Evidence of Things Unseen

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Sean Pitman

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Mar 6, 2004, 11:00:32 AM3/6/04
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seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in message news:<80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com>...
> "Frank Reichenbacher" <vesu...@speakeasy.net> wrote in message news:<H9-dnR7YE4s...@speakeasy.net>...

> > > At some point no one can
> > > explain, in even the most remote sense, our ultimate origins. No
> > > theory or even the most high-level intuitive, educated guess even
> > > begins to be adequate.
> >
> > Naturally you snipped two places in my post where I note that there is
> > every reason to believe that scientists of the future *will* discover
> > the answers to the questions you pose.

It is easy to say this in so many words, but isn't this really nothing
more than a statement of your religious faith? I mean really, I can
say, based on the current evidence that we have available to us, that
an honest investigation of our universe will only detail an ultimate
creative Intelligence/God in a clearer and clearer way. Certainly the
great weight of current evidence already speaks overwhelmingly in
favor of an incredible intelligence behind what we see in this
universe - especially when we look at living things.

Now this is a falsifiable statement. All you have to do to prove me
wrong is to show me where material in this universe organizes itself
very far beyond the lowest levels of functional/informational
complexity without the existence and assistance of pre-established
complexity at that level or greater. If you do this, I will become
like you are. So far though, I have only been able to see matter
organize itself only slightly beyond its original level of functional
complexity if and only if it started out at a very low level of
complexity. Going from a higher level of complexity to a brand new
kind of function at that level or greater simply doesn't happen in
this universe.

For example, evolution can happen between 3-letter words very easily
because, although they do carry a fairly high degree of specificity,
they are coded for by a relatively short sequence of letters. This
creates a ratio of meaningful vs. meaningless of about 1 in 7
potential 3-letter words in the English language system. But what if
the minimum sequence requirement for a particular function was
7-letters? Now the ratio of all 7-letter sequences to include 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, and 6 letter words is around 1 in 250,000. Getting from one
meaningful 7-letter phrase to a different meaningful 7-letter phrase
requires, on average, a fairly long random walk through 250,000
meaningless options. The evolution between 7-letter phrases slows
down significantly when compared to the evolution between 3-letter
phrases.

Just try a little experiment yourself. Start with a short 2 or
3-letter word and see how many words you can evolve that require
greater and greater minimum sequence requirements. No doubt you will
quickly find yourself coming to walls of meaningless or non-beneficial
potential options that separate you from every other meaningful and
beneficial option. Now, the only way to get to a new meaningful much
less beneficial option is to cross the meaningless/non-beneficial gap
of separation. Random walk is all that you have to cross such a gap
and that is a big big problem (Genetic evolution works the very same
way).

Without some sort of outside pre-established guidance, such a random
walk quickly works itself into the trillions upon trillions of years
of average time at fairly low levels of specified complexity. Natural
selection is no help here since nature cannot tell the difference
between equally non-meaningful/non-beneficial options. Nature only
recognizes meaningful changes in the function or expressed information
content of a change in the code that caries that information. Such a
process of random evolution has even been given a name called,
"Neutral Evolution". Again, the problem is that neutral evolution
doesn't make new functions; it only makes new meaningless phrases.

> > > Be the reality an all-powerful eternal God or
> > > an all-powerful, eternal, mindless Quantum Vacuum, both concepts are
> > > completely beyond human understanding
> >
> > No they are not. The QV is a theoretically sound physical manifestation of
> > well known physical phenomena. Just because you personally do not understand
> > it does not mean it is unknowable or mysterious.

No one understands how QV could have created the big bang. It isn't
even a testable hypothesis much less a theory of origins. Certainly
you cannot explain this concept nor can you propose any other purely
natural non-intelligent process to explain what we see in this
universe.

Again, there are only two options: An Eternal Pre-existing Creative
Intelligence vs. All Other Non-intelligent Creative Processes.

So far, the evidence is clearly in favor of the intelligent design
option for everything in this universe because the other option simply
has no evidence beyond the very lowest levels of
functional/informational complexity. Many people confuse chaos with
complexity here, but this is not the form of complexity that I am
talking about in the present sense. Informational complexity is far
different from chaos or chaotic complexity. Again, informational
complexity simply does not come about beyond the lowest levels of
complexity without the input of pre-established informational
complexity that is at or above the level of complexity found within a
newly formed system of complexity.

That is how we can tell if something was intelligently designed or
not. The detection of intelligent activity is dependent upon two
things. In order to detect intelligence one must first be aware of
the potential of intelligence at a certain level or beyond. But, this
knowledge alone is not enough to clearly detect the workings of
intelligence. For example, if I were to go out to the desert around
where I live and find an amorphous rock on the ground, could I
automatically and reasonable assume intelligent design as the origin
for the form of this rock? Certainly not even though it could have
been intelligently and deliberately formed. Certainly its form is not
beyond the abilities of human intelligence to create - right?
However, I also know that its form is not beyond the abilities of
mindless non-deliberate processes to create as well. So, in order to
detect the workings of high intelligence without a doubt, I must not
only know the potential of such levels of intelligence, I must also
have some idea of the limits of mindless non-directed non-intelligent
processes.

For example, if I walk by a house in the morning and find a window
broken I can rationally assume either a mindless or mindful cause for
that broken window as both processes could give rise to such a
phenomenon. However, if I were to walk by this same house in the
evening and find that this window had been fixed, could I rationally
assume anything other than a mindful cause?

The same is true of any other phenomenon. If a given phenomenon goes
significantly beyond anything that any mindless processes has ever
done without the input of higher pre-established information in the
form of a mind or pre-established order, I can effectively rule out a
mindless cause for its origin. Then, since a mindful cause can indeed
explain many phenomena that mindless causes cannot explain, it is
perfectly reasonable to invoke a mindful cause as involved with the
production of such phenomena.

> > - "beyond searching out". And
> > > yet, one of these concepts must in fact be true. Even though we
> > > ultimately cannot understand how we came to be, we can in fact see
> > > evidence that supports one of these two options.
> > >
> > > As I noted before, our universe is indeed so perfectly balanced
> >
> > If it's so "perfectly balanced" how come SETI still hasn't found another
> > intelligent life form? If it were "perfectly balanced" for life, we should
> > be swimming in alien monsters. If it is so "perfectly balanced" how come
> > only one out of tens of millions of species to have lived on the earth is
> > "intelligent"? Life on earth is believed to have begun about 3.6 bya, less
> > than 1 billion years after the earth formed. On the other planets, which are
> > all just as old as the earth, there does not seem to be any life, nor is
> > there good reason to believe that there ever was life. Earth forms, bam!,
> > there's life, but nada on all the other planets after all this time.

That is because life simply does not evolve without a higher
intelligence or order creating it. Life doesn't exist on the very
very few other planets that we have been able to explore because it
wasn't created there like it was created here. It is as simple as
that. Certainly some of these other sterile planets could support
life it were put there, but life isn't going to evolve there even if
it would thrive there because the level of complexity found even
within the most simple living thing is way beyond anything that can be
assembled without the input of high intelligence. Even here on Earth
life does not evolve beyond its lowest levels of complexity. The
reason why there is only one intelligence on Earth at the level of
humans is because humans were the only ones designed with such a high
level of intelligence. A universe perfectly balanced to *support*
life does not mean that this universe can *create* life or even new
forms of life beyond its lowest levels of functional complexity. The
Anthropic Universe is just able to support life once it is created,
that is all. It is not the Creator; it is the created.

For those who are interested, I detail to a much greater degree my
views on the abilities and limits of mindless vs. mindful processes
at:

www.naturalselection.0catch.com

Sean

Frank Reichenbacher

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Mar 6, 2004, 1:17:17 PM3/6/04
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"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com...

> "Frank Reichenbacher" <vesu...@speakeasy.net> wrote in message
news:<H9-dnR7YE4s...@speakeasy.net>...
>
> > > At some point no one can
> > > explain, in even the most remote sense, our ultimate origins. No
> > > theory or even the most high-level intuitive, educated guess even
> > > begins to be adequate.
> >
> > Naturally you snipped two places in my post where I note that there is
every
> > reason to believe that scientists of the future *will* discover the
answers
> > to the questions you pose.
>
> It is easy to say this in so many words, but isn't this really nothing
> more than a statement of your religious faith?


