Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tail on the Donkey

I was thinking about Intelligent Design and I thought of the old children’s game that we used to play – Pin a tail on the donkey. The children competing would be blindfolded and each would be given a tail with a pin in it. They would have to guess the correct position of the donkey and pin the tail where it was supposed to go. Get the tail in the right place and you are a winner.

This is a bit like finding a protein that works by random mutation. The protein that works is the donkey with the tail in the right place.

The key variables are the size of the available space for your pin and the number of people trying to stick the pin in the right place.

Of course there is not just one right sequence that works and gives a selective advantage and there are of course many more players in protein building than children at a party. However the key question is - how realistic is it to think that random mutation and natural selection are sufficient tools to build all the proteins and protein combinations that are required to explain biology as we know it?

If we made our illustration realistic….

  • How big would the board space be for sticking the pins in?
  • How big would the area be that give a selective advantage?
  • How many tails need to be stuck on how many donkeys at once?
  • How many children do we need on the board to make life as we know it a realistic achievement for chance mutation and natural selection?

These are the big questions for ID research. One would have thought that biologists would agree that these are really exciting questions to be asking. This is the area where there is a real possibility for the main mechanism proposed for evolution to be falsified and shown to be unrealistic. That surely makes this research great science and exciting science.

That is the sort of research that Doug Axe is trying to do…. But it isn’t being funded by the usual biology funding pathways. He has developed a good method. He has published good work in the field. When you mention that he works in the Biologic Institute to the Darwin faithful at best you get a sneer at worst a snarl and curses!

You could put his decisions down to one big weird publicity stunt or say that the fellow has lost his marbles or you could say that there is more going on in modern molecular biology than a disinterested pursuit of the truth…wherever it leads.

I have a hunch that it isn’t just a publicity stunt and that his marbles are pretty much all present and correct and that he might be right and he might be able to demonstrate that he is right. I hope so and wish him well!

62 Comments:

Blogger Psiloiordinary said...

Oh dear.

You are not actually aware of any of the work done by actual scientists then?

Work which demolishes this variation on the old Jumbo jet from a junk yard probability argument.

Never mind then.

7:13 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

"work done by actual scientists"

A sneer rather than a snarl!

7:30 am  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Andrew, nobody's doing any work on ID.
Not Axe, not Gonzalez, not Behe.
Nobody.
It's a pea and shell game.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/12/new-scientist-i.html

Oh and the comparison you made between ID and SETI is hopeless.
SETI wants nothing to do with you.
Here's what they have to say about ID.

http://www.space.com/searchforlife/seti_intelligentdesign_051201.html

2:18 pm  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

psiloiordinary and cedric,

Your attitude is one of contmept but not one of engagement - not much hope for science in that. By the way could you explain why a working scientist like Axe is not a scientist? The same could be said for the others mentioned. They practice fairly ordinary science, teach in universities etc. You would of course dismiss Newton out of hand - a hopeless case who saw God's hand in all the laws of nature.....

12:07 am  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

"By the way could you explain why a working scientist like Axe is not a scientist?"

No. That's not what I'm saying.
I'm saying that Axe and all the others do no research on ID.
Zip.
Zero.
Nada.
Stuff all.

Nobody is doing research on ID.
No peer reviewed research has been done on ID.
Nobody has even scientifically defined ID!
(It's been over twenty years now.
People have noticed this glaring flaw, you know.)

Nobody at the Biologic Institute even answers the phone.

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=481d22869489927e;act=ST;f=14;t=5401

All they can do is produce coffee-table books, issue press releases and fleece the faithful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biologic_Institute

3:48 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

Here's my prediction; The Biologic Institute (BI) will attempt to produce a few mainstream peer review articles that make NO mention of ID. They will then use them to promote the following argument:

BI has peer review articles;
BI is all about ID;
Therefore ID is scientific.

Cynical? Yes.

I am sure Axe et al are capable of doing real science but in order to do ID you have to suspend the intellectual honesty that science requires. When it comes to nature, ID is constrained by the ideological boundary that god made the world. Looking for evidence of her presence assumes that you know she exists (unprovable). That, by default, contradicts the basic rules of science - leave out the supernatural - that's what religion is there for.

11:03 am  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Brian's prediction of the the Biologic Institute is spot on.
That's exactly what they'll try and do.

Intelligent Design is perfect for intellectually lazy people.

Don't create a new theory.
Just pretend you have one.
NEVER, EVER scientifically define it.
If somebody tries to pin you down on it then quickly start talking about "Darwinism" or "problems with evolution".
Posers all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af-2Yr8zf40

11:37 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

I believe the ideological blockage is on your side (all 3 of you!).
ID is simply the exploration of evidence for design in nature. Any scientist who does this is doing ID whether published or not. It seems crashingly obvious. Even Dawkins (in the God Delusion) says very clearly that the question of whether God exists is a scientific one. Dawkins constantly, all the time, persistently and exhaustively does ID theory - and comes out saying there is not any evidence for God. Now you are saying that noone can do ID research who might come to another conclusion. Not much logic there. No level playing field - virtually vertical one in fact.

You have not answered why Newton (to say nothing of just about all the major heroes of science of the past)saw constant evidence of God, wrote about this and celebrated it. Maybe they did not do 'real' science.....

5:12 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

This is the 21st century. Show me a scientist who ascribes his work to god today? (yes I know you can be a scientist and a believer). I favour LaPlace who, when asked about the divine, responded "I have no need for that theory".

I agree with Dawkins - the existence of god can be approached from a scientific standpoint but it has, so far, failed every plausible test. The conclusion of that is that she is highly unlikely to exist. Not impossible but highly improbable.

I'm sure Dawkins would be very amused that you think he is doing ID. What he suggests is science. What ID suggests is that design must be there and must be detectable. That's two a priori assumptions that have, so far, failed to unearth ANY evidence other than wishful thinking. We look for truth whereas your side looks for evidence of the 'Truth'. Good luck with the search.

6:35 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

"ID is simply the exploration of evidence for design in nature."

So what exactly is ID?
Nobody seems to know.
You're certainly not telling.
:)

How do you detect "design"?
Nobody seems to know.

What evidence do you have that there is design in nature?
Nobody seems to know.

How old is the Earth by the way?
(Shhh. Don't talk about it.)

"Any scientist who does this is doing ID whether published or not."

They're not "doing" anything.
There's no work being done.

They write coffee-table books and whine about Evolution and...that's it.
That's the sum total of their "work".

They're all hat and no cattle.

"I believe the ideological blockage is on your side (all 3 of you!)."

Just us three? Oh deary me no.
It's the entire global community of scientists who know that ID is empty.

"Dawkins constantly, all the time, persistently and exhaustively does ID theory..."

You are a big, fat fibber.
Liar, liar, pants on fire.
How can you say such total rubbish?
Shame on you.

You invoked Newton?
Did he write a paper on Intelligent Design?

Umm, no. Oops.
However, since you mention Newton...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YotBtibsuh0

6:46 pm  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

The following is a quote from Newton.

"This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. … This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” παντοκρατωρ [pantokratōr], or “Universal Ruler”. … The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.
Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors."

So now you say modern scientists are not the same (I disagree actually)....well who is right? What makes modern scientists so much more insightful? And by the way I am not a young earth creationist - please do not charicature us.

