (Like junk randomly chosen letters from a scrabble bag) are complex but are not really ordered
    c. Go to the store (Language) is complex and ordered. This is what Specified complexity is

    Something you continue to ignore is the application of apriori knowledge. The ONLY reason you distinguish between the second and third examples is because you already have a bunch of knowledge about human language, specifically English.
    I’ve used this example before. Please try not to ignore this one. It rains a bit near a cliff face. Some of the rocks at the bottom don’t get totally soaked, but have some streaks of water running over them. The streaks appear to form Kanji characters. How much “intelligence” was at work there?

    However, design inference in ANY field of science will ALWAYS simplify to “we know of no other cause”

    No, it’s much, much, much more than that. In forensics, we have assloads of trials and apriori knowledge of how things work. When it comes to DNA, for instance. all of our knowledge points to natural formation. Simple self-replicating systems form spontaneously and develop over time, which eventually leads to RNA and then DNA. Why do you ignore every last bit of science on this subject?

  84. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    “We know of no OTHER cause” is one premise within the entire argument. However, design inference in ANY field of science will ALWAYS simplify to “we know of no other cause”.

    Again, how do you so casually dismiss abiogenesis and neo-Darwinian evolution? This is a model with a metric shitton of evidence behind it. That is the other cause that we know of.

  85. Murat says

    @Joey McCabe #73

    Why are the eyes considered more likely to be indicators of design? What makes an eye more “complex” than any other “mechanism” in a body?

    Aside from what Hume or anyone else said, the answer that pops up in my head has something to do with the “era” this particular organ got recognition in terms of complexity: Back then, people were not developing visual technologies. Darwin was on board with sailors who had wooden legs, maybe even hooks for hands, but no, there was not one sailor or soldier using manufactured eyesight. Unlike these people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_cCCcafHlg

    For the sake of the argument, let’s imagine that, somehow, visual technologies had developed earlier and people had camcorderers even before Darwin set foot on Galapagos. Would he still feel the need to approach eyes the way he did in that (often infamously misquoted) piece of text?

    Are eyes really more complex, or was it just because they were more enigmatic than other (imitable) organs back then?

  86. RationalismRules says

    @Joey McCabe #31

    However, design inference in ANY field of science will ALWAYS simplify to “we know of no other cause”. An inference or induction is BY DEFINITION an argument from ignorance

    You miss the point entirely. In science “we know of no other cause” is the beginning of the process. When science draws an inference it goes on to examine that inference by making falsifiable predictions and testing them.
    What predictions can be made based on ID, and how can they be tested?

  87. James Gray says

    Hi new here, i like the level of conversation taking part here. Good on you Joey for bring the descussion on here.

    I struggled with this episode.

    I feel for the hosts every time someone some one says something along the lines of “I was hoping for Matt”. You all do a great job. Keep it up.

    I do however feel that by the end of the show it degraded into a who can talk the loudest. I felt like Russel was really pissed off by the end of the episode and John was not far behind. they probably weren’t though.
    I think most of the callers got Russel and John on the back foot which was frustrating.

    On G-Man. that tree comment was absolutely ridiculous.
    Each god claim should be taken on it’s on merits. people may worship trees but it does not necessarily mean because there are trees and people worship them atheism is not valid. The claim of my tree can do X should be evaluated. You are a tree god atheist if you do not except the claim that the tree can do X. This is the same for any other god claim. Christian could be Buddhist atheists ETC.

    I would like to know if people here would agree with this statement?

    I think Joey was given a bit of a rough trot. i don’t think he was even given enough rope to lay out his claims before he was jumped on. but i think that was due to the way this show went with the first few callers basically gish galloping Russel and John before Joey even got a chance.

    I wanted to talk about the argument of who created the creator. this was kind of said in the show ” who designed the designer” i think it was. I have a problem with this argument. For instance if we were ever able to build an AI system that could pose the same question. The question of who then created the creator falls flat. Just because it was created does not mean the creator was also created.

    Love to know peoples thoughts.
    James

  88. Murat says

    @RationalismRules #98

    Well, here is a twisted example to this “we know of no other cause” thing from the field of forensics:

    Everything suggested that OJ had killed his wife and her friend. They knew of no “other” cause than an OJ gone berserk. Yet, it did not suffice to convint the man.

    Dynamics of social structure and principles of justice may not work axactly the same way as science, but yeah, I think that “known but unproven” fact is quite in line with the paradigm in question.

  89. RationalismRules says

    @Murat #102
    I think the OJ trial is a red herring.
    Jury trials are unpredictable even when they work at their best, and verdicts reflect the argumentative skill of the lawyers as much as they reflect the facts presented. The OJ trial was the ultimate example of extraneous factors overwhelming the evidence.

    I also reject this notion that forensics leads to a “we know of no other cause” argument. A piece of forensic evidence (eg. a bloodstain) may have many possible causes – the job of forensics is to identify he most likely cause – which is why forensic testimony on DNA (for example) is expressed in terms of probability.

  90. Joey McCabe says

    Hey Guys! I’m back! So I see there are lots of responses. If I don’t get to everyones questions please don’t assume it’s because I didn’t want to answer. I only have a select amount of time, especially this week with work. I want to address a few arguments that I think we simply misunderstandings of my words.

    I wanna start with the curator example in terms of abstract art. I think it’s a stretch. When I said “sculpture” was clearly not referring to abstract sculptures like people throwing paint at walls or finding rocks and putting them on display. CLEARLY we can all agree that the statue of David is not like a rock, right? Why would I be less likely to assume you were telling me the truth that you found a boulder that looked like the statue of David vs finding a rock and putting it on display? That is the KEY attribute to the design inference. The Statue of David possesses a set of characteristics that distinguishes it from a rock.

    Next I wanna move back to what I said here, “Objects found in the ground are determined to be tools independently of the existence of humans” (Can someone tell me how to quote like you guys do? It’s pretty cool!) The fact that other animals create tools is irrelevant and misses my point about the design inference. Like I said in a different statement; All inductive arguments of inference allow for ignorance and simplify to “we know of no other cause”. I am positive that any example you give me will fall into that because science and conclusions are based on induction.

    Finally, I want to address the idea of complex specified information again. Complex specified information is literally a quantitative definition of code. To say it is word salad would essentially be akin to saying any description of code is word salad. AS far as this idea of apriori knowledge, I would ave to say that i don’t really see your point here. Language has MEANING, meaning is derived from functionality. What would the statement “Go to the store” do? It would cause a being (human in this case) to get up and go to the store. It was the functional relationship between the characters and the effect that is the inherent definition of Complex specified definition. It’s also how we distinguish language from jibberish, even if we don’t know a different language. For instance:

    1. dhol dhan stor
    2. dhfl ddbf dalp

    I can determine, SCIENTIFICALLY through demski’s CSI calculation which one is simply complex and which one is CSI. The reason? One exhibits a functional capacity and the other does not. 1 causes a being to go to the store while 2 does nothing at all. Just like MANY other forms of jibberish. BTW 1 is “go to the store” in Gaelic.

    It’s not hard to understand the concept of CSI when applied outside of ID. I think the reason everyone thinks so badly of it is because they don’t want to give the man credit for anything, given that he uses his ideas to promote his theism. I think his ideas stand true independent of his theism. Like I said, CSI is a different term that has be used in information theory since BEFORE Dempski.

  91. John Iacoletti says

    Do you not realize how arbitrary this is? All I have to do is declare that “dhfl ddbf dalp” means “go to the store” in a language that I call “Johnic” and boom, it becomes CSI.

    And you still haven’t justified why DNA is more like “David” and “go to the store” than it is like “rock” or “dhfl ddbf dalp”.

  92. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Joey

    Like I said, CSI is a different term that has be used in information theory since BEFORE Dempski.

    As someone who has an actual university degree in this shit, I can assure you that this is not the case. This is neither Shannon information theory nor Kolmogorov complexity theory.

    through demski’s CSI calculation

    What calculations are those? Citations please. I’ve love to see some actual math. I’m going to want to see actual math, like log base 2, and mathematical descriptions of probability spaces (for Shannon information), or formal computable descriptions of the encoding scheme in use (for Kolmogorov complexity).

    I’d like to know the units that these numbers are in. For example, for real Shannon information theory, the numbers are often measures of the number of bits of entropy.

    If he’s not going to use Shannon nor Kolmogorov, then I’m going to need a full mathematical-theoretical breakdown of his other information theory scheme.

    Protip: You cannot do this, because Demski is full of hot air.

    PS:

    “We know of no OTHER cause” is one premise within the entire argument. However, design inference in ANY field of science will ALWAYS simplify to “we know of no other cause”.

    Again, how do you so casually dismiss abiogenesis and neo-Darwinian evolution? This is a model with a metric shitton of evidence behind it. That is the other cause that we know of. I’m going to keep repeating this until I get an answer.

  93. Joey McCabe says

    It’s not arbitrary, you assigned value to jibberish AFTER the fact, not before. Dempski specifically talks about this. He says that specification is made in terms of PREDICTION not “Moving a target where the arrow landed”. What you said is essentially like saying EVERYONE has skill because you could move a target into the path of an arrow. However, if you are in fact correct, how DO you tell the difference between jibberish and language?

  94. pureone says

    Btw, Intelligent Design “logic” demands plural Designers, not a single designer.

    Everything we know as human designed has more than one designer. The famous watch? One person didn’t discover how to make glass or smelt metal or tan leather; nor invent gears and springs.

    Name something human made we know is designed by a single designer.

    Of course, this bothers the ID crowd because they want to make the leap to their singular god.

  95. John Iacoletti says

    If I’m not exposed to any knowledge about Gaelic, then I *can’t* tell the difference between “dhfl ddbf dalp” and jibberish. Could you? How? And again, what does this have to do with DNA?

  96. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    However, if you are in fact correct, how DO you tell the difference between jibberish and language?

    To make this determination, we look at the sample text, and we compare it to the syntax and semanticss rules of all known human languages. Human language is a social construct. The described difference has practically nothing to do with proper information theory as a proper mathematical subject. In other words, the distinction between meaningful human language and gibberish is almost entirely arbitrary from the perspective of information theory. In other words, there is going to be little to no correlation between:
    1- the meaningfulness of a sample text according to the human language standard, and
    2- the Shannon information measure of the sample text according to a reasonable probability space that is independent of human culture, and or
    3- the Kolmogorov complexity measure of the sample text.

  97. Murat says

    @Joey #104

    What is it that you see in the DNA that matches it not with an abstract sculpture but with “David”?

    If all the rocks in the world had somehow gotten formed like masterpieces of the Reneissance, would people not be so accustomed to their very own images appearing in “nature” that they would explore art in totally abstract manifestations?

    One practical definition of design is “what can not occur naturally”. When you begin to name naturally occuring things as design, then you simply miss the point and arrive in a very basic “circular argument”.

  98. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    For example, word order. Different languages have different word orders for subject, verb, object.
    I pet the dog.
    I the dog pet.
    pet the dog I.

    Two of those are gibberish. However, from any proper information theory perspective, they all have the same information content. None of the word orders are special in terms of information theory. Instead, in the precursor language to modern English, a word order was “chosen” basically at random, and we’re stuck with it, due to cultural inertia.

    Language is a particularly bad example, precisely because of just how arbitrary it is, and how much it depends on a massive wealth of existing cultural background knowledge.

    As John argues, and I’ll continue, your sort of reasoning is woefully inadequate for judging the actual intelligent design of a text. Consider SETI: They have to detect the signal from an alien intelligence. As a trite analogy, we don’t know their word order. We don’t know anything about their rules for grammar. We don’t know anything about the semantics either. We need to create information theory measures that can distinguish real alien language from background noise, even though we’ve never seen the language before. That requires proper information theory.

  99. Lillith says

    And yet again, the idiot claiming all those fantastic attributes of his god like ‘eternal, invariant, immaterial, universal, omniscient’ was NOT asked to demonstrate even one of them but was allowed to ramble on. Seriously, what the hell?

  100. Murat says

    Trehe is aslo a sduty seggutsnig taht we nac in fcat uednrstnad wttrien wdors eevn if the lteetrs wree msipcaled.

  101. OckhamsRAZR says

    I’m not convinced that “Joey” is an atheist … and even if he is, he forfeited any chance he had of being taken seriously when he copped to being a proponent of ID … and then arguing so *badly* about it.

  102. RationalismRules says

    @James Gray #101
    Welcome to the blog. Everyone is too busy hammering at Joey to notice your post, so I’ll give it a go.
     

    You are a tree god atheist if you do not except the claim that the tree can do X. This is the same for any other god claim. Christian could be Buddhist atheists ETC.
    I would like to know if people here would agree with this statement?

    I understand the point you’re making, but I have some reservations about your use of language. (Warning: nit-picking ahead… but you asked, so here goes)
    ‘Atheist’ and ‘atheism’ are usually taken to mean disbelief in or rejection of gods in general, so there’s something that feels dissonant in calling someone ‘an Islamic atheist’ or ‘a Xtian atheist’. ‘Atheistic towards’ works better for specific gods.
    On the other hand, there’s a popular argument against theists that says: “you and I are both atheists with regard to most gods, it’s just that I believe in one less god than you”, which kinda goes against what I just said, so clearly there’s no hard and fast rule. It just feels odd to me.
    (BTW Buddha is not considered a deity by Buddhists so, strictly speaking, Buddhists aren’t theists anyway)
     

    I wanted to talk about the argument of who created the creator. this was kind of said in the show ” who designed the designer” i think it was. I have a problem with this argument. For instance if we were ever able to build an AI system that could pose the same question. The question of who then created the creator falls flat. Just because it was created does not mean the creator was also created.
    Love to know peoples thoughts.

    I agree that “who designed the designer?” is not an effective counter-argument against “it seems designed, therefore god” arguments, because it’s a non-sequitur.
    “Who created the creator?” is a counter for “everything has a cause” arguments. When theists argue “everything comes from somewhere, therefore god” they are failing to apply the same argument to the god they are proposing.

  103. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    (BTW Buddha is not considered a deity by Buddhists so, strictly speaking, Buddhists aren’t theists anyway)

    AFAIK, there’s several Buddhist sects, and some are theist.

  104. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #104

    (Can someone tell me how to quote like you guys do? It’s pretty cool!)

    <blockquote>quoted text goes here</blockquote>

    [Pro-tip: use the “Preview” button before posting – forgetting the backslash is a very common error.]
     

    All inductive arguments of inference allow for ignorance and simplify to “we know of no other cause”. I am positive that any example you give me will fall into that because science and conclusions are based on induction.

    Since you’re repeating the same point, I’ll repeat my response. Science does not stop at the inductive inference and say “we have the answer”, it goes on to test that inference through falsifiable predictions. What predictions can be made on the basis of ID, and how can they be tested?

  105. DanDare says

    James Gray at 101 Says:

    On G-Man. that tree comment was absolutely ridiculous.
    Each god claim should be taken on it’s on merits. people may worship trees but it does not necessarily mean because there are trees and people worship them atheism is not valid. The claim of my tree can do X should be evaluated. You are a tree god atheist if you do not except the claim that the tree can do X. This is the same for any other god claim. Christian could be Buddhist atheists ETC.

    I would like to know if people here would agree with this statement?

    Yes if you claim that a thing X is a god then it must be shown to have the full set of god properties Y, whatever they are. God properties would not be properties like “breathes” and “has children”, they are properties of non-gods, which a god might also have, but they are not god properties. Claiming the universe is god is false in this respect as the universe has no properties we would attribute as being god properties.

    I wanted to talk about the argument of who created the creator. this was kind of said in the show ” who designed the designer” i think it was. I have a problem with this argument. For instance if we were ever able to build an AI system that could pose the same question. The question of who then created the creator falls flat. Just because it was created does not mean the creator was also created.

    Its a simple argument from absurdity. If you claim the universe had to have a creator then why can’t we ask the question who created the creator. If you claim the creator didn’t need one we can then ask why we need to go that extra step instead of saying the universe doesn’t need one.

  106. DanDare says

    Joey you do realise that chemistry is not “random” right? Out of the infinitely vast possible combinations of atoms that could be defined only a merely vast set of combinations can actually ever occur. Within a given chemical environment that becomes even a narrower set.

    Abiogenisis requires a set of chemical reactions to take place. It appears to have a fairly broad set of possibilities to choose from and Earths environment provided those possibilities. Further when the chemistry happens it locks in its own existence by propagating so the amount of randomness diminishes from then on. As life progressed its reactions catalysed environmental changes that allowed for more and different life to evolve. The only “specification” is in the process of chemistry and the circumstantial arrangement of matter and the provision of input energy from the sun and geo thermal sources.

    All your examples of CSI using language come down to the fact that humans place more interest in various combinations of letters than nature does. Humans select those combinations and reproduce them so they are more common to encounter. However random word assemblages can also produce those collections, along with any other collection. Humans have multiple “meaning sets” (french, german, chinese, english) and any arbitrary set can have meaning to another culture. You cannot tell, just by looking at a random set of glyphs that it has no meaning in any language existing or deviseable. Also note encryption, the encoding of a text so that it cannot be deciphered without a key, is as close to random noise as possible, yet is even more “specified” than normal text. So you cannot say if any random sequence you see has “specified complexity”. Its impossible.

  107. James Gray says

    @RationalismRules

    Thanks for your response. i dont really have an issue with any of the things you pointed out. muchly appreciated.

    @ Joey
    Language, in my opinion, is a terrible example of data. You have to look at how languages are actually created. Essential if every one agrees that a word mean something then it means something. Look at the recent additions to the dictionary. Pwned and w00t were not words until a few years ago and have now been added to the dictionary.

    an example of this is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. this random string of characters is actually the name of a place in Wales.

    whilst you can add meaning to something after the fact does not give it any worth.

  108. Patrick Carr says

    1. The “most likely” answer is not correct because others sound crazy or there is no other answer.
    2. Certain blocks of DNA do control certain functions, we know this because we can study how DNA differs from individuals.
    3. Something does cause this to happen, how do we find out. Not through assuming, we can come to hypothesis, but to reach conclusions we need to show investigation and where and how we draw it to conclusion.

  109. Patrick Carr says

    This is where philosophy falls apart. Logical arguments are not hard to make.
    All dogs have fleas.
    All fleas spread disease.
    Therefore, all dogs have diseases.
    This is a completely valid argument under the logical absolutes. There are no formal problems.
    Only intelligence creates specified complexity.
    All things have specified complexty.
    Therefore, only intelligence can create things.
    This is also a completely valid argument. There are no formal problems. The problem beyond defining terms is showing that it is the case. Languages​ is not phisical DNA and things are. Our phisical structures are defined by contrast to that natural. We define a house as such and a tree as not because we did not phisicaly make it a tree. Now lack of evidence does not make a conclusion false but it does make it unfounded.

  110. Evil God of the Fiery Cloud says

    I recall Jeff Dee saying a couple things in an episode 100 years ago on the nature of logic that I’ve always rather liked the sound of:

    The problem with logic is it doesn’t in fact tell you anything unless you can establish that the premises you feed into it are true, and that is where physical evidence comes in.

    Also:
    Evidence is a thing you feed into logic to find out what’s true.

  111. Joey McCabe says

    I saw John say something and then everyone pretty much latched onto it. Let’s talk about it more.

    If I’m not exposed to any knowledge about Gaelic, then I *can’t* tell the difference between “dhfl ddbf dalp” and jibberish. Could you? How? And again, what does this have to do with DNA?

    I don’t believe your first statement is true. Language as an umbrella term itself is not arbitrary, it serves a specific purpose. English, German, Japanese I would say IS arbitrary, but the purpose behind the words is not. All you would have to do is determine, through functionality, whether the phrase has meaning. Since we know that meaningful statements in language are always a product of mind we could conclude based off of observation that the phrase “dhfl ddbf dalp” is or is not jibberish. Whenever it is observed being said to a being possessing the necessary ability to hear it, all they do is stand there with a puzzled look. Thus the phrase “dhfl ddbf dalp” probably is jibberish and the cause of jibberish is chance (which is essentially how I came up with the phrase where I randomly typed letters on my key board)

    I think you guys have to be very careful with your take downs of CSI. And perhaps I mispoke before, so I apologize. When I said that Dembski’s CSI has been in use in Information theory, what I meant to say was that it has been in practice before Dembski. As far as providing CSI calculations. I neither know the necessary Mathematical lingo to provide that nor do I know the numbers but I’m sure reading his book “The Design Inference” (Which I admit to not having read) would be a good start.

    I want to get back to these examples of CSI though, and it’s application throughout history to the design inference. What I believe Dempski is trying to do is provide a criteria for why we intuitively come to the design inference in certain cases. Like I said with my Statue of David vs rock description, there is a REASON why our design inference is TRIGGERED when we look at a boulder that features unique patterns and there is a reason why it’s not triggered when we see a rock. Dempski and his colleagues to their credit are trying to quantify that reason, and then apply it to other fields of science, like biology.

    Again, how do you so casually dismiss abiogenesis and neo-Darwinian evolution? This is a model with a metric shitton of evidence behind it. That is the other cause that we know of. I’m going to keep repeating this until I get an answer

    I don’t casually dismiss it. In fact, I myself am not a design advocate. My sole purpose in having this discussion is to give ID the credit I believe it deserves. However, design advocates DO make many refutations against abiogensis (an unsolved problem) and neo-darwinian evolution ESPECIALLY in terms of the Cambrian explosion and molecular machinery.

    I want to address one last point because I think it is important.

    Science does not stop at the inductive inference and say “we have the answer”, it goes on to test that inference through falsifiable predictions. What predictions can be made on the basis of ID, and how can they be tested?

    For me, Science is about assuming conclusions based on our current understandings and then testing and/or potentially falsifying them. Predictions are based on assumptions which is why when they turn out true is evidence that the original assumption is true, at least in part. As far as prediction and its relationship with ID let me break it down through assigning it to the scientific method.

    Observation: Intelligence creates codes with specific purposes. They DO NOT create arbitrary code that is non-functional to the system.

    Observation: DNA contains a string of characters that mimic code.

    Observation: Random or law like events usually contain low bit counts of information and arbitrary sequences.

    Hypothesis/prediction: IF DNA is designed we would expect most if not all DNA sequences to be functionally relevant to the system. (based on our first observation)

    Testability: Search through DNA and find functional relationships to the system.

    Faslifiabilty: If we in fact find a LOT of junk, it’s probably not the case that DNA was designed.

    Conclusion: The more we study DNA the more functions we find for previously unknown DNA sequences.

    This is of course my first time doing something like that so I welcome perhaps where an ad hoc assumption may have been made. Cheers guys!

  112. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Wow, the point about background and cultural knowledge is going a mile over your head, and I don’t get it. Also, you apparently don’t understand what “arbitrary” means. “Agreed upon” and “arbitrary” are not mutually exclusive terms. Think country borders. They are absolutely arbitrary, but of course they have functionality because we’ve imbued them with such. There’s nothing intrinsically functional about a country border.

    As far as providing CSI calculations. I neither know the necessary Mathematical lingo to provide that nor do I know the numbers but I’m sure reading his book “The Design Inference” (Which I admit to not having read) would be a good start.

    Great. An admission that you’ve been talking out of your ass this entire time. Thanks for wasting everyone’s time.

    In fact, I myself am not a design advocate. My sole purpose in having this discussion is to give ID the credit I believe it deserves

    Gerard, is that you? I’m starting to seriously question your honesty here.

  113. Joey McCabe says

    Perhaps you are right. Maybe it is going over my head for a reason though. Perhaps it’s because it’s irrelevant to my point. We can and do tell the difference between gibberish and language all the time. In fact, I was accused of speaking gibberish a few days ago by one of your colleagues. If or when I do have a son, I wont assume his mumbles are simply a language I haven’t studied yet. I’ll assume they are gibberish, until I see some specific purpose or intent behind them. For instance my sons “blah blah blahs” and his cries make actually be the result of intent or want. They serve a purpose to getting him what he needs. Thus I can infer upon my son an intelligence of a sort, where he knows what he wants and asks for it in his own way. No study of human word order or syntax is going to help me understand my sons language. Application and function do. Which is the entire concept behind Dempski’s CSI.

    As far as talking out of my ass, I see no reason to assume that. Just because I can’t understand the calculations doesn’t mean I haven’t read articles by him, and seen the calculations myself. I understand the concept and I’m telling you about it. You seem to be denying it out of hand simply because I used his name and his term. Take a look at this paper for proof that a tautological concept is being used in this paper by an evolutionist. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d00b/8daca9c3d7232ba23de992aeb5b6027b65cb.pdf

    As far as not being an ID advocate. Perhaps you misunderstand me, or I was unclear. I don’t BELIEVE that DNA is the product of an intelligent mind. I don’t know what is the cause of DNA. However, ID certainly makes an interesting case.

  114. Monocle Smile says

    No study of human word order or syntax is going to help me understand my sons language. Application and function do. Which is the entire concept behind Dempski’s CSI

    Study of your son’s (why a son?) sounds and correlating them with events is what’s going to help you understand. Why is this so hard to grasp? In a vacuum, there’s nothing to distinguish the meaning of one baby sound from another, and this should be painfully obvious.

    Take a look at this paper for proof that a tautological concept is being used in this paper by an evolutionist.

    Sweet, so you’re ignoring my posts AND EnlightenmentLiberal’s posts. That paper references Shannon information theory. You’ve already all but admitted that you can’t possibly tell if Dembski is correct or not. You don’t even understand the basics of the subject, it seems. I’m about 99% certain that you have no clue what the paper actually means. Hint: it has fuck all to do with “CSI.”

    Just because I can’t understand the calculations doesn’t mean I haven’t read articles by him, and seen the calculations myself

    Then why can’t you reproduce them? We’ve been asking for a while, and you copped out big time.

    As far as not being an ID advocate. Perhaps you misunderstand me, or I was unclear. I don’t BELIEVE that DNA is the product of an intelligent mind. I don’t know what is the cause of DNA. However, ID certainly makes an interesting case

    Lol no it doesn’t. It’s not interesting at all. It’s a bunch of shit made up and distorted to serve a very specific religious agenda, which is why ID is not a research topic in any accredited university in the country. Tell me, do you have any scientific education at all? What did you study in college?