No, it is not. It is a statement based on evidence. The conclusion that
science will eventually discover the answer to your questions requires no
"faith" whatsoever. It simply requires consideration of the evidence, which
very firmly states that science will eventually come up with answers. This
has been true throughout recorded history: the nature of the Solar System,
the physiology of organisms, the circulation of oceans, the radioactive
nature of isotopes, the inheritance of characters. Physicists would readily
admit that getting past the current known limitations of science in regard
to the Planck limits, the speed of light, and the Big Bang singularity will
be difficult, however, none that I know of would really believe such
investigations are doomed to failure by their natures.

The opposite is true of your so-called "incredible intelligence." This
entity is manifestly outside of the realm of science and cannot *ever* be
subjected to empirical verification.


I mean really, I can
> say, based on the current evidence that we have available to us, that
> an honest investigation of our universe will only detail an ultimate
> creative Intelligence/God in a clearer and clearer way.

You have no such evidence. Please tell me where does this entity live? Is it
living tissue? Does it reproduce? How does an entity with no corporeal
existence interact with the physical universe? How does it transcend the
known laws of physics? Where did it come from?

Answer me this: how does a supernatural being affect the physical universe
in a way that caused the physical universe to become manifest? What possible
mechanisms could be involved?


Certainly the
> great weight of current evidence already speaks overwhelmingly in
> favor of an incredible intelligence behind what we see in this
> universe - especially when we look at living things.

How? How is it possible for an omnipotent being to exist? One which not only
has existed forever, but which actually created the physical universe.

In fact the opposite is true. Every time we get closer to the ultimate
mysteries we find that we can indeed find the correct explanations based on
the ordinary phenomena of the observed universe.


>
> Now this is a falsifiable statement. All you have to do to prove me
> wrong is to show me where material in this universe organizes itself
> very far beyond the lowest levels of functional/informational
> complexity without the existence and assistance of pre-established
> complexity at that level or greater.

This is simply a statement from ignorance. I'm sure that you are aware that
materials scientists are deeply involved in creating self-assembling
systems. This research is crucial for the next phase of computing
technologies. The systems that have been developed were unthinkable two
decades ago. It is only a matter of time before scientists are able to
create living organisms from scratch. There is no reason to expect that this
process of development of increasingly complex systems will not continue.
There is no reason to expect that this research will not eventually result
in the discovery of the origin of life on earth.

Please Sean, with all due respect, this is blather. It is simply an
admission of ignorance.

We have not only the mechanism of natural selection, but the chemical
properties of elements and molecules to generate the needed compounds. On
top of that, many abiogenesis researchers are focused on the morphologies of
certain substrates that may have provided scaffolds for organic molecules to
develop into self-replicating forms.

It is only a matter of time before scientists observe the evolution of
self-replicating complex molecules in the laboratory. It is inevitable.


>
> > > Be the reality an all-powerful eternal God or
> > > an all-powerful, eternal, mindless Quantum Vacuum, both concepts are
> > > completely beyond human understanding
> >
> > No they are not. The QV is a theoretically sound physical manifestation
of
> > well known physical phenomena. Just because you personally do not
understand
> > it does not mean it is unknowable or mysterious.
>
> No one understands how QV could have created the big bang. It isn't
> even a testable hypothesis much less a theory of origins. Certainly
> you cannot explain this concept nor can you propose any other purely
> natural non-intelligent process to explain what we see in this
> universe.

The QV is understood as I have pointed out before. The physical mechanisms
that govern the actions of quanta are well known. There is nothing
mysterious about it. If you work out the equations that describe these
phenomena, there does not appear to be any reason why, in an infinite
universe, whole universes could not be an outcome. As I mentioned already,
this is not a theory, but merely speculation.

"As dkomo pointed out, it is a suggestion only. He really doesn't express
any "faith" whatsoever in the concept, because as a physicist he knows that
you really can't say positively what happened before Planck time. He would,
I suspect quite agree that anyone claiming to know that the universe is
explained by quantum vacuum phenomena would be taking a very big blind leap
of faith."

I say science doesn't know, there is no reason to expect that it won't
eventually, therefore let's just keep on investigating.

You say science doesn't know, therefore the question is unanswerable except
by positing the existence of some exotic omnipotent being whose very nature
is held to be beyond the realm of human knowledge.


>
> Again, there are only two options: An Eternal Pre-existing Creative
> Intelligence vs. All Other Non-intelligent Creative Processes.

Again, you personally cannot imagine how natural processes could be
responsible, therefore you introduce some supernatural being to poof it all
into existence so we won't have to bother our little heads about it anymore.


>
> So far, the evidence is clearly in favor of the intelligent design
> option

There is no such option because it requires the existence of something that
cannot exist: a supernatural being which has existed for all eternity and
which is responsible for the creation of the universe.

Please just give me a hint of the mechanism that God uses to create life.
Did he use some kind of special raygun?

How does an omnipotent being exist? Where did it come from?

You said, "...our universe is indeed so perfectly balanced...". Why would
the whole universe be perfectly balanced if only the very tiniest corner of
the universe was singled out for life? Is it some mysterious purpose of the
"Intelligence/God" that no one is supposed to be capable of comprehending?

Moreover, how does a supernatural being affect the physical universe in a
way that "designs" living organisms. Do you have even the slightest
suggested hint of how this might possibly have occured?

Science is still a long way from explaining the origin of life on earth and
the origin of the universe, but there are hypotheses and there are possible
mechanisms which may have been involved. The groundwork for these
investigations is built on good solid science. There is no reason to believe
that with additional technological advances and time, science will not
eventually get it worked out.

There has been no such progress on the God front. There are no possible
mechanisms, there never was any empirical evidence, and there is no prospect
for future advancement. You present meaningless statistics, misplaced
analogies, and a final admission of ignorance. In the end, all you can say
is that you personally believe that God is responsible for it all.

Frank

Bobby D. Bryant

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Mar 6, 2004, 1:35:18 PM3/6/04
to
On Sat, 06 Mar 2004 16:00:32 +0000, Sean Pitman wrote:

> I mean really, I can say, based on the current evidence that we have
> available to us, that an honest investigation of our universe will only
> detail an ultimate creative Intelligence/God in a clearer and clearer
> way.

Funny, but the entire history of science has been a consistent movement in
the opposite direction. How many things once thought to have supernatural
causes have had their actual mundane causes elucidated by scientists? How
many things once thought to have mundane causes have had their actual
causes revealed to be supernatural?


> Certainly the great weight of current evidence already speaks
> overwhelmingly in favor of an incredible intelligence behind what we see
> in this universe - especially when we look at living things.

How come creationists can never point us to this overwhelming evidence
when we ask, and always offer pseudoscientific armchair arguments instead?

--
Bobby Bryant
Austin, Texas

R. Baldwin

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Mar 6, 2004, 2:19:45 PM3/6/04
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"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com...
> seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in message
news:<80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com>...
> > "Frank Reichenbacher" <vesu...@speakeasy.net> wrote in message
news:<H9-dnR7YE4s...@speakeasy.net>...
>
> > > > At some point no one can
> > > > explain, in even the most remote sense, our ultimate origins. No
> > > > theory or even the most high-level intuitive, educated guess even
> > > > begins to be adequate.
> > >
> > > Naturally you snipped two places in my post where I note that there is
> > > every reason to believe that scientists of the future *will* discover
> > > the answers to the questions you pose.
>
> It is easy to say this in so many words, but isn't this really nothing
> more than a statement of your religious faith? I mean really, I can
> say, based on the current evidence that we have available to us, that
> an honest investigation of our universe will only detail an ultimate
> creative Intelligence/God in a clearer and clearer way. Certainly the
> great weight of current evidence already speaks overwhelmingly in
> favor of an incredible intelligence behind what we see in this
> universe - especially when we look at living things.

Dr. Pitman, extrapolation is not a statement of religious faith. Since the
trend of science has been to uncover gradually more information about
natural phenomena as time goes on, it is reasonable to assume this will
continue.

As to evidence for God, there can be none in the scientific sense of the
word. You can take your observations of the natural Universe as suggestive
of God, but that is not the same as scientific evidence. Science must
exclude the supernatural because in principle it cannot be subject to
repeatable experiment nor is it predictable. That is not saying God does not
exist, simply that science cannot approach God.

>
> Now this is a falsifiable statement. All you have to do to prove me
> wrong is to show me where material in this universe organizes itself
> very far beyond the lowest levels of functional/informational
> complexity without the existence and assistance of pre-established
> complexity at that level or greater. If you do this, I will become
> like you are. So far though, I have only been able to see matter
> organize itself only slightly beyond its original level of functional
> complexity if and only if it started out at a very low level of
> complexity. Going from a higher level of complexity to a brand new
> kind of function at that level or greater simply doesn't happen in
> this universe.

To answer that question would require some way of quantifying level of
functional/informational complexity. Would you care to suggest one?