I have read a great deal of Dawkins. Much of his opus is dominated, as you well know, by looking at the scientific evidence against God's existence. So all the time he is using science to back up his atheism. When scientists argue back he (and you) deny them the right (and even call us liars). Strange is it not. I wonder why.

In this web site I have cited many scientific evidences for ID. They are legion and they become more obvious the more we know. You deny it all...without actually engaging in the details. I am prepared to discuss the details but not to trade insults.

8:57 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

I have no desire to trade insults. I do, however, fail to accept your claims of scientific evidence for ID. Where is it? It isn't in the peer review literature where it would have been subjected to scientific scrutiny. If it has merit it will stand up to scrutiny, scorn or whatever excuse that is continually touted by ID proponents. Support your assertions with some facts please.

I am willing to listen but the onus is on you to back up your claims about the scientific validity of ID. The scientific community doesn't think it has any merit.

9:21 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

"And by the way I am not a young earth creationist..."

What do you think about Young Earth Creationists?
There seem to be plenty of Young Earth Creationists supporting ID.
Several of them are fellows at the Discovery Institute.
Why is that? Hmmm?

"So now you say modern scientists are not the same..."

Huh? Who are you talking too?
What are you going on about?

Dawkins does not support ID.
There is no such thing as the scientific theory of ID.

Dawkins is not doing ID research.
Nobody is doing ID research.

Andrew said..."Dawkins constantly, all the time, persistently and exhaustively does ID theory ..."

This is a lie.
It's a non-truthy statement.
If I call you a liar because you're telling a lie then that's a statement of fact.
It's not an insult.

If you steal something, then be expected to be called a thief.
If you lie, if you tell a great fat, wopping falsehood...then that makes you a liar.
That's not something to be proud of.
(I'm sure you're otherwise a wonderful person in real life. I just object to you untruthy, that's all.)

Andrew said..."You deny it all...without actually engaging in the details. I am prepared to discuss the details but not to trade insults."

No. The problem is that you are not giving any details.

Can you explain how ID is a scientific theory?
Ummm, no.

Can you explain how to detect "design"?
Ummm, no.

Is everything around us 'Intelliently Designed' or only some things?
If only some things are 'Intelligently Designed', then please give a few examples of things that are NOT 'Intelligently Designed'.

For example: Is a flower 'intelligently designed'?
How about a rock?
Smallpox?

If everything is 'Intelligently Designed' then how do you go about detecting it?

"They are legion and they become more obvious the more we know."

Legion. Sounds impressive.
If there's such a lot of it then...what's stopping 'ID Scientists' from doing some work on it and putting out a few research papers?

It's been twenty years now. How long is the public supposed to wait?

We've bought the coffee-table books. The Discovery Institute has make quite a lot of money.
Plenty of publicity.
Lot's of press releases.
So where's the hard work?
Hmmm?

8:42 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Cedric,

You clearly feel very strongly about this subject for some reason but your attitude is very counter productive. Such sneering does little service to either you or science.

You have misunderstood what I said about Dawkins. I never said that he did ID or believed in ID (he becomes apoplectic at the mere mention of it). However he constantly uses science to look at the evidence of whether there is a designer - and concludes - no. ID people use similar methods to try to show he is wrong. To say there is no come by ID theorists against his stupendous conclusions is simply a no brainer.

Brian,

You ask for serious evidence for ID and this is a good question. There is much in biology but lets start in cosmology. The fine tuning of the universe is very powerful evidence of a designer. Here are some undisputed facts:

1/ If the ratio of the nuclear strong force to the electromagnetic force had been different by one part in 10 to the power 16, no stars would have formed.

2/ The ratio of the electro-magnetic force-constant to the gravitational force-constant must be very finely balanced, Increase it by only 1 part in 10 to the power 40 and only small stars form. Decrease it by the same amount and only large stars form. We need large stars to make the elements and only small stars last long enough to have life sustaining planets.

3/ When the big bang occurred there had to be a very slight uneveness in the expanding energy. If it had been entirely smooth then no stars would have formed. The amplitude of these non-uniformities is called Q. Q had to be very close to 0.00001 for any stars to form. Vary this slightly and no stars.

4/ At the beginning the expansion energy of the universe was incredibly finely balanced with the opposing gravitational force. Too high an expansion energy would have prevented any stars forming. Too low and the universe would have imploded in a premature 'crunch'. The expansion energy and the gravitation had to differ by less than 1 part in a million billion for any stars to have formed.

There are quite a few equally stunning bits of fine tuning. Cosmologists do not argue against these facts. Intelligent people see this as proof of design. By looking at these facts and working out the probabilities of it happening by accident (or not) we are doing ID theory.

Anyone who says there is no scientific evidence for ID is simply wrong.

11:48 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Andrew,
You clearly feel very strongly about this subject for some reason but your attitude is very counter productive. Such evasion and handwaving does little service to either you or science.

Remember: Thou shalt not bear false witness.

What do you think about Young Earth Creationists?
There seem to be plenty of Young Earth Creationists supporting ID.
Several of them are fellows at the Discovery Institute.
Why is that? Hmmm?

Can you explain how ID is a scientific theory?

Can you explain how to detect "design"?

Is everything around us 'Intelligently Designed' or only some things?
If only some things are 'Intelligently Designed', then please give a few examples of things that are NOT 'Intelligently Designed'.

For example: Is a flower 'intelligently designed'?
How about a rock?
Smallpox?

If everything is 'Intelligently Designed' then how do you go about detecting it?

"You ask for serious evidence for ID and this is a good question. There is much in biology but lets start in cosmology. The fine tuning of the universe is very powerful evidence of a designer."

So...where's the peer-reviewed research?
What's the hold up?

Can you mention a SINGLE peer-reviewed paper in ANY FIELD that mentions Intelligent Design at all?

If there's such a lot of evidence for it all, then where's the hard work?

Why do "ID scientists" do nothing?

6:58 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

Antony

I'm about half way through 'Just Six Numbers' by Martin Rees. I have yet to see any evidence for making the claims that you do. It's interesting but it hardly points to the existence of god and a set of dials.

Can you show me peer-review literature that makes these claims?

8:44 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Cedric,

You appear to be repeating yourself.

Here is peer reviewed article about ID from Michigan State University Press:

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1026

By the way can you cite any peer reviewed articles by Dawkins concerning his views on there being no designer?

Brian,

In 'just six numbers' Martin Rees explains very elegently some of the fine tuning that we have in the universe. He himself is not into ID and prefers to postulate multiple universes. He gives no scientific evidence for this however. One of the reasons some cosmologists, like him, prefer to think of multiple universes is to get rid of the idea of a designer. By having huge numbers of universes, each with different sorts of physics, they can just say that our one is simply a universe that accidentally struck very very very lucky in terms of the tuning.

We then have another problem (which we could discuss) - how did any universe, let alone multiple ones, come into being without some prior uncaused cause.

The 'multiverse' idea goes strongly against a well known philosophical concept called Ockam's razor. Essentially this states that when seeking an explanation for some set of conditions, the most parsimonious or straight forward explanation is more likely. By adding unproven extra universes we are violating this principle - adding extra layers of unneeded causation. The simple answer is design and seems to shout out at us from the data we have.

