OT: RNAi animation

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Lab Rat

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Feb 25, 2004, 10:42:41 AM2/25/04
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From Nature Genetics (should be free access)
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/hNqr0BgbAl0Cy0HoY0AW

Hope this works- it's an amusing animation ofthe RNAinterference
silencing process, one of the newest exciting discoveries in molecular
biology.
Ratty

C. Thompson

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Feb 25, 2004, 12:27:50 PM2/25/04
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wow.

No, I mean Wow.

WOW!


Eric Weiss

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Feb 25, 2004, 7:11:26 PM2/25/04
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lab_...@hotmail.com (Lab Rat) wrote in message news:<1459fe6b.04022...@posting.google.com>...

Stunning. One would be hard pressed to attribute this to random
mutations and accidental occurences. Looks like prima facie evidence
for intelligence to me.

Eric Weiss

David

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Feb 25, 2004, 7:46:54 PM2/25/04
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C. Thompson <rockw...@hotmail.com> wrote:


That's pretty cool. They forgot to talk about the really cool bit
though. That the RNAi molecules can also feed back into the nucleus and
cause chromatin formation. This usually results in the gene being shut
down.

David

John Wilkins

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Feb 25, 2004, 10:42:05 PM2/25/04
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Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:

> lab_...@hotmail.com (Lab Rat) wrote:
> > From Nature Genetics (should be free access)
> > http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/hNqr0BgbAl0Cy0HoY0AW
> >
> > Hope this works- it's an amusing animation ofthe RNAinterference
> > silencing process, one of the newest exciting discoveries in molecular
> > biology.
> > Ratty
>
> Stunning. One would be hard pressed to attribute this to random
> mutations and accidental occurences. Looks like prima facie evidence
> for intelligence to me.
>

You think that animation just happened by chance? Uh uh, no way; there's
Intelligent Design behind that version of Lightwave or Maya...
--
John Wilkins
john...@wilkins.id.au http://www.wilkins.id.au
"Men mark it when they hit, but do not mark it when they miss"
- Francis Bacon

Eric Weiss

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Feb 26, 2004, 9:23:43 AM2/26/04
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john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9rq68.18pyez0wm6lirN%john...@wilkins.id.au>...

> Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:
>
> > lab_...@hotmail.com (Lab Rat) wrote:
> > > From Nature Genetics (should be free access)
> > > http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/hNqr0BgbAl0Cy0HoY0AW
> > >
> > > Hope this works- it's an amusing animation ofthe RNAinterference
> > > silencing process, one of the newest exciting discoveries in molecular
> > > biology.
> > > Ratty
> >
> > Stunning. One would be hard pressed to attribute this to random
> > mutations and accidental occurences. Looks like prima facie evidence
> > for intelligence to me.
> >
> You think that animation just happened by chance? Uh uh, no way; there's
> Intelligent Design behind that version of Lightwave or Maya...

You make an interesting point. the technology behind the animation
is clearly the result of intelligent processes. No one would imagine
otherwise. How then could one assume that the process depicted by the
animation, which is far more technologically advanced, could be the
result of random mutations and accidental errors and not intelligent
guidance?

Eric Weiss

Frank Reichenbacher

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Feb 26, 2004, 10:24:38 AM2/26/04
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"Eric Weiss" <who...@optonline.net> wrote in message
news:67b15f73.04022...@posting.google.com...

Translation: "I can't figure out how it happened so it must've been a
miracle."

Frank

>
> Eric Weiss
>


C. Thompson

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Feb 26, 2004, 12:57:21 PM2/26/04
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What makes it technologically advanced? What even makes you think it is
technology?

Chris


John Wilkins

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Feb 26, 2004, 2:47:56 PM2/26/04
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Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:

Actually, the differences are instructive - my staff member Drew Berry
did a series of animations of molecules involved in the DNA replication
and expression processes. In every case, he had to cheat, because there
was no way that what the molecules *actually* did could be easily
simulated. In short, he used intelligence to fake it, not do it for
"real" in the "world" of the simulation.

Simulation of animations is a very good argument that what happens in
the real world is *nothing like* intelligent oversight and
interference...

Incidentally, we won a BAFTA for interactive media. Not relevant; I'm
just boasting.

Eric Weiss

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Feb 26, 2004, 6:12:53 PM2/26/04
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john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9syf2.p8vlww1nzttgcN%john...@wilkins.id.au>...

I'm not sure I understand your point. It seems to me that the
animation technology you used, while undoubtedly the best available,
was inadequate to simulate real life processes, which were much more
complex. Your animator had to use his own intelligence to make up the
difference as best he could, indicating to me that the processes he
was attemting to animate were far beyond the sum of the animation
technology plus his own human input. Impressive, no?

>
> Simulation of animations is a very good argument that what happens in
> the real world is *nothing like* intelligent oversight and
> interference...

Again, I'm not sure what you're saying. Real world processes are far
in excess of anything that can be produced by the largest intelligence
on the planet, the human mind. It's simply out of the realm of belief
that the human brain and it's associated structures and processes
evolved by random, accidental happenstances.

>
> Incidentally, we won a BAFTA for interactive media. Not relevant; I'm
> just boasting.

Congratulations. And on attaining your PhD ;-)

Eric Weiss

John Wilkins

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Feb 26, 2004, 6:51:07 PM2/26/04
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Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:

But we know the processes involved - they are just the properties of the
consituent parts - the molecules and their bond sites, the heat
agitation of the medium, and so forth. They happen without *any*
intelligent intervention (whether they were intelligently created at the
beginning of the universe is another matter).

My point is that the intelligence lies in the graphic animation, but not
in the things being animated. There is no leftover residuum needing
explanation in this particular case, but we still cannot animate it
easily - largely because of the time it takes and the computational
power needed. It's a brute force problem, not a problem of any kind of
qualitative difference.

This is true of all design arguments - they take two things which are
*fundamentally different* - human design and natural process - and then
draw an inappropriate analogy between the two on superficial grounds.
But all our experience runs to the contrary. And lest you think this is
somehow a new argument, you will find it in Hume's Dialogues on Natural
Religion, c1790...


>
> >
> > Simulation of animations is a very good argument that what happens in
> > the real world is *nothing like* intelligent oversight and
> > interference...
>
> Again, I'm not sure what you're saying. Real world processes are far
> in excess of anything that can be produced by the largest intelligence
> on the planet, the human mind. It's simply out of the realm of belief
> that the human brain and it's associated structures and processes
> evolved by random, accidental happenstances.

Argument from incredulity. In fact if you take a naive approach to
things, then any scientific explanation is incredible. Nevertheless,
they still happen to work. Naively, lightning is an act of an angry
agent. But it remains the discharge of static electricity, even if we do
not fully understand it yet.

Incidentally, the animation is not realistic in the slightest. It is a
schematic representation of a model...


>
> >
> > Incidentally, we won a BAFTA for interactive media. Not relevant; I'm
> > just boasting.
>
> Congratulations. And on attaining your PhD ;-)
>

Thanks.

Eric Weiss

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Feb 26, 2004, 10:16:15 PM2/26/04
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john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9t91l.3we4mt1vt4unpN%john...@wilkins.id.au>...

I don't agree that these processes happen "without any intervention".
I'm not going to go vitalist on you here but let me explain. Take an
automobile engine as an example. Would you say that it runs "without
any intervention"?
Why not? We know the properties of the constituent parts, the pieces
of metal, the fluids, the gases. We understand the forces involved,
the spark that ignites the fuel, the force that pushes the cylinder
down, the angular momentum that turns the engine. We open the hood and
we see the engine running, apparently without any intelligent guidance
or input. But we know full well that the automobile engine is the
product of intelligent design. The parts were fabricated and assembled
using well understood principles of engineering. So while it *looks*
to us like there's no intelligence involved, we are aware that is not
so. The intelligence is in the design, fabrication and assembly of the
constituent parts using principles of engineering and mathematics.
The analogy extend seamlessly to the genome. We understand many of
the properties of the atoms and molecules involved, we understand to a
certain degree the forces and other factors that control the bahavior
of the parts. And we see cells dividing, genomes replicating, energy
being produced and a host of other processes and functions taking
place, each of which can be explained in terms of the constituent
parts and the forces that control them. What we cannot explain, is
their organization into a working system. We can not explain why they
are there, how they were assembled and why they do what they do,
rather than just lying there in a lump of matter, without invoking
intelligent design.
It strikes me as baffling that for years scientists concentrated
on protein synthesis and just assumed that once the proteins were
assembled that by some magic they would somehow organize themselves in
such a way that they would carry out the life functions. They almost
completely denied the important role played by the remaining portion
of the genome, the non-coding DNA and more importantly, the RNA.
The cell and its genome is a machine. A biochemical machine made
up of biochemical parts, and these parts did not assemble themselves
as a result of any kind of random process or accidental mutation. They
were designed to function as they do by a higher intelligence, just
like the automobile engine was designed to function as it does by
human engineers.


>
> My point is that the intelligence lies in the graphic animation, but not
> in the things being animated. There is no leftover residuum needing
> explanation in this particular case, but we still cannot animate it
> easily - largely because of the time it takes and the computational
> power needed. It's a brute force problem, not a problem of any kind of
> qualitative difference.

I simply could not disagree more. What needs explaining is how
these components organized themselves into a functional biochemical
machine.

>
> This is true of all design arguments - they take two things which are
> *fundamentally different* - human design and natural process - and then
> draw an inappropriate analogy between the two on superficial grounds.
> But all our experience runs to the contrary. And lest you think this is
> somehow a new argument, you will find it in Hume's Dialogues on Natural
> Religion, c1790...

Hume was wrong. Cleanthes was right.
"Look round the world: contemplate the whole and every part of
it: you will find it to be nothing but one great machine, subdivided
into an infinite number of lesser machines, which again admit of
subdivisions, to a degree beyond what human senses and faculties can
trace and explain. All these various machines, and even their most
minute parts, are adjusted to each other with an accuracy, which
ravishes into admiration all men, who have ever contemplated them. The
curious adapting of means to ends, throughout all nature, resembles
exactly, though it much exceeds, the productions of human contrivance;
of human design, thought, wisdom and intelligence. Since therefore the
effects resemble each other, we are led to infer, by all the rules of
analogy, that the causes also resemble; and that the Author of Nature
is somewhat similar to the mind of men; though possessed of much
larger faculties, proportioned to the grandeur of the work, which he
has executed..."
The mistake Cleanthes made, however was in assuming that the
obvious conclusion was a supernatural God. This is simply not
necessary. It can be explained by a purely naturalistic intelligence
that is superior to ours, or by some first principle which we have yet
to elucidate. So while most ID'ers are creationists, not all are. Some
are scientists who will follow the evidence wherever it leads them.

> >
> > >
> > > Simulation of animations is a very good argument that what happens in
> > > the real world is *nothing like* intelligent oversight and
> > > interference...
> >
> > Again, I'm not sure what you're saying. Real world processes are far
> > in excess of anything that can be produced by the largest intelligence
> > on the planet, the human mind. It's simply out of the realm of belief
> > that the human brain and it's associated structures and processes
> > evolved by random, accidental happenstances.
>
> Argument from incredulity. In fact if you take a naive approach to
> things, then any scientific explanation is incredible. Nevertheless,
> they still happen to work. Naively, lightning is an act of an angry
> agent. But it remains the discharge of static electricity, even if we do
> not fully understand it yet.

The argument from incredulity is misappropriated here. Had I said that
since we don't understand it, it must be a miracle, then it could be
challenged on that basis, because there may be processes that we will
understand in the future that will fully explain what we see, and to
deny that would be foolhardy. No, Dr. Wilkins, this is not in that
realm. My argument is that random processes and accidental occurrences
are inadequate to explain highly organized, complex biochemical
processes. One must consider the possibility that these processes are
the result of intelligent design. There is nothing at all wrong with
that suggestion, and it is whoilly within the realm of science and
naturalism.

