Monday, January 22, 2007

A very controversial paper!

Doug Axes’ work was controversial even as he was carrying it out. It was funded by an Institute that never under any circumstances funds anything but misguided PR material- The Discovery Institute. When another researcher in his lab pointed to the Discovery Institute's agenda and suggested that Axe be asked to leave, Prof Fersht refused. (New Scientist article)

It was controversial when it had been published with Dembski hailing it as a peer reviewed publication which supported his arguments.

Axes’ work has continued to be controversial with the set up of the Biologic Institute and his announcement that he does consider his work as supportive of the ID view.

Ed Brayton (here and here) thinks that the Journal of Molecular Biology accepted a paper in which the author got the title of his paper to mean the opposite of what his results suggested!

“The 2000 JMB paper did not show "severe sequence constraints" at all. It showed quite the opposite, that you could make massive changes in the sequence of amino acids in an enzyme, knocking out 10, 20, even 30 amino acids at a time, without completely destroying the function of the enzyme. It showed that you could make 10 substitutions at a time with only a negligible effect on the enzyme's function. And this is "severe sequence constraints"? Not even close.”

The title according to Ed should not have been “Extreme functional sensitivity to….” But Extreme functional INsensitivity to…” I immediately thought that the fact that the paper’s author and the papers reviewers made such a monumental error and that Ed managed to come to the rescue and point this out was rather odd to say the least. That it managed to get through the JMB peer review process without anyone noticing that the title was saying the opposite of the results seems quite remarkable to say the least! Perhaps it was a simple printing error?

Matt Inlay critiques the early claims that Dembski made for this research. Interestingly Matt Inlay does not mention that Axe got his title wrong.

Arthur Hunt likewise does not mention that Axe got his title so completely wrong and argues that of all the values for enzyme functionality in possible sequence space the lower ones give easily attainable rates in bacterial populations. However the much smaller populations in larger animals still present difficulties for explaining the origin of their unique proteins.
(Interestingly Arthur Hunt mentions that Douglas axe helped him with early drafts of this essay.)

Hunt present the enzyme activity as hills with a wide or narrow base. The size of the base of the hill indicates the likelihood of finding a functional protein by random mutation.

Personally I like my golf course analogy better which turns the diagram upside down. (here and here)

Abstracts of Axes Papers: here and here

63 Comments:

Blogger Tony Jackson said...

From the New Scientist article:

"We are the first ones doing what we might call lab science in intelligent design," says George Weber, the only one of Biologic's four directors who would speak openly with me. "The objective is to challenge the scientific community on naturalism."

Ah ha! Maybe then I should ask THEM to explain to me what an ID research paradigm would look like, 'cos you guys still haven't answered my question from way back when...

And I certainly would be very interested indeed in seeing what experiments or observations are needed to "challenge naturalism".

Let's think about that one. Umm... perhaps seeing if water can spontaneously change into wine? That might do it.

Or maybe just see if a shattered pane of glass could spontaneously reform itself? - that would certainly be a blow to the Second law of Thermodynamics..

6:03 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew: moving on again. Just for the record, hese are some of the outstanding questions from the last thread...do you think there is any cahnce of them being addressed?

"Give me ANY example where Fuller has made any contribution that has made the slightest bit of practical difference to the way real science is done by real scientists in real science departments."

"Oh and Dolores:
If you think that either Levitt or myself have misrepresented Fuller's positions, then cite evidence of it."

"What Fuller's ideas would seem to require is some sort of externally-enforced redistribution of resources to oddball ideas ..Who would oversee this redistribution?"

"Does anybody see such a system as being in the least bit workable? Can anybody see any other way of implementing Fuller's ideas?"

"what possible experiment could you conduct to show that "X was designed by a supernatural big guy?". And what control would you use in such an experiment?"

"Can you demonstrate a single "true answer" that science has eliminated due to Methodological Naturalism?"

"1)Who is the Designer?

2)Where did s/he/it come from?

3)Is there just one designer or are there many?

4)How did the Designer do the designing?

5)When did the Designer do the designing?

6)Is the Designer still designing or has s/he/it retired?"

"I assume that all these papers proving that information theory etc make mincemeat of Darwinian evolution are freely available, so you can back up your claims?"

"Come now Andrew, don’t be disingenuous. Everybody knows that the people pushing ID have a religious agenda. Are you seriously telling me that you think it’s OK to believe the Intelligent Designer was a Time Lord, or a Jedi Knight or Slartibartfast?"

"“BTW, there are already ID-centric research programs out there, working from the ID stance and it's propositions and predictions.”

Really? Name these research programmes. References to published papers in peer-reviewed journals please, and a short explanation of how these papers support ID would also be nice. I repeat what I said at the start of this thread: what exactly would an ID research paradigm actually look like? So far I have seen nothing from the ID crowd that remotely resembles such a programme."

"Do you agree that the Souder Report was not issued with the authority of congress as a whole nor from a committee or sub committee of congress. It does not carry the authority of congress as an institution?"

"Do you really beleive that there is some dastardly plot to unfairly dismiss someone that nobody had ever heard of, thus creating a nice controversy for creationist conspiracy addicts to latch on to?"

"what do you think of Sternberg's evasion of the standard practice? Do you admire it? or is it reprehensible?"

"Sparky, This is the first time I have heard that ID scientists predicted that "junk dna" actually had a function, and that more orthodox scientists failed to do so.

Can you tell me the name of the ID proponent who predicted this? And which scientific journal he/she published the prediction in?

A name or names, a date or dates and the name of a journal or journals. That's all we neeed."

"Did the debate take place? What happened?"

6:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me it looks like you are putting words in Braytons mouth, and also missing that actually his post was an attack on Dembskis sweeping statement that:

"
But there is now mounting evidence of biological systems for which any slight modification does not merely destroy the system's existing function, but also destroys the possibility of any fucntion of the system whatsoever (Axe, 2000). For such systems, neither direct nor indirect Darwinian pathways could account for them."

Or in other words, as far as I can see, having read also the stuff here:
http://www.iscid.org/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=6;t=000212;p=

your post is of poor quality.
guthrie

10:36 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

ally, those very questions you quoted are still being discussed in the other thread, why not finish discussion there, and devote this one to the relevant topic?

10:45 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"ally, those very questions you quoted are still being discussed in the other thread, why not finish discussion there, and devote this one to the relevant topic?"

No Sparky, those questions are being IGNORED completely in the other thread, in spite of frequent reminders and rephrasings.

So, to distract attention Andrew brings up the old topic of DAWaSWKOoaLBHWBFBLACBWAARAN (Douglas Axe Who a Scientist Wanted Kicked Out of a Lab Because He Was Being Funded By Lying Antiscience Creationists But Wasn't As Andrew Repeats Ad Nauseam).

Let us remember what we already know about DAWaSWKOoaLBHWBFBLACBWAARAN:

* He has produced very little.

* He has produced nothing for a number of years.

* What he has produced does not even present negative evidence against evolution (although it is purported to) and does not even attempt to present positive evidence for a designer.

All it does show is that you need to knock out a massive number of amino acids from an enzyme before you destroy its function. This result is supportive of evolution.

All Ed Brayton does is quite correctly point out that the paper's title is directly contradicted by the paper's results.

4:30 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Guthrie,
"To me it looks like you are putting words in Braytons mouth"

I gave quite a lengthy direct quote of Ed's piece on this.

12:29 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"No Sparky, those questions are being IGNORED completely in the other thread, in spite of frequent reminders and rephrasings."

Then why not bring them up again on that thread, and ask new ones here? They are, after all, seperate threads for a reason.

Also, I believe you may have missed or forgotten some of the responses given. This may have occurred with some of Andrew's as well, but I recall responding directly to the number of those quoted questions that we were discussing.


Without regard to the quality of the responses, for the sake of argument, responses were given, so your questions were not ignored. Now if you were not completely satisfied with the answer given, it would be helpful, and even constructive to inform the individual that their answer was unsatisfactory, and articulate why. IMHO it would still be better in the other thread, so we can stay on topic here. This one looks interesting.

12:37 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Sparky asked: "Then why not bring them up again on that thread, and ask new ones here? They are, after all, seperate threads for a reason."

I did, at the same time I posted them here. It would be nice if someone answered... but I'm not holding my breath.

2:03 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

"We are the first ones doing what we might call lab science in intelligent design," says George Weber, the only one of Biologic's four directors who would speak openly with me. "The objective is to challenge the scientific community on naturalism."

Mr Weber got sacked for his honesty in admitting the aim was to overthrow "naturalism". Usually science tries to investigate a problem or hypothesis and see what answers come up... this lab seems to know the answers it wants in advance...

2:07 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Then why not bring them up again on that thread, and ask new ones here?"

Because Sparky, DAWaSWKOoaLBHWBFBLACBWAARAN is an old topic that has long since been played out on earlier threads. And because the questions I have been asking on the old thread have been so studiously ignored that it is quite clear that nobody has any intention of answering them.

"Also, I believe you may have missed or forgotten some of the responses given. This may have occurred with some of Andrew's as well, but I recall responding directly to the number of those quoted questions that we were discussing."

No Sparky, you have not "responded directly". What you did was avoid the question and derail the conversation onto fictitious maltreatment of Creationists.

The upshot of which is that neither you nor Andrew has even attempted to address the fact that Fuller's ideas are COMPLETELY UNWORKABLE.

"Without regard to the quality of the responses, for the sake of argument, responses were given, so your questions were not ignored."

UTTER BALONEY!

You explicitly admitted that you were avoiding the question:

"It really shouldn't be an issue of how to put into practice a philosophically neutral science, but..."

You did not answer my question, you simply denied that it was an "issue", and then happily wandered off into your own fantasy world.

"Now if you were not completely satisfied with the answer given, it would be helpful, and even constructive to inform the individual that their answer was unsatisfactory, and articulate why."

Because it was not an answer in that it bore no relationship to the question I asked.

"IMHO it would still be better in the other thread, so we can stay on topic here."

Why stay on topic now when you studiously avoided the topic on the other thread!

You wanted to digress ad nauseam onto Sternberg on that thread. FINE! I will take this thread over for that thread's original topic:

FULLER'S IDEAS, AND WHY THEY ARE UNWORKABLE!

I will stop the digression here, when we return to the original topic there. If you don't feel bound to follow good netiquette on this, I don't see why you think I should.

4:42 pm  
Anonymous Sparky said...

"You explicitly admitted that you were avoiding the question:

"It really shouldn't be an issue of how to put into practice a philosophically neutral science, but...""

Tony, I was not seeking to answer your question, but point out that there was a flaw in the way the question was presented. I apologize if it appears like I was using this to dodge the point. Next time I hope I can be more intentional in how I word things as to make that clear.


""IMHO it would still be better in the other thread, so we can stay on topic here."

Why stay on topic now when you studiously avoided the topic on the other thread!"

That was not my intention. I responded to the challenge by pointing out what I perceive to be a flaw, from there the discussion rabbit trailed as discussions tend to do. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows us to touch on more than one area at a time.

"You wanted to digress ad nauseam onto Sternberg on that thread. FINE! I will take this thread over for that thread's original topic:"

Actually if you look back on the discussion, it was not me who brought up Sternberg, but Andrew in response to assertions made by an anonymous poster. I was merely attempting to refute what I saw to be misinformation being spread, as you may note, I did not fail to respond to the other discussions, so I was not using Sternberg to draw attention away. I merely responded to both."

"FULLER'S IDEAS, AND WHY THEY ARE UNWORKABLE!"

I was under the impression that the topic was the status of Intelligent Design and Evolution as scientific theories. Fuller’s ideas and their workability not notwithstanding, the point I took out of the first post was that he is a secular humanist not some religious fundamentalist.


"I will stop the digression here, when we return to the original topic there. If you don't feel bound to follow good netiquette on this, I don't see why you think I should."

I will do my best to sustain good etiquette, as long as I discuss here. In many places online it seems to be very wanting. I would also be glad to discuss Fuller’s Ideas, if you would be willing to demonstrate why they are relevant to the topic of that thread.

7:08 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Tony, I was not seeking to answer your question, but point out that there was a flaw in the way the question was presented."

No Sparky.

It was not Tony who said this, it was me.

And my question was not flawed. If Fuller's ideas are unworkable, then it is completely irrelevant if they give woolly-thinking people such as yourself a warm fuzzy feeling because you can call them "philosophically neutral science".

It is your diversion that is flawed, not my question.

"Actually if you look back on the discussion, it was not me who brought up Sternberg, but Andrew in response to assertions made by an anonymous poster."

It was you who brought up the fictitious subject of "forcing those who disagree out of their jobs" and have kept the Sternberg irrelevancy alive with vague and unsubstantiated accusations of mistreatment.

"I was under the impression that the topic was the status of Intelligent Design and Evolution as scientific theories."

Incorrect.

Andrew first mentioned the debate between Fuller and Wolpert on the subject of "Intelligent Design and Evolution have the same status as scientific theories." He then proceeded to provide two links to Fuller's opinions on the subject, and one to a similar debate that Fuller was involved in. He provides no similar links for Wolpert (only a CV).

The central topic is thus clearly Fuller's ideas on why ID is a Scientific Theory, a topic that the Creationists have avoided since I have proven these ideas to be unworkable.

2:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm,

I think I'm beginning to see how the comments section works on this blog.

Basically, Hrafn is always right, anyone that disagrees is always wrong.

Hrafn, do you have your own blog? Just curious.

4:36 pm  
Blogger Mike said...

Does Steve Fuller know about the amount of comments his ideas have generated?

4:44 pm  
Blogger Tony Jackson said...

Mike: "Does Steve Fuller know about the amount of comments his ideas have generated?"

Don't know, but wouldn't it be great if he joined in the fun? Who knows, maybe Dolores is really Steve Fuller incognito?

9:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuller would likely applaud the vast amount of hot air so far expended, as evidence that he is to be taken seriously.

Whilst I find Hrafn somewhat abrasive, with lots of capitals etc, he (she?) is generally right. Of course I dont support ID so am biased.

The problem with the article that I see, Andrew, is that you sum up Darrells position with a suggestion about how the title shoudl be re-written, without fully providing the context of his words, (Its a reply to Dembskis handwaving) and also that the title was apparently in response to the previous ideas that actually what was being investigated didnt matter at all. Not to mention that titles rarely get across the full subject that is under discussion.
guthrie

10:35 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Caution to the reader:

First, in the earlier thread on the second law, here, I have shown that HRAFN excerpted only a part of Dr Bradley's resume, thus materially misrepresenting his work in the 1984 foundational/seminal technical level work of the modern Design Theory movement in science -- I will explain a bit on that -- TMLO as that of a layman out of his depth. (Thus, we should calibrate the reliability of fact claims s/he and those of her/his ilk make in light of such consistent, even insistent carelessness or worse.)

Further to this, I find that -- sadly -- much of the discussion of Design Theorists and those who have been friendly to them is similarly highly misleading. For instance, a glance at the US Congress report (and the earlier OSC letter of findings) on Sternberg's case is illuminating there. I have also seen that, e.g., the ever so convenient Wikipedia bios consistently violate neutral point of view on this topic and in discussing the relevant personalities. As to the likes of many evolutionary materialist blogs and web sites, all I will say is that a side that so routinely misrepresents basic facts and those taking the other side of current issues cannot have a very strong case on the merits.

So, let the reader beware.

On matters philosophical, I see that in this thread, the rhetorical hook for distraction from the material issue is Fuller's remark that he is in opposition to the current institutional dominance of Naturalism in science. That way of putting it may be less than helpful, if a highly relevant context is missed, namely the practical import of so-called "methodological naturalism" as an imposed attempted redefinition of "science" in our time.

For, in effect -- and counter-historically -- many of the currently loudest voices in science and phil of sci wish to in effect say that unless an offered model or explanation fits in with the evolutionary materialist cascade: cosmological, planetary system, chemical, macro-biological, socio-cultural -- then it is not "scientific." That implicit imposition of philosophical naturalism on science plainly begs both historical and philosophical questions on the demarcation of science/non-science.

Further, there is a consistent -- and in some parts quite plainly willful -- distortion of the nature of modern empirical data-anchored design theory [as opposed to design thought in philosophy, which goes back to the likes of Socrates, Plato and Cicero, those infamous red-necked, yankee, "Bible thumping backwoods Christian fundies . . ."] , starting with its basic definition and objects. It is fair comment to ask that the formal definition proffered by say Mr Dembski, here, serve as a first point of reference:

>>intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? . . . Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence. >>

That is a focus on an empirically testable question, and the inference to INTELLIGENCE from arguably reliable empirical signs is not at all the same as an inference to the SUPERNATURAL. And indeed, we routinely make such an inference to the source of communications being signal, not noise; or to the cause of a fire being arson not an accidental spark, or to artifact not accident of nature, etc. (But, of course, in certain contexts, such an inference opens the door to the philosophical debate over what is the most credible source of the intelligence at work in say the functionally specific complex information in biofunctional molecules that show fine-tuning in the sense of high sensitivity to structural perturbation, or the similar fine-tuning of the laws and parameters that make our observed cosmos life-habitable. When we address such onward, philosophically tinged questions, we should therefore avoid begging the worldviews question and disguising that imposed philosophical naturalism as "science." Instead we should honestly lay out the major live option alternatives, and the comparative difficulties principles that allow us to choose a credible worldview: factual adequacy, coherence, explanatory elegance and power.)

In that context, several points for such empirical testing and inference to best explanation suggest themselves:

1] if we see that an observed phenomenon exhibits functionally specific, complex information beyond the plausible reach of chance and/or natural regularity, then agency is a credible explanation.

2] This is reinforced if the functionality in question is fine-tuned and/or the associated information is based on codes that show error-correcting or error-detecting features that maintain the system's functional stability in the face of noise.

3] If key components of the functioning system rely on several mutually adapted interacting parts, then the resulting irreducible complexity is a further index of intentional design, not chance and/or natural regularity.

Lonnig has a fascinating peer -reviewed discussion here, on morphological stability in the face of dynamic genomes across geological time. [I would find it interesting to see how ALL the claimed peer-reviewed and peer-edited papers etc listed here (as well as the much wider ID-supportive, peer reviewed literature literature in Cosmology!) are dismissed as in fact not so, relative to the material facts.]

NB: I have at an introductory level -- i.e. with a balancing emphasis relative to the spin by the secularists -- discussed the above issues here, including of course, the issues of classical and statistical thermodynamics, informational and thermal views of same in light of Jayne [1957+] et al, and the implications of the Boltzmann expression for entropy, s = k ln w, where w is the statistical weight/thermodynamic probability of the microstates corresponding to a specified macrostate of a system.

Onlookers interested in more than rhetorical games may therefore wish to do a little more reading.

Cheerio

TKI

8:13 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

PS: To the interested reader:

I went over by the DI's Evolution News & Views blog, and found there their perspective on the New Scientist report on Mr Axe's paper.

Their take, over Mr John West's byline, is interesting in light of the above discussion. I excerpt so the reader may see another side of the story:

>>In the New Scientist profile last month of the new intelligent design research lab, there was discussion of two technical articles published in the Journal of Molecular Biology by protein scientist Doug Axe (for abstracts, see here and here). As the New Scientist acknowledged, funding for the research underlying these peer-reviewed articles was provided by Discovery Institute's research fellowship program—thus disproving the twin canards that Discovery Institute does not support scientific research, and that pro-ID scientists do not publish peer-reviewed research. Yet the New Scientist tried its best to downplay the relevance of the articles to the theory of intelligent design, contrasting the positive interpretations of Axe's research offered by intelligent design theorists William Dembski and Stephen Meyer with the dismissive views of unnamed "scientists." The implication seemed to be that Dembski and Meyer have misrepresented Axe's research by claiming that it provides evidence against neo-Darwinism and corroboration for intelligent design. Interestingly, the one person whose voice is left out of the New Scientist's discussion of Axe's research is Dr. Axe himself . . . .

Dr. Axe was asked via e-mail by writer Celeste Biever to respond to the charge

[t]hat you have neither confirmed nor denied claims by William Dembski (in his book "Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA" and in several articles he has written) that a paper you published in 2000 (J Mol Biol, 2000 Aug 18; 301(3):585-95) is evidence for ID, or by Stephen Meyer, in his paper "The origin of biological information" (PROCEEDINGS OF THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON 117(2):213-239. 2004), that your 2004 paper (J Mol Biol. 2004 Aug 27;341(5):1295-315) is evidence for ID.

Dr. Axe wrote back the following, which the New Scientist declined to quote:

I have in fact confirmed that these papers add to the evidence for ID. I concluded in the 2000 JMB paper that enzymatic catalysis entails "severe sequence constraints". The more severe these constraints are, the less likely it is that they can be met by chance. [My note: i.e sensitivity to structural perturbation in a complex biofunctional polymer molecule, cf my remark just above] So, yes, that finding is very relevant to the question of the adequacy of chance, which is very relevant to the case for design. In the 2004 paper I reported experimental data used to put a number on the rarity of sequences expected to form working enzymes. The reported figure is less than one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion [on the US interpretation, i.e 10^12, Axe's empirical number is less than 1 in 10^72]. Again, yes, this finding does seem to call into question the adequacy of chance [My note: here, we see sparseness of biofunctionality in configuration space, i.e. the complexity is beyond the credible reach of chance on the scale of a planet of mass ~ 6 * 10^ 24 kg, with C as a relatively minor fraction; and with typically estimated lifetime ~ 4.6 * 10^6 years] , and that certainly adds to the case for intelligent design.

Hmm. The author of the articles in question agrees with Dembski and Meyer that his research "adds to the case for intelligent design." But the New Scientist didn't think that fact important enough to report to its readers. >>

As the Spanish say, muy interesante.