1:34 pm  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Brian,

Here are 2 quotes from articles by astrophysicists.

1/ Fred Hoyle (British astrophysicist): In Hoyle F. 1982. The Universe:Past and Present Reflections. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics: 20:16.

"A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."

2/. George Ellis (British astrophysicist): In Ellis, GFR. 1993. The Anthropic Principle: Laws and Environments. The Anthropic Principle. F. Bertola & U. Curi ed. New York, Cambridge University Press. P. 30

"Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word 'miraculous' without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word."

1:50 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Andrew said "You appear to be repeating yourself."

Well you appear to have literacy problems with basic English.
You never seem to answer my questions.
Are they too hard for you?

"Here is peer reviewed article about ID from Michigan State University Press."

(giggle)

Are you serious?
Meyer is a philosopher of science and a theologian.
How much time do you really think he spends in the lab or out in the field doing scientific research?

What do you actually understand by "peer-review"?

Here's some help for you.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review

As you can see, Meyer's article is not peer-reviewed.
Did you notice the editors of the BOOK that the article appeared in?
John Angus Campbell (Discovery Institute Fellow, Surprise, surprise)
and the other..?
Yep, you guessed it.
Steven C. Meyer.(What a shock, eh?)

"Peer-review of books is entirely unrelated to peer-review of scientific journal articles. Publishers will print things they hope will sell well; the contents are understood to be the responsibility of the author alone. There is no formal review process in place, as there is for journals. Individual editors and publishers have discretion about whether or not to send a manuscript to an outside expert at all, and discretion to demand revisions from the author or not. This is true both at trade presses and university presses."
http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Peer-reviewed_ID_articles

Previously I said...
"Can you mention a SINGLE peer-reviewed paper in ANY FIELD that mentions Intelligent Design at all?"

Foolishly, I thought it was understood that I was referring to...y'know...scientific fields.

So let me try and be a little more clear, ok?

Can you mention a SINGLE peer-reviewed paper in ANY SCIENTIFIC FIELD that mentions Intelligent Design at all?

Oh and...

What do you think about Young Earth Creationists?
There seem to be plenty of Young Earth Creationists supporting ID.
Several of them are fellows at the Discovery Institute.
Why is that? Hmmm?

Can you explain how ID is a scientific theory?

Can you explain how to detect "design"?

Is everything around us 'Intelligently Designed' or only some things?
If only some things are 'Intelligently Designed', then please give a few examples of things that are NOT 'Intelligently Designed'.

For example: Is a flower 'intelligently designed'?
How about a rock?
Smallpox?

If everything is 'Intelligently Designed' then how do you go about detecting it?

Why do "ID scientists" do nothing?

Remember: Thou shalt not bear false witness.

5:32 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

Antony

I fear you are reading too much into this. You have a worldview I do not share so, fascinating as this is, all I see are more questions. I don't see an absolute answer.

Ockham's razor is a concept, not a law, and it doesn't always hold true. as far as I know the multiverse theory is possible because it makes the maths work? As do many other theories.

I fail to see this as design.

5:36 pm  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Cedric,

My name is Antony - not Andrew.

You are getting a wee bit hot under the collar. Calm down.

I understood that article to be peer reviewed and will of course check on it but I can give you others. Are you saying that Axe's articles on ID are not peer reviewed? They are to do with ID and you know it. we have already seen his articles - so what is the problem?

I am waiting to hear of any Dawkins articles about design/lack of design which are 'peer reviewed'. Given that he is the main spokesman in the world against ID you would think it would help your case a bit.

So what if some in the discovery inst. are YECs? this is a red herring and has nothing to do with the actual arguments for ID.

6:05 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Antony wrote:
"I understood that article to be peer reviewed and will of course check on it but I can give you others."

Peer review isn't the relevant criterion. The relevant criterion is new data from testing an ID hypothesis.

"Are you saying that Axe's articles on ID are not peer reviewed?"

Axe has never tested an ID hypothesis.

"They are to do with ID..."

No more than my own, and mine are much better. I've directly tested this hypothesis from your BFF, Mike Denton:

"To change, for example, the shape and function of the active site (like changing the verb in a sentence or an important cogwheel in a watch) in isolation would be bound to disrupt all the
complex intramolecular bonds throughout the molecule, destabilizing the whole system and rendering it useless."


What do you think I found, Antony?

"... and you know it. we have already seen his articles - so what is the problem?"

He hasn't tested an ID hypothesis.

"I am waiting to hear of any Dawkins articles about design/lack of design which are 'peer reviewed'."

Dawkins stopped active research years ago.

"... this is a red herring and has nothing to do with the actual arguments for ID."

Why hasn't anyone tested an ID hypothesis? Why are there only lazy "arguments" instead of real data? Is science like English lit criticism, or does it depend on new data?

Why did I test Denton's hypothesis instead of Denton? Why do you dishonestly try to palm off nonreviewed papers as peer-reviewed ones?

Why is there no real engagement with real science on your side, Antony?

9:02 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:19 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"However the key question is - how realistic is it to think that random mutation and natural selection are sufficient tools to build all the proteins and protein combinations that are required to explain biology as we know it?"

Your key question has been answered, Andrew.

How long does it take YOUR OWN BODY to evolve a new, incredibly specific protein binding site, using nothing but genetic variation (random with respect to fitness) and selection?

And as for your desperate claims about sequence space, when I evolve a new binding site to the same protein, will my site be the same or different than yours?

Would each of us only evolve one, or would we each evolve multiple new protein binding sites that bind to the same thing?

"If we made our illustration realistic…."

You'll never do that, Andrew.

"How big would the board space be for sticking the pins in?"

Huge.

"How big would the area be that give a selective advantage?"

Huge.

"How many tails need to be stuck on how many donkeys at once?"

Metaphors aren't reality. Your metaphor is invalid and misleading.

How much of available sequence space is occupied by known sequences? Are they spread around (predicted by ID) or tightly clustered (predicted by MET)?

"These are the big questions for ID research."

They would be if anyone did any, but they've already been answered by the "Darwinists" you love to demonize from a position of arrogant ignorance.

"One would have thought that biologists would agree that these are really exciting questions to be asking."

They did agree. That's why they've already been addressed. ID just doesn't like the answers, so they lie.

"This is the area where there is a real possibility for the main mechanism proposed for evolution to be falsified and shown to be unrealistic."

Yes, and we already have those answers.

"That surely makes this research great science and exciting science.

That is the sort of research that Doug Axe is trying to do…."

Wrong.

9:25 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

"Cedric,
My name is Antony - not Andrew."

Oops. Sorry.

Antony said..."I understood that article to be peer reviewed and will of course check on it..."

So you are saying that you were possibly misled?
Ok, fair enough.
If you do check up on it and it does turn out that you were misled then...what?
How will that affect your opinion of the Discovery Institute?
Or do they get a free pass?

"Are you saying that Axe's articles on ID are not peer reviewed? They are to do with ID and you know it. we have already seen his articles - so what is the problem?"

Axe has produced no scientific papers on ID.
He never mentions ID at all.
Never.
Not even once.

www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/01/92_second_st_fa.html


Antony said..."I am waiting to hear of any Dawkins articles about design/lack of design which are 'peer reviewed'."

Why?