Eric Weiss

John Wilkins

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Feb 27, 2004, 12:29:05 AM2/27/04
to
Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:

Yes, and it stops without intervention when the tank runs dry and the
carburettor is getting no fueld to mix with air, and when the electrical
circuits are broken and when the battery is chemically unable to store a
charge, and so on. This is a simple machine, all running, or not
running, in virtue of the chemical and physical properties of its
components.

> Why not? We know the properties of the constituent parts, the pieces
> of metal, the fluids, the gases. We understand the forces involved,
> the spark that ignites the fuel, the force that pushes the cylinder
> down, the angular momentum that turns the engine. We open the hood and
> we see the engine running, apparently without any intelligent guidance
> or input. But we know full well that the automobile engine is the
> product of intelligent design. The parts were fabricated and assembled
> using well understood principles of engineering. So while it *looks*
> to us like there's no intelligence involved, we are aware that is not
> so. The intelligence is in the design, fabrication and assembly of the
> constituent parts using principles of engineering and mathematics.

Yes, but once constructed, it runs due to physical processes.

As a matter of fact, it was constructed using physical processes, too -
a species of African Ape, through trial and error, learned about the
properties of the constituent elements, and assembled them in various
ways, until a successful engine was constructed - out of designs
themselves produced by trial and error (and a fair degree of
serendipity) for other engines, such as steam engines. At no point was
any of this not natural.

And there is no analogy to be made from engines to genes that is not
also support for the natural selection and common descent of ideas
through blind trial and error. At every point in the evolution of
enginess and all other machines, there were a myriad of failures, some
in the mind, itself the product of trial and error of the purely
biological kind, others in models, equations, and early breadboard
tests.

So if we do make the analogy between engines and other artifacts and the
living world, it must surely be that the cultural evolves in a closely
similar manner to the biological. And this is so very different in any
case from anythign we might expect of a supernatural omniscient and
omnipotent entity. In any case, all design is natural and due to trial
and error, no matter whether it is in biology or not. And the outcome
was discovered, not intended at the beginning of the process. We make
opportunistic use of anything that we happen to work out, and if there
is no use, we abandon it. Also like evolution...

> The analogy extend seamlessly to the genome. We understand many of
> the properties of the atoms and molecules involved, we understand to a
> certain degree the forces and other factors that control the bahavior
> of the parts. And we see cells dividing, genomes replicating, energy
> being produced and a host of other processes and functions taking
> place, each of which can be explained in terms of the constituent
> parts and the forces that control them. What we cannot explain, is
> their organization into a working system. We can not explain why they
> are there, how they were assembled and why they do what they do,
> rather than just lying there in a lump of matter, without invoking
> intelligent design.

Of course we can explain that - this is what molecular genetics *is*. We
explain how genes get copied, how they get expressed or silenced, and
what products they produce, all without the slightest intervention we
can see, and relying entirely on the physical properties of the
molecules.

And this is important: if we can see it done without supervision *now*,
then it follows logically it is a physical possibility it happened in
the past. Therefore, it is a *physical possibility*, not merely a
logical one, that genes evolved through ordinary physical processes.
Claims to the contrary are simple wishful thinking or failure to
understand the facts of the matter.

> It strikes me as baffling that for years scientists concentrated
> on protein synthesis and just assumed that once the proteins were
> assembled that by some magic they would somehow organize themselves in
> such a way that they would carry out the life functions. They almost
> completely denied the important role played by the remaining portion
> of the genome, the non-coding DNA and more importantly, the RNA.

This is a non-sequitur, and historically false. There were scientists
interested in the role of non-coding DNA from their discovery. One of
them patented them all, causing no end of headaches for researchers.

> The cell and its genome is a machine. A biochemical machine made
> up of biochemical parts, and these parts did not assemble themselves
> as a result of any kind of random process or accidental mutation. They
> were designed to function as they do by a higher intelligence, just
> like the automobile engine was designed to function as it does by
> human engineers.

Cellular parts organise themselves in virtue of the physical properties
of the parts. They do this every time a new cell is produced by
division. And there are differences sometimes that prove more effective.
Such differences *have been seen* to cause increases in the fitness of
the cells that carry the changes. Since we know this to be true, it is
simple induction that this process could have carried on all the way
from the simplest of self-sustaining reactions.


>
>
> >
> > My point is that the intelligence lies in the graphic animation, but not
> > in the things being animated. There is no leftover residuum needing
> > explanation in this particular case, but we still cannot animate it
> > easily - largely because of the time it takes and the computational
> > power needed. It's a brute force problem, not a problem of any kind of
> > qualitative difference.
>
> I simply could not disagree more. What needs explaining is how
> these components organized themselves into a functional biochemical
> machine.

No, what needs explaining is why the components are as they are, and not
some other component - this is called learning about biology.

All IDers are creationists, because all ID requires a designer with
almost infinite foresight, and this is only possible if the intelligence
can visualise the necessary physical outcomes of a Vast space of
combinatorial chemistry over billions of years. If that *isn't* a
supernatural designer, I'll eat my epistemological hat.

And Cleanthes is arguably Hume - it is not clear that Hume rejected
design; but he was interested in exploring the problems of design
arguments. However, to quote Philo back at you:

"If the universe bears a greater likeness to animal bodies and to
vegetables, than to the works of human art, it is more probable that its
cause resembles the cause of the former than that of the latter, and
its origin ought rather to be ascribed to generation or vegetation, than
to reason or design. Your conclusion, even according to your own
principles, is therefore lame and defective. "


>
> > >
> > > >
> > > > Simulation of animations is a very good argument that what happens
> > > > in the real world is *nothing like* intelligent oversight and
> > > > interference...
> > >
> > > Again, I'm not sure what you're saying. Real world processes are far
> > > in excess of anything that can be produced by the largest intelligence
> > > on the planet, the human mind. It's simply out of the realm of belief
> > > that the human brain and it's associated structures and processes
> > > evolved by random, accidental happenstances.
> >
> > Argument from incredulity. In fact if you take a naive approach to
> > things, then any scientific explanation is incredible. Nevertheless,
> > they still happen to work. Naively, lightning is an act of an angry
> > agent. But it remains the discharge of static electricity, even if we do
> > not fully understand it yet.
>
> The argument from incredulity is misappropriated here. Had I said that
> since we don't understand it, it must be a miracle, then it could be
> challenged on that basis, because there may be processes that we will
> understand in the future that will fully explain what we see, and to
> deny that would be foolhardy. No, Dr. Wilkins, this is not in that
> realm. My argument is that random processes and accidental occurrences
> are inadequate to explain highly organized, complex biochemical
> processes. One must consider the possibility that these processes are
> the result of intelligent design. There is nothing at all wrong with
> that suggestion, and it is whoilly within the realm of science and
> naturalism.
>

Except that we daily see, as Hume might now say, evidence that random
processes and accidental occurences *do* exactly that, in biology, in
mathematical simulations (which show that it *must* occur if the
preconditions are satisfied), in culture and in engineering. Sorry.

catshark

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Feb 27, 2004, 1:07:26 AM2/27/04
to
On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 05:29:05 +0000 (UTC), john...@wilkins.id.au (John
Wilkins) wrote:

[...]

>ID requires a designer with
>almost infinite foresight, and this is only possible if the intelligence
>can visualise the necessary physical outcomes of a Vast space of
>combinatorial chemistry over billions of years. If that *isn't* a
>supernatural designer, I'll eat my epistemological hat.

Damn! That is *so* close to a sig file . . . just a touch long.

[Hope you feel better soon.]

---------------
J. Pieret
---------------

In the name of the bee
And of the butterfly
And of the breeze, amen

- Emily Dickinson -

John Wilkins

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Feb 27, 2004, 5:12:01 AM2/27/04
to
catshark <cats...@yahoo.com> wrote:

> On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 05:29:05 +0000 (UTC), john...@wilkins.id.au (John
> Wilkins) wrote:
>
> [...]
>
> >ID requires a designer with
> >almost infinite foresight, and this is only possible if the intelligence
> >can visualise the necessary physical outcomes of a Vast space of
> >combinatorial chemistry over billions of years. If that *isn't* a
> >supernatural designer, I'll eat my epistemological hat.
>
> Damn! That is *so* close to a sig file . . . just a touch long.

Allow me:

ID requires a designer who can visualise all possible combinations of


chemistry over billions of years. If that *isn't* a supernatural

designer, I'll eat my epistemological hat!


>
> [Hope you feel better soon.]

Much, thanks. I'm grouching at the kids already...

Therion Ware

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Feb 27, 2004, 5:43:49 AM2/27/04
to

On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 10:12:01 +0000 (UTC) in talk.origins, John
Wilkins (john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins)) said, directing the
reply to talk.origins

>catshark <cats...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 05:29:05 +0000 (UTC), john...@wilkins.id.au (John
>> Wilkins) wrote:
>>
>> [...]
>>
>> >ID requires a designer with
>> >almost infinite foresight, and this is only possible if the intelligence
>> >can visualise the necessary physical outcomes of a Vast space of
>> >combinatorial chemistry over billions of years. If that *isn't* a
>> >supernatural designer, I'll eat my epistemological hat.
>>
>> Damn! That is *so* close to a sig file . . . just a touch long.
>
>Allow me:
>
>ID requires a designer who can visualise all possible combinations of
>chemistry over billions of years. If that *isn't* a supernatural
>designer, I'll eat my epistemological hat!

Actually, my money is on a Ph.D student in some other universe whose
technologically a million years ahead of us and who has access to a
quantum computer.

The thing that worries me is that I very much suspect the awarding
body isn't accredited in their, or any other universe.

I mean, think about it. Backbones, universes that run out of power,
that probably fall to pieces through proton decay, cancer, appendixes,
Norman Wisdom, Jerry Lewis, Haggis and alcopops - it really wasn't
thought through, which brings me to the observation that "ID" actually
stands for "Idiotic Design" and I will shortly be producing a paper
entitled "The case for ID - Observational Inferences of a not terribly
bright Creator".

>>
>> [Hope you feel better soon.]
>
>Much, thanks. I'm grouching at the kids already...

Think of it as Lamarkian evolution in action!

--
"Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You."
- Attrib: Pauline Reage.
Inexpensive VHS & other video to CD/DVD conversion?
See: <http://www.Video2CD.com>. 35.00 gets your video on DVD.
all posts to this email address are automatically deleted without being read.
** atheist poster child #1 ** #442.

TomS

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Feb 27, 2004, 6:54:06 AM2/27/04
to
"On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 10:43:49 +0000 (UTC), in article
<c77u30h56pd98gs64...@4ax.com>, Therion Ware stated..."
[...snip...]

As far as I can tell, an important feature of the advocacy of
Intelligent Design is that no conclusions whatsoever can be drawn from
Intelligent Design. Once you get Intelligent Design as a conclusion,
you must stop, and go no further.

If ID were a *theory*, rather than an *advocacy*, there would be
some interesting questions which the theorists would be investigating
about the agents of ID (the "intelligent designers"), about their
methods, their purposes, and so on. If it were, in addition, a
*scientific* theory, there would be explorations about ways of
discriminating between ID and alternative hypotheses -- "thought
experiments", if nothing else.