Now, I would like to see the debaters here engage the matter on the stated claims of Mr Axe's case, in further light of the definitions and key empirical test issues of Design Theory I identified just above.

Or, will this become simply another hit-and-tun rhetoric thread?

Cheerio

TKI

8:44 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

It is kairosfocus who is misrepresenting Bradley. Bradley is a mechanical engineer specialising in fracture analysis. kairosfocus would have us believe that he has "specific training and experience in thermodynamics; which governs the relevant reactions and equilibria" (i.e. that he is a Chemical Engineer not a Mechanical Engineer).

More on this on the original thread.

"For instance, a glance at the US Congress report..."

But it is not a "US Congress Report" in that it is neither listed on the list of investigations of the committee, nor on the Government Printing Office's database of Congressional Reports.

"I concluded in the 2000 JMB paper that enzymatic catalysis entails "severe sequence constraints". The more severe these constraints are, the less likely it is that they can be met by chance."

As it turns out Axe's actual results were:

"The single-group substitutions [with 10 substitutions in each group] in blaM, blaY, and blaG affect function only mildly, yet these substitutions result in >99% inactivation when combined."

So 10 substitutions "affect function only mildly", and 30 substitutions "result in >99% inactivation". How is this "severe sequence constraints"?

1:57 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

I see a few points are required in follow up

1] HRAFN

Stop misrepresenting the truth, in the teeth of accessible contrary evidence

I gave the links that will easily enough show what you have left off, regarding Mr Bradley's resume, e.g. from ISCID, which is verbally identical in the parts you excerpted:

>>>>. . . He [Bradley] also served as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, a department of 67 faculty and 1500 students and as Director of the Polymer Technology Center at TAMU. Dr. Bradley [who I saw elsewhere is retired from TAMU] is currently working with Baylor University's engineering department and is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity Information and Design.

Walter Bradley has also performed seminal research in the origin of life, having published journal articles and co-authoring the popular "The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories" which remains the best-selling advanced level text on the origin of life. >>

In short, Mr Bradley has had a major career focus on polymers [other cited points include work with firms such as Du Pont and 3M etc, as well as publications in relevant journals], which is the specific context of the discussion in Ch 8 of TMLO on the thermodynamics and equilibria resulting therefrom. Maybe he is wrong on the thermodynamics and its import, but hat is NOT due to lack of relevant expertise. [Note: it is he who with a colleague disestablished the basis for Kenyon's once highly respected biochemical predestination thesis of the late 1960's. Dr Kenyon wrote the foreword to TMLO and used the opportunity to publicly recant his earlier position.]

FYI, materials science is a convergent discipline, where physics, chemistry and several other pure and applied specialties come together. Address Mr Bradley's polymer-formation thermodynamics argument [btw made jointly with Thaxton, who is a PhD chemist] on the merits, not on the ad hominems.

Meanwhile, we as onlookers can easily enough see the lack of merits in your misleadingly selective citation of facts. [Of course, perhaps this is a secondary problem, i.e. you failed to fact check your own source, but that is itself telling.]

My point above, sadly, stands. I will revisit the original thread, but the facts are plain enough.

2] Congressional [staff] report:

I cited this, as illustrative of the fact of job harassment, which it documents in details as does the OSC letter which it links. You may critique my descriptive terminology until the cows come home -- I gave a link andthe report in questionis not in doubt, that does not address the credibility of the uncontested facts described therein. [NB: Many of those facts were the substance of telling emails between senior Smithsonian staff and also NCSE.]

When all is said and done, because Mr Sternberg published an ID-supportive paper that passed proper peer review by "renowned scientists," [OSC letter] he was improperly harassed by his seniors at the Smithsonian, with the complicity and involvement of the NCSE. I gather he is now looking to legal action relative to the facts established and the implications for the conduct of the relevant parties.]

Mr Sternberg is not even an ID theorist, he simply was willing to publish a paper on ID that was supportive to ID and passed peer review within the ambit of the journal he edited.

3] Re Axe:

I took a little while to look at the abstracts and some of the critiques. The latter strike me as straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel.

The root problem is that to get to potentially productive prebiotic soups in the Earth's most probable prebiotic atmosphere is a major difficulty -- it was not the reducing atmosphere envisioned by Miller-Urey etc. Then, to get to properly chained polymers of the right chirality is a further major problem, then to assemble the dozens to hundreds or more of said polymers at one microscopic site [i.e within the scale of a cell] to function in accordance with the logic of cellular machinery is a further headache. After that comes the issue of membranes and transport mechanisms etc.

This is in part what TMLO looked at 20 years ago, and the problem is if anything worse today than when they looked at it, cf my linked web page under my name above. In short, relative to the space of possible sequences, functional ones are known to be maximally sparse, period.

Then we come to the issue investigated by Axe -- conservatively constrained, relatively mild disturbances of functional proteins in allegedly non-sensitive areas:

>>a] In 2000: highly conservative replacements of exterior [enzyme protein] residues, none of which would cause significant functional disruption alone, are combined until roughly one in five have been changed. This is found to cause complete loss of function in vivo for two unrelated monomeric enzymes: barnase (a bacterial RNase) and TEM-1 β-lactamase . . . a set of hybrid sequences is constructed from the 50 %-identical TEM-1 and Proteus mirabilis β-lactamases. These hybrids match the TEM-1 sequence except for a region at the C-terminal end, where they are random composites of the two parents. All of these hybrids are biologically inactive. In both experiments, complete loss of activity demonstrates the importance of sequence context in determining whether substitutions are functionally acceptable. Contrary to the prevalent view, then, enzyme function places severe constraints on residue identities at positions showing evolutionary variability, and at exterior non-active-site positions, in particular . . .

b] in 2004: given the importance of hydrophobic interactions to protein folding, it seems likely that the sample space can be restricted to sequences carrying the hydropathic signature of a known fold . . . because folds are stabilized by the cooperative action of many local interactions distributed throughout the structure, the overall problem of fold stabilization may be viewed reasonably as a collection of coupled local problems. This enables the difficulty of the whole problem to be assessed by assessing the difficulty of several smaller problems . . . An alignment of homologous domain sequences is used to deduce the pattern of hydropathic constraints along chains that form the domain fold. Starting with a weakly functional sequence carrying this signature, clusters of ten side-chains within the fold are replaced randomly, within the boundaries of the signature, and tested for function. The prevalence of low-level function in four such experiments indicates that roughly one in 1064 signature-consistent sequences forms a working domain. Combined with the estimated prevalence of plausible hydropathic patterns (for any fold) and of relevant folds for particular functions, this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 1077, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences.>>

In short, right there in the abstracts, which obviously passed peer review, Mr Axe stated his claims and conclusions. He did limited, conservative tests on the non-sensitive areas of the relevant molecules, and even these were destabilising to functionality. [Note I am reckoning with not just numbers of residues but the types of substitutions and the regions. Proteins of course typically have hundreds of residues, 500 being a “typical” number often cited for enzymes..]

In the first case, he put in substitute residues, in non-active areas [i.e. away from the active clefts -- these are space fillers in effect]. In 2004, he looked at folding sites specifically, and substituted in effect stuff that should fold the same way. Functionality is seriously adversely affected in both cases.

Now we may wish to have debates over the specifics of his investigations and findings, but let that be in the context where it is recognised that they findings again passed peer review,and that they exist in the wider context identified, as a relatively mild test of the stability of the molecular configurations -- they chose actions that "should not" be disturbing if the molecules are truly insensitive in the relevant space-filler regions.

The results were not in accord with the null hypothesis.

TKI

3:39 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"In short, Mr Bradley has had a major career focus on polymers..."

You are misrepresenting again kairosfocus. Bradley has a "major career focus" on the fracture mechanics of polymers, not on polymers generally, let alone on the thermodynamics of their formation.

As such he has no "relevant expertise".

"I cited this, as illustrative of the fact of job harassment..."

It is illustrative of nothing more than the links to which Creationists (in this case, a Creationist senator misrepresenting a report, that he had his staff write, but which was never entered into the Congressional record, as a Congressional Report) will go to misrepresent the facts in an effort to appear martyrs.

You then go on to cite the Discovery Institute, a Creationist political lobbying organisation, notorious for misrepresentation and dishonesty.

"I gather he is now looking to legal action relative to the facts established and the implications for the conduct of the relevant parties."

You gather this from where?

RE Axe:

I am amused that you consider replacements of "roughly one in five" "exterior [enzyme protein] residues" to be "relatively mild disturbances".

What would you consider to be a severe disturbance? Replacement of all exterior residues?

You continue to make a Creationist mountain out of an Evolutionary molehill.

4:12 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"Doug Axes’ work was controversial even as he was carrying it out."

Not at all.

"It was funded by an Institute that never under any circumstances funds anything but misguided PR material- The Discovery Institute."

If that is true, why was the DI support not acknowledged in the paper?

"It was controversial when it had been published with Dembski hailing it as a peer reviewed publication which supported his arguments."

The paper isn't controversial at all. Dembski simply lied about the data in the paper, as well as its conclusions. Here's what Axe wrote in the allegedly controversial paper:

"The findings of this work can be accommodated within the framework of the neutral theory..."

Do you know what the neutral theory is, Andrew?

"Axes’ work has continued to be controversial with the set up of the Biologic Institute..."

Er, no, because Axe hasn't published anything since 2004.

"Ed Brayton (here and here) thinks that the Journal of Molecular Biology accepted a paper in which the author got the title of his paper to mean the opposite of what his results suggested!"

Often, editors change the title. I've had titles suggested by editors that overstated my conclusions.

"The title according to Ed should not have been “Extreme functional sensitivity to….” But Extreme functional INsensitivity to…”"

No, the title should have been "

9:58 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

To finish, the title should have been "Extreme Functional Sensitivity to MULTIPLE Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors."

Have you considered reading the paper before blogging about it, Andrew? Now that would be really remarkable!

10:00 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

Ed Brayton said:
“The 2000 JMB paper did not show "severe sequence constraints" at all. It showed quite the opposite, that you could make massive changes in the sequence of amino acids in an enzyme, knocking out 10, 20, even 30 amino acids at a time, without completely destroying the function of the enzyme. It showed that you could make 10 substitutions at a time with only a negligible effect on the enzyme's function. And this is "severe sequence constraints"? Not even close.”

Presumably from your revised title you agree that Ed is seriously wrong.

10:49 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Not at all.

You see, the title of the paper (which you don't seem to have bothered reading) is about functional sensitivity, which although related, is definitely not the same thing as sequence constraints.

Your predictable attempt to play with quotes instead of engaging the actual data fails miserably, and demonstrates that you have no real interest in science, Andrew.

If you disagree, tell me what you'd predict when I change a nearly universally conserved residue IN THE ACTIVE SITE of a member of a large protein family to a residue never observed in nature. Will I:

1) abolish the existing (enzymatic) activity
2) abolish the existing activity and create a new activity
3) retain the existing activity and create a new activity

Science is about prediction, Andrew. Why aren't there any real predictions from your side? Might you have sufficient faith to fill the yawning gap?

12:28 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

It is obvious that the usual tactics of distraction and distortion from the material facts are much in evidence, especially on the part, sadly, of HRAFN. I will pick up several points for furhter comment, but note that already in the other thread, his/her attempted driveby attack on Prof Bradley's reputation is ever more exposed. So, kindly use this known carelessness of facts that do not fit his/her agenda, and reckless willingness to attack and slander persons who disagree with him/her, in estimating anything further said by this commenter.

Now, on points worth a comment:

1] Bradley:

I have never denied, but rather linked to the resume in which we can see that Mr Bradley has had a major focus on fracture mechanics etc. What I have said is that -- as a polymer scientist and actual head of a research centre on polymers -- he has [1] competence relative to the sort of thermodynamics used in TMLO, chs 7 - 9, and [2] he has published seminal works in the OOL research field. I have also noted that Thaxton [whom I have personally met], a second co-author of the book TMLO, is a PhD chemist.

In short, the slander that Mr Bradley is a layman out of his depth in raising the sort of thermodynamics issues here and here, is out of order and should be apologised for. Further ad hominem based distractions and slanders only serve to show ever more that HRAFN is out of the pale of civil, mutually respectful and truth-honouring discourse.

Note also, that now that HRAFN has the chance to go head to head with a live person on the issues of the thermodynamics, backed up by a specific document that can be gone int point by point, s/he constantly resorts to anything but addressing the matters on the merits. That, too is highly telling.

2] Sternberg

It is clear that HRAFN has no concern whatsoever regarding the implications of well established and uncontested facts in a case of clear job harassment.

He seems to think that by labelling the Senator in whose office the follow up to the Office of the Special Counsel investigation was conducted as a "Creationist" he can therefore dismiss the substance of the issue. Shades of dhimitude, whereby once a person is identified as non-muslim in a Sharia court his testimony is therefore disregarded in the face of anything a muslim has to say. I refuse to submit to secularist dhimmtude, just as I refuse to submit to islamist dhimmitude or racist apartheid.

This sort of prejudice plainly reflects the Dawkins line of thought, that those who reject his evolutionary materialism are therefore ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked. That arrogance and disrespect, again, are beyond the pale of civil discourse -- as Mr Dawkins' recent ill-advised blunderings into philosophy in his latest book amply demonstrate.

I simply invite the reader to link to the OSC letter, to compare the Congressional investigation's report [NB: I take his/her side point that this was not voted in a committee etc, but that is irrelevant to the force of the uncontested findings of fact] and to examine what Mr Sternberg has to say for himself -- on uncontested matters of fact. I cite him, from the linked page:

>>After Smithsonian officials determined that there was no wrong-doing in the publication process for the Meyer paper and that they therefore had no grounds to remove me from my position directly, they tried to create an intolerable working environment so that I would be forced to resign. As the OSC investigation concluded, “[i]t is... clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing you out of the SI.” In addition, it was made clear to me that my current position at the Smithsonian will not be renewed despite my excellent record of research and publication . . . [NB: Reportedly, he was subsequently demoted.]>>

This is a case of out and out inquisition-style tactics, save for the thumbscrews. Notice how ever so many secularists react now that the shoe is on the other foot so to speak. (How does it feel to be the new inquisitor to the new Galileo?)

I refuse to be silenced by those who would brand me a heretic and crush my God-given rights. That is why I take very personal offense at those who would crush the rights of others. And it is plain that HRAFN joins the cheering section on the harassment of MR Sternberg for the "crime" of publishing in a journal, within its ambit of topics, of an ID-supportive paper that passed proper peer review by "renowned scientists." [That phrasing comes from the OSC letter, FYI.]

3] Axe and Lonnig and "mole-hills"

Onlookers, kindly note how HRAFN neatly sidesteps my citation of yet another peer-reviewed article on the subject, by Lonnig, as I linked and used yesterday. [Cf my online discussion here for the import of Lonnig's work relative to the merits of the matter.]

I observe, again, the resort to a rhetorical dismissal of a critical matter, instead of addressing it on the merits: "mole-hill." That shows the lack of seriousness at work here, which takes on a sobering tone when coupled to the resort to slanderous ad hominems and the attempt to dismiss workplace injustice used to protect a system of ideas which evidently HRAFN cannot address on the merits when specifically challenged to do so.

Observe on the Axe case, first that I set the matter in context above:

>>The root problem is that to get to potentially productive prebiotic soups in the Earth's most probable prebiotic atmosphere is a major difficulty -- it was not the reducing atmosphere envisioned by Miller-Urey etc. Then, to get to properly chained polymers of the right chirality is a further major problem, then to assemble the dozens to hundreds or more of said polymers at one microscopic site [i.e within the scale of a cell] to function in accordance with the logic of cellular machinery is a further headache. After that comes the issue of membranes and transport mechanisms etc . . . . In short, relative to the space of possible sequences, functional ones are known to be maximally sparse, period.>>

In that context, I pointed out that Dr Axe's two papers wee on relatively mild disturbances to existing enzymes -- i.e., as the peer-reviewed abstracts summarise, he made conservative [i.e using similar monomers] substitutions in inactive areas,and in folds, which had been thought to be unlikely to destabilise the structure and functionality of the relevant molecules -- in effect he targetted "spacer" regions that allow the proteins to fold and form the functioning structures for expected neutral changes -- and STILL saw significant breakdown in functionality.

That is, through selective, mild substitutions of comparable monomers, he has shown just how sensitive such protein structures are, even in the allegedly inactive spacer regions.

In the real world, we are talking in the pre-biotic instance of selecting and sequencing the 20 optically correct, correctly bonded monomers from some 80 possible amino acids, in a context where these acids often preferentially react with other species in the likely environment. And that for biofunctional proteins that typically run 300 - 500 monomers. You need dozens to hundreds in close proximity to get to biofunctionality. [And the issues for DNA and the unobserved hypothesised RNA world get worse than that, starting with the difficulty of getting even some of the monomers to form under plausible pre-biotic conditions.]

As I discuss here in light of the relevant statistical weights of the microstates corresponding to random vs biofunctional macrostates, the potential configuration space resulting from these and related factors is so huge, that even under the most generous prebiotic soup conditions, you are utterly unlikely to get even one such molecule per planet [indeed in the whole known universe] by the known applicable molecular forces that drive the chemistry and the known random mixing that would obtain. That is what TBO in TMLO discussed 20+ years ago, that is what has continued to be the case, and that is the mountain in the middle of the room that is being dodged under quips about "mole-hills."

When we move on to the actual matter in the Meyer paper (which passed proper peer review), we see that the explosion in biological information required to account for the dozens of new phyla and subphysla appearing in the fossil record in the Cambrian life revolution, raise a similar challenge. I cite [and in so citing, get a handy definition of the border between micro and macro evolution. NDT accounts well for cases of the former – esp through lossy changes to the genome; but, the real challenge is the latter]:

>>beginning about 570-565 million years ago (mya), the first complex multicellular organisms appeared in the rock strata . . . Forty million years later, the Cambrian explosion occurred (Bowring et al. 1993) . . . the more complex animals that appeared in the Cambrian (e.g., arthropods) would have required fifty or more cell types . . . New cell types require many new and specialized proteins. New proteins, in turn, require new genetic information. Thus an increase in the number of cell types implies (at a minimum) a considerable increase in the amount of specified genetic information. Molecular biologists have recently estimated that a minimally complex single-celled organism would require between 318 and 562 kilobase pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life (Koonin 2000). More complex single cells might require upward of a million base pairs. Yet to build the proteins necessary to sustain a complex arthropod such as a trilobite would require orders of magnitude more coding instructions. The genome size of a modern arthropod, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, is approximately 180 million base pairs (Gerhart & Kirschner 1997:121, Adams et al. 2000). Transitions from a single cell to colonies of cells to complex animals represent significant (and, in principle, measurable) increases in CSI . . . .

one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . . In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn't need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don't occur.6>>

THAT is the issue that is being censored from classrooms and in the Journal editorial panels and in leading Natural History museums, to the point of workplace harassment.

5] Title debate:

I simply note that the title, abstract and contents of Dr Axe's papers passed proper peer review. Thus, the characterisation that the title was misleading is improbable, relative to its intended audience -- professionals in the field.

Second, so far as I can see, the basic point Mr Dembski made in citing it, is accurate, and substantiated by the underlying context I have summarised above. Thus, to characterise Mr Dembski as deliberately deceoptive on the matter is questionable. [Note the ever so quick resort to extreme accusation -- ever heard of, e.g."mistaken" or "in error"? No prizes for guessing why, in light of the above on Mr Sternberg.]

Cheerio

TKI

5:32 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

PS: On "science is about prediction."

Actually, not quite. A better summary would be:

science seeks to accurately describe, explain predict and influence or control the forces and pehenomena of the natural and social worlds; relative to empirical tests that especially serve to constrain the range of explanatory speculation.

Or, if you want dictionary stuff, why not try:

>>science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990 -- and yes, they used the "z" Virginia!]

scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate, 1965]>>

Thus, right off, a contest between two empirically anchored explanations on a major issue that is not directly observed -- namely, origins of the cosmos, life and biodiversity at the body plan level in our world -- is a debate WITHIN science.

The key difference between the evolutionary materialist cascade from hydrogen to humans, and the design inference as a re-emerging challenger, is that the latter does not arbitrarily rule out ahead of time on origins, agency from the triad of explanations: chance, natural regularity, agency. It then develops an explanatory filter that allows us to distinguish the latter on an inference to best explanation basis. [And, IBE or abduction is how science works in practice.]

Further to this, there are in fact predictions and other testable claims made by the design paradigm. (One that is flowing the ID way just now is the claim that so-called junk DNA is likely to have so-far hidden functionalities in it, instead of being merely junk left over from odd random changes to the DNA molecule.)

If you are interested in seeing what the emerging paradigm of Design Theory looks like, why not look at the ID research Wiki?

I suggest you start with the paper here, which reads in abstract:

>>The scientific theory of intelligent design has several functioning research frameworks that have yielded new applications, methods, and approaches to scientific data. In order to explore these new approaches, this work will first provide a brief synthetic overview of the theoretical, empirical, and technological premises of intelligent design, as well as a summary of the sub-fields that are emerging from the exploration and research of ID. From this array of foundational premises and sub-fields, new scientific heuristics can be readily perceived. These heuristics hold the key to showing a unique and profound harmony with current scientific research, as well as a plentitude of new scientific perspectives and guides to fresh discoveries. >>

Then, we can discuss relative to accurate information, not ill-informed or even ill-willed media mischaracterisations . . .

Cheerio

TKI

6:03 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

kairosfocus indulges in a transparent piece of circular logic by asserting:

1) That TMOL's thermodynamic claims can be trusted because Bradley has experience as a Thermodynamicist.

2) That Bradley has experience as a Thermodynamicist because he co-authored TMOL.

kairosfocus further continues to pretend, despite a complete lack of evidence, that Bradley has any experience in polymers beyond their fracture mechanics.