  115. Murat says

    @Joey

    Let’s get back to the basics:

    You consider the DNA to be similar to a “language” and not “gibberish”. Fine.

    Is the DNA of a random plant, one which is not being used by humans in any way, still a “language” or is it “gibberish”?

    If you say that the DNA for whatever has function in our lives will count as “language” while the DNA for things that just live and die in the wilderness is “gibberish”, then you are making a distinction based on your position. No objective inquiry there.

    Either all DNA is “language” or all DNA is “gibberish” and we, humans, selectively glorify certain ones as “language” just because they make us what we are.

    What I mean is: The distinction you are trying to make between languages and gibberish does not make sense as analogy for DNA.

  116. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Here’s something that builds on Murat’s post:
    DNA is a catalytic macromolecule. What makes DNA’s role in amino acid production categorically different from any other chemical reaction or process?

  117. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I don’t casually dismiss it. In fact, I myself am not a design advocate. My sole purpose in having this discussion is to give ID the credit I believe it deserves.

    Wait, this is a giant “devil’s advocate” argument? And you didn’t make that clear from the start? Fucking hell.

  118. Murat says

    @Joey #127

    Well, I think the misunderstanding here is more about definitions than content.

    You say that you don’t advocate ID, just want to learn why it is not getting recognition as a “theory”. I think there are two reasons:

    1) It was not constructed as a “theory” in the first place. As Russell mentioned during the call, it was disguised as a theory so as to help religion make its way into science classes. (You say that, regardless of the background story, if some people today build up ideas and present evidence pointing out to ID, we should not dismiss them. I agree with you on that. But, what ARE they?)

    2) As discussed before, the thing you found ridiculous about Russell’s reply (for something to be called a “design” we need to know of a “designer”) is actually the only point of reference we have for “excluding” the term “natural”. I think THAT is the main problem here: For anyone to claim that “nature” is itself “design”, we need to be exposed to something eyond our current perception. We just have to step outside this cosmos and see the “designer” inhabiting a totally different realm while meddling “designing” ours as “arts & crafts”… OR, as you guys talked about, there needs to be some aliens FROM WITHIN this cosmos who have only MANIPULATED stuff, but this 2nd option doesn’t really take us anywhere as it does nothing other than postponing the actual solution to the enigma (because then we will need to work out how those aliens came to be).

    I think that the thing ID jst has to be bigger than anything about aliens, therefore outside our field of observation and existence, which simply places it also outside the fields of science. But the argument is philsophically valid of course. You just can’t introduce that philosophical aspect into biology. The DNA will not suffice as a tool for that. Because, unlike some tend to perceive it, the DNA is not a “coded message” for a 3rd party to discover; it’s just how the thing happens within itself.

  119. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Joey
    I will partially disagree with most of the regulars here. I believe that in very tightly constrained situations, arguments from ignorance are appropriate to conclude that some thing was designed. If I find a laptop on the beach, I know it was designed. If I find some complex pure metal machinery on the beach, then I know it was designed. However, these sorts of Bayesian arguments rely heavily on my prior background knowledge that humans are real, and they create certain kinds of stuff, which can be found in certain areas. For something like the creation of the first life on Earth, or the “creation” of the local big bang universe at the big bang, I don’t have comparable background knowledge of a class of creators that create such things.

    Let me put it like this: If we found a porcelain teapot with animal artwork in orbit around Jupiter, I will conclude “probably aliens or human conspiracy as NASA”. I know enough about big bang theory, galaxy formation, stellar and planetary formation, and the other processes going on in interstellar space, to know that this sort of object is simply not created by such processes. I have an exhaustive listing of processes that could possibly be at work. That is the crucial ingredient in the “argument from ignorance”. If I can be sure that I have an exhaustive listing of possible sources, and I eliminate all but one, then whatever remains, however improbable, as long as it’s more probable than the rest, then it is very probably the truth (paraphrase of Sherlock Holmes).

    At one point, we thought that we had an exhaustive listing of unintelligent processes that could create complexity in life, and thus it’s understandable that some people concluded that a god did it. (I still don’t like that conclusion because “god” was just an asspull and undemonstrated. It’s not part of our background knowledge. It’s not part of our prior exhaustive listing of plausible causes. Compare and contrast with my “finding on a beach” examples, where humans are part of our prior exhaustive listing of causes.) However, then Darwin came along, and we discovered an unintelligent process that could do it, and by all evidence very clearly did do it.

    As for the creation of our local big bang universe, we have no idea of the processes that are at work there. To suggest that it was a beginning in time is to say that there are zero processes at work there. Thus, the prior sort of argument from ignorance based on an exhaustive listing of causes, has no place here. We have no exhaustive listing of causes, and it’s purported that there are no possible causes at all because it’s before the first moment of time. In this place, we have a true fallacious argument from ignorance: “I know nothing about how it could have happened, and therefore it must have been a wizard who used magic.”
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AWizardDidIt

  120. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    I don’t think that’s a disagreement with the regulars, not even partially. I just believe that we are (correctly) identifying Joey’s version of induction in the case of ID as something significantly different a “tightly constrained situation” where we have loads of background knowledge. such that it becomes an argument from ignorance. We just skip some steps and aren’t quite as thorough.

  121. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Monocle Smile
    Sure, IMHO this case demands the nuance, because Joey is seemingly trying to make a nuanced argument. IMHO, he’s not all wrong.

    Unfortunately, it seems that he’s just doing devil’s advocate arguments, and so I suspect the conversation is not very productive.

  122. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    Really? I see the opposite. I see someone who doesn’t understand the subject (or science in general) throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks. Why else would he ignore direct and relevant questions like the ones RR is asking just so he can repeat himself a few times?

    I admire your dedication to being charitable, but my opinion of people in general is decidedly low, and I haven’t experienced much to change that.

  123. Joey McCabe says

    Monocle Smile,

    I find your comments to be rather harsh. Are you mad at me or something? How about you take a moment to actually discuss and stop making back-handed insults in an attempt to label me stupid. If you think I’m stupid than stop talking to me. However, I wanna point your attention to a statement in the article I provided that I DO understand.

    This simple
    example shows clearly the relationship between information theory and evolutionary
    biology: fitness is reflected in information, and when selective pressures maximize
    fitness, information must be maximized concurrently. We can now proceed and calculate
    the information content.

    The author, and you, may not know but you are talking about CSI! Or at least “functional complexity”…a term VERY OFTEN used by ID theorists. Shannon information has nothing to do with function. It’s simply an aspect of bit capacity and probability. Functional information differs from standard Shannon information because well one incorporates function into it’s constraints and one does not. I may not know a lot about the actual Math but this idea is OBVIOUS in the paper I provided. Which is why I provided it.

    EL,

    You do have a body of apriori knowledge though. You know about probabilities, you know about DNA and its properties. You know about what intelligence creates. You know what inferences are for. You know predictions are good. You have causes now in operation. Given all these things, essentially the constraints, I don’t think an ID inference is far off in any instance within the universe. I agree with you about the idea of a big bang though. But in terms of DNA just like in terms of ancient tools, we don’t actually have comparable background knowledge of ANY class of creators besides our 21st century selves. Yet we infer intelligence MILLIONS of years backwards in time. What’s wrong with going 4 billion years backward in time?

  124. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You do have a body of apriori knowledge though

    I didn’t say “a priori”. I said “prior”. That’s a very different thing. I know about humans, but I have practically no evidence in favor of the existence of gods, and therefore I’m much more ok subscribing “created by humans” to objects compared to “created by gods”. In other words, I have prior knowledge about the existence of humans, and I have no prior knowledge about the existence of gods.

    What’s wrong with going 4 billion years backward in time?

    Again, this is wrong primarily (IMO) because we know how it happened: neo-Darwinian evolution. We know how it happened, and therefore a crucial premise of the argument is just wrong (“we don’t know how it could have happened (by natural causes)”).

    We might be having a different conversation if it was 200 years ago, before Darwin, but we’re not. We’re having a conversation now. We know about Darwin. We know that it wasn’t intelligent design because we know it was by evolution, a process of unintelligent “design”, a process of random mutation plus unguided but non-random selection.

    PS:

    I may not know a lot about the actual Math but this idea is OBVIOUS in the paper I provided. Which is why I provided it.

    And again, I’m telling you that there is no math. And again, I’m telling you that the phrase “information” as used by intelligent design creationists is not the same thing as “information” used by respectable and mainstream scientists and mathematicians. Mainstream scientists and mathematicians use Shannon information theory and Kolmogorov complexity theory. There is no other kind of information theory that has proper math (AFAIK), and this so-called “specified complexity” is scientific and mathematical nonsense. It’s charades. He has nothing. There is no math.

    And what paper are you talking about? Let me go read this. I must have missed the link. I want to be sure that I’m reading the exact paper that you are talking about.

  125. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    I feel that you’ve been rather disingenuous in your engagement here, and I’m not one to mask my displeasure. I’ve tried plenty to discuss, but you keep ignoring my very direct questions and examples. What other options do I have?

    The author, and you, may not know but you are talking about CSI!

    WTF? If that’s the case, then this is similar to the Weasel program and CSI can increase with zero intelligent agents at work.

    we don’t actually have comparable background knowledge of ANY class of creators besides our 21st century selves. Yet we infer intelligence MILLIONS of years backwards in time. What’s wrong with going 4 billion years backward in time?

    Oh look, something I addressed earlier that you ignored. Stop tone trolling and actually engage me, and maybe I’ll lighten up.

  126. Joey McCabe says

    Monocle,

    That’s alright. The tone of your comments since the beginning have been rather hostile. So I think I’ll just address everyone else. Perhaps that’s the reason I’ve been ignoring your comments.

  127. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ok, with the standard of Kolmogorov complexity, the weasel program demonstrates convincingly that information content can increase under the right regime of random mutation and unguided non-random selection.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_program

    This is even more apparent with the walking robot evolution simulations here:
    http://www.creativemachineslab.com/soft-robot-evolution.html

    It is trivially demonstrable in code that information does increase by certain unguided processes, the same sort of Darwinian processes of evolution.

    Therefore, Kolmogorov complexity is insufficient on its to conclude whether something is intelligently designed or not.

  128. Joey McCabe says

    Generation 01: WDLTMNLT DTJBKWIRZREZLMQCO P [2] Random starter sequence
    Generation 02: WDLTMNLT DTJBSWIRZREZLMQCO P (In evolution, specifically in the case of DNA, what functionality does this phrase have?)
    Generation 10: MDLDMNLS ITJISWHRZREZ MECS P (And this one)
    Generation 20: MELDINLS IT ISWPRKE Z WECSEL (And this one)
    Generation 30: METHINGS IT ISWLIKE B WECSEL (and this one)
    Generation 40: METHINKS IT IS LIKE I WEASEL (this I can kinda see)
    Generation 43: METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL (ahh…finally…some function!)

    I hope you understand the purpose of my question. Nature will only keep what is FUNCTIONALLY RELEVANT to the system. I say nature and NOT evolution because we aren’t talking about evolution when talking about DNA. Since NONE of the generations below 43 and 1 are functional or “create a fitness advantage”. Tell me how much time would be necessary to turn the first phrase into the 43 generation in only ONE step (since the next step in “functionality” is the 43rd generation. This is what you have to explain…and why the weasel program fails as an explanation for DNA.

  129. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’ve watched most of the video. I’m continuing on. Seems pretty uncontroversial thus far, except for subtle implications that neo-Darwinian evolution cannot produce stuff with high “algorithmic specified complexity” measure.

    I’m pausing to write this to make one comment:

    Also: Did he really just say that Arabic looks like scribbling to him? Around 22:29 in the video. Fuck this guy. It’s obviously a language. Even without knowing the language itself, it’s obviously a non-random encoding of information. His entire presentation is precisely the sort of reasoning that one would need to employ to do this. His first slide with the black-white boxes is precisely the sort of reasoning that one would need to apply. At worst, this is a purposeful racist dog-whistle, and at best it’s an unconscious and accidental act of racism based probably on latent or subconscious racism. Again, fuck this guy.

  130. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Keep ignoring me because you can’t be an adult for some reason, but I’m going to proceed with pointing out your errors.
    There are some basic mistakes in this last post.

    Nature will only keep what is FUNCTIONALLY RELEVANT to the system

    No. This is creationist nonsense. Evolution will keep what is not sufficiently functionally detrimental to the system to cause extinction.

    Since NONE of the generations below 43 and 1 are functional or “create a fitness advantage”

    This is because you’re parroting creationists. This is the bacterial flagellum all over again. Despite multiple experiments consistently demonstrating that the structures of the flagellum can serve purposes (“have functions”) during each “step” on the way to eventually becoming a flagellum, people like your boy Jonathan Wells continue to lie about this. In the weasel example, you have blinders on and you’re looking specifically for a coherent English sentence. How do you know this is the only possible result that doesn’t end in extinction?

    I say nature and NOT evolution because we aren’t talking about evolution when talking about DNA

    Did you really post this with a straight face?

  131. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Joey
    No no no. You’re moving the goalposts. Step one: Accept that unguided processes clearly can increase the Kolmogorov complexity of a string, and that these processes bear a reasonable similarity with actual biological DNA neo-Darwinian evolution. We need to settle this mathematical question first, so you can stop making this asinine claim.

    The moved goalposts then may be addressed. Specifically, you’re attacking particular perceived problems with the Darwinian story. You don’t see how the mathematical proof that I just supplied is analogous to and applies to real biological DNA neo-Darwinian evolution. Again, entirely separate discussion.

    The basic answer to your question is both easy and obvious: Often, there are many intermediaries that do have functional value. For example, it was once claimed, like 10 or 20 years ago by these same prominent intelligent design creationist fools, that no one would ever find intermediaries for blood clotting. It was claimed that half a blood clotting mechanism was useless. It was claimed that there was no plausible fitness pathway that allows evolution to climb one small step at a time, where each step had improved fitness.

    To paraphrase Dawkins, this is a correct description of how evolution works. Evolution cannot climb Mount Improbable by scaling the vertical cliff. Instead, evolution can only climb Mount Improbable by finding small “steps” on the mountain, climbing one step at a time, where every step gives a fitness advantage.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climbing_Mount_Improbable

    In other words, you are employing the standard “irreducible complexity” argument.

    Going bad to blood clotting. After those ridiculous claims were made, the scientific papers started rolling in, and we started finding lots of uses for “half a blood clotting mechanism”. IIRC, we discovered at least 13 intermediaries in existing organisms that had functional value, 13 different “steps” from “no blood clotting” to the “full” blood clotting mechanism in humans.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200_2.html

    This is just but one example of many. After reading so many examples, one must start to realize Orgel’s second rule: “Evolution is cleverer than you are.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orgel%27s_rules
    Evolution has had half a billion years with multicellular life to play around in the possible design space, to find paths where every step has increased fitness. Your thought experiments and analysis have not even come close to a millionth of the computation time that evolution has actually spent to create the current diversity of life.

  132. Murat says

    Ok, let’s take another perspective about this ID stuff. One that is quite impartial to the validity of the claim:

    An artist may use any technique for creating the artwork. You can shape a stone by dropping acid on certain parts of it at the velocity and density of your choice, hence, getting rid of the parts that you find useless.

    Let’s say we found a piece of rock that looks remarkable for its resemblance to a certain form. The form of a human being, or an animal, etc. And we conclude that it was drops of acid that gave it this shape.

    From that point on, how do we determine it was acid “intentionally used for giving it this current shape” OR it was acid that “happened to drop on it from some natural source for a certain period of time”?

    The models you guys keep refering to can be used for determining when and how the acid affected the rock. But the main question remains the same: Was it some “intelligence” that used the acid on the rock, or was it a “coincidential” meeting of two “natural” substances?

    I think that’s exactly why Russell’s point makes sense: If we have no proof of one certain sculptor using that tachnique having been where the rock was found, then, regardless of the outcome and our knowledge of “what” gave the rock that shape, we can never determine it was a result of “intelligent design”.

    Yes, I was suspicious at first while listening to Russell on that, but it does make sense, we do need to have the DESIGNER in the picture BEFORE beginning to talk about DESIGN because no matter what we call a “technique” is, it can be totally “natural” as long as the ONLY thing we have in hand is the rock.

  133. DanDare says

    Further to Murat’s comment, substitute DNA for rock. We know quite well how DNA does what it does and how it mutates. We can see what a mutation does and how it effects the survival of an individual organism. There is no need for the hypothesis of a designer, it rests on no evidence, it suggests no tests. The presence of CSI in DNA is not a testable “hypothesis” (which means it is not a valid hypothesis). For CSI to be useful you would have to show how to measure the difference between designed and undesigned molecules. As Murat points out if you just have the rock (or DNA) you cannot tell if it is designed or undesigned without presupposition.

  134. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS: Name of lecture:
    >The Collapse of Intelligent Design:Kenneth R. Miller Lecture

  135. Joey McCabe says

    Accept that unguided processes clearly can increase the Kolmogorov complexity of a string, and that these processes bear a reasonable similarity with actual biological DNA neo-Darwinian evolution. We need to settle this mathematical question first, so you can stop making this asinine claim.

    I am not sure I agree with your first sentence and I absolutely disagree with your second one. The Weasel program bears NO reasonable similarity with actual biological evolution. Evolution does NOT have a “process” in which to FORCE diversification. Aka taking a random clump of letters and turning it into a sentence. “MEthinks it is like a Weasel” is extraordinarily LESS complex than ANY protein or RNA sequence in biology. So that leaves us with one big problem with Dawkins ridiculous metaphor for climbing mount improbability. His steps are far to small to have any relationship to what we find in life.

    ON top of that, we have a much more INTENSE problem. The origin of the genetic code that passes on fixed sequences. So While Dawkins metaphor is a great one, it essentially has nothing to do with life . I’d like to create my own metaphor if I may. Imagine instead that you exist at the bottom of a HUGE metal like funnel segmented into into small ft wide spaces. Each space rotates at a different speed or different direction. At the bottom of this funnel, you have a pair of magnetic shoes on and a blind fold. The funnel is about 10,000 feet in diameter, All you have to do is take 50 steps however. You cant walk up it without the shoes….and the shoes only work on RANDOM spots of each level of the rotating funnel. So essentially the further you get away from the bottom of the funnel the less likely the shoes are going to STICK. Sticking is of course necessary for future steps. If you “Miss” one you fall to the closest “sticking” section and re-start. You have 8 hours to find one of 10 spots at step 50. Do you think it’s okay to say that he WONT complete the task in the time allowable to him? THIS is a MUCH more relate-able version of how evolution works. Where the one of the 10 spots is a “Novel protein”. The magnetic shoes and their attachment to the funnel are how “new information” is added through natural selection. Missing the correct step causes you to tumble back down (representing a deleterious mutation). The decreasing magnetic spots represent the search space.

    You and evolutionists talk about “fitness advantage” as if there is a PLETHORA of sequences of amino acids that benefit the organism. Hint: There isn’t.

    Not to mention…let’s take this one step further. Instead of me GIVING you the shoes. How about you search for them through the door at the bottom of the funnel. This compartment contains 1×10^40 shoes with 1 pair of working and the rest being junk. The compartment is constantly stirred as well. Now tell me what the odds are that you will BOTH find the working shoes AND climb the funnel in the time span? This is abiogenesis and evolution more accurately represented by a metaphor.

    What I’m hinting at is that Darwin may have made the steps for climbing mount improbable, but his steps are STILL far to high to reasonably climb.

  136. James Gray says

    So is the argument from ID that DNA has been placed on earth in it’s current form? there by proving evolution to be bunk.

  137. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I am not sure I agree with your first sentence

    Then you need to take some more math classes and programming classes. Genetic algorithms are used in a bunch of places.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_algorithm

    You and evolutionists talk about “fitness advantage” as if there is a PLETHORA of sequences of amino acids that benefit the organism. Hint: There isn’t.

    Every human has about 60 unique mutations that are not present in their parents.

    Most human DNA is not functional. A large majority of the unique mutations in an individual are going to be functionless.

    Further, even in functional sequences, a large portion of the mutations are neutral still, because many mutations in functional sequences will lead to the same amino acid.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_codon_table

    Now, getting to your point. When there’s a “bad” mutation, the organism dies. If it’s bad enough, it dies in the womb. The “experiments” of evolution are constantly running, many millions or billions of times over each year. Most of them are neutral (as just explained). Most of the remaining lead to death or significant impairment or the mutation is again neutral. Only the remaining few mutations have beneficial impacts.

    So, if I understand your analogy right, let’s say that 100 people fall off for every 1 to succeed. That’s all evolution needs, because only a very small fraction of any population is going to enter that experiment to begin with, because only a small number of individuals in a generation will have a new mutation that has a functional effect – positive or negative. No one individual has to make it all the way. You only need 1 out of a thousand, or 1 out of a million, in order to take a correct step. Then, the next generation steps where the previous generation left off.

    Without the analogy, most members of a generation of a population are not going to have a new unique mutation that affects fitness. Only a very small number will. Of that small number, most will have “bad” mutations and they will die before reproducing (simplification), and the remainder will have positive mutations and reproduce (simplification).

  138. billgarthright says

    I just listened to this episode. I thought it was rather frustrating. But I had a question for… Joey, I think it was. Why call an atheist show where the hosts are non-biologists in order to debate biology?

    I’m not a biologist, either, but I know enough about science to say that I’ll accept ID just as soon as it becomes the scientific consensus, and not one moment before that. That’s because I have a pretty fair (for a layman) idea of why science works, and I know that it does work. And I know that I don’t know shit about biology (one introductory college-level course decades ago).

    As far as I’m concerned, Russell should have noted that he’s not a biologist and that the issue had nothing to do with atheism, and then move on to another caller. IMHO, it’s ridiculous to call an atheist show about something like this. Call a biologist, instead.

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To billgarthright
    Having said that, and I offer no contest, I think that Joey is welcome to try so on the blog here, and I’ll do my best to take him apart (unless a miracle happens and he shows that I’m wrong).

  140. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Must feel nice to hold the goalposts in your arms so you can just move them around at will, huh?

    I’d like to create my own metaphor if I may

    All your metaphor demonstrates is that you know exactly nothing useful or correct about genetics aside from a couple of acronyms. You act as if there’s only one “correct” path of evolution and literally everything else is fatal, which makes me laugh. Do you really not understand that you’re just parroting creationist talking points from decades ago? Try thinking for yourself.

    99% of all life that has ever existed is now extinct. Nobody has ever argued that evolution is some perfect process. I mean, do you even understand that evolution happens in populations, not individuals? Because your metaphor seem to indicate otherwise.

  141. Monocle Smile says

    The more of Joey’s posts I read, the more I find wrong.

    Evolution does NOT have a “process” in which to FORCE diversification

    Are you kidding me? Random mutations and genetic drift (among some other processes like polyploidy) create diversity. Natural selection filters it. It seems you’ve only ever read creationist tracts on evolution, because you understand none of the actual science.

    This is abiogenesis and evolution more accurately represented by a metaphor.

    Out of curiosity, which creationist did you get this metaphor from? You obviously didn’t make this one up yourself, as there’s an oddly precise number in there.

  142. Lillith says

    I’m impressed how much time you guys waste on Joey knowing full well how clueless/dishonest he is. OTOH, it’s funny to see him succumb to the theist’s favourite fallacy: thinking that disproving evolution somehow will validate his god. Tough luck, it won’t.

  143. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What I’m hinting at is that Darwin may have made the steps for climbing mount improbable, but his steps are STILL far to high to reasonably climb.

    Oh wait, did you mean too many steps? Or the individual steps are too steep? My earlier link was to counter “there’s too many steps”. As for the argument “the steps are too steep!”, that’s the “irreducible complexity” argument, which I dealt with above, and I expect at least an acknowledgement of that post and its contents before I write more. (Search above for “irreducible complexity”.)

    Again, I say that before the Dover trial, the creationists said that their best examples of irreducible complexity was blood clotting and the bacterial flagellum. I want you to agree to this.

    Again, I say that since that time, real scientists have made numerous discoveries: they have discovered numerous functions of parts of these systems, functionality for many different sub-pieces of the whole. You say that the steps are too big? That’s what the creationists said, and cited these specific examples, and then they were shown to be spectacularly wrong. I want you to agree that these particular creationists, including many of the famous names that you are citing, were shown to be clearly wrong at the Dover trial.

    Finally, I also want to cite the antifreeze fish. There is this one fish that lives in near freezing water. Fight guts generally will freeze before salt water. There’s this one fish which has an anti-freeze protein. We discovered the evolutionary history of this gene. We know that it was the result of a gene duplication of another gene, followed by a mutation that truncated the gene, which produced a protein that slightly reduced the freezing temperature of the fish guts. Then, more mutations happened, producing a more complicated protein, which was even better as anti-freeze.

    IIRC, we know this is the case from pretty solid evidence. I forget the exact form of the evidence, I’m trying to find a proper source. It might have been that the genome contains several other nonfunctional copies of the gene. In addition, I’m not entirely sure, but more of the story went like this: The original protein was a digestive protein, produced in the pancreas, and secreted into the intestine. The new protein is still produced in the pancreas, secreted into the intestine, and absorbed into the blood stream from the intestine. This is unlikely on the design hypothesis. It’s unlikely on any hypothesis except the story that I just told that the anti-freeze protein was a copy of a digestive protein created in the pancreas. Because the anti-freeze protein is manufactured in the pancreas, secreted into the intestine, and then absorbed into the blood, as opposed to directly pancreas-to-blood, this is ridiculously strong evidence for evolutionary ancestry of that gene, and evidence for the story that I’ve just told.

    This is a clear and undeniable example of increase in information from evolution (or an act of special creation that was designed to look like evolution, and I will reject that sort of trickster god hypothesis out of hand). We have a completely functional genome, and then we added a new gene. That’s an increase in information. Undeniably. Sure, the new gene might be very short, but in terms of a mathematical proof, I don’t care. It’s a clear and undeniable proof that evolution can, does, and has increased the information content of a species population over time.

