Richard B. Hoppe posted Entry 1665 on November 11, 2005 02:02 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1660

In his recent testimony in Kitzmiller v. DASB (archived here, among other places), Michael Behe described what he called an “experiment” that could potentially falsify ID. Reading from his Reply to My Critics article, Behe testified that

In fact, intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box, I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process.

To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure, for mobility, say, grow it for 10,000 generations, and see if a flagellum, or any equally complex system, was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.

Let’s consider that suggestion for a moment. Is it possible that Behe is right and ID is experimentally testable?

More below the fold.

In this brief sketch I’ll leave aside questions about the details of such an “experiment”. For example, I won’t consider whether 10,000 generations in a lab culture is sufficient to model hundreds of millions of years of single celled organisms on earth, or whether some anonymous “bacterial species” is an appropriate representative of the species that originally acquired flagella. I won’t even worry about whether intelligent design actually offers an “explanation” at all (but see here for my sentiments on that question: no prize for guessing that my answer is “no!”).

In his suggested thought experiment Behe identified just one treatment condition: “bacteria lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure, for mobility, say”. If after some generations the bacteria have acquired a flagellum, then he says his claims would be disproven. But real experiments have control conditions to allow ruling out confounding variables. Behe’s thought experiment identifies no controls. Are any controls possible?

First, for the record recall that Behe tells us that ID does not require that we have knowledge of a designer. Again from his testimony under oath:

Q. Now does the conclusion that something was designed, does that require knowledge of a designer?

A. No, it doesn’t. And if you can advance to the next slide. I discussed that in Darwin’s Black Box in Chapter 9, the chapter entitled Intelligent Design. Let me quote from it.

Quote: The conclusion that something was designed can be made quite independently of knowledge of the designer. As a matter of procedure, the design must first be apprehended before there can be any further question about the designer. The inference to design can be held with all the firmness that is possible in this world, without knowing anything about the designer. Close quote.

OK, so we know nothing of the designer(s) or its(their) intentions, knowledge, skills and abilities. We don’t know how designers manufacture their designs in matter and energy, when they do (did?) it, whether they’re still around tinkering with stuff, nothing.

Now consider the possible outcomes of Behe’s thought “experiment”. It could produce one of two results: bacteria with flagella appear after, say, 10,000 generations, or they don’t.

Suppose first that they do, that bacteria with flagella start swimming around in the culture. Does that mean that evolution works and ID is “disproven”? Not at all. After all, since we know nothing about the skill set and intentions of the putative designer(s), it’s possible that the designer(s) somehow ‘watched’ our culture, and sometime during the course of the generations ‘reached’ in and poofed a flagellum into existence on one of the bacteria. (We will assume there are no smoke detectors in the room.) Thereafter selection takes over and by the end of the study the culture is full of the little buggers merrily swimming around. So the appearance of bacteria with flagella doesn’t allow us to discriminate between evolution and ID.

On the other hand, suppose that the bacteria don’t have flagella at the end of the study. Does that mean evolution is incapable of producing a flagellum and we must therefore infer intelligent design? Nope, not at all. After all, since we know nothing about the skill set and intentions of the designer(s), it’s possible that every time a bacterium with a nascent flagellum appeared in the culture, a designer ‘reached in’ and snipped off the budding flagellum. Why would a designer do that? I have no idea – simple perverseness, perhaps. Some of nature’s ‘designs’ display a definite bent toward perversity. But since we know nothing of the designer(s), who’s to say it couldn’t have happened? Once again, the negative outcome doesn’t allow us to discriminate between evolution and ID.

Moreover, there is no possible control condition that could settle the matter. I know of no designer “shielding” that would protect the experiment from interference, no Faraday cage that would keep the designer’s meddling influence out. Since in Behe’s (and Dembski’s) version of ID the designing agency is wholly unconstrained, there is no assurance of any protection against its potential meddling in our experiments.

The point is painfully simple: absent any constraints on what the designer(s) can or will do, there is no conceivable control condition that could make the discrimination we need, no condition that could disprove its(their) actions in anything resembling Behe’s “thought experiment”. I’ve judged middle school science fairs where the students would know that better than Behe apparently does. Behe’s claim of the experimental refutability of ID, made under oath, is specious. He once again demonstrates that he has abandoned science for mysticism, trading probity for propaganda.

RBH

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Comment #56456

Posted by John on November 11, 2005 2:12 AM (e)

You’re too late, I’ve already made that point.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/10/in_the_followin.html#comment-53512

Comment #56458

Posted by RBH on November 11, 2005 2:27 AM (e)

So you did! I missed that.

RBH

Comment #56462

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on November 11, 2005 2:56 AM (e)

It is worth making again however. This is one of the key points about the ability of ID to make any form of testable prediction. ID is inherently unfalsifiable until they describe or actually characterise what their mysterious ‘designer’ actually is. Behe has simply put forth a scenario where it’s tails I win and heads you lose.

Comment #56464

Posted by Andrew Mead McClure on November 11, 2005 3:06 AM (e)

It seems like a simpler way to say all of this would be just:

Challenged to come up with an experimental test of intelligent design, Behe instead gave a (poor) example of an experimental test of evolution. In doing so he once again corroborated the old allegations that the “Intelligent Design” movement makes absolutely no positive arguments in favor of ID, only negative arguments against evolution.

Comment #56467

Posted by Steve Reuland on November 11, 2005 3:50 AM (e)

I know of no designer “shielding” that would protect the experiment from interference, no Faraday cage that would keep the designer’s meddling influence out.

They say that tin foil, folded into a suitable shape and placed on the head, will keep an intelligent agent’s invisible signals from getting through.

Comment #56468

Posted by Zarquon on November 11, 2005 4:03 AM (e)

It seems there is a flaw in the tin foil plan.

Comment #56469

Posted by Dr Evil on November 11, 2005 4:26 AM (e)

Bwhhhhaaaaaaaa
Hahahahahahahaha
Bwhhhhaaaaaaaa

Zarquon

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/11/tinfoil_hats_as_government_plot/

Thats all part of my Evil Plot

(holds pinky to corner of mouth)

Comment #56480

Posted by Jim Ramsey on November 11, 2005 6:41 AM (e)

I you familiar with “raindance psychology”?

What you are talking about is similar.

Consider.

You perform the raindance.

1. It rains, so the raindance worked.
2. It doesn’t rain, so you didn’t perform the raindance properly.

Comment #56488

Posted by PaulP on November 11, 2005 8:31 AM (e)

How dare you! I mean, really, how dare you take what the IDers say more seriously than they do!

Comment #56490

Posted by Donald M on November 11, 2005 8:50 AM (e)

RBH:

The point is painfully simple: absent any constraints on what the designer(s) can or will do, there is no conceivable control condition that could make the discrimination we need, no condition that could disprove its(their) actions in anything resembling Behe’s “thought experiment”.

If you’re going to use this argument, then you have to carry it all the way through. How can you be sure that some intelligent designer hasn’t watched and affected the results according to his/her/its whims for every scientific experiment ever conducted? You can’t restrict this argument to just evolutionary biology experiments. How do you know that it isn’t possible that everytime an astronomer looks through his telescope, she only sees what the designer wants her to see? How do you know that the designer didn’t affect Newton’s calculations or Darwin’s observations?

This is in the same category as the question ‘how do you know we all didn’t spring into existence five minutes ago with all our memories of experiences the way they are?’ In other words, its a meaningless objection.

Comment #56494

Posted by k.e. on November 11, 2005 9:00 AM (e)

Really Donald M must you be so tiresome.
Why not just call it looking out of your eyes.

Comment #56495

Posted by Wislu Plethora on November 11, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

Donald M wrote:

If you’re going to use this argument, then you have to carry it all the way through. How can you be sure that some intelligent designer hasn’t watched and affected the results according to his/her/its whims for every scientific experiment ever conducted?

We can’t be sure, and that’s the point. You make a very succinct argument against ID apparently without realizing you’re doing it. ID is scientifically vacuous for precisely the reasons you cite; because we know nothing about the identity, capability or constraints of the designer, any observable phenomenon may be ascribed to him/her/it, regardless of whether it’s been explained in natural terms.

Comment #56496

Posted by Flint on November 11, 2005 9:10 AM (e)

Donald M:

In other words, its a meaningless objection.

You are absolutely correct. Every point you make is dead on target. Ultimately, we can’t be *absolutely* sure of anything. Instead, we work with probabilities, speculations, and approximations. Some of which, by all (subjective) indications, are pretty damn close, and produce results we all cross our fingers and rely on to keep working day in and day out. So far, we THINK this has worked. But how would we know for sure?

So what we have done is established a protocol, an agreement among ourselves about the nature of observations. If an experiment SEEMS to fail to everyone who performs it, we arbitrarily agree that it has “failed”. If someone claims that his a priori conclusions are indicated by any results whatsoever, we arbitrarily agree that these conclusions are not helpful.

The reason we retain our arbitrary protocol in the face of your rigorous defense of pure ignorance is, we all SEEM to be living more comfortable, longer, and more rewarding lives as a result. It works for me.

Comment #56497

Posted by Steverino on November 11, 2005 9:14 AM (e)

“irreducibly complex”…who but, Creation/ID understands this to be an actual conecpt of Science???

Does the general scientific community accept the notion of “irreducibly complex”???

Or is this a term made up by the Creationist to justify their arguments???

Comment #56498

Posted by John on November 11, 2005 9:19 AM (e)

> This is in the same category as the question ‘how do you know we all didn’t spring into existence five minutes ago with all our memories of experiences the way they are?’

That’s true. And in the same category as ID. Because IDiots reject methodological naturalism, on which all science is based. You have just made an argument in favor of methodological naturalism (and science).

> In other words, its a meaningless objection.

And this part is false.

Comment #56500

Posted by k.e. on November 11, 2005 9:35 AM (e)

Steverino
Cheer up.

irreducibly complex is completely and utterly dead you won’t be seeing it again anytime soon unless groupies are singing it in the streets.

It died on the witness stand in Dover
Behe “the man who thought he saw the mind of god” killed it with his own hands.
Weirder than fiction look up the transcripts

expect some new blizzard of BS sometime soon.

Comment #56506

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on November 11, 2005 10:04 AM (e)

If you’re going to use this argument, then you have to carry it all the way through. How can you be sure that some intelligent designer hasn’t watched and affected the results according to his/her/its whims for every scientific experiment ever conducted? You can’t restrict this argument to just evolutionary biology experiments. How do you know that it isn’t possible that everytime an astronomer looks through his telescope, she only sees what the designer wants her to see? How do you know that the designer didn’t affect Newton’s calculations or Darwin’s observations?

This is in the same category as the question ‘how do you know we all didn’t spring into existence five minutes ago with all our memories of experiences the way they are?’ In other words, its a meaningless objection.

Sure, it’s a meaningless objection if you work under the scientific methodological paradigm: that what you observe reflects external phenomena with a natural explanation that can be empirically investigated.

If on the other hand, one assumes any observed phenomenon can have any sort of explanation, natural and non-natural, empirically investigatable or not (as advocated by ID proponents), then of course it is a very meaningful objection, because experiments themselves become meaningless.

Comment #56507

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 11, 2005 10:08 AM (e)

Domald M wrote:

If you’re going to use this argument, then you have to carry it all the way through. How can you be sure that some intelligent designer hasn’t watched and affected the results according to his/her/its whims for every scientific experiment ever conducted? You can’t restrict this argument to just evolutionary biology experiments. How do you know that it isn’t possible that everytime an astronomer looks through his telescope, she only sees what the designer wants her to see? How do you know that the designer didn’t affect Newton’s calculations or Darwin’s observations?

Donald M sums up the case for Methodological Naturalism. Thank you. We must indeed dismiss the possibility of supernatural activity to carry on any science at all, and the use of the scientific method with this requirement has been spectacularly successful.

Comment #56510

Posted by AR on November 11, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

In his comment 56490 Donald M has in fact argued that ID “theory” is unfalsifiable(apparently not noticing it) - a thesis ID advocates often reject very vigorously. Make up your mind - a little consistency would be a nice change.

Comment #56512

Posted by BlastfromthePast on November 11, 2005 10:33 AM (e)

The Achilles Heel to this entire argument is that it is premised on a Designer/s who is/are able to, and willing to, involve themselves in on-going natural processes. That’s not what ID postulates. ID notes the positive evidence of “design” in nature; it doesn’t postulate that this design is itself continously on-going. So this becomes a straw-man argument.

Let’s look at the fossil record: what was the last major innovation and when did it occur? Homo sapiens. About 150,000 years ago. On that basis, it would appear the last “tinkering” that occurred, occurred at least 150,000 years ago. So, if we run this experiment with 10,000 generations of bacteria, that will take, let’s say, 30 years; then the chance of tinkering is 30/150,000, which is 1 in 5,000. I think it’s safe to rule out the “tinkering.”

Why doesn’t somebody run the experiment? Or are you afraid?

Comment #56513

Posted by paul cady on November 11, 2005 10:34 AM (e)

All you have done is demonstrate that laboratory results regarding either ID or creationism are ambiguous. In other words, all you have done is demonstrate that Darwinism has zero intellectual superiority over ID. Experiments purportedly validating evolution are equally ambiguous for exactly the same reasons you cite. Why then should we allow the teaching of one ambiguity over another?

Comment #56514

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on November 11, 2005 10:36 AM (e)

As I pointed out to Rob Pennock at the NTSE conference in 1997, he should never get into a taxi. After all, the driver has the freedom to steer the taxi into oncoming traffic at any time. For that matter, driving a car oneself is probably unwise, given what other drivers might do.

And don’t get me started about air travel.

Comment #56517

Posted by k.e. on November 11, 2005 10:40 AM (e)

Blast and Paul Cady

Just one simple question, come on show us how brave you really are or not.

Define the “Intelligent Designer.”

Comment #56518

Posted by yorktank on November 11, 2005 10:43 AM (e)

RBH wrote:

We will assume there are no smoke detectors in the room.

Shall we assume there are no mirror detectors in the room either?

Comment #56519

Posted by k.e. on November 11, 2005 10:53 AM (e)

And now for something completely different but the same

A Zen Koan.

Not the Wind, Not the Flag

Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: ‘The flag is moving.’
The other said: ‘The wind is moving.’

The sixth patriach happened to be passing by. He told them: ‘Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving.’

Comment #56521

Posted by Ric on November 11, 2005 11:04 AM (e)

This is actually an excellent point and an excellent discussion, because if the IDists were honest, this objections would force them to start describing their designer. They would have to resort to DesCartes’ old saw that he is a benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient designer who just wouldn’t mess with things. Of course that forces them to admit that he is their Christian god. It pins them down. But since they will never say that, this objection effectively knocks their argument down. Truly this is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Nice work, Mr. Hoppe (and John).

Comment #56522

Posted by Ved Rocke on November 11, 2005 11:06 AM (e)

blast wrote:

Let’s look at the fossil record: what was the last major innovation and when did it occur? Homo sapiens. About 150,000 years ago. On that basis, it would appear the last “tinkering” that occurred, occurred at least 150,000 years ago.

So, not only has god not done any major tinkering with anything anywhere in the world in the last 150,000 years, but you’re considering the addition of a flagellum to be on par with the changes needed to define our species from our last ancestor?

That is just hilarious!

Comment #56527

Posted by Russell on November 11, 2005 11:14 AM (e)

I’m not sure what Paul Nelson’s point was, but I think he’s agreeing with us here: that planning real behavior (or experiments) based on remote probabilities is unwise. (Though the remoteness of the probability of the kind of event that would render Behe’s experiment sensible is a whole lot greater than of a fatal traffic mishap on any given car trip.)

