Friday, February 24, 2006

Prior Commitments and the Evidence

As a follow up to my last post, I wanted to provide some relevant quotes to compare and contrast. I encourage you to read both quotes and decide which person is more influenced by his a priori philosophical or religious commitments, and which is more willing to let the scientific evidence speak for itself.

Here is one from Phillip Johnson's book Darwin On Trial that I linked to yesterday:
I believe that a God exists who could create out of nothing if He wanted to do so, but who might have chosen to work through a natural evolutionary process instead. I am not a defender of creation-science, and in fact I am not concerned in this book with addressing any conflicts between the Biblical accounts and the scientific evidence.

My purpose is to examine the scientific evidence on its own terms, being careful to distinguish the evidence itself from any religious or philosophical bias that might distort our interpretation of that evidence. I assume that the creation-scientists are biased by their precommitment to Biblical fundamentalism, and I will have very little to say about their position. The question I want to investigate is whether Darwinism is based upon a fair assessment of the scientific evidence, or whether it is another kind of fundamentalism. (p.14)

Here is one from Richard Lewontin, discussed more fully here and here:
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

So whose prior philosophical or religious commitment is more likely to influence how the person evaluates the evidence for and against macroevolutionary theory? I think the answer is obvious, and that is the big story that is completely lost on Kenneth Chang, the writer of the Times article. As I said earlier:
What is noteworthy about the current challenge to Darwinian theory, is that most of the new challengers are Open-Minded Theists or Open-Minded Agnostics, not Rigid Theists as in the 1980's when there was a push to teach Creation Science alongside macroevolution in schools.

For more, you may want to check out my previous posts on the spectrum of worldviews that affect how a person approaches the scientific evidence and why it is difficult for atheists to evaluate the evidence for evolution and intelligent design objectively.

Another post from Uncommon Descent on the religious convictions and bias of scientists is here.


36 Comments:

At February 24, 2006 6:47 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

Materialism isn't an arbitrary assumption. There's simply no such thing as a "supernatural explanation." It's an oxymoron. So if you want to explain observations, materialism is the only recourse.

An explanation is a set of rules of implication under which the world must be as we observe it. Not can be, but must be. That is, explanations require natural laws. With natural laws inevitably come predictions. Ergo, if you have no predictions, you have no explanations.

In contrast, supernatural causes are causes that are not subject to rules of implication. If there are such causes (and there might be), we would never be able to identify them. Their experimental signature would be unexplained events. And, last time I checked, you cannot build an explanation out of a lack of explanations.

This is one of the great delusions of religion. Believers think that the world is explained by God, when the truth is that God is just a label for the unexplained.

 
At February 25, 2006 2:22 AM, Anonymous Farshad said...

As long as science ignores the supernatural how scientists can find the real truth about it. When there is no effort by scientists to explore the world beyond material they are doomed to remain in borders of materialism. It's obvious that the rules of material world are only a subset of rules of another dimension that we currently call as supernatural.

The big mistake of modern science is to limit its invetstigation only to the material world. The reasons behind this are philosophical not scientific. It's the atheistic philosophy that prevents science to open its doors to the vast world beyond the material. If we presume religion shouldn't intervene with science then why should't we expect that atheism also must be kept away from science?

Commitment to materialism is another form of fundamentalism. We see when ID poeple try to explain the unexplainable using scientific methods, the fundamentalist materialists attack them instead of allowing them to investigate the unknown.

 
At February 25, 2006 10:30 AM, Anonymous John said...

"In The Blind Watchmaker Richard Dawkins tells his readers that even if a statue of the Virgin Mary waved to them, they should not conclude they have witnessed a Miracle (op. cit., p. 159). Perhaps all the atoms of the statue’s arm just happened to move in the same direction at once – a low probability event to be sure, but possible." - Michael Behe

The problem is that Dawkins et al would probably not even bother to examine the statue because of its religious nature. It's like vampires and crosses, for whatever reason.


A perfect scientific example of materialism leading to absurdity: the multiverse.

It's perfectly fine to believe in the existence of infinite, invisible entities that create universes beyond the natural universe. As soon as you narrow down the number of universes to the only one we observe, narrow down the creative entity to one, and attribute intelligence to that one entity, well then it becomes preposterous.

Swallow the camel, strain at the gnat.

 
At February 25, 2006 5:11 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

farshad,

It's obvious that the rules of material world are only a subset of rules of another dimension that we currently call as supernatural.

Wrong. It's obvious that the currently observed rules of the material world are only a subset of all of the rules of the naturalistic universe.

By your definition, undiscovered natural laws are supernatural. If that were the case, unverified theories like particle supersymmetry would be "theories of the supernatural," but they're not. They are naturalistic theories because they propose natural laws. The supernatural has no rules, period. Supernatural things are inexplicable by definition.

ID explains nothing because it predicts nothing.

Oh, and this has zilch to do with atheism because there's no reason why you can't be a materialistic theist.

john,

Is any unexplained event a miracle? What conclusions should we draw from unexplained events?

Most multiverse theories are toy mathematical models that are not intended to model reality. Those that do model reality claim that the universe behaves "as if it were one of an ensemble of universes" and predict observations in our own universe. That said, I would consider any non-toy multiverse model to be metaphysical and unscientific if it fails to make any predictions.

 
At February 25, 2006 6:29 PM, Anonymous John said...

Supernatural, etc.

Intelligent Design begs no more supernatural explanations than the Big Bang does.


ID explains nothing because it predicts nothing.

Incorrect.