Antony said..."Given that he is the main spokesman in the world against ID you would think it would help your case a bit."

What case? You're the one that's bringing up Dawkins, not me.
I don't see how bringing him into the conversation magically produces scientific peer-reviewed articles on ID.

Antony said..."So what if some in the discovery inst. are YECs?"

Well, YEC's are (how shall I put this delicately) "scientifically challanged".
They are "out there", scientifically speaking.
In order to maintain their beliefs that Abraham danced with dinosaurs and that Noah build a really, really, really, really BIG boat and that the Earth is only about 6000 years old...they have to reject ALL THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES.

That's about as anti-science as you can get.
So how come YEC's are fellows at the Discovery Institute?
Why aren't they quickly shown the door?

Oh, any chance on getting any answers to my other previous questions?

4:52 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Cedric,

I have looked at the pandasthumb thread about Axe's 2004 paper. There is much controversy. One needs at least a degree in biochemistry to make much sense of it. That I do not have. Do you? The fact is, whether you like it or not, his work is looking at a key ID issue of whether random mutations can produce new protein functions and useful folding. As such his peer reviewed work is absolutely about ID - and since he is an active ID advocate you can hardly say it has nothing to do with ID. Of course he does not mention ID in the paper. To do so causes mayhem and fear in our present scientific community (and sacking of editors). Stop saying he never mentions ID.

As for Dawkins - what can I say? He is churning out books and earning a great deal of money and kudos mainly about his views on how science refutes ID. All is done on the supposed basis of pure scientific thinking. You are insisting on peer reviewed articles FOR ID. Why can we not insist on peer reviewed articles AGAINST ID from the man who is most revered by the Darwinian faithful?

Yes there may well be YECs in the Discovery Inst. This is not a discovery Inst. core belief though. It is not part of any statement by them. The arguments for or against ID do not involve the age of the earth.

My feeling is that your main issue with ID is to do with your particular belief system - which I assume is a purely materialist and atheist one. Fine, you are welcome to that belief.

There are consequences however to having a purely materialist view of the universe. One vital one is determinism. If you are no more than the product of chance accidental material forces - then you cannot have any free-will. Indeed all you are saying is merely the product of a long chain of cause and effect which has no meaning. You cannot be sure of anything you say in fact. You may think it is true but you have no choice in coming to your conclusion. The question of free will is one that materialism cannot deal with.

6:26 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

Antony, somehow I knew my prediction (see my initial post) would come true.

For the record:

A paper that doesn't mention flying spaghetti monsters isn't a paper about FSM either;

You cannot produce peer review science that disproves a negative argument such as ID;

Free will (writing as an atheist materialist)gives me the ability to think for myself. Having that ability is immensely liberating. When my time is up there is nothing else - why is that so scary?

8:42 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Antony wrote:
"I have looked at the pandasthumb thread about Axe's 2004 paper."

Wow.

"There is much controversy."

The only controversy is that people who are too lazy to understand it (like you) lie about what it means.

"One needs at least a degree in biochemistry to make much sense of it."

Antony, you are pathetic. How can you credibly write a BOOK claiming that most scientists are wrong about basic biology if you are that lazy and/or stupid?

I don't have a degree in biochemistry, and not only do I understand it, I've done better work in the same field and written better papers which were published in better journals.

Honestly, if you understand basic biology well enough to have an informed opinion about modern evolutionary theory, this paper is not hard to understand.

"That I do not have. Do you?"

Science is learned by doing in an apprenticeship, not by classes. You really are clueless.

"The fact is, whether you like it or not, his work is looking at a key ID issue of whether random mutations can produce new protein functions and useful folding."

No, it does nothing of the sort. You're lying. How can you claim that it looks at a "key ID issue" if you think a degree in biochem is needed to understand it?

Why can't you simply state the ID HYPOTHESIS that you claim that Axe was testing? After all, I've straightforwardly given you the hypothesis from your BFF Denton, which he dishonestly failed to label as a hypothesis.

Do you think Denton's hypothesis is correct or incorrect, Antony? Since he assumes it is correct, what does that do to his entire thesis?

"As such his peer reviewed work is absolutely about ID - "

You're lying, Antony. You don't even understand it!

"...and since he is an active ID advocate you can hardly say it has nothing to do with ID."

I sure can, because neither Axe nor you can state the ID hypothesis that was tested by the experiments in the paper. You and Axe offer nothing but dishonest spin.

"Of course he does not mention ID in the paper. To do so causes mayhem and fear in our present scientific community (and sacking of editors). Stop saying he never mentions ID."

He never mentions ID. He can't even state the ID hypothesis that he was allegedly testing, and neither can you. Hell, you aren't even smart enough to understand the paper.

"As for Dawkins - what can I say? He is churning out books and earning a great deal of money and kudos mainly about his views on how science refutes ID."

Another lie. Most of Dawkins's work is about explaining evolutionary theory to laypeople.

"All is done on the supposed basis of pure scientific thinking. You are insisting on peer reviewed articles FOR ID. Why can we not insist on peer reviewed articles AGAINST ID from the man who is most revered by the Darwinian faithful?"

I've published several peer-reviewed articles that demolish Denton's assumption, which also underlies Demski's drivel.

"If you are no more than the product of chance accidental material forces..."

You're lying again. Evolution is not chance, because natural selection is neither chance nor accident.

Why do you lie so much, Antony?

12:11 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Antony wrote:
"ID is simply the exploration of evidence for design in nature."

Then it's not science. Science involves formulating hypotheses and testing their predictions empirically.

3:03 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Smokey,

You are up to your usual sneering and the majority of what you write is not even worth replying to. You may be abusive as you like but it merely makes you look extremely defensive.


Above all you have been hooked by the same completely wrong assertion of Dawkins that evolution is not random. Natural selection is a sieve - and only a sieve. Quite inert. It merely kills off the unfit. The organisms presented to this sieve are (in Darwinian theory) subject to entirely random variation. So all the stages that led to your brain, in evolutionary terms, had to occur randomly before being selected. That IS random.


You said: "I've published several peer-reviewed articles that demolish Denton's assumption, which also underlies Demski's drivel."

OK lets see them.

5:37 pm  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Smokey,

You said concerning ID (when I had said it looks for evidence of design in nature):

"Then it's not science. Science involves formulating hypotheses and testing their predictions empirically."

So, by your definition, SETI are not doing science (nor forensic scientists). Tell that to them. They are doing exactly the same as ID - looking for evidence of design.

5:42 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Smokey’s taken no prisoners.

I’ll just add a few words…

Antony said…”I have looked at the pandasthumb thread about Axe's 2004 paper. There is much controversy.”

Not in the scientific community, there isn’t.

Antony said…“One needs at least a degree in biochemistry to make much sense of it. That I do not have. Do you?”

If it needs a degree in biochemistry to understand it, and you don’t have such a degree, then…how do you know that his work is “…absolutely about ID”?

(You sound very confident about it, though.)

Yet the paper does not mention ID. Not once. Ever.

Antony said…“…and since he is an active ID advocate you can hardly say it has nothing to do with ID.”

The global scientific community says it’s got nothing to do with ID. That even includes those with degrees in biochemistry!!