Barring that, matter routinely organizes itself into complex atoms and then
molecules in a completely natural way. If it didn't, we would only have
quarks and leptons.

>
> For example, evolution can happen between 3-letter words very easily
> because, although they do carry a fairly high degree of specificity,
> they are coded for by a relatively short sequence of letters. This
> creates a ratio of meaningful vs. meaningless of about 1 in 7
> potential 3-letter words in the English language system. But what if
> the minimum sequence requirement for a particular function was
> 7-letters? Now the ratio of all 7-letter sequences to include 1, 2,
> 3, 4, 5, and 6 letter words is around 1 in 250,000. Getting from one
> meaningful 7-letter phrase to a different meaningful 7-letter phrase
> requires, on average, a fairly long random walk through 250,000
> meaningless options. The evolution between 7-letter phrases slows
> down significantly when compared to the evolution between 3-letter
> phrases.

This is based on the false presumption that evolution cares about meaning.

>
> Just try a little experiment yourself. Start with a short 2 or
> 3-letter word and see how many words you can evolve that require
> greater and greater minimum sequence requirements. No doubt you will
> quickly find yourself coming to walls of meaningless or non-beneficial
> potential options that separate you from every other meaningful and
> beneficial option. Now, the only way to get to a new meaningful much
> less beneficial option is to cross the meaningless/non-beneficial gap
> of separation. Random walk is all that you have to cross such a gap
> and that is a big big problem (Genetic evolution works the very same
> way).

Why would you presume that "xrp" is not beneficial? You are looking at it
from a teleological aspect. From the evolutionary aspect, once "xrp" arises,
you would watch to see whether it continues to stick around through
generations.

>
> Without some sort of outside pre-established guidance, such a random
> walk quickly works itself into the trillions upon trillions of years
> of average time at fairly low levels of specified complexity. Natural
> selection is no help here since nature cannot tell the difference
> between equally non-meaningful/non-beneficial options. Nature only
> recognizes meaningful changes in the function or expressed information
> content of a change in the code that caries that information. Such a
> process of random evolution has even been given a name called,
> "Neutral Evolution". Again, the problem is that neutral evolution
> doesn't make new functions; it only makes new meaningless phrases.

The outside pre-established guidance is natural selection.

>
> > > > Be the reality an all-powerful eternal God or
> > > > an all-powerful, eternal, mindless Quantum Vacuum, both concepts are
> > > > completely beyond human understanding
> > >
> > > No they are not. The QV is a theoretically sound physical
manifestation of
> > > well known physical phenomena. Just because you personally do not
understand
> > > it does not mean it is unknowable or mysterious.
>
> No one understands how QV could have created the big bang. It isn't
> even a testable hypothesis much less a theory of origins. Certainly
> you cannot explain this concept nor can you propose any other purely
> natural non-intelligent process to explain what we see in this
> universe.
>
> Again, there are only two options: An Eternal Pre-existing Creative
> Intelligence vs. All Other Non-intelligent Creative Processes.

That is a rather silly statement. Just looking at it rhetorically, you could
have a temporary pre-existing intelligence, or you could have an
intelligence for which temporal constraints don't apply. Further, it is a
bit rediculous to assert that all other processes are only one option.

>
> So far, the evidence is clearly in favor of the intelligent design
> option for everything in this universe because the other option simply
> has no evidence beyond the very lowest levels of
> functional/informational complexity. Many people confuse chaos with
> complexity here, but this is not the form of complexity that I am
> talking about in the present sense. Informational complexity is far
> different from chaos or chaotic complexity. Again, informational
> complexity simply does not come about beyond the lowest levels of
> complexity without the input of pre-established informational
> complexity that is at or above the level of complexity found within a
> newly formed system of complexity.

If you can't clearly define what you mean by levels of
functional/informational complexity, then this is a meaningless argument.

>
> That is how we can tell if something was intelligently designed or
> not. The detection of intelligent activity is dependent upon two
> things. In order to detect intelligence one must first be aware of
> the potential of intelligence at a certain level or beyond. But, this
> knowledge alone is not enough to clearly detect the workings of
> intelligence. For example, if I were to go out to the desert around
> where I live and find an amorphous rock on the ground, could I
> automatically and reasonable assume intelligent design as the origin
> for the form of this rock? Certainly not even though it could have
> been intelligently and deliberately formed. Certainly its form is not
> beyond the abilities of human intelligence to create - right?
> However, I also know that its form is not beyond the abilities of
> mindless non-deliberate processes to create as well. So, in order to
> detect the workings of high intelligence without a doubt, I must not
> only know the potential of such levels of intelligence, I must also
> have some idea of the limits of mindless non-directed non-intelligent
> processes.

No, you must have some idea of the behavioral patterns of the supposed
intelligence.

The limits of non-intelligent processes are not known. Science continually
pushes out the known limits of natural processes.

>
> For example, if I walk by a house in the morning and find a window
> broken I can rationally assume either a mindless or mindful cause for
> that broken window as both processes could give rise to such a
> phenomenon. However, if I were to walk by this same house in the
> evening and find that this window had been fixed, could I rationally
> assume anything other than a mindful cause?

Yes, your memory of the broken window may have been flawed. But in any case,
you have pre-existing knowledge of human behavior with respect to making and
mending windows.

>
> The same is true of any other phenomenon. If a given phenomenon goes
> significantly beyond anything that any mindless processes has ever
> done without the input of higher pre-established information in the
> form of a mind or pre-established order, I can effectively rule out a
> mindless cause for its origin. Then, since a mindful cause can indeed
> explain many phenomena that mindless causes cannot explain, it is
> perfectly reasonable to invoke a mindful cause as involved with the
> production of such phenomena.

This is simply argument from ignorance.

The strong anthropic principle requires a leap of faith. You could just as
easily state that we find ourselves matched to our surroundings because we
came to exist in them, would not have come to exist if the surroundings were
different, and would not have continued to exist if we were different.

Zachriel

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Mar 6, 2004, 2:40:15 PM3/6/04
to
O Sean Pitman, beware a war of words ere you err.


"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com...

<snipped>

> For example, evolution can happen between 3-letter words very easily
> because, although they do carry a fairly high degree of specificity,
> they are coded for by a relatively short sequence of letters. This
> creates a ratio of meaningful vs. meaningless of about 1 in 7
> potential 3-letter words in the English language system. But what if
> the minimum sequence requirement for a particular function was
> 7-letters? Now the ratio of all 7-letter sequences to include 1, 2,
> 3, 4, 5, and 6 letter words is around 1 in 250,000. Getting from one
> meaningful 7-letter phrase to a different meaningful 7-letter phrase
> requires, on average, a fairly long random walk through 250,000
> meaningless options. The evolution between 7-letter phrases slows
> down significantly when compared to the evolution between 3-letter
> phrases.

Could it be that you could see the light
But choose instead to close your eyes and block
The sight? The origin of the life we know
Just like this poem rose from simple forms,
In meaning, and in kind, step-by-step.
http://tinyurl.com/2qnzd


> Just try a little experiment yourself. Start with a short 2 or
> 3-letter word and see how many words you can evolve that require
> greater and greater minimum sequence requirements. No doubt you will
> quickly find yourself coming to walls of meaningless or non-beneficial
> potential options that separate you from every other meaningful and
> beneficial option. Now, the only way to get to a new meaningful much
> less beneficial option is to cross the meaningless/non-beneficial gap
> of separation. Random walk is all that you have to cross such a gap
> and that is a big big problem (Genetic evolution works the very same
> way).
>

Dr. Seuss wrote "Green Eggs and Ham" as a bet that he couldn't write a book
using only 50 words.
http://www.online-library.org/authors/dr-seuss.html


Graham Shevlin

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Mar 6, 2004, 4:52:51 PM3/6/04
to
On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 16:00:32 +0000 (UTC),
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote:

>seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in message news:<80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com>...
>> "Frank Reichenbacher" <vesu...@speakeasy.net> wrote in message news:<H9-dnR7YE4s...@speakeasy.net>...
>
>> > > At some point no one can
>> > > explain, in even the most remote sense, our ultimate origins. No
>> > > theory or even the most high-level intuitive, educated guess even
>> > > begins to be adequate.
>> >
>> > Naturally you snipped two places in my post where I note that there is
>> > every reason to believe that scientists of the future *will* discover
>> > the answers to the questions you pose.
>
>It is easy to say this in so many words, but isn't this really nothing
>more than a statement of your religious faith? I mean really, I can
>say, based on the current evidence that we have available to us, that
>an honest investigation of our universe will only detail an ultimate
>creative Intelligence/God in a clearer and clearer way. Certainly the
>great weight of current evidence already speaks overwhelmingly in
>favor of an incredible intelligence behind what we see in this
>universe - especially when we look at living things.