    It’s also another example of Orgel’s second rule: Evolution is cleverer than you are. Voila: The fish species developed an entirely new capability: the manufacture of an anti-freeze protein.

  144. Murat says

    @Lilith #161

    I never heard Joey say such a thing. I think you are attaching some common theistic claims to his inquiry.

  145. Murat says

    Does the idea of “intelligent design” REALLY match with the concepts of major religions?

    I mean, the stories in the Bible more likely suggest a god that went on with creation in a quite “unintelligent” manner, not really calculating or paying attention to the order of stuff.

    So, aside from ID having been a Trojan horse for Christianity, if we validate it as a sincere take on exploring the origins of existence, it seems more in line with the god of deism.

  146. Joey McCabe says

    I think that’s exactly why Russell’s point makes sense: If we have no proof of one certain sculptor using that tachnique having been where the rock was found, then, regardless of the outcome and our knowledge of “what” gave the rock that shape, we can never determine it was a result of “intelligent design”.

    I wanted to address this. This is NOT how design inferences are made. There is absolutely a way to determine if a acid was “intentional” vs “coincidental” to achieve the design. We extrapolate from what we know. Acid placed randomly or through “nature” would create a shape much more simplistic. It would look like a pattern more or less. Where as acid does not exhibit any abilities to create in the manner with which we found the sculpture. But we DO know a cause that is looks very similar to, aka Intelligence. That’s why Russel is WRONG to say you NEED a designer before assuming design. Not only is that false, it’s oxymoronic. We determine intelligence by a creatures creative abilities, not by their existence in shared space with objects.

    Again, I say that since that time, real scientists have made numerous discoveries: they have discovered numerous functions of parts of these systems, functionality for many different sub-pieces of the whole. You say that the steps are too big? That’s what the creationists said, and cited these specific examples, and then they were shown to be spectacularly wrong. I want you to agree that these particular creationists, including many of the famous names that you are citing, were shown to be clearly wrong at the Dover trial.

    Co-option and functionality of sub-parts has NEVER been a sufficient refutation of Behe’s argument from irreducible complexity. No one is arguing, not even he, that independent functionality of parts isn’t possible. His argument is specifically in reference to complexity of the system itself, where removing any 1 component will cause the system to stop functioning. Function of course is determined by the context of what it DOES WITH all of its parts….not what it can do WITHOUT one of its parts. So no, Kennith Millers take down of Behe was not only a straw man argument but it has long been discussed that Behe was vindicated on his statements about the Type III secretion system in relation to the bacteria flagellum. That IF Behes statements were correct at the trial, the Type III system would prove to be an evolutionary post-cursor NOT a precursor. Essentially meaning that Kenneth Miller “refutation” begs the question. No one denies that a post-cursor is possible AFTER all the complexity is already there.

    Finally, I was in fact referring to the steps being TWO STEEP. This is why IC has never been truly debunked. EVEN if Kenneth Miller were correct about his claims about the Type III secretion system, how big IS the leap from Type III to Flagellum? No one EVER gives the quantifications. Is it reasonable to believe that the Type III system can take a “few small steps” and then become a flagellum? This is AGAIN another instance where Behe has been vindicated on his quantifications and his predictions about the causal adequacy of natural selection and random mutation. His studies on malaria are quite interesting when he predicted that resistance to chloroquine would need 2 simultaneous mutations before becoming functional advantageous.

    That being said, there is a reason why scientists are trying to simplify life. Especially in the study of abiogenesis, where the RNA hypothesis is an attempt to create the most simplistic forms of replication. The reason? No scientists feels it’s appropriate to say that DNA in it’s current form developed by chance.

  147. Joey McCabe says

    Then, more mutations happened, producing a more complicated protein, which was even better as anti-freeze.

    This is kinda funny, not going to lie. It’s kinda like me saying so we had this wheel…..and this wheel rolled into a scrap yard and came out with two axles. These axels helped keep it in a straight line towards another another scrap yard and picked up some doors and a metal box. This helped reduce friction and provided the car with some weight so to increase speed. It’s increase speed then caused the metal to heat up and bend together as well as the metal box to begin to form into cylinders. This gave the car the ability to hit things without taking to much damage and so then it possesed the ability to bash through an electrical store. The wires began to spark and developed into a way to connect the motor to the drive shaft. This gave the car the ability to move on its own even when not proceeding down a hill. Now the car drives and drives until it bumps into a leather shop where all the hanging leather falls onto the bended metal forming chairs. ETC…..ETC…….ALAS……the origin of the car!

  148. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Co-option and functionality of sub-parts has NEVER been a sufficient refutation of Behe’s argument from irreducible complexity.

    Hello. Do you speak English? Is the sky blue in your world?

    So no, Kennith Millers take down of Behe was not only a straw man argument but it has long been discussed that Behe was vindicated on his statements about the Type III secretion system in relation to the bacteria flagellum.

    It’s not a strawman. It’s a demonstration that complex systems can be built by evolution in smaller steps, where each step has a fitness advantage.

    That IF Behes statements were correct at the trial, the Type III system would prove to be an evolutionary post-cursor NOT a precursor.

    So, if Behe’s asspull is correct, then he’s correct. What a great tautology (/s). Why should anyone think that the separate parts were used in their separate capacities only after and not before the first Flagellum? Because Behe wants it to be true?

    Back in the real world, we have found other uses for those other proteins, which means that it’s not irreducibly complex in the way that matters for the purpose of this argument. Again, by finding uses for sub-parts of the whole structure, we have also found a plausible evolutionary pathway. Evolution doens’t need to randomly stumble across the whole system from scratch. Instead, it only needs to randomly stumble across the separate parts, each a separate step on Mount Improbable, and then evolution needs only to randomly try to assemble the parts, just one more step on Mount Improbable.

    Again, the Flagellum is not not irreducibly complex. It is reducible. It is reducible to smaller IIRC at least 5 separate disjoint parts that each have separate independent function in the cell.

    EVEN if Kenneth Miller were correct about his claims about the Type III secretion system, how big IS the leap from Type III to Flagellum? No one EVER gives the quantifications. Is it reasonable to believe that the Type III system can take a “few small steps” and then become a flagellum?

    It wasn’t just functionality of one of the parts. From the slides, it was a breakdown into like 5 or more separate disjoint pieces, each of which had function.

    And taken Behe’s arguments and your arguments as a whole: This is moving the goalposts. Behe said that we would never find function for the smaller parts of the flagellum. We did. Behe’s assertion is simply wrong. There is no other way to cut it.

    This is AGAIN another instance where Behe has been vindicated on his quantifications and his predictions about the causal adequacy of natural selection and random mutation.

    Again, what is the color of the sky in your world?

    His studies on malaria are quite interesting when he predicted that resistance to chloroquine would need 2 simultaneous mutations before becoming functional advantageous.

    Yea, and, so what? As long as one of the two mutations needed is neutral, this is peanuts. This is trivial. Of course evolution can do that. There’s no difficulty here. You’re not even going to grant the possibility of one neutral mutation? Your position is wholly unreasonable and uninformed.

  149. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    His argument is specifically in reference to complexity of the system itself, where removing any 1 component will cause the system to stop functionin

    …who cares? What does this actually demonstrate? That evolution can’t go backwards with small structures by removing parts and have them retain a specific function? Is this supposed to surprise anyone or be relevant at all?

    It’s kinda like me saying so we had this wheel…..and this wheel rolled into a scrap yard and came out with two axles

    I should have started playing creationist bingo when you started posting, because I would have won by now.
    “Tornado in a junkyard” is ludicrous. Scrap metal doesn’t self-replicate with inherent modification. POPULATIONS evolve over loads of generations, not individuals.
    Also, are you just flat-out saying that the antifreeze fish does not exist? How is this a response at all to EL’s post?

    That being said, there is a reason why scientists are trying to simplify life. Especially in the study of abiogenesis, where the RNA hypothesis is an attempt to create the most simplistic forms of replication. The reason? No scientists feels it’s appropriate to say that DNA in it’s current form developed by chance.

    No fucking shit. Did you figure that out all by yourself? Has any scientist ever actually claimed that DNA formed “by chance” in the context that creationists imply? Why does this bolster the claim that ALIENS DID IT?
    I despite the phrase “by chance” when used like this. When I drop a ball out of my hand, is the direction in which it falls determined “by chance?” Does it have just as much chance of falling sideways as it does towards the center of Earth?
    http://www.garfield.library.upenn.edu/essays/v13p266y1990.pdf
    RNA-world has been around since the mid-80s. You know, people would respond more thoroughly and seriously if you would make even a slight effort to understand the actual science instead of regurgitate Discovery Institute bullshit.

  150. Joey McCabe says

    Now I have to come at you EL…

    Behe said that we would never find function for the smaller parts of the flagellum.

    Ummm…….ABSOLUTELY WRONG. It’s a straw-man version of his argument. Please refer back to my previous posts. Behe NEVER SAID ANYTHING of the sort. IN fact, he EVEN addresses IN his book from which the straw-man appeared. This bullshit straw-man has been regurgitated by evolutionists for years, and thus by you. You, nor did Ken, understand the argument…PERIOD.

    Ken Milers tie clip as an explanation for the mouse trap has the ID community laughing, as well as myself. It’s a total misunderstanding of the argument. Not only that, it’s ABSURD to think that the mouse trap could have formed naturally simple because a PART can be used in a different context bahahaha.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAWHIXKv63E

    I’ll let Behe’s own words tell you what you refuse to understand…

    Finally, rather than showing how their theory could handle the obstacle, some Darwinists are hoping to get around irreducible complexity by verbal tap dancing. At a debate between proponents and opponents of intelligent design sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History in April 2002, Kenneth Miller actually claimed (the transcript is available at the website of the National Center for Science Education) that a mousetrap isn’t irreducibly complex because subsets of a mousetrap, and even each individual part, could still “function” on their own. The holding bar of a mousetrap, Miller observed, could be used as a toothpick, so it still had a “function” outside the mousetrap. Any of the parts of the trap could be used as a paperweight, he continued, so they all had “functions.” And since any object that has mass can be a paperweight, then any part of anything has a function of its own. Presto, there is no such thing as irreducible complexity! Thus the acute problem for gradualism that any child can see in systems like the mousetrap is smoothly explained away.

    Of course the facile explanation rests on a transparent fallacy, a brazen equivocation. Miller uses the word “function” in two different senses. Recall that the definition of irreducible complexity notes that removal of a part “causes the system to effectively cease functioning.” Without saying so, in his exposition Miller shifts the focus from the separate function of the intact system itself to the question of whether we can find a different use (or “function”) for some of the parts. However, if one removes a part from the mousetrap I pictured, it can no longer catch mice. The system has indeed effectively ceased functioning, so the system is irreducibly complex, just as I had written. What’s more, the functions that Miller glibly assigns to the parts — paperweight, toothpick, key chain, [tie clip,] etc. — have little or nothing to do with the function of the system of catching mice (unlike the mousetrap series proposed by John McDonald, discussed below), so they give us no clue as to how the system’s function could arise gradually. Miller explained precisely nothing.

    With the problem of the mousetrap behind him, Miller moved on to the bacterial flagellum — and again resorted to the same fallacy. If nothing else, one has to admire the breathtaking audacity of verbally trying to turn another severe problem for Darwinism into an advantage. In recent years it has been shown that the bacterial flagellum is an even more sophisticated system than had been thought. Not only does it act as a rotary propulsion device, it also contains within itself an elegant mechanism to transport the proteins that make up the outer portion of the machine, from the inside of the cell to the outside. (Aizawa 1996) Without blinking, Miller asserted that the flagellum is not irreducibly complex because some proteins of the flagellum could be missing and the remainder could still transport proteins, perhaps independently. (Proteins similar — but not identical — to some found in the flagellum occur in the type III secretory system of some bacteria. See Hueck 1998.) Again he was equivocating, switching the focus from the function of the system to act as a rotary propulsion machine to the ability of a subset of the system to transport proteins across a membrane. However, taking away the parts of the flagellum certainly destroys the ability of the system to act as a rotary propulsion machine, as I have argued. Thus, contra Miller, the flagellum is indeed irreducibly complex. What’s more, the function of transporting proteins has as little directly to do with the function of rotary propulsion as a toothpick has to do with a mousetrap. So discovering the supportive function of transporting proteins tells us precisely nothing about how Darwinian processes might have put together a rotary propulsion machine.

    I will say after your final comment the the opposite is wrong.

    1. You have a flawed understand of how evolution works.(given that you gave the weasel example)
    2. You don’t understand the rarity of fitness advantage.
    3. You don’t know how to quantify your arguments (just like most evolutionists)
    4. You don’t understand the argument of IC.

  151. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Joey

    2. You don’t understand the rarity of fitness advantage.

    I’m pretty sure that I said that mutations that grant a fitness advantage are very rare. See post 155. The point is: With so many generations, and so many individuals in a generation, things that are rare happen all the time.

    4. You don’t understand the argument of IC.

    I understand it. I simply reject it. This particular flavor is unsubstantiated horseshit. Of course a mutation can combine two previously existing proteins together in order to perform a novel function. I still have no idea why creationists like yourself think this cannot happen. Of course it can happen. Of course the mouse-trap analogy is applicable and correct.

  152. Monocle Smile says

    @joey
    Have you ever read the transcripts from the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial in 2005? Because you seem to think that Behe’s postdiction and apologetics somehow save him from his crimes.
    Behe’s book:

    Recall that the definition of irreducible complexity notes that removal of a part “causes the system to effectively cease functioning.” Without saying so, in his exposition Miller shifts the focus from the separate function of the intact system itself to the question of whether we can find a different use (or “function”) for some of the parts. However, if one removes a part from the mousetrap I pictured, it can no longer catch mice

    Firstly, that definition appears to be intentionally ambiguous for the sole purpose of using this “gotcha.” It is not unreasonable to look at this definition and think that it means that the parts of the system lose all function. This is how Miller read the definition.

    Secondly, this just sets up a rather laughable claim. “If you remove a part from an IC system, it can’t function the exact same way it did before, therefore evolution is false” is a non sequitur, flat out. It’s glaringly obvious to any sane person that this is a non sequitur, so Behe’s just straight-up arguing dishonestly here.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpeHrkbx9LU

    Why do you keep using the deliberately pejorative and nonsensical term “evolutionist” when you’re not a design advocate? And why do you think merely responding to part of a post means you’ve totally refuted it? You haven’t actually accomplished anything here.

  153. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    1. You have a flawed understand of how evolution works.(given that you gave the weasel example)

    The citation of the weasel program was primarily intended to disprove the silly general notion that only intelligent design can lead to increases in information. It was not meant to be a “correct analogy” for biological evolution in every conceivable way. For my stated purpose, the weasel program serves just fine. However, I admit that the soft robot walking evolution simulation is a much better example of the same point.

  154. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Why do you keep using the deliberately pejorative and nonsensical term “evolutionist” when you’re not a design advocate? And why do you think merely responding to part of a post means you’ve totally refuted it? You haven’t actually accomplished anything here.

    Yea. I now believe that he’s been lying from the start, based on this and the rest of his conduct in this thread. It’s quite likely that he’s an actual young Earth creationist, and he dishonestly pretended to be a so-called “rational disinterested third-party”.

  155. Joey McCabe says

    With so many generations, and so many individuals in a generation, things that are rare happen all the time.

    NOT frequently enough. You don’t understand just how rare fitness advantage is, that even with BILLIONS of trials, you still wouldn’t get a quarter of the novelty required in the time allowed. All darwin did was effect the probability. You went form 1 x 10^100 probability to 1 x 10^60 probability. Do you want a cookie?

    Of course it can happen. Of course the mouse-trap analogy is applicable and correct.

    I dont care if it CAN happen. ANYTHING can happen. I care about what’s reasonable and unreasonable. You DON’T understand the argument. You don’t understand why parts having function does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to address the argument. if you understood the argument, you would agree. You can dismiss it all you want, but you are dismissing a flawed understanding. Either evolution most likely did create IC…or it most likely did not. There is no argument that “There is no such thing as IC”. I don’t care about possibility. It’s also POSSIBLE that 140 amino acids formed in ONE generation to create a novel protein. Did it happen? Probably not, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    Also, Don’t call me a creationist. Name calling isn’t going to help you here. I specifically said i DO NOT believe in ID. That doesn’t mean I accept evolution. After a lot of study actually, I’ve learned just how empty it is. It’s the reason why many scientists a proposing for an expanded synthesis of biology.

  156. Joey McCabe says

    Ah, the rhetoric dismissive comments have begun. Label him a “young earth creationist” so we don’t have to talk to him anymore. Truly pathetic. I’m interested though, why a YOUNG earth creationist? Why not old earth? What exactly have a said so far that tells you I’m a young earth creationist?

    As far as my Athiesm. I happen to use the ID inference AGAINST creationists. Because 1, I understand it (unlike you guys) and 2. it’s a BETTER argument than I see most of me FELLOW atheists put forth against God. I used to be religious, just like many athiests. I don’t see how believing life was designed by a potential alien civilization would suddenly make me a young earth creationists but I guess say anything to avoid arguments right?

  157. Murat says

    @Joey

    We extrapolate from what we know. Acid placed randomly or through “nature” would create a shape much more simplistic. It would look like a pattern more or less. Where as acid does not exhibit any abilities to create in the manner with which we found the sculpture.

    What is it you see in nature that is NOT like a pattern more or less? Are you claiming the DNA to be not so?

  158. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    NOT frequently enough. You don’t understand just how rare fitness advantage is, that even with BILLIONS of trials, you still wouldn’t get a quarter of the novelty required in the time allowed. All darwin did was effect the probability. You went form 1 x 10^100 probability to 1 x 10^60 probability. Do you want a cookie?

    More moving of the goalposts.

    Back to the first claim, just to be clear: The earlier claim was “the flagellum was irreducibly complex, and therefore evolution would have to stumble across the flagellum all at once or not at all. In other words, finding the flagellum would be a single giant step on Mount Improbable. There are no smaller steps that lead to the flagellum, where each smaller step gives a cumulative fitness advantage.”

    Do you agree that the flagellum has half a dozen separate disjoint parts, each of which has a (separate) function? Do you agree that evolution might happen upon the parts before the flagellum itself, and that mutations might combine these separate parts into the flagellum, thereby drastically increasing the odds that evolution will find it by random chance plus natural selection? I hope to get simple “yes” answers here.

    If you want to say that the earlier claim was something other than what I just described, then MS is entirely right: that claim is simple non sequitir. If you mean to use irreducible complexity as a disproof of evolution, you need to frame the argument in the way that I have.

    On to the new goalposts.

    The new claim is “half a billion years is not enough time to go from single celled creatures to the great diversity of life seen today”. Do I have that about that?

    I cited this paper up-thread. Let me cite it again.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/52/22454.full
    I skimmed it, and the math looks reasonable and correct.

    In short, seems quite plausible and reasonable to the actual scientists and mathematicians that there has been enough time for the unguided search process of evolution to create the current diversity of life in the half billion years that has been available.

    Citing big numbers is not going to scare me. Again, I’m actually uniquely qualified to have an expert opinion in this. I’m a dual major bachelor’s degree in 1- computer science and 2- mathematical sciences discrete and algorithmic methods. You’re going to have to do better than “look at how big this number is!”, and you’re going to have to make proper arguments.

    Also, Don’t call me a creationist. Name calling isn’t going to help you here.

    It’s not name-calling. It’s a simple, accurate, and non-pejorative description of your beliefs.

    I specifically said i DO NOT believe in ID.

    I don’t believe you. I believe that you are lying.

    Protip: The random words in “ALL CAPS” is also a big giveaway.

    For future reference, this blog and many other blogs and forums have bolding functionality. On this blog, you can use a limited set of html tags. For example, you can create bold words by typing “<b>my bold words go here</b>”. Also, the preview button is your friend.

  159. Murat says

    @Joey

    I specifically said i DO NOT believe in ID. That doesn’t mean I accept evolution. After a lot of study actually, I’ve learned just how empty it is.

    Are you sure it is “evolution” that you do not accept? Can you actually be talking about abiogenesis here?

    I don’t understand why rejecting evolution would be necessary EVEN if you believed in ID. Much less, you say you don’t, so, I’m confused here as to whether you are approaching the origins of existence / life or something much more trivial while bringing up ID.

  160. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Only one person is avoiding “arguments” and it’s you. We’ve been extremely patient and have addressed all of your nonsense while you ignore over half of what is said to you.

    We have trouble believing you because you repeat literally the same talking points as religious institutes like the Discovery Institute, the Institute for Creation Research, etc. etc. Did you not read what I posted about Jonathan Wells? Have no idea of the backgrounds and intent of the people you cited in your call as the “real scholars” of ID?

    NOT frequently enough. You don’t understand just how rare fitness advantage is, that even with BILLIONS of trials, you still wouldn’t get a quarter of the novelty required in the time allowed. All darwin did was effect the probability. You went form 1 x 10^100 probability to 1 x 10^60 probability. Do you want a cookie?

    Do the math. Show your fucking work. You’ve been asked time and again for something of substance, and all you do is pull shit from your ass and cop out because you’re “bad at math” or some other lame excuse.

    That doesn’t mean I accept evolution. After a lot of study actually, I’ve learned just how empty it is

    I don’t believe you’ve gotten a single thing about evolution truly correct in your posting history here. If you had actually “studied,” this wouldn’t be the case. Instead, you’ve just swallowed what a bunch of religious con artists have fed you, and I have no idea why. Alien obsession, it seems.

  161. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:

    That doesn’t mean I accept evolution. After a lot of study actually, I’ve learned just how empty it is

    Lots of atheists believe they understand evolution, but AFAICT, most of them do not. Most laypeople will incorrectly rebut the standard creationist assertion “one kind of animal cannot change into another kind of animal, and therefore evolution is false”.

    The creationist’s fundamental assertion is entirely correct. It is true that one kind of animal cannot turn into another kind of animal. A crocodile is never going to change into a duck. If anything like that was ever observed, it would be fantastic evidence against evolution.

    Of course, the creationist is wrong to infer from this true premise that evolution is false. Why? You claimed that you studied evolution, and you understand it. Prove it. Show me your understanding. I consider understanding of what I just wrote here to be fundamentally required in order to claim that one has a real understanding of evolution. How is it that the creationist’s premise (an animal of a particular kind cannot change into another kind of animal) is correct, but their conclusion (evolution is false) does not logically follow from the premise?

    (Consequently, I also say that most atheists who “believe in” evolution don’t actually understand evolution – at least not well enough for my particular, perhaps arbitrary, standards.)

  162. Joey McCabe says

    Do you agree that the flagellum has half a dozen separate disjoint parts, each of which has a (separate) function?

    I don’t know, but for the sake of the argument I COULD believe this were the case.

    Do you agree that evolution might happen upon the parts before the flagellum itself

    I don’t know this either, it would really depend on how complex the parts themselves are. But again let’s say yes.

    and that mutations might combine these separate parts into the flagellum

    Sure, maybe mutations possess the ability to do almost anything. If a certain amino acid chain mutates in just the right way, a progeny could be born a completely different species!

    thereby drastically increasing the odds that evolution will find it by random chance plus natural selection?

    Sure.

    Let’s keep going with this…

  163. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Post 181?
    It’s entirely unrelated. You’re the one who raised the point first. You claimed to have done a lot of self study. I’m just responding to your point. I’m questioning that, and asking for confirmation. (Don’t bring up claims if you don’t want them questioned.) The answer is both obvious to anyone who knows evolution, and (relatively) easy to explain in a few sentences.

    I strongly suspect that you don’t know the answer. Assuming I’m right, and once you admit that you don’t, I’ll give you some resources that will actually teach you what you need to know about evolution, so that this can be closer to a conversation between informed equals.

  164. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    It should be extremely obvious. Evolution is MacGyver. There’s no future planning or purpose. If parts can come together and work, then that gets passed on through natural selection.

    Also, are you now denying speciation? You seem to make the comment about new species sarcastically. We have plenty of recorded speciation events.

  165. Joey McCabe says

    The answer is both obvious to anyone who knows evolution, and (relatively) easy to explain in a few sentences.

    As much as I think you are accusing me of not understanding evolution is as much as I am going to say you don’t understand Behe’s argument. Tell me what his argument is and then tell me why evolution is a possible refutation.

  166. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Irreducible complexity as a valid argument against evolution is as follows: Take a complex piece of stuff in a cell (or elsewhere). If it’s sufficiently complicated, and if none of the parts by themselves serve a function that individually increase the fitness of the organism,, then it’s extremely unlikely that even an evolutionary search would be able to find it in reasonable amounts of time.

    That’s a logically valid argument against evolution. It’s also based on factually wrong premises.

    However, I’ve seen Behe seemingly make the following argument:
    1- Definition: A complex piece of stuff in the cell (or elsewhere) is irreducibly complex iff taking away any one part means that it cannot fulfill its original function. In particular, if a piece of the whole can serve an independent function, the whole may still be irreducibly complex.
    2- [By invalid reasoning], therefore an evolutionary search would take an unreasonable amount of time to find an irreducibly complex thing of sufficient complexity, such as real things that we find inside cells.

    That’s logically invalid, for the reasons already mentioned. There is no proper reasoning that you put in that gap. It seems that Behe actually explicitly denies that it will drastically reduce the time that it takes an evolutionary search to find a complex thing if the pieces of the complex thing have separate independent unrelated functionality that individually each confer a fitness advantage. That denial is wholly unreasonable and wrong for the reasons just mentioned, and therefore Behe’s “new” argument, formulated after the Dover trial, is just logically invalid and inane.

    That good enough for you?

  167. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Go ahead and keep ignoring me. I addressed this upthread.