I think the most noteworthy point of RBH’s post is the last bit. I would flunk a middle-schooler for proposing this as an example of how science works. And this guy is a tenured professor. My condolences to Lehigh, and its alumni, past and present.

Comment #56529

Posted by Adam Ierymenko on November 11, 2005 11:25 AM (e)

Actually, if you refrain from eating spaghetti anywhere near your experiment, your results should be fine. Oh, and be sure not to dress like a pirate either.

But seriously…

An experiment like this would be worthwhile. Here’s why:

ID’s target audience is *not* true believers. True believers *already* believe, and they’ll believe just about anything if it comes from their ideological tribe. (e.g. Adam and Eve riding on dinosaurs.) ID’s target audience is intelligent people who do not have specialized expertise in biology, information theory, evolution, algorithms, etc. In other words, their target audience is people that they can hoodwink by looking like science and using lots of scientific sounding jargon and (Dembski is the master of this one) impenetrable math.

Every once in a while a story about evolution (or other science topics) pops up on www.slashdot.org and this is demonstrated in practice. You’ll get posters who argue for ID. They are not biologists, but they do tend to be technically inclined folk. This is ID’s target audience.

So consider what an experiment showing the evolution of a really complex system like this would mean to *these* people. These people are not going to believe that the lowar’duh reached into the culture and poofed these adaptiations into existence. For them, such a demonstration would be pretty powerful.

However, I think it would take a *long* time. I think it would take more than 10,000 generations.

Comment #56531

Posted by David Doyle on November 11, 2005 11:28 AM (e)

I know this is only barely on topic, but I also know someone on this thread can answer this. Is it true as I’ve heard that humans only utilize a portion of our brains, and, if so, how would that be explainable from an evolutionary standpoint? Do we have any other systems with excess capacity?

Comment #56533

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 11, 2005 11:32 AM (e)

Russell wrote:

I’m not sure what Paul Nelson’s point was, but I think he’s agreeing with us here: that planning real behavior (or experiments) based on remote probabilities is unwise. (Though the remoteness of the probability of the kind of event that would render Behe’s experiment sensible is a whole lot greater than of a fatal traffic mishap on any given car trip.)

What would we know about the remoteness of the possibility of the Intelligent Designer interfering, since (according to Behe) we know absolutely nothing about the Designer, except for his existence and intelligence?

“We know nothing about the probability” and “the probability must be low” are not only different statements, they are mutually exclusive.

Comment #56534

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on November 11, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

Blast and Paul:
you are making some totally unwarranted assumptions about the Designer, and as you know, that’s supposed to be a big ID no-no.

Blast assumes that we can predict the Designer’s future actions with some certainty based on a ridiculously incomplete understanding of the past (incidentally, Blast, I think most Christians would strongly object to your certainty that the Designer’s last supernatural intervention in the physical world occurred 150,000 years ago). Note that Behe himself went out of his way to assure us, under oath, that ID can make no inferences whatsoever about the Designer from Its designs, other that It designed them.

Paul says that, like a taxi driver, one can safely assume the Designer has some sort of consistent long-term plan, or even benevolent attitude towards its charges’ well-being. That seems fairly unwarranted from the same designer that put TTSS in bacteria (or if TTSS evolved from the flagellum, gave some bacteria the way of developing a deadly weapon by simply shedding some flagellar components - a big design oversight!). I don’t see how one can rule out a Designer who likes to fool the damn’ scientists to believe they evolved a flagellum in the lab, just for the fun of it, or, as RBH said, one who plucks flagella off bacteria to frustrate investigators.

To copy another of Behe’s and ID’s lines of argumentation, I would say that inferential analysis based on the only Designers we know about, i.e. us, suggests that Designers certainly don’t shy away from designing elaborated pranks just for the fun of it. In fact, the way some current experiments are going in my own lab, the hypothesis of a supernatural Designer bent on frustrating researchers by tinkering with bacterial cultures seems highly supported by evidence. ;-)

As for Paul Cady, he just reiterates the point: if one sheds methodological naturalism, all sciences suffer and become just as powerless as ID. Not just “darwinism”, but everything from experimental physics to pharmacology would make no sense if one could not work under the methodological assumption that supernatural intervention does not occur in empirically investigatable systems.

Comment #56535

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 11, 2005 11:35 AM (e)

“We know nothing about the probability” and “the probability must be low” are not only different statements, they are mutually exclusive.

BTW, this is where cosmological fine-tuners such as Heddle keep falling on their *****.

Comment #56536

Posted by Alexey Merz on November 11, 2005 11:38 AM (e)

blast emitted:

Let’s look at the fossil record: what was the last major innovation and when did it occur? Homo sapiens. About 150,000 years ago. On that basis, it would appear the last “tinkering” that occurred, occurred at least 150,000 years ago. So, if we run this experiment with 10,000 generations of bacteria, that will take, let’s say, 30 years; then the chance of tinkering is 30/150,000, which is 1 in 5,000. I think it’s safe to rule out the “tinkering.”

For the moment I will aside the rest of your, um, argument. Apparently, you think that H. sapiens has existed for 150k years, then it must have taken 150k years to evolve. You exhibit reasoning skills found in inly one species: the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal. Fortunately I (like most PT readers) know where my towel is.

Comment #56537

Posted by lmf3b on November 11, 2005 11:38 AM (e)

>>Is it true as I’ve heard that humans only utilize a portion of our brains, and, if so, how would that be explainable from an evolutionary standpoint? Do we have any other systems with excess capacity?

Complete myth, triggered by misunderstandings of early brain studies. I nice explanation (and the evolutionary significance) is found here: http://www.brainconnection.com/topics/?main=fa/brain-myth

Comment #56538

Posted by k.e. on November 11, 2005 11:43 AM (e)

Adam
The evidence (talk origins)is in and the debate is over (all their lies have been debunked) we are battling a blistering blizzard of blithering BS from the DI if those “intelligent target audience” don’t get it now they probably never will. How many great series have been done on TV, they are just not interested.
The battle has moved to the courts, they have lost every case, what is needed is leadership from the top of government and the sane Churches.

Comment #56540

Posted by DJ on November 11, 2005 11:51 AM (e)

Behe wrote:

“To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure, for mobility, say, grow it for 10,000 generations, and see if a flagellum, or any equally complex system, was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.”

Why a small sample for 10,000 generations? Why not, say, quadrillions of bacteria for, say, 3 billion years?

Oh, wait. That’s been done. QED

Comment #56541

Posted by Sean Foley on November 11, 2005 11:54 AM (e)

Let’s look at the fossil record: what was the last major innovation and when did it occur? Homo sapiens. About 150,000 years ago.

Please define “major innovation.” How is Homo sapiens a “major innovation” with respect to H. erectus, H. ergaster, H. antecessor, H. heidelbergensis, or H. neanderthalensis? Does the emergence and diversification of Hippidion discussed here count as a “major innovation”? Why or why not?

Comment #56542

Posted by David Doyle on November 11, 2005 11:56 AM (e)

Thanks, Imf3b. I was wondering why IDers would be pointing to obscurities like flagellum when human consciousness would seem to be sufficiently complex (i.e. too complex for them) for their purposes.

Comment #56544

Posted by Evil Monkey on November 11, 2005 11:57 AM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote:

The Achilles Heel to this entire argument is that it is premised on a Designer/s who is/are able to, and willing to, involve themselves in on-going natural processes. That’s not what ID postulates. ID notes the positive evidence of “design” in nature; it doesn’t postulate that this design is itself continously on-going. So this becomes a straw-man argument.

But ID is consistent with this supposed strawman, therefore ID doesn’t rule it out either. Must be nice to be right all the time!

Let’s look at the fossil record: what was the last major innovation and when did it occur? Homo sapiens.

Yeah, that’s not a completely subjective opinion or anything.

Define “major innovation”.

Why doesn’t somebody run the experiment? Or are you afraid?

I dunno, the DI has a multimillion dollar operating budget. Why don’t they run the experiment? Why are they afraid?

Comment #56545

Posted by k.e. on November 11, 2005 12:02 PM (e)

Alexey Merz

By George, I think you might be onto something there.
Wasn’t the Ravenous Blugbatter Beast from Trall Intelligently Designed?

Comment #56546

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on November 11, 2005 12:03 PM (e)

Russell wrote:

I’m not sure what Paul Nelson’s point was […]

Why assume I was trying to make a point? As an agent with (relative) causal freedom, maybe I was just goofing around in the back of the classroom with the other ID delinquents, stringing together non-sequiturs for my own amusement.

But seriously: the freedom of agents does not entail that one cannot reason about their likely actions. It is possible that an unobserved designer might try to foil all our experiments. It is possible that the taxi driver might choose today to commit suicide on the Kennedy Expressway, and take me with him.

Do I – does anyone – really worry about that? No.

Comment #56547

Posted by Wayne Francis on November 11, 2005 12:04 PM (e)

I just hear this from ABC Radio in Australia.
It is the Saturday 29 October 2005 broadcast and can be found here.

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/default.htm

There is a good piece on ID and the actuall theory of ID with all the explanations you need about 50 minutes into the broadcast. There the ID segment starts 38min into the broadcast.

I recomend everyone to listen to this.

Comment #56549

Posted by Alex L on November 11, 2005 12:05 PM (e)

paul cady wrote:

All you have done is demonstrate that laboratory results regarding either ID or creationism are ambiguous. In other words, all you have done is demonstrate that Darwinism has zero intellectual superiority over ID. Experiments purportedly validating evolution are equally ambiguous for exactly the same reasons you cite. Why then should we allow the teaching of one ambiguity over another?

No, all we’ve done is demonstrated that Intelligent Design can be used to explain any result that Evolution can be used to explain. The converse is not true - if all the little bacteria spontaneously turned into chickens, ID would be able to explain this (it was God/superbeing what done it) but Evolution, and indeed Naturalism as a whole, would be put to some trouble to figure out what the blazes was going on.

If hypothesis X can be used to explain every possible result of every possible experiment (i.e. is unfalsifiable) and hypothesis Y can be used to explain only a comparatively small subset of those results then hypothesis Y is the one that gets promoted to theory status.

BlastFromThePast wrote:

Let’s look at the fossil record: what was the last major innovation and when did it occur? Homo sapiens. About 150,000 years ago. On that basis, it would appear the last “tinkering” that occurred, occurred at least 150,000 years ago. So, if we run this experiment with 10,000 generations of bacteria, that will take, let’s say, 30 years; then the chance of tinkering is 30/150,000, which is 1 in 5,000. I think it’s safe to rule out the “tinkering.”

Why doesn’t somebody run the experiment? Or are you afraid?

I think it’s somewhat risky to say that Homo Sapiens was the last major innovation. Consider the fire ants currently colonising Australia by dint of their unique ability to form insanely large colonies without killing each other off. We just look important to us cos we’re us.

Anyway, the only thing that gets left in a lab for 30 years is a scientist’s moldy sandwich. If you’re willing to babysit a project for that long then so be it, but it’s comparatively unpractical in academia. Apart from the fact that, from the experiment description, setting it up to avoid contamination looks somewhat problematic.

Having said that, I would be interested to see the results of such a long-term experiment. Maybe we could get one step closer to on-demand macroevolution.

Comment #56550

Posted by dr.d. on November 11, 2005 12:10 PM (e)

Evilutionists are indeed hoopy froods.

Comment #56552

Posted by Tiax on November 11, 2005 12:12 PM (e)

To answer the question of why H sapiens is the last ‘major innovation’, that would be because ID is a desperate attempt to cling to the dogma that God (sorry, God or aliens with amazing technology)specially created humans in his (their amazing) image. If humans aren’t the last major innovation, and are instead just another piece of the evolutionary puzzle, then they aren’t special. If humans are special, then the religious dogma falls apart, and ID no longer has a purpose.

Comment #56555

Posted by John on November 11, 2005 12:22 PM (e)

> The Achilles Heel to this entire argument is that it is premised on a Designer/s who is/are able to, and willing to, involve themselves in on-going natural processes. That’s not what ID postulates. ID notes the positive evidence of “design” in nature; it doesn’t postulate that this design is itself continously on-going. So this becomes a straw-man argument.

Don’t try to obfuscate. ID does not - CAN not - exclude the Meddling Designer. Therefore Behe’s proposal for experimental refutation of ID is in principle incorrect.

Moreover, since the Meddling Designer cannot be excluded by ID, NO kind of experiment can disprove ID. And Meddling Designer is logically the same as Supernatural Designer, because only the Supernatural Designer has the power to “ruin” even the best experiment and to remain unnoticed. And if ID excludes such designer, it fails too, because Supernatural Design is its whole point.

> All you have done is demonstrate that laboratory results regarding either ID or creationism are ambiguous. In other words, all you have done is demonstrate that Darwinism has zero intellectual superiority over ID. Experiments purportedly validating evolution are equally ambiguous for exactly the same reasons you cite. Why then should we allow the teaching of one ambiguity over another?

Wrong. We demonstrated that ID has zero intellectual superiority over the theory of evolution, not vice versa.

Experiments validating evolution are not at all ambiguous - unless one discards methodological naturalism. But if one does that, ALL science goes to the trash bin.

You can return to you cave.

Comment #56556

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 11, 2005 12:35 PM (e)

The Achilles Heel to this entire argument is that it is premised on a Designer/s who is/are able to, and willing to, involve themselves in on-going natural processes. That’s not what ID postulates. ID notes the positive evidence of “design” in nature; it doesn’t postulate that this design is itself continously on-going.

So you’re saying that there is designing, but no designer.

That’s actually quite a Zen notion. ID seems to have inadvertently left its Old Testament roots.

Comment #56557

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 11, 2005 12:45 PM (e)

Consider the fire ants currently colonising Australia by dint of their unique ability to form insanely large colonies without killing each other off.

Those aren’t fire ants. They’re just ordinary little black Argentine carpenter ants. Their ability to form enormous colonies is simply due to their utter lack of genetic diversity in the countries where they’re introduced. I know this because I live in California, where these exact same ants have been for more than 25 years, and they now form a ‘colony’ about 500+ miles long. They’re absolutely everywhere.

Comment #56559

Posted by Mike Walker on November 11, 2005 12:48 PM (e)

Michael Behe is, at best, being disingenous when he claims that if, in his proposed experiment, the bacteria did develop flagella that he would declare ID falsified. We all know (as does Behe if he’s honest with himself) that he would simply congratulate evolutionists on finally discovering the step-by-step process he’s been urging them to prove (and take the credit for it too). Then he would say, “OK, so how about that human blood clotting system? That’s way more complex… that one’s gotta be designed.”

Behe has far too much invested in his design beliefs. He will never admit he was wrong.

Comment #56560

Posted by Mike Walker on November 11, 2005 12:57 PM (e)

Heh - I like the idea of a Meddling Designer. Maybe we should start a collection? We could also have an Aloof Designer, an Evil Designer, a Lazy Designer, a Ditzy Designer, a Comic Designer, a Careless Designer, and so on.

I suspect you could find “evidence” for any of these, and a lot more, without having to look too hard.

Comment #56562

Posted by Worldwide Pants on November 11, 2005 12:58 PM (e)

Blast, if you provide the funding, I’ll arrange for the experiment to be performed. I’m serious about this.

As a meta-experiment, we’ll see how many people change sides when the results are in.

