“What positive, testable predictions follow from ID theory, such that
empirical test of those predictions put ID at risk of
Despite the thread going on for over 200 messages, he never got an
answer from the UD regulars. Ultimately, the UD moderators banned
him, hypocritically in a thread devoted to their new "open" moderation
"As a general rule, so long as your comment is not defamatory profane,
or a vicious personal attack, you can say pretty much what you want.
We have no interest in censoring viewpoints, because we believe ID is
true and consequently in any full and fair debate we will win — and if
we don’t win we either need to learn to debate better or change our
I have been participating at UD as well and, despite refraining from
defamation, profanity, and vicious personal attacks, I am subject to
moderation. This is equivalent to being banned, in practice, because
my posts take over 12 hours to be approved and some disappear
completely, with no explanation.
I have challenged one of the UD regulars, going by the handle of
Upright BiPed, to defend his assertion that ID is a scientific theory
in a neutral venue, namely here in talk.origins. In order to do so, s/
he must answer the question repeatedly posed by Reciprocating Bill:
Provide a prediction that is entailed by ID theory and propose a
feasible test that, if it fails will falsify one or more key tenets of
Note that nothing in this challenge has anything to do with modern
evolutionary theory (MET). Disproving MET does not prove ID. If you
want ID to be considered a scientific theory, it must make positive,
testable predictions that could potentially disconfirm it.
I eagerly await your response.
Google moderator food: Fnord fnord
Such a test has been proposed. Put a population of bacteria lacking
flagella into an environment in which mobility is selected. If the
bacteria evolve flagella, ID is falsified.
Of course this test has problems. If the bacteria don't evolve flagella,
have we learned anything? Probably not. So it's a one-way test only, and
most people would suggest that this test is not very robust. The
bacteria are unlikely to evolve flagella under anyone's model.
A second problem is that ID isn't really falsified even if the bacteria
do evolve flagella. Who's to say that God -- sorry, the Unknown Designer
-- didn't intervene in the experiment to produce the new flagella
Nevertheless, IDers have seriously (?) proposed this test.
One would have thought that, had ID actually had any sort of
scientific theory to present, they would have told the judge in Dover
all about it.
But perhaps the luminaries at UD have forgoten that, according to
them, they never really wanted anything to do with ID "theory" anyway
-- all they wanted is to "teach the strengths and weaknesses of
evolution" or something . . . . .
"There are no loose threads in the web of life"
Editor, Red and Black Publishers
> During a recent discussion of the moderation policy at Uncommon
> Descent (http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-word-
> about-our-moderation-policy/), a participant named Reciprocating Bill
> raised the issue of whether or not Intelligent Design is a scientific
> theory. He repeated asked the question:
> ''What positive, testable predictions follow from ID theory, such that
> empirical test of those predictions put ID at risk of
Golly: the Creationists on the Dover Area School District would
have *LOVED* to know the answer to that.
Desertphile's Desert Soliloquy. WARNING: view with plenty of water
"Why aren't resurrections from the dead noteworthy?" -- Jim Rutz
Those are the kind of responses given on UD as well. The regulars
there don't seem to understand that such a test only falsifies the
idea that the flagella had to be designed. It says nothing about
whether or not they actually were and it doesn't say anything about
other asserted designs.
> Of course this test has problems. If the bacteria don't evolve flagella,
> have we learned anything? Probably not. So it's a one-way test only, and
> most people would suggest that this test is not very robust. The
> bacteria are unlikely to evolve flagella under anyone's model.
They don't get that, either.
> A second problem is that ID isn't really falsified even if the bacteria
> do evolve flagella. Who's to say that God -- sorry, the Unknown Designer
> -- didn't intervene in the experiment to produce the new flagella
> through ID?
Careful, that's the line of reasoning that got me on the watch list at
UD in the first place. I suggested that design detection both
required some assumptions about the nature of the designer and that
observations would generate more information about the nature of the
That broke the rules of UD Club, the first of which, of course, is you
don't talk about the designer.