I have no experience with thermodynamics, so will not attempt to debate the details of Bradley's thermodynamic claims. I do however have sufficient scientific literacy and knowledge of the divisions between scientific fields to know that a Mechanical Engineer specialising in Fracture Mechanics knows far less about the thermodynamics of OOL than an expert in Biological Thermodynamics (like Donald T. Haynie).

Neither the Souder Report, nor the OSC letter are "uncontested findings of facts", rather they are both collections of unsubstantiated assertions, of partisan authorship, that have been widely contested, both on the internet and by Sternberg's former sponsor at the Smithsonian.

I therefore challenge kairosfocus to make specific accusations as to Sternberg's mistreatment, and to back them up with factual evidence.

I also note that kairosfocus has not attempted to substantiate his earlier assertion that Sternberg "is now looking to legal action relative to the facts established and the implications for the conduct of the relevant parties."

9:18 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

I have already made enough as parting words on HRAFN's improper tactics, in the other thread.

I will pause to address a few points s/he makes in this thread, for completeness. It is plain that s/he has noting of serious merit to say, but chooses instead to attack and try to besmirch, not to mention cheering on those who do the same.

1] circular logic?

Absolutely not!

You can easily enough see that I have asked that we look at he arguments in the linked online chapters, and at my own remarks on the same and related subjects then directly assess them relative to the publicly known science of thermodynamics and the parameters of the situation in view.

In that context, we can assess Mr Bradley [and his co-author Mr Thaxton, a PhD Chemist] on competence directly.

As my notes will indicate to the reader, I did so myself [as one who has studied thermodynamics in the course of reading physics],and conclude that Shapiro and Jastrow are right, and that Klyce is okay but is wrong to assert so staunchly that there is no connexion between informational and thermal entropy. [I openly acknowledge that here is a debate in Physics, and show why I think Jayne and Robertson have a good point.]

2] Bradley is not as expert as X, Y, Z . . .

The basic problem here is that we are not shut up to looking at resumes. We can directly examine the matter, and I have seen for myself by so doing that TBO do know what they are talking about on technical matters -- which is exactly what Shapiro and Jastrow also agree.

Indeed, they know their onions well enough to have Dean Kenyon not only agree to write the foreword but to publicly recant his biochemical predestination thesis in so doing.

3] Sternberg

HRAFN can deny, deny, deny til the cows come home. In fact, the OSC letter explicitly cites some of the smoking gun emails and we can all go over to the letter and have a look; just scroll down till you see the inset emails with the names removed.

THAT is not a matter of unsupported allegations, it is a matter of the findings of an independent investigation, now corroborated by one with the force of congress that brought to light a LOT of further telling documents.

A lot of sound and fury will not change the fact that these emails [and other evidence] are real, and are telling.

What does the now revealed attitude tell us about HRAFN and his/her ilk?

4] I therefore challenge kairosfocus to make specific accusations as to Sternberg's mistreatment, and to back them up with factual evidence.

Just follow the FOUR links above, dearie. I also provide links to:

a] The investigatory report

b] The appendices, with texts of telling letters and emails aplenty. More than enough to substantiate the charges.

As to the report I mentioned that RS is evidently looking into legal action, I simply noted it at the time from the news when the latest report came out. [I did not follow up further as this is immaterial to the central point: viewpoint discrimination- based workplace harassment. Note, I said only that I understood that this was being looked into by RS.]

____________

IN CONCLUSION: HRAFN confesses on being pressed to address the matters on the merits, that:

>>I have no experience with thermodynamics, so will not attempt to debate the details of Bradley's thermodynamic claims.>>

Why then does s/he pose as knowing that there is "no problem" there on the 2nd law and OOL?

How does s/he then think that s/he has the expertise to rule that a research scientist in polymers is not competent in thermodynamics, never mind his directly accessible work that can be technically assessed?

Plainly, HRAFN is a layman out of his/her depth here and has resorted to abusive rhetoric rather than engaging on substance when challenged. Let us therefore discount further remarks by this commenter in that light.

_________

Cheerio

TKI

11:27 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Anybody who thinks ID is not creationism should read this admission that it is from creationist and ID supporters from USA.

"Mississippi’s House Bill 625, introduced by Representative Mike Lott (R-District 104) on January 9, 2007, and referred to the House Committee on Education, would provide, if enacted, “The school board of a school district may allow the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in the schools within the district. However, if the theory of evolution is required to be taught as part of the school district’s science curriculum, in order to provide students with a comprehensive education in science, the school board also must include the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in the science curriculum.”

Foot in mouth disease strikes agin....

5:12 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

I have already admitted that my knowledge of the details of thermodynamics are insufficient to allow me to debate the details of Bradley's claims.

My knowledge of science in general is however sufficient to know that it is more reasonable to accept the expert opinion of an acknowledged expert on Biological Thermodynamics (such as Donald T. Haynie, whose expert opinion Tony Jackson quoted on another thread) over that of a Mechanical Engineer specialising in Fracture Mechanics, on questions of the thermodynamics of Abiogenesis and Evolution.

If the question was one of how a piece of metal or plastic might break, I would certainly give Bradley the presumption that his claims are correct. Outside this area, and lacking a detailed knowledge to evaluate the claims for myself, I would only accept his claims if they had first been subjected to peer-review by a scientific journal.

This is, I believe, a reasonable course of action.

I have read many of the so-called "smoking gun emails" that the OSC cites. What they demonstrate is quite reasonable anger over Sternberg's dishonest and unethical conduct, and an exploration of what action might be taken. Unless it can be shown that any action that did take place amounted to "mistreatment" then these emails aren't evidence of anything at all.

"Just follow the FOUR links above, dearie. I also provide links to:

a] The investigatory report"


This report is chock full of misrepresentations, quotes out of context and unsubstantiated assertions.

Oh and "dearie", you can take your insincere endearments and stick them up your sanctimonious arse.

5:23 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Kairosfocus wrote:
"Observe on the Axe case, first that I set the matter in context above:

>>The root problem is that to get to potentially productive prebiotic soups in the Earth's most probable prebiotic atmosphere is a major difficulty -- it was not the reducing atmosphere envisioned by Miller-Urey etc."

Prebiotic soup has nothing to do with the context of the Axe paper. Are you really this dense?

". . . In short, relative to the space of possible sequences, functional ones are known to be maximally sparse, period."

Yet the data from empirical studies show the opposite. You might want to read the intracellular transport comments, as one such study was cited there (you won't).

"In that context, I pointed out that Dr Axe's two papers wee on relatively mild disturbances to existing enzymes --"

If you had bothered to read the papers, you'd know that your claim is false. Changing 20% of the residues of a protein is not "relatively mild."

"... i.e., as the peer-reviewed abstracts summarise, "

What a joke! Pseudoscientists like you stop at the abstract, while real scientists discuss the data. You haven't read the paper.

"he made conservative [i.e using similar monomers] substitutions in inactive areas,and in folds, which had been thought to be unlikely to destabilise the structure and functionality of the relevant molecules -- in effect he targetted "spacer" regions that allow the proteins to fold and form the functioning structures for expected neutral changes -- and STILL saw significant breakdown in functionality."

Not from single substitutions. That would be obvious to you if you had read the paper.

"That is, through selective, mild substitutions of comparable monomers, he has shown just how sensitive such protein structures are, even in the allegedly inactive spacer regions. "

How many conservative substitutions were required again?

"As I discuss here in light of the relevant statistical weights of the microstates corresponding to random vs biofunctional macrostates,..."

Do you realize how stupid your fake jargon appears to knowledgable readers?

"When we move on to the actual matter in the Meyer paper (which passed proper peer review), ..."

No, it didn't, and the Meyer paper contains no new data anyway (which is one of the main reasons that Sternberg's publication of it was so obviously improper).

"...one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . ."

And we do, while you ignore all the data.

"Mutations expressed early in development,..."

Is pure gibberish. Mutations aren't expressed, genes are.


"5] Title debate:

I simply note that the title, abstract and contents of Dr Axe's papers passed proper peer review. "

And I note that you are lying, as I know from personal experience that titles are often changed by editors (the ones at the journal, not the peers) AFTER peer review.

"Thus, the characterisation that the title was misleading is improbable, relative to its intended audience -- professionals in the field."

I'm a professional in the field, and the transparency of your lie is obvious to me.

"Second, so far as I can see, the basic point Mr Dembski made in citing it, is accurate,..."

Actually, Dembski LIED about the comments of the paper. Since you can't be bothered to read the paper before blathering about it, I can see where you'd miss something so painfully obvious.

"PS: On "science is about prediction."

Actually, not quite."

Actually, prediction is included in each of the definitions you quoted without reading carefully.

"Thus, right off, a contest between two empirically anchored explanations on a major issue that is not directly observed -- namely, origins of the cosmos, life and biodiversity at the body plan level in our world -- is a debate WITHIN science."

No, since those who advocate ID and creationism omit essential parts of EACH definition you quoted, namely the part about testing their hypotheses.

"The key difference between the evolutionary materialist cascade from hydrogen to humans,..."

Your dishonesty is transparent. Evolutionary theories don't cover anything before the existence of life. There are no theories about that, just hypotheses.

"...from the triad of explanations: chance, natural regularity, agency."

Predictably, you bear false witness, because you omit selection. Why should anyone take you seriously, if you can't even accurately describe the scope and extent of modern evolutionary theory.

Isn't bearing false witness a mortal sin?

"It then develops an explanatory filter that allows us to distinguish the latter on an inference to best explanation basis. [And, IBE or abduction is how science works in practice.]"

Another lie. Science works in practice by testing of hypotheses.

"Further to this, there are in fact predictions and other testable claims made by the design paradigm."

Agreed! That's why the failure of any ID advocate to conduct any tests demonstrates that they are pseudoscientific frauds.

"(One that is flowing the ID way just now is the claim that so-called junk DNA is likely to have so-far hidden functionalities in it, instead of being merely junk left over from odd random changes to the DNA molecule.)"

If your characterization is accurate (again, your representation of the people you oppose is transparently dishonest), why aren't the ID people making the actual discoveries that they are so desperately spinning?

BTW, MET predicts which "junk DNA" is more likely to have evolved function. ID doesn't.

"If you are interested in seeing what the emerging paradigm of Design Theory looks like, why not look at the ID research Wiki? "

It looks like fraud, because there aren't any data.

"I suggest you start with the paper here, which reads in abstract:

>>The scientific theory of intelligent design has several functioning research frameworks that have yielded new applications, methods, and approaches to scientific data..."

So where are the new data?

"Then, we can discuss relative to accurate information, not ill-informed or even ill-willed media mischaracterisations . . ."

Well, no, with you it is impossible, because your approach has nothing to do with any data.

5:25 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

I came by after a day or so to see how things have got on. I see no real reason to believe that this thread has prospects of being a constructive dialogue at this point, so I simply note for your sake on a few of the most outrageous points of error and misrepresentation by NDT advocates, so you can then see for yourselves just what is the level of commentary being used to distort the ID issues in the public's mind:

1] A; Anybody who thinks ID is not creationism should read this admission . . .

Now, of course some ID advocates happen to be [Biblical] Creationists as well. But equally, some are Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and even agnostics. That is a matter of worldviews, as for example is the fact that many leading darwinists happen to be atheists and/or agnostics and even strident advocates for same in the mould of a Dawkins [ scientist now stumbling into philosophy and out of his depth] or Daniel Dennett [a philosopher struggling to account for the credibility of the mind he has to use to think his evolutionary materialist thoughts,a s Plantinga is fond of pointing out. Cf my discussion here]. In short the "hidden agenda" red herring leading out to a strawman distractor is self-referentially inconsistent, even sometimes -- Barbara Forrest comes to mind -- hypocritical.

What is material is what ID is by explicit objective an empirically anchored scientific discipline. And on that, let us again – it was cited above and has been linked -- look at Dembski's formal definition:

>>intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? . . . Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence.>>

Then, simply go over by the new researchID wiki on the subject [NB: in part, started after it became clear that Wikipedia on this subject has been taken over by the sort of secularist evolutionary materialist advocates noted on just now] -- also already linked and simply ignored in the rush out to a handy strawman to burn and claim "victory" -- and take a look around.

I have already made that invitation, and note the refusal to engage facts on the ground, in favour of strawman tactics and misrepresentations. That is sad.

2] A cited a bill in a State legislature in the US: if the theory of evolution is required to be taught as part of the school district’s science curriculum, in order to provide students with a comprehensive education in science, the school board also must include the teaching of creationism or intelligent design in the science curriculum.

I simply note that "OR" is often used to separate distinct things -- we are not at all locked up to the twisted interpretation that ID is the same thing as Creationism.

In short A here fails the basic grammar,comprehension and logic test too – not to mention that of the basic duty of charity in discussion.

3] H: I have already admitted that my knowledge of the details of thermodynamics are insufficient to allow me to debate the details of Bradley's claims.

Thus, you have nothing further to say of any merit on the subject, and quoting one expert as your preferred authority only shows that you are finding those who will say what you want to hear and following them in the teeth of contrary evidence.

Onlookers: I address the matter in more details in the other thread. There,and in onward links, you can see why the usual dismissal arguments are wrong and why the personal attacks are out of order.

4] I have read many of the so-called "smoking gun emails" that the OSC cites. What they demonstrate is quite reasonable anger over Sternberg's dishonest and unethical conduct

You are assuming something there: that Mr Sternberg did something wrong. If it is wrong to publish ID "heresy" in the state-subsidised organs of the "church of evolutionary materialism," even if it passes "proper peer review" by "renowned scientists" and appears in a SCIENTIFIC journal that properly addresses the topic in question, then of course the anger is "justified."

But in fact, science is supposedly a self-critical and open-minded pursuit of empirically anchored truth about the universe, so the anger in the first instance is out of order. Second, the sort of workplace harassment and involvement of an external advocacy group in that is totally out of order, probably illegal.

Now also observe the results of an empirical test: I subjected H to a VERY mild bit of sarcasm, "dearie," and we can all see the loud protest in result. How then should we look at his/her routine slanderous accusations against those with whom s/he disagrees?

Onlookers, beware the thought police mentality now so plainly on display!

Then, go, look for yourself and make up your own mind as to whether the OSC investigation and the Congressional one by the staff of the chairman of the relevant oversight committee are as that ever so reliable commenter, HRAFN represents them to be.

5] Smokey: Prebiotic soup has nothing to do with the context of the Axe paper. Are you really this dense?

On the contrary, the underlying issue and context is precisely the alleged ORIGIN of biofunctional, highly complex, information storing and using polymers by chance and necessity without agency. In that context a test of perturbations to see whether mild changes make a difference is highly relevant to whether or not the relevant polymers are easy to find in a random search.

Axe's preliminary empirical results point to sensitivity to perturbation, i.e are consistent with and supportive of sparseness.

6] the data from empirical studies show the opposite. . . .

Let's see: take a 300 monomer protein, and assess the relevant configuration space across the 20 amino acids of the right chirality -- leave off the likely consequences of plausible prebiotic conditions for the moment,as are addressed over in the other thread and in the onward links. Such a chain length has: 20^300 [antilog (300 lg 20) ~ 2.04*10^390] possible states.

In short, we need to be looking at getting TO biofunctionality from monomers, not from such polymers in vivo with all sorts of error detecting and correcting mechanisms in the cell, to see the sparseness issue in correct perspective.

7] Changing 20% of the residues of a protein is not "relatively mild."

Look again at the relevant abstracts and excerpts above. Axe chose non-active regions, and alterations that SHOULD have been neutral on folding etc, then tested for the effects.

Those are relatively mild changes, certainly by comparison to the issue of doing the problem the right way around, as just described. And that was my specific context of comment.

8] Pseudoscientists like you stop at the abstract, while real scientists discuss the data.

The tone begins to go downhill into slanderous accusations . . .

On the substance, observe: the first two items in a scientific paper are; [a] the title and related stuff, and [b] the abstract. If the substance of the papers did not accurately reflect itself in either, in the opinion of the peer reviewers of the journals, then that would have been flagged as objection number one from the reviewers.

So, the fact that the abstracts and titles as submitted passed peer review and the paper revision process, is highly material to the issue in this blog. Period.

9] Do you realize how stupid your fake jargon appears to knowledgable readers?

FYI, the statistical weight of a macrostate is a standard stat mech term for what is otherwise sometimes called "thermodynamic probability." [I learned it from good old Mandl in the Manchester Physics series by Wiley, which was the text book my prof used for that subject.]

I have simply applied this standard term by pointing to two different macrostates: the random one -- any polymer of the targetted length will do, and the biofunctional one -- the polymer has to be functional in the context of the cell. Such functionality can be recognised by the "it works" test, so is a proper definition of a macrostate.

The latter is vastly lower in entropy than the former, as w is obviously far lower in s = k ln w. [Onlookers, cf here the discussion in TMLO ch 8 to see just what I am getting at.]. Note above on the number of possible 300 monomer “proteins,” ~ 2.04*10^390 [NB: the number of atoms in the observed universe is ~ 10^80, and the number of credible quantum states of all particles in that gamut across a reasonable estimate of the universe's lifespan is ~ 10^150 [Dembski's universal probability bound used in the explanatory filter . . .], and then come back to me with a reasonable argument that the proportion of these that are likely to be biofunctional in the relevant context of the nanotechnology of the cell, will be an appreciable fraction.

10] the Meyer paper contains no new data anyway (which is one of the main reasons that Sternberg's publication of it was so obviously improper).

Like many critical reviews, the Meyer paper -- which, note onlookers, passed “proper peer review” by "renowned scientists," after-the fact spin such as this notwithstanding -- correlates well-supported empirical findings, then raises factual adequacy and coherence questions on the major paradigm applied, NDT as compared to an alternative, in this case design. An excellent comparison is to go read Galileo's Fiaologue on the Two World Systems, which when published examined the competing explanations of Ptolemy [as elaborated] with those of Copernicus. The book of course was a major scientific monograph with significant worldviews import and institutional power implications. He was subjected to inquisition as a result.

In short, historically, publishing such critical reviews that ask: do we REALLY understand the phenomena, is a major feature of emerging paradigm shifts in science as research programmes come under sharper scrutiny in light of a mounting pile of unresolved anomalies. And so is thepolitics that surrounds such papers.

Design is a re-emergent paradigm in Natural History [Darwin in part sought to overturn it in his day] that needs to be re-examined in light of what we now know about the functionally specified, complex information in the nanotechnology of life at cellular level.

11] you are lying . . . the transparency of your lie is obvious to me.

Now we see the resort to personal – and unwarranted –abuse.

Yes, titles can be changed -- usually clarified or shortened -- by editors but in this case it is maximally unlikely that the title would have been reversed in its meaning, as well as the abstract.

You have here raised a hypothetical issue irrelevant to the substantial point to make a personal attack.

The material issue is not whether journal titles and even abstracts can be adjusted post peer review, but that in this case there is NO credible evidence in the thread that the title was changed to mean the OPPOSITE of the hypothesised "better" title. I have seen no basis for such an inference in this thread, and in the context of such a journal it is maximally unlikely.

Sad, but telling on underlying Dawkins mentality.

12] Dembski LIED about the comments of the paper.

Seems everyone who disagrees with you is a "liar."

In this case, that includes the author of the paper who essentially agrees with Mr Dembski, as cited by me above already, in his -- suppressed -- response to New Scientist on being asked to comment.

13] prediction is included in each of the definitions you quoted without reading carefully.

Note onlookers, I responded to a statement that left open the idea that science is defined by predictions, by pointing out that science describes, explains, predicts and seeks to influence or control. [AND BTW, I am the author of the italicised note, which I backed up with a couple of dictionary cites. In short, it is not I who has been careless in reading!]

Then, as has been pointed out and exemplified above from the history of my discipline at a time when it shook the world, a discussion about competing explanations that is empirically anchored is plainly a debate WITHIN science.

14] Evolutionary theories don't cover anything before the existence of life. There are no theories about that, just hypotheses.

Ever heard of cosmological evolution? Chemical evolution? Ah, but these are mere models . . .[and, alternate models that do not bow sown at the altar to evolutionary materialism are not allowed, tut tut!]

Thus, your point on OOL being a matter of models, is telling but not as you put it: there is no ROBUST theory of OOL, precisely because of the issues I -- and TBO etc long ago -- have put up already, and yet in the HS, College level and public presentations of the subject, OOL scenarios are presented as part of the package deal, right alongside the Neo-Darwinian model, and are presented in the further context,as a rule of "the fact of evolution" on the same level of e.g. gravitation. THAT is my context!

15] Re my: "...from the triad of explanations: chance, natural regularity, agency." S:Predictably, you bear false witness, because you omit selection. Why should anyone take you seriously, if you can't even accurately describe the scope and extent of modern evolutionary theory.

Obviously, S here fails to see that I am speaking about the basic contexts in which, ever since Plato, explanations of the rots of nature have been made: chance, necessity, agency. [Look up my comments on his Laws Bk 10 on the subject and the excerpt from the long source page]

Further, I am speaking here at the level of the fundamental explanatory entities permitted under the rubric "science" and noting how we routinely accept agency in say this web posting, but then are invited to reject it for similar cases of FSCI in a chemical medium, as science is being question-beggingly redefined as in essence the best evolutionary materialist explanation of the cosmos from hydrogen to humans. Such begs a big question since the only directly known cause of FSCI is agency.

Now, natural selection is based on differential survival of life forms in an environment and so embeds both chance and necessity: if a mutation is non-biofunctional the organism may de as an embryo. If the mutation causes the organism to be less fit in an encironment it may starve or fall prey to redators at a higher rate, etc. [Artificial selection -- by contrast -- is agent based, as Darwin knew when he used dog/pigeon breeding etc as analogies for what natural selection might do.]