My prediction: you will proceed to genetic fallacy.


Is any unexplained event a miracle? What conclusions should we draw from unexplained events?

No, miracles are not any unexplained event. Miracles are events that unexplainable by the laws of nature - in other words, supernatural.

At any rate, arguing about the simple definitions of words was not my point. My point is that Dawkins and likeminded followers of Dawkins are hasty in dismissing evidence when it points in the general direction of anything vaguely Christian. That's why I alluded to vampires.

I'm truly surprised Dawkins ever abandoned the Steady State model of the universe.


Those that do model reality claim that the universe behaves "as if it were one of an ensemble of universes" and predict observations in our own universe.

Why does there need to be "an ensemble of universes" model? Why can't everything be explained with just the universe we see, feel, and hear?

I'm pretty sure I know why, but I'm interested to learn what you know. Especially since you seem to infer a "toy model" from what I wrote.

 
At February 26, 2006 12:51 AM, Anonymous Septeus7 said...

Quote from Dr.Nologic: "An explanation is a set of rules of implication under which the world must be as we observe it."

So there can be not such thing as an incorrect explaination.

Quote: "That is, explanations require natural laws."

And which natural law requires this explaination? And where is it come from? What does that law state?

Quote: "Ergo, if you have no predictions, you have no explanations."

So let me get this straight. Explainations are that which require Natural Laws and Natural Laws are that which create predictions and predictions are what allow for Explainations?

Dr.CircularLogic is Back! You must be good at creating self-referencing loops....you can fool a machine with that crap but you can't fool a human.

Quote: "In contrast, supernatural causes are causes that are not subject to rules of implication."

How do you know that unless you have apriori assumption about what a supernatural cause can or cannot do which is to create a natural law which the supernatural is subject to and thus not supernatural?

Quote" If there are such causes (and there might be), we would never be able to identify them. Their experimental signature would be unexplained events."

Does not follow. It is only unexplained is there singular system which supernaturalism denies catagorically thus allowing for the destinction between supernatural and natural in the first place. You can't say because the supernatural doesn't explain anything because it doesn't do so in terms of the natural system. This is just cheap question begging pretending to be logic.


Quote: "And, last time I checked, you cannot build an explanation out of a lack of explanations."

Funny coming from a Darwinist. They are only lack of explanation is apriori define them as such because you have apriori assumed that reality is singular monist complete system of logic which according Godel can't exist.

 
At February 26, 2006 7:55 AM, Anonymous Farshad said...

Wrong. It's obvious that the currently observed rules of the material world are only a subset of all of the rules of the naturalistic universe.

Wrong! Because this is only your particular personal point of view. what are the borders of your naturalistic universe? Any sound definition for it?

If you say that I'm expanding the definition of "natural rules" to include the spirit, the ethereal worlds and the metaphysics, that is something that we can sit and talk about.

But if you deny the existence of the spirit at first place then it is only a prejudice not a scientific point of view.

ID explains nothing because it predicts nothing.

A thoery is scientific only when it can predict?

By the way what are the predictions that evolution theory can do? ET even has a hard time to figure out what happened in the past let alone predict the future.

 
At February 26, 2006 3:10 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

john,

Intelligent Design begs no more supernatural explanations than the Big Bang does.

Wrong again. The Big Bang is not an explosion in space. It is the beginning of space and time. There can be no temporal cause for the beginning of time. That's like asking what's north of the North Pole. The Big Bang is a self-contained explanation because it embodies a simple law that explains the structure of the universe from which predictions can be made. Having integrated over time, there is no more time variable under which to define a time before the universe existed.

There could be scientific theories of ID. For example, if you propose that an alien species deposited the first life on Earth using naturalistic means, and you make predictions to back up the claim, then you have a scientific theory and a possible (if improbable and unsupported) explanation. However, it is neither explanatory nor scientific to say that some unknown entity used some unknown process for some unknown reason to create what we see. That's like saying that the solution to 123 + 456 is X where X is the sum of 123 and 456. Just introducing the variable X shouldn't satisfy your curiosity for getting actual answers to the question.

The article you cite for predictions of ID explicitly states that they "predict" that we won't find any explanations for the complexity life. This is purely an argument from gaps in alternative explanations. Weak.

How do we know when an unexplained event is unexplainable by the laws of nature?

And what does such a supernatural explanation actually do for us? Why should we pat ourselves on the back for introducing supernatural agent Z when Z predicts no future events? Note that if Z could predict future events it would be a predictive naturalistic theory.

Finally, if an ensemble of universes generates a prediction in our own universe then the ensemble is part of our detectable sphere. If a multiverse model explained how to travel from one universe to another, we would again simply redefine our universe to encompass all of the sub-universes we could travel to. That is, any predictive multiverse model implicitly states that the other universes are causally connected with our own, and that our universe is just a part of the universe.

 
At February 26, 2006 3:42 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

gluteus7,

Just because an explanation is "a set of rules under which our observations are required to be made" doesn't mean that any possible explanation is correct or more probable. Nor does it mean that every possible explanation of our past observations will survive future observations.

For any finite number of observations, there are an infinite number of theories that are explanatory. Not all of those theories will survive the next round of observations. However, each active theory must preferentially predict what we observe over what we don't observe.

That an explanation consists of rules of implication is a definition of the word 'explanation'. Of course you can define the word explanation to mean something else, e.g., to mean anything that satisfies your curiosity, or anything that makes you feel good, but then there's little room for rational discourse. If you felt that the color of cow hide explained the failure of Chernobyl's containment building, that would be the end of the story. It would be no different from you stating that you like the taste of pickles.