---Tom S.
.. in the current order of our physical knowledge we will not discover any
reasonable mechanical means to explain the formation of an Animal nor even the
least organ ... organized Bodies existed from the beginning.
Charles Bonnet (1720-1792) Tableau des Considerations XIV

Therion Ware

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Feb 27, 2004, 7:48:14 AM2/27/04
to

On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 11:54:06 +0000 (UTC) in talk.origins, TomS (TomS
<TomS_...@newsguy.com>) said, directing the reply to talk.origins

Well, yes and no. Taking a look at life, the universe and everything
on the basis it was explicitly designed and that the nature of the
design may tell us something about the designer would I think of
necessity come up with some conclusions that are about as far from the
religious opinions of proponents as one can get. As Darwin wrote:

<start>
I am bewildered. I have no intention to write atheistically. But I own
that I cannot see as plainly as others, and as I should wish to do,
evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to
me much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a
beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the
Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the
living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.

The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, New York, Basic Books, 1958,
vol.1 p105
<end>

Which is to say that "special revelation" of one kind or another has
to be mixed with ID or else the whole idea of a theistic God, i.e. a
God who expresses special care and concern for people completely falls
to pieces. Presumably proponents wouldn't want that.

> If ID were a *theory*, rather than an *advocacy*, there would be
>some interesting questions which the theorists would be investigating
>about the agents of ID (the "intelligent designers"), about their
>methods, their purposes, and so on. If it were, in addition, a
>*scientific* theory, there would be explorations about ways of
>discriminating between ID and alternative hypotheses -- "thought
>experiments", if nothing else.

I wonder if one might mix ID and the Fermi Paradox with Bostrom's
(Philosophy Faculty, Oxford University, UK) ideas on the probability
we're living in a simulation? http://www.simulation-argument.com/ and
come up with a testable theory. Or even a proper conjecture. As it
stands, ID is a kind of ether theory - it requires all kinds of
complicated "yes but's" and tells us nothing new for the price of
added complexity. I'd be inclined to disregard it on that basis alone.
But then Jean Paul would have been a great mate, if I'd ever met
him...

More generally, I think the problem is that given a theory of ID, or
even a conjecture, we'd have to look for inconsistencies in the design
and that such inconsistencies may be indistinguishable - in terms of
evolution at least - from the results of natural selection and in that
case to assume a designer seems unnecessary, a violation of Ockham,
parsimony and so on.

Interesting subject though. I once wrote a short vanity piece about
it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/onthefuture/A887484 if you have the guts!
Though my fave was this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/onthefuture/A900136

catshark

unread,
Feb 27, 2004, 10:02:44 AM2/27/04
to
On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 10:12:01 +0000 (UTC), john...@wilkins.id.au (John
Wilkins) wrote:

>catshark <cats...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 05:29:05 +0000 (UTC), john...@wilkins.id.au (John
>> Wilkins) wrote:
>>
>> [...]
>>
>> >ID requires a designer with
>> >almost infinite foresight, and this is only possible if the intelligence
>> >can visualise the necessary physical outcomes of a Vast space of
>> >combinatorial chemistry over billions of years. If that *isn't* a
>> >supernatural designer, I'll eat my epistemological hat.
>>
>> Damn! That is *so* close to a sig file . . . just a touch long.
>
>Allow me:
>
>ID requires a designer who can visualise all possible combinations of
>chemistry over billions of years. If that *isn't* a supernatural
>designer, I'll eat my epistemological hat!

Thanks much.

>>
>> [Hope you feel better soon.]
>
>Much, thanks. I'm grouching at the kids already...

All's right with the world . . .

---------------
J. Pieret
---------------

ID requires a designer who can visualise all possible
combinations of chemistry over billions of years.
If that *isn't* a supernatural designer,
I'll eat my epistemological hat!

- John Wilkins -

Eric Weiss

unread,
Feb 27, 2004, 1:47:09 PM2/27/04
to
john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9tku1.9xu5ygnmwqh4N%john...@wilkins.id.au>...

Just as a living organism stops without intervention when it's
deprived of food and water and the heart stops beating and the lungs
can no longer absorb oxygen and when the brain function ceases. This
is a biochemical machine, alive when it's life processes are
functioning and dead when they are not, by virtue of the chemical and
physical properties of it's components (unless you want to propose a
vitalistic "life force" or soul)

>
> > Why not? We know the properties of the constituent parts, the pieces
> > of metal, the fluids, the gases. We understand the forces involved,
> > the spark that ignites the fuel, the force that pushes the cylinder
> > down, the angular momentum that turns the engine. We open the hood and
> > we see the engine running, apparently without any intelligent guidance
> > or input. But we know full well that the automobile engine is the
> > product of intelligent design. The parts were fabricated and assembled
> > using well understood principles of engineering. So while it *looks*
> > to us like there's no intelligence involved, we are aware that is not
> > so. The intelligence is in the design, fabrication and assembly of the
> > constituent parts using principles of engineering and mathematics.
>
> Yes, but once constructed, it runs due to physical processes.

So does a living organism.

>
> As a matter of fact, it was constructed using physical processes, too -
> a species of African Ape, through trial and error, learned about the
> properties of the constituent elements, and assembled them in various
> ways, until a successful engine was constructed - out of designs
> themselves produced by trial and error (and a fair degree of
> serendipity) for other engines, such as steam engines. At no point was
> any of this not natural.

Nor was it the result of random, non-directed or accidental
occurrences. The intelligence of the African Ape directed the design,
construction and assembly of the constituent parts into a working
machine, just as a higher intelligence directed the design,
construction and assembly of biochemical processes and structures into
living organisms. In both cases, the end product is the result of
intelligent input.

>
> And there is no analogy to be made from engines to genes that is not
> also support for the natural selection and common descent of ideas
> through blind trial and error. At every point in the evolution of
> enginess and all other machines, there were a myriad of failures, some
> in the mind, itself the product of trial and error of the purely
> biological kind, others in models, equations, and early breadboard
> tests.

I disagree. The analogy is strong.
The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
any element of the design achieved by chance. Only by the most strict
application of the rules of engineering was the final result obtained.
There is no way that a random search could ever have discovered the
design of the internal combustion engine. In all cases, the search for
function is intelligently guided. Evolution by random mutation is
analagous to problem solving without any intelligent guidance. In the
case of every kind of complex, functional system, the total magnitude
of all combinational possibilities is nearly infinite. Meaningful
islands of function are so isolated that to find even one by chance
would be truly a miracle.

>
> So if we do make the analogy between engines and other artifacts and the
> living world, it must surely be that the cultural evolves in a closely
> similar manner to the biological. And this is so very different in any
> case from anythign we might expect of a supernatural omniscient and
> omnipotent entity. In any case, all design is natural and due to trial
> and error, no matter whether it is in biology or not. And the outcome
> was discovered, not intended at the beginning of the process. We make
> opportunistic use of anything that we happen to work out, and if there
> is no use, we abandon it. Also like evolution...

I make no claims of any kind regarding a supernatural entity. I'm
content to keep this within the realm of the natural world. There may
be higher intelligences in the natural world than exist here on earth
and they may have had a hand in designing life as we know it. I'm also
not attempting to solve the problem of primary cause. This is
something that has been explored for centuries with no resolution. I'm
concentrating on a more immediate question, one which requires us to
change our perspective and abandon the arrogant notion that human
intelligence is the pinnacle of the universe.
I'm also not saying that evolution has not occurred, only that it
has occurred only with the benefit of guidance from a higher
intelligence. Trial and error may also be a factor, just as it is in
assembling a puzzle or solving an engineering problem. You try
something, evaluate it's benefits and decide whether it works or not.
But these decisions are not arbitrary, they are intelligently guided.


>
> > The analogy extend seamlessly to the genome. We understand many of
> > the properties of the atoms and molecules involved, we understand to a
> > certain degree the forces and other factors that control the bahavior
> > of the parts. And we see cells dividing, genomes replicating, energy
> > being produced and a host of other processes and functions taking
> > place, each of which can be explained in terms of the constituent
> > parts and the forces that control them. What we cannot explain, is
> > their organization into a working system. We can not explain why they
> > are there, how they were assembled and why they do what they do,
> > rather than just lying there in a lump of matter, without invoking
> > intelligent design.
>
> Of course we can explain that - this is what molecular genetics *is*. We
> explain how genes get copied, how they get expressed or silenced, and
> what products they produce, all without the slightest intervention we
> can see, and relying entirely on the physical properties of the
> molecules.

The intelligence is in the design and assembly of the components and
the information in the genome that directs it. Knowing how a machine
works is important, especially when it needs repair and this is what
science has done. We know how things work, but we don't know how they
came into existence or why they exist. If you analyzed a cell and
listed all of it's components and then put them all in a beaker, life
would not emerge. The key to function is the proper assembly of all of
the components, and this requires intelligence.

>
> And this is important: if we can see it done without supervision *now*,
> then it follows logically it is a physical possibility it happened in
> the past. Therefore, it is a *physical possibility*, not merely a
> logical one, that genes evolved through ordinary physical processes.
> Claims to the contrary are simple wishful thinking or failure to
> understand the facts of the matter.

We cannot see it done without supervision now. All life comes from
pre-existing life, all genes come from pre-existing genes, all
structures and processes come from pre-existing structures and
processes. What occurs in cells and genes is occurring because of
pre-exosting instructions written into the genome and using
pre-existing processes and structures already assembled and
functioning. I would hardly call this "unsupervised".


>
> > It strikes me as baffling that for years scientists concentrated
> > on protein synthesis and just assumed that once the proteins were
> > assembled that by some magic they would somehow organize themselves in
> > such a way that they would carry out the life functions. They almost
> > completely denied the important role played by the remaining portion
> > of the genome, the non-coding DNA and more importantly, the RNA.
>
> This is a non-sequitur, and historically false. There were scientists
> interested in the role of non-coding DNA from their discovery. One of
> them patented them all, causing no end of headaches for researchers.

In the 1980's
Not exactly ancient history.
The historical record will easily reveal many decades of adherence to
the notion that the non-coding DNA was nothing more than molecular
garbage, left over from old evolutionary experiments. That it has
important functions is only now being accepted.

>
> > The cell and its genome is a machine. A biochemical machine made
> > up of biochemical parts, and these parts did not assemble themselves
> > as a result of any kind of random process or accidental mutation. They
> > were designed to function as they do by a higher intelligence, just
> > like the automobile engine was designed to function as it does by
> > human engineers.
>
> Cellular parts organise themselves in virtue of the physical properties
> of the parts. They do this every time a new cell is produced by
> division. And there are differences sometimes that prove more effective.
> Such differences *have been seen* to cause increases in the fitness of
> the cells that carry the changes. Since we know this to be true, it is
> simple induction that this process could have carried on all the way
> from the simplest of self-sustaining reactions.

They organize themselves with respect to their physical properties,
but on pre-existing templates. This is no different from a factory
that makes engines. The designers are long gone, but new engines are
manufactured every day using the design templates left by the original
designers. Some errors do occur during this process and most are
deliterious. Others are repaired by a sophisticated repair mechanism.
There is no substantive evidence that any of these errors could ever
contribute to the evolution of new functions or structures.

> >
> >
> > >
> > > My point is that the intelligence lies in the graphic animation, but not
> > > in the things being animated. There is no leftover residuum needing
> > > explanation in this particular case, but we still cannot animate it
> > > easily - largely because of the time it takes and the computational
> > > power needed. It's a brute force problem, not a problem of any kind of
> > > qualitative difference.
> >
> > I simply could not disagree more. What needs explaining is how
> > these components organized themselves into a functional biochemical
> > machine.
>
> No, what needs explaining is why the components are as they are, and not
> some other component - this is called learning about biology.

As I said earlier, the main role of science, biology in particular, is
to learn how things work. It makes no attempt, as far as I know, to
explain why they exist.