Comment #56564

Posted by Adam Marczyk on November 11, 2005 1:05 PM (e)

Paul Nelson wrote:

But seriously: the freedom of agents does not entail that one cannot reason about their likely actions. It is possible that an unobserved designer might try to foil all our experiments. It is possible that the taxi driver might choose today to commit suicide on the Kennedy Expressway, and take me with him.

Do I — does anyone — really worry about that? No.

Paul, the reason we don’t worry about things like that is precisely because we understand something about the psychology, motivation and intentions of human beings. We understand that, in the vast majority of circumstances, human beings do not choose to commit suicide or otherwise endanger their lives for no reason.

ID, on the other hand, is different. Unless we understand something about the motivations and desires of the Designer, we have no justification whatsoever for claiming that he would or would not interfere in a given situation. Are you saying we can understand the Designer’s mind well enough to judge unobserved intervention of this type to be unlikely? If so, how did you gain that understanding?

Comment #56567

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on November 11, 2005 1:15 PM (e)

Paul Nelson wrote:

Why assume I was trying to make a point? As an agent with (relative) causal freedom, maybe I was just goofing around in the back of the classroom with the other ID delinquents, stringing together non-sequiturs for my own amusement.

But seriously: the freedom of agents does not entail that one cannot reason about their likely actions. It is possible that an unobserved designer might try to foil all our experiments. It is possible that the taxi driver might choose today to commit suicide on the Kennedy Expressway, and take me with him.

Do I — does anyone — really worry about that? No.

But you have done what Blast did, you have characterized the designer by making some assumptions about he/she/it/froog.

I do wish that those who espouse the cause of ID would try to get their act in gear and agree on a consistent set of statements. You claim that the designer is predictable is a safe assumption; Blast claims that the designer only intervenes intermittently; Behe says that you’re both in error for making such statements.

And, quite frankly, Ockham disposes of your ‘designer’ - anything that predictable without independent evidence of existence can be safely eliminated from consideration.

Something puzzles me - you appear to be a quite sane and well-spoke ID advocate; how do you deal with the objection that the fundamental analogy - that complexity is a reliable marker for intelligence - has never been verified?

Comment #56568

Posted by Andrew Mead McClure on November 11, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

Mike Walker: You forgot Behe’s proposed “The Designer is Dead” theory

Comment #56569

Posted by LA on November 11, 2005 1:32 PM (e)

Since Behe considers the bacterial flagellum
“irreducibly complex” (in spite of very clear evidence against this), all one would have to do is look for a mutation that significantly changes the bacterial flagellar motor mechanism in some way (perhaps by deactivating one of its components) but still allowed it to operate, even if at diminished efficiency. That would effectivley remove bacterial flagella from the ever shrinking body of his likely candidates for design. Of course, Behe would deny that such a test discredits the design argument.

Comment #56573

Posted by Alex L on November 11, 2005 1:51 PM (e)

Arden Chatfield wrote:

Those aren’t fire ants. They’re just ordinary little black Argentine carpenter ants. Their ability to form enormous colonies is simply due to their utter lack of genetic diversity in the countries where they’re introduced. I know this because I live in California, where these exact same ants have been for more than 25 years, and they now form a ‘colony’ about 500+ miles long. They’re absolutely everywhere.

Ah right, my bad. All the news coverage I saw made it sound like this was a new breed. Will know to pick a better example next time.

Comment #56574

Posted by Brian Foley on November 11, 2005 1:56 PM (e)

Yeah.

I, like, put some air and some water in a jar. And I, like, waited for three years man! And, like, no tornadoes or hurricanes happened at all in that jar. So, like, I guess this PROVES that the weather in intelligently designed.

But we all knew that anyway. The Bible says it’s so.

Never mind…

Comment #56575

Posted by Dene Bebbington on November 11, 2005 1:59 PM (e)

So Behe is a Professor but lacks critical thinking skills and shows himself to be as stupid as pig dribble. But hey, according to Dembski he’s “Dashing” so let’s cut him some slack.

Comment #56576

Posted by Dene Bebbington on November 11, 2005 2:06 PM (e)

Paul Nelson said:

“But seriously: the freedom of agents does not entail that one cannot reason about their likely actions. It is possible that an unobserved designer might try to foil all our experiments. It is possible that the taxi driver might choose today to commit suicide on the Kennedy Expressway, and take me with him.

Do I — does anyone — really worry about that? No.”

Except that foiling experiments and committing suicide and taking others with you are hardly on a par.

Surely we can expect anything from your God who created humans capable of monstrous atrocities that we see happening in the world all the time.

Comment #56577

Posted by RBH on November 11, 2005 2:11 PM (e)

In their comments Paul Nelson, Donald M, and and Blast illustrate the vacuity of the claim that one can do an “experiment” to test the ID conjecture under the conditions Behe specified in his sworn testimony.

Nelson wrote

But seriously: the freedom of agents does not entail that one cannot reason about their likely actions. It is possible that an unobserved designer might try to foil all our experiments. It is possible that the taxi driver might choose today to commit suicide on the Kennedy Expressway, and take me with him.

In order to save the ID conjecture from its untestability, Nelson immediately violates Behe’s core assertion (that one can do research on design in ignorance of the designer) by invoking a property of the behavior of a designer, namely its frequency of action. Any such reasoning must depend on some bases. In the taxi driver Nelson assumes without warrant that designerly interventions are rare events. But IDists present no data to support that assumption. It is purely ad hoc, made solely for the purpose of saving the ID conjecture. Given that ID assumes no constraints on the alleged designer’s (designers’) actions, and given that there are no data bearing on the question of the probability of designer intervention, any such assumption is pure invention. While saying we need know nothing about the designing agent(s), Nelson simultaneously claims that we do know something, namely the frequency of interventions. Absent any data at all on that topic, Nelson’s taxi driver analogy is empty.

Blast wrote

The Achilles Heel to this entire argument is that it is premised on a Designer/s who is/are able to, and willing to, involve themselves in on-going natural processes. That’s not what ID postulates. ID notes the positive evidence of “design” in nature; it doesn’t postulate that this design is itself continously on-going. So this becomes a straw-man argument.

According to Behe, ID postulates only that we know nothing at all about the designer. Surely tacking a flagellum onto a bacterium constitutes the designers “involv[ing] themselves in on-going natural processes” at some time or other. So Blast’s premise fails on ID’s own claims. And ID postulates nothing at all about the frequency of interventions – like Nelson’s claim, Blast’s is ad hoc, designed to save the ID conjecture from an uncomfortable fact about ID “theory”, namely that it puts no constraints at all on what can happen. That must include no constraints on the frequency of intervention. Nelson and Blast are in the same hole: in order to save the conjecture they must impute an ad hoc property to the behavior of designer(s), the frequency of action.

Donald M illustrates a slightly different point, namely that positing unconstrained designer(s) is a science stopper. He wrote

If you’re going to use this argument, then you have to carry it all the way through. How can you be sure that some intelligent designer hasn’t watched and affected the results according to his/her/its whims for every scientific experiment ever conducted? You can’t restrict this argument to just evolutionary biology experiments. How do you know that it isn’t possible that everytime an astronomer looks through his telescope, she only sees what the designer wants her to see? How do you know that the designer didn’t affect Newton’s calculations or Darwin’s observations?

This is in the same category as the question ‘how do you know we all didn’t spring into existence five minutes ago with all our memories of experiences the way they are?’ In other words, its a meaningless objection.

Donald was objecting to my observation that positing an unconstrained designing agent implies that no possible control condition is possible.

Donald here ignores the fact that an unconstrained designer is not my argument: it is ID’s argument. It is ID that says that we need know nothing of the designer, and hence cannot invoke properties (skill set, intentions, frequency of action, etc.) to explain anything. And that leads directly to Donald M’s conclusion: on the ID conjecture, we can have no reliable knowledge – the designer might well have created the whole shebang last Tuesday, complete with all evidence of a deeper past. But that is a pragmatically useless notion, and science is nothing if not pragmatic. It uses what works, and as Donald M makes clear, the ID conjecture doesn’t work. Hence, as several people have noted, we have methodological naturalism. Absent the assumption (and assumption it is) of methodological naturalism, and absent the assumption that natural laws and processes are not whimsically interfered with by unknown agents in unknown ways on unknown schedules, science is impossible. Unconstrained ID truly is a science-stopper.

RBH

Comment #56578

Posted by Jim on November 11, 2005 2:28 PM (e)

I see another problem with Behe’s experiment. Suppose such an experiment was done, and the bacteria evolved. There is no guarantee it would evolve a flagellum. Perhaps it will instead evolve a set of cilia to act as oars, or a jet, or some other method of moving. Evolution is not directed to a specific mechanism to achieve its goal; it operates on random mutations to previously existing structures. Even if the bacteria evolved it is very unlikely it would evolve exactly the same mechanism used by earlier bacteria.
So Behe’s experiment, even if it succeeded in proving evolution, would mostly likely not disprove ID by his criteria.

Comment #56581

Posted by Mike Walker on November 11, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

I believe that Paul Nelson’s inability to prevent himself from making assumptions about the motivations or charactaristics of the “unknown designer” is telling.

Remember this is from someone who’s deeply involved in ID and has learned to couch his words extremely carefully. Others, like the soon-to-be-ex-Dover School Board (wow, it feels good writing that!) had few such inhibitions about attributing highly specific traits (i.e. the Biblical God) to the unknown designer.

Phillip Johnson and the other Wedgies are depending on precisely this fact to win the “war on materialism”. They know that if they manage to sneak ID past the gatekeepers of science with the “unknowable” argument (which none of them believes for one moment), the ultimate objective of identifying the designer as the fundamentalist Christian’s God will take care of itself (at least, in many, many parts of this country).

Fortunately for us, enough of the IDists have left a wide paper trail concerning their deceptions, that the gatekeepers are well armed. Will it be enough? We shall see.

Comment #56582

Posted by CMD on November 11, 2005 2:40 PM (e)

Paul A. Nelson - “But seriously: the freedom of agents does not entail that one cannot reason about their likely actions. It is possible that an unobserved designer might try to foil all our experiments. It is possible that the taxi driver might choose today to commit suicide on the Kennedy Expressway, and take me with him.”

In order to reason about the likely actions of the designer we need to know something about it first. So answer me this, Paul:

What is it about the designer that makes it reasonable for us to assume that the designer will not/does not interfere with scientific experiments, and how have you determined that the attribute or quality that makes tinkering with experiments unlikely is an attribute or quality that the designer actually possess?

Comment #56587

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 11, 2005 3:18 PM (e)

Paul A. Nelson wrote:

But seriously: the freedom of agents does not entail that one cannot reason about their likely actions. It is possible that an unobserved designer might try to foil all our experiments. It is possible that the taxi driver might choose today to commit suicide on the Kennedy Expressway, and take me with him.

Do I — does anyone — really worry about that? No.

It took me about 10 seconds of Googling to come up with some statistics on automobile accidents. Perhaps you could tell me where you found statistics on the occurence of miracles design events, and what those numbers are? Or would you rather admit that your analogy is inappropriate and worthless?

Comment #56590

Posted by Robert Fersch on November 11, 2005 3:33 PM (e)

A new flagellum in 10,000 generations? A ridiculous test. Not only would evolution not work that quickly, it also assumes that development of a flagellum is the only way that a microbe could adapt to the selective pressure. There’s a myriad of other ways that adaptation to selective pressure could take place; one can’t make a prediction about how it would happen. Absurd.

Comment #56591

Posted by Tiax on November 11, 2005 3:38 PM (e)

zarquon wrote:

It seems there is a flaw in the tin foil plan.

No one has yet claimed the pun, as far as I can see, so I will do so:

Blast! Foiled again!

Comment #56598

Posted by Russell on November 11, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

I must say, this has proved a particularly ID-devastating post and subsequent discussion. Thanks to RBH and all involved, especially Blast, Paul Nelson and Donald M!

Comment #56604

Posted by Bagaaz on November 11, 2005 5:01 PM (e)

I spotted that big gaping hole in Behe’s experiment as I was reading the transcript several weeks ago. Posted my thoughts on several sites, and also to a journalist at the York Daily record. I was waiting for other people to catch on. Seems that everyone was way behind me… ;)

Comment #56613

Posted by Paul A. Nelson on November 11, 2005 5:46 PM (e)

I might have taken this discussion more seriously, had I not just a few weeks ago attended Chris Adami’s lecture at the AAAS in Washington, DC. Adami said that his Nature paper on the evolutionary origin of complex features was intended to test Mike Behe’s arguments about irreducible complexity.

Not a word about how the designer might be capricious. Yes indeed – the designer might be wildly capricious. Might be an infant deity. Might be a team of adolescent, bad-humored super aliens. Might be the FSM, blessed be He of Noodly Power.

But Adami focused on irreducible complexity, and how it could be achieved via an evolutionary pathway: i.e., on the very real empirical content of Behe’s position. Great talk, and (I imagine) the grounds for future discussion between Behe and Adami.

Yet how could that be? How could Adami have spent so much time working on his Avida experiments, with Behe’s position in mind for testing? Surely Chris should have realized it was all a waste of time, given that the designer – that mischief maker! – could have tweaked Chris’s computer simulations at any moment.

Never came up.

ID is untestable. In principle. No, wait – ID is false, because we tested it. No, that’s wrong, too: ID is untestable and false. No, that’s still not right: ID is untestable, also false (because we tested it), a danger to the culture, and an overture to theocracy.

Maybe the designer is a taxi driver. Not a suicidal one, however. Well, maybe he’s a little depressed. That’s it: he’s a morose spaghetti monster driving a Yellow Cab on the southside of Chicago. A White Sox’s fan, but still blue because his meatballs are cold, and no one thinks he made the bacterial flagellum.

Comment #56614

Posted by pondscum on November 11, 2005 5:50 PM (e)

The comments about the motivation(s) of the designer remind me of the “omphalos” arguments still put forth by some creationists. That is, that the designer has designed a world that looks old, has fossils, and even Adam had a navel. So, how does ID keep one from invoking an omphalos argument?

Comment #56615

Posted by SteveF on November 11, 2005 5:51 PM (e)

How does testing Behe’s arguments for irreducible complexity add up to a test for intelligent design? Seems to me that IC is an argument against evolution, not an argument for ID.

Comment #56616

Posted by Steve S on November 11, 2005 6:02 PM (e)

Some ID claims are in principle testable. Some ID claims are not. The latter are the ones people like Behe tend to make. Since there is no official ID theory–as you sometimes admit, Paul–it’s not clear whether the statement “ID is testable” is true or not.

Anyway Paul, suck on Dover. You cretins deserve it.

Comment #56617

Posted by Steve S on November 11, 2005 6:04 PM (e)

Hey Paul if you want to see how honest your DI buddies are, check out the new Dembski post on Ed Brayton’s site.

Your boy is a liar.

Comment #56619

Posted by A. L. R. on November 11, 2005 6:10 PM (e)

So Mr. Nelson, when Behe was testifying under oath that one is not entitled to assumptions about the designer, was he lying then or are you lying now?

Comment #56621

Posted by PaulC on November 11, 2005 6:16 PM (e)

ID is untestable. In principle. No, wait — ID is false, because we tested it. No, that’s wrong, too: ID is untestable and false. No, that’s still not right: ID is untestable, also false (because we tested it), a danger to the culture, and an overture to theocracy.

Try: ID as presented by its proponents is untestable. They aren’t very cooperative about making it testable, so occasionally scientists like Adami will tease out a testable hypothesis consistent with ID. Invariably, it turns out to be false.

Comment #56623

Posted by A. L. R. on November 11, 2005 6:24 PM (e)

Oh, and since the Rev. Flank isn’t here, do you categorically condemn the dangerous lies of HIV/AIDS denial published in the magazine on whose editorial advisory board you sit, or are you equivocal about this?