It is my observation that humans are prone to erroneously describe a system as explanatory when that system contains what they believe to be ideal directives for behavior. For example, lightning is explained by God if you know what actions to take to minimize your chances of being struck (e.g., going to Church on Sunday). Such false explanations rely on our inability to determine whether or not the directives correlate with the evidence, e.g., "God works in mysterious ways, so you can't figure it out, but, trust me, and do as I say..."

Likewise, supernatural ID is thought to be explanatory because its proponents don't need to ask any more deep questions about morality or existence once they accept ID. BTW, that's why they don't call it Alien Design. Bad for the religion business.

On to the supernatural...

If natural laws are the rules of the universe, and naturalistic theories are consistent models of those laws, what's left for the supernatural? Either inconsistency or a lack of laws. Which do you prefer?

It is only unexplained is there singular system which supernaturalism denies catagorically thus allowing for the destinction between supernatural and natural in the first place.

Sorry, this makes no sense to me.

Oh, and you should read Gödel's theorem some day so you understand what it actually says.

 
At February 26, 2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

farshad,

If you say that I'm expanding the definition of "natural rules" to include the spirit, the ethereal worlds and the metaphysics, that is something that we can sit and talk about.

But if you deny the existence of the spirit at first place then it is only a prejudice not a scientific point of view.


No one knows what spirit means. How do I know spirit when I see it? What is its empirical signature?

If you cannot say what experience validates a proposition then you don't know the meaning of that proposition.

A thoery is scientific only when it can predict?

Yes.

By the way what are the predictions that evolution theory can do?

Here you go.

 
At February 26, 2006 10:06 PM, Anonymous John said...

Wrong again. The Big Bang is not an explosion in space.

I never said it was. You seem to be reading text I haven't written just so you can be condescending. This implies you have a narrow set of assumptions about anyone who opposes you. Trusting in stereotypes is indicative of lazy thinking.

The universe (time, space, matter, etc.) had a beginning. A little over 50 years ago, the scientific concensus was that it didn't have a beginning. The majority of scientists at the time (including Einstein) were resistant to the idea of the universe having a beginning, because that was what practically every religion had said for thousands of years (some a little more colorfully than others, of course).

The observed scientific fact of the universe having a beginning feeds the kalam cosmological argument, which was formulated around 900 years before. Simply stated, it makes the case that anything which has a beginning has a cause.

The only thing you've done is wave your hand and declare that the universe didn't have a cause. Not a good refutation, considering every single thing we've ever observed that had a beginning, without exception, has had a cause.


There could be scientific theories of ID. For example, if you propose that an alien species deposited the first life on Earth using naturalistic means, and you make predictions to back up the claim, then you have a scientific theory and a possible (if improbable and unsupported) explanation.

Francis Crick liked that proposal. Though he was as staunch an atheist as Dawkins, he had a gut feeling that the probability of the molecules he had discovered forming from chance was literally astronomical.

There are other possibilities that you overlook as well, because of your myopic viewpoint. You remind me of the fellows who go through great lengths to tell the public that extremely elaborate crop circles could have been formed merely by the wind, and when they're told that only intelligent agents could have done it, they spray spittle about disbelieving in UFOs, somehow never realizing that college pranksters who live in the same town are also intelligent agents.


Finally, if an ensemble of universes generates a prediction in our own universe then the ensemble is part of our detectable sphere, blah blah blah.

Instead of answering my question, you decided to engage in the same old sophistry.

I'll rephrase it, but I'm still doubtful I'll get an answer worth the time it takes me to read it.

Why is an ensemble of universes needed to explain anything we've observed so far? Has there actually been something observed that leads us to believe that more than one universe exists?

 
At February 27, 2006 1:02 AM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

john,

I find it amusing that you scold me for jumping to conclusions about your next move (after you predict my next move, I might add), then you follow up with the very move I predicted!

You are a pattern in space and time. As such, I can point to a time before you existed, and presumably find a cause for your existence. If I now integrate over all space and time, it is simply not logically possible to locate a temporal cause. This is not handwaving, but a mathematical fact. The only escape is to claim that the Big Bang isn't the beginning of time, but then the universe didn't have a beginning after all.

I have never heard anyone suggest that crop circles were caused by the wind. Furthermore, I doubt that teenage pranksters (semi-intelligent agents whose existence has been verified by evidence other than their works, BTW) had much to do with the origin of the species.

Anyway, got any more ID predictions?

As for multiverses, they automatically and naturally appear in theories that were developed to solve other problems, e.g., string theory and inflationary cosmology. They also have the potential to explain why certain physical constants have the values that they have. And, as I said, some other models are just toys for exploring mathematical physics. The only thing that matters is prediction. If a model can predict observable effects, it's hard to criticize the model's motivations. (AFAIK, no multiverse theory has made any firm predictions, let alone been experimentally confirmed.)

Finally, there's an impression out there that all physicists believe in multiverses because some cosmologists have built speculative models of them (or because they're the kind of sexy story highlighted by Scientific American). The fact is that most physicists don't believe in multiverses any more than they believe in tachyons. They're just interesting ideas for the time being.

 
At February 27, 2006 9:40 AM, Anonymous John said...

The only escape is to claim that the Big Bang isn't the beginning of time, but then the universe didn't have a beginning after all.

"The beginning is not a beginning." *Waves hand*


I have never heard anyone suggest that crop circles were caused by the wind.

Now you have.

A few more, if that's not sufficient.