Infinite is a big word. I guess to a termite, human intelligence must
look "infinitely" greater than its own. In fact, we may even look
"supernatural" to them ;-) But it's all a matter of perspective. We
are only aware of lesser intelligences, not of any greater ones. There
may be intelligences in the universe that are as far above us as we
are above termites. And we may even consider them to be
"supernatural". But the word "supernatural" is reserved for those
things that we don't understand. As soon as they become known to us,
they cease being supernatural and become part of the natural world.

>
> And Cleanthes is arguably Hume - it is not clear that Hume rejected
> design; but he was interested in exploring the problems of design
> arguments. However, to quote Philo back at you:
>
> "If the universe bears a greater likeness to animal bodies and to
> vegetables, than to the works of human art, it is more probable that its
> cause resembles the cause of the former than that of the latter, and
> its origin ought rather to be ascribed to generation or vegetation, than
> to reason or design. Your conclusion, even according to your own
> principles, is therefore lame and defective. "

What is "lame and defective" is Philo's argument.
The analogy is absurd. The universe doesn't resemble animal bodies or
vegetables or works of human art. I don't see any evidence of design
in the universe, or in the physical earth. I see it only in the living
organisms that inhabit it and their sequelae.

Don't be sorry, there are already too many sorry people in the world
;-)
Hume lived in the 18th century and had no knowledge of modern science.
I don't hold him as qualified to speak on these matters in the 21st
century.

Eric Weiss

Mark Isaak

unread,
Feb 27, 2004, 7:29:29 PM2/27/04
to
On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 18:47:09 +0000 (UTC), who...@optonline.net (Eric
Weiss) wrote:

>I disagree. The analogy [engines vs. genes] is strong.


>The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
>technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
>because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
>any element of the design achieved by chance.

That claim is unjustified. I don't know a lot about the history of
automobile engines, but I do recall that the inspiration for the steam
engine came from a chance observation of steam from a kettle blowing
against a spoon. Certainly the invention of vulcanized rubber
(another important part of automobiles) was achieved by chance. Trial
and error is an *essential* part of design. Part of design is
generating different alternatives and selecting from among them. (The
alternatives need not be for production, but possibly in prototype,
drafting board, or even conceptually.) If a designer cannot do that,
then they should give up trying to design.

Design is an evolutionary process. It generates variation and selects
among them, just as biological evolution. There are major differences
between the two as well, of course, making biological life and the
products of design unmistakeably different, but the process of
evolution is essential to design. To reject evolution but accept
intelligent design is a logical contradiction.

--
Mark Isaak eciton (at) earthlink (dot) net
"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of
the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are
being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
exposing the country to danger." -- Hermann Goering

Matt Silberstein

unread,
Feb 27, 2004, 9:38:53 PM2/27/04
to
In talk.origins I read this message from who...@optonline.net
(Eric Weiss):

>john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9tku1.9xu5ygnmwqh4N%john...@wilkins.id.au>...
>> Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:

[snip]

>Just as a living organism stops without intervention when it's
>deprived of food and water and the heart stops beating and the lungs
>can no longer absorb oxygen and when the brain function ceases. This
>is a biochemical machine, alive when it's life processes are
>functioning and dead when they are not, by virtue of the chemical and
>physical properties of it's components (unless you want to propose a
>vitalistic "life force" or soul)

Just like a hurricane is a meteorological machine, one which
"dies" when its energy source is removed.

[snip]

>I disagree. The analogy is strong.
>The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
>technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
>because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
>any element of the design achieved by chance.

You and I must have a different notion of how automobile design
works. We get features because one engineer played golf with the
boss while another was chronically late for meetings. Yet another
happens because someone happens to read an article while waiting
for the doctor.

> Only by the most strict
>application of the rules of engineering was the final result obtained.

Obviously you have not studied the history of automobile design.
What was the design rule that kept Fords black?

>There is no way that a random search could ever have discovered the
>design of the internal combustion engine.

Nice argument by assertion. Too bad the math says otherwise. If
you don't know the domain, any search is as good as another. For
many domains, such as smooth topography of the solution space, a
random choice *combined* with selection is quite efficient.

> In all cases, the search for
>function is intelligently guided. Evolution by random mutation is
>analagous to problem solving without any intelligent guidance.

Try adding selection to your ideas here.

> In the
>case of every kind of complex, functional system, the total magnitude
>of all combinational possibilities is nearly infinite. Meaningful
>islands of function are so isolated that to find even one by chance
>would be truly a miracle.

And, yet, the model do. Now let us take a moderately complex
"functional" system: the New York metropolitan transit system. Do
you really want to argue this system was designed? That there are
no random aspects to the system?

[snip]

>The intelligence is in the design and assembly of the components and
>the information in the genome that directs it.

Yeah, this is Charlie. Hi, Charlie, how are things? We are back
to the intelligent genome, are we?

[snip]


>We cannot see it done without supervision now. All life comes from
>pre-existing life, all genes come from pre-existing genes, all
>structures and processes come from pre-existing structures and
>processes.

Which are you discussing? The origin of life or the subsequent
diversification?

What occurs in cells and genes is occurring because of
>pre-exosting instructions written into the genome and using
>pre-existing processes and structures already assembled and
>functioning. I would hardly call this "unsupervised".
>

I would. There are no genome fairies running things. There is
nothing in the genome that has foreknowledge of future
environments.

[snip]
[snip]
>
>Eric Weiss

Any relation to the great Eric Weiss?


--
Matt Silberstein

Donate to the C.A.N.D.L.E.S. Museum, burnt down by arsonists who wrote
"Remember Timothy McVeigh" on the wall.

C.A.N.D.L.E.S. stands for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments
Survivors.

www.candles-museum.com

John Wilkins

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 4:25:36 AM2/28/04
to
Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:

I totally agree that the cell is a biochemical machine, and I make the
inverse analogy to the one you do - it's not that cells are like
engines, but that engines are (weakly) like cells. The only differences
of note are the extreme lack of complexity of an engine, necessitating
the need for intervention to keep it running due to the fragility of its
systems and inability to adapt to its environment. In short, the analogy
*still* doesn't license the claim that intelligence is needed for cells.
In fact, intelligence is only needed when the thing is simple, not when
it is complex and adaptable.


>
> >
> > > Why not? We know the properties of the constituent parts, the pieces
> > > of metal, the fluids, the gases. We understand the forces involved,
> > > the spark that ignites the fuel, the force that pushes the cylinder
> > > down, the angular momentum that turns the engine. We open the hood and
> > > we see the engine running, apparently without any intelligent guidance
> > > or input. But we know full well that the automobile engine is the
> > > product of intelligent design. The parts were fabricated and assembled
> > > using well understood principles of engineering. So while it *looks*
> > > to us like there's no intelligence involved, we are aware that is not
> > > so. The intelligence is in the design, fabrication and assembly of the
> > > constituent parts using principles of engineering and mathematics.
> >
> > Yes, but once constructed, it runs due to physical processes.
>
> So does a living organism.

Correct - see above.


>
> >
> > As a matter of fact, it was constructed using physical processes, too -
> > a species of African Ape, through trial and error, learned about the
> > properties of the constituent elements, and assembled them in various
> > ways, until a successful engine was constructed - out of designs
> > themselves produced by trial and error (and a fair degree of
> > serendipity) for other engines, such as steam engines. At no point was
> > any of this not natural.
>
> Nor was it the result of random, non-directed or accidental
> occurrences. The intelligence of the African Ape directed the design,
> construction and assembly of the constituent parts into a working
> machine, just as a higher intelligence directed the design,
> construction and assembly of biochemical processes and structures into
> living organisms. In both cases, the end product is the result of
> intelligent input.

Actually, no. Intelligence did not result in an engine, de novo.
Intelligence is merely a capacity to retain trials that work and abandon
trials that do not work. Our very ability to do this is itself the end
result of several hundred million years of trial and error, ever since a
notochord and sense organs arose in evolution.

There is nothing magical about intelligence. It has no marvellous powers
that Ordinary Things Do Not Have. It is a series of systems that take
input, learn by trial and error at all levels from the cellular up, and
generalises with varying degrees of success. No "noetic rays" as Putnam
joked reach out from the brain through the senses to delve deeply into
the Way Things Are - we use induction, reason and evidence to make
increasingly educated guesses, which we these days call scientific
theories.

But yes, science has always relied on random variation of ideas and
sheer luck, and on repeated trial and error, and *nothing else*. And any
engineer who makes use of the laws of load bearing solids, energy
distribution, and chemical processes is heir to that long train of trial
and error. They have no privileged access to reality through reason
alone.


>
> >
> > And there is no analogy to be made from engines to genes that is not
> > also support for the natural selection and common descent of ideas
> > through blind trial and error. At every point in the evolution of
> > enginess and all other machines, there were a myriad of failures, some
> > in the mind, itself the product of trial and error of the purely
> > biological kind, others in models, equations, and early breadboard
> > tests.
>
> I disagree. The analogy is strong.
> The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
> technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
> because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
> any element of the design achieved by chance. Only by the most strict
> application of the rules of engineering was the final result obtained.
> There is no way that a random search could ever have discovered the
> design of the internal combustion engine. In all cases, the search for
> function is intelligently guided. Evolution by random mutation is
> analagous to problem solving without any intelligent guidance. In the
> case of every kind of complex, functional system, the total magnitude
> of all combinational possibilities is nearly infinite. Meaningful
> islands of function are so isolated that to find even one by chance
> would be truly a miracle.

You are wrong. We learned about the combustion properties of fossil
fuels by trial and error. We learned about chemistry by trial and error.
We came up with a myriad of ideas to generalise these things that
failed, and kept the few that worked, and that is how science proceeds
even now.

And there *are* ways we can simulate the discovery of scientific laws by
random variation and selective retention. It was first done in the early
90s - when a machine, unattended and unprogrammed to do so, discovered
Newtonian laws, including if memory serves the Ideal Gas Law. All it had
was the data on which those discoveries were based in the first place.

And don't try the Law of Infective Intelligence, which appears to state
that if there is an intelligent entity within a 50 light year radius of
some experiment or event that event must be due to intelligence. That is
both circular and a fallacy of composition. We set up mathematical
models (which is what a computer runs) and see if the results are
isomorphic to what we are trying to explain. if the output does match
the data, then we have explained it *necessarily* without intelligence
involved in the model.

Now you are making a different claim. Now you are saying that the
properties of the components, which themselves are self-assembling, have
intelligence in them. This is no more or less than claiming that they
are created. I'm fine with that - so you think God created the physical
world. Fine. But this doesn't warrant the claim that, within that
created universe, things that are purely physical and occur without
intervention must *also* be called created in any more inclusive sense.

We are learning, and have been since Wöhler synthesised urea in 1830,
how chemistry explains and causes all biological phenomena. There is no
hint, even, of a remainder to be explained apart from that. We alsoknow
that cells self-assemble from earlier cells, as we have now for over a
century and a half, and that cells do not exactly copy themselves. So we
have every reason to think that complex cells can arise sp[ontaneously
from less complex cells.

And it is a fallacy to argue that mixing chemicals in a beaker won't get
you the end result. Mixing the chemicals of a complex organism won't,
but chemistry is not about mixing alone. It is about reactions - and the
sequence of reactions determines the products. So the sequence of applie
dheat, electrical charges, complex molecules entering into reactions
that cause even more complex molecules, and so forth. A large part is
played by catalysis - in which one molecule is made using another as a
template. If the reactions form a cycle, they manufacture their own
template, forming what is called a "hypercycle". These things have been
demonstrated to occur.