Comment #56625

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 11, 2005 6:26 PM (e)

paul steps in himself:

the freedom of agents does not entail that one cannot reason about their likely actions

oh? well that’s something I’d really like to see, Paul. Please, just for us, elucidate the likely actions of intelligent agents in the experiment proposed above. While you’re at it, please cite the source for your estimation of the probablity of action for this agent.

I’m listening.

Comment #56626

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 11, 2005 6:36 PM (e)

All you have done is demonstrate that laboratory results regarding either ID or creationism are ambiguous. In other words, all you have done is demonstrate that Darwinism has zero intellectual superiority over ID. Experiments purportedly validating evolution are equally ambiguous for exactly the same reasons you cite. Why then should we allow the teaching of one ambiguity over another?

very simple answer P. Cady:

the scientific method has been shown to work for 100’s of years now. that refutes your argument quite nicely.

BTW, there has NEVER been a scientific experiment designed (correctly) to VALIDATE and theory. In fact, any scientific experiment is correctly designed to REJECT a hypothesis, not validate one. This reflects your, and most creationists, lack of basic understanding of how science works to begin with.

If you wish to argue a point, perhaps you should actually understand the subject matter first, otherwise you are no better than our resident troll, Blast.

Comment #56627

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 11, 2005 6:38 PM (e)

change “and” (after validate) above to “any”

Comment #56628

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 11, 2005 6:41 PM (e)

Hey Mr Nelson, I have some questions for you that you seem to keep running away from.

Since I got tired of typeing them all the time, I put them up on the web so everyone can see for themselves:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/nelson.html

Feel free to answer at any time, Paul.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Yep, that’s what I thought.

Comment #56630

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 11, 2005 6:47 PM (e)

Why assume I was trying to make a point?

I never assume that, Paul. I just assume that, like always, you are an evasive dishonest charlatan. (shrug)

Comment #56631

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 11, 2005 6:47 PM (e)

… and after having yet another good laugh at Blast’s expense, all i have to say about his latest incoherent missive is that i think god poked him in the eye and caused him some serious brain damage…

no, wait, that would be “tinkering”, wouldn’t it?

Comment #56632

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 11, 2005 6:49 PM (e)

Hey Blast, may I ask how it is that YOU happen to know what God – er, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Designer – would or wouldn’t do?

Comment #56633

Posted by Whitey on November 11, 2005 6:51 PM (e)

Paul Nelson wrote: Adami said that his Nature paper on the evolutionary origin of complex features was intended to test Mike Behe’s arguments about irreducible complexity.

The distinction that seems to be escaping you is that Behe’s arguments can and have been tested. RBH’s point is that the test that Behe describes is a joke. Are you really blind to it, or are you just trying to wriggle away from the position you’ve taken?

Why won’t you answer the challenge? You’ve claimed–in contradiction to Behe–to be able to predict the behavior of an unidentifiable Designer.

As ALR noted, the question for you is, when Behe was testifying under oath that one (presumably including you) is not entitled to assumptions about the designer, was he lying then or are you lying now?

But Adami focused on irreducible complexity, and how it could be achieved via an evolutionary pathway: i.e., on the very real empirical content of Behe’s position.

Yes, and RBH’s point is that Behe was avoiding addressing the empirical content of his own position. Why won’t you do Behe’s experiment? Why won’t Behe?

Comment #56634

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 11, 2005 6:55 PM (e)

Hey Donald, how do you know what when a doctor gives a patient medicine for some condition, that it’s really doing anything at all, and that God – er, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Designer – isn’t just reaching down form heaven to POOF away that disease?

Since there is simply no way for you to know with absolute certainty that any medicine does… well … anything at all, I’m kind of curious. When you get sick, do you take medicines? Do you go to a doctor? Why? Are you, after all yo0ur handwaving and blustering, just an atheist at heart, who asks his materialistic naturalistic doctor to use materialistic naturalistic medicines to cure your materialistic naturalistic diseases?

No need to answer me, Donald. I know you won’t anyway, and besides, you really don’t have any way of knowing with absolute certainty that I even exist — maybe God, er, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Designer, is just POOFING the thought into your head that I actually exist? Can you demonstrate otherwise? Can you demonstrate with certainty that ANYTHING exists, or that you are not just a disembodied brain flaoting in a jar in someone’s lab somewhere?

Gee, solipsism is fun, isn’t it. But if I were you, I wouldn’t base my theology on it.

Comment #56640

Posted by Art on November 11, 2005 7:19 PM (e)

The issue, Paul, is not the testability of ID or even IC, but rather the utility (or lack therefof) of Behe’s proposed means for falsifying his suggestion for the origins of the bacterial flagellum. Behe’s method fails because he does not, indeed he cannot include in his study a negative control.

As for Adami et al., I think it should be noted that the IDist responses usually take one of two forms. The first - “it’s” not really IC - betrays the uselessness of the concept of IC as a tool for teasing out suggestions of design. The second - injection of CSI by something or someone - is in fact a manifestation of the shortcoming that RBH (and John before him) points out. Any experimental success will be explained away by ID supporters by invoking “injection of information”. Since such an event is not something that is deliberately done by the experimental scientist, this means that it is in principle impossible to design a testable hypothesis that pertains to ID, because it is impossible to design the necessary controls.

Paul, you apparently guided Dembski along these lines when he wrote NFL - at least that’s what I recall in the section pertaining to SELEX. The awkward excuse you and Dembski use to avoid the implications of SELEX establishes that ID is not amenable to the sort of experimental study that most of us are familiar with.

Comment #56644

Posted by RBH on November 11, 2005 7:39 PM (e)

Paul Nelson wrote

Yet how could that be? How could Adami have spent so much time working on his Avida experiments, with Behe’s position in mind for testing? Surely Chris should have realized it was all a waste of time, given that the designer — that mischief maker! — could have tweaked Chris’s computer simulations at any moment.

Never came up.

I can think of at least two reasons it never came up. First, Adami wasn’t aware that the designer(s) might have been undetectably screwing around with his computers. Not everyone is as aware of the slipperiness of the ID conjecture in that respect as some of us here are. The only people I’ve encountered who thought a computer’s memory was undetectably accessible to an “intelligence” without regular old matter and energy transfers were a couple of ex-Bell Labs guys who had wandered off into psychic-land and thought they had showed (via an experimental design as flawed as Behe’s) that people could remotely sense the state of their computer’s memory.

Second, Nelson declined to raise the ID assumption of an unconstrained intervening designer with Adami, knowing that Adami would laugh in his face.

But again, as Art and others have noted, the topic of my piece is Behe’s suggestion, not the Lenski, et al., experiments. Nelson’s bobbing and weaving is duly noted.

RBH

Comment #56652

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 11, 2005 8:10 PM (e)

I still like my ‘hapless meddling designer’:
[quote]my theory, which is mine, that belongs to me is this:

God (whoops start again…)

The Intelligent Designer took a lot of trouble to cover his tracks - otherwise people that believed in him wouldn’t need ‘faith’ - they’d have hard evidence of his existence. Everyone would be a beleiver, everyone saved: result: overcrowding in Heaven; unemployment in Hell and Southern Baptist Churches (from an idea of Douglas Adams’)
But now Dembski and the lads are onto him; so now he’s involved in desperate attempts at cover-up; “why oh why did I leave that smoking flagellum lying around?” - he’s got to do something to hold back these ID sleuths somehow: slip them some Oxycontin? No, tried that, plant cash on them?, bad idea: brainwave! - do the voting machine trick - why not? it worked before: however he gets too keen so the results in one ward betray intelligent design!!!!.
Oh No! - the only thing to do now is to get on the phone to his agent on earth, Pat Robertson, to pave the way for some devine vengance to destroy the evidence (plague of frogs/locusts, tempest, earthquake etc - universal flood being ruled out of course)- that way no sane person will believe its the ID when it happens!
I’m confident that the ‘missing votes’ affair will blow his cover and the whole thing will come to be known as “Cashmangate” or “Frogate” or “Dembskigate” or something.
Now who says the far-right have the monopoly on conspiracy theory? - and where did I leave my happy pills?[/quote]

Comment #56654

Posted by Genie on November 11, 2005 8:30 PM (e)

Behe wrote:

“To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure, for mobility, say, grow it for 10,000 generations, and see if a flagellum, or any equally complex system, was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.”

If a scientist put a flagellum under selective pressure for mobility and a flagellum appeared, wouldn’t this be an example of design, the way IDers look at it? After all, they don’t accept genetic algorithms or AI research, claiming such findings are the result of “putting intelligence into the system.” Might not they claim that intelligence was put into the system because a human being set up the selective circumstances?

Just asking.

Genie

Comment #56655

Posted by mark on November 11, 2005 8:36 PM (e)

I know of no designer “shielding” that would protect the experiment from interference

But now there is! Just do the experiment in Dover, Pennsylvania–according to Pat Robertson, God has left Dover because the voters wanted him gone.

Comment #56656

Posted by shiva on November 11, 2005 8:59 PM (e)

Scientists and the well wishers of science (as opposed to charlatans and their factotums) are decent folk. So even after having read their grandiose assertions (‘standing room only’; ‘we find ourselves in debate’) folks at PT assume IDCists are trying to say something. As for whether IDCists take this discussion seriously or not; it is irrelevant. Their opinions on science are valueless to the scientific community. Science is very hard work and people who make their money writing tracts for cranks simply aren’t there. Well for some time they will be taken seriously after that they become interesting research subjects.

Comment #56659

Posted by Donald M on November 11, 2005 9:16 PM (e)

RBH wrote:

Donald was objecting to my observation that positing an unconstrained designing agent implies that no possible control condition is possible.

Donald here ignores the fact that an unconstrained designer is not my argument: it is ID’s argument. It is ID that says that we need know nothing of the designer, and hence cannot invoke properties (skill set, intentions, frequency of action, etc.) to explain anything. And that leads directly to Donald M’s conclusion: on the ID conjecture, we can have no reliable knowledge — the designer might well have created the whole shebang last Tuesday, complete with all evidence of a deeper past. But that is a pragmatically useless notion, and science is nothing if not pragmatic. It uses what works, and as Donald M makes clear, the ID conjecture doesn’t work. Hence, as several people have noted, we have methodological naturalism. Absent the assumption (and assumption it is) of methodological naturalism, and absent the assumption that natural laws and processes are not whimsically interfered with by unknown agents in unknown ways on unknown schedules, science is impossible. Unconstrained ID truly is a science-stopper.

It is not correct to say that ID says we need know nothing of the designer. What IDP’s have said is that the identity of the designer is not relevant. Examination of artifacts does indeed yield some clues about possible characteristics of a designer. Archaealogists do this all the time. So do biologists. Doesn’t a scientist researching, say, dino bones get some clues about the characteristics and behavior of an animal that has never been observed alive just by looking at the fossils? In the same vein, we do have some clues about the charactersitics of a possible designer in nature by what nature itself shows us.

We observe order and complexity in all sorts of natural systems. Based on that, it would be reasonable to assume that if some of that order and complexity were the result of purposeful design, then the designer would also be a being of order and complexity, rather than capriciousness and disorder. Your argument confuses what characteristics a designer might posses with the identity of the designer. We can gain clues to the former without knowing the latter. If the design we observe throughout natural systems is real an not merely apparent, then it is reasonable to infer some characterstics of the designer without being overly concerned with the designer’s identity.

What isn’t correct is to say that since we don’t know the designer’s identity, then we can’t know anything at all about him/her/it. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason to assume capriciousness or willful meddling, so no reason to think that our scientific tests are being manipulated to yield results a certain way. That is why I don’t think this objection to ID holds much weight. The worry is not justified by what we actually observe.

Free of that worry, it isn’t at all unreasonable to infer actual design by what we observe in some natural systems. What is unreasonable is to assume that all natural phenomenon must have a natural cause and therefore there can be no actual design in any natural system. What compelling reason is there to assume that all natural phenomenon will yield to materialistic explanations? If we have no such compelling reason, then how can MN be regarded as a regulative principle of science? Furthermore, there is no scientific test for MN, nor any way conceivable way to conduct one. It is, as RBH said, an assumption, but is it the right assumption or even a good assumption? I think not. Absent compelling reasons to think that all natural phenomenon will yield to purely materialistic causes, then imposing MN on science restricts science arbitrarily.

Perhaps you are familiar with this quote from “Nature, Design and Science” by Del Ratzsch (State University of New York Press: 2001) pg 146.

“People are, of course, perfectly free to stipulate such definitions [of science] if they wish. What no one is free to do, however, is to make such stipulations, erect on those stipulations various prohibitions concerning what science can and cannot consider, then claim that what science produces under those prohibitions is truth, rational belief, accurate mirrors of reality, self-correctiveness, or anything of the sort. The character of the results will be constrained by the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the original stipulations. If nature does not ignore design and if design factors into relevant empirical structures, then any science built on proscriptions against design will inevitably fall into one of two difficulties. Either it will be forever incomplete (the…promissory note being forever passed along but never paid), or it will eventually get off track, with no prospect of getting back on track (key elements of the track having been placed beyond permissible bounds of discussion), thereby turning science from a correlate of nature into a humanly contrived artifact.”

Ratzsch has it exactly correct. MN turns science from a correlate of nature, which it should be, into a humanly contrived artifact. The worries about “capricious” designers are unjustified and certainly do not support the need for MN. MN, however, is necessary, if one intends to eliminate actual design as a live possibility in science a priori.

Comment #56660

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 11, 2005 9:27 PM (e)

Examination of artifacts does indeed yield some clues about possible characteristics of a designer

hmm. assuming you are implying the examination of HUMAN artifacts, you are correct, but the point is irrelevant. ID has not proposed that HUMANS were involved as the mechanism of common descent. You certainly could use your analogy to make conclusions about an intelligent designer, if in fact, we had a confirmed “artifact” of an intelligent designer at hand. However, if you decide that a flagellum is an “artifact” of such nature, then you are just using a perfectly circular argument.

the difference is, we are quite sure when we make inferences from human-made artificats, that they ARE human made artifacts to begin with.

Now if you wanted to really help ID, Donald, you should go get a grant from DI to “find” an artifact that could somehow be confirmed to have been created by an “intelligent designer” of some kind, so we could make inferences from it.

hmmm. maybe you might start at area 51?

Comment #56661

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 11, 2005 9:33 PM (e)

, if you decide that a flagellum is an “artifact” of such nature, then you are just using a perfectly circular argument

oh, and i might add, also empolying an entirely SUBJECTIVE criteria in making that decision as well.

It would be equally as subjective as me saying that a flagellum is “cute”.

but that’s what it boils down to for you, isn’t it? it’s all subjective in your mind. hence the whole point of the entire thread; since your definition of something as irreducibly complex (which is just jargon for : “it can’t be!”) is entirely subjective, there is NO way for any null hypothesis to be testable, is there.

I don’t know why you guys keep supporting the arguments presented here so well, but keep it up, you’re doing a great job.

Comment #56666

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 11, 2005 10:09 PM (e)

What compelling reason is there to assume that all natural phenomenon will yield to materialistic explanations?

You kep yammering about this “materialistic” stuff, Donald. What, exactly, do you mean by that?

What, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than, say, weather forecasting or accident investigation or medicine. Please be as specific as possible.

I have never, in all my life, ever heard any weather forecaster mention “god” or “divine will” or any “supernatural” anything, at all. Ever. Does this mean, in your view, that weather forecasting is atheistic (oops, I mean, “materialistic” and “naturalistic” —- we don’t want any judges to think ID’s railing against “materialism” has any RELIGIOUS purpose, do we)?