Oh, and since you think being pedantic is a valid rebuttal, let me pre-empt that by saying the wind is not the only explanation these "scientists" use, but they try to attribute the causes of these circles exclusively to exotic natural occurrences.

"Wind" vs. UFOs. RM + NS vs. "God". False dichotomies.


Furthermore, I doubt that teenage pranksters (semi-intelligent agents whose existence has been verified by evidence other than their works, BTW) had much to do with the origin of the species.

Besides being engaged in activities known to be engines of Darwinian natural selection (sex and dangerous stunts), they are in this case merely used in an analogy illustrating how easy it is to fall into the false dichotomy trap when one is intellectually lazy.


Anyway, got any more ID predictions?

You mean predictions like saying species will arise from very gradual change, except when they arise from sudden change? Or that a species which adapts to its environment the best will survive, so a surviving species is one that adapts to its environment the best?

Nope, can't say that I do.

More from Dembski.


As for multiverses, they automatically and naturally appear in theories that were developed to solve other problems, e.g., string theory and inflationary cosmology. They also have the potential to explain why certain physical constants have the values that they have.

There are no problems that need to be solved by theories of multiverses, a metaverse, etc. We have observed nothing that needs multiple universes to explain.

Physical constants are what they are, because they cannot be anything else. *Waves hand*

 
At February 27, 2006 1:18 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

john,

I'll take your mockery to mean that you have no intellectual counter to my statements about cosmology.

You say:
RM + NS vs. "God". False dichotomies.

As you say, macroevolution and abiogenesis do not rule out the existence of God (that's taken care of by completely different argumentation). I mean, what's the point of being all powerful if you have to keep tweaking with your own universe? Why not rig Big Bang history so humans evolve, no matter what the odds?

But then you point me to these great Dembski quotes:

But we don't have any experience with unembodied designers, and that's clearly what we're dealing with when it comes to design in biology. Actually, if an unembodied designer is responsible for biological complexity, then we do have quite a bit of experience with such a designer through the designed objects (not least ourselves) that confront us all the time.

Who said anything about the designer being unembodied?

Or this one:

The same cannot be said for Darwinism and the naturalism it embodies as a framework for science.

Now he's abandoning naturalism. Yet, there can be no scientific investigation of things that are not subject to natural laws. Looks like the Dover ruling was right on target. Dembski has no interest in science. The perversion of science is his objective.

Let's look at the most important facts.

1) Common ancestry. This is backed up by morphological evidence, genetic evidence and the fossil record. ID does NOT predict common ancestry - as a rule, human designs don't use common ancestry. ID predicts precambrian rabbits. There's no reason why a designer should obsessively re-use technologies, especially so when the designer is God.

2) Common biology. We've built computers from many different substrates, utilizing radically different technologies. Why are all life forms made out of DNA technology? Shouldn't we find a few silicon-based life forms out there?

3) Utility. The reason that SETI is reasonable is that it is a prediction of utility. Carrier wave signals are useful for communication, and they conserve energy. If the aliens were gods they wouldn't need to use simple technology like radios, nor conserve energy while doing it.

So what is the apparent utility of life on this planet? As far as we can tell, the only function of life on Earth is survival. Of all the functions for which life could have been built, the designer chose the one function that evolution predicts?

So plug this into Bayes' Theorem: what is the probability that an intelligent agent made the world for no purpose (so it looked evolved) versus making life for any of a billion possible specific purposes? Correct. A billion to one. ID is overwhelmingly disconfirmed.

4) Time. Why design life over evolutionary (geological) timescales? If there is utility to life, the designer isn't in any great need of it.

ID is a sham because it is no more than the statement that things "look designed." Well we didn't need Dembski's mathematical nonsense (CSI) to tell us that. The question is whether or not things actually are designed, something about which Dembski has nothing useful to say.

There are no problems that need to be solved by theories of multiverses, a metaverse, etc. We have observed nothing that needs multiple universes to explain.

Oh, and there's nothing about the separate physical constants for electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force that needs explaining? And no reason to introduce the W and Z bosons through electro-weak unification to do so? Please.

 
At February 28, 2006 4:05 PM, Anonymous Farshad said...

Here you go.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA210.html



The above article you referred is far from answering that question. The article confuses prediction with estimation and assumption.

take a look at this exapmle from talkorigins:

Darwin predicted, based on homologies with African apes, that human ancestors arose in Africa. That prediction has been supported by fossil and genetic evidence (Ingman et al. 2000).

-The above is not a true prediction.
-It is and observation and assumption based on existing facts.
-it niether can be falsified nor proved because the proof is based on some fossils and genetic evidence that are open to discussion.
-The mechanisms behind the macro evolution is still a mystery. Mutation/Selection fable is what darwinists believe. It has not been proved. One can say mutations is another word for magic in darwinist philosophy.

The same type of predictions can be done by ID too, let me say for example:

"The designer has designed human body to adapt the severe climatic conditions of ice-age"

The above is a prediction
The above is testable
The above is proved
You can't falsify or prove the designer as you can't falsify or prove many claims of ET.

So yo see I did a prediction in name of ID.

and you can see ET is not a science of predictions as we used to see in physics or chemistry.

Also:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2002/0228not_science.asp

 
At February 28, 2006 10:44 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

farshad,

Evolution is not a single theory. It is a class of theories under which the laws of physics are responsible for explaining the evolution of life via an unguided process. This class of theories contains specific, predictive theories like natural selection and mutation. It also predicts common ancestry which has been overwhelmingly confirmed.