>
> >
> > And this is important: if we can see it done without supervision *now*,
> > then it follows logically it is a physical possibility it happened in
> > the past. Therefore, it is a *physical possibility*, not merely a
> > logical one, that genes evolved through ordinary physical processes.
> > Claims to the contrary are simple wishful thinking or failure to
> > understand the facts of the matter.
>
> We cannot see it done without supervision now. All life comes from
> pre-existing life, all genes come from pre-existing genes, all
> structures and processes come from pre-existing structures and
> processes. What occurs in cells and genes is occurring because of
> pre-exosting instructions written into the genome and using
> pre-existing processes and structures already assembled and
> functioning. I would hardly call this "unsupervised".

It is not the supervision that ID requires, not even close. It is simply
a matter of causal reactions. There are no "instructions" - just
molecules that cause other molecules to form through ordinary chemical
reactions. You are being misled by a metaphor, that's all.


>
>
> >
> > > It strikes me as baffling that for years scientists concentrated
> > > on protein synthesis and just assumed that once the proteins were
> > > assembled that by some magic they would somehow organize themselves in
> > > such a way that they would carry out the life functions. They almost
> > > completely denied the important role played by the remaining portion
> > > of the genome, the non-coding DNA and more importantly, the RNA.
> >
> > This is a non-sequitur, and historically false. There were scientists
> > interested in the role of non-coding DNA from their discovery. One of
> > them patented them all, causing no end of headaches for researchers.
>
> In the 1980's
> Not exactly ancient history.
> The historical record will easily reveal many decades of adherence to
> the notion that the non-coding DNA was nothing more than molecular
> garbage, left over from old evolutionary experiments. That it has
> important functions is only now being accepted.

Prior to the 1980s, nobody even knew there was junk DNA.

Rubbish. Science learns also why things exist, in the sense of how they
came to be that way, and why they remain that way. In biology, this is
called evolution. It is, as any biology graduate can tell you, an
integral part of the science.

So ID *does* require a supernatural designer? Because there are plenty
of reasons to think that no natural intelligence we know, or of which we
can conceive, could do this trick in the time available since the
beginning of the universe.


>
> >
> > And Cleanthes is arguably Hume - it is not clear that Hume rejected
> > design; but he was interested in exploring the problems of design
> > arguments. However, to quote Philo back at you:
> >
> > "If the universe bears a greater likeness to animal bodies and to
> > vegetables, than to the works of human art, it is more probable that its
> > cause resembles the cause of the former than that of the latter, and
> > its origin ought rather to be ascribed to generation or vegetation, than
> > to reason or design. Your conclusion, even according to your own
> > principles, is therefore lame and defective. "
>
> What is "lame and defective" is Philo's argument.
> The analogy is absurd. The universe doesn't resemble animal bodies or
> vegetables or works of human art. I don't see any evidence of design
> in the universe, or in the physical earth. I see it only in the living
> organisms that inhabit it and their sequelae.

Then I restrict the claim this is lame and defective to that living
things resemble *known* objects of design. No known designed object
resembles living things, unless we have already learned from living
things. All else is metaphor.

But philosophical issues remain no matter how they are exemplified in
science and technology (which is, by the way, why Aristotle remains a
live issue in the philosophy of biology). People didn't suddenly get
smart int he late 19th century or in the 1950s. Hume asked questions
IDers have yet to deal with. The logic remains - we do not see design in
life similar to the design we see in "art" (Greek: techne).

Eric Weiss

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 8:27:13 AM2/28/04
to
Mark Isaak <eci...@earthlinkNOSPAM.next> wrote in message news:<3oov3094emo1o17r2...@4ax.com>...

> On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 18:47:09 +0000 (UTC), who...@optonline.net (Eric
> Weiss) wrote:
>
> >I disagree. The analogy [engines vs. genes] is strong.
> >The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
> >technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
> >because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
> >any element of the design achieved by chance.
>
> That claim is unjustified. I don't know a lot about the history of
> automobile engines, but I do recall that the inspiration for the steam
> engine came from a chance observation of steam from a kettle blowing
> against a spoon. Certainly the invention of vulcanized rubber
> (another important part of automobiles) was achieved by chance. Trial
> and error is an *essential* part of design. Part of design is
> generating different alternatives and selecting from among them. (The
> alternatives need not be for production, but possibly in prototype,
> drafting board, or even conceptually.) If a designer cannot do that,
> then they should give up trying to design.

Each of those examples required human intelligence to recognize and
apply. Serendipity is an important part of science and engineering,
but this has no value unless it is observed and understood by a higher
intelligence. Trial and error has a role also, but every decision is
driven by human insight, just as it is when applying genetic
algorithms. The process of designing and building a steam engine or
vulcanizing rubber was not a random, accidental, or non-directed
occurrence, it was only possible with the assistance of intelligent
minds.

>
> Design is an evolutionary process. It generates variation and selects
> among them, just as biological evolution. There are major differences
> between the two as well, of course, making biological life and the
> products of design unmistakeably different, but the process of
> evolution is essential to design. To reject evolution but accept
> intelligent design is a logical contradiction.

The important point here is that the "selection" is being done by
human intelligence using insight. You would have natural selection
substitute for intelligence but it cannot. It simply does not have the
power. Of course, if you can demonstrate that it *does* have such
power I would certainly listen, but so far science has offered nothing
in the way of evidence that this is possible.

Eric Weiss

Eric Weiss

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 8:57:13 AM2/28/04
to
Matt Silberstein <matts...@ix.netcom.nospamcom> wrote in message news:<29uv30tap52fche0r...@4ax.com>...

> In talk.origins I read this message from who...@optonline.net
> (Eric Weiss):
>
> >john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9tku1.9xu5ygnmwqh4N%john...@wilkins.id.au>...
> >> Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:
> [snip]
>
> >Just as a living organism stops without intervention when it's
> >deprived of food and water and the heart stops beating and the lungs
> >can no longer absorb oxygen and when the brain function ceases. This
> >is a biochemical machine, alive when it's life processes are
> >functioning and dead when they are not, by virtue of the chemical and
> >physical properties of it's components (unless you want to propose a
> >vitalistic "life force" or soul)
>
> Just like a hurricane is a meteorological machine, one which
> "dies" when its energy source is removed.

I'm glad you decided to put that word in quotes. Clearly it is
stretching the meaning beyond it's intended limits. Not to mention
anthropomorphizing hurricanes ;-)

>
> [snip]
>
> >I disagree. The analogy is strong.
> >The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
> >technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
> >because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
> >any element of the design achieved by chance.
>
> You and I must have a different notion of how automobile design
> works. We get features because one engineer played golf with the
> boss while another was chronically late for meetings. Yet another
> happens because someone happens to read an article while waiting
> for the doctor.

I think you misunderstood what I was saying. Automobiles did not
design themselves. They are the product of human intelligence and
insight. Absent human intervention, automobiles would not exist. As I
said, serendipity and trial and error play roles, but the decisions
are made by human minds.

>
> > Only by the most strict
> >application of the rules of engineering was the final result obtained.
>
> Obviously you have not studied the history of automobile design.
> What was the design rule that kept Fords black?

A human mind decided so.

>
> >There is no way that a random search could ever have discovered the
> >design of the internal combustion engine.
>
> Nice argument by assertion. Too bad the math says otherwise. If
> you don't know the domain, any search is as good as another. For
> many domains, such as smooth topography of the solution space, a
> random choice *combined* with selection is quite efficient.

My math shows otherwise. Random search strategies are notoriously
ineffective.

>
> > In all cases, the search for
> >function is intelligently guided. Evolution by random mutation is
> >analagous to problem solving without any intelligent guidance.
>
> Try adding selection to your ideas here.

Selection based on human insight is fine with me. Natural selection
lacks the component of intelligent insight.

>
> > In the
> >case of every kind of complex, functional system, the total magnitude
> >of all combinational possibilities is nearly infinite. Meaningful
> >islands of function are so isolated that to find even one by chance
> >would be truly a miracle.
>
> And, yet, the model do. Now let us take a moderately complex
> "functional" system: the New York metropolitan transit system. Do
> you really want to argue this system was designed? That there are
> no random aspects to the system?

At every step of the way, human minds made decisions. The entire
system was not laid out in one schematic, it was added on to and
modified at many points along the way, but each decision was
intelligently guided, based on the prevailing conditions at the time.
At one point it was thought that an elevated line along 3rd ave. was a
good idea. Later it was decided that it was a bad idea and was torn
down. But each decision was right for the moment it was made.

>
> [snip]
>
> >The intelligence is in the design and assembly of the components and
> >the information in the genome that directs it.
>
> Yeah, this is Charlie. Hi, Charlie, how are things? We are back
> to the intelligent genome, are we?
>
> [snip]
>
>
> >We cannot see it done without supervision now. All life comes from
> >pre-existing life, all genes come from pre-existing genes, all
> >structures and processes come from pre-existing structures and
> >processes.
>
> Which are you discussing? The origin of life or the subsequent
> diversification?

I think Dr. Wilkins point was that we can see genes evolving now,
through ordinary physical processes without supervision. My point is
that there is more involved than purely physical processes, there is
guidance from the templates. And his claim that this can be extended
back into the past does nothing to explain where they came from in the
first place, only that they can be modified over time. In addition, we
have no evidence that this modification is random, accidental or
unguided.

>
> What occurs in cells and genes is occurring because of
> >pre-exosting instructions written into the genome and using
> >pre-existing processes and structures already assembled and
> >functioning. I would hardly call this "unsupervised".
> >
>
> I would. There are no genome fairies running things. There is
> nothing in the genome that has foreknowledge of future
> environments.

There are no automobile engine fairies running things either, but we
know that it is the result of intelligent engineering. Once designed
and assembled, the engine *looks like* it's running without any
intelligent intervention. But we know better.

>
> [snip]
> [snip]
> >
> >Eric Weiss
>
> Any relation to the great Eric Weiss?

No. But I'm still waiting every Halloween for him to return. :-)

Eric Weiss

Matt Silberstein

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 1:13:04 PM2/28/04
to
In talk.origins I read this message from who...@optonline.net
(Eric Weiss):

>Matt Silberstein <matts...@ix.netcom.nospamcom> wrote in message news:<29uv30tap52fche0r...@4ax.com>...
>> In talk.origins I read this message from who...@optonline.net
>> (Eric Weiss):
>>
>> >john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9tku1.9xu5ygnmwqh4N%john...@wilkins.id.au>...
>> >> Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:
>> [snip]
>>
>> >Just as a living organism stops without intervention when it's
>> >deprived of food and water and the heart stops beating and the lungs
>> >can no longer absorb oxygen and when the brain function ceases. This
>> >is a biochemical machine, alive when it's life processes are
>> >functioning and dead when they are not, by virtue of the chemical and
>> >physical properties of it's components (unless you want to propose a
>> >vitalistic "life force" or soul)
>>
>> Just like a hurricane is a meteorological machine, one which
>> "dies" when its energy source is removed.
>
>I'm glad you decided to put that word in quotes. Clearly it is
>stretching the meaning beyond it's intended limits.

Why is that clear? How are they not machines? How is die
different for life than for a hurricane?

>Not to mention
>anthropomorphizing hurricanes ;-)

No anthro at all.

>>
>> [snip]
>>
>> >I disagree. The analogy is strong.
>> >The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
>> >technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
>> >because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
>> >any element of the design achieved by chance.
>>
>> You and I must have a different notion of how automobile design
>> works. We get features because one engineer played golf with the
>> boss while another was chronically late for meetings. Yet another
>> happens because someone happens to read an article while waiting
>> for the doctor.
>
>I think you misunderstood what I was saying.

No, I disagree.

>Automobiles did not
>design themselves. They are the product of human intelligence and
>insight.