This is nothing more than one of the enduring fallacies - an argument
from incedulity.
Just what is this "great weight of current evidence" (Hint: Your
wonder at the natural world doesn't qualify as "evidence"). ANd while
you are considering that question., you may want to consider another
question: Can you articulate a falsifiable theory of Intelligent
Design?

Frank Reichenbacher

unread,
Mar 6, 2004, 6:22:34 PM3/6/04
to
"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com...

> "Frank Reichenbacher" <vesu...@speakeasy.net> wrote in message


news:<H9-dnR7YE4s...@speakeasy.net>...
>
> > > At some point no one can
> > > explain, in even the most remote sense, our ultimate origins. No
> > > theory or even the most high-level intuitive, educated guess even
> > > begins to be adequate.
> >
> > Naturally you snipped two places in my post where I note that there is
every
> > reason to believe that scientists of the future *will* discover the
answers
> > to the questions you pose.
>
> It is easy to say this in so many words, but isn't this really nothing
> more than a statement of your religious faith?

No, it is not. It is a statement based on evidence. The conclusion that
science will eventually discover the answer to your questions requires no
"faith" whatsoever. It simply requires consideration of the evidence, which
very firmly states that science will eventually come up with answers. This
has been true throughout recorded history: the nature of the Solar System,
the physiology of organisms, the circulation of oceans, the radioactive
nature of isotopes, the inheritance of characters. Physicists would readily
admit that getting past the current known limitations of science in regard
to the Planck limits, the speed of light, and the Big Bang singularity will
be difficult, however, none that I know of would really believe such
investigations are doomed to failure by their natures.

The opposite is true of your so-called "incredible intelligence." This
entity is manifestly outside of the realm of science and cannot *ever* be
subjected to empirical verification.

I mean really, I can
> say, based on the current evidence that we have available to us, that
> an honest investigation of our universe will only detail an ultimate
> creative Intelligence/God in a clearer and clearer way.

You have no such evidence. Please tell me where does this entity live? Is it


living tissue? Does it reproduce? How does an entity with no corporeal
existence interact with the physical universe? How does it transcend the
known laws of physics? Where did it come from?

Answer me this: how does a supernatural being affect the physical universe
in a way that caused the physical universe to become manifest? What possible
mechanisms could be involved?

Certainly the
> great weight of current evidence already speaks overwhelmingly in
> favor of an incredible intelligence behind what we see in this
> universe - especially when we look at living things.

How? How is it possible for an omnipotent being to exist? One which not only


has existed forever, but which actually created the physical universe.

In fact the opposite is true. Every time we get closer to the ultimate
mysteries we find that we can indeed find the correct explanations based on
the ordinary phenomena of the observed universe.


>


> Now this is a falsifiable statement. All you have to do to prove me
> wrong is to show me where material in this universe organizes itself
> very far beyond the lowest levels of functional/informational
> complexity without the existence and assistance of pre-established
> complexity at that level or greater.

This is simply a statement from ignorance. I'm sure that you are aware that


materials scientists are deeply involved in creating self-assembling
systems. This research is crucial for the next phase of computing
technologies. The systems that have been developed were unthinkable two
decades ago. It is only a matter of time before scientists are able to
create living organisms from scratch. There is no reason to expect that this
process of development of increasingly complex systems will not continue.
There is no reason to expect that this research will not eventually result
in the discovery of the origin of life on earth.

Please Sean, with all due respect, this is blather. It is simply an
admission of ignorance.

We have not only the mechanism of natural selection, but the chemical
properties of elements and molecules to generate the needed compounds. On
top of that, many abiogenesis researchers are focused on the morphologies of
certain substrates that may have provided scaffolds for organic molecules to
develop into self-replicating forms.

It is only a matter of time before scientists observe the evolution of
self-replicating complex molecules in the laboratory. It is inevitable.


>


> > > Be the reality an all-powerful eternal God or
> > > an all-powerful, eternal, mindless Quantum Vacuum, both concepts are
> > > completely beyond human understanding
> >
> > No they are not. The QV is a theoretically sound physical manifestation
of
> > well known physical phenomena. Just because you personally do not
understand
> > it does not mean it is unknowable or mysterious.
>
> No one understands how QV could have created the big bang. It isn't
> even a testable hypothesis much less a theory of origins. Certainly
> you cannot explain this concept nor can you propose any other purely
> natural non-intelligent process to explain what we see in this
> universe.

The QV is understood as I have pointed out before. The physical mechanisms


that govern the actions of quanta are well known. There is nothing
mysterious about it. If you work out the equations that describe these
phenomena, there does not appear to be any reason why, in an infinite
universe, whole universes could not be an outcome. As I mentioned already,
this is not a theory, but merely speculation.

"As dkomo pointed out, it is a suggestion only. He really doesn't express
any "faith" whatsoever in the concept, because as a physicist he knows that
you really can't say positively what happened before Planck time. He would,
I suspect quite agree that anyone claiming to know that the universe is
explained by quantum vacuum phenomena would be taking a very big blind leap
of faith."

I say science doesn't know, there is no reason to expect that it won't
eventually, therefore let's just keep on investigating.

You say science doesn't know, therefore the question is unanswerable except
by positing the existence of some exotic omnipotent being whose very nature
is held to be beyond the realm of human knowledge.


>


> Again, there are only two options: An Eternal Pre-existing Creative
> Intelligence vs. All Other Non-intelligent Creative Processes.

Again, you personally cannot imagine how natural processes could be


responsible, therefore you introduce some supernatural being to poof it all
into existence so we won't have to bother our little heads about it anymore.


>


> So far, the evidence is clearly in favor of the intelligent design
> option

There is no such option because it requires the existence of something that


cannot exist: a supernatural being which has existed for all eternity and
which is responsible for the creation of the universe.

Please just give me a hint of the mechanism that God uses to create life.
Did he use some kind of special raygun?

How does an omnipotent being exist? Where did it come from?

You said, "...our universe is indeed so perfectly balanced...". Why would


the whole universe be perfectly balanced if only the very tiniest corner of
the universe was singled out for life? Is it some mysterious purpose of the
"Intelligence/God" that no one is supposed to be capable of comprehending?

Moreover, how does a supernatural being affect the physical universe in a
way that "designs" living organisms. Do you have even the slightest
suggested hint of how this might possibly have occured?

Science is still a long way from explaining the origin of life on earth and
the origin of the universe, but there are hypotheses and there are possible
mechanisms which may have been involved. The groundwork for these
investigations is built on good solid science. There is no reason to believe
that with additional technological advances and time, science will not
eventually get it worked out.

There has been no such progress on the God front. There are no possible
mechanisms, there never was any empirical evidence, and there is no prospect
for future advancement. You present meaningless statistics, misplaced
analogies, and a final admission of ignorance. In the end, all you can say
is that you personally believe that God is responsible for it all.

Frank


Sean Pitman

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 3:00:21 PM3/7/04
to
"Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message news:<104kaka...@corp.supernews.com>...

> O Sean Pitman, beware a war of words ere you err.
>

> Could it be that you could see the light
> But choose instead to close your eyes and block
> The sight? The origin of the life we know
> Just like this poem rose from simple forms,
> In meaning, and in kind, step-by-step.
>
> http://tinyurl.com/2qnzd

Actually your poems didn't arise from simple forms, step-by-step, in
the same way that random mutation and natural selection work in the
real world. Evidently you didn't read and certainly didn't respond to
my reply to your "O Sean Pitman" poem. See:

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=80d0c26f.0401221021.149e2276%40posting.google.com

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 6:10:39 PM3/7/04
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com...
> "Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message
news:<104kaka...@corp.supernews.com>...
>
> > O Sean Pitman, beware a war of words ere you err.
> >
> > Could it be that you could see the light
> > But choose instead to close your eyes and block
> > The sight? The origin of the life we know
> > Just like this poem rose from simple forms,
> > In meaning, and in kind, step-by-step.
> >
> > http://tinyurl.com/2qnzd
>
> Actually your poems didn't arise from simple forms, step-by-step, in
> the same way that random mutation and natural selection work in the
> real world.

It's an analogy, one of your own choosing.


> Evidently you didn't read and certainly didn't respond to
> my reply to your "O Sean Pitman" poem. See:
>
>
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=80d0c26f.0401221021.149e2276%40posting.google.com
>
> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com
>

Hmm. That's odd. It shows sent from my computer, but not Google. Check the
original thread.