If common ancestry were false, then we should not expect DNA to be similar among closely related (but distinct) species. The DNA evidence confirms the common ancestry prediction.

Computer simulations also prove that RM/NS can generate highly complex solutions via genetic algorithms.

Again, the predictions I listed for john apply here.

"The designer has designed human body to adapt the severe climatic conditions of ice-age"


Suppose we first observed that humans could adapt to the ice age.

Your statement then says that there is some X that guarantees that humans are temperature adaptable.

This is a great starting point.

An explanation of adaptability is the X we are looking for.

Where you are wrong is when you claim that evolution goes no further than this.

Evolution proposes specific theories of mechanisms that explain the result, e.g., natural selection, mutation, biochemical pathways, viral vectors, sexual reproduction, co-option, etc. These mechanisms, if true, will have very specific experimental consequences for DNA, for simulations, and so on. Naturalism says that X is discoverable with science. Evolution says specifically what X is. IOW, it solves the problem at hand.

ID leaves you with just X. A restatement of the original problem. I really don't understand why anyone who has thought about this subject thinks ID is explanatory when it's just a restatement of the problem. The explanatory power of ID is in the mechanisms. What was the design process? How was life manufactured? And what was it manufactured for? Only when you answer these questions can you state why different life forms had to be the way we observe them and not the way we don't observe them.

 
At March 01, 2006 6:53 AM, Anonymous Farshad said...

Evolution proposes specific theories of mechanisms that explain the result, e.g., natural selection, mutation, biochemical pathways, viral vectors, sexual reproduction, co-option, etc. These mechanisms, if true, will have very specific experimental consequences for DNA, for simulations, and so on. Naturalism says that X is discoverable with science. Evolution says specifically what X is. IOW, it solves the problem at hand.

Now the real problem of ET exposes here. Natural selection and mutation has not been proved. That is what evolutionists believe. There is no empirical data or proof that Mutations can be the driving force behind the macro evolution.

So ET does not explain anything. It only assumes that it must happened so. i.e. "those well known just-so stories".

"biochemical pathways" has nothing to do with the Evolution Theory. It's pure biology that was here long before the Darwin. You must understand that biochemistry is not necessarily a part of ET. Biochemistry shows us the chemistry behind life not the source of that chemistry.

ID relies on biochemistry to show that there must be a design mechanism and spontaneous evolution is impossible.

SO let's put it all togather:

Evolution Claims:

(Random Mutation + Selection) -> Biology -> Biochemistry -> Life

ID Claims :

(Deisgn) -> Biology -> Biochemistry -> Life


As you can see both ID and ET leave the question of life to a mysterious source. For me the mutation fable is only a fairly tale as the designer might be for an evolutionsits. After 150 years of research Evolutionists still can't show us the source of first living cell. Why they just don't hoenstly admit that first living cell somehow is designed and macro-evolution is also drived by an intelligence force. If they persist to stay in their materialist shell and ignore all of the severe problems related to their thoery, why anyone should believe in them anymore?

The same biological methods used to predict can also be used by ID. Never forget that there were real science, biology, mathematics and physics before the evolution thoery come into the literature and almost all of the pre-darwin scientists believed in design not the chance.

ID leaves us with X only when we ask who is the designer, but in a similiar way ET leaves us with another X when we ask them about source of life and first living cell. At least ID has something to offer "the designer" but ET has only a huge "void" to offer us.

 
At March 01, 2006 7:04 AM, Anonymous Farshad said...

Computer simulations also prove that RM/NS can generate highly complex solutions via genetic algorithms.

Can u show only one single example of such a software? I'm a software engineer and to the best of my knowledge there is none.

Well I hope you are not referring to the Dawkins' "Weasel Program" which has nothing to do with a real simulation of RM/NS. Also Dawkins as always tricked us by giving a known target as input data to a software. While in real evolution there must be no known goal at first place.

 
At March 01, 2006 5:13 PM, Blogger Forty_Two said...

I think Henry Ford just waved his magic wand and created a finished, modern automobile instead of going a step at a time, making mistakes, etc.

That's my view on creation.

 
At March 02, 2006 1:42 AM, Blogger Septeus7 said...

Quote from Doc: Just because an explanation is "a set of rules under which our observations are required to be made" doesn't mean that any possible explanation is correct or more probable.

Hold it. Thats not what you said before. You have now changed you defintion. From before.

Quote:"An explanation is a set of rules of implication under which the world must be as we observe it."

A true explaination according to your first definition that the "set of rules" under which "the world" must be as "observe."

This assumes that for something to be explained it must be observed and all observations must contain all aspects to which "the world" conforms. So I'll ask; Is a perfect circle real?

They are no observations within the world of perfect circles so how can a the set of rules with define the relation provide explaination according to your theory?


Quote from Doc: For any finite number of observations, there are an infinite number of theories that are explanatory.

Holy contradiction Batman! According to your prior definition (which is wrong!), and an explaination was a set that must have the quality of describing or providing for the world as it is observed. So unless there is an infinite set of worlds containing the finite set of observations you cannot know that the proceeding set i.e. the "set of rules" is infinite.

Ironically, it your definition of explaination that eliminates the very concept by stated that all finite observation can have an infinite set of causes or rules throught which causes must act. Your definition of explaination in facts says an explaination is in fact any set of imaginary rules which I can force upon an observation.

Quote from Doc: Of course you can define the word explanation to mean something else, e.g., to mean anything that satisfies your curiosity, or anything that makes you feel good, but then there's little room for rational discourse.