16] Science works in practice by testing of hypotheses.

And often that is in the context of the contrasting predictions of alternative theories or models or even paradigms, i.e. EXPLANTIONS. That is, we are looking at abduction that leads to hypotheses and ultimately theories, and competitive testing on an inference to best explanation -- as opposed to demonstrative proof -- basis.

In short, this is a case of S is evidently unaware of the relevant logic and phil of sci issues [which I have, admittedly, here put in very simple and short terms -- go look up the tomes on the subject] but assumes that I must be "lying."

17] ID as a paradigm and issues of data

I have already linked and invited discussion so need not waste more bits and bandwidth on those points of opinions, often shaped by distorted perceptions and prejudices and even slanders.

I will simply note that scientific data is in the public domain and is open for anyone to use within the reasonable constraints of good reasoning. That was what Galileo was doing in Dialogue,a nd it is what Meyer was doing in his paper.

When paradigms begin to break down as NDT is, the data become open to different interpretations that may well better explain it, as say Lonnig puts forward in the linked, already mentioned peer reviewed paper on dynamic genomes. And that is a process that has happened in science repeatedly, for instance in the biggest sci revolution but one, in physics from 1880 to 1930 or so.

_________

I have said enough for now, and the issue of bad attitude and misbehaviour on the part of NDT advocates, especially their repeated misrepresentations and slanders – even, support for modern day inquisitions, is clear to an unprejudiced mind.

All patent signs of a worldview-affecting institutionally powerful scientific paradigm in crisis in the face of a rising challenger.

Cheerio

TKI

12:59 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

kairofocus, I'm sorry that you have chickened out of the argument, but not surprised. Your arguments are not very strong. Starting with your pointing to the Discovery Institute - a religious organisation - as a source of support for your position.

After sall, the argument is scientific, but the DI is a religious foundation. Own goal to you, one up to sensible people.

Don't you have any scientific sources to support your case? it would be nice to reveal them. And if not, why not?.

As for the stuff on the DI website:

“ Is Darwinism falsifiable? …No …...”

Tosh. Total tosh. Darwin himself said that he feared that his theory was falsifiable by the discovery of a rabbit fossil in the pre-Cambrian. That is, out of sequence evolution. In 150 years nothing has been found. Nout. Nada. Not Ae thing. Unless you know different? Thought not. So the theory of evolution is falsifiable. I’m sure you agree and that you regret the DI implying that it was not.

“Intelligent design is eminently falsifiable. Specified complexity in general and irreducible complexity in biology are within the theory of intelligent design the key markers of intelligent agency.”

Key markers, eh? But…. NOT … Intelligent Design in it’s entirety.

“ If it could be shown that biological systems like the bacterial flagellum ... could have been formed by a gradual Darwinian process ... , then intelligent design would be falsified on the general grounds that one doesn’t invoke intelligent causes when purely natural causes will do."
In that case Occam’s razor finishes off intelligent design quite nicely”

Rubbish. Total rubbish. Specified complexity and irreducible complexity are not the whole of the design inference. Disproving either of these (very weak) hypotheses would not disprove ID, because ID is about a “designer”, (i.e. god), not about any specific proofs for or against any subsidiary element of the "theory". Since these ideas are individual and isolated, disproof would only lead to claims from creationists that some other phenomenon was “irreducibly complex” or displayed “specified complexity”, so the new “facts” were “proof” of god (sorry, the “designer” or space aliens or the honey monster or whatever you believe didit).

You will agree that it is not possible to disprove the existence of these imaginary creatures. Won’t you? Thanks.

Kairofucus,

I know that you have gone and have sworn not to return, but I thought that it was important to set the real facts before any visitors to the blog.

I also know you won't answer these arguments, because you have no answers.

10:50 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

AN UNFORTUNATELY NECESSARY POST-SCRIPT:

I came by after a couple of days to see if there was any substantial progress on matters of substance, only to see name-calling: "chicken," and the like.

I -- for excellent reason --have no respect for such rhetoric. Kindly, leave that sort of tactics to the gutter-snipes, or accept that “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc,” then there is reason for inferring that it does so for the excellent reason that it is a duck.

Here, let us see what Aristotle had to say on this sort of tactic in his The Rhetoric [I leave it as a search exercise to identify the source, which I have named, unlike in how A has made his comments . . .], with the unjust execution of Socrates ever in mind:

>> Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker [ethos]; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind [pathos]; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself [logos]. Persuasion is achieved by the speaker's personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible . . . Secondly, persuasion may come through the hearers, when the speech stirs their emotions. Our judgements when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile . . . Thirdly, persuasion is effected through the speech itself when we have proved a truth or an apparent truth by means of the persuasive arguments suitable to the case in question . . . .>>

Notice that of the appeals to logos, ethos and pathos, we see the NDT advocates consistently and insistently plunking firmly for pathos -- emotionally laced manipulation. No prizes for guessing why.

But, I will comment on a few points of substance -- noting that he underlying issue is on the table over in the other thread, with no serious takers [I invited serious responses, folks, so that implies I would have come back to look and respond as appropriate]:

1] A: the Discovery Institute - a religious organisation

First, even IF DI were a religious organisation [and in fact -- cf below -- it is not], that would not affect the substance of what they have to say. For, an issue is to be addressed on the merits of fact and logic, not he rhetoric of dismissal of sources -- the genetic fallacy, compounded by the use of emotive language; i.e. exciting of hostility by namecalling [and in this context, A's use of "religious" where PHILOSPHICAL or WORLDVIEW is more appropriate, is plainly namecalling. Note the import in this context of A's own insistence on not capitalising God. That tells us that he is being self-referentially inconsistent – should we then dismiss his arguments as the noises made by atheists in defense of their overblown teenager rebellion? Or back to birdology: “Sauce for the goose . . .”].

But in fact, the dismissal of DI is a false and intentionally discrediting, emotionally loaded statement, i.e. it is at best grossly negligent slander by one who has failed to do elementary homework or treat others with the respect he would demand for himself. That is, we see here the precise point the DI is making about the corrupting influence of evolutionary materialism as an institutionally and culturally dominant worldview on the praxis of science, science education, public morals and public policy, which is the context in which – birdology again -- they have taken under wing the fledgling science of Design Theory:

>>Mission Statement: Discovery Institute's mission is to make a positive vision of the future practical. The Institute discovers and promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Our mission is promoted through books, reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institute's own publications and Internet website ( http://www.discovery.org ).

Current projects explore the fields of technology, science and culture, reform of the law, national defense, the environment and the economy, the future of democratic institutions, transportation, religion and public life, government entitlement spending, foreign affairs and cooperation within the bi-national region of "Cascadia." The efforts of Discovery fellows and staff, headquartered in Seattle, are crucially abetted by the Institute's members, board and sponsors.

Philosophy: . . . The point of view Discovery brings to its work includes a belief in God-given reason [NB: a philosophical rather than religious usage of "God"] and the permanency of human nature; the principles of representative democracy and public service expounded by the American Founders; free market economics domestically and internationally; the social requirement to balance personal liberty with responsibility; the spirit of voluntarism crucial to civil society; the continuing validity of American international leadership; and the potential of science and technology to promote an improved future for individuals, families and communities.

Center for Science and Culture: Started in 1996 [i.e. about a decade after the modern Design theory emerged through Thaxton et al], the Center for Science and Culture is a Discovery Institute program which:

* supports research by scientists and other scholars challenging various aspects of neo-Darwinian theory;
* supports research by scientists and other scholars developing the scientific theory known as intelligent design;
* supports research by scientists and scholars in the social sciences and humanities exploring the impact of scientific materialism on culture [ie it engages the worldviews and world agendas battle, at those levels].
* encourages schools to improve science education by teaching students more fully about the theory of evolution, including the theory's scientific weaknesses as well is its strengths. {AKA "teach the controversy" -- DI does not advocate, and in fact opposes, exposition of ID in the classroom, butr encourages critical discussion of science and broader philosphical issues that set the context for the science]>>

Summarising, as an outsider, DI is a libertarian-leaning think-tank in the Scottish Common Sense philosophy tradition exemplified by the likes of Thomas Reid and Adam Smith, which was a crucial – and Reformation-influenced -- philosophical framework for the US at its founding. Inter alia, it therefore sponsors the CSC as an initiative that tackled scientific [i.e. evolutionary] materialism as a major competing worldview and policy agenda, which is viewed by DI -- and a lot of other informed people -- as fundamentally antithetical to liberty and progress; despite many hot denials of that point. [Cf discussion of the issues on foundations of credible minds, freedom and morality here and here.]

2] Don't you have any scientific sources to support your case?

Notice, TMLO has been in the public domain for 20+ years,and there are many other papers and works out there that address the emerging scientific crisis and revolution under the impact of the rise of understanding that information is a profound feature of the cosmos and of life. {note, not a nibble on my points about the dynamics of science as an institution in the post-Kuhn, post-Lakatos era . . . ]

This tactic, in short, is again the illegitimate resort to dismissal by emotively loaded namecalling in the teeth of facts to the contrary. I repeat, the proper formal definition and agenda of the Design theory as science is:

>>intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? . . . Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence.>>

In that pursuit, the onlooker can examine the relevant wiki to see whether they are beginning to deliver on that programmatic aim. [Observe, no serious addressing on the merits of these repeatedly linked and/or excerpted points.]

3] Darwin himself said that he feared that his theory was falsifiable

Notice the lack of context and specific references or links for the attempt to say DI misrepresents NDT as “unfalsifiable”? Could it be because A is here indulging that dreaded fallacy that NDT and evo mat advocates routinely accuse their critics of: quote-mining?

I have not the time to do a serious search to track down his cites, as he can supply and justify them for himself. What I can easily do is more fundamental: address the issue in its context. For, the specific contexts for raising the issue of falsifiability as a challenge tot he scientific status of NDT, go back to Popper's remarks in the 70s on the subject and also to the observation that survival of the fittest reduces too often to an essentially empty tautology: the fittest are the ones that survive, and we know they are the fittest because they have survived. [There is even a notorious case of, as I recall, a conference where presenters deliberately disguised their reversal of the facts on a certain set of animals, then invited the composition of the usual just-so story as to how the reported features could be explained through darwinian mechanisms. Such accounts were duly constructed, and then the presenters dropped their bombshell: they had deliberately reversed the key facts. If something can with equal facility account for the truth and for its opposite, that should give us pause: from truth only truth may properly be inferred, but from what is false, anything follows.. THAT is what Phil Johnson brought to public attention in the early 1990's as a Johnnie come lately to the game..]

So, there is the pattern whereby the principles of NDT can be used to explain the emergence of any given feature as well as its non-emergence. If a model can account for A and Not-A with equal facility, then it is questionably falsifiable in praxis, as opposed to in declaratory statements. No to mention, Behe has precisely taken up the falsification point made by Darwin, by introducing the issue of irreducible complexity.

Here are Minnich and Meyer on the point:

>> Molecular machines display a key signature or hallmark of design, namely, irreducible complexity. In all irreducibly complex systems in which the cause of the system is known by experience or observation, intelligent design or engineering played a role the origin of the system. ... Although some may argue this is a merely an argument from ignorance, we regard it as an inference to the best explanation, given what we know about the powers of intelligent as opposed to strictly natural or material causes. We know that intelligent designers can and do produce irreducibly complex systems. We find such systems within living organisms. [Reference: “Genetic analysis of coordinate flagellar and type III regulatory circuits in pathogenic bacteria" ] >>

Here too, on the fossil record: if allegedly pre-Cambrian fossils came out with a rabbit, the fossils would be redated, dismissed or discredited. There is a long history of cases in point. The case of KNM ER 1470, as summarised by Lubenow, is devastating on the merits. Prediction: watch the namecalling games on this one! But more tot he point,t he elephant in ther oom is of course the point highlighted by Meyer in his properly peer-reviewed paper that NDT advocates above have laboured so long and hard to dismiss: the record, after 150 years since Origin, is almost unmanageably rich and continues to be inconsistent with gradualism, but very consistent with design.[Darwin predicted that the links would be found, but now there are even fewer candidates for link status than in his day.]

4] Specified complexity and irreducible complexity are not the whole of the design inference. Disproving either of these (very weak) hypotheses would not disprove ID, because ID is about a “designer”, (i.e. god), not about any specific proofs for or against any subsidiary element of the "theory".

First, have reference to the formal definition of ID as a research programme above: nowhere does inference to any specific designer appear, including "god" [observe how A here reveals his worldview and agenda by choosing a lower case letter!]. And this, not as a matter of politics: that is central to why Design theory is in fact science, as the empirics do not in general permit us to infer from FSCI, and irreducible complexity, to whodunit; that is a further stage of inference where there are enough clues. E.g., we can -- in forensic science -- detect murder and arson without identifying the culprit, for instance. How? By looking for signs of intelligent action, which are tied to functionally specific information and/or configurations that express that information, beyond the likely reach of chance, and the existence of irreducibly complex patterns or structures that again are unlikely as a product of chance. Necessity -- the third major causal force -- is irrelevant to such, as we are dealing with contingency, thigs that do not have to be as they are by the action of the major forces and conditions at work. [Heay objects, under certain circumstances necessarily fall -- necessity. A die tumbles to one of six conditions in effect at random -- chance. If the die is being tossed within the complex, functional patterns of a game, that is agency.]

In communications, we are all routinely inferring in this thread from FSCI to intelligent intent, even though the laws of physics and logic do not ABSOLUTELY forbid that every message in it is the product of lucky noise that happens to conform to the requirements of HTML, and TCP/IP, as well as a meaningful message.

So, we routinely infer to intelligent action precisely when we see irreducible complexity [the engineering systems] and functionally specified, complex information beyond [the codes and messages that foundation within the engineering] the credible reach of random and/or deterministic forces.

But then, when evolutionary materialist worldviews are on the table, the rules change. That is, we are seeing self-referentially inconsistent selective hyperskepticism in action here. [Cf here for more.]

I refuse to beg worldview questions in defining science and practising it.

5] you won't answer these arguments, because you have no answers.

Onlookers, kindly examine the thread above to see who has addresses the issues on the merits and who has resorted to evasions, personal attacks and obfuscations. Then make up your own mind in light of the true facts. [I did that, and that is why I think the ID people have a point.]

__________

Cheerio

TKIbezcne

12:04 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

KF wrote:
"First, have reference to the formal definition of ID as a research programme above:..."

If there were an ID research program, it would produce data from tests of ID hypotheses. No such data exist, because ID proponents lack the faith to put their hypotheses to the test. That's why politics is everything to them.

"...And this, not as a matter of politics: that is central to why Design theory is in fact science,..."

ID isn't theory, because it has no long track record of successful predictions. That's the definition of "theory."

It's not science because there aren't any data.

"... as the empirics do not in general permit us to infer from FSCI, and irreducible complexity, to whodunit;..."

But in all sciences that study design, the question of how it was done is pursued with zeal. In fact, how is usually required to be known before who.

ID proponents do nothing but blog and issue press releases. They lack the faith in their notion required to put it to empirical test.

"... that is a further stage of inference where there are enough clues. E.g., we can -- in forensic science -- detect murder and arson without identifying the culprit, for instance. How? By looking for signs of intelligent action, which are tied to functionally specific information and/or configurations that express that information, beyond the likely reach of chance, and the existence of irreducibly complex patterns or structures that again are unlikely as a product of chance."

And those allow real scientists to formulate and test hypotheses about HOW it was done (mechanism). ID proponents test no hypotheses.

10:26 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers,

A few further notes, mostly in response to several insistent, sadly and propagandistically misleading assertions:

1] S: If there were an ID research program, it would produce data from tests of ID hypotheses . . . . ID proponents do nothing but blog and issue press releases. They lack the faith in their notion required to put it to empirical test.

First, simply look at the relevant research wiki. The invidious, propagandistic assertions S makes here are plainly and obviously factually challenged. That he insists on making them in the face of being pointed to contrary facts is sadly telling.

Second, the basic context is that we are looking at a mounting pile of anomalies for the degenerating evolutionary materialist programme, which has led to the rising wave of crisis. In that context, the materialist tendency to suppress agency is now being overturned by an increasing recognition of the role of agency in the sciences. In that regard, note that Design theory is NOT a 1-1 match with the domain of NDT [as, alternative research programmes seldom are] So, when design and agency turn up as important in fields as diverse as cosmology, cryptanalysis, psychology [the cognitivist revolution . . . remember the now largely passe strictly materialist behaviourism?], TRIZ [the theory of inventive problem solving], etc etc and also easily explains key unmet challenges in the NDT + naturalistic OOL etc account of the origin of life, then that is not at all a fruitless initiative.

2] ID isn't theory, because it has no long track record of successful predictions. That's the definition of "theory."

Here we go again.

Obseve the “the” in attempting to redefine scientific theories question-beggingly as in effect that which is successfully predictive. And that, even after I have already had to point out above that this attempt to redefine scientific endeavour in terms of prediction [theories are at the heart of science] is simply false to how the term has been used and is quite legitimately used today: science is an endeavour that seeks to describe, explain, predict and influence or control the phenomena and forces of nature in light of concerns over empirical adequacy, conceptual coherence and explanatory elegance and power. In that regard, what is a theory is not simply that which predicts, but equally that which retrodicts, and that which describes and explains, in general. Such theories often, but not always, give successful predictions – the issue of unexplained anomalies is highly relevant. And, in the case of the clash in the domain of biological explanation, openness to design is in many cases manifestly has superior explanatory power, as the already cited Lonnig and Meyer cases show very well.

In this context, the design approach in particular opens up the field of observation, description and explanation, by refusing to artificially constrict it in light of begging the philosophical question of root causal forces: not only Monod's chance and necessity, but also agency – i.e the classic pattern that goes back all the way to Plato in his The Laws Book 10 – we know that agents exist and act in certain characteristic, purposeful ways that leave traces in the observable world, with FSCI being one of them. Indeed, in EVERY case where we independently know the causal story, FSCI traces to agent action. So, why, on origins, is agency excluded in the name of “methodological naturalism,” apart from philosophical, worldview level question begging by the materialists who happen to often be dominant in several relevant current scientific institutions?

Further, as a major research task, the openness-to-design approach sets out to provide a general filter for credibly detecting the latter; based on in effect Fisherian inference to the credibility or otherwise of null hypothesies. As one who has worked with in particular information-based systems, I can see immediately that this is very relevant to the point that in making the decision “signal, not noise” [which lies at the heart of communication theory] we are inferring to design. So, e.g. in using this web page you are inferring that the apparent data here is signal not lucky noise – which the laws of physics and logic do not strictly forbid. So, quantifying that inference is obviously a legitimate issue in science!

Nor is the imposition of "long track record" an appropriate test for whether or not something is a legitimate approach to scientific description, explanation, prediction and influence or control. The intended effect of this is the artificial preservation of a dying paradigm, evolutionary materialism, from [re-]emerging challengers. We do not decide the appropriateness of scientific explanations based on the clock or the calendar -- that is, we recognise that science is inherently provisional and current theories are open to challenge, correction and change in light of explanatory issues: empirical adequacy to observations, conceptual coherence, explanatory simplicity as opposed to both ad hocness and simplisticness. Evo mat is vulnerable on all three fronts, thus the protective moves.

3] in all sciences that study design, the question of how it was done is pursued with zeal. In fact, how is usually required to be known before who.

Misleading. The inference that agent action is possibly present comes first. The philosophical agenda of evolutionary materialism seeks to suppress this possibility once issues of origin are on the table, attempting to question-beggingly redefine science in that context. By contrast, once we are open to the possibility THAT designed agent action was done, we can then reasonably look for evidence that this is recognisable, from the signs of intelligent action, essentially as an inference to best empirically anchored explanation relative to the triad agency -- chance – necessity. All that, instead of philosophically begging The question ahead of time to fit prejudices that the world “must” be a materialistic system.

In that context, how it was done in terms of steps and mechanisms is partly sometimes implicated in the above, but sometimes it is unknown and even may be a target for research -- aka reverse engineering. There are many cases, especially in the applied sciences.

In the case of ID, the agenda of reverse engineering nature is a clear prospect, with interesting possibilities: e.g., new materials and nanotechnologies based on cellular level life systems.

4] ID proponents test no hypotheses.

Again a counter-factual assertion, and one easily enough tested for the price of a simple web link or two at the relevant ResearchID Wiki. Further to this, we have, e.g. the serious work of, e.g. Scott Minnich on a major testbed system for the concept of irreducible complexity, i.e. the bacterial flagellum.

Conceptual tests are also in process, not least in say Mr Dembski's continuing mathematical work on the explanatory filter for specified complexity -- cf the identifying eqn adn discussion there in the link. The ad hocness/elegance/simplisticness test is best answered to in light of the obvious problem of evo mat's worldview level question-begging in the attempted redefinition of science as in effect the best evo mat anchored explanation of the cosmos from hydrogen to humans.