    However, taking away the parts of the flagellum certainly destroys the ability of the system to act as a rotary propulsion machine, as I have argued. Thus, contra Miller, the flagellum is indeed irreducibly complex. What’s more, the function of transporting proteins has as little directly to do with the function of rotary propulsion as a toothpick has to do with a mousetrap. So discovering the supportive function of transporting proteins tells us precisely nothing about how Darwinian processes might have put together a rotary propulsion machine

    Does this encapsulate Behe’s argument? “Some systems are IC by this particular definition, therefore evolution is false.” is neither valid nor sound.
    Aside from Behe saying that this is a problem for “Darwinism,” there’s nothing in the big excerpt you quoted that identifies any shortcomings of evolutionary theory, at least nothing game-changing. That this is a problem for evolution appears to be a bald assertion on Behe’s part.

  168. AllmightyDerp says

    Hi everyone, hope you don’t mind if I make a comment or two. I’m just a long time listener of the show, not much of a forum poster.

    First, I don’t see why some of you suspect Jake was Kabane. Their voices sound nothing alike, their arguments differ and I don’t see Kabane declaring “victory” on his channel.

    Secondly, I’d like to address Joey about something he had said on the show.

    @Joey You offered the following definition for ID: “some aspects of life are best explained by intelligent causes.” In my view, the qualification with “some aspects” immediately turns it into a scientifically vapid statement. It’s an admission that whatever ID is, it’s not generalizable over all cases of life. It also lacks specificity – which aspects of life are best explained by ID and which ones aren’t? Some kind of design metric would be appropriate – a reliable way to delineate design-life from other-life – I don’t see you offering any such thing, you seem to almost scoff at such notions. Not to mention the fact that “intelligent causes” are so far poorly understood and the intelligences we’re familiar with aren’t sufficient to explain life but I feel like this point has already been brought to your attention, and you dismissed it.

    Now, you’re free to dismiss me because I’m too stupid to understand your profound argument. I admit – I find your presentation so far incredibly difficult to follow. But I’d appreciate a thoughtful response.

  169. Joey McCabe says

    and if none of the parts by themselves serve a function that individually increase the fitness of the organism

    So I was correct. You don’t understand the argument. The argument has nothing to do with the functionality of the systems parts outside the system. Again, that is a regurgitation of Ken Millers straw-man of IC.

    Here is the definition of his argument:

    In The Origin of Species Darwin stated:

    ‘If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.’

    A system which meets Darwin’s criterion is one which exhibits irreducible complexity. By irreducible complexity I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”

    Here is a further discussion of what it means to say that “IC” can not be built by a step by step processes:

    “Even if a system is irreducibly complex (and thus cannot have been produced directly), however, one can not definitively rule out the possibility of an indirect, circuitous route. As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously. And as the number of unexplained, irreducibly complex biological systems increases, our confidence that Darwin’s criterion of failure has been met skyrockets toward the maximum that science allows”

    (Michael Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, p. 40 (Free Press, 1996).

    Then here is Michael Behe’s direct address of this straw-man argument in his 1996 book. Before Kenneth Miller even misrepresented it.

    In order to catch a mouse, a mousetrap needs a platform, spring, hammer, holding bar, and catch. Now, suppose you wanted to make a mousetrap. In your garage you might have a piece of wood from an old Popsicle stick (for the platform), a spring from an old wind-up clock, a piece of metal (for the hammer) in the form of a crowbar, a darning needle for the holding bar, and a bottle cap that you fancy to use as a catch. But these pieces, even though they have some vague similarity to the pieces of a working mousetrap, in fact are not matched to each other and couldn’t form a functioning mousetrap without extensive modification. All the while the modification was going on, they would be unable to work as a mousetrap. The fact that they were used in other roles (as a crowbar, in a clock, etc.) does not help them to be part of a mousetrap. As a matter of fact, their previous functions make them ill-suited for virtually any new role as part of a complex system.

    Darwin’s Black Box, page 66.

    People like Miller have no excuse for this clear butchering of Behe’s argument. He said it right in the same book where he introduced IC.

    The idea that IC can not be built from successive, slight modifications, is a probabilistic one. Meaning, he predicts that ANY attempt an explanation will either result in an oversimplification of the object in question, an unrealistic form of evolution, or intelligent design.

  170. Murat says

    As compliments galore, I keep wondering how the benefit of a doubt granted to the idea of “intelligent design” ended up with a denial of evolution.

    If only, we have not left the fields of philosophy and science for the sake of catching up with Bible studies.

  171. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    It helps if you read my whole post. I addressed all of that.

    People like Miller have no excuse for this clear butchering of Behe’s argument.

    That’s not a butchering. Ken Miller is not rephrasing Behe’s argument. Ken Miller is responding to the argument. It’s an explanation of the error of Behe’s reasoning. Ken Miller’s reasoning is entirely correct.

    Thusly, I correctly described Behe’s position, and I have already rebutted it.

    In other words, please explain what’s so objectionable about Ken Miller’s response. And please remember that it’s a response, and not a rephrasing, of Behe’s argument. It’s an explanation of what Behe got wrong. It’s an explanation of you can get a reasonable evolutionary pathway to a irreducibly complex bit of stuff. The explanation is that you can find assorted things around “the house” which you can put together to perform a novel function. If you don’t like that explanation, don’t accuse us of not understanding Behe’s argument. We understand it just fine. We just disagree with it.

    Now, if you want to point out where Behe actually argues against Ken Miller’s rebuttal, I’d like to see that, because literally I haven’t seen anything approaching that. All I’ve seen is a hand-wave like “nope”. I haven’t seen anything resembling reasoned argument.

  172. Joey McCabe says

    Murat, I doubt Intelligent design also. But don’t BS me with fake arguments. Evolution as an explanation for EVERY BIT of life that we see is FAR from “factual”. A statement that many scientists are becoming more aware of. It’s WHY people like Denis Noble wrote a GREAT book called “The Music of Life” that essentially says we are looking at life entirely the wrong way. He goes on to say that mutations may not be as “random” as we once thought. And that a expanded synthesis is needed to help evolution keep up with the discoveries of the complexity of life.

  173. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    The typical bio undergrads today know way more about evolution than Darwin ever did. Whatever Darwin wrote is irrelevant in whole to this discussion. We’ve moved on past Darwin. Darwin is no longer an expert. His writings are entirely irrelevant. Please don’t cite them again.

  174. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    But these pieces, even though they have some vague similarity to the pieces of a working mousetrap, in fact are not matched to each other and couldn’t form a functioning mousetrap without extensive modification. All the while the modification was going on, they would be unable to work as a mousetrap. The fact that they were used in other roles (as a crowbar, in a clock, etc.) does not help them to be part of a mousetrap. As a matter of fact, their previous functions make them ill-suited for virtually any new role as part of a complex system

    Behe’s just making shit up. “Extensive modification,” “ill-suited for virtually any new role”…these evaluations change with each case. He doesn’t present any real numbers here. What say you about the antifreeze fish? Or nylon-eating bacteria? Or any number of hundreds of unique traits we’ve directly observed emerging in evolving populations?

    The idea that IC can not be built from successive, slight modifications, is a probabilistic one. Meaning, he predicts that ANY attempt an explanation will either result in an oversimplification of the object in question, an unrealistic form of evolution, or intelligent design

    He’s been demonstrated to be incorrect by mountains of evidence to the contrary…and this is a false dichotomy anyway. There’s a reason that he wrote a hatchet job of a book instead of publishing scientific literature. Watch the AronRa video I linked earlier.

  175. Joey McCabe says

    This shows you aren’t actually familiar with the back and forth Behe and Miller were having. Behe said that Millers response is an “attempt” to refute him, but certian aspects of his arguments showed a straw-man version of it. Using a mouse trap as a tie clip has nothing to do with what IC is. All it shows it that is can have another function when not working correctly. Something no one denies, even Behe.

    Behe wants scientists to show him a step by step process by which the flagellar motor could have reasonablely developed step by step. Miller didn’t provide a reasonable step by citing the type III secretory system. He provided a cliff of a lower size than the mout improbable. Thus why Ken Miller, and so far, no other scientists have meet Behe’s challenge.

  176. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    Behe wants scientists to show him a step by step process by which the flagellar motor could have reasonablely developed step by step. Miller didn’t provide a reasonable step by citing the type III secretory system. He provided a cliff of a lower size than the mout improbable

    According to Behe, who perjured himself in court, so of course has no trouble lying his ass off whenever asked to do so by his puppetmasters. Wait, are you really saying that no case is ever good enough unless Behe himself admits it!?

    Also, this is a laughable red herring, at best. If we didn’t have a step-by-step process by which a bacterial flagellum could arise, intelligent design doesn’t gain any traction at all. ALL explanations lose credibility when your data disappears.

    Behe did this shit in court, too. When asked what he wanted to see in the articles about the evolution of the immune system, he demanded a step-by-step process of every single mutation, an exact population size, an exact description of every potential effect of every single mutation, a precise selective value of each mutation, etc.
    In other words, he asked for what is likely impossible for anyone to ever provide and what is entirely unnecessary for the conclusion. Don’t act as if Behe’s an honest scientist. He’s a marionette who isn’t allowed to admit error.

  177. Murat says

    @Joey

    Seems you have entered skepticism on the wrong foot.

    It’s okay to or not to believe in ID. Also (sort of) okay to underrate evolution, let’s say… The absurdity is to jump from (disbelief in) one to (validating) the other.

    The moment you approach evolution as if it is “only equally” credible as ID, you shoot a bullet to your own foot. Because you are outruling the “technique” of the supposed designer.

    Facts and beliefs aside, I think this is a very risky and twisted way of advocating your case.

  178. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Using a mouse trap as a tie clip has nothing to do with what IC is.

    Yes it does.

    All it shows it that is can have another function when not working correctly.

    No, it shows that with a bunch of existing stuff lying around that already serves other purposes, you can combine that stuff together to perform a new purpose. You’re getting the timeline backwards. You’re assuming that the flagellum came first, and the other stuff came after. The alternative hypothesis is that the other stuff came first, and the flagellum came after. Why are you making that assumption? Why are you raising that assumption to a strongly made claim?

    Behe wants scientists to show him a step by step process by which the flagellar motor could have reasonablely developed step by step. Miller didn’t provide a reasonable step by citing the type III secretory system. He provided a cliff of a lower size than the mout improbable. Thus why Ken Miller, and so far, no other scientists have meet Behe’s challenge.

    This is moving the goalposts. Behe’s original argument was that it was irreducibly complex, i.e. there was no part that served any useful function. This was shown to be incorrect.

    Now, you seem to be asking for a literal step by step, mutation by mutation, breakdown of the entire evolutionary process. I’m not going to provide that to you. I cannot provide that to you. No one is going to be able to provide that to you. That’s obscene to even ask. It’s disingenuous, dishonest, to even ask that. Scientists rose to the original challenge, and they showed that it was wrong. However, we’re never going to be able to rise to this new challenge. We’re never going to be able to discover a literal entire history of every mutation ever. And most importantly: We don’t need such a thing to be convinced that evolution is true.

    The moral of the story, e.g. the Aesop of the story, is again Orgel’s second rule: “Evolution is cleverer than you are”. Every time some asshat like Behe says he found something that couldn’t possibly evolve from simpler parts and steps that had individual and cumulative fitness value, real scientists look at it, and they find “hey, it has a bunch of simpler parts that each have individual and cumulative fitness value”.

    I explained the flagellum in terms of half a dozen simpler parts. I don’t have the story for how those parts came together, but it’s simple enough in terms of random mutation and natural selection. I also don’t have the story for each of the individual parts and how those individual parts came to be. However, if we’ve learned nothing else from the flagellum, blood clotting, immune system, etc., it’s that there’s probably a good answer, and maybe one day scientists will discover it.

    tl;dr
    Your new goalposts are rationally-obscene, and my inability to satisfy this standard does not show evolution is false, and it does not show that intelligent design is true.

  179. Joey McCabe says

    Murat, I’m glad to see you talking about something that actually matters. I validate evolution when talking to creationists and validate intelligent design when talking to atheists. There are undeniable truths in BOTH fields. Intelligent design is an aspect of biology, from ribsomal engineering to synthetic DNA. If you didn’t have any evidence that we existed and only dogs showed a HUGE increase in information over a small amount of time, you would know that intelligence played a role. Natural selection and diversification is a fact of evolution. I lack belief that evolution posses the necessary time, and I lack belief that God had anything to do with the designing event (like so many ID advocates believe).

    I think that they are equal. Although I currently see one labeled falsely through lots of straw man arguments. And one more akin to the story about the Emperor has no cloths.

  180. Joey McCabe says

    No, it shows that with a bunch of existing stuff lying around that already serves other purposes, you can combine that stuff together to perform a new purpose.

    Ummm…..yeah, when intelligence is involved. As far as nature is concerned, prove it.

    This is moving the goalposts. Behe’s original argument was that it was irreducibly complex, i.e. there was no part that served any useful function. This was shown to be incorrect.

    Are you for real? This is AGAIN a strawman version of the argument. Behe’s argument has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with functionality of the parts. Dude, now you are getting me angry. RE-READ how IC is defined please.

    No one is going to be able to provide that to you. That’s obscene to even ask. It’s disingenuous, dishonest, to even ask that. Scientists rose to the original challenge, and they showed that it was wrong.

    Alas, so it is true what Behe said. That any step by step explanation for the origin of ANY molecular machine simplifies to nothing more than unproven hypotheticals.

    I don’t have the story for how those parts came together, but it’s simple enough in terms of random mutation and natural selection.

    I’m not sure what is more hilarious…the fact that you proved the persecutor wrong and Behe right when he provided Behe with articles that claim to do exactly what I just asked for or the fact that you missed your self-refuting argument. If you don’t know the variables involved in how the parts came together how could you possibly know it’s simple enough? How exactly did 12 parts come together using natural selection to form a motor? If it’s 12 parts…then give me 12 steps. It’s not that hard. And make sure those steps are CLIMBABLE.

  181. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    I’m sure you’re a riot at the parties you attend with your zero friends.

    If you didn’t have any evidence that we existed and only dogs showed a HUGE increase in information over a small amount of time, you would know that intelligence played a role

    Or there was something else going on that we don’t understand, like a massive environmental shift that coincided with dispersal of a powerful mutagen.

    I lack belief that evolution posses the necessary time

    You’re free to be wrong, but all you’ve done is defend yourself with asspulls and copious amounts of dishonesty, which calls your integrity into question. We like reason and evidence here. You have offered neither.

  182. Murat says

    Intelligent design is an aspect of biology, from ribsomal engineering to synthetic DNA. If you didn’t have any evidence that we existed and only dogs showed a HUGE increase in information over a small amount of time, you would know that intelligence played a role.

    May you be using “intelligent design” by mistake here, instead of “intelligence”?

  183. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    I’m not sure what is more hilarious…the fact that you proved the persecutor wrong and Behe right when he provided Behe with articles that claim to do exactly what I just asked for or the fact that you missed your self-refuting argument

    No, the only joke here is you and the fact that you have displayed a level of education akin to a high school dropout. Seriously, you don’t seem to know anything about anything and you deliver it all with a smugly superior attitude. There’s some serious Dunning-Kruger effect happening here.

  184. Joey McCabe says

    May you be using “intelligent design” by mistake here, instead of “intelligence”?

    I’m not sure I understand….Intelligent design and intelligence are the same thing.

  185. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Are you for real? This is AGAIN a strawman version of the argument. Behe’s argument has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with functionality of the parts. Dude, now you are getting me angry. RE-READ how IC is defined please.

    I understand how Behe defined it after the fact. However, that’s not how it was presented before the Dover trial, and that’s not how it was understood before the Dover trial. Again, you don’t understand that in order to use irreducible complexity as an argument against evolution, it has to exclude Ken Miller’s scenario of disparate pre-existing pieces coming together to create novel function, and that’s why I presented the two versions: the logically-valid but factually-wrong version which expressly denies Ken Miller’s rebuttal, aka the version before the Dover trial, and Behe’s “clarified” version which is logically-invalid because it asserts by naked fiat that Ken Miller’s rebuttal is wrong, aka the version after the Dover trial.

    Ummm…..yeah, when intelligence is involved. As far as nature is concerned, prove it.

    Seriousy? You want me to show you examples of protein fusings by random mutation? Really?

    Alas, so it is true what Behe said. That any step by step explanation for the origin of ANY molecular machine simplifies to nothing more than unproven hypotheticals.

    Apparently yes, you actually want sources for this well-known and well-studied process. Here, start here.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_gene
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_protein

    Here’s a few randomly googled “academic” sources.
    https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=44591
    https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/article/22/12/1418/207642/Gene-fusion-fission-is-a-major-contributor-to

    The first few hits that I’m getting are in cancer research, where several gene fusings seem to be important steps in the development of cancer.

  186. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ugg, too many links. Reposting to work around the auto-filter, because I’m impatient.

    Are you for real? This is AGAIN a strawman version of the argument. Behe’s argument has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with functionality of the parts. Dude, now you are getting me angry. RE-READ how IC is defined please.

    I understand how Behe defined it after the fact. However, that’s not how it was presented before the Dover trial, and that’s not how it was understood before the Dover trial. Again, you don’t understand that in order to use irreducible complexity as an argument against evolution, it has to exclude Ken Miller’s scenario of disparate pre-existing pieces coming together to create novel function, and that’s why I presented the two versions: the logically-valid but factually-wrong version which expressly denies Ken Miller’s rebuttal, aka the version before the Dover trial, and Behe’s “clarified” version which is logically-invalid because it asserts by naked fiat that Ken Miller’s rebuttal is wrong, aka the version after the Dover trial.

    Ummm…..yeah, when intelligence is involved. As far as nature is concerned, prove it.

    Seriousy? You want me to show you examples of protein fusings by random mutation? Really?

    Alas, so it is true what Behe said. That any step by step explanation for the origin of ANY molecular machine simplifies to nothing more than unproven hypotheticals.

    Apparently yes, you actually want sources for this well-known and well-studied process. Here, start here.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_gene
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_protein

    Here’s a few randomly googled “academic” sources.
    https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=44591
    https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/article/22/12/1418/207642/Gene-fusion-fission-is-a-major-contributor-to

    The first few hits that I’m getting are in cancer research, where several gene fusings seem to be important steps in the development of cancer.

  187. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And because I copy-pasted from the posted post and not the source text, I messed up the block-quotes. Wonderful. Sorry.

  188. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #203

    I think that they are equal.

    Evolution….
    – can be directly observed (in fast-reproducing organisms like bacteria and fruit-flies)
    – is supported by the fossil record
    – is supported by biogeography (distribution of species)
    – is supported by comparative anatomy (eg. whales with vestigial rear legs)
    – is actively used in fields like medicine, genetic engineering, even computer science
    – is accepted as fact by the overwhelming majority of scientists (in the high 90s, percentage-wise). Note: ‘scientists’ meaning people who spend their working lives in the search for greater understanding of the world we live in, using the only process ever developed which can reliably distinguish between true and false claims – the scientific method.
     
    Intelligent design…


    nope, I got nothing
     
    Feel free to fill in the blanks, and to explain how they are ‘equal’ to the ever-growing mountain of evidence that supports evolution.

  189. Devocate says

    1. Intelligence creates complex specified information
    2. DNA contains complex specified information
    3. We know of no OTHER cause that is adequate to explain complex information

    4. Intelligence is complex specified information.

    This is the VERY SIMPLE problem with this line of argument. There is no place for the first intelligence to come from. It fails from the get go.

    However, if you are in fact correct, how DO you tell the difference between jibberish and language?However, if you are in fact correct, how DO you tell the difference between jibberish and language?

    He says that specification is made in terms of PREDICTION

    Thus defeating his own argument. No one predicted (the information in) DNA.

    However, if you are in fact correct, how DO you tell the difference between jibberish and language?

    It is extremely difficult. The entire scholarly fields of both linguistics and cryptography are devoted to it, and it is still tough. If you think you have a universal solution there are a number of unsolved problems in the field. Some known to be human creations (like the Voynich manuscript) and some of undetermined provenance (like the wow signal).

  190. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #125 (regarding predictions/tests)

    Observation: Intelligence creates codes with specific purposes. They DO NOT create arbitrary code that is non-functional to the system.

    This is false, for starters. You yourself have created non-functional arbitrary code on this page (your gibberish examples). Starting with a false premise is not a good beginning.
     

    Observation: DNA contains a string of characters that mimic code.
    Observation: Random or law like events usually contain low bit counts of information and arbitrary sequences.
    Hypothesis/prediction: IF DNA is designed we would expect most if not all DNA sequences to be functionally relevant to the system. (based on our first observation)
    Testability: Search through DNA and find functional relationships to the system.
    Faslifiabilty: If we in fact find a LOT of junk, it’s probably not the case that DNA was designed.
    Conclusion: The more we study DNA the more functions we find for previously unknown DNA sequences.

    Here’s the problem – these predictions/tests demonstrate design, but they do not demonstrate intelligence. Evolution by natural selection is a design process. Natural selection pressures act as design constraints that shape the outcome. Predictions/tests that have multiple possible explanations do not advance the case for one particular explanation.

    The other point to note is your predictions/tests are all probabilistic – “usually” “most” “a LOT of” etc. Here’s what I find bizarre about ‘probabilistic’ arguments against evolution / in favor of ID:
    Evolutionary theory is based on processes that are observed in the real world. Yes, useful mutations are low-probability, but as has been repeatedly pointed out to you, when the total number of events is large, low-probability events become expected.
    On the other hand, ID rests on a foundational notion of a ”supernatural intelligence”, something that has never been and cannot be observed. There is no way to assess whether or not such a hypothesis is even possible, let alone viable. As for assessing its probability, that’s entirely in the realm of fantasy.

    No matter how improbable the naturalistic origins of DNA might be, they remain a more viable explanation than an imagined ‘intelligence’ that somehow exists entirely outside of the only world that we can examine.

  191. says

    @211 RationalismRules

    Evolution….

    I’d also throw in genetic evidence of common ancestry, like shared ERVs between chimps and humans, our shared broken Vitamin C gene, etc.

    It’s not just some bits of information here and there. We have entire fields of study cross-confirming one another.

  192. Devocate says

    Faslifiabilty: If we in fact find a LOT of junk, it’s probably not the case that DNA was designed.
    Conclusion: The more we study DNA the more functions we find for previously unknown DNA sequences.

    We DO find a lot of junk. (Including retro-viruses. Why exactly did an intelligence put those into our DNA?)
    Conclusion: DNA was not designed by intelligence.

    The fact that we are still discovering things about DNA doesn’t mean it still isn’t MOSTLY junk. What percentage would you claim for your ‘Lot of junk’? It’s higher than that.

  193. Joey McCabe says

    This is the VERY SIMPLE problem with this line of argument. There is no place for the first intelligence to come from. It fails from the get go.

    Then ALL design inferences fail from the get go. Including ones made in forensics and archaeology.

    Thus defeating his own argument. No one predicted (the information in) DNA.

    Umm….ID advocates did by saying that the cell is probably complex, as opposed to Darwin’s prediction.

    This is false, for starters. You yourself have created non-functional arbitrary code on this page (your gibberish examples). Starting with a false premise is not a good beginning.

    This would be true if the arbitrary code was in fact a product of my intelligence. It wasn’t, I was simply the medium by which I passed a randomly generated sequence on to you. There was no intent behind which letters I chose to type. I literally typed randomly. You wouldn’t say that a dealer CREATED a particular hand in a card game would you? Otherwise, cheating would be MUCH harder to detect. It’s this very fact that I used to distinguish the 1st phrase from the 2nd.

    Evolution by natural selection is a design process.

    This is an equivocation. Design implies intelligence PERIOD. I suppose you could say that evolution itself is intelligent, which is certainly a possibility but it’s not how Darwinian evolution currently works.

    Natural selection pressures act as design constraints that shape the outcome.

    It certainly does…to an extent. And then it stops, which is the reason we don’t think EROSION (a designing process) created the Statue of David.

    the other point to note is your predictions/tests are all probabilistic – “usually” “most” “a LOT of” etc. Here’s what I find bizarre about ‘probabilistic’ arguments against evolution / in favor of ID:

    All inferences in reference to complexity are probabilistic. There is a reason scientists are trying to discover the explanation of the origin of life by attempting to create simpler self-replicating molecules. Because they realize that any explanation that relies on too much of a gap from simple to complex is unrealistic and unreasonable. It’s this very principle that influences the study of evolution; Climbing Mount Improbable!

    On the other hand, ID rests on a foundational notion of a ”supernatural intelligence”, something that has never been and cannot be observed.

    This is a straw-man version of ID. It does NOT rest on a foundational notion of supernatural intelligence. The intelligence is not specified because it’s not possible given what you just said.

    We DO find a lot of junk. (Including retro-viruses. Why exactly did an intelligence put those into our DNA?)
    Conclusion: DNA was not designed by intelligence.

    Okay so if this is true than you have successfully falsified the design hypothesis through testing. Meaning that…
    1. ID makes predictions making it testable
    2. Since it’s testable, it’s also falsifiable
    3. ID has been falsified by the existence of a LOT of junk DNA.

  194. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Oh, missed this earlier. Let me comment.

    Faslifiabilty: If we in fact find a LOT of junk, it’s probably not the case that DNA was designed.

    Conclusion: The more we study DNA the more functions we find for previously unknown DNA sequences. c

    You have some reading / watching to do. For example:

    > Rummaging About in the Genetic Junkyard Skepticon 4 PZ Myers


    The short version is that we we know what a lot of the human genome is, and it’s not functional.

    There’s about 5% which we know is functional, including coding regions and regulatory regions.

    10% is “structural” DNA, i.e. telemores and centromeres, and with just the right bias you could make the case this is functional, but keep in mind it’s like the same 3 or 4 word sequence repeating over and over and over and over…, and so it’s definitely not increasing information content.

    45% is known parasitic DNA from broken and misbehaving viruses. This is not functional. It’s unknown just “unknown”. We what what it is, and therefore we know what it’s not.