Typical, once I force the irrationalist (i.e. ALL athiests) to prove their apriori definitions by logic and constistancy, they start wanting to talk about my "Feelings."

Quote: "Likewise, supernatural ID is thought to be explanatory because its proponents don't need to ask any more deep questions about morality or existence once they accept ID."

Does not follows and is not true.

Quote: Sorry, this makes no sense to me. Refering to this no corrected sentence.

Quote" It is only unexplained where there is a singular system which supernaturalism denies catagorically thus allowing for the destinction between supernatural and natural in the first place.

Sorry my fault.

Quote: "Oh, and you should read Gödel's theorem some day so you understand what it actually says."

Question: Is the following correct?

Quote: "If an axiomatic system can be proven to be consistent and complete from within itself, then it is inconsistent."

 
At March 02, 2006 2:19 AM, Blogger Septeus7 said...

Quote: "ID does NOT predict common ancestry - as a rule, human designs don't use common ancestry."

EAM ID does predict common ancestry.
Question. Please explain why the mechanism of NS+RM demand common ancestry. Frontloading models can predict common ancestry.

Quote: as a rule, human designs don't use common ancestry.

Because humans don't typically use reproducing systems to manufactor things.
While "common ancestry" is not used for material objects we do copy software. Not really "ancestry" though...

Quote: ID predicts precambrian rabbits.

Where? Name the source.

Quote: Common biology... Why are all life forms made out of DNA technology?

One of the best evidences for ID and NeoDarwinianism doesn't predict this at all. Never heard of Message Theory? Why don't you actually read ID books before you ask dumb questions we've ansered a thousand times.

Quote: Utility. The reason that SETI is reasonable is that it is a prediction of utility.

How do you know it has utility unless you assume that there is someone for whom would it would be useful?

This is so funny that you think chasing imaginary aliens is rational but examining the nature of biological code to find evidence of teleology is useless.

Quote: Of all the functions for which life could have been built, the designer chose the one function that evolution predicts?

That is a lie! Evolution does not predict this at all. A random virus could have easily destroyed all life. All species could have died long ago due overspecialization followed be massive climate change. There is nothing in the theory that says the competition for resources must result in reproduction.

Quote "plug this into Bayes' Theorem: what is the probability that an intelligent agent made the world for no purpose"

You have no evidence of for this statement of anti-teleology.

Quote: 4) Time. Why design life over evolutionary (geological) timescales?

You are assuming that the Designer would be concerned about such a thing. Why?

 
At March 02, 2006 2:23 AM, Blogger Septeus7 said...

DocLogic, why don't you debate John Davidson at http://prescribedevolution.blogspot.com/.

It would be quite entertaining.

 
At March 02, 2006 11:09 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

farshad,

Natural selection and mutation has not been proved. That is what evolutionists believe. There is no empirical data or proof that Mutations can be the driving force behind the macro evolution.

You can't mean this literally. Natural selection is a mathematically certain mechanism. Your claim must only be that we have not demonstrated macroevolution in perfect detail. For example, we have not demonstrated macroevolution by simulations of molecular biology. But you're just saying that science doesn't know everything. Our inability to do this simulation today is no black mark against evolution. We expect to be able to do this sort of simulation within this century.

The fact is that evolutionary models propose mechanisms that are explanatory. ID does not. ID just claims that we will never explain biology with the mechanisms of physics. That is NOT and explanation, it is a lack of explanations.

ID will be an explanation when it describes the mechanisms responsible for the design. Otherwise, it proposes something indistinguishable from magic. IDists are always pointing to human artifacts as parallels of design science. That's fine, but, as with design science, you have to talk about how products are designed, why they are designed, and how they were manufactured. That's what makes design science. If you cannot explain how purportedly designed artifacts were created, you are talking about magic, not science.

Design is not a property, it is a process, a history. You cannot measure design. You can only try to confirm or falsify theories of design.

As you can see both ID and ET leave the question of life to a mysterious source.

Nice try, but ID and evolution aren't on the same footing. Evolution proposes specific testable mechanisms to explain observation. ID does not, and never will (or, at least, never has). We don't know everything about evolutionary science, but at least we propose that we can do so. ID proposes no such thing.

 
At March 03, 2006 12:19 AM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

septeus7,

Suppose we empirically measure some observable, f, at three points x1, x2 and x3.

I then ask for an explanation for the values f1=f(x1), f2=f(x2) and f3=f(x3).

An explanation is a formula for f. Our quest is to generally answer the question "f(x) = ?"

Needless to say, this requires making a prediction.

Given our three observations, how many solutions are there for f? If you said there were an infinite number, you would be correct.

What can we say about any explanation for f? We can say that we only have a solution for f when our proposed polynomial (or other function) for f is such that we predict what we have observed. It is a requirement that every explanation we propose must predict that at x1, x2 and x3 we get the observed value of f (f1, f2 and f3). Any proposed formula for f that failed to do this would not be explanatory.

As you can see, ID is not explanatory because it makes no predictions. Could life have been brought into the world by magic? Sure. But it's not an explanation. It says that:

f(x) = whatever you happen to observe at x (cos it's magic)

Sorry, but that's the question, not the answer. If you can tell me what f(x) is, then you have an answer.

Evolutionary models propose specific mechanisms that are explanatory. They predict that a simulation of biochemistry can replicate all of the features of observed biology. For example, with enough computing power, we should be able to see macroevolutionary processes arise out of mutation, sexual reproduction and natural selection acting on existing genomes. For example, we might find simulate the macroevolution of reptiles into bird-like and mammal-like creatures (and probably some kinds of animals we don't see). We may not see precisely the same species appear out of simulation, but we can account for all of the features of life this way.