And of course the peer reviewed [and credibly with the current title and abstract -- note the absence of responsible comment or apology when I pointed out the incredibility of the accusation S made above . . .] paper in question in this thread, in the stated opinion of its author is:

>>I have in fact confirmed that these papers add to the evidence for ID. I concluded in the 2000 JMB paper that enzymatic catalysis entails "severe sequence constraints". The more severe these constraints are, the less likely it is that they can be met by chance. [My note: i.e sensitivity to structural perturbation in a complex biofunctional polymer molecule, even by expected neutral effect substitutions in non-active regions . . .] So, yes, that finding is very relevant to the question of the adequacy of chance, which is very relevant to the case for design. In the 2004 paper I reported experimental data used to put a number on the rarity of sequences expected to form working enzymes. The reported figure is less than one in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion [on the US interpretation, i.e 10^12, Axe's empirical number is less than 1 in 10^72]. Again, yes, this finding does seem to call into question the adequacy of chance [My note: here, we see sparseness of biofunctionality in configuration space, i.e. the complexity is beyond the credible reach of chance on the scale of a planet of mass ~ 6 * 10^ 24 kg, with C as a relatively minor fraction; and with typically estimated lifetime ~ 4.6 * 10^6 years. As noted, a 300-monomer polypeptide -- even leaqvcing out the other chirality, non-protein bonding, and other species credibly in the prebiotic envitronment, gives a configuration space of 20^300 [antilog (300 lg 20) ~ 2.04 * 10^390] , and that certainly adds to the case for intelligent design. >>

Thus, we have good reason to infer that the assertion of "no hypothesis testing" is counter-factual. [And BTW, on the evo mat side,t here is a growing pattern of flawed attempts at refutation, with of course Mr Miller's Y pestis injector as the capital example -- turns out, from the remarks I have seen by Minnich etc, the genes for the full flagellum credibly are more or less present but not expressed, including a related issue of the 30 or so unique proteins in the full flagellum.]

Cheerio

TKI

7:04 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Andrew: moving on again. Just for the record, hese are some of the outstanding questions from the last thread...do you think there is any cahnce of them being addressed?

"Give me ANY example where Fuller has made any contribution that has made the slightest bit of practical difference to the way real science is done by real scientists in real science departments."

"Oh and Dolores:
If you think that either Levitt or myself have misrepresented Fuller's positions, then cite evidence of it."

"What Fuller's ideas would seem to require is some sort of externally-enforced redistribution of resources to oddball ideas ..Who would oversee this redistribution?"

"Does anybody see such a system as being in the least bit workable? Can anybody see any other way of implementing Fuller's ideas?"

"what possible experiment could you conduct to show that "X was designed by a supernatural big guy?". And what control would you use in such an experiment?"

"Can you demonstrate a single "true answer" that science has eliminated due to Methodological Naturalism?"

"1)Who is the Designer?

2)Where did s/he/it come from?

3)Is there just one designer or are there many?

4)How did the Designer do the designing?

5)When did the Designer do the designing?

6)Is the Designer still designing or has s/he/it retired?"

"I assume that all these papers proving that information theory etc make mincemeat of Darwinian evolution are freely available, so you can back up your claims?"

"Come now Andrew, don’t be disingenuous. Everybody knows that the people pushing ID have a religious agenda. Are you seriously telling me that you think it’s OK to believe the Intelligent Designer was a Time Lord, or a Jedi Knight or Slartibartfast?"

"“BTW, there are already ID-centric research programs out there, working from the ID stance and it's propositions and predictions.”

Really? Name these research programmes. References to published papers in peer-reviewed journals please, and a short explanation of how these papers support ID would also be nice. I repeat what I said at the start of this thread: what exactly would an ID research paradigm actually look like? So far I have seen nothing from the ID crowd that remotely resembles such a programme."

"Do you agree that the Souder Report was not issued with the authority of congress as a whole nor from a committee or sub committee of congress. It does not carry the authority of congress as an institution?"

"Do you really beleive that there is some dastardly plot to unfairly dismiss someone that nobody had ever heard of, thus creating a nice controversy for creationist conspiracy addicts to latch on to?"

"what do you think of Sternberg's evasion of the standard practice? Do you admire it? or is it reprehensible?"

"Sparky, This is the first time I have heard that ID scientists predicted that "junk dna" actually had a function, and that more orthodox scientists failed to do so.
I said," Andrew: moving on again. Just for the record, hese are some of the outstanding questions from the last thread...do you think there is any cahnce of them being addressed?

"Give me ANY example where Fuller has made any contribution that has made the slightest bit of practical difference to the way real science is done by real scientists in real science departments."

"Oh and Dolores:
If you think that either Levitt or myself have misrepresented Fuller's positions, then cite evidence of it."

"What Fuller's ideas would seem to require is some sort of externally-enforced redistribution of resources to oddball ideas ..Who would oversee this redistribution?"

"Does anybody see such a system as being in the least bit workable? Can anybody see any other way of implementing Fuller's ideas?"

"what possible experiment could you conduct to show that "X was designed by a supernatural big guy?". And what control would you use in such an experiment?"


Can you tell me the name of the ID proponent who predicted this? And which scientific journal he/she published the prediction in?

A name or names, a date or dates and the name of a journal or journals. That's all we neeed."

"Did the debate take place? What happened?""

Sparky replied. " ally, those very questions you quoted are still being discussed in the other thread, why not finish discussion there, and devote this one to the relevant topic?"

Sparky, can you see that I was right to bring up all the unanswered questions that Andrew leaves behind when he dodges off to create another thread, with all the difficult questions from the previous thread ignored and unanswered. Do you think someone will answer these points? I don't think so...they never have in the past.

11:05 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

Observe the insistent drive-by irresponsible rhetoric on consistent display in this and the parallel thread, from NDT advocates.

Note:

1] As the above and linked documents -- and other threads in this and many other blogs will document in nauseating, shocking details -- they have made many ill-founded, even slanderous assertions against those who differ with them, whether commenters, bloggers or even distinguished scientists. (The case with Mr Bradley in the other thread is the most evident in this blog.) When this was pointed out and corrected, there was only silence at best in response -- or insistent assertions at worst.

2] At least some of same have plainly joined the cheering section on the persecution of a fair-minded non-ID journal editor through workplace harassment involving external advocacy groups and slander, even though the uncontested, publicly accessible evidence abundantly shows that this was an unjustifiable inquisition. Others have tellingly remained silent in the face of such manifest injustice. [And there are also many similar cases of persecution and intimidation of scientists, to the point where leading ID researchers have warned would-be newcomers about the risks.)

3] Then, they have the gall to raise the question of publishing in such journals, and when that has been abundantly shown they wish to move the goal posts to publishing of new research findings in such journals. Of course, science and legitimate scientific publications embrace more than laundry lists of new empirical findings, as is manifest in the central role of explanation in science -- and indeed absent explanation, power to predict is empty [cf the ancients' ability to predict eclipses without understanding mechanisms]. But also, in works such as that by Minnich etc [cf. e.g. here], it is not just critical reviews and conceptual synthesis, but new empirical data that is on view. [Minnich, FYI, is a lab-based expert on the iconic bacterial flagellum.] Also, cf. Tipler's warning on what can be done to capture peer review to an agenda of censorship.

4] But then, such links often come from ID-supportive sources, so they immediately cannot be trusted, nuh? In short, we see imposition of secularist apartheid wherein the victim cannot be trusted within reason to speak in his own behalf truthfully.

5] Some now wish to assert - again, in the teeth of long since proffered evidence -- that the historically and the philosophically unwarranted imposition of evolutionary materialist philosophy in the name of the alleged true definition of science as "methodological naturalism" has not distorted the nature or success of science. But in fact, first, modern science originated in what was then called Christendom, by people who were by and large consciously seeking to understand God's works in light of their confidence in his orderly superintendence of nature. Second, many current scientists – up to and including Nobel Prize winners -- actually practice in this framework, and third, functionally specific, complex information, in EVERY case where we do directly know the source, traces to agency. Fourth, in that light, when we impose the philosophically question-begging criterion that intelligent action may not be appealed to in cases of FSCI in the cell and origin of life, or the fine-tuning of the cosmos, the evidence in hand suggests strongly that here we see a materialistic philosophical agenda blocking the road to credible discovery or acknowledgment of scientific truth.

6] One particularly pernicious claim is the assertion that there is no ID-supportive research programme. But in fact, as has been repeatedly documented, such exists -- and is far broader than one imagines, due to the nature of the emerging paradigm of the role of intelligence and its classic artifact, information, in the world. I note how consistently the material that is only a click away is driven by as the rhetoricians' rush on to their favourite mantras of misinformation.

7] Of these, a major case is the persistent attempt to distort and prejudicially misrepresent the basic definition of Design theory as a research programme. A key excerpt from this page is:

>>Intelligent design is the scientific investigation of intelligent causation, and subsequent novel data, hypotheses, experiments, and practical applications that are derived by viewing specific phenomena in the universe as designed. Intelligent design is a scientific hypothesis that seeks to explain a very large range of scientific data, and so has a general definition, and then subsidiary definitions for use within specific disciplines . . . .

Intelligent design (also known as "ID") proposes that specific physical phenomena in nature are better explained as being designed by intelligence. This is inferred by detecting the types of physical effects known to be produced by intelligent agents when they act. The goal is to understand intelligence working in the context of the physical world, and infer intelligent activity by observation and analysis of data . . . .

intelligence - a characteristic of a phenomenon in which it is capable of undertaking the conceptualization and actualization of a plan and/or forward-thinking . . . .

design - a purposeful arrangement of parts, typically understood as the actualized products of intelligence . . . .

In current methods of detecting design, steps two and three [WD: "(2) To accomplish that purpose, the designer forms a plan. (3) To execute the plan, the designer specifies building materials and assembly instructions"] are particularly significant, because they involve the conceptualization of a choice, or directed contingency. Directed contingency often involves the development or construction of a pattern, a purposeful arrangement of parts, which can be empirically investigated . . . .

Complex Specified Information, also known as Specified Complexity, is an attribute of events that are very unlikely (i.e. high Shannon information), very complex (i.e. high Kolmogorov complexity), and are specified (i.e. there is a description of them that is in some sense independently given).

It is claimed that if complexity and specification occur in tandem, the event is nearly impossible, so profoundly unlikely that it is not considered in the realm of reason to expect it to happen by the random effects of chance, the regularity of natural processes, or their cooperation. . . . .

Irreducible Complexity is a special case of Specified Complexity. A structure is considered to be Irreducibly Complex when all its component parts are required for the system to function . . . . [per definition, and so this is empirically testable . . .] there is no way to build an IC structure to perform a given task out of a simpler system that also performs that task. The stronger claim has been made that IC structures cannot evolve by any means, direct or otherwise, without intelligence playing a causal role. If true, this claim would be problematic for certain anti-design assumptions of current evolutionary biology, as there are some biological structures that would appear to be Irreducibly Complex . . . .

Certain features of the universe, including the observation that life is possible within it, are best explained by intelligent causation operating in conjunction with undirected processes, blind natural forces and laws, and random chance . . . . ID proposes that current and plausible scientific methods can empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in biological entities, acknowledged by virtually all biologists, is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process, such as natural selection acting on random variations.>>

This programme plainly seeks to restore the full triad of basic explanations in science: chance, necessity, agency, in cases where there is credible empirical warrant for agency -- e.g. the implications of the detection of FSCI. In this context,t here are plainly empirical constructs and there is relevant data – much of it in the form of the mounting pile of anomalies that defy the explanation based on the evolutionary materialist paradigm. NB: at the core of research programmes lies a matrix of philosophical assumptions and commitments. Such worldview level concepts, are belted -- in the Lakatosian view -- with a girding of specific theories, and thus when some of the theories are subjected to test and begin to degenerate, that is the point where new paradigms may emerge, reverting to Kuhnian language.

In this context, for Design as a scientific paradigm, who may have designed something, or how he/she/it "dunit", are obviously secondary to the basic point: is there worldview-level willingness to go with the empirical data that points to agency, or is there a closed-minded unwillingness to address such an issue because of a prior commitment to, e.g., atheism [as we saw in a case where someone let the secularist agenda slip by insisting on using the word "god"]?

So, let us note: scientific inference to intelligent action from empirical traces in finite material objects is not at all the same as worldview-level inference to the supernatural, as “intelligent agent” and “supernatural agent” are plainly not the same thing. [And, if the evidence points to agency in matters of the origin of life and the cosmos, why then is it an alleged SCIENTIFIC -- as opposed to philosophical -- objection to claim that such a proposed intelligent agent just may be beyond the material cosmos we observe? Other than, smuggling in of the obviously inappropriate worldview level idea that science is/must be applied atheism? Would it not be wiser to simply refuse to censor out known causal sources in scientific explanation a priori, then let the philosophical chips fall where they may, as the worldview advocates debate to their hearts' content the meaning of the findings of such uncensored science?]

8] In that light, let's look at A's agenda of questions – and BTW, an apology or two are in order, A:

"1)Who is the Designer?

--> Of what? Of DNA and the associated FSCI-rich nanotechnology of cellular level life? In short, detecting credible evidence that points t life as showing signs pointing to design, and being willing to entertain the implications of FSCI, are prior to any such inference to identity of proposed designers.

--> OF a given code detected through say cryptanalysis? Why, that may be the precise point of an intellligence investigation. [And BTW, can you identify a single case where, knowing the source of a code independent of speculative theories, we see codes that are not artifacts of minds, i.e. intelligent agency?]

--> Of the massively fine-tuned, contingent observed cosmos that has in it a common system of laws and unimaginably large energy and scale, and as of my last check was dated as originating in a cosmic singualrity some 13.7 BYA? Why, if we see a world of contingent beings then that implies a necessary being as their sufficient reason – by plain logic. And since necessity acts whenever sufficient conditions are met, origination of the cosmos at a finite point in time implies necessity is not the root cause. Finetuning implies that chance is maximally unlikely – unless you resort tot he infinite array of randomly distributed sub-cosmi. And that is unobservable so it is metaphysical speculation. Suppression of the concept that an extracosmic designer of vast power and intelligence is the source then becomes worldview level censorship. .

2)Where did s/he/it come from?

--> Cf discussion at 1 supra.

3)Is there just one designer or are there many?

--> At cosmic scale we see evidence of one system of laws, and that the many contingencies are so finely set that we see evident setting up of parameters supportive of the emergence f life. Thus, it is by Occam mostr resonable to infer to one designer, as we need no more than one to achieve this.

4)How did the Designer do the designing?

--> That is what science as a programme of investigation is about here: reverse-engineering the cosmos so we see the underlying structures and systems: describe, explain, predict, influence/control. In short, the designer acted in accordance with certain laws, which we as other agents can discover, correlate and apply to our own advantage.

5)When did the Designer do the designing?

--> Since time as we know it begins for the observed cosmos some 13.7 BYA, then the cosmological design is outside of the reference of our space-time system.

--> Life on earth is generally held to date to something like 3.5 – 8 BYA or whatever latest date is put forth. Before that is a trivial and satisfactory answer.

--> In the case of say steganography hiding an Al Qaeda instruction, the timing may be a bit harder to pin down [save for: in the rather recent past] but can with correlation to other phenomena be used in some cases to help catch the terrs before they act.

6)Is the Designer still designing or has s/he/it retired?"

--> WHICH designer? Al Qaeda's notorious Mr Usama Bin Laden? [We can only hope that hehas retired, in that case . . .]

--> Of the cosmos and/or life? For that we have no direct scientific evidence to report in either direction. But, if there is in fact an extracosmic designer who is a necessary being, then we have no reason to believe that such is capable of retirement – but that is a matter for philosophy not physics etc. And, note the distinction made here between science and a wider universe of discourse that as Lakatos and many others point out, may lie at the core of praxis in any given era.

____________

So, it is not so much that there has been a dodging of questions, as that there is an insistence on ignoring answers that do not fit the evolutionary materialist agenda.

It is time to put these irresponsible assertions out to pasture.

Cheerio

TKI

8:53 am  
Blogger allygally said...

Someone hasn’t read the memo: don’t they know that you’re not supposed to admit ID is religion….. It’s a big secret….sssshhh!!!

A petition, one assumes from some TiS looper, at;

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SchoolScience/

Which says

“Darwinian Theory, as has been taught in schools for decades, is generally accepted as fact. To be fair, we ask the Prime Minister to make it mandatory that Intelligent Design be taught as an equally plausible hypothesis. Evolution is taught on the basis of the religion (atheist), so Christians and others should be allowed to have their beliefs supported. And there IS scientifically valid evidence for ID, just as there appears to be for Evolution. If this country bans one religion's belief on how we came to be, we should abandon all religious beliefs - even atheist beliefs (evolution) and therefore, have no basis to question our existence- just accept it and move on. Thus putting and end to "science." This is not recommended, however.”

Y’gorra smile…

maybe some of our pretend-not-creationists could explain this?

2:58 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"...the persecution of a fair-minded non-ID journal editor..."

Lying for Jesus again Gordon Mullings (aka kairosfocus), I see.

Richard Sternberg is an ID-Creationist. He has presented at RAPID (Research and Progress in Intelligent Design) in October 2002. Meyer presented The Cambrian Information Explosion: Evidence of Intelligent Design (the antecedent of his controversial paper) at this conference.
http://www.iscid.org/rapid/schedule.html

It is clear that Sternberg and Meyer hatched a plot to smuggle a later version of this paper into the journal that Sternberg edited (a clear betrayal of his employers, the Biological Society of Washington), inserting the word "taxonomic" into its title to give a superficial impression that it had anything to do with the journal's subject, and placed it in the last volume of the journal that he edited (meaning that the BSW had little recourse against him thereafter).

...through workplace harassment involving external advocacy groups and slander..."

This is just a pack of unsubstantiated lies spread by a pack of Creationists and Right-wing culture warriors (namely James McVey, Mark Souder, Rick Santorum and Gordon Mullings) in an attempt to turn a dishonest and double-dealing Creationist into a martyr. It is interesting to note that none of these attempts have any official standing whatsoever. They are nothing more than empty partisan spin.

"...even though the uncontested, publicly accessible evidence abundantly shows that this was an unjustifiable inquisition."

The "publicly accessible evidence" directly contests your assertion. It shows perfectly legitimate suspicion towards a thoroughly dishonest charlatan.

"Minnich, FYI, is a lab-based expert on the iconic bacterial flagellum."

But at the Dover trial Minnich specifically disavowed any involvement in research into the evolution of the flagellum:
I'm not funded to look at the evolution of the flagellum. I'm funded to look at its effect in terms of regulation and virulence and type III secretion.
...
That's [the evolution of the flagellum is] not the emphasis of my work."


Oh and Gordon, you can rabbit on about Irreducible Complexity and Complex Specified Information to your verbose heart's content. Both have been thoroughly, rigorously and repeatedly been debunked by experts.

If I want to read about either I will read works on them by these experts (Biologists and Information Theorists, respectively), not by a has-been Chemist (Behe), not by an egotistical and notoriously dishonest Theologian (Dembski) and certainly not by an obscure religious fanatic with verbal diarrhoea.

3:38 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Let's dissect the creationist petition:

“Darwinian Theory, as has been taught in schools for decades, is generally accepted as fact."

Yup. The best, most elegant theory of the development of life. Supported by 150 years of investigation and evidence. It's pretty good.

"To be fair,"

fair to what or whom?

"we ask the Prime Minister to make it mandatory that Intelligent Design be taught as an equally plausible hypothesis."

So a "plausibel hypothesis" (which it isn't, but that's a different matter) is to get the same prominence as the best, most elelgant, highy supported, generally accepted, high prestige, top notch, scientific theory?

"of the religion (atheist)"


Atheism isn't a religion. To quote "atheism is a religion in the same way not colecting stamps is a hobby".

"so Christians and others should be allowed to have their beliefs supported."

What others? Muslims? Zoroastrans? Cargo Cults?

What beliefs? So we should teach angels as a scientific theory? As a matter of interest: how many can balance on the head of a pin? Answers on a Bible flyleaf to The Council of Trent, the Dark Ages, disease-ridden Europe. John Frumm anyone?

"And there IS scientifically valid evidence for ID, just as there appears to be for Evolution."

I like that APPEARS! Class. Like tons of it. It appears that we have a Mount Everest in front of is. What can it be? Oh, it's proof, that's why us creationists can't see it!

"If this country bans one religion's belief on how we came to be,"

Two mistakes. Evolution is not areligious beleif. Evolution does not address "how we came to be" ..

"we should abandon all religious beliefs "

You're choice my dear. Don't let me stop you.

"even atheist beliefs (evolution)"

Logical error! logical error! See above.

"and therefore, have no basis to question our existence- "

Evolution is not about origins.... did I say that before?

"Thus putting and end to "science."

Banning religion from science classes is not puting an end to "science""

BTW, Why the "..."?


"This is not recommended, however.”

Thanks. Much appreciated. You're too kind.

9:31 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers

First, I see that A has gone off the rails on an irrelevancy not tied to this thread's focus [now that his six questions have been directly and briefly answered . . .], and that our bird friend has returned.

HRAFN – the name means Raven [One wonders if this is a certain anonymous commenter of another context . . . ) -- decides to both slander me as a liar and to violate the basic courtesy of blogs by citing a personal rather than the consultancy name I use. [Both are rather specific!] Observe that "he" ( a now quite likely inference) is neither able to address the substance on the thermodynamics nor is he willing to apologise for his slanders against Mr Bradley in the other thread, all of which are telling as to character and motivation.

More importantly, it tells us all we need to know about the confidently boasted of dismissals of the implications of the relevant thermodynamics and origin of information issues relative to the OOL.

On a few points worth remarking:

1] A: On religion and science

The proper basic category here is worldviews, within the wider ambit of philosophical discourse. As Lakatos pointed out long ago now, at the core of scientific research programmes are major worldview commitments, and the specific theories form a belt around that core. In short, scientific discourse occurs within the parameters of a broader universal discourse, philosophy. An interesting remark of Lakatos in that context [recalling here that good news reporting is "a first, rough draft of history"], is: >>"Philosophy of science without history of science is empty; history of science without philosophy of science is blind.">>

In short both current and long-tern discussion of science matters should be informed by phil of Sci issues. That means immediately that the worldviews exposed by commenters are -- at least sometimes -- relevant to understanding how they address core issues in science. In that context, A's insistent attacks against those who differ with him , that htey are "religious" is more than aptly responded to by pointing out the inadvertent revelation implied by the use of "god" above by a commenter.