> Nevertheless, IDers have seriously (?) proposed this test.
I know Behe did in Dover. I'm surprised the lawyer wasn't all over
him for that.
Yeah, right. Neutral venue. Perhaps you merely meant "uncensored".
> In order to do so,
> he must answer the question repeatedly posed by Reciprocating Bill:
> Provide a prediction that is entailed by ID theory and propose a
> feasible test that, if it fails will falsify one or more key tenets of
> that theory.
> Note that nothing in this challenge has anything to do with modern
> evolutionary theory (MET). Disproving MET does not prove ID. If you
> want ID to be considered a scientific theory, it must make positive,
> testable predictions that could potentially disconfirm it.
On the assumption he doesn't show here, you might consider figuring
out how to answer this counter-challenge: Provide a prediction that
is entailed by naturalistic abiogenesis theory and propose a feasible
test which potentially falsifies it.
It seems to me that someone working on abiogenesis is doing something
pretty close to doing science. It is not completely reputable, and there
is the stigma of getting your funding from NASA, but some real scientists
dabble in the field for at least part of their careers.
Similarly, it seems to me that someone like Behe is doing something
pretty close to science in his "irreducible complexity" (IC) theorizing.
Which, by the way, provides something pretty close to a falsifiable test
of that version of ID. Namely, that no one will ever provide a fairly detailed
scenario for the evolutionary origin of an IC system. (Unfortunately for
Behe, IC has been falsified in just this way, IMHO).
It also seems to me that Dembski and Marks are doing something
pretty close to mathematics with their "No Free Lunch" related
arguments. Also quite falsifiable - just provide the counter-examples
(or characterize the loopholes).
Getting back to my abiogenesis challenge, some detailed abiogenesis
hypotheses are falsifiable - for example, for a few decades it looked
like the Oparin-Haldane-Urey-Fisher idea of a prebiotic soup fed
by a reducing atmosphere had been falsified. It looked as though
Earth's atmosphere was never particularly reducing - at least not
since the collision that created the moon. (Since about 1990 though,
the momentum has turned, and it now seems possible that it was
reducing enough). Wachtershauser predicted that some particular
reactions would take place at high pressure, if chemists looked for
them. So far, he seems to be batting about .500 on those predictions.
Pretty good, but not quite good enough to save his original theory
from falsification. No big deal though - he has some newer theories.
In my opinion, abiogenesis is science, regardless of whether there
are any real falsifiable scientific *theories* of abiogenesis (and there
are none that have not already been falsified). Similarly, I'm willing to
give a pass to the ID folks. Behe came up with an interesting idea in
IC. I don't know about you, but I have learned a few things about
evolution by following the debate which arose out of his idea.
Which is about all you can reasonably ask for from a scientific
theory. (Asking for correctness in a theory is unreasonable.)
I once tried to get an obnoxious a$$hole at ARN to come here so we could
exchange insults without fear of bannination but his response made it clear
that he would never put his sacred foot down on this haven of depraved
I do not consider abiogenesis a "theory," any more than I consider
astrophysics to be a "theory." Rather, abiogenesis, like astrophysics,
is an area of scientific research, out of which scientific hypotheses
have been postulated. Hence neither abiogenesis nor astrophysics is
But research into abiogenesis has generated certain scientific
hypotheses along the way, which are potentially falsifiable.
For the Haldane-Miller-Urey theory of a "reducing soup," you actually
proposed a possible way to falsify: Scientific proof that the
primordial Earth was never reducing, would falsify the
And for any of the other proposed hypotheses of abiogenesis, I'm sure we
can find a way to potentially falsify them.
For autocatalysis, if it could be shown that autocatalytic sets have
some special difficulty with generating mutations (which is needed for
natural selection to select for best fitness), that would falsify the
And so on.
Remove the NOSPAM before replying to me.