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 6:31:29 PM3/7/04
to

"Sean Pitman" <seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com> wrote in message
news:80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com...

I do not understand your calculations in the least. How did you determine


"the ratio of all 7-letter sequences to include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 letter

words is around 1 in 250,000." Show your math, please.


>
> Just try a little experiment yourself. Start with a short 2 or
> 3-letter word and see how many words you can evolve that require
> greater and greater minimum sequence requirements. No doubt you will
> quickly find yourself coming to walls of meaningless or non-beneficial
> potential options that separate you from every other meaningful and
> beneficial option. Now, the only way to get to a new meaningful much
> less beneficial option is to cross the meaningless/non-beneficial gap
> of separation. Random walk is all that you have to cross such a gap
> and that is a big big problem (Genetic evolution works the very same
> way).

By the way, your rules defining this word-game are very vague. That's why I
made my own which were more than sufficient to expose the fact that either
your analogy was faulty, or your original premise about "non-beneficial"
gaps was faulty.

You choose.


> Without some sort of outside pre-established guidance, such a random
> walk quickly works itself into the trillions upon trillions of years
> of average time at fairly low levels of specified complexity. Natural
> selection is no help here since nature cannot tell the difference
> between equally non-meaningful/non-beneficial options. Nature only
> recognizes meaningful changes in the function or expressed information
> content of a change in the code that caries that information. Such a
> process of random evolution has even been given a name called,
> "Neutral Evolution". Again, the problem is that neutral evolution
> doesn't make new functions; it only makes new meaningless phrases.

<snip>

Give me a sea and a boat to sail it and I will cross it, step-by-step, er,
wave-by-wave.

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 7:06:00 PM3/7/04
to
OT

I kinda thought something was wrong with my news server. My server showed my
posts, as if they had been posted, but no one ever responded. My server
shows ~75 posts from 1/1/04 to 2/28/04, but Google shows only the thread I
initiated. Looking back, there are other large gaps indicating major
problems back to 7/03. (Others had complained about that time, so I just
plowed on ahead.) I'm on a different temporary news server now, and will be
changing once again in the near future.
http://tinyurl.com/2rwwl

Too bad they lost my new Theory of Everything I had just completed at
Stephen Hawking's request. ;-)

Zachriel

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 7:19:27 PM3/7/04
to

"Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message
news:104nbb4...@corp.supernews.com...

I have reposted my replies from January in the original thread "O Sean
Pitman" wherein I tell the tale of "The Sea of Beneficence"

Von Smith

unread,
Mar 7, 2004, 7:42:06 PM3/7/04
to
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in message news:<80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com>...
> seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in message news:<80d0c26f.04030...@posting.google.com>...
> > "Frank Reichenbacher" <vesu...@speakeasy.net> wrote in message news:<H9-dnR7YE4s...@speakeasy.net>...
>

<snip>


> Certainly the
> great weight of current evidence already speaks overwhelmingly in
> favor of an incredible intelligence behind what we see in this
> universe - especially when we look at living things.
>
> Now this is a falsifiable statement. All you have to do to prove me
> wrong is to show me where material in this universe organizes itself
> very far beyond the lowest levels of functional/informational
> complexity without the existence and assistance of pre-established
> complexity at that level or greater. If you do this, I will become
> like you are.

"Become like you are?" What is that supposed to mean, Sean? Why not
"I will accept your statement as correct?" As stated, this sounds
like you think that people who disagree with you on this issue belong
to some sort of type.

At any rate, I see no need to falsify a statement that has no positive
support to start with. The only "evidence" you have for an
"incredible intelligence" is the same evidence that people had for
weather gods, disease-causing demons, and spirits or angels
controlling celestial motions: ignorance and/or incredulity about how
nature actually works and what it can do. Based on past experience,
one ought to be suspicious of any claim to discern an intelligence in
something whose workings are incompletely understood.

You certainly do not have any evidence that an intelligence of the
sort you describe could even exist. You insist on proof that nature
can self-organize before you will acknowledge such a possibility, but
for some reason you do not insist on a similar burden of proof for the
proposition that intelligence can exist without a material substrate,
or that an intelligent being can produce complicated artifacts without
relevant experience, training, and the support of a society of other
such beings with an advanced physical culture.

Why the double standard? Does such an intelligence not strain
credulity and flout known limitations at least as much as you claim
self-organization does? And you nonetheless consider this more likely
than the prospect that nature might once again prove richer and more
resourceful than you give it credit for?


> So far though, I have only been able to see matter
> organize itself only slightly beyond its original level of functional
> complexity if and only if it started out at a very low level of
> complexity. Going from a higher level of complexity to a brand new
> kind of function at that level or greater simply doesn't happen in
> this universe.
>

Let's see:

We know that life has happened in this universe.

We know that natural processes can produce increases in complexity and
changes in function, even if you choose to dismiss directly observed
instances of this as merely "slight".

We know that life didn't just suddenly appear as it is today. It has
a history, and has changed considerably over the course of that
history. Any explanation of life owes us an account of that history.

We have no independent evidence whatsoever for the existence of some
anthropomorphized intelligence working miracles, or even evidence that
such a construct is possible.

What is the logical conclusion again?

<snip>


>
> > > > Be the reality an all-powerful eternal God or
> > > > an all-powerful, eternal, mindless Quantum Vacuum, both concepts are
> > > > completely beyond human understanding
> > >
> > > No they are not. The QV is a theoretically sound physical manifestation of
> > > well known physical phenomena. Just because you personally do not understand
> > > it does not mean it is unknowable or mysterious.
>
> No one understands how QV could have created the big bang. It isn't
> even a testable hypothesis much less a theory of origins. Certainly
> you cannot explain this concept nor can you propose any other purely
> natural non-intelligent process to explain what we see in this
> universe.
>
> Again, there are only two options: An Eternal Pre-existing Creative
> Intelligence vs. All Other Non-intelligent Creative Processes.

You forgot: A pre-existing creative intelligence that isn't eternal
and may since have died or disappeared (which might explain why there
aren't more planets around with life on them), or a creative
intelligence that is immanent in the matter of the universe itself.

And what justifies lumping together "all other non-intelligent
creative processes" into a single category. Shouldn't any possibility
within that set be considered separately?

>
> So far, the evidence is clearly in favor of the intelligent design
> option for everything in this universe because the other option simply
> has no evidence beyond the very lowest levels of
> functional/informational complexity. Many people confuse chaos with
> complexity here, but this is not the form of complexity that I am
> talking about in the present sense. Informational complexity is far
> different from chaos or chaotic complexity. Again, informational
> complexity simply does not come about beyond the lowest levels of
> complexity without the input of pre-established informational
> complexity that is at or above the level of complexity found within a
> newly formed system of complexity.

I recal suggesting in a post last summer that ecosystems can be said
to meet the complexity criteria: an ecosystem may involve many
different species connected in an intricate web of interdependencies
that can be seriously disrupted if you start removing species from it.
It also interacts with non-biological compoments such as terrain and
weather. But we know that such ecosystems happen naturally; they
weren't always there, and they didn't have to be poofed into existence
by a higher power.

>
> That is how we can tell if something was intelligently designed or
> not. The detection of intelligent activity is dependent upon two
> things. In order to detect intelligence one must first be aware of
> the potential of intelligence at a certain level or beyond. But, this
> knowledge alone is not enough to clearly detect the workings of
> intelligence.

I doubt you have any knowledge that an intelligence is capable of what
you propose, regardless of what you might believe. Your proposed
intelligence is eternal: do you have any *knowledge* of how an
intelligent being can be eternal? All the ones I know typically last
about 70 years.

Your proposed intelligence can apparently operate without a material
substrate; do you have any *knowledge* of a mind that can operate
without a material brain? Every mind I know of cannot.

Your proposed intelligence has knowledge of things with which it has
no apparent experience, has language in spite of living alone in a
void with nothing to talk to or teach it language, has no fellow
intelligences to teach it its knowledge or train it its skills, is
capable of performing great works without any sort of technology or
physical culture. That doesn't sound like any intelligence of whose
potential I have knowledge. What is it, exactly that you *know* about
intelligence that suggests that your proposal is possible, and how do
you know it?