In short, like Dawkins, you cannot use a particular theory frame in science as a prop for your worldview and for evangelising atheism in the classroom and public square without properly drawing fire from those who know that that is what is going on, and who can point out the yawning gaps in such evolutionary materialism. The well-documented resort to censorship and persecution of such dissenters in that context then takes on the atmosphere of an inquisition.

2] H: responding to my "...the persecution of a fair-minded non-ID journal editor...", claims: Lying for Jesus again . . .Richard Sternberg is an ID-Creationist

First, the conflation of Design theory with the [Biblical] Creationist movement is propagandistic distortion.

For, design thought's roots go back to such “red-necked, Bible-thumping fundy yankees” -- NOT -- such as Plato, Socrates and Cicero, as I have documented by linking. Biblical Creationism is just that -- it often [though not always] uses the Bible as a source-book on what in its estimation is accurate data on the real as opposed to projected past. Design theory does not do this; it is a scientific movement that infers from empirical data in the present, and in the general context of the general [but not complete] consensus among scientists on the dating of the past [which BTW has its own problems, which are immaterial to this context of discussion], especially the signs of intelligence at work, to the existence of a source of such FSCI, agency. Had it not been for the dominance of an atheistic worldview in certain institutions of science, such inferences would simply be st the “no-brainer” level of obviousness. [Wonder why there is not a serious discussion on the merits but a resort to personalities, now including the presence on H's part, that going to my web site and digging up my name is serious research and exposes something nefarious – that I often use my consusltancy name online?]

Now, on Mr Sternberg. First, he explicitly identifies himself as specifically a process structuralist:

>>I subscribe to a school of biological thought often termed “process structuralism.” Process or biological structuralism is concerned with understanding the formal, generative rules underlying organic forms, and focuses on the system architectures of organisms and their interrelationships. Structuralist analysis is generally ahistorical, systems-oriented, and non-evolutionary (not anti-evolutionary). Both creationism and neo-Darwinism are, in contrast, emphatically historicist with one positing extreme polyphyly (de novo creation of species) and the other radical monophyly (common descent). Since the structuralist perspective runs somewhat perpendicular to the origins debate, creationists and evolutionists tend to see it as inimical to their positions. The truth is structuralism has little at stake in the origins issue, leaving a person like myself free to dialogue with all parties. For this reason, I frequently discourse with ultra-Darwinians, macromutationists, self-organization theorists, complexity theorists, intelligent design advocates, theistic evolutionists, and young-earth creationists without necessarily agreeing with any of their views.

Structuralism does, however, provide an important perspective on the origins debate. Structuralists' lack of commitment to an historical theory of biology allows them to explore the historical evidence more objectively. Moreover, because they focus on formal analysis, struturalists are far more open than neo-Darwinians to the powerful evidence for continuity within species (forms) and discontinuity between and among species. They also allow themselves to wonder about the cause of the amazing repetition of forms across the biological world rather than being forced by prior commitments to accept a major neo-Darwinian epicycle known as "convergent evolution.">>

I leave it to the onlooker to infer the sort of motivation that underlies the twisting of this stance into "ID-Creationist" -- intended as a term of rebuke.

H owes yet another apology, one to Mr Sternberg for propagating a misleading slander, and one to me for improperly calling me a liar without going to primary sources first to see why I said what I said. But then, poor research skills joined to want of broughtupcy -- a very useful Caribbean word -- is now plainly a well-known, demonstrated characteristic of this commenter.

3] It is clear that Sternberg and Meyer hatched a plot to smuggle a later version of this paper into the journal that Sternberg edited (a clear betrayal of his employers . . .

A clear case of conspiracy mongering. For:

a] Mr Sternberg holds TWO PhDs in the relevant areas.

b] Mr Meyer holds a relevant PhD as well, especially for one writing a critical review addressing a research programme in unacknowledged crisis.

c] The paper -- whether or not submitted at the invitation of the Journal editor, on the testimony of the external investigator [acting under legal penalty for improper investigation!] was reported as passing "proper" peer review, by "renowned scientists."

d] Thus, the burden of showing it otherwise passes to those who stirred up criticisms. No-one who has had proper access to the peer review files has gone on record that this report is false, indeed, just the opposite. Passing of proper peer review is an uncontested fact.

e] What happens? We see attempts at dismissal and changing of subject to attacking the man, to the point of workplace harassment. This is stirred up in large part by a well-known Darwinist advocacy group, NCSE, working in tandem with some of Mr Sternberg's superiors in the Smithsonian. This too, is undisputed -- in short, H has indulged here in turnabout, evidently false, accusation.

f] On the substantial matter, to date there is no coherent, factually adequate, empirically well-anchored NDT explanation of the Cambrian Life explosion, something that Design easily explains.

g] Similarly, in the same general window of time, Lonnig in Germany shows in the peer reviewed literature how Design also accounts for stasis as well as the sudden appearances and disappearances.

4] a pack of unsubstantiated lies spread by a pack of Creationists and Right-wing culture warriors . . . in an attempt to turn a dishonest and double-dealing Creationist into a martyr. It is interesting to note that none of these attempts have any official standing whatsoever

Let's see: Mr McVay is an official investigator of the US Federal Government's Office of Special Counsel, overseeing the Civil Service:

>>The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. Our basic authorities come from three federal statutes, the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the Hatch Act . . . . OSC’s primary mission is to safeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing. For a description of prohibited personnel practices (PPPs), click on the prohibited personnel practices link.>>

Second, having conducted an investigation, Mr McVay went on record, which can be seen here. The basic facts and documents brought into the record though this are as uncontested as they are devastating. [The reason no further action was taken up att hat level is because of the technical peculiarities of Mr Sternberg's contract, not the serious nature of what was shown.]

At the next level, the investigation issued a: "STAFF REPORT PREPARED FOR THE HON. MARK SOUDER CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE, DRUG POLICY AND HUMAN RESOURCES DECEMBER 11, 2006." Such a report has both official standing as well, and is by the relevant chairman acting in his proper jurisdiction. The facts and issues, again are without serious dispute, as can be seen here and here.

In short, H again shows his usual resort to attacking the man instead of dealing with the issue. Sort of like how the C17 pope ill-advisedly backed the inquisition in its dealings with a certain Galileo, even though he had once protected him when he was a cardinal, because G had put the pope's words on the limitations of science [words in which there was more than a grain of truth] in the mouth of Simplicio, made to look like an idiot by G in his critical review on the status of Ptolemaic vs Copernican astronomical theories.

5] a thoroughly dishonest charlatan.

Onlookers, just read the documents, to see that the official investigations conclude and on the merits, that improper conduct on the part of the relevant officials was shown. The alleged “charlatan” -- and on track record of H's lack of credentials to assess Mr Bradley, we know the basic problem there -- holds two relevant PhDs, and as editor published an article that passed proper peer review by renowned scientists.

6] Minnich specifically disavowed any involvement in research into the evolution of the flagellum: I'm not funded to look at the evolution of the flagellum. I'm funded to look at its effect in terms of regulation and virulence and type III secretion. ... [the evolution of the flagellum is] not the emphasis of my work."

The genetic analysis of the TTSS is of course directly and highly relevant to the evolution of the bacterial flagellum, as the genes expressed to give the toxin injector are a in effect a subset of those for the flagellum.

Peterson's summary [which was reported in the page I link in my web page in my sign-off, and from which H has probably drawn out my identity by onward links] is interesting:

>>. . . . Kenneth Miller, a biologist at Brown University who argues in favor of Darwinian evolution, made a splash when he announced (and he bolded the language in his article) that "the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex." Miller cited a cellular structure known as the type III secretory system (TTSS) that allows certain bacteria to inject toxins through the cell walls of their hosts . . . .

But . . . the bubonic plague bacterium already has the full set of genes necessary to make a flagellum. Rather than making a flagellum, Y. pestis uses only part of the genes that are present to manufacture that . . . injector instead. As pointed out in a recent article by design theorist Stephen Meyer and microbiologist Scott Minnich (an expert on the flagellar system), the gene sequences suggest that "flagellar proteins arose first and those of the pump came later." If evolution was involved, the pump came from the motor, not the motor from the pump. Also, "the other thirty proteins in the flagellar motor (that are not present in the [pump]), are unique to the motor and are not found in any other living system." . . . In short, the proteins in the TTSS do not provide a "gradualist" Darwinian pathway to explain the step-by-step evolution of the irreducibly complex flagellar motor.>>

Why does he say that Minnich is an expert on the system in view? The bio/resume page describing Mr Minnich as a Fellow of DI offers a clue: "Biochemist Michael Behe used the flagella to illustrate the concept of irreducible complexity and Minnich takes the argument to the next level crediting the design paradigm to leading to new insights in his lab research at the University of Idaho." His ISCID bio/resume page -- apart from a horrid photo -- has this to say: "Dr. Minnich's research interests are temperature regulation of Y. [Yeresina] enterocolitca gene expression and coordinate reciprocal expression of flagellar and virulence genes." Finally, his peer-reviewed paper (highlighted by DI in the list of such ID supportive papers) is titled: "Genetic analysis of coordinate flagellar and type III regulatory circuits in pathogenic bacteria" i.e. exactly at the intersection just described.

Thus, it is obvious that H has twisted a point in testimony to try to detract from the force of Mr Minnich's relevant expertise -- a now familiar tactic.

7] FSCI and IC:

Picking and choosing "experts" who tickle your itching ears with what you want to hear, H, is simple folly.

8] A: [NDT is] The best, most elegant theory of the development of life. Supported by 150 years of investigation and evidence. It's pretty good.

More accurately, it is a theory in unacknowledged crisis, forced to truncate its account of the origins of life as it cannot explain the rise of FSCI to create cellular nanotechnology. Then, within that circumscribed orbit, a theory that works for MICRO evolution [often by loss of genetic information . . .] is then unwarrantedly expanded to try to explain the origin of body-plan innovation level biodiversity, and runs into deep trouble starting with the Cambrian life revolution -- right at the beginning, and based on for 150 years failing to fit the fossil record which is often touted as its principal evidence.

Meyer's remarks in that now famous paper are apt:

>>In order to explain the origin of the Cambrian animals, one must account not only for new proteins and cell types, but also for the origin of new body plans . . . Mutations in genes that are expressed late in the development of an organism will not affect the body plan. Mutations expressed early in development, however, could conceivably produce significant morphological change (Arthur 1997:21) . . . [but] processes of development are tightly integrated spatially and temporally such that changes early in development will require a host of other coordinated changes in separate but functionally interrelated developmental processes downstream. For this reason, mutations will be much more likely to be deadly if they disrupt a functionally deeply-embedded structure such as a spinal column than if they affect more isolated anatomical features such as fingers (Kauffman 1995:200) . . . McDonald notes that genes that are observed to vary within natural populations do not lead to major adaptive changes, while genes that could cause major changes--the very stuff of macroevolution--apparently do not vary. In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn't need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don't occur.6 >>

9] Atheism isn't a religion. To quote "atheism is a religion in the same way not colecting stamps is a hobby".

Atheism is the denial of the existence of a personal God, which is often embedded in worldviews that function as quasi-religions, e.g secular [descriptive use] humanism, as can be seen from the three relevant manifestos.

10] we should teach angels as a scientific theory? As a matter of interest: how many can balance on the head of a pin?

Onlookers, recall that up to yesterday, A was busily saying that his stack of questions was being ducked. Now that I paused to answer them, he changes the subject to religion bashing.

What does that tell us further on his motivations and agendas? Why is he not engaging the Lakatosian issues: the relevant theories and the core philosophical/worldview issues, that I have put explicitly on the table?

Now,as a matter of fact,the much derided philosophical scholastic debate on how many angels could fit on the head of a pin [more likely, how many could stand on the POINT of a pin, which if it does not reflect light is of order ~ 0.1 micron or so; knife sharpening is a hobby of mine . . . reflecting my fascination with the very interesting micro physics involved; latest discovery, marble stone tiles can keen an edge to an astonishing degree . . .] was in fact about a serious enough philosophical subject: the difference between location and extension. This is the same issue embedded in the concept that a point has location but no size, just more colourfully put.

Notice, the relevant scientific education issues are:

[1] to teach not just the orthodox NDT and its cognate OOL and cosmological evolutionary models as if they are uncontested fact, but to also bring out strengths and weaknesses [i.e teaching MORE about the theories of evolution than is usually taught . . .],

[2] to allow informed discussion of emerging paradigms and the philosophical and historical context of scientific theory evolution and revolution as a part of responsible science education,

[3] to in that context permit discussion of possible alternative paradigms and their claimed supportive evidence.

The changing of subject here is mute testimony to the obviously unjustifiable nature of the indoctrination involved in pretending that NDT is unproblematic as the evolutionary materialist paradigm's flagship theory.

11] citing a commenter: "even atheist beliefs (evolution)", then remarking: Logical error! logical error! See above.

In fact the often encountered modern pretense that atheists are simply people "without belief in god" is belief by the insistence on the use of the lower case – as, if memory serves, A himself did above in this thread.

That is, atheists still insist that they KNOW that there is no "god" and so -- denials notwithstanding -- open themselves up to the point that their rather limited, fallible claimed knowledge base permits of no such universal negative. {The dangers of asserting universal negatives on matters of claimed fact are of course a notorious problem in epistemology and logic.)

A more humble – and in some cases, more more honest -- answer is that they are a-gnostic, i.e in doubt on the existence of God.

In that case, evidence relating to the finetuning of the cosmos of finite temporal duration that we observe [i.e. it is a contingent being and non-self-explanatory], should open up the point made by say Craig [in the serious level literature and discussed by me with explanatory and expansion notes to cover more recent thoughts, here], that such a non-self-explaining world raises the hard to dodge issue of the sufficient reason for it: WHY.

The most credible, and long-standing answer in philosophy is: contingent beings -- e.g. that which begins to exist has a cause -- are best explained in light of necessary beings that are self-explanatory. In that PHILOSPHICAL context [i.e. it does not belong in the exposition of science in the classroom, but in the discussion of its phil context,the cause of a life-friendly, vast and power-packed cosmos is by IBE a personal, intentional, necessary being. That is of course far from modern theism [e.g. Plato's Demi-Urge irresistibly playing with forms will at least arguably adn in part do . . .] but it is a large advance over both atheism and agnosticism.

12] Banning religion from science classes is not puting an end to "science""

Banning quasi-religions, such as secularistic humanism and associated fundy atheism, from:

preaching and evangelising evolutionary materialism in the classroom in the name of science without giving room for debate on the worldviews issues and the limitations on the relevant theories and models [cf Wells on the all too often misleadingly presented Icons of Evolution here]

. . .is equally proper as a defense of science from being abused to push a worldview agenda by propagandistic indoctrination as opposed to entertaining responsible worldviews dialogue and debate..

__________

In short, observe that as soon as serious answers are put,the goal posts are moved and new issues are raised that are equally ill-founded. These are the marks of a desperate defensive for a system that has lost offensive power but can use its remaining defensive power to stave off obvious defeat as long as possible. In short the issue is to end the horror with dignity, or to insist on a prolonged horror sustained as long as possible. (That is, Hitler, circa June - September 1944, would have been well-advised to make peace. His failure to do so simply made things worse for the German people.)

Cheerio

GEM of TKI

10:35 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

BTW to HRAFN:

If I suffer a surge in spam due to what you just did, I will have reason to complain to the owner of this blog for that.

Has it ever occurred to you that there are -- in a world of spammers and identity theft, etc -- very legitimate reasons for not using one's given name in general web postings? (A serious researcher can easily enough follow up and see my invitation to dialogue seriously and responsibly, complete with contact links. E.g look at the notice at the foot of the page linked in my name where it appears in this blog.)

Or, was that your intention?

A less than happy ...

TKI

11:10 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

A final note for now, since Hrafn -- evidently someone without merit of relevant technical qualifications -- has now (right on track with his sorry record . . .) gone on to slander Mr Behe and Mr Dembski, instead of addressing the issues on the merits -- much less, acknowledging that he has joined in misrepresentation of key terms, concepts and issues.

As a corrective, I give a little of the relevant resumes:

BEHE:

>>Michael J. Behe is Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. Behe's current research involves delineation of design and natural selection in protein structures.

In addition to publishing over 35 articles in refereed biochemical journals, he has also written editorial features in Boston Review, American Spectator, and The New York Times. His book, Darwin's Black Box discusses the implications for neo-Darwinism of what he calls "irreducibly complex" biochemical systems. The book was internationally reviewed in over one hundred publications and recently named by National Review and World magazine as one of the 100 most important books of the 20th century.>>

DEMBSKI:

>>. . . has done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where he earned a B.A. in psychology, an M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in philosophy, he also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1988 and a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996. He has held National Science Foundation graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

Dr. Dembski has published articles in mathematics, philosophy, and theology journals and is the author/editor of more than ten books. In The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities (Cambridge University Press, 1998), he examines the design argument in a post-Darwinian context and analyzes the connections linking chance, probability, and intelligent causation. The sequel to The Design Inference appeared with Rowman & Littlefield in 2002 and critiques Darwinian and other naturalistic accounts of evolution. It is titled No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. Dr. Dembski's most recent books are two edited collections: Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing (ISI, 2004) and Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA (Cambridge University Press, 2004, co-edited with Michael Ruse). His next book is a festschrift volume, co-edited with Jed Macosko, in honor of Phillip Johnson. It is titled Darwin's Nemesis: Phillip Johnson and the Intelligent Design Movement.>>

Y'know those has-been, fundy dummies without relevant qualifications or experience . . .


TKI

11:53 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"...decides to both slander me as a liar ..."

I Called you a liar, Gordon Mullings, because you are a liar. You claimed that Richard Sternberg is "non-ID" when he has presented at RAPID, an ID-Creationist-only conference.

And I call ID "ID Creationism" perfectly correctly. ID is Creationism. Same people (e.g. Dean Kenyon, who made the same arguments as to why Creationism is Science in McLean v. Arkansas as many IDer make as to why they believe that ID is Science). Same long-debunked anti-evolutionary arguments. I have yet to see an 'ID' argument that:
1) is not an argument against evolution, rather than for anything else; or
2) isn't a variation of pre-ID Creationist anti-evolutionary arguments.

This is what led Judge Jones to conclude:
"...that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious,
antecedents."

12:34 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

James McVey is a political appointee of the Bush Administration. The OSC had no jurisdiction over the Sternberg-Smithsonian controversy. Thus any opinions he made about it are completely unofficial (as well as being decidedly unprofessional).

Mark Souder had his staff prepare a report (hence its title "staff report"). This action does not place any official standing on this report. It would only become an official Congressional Report if it had been reported back from Souder's subcommittee to its parent, the Oversight Committee. It was not, so it has no official standing. It is simply a report created by his staff for a senator (who just happens to be a prominent Creationist with ties to Myer's Discovery Institute).

12:50 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers:

Observe, first that Hrafn has utterly failed to apologise for past slanders or for his irresponsible behaviour to me by exposing me to potential online risks.

Instead, we can all observe how Hrafn insists on riding his favourite rhetorical hobby-horse: trying to discredit the man instead of addressing the issues.

What does that say about the lack of merit in his case?

I repeat, Mr McVay is an officer of the OSC [and as a lawyer is also exposed to professional standards of conduct issues], which is a watchdog office in the US Fed Govt -- follow the links above.

The case with Mr Sternberg was not carried forward by OSC not because of the facts and issues on the merits, as the letter discusses, but because of technical issues on the employment status of Mr Sternberg.

The next logical level of oversignt capable of addressing such patent injustice was of course the Congress, and the appropriate chair has taken it up. That report, too, stands on its merits, chock full of telling, uncontested facts.

Recall,the substantial issue here is the creation of a hostile work environment, character assasination and career damage, because a journal editor published an article that is controversial -- an article that passed proper peer review by renowned scientists.

Hrafn, sadly, plays true to form, on irresponsibility, ducking of issues and attacking the man.

TKI

1:25 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

William Dembski, in spite of his strong academic credentials (none of which however are relevant to biology), has proved largely a failure academically. His mathematical output has been described as "extremely small" and his trademark work on Complex Specified Information has been described (by a prominent Information Theorist) as "written in jello" (because it is ""fatally informal and imprecise").

This lack of serious academic output (as well as conflicts with university authorities due to his overweening ego) has reduced him to a research philosopher at a small and obscure Baptist seminary.

Dembski's dishonesty is notorious (to the extent that he lied on his blog about why the plaintiffs' rebuttal witness to his own testimony was withdrawn in the Dover case).

He now spends his time blogging on Uncommon Descent (which is notorious for banning those who have opposing views) and providing the (sped up) vocals for a fart-ridden flash video mocking the Dover trial judge (a trial he ran away from rather than risk cross-examination).

Michael Behe, received his undergraduate degree, his first appointment, and his tenure in Chemistry, so it is at least as accurate to call him a 'Chemist' as it is to call him a 'Biochemist' (and considerably more accurate than to call him a 'Biologist', which is what he would need to be to have an expert opinion on Evolutionary Biology).

In the more than a decade since he became an ID-advocate, he has produced almost nothing in the way of scientific research. This makes it perfectly legitimate to describe him as a "has-been".

His own department describes his ideas thus:
"While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific."

1:34 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

And Gordon dearie, I will continue to call you by any name I damn well choose. If you did not want your real name dragged into this, then you should not have associated it with the 'kairosfocus' nick all over the internet, and you should not have used that name when writing in the identical verbose, logic-free, sanctimonious style.

And anybody except an idiot or an ignoramus knows that you need more than simply a name for spam or identity theft - you need an email address for the former, and details like date of birth for the latter.

You are a joke Gordon Mullings, and I will continue to laugh at you on this forum until I get bored (which will probably be quite quickly, as your writing style would send an insomniac to sleep).