I have yet, in all my 44 years of living, to ever hear any accifdent investigator declare solemnly at the scene of an airplane crash, “We can’t explain how it happened, so an Unknown Intelligent Being must have dunnit.” I have never yet heard an accident investigator say that “this crash has no materialistic causes — it must have been the Will of Allah”. Does this mean, in your view, that accident investigation is atheistic (oops, sorry, I meant to say “materialistic” and “naturalistic” — we don’t want any judges to know that it is “atheism” we are actually waging a religious crusade against, do we)?

How about medicine. When you get sick, do you ask your doctor to abandon his “materialistic biases” and to investigate possible “supernatural” or “non-materialistic” causes for your disease? Or do you ask your doctor to cure your naturalistic materialistic diseases by using naturalistic materialistic antibiotics to kill your naturalistic materialistic germs?

Since it seems to me as if weather forecasting, accident investigation, and medicine are every bit, in every sense,just as utterly completely totally absolutely one-thousand-percent “materialistic” as evolutionary biology is, why, specifically, is it just evolutionary biology that gets your panties all in a bunch? Why aren’t you and your fellow Wedge-ites out there fighting the good fight against godless materialistic naturalistic weather forecasting, or medicine, or accident investigation?

Comment #56667

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 11, 2005 10:11 PM (e)

What compelling reason is there to assume that all natural phenomenon will yield to materialistic explanations? If we have no such compelling reason, then how can MN be regarded as a regulative principle of science? Furthermore, there is no scientific test for MN, nor any way conceivable way to conduct one. It is, as RBH said, an assumption, but is it the right assumption or even a good assumption? I think not. Absent compelling reasons to think that all natural phenomenon will yield to purely materialistic causes, then imposing MN on science restricts science arbitrarily.

How dreadful.

I re-post, again:

The scientific method is very simple, and consists of five basic steps. They are:

1. Observe some aspect of the universe

2. Form a hypothesis that potentially explains what you have observed

3. Make testible predictions from that hypothesis

4. Make observations or experiments that can test those predictions

5. Modify your hypothesis until it is in accord with all observations and predictions

NOTHING in any of those five steps excludes on principle, a priori, any “supernatural cause”. Using this method, one is entirely free to invoke as many non-material pixies, ghosts, goddesses, demons, devils, djinis, and/or the Great Pumpkin, as many times as you like, in any or all of your hypotheses. And science won’t (and doesn’t) object to that in the slightest. Indeed, scientific experiments have been proposed (and carried out and published) on such “supernatural causes” as the effects of prayer on healing, as well as such “non-materialistic” or “non-natural” causes as ESP, telekinesis, precognition and “remote viewing”. So ID’s claim that science unfairly rejects supernatural or non-material causes out of hand on principle, is demonstrably quite wrong.

However, what science DOES require is that any supernatural or non-material hypothesis, whatever it might be, then be subjected to steps 3, 4 and 5. And HERE is where ID fails miserably.

To demonstate this, let’s pick a particular example of an ID hypothesis and see how the scientific method can be applied to it: One claim made by many ID creationists explains the genetic similarity between humans and chimps by asserting that God — uh, I mean, An Unknown Intelligent Designer — created both but used common features in a common design.

Let’s take this hypothesis and put it through the scientific method:

1. Observe some aspect of the universe.

OK, so we observe that humans and chimps share unique genetic markers, including a broken vitamin C gene and, in humans, a fused chromosome that is identical to two of the chimp chromosomes (with all the appropriate doubled centromeres and telomeres).

2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.

OK, the proposed ID hypothesis is “an intelligent designer used a common design to produce both chimps and humans, and that common design included placing the signs of a fused chromosome and a broken vitamin C gene in both products.”

3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.

Well, here is ID supernaturalistic methodology’s chance to shine. What predictions can we make from ID’s hypothesis? If an Intelligent Designer used a common design to produce both chimps and humans, then we would also expect to see … ?

IDers, please fill in the blank.

And, to better help us test ID’s hypothesis, it is most useful to point out some negative predictions — things which, if found, would FALSIFY the hypothesis and demonstrate conclusively that the hypothesis is wrong. So, then — if we find (fill in the blank here), then the “common design” hypothesis would have to be rejected.

4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.

Well, the IDers seem to be sort of stuck on step 3. Despite all their voluminous writings and arguments, IDers have never yet given ANY testible predictions from their ID hypothesis that can be verified through experiment.

Take note here — contrary to the IDers whining about the “unfair exclusion of supernatural causes”, there are in fact NO limits imposed by the scientific method on the nature of their predictions, other than the simple ones indicated by steps 3, 4 and 5 (whatever predictions they make must be testible by experiments or further observations.) They are entirely free to invoke whatever supernatural causes they like, in whatever number they like, so long as they follow along to steps 3,4 and 5 and tell us how we can test these deities or causes using experiment or further observation. Want to tell us that the Good Witch Glenda used her magic non-naturalistic staff to POP these genetic sequences into both chimps and humans? Fine —- just tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test that. Want to tell us that God — er, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Designer — didn’t like humans very much and therefore decided to design us with broken vitamin C genes? Hey, works for me — just as soon as you tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test it. Feel entirely and totally free to use all the supernaturalistic causes that you like. Just tell us what experiment or observation we can perform to test your predictions.

Let’s assume for a moment that the IDers are right and that science is unfairly biased against supernaturalist explanations. Let’s therefore hypothetically throw methodological materialism right out the window. Gone. Bye-bye. Everything’s fair game now. Ghosts, spirits, demons, devils, cosmic enlightenment, elves, pixies, magic star goats, whatever god-thing you like. Feel free to include and invoke ALL of them. As many as you need. All the IDers have to do now is simply show us all how to apply the scientific method to whatever non-naturalistic science they choose to invoke in order to subject the hypothesis “genetic similarities between chimps and humans are the product of a common design”, or indeed ANY other non-material or super-natural ID hypothesis, to the scientific method.

And that is where ID “theory” falls flat on its face. It is NOT any presupposition of “philosophical naturalism” on the part of science that stops ID dead in its tracks —- it is the simple inability of ID “theory” to make any testible predictions. Even if we let them invoke all the non-naturalistic designers they want, intelligent design “theory” STILL can’t follow the scientific method.

Deep down inside, what the IDers are really moaning and complaining about is NOT that science unfairly rejects their supernaturalistic explanations, but that science demands ID’s proposed “supernaturalistic explanations” be tested according to the scientific method, just like every OTHER hypothesis has to be. Not only can ID not test any of its “explanations”, but it wants to modify science so it doesn’t HAVE to. In effect, the IDers want their supernaturalistic “hypothesis” to have a privileged position —- they want their hypothesis to be accepted by science WITHOUT being tested; they want to follow steps one and two of the scientific method, but prefer that we just skip steps 3,4 and 5, and just simply take their religious word for it, on the authority of their own say-so, that their “science” is correct. And that is what their entire argument over “materialism” (or “naturalism” or “atheism” or “sciencism” or “darwinism” or whatever the heck else they want to call it) boils down to.

There is no legitimate reason for the ID hypothesis to be privileged and have the special right to be exempted from testing, that other hypotheses do not. I see no reason why their hypotheses, whatever they are, should not be subjected to the very same testing process that everyone ELSE’s hypotheses, whatever they are, have to go through. If they cannot put their “hypothesis” through the same scientific method that everyone ELSE has to, then they have no claim to be “science”. Period.

Donald, feel free to point out which step of the scientific method you feel unfairly excludes your religious opinions, and how you would suggest altering that step to accomodate your complaint.

Or, would you just prefer that we not test anything,a nd jsut take your religious word for it?

Comment #56668

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 11, 2005 10:13 PM (e)

Donald, why can’t you jsut come right out and say that the designer is God, and that your basic bitch is that science is “atheistic” and doesn’t opay any attentnion to your religious opinions?

Why be so evasive, deceptive, and dishonest about it? Why not just pipe right up and SAY it?

Why lie about it?

Comment #56669

Posted by BlastfromthePast on November 11, 2005 10:22 PM (e)

Ved Rocke wrote:

So, not only has god not done any major tinkering with anything anywhere in the world in the last 150,000 years, but you’re considering the addition of a flagellum to be on par with the changes needed to define our species from our last ancestor?

That is just hilarious!

Isn’t it fair for me to term the Darwinian notion that it took evolution a billion and a half years to go from bacteria to yeast, while taking evolution only, what, less than a million to go from primate ancestors to homo sapiens as hilarious?

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

Blast assumes that we can predict the Designer’s future actions with some certainty based on a ridiculously incomplete understanding of the past (incidentally, Blast, I think most Christians would strongly object to your certainty that the Designer’s last supernatural intervention in the physical world occurred 150,000 years ago).

What seems ridiculous is the kinds of notions that PTers want to apply to the designer. By the way, “k.e.”, the only thing important for us to know about the “intelligent designer” is that he is (1) intelligent, and (2) able to design.

As to “interventions”, I limited myself–as I believe you should–to creative, biological interventions. (And, let me add, it is perfectly within the character of the Judeo-Christian God, if, for argument’s sake we want to go down this road, to act in such a way as to leave hardly a trace of his activity. In other words, there will probably be some kind of fully naturalistic “cause”, some empirical step, if you will–but one we can’t fully understand.)

Alexey Merz wrote:

For the moment I will aside the rest of your, um, argument. Apparently, you think that H. sapiens has existed for 150k years, then it must have taken 150k years to evolve. You exhibit reasoning skills found in inly one species.

You seem to have completely missed the point of my argument. Please rethink what I wrote, and what you wrote. I think you’ll find your reply a non sequitor. I was talking about “interventions.”

Sean Foley wrote:

Please define “major innovation.” How is Homo sapiens a “major innovation” with respect to H. erectus, H. ergaster, H. antecessor, H. heidelbergensis, or H. neanderthalensis?

Sean, if I push the time further back–which you seem to be suggesting–it only strengthens my argument.

Evil Monkey wrote:

But ID is consistent with this supposed strawman, therefore ID doesn’t rule it out either. Must be nice to be right all the time!

It’s completely unnecessary for ID to make such a claim. Think about this: If a tree falls in the forest, but nobody hears it, did it really fall? If inteventions are happening all the time, and there’s no evidence of it, then is it really happening?

Kind of a waste of time to think this way, don’t you agree?

And, by the way, it’s nice to know the truth. If that means you’re right, so be it. But I’ll take the truth over the hubris of feeling you’re right.

Alex L wrote:

I would be interested to see the results of such a long-term experiment. Maybe we could get one step closer to on-demand macroevolution.

His name evades me, but there’s somebody (on your side) who’s doing that. I think it is Lenski. But somebody here must know his hame.

Tiax wrote:

If humans aren’t the last major innovation, and are instead just another piece of the evolutionary puzzle, then they aren’t special. If humans are special, then the religious dogma falls apart, and ID no longer has a purpose.

I suppose you’re talking about what might happen in the future when you talk about the “last major innovation”. But, as of now, that’s what the fossil record tells us.

John wrote:

Moreover, since the Meddling Designer cannot be excluded by ID, NO kind of experiment can disprove ID.

This is the very point I’m disputing.

John wrote:

And Meddling Designer is logically the same as Supernatural Designer, because only the Supernatural Designer has the power to “ruin” even the best experiment and to remain unnoticed. And if ID excludes such designer, it fails too, because Supernatural Design is its whole point.

What you write is completely hypothetical. And, if taken seriously, would vitiate the desire of any experimenter to spend time and energy in the lab. So, the fact that everyday biologists do spend time in their labs and work hard proves either that they don’t take this kind of silliness seriously, or that the proposition is itself untrue.

If they don’t take it seriously, then why should I. If it is untrue, then you have no argument.

Arden Chatfield wrote:

So you’re saying that there is designing, but no designer.

No. I’m saying there’s evidence for design–reason can lead one to that. But how exactly, and the when and the where, these things reason cannot ferret out. (And certainly at this point it’s not essential to know this). So, for example, one can find out that the brain of John F. Kennedy is MISSING from the National Archives and rightly conclude that it was stolen–given the kind of guard protection the Archives enjoy; but that doesn’t tell us anything about who did it, when, or how.

Rilke's Grandaughter wrote:

I do wish that those who espouse the cause of ID would try to get their act in gear and agree on a consistent set of statements. You claim that the designer is predictable is a safe assumption; Blast claims that the designer only intervenes intermittently; Behe says that you’re both in error for making such statements.

I’m not claiming that the designer only intervenes intermittenly. I only used that example to illustrate that it’s an odd way to look at ID.

RBH wrote:

According to Behe, ID postulates only that we know nothing at all about the designer. Surely tacking a flagellum onto a bacterium constitutes the designers “involv[ing] themselves in on-going natural processes” at some time or other. So Blast’s premise fails on ID’s own claims. And ID postulates nothing at all about the frequency of interventions — like Nelson’s claim, Blast’s is ad hoc, designed to save the ID conjecture from an uncomfortable fact about ID “theory”, namely that it puts no constraints at all on what can happen. That must include no constraints on the frequency of intervention. Nelson and Blast are in the same hole: in order to save the conjecture they must impute an ad hoc property to the behavior of designer(s), the frequency of action.

But if you look back on the discussion you’ll see that it wasn’t my “premise”, it was somebody else’s, which I took seriously and demonstrated, in my own way, that the thinking involved is faulty. Further, I showed that from what we can know, the seeming likelihood of such “interventions” is quite small, and therefore, not of any serious consequence. It was neither “my” claim; nor ad hoc. To go further still, it’s my distinct impression that these kinds of claims on the part of PTers is a stretch on their part so that they don’t feel compelled to conduct the experiment Behe proposes.

RDLenny Flank wrote:

Hey Blast, may I ask how it is that YOU happen to know what God — er, I mean The Unknown Intelligent Designer — would or wouldn’t do?

But, Lenny, it wasn’t I who was going on about what the Designer may or may not do, it was a PTer. I simply gave a response that indicated such goings on shouldn’t be taken seriously–per the fossil record!

Comment #56670

Posted by John on November 11, 2005 10:23 PM (e)

in comment #56500, k.e. said

irreducibly complex is completely and utterly dead you won’t be seeing it again anytime soon unless groupies are singing it in the streets.

Don’t bet on it. Irreducible Complexity is just a new name for William Paley’s Argument from Design, circa 1802. Some IDiots still use “a watch implies a watchmaker.” They keep exhuming the same arguments, time after time. Showing that they’re still wrong won’t stop them. I think they believe that if they shout long enough and loud enough, we’ll say, “Okay. Fine. If we agree to call ID science, will you please shut up?”

As annoying as they are, I hope that never happens.

Comment #56671

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 11, 2005 10:28 PM (e)

Hey Blast, you’re babbling again.

Now, about those genes for cobra venom in a garter snake …. ?

Comment #56672

Posted by RBH on November 11, 2005 10:30 PM (e)

Donald M displays another IDist trait, learned, perhaps, from Paul Nelson: he argues strenuously against a position that hasn’t been taken. He wrote

It is not correct to say that ID says we need know nothing of the designer. What IDP’s have said is that the identity of the designer is not relevant. Examination of artifacts does indeed yield some clues about possible characteristics of a designer. Archaealogists do this all the time. So do biologists. Doesn’t a scientist researching, say, dino bones get some clues about the characteristics and behavior of an animal that has never been observed alive just by looking at the fossils? In the same vein, we do have some clues about the charactersitics of a possible designer in nature by what nature itself shows us.