> For example, if I were to go out to the desert around
> where I live and find an amorphous rock on the ground, could I
> automatically and reasonable assume intelligent design as the origin
> for the form of this rock? Certainly not even though it could have
> been intelligently and deliberately formed. Certainly its form is not
> beyond the abilities of human intelligence to create - right?
> However, I also know that its form is not beyond the abilities of
> mindless non-deliberate processes to create as well. So, in order to
> detect the workings of high intelligence without a doubt, I must not
> only know the potential of such levels of intelligence, I must also
> have some idea of the limits of mindless non-directed non-intelligent
> processes.
>
> For example, if I walk by a house in the morning and find a window
> broken I can rationally assume either a mindless or mindful cause for
> that broken window as both processes could give rise to such a
> phenomenon. However, if I were to walk by this same house in the
> evening and find that this window had been fixed, could I rationally
> assume anything other than a mindful cause?

I don't know. If I cut myself and it heals, could I rationally assume
anything other than a mindful cause? If I shake up oil and vineager,
and then come back later to find it re-separated, could I rationally
assume anything other than a mindful cause? We know from a variety of
sources that *windows* do not heal themselves or reform on their own.
There are other things that do, however.

So any generalization we make about a phenomenon must proceed from
*specific* knowledge and experience of the item in question. Any
conclusions about what quantum vacuums can do must be based on a
detailed understanding of that theory, and any conclusions about what
life can do must be based on available knowledge of how living systems
actually behave.

The same goes for intelligence, too. One cannot simply assume that
intelligence is some sort of causal wild card that can be played to
explain anything we cannot explain otherwise. All known intelligent
agencies are constrained in what they can and do produce just like
anything process in our universe. Any estimate of the likelihood of
intelligent agencies' being responsible for a phenomenon we *don't*
properly understand must take what we know about them into account-
*everything* we know, not just the bits we find impressive and want to
read into our world.

If you want to propose some exotic ueberintelligence that somehow
overcomes known constraints on known intelligences, sure. But I fail
to see how that is more compelling than proposing some unknown or
incompletely-understood mindless process that does the same thing.
Given our previous track record with proposing such intelligences to
explain things, I don't share your optimism about finding one here.


Von Smith
Fortuna nimis dat multis, satis nulli.

Ferrous Patella

unread,
Mar 8, 2004, 1:09:14 PM3/8/04
to
news:YAp2c.57201$6K....@nwrddc02.gnilink.net by "R. Baldwin"
<res0...@nozirevBACKWARDS.net>:

> As to evidence for God, there can be none in the scientific sense of the
> word.

I find this line of thought <Capt. Jack Sparrow Voice>interesting...very
interesting.</CJSV> Yes there *can* be scientific evidence for God. A
quick tour of late night talk shows would do. Gods use to do all sorts of
things that would be subject to scientific study. Though mind you, those
stories are always like Sasquatch sightings. There were always by someone
who knew someone who saw the thing.

Lately, God has been doing His invisible trick (which looks very much like
His non-existent trick). But that does not mean that at any given moment,
he cannot provide us with something scientifically testable.

I wonder why He doesn't.

--
Ferrous Patella

"Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war."
--John Adams, letter to Abigail, 1797

Sean Pitman

unread,
Mar 10, 2004, 11:06:36 AM3/10/04
to
drea...@hotmail.com (Von Smith) wrote in message news:<8d74ec45.04030...@posting.google.com>...

> > For example, if I walk by a house in the morning and find a window
> > broken I can rationally assume either a mindless or mindful cause for
> > that broken window as both processes could give rise to such a
> > phenomenon. However, if I were to walk by this same house in the
> > evening and find that this window had been fixed, could I rationally
> > assume anything other than a mindful cause?
>
> I don't know. If I cut myself and it heals, could I rationally assume
> anything other than a mindful cause?

The reason why your skin heals when you cut yourself is not because
the molecules in your skin have some inherent individual capacity to
organize themselves in such a way. They are only able to work to heal
your skin because of the existence of the pre-established order of the
incredibly complex information system that directs the processes of
the skin to include its self-healing properties. If you don't believe
me, try cutting a dead body and see what happens. The cut doesn't
heal itself.

Consider the window example again for illustration. What if I set up
a very complex mechanical system that would sense when a window in a
house was broken and set about making a new window and would put it
into place when it finished making this window. Now, is the fixing of
the window in this case a "mindless" process? You may argue that it
is, but ultimately you know that without higher informational input,
the window, by itself, does not have enough informational complexity
to fix itself. It must rely on a much higher order of pre-established
informational complexity, in whatever form, to be fixed.

So, in seeing a window or a cut on your arm become "fixed" it is no
problem to know that a higher system of informational complexity was
driving such a phenomenon.


> If I shake up oil and vineager,
> and then come back later to find it re-separated, could I rationally
> assume anything other than a mindful cause?

The separation of oil and vinegar does not require the input of
outside information because the required information needed to give
rise to this phenomenon is contained within each of the individual oil
and vinegar molecules themselves. However, if you were to find drops
of oil and vinegar arranged in a very symmetrical pattern around your
plate, you could adequately assume design because you know that such a
pattern is not inherent to either oil or vinegar, but would require
some sort of outside informational input.

>We know from a variety of
> sources that *windows* do not heal themselves or reform on their own.
> There are other things that do, however.

Again, you must know two things in order to adequately propose the
activity of intelligent design. You must know the inherent
limitations of a give system and its individual components AND you
must know the potential of higher outside informational systems (such
as an intelligent mind at the level of the human mind or beyond).

For example, if you knew nothing about the normal crystallizable forms
of carbon you could not propose an intelligent origin behind a
perfectly cut diamond with 256 symmetrical facets. However, if after
studying carbon in greater detail you find that there is no inherent
properties within the carbon atoms themselves or other mindless
natural properties in the vicinity that give rise to such a
cut-diamond form, you can then adequately propose the involvement of
an intelligent mind or at least a much higher system of informational
complexity that is contained within the cut diamond.

Another useful example is the "crop circles" that people made in wheat
fields in England and elsewhere. Although there were a few who
proposed mindless causes when these symmetrical and ornate patterns of
circles first started appearing, the great majority of people
correctly saw evidence of a much higher intelligence behind these
patterns than can be achieved by any known mindless process - even
without having ever seen such a phenomenon created before by anyone or
anything. How where these people able to correctly determine an
intelligent origin without ever having met the origin of intelligence
behind this particular phenomenon? Obviously they were able to do
this because of their knowledge about two things: They knew that
crops, by themselves nor in conjunction with any other known mindless
process, did not and could not make anything even close to these
observed designs. The only rational option left was the assumption of
a much higher intelligence behind the formation of these circles.
Now, many people wrongly proposed an alien intelligence, but at least
they knew correctly a higher intelligence was involved. Obviously the
most likely intelligence in this case was a human intelligence. But
still, the fact that high intelligence or a system with much higher
informational complexity was involved could be clearly recognized
without having ever seen any intelligence create such a phenomenon
before.

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

Sean Pitman

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 12:47:02 PM3/11/04
to
rjk...@yahoo.com (Rodjk) wrote in message news:<dbe402.040310...@posting.google.com>...

> So your skin heals itself due to a higher system of informational
> complexity driving such a phenomenon, but oil and vinegar seperate due
> to information contained in the molecules themselves?
> But the healing of the skin is contained within the cells of the skin,
> and all the reactions that occur are consistant with know chemical
> activity.
>
> So it is a bit more complicated, but not something that needs an
> outside force to drive it.
>
> Try again.

If you look into a system and see that it cannot, by itself, go beyond
a certain point, then when it does go beyond this point, you must
assume the involvement of an outside system of greater informational
complexity.

Again, when you see a window in a house, you know through your
experience with glass windows that they simply cannot fix themselves
once they are broken. Their level of informational complexity simply
is not great enough to give rise to this level of functional
complexity. So, when you see that a glass window has been fixed, you
do not assume that the window fixed itself or that any other low
agency with a low level of functional complexity fixed the window
either. You know that fixing glass windows requires a fairly high
level of pre-established functional complexity.

The same is true for skin healing itself. The reason why skin can
heal itself is because of the pre-existence of a very high level of
functional complexity, which includes the rest of the body. For
example, the skin cells cannot work to heal the skin if the person's
heart stops pumping or the blood stops flowing to that area of skin.
All the subparts of the skin and many other aspects of the body must
be placed in a very highly specified arrangement at a very high level
of emergent functional complexity before they can work together to fix
a cut in the skin. Brought together randomly, the subparts simply
will not self-assemble at this level of complexity.

This is a bit different than a salad dressing made of vinegar and oil.
Taking the subparts of the salad dressing and mixing them together
randomly will not destroy their ability to separate themselves. This
"function" is contained entirely by the subparts themselves regardless
of their specified orientation. Of course you can even go smaller
than this. Both vinegar and oil have smaller subparts, which cannot
be rearranged without a loss of vinegar and oil properties or
functions. However, even you must admit that the level of specified
functional complexity found here is extremely low level when compared
to the level of specified functional complexity found in living skin
and the process of skin healing itself. And yet, neither process can
go very far beyond its pre-established level of complexity without the
input of higher-level systems of function.