Oh, I fully agree. My point in comparing abiogenesis to "intelligent
design" is that neither is automatically worthless simply because they
cannot be shoehorned into the Popperian straitjacket of being
a "scientific theory".
I also agree that abiogenesis has the ambition of becoming an area
of scientific research. But "intelligent design" has the same ambition.
Both have a long way to go to achieve that ambition. Abiogenesis
might actually achieve it, once it admits it had been going in the wrong
direction for most of the last century. But I doubt that ID could survive
making such an admission.
> But research into abiogenesis has generated certain scientific
> hypotheses along the way, which are potentially falsifiable.
> For the Haldane-Miller-Urey theory of a "reducing soup," you actually
> proposed a possible way to falsify: Scientific proof that the
> primordial Earth was never reducing, would falsify the
> Haldane-Miller-Urey theory.
> And for any of the other proposed hypotheses of abiogenesis, I'm sure we
> can find a way to potentially falsify them.
> For autocatalysis, if it could be shown that autocatalytic sets have
> some special difficulty with generating mutations (which is needed for
> natural selection to select for best fitness), that would falsify the
Oh, they do indeed have a difficulty generating mutations. I doubt that
Darwinian gradualism would be a reasonable model for how an
autocatalytic system would evolve. It seems to me that it would be
something more like Goldschmidtian saltationalism. So maybe there
is some other creative principle besides NS involved in the days before
I take it that really you want to talk to this "Upright Biped". So
I'll say nothing on the point you want to argue, but I have another
question from Mr. U. B. : Are you sitting down just now? And if so,
do you think that that qualifies as "upright"?
"Can you show where CSI has been calculated for a biological construct
such as the bacterial flagellum, taking into account known
Kairosfocus responded at great length without answering the question.
The closest he came, in the midst of his loggorhea, was this:
"Also, given that the flagellum embeds several dozen specific proteins
and a truly unusual self-assembly algorithm [think about chained
proteins injecting themselves up a pre-assembled tube then
reassembling in situ, while locking together to grow a filament, and a
metric based on chain length that helps control the phases of the
process . . .] the flagellum is doubtless functionally specific and
complex information-based. Indeed, just taking 40 proteins times a
short typical protein length of 150 AA by 3-letter codons by 2 bits
per base gives 40 * 150 * 3 * 2 = 36,000. this greatly exceeds the
1,000 bit rule of thumb threshold for functionality that is beyond the
reach of random search strategies on the gamut of our observed
I responded with:
"Kairosfocus, you wrote a large number of words before and after this
without ever answering my simple question. Your "calculation" is
nothing more than the old tornado in a junkyard analogy. You are,
very loosely, computing something like the chance that a flagella
could assemble fully formed in one fell swoop. As you note, that's
very unlikely. It's also not what modern evolutionary theory
"Again, I ask you: Can you show where CSI has been calculated for a
biological construct such as the bacterial flagellum, taking into
account known evolutionary mechanisms?
"A simple yes (with a pointer to such a calculation) or no will
This comment was removed by the moderators.
I extend the same challenge to Kairosfocus that I do to Upright BiPed
and Joseph of Uncommon Descent: Come debate in a forum where neither
of us is able to silence the other or admit that your position cannot
To Barry and Clive, I merely suggest that hypocrisy is a sin and fear
of open discussion is a strong indication that you lack confidence in
your views and are too dishonest to admit it.
> Careful, that's the line of reasoning that got me on the watch list at
> UD in the first place. I suggested that design detection both
> required some assumptions about the nature of the designer and that
> observations would generate more information about the nature of the
> That broke the rules of UD Club, the first of which, of course, is you
> don't talk about the designer.
Too bad that they don't want to talk about the designer, because the
designer is the most obvious weakness of the design argument. If you
prove that there never was a designer, you have proven that there is
Right. There are just two options:
1) The designer = God (specifically, the Jewish tribal god Yahweh of the
Bible) poofed the universe, Earth, and life into existence. With some
tinkering later as revealed by Behe in Darwins Black Box (The Third
Testament), completing Genesis.