In fact, there’s not a single biochemistry lab, biochemistry department or biochemistry research centre in the world that sees ANY CONNECTION at all with Axe’s paper and ID.
Yet you (despite not have a biochemistry degree) DO see the connection.
Extraordinary!


But seriously folks, it’s what Axe claims AND WRITES DOWN IN HIS PAPER that’s important; not what he says to his mates in the pub after the paper is already published. What he says in the pub is just hot air, scientifically speaking.

Antony said…“Of course he does not mention ID in the paper.”

Oh, so you admit that he does not? Thank you.

Antony said…“To do so causes mayhem and fear in our present scientific community (and sacking of editors).”

Huh? Oh…yeah. Um, right. Ok.
The Discovery Institute does not want to cause fear and mayhem in the scientific community. How very nice of them. (???)

Antony said…“Stop saying he never mentions ID.”

Oh but I’m sure he mentions ID all the time!!

(Down at the pub. In TV interviews. At bible study groups in church basements. Probably mentions ID to himself as he shaves.)

That’s not what I’m saying.

I said “"Can you mention a SINGLE peer-reviewed paper in ANY scientific FIELD that mentions Intelligent Design at all?"

(It’s been at least twenty years now. How long do we have to wait?)

Doug Axe does not mention ID in his peer-reviewed research.
Never Ever.
Nobody else does.
Never Ever.

Antony said… “As for Dawkins - what can I say? He is churning out books…”

I really don’t care. This has got nothing to do with anything.

Antony said…“Why can we not insist on peer reviewed articles AGAINST ID.”

(rolls eyes)
Ok.
How can I get through to you how silly this line of reasoning is?
Hmmm….

No peer-reviewed papers against ID…DOES NOT EQUAL…peer-reviewed papers FOR ID.

No peer-reviewed papers against the Flying Spaggetti Monster…DOES NOT EQUAL…peer-reviewed papers FOR the Flying Spaggetti Monster.
Are we clear on this now?

Antony said…“Yes there may well be YECs in the Discovery Inst.”

No.
There’s no “maybe” about it. There’s plenty of them there.
They help pay the bills and lend their support and “expertise”.

Antony said…”This is not a discovery Inst. core belief though. It is not part of any statement by them.”

So why don’t they show them the door?

Antony said…“The arguments for or against ID do not involve the age of the earth.”

Why is that?
(Very odd when you think about it.)
Consider….
Is the Universe “Intelligently Designed”?
Is the Earth “Intelligently designed”?
If so, when? 6000 years ago or billions of years ago?

(Kind of an important scientific question? I think so.)

YEC’s are “challenged” scientifically. They are anti-science.
Why are they all over the Discovery Institute like a rash?

Antony brings up the SETI argument to bolster ID position with…

"So, by your definition, SETI are not doing science (nor forensic scientists). Tell that to them. They are doing exactly the same as ID - looking for evidence of design.”

No.
This is a falsehood. A definite un-truthy statement. A shameful little fib.
The SETI scientists really disapprove of you saying this kind of rubbish.
They don’t see any connection between ID and SETI at all.
Nobody does. It’s just Discovery Institute hand-waving.
If you’d read my link at the beginning of this thread, you’d find out all about Seth Shostak and SETI and why they think ID is a load of empty talk.

Is there any chance on getting some answers to my previous questions?

1) Can you explain how ID is a scientific theory?

2) Can you explain how to detect "design"?

3) Is everything around us 'Intelligently Designed' or only some things?

4) If only some things are 'Intelligently Designed', then please give a few examples of things that are NOT 'Intelligently Designed'.

For example: Is a flower 'intelligently designed'?
How about a rock?
Smallpox?

5) If everything is 'Intelligently Designed' then how do you go about detecting it?

6) Why do "ID scientists" do nothing?

Remember: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.

11:10 am  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Speaking of biochemistry and how ID is 'all about the science', here's a simple scientific bit of research that shouldn't be too hard for an "ID scientist" to do.

(What's the bet they'll not do anything at all?)

Despite the fact they have a "research lab"...
Despite the fact they have at least two biochemists...

It's called "Behe vs Lampreys: A modest proposal".

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/05/behe-vs-lamprey.html#more

How do you think the Discovery Institute will respond?
What excuse will they give?

4:52 pm  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Smokey,

We are waiting patiently for the peer reviewed articles that you have written. You maintain they are better than Axe's work. I am not saying you have not written them, nor am I questioning their quality - but if you don't post them on this blog then you are hiding something and you may as well stop contributing to this discussion.

6:37 pm  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Cedric,

I will start to answer some of the questions. I am in a hurry and will continue later.

1) "Can you explain how ID is a scientific theory?"

It is not a fully developed theory. You can do science without the subject you are studying being a theory. SETI is not a theory. A friend of mine who is doing a PHd sending electrons through single atom layers of carbon - is not doing it because of a fully developed theory - he is doing it because he (and all good scientists) are testing the boundaries of what we know. Darwin did not have a theory of evolution when he was doing his science on the Beagle.

2) "Can you explain how to detect "design"?"

complex specified information - CSI. You ought to know this if you have done much reading. SETI is using this all the time as are archaeologists, forensic scientists et al. You use it when you decide the carvings on Mount Rushmore are designed and not naturally formed by weathering (or the chalk white horses carved into the English hills in pre-history). The amino acid sequence in a protein is exactly the sort of area to look at if we are to apply this to biology.

4) "If only some things are 'Intelligently Designed', then please give a few examples of things that are NOT 'Intelligently Designed'."

The mess on my desk is not intelligently designed. There is freedom within nature for randomness and entropy. This does not outrule intelligent input from without nature. The shape of a mountain, I would say, is not intelligently designed. Forces of nature have been at work following the normal laws of science - even if these laws are intelligently made.

got to go

6:54 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Anthony said…”I will start to answer some of the questions. I am in a hurry and will continue later”.

Well, I am surprised (stunned) that you’ve at least tried to take a stab at answering my questions. Most ID supporters just go blind and deaf when basic scientific questions are put to them.
Pretty much all of them in fact.
I appreciate the effort.
Thank you.

(If you’re short on time then we can take this slowly or move to a different thread. I’ll be happy to follow your lead.)

Let’s start…

1) "Can you explain how ID is a scientific theory?"

Anthony answers “It is not a fully developed theory.”

Yes, but the Discovery Institute does continuously and repeatedly advertise that it does, really and truly have a bona fide theory.
They go on and on and on about it.
If they don’t actually have a proper theory…then surely they shouldn’t make such a misleading claim?

Anthony said…“You can do science without the subject you are studying being a theory.”

A scientist doesn’t go around “doing science” and loudly proclaiming to the world media about their scientific theory when they don’t actually have….a theory.
It’s called lying.
Very bad form.

Anthony said...“Darwin did not have a theory of evolution when he was doing his science on the Beagle.”

Which is probably why you can’t find a single letter or newspaper on or about the time of his Beagle voyage where he boasts about actually having a scientific theory.

2) "Can you explain how to detect "design"?"

Anthony said “complex specified information - CSI.”

This is an empty buzz word that means nothing in the scientific world.
It sounds very sciency to the average person on the street but it doesn’t actually mean anything.

Anthony said…“SETI is using this all the time as are archaeologists, forensic scientists et al.”