Please define intelligence. It is really important that we have a
common static understanding of the key terms in the discussion.
If we don't agree on what intelligent and design means then
simply won't be able to communicate. I will, for this discussion,
accept your definitions. But we will then need to look to see if
human design itself occurs.

> Absent human intervention, automobiles would not exist.

Absent hot water hurricanes won't exist. I know you think that
human intention has some, well, magical quality. It is a nice
conceit that our desires are meaningful aspects of the world, but
the notion has no scientific support.

> As I
>said, serendipity and trial and error play roles, but the decisions
>are made by human minds.

To some extent. But now we agree that random actions play a role.
And that selection plays a role. So all you have to do is show
that there is some additional force that is required. Human
"desires" shape our decision to produce things that meet those
desires. That does not mean that human desires are required for
"complexity".

>>
>> > Only by the most strict
>> >application of the rules of engineering was the final result obtained.
>>
>> Obviously you have not studied the history of automobile design.
>> What was the design rule that kept Fords black?
>
>A human mind decided so.

By what strict application of the rules of engineering?

>>
>> >There is no way that a random search could ever have discovered the
>> >design of the internal combustion engine.
>>
>> Nice argument by assertion. Too bad the math says otherwise. If
>> you don't know the domain, any search is as good as another. For
>> many domains, such as smooth topography of the solution space, a
>> random choice *combined* with selection is quite efficient.
>
>My math shows otherwise. Random search strategies are notoriously
>ineffective.

Notoriously now? Over what search space? Care to discuss what the
No Free Lunch Theorem actually states? (I think it does not apply
to the real world, but it does apply to your claims.)

>>
>> > In all cases, the search for
>> >function is intelligently guided. Evolution by random mutation is
>> >analagous to problem solving without any intelligent guidance.
>>
>> Try adding selection to your ideas here.
>
>Selection based on human insight is fine with me. Natural selection
>lacks the component of intelligent insight.

And what is this human insight? How does it work? That is, do you
claim that humans have some ability to actually foresee the
future? Lacking that, they are still using an evolutionary
mechanism. We build internal models of stuff and we try things
out in those models. Those that succeed can make it to the
external world. But how do we get the things we try? If they are
the product of other internal models that just pushes back the
question. Either the tries are random with respect to the actual
"right" result or they are not random. It is up to you to show
that we have some kind of non-random idea producer (separate from
our internal models).

>>
>> > In the
>> >case of every kind of complex, functional system, the total magnitude
>> >of all combinational possibilities is nearly infinite. Meaningful
>> >islands of function are so isolated that to find even one by chance
>> >would be truly a miracle.
>>
>> And, yet, the model do. Now let us take a moderately complex
>> "functional" system: the New York metropolitan transit system. Do
>> you really want to argue this system was designed? That there are
>> no random aspects to the system?
>
>At every step of the way, human minds made decisions.

Regarding what? Certainly not regarding the transportation
system. Nor did human decisions control each step. Sometimes
someone might die, putting a building up for sale. Another time
building might fall down due to some problem. Or a person might
chase a cat starting a path. And so on. Your faith that human
intention controls all human actions is touching, but
unrealistic.

> The entire
>system was not laid out in one schematic, it was added on to and
>modified at many points along the way, but each decision was
>intelligently guided, based on the prevailing conditions at the time.

For some odd meaning of intelligent, still no. If a road gets
built here, rather than there, because someone's friends own the
land and will make a killing on the sale, that is not
"intelligent guidance" for the purpose of building a
transportation system.

>At one point it was thought that an elevated line along 3rd ave. was a
>good idea. Later it was decided that it was a bad idea and was torn
>down. But each decision was right for the moment it was made.

ROTFLMAO. Now we get "right" decisions. Not simply decisions, but
these humans are always right in what they do. Right for what?
For the transportation system?

>>
>> [snip]
>>
>> >The intelligence is in the design and assembly of the components and
>> >the information in the genome that directs it.
>>
>> Yeah, this is Charlie. Hi, Charlie, how are things? We are back
>> to the intelligent genome, are we?

Not even a friendly hi? Come on, Charlie, you are quite
recognizable in style and argument. Since you are not using this
sock puppet to say how smart Mr. Wagner is there is no real
problem, but stop pretending. It is just silly.



>> [snip]
>>
>>
>> >We cannot see it done without supervision now. All life comes from
>> >pre-existing life, all genes come from pre-existing genes, all
>> >structures and processes come from pre-existing structures and
>> >processes.
>>
>> Which are you discussing? The origin of life or the subsequent
>> diversification?
>
>I think Dr. Wilkins point was that we can see genes evolving now,
>through ordinary physical processes without supervision. My point is
>that there is more involved than purely physical processes, there is
>guidance from the templates.

1) How is that not a purely materialistic process?

2) How is it guidance? Does it have some knowledge of future
conditions in some manner?

> And his claim that this can be extended
>back into the past does nothing to explain where they came from in the
>first place, only that they can be modified over time. In addition, we
>have no evidence that this modification is random, accidental or
>unguided.
>

Excepting for all those experiments that do show that mutations
occur with the same random frequency whether or not the organism
"needs" the mutation. Continually denying this does not make it
go away.



>> What occurs in cells and genes is occurring because of
>> >pre-exosting instructions written into the genome and using
>> >pre-existing processes and structures already assembled and
>> >functioning. I would hardly call this "unsupervised".
>> >
>>
>> I would. There are no genome fairies running things. There is
>> nothing in the genome that has foreknowledge of future
>> environments.
>
>There are no automobile engine fairies running things either, but we
>know that it is the result of intelligent engineering. Once designed
>and assembled, the engine *looks like* it's running without any
>intelligent intervention. But we know better.

Automobile engines do not build themselves, they don't evolve.
The analogy is empty.

>>
>> [snip]
>> [snip]
>> >
>> >Eric Weiss
>>
>> Any relation to the great Eric Weiss?
>
>No. But I'm still waiting every Halloween for him to return. :-)

I used to drive past his old house in Laurel Canyon. It had
partially fallen down and was overgrown. Perfectly appropriate.

Bigdakine

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 2:13:57 PM2/28/04
to
>Subject: Re: OT: RNAi animation
>From: who...@optonline.net (Eric Weiss)
>Date: 2/26/04 5:16 PM Hawaiian Standard Time
>Message-id: <67b15f73.04022...@posting.google.com>

So would you argue the Sun requires intervention in making helium?

After all, it wasn't to long ago that we had no understanding of how that
worked.

Explain why, 100, years ago you would not require intelligent intervention in
the workings of the Sun.

Then explain why you would not feel foolish when the explanation became
apparent in the 30's?

<snip>

Stuart
Dr. Stuart A. Weinstein
Ewa Beach Institute of Tectonics
"To err is human, but to really foul things up
requires a creationist"

Seppo Pietikainen

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 3:15:54 PM2/28/04
to

Yeah, well... there seems to be this particular apparently, "neo-"creationist :-)
school who believe that their god spends its time holding atoms together:

<http://www.skepticfiles.org/atheist/atomxin.htm>

While This particular deity would be a *tad* busy maintaining the fusion in the
sun, apparently it *would* be a relaxing opportunity to design unique snowflakes
and exquisite species of beetle every few trillionth's of picoseconds.

I'm not at all surprised why "some" of the prayers made by us mere humans remain
unanswered, churches get mauled by tornadoes and thunderstorms (Hmm.., well, it
*just might* be more complexicated to steer tornadoes and thunderstorms to miss
its places of devotion than the maintaining the nuclear fusion in our sun...).

OTOH, there *appears* to be a whole lot of *other* suns over there...
Maybe we're really blessed here on our planet and a whole lot of nuclear fusions
go awry in some of those stars... Nope, not really. Their deity *already* has
made it so that there are no stars further away than ~6000 LY (it's just a little
joke from their god...).

Anyway, to continue, devout believers get run over by
various assortment of vehicles, devout people get hijacked and killed by a bunch of
*other* devout followers of the same deity (albeit, with a *different* set of
"eternal" and "unchanging" truths), using airplanes to fly them at various big
buildings and all that nasty stuff...

Their deity is obviously occupied with something more more important.
Every once in a while, _their_ "god" turns its face benignly at us and
provides a gallon or two of gas to some of his devout followers (or one?
Could Jason Gastrich's Honda-miracle qualify as a real-thing? (:-)) .

Hmm. perhaps their god just happens to be more partial to Honda Civics, beetles,
snowflakes and nuclear reactions than sufferings of mere people?

Seppo P.

Mark Isaak

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 3:34:47 PM2/28/04
to
On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 13:27:13 +0000 (UTC), who...@optonline.net (Eric
Weiss) wrote:

>Mark Isaak <eci...@earthlinkNOSPAM.next> wrote in message news:<3oov3094emo1o17r2...@4ax.com>...
>> On Fri, 27 Feb 2004 18:47:09 +0000 (UTC), who...@optonline.net (Eric
>> Weiss) wrote:
>>
>> >I disagree. The analogy [engines vs. genes] is strong.
>> >The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
>> >technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
>> >because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
>> >any element of the design achieved by chance.
>>
>> That claim is unjustified. I don't know a lot about the history of
>> automobile engines, but I do recall that the inspiration for the steam
>> engine came from a chance observation of steam from a kettle blowing
>> against a spoon. Certainly the invention of vulcanized rubber
>> (another important part of automobiles) was achieved by chance. Trial
>> and error is an *essential* part of design. Part of design is
>> generating different alternatives and selecting from among them. (The
>> alternatives need not be for production, but possibly in prototype,
>> drafting board, or even conceptually.) If a designer cannot do that,
>> then they should give up trying to design.
>
>Each of those examples required human intelligence to recognize and
>apply. Serendipity is an important part of science and engineering,
>but this has no value unless it is observed and understood by a higher
>intelligence.

Again your claim is unjustified. Serendipity has no value unless it
is accepted, but intelligence is not necessary to accomplish that.
Acceptance can also take the form of trying out the different
varieties and giving some kind of preference to those that perform
better by some measure. No higher intelligence is necessary for this.

You make a good point that human insight makes the process a lot more
efficient. As a result, technological advance is very rapid.
Evolution is very slow by comparison, which shows that life is not
designed.

Eric Weiss

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 10:10:42 PM2/28/04
to
Matt Silberstein <matts...@ix.netcom.nospamcom> wrote in message news:<7gl140poi2s19n296...@4ax.com>...

> In talk.origins I read this message from who...@optonline.net
> (Eric Weiss):
>
> >Matt Silberstein <matts...@ix.netcom.nospamcom> wrote in message news:<29uv30tap52fche0r...@4ax.com>...
> >> In talk.origins I read this message from who...@optonline.net
> >> (Eric Weiss):
> >>
> >> >john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9tku1.9xu5ygnmwqh4N%john...@wilkins.id.au>...
> >> >> Eric Weiss <who...@optonline.net> wrote:
> >> [snip]
> >>
> >> >Just as a living organism stops without intervention when it's
> >> >deprived of food and water and the heart stops beating and the lungs
> >> >can no longer absorb oxygen and when the brain function ceases. This
> >> >is a biochemical machine, alive when it's life processes are
> >> >functioning and dead when they are not, by virtue of the chemical and
> >> >physical properties of it's components (unless you want to propose a
> >> >vitalistic "life force" or soul)
> >>
> >> Just like a hurricane is a meteorological machine, one which
> >> "dies" when its energy source is removed.
> >
> >I'm glad you decided to put that word in quotes. Clearly it is
> >stretching the meaning beyond it's intended limits.
>
> Why is that clear? How are they not machines? How is die
> different for life than for a hurricane?