2) 1) is not true.
Since magic per definition is not detectable, the designer (Yhwh) is not
detectable. How do we prove or disprove something that is beyond detection?
If magic ir ruled out, we are left with a lot of questions that ID's got to
explain: how was all that design implemented? What methods were used, how
was life and all the species created? Wouldn't it have required huge
laboratories and manufacturing facitlities not avilable to a lone 'designer'
But it is all a matter of religious faith. To preserve a faith requiring a
literal reading of the bible, science denial is the only option available.
That's how the human mind works.
All we ask of ID'ers is that they produce evidence for the designer. All
they have are claims about design, but no evidence. Just r&d & manufacture
We know that the designer is invisible, we have Ray's word for that. That's
evidence that he's got to work by magic, isn't it? Which means science
should not concern itself with the natural world.
God isn't really invisible, he wears a suit that bends light. He also has
dreadlocks and carries big ass weapons on his shoulder.
So if you piss him off real bad (or real good, depending on how you
interpret it) the accuracy of his aim should give us some materialistic
evidence to examine. Well, that and the quantum energy signal which
should be something we've never seen before.
Easy. The very fact that you do not detect it, is proof of its
What follows is a post of mine that was removed from UD today. If the
Intelligent Design movement wanted to deliberately present themselves
as poorly as possible, they couldn't have chosen better than Barry.
Barry Arrington @162
madsen is no longer with us.
A summary of the history leading to this suggests that your action is
not aligned with your stated moderation policy.
The starting point seems to be StephenB @148 who wrote, among other
I have learned from experience that everyone has a “good” reason for
abandoning Christianity and everyone has a “real” reason.
StephenB is claiming that everyone who abandons Christianity is
dishonest. This is certainly skirting the line of violating the
moderation policy ("As a general rule, so long as your comment is not
defamatory profane, or a vicious personal attack, you can say pretty
much what you want.") StephenB's comment is defamatory and a personal
attack on the non-Christians posting here.
hazel @149 took exception to StephenB:
“Just as likely, he/she may decide that conforming to an objective
moral code is more trouble than it is worth.”
Presumptuous, insulting nonsense. How can you live with being so self-
righteous, I wonder?
A little hot headed, perhaps, but she provides evidence for her
statement that StephenB is self-righteous and rightly characterizes
StephenB's statements as presumptuous and insulting.
Barry Arrington @151 completely ignores StephenB's violation of the
policy and attacks hazel:
You are so intolerant of other people’s views.
. . .
You are revealed not only for a bigot but, worse, a hypocrite. Any
more name calling, Hazel the Hypocrite, and you will be put in the
Defamatory and a personal attack, from the person who wrote the
moderation policy himself.
madsen @158 notes the hypocrisy:
Wow—”Hazel the Hypocrite”, an “intolerant bigot”, being admonished for
name calling? Now I’ve seen everything.
And gets banned for it.
Is it too much to ask for even-handed application of the moderation
policy? StephenB's claims are presumptuous and insulting. I have
several friends who came to leave the Christianity with which they
were raised. All found it difficult, all struggled with the issue
<i>honestly,</i> and all are still searching for spiritual truth.
StephenB's comments are not just in violation of the moderation
policy, they are flat out wrong.
I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.
BTW, Is DaveScot still banned? He too was banned in March for some
comment that had nothing to do with ID's "science", but rather a
political/religious statement that dared to expose the DI's double
standard. My personal suspiction is that he had been on probation
since ~2005 when he defended common descent *and* politely asked the
DI to stop pretending that any other explanation has any merit. From
my ~12 years of following DI antics, the former is OK (Behe has been
doing it all along) but the latter is extremely politically incorrect.
At the time he got a polite "stop it" from Dembski, and as far as I
can tell, toed the party line on that issue after that.