1:47 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

The "technical issues" that the exposed liar Gordon Mullings eludes to is the fact that the OSC did not have jurisdiction. On discovering this fact, a professional would have simply have handed the relevant facts onto some authority that did have jurisdiction. A partisan, like McVey, would continue fishing for what they could find in an attempt to make the scientists look bad (the Bush Administration is notoriously anti-Science and pro-Religious Right), and send it on to Sternberg in the hope that he might get some mileage out of it.

"...and the appropriate chair has taken it up."

Nope. Souder didn't do anything about it until after he knew he was being kicked out as chairman. And all that he did do was put out a ludicrous 'staff report' in the lame-duck congressional session after the election. He didn't conduct a formal investigation, and he didn't make a report (from his subcommittee) to the committee that actually has the power to do something.

It should also be noted that Sternberg attempted to extort a $300,000 grant out of the Smithsonian, using this manufactured 'controversy'.

2:07 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

Kairofocus said... "In short..."

HA HA HA. HO HO HO. IN SHORT!!!! OH DEAR!

In short here is some verbal diarrhoea masquerading as facts and evidence.

In short the ancient idea of the design inference is actually a shiny modern up to date "scientific" " theory"...!!

IN SHORT! HE SAID IT! WHA WHA WHA!

Kairo, dear fellow, do you think it is possible to write somemthing concise. And correct. Correct would be nice, but if you can't manage correct, concise would help. Life is short (in short) too short to read the emanations of someone's digestive tract.

Know what I mean, in short?

6:34 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Andrew, and Onlookers:

First, I notice indeed a surge in spam. While I cannot prove a link to his behaviour, I further observe that Hrafn shows not the slightest compunction about exposing me to potential damage on the Internet. He should be banned as he has nothing positive to contribute, and has now shown a plain track record of slander and worse.

More broadly, ID in the UK is intended to be a forum for engaging issues in a positive way linked to a rising but controversial paradigm in science. However, as too often occurs with such blogs, it has attracted a circle of ruthless, evolutionary materialism [and associated] agenda propagandists and enthusiasts. As I have taken time to show -- observe the silence on the thermodynamics/ information production from noise or natural regularities issues of the alleged chance + necessity-driven origins of life -- once someone seriously addressed it, and the similar silence now on the substantial issues in this thread-- many of these are simply spouting the mantras from the notorious sources of Darwinist propaganda, often in a slanderous, vicious fashion.

So, you have a choice: either let everything you have to say soon become just an occasion for extending the propaganda and agenda of the most ruthless evolutionary materialists and their fellow travellers, or exert serious discipline over commentary, once a commenter shows himself to be irresponsible.

Now, I will address a few points of substance, each as briefly as I reasonably and responsibly can [note: brief remarks are brushed aside, adduced facts are ignored, and responsible comments are derided as long etc -- what does that tell us, other than -- if you are of religious bent -- that the sort of attitudes of reprobate minds described in say Rom 1 - 3 are very much at work?]

1] Mr Sternberg's "Crime":

I will cite the basic point affirmed by relevant authorities in the Journal, which will show that the targetting of Mr Sternberg was agenda-driven, not at all any proper disciplinary action; for here we may see that the paper indeed -- despite many false accusations to the contrary --was properly peer reviewed. From p. 24 of the just linked:

>>In numerous emails reviewed by the Subcommittee, NMNH staff and others in the scientific community, such as the NCSE’s Dr. Scott, alleged that Dr. Sternberg must not have had the article peerreviewed, and, if he did, the reviewers must have been either incompetent or a supporter of intelligent design.65 All of these allegations were very damaging to Dr. Sternberg’s reputation within the scientific community as it is considered the ultimate demonstration of scientific irresponsibility to publish an article without proper peer review.

As the controversy heated up in the ensuing months and the allegations about Dr. Sternberg’s mishandling of the Meyer article remained unresolved, the BSW never issued a definitive statement about whether or not the peer-review allegations were true. Only in late January 2005, when Dr. Sues asked Dr. McDiarmid via email about whether the BSW was “satisfied that a proper review by specialists was undertaken,”66 was there any recognition that the article was properly peer-reviewed. Dr. McDiarmid replied to Dr. Sues: “I have seen the review file and comments from 3 reviewers on the Meyer paper. All three with some differences among the comments recommended or suggested publication. I was surprised but concluded that there was not inappropriate behavior vs a vis [sic] the review process.”67
______________

65 Eugenie Scott, “Re: Meyer Article,” August 26, 2004, 1:51 PM, email to Hans Sues; Frank Ferrari, “Re: Reply [2],” September 9, 2004, 10:12 AM, email to Hans Sues.
66 Hans Sues, “Re: Request for information,” January 28, 2005, 1:40 PM, email to Roy McDiarmid.
67 Roy McDiarmid, “Re: Request for information,” January 28, 2005, 2:25 PM, email to Hans Sues.>>

Of course, the key Smithsonian and Journal officials did NOTHING to correct these vicious rumours, even knowing that they were damaging and ill-founded. The agenda of censorship, slander and harassment simply continued.

That should sound very familiar . . .

2] H: You claimed that Richard Sternberg is "non-ID" when he has presented at RAPID, an ID-Creationist-only conference.

Observe, onlookers: nothing on the substantial issues, Second, note that I have already pointed out by citing and emphasising relevant remarks, Dr Sternberg's own statement above, that he dialogues with people of many persuasions on matters of origins without necessarily agreeing with them, indeed, he holds a specific, declared position. What is the response -- no responsible acknowledgment, just the insistent repetition of vicious slander.

I will excerpt the leading cite from the Keynote address by Mr Dembski at the relevant conference:

>>Recently I asked a well-known ID sympathizer what shape he thought the ID movement was in. I raised the question because, after some initial enthusiasm on his part three years ago, his interest seemed to have flagged. Here is what he wrote:

An enormous amount of energy has been expended on "proving" that ID is bogus, "stealth creationism," "not science," and so on. Much of this, ironically, violates the spirit of science. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. But on the other side, too much stuff from the ID camp is repetitive, imprecise and immodest in its claims, and otherwise very unsatisfactory. The "debate" is mostly going around in circles. The real work needs to go forward. There is a tremendous ferment right now in the "evo/devo" field, for instance. Some bright postdocs sympathetic to ID (and yes, I know how hard a time they would have institutionally at many places) should plunge right into the thick of that. Maybe they are at this very moment: I hope so!

Every now and again we need to take a good, hard look in the mirror. The aim of this talk is to help us do just that . . . >>

In short, here is perhaps the leading Design theorist, taking a hard, critical look in the mirror, and inviting the movement to do the same in light of key issues and prospects. If Mr Sternberg was invited to present under such a rubric it is plainly NOT an indicator that he is to be tarred as a liar in saying of himself what was already excerpted and highlighted. [For an eyewitness testimony on what the conference was like, cf here. The remarks also address many of the misrepresentations of ID commonly met with, and give links to key papers and reviews.

But notice how this is spun: Sternberg presents at a conference of ID supporters, so he is therefore tarred with the "contagion." So, let us slander and shun him. Classic thought-police tactics. Sick.

3] I call ID "ID Creationism" perfectly correctly. ID is Creationism.

I have already pointed out that Design thought specifically differs from biblical Creationism and have given the reasons and roots. Are these addressed?

No, just yet another series of slanders and insistent ill-founded assertions surfaces.

Note, that Dr Kenyon was a distinguished OOL researcher, a co-author of the key 1969 work, Biochemical Predestination - which argued an evolutionary materialist thesis, that chemical affinities across amino acids were responsible for the origin of the information in life systems. Bradley et al in TMLO and in a later peer-reviewed paper, showed why that failed, as hte patterns of dipeptide bonding were close to what a classic random distribution would predict. He had the grace to write the foreword to TMLO and publicly recant his former thesis. Subsequently, he was censored for presenting the matrix of possible views and issues on OOL -- his specialty! -- in a foundation Biology course in his university. The Darwinist tactics were all too reminiscent of those in the case of Mr Sternberg, save that because of Mr Kenyon's stature, they had to back off at least partially.

4] I have yet to see an 'ID' argument that: 1) is not an argument against evolution, rather than for anything else; or 2) isn't a variation of pre-ID Creationist anti-evolutionary arguments . . . [and on to Judge Jones]

Of course, first, H is by his own admission on being pressed to address the issues that he so confidently pronounced on, technically incompetent to asses the credibility or otherwise of e.g. Thermodynamics and information theory arguments. I note too that I have heard and seen the above claim in almost those same words in other places before. In short, H is simply repeating someone's spin that he is in no proper position to assess on the merits.

Judge Jones, as is documented here and detailed here, slavishly aped and reproduced the ACLU post-trial submission, blatant factual errors and misrepresentations and all as his ruling on the wider issue of “is ID science” -- a ruling which has been seriously and justly criticised as unnecessary to the matter at stake in the trial in the main, and as ill-founded.

Second, here comes that old mantra about ID is creationism again. The basic trick in it is that we see a calculated conflation of three things: Biblical Creationism, Design thought and critique of Darwinism, then the choice of a label that is calculated to stir emotions and blind many to what is really going on. Spin, not substance. (Cf my framework for grading the media on a straight or spin scale, here.)

In fact, and as in part already pointed out, the three are quite independent in principle, and significantly often in fact:

a] Biblical Creationism is essentially a movement that makes the specific claim that ancient records in the Bible as they understand it, a materially accurate representation of the earth's true past -- especially on the part of the so-called Young Earth Creationists. [There are also Old Earth Creationists, whose views on the credibility of the scientific reconstructions of the past are much higher, and they interpret the Bible differently, e.g Mr Hugh Ross and many others. A great many serious Christians who address science and faith issues are in fact of such schools of thought; often they are termed “theistic evolutionists.” This is not the place for debates over Bible interpretation, so I simply note in passing that there is an intra-Christian debate here, with serious people on both sides. Similar discussions seem to be happening in Islamic circles, near as I can gather. Judaism, the third monotheistic religion, I do not know of a debate in.]

b] Design thought -- ever since the likes of Plato, Socrates and Cicero [ a plain hint that this is far broader than any Bible-based or theism-oriented worldview linked tradition!] -- infers that the obvious evidence of apparent design in the cosmos and in life is real. This is a long-standing debate in philosophy, which of course overlaps both science and theology, as well as a-theology.

c] What marks the re-emergence of Design as a Scientific movement in our time, is that there is a pattern of empirically anchored inference to best explanation that provides quantitative and qualitative filters for distinguishing real and apparent design, based on what is the credible probabilistic resource available for chance and necessity. Following Fisher, if something is far enough out int he skirts,t he null hypothesis that chance and necessity are the source, are rejected. [Observe,this is never properly addressed, just dismissed. Note the inconsistency involved in inferring routinely to design not lucky noise in viewing apparent messages over the Internet, then refusing to see that a similar probabilistic filter holds in cases of say the finetuned nanotechnology of life and the finetuning of the cosmos to support life. A similar want of probabilistic resources fatally undermined Darwinism in the large -- the claim that macro-level biodiversity is largely the result of chance mutations and natural selection. All of this has been commented on above. My discussion in the main is as linked in my sign-off, and here is the page, from the top.]

d] There is a longstanding and well-informed scientific tradition that critiques the claims of the original and neo forms of Darwinism. For, these theories have a track record of being seriously problematic,as has been noted in outline and linked already.

So, when we see that the thermodynamics and information theory issues being raised are in fact new to science, and are based on well-known principles of science that are routinely used in other contexts, we see the truth: institutionally powerful atheists and their fellow travellers are using every remaining weapon to stave off defeat as long as possible.

5] Sternberg claims:

H simply repeats his mantra of attacks to the man instead of engaging the substance. I will simply note and link, highlighting that the issue of jurisdiction was not cut and dry and was in fact in the end determined by a then current court decision. As Mr Witt notes in the linked:

>>the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) investigation cannot be dismissed so lightly (i.e., Republican ties=wrong). The investigation was well documented, with many of the conclusions based on e-mails from Smithsonian staff. Also, Morgan writes it off as an obvious publicity ploy since, supposedly, it was obvious from the start that the OSC had no jurisdiction. However, if you study Sternberg's site, you'll find that the issue of jurisdiction was a complicated one, and the OSC investigator noted that only a recent court ruling that related to the situation clarified that the OSC apparently had no jurisdiction to continue the case. That the OSC was able to investigate as much as they did was, nevertheless, invaluable, for the facts they turned up show quite clearly how some Darwinists treat scientific dissenters when they believe no one is watching.>>

Note that the Congressional Committee report points out that her is evidence of a far wider pattern of darwinist discrimination and harassment than the headlined case shows.

Onlookers: are these the sort of people we should be trusting with power?

6] Dembski and Behe etc:

First, once we are addressing the pre-biological world, we are not addressing biology proper. Physics, chemistry and other physical and mathematical sciences relevant to the thermodynamics and the generation of information become highly relevant. H's continued attempt to attack the man show themselves up for what they are, regurgitated, second-hand ill-founded slanders designed to distract attention from the merits of the case.

Observe, for instance: at first Mr Dembski was dismissed as a theologian. Then, when it turned out that theology is his lowest level of qualifications [and he studied in a notoriously non-fundy school!] the specific lyrics on the slanderous song shifted on to the next verse.

Similarly, Mr Behe's PhD was of course in BIOCHEMISTY and he seems to be currently a professor in BIOCHEMISTRY in his Dept at LeHigh.(Look him up online!)

I think it is plain that H uses terms like "lie" and lying" and "liar" etc. whenever it suits him. This is simply part of why he should be banned as an abusive commenter.

7] Insistence on exposing me to Internet hazards

Notice the resort to profanity and insistence on doing what he knows is potentially seriously harmful. As he should know, once a name is produced, it is not so hard to get emails and other details. So his behaviour is intentionally damaging and destructive.

Andrew, H should be banned. Period.

8] A: the ancient idea of the design inference is actually a shiny modern up to date "scientific" " theory"...!!

Already addressed on the merits, above and previously. Nothing new here – same old same old complaints and misrepresentations. ADDRESS THE ISSUE ON THE MERITS, please.

9] Correct would be nice, but if you can't manage correct, concise would help. Life is short (in short) too short to read the emanations of someone's digestive tract.

Observe, A's ever so insistent repetitions above on the claim that Andrew was dodging his six questions above. Well, they have been addressed in summary form.

What do we see? A resort to nasty rhetoric, and refusal to face the issues raised in the responses. So, the questions were never seriously asked – they were only there for rhetorical effect. Address the science as science and the philosophy as phil, and what do we see – the complaint that this is the same old issues. Well if you know that these are in part longstanding wordlview issues, why did you not address them in that light long since, on a comparative difficulties basis? And, on the issues of where something new is on the table in recent years, that too is addressed: thermodynamics, information theory, empirical data on cosmology, empirical data on DNA's information-rich, complex, functional structure, based on one or more codes, information on the increments in DNA information required to code the Cambrian life revolution, and more. Any response on the merits? No – that was never the real issue. [And, I bet Andrew is in large part ignoring repetitions of already addressed rhetoric.]

That – sadly -- tells us all we need to know about the mentality and agenda of A and those of like ilk. This is not a case for banning, but it is plain that A has been exposed as bluster not substance: "all froth, no mauby" as the Eastern Caribbean saying goes.

_________________

OVERALL CONCLUSION: Sufficient has been shown to see that there is good reason to accept that the NDT and the wider evolutionary materialist paradigm are in unacknowledged crisis, and that the evo mat advocates at various levels are resorting to ruthless tactics to cling to power and domination in the teeth of mounting anomalies and a rising credible challenger. The resort to personal attacks and to persecutions and inquisitions is diagnostic of a thought-police mentality, and are reflective of -- in too many cases -- the underlying point: evolutionary materialism underwrites a lifestyle of amorality in which might makes right so I do whatever I think I can get away with and show myself utterly;y disrespectful to the rights of others, their reputation and persons, as well as old fashioned truth and logic. (So much for that mythical species,the wonderful, highly principled atheist -- now on the deeply endangered list as the waning influence of Judaeo-Christian morality lets loose the forces of amorality.)

Andrew, as the owner of this blog, should take strong disciplinary action if he is to preserve the purpose of his blog.

Cheerio

TKI

8:29 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Brief PS. Luskin of DI addresses the "ID = [stealth] creationism" canard here.

Worth the reading to see the facts in context, and the rhetorical spin put out by the ACLU and its ilk -- for those who want to see what a more detailed answer on this point looks like.

FYI

10:29 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"First, I notice indeed a surge in spam."

First, Gordon Mullings, you are a COMPLETE MORON!

ONLY POSTING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WOULD AFFECT HOW MUCH SPAM YOU RECEIVED!
I did not post your email address, so I have had no effect whatsoever on how much spam you received.

I suppose I should not be surprised that a fanatical Creationist such as yourself would come up with the thoroughly illogical and ridiculous idea that I only have to mention your name (which you have already splashed all over dozens of websites, especially www.evangelicaloutpost.com) for you to magically receive spam in your in-box.

This is a really, really silly claim, and enough to mark you as a complete and utter, carpet-chewing fruit-loop!

11:12 am  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

Gordon Mullings continues his staggering dishonest course. He quotes Roy McDiarmid as saying...
“I have seen the review file and comments from 3 reviewers on the Meyer paper. All three with some differences among the comments recommended or suggested publication. I was surprised but concluded that there was not inappropriate behavior vs a vis [sic] the review process.”

But neglects to include important context. The full email is:
"I-have seen the review file and comments from 3 reviewers on the Meyer paper. All three with some differences among the comments recommended or suggested, publication. I was surprised but concluded that-there was not inappropriate behavior vs a vis the review process. Whether one would consider the reviews appropriate is another issue and I would be pleased to share my views on that. with you if you so desire."

This clearly indicates that, although he thought that the forms of peer-review had been gone through, McDiarmid had some substantial doubts as to the substance of it (especially whether the reviewers were appropriate, or too biased, insufficiently expert, or insufficient number to have expertise in all the areas covered).


"In numerous emails reviewed by the Subcommittee, NMNH staff and others in the scientific community, such as the NCSE’s Dr. Scott, alleged that Dr. Sternberg must not have had the article peerreviewed..."

This lie is pulled verbatim (and without attribution) from Souder's staff's lying claims. Dr Scott never made this accusation. She merely inquired (perfectly reasonably, under the circumstances) if peer-review had occurred, and if it had occurred appropriately. Example:
"Were I truly paranoid (remember the old saying, "even paranoids have enemies") I might think that knowing he was on his way out as editor, he just decided to do his friends at the Dl a big favor and publish Meyer's article, slipped in without proper peer review. Which is why 1 asked McDiarmid if he knew when von Sternberg resigned and when the paper was accepted.

I would very much like to know if this article went out for peer review. If it didn't, it is better for all sides. Best for the journal, because then the article's publication is clearly the result of an editor exceeding his authority. For the "cause", so to speak, of keeping bad science out of the classroom, it would make the claim that Meyer's article was published in a peer reviewed journal a hollow one. Both are advantageous. If you have any way of finding out whether the article actually received peer review. I'd greatly appreciate your passing this information on. But perhaps this information will be included in the statement that the journal will publish (if indeed this is what comes out of tomorrow's meeting.)"



"All of these allegations were very damaging to Dr. Sternberg’s reputation..."

"All of these allegations" were made in private emails, none of which would have been published all over the internet if it weren't for Sternberg's own efforts to make himself a martyr. Thus any damage to Sternberg's reputation that the publication of these emails may have caused is purely Sternberg's responsibility.

"Sternberg presents at a conference of ID supporters, so he is therefore tarred with the "contagion."

Gordon Mullings, you are LYING.

Richard Sternberg presented at this ID supporter-only, pro-Evolution-people-verboten conference. Not only that, Richard Sternberg is a member of the organisation that organised this explicitly ID conference, the (explicitly pro-ID) International Society for Complexity Information and Design (founded by arch-IDist William Dembski).

You just can't stop yourself lying can you Gordon? You are a completely dishonest and untrustworthy person.

12:06 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"However, if you study Sternberg's site, you'll find that the issue of jurisdiction was a complicated one, and the OSC investigator noted that only a recent court ruling that related to the situation clarified that the OSC apparently had no jurisdiction to continue the case."

Nope Gordon. The trouble with repeating the claims of your fellow creationists and culture warriors is that you end up repeating their lies as well as making up your own.

The case that McVay cited, Fishbein v. D.H.H.S, made no difference to the OSC's jurisdiction. As I (posting anonymously) said on an earlier thread:
"Fishbein v. D.H.H.S & Title 42 would only have been relevant if the complaint had been against the NIH. The SI was not Sternberg's employer, so the OSC lacked jurisdiction to investigate a complaint against them irrespective of Fishbein v. D.H.H.S. Thus the OSC never had even the appearance of jurisdiction..."

Which only goes to demonstrate that McVay's primary role was that of culture warrior not lawyer.

12:26 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"6] Dembski and Behe etc:

First, once we are addressing the pre-biological world, we are not addressing biology proper. Physics, chemistry and other physical and mathematical sciences relevant to the thermodynamics and the generation of information become highly relevant."


This is a muddled argument Gordon. Both Dembski and Behe argue against the scientific findings of Evolutionary Biology. This is a separate field from the "pre-biological world" of Abiogenesis. As the field's title would indicate, Evolutionary Biology lies squarely within the field of Biology.

But regardless, neither Dembski nor Behe have done any scientific research into Abiogenesis either.

12:39 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...

"Brief PS. Luskin of DI addresses the "ID = [stealth] creationism" canard here. "

Of course Luskin won't admit that ID is not Stealth Creationism. To do so would be massively self-defeating. Why go to the trouble of attempting to disguise something only to turn around and admit that's what you're doing when challenged?