It's just like plate tectonics. Plate tectonics happens too slowly to observe the formation of mountain ranges. However, models of plate tectonics predict mountains. If plate tectonics is true, then we must see mountains!

ToE has already demonstrated volumes of evidence in its favor in the genetic records of species. For example, most cat species (from big cats to house cats) have a common mutation that makes them unable to process certain sugars. This kind of shared mutation from common ancestry is predicted by evolution. Natural selection is a process founded on ancestry. Complex multicellular life forms don't just pop into existence in evolutionary models. They are complex because they have built upon the evolutionary advances of ancestor species over a large number of generations.

Generically, design does NOT predict common ancestry. ID has to predict something. You can fit your ID model to the data, but you have to get some payoff.

So how have you tuned your model to the data?

Could it be any of these:

1) The designer is not smart enough or powerful enough to build all life directly, so chose to use organic techniques.

2) The designer is either dead or lives over very long timescales because construction has taken 3.8 billion years.

3) The designer must have built life for no good reason. For most of its history, life on Earth has been non-intelligent, and simply strived for survival and no other purpose.

4) The designer took no apparent precautions to protect life on Earth from meteorites and other great extinctions. Again, this suggests that the designer is long gone.

5) Any designer capable of building life had no obvious need for life on this planet. There is nothing that such a life form could not do better by direct design. More evidence for the design being of no purpose.

Okay, having tuned your designer theory to observations, what can you predict?

Nada. You can predict neither fundamental processes nor histories. It's like being asked to fit a curve to a set of points, but no matter how many points you get, you never make a predictive curve.

Disagree? Then tell me how to make ID predictive. Tell me what observations back up your claims. Don't refer to gaps in evolutionary biology. That's got nothing to do with your claim. Tell me what you predict and why you predict it.

You pointed me to this load of BE:

This is The Biotic Message: the unity in biology tells us that there is but one Creator, and the pattern of diversity defies any consistent naturalistic explanation.

Defies. Any. Consistent. Naturalistic. Explanation.

There you have it. That's your answer to why we're made out of the same stuff. God did it, and the evidence is that we haven't explained everything yet.

Why design life over evolutionary (geological) timescales?

You are assuming that the Designer would be concerned about such a thing. Why?


Let's see. If I have massive computing and manufacturing capability, why spend 4 billion years constructing primitive biological machinery that's billions of times less functional than what I had in the first place? There's no utility there.

And I love this one:
That is a lie! Evolution does not predict this at all. A random virus could have easily destroyed all life.

Evolution has no guarantee of survival for life. That why we've almost been blasted to bits several times throughout pre-history. But that's irrelevant. As long as life persists, evolution will favor the best survival strategies. We observe that life exists, so evolution goes on to predict that it is the survivors who have the staying power.

 
At March 03, 2006 1:37 AM, Anonymous Farshad said...

Evolution proposes specific testable mechanisms to explain observation

Can you test the bird evolution? Macro-Evolution is not testable. It's only a claim.

Evolution is a set of stories that many of them are not even close to be believable let alone be testable. Well ofcourse Darwinists will claim that it is not so.

And doctor logic you must explore further and become quite familiar with severe problems underlying the theory of evolution.

According to me and many scientists the Macro/Evo and RM/NS is only another way of believing in magic.

"I don't know how long it is going to be before astronomers generally recognize that the combinatorial arrangement of not even one of the thousands of biopolymers on which life depends could have been arrived at by natural processes here on Earth. Astronomers… have little difficulty at understanding this because they will have been assured by biologists that it is not so, the biologists… by others that it is not so. The "others" are a group of persons who believe quite openly in mathematical miracles. They advocate the belief that tucked away in nature, outside of normal physics, there is a law which performs miracles"

Fred Hoyle, 1981. "The Big Bang Astronomy,"

 
At March 03, 2006 9:16 AM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

farshad,

Can you test the bird evolution? Macro-Evolution is not testable. It's only a claim.

Good choice. Two years after the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species we discovered... Archaeopteryx!

If every species were designed, why should birds have anything at all in common with reptiles? Design does not require common descent. Evolution does.

And quoting Fred Hoyle isn't very convincing. He's a well-known crank (his contributions to stellar nucleosynthesis notwithstanding). I personally attended one of his presentations in which he claimed all of the Archaeopteryx fossils were faked, and presented charts purportedly showing that colds and flu were caused by passing comets. You could easily see that his charts were rigged and cherry-picked by year.

 
At March 03, 2006 1:49 PM, Anonymous Farshad said...

He was a famous astronomer and had a Phd in math. Does it make sense?

He is a crank according to Darwinists because Hoyle was a bad guys who spoiled their theory.

Hoyle could successfuly demonstrate two vital facts:

a)Abiogenesis is totally impossible

b)RM/NS is only a neo-darwinian hype and mathematically improbable to happen

I understand, if I were Darwinst I would hate Hoyle because he was one of the most credible and admired scientists who loudly announced the fact that "the King is naked".

I wonder how many aeons must pass for darwinists to realize the fact that if there is a RM/NS engine behind the Macro-Evo, the cumulative effects of bad mutations would be too enormous that it would swallow any tiny effect of cumulative good mutations (if there are any at all)

You should go and read "Mathematics of Evolution" to fully understand Hoyle and his conclusions.