No.
This is a falsehood.
No SETI scientist uses CSI. SETI scientists don’t have anything to do with ID. They owe nothing to it. They see no validity in it.
It’s wrong of you to try and ride on the coat-tails of respectable scientists in this way.
Same goes for archeologists and forensic scientists.

There is not a single Department of Archeology or Forensic Science Department anywhere on the planet that acknowledges any connection whatsoever with ID.
No archeologist or forensic scientist has ever used “Intelligent Design Theory” or CSI or any other made-up buzz word from the Discovery Institute ever.
The only people that say they do are exclusively ID supporters, who are invariably not forensic scientists, archeologists or SETI scientists.

Anthony said...“The amino acid sequence in a protein is exactly the sort of area to look at if we are to apply this to biology.”

Sounds very sciency. Yet since nobody seems willing to scientifically define ID or CSI, it’s effectively impossible to conduct experiments on it or do research on it.
It’s just a buzz word.
Same goes for the infamous Explanatory Filter.
How many things has it filtered? None.
(Very disappointing that!)

4) "If only some things are 'Intelligently Designed', then please give a few examples of things that are NOT 'Intelligently Designed'."

Anthony answers…”The mess on my desk is not intelligently designed. There is freedom within nature for randomness and entropy. This does not outrule intelligent input from without nature.
The shape of a mountain, I would say, is not intelligently designed.
Forces of nature have been at work following the normal laws of science - even if these laws are intelligently made.”

Now it gets interesting…
Anthony, how was the mess created on your desk?

Did you 'create' it? Yes.
Are you intelligent? Yes.

So from that mess on your desk, could I learn things about you and your nature?

Do you accept that an Intelligent Designer could create ‘something’ that was it’s own equivalent of a ‘messy desk’?

Or that perhaps we mere humans would not recognize the Intelligent Designer’s ‘messy desk’ even if it was big and obvious?

Is it possible that we could mistake the ID ‘messy desk’ as a product of a natural force of nature?

Could it be that a mountain is like a messy desk?

Do you accept common descent? (Behe does.)

Did you know that these kinds of questions will get you banned in an instant over at Uncommondescent.com (the Dembski website)?
If you’re interested in the banned criticisms of what goes on over there, then there is a dedicated thread set up at the Pandasthumb forum.

(It’s free of censorship and has preserved threads and posts that got too hot to handle for the party faithful at UD. It’s quite revealing what Dembski doesn’t want to talk about.)

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?s=4825f3816b3d0803;act=ST;f=14;t=1274

Anthony, it is appreciated that you took the time to make your reply.
I hope you will not abandon this discussion.

P.S.
As one more resource on ID and it’s lack of peer review, you might want to check out this link.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI001_4.html

Thanks again.

8:28 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Antony, we talked a little about the bizzare connection between Intelligent Design and Young Earth Creationism.
Here's an example of what I mean from a few months back...

http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2007/09/who-is-david-tyler.html

7:34 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Antony wrote:
"So, by your definition, SETI are not doing science (nor forensic scientists). Tell that to them. They are doing exactly the same as ID - looking for evidence of design."

They aren't merely "looking for design." They are testing hypotheses, something no one in the entire ID movement has sufficient faith to do to an ID hypothesis.

Every time you try to move the goalposts away from testing hypotheses, you demonstrate your own lack of faith.

6:46 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Antony wrote:
"We are waiting patiently for the peer reviewed articles that you have written."

Who is "we" in this context?

"You maintain they are better than Axe's work."

Yes, I do. How would you be able to assess them, given that you have falsely claimed that a degree in biochemistry is required to understand Axe's paper?

"I am not saying you have not written them, nor am I questioning their quality - but if you don't post them on this blog then you are hiding something and you may as well stop contributing to this discussion."

How can you provide any real contribution to the discussion if you are too lazy to understand Axe's paper?

Do you disagree with Axe's opinion that "The findings of this work can be accommodated within the framework of the neutral theory,..."

Do you even know what the neutral theory is, Antony? If so, is it Darwinian or non-Darwinian?

Finally, Cedric put it best in his question to you: "If it needs a degree in biochemistry to understand it, and you don’t have such a degree, then…how do you know that his work is “…absolutely about ID”?"

7:24 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Antony packed an enormous amount of misconception and dishonesty into two small paragraphs:
"It is not a fully developed theory."

It's not even a fully developed hypothesis.

"You can do science without the subject you are studying being a theory. SETI is not a theory."

Correct. It is a hypothesis. Why does virtually every ID proponent lie and claim that there's one or more ID theories?

"A friend of mine who is doing a PHd sending electrons through single atom layers of carbon - is not doing it because of a fully developed theory - he is doing it because he (and all good scientists) are testing the boundaries of what we know."

He is testing HYPOTHESES, something everyone in the ID movement is afraid to do.

"Darwin did not have a theory of evolution when he was doing his science on the Beagle."

Correct! He had a hypothesis that was supported by data. Only after his hypothesis had a long track record of successful predictions, after his death, would it have proper to label it as a theory.

"complex specified information - CSI. You ought to know this if you have done much reading. SETI is using this all the time as are archaeologists, forensic scientists et al."

Utterly false. None of them use CSI.

"You use it when you decide the carvings on Mount Rushmore are designed and not naturally formed by weathering (or the chalk white horses carved into the English hills in pre-history)."

No, I don't. CSI is worthless.

"The amino acid sequence in a protein is exactly the sort of area to look at if we are to apply this to biology."

So why have I looked at it (directly tested your BFF's prediction) but you haven't?

7:31 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

Good to hear from you again!
Good to hear that you have authored some papers in this area...can I see them? Are you going to stay in the field?

Also I am interested in your earlier comments about evolution and the immune system parallel and will respond later.

You said:
"How many tails need to be stuck on how many donkeys at once?"

Metaphors aren't reality. Your metaphor is invalid and misleading.

Can you explain why this metaphor is unrealistic?

9:40 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"Good to hear from you again!"

Thanks for the welcome.

"Good to hear that you have authored some papers in this area...can I see them? Are you going to stay in the field?"

First, you need to understand that I'm not "in the field." My testing of Denton's prediction was done in the course of answering a different question--it was a technical hurdle.

"Also I am interested in your earlier comments about evolution and the immune system parallel and will respond later."

OK.

"Can you explain why this metaphor is unrealistic?"

Yes. Denton's assumption is utterly false, so you are underestimating the ratio of functional to non-functional "sequence space" by at least two orders of magnitude.

4:34 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

You said:
"Any motility at all can confer a selective advantage over nonmotility, no matter how marginal."

Do we actually know that?

8:16 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Smokey,

you said:

"Antony, you are pathetic. How can you credibly write a BOOK claiming that most scientists are wrong about basic biology if you are that lazy and/or stupid?

I don't have a degree in biochemistry, and not only do I understand it, I've done better work in the same field and written better papers which were published in better journals."

Stop the barn storming and lets see those papers Smokey.

Your comments about CSI demonstrate I am afraid a complete ignorance of the subject. They are not worth commenting on. I would like to enter into a debate about it but you need to stop pretending you know it all when you clearly do not.

I am not prepared to discuss this further with you unless you show some degree of honesty about this. You are very good at accusing me of lying.

9:27 am  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Antony said..."Your comments about CSI demonstrate I am afraid a complete ignorance of the subject. They are not worth commenting on."