I am unsurprised that you find Luskin to your taste Gordon. He is every bit as verbose and incompetent a writer as yourself.

12:54 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Onlookers

First the surge in spam has continued,and includes not just the usual Nigerian frauds and sex pill rubbish that is now a general plague, but suddenly also, specifically items designed to appeal to a mindless creationist; I wonder why . . .

But, in H's ever so learned estimation, I am an idiot to notice that. In short, I see the same pattern of allegations and assertions has continued, no to mention a complete want of civility. [H, FYI, it is not that hard to get to email addresses and IP-based geographic locations, once there is identification. Next issue.]

On points I will remark on, noting again the general want of civility or positive contribution:

1] Peer review:

I see that H has cited further than I had access to. An interesting revalation on the underlying attitude in the teeth of the evidence that had to be acknowledged:

To see that, first, let us go back to the original point as I excerpted from the relevant Congressional chairman's staff report:

>>Dr. McDiarmid replied to Dr. Sues: “I have seen the review file and comments from 3 reviewers on the Meyer paper. All three with some differences among the comments recommended or suggested publication. I was surprised but concluded that there was not inappropriate behavior vs a vis [sic] the review process.”67
______________

67 Roy McDiarmid, “Re: Request for information,” January 28, 2005, 2:25 PM, email to Hans Sues.>>

H's onward citation is thus shown to be a double-edged sword. Observe, the incongruity: Mc Diarmid plainly did not expect that reviewers of the relevant calibre would have relatively favourably reviewed Mr Meyer's submission. But, to his surprise, they did. That immediately implies that they were prima facie credible reviewers [pace the rumours spread by the likes of NCSE etc], or that would have been the very first complaint. (So, on pain of slander suits by said “renowned scientists,” he dares not deny the obvious: the reviewers were credible.) His further remarks therefore do not in any way undermine the force of this.

Instead, they only serve to underscore his own biases: he has made a damaging acknowledgement in the teeth of what he wanted to conclude and goes onto conclude.

Not to mention, that as the now ostracised editor also noted, with the usual remarks, the reviewers -- who by uncontested report were "renowned scientists" -- recommended or suggested publication. Thus, McVay's summary remark, that the paper passed proper peer review by renowned scientists is in fact quite evidently true.

What is happening is that there is now an attempt to undo the truth; in this case by making it appear that the reviewers and/or their views were questionable and/or by trying to break the confidentiality of the review process -- which was a part of the harassment.

2] lie . . .

Again, H here shows his own ineptitude by resorting to his favourite epithet for those who beg to differ with his partyline views.. The summary I noted was that the agenda of the NDT advocates was to make it out as if there were no such peer review and/or that such review had been improperly done by non-credible persons. H's own cite abundantly backs the point up.

In short, we see the thought police mentality again: disagreeing with the party line = lying.

Again, resort to personal abuse instead of addressing the matter on the merits. And, even that matter is a matter of addressing a red herring relative to the actual substance of the issue. Those who resort habitually to red herrings and personal attacks are those who do not have a strong case on the merits.

Why not instead, competently review say my own introductory remarks here, H? Or, link to someone with a bit more of technical ability who actually addresses the matter on the merits instead of ducking out like Steiger when the meat of the matter is to come up? [BTW, the note just linked is now enhanced with a newly found citation from Brillouin on the link between entropy and information.]

3] All of these allegations" were made in private emails, none of which would have been published all over the internet

Gross misrepresentation!

The “private emails” are now being exposed through properly carried out investigations into and resulting exposing of the prior situation of orchestrated workplace harassment and involvement of external advocacy groups in the creation of a hostile work environment and the propagation of many false allegations.

The matter was so serious that as McVay noted a co-worker of Sternberg had had to circulate copies of the man's resume to counter false accusations about his alleged want of qualifications. The attacks continue, with his demotion in a context where the new post is held to be for those of lower qualifications -- and that for a man with TWO relevant PhDs.

In short, this is a classic thought police tactic: he hit back first!

Observe again the utter lack of civility or respect for the rights being violated or concern over the grievous wrong being done. Classic Inquisitonal mentality.

4] Lying again . . .

I note again, as already excerpted [but simply ignored in the rush to an agenda], that the conference in question was led by a keynote address on looking hard in the mirror, by one certain William Dembski.

That is, the conference context was plainly self-critical. Such a conference would logically be open to fair-minded, friendly critics, which is exactly what Mr Sternberg seems to be -- recall, by his own admission he DOES NOT AGREEE with Meyer or with the ID position, or the Creationist one; just he thinks there is enough of merit there that it should be discussed on the merits. So, he took the step of allowing a properly peer reviewed presentation of the ID case – a hurdle that the likes of NCSE had thought that such work could not surmount -- to be put up for discussion. Noe, once a paper passed peer review, as this one did, there would be no good reason to then suppress it, absent censorship of discussion on the merits of an emerging scientific crisis by presenters of minority opinions. So, it is telling that by and large, that discussion has not happened; instead we see the thought police at work, starting with workplace harassment. That is what led to the investigations..

More to the point, absent compelling impeachment of his basic credibility asa truth-telling person speaking on the record, I take seriously Mr Sternberg's already excerpted remark (which H of course is quick to brush aside) in describing his own stance as a process structuralist -- and recall here nothing has been shown on the substance that subverts the following -- just thought-police style, guilt by association:

>>I subscribe to a school of biological thought often termed “process structuralism.” Process or biological structuralism is concerned with understanding the formal, generative rules underlying organic forms, and focuses on the system architectures of organisms and their interrelationships. Structuralist analysis is generally ahistorical, systems-oriented, and non-evolutionary (not anti-evolutionary). Both creationism and neo-Darwinism are, in contrast, emphatically historicist with one positing extreme polyphyly (de novo creation of species) and the other radical monophyly (common descent). Since the structuralist perspective runs somewhat perpendicular to the origins debate, creationists and evolutionists tend to see it as inimical to their positions. The truth is structuralism has little at stake in the origins issue, leaving a person like myself free to dialogue with all parties. For this reason, I frequently discourse with ultra-Darwinians, macromutationists, self-organization theorists, complexity theorists, intelligent design advocates, theistic evolutionists, and young-earth creationists without necessarily agreeing with any of their views.

Structuralism does, however, provide an important perspective on the origins debate. Structuralists' lack of commitment to an historical theory of biology allows them to explore the historical evidence more objectively. Moreover, because they focus on formal analysis, struturalists are far more open than neo-Darwinians to the powerful evidence for continuity within species (forms) and discontinuity between and among species. They also allow themselves to wonder about the cause of the amazing repetition of forms across the biological world rather than being forced by prior commitments to accept a major neo-Darwinian epicycle [NB: a reference to the ad hoc complications that led to the demise of Ptolemaic astronomy] known as "convergent evolution.">>

This school of thought for instance includes Kauffman -- who recently shared an academic prize with Mr Dembski, but plainly is not an ID supporter.

Onlookers, observe that, again, H has rushed off to a favourite man-attacking epithet instead of addressing the merits.

5] Jurisdiction

Again, the matter was obviously one that was sufficiently credible that resources were made available to carry out an investigation. At the point where the law/precedent was plain, there was a termination and the pre-closure letter was communicated. Recall, such a letter is subject to administrative penalty if it is improper on the merits, so there is a presumptionhere that absent credible evidence otherwise this is fairly accurate.

The letter reads in part, right from the opening paragraph – which H has obviously not seriously reckoned with before accusing me of passing on lies:

>>The U.S. Office of Special (OSC) is authorized to investigate allegations of prohibited personnel practices and activities prohibited by civil service law, rule, or regulation. 5 U.S.C. §§ 1214(a)(1)(A), 1216(a) and 2302(b) . . . .

I have carefully considered the information you provided. Based upon my evaluation of the facts and law applicable to your claim, I have made a preliminary determination to close our investigation into your allegations. My decision is not based upon the substance of your allegations; in fact, our preliminary investigation supports your complaint. My decision is founded upon a complicated jurisdictional puzzle and your position as a Research Associate (RA).

The Smithsonian Institution (SI) has taken legal steps to ensure that RAs are not employees of the SI. Our investigation revealed that you are a Title 42 Scientist, employed by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Pursuant to your agreement with the NIH, you are allowed to work 50% of your time at NIH and the other 50% with the SI. This is a common arrangement with both NIH and the SI. While your case was pending the Board decided the Fishbein v. D.H.H.S case. This case exempts Title 42 Scientists from Title 5 protections, which would effectively remove you from the protections granted under the auspices of OSC. . . . . During our initial investigations, OSC has been able to find support for many of your allegations. However, the SI is now [guess why . . .] refusing to cooperate with our investigation. OSC is not able to take statements and receive further paper discovery that would allow for final conclusions. The SI may in fact maintain documents that place our current information in a different context [NB: Subsequent revelations under penalty of contempt of Congress have supported Mr Sternberg . . .]. . . .

I will also preface my comments by stating that it is clear that the underlying issues and the motivation for much of the actions taken against you involve the political debate between creationism (a belief in a god as creator) and evolution (neo-Darwinism) and more particularly the perception that ID as set forth in the Meyer article is nothing more than a stalking horse for religion or creationism. [That is we see here the same canard of misrepresenting the actual nature of Design Theory as a scientific, empirically anchored enterprise playing a key role in the issue of workplace harassment] OSC will not enter this debate or make decisions based upon the substance of this debate. However, if the debate inspires actions that seem to be in violation of the law, OSC will comment on this problem. [Bracketed remarks and emphases added]>>

Of course the above facts are not in serious dispute, and the balance of evidence on the merits as has long been linked and excerpted, shows that the harassment complaint has deep and telling merit. Unfortunately, technical administrative matters have intervened, leaving injustice for the moment in possession of the field.

6] Both Dembski and Behe argue against the scientific findings of Evolutionary Biology. This is a separate field from the "pre-biological world" of Abiogenesis. As the field's title would indicate, Evolutionary Biology lies squarely within the field of Biology. But regardless, neither Dembski nor Behe have done any scientific research into Abiogenesis either.

As a matter of fact we see here insistence on a rather convenient dodge.

I have already pointed out above and in the copiously linked that the underlying challenge to generate biofunctional information from "lucky noise" applies to both prebiotic abiogenesis and the issue of macromutations sufficient to generate the Cambrian life revolution etc, so the issues are indeed inextricably logically linked, despite what many Darwinists wish to imagine.

Inadvertent support for this link is to be found in the fact that not only in public but in both high school and college level textbooks, discussions on evolution of life routinely include a discussion on the Miller-Urey experiment and similar abiogenesis issues. I have already linked on the misleading nature of this icon of evolution.

In that context, research into the issues of irreducible complexity [Behe, Axe, Minnich, Lonnig, many others] and functionally specified, complex information and empirically based statistical explanatory filters [Dembski et al] are highly relevant to both the prebiotic and biological worlds.

That common core matter can be presented at a popular level by briefly excerpting Peterson:

>>. . . . suppose my computer keyboard had only one key, and all I could type was:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

My computer would be incapable of producing contingency. This is rather like the operation of many physical laws in nature . . . . The sequence of 22 letters:

KAZDNHF OPZSJHQL ZXFNV

is complex in a certain sense, because that exact pattern is highly unlikely to be produced by chance . . . The total number of unique sequences of [27] characters that could be produced would be 27 multiplied by itself 22 times, or 27 to the 22nd power . . . If we . . . generate random strings 22 characters long . . . [with] a trillion tries every second, the odds would still be against producing this exact sequence by chance in 20 billion years . . . .

The third criterion is specification. Here's another 22-character sequence:

THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR

. . . . [which] is complex . . . It is also specified in relation to a pre-existing standard or function; in this case, the rules, spelling, and vocabulary of the English language . . . . In every case in which we know the "causal story" underlying complex specified information (writing a sonnet, creating a computer program, or sculpting Mount Rushmore) we know that it has been produced by an intelligence. ["The Little Engine That Could...Undo Darwinism," Published 8/5/2005. Bold emphases added.]>>

DNA, the master molecule of life as we know it, has in it one or more codes based on specific three-monomer sequences out of the four molecules commonly abbreviated GCAT [and in odd cases U]. In life systems, we see DNA codes from about 300 - 500,000 to in excess of 3,000,000,000. That is immediately extremely complex, as 4^300k [the number of possible configurations at the lower end of the scale] is a number vastly beyond the number of atoms in the observed universe, ~ 10^80. Further, since the chaining of the monomers in a DNA strand [one half of the complemetary helices inthe double helix] is independent of the chemistry of chaining, the sequence is contingent not predetermined by natural forces, similar to text strings on paper.

In that vast configuration space, most configurations encountered at random are non-functional, indeed random changes to DNA are as a rule deleterious, or even lethal. [Axe's work, the nominal focus of this thread, was on claimed NEUTRAL changes in non active regions of enzymes coded for by DNA; event here, when such relatively mild changes cumulate sufficiently, there is destabilisation of protein function, even in the teeth of the error-detecting and correcting mechanisms known to operate in cells.]

That is, there is excellent reason based on the known nature of digital systems and complexity of codes leading to sensitivity to noise, to infer that clusters of biofunctional states are extremely sparse in the wider configuration state space. For, 4^ 300,000 ~ 9.94*10^180,617

Thus, there is a major challenge to credibly initially access such a complex configuration in an "experiment" driven by random forces and/or natural regularities only. But, a the same time, intelligent agents are known to routinely generate such information, e.g in computer programs and in text such as this post. Indeed, in ALL directly known cases of the origin of FSCI, such agency is implicated. Thus, the best explanation for initial generation of life in the context of the OBSERVED universe [I leave out metaphysical speculations on quasi-infinite universes as a whole with randomly distributed sub-cosmi, as that is plainly not science and on a comparative difficulties basis across relevant worldviews, intelligent agency is at least as credible as such a multiverse proposal] is intelligent -- as opposed to necessarily supernatural -- agency. That is, Dembski's work is highly relevant to Abiogenesis research indeed.

Next, Behe has worked on the chemistry of life, and in that context has highlighted an otherwise not recognised significance of a pattern that is actually routinely used to test biochemical pathways -- kill off a factor and the path stops, so we can step by step elucidate the chemical paths of biochemistry – by exploiting the implicitly acknowledged fact of irreducible complexity in such pathways in the cell. So, he has summarised in a major critical review addressing not just the Lakatosian belt of theories but the core worldview issues, on the problem of irreducible complexity. This is of deep relevance not only to evolution of novel systems in the biological world, but due tot he complexity of event he simplest reasonable life forms, to the origin of life. THAT is why OOL is in trouble as the actual complexity of the nanotechnology of life lies ever more revealed by experimental investigations.

Of the long list of cases he has cited, the bacterial flagellum is a major case in point. IC is of course a special case of FSCI, and is highly relevant to macromutations and the origin of major features of the cell and of the various systems of multicellular life.

Minnich's lab work, as noted already, addresses this, and substantiates Behe's point that there is evidence of irreducible complexity there. In short, the research in question overlaps both the pre-biotic and biological worlds.

Therefore, again, we see self- and agenda- serving misrepresentation of the issue by H and his ilk.

7] Of course Luskin won't admit that ID is not Stealth Creationism. To do so would be massively self-defeating.

Onlookers: observe what H closed- mindedly and agenda- servingly ducks, even as he again attacks the man by direct implication of dishonesty.

Namely, the case on the merits. In this case, the major fact already in evidence via a link, that Mr Luskin has undertaken a serious examination of the matter in details,here, as already linked. He shows, in painstaking details, just how the ACLU and similar advocates manipulate the facts and definitions at issue. I excerpt, relatively briefly:

>>Response to ACLU ID FAQ: Part 1 . . . . FAQ 1A. "'Intelligent design' purports to be a scientific hypothesis that 'life owes its origins to a master intellect' - an intelligent, supernatural designer." [ie. this is the ACLU claim] . . . .

[CL]Any legal writer knows that you put your most incriminating points at the very beginning (and perhaps also at the very end) of a document where people might remember them most. Thus, the ACLU thinks they've got something big with this phrase "master intellect." The ACLU's statement that "life owes its origins to a master intellect" is likely derived from a quote out of Pandas which uses very similar phraseology to state that "life itself owes its origin to a master intellect" (pg. 58, 85) . . . . Though Pandas was indeed one of the first major works to mention "intelligent design," that title must be read in its context: Pandas predates all of the seminal and widely known books of the intelligent design movement which have specifically formulated the design hypothesis. To demonstrate how out-of-date Pandas is, the book contains neither the term "irreducible complexity" nor any hint of Dembski's famous explanatory filter for detecting design--both of which are fundamental concepts in current intelligent design theory . . . .

When the ACLU quotes the phrase that "life owes its origins to a master intellect," it wants you to think that in saying "master intellect," that the authors of Pandas must have been implying that life owes its existence to some kind of a mind that holds power over all life on earth--the key word being "master." The ACLU probably wants this quote to be read with all kinds of religious overtones, such as that saying a "master intellect" means an intellect which is actually our master. But what does the quote really mean? . . . .

According to Webster's Encylcopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word "master" can be a noun, an adjective, or a verb. Most of the entries given for "master" can be broken down into those which (a) imply some relationship to another being or (b)those which describe a being's abilities . . . .

To understand the meaning of this word, one has to return to the original context of the quote . . . .

[Thaxton et al in Pandas] “On the other hand, the experimental work on the origin of life and the molecular biology of living cells is consistent with the hypothesis of intelligent design. What makes this interpretation so compelling is the amazing correlation between the structure of informational molecules (DNA, protein) and our universal experience that such sequences are the result of intelligent causes. This parallel suggests that life itself origin to a master intellect." (Pandas, pg. 58)

[Thaxton et al again] "The experimental work on the origin of life and the molecular biology of living cells is consistent with the hypothesis of intelligent design. What makes this interpretation so compelling is the amazing correlation between the structure of informational molecules (DNA, protein) and our universal experience that such sequences are the result of intelligent causes. This strong analogy leads to the conclusion that life itself owes its origin to a master intellect. One can talk about adding innumerable random mutations, but proponents of intelligent design still wonder: How were such impressive gains in functional information consolidated? It is a fair and crucial question." (Pandas, pg. 85)

[CL comment] In the context of both of these quotes, the "master intellect" is discussed in the context of the ability of the intelligent designer to create sophisticated biological informational molecules such as DNA or proteins. This clearly corresponds to the intellectual abilities of the being. There is nothing in the text implying a definition of "master" where the "master" somehow is supposed to have a relationship of superiority to anything else. By discussing the abilities of the designer to design complex molecules, the likely response would be to understand the creative knowledge necessary on the part of the designer to create the molecules in question . . . .

[CL, excerpting Thaxton et al again, to see what Pandas says directly on the matter – nb this was put before Judge Jones who ignored it in his rush to copycat off the ACLU's patent misrepresentation in his ruling] "Surely the intelligent design explanation has unanswered questions of its own. But unanswered questions, which exist on both sides, are an essential part of healthy science; they define the areas of needed research. Questions often expose hidden errors that have impeded the progress of science. For example, the place of intelligent design in science has been troubling for more than a century. That is because on the whole, scientists from within Western culture failed to distinguish between intelligence, which can be recognized by uniform sensory experience, and the supernatural, which cannot. Today we recognize that appeals to intelligent design may be considered in science, as illustrated by current NASA search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Archaeology has pioneered the development of methods for distinguishing the effects of natural and intelligent causes. We should recognize, however, that if we go further, and conclude that the intelligence responsible for biological origins is outside the universe (supernatural) or within it, we do so without the help of science." (Pandas, pg. 126-127, emphasis added. Cf as well similar remarks in TMLO.) >>

In short [and CL supplied far more details than I have excerpted], there is a twisting of plain meaning at work here, driven by the agenda of the ACLU and its ilk.

H is following this.

If one has to distort what ones interlocutor is saying in order to knock down a convenient strawman instead of addressing the matter on the merits, that is telling on the want of fundamental substance in the evolutionary materialist thesis.

Further to this, observe that H has consistently dodged the basic facts of the matter that, per formal definition [as already linked, and with similar definitions also linked] and focus of research effort [as already discussed]:

[1] ID is insignificant part about criteria for inference to intelligent agency alongside natural regularities and chance as basic causal forces, across a fairly broad domain of fields; and that

[2] intelligent agency is not to be equated with supernatural agency.

_________

Enough has been said to showthe balance of the matter on the merits, and Andrew should note that again H insists on using my personal name despite my complaint on its implications in a world of spam and identity theft.

TKI

10:12 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

TKI,

I have made a post about using blog names and I am removing posts which do not conform to this.

I am personally unconvinced that the appearance of a name here will lead to an increase in spam.

10:29 am  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Hi Andrew

In my case it has and that may have something to do with the contact-us at my onward links.

[I also think, based on some years of experience, that there is a significant difference made by forcing those who wish to respond or react to go look for the proper contact-us mechanism instead of putting it out there for easy contact by all and sundry. Sadly, I may soon have to put in another layer of defense . . . then of course there will be complaints on shooting from the shadows -- from those who cloak behind anonymity when they do the sort of things H has been doing in these threads -- slander and the like -- or worse things. BTW that insistent, habitual slander is the primary broughtupcy/civility issue I have with him and his ilk.]

Unfortunately we are dealing with highly motivated hostile people here. (I have had previous experience when I used my name directly to make comments, of being sent malware. One's name plus an IP link of course makes it all too easy to track back to locale and to initiate spamming etc or worse, up to identity theft games. My name is not exactly as commonplace as John Smith or the like.)

Thanks for your time,and I trust I have been able to make a positive contribution to balancing the commentary threads.

All the best

TKI

1:32 pm  
Anonymous kairosfocus said...

Andrew

Overnight, no more surge in spam.

TKI

8:00 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home