He had a unique position among opposers of Evolution. He was neither religous nor creationist but he was honest and brave enough to oppose all those daydreaming biologs and tell them what they believe is only a "non-sense of high order".

He beleived in Panspermeia. Panspermeia is much more convincing compared with the RM/NS thing.

The Panspermeia theory is unprovable or you can say it is science fiction, but RM/NS is improbable (impossible), RM/NS can't even be science fiction. Can you see the difference?

Dawkins claimed the "Boeing 747" metaphor made by Hoyle is wrong because Hoyle didn't take into consideration the power of cumulative selection. Richard Darwkins even didn't understand what the Hoyle's "Boeing Story" was about. The Boeing exapmle was about Abiogenesis where no natural selective power could intervene.

Ian Musgrave published an article (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html) to show Hoyle's claims regarding abiogenesis are wrong. Musgrave's article was a funny piece of work full of mathematical misinterpretations, vague calculations that we don't see in detail. His article even contradicts laws of biochemistry and physics.
(More info about this on request.)

---------------------------------

There is no empirical fact that Archaeopteryx was half bird and half reptile. It's only high level of wishful thinking among darwinists that makes them able to see whatever they want to see.

Archaeopteryx was a complete bird with warm blood, feathers, light bones and specialized respiratory system that is only found in birds.
Believe it or not! It's up to you.

 
At March 03, 2006 2:07 PM, Blogger creeper said...

Mr. Selden,

"It became clear to me that macroevolutionary theory is built more on a priori philosophical assumptions than on evidence."

When you say macroevolutionary theory, do you mean the theory that macroevolution took place, or the theory that macroevolution took place by natural means alone?

 
At March 03, 2006 10:35 PM, Anonymous John said...

And quoting Fred Hoyle isn't very convincing. He's a well-known crank (his contributions to stellar nucleosynthesis notwithstanding).

Took you awhile, but you finally got to the genetic fallacy. Congrats.

Hoyle wasn't the only one to trust in panspermia. As I said before, Francis Crick was an advocate of it as well, because he understood the improbability of the DNA molecule "evolving" from prebiotic chemicals. Crick was as atheistic as Dawkins.

Scott Minnich has studied abiogenesis as well, for more than two decades, and found Darwinian explanations to be insufficient.

Take an hour out of your busy schedule and watch a video. Or don't watch it and remain a loser.

septeus7 owned you BTW.

 
At March 03, 2006 10:55 PM, Anonymous John said...

Oops. I think I meant Dean Kenyon instead of Minnich.

I am using beer as a Darwinian device.

 
At March 04, 2006 5:32 AM, Anonymous Farshad said...

John said...
Oops. I think I meant Dean Kenyon instead of Minnich.


Thanks for the link. very informative indeed.

 
At March 04, 2006 10:18 AM, Anonymous John said...

You're welcome, farshad. I like the things you bring to the discussion.

 
At March 04, 2006 9:57 PM, Blogger Doctor Logic said...

It's fine for you guys to bring rhetoric to the table, but you might also want to throw in some substance in your arguments at some stage. Just FYI.

Cite the cranks, and cherry-pick your quotes all you like. Any biologist who had "proven" that NS doesn't work would have won the Nobel Prize.

Your whole thesis is that the entire field of biology (well, 99% of it) is engaged in some huge collaborative hoax, despite the fact that the players are in adversarial relationships. It's a conspiracy theory of the tallest order.

So, I don't recommend arguing from authority when the authority in this matter isn't on your side.

BTW, farshad, have you seen any birds lately with claws on their wings and reptilian teeth in their beaks?

 
At March 05, 2006 3:07 AM, Anonymous Farshad said...

Any biologist who had "proven" that NS doesn't work would have won the Nobel Prize

Nobel prize? You must be kidding us! Those biologists would be blamed to be creationists. They would be attacked by darwinists and banned from the scienticif mainstream.

Your whole thesis is that the entire field of biology (well, 99% of it) is engaged in some huge collaborative hoax

Let me state they are blindly persisting on their flaws and misunderstandings. Also they are adhered to their materialisric view which unable them to see anything beyond a naturalistic explanation.

You simply use a wrong logic as "since darwinists have the majority in the mainstream, the neo-darwinism is proven to be true". Most biologists are not even aware of the serious problems underlying the evolution theory. They just swallow what they are told.

have you seen any birds lately with claws on their wings and reptilian teeth in their beaks?

" Archaeopteryx was not the only fossil bird to have had grasping teeth. Some fossil birds had teeth, some didn’t. But how can teeth prove a relationship to reptiles, when many reptiles don’t have teeth? Crocodiles are really the only group of reptiles that consistently have very well developed teeth. And of course even some mammals have teeth and some don’t."

Opisthocomus hoazin is an existing modern bird with functional claws on its wings.

 
At March 10, 2006 2:23 PM, Blogger crevo said...

I have an essay on a similar topic here.

 
At July 28, 2006 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just adding to one of Farshad's comments...

Darwin predicted, based on homologies with African apes, that human ancestors arose in Africa. That prediction has been supported by fossil and genetic evidence (Ingman et al. 2000).

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA210.html

Darwin used homology as evidence for common descent. Although unable to find a natural mechanism to demonstrate that homologies are due to a common ancestor, Darwin's modern disciples contend homology is caused by common ancestry rather than common design, while also proclaiming that homology is evidence of common ancestry. Hence, according to some Darwinists, similarity due to common ancestry demonstrates common ancestry. The fact that this circular logic is still widely applied by many Darwinists is simply astonishing.

 

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