And again

Your argument confuses what characteristics a designer might posses with the identity of the designer. We can gain clues to the former without knowing the latter.

I have said nothing whatsoever about the necessity to identify the designer(s). I have merely read Behe’s claim and explored its consequences. One more time, under oath Behe testified that

Q. Now does the conclusion that something was designed, does that require knowledge of a designer?

A. No, it doesn’t. And if you can advance to the next slide. I discussed that in Darwin’s Black Box in Chapter 9, the chapter entitled Intelligent Design. Let me quote from it.

Quote: The conclusion that something was designed can be made quite independently of knowledge of the designer. As a matter of procedure, the design must first be apprehended before there can be any further question about the designer. The inference to design can be held with all the firmness that is possible in this world, without knowing anything about the designer. Close quote. (Bolding added)

In every alleged rebuttal of the opening post in this thread, an IDist has made an assumption about some property of the designer(s), most notably its(their) frequency of acting in the world. But there are no systematic data at all bearing on that issue. IDists have provided no reason at all to believe that the designer(s) act only infrequently. They have merely asserted it as a bare ad hoc claim. And that they must make that assertion belies Behe’s claim.

I am fully aware that one can make (often testable) inferences about properties (skills and intentions) of human designers from known-to-be designed artifacts; one of my undergraduate majors was anthropology, and I took bones and stones. Furthermore, I have myself made the most detailed inferences about designers, inferences founded on actual data, that are available in my Multiple Designers Theory. Is there any IDist that provides as much? I don’t think so.

RBH

Comment #56673

Posted by shiva on November 11, 2005 10:35 PM (e)

Donald M,

It is not correct to say that ID says we need know nothing of the designer. What IDP’s have said is that the identity of the designer is not relevant. Examination of artifacts…Archaealogists do this all the time. So do biologists. Doesn’t a scientist researching, say, dino bones get some clues…designer in nature by what nature itself shows us.

You are tripping on your own coat tails - watch out! The identity is irrelevant and you aren’t saying that you need know nothing about the designer? Looks like you missed some words in your writing! Read before you post. Scientific researchers - that is scientists as opposed to charlatans, quacks, cranks, dissemblers, crackpots etc. - drieve clues by examining fossils and using well documented tools of science. It’s simple.

We observe order and complexity in all sorts of natural systems. Based on that, it would be reasonable to assume that if some of that order and complexity … then the designer would also be a being of order and complexity, rather than capriciousness and disorder. Your argument confuses …We can gain clues to the former without knowing the latter. If the design we observe throughout natural systems is real an not merely apparent, …What isn’t correct is to say that since we don’t know the designer’s identity, then we can’t know anything at all about him/her/it.

Actually you are confused. You assume something on the basis of another assumption? What makes you think that design implies an ordered designer? Heard of something called OCD? OK if that is too complicated watch Julia Roberts’s “Sleeping with Enemy”, easy learning. If you don’t know a person’s identity then you can’t say anything about that person. DonaldM you are getting trapped in a thicket - simply stop flailing about and save yourself from getting cut up badly.

Comment #56674

Posted by Brian Spitzer on November 11, 2005 10:46 PM (e)

Donald M:
Examination of artifacts does indeed yield some clues about possible characteristics of a designer…. In the same vein, we do have some clues about the charactersitics of a possible designer in nature by what nature itself shows us.

I agree. That’s what makes ID not only poor science, but a theological road straight to blasphemy.

If you look to Nature expecting to find in it the direct handiwork of God, Nature will lead you inevitably to one conclusion: any God who would have directly and deliberately fashioned living creatures as we see them was either sadistic, or incompetent, or massively schizophrenic. And probably all three.

What are the “characteristics of a possible designer” who painstakingly designs the DNA code so that our body’s DNA can accurately be translated into protein by our ribosomes? And then turns around and carefully designs every virus on Earth with the same code, so that they can infiltrate our cells and destroy us? If viruses aren’t good examples of systems that appear to have brilliantly designed for a purpose, I don’t know what is.

But then– repenting perhaps– the designer returns to us and carefully designs an immune system capable of flexibly answering new challenges throughout our lifetimes, to defend us from the viruses. (He could have just not given our DNA code to the viruses in the first place. But no, the viruses appear designed for a purpose, and our immune systems appear designed for… the exact opposite purpose. What sort of designer does that?)

“Then again,” the designer apparently thought to himself, “perhaps I should modify the viruses so that they can overcome that immune system.” So he did. And around and around it goes.

Nature is absolutely rife with these clues, and the picture they sketch of the “designer” is bizarre and horrible.

Charles Darwin saw this a hundred years ago: “I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.” Agnostic though Darwin was at that time, he was fully aware of what most ID proponents seem not to realize: to insist on God as the direct designer of Nature is to insist that God is a monster.

These inhumane and self-contradictory “designs” are precisely what one might expect if the hand on the tiller is the hand of natural selection. There are many possible ways to reconcile evolution by natural selection with a creative and compassionate God. But if we insist that God directly created living things, and then “follow the evidence wherever it leads”, the conclusion is absolutely incompatible with any God Who it is possible to admire, much less worship.

As a Christian and an evolutionary biologist, I find that evolutionary theory not only makes for extremely compelling science, but the only possibility of sane theology.

–B

Comment #56675

Posted by The Sanity Inspector on November 11, 2005 11:10 PM (e)

Forgive the OT comment, but now the current pontiff seems to have given an opinion on ID. At least that’s what this msnbc article says. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10007382/

And here’s my beg for a click-through: http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com/2005/11/pope-addresses-id-issue.html

Comment #56677

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 11, 2005 11:12 PM (e)

Blast knocks yet more grey matter out of his already depleted skull:

Isn’t it fair for me to term the Darwinian notion that it took evolution a billion and a half years to go from bacteria to yeast, while taking evolution only, what, less than a million to go from primate ancestors to homo sapiens as hilarious?

what makes you think it took a billion years to go from bacteria to yeast? what makes you think that has ANY relevance whatsoever to the point at hand. truly mind boggling.

What seems ridiculous is the kinds of notions that PTers want to apply to the designer. By the way, “k.e.”, the only thing important for us to know about the “intelligent designer” is that he is (1) intelligent, and (2) able to design.

and how do we “know” these supposedly important things, blast? ESP?

As to “interventions”, I limited myself—as I believe you should—to creative, biological interventions

uh, we don’t include “interventions” at all now, do we, so we have no need to “limit” ourselves in our discussions, unlike the artificial limitations you have placed on yourself with a most unusual subjective idea of “intervention”.

you just get whackier and whackier as that grey matter keeps leakin ‘out, dontchya?

ok, one more item since you are just getting boring at this point:

If inteventions are happening all the time, and there’s no evidence of it, then is it really happening?

as a scientist, the answer would have to be, who cares?

I’ll leave it to you to figure out why that is entirely acurrate and appropriate.

Comment #56678

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on November 11, 2005 11:13 PM (e)

Isn’t it fair for me to term the Darwinian notion that it took evolution a billion and a half years to go from bacteria to yeast, while taking evolution only, what, less than a million to go from primate ancestors to homo sapiens as hilarious?

Unfair indeed. There is an enormous genetic, biochemical and physiological difference between bacteria and yeast, and almost none between, say, chimpanzees and humans. In fact, there are prokaryotic species that display MUCH more difference, proportionally, than what separates us from any other primate species.

What seems ridiculous is the kinds of notions that PTers want to apply to the designer. By the way, “k.e.”, the only thing important for us to know about the “intelligent designer” is that he is (1) intelligent, and (2) able to design.

I’m getting a headache. ID advocates here, including yourself, have previously made a whole lot of inferences and/or assumptions about the Designer; that It acts only very rarely, with some predictable regularity, that It must have some sort of consistent, rational behavior, that It doesn’t play pranks for pranks’ sake, even that It is a “being of order and complexity”.

These assumptions/inferences are necessary for Behe’s experiment, which is at issue here, to make any sense. And now you are back saying that all that matters is that It is intelligent, and It designs. If so, we are back at square one: Behe’s experiment would not rule out the existence of a Designer with only those attributes. It can’t.

As to “interventions”, I limited myself—as I believe you should—to creative, biological interventions.

Why? I could imagine the Designer not even “designing’ anything new in Behe’s cultures, just materializing a flagellated bacterium where before there was none. Just a run of the mill miracle, like the fish and bread thing. Or is one of the attributes of the Designer who designed the enormous complexity of life, including human consciousness, that It cannot, or does not, pop a measly bacterium into existence? I thought that the inference from the “design evidence” would be that It can do even more spectacular feats.

(And, let me add, it is perfectly within the character of the Judeo-Christian God, if, for argument’s sake we want to go down this road, to act in such a way as to leave hardly a trace of his activity. In other words, there will probably be some kind of fully naturalistic “cause”, some empirical step, if you will—but one we can’t fully understand.)

Oy vey. Detecting (divine) design in nature is all ID is about, and now you tell us this design is supposed to be from a divinity that “leaves hardly a trace” of Its handiwork? Why “hardly”? Why not a ton of evidence, or none at all? Whim? Sloppiness? Indecisiveness? Are we back to the prankster Designer? Or just a very coy one? What can we infer about the nature of a Designer from the fact that It leaves just enough evidence of design to utterly confuse us? Or are the only legitimate inferences to be made that It is “a being of complexity and order”, and that It would know how to drive a cab safely?

And according to ID, design is detectable because it cannot be brought about through natural causes. But now you are saying that in fact it may be naturally caused, but simply through a natural mechanism we can’t understand. So, how do we distinguish a natural mechanism we cannot understand from one we simply do not understand yet? Or do we have to assume everything we do not understand now must be a product of design?

How many more contortions do we have to witness?

Comment #56681

Posted by k.e. on November 11, 2005 11:37 PM (e)

Blast wrote

“By the way, “k.e.”, the only thing important for us to know about the “intelligent designer” is that he is (1) intelligent, and (2) able to design.”

OK Blast you really got me on that one congratulations !!!!

…..oh …… Wait

Define “He.”

Now before You answer

a) God
b) I don’t know,I wont say or some other piece of nonsense

Consider this

How do the Intelligent Designer and God get on.

Does God get the upper part of the universe and Intelligent Designer the other

Does GOD get the Day and Intelligent Designer the night

Do God and the Intelligent Designer enter a cosmic ring and fight it out from before time began until the universe goes cold and dark.

Does god the the exiting bits and Intelligent Designer the dull bits

Is God the Intelligent Designer’s Mother ?

Did God design the Intelligent Designer ?

Is the Intelligent Designer God dressed up in a cheap tuxedo?

OR is the Intelligent Designer

1.A clever scheme of Industrial Deception
2.Dreamed up by a bunch of crazed deviants
3.Trying to push a radical Fundamentalist denial of reality
4.And their strict literal reading of Gen1. Gen2. on to the people.
5.By a reverse paradigm shift of public thinking
6.By removing knowledge and replacing it with ignorance.

Comment #56682

Posted by The Sanity Inspector on November 11, 2005 11:39 PM (e)

All this reminds me of a Sidney Harris cartoon, showing two scientists before a chalkboard densely populated with arcane-looking equations. In one section the equations are cleared and “Then a miracle happens” is written. Forgot the caption, sorry; but your guess would probably be close enough.

Comment #56683

Posted by JonBuck on November 11, 2005 11:56 PM (e)

Brian Spitzer:

We need more here like you.

ID advocates want to put God in a box.

Comment #56684

Posted by RBH on November 12, 2005 12:05 AM (e)

Blast wrote

By the way, “k.e.”, the only thing important for us to know about the “intelligent designer” is that he is (1) intelligent, and (2) able to design.

Blast forgets the manufacturing step. IDists must also assume that the designer(s) must be able to actually manufacture biological stuff – an unmanufactured design is not detectable, is it? How the designers manipulate matter and energy, of course, is an unexamined mystery, and where the debitage of the manufacturing process went is another mystery. But never mind – philosophy isn’t concerned with such mundane matters. As Dembski has assured us,

In place of understanding we must content ourselves with knowledge. We don’t understand how quantum mechanics works, but we know that it works. So too, we don’t understand how a designer imparts information into the world, but we know that a designer imparts information. (Italics original)

Possibly the reason we don’t understand it is that (also according to Dembski in that same essay) an unembodied designer could “impart” (love that euphemism) “information” into the matter and energy world via an infinite wavelength zero energy channel. Uh huh. Suuuuure it can.

RBH

Comment #56685

Posted by k.e. on November 12, 2005 12:32 AM (e)

Dembski’s inane ramblings are nothing more than pure metaphysics completely empty of meaning except in prayer.

In fact as someone pointed out before his work/method/motives would make a good subject for Charlatans 101

Comment #56688

Posted by morbius on November 12, 2005 2:31 AM (e)

This approach toward Behe is like using a nuclear bomb to kill a fly, and makes me concerned that not just Behe, but many on our side don’t understand basic issues of scientific methodology and logic. Behe says “In fact, intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment … To falsify such a claim”

One need not talk about designers, or intelligent design at all, to refute such stupid rubbish. “falsifying” a claim is not the same as falsifying a theory. Suppose some evolutionary biologist makes some claim that is then shown to be false. Does this falsify the theory of evolution? Of course not. Falsifying a claim only falsifies the theory if the claim is implied by the theory. But ID does not imply that the flagellum could not have evolved, any more than it implies bacterial drug resistance could not have evolved. ID has no specific empirical implications at all – and this is unfalsifiable.

Comment #56693

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 3:07 AM (e)

This approach toward Behe is like using a nuclear bomb to kill a fly

perhaps, but at least it’s thorough.

Comment #56694

Posted by morbius on November 12, 2005 3:11 AM (e)

I won’t consider whether 10,000 generations in a lab culture is sufficient to model hundreds of millions of years of single celled organisms on earth,

Well, someone should. Behe should be asked “What if 10,000 generations isn’t enough? What if it would actually take at least 10,000 years for a flagellum to evolve?” Poof, his “thought experiment” goes up in smoke. But watch how the lawyer cleverly accepted Behe’s number as if it had any relevance to the evolution of a flagellum, and then argued that it was a “doable experiment”, when clearly 10,000 was simply picked to be doable and for no other reason:

Q. And I just want to ask you a question about this grow it for 10,000 generations. Does that mean we have to wait 10,000 years of some sort to prove this or disprove this?

A. No, not in the case of bacteria. It turns out that the generation time for bacteria is very short. A bacterium can reproduce in 20 minutes. So 10,000 generations is actually, I think, just a couple years. So it’s quite doable.

Q. Have scientists, in fact, grown bacteria out to 10,000 generations?

A. Yes, there are experiments going on where bacteria have been grown for 40,000 generations. So again, this is something that can be done.

Q. So this is a readily doable experiment?

A. That’s correct.

The question begging is so blatant that it’s hard to imagine that either
Behe or the lawyer are unaware that this “thought experiment” is utterly bogus.

Comment #56696

Posted by k.e. on November 12, 2005 3:19 AM (e)

Right on Morbius

Its a total waste of time to whap the inanities the slackers come up with.

That one simple logical statement

ID has no specific empirical implications at all — and this is unfalsifiable

is all the is needed.

“Define the Theory for ID without reference to the magical ?”.

no buts

no ifs

no weaseling

no postmodernist reality denying equal time bunk

no postmodernist redefining the language stuff

no mind wandering metaphysical nonsense.

Comment #56697

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 3:22 AM (e)

do remember tho, when considering how SCIENTISTS should react to behe’s drivel, that much of what is posted here on PT is directed at NON-scientists, who often need very clear, step by step directions.