Well that's easily fixed.
Can you name something that has been discovered using CSI?

How do did they actually apply CSI?
What was the scientific process they used?

9:36 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Cedric,

I have been very busy but I do want to answer those questions as best I can:

continuing where I left off:

You said:

4) "If only some things are 'Intelligently Designed', then please give a few examples of things that are NOT 'Intelligently Designed'.

For example: Is a flower 'intelligently designed'?
How about a rock?
Smallpox?"

I have tried to answer the first bit. I would say the mess on my disk has little to do with design. A rock is not designed - but the atoms within are the product of the laws of the initial universe and the fact that the fine tuning allowed for star formation, within which the atoms were made. Probably ID folk have shied away a bit from discussing the origin of diseases such as smallpox. I hold up my hands and admit we do not have easy answers - except that in Judaeo-Christian theology there has always been a teaching that all creation is affected by the 'Fall' - in a detrimantal manner. Probably you do not want to go into that but it is one way of looking at the problem of disease and suffering. Flowers have every indication that they - along with other biological systems, have been designed. In fact the appearance of flowering plants (angiosperms) in the fossil record is sudden and dramatic without a series of pre-cursors (just like all the biological 'plans' that we find in the fossil record.)

You said:

5)" If everything is 'Intelligently Designed' then how do you go about detecting it?"

I believe the evidence is that the universe was designed at the beginning and that life in all its forms is designed.
We have discussed rocks and other inanimate things.

Detection is to with CSI and also irreducible complexity. Much of this amounts to mathematics (what are the chances of something complex and specified coming about without any outside input). If you come into a room and find scrabble pieces on the floor spelling your name, you can actually work out the statistics of how likely that is to occur randomly. If you do this and set some sort of agreed threshold beyond which randomness is an outrageous idea - then you can start to detect ID (someone put the pieces in order of your name). the detection on this sort of mathematical level is then backed up by lots of other evidence - there is along list but includes the fossil record and human nature (free-will, altruism, the appreciation of beauty for starters)

6) Why do "ID scientists" do nothing?

They do not do nothing. They do the work of looking at systems and life and the universe and see if those statistics come to any conclusion. SETI spokepersons and Smokey et al can protest until they are blue in the face but SETI are doing precisely the same ultimately when they look at radio signals from space.


You have just asked:

"Can you name something that has been discovered using CSI?"

Yes - the fine tuning of the universe and the DNA code.

10:05 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

"In fact the appearance of flowering plants (angiosperms) in the fossil record is sudden and dramatic without a series of pre-cursors"

Are we back to genesis again? Just out of interest when do you think the gymnosperms arose?

3:54 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew asked wrt motility and selection:

"Do we actually know that?"

Absolutely, both intuitively and experimentally. If bacteria are in a bad (for their survival) place, any motility, even undirected, will increase fitness.

5:01 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Antony wrote:
"Stop the barn storming and lets see those papers Smokey."

Why, when you just clearly stated that you lacked the background to understand them?

"Your comments about CSI demonstrate I am afraid a complete ignorance of the subject. They are not worth commenting on. I would like to enter into a debate about it but you need to stop pretending you know it all when you clearly do not."

Speaking of pretending, when Cedric asked, "Can you name something that has been discovered using CSI?" you replied, "Yes - the fine tuning of the universe and the DNA code."

Why did you ignore Cedric's other questions:

1) How do did they actually apply CSI?
2) What was the scientific process they used?

I think you ignored them because you don't know what you are talking about.

"I am not prepared to discuss this further with you unless you show some degree of honesty about this. You are very good at accusing me of lying."

I am being utterly honest, and you keep lying about very basic facts and concepts.

"If you come into a room and find scrabble pieces on the floor spelling your name, you can actually work out the statistics of how likely that is to occur randomly."

Since natural selection is not random, your analogy is worse than worthless, it is misleading.

"If you do this and set some sort of agreed threshold beyond which randomness is an outrageous idea - then you can start to detect ID (someone put the pieces in order of your name)."

Why wouldn't you be detecting selection?

"They ("ID scientists") do not do nothing."

They don't test ID hypotheses, so why would any honest person who understands science call them "ID scientists"?

"They do the work of looking at systems and life and the universe and see if those statistics come to any conclusion."

That's not science. Science is about testing the empirical predictions of hypotheses and theories. You're just handwaving.

"SETI spokepersons and Smokey et al can protest until they are blue in the face but SETI are doing precisely the same ultimately when they look at radio signals from space."

Then why is it that I can state the hypotheses that SETI is testing, but you can't articulate a single ID hypothesis that you or anyone else has tested or is currently testing? In fact, every time we place the goalposts at hypothesis testing, you frantically move them away.

5:11 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Smokey,

Can I see the papers?
------------
Andrew asked wrt motility and selection:

"Do we actually know that?"

Absolutely, both intuitively and experimentally. If bacteria are in a bad (for their survival) place, any motility, even undirected, will increase fitness.
-----------

Have you got references to the relevant papers?

5:49 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Antony said..."A rock is not designed."

Is that because it just doesn't look designed to you?
How do you scientifically detect design. What's the scientific process?

"Flowers have every indication that they - along with other biological systems, have been designed."

I don't get it. What indicators?
How do you scientifically demonstrate design?

Aren't you just saying "Gosh, look how pretty the flower is. It's so complicated. It's really complicated. It's just SO complicated. Why I can't imagine how it got here.
So...it's designed!".

How do you stop this kind of Argument from Incredulity from happening?
How can you objectively detect design? What's the step-by-step process?

Antony said..."I believe the evidence is that the universe was designed ..."

I believe that you believe this.
Yet I am totally in the dark about HOW you go about demonstrating this scientifically.

"Much of this amounts to mathematics (what are the chances of something complex and specified coming about without any outside input)."

Mathematics? Excellent.
If the numbers crunch, then there's no arguing with that!

Please name a respected community of mathematicians that have endorsed the mathematics of CSI.
Or failing that, please mention a peer-reviewed paper that applys the mathematics of CSI.

Antony said..."They do the work of looking at systems and life and the universe and see if those statistics come to any conclusion."

How do they do such work?
How do you know that they are actually doing anything?
Where are their results?
What experiments are now being conducted?

"SETI are doing precisely the same ultimately when they look at radio signals from space."

Excellent. Explain this to me.
How are the SETI scientists doing precisely the same as the 'ID scientist'.

Walk me through it step by step.
Precisely.
The Data, the Hypotheis, the experiments.
Don't just say "They do the same thing".
Explain it to me. Give practical realistic details that are actually being used currently.

(Please no analogies. Just the science.)

Oh, please name a univeristy archeology department or arhceological community that uses CSI.
(Same goes for the forensic sciences.)

Antony said..."Yes - the fine tuning of the universe and the DNA code."

The universe is fine-tuned?
Who says so?
How do they demonstrate this?
How did they actually use CSI to discover this?
What peer-reviewed paper is this written in?

How did the discoverers of DNA use CSI to help them make their dicoveries?
Did they write about it at all?
Does the Human Genome Project use CSI?
Do they say anything positive about Intelligent Design?

Here's what Francis Collins (Head of the Human Genome Reasearch Institute) has to say about Intelligent design...
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/11/francis-collins.html

6:18 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Andrew wrote:
"Can I see the papers?"