The definition of life is very specific. (You may not have heard this
before).
Life is a property possessed by a functional biochemical machine. A
biochemical machine (living organism) dies when it ceases to function
as it was intended.
Living and dying do not ever refer to non-biochemical machines, such
as engines or computers, although the expression "it died on me" is
often used in an inappropriate, anthropomorphic manner, nor does it
refer to any non-biochemical system, such as a hurricane.

>
> >Not to mention
> >anthropomorphizing hurricanes ;-)
>
> No anthro at all.

I love that word. Learned it in 9th grade. That and "quintessential".
I have also been fond of "disingenuous", although it is somewhat
played out.

>
> >>
> >> [snip]
> >>
> >> >I disagree. The analogy is strong.
> >> >The analogy between biological evolution by natural selection and
> >> >technological advances is a false analogy. The analogy is false
> >> >because at no point in the development of the automobile engine was
> >> >any element of the design achieved by chance.
> >>
> >> You and I must have a different notion of how automobile design
> >> works. We get features because one engineer played golf with the
> >> boss while another was chronically late for meetings. Yet another
> >> happens because someone happens to read an article while waiting
> >> for the doctor.
> >
> >I think you misunderstood what I was saying.
>
> No, I disagree.

Fair enough.

>
> >Automobiles did not
> >design themselves. They are the product of human intelligence and
> >insight.
>
> Please define intelligence. It is really important that we have a
> common static understanding of the key terms in the discussion.
> If we don't agree on what intelligent and design means then
> simply won't be able to communicate. I will, for this discussion,
> accept your definitions. But we will then need to look to see if
> human design itself occurs.

Good question. The simplest definition I can come up with is "the
ability to solve problems". I would add "through the use of intuitive
reason or insight".
Intelligence begets algorithms, which are instructions that describe
how to do something. Algorithms do not ever write themselves, nor can
they pass jusgement on their own validity. That is reserved for
insight and intelligence. Feel free to expand on this if you're not
happy with it.

>
> > Absent human intervention, automobiles would not exist.
>
> Absent hot water hurricanes won't exist. I know you think that
> human intention has some, well, magical quality. It is a nice
> conceit that our desires are meaningful aspects of the world, but
> the notion has no scientific support.

You must distinguish between systems that are the result of the
physical and chemical properties of the components, such as hurricanes
and snowflakes and systems that are the result of intelligence and
reasoning, such as automobiles or computers. A hurricane can form
without intelligent intervention, an automobile cannot.

>
> > As I
> >said, serendipity and trial and error play roles, but the decisions
> >are made by human minds.
>
> To some extent. But now we agree that random actions play a role.
> And that selection plays a role. So all you have to do is show
> that there is some additional force that is required. Human
> "desires" shape our decision to produce things that meet those
> desires. That does not mean that human desires are required for
> "complexity".

I agree that random actions play a role and that selection plays a
role. Both factors, however are intelligently directed. When an
engineer notices an effect and co-opts it for a machine he's building,
that's a random, chance occurrence. When an engineer selects a
component to use in his machine, he's making a selection. But his
brain is always the creative force. Tha's intelligent guidance.


>
> >>
> >> > Only by the most strict
> >> >application of the rules of engineering was the final result obtained.
> >>
> >> Obviously you have not studied the history of automobile design.
> >> What was the design rule that kept Fords black?
> >
> >A human mind decided so.
>
> By what strict application of the rules of engineering?

The color of the machine is nor crucial to it's function, so it's an
arbitrary decision requiring no engineering protocol. But it's
intelligently decided.



>
> >>
> >> >There is no way that a random search could ever have discovered the
> >> >design of the internal combustion engine.
> >>
> >> Nice argument by assertion. Too bad the math says otherwise. If
> >> you don't know the domain, any search is as good as another. For
> >> many domains, such as smooth topography of the solution space, a
> >> random choice *combined* with selection is quite efficient.
> >
> >My math shows otherwise. Random search strategies are notoriously
> >ineffective.
>
> Notoriously now? Over what search space? Care to discuss what the
> No Free Lunch Theorem actually states? (I think it does not apply
> to the real world, but it does apply to your claims.)

I don't know anything about the NFL theorum. But I am familiar with
university level mathematics and it's a basic fact. Try to guess my
phone number and you'll see how bad it really is.

>
> >>
> >> > In all cases, the search for
> >> >function is intelligently guided. Evolution by random mutation is
> >> >analagous to problem solving without any intelligent guidance.
> >>
> >> Try adding selection to your ideas here.
> >
> >Selection based on human insight is fine with me. Natural selection
> >lacks the component of intelligent insight.
>
> And what is this human insight? How does it work? That is, do you
> claim that humans have some ability to actually foresee the
> future? Lacking that, they are still using an evolutionary
> mechanism. We build internal models of stuff and we try things
> out in those models. Those that succeed can make it to the
> external world. But how do we get the things we try? If they are
> the product of other internal models that just pushes back the
> question. Either the tries are random with respect to the actual
> "right" result or they are not random. It is up to you to show
> that we have some kind of non-random idea producer (separate from
> our internal models).

Humans do have a way to "forsee the future" in the sense that they can
often see in advance the consequences of their decisions and predict
outcomes, often with great accuracy. This is the beauty of the analog
human mind. Humans also have the ability to solve problems, (many
lower animals have such ability also, in proportion to their means),
which is a measure of intelligence. Aside from living organisms, no
other system, component or form of energy has this ability. When a
person comes to a stream that he must cross he has a problem. He
doesn't try random actions like jumping up and down, or shouting
obscenities or waving his arms. His intelligence informs him that he
can probably use a nearby tree that has fallen down and use it as a
bridge. He doesn;t come to this realization by accident, it is guided
by his intelligence. He may have to try a few different things before
he succeeds, but his brain has narrowed the things to try to just a
few. His insight allows him to immediately see that jumping or waving
or shouting probably won't work. His insight guides him to a solution
in a short amount of time. This is because his brain is an analog
computer, capable of these computations. In fact, it is far more
advanced than any such human-built computer in existence. It is so far
beyond human ability that it is proposterous to think that it is the
result of random, accidental events as described by evolution.



>
> >>
> >> > In the
> >> >case of every kind of complex, functional system, the total magnitude
> >> >of all combinational possibilities is nearly infinite. Meaningful
> >> >islands of function are so isolated that to find even one by chance
> >> >would be truly a miracle.
> >>
> >> And, yet, the model do. Now let us take a moderately complex
> >> "functional" system: the New York metropolitan transit system. Do
> >> you really want to argue this system was designed? That there are
> >> no random aspects to the system?
> >
> >At every step of the way, human minds made decisions.
>
> Regarding what? Certainly not regarding the transportation
> system. Nor did human decisions control each step. Sometimes
> someone might die, putting a building up for sale. Another time
> building might fall down due to some problem. Or a person might
> chase a cat starting a path. And so on. Your faith that human
> intention controls all human actions is touching, but
> unrealistic.

Not all actions. Intelligent guidance, combined with chance,
serendipity and trial and error. Without human intelligence there
would be no subway system. No series of random, accidental
occurrences, regardless of the available time, ever would have
resulted in it's construction. (When I was a kid I used to ride the
West End local to Coney Island. Now *that* was a thrill. Especially
the turn at the end.)

>
> > The entire
> >system was not laid out in one schematic, it was added on to and
> >modified at many points along the way, but each decision was
> >intelligently guided, based on the prevailing conditions at the time.
>
> For some odd meaning of intelligent, still no. If a road gets
> built here, rather than there, because someone's friends own the
> land and will make a killing on the sale, that is not
> "intelligent guidance" for the purpose of building a
> transportation system.

The point at the end of the day, is that the road would not have been
built at all uunless human intelligence played a role.

>
> >At one point it was thought that an elevated line along 3rd ave. was a
> >good idea. Later it was decided that it was a bad idea and was torn
> >down. But each decision was right for the moment it was made.
>
> ROTFLMAO. Now we get "right" decisions. Not simply decisions, but
> these humans are always right in what they do. Right for what?
> For the transportation system?

Again, as above.

>
> >>
> >> [snip]
> >>
> >> >The intelligence is in the design and assembly of the components and
> >> >the information in the genome that directs it.
> >>
> >> Yeah, this is Charlie. Hi, Charlie, how are things? We are back
> >> to the intelligent genome, are we?
>
> Not even a friendly hi? Come on, Charlie, you are quite
> recognizable in style and argument. Since you are not using this
> sock puppet to say how smart Mr. Wagner is there is no real
> problem, but stop pretending. It is just silly.

I would not make such a query. I have a high regard for a person's
right to personal privacy.

>
> >> [snip]
> >>
> >>
> >> >We cannot see it done without supervision now. All life comes from
> >> >pre-existing life, all genes come from pre-existing genes, all
> >> >structures and processes come from pre-existing structures and
> >> >processes.
> >>
> >> Which are you discussing? The origin of life or the subsequent
> >> diversification?
> >
> >I think Dr. Wilkins point was that we can see genes evolving now,
> >through ordinary physical processes without supervision. My point is
> >that there is more involved than purely physical processes, there is
> >guidance from the templates.
>
> 1) How is that not a purely materialistic process?

If all genes come from pre-existing genes, one must woinder where the
*first* genes came from. Was it turtles all the way down? Who or what
created these templates?

>
> 2) How is it guidance? Does it have some knowledge of future
> conditions in some manner?

The 2 new cells form from the parent cell, using it as a template. It
doesn't organize itself from raw materials. Genes use other genes as
templates for replication. Where did it start?


>
> > And his claim that this can be extended
> >back into the past does nothing to explain where they came from in the
> >first place, only that they can be modified over time. In addition, we
> >have no evidence that this modification is random, accidental or
> >unguided.
> >
> Excepting for all those experiments that do show that mutations
> occur with the same random frequency whether or not the organism
> "needs" the mutation. Continually denying this does not make it
> go away.

I don't deny it. Mutations occur randomly irrespective of need. My
point is that these random mutations cannot accumulate to form new
adaptations.

>
> >> What occurs in cells and genes is occurring because of
> >> >pre-exosting instructions written into the genome and using
> >> >pre-existing processes and structures already assembled and
> >> >functioning. I would hardly call this "unsupervised".
> >> >
> >>
> >> I would. There are no genome fairies running things. There is
> >> nothing in the genome that has foreknowledge of future
> >> environments.
> >
> >There are no automobile engine fairies running things either, but we
> >know that it is the result of intelligent engineering. Once designed
> >and assembled, the engine *looks like* it's running without any
> >intelligent intervention. But we know better.
>
> Automobile engines do not build themselves, they don't evolve.
> The analogy is empty.

It's even more powerful because it puts living systems light years
ahead of human-made systems. Making it even more unlikely that they
are the result of random processes.


>
> >>
> >> [snip]
> >> [snip]
> >> >
> >> >Eric Weiss
> >>
> >> Any relation to the great Eric Weiss?
> >
> >No. But I'm still waiting every Halloween for him to return. :-)
>
> I used to drive past his old house in Laurel Canyon. It had
> partially fallen down and was overgrown. Perfectly appropriate.

Cool...

Eric Weiss (not Erich)

John Monrad

unread,
Feb 28, 2004, 10:56:22 PM2/28/04
to
On Sat, 28 Feb 2004 20:15:54 +0000 (UTC), Seppo Pietikainen posted...

> Hmm. perhaps their god just happens to be more partial to Honda Civics,
> beetles, snowflakes and nuclear reactions

And smiting. Don't forget the smiting...

> than sufferings of mere people?


--
John Monrad

Eric Weiss

unread,
Feb 29, 2004, 1:28:24 PM2/29/04
to
john...@wilkins.id.au (John Wilkins) wrote in message news:<1g9v0bi.ys9yoj18iz9ybN%john...@wilkins.id.au>...