Comment #56698

Posted by morbius on November 12, 2005 3:31 AM (e)

Andrew Mead McClure wrote:

It seems like a simpler way to say all of this would be just:

Challenged to come up with an experimental test of intelligent design, Behe instead gave a (poor) example of an experimental test of evolution.

Not only that, but he actually used his moronic experiment to argue that evolution isn’t falsifible!

Suppose that we did that same experiment as I talked about earlier. Suppose a scientist went into a laboratory, grew a bacterium that was missing a flagellum under selective pressure for motion, waited 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 generations, and at the end of that time, examined it and saw that, well, nothing much had been changed, nothing much had changed.

Would that result cause Darwinian biologists to think that their theory could not explain the flagellum? I don’t think so. I think they would say, number 1, that we didn’t wait long enough; number two, perhaps we started with the wrong bacterial species; number 3, maybe we applied the wrong selective pressure, or some other problem.

Now leaving aside the question of whether those are reasonable responses or not, and some of them might be reasonable, nonetheless, the point is that, it’s very difficult to falsify Darwinian claims. What experiment could be done which would show that Darwinian processes could not produce the flagellum?

And I can think of no such experiment.

Neither can I, but “Darwinian processes could have produced the flagellum” is not a specific empirical claim, the sort of claim that people test. It’s not very difficult to falsify Darwinian claims, it’s only very difficult to falsify idiotic abstract claims selected purely for their unfalsifiability.

Comment #56700

Posted by morbius on November 12, 2005 3:38 AM (e)

That one simple logical statement

ID has no specific empirical implications at all — and this is unfalsifiable

is all the is needed.

Well, perhaps without my unfortunate typo, sigh.

ID has no specific empirical implications at all — and thus is unfalsifiable.

Comment #56715

Posted by harold on November 12, 2005 7:34 AM (e)

This topic has been covered to death, but I’d like to add that Behe’s dishonest, strawman “experiment”, if carried out, actually would produce evidence for evolution.

Would it produce flagellae? Probably not -

1)The theory of evolution doesn’t predict that similar selective pressures will lead to exactly the same adaptation in every case. In fact, it would be astounding if flagellae exactly like the ones that evolved in the past evolved again independently. The demand that they do so is just the ultimate childish goal post moving.
2) Ten thousand generations is not very many; we might not expect major morphological changes.
3) Selective pressure for “motility” is a broad, non-specific suggestion.

Nevertheless, if the experiment were carried out, bacteria with adaptations for whatever motility was being selected for would emerge. And you can take that to the bank.

Comment #56719

Posted by BlastfromthePast on November 12, 2005 9:14 AM (e)

Unfair indeed. There is an enormous genetic, biochemical and physiological difference between bacteria and yeast, and almost none between, say, chimpanzees and humans. In fact, there are prokaryotic species that display MUCH more difference, proportionally, than what separates us from any other primate species.

To use the word “proportionally” above, salvages to some degree your statement’s reasonableness; but not sufficiently. There are two issues that scream out: the time frame, and the degree of difference. Certainly man is on a continuum with the rest of creation, but intelligence and free will is to instinct what Mt. Everest is to a sand castle. (And, I would add, qualitatively different.) This huge difference is conflated into a time period which, in relation to paleontological time, is miniscule. Let’s just admit that.

I’m getting a headache. ID advocates here, including yourself, have previously made a whole lot of inferences and/or assumptions about the Designer; that It acts only very rarely, with some predictable regularity, that It must have some sort of consistent, rational behavior, that It doesn’t play pranks for pranks’ sake, even that It is a “being of order and complexity”.

If these inferences are not logical, or consistent with what is evident in the world, then please correct us. But it seems that the PTers like to make all sorts of wild assumptions and inferences themselves–and I think it is only right to add some corrective measure. As to the specific attribute of “order and complexity”, isn’t that at the very heart of being a “designer”? Thus, if a Designer is a designer, then, per force, it is a being of “order and complexity”–or am I missing something?

I could imagine the Designer not even “designing’ anything new in Behe’s cultures, just materializing a flagellated bacterium where before there was none. Just a run of the mill miracle, like the fish and bread thing. Or is one of the attributes of the Designer who designed the enormous complexity of life, including human consciousness, that It cannot, or does not, pop a measly bacterium into existence? I thought that the inference from the “design evidence” would be that It can do even more spectacular feats.

Again, consistent with what I’ve said above, any inference should be based on what we know. We know that all organisms share a common biochemical make-up and sufficient similarities to believe in the idea of a common ancestry. We also know from the fossil record that species do sort of “pop” into existence. On the basis of “design”, I think it’s reasonable to infer that the Designer fashions the “new” from the “old” in a way that is consistent with biological similarity and abrupt appearances (re:fossil record). So, back to the bacterial flagellum, if the flagellum should appear, it’s entirely possible that it might appear all at once—-let’s call it “punctuated equilibria”. :)

What can we infer about the nature of a Designer from the fact that It leaves just enough evidence of design to utterly confuse us?

That God doesn’t force himself on us. He leaves us free to believe, or disbelieve. This isn’t about “finding God”–we do that through faith. This is about science–the natural ORDER; and there we find “design”–the rather significant “trace” of the designer, so that reason and faith might be compatible.

But, indeed, I don’t feel we’ll ever discover something that says, oh, there’s God at work, plain and simple. So, lo and behold, science is left alone to be science. I would think that that’s good news for the PTers.

Sir Toejam wrote:

what makes you think it took a billion years to go from bacteria to yeast? what makes you think that has ANY relevance whatsoever to the point at hand. truly mind boggling.

I was answering somebody’s objection. As to the content: just go and check when bacteria (prokaryotic life form) first shows up, and when yeast ( eukaryotic life form) shows up. It’s more than a billion years; but I think everyone got the point.

It’s a bit mind-boggling that you don’t make a better effort to keep track of the discussion before attacking.

RBH wrote:

Blast forgets the manufacturing step. IDists must also assume that the designer(s) must be able to actually manufacture biological stuff — an unmanufactured design is not detectable, is it? How the designers manipulate matter and energy, of course, is an unexamined mystery, and where the debitage of the manufacturing process went is another mystery.

I remember talking to a physicist at the Univ. of Lousville a number of year past. He said that phsyicists don’t really think of mass as something solid, but rather as simply a form of energy (E=mc^2). The electron, in relativized quantum mechanics, is considered to have no spatial extension: it’s considered no more than a “geometric point”. So maybe a rethink of what a “disembodied” Designer can, and cannot do, is needed here.

Comment #56721

Posted by djlactin on November 12, 2005 9:17 AM (e)

OK OK OK. Enough already! Arguing over whether ID is science or not will get you nowhere against a True Believer. IMHO, Evolutionist attempts at refuting ID are aimed at the wrong level.

In response to attacks on evolutionary thinking by IDists, I prefer not to stick to rebuttals, even when they are clearly devastating. I prefer to cut their legs out from under them by demonstrating the hollowness of their proposed ‘solution’:

HERE’S MY CHALLENGE TO IDists EVERYWHERE:

EXPLAIN THE ORIGIN OF THE DESIGNER!

If you can not, then your entire philosophy is baseless.

What follows is an updated repost.

ID argument:
1.1) Observation: Whoa,
this bio-widget sure is complex! How could it originate without a designer? I can’t see how.
1.2) Conclusion: There must be a designer. QED.
NOTE, however, that the designer must be more complex than the creation (especially if the designer is responsible for creating the entire universe, AND all creatures in it AND monitoring and rewarding [or punishing] these creatures as necessary). Therefore, the proposed designer is FAR MORE complex than the bio-widget. How is this a ‘solution’ to the observation of complexity??

Furthermore, we are left pondering the question of the origin of the creator.
phase 2:
2.1) Observation: Whoa
, this designer sure is complex! how could it originate without a designer-designer? I can’t see how.
2.2) Conclusion: There must be a designer-designer. QED.
2.3) go to 2.1
(interpolate 1 ‘designer-’ prefix where necessary at each iteration).
[Get away from your CPU before it blows!]

ID is not only scientifically vacuous, it’s philosophically vacuous.

Addendum:
Here’s Blast’s earlier attempt at ‘response’:

What’s much better is Darwin’s take on this: “I can’t imagine how the eye evolved little bit by little bit—it staggers my imagination. But the problem is simply that I’m not imaginative enough.”
That’s great science, isn’t it? Or am I just imagining things?

Revealing: 1) that he has no cogent answer and is reduced to attemptng to defect the debate; and
2) that he has heard only the AiG mined-quote and has not actually READ the full quote, which follows:

Organs of extreme perfection and complication. To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.

Here’s the citation: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/origin/chapter6.html

It’s bout 5 pages down from the top

And Darwin’s speculation has been vindicated in spades! Blast can always read the literature on the numerous examples of ‘intermediate’ forms of eye, which go from a naked pigment spot on a surface membrane (even seen a Planaria?) through slightly depressed regions with a pigment spot in them; depressions filled with gelatinous proto-lenses to… to… to… a ‘full’ eye, with each intermediate being an improvement over its predecessor. It’s not hard to find the literature if you look.

Scientific methods can explain or at least try to explain what we see in the world around us. ID is so blankly incomprehending, so defiantly incurious that I sorrow for the minds wasted in espousing it!

Comment #56723

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 12, 2005 9:31 AM (e)

The Sanity Inspector wrote:

Forgive the OT comment, but now the current pontiff seems to have given an opinion on ID. At least that’s what this msnbc article says. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10007382/

And here’s my beg for a click-through: http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com/2005/11/pope-…

Strange. The pope spoke out against atheism, which is expected for a religious leader. I can find nothing in his reported words that would be considered a stance against evolution or a stance for Intelligent Design creationism.

Comment #56724

Posted by Lurker on November 12, 2005 9:52 AM (e)

It seems only ID proponents can tell God what to do!

Comment #56727

Posted by ben on November 12, 2005 10:39 AM (e)

But, indeed, I don’t feel we’ll ever discover something that says, oh, there’s God at work, plain and simple. So, lo and behold, science is left alone to be science. I would think that that’s good news for the PTers.

In other words, the god you choose to believe in is irrelevant to science and you will now take your prosyletizing bullshit elsewhere? I’m hoping you will also take a moment to tell your theist buddies about your conclusions and tell them to stop trying to manipulate the teaching of science to support your goofy superstitions.

Comment #56734

Posted by John on November 12, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

Nelson:

> I might have taken this discussion more seriously, had I not just a few weeks ago attended Chris Adami’s lecture at the AAAS in Washington, DC. Adami said that his Nature paper on the evolutionary origin of complex features was intended to test Mike Behe’s arguments about irreducible complexity.

So you are at loss because you cannot address the argument, so you casually dismiss it, claiming it is not serious. What a “scientist”.

> Not a word about how the designer might be capricious. Yes indeed — the designer might be wildly capricious. Might be an infant deity. Might be a team of adolescent, bad-humored super aliens. Might be the FSM, blessed be He of Noodly Power.

Very bad!

> But Adami focused on irreducible complexity, and how it could be achieved via an evolutionary pathway: i.e., on the very real empirical content of Behe’s position. Great talk, and (I imagine) the grounds for future discussion between Behe and Adami.
> Yet how could that be? How could Adami have spent so much time working on his Avida experiments, with Behe’s position in mind for testing? Surely Chris should have realized it was all a waste of time, given that the designer — that mischief maker! — could have tweaked Chris’s computer simulations at any moment.

Well, sorry, but since you can’t exclude supernatural designer, how can you be sure that she didn’t tweak’em?

Of course, simulations and experiments are a good way to debunk particular pronouncements by you IDists. You say that if we specify how exactly this or that IC feature evolved then ID will be disproved. This is false - as long as there are other IC systems, IDiots can claim that ID is not disproven, but still it would be very useful to do it once, because it would be psychologically convincing. It would disprove some central claims by ID proponents, but it would not disprove the unfalsifiable ID “theory”.

By the way, IDiots are dishonest because basically they pretend that either some feature evolved or it was designed. They somehow exclude chance with hand-waiving (specifying some arbitrary probability bounds). And yet, since IDiots cannot exclude that there are many universes (maybe an infinite amount of them), they cannot LOGICALLY claim that if the feature could not have evolved, it was designed. (Sure, chance hypothesis looks absurd and ad hoc, but even it is more plausible and parsimonious than design hypothesis. At least the chance hypothesis does not involve some Unspecified Designer of Unknown (but surely supernatural) Power who cre^H^H^H designs through some unknown mechanisms for unspecified reasons. Therefore ID fails at a very basic level - its conclusions do not follow from its premises. In THIS sense - yes, ID can be debunked. Not scientifically, but logically.

Comment #56735

Posted by shiva on November 12, 2005 12:07 PM (e)

Blastfromthepast

…but intelligence and free will is to instinct what Mt. Everest is to a sand castle. (And, I would add, qualitatively different.)…

That’s bakwas. Lousy analogy. Mt.Everest and a sand castel can be defined objectively, measured and compared wrt a number of different properties. What is intelligence and what is free will? And what is instinct? There are a few narrow operational definitions that can be used to behavior apart from that these words are utterly useless.

Comment #56738

Posted by Jonh on November 12, 2005 12:16 PM (e)

Donald M:

> We observe order and complexity in all sorts of natural systems. Based on that, it would be reasonable to assume that if some of that order and complexity were the result of purposeful design, then the designer would also be a being of order and complexity, rather than capriciousness and disorder.

Well, um, no.

> What isn’t correct is to say that since we don’t know the designer’s identity, then we can’t know anything at all about him/her/it.

Maybe so. Still, we cannot exclude the Meddling Designer. We can assume - like you did - that Designer isn’t Meddling, but then we can just ASSUME that the whole ID thingy is crap.

> Free of that worry, it isn’t at all unreasonable to infer actual design by what we observe in some natural systems.

Actually, it is. Unless you prove the existence of this Designer beforehand.

> What is unreasonable is to assume that all natural phenomenon must have a natural cause and therefore there can be no actual design in any natural system.

This is assumed only for methodological purposes. That’s why it is called METHODOLOGICAL naturalism. There’s no way around it. Only MN can exclude unknown supernatural influences, without which experiments don’t have much meaning.

> What compelling reason is there to assume that all natural phenomenon will yield to materialistic explanations?

We cannot know beforehand that they will. But without naturalistic assumptions one cannot even start doing science. Why did that apple fall? Was it because of some natural force, or because some Gravitation Fairies made it fall? And how can you exclude the existence of the Gravitation Fairies? Well, you can’t. Boo-hoo.

> If we have no such compelling reason, then how can MN be regarded as a regulative principle of science? Furthermore, there is no scientific test for MN, nor any way conceivable way to conduct one.

And there shouldn’t be. Duh!

> It is, as RBH said, an assumption, but is it the right assumption or even a good assumption? I think not. Absent compelling reasons to think that all natural phenomenon will yield to purely materialistic causes, then imposing MN on science restricts science arbitrarily.

It restricts science to facts of the natural world, and cuts off all potential supernatural influence. If we take all supernatural nonsense into account, there will be no science. If we choose to allow only some parts of it which we like (e.g. Supernatural Designer, but not Gravitation Fairies), then we’re arbitrarily choosing from the set of supernatural entities.

Oh, by the way, critique of MN might have at least some merit if some supernatural event would be demonstrated at least once. Alas…

Comment #56741

Posted by John on November 12, 2005 12:24 PM (e)

Blast:

>> Moreover, since the Meddling Designer cannot be excluded by ID, NO kind of experiment can disprove ID.