For example living skin can heal itself because its pre-established
information and structural system supports such a process. However,
skin cannot do much of anything beyond its preprogramming. It cannot
spell out the letters "MOM" on a biker's dude's arm. It cannot filter
blood of waist products like the kidney. It cannot think like the
brain. It cannot make insulin like the pancreas . . . etc. If it did
start doing any of these things, it would be because of the influence
of an outside information system of greater complexity than the skin.

The same thing is true of vinegar and oil salad dressing. Such a
salad dressing has a very low level ability to separate itself into
vinegar and oil, but it can't do many other things very far beyond
this low level of informational complexity. Such a salad dressing
cannot grow legs and walk out of the salad bowl. It cannot arrange
itself on a flat plate into a circle of perfectly spaced droplets . .
. etc. If salad dressing were ever found in such forms, the
involvement of a pre-established outside information system is the
only logical solution. Depending on the level of complexity of the
particular phenomenon, the level of required complexity of the outside
information system can be determined with a fair degree of accuracy.

Consider the crop circle phenomenon again. No process with low-level
complexity could have made many of these circles or patterns. Many of
the patterns required a high level of functional complexity and
deliberate planning to create. No known level of functional
complexity less than that of a human mind could have produced these
crop circles. Of course something more complex than the human mind
could have been behind these formations, but it seems very clear that
nothing less than a human mind could have made these formations.
Certainly the crops themselves do not have this level of information
available to themselves. And, nothing around them in their
environment less complex than humans seems to have this level of
complexity either.

Knowing the limits of the system itself, when this system goes
significantly beyond these limits, it becomes clear that something
greater was definitely involved.

> Rodjk #613

Sean
www.naturalselection.0catch.com

Mark VandeWettering

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 2:14:27 PM3/11/04
to
In article <80d0c26f.0403...@posting.google.com>, Sean Pitman wrote:
> rjk...@yahoo.com (Rodjk) wrote in message news:<dbe402.040310...@posting.google.com>...
>
>> So your skin heals itself due to a higher system of informational
>> complexity driving such a phenomenon, but oil and vinegar seperate due
>> to information contained in the molecules themselves?
>> But the healing of the skin is contained within the cells of the skin,
>> and all the reactions that occur are consistant with know chemical
>> activity.
>>
>> So it is a bit more complicated, but not something that needs an
>> outside force to drive it.
>>
>> Try again.
>
> If you look into a system and see that it cannot, by itself, go beyond
> a certain point, then when it does go beyond this point, you must
> assume the involvement of an outside system of greater informational
> complexity.

Perhaps you should look with better eyes.

> Again, when you see a window in a house, you know through your
> experience with glass windows that they simply cannot fix themselves
> once they are broken. Their level of informational complexity simply
> is not great enough to give rise to this level of functional
> complexity. So, when you see that a glass window has been fixed, you
> do not assume that the window fixed itself or that any other low
> agency with a low level of functional complexity fixed the window
> either. You know that fixing glass windows requires a fairly high
> level of pre-established functional complexity.

Windows do not reproduce, inherit, or compete for resources.

> The same is true for skin healing itself. The reason why skin can
> heal itself is because of the pre-existence of a very high level of
> functional complexity, which includes the rest of the body.

It's just chemistry. Ordinary compounds reacting to the presence of
other ordinary compounds.

> For
> example, the skin cells cannot work to heal the skin if the person's
> heart stops pumping or the blood stops flowing to that area of skin.
> All the subparts of the skin and many other aspects of the body must
> be placed in a very highly specified arrangement at a very high level
> of emergent functional complexity before they can work together to fix
> a cut in the skin. Brought together randomly, the subparts simply
> will not self-assemble at this level of complexity.

You can't make a vinagrette without oil and vinegar either.

> This is a bit different than a salad dressing made of vinegar and oil.

A bit different, but not in any meaningful way.

> Taking the subparts of the salad dressing and mixing them together
> randomly will not destroy their ability to separate themselves. This
> "function" is contained entirely by the subparts themselves regardless
> of their specified orientation. Of course you can even go smaller
> than this. Both vinegar and oil have smaller subparts, which cannot
> be rearranged without a loss of vinegar and oil properties or
> functions. However, even you must admit that the level of specified
> functional complexity found here is extremely low level when compared
> to the level of specified functional complexity found in living skin
> and the process of skin healing itself. And yet, neither process can
> go very far beyond its pre-established level of complexity without the
> input of higher-level systems of function.

YOu are making this up.

If you could objectively determine just what these "predefined limits"
you keep talking about were, your diatribe might be minimally convincing.
You can't. Nobody can. The clear suggestion is that such limits
simply do not exist.

Mark
>
>> Rodjk #613
>
> Sean
> www.naturalselection.0catch.com
>

John Stockwell

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 2:35:49 PM3/11/04
to
>Pitman wrote:

>rjk...@yahoo.com (Rodjk) wrote in message news:<dbe402.040310...@posting.google.com>...
>
>> So your skin heals itself due to a higher system of informational
>> complexity driving such a phenomenon, but oil and vinegar seperate due
>> to information contained in the molecules themselves?
>> But the healing of the skin is contained within the cells of the skin,
>> and all the reactions that occur are consistant with know chemical
>> activity.
>>
>> So it is a bit more complicated, but not something that needs an
>> outside force to drive it.
>>
>> Try again.
>
>If you look into a system and see that it cannot, by itself, go beyond
>a certain point, then when it does go beyond this point, you must
>assume the involvement of an outside system of greater informational
>complexity.

Indeed. An excellent example of this is the situation with organisms.
The system of common descent through natural selection can convert
a forelimb into a wing, but it cannot arbitrarily add wings. For
example, we know that a horse with wings---Pegasus---is a creation of
human imagination because it goes beyond what evolution can do.

>Sean

John Stockwell | jo...@dix.Mines.EDU
Center for Wave Phenomena (The Home of Seismic Un*x)
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401 | http://www.cwp.mines.edu/cwpcodes
voice: (303) 273-3049

Our book:
Norman Bleistein, Jack K. Cohen, John W. Stockwell Jr., [2001],
Mathematics of multidimensional seismic imaging, migration, and inversion,
(Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics, V. 13.), Springer-Verlag, New York.

Von Smith

unread,
Mar 11, 2004, 3:22:23 PM3/11/04
to
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in message news:<80d0c26f.04031...@posting.google.com>...

> drea...@hotmail.com (Von Smith) wrote in message news:<8d74ec45.04030...@posting.google.com>...
>
> > > For example, if I walk by a house in the morning and find a window
> > > broken I can rationally assume either a mindless or mindful cause for
> > > that broken window as both processes could give rise to such a
> > > phenomenon. However, if I were to walk by this same house in the
> > > evening and find that this window had been fixed, could I rationally
> > > assume anything other than a mindful cause?
> >
> > I don't know. If I cut myself and it heals, could I rationally assume
> > anything other than a mindful cause?
>
> The reason why your skin heals when you cut yourself is not because
> the molecules in your skin have some inherent individual capacity to
> organize themselves in such a way. They are only able to work to heal
> your skin because of the existence of the pre-established order of the
> incredibly complex information system that directs the processes of
> the skin to include its self-healing properties. If you don't believe
> me, try cutting a dead body and see what happens. The cut doesn't
> heal itself.

Having read your earlier accounts of how DNA "guides" biological
processes, I would have thought your position to be that at least some
molecules in our bodies do indeed contain such an inherent capacity.

>
> Consider the window example again for illustration. What if I set up
> a very complex mechanical system that would sense when a window in a
> house was broken and set about making a new window and would put it
> into place when it finished making this window. Now, is the fixing of
> the window in this case a "mindless" process? You may argue that it
> is, but ultimately you know that without higher informational input,
> the window, by itself, does not have enough informational complexity
> to fix itself. It must rely on a much higher order of pre-established
> informational complexity, in whatever form, to be fixed.
>
> So, in seeing a window or a cut on your arm become "fixed" it is no
> problem to know that a higher system of informational complexity was
> driving such a phenomenon.
>
>
> > If I shake up oil and vineager,
> > and then come back later to find it re-separated, could I rationally
> > assume anything other than a mindful cause?
>
> The separation of oil and vinegar does not require the input of
> outside information because the required information needed to give
> rise to this phenomenon is contained within each of the individual oil
> and vinegar molecules themselves. However, if you were to find drops
> of oil and vinegar arranged in a very symmetrical pattern around your
> plate, you could adequately assume design because you know that such a
> pattern is not inherent to either oil or vinegar, but would require
> some sort of outside informational input.