The intervention is not needed to keep it running, it's needed for its
construction. More highly organized and complex systems require
greater intelligent input to assemble them and make them functional.

Intelligent guidance, driven by insight. An algorithm can't pass
judgement on itself. It requires a higher intelligence. Natural
selection cannot substitute for intelligent guidance.

>
> There is nothing magical about intelligence. It has no marvellous powers
> that Ordinary Things Do Not Have. It is a series of systems that take
> input, learn by trial and error at all levels from the cellular up, and
> generalises with varying degrees of success. No "noetic rays" as Putnam
> joked reach out from the brain through the senses to delve deeply into
> the Way Things Are - we use induction, reason and evidence to make
> increasingly educated guesses, which we these days call scientific
> theories.

The intelligence is in the inherent ability to take input, learn by
trial and error and formulate generalizations or solve problems. No
inanimate matter can do this. Nothing in nature besides living
organisms have the ability to process data. None.

>
> But yes, science has always relied on random variation of ideas and
> sheer luck, and on repeated trial and error, and *nothing else*. And any
> engineer who makes use of the laws of load bearing solids, energy
> distribution, and chemical processes is heir to that long train of trial
> and error. They have no privileged access to reality through reason
> alone.

Of course they do.

The chemistry of the earth would not have changed one whit, absent
human intervention. The same reactions would be occurring today as
occurred 4 billion years ago. The modification of chemical properties
to create new compounds is the result of intelligent guidance by human
minds. (I think you're putting me on a bit now, right? You're too
smart to say something like that.)

>
> And there *are* ways we can simulate the discovery of scientific laws by
> random variation and selective retention. It was first done in the early
> 90s - when a machine, unattended and unprogrammed to do so, discovered
> Newtonian laws, including if memory serves the Ideal Gas Law. All it had
> was the data on which those discoveries were based in the first place.

A machine built by human intelligence, no doubt. Any more information?
A reference?

>
> And don't try the Law of Infective Intelligence, which appears to state
> that if there is an intelligent entity within a 50 light year radius of
> some experiment or event that event must be due to intelligence. That is
> both circular and a fallacy of composition. We set up mathematical
> models (which is what a computer runs) and see if the results are
> isomorphic to what we are trying to explain. if the output does match
> the data, then we have explained it *necessarily* without intelligence
> involved in the model.

The clue is to look at what would occur if the human intelligence is
removed from the system. Most likely nothing at all.

I don't think that God created the physical world. I don't have any
idea where the physical world came from. The intelligence is in the
design and assembly of the machine or system, not in it's functioning.

>
> We are learning, and have been since Wöhler synthesised urea in 1830,
> how chemistry explains and causes all biological phenomena. There is no
> hint, even, of a remainder to be explained apart from that. We alsoknow
> that cells self-assemble from earlier cells, as we have now for over a
> century and a half, and that cells do not exactly copy themselves. So we
> have every reason to think that complex cells can arise sp[ontaneously
> from less complex cells.

Just like the laws of physics and chemistry can completely explain an
automobile engine. There is nothing left to be explained. We know
where engines are built, what materials are used, what forces cause
them to operate, what energy sources are needed, etc. The only thing
we don't know about cells and genes is where they came from. Our
knowledge of how they work doesn't help answer this dilemma...yet.

>
> And it is a fallacy to argue that mixing chemicals in a beaker won't get
> you the end result. Mixing the chemicals of a complex organism won't,
> but chemistry is not about mixing alone. It is about reactions - and the
> sequence of reactions determines the products. So the sequence of applie
> dheat, electrical charges, complex molecules entering into reactions
> that cause even more complex molecules, and so forth. A large part is
> played by catalysis - in which one molecule is made using another as a
> template. If the reactions form a cycle, they manufacture their own
> template, forming what is called a "hypercycle". These things have been
> demonstrated to occur.

None of this occurs without intelligent guidance.

> >
> > >
> > > And this is important: if we can see it done without supervision *now*,
> > > then it follows logically it is a physical possibility it happened in
> > > the past. Therefore, it is a *physical possibility*, not merely a
> > > logical one, that genes evolved through ordinary physical processes.
> > > Claims to the contrary are simple wishful thinking or failure to
> > > understand the facts of the matter.
> >
> > We cannot see it done without supervision now. All life comes from
> > pre-existing life, all genes come from pre-existing genes, all
> > structures and processes come from pre-existing structures and
> > processes. What occurs in cells and genes is occurring because of
> > pre-exosting instructions written into the genome and using
> > pre-existing processes and structures already assembled and
> > functioning. I would hardly call this "unsupervised".
>
> It is not the supervision that ID requires, not even close. It is simply
> a matter of causal reactions. There are no "instructions" - just
> molecules that cause other molecules to form through ordinary chemical
> reactions. You are being misled by a metaphor, that's all.

Not true. Most compounds in nature are found in their lowest energy
states. There is no reason for them to do anything at all unless
directed to do so by a higher intelligence.


> >
> >
> > >
> > > > It strikes me as baffling that for years scientists concentrated
> > > > on protein synthesis and just assumed that once the proteins were
> > > > assembled that by some magic they would somehow organize themselves in
> > > > such a way that they would carry out the life functions. They almost
> > > > completely denied the important role played by the remaining portion
> > > > of the genome, the non-coding DNA and more importantly, the RNA.
> > >
> > > This is a non-sequitur, and historically false. There were scientists
> > > interested in the role of non-coding DNA from their discovery. One of
> > > them patented them all, causing no end of headaches for researchers.
> >
> > In the 1980's
> > Not exactly ancient history.
> > The historical record will easily reveal many decades of adherence to
> > the notion that the non-coding DNA was nothing more than molecular
> > garbage, left over from old evolutionary experiments. That it has
> > important functions is only now being accepted.
>
> Prior to the 1980s, nobody even knew there was junk DNA.

I heard about it in the 60's I'm sure.

Evolution is not science and science could get along quite nicely
without it, despite what Dobzhansky said (which BTW is probably the
single most stupid statement ever made by a scientist).

No, it doesn't. Only a higher intelligence. The rest is simply
argument from incredulity.

> >
> > >
> > > And Cleanthes is arguably Hume - it is not clear that Hume rejected
> > > design; but he was interested in exploring the problems of design
> > > arguments. However, to quote Philo back at you:
> > >
> > > "If the universe bears a greater likeness to animal bodies and to
> > > vegetables, than to the works of human art, it is more probable that its
> > > cause resembles the cause of the former than that of the latter, and
> > > its origin ought rather to be ascribed to generation or vegetation, than
> > > to reason or design. Your conclusion, even according to your own
> > > principles, is therefore lame and defective. "
> >
> > What is "lame and defective" is Philo's argument.
> > The analogy is absurd. The universe doesn't resemble animal bodies or
> > vegetables or works of human art. I don't see any evidence of design
> > in the universe, or in the physical earth. I see it only in the living
> > organisms that inhabit it and their sequelae.
>
> Then I restrict the claim this is lame and defective to that living
> things resemble *known* objects of design. No known designed object
> resembles living things, unless we have already learned from living
> things. All else is metaphor.

Nothing wrong with metaphor. If the effects resemble each other, the
rules of analogy say that the causes probably also resemble each
other. That machines are analagous to living organisms and since
machines were designed, the logical conclusion is that living
organisms were also designed.

But we do see design in life similar to design in human built
machines. We see design in life similar to design produced by human
intelligence, only greater. It follows that the intelligence that
created life must also be greater than human intelligence.

Eric Weiss

Bigdakine

unread,
Feb 29, 2004, 5:36:32 PM2/29/04
to
>Subject: Re: OT: RNAi animation
>From: who...@optonline.net (Eric Weiss)
>Date: 2/29/04 8:28 AM Hawaiian Standard Time
>Message-id: <67b15f73.04022...@posting.google.com>
>

First of all, that presuppose that intelligent guidance is need in the first
place.

As to what algorithms can and can't do, well I wonder what your response is to
this:

I've written brief bits about this subject before. The use of stochastic hill
climbing problems in solving systems of equations in a more efficeint manner
than traditional methods is fast becomming commonplace in the sciences and
engineering.

Stochastic hill climbing methods are a class of mathematical methods which
harness randomness to find solutions to equations. It's called hill climbing in
an analogy with Sewall Wrights concept of fitness landscapes. Such landscapes
have peaks, where organisms have much greater fitness than organisms in the
plains and valleys below. The trick is getting up the peak. Darwin discovered
the first such algorithm. Its called Natural Selection or descent via
modification. As Dan Dennett distilled it, its quite simple, move up the hill
when you can, don't move back down it. THe simplest method is the Monte Carlo
method. In the monte carlo method (5pts for anyone who can figure out why its
called that, -25 pts for anyone who can't) solutions are chosen at random,
inserted into the equations and we compute a "cost"; a measure of how well it
satisfies the equations. You keep trying randomly derived solutions (guesses)
until you have a population of solutions that satisfies your criteria for
goodness of fit. Usually this is a value of the cost which is chosen as a
threshold. Below such a value you keep the solutions, above you reject. Once
you have a population of *good* solutions you can then perform other sorts of
statistical analyses to learn more about the properties that the hypothetical
*ideal* solution has.

Genetic algorithms are more complex than the Monte-Carlo method. Indeed, they
are quite analogous to NS. You have a population of solutions (sans organisms),
you breed a new generation via x-fertilization and then see how well these new
solutions actually satisy the equations. THose solutions which exceed your cost
criteria are *killed* off. With each generation you can lower your cost
threshold. This is quite like *selection*. Indeed these terms, pepper the
stochastic hill climbing method literature.

In the February (2003) Scientific American, there is an article written by
engineers and computer scientists who used GA's to create novel electronic
circuit deisgns. They were able to duplicate or better 15 previously patented
designs using GA's.

In the case of the most complicated task, designing a "cubic signal generator",
the GA evolved a design which out perfoms a recently patented design that
performs the same task. GA's don't think. They have no cognitive ability. Yet
this GA *designed* such a good circuit. Its even more interesting than that. TO
quote the authors, "The evolved circuit performs with better accuracy than the
designed one, but how it functions is not understood. The evolved circuit is
clearly more complicated, but also contains redundant parts, such as the purple
transistor that contrbutes nothing to the functioning." (You'll have to see the
article). (Page 58, Feb issue of Sci-Am)

So here is a mindless computer algorithm besting intelligent designers with
designs that contain sub-optimal or unneeded parts. How scary is that?


How will the creationists and ID *theorists* respond?

1. Well the algorithm was designed by humans, therefore by the transitive
property of whatever, anything resulting from a GA is also designed by humans.

Of course the fact that the authors still have no idea how the circuit
works will not deter creationists from using the above. How one designs
something while not knowing how it works, even after it is *designed* is a
contradiction that will not bother creationists or ID theorists.

2. Well so what if the circuit has an unneeded part. Perhaps in the future they
will find it does have a function.

While not stated in the article, it would be a simple matter for them to
remove that transistor and verify that the cost value and the performance of
the circuit remains unchanged.

3. Perhaps the SOL or some dieletric constants will change in the future, at
which point, unneeded parts will have a function.

LOL. But no doubt Bill Dembski and others will take that route.

4. Well its not irreducibly complex.

Sorry, Dr. Behe, you remove something besides the unneeded transistor, and
you no longer have a cubic signal generator. Of course, it is like that
transitor was used in a past generation, and is fixed in the *design* as a
result of an historical contingency (RIP, SJG).


5. The circuit was originally perfect, but it was ruined after the Fall.

Umm.. not unless the fall occurred a few months ago.

6. This project was rooted in naturalist assumptions. Therefore its not valid.
Neener-Neener

No Comment.

7. All of the above.

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