    There’s still 40% left that we don’t know what it does nor what it’s from. Maybe there’s some more functional DNA in there. Probably some, but probably not that much, given what we already know. And none of the future discoveries are going to change LINEs and SINEs entirely into functional DNA. Junk DNA is a thing, and it’s not going away.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_interspersed_nuclear_element
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_interspersed_nuclear_elements_(SINEs)

    PS:
    Also, about that ENCODE study? Do some reading from a real biologist, and not popsci news articles.
    You have some more reading to do.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/23/the-encode-delusion/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/02/22/encode-gets-a-public-reaming/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/08/07/encode-has-its-defenders/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/03/23/maybe-there-arent-any-serious-scientists-questioning-junk-dna/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/03/26/a-defense-of-encode/
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/02/13/is-the-genome-100-functional/

    PPS:
    I could go on for a while longer, such as citing several closely related species of tomato (IIRC) where the DNA of one is like twice as long as the other, which means that the extra stuff is almost certainly junk, or I could cite this one species of fish that seems to have almost no junk DNA at all, and it works just fine, which lends strong support to the conclusion that the stuff that we identified as junk DNA is indeed junk DNA.

  195. Murat says

    In #208 he said “Intelligent design and intelligence are the same thing.”

    Mic drop.

  196. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #217

    This would be true if the arbitrary code was in fact a product of my intelligence. It wasn’t, I was simply the medium by which I passed a randomly generated sequence on to you. There was no intent behind which letters I chose to type. I literally typed randomly.

    Joey, are you even pausing to consider a point before rushing to respond? This is trivial to refute: kvpx mwl c bjmmwojf is a non-functional arbitrary code that I just created using my intelligence. Not only did I select each of the letters deliberately, I then edited the sequence deliberately, replacing some letters, adding some letters and spaces, in order to shape it to my satisfaction.

    However, all of this is a red herring anyway. Even if intelligence could never create non-functional arbitrary code, all this would demonstrate is that any non-functional arbitrary code was not created by intelligence. It does not lead to a conclusion that all functional code must therefore come from intelligence. (All flamingos are pink ≠ all pink things are flamingos)
     

    Evolution by natural selection is a design process.

    This is an equivocation. Design implies intelligence PERIOD.

    Yes, I have to concede I was wrong here. On investigation, every definition of ‘design’ I have found includes intent, which does indeed imply intelligence.
    What I should have said was:
    These predictions/tests demonstrate complexity, order and function but they do not demonstrate intent, which is a fundamental requirement of design. Therefore they demonstrate neither design nor intelligence.
     

    Natural selection pressures act as design constraints that shape the outcome.

    It certainly does…to an extent. And then it stops, which is the reason we don’t think EROSION (a designing process) created the Statue of David.

    Setting aside that I used ‘design’ incorrectly, what you have argued here actually supports the case for evolution. If natural selection pressures shape the outcome up to a point but not to a completely coherent endpoint, then we would expect naturally occurring organisms to display both order and disorder, function and non-function. Guess what? They do!
     

    the other point to note is your predictions/tests are all probabilistic – “usually” “most” “a LOT of” etc. Here’s what I find bizarre about ‘probabilistic’ arguments against evolution / in favor of ID:

    All inferences in reference to complexity are probabilistic. There is a reason scientists are trying to discover the explanation of the origin of life by attempting to create simpler self-replicating molecules. Because they realize that any explanation that relies on too much of a gap from simple to complex is unrealistic and unreasonable. It’s this very principle that influences the study of evolution; Climbing Mount Improbable!

    Again, you appear to be rushing to counter-argument without considering the point being made. I wasn’t arguing that probabilistic inferences are invalid. What I was arguing is that it is absurd to use probabilistic arguments to argue that something purely imaginary is somehow more probable than processes which we actually know to exist.
     

    On the other hand, ID rests on a foundational notion of a ”supernatural intelligence”, something that has never been and cannot be observed.

    This is a straw-man version of ID. It does NOT rest on a foundational notion of supernatural intelligence. The intelligence is not specified because it’s not possible given what you just said.

    Really? The proposition that life was designed by an intelligence requires that intelligence can exist independent of life. How is this anything other than a ‘supernatural’ proposition?

  197. Joey McCabe says

    This is trivial to refute: kvpx mwl c bjmmwojf is a non-functional arbitrary code that I just created using my intelligence

    That’s fine…..however even if you DID do that there is no reason for me to assume that you did through a scientific inference. I’d be wrong to ascribe your non-functional sequence to chance, but without knowing that you deliberately created the sequence….I NEVER would have known since chance and design in that instance were equally adequate explanations.

    Even if intelligence could never create non-functional arbitrary code, all this would demonstrate is that any non-functional arbitrary code was not created by intelligence. It does not lead to a conclusion that all functional code must therefore come from intelligence.

    It does nothing of the sort, as you just showed. It’s a good reason to say it’s the result of chance but I could be wrong. HOWEVER, functional code is a product of intelligence where ever we look. It’s observable. Intelligence create specific code all the time and they usually don’t create arbitrary bits of it. All flamingos are pink unless proven otherwise in science! That is induction in a nut shell!

    If natural selection pressures shape the outcome up to a point but not to a completely coherent endpoint then we would expect naturally occurring organisms to display both order and disorder, function and non-function. Guess what? They do!

    Hmmm….well that would be an argument that falsifies ID now wouldn’t it? The ID community predicts and is currently testing whether there really is such a thing a “non-function” or “junk” in DNA. If the OPPOSITE is untestable, than your argument is un-falsifiable. How would we know what nature can and can not do since you just proved that Intelligence creates disorder!

    What I was arguing is that it is absurd to use probabilistic arguments to argue that something purely imaginary is somehow more probable than processes which we actually know to exist.

    Who said that intelligence is imaginary?

    The proposition that life was designed by an intelligence requires that intelligence can exist independent of life

    what’s the explanation for synthetic DNA?

  198. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    The ID community predicts and is currently testing whether there really is such a thing a “non-function” or “junk” in DNA

    Joey, are you really okay with being so clueless? We KNOW that there’s loads of noncoding DNA. We KNOW this. The “ID community” is making shit up, because that’s what they’re best at. You’re being conned and you’re just too dim to realize it, apparently.

    what’s the explanation for synthetic DNA?

    Humans can replicate what we find in nature. This has been the case for as long as humans have existed, at least in some form. Does this surprise you? Also, this doesn’t come as a shock, but what you described scientists doing with DNA on your call is about as far from the truth as it gets. Do you leave the house with your pants on your head? I keep waiting for you to demonstrate even a modicum of self-awareness or scientific knowledge and I’m disappointed each and every time.

  199. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    I’d be wrong to ascribe your non-functional sequence to chance, but without knowing that you deliberately created the sequence….I NEVER would have known since chance and design in that instance were equally adequate explanations.

    Gee, it’s almost like “CSI” has fuck all to do with design inferences.
    Humans and other primates have a broken GULO gene. It’s the reason we need to ingest vitamin C; we can’t generate it ourselves. How do you evaluate whether or not this was designed or not?

  200. Joey McCabe says

    We KNOW that there’s loads of noncoding DNA

    Oh really? Define noncoding…because I never used those words.Because I’m talking purely about functionality. Be careful not to rewrite the arguments against ID as i see happen so often.

  201. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey
    Oh, so there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from making shit up and assigning some “function” to whatever you want as long as it exists. You’re free to just change what you mean by “function” as often and as radically as you want, are you? This isn’t how honest people operate.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014423/

  202. Joey McCabe says

    This is why I don’t take you seriously. Function is an objective criteria and it’s NOT hard to understand. Let me guess, you feel for the evolutionist re-writing of history about how “junk dna” was never thought to be non-functional. BAHAHA that’s exactly why i asked you to define NON-coding, because I knew you would TRY and do that BS.

  203. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Let me copy from a post from above with a bunch of citations that’s pending validation (tripped the “too many links” automoderation).

    The short version is that we know that at least 40% of the human genome is junk. Example:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_interspersed_nuclear_element
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_interspersed_nuclear_elements_(SINEs)
    The actual portion of junk in the human genome is probably much higher. It’s probably around 95% of the whole human genome (including telomeres and centromeres). About 3% is protein sequences, about another 1% is regulatory regions. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the human genome, but we do know a lot about it, and a lot of it is purposeless junk.

  204. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #222

    That’s fine…..however even if you DID do that there is no reason for me to assume that you did through a scientific inference. I’d be wrong to ascribe your non-functional sequence to chance, but without knowing that you deliberately created the sequence….I NEVER would have known since chance and design in that instance were equally adequate explanations.

    What the holy fuck does this have to do with anything? I was simply demonstrating with a direct example that the first ‘observation’ of your IR prediction/test was flawed. Nobody said anything about assigning non-functional code to chance or intelligence or whatever. I have no clue why you are making this entirely irrelevant point.
     

    HOWEVER, functional code is a product of intelligence where ever we look

    Actually, you can be more specific than this, ‘functional code’ is not merely a product of intelligence, it’s a product of human intelligence (even AI-generated code originates in human intelligence). So your argument:

    P1: DNA is functional code
    P2: from observation, functional code is always the product of intelligence
    C: DNA is the product of intelligence

    should be restated to make premise 2 accurate to the observed facts, which yields a rather different conclusion;

    P1: DNA is functional code
    P2: from observation, functional code is always the product of human intelligence
    C: DNA is the product of human intelligence
    … oh dear…
     

    If natural selection pressures shape the outcome up to a point but not to a completely coherent endpoint then we would expect naturally occurring organisms to display both order and disorder, function and non-function. Guess what? They do!

    Hmmm….well that would be an argument that falsifies ID now wouldn’t it? The ID community predicts and is currently testing whether there really is such a thing a “non-function” or “junk” in DNA. If the OPPOSITE is untestable, than your argument is un-falsifiable. How would we know what nature can and can not do since you just proved that Intelligence creates disorder!

    No, it doesn’t falsify ID, unless you assert that ID can only produce coherent results. You have some work to do on your understanding of falsification. It supports natural selection, that is not the same as falsifying ID.
     

    Who said that intelligence is imaginary?

    The intelligence proposed by ID – an intelligence that exists independent of DNA-based organic life – is imaginary because it exists only as a concept. To move it up from imagined to real you’re going to have to demonstrate that it exists. Unfortunately, you can’t even get past the first step – demonstrating that it could possibly exist, let alone demonstrating that it actually does exist. So it remains imaginary.
     

    The proposition that life was designed by an intelligence requires that intelligence can exist independent of life

    what’s the explanation for synthetic DNA?

    Artificially synthesized DNA does not exist independent of life. If life didn’t exist there would be no human-synthesized DNA. What point are you trying to make here?

  205. Joey McCabe says

    I have no clue why you are making this entirely irrelevant point.

    The entire point of this discussion is about the BEST explanation. I’m surprised that you miss the point so significantly. Given my 1st premise that intelligence doesn’t create arbitrary code still stands. You creating an arbitrary code doesnt nullify that prediction because in normal circumstances such as computer code…intelligence does not create arbitrary code.

    P1: DNA is functional code
    P2: from observation, functional code is always the product of human intelligence
    C: DNA is the product of human intelligence
    … oh dear…

    So lets apply this standard PLUS an addition one for the design inference to archaeology.

    P1. A 1 million year old rock tied to a stick is a tool
    P2. From observation, tools are always the product of 21st century human intelligence
    c: The tool is a product of 21st century human intelligence
    ….oh dear…

    It supports natural selection

    How do you know what is the product of PURE nature? What are you comparing it to?

    Unfortunately, you can’t even get past the first step – demonstrating that it could possibly exist, let alone demonstrating that it actually does exist. So it remains imaginary.

    Another NEW standard applied to the design inference. Example..prove to me that an arsonist was IN THE ROOM when the supposed “arson” took place.otherwise your arsonist is “imaginary”.

    What point are you trying to make here?

    That the intelligence that created life doesn’t have to “exist independent of life”

  206. Lillith says

    @169, Joey

    Now I have to come at you EL…

    And fail again miserably. So what?

    I care about what’s reasonable and unreasonable.

    Said the guy believing in an intelligent designer. You can’t make this up, LOL!

  207. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #231

    So lets apply this standard PLUS an addition one for the design inference to archaeology.
    P1. A 1 million year old rock tied to a stick is a tool
    P2. From observation, tools are always the product of 21st century human intelligence
    c: The tool is a product of 21st century human intelligence
    ….oh dear…

    Except for the small problem that premise 2 is completely false. We have examples of humans existing outside of the 21st century. We also have tools from earlier centuries. We have historical records of tool usage dating back millennia. We have cave paintings depicting the use of tools. All of these provide supporting evidence for our understanding of the history of tool usage.

    Do you really need this spelt out to you Joey? Are you truly unable to differentiate between a situation where we have multiple forms of supporting evidence (ancient tools) from a situation where we have zero supporting evidence (functional code created by a non-human intelligence)?
    Seriously, if you can’t figure out something so obvious by yourself, are you sure you should be here? I’m starting to agree with MS’s comment about pants and head.
     

    It supports natural selection

    How do you know what is the product of PURE nature? What are you comparing it to?

    Another non sequitur question. Who said anything about PURE nature, or its products?
    What I said was:

    If natural selection pressures shape the outcome up to a point but not to a completely coherent endpoint (which, by the way, is me restating a point that you had just made) then we would expect naturally occurring organisms to display both order and disorder, function and non-function. Guess what? They do!”

    When the observed evidence matches the expectation/prediction of a hypothesis, that supports the hypothesis. It doesn’t instantly confirm the hypothesis, but it does increase our confidence in that hypothesis. This is very basic to an understanding of scientific evidence. You really need to at least grasp the basics if you want to argue about hypotheses/inferences etc.
     

    Another NEW standard applied to the design inference. Example..prove to me that an arsonist was IN THE ROOM when the supposed “arson” took place.otherwise your arsonist is “imaginary”.

    You really think “the design inference” is the answer to everything, don’t you? The design inference DOESN’T GET YOU TO A FINAL ANSWER. How many times do you need this explained? An inference is just an inference until it is confirmed by evidence.

    Yes, the arsonist is ‘imaginary’ until evidence is found that confirms the arson and leads to the arsonist. Until that point, there are multiple possible explanations. What distinguishes between them is EVIDENCE.

    Once again, you show a lack of understanding of the difference between a situation with supporting evidence and a situation with none.
    – we have observed that people exist
    – we have observed that fires can be started by people
    – we have observed that some people deliberately light fires in buildings
    These observations support an initial hypothesis that a fire in a building may be the result of arson.

    By contrast, it would be pretty stupid to spend time investigating the possibility that the fire was deliberately lit by a goldfish, when we have no evidence of goldfish ever lighting fires and the idea contradicts what we know about the physical characteristics required for fire-lighting (see what I did there? That’s an analogy for functional code being created by non-human intelligence).
     

    That the intelligence that created life doesn’t have to “exist independent of life”

    So you’re now positing a non-DNA based form of intelligent life? Got any examples of this? Any way to demonstrate that it is even possible for such a life-form to exist?
    Or is it just as imaginary as an intelligence that exists independent of life, or a goldfish that can light fires?

  208. James Gray says

    @Joey

    Joey can i ask what is ID’s take on artifical selection? Like dog breeding programs or food breeding programs
    I have googled but cannot find the answer… My googlefu has failed.

  209. Devocate says

    “Then ALL design inferences fail from the get go. Including ones made in forensics and archaeology. “

    Don’t be absurd. On a good day, all of us will concede that there are currently intelligent beings in existence. The point is that since intelligence requires specified complexity (by your definition), it can’t be the precursor to specified complexity.

    ID advocates did by saying that the cell is probably complex

    That isn’t predicting DNA. Go back to your original complaint where you claimed prediction, and see if you can justify replacing it with this phrase.

  210. Joey McCabe says

    We have examples of humans existing outside of the 21st century. We also have tools from earlier centuries. We have historical records of tool usage dating back millennia. We have cave paintings depicting the use of tools.

    Ahh, Begging the question and equivocation. Two in one, off to a great start! Not to mention you talk about tools as if we needed a plethora of historical records to determine they were designed. What a silly argument, especially since archaeologists don’t even require such a standard. What happens when we have no historical records? Like in the case of a 1 million year old bowl and knife like object,or a 3.3 million year old “tool”? As far as you two fallacies, let me demonstrate them.

    1. Begging the question: “Well we know what humans created in the past” We KNOW what humans have created in the past not JUST because of historical documents but because of inference from our observations of what WE, who currently exist, create.
    2. Equivocation: Not only is the word “human” an equivocation but your entire rebuttal isn’t based on an observation, but an establishment from knowledge of the past! We were talking about observations, not a referent to the past.

    Do you really need this spelt out to you Joey?

    You re having a pretty hard time understanding the arguments and the devil’s advocate I’m making. I think you should forus on understanding my analogy first 😉

    Who said anything about PURE nature, or its products?

    Umm, what? “Natural” selection as opposed to what? Unnatural selection? Artificial selection?

    When the observed evidence matches the expectation/prediction of a hypothesis, that supports the hypothesis

    Umm, duh. Again you are missing the point. Why would an equal part of nonfunction and function be a PREDICTION of nature?

    Yes, the arsonist is ‘imaginary’ until evidence is found that confirms the arson

    Wow man, this is a run around the circle. How would you determine if the act was ARSON if the inference to arson(intelligence) requires an independent line of evidence that an arsonist was present! That is the standard you are applying to the design inference. A standard I find absolutely absurd.

    – we have observed that people exist
    – we have observed that fires can be started by people
    – we have observed that some people deliberately light fires in buildings
    These observations support an initial hypothesis that a fire in a building may be the result of arson.

    This is all correct except for the fact that your hypothesis is a conclusion, and therefore NOT a hypothesis. It needs no other evidence besides the observations you just mentioned. I’m not interested in conclusions because it doesn’t tell us ANYTHING about whether an moment of arson actually occurred.

    SO let’s take some of your observations and create a REAL testable hypothesis, lets even use your conclusion!

    If a building fire is the result of arson, we would expect to find “…”

    – building fires may be the result of arson
    – arson requires deliberation and intent
    – Deliberation and intent are determined by improbability and specification
    – humans are the only known cause of deliberation and intent

    If a building fire is the result of humans, we would expect to find improbable observations that look specified. (This is a REAL hypothesis)

    – A particular building fire displays aspects of improbability and specification. (Here is the evidence)

    Conclusion…the best explanation for the fire is intelligence.

  211. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #238

    1. Begging the question: “Well we know what humans created in the past” We KNOW what humans…[snip]
    2. Equivocation: Not only is the word “human” an equivocation but your entire rebuttal isn’t based…[snip]

    I don’t understand the point of all this. OK, I was imprecise in my language, but that’s easily fixed by refining the wording (simply change ‘observation’ to ‘evidence’). You haven’t knocked down my point at all: there are multiple sources of evidence that support the inference of ancient tool usage. Can you cite even a single piece of evidence that supports the inference of functional code originating from a non-human intelligence?
     

    Umm, what? “Natural” selection as opposed to what? Unnatural selection? Artificial selection?

    I still don’t understand what you’re asking. Here’s our conversation leading up to this point (summarized):

    RR1: Natural selection pressures act as design constraints that shape the outcome.
    JM1: It certainly does…to an extent. And then it stops, which is the reason we don’t think EROSION (a designing process) created the Statue of David.
    RR2: If natural selection pressures shape the outcome up to a point but not to a completely coherent endpoint, then we would expect naturally occurring organisms to display both order and disorder, function and non-function. Guess what? They do!
    JM2: Hmmm….well that would be an argument that falsifies ID now wouldn’t it?
    RR3: No, It supports natural selection, that is not the same as falsifying ID.
    JM3: How do you know what is the product of PURE nature? What are you comparing it to?
    RR4: Who said anything about PURE nature, or its products?
    JM4: Umm, what? “Natural” selection as opposed to what? Unnatural selection? Artificial selection?

    Your last two questions don’t seem to have anything to do with the thread, so I can’t make contextual sense of them (hence my WTF? response in RR4). Can you help me to understand what you’re trying to get at?
     

    Umm, duh. Again you are missing the point. Why would an equal part of nonfunction and function be a PREDICTION of nature?

    It’s a corollary of your own statement: see RR1/JM1/RR2 in the conversation quoted above. (Note, I didn’t say ‘equal’, I said both would be expected)

    So, you know… You appear to be arguing with yourself at this point.
     

    Yes, the arsonist is ‘imaginary’ until evidence is found that confirms the arson

    Wow man, this is a run around the circle. How would you determine if the act was ARSON if the inference to arson(intelligence) requires an independent line of evidence that an arsonist was present! That is the standard you are applying to the design inference. A standard I find absolutely absurd.

    I clearly did not say that evidence of a specific arsonist is required to determine arson (?), so I’m going to guess that you’re trying to claim a double-standard:

    – We do not require evidence of a particular arsonist in order to infer arson
    – We should not require evidence of a particular designer to infer design
    Is that the point you were trying to make?

    There is no double standard. We can and do infer design without evidence of the actual designer, in the same way that we infer arson without the evidence of the arsonist. However, in both cases we infer something that we have prior knowledge of – human designers, human arsonists. If there is no possibility of a human arsonist then arson ceases to be the ‘best explanation’. We don’t decide that the fire must have been lit by an ‘unspecified fire-lighting intelligence’, because that’s just plain asinine.
    The standard that we apply to ‘the design inference’, that you feel is so unfair, is exactly the same as we would apply to ‘the arson inference’ if you posited a non-human arsonist. The only double standard here is the false equivalence you are making between a human arsonist and an unspecified conceptual ‘intelligence’.
     

    – we have observed that people exist
    – we have observed that fires can be started by people
    – we have observed that some people deliberately light fires in buildings
    These observations support an initial hypothesis that a fire in a building may be the result of arson.

    This is all correct except for the fact that your hypothesis is a conclusion, and therefore NOT a hypothesis. It needs no other evidence besides the observations you just mentioned. I’m not interested in conclusions because it doesn’t tell us ANYTHING about whether an moment of arson actually occurred.

    No Joey, it is definitely a hypothesis:
    Hypothesis: a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. (OED)
     

    If a building fire is the result of humans, we would expect to find improbable observations that look specified. (This is a REAL hypothesis)

    Nope, that’s a prediction, not a hypothesis.

    Pro-tip: If you’re going to try to school someone on terminology it works better if you actually know your shit. Otherwise you just end up looking like an obnoxious douche. (Are you a teenager, by any chance?)
     

    Conclusion…the best explanation for the fire is intelligence.

    And this is a direct example of what I was referring to earlier. Your stated premises lead to a conclusion of human intelligence, but instead of accurately stating that conclusion, you leave out the ‘human’, presumably because it’s inconvenient to the case you’re attempting to make.

  212. Joey McCabe says

    I don’t understand the point of all this.

    No offense, but I didn’t think you did. Btw, I am a 28 year old athiest who studied philosophy of science in college. Just so you know. You made an arbitrary limit on he inference based on an equivocation of the word “human”. You assume that all current humans are ; 1, the same and 2, all humans that have existed in the past are the same. I SUPPORT your extrapolation, because I’m not so anal in my standards for the design inference. If we see something complex in the ground that could not have originated by chance and it looks an awful like something WE create (we as in 21st century human beings), we are justified in assuming it was designed, thus proving a designing candidate WAS THERE. This fits into your “non-human” requirement, so no 2 humans are the same, especially with reference to the past. Humans have evolved over just the last 6,000 years, along with their creative capacity.

    Can you cite even a single piece of evidence that supports the inference of functional code originating from a non-human intelligence?

    Isn’t that the entire point of bringing up DNA?

    No Joey, it is definitely a hypothesis:
    Hypothesis: a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. (OED)

    I’m sorry, you are right. I was confused when you put your hypothesis at the bottom as opposed to the top. You are also correct that I confused hypothesis with prediction for this example. However, I do know the scientific method and it was an honest mistake.

    Your last two questions don’t seem to have anything to do with the thread,

    They have everything to do with the thread. Let’s go back to where this all started…

    Observation: DNA contains a string of characters that mimic code.
    Observation: Random or law like events usually contain low bit counts of information and arbitrary sequences.
    Hypothesis/prediction: IF DNA is designed we would expect most if not all DNA sequences to be functionally relevant to the system. (based on our first observation)
    Testability: Search through DNA and find functional relationships to the system.
    Faslifiabilty: If we in fact find a LOT of junk, it’s probably not the case that DNA was designed.
    Conclusion: The more we study DNA the more functions we find for previously unknown DNA sequences.

    SO now that I see my mistake in putting hypothesis and prediction together let me separate them. The Hypothesis is: The complex order found in DNA may be the result of intelligence. Then the prediction would be what is currently listed in that space. sd

    You tried to rebut me on the point by saying the intelligence creates arbitrary sequences all the time. So if that’s the case, what basis is the presence of arbitrary code in DNA a prediction of nature? As I was told earlier in this threat, predictions can not be beneficial if they apply to two hypothesis. I want to know why you use the word “nature” and what it means?

    Your stated premises lead to a conclusion of human intelligence”

    Yes it does….HOWEVER. What if we had enough information to determine the case was an arson. But there were also really improbable things that weren’t associated with our intelligence? For instance, we know intelligence creates complexity, but in the case of this arson there are a LOT of factors that went into it. So many that we have never observed a human act in such a sophisticated way. What this tells me is not that the design inference fails but that the human responsible was extremely intelligent instead of average. Maybe the DNA was designed by a human from another world, who just is A LOT SMARTER than us.

  213. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Btw, I am a 28 year old athiest who studied philosophy of science in college. Just so you know.

    And apparently you don’t even have an undergrad understanding of evolution, considering your inability to answer my previous question. It’s time to deflate your bubble: You don’t know what you’re talking about. You also don’t know what you’re talking about with regard to information theory. You have some work to do. Read “The Greatest Show On Earth” by Richard Dawkins, and read “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry Coyne, and then for the piece de resistance, watch Aronra’s Darwin Day lecture at Broward University (available on youtube) (which will teach you enough evolution in order to answer my question). For further study, which is accessible to the uneducated layperson like yourself, I also suggest practically all of PZ Myers lectures on the topic of biology on youtube (i.e. Skepticon talks).

    I see you’re not engaging with me any more. Let me give a summary of our interactions:

    The soft body robot evolution simulation, and the widespread use of genetic algorithms, clearly demonstrates the general proposition that information content of a string does increase in some situations of random mutation and selection pressure. This is a fact.

    Intelligent design creationism requires a supernatural designer. The designer cannot be mundane, natural, because then the designer would be subject to the same intelligent design creationism arguments. Therefore, as the common creationist argument goes, therefore the designer must be non-natural, e.g. supernatural, in order to escape the infinite regress.

    Gene fusings regularly occur, and many are well documented. This is fact.

    We found function for like a dozen different pieces, each with an independent function, of the bacterial flagellum. Given that gene fusings are a thing, it may be that the dozen different pieces, with their independent functions, historically predate the bacterial flagellum. Then, after the independent arising of each of the pieces, they came together over a series of gene fusings. This is not a fact in the strong sense, but it’s plausible, which is all I need for the evolutionary story to be much more likely than the story which requires a supernatural designer.

    You cited numbers earlier like 10^100 or 10^60 for the number of mutations required for the present diversity of life. Obviously these are asspull numbers. However, the general tenor of the argument shows that you have a flawed understanding. There’s been a lot of generations in the history of life. Further, there’s a lot of individuals in every generation. In practice, this often amounts to a massively parallel search of the search tree, and things that seem highly unlikely become plausible, and even likely.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/52/22454.full

    Finally, for other reasons (i.e. every scientific experiment ever done), we know that the supernatural does not exist. Remember that intelligent design creationism requires a supernatural creator. Such a supernatural creator does not exist because supernatural things in general do not exist. Therefore, intelligent design creationism is false. See:
    > How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    > (final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    > Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism
    This background knowledge that the supernatural is false is a big part of the reason why you need so much evidence to overcome evolution, and why the balance of the scales is so far in favor of evolution compared to a supernatural designer. In other words, to argue that there is a supernatural designer requires overcoming the fact that the supernatural does not exist, and the evidence for this is massive: practically every scientific experiment that has ever been done.

  214. Joey McCabe says

    I’m going to ignore that last comment unfortunately EL. The reason is because it’s LITTERED with fallacies that have already been debunked by me throughout this discussion. You literally IGNORED everything that has been said so far. Gave me arbitrary evidence, false definitions. You did it for no other reason then you lack the ability to understand my arguments, and therefore you have to redefine them in a way that you do understand. I’m unimpressed by your rhetoric. You may know more about biology and Math then myself however you are clearly logical incompetence. I, however, can almost guarantee you don’t know as much as I do in that category given that I have a degree in it. Everyone is missing the purpose of my questions, which tells me they either don’t understand how to objectively criticize their own theory, they lack logical understanding of the arguments, or they are suffering from cognitive dissonance.

  215. Joey McCabe says

    I suggest you talk more about where RR, at least he didn’t get caught up in a premise that essentially didn’t matter. He didn’t ignore my entire ID argument described in the scientific method.

  216. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You literally IGNORED everything that has been said so far.

    No, I’ve corrected it piece by piece.

  217. Joey McCabe says

    You didn’t correct anything, you tried to refute me with stupid reasoning. What does talking about protein fusion have to do with IC? What does talking about evolution as a POSSIBLE explanation for IC have to do with the designer inference? Inference to the best explanation means that there are no competing hypothesis. If evolution CAN produce it….it just means that there are now TWO competing hypothesis and we should hold back judgement. I partly blame myself of course because I allowed you to pull me into an evolutionary argument when the entire argument is based on the plausibility of intelligence. And on top of that…wouldn’t a fusion protein (If it were a legitmate response) be the falsification criteria for Behe? Meaning his hypothesis was testable and falsifiable. You can’t have your cake and eat it to!

  218. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You didn’t correct anything, you tried to refute me with stupid reasoning. What does talking about protein fusion have to do with IC?

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. You should really try to read what I write for comprehension. Then, you might learn something. Again:

    In short: Behe’s (new) irreducible complexity argument is logically invalid / logically unsound because it implicitly assumes that gene fusings do not happen.

    The longer explanation: Ken Miller’s mousetrap example is a roughly accurate description of how biology actually works. For the sake of argument, I’ll grant that a mousetrap won’t work without all of its pieces present. It is irreducibly complex by Behe’s definition. However, it may still be that pieces of the mousetrap have useful functions outside of the context of a mousetrap. For example, a piece might be a toothpick.

    To go out of the analogy: We know that random mutations can cause two unrelated genes to fuse together, creating a protein that is a fusing of two previously unrelated proteins. Therefore, it’s entirely possible, plausible, that something that is irreducibly complex by Behe’s definition can be created by joining together two (or more) separate genes / proteins in a gene fusion.

    To go further, for the bacterial flagellum, for the sake of argument, I grant that it is irreducibly complex according to Behe’s argument. However, we found that you can split it into a dozen pieces (approx) where every piece have independent functionality that gives cumulative survival value. Therefore, these subpieces could have predated the first bacterial flagellum, and then some gene fusings could have happened, in order to combine these independent genes together, in order to create the gene for the flagellum.

    Thus, here is a possible, plausible, evolutionary pathway up Mount Improbable for the flagellum which is irreducibly complex. Again, the problem is that the argument / definition of irreducible complexity implicitly assumes that gene fusions do not happen, which is flagrantly false.

    If evolution CAN produce it….it just means that there are now TWO competing hypothesis and we should hold back judgement.

    And the only rational thing to do is to take into account all of our background knowledge. We have lots of background knowledge that natural events happen. We have lots of background knowledge that supernatural events do not happen. Therefore, the hypotheses are not on equal grounds.

    Further, we have a lot more background evidence concerning neo-Darwinian evolution. Neo-Darwinian evolution is just some mere hypothesis. It’s a scientific theory. In layman’s terms, that means a proven model of a particular aspect of reality, based on overwhelming evidence, that offers explanations, mechanisms, and predictions for its particular domain. Intelligent design creationist has more or less zero confirmed novel predictions, and a shitton of falsified predictions, such as the prediction that the bacterial flagellum could not have been evolved, or the blood clotting system of humans could not have been evolved, or the immune system could not have been evolved, etc. These two “hypotheses” are not equal.

    I partly blame myself of course because I allowed you to pull me into an evolutionary argument when the entire argument is based on the plausibility of intelligence.

    You are always judging the plausibility of a hypothesis by comparing it to other hypotheses. The likelihood of a truth of a hypothesis necessary depends on how well it fits the evidence, and on how well alternative hypotheses fit the evidence. You never judge plausibility of a hypothesis in isolation. Bayesian reasoning 101.

    The intelligent design creationism hypothesis is not plausible.

  219. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Correction:

    You never judge the likelihood of a hypothesis in isolation.

    However, I suppose that you can judge the plausibility of a hypothesis in isolation. You might have a dozen plausible hypothesis – plausible in the sense that they all fit the data, but they all might fit the data equally well, which means that they’re all unlikely to be true (100% / 12 = 8.33% (approx) that any one is right, which means that each is unlikely to be right, e.g. “8.33%” is “unlikely”).

  220. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    Btw, I am a 28 year old athiest who studied philosophy of science in college. Just so you know

    See, you drop shit like this when it’s insanely obvious that you don’t know anything about anything. This just gives the impression that you’re lying about absolutely everything and putting a ton of effort into trolling us.

  221. Joey McCabe says

    Behe’s (new) irreducible complexity argument is logically invalid / logically unsound because it implicitly assumes that gene fusings do not happen.

    You need MUCH MORE evidence than gene fusion to show why Irreducible complexity can be built through natural selection. This is essentially like telling me that my logical argument that my son can’t create a house even though he draws them all the time on paper is logically invalid. Everything about what you said it just wrong. Gene fusion is a step in answering Michael Behe’s challenge.

    Ken Miller’s mousetrap example is a roughly accurate description of how biology actually works.

    I want to nip something in the bud right now. Behe’s argument is not NEW. You and Ken Miller simply misunderstood it. I provided you with the quote FROM his book on IC to show that he addressed this very objection before it was even discussed. Actually, no it REALLY isn’t. 1. Evolution explains BUILDING mousetraps, not taking them apart. 2. Ken Miller didn’t actually tell us HOW a mousetrap goes from one thing (a paper weight) to the next step. AKA, Ken Miller doesn’t understand what Behe’s argument is and he only supplies Behe with HALF of the criteria necessary to refute him.

    “Therefore, it’s entirely possible, plausible, that something that is irreducibly complex by Behe’s definition can be created by joining together two (or more) separate genes / proteins in a gene fusion.”

    This is like saying that because erosion causes rock to chip it’s possible and plausible that erosion created the sphinx. Possible maybe, plausible….ummm no.

    Therefore, these subpieces could have predated the first bacterial flagellum, and then some gene fusings could have happened, in order to combine these independent genes together, in order to create the gene for the flagellum.

    I, nor does Behe, want hypotheticals and speculation based on such an insignificant piece of evidence. Look at what I said before again.

    And the only rational thing to do is to take into account all of our background knowledge. We have lots of background knowledge that natural events happen. We have lots of background knowledge that supernatural events do not happen. Therefore, the hypotheses are not on equal grounds.

    We have a lot of background knowledge that intelligence creates things. Your use of the word “supernatural” is unnecessary since it relies on an argument I am not making.

    such as the prediction that the bacterial flagellum could not have been evolved, or the blood clotting system of humans could not have been evolved, or the immune system could not have been evolved, etc. These two “hypotheses” are not equal.

    1. Speculation and possibility is not a refutation of IC.
    2. Basing ICs plausibility on gene fusion is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. There is MUCH more going on then JUST gene fusion. Take a look at my son again, who knows how to make concrete bricks, I would never thing it were “plausible” that he can build a house.
    3. I would say thus far, NONE of the predictions have been falsified (even though they certain could be)
    4. I already gave you a hypothesis that is testable and falsifiable based on ID. You ignoring it is your problem.

    Intelligent design is not only plausable. But you can’t say it’s predictions have been FALSIFIED if it doesn’t make 1. Predictions and is not testable. Proving YET AGAIN that I was right from the beginning. Intelligent Design is a scientific field of study.

  222. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    Intelligent design is not only plausable. But you can’t say it’s predictions have been FALSIFIED if it doesn’t make 1. Predictions and is not testable. Proving YET AGAIN that I was right from the beginning. Intelligent Design is a scientific field of study

    Did you suffer a head injury right before you posted this?
    I can demand impossible amounts of evidence for any claim you wish. Failure to produce evidence up to the standards I pull from my ass and which are not possible to meet is not a shortcoming of the person providing the evidence.

  223. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    You need MUCH MORE evidence than gene fusion to show why Irreducible complexity can be built through natural selection. This is essentially like telling me that my logical argument that my son can’t create a house even though he draws them all the time on paper is logically invalid. Everything about what you said it just wrong. Gene fusion is a step in answering Michael Behe’s challenge.

    No, the argument is more like:
    “He couldn’t build a house! Even though he 4 walls already assembled, and the foundation already in place, and all of the roofing materials are there too, etc., and he’s a realy good builder who has a past history of assembling pieces together.”

    I want to nip something in the bud right now. Behe’s argument is not NEW.

    This is just another lie. I don’t give a fuck what you say here.

    We have a lot of background knowledge that intelligence creates things. Your use of the word “supernatural” is unnecessary since it relies on an argument I am not making.

    It’s called a “reductio ad absurdum”, or “reduction to absurdity”. It’s a common debating tactic. You would know this if you actually graduated with an undergrad degree in philosophy (another apparent lie). The basic idea goes like this: If you make a claim, then I get to pretend the claim is true, and then I get to derive various sorts of logical conclusions, and if those conclusions are inconsistent or false, then it means that your argument is flawed.

    You claim that life came from an intelligent designer. Well, let’s suppose the intelligent designer is a material, natural creature or being. Well, then it would also be irreducibly complex, which means it also needs a designer. And so forth. Because of a finite time to the big bang, that means that either there is an exception to the rule that irreducible complexity needs a designer, or one of these designers is supernatural. If there is an exception, then we might as well say that life on Earth is the exception, and Darwinian evolution works, but you reject that, which means that your arguments necessarily entail, logically entail, a supernatural designer. Then, I get to bring to bear all of the evidence that we have against that proposition, which by the reductio ab absurdum is also evidence against your irreducible complexity argument.

    2. Basing ICs plausibility on gene fusion is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. There is MUCH more going on then JUST gene fusion. Take a look at my son again, who knows how to make concrete bricks, I would never thing it were “plausible” that he can build a house.

    More evidence that you haven’t even done a cursory examination of these issues, and that you are a consummate liar. If you’re trying to “lie for Jesus”, you’re doing it very badly, because it’s nakedly transparent that you’re lying repeatingly.

    Gene fusion is an indispensable part of the Darwinian response to irreducible complexity. This is the standard, and for our purposes practically only, explanation in evolution theory for the arise of irreducibly complex things like the flagellum. If this is the first time that you’re hearing this, then you have practically zero examination whatsoever of these issues. This is what Ken Miller was saying.

    You need to read and listen to both sides. Otherwise, hypothetically speaking, you wouldn’t know if the sources of your own side are bald-faced liars.

    Protip: Practically speaking, every single “expert” for intelligent design creationism, and creationism in general, is a liar. (There’s one or two exceptions, like Kurt Wise, but such honest people are exceptionally rare.)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Wise

  224. Joey McCabe says

    his is just another lie. I don’t give a fuck what you say here.

    Well It’s Michael Behe’s book vs you. I’m gunna go with what Michael Behe’s book said in 1996, not what you think it said. This is LAUGHABLE. I mean, i literally provided you with the quote hahahah.

    He couldn’t build a house! Even though he 4 walls already assembled, and the foundation already in place, and all of the roofing materials are there too, etc., and he’s a realy good builder who has a past history of assembling pieces together.

    Are you rely trying to say that something as simple as protein fusion is analogous with someone who can do all those things? We are talking about protein fusion right now right? Not some made up process you pulled out of you ass?

    I’m confused why you told me the definition of a logical absurdity and then compared it with an reducto ad infinitum. Never the less, your entire premise is flawed from the beginning. only If we assume intelligence is always a product of irreducible complexity would your refutation be sufficient. Since we literally do not know the answer, nor can we study it. We can never know if you refutation holds any water.

    Gene fusion is an indispensable part of the Darwinian response to irreducible complexity. This is the standard, and for our purposes practically only, explanation in evolution theory for the arise of irreducibly complex things like the flagellum. If this is the first time that you’re hearing this, then you have practically zero examination whatsoever of these issues. This is what Ken Miller was saying.

    I see nothing in here where you said anything of merit I suggest you stop insulting me and actually listen to me. It doesn’t seem to me like I am the one who doesn’t understand evolution. In fact, I would say I probably understand it more than you do. Protein fusion is to the flagellum as to my child’s brick making is to a house. I hope you can see why I hold your argument about protein fusion RIDICULOUS. And it is ridiculous if truly understand protein fusion.

  225. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Are you rely trying to say that something as simple as protein fusion is analogous with someone who can do all those things?

    I only described one capability: The ability to put preexisting parts together. Yes, gene fusion is precisely that.

    It doesn’t seem to me like I am the one who doesn’t understand evolution. In fact, I would say I probably understand it more than you do.

    Seriously dude. By your own admission, you had not heard how gene fusions are an integral part of the answer to Behe. You don’t know anything. You have done precisely zero basic due diligence if you didn’t already know this.

    Similarly, apparently, you still cannot answer my challenge given above, which is: “How is true that animals a particular kind only produce animals of the same kind, and yet evolution and common ancestry is true?”, which also means you don’t have a proper basic understanding of evolutionary theory.

  226. Joey McCabe says

    How many processes are involved EL? You say that you describe one capability, I thought the process of evolution was simple” I wouldn’t call protein fusion an INTEGRAL part of the answer anymore than any other capability you are going to couple with it. What I ind even funnier is, you talk as if Behe doesn’t know about these things. As if he is just ignoring them. Far from that, he knows that MORE THAN JUST protein fusion is involved in evolution. But still thinks that these mechanisms are unable to explain IC. How many ID books have you read exactly?

    As far as you question is involved. It’s kind of a mess because if evolution were the way you just described it…it would be IMPPOSSIBLE for common ancestry to be true. If you were a Christian talking I would ask you what you meant by kind. and then I would go on to tell you that “kind” is just a word used to group animals of similiar likeness. But e are ALL different. Every progeny is by definition a NEW “kind” and so an intermediate.

  227. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    What I ind even funnier is, you talk as if Behe doesn’t know about these things. As if he is just ignoring them

    I mean, that’s exactly what he did on the stand at Kitzmiller vs. Dover. Why do you assume Behe is completely honest when everything about his track record says otherwise? You don’t seem to get it…the “ID community” is full of liars and charlatans. They are employed by explicitly religious institutions devoted to pushing christianity, and their mission statements even say so! EL just got done informing you of this.

  228. Joey McCabe says

    No, I’m told Behe is liar by YOU guys. Two men who got his argument wrong from the get go. I’m not sure I’m gunna listen to people like you if you don’t possess the necessary intelligence to summarize someones argument correctly. If you talk about the function of the flaggelliums parts, you don’t understand the argument…nor what Behe wants.

  229. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    No, I’m told Behe is liar by YOU guys. Two men who got his argument wrong from the get go

    No, you fuckmonkey. A while ago, EL meticulously outlined both readings of Behe’s argument. One is logically valid, but flatly false. The other is a non sequitur. Both were addressed over and over and you’re just throwing a tantrum like a fucking child.

    It’s also irrelevant. Behe very obviously perjured himself on the stand, and you can check the court transcripts for yourself…or watch the AronRa video I linked upthread that you’re clearly terrified of checking out. Or just check out the mission statement of the Discovery Institute, which you also haven’t done. Or learn the first fucking thing about evolution, which highlights yet another one of your shortcomings. Despite all of this, you have the gall to accuse others of ignoring arguments. You’re a fucking joke.

    I’m done here. You’re either a troll or thick as a brick and and a lost cause.

  230. Joey McCabe says

    I barely talked to you this whole time because of how much of an ego maniac i think you are. So bye.

  231. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I thought the process of evolution was simple

    In a certain sense, evolution is massively, massively complicated. It’s hard to imagine a more complicated discipline than biology. Physics, by comparison, is super easy, in the sense that all of the fundamental rules are simple mathematical relationships between simple pieces. Biology is super, super complicated.

    I don’t know if you’ll quite get the joke, for any fellow programmers out there:
    https://xkcd.com/1605/

    As far as you question is involved. It’s kind of a mess because if evolution were the way you just described it…it would be IMPPOSSIBLE for common ancestry to be true.

    And you’re wrong. You don’t understand evolution. Common ancestry is true, and it is also true that animals of a certain kind only produce animals of the same kind. Both must be true for evolution to be true. If either were not true, then evolution would be false. It might appear as a trick question, but contrary to appearance, it’s really not. Rather, it’s carefully designed to expose the ignorance of the general population regarding evolutionary concepts. Most people, including most evolution-believing atheists, know surprisingly little about actual evolution.

    And the answer is:

    Creationists often demand an example of a crocodile turning into a duck, leading to the famous joke of the crocoduck.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocoduck
    This is not how evolution works. Contrary to the creationists’s requests, If we ever found a crocoduck in the fossil record, then that would be pretty good evidence against evolutionary theory. Again, not only is a crocodock not required by evolution, the existence of such a thing would be strong evidence against evolution.

    An animal, and more broadly members of a particular species, always reproduce within the same kind. The creationists’s request for a crocoduck is based on a fundamental misunderstanding that’s hard to put into words. The creationists start with the premise that all life was specially created by a god, with maybe a few thousands different Biblical kinds. There’s speciation within Biblical kinds, but there’s no crossover. They wrongly believe that evolution requires crossover. Evolution predicts no such things, and requires no such thing. It’s a gross misunderstanding of evolution, which you also have.

    What Carl Linnaeus, that Christian creationist, discovered, was that you can group animals into similar buckets, or kinds, and those kinds can be grouped into larger super-kinds, and those larger super-kinds can be grouped into even larger super-super-kinds, and so forth. This is a simple, objective fact, that is visible to anyone who looks, and it requires absolutely no assumptions about common ancestry and evolution.

    Consider some animals, a jellyfish, a bat, a gecko, a human, a chimp, a cat, a dog, and their (rough) Linnaeus taxonomic classifications:

    Animalia -> Chordata -> Mammalia -> Carnivora -> Felidae -> Felis -> F. catus
    Animalia -> Chordata -> Mammalia -> Carnivora -> Caniformia -> Canidae -> Canis -> C. lupus -> C. l. familiaris
    Animalia -> Chordata -> Mammalia -> Primates -> Haplorhini -> Hominidae -> Panina -> Pan -> Chimpanzees
    Animalia -> Chordata -> Mammalia -> Primates -> Haplorhini -> Hominidae -> Homo -> H. sapiens
    Animalia -> Chordata -> Mammalia -> Scrotifera -> Chiroptera -> Bats
    Animalia -> Chordata -> Reptilia -> Squamata -> Gekkota -> Gecko
    Animalia -> Cnidaria -> Medusozoa -> Jellyfish

    Each of those names is a bucket. “F. catus” is a bucket that contains all common house cats. “Felidae” is a bucket that contains all cats, i.e. tigers, lions, cougars, and common house cats. “Carnivora” is a bucket that contains several related groups of animals, primarily bears, cats, dogs, and weasels. “Mammalia”, otherwise known as “mammals”, is a bucket that contains many different kinds of animals, including bears, cats, dogs, weasels, monkeys, apes, bats, etc. etc. Chordata is an even bigger bucket that contains even more kinds of animals, informally anything that has a backbone or similar structure.

    According to evolution, the present diversity of life is not due to one kind of animal turning into another. Instead, it’s about one particular animal species, that slowly diversified over time, splitting many, many times. For example, the first population of chordates split at one point, where one population would change to become the first mammals (loosely). This population of mammals would then split a few more times, and one of those subpopulations would go on to become carnivora, and another would go on to become primates. The population of the first carnivora would split a few times to become bears, cats, dogs, and weasels. And so on and so forth.

    The short answer that I was looking for was this: Evolution is never one kind changing into another kind. Evolution is always one kind splitting into several subkinds. The new subkinds are always members of the parent kind.

    For example, descendents of mammals will always be mammals. For example, whales and dolphins may superficially look like fish, but when you take a closer look, it’s quite evident that they share more similarities with apes than they do with actual fish. In other words, they’re still mammals. Their phylogeny – their family history – is there, and it will always be there. Whales will never stop being mammals.

    The classification scheme I gave above can be expanded many times. There are many buckets in the middle that I skipped. For example, tetrapods, aka vertebrate animals with four legs. Whales are tetrapods. They don’t currently have four legs, but we can find evidence of vestigial legs. Their phylogeny is still there. Whales are still taxonomically classified as tetrapods. They didn’t stop becoming tetrapods. They still are tetrapods.

    This is one of the most profound evidence for evolution. It is not a mere coincidence that you can arrange all animal life in this classification scheme. This series of buckets within buckets within buckets – that’s the same shape as a family tree. It is a family tree. Contrary to popular assertions, you don’t see that with designed things. Classification schemes of cars don’t look like that. You can draw some sort of history diagrams, but in the language of biology, there’s going to be a lot of horizontal transfer. You’re not going to have a pretty strict branching tree. Instead, for a classification scheme of cars, or practically any designed thing, the classification diagram is going to look more like a tumbleweed, with connections going every which way. It’s not going to look like a family tree. The family tree diagram is incredibly strong evidence of common ancestry, and the lack of intelligent design.

  232. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:
    If we found a crocoduck, that would be an example of an animal species that wouldn’t fit into the nice classification scheme discovered first by Carl Linnaeus. It would be an example of “horizontal transfer”. If you tried to place it there, it would link two different “kinds” together, outside of a normal family tree relationship. Thus, the hypothetical existence of a crocoduck would be fabulous evidence against common ancestry.

    PPS:
    If you don’t want to read any books, I’d alternatively suggest watching Aronra’s videos on the foundational falsehoods of evolution. They’re really good resources for the layperson.

    In this particular case, in addition to Aronra’s Darwin Day Broward University lecture, I strongly suggest his “Phylogeny Challenge” video.

  233. Joey McCabe says

    You spent an entire comment telling me exactly what I already knew haha. Nothing I said is wrong, it’s just not the full picture. CLEARLY it’s not the full picture. And btw, the tree of life i believe is being chopped down as we speak for a more mosaic like pattern.

    The idea that giving birth to a “crocduck” I agree is a horizontal oddity. Though definition not impossible and would DEFINITELY not be an argument against evolution. It would be an argument substantiating it, just like small beak changes substantiate the mechanism of evolution. If mutations happen at the right place at the right time…..a new species could be spawned. And it would be the sufficient evidence needed to prove evolution true and creationism false.

    I think you understand evolution but I think the amount of equivocation going on here is outstanding. A progeny being different from it’s parents is evolution. Change. Child looks different than parent, may have a better chance of living then parent. The idea of one kind changing into another kind is the very basis of what evolution demonstrates. You’ve got one kind of animal “homoerectus” changing into a new kind of animal “Homohabilis”. I think you are getting lost in semantics.

    I have a feeling you are trying to say that a pentagon is a square with an extra side. Which is technically true but it’s simply a taughtological way of saying….a pentagon. Homohabilis is a NEW KIND of animal hat at one point did not exist. It became that way through change here one kind of animal or species changed into it.

    of course this all has nothing to do with what I said about the design inference so far.

  234. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    And btw, the tree of life i believe is being chopped down as we speak for a more mosaic like pattern.

    No, it’s not.

    You’re probably thinking of the National Geographic article. It was a sensationalized title, with a sensationalized content, that is a huge disservice to the actual science. It is true that at the microbial level, horizontal gene transfer is huge, and it’s difficult to speak of a family tree. Practically speaking, there is no horizontal gene transfer between multicellular creatures, and the tree of life is intact.

    You’re a naive, gullible fool to believe the creationist liars on this. The tree of life is not going away.

    Though definition not impossible and would DEFINITELY not be an argument against evolution.

    Trust me, it would. The existence of a crocoduck would be fantastically strong evidence against evolution. This is but one of many ways that evolution is falsifiable. Technically speaking, one outlier probably wouldn’t be enough to falsify evolution, but if you started finding animal species that didn’t fit on the family tree – for example, mammals with feathers – then evolution would be doomed.

    If mutations happen at the right place at the right time…..a new species could be spawned.

    Yes. And while such a creature might superficially look like a cross between a crocodile and a duck, upon closer examination, it would not. Just like whales might superficially look like fish, but upon closer examination, they are clearly mammals. A true crocoduck that is a true mixture of crocodile and duck would be fantastic evidence against evolution.

    A progeny being different from it’s parents is evolution. Change. Child looks different than parent, may have a better chance of living then parent. The idea of one kind changing into another kind is the very basis of what evolution demonstrates. You’ve got one kind of animal “homoerectus” changing into a new kind of animal “Homohabilis”. I think you are getting lost in semantics.

    It’s not semantics. It’s completely crucial to properly counter the creationist argument. The idea of one kind turning into another kind is simply not what evolution is about. What you describe is a fundamentally flawed and error-prone understanding. The homoerectus did not stop being a homoerectus when it become a Homohabilis. It’s still a homoerectus. Its descendents will never stop being homoerectus, just like they’ll never stop being mammals, or tetrapods, or chordates, or animals, etc. You don’t just stop being the kind of your parent. That’s a creationist strawman of what evolution is really about.

    Homohabilis is a NEW KIND of animal hat at one point did not exist.

    Of course. There was a time when there were chordates before there were mammals. There was a time when there were mammals before there were cats. However, a cat is still a mammal, and all mammals are still chordates.

  235. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:

    And btw, the tree of life i believe is being chopped down as we speak for a more mosaic like pattern.

    Drop the act already. Everyone here already knows that you’re a creationist – or a troll. You’re not fooling anyone.

  236. Joey McCabe says

    Like I said, you are describing Homohabilis like someone describing a pentagon as a square (where square is defined as an object with 4 equal sides) with an extra side. Which also means that not as MANY people misunderstand evolution that you think. I think you don’t understand ontology. And what it means to be different than your parents.If we were a different KIND of lifeform from our parents there would be no evolution. Evolution relies on the extrapolation of this SMALL change + time to explain all of lifes diversification. So yes, it IS true that one kind of thing turns into another kind of thing under evolution.

  237. RationalismRules says

    @Joey
    I’m going to respond fully to your post, but before I do, can you please explain how my usage of ‘human’ is an equivocation?
    As I understand it, an equivocation in structured argument means using different meanings for a term in different parts of a single argument. I understand that the term ‘human’ is imprecise, but I don’t see where I’m applying it differently at different points in the argument.

    I wondered if perhaps you felt I was applying a more constrained interpretation of ‘human’ to your argument than I was to my argument, but I don’t see anywhere where that is the case.

    This is not a point-scoring exercise. I don’t like to commit logical fallacies – I’d like to identify the problem so I can fix it.

  238. Joey McCabe says

    You used a different meaning of the word human when talking about 1 million year old creatures, where my observation, you claimed, wasn’t merited because all acts of creating intelligence are “human” aka…21st century or even homosapiens You use “human” two different ways to merit archaeology and observation, and dismiss my extrapolation.

  239. Joey McCabe says

    I am an athiest. Just because you don’t understand the legitimacy of a theistic argument (there are a lot of smart theists btw) doesn’t suddenly mean that someone is a creationist. You can say it OVER AND OVER again and you will never be right. I don’t have to be a creationist to believe Aliens seeded life on earth. Get over your self.

  240. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #244
    Ok, I now understand where your equivocation claim comes from. For the record, it’s not equivocation – “21st Century human” (your term) is not the same as “human” (my term). I always intended the term “human” in the broadest sense. That you assumed I was using it in a narrower sense does not make it my equivocation, it makes it your incorrect assumption.
     

    You made an arbitrary limit on he inference based on an equivocation of the word “human”. You assume that all current humans are ; 1, the same and 2, all humans that have existed in the past are the same.

    No, I didn’t and I don’t, and I’ve never said anything remotely like this. If I had meant to restrict my argument to ‘modern humans’ I would have said so.
     

    If we see something complex in the ground that could not have originated by chance and it looks an awful like something WE create (we as in 21st century human beings), we are justified in assuming it was designed, thus proving a designing candidate WAS THERE.

    How many times do we have to go over this same point? It is reasonable to infer to candidates that we have prior evidence of. It may even be be reasonable to infer the possibility of an as-yet-unknown relative of the known candidates. It is NOT reasonable to infer to a candidate that is a giant leap away from anything we already have evidence for. That’s fantasizing, not inferring.
    Design & designer are inextricably linked, so if there is no viable designer, then there is no viable design inference. No matter how many times you keep repeating it.

    Here’s a real-world example of tool discovery outside our existing knowledge:
    http://www.livescience.com/50908-oldest-stone-tools-predate-humans.html
    It’s an easy read, and it shows how scientists deal with this exact situation, so it’s worth investing a couple of minutes to read it.
    Note that all the possible explanations relate to existing knowledge, even though the find is outside of current evidence. The explanation may cause us to re-evaluate existing understanding of ancient tool-usage, or it may indicate an earlier form of pre-human. Both of these are reasonable inferences. BUT no-one has inferred a time-traveller, or a tool-making dinosaur, or an alien tool-delivery service, because these do not relate to existing knowledge, so they are not reasonable inferences.
     

    Can you cite even a single piece of evidence that supports the inference of functional code originating from a non-human intelligence?

    Isn’t that the entire point of bringing up DNA?

    Look Ma, I done made me a circle!
    “I think DNA might be functional code from a non-human intelligence”
    “What evidence could you find to support that?”
    “Ummm…. DNA?”

    Have another try.
     

    You tried to rebut me on the point by saying the intelligence creates arbitrary sequences all the time. So if that’s the case, what basis is the presence of arbitrary code in DNA a prediction of nature?

    What intelligence creates has no bearing on predictions about nature, so I don’t know why you’re mashing these two separate ideas together. Moving right along… I’m not a molecular biologist, so in order to answer your question I got some help from this page:
    https://www.quora.com/According-to-evolution-where-did-DNA-come-from
    Quoting Malcolm Sargeant:

    Mutations can be beneficial , detrimental or neutral. Natural selection (or any other class of selection) filters out the bad stuff and keeps the good, hence genetic information increases.
    Detrimental mutations generally result in the death of a creature or at best an inability to breed the next generation.
    Neutral mutations are just that, neutral.
    Beneficial mutations are carried on to the next generation

    Arbitrary code fits into the “neutral mutations” category. It is not detrimental, so it doesn’t get eliminated. Thus, both coherent code (“beneficial mutations”) and arbitrary code (“neutral mutations”) are expected if DNA is the result of mutations shaped by natural selection.
     

    As I was told earlier in this threat, predictions can not be beneficial if they apply to two hypothesis.

    Whut? What I actually said was:
    “Predictions/tests that have multiple possible explanations do not advance the case for one particular explanation.”
    Let me try to make this clearer: If a prediction applies to two hypotheses, then confirming the prediction supports both hypotheses. It does not advance the case for one explanation over the other. It advances them both.
    (Didn’t you just tell me you already understand the scientific method?)
     

    I want to know why you use the word “nature” and what it means?

    I’m not rushing to provide a definition for you, because I have no interest in diverting to a game of ‘snipe-at-the-definition’, which is what I suspect will happen. Is there anything I’ve said that leads you to think I am using ‘nature’ differently from you? If so, I’ll define it. If not, can we please get on with the discussion.
     

    What if we had enough information to determine the case was an arson. But there were also really improbable things etc. etc….. What this tells me is not that the design inference fails but that the human responsible was extremely intelligent instead of average.

    Shall I point out AGAIN that a human arsonist who is more sophisticated than previously seen is a small variant on something for which we already have prior evidence, whereas a ‘human from another world’ is a giant leap beyond anything in our experience.
     

    Maybe the DNA was designed by a human from another world, who just is A LOT SMARTER than us.

    This has nothing to do the failure of ID. The reason we know that humans didn’t design DNA is not because it’s too complex for us to design, but because DNA is required for humans to exist. No DNA = no complex life = no humans. Until you can demonstrate either non-DNA-based intelligent life, or non-life-based intelligence there is no viable designer, and consequently no viable design inference.
     
    I’m pretty close to done with this conversation Joey. You misquoted me numerous times in this post, apparently because you couldn’t be bothered to go back and check what I actually said, and I’m really not interested in a conversation where I constantly have to say “No, that’s not what I said”. I’m happy to engage in spirited debate, but I’m not interested in going around and around ad infinitum on the same point, so if you raise your “it’s reasonable to infer design any time something resembles design, even if the designer violates the rules of the universe” argument again, I’ll be outta here.

  241. RationalismRules says

    @EL #263
    Thank you for that. Very clear & readable – I learned a lot. The bucket metaphor is very helpful.
    Explaining a complex subject with simple clear language is a rare and valuable skill.

  242. Joey McCabe says

    Rationalrules,

    Let me tell you, from the beginning along with your friends you have treated me with nothing but hostility. This hasn’t been a spirited debate. It’s been an insult war where you and your friends have questioned my athiesm, have questioned my motives, have insulted my intelligence, and told me I don’t understand he scientific method. You did it twice in your last comment above. Don’t give me that high horse bullshit. I have NEVER misquoted you. You never apologized for misrepresenting Michael Behe’s argument for IC. You aren’t asking me any questions. This hasn’t been fruitful, it’s been nothing more than assuming things about me. You’ve misrepresent MY arguments WAY more than I have ignored yours.

    I was about to bow out of this conversation since you can’t seem to have a polite conversation and feel the need to stroke your ego with irrelevant comments like , “You don’t understand the scientific method”. I understand the method just fine, thank you. I understand biology and evolution just fine. You came here trying to tell me why evolution is true completely missing that my argument for the design inference is irrelevant to whether evolution is true. Showing me that evolution can produce IC means nothing to the design inference. Talking about hypotheticals tells me nothing.

    In reference to your equivocation. I’m not saying you were trying to define “human” as 21st century humans, i think you did it unintentionally. That’s the NECESSARY definition if you are talking about an observation to what humans can create. When you realized this you backpedaled into well I am using a more “generic” definition of human. What you miss is that the very purpose of this discussion has been intelligence. You use the word “human” in an overly broad way to save your ass. We know that humans create. Humans? Really? AS if all human intelligence has been the same throughout time? You keep missing the point and aren’t even TRYING to understand what I’m saying. It’s MY argument so why don’t you try and understand it…ask me more questions. If you claim that you haven’t change your definition of “human” or you don’t believe that all humans are he same then I suggest you get your premises in order as well as you definitions.

    I was playing a game of devils advocate with you. You claim the LEAP is to large. Who determines that if you don’t mind me asking? Science most certainly does not. That article you just shared….I shared that EXACT article about 100 comments ago. And It does EVERYthing to prove my point. That a “designer” doesn’t need independent evidence of existence outside of the object in question. Such a standard is not only not applied to archaeology but it’s also oxymoronic. I will allow you to use an even more laxed definitio of “human” by saying “homosapiens”. Guess what Homoerectus and homosapeins are NOT the same thing. Meaning that anything not made by a homosapein(in this case a human) is “non-human” including homoerectus.

    As far as this circular argument concern of yours. You asked me for evidence for a non-human functional code. DNA is that evidence. If DNA is designed, and humans by definition didn’t exist until relatively recently then that would all into the realm of “non-human” designer. Just like 3.3 million year old tools mentioned in your article. A designer is necessary because of design not in connection with design. That’s why the article you provided, that i also provided, shows that the item itself is the only necessary object.

    In case you missed he actual argument.

    1. DNA is functional code
    2. The only known cause for functional code is intelligence (being a human isn’t enough, there are plenty of stupid humans out there)
    3. There are no humans 2 billion years ago
    4. The intelligence must exist further back in history (whether in earth or somewhere else in the universe)
    4. The being in question must have been MUCH more sophisticated then us.

  243. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    This hasn’t been a spirited debate. It’s been an insult war where you and your friends have questioned my athiesm, have questioned my motives, have insulted my intelligence, and told me I don’t understand he scientific method.

    If you don’t want your honesty and integrity questioned, then don’t be a liar.

    I think the best example thus far is that you have claimed to have taken a lot of time to educate yourself on these topics, and yet you were unfamiliar with the standard evolutionary response to Behe’s irreducible complexity (i.e. gene fusings of simpler protein genes that had independent function). Thus, you are a liar and a fraud. Maybe you don’t realize it, because your head is so far up your own ass, and you think that whatever excuse you did for research of evolution actually qualifies. However, I’m here to give you a wake-up call: If you don’t even know the basics of the standard response to Behe’s argument, then shut the fuck up, and go read a book. I’ve already given you several that you should read, titles and authors up-thread.

    Again, the choice is yours. You can stop being a liar and a fraud, and then we’ll stop calling you a liar and a fraud.

  244. Joey McCabe says

    Enlightenment…..YOU FUCKING LIED even AFTER I educated you on what Behe’s argument is and always has been. You accuse me of being a liar because well, you’re to stupid to read what I quote. Sorry to say that so bluntly. I am WELL aware with the standard evolutionary response to Behe. I should really call it the Bullshit standard evolution response since it’s not a response. It’s only a sufficiently meager PART of a response to Behe. And btw, Instead of APOLOGIZING about clearly misrepresenting Behe’s arguments, you continue to call me stupid. keeping in mind, you don’t get to tell Behe what he meant. And you don’t get to tell me what he meant. I’ve personally read his books and understood the argument from the very beginning. it’s the reason I knew it was irrelevant that the functionality of the parts was not a response to Behe. You would know that to if you actually read and understood his arguments. Now, since your intelligence has been called into question btw me…you are doing something called projection. You’re projecting you insecurities on me and becoming hostile in your responses. Claiming I lied, when in fact it was YOU who simply misunderstood he arguments. Having a degree in logic and philosophy, this much is clear to me. On top of that. I want EVIDENCE of where I “lied”. Because I guarantee you that there isn’t a single instance of it. Your rhetoric and insults are based on misunderstandings (all on your part of course) and nothing more. You don’t care about having a debate. You care about being right, and stroking your own ego.

  245. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Your rhetoric and insults are based on misunderstandings (all on your part of course) and nothing more. You don’t care about having a debate. You care about being right, and stroking your own ego.

    Shut up already about your imaginary persecution complex. It’s borderline delusional. Upthread, you implied that we would all stop engaging with you, and we haven’t. Now you’re saying it again, and it’s still false. I’ve been patiently and thoroughly explaining your errors from the beginning, with a plethora of citations, and I’ll continue to do so here. Not for your benefit, but for the benefit of anyone else who reads this.

  246. Joey McCabe says

    Here, since you ignored it the first time…here is the quote again. How about YOU give me an accurate summary of what Behe is trying to say here. Then we can see who is honest and who is a liar.

    In order to catch a mouse, a mousetrap needs a platform, spring, hammer, holding bar, and catch. Now, suppose you wanted to make a mousetrap. In your garage you might have a piece of wood from an old Popsicle stick (for the platform), a spring from an old wind-up clock, a piece of metal (for the hammer) in the form of a crowbar, a darning needle for the holding bar, and a bottle cap that you fancy to use as a catch. But these pieces, even though they have some vague similarity to the pieces of a working mousetrap, in fact are not matched to each other and couldn’t form a functioning mousetrap without extensive modification. All the while the modification was going on, they would be unable to work as a mousetrap. The fact that they were used in other roles (as a crowbar, in a clock, etc.) does not help them to be part of a mousetrap. As a matter of fact, their previous functions make them ill-suited for virtually any new role as part of a complex system.
    Darwin’s Black Box, page 66.

  247. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    But these pieces, even though they have some vague similarity to the pieces of a working mousetrap, in fact are not matched to each other and couldn’t form a functioning mousetrap without extensive modification.

    There’s a whole subset of “do it yourself” ingenuity. There’s competitions all the time that require building complicated stuff while on a budget, and you see fantastic designs and reuse. There’s some really creative and fun people out there. I’ve seen people do really creative things. This claim by Behe regarding actual mousetraps is just silly. It’s false. Of course it’s false. It’s obviously false. Such jury-rigged mousetraps won’t look like a mousetrap from a store, but no one was claiming that anyway.

    But, we really need to go here:

    Allow me to quote one of my favorite persons:
    http://www.stroustrup.com/bs_faq.html#really-say-that

    Did you really say that?
    […]
    “Proof by analogy is fraud”. Yes; page 692 of TC++PL. A good analogy is an excellent way of illustrating an idea, but far too often such analogies are not accompanied by solid reasoning, data, etc.

    An analogy is not a proof. An analogy should not be used as a proof. At best, one can use an analogy as a means of making clear an idea, in order to bring a person to an understanding of a formal proof, or to bring them to acceptance without need of a formal proof. However, when there is a disagreement like ours, analogies only serve to confuse and distract.

    The flagellum is not a mousetrap. The type 3 secretion system is not a crowbar. There’s substantial and important differences. Talking about mousetraps is no longer productive. We need to be talking about molecular genetics and such technical things. That is beyond my pay grade, and also yours. For that, we would need to argue about things in here:
    http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/flagellum.html
    and in the cited papers. All I can say at this point is that proper scientists say it’s quite plausible, and as I explained already, a plausible natural explanation is going to be miles more epistemologically likely than any supernatural explanation, i.e. intelligent design creationism. Further, there’s also all of the other evidence in favor of common ancestry and neo-Darwinian evolution, which again makes neo-Darwinian evolution miles more epistemologically likely than any supernatural explanation, i.e. intelligent design creationism. This is because supernatural explanations have an incredibly low prior epistemological-probability of being correct, because we have such a wealth of background knowledge that the natural exists and the supernatural does not exist.

  248. Joey McCabe says

    There’s a whole subset of “do it yourself” ingenuity. There’s competitions all the time that require building complicated stuff while on a budget, and you see fantastic designs and reuse. There’s some really creative and fun people out there. I’ve seen people do really creative things. This claim by Behe regarding actual mousetraps is just silly. It’s false. Of course it’s false. It’s obviously false. Such jury-rigged mousetraps won’t look like a mousetrap from a store, but no one was claiming that anyway.

    *facepalm* I’m really at a loss. It’s like you are intentionally trying to misunderstand Behe because you’ve incorrectly summarized his argument from the beginning and are to proud to admit you are wrong. What about “couldn’t form a functioning mousetrap without extensive modification.” do you not understand? OF COURSE other kinds of mousetraps can be made but not without extensive modification. What is necessary to make those modifications? PEOPLE, INTELLIGENCE.

    You analogy argument is irrelevant. We use analogies to tell us what is and is not possible in certain contexts. IC is located in the flagellum, JUST LIKE IN A MOUSE TRAP. That’s the only analogy we need.

    On top of all thise. I noticed you didn’t actually SUMMARIZE his argument. You just gave me a flawed refutation. What is Behe trying to say, I don’t want your criticisms yet, I want an ACCURATE summary.

  249. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    What about “couldn’t form a functioning mousetrap without extensive modification.” do you not understand?

    I understand the point being made. The point being made is just wrong.

  250. Joey McCabe says

    I don’t think you do. How does PEOPLE creating other types of irreducibly complex mousetraps falsify Behe’s argument that PEOPLE are required to make irreducibly complex mousetraps?

    Also, I’ve asked you twice now. WHAT IS Behe’s argument in he quote I provided. What is he trying to say? I
    m trying to be as nice as I can hear but I think the reason you wont answer is obvious.

  251. Joey McCabe says

    Better yet, give me an example of a mouse trap that does NOT require extensive modification.

  252. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    On top of all thise. I noticed you didn’t actually SUMMARIZE his argument. You just gave me a flawed refutation. What is Behe trying to say, I don’t want your criticisms yet, I want an ACCURATE summary.

    God damn you’re an annoying ass. If he wants to make a proper logical and valid argument, it’s something like this:


    {comic sans}
    – There is no plausible evolutionary pathway that solely involves slow, steady improvement of a propulsion mechanism, that starts from scratch, and finishes at the flagellum. [EL: I’ll currently grant this as true.]
    – There is no plausible evolutionary pathway that results in the flagellum that involves taking parts from elsewhere in the cell and using them for propulsion (which is formally known as cooption). [EL: I contest this premise.] Behe attempts to justify this claim by “argument by analogy” and “appeals to common sense”.
    – There are no other plausible evolutionary pathways. [EL: I’ll currently grant this as true.]
    – Therefore, there is no plausible evolutionary pathway that results in the flagellum. [EL: I contest this conclusion.]
    {/comic sans}

  253. Joey McCabe says

    Enlightment, I asked for a summary of Behe’s argument in the QUOTE I provided. The reason I am doing this is because you got REALLY NASTY with me just a bit ago. Along with a lot of your colleagues. You called me a liar. Let’s see who the real liar is, okay? That being said. WHAT is behe trying to say in his analogy. Then I want you to tell me again what you have said OVER AND OVER in this thread about functional parts. And then we can compare the two arguments that you claim Behe CHANGED after he Dover Trial.

  254. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mousetrap.html
    http://www.arn.org/docs/behe/mb_mousetrapdefended.htm
    So, take a spring, straighten out the ends of the spring, in just the right way, and you have a mousetrap. It can be further improved from there. Think that’s “too much modification” of an existing part, a spring? I don’t think so. But again, this is all but a poor analogy for the actual molecular genetics, and we would need to talk about the actual molecular genetics, e.g.
    http://www.talkdesign.org/faqs/flagellum.html

    PS:
    Why do I think that’s not too extensive of a modification for evolution to find? Because evolution does stuff like this all the time. Ex:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-eating_bacteria_and_creationism
    http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/apr04.html

  255. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Joey
    I’m no longer going to play along with this irrelevant sideshow of what Behe said or not said. If you wish to continue on that topic, you may want to continue it elsewhere. I am firmly convinced that Behe changed his position, and nothing you’ve said has changed this, and I’m not interested in talking with you further on this particular narrow topic of “what did Behe actually say?”. I’m also firmly convinced that you’re a liar – on multiple fronts. I also don’t care anymore to discuss those things, except as it relates to the actual scientific points under debate. (At some point in the future, I may lose interest even in that.) Preemptively: I also don’t care if you call me close-minded, dogmatic, unreasonable, etc., for taking this position. I have no particular duty to engage with you on any particular topic, and neither do you, and we’re both morally and ethically free to stop at any time. Finally, if you think that I’m being too abusive, then leave. I don’t give a damn about your feelings right now at all.

  256. Joey McCabe says

    I am firmly convinced that Behe changed his positiom

    As long as you are okay with being wrong that’s fine. THe reason you don’t want to discuss the quote and hat Behe actually said is because you know you are wrong. I’ll leave it at that.

    “So, take a spring, straighten out the ends of the spring, in just the right way, and you have a mousetrap”

    In just the right way huh? Mcdonalds “simple mousetrap” is a FIVE or FOUR point modification. It’s the reason why I don’t think a wire modified in the way could about by chance, or law like processes. And guess what. I am right! Mcdonald pushed the question back by begging each time! EACH Instance with perhaps the exception of 4 to 5 is best explained by intelligence….not natural selection. A “Coil gets added” BAHAHAH……as If it just HAPPENED at just the right time.

    I like how you dismiss the one point that shouldn’t be dismissed. NOW of the “steps” are shallow enough to climb. LIKE I SAID SINCE THE BEGINNING. BTW, If a step is UNNECESSARY for the function of IC..then the part is not apart of the definition of IC. SO step 4 to 5 is not a moment of increased IC. Since the removal of the base wouldn’t cause the object to stop functioning as a mouse trap. No one denies that nature can improve already existing information haha.

  257. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    In just the right way huh? Mcdonalds “simple mousetrap” is a FIVE or FOUR point modification. It’s the reason why I don’t think a wire modified in the way could about by chance, or law like processes. And guess what. I am right! Mcdonald pushed the question back by begging each time! EACH Instance with perhaps the exception of 4 to 5 is best explained by intelligence….not natural selection. A “Coil gets added” BAHAHAH……as If it just HAPPENED at just the right time.

    Are you serious? 4 or 5 “small steps” with no improvement in fitness value is nothing. Again, stuff like that happens all the time. How can you seriously think that this is a problem for evolution?

  258. Joey McCabe says

    Are you serious? 4 or 5 “small steps” with no improvement in fitness value is nothing. Again, stuff like that happens all the time. How can you seriously think that this is a problem for evolution?

    Are you kidding me? Like I also said at the beginning of this discussion. The FUNCTIONAL step is TO HIGH. Neutral mutations are not susceptible to natural selection meaning there are no”steps”, you are more or less walking through “junk” and randomly choosing items that “might” function together in order to propel you to the next cliff. The odds you will get a 5 point mutation is ASTONOMICAL. You think that after enough time 5 RANDOM mutations happened to stumble across a functional advantage? BAHAHAHAHA. I hope you realize why you can’t appeal to natural selection too….since natural selection only acts on FUNCTIONAL steps and locks them in. The same is NOT the case with this examply.

  259. DanDare says

    Joey you need to study the literature on genetic drift. Neutral mutations occur often. Evolution does not build to a goal. It just uses what comes along. If a change is deleterious it tends to get eliminated from the gene pool. If it’s advantageous it tends towards fixing in the population. Many advantages are the Comming together of neutral precursors

  260. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    The odds you will get a 5 point mutation is ASTONOMICAL.

    No it’s not. It’s a practical certainty.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/107/52/22454.full

    In any one individual, the odds are low. You’re not taking into account the sheer number of generations that we have to work with, and the sheer number of individuals, especially at the microbial level. With those extremely huge numbers, the odds of finding a 5 neutral letter changes is a practical certainty. A 5 letter change is nothing.

  261. Joey McCabe says

    “Many advantages are the Comming together of neutral precursors”

    You are ignoring the fact that neutral precursors aren’t selected for or against. There is nothing LOCKING them in. Meaning if You need a bunch of neutral mutations what keeps one of those mutation LOCKED in place so that a second neutral mutation can appear later? The answer is …..there isn’t anything that keeps neutral mutations locked in place. This is a great reason why the weasel program is so ridiculous. NOTHING “keeps” the sequence together until it becomes locked in place by natural selection. The odds that any particular organism will maintain a neutral mutation for enough time to culminate in 5 is ABSURD.

    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2012.4

  262. DanDare says

    Joey

    Many advantages are the Comming together of neutral precursors”
    You are ignoring the fact that neutral precursors aren’t selected for or against. There is nothing LOCKING them in. Meaning if You need a bunch of neutral mutations what keeps one of those mutation LOCKED in place so that a second neutral mutation can appear later?

    No you are still thinking that evolution is trying to reach a goal . We see the results where traits happened to combine to give an advantageous combination and we don’t see the misses of which there are vastly many more.

  263. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Let’s do the experiment.

    Let’s use E. coli, like the longterm E. coli Michigan State experiment.
    http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/overview.html

    Time to asspull some numbers.

    For the sake of simplicitly, I’m going to assume a roughly constant population.

    The population size is going to be determined by the size of liquid substrate. The Michigan State experiment used 10 mL flasks. I’m going to use an Olympic size swimming pool (2.5e6 L). The density of microbes can be around 1e9 cells per mL.

    The “lifetime” of E. coli is around 20 minutes in ideal conditions (where “lifetime” is defined as “average splitting time”).

    The Michigan State experiment used the K-12 strand of E. coli, and so will we. It has a mutation rate of about 1 base-pair mutation in the entire genome in about 1 out of every thousand individuals, or about (1e-3) / (4.5 million) = 2.22e-10 (approx) mutations per base pair per individual.

    I wrote an extremely simple sim. The sim keeps track of 1024 populations, 1024 = 4^5, all of the possible populations for all of the possible combinations in our experiment of 4 bases and 5 base-pairs.

    The sim says that generation #210000 is about the first generation where we get an individual in the population which has all 5 of our target base-pairs. At about 20 minutes per generation, that’s only about 8 years. So, as I said, it’s a practical certainty that it’s going to happen.

    And this is just for a single swimming pool for 8 years – imagine the whole goddamned planet, over several billion years (which is how long we’ve had microbial life, and thus how long we’ve had for the flagellum to develop).

    PS:
    I’ll provide the code if you’re interested. It assumes that all mutations are neutral, and otherwise follows basic and obvious assumptions.

    Apologies for any mistakes in math or code. I just whipped this up for fun.

  264. DanDare says

    @296 that sounds cool. You should post the code up somewhere so we can all have a play.

  265. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Ugg, as I’m looking at my code, I probably have minor terms / factors missing in some of the math. It’s probably close enough.

  266. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #274
    I started a point-by-point response to your post, but I’m going to leave it and try to get back to the main issues.

    Before moving on I will make three points in response:

    – The conversation was not hostile to you from the start. It started amicably, and continued that way for 50+ posts. The hostility arose from frustration with your avoidance of difficult questions and failure to provide citations when requested. Avoidance tactics are intellectually dishonest – if a question is too difficult for you, that should tell you that your argument has problems. If you are playing devil’s advocate you should have no problem admitting when you encounter a question that defeats your argument.

    – Politeness is nice, but it’s irrelevant to whether or not an argument has merit. If courtesy is critically important to you then this is not the right blog for you.

    – You are wrong to assume that I do not try to understand you. I spend literally hours on these posts, trying to make sure I understand your points and then shaping my responses as clearly and concisely as I can.
     
    Before we start again, let me be clear about something. My position is not that there cannot be any possibility of an intelligent designer. My position is that evolution by natural selection is the superior hypothesis.
     
    Let’s start from your argument, as you restated it.
    Point 2 is the key:

    The only known cause for functional code is intelligence

    There are several problems with this. Let’s start with one and see how we go.
     
    First problem: the statement is imprecise. It is expressed more broadly than the facts it is drawn from.
    An accurate version would be:
    “The only known cause for functional code is homosapiens intelligence”
    I don’t want to argue about which version of human to use. I’m looking for the narrowest possible true statement, so if you have a narrower definition, let me know and we’ll use it.

    Let me demonstrate why this is important:
    (From here on, I’m going to replace homosapiens with h/s – it makes it easier to read)

    Let’s split ‘intelligence’ into [h/s intelligence] and [non-h/s intelligence]. Now we can rephrase your statement, without changing the meaning, as follows:
    “The only known cause for functional code is [h/s intelligence] or [non-h/s intelligence]”

    Now, let’s add some clarifying words to the terms. Still not changing the meaning of anything:
    “The only known cause for functional code is [h/s intelligence capable of creating code] or [non-h/s intelligence capable of creating code]”

    It’s getting unwieldy but we’re nearly there. I’m hoping you would agree that I haven’t changed the meaning of your original statement?

    Here’s the key point: we don’t know of any [non-h/s intelligence capable of creating code], do we? So we could replace it in the statement with [an unknown thing], and that would be an accurate equivalent statement.
    Now the statement is:
    “The only known cause for functional code is [h/s intelligence capable of creating code] or [an unknown thing]”

    Do you see the problem? How can something unknown be a known cause? It’s a contradiction.

    That’s why you can’t leave room for something unknown when you are making a statement about what is known.
     
    I think I’ll leave it there for now. Let’s work through this one before we move on.

  267. Joey McCabe says

    Avoidance tactics are intellectually dishonest – if a question is too difficult for you, that should tell you that your argument has problems. If you are playing devil’s advocate you should have no problem admitting when you encounter a question that defeats your argument.

    Avoidance tactics are not intellectually dishonest. If a question is too difficult for me to answer it doesn’t tell anyone anything about the problems of an argument. And I am more than willing to admit when I am wrong, but so far I haven’t seen a case of that happen. I even admitted to not understanding or being able to provide the numbers before and it was called a “cop-out”. I’ve never seen a forum where being honest was so heavily scrutinized . Not to mention I have 5 or 6 people that I needed to address and only a select amount of time. So give me a break, you aren’t innocent in all this. MS was the WORST so far, that is why I ignored most of his comments because they weren’t respectful. I’m not here to diminish my opponents, I’m here to have an intelligent debate..

    Politeness is nice, but it’s irrelevant to whether or not an argument has merit. If courtesy is critically important to you then this is not the right blog for you.

    Maybe you are right, I am looking for a forum where people treat people with respect. I’m sorry to see that this is not that forum.

    You are wrong to assume that I do not try to understand you. I spend literally hours on these posts, trying to make sure I understand your points and then shaping my responses as clearly and concisely as I can.

    Well here is where my frustration has been coming out. I don’t think you are stupid. And I think you understand evolution just fine. But I also think you lied before about Behe and I think you don’t understand the argument because everytime you’ve tried to summarize it, you’ve gotten it wrong. What’s the use of trying to discuss an argument if you aren’t going to accurately summarize your opponents arguments. THAT is intellectually dishonest, because I’ve told you numerous times where you had a flawed understanding and you kept trying to tell ME, the person who knows more about the design arguments then you, why you were right.

    Before we start again, let me be clear about something. My position is not that there cannot be any possibility of an intelligent designer. My position is that evolution by natural selection is the superior hypothesis.

    Then the discussion is OVER. My entire point in this discussion was to show that Intelligence Design is a scientifically testable hypothesis. If you want to believe is FALSE, then so be it. But you just affirmed what I came here to prove. That is is a scientific field of study.

    Do you see the problem? How can something unknown be a known cause? It’s a contradiction.

    I follow entirely with everything you said before this and what I’m seeing is not what you think. You are destroying the very basis of inference and extrapolation ITSELF. No two things are the same….no two people are the same. That’s why i brought up homosapiens, or a narrower version of the definition. Intelligence is not defined in terms of the body in which it is expressed. Intelligence is the creative potential of the creature in question. SO now the question needs to be asked. when you find an object 3.3 million years old that looks like a knife and bowl. How can science “that which is based on causes now in operation” possibly say that anything other than nature created these “tool looking things” if what you just said is true. H/S didn’t exist back then so there is no plausible designer.

    That being said….I GRANT the extrapolation. But I think you are wrong in forcing a narrow of definition. I think it’s irrelevant by what body “intelligence” expresses itself in. Intelligence is the ability to acquire knowledge and skills,and manipulate raw material to achieve a goal.. It isn’t only humans that possess this ability. Monkeys and dolphins possess this ability. How do we know? Because we see what they create and do.

    You are applying unreasonable standards to the design inference in biology. Granted, I DO believe the leap is larger. But the leap is GRANTED when the object in question shows no evidence of having been designed by nature.

  268. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Then the discussion is OVER. My entire point in this discussion was to show that Intelligence Design is a scientifically testable hypothesis. If you want to believe is FALSE, then so be it. But you just affirmed what I came here to prove. That is is a scientific field of study.

    We already agree. I would have agreed with you before post #1. In fact, I think I did mention this up-thread, quite early on.

    Note: By this definition, astrology, and homeopathy, and ghost-busting with backpack particle accelerators powered by radiodecay nuclear batteries – all of those are also scientific fields of study. Of course, all of them are bullshit. They’re scientific hypotheses, but as scientific hypotheses, they are simply, completely, and utterly false and bogus, just like intelligent design creationism.

  269. Joey McCabe says

    Then why do you think Athiests all over don’t think it’s scientific? That is the argument and has always been the argument. Especially in the dover case. That it’s nothing more than untestable, unfalsifiable, religious argumentation. You just acknowledged that that is not the case.

  270. Monocle Smile says

    Fine, I’ll answer this one, because it’s a fair question given EL’s post.

    Behe’s “version” of ID is not the same as the version of the Discovery Institute that was on trial at Dover. The idea that “this has always been the argument” is not true at all even if Behe has in fact remained consistent. He’s just one dude. If you read the creationist textbook that triggered the lawsuit, you won’t find testable claims that if true, would bolster ID. For quite some time, ID made no relevant testable predictions. William Dembski has spent a great deal of time obfuscating exactly what he means by “CSI” because he knows full well that any rigorous definition that aligns with his claims will be very easily falsified.

    EL is referring to the version of ID that you’ve presented, where “CSI” is Kolmogarov complexity (and doesn’t increase without intelligence) and that if DNA were the product of ID, then we wouldn’t find junk DNA. Finally, testable claims! And of course, both are flatly and obviously false, as EL has already demonstrated. But you won’t find many ID proponents actually pushing these testable claims or making testable claims themselves, because some of them know that they are false. I mean, this should be clear from checking out ID propaganda…you want to ignore the Wedge document for some stupid reason, but ALL of the Discovery Institute videos I’ve seen (I can give you a playlist of ExtantDodo taking them apart) focus entirely on lying about evolution rather than providing evidence for ID.

  271. Joey McCabe says

    Every single one of my predictions is taking out of every piece of ID books I have read over the last 10 years. Before and after the Dover trial. I think, as predicted, that rhetoric has been the main dismiss-er in all this, not good arguments. I learned what I know about ID, from the advocates. Steven Meyers, the head of the DI came out with an excellent book called signature in the cell hat got rave reviews from biologists and skeptics alike. That being said, It looks like you guys CHANGED your opinion. Because just a second ago we were arguing about not being able to “extend the inference” which would essentially mean it is unfalsifiable. SO which is it?

  272. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Then why do you think Athiests all over don’t think it’s scientific?

    I grant that this is a true description of many atheists, perhaps even most atheists.

    The first problem is a mere semantic problem. Many people want to define the word “scientific” to exclude clearly falsified hypotheses, such as flat earth hypothesis, astrology, etc. Is a claim or field of investigation “scientific” if it’s also clearly falsified? I can see both sides of the argument, but it’s just an argument over definition.

    There’s a deeper problem. The deeper problem is thus: Many atheists hold to this wrong-headed notion that science and the scientific method have no bearing on supernatural hypotheses. I’m not sure, but I’d guess that this widespread belief in the culture is caused by equal parts theists arguing for belief without evidence (e.g. faith), and theists and atheists alike arguing that science and religion are compatible which is accomplished by saying that science has no bearing on religious claims.

    I want to focus on the atheistic part, to answer your question, and because it’s a pet peeve of mine.

    Most of the “right side” of the Kitzmiller v Dover trial, e.g. the evolution side, adopts this accommodationist approach. They argue that science and religion are compatible, and they do so by more or less invoking the ideas of Steven J Gould: Non-Overlapping Magisteria.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-overlapping_magisteria

    In other words, they argue that the scientific method is simply an improper method of investigating religious aka supernatural claims. This goes by the name “methodological naturalism”. They take great care to distinguish “methodological naturalism” from “(philosophical) naturalism”, which is the belief that the supernatural does not exist.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)#Methodological_naturalism

    Ken Miller, the National Center For Science Education, and IIRC all of the other experts and sources for the “right side” (the side for evolution), adopted this wrong-headed position. This may have been a wise move – politically. It may have been the best approach to win the court case. This approach may also be the best approach to not piss off the religious voters and the religious people in government, in order to keep government funding and to keep proper government schools.

    However, this accommodationist approach is fundamentally wrong, and I strongly suspect that many of the atheist experts who take this approach know it, which also means that many of the atheist experts who take this approach are dishonest. I strongly eschew dishonesty, and so even if it may grant better target results, I still will not lie like this to achieve those results.

    I also personally suspect that it’s a bad move in the long-term. We don’t want evolution taught in schools. As Ken Miller said, that’s not terribly relevant. We want critical thinking taught in schools, and scientific thinking and values taught in schools. Unlike Ken Miller, I recognize the obvious truth here: scientific thinking and religious thinking are fundamentally incompatible, and by taking the accommodationist approach, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by neutering exactly the sort of scientific thinking that we so desparately need.

    Ken Miller et al argue that intelligent design creationism doesn’t belong in the scientific classroom because it’s not a scientific hypothesis because it involves supernatural and religious claims. It does involve supernatural and religious claims. However, it’s still a scientific hypothesis. The reason why it doesn’t belong in science classrooms is because it’s wrong, and we know it’s wrong because we did science on it, and the science came back “false”.

    For an accessible and enjoyable peer reviewed paper of philosophy that explains my position in more detail, please see here:
    > How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    > (final draft – to appear in Foundations of Science)
    > Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

    For much of the same point, also see this Skepticon talk.
    >God, Science and the Problem with Nature – Scott Clifton (Theoretical Bullshit) – Skepticon 7


    Now, why do so many atheists and atheist experts do this? In part because they calculate that a certain amount of dishonest accommodationism will help achieve their immediate policy goals. I believe also in part because they haven’t fully accepted the truth that scientific thinking and religious thinking are incompatible. I suspect many are clinging to wrong-headed beliefs like “I shouldn’t care what they believe, I should only care how they act”. Related, some also have a belief in belief.
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Belief_in_belief

    Whereas, we should care how people act, but we should also care what they believe. I’m not saying that we should institute thought crimes. I am saying that we should care, and we should try to argue them out of it, and we should implement proper public education to teach critical thinking skills and scientific thinking precisely because we should care what they believe. We should care what they believe because people act according to their beliefs. Practically speaking, there is no such thing as a harmless religious belief. There is no such thing as a harmless false belief. People act according to their beliefs, and assuming most are well intentioned, then having false beliefs is going to result in much more harmful actions. For example, if people believe that gay sex is a sin, they might vote on it, they might cause social pressure or social harm to others over it, etc. For example, if someone believes in an afterlife, that might change how they act in this life, and it’s almost certainly going to change how they act in this life for the worse. False beliefs lead to harm, and that’s why we should care.

    Some beliefs may seem harmless now, because the belief is not apparently operative, but there’s no telling how the situations might change and make that belief operative.

    Worse, socially permitting others to believe things without good reason will increase the odds that you and others believe false things. This is the “belief in belief” stuff. It’s a cultural reinforcement, or normalization, of believing nonsense. We need a society where we challenge each other for believing nonsense. I believe it’s well shown that many religious people believe that religious nonsense more or less only because of peer pressure, the need to fit in. If that could change, then we would have less religious people, which would be an amazing start. (Of course, we would need to be there to make sure that critical thinking skills, scientific thinking, and humanism, are there to replace it.)

  273. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To MS, and indirectly Joey

    EL is referring to the version of ID that you’ve presented, where “CSI” is Kolmogarov complexity (and doesn’t increase without intelligence) and that if DNA were the product of ID, then we wouldn’t find junk DNA. Finally, testable claims!

    This is a fine and subtle line to walk, but I do want to say that I have used scientific thinking to show that more or less all of the forms of intelligent design creationism are false / wrong. I think I need to invoke Garage Dragons to explain myself properly.
    http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Dragon.htm
    The Garage Dragon proponents may have started off making testable claims, but then they started being more careful with their testable claims. They started making less testable claims, in order to avoid falsification for their new versions of their idea. This sort of constant retreat from falsification by adding ad hoc explanations itself counts as falsifying evidence. (In Bayesian reasoning, adding ad hoc additions to a hypothesis lowers the prior probability of the hypothesis.) If your basic idea has to be constantly modified in response to constant accumulation of falsifying evidence, the conclusion should not be merely “well, your new version hasn’t been falsified, and so it might be true”. The conclusion should be “your new version hasn’t been falsified yet, and I fully expect that it will be falsified (assuming it makes any testable claims at all), and I already know that your new claim is almost certainly wrong.”

    Quoting Sagan:

    Gratifyingly, some dragon-size footprints in the flour are now reported. But they’re never made when a skeptic is looking. An alternative explanation presents itself. On close examination it seems clear that the footprints could have been faked. Another dragon enthusiast shows up with a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation of the dragon’s fiery breath. But again, other possibilities exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such “evidence” — no matter how important the dragon advocates consider it — is far from compelling. Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.

    PS: Regarding what Sagan is actually saying: I place emphasis on the word “delusion”. Sagan is not just saying that they’re asserting things that cannot be known. The word “delusion” carries a much strong meaning. The word “delusion” carries the meaning that the belief is false, and furthermore that the belief is demonstrably false. Someone isn’t delusional for just holding a wrong belief. Someone is delusion for holding a false belief in spite of known overwhelming evidence and reason to the contrary.

  274. Joey McCabe says

    I appreciate you analysis and found it rather consistent with how I feel. Besides the fact that I don’t believe the “supernatural” is involved with ID. I do think that you nailed it on the head. ID just isn’t correct, and that and only that is the reason why it isn’t taught in schools. HOWEVER, I don’t actually think the ID has been around long enough nor has it been sufficiently considered to have been tested and falsified. Not to mention the successful predictions that it has made, such as the functionality of junk DNA or the functionality of vestigial organs, or their explanation AFTER the fact, and not before.

    Either way, my entire argument this whole time has been to say that ID is a scientific theory that makes testable claims. It’s the point i was trying to make when i called in and the point I’ve been criticized by most in this entire debate.

  275. Monocle Smile says

    @EL

    This is a fine and subtle line to walk, but I do want to say that I have used scientific thinking to show that more or less all of the forms of intelligent design creationism are false / wrong

    Oh yes, as long as the claims are actually falsifiable. At one point, Dembski’s definition of CSI was akin to that of pornography: “I know it when I see it.” Now, scientifically evaluating such a thing is basically impossible, but it doesn’t matter because pointing and laughing is all that nonsense deserves. The Behe-on-the-stand approach is also common, where claims are made about evidence for something (immune system) and then when presented with evidence, additional modifiers are continually added so the claimant can dismiss the evidence as “not good enough,” like Joey is doing in this thread (steps are “TO [sic] STEEP.”

    If your basic idea has to be constantly modified in response to constant accumulation of falsifying evidence, the conclusion should not be merely “well, your new version hasn’t been falsified, and so it might be true”. The conclusion should be “your new version hasn’t been falsified yet, and I fully expect that it will be falsified (assuming it makes any testable claims at all), and I already know that your new claim is almost certainly wrong.”

    YES. Finally, someone put this salient point into a neat little paragraph! I can’t tell you how many times my gears have been ground by “classical theists” who make a sport out of carefully carving out their god definitions in response to falsifying information, then smugly laughing at the atheists they encounter. It’s juvenile horseshit, not intellectual honesty. It’s similar to Gerard’s spiel: “Well, this doesn’t technically contradict known facts, so it’s not unreasonable to believe.”

  276. Joey McCabe says

    You yourself, no offense, didn’t or still don’t understand the concept of Irreducible complexity. I can explain why I think so, but I really need you to properly admit that Behe’s arguments have never changed.

  277. Monocle Smile says

    @Joey

    Not to mention the successful predictions that it has made, such as the functionality of junk DNA or the functionality of vestigial organs, or their explanation AFTER the fact, and not before

    The fuck is this shit? ID didn’t in any way, shape, or form “predict” the “functionality” of junk DNA (a bald assertion that so happens to have a very tiny grain of accuracy is not a “prediction.” I don’t get points for correctly calling “heads” on a coin toss), and “vestigial” does not mean “without any function.” This is why you should get your information from honest scientists and not religious tools.

  278. Joey McCabe says

    ID did in MANY ways predict the functionality of Junk DNA. If you don’t wanna believe me that’s your business but so far all I can see is a bunch of dumb scientists, like the 70 percent who tried to refute Steven Meyers book by appealing to evolution. Signature in the cell went WAYYYY over their head, because when you don’t have a good ability to argue or debate….you say stupid things. I have a degree in philosophy, so i can see stupid arguments when stupid arguments are made.

  279. RationalismRules says

    @Joey #301

    Avoidance tactics are not intellectually dishonest..

    We’re done.
     
    BTW: It would pretty difficult for me to have lied about Behe, or to have got his argument wrong, considering I have not addressed, or even mentioned, either Behe or IC in any way throughout our entire conversation.

  280. RationalismRules says

    @MS, EL
    I have no understanding of information theory, so the CSI discussions went over my head for the most part, but playing devil’s advocate for a moment, if ID allowed for subsequent evolution, couldn’t the presence of junk DNA be explained by post-design mutation? Apologies if this has already been covered – I skimmed over most of the more technical posts.
     
    @EL #306
    Scott Clifton is a terrific communicator. I really liked his point about god being subject to laws – if whatever god wills to happen always happens then god is subject to a natural law. Excellent point.

  281. RationalismRules says

    @MS, EL
    Damn! As soon as I posted that I thought of an answer. Post-design mutation leading to junk DNA would indicate loss of functionality over time (devolution), which is the reverse of what we observe. Does that work?

  282. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    if ID allowed for subsequent evolution, couldn’t the presence of junk DNA be explained by post-design mutation?

    Yes. I’m surprised that I don’t see this more often. Strict Biblical literalists argue that we’re all devolving since the fall, becoming less perfect and more corrupt over time. I’m not sure if I’m seen this particular argument used to explain junk DNA, but the creationists should make that argument. It’s a “good” argument.

    Damn! As soon as I posted that I thought of an answer. Post-design mutation leading to junk DNA would indicate loss of functionality over time (devolution), which is the reverse of what we observe. Does that work?

    We do occasionally observe increases of genetic information in genomes of real populations, such as the anti-freeze protein in that fish, and the nylon eating bacteria, and dozens of other cases. So, IMO, that may and/or does (?) pose a problem to “The Fall” explanation just given. Of course, this is arguing about theology and not science, and so it’s hard to predict where someone will go. As for what’s justified: it’s theology, where one can argue that anything goes because it’s not evidence-based.

  283. Joey McCabe says

    The case for junk DNA as a bi-product of devolution is made in almost all ID literature. I mean this without insult, you guys should read their books. Even if you think they are liars. I supported the judges decision in the Dover trial because they were clearly being disingenuous. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes stumble along good arguments. ID advocates have long predicted the junk DNA was functional or is functional and that bits that aren’t functional AT ALL would have younger genes, indicating they are the result of degradation.

  284. phil says

    To Joey McCabe

    Assuming you quoted Behe correctly in 170 above, he does not dismiss the thrust of Miller’s criticism at all. Even if removal of one part of the bacterial flagellum makes it non-functional as a flagellum (which is what Behe seems to be arguing in the text you quote) it does not demonstrate any complexity that could not have occurred through evolution, which is what IDiots originally claimed.

    It is important because it bacterial flagellum was chosen by IDiots as an iconic demonstration of irreducible complexity that evolution could not explain. The other of course was the blood clotting cascade, which suffered similar, or perhaps greater defeat. It turns out that functional blood clotting is achieved in some animals that do not have the full suite of proteins.

    These are important points because they demonstrate that IDiots really don’t know what they are talking about, and that they don’t have evidence to support their dodgy hypothesis, i.e. they were not just completely wrong, they were ignorant.

    And as “a person who puts a case on someone else’s behalf” you sure do a lot of advocating of ID for someone who is not an advocate of ID. On that definition of advocate your claim that you are not an advocate of ID is simply false.

  285. phil says

    As MS says in 172. I have to admit that my endurance for reading all the above is sorely tested.

  286. phil says

    @ 192 joey

    “Then here is Michael Behe’s direct address of this straw-man argument in his 1996 book. Before Kenneth Miller even misrepresented it.” Followed by a long quote from Behe.

    Seriously? You think that refutes the mousetrap argument?

    You remind me of mother, who used to think that Deepity Chopra was profound.

    As far as I can see Miller’s characterisation of the mouse trap problem might be a threat to evolution if it were true, but Miller has demonstrated pretty clearly that it isn’t. Behe’s characterisation of the mouse trap problem makes it irrelevant.

    And what about the blood clotting cascade, or has that been quietly shelved by ID?

    FWIW I think Larry Moran over at Sandwalk says that ID is science, just bad science, or maybe very bad science. Whatever he spends a lot of energy debunking ID claims. It seems reasonable that if you wanted to debate evolution v. ID creationism that would be a better place to go than a venue dedicated to atheism.