You appear to be suggesting that nature cannot contain information
above the molecular level. If that is not what you are suggesting,
than I don't understand what the point of any of this is. The
individual molecules of my skin do not contain an inherent capacity to
heal skin; nor, for that matter, do the individual cells. I don't
know if live tissue samples of skin can heal themselves or not, but
for argument's sake I will assume that they cannot, at least not
optimally. In that case, the relevant system that would "contain the
information" for healing skin would then be the organism and its
environment (since envirnomental factors can aid, hinder, or even
prevent proper healing). The only questions that matter, then, are
whether or not *this* system can contain the requisite information
without "outside informational input", and if so, whether there is
anything else in the world that might provide such input.

There are plenty of examples of natural things behaving in ways that
are not dicated by their molecules. Certainly the orbits of planets
are not encoded in their molecules. Nor are the structure and
dynamics of their atmospheres. Nor are their surface geologies (for
those that have solid crusts). These things are largely determined by
environment and history. Come to think of it, so is the formation of
molecules in the first place.

To propose rigid limits on what sort of effects natural processes can
produce is essentially a claim about how much information the natural
world can contain. More specifically, to say that life cannot have
evolved naturally to its present diversity is to make a claim about
how much information its natural history can have contained. I don't
see that you are qualified to make such an assessment based on what is
known.

>
> >We know from a variety of
> > sources that *windows* do not heal themselves or reform on their own.
> > There are other things that do, however.
>
> Again, you must know two things in order to adequately propose the
> activity of intelligent design. You must know the inherent
> limitations of a give system and its individual components AND you
> must know the potential of higher outside informational systems (such
> as an intelligent mind at the level of the human mind or beyond).

This actually only boils down to one thing, really: the constraints
of the system as a whole. Examining sub-components can be useful, but
one must also consider the system's *emergent* properties before one
draws conclusions about "higher outside informational systems". None
of the individual components of a hurricane (the atmosphere, the
ocean, the earth's rotation and tilt, and the energy input from the
sun) contains the information needed to produce one; in fact, most of
the interactions among those parts do not produce one, either.
Nonetheless, hurricanes do happen when the system reaches a certain
state, and the process does not require any appeal to a "higher
outside informational system" at all. The relevant system and
environment contain the requisite information.

Speaking of systems, this is the second time you have ignored my
question about ecosystems. Are they complex? How do they happen?
Where does the information come from to produce and maintain them?

>
> For example, if you knew nothing about the normal crystallizable forms
> of carbon you could not propose an intelligent origin behind a
> perfectly cut diamond with 256 symmetrical facets. However, if after
> studying carbon in greater detail you find that there is no inherent
> properties within the carbon atoms themselves or other mindless
> natural properties in the vicinity that give rise to such a
> cut-diamond form, you can then adequately propose the involvement of
> an intelligent mind or at least a much higher system of informational
> complexity that is contained within the cut diamond.
>

Exactly. Once you know enough about a system's characteristics,
environment, and history, you can make meaningful predictions about
how it is likely to behave. If the system behaves in a way that is
unexpected, you can assume that: a) your model of how the system
works is incomplete, or b) something outside of the system has
intervened to modify it. Your "design inference" involves starting
with the pretence that life's complexity and diversity is somehow
unexpected or inexplicable given what we know about it, ignoring
possibility a) to account for this, and not only insisting on
possibility b), but also claiming to know exactly what causal agent
intervened thus.


> Another useful example is the "crop circles" that people made in wheat
> fields in England and elsewhere. Although there were a few who
> proposed mindless causes when these symmetrical and ornate patterns of
> circles first started appearing, the great majority of people
> correctly saw evidence of a much higher intelligence behind these
> patterns than can be achieved by any known mindless process - even
> without having ever seen such a phenomenon created before by anyone or
> anything.

People had seen hoaxes before and knew that there were plenty of human
beings around to produce them. They also knew that there was no other
independent positive evidence for any other plausible explanation. I
think most educated people pretty much knew from the start that crop
circles were produced not just by "a much higher intelligence", but by
human beings, in spite of all the media sensationalism about UFOs.
Those who did entertain extraterrestrials as a serious option did so
largely for two reasons: an unfounded and irrational incredulity
towards mainstream explanations, and prior cultural conditioning to
expect certain things from little green men. I see those same two
factors at work in almost all of your arguments against evolution and
for creationism.

Notice that these were the leading possibilities considered: human
hoax and little green men. This was based on *prior* models of how
these *specific* proposed agents were known or believed to behave, and
on prior assessments of their availability. AFAIK, few people
speculated about "intelligent agencies" in the abstract. Very few
people considered the possibility that God, or Satan, or Vishnu, or
fairies, or rogue Pentagon androids had made the circles, or that the
crops themselves had developed a collective intelligence and were
pleading with us to stop murdering them.

And notice that the crop circle case is actually a good
*counter-example* to the sort of design inference you propose. Once
again, as with demonic possession to explain illness, as with angels
to explain the orbits of the planets, and as with fairies to explain
fairy rings, the inference from an unexplained phenomenon to the
existence of an exotic and otherwise unevidenced intelligence failed.
The correct explanation turned out to be one previously known to be
"in the system".

> How where these people able to correctly determine an
> intelligent origin without ever having met the origin of intelligence
> behind this particular phenomenon? Obviously they were able to do
> this because of their knowledge about two things: They knew that
> crops, by themselves nor in conjunction with any other known mindless
> process, did not and could not make anything even close to these
> observed designs. The only rational option left was the assumption of
> a much higher intelligence behind the formation of these circles.
> Now, many people wrongly proposed an alien intelligence, but at least
> they knew correctly a higher intelligence was involved. Obviously the
> most likely intelligence in this case was a human intelligence. But
> still, the fact that high intelligence or a system with much higher
> informational complexity was involved could be clearly recognized
> without having ever seen any intelligence create such a phenomenon
> before.

As I said above, the case of crop circles actually serves as a
*caution* to any attempt to infer an exotic intelligence in the face
of baffling phenomena, not a vindication of it.

Von Smith

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Mar 11, 2004, 6:32:38 PM3/11/04
to
seanpi...@naturalselection.0catch.com (Sean Pitman) wrote in message news:<80d0c26f.0403...@posting.google.com>...

The key word is "knowing". One implication of your line of argument
here is that you already *know* that natural processes are incapable
of producing many of the phenomena observed in biology. Oddly, while
the evolutionary biologists who actually study them do not have such
knowledge, there seem to be many engineers, mathematicians,
physicians, and lawyers who do.

Another implication is that you have extensive and accurate knowledge
of the natural history of the earth (else you could not describe the
system under which evolution or abiogenesis might have operated, and
hence could not *know* whether the system was capable of them). You
have basically admitted above that there are no valid prior intuitions
about what natural systems can do; rather, one must actually *know* a
great deal about the system, its history, its environment, and its
constraints before one can draw meaningful conclusions about its
capabilities and likely effects.

Another implication is that life as we know it was most definitely not
designed by anything remotely like what we normally call intelligence.
We know this because of what we *know* about intelligence: it
requires a physical substrate (i.e., a "brain"); it acquires knowledge
of the world through experience and learning; in addition to this
knowledge, it must secure for itself considerable physical and
technical wherewithal in order to manipulate its world to any
substantial degree; it cannot create ex nihilo, nor warp the fabric of
reality with magic, but can only manipulate initial conditions needed
for otherwise natural processes to produce the effects it wants.

There is no evidence that any intelligence operating under such
*known* constraints did create or even could have created life as it
now exists. There is no evidence of a brain for such a thing, no
evidence of a physical culture or technology that could have produced
life, no evidence of tools, of waste-products, or of failed efforts
while the intelligent designer was still on its learning curve, no
evidence of external manipulation of initial conditions. There is no
evidence that any of these things are even possible.

If you nonetheless choose to special-plead that your proposed
intelligence somehow magically overcomes these known constraints on
intelligent designers, then you forfeit any theoretical advantage.
One could just as parsimoniously special-plead a mindless process with
the requisite magical attributes.

Kermit

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Mar 11, 2004, 10:31:21 PM3/11/04
to
"Zachriel" <an...@zachriel.com> wrote in message news:<104neiv...@corp.supernews.com>...

Similar thing happened to me. "After the winter holiday I got a new
hotmail account and started posting successfully.

Kermit

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