Yes, but first you need to understand that the text won't help you. This is about the data, so you'd need to grapple directly with them.

What would it mean to the relative sizes of your metaphorical tail and donkey if Denton's hypothesis is false?

"Have you got references to the relevant (motility selection) papers?"

Here's one example, but it's more complex than I'd like it to be:
http://www.jbc.org/cgi/content/full/273/37/23993

12:19 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

Another one:

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/92/6/1970

Note that this is so basic that it is but a tool used to answer a much larger question, one that Antony won't like.

12:21 am  
Blogger Smokey said...

And another:

http://jb.asm.org/cgi/reprint/103/2/447.pdf

12:23 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

Andrew & Antony

Ben Stein is on a PR campaign and he recently made the bizarre statement "..science kills people"

If you wish to maintain ID=science are you happy with the implication that 'ID kills people'?

12:33 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Smokey, I am not clear what the papers you have given are supposed to demonstrate. Still waiting for your own papers.

Going back to Andrew's original post about the donkey's tail... I have just come across this paper about the invertebrate eye. Contrary to those who describe the vertebrate eye as 'back to front' and thus poor design, it appears extraordinarily endowed with fibre optic type transmission of light intact to the retina. What are the chances of such exquisite function occuring by random mutation?



Abstract - First Paragraph



Although biological cells are mostly transparent, they are phase objects that differ in shape and refractive index. Any image that is projected through layers of randomly oriented cells will normally be distorted by refraction, reflection, and scattering. Counterintuitively, the retina of the vertebrate eye is inverted with respect to its optical function and light must pass through several tissue layers before reaching the light-detecting photoreceptor cells. Here we report on the specific optical properties of glial cells present in the retina, which might contribute to optimize this apparently unfavorable situation. We investigated intact retinal tissue and individual Müller cells, which are radial glial cells spanning the entire retinal thickness. Müller cells have an extended funnel shape, a higher refractive index than their surrounding tissue, and are oriented along the direction of light propagation. Transmission and reflection confocal microscopy of retinal tissue in vitro and in vivo showed that these cells provide a low-scattering passage for light from the retinal surface to the photoreceptor cells. Using a modified dual-beam laser trap we could also demonstrate that individual Müller cells act as optical fibers. Furthermore, their parallel array in the retina is reminiscent of fiberoptic plates used for low-distortion image transfer. Thus, Müller cells seem to mediate the image transfer through the vertebrate retina with minimal distortion and low loss. This finding elucidates a fundamental feature of the inverted retina as an optical system and ascribes a new function to glial cells.



http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/104/20/8287?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Muller+%28glial%29+cells+&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

6:24 pm  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Antony said..."I have just come across this paper about the invertebrate eye."

Translation: I'm going to repeat a famous creationist argument.
The one about how the eye is so complicated that therefore Goddidit!

In order to make it sound legitimate, I randomly grabbed a science paper on eyes.
I don't actually NEED the paper to make my argument.

(It's not like I have the years of training and the specialised education to actually understand or use the paper anyway.)

It's just that I'm hoping that my "eyes are complicated so Goddidit!" argument will sound better with a little window dressing.

Antony said..."Contrary to those who describe the vertebrate eye as 'back to front' and thus poor design, it appears extraordinarily endowed with fibre optic type transmission of light intact to the retina."

Translation: Look at my complicated words. Please note that I even went to the trouble to use the word "extraordinary".

Antony continues..."What are the chances of such exquisite function occuring by random mutation?

Translation: The eye is something I know nothing about.
I understand nothing about the Theory of Evolution either.

However, I think that the eye is really, really pretty.
It's beautiful. It's complicated.
It's (dare I say it?) exquisite!
The eye, ladies and gentlemen. When I look at it I just want to go "Wow" and "Gee whiz" and "Golly" all the time.
It's just so amazing, man.

How can it be "random"?
I have no idea what an evolutionary biologist actually means when they say "random mutation" since I've never picked up a book on biology in my life.

Yet I know, I KNOW, deep in my heart that the eye is not some "random mutation".
Anybody who says that random mutation created the eye just doesn't understand the simple answer.
GODDIDIT!

.............................

Antony, the "eye" argument is OLD.
Stop flogging a dead horse.
Here's some help for you.

Can Random Mutation Mimic Design?: A Guided Inquiry Laboratory for Undergraduate Students

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1667065

Here’s a simple video to help you along.

Creationism vs. Science: The Evolution of the Eye. (8min:30sec)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5v8hMjjzTg


Shall we get back to the topic of Intelligent Design now?

6:54 am  
Blogger Antony Latham said...

Cedric,

Your ability to sneer (always a sign of weakness in argument) is getting better each time.

I have studied evolutionary biology at university level and know what evolutionary theory is. Mutations are entirely random - please get this on board. RANDOM mistakes in the genetic code. Period.

I have yet to find any evidence of a mutation ever conferring a new complexity that is beneficial to an organism - beyond the micro-evolutionary tinkering that is so often paraded as enough to account for such as the eye. What Darwinism lacks is any clear evidence.

Remember - an old earth and common descent do not constitute neo-Darwinism. It is the information problem that undermines it.

This is my last post on this thread.

10:47 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

Antony

Are you not going to address my questions?

7:52 pm  
Blogger Smokey said...

Cedric,

I like ur style.

Antony is a fake. Not that his MD is fake, but that the notion that he has a clue about science is fake.

He managed to write a book without having a clue.

3:21 am  
Anonymous Cedric Katesby said...

Antony said..."Your ability to sneer (always a sign of weakness in argument) is getting better each time."

If you behave like a clown, then expect to be laughed at.

Antony said..."I have studied evolutionary biology at university level and know what evolutionary theory is."

Well, evidently you never let your education get in the way of your woeful ignorance.

Antony said..."What Darwinism lacks is any clear evidence."

Your ignorace of evolutionary biology is your own problem.
Your unsupportable opinion is worth less than nothing.

Antony said..."Remember - an old earth and common descent do not constitute neo-Darwinism."

Nobody cares about what you have to say about "Neo-Darwininism".
That's not the issue here.
Had you been paying attention to this thread, it would be easy to understand that we'd all like to find out about what you know about Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design, savvy?
Stick to the topic and don't go drifting off!

Antony said..."This is my last post on this thread."

(Antony flounces off. Those boys were so MEAN to him. They were all just a bunch of meanie-meanies.
They kept asking questions!!!
They used irony.
They were sarcastic.
They even stooped to using...hyperbole.
And they kept asking basic scientific questions.
That's really unfair.
And mean.

Yet Antony has the last laugh.
He understands how Intelligent Design is really science.
It's his big secret.

If only the meanies hadn't been mean to him, he would have shared his knowledge.)
:)
...............................

"I like ur style."

(I take a bow)

"He managed to write a book without having a clue."

How very sad.

Smokey, Psiloiordinary, and Brian. I hope to see you all later at the Pandasthumb.org
I hang out there all the time. They have a lively forum there.
It's been fun.
Cheers.

8:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antony always flounces off; he has flounced off other websites when people pointed out how wrong he was.

I've wondered if he is THE Doctor Dawkins quotes in The God Delusion.

He wrote a book.
It's not very good.

8:53 pm  

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