> This is the very point I’m disputing.

Well, simply saying that you’re disputing this point is meaningless.

>> And Meddling Designer is logically the same as Supernatural Designer, because only the Supernatural Designer has the power to “ruin” even the best experiment and to remain unnoticed. And if ID excludes such designer, it fails too, because Supernatural Design is its whole point.

> What you write is completely hypothetical.

I’m not sure what your point was in writing that. Since Designer is completely hypothetical, we can only hypothesize about him. Since you can’t exclude the Meddling Designer hypothetically, ID is untestable.

> And, if taken seriously, would vitiate the desire of any experimenter to spend time and energy in the lab. So, the fact that everyday biologists do spend time in their labs and work hard proves either that they don’t take this kind of silliness seriously, or that the proposition is itself untrue.

That’s true, that’s why ID is not science - it rejects methodological naturalism. This rejection leads to the very results you describe.

> If they don’t take it seriously, then why should I. If it is untrue, then you have no argument.

But we are not talking about biologists, who work on MN assumptions. We’re talking about ID. Really, you’re stupid. Or a troll.

Comment #56752

Posted by BlastfromthePast on November 12, 2005 1:37 PM (e)

Shiva wrote:

That’s bakwas. Lousy analogy. Mt.Everest and a sand castel can be defined objectively, measured and compared wrt a number of different properties. What is intelligence and what is free will? And what is instinct? There are a few narrow operational definitions that can be used to behavior apart from that these words are utterly useless.

I once posted on this blog that liberals, when they cannot win an argument, as a last resort question the meaning of words. I took a lot of grief for that. But, Shiva, I suspect you’re a liberal.

John wrote:

Blast wrote:

This is the very point I’m disputing.

John: Well, simply saying that you’re disputing this point is meaningless.

I agree with you. But I did more than simply say I was disputing it. I gave an example based on the fossil record demonstrating that the odds of a “meddling designer” gumming up an experiment can be considered to be negligible.
____________________

>John: I’m not sure what your point was in writing that. Since Designer is completely hypothetical, we can only hypothesize about him. Since you can’t exclude the Meddling Designer hypothetically, ID is untestable.

>>Response: Can Darwin’s theory of evolution rule out the possibility that aliens from another part of the galazy routinely enter our labs throughout the US, in the dead of night, and tamper with the results so that we’ll never discover anti-gravity? I certainly don’t lose any sleep over it.
____________________

>Blast: And, if taken seriously, would vitiate the desire of any experimenter to spend time and energy in the lab. So, the fact that everyday biologists do spend time in their labs and work hard proves either that they don’t take this kind of silliness seriously, or that the proposition is itself untrue.

>>John: That’s true, that’s why ID is not science - it rejects methodological naturalism. This rejection leads to the very results you describe.

>>>Response: We weren’t talking about methodological naturalism…..Let me just add that IDers aren’t saying that MN should be abandoned; rather, they’re saying it isn’t sufficient enough to explain what we can see and know since it, a priori, rejects anything other than a materialist explanation. In other words, IDers don’t say that MN is empty, but that it isn’t full enough.
________________________

>Blast: If they don’t take it seriously, then why should I. If it is untrue, then you have no argument.

>>John: But we are not talking about biologists, who work on MN assumptions. We’re talking about ID. Really, you’re stupid. Or a troll.

>>>Response: It appears we’re not on the same page. The “they” in my sentence clearly referred to active “biologists, who work on MN assumptions” every day in their labs.
_________________________

Lastly, John, why the need for invective?

Comment #56756

Posted by Anton Mates on November 12, 2005 2:07 PM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote:

To use the word “proportionally” above, salvages to some degree your statement’s reasonableness; but not sufficiently. There are two issues that scream out: the time frame, and the degree of difference. Certainly man is on a continuum with the rest of creation, but intelligence and free will is to instinct what Mt. Everest is to a sand castle. (And, I would add, qualitatively different.) This huge difference is conflated into a time period which, in relation to paleontological time, is miniscule. Let’s just admit that.

You’re not seriously arguing that an empirically detectable difference between human beings and chimpanzees is free will? Would I love to see that tested in a peer-reviewed journal. Right next to a study of the comparative abilities of Carolina and black-capped chickadees to perceive the Platonic world of ideals.

Comment #56769

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 2:43 PM (e)

If these inferences are not logical, or consistent with what is evident in the world, then please correct us.

Blast, the problem, as you have exhibited OVER AND OVER again, is that you are physically/mentally incapable of recognizing logic and consistency.

If i were an IDiot, i would be scrambling hard to try and NOT include you as one of “us”. You just make them look even worse.

Why do you persist, Mr. Anderson?

Comment #56771

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 2:46 PM (e)

Did you get banned from Dembski’s site, Blast? your incoherent ramblings would be far better suited there.

Comment #56773

Posted by H. Humbert on November 12, 2005 2:54 PM (e)

BlastfromthePast wrote:

I once posted on this blog that liberals, when they cannot win an argument, as a last resort question the meaning of words. I took a lot of grief for that. But, Shiva, I suspect you’re a liberal.

I often notice that conservatives, when they cannot win an argument, as a last resort refuse to acknowledge gray or complex areas of inquiry and instead insist that any concept can be adequately dealt with in monosyllabic sound bites. Blast, I suspect you’re a conservative.

Comment #56787

Posted by BlastfromthePast on November 12, 2005 3:52 PM (e)

Sir Toejam wrote:

Blast, the problem, as you have exhibited OVER AND OVER again, is that you are physically/mentally incapable of recognizing logic and consistency.

If i were an IDiot, i would be scrambling hard to try and NOT include you as one of “us”. You just make them look even worse.

From your response, it would appear that I’ve been illogical. Please be so kind as to point it out. Is it at all possible that your level of logic and consistency might be the real issue?

Why is slander necessary, by the way?

H. Humbert wrote:

I often notice that conservatives, when they cannot win an argument, as a last resort refuse to acknowledge gray or complex areas of inquiry and instead insist that any concept can be adequately dealt with in monosyllabic sound bites. Blast, I suspect you’re a conservative.

Is this an observation, or a caricature? When it comes to the area of evolution, who would you say takes the simplistic approach and who the complex? Is RM+NS the answer to everything? Or, is life too complex to be reduced to such a simple formula? What side of the argument do you find yourself on, may I ask?

Comment #56797

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 4:24 PM (e)

Why is slander necessary, by the way?

one, it’s not slander, it’s fact. Your total lack of comprehension of basic biology has been exhibited MANY times here on PT, as well as your lack of logic in this specific thread (several times).

care to take up my challenge to you yet? ready to take that biology/genetics exam yet? found any pant-loaded genes yet?

you don’t deserve to be treated with anything less than your utter vacuity and frequent missives indicate.

again i ask you: why do you persist? why don’t you go play with the guys who might actually share your delusionary thinking processes?

you could either:

go hang at your nearest mental institution, or hang at Dembski’s blog (or were you banned from there for being too looney even for them?)

really, i (and all here) find you nothing but a source of constant amusement. Have you not yet noticed that all you do with your drivel is just encourage us to laugh at you?

why do you like playing the jester so badly? is it just for the attention? I really am curious. You are incapable of actually posting anything worth serious discussion, so is that it, do you actually like the abuse we heap on well deserving trolls like yourself?

I’ll make a deal with you….

Give me a truly honest answer as to why you continue to post on PT, and I’ll never respond to another of your posts ever again. do remember to include the fact that nobody here has ever supported or agreed with ANY of your arguments, EVER.

Comment #56800

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 4:32 PM (e)

As another alternative, maybe you would be happier joining these folks in creating their own seperate little world, Blast:

http://www.christianexodus.net

Comment #56808

Posted by H. Humbert on November 12, 2005 5:02 PM (e)

blastfromthepast wrote:

Is this an observation, or a caricature?

An observation. Griping that you should be allowed to make false analogies on the basis that liberals “overcomplicate definitions” is just plain stupid.

When it comes to the area of evolution, who would you say takes the simplistic approach and who the complex? Is RM+NS the answer to everything? Or, is life too complex to be reduced to such a simple formula? What side of the argument do you find yourself on, may I ask?

Obviously, evolution is the much more complex and nuanced position. It was a theory teased out from the raw data and carefully affirmed through decades of new findings.

“Goddidit” is as simple-minded an explanation as one can possibly come up with. Encumbering the theory of evolution with “but god stepped in sometimes” does not make ID the more “complex” theory, it makes it needlessly unweildly and nothing more than a transparent attempt to wedge religious thinking into sound science which, quite frankly, has no need of it.

Comment #56810

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 5:07 PM (e)

It was a theory teased out from the raw data and carefully affirmed through decades of new findings

more correctly, it is a theory that has not been able to be rejected, even when submitted to literally tens of thousands of individual experiments.

When something is tested THAT thoroughly, any rational individual can only conclude it to be essentially correct.

Remember tho, when dealing with creationists, you are not dealing with rational thought processes for the most part, as Blast so clearly indicates.

Comment #56814

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 5:23 PM (e)

… and before some idiot comes in and interprets what i said to mean that evolutionary theory isn’t falsifiable, those thousands of tests i mentioned were directly set up with falsifiable predictions in mind to begin with. Thousands of little pieces that make up a gigantic pile of evidence.

ID can’t even produce 1, little, tiny, piece in support, for the same reasons it can’t even be developed into a working theory to begin with.

Comment #56817

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 12, 2005 5:29 PM (e)

Hey Blast, where are those cobra venom genes from a garter snake?

What seems to be the problem?

Comment #56819

Posted by RBH on November 12, 2005 5:33 PM (e)

Blast wrote

I remember talking to a physicist at the Univ. of Lousville a number of year past. He said that phsyicists don’t really think of mass as something solid, but rather as simply a form of energy (E=mc^2). The electron, in relativized quantum mechanics, is considered to have no spatial extension: it’s considered no more than a “geometric point”. So maybe a rethink of what a “disembodied” Designer can, and cannot do, is needed here.

And that somehow establishes that transmission of information can proceed via an infinite wavelength (and therefore unfocusable) zero energy (and therefore zero channel capacity) communication link? Blast, you’re babbling is a non sequitur at best.

Blast further wrote

I once posted on this blog that liberals, when they cannot win an argument, as a last resort question the meaning of words. I took a lot of grief for that. But, Shiva, I suspect you’re a liberal.

Blast, I’m not Shiva, but I’m a veteran (a volunteer, not a draftee), I’m old enough to have voted for Barry Goldwater (a genuine conservative, as opposed to the current crop of pseudo-cons), and am an elected officer of the local Republican Party. This is not a liberal-conservative issue, it’s a science-nonsense issue. (And “nonsense” is not a typo.) Don’t drag “liberal-conservative” bullshit into this. That merely makes it clear that you mistakenly think it’s a political issue rather than a scientific issue.

Blast wrote

I gave an example based on the fossil record demonstrating that the odds of a “meddling designer” gumming up an experiment can be considered to be negligible.

There’s no “demonstration” at all in your remarks. Absent even a vague notion of what are in fact interventions by the putative designer(s), one has no idea at all of the frequency of occurrence of those alleged interventions. The “odds” are unknowable, and hence no argument based on “odds” holds any water at all. It’s mere ad hoc hand waving.

Notice to everyone: If this thread turns into a political slanging match I’ll edit it down to a nubbin.

RBH

Comment #56820

Posted by Sean Foley on November 12, 2005 5:35 PM (e)

Sean, if I push the time further back—which you seem to be suggesting—it only strengthens my argument.

I’m not suggesting you push the time further back. I want you to define your terms. What is a “major innovation”? How is Homo sapiens a “major innovation” with respect to earlier or (formerly) contemporaneous species of the same genus?

I can’t help but notice you didn’t answer my question about Hippidion.

Bonus question:

You state that the “last major innovation” was the emergence of Homo sapiens ca. 150kya. Why don’t the extinctions of H. neanderthalensis and H. erectus count as “major innovations”? Both of these events occured after the emergence of H. sapiens. Are these extinctions examples of Intelligent Design? Why or why not?

Comment #56823

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 5:44 PM (e)

I can’t help but notice you didn’t answer my question about Hippidion.

That’s because Blast refuses to actually read any real science articles, or anything that would in any way impart doubt to his worldview.

We tried many times to get him to read entire journal articles, rather than abstracts, pointed him to library resources, relevant texts, online publications, etc. He steadfastly (and proudly, based on his response to Lenny asking whether he has yet read the wedge document), refuses to actually educate himself on any issue he expounds upon.

hell, he rarely even bothers to read up on the origins of a thread he chooses to post in to begin with.

Comment #56830

Posted by Sean Foley on November 12, 2005 6:06 PM (e)

That’s because Blast refuses to actually read any real science articles, or anything that would in any way impart doubt to his worldview.

Ah. Thanks for the clarification; I don’t read the comments very often and this is my first run-in with the guy.

Comment #56870

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 7:58 PM (e)

this is my first run-in with the guy

oh please then, don’t let me stop you from enjoying yourself. I’ve gotten kinda bored of him myself.

If you want to further entertain yourself, you can check his previous postings in the archives. He posts frequently, so you shouldn’t have much difficulty

cheers

Comment #56892

Posted by Donald M on November 12, 2005 9:49 PM (e)

Donald: “What compelling reason is there to assume that all natural phenomenon will yield to materialistic explanations?”

JonH: We cannot know beforehand that they will. But without naturalistic assumptions one cannot even start doing science.

That is not correct and certainly wasn’t the case historically in science. I would recommend you read “Nature, Design and Science” by Del Ratzsch (State University of New York Press, 2003) for a fuller treatment.

Comment #56893

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 12, 2005 9:54 PM (e)

why don’t you spell it out for us, Donald? i’d rather not track down a book for something you should be able to express clearly if it is something you find so clear.

please, tell us how science not based on naturalistic assumptions works.

Comment #56903

Posted by djlactin on November 12, 2005 10:20 PM (e)

i note that blast has ignored my challenge.

i repeat:EXPLAIN THE ORIGIN OF THE DESIGNER!

Comment #56917

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 12, 2005 11:46 PM (e)

I can’t help but notice you didn’t answer my question about Hippidion.

Blast doesn’t answer questions.

Mostly, it’s because he’s too dumb to understand them.

After all, you’re talking to a guy who wanted to tell us all about how whale evolution is wrong, but never heard of _Pakicetus_. Did he learn from that mistake? Nope — he then wanted to blither about bird evolution, but never heard of _Caudipteryx_. He also wanted to tell us all about “frontloaded genes”, but was, alas, quite unable to provide any examples.

Maybe if you are lucky, he will “respond” by regurgiquoting some crap from a website run by a self-proclaimed “ecological visionary”, like he did to me.

Comment #56918

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 12, 2005 11:49 PM (e)

Donald, I’m still waiting for you to tell us how to test any non-naturalistic hypothesis using the scientific method.

(sound of crickets chirping)

I’m also stuill waiting to hear you explain to me who you think knows any more about God than anyone else does, what he knows that no one else does, and how he knows it.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Oh, and I also asked you to explain to me why you have to lie and be evasive about the fact that your desigenr is just God, and your basic gripe is that “science is atheistic”.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Comment #56919

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 12, 2005 11:51 PM (e)

please, tell us how science not based on naturalistic assumptions works.

Sorry, Toejam, Donald doesn’t answer questions either.

He just drops in on occasion, posts his “science is atheistic!!!!!!” BS, and then runs away.

Comment #56925

Posted by RBH on November 13, 2005 1:11 AM (e)

Well, this thread has apparently run its course. Comments are